Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Does Not Compute

This is actually a shout-out to all of those fabulous folks who, out of the kindness of their hearts, create incredible open-source software packed into neat little executables that even relative dinks like me can use. I mean, I've been using Mozilla Firefox as my browser for quite a long time now, and I have not had one single problem with spyware. I also have been using the GIMP for a few years now, since I was only recently able to afford Adobe software. And even since getting Photoshop, I still use the GIMP for a lot of stuff. For one thing, it doesn't take five hundred years to open the program (my computer dates back to December 2002).

Then, this past weekend, Microsoft Office basically imploded on me. I borrowed the academic version of the 2003 software from my mom, successfully loaded it onto Rob's laptop, then tried to load it onto my desktop but it had reached the maximum number of installs (two!!) and so it said I couldn't activate the software. SO, I uninstalled it. But in the process of uninstalling the new software, it did NOT return my old versions of the software. So I did a system restore. My shortcuts came back, but I still couldn't open any of the programs. Moreover, I couldn't reload them because I had given those CDs back to my mom. Plus I'd probably just encounter the same "does not compute" refusal to activate the software if I tried reinstalling those.

So, I decided to try something I've been wanting to try for quite some time but just didn't have a real reason to--installing OpenOffice. And you know what? So far, it rocks. It was going to be a total disaster work-wise if I couldn't, for instance, open any of my Word documents. I mean, I'm a WRITER. So now I can access all of my files; hooray! And then I had to install Mozilla Thunderbird so I could access my Outlook e-mail--I had to go through a rather convoluted (but successful) process to retrieve my settings, address book, and e-mail archives. But I have to say, it's all worked out fine so far. I was going to be particularly annoyed if I had to e-mail everyone to get their addresses again.

So, thank you, open-source gurus. You've saved my butt yet again.


DaviMack said...


I've got a mad computer - 2 processors, top of the line only last year - and it chokes on photoshop for about 5 minutes. Photoshop ... sucks [down the processor / memory time]. :)

david elzey said...

When I was in the corporate world and having to deal with Microsoft garbage all day long I became good friends with tech support because nothing ever worked the way it was supposed to. Ever. And up until that point I assumed the problems I had at home (minor, not as often, but a pain) were just because I was somewhat techinept.

Until I can find myself back on a Mac platform I have been running OpenOffice and haven't looked back. Why the world continues to support Microsoft is beyond me.

a. fortis said...

Every once in a while I have this fantasy of switching to an open-source OS, like Linux, or Ubuntu (which is theoretically noob-friendly) but I'm too nervous about how it might interact with all my existing software. I don't have the knowledge to deal with that--or, if I could find the information, I wouldn't have the TIME. Usually I can solve my computer problems myself but it takes forever.

I know I've said this before, but it's very disturbing that I'm the tech support in our house. It's just that I hate to pay for something I know I can eventually do myself. And I refuse to be afraid of my computer (which I guess is a positive result of having an engineer dad).

DaviMack said...

It's all a question of how much time you want to sink into it - which is why people keep on buying Microsoft.

chloe said...

Maybe you've written us off, but can I send you a copy of Office? You can have either 2003 or 2007. Your choice. I'm sorry to hear what happened during the install/uninstall. That totally blows.