17 September 2007


Not very long ago, I had a bit of a swing on here at people using outdated software. I find it absolutely incredible that colleagues in one of my spheres of work find it perfectly acceptable to use programs such as Word 97. Another colleague recently described this as "steam-driven", which I thought rather apt. Then again, I know of people using even older programs such as Word 3.1. No doubt there are others out there still using WordPerfect and bemoaning the lack of updates.

As for me, I'm still using Word 2002, which is more than adequate. But I do have a pristine copy of Word 2007 on my shelf, awaiting installation - the only reason I haven't loaded it so far is because I don't want it to override Word 2002 and I need some expert advice. And none of my clients have yet migrated to the new version, but when they do, I'll be ready for them.

As with CPD, keeping reasonably up to date with technology is essential for those in the trade of wordsmithery if we are not to lose work to others for lack of modernity. I'm quite sentimental in some ways and still have my original portable typewriter (an Olivetti hand-me-down from my late father!) stashed away because I can't bear to get rid of it. I taught myself to type on it when I was 16 (when I say type, I mean with one finger, like wot I still do). I bashed out all my earliest copy on it. I daresay it's still in good working order and just needs a professional clean. But I wouldn't dream of working on it now. For one thing, it doesn't have a modem jack. :)

Rumour has it one editorial colleague still works entirely on hard copy and manages without email or even a fax, and has acknowledged she has lost out on work but refuses to move with the times. It's a sweet story, if true (which I'm assured it is), but I just can't understand how anyone running a small business can survive without moving forward. They abolished slavery and banned sending children up chimneys - perhaps we should force wordsmiths to upgrade their software...

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