I can’t deny I’ve been avoiding using Office XP, because my experience has been Microsoft always manage to make their end user applications appear easy to use and actually be pretty well impossible to use. This is why I switched to Open Office some time ago, even though that has some serious flaws as well; at least it’s usable. Both are free to me; I buy MSDN for professional reasons, and get Office free with it.

image: chewed again

I’m being reminded of this today; I want to get an overview of Outlook XP, and the obvious thing to do is to bring up the help contents page. Is this easy? Stupid question! First of all, you’ve got to get rid of the universally derided paperclip (what a proof of abuse of monopoly!), which expects you to type in a question so it can carefully misunderstand it (why the hell don’t they license Google technology, for God’s sake?). Once I’ve got rid of that stupidity, it displays its Help Home Page. Does this Help Home Page give access to the Help File contents? Does it hell. It doesn’t seem to have occurred to the idiots who designed this crap that the reason why information collections have had a contents for 600 years is because some people actually find it useful? Morons.

Outlook can’t apply a couple of email processing rules, so I want to check out my recently imported folders and do some tidying up. But the Manage Folder menu entry has vanished. If I understand what they were trying to do, it’d make it so much easier to do what I wanted to do, so why the **** do they conceal everything? Good God, even if I turn that paperclip back on and tell it to show me the contents page, it won’t.

The experience of looking again at this drivel utterly confirms my decision to move to Open Office. And I haven’t even glanced at any other application in the Office XP suite!

I really can’t understand how a company can make a thoroughly usable Operating System can make a unusable Office suite, especially since Operating Systems are so much complex than applications like Office.

I just thought, sod it, I’ll try the paperclip interface. I just spent about ten minutes getting answers to questions I didn’t ask, and nothing about the question I did ask. I still haven’t got a clue what’t happened to the Office 2000 Manage Folder command, which I want to use. It did tell me that I couldn’t delete a standard folder, which is not only not surprising, but entirely irrelevant, since I want to delete one I’ve created. This product is dire. If it was’t free, I’d ask for my money back, and the time I’ve wasted because they have deliberately made it unusable.

Fuck that customer. Office XP is appalling; I can’t use such anti–productivity crap.