I'm having fun with productivity tools this week. Got the new Dell desktop last Friday. You know the routine, of course – move files and settings, reinstall software, ask yourself if you should have partitioned the hard drive differently, and keep changing the location of the new giant screen. It's an odd combination of daunting and exciting, with most of the excitement done and gone about an hour after you turn it on, and the daunting part that continues for weeks.
Our computers, for some of us, are such an extension of our fingers and brains that even relatively minor changes can be tremendously disruptive. Which is one reason I stayed with XP, and didn't give in to the temptation to shift to Mac.
The shift to Dell was one I resisted, but ultimately, they were the only ones who would let me configure online. And their online configuration/ordering tools were wonderful. They have even made the unpacking process much more attractive than I was expecting. The boxes actually look nice when you open them up, all neatly packed and white inside. [I know, some of us are hung up on aesthetics.]
I did get the new Office Suite software, and even though the ribbon is kind of neat, it's still a change, and therefore a disruption. There seem to be two big bonus items here, however, that are very cool.
- Changing fonts and styles shows up instantly! Yes, this is amazing, fun, and incredibly useful. At least it is if you are type-design junkie like I am, constantly tweaking.
- Built in blog authoring tools mean I am actually typing this post from inside Word! The software is integrating for me, and has a whole new menu bar that replicates several functions inside TypePad. If it works [and since you are reading this, it must have worked] this will be a nice addition to my life, and end a lot of annoying formatting problems that are tricky to resolve inside TypePad.
I bumped into a neighbor today who is in her 50s, and is retraining on computer skills to get work, after a marital split. I found it hard to believe that anyone can function without computer skills, it seems so rare now. I didn't tell her how many computers we actually have in our home now, between the new desktops, the old desktops, the current laptops, the laptops we are saving for no good reason, the laptop we read the New York Times on in the dining room on Sundays…. To say nothing of the handheld devices [both working and dead], and the peripherals. It's a wonder there is room for human beings.
Our tools continue to expand our reach. And when they do so seamlessly, it's a beautiful thing to see.