A confession

I have something to confess.

During the last weeks and months I have alarmingly often thought about buying a new computer. That in itself should not be too worrying, but the fact that I have in fact enjoyed using the Windows 7 at school causes me some headache.

Furthermore, I have started to think about the advantages of having a MS Office license for my small business. Being able to check the compatibility of my text files using the globally most popular word processor might make my life a bit easier.

Unfortunately, the license for MS Office would be more expensive than a new desktop computer. I could, of course, buy a student license for the office package but then I wouldn't be able to use the software legally for my small business. At the moment, the about 50 euros per month needed for a new PC and MS Office are too much for my budget.

Life is full of choices and sometimes it is difficult to make the right decision. Everything seemed to be much simpler when I didn't need to work with clients...


Gye Greene said...

Compatibility: Totally; I hear ya.

I'm about to have to give back my "work laptop" -- which probably means I'll be buying my own netbook. Debating whether to use OpenOffice.org (and clash w/ formatting issues w/ cow-orkers who are using Office 2007), or just cave in and get the "real" MS Office.


Greg said...

" I have started to think about the advantages of having a MS Office license for my small business"

Errr....Open Office?

Mikko said...

OpenOffice is of course a possibility as a replacement for Word. But sometimes it just is not compatible enough, e.g. when I receive a formatted Word document for proofreading. I cannot trust the importing and exporting to keep the formatting as it was in the original.

Of course, no one s,hould use .docx for formatting printed matter -- but sometimes people just do that...

For my studies, OO is usually more than OK. Unfortunately, using OOCalc does not help me to pass my exams on Excel & accounting.

Gye Greene said...

Open Office: Nice idea; cross-compatibility only **kinda** works.

A co-worker sent me a document, "saved as" *.doc in OOO; when I tried to open in in Word, the tables were all wonky.

However, when he re-saved it in OOO as *.rtf, I was able to edit it just fine. HOWEVER, because the *.rtf format has to retain cross-compatibility, the filesize is about ten times that of a *.doc document.

So: I could use OOO, and just insist that cow-orkers only send me *.rtf files (and bandwidth and HD space be damned!) -- or I could just capitulate and get MS Word. (Although: Just getting MS Works is an option...)


mulenmar said...

I'm pretty sure recent versions of MS Office support saving as ODF (Open Document Format). Just have everyone send you documents in that format, it supports more features than RTF, and I'm pretty sure it uses less space.

As for OpenOffice Calc not being good enough, I have no idea. I use spreadsheets for organizing tabular data, not for calculations. gnumeric is another alternative, but I have little experience with it.

Mikko said...

Mulenmar: That is simply out of the question.

I cannot expect my clients send me the data in the format I would like to use it and let them take care of the interoperability problems. I have to be able to edit the files in whatever format my few clients throw at me.

OOCalc is certainly good enough for my own use, and fortunately, I don't need to exchange spreadsheet files (with fancy GUIs and Visual Basic scripts) with my customers.

Anonymous said...

Microsoft do an online cut-down version you can access via the internet (if you have this) which was blogged about at OMG! Ubuntu! ...


It also gives you 25g of storage space which means you don't have to carry things about on a usb drive if you need to move between computers.

Greg said...


So, you trust word formatting between versions and instantiations of word? Huh.

Yeah,I just bought a windows laptop and set it up for my daughter to take overseas where, in her partiuclar situaton, windows is a better choice.

Had that been an instance of trying out windows and office because I thought it might be better than Linux, I would have come running back in a cold sweat. An out of the box computer, new, from best by. The software killed it and it had to be replaced the same day. Next morning, the software killed the computer again. Geek squad could not fix it. Replaced it with a third computer.

That one went off with Julia to the Rep. of Georgia. It's working, but we had the first tech problem today and the only way to fix it from a distance was to switch back to using IE from firefox.

And this will continue until late November when she returns and I'll slap some Linux into that box.

Hey, you know what I do now? I do all my writing in emacs (and I write dozens of pages a day) and if someone wants a .doc file, instead of slapping it in openoffice writer, I just use the odt exporter. Couple of keystrokes. I'm seriously thinking of uninstalling OpenOffice.

Mikko said...

No, I don't trust it, but the compatibility is usually decent.

I do my own writing in Emacs, too, and I can of course export it to just about any format avaible. But when I have to edit the docx someone sent me back, it gets more complicated...