Mailbag: Microsoft and Standards, More
John writes that while new technology is great, backward compatibility is nothing
to sneeze at:
I had a nightmare this past weekend. I dreamed that Office 2007 would
not read all the old Microsoft Word documents. This was particularly terrifying,
because I work at a courthouse and we have more than 10 years of historical
and legal electronic documents from various Word versions that we may have
to read and print. If the most recent version of Word won't do this, we will
have to keep older systems and software versions for that purpose.
For 10 years, I have been telling people to move to a paper-less world,
but the threat of unreadable electronic documents scares me. There has been
a lot of noise in the past few years about electronic document standards.
Microsoft seems resistant to the idea. The threat of having unreadable electronic
documents in the public or private sector is very real and should scare people
to think about standards. I have been using personal computers for almost
30 years and have many documents at home on hard-sectored 5 1/4-inch and 8-inch
floppy disks. I suspect I may never see these documents again. Already, the
3 1/2-inch floppy is fading from use, but how many home computer users have
photos and documents on such disks? New technology is great, but we must have
a backward eye for both legal and personal reasons.
And Dave thinks that you can pan
Apple's Newton all you want -- it still had a few things going for it:
In a recent article, you spoke about Apple's Newton as a big mistake,
and rightly so. Even so, take a moment to reflect on what Apple got right.
No matter what else Apple missed with Newton, one thing it got right was the
form factor. Right now, it would be the ideal size to replace my ultra-Micro
PC and my iPhone. In landscape mode, we could have a virtual keyboard that
we could actually type on. In either mode, we would have a screen big enough
for useful free-hand drawing. Don't get me started about how much better it
would be for videos or the maps we use in navigation. Ideally, we could have
it use cellular IP for everything, including phone and answering service.
With the newer technologies used in producing the MacBook Air, we could have
the whole package in a slim, light tablet. Wow.
In the world of personal computing, the future's so bright, you gotta
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Posted by Doug Barney on 09/09/2008 at 1:16 PM