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Doug's Mailbag: .DOCX Marks the Spot?, More

Which format camp do you belong to -- the tried and true .DOC or the sleek and shiny .DOCX? Here are some more of your thoughts:

I love the .DOCX file format, mainly because for macros to run, the file needs to be in .DOCM or plain old-fashioned .DOC format. Security wins. I'll open an e-mailed .DOCX file much more readily than any other...even .RTF. Well, plain old .TXT works, as well.

I like .DOC because I can open it with an editor (for example, Ultra Edit) and see what someone wrote. .DOCX is not human-readable.

I save ALL of my work in the newer .DOCX, .XLSX formats.

Not in love with Office 2007. Change for change's sake never made any sense to me. How does the .DOCX file format improve the product? I see no apparent advantages and the major disadvantage is that it is not backward-compatible.

I like the new XML-based formats for Word, Excel, etc. The file sizes are smaller -- in some case half as small as the old formats. Office 2003 users can easily install a free compatibility pack from Microsoft, although not all of the newer features are supported. Generally, though, it does a good job.

In a fast-moving, technology-based world, I'm amazed how many people are reluctant to change. Wait 'til Office 2010 happens!

To counteract the "netbook effect," Microsoft has hinted at producing a line of "ultrathins" next year. But one reader thinks that's missing the point:

The appeal of netbooks is the small size and longer battery life. If an "ultrathin" is larger and the higher performance shortens battery life, it will not have the same appeal as a netbook.

And finally, Clinton has one suggestion for Doug's son, who's trying to get published (hopefully, with some of your help!):

Even though the iPhone and mobile platforms are competing with downloadable content, I would motivate your son to research the Kindle and the eBook publishing platform in general as a line of business for self-publishing.

Let's briefly consider the facts: Amazon does all of the work hosting and managing the commerce, paying the author a 70-30 split on a $1.99 per month subscription. A clever and creative kid with a comic book or some contemporary version of Tom Swift (or anybody, for that matter) could, in due time, quite easily attract 10,000 subscribers paying the author $5,900 per month. Not too shabby.

Tell us what you think! Leave a comment below or send an e-mail to [email protected]

Posted by Doug Barney on 08/21/2009 at 1:17 PM


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