Why? Because they've redesigned the menus completely. It's like an 8 year-old kid's idea of what the menu system should look like.
Take Excel - previously a reasonably easy to use program. I'm currently doing a simple spreadsheet and I want to insert an extra row. On Excel 2003 or 2000: easy. Just go to the insert menu. On Excel 2007: what the f***? The insert tab brings up a whole load of boxes. 'Tables', 'illustrations', 'charts', 'links', 'text'. Very useful for someone writing a Word document or a presentation. But what about the basic spreadsheet functions?
I hit the question mark to get help. It turns out you have to go to Home -> Cells -> Insert.
What the f***?
So to insert something I have to go to the Home menu.
Where do I have to go to get my money back? The "Bill Gates's ass" menu?
Who designed this menu system? John McCain?
Now I know that a lot of this is pretty arbitrary and if I was learning Excel 2007 from scratch with no knowledge of previous versions then I'd be OK. But one could say that about almost any redesign. The main point is that I can't see any way in which this redesign makes me more productive, whereas I can see a hell of a lot of ways in which it makes life temporarily a pain in the ass. Also, Microsoft are pretty Stalinist about making people do things their way. Here's a paragraph marked important that comes up if you type 'what happened to the File menu' in the help section:
"No option is currently available to switch the user interface back to the File menu, toolbars, and commands as they appeared in earlier versions of these Microsoft Office programs."
Well, f*** you too, sir. Imagine if this had happened with the shitty default file search function in Windows XP or the equally shitty default file manager options (view files as huge icons, don't show file extensions, etc.) The computer would have been out of my window in 30 minutes.
I feel like Dr "Bones" McCoy in my favourite Star Trek movie, The Motion Picture:
It's like working in a goddamn computer centre... I know engineers.... they just love to change things.
Thank f*** for OpenOffice 3.0 which, 95% of the time, is a very capable product which fulfills all my office-related needs. I've only got hold of MS Office for the other 5% - documents which people send me from time to time which just don't work properly with OpenOffice. It's getting rarer but it still happens occasionally. But given the crappy redesign, I don't think I'll be using MS Office as much more than a glorified file-reader.
This was my first taste of an application designed for Vista - I've been pretty militant about avoiding all contact with Vista and will be sticking with XP for music-making (and increasingly Linux for other stuff) for as long as possible, even though it's not sold on most PCs any more. And if the same idiots who've redesigned Office have been working on Vista, f*** that as well. Jesus, if I didn't have so much accumulated expertise in PC music software and zero expertise in the Mac alternative, I'd maybe even consider a Macintosh next time the upgrade comes round. And believe me, that's like Simon Heffer saying he's planning to vote Labour - a fundamental switch of allegiance. I just don't see why I should have to put up with these cretins at Microsoft f***ing up my life.
Stuff the lot of them.
Right, then... a happier post tomorrow to see out 2008. Probably.