Twenty years ago, the computer wasn’t in every home yet. I knew how to use one, even had one at my desk at work, but the thought of spending that sort of money for something I would probably never use at home was unthinkable.
Back then I had a small leather notebook, and I do mean small like in one you can put in your pocket. I would go the McDonald’s four blocks away, buy a Coke (or did they just have Pepsi) and sit next to a window and write. I preferred a mechanical pencil but if I didn’t want to take time to find the lead, I’d take a cheap pen with me.
Since I’ve had a computer in my home, I rarely write in longhand. You can tell too because my penmanship has gotten raunchy. I should write longhand when doing the first rough draft of a story, if for no other reason, because there’s a psychological connection between the brain and the hand. Typing is almost as good but still, I think I’d write more of exactly what I mean instead of using words that have become so commonplace for me.
The first and second computer I’ve owned came with Microsoft Word. I got use to using this software, so when I got my third PC and it didn’t have this program, I was a little annoyed. It had another program to replace Word called Works. Despite the bells and whistles it had, it still wasn’t as good as the original.
I’m on my seventh PC now. Could I live without it? In a city, I could, but here in rural America — no, I need it if I’m ever going to get to the point where I am a published author of a book. Although publishing houses do accept manuscripts by postal mail, anymore they prefer email. In a city, I’d just write in longhand or even use a typewriter all the way to the final draft and then retype it to a computer at the library. Although this little town has a library, they have six PCs, which can be used for only one hour at a time unless no one is waiting, which is hardly ever. Anyway, I think you get the point of why I rely in my PC.
Two years ago I splurged. I bought Microsoft Office. It was over $100 (was it $119.98, $159.98) and I didn’t even get a disk. I got a card with the purchase number that I had to give to Microsoft at their site. Even then, I didn’t get to download it. I only received access to it through Microsoft.
Last year I ended up buying Windows 8.1 — on disk. To my dismay, I lost access to Office. I’ve tried to find my card that I got at Staples when I bought the program, but so far I can’t find it. I spoke to the people a Microsoft. They said my only course of action is to go back to Staples and see if they have my card on file. They said they can’t help me.
Until I can get to Staples, I’m using several of the Office applications online for free. This is beyond confusing. It’s beyond weird. Why did I pay for access when I could have access for free? The only difference I can see is that I now see my browser when using out of the apps where before I could use them on my desktop.
I started using Google Doc and Sheets too. It started out as just an experiment to see if Office apps online or Doc and Sheets had the most to use — you know, bells and whistles. So far there’s a tie between them.
Did I get gypped by Microsoft? If so, I know someone who works for them. I don’t know if he can help me but I’m going to ask him.
I downloaded OpenOffice. It’s okay, I guess — but it’s already acting up. I’m thinking about uninstalling it because of what I have online. Why should I gunk up my PC when I don’t have to and still have what I need?
When did something so simple become so complicated?