Friday, June 01, 2012

Already Getting Angry with OneNote: or Typical Infuriation with Microsoft Software Misbehavior

[If you're not the conceptual type, sorry: this ain't a post for those who want pictures for everything, but requires some attention to details, and keeping them in mind: really I mean it, "sorry", as I'm out of practice with that myself! Normally I like to put useful information on this little blog that anyone can follow, but in this case it's just a piece of commentary and I am not really concerned about everybody being able to understand it, being unimportant and of interest to perhaps a narrow slice of any society. : )]

Ever encounter the auto-formatting in a word document where a line that fits within the margins toward the end of a page is dropped nonetheless down into the following page? How about spending four hours trying to fix it because it causes a paper to fail the requirement constraints at a university? I have: a lot. I am starting to get pissed with another Microsoft product, and I have only been using it around twenty minutes: OneNote, 2003.

Granted it's old, but the behavior is still infuriating and, for a modern piece of software, something one wouldn't expect to occur. I have been trying to turn a selection of items in-pasted into a list, and instead it's giving me grief. If I put a number then past the text right after, and then use return (Enter) to break-up the text pasted into the document, instead of auto-formatting as it would with a block of text typed into OneNote instead, a space is placed between the text before and after the break. If I type numbers 1, 2, 3, and letters a, b, c after each number respectively, followed by "Enter" after each letter, such that an auto-generated ordered-list is truly created, then past the block after a, the block is put on a new line: luckily one can back-space with the cursor to the immedate left (no space) of the head letter of that text until the a is deleted and that text is by number "1".

But then try to cut and re-paste the text thereafter, by "2", and a new problem arises: it is inserted right back after the text of "a", and "2. b" is pushed down below. "Te f***?" If I ensure rather to past after the "b" rather than "2", the same behavior as with "1. a" occurs, and the same process to correct is necessary. Interestingly enough, when arriving at "c" I get no misbehavior, perhaps because the text in this case is a single, short line.

But overall I think such misbehavior demonstrates why WYSIWIG is bad, that is, I think the program, and resultant underlying formatting, is a "tad" confused: treating text inserted as its own material, rather than material to be added to a certain container or semantic set of materials. If you have ever looked at the mark-up below a Microsoft Word document you should understand what I mean--or for that matter, a Google blogger post that relied on WYSIWIG functionality rather than manual input. A program can only guess, based on the programmers' instructions (guessing) as to how to classify and designate input under certain conditions--which means it could be worse, I could be one of those types who must sit-around thinking about that sort of thing all day, and coding it into software like this. This particular case seems to be an illustration of rather poor guessword on their part.

I was interested in using OneNote, since I have it (acquired when it was initially introduced, passed-out freely on university campuses), and have a lot of things going on, studies in various areas I want to keep together in an organized fashion, without having many disparate papers and separate versions of notes scrawled all over them: plus with my home life, no guarantee of the safety--or continued location--of a given document (not explaining here). 

As for that problem: oh well, I have the work around work around. But with stuff like this, and the time it takes to figure out (when I JUST WANT YOU TO PASTE WHERE I PUT THE CURSOR WHEN I SAID 'PASTE' DAG-NABBIT!!!) I think I might quickly jump ship.

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