Word Processing Experience

This post and others like it relate back to an introductory post that explains the point. This is an edited variant of something I wrote in 2007, in this case relating my experience/history with word processing and combined packages that revolve around the word processing section. In no particular order, the list as best I can remember…

Every version of MS Word through 2003, including providing Microsoft support of 1.0, 1.1, 2.0 and 6.0
WordStar 5.0 and 2000
WordPerfect 5.0
Lotus Ami Pro/Word Pro (about three versions)
PFS First Choice
Spinnaker 8-in-1
Star Office
IBM word processing software for OS/2 (bundled, forget the name)
Ashton-Tate MultiMate
Volkswriter, for Color Computer 2
EZ Word
MS Works
DeskMate, for Color Computer 3, if I have the name right.
Google Docs

There are probably ones I’ve forgotten. This doesn’t count some bundled or simple text editors and word processors, like DOS edit, Notepad, UED, Write, or WordPad. I may have played with a more recent version of WordPerfect. I probably played with whatever was bundled with at least Red Hat Linux and KDE. These days it’s gotten to where a word processor is pretty much a word processor, and it’s lucky Microsoft can charge any amount for Word.

Volkswriter is the one I used on my Color Computer 2 and loved so much. When it died and I bought a Color Computer 3, I was irked to learn my good word processor wouldn’t run on the newer machine. I still have stuff I wrote in Volkswriter, on ancient 5 1/4” floppies, among my old computer-related detritus and treasures. As I edit this, I am actually going through all the old computer stuff, purging all I can. Anything on a 4 1/4″ floppy, especially if it can’t be read by a PC, has a short life expectancy.

Once I got a PC, I used First Choice for a while, then I bought WordStar 5.0 through DAK and fell in love. My roommate installed WordPerfect 5.0 and I toyed with it, but it was too hard to use. I seem to recall that I stumbled upon pressing F3 twice to get information on how to do anything. I probably developed a lot of my unexpected typing speed using WordStar, and could probably get back into the old shortcut keys (which mapped logically to menus!) in minutes. Not that I would want to go back to something little more than ASCII in nature when modern word processors exist.

I played with Word 2.0, but at the same time I got Ami Pro, I think it was 3.0, and it seemed much better. Around the time I was using Ami Pro at home, I was using MultiMate at work, on an early IBM PC with something like a 5 MB hard drive. Yeesh.

It was ironic that I landed the support job that turned out to be for Microsoft Word – they didn’t tell us until after we were hired – with a resume created in Ami Pro. Once I got a load of Word 6.0, the latest release and reason for the support hiring, Ami Pro no longer seemed superior. Apart from being lighter on resources. I did support of Word 6.0, 2.0 and 1.x, specializing in Word macros (before VBA), for over a year before moving into VB support. This experience worked out great for my eventual stint supporting law firms, even if they didn’t always take full advantage.

That about covers it. Next up will be spreadsheets plus tax, accounting and bookkeeping related software. Talk about bringing back memories; I had forgotten until doing all this thinking about what I have used that I did indeed lay hands on VisiCalc at one time.

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