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No longer a user of Writely

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Hold up! Before you read on, please read this...

This post was published more than 12 years ago

I keep old posts on the site because I often enjoy reading old content on other people's sites. It can be interesting to see how views have changed over time: for example, how my strident teenage views have, to put it mildly, mellowed.

I'm not a believer in brushing the past under the carpet. I've written some offensive rubbish on here in the past: deleting it and pretending it never happened doesn't change that. I hope that stumbling across something that's 12 years old won't offend anyone anew, because I hope that people can understand that what I thought and felt and wrote about then is probably very different to what I think and feel and wrote about now. It's a relic of an (albeit recent) bygone era.

So, given the age of this post, please bear in mind:

  • My views may well have changed in the last 12 years. I have written some very silly things over the years, many of which I find utterly cringeworthy today.
  • This post might use words or language in ways which I would now consider highly inappropriate, offensive, embarrassing, or all three.
  • Factual information might be outdated.
  • Links might be broken, and embedded material might not appear properly.

Okay. Consider yourself duly warned. Read on...

Up until yesterday, I was a very active user of Writely. This was no particularly for the collaboration aspect of the service, though that was occasionally handy, it was just for making academic notes, and having the convenience of being able to access and edit them, securely, both at home and at uni. I have occasionally been known to blog from the application. It’s a really useful service, and I find myself using Microsoft Word less and less (though Writely’s not nearly advanced enough to replace some of the more technical and involved Word documents).

But this morning, I woke up to find that I was no longer a Writely user. I’m now a user of Google Docs and Spreadsheets. All the same functionality is there (and, crucially, all of my documents), but it doesn’t look nearly so pretty now the Writely green has been removed – and the amount of screen space taken up by the toolbars has increased. There’s frankly odd changes, too, like the spell checker now highlighting incorrectly spelled words rather than using the familiar wiggly red line, and the fact that you’re no longer prompted for a document title when starting a new document. There’s nothing disastrously wrong with the new setup, but the interface feels like a bit of a retrograde step for some reason.

It’s not so bad that I’m switiching away. But it would have been nice if the new interface had been trialled in a Beta of some kind before being forced upon me, maybe offering both interfaces over a transitional period, or even if I’d been given some warning that this was going to happen in the first place. I realise this is Beta software and liable to change or disappear at any time, but I’m a demanding consumer and expect Beta software (especially from Google, where almost everything is Beta) to evolve, not to wake up one morning and find everything completely different.

Anyway, I just thought all of that was worth ranting about.

This 981st post was filed under: News and Comment.

Some recently published posts

What I’ve been reading this month / August 2019, 7 minutes long

A flying visit to Copenhagen / July 2019, 9 minutes long

What I’ve been reading this month / June 2019, 6 minutes long

Reflecting on my first ten years as a doctor / June 2019, 8 minutes long

What I’ve been reading this month / June 2019, 6 minutes long

Some random old posts

Divine answer to earthly question / June 2005, 3 minutes long

Alan Johnston has been released / July 2007, Less than a minute long

Kenneth Bigley / September 2004, 4 minutes long

Roses are #FF0000 / February 2005, Less than a minute long

Time is money… but only to a point / June 2013, 1 minute long

Half empty / January 2005, Less than a minute long


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