Rant: “new & improved” frustrations

Labels may print like the template, and may not. Prepare to make adjustments!

Don’t you hate when something new and improved isn’t really? I had a frustrating morning. I need to rant a bit.

In the last couple of days I had to work out several style of labels and I worked on the computer that is most comfortable to me right now. For those that might wonder, it’s OS is Vista with Office 2o1o loaded. I don’t have any other desktop publishing programs loaded. I worked in Word, but also tried Avery’s online layout and designer and had the same frustrating results. I also explored some other options but none had the old-fashioned straight forward tools. What should have been a five-minute job ended up costing me three hours—THREE frustrating hours! In the end, it took a bunch of manual adjustments to a label table to get my labels to print in proportion to the label stock.

Sure, there are templates available but there seems to be a communication problem between software and printers. My last printer understood completely. My new laser printer translates 1/2 inch margins into 3/4 inch. It’s an exaggerater! For some reason by the time the template gets to the lower portion of the stock it shortens up and labels of a certain style number are not the same dimensions in the newer versions. Partial packages saved over time become obsolete and Avery doesn’t support their older styles, nor do they translate it for you to an updated template. This doesn’t seem to be very green thinking.

The issue especially for me is, adjustments and custom design. It used to be possible to more easily customize a label, and even use them in a merge document. I gave up on that idea altogether. I’m saving it to solve for another day and when not working on deadline. It might be a combination of merge functions not being compatible with design functions. Or it could be the operator, me! In the olden days (early 2000’s) it was easy to adjust margins, gutters, and the spaces between rows, even drop in a graphic. It was also intuitive. I really think that Microsoft has made things so new and improved, they’ve hidden all the useful tools that made easy and quick work of a project. It’s like they want to take up more operator time, not less.

Could that be? I think yes, because the reality is the tools aren’t better, they’re just obscured, or worse, eliminated. Probably, if I were a computer software company I’d want to take up time with my products. I’d even be sneaky and obfuscate the most used features to lead users down another path, even hiding things in “ribbons,” and hiding things under icons or rearranging selections that run away if your finger rolls the mouse. For sure that useful stuff might get moved over to a more expensive stand alone software version…I’d be sneaky like that or so my frustration has me twisted up to think.

Frustration is not a good teacher, especially if a door is threatening to close on a project. I like to take my time, practice, read the helps, and do a bunch of trial and errors, preferably uninterrupted. So I’ll go back and try to make it all make sense, and hopefully, it will.

***

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About Robin Arnold

Reader, writer, gardener, geek, maker of homes in several states, now settled in Virginia with husband Bob, and Hazel and Wilson the tabby cats.
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