Worth Saving $ for Aftermarket Tail Lights? The Ups and Downs of OpenOffice
You get what you pay for…well, usually. There’s no doubt that Microsoft Works is an extremely powerful program and is many respects quite well designed. That’s true even if those of us old enough to have used such programs as WordPerfect may confess to a bit of nostalgia for many aspects of that easy-to-troubleshoot software.
Still, at prices which often start at well over $100.00, it may seem like a lot to pay for what amounts to a rather basic program. As something of a gearhead, I have no problem paying several hundred bucks or more for super-cool aftermarket tail lights, but spending $97.50 for this kind of software just seems like a waste, especially when there’s a perfectly good free alternative available in OpenOffice. Still, I have noticed some quirks which may plague even some fairly casual users of the popular free package that are worth pointing out.
The first is that while OpenOffice interacts fairly well with MS Word and other software on the whole, there are some important exceptions to know about. One seemingly insurmountable difficulty I’ve encountered is its tendency to transform bullet points into check marks and other off-kilter symbols after a document is saved as a Word .doc file and no longer as an ODT file. Since I use bullet points on my resume, this is no small matter. However, I was able to overcome the problem by using the PDF creation feature to turn my resumes into portable document files that can be trusted to maintain a business-like level of decorum. After all, there’s no reason prospective employers need to know I’m the kind of guy who’ll refuse to pay 97 bucks for an important piece of software while spending hundreds or thousands on spiffy aftermarket tail lights.
Other OpenOffice peccadillos include a pagination and header/footage protocol that is often, at best, difficult to pin down when it comes to customizing documents. It’s easy enough if you just want to have page numbers throughout, but if you want none on your first page and have the numbering start in a header or footer on the second page, it can be done but it’s far from easy.
I’m sure there are others issue with Sun Microsystem’s free software, but I’m sure there are others. If you’ve spotted any of your own, I’d love to hear about it in comments.