Thursday, June 25, 2009

Is Microsoft damaging your computer?

I have long had a policy of not receiving documents prepared in Microsoft Word based upon the very sound reasons of size and compatibility issues. I also do not generate documents using MS programs because of the vast amount of computing resources that MS products use. As an example MS Works uses 97+% of the processor. From MS own support site comes this: “When you run Microsoft Works 2000 Word Processor, you may notice that CPU usage is at or near 100 percent. Microsoft has confirmed that this is a problem in the Microsoft products that are listed at the beginning of this article.”

In the past few months, after loading MS software on my computer, I was struck with multiple attacks on other software that left them corrupted. I also had two hard-drives destroyed and it was confirmed by MS that their software issues were, at least, partially at fault. In the past I had a motherboard in a Compaq computer destroyed which was confirmed by Compaq to likely be a MS software related problem. In all instances it was confirmed that there were no viruses on my computers.

If you haven't been struck by malicious MS software yet it is likely only a matter of time. Microsoft is constantly working on ways to cause more damage to primary users of non MS software. That is people who do things like use Linux OS or the Firefox browser.

Just yesterday I withdrew from South University because of their policy that all assignments be submitted using the MS proprietary extension .docx. For a place that is supposed to be an institution of higher learning it is rather suspicious that South University has a requirement that students use an expensive software package of only mediocre quality and not near the level of publishing software being used in the real world. I think South University has a generous contract with MS to require that students purchase their software.

For document creation, using MS Word is such a novice and burdensome application that I just don't know people that use it. PagePlus or Open Office [MS Word clone] are all better for simple text applications. The Open Office suite is a clone of MS Word but produces much smaller file sizes, is the same application for instructional purposes and is FREE.

For actual page layouts that appear professionally done KaliNews, InDesign or Quark XPress are so much better.

For portability formats using rtf [another MS format] or pdf extensions is the better way to go. PDF is universal format created by Adobe Systems and does not require payment to view through Adobe Acrobat reader. Additionally, an important feature is that it does not display the original document differently for various users. This can be very important in making legal forms that must be identical. You can use Microsofts' .doc extension and get five different views on five different computers.

Another hazard for users of MS Word is the potential for disclosing confidential information. MS Word saves all prior versions in the file. If you redact the confidential portions of a document and then post it for public viewing it is no difficult task for a viewer to retrieve the prior saved version.

There is an excellent page titled Please Don't Send Me Microsoft Word Documents that details the reasons why you should NEVER accept an e-mail with a MS Word attachment. It includes topics such as: Microsoft Word files are a security hazard; Sending Microsoft Word files can violate your privacy; and, Microsoft Word documents are extremely large compared to other file formats. It is definitely worth reading and could save you from having your computer hardware destroyed and valuable data lost.

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