Microsoft's Office 2007, the most annoying computer upgrade since Windows 95.
He's right. The Ribbon uses thumbnail images rather than text labels in most places. Elsewhere on the screen, ghostlike menus fade in and out as I work, offering graphical menus—not text lists—of the tools (fonts, styles, highlighting) I might want to apply. Office 2007 is still driving me nuts because I don't know where things went. But now I can see where it's going, and I can see the future me happily pecking away in Word 2007. But that leaves me wondering: If they really wanted to redesign Office from scratch, why not do like Google Docs & Spreadsheets and offer a full-featured Web-based version? I'd be happy with that right now, not in some indefinite future.
Office 2007 will delight the next generation of word processors and infuriate old fogeys. In that way, it reminds me less of its release partner, the soothing, seductive Vista, than of Windows 95—a radical overhaul that left nonbuyers behind and annoyed everyone who did buy it. Curse it now, but you'll eventually upgrade to join the rest of the human race. And you'll be glad you did. Someday.
Paul Boutin is a writer living in San Francisco.
Screenshot of Office 2007 courtesy of Microsoft.