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Hoses of the Holy in the Parallel Universe

February 15, 2006


If I could go back over my blog life and undo one thing, it would be the little joke I made about the person who came to holyhoses, having asked Google the question, "What does a turnip look like?" I posted a link to a picture of a carrot, saying, "it looks like this."

Just recently, it seems as if that flaming link to a flaming carrot picture is our biggest referrer from Google, in spite of the fact that I removed said link because it was broken anyway.

But back to that original question: what does a turnip look like? I mean! Of all the things you might look to Google for, this seems somewhat bizarre. But people do ask and tell Google the strangest things. Something that always makes me smile is when someone is clearly searching for some authority to back up a prejudice.

For example, one of our visitors today was searching for "photoshop bloatware." In other words, having decided that Adobe Photoshop is bloatware, he/she went looking on the web for someone who shared that opinion. To what end, I know not. It's as if people are afraid of having their own opinions, of being somehow different from the herd, but that couldn't be, could it?

For what it's worth Photoshop doesn't fit my definition of bloatware, simply because it makes it easy to take away or switch off the bits you don't need. If you think the filter menu is stuffed full of crappy 80s-style effects, you can jolly well go into the plug-ins folder and remove them. You can remove all the colour profiles you don't need, and strip the 'Shop down to its bones. The same is true of Acrobat, by the way, though you wouldn't know it when you fist launch it. Later iterations of Acrobat have been desperately slow to load, but you can in fact switch off a lot of crappy stuff, leaving a PDF viewer that launches in the blink of an eye. And the key thing that makes Photoshop not bloatware is that, if it's too much application for you, you can use Elements, or iPhoto - software that doesn't have the features you don't need.

No, save your definition of bloatware for the software that just won't let you turn stuff off, won't let you rid yourself of features you have no use for, and yet which you are forced to use in order to conform with the herd. While you can get rid of the annoying Assistant in MS Word, and you can spend a day trying to get it to behave, it's too fucking hard to train it properly. How many times have you received a document from someone that was formatted to US Letter, in spite of the fact that no sensible human ever uses this size paper? Have you ever experienced that thing where you forward-delete something, and it changes the font, size, and style for the whole of the previous paragraph? I still have no earthly idea why it does that.


  • Word stores a whole bunch of formatting information about the preceding text in the last character of a paragraph. Then it makes that character invisible. This is just one of a million features that make the program so lovable. Read my book about it.

    By Blogger PooterGeek, at 5:48 pm  

  • Thanks for the explanation!

    Your book looks useful, though I avoided use of Word altogether for my own (non-scientific) thesis. I used AppleWorks and EndNote.

    By Blogger bot37363838, at 1:58 am  

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