Day 158 April 27, 2023 WordPerfect 9.1

I have spent my career being at the forefront of technology I have used some great products over the years. PowerPoint is a case in point. I started using PowerPoint for MAC in the early 90s. It didn’t start out as a Microsoft product but they were bought in the late 80s. It was something used by businesses and hadn’t made the jump to education yet. When I first started to use it I had to use a panel to place on an overhead projector. There was a lot of amazement from my colleagues. I have thought of Arthur C Clarke’s quote about technology: “Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.” This was no different. In schools, we are sometimes so excited to get the best new stuff we end up with old or obsolete equipment quickly. I remember the excitement over the Laserdisc. Even people my age don’t remember it. It was exciting for about 5 minutes but schools everywhere bought them. 

The other side of the coin is those who will not let go of the past. The prime example is a secretary that used WordPerfect 9.1 for many years after we had switched to the Microsoft Office Suite. We kept it alive for many years after they had stopped supporting the software. I even had a copy of it on 3.5-inch floppy disks in case I had to re-install it again. With every update of the Windows operating system, it became harder and harder to keep it alive and breathing. I finally came to the conclusion that it was not going to work anymore and that we were going to need to use Microsoft Office. It had been on her machine for years but never used. It was a heavy lift trying to transition from a keystroke formatting system to using a point-and-click method. The end result was a little traumatic. Her retirement party was nice though. The secretary that followed had to start from scratch because when couldn’t figure out WordPerfect enough to transfer everything.