Just Say No To .DOC or JSNTD!
I had an awful experience yesterday. I posted a request for somebody out there to send me a screen capture of my opml stuff running under IE 6 since IE 5.5 doesn't work with XSLT (at least for me, no matter what Microsoft says). Wouldn't you know that about 5 minutes later an IM popped up from a reader who said "Here ya go!". Wow! You know that bloggers are friendly but this still surprises you. His blog's a good read and he's a KM guy if you're into Knowledge Management (I'd pass it on only my IE bookmark seems to have vanished -- no matter, I'll tell you more about that next week, stay tuned).
Anyway, Dewayne sent me the screen cap as a word document. And for the first time since I've been getting email w/ attachments I was scared. Yes, I read his blog and I think he's smart. I think it may have been yesterdays's "Eating dead aardvarks is more fun than using Microsoft Word" fiasco or maybe it's the recent Klez virus stuff (and I don't even know if Klez uses .doc). I'm not sure. Either way I really thought twice and then twice again before opening it. Anyway, it was fine and I was very glad that he sent it. But this got me to thinking and you know what happens then...
Yup. An idea. Or JSNTD! "Just Say No To .DOC" If you think about Microsoft Office, the single most dangerous application, without question, is Microsoft Word. Here's why:
- Word documents are passed around as frequently as air in most companies
- Word documents can contain macro viruses
- Word .DOC documents are unbelievably proprietary at the file format level. I know this because a company I used to own wrote our own .DOC reader in pascal (don't ask) and then C++. We spent tens of thousands to decipher the arcane nature of Word "sprms" (sperms). And, yes, we had the official Microsoft docs. And, yes, they're wrong. And, at the end of all of it, we had this horrible code base that had been hacked on and special cased beyond belief (although there is something to be said for the "elegance" of a 5,400+ line switch statement).
So here's the idea: JSNTD -- Switch your copy of Word from .DOC to .RTF. RTF supports, as far as I can tell, the same formatting options including embedded graphics, etc., but it doesn't have macro viruses, it's ASCII and it can be opened in Star Office (Yes, I put my money where my mouth is and downloaded Star Office last night).
So... Here's what I ask you to do:
- Read this: ==> Story with Pictures on How to Make Word 2000 and Word XP Save as RTF <==
- Set Word to Save as RTF
- When someone emails you a .DOC file and they're not in your company, send them this link and ask them for a .RTF file
- Tell a Friend and give them the links
- Perhaps add a mention of this to your Email sig.
- And, if you really want to make me very, very happy. Here's the button that I added to my Blog template:
Feel free to add this button to your blog template and your website. And if anyone out there has better design skills than mine (which are pathetic), feel free to make a better button and I'll switch it in a second and give credit.
Think about this for a second:
- Is there any disadvantage to saving to RTF? Not that I can see. If there is then someone speak up.
- Is it a bad thing to eliminate a source of possible viruses from your system? NO!
- Isn't making fewer proprietary files a good thing? Whether or not you stay with Word, isn't it better to know that you have options?
Am I just nuts? Whenever I write one of these essays about MS troubles I get great feedback so I don't think so...
And, in case anyone's curious, I do tilt at windmills...