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Using Perl to defeat Microsoft - Elizabeth Unexplained
Lots of data but no answers
Using Perl to defeat Microsoft
I just realized that yesterday I wrote a small Perl script for the sole purpose of doing something that should have been simple in Excel and wasn't. I don't know whether this is more a comment on me, Microsoft or Perl.
7 comments or Leave a comment
countertorque From: countertorque Date: March 29th, 2007 05:50 pm (UTC) (Link)
Just curious about what problem you were solving.
greyautumnrain From: greyautumnrain Date: March 29th, 2007 06:45 pm (UTC) (Link)
Taking the first few hundred lines of huge comma separated file and saving that as a new file in the same format. Nothing else on my PC would even open the file in any format because it was so big, and I couldn't figure out how to make Excel save it as comma separated text. I suppose if I'd fiddled with it for a bit I might have, but I knew I could write the Perl script in less than 3 minutes, so that's what I did.
readsalot From: readsalot Date: March 31st, 2007 04:11 pm (UTC) (Link)
In Excel, you pick "Save As", and set the type to "CSV". Or am I missing something?
greyautumnrain From: greyautumnrain Date: March 31st, 2007 04:16 pm (UTC) (Link)
That's what I thought... until I discovered that CSV was not one of those options in the version on my work PC.
readsalot From: readsalot Date: March 31st, 2007 05:48 pm (UTC) (Link)
Ah. My bad, it's probably not in the default install. I always fiddle with options when I'm installing; there are a bunch of converters that I know don't get installed by default, and it's very annoying when someone sends you a document from a 10-year-old version of Word and you have to do research to figure out how to get the appropriate converter.

Did you do the install yourself, or did the PC come already set up? Can you modify the install? I can probably tell you what to do to get that, if you want.
greyautumnrain From: greyautumnrain Date: April 2nd, 2007 01:16 am (UTC) (Link)

I think you missed my point....

I did not do the install myself. I could probably fiddle things if I wanted to, but the point of the post was that it was easier to fix by writing Perl code that by using the what is supposed to be a more friendly interface. Seriously, less than three minutes to write and run the Perl. I seriously doubt I could reconfigure any Microsoft product in that amount of time. I was never in any doubt that Excel could do what I wanted it to do if I poked it hard enough and long enough... but who wants to do that when the darn thing is so poorly done that its easier to write code?
From: readsalot Date: April 2nd, 2007 11:41 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: I think you missed my point....

What I should have said was that Microsoft has way too many options, doesn't make good choices about which ones to install, doesn't make it clear that things you haven't installed are available at all, and makes it difficult to get those things, even if you know they're available.

I don't think that Microsoft's interfaces are friendly at all. I know a lot of tricks for dealing with them, but I've been playing with the darn stuff for a very long time.
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