The Human Adapter

I have to create a PowerPoint presentation that has many pages that require tables. Unfortunately, PowerPoint's table editing functionality isn't up to snuff with some of it's other features. For instance, the tables don't automatically resize to fit their containers. So, when you have a table that gets too big for the box on the slide, Powerpoint just makes your box bigger instead of scaling the text and cell sizes. This is ROYAL PAIN when you are trying to create a table on the fly and you don't know how big it's going to get.

So, I'm working around that. I'm creating my table in Excel and pasting it into the slide. When I do this, PowerPoint 2003 automagically converts my Excel table to a PowerPoint table. When it does this, it resizes the table to fit to the best of its ability. It's easier to create my table in Excel because I can just go hog wild with resizing, lengthening, etc.

Isn't this hysterical? I really almost started laughing out loud when I realized how jacked up this is. I'm a human adapter. I'm resolving the impedance mismatch between the requirements around creating a table on the fly and how the software actually works.

I then started thinking about how often I actually do this. I do it all the time. I create my diagrams in Visio and paste them into PowerPoint and Word because those products have completely impotent drawing tools. I often edit text in Emacs and pull it into Word and format it. Word's text manipulation capabilities suck and Emacs doesn't do formatting only content.

What happened to the idea of our environments having all these little components that do one thing really well and they all just plug together? What happened to Taligent? Yeah, I know, but I'm talking about the idea of Pink.

In fact, why can't Emacs's incredible editing engine just be a component that I, as a user, tell the system to plug in wherever an editor is needed? I could use the engine as a mail editor, Word editor, etc. (Ignore speed of startup and other current limitations - come on, think outside the box with me.) I want components that I know how to use and they travel with me. Excel is my table plug-in, period. Visio is my drawing plug-in, period. If you're an artist, maybe Freehand is your drawing plug-in.

Ok, back to reality. Emacs, Excel, Visio, and PowerPoint call. Four tools to make one presentation because I refuse to have my requirements cheapened by your inability to meet them.

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