Friday, May 23, 2008

Old Microsoft Word (I'm talking at least eight years ago or something, so Word2000 or... whatever) had this hilarious feature called "AutoSummary" as best I can remember. I don't know how well it worked with a standard, by-the-book 5 paragraph essay of the type I would have been writing in middle school, when I discovered it, but I do know that it would give me what I can only describe as a dadaist summary of a lengthy work of fiction (I tried it out on my first novel, to quite amusing results. Yes, this is how I discovered the feature; no it doesn't just take the first sentence of every paragraph -- I would have noticed that). I think it had something to do with finding the non-article or preposition words you used the most frequently, and I only figured that out because my two main characters' names popped up repeatedly.

Now I return eight or nine years later only to find that the deconstructionist summary feature is absent! Or at least, hiding, in Word2007 (curse you, Vista!). Of course, I shouldn't really be complaining about the loss of an amusing but pointless feature. However, it did spoil what would have been my five minutes or so of fun, threading my verbose stories through the digital shredder and seeing which 100 words popped out in which order. I think the moral of this story is that playing Microsoft Word (TM) was way more fun when I was a teenager. Sort of like how playing Windows (TM) was way more fun when I was a little kid.

2 comments:

Ryan said...

...threading my verbose stories through the digital shredder and seeing which 100 words popped out in which order.

Do I smell a drabble coming on?

Also, for what it's worth, Word2002 (So behind the times, Ryan!) does still have AutoSummarize. It turned a 6 page paper of mine into an incoherent 2-pager, which would take more time to read for its difficulty and yet you have less information. Interesting...

Elizabeth said...

The idea had been a deconstructionist drabble. But I can't find the tool, so it doesn't look good.