The irony of not loving software when you work for a software company

Today was one of those days where I spent too much time futzing around with software I didn’t really want in order to get rid of software I liked even less. Sick thing is, I actually felt like I accomplished something because all the little pieces more or less worked together in the end.

Isn’t it funny how the software we supposedly need to do our jobs (in this case, read my corporate email) is the stuff we aren’t happy with? I mean, I would never choose software this annoying if I were spending my own money. Well, I wouldn’t choose to spend money on email clients at all if it were up to me. But it isn’t up to me, so I must run Microsoft crapware on my Mac, one way or the other. I can have XP in Parallels so I can run Outlook, or I can have MS Office 2004 and Entourage for email.

Right now, I’m trying to figure out which is the lesser evil. Given the crazy long startup times for XP and its piggish memory habits, I’m leaning toward Entourage. I got that up and running and talking to the Exchange server today. I don’t think the calendar is going to play as nice as I’d like, and it may be even more difficult for me to schedule meetings with other people, but somehow I think I’ll manage not to let that bug me too much.

It will be an adventure of sorts, if I can really ditch XP in corporate land. Maybe I’ll finally commit to one of those Mac-only productivity/life management uber-programs. I’ve got DEVONthink installed and the scary we’re not kidding beta version of OmniFocus. I’ve got at least three text editors, not including the ones that came with OS X or are really word processors. I never even open iCal. After a brief flirtation with a mind-mapping app, I’ve left it alone. I dutifully skim all those 10 ways to use Quicksilver to take over the world posts. Meh.

I think my problem is that I don’t love software.

I love what some software can do, mind you. I love what I’ve learned to do and am learning to do with my photography in Photoshop. I love how NetNewsWire doesn’t choke on 150+ feeds and lets me manage my subscriptions the way I want to. I love the little widgets that tell me the weather and that my laptop is about to cook my legs and who my new gmail is from. I don’t feel like any of these things are trying to take over my life, though.

I want to use tools that don’t get in my way, that let me be messy if I want to be, that just work, that are adaptable beyond color schemes. I want software makers to realize that I don’t care about software. I don’t want software running my life. I want to do stuff, not Get Things Done.