Surf and email with Linux, use MS Office or whatever other applications on XP in a virtual machine. Same XP, just inside a safe place.
IMnsHO, corporate information systems have reached the level of complexity where they will either find simpler methods or they will collapse under their own weight. Most of the complexity comes from profit motives (both the corporation's and the consultant's).
There is a shift happening, starting at lower levels and in new businesses and governments, as you indicate. Being almost 65, I doubt I'll see the simplified versions
If you need to edit a PDF then it's a document, not a record. If you really need to do it then it should be a hard thing to do, just so it stays a record. It is possible to OCR the PDF into Word (or RTF) and then edit it or use it as a template.
Something like an operating manual is a living document, not a record (at least it shouldn't be etched in stone). And I would say that a document's portability is relative to the complexity of it's formatting. Why not use RTF, or keep the formatting to basics. And really, since operating manuals vary so much they would probably be best in a database or, as you say, something like a wiki (though I hate editing those).
There are advanced PDF formats, just like for documents. It's all about keeping it simple. The PDF archive format is best for records. Also, yes there are problems but a record in a PDF is more likely to be readable on common software in ten years than a Word document (mostly because PDFs are being positioned as the record form of choice in most paperless systems).
Thanks for you comments. Very thoughtful.
The problem is that people fail to understand the difference between records and documents. The transition to effective digital communications is still in process and has some way to go before it matures.
I help attorneys transition to paperless offices and I would make three comments.
1) PDFs are the only fair way to share written and graphic records, yet people continually share word processing documents as records. A record is different than a document. A record might be commented on, but the base information should not be changed because it is a record of an informational transaction. A document is used more for a data gathering or information organizing process. A document will become a record when it is completed. For example, I might write a letter in a word processor and share the drafts with a co-worker, but when it is ready for printing/emailing I turn it into a PDF and save the PDF as the record in a folder of, for instance, the client. I would then delete the word processor document unless I want a template for further work (in which case the template is not stored in the same place as the record).
2) Almost all documents are over-formatted using proprietary software. That's the main reason why PDFs work best to turn a document into a record. Good OCR software can take just about any PDF record and turn it into either a Word or a RTF document. RTF is probably the most universally readable document even though it allows moderate formatting.
3) Many documents in a modern business or government agency have macros and/or database connections for automatically creating records. These macros and database connections are not easily transferred from one word processing program (or spreadsheet) to another. Most of the attorneys I work for use WordPerfect because they always have and they have hundreds of little macros. This is where the transition from one office suite to any other suite becomes technically difficult.
The Leidenfrost effect lies behind the discovery, published today, that water can be made to boil without any bubbling if a surface is specially treated so that the vapour cushion does not break down. The key is to make the surface very water-repellent (abstract). The effect might be used to carefully control how metals are cooled and heated, or to reduce drag on ships. There's a video in the source showing the effect."
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Wow. I just tried this and it worked! Probably need a pad for my knees, but the new position gave my body an enormous amount of relief. Thank you, thank you
I'm surprised by this. I'll consider it for a few days before purchasing. I don't use a laptop but my girlfriend does and this seems like it would work well for her.