Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Apple Fails Against Microsoft. Really.

A week ago I had frustration with an Apple product, at which time I discovered that the Microsoft Equivalent was actually a better choice to use.

Scary, I know, right? 

It was a Numbers vs Excel debate. I was trying to load up our invoice from Vonage, and whittle down how many long distance calls we actually make (I used our highest-billed month in order to have a safe margin). The problem stemmed when I tried to copy & then paste the information from the table on into Numbers. For whatever reason, it was reading the Duration column values as time/date values. After being dumb and pretending that Numbers was a Microsoft product and hence looking in the strangest places to find the simplest value modifier, I located the correct place to change the “cell type,” if you will. It imported it as a date/time value, I just switched it to numbers, should be easy enough, right?

Yeah, except no.

It — for whatever reason — decided that the duration of the calls had a start date. OK fine, turns out there’s actually a whole option for Duration. Fine, I’ll fix this up real quick, I’ll just choose to tag these cells as “Duration” values.

Yeah. Except, no.

Try as I might, no matter what I did, that column (formatted 00:00:02) would inherit a DATE, and I couldn’t total up my minutes, because Numbers would not SUM the total time since it was a date/duration mucky mess of a pot of values.

Then, I said “what the hell Russian Roulette is kinda fun” and loaded up Excel. From Microsuck. I waited, and waited, and waited some more, and eventually it came to pass that the program loaded, and it only took long enough for me to have a child and enter mid-life-crisis. OK strike one, Microsoft.

But here’s where the story gets confusing. I pasted the same information in… and it didn’t add in the date. What’s more, I didn’t have to even fuss with whether the column was a “duration” or a “number,” I just hit SUM and it totaled the value for me. Nice. 241 minutes of actual long-distance calling.

I wanted to do a test though. I figured, I would take the data out of Excel, since it was formatted “correctly,” and paste it into Numbers again, see if everything jived. Maybe Numbers just can’t handle 00:00:00 formatting properly when you paste it in, who knows. So I did it. The numbers pasted over, but STILL, the SUM value box showed an error, saying you CAN’T total a bunch of durations or dates.

Strike one, Apple.

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