Gettin’ Published

Well, APress is advertising it, and Amazon is taking orders for it, so I suppose I can now publicly revel in the fact that Joel Spolsky selected my essay on Mac Word 6 for his collection of essays, The Best Software Writing I, Selected and Introduced by Joel Spolsky. Props go to Derek Miller at Pen Machine for nominating the essay in the first place.

Back in October, I’d noticed that Derek had nominated the essay for Joel’s book. At the time, I felt honored, but didn’t really think it would be selected. I was rather surprised when, a couple of months ago, Joel contacted me for permission to publish it.

I don’t think of myself as a writer. Though people have told me that I should write more often, most of them have been members of my family or close friends. I’d mostly chalked that sort of thing up to unmitigated bias and moved on. Yet, almost simultaneously with Joel’s request to publish my essay on Mac Word 6, I got a completely unrelated offer from a small publisher about writing a book.

Unfortunately, regardless of how my self-image might change because of this, it’s still very hard to figure out when I’d actually have time to do some serious writing. For the foreseeable future, I’m going to be head-down getting Mac Word up to speed on the new XML-based file formats we just announced. After that, there’s a lot of work to be done investigating universal binaries.

Who knows? Maybe I’ll sit down and do some writing after Mac Office 12 ships. Still, I get the feeling that there’s going to be some other issue with Mac Word that I won’t want to let drop. After all, I’ve asked myself a variation of this same question following the completion of the previous 6 major releases of Mac Word, and I’m still doing this.

By the way, Joel, I do have a nice home, but it’s in Woodinville not on Mercer Island; my mother is probably much more fond of the condo in Bothell than she would have been of a loft in Seattle; I rather doubt that anyone would mistake my Acura sedan for a Bently convertible; and we just sold the big boat.


Currently playing in iTunes: Savor/Toussaint L’Overture by Santana

Comments (8)

  1. Maybe that will make up for all the nasty things I say about Word, even when I’m making money teaching people how to use it. By the way, Rick, will you be at Gnomedex?

  2. Rick Schaut says:

    First of all, I’m supposed to be making up for all those bad comments by fixing the product.

    Secondly, fixing issues in Word won’t leave me with enough time to attend gnomedex even though it’s in my back yard.

  3. Maybe come down and join some of us Vancouverites on Saturday night if you get the chance, then. 6:30 at the Fairmont Hotel…

  4. Al says:


    I read your aticle on word and it was quite nice. But, as a mac user, do you think you can use a font about 2-3 font sizes bigger, as stupid as this sounds your font size is ridiculously small, and I have 20/15 vision!

    Good luck with your work, I use the latest word on the mac, and for most things it is marvelous. The weird behavior of the toolbars stacking oddly is quite annoying though.


  5. Rick Schaut says:


    Unfortunately, I’ll be attending a wedding Saturday evening. Otherwise, I’d be more than happy to join you.


    I think you’re talking about my blog. I’ve had some issues with the way community server handles CSS. I hope to have them straightened out soon. But, thanks for the feedback.