Zhuyin is colloquially known as bopomofo for the same reason that we call a latin keyboard a qwerty keyboard. Each key on a Zhuyin keyboard represents a unique sound in Chinese Mandarin and bopomofo are the first five letters starting where the Q key is on a qwerty keyboard. I learned pinyin but it's abundantly clear that zhuyin is the superior system for foreigners. Ironic no? The bottom line is that pinyin is written in latin letters, where q and x are re purposed to be sounds that don't exist in English. That means that every beginner learner of Chinese in the West ends up using a phonetic way to write Chinese which clashes with their existing notions about how latin orthography ought to be pronounced. It's a big deal, seriously, I've heard third year students continue to pronounce Chinese based on erroneous pronunciation of pinyin. Zhuyin doesn't have that problem because it uses unique symbols, we have no preconceived notion. Oh no, more strange symbols to learn? Well yes, but honestly, the 37 zhuyin symbols are pretty trivial if you're going to learn the thousands of Chinese characters required to attain any level of literacy, right?
The problem is this; Taiwanese Mandarin isn't the same as Mainland Chinese Mandarin. It's not just the character set, you can't just morph one to the other, it's also the lexicon. In the past I used Google's pinyin input system on computers (谷歌拼音輸入法). A godsend because most Chinese authored software drowns in a sea of adverts and potentially nefarious government sanctioned malware. It also freely let you switch between character sets and synchronised your vocabulary across devices via their cloud service. Awesome right? Unfortunately I've found continued use of the Google pinyin system is untenable. Firstly, the software is long in the tooth since Google unceremoniously exited the Chinese market in 2010, so they're not that bothered any more. Updates have been minor and right now, the IME completely crashes Word 2016 when you attempt to use it. No shit. Also the cloud sync just doesn't work and there's no pre-loaded vocab options relating to Taiwan.
Maybe this isn't the hugest problem but what is also annoying is that the Microsoft input methods are ugly. With less than perfect literacy I also like my IME to offer a large window of options. So ultimately I decided that this needed to be solved one way or another. The nuclear option is just to learn zhuyin and adopt an indigenously-developed system. I kept installing Sougou to look at it, and it is pretty fantastic feature wise, but the ad spam and stuff, it defies believe. The mainland Chinese internet experience is something I liken to the American television experience. A noisy-gaudy shitstorm of brash commercialism. But with added state-sponsored evil.
So anyway, literally the last thing I tried was to find some kind of round up of pinyin input methods. I stumbled across huayu pinyin (華宇拼音輸入法) and after doing the rounds making sure it wasn't some malware vector, gave it a spin. It's great! It suffers from the same issue of not having a Taiwan lexicon but unlike Microsoft's effort, it will at least remember my choices. I don't think it's a long term solution since it doesn't seem to have had an update since 2012, but it doesn't crash Word 2016 and Control-Shift-F switches between simplified and traditional. So it'll do for now but I still suspect I might be be better off learning Zhuyin. One reason for that is to save confusion when someone uses one of my laptop computers. At the moment I install Zhuyin as well but it means you have to cycle between methods three times to get from your choice of Chinese IME to English.
Curiously this situation doesn't really exist on mobile. Google's pinyin IME on mobile is fantastic. In fact, a cool party trick is to show locals how fast I can type Chinese on my phone because Google's pinyin IME supports the continuous gesture swype-like feature. I guess out of all of this I'm most surprised by just how crap the situation is even with the latest version of Windows. It's noticeably worse than using Linux!