LT wins through. We hope.

The last few days have been trying. Tim is putting together the catalogue for the next sale – I type up all the details and do the condition report, we do the photography together, I crop and, if necessary, straighten the photos and then send the whole lot for him and he compiles the catalogue. Up to now, it’s been on Microsoft Publisher, part of the Office programme. I can’t do that part, even if I were up for it, because Publisher doesn’t work on a Mac – though I could use a different programme if I had the least inclination to address the learning curve, Weeza always used this one, so we just tweak the template.

Tim was in Reading and made a start, and got some way with the photos. Then he took a break, saved progress and quit, and came back a while later. The message was that the file was corrupted and couldn’t open.

He thought it must be a photo that hadn’t saved properly but, to sum it up, that wasn’t it. Publisher had done an auto-update and it was wrecked. He’s spent many hours on the phone to Microsoft and they’ve tried to fix it, and they have retrieved the document but, as soon as he adds anything and saves, it fails again. Eventually, he gave up and told them so.

In short, having checked out other desktop publishing programmes, he’s simply using Word. Even that hasn’t been easy. But he’s on his way now.

It doesn’t help that my business partner didn’t tell me that a piece has been withdrawn from the sale, because I spotted a repair that the owner hadn’t noticed and recommended a lower reserve. Would have been good to know before all the numbers went on. I can’t change the last 20 lots, so there will be a note that this lot is withdrawn. He forgot to let me know, which is fair enough, but saying “just to recap” when he hadn’t told me would be irritating if I let it be.

Anyway, we’re letting it all wash over us and being good natured about it. Tim is so patient and treating the learning curve as a challenge. I made risotto for dinner, which is always cheering.

I’ve procrastinated, day after day, until I’ve run out of time and I’ve got an absurd amount to do tomorrow. I used to be good at this sort of thing, but I’ve relaxed in my old age. Now, I think I can wing it until it’s too late to worry. What else can a Z do?

7 comments on “LT wins through. We hope.

  1. Blue Witch

    Huge sympathy over the malfunctioning technology. We’re in the midst of a similar spate of patience-trying failures of that sort of 21st century first world stuff.

    I’m sure you’ll have tried this, but, just in case you haven’t, something that has worked for us in similar situations in the past: if a file can be opened somehow, copy all the content ctrl/a, ctrl/c, then ctrl/v into a brand new document made with the updated programme. Too easy a fix I’m sure, and may not work with so many pictures.

    Word and pictures… if the pics are large (page width), great, but fitting them into a fixed place on the page (right aligned or left aligned), and making them stay, and getting the text where you want it in relation to the pics… *screams*!!! Well done to Tim for his patience.

    The most annoying thing with updating software, one used to have the choice as to if/when, whereas now it all does it automaticcaly with no user choice. Uselss bloody technology. It’s all in my spells…

  2. Z Post author

    He started again from scratch twice, he just can’t face trying again. There’s over 100 lots, photos and details, and no guarantee at all that it won’t fail at the last. It took a while to get Word doing what he wanted – he thought the way would be text boxes, but actually found they were less wieldy than just typing what he wants where he wants it. The problem was that he needed two columns on most of the pages and it wasn’t working. Still, he’s on the way now. I have auto updates turned off and do it when it’s convenient.

    My partner emailed today cheerily to tell me he’s booked the room for the auction next year. It’s all right for him…

  3. Blue Witch

    It does have to be said that Word 97 is fab. It does exactly what I want and it is thoroughly reliable. Amusing thing is it will load (off a CD – no passwords or checking licences online in those days) on any PC running any version on Windows ever produced, from 3.1 (those were the days) to 10 (and we have an external CD drive with USB port so it can even be loaded onto little netbooks). I have both it (to work in, with ease) and Word The Latest (to read documents people send me/or proof reading things people send me for the purpose) on my PC.

    When you say you have auto-updates turned off – do you mean on your Mac or on a PC? If PC, are you running Windows 10? If so, how do you do it? We’ve never found a way, despite endless Googling on the subject, and asking anyone likely to know. Perhaps it’s a recent update? Haven’t looked for a couple of years.

    Mr BW would probably tell you to use PowerPoint for your purpose. But, that depends on knowing PP, and wouldn’t work for me or probably you. I’ve never had to use it professionally, which he did every day. To me it’s beyong comprehension these days. Like most technology – I honestly can’t be bothered.

    1. Z Post author

      It’s on my Mac, I’m afraid, I don’t know about a PC. Tim’s just having a look on his machine, but if you’ve tried already, I don’t suppose he can.

      Someone else recommended PowerPoint, but Tim had a look and couldn’t work out how to do it. He really needed something he understood fairly well already. He also had a look at Xara’s free trial, but couldn’t get going with it at all.

  4. Tim

    The nice lady from Microsoft in California keeps phoning me up to ask me to help her solve her problem. Meanwhile, I’m building the catalogue in Word. It’ll be indistinguishable from the Publisher equivalent. She’s going to call me back next week, when she’ll be told to solve it herself, possibly with the help of her colleagues.

  5. allotmentqueen

    Long ago I used Publisher and found it restrictive. I’ve tried Word text boxes, etc and they have a mind of their own too. PowerPoint again has its own rules and regulations. I’ve found the surest way of having everything exactly where you want it is Photoshop. Not quick but you are in control. Of course it’s difficult these days to buy it outright and not have to pay for it monthly forever.


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