A couple of days ago, I was looking through Blogger and found that one can now email a post directly to the blog. When I was last staying with Wink, I went down to her local library and found that I couldn’t write on the blog, not even a comment – they were blocked. So I was just checking that it worked. I was going to take it down again, but several keen people sent in comments, so it didn’t seem polite. Anyway, it’s of limited use, but if you’re using a hospital network or a school one or anywhere where usage of some sites is blocked, it’s a good thing to know.

I’m a slow learner when it comes to this sort of thing, and it takes me ages to work anything out. I sometimes think back nostalgically to when I bought my first computer, which came with a surprisingly helpful manual which told me stuff. Now, it’s all about clicking on ‘help’ and asking questions, which usually give nil returns, or looking through a list of topics which don’t seem very relevant.

A few months ago, I was struggling to change a document which had been written by Excel by someone else and sent to me – the trouble was, previous people in her job had set it up and then altered it, and it was a complete mish-mash – I was having to change each thing individually and then it kept wanting to revert back to the original. Weeza happened to visit while I was still complaining about it, and she showed me that if I removed all formatting, I could then redo it how I wanted. How was I to know? The person who now writes that document does it in Word, which is just as annoying. Actually, it’s worse. For instance, when it arrives in a font I hate and which won’t fit anyway once I’ve done my alterations, why, when I’ve selected all and changed it, does it keep putting any new writing in the original font? I’ve tried everything. I don’t understand it (btw, I’ve got an elderly version of Word, because I’m not buying anything new and it doesn’t come with a Mac). Another thing I look back nostalgically to is my first computer, when I used Clarisworks. Lovely Clarisworks. It was brilliant. It did exactly what I wanted to and I only had to ask once and it remembered but it never imposed anything. Honestly, it was even better than a husband, in many respects.

No, of course not in every way. In nearly ten years, it never once took out the bins or brought in a bucket of coal.

19 comments on “Tested

  1. Z

    Can other computers read it, though? I email a lot of documents and unless it will open automatically I will drive people to distraction.

  2. mago

    The older version of writing programs had one great advantage over the new ones: They did nothing automatically.
    Now you have to switch off a lot of stupid “helping” auto-functions. I have to use different fonts (Greek and Hebrew) and different languages, f.e. for Latin English citations – all this only works while switching off automated formatting features and such. Another dark chapter are the quotation marks, the accents etc. etc.
    There are helper programms for a minimum of typographical standards, but one must know in which succession they can be used. And for what language. I have to deal with such things because I help with an annual. The tip you received is good – down to plain ascii and all these formats are gone. An interesting feature is the standartly activated function “actualize formats”. This is dangerous and can make one go mad.
    On the other hand it is astounding what a normal “word” today is capable of.

  3. Completely Alienne

    You can get office for macs (I did because I use it for theOU and family tree stuff and the mac wouldn’t recognise the free alternative). If you don’t need it though I wouldn’t bother with the later versions of Word anyway – for some reason, every time microsoft updates it they make it worse than it was before. They shove in all sorts of ‘exciting’ (to programmers) new twiddles that just make it harder for ordinary users. I am reasonably competent and have gone on various courses provided at work but it is still gradually driving me mad and I stare out of the window sometimes thinking longingly of good old wordperfect.

  4. Z

    My difficulties fade away in the face of yours, Mago. Mind you, the easiness of accents on a Mac are useful if your name has a diaeresis.

    You’re right, of course, about auto-formatting. I have most things switched off, but they sometimes randomly switch themselves on again when I receive a document which is using them. I hate it when it starts auto-“correcting” to American spellings.

  5. Z

    I have Office (for Macs) 2004 and have no plans to update. I’d love to use something else, but it’ll have to convert everything I receive and I’m unsure whether others will be able to open my documents without a lot of advice, or at all.

  6. Dandelion

    In Word, if you select all and change the font, that change only applies to the text you’ve selected, and not to the whole document. If you then start typing outside of the text that you specified, then it will be in the old font.

    One option is to just keep the cursor before the last full stop before you start typing, or adding line spaces etc.

    But to do it properly, to specify a font for the whole document, you’d have to go to page layout or page setup or similar, and choose font…

  7. Z

    Can’t do without my open fire, 4D.

    I’ve tried everything, Dandelion – Word for Macs has slightly different settings and even Weeza couldn’t work it out. This particular document is a set of tables so it reverts every time you click I’m a different cell. I’ve looked in every heading and every sub-heading and nothing will make it right.

  8. Dave

    I disLIke the latest version of WOrD that I’ve got on this machine; I’ve got an oLDER verSion on an old (reseRve] machine which is so much simpler to use.

  9. How do we know

    i loved that about Clarisworks… and of course, the guys at MS havent heard of a word spelled s-i-m-p-l-e. It drives me up the wall how every consecutive “version” is more confounding than the last.

  10. Z

    To be fair, if I set up a document it’s normally all right – it’s altering something a bit complicated that someone else has done where I get into trouble. Fortunately, this particular matter will soon be someone else’s problem.

  11. Dandelion

    Well, if it’s soon to be academic, that’s the main thing.

    I wouldn’t be doing my duty though if I didn’t make the observation that this seems to be one area where a PC is nicer than a Mac….

  12. Z

    Well, no, it’s because I’m having to use Microsoft Office, which has been adapted for Macs. If it weren’t for having to send and receive a lot of documents, I’d use a Mac system. But no one else who has commented seems wildly enthusiastic about Word anyway, even for PCs.

    I don’t actually care whether I use a Mac or a PC away from home and am fine with either. I prefer Macs so that’s what I choose to buy.

  13. Blue Witch

    I use Word 97 – and find in this situation it’s easiest to copy and paste all the sent to me text into Notepad (which removes all the formatting) and then close the Notepad document, re-open it, and re-copy and paste into a new Word document using the font/margins etc that I want. Quick and simple.


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