Monthly Archives: January 2007

Word 2007

This is going to be a rave review.

I’ve been a fan of Microsoft Word ever since Word for Windows 2.0, the version that won me away from WordPerfect 5.1. However, in their struggle to improve it over the years, they’ve bloated it with a plethora of features only a few specialists could appreciate. Each successive upgrade always had some small thing here or there that made me think, “Okay, that’s cool.” But it’s become so much more than a word processor … you could use it to do almost anything.

All I want it for, is to write.

This upgrade, however, has got to be the smartest in years. Instead of throwing in another truckload of extraneous features, they concentrated on making the experience of using the software much better. The more I use it, the more I appreciate what they’ve done. And that helps me to concentrate on what I want to do.

The features they did choose to add, though, are also smart. Big case in point … I’m writing this blog in Word 2007, and it speaks directly to my blog’s native software (in this case, WordPress). I post directly to the blog from the word processor.

That rocks.

This is not to say that I wasn’t lost for the first few days. Everything has been rearranged, and that was — at first — aggravating. Some things that I couldn’t find were hidden from me in plain sight. I looked all over the place for the word count feature only to discover it’s right in front of me, on the bottom left-hand corner. Some other controls, like the AutoCorrect options, are buried deep in a very non-intuitive place … but you only have to find it once.

The most common controls are right at your fingertips. Literally. Across the top in their new “ribbon” interface, and also … and this is the real winner … almost everything you could possibly need when creating text is available in a pop up right-click menu, including the most common formatting controls. For those of you who like to keep your fingers on the keyboard and not use a mouse, you’re in for a treat. Hit the alt key and watch what happens.

All I can say is that it’s intelligent, a pleasure to use, and the working space is 100% oriented toward helping you concentrate on what you’re doing.

Very well done, Microsoft. Indeed. Kudos to you!

At The Bookstore

So, I bought my younger daughter’s Barnes & Noble gift card from her (she wanted cash) and now I find myself there, sitting in the adjacent Starbucks with a coffee, cup of soup, and a stack of books. Five books to be exact, only one of which I can afford. These are the titles in the stack:

  • The Anti-Gravity Handbook (3rd Edition) by David Hatcher Childress
  • Programing the Universe by Seth Lloyd
  • A Vision of Future Space Transportation by Tim McElyea
  • The Singularity is Near by Ray Kurzweil
  • Life As We Do Not Know It by Peter Ward
  • Parallel Worlds by Michio Kaku

I came here specifically to get Programing the Universe, but there are so many fascinating books in the Science section that I decided to pick up a selection and look through them before making a decision. And so now I’ll enjoy my soup before it gets cold then do just that.

One bowl of vegetable soup later…

I made my decision via process of elimination:

The Anti-Gravity Handbook: it turned out to be nothing but a rehash of UFO conspiracy theories, not anything to do with actual research, and so it’s just too kooky for my interests.

Programing the Universe: about the universe as a giant computer, which I find fascinating, but it’s too expensive … must wait for paperback edition.

A Vision of Future Space Transportation: rehash of information I have been reading about for years.

Life As We Do Not Know It: fascinating book about the search for extraterrestrial life, but also a rehash of information I have been reading about for years.

Parallel Worlds: about parallel universes, the possibility and proof thereof, all incredibly fascinating and it would have been my choice had it been more relevant to something I am already working on.

The Singularity is Near: about the impending merger of man and machine intelligence, incredibly fascinating and very relevant to a current project. The winner!

I’m keeping Kaku’s Parallel Worlds on my list, as well as Programing the Universe.

Now if that gift card I bought from my daughter turns out to be worthless I am going to be pissed. 🙂

The Future is Now

Oh my God, it’s 2007! Wow. I didn’t really expect to live this long.

I managed to send a bunch of stories out before the end of the year, and need to send several more out now that the new year is upon us … because now is when they started accepting submissions again. In fact, I should do that tonight. But, no, I also should really go to bed early because I need to go into the office tomorrow. No working from home for me on Friday. At least not in the morning.

Speaking of work… A big “Hello!” to anyone who might be visiting from Linden Labs. Hire me! You won’t regret it!

Ahem. Yes. Anyway, I have a new writing instrument. An HP iPaq with Windows Mobile 5.0, a 500-something Mhz processor, gigs of RAM, etc. It’s replacing my iPod, which is gone. Also gone is my trusty old Sony Clie.

Gotta love eBay. Out with the old, in with the new.

One thing I love about this iPaq is that it has WiFi, and I’ve loaded Skype on it, and anywhere near a wireless network it becomes a phone, and a really good phone at that. In fact it’s a better phone than a web browser. It’s also a great little writing machine, being that it does Graffiti better than even a Palm device.

Progress has slowed on the current novel. There’s been lots of personal events, and holidays, and all that. But really, I need to get back to writing.

And so that’s about it for this update! If you want any juicy personal stuff you have to email me for it. 🙂 This is my professional blog, after all.