Tag Archives: Microsoft

Sam Dastyari – one rotten apple or just the tip of the iceberg?

I’ve been having a conversation over on The Passive Voice that has disturbed me greatly. Not because it was unpleasant or rude, but because it has made me feel terribly naive at the ripe old age of 65.

To backtrack a little, the conversation began as a discussion about Amazon. We’re all pretty much Indie writers on TPV so Amazon features rather often in our conversations. Anyway, these are the relevant bits of a recent conversation between myself and Felix J Torres:

FJT: ..They [Amazon] are definitely being demonized like Microsoft ca 1995.
Hopefully, unlike MS in those days, they have more than one part time lobbyist in DC and have a few bought and paid for politicians in their pocket.

Me: ..So cynical! I most sincerely hope Bezos is smart enough not to have to do business like that.

FJT: ..If he doesn’t Amazon will get the same treatment Microsoft got for not contributing enough corporate funds to the politicians….

All that is a matter of record.

As is the fact that MS now has one of the larger contingents in DC and regularly provide PCs and free software to Congress people…

Me: ..I’m not denying it happens under the label of ‘lobbying’, but Amazon succeeded despite not doing what all the other companies were doing. If Bezos caves to the soft-corruption game of ‘gifting’ politicians, the ones to suffer long term will be /us/.
Apologies but Amazon is the /only/ large company that I admire. [I am so cringing now]

FJT: ..Well, of course consumers suffer.
The cost added by the politicians and bureaucrats gets added to the sale price….

Once one player alerts the politicians there is money to be had in a market they don’t back off. Rather they descend en masse…

Bezos would have to be an idiot to hear all the baying dogs calling for a lynching of Amazon and do nothing despite of what happened to Microsoft.

And he isn’t.
Amazon’s publicly reported lobbying has been growing steadily. Even faster than their online sales are growing…

Me: ..So there is open corruption that everybody knows about and accepts as normal?
In certain much maligned countries that might be known as ‘baksheesh’.

FJT: ..

Oh, just because it’s common knowledge doesn’t mean it’s accepted.

But every once in a while a congressman gets caught and arrested with a brown bag with $30K. (Seems to be the going rate in the House. Senators are a lot more expensive.)

Most politicians aren’t that blatant and merely call it “serving their constituents”. And many wrap themselves in principle like “protecting competition” or “looking out for the little people”.

Me: ..A member of the Labor party here in Australia – Sam Dastyari – was caught getting cosy with some Chinese business man, twice. He was finally kicked out but now I wonder whether he wasn’t just the tip of the iceberg, the one blatant idiot who got caught.
Could I get any more disillusioned?
I will never understand why so many Americans picked a certain person to be their ‘champion’ against the swamp, but I’m starting to understand why they need a champion in the first place.

I have only quoted what I thought were the relevant parts of the conversation, but if you’re interested, you can find the whole thing here:

http://www.thepassivevoice.com/2018/01/why-amazon-is-the-new-microsoft/#comment-408446

Just scroll down a bit.

So, is this something everyone else already knew except me?

I would like to think that Australia is less caught up in this nudge-nudge-wink-wink epidemic of greed, but I’m not a complete fool. How many more Sam Dastyari’s are there amongst our politicians? Do they all take bribes of one sort or another? Is that why, once the politics dies down, nothing is ever done to change this bloody situation?

I’ve long thought the  concept of lobbying was wrong: in a democracy, the only people influencing politicians should be the voters. And yes, I know lobbyists are voters too, as are CEO’s of huge corporations blah blah, but if this bribery is as rampant as it appears, then our democracy is just a great big off-colour joke. 😦

Not happy Jan.

Meeks


How to Modify Styles in Word 2016

The following excerpt is from my unpublished how-to called ‘How to print your book with Createspace, a step-by-step guide for Absolute Beginners’. The specific instructions are for the layout of a book, but you can change the settings to be appropriate for any document.

# # #

Word Styles

Styles contain pre-set groups of commands that determine how headings and paragraphs appear.

The most commonly used Word styles are found on the Home tab, in the Style gallery [as shown below]:

 

Even if you did not select any of the styles in the Style Gallery while writing your book, there is one style that you would have used without even being aware of it. That style is ‘Normal’.

Note: the only time the Normal Style is not used automatically in a Word document is when the document originated in another software program and was imported into Word. For example, the Windows program ‘Notepad’ creates documents in Rich Text Format. RTF documents can be opened in Word but the Normal style must be applied manually.

Every time you create a new document in Word, it automatically sets that document to the ‘Normal’ style settings. These include:

  • the default font [Calibri],
  • the font size [11],
  • the font colour [automatic – i.e. black],
  • the text alignment [left]
  • and a host of other less immediately visible options.

As part of the design process, you can modify some of these options for your book.

Modifying the ‘Normal’ style

In Word, the easiest way to modify an existing style is to right click on its name in the style gallery. This will cause a small menu to be displayed. On that menu is an option called ‘Modify’:

To change elements of the ‘Normal’ style in your document, right click ‘Normal’ in the Style gallery and select the ‘Modify’ option from the drop down list [as shown above].

You should now see the ‘Modify Style’ dialog box:

The first thing to note is the radio button down near the bottom left corner of the dialog box. The option ‘Only in this document’ is pre-selected to ensure that any changes made to the ‘Normal’ style of this document do not become standard for all  Word documents.

Editing the style name

Up near the top of the dialog box you will see the style name. Editing the name is not necessary, but it can be useful as a reminder that the style was changed.

To change the name of the style, simply click inside the Name text box and type in a new one.

Editing the font, size, colour and alignment

You can change the font and font size just as you would on the Home tab. Remember to also select the ‘Justify’ alignment option.

To change the colour of the font, click the small arrow next to the box that says ‘Automatic’ [as shown below]:

Click the colour of your choice or leave it as Automatic, i.e. black.

Editing the paragraph options

All of the less common stylistic functions are hidden behind the ‘Format’ button which is located on the bottom left hand side of the Modify Style window.

Click ‘Format’ and select the ‘Paragraph’ option from the menu:

The paragraph dialog box is now displayed:

As you can see from the screenshot, the alignment is already shown as ‘Justified’ because we set it in the first dialog box along with the font and font size.

Indentation – leave the Left and Right settings at zero, but under ‘Special’, click the small blue arrow [as shown above]. Now select the ‘First line’ option from the drop-down menu. For By: type or select an indent width for the first line of the paragraph.

Check the preview pane to see how the first line indent appears.

Spacing – ensure that ‘Before’ and ‘After’ are both set to zero. These numbers control the blank spaces inserted before and after each paragraph.

Finally, make sure that the ‘Line spacing’ is set to ‘Single’. When you are satisfied, click the ‘OK’ button.

If you are using Word 2003, 2007, 2010, 2013 or 2016, any text already using the ‘Normal’ style will be automatically updated to the new settings..

In earlier versions of Word you may have to manually update the text using the modified style.

# # #

These same techniques can be used to edit any of the Word Styles, not just ‘Normal’.

cheers

Meeks


Office #Word 2016 really is a piece of…

Shyte.

What follows is a raged induced rant so look away now.

-breathe-

I’ve just wasted an hour trying to fix the Word 2016 dictionary. It started with ‘Mira Than‘.

No, actually, it started with the combination of two big episodes of Innerscape into one very BIG Word 16 document. How big? 375 pages. Apparently, Word still has issues with very big files. That’s the reason I originally migrated my writing to a dedicated writing package [StoryBox]. Unfortunately, to publish a print version of Innerscape, I have to go Word >>PDF>>Createspace.

Anyway, after spending hours wrestling with Word’s section breaks [more on that in another post], I began doing a this-is-absolutely-the-last edit, when I realised that every time I typed in Miira Tahn, Word would ‘correct’ it to ‘Mira Than’ as soon as my attention moved elsewhere.

I tried getting Word to ‘Ignore All’, but it wouldn’t – and no, it wasn’t just variations on the name, like ‘Miira Tahn‘s‘ etc. And then it began throwing up other ‘errors’, all to do with US spelling. So, naturally, I used the nifty option at the bottom of the Spell Check pane to change the dictionary back to UK spelling:

My efforts obviously confused Word because it suddenly switched to the French dictionary. -growls in rage-

The French dictionary finds every word written in English to be incorrect…

I changed the dictionary back to English UK.

Nope…Word now wants to stay in French.

I look up fixes to the problem. I attempt to reset my language preferences. I restart Word…

Now Word wants to use the US dictionary again BUT the page full of French ‘errors’ is still set to the French dictionary. And then Word stopped working.

It’s back now, but I haven’t been game to check my document in case I end up throwing the monitor across the room. There are many basic, useful formatting functions in Word, and it works well for short-ish, business type documents, but the more Microsoft tries to automate the process, the more mangled and unstable it becomes. Especially with big documents.

I hate to think how convoluted the Word code must be because Microsoft almost never delete anything. They just keep adding to it, and adding to it, and adding to it…

Sadly, while this rant did make me feel a little less homicidal, it’s only a temporary distraction from the main event. I have to get this stupid piece of shit to play nice or I may never get my hands on those lovely, shiny books. 😦

Thanks for letting me vent,

Meeks

 

 


Sci-fi now with Holo Lens and Actiongram

In a previous post I talked about holograms as a thing of the near future. I was wrong, they’re here now. Watch the video below to see how Microsoft’s Holo Lens is being teamed with Actiongram to create sci-fi right now:

If that video clip is anything to go by, the interface is still in its infancy, but given the speed with which things like 3D printers have become mainstream, I expect real life holograms to become an everyday reality within five years…and that may be a conservative estimate.

One thing I am sure of is that hologram technology will change how we work, rest and play. I wonder how much money I have in my piggy bank….

Meeks

 


Microsoft’s Hololens – is it the precursor of the ‘chrono’?

The idea of holograms has been around for a very long time, but the only common usage I am aware of is in those images that display a sort of 3D view when you move the image one way or the other. But that, like exoskeletons, is all about to change.

“One of the biggest developments, and we should see it in the next twelve months, is Microsoft’s HoloLens,” says Mark Pesce, a Sydney-based futurist.

HoloLens is a wearable visor which projects holographic images and videos into the line of sight of the user. While it will be great for gaming, Pesce also thinks it will have a huge application in the workplace.

“Microsoft has linked it to Windows 10, and we should see the launch of the accompanying device around the same time frame that the company launches its next generation software,” he says.

Using a holographic device such as HoloLens will allow workers to manipulate large data sets visually, rather than having to scroll through millions of lines of data in an application like Microsoft Excel.

The following video clip is actually a Microsoft advertisement, but it’s so well done it’s worth sharing:

The Hololens is not quite the holo of my Innerscape future, but it’s getting there. And I couldn’t be more pleased because it means my vision of a wristwatch-like device – the chrono – is one step closer to reality.

Don’t know what a chrono is? Well, imagine a smartwatch that you can wear on your wrist. Now imagine not having to peer at a tiny, postage stamp sized screen. Instead, imagine the chrono projecting a small holo into the air above your wrist. Now imagine being able to manipulate that holo; make it bigger or smaller, turn it 360 degrees, zoom in to just one tiny part of it…

The chrono is a long way from real, but from today it is no longer a sci-fi buff’s pipe-dream, it’s a real possibility.

Am I dancing? You bet I am. 😀

Those interested in not-so-future tech can read the complete article here:

http://www.watoday.com.au/long-reads/iinet/gadgets/#.VW5ISEaup5s

Have fun,

Meeks


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