Thursday, August 25, 2016


Slowly saying
Goodbye to Office

ALTHOUGH STILL “STUCK” WITH MS Windows, I am slowly migrating to Open Office. This post was created using LibreOffice 5.2.

LibreOffice and Apache are “OpenOffice” programs that are FREE. Compare “free” to MS Office 2010 prices (see Snapshot screen capture below.)

I installed LibreOffice under MS Windows 7. The download, from, and installation were simple enough. No disks to damage, no key codes to fat finger. I attempted to download Apache from the Apache Software Foundation to a USB thumb drive, but apparently “pilot error” prevented successful installation.

At one time I had Ubuntu installed as an alternative operating system (OS). I was able to switch between Windows and Ubuntu easily and all my MS Office files translated politely – and correctly – into whatever MS Office equivalent came with Ubuntu. The FREE Ubuntu was removed when an update download failed, but given the price of MS Windows perhaps I was too hasty.

Why abandon MS Windows and MS Office?

Aside from the cost factor – and that IS an important factor, especially in an office environment - I lost patience with Microsoft’s constant mucking about with the User Interface (UI). Mind, I have been using MS Word since it was released on a single, 5 ¼-inch floppy back in the early 1980s. It was the first “What You See Is What You Get (WYSIWYG) word processor and a great boon to writers who used typeface enhancements (e.g., bold, italics, super and sub-script).

On the other hand there are benefits to MS Office; primarily in the inclusion of some “associated” applications, notably mail consolidators such as MS Mail and Outlook in its various renditions. Ubuntu forces (forced?) the user to download some individual applications such as a browser (I use Chrome and Firefox for 99.99% of all my browser needs; only a very few people write browser-specific documents anymore); there are many mail consolidators.

With LibreOffice, my MS Office files open looking as if they opened in MS Office. I am able to save LibreOffice files in multiple formats. The LO Writer options are shown below.

OpenOffice programs have come a long way since the time when a user had to mess with BAT files and integrate supporting applications (browsers, etc.)

Both LibreOffice and Apache have all the office features of MS Office (sans browser and consolidator, easily downloaded – generally free – from the WWW).

LibreOffice, for example, comes with all the functional applications of MS Office; only the nsames are changed to protect the innocent.

The learning curve is fairly low. For example, the common shortcut keys in Word work exactly the same in LibreOffice Writer. If the user prefers using the ribbon options, these too are available. The Writer ribbon appears below.

One major functional loss?

So far my only serious complaint is the inability to set up an alternate (Hebrew) character set and to have it enter text right-to-left. Interestingly, it seems that with LibreOffice open (this is composed in LO Writer), Hebrew is disabled/unavailable to MS Office and Outlook applications.

Unlike MS Office, non-Latin (“English”) character sets are not part of the basic package.

Still, with a little help from LibreOffice users on the ‘Net, I’m confident that the Hebrew issue will be resolved. (If anyone reading this can resolve the Hebrew fonts quesiton please contact me at

Wednesday, August 24, 2016


Media endorsements:
Current or outdated?

I NEVER GAVE IT MUCH THOUGHT until this political season, but media endorsements sometimes outlive their time.

We have a tightening race to determine what Democrat will stand against a Republican for a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives.

Since the race is in my congressional district, I find myself watching the candidates’ advertisements.

The incumbent, who has been in office so long she no longer is responsive to her constituents, is running advertisements that claim the local newspaper – we still have a very active press in my area – endorsed her; praised her good works.

Her opponent also includes endorsements from the same newspaper – and others. The difference is, and this is what prompts this effort, the challenger includes the date of the endorsement and all dates are current. The incumbent somehow fails to include the dates the endorsements (allegedly) were made.

Interestingly, the incumbent grudgingly debated the challenger one time, and her ads fail to tell the voters what she will do on their behalf. (Making roll call votes in the House would be an improvement over her last term.) She whines about Republicans and Democrats, some “from out of state,” funneling funds to her opponent and she stands firmly behind her president.

Her raison d’ĂȘtre, she tells all who will listen, is to defeat the GOP presidential candidate. Not exactly a reason to vote for her in the Democrat primary.

The challenger naturally chastises the incumbent for her voting record and claims both the president and vp endorse him. Unless you support Washington’s current policies, that endorsement is enough to make you vote for whomever the GOP will field in November.

Given that the incumbent recently was pushed out of her job as DNC chair due to an email scandal– and quickly found a job with the Clinton campaign with its own email scandal – Democrat voters should seriously consider both candidates’ qualifications for the House seat. Honesty and truthfulness being two criteria

My district will not lose any political clout if the challenger or the GOP candidate is elected to replace the incumbent. She gave up any prestige when she took on the role as DNC chair – and abandoned her responsibilities as our (unresponsive) representative to congress. (To be fair, Florida’s junior senator also has a disgraceful voting record; worse, he denigrated the U.S. Senate and now decries that he was misunderstood; he really likes his job as a senator.)