Best Things to Tell the Tech Writer

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Re: Best Things to Tell the Tech Writer

Postby Shapley » Fri Apr 30, 2004 8:20 am

We have WordStar and WordStar for Windows installed here, since many of our old documents were created using it, and it's too tedious to change them all over. The filters on Wordperfect and Word don't recognize the format (I think they were created using WordStar 2.5 or something). I recently bought a copy of Wordstar 7.0 on eBay so that we could more easily exchange documents with Word Perfect and Word.

I prefer Word Perfect, but I may be the only one here using it. I haven't used Word enough to figure out how to turn off the annoying paper clip. Every time I start to type he pops up:

"Hi, It looks like you're typing a letter. I can show you how to type a letter. please let me show you how to type a letter. I really, really, really want to show you how to type a letter."

and so on and so on.

The sad part is I wasn't even typing a letter.

Stupid paper clip, what does he know, anyhow?

And anyway, how do a bunch of electronically generated pixels get to be such an expert? :mad:
Quod scripsi, scripsi.
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Re: Best Things to Tell the Tech Writer

Postby Selma in Sandy Eggo » Fri Apr 30, 2004 10:06 am

Originally posted by Shapley:
...haven't used Word enough to figure out how to turn off the annoying paper clip...
From the top bar of the Word screen, click on the word "Help". A little menu list will show up. Select the choice "Hide the Office Assistant". The paperclip will vanish.

If you select the "customize" choice you can keep the help function active but change the personality of the Help character. I (predictably) prefer Lynx the orange kitty. There's also a rather overenthusiastic dog, a dishevelled older fella, some kind of a graphic doodad, and others if you have the extended help group on your Word installation.

They can all be banished with the "hide" button.

<small>[ 04-30-2004, 11:50 AM: Message edited by: Selma in San Diego ]</small>
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Re: Best Things to Tell the Tech Writer

Postby BigJon » Fri Apr 30, 2004 10:39 am

I loved WordPerfect because you could see all your field marks with a toggle switch. Word is the most frustrating processor in which to format documents becuse you are never sure what hidden formatting cruft is causing your problems.

Does the latest version of WordPerfect still offer that feature? I may pick up a copy on eBay just to get back to that.

Is there any way to force Word to give up its formatting secrets? Do I have to contact the illuminattis?

BigJon

<small>[ 04-30-2004, 11:39 AM: Message edited by: BigJon ]</small>
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Re: Best Things to Tell the Tech Writer

Postby Selma in Sandy Eggo » Fri Apr 30, 2004 11:00 am

Originally posted by BigJon:
...Is there any way to force Word to give up its formatting secrets...
Click (or double click, triple click if impatient) on the "Help" questionmark box in the upper toolbars, or on the office assistant if he hasn't been turned off, and a "type in your question here" box will appear. Type in "view formatting" and you'll get a whole bunch of help training for the art of viewing your particular flavor of Word.

The help files in Word are pretty comprehensive. Sometimes you have to phrase your question several ways to tickle the right page, but generally the program will teach itself to you. Help is always the place to start.

Word's help files act like the marketing, writing, and secretarial staff had more input than the engineers or programmers. I think this is a very good thing.
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Re: Best Things to Tell the Tech Writer

Postby Selma in Sandy Eggo » Fri Apr 30, 2004 11:16 am

There's a general kludge for getting text from one program to another, even if the filters are, um, shall we say inadequate? Open the legacy program. Open the target program. Arrange your desktop so that both windows are visible (side by side is my usual choice). Open the document you want to copy in the legacy program window. Open a new document in Word (or other word processor). Put your cursor in the legacy program window. Do a <control A> (everything should highlight) <control C> (should copy all the highlighted text). Put the cursor in the target program. Do a <control V> (should paste all the copied text). The control A, control C, and control V functions are Windows standard keyboard shortcuts and should, theoretically, work in any Windows-capable program.

I use this kludge to fetch text from ancient programs into the stuff we are using now. Once I have it into Word I save it as an .rtf and import it into Quicksilver where I can do further formatting magic with component definitions.

We are, sadly, no longer able to revive stuff saved off on the 8-inch hard sectored floppies or the Unix BAR format - too ancient and no remaining machinery with the right drives :(

<small>[ 04-30-2004, 12:19 PM: Message edited by: Selma in San Diego ]</small>
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Re: Best Things to Tell the Tech Writer

Postby BenODen » Fri Apr 30, 2004 11:39 am

Have you scrounged Ebay for cheap replacement hardware? I found this 8 inch floppy drive there... Should be able to do it with pocket change, I'd think!

It's totally a sad thing to not be able to read old stuff.. THOUGH some of the media has probably died as well. Eeeep.

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<small>[ 04-30-2004, 12:40 PM: Message edited by: Benito Of Denver ]</small>
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Re: Best Things to Tell the Tech Writer

Postby Selma in Sandy Eggo » Fri Apr 30, 2004 11:47 am

Media? Died? That brown dust in the bottom of the fireproof vault isn't just disintegrated roaches? :eek:

Seriously, it's easier, faster, and more reliable to scan and OCR from hard copy than to fool around with antiquated machinery and defunct programs.
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Re: Best Things to Tell the Tech Writer

Postby piqaboo » Fri Apr 30, 2004 12:28 pm

When my last employer moved to a new building, we discoverd file drawers full of ~12" reels of tape.... made those 8" floppies seem like 5th chairs.
They couldnt even read the labels on the reels anymore - the ink had faded too badly.

Bless the scanner and OCR. Hard copies forever!!!!
Altoid - curiously strong.
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Re: Best Things to Tell the Tech Writer

Postby BigJon » Fri Apr 30, 2004 2:52 pm

Originally posted by piqaboo:
Hard copies forever!!!!
No concerns about acidic process paper degradation?
:)
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Re: Best Things to Tell the Tech Writer

Postby piqaboo » Fri Apr 30, 2004 3:10 pm

More concerned that someone will spill coffee and make the ink run, that mice will eat the paper for dietary fiber, and that it will be mis-filed.

Current concern is that the piles of paper on my desk will slide, bury me, and I wont be found til next spring.
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Re: Best Things to Tell the Tech Writer

Postby Selma in Sandy Eggo » Fri Apr 30, 2004 3:16 pm

Originally posted by piqaboo:
...piles of paper on my desk will slide, bury me, ...
We refer to this as filing by geological stratification. Two of the guys use it by preference.
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Re: Best Things to Tell the Tech Writer

Postby barfle » Fri Apr 30, 2004 4:32 pm

Surprise, the coot has a couple of 8" floppy drives in his basement. They are part of (I believe) a CP/M computer that I will post on eBay (guess what name I'm under there. Here's a hint) if I ever get it fired up. It has a key switch on the front panel, and I don't have the key. I also have a 3 ring binder full of discs, as well as a box of empties in shrink wrap.

I had a 12" roll of tape, but nobody bought it.
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Re: Best Things to Tell the Tech Writer

Postby Selma in Sandy Eggo » Fri Apr 30, 2004 4:53 pm

I think I threw away that catalog. Couple of decades ago - it was out of date then!
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Re: Best Things to Tell the Tech Writer

Postby barfle » Mon May 03, 2004 7:24 am

And somebody in Germany wants mine. Go figure.

Now it's historic.

<small>[ 05-03-2004, 08:25 AM: Message edited by: barfle ]</small>
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Re: Best Things to Tell the Tech Writer

Postby analog » Sat May 08, 2004 11:47 pm

Good Luck Selma.
As we used to say in the power plant,
"Field to dimension & bash to fit."

Seriously, I'm a believer in photographs for service manuals. JPG makes it so easy even an engineer has no excuse for bad illustrations.

Best humor I can offer you is in the last three paragraphs of Lavoisier's introduction to his treatise on chemistry, where he quotes Abbe de Condillac. It's posted at
http://webserver.lemoyne.edu/faculty/giunta/lavpref.html ( if link doesnt work, a Google on Lavoisier, Condillac & chemistry will find it)

Those guys really saw the 20th century coming.

<small>[ 05-09-2004, 01:24 AM: Message edited by: analog ]</small>
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Re: Best Things to Tell the Tech Writer

Postby analog » Sun May 09, 2004 12:13 am

Barfle -

Little place where I help out has industrial clients still running magnetic memory computers with KSR33 Teletypes and 110 baud paper tape.

There's just something satisfying about defying the teeth of time. Bravo to you and your eclectic basement.
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Re: Best Things to Tell the Tech Writer

Postby barfle » Mon May 10, 2004 7:14 am

Wow- paper tape. I think the last time I saw that was around 1972 when I was working at Hughes.

There's a lot to be said for hardware that you can actually repair, though.
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Re: Best Things to Tell the Tech Writer

Postby Selma in Sandy Eggo » Mon May 10, 2004 9:29 am

Originally posted by analog:
Good Luck Selma.
As we used to say in the power plant,
"Field to dimension & bash to fit."
Sandy Eggo version is:
Force to fit,
File to contour,
Paint to cover.

Originally posted by analog:
Seriously, I'm a believer in photographs for service manuals. JPG makes it so easy even an engineer has no excuse for bad illustrations.
You haven't seen what my engineers give me. We also are required to use line drawings; it doesn't have to make sense, it's a regulation.
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Re: Best Things to Tell the Tech Writer

Postby haggis » Tue Jun 15, 2004 4:19 pm

Selma,
no matter how bad it gets, its always worse somewhere else!!!


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Re: Best Things to Tell the Tech Writer

Postby Selma in Sandy Eggo » Tue Jun 15, 2004 4:28 pm

I'm sure that made more sense before it was "translated" into ?English? :D
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