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The Pequod
Dr Alistair Brown | Associate lecturer in English Literature; researching video games and literature

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Through exploring the psychopathology of Capgras syndrome, in which a patient mistakes a loved one for an imposter, The Echo Maker offers a sustained meditation on the ways in which we project our own problems onto other people. As a reflection on the mysteries of consciousness, the novel offers some interesting if not especially new insights into the fuzzy boundaries between scientific and literary interpretations of the mind. Read more

Word's Worth?

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Sorry about the dreadful pun, but I thought I'd plug a piece of software I have been using since I bought my new computer (from the first-rate thePCman Computers).

Rather than packing my clean, new hard drive full of Microsoft Office, I have gone for the free option of Openoffice. I started with version 1.1.4 of their suite, which includes the same functions as MS Office (excluding the database). Concentrating on the word processor, I found it difficult to get the hang of the functions, most of which are labelled differently to MS standards; importing documents was less than flawless (especially with bullet points and tables); it lacks that desperately needed (and feared) tool of the essay-writer, the word count; and it seemed (even on my new speed machine) slightly on the slow side.

I was just about to read for my trusty MS Office disk, when I thought I'd give the new Version 2.0 a shot, something I had avoided the first time of looking as it is still in the Beta stage. And am I glad I did! Suddenly, everything looks and runs as smoothly as its expensive big brother. Functions are labelled and located where I expect to find them; importing between formats is seamless (indeed, I still use the MS formats for the documents, to ensure compatability); and the word count has made its entry. In short, the MS Office CD is in the bin for good, and with the final version ready to roll from the website any time soon, Microsoft Office is finally not worth it.

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Posted by Alistair at 3:10 pm


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