Friday, 28 August 2009

Bye Tom, Hi Jason; MS Office 2007 first impressions

Well, Tom lasted almost 24 hours before his guts got ripped out and replaced with bigger (500GB hdd!) and faster (2gb ram!) insides. (Still only an Atom processor though, can't wait to get a decent-speed, real-sized laptop that won't take ages to do anything, when I get back to Iceland!) Luce took ages learning how to use 'migrate' and 'grow' and 'shrink' tools in a usb-key-bootable version of linux called 'damn small linux' or something, aka 'knoppix', so I could install stuff on tom (160gb hdd) and not have to reinstall it when my computer became jason. But it didn't work. So I've spent days researching, buying, installing, reinstalling and coming to terms with MS Office 2007 (in particular Word, Excel, Access and some Powerpoint).

[Start Review of Office 2007, after 5 days intense usage]:

There are some things about Office 2007 that seem really good - the fact there's no title bar taking up screen real estate is a bonus when you have a 10" screen, and that the 'quick access' buttons can be moved above the menu bar. Both of these are 'half-size', so you only lose the space of the old title bar, no more (the title gets squished along to the right). You also lose the screen-space taken up by the half-line-sized status bar at the bottom, but it seems useful enough so I'm not complaining (about that) just yet. Thank Christ the ribbon can be minimised!

What I don't like about Office 2007 is that the Quick Access Buttons bar can't be undocked (that I can find), so I can't put it on the screen where it will be closest to my mouse for a couple of repetitive actions (that aren't worth recording a macro for). On the other hand, the styles pane doesn't seem to dock at all, which means that it covers up part of my page. To see all of my text, I have to zoom out, and this leaves a blank, unused area on the opposite side of the page to the style pane. This is pretty annoying, I hope they change this back to how it was in Office 2003.

The rulers are easy to turn on and off with a button at the top of the vertical scroll bar, just under the split screen button, so it takes up no room at all, and gives more room to my page. Again, good-o.

The hardest thing at the moment is working out where things I've used menu commands for for ages now (open styles pane, insert comment, insert (first) caption in document, insert header/footer, change AutoCorrect options, change preferences/tools-options, macro stuff), are, since they are no longer where they were. I think at least some of these have been moved to more logical places, eg the styles pane is opened by selecting the style button, and scrolling down to the 'More...' selection. That took a long time and some lateral thinking to find!

Finally, since I tend to have 3 or 4 Office programs opened at the same time, I'd like to be able to change the background colour of each independently. But when you go to 'Change Access options' and select 'black', it actually changes this in all of the Office programs. *sigh* Hopefully this can be changed soon too.

Woops, sorry for that launch into a review! But this is a blog, and this is part of my Icelandic adventure, even if it happened in Melbourne.

Saturday, 22 August 2009

Farewell daisy, hello tom!

My poor darling daisy, a 4 and a half year old Acer Travelmate 3000, suffered a few heart attacks earlier this weeks, and finally, on Thursday morning, completely carked :( I had just gotten back into full swing of work, which may have contributed to her demise. So I spent a panicked 14 hours on Thursday researching new laptops, and found NOTHING that exactly suited me. So instead, I've opted for a netbook for all my travels, and the uni in Iceland is going to get me a workhorse computer for my proper work. So, this is my first blogpost from tom, an acer aspire one d250 10.1" black netbook. Tom had to be black, cos my dad already got the blue one! Great minds... (Except his won't be specced up with twice the RAM and three times the hard disk space ;) .) I am so skypable now - tom's inbuilt webcam and speakers are truly impressive!

Monday, 3 August 2009

Back in Melbourne for some winter loving

Okay, so I've arrived back in Melbourne, but I'll be back in Iceland in September and October. July was spent: hosting visiting LFG scholar Ash Asudeh in Reykjavik (which turned out even better than I had hoped!), travelling to Cambridge to present at the LFG conference (which went really well, Mary Dalrymple spent ages with me working out how to formalise what I said in my talk, and I met a guy who had actually met Isaac Asimov, and written to Robert Heinlein!), met up with friends in Copenhagen (I have a new favourite saying: "Hvor det er hjerterom er det husrom" - 'Where there's room in your heart, there's room in your home' - I stayed in a 3 bedroom flat with a family of 5! Thanks Anne and family!), visited the butterfly enclosure and tried out the (heavenly) foot massage machine in Changi, and went snowboarding at Perisher in NSW for a week. I had the best instructors, each day they said, "What do you want to work on today?" So I have now ticked off everything that was on my list: bumps, jumps, tricks and t-bars :) I officially feel comfortable on a snowboard, and can't wait to get up to Buller to practice on some harder runs - Perisher is 60% blue :/

My first priority back in Melbourne (apart from finishing some writeups of conference papers and getting prepared for the next round of fieldwork in September) is to get insulation in the house - happily the government is offering $1,600 rebates for exactly this. Next priority is to get the hot water system, and the bathroom in general, fixed, and happily the government is offering rebates on solar hot water systems at the moment! #3 priority is rain water tanks, and I hope the government rebates for them are still in effect. Yay for good timing of rebates!