And so we approach Xmas

BMW 840Ci, around 2005. I want one but I’ve missed the low price point. They cost about $40,000 upwards now.

This is the week of food shopping and buying last minute gifts. I only have two people to buy for and it’s very easy to choose for them. Books for one and phone type gadgets for the other.

Wow, how lucky are we in WA? Absolutely perfect weather, it’s even going to peak at 37 on Christmas Eve and then go down to a warm 32deg on Xmas Day itself. Perfect. And down to 29deg on Boxing Day to top it off.

I read this morning that we’ve gone 280 days, approx., without a case of local virus infection. Plenty of incoming travellers are infected and have to quarantine but we can do all our normal things without a worry.

I’ve been listening on ABC Radio to a Sydney 2GB radio announcer, Ben Fordham, foaming at the mouth about WA reinstituting the hard border, virulently insulting the premier Mark McGowan, and us, calling him stupid and so on. Listen mate, when you can say Sydney has gone 30 days or 100 days or even 280 days without a case, you can talk. But you can’t say that. Sydney is the leakage point for this country. That’s where all the international visitors are arriving, ignoring the rules and bringing the virus with them. Sydney’s health and airport authorities are being proven repeatedly to be incompetent. Arrogant prick. Our premier has the full support of us all. Shut your gob!

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To prove the point, I had brekky with a mate at Burns Beach this morning. I signed in to the cafe, but that was all I had to do. No masks, no special spacing, no worry.

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I’ve been doing a lot of writing recently, firstly for the Channel 7 History book, which I got in by the 30 November deadline, and now for a book being organised by an American woman called Lost Bali. That’s the book title, not her name, heh heh.

She’s spent time in Melbourne and lived in Bali for some years but now lives in California (doesn’t everyone?) She believes Bali went downhill around 1990 when hotel development went out of control and the special feeling went out of Bali. I’m not sure I’d put that year as a cutoff, but I can agree a bit.

Anyway, she is organising a book and wants contributions. Initially I didn’t think I had much to offer but she pleaded so I said I’d whip something up. As a result, I’ve written 13 pages and 3,200 words, including about 20 pictures. I do have a lot of memories and hundreds of pictures, pretty nice ones if I say so myself, so I hope she’ll be pleased. The deadline is Xmas. It’s virtually done, I’m just finalising it. I have another couple of memories I can add before I send it off.

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For years I’ve used MS Office Home and Student, and struggled with its faults and eccentricities. As a computer magazine journalist wrote earlier this year, if you use Word and include pictures, you’ll be tearing holes in the universe if you try to move or resize them. Yes! That’s my experience. I hate it.

Plus the registration of the serial number, and the limitation to only one or two PCs. I hate it! Recently, Word started refusing to save my documents. This resulted in some serious loss of work before I realised what was happening. Excel was fine, it was only Word. I searched high and low for a solution without luck.

So dammit, I uninstalled it and looked for a substitute. I’ve been using Lotus Word Pro for 25 years and love it but it has foibles too.

Then I found WPS Office, a free alternative. It’s brilliant! I love it. It looks like a very clean version of MS Office but one of the things I really like is that it will open a PDF document and convert it and save it as a Word document. Hooray! When I wrote the Channel 7 History article I saved it as a PDF for submission, but didn’t realise immediately that MS Word wasn’t saving my article. Hence I ended up with a PDF but no Word original. Aaarrrgh! So now I can open the PDF and “retrieve” it as Word.

I’ve had a bit of trouble – yes, resizing images on the page can make them or other images disappear (sorta like tearing holes in the universe, still) but I got everything correct eventually. Lotus Word Pro is far better, though. Even though it stopped development 20 years ago, it still works and it’s free now as part of Lotus Smartsuite. I HIGHLY recommend it.

Bloody Microsoft! They’ve driven all the others out of business. Remember Word Perfect, or Lotus, or Wordstar and Ventura? They were all good, but people stopped buying them and paid their money to Microsoft for an inferior product! It’s like a desert out there.

Well, WPS Office is free for the basics, or if you pay $40 a year you get the premium version with extras. I haven’t fully explored that yet, but I’m virtually certain I’ll pay it. Good value.

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I’m up to episode 10 in series 8 of the Big Bang Theory. At about 20 eps per series, that means I’ve watched around 170 episodes in the past few months and I still like it. It was absolutely unique, about science but with great humour and characters. The jokes and dialogue are absolutely remarkable. I never get tired of it. I usually watch two episodes a night, occasionally three. Without commercial breaks each ep is only 20 minutes long. Recommended. Netflix, of course.