Word OnLine; Surface Pro; and other matters. You are not a good parent if you do not know about the Kahn Academy.

Chaos Manor View, Wednesday, October 7, 2015


As usual on Wednesdays, Niven and Barnes were over and we had a story conference on The Cthulhu War, That’s the working title of the interstellar colony novel we’re working on; as to why Cthulhu in a science in a hard science fiction novel, see The Secret of Blackship Island http://www.amazon.com/Secret-Island-novella-Avalon-Series-ebook/dp/B007MSK4HM and you’ll know.

I then investigated use of Word OnLine, and was able to open and was able to open and edit a copy of the manuscript posted to the cloud by Barnes; later Niven was able to open it and edit from his machine at home. Barnes used one version of Word to create it on a Mac; I have accessed it from Alien Artifact, a 64-bit Windows 7 system, from Swan, a 64-bit Windows 10 system, and Precious, a Surface Pro 3 running the latest beta release of Windows 10. They all worked. While Word 16 or whatever it is called has more collaboration features, Word OnLine is plenty Good Enough for what we do.

I have been in the Monk’s Cell, and have produced a thousand or so words of Mamelukes, with considerable work on the progress of a sea battle – of course no battle plan survived contact with the enemy. And I know where most of my characters are and what they are doing when this book ends. Progress is being made.

I can do three of the Five Tibetan Rituals now to a repetition of 10, and 20 sit-ups; it’s progress.


Microsoft announced a new Surface Product Line, including a Surface Pro 4 with a new keyboard, and a Surface Book, which is the top of their Surface line. I have ordered the keyboard for the Pro 4; it appears to be better than the Surface Pro 3 keyboard. I will probably get a Pro 4 but I want to see it in action first; the 3 remains good enough. I did more experimenting with it today, and the keys are still too close together, but the new Pro 4 keyboard from the pictures has more key separation. I hit two keys at once on the 3 far too often, but I did get a bit better with it as time wore on, and I found I was spending more time writing and less correcting what I had written; I have high hopes for the Pro 4 keyboard. If thing go well, I will get a Pro 4.

I’m working just now with Swan, a fast Windows 10 desktop in the back bedroom. I am using the Logitech K360 keyboard, which has good separation of keys; I have K360 boards on all my main machines except the Surface Pro 3. And I am learning to type faster, although only two finger while staring at the keyboard. The I look up at the screen and see all the wavy red lines most caused by my hitting two keys,

When I went to play with the Surface Pro 3, I found that it had downloaded no Outlook mail after 2 October, and it was now telling me it couldn’t find the server. I complained to my advisors, then remembered the primary trouble shooting tool: restart the app. I proceeded to do so: shut down Outlook. Restart Outlook. And behold, it downloaded a week’s worth of mail, quickly and efficiently, and all’s well. While that was happening Eric sent me this link:


It was appropriate, but in my defense, Precious had several updates since Oct 2, and had been reset each time; even so, that wasn’t shutting down. In any event, closing and restarting Outlook fixed the problem. I understand that Microsoft is going to make the quick access to autocorrect available to Word 365 or whatever they call it now, but I don’t know how to do it; I sure need it. Going to File / Options / Proofing / autocorrect while trying to remember exactly what you mistyped is useless. I do understand there is a fix, but I sure don’t have it yet.

Eric says

    If you buy an Office or Word license, that version will be with you however long you care to use it. Word from an Office 365 subscription will eventually upgrade to the latest version but there are ways to delay that for several months. The difference between word 2016 and 2013 is fairly subtle though. Aside from the return of AutoCorrect to the right-click menu, most of the differences are in the collaboration features.

    If you all get up to date there some very elaborate things, like real-time collaboration where you see each other typing away but I doubt that is really desirable for your group most of time. It could be good for plotting sessions if you have a shared notepad but looking over each other’s virtual shoulder as you type would probably be annoying. I expect that will be used more by corporate workgroups.

Eric Pobirs

He also says

About every two weeks or so,  Live Mail 2012 does an email download with infinite incoming messages. None of them actually exist but if it isn’t interrupted it will go on like that forever, never downloading any actual messages. You don’t have to exit the program but you do need to make the incoming message display visible so you can hit the stop button. After that it downloads messages normally.


And finally:

    You may want to try it on Swan first, due to the larger screen. In addition to the familiar red squiggly underline for unknown words there is also a little box that appears on the left end of the red squiggly line. Right-click on that box and you’ll be offered the AutoCorrect setting dialogue. The issue I raised before is in how it uses the item highlighted to seed new entries.

I need to test this but so far I cannot see any box at the end of the red squiggly line. I’m writing on Swan now. Eventually we’ll get this straightened out.


I urge you to read http://www.wsj.com/articles/zuckerbergs-100-million-lesson-1444087064 which tells the story of how Mark Zuckerberg gave #100 million to a school district, and what the results were: nothing. You cannot help this awful school system by throwing money at it.

Then stay tuned: there are a few success stories, although the blob – the faceless officials and administrators and union officials who run our hopelessly awful school system – generally suppresses them. The protoplasm in the pupils has not degenerated. The potential is still there as it was when we used a real Sixth Grade Reader http://www.amazon.com/California-Sixth-Grade-Reader-Pournelle-ebook/dp/B00LZ7PB7E .The Iron Law has prevailed in the public schools, and that prolongs the depression – the only reason the unemployment rate is under 20% is because those who gave up looking for work are not, officially, unemployed – and slowly turns America into a Third World Country. That is the current situation. We can do something, but we probably won’t.

If you have kids of any age and do not know of the Kahn Academy https://www.khanacademy.org/ remedy that instantly.


It’s getting late. Stephanie sends this link:

If you want to learn more about climate predictions, read it.

And I remind you of


Our models don’t work. This might be one reason.







Freedom is not free. Free men are not equal. Equal men are not free.




Bookmark the permalink.

Comments are closed.