Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Word and Words

Thanks to -- or perhaps despite -- all the suggestions I received for finishing my story that wasn't working right at the end, I did finish it. I then tried to submit it to Lightspeed, which led to a whole new host of problems.

Why can't Microsoft ever leave well enough alone?

I have, against my will, the latest version of Word, because a virus ate my previous version. The new version saves all its documents as ".docx" files, despite the fact that ".doc" files are now the industry standard all over the world. Lightspeed would not take a .docx file into the bowels of its automatic electronic submission system. Forty-five minutes of wading hopelessly through Microsoft's "Help" sections failed to help me with this. So I interrupted my son's workday to ask what to do. After giving me the lecture on how he told me I wasn't going to like the new Word, he gave me three options:

1) Build a time machine out of a DeLorean and go back to before my Toshiba got a virus.

2) Get the recipient to alter its compatibility protocols.

3) Convert the story to an earlier version of Word, thereby wiping out all the fancy things I paid money for in the new version.

Naturally, I took Door Number 3, following Kevin's instructions, and Lightspeed absorbed the story. I hope.

So I have words for Microsoft: $*(#%8&@$*%

Lake Superior State University in Michigan also has words. Every year on New Year's Day they issue a list of words that have, in the previous year, been so misused or overused that everyone is sick of them. On the current list includes:

"friend" used as verb
teachable moment
tweetaholic, retweet, twitterhead, twittersphere
toxic assets
"In these economic times"
"It's all good"

This leaves some people I know with nothing to communicate. Too bad they don't work for Microsoft.


Oz said...

So...did you hear back from Lightspeed yet? They're known for 'light speed' responses. Oh wait. That's only for rejections. Never mind. I'm sure when they intend to buy a story, they like to take the time to read it through.

Go you.


bluesman miike Lindner said...

Well, Nancy, I don't believe the first great woman sf writer, Andre Norton, worried about such things.

So why should you?

(OK, OK...Mary Shelley. Yeah, she was the first.)

Brent Kellmer said...

Nancy -- you can set your Word to automatically save to a .doc file if your son hasn't shown you how. Most of the features aren't going to be stripped from your files -- it usually only does that to macros.

John Joseph Adams said...

Oh, sorry about that! I'll see if I can enable .docx files as acceptable file types in the system, so that no one else runs into that problem.

Nancy Kress said...

John -- It wasn't your fault -- it's Microsoft's! SF-Observer, what do I have to do to change the default?

bluesman miike Lindner said...

All right, CL Moore certainly ranks too.

Yo--memory--stop beating on my head, OK?


Bryan H. Bell said...

Nancy, I just sent you e-mail with instructions for setting the default save format in Word.

Don't forget my earlier offer for free tech support! As a fan of your fiction, I'm happy to help keep any computer issues out of your way so you can work your literary magic.

Tim of Angle said...

Two words: Open Office.