I am nearing the completion of a novel in a new series and my desktop computer crashed (not to worry, I worked in hi-tech for more than thirty years and I leave nothing of any importance on a hard drive) and I immediately set out to look for a new one. If there is any company on this planet that I hate more than Microsoft I don’t know what it is. I have had my fill of them constantly changing their operating system (I believe they should have stopped at Windows 7) and I abhor both Windows 8 and 10.
I looked at Apple products as well as computers running a Linux O. S. I came to the conclusion that Apple and the Linux companies must love their products and want to keep them because they price them so high that I cannot afford them. I ended up buying a new desktop running Windows 10 and when I went to reload my software, realized that I had purchased Office 2013, but it was delivered via download (have any of you tried to download Office using HughesNet or any other metered network–a metered network is one in which you are allowed a certain amount of bandwidth and if you exceed it your internet access will slow down do something lit one bit per hour–unless you contact your provided and pay for additional bandwith, usually something like $10.00 for an additional gigabyte. When I initially purchased Office 2013 I was a subscriber to HughesNet and the package download ate up all of my bandwidth before it had recieved one quarter of the program. This forced me to take my computer, monitor and keyboard to a friend’s house to download it via their subscriber. Even though I am now on an unmetered network, I was not about to purchase Office again. I opted to down load OpenOffice instead. OpenOffice is a robust program that is available at no charge from OpenOffice.org. It contains a word processing package (which will allow you to save your files in a number of formats–including .doc and.docx for Word), a spreadsheet, a powerpoint-like package, and several other useful programs.
I have a mini-office set up in my bedroom and I use my laptop in there. This led to my next problem. After a couple of weeks on the laptop with my head angled forward so I could see the screen, I developed severe neck pain with led to a visit to the emergency room. Diagnosis: arthritis (or arthur-itis up here in the county). Remedy: Keep my head up, especially when writing, some anti-inflammatory medication, and a recommendation for physical therapy. This led me to purchase a new HP All-In-One which has an elevated monitor which allows me to keep my head up while writing. Again I was up against the word processor issue. I knew there were a number of resolutions but the three that made the most sense were:
- Word: I’ve already ranted about Microsoft, but the publishing industry (at least my publisher) requires all manuscripts be submitted in Word format. I did however,check out their Office products, while they do sell a home and student version of Office 2016 for $149.00, they are offering is Office 365 Home at $9.99 per month or $99.99 for a year with automatic renewal ($6.99 and $69.99 for Personal). I prefer to pay for my software once and not monthly or annually (Microsoft was making billions before it came up with this pay by month scheme).
- Open Office: Again covered above and available at http://www.openoffice.org. Open Office does not have an equivalent to Outlook, however you can do an internet search for Eudora OSE (also open source) to fill that need.
- Scrivener: A stand alone writing software available from Literature & Latte for $40.00. This is a terrific package that allows a writer to plan, develop characters, and write, both fiction and non-fiction. The problem, once you finish writing your book it has to be compiled into some form of word processor. My experience is that even if you save this in Word (,doc or ,docx) you need a copy of Word because there are things that will not compile in the manner you may desire (I avoid this by doing a chapter by chapter cut and paste into my word processing document). Other formats including .odt for Open Office are available.
I do, however, have to say that as much as I hate Microsoft, it beats my old Smith-Corona typewriter. Oh, yeah, I went with Open Office 4.1.3 and Scrivener. I’ll use my trusty laptop to check the fidelity of my documents when I convert them to Word for my publisher.