Monthly Archives: November 2008

Life without MS Office?

I just bought a new laptop. After much consideration I decided to stick with Windows. I wasn’t a fan of Vista but after using it for a week I haven’t had any problems or difficulties. I am not sure what all the negative hype was about Vista but so far so good.

At present time I don’t have MS Office installed. The laptop came with MS Works although I am not a fan of this program. I considered downloading and using Open Office 3 but heard there were difficulties opening some files, especially Office 2007 files. I just recently read a post by Harold Shaw, “Life Without Office” in which he details his use of Thinkfree Office 3.

I checked out Thinkfree and learned Thinkfree isn’t free, the version linked above is $49 which pales in comparison to the Office 2007 price. With Google docs, Zoho and many other free web applications I am not sure that I would need Office. I do want and miss not having MS Outlook for email as I miss not having folders to store email. I am using gmail right now but don’t like being limited to only labels and filters in gmail. I haven’t tried Thunderbird but may look into that as using gmail is getting a bit tedious with the organization.

What are your thoughts and opinions on using Open Office or other web applications instead of using MS Office? Will I miss Office? Is there life without MS Office?

Remiss in Posting

If you have noticed that it has been awhile since I have posted regularly to my blog, your observation is correct. On September 27, my mother unexpectedly passed away in her sleep. We were caught off guard completely by the suddenness of it all. We weren’t prepared financially nor with any arrangements that she would have wanted. To work through the grief I created a program and a wiki for family and friends to visit and leave messages. I now realize why people say the funeral service is for the family, not the one that passed away.

One thing we have learned through this tragedy is that each of our families will not be caught off guard. In time, we will all make and voice desired arrangements for funeral or crematory services. It isn’t a subject we like to discuss but it is one that loving parents can do for their children and spouses. We soon discovered the numerous opportunities to be taken advantage of financially during our grief. Having those difficult conversations would have saved us a great deal of heartache, worry, fear and anger during the worst moment so far in forty years of my life.

I am so blessed that I am not teaching this year. I need this time to regroup, heal mentally and emotionally. To stay distracted and focus on other things I am working on very small online things such as microblogging a sentence or question or two. I presented virtually to a distance learning conference in Dallas from teh education service center here in San Antonio. This made me actually get out of the house and force me to focus on preparing for the presentation. Not teaching has cost us a great deal in the terms of spending money, adding to a savings fund, and enabling me to present and attend educational conferences but the payoff has been I now have the time to recoup and evaluate where I want to be next school year. Do I stay semi-retired or do I return to education for year number twenty? Those are all questions I have to answer and the time that I have been given this year to focus on me personally and professionally is priceless.

This past summer I was very selective in the positions that I interviewed for as I didn’t want to just take any position that came along. After spending two years in an oppressed financially and talentwise district I didn’t want to find myself in another less than favorable situation. Each rejection was puzzling but I now see the blessing in each denial and am grateful that things have turned out the way it did.

So for now, I wait. I occasionally send plurks and tweets throughout the day or week. I wait until I have the strength to blog. I wait until I have something I want to say. I wait until some of the pain lessens that I can think clearly enough to write an interesting, informative post. And I wait.