Archive for April 2, 2013

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

April Fools

Adam C. Engst:

What I enjoy about April Fools is that it’s a chance to say and do things that are patently untrue, but that can be based on an entirely valid point of view or desirable outcome. It’s just a different method of conveying the same information. For instance, I’ve been planning to write a lengthy dissection of all that’s wrong with the Apple’s App Store policies, but I just couldn’t bring myself to the necessary pitch of negativity. It was far more fun to write the “App Store 2.0 Policies Address Developer Complaints” article, and I was able to make exactly the same points. And I really would like to see Apple do a lot of what Rich outlined in “iCloud for Families Debuts.”

Avoid and Fix Word Document Corruption

Adam C. Engst:

For example, we found that automated cross-references often caused corruption in our Word (.doc) files, and we eventually banned their use in Take Control manuscripts. We also developed specific ways of working to reduce the impact of a corrupted document. Before opening a file, each of us would make a copy in a separate folder, and increment a version number in the filename, making it easy to revert to a previous version should corruption crop up.


Click at the very beginning of the corrupted document to set the insertion point there, scroll to the end of the document, hold down the Shift key, and click again just before the last paragraph mark in the document. (Various document attributes are stored in that last paragraph mark, so it’s a place where corruption can lurk.) Copy the selected text, switch to the new document, paste the text, and save with a new name.

Microsoft MVP John McGhie says you can avoid corruption by not using Word’s change tracking feature, direct formatting, or drag and drop:

Of course Microsoft Word is not perfect: it is built down to a price! FrameMaker is about 800 bucks a copy, and it crashes nearly as often as Word. InterLeaf is about $135,000 a copy, and it still crashes. I am sure that if all of the Word users in the world agreed to pay $250,000 a copy for Word, Microsoft would be delighted to fix all the bugs in it. But I am not willing to spend that amount of cash, so I put up with the bugs…

This makes me sad. Word has been corrupting my longer documents (15+ pages) since I began using it to write them in 1992 or so. Documents can become corrupted even if Word doesn’t crash. So I’ve avoided it where possible. Meanwhile, I’ve created thousands of pages of documents in FrameMaker and never once saw any corruption, despite all the crashes associated with running atop the classic Mac OS. Unfortunately, Adobe hasn’t done much with FrameMaker lately and never Carbonized the Mac version.