Tag Archives: Microsoft Word

“Personal Stylus” – Podcast: Nonstop Tech Episode 2

The second episode of our Nonstop Tech Podcast is dedicated to personal landing pages, searching for the perfect stylus, Deus Ex and a rant about Microsoft Word vs. Text editors, with handy tips to even it all out.

Here’s the iTunes subscription link and below are the link we discussed during the show!

Created by:

Special Thanks to our Sponsor:

See the rest of my Nonstop Tech post on Nonstop Honolulu.

#ProgressIS: Using a Text Editor As a Word Processor

Funny how they say history tends to repeat itself. As always the old becomes new and technology no matter how much it moves forward doesn’t always seem to get away from this idiom. In thousands of offices all around the world there are billions of widget makers struggling every day to figure out simple and easy as ways to communicate via the written word. Unfortunately, most of them assume the only answer is the modern word processor.

Now there was a time when the word processor meant a 20 pound device with the really small screen and a not quite detachable keyboard. Like a typewriter minus the White Out. As computers came into play one the first issues ever tackled was a good word processing solution that could replace the the electronic typewriter and single tasking electronic word processors of the day.

This was a fine and dandy solution up until there was some bifurcation of formats between WordPerfect, which was the giant of word processors at the time and Microsoft Word. Microsoft Word at that time was oddly enough the new kid on the block. /little did we know that soon it would take over the world and be the planet’s go to word processor. I personally am not a big fan of Microsoft Word mostly because it has grown into a large program without any usable features added since about Word 6 (Office 4.2). However, as more and more people buy Microsoft Word the need for Word compatibility continues to grow. The odd thing is the majority of the people who use Microsoft Word only use it as a glorified electronic typewriter.

Most of the people using Microsoft Word are not using the features that require such a large program. In fact almost all of them basically need a simple easy-to-use text editor with spellcheck. I would say about 90% of the people who use Microsoft Word are really using the comparable feature set of WordPad or TextEdit.

Knowing this to be true I have personally boycotted the modern word processor and continue to write all of my communications in my generic text editor. My text editor of choice is TextMate, however there are a slew of other options on the market both free and paid for all platforms available including the modern smartphone.

So what does this all mean? It means that I’m going to be putting together a series of articles and tutorials that will teach people how to go back to the text editor as their word processor of choice. Thus eliminating the need for costly programs that hog up gigabytes of data on your hard drive, drain your battery, eat up lots of processing power to sit idle and require proprietary data formats. Yes I’m talking about Microsoft Word but this also includes iWork and a bunch more.

So be on the lookout for these things coming soon. Check back on this website often as well as follow my twitter feeds and Facebook posting.

I’d like to give a shout out to my friend Brett Terpstra who will be providing some of the tools that I used to get a lot of work done via simple text editing. If you’re fanatical notetaker or just person that loves the store tidbits of information I highly suggest you check out NVAlt which is Brett’s Fork of Notational Velocity.

I also want to give a shout out to John Garcia for his #Progressis social media campaign for giving me the inspiration to write this post and begin this series of tutorials that I’ll be producing concerning better living through text. Progress is going back to the simple text editor as a way of communicating better, faster, stronger.

photo by:  Marcin Wichary

Tip of the Week: Save yourself some typing time

I use this all the time and i found David Pouge of NYT had written his take on this time saver. I will save some time rehashing this jut read it as he wrote it. It really does work been on this for like three years.  I use TextExpander

Typing-Expansion Software [Source: David Pouge, NYT]

Here’s my little secret: I write only about half of my material. Or, rather, I *type* only about half of my material. The rest is auto-typed.

My life depends on typing-expansion software. I type “pl,” and I get “problem.” I type “wv,” I get “Windows Vista.” Over the years, as I recognize more words that I type often, I’ve built up quite a list — hundreds of abbreviations:

t -> the

y -> you

th -> that

ts -> this

bs -> because

ie -> Internet Explorer

ff -> FireFox

mx -> Mac OS X

w7 -> Windows 7

cp -> cellphone

cps -> cellphones

ty -> thank you

hth -> Hope this helps! –David

…and on and on.

It helps, of course, that I do a lot of writing, and in a particular field; so much of my e-mail, and so many of the terms I use, involve the same concepts.

On the Mac, programs like TypeIt4Me, Typinator and TextExpander do this job. (TypeIt4Me is also available on the iPhone, where it’s called TapIt4Me). On Windows, it’s programs like AutoHotKey, ActiveWords and Texter.

Of course, you can get the same effect within Microsoft Office (Mac and Windows), using its AutoCorrect feature. That arrangement has one profound advantage: the expansion happens even when you’re editing. That is, I can click just after a “w” I typed earlier; if I add a “v,” it expands to “Windows Vista.” With the shareware programs, by contrast, you have to type the whole thing at once, *followed* by a space or punctuation so it knows you’re finished with the abbreviation.

But Microsoft’s AutoCorrect has a big downside, too: it works only in Office. I want my expansions to be system-wide. I want it to work in my e-mail program, browser, sticky-notes app, word processor, spreadsheet, on the desktop, and so on.

That’s why I’ve gone the shareware/freeware route. This much is for sure: because I’ve got these programs installed, I can type *much* faster than a normal person (because I’ve got so much less to type). I don’t worry about typos nearly as much. And I can rip through e-mail much more efficiently, since I can re-use so many words and phrases.

There are all kinds of other perks, too. AutoHotKey is also a wonderful macro program, meaning that you can define keystrokes to perform special functions on your PC. Hit Ctrl-W to fire up Microsoft Word, Ctrl-F to open Firefox.

TextExpander can shorten long Web addresses as you type. Just copy some huge address, for example, and then type “/bitly” into any program; TextExpander pastes in a tiny URL (like http://bit.ly/6EYLj) without your having to open your Web browser and visit a URL-shortening site. It’s fantastic if you use Twitter, where every character counts.

Typing-expansion programs are so fast and effortless that I can’t understand why everybody’s not using them. Surely, at the very least, you type your address over and over again (or pieces of it, when you fill out Web order forms). Surely you’ve got various standard signoffs for e-mail, like “xoxo, Chris” or “Respectfully yours, Christianne.”

The only time auto-expansion gets in my way is when I use somebody else’s computer, where there’s no expansion software installed. Inevitably, there’s a moment of frustration, bafflement and gobbledygook as I type, “T pl is th y use wv” –and get only “T pl is th y use wv.”

But now that I’ve shared my secret with the world, it won’t matter. You’ll know exactly what I meant.

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]