Archive for April, 2011


Word: Creating conditional text

April 29, 2011

It can be done!

For full instructions on how to create conditional text using Microsoft Word, see Gary Calwell’s article in Words, volume 3, issue 2, May 2011, available here:


I’ll review your writing

April 28, 2011

I received an email the other day that set out the new communications protocol for a team. I got worried when I read that the person responsible for these glaring errors will be the person doing the reviewing of any material that goes out to the public…

In case you’re wondering what’s wrong with this, take a look at these:

  • Protocol’s: Possessive apostrophe inserted instead of the plural form — it should be protocols.
  • Communications Protocols: Two plurals when only one should be a plural, though you might be able to get away with this one. Personally, I think it should be communications protocol OR communication protocols.
  • Approved by myself: Arrggh! So this person is going to do it alone (which is what ‘by myself’ means)? I think they meant to say that they were responsible for review and approval, in which case it should be approved by me.

When the person doing the reviewing can’t get some basics right in their email, I have to be concerned about the written communications they will approve for public release.


Surprisingly, they got ‘occasion’ right

April 27, 2011

Oh dear.

I didn’t want to display the name of the place, as these two glaring errors/typos may not be their fault. I saw this ‘copy’ in a competition when some wine provided by the liquor store was the prize, so it may have been the competition promoter’s error.

Surprisingly, they got right one of the words that many people have trouble with — ‘occasion’.


Even editors miss typos

April 26, 2011

Seen in a recent newsletter from an editors’ association… Classic!

I’ve heard of all sorts of ways to raise funds, but this one takes the prize for the most innovative!


Firefox 4: Practice what you preach

April 25, 2011

I downloaded Firefox 4 the other day. And I watched the video of the new features, as well as the interactive display. One of Firefox 4’s new security features is the ability to verify a site’s identity by clicking on its favicon.

Unfortunately, when I clicked on the favicon for Mozilla (the makers of Firefox), I got this:

It would be nice if they practiced what they preached.

(I checked several other popular websites too — Google, my bank, White Pages, WordPress, etc. — and all of them have this same message. So, how do web developers make sure their site is listed as legitimate? I looked in the Firefox options, but could see nothing there. Anyone know?)

Update: For more information about this website identification, see Seems it’s OK for there to be no ID information for many sites (and they will have a light gray tinge around the favicon), but that’s not how I initially read the summary information about this new website security feature — I had to go hunting to find it. That said, when I logged into my bank, I still got the gray shading around the favicon, not blue or green as described in that article.


Word: Very slow to load and respond. Solved.

April 21, 2011

Word 2007 — and now Word 2010 — on my Vista laptop has often been very slow to load a document and to respond to a document command (like Save). I’ve been blaming Vista…

But when I started to edit a 300+ page Word 2010 document on my Vista laptop, the unresponsiveness was going to be a huge productivity drain. So off to Google to see if there was an answer to this problem. And there is! And it’s not related to Vista at all, but to how a Word document interacts with the default printer. If the default printer is a networked printer, then there can be response issues.

In my case, the default printer is not only a networked printer, but when I opened this 300+ page document, the printer was turned off (it was a Sunday and I don’t use the printer all the time, especially on weekends).

After following the advice of people in this forum thread, I changed my default printer on the Vista laptop to Adobe PDF (Microsoft EPS works well too, I believe). And guess what? The document responded beautifully! No more achingly long Not responding messages in the Word 2010 title bar; no more watching the ‘spinning wheel of death’ (as I like to call it) while waiting and waiting for the Word document to respond because it was trying to talk to my network printer.


But I have to question WHY Microsoft still ties things like Word documents so closely to the default printer. Most of us have many ‘printers’ listed these days — many of which aren’t even printers, but instead are printer drivers. If a network printer is set as the default and it can’t find it, then why don’t we get a message to tell us to change to another printer driver so we can work in a fully responsive document?

[Link last checked April 2011]


And the abuse of apostrophes continues…

April 20, 2011

J, a long-time reader of this blog, sent me these two photos he took in the NewsLink bookstore at Sydney’s international terminal.

NewsLink has more than 40 stores in all major Australian airports and at Hong Kong’s international airport — I suspect this apostrophe abuse is in all their stores.

You’d think the person responsible for approving the copy for their signs (perhaps the company’s Marketing and Merchandising Manager?) would know the difference between a plural (DVDs) and a possessive (Children’s [books]).

Obviously not <sigh>.

And no, I won’t comment on the offerings in the Children’s section…

[Links last checked April 2011; thanks for letting me use your photos, J]