Archive for June, 2019

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Windows 10: Microphone not working

June 30, 2019

I’ve got an online consultation with an overseas client later this week. I need to use my Windows 10 laptop as it has the relevant software installed on it. Because I’ve never plugged a headset into that laptop, nor installed Zoom on it, I figured I should test that everything worked before we meet.

I plugged a new headset in, clicked my Zoom link, and tested the audio using Zoom’s test settings. I could hear the test output very well, but no matter what I did, Zoom wouldn’t recognise my microphone. I then checked the sound recording settings in Windows 10, and clicked the troubleshooter, which found no possible solution. I removed the new headset and connected my trusty old one that works fine on my Windows 7 PC. Again, good audio through the headphones, but no microphone. So it wasn’t the headset, as I KNOW the old one works just fine.

I’m not sure how I found it, but there’s a setting in Windows 10 that if turned off, means you get NO sounds registered from the microphone. The troubleshooter certainly didn’t tell me about it, yet once I turned this setting on, everything worked fine, with both headsets. I must have turned this setting off when I first got the laptop.

So how did I solve it?

  1. In Windows 10, go to Settings.
  2. In the search box, type microphone.
  3. In the microphone settings, select Choose which apps can access your microphone.
  4. If Allow apps to access your microphone is turned off, turn it on. (If it’s already on, go to the next step.)
  5. Scroll down the list of apps, and turn on those that you need—in my case, I turned on Voice Recorder (this one works with Zoom) and Skype.
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Catching potentially expensive errors of fact

June 30, 2019

How much does an editor really save a company compared to how much you pay them? Here’s a recent example…

I edit a lot of documents written by those in companies associated with the heavily regulated Australian oil and gas industry. Many are environmental management plans or safety case documents that must be approved by state and/or federal regulatory bodies before a multi-billion dollar project (e.g. a new drilling platform, pipeline, or processing plant) can go ahead. So getting these approval documents right the first time is important—it costs a LOT of money if the approvals process is held up because of errors in the documents. Errors mean they have to go through another round of corrections, technical, editorial, and legal review, and submissions, and this can take months—in this industry, months of delays equals a LOT of money.

Which is why the small thing I caught the other day could have had very expensive implications (both in cost and reputation) for the Big Company who had contracted out the document to the Specialist Company I was working for.

The document detailed the Big Company’s compliance with a piece of federal legislation and a program that resulted from that legislation (I expect these paragraphs were copy/pasted from a similar document written by Big Company some years ago). I wasn’t familiar with the Act, so I checked for its correct wording and date, as well as the official name of the program—I believe that this is part of my job as an editor. Imagine my surprise when I clicked on the federal government link to find out the Act (and the program) were repealed five years’ ago! And neither was replaced with anything else, which meant that all Big Company’s statements about how they were complying with the Act were now called into question. I flagged it in a comment to the author (adding links for them to verify what I found), and made sure I included that information in my final email to my contact at the Specialist Company when I sent the edited document back. She was stunned and very grateful to me for picking it up—none of the authors had.

Now, because all these documents go through Big Company’s legal department before submission, you might wonder why it wasn’t picked up by them. Well, what tends to happen is that the Specialist Company writes the document (often based on previous documents supplied by Big Company), I edit it for the Specialist Company, then when it’s all OK from their end, they give it to Big Company, who then have their technical specialists and lawyers review it before it gets submitted to the federal/state regulators for approval. Yes, it’s likely that Big Company’s legal department would have picked it up, but that would have then cast doubt on the reputation of the Specialist Company. And had it slipped through that final check, someone in the regulators’ offices would have picked it up—after all, they need to know the relevant Acts and compliance stuff backwards—which meant it would have been sent back and the approvals process started again.

So what sort of costs did my fact checking potentially save? Here are some:

  • financial costs of the document going through further rounds of reviews (costs borne by Big Company, Specialist Company, and regulators)
  • time costs of the approval being delayed because of further rounds of reviews (time costs borne by Big Company, Specialist Company, and regulators)
  • reputation costs for Big Company in the eyes of the regulators
  • reputation costs for Specialist Company in the eyes of Big Company (with potential loss of current and future contracts as a result)
  • if the compliance program is still operating despite the Act being repealed, then the costs Big Company pays and has paid over the past five years for compliance audits, meetings, travel to (remote) site, accommodation and meals at site, etc.

If you think an editor’s rates seem high, then consider the cost of NOT getting such a document edited. In the scheme of things, my fee was a drop in a very large ocean, yet could have potentially saved hundreds of thousands—if not millions—of dollars.

[This post was republished on the ACES blog, 25 November 2019: https://aceseditors.org/news/2019/catching-potentially-expensive-errors-of-fact]

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Blast from the past: My first conference paper

June 24, 2019

I was going through some stuff from my first career as a teacher-librarian the other day and found the printed proceedings of the first conference I ever spoke at—in 1990. If I ever had an electronic copy of the paper I presented, it’s long gone on 3.5 floppy discs disposed of many years ago. Because the only copy I have is deep within a more than 500-page second volume, I decided to scan it and convert it to Word.

If you’re interested in what I had to say about my teacher-exchange experience when I changed work and home lives with a fellow teacher-librarian in Canada, you can read it here: Trading_Places_Canadian_Exchange_1986_ALIA_conference_1990 (PDF, 185 KB).

 

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Word: Wildcard find and replace to put parentheses around numbers

June 20, 2019

In another post (https://cybertext.wordpress.com/2018/07/22/word-wildcard-find-and-replace-for-numbers-inside-parentheses/), Thomas asked: “I have to find any number within a document and put it into brackets: 2 -> (2); 12 -> (12); 123 -> (123)”. But he wasn’t having any luck.

A standard Find can use ^# to find any single number (but not multiple numbers), but that command doesn’t work in a wildcard find and replace.

Here’s what I came up with instead; it assumes the numbers are surrounded by a space on both sides—it won’t find any numbers that include punctuation marks (e.g. 1,000,000), that start or finish with a punctuation mark (e.g. comma, period, parenthesis, semicolon, etc.), or those that are in a word (e.g. Model1345):

  1. Press Ctrl+H to open the Find and Replace dialog.
  2. Click More, then select the Use wildcards check box.
  3. In Find What, type: ( )(<[0-9]{1,}>)( ) (NOTE: there is a single space between the first set of parentheses and between the third set)
  4. In Replace With, type: \1(\2)\3
  5. Click Find Next, then click Replace once the first is found. Once you’re happy that it works, repeat until you’ve replaced them all.

What the find and replace ‘codes’ mean:

The three elements (each is enclosed in parentheses) of the Find are:

  1. ( ) — For the first and third elements, you type a set of parentheses, with a space inside the parens.
  2. (<[0-9]{1,}>) — The < and > represent the beginning and end of the ‘word’ respectively (in this case, the ‘word’ is a set of numbers with NO punctuation, e.g. 1, 12, 1234, 7896543); [0-9] represents any number from 0 to 9; {1,} says to look for one or more of the same (i.e. numbers) to any length immediately after that number, thus not limiting the find to only single digit numbers.

For the Replace:

  • \1 — Replaces the first element (the space) with itself
  • ( — Inserts an opening parens
  • \2 — Replaces the second element of the Find with what was in the Find (i.e. a number).
  • ) — Inserts a closing parens
  • \3 — Replace the third element (the space) with itself

 

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Word: Find text between quote marks and change to italic

June 5, 2019

All special terms in a Word document I worked on were surrounded by straight double quote marks. I wanted to remove the quote marks and italicise the term. For example, I wanted “term” to become term.

This was a relatively easy task using wildcards in Word’s find and replace, but there are a couple of ‘gotchas’—it won’t catch anything in curly (smart) quotes or inside single quote marks (straight or curly), or if there’s US-style punctuation (e.g. period, comma) at the end, such as “term.” I’ve added alternatives to deal with these situations. It also won’t catch more than one word inside the quote marks, and I don’t have an easy solution for that.

In ALL cases below:

  • you must have Use wildcards checked in the advanced Find and Replace dialog box
  • for the italics, when you’re in the Replace field, select Format > Font> and choose Italic
  • all the double and single straight quotes here DO NOT display correctly, so DO NOT copy/paste from here—instead, type the quote marks in directly from your keyboard

Case 1: Double straight quotes

  • Find: (“)(<*>)(“)
  • Replace: \2

For those preferring to use ACSII codes, a double straight quote mark is ^034.

Case 2: Single straight quotes

  • Find: (‘)(<*>)(‘)
  • Replace: \2

For those preferring to use ACSII codes, a single straight quote mark is ^039.

Note: This may not work—if it doesn’t, try (‘)(*)(‘) as the Find, but be careful when replacing as a single quote mark is also used as an apostrophe. DO NOT do Replace All.

Case 3: Double curly quotes

  • Find: (“)(<*>)(”)
  • Replace: \2

For those preferring to use ACSII codes, an opening double curly quote mark is ^0147 and a closing one is ^0148.

NOTE: It’s easier to copy a curly quote from the main Word document and paste it into the Find. Don’t forget to copy an opening one for the left part of the Find string, and a closing quote for the right part.

Case 4: Single curly quotes

  • Find: (‘)(<*>)(’)
  • Replace: \2

For those preferring to use ACSII codes, an opening single straight quote mark is ^0145, and a closing single straight quote mark is ^0146.

Note: This may not work—if it doesn’t, try (‘)(*)(‘) as the Find, but be careful when replacing as a single quote mark is also used as an apostrophe. DO NOT do Replace All.

NOTE: It’s easier to copy a curly quote from the main Word document and paste it into the Find. Don’t forget to copy an opening one for the left part of the Find string, and a closing quote for the right part.

Case 5: Period or comma inside the closing quote mark

Use the relevant Find from any of the above, depending on the style of quote marks you’re looking for, and add an extra command ([,.]) to find the comma or period too. For straight double quotes, you’d change it to:

  • Find: (“)(<*>)([,.])(“)
  • Replace: \2\3

If you want to keep the punctuation, then you need to add \3 to the Replace. If you don’t want to keep the punctuation, then just leave it as \2. Again, don’t forget to set the Replace to italic font. The end result will be an italicised word with its trailling punctuation also in italics.

If don’t want the punctuation in italics, then you’ll need to run another find/replace using wildcards to change the punctuation back to normal text:

  • Find: ([,.]) (this time, set the Find to italics using Format > Font > Italic)
  • Replace: \1 (for this one, set the Replace to NOT use italics using Format > Font > Regular)

 

 

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My notes about single touch payroll

June 5, 2019

These notes are for me only. I just needed somewhere to document my process so I don’t have to remember it every month. Oh, and with 27 steps (!!!), this is NOT a ‘single touch’ process, despite what the ATO would lead you to believe!!!!

  1. Open MYOB 19 and do payroll as per normal.
  2. Note the amount, the pay date range, and the date payment was made.
  3. Close MYOB.
  4. Go to online banking and make the payment as per normal.
  5. Open Namich STP Creator.
  6. Select user name and enter password.
  7. Click Permanent Data Set.
  8. If the dataset doesn’t load, click Browse 1 and select the company data set if not already populated (default location: C:\Users\<username>\Documents\STP_Creator).
  9. If asked, select user, enter password, then click OK.
  10. Click Load Data from MYOB File.
  11. Select ADMINISTRATOR user ID for MYOB and enter password (or skip if no password). Click OK.
  12. Click Save and Close Screen to return to the main STP Creator window.
  13. Click Assemble YTD Data. Check the data is correct, then click Save to return to the main STP Creator window.
  14. Click Assemble W1 and W2 Data.
  15. Enter the pay date range and the date payment was made (see step 2 above), then click OK.
  16. Check the totals match the amount paid via MYOB (step 2 above). Click Save.
  17. Click Assemble Lodgement Data.
  18. Do a final check of the data, then click Lodge. NOTE: If this is the last pay run of the year, click Final Indicator BEFORE clicking Lodge.
  19. Check the declaration box.
  20. Click Sign In.
  21. On the Single Touch log in screen, enter the email address and password for Single Touch, then click Sign-in.
  22. Click Send Code to send a two-factor authentication code to my mobile phone.
  23. When the code arrives, type it into the verification code box. DO NOT press Enter or any other key.
  24. If you get a Server Busy error message (likely), click Retry.
  25. Once you get the message that you’re successfully signed in, click Send.
  26. The status should change to Success and you should get a couple of emails from Single Touch letting you know that a new STP event was generated, and that the data was successfully submitted to and accepted by the ATO.
  27. Click Close on all open STP Creator windows, then close STP Creator.

See also:

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Word: Wildcard find and replace for a space after a special character

June 4, 2019

Wildcard find and replace in Word is brilliant, but sometimes it just doesn’t work.

I had set up a find and replace routine to find any of >, <, ≥, and ≤ followed by a space then a number (e.g. > 25). I wanted to remove the space from each I found (e.g. >25). The syntax I used for the find was ([><≥≤])( )([0-9]) (Note: there’s a space inside the second set of parentheses). And the replace I had was \1\3. Looks fine, right? But it didn’t work! Instead, I got some strange results with various numbers preceded by a space replaced with ‘\1\3’. The ≥≤ part worked fine, but not the >< part.

And then I remembered that certain characters have special meaning in Word’s wildcard find and replace—two of which were < for the beginning of a word, and > for the end of a word. No wonder I was getting weird results.

As with any other special characters (e.g. ?, *, [, ], etc.) you have ‘escape’ them for Word to treat them as a normal character, not a special character. The escape character is \ and when I added that in front of each of the special characters, the wildcard find and replace worked as it should.

Here’s what did work:

  • Find: ([\>\<≥≤])( )([0-9])
  • Replace: \1\3