Monday, 24 March 2014

Word perfect - almost

It is confession time. The Lighthouse Keeper has ended his short affair. Well, maybe you’d describe as more of a fling.

But I’ve dusted things down and listed it as one of life’s experiences. Sometimes you just get caught up in these things and, blinkered by the moment, fail to appreciate that the grass is not always greener on the other side.

You see, my beautifully slim and elegantly crafted MacBook Air laptop - purchased from the online Apple store at the turn of the year - has now gone off to a new and loving home where were all things Apple are properly appreciated.

For now, I’ve made up with my trusty and familiar Toshiba Satellite laptop and, along with it, Corel’s WordPerfect office suite.

I tried to make things work - even emulating the Windows 7 operating system on the MacBook using a trial version of the rather neat Parallels program.

And all went reasonably well. But WordPerfect, my bread and butter program, was still not quite the smooth operator it should have been.

The number of people worldwide who prefer WordPerfect is an almost unnoticeably tiny fraction of the millions using MS Word - but those that do tend to be intensely loyal.

In the United States, especially, the suite is widely used in law and government offices, and also by writers and editors who have drafted and amended their pros in WordPerfect since the time before Microsoft.

Without going into tedious detail, Word Perfect remains one of the best and most intuitive instruments for writing and formatting text.

Nothing matches its ability to pull together multi-chapter documents from separately editable files, or import research from multiple sources without compromising pre-set formats. And, of course, there is the classic Alt F3 ‘reveal codes’ feature...

Operating systems and word processor programs aside, the MacBook Air had another surprise in store - delivering a seemingly innocuous but frustrating omission for a writer and editor.

The stylish, backlit keyboard lacks a proper one-stroke ‘delete’ key - it’s single direction only version working like the Back Space key on a Windows keyboard.

Despite being tempted by the ‘Apple’, I eventually decided it wasn’t all about looks - or even a battery that would go the full distance of a trans-Atlantic flight.

Life is complicated enough without the bother of sticking plaster operating systems, software incompatibility and keyboard quirks, even before I get down to doing any real work. So, it’s back to what I know and trust.