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A few weeks ago came the news that a much quoted academic paper was based on a faulty Excel worksheet.
The paper titled "Growth in a Time of Debt." from Reinhart & Rogoff was widely used to support the idea of limiting government expenditure during the current fiscal crisis. They concluded (wrongly) that there was a 0.1% decrease in economic growth across various countries when the real figure was 2.2% Increase. A difference of 2.3% seems small but that’s a massive difference when we’re talking about economic growth of countries.
There were several problems with the calculation and methodology. We don’t intend to deal with the level of disclosure nor conclusions in the paper let alone the subsequent use in economic policy. That’s an economic and political area that us mere computer nerds are quite unqualified to comment upon.
We’ll just look at the mistake made in Excel. Paul Krugman called it a ‘coding error’ and that phrase was used elsewhere without further detail.... click here to read more at Office-Watch.com ...
Steve Wilhite really set us geeks on fire this week. As the creator of the popular GIF image format he revealed that he preferred the soft-g pronunciation ‘jif’ (as in ‘jiffy’ or ‘gin’) not the commonly used ‘gif’ (with a hard G like ‘graphic’).
You’d think that the pronunciation choice of the creator would carry some weight but instead many people objected loudly (using hard consonants presumably).
Office-Watch.com wondered what Microsoft Office thought the pronunciation should be. That’s not an entirely silly question. ‘Gif’ isn’t a normal English word so the ‘text to speech’ feature in Office could speak it either way.
We fired up Word 2013 on Windows 8 with US language settings and heard is say the sentence “This is a GIF image.”
The result? A soft g is spoken just like the US peanut butter brand.... click here to read more at Office-Watch.com ...
Google has announced that the free storage available to all comers has now been combined into a single 15GB limit that you can use as you like across their services.
Previously Google gave away Gmail, Google Drive with Google + photos with separate storage limits:
Now each account gets 15GB of online storage that can be shared among your Google services as suits you.
For example, most people probably don’t get even close to the Gmail 10GB limit but might like some more Google Drive or photo space. Now you have it.
You don’t have to request or allocate the 15GB of space, just start using it however you like. For example, add more documents to Google Drive or photos to Google +.
See your overall storage usage at https://www.google.com/settings/storage/ where you can buy extra storage if needed (though the prices seem a little high).... click here to read more at Office-Watch.com ...
Microsoft uses the terms ‘Office 365’ and ‘Office 2013’ interchangeably and confusingly so it’s no wonder Office-Watch.com gets asked about differences between the two.
Strictly speaking ‘Office 2013’ is the software – the successor to Office 2010 and before. You install Office 2013 on your Windows computer.
‘Office 365’ is a new way to rent Microsoft Office related services. Those services usually includes the right to install and use ‘Office 2013’ software as well as other features during the rental period (usually a year at a time).
It’s the same software. It doesn’t matter how you buy Office 2013, you get the same software. Same features, same functionality.
(Well, OK – there are a few small differences due to the ‘Click to Run’ or streaming installation for Office 365 renters. But those differences are minor and a by-product of the installation method not a decision by Microsoft.)... click here to read more at Office-Watch.com ...
A common way to make a new Word document is to use an old document at the starting point. Word has a few ways to do that quickly.
Why do it? Often you want to make a letter, proposal or other document that’s similar to one you’ve made before. Or perhaps the document has formatting that you want to use again. Whatever the reason, making a new document from an existing document happens all the time.
Sadly Microsoft has never really considered this a ‘good’ way to make a new document so the options to do it are hidden. Microsoft thinks that all new documents should be made from templates but in the real world we need other methods.
This handy feature was in Word 2007 and Word 2010 only.
On the Word 2010 New menu at the end of the template list is ‘New from existing ….’... click here to read more at Office-Watch.com ...
There’s more than one way to get a similar result as ‘New from Existing…’ that are worth keeping in mind. They apply across all recent versions of Word as well as Excel and Powerpoint too.
You can just open the source document then 'Save As...' to the new name, that takes a few steps. There's a risk that the user will forget the important 'Save As...' step and accidently overwrite the source document.
Mature programs like Word should provide a more elegant and safe solution that gives the user a clone of the selected document with the ability to choose a new document name of their choice. 'New from Existing ...' did all that nicely.
This alternative only works from Windows Explorer, not from the File New or File Open dialog boxes in Office.
In Explorer, go to the document you want to use as the source, right-click on it and choose 'New'... click here to read more at Office-Watch.com ...
It’s been interesting to watch Microsoft trying to trick the media with their orchestrated campaign of ‘leaks’ and announcements about a Windows 8 update.
We’re now told that an upcoming Windows 8 Service Pack will address some of the obvious concerns about the new operating system. The planned ‘leaks’ have been coordinated with the familiar but unsubstantiated boasts about sales of Windows.
Some commentators have gushed about how Microsoft is making a ‘U-turn’ or even comparing the move with the ‘New Coke’ debacle of 1985. Frankly we don’t expect an update to Windows 8 to reverse course as much as some people are guessing or hoping.... click here to read more at Office-Watch.com ...
If you send your emails with a digital signature they might appear ‘blank’ to a Gmail receiver … something like this:
The above message had HTML text in the message body but neither are showing up in the Gmail web browser view. There’s only a small ‘p7m’ file which is the S/Mime digital signature.
Here’s the same message displayed in Outlook with an IMAP connection to the same Gmail account.
The problem is not the message, it’s how Gmail in a web browser handles the display of the content. For some reason, Gmail’s web browser code doesn’t display a signed message properly. A signed message isn’t encrypted so there’s no good reason for the message not to show up properly.
Happily, the Outlook developers are aware of this and other situations where a signed message isn’t displayed properly by the receiving software. In Outlook 2013 and Outlook 2010 go to File | Options | Trust Center | Trust Center Settings | E-mail security and ensure that the setting ‘Send clear text signed message when sending signed messages’ is checked (as well as ‘Add digital signature to outgoing messages’). In Outlook 2007 go to Tools | Trust Center | E-mail security to find the same option.... click here to read more at Office-Watch.com ...
The WikiMedia foundation, operators of Wikipedia among others, is developing a new site called Wikidata.
It will be a home for public ‘structured data’ in other words, lists. There are plenty of lists already in Wikipedia. Wikidata will link with Wikipedia and help structure those lists into standardized forms.
"Unlike Commons, which collects media files, and the Wikipedias, which produce encyclopedic articles, Wikidata will collect data, in a structured form. This will allow easy reuse of that data by Wikimedia projects and third parties, and will enable computers to easily process and "understand" it."
At the moment you have to manually copy tables from Wikipedia - a messy process Office-Watch.com detailed in the past Copying tables from Wikipedia to Word... click here to read more at Office-Watch.com ...
You install a digital certificate to sign your emails, but when you try sending a signed message … Outlook 2013 totally ‘hangs’, it stops working. What’s going on?
There’s a bug in Outlook 2013 – if you install the certificate via Outlook then Outlook hangs when you try to send a signed message.
Sending an unsigned message works fine but using the digital certificate you’ve installed sends Outlook 2013 off to la la land.
The solution is simple. You have to remove the certificate and reinstall it from Windows rather than from the Import certificate option inside Outlook.
It should not matter how you install the certificate – but it does in Outlook 2013. It’s certainly a bug with Outlook 2013 and Windows 8, perhaps also Windows 7. I t’s a large bug that Microsoft won’t admit to.
To fix the bug first make sure you have a backup of your digital certificate saved as a file.... click here to read more at Office-Watch.com ...
|New & Popular
» Excel’s effect on economic policy
» The battle over ‘GIF’ pronunciation – what does Word say?
» Google gives you 15GB
» Office 365 and Office 2013 – what’s the difference?
» Word’s ‘New from Existing …’ feature
» New from existing document .. the alternatives