Thursday, May 27, 2010

Counting on Microsoft

There's nothing like a temperature drop of 30 degrees to lift my spirits. Phew, today was hard, with the windows shut against the heat and no air conditioning.  But now it's 60 degrees, and the kittens are flying around the house, chasing each other and teasing the older cats.

Tonight, I had a witness to my weird issue with Microsoft Word 2008, which kept messing with the word counts for my writing project. We sat here and watched the counts for these little 200-word essays fluctuate when we hadn't added or deleted words. All the counts I'd carefully taken yesterday were off today, by three to 50 words.

I could not believe how they rose and fell for no reason. It was like watching the stock market. I don't understand why that goes up and down, either.

I finally took some deep breaths and called Microsoft. It was surprisingly painless, even pleasant. I spoke to a mellow guy in Nova Scotia named Nick, who said he was freezing up there. He told me he'd made his own computer from very old spare parts because it was cheaper. He had never heard of my problem. I emailed my document to him and we got conflicting word counts. He led me through some steps, had me throw out some application files, and fixed it, at least for now.

He said the issue was a "corrupt preference." I like the sound of that. It's a good title for a racy movie starring Jeremy Irons.

Unfortunately, the accurate word count tool showed me that lots of my essays were too long. I've been hacking away all night.

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