I've gotten very proficient with Word over the years, but there are still times where GUI reveals itself to be a leaky abstraction. Things where table formatting can vary wildly depending on seemingly inconsequential change in the order of making changes.
What makes it worse is that there's always some hidden setting or configuration somewhere to blame, so you never really can blame Word.
<moves an image by 3 pixels>
all tables change size
page delimiting format is lost
several dozen other images with footnotes on other pages are now on different pages
in the distance, sirens
I guess all I can say is I understand why scientific papers are laid out using LaTEX.
I bet the number of LaTeX users in Geneva has hardly improved during the last 20 years.
At university we created a template first semester, tweaked it a bit the second. After that it wasn’t something that you needed to think off. You could just start typing, run make to build a pdf if needed, and everything could just be pushed to subversion (it was 20 years ago).
So few people truly know how to use Word. Most just mess around with fonts and spacing until thinks look about right. I sure that even few is actually able to use Google Doc as anything beyond a web based Wordpad.
> This can be a PDF file or a Word document, in any format or lay-out that can be used by referees to evaluate your manuscript
Absolutely, you can. Microsoft has long stopped improving the basic word processing features. When there is no competition Microsoft stops improving their products.
Coincidentally, at this very moment I am re-creating an old paper form for another department in the company. They need it as a PDF.
The people from the department sent me their best effort as a Word document. It's a disaster of mismatched styles, misaligned boxes, things that get cut off for no discernible reason, and stuff that won't print right because it's past Word's margins.
I'm almost done re-creating it in Pages, from which I'll output a PDF. It's gone swimmingly.
Pages isn't yet a replacement for every single little thing that Word does, but for the things it does do, it works well, quickly, predictably, and fast. But that may be Word's downfall: It took the kitchen sink route and became a mess.
Pages is a good basic word processor for those who are interested in processing words. It's less "powerful" at doing all the thousand other things that people use Word for that they should probably do in Acrobat.
Even when Pages completely changed when they redid the engine for web, iOS and Mac, Pages stayed predictable. If you turn invisibles on, you basically know everything of what’s happening at all times.
I spend most of my professional life designing and dealing with spreadsheets and Numbers’ table-based paradigm is simply orders of magnitude more elegant that Excel’s everything-is-a-sheet approach. Why? I can modify tables (inserting row and columns, changing attributes, & cetera) without affecting other tables.
The one thing I miss and that infuriates me is Numbers’ lack of iterative solutions to circular references. Circular references are bad, you say, and I agree, but unfortunately in corporate finance they’re unavoidable when creating business plans because short-term debt depends on interest to be paid and interest to be paid depends on short-term debt. That means that Numbers can only take me so far until I have to export to .xlsx and then slog it out with Excel from then on. It’s a real pity they keep adding useless (to me) features such as collaborative editing and so forth when adding this functionality would take the whole application from being a toy to being a professional instrument.
One can hope, I guess.
You can also use it as basis for a pivot table so excel can make you a much better overview of your data.
Numbers will happily shift down tables to make room, but Excel won’t.
Array formulas are another sort-of alternative for Numbers’ tables, but there, too, the implementation could be better. You can’t insert a row ‘inside’ a range of rows covered by an array formula, for example.
My point was that in Excel this is an afterthought, whereas in Numbers it’s a consequence of how the application is devised from first principles.
Had to use Word and Excel for a few days, and there’s an obvious latency to almost any action, on a multi core multi GB computer.
Why? It shouldn’t have any delay, period.
I’m slowly forming the opinion that it’s been downhill since the Ribbon revamp. Office 2000 was pretty good, and aggressively snappier than 2016.
TBH I never found anything I needed Excel for that I couldn't do in LibreOffice Calc, so I install only Word, nothing else.
It's small and very fast on 21st century hardware. Works perfectly on WINE, including installing all the MS Service Releases.
The open and free nature helps the project greatly, even though the corpse of OpenOffice still lingering around is a bit cumbersome, since all of the efforts/attention aren't necessarily redirected to LibreOffice.
Of course, when there are problems, they can be pretty interesting, like when the bibliography for my Master's thesis broke pretty horribly: https://blog.kronis.dev/everything%20is%20broken/libreoffice...
Good call! (No pun intended.)
I often wondered why my fancy Xfinity DVR is so sluggish when I press a button on the remote. It finally connected when my Internet kept going down after some improvement they made and when the Internet could not be reached, the system stops responding to the remote. Can't even pause or exit. It's clear that every button press must make a round trip to Comcast' servers before it is acted on. It's Craptastic!
Yes you can.
Back in the day, there was a custom version of XyWrite called Nota Bene, which I think actually started out as a set of XyWrite macros but then ended up becoming a licensed fork. XyWrite went through a series of owners, ending up at “The Technology Group”, which ported it to Windows, then tried to develop a new vertical product based on its Windows engine and cratered. But Nota Bene kept their license with TTG, and that license covered the Windows engine…and they’ve kept developing it ever since.
It isn’t exactly XyWrite, and it’s dreadfully expensive in the way vertical market applications are. But it is still around, which is in a weird way pretty cool. I used Nota Bene 4 for DOS for a few years. (Which turned out to be a good choice as far as proprietary word processors go; it uses what’s basically XyWrite’s file format, e.g., ASCII with embedded commands.) There was talk a few years ago of forking the current version of NB back to be more like XyWrite, but that doesn’t seem to have gone anywhere.
There are several fortuitous milestones in my career. Working with WP was probably the first major one.
Why would you do this, when Windows and Office 97 existed?
You could view open documents and scroll through them with the keyboard.
Click, click, click, click - "That's the one I need!", a lawyer would bark out. It took far too much time to use the mouse and open documents one-by-one. Even if you hit Alt, F, O, you still had to scroll through hundreds or thousands of files, try to remember where you were...back then you had friendly filenames like DM928032.WDP
I find Word becomes much more manageable if you religiously use styles instead of ad-hoc formatting.
I agree with this tip but it requires very rigorous discipline and is basically impossible to maintain if you're working with any collaborators.
I've spent hours moving over the info into a clean template; it's not worth fighting the blown-out version.
I wouldn't necessarily say I'd endorse LaTeX for collaboration per se among people who don't normally use it, but I think it points the way toward what a good collaborative writing tool would look like.
That leads you down one of two routes:
1. Massively extend Markdown so it can do a large-ish subset of what LaTeX can do, or
2. Slightly extend Markdown so it can do enough to be useful, but nowhere near what LaTeX can.
I don't see a great way to do option 1 without making something that's nearly as complex as LaTeX. Option 2 doesn't seem all that great to me, except maybe as a gateway drug to LaTeX.
Maybe I'm thinking about it all wrong here, but it seems like Markdown itself sits at or near some local optimum of complexity vs utility that's pretty strongly attracting in the sense that going too far away from that point makes you lose the thing that makes Markdown attractive in the first place.
An errant misstyled element can mess your whole document. I stick to Pages and XeTeX.
Thanks for remembering and linking to my (old) blog.
BTW, it's on Dreamwidth now, because Livejournal is Russian, and I live 1 country away from Ukraine.
Pandoc will generate RTF, which WordPerfect can read.
The last time I needed to present in a class I wrote each slide in markdown, slapped some css on there, and called it a day.
Not perfect, but good enough.
So try sixel-tmux: https://github.com/csdvrx/sixel-tmux
> It would allow non-sw engineers (hence Windows)
I run Windows 11 as my main OS. sixel-tmux was written to help the users of non-sixel-aware terminals: every time a sixel sequence is intercepted, it's either:
- rewritten to ASCII art through derasterize if your terminal doesn't support sixels
- passed as-is if your terminal supports sixels
> to see graphics from embedded systems that use serial ports
If you use a serial port software such as minicom inside a terminal running sixel-tmux (ex: Windows terminal) it should work
- Contour https://github.com/contour-terminal/contour
- Wezterm https://wezfurlong.org/wezterm/
Both fast terminals with modern features and cross platform. Also checkout Notcurses:
Here is a video of the Notcurses demo running in a terminal:
AIUI, those are terminal emulators. Programs that let you attach to a text session on the same or another computer.
Terminal emulators are programs that emulate terminals. "Terminals" are a type of hardware. A screen and a keyboard that attach over RS232 serial links, running at maybe 9600 bits per second -- a really fast one might do, ooh, 19200bps -- to a computer. They can only display text.
(Graphical terminals existed but cost as much as a quite nice car at the time, and so remained rare.)
The clever thing in this WordPerfect version can display a "graphical" print preview on a text-only terminal.
This is trivially easy in software, but a pretty amazing feat of coding on dedicated hardware.
Define terrible. Wasteful, yes. But when we run chat programs inside electron apps, does it really matters?
> is the superior approach
My idea of superiority is linked to availability and support. Multiple competing formats are often a problem
> Kitty has an (incompatible) variant
Indeed, the multiple competing formats might each have some specific technical advantages, but networks effect makes your life harder.
From a dev perspective, it's a lot easier to base64 an image you already have, with a base64 that's already in your stdlibs, than to scour github for a passable sixel library to pre-rasterize that jpeg & reformat it as sixel. I say this as someone who's written a sixel conversion library.
> competing formats
It's not a very old format, yet already supported on 4-5 terminals last I checked.
&& find a decent FFI wrapper if my app isn't in C-land
&& read the docs
&& static link hassles so I don't have to sort-out dynamic-link hassles for every platform
|| round-up a collection of dynamic libsixel libs & figure out how to bundle them with my script if I'm not using a compile-to-machine-code language
b64 := base64.Encode(myImg)
fmt.Printf("\x1b]1337;inline=1;size=%d:%s\n", len(b64), b64)
Any hope for standardization?
I do everything I can to help popularize sixels - it could be a default fallback format: sixel-tmux could "rewrite" on the fly sixel sequences into kitty iterm2 or whatever
If the goal is to hot-patch graphics into existing TUIs, Kovid is probably on the right track with this. It needs to be something richer than what sixel or iTerm2 provide--with pixel placement, play/pause, scaling, etc. Though for a do-over of piping a UI over a (relatively) low-bandwidth wire, I think something like Sun NeWS would have been a simpler & more feature-complete approach.
(disclaimer: I'm the wezterm guy)
† xterm and iTerm2 are the only widely-used terminal emulators nowadays that support sixels. Few Linux users use plain old xterm nowadays due to lack of desktop integration, and iTerm2 is not the OS default terminal (and it supports a better image format anyway). Also note that no popular Windows terminal emulators (conhost.exe, conemu, Microsoft Terminal) support sixels at all.
It's useful cause you don't have to take your fingers off the keyboard to get graphical information.
And yeah. I would be just as happy to use NAPLPS, but Sixel support is what we have.
In fact, mintty already supports it. Only xterm doesn't. Sixel really is just retrocomputing at this point.
WP also had pretty good support for the early laser printers, which had a wide range of ways to tell them to do stuff. Some wanted bitmaps, some built their own and you had to sent them fonts; etc. It was UGLY.
IIRC they even had some drivers for optical type setter things, the old stuff that used thermal paper. Not sure of those made it to version 5 era.
I think sixels are seeing some resurgence today, terminals are fast enough now to use it to render video. I wonder if GNU ls will add ls --thumbnails :)
I remember working for the Government and having to use carbon paper in the 1990s, which meant using the "daisy wheel" printer. Somehow I selected the wrong printer, and every line printed backwards. Strange times. I don't think this sixel graphics would have printed..
Today you can do similar hacks with netcat, the printing port and PDF files.
xterm also supports vector graphics https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tektronix_4010#Graphics_protoc...
I wonder if there could be some kind of revival of some of this stuff if we saw more support in modern tools.
Is there something like xterm for linux that is more up-to-date but includes Tektronix and sixel?
I think it could be really useful to have a new interactive streaming protocol focused on being lightweight and fast loading with high compression, but for VR devices and 3d interfaces.
It could also be streaming in data from multiple peers, content-oriented. Focus on efficient, small modules describing scenes and programs.
But the biggest concept is that we aren't waiting for millions or billions of bytes to load.
I thought they were X-Terminals and was very disappointed that I couldn't get them do anything beyond being text terminals. It was only recently that I discovered that they were actually intended to be used with this proprietary graphics protocol.
 Exactly like this: https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/8/8f/1994._Sh...
The rest got thrown out after I moved out.
> something like xterm for linux that is more up-to-date
Dickey put a lot of effort into xterm--especially on the correct emulation of old protocols like tektronics. The GPU-accelerateds may be the new hotness, but I don't think many of those devs are interested in software archaeology like tektronics & sixel.
1) having a GUI top-bar of the commands. This was like P-Code and UCSD Pascal, it was the permanent hint feature, that followed your context. It was a big HCI design issue, and I think helped inform how people expect menus and bars to work
2) reveal markup. Huge. Being able to "see" the embedded control char elements of the textual display. Something I think other tools should have picked up on more. There's a mode in VIM which does something similar.
3) it was fast enough. for a small memory model. We're talking pre MMU chips here. Dos.
A few years ago, it wasn't compiled by default in the debian packages so I released binaries: https://github.com/csdvrx/sixel-gnuplot
I'm pretty good at shell scripts but this guy is a master at his craft. Give him any problem and within a few minute he's got a series of piped statements through awk and a few other well-known tools.
I worked in an office at the advent of the Windows era, in those last years of DOS WP 5.1 dominance. Friends of mine were making steady money, writing printer drivers for the crazy range of laser printers coming to market.
I was the Macintosh Guy, and never developed a muscle memory for the WordPerfect key bindings.
Thank you, WordPerfect, for giving me bizarre keyboard commands for my BIOS settings.
The only free-as-in-beer things I know are:
* WordPerfect Editor for DOS -- that was freeware back in the day. Runs in DOSemu.
* WordPerfect 3.5 for classic MacOS. Can be emulated on a modern Mac.
* WordPerfect 8.x for Linux. This is a graphical X11 app, the last version of an abandoned product line. I've blogged on how to install it, and someone posted my blog post and direct links to the install scripts above.
Because it's a living product, I suspect it's not legally feasible to clone it. Its owners might well sue.
https://gswv.apple2.org.za/a2zine/Sel/WordPerfectPD.html (II/GS WordPerfect homepage)
https://groups.google.com/g/comp.sys.apple2/c/LFkDFMYo_LQ (original release announcement)
https://www.callapple.org/vintage-apple-computers/apple-iigs... (Y2K patched version)
n.b. since this is marked as "dedicated to the public domain" on the release website, I wonder whether it would be legally permissible to disassemble these versions, produce listings, and use them to produce a FOSS cross platform descendant (keeping in mind the usual issues around trademark law)
Also good on SSI/WordPerfect Corp/Corel for putting old releases out there for free.
In case anyone read my Register story on this:
... a good point was made in the comments: Borland's Sprint had a very good emulation of the WordPerfect UI, as it also did of WordStar, MS Word, and others.
Sadly for Borland, its amazing emulate-any-other-UI feature came out just around the same time that CUA came along and forced all the DOS apps to harmonize their UIs onto a common standard.
The other killer feature of Sprint was the continuous background saving -- also foxed by DOS getting disk-caching as standard right around the same time.
Saying that, it remains an important app.
AIUI underneath, Sprint was based on an EMACS clone.
Mark of the Unicorn -- still trading, remarkably -- wrote MINCE (MINCE Is Not Complete Emacs) and the separate SCRIBBLE text formatter.
MINCE + Scribble evolved into PerfectWriter. That did quite well in its day; I tried it on a BBC Micro with a Torch Z80 2nd processor.
PerfectWriter evolved into FinalWord, again quite a success in its day. I've read several books written entirely in FinalWord.
Borland bought FinalWord 2 and renamed it Sprint.
ISTM that if the text-formatting part were outsourced to Pandoc or something, or some monstrous Electron thing, the UI and continuous-save parts of Sprint could be re-implemented in GNU Emacs if someone had the will to do it.
ErgoEmacs is a good start on the UI front: forget emulating WordPerfect etc. today. (Maybe provide WordStar keystrokes for the grumpy old gits.) Just put a _good_ CUA UI on Emacs, and give it the ability to handle basic, Markdown-style formatting, and a continuous save and live wordcount feature, and I suspect a lot of people would be interested.
But that isn't what the Emacs folks want.
Any clue where I might find a copy?
Then you can install it easily on modern distros either by script or manually
Does anyone recognize the software I'm describing?
I've been searching for this out of nostalgia.
Is it possible you're thinking of that?
There is a screenshot of it on this page: https://thewanderingnerd.wordpress.com/2015/04/19/corel-word...
Another option: run a Linux VM and run it in that.
But it will be considerably easier to run the DOS version of WordPerfect on macOS.
This WPDOS page describes 4 different ways to run WordPerfect on macOS:
1. Use the vDos emulator to run WordPerfect for DOS.
2. Use the DOSBox-X emulator to run WordPerfect for DOS.
3. Run the freeware WordPerfect for classic macOS under SheepShaver or QEMU
4. Run the Windows version of WordPerfect via WINE.
To which, from another comment in this thread, I would add:
5. Run an Apple ][ or ][GS emulator and run the freeware WP for Apple ][.