Sunday, June 12, 2011


Historic Microsoft photo of Paul Allen and Bil...

Image via Wikipedia 

I’ve long been frustrated at the layout limitations of Blogger, so, fundamentally, this is a test of a program called Microsoft Live Writer 11 which is specifically designed for blogging. Actually, it is set up primarily to work with WordPress, but it has a setting which supposedly works with Blogger; so we’ll see. The illustration, courtesy of Zemanta, features Paul Allen and Bill Gates, back in the early Eighties, plotting to upset my tranquil writing world by introducing a series of lousy operating systems which dominated personal computing for the next quarter century (and caused me more delays, frustration and grief than I care to think about).

Finally, they have partially redeemed themselves with Windows 7, which works reasonably well, but is still inferior to Apple’s OS offerings; and I’m still waiting for compensation from Microsoft for cruel and unusual punishment.

To all you writers out there – and anyone else for that matter – go with Apple, and it’s related products, unless you are crazy. Of course, if you are a creative type, a degree of craziness just goes with the territory.

My main complaint with the Edit mode of Blogger has been that it doesn’t really do WYSIWYG whereas Windows Live Writer really seems to. What I hope that will mean in practice is that my text will consistently appear in both the font and size of my choosing instead of being somewhat erratic. I know one can correct such things by learning a little HTML, but so far I have resisted. I suspect I’m fighting a losing battle. Also, HTML 5 looks pretty good.

It was a grim and grizzly business being involved in the early days of personal computing – and I was actually involved from 1981 when IBM introduced their first PC. At the time I was living in Ireland, and the people who were marketing it knew so little about it that my first machine was delivered without an operating system. I should have taken that as a warning, and run out and bought a quill pen, but instead I persevered through more computer misadventures that I care to think about. Look for them in my memoirs, and buy some tissues before you read them. Jeremiah Johnson had it easy compared to my hunt for a consistently reliable computer.

Around 1984, I had the good sense to order one of the first Macs, but my supplier went bust so that went nowhere.  Then I tried out a NeXT computer in 1988 but couldn’t afford it – which was just as well because the Irish distributors couldn’t understand it, and NeXT, itself, went out of business. Nonetheless, it was a great machine and laid much of the groundwork for Apple’s stunning success. Steve Jobs, as doubtless you know, founded NeXT.

I’ll write more about MS Live Writer when I have used it longer. It pains me to say anything nice about Microsoft, but - so far - I’m encouraged.











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