THE Computer Corner

by Joanne Tolson

     I have been using Microsoft Word for fourteen years now, since I got my first computer. It’s practically the only word program I have known up until 2012, when I bought my first NoteBook PC, desperate for want of installing a word program on it, but not being able to afford the few hundred measly dollars it would cost for a Windows 2007 Home Premium office program with all the fixings included. Their functions are the same as Microsoft Windows Word 2000, the one that most everybody reveres in the Windows world. Since I had not worked with any other word program before, first I did Google searches for free software, being sort of desperate as I am lost without a Word processing program on my computer for my Notebook PC.

      I found Apache Open Office, which is compatible, for my OS software, which I installed so it worked out fine for me, and also for my newest acquisition as a birthday gift, my ASUS laptop.

     Apache Open Office and then later on I found out about Libre Office, which are virtually not much different, but in appearance run the same functions like Excel, writing (rft, Doc, PDF, et cetera file attachments), spread sheets, and other functions they mimic, which are virtually free from Apache Open Office and Libre Office.

     A few years ago I downloaded Apache Open Office into my Acer Aspire Notebook PC, not being able to buy the Microsoft Windows 2007 Premium Home and Student version of Microsoft Office Home Premium and Student Software for my then new Lenovo Desktop PC or Notebook PC. So I agonized for awhile and then did a Google search for free Word Processing software, that’s how I found it. Like Apache Open Office, Libre Office, WPS Office [Kingsoft], Softmaker, as well as Google Documents and Microsoft Office 365. Since, I had put all my Word Documents on Disc before phasing out my old computer that had windows XP on it, and I transferred them from disc, so I could transfer them to my new Desktop PC in 2011, thinking I would not be able to open these files as I did not have Microsoft 2002 in my current computers.

     In Apache Open Office, Libre Office and XPS Office too, you can convert Microsoft Word 2000 Docs into the Word Processing Program and be able to use your existing documents from previous Microsoft Word Programs. I had saved documents in hopes that maybe I would be able to do so, if a Word Processing Program existed for me to do so. It does exist and I’m using them now. So on a lark I tried to open my word documents with Libre Office and Apache Open Office, and it worked very well on my lap top. No dialogue box opened up denying me access. Which is win, win, since my main fear, of not having a Microsoft Word program in my computer, which is a must or I would no longer be able to use those documents, as they were previously able to do. Then I would have had to re-type everything into a new Writing program all over again, is based on my lack of knowledge and understanding of how software programs work, and takes off where the old software left off when the new technology replaced it. The free office software is a game changer for the Average Joe, who like me can’t afford to pay for the Office suite package which is left out of the package deal when you purchase a new computer with Microsoft software in it. So the consumer is assuming sort of like I would that it is included in the box. It’s just another for them to make consumers pay more money  to the software/computer manufacturers. Oh, yeah, Microsoft Office 365…I use it, but it is limited, I am already out of space on it, but to get space on the cloud you have to pay $1.99 or something like $10.00 a month. Just like Microsoft Word it is $100.00 a year, or $10 a month, that’s for life I guess, instead of paying for it once. So you’re basically a hostage to the software manufacturers. They have found a way to milk you (us) even more, like a herd of cash cows, and they see us coming. I like to buy software and pay for it one time, but then they can’t make money like that if they can’t keep the consumer over a barrel and continuously with software upgrades that hit the wallet. My opinion, if a software program is still viable and usable, but out of date, it does no harm to keep it longer than the recommended time, that is until they pull the plug on it and stop supporting the software program, forcing people to upgrade, as eventually the computer hardware becomes incompatible with the advancing improvements in computers that require the newer versions of office software. So the software is incompatible with older computer hardware. Things are changing all the time as with every age that had its own inventions for the time.