News: Microsoft Word is obsolete.







Now there’s a controversial thought. And it’s a fun one to discuss on a Thursday afternoon: have we all evolved beyond needing Microsoft Word? Slate blogger and author Tom Scocca wrote for Fairfax today:

“Nowadays, I get the same feeling of dread when I open an email to see a Microsoft Word document attached. Time and effort are about to be wasted cleaning up someone’s archaic habits. A Word file is the story-fax of the early 21st century: cumbersome, inefficient, and a relic of obsolete assumptions about technology. It’s time to give up on Word.

“Even so, people can live with typos in their input. What makes Word unbearable is the output. Like the fax machine, Word was designed to put things on paper. It was a tool of the desktop-publishing revolution, allowing ordinary computer users to make professional (or at least approximately professional) document layouts and to print them out.

“That’s great if you’re making a lot of church bulletins or lost-dog fliers. Keep on using Word.

“For most people now, though, publishing means putting things on the web. Desktop publishing has given way to laptop or smartphone publishing. And Microsoft Word is an atrocious tool for web writing. Its document-formatting mission means that every piece of text it creates is thickly wrapped in metadata, layer on layer of invisible, unnecessary instructions about how the words should look on paper.”


The time of some education authorities putting their head in the sand when it comes to rapidly increasing technology might soon be over. The New South Wales Department of Education is looking at possibly lifting filters that block social networking sites, if school staff say they could be beneficial in the future.

Department heads said social media might be a crucial part of a future education and parent groups said kids may as well be taught to use social media responsibly, rather than using apps ‘underground’ on their mobiles.

A spokeswoman for the NSW Federation of Parents and Citizens Associations, Rachael Sowden, said parents would welcome supervision of students accessing social networking sites at school.

”Kids are actually accessing it at school anyway on their mobile phones. It’s better to help support our students rather than put our heads in the sand and hope they don’t access it by blocking it. We’d much rather have policies in place that support its safe usage.”



Just when you thought fast food couldn’t arrive any quicker. The Herald Sun is reporting that McDonalds Australia is trialling a mobile phone application in two stores that would allow people to order their meals on the run. You know, for all those people who have far too much on the schedule and don’t have time to queue.

There are no promises from McDonalds the app will actually be introduced, but it’s certainly a sign of things to come.

Not surprisingly, nutritionists are less than impressed with the news.

Nutrition Australia spokeswoman Megan Alsford said she hoped it wouldn’t encourage users to eat more junk food.

“It’s hard to say if this app would increase visits to McDonald’s but I would hope people would still see McDonald’s as an occasional treat and not an everyday food,” she said.

Panic in the streets as quake triggers tsunami warnings


An earthquake registering 8.5 on the richter scale struck more than 400km off the coast of Sumatra at a depth of 33km triggering mass panic across nations on the Indian Ocean. Residents fled for higher ground as tsunami warnings were issued. Reports of a similarly large 8.2 magnitude aftershock followed. A 2004 quake measuring 9.2 on the Richter Scale off the same coastline caused a tsunami that killed 230,000 people.

Luckily, if there is such a thing, the quakes moved horizontally unlike those in 2004 which moved vertically. Vertical movement of the ocean floor displaces vast amounts of water, causing larger tsunamis. The tsunami alerts were cancelled last night after waves of around 80cm rolled in to some parts.


A boatload of 10 Chinese asylum seekers brought to port in Darwin have agreed to stay and be processed in Australia, rather than continuing their journey to New Zealand as they wished, while two boats carrying 255 were intercepted and towed to Christmas Island.

Opposition Leader Tony Abbott earlier this week used the 10 Chinese asylum seekers’ wish to be processed in New Zealand as proof mandatory detention worked. Regarding the latest boat load – the single largest arrival of asylum seekers by boat in Australia in one day – the Government blames the Opposition for blocking offshore processing legislation (it wanted to process in Malaysia, Opposition wanted to process in Nauru, which the Government didn’t want) while the Opposition blamed the Government’s soft detention policies.

Can you work any of it out?

– 10 things you need to understand about asylum seekers.



Any Prince fans out there? He’s returning to Australia for a new tour in three capital cities. He’ll be coming to Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne for those who want a piece of the action.


Researchers from Yale University said it can be counter-productive – and sometimes downright dangerous – to be happy all the time. ”Research indicates that very high levels of positive feelings predict risk-taking behaviours, excess alcohol and drug consumption, binge eating, and may lead us to neglect threats,” said Professor of Psychology June Gruber. It can also be bad for your career with the study showing those happy more often are less likely to be dissatisfied with their job and strive for something more.

But, chicken and egg, maybe that’s why they’re happy to begin with?

Gruber says it’s important to accept whatever one’s level of happiness is – as long as you are not clinically depressed, of course – and the negative feelings you may have. She is exploring the notion that three positive emotions (such as joy, gratitude or hope) for every one negative (disgust, embarrassment, fear) is a good balance.

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