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Monthly Archives: October 2013

Computer industry news source ZDNet published an article today called “Microsoft security research paints bleak picture for XP users”. You can click on the title to read the whole report, or you can save yourself some time and just peruse our executive summary:

  • Windows XP was released in October 2001. That’s 12 years ago, which is forever in computer years. But, as Windows versions go, XP has been a rock-solid workhorse. Thrifty users, both individuals and businesses, who don’t have a pressing need to upgrade to the latest and greatest new software, have hung onto Windows XP and milked it for all it’s worth.
  • That ride is coming to an end. You can still continue to use your antiquated XP, but do so at your own risk. Microsoft will stop issuing security updates for it in April of next year. Once the last Windows XP patch is issued, unpatched vulnerabilities will begin to emerge. With no one watching the store, the bad guys will loot and pillage to their hearts’ content.
  • Even before all this happens, the vulnerability situation for XP users is bad compared to later versions of Windows. Microsoft has steadily incorporated new defensive technologies into Windows with each new version. Windows XP is 12 years behind in that defensive technology. As such, Windows XP users are many times more likely than Windows 8 users to become infected with malware. The number of vulnerabilities in Windows XP has steadily increased over the last few years. Things will get worse — much worse — when Microsoft stops releasing security patches in April.

The moral of the story is that it’s time for every XP user who is connected to the Internet or who receives files of any kind from any outside source to make plans to scrap their beloved operating system and make the move to Windows 8 (or at least to Windows 7 if you can still find it). XP has become a “bad neighborhood” for system security, a magnet for malware. It’s time to pull up stakes and head to higher ground.

On the bright side, Windows 7 and 8 open up the bold new world of 64-bit computing. Windows XP was a 32-bit operating system, a 32-lane data highway so to speak. (OK, there was a 64-bit version of XP, but it was rare. Who needed 64 bits in 2001?) It moved data around in 32-bit (4 byte) chunks. Windows 7 and 8 come in both 32-bit and 64-bit variations.  Take the 64-bit option.  It allows your system to access more memory, it runs all of your 32-bit software, and it opens the door to 64-bit software. Notably, the newest versions of Adobe’s Creative Cloud software require a 64-bit operating system, so go with the 64-bit option and hopefully you won’t have to upgrade your operating system for another 12 years.

But don’t count on it.

There are four types of guides in InDesign:

  • Margin guides (which aren’t really referred to as guides in Adobe literature, but they look a whole lot like things that are called guides, so I’m including them in this list)
  • Column guides
  • Smart guides (which I often find to be more annoying than smart, but they do come in handy sometimes)
  • Guides (also called layout guides, ruler guides or ruling guides)

In the following video, I show you how to create and change the settings for column guides, smart guides and layout guides.

If you’ve got text on your page, it needs to be edited and proofread. The act of writing, especially on a computer (is there any other way these days?), is error-prone. When I write something I’m frequently tweaking it as I go — lots of deleting and adding, cutting and pasting. If you don’t watch it, things can get pretty garbled in the process.

Case in point — I recently had the pleasure of proofreading a very short piece written by someone else (who will remain unnamed) on the topic of “the key to creating quality documents.” Here’s what she submitted to me:

This is probably the most single significant control in the development of your document. Poor version control means wasted hours errors.

I trust that proves my point. She knew what she was trying to say, and I was able to figure out what she meant, but left on its own, it was not a “quality document.” The addition and deletion of words is like a surgeon who stitches up a patient, leaving a sponge and tweezers inside. You need to take a good look at these things before you call it a done deal.

I’m a pretty solid proofreader, if I do say so myself. I’ve always taken great pleasure in finding fault with other people’s work. Aside from that, I believe that a shortcoming of mine contributes to my thoroughness as a proofreader; namely, I’m a very slow reader. I’m like half a notch up from moving my lips while I read. I “subvocalize.”  I took a speed reading class once and boosted my reading speed by over 300%. It also decreased my reading enjoyment by 300%, so I pitched it and went back to my glacial pace.

But I think my subvocalization really works for me as a proofreader. When I got the hot mess mentioned above, I went back to Sandy the author and asked her to read it out loud. In the words of late, great American novelist Kurt Vonnegut, “It read like it was written by Philboyd Studge.”

I made a couple of tweaks to it. The finished product said:

This is probably the single most significant safeguard in the development of your document. Poor version control leads to errors that waste hours of your time.

Yeah, that’s what she meant to say.

Proofreading and editing. If you want a higher quality product, one that won’t make you cringe when it comes off the press, proofreading must be a priority — and multiple proofreaders reviewing the document multiple times is the best approach.

Check out this blog from a few months ago for more proofreading tips.

Click here to download our proofreading checklist.

And by the way – the document I was proofreading was our enewsletter, the Alpha Channel. If you’re not on our mailing list and would like to receive it, click here.

To checkout archives of our enewsletter, click here.