The Book That Nearly Didn’t Make It

That photo on the left is a book I ordered a week ago and received yesterday. That’s the way it came from the Post Office (I’m guessing it was that way before Rich, our postman, got it). It was one or two bounces away from being undeliverable.

As it turns out, the book (Special Edition: Using Microsoft Office 2000) was physically OK and now goes into the ever expanding collection of computer reference material I’ve accumulated over the years.

The fact that I bought this book in the first place upsets me to my geeky core. When I was taking my Statistical Climatology course, I found using a spreadsheet was very helpful. I used OpenOffice, the free “office suite.”

Here’s the problem – OpenOffice is not the mature product that Microsoft Office is. I wanted to be able to export graphs as images, and it can’t be done in OO. More importantly, OpenOffice is poorly documented in printed literature (which is much better than on screen help while you’re using a program).

If there was a good OpenOffice book available, I would have bought it. But, I couldn’t find anything and so I settled for Microsoft – which I know is bloatware and helps promulgate Microsoft’s monopoly position. It upsets me on so many levels.

Speaking of buying computer books – here’s how I do it:

I go to Amazon, find the book I want, and then head to the “Used and New” section off on the right side. In most cases these books are new but are overstocks or for some other reason out of the normal retail market.

In the case of the book I bought, “Special Edition: Using Microsoft Office 2000,” the list price was $39.99, Amazon’s price was $27.99 and the “Used and New” prices start at $9.00.

The comment on the $9.00 book says it has a little wear and sounds used, but for $9.24 you get:

Comments: New! Cover crease, minor cover wear. CD sealed! Ships next business day!

That’s a pretty good deal, saving $18.75 from Amazon’s price.

Usually, I ship the least expensive way. That means a Postal Service employee crawls on his belly all the way from the warehouse to my house. Actually, it’s library rate which is v-e-r-y slow. So, when there’s a choice, I look for a dealer here in Connecticut or an adjacent state.

I have never been dissatisfied with the physical condition of a book I’ve gotten this way, and I’ve saved a mint.

One thought on “The Book That Nearly Didn’t Make It”

  1. There is a workaround to getting your graphs out of OO into bitmaps. I assume you are talking about OO on windows since you bought the office book. I am not sure how this would work on linux (I can’t test right now bc my linux boxen are @work, I can’t be bothered with tunneling X).

    1)Make you graph in OO

    2)Select you graph and copy it

    3)Open MS paint (or graphics program of your choosing).

    4) Paste

    5) Save to the format you would like.

    Not as elegant as exporting directly but then you can avoid using M$ office.

    Hope this helps…


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