I have no one to blame but myself of course as I answered people’s questions about what I would like for Christmas this year. They all seem to be computer related directly or indirectly. So in one day I acquired half a dozen things which require either a huge online manual or one of those books I call the bible for ……… whatever it is.

First up, new software for the Mac. Microsoft Office for Mac, Home & Student Edition, 2008 version. Now I have used Office for years but in a much more ancient edition. The Old Scientist upgraded to 2007 on his Windows machine just before Christmas and told me that there had been some pretty big changes so I thought I would ask for the program for the Mac. It came with this “free” very neat little folding notebook mouse, which fortunately is just plug and play. So that required no skill to get up and running quickly. The bible for the program comes from the library at the moment but I will be buying one as soon as I decide which one suits me best.

I rather fancied one of these digital video frames and tossed that notion out randomly at one stage. Naturally someone glommed onto it and I was presented with one to organize and load with photos. It came in a huge box with a smallish manual, although we all know that these getting started manuals never tell you anything you want to know and I have no idea how anyone manages to get the item up and running with only those slim volumes to guide one. I am sure I will enjoy the slideshow of photos of my granddaughter once I get it sorted out. I’ve been putting it off for the moment but I should bite the bullet soon.


I’m still struggling with Photoshop Elements so I was grateful to receive Photoshop Elements 6 for Mac -the Missing Manual. Of course it’s a not only a chest crusher but also not something you can pick up and read page after page. It’s really a reference book although you do have to explore what the program has to offer as well in there. One of the problems is that I have so many photo editing programs on my computer, what with iPhoto and Gimp and Picasa, none of which I have mastered except perhaps iPhoto, which has its limitations, or even scratched the surface, as it is hard to decide which one to use. And I keep dabbling with one or the other. But let’s face it, does anyone ever master any of these programs these days? They are so complex and overwhelming that I am sure that most people use only a small percentage of their capability.

Last but not least, I was given my third iPod. From my first iPod mini I fell in love with the iPod. iTunes, the organizational software for the iPod is brilliant. I also love my iPod touch but it has turned out to be too bulky for a lot of occasions. So I coveted an iPod nano. A red nano, my favourite colour. You can only buy the red one from the Apple store and if you buy it online you can have it engraved, which my daughter did. But did she choose some wonderful quotation to use? Or some soppy message? Nope. Just my name and telephone number. Sigh.
Now having two iPods already you would think I would have no trouble whatsoever but of course improvements have been made since my last one. This one has an FM radio which is no problem but it also can take videos. What the heck? Why on earth would you want to take a video with your iPod? I guess the teen market is driving the features these days but frankly I think it a total waste of memory. But we shall see, we shall see. Maybe I will love it, when I figure it out that is.