Monthly Archives: October 2013

Dear charities: stop spamming me

And while I’m complaining


Last night, I opened my big backlog of snail-mail. When I say “big” I mean that if I could have got it all to stand up in a single stack, it would have been between two and three feet high, and that I was up until 3:30am ploughing through it.

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TalkTalk want £10 for a 13-month-old bill

I’m putting together my expenses for running the small home office where I do my work. One expense is my phone line. I went to the web-site of TalkTalk, my phone provider, only to find that they won’t show me the older bills unless I pay them £10:

Screenshot from 2013-10-29 12:00:52

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Shift-Ctrl-V: paste without formatting

This is the single most useful keyboard shortcut I’ve ever found, but it seems no-one knows about it; at least, if they do, they didn’t tell me at any point in the first 33 years of my computer career.

If you copy (Ctrl-C) from a web-page, or a Word/OpenOffice document, or any other source that has formatting, then when you paste the copied material into a document that supports formatting (such as another Word/OpenOffice document or a WordPress post), the formatting — or at least, a broken attempt at it — will be pasted in. That usually means that you get fonts you didn’t want, that are inconsistent with the rest of the document. I imagine this is the cause of most of the horrible Font Soup you see in too many MS-Word documents.

This is a proper pain if, to pick a purely hypothetical example, you’re putting together a book based on your own blog-posts.

So instead, use paste-without-formatting. In OpenOffice (and its derivatives: NeoOffice, LibreOffice, etc.) this is on the Edit menu as Paste Special…, but you can use the shortcut Shift-Ctrl-V (or Apple-Ctrl-V on a Mac) to invoke it. It pops up a small menu of paste styles: double-click on Unformatted Text and you’re done.

It turns out that although there is no corresponding menu-item in the WordPress composer, the keyboard shortcut works — in fact, it works even better than it does in OpenOffice, as it doesn’t bother with the menu and just does the paste as unformatted text.

Shift-Ctrl-V: it’s your friend.

Saying goodbye to Twitter

I’ve been on Twitter for a couple of years now, first as @SauropodMike and more recently as @MikeTaylor. I have to admit, it’s hugely surpassed my expectations. I thought it was a medium for the trivial, but instead I’ve found a wealth of pithy observations, witty asides and links to all sorts of fascinating longer reads.


So now I’m leaving it.

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