January 9th, 2015


Hitting A Hard Limit in Word 2010

It's an occupational hazard of writing SF/F, I suppose, and doubly so as you include a lot of foreign languages. But for the second time since 1986 I've run up against a hard limit in Microsoft Word -- this time specifically in Word 2010, but I don't suppose it's too different in other versions.

Dialog box comes up and says something about "Too many spelling or grammatical errors..." and that Word was going to turn off both spell check and grammar check.

I am amused that in Googling "exceed limit spell check grammar" the first real hit is for a Microsoft Word 2007 Answer from 14 September 2001:
The reason you're not seeing any wavy underlines is that Word has disabled "Check spelling as you type" and "Check grammar as you type" because you have "too many" of what it considers errors.

This can be a problem in any document that contains a lot of text that is not, strictly speaking, English (or whatever your proofing language is). That could include programming code, technical jargon, slang, unusual names, etc., and the amount Word can keep up with is at least partially dependent on your resources: amount of RAM, free space on your HD, etc.

The best workaround for this problem is to put Word out of its misery [emphasis mine] by telling it not to bother with things that don't need to be spell-checked. You do this by creating a "Do not check spelling or grammar" character style and applying it to text that is always going to be "misspelled." For instructions on doing this, see http://sbarnhill.mvps.org/WordFAQs/MasterSpellCheck.htm#ExemptingText. This will prevent Word from considering the marked text and allow it to do its job on the rest of the text; you should now be able to turn "Check spelling as you type" back on and have it flag only your actual typos
A 2013 comment suggests exactly what I was thinking:
I can't believe Microsoft has not raised the limit before this error happens by now. I am quite sure the limit is the same as it was 10+ years ago, and with today's computers, there is probably no limit required at all. And if there is, it should be at least 10, 50 or even 100 times higher than it currently is.

As it is, this is ridiculously low and shows how long it takes Microsoft to really update its software when it's not pressed by competition. All they do is change the layout and icons enough to look like an update is warranted, so we buy the newer version.

I admit I didn't try it out in 2013, but since the limit has not changed from 2002 (and maybe earlier) to 2010 versions, chances are it's still the same in 2013.

The workarounds described in the answers are a real pain and don't even work well. It is ridiculous that we should have to go through such pains for something that could be so easily fixed by Microsoft, which should have been done 10 years ago.
Pretty much two solutions -- turn off the checking or split the file. In my case I knew that my Research notes had a LOT of Danish and Norwegian, plus jargon that doesn't show up in spell check. So I saved Version 1.06 and then created Version 1.07, deleting all the Research notes and starting a new group.

Naturally that worked.

However, it does remind me that in the interests of everything, I will probably have to soon break the Trilogy file into three separate books.

I had run into this years ago, probably in Word 95, so it didn't totally shock me. Again, it was a research notes file that had gotten rather long in the tooth, so I started a new one.

Spell checker is a very useful tool. I am regularly appalled during Grade-a-thon at the end of the semester than more of my students either have it turned off, ignore it or don't even realize what the squiggly red underlines mean. I do wonder if there are hard limits to the number of words you can Add to Dictionary, because in writing SF/F you can have a LOT of words -- and the current work has a lot of non-American English spellings in it.

However, a quick Googling of "limit to add to dictionary" produced a 2010 Answer for Word 2003 (and others):
There is no size limit. The procedure for fixing this problem is given in http://support.microsoft.com/kb/291176 .
This is good to know that you can fix a corrupted custom dictionary without necessarily losing all your words. Sometimes good old .TXT files can be damned useful. (grin)

Wow -- two for two! That's probably the most satisfaction I have EVER had in one day of using Microsoft's online resources. Probably because this was more an informational search, I had already implemented my own wordaround for the initial problem, so technically I wasn't dead in the water and desperate for a solution. Remember kids, if you have a problem with a Microsoft product, use Google and not Microsoft's anemic search system. There's a reason why the first version of Microsoft Bing actually used Google to get answers. (evil-grin)

Grammar checker is more of an amusement than a requirement. When I first got the Micron 166MHz Millennia Windows 95/NT/98SE machine (HARTREE) in 1996 and installed Microsoft Word 95 Professional, grammar check imposed a heavy load on the processor, so that Word 95 was sluggish and hesitated -- not features I want in a word processor -- and I quickly turned it off. I still don't use grammar check on Word 95. But I have Word 2003 and 2010 installed on faster machines, running Windows XP and Windows 7, and so far any processing delays haven't been annoying. Not even worth opening the hood, looking at the guts and turning off grammar check.

The wavy blue underlines (used to be green in Word 95) for grammar quibbles are usually ignored -- hence the entertainment value -- but last night I saw a perfectly good phrase that it highlighted. Upon closer examination, I discovered that I had used the phrase twice in the sentence -- most likely distracted in the middle of typing while watching Project Runway: All Stars late at night -- and so it highlighted the duplicate version. The duplication wasn't obvious because the second occurrence came over a line break. Okay, my bad. Good call. You earned your paycheck for the week, grammar check.

And this is why you proofread, kids.

Anyway, hope this is of some help to someone in the future.

Dr. Phil
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Unlock a New Level

As mentioned in the previous post on limits to spell and grammar checking (DW), I had to start a new version of the YA trilogy file. And since it's Friday, might as well talk about the progress I've made.

Tuesday I had been worried that taking time out from writing The Lost Kingdom -- to do the two Christmas/New Year's short stories, prep for the Reading at ConFusion next weekend, write the WOTF Q1 story for 12/31, and work on other new and old short stories for The Mass Assault on Markets 2015 -- would leave me with nothing to think about. But... not the case. During the night I had gotten up at 3:30am to go the bathroom and knew that by the time I came back I had a story fragment, with historical dates and names, that I had to write down lest I forget. Currently by the bed on my side we have a Christmas light laden glass block which I like to keep on all night during Christmas or early winter... And in the tiny dresser that I brought back from Wendy, I had put in a pad and a pen for just such an event. Alas, the pen was ultra cheap, which is why I put it in there, and didn't want to write much. Still, in the morning I had my notes for telling stories to children in Maine. And before I got a chance to sit down at ZEPPELIN and do more writing, I had yet another scene to go -- this one with the coins on the eyes of the old man who'd died in Maine, which was why we were there in the first place.

In times past, when I had a brainstorm, I'd just pad out to the living room and write notes out there. But, with the damned leg, much better to minimize the random walking around in the dark with two canes. (grin) So keep a flashlight, pen and paper by the bed, kids. Oh, and I now have TWO working pens by the mini dresser. (double-grin)

No problem with the story spigot from brain to hard drive right now...

When you are really cooking, writing can be such fun!

Researches, mostly about Norway, include: The 15 window VW Microbus. A Danish progressive metal band called Royal Hunt. The 1938 Leica IIIb 35mm camera and the first real 35mm rolls of Kodachrome slide film. Extra leg room seat locations in American Airlines 737-200 Domestic MCE 31”, US Airways Canadair RJ200, Embraer RJ-175 and 757-200 V3. The Four Points by Sheraton Hotel Airport Bangor ME. The 2015 GMC Acadia Denali SUV. Unionized McDonald's workers in Denmark making about $21/hour. Also Norway. Ludvig's Bruktbokhandel used book, records, videos and comics store in Bodø, Norway. Regular church attendance in Norway is less than 5%. Norwegian holidays are generally celebrated on the day before, e.g. Christmas Eve. Norway is a member of the Schengen Agreement. Minipris discount Norwegian Railway tickets online. Norway has no high speed rail system, except to the Oslo airport. Norwegian toll roads use AutoPay, you register your plate number. With heavy snows, some roads you must follow special plows -- kolonnekjøring. 91% of Norwegians speak fluent English. There are 7-Elevens in Norway. Norwegians eat a lot of frozen pizza. Most Norwegian aquavits are spiced with caraway and anise. 18 for beer, 20 for spirits. Norway has a unified police force ("politi"). A Norwegian mile, mil, is exactly 10 km. There are only about 70 European brown bears in Norway. Only 3 people killed by bears in Scandinavia in the last hundred years. Admiralty Island in Alaska has 1600 bears in 1646.4 sq. mi. Names related to Jove. 3200 miles from Bangor to Bodø. The regicide of Mary, Queen of Scots.

I am trying to find out if there’s a term for “princicide” -- Yahoo! Answers had this from 8 years ago: Regicide if it's a reigning royal. Queen Elizabeth's murder would be regicide, but Prince Phillip(sic) would just get plain old assassinated.

Yahoo! UK 6 years ago had: Regicide is the murder of the regnant or monarch. It would not technically apply to the murder of the reigning monarchs spouse as that person does not hold the title in their own right. For instance in the UK Queen Elizabeth II is the queen regnant meaning she holds the title in her own right and is not the spouse of a reigning monarch. The killing of other members of a royal family is simply murder.

So there's that.

At the time of the new file version, the shiny counters read:

The Lost Kingdom Project YA Trilogy Version 1.06 (01-07-15 We)

Book 1 (starts page 80 -- hence the need to cut Research notes)

Book 2 (starts page 315)

Book 3 (starts page 510)

The Lost Kingdom Fourth Novel Version 1.03

*** Note: the numbers for Books 1-3 don’t add up, because there is text which is in a section which hasn't been assigned to a Book and Chapter yet. **** Note2: Page numbers are subjective. I do not write in Standard Manuscript Format, so this is Book Antiqua 12, single spaced, extra space between paragraphs, 1¼” margins for readability.

And the current shiny counter:

The Lost Kingdom Project YA Trilogy Version 1.07

Since I started the new version, I have passed another milestone -- 150,000 words for the trilogy.

That's three NaNoWriMo "novels", and approaching the point where I can realistically see the end of the first drafts of Books 1 and 2. Books 3 and 4, of course, need lots more. But, there is plenty of story left to tell, I assure you.

It may even be worth reading. (huge-authorial-grin)

Dr. Phil

PS -- 01/09/15 16:49 Fri -- A heartbeat skip moment -- was just doing the Copy Paste Paste of the word count line when Word 2010 on ZEPPELIN suddenly announced that Word had stopped working and that Microsoft was looking to find a solution. This. Is. Never. A. Good. Sign. Then it said that Word was restarting and I got a (Recovered) .doc file. Usually when I get a Recovered file in Word 95/97 I have better luck using the last Saved Backup file – but this time it actually was the right stuff, as near as I can tell, because it included the last line I typed before the fail. Well, kudos for Windows 7/Word 2010 -- you actually worked like you were supposed to, other than the whole stopped working for no apparent reason thingie. Moral of the story, save early and often. And even though automatic backups are engaged, saving before doing anything major or completing one’s work is probably a good idea. And this is also why I have backups on flash drives and other machines. And sometimes in Gmail sent to myself...
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The phone rang. GVSU is closed. By 6:17am, they had emailed the alert:
All GVSU campuses closed Friday, January 9, 2015. Only essential staff report.
That's all right. Mrs. Dr. Phil was going to spend at least part of the day working on a report from home. So from my point of view, they got a bonus. (grin)

Meanwhile, I was writing up a storm this afternoon. Not the 15" reported by GVSU, just busy with the novel.

Not an End of the World storm, but high winds, poor visibility, possible 6-10" of snow, whiteout conditions, previous ice. Nervous after last winter? Maybe. But we're cold enough that the suddenly more expensive salt isn't going to work, and there's ice.

I had a 1pm dentist appointment, but although traffic was rolling on the road, we didn't know the drifts just in our driveway. More worrisome is the layer of ice underneath the snow that's caused so many problems around here -- and frankly I can't afford to lose my imperfect footing. For on thing, if I fall, it is very difficult to get up. So I rescheduled around 11. By 1pm, the horizontal blowing was something else.

And when we turned on The Chew while we watched lunch, there was a crawl on the screen about I-94 just east of Kalamazoo -- closed in both directions. 115 -- later 150 -- now 193 -- vehicles involved in massive accident. One of the semis was filled with acid, another with explosives. Fireworks. And they were cooking off. A three mile evacuation zone was put in effect for a few hours. No, it was a one mile exclusion zone for vehicles and a shelter-in-place for residents and businesses. One killed, 22 wounded including two fire fighters. -11°F wind chills at 11pm. 123 drivers. Might have things open in the morning. No doubt there's more and these mega collisions in whiteout or fog conditions makes you wonder just what the Sam hell people are thinking. This stretch is one that I hate even under good conditions -- more thoughts on that later.

But that's the kind of storm we were having.

My first gen digital Nikons aren't great at snow storm pictures. Don't have the dynamic range. But I record things anyway, then inflict them on you -- can't ignore it.

Oh look! There's a drift outside the garage. Six, eight inches... uh and it's a quarter of an inch a foot later. Winds, capricious. (Click on photo for larger.)
©2015 Dr. Philip Edward Kaldon (All Rights Reserved)

That's our neighbor across the road way off in the distance plowing his driveway -- he came and did ours an hour or so later. Thanks. (Click on photo for larger.)
©2015 Dr. Philip Edward Kaldon (All Rights Reserved)

The snow makes neat sculptures in the wind, but not good light for the D100. (Click on photo for larger.)
©2015 Dr. Philip Edward Kaldon (All Rights Reserved)

Back yard with heavy icing on the trees. It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas. (Click on photo for larger.)
©2015 Dr. Philip Edward Kaldon (All Rights Reserved)

Snow ends on Saturday -- still near zero -- then Allendale and Detroit forecasts are sunny or partly sunny through a week from Sunday. Oh really? Wonderful for ConFusion!

Dr. Phil
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