Thursday, October 3, 2013

One Small Step

Since we’ve been discussing how to get out from under the thumb of Micro-Nasty, there’s one more step to your complete makeover

You’ve probably been living with Publisher and paying through the nose for it. It is once again the dominant program for desk-top publishing and there isn’t much of a way to get around it. Or is there?

Sure, we just have to download another Linux developed program.

Now this little plucker will do all of the things Publisher will do and do it for free, isn’t that what you really want to hear?

So go here and download the version you need.

Yes there are a bunch of them and if you use Windows you are probably confused cause they never tell you which Bit your Operating System is cause they are afraid you will actually understand the OS and then you won’t have to call tech support every time the Blue Screen of Death pops up and you won’t be terrified and you will not shake in your boots and you won’t ever try anything new, which is why they do that whole Blue Screen of Death thingy anyway.

So here’s the news, if you are running XP, you have a 32 bit system. That’s not one hundred percent but so close that it will work for the majority of you guys.

If you are running Windows 7 or 8 then you have a 64 bit system and why are you reading this anyway cause they aren’t going to shut down those systems anytime soon and you can just keep on Windowsing like you have been doing and that will be just fine until the introduce Windows 9 or 10 or 11 when everything you have learned up to this point will become obsolete.

So back to the bit thing, XP has two versions, 32 and 64 bit and if you don’t like my short version where all XP set ups are 32 bit, you can do this…

It will automatically tell you if you are running a 32 bit or 64 bit system, isn’t that nice?

So now you know how to figure out what system you are running you can go back to Scribus and download the correct version.

When you have done that go to wherever you store downloads and click on the installation files. This is much funer than the setup for Ubuntu cause it doesn’t reformat your system even if you didn’t pay any attention and are still running Windows. It loads the program on to your drive and adds an icon to the desktop so you don’t even have to search for it. Neater than sliced bread.

Now you have the program up and you are wondering what the hell to do with it.

Anything that you would have used publisher for, that’s what to do with it.

Okay, disclaimer time, I have never used Publisher and seldom use all of the formatting tools in Word or in Open Office since I am trying to stay away from programs which cost a bunch of money and have the checks go running all the way back to Bellevue. So I don’t know all of the ins and outs of running Publisher but I have worked with Scribus and it is a program that is well worth the effort of learning.

What did I do to learn it?

I put together a little chap book. Now for those of you who do not write poetry and have never tried to get your poems published it ain’t a job for softies.

There are very few publishers of poetry and even fewer of them pay in anything other than copies, so what’s a poet to do?

Put together a chap book and flog it around to any place where they feel sorry enough to let you put it on the counter.

And that is what I did to learn my way around the program so that I could tell you it ain’t all that hard. And I can tell you, “It ain’t all that hard.”

I spent a total of four hours over two days working my way around the innards of Scribus. There are a few things that are not easy but then that happens with any program. When you get the feel of it the program is a pleasure to work with.

Now one of the tricky things about making a chap book is that it has to be printed double sided and you have to be able to lay-out the text so that it will print on both sides of the paper. Scribus makes this relatively easy by using side by side image viewing, so that you can see the pages in the order that they will be printed.

You can see through the page cause I used very light weight paper so ya'll could see through the papers and that way see that there is text on both sides of the paper but just in case that doesn't seem so clear to you I scanned in another sheet behind the first sheet on a diagonal so that you could not only see through the paper but see the text on the other side cause it is on a slant, dontcha see?
I did the cover using a very simple format but Scribus is capable of doing many more complex mark-ups so play with it a bit and see if you can’t come up with something really slick and glossy looking.

The rest of the tale is simple, if you are running XP and don’t want to deal with the expense of buying a new computer and all new programs, switch to Ubuntu and try Scribus. Even if you are staying with the high priced spread Scribus has a lot to offer and it’s free. Now that is a bargain you won’t run into very often.

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