Friday, June 16, 2006

OpenOffice.org -- Again Shows its usefulness

I met many very nice people at the DC Kotesol conference back around the time I first got back to Korea. We talked about and shared our knowledge on doing presentations with Microsoft.

Then, as oft happens, somebody, everybody started asking how to do this or that. Many people were trying to be helpful by saying "you click on the file menu and then chose (T)" but generally people were finding themselves frustrated, as often happens when we try to use Microsoft software here in Korea.

First of all, the menus are in Korean -- this does not help much. Then when you manage to lay your hands on some facsimile of an English version, it turns out to be from Saudi Arabia or some such which means that it only kind of supports English but really all of the menus are in Arabic, or Sanskrit or somesuch. It is bad enough to have to navigate Korean menus but with the Arabic, or whatever, most software programs just show heaps of question marks.

All of the question marks makes life extremely difficult of course and then you just want to go back to the Korean menus since most foreigners in Korea can read at least a little Korean.

So, I was wondering why so few people seem to have twigged onto OpenOffice.org and their wonderful little package of multi-language supported software programs. Along with quite a few smiles and jokes I also walked out of that conference with several email addresses with hopeful people, expectantly waiting for me to send them the software or at least the link for the amazing, free, English software that they each wished that they had found before they had all of their troubles with Korean computers and Microsoft software tailored to the Korean language.

Speaking on the subject of computers, I'm constantly reminded that computer literacy seems to be a rare commodity. People do not know how to download files, how to install software or even how to edit simple picture files. My patience in general are running very thin, but I'm trying my best to keep from biting the heads off of the people that I am trying to help. Only my present roommates in Korea can tell you if I am successful. I think their opinion would be mixed.

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