Category Archives: On writing

So Long, Microsoft, And Thanks For All The Fish

Word Version 1.1a

Word Version 1.1a

I have been using Microsoft software since 1985 when I purchased Microsoft Word and Microsoft Multiplan for my new Zenith Z160 “portable” PC. I’ve used Word continuously for thirty years at home, at work, as a university instructor, and as a published author.

I wrote my first three books in FrameMaker, a superior but far more expensive word processor ($500 per user in 1998) as required by my publishers at the time. But by the early 2000’s most had moved to Word since Microsoft had sufficiently closed the feature gap.

I’m coming to realize that this weekend might be the last time I use Microsoft software – at home anyway (I use a PC running Windows 7 and Office for work).


Zenith Z160 portable computer

I ordered a new MacBook Pro yesterday, and it will arrive on Monday. The MBP comes with Apple’s versions of office programs, called Pages, Keynote, and Numbers. Next week I will try them out on my university teaching and on my current writing project. If it goes alright and I figure out all of the subtle differences, I will probably not purchase Office for the new Mac.

Part of this comes down to economics. Office for Mac costs $150 or more, and the same programs from Apple cost $20 apiece (if you don’t have a new Mac that came with them), or free with your Mac since some time in the past year or two.

I’ll post a review of Pages, Keynote, and Numbers in a month or so after I’ve been using them a while.

Still, I can’t help but feel somewhat nostalgic, as I’ve had Word with me nearly all of my adult life. But as the dolphins exclaim in Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, “So long, and thanks for all the fish.”

Writing more about zero-day threats

I completed a book recently (a custom pub for a private company) on advanced persistent threats, and today I’m writing another book on stopping zero-day threats using new technology that is becoming well known.

Timely stuff – I’m dealing with these topics at my day job as well. Isn’t just about everyone in the data security field?  Sure.

I have published about 34 books in 15 years. After that many books I have a pretty good system for organizing my writing, and my approach to writing a book.  Today I’m diverging from one of those habits.

I usually write the introduction last, after I’ve written the rest of the book. Today I’m writing the introduction first. Today apparently I’m thinking top-down instead of bottom-up. There are any number of reasons for this, and I’m not going to try and figure it out.  Once the words start coming out, I’m not going to examine the reason for it – instead I’m just going to let my fingers do the typing and be grateful I’m not in a fit of writer’s block – the creativity drought that new writers fear, and experienced writers are familiar with.

Well, back to work.  The words are still coming.  This book should be out in about 4-6 weeks.

LinkedIn group for Dummies book authors

There is now a LinkedIn group for authors of the popular For Dummies® book series.

You must be a published author of at least one For Dummies book. All applications will be verified.

Last lap

I am writing a 520 page academic textbook on business and data security. While I know the subject matter well, laying it out in an academic, teaching context is something I haven’t done in a while.

Of the ten core chapters in the book, I have completed nine of them. I have spent nights, weekends, and days off writing from dawn to dusk and into the night.  I began the last chapter yesterday, even while I put the finishing touches on the preceding chapter. I can see the end from here – it’s a foretaste of the accomplishment of writing an important work that will help many others in their search for knowledge.

Calling all For Dummies authors: NYC Conf Summer 2008

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Dummies Guy

[This article is about an event that occurred in the past.]

To all authors of For Dummies books: we are organizing a weekend conference to take place in New York City some time in the Summer of 2008. If you are a For Dummies author or know one, please contact me by filling in the information below.

All communication will be shared only with conference organizers.

Books that I did not write

Searches on and other online book retailers show other books by “Peter Gregory” – but I did not write these.

Japanese MaplesJapanese Maples

Timber Press Pocket Guide to Japanese Maples

Transitions of Meditation in Chinese Buddhism

Religion and Society in T’Ang and Sung China

Buddhism in the Sung

Plant Roots: Growth, Function and Interactions with the Soil

Inquiry into the Origin of HumanityInquiry Into the Origin of Humanity: An Annotated Translation of Tsung-Mi’s Yuan Jen Lun with a Modern Commentary

The Allman Brothers (Classic Rock Legends)

Court Reporting in Australia

Fall to Glory: Theological Reflections on Milton’s Epics

Industrial Wages in Chile

Let’s Look at Trucks

Noah and the Tubes

Soils in the Urban Environment

New book started

This weekend I have started another book. I took a two month writing break. I’ve been writing almost continuously since 1998, and a break is needed now and then.

I’m really excited about this project, as this is work with a new publisher, and a new type of work for me. The book – and related instructor materials – will be used in universities, community colleges, and vocational-technical schools.

I can’t talk about the book in any detail yet. I can say that it will be published in late 2008 and be available for Winter and Spring quarters in 2009.

Book weightsLike many manuscripts, it’s starting out slow.  I laid out all of my chapter files with their respective TOCs, set up my chapter status and image worksheets, and gathered my reference materials.   Some of my references exceed 1,000 pages and I’m finding that I am in need of some leather bookweights.  Right now I’m using my tape dispenser and stapler – poor substitutes indeed.