Tag Archives: word

Academic Writing Standards (for my Chinese students)

8 Dec

Few reminders for professional or academic writing style of the West.

If you are submitting documents (like graduate school papers, academic papers, professional business documents), there are certain generally expected standards.  For example, 

  • Times New Roman font
  • Size 12
  • Double Spaced (for academic papers)
  • 1″ (2.54cm) margins on ALL sides

The problem is most Chinese writing programs I have seen (including Word and WPS) do not do these methods automatically. I have often had my students complain that their professors marked them down for “formatting” and they aren’t sure why.  The problem is, most programs I’ve worked with here do 3cm margins by default. And they “double space” with a special button checked called “snap to grid” that distorts the spacing.  I highly recommend checking your document ahead of time before submission.  If you fix those two issues, a paper that was supposed to be 8-10 pages is suddenly 6-7 pages.  Go to “Page Layout” -> “Margins” and make SURE it’s 2.54.  Click the spacing button and look at your “options.” Make sure the “snap to grid” button is NOT checked. 

China Tools: Kingsoft v. Microsoft Word

12 Mar

The first time you get a WPS document, it throws you off a bit. For three weeks, the other professor kept telling me the students were sending in their homework on bad files and the students insisted otherwise. It took us that long to figure out it was a problem of software.

In America, we pretty consistently use Microsoft Office for our office needs. Maybe Apple users pick up a few other programs, but Microsoft Powerpoint, Word, and Excel have been staples in our systems for decades. But a new program is catching up, and it has Microsoft at a disadvantage.

The new system is called “Kingsoft” and it offers alternatives to Word (Writer), Powerpoint (Presentation), and Excel (Spreadsheet).  And the programs are highly competitive!

Right now, you can get the Office 2014 version for FREE! Yes, that’s right, FREE! Compare that to the current going rate for Microsoft Office, and clearly the price is totally right.

Then there’s the fact that it actually works faster than Microsoft. I was recently running Excel and Spreadsheet at the same time with the same program. Excel kept glitching and trying to “process” that much data. It moved slowly and clunkily.  Spreadsheet has a smooth feel, never stumbled no matter how many rows or columns I added, and just processed everything faster. The difference in the save time is mind-blowing.

I also like that the Kingsoft programs open files in Tabs, like browsers now do. So I don’t have 18 different boxes open on the taskbar, instead I just move easily back and forth between tabs to compare notes.  

Kingsoft has a boatload of templates, many of which has really sleek designs and feel. It offers everything I ever used on Microsoft, and has extra perks that I really appreciate. So I haven’t exactly done a complete comparison, and I can’t say that they are basically identical. But I’ve used this system for about 7 months now and I’ve never been missing a function or tool that I needed.  

So I’m definitely making the switch to Kingsoft from Microsoft. I just like it better. But sadly, a lot of Americans still don’t know about this option. Come on guys, it’s free!


**PS, I get no $$$ or support or anything from Kingsoft for this; they’ve never heard of me and never will. It’s an honest-to-heaven review of a program I love. I’m tired of paying big bucks for Microsoft only to loose the download cd or the “product code” or to have it crash. Kingsoft is a free download. I love it!

Yours, Mine, and Ours: The Elgin Marbles and the Power of One Word

26 Mar


The Parthenon

The artistry is exquisite; the detailing impressive.  Built from 447 B.C. to 432 B.C. when such a building was truly a monument to the creativity and abilities of the Greeks, the Parthenon’s beauty has survived generations and centuries to remind the world of the power of human ingenuity.  Carefully built upon a solid foundation of limestone and painstakingly elaborated with carvings of Pentelic Marble, the Parthenon has 46 separate columns surrounding the building. Above those columns, dozens of detailed marble plaques were embedded in the roof (1).  It is these plaques that have been the center of so much debate in recent years (1).  You can actually still see in the photo below the places where these embedded marbles used to be. Continue reading

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