How to delete a blank page at the end of a Word document

I can’t even count how many times I’ve had a blank page stuck in the end of my Word documents and fought endlessly to get rid of them. Well today I figured out what’s going on and how to do it.

Word can stick a final paragraph in, especially after a table, and that’s what ends up on that last blank page. To get rid of it:

  1. Click on the ‘file’ tab then go into your options and in the display area make sure ‘Show all formatting marks’ is checked.
  2. Select the marker for that final paragraph
  3. Right click on the selection and click ‘paragraph’
  4. In the ‘spacing’ category set both the before and after spacing to 0
  5. With the paragraph marker still selected click on the font size and type 1 (it’s not on the little dropdown list of font sizes you can select so you have to type it in).

This has fixed it for me many times – but not always. If that doesn’t work, you can still see where that final paragraph marker is that is forcing the last page to show up so then you can try things like making other paragraphs on the last page smaller or make the bottom margin a bit smaller.

Microsoft has confirmed that they are downloading Windows 10 to users machines without their consent

Microsoft confirmed today that they Windows 10 is being downloaded to computers whether or not users have opted in and without notifying users. An article in The Inquirer quotes Microsoft as saying:

For individuals who have chosen to receive automatic updates through Windows Update, we help upgradable devices get ready for Windows 10 by downloading the files they’ll need if they decide to upgrade.

In other words, ask for it or not Microsoft is going to drop a 6gb file on your machine – whether or not you have the room for it, and regardless of what kind of internet connection you’re paying for.

So my question is, after watching people lose their minds when Apple automatically downloaded an album of free music, how did they think this would go? Did no one there think that pushing a giant operating system image to people’s computers without notification wouldn’t upset people?? Arguing that this will be more convenient for users doesn’t come anywhere near justifying the hubris of this move, and Microsoft has done their reputation a great deal of easily avoided damage.

Canadian net neutrality debate misses the point (so far).

The Canadian Radio-Television Telecommunication Commission (CRTC) will wade this week into the muddy waters of net neutrality. The familiar voices of industry and privacy/tech advocates have started the predictable debate, but it seems that – in true Canadian fashion – both sides are missing the boat.

Canadian Debate heats up

Canadian Debate heats up

Net neutrality is, at its heart, a debate about whether or not Internet service providers (ISPs) should be able to control its customers’ Internet usage, setting limits on how much of certain activities are allowed, and even prioritize sites or ads that come from sponsors of the ISP.

The debate has raged in the US for a few years now (see the condensed version here) but has only heated up earnest recently in Canada.

The debate has become increasingly shrill on both sides, with ISPs winning the disingenuous rhetoric award thus far. In fact, as Michael Geist accurately points out, industry is even trying to claim throttling is required for their very survival – and doing so after recently claiming that throttling of this nature is not even possible.

What is unclear to me about this debate is why the loudest voice from both sides isn’t simple disclosure.

I use the Internet at home to stream HD movies from Xbox live, to backup several gigabytes worth of data, to play video games – collectively making me easily the biggest consumer of bandwidth on my block. So why shouldn’t I pay more than others using the same service, but using it less?

If my ISP wants to throttle how much of their bandwidth I hog, why shouldn’t they be able to do so?

But if they’re going to charge me more or limit my access, they better damn well tell me before I ever sign a contract or get a bill from them. Full disclosure, in language that even the worst luddite can understand, should be an ironclad requirement of allowing any of these measures.

If my ISP tells me they’re going to cut me off at 5Gb of downloads a month, that’s fine – I’ll find a new one. If they want to charge me more because I am such a hog, that’s great – I’ll look around to see if there is a cheaper option for me.

But the cornerstone of this policy has to be openness. The first time an ISP tries to sneak in a restriction or an extra fee, there must be harsh and immediate consequences.

In a debate that is becoming increasingly heated and polarizing, this seems to me to be a solution that should please both sides.

Is app convergence the next major tech trend?

I stumbled across two, unrelated services that seem to be harbingers of one of the biggest tech trends in the next few years.

Digsby - social media and communications convergence

Digsby – social media and communications convergence

The first is an app called Digsby that is a handy little tool that looks a lot like a standard instant messenger (IM) interface. What makes it unique is the fact that it integrates MSN Messenger, AIM, ICQ, Yahoo and others. I’ve seen that much before, but this great little tool also monitors social media accounts on Facebook, Twitter, MySpace and LinkedIn. It even allows you to monitor Gmail, Hotmail and other email accounts – including standard pop3 or imap accounts.

I’ve got accounts set up on most of these services, so people can pretty much reach me any way they want, now. Surprisingly, despite all this, my best efforts, and my abrasive personality, I still have people who want to call me. For that, I’ve got a home phone, a business phone, a personal cell phone and a work cell.

Which is where Google Voice comes in. With the new GV service you get one local number that you can answer on any of those phones. The service is still in development, but early reviews are suggesting that, aside from a few bugs, it works pretty much as advertised.

The staggered and uneven transition from MySpace to Facebook to Twitter – even among those who aren’t especially tech savvy – makes a pretty good case for these kinds of convergence apps. More and more services are being made available, quite often for free, and people seem more inclined than ever to give them a try.

But they’re not all moving to the same place, or at the same pace. So while I might be on Facebook, I’ve left behind friends at MySpace – and some colleagues on LinkedIn may still not be using Twitter.

As more services emerge offering slightly different features, the number of accounts and websites that I need (want, I suppose) to monitor is growing. The ability to communicate regardless of the sites and tools my friends and colleagues use is a very attractive one.

The next big thing? Maybe.

A very handy group of tools and services? Definitely.

All politics is local – and now it’s social too

If there is a politician or elected official in the Western world who thinks that they don’t need to be aware of social media after the recent Iranian elections, I’d be quite surprised. Its true that many politicians are (wilfully?) ignorant of technology and social media, but even the most ardent luddite cannot help but notice the opportunities presented by these tools.

There is an outside chance that even after President Obama brilliantly displayed the value of social media in his campaign some politicians might still have not seen the value of these tools. The way that social media has shed light on recent Iranian elections, however, should leave no room for doubt with anyone who thinks they should hold elected office.

In an election of questionable legitimacy that has lead to unquestionably brutal police tactics, the one tool that was effectively able to draw world attention was social media. Twitter saw thousands of posts right from Tehran, YouTube ended up with saddeningly graphic videos, blogs were posted by those who voted and were intimidated by state police thugs – and all over the world minds were changed and hearts were won over.

In real-time, supporters of Mir Hussein Mousavi were able to show what was happening in a visceral way that allowed people all over the world to form deeply-held views on events that they would likely have never heard of otherwise.

So what is the lesson in all this for candidates running for office in our communities, thousands of miles away? Simply, it is that they ignore these tools at their own peril – or at least that of their campaign. And that the availability of immediate and free tools with which to communicate to supporters are finally here.

Imagine the power of being able to deliver a quick message to all of your supporters in response to a negative ad or news item. And wouldn’t it help to significantly improve event attendance if there was a way to remind supporters a few hours before an event? What if you could establish a dialogue with potential voters that allowed you to get your message out, and that was also monitored by local media.

While these are just a few of the potential uses of social media in election campaigns – keep in mind that these tools are largely free. There are numerous ways to set up a free blog, and Twitter, Facebook and YouTube don’t charge anything for accounts.

The only downside? Time.

For a candidate or campaign that wants to make the most of these tools, it is almost too late to start once the campaign is on. All of these tools are based on electronic relationships, and just like in the real world, it is to late to start cultivating them when you need them.

So in the end, the real lesson here is that for candidates considering running for office at some point in their lives, there is no time like the present to get started using social media.