Commentary

Over the years, I have written about several free alternatives to Microsoft Office. Many of my students cannot afford the roughly $100-plus that it costs for a student version of Microsoft Office, and a lot of senior citizens, small businesses and individuals that I work with cannot afford the $250-plus for a commercial version of Microsoft Office.

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In the past few days, there has been some controversy in the media and on the blogs about Google’s new privacy policy, Google overriding the Safari browser’s “do not track” feature, and other potential privacy issues. While many Internet users are aware that the “free” online services such as Google and Yahoo!

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If your heart, to be merry, needs a medicine as the Scripture promises, then organizers in Southeast Texas might just have the perfect prescription for you. Promised in exchange for only 59 minutes of your time is the opportunity to laugh, cry, giggle, think a bit, smile, nod, agree, wonder, realize, chuckler, muse, and even poke your neighbor in the ribs. You are also invited to clap your hands, stomp your feet, and then just laugh some more.

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Q. My apartment lease was up in December. Since that time, we have had a month-to-month agreement. I am now moving out. I gave proper notice. I am afraid my landlord will not return my security deposit. Can I require the landlord to use my security deposit for the last month’s rent?

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Q. I was walking along a street when a police officer told me to walk on the other side, or he would give me a ticket. Can a police officer actually write a ticket for walking on the wrong side of the street when there are no sidewalks?

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I plead guilty. I admit that I have sometimes deleted files that I should not have deleted. Often, I realize the mistake fairly quickly, but sometimes I am unaware of my error for several days. Since its earliest days, Windows has had a trashcan or “Recycle Bin” where deleted files are stored until the trashcan is emptied.

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We all know the old adage, “Sticks and stones can break my bones, but words can never hurt me.” Not true, in my opinion. Words can indeed be very hurtful and long remembered. I have counseled with adults in many situations who remember word for word things said to them as a mere child. Some very young children can clearly recite something that a parent or other supposedly loving adult said to them when they were younger than school age.

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This past week, three of my family members had birthdays. Rather than send them traditional paper birthday cards, or canned e-cards, I decided to do something a little different. I created a series of humorous musical videos using their faces in the videos. Some of the videos I e-mailed directly, while others were posted on Facebook as a public celebration of their birthdays. The Web site that I used to create these videos is JibJab (jibjab.com).

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Q. My family was involved in a car accident. It was the other driver’s fault. We are attempting to settle but the insurance company only wants to pay for medical bills and damage to our car, even though we went through a lot of stress and other financial loss. What can I do to have them compensate us?

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