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Child Abuse Verdict Held Back By MS Word Glitch

samzenpus posted about 4 years ago | from the messy-verdict dept.

Microsoft 191

An anonymous reader writes "Last week several defendants including one high-profile TV presenter were sentenced in Portugal in what has been known as the Casa Pia scandal. The judges delivered on September 3 a summary of the 2000-page verdict, which would be disclosed in full only three days later. The disclosure of the full verdict has been postponed from September 8 to a yet-to-be-announced date, allegedly because the full document was written in several MS Word files which, when merged together, retained 'computer related annotations which should not be present in any legal document.' (Google translated article.) Microsoft specialists were called in to help the judges sort out the 'text formatting glitch,' while the defendants and their lawyers eagerly wait to access the full text of the verdict."

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If they'd been using (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33551398)

OpenOffice, would it be news here?

Re:If they'd been using (4, Funny)

qbast (1265706) | about 4 years ago | (#33551410)

Sure. Judge actually using OpenOffice would be newsworthy here.

Re:Insane!!! (1, Interesting)

miknix (1047580) | about 4 years ago | (#33551694)

I'm Portuguese and I'm really surprised they are using Microsoft tools (Word I guess) for this. The thing gets even more stupid when we think the trial is running since 2004 and when the entire country was expecting the final ruling, the process lagged a while more because of what it seems a Microsoft related glitch. More, (from another TFA http://dn.sapo.pt/inicio/portugal/interior.aspx?content_id=1660098 [dn.sapo.pt] ) - they had to call some Microsoft "specialists" hired by the ministry of justice to help with the problem.

They should all be put in fetal position and slapped, then learn LaTeX or any other serious typesetting software.

Re:Insane!!! (1)

DarkKnightRadick (268025) | about 4 years ago | (#33551750)

typesetting software is over kill for a document whose final form should be a pdf

Re:Insane!!! (1)

zippthorne (748122) | about 4 years ago | (#33552082)

Typesetting software is precisely the appropriate level of software for a document whose final form should be pdf. Page Layout software however really is overkill for a document over one page indented to convey information primarily through the actual text.

Re:Insane!!! (1)

DarkKnightRadick (268025) | about 4 years ago | (#33552154)

How is MS Word page layout software? It's a word processor. Just like OOo. LaTeX is useful if the final form is for printing and layout is absolutely critical (such as magazines, scientific documents with lots of formulas, newspapers, etc.). For legal documents, MS Word or OOo is sufficient.

Re:Insane!!! (1)

sortius_nod (1080919) | about 4 years ago | (#33552458)

By the seems of things... Word is not sufficient.

Re:Insane!!! (1)

ultranova (717540) | about 4 years ago | (#33552246)

Typesetting software is precisely the appropriate level of software for a document whose final form should be pdf. Page Layout software however really is overkill for a document over one page indented to convey information primarily through the actual text.

No, a text editor is what should be used here. Typesetting software is for converting the document from text to PDF.

Re:Insane!!! (1)

Mitchell314 (1576581) | about 4 years ago | (#33552372)

I agree, though I would have said to use a non-binary file format. Like html so you still have formatting. And if your editing software goes belly up and/or there's a formatting error, you can still pull the bugger up in a text editor.

Re:Insane!!! (0, Troll)

X0563511 (793323) | about 4 years ago | (#33551914)

So it's taken them 6 years to pick through a 2000 page document, 'cleaning out the computer related annotations'?

A single person could have had this cleaned up in a month or two with plenty of sanity to spare :/

Re:Insane!!! (2, Insightful)

zippthorne (748122) | about 4 years ago | (#33552084)

Can you even *have* a 2k page Word document without tremendous compute resources?

Re:Insane!!! (1)

neural.disruption (1290844) | about 4 years ago | (#33551960)

Well you never entered a court or any other public service then, most of them still use XP, and knowing Ms Office is almost requisition to work there.

Re:Insane!!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33552066)

Looks like M$ astroturfers are out today, I feel bad for you.

Were they using Word? (1)

jginspace (678908) | about 4 years ago | (#33551422)

FYI, TFA only mentions 'Microsoft', no mention of 'Word'.

Re:Were they using Word? (1)

angiasaa (758006) | about 4 years ago | (#33551466)

FYI, TFA only mentions 'Microsoft', no mention of 'Word'.

Good catch! :)

Frankly, I would'nt be surprised if they were fiddling with Notepad or WordPad or some such potent MS text editor.
I for one love the way it Eff's around with text formatting when these apps are maximized and restored on XP/Vista/Blah.

Re:Were they using Word? (1)

oldmac31310 (1845668) | about 4 years ago | (#33551542)

Sorry to say that Microsoft is synonymous with Word. For many Word is MS and vice versa. Type that up in Microsoft and print it out. Make sure it is in Times. Everybody likes Times. It is really readable. Oh and for the cafeteria memo, type that up in Microsoft and do it in Comic Sans...in pink or something nice for the ladies. It's a bit more freindly (sp) than Times. Knock yourself out guy!

Re:Were they using Word? (1)

HAKdragon (193605) | about 4 years ago | (#33551722)

You're giving me flash backs from when I used to work Help Desk. I can't count the number of times people would call up because they couldn't see their Word documents or why their Word document wouldn't open properly in Excel (or vice versa).

Re:Were they using Word? (1)

angiasaa (758006) | about 4 years ago | (#33552228)

Actually, I'd say it was kinda the other way round.. Word is synonymous with MS Word. Not MS.

In all my experience, people have referred to it as "Type that out in Word and copy it out to me before sending it for a print" and blah.. All we know for sure is that MS was called on for help of some sort. We aren't even sure it was about an MS product. :)

Re:Were they using Word? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33551634)

If formatting was the issue, why aren't they writing the document in latex?

Re:Were they using Word? (1, Funny)

Anne Thwacks (531696) | about 4 years ago | (#33552096)

Cos Latex gloves cause allergies in pubic employees, and the union would strike!

Re:If they'd been using (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33551478)

If they'd been using OpenOffice, this probably wouldn't have happened, so no.

Re:If they'd been using (4, Informative)

TheRaven64 (641858) | about 4 years ago | (#33551678)

Correct. If they'd been using OpenOffice.org, they'd have turned off the change tracking feature in disgust after the third time the computer paused for several seconds while making a minor edit and gone back to making a secretary manually merge the documents.

I've never used this feature in MS Office, so I don't know if it's any better, but it's an absolute disaster in OO.o. So bad, in fact, that the last project I was on, they decided to move to LaTeX for the next version because change management is easier and they decided the time spent learning LaTeX would be less than the time wasted with OO.o.

Re:If they'd been using (3, Informative)

ozmanjusri (601766) | about 4 years ago | (#33551748)

I use this in Open Office all the time without problems.

What version were you using, and was it with Word or ODF documents?

Microsoft's fault (1, Flamebait)

LinuxIsGarbage (1658307) | about 4 years ago | (#33551768)

So it's Microsoft's fault that people can't use the software?

Re:Microsoft's fault (-1, Troll)

Runaway1956 (1322357) | about 4 years ago | (#33551812)

Yes, it's Microsoft's fault that you have to spend 3 or more years in high school learning how to produce a simple document, and another two years or more in college learning how to make more complex documents. Who else would you blame?

Re:Microsoft's fault (2, Insightful)

neural.disruption (1290844) | about 4 years ago | (#33551984)

Yes, it's Microsoft's fault that you have to spend 3 or more years in high school learning how to produce a simple document, and another two years or more in college learning how to make more complex documents. Who else would you blame?

Of course I think colleges everywhere should create a MS Word PHD, for those poor users that after 10 years using a computer don't know that caps lock is the cause of their text being all in uppercase.

Re:Microsoft's fault (1)

Runaway1956 (1322357) | about 4 years ago | (#33552148)

Slashdot needs a simpler moderation system. Just a "like" and "dislike" button, like some forums have. Yeah, I have mod points, but I've run my mouth here already, and can't mod you up, LOL

Re:Microsoft's fault (1)

BradleyUffner (103496) | about 4 years ago | (#33552682)

Yes, it's Microsoft's fault that you have to spend 3 or more years in high school learning how to produce a simple document, and another two years or more in college learning how to make more complex documents. Who else would you blame?

This doesn't sound like a "Simple Document" at all. It's over 2000 pages, composed of multiple merged documents, probably hyper-linked internally between documents.

If they'd been using Open Office (1)

thethibs (882667) | about 4 years ago | (#33552872)

It depends. Does OpenOffice have change tracking and commenting?

What happened here is they forgot to turn off Track Changes and, possibly, forgot to delete comments.

It's what happens when you use a word processor like a mechanical typewriter. The problem is not the tool, it's the organization that failed to train its people.

Re:If they'd been using (1)

YetAnotherBob (988800) | about 4 years ago | (#33552928)

No, because it wouldn't have happened.

But, for a long document, Lyx would be better.

2000 pages... (3, Informative)

geogob (569250) | about 4 years ago | (#33551430)

But who would ever think of using word to typeset a 2000 page document build from multiple sources. All my experiences with MS Word tell me that this is going to be a nightmare how ever you try to do it and what ever the content of the document is.

Re:2000 pages... (1)

oldmac31310 (1845668) | about 4 years ago | (#33551602)

Yes you are completely right. Just the other day I got a friggin' word doc I had to fill out and return and the damn thing was trying to change the normal.dot or what ever that stupid thing is. Which if I accepted would change the formatting of all four of the .docs I grudgingly allow to stay on my hard drive. How would such a scenario work for someone receiving a plague of .docs on their computer and trying to compile and edit them all?

Word is the worst abomination - its clones are probably nearly as bad as they all do all of the same wrong things.

You ask - who would ever think of this? I have done production work on University level textbooks for a major text book publisher and all - yes ALL of the new materials from the Professors at the colleges that I had to reflow into existing textbook material was in what format? In Design? Quark? No, no, no. Word. Fucking word. Even the most intelligent are the most brainless when it comes to things outside their area of expertise. People just don't know how screwed up it is.

I have had writers ask me without no hint of irony what the best format would be for them to set their text if they were to self publish - i.e. have their text plate ready for the printer - invariably before I have been able to answer they will say - Word, right? WRONG!

Re:2000 pages... (4, Informative)

erroneus (253617) | about 4 years ago | (#33551654)

Work Perfect had it about right and this is part of the reason why those who operate in the legal community stayed with Word Perfect for as long as they could. Formatting in legal documents simply must be precise. Work Perfect allowed "low level" editing of formats to prevent that from happening.

On an almost regular basis, I have MS Word users dealing with company documents working with a particular template who, for inexplicable reasons end up with an extra page in the document so that a 5 page document says "page 5 of 6" in the header. For whatever reason, though, when the blank page gets removed, the formatting disappears with it and the whole template formatting is destroyed.

One might argue "the template is wrong" or that the user is doing it wrong somehow. Either of these may be true, but the fact is, they are unable to correct the errors just by looking at them because strange and unexpected things happen when different things are inserted and deleted.

In any case, Word Perfect has historically manages Word Perfect documents of all sizes without much trouble.

Re:2000 pages... (1)

oldmac31310 (1845668) | about 4 years ago | (#33551702)

does word perfect only have times and courier as available fonts? If so that would explain the ugly legal stuff I have had to read in recent months. I think they should just set all legal documents in Comic Sans to highlight how playful the realities they abstractly describe in funky legalese are going to affect the lives of the parties involved. Why not some glitter and kiss-cut my little pony stickers to lighten it up? The lawyers are idiots and the judges are just lawyers that got promotions. Call me cynical. I am!

Re:2000 pages... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33551958)

I agree with the Grandparent that WP in its day was much better than Word. I never encountered a formatting problem in WP that I could not quickly fix by editing the formatting information manually.

Back in those days, various word processing applications shipped with only a few fonts, and to get extra fonts, you had to pay a lot.
Say, 800 for WP or Word itself, 500 for the extra fonts.

There also existed a couple of other word processing applications around that were better than both WP and Word, but sadly most of those were wiped off the market. Say, in 1991 I bought a word processing software from a small German software vendor that came with
o a well designed font editor, where you could quickly create additional fonts (I created some special fonts that supported diacritics)
o a plethora of special purpose fonts, for example for mathematics (including a formula editor that actually worked), chemistry, and music sheets
o per page and per paragraph formatting (you could use up to 20 fonts per page, but the list of those 20 fonts was a per page list; you could use 20 different fonts on the next page)
o and it didn't have any problem handling a document of hundreds of pages.

Re:2000 pages... (1)

Anne Honime (828246) | about 4 years ago | (#33551762)

WP has never been as big in Europe as it was in the US. Using a wordprocessor was almost unheard of in the legal circles circa 1990 when I was a law student (typing was what secretary were hired for, and they still used selectrics), and it finally made inroads into the practices at the same time as windows 3.1, so default fell on word.

Re:2000 pages... (1)

Anne Honime (828246) | about 4 years ago | (#33551740)

I'd gladly mod you up if I had points. I did once what you describe, merging various sources from many authors using almost all flavours of word between them into a single document for publishing. It was a nightmare. The only way I managed to do it in the end was with openoffice.org. And I still had hours of fun quashing encoding variations between word for windows and word for mac, like quotation marks being straight on windows and angled on mac, which is terribly difficult to spot on screen but shows like a nose in the middle of a face in print.

Word is the epitome of what *not* to do as a wordprocessor. Those responsible for this mess should be drawn, hanged and quartered.

Re:2000 pages... (4, Insightful)

cptdondo (59460) | about 4 years ago | (#33551976)

It's "Hang, draw, and quarter". They would "hang" you but not drop you as they do in modern times, so your neck would not break, and presumably you would still be somewhat alive after hanging. Then they would "draw" you - take you down, and then they would tie each limb to a horse, and have the horses pull you apart. That's the "quarter" part. Sometimes they would cut the sinews in your hips and shoulders to make it easier for the horses to pull you apart.

Somewhat akin to working with word, but less painful.

Re:2000 pages... (1)

Anne Honime (828246) | about 4 years ago | (#33552380)

My mistake. English is not my mother tongue.

Re:2000 pages... (1)

cptdondo (59460) | about 4 years ago | (#33552428)

Hehe... Neither is it mine. I just know a bit of medieval history from being a dungeon master back in my D&D days.... (And I did leave out the "disembowel and emasculate" part of "draw"....)

Re:2000 pages... (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33552462)

Actually, the "draw" refers to disembowelment - while alive, and preferably conscious.. There may be some emasculation and beheading thrown in for good measure.

Re:2000 pages... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33552742)

The drawing was not intended for physical torture but came from the religious idea that one had to have the body in one piece to rise from the grave when a certain deity returned...
The torture was knowing one wouldn't be resurrected.

Word Processors suck (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33551434)

Why use a word processor, even Open Office or whatever, for ANYTHING? Text is much more reliable in plain text form. Formatting can be added in much better ways, independent of the content. Especially in legal cases, why thrust your textual data to such fragile, unreliable, locked in systems??

Re:Word Processors suck (2, Funny)

sco08y (615665) | about 4 years ago | (#33551494)

Why use a word processor, even Open Office or whatever, for ANYTHING? Text is much more reliable in plain text form. Formatting can be added in much better ways, independent of the content. Especially in legal cases, why thrust your textual data to such fragile, unreliable, locked in systems??

How can I spend hours obsessing over fonts, colors and trying to get my pie charts and org graphs to display nicely with such a thing?

Pardon me, I need to send an email to the entire organization because someone left a file open on their machine that I need to work on. What an idiot!

Re:Word Processors suck (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33551682)

With plain text, I'm sure someone could manage to mix up DOS and unix line endings, or character set encodings, or something. Perhaps the verdict could be delayed while people argue about using spaces or tabs for indentation.

Re:Word Processors suck (2, Insightful)

kainosnous (1753770) | about 4 years ago | (#33551788)

My vote is that all official documents must be typed in vi(m), or at worst emacs. Even if somebody did manage to use DOS line endings, a few simple keypresses would fix it.

Line endings (2, Insightful)

tepples (727027) | about 4 years ago | (#33552146)

With plain text, I'm sure someone could manage to mix up DOS and unix line endings

That's why Python has "universal newlines": so that the code units representing newline on MS-DOS (0D 0A) and pre-2002 Mac OS (0D) get translated to UNIX newlines (0A) within the standard library. If you're willing to ignore pre-2002 Mac OS, you can just strip 0D from all files and end up with consistency among PC operating systems. The trouble starts when you bring in text files from VMS and some other operating systems not descended from UNIX or PC operating systems. Unlike text files on UNIX, MS-DOS, and classic Mac OS, where lines are delimited by a string of 1 or 2 constant code units, VMS text files are stored as a sequence of Pascal strings, where each line starts with a 2-byte integer representing the number of bytes (or was it characters?) in that line. (I learned all this after a discussion of why FTP has a text mode: VMS FTP servers are responsible for doing this conversion between Pascal strings in the file system and newline-delimited files on the wire.)

or character set encodings

In my experience, text files from UNIX, modern Windows, Mac OS X either UTF-8 or something based closely on the ISO 8859 character set that corresponds to the national language of the country where the court is located. A simple heuristic can easily tell those apart: UTF-8 never has no 80-BF code unit following a single-byte (00-7F) code unit and never has a code unit in C2-EF preceding anything but 80-BF.

But once you have a text file, the question becomes one of which markup language to use. The language's styling mechanism has to handle footnotes per page for one thing; at least in the United States, legal style doesn't use the easier-to-implement endnotes or parenthetical notes.

Will this affect the deadline for appeal? (2, Interesting)

Gnavpot (708731) | about 4 years ago | (#33551436)

I think the important question here is not whether Word or OpenOffice was used.

The important question is:
Will this affect the deadline for appeal?

Not having adequate time to read the full verdict before deciding whether to appeal or not would in my eyes be a serious justice problem.

Re:Will this affect the deadline for appeal? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33551662)

The deadline is not affected because the time for appeal only starts when defendants get their full copies of the decision.
This all started because the judges didn't want to make those copies before reading the decision in court fearing it would leak to the media and that would be even worse.
Given the status and influence of some of the defendants that was a sure thing.
Of course now their lawyers are already trying to exploit this and even suggesting that the decision wasn't even written when it was announced in court...I guess once a lawyer always a lawyer :P

Re:Will this affect the deadline for appeal? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33552190)

Does the countdown to the deadline even start until the full verdict has been made available?

Re:Will this affect the deadline for appeal? (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33552818)

No. Time for appeal will start counting from the moment the document is (evetually...) handed out.

What is wrong with these people? (1)

oldmac31310 (1845668) | about 4 years ago | (#33551438)

Submitting .docs in court? Surely legal documents should be submitted in an unalterable form such as - in days of yore, printouts - and nowadays PDFs. If you are looking for stupidity at its worst look no further than the legal system of any country. And for the very worst, anything related to (alleged) child abuse. The people working these beats are at the bottom of the legal and social services ladder. Bottom feeders, essentially. The word documents probably has virus infected macros too!

Re:What is wrong with these people? (1)

FuckingNickName (1362625) | about 4 years ago | (#33551590)

an unalterable form such as [...] PDFs

what

Re:What is wrong with these people? (1)

Sir_Lewk (967686) | about 4 years ago | (#33551668)

Minus the shit; javascript, forms, multimedia, etc.. pdfs are a more or less reasonable document format for exchange. Certainly better than microsoft documents which you can't even count on looking the same across computers, and PS files tend to get massive.

Of course, I tend to think that everyone should just be using latex already, but like that is ever going to happen...

Re:What is wrong with these people? (1)

bsDaemon (87307) | about 4 years ago | (#33552618)

Of course, I tend to think that everyone should just be using latex already, but like that is ever going to happen...

Not everyone is into your fetishes.

Re:What is wrong with these people? (4, Informative)

TheRaven64 (641858) | about 4 years ago | (#33551706)

To clarify this point: Read TF PDF spec. The format was designed from the start to be alterable. It starts with a list of objects. The end of the file contains a linked list of dictionaries of objects, giving their locations in the file. You can edit a PDF, preserving all previous versions, simply by appending some new objects, a new dictionary that references these with a higher version number, and links back to the previous dictionary. The nice thing about this design is that you can update a PDF without overwriting anything, just by appending. You can then compact the PDF in a separate step, removing unreferenced objects and writing a single dictionary.

PDF alterability (1)

tepples (727027) | about 4 years ago | (#33552180)

To clarify this point: Read TF PDF spec. The format was designed from the start to be alterable.

And to clarify oldmac31310's point, I'll give two reasons why PDF is not commonly seen as "alterable".

  1. Both Adobe and Foxit have a history of charging far more for the editor than the viewer, apart from PDF documents specifically saved as a form to be filled. This means home users are not likely to have used the editor.
  2. In Microsoft Word, opening your document in a different version of the application will change its pagination. So will opening it on a computer with a different set of installed fonts or even a different default printer. PDF is more robust against these alterations.

But as far as I know, the only unalterable computer document is a digitally signed one, and that won't become common until someone figures out home-user-friendly PKI.

Re:PDF alterability (2, Informative)

LordLimecat (1103839) | about 4 years ago | (#33552298)

PDF is alterable with notepad++, to clarify TheRaven64's point. Its not terribly difficult if you want to alter straight up text.

Re:What is wrong with these people? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33551656)

unalterable form such as ... PDFs.

What?

also: How you can digitally sign OpenOffice.org documents [linux.com]

It's a conspiracy (5, Funny)

antifoidulus (807088) | about 4 years ago | (#33551440)

turns out clippy was working for pedobear this whole time! Or maybe... come to think of it I never have actually seen clippy and pedobear in the same place at the same time....

Re:It's a conspiracy (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33551492)

for some reason, gis on pedobear and clippy comes out with this:

http://pulse2.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/10/msft-clippy.jpg [pulse2.com]

sfw

Re:It's a conspiracy (5, Funny)

kainosnous (1753770) | about 4 years ago | (#33551818)

Clippy: I see that you are writing a ruling. Would you like me to show you the EULA where we already own your ruling through Microsoft's substantial control of the legal system?

Microsoft WORD? (3, Interesting)

JambisJubilee (784493) | about 4 years ago | (#33551484)

I was surprised when I heard this was related to Microsoft Word. Don't most lawyers use Wordperfect?

Re:Microsoft WORD? (1)

oldmac31310 (1845668) | about 4 years ago | (#33551612)

You got me there. Joking or serious? All I know from personal experience is that judges in NY ineptly use virus riddled Windows XP. Yet another reason to question and bemoan the US judicial system in general.

Re:Microsoft WORD? (3, Informative)

erroneus (253617) | about 4 years ago | (#33551686)

He's right about that. Legal offices are the last holdouts on Word Perfect. The formatting is quite precise and predictable. Legal office workers are quite adept at editing with WP's "show codes" mode to ensure than everything is formatted exactly and correctly. While I believe it is true that MS Word also offers a feature like this, I'm not sure that people actually use it... or know how to for that matter.

Re:Microsoft WORD? (1)

mpeskett (1221084) | about 4 years ago | (#33551844)

To my knowledge, the "show codes" feature is WP only. No equivalent thing in Word except for the "show all characters" button that (so far as I can tell) only reveals whitespace characters, not markup.

To show codes in Word 2007, use OOXML. (1)

tepples (727027) | about 4 years ago | (#33552196)

To my knowledge, the "show codes" feature is [WordPerfect] only. No equivalent thing in Word except for

...saving your document in Office 2007 format, opening the document as a zipfile, and seeing the OOXML files.

Re:To show codes in Word 2007, use OOXML. (4, Funny)

ColdWetDog (752185) | about 4 years ago | (#33552922)

...saving your document in Office 2007 format, opening the document as a zipfile, and seeing the OOXML files.

Thanks for that tip. Only slightly less painful than using a hex editor. Or poking your eyes out.

Office automation at it's finest.

Re:Microsoft WORD? (1)

Provocateur (133110) | about 4 years ago | (#33552202)

I used 'show codes' in MS Word 97 (the leanest and cleanest IMHO). It was there, specially when I had a weekly report to make. Fields such as @date and @time for instance (I can't recall the character so I am using @ for now). Later on I found that I could define my own fields, such as case number for tracking purposes. 'Show codes' could then be toggled off so they come out in English, so to speak. I even added a custom button on my toolbar. That and macros were easier then, before they decided you need to be a programmer and help debug their crashes in the next edition that came out.

Re:Microsoft WORD? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33552534)

Not only that, you can define your own sequences as well so that every time you insert that code, it is previous value + 1. I am not sure if it is possible to start the sequence from something other than 1 or if it is possible to have increments other than 1.
Plus it has also means to insert cross references which auto update. There are a few inconsistencies but it mostly works.

Re:Microsoft WORD? (1)

fbjon (692006) | about 4 years ago | (#33552198)

I would love to have that feature, but have never found it in either Word or OpenOffice.

Re:Microsoft WORD? (1)

erroneus (253617) | about 4 years ago | (#33552312)

Sadly, that's a feature which quietly disappeared. I found the mark-up information useful at times, but now, yeah... at least in OpenOffice (don't use MS at home) the most I can get is showing non-printing characters.

Word processing has actually come a long way since Word Perfect was king. Perhaps if "show codes" existed in today's word processors, some of the formatting code would be quite confusing and difficult to look at.

Re:Microsoft WORD? (1)

PsychoSlashDot (207849) | about 4 years ago | (#33552348)

He's right about that. Legal offices are the last holdouts on Word Perfect. The formatting is quite precise and predictable. Legal office workers are quite adept at editing with WP's "show codes" mode to ensure than everything is formatted exactly and correctly. While I believe it is true that MS Word also offers a feature like this, I'm not sure that people actually use it... or know how to for that matter.

Try again. Legal offices are stuck on WordPerfect because it's cheap and their users are entrenched. Legal assistants aren't like typical clerical staff. Their training and expertise is in legal paperwork, not computer operation. New staff get taught what they're supposed to use and old staff are resistant to change.

I do IT for a number of law offices. By and large they've got the oldest hardware, oldest software, and least inclination to update anything anywhere.

Okay, that's not fair. I've got tool & mold shops with 10 year old CNC controllers, but there the gear just feeds programming into the milling machines that was created elsewhere.

Ultimate proof that ol' Bill is evil (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33551538)

Microsoft aids and abets child abuse. The controversy about whether or not they are evil is solved.

Gross oversimplification (5, Informative)

Arrepiadd (688829) | about 4 years ago | (#33551568)

Putting this on Slashdot without giving more the info on this case (which would have very hard) is prone to disaster.

This has been the longest running case in Portuguese justice and has been full of stupid decision since day one. When this whole thing blew up (6 years ago or so) a few of the key people on the process were arrested and put in jail while the investigation was going. The theory was that there was the danger they would flee the country. Some were left there for the maximum time they can be arrested before a trial, while others after several months in jail were released and no charges were made against them (so maybe they shouldn't have been put in jail in the first place). From the ones that were put in jail and later released, none fled the country. So the first decision on this process was already a mess and a good start for the entire thing.

The trial was huge and went on for 6 years,the longest even in Portugal. There were 900 witnesses, 7 lawyers for the defendants and also the prosecutors. Since every one of these lawyers and the prosecutors has the right to talk to the witnesses this leads to about 7000 cross-interrogations. Whatever can be taken from 900 people and not summarized by 50 or 100 people (remember, this is a case about child-abuse, not country-wide rigging of elections or whatever) is still to be understood.

The victims, in many instances, failed to offer clear evidence anything at all. They couldn't be precise on dates on when things happened, on places where things happened, on people present. It gets to the point of one supposed places where the abuses happened is described not by the exact address but by "an apartment with an odd door number on street [whatever]" (in Portugal buildings on one side of the street have odd numbers, on the other side even, so in practice they were just able to say we enter a building on this side of the street). One guy is accused of abusing a boy but the time span is described as "on the second trimester of year XXXX". I wonder how many of us could provide a solid alibi spanning 3 months... I'm not trying to defend no one here, but there were, but as far as we get to know, there was no clear solid evidence to anything. There aren't even phone calls between the abusers and the supposed ring leaders or anyone involved. People abuse other people for years and no phone call is ever made to set up any meetings and so on.

Now going to the decision itself, it was supposed to be read in June, later postponed to July due to lack of time to write it and then to September (there are "judicial holidays" in August in Portugal) as they still had no time to finish it. When the day of presenting it finally came, they attorneys were not given the decision by the judges, as it still had to be finalized. All sentences in Portugal are presented to the defendant when the paperwork is already on the Ministery of Justice system and can be accessed right away (to start preparing for appeals and so on). Not this one, because it was too big, with 2000 pages, and it had still to be finalized. The date of presenting the decision was Sep 3, the date of finally having the paper work was then said to be the Sep 8. That day came and things were postponed one day because there was a problem with the making of the PDF due to the size of the document. Next day it was postponed again to the 10th and it was a problem with the printer, generically described as a "computer problem", common nowadays when things go south. Friday by the middle of the afternoon the news came out everything will be finished by Monday. And yesterday there was this piece in the same newspaper as presented above:
Delay due to virus [publico.pt] (Only in Portuguese, google translate should be as good as before)
So the reason has been changing with time and the most likely reason is the judges' inability to finish the thing on time (not wanting to go into the lack of skills vs lack of time due to sheer size of the case) and then blaming everyone but themselves. After all, the case itself should have only been finalized (the sentence read) after all this stuff was already finished.

True, using word for this is a stupidity. I used it for a 70 page document with lots of tables and figures and some chapters and so on sometime ago and it was a pain. For anything this big it should be next to impossible... But I don't think Microsoft Word is the biggest problem this case has/will present the Portuguese Justice.

Re:Gross oversimplification (5, Funny)

oldmac31310 (1845668) | about 4 years ago | (#33551640)

Thanks for that concise clarification. Now back to ragging on Word!

Re:Gross oversimplification (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33551660)

Carlos Cruz [wikipedia.org]
Is that you?

Re:Gross oversimplification (0)

Arrepiadd (688829) | about 4 years ago | (#33551710)

Yes, I can only be Carlos Cruz to make such a statement...

I made a minor comment about Paulo Pedroso, which spent sometime in jail to later on be released and no charges made against him. And what about Gertrude Nunes, the owner of the house in Elvas where supposedly orgies were happening left and right. She was innocent after all. Clearly only Carlos Cruz has reasons to be pissed at this moment. Quite frankly, if the owner of a place where child abuse was happening systematically doesn't even go to jail, you as a Portuguese should be pissed as well. Or am I supposed to believe she had nothing to do with it? Or am I supposed to accept that that part of the story was a lie, but the victims were truthful in everything else.

Anyway, most of my comment was about the case itself and not a specific person. If you want to focus your attention on that, go ahead. I'm not sure Carlos Cruz was the only guy affected by this delay. And I'm not sure either Justice itself wasn't the most affected...

Re:Gross oversimplification (1)

GreatBunzinni (642500) | about 4 years ago | (#33552296)

Yes, I can only be Carlos Cruz to make such a statement...

Well, you did posted a terribly myopic, misinformed, one-sided report of the case, omitting a long list of facts which are fundamental to understand why that criminal gang was found guilty.

I made a minor comment about Paulo Pedroso, which spent sometime in jail to later on be released and no charges made against him.

Yes, no thanks to the intervention of Portugal's government with actions such as changing Portugal's penal process to help out their fellow party member.


And what about Gertrude Nunes, the owner of the house in Elvas where supposedly orgies were happening left and right. She was innocent after all.

You are wrong. Gertrude Nunes was found guilty of providing her house to be used in child abuse orgies [visao.pt] but they also stated that there weren't enough evidences to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that she was guilty of pimping the children.


Clearly only Carlos Cruz has reasons to be pissed at this moment. Quite frankly, if the owner of a place where child abuse was happening systematically doesn't even go to jail, you as a Portuguese should be pissed as well.

You are a bit confused. Renting a house for sex parties isn't remotely as bad as repeatedly raping young orphan boys.

Or am I supposed to believe she had nothing to do with it? Or am I supposed to accept that that part of the story was a lie, but the victims were truthful in everything else.

Anyway, most of my comment was about the case itself and not a specific person. If you want to focus your attention on that, go ahead. I'm not sure Carlos Cruz was the only guy affected by this delay. And I'm not sure either Justice itself wasn't the most affected...

The only way Carlos Cruz is affected by the delay is that his imprisonment is also delayed. Meanwhile he is free to wander around spreading FUD and deceiving clueless idiots.

Re:Gross oversimplification (1)

Rich0 (548339) | about 4 years ago | (#33551904)

;Sounds like the OJ Simpson case. Basically a case of an inept judge who was more into publicity than justice. There is no reason that a simple murder trial need take a year.

I'm not quite sure why a 2000 page decision is needed in a trial of this kind, either. The most serious constitutional questions in any democratic court get settled in a dozen pages or so. This case just sounds like it is a straightforward issue of facts.

If the defendants were placed in prison this entire time, then they probably have already served a longer sentence than they might in many democracies (that depends on the seriousness of the crime - you didn't describe the charges in detail so I'm not sure what the likely outcome would be).

Agreed that MS Word isn't suited to 2000 page documents. Even if they didn't want to use something else in most companies the solution would be to simply split the document up and print a bunch of 100 page documents. Actually, most companies don't print 2000 page documents for any purpose, unless they have some requirement to keep accounting records on paper or something in which case they just hit print on their general ledger software and be done with it.

Re:Gross oversimplification (1)

neural.disruption (1290844) | about 4 years ago | (#33552036)

Actually it was quite different than the OJ Simpson case, a council of judges was formed to judge this case, one of the defenders lawyers was arrested for being involved. One politician was accused but turned out to be innocent(or so they say). They took six years to review what they have supposedly because of the high number of witnesses, and many of the accused were found out to be innocent and freed. Also other politicians tried to politicize the case to attack the governing party. There is the possibility of a bad judgement but one can only know for sure after the decision is public.

Yes 2000 pages is an overkill, but word could handle it if the user was competent.

Re:Gross oversimplification (1)

neural.disruption (1290844) | about 4 years ago | (#33551932)

Well we will only know for sure what proof they have when the document gets to the public, meanwhile we have only the customary whining about anything no matter how insignificant on both sides of the trial, but for outsiders today this is somewhat of a "tradition" in our country even outside the justice system. If you're not whining you're for sure conspiring to do something that will take the food out of the workers mouth.

And of course we have Carlos Cruz trying to save his ass, with his site and speeches, and being given more TV time than any other person involved in the case just because he was a national celebrity.

How much is real and how much is fiction? (1)

davidwr (791652) | about 4 years ago | (#33552078)

We may never know the truth of this case this side of the afterlife, but after I die I'll ask St. Peter how much of this was "McMartin Preschool it-never-happened" bad police work and how much actual child abuse occurred.

I feel bad for the innocent child victims if there are any and I feel bad for those who were innocently accused, especially those who weren't cleared immediately and thereby had their lives ruined.

Unfortunately, in a case this big, there will likely either be innocent people convicted or guilty people acquitted. There will also be children who grow up wondering "are my memories real?"

Re:Gross oversimplification (5, Informative)

GreatBunzinni (642500) | about 4 years ago | (#33552194)

Your report of this whole mess is terribly uninformed and one-sided. Let me add a few details which are fundamental to understanding this case:

For example, you claimed that the reason behind placing the key suspects in preventative jail terms was to prevent them fleeing the country. What you opted to omit was the fact that there was the impending danger that if they remained free they would try their best to tamper with the investigation, either by tampering witnesses, destroying evidence and conspire with the remaining criminal network to corrupt and derail the judicial process. That's the reason behind the decision to lock them out while the investigation was ongoing. Yet, even though the judges ordered the arrest of the main suspects, they still managed to tamper with the investigation. One example was how Inês Serra Lopes, a journalist which also happened to be the daughter of an attorney defending the main suspect, was caught planting evidence exonerating her father's client [diario.iol.pt] .

Then, that which you describe as "the victims, in many instances, failed to offer clear evidence anything at all" is a deceitful description of the whole process. I'll point it out to you that this was a child abuse case, where the suspects were charged with the crimes of sexually abusing children between the age of 10 and 14 years old. There were over 30 reported victims, all of which were proven to have been sexually molested through multiple forensic tests. Then, what you describe as "failed to offer clear evidence" was small nit-picking details such as asking a then 10 year old boy the exact day, hour and minute he was sexually abused by suspect X, something which happened over 10 years ago. Besides that, although there were 30 victims and the suspects were accused of committing hundreds of crimes, only a hand full were considered to be proven beyond a reasonable doubt, to which it also contributed the fact that one suspect confessed to the crimes and implicated all the other suspects, something which you conveniently omitted.

Your post has far more deceitful or simply uninformed bits but I believe these facts I've pointed out are enough to get a clear picture of the case.

Re:Gross oversimplification (1)

b4dc0d3r (1268512) | about 4 years ago | (#33552584)

Thank you for this, the gp post did not "smell" right. If you put someone in jail because they might flee the country, release them, and they don't flee, it's more likely that they feel safer having been let go than to assume they would not have left in the first place. The circumstances have changed, in other words, so it doesn't show the original decision was invalid.

And holding someone that maximum amount of time until charges have to be filed then releasing them sounds perfectly legal. Not very suspect-friendly, but when you don't know who to keep and who to release the law allows time to figure it out.

And it went downhill from there.

I accidentally read.. (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33551628)

I accidentally read 'child abuse verdict held back by MS'.

I RTFA and (2, Funny)

oldmac31310 (1845668) | about 4 years ago | (#33551666)

it is difficult to get any real sense of the problem. Arrepiadd has been kind enough to give us some real background to the whole story and a clarification of what the issues are or might be or are purproted to be depending on the day of the week. Thanks for that Arrepiadd.

Please don't hold back from trashing Word. I hate very few things in life, but Word - as trivial a piece of crap as it may be, it is raises my hackles really intensely and I'm enjoying this potential Word trash fest too much let it go just because of a few pesky facts. Keep it coming! Word sucks! Word is the devil. Word eats babies. Word stole your car. Word is destroying the planet. Come on, let's keep it going. Crap /. story, but we can still have fun with the comments!

Export to PDF (2, Insightful)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | about 4 years ago | (#33551692)

Experts? This should be a five minute problem: Just export to PDF. Either the legal aids here are really, really computer illterate, or this is some sort of legal trick to stall for time.

Just a Guess (2, Interesting)

lyinhart (1352173) | about 4 years ago | (#33551726)

Somebody probably sent one or more of the documents using the "Send to Mail Recipient for Review" feature. The feature seems to at least sometimes (perhaps depending on your e-mail client) set a custom property on the word file that makes annotations made by the Track Changes featire virtually impossible to delete. Thus exporting to PDF or something would have kept the printed annotations. So you'd have to turn off Track Changes and delete the Property manual.

Exactly (2)

RAMMS+EIN (578166) | about 4 years ago | (#33551936)

This is exactly the reason I always advice students to write their thesis in Latex, rather than Microsoft Word. Latex does a better job of typesetting, and is what many people I talk to will end up having to use for journal submissions anyway, but the real kicker is that you don't want the whole thing to blow up and make your document unusable when you're almost done. I've never seen thin happen with Latex. I've seen it happen all too often with Microsoft Word.

Good luck to these unfortunate fellows in their attempts to get the document in a usable state again. I hope this also prompts a reconsideration of the technology choices. Perhaps Latex isn't the best choice for them, or perhaps it is, or perhaps Latex plus some front end will yield a good solution. Or perhaps Microsoft Word will turn out to be the best choice, after all. But there are several options to consider, and now seems a good time to start doing so.

LaTeX is pretty good. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33552342)

In fact, it's what you very probably should use for scientific papers and such. It's not a catch-all though, and it has its own idiosyncracies and unfortunate design choices. Such as the high emphasis on rasterising, making intermediate files as well as the rest of the installation quite big. Or, say, the whole gn00 texinfo mess claiming it's better than manpages but manages to produce atrocious typesetting in spite of requiring the whole bloat of LaTeX behind it. manpages are still far superior in use despite lacking the fancy hypertext linking info offers -- if only because it doesn't claim to also own the interface and stuffs emacs bindings down your throat. That might be fine if you love emacs, but it's not a suitable default if you don't. I full well realise this is flamewar territory so I'll add that a captive interface that requires you to love vi keys is just as self-marginalising, with perhaps double the audience -- going on vi vs. emacs paintball action attendees. No option to not go to the manpage when no info page could be found and still forcing to use the captive interface I didn't want to use in the first place, just adds insult to injury. Using $PAGER instead doesn't have that problem, which makes it a better default choice. And the often given as default less is itself quite excellently powerful. Besides, manpages build on troff, which is itself an excellent typesetting package within the limits that made Donald Knuth write TeX when he needed to go beyond. But legal documents aren't quite as demanding as The Art Of Computing. I for one use troff for letters and such and it works quite well for that.

In fact, troff for the at&t legal (patents) department was the first killer app for Unix.

Tag is winword? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33552090)

//me in best Seinfeld expression

I don't think so.

Formatting characters you say? (1)

davidwr (791652) | about 4 years ago | (#33552100)

I've found that copying the body, headers, footers, and page layout from one Word document to a brand new one removes most or all of the stuff that "shouldn't" be in a published document.

copy/paste ftw (2, Informative)

bidule (173941) | about 4 years ago | (#33552326)

Pick any format-aware application that doesn't handle Microsoft's bloat and paste those 2000 pages. Problem solved!

The solution (2, Informative)

Anne Honime (828246) | about 4 years ago | (#33552560)

In most situations, when you can't get rid of unwanted text that's sticky in word, do : CTRL+A, CTRL+C, CTRL+N, CTRL+V

Then keep on editing as usual.

(and I'm not even kidding)

A bad workman always blames his tools (1)

pedantic bore (740196) | about 4 years ago | (#33552566)

It's not a glitch in MS Word. Word is doing what it's supposed to do. The people using Word messed up, from what I can tell from the translation.

Blaming Microsoft for this glitch is like blaming Google for the fact that the lawyers probably could have Googled for instructions for how to remove the extra info, but didn't.

Why so long? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33552778)

The real story here is why is a verdict 2000 pages long? Wouldn't a single page or two suffice?

Re:Why so long? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33553006)

The real story here is why is a verdict 2000 pages long? Wouldn't a single page or two suffice?

A standard verdict form is lengthy because each count of an indictment is addressed separately. If there are multiple counts, and multiple defendants, each defendant's counts will be listed and verdict rendered. This is standard practice, and ensures that the outcome of each charge is clear, point by point.

what formatting glitch? (1, Interesting)

ILuvRamen (1026668) | about 4 years ago | (#33552984)

They must be merging from multiple non-word documents or I don't see why this would work. I made a 500 page word doc one time in verison 2001 and all it did was tell me it was over the limit for spelling and grammar checking and would suspend the checking from there on. Also, scrolling sometimes stuck it at rendering the same page over and over. Other than that, it did actually function. What I'm thinking is they're trying to paste some HTML content or something and forgot to select the "keep text only" option after pasting it in.
Btw, they're burying the lead here. Why the hell does it need to be 2000 pages?!?! What could it possibly say?!?! How about just adding a reference to those other documents they're pasting in instead of adding them in their entirety.
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