Opening up new VISTAs

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Sandra Porter

I received a mysterious file last week, via e-mail from one of my students. According the e-mail, the file contained the answers to an assignment.

I downloaded the file and double-clicked it. Nada.

I did notice that the file had an unusual extension. Most Word documents have ".doc" at the end. This one had ".docx"

I thought that must be a mistake, so I tried other options for opening it with Microsoft WORD, even editing the extension to change it to ".doc"

No. That didn't work.

Then, I tried TextEdit, all I saw were strange characters.

I did a few other things, but all I could see was gibberish.

I complained about this, naturally, to my husband. Not only was he not sympathetic, he said that, working in bioinformatics, I should know how to look inside any file.

Fine! Challenge accepted.

I opened the terminal window, typed the path to the file and typed "cat"

Still more gibberish, but I recognized one piece. The letters "xml"

We both thought that was strange. "Is your student using OpenOffice?" he said.

Nope. It was a new computer, with VISTA.

Needless to say, that experience made me enjoy this little film clip on the wonders of using voice recognition software to write a Perl script. It made me laugh. Kind of hysterically. Even if you haven't ever written or contemplated the inner workings of a computer program, you'll find this funny, at least for while.

Beware, there's some bad language towards the end.