NHK awesome station and concept

NHK awesome station and conceptIf you are lucky to live in the greater NYC area you might have access to a channel called NHK. I have been watching it, and the more I watch it the more impressed I am.

First,  NHK is from Japans only public broadcaster. It has shows about literally everything, and broadcasts in 18 different languages. Here is the english webpage. It is awesome to see original Japanese programs translated into English. Often this is done with closed captioning words at the bottom of the screen, and sometimes by a voice over with closed captioning as well.

What makes this so wonderful to watch is three things.

  1. Quality of reporting. The quality of reporting is just amazing. If the story needs it, it has facts, computer models, 3D animation, whatever it takes. The closest thing would be PBS in the US, but it has never approached this level of information. One of the shows I was watching had a computer animation that was better than anything I had ever seen on US TV just to demonstrate a point the speaker was saying.
  2. Cultural values. I really like the Japan cultural values. The stories are pro-social, human interest pieces as well as hard-hitting factual ones. It is clear that Japanese are constantly trying to improve everything, and this shows in every aspect of how they deal with the stories and people. Three documentaries I watched made me cry because they were so touching without being manipulative.
    1. One was Japanese doctors that saved a poor mans sight who couldn’t see anything. He depended on his poor old wife to survive. Once he was able to see, he was finally able to enjoy his life and help his poor wife survive and thrive and help climb out of their poverty. This doctor created a foundation, a hospital, and helped thousands of people.
    2. One was about the culture surrounding horses in Japan in the farmland, and the touching things they do to care for animals. They honor and support a horse that doesn’t do any job just because its ancestors helped to break the hard ground that supported their ancestors. What a completely different way to value things. Instead of the US way of always looking for a quick buck, they have an enduring appreciation of those who help others and seek to replay that debt of help.
    3. One was about a doctor who as a young doctor in his 20’s, saw a problem with the situation of poor people dying due to slow transportation to reach the hospital. He found a way to get a helicopter to start flying into poor and under-served areas, created a network, and founded an entire staff to fix this problem. He wasn’t getting paid to do this, but he did it because he valued human life even the old and still continues to help make and save human lives and the under-served.
  3. Perspective. You can’t help but watch this and see our own US values as lacking in many respects. While Japan has serious social issues such as suicide, low birth rate, huge older population, it has some wonderful things that we all can learn. The concern for life shows through in every documentary I see. For example, one Emergency room doctor worked on a patient and continued to visit her everyday during her recovery. It is rare in the US hospital that an emergency room doctor who isn’t getting paid, will check up on someone everyday to see how they are. It was clear that the doctor was sincerely concerned about the well-being of their patient.

There are many things we can learn from other cultures than the US. If our culture is truly a melting pot, then why not respect and value all of the cultures that have contributed to it? Surprisingly I also find information about the US on the NHK English website that I don’t find on US websites. It is fascinating to see different perspectives isn’t it?

Nisus Writer Pro is the best Word Processor on the mac

Full disclosure: I have not been paid to write this but I have been given a Not for sale copy of the program so that I could evaluate this past the 15 day limit. I will continue to use this and update this story if I run into problems or find useful information.

Yes, even better than Microsoft Word. Let me explain why.

I support Mac users everyday with Microsoft Word and other word processing programs. Let me tell you that when the average person tries to use Macintosh Word they don’t like it at all. It isn’t that Word doesn’t have enough features, it just has so many and they are hidden so it makes it hard to use.

Nisus Writer Pro is the best Word Processor on the macI used Nisus in a way that many people are going to use it. To work with their resume. I had my resume in PDF and just on a lark, I tried opening the PDF in Nisus. It worked! Not only did it import it, but it kept much of the formatting. It imported more of the formatting than Word has when I have tried it, and it was immediate. This started things off on a great foot.

So then I thought that I should probably run a spell check. I couldn’t find the spell check option. Do you know why? Because Nisus already had done the spell check!  I noticed the words in red and a simple right-click and I had the correct word pop up in a list. Much easier than Word.

Ok things were going great. I wonder if this thing could export to PDF? Yes, a paid version exports just fine without any watermarks. This is incredible. Adobe PDF is very expensive, but a program that imports and exports PDF avoids the need for an expensive purchase. For 90% this is all they need with PDF editing. What a fantastic bargain this is $79.99. They have an express version for $19.99 and that is a deal as well.

Since we are talking about money, lets talk about its competition. For one copy, the cheapest you could get Office 365 is $69 a year which includes the Word, Excel, so on. For about the same cost of a year with Office you get a program that does 95% of what most people use Word for, and you aren’t tied to MS yearly pricing. This is a great deal for most people. Avoid using Apple Pages. Apple took out much of the functionality of Pages from the 09 version they had, and never really replaced it. In addition people who try to use it now say that it is unreliable and hasn’t had many updates. This is the same thing that happened to iWeb and other Apple software that was abandoned. I think the writing is on the wall for Pages. Apple will kill it just like they killed the great AppleWorks program I loved to use.

Going back to the functionality of Nisus. I think what makes this a clear winner is not only its speed, but its interface. Most people can’t remember the commands and locations of how to change things in Word. This shows you most of your options on the same screen. You don’t need to remember, you just look over and you will probably find what you need. This isn’t a dumbed down interface however. It is more intelligently designed. If you want to do more advanced things they are there, you just need to click on another tab to change things like tables, shapes or margins.

I have to be honest that I looked for a problem with this program and I couldn’t find it. Every advanced feature that anyone uses in Word was here. It has macros, comments, ability to change styles. It even lets you manage documents in its file menu. Features that Word doesn’t have. The only thing that I could wish for is that it had cloud integration like with Box, google drive or so on. Perhaps they are working on that. Still this is a very solid program that any Apple using person would find useful. I recommend this.