Computers and Living in the Philippines (and maybe elsewhere)

If you are moving overseas, go ahead and download and install any new programs you think you’re going to need.  In my case, I had my cherished old laptop that finally had everything just the way I wanted it and where I could find it and was everything I wanted, except the old and breaking part.  The screen had been replaced once. The keyboard had been replaced once. The fan was dying. I was gifted a new laptop but it was different from my old one and I don’t like figuring out new stuff (except I do like moving to a new country, go figure), so I decided I would just bring them both here and work out the details slowly and comfortably once we got settled.

Of course, six weeks here, my old laptop died and I had yet to open the new one. Never mind my lost and lamented unsaved files on my old laptop.   That’s too big to even think about, and I have nobody to blame but myself.  I had not put Norton or Microsoft word or office on the new one.  What we didn’t know is that it’s not that easy to do once you are already overseas.  This may depend on what country you are in, and this is a country where it’s complicated (Philippines).  It cost more, and once downloaded, they told us, it might not even work, although there were workarounds which only sounded more complicated.  Furthermore, somebody else with more knowledge about it than us told us that if I brought my laptop home with me in two years, Microsoft would recognize the purchase was made in the Philippines and might disable it- or something.  Forget the details here, okay.  What you need to know is put that stuff on your computer before you go overseas.

I asked around and people recommended openoffice or libreoffice.  I did some googling, cynically reminding myself all along that likely whatever I found would be astroturfed helps by people with an agenda, but I had to figure something out.

I read three of four things, and then this one decided me on Libreoffice.

Now, I only just installed the thing, I haven’t used it yet, so this isn’t a review (although I might wait to publish until I have used it a few times).

I ran into a problem, though- the thing was installed as a .man file and I don’t know what that is and neither  did my laptop. So I googled ‘how do I open a .man file?’ and found this.  The instructions did the trick, although a couple of things were not precisely as worded, they were close enough that I could figure it out.

“1) Go Control Panel

2) Search for Folder Options and open it. (DHM: I searched for folder options, and the closest thing that came up on mine says ‘ File Explorer Options.’ This is the right one.)

3) Uncheck Hide file extensions (DHM:I couldn’t find that until I checked the view tab, and what I had to uncheck was ‘hide extensions for known file types.’)

4) Go back to where the file was saved (make a copy of it just in case)- DHM: making a copy is excellent advice that I do not follow as often as I should and I often regret it.  I didn’t follow it this time, either. So far that seems to be okay.

5) Change the ending to .msi or your file type of choice (DHMI went with .msi)

6} Window pops up asking if you wanted to change the file type and click ok.”

DHM: I did, and then I could open it and finish installing.  Then I was greeted with  window full of options so I shut it down again and googled ‘how do I use libreoffice.’   I was overwhelmed and also using up my daily limit of go-juice for the wifi by then, so I bookmarked most of them for another day and sent a couple of the likeliest looking pages to my kindle (push to kindle at


Another problem I’ve had is with my K-dramas.  Most of them are not allowed for here.  There is a Korean website where I can watch them as they air, but I can’t read the directions or show titles except incredibly painstakingly and I only get it sometimes (titles more frequently, directions never).  Also sometimes they have subtitles, sometimes they don’t.

Meanwhile I had a subscription to one of the K-drama sites, viki or Dramafever, and it no longer mattered, because my ‘region isn’t approved for this show.’  My husband had a paid subscription to Pandora and Spotify (gifts) and they would not play here.

Somebody told us about  Download this. It was created for this situation- people with a paid subscription moving.  It works.

Of course, our Wi-Fi connection is such that I am now limited to perhaps one drama episode every other week, two if I am persistent and sneaky enough to get up and watch one at 11 and the 2nd at midnight, when the refresh happens.  Watching one at midnight also gives me the added advantage of  watching my show before the Boy uses up the wifi juice watching his stuff.   Mostly, I am not either of those things.

Get a pocket Wi-Fi (also called a mobile hotspot) if you are moving anywhere that having wifi out to your house might be a problem.  If people already there tell you it will definitely not be a problem, ask them how they use their wifi- what do they do on the internet, and for how long?  Do they just check emails? Keep a blog? Help moderate or run any chats, group-rooms, forums, fb groups, etc?  Do they stream stuff? Do they do stuff like Khan Academy or any other online educational stuff?  Do they ever download stuff?  What kind of stuff, and how long does it take?  DO THEY HAVE A TEENAGER?

If you have family you want to communicate with at home, or think you might have times you need to call back to the states for business purposes- get a magicjack  Skype is okay, but it won’t always work and it uses your magic Wi-Fi juice.

Adjust your expectations, and plan ahead.


P.S.  Whenever possible at all, download books and docs to your computer and transfer them to your Kindle via your laptop.  You get extra charges for download books to your kindle from the Philippines.

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