On Fri, 2007-01-05 at 12:56 -0600, stuart bell wrote:
On 05/01/07, Richard Smedley <smedley358(a)btinternet.com>
> Apologies for the binary attachment, but someone on
> this list could be interested, and the .doc does open
I `phoned up my accountant yesterday:
ME: Can I ask you three questions?
ME: How much will it cost me?
ACC: 75 pounds, what's the third question?
[you can't beat the old ones =o]
What's a binary attachment?
An attachment in non-text form, which can only be viewed
by a particular app, not your MUA. [which in your case, as
a GoogleMail user, is whatever they're running server-side,
and you're accessing through the browser.]
In this case Microsoft's .doc format is a binary encoding
of text using a format which is a trade secret. The only
way of decoding that is to license the technology (expensive,
and as it usually means a per-seat payment, not possible for
Free Software, regardless of restrictions on the source that
would be likely to accompany said licence), or to
reverse-engineer the format.
Reverse-engineering has a long and honourable tradition in IT,
and in the wider engineering world. However legislation like the
DMCA in the US, and EUCD over here, chips away at this.
Regardless of that, it's a big drain on people's time, making
sure that OpenOffice.org
, Abiword, KOffice, AntiWord, WV,
GNUMeric, & Co., can open up all of Microsoft's changing
office file formats. 
There is now an ISO international standard for office
documents , but people who send the @!#~% things don't
seem to be aware of it, and continue to send .docs. :-/
Should I apply?
Are you asking for personal careers advice? ;-)
I might be tempted myself, if I hadn't just started a business,
and also have a mistrust of the longevity of positions in
the voluntary sector :-/
What's up .doc?
I don't think that there's an emoticon for raising
your eyebrows while crunching on a carrot Bugs-Bunny
style, but consider it typed ;)
 Actually OOo does such a good job of it that one
school uses it to read older .docs that recent versions
of MS Word can no longer open =^)
Richard Smedley, richard(a)sc.lug.org.uk
Technical Director, http://M6-IT.org/
A PRINCE2 aware company
Web services * Back-ups * Support * Training & Certification * E-Mail
M6-IT CIC ``Software Freedom for the Education and Voluntary Sector''
M6-IT is a Community Interest Company, limited by guarantee
Registered in England & Wales, Registration No: 6040154
11 St Marks Road, Stourbridge, West Midlands, DY9 7DT