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Regular readers know that I have some anger issues when it comes to Microsoft Office. I won't dive too deeply into the reasons, but here's an example: My poor, sweet mother, a Word user for many years, is routinely confused and frustrated by the little interface changes that Microsoft pushes to the word processor -- without warning, without explanation, without help.
Take file attachments: Recently, the process for attaching a Word document to an email changed dramatically (and for the worse, I might add), and it happened totally out of the blue.
Oh, and then there's the price: Office costs $70-$100 per year (depending on the number of users), when all most people need (or want) is Word and maybe a little Excel. Too much! And do not get me started on the garbage heap that is Microsoft Outlook...
Whew. Sorry. Like I said: issues.
Alternatives? There are lots, some of them free, many of them very good. I've long been partial to WPS Office, which closely mimics the look and features of Word, Excel and PowerPoint but costs considerably less.
In fact, for a limited time, Cheapskate readers can get a one-year subscription to WPS Office Premium for $14.99. That's after applying discount code Spring18_Cnet at checkout. Regular price: $29.99 -- already a bargain compared with Office 365. Update: Code problems again. (What a week!) Try this one: channel_promotion.
Let me pause right here to note that the free version of WPS Office is an excellent desktop suite in its own right, with most of the same features as Premium. (You can compare editions here.) However, it's ad-supported: pop-up ads appear when you perform certain tasks, such as printing, and often make you wait a bit before you can bypass them.
Premium does away with that while adding various PDF-manipulation features and support for more devices, nine in total: three PCs, six mobile.
As noted, the suite's interface does a fine impression of Microsoft Office's ribbon interface, but you can also toggle the more old-fashioned UI (closer to what you'd get in, say, LibreOffice) if that's your preference. Choice! What a concept!
Best feature of all: support for tabbed documents. That's right, just like your browser, WPS Office opens multiple documents in tabs, not separate windows. Um, hello? Microsoft? Where has this been?
You also get a OneDrive-like cloud-storage service, though only 1GB of space unless you buy more.
I'm old-school. I like a desktop client for word processing, spreadsheets and the like. Microsoft Office is full of bloat that most users don't need, and it's overpriced. WPS Office Premium is reasonable at $30 a year and a steal at $15.
Can you get by on free alternatives? Absolutely. Should you consider this as well? I think so.
Bonus deal: Once you get accustomed to wireless charging, you get downright annoyed when there's no Qi pad available. Like with your mobile charger: "I have to plug in a cord to charge my phone? Ugh. Day ruined."
Too bad they don't make mobile chargers with Qi capabilities. Except, wait, yes they do: For a limited time, and while supplies last, you can get the Wofalodata Qi power bank for $20.99 with promo code SO7J4Q7E.
This slim, Qi-certified charger features a 10,000mAh battery, a built-in Micro-USB output cable and even a Micro-USB-to-Lightning adapter that tucks away inside. (Note that adapter isn't MFi-certified, and the failure rate on those things is pretty high.) There's also a standard USB port for charging other stuff.
You can actually charge up to three devices at once: one Qi, one Micro-USB or Lightning, one whatever-plugs-into-the-USB-port. Pretty sweet! This is the first portable Qi charger I've seen, and I like what I'm seeing.