A reader says he uses the free LibreOffice as a Microsoft Word equivalent, but wishes he had an “extended clipboard.” That’s a program that lets you keep copying items from the web or elsewhere without losing the first thing you copied.

He writes: “If I can’t find some program or add-on that will let me send 10-20 items to a clipboard to then mass paste to a Word document or spreadsheet, looks like I will be forced to buy from Microsoft. Prior to Windows 10, I had been using Office XP Pro for many years on all my computers. Any suggestions?”

We suggested “Comfort Clipboard,” free for 30 days and then a one-time charge of $20. The reader says: “I gave it a good workout over the last two days. We are changing our electric company and I highlighted enough stuff from web pages and PDF files to fill six pages of a document. If there was something I could not highlight, I was able to use PrintKey, a 20-year-old (screen capture) program, to select what I wanted off a web page and send it to the clipboard. Unlike the Microsoft Office clipboard, Comfort Clipboard does not appear to have an overall size limit in terms of megabytes, and is not limited to 24 items.” It was such a good program he decided to buy it.

If you have a Mac, you might like the free version of “Alfred 3,” from Unlike Comfort Clipboard, it doesn’t just save text, it saves web links as well. Another alternative is the free “Ditto Clipboard Manager” for PCs. It saves text and web links, and is activated when you press the “Ctrl” and tilde key.

Glitter Girl Shoots Again

Photo courtesy of

Though we wrote about this last time, we didn’t feel we did it justice. A 13 year-old girl named Jordan Reeves was born without a left arm. So she worked with an engineer from Autodesk to create a 3D-printed prosthetic arm that shoots glitter.

All of this reminds Bob of a story from almost 50 years ago. The setting was a fast-draw contest in Tucson, one of those strictly-for-fun events that tourists get a kick out of. Everybody had an equal-weight gun and drew and fired, the winner being the fastest. The winner was a 15 year-old girl. She drew, fired, and hit the target in three-tenths of a second. Take that, Wyatt Earp.

Internuts is one way to get a free vacation. Stay in someone’s house and look after their pets. It costs $79 a year to join, but competition is stiff for coveted travel destinations. Popular house-sitting destinations include the U.S., U.K., Canada, France, New Zealand and Australia. If you’d rather hire a house sitter than sit, that also costs $79 a year. All sitters are verified through criminal background checks and other means. helps you build better Spotify playlists. Spotify is an online music service that plays just about any song you request. It’s free if you don’t mind ads, otherwise $10 a month. has interesting articles on art. We learned about an 85-foot tall sculpture, the meaning behind a Norman Rockwell painting, and books that really teach you how to sketch.

Still Time to Panic

There’s always time to panic. Well, usually, anyway.

We were traveling when our Chromebook went on the blink. It seemed obvious we needed a computer to write the column, so Joy rushed to Office Depot and bought one.

Our $200 Acer 14 Chromebook was stuck in an infinite loop, playing the same maddeningly loud six-second riff from the Nutcracker suite. Bob thought it might be because Joy left it on a vent in our hotel room, with the heat on. In any event, Joy rushed off to buy a replacement.

She came back with a 4.5-pound Windows monster that cost $625. She didn’t realize how spoiled she was by the lightness of the three-pound Chromebook. On the Chromebook, it was easy to do all our writing using Google Docs, which is similar to an old version of Word. So there was really no reason to buy another Windows machine, except nostalgia. We can get back to our favorite Windows programs when we’re back home on our desktops. But for traveling, a Chromebook is hard to beat.

Just when we were thinking that, Joy plugged in the Chromebook, which had finally run out of battery life and stopped playing the maddening tune. It sprung back to life easily. Remember: There’s always time to panic.

Hospital Gifts Revisited

In a recent column, we mentioned that you could use Amazon to send gifts to people in the hospital, with no delivery charge if you’re a Prime member. It turns out it’s more complicated than that.

We asked the hospital concierge what happened to the gift we sent and they said it went to the dock. Joy asked where the dock was, and went on a wild goose chase through various basement hallways. She saw the waste department, the engineering department, the Fed-Ex office, everything but the dock. After giving up, Amazon sent a note that the item had been returned and our account would be credited. In other words, they failed to deliver.

Student Hackathon has team competitions for high school and college students. For a $35 registration fee, students work on real-life security issues. For instance, they help police crack passwords to access a hacker’s computer.

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