back to article Wizarding World of Harry Potter awaits Microsoft Office exam winners

Hey kids, fancy an all-inclusive break to the magical Wizarding World of Harry Potter in Florida? Well, you're in luck. All students between the age of 13-22 are eligible for the once-in-a-lifetime trip. There is, however, just one catch. In order to get their hands on the top prize, they must first complete a series of soul- …

  1. hplasm Silver badge
    Devil

    The Dementors of Azkaban

    Or Microsoft Marketing as they are usually known.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: The Dementors of Azkaban

      Indeed, Voldemort's behind this.

      1. lglethal Silver badge
        Joke

        Re: The Dementors of Azkaban

        Indeed, Voldemort's behind this.

        I didnt realise Balmer was back in charge?!

    2. Dan 55 Silver badge

      Re: The Dementors of Azkaban

      And I thought the Dementors were Microsoft Licensing.

      So what term should I be using? A Cerberus?

      1. hplasm Silver badge
        Holmes

        Re: The Dementors of Azkaban

        Microsoft Licensing.?

        Death Eaters

  2. stevebp

    MS Exams

    Why would you encourage your son/daughter to go through all that pain - they'll have a lifetime of hurt just trying to get Word to correctly format a simple document

    1. Gordon 10 Silver badge
      Windows

      Re: MS Exams

      Absolutely - we had to suffer, they can too - it will make a man/woman of them.

      In my day we had to handle track changes with the grammar checker locked on - there was so much markup and wobbly green lines we'd go home with it burnt on our retina's.

      1. Teiwaz Silver badge

        Re: MS Exams & Suffering

        I suffered for my music, and now it's your turn. Neil Innes, Rutland Weekend Television

        Hmm, WordPerfect on the other hand....

        Fellow students were so impressed by Reveal codes to help remove the fractal and seemingly infinite embedded chaos that was sending their formatting haywire - the fact that it was a recognised IT course was depressing....

  3. frank ly

    MS Office

    "... the first round is titled "The Hogwarts Express"..."

    Is that where you take a run at a brick wall as fast as you can? Ah, it's similar.

    1. Anonymous Bullard

      Re: MS Office

      Actually, that's quite mild when you consider the patronising instructions when you install Windows 10. It makes me cringe every time I have the misfortune to set up a new VM.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Harry who?

    They're not interested in HP any more, perhaps apart from a few kids who have parents that make them dress up as the characters on fancy dress days because it's easy.

    Microsoft are down with the kids!

    1. hplasm Silver badge
      Coat

      Re: Harry who?

      "They're not interested in HP any more..."

      It's not been the same since Fiorina left...

      1. 's water music Silver badge

        Re: Harry who?

        "They're not interested in HP any more..."

        It's not been the same since Fiorina left...

        I have boys so they always preferred to dress up as Mark Hurd on World HP CEO Day at school though maybe their motivation was as much scatological* than gender conforming if I know nine-year-olds

        *penultimate paragraph

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Harry who?

      I don't force my kids to wear Harry potter costumes, they chose to do so.

      Saying that, I'm an unhappy Linux fanboi, because they insist on using Microsoft Office for their homework rather than libreoffice....

      1. Kevin Johnston

        Re: Harry who?

        Why be unhappy? It means that when they turn to you for help you can offer vague suggestions with the tag 'but I am not sure if MS Office can do that'

    3. Voland's right hand Silver badge

      Re: Harry who?

      Harry who?

      I have found that a short introduction to Corwin and Grayswandir at the approximate age of 12-14 cures the HP malaise in about a week. It can also be followed by a Ursula Le Guin refresher a few years after that just to make sure.

      There is no recurrences and no reinfections. Ever.

      Quoting junior on the subject of HP (a few years after that): "What? Harry? There is no depth and no ideas in this. It is a toddler book".

      1. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge
        Coat

        Re: HP who?

        Don't you mean H.P. Lovecraft?

        Coat with a copy of the Raven in the pocket.

        1. hplasm Silver badge
          Coat

          Re: HP who?

          "Don't you mean H.P. Lovecraft?

          Coat with a copy of the Raven in the pocket."

          This has got to be a Poe...

          1. Paul Crawford Silver badge

            Re: HP who?

            Oh, I thought you said a coat with a raven in your pocket. Presumably this raven is Quoth, and he is hopeful that some eyeballs will be up for grabs?

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Harry who?

        Ursula Le Guin

        Read that at the age of 10 - the intro said 11 and above. Frightening allegorical possibilities; scarred me for life. I'm still lost in a labyrinth.

        AC 'cause Google.

        1. Voland's right hand Silver badge

          Re: Harry who?

          Ursula Le Guin. Read that at the age of 10 - the intro said 11.

          I am surprised you groked it. The depth and breadth in Earthsea or god forbid the Hainish cycle is not something I would recommend to young ones.

          While I do not limit what my kids read, if I see them grabbing a book from that shelf I would recommend them to wait for a few years.

          1. stevebp

            Re: Harry who?

            A Wizard of Earthsea was a set book for my Humanities lesson at age 12 - I'm pretty sure it was the cause of my nightmares ever since of a 'dark shadow' chasing me :-(

      3. MonkeyCee Silver badge

        Re: Harry who?

        "Quoting junior on the subject of HP (a few years after that): "What? Harry? There is no depth and no ideas in this. It is a toddler book". "

        That's a tad harsh, but taking the source is a young'un it's pretty fair :)

        The first three HP books are solid young adult fiction. Tightly written but immersive universe building, managing to do a spot of subtle discussion about class and privilege without going overboard, plus a number of the usual YA adult themes.

        After the success of those, JK's publishers seem to have said "stop editing for brevity and story telling, go full Tolkien* please" and while there's still an OK story in there, it's so bloated to make it almost pointless. Can't really blame her for it either, although I think she'd have been better off writing half the length books and then releasing massive appendices with all the back guff in it.

        Whatever your opinion of HP, I would hope most people would still prefer it to the other popular series at the time, Twilight. At least HP has a somewhat typical hero story, overcomes struggles, gathers allies, confronts their demons and eventually triumphs. His "super power" being part of his tragic backstory is pretty good for such things. The majority of the minor characters in HP are better realized than the protagonists in Twiglet. And so on.

        As far as theme parks go in Orlando, when I was a wee lad (1995) Disneyworld wan't even in my top five things I liked in Florida. Waterparks with terrifying slides (and I've been to French waterparks) and themeparks with more focus on rides than cute pictures and queing. Roller coasters >> Mickey

        * never go full Tolkien

        1. allthecoolshortnamesweretaken

          Re: Harry who?

          The series is great for non-native speakers to learn/improve upon their English. Especially if you combine the printed books with the audio books* - read it and hear a good pronounciation at the same time. It starts at an easy level and advances step by step.

          The story is quite enjoyable as well, although the last book has a vibe of "just get it done and get it over with". YMMV.

          Anyway, I plan to use the method for learning Italian next year (as addition to a proper language course). Harry Potter e la pietra filosofale. I know the story, so I won't get lost, and I don't mind reading it again.

          * With all due respect to Jim Dale - it's got to be the Stephen Fry version.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Harry who?

      "They're not interested in HP any more'

      This is true. Ketchup is an almost universal accompaniment to a bacon sandwich among the millennial generation.

  5. apepper

    Excel Eramus

    Windowdium Leviosa?

    I'll get me coat...

    1. Dan 55 Silver badge
      Coat

      Re: Excel Eramus

      No, it's Windowium Descendosa.

      I.e. the Windows computer is down.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    This can be followed up with a half blood prince 2 qualification.

    1. Sir Runcible Spoon Silver badge
      Coat

      After all that exertion they can relax with a spliff and wax lyrical about how to fix the world in a new book called The Philosopher's Stoned.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Don't forget Mythical Macros and where to find them.

    2. Paul 129

      "This can be followed up with a half blood prince 2 qualification."

      Now this sounds like Microsoft Licensing.

      To achieve this you need half the blood from a prince.

      Opps fell for the gotcha.... half blood prince 2.

      That'll be all the blood of a prince....

      Pricey I know, but how can you put a a value to such quality kit.

      <ahh god must post before my before my prefrontal cortex kills me for the b#^^$hit above>

  7. Christian Berger Silver badge

    Seriously, they would be better off learning Dothraki or something

    Learning Office Software (no matter what vendor) is a rather pointless excercise, as the GUI and many of the concepts will change rather quickly, and office products typically aren't very good at what they are advertising. Word sucks for printed documents, Excel sucks for calculations, etc... There's usually far better alternatives outside the whole "Office" space.

    Learning Dothraki or Navi, however, will get you fame and fortune and you meet interresting people who in turn will dedicate words in their conlangs to you.

  8. Chris G Silver badge

    Florida?

    I suppose I must be a little out of touch, I didn't know there was a Harry Potter World, but putting it in Florida seems just odd. Something so quintessentially British and you have to fly to the land of Disney World. Anyone who will admit to having been there on these pages?

    1. Patrice

      Re: Florida?

      Toyed with the idea a few years back. But at $120 for 1 day just to wonder around a Diagone alley replica https://www.universalorlando.com/web/en/us/theme-parks/universal-studios-florida/the-wizarding-world-of-harry-potter-diagon-alley/index.html#subnav-a that has a few roller coaster rides didn't seem to be the best way to spend a Florida afternoon. Went hunting the Dali Museum http://thedali.org/ in Tampa instead. Didn't regret that one tiny bit.

    2. A K Stiles
      Coat

      Re: Florida?

      Well indeed.

      You can do the studio tour just outside Watford, near to that London in the UK,and see / walk on / through the actual stuff that they used to film the films, for about £40 as an adult (I think - the cost, rather than the adulting), as well as various junior entertainments like green screen wand flying and a 'magical' broom levitating experience ("Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain!"). Then you don't need to go through the horror of an office experience, or flying to Florida to use office more (never heard of teleworking?)

      (Mine's the one with the "Ravrnclaw" badge thanks)

    3. a_yank_lurker Silver badge

      Re: Florida?

      Florida yes, Disney World, etc. NO. There some interesting things to do in Florida besides the overgrown tourist traps around Orlando. And it is not too far away (from Atlanta) at least to the 'Redneck Riviera' (Panama City). Though the history buff would rather go to Mobile, AL (Farragut's 'Damn the torpedoes...').

      1. Gene Cash Silver badge

        Re: Florida?

        Worse. It's Florida in July. As an inmate a resident, I can assure you there is no greater hell.

        The actual attraction is not bad. It's IMHO probably the best of them. Certainly better than Disney.

  9. hplasm Silver badge
    Happy

    "Anyone who will admit to having been there on these pages?"

    What? Admit to going to Florida? Never!

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Wizarding World of Harry Potter....

    I find the whole concept of this fascinating. You still cant escape it. The child actors are now approaching their thirties. Theme parks in several places. Merchandise still everywhere, from Griffindor scarves to Slitherin pants. And a 'Fantastic Beasts' film franchise, likely to be 5 films.

    When does Ms Rowling come to the conclusion that she's got enough money? Is she burning stacks of £50's to heat her mansion. Rest it JK, rest it.

    1. FrogsAndChips Silver badge

      Re: Wizarding World of Harry Potter....

      She has a fun job and makes millions out of it. Why should she stop?

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Wizarding World of Harry Potter....

      If the cow's still standing, then bugger it for all it's worth.

    3. Cheshire Cat
      Go

      Re: Wizarding World of Harry Potter....

      Well, if people want to watch/read it, then why not...

      I think Ms Rowling (officially the richest woman in the UK?) actually gives much of her excess money away to worthy charities. Certainly a greater fraction than the majority of people in the 1% do, so good luck to her.

      1. MonkeyCee Silver badge

        Re: Wizarding World of Harry Potter....

        "I think Ms Rowling (officially the richest woman in the UK?)"

        Hahahaha, no.

        Even if you ignore the obvious candidate, who also happens to be our head of state, there are at least a dozen female billionaires in the UK. Probably two dozen by now.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Woah

    So much bitterness in the comments from people who, despite years of trying, clearly haven't managed to learn Word yet. The formatting isn't magic, it can be learned by anyone. As for poor Rowling, you chaps need to stop being such grumpy old sods!

    1. Daniel von Asmuth
      Trollface

      Hagrid

      Hagrid is my favourite half-giant. And like him, I haven't even tried to learn how to format a simple document with the Word of Gates yet, because software engineers have no use for something like that. Used to be good with WP 5.1 at the time.

    2. Captain DaFt

      Re: Woah

      So much bitterness in the comments from people who, despite years of trying, clearly haven't managed to learn Word yet. The formatting isn't magic, it can be learned by anyone.

      I learned Word...three times! After that I said, "Fuck this!" and moved to AbiWord for personal use.

      I just can't be arsed to keep relearning the damn thing every time they break change things to "Enhance my user experience"!

      1. Lusty

        Re: Woah

        You must have learned on very early versions. It hasn't really changed in over 20 years other than moving buttons to more accessible places.

        1. Paul 129
          Holmes

          Re: Woah

          "You must have learned on very early versions. It hasn't really changed in over 20 years other than moving buttons to more accessible places."

          I'll bite. Early versions the Mac was where it was at, but you had to withe down the full version of office on the disks. Cause each one was different 6.05 6.05a 6.05z etc kinda like windows builds. Most were unstable on mass, the select few you could install in a lab and not have problems. The macro language looked great until you tried to do anything complex. Then it became bizarre. (a find function operating slower than matching every cell in the column looking for the presence or otherwise of a value in a column iteratively)

          PC versions were next, it worked better on windows, but limited. Through the 90's and 00's the fun was large documents. Oh and the roughly 12 years of manually putting a registry entry to fix the Australian English dictionary. (Gave up on ever expecting that to be fixed, err recognized as a fault) Locking up machines and crashing, only to be fixed by a cut and paste of all text into a new document. Haven't had to deal too much with it since the ribbon, I know the functions are there, just have to find them, same sort of stuff. Help became more useful (don't mention clippy) Oh and of course each damned version formatting documents subtly differently.

          But the bane of my existence in recent years. Outlook and imap..... (the first microsoft mail with the exchange backend or pop was actually quite good).

          Linux may be a right royal pain in the arse with a few things, when you try something new or get away from the mainstream. But once you have it working, its rock solid.

          Office hasn't really changed all that much over the years, its still has delusions of adequacy.

        2. Captain DaFt

          Re: Woah

          It hasn't really changed in over 20 years other than moving buttons to more accessible places.

          So the whole ribbon fiasco is just a fever dream I'm suffering from?

          More accessible!? It's like having a toddler in the house, running off with your car keys the instant you set them down!

          If the buttons are so damned 'accessible' now, why'd MS have to release an interactive program just to help you figure out where they are?

    3. Terrance Brennan

      Re: Woah

      I agree they should lay off Ms Rowling; if I had a job that paid that well and I enjoyed I wouldn't quit either. And, she does give money to good causes, and, she doesn't like the Donald so she must be a good person at heart.

      However, your defense of Word is simply indefensible. The current version of Word is still not as good as Word Perfect 6, which is pretty damn old. Formatting in Word still is not nearly as good, or intuitive as in WP. But, then again, Active Directory didn't become even close to NetWare 4 until a few years ago and still does not have some of the features NW did at the turn of the century. Unfortunately, the better technology doesn't always win out. Both Word and AD are ok and functional, but not the best in class.

      PS, The only Harry book I thought too long was the last one; the others are still a good read. Going to Florida and spending that much money on anything is not happening, especially in July. I was in Orlando during the World Cup in '94 and it was awful.

  12. Charles Calthrop

    The verge did an article on this

    I read about this a few weeks ago, here

    https://www.theverge.com/2017/8/16/16152310/microsoft-office-specialist-mos-world-championship-2017

    they are so much more joyous about it than you

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Hook them in while they're young

    This is a way to hook youngsters onto Microsoft Office: The Abomination.

    Everyone knows that the last good version was 2003. I have to use it at work, and it's horrible. I prefer using LaTeX instead. I am one of those who grew up with WordStar.

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