From each according to his abilities, to each according to his needsKarl Marx and Friedrich Engels
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Finally after two months absence from the blogging circuit, I finally see something earlier today worth shouting from the rooftops. The release of OpenOffice.org 2.0. Features include support for the OASIS Document Format (also used by KOffice), a new database frontend (BASE) for DML and DDL, and integration of XForms for web form creation. Could this finally make OpenOffice a worthy adversary for other proprietary and monopolising office suites?
Posted on Oct 20, 2005 at 23:24:37.
Also relates to Basic
Nothing like a full day of work on an Access database only to be told:
Error accessing file. Network connection may have been lost.
All thanks to this bug, requiring this patch and these patches to fix. Totalling more than 100MB of downloads, I decided to backtrack through the night rather than crank my dial-up to the extreme. Well, its not as if MicroDollar products cost money! I rarely use this software now except for clients (hence the reason I had never patched it previously), but a bug as glaringly obvious as this should never have found its way into the software in the first place!
Also relates to SEO
I had high expectations in the light of Gmail, but this speculatively premature release leaves quite a bit to be desired. As with previous desktop search tools, the proprietary list of indexable file types makes the tool practically useless for users of open source tools like Open Office and the Mozilla Suite (bar Firefox Hacks). Over at the Register, Copernic CEO, David Burns, expands on privacy concerns in desktop search branding Google Desktop privacy unacceptable.
Google Desktop Search allows users to opt out of sending the company back detailed usage data, but it isn't possible to firewall it completely. David Burns, CEO Copernic
Integration with Gmail is also noticeably lacking!
Personally, I am unable to test drive Google Desktop Search, not that I would want to - this platform is Win98, and GDS is compatible solely with 2000 and XP. Expecting more from the next release.
Also relates to Open Source
One of my many goals the past few weeks has been improving the automation of my office environment. A little example is the management of renewal dates and years of service for database records. There are enough features in Open Office to just enter the registration date for a new record and leave the rest to the system. The solutions I came up with are:
cell_service_yrs = CEILING(YEARFRAC(cell_register_date;TODAY());1) cell_renewal_date = DATE(YEAR(cell_register_date)+cell_service_yrs;MONTH(cell_register_date);DAY(cell_register_date))
Perhaps this is the same set of date functions available in Excel? I never really got to play with them before migrating to Open Office.
Ideally I would like to create a set of UDFs as an add-in module for the global library using Basic that could be plugged into this and other spreadsheets. Unfortunately there has not been the time to explore Open Office Basic yet! Here are some links if you are venturing down that path (and for my own future reference).
Also relates to Security
I have found in recent weeks one major cause of interruption has been support assistance to clients whose computers are malfunctioning. In a strange twist of irony, several recent calls have been for indicative viral infection which have actually turned out to be anti-viral infection. There have been no trace of the common imprints left by Sasser, GaoBot and other variants of these deviant worms. Instead the problems appear to have arisen as a result of infectious automatic updates of the anti-virus software which have left required libraries absent from the system. Catch-22 ensues. The AV software has to be disabled for the computer to run, but then it is not possible to retrieve any further repair patches through the automated system. The vendors rarely have any support information on this! I am not going to name names except to say that for three clients I worked with three different products. All three of them a household name - you guess!
As a result of this I decided to delve deeper into the AV product lines on the market. The product that seemed to come out on top in most comparison charts was Bit Defender. I have a client test-driving the professional version with integrated firewall right now. I would be quite keen to join in if I could make the time to hard uninstall all the stray components of my current AV! An evaluation version is available for 30 day trial.
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