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Open Office 2.0 Arrives

Also relates to XForms and The Office

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.

Firefox Extensions in PR1

Also relates to Firefox and Co

Back in April I posted an entry on the Firefox extensions I found most useful supplemented by instruction on safely installing new extensions. Since reaching Preview Release, the Extension Manager has made the later discussion redundant. At the same time, the new Extension Room and older repository has seen the number and variety of extensions for Firefox grow extensively. With my former post the top viewed page on this weblog, I decided it was time for a quick update.

Some of the extensions I recommended in April are no longer relevant while others can now be found under new project names. So here is my list:

  • Web Developer Toolbar - always first extension I install with any new release, can't do without it!
  • Mouse Gestures - slightly more lightweight than the AIO but the latest release offers superb customisation (with a little javascript knowledge).
  • Sage - this project has merged the RSS Reader to become the essential RSS syndication sidebar and I still find myself turning to this more often than Live Bookmarks.
  • Adblock - only started using this recently and couldn't believe what I was missing.
  • Link Toolbar - essential site navigation toolbar, but disable the slightly over eager link guesser!
  • Live HTTP Headers - very useful development utility.
  • Quick Note - good data collation tool.
  • Paste and Go - recent releases have developed intelligence to open paste URL or search in a new window if focused window is not blank.
  • BBCode - simplifies BBCode entry and now includes XHTML. Just waiting for toolbar functionality to be included.
  • GMail Notifier - only if you have it of course (see below)!
  • ConQuery - combined with inbuilt smart search features and Mycroft makes most other search extensions redundant. Just write your own queries to access advanced searches, caches, archives and validation tools.
  • Cookie Culler - quick access to cookie management with additional functionality.
  • del.icio.us - quickpost toolbar button via nutr.itio.us, sidebar and context menu integration for bookmarks sharing.
  • HTML Validator - enables quick access to page validation in the source viewer. Latest version offers accessibility checking but is currently a little limited, and it seems to crash the browser on a few complex form layouts.
  • Toolbar Enhancements - brings back toolbar buttons and allows creation of custom toolbars.
  • Tab Clicking Options - customise the behaviour for tab clicking.
  • Undo Close Tab - does what it says by adding additional functionality to Tab Clicking Options and context menus!
  • MiniT Drag with Indicator - reposition tabs in the tab bar.
  • Blank Last - without this the last tab closed continues to be displayed and the tab bar is hidden.

The last four replace some of the functionality of the Tabbrowser Extension which I chose to avoid this time round due to its resource consumption.

Feel free to recommend any other extensions you may have found useful that I have not mentioned above. And since I recommended Gmail Notifier, if anyone is still after a Gmail invite leave your email address in the comment with your recommendations and I will send you one (so long as my invites continue to top up). Just counting down the days now to the final release…

Posted on Oct 16, 2004 at 22:46:04. [Comments for Firefox Extensions in PR1- 6]


Also relates to Firefox and Co

Yes, the Royal Oak is out, and the One Tree Hill has arrived! Everyone has been talking about it. The truth is out…

…as a matter of fact, as Firefox gears up for landmark version 1.0, I fear we will see miracles before us in the form of an Internet browser. Firefox is that good. It really is. Look out Internet Explorer… your days have been numbered for some time now, but Firefox 1.0 will surely leave you shaking on your already shaky foundations and standing in a small warm puddle. First Look at Mozilla Firefox 0.9 by Adam Doxtater

What is so significant about the version 9 release of Firefox (code named One Tree Hill) is that this is the final technological preview before the browser is released into the wild. Bar bug fixing this is very much how Firefox will appear.

The one feature that was lacking has finally arrived in this release - the extension/theme manager. While I was quite happy playing with my chrome, this improvement should finally make the home user market sit up and notice there is a life beyond the exploder. The online extensions repository has also been updated and is far more usable with the clever addition of RSS syndicated feeds of the latest and most popular extensions. This is the way to get Firefox noticed - get syndicated content distributed around the web. I will certainly be syndicating the latest extensions, since I am still waiting for the update of several essential extensions, including Link Tool Bar, HTTP Headers, Tabbrowser Extensions and the Advanced Search Side Bar. The good news is that due to the re-location of the user profile directory, Firefox 0.8 can remain installed for the time being without any conflicts arising (of course can only run one or the other version at a time). Also, with the added benefit of a usable extension manager, I decided to dip my toes into a few other extensions, and Radial Context has become an immediate must have. I have been bred on mouse gestures ever since I first booted up Opera 6, so continue to use these while assigning radial context to the middle button for added pleasure.

Everything about the browser is smoother and more efficient on my grinding old Windows 98 PC and this has been further backed up by the release of Thunderbird 0.7. This email and news reader client seems to be catching up very quickly - I hadn't event got round to installing the previous version yet! This has already become my principle email client, in part due to the regular instability and crashing of MS Outlook (blame it on the OS and not the vendor no doubt!!) Plus a much smoother interface for archiving and retrieving the multitude of material that finds its way into my Inbox.

The last word must return to Firefox and where it all began. Have you noticed what that codename is for the version 1 milestone?

1. Mythological Bird. In ancient mythology, a bird resembling an eagle that lived for 500 years and then burned itself to death on a pyre from whose ashes another pheonix arose. It commonly appears in literature as a symbol of death and resurrection.
2. SB Or STH Beautiful Or Unique. A supremely beautiful, rare, or unique person or thing.

The Encarta Dictionary

The personification of a web browser!? I can handle that - after all I talk to my Firefox daily and praise her on her efforts!

Posted on Jun 20, 2004 at 04:41:33. [Comments for Firefox…Firebird…Pheonix- 0]

Renewal Dates In OO Calc

Also relates to The Office

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).

Posted on Jun 20, 2004 at 04:37:22. [Comments for Renewal Dates In OO Calc- 0]

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