The author of this blog has done a lot of detailed work, putting together a list of apps you can use for photo editing on Linux.
The author of this blog has done a lot of detailed work, putting together a list of apps you can use for photo editing on Linux.
Check it out. The article
and the strip.
Synopsis: Woody Hackett learns from his business partner, Jerome Bankwell, that they are the new owners of a documentary production studio that still uses Mastersoft, and that he will need to travel to their facilities in the desert in order to get them setup with Ubuntu Linux. At "Interplanetary Pictures," Woody shows their crew how to get started using the Ubuntu GUI following an installation. Guiding them through some basic software installation, Woody demonstrates to Kaori Soto and her associate Calvin Green basic ideas of GUI operation, so that they can use what they've learned to install other programs they might need down the road. Areas covered in first issue
I think I've found the software I'm going to use for online training, seminars, and one-on-one tutoring and support. It's in Beta, but it looks really good.
- supports Windows, Linux, and Mac (not sure if Linux or Mac can be the host)
- supports sharing a presentation, or my desktop, or a collaborative whiteboard
- supports audio and video (with some webcams)
and is free for up to 20 participants. Click here to see pricing for over 20.
No download for the participants, just the host. They use Flash.
There's a "Collaboration" link on the client side that just processed for a while and didn't give me anything. I'm desperately hoping that that is a to-be-implemented feature that lets me manipulate files on client computers or vice versa. That's a huge, huge nice-to-have for me, bordering on essential. I don't know for sure that it doesn't exist, but I haven't found it yet or found info on it since I'm not sure how broadly to interpret the word "share". I'll update this post when I find out.
Recording and archiving is coming.
I am seriously impressed. I've fallen too soon for other software that turned out to not have what I needed (and plenty that had what I needed but for a robust price), so I'm taking it slow this time. But I think Dimdim Is the One.
Here's what the main window looks like for the presenter. I tried it on two client computers, Windows XP and Novell Suse (that's the gibberish in the chat window that I typed just to try it out).
Audio worked with my Creative Live! Webcam with voice, video didn't.
I want to mention again my ongoing plans to provide all sorts of services through collaboration software, hopefully DimDim. These are in the near future; rates will be announced with the services.
Support -- Got an issue you want help figuring out? Send a request to my calendar for a time, upload the file to the collaboration software or email it to me, and I'll help you with the problem document or task.
Tutoring -- Want to learn something, like mail merges or styles or pivot tables? Just make an appointment and you'll get one-on-one attention.
Remote custom training for groups -- If you just want a few hours of training at a time (which makes it less practical to fly me in) or you have employees in many locations who need training, remote training makes a lot of sense. Contact me to plan topics and dates. We can use DimDim or your own collaboration tool such as WebEx, GotoMeeting, or ReadyTalk.
Regularly scheduled seminars -- I'll ask for requests, then schedule short (half-hour to two-hour) seminars on scheduled topics. Costs for these per person would be lower than signing up for tutoring.
Regularly scheduled free seminars -- I'll schedule free half-hour or hour-long seminars periodically on popular topics like mail merge, configuration, considerations for planning a transition, etc.
Looking at Linux? Here's a list to investigate to help you with planning and your pilot.
(originally found on http://opsamericas.com/?p=627)
And here's another site:
I think an essential component of switching over is to truly understand, through observation, the skillset of your users. A lot of learning is done by rote and thus users look more expert on a familiar platform than they are. Switching over, for a rote user, takes more effort than for someone who understands "General important functions go under the File menu, Format menu probably has stuff not on the toolbar, I should look under Tools for anything techier, never press Return to go to the next line within a paragraph," etc.
Free Linux Ebooks! From Lifehacker.com. 68 free books.
An interesting blog entry from Phil Shapiro on whether Linux is desktop-ready.
"Our public library has been offering these Linux public stations for the past 3 years. People come up to me and ask, “What does Linux look like?” and I answer them with a gentle smile, “The computer you've been using for the past two hours is Linux.”
Kids love using the OpenOffice draw program to add speech bubbles (also called “callouts”) to funny animal photos from the Internet. People edit their photos using The GIMP. Seniors write their memoirs on our computers. One woman who uses our computer center has 17 great grandchildren...."
Here in the Dell theater at Linuxworld, the Ubuntu presentations Torsten's giving are getting some serious attention. He's been talking about mass deployments today.
Me, I finally got to talk about Impress and Draw, which I love. I'm not sure but I think I detected a hint of interest/delight in the ability to combine two or more 3D objects. (Cut one, then select another, press F3, paste, and move the pasted object to intersect with the other object.)
I am live blogging at Linuxworld, at the presentation by OpenProj. They've announced, today, their free desktop version of their software.
Several thousand people have already downloaded it, existing partnerships are in place, and other partnerships with Ubuntu and others are "percolating."
Regarding a server-based component, an announcement is forthcoming.
OpenProj opens Microsoft Project native files.
There is talk, at least, about some soft of bundling with OOo, etc.
Well, the first presentation seems to have gone well. I'm at LinuxWorld in the tradeshow area, in the Dell area. Where you usually see marketing people in the Madonna headsets with multimedia presentations but in the Dell Desktop Linux section, it's me. (Trying to compete with the woman from Redhat behind me who is extremely perky and has excellent lungs.)
Anyway, this morning was OpenOffice.org Writer, and this afternoon from 3-4 I'm doing an hour of Cool Stuff I Think Is Powerful and Fun. Wednesday at 11 is Impress, and the afternoon is databases. Thursday at....I think 12 or so, I'm doing Calc, and the afternoon presentation, not at 3, is TBD. I might do advanced desktop publishing, just to see who can take it. ;>
This afternoon at 2, one of the folks with the open source substitute for Microsoft Project will be there. So come on by if you're interested in that topic.
It's not that I don't like Denver International Airport, but one can have too much of a good thing. ;> In short, I'm researching software that would allow me to teach remotely. I've found GoToMeeting.com, which is great: easy and reasonably priced. You just create a meeting, it gives you the call-in number and URL, and you just mail that to the people attending the meeting. I've just used it a few times but I really like it so far.
However, while it supports Windows and Mac clients, it doesn't support Linux clients.
So I'm asking for recommendations. Have you used a screen-sharing software that supports Linux clients, for meetings, training, or other group-based events? Did you like it enough to recommend it? Do you want to recommend that I not use a particular application?
OpenOffice.org will just pick up whatever fonts you've got on your system. As someone who's worked with a lot of desktop publishing projects and who's mostly on Windows, I have a lot of fonts.
But let's say you don't have a lot of fonts, and you want more fonts for OpenOffice.
OpenOffice is there for you. In 2.1 there's a link from the Wizards to an installation site.
Choose File > Wizards > Install Fonts From Web.
Just follow the wizard through. Here are the windows.
Click on English and here's the text you see.
FontOOo is a wizard allowing free fonts installation.
FontOOo is a wizard to simplify the downloading and installation of selected, high-quality fonts available on the internet. License restrictions prevent these fonts from being directly shipped as part of OpenOffice.org but do allow end-user installation and use for no cost. Please carefully read and follow the license for each of the fonts you install.
Click the button to start the wizard
You will have to restart OpenOffice.org and the quickstarter to see your new fonts.
wizard is licensed under the terms of the LGPL, available here:
Author: Laurent Godard – © 2004–2006 – LaurentGodard@openoffice.org
Select available fonts. If they're dimmed, click Next and select any that are available.
I selected all these and installed them.
Selectwhat you want installed and click Next. The process will run. Restart OpenOffice.org and the quickstarter when you're done.
Wesley Fryer has a nice take on Vista and schools.
He says, among other things:
Well, Windows Vista is now on the market, but my question is: Do any educators care? I don’t know of any midwest U.S. school districts planning to make the transition to Vista anytime soon.
I'm skeptical too. (But you knew that. ;> ) Really, though. What's the attraction? I'm not sure what genuine benefit, matching the amount of money that would have to be spent and the effort to upgrade, that schools get.
What happens when your current licenses run out, though, or when MS comes aknockin' and says, upgrade or else? (I'm not exactly sure how all the licensing systems work but I believe in general, you have to upgrade sooner or later.)
Open source, perhaps?
I'm not saying OpenOffice.org and Linux are for everyone, but I think they deserve serious evaluation by any educators with limited budgets. (I assume that's pretty much all school districts.) When the software doesn't cost anything, that frees up an awful lot of money. Which means students and teachers can get a better education, better facilities and supplies, and better salaries.
But it's a pain to switch. Yes. Any change is a pain. Switching from WordPerfect to Word was a big pain for most people, who left WP kicking and screaming. It's part of using computers.
Just take a real look at each side. For staying with Microsoft and for going with open source, evaluate all the money and training and lost time and converting the documents and installing the software and networking and everything else. Then when you have all the facts, do a comparison of what it really would be like on Vista and MS Office 2007, versus what it really would be like on Linux and OpenOffice.org (and Firefox and Moodle and the other cool education-related pieces of open source software out there).
One public organization with 3000 employees is saving 2.8 million dollars over the next six years, just by switching to OpenOffice.org. That's a lot of money.
I'm glad lots of other people are spreading the word that, you know, Vista....is not necessarily worth the money.
"The launch of Windows Vista has created a huge opportunity for Linux vendors to take a larger share of the corporate desktop market, according to the president of Linux Australia."
I've been writing articles on OpenOffice.org for TechTarget.com, and now I'm going to go in a new direction: writing articles about actual transitions from Windows to Linux, Microsoft Office to OpenOffice.org, etc.
That means I need to talk to people who have done this! I'd like to document how you accomplished it, lessons learned, and of course to tell your story so that others can benefit and make a successful transition, as well. If you're in the middle of a transition, also, I'd like to talk to you.
Contact me at email@example.com, or just post a comment here, if you'd like your organization to be featured in a transition story. You can be anonymous in the article, as long as you can provide enough information about your transition.
The "Of Zen and Computing" blog has a nice article on Linux and open source and just what the deal is.
Check this out -- you can get a refund for your Windows install on a new PC.
"UK freelancer Dave Mitchell bought a new Dell laptop, replaced its copy of Windows with Linux - and got money back from Dell for never using the Microsoft OS."
ComputerWorld has an article about the pros and cons of continue the upgrade trail with Vista and Office 2007.
I've been talking about this for a while. Upgrading to Vista or Microsoft Office 2007 or both is not to be undertaken lightly.
Here's the deal in a nutshell.
So....what works for you and your organization?
Note: If you're a school or otherwise on a limited budget, are you sure that's the best way to spend the money, especially on the hardware you have now? Here's a blog from a Vista beta tester, The Tech-Savvy Teacher.
Karim sent me links to these dandy screen shots. Yes, the glamorous soap opera "Desperate Housewives" uses Linux and OpenOffice.org when they shoot computer screens.
Desperate Housewives episode 220 with OpenOffice Calc
Click each to see it bigger.
See also the post on "House", Linux, and OpenOffice.org
(Originally posted March 2006)
If you've been thinking of putting Linux on one of your old machines, but you've heard that Linux installs are horrifyingly painful, PLEASE read this. That's what I used to think, too.
Not any more.
You will be shocked, delighted, and go "whoohoohoo!" all the way home.
Here's Ubuntu, running on my ooooold laptop, just as slick and easy as can be.
Ubuntu is incredibly simple to install and and use. You can install Ubuntu on an old machine (or whatever machine). Aside from the fact that nothing works 100% of the time, and wireless can be very wacky on any machine or operating system, I tell ya, installing Ubuntu will Just Work.
A Linux distro, Ubuntu, is incredibly slick to INSTALL and to use. You can be up and running on Linux today with no more effort than you'd expend making tea.
Now, I'm sure that many other distros are great and easy too. I understand from my techy friend and author of the first Java Certification Exams Simon Roberts who supervised but didn't actually do the install or tell me anything I didn't know, SuSE rocks and is gorgeous to boot. I understand that many of my fears about Linux installation actually are based on unusual situations like setting up wireless and really old or really new hardware. And are also just based on what I heard a long time ago that is not true anymore.
So anyway, it's probably not just Ubuntu that's easy and slick as a whistle. But I'm still very excited about this install.
I am doing everything for this post on my newly Linuxed laptop, too, btw.
Here's the story.
Me and My Linux Background: I'm So Not a Linux Head
I knew I would have to admit this sooner or later: I'm not really that knowledgeable about Linux. Not in a deep down kind of way. I have never and will never build my own distro and don't keep track of what GUI is my fave.
I'm not afraid of it or of using other operating systems--I used Solaris at Sun for three years, Mac at Great Plains Software, mostly Windows since then.
But you know, you hear these stories about installing Linux and it sounds like a quick hike up K2 would be easier. Packages. Drivers. Distros. Editing your BIOS. AAAAAAAAAAAAAAGH.
I installed, with the considerable help of my friend Simon, a Linux distro a few years ago. Red Hat 8 or something like that. Not horrible but not easy.
Time to try it again, though. I considered the Linspire distro but there seems to be some cost associated with it (forget that! ;> ) and there seemed to be a lot of buzz around Ubuntu. Plus you've GOT to love a distro with this name.
What I Installed On and the Internet Setup
I bought this laptop, a Dell Latitude CPX, used for $400 from Half.com at least three years ago. I tried to check what its specs are and couldn't see it offhand, but you can figure it out generally. A roughly seven-year-old laptop. Defiitely not less.
I also installed Ubuntu on my four or five year old HP Pavilion 6835, 800 mhz machine with 300 MB memory or so.
I connected using a standard Ethernet card to my in-house standard Ethernet network. No wireless. (Wireless is a pain in the patookus on any system--at least in my experience.) The Ethernet card just went in the little slot on the left side of my laptop, and the dangly thing connected to the normal plug of the Ethernet connection. My desktop already had an Ethernet card installed.
How I Got the Install CDs
Like a breeze. very easy. I downloaded the CD from Ubuntulinux.org. But you can just order CDs too, off the web site. Totally for free, no shipping costs or anything. (Just one note--I ordered mine at least a couple weeks ago and haven't received them yet. Probably more like three weeks ago.)
How the Install Went
Like a breeze. I didn't partition the drives or do anything fancy. I just said yes, take over the computer, leave no data behind, etc.
I had the computers hooked up to the Internet. The install went out to the Ubuntu site and got extra files it needed, with no fuss or muss dealing with the connections.
I did nothing complicated. I entered what my name and password should be. That's about as complicated as it got.
Doesn't zip really fast on my laptop, and I haven't used the desktop a lot yet since I'm dithering about my monitor options. But it's definitely good enough. It's a 7+ year old machine.
What It's Like to Use
Very similar to Windows and Solaris. I just played around with the various selections and it looked pretty easy. OpenOffice.org is there, under Applications > Office, just like you'd expect. I got on the Internet by choosing Applications > Internet. I found my files by choosing Places > Home Folder. It's all pretty logical. Most windowing applications aren't that complicated, and I find Solaris, Linux, and Windows all far more similar to each other than Macintosh.
What Else Works Besides Internet
The laptop doesn't have a CD burner, just a CD R drive, so I hooked up my USB Iomega CDRW external drive to it. I inserted a blank CD. And it just worked--a message popped up asking what I wanted to do. It was just like burning a CD on XP. I might have squealed with delight.
Printing worked fine, too. I hooked up the printer directly the USB port of my laptop. I chose System > Administration > Printing, double-clicked the new printer, answered the simple questions, and selected the printer I use. Didn't have to go hunt down drivers or anything.
And yes, the printing actually works. Just got a nice printout of this page on the printer. ;>
I haven't set up Thunderbird or anything for email since I'm not using this machine for that. I'm pretty pumped about the printing and the other hardware and networking stuff.
Installing Linux Just Worked.
The install was a breeze. Internet and hardware just worked. The layout is logical. The software is free.
Come on in, the Linux is fine!
Office suite software isn't really all that important.
What's important is pretty much anything else. What your organization is doing: research, services, saving lives, preserving order, education. Preserving the rain forest. Rebuilding New Orleans. Job retraining. Heck, you could argue that a good pumpkin pie is essentially more important than software.
OK, the office suite software helps you do all those things I listed and a million more. But I want to point out that our goal in our eight hours a day is not to use software. It's everything else.
All right. So now think about this.
OpenOffice.org is free.
Other office suites are not.
You switch to OpenOffice.org, and you or your organization is suddenly not spending $500, or $50,000, or $5 million on your office suite licenses.
Add up all the other people or organizations who are no longer spending that money on an office suite, and suddenly we're into some serious cash.
Think about how much your city police force spends on office suite software, and about how that money could probably do some good if it were spent on, say, salaries for additional police.
Think about what that research facility down the road spends on software. Compared to the money they spend for their equipment, maybe not much, but it's money probably better spent on upping the salaries for a few poor post-docs than on office suite software.
Think about how much money the federal government spends on office suite software. Now fantasize about how you would redirect that money if you were in charge.
(Almost makes $4,000 toilet seats pale in comparison, doesn't it? OK, toilet seats are already white, but you know what I mean.)
Amazon saved $17 million when they switched to Linux. Same principle--pay less for something that's not part of your core business.
Think about how much your state spends on office suite software for schools, and how many more teachers and books that money could buy.
Education is one of the most important places to think about OpenOffice.org. Education is, to put it mildly, important. Plus, third graders aren't likely to complain that they're used to how Word does styles and they don't want to switch. They're open to anything new. And education isn't exactly overfunded. I live in Colorado which is either 49th or 47th in the nation in funding for education.
For educators, here's an interesting article on trends this year, including OpenOffice.org.
For anyone thinking about upgrading to Vista, here's an important blog. Dave Rosenberg states that Vista gives you an opportunity to really compare the actual cost and the actual benefits, and he quotes Jon Oltsik from Enterprise Strategy Group."
So just think about the value. Think about how much money you're spending on your office suite, and what you could do with that money that would be more important.
It's so cute! And it's closer to being available!
Here's the photo album.
You can pledge to buy one for $300. That means you get one, and two needy children each get one, too. I've just pledged. Here's the text.
"I will purchase the $100 laptop at $300 but only if 100,000 other will too."
— Mike Liveright, digital charity supporter
Deadline to sign up by: 31st October 2006
552 people have signed up, 99448 more needed
From A Modest Construct
I was in the Kalispell Public Library today (or possibly the Flathead County Library, not sure what it's specifically called) in Kalispell, Montana today, to use their Internet. (My parents' Internet is what is called glacial.)
The stations are nice, with options for Internet, Office, etc. I didn't really pay attention to the office stuff til my allotted hour was over, and then I thought--gosh, that Spreadsheet icon is Oddly Familiar.
It was familiar of course because it was the Linux OpenOffice.org icon for spreadsheets. I talked to Katy, the librarian at the reference desk and she said, yes, they use Userful, a workstation setup apparently from a company in Canada.
So I just wanted to mention that, since, yay! open source in my home town library, where I have spent billions of hours. And also of course, if there are any librarians out there looking for a good prefab Linux workstation for public use, I really liked this one. It has a setup for restricting time per workstation per person, was nicely set up, of course, and just generally seemed very nice and workable.
And thirdly, I'm definitely going to contact the company providing the workstations and see if we can work out a deal with bundling some of my workbook content. I've been thinking that I would love to give a site license of my workbooks, if I could get a big enough group of libraries or schools or other groups together.
(And yes, I actually am writing this at 4 in the morning on Wednesday; it's not a prefab that I set up to post early in the morning. Presumably I'll get back to sleep at some point. Sheesh.)
I've been having a problem that some of you might sympathize with--getting posts to show up in Technorati. So as a cheater, I've created this post that links to a bunch of posts that I don't think have been showing up. Not all of them like links to current discussions or issues, just the ones I think are important that have been missed.
So I'm sorry this isn't new content, but perhaps somewhere in the last six months there's something useful that Technorati didn't let you see the first time around.
Templates, Writer, general setup and toolbars
Calc spreadsheets and charts
Draw, Diagrams, Impress presentations
Web publishing and PDF
Mail merge, labels, envelopes, and databases
Openoffice training, change management, and general discussions
Posted at 06:00 AM in Calc, Free software, Impress, Labels, Linux, Mail merge, Microsoft Office, Microsoft Office users, Open source, Opendocument format, OpenOffice, OpenOffice books, OpenOffice training, OpenOffice.org, PDF, Printing, Spreadsheets, Styles, Switching to OpenOffice, Templates, Web, Writer | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)
These are just some random ideas for when I finally find the Unlimited Money, Time, and Influence Dimension.
Here's what I've been thinking about lately.
We're at one of those points in “Crossing the Chasm” where there's going to be a big change soon and the General Populace is going to start using Linux in the next couple years. I hope. There's no technical reason for it not to happen. The distros are cute. The installs are in many cases very easy.
But, of course, that's not the whole story.
When I tell my friend Betsy or my parents or other folks not in the technical field that Linux, or OpenOffice.org, or another open source program would be great, they get a little glassy-eyed and start to shake if I talk about non-Microsoft products for too long. It's just not something they believe in. They know intellectually that I make my living in open source and understand that free is cheaper than not free. But don't really believe it. They just don't feel that open source products are an option.
Reasoning is all very well, but as someone very wise once said, "You can't reason someone out of a position they haven't been reasoned into." Which is a very reasonable statement (pun intended). I've certainly got my emotional topics that reason won't trump, period. We can talk all day long about how open source is great and so much cheaper, but that doesn't get to people's amygdala. It doesn't make them feel like they want it or can use it. It doesn't make them accept that yes, cheaper can be better.
Plus, there's no "get an easy cool Linux laptop with support and warantees now!" web site for them to go to.
So I fantasize about how to make people fall in love with open source.
Or, if not fall in love, then help people feel good about it, feel comfortable, and feel excited about it.
And I think about the ultimate pre-installed open source computer web site.
In my fantasy, with the aforementioned money and people, I would do a couple things.
I would create The Warm, Fuzzy, Fun, Exciting, and Absolutely Cool Linux/Open Source Site, For Everyone But Especially Small Businesses and Regular End Users Who Are Not Using Linux Yet.
And I would Shamelessly Pursue Celebrity Endorsements and Product Placement.
About the Site
I would create a different Linux site for people who don't know or care about open source but care about everything you can do with a normal computer save money, do email, edit photos, build web pages, rip CDs, and so on.
In my fantasy, the site would be off the charts on fun, easy, and incredibly cool. The site should make people feel like walking around in Target makes me feel (I have a serious Target addiction). Or Ikea. Just fun and more-or-less mainstream and cute.
The site and associated products and ads would make it blindingly obvious millions of people are using open source software and having a good time doing so.
Here are a few specific things in my fantasy Linux web site.
Celebrity Endorsements, Product Placements, and All That Stuff
What made people stop smoking so quickly in the 90s after yeaaaars of smoking? Peer pressure. Who can get people to buy millions of copies of an item with a wave of her hand? Oprah!
Now, I'm not actually going to do this. Not this year, anyway. Got to finish a book, got to go do some training, and there aren't that many programmers or designers around who will do my bidding. If you decide to do this, though, please remember me, bring me on as your official trainer. Oh, and I want to be on Oprah. ;>
Interesting comparison of Linux and Windows, with good points.
First and most importantly of all, here's where to buy your very own stuffed Linux penguin.
Nice site on why Linux is better. Just the benefits and features.
An article on Ubuntu.
A post on the true story of a $179 computer from Fry's; total cost of everything with additional hardware ended up $366. Things get a lot cheaper when you don't pay for the operating system.
And another post on that same ad in Fry's.
It's like a John Lennon song. "Imagine all the people....living without any Microsoft products...." And not just a few people. About 330,000 people. Additional people.
IBM has canceled their contract with Microsoft. They will be using RedHat for the operating system and their own riff on OpenOffice.org for their office suite.
IBM--while we're chatting, I just want to mention, I could probably free up some time to train your internal employees. ;> firstname.lastname@example.org
I love this.
I'm very happy that she's doing her job so well....
Update April 15th: Read an interview with the project founder Jason Hudson by Marshall Kirkpatrick. Jason Hudson is the Technical Product Manager for the Shuttleworth Foundation and founder of the Freedom Toaster project.
This is sooooooo cool! Move over, $100 laptop! And how did I miss this? Blogs started last year. According to the founder, "The Freedom Toaster is a free vending machine/kiosk that dispenses open source software burned to CD or DVD in locations throughout South Africa."
Information is posted at these locations among others:
The main site is:
Here's what it says:
"The Freedom Toaster project was started in 2004 by the Shuttleworth Foundation as a way to overcome these problems.
Freedom Toasters are conveniently located, self-contained, computer-based, 'Bring 'n Burn' facilities. Like vending machines, preloaded to dispense confectionery, Freedom Toasters are preloaded to dispense free digital products (e.g. Linux Operating Systems and the OpenOffice.org office suite Toaster Software)."
Here's where they are currently located.
For instance, the East London one is at:
Walter Sisulu University
Walter Sisulu University (Chiselhusrt Campus)
19 Manchester Road
Want one near you? Click here.
Now THIS is crossing the digital divide.
"After years of putting up with Microsoft's anti-Linux half-truths in its Get-the-FUD campaign, Linux supporters are finally striking back.
But if that's all this report was, I'd barely bother with it.
What's different about this report from Microsoft's endless series of anti-Linux reports is that it focuses on the hard evidence of uptime, management and software costs, and system administrator costs per server and user. ...
The survey of over 200 responses, from mostly SMBs (small-to-medium businesses) with from less than 20 servers to over a 1000 servers, found that 'Over half of the respondents can provision a new Linux server in less than 1 hour, and 20% can do so in less than 20 minutes. For sites with sophisticated tools, over 75% spent less than 1 hour to provision a new Linux system and one third could provision the OS in less then 20 minutes. None took longer than 5 hours.' "
Show it to your boss. Show it to your reports. Show it to your friends, take it to the LUG. (Not that it's news to anyone who uses Linux.) This is great.
I always learn something when I teach a StarOffice or OpenOffice class. In Green River, Wyoming two weeks ago, I learned how to redock the slide pane in Impress/Draw (for some versions of the software). Click here to see the post.
I also learned that cleaning the dash on a Subaru can knock your hazards on, and they don't flash so it looks like they're your regular lights. I also learned that Green River Imports is a very fine car-fixing establishment that doesn't laugh at you when you bring in your car for something like that.
This week I'm in Largo, Florida at the City of Largo. The weather is gorgeous. I'll post pictures when I get back. I'm teaching an all-Linux set of classes this week--notable, the City of Largo completely skipped Microsoft Office. Never had it or Windows running for the city. Fabulous.
A few of the things I learned from student questions, or things that students discovered and told me about, include:
- You can just click somewhere in a table, then choose Table > AutoFormat, to apply an autoformat--you don't need to select the whole table.
- When you're putting spacing between columns under Format > Page, Columns, or for a section too, it won't accept a space between the columns if you type the measurement. You have to use the arrows to put in the spacing.
- I should have seen this earlier but in mail merge documents, you need to specify the printer before you print. In labels or envelopes just click the Options tab and specify the printer. Or in any created document, choose File > Print Properties and select the printer. Then choose File> Print, click Yes to print a form letter, be sure the Printer radio button is selected, and click OK. Used to be, you got a chance after that window to specify the printer. Not anymore.
- The mail merge wizard in 2.0.1 now does let you do manual editing when you set up the contents and layout of the address block, so it's now less annoying.
- To sort a data source for mail merges, so that for instance everything prints in order by zip code, here's what you do. Choose File > Open to open the data source, the .odb file. Double-click the table you're basing the mail merge on. In the editing window, click the column you want to sort by, and click one of the sort icons, Sort Ascending or Sort Descending. Then do your mail merge. If you need to then change the sort for another mail merge, just repeat these steps.
- I've been reminded that it's not a bad idea to just export your Impress slides to PDF and run your presentation in Adobe Acrobat. (In OOo, File > Export as PDF.) For anyone looking for an OpenOffice.org Impress viewer application, PDF might be all you need. Granted, it won't run your cool effects but unless you're presenting on something where you need to demonstrate motion, you don't technically need custom animation or slide transitions.
You can of course also export to HTML and to Flash; I haven't played enough with Flash to know how the transitions come over, if at all.
- Hyperlinks transfer over to PDF!!! This did not happen in 1.x. However, in 2.0 OpenOffice.org, any hyperlink in a document such as a hyperlinked table of contents or any link period, transfers to the PDF when you choose File > Export as PDF. This is GREAT. To create a plain old hyperlink, select some text to link and click the Hyperlink icon on the top toolbar.
- In labels, to go from one frame to another on the keyboard (or to go from one label to another, period), press Esc Tab Enter. Intuitive, huh? You can also choose Tools > Customize, click Keyboard, and set up a control key for it.
- Cuban food is yummy. I had a pork with black beans and rice thing the other day for lunch. However, when you carry the bag of Cuban food the wrong way, the black beans leak out of the container, out of the paper bag, and splash all over your light beige suit, when you don't have time to drive back to the hotel to change. However, my polyester suit from the fine folks at Target was easy to dab down and get clean with just soap and water. So that was a relief. (I mostly love Target, but will take this opportunity to plead with them to carry tall sizes in pants and jeans.)
Note, January 31 2006: See this update on the process re Microsoft's attempt to get in on it.
This is absolutely fantastic.
I don't usually do "this is cool! go here!" posts but this is really important.
This is what the story is about. Everyone talks about the digital divide but nobody does anything about it, to paraphrase Twain. Well, MIT and others are doing something about it. MIT has unveiled its $100 hand-cranked laptop computer to the United Nations technology summit in Tunisia. It's hoping to make a bunch more, for the poorest people in the world.
It's running Linux, of course, and I can only assume OpenOffice.org and something like Firefox are also loaded.
The machines are bright green, which is fun, and have wireless. Plus there's some kind of mesh network for peer to peer, and they crank so you can somehow generate electricity. Kind of like the mythical tv-electricity-generating exercise bike that I think somebody should invent.
Kofi Annan is all about it. When Kofi weighs in, that's important. "It is an impressive technical achievement, able to do almost everything that larger, more expensive computers can do. It holds the promise of major advances in economic and social development. But perhaps most important is the true meaning of 'one laptop per child'. This is not just a matter of giving a laptop to each child, as if bestowing on them some magical charm. The magic lies within - within each child, within each scientist-, scholar-, or just plain citizen-in-the-making. This initiative is meant to bring it forth into the light of day".
The goal is to provide the machines free of charge to children in poor countries who cannot afford computers of their own.
Governments or anyone who wants to donate will pay for them; children will own them.
Here's a question--will Bill Gates get involved in this, since he's allll about charitable donations in third world countries? I'm thinking, look for some sort of response out of the northwest.
Brazil, Thailand, Egypt and Nigeria are on the list to receive the first chunk of laptops.
The computers operate at 500 MHz, but since it's running Linux that's not the problem it would be with Windows.
The screen is from a portable DVD player and you can use B/W or color.
It's slated to be ready in a year or a bit more, when people have ordered and paid for 5-10 million computers.
This is going to have a huge effect on society, possibly politics, very likely women's rights--it's going to be huge.