my iphone apps


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First, I must say that the following list of iphone apps may not appeal to everyone, but that is to be expected. Second, they are all free apps (as in free beer, $0.00 cost), since there are enough free gems floating around. Of course, there are enhanced for-fee versions etc, but I don’t see myself buying them.

iphone apps

iphone apps

The apps I use the most are (in no particular order): (a) Zenbe lists, (b) twitterific, (c) IM+, (d) Speedtest, and (e) netnewswire.  Not that I don’t like or don’t use my other apps (especially, shazam, evernote, facebook, linkedin or maps), but the five apps I mentioned earlier are my top-tier apps.

I like zenbe lists because the iphone app synchronizes with the zenbe lists server over wifi or 3G and I can update my things to do (separated by context) at any time.  The same is true for netnewswire which also syncs with my unread subscriptions.

Twitterific offers twitter on the go, which is always nice and is available here at the App Store.  Speedtest is a nice app which helps you estimate the speed of whatever network you are connected at the time.  I use it when I am at a low speed wireless network and to verify my home wifi speed.

Finally, IM+ is a nice all-in-one instant messenger for connecting to almost all the IM services you need (AIM, MSN, Yahoo, Google Talk etc).

I run these apps either over the Vodafone 3G network or via wifi when there is one available.  They run fast, they do the job and keep me connected and in touch.

I.

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more extensions to use with OpenOffice.org release 3


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With the new release of the OpenOffice.org free application suite, the use of extensions enhancing the capabilities of the suite is easier than ever.

As a matter of fact, the use of extensions is almost required in version 3.0 as the dictionaries and other linguistic aspects of the suite are handled via extensions. By default, you will go under the Tools menu, select the Extension manager and you will see a few (locked) extensions pre-installed.

openoffice extension manager

openoffice extension manager

The english, french and spanish language files are pre-installed and apparently locked in the version I downloaded from the Openoffice.org servers (I assume these files are locked in other flavours of openoffice). I like to fiddle with my installation so I downloaded a series of tools/extensions. Here they are with few bits of information about each one:

1. Pagination. This extension adds a simple “insert page number” menu under Insert and facilitates the application of page numbers, styles etc. Perhaps its usefulness lies with its simplicity.

2. PDF Import. This extension allows users to import pdf files in openoffice Draw and complete simple editing (as images). Nothing fancy, but if you want to simple clean up a couple of things (typos etc) and sources are not available, this extension may do the trick.

3. Template Pack by Sun. This is an English language version, although there are packages for other languages, including french, italian etc. It allows for the creation of specialized and professionally looking files, documents, letters, presentations etc.

4. Report Builder also by Sun. This extension provides tools for customized reports drawn from the openoffice.org database files.

5. Writer tools. This extension creates a separate Writer’s Tools top-level menu (next to the native Tools menu) and offers various tools and tips for writers using OpenOffice.org’s writer. Very nifty!!!

6. Writer to LaTeX. This extension takes a writer (odt) file and transforms it into the proper LaTeX file to be typeset by the finest typesetting system available (LaTeX of course).

It also offers an additional extension to translate the writer file to xHTML files.

Finally, the last extension of the list is the Greek hyphenation/thesaurus/spelling dictionary file (it’s all Greek to you, I know 🙂 ).

What I also like is the update button which allows for periodic checkups and updates for each and every extension. Some extensions require you to scroll through their license agreement, but that’s acceptable, I guess.

Do you have any extensions that you use and you recommend? Post a comment

I.


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first impressions from openoffice.org 3.x


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By now, most of the world knows that the new version of Openoffice.org, the free office application suite, is out.

Earlier, servers at openoffice.org were busy serving the various choices for win, linux, and Mac OS X (and at some point, they were so slow with incoming traffic). This is the first openoffice version which runs natively in Mac OS X. OpenOffice starts with a splash screen and then a central menu appears which allows the user to select from a variety of tasks.

openoffice version 3 start screen

openoffice version 3 start screen

In addition, it offers a variety of new goodies,
but I am going to mention only the following two:

First, it allows the import (natively) of .docx files, as well as .xlsx and .pptx files. These are the files in Microsoft’s new ooxml format that apparently even MS will no longer support 🙂 I have written extensively in the past about the docx saga and I have noted that the best choice maybe the odf converter (at version 1.1.7 as of this moment). However, with the native import filters, this extension is no longer functional and the system will respond with error messages if you try to install it. However, the functionality is there and you can open the docx/xlsx/pptx files, although you cannot save them in this format, too. Maybe that’s a nice (and not-so-intrusive) way of saying to your co-workers who use MS Office 2007 to use a format that the majority of users can also apply.

Second, it offers a much easier way to deal with multiple language dictionaries and spelling support. In previous versions (notably in versions 2.x), users had to install dictionaries via some semi-automatic scripts or manually by tweaking the dictionary.lst file and adding the appropriate hyphenation, spelling and thesaurus files. Now, things happen differently.

All we have to do is select the extensions manager and install the proper files which are conveniently located at the extensions server. By default, english language files and additional files are pre-installed, but you can add your choice of languages. A close-and-open-again trick is needed in order to apply the proper files.

extensions in openoffice

extensions in openoffice

While you are at it, you may also want to give a few more extensions a try. Download the beta pdf import tool which allows partial pdf file editing. And of course, Dmitri’s writer tools, a wonder set of choices which creates a special “writer tools” menu next to the default tools menu in openoffice.

Openoffice 3 is a great improvement and definitely worth trying for serious work. What is your reaction and opinion regarding this new release? Post a comment and digg it if you like it.

I.


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too much spam


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I have seen an increase in spam comments recently that is almost unprecedented. I have been inundated by “xqwefasd sdfiewprsadf dafasfd” one-line comments which appear in specific posts in this blog (basically, the most popular posts). Although akismet does an outstanding job of killing these comments, some do make it through and appear, even temporarily, as comments before I zap them.

Do you know of any good antispam method in addition to the akismet filter? Please let me know.

I.


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