Tips and tricks for openoffice.org

OpenOffice.
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<Update> Soon after I hit the PUBLISH button, I received via email, the OpenOffice.org newsletter, with an extensive list of openoffice.org related blogs.</Update>

Although there is an abundance of information available at the official openoffice.org site regarding the usability and how to make openoffice.org, the free open productivity suite, work better for your needs, there are hidden treasures of information, tricks, and tips all over the place waiting to be discovered.  Here are some, in no particular order of importance or significance.

The wordpress.com site.
The trick here is to look for the tags you (or somebody else) assign to a post they publish in a wordpress.com blog.  Be as imaginative and creative as possible.  Use combinations of words.  For example, office, open, xml, lead to this page, while open, office, xml lead to this different page. Try other languages, too, and see where the hunt takes you  (if you are versed in that particular language).  For example, the same tags in german will lead you to another page, altogether.

The sun.com site
Try the sun.com site for openoffice guides and white papers.  After all, they are one of the largest contributors to openoffice.org and they still hold the license for staroffice, the suite that started all once upon a time.  Note that to retrieve white papers and guides you may have to register with a username and a valid email address.  The following two links are interesting:
Migrating from MS Office to Openoffice.org or StarOffice,
Creating large documents with Openoffice.org writer

Other blogs (of course)!!!!
Try some or all of the following (I am not affiliated with them, nor do I know their owners/editors etc.  I simply read them occasionally).
Openoffice.org engineering at sun.
Tips and training for openoffice.org.
The lifehacker page and its openoffice tips.

Finally, something that I also found while searching around:
1) Open a new spreadsheet in Calc
2) Type the following in any cell
=GAME(“StarWars”)
enjoy the openoffice version of space invaders.

For more easter eggs, … well, just look around 🙂

I.

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blackcover contest

A while ago, blackcover started a series of posts in order to find the best alternative to our favorite moleskine cahier, journal, notebook.

The site has moved to a new domain, although links remain in place. Because of this, and because Rhodia has come with a new notebook, they (blackcover) run a contest to win the Rhodia product.  More details at the blackcover site.

I.

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Moleskine-like journal

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I was out shopping at my local computer shop when I spotted this moleskine-like hardcover journal.

To the uninitiated, it may look like a moleskine.  After all, it has the elastic band, the bookmark ribbon, even the backpocket (as you can see from the photos).

Of course, the color is off and the feel of the paper is nothing like that of a moleskine.  And did I mention that lack of plastic shrinkwrap?  Some more clues about its true identity appear in the back.

Rachael Hale is the name and a visit to that particular site reveals a variety of pretty looking animals and other assorted journals, stationery, gifts, cards etc.  Still, I went ahead and bought it as it was ridiculously cheap for around 3 euros (as compared to the 15+ euros for a regular moleskine hardcover notebook.

I.

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shopping spree

I gave myself an early Christmas gift the other day. A bunch of new moleskines to keep me going. You can see them all in this picture:

Pictured, two large ruled notebooks (one with soft, the other with hard cover), a pocket, ruled notebook (soft cover),
a weekly planner (hard cover). Also, as a bonus 🙂 I bought a Lamy studio fountain pen in black matte with an F nib.
I was missing this brand from my little collection, so I bought it as soon as I saw it—impulsive buyer, he he 🙂

More pictures of past (used and abused) and new moleskines and fountain pens in this album:

writing

It’s gonna be a very nice Christmas!

I.

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writertools

If you use OpenOffice Writer a lot then you may find writertools very helpful. Writertools are a set of extensions for the Writer part of OpenOffice.org.  Released under GPL 2.0, they add another menu, appropriately named Writer’s Tools, between the original Tools and Window menus (photo below).

You may have to trick writer tools a little bit in order to set up the internal database for words writertools use, but the instructions are all there under the wiki tab of the page and the extensive User Guide Notes.
Of course, writer tools work in both MS and linux boxes.

In addition to the google code address, there is also a writer for writers blog for this set of tools which also contains some gems for openoffice. Dmitri Popov, the creator of the blog and the writer tools is also the author of this book: Writer for Writers and Advanced Users which is published using lulu, the self-publishing platform.

It may be worth to try them out and see for yourself how to spice up writer in OpenOffice.

Enjoy,

I.

wordpress supreme

When I decided to take the plunge and switch this blog from blogger to wordpress, I heard the argument (actually, I read it somewhere 🙂 ) that wordpress was the porsche of blog platforms. WordPress simply offered more choices and greater customization than blogger could offer to their respective users. Of course, the wordpress.com hosted blogs have some limitations in the plugins and widgets available, but that is understandable, although the ability to add some javascript would have been extremely nice 🙂 In the process, I transfered and the anemologio blog to the same wordpress platfom.

The real power of wordpress shows when you host your own blog somewhere else, on a separate server. I tried such approach and this is the result: open words, a new blog, a testing ground for various plugins. I like the process of downloading, unpacking, activating and then customizing the plugin. What seems still difficult for me is to find where to modify the settings and create just what I want. However, I believe the results really justify the characterization of porsche. More, simply by getting involved in setting up and maintaining a blog, you get a better picture of the social and personal potential of this new platform of communication.

Keep blogging then and pay a visit to open words (and don’t forget to complete the poll).

I.

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when sysadmins ruled the earth

You must read “When Sysadmins Ruled the Earth” (link to full story text), a fantastic, and scary, and grab-you-by-the-throat, and not-want-to-let-it-until-it’s-over story authored by Cory Doctorow.  As Cory writes in his site, he started writing the story just as London was being bombed by terrorists in July 2005.  The story chronicles a doomsday scenario of end-of-the-world apocalypse, with massive attacks and counterattacks (everyone against everyone else) and the attempt of Toronto based sysadmins to keep their servers up and running in the midst of the attack.  The rebuilding of the democratic process, the first cyber elections, the restoration of life are all blended together.  The story earned the 2007 Locus Award for best novelette.

My favorite excerpt:

“I’ve got a 486 downstairs with over five years of uptime. It’s going to break my heart to reboot it.”
“What the everlasting shit do you use a 486 for?”
“Nothing. But who shuts down a machine with five years uptime? That’s like euthanizing your grandmother.”

Please visit and read the story.

I.

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