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Wednesday, November 19, 2008
  What's so interesting in a desktop
Apparently Jim asked us all to show our desktops, or at least so many, many, far too many to list bloggers claim - if he did I missed it in the rush of marking to the head that characterises this season :(

I don't see what is interesting about Desktops, afterall no one sits and stares at them, they are just a way station on the route to "somewhere" else, and a convenient place to keep stuff that has no real home, before you delete it ;)

But in a fit of cooperative excess, here goes Tim's desktop as of 10:34am today - it looks different already, files deleted and new ones added...

Now back to Gen 6:1-4 as a radio play...

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Monday, July 21, 2008
  Graphics software
I've been setting up a new laptop (Martin's old one, that I inherited when the screen on mine died, is also dying) and my trusty FireworksMX install CD seems to have decayed with time and is no longer readable. So, I installed Gimp, it is a few years (as the MX designation on my Macromedia - remember them? - software may hint) since I last tried Gimp. It has improved beyond recognition, back then it was ugly, difficult to use and crashed the machine often - in short, no advert for open source software. Now it is good looking, stable, and most tasks (once I began to learn different menu structure and keystrokes) are fairly easy. Brilliant!

I just wish I could find a good way to export a picture as JPG, but then Gimp is not designed as a Fireworks replacement, but one for Photoshop, I guess... Does anybody know a better freeware way to adjust photos and export them for the web? Or a quick way to export JPG and GIF from Gimp?

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Wednesday, April 16, 2008
  ... but the impossible takes longer!
Well not impossible actually, but the highly desirable (for biblical scholars) and unexpected, Zotero add-in that "does" SBL stylesheet citations and bibliography. There is a bug using the style with version 1.0.3 as Mark noted in his post Zotero: SBL style beta now available it crashes if you try to add a page number to the footnote :( However, it is said to work with the Beta version 1.0.4 of Zotero, so not long to wait...

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Tuesday, April 15, 2008
  Shift NO
Thanks to Lifehacker (just when I was about to dump it from my RSS list because there is too much junk to nugget ratio nowadays, and far too many posts per day) they come up with a gem of a Windows Tip.

You all (except doubtless smugger than thou Mac users) know that annoying Windows dialogue box, when you are copying a load of files and some exist in the target directory already:

If you really do want to take "Yes to All" it is fine, but what if you want as I often do to say "NO to all"? Bill Gates refuses you permission, so you'll just have to click "No" till your clicker falls off... except, apparently if you SHIFT click "No" then it acts like the long awaited, but never offered "NO to all" button. But only, they say in XP - Bill must have dixed that bugin Vista, so all you Visterians will still have to click for your lives, he, he!

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Wednesday, June 13, 2007
  Grammar checking for Open Office
LanguageTool.pngHat tip to LifeHacker for pointing me to this new addon for Open Office.

Now those who do not enjoy paying for a copy of Microsoft Office to do basic office tasks (or indeed most complex tasks) do not have to write without any computerised grammar checking.

LangaugeTool is free it works in Java, and so anywhere OpenOffice does and checks your grammar and some word usage. This does not replace a sensible fluent friend, but does help you avoid many common errors. [Students and blog authors take note - this can considerably improve your credibility!]

LifeHacker's instructions read:

In OpenOffice.org: Do not unzip the archive, just call Tools -> Extension Manager -> Add... to install LanguageTool-0.9.zip (note that the menu item is called Package Manager in OpenOffice.org 2.0.x). Open a new window of OpenOffice.org (Ctrl-N) and you'll see a new menu entry "LanguageTool" that will check the current text.

One less excuse for many of the simple errors in the essays I read. One happy (well at least happier) marker! One more reason not to "upgrade" to MS Office 2007, and make all your documents unreadable by others (unless you use the tip in the comments to this post ;-)

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Friday, June 08, 2007
  Dealing with MS Office 2007 documents
In the last day or two I've begun to face problems with MS Office 2007 documents. First some people send them to me, neither MSOffice 2003 nor Open Office 2.02 can open these monsters, so I download the fix from Microsoft, fine on a machine with MS Office, but for Open Office machines there is not yet a fix :(

The other problem though was a tutor whose DOCX documents could not be opened by students... I can't really expect all the students to download the converter, and anyway many of them are using Open Office. So I suggested the tutor Save As "Word 97 etc." DOCs. That's a bit of a pain for her. Does anyone with Office 2007 know a way to make Word save in a compatible format as its default? If so please tell me the menu steps to achieve this and I can pass the good news on.

And MS call this OpenXML - in my view it is "open" like George Bush is a pacifist - in theory perhaps, in practice not really!

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Thursday, April 19, 2007
  The wars of religion
Just when I thought it was over, that the wars of religion had at last ended, when Mac notebooks were being sold as cheaply as PCs, and if need be could even run Windows, I read this Biblical Fonts and Mac Woes: A Solution

The latest Tyndale Tech makes me thank God daily that I was created a PC user not a Mac addict ;-)


Update and confession: Since I was taken to task recently for not mentioning all the good features in a service I mentioned in passing, I'd better confess, the Mac woes with Unicode that the Tyndale Tech email focuses on are mainly for people using MSWord. People who have wordprocessors designed with the needs of Hebrew in mind as Danny of Deinde points out (in Latest Tyndale Tech: some clarifications) probably have something almost as good as a PC, even if the machines still normally come with one mouse button missing ;-)

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Thursday, December 14, 2006
 

One Laptop Per Child at last a human computer interface?

FriendsOLPC_2_Sm.jpg


Pentagram has some first ideas about how the user interface of the laptop in "One Laptop Per Child" will work.

NeighborhoodOLPC_3_Sm.jpg


Four views:
  • Home: where you "set preferences like color"
  • Friends: where you "chat with their friends"
  • Neighborhood: where you "locate other users and gather around an activity"
  • Activity: where you "focus on a project at hand"

ActivityOLPC_4_Sm.jpg

Apart from the ghastly mistake of making "Home" a place to tinker with the machine, surely a hangover from machine focused OSs, this is great! An interface that is human-oriented first, and then task-oriented, how much better than Windows, Mac, name your poison...

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AKMA's great idea - printers go green ::


In his post "LazyWeb: OS Printers" AKMA proposes the brilliant and simple idea of a good enough repairable reusable printer:
isn’t there an opportunity for a company to manufacture printers specifically designed to be reparable, reuseable, and refillable — precisely the attributes that the present instant-obsolescence printer industry resists? Can’t someone on the LazyWeb develop a standard chipset and reservoir design that do a good-enough job for most family and small-office purposes, that can be repaired and refilled rather than replaced?
Like him, rather than replace our current elderly and somewhat temperamental ink-jet with a newer but doubtless equally disposable printer, I'd love to buy a printer that I expect to be running in ten years or twenty, we can do it for cars, so why not Lazers?

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