Thursday Dec 31, 2009

Year's last "At a Glance" : Recent reviews of JavaFX, NetBeans, VirtualBox, OpenOffice and OpenSolaris

VirtualBox users shared a variety of top-notch reviews as well as tips & tricks this week for the free virtualization program. A blogger from Showing My Geek, who recently started using VirtualBox, said, “I really like it,” and explained that he especially appreciated “the ability to allot memory for the video of the virtual machine.” Another blogger selected VirtualBox to highlight as the software product of the month and stated, “VirtualBox is similar to Microsoft Virtual PC, but better” and pointed to its wide-ranging support for a variety of operating systems. A blogger from posted a VirtualBox tutorial for users who want to “play with other operating systems without having to change what’s on your computer right now.” And finally, a blogger demonstrated how to set up VirtualBox on a Linux host to sync an iPod Touch 2G and said, “I am quite happy (and surprised) to find that this solution works for me.”

Some JavaFX users kept busy testing the features of the new JavaFX composer this week while others continued to test the limitations of the current release. Nick Apperley reviewed the JavaFX Composer and said the templates “are a great productivity booster in JavaFX Composer,” noting that with the tool, all of the options for creating and customizing are centralized in one location. Another blogger compared JavaFX to Flex and said the biggest differentiator favoring JavaFX is its “ability to quickly create fantastic animation and graphs compared to Flex where 3rd party libraries come into play.” Longtime JavaFX blogger Drew designed and shared a new calendar implementation he built in JavaFX to improve his design skills, while Jeff Friesen published a tutorial that details a basic demonstration of the JavaFX PerspectiveTransform class.

Many NetBeans users continued to explore the features of the new 6.8 release of the IDE this week while others continued to report NetBeans success stories in production environments. Adam Bien posted several blogs focusing on his experience with the 6.8 release, with one blog dedicated to the five features that he said, “make NetBeans 6.8 my IDE of choice.” The other blog looked at the new NetBeans issue tracking tool, which he said, “really rocks” because “you get immediate feedback whether it is a new bug, a known one or what the resolution is … without leaving the IDE.” Finally, blogger Nat discussed his use of the NetBeans IDE for his UI automation project and said, “NetBeans is a great IDE for watir testing; I heartily recommend it,” noting that, “its svn integration is better than anything else I’ve used so far.”

OpenOffice users were buzzing with excitement over the new 3.2 release candidate, and wrote about the new features of the upgraded program. Blogger Martin from wrote about the new reduction in startup time as well as the new proprietary file compatibility, which he said, “now supports password protected Microsoft Office documents.” Deb Russell from also discussed OpenOffice this week, and recommended the MATH equation editor that comes with the office productivity suite saying it “lets you slip math equations into your documents rather easily.”

OpenSolaris users shared a plethora of tricks with others this week starting with a blogger from Ubiquitous Talk who published an in-depth tutorial that demonstrates how to protect active directories with snapshots implemented with OpenSolaris based storage heads and W2K3 or W2K8 servers. A blogger from Simon’s Musings provided a valuable tutorial that goes through “all of the steps from bare metal” to building a version of OpenAFS on Solaris. Finally, a blogger from The Intersect posted a series of workarounds he has compiled for different issues he encountered in OpenSolaris including turning off output flushing, a broken keyboard layout, and a tip for updating systems.

Tuesday Nov 24, 2009

At a Glance: Last Week's VirtualBox, JavaFX, NetBeans, OpenOffice & OpenSolaris Reviews

VirtualBox received exuberant praise in both trade publications and on top blogs this week. InfoWorld's Randall Kennedy said VirtualBox “delivers tremendous virtualization power” and also noted that it “installs quickly, requires very little study, and includes all the essentials.” Ken Hess from Linux Magazine stated: “Yes, VirtualBox is all that and a bag of computer chips,” while Larry Henry from reported in a blog titled 'VirtualBox just keeps getting better,' that he has been using the program for eight months and that “it's been just awesome … there's no lag to it – it just works.” Finally, blogger Roger recommended VirtualBox because “the virtualization technology is top notch.”

JavaFX was discussed in a variety of forums this week, including in an analysis piece of the Java programming language by Peter Wayner at InfoWorld. Peter said that while JavaFX requires Java programmers to learn a new language, “the new animation classes may make it worthwhile for highly interactive desktop tools.” Meanwhile, a blogger new to JavaFX developed his first application with the programming language and said “indeed, it's a lot easier to prepare the GUI than plain old AWT,” and also pointed out that “JavaFX is a lot easier way to do the graphics.” Finally, a blogger from Soft-Tech Talks reported “I am amazed with its features,” after testing the GUI development capabilities of JavaFX.

An ever-increasing number of developers made the move to NetBeans this week starting with Glen Smith who reported NetBeans was his choice of IDE for Grails development because “the Mercurial support is just fantastic (and built into the basic install!).” A blogger from made the switch to NetBeans after Eclipse stopped working with his Ubuntu 9.10 upgrade and said “things seemed to go smoothly and it looks to have replaced Eclipse for PHP development duties.” Finally, Quintin Beukes selected NetBeans for its Maven support and said while it doesn't have as large of a feature count as Eclipse, “the features it does have are far more complete and of much higher quality.”

OpenOffice users had heaps of praise for the office productivity suite this week starting with Willow Sidhe who described OpenOffice as “the best free word processor out there.” She said: “I use it exclusively for word processing and I actually prefer the program to Microsoft Word.” Don Lindich said he has been using OpenOffice regularly and has “come to prefer it over the latest version of Microsoft Word,” and pointed out that the compatibility with Word is great. Finally, Kent Newsome reported that he was “pretty impressed” with OpenOffice, saying “I'm about ready to call OpenOffice a winner.”

OpenSolaris enthusiasts continued to share tips and tricks with others this week, employing some inventive new methods in the process. Beryl Sims created a “visual installation tutorial” that walks step-by-step through the process of an OpenSolaris installation. A blogger at Linux Administration demonstrated how to setup an OpenSolaris client to work with a Linux OpenLDAP server while a blogger at Linux/UNIX succinctly described how to install a Flash player on OpenSolaris through Firefox. Finally, blogger Colin described how to overcome a bug that prevents the install of pkgs on OpenSolaris snv_127 through the Package Manager and command line.

Wednesday Nov 18, 2009

Last Week's OpenOffice Reviews

1. Why I Dumped Microsoft Office –, 11/11
The blogger has been using OpenOffice 3.2 beta for a week and said, “this program rocks...the developers of OpenOffice have really made a lot of great improvements.” He said the OpenOffice suite has “a good 90% of the functionality of Office 2003,” and pointed out that “there is a low learning curve for the transition between Microsoft Office and OpenOffice.”
2. 9 Best Free Alternatives to Paid Commercial Software –, 11/11
Blogger Dan said “OpenOffice replicates almost all of the same, functionality, menus, and even file formats,” of Microsoft Office, making it a viable alternative. He said “for most fans of the old office, or students who just need to jam out a paper now and then without paying Microsoft, it will do the trick.”

3. 10 Helpful & Useful Apps for Small Business –, 11/9
Joe Manna, in discussing the top 10 apps for a small business, said OpenOffice has “a great core set of apps that allow you to author documents, presentations, and spreadsheets with ease.” He said the office suite is often “underrated,” but that it is “very suitable for many small businesses and entrepreneurs.”

4. 4 FREE Online Tools that you SHOULD be using in ANY business –, 11/7
The blogger, who has been using OpenOffice for the past 9 months said, “Not once have I 'missed' any of the features available in MS Office.” He continued to say, “all said and done, OpenOffice has served me just fine. I would go ahead and say that it is perfect because apart from being a direct replacement of the most popular office software, OpenOffice is free.”

5. 3.1.1 for Mac: first impression –, 11/7
The blogger was pleased to see the “command + shift + right arrow or left arrow” was again available in Calc of the 3.1.1 release of OpenOffice. He said of the entire suite “it's much more stable,” and said because of that “I'm putting the schedule to shift my staff from Microsoft Office users into OpenOffice users.”

6. Lesser Known, But Very Helpful Features in Writer –, 11/5
Jack Wallen highlighted several lesser-known features available in OpenOffice Writer to include notes, mail merge, and styles and formatting, all of which he said can be used “to make OpenOffice Writer work as a much more powerful tool in your office.”

Tuesday Nov 10, 2009

Recent OpenOffice Reviews

1. Countdown to OpenOffice 3.2 – Writer -–, 11/4
The blogger is writing a multi-part series looking at the new and upgraded features coming in the 3.2 release of OpenOffice. He focused on changes to Writer in this post, saying they “should prove to be very useful” highlighting upgrades to the word correct-auto complete, alternative text for writer objects, and apply style shortcut functions.
2. A Guide to Locating Free Database Software –-, 11/4
David Ryan described OpenOffice as “a professional level set of programs available free,” noting that as a group it is “well-matched with Microsoft Office.” He recommended the software suite for Base, noting that it is SQL compliant and runs on a variety of systems.

3. Freight Broker Training Resources –-, 11/3
Blogger John Thomas described OpenOffice as a “slick resource that will give you everything you need to view spreadsheets, documents, and PDF files.” He also pointed out that a word document can be easily converted into a PDF file with the click of a button in OpenOffice.

4. OpenOffice vs Microsoft Office –-, 11/1
Jaimie Dobson tested OpenOffice this past week and said he would highly recommend the office productivity suite to a budget conscious business owner not only because it is free, but it has “loads of free add-ons and templates, looks and works like MS Office including the same keyboard shortcuts, [and] will open MS Office documents.”

5. Microsoft Office: Free Alternatives Are Available –-, 10/31
In discussing options to MS Office the blogger said “many people like the features and appearance of OpenOffice,” which closely resembles MS Office 2003, and may “actually seem an improvement in appearance and organization” versus Office 2007. However, he noted that OpenOffice cannot save in the new proprietary MS Office 2007 formats, which can lead to compatibility issues.

6. 6 must have add-ons to enhance your experience -–, 10/29
The blogger said one of the greatest aspects of OpenOffice “is the extent to which you can customize it with the thousands of freely available add-ons.” He then listed his six favorite add-ons that he said will “take your to the max.”

7. Install OpenOffice on Ubuntu 9.04 (command line method) -–, 11/5
The blogger posted a tutorial that demonstrated how to install OpenOffice in Ubuntu 9.04 using the command line.

8. Base and Impress Tutorial Videos for ShowMeDo -–, 11/3
Ian Ozsvald posted two free introductory tutorial videos for using OpenOffice Impress and OpenOffice Base. The remainder of the series, 8 total for Base, and 3 total for Impress, are available inside ShowMeDo for paying members or existing authors.

Tuesday Oct 20, 2009

At a Glance: Last Week's VirtualBox, OpenOffice, NetBeans and OpenSolaris Reviews

Positive VirtualBox buzz was bountiful this week in the blogosphere with a new VirtualBox user who commented “so far, VirtualBox is AMAZING in my testing process,” noting that it “opens up some amazing possibilities.” Another new VirtualBox user said, “I like VirtualBox so far, it appears to be a useful tool in the toolbox.” A blogger from Tech-Week described VirtualBox as “by far the best free virtualization program on in the Internet,” and gave a tutorial that described how to install and set up VirtualBox, something he noted “is fast and easy.” Finally, blogger Bob Jones reported on his new experience with VirtualBox saying, “I was extremely happy with what I got,” and posted his detailed installation steps on an Ubuntu host.

There was a bounty of praise for OpenOffice this week starting with a blogger from Frugal in Virginia who said OpenOffice is “super easy to use,” and “allows you many of the same capabilities as Microsoft Office without the cost.”'s Jack Wallen recommended OpenOffice to Mac users as an alternative to iWork saying that although it may look different, “you will find it is just as easy to use AND it includes more features and applications than iWork.” Peter Wayner from Network World also recommended the office suite as an alternative to Microsoft Office noting that “the software reads all major document types.” Finally, a blogger from The eBook Agency called OpenOffice “the real deal,” and said of his experience “so far, OpenOffice is passing with flying colors.”

Praise for NetBeans was easy to find this week amongst the IDE's users. A blogger at claimed with NetBeans “you get all the tools you need to create professional desktop, enterprise, web, and mobile applications,” for a variety of programming languages in an IDE that “is easy to install and use straight out of the box.” A blogger from JavaSign said NetBeans is “the best tool to configure your environment,” and demonstrated how to create dynamic libraries in NetBeans stating that “in 10 minutes spent you can do much more than before with the best GUI ever.” Finally, a blogger from Ruby for Scientific Research said “NetBeans is a great development platform,” and demonstrated how to write and run a jRuby script with a library file from NetBeans.

OpenSolaris and Solaris bloggers had plenty of commendations and user tips to share this week, starting with blogger Martin who reported that he regularly uses Solaris at work and recently uploaded OpenSolaris to use on his home system stating: “I always really enjoy OpenSolaris when I run it in a virtual machine under Linux.” Another blogger listed the top 10 reasons to try the Solaris 10 OS, noting that the constant innovation of the OS pays off for the user: “innovation matters, because it saves you money.” Finally, a blogger from followed up on his recent OpenSolaris NAS guide with a tutorial demonstrating how to change out a failed disk, how to change out smaller disks for larger ones, and how to add disks to the NAS pool in OpenSolaris.

Friday Oct 09, 2009

At a Glance: Recent OpenOffice, VirtualBox, NetBeans and OpenSolaris Reviews

New and experienced OpenOffice users wrote about the office suite this week with blogger Nikki reporting that she has “found it to be very user friendly,” saying “it is a great alternative for those who either don't have or cannot afford MS Office.” Another blogger focused his attention on OpenOffice Draw, calling it “a powerful graphics package,” and highlighting the connectors feature between shapes. And finally, long-time OpenOffice user Jack Wallen published a tutorial demonstrating how to install extensions in OpenOffice, with which he said “you can expand the capabilities of this outstanding office suite.”

VirtualBox users were abuzz this week, posting dozens of reviews and tutorials for the popular program. One blogger posted a short introduction aimed at new VirtualBox users and said, “it's in my opinion the easiest to work with on all platforms and likely the easiest for the beginner,” when compared to other virtualization technologies. Another blogger reported that VirtualBox saved the day by giving her the ability to read .vhd files natively, “without any conversion hoops to jump through,” after setting up Windows with a Cisco VPN running on Linux in VirtualBox. Finally, a blogger excited to have access to Magicjack exclaimed: “Hooray for VirtualBox! I can have my Linux and Windows too!”

NetBeans bloggers had commendations for different features of the IDE this week, with a blogger from Edmonds Commerce Blog working on a project with heavy Javascript requirements reporting that “the excellent jQuery support in NetBeans (my IDE of choice) is making this a real pleasure to work with.” Adam Bien wrote about this week and said: “The integrations with the NetBeans IDE is unique – it is very easy and convenient to find and check-out an existing project and nicely integrated chat.” Other NetBeans users focused on helping others, with a blogger from totalprogUS describing how to create your own shortcuts with the NetBeans macro and a blogger from XLAB tech discussing how to access classes and resources from multiple modules in the NetBeans classloader system.

OpenSolaris enthusiasts shared praise and tips for the operating system this week with a blogger from IT knowledge Indy applauding the OS saying it “is perpetually ahead of the curve in the computer world,” and that it demonstrates Sun's “ability to be innovative and flexible.” Regular OpenSolaris aficionado Stanley Huang described how to decompress rar files in OpenSolaris on his blog this week. And finally, a blogger reported on his successful installation of the 2009.06 release on a “still powerful” Sun V40Z, and gave tips for anyone else looking to install the latest release on an older system.

Wednesday Sep 30, 2009

Blogosphere conversations on OpenOffice, VirtualBox, NetBeans and OpenSolaris

OpenOffice users wrote glowing reviews of the office suite this week starting with Luc Feyes of Earth Times who described OpenOffice as “the undisputed king of open source software.” Blogger Stephen Lunn from Hyper Gadget stated that “as far as word processors go at least, this [OpenOffice] is one of the best.” Jay Garmon from published an in-depth review of OpenOffice and said it “will prove utterly interchangeable with Microsoft Office 2003,” for the vast majority of users. Stephen Lilley from expressed a similar sentiment when he pointed out that “everything you can do in Microsoft Office you can do with OpenOffice.” Finally, openSUSE forum member Patti, excited about what she noted was increased performance of an OpenOffice 3.1.1 Calc spreadsheet asked, “Am I the only one whose [sic] noticed OpenOffice suddenly got a whole lot better?”

The steady flow of VirtualBox buzz continued this week with a blogger from Am!NeS0ft's blog describing VirtualBox as an emulator that effectively lets you “have your cake and eat it too.” He demonstrated how to install Guest Additions in VirtualBox which he noted “is a simple process that can be done quickly.” Dave Lopan posted two separate articles on relating to VirtualBox, which he described as “an excellent free virtual machine manager, capable of running nearly any operating system on the market.” He looked at both how to install and configure a Linux Ubuntu virtual machine in VirtualBox as well as how to create a shared folder between a Linux guest and Windows XP host.

NetBeans users were singing the praises of the IDE this week with a blogger from C++ Web Services saying he prefers NetBeans because it has: “very good navigation features,” it is “easy to get started,” it has a “no-nonsense user interface with its intuitive features,” and it has a “feature-rich editor.” Another blogger at softwarepoets also declared his affection for NetBeans, noting that it has several advantages over Eclipse including: an “excellent GUI builder,” a “very good module system,” a “mechanism for decoupling called lookup,” a “very good API to build explorers, editors, property sheets, etc.,” and a learning curve that “is not very steep.” Finally, a blogger from Manikandan's Weblog pointed out the easy debugging and troubleshooting environment NetBeans provides stating, “with NetBeans debugger, you can step through the code line by line while viewing status of variables, threads and other informations.”

OpenSolaris users shared a bounty of tips this week, with a blogger from SolarisNevada providing a series of commands to help users diagnose problems that can affect OpenSolaris shutdown and reboot times. A blogger on posted a popular tutorial that demonstrated how to create an OpenSolaris paravirtualized Xen guest under Debian Lenny. Blogger Stanley Huang showed how to change the resolution support of OpenSolaris in a EeePC netbook in order to re-size it for VGA output, and finally, a blogger from Triple Boot, Loading.. wrote a tutorial that walks through a triple-boot setup of OpenSolaris, Vista, and Ubuntu.

Wednesday Sep 23, 2009

At a Glance: Last week's VirtualBox, NetBeans, OpenSolaris and OpenOffice Reviews

VirtualBox users had nothing but praise for the emulator last week, starting with a blogger who has been using it as a testing forum simply stating, “VirtualBox, wow!” He also noted there have been “major improvements in the way this software handles new hard disk installations, and even better handling with Guest additions and integration features of the mouse and keyboard.” A blogger from has been testing VirtualBox for the past few weeks and said “it's awesome...set up is a breeze and my installation of Ubuntu into a Windows box went without a hitch.” That sentiment continued with a blogger from declaring “I would definitely recommend VirtualBox to clients, friends, and even enemies as a useful tool in their arsenal.” Finally, a blogger from TTC Shelbyville stated: “VirtualBox is by far the best free virtualization program on the planet,” noting that it is “hands down an excellent application for home and enterprise users.”

NetBeans users posted plenty of tips, tricks, and tutorials this week starting with a blogger from the Tiju Sujono blog who reported using NetBeans “for all my projects, since it does integrate so nicely with Ruby/Webrick/GlassFish/Mongrel for Ruby on Rails application development.” The blogger discussed a configuration he had developed that uses NetBeans with SQLite in this informative blog post. Another blogger from Tech Solution Logs posted a tutorial that demonstrated how to enhance the usability and appearance of structured documents using the jQuery Java Script library in the NetBeans IDE. Blogger Ruben showed how a user can set up an OpenJPA Enhancer Ant task in a NetBeans Java Class library, while blogger Padam Thapa gave a step-by-step account of how to set up the LLWJGL library with NetBeans.

It was hard to miss the OpenSolaris buzz in the blogosphere this week with Tux Review's widely publicized article for Linux users wanting to try a new operating system. The blog simply stated “we humbly suggest OpenSolaris,” and published an in-depth quick-start guide that went through all the highlights of the operating system including OpenSolaris' hardware support, the ZFS file system, its virtualization capabilities, and its performance as a desktop distribution. Also this week, blogger Marco reported on his process of selecting OpenSolaris as the primary server for his home saying he ultimately chose the operating system because, “it's free, open-source, has a good community and probably the best ZFS support of all operating systems.”

Last week, OpenOffice users praised several features of the multi-purpose office suite starting with Jacqueline Emigh from who declared OpenOffice “a winner, by and large,” because it provides both software applications and cross-platform support for a variety of operating systems. A blogger from Ethiopian Review stated that OpenOffice “is incredibly compatible with Microsoft Office,” and noted that “OpenOffice has coped exceedingly well,” with use in his day-to-day work. Finally, a blogger reported that she was thrilled when OpenOffice was able to completely handle a critical PDF file and an Excel file, saying “OpenOffice handled it like a charm...there were no formatting errors and the graphics came down in place.”

Friday Sep 11, 2009

Recent Developer Reviews

VirtualBox users were buzzing with praise, tips and tricks this week, with a blogger from Technology FLOSS writing about his experience with VirtualBox reporting that he “was gladly surprised by its was veeeeeeeeeeeeeeery fast.” Blogger Rafi recommended VirtualBox as “a very good solution” to anyone who wanted to work in multiple platforms simultaneously, and shared a tutorial on how to set up VirtualBox on a Fedora host system with a Windows Vista guest. A blogger from Jordan Team Learning described how to link the graphics card device to the driver in VirtualBox, reporting that he was able to get “more than 16 colors and higher than 800x600 resolution” on his VirtualBox guest operating system.

JavaFX developers kept the adoption momentum rolling this week, starting with Carl Dea who wrapped up his proof of concept series and encouraged developers to try JavaFX by saying, “it's not every day that you can start from the beginning to learn a soon-to-be popular language.” Nik Silver, who recently created a JavaFX applet for The Guardian, described JavaFX as “kind of a cross between Javascript and Java, and, against the odds, manages to combine good elements of both with a bit of extra magic thrown in,” pointing out that JavaFX “allows you to integrate Java easily.” Finally, blogger John O'Conner discussed the advantages of mixins in JavaFX 1.2, over “duck typing” used in other languages saying the mixins feature “is truly a mixture of both abstract class and interface features.”

NetBeans users were quick to praise the IDE this week with blogger Jack Warnes saying “NetBeans is a great development environment,” pointing out that “it can be used for a wide variety of programming languages.” The blogger at said “NetBeans is a good choice” for developing applications because it has strong functions, and noted that NetBeans is “a lot better than the powerful Eclipse.” Blogger Benny from The Computeress recommended NetBeans because of how easily it “can take scripts from one language and put them into a project with another,” and said “I would surely recommend NetBeans.” Finally, Nate Burchell stated that “NetBeans has been invaluable as I have been learning the Java language and syntax,” noting that “it will alert you when you have made a syntax error.”

OpenSolaris bloggers generously shared helpful tips they discovered while working in the OS this week. A blogger from Relevance Found posted two quick installation and setup hints that described how to set up VNC using the built-in OpenSolaris VNC server and how to set up CIFS file sharing with a built-in OpenSolaris CIFS server. Blogger Simon recorded all the steps needed to completely restore the OpenSolaris NAS by setting up a mirrored ZFS root boot pool, while a blogger from Morph3ous's Weblog described how to use OpenSolaris and ZFS to build an energy-efficient NAS.

Enthusiastic OpenOffice users continued to praise the office suite this week, with a blogger at Open-tube describing OpenOffice's Writer as “one of the best open source word processors available today,” noting that “it is a fine replacement for Microsoft Word.” Felicia Williams from No Job for Mom! raved about how easy the office suite was to use, saying “anyone currently using Word or Excel should be able to transition from Microsoft to OpenOffice easily.” Finally, a blogger at Unixmen described OpenOffice as “the leading open-source open software suite,” which he made even better with the help of freely available extensions.

Monday Aug 31, 2009

At a Glance: Last Week's VirtualBox, JavaFX, NetBeans, OpenSolaris and OpenOffice Reviews

VirtualBox evangelists raved about the software this week while also highlighting some of their favorite features. Jack Wallen of ghacks demonstrated how to connect to a VirtualBox machine using rdesktop and said, “VirtualBox continues to show itself to be one of the most flexible, useful tools available.” Scott Spanbauer of TechWorld discussed VirtualBox installation and noted “Sun Microsystems should rename its free, open-source virtualization utility VersatileBox,” because of its significant operating systems support. Finally, TechWorld's Richard Leon demonstrated setting up and installing a new operating system in VirtualBox on a Mac, highlighting how with the software one “can switch to a different operating system almost instantly.”

JavaFX users continued to inspire other RIA developers to try the programming language by posting plenty of tips and tutorials. JavaFX Coding Challenge Winner Sten Anderson demonstrated a new method to create a border panel, and Jeff “JavaJeff” Friesen posted a new JavaFX 1.2 units conversion application with an in-depth article that takes a deep dive into the process of building the application. The breadth of JavaFX resources inspired Martin to try the programming language, who reported on his experience noting that when building his first application “I got 80% of the initial functionality done within an hour.” Within a few days Martin was already up to speed with JavaFX, and posted a tutorial of his own that discussed how to create a custom subclass of javafx.async.Task.

NetBeans bloggers generously shared their knowledge this week with Tushar Joshi publishing a tutorial that fully detailed and demonstrated how to create a desktop application in NetBeans, how to find the JAR file after building the application, and how to start a Java Desktop application. Blogger Ali Riza Saral from TEKNE – TECHNE posted an in-depth tutorial that explained how to create custom packages with NetBeans, while Alfonso Romero of connected NetBeans with VirtualBox, demonstrating how to configure the software programs with the TurnKey LAMP appliance to develop complex PHP applications in a virtual environment.

OpenSolaris users had nothing but positive things to say about the operating system this week with blogger Tami from detailing why she selected OpenSolaris for her new machine, listing the operating system's ZFS, RAID-Z2, and iSCSI functions as major factors, which she noted are “perfect for a file server.” Similarly, a blogger from Random Ideas praised his OpenSolaris NAS box which he described as “rock stable,” noting that even with daily use he had not needed to reboot for more than a month.

Bloggers were buzzing about OpenOffice this week with a long-time user from the Paradosis blog stating: “I've been using it now for around two years and as I rack my brain in search of a memory, I cannot discern any complaints or bad experiences I have had with OpenOffice.” A blogger from Revelations from an Unwashed brain said “OpenOffice is a great thing. I use it all the time. My kids use it...I find it does everything I need to do.” Finally, a blogger from A Whiff of Doom praised the utilities of OpenOffice saying it offers all you would expect from a big-name, big-bucks business suite, but pointed out OpenOffice “takes up less hard drive space and memory than comparable programs.”

Monday Aug 17, 2009

Last Week's Reviews

OpenOffice received high praise in two top-tier publications this week. Network World's Randall Kennedy included the office suite in his list of the best free open source software programs for Windows, and said OpenOffice “provides a capable set of tools for accomplishing just about anything a typical business user would require.” PCPro's Simon Jones took an in-depth look at the 3.1 release saying the update brought “some welcome features and some much needed polish” to the office productivity suite. Bloggers continued to publish tips and tricks to get the most out of OpenOffice, with Ted French posting a Calc spreadsheet tutorial on in which he said Calc “is easy to use, and contains most, if not all of the commonly used features found in spreadsheets such as Microsoft Excel.”

JavaFX buzz continued to grow this week with a blogger at widgetlabs declaring “I can finally say that JavaFX is now good,” after testing the 1.2 release. He tested JavaFX against other RIA solutions and noted that JavaFX's stellar CPU performance rate in comparison to the others “is an incredible evolution.” A blogger at Edgblog highlighted JavaFX's ability to simplify the process of animating graphics and said JavaFX “makes animation a breeze, and, dare I say, fun!” Finally, blogger Jonathan Giles developed and published a JavaFX menubar control which fellow JavaFX developer Jim Weaver praised and quickly installed in his BandmatesFX application.

Satisfied VirtualBox users continued to share their praise for the virtualization software this week with Chris from Canada's Web Shop reporting that he finds VirtualBox to be “very handy in my day to day life” as it gives him access to applications he wouldn't otherwise be able to use. A blogger on Crisis Averted! discussed VirtualBox's dramatic evolution noting “I'm very pleased with its performance and ease of use.” Finally, a blogger from Sriram's blog reported on his installation of VirtualBox exclaiming “it's much, much, much better than VMWare.” After setting the system up the blogger said, “I couldn't stop my excitement.”

Accolades for NetBeans were plentiful this week, beginning with Rafal Borowiec from GoYello IT Services who tested Eclipse with the Exadel plugin against NetBeans. He said: “All in all, my choice is NetBeans. Definitely.” A blogger at map butcher wanted to test his service solution from a Java Client and reported that he was pleasantly surprised with the performance of NetBeans, and appreciated having the ability to drag the service reference into the code. He concluded by saying: “I like both NetBeans and Metro especially over previous experiences I've had with Eclipse.” Finally, blogger John O'Conner conducted a poll to find which IDE developers prefer when creating JavaFX applications and found that a whopping 87% of JavaFX users prefer NetBeans IDE.

Thursday Aug 13, 2009 3.1 deep dive from PC Pro

PC Pro's Simon Jones published a deep-dive review of 3.1 and said the update “brings some welcome features and some much needed polish to the nearest thing Microsoft Office has to a competitor.”

Simon highlighted the new anti-aliasing of graphics, which he noted “greatly improves the clarity of charts and drawings,” and the showing of shadow objects while dragging, saying both of these features alone make OpenOffice “look much more professional.”
There were several new features Simon found to be of value in Calc, including the zoom control on the status bar, the displayed hints about syntax functions as a formula is typed, and the auto-complete of the function names. He described sorting in Calc to be more logical and consistent, saying this “makes for a big improvement in usability.” Simon also noted the removal of some performance bottlenecks, which resulted in a faster calculation speed of large, complicated workbooks.

Simon also detailed the improved commenting feature available in Writer, along with the new file locking implementation included in the suite, which allows a user to tell if a file is already opened by someone else, even if that person is using a different OS.

Overall, a nice deep dive indeed!

Tuesday Jul 28, 2009

At a Glance: Last Week's Reviews

Starting off last week’s positive reviews was eWEEK’s Jeff Cogswell, who reviewed NetBeans IDE 6.7, finding that while it’s a .7 release, it “includes so many new features it could rightfully receive a full version increment.” A long-time fan of NetBeans blogged that version 6.7 was “faster than its predecessors,” and also noted its native integration, which he called “impressive.” Blogger Haroon wrote that NetBeans 6.7’s native Maven integration was a “good and productive” feature that convinced him to “shift from Eclipse to NetBeans 6.7.” Lastly, long time NetBeans user Iwan Eising praised Version 6.7’s almost seamless compatibility with older versions, saying that it “makes testing NetBeans a better experience.”

Jeff James at Windows IT Pro gave top marks to VirtualBox 3.0, calling it “an impressive product with an unbeatable price tag” that “competes well with the likes of VMware Workstation and Parallels Desktop.” Blogger Haroon wrote about his first experience with VirtualBox saying, “I find it really awesome,” and noted that in full-screen mode, no-one could tell that the guest OS such as Vista or XP was actually running over Ubuntu. Another blogger wrote that VirtualBox was the ideal program for a “developer that wants to tinker,” and pointed out that “server consolidation is one great thing VirtualBox can offer.” Rounding out the group was a blogger from Techfuels who posted instructions on how to save VirtualBox to a portable drive to run consistently on any desktop, noting that “these techniques allow you to be completely independent.”

Bloggers this week explored a variety of useful MySQL tools, with one from Development GuRu taking advantage of the MySQL Optimize Table command. He called it “very useful for tables that are frequently updated and/or deleted.” Blogger Grig Gheorghiu focused on managing multiple MySQL instances, and concluded that the MySQL Sandbox “does make your life much easier.”

OpenOffice’s Jacqueline Emigh kicked off the reviews for this week, recommending's Write program for anyone “seeking a smooth learning curve from MS Word.” Another blogger described the OpenOffice Suite in Ubuntu as “the perfect blend you need for all your office needs.” LinuxJournal’s Bruce Byfield chimed in with a tutorial on using OpenOffice’s DataPilots, which he said offered “convenient ways to perform statistical analyses.” Finally, a blogger got hands-on with and created a template and tutorial for making printable flash cards.

Java Pilot blogger Walter Bogaardt reported on his testing of JavaFX, noting that “it definitely gives a face lift to the Java GUI applications from an RIA.” Another blogger, who had read reports of large scene graphs affecting JavaFX performance, re-evaluated a game he had written and offered JavaFX optimization tips along the way. Finally, a blogger decided to experiment with Maven, stating that using JavaFX 1.2 with Maven 2.2 made it “somewhat easy to integrate a build with JavaFX complier.”

Wednesday Jul 22, 2009

At a Glance: Last Week's Reviews

Computerworld’s Steven Vaughn-Nichols tested VirtualBox 3.0 on a variety of systems and platforms, concluding that “you owe it to yourself to try VirtualBox… It’s never been easier and VirtualBox has never been better.” Jack Wallen from TechRepublic came to the same conclusion, calling VirtualBox “one of the easiest of all virtualization products available,” and made special mention of its “amazing” Seamless mode. Blogger Tara focused on VirtualBox's speed when she wrote, “VirtualBox's disk throughput is phenomenal, in fact, this is the first time I've seen almost-native speed disk in [a] virtual machine,” concluding that “it's an awesome app.” Rounding out the group was a blogger who praised VirtualBox’s seamless mode and noted that “the graphics also feel nicer and run faster.”

Praise for JavaFX this week started with blogger Matt Van Bergen, who discussed how the RIA platform of JavaFX makes Internet based applications much more user-friendly and intuitive. Osvaldo Pinali Doederlein focused on JavaFX 1.2’s overall update, concluding that 1.2 was “a much needed update that fixed important holes and performance bottlenecks.” Blogger Jim Weaver turned his attention to the JavaFX-powered Indaba online recording studio, noting that JavaFX “enables recording high-quality audio directly onto the client platform.”

NetBeans beat out the competition this week starting with a longtime TextMate user who made the switch to NetBeans, calling the IDE’s features “just amazing.” A different blogger wrote, “I've tested many, many IDE's and options for programming and getting your work done. But…NetBeans gets the first prize.” Finally, blogger JJ Behrens, who has been using NetBeans for six months, noted that NetBeans is “way easier to get up to speed with than Eclipse.”

Bloggers highlighted a range of Solaris and OpenSolaris features, with blogger Alan Fineberg, a computer science and engineering student at University of Washington, calling Dtrace “awesome.” ZFS Mirror also earned a thumbs up from a blogger who explained how much easier Solaris 10’s ZFS Mirror makes the difficult work of breaking down a large task into smaller sub-tasks. A third blogger then gave a step-by-step guide showcasing how “easy it is to recover your favorite OS after installing” for what he called a “glorious recovery.”

OpenOffice won new followers this week, including a blogger who reported his surprise with “the incredible power of” writing that “it has completely blown me away.” Blogger Peter Daley described OpenOffice as “a very sophisticated office suite,” and called it “a viable alternative” to Microsoft Office. Finally, blogger Travis Hampton got hands-on with OpenOffice, posting the first part in a series of tutorials on how to prepare an document in book form.

Kicking things off was a blogger at Rawseo, who explained why developers should opt for MySQL instead of Access, naming features such as MySQL’s attractive free price tag, multiple-user access, better management of large databases and increased security. Other developers focused on making MySQL even better, with one providing a list of the chief principles for optimizing PHP and MySQL scripts, while Linux Magazine’s Jeremy Zawodny, who has used MySQL for almost a decade, offered helpful tips based on MySQL problems he’s seen in the past.

Tuesday Jun 23, 2009

Consumer Reviews of OpenOffice

1. Set of free Microsoft Office powerful offline alternatives -- Piyada's World, 6/17
The blogger writes OpenOffice is "probably the best alternative of MS Office and each time I use it I am just confused how this is free!" He says after using OpenOffice "There is no real reason to buy an office suite," and says the great thing about OpenOffice is its cross-platform ability that can be used in any major OS without worry.
2. OpenOffice instead of Microsoft Office -- 2 Tech Divas, 6/15
Tech Diva Donna writes she "can't seem to shell out hundreds and hundreds of dollars for software," and when her free trial of Microsoft Office expired she "downloaded the next best thing." She says OpenOffice "will get you out of a jam and you can work with Word, PowerPoint and Excel documents easily," and recommends it for anyone "in need of a Microsoft Office substitute."

3. A Cost-Effective Alternative to Microsoft Office -- GoFaxer Blog, 6/15
The blogger writes is great in today's economy where "many people are looking to save money but not affect the quality of their work." The blogger notes that the programs included in the OpenOffice suite "are very similar to how Microsoft Office runs," and says 3.1 is "a reliable substitute to the expensive and ever changing Microsoft Office."

4. OpenOffice -- Philonica et Neotestamentica, 6/11
The blogger writes that he had been skeptical of free open-source software programs but admits "I was very surprised when I finally installed the OpenOffice suite and gave it a try." He notes that he has primarily used the word processor and that "my first impressions of OpenOffice programs are very good."




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