Wednesday Dec 05, 2007

eWeek Impressed by OpenOffice

There is a great review by eWeek on OpenOffice that is absolutely worth the read. With eWeek giving the product glowing recommendations, isn't it time that you tried out OpenOffice? Did I mention it is a free download, works on almost every operating system, and supports more languages than I thought existed!



Wednesday Nov 28, 2007

Write buggy code -- Get sued!

I am sure you have all experienced software glitches, from the notorious blue screen of death to mundane rebooting of your wireless router because suddenly it froze. Now if I was running a nuclear reactor, or some mission critical medical machine my tolerance for rebooting would be zero, but for most of us this has become a way of life. I do consider this when purchasing a product, but I can't say this is one of my top purchasing criteria. 

So what you might say! Well here is the story that caught my eye -- "Microsoft Sued Over Halo 3's 'Consistent' Crashes" Wow, what is the world coming to when games are so important to us that we will sue if they crash? I for one will have to monitor this case to see where it goes, but isn't it strange that suing a software maker for a crash has never entered into my mind? Change software vendors, write them a letter, demand a refund... but sue them? Not sure what this will do to software quality, but I am sure some legal eagles will get some money out of this...

Oh well, back to my day job...



Tuesday Nov 06, 2007

OpenOffice Saves Students...

Keeping with the trend from yesterday and my blog about OpenOffice saving the day, I was reading another great blog on OpenOffice and how it helped save students $100! Mark Szorady recalls how he helped his nephew out of a tight bind on his blog at One Click Linux:

Even with a student discount,the price for MSOffice is rather steep. It costs anywhere from $80.00 to $100.00.
I tell them to relax and simply visit  

So if you are a student, or know of a student, do your good deed for the day and tell them to simply download OpenOffice.


OpenOffice Saves The Day!

Great post from the Self Reliant Post on how OpenOffice saved the day. 

I haven’t had this trouble with OpenOffice or any of the other types of programs I use (knock on wood).  Even Notepad is more reliable than this.  So instead of putting up with Works, I found a new office suite and spent all of Friday recovering the manuscript by hand by retyping what I could decipher from the text.

Thanks Ryan for the great post, and for those of you still stuck using Microsoft Works.. how about upgrading to OpenOffice?


OpenOffice Predictions for 2008

I had a good laugh reading Wired's article on "The 15 Dumbest Apple Predictions" It makes you really wonder whether you should believe anything you read at the time or just adopt a wait and see attitude.

Now the thing that the article doesn't go on to say is how brave the people making the (now we know incorrect) predictions were. It is much easier to look back and say.. yeah that was a dumb prediction, or that was a dumb stock pick!

 So going out on a limb here.. here are my top 3 predictions for OpenOffice for 2008:

  1. PC manufactures will bow to consumer pressure and put OpenOffice on their machines
  2. OpenOffice downloads will grow by 50% to 1.5M per week
  3. The ODF format will be supported by Microsoft Office products after continuing government and industry support.

Whew.. any predictions you care to share?



Tuesday Oct 23, 2007

Apple joining Sun, Google, IBM, ....

I am eagerly awaiting Apple's next version of their OS, codenamed Leopard. I am not sure I will use all the new features, like spaces and time machine, but I will give it a try! The one feature that I wasn't expecting (and didn't even know about until I read Erwin's blog) was that Apple is joining nearly the whole industry in supporting Open Document Format ODF.

This is quite amazing. Your documents now can be stored in one format that can be edited and modified by a variety of vendor products, across a variety of platforms. Goodbye to those old proprietary formats that forced you to pay a tax (they call it a licensing fee) to open and modify YOUR document. It is now possible to create a document in Google Docs, edit if off-line with StarOffice (part of Google Pack) and send it to one set of colleagues to work on on the Mac. Then take it to work and use Lotus Symphony to make some edits before distributing it to your Linux friends using Now for those of you still in Microsoft Office, we have a great ODF plug-in that allows you to work on this same document in Microsoft Office, or how about downloading and taking it for a spin?

Welcome Apple to the fold..


Friday Oct 05, 2007

A Marketeers Worst Nightmare...

I am sure you have all heard the news that Halo is out and if you queued up and got the super special collectors edition of the product and took it home you were less than impressed because the disk just didn't work! All that has been written about the subject talks about the problems Microsoft faces with having to reissue disks, the bad publicity, the problem the company has wrought on the poor gamers, but I have yet to see an article written on the "Poor Marketing Guy/Gal that signed off on the packaging"

Now it is no secret that Microsoft and Sun compete, but you really have to feel for the person behind the blunder. I imagine their day went something like this...

T-1day: So excited that my product is going to hit the shelves tomorrow. I can't wait to see how excited all those gamers are going to be. My packaging I created is absolutely beautiful.. Check it out.. lovely metal box, Disks all in there. Wow I might even get a promotion out of this one. I know there were a few bugs in the product, but no one is going to notice them my awesome packaging. These 150 hour weeks are sure paying off..

T-1hour: OMG this is exciting. I have given out T-shirts with my box design to everyone I can find on campus. The dummy packaging looks great. Told my whole family to check the news when the midnight sales happen. Every box they see.. is MINE! I couldn't be more proud. I know I chose marketing for a reason, this is the best day of my life. Steve is sure to promote me after this!

Launch Time: It is out.. just saw it on TV and heading to the store to see it first hand. Halo 3 is going to rock this world.. Yippee... I am going to be famous. Those engineers scoff at us marketing types, but they will see.. we complete the whole product experience!

T+2 hours: Off to the Halo 3 developers party to bask in my success. I wonder what I will get to work on next, perhaps the whole redesign of Microsoft's visual presence? The opportunities are boundless. Maybe Google will call me and offer me a job? I would never accept -- life is so perfect..

T+2.5 hours: SMS Message "Call Customer Service Immediately" Wonder what they want, don't really speak to them, Oh well I will call them after the party. My speech is next....

T+3 hours: My boss comes over apparently my speech isn't needed and I need to go handle an "Issue" with customer service. WHAT! This is my night... oh well better do what the boss wants, anyway with my performance I will soon be his boss.. who cares...

T+4 hours: OMG the disks are getting damaged by my packaging.. Who checked that? The metal box didn't break, but the disk fell out and got scratched. This can't be happening to me.. I checked the fonts, colors, spelling everything. Not one typo, not one off brand color, it was all perfect. Finance, Legal, Tax, Support, everyone signed off on this... So how could this happen?

T+1week: OK, the crisis is over, Steve has stopped yelling at me (Well he at least he knows I exist now!) My boss thinks it best that I work on another high profile product.. Microsoft Bob... thought we killed that, but maybe not?

 So what's the moral of the story? We all make mistakes, engineers make mistakes called bugs and they get promoted. Marketeers make mistakes and they are called morons and are never seen in public again!

Have a great Friday...




Musings from Mark Herring at Sun...


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