Tag Archives: Microsoft

OpenOffice 3.0 Beta launched

OpenOffice 3 Beta

OpenOffice, the free opensource office suite, released OpenOffice 3.0 Beta yesterday. This latest release now runs on Mac OS X without requiring X11 to be running as well. And there are versions for Windows and Linux obviously.

There are a host of new features like ODF Support, Office 2007/8 import/export and support for up to 1024 columns on the spreadsheet app to name but a few.

With the killer combination of Google Docs (Google’s great hosted office app), OpenOffice and OOo2GD (an app to synch between OpenOffice and Google Docs), the justification for spending any amount of money on Office software has just disappeared!

There is also a large number of extensions available for OpenOffice. Everything from template packs, through to report builders and Wiki writers!

Download it, try it out. If you are worried that it will be a big change in UI from Microsoft Office – wait until you see the Office 2007 UI!!! And did I mention OpenOffice is free?

Startup 2.0 on again this year in Barcelona

This year’s Startup 2.0, a European competition for Web 2.0 startups, was launched the other day.

Submissions are accepted for blogs, wikis, social networks or any other website which makes a high use of Web 2.0 components, such as tags, RSS, collaboration or Ajax. Companies and people from any European country willing to present their projects just have to submit them.

Entries are judged not only the quality of the website but also the business model and the creativity of their video presentation. Internet users and a jury will select 10 projects to be presented in Barcelona on May 21st, where they will compete for online advertising and infrastructure prizes for their project. Last year’s winners won 5 days advertising on the front page of TechCrunch.com as far as I recall amongst other prizes.

The contest is organized by Alianzo and La Caixa bank as a non-profit initiative, supported by Microsoft and Sun Microsystems and sponsored by 22@Barcelona.

I am one of the 10 jury members who will be judging the entries along with Martín Varsavsky, Loic Le Meur, Daniel Waterhouse, Ouriel Ohayon, Nicole Simon, Bernardo Hernández, Luca Conti and Yaron Orenstein.

If you want your startup to be entered for this competition, register on the site before April 30th.

Trendpedia launches Blog Search

TrendPedia Blog Search

Simon from Attentio pinged me yesterday to let me know about their latest offering, Trendpedia. In Simon’s own words Trendpedia:

is in essence a European Blog search with a lovely trend function.

We have some more cool stuff to come, will keep you in the loop.

In the example above I looked for mentions of my name along with the terms Apple, Microsoft and Energy. I was surprised by the high showing of Microsoft vs. Apple and interested to note the upward trend of the term Energy since I started my LowerFootprint.com blog.

I can see lots of ways this can be improved (can anyone say widget?) but for a simple first off offering, I like what it does. Well done guys.

Live Maps Bird's Eye now includes (some) Irish towns

Via Clare Dillon the Virtual Earth blog and Martha Rotter on Twitter I spotted that Microsoft’s Live Maps now includes images of Cork, Galway, Carlow, Limerick, Navan & Wexford – cool!

The Bird’s Eye button becomes active when you are over an area that Microsoft has detailed aerial imagery of.

The image below is of Cork City Hall. You can rotate and zoom to see it from other angles and sizes! Way cool.

Live Maps Bird's Eye view of Cork City Hall

According to Clare’s blog post, Dublin will be up soon as well.

Get off your high horse Ed!

There was a big bruhaha on the intertubes over the weekend when Apple ran its software update on Windows and offered the Safari 3.1 browser download as the default selected option.

Now I am not for a second condoning this kind of behaviour. I believe opt-in is the only way to do optional updates, especially when you are adding applications to a users machine.

However, I had to laugh when I saw Ed Bott get all up on his high horse about this. Ed is a Microsoft guy so it was all the more hilarious that he try to grab the moral highground here. In his post he said:

I think Apple is dead wrong in the way it’s gone about using its iPod monopoly to expand its share in another market. Ironically, an excellent model for how this update program should work already exists. It’s called Windows Update, and it embodies all the principles that Apple should follow… The right way to do it involves these four principles

* Opt-in is the only way. The update process should be completely opt-in. The option to deliver software should never be preselected for the user.
* Offer full disclosure. The software company has a responsibility to fully disclose what its software does, and the customer should make the opt-in decision only after being given complete details about how the update process works.
* Offer updates only. Updates should be just that. They should apply only to software that the customer has already chosen to install.
* Don’t mix updates. Updates that are not critical should be delivered through a separate mechanism.

They are good principles, I have no argument with them however Ed offers these principles up as if Microsoft lived by them! Ed, you are dreaming. Microsoft are just as guilty of breaching these principles as Apple. I don’t use Microsoft software much but the last time I tried to update Windows Live Writer my default search engine was changed to Live Search, and I had to opt out or I would have had Windows Live Mail, Windows Live Photo Gallery and Windows Live OneCare installed on my laptop.

Pot kettle black Ed.

Microsoft Vista performance issues

Vista is buggy. That much is obvious to anyone who runs it but it has been improving in stability as the patches are rolled out. However it runs extremely slowly too and this became startlingly obvious to me in the last few weeks as I have been testing browsers on different platforms.

It turns out I can run Internet Explorer 8 faster on my older Mac than I can on my newer Vista machine (both 2ghz Intel core duo with 2gb ram)!

When I ran the SunSpider JavaScript Benchmark tests on IE8, it completed the test in 9.9 seconds on my Mac (running XP in Parallels).

However, when I installed Internet Explorer 8 on my Vista laptop, IE8 completed the test in 19,906.4ms.

Vista is more than twice as slow as XP running in Parallels on my Mac.

Vista is a huge embarrassment for Microsoft. They spent a fortune developing it and you speak to any Microsoft employee now and if the topic turns to Vista they get visibly uncomfortable. To the extent that Microsoft are now starting to talk up Windows 7 with Bill Gates calling it a big step forward. It needs to be.

Yahoo! indirectly upping the cost of acquisition for Microsoft?

Microsoft made an offer of $44.6bn for Yahoo! recently which Yahoo! rejected saying it “substantially undervalues” the company (personally I think it waaaaay overvalued Yahoo! and Microsoft caught a lucky break that the offer was spurned).

The New York Times is reporting today though that Microsoft are determined to follow through on this.

However, both the New York Times and News.com have published a story today that Yahoo! have offered golden parachute to all its remaining employees (it terminated around 1,000 of its 14,000 employees in the last week).

According to the News.com report, the package:

will kick into effect should that employee lose his job within two years after a new owner takes over, should she get terminated without cause, or if the employee decides it’s time to leave for “good reason.”

…The golden parachute also includes health and dental coverage for the length of employees’ severance awards, as well as reimbursement of outplacement services up to two years, or a maximum of $15,000, depending on job title

In any significant merger there are necessarily layoffs (particularly of people with similar job functions) – this seems like a cynical ploy on Yahoo!s part to up the price indirectly for Microsoft while grabbing some goodwill headlines at the same time.

Microsoft Wireless Laser Keyboard 6000 not very wireless!

I bought a Microsoft Wireless Laser Keyboard 6000 V2.0 a few weeks back because I needed an ergonomic keyboard (was suffering from an RSI) and went wireless to avoid cable clutter.

However, I have had lots of issues with the reception on the wireless devices. They report poor signal quality when 2-3 centimeters apart!

Low signal quality?

How hard can it be to get a keyboard and mouse working wirelessly? Apple have been doing this properly for ages. Of course Apple use Bluetooth instead of some bloody proprietary wired dongle which doesn’t work, takes up a USB port and adds a large cable to your desktop!

If only Apple did an ergonomic keyboard…

I was bemused then to note today that Microsoft are bringing out the Wireless Laser Keyboard 7000. It has a glass border around the keyboard to maintain the Vista Aero branding.

I only hope they remember to get the wireless part functioning this time!

Ubuntu deleted my Windows partition!

I installed Ubuntu (a Linux distro) on my Vaio a few months back and loved it. It was fast, it was stable and I felt I was achieving a certain amount of geeky street cred for using it!

Then, more recently there was a new version of Ubuntu released – 7.10. I upgraded to 7.10 and found the experience even better. I booted into the Vista partition on the Vaio less and less.

However, the other day when I booted into Ubuntu my graphics settings were messed up. I couldn’t get the screen to display at full resolution. I eventually decided to re-install Ubuntu.

However, I was unaware that the installer for 7.10 doesn’t seem to recognise Windows partitions the way the previous installer did and sure enough when I re-booted the Vaio after the install my Windows partition was gone :-(

It is not too bad, the only thing I have lost afair is the time it will take to re-install Vista and all the apps I had on the Windows partition. Still, this has put a severe dent in my confidence in Ubuntu.