Twitter Updates

    follow me on Twitter

    G-AVLN in front of her home

    G-AVLN in front of her home

    Mostly Unix and Linux topics. But flying might get a mention too.

    Monday, January 21, 2008

    21 January - time to get depressed ?

    Today is meant to be the most depressing day of the year.

    Considering that Inland Revenue admitted they owed me a lot of money, the sun showed it's shine over Sywell for the first time in weeks and I have managed to complete my dreadful paperwork for the last so-many months of expenses, I've not been doing too badly!

    And then a colleague asked me for a couple of slides she wanted to include in her presentation. At this point I realised that my ambitious plans to convert fully to Open Office are flawed. It's the second time in two days I had to rapidly save an '.odp' file into the '.ppt' format, just so other people in the company could use it.

    Time to admit defeat. And back to CrossOver Office. Got a professional copy, payed on-line and downloaded the .deb version. All went smoothly. Shame it doesn't allow Office 2007, but Office XP installed without a hitch.

    Oh well, the "happy - depressed" balance restored ;-)

    Friday, January 11, 2008

    Moving to OpenOffice Impress 2.3

    Now that my laptop is fully Linux'ised, I am making a brave attempt to convert all my .ppt documents (mostly qa-iq course-related ones) into a Open Document Presentation format. Luckily, our printers use PDF format for printing. That means that it doesn't really matter which office suite I use for the design, as long as I can convert it into a PDF before it's sent to the printers. In fact I bet that nobody is going to notice that I no longer work with the .ppt format (just as nobody noticed that all my timesheets, expenses and all other paperwork is now done in OpenOffice - I just save it as a .ppt file).

    On the whole, the compatibility of .ppt and .odp is good. Fonts are still rather dissimilar, and this is one area I will have to investigate (although the rendering of characters imported from .ppt file is sufficiently good for me not to loose sleep over the issue).

    What kept me guessing for a long time is the method of setting the notes pages' header and footer. In PowerPoint this is done in Master View --> Notes. However, the .ppt imported into OpenOffice 2.3 treats these headers and footers as standard text boxes. So any change (like document version which we set in the Notes view footer) would have to be done for each page.

    Well, in OpenOffice, text to appear on each slide is done in View --> Header and Footer. Once customised, select "Apply to All".

    So far, there is just one feature I miss in the Open Office Impress - the style painter. It does now exist in the OpenOffice, but its scope is very limited and nowhere as useful as it is in Power Point.

    Tuesday, January 08, 2008

    The Dell saga continues

    What a see saw the last few weeks has been. I love my little new dell (some would say it's not so new anymore), and I love Ubuntu. Somehow however, they didn't like each other much. Having search various posts, I strongly believe that Ubuntu 7.10 (gutsy) has been rushed out, and it clearly has bugs, mostly with handling SATA disks and networking.

    After my last post, I was installing and fine-tuning various applications, hoping to arrive at the final (and perfect ;-)), of course) system configuration. Disappointingly, but I hit several re-occurring problems, which put the stop to these ambitions... Most of the issues have been well documented by others - inconsistent wireless recognition, many SATA warnings popping on the console (even though actual disk access was fine), very slow desktop start-up, cupsd taking up to 5 minutes to start.

    The worst aspect of these problems has been the random, unpredictable nature of them, with problems virtually impossible to reproduce. I'm well used to fixing systems - you expect hiccups, and you anticipate having to dive under the hood of any new version or distribution. This is part and parcel of playing with UNIX or Linux. And one of the great historical attributes of UNIX has been its transparency - you can always get to the bottom of things. Not quite so with the new kernel releases. More and more traditionally user-driven hardware manipulation and control is delegated into kernel's functionality. It's great in some respects - faster, more secure and easier to tie down system. But for an average sysadmin, ability to debug and fix is becoming more obscure and complex, if not difficult.

    Blog Archive