* Posts by Ralph

5 posts • joined 2 Nov 2007

OpenOffice 3.1 ready to lick Microsoft's suite?


It works for me

I've been using OpenOffice for most of my word-processing/spreadsheet needs for a year now, and I'm really pleased with it. I also have MS Office (2003) but I don't intend to buy any further versions. I'm tired of Microsoft's focus on lock-in (poor interoperability with almost everything else, dodgy compatibility between versions, tie-in with their own technologies and no one else's, etc, etc) rather than simply providing great software.

I also found I can organise quite complex documents without worrying that numbering/outlining/styles/etc all suddenly start to do weird things as they frequently do in Word (I can't count the number of times I've had to revert to older versions of Word documents because the current version has gone irretrievably 'insane'). OO hasn't been absolutely perfect either, but far more robust.

The most difficult thing was simply learning to use a new piece of software. Yes, almost all office suites are doing the same things, but they also have their own methodologies. I would encourage anyone to have a go at OpenOffice, but commit yourself to spending a bit of time getting used to it. And definitely check out the PDF import plug-in.

BTW - the reviews of OO on The Register seem really shallow. The previous one seemed obsessed with problems installing on Linux, and this one seems to think speed differences are really important. Can we have something more in-depth?

An unthinking programmer's guide to the new C++


Replies miss the point

As I read it, the article is intended to be humorous rather than a serious critique of C++. It's funny even for a C++ developer if you can momentarily detach yourself from understanding why these changes were made and what they achieve. But can we be spared the harsh replies? C++ is very good for specific purposes, as every other language is good in the right context. For those who understand and appreciate the language, these replies sound like email neophytes scoffing at the @ symbol in an address as if it were obvious to all how stupid it is.

Wi-Fi Beeb viewing may break law


If only it worked...

I tried this service with my 3G iPhone, but only got the response, "Your device appears to be unable to support this service".

I contacted the BBC to find out why, and received this reply:

"Unfortunately, we can't currently make live television or radio available for the Apple iPhone or iPod Touch as they don't support streaming of live channels."

If this is the case, why am I able to listen to a range of live radio programs on the iPhone from other sources? Why is it that the one service I directly pay for - through licensing fees - can't deliver what others are serving up for free?

How to destroy 60 hard drives an hour


Sales FUD

This strikes me as an attempt to drum up sales on the back of paranoia, like many other 'security' issues.

It has been pointed out that hard drive contents can still be recovered even if the contents were reset to zero. This can only be true for areas of the drive that have only been written to once, because previous '0' values will be unambiguously '0' and previous '1' values may leave traces. However, if some/all the bits have previously had a '1' value at some time, this distinction is not possible. If an 'erase' process toggled every bit between '1' and '0', you would have nothing to work with.

Reality distortion for Java on Leopard?





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