Archive for April, 2004

OpenOffice feels right again.

I’ve been an user longer than I’ve been using Linux (which in itself isn’t much), and on my WindowsXP, it was my primary word processing tool and office suite of choice. Once on Linux, however, I kept switching back and forth between KOffice and OOo. OOo was (and is) a powerful suite, but KOffice, which lacks some of OOo’s functionality, has a user interface which, at least for the likes of myself, proved to be much more intuitive.

It wasn’t the default layout and organization of the menus as so much as it was the KDE integration and the use of KDE’s Crystal iconset. OpenOffice’s graphics seemed to lack the graphic quality given to the office suite as KOffice’s did – it wasn’t the Crystal iconset per se but the pixelized, semi-monochrome, undecypherable icons which were native to OOo, and just barely “got the job done”. This style of graphics worked for us in 1995 when we had smaller screens, fewer colors, screen resolutions set to 640×480.

Enter 2004.
The KDE Native Widget Framework project team have released their version of OpenOffice 1.1.1 for Linux, complete with native KDE widgets and crystal icons!

The result is pretty stunning – This may be a matter of taste as “Crystal” has it’s lovers and dislikers , but it seems that this “facelift” might actually have an advantage as far as usability is concerned; the icons are bolder and more colorful, providing well made self-explanitory pictographs, and are easier to recognize – as proper for a modern office suite.

While this is just the first precompiled release with KDE integration, and there are icons left to convert and widgets to fix, it’s an all-around good release which puts the fun back in OOo :o )

All hail to the flag

Lior and Myself went into the Asian supermarket in town on Thursday, and spent about half an hour in there, purchasing things I didn’t need and bugging the shopkeeper with “what’s this?” questions. As the old saying goes – if you never ask, you’ll never know, so that’s why I’m now aware of what fried pig-lard looks like. I spent Saturday having an enormous Sushi feast at Amir’s house; 8 people, about 15 rolls (that’s rolls, not pieces, folks), which Amir and myself sweat hours upon. After the entire week of the 18th – 23rd in which I spent more time working on my website than sleeping (and that’s quite a feat, since I don’t sleep, I hibernate), I took the weekend off.

This evening is Memorial day’s eve, which makes tomorrow Memorial day, and tomorrow evening, Independance day’s eve. That also makes tomorrow evening, one big mess. Don’t get me wrong – I love the fireworks, and I’d love to be able to spend the evening on one of the rooftops of the houses closer to the city, overlooking Tel Aviv. But since I’m immobile (no vehicle) and have an utmost distase for pre-teens spraying foamspray in people’s eyes, I’ll be staying in these four walls and going to sleep early, we’ll be visiting my little brother at his military base early the following morning.

Besides, I have enough entertainment indoors at the moment. I’ve been listening to Catherine Wheel’s more recent material (recent is actually not that recent, they released their latest album, Wishville, in 2000). Catherine Wheel are truly one of those bands which defy the basic definitions attributed to this-or-that genre. They’re British, and they can rock’n'roll if they’d like, but slapping a definition such as “britrock” on their music would be boxing them in, in terms of artistic expectation. Rob Dickinson (yes, “cousin of”), has an amazing, powerful voice, and if you’ve ever got the time, I wholeheartedly suggest picking up a copy of “Wishville” (2000) or “Happy Days” (1995).

Web standards, or not?

I just thought I’d bring this up, since perhaps someone could shed some light on the subject. While I was working on my new site layout, I only had a few rendering engines which I could test my site with – KHTML (belonging to Konqueror and Safari) and Gecko (Mozilla and derivatives). Internet Explorer doesn’t run on Linux, so I couldn’t test my site with it, what’s more that it’s non-standards compliant and therefor not too much a concern. The other browser I tested, though, was Opera. First off, I’m going to have to explain that I’m biased against it – I have a problem with any application which shows me advertisements as part of the software. Opera is a pretty browser with nice skins, but all that aside, I was wondering about the rendering engine used for the browser. Opera claims to be a fast browser, which it is, but it also claims to adhere to web-standards in a very strict fashion. Which, at least from my short experience with it, it doesn’t. Why would Opera mis-read CSS, improperly render image locations on thw page, when all the while Mozilla’s rendering engine claims to adhere to standards and follows through, rendering all pages correctly (that is, when they’re properly coded with proper CSS)? Opera is NOT beta, or in developement, but boasts a brand new 7.x series that seems to be quite mature. To those of you actually using Opera (I uninstalled it about half an hour after installing it), my website should be usable and readable, but you’ll probably find a few quirks here and there which I cannot explain. I noticed that I’m not alone, though – if you take a quick look at the Opera forums you’ll notice the mass of posts indicating problems in preformance as well as rendering. So what’s up, Opera folks?

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