23 May 2007

OpenOffice.org Impress Guide published

Today I published a new OpenOffice.org book in the OOoAuthors series: the Impress Guide. Michele Zarri (from Italy) and I researched and wrote most of it. I learned a lot of useful things about presentations while writing it. I use Impress occasionally but had never taken the time to learn more than the absolute basics. Free PDFs are at http://documentation.openoffice.org/manuals/oooauthors2/ Printed copies can be purchased here: http://www.lulu.com/opendocument

18 May 2007

Another live WordPress website

Friends of OpenDocument's new website just went live. http://friendsofopendocument.com/ I learned lots more things about WordPress while doing this site, because I wanted to turn the old news items into blog entries and I had to tweak the template to show the blog info on the static pages. I was really happy to find a theme that had almost the same colours that I had used in the original site, so the existing logo fit right in. I just had to tweak the colour for the header background a tiny bit to match the logo. I'm also quite pleased that I was able to figure out so many things without asking anyone, just searching the web for info.

17 May 2007

Taming OfficeOrg.com website redesigned

My first WordPress-based website is now live: http://taming-openoffice-org.com/ It still needs some tweaking (both the content and the navigation), but I'm generally happy with it. I learned a lot working on it, tweaking the CSS and some of the PHP files (especially the header and sidebar). I never want to use a template or theme the way it was originally designed! ;-) I read a lot of how-to's and other online info to get as far as I did. I found some WordPress extensions that have helped a lot, but it's obvious that I need to learn a lot more about PHP to be able to do much more personal customizing. As I expected, this WordPress-based site is much easier to keep up-to-date than the old site was. I'm thinking about adding a blog for OOo-related topics, but considering how rarely I blog on any topic, I'm not sure it's worth doing. Meanwhile, I've started working on the updated site for Friends of OpenDocument. I chose Taming and Friends as the first sites to convert, because they have smaller amounts of existing content compared to my other websites. I'm really keen on revising Avalook and Technical Editors' Eyrie, despite the huge number of pages, but I want to learn what I'm doing with something less daunting. I've found really nice-looking templates for those two sites, so that's encouraging me to get to them soon.

15 May 2007

I love my cleaning robots!

Today I used the vacuuming robot again. I am getting better at using the remote control to get it to go into places it had missed. We moved most of the chairs and other furniture out of its way. It is much more efficient when it doesn't keep running into things. (What a surprise!) Then we ran the floor-washing robot for the first time. It did a really good job, and the water in its tank (when it was done washing the floor) was impressively dirty. It only missed a couple of spots, and one of those was something sticky that it couldn't dissolve. So we are really happy with these gadgets, but moving everything out of the way is almost as much work as doing the cleaning myself. I should take a lot of the stuff off the floor (things that aren't furniture) and put it somewhere else, so perhaps this will encourage me to be more tidy. Perhaps.

10 May 2007

Grace Hopper Scholarships for Celebration of Women in Computing

This came in from the Anita Borg Institute for Women and Technology. The Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing (GHC) conference is a program of the Anita Borg Institute for Women and Technology (ABI) and is co-presented with the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM), happening October 17-20, in Orlando, Florida. The online scholarship application for Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing is now available. Scholarships will cover conference registration (which includes most meals), lodging, and an upper limit for airfare based on the geographic region of the applicant. GHC Student Scholarships are made possible by the Anita Borg Institute for Women and Technology through generous grants from the National Science Foundation and Google. Apply Now! Deadline for applications submissions is June 11, 2007. Background info: The Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing 2007 is the seventh in a series of conferences designed to bring the research and career interests of women in computing to the forefront. Presenters are leaders in their respective fields, representing industrial, academic and government communities. Leading researchers present their current work, while special sessions focus on the role of women in today's technology fields, including computer science, information technology, research and engineering.

Past Grace Hopper Celebrations have resulted in collaborative proposals, networking, mentoring, and increased visibility for the contributions of women in computing. This year's theme is "I Invent the Future". The Anita Borg Institute for Women and Technology's website states: "We are women technologists. We use technology to connect our communities. We create technology because it is who we are — intelligent, creative and driven. We lead with compassion and a belief in inclusion. We develop competitive products and find solutions to problems that impact our lives, our nation, our world. Together, through the Anita Borg Institute for Women and Technology (ABI), we are inventing a better future. Working with men that believe in our mission, we are changing the world for women and technology."

07 May 2007

New webhosting service

This past month I've been moving all my websites from Gisol to Dreamhost. So far I've had no problems with Dreamhost and have been able to find answers to my questions in their support wiki (in significant contrast to my previous hosting service, about which I will say more later). Dreamhost offer what I consider huge amounts of storage space and bandwidth (and unlimited domains) — far more than I need — for a reasonable price. I chose the two-year pre-payment option on their lowest-level hosting plan. I like the fact that they are employee-owned and do not even offer Windows-based hosting. :-) I signed up with them mainly because they offer one-click installation of a lot of software like WordPress that I (as a non-technical user) find a bit daunting, and their help wiki is actually helpful for someone at my level. But they also offer shell access and other stuff for those who want and know how to use them. Reviews suggest that they had some downtime problems last year, but as I am not running a business site, I am less concerned about that then I might otherwise be. As part of the move, I am progressively migrating my websites into WordPress. I'll be writing more about that in a later post.

05 May 2007

Cleaning robots rock!

We haven't tried the Scooba yet, but the Roomba worked quite well for cleaning on tiles. It's a bit noisy but did a good job. Its dust bin filled up rather rapidly when it went under the bed into the "mega dust bunny" zone (we hadn't cleaned under the bed in over 6 months), so we found out how easy it is to empty the bin. Ours has a remote. In theory we can use the remote to control the robot like a toy car, but today when we tried it that didn't work very well. We'll have to experiment a bit more to see if that was user error or a problem with either the remote or the robot. [Later: it was user error. I'm getting a lot better at controlling it after a bit of practice.] It was fun to watch. Its search pattern never reached some of the corners of the bedroom, but we stopped it to empty its bin before it had really finished. It also just fits under the Ikea bookshelf units, another place that accumulates vast quantities of dust. Overall, we think it will be a great addition to the household.

04 May 2007

The robots have arrived!

Eric and I had ordered two domestic robots, a Roomba (for vacuuming) and a Scooba (for washing the floor). They arrived today and are charging right now. You've probably seen them on TV, but here are some links if you want to look them up (not all models are available in Australia). http://www.irobot.com/sp.cfm?pageid=122 http://www.irobot.com/sp.cfm?pageid=128 The FAQs include "Can Roomba [or Scooba] clean as well as I do?" We laughed, because we hardly ever clean the floor, so no matter how good or bad the robots are, they will probably clean better than we do!

01 May 2007

Happy Birthday to the OpenDocument Format

A hearty "happy second birthday" to the OpenDocument Format. The OpenDocument v1.0 specification was approved as an OASIS Standard on 1 May 2005. (The OpenDocument v1.1 specification was approved as OASIS Standard on 2 February 2007.) More dates and links are available on the OASIS website and on GullFOSS.