Monthly Archives: February, 2003

OpenOfficial approval

Having recently created quite a large document in OpenOffice, I must say I’m quite a fan. There are several features which I much prefer to their Microsoft equivalents. And if, occasionally, things seem not to be quite as intuitive as they might, I have to keep reminding myself that I’ve used Microsoft Word, on and off, for about 14 years, and that’s quite a legacy/mental rut to get out of.

If, by the way, you’ve tried it under Mac OS X and have been disappointed by the ugly fonts currently supported by the X server, you might want to try
this. Slow, on my elderly Mac, but much prettier. Make sure you turn off ‘Preview in font lists’ in the View options if selecting fonts is too time-consuming!

The Genius of Blogging

[Original Link] Another good article by John Naughton.

A quick Mac OS X address book hint.

This might be useful to somebody. I was exporting my contacts from the OS X address book (by dragging them onto the desktop). This creates a vCard file, which I was trying unsuccessfully to import into Evolution on Linux. It turns out that the default vCard format on the Mac is version 3.0, while Evolution only understands 2.1. Fortunately, there’s an option on the Address Book preferences to set the format you want, after which my addresses transferred easily.

Congestion charging

[Original Link] London’s contraversial ‘congestion charging’ scheme begins tomorrow. Drivers entering central London will have to pay £5 per day, with the revenues going to fund public transport.

I can understand its unpopularity with most people who go into the capital more frequently than I do, and I don’t like Ken Livingston, the mayor, who’s introducing it. But I have to give him credit for having the courage to do something bold. It was clear that something had to be done, and that half-measures weren’t going to work. It’s also a sad indictment of the current government that they would never have the vision to do something so radical.

A couple of aspects interested me. Firstly that ‘alternative fuel vehicles’ are exempt. A very good idea, and I wonder if people will start returning to horseback? That’s the way I want to go into London.

Secondly, another exempt group are “Disabled people, or institutions for disabled people, who hold a Blue Badge (formerly known as Orange Badge)”. It’s good to see that colour-blindness is finally being taken seriously.

Editing GNOME2 Menus in Red Hat Linux 8.0

[Original Link] RedHat 8 is a nice version of Linux. It’s good to have antialiased fonts, OpenOffice & Evolution installed as standard, and it even detected the graphics card and monitor correctly on one of the two machines I installed it on. 50% is a better hit rate than I’ve had in the past.

I even quite like the way they’ve tried to merge Gnome and KDE so you hardly know which one you’re using. But it does mean there’s a lot of confusion about how to configure certain aspects of the User Interface. Should I be using KDE tools, Gnome tools, or some RedHat special thing which tries to configure both?

What seems to be lacking, unless I’ve missed it somewhere, is any way to add and remove items from the main system menu. This is a major failing, but Michael Knepher tells you how to do it with a text editor. A useful article, which shows there’s quite a sophisticated system underneath now. And what’s wrong with emacs? We wouldn’t want to let ordinary users customize their own desktops, would we…?

2003: Year of the Apple

[Original Link] It’s been a good year so far for Apple.
[Meerkat: An Open Wire Service]

Quote of the day

Tom Stoppard. “Skill without imagination is craftsmanship and gives us many useful objects such as wickerwork picnic baskets. Imagination without skill gives us modern art.” [Quotes of the Day]

New life for old spacecraft

[Original Link] Old satellites don’t die. They just lose their pictures.


[Original Link] A very useful primer on the current state of 802.11g by Tim Higgins. How does it work? How fast is it really? How compatible are the products, both with other 802.11g products and with 802.11b? And how come all of this stuff is out there several months before the standard is finalised?

Digital Music Fans Get a Break in Europe

[Original Link] It’s nice to see an encouraging draft directive from the EU which makes some sense. I’m just thinking about the last time I saw one of those. Mmm. Errr. No. Sorry. Can’t remember one.
[Thanks to Adam Curry for the link]

© Copyright Quentin Stafford-Fraser