Thursday, May 08, 2008

Hm. Upgrades.

As Neo said about the agents at the beginning of Matrix:Reloaded.  Thought I would just provide an update on a couple software upgrades for applications that I haven't mentioned in a while.

First, Firefox is beta testing the next version, 3.0.  They are currently on Beta 5.  With the first four, I experienced varying levels of success and failure.  However, I've been using Beta 5 since it came out and have found it to be very stable.  The improvements over Firefox 2.x are quite nice as well.  It took me a while, but I am finding the Smart Bookmarks to be very useful and effective to use (just click on the star in the address bar).  The color coding to let you know when you are on a safe site is nice as well and I like the additional info that drops down as you type in the address bar.   You can get it from the Firefox Beta download site.  Hopefully you have switched to Firefox or one of the other browsers out there that are not as hazardous to your Windows computer as Internet Explorer is (and even better, maybe you have gotten off of Windows).

I couldn't remember the site I first saw this on, but I've also noticed something interesting lately.  I have started to see a few sites, where their footer information indicates the site is best viewed using Firefox.  For several years now, the "standard" language used to always indicate Internet Explorer; sometimes they might mention other browsers the site has been tested with.  But have sites advertise that they are actually designed to work best with Firefox is something new.

The other software application that I am excited about is the public release of the new OpenOffice.org 3.0 beta.  I just recently upgraded from OpenOffice.org 2.3 to 2.4 which included some nice, little improvements.  I have started the process of installing 3.0 and have been using it at work already.  All I can say is, "Wow!"  It has some very nice improvements, although so far I have mostly just been getting used to the changes to the user interface.  One change I am especially looking forward to testing out is the display of comments, one of the few areas where I thought OpenOffice.org Writer lagged behind MS Word.  That will really help me when I have to collaborate with someone still stuck using MS Word (which sadly, imo, is far too many people).

I would also mention that I received notice this week that one of the enhancements I have requested and provided feedback on looks like it will be incorporated into the 3.x version of OpenOffice.org.  It deals with the implementation of the "accounting" number format.  This controls things like where the dollar sign ("$") goes in a cell, how the numbers (and more specifically the commas) line up, and how underlines are managed.  All of this is very important for folks like say, an accountant, who needs all these things to be formatted in a certain manner.   It's been a while, but it is nice to know the developers are finally going to get around to trying to address this.

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