Archive for the 'SchoolTools' Category

Comparing Pseudo OpenXML to the Open Document Format

Hi everyone: I just came across the following paragraph in a review of word processors I felt was pretty compelling:

  • “Let us be clear: the choice is not between being able to interoperate with Microsoft— thanks to Novell and Corel doing interoperability work for them — or being stuck in some ODF ghetto, unable to read Microsoft documents. Everyone wants to interoperate. The question is how. The problem is Microsoft. The solution lies with Microsoft. It’s 2007, and it’s time that Microsoft followed the same standards everyone else, instead of insisting the world bend to their ways. Microsoft’s OXML doesn’t disrupt this propensity. It’s not only unacceptable, but quite strange that even now we can’t all freely share documents with one another, no matter what operating system we like to use. We can send each other email, read each others’ blogs and websites, even if you are on Windows, I’m on Linux, and Uncle Fester is using OS X. Why isn’t that the norm for everything? It ought to be. The bottleneck is Microsoft. FOSS software is happy to interoperate with any other software. Why won’t Microsoft? That is the $64,000 question in 2007. All this only matters if you intend to use Microsoft Word. The good news is that there are many good alternatives” (, 2007.02.16).

What do you think?

My essential Firefox addons (extensions) post

Okay I know everyone has their own list of favorite Firefox addons (extensions), and that this topic has been posted on so many times that is now the subject of jokes and jabs, and I also know many of us have already discovered “the best ones” such that we already have many of the same ones installed anyway…

Yet right now I am faced with having just installed Firefox on my new Kubuntu (Ubuntu) box, and thought I would finally document which addons I like most because everyonce in awhile I go through the process of reinstalling an operating system or Firefox and it would help if I had this information somewhere with the links to the appropriate addons for convenience.

So without further delay here are the essential Firefox addons that I really like and either use every hour throughout the day or that I like to have installed for the sake of curiosity. I’ll list them in the order I use them most frequently.

  1. Adblock Plus and Noscript: These two addons are just so essential, so fundamental to improving security and my browsing experience that I just do not even like to go out browsing the Internet without them. Both projects are actively maintained and have demonstrated they are worthy ofScreenshot of the lower right corner of Firefox Browser window being trusted on my computer. I then disable messages about javascript being blocked because this is obvious enough from looking at the state of the icon.
    1. Preferences: I like to configure both Adblock and Noscript so that they appear in the bottom right corner of my browser window.
  2. Copy Plain Text: Next on the list is the most simple and useful addon I use numerous times during any given hour. Basically this one is essential for any student required to copy and paste quotes (properly cited of course) in any writing assignment. If you are stuck using Microsoft Word you will be especially grateful for this extension in how it effectively strips all formatting from the source with frequently causes Microsoft Word to stall while attempting to do some kind of reverse internet address lookup or something. But even if you have liberated yourself from dependence on Microsoft Word, this addon provides the benefit of importing text from the clip board while retaining the formating or style you have currently selected in your document. Indispensible.
  3. Copy URL +: This is another addon extension that I use fairly constantly throughout the day. It basically allows me to capture a selection of text to the clipboard including the title and url of the source. There is one problem however, and that is that the original author has not updated the addon to work with Firefox 2.0. This is simple enough to fix however, and thus I have rolled my own version which can be downloaded here. As for how the extention works, here is an example of copy and pasted text:
    1. FAA May Ditch Microsoft’s Windows Vista And Office 2007 For Google Apps on Linux
      “March is coming in like a lion for Microsoft’s public sector business. Days after InformationWeek reported that the Department of Transportation has placed a moratorium on upgrades to Windows Vista, Office 2007, and Internet Explorer 7, the top technology official at the Federal Aviation Administration revealed that he is considering a permanent ban on the Microsoft software in favor of a combination of Google’s new online business applications running on Linux-based hardware.”