Thursday, January 28, 2010

What was Apple Thinking?

If you don't know already, Apple announced their new tablet yesterday. The name? iPad. What where they thinking? This inevitably brought the 12 year old out of the Internet's collective closet with the abundance of feminine hygiene product jokes. And as if to add salt to injury, have a look at the Trending Topics on Twitter hours after the launch. Pretty hilarious!

Twitter Trending Topics - iTampon

Monday, January 18, 2010

LQ Votes Again!

We have the Grammys, the Oscars, the Golden Globes, the Webbys and the LQ Members' Choice Awards! Yes folks, it is that time of the year - time for the 2009 Members Choice Awards!

For as long as I've been using Linux, the Linux Questions site and forums have been a wealth of help, ideas and knowledge. It is probably the largest non distro specific Linux forum out there with over 420,000 registered members. Every year members of the Linux Questions community vote for their favorite applications, programming languages, distributions, toolkit, desktop environment and more! It is a great way to show your support and appreciation for the projects you love and use, to find projects that are sparking others' interest and feel the pulse of what's beating in the the heart of the Linux world.

Voting ends on February 9th. So head over, register (if you're not already registered) and vote!

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Tidbit: Firefox Extension - Invert Colors

I spend a lot of time in front of the computer screen and this can be a real strain on the eyes. The easiest way for me to cope with this is to use dark themes and reduce the brightness of the screen. But these have their limitations. Using dark themes only affects window decorations and system wigdets, while decreasing brightness can make things near unreadable especially during the day time. Then there is the fact that most a lot of my time on the computer is spent in the web browser where themes have no effect and most pages are bright.

Enter Invert Colors. This is a great little experimental addon for Firefox. Basically it does does what it says on the box. It inverts the colors of web pages and removes background images. It works relatively well. So far only one site ( crashes Firefox with this Addon enabled. Gmail is not affected by this addon but this can be rectified easily with Gmail themes.

In general, sites continue to work well although some buttons and links do not appear on some sites e.g. the thumbs up and down icons for youtube comments. Pages look more "90s" without all the images and backgrounds. But the important thing is that it does what I expect it to do and that is dim down the pages and reduce eye strain. If you would rather Invert Colors does not modify a site, you can configure it to do just that. Simply disable it for the site and reload to see the page as it was meant to be.

I would recommend Invert Colors to someone who likes dark themes because they are easy one the eyes and can handle the less flashy and occasionally buggy web experience. I certainly think it is worth it. If you use some other method to achieve this effect, please do let me know!

Here are some example screenshots

Invert Colors

Click here for a Google Wave invite. First come, first serve!

Friday, January 15, 2010

The Irony of OpenOffice 3.2


Today, while I was going through my usual tech news feeds I came across the OpenOffice 3.2 RC2 release announcement. I thought this was pretty cool and decided to have a look at what new features we could expect from the next release of OpenOffice. Nothing unusual. Yet.

Perusing through the 'What's New' section, something caught my eye. What's that? "Initial implementation of docx export." Nothing ironic. Yet.

Now those of us who like to keep up with tech news will know that Microsoft lost a patent infringement suit against XML specialists i4i, and then lost again after appealing. Basically, what this means is that Microsoft is banned from selling Microsoft Office from January 11, 2010, until the code that infringes on the XML patent is removed. And this code is what provides support for Microsoft's new XML formats which includes the infamous .docx format. Are you beginning to get the picture?

Now Microsoft already has plans to replace this infringing code in the next release, Microsoft Office 2010. As of now, MS Office 2010 is in the Beta stage of development and the final release date is set for some time in the first half of 2010. But OpenOffice 3.2's final release date is set for sometime this month. Getting clearer?

Thus, it follows, if you need support for Microsoft's .docx format right now, your only legal option is to use OpenOffice! It makes me warm inside :) Open Source FTW! Or am I missing something that is painfully obvious... Let me know.

Here's a Google Wave invitation!