What’s Yours Is Yours But It’s Also Forever Ours

An excerpt from the Google Drive terms of service. This applies to all their services it seems.

Google terms of service

Google apps terms of service

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FocusWriter

I’ve recently installed FocusWriter, a distraction free writing tool, on the compy. I’ve used a few online equivalents but thought I’d have something available for full offline use. It works well (on Ubuntu 11.10) and is available for Unix, Windows and Mac and features text, rtf and basic .odt file support. You can even set the sound of typing to accompany your keystrokes should such a retro ambiance improve your writing productivity.

FocusWriter

Libre In The Web

The word on the street (as Huggie bear probably never said) is that the OpenOffice project, one time darling (ish) of the open source community, is close to death as it’s forked variant Libre Office announces ongoing improvements. Stopping short of emulating Microsoft’s controversial ribbon interface Libre Office has nonetheless announced their intention for an html5 web based version with additional attention paid to android,iPhone and iPad users.

Meanwhile IBM are rumoured to be on the brink of dropping their own OpenOffice variant Lotus Symphony (which is a shame as I quite liked the Symphony interface despite the proprietary nature of the enterprise).

Change my dear and not a moment too soon?

Using Microsoft’s Web-Based Office on Mac and Linux

No word wrap for pictures, clip art of tables

Microsoft’s free web version of Office has finally been opened up to computing platforms other than windows. I’ve tried it on both Mac & Linux and it worked reasonably well though on linux there’s a frequent pester box to ‘improve’ the rendering of text by installing Microsoft Silverlight which of course you can’t do in Linux. I have no idea if Moonlight , the mono Silverlight project on linux ,would work but the performance didn’t seem bad enough to proceed down that particular potential road of disappointment.

I tried the web application on Mozilla Firefox and Google Chrome and despite ‘the word on the street’ saying that the web office is optimised for Firefox and IE8 only I found no problems using Google Chrome. In fact I’d say it was less sluggish on Chrome than Firefox for me.

Curiously the ability to export your online document is hidden away in the the reading view hidden file exportwhich reveals you can export in any format as long as it’s Microsoft’s proprietary .docx format.

The most glaring omission for me is the complete inability to align or justify text around an embedded picture, clip art or table in Word. For me this is a serious flaw when comparing Microsoft’s web office offering against the more established alternatives such as Google Docs, Zoho Office,ThinkFree Office or Adobe’s Buzzword.

Maybe more features become enabled if you actually own a copy of the standalone Office application but presume that the Mac & Linux versions will remain forever crippled in some very key feature departments which slightly negates the whole idea of platform neutral web based applications available in the cloud.

Microsoft’s Office for web is free to users signed up to a live.com account and is available to Facebook users too albeit still in beta form via Docs.com.

PlayOnLinux-Another human face for wine

Playonlinux

PlayOnLinux wizard install window-click to enlarge

A piece of software called Wine lets linux users run a small number of software applications that ordinarily require the Windows operating system.  PlayOnLinux is a free application that puts an easy to follow wizard style interface on top of wine and contains some pre-installed scripts to help load a number of compatible applications.

Since our Mac got fried by a lightning pulse I’ve returned to using Linux Mint full time but did want to access our saved iTunes library. PlayOn Linux has enabled me to easily install a working version of iTunes on linux. I’ve even managed to get a legacy music composition prog installed and working.

So if anyone’s using linux on the desktop or on their netbook like I am and would rather install a few choice  supported Windows applications for use directly within Linux rather than dual booting another OS or using virtualization technologies (the last two requiring a a legal installation OS disc and enough memory and hard space to accommodate the install) then I can heartily recommend looking to see if  PlayOnLinux would suit your own needs.

Other alternatives are Wine-doors (though in need of an update with regard to the available application install scripts) and the commercial (paid for) Crossover Office from Codeweavers.

Say Hello To Microblogging

Aside from blogging here on wordpress I do enjoy a certain ammount of microblogging on twitter, pownce and tumblr as an outlet for the random smaller and sometimes more personal thoughts.
The process has been made a lot easier by using the Hello Txt service that allows selective or simultaneous posting across a variety of microblogging services.
A mobile version is in the works and currently available via a limited number of invite codes.

Hello Txt

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Taming Tinnitus

TinnitusSome Help For Tinnitus
For those of you also stuck with Life’s pilot tone playing in their ear(s) here are some observations from one who lives with the condition with some tips that may help manage your own tinnitus.

Avoid Noise (duh!… but really)-I wear ear plugs in loud situations and especially on aircraft. It’s amazing how much more enjoyable loud music concerts can be when wearing ear plugs.

Stress – Not an easy thing to avoid but stress can send your tinnitus levels soaring. Taking breaks, small walks or even taking up meditation can help a lot of people.

Diet: Aggravators to tinnitus can include:

Salt, Quinine (as found in tonic water),Cheese, Spicy food, Red wine (I avoid alcohol with only the odd glass of white wine) ,Sugar- avoid refined sugars as much as possible
Artificial sweeteners – Aspartame is worth avoiding- try to use natural sugars if replacing
refined sugar in your diet. Fructose and Xylitol and other fruit sugars are much better and don’t give the same blood sugar spikes.
Saturated and trans fats are worth avoiding whether you have tinnitus or not. Unsaturated fats and a more Mediterranean type diet can help immensely.Flavour enhances- avoid monosodium glutamate too if possible.

    Health
    Depression and poor health can increase tinnitus levels(though we are in less of a position to control this)

    High blood pressure is another link to high tinnitus levels so if your tinnitus level remains high for a very long term it’s worth having your blood pressure checked.

    Prescription Medicine
    Antibiotics and prescription medicines including some anti depressants can increase tinnitus levels. Long term use of some decongestants is often thought an antagonist of tinnitus symptoms.

    Weather
    Atmospheric pressure can increase tinnitus levels too. Mine goes crazy before a summer thunderstorm. there’s little you can do about this but it’s worth being aware of.A good thunderstorm sees my tinnitus level decrease once the storm has broken.

    Tinnitus Maskers
    Maskers can help re-frame your sensitivity to your own tinnitus. maskers are like small hearing aids that play white noise. the idea is to set the white noise at the same level as your tinnitus and slowly decrease over time. For some this can help reduce your perception of tinnitus. Equally natural sounds of streams, water, the ocean and wind through trees or even a detuned FM radio set can provide an equally valid source of white noise. Some people obtain relief just from having a different noise mask their own constant tinnitus.

    Software
    Programs are also available that run on your computer that provide a range of masking via white and pink noise (also good for insomniacs).

    Tinnitus maker pro (Windows)

    Neural noise synthesizer (Windows, free)

    Burninwave (Windows,free)

    Pocket tinnitus masker for Windows mobile/PDA

    Blackhole media noise (Mac OS X PPC, free)

    Tinnitus Tamer (Windows and Mac OS X Universal)

    Whitenoise (Linux, free)

    On-line white and pink noise -these can be downloaded and looped in most good multimedia players.

    iserenity – various sounds on-line

    More informationBritish Tinnitus Association

    Photo adapted from original by gari.baldi under this creative commons license

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