Desktop

DeVeDe 3.16.8, create DVDs from video files

DeVeDe is an application that converts various video file formats into a disc that can be played in a DVD player. Other applications and tool chains can be coaxed into doing this but DeVeDe has the advantage of being a dedicated utility that has been designed for a single function.

OpenOffice.org Resource Files

Most users interact with OpenOffice.org on the desktop. But what if you need to do a selective restore on the files that store custom gradients or colors? Troubleshoot why an extension won't install? Share resources with other users? For these kinds of tasks, you need to know a bit about where OpenOffice.org stores its files, and what you can do with them.

PDF Export in OpenOffice.org

Originally, PDF export in OpenOffice.org was limited to three levels of quality, whose exact differences were obscure to most users. But that was many releases ago.

KDE4: It hurt, but did it work?

Last month's release of the KDE 4.4 desktop environment restored the faith of many after what has been something of a roller coaster two years. Even the most loyal KDEians found that loyalty stretched by the debut of version 4.0 in 2008. Reassessing, and with hindsight, I think it's fair to characterize the whole saga as both a cautionary tale and an admirable example.

Quick and Dirty with Open Office Base.

Even with all of the high quality software available, sometimes you just have to break down and write a custom application, and usually you don't have a lot of time to devote to it. This is the situation I found myself in when my wife started a new business and needed a simple means of tracking sales leads.

The Small Picture: More OpenOffice.org Extensions

Every few weeks, I like to browse the OpenOffice.org Extensions site to see what is available, and what people are using. New extensions that are both useful and well-designed seem to be getting few and far between. However, if you search patiently, you can still find extensions worth trying.

OpenOffice.org: Cross-References Revisited

Four years ago, I wrote an article about OpenOffice.org writer called "Fielding Questions, Part 2 - Cross References and User-Defined Fields." I regularly receive mail about it, but these days I have to preface each reply by explaining that the article is obsolete. Repeating the explanation gets old quickly, so I decided that an update is necessary.

OpenOffice.org Calc: The Mysteries of DataPilots Revealed

If you're coming fresh from Microsoft Excel, you might wonder where the Pivot tables are in OpenOffice.org Calc. The problem is, they're masquerading under the name of DataPilots. But, under any name, DataPilots are Calc's way of allowing you to quickly reorganize information in a range of cells so that you can gain a new insight into them.

Fast Is Hot

Last month, we reported here about Splashtop, which starts a laptop in only a few seconds. Since then, Splashtop reportedly has found its way into the Lenovo IdeaPad S10e and the ASUS Eee PC.

OpenOffice.org Base: Creating basic databases and tables

When databases became available for the personal computer in the mid-1980s, they quickly gained a mystique as the ultimate productivity applications. Despite their widespread use, in some ways they have never lost that mystique -- so much so that many desktop users will stretch the use of spreadsheets to cumbersome lengths rather than consider setting up a database.

Kuklomenos—Weird Space Shooter?

Kuklomenos has to be one of the weirdest games I've ever come across. I'm not doing a full review here, because I simply can't figure it out! If you want to compile it, go right ahead; it's easy with the usual ./configure, make, make install routine. But, once you get into the game, be prepared to be puzzled.

OpenOffice.org: Knowing when to use Impress

With Labour Day past, we back in the season of slide shows -- million of them daily in both academia and business. For over a decade now, slide shows have become an accepted prop for public speaking, regardless of whether they are useful or well-designed, and the trend shows no sign of slowing. You can, of course, just acquiesce and accept that as soon as you click to the first slide, most of your audience will sigh deeply and sit back low in their chairs. But, if you really want to make slide shows work for you, you'll think before opening up the Impress wizard.

OpenOffice.org Impress: Using Master Slides

The Master view in Impress is the equivalent of page styles in Writer. It's the view where you can set elements of design that appear throughout your presentation, such as the slide background and foreground colors, any reoccurring elements, and the fonts. By creating the master slides you need before you add content, you can automate your work and free yourself to focus on content.