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RandallS's blog

Go-oo -- Open Office on Steroids

Go-oo is a fork of the free Open Office office suite with improved compatibility with Microsoft Office formats and a number of other improvements and tweaks, including speeding up the startup time. That along makes this branch worth looking at for anyone already using Open Office.

FARR -- Find and Run Robot (Version 2)

Find and Run Robot (FARR) is a program for Windows users who are keyboard maniacs -- it uses an adaptive "live search" function to rapidly find programs and documents on your computer as you type.

Press your chosen hotkey to display the FARR window, then just start typing the first letters of the application you want to launch and the results appear instantly. Hit enter to launch the top result, or refine your search with special modifiers and commands.

Snippits -- Automate Typing on Linux (Discovery)

AutoHotKey is one of the few windows programs I have really missed using Linux. While it had a lot of power, I used it mainly for its "hot string" abilities. I'd type =btw and AutoHotKey would replace "=btw" with "by the way." Linux didn't seem to have anything that could easily replace that feature of AutoHotKey. That was annoying, but I learned to live without it.

Upgraded to Ubuntu 8.04 (Hardy Heron)

After waiting for just over a week to allow others to discover if there were any major issues upgrading from 7.10 to 8.04, I finally bit the bullet Tuesday afternoon and decided to upgrade my system to Hardy Heron. This was my first distribution upgrade since moving to Ubuntu last fall, so I will admit that I was a bit nervous as to how it would go.

Wordpress category:

Automated Upgrade to WordPress 2.5

I've finally upgraded to WordPress 2.5. My upgrade experience was quite good this time because I used the WordPress Automatic Upgrade plugin, version 1.1. Note that the version listed on the download link on the linkd page is "0.1" but it actually downloads the current 1.1 version of the plugin. I installed the plugin and started it.

Brief -- Fantastic RSS Feed Reader for Firefox

Ever since I moved to Linux, I've been looking for a RSS reader that I like as much as Great News. I have finally found one that comes very close in Brief. Brief is a Firefox extension that adds a very simple, Great news-like feed reader to Firefox. It even stores the feeds locally for as long as you like, and just like Great News "as long as you like" can differ with each feed. It does not have some of the whiz-bang features of Great News, but if has most of the ones I regularly used.

FLV Extract -- Extract Audio & Video from FLV Files

Did you know that FLV files are really just wrapped boxes holding audio and video files in fairly standard formats? Probably not. Until I discovered this little gem, I didn't know this either. This program extracts video and audio without decompressing them and then recompressing them. Therefore, this program avoids the loss of quality that comes from doing so. The video portion is saved to AVI (H.263/FLV1 and VP6/VP6F are supported). The audio is saved to MP3. It's simple to use and very useful.

Crawler Parental Control -- Free Windows Parental Control Software

Many parents want some way to control their children's computer use: to help prevent them from accidentally (or purposely) accessing inappropriate sites, to prevent them from using the computer to play games when they should be using it to do their homework, etc. Most parental control software is not cheap, sometimes even requiring regular fees to keep it up to date and blocking the newest obviously inappropriate sites. Crawler Parental Control is freeware from the people who make Spyware Terminator.

Comodo Firewall Version 3.0

As I'm using Linux as my primary OS, I don't pay as much attention to the latest releases of Windows security software as I used to. That's one of the advantages of Linux, it is much more secure out of the box. However, while updating my mother-in-law's computer while she was visiting this week, I noticed that there is a major new version of Comodo Firewall, the best freeware software firewall available for Windows XP and Vista according to many security experts -- the best free or paid software firewall available according to some experts.

Wordpress category:

InstantStorm -- Free Flash Screensaver Creator

InstantStorm is a Windows freeware tool for creating Flash based screensavers with many advanced features. All you have to do is to choose a SWF file, set screensaver parameters and compile an executable installer. All 32-bit and 64-bit versions of Microsoft Windows are fully supported, including Windows 95 and Windows Vista. And the best of all—there are no nag screens or other annoying stuff. Unlike many other tools, InstantStorm allows you to fully customize your screensaver's about box, installer and uninstaller including all texts.

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by Dr. Radut