8. Oktober 2007

Writer for Writers is now Tumbling Writer...

...which you can find here. It will continue to provide the latest news and updates on OpenOffice.org and Writer's Tools. I'll keep this blog floating for a week or so. See you at Tumbling Writer!

4. Oktober 2007

Writer's Tools released

Here is what's new in this release:
  • Word Source reference added to the Lookup tool.
  • Fixed a few serious bugs in Google Translate.
  • Improved default browser detection on Windows.
As always, the new version is available from its official page or directly from the Google Code page.

6.100+ downloads and counting

The latest release of Writer's Tools has been downloaded more than 6.100 times in just four days. Not bad! Writer's Tools has also been featured on Lifehacker.

29. September 2007

Writer's Tools 0.8.8 released

Another day, another Writer's Tools release. This release features a whole new Wikify Word tool, which you can use to link a selected word or text fragment in the current document to a created on the fly Writer document. For example, if the word “Monkey” is selected, the macro automatically links it to the created Monkey.odt document. The package now comes with the brand new WriterTemplates.oxt extension containing two useful Writer templates: a generic article and a book.

As always, the new version is available from its official page or directly from the Google Code page.

21. September 2007

Writer's Tools 0.8.7 released

A new release features a completely reworked Add to Basket tool. Since the latest release of OpenOffice.org comes with a MediaWiki filter, the Convert to DokuWiki tool has been removed.

The new version is available from its official page or directly from the Google Code page.

6. August 2007

Great device for portable apping

SONY has been taking a lot of beating lately, but there are a few things the company still does right. The SONY MicroVault USB sticks is one of them. Install OpenOffice.org Portable (as well as other useful portable apps) and all the documents you need, and you've got yourself a tiny portable computing device. The supplied clip-on silicon case fits perfectly Moleskine notebooks, which is a boon for all Moleskine fans out there.

4. August 2007

Writer's Tools released

A new release that features a few minor improvements and fixes:

  • The Mode option added to the Google Translate Tool
  • Word Count statistics added to the Timer tool
  • Minor fixes in the Timer tool

The new version is available from its official page or directly from the Google Code page.

30. Juni 2007

Google adds dictionary translations

Google has added a new "mode" to the Google Translate service:

Google's automatic translation is handy for getting translations of complete sentences, paragraphs, and documents. But when you need to translate a single word, a bilingual dictionary can be very useful because it gives you translations for the many possible meanings a word might have.

Source: Official Google Blog

You can take the new feature for a spin here. I've already added the support for the new service to the latest development release of Writer's Tools (available in the SVN repository).

Writer's Tools released

A minor release featuring minor improvements and bug fixes. The new version is available from its official page or directly from the Google Code page.

20. Juni 2007

Writer's Tools 0.8.5 released

Another day, another version of Writer's Tools. The new release adds the Remote Backup tool that allows you to quickly save a backup copy of the current document on a FTP server. The Open FTP Document tool has been from the Writer's Tools menu, but it's still there in the extension. So if you need it, you can easily add it to the main toolbar or a menu. The new version is available from its official page or directly from the Google Code page.

19. Juni 2007

Writer's Tools 0.8.3 released

This release feature the all-new Show on the Map that allows you to select a city, a street name, or a postal code and map it using the Multimap service. There are also a number of minor improvements. The new version is available from its official page or directly from the Google Code page.

Writer's Tools logo

Writer's Tools now has its own logo.

Image Hosted by ImageShack.us

Nothing fancy, but I did it using exclusively open source tools, including Inkscape and The GIMP. The logo itself was drawn by hand and scanned using Kooka.

17. Juni 2007

Installing TrueType fonts on Ubuntu...

...is rather easy. Create the .fonts folder in your home directory (e.g. home/dmpop/.fonts), and move your TrueType fonts in it. That's it!

To install the Ubuntu Title font (the one that is used in the Ubuntu logo), simply run the following command:

$sudo apt-get install ttf-ubuntu-title

Source: Ubuntu Blog

Writer's Tools 0.8.1 released

This release features two new tools: Word of the Day and Add to Basket. The Word Hunt Game has been improved, and the BEOLINGUS reference has been added to the Lookup Tool. The new version is available from its official page or directly from the Google Code page.

16. Juni 2007

Thunderbird and russification

It turned out that the russification of Ubuntu breaks Thunderbird. The solution to the problem is described here. The fix:
sudo gedit /usr/bin/thunderbird
and replace the following lines:

11. Juni 2007

Writer's Tools 0.7.2 released

Writer's Tools 0.7.2 has been released. This version features a few minor bug fixes and adds Russian to the Google Translate tool. The project has got a new home at Google Code: http://code.google.com/p/writertools/

9. Juni 2007

Russifying Ubuntu 7.04 Feisty Fawn

Although it may sounds as a daunting task, russifying Ubuntu is rather easy. First, you have to install Russian language support. To do this, choose System -> Administration -> Language Support. Select Russian from the Supported Languages list, and press Apply to download and install the required packages. Next, you have to add a Russian keyboard layout. Choose System -> Preferences -> Keyboard and click on the Layout tab. Press the Add button and add the keyborad layout you want. If you're using a QWERTY-based keyboard, the Phonetic layout might be the best choice. Finally, to quickly switch between different keyboard layouts, you might want to add the Keyboard Indicator applet to the Gnome Panel. To do this, right-click on the Panel and choose Add to Panel. Drag the Keyboard Indicator to the Panel, and you are done. Now you can switch between different languages by simply clicking on the Keyboard Indicator. Source: http://ubuntuguide.org/wiki/Ubuntu:Feisty_ru

8. Juni 2007

Writer's Tools 0.7.1 released

Writer's Tools has reached version 0.7.1. This release features an improved version of the Timer tool (Start/Stop Timer). Now you can save the time data (document name, used time, and date) in the accompanying WriterDB database. Using the database, you can quickly find out how much time you spent on a particular document in general and on any given day. Perfect for writers and professional alike who bill by hour. The new version also adds a simple Word Hunt game, where you have to guess the word randomly picked by Writer.

7. Juni 2007

Writer's Tools 0.6.0 released

Another day, another version of the Writer's Tools extension. This release adds the Start/Stop Timer tool that can be used to keep tabs on time spent on the currently opened document. As usual, you can get it here.

2. Juni 2007

Writer's Tools 0.5.1 released

The Writer's Tools keeps getting better, and the new release adds the Convert to DokuWiki command and features minor visual improvements. As always, you can get the latest stable release of the extension at its official website.

30. Mai 2007

Writer's Tools 0.4.0 released

Another day, another release of the Writer's Tools extension. This version includes the Google Translate command that allows users to quickly translate selected text fragments between different languages using the Google Translate service. Get Writer's Tools here.

25. Mai 2007

Writer's Tools 0.3.1 released

Hot on the heels on the 0.2.1 release arrives Writer's Tools 0.3.1. This version adds Multi-format Backup macro that saves the currently opened Writer document in the Word, RTF, and TXT formats. The backup files are stored in a separate folder with a date stamp. On Linux, the macro also archives the resulting folder using the tar utility. Download Writer Tools 0.3.1

24. Mai 2007

Writer's Tools 0.2.1 released

Writer's Tools is an OpenOffice.org extension that includes the following macros:

  • Lookup Tool allows you to lookup the currently selected word in several online references, including Cambridge Dictionaries, WordNet, and Google Define.
  • Email Backup can be used to quickly send a backup copy of the currently opened document to a specified email address.
  • Open FTP Document allows you to open a document stored on an FTP server and work on it locally.
The Writer's Tools extension is released under GNU GPL, and it can be downloaded here.

11. Mai 2007

Extending OpenOffice.org: Article #5

As with Firefox, you can add new features and extend OpenOffice.org's functionality by installing extensions. Here some of the most useful ones to try. Continue to read

10. Mai 2007

Extending OpenOffice.org: Article #4

One of the features that many users dearly miss in OpenOffice.org is a grammar checker. Fortunately, LanguageTool fills the void, adding grammar-checking capabilities to OpenOffice.org. Continue to read

9. Mai 2007

Extending OpenOffice.org: Article #3

One of the less well-known features of OpenOffice.org is its ability to run as a service. You can put that ability to some clever use. For example, you can turn OpenOffice.og into a conversion engine and use it to convert documents from one format to another via a Web-based interface or a command-line tool. JODConverter can help you to unleash OpenOffice.org's file conversion capabilities. Continue to read

8. Mai 2007

Extending OpenOffice.org: Article #2

Although OpenOffice.org doesn't allow you to create self-running Impress presentations, there is a tool that can help you with that. Using IndeView, you can convert your Impress presentations into a self-contained package that can run off a CD or DVD on Linux, Mac OS X, and Windows. Continue to read

7. Mai 2007

Extending OpenOffice.org article series on Linux.com

This week, Linux.com publishes a series of five articles on extending OpenOffice.org. The first article, Creating template and AutoText extensions, is available for your reading pleasure.

25. April 2007

Wikipedia Releases Offline CD

While this news is not directly related to OpenOffice.org, it does deserve a special mention:

"The Wikimedia Foundation and Linterweb announces the release of Wikipedia Version 0.5, a compact disc collection of around 2,000 articles from the English Wikipedia. The project paves the way for many such collections, with larger releases planned in a variety of languages."

The Wikipedia CD is available for purchase, and it can be downloaded via FTP or bittorrent free of charge. Source: wikipdiaondvd.com, Slashdot.

Get Microsoft Office 2007 Fonts legally and free

If you fancy the fonts that ship with Office 2007 and Vista (Calibri is particularly nice), you can get them legally for free by downloading and installing the PowerPoint Viewer 2007. In fact, you don't even have to install the viewer in order to get the fonts. Using the 7-zip tool, you can open the installer as a regular zip file and extract the fonts (the .TTF files) from the ppviewer.cab file. Source: Praegnanz.de

22. April 2007

Pentaho Adds Reporting Solution to OpenOffice.org

"Pentaho Corp., creator of the world's most popular open source business intelligence (BI) suite , in cooperation with Sun Microsystems, today announced plans to integrate Pentaho's reporting engine into future releases of the OpenOffice.org suite. The enhancement, planned to be available with OpenOffice.org 2.3, will equip OpenOffice.org users with key desktop applications, reporting and database connectivity in a single platform." Source: Pentaho

Russians crack OpenOffice security

"OpenOffice users who've locked their files and forgotten the password - or who have a document but not the password for it - can now crack their way in, thanks to a toolkit from a Russian developer specialising in password recovery." Source: The Register

The OpenOffice Password Recovery utility is available on the Intelore's website.

10. April 2007

Spicing up OpenOffice.org's interface

If you find the default appearance of OpenOffice.org a bit too plain for your liking, you might want to try an alternative icon set from the latest OpenOffice.org build in the openSUSE Factory. Download the images_tango.zip package, rename it to images.zip, and copy it into the config folder inside your OpenOffice.org installation (C:\Program Files\OpenOffice.org 2.2\share\config on Windows, /usr/lib/openoffice/share/config on Linux). Since the new images.zip package replaces the existing one, you might want to backup the original one before you replace it.

25. März 2007

Open Office - What's the Downside?

"A couple of months ago, OpenOffice advocates had space to sound of on the reasons to switch to OpenOffice. Now, it only seems fair to give the dissenters a place to voice their own reasons. What are the reasons keeping you away from OpenOffice and on your current office suite?"

Read more on Slashdot

19. März 2007

Two OpenXML translators compared

"If you need to convert word processor documents to and from Microsoft's OpenXML format, you have at least two choices. A new utility from Novell work as an OpenOffice.org extension, while a separate project makes an add-in for Microsoft Word. One is clearly better than the other."

Source: Linux.com

18. März 2007

Use SVG graphics in OpenOffice.org

OpenOffice.org (still) doesn't offer native support for vector graphics in the SVG format. The SVG Import Filter for OpenOffice.org solves this problem. It installs as a regular OpenOffice.org extension and allows you to open SVG files by converting them into the OpenDocument format. Although the SVG Import Filter generally does a good job of handling SVG graphics, there are some features that have not yet been implemented. This includes color and transparency gradients "due to deficiencies in the current OpenOffice.org implementation of OpenDocument".

13. März 2007

Email Backup extension for OpenOffice.org

You can use any email account (e.g. Gmail) to quickly backup the Writer document your are currently working on. Simply install the Email Backup extension, and you can email the active document with a single mouse click. To install the extension:
  1. Download the EmailBackup.zip package. Do not unzip it.
  2. Choose Tools -> Extension Manager.
  3. Select My Extensions and press the Add button.
  4. Select the EmailBackup.zip package and press Open.
Once the extension is installed, restart OpenOffice.org. To backup the current document, choose Tools -> Add-Ons -> Email Backup (see figure), enter the email address you want to use, and you are done.

If you want to know more about how the extension works, take a look at the OOoBasic crash course: One-click email backup of OpenOffice.org documents article by yours truly.

Download: Email Backup Extension

The Email Backup extension is released under GPL.

12. März 2007

Tabs in Writer

The Tabbed Windows Extension allows you to manage multiple documents using tabs, and it works in the pretty much same way as the Tabs feature in Firefox. The current version of the extension offers only limited functionality, and it's still rather buggy. In fact, the author considers it a working demo rather that a ready-to-use extension. Nevertheless, it offers a pretty good idea what a tabbed interface may look like in OpenOffice.org.

Figure: Tabbed Windows Extension

Blogging with Writer

Want to blog directly from within Writer? Sun Weblog Publisher (SWP) allows you to do just that. The SWP supports a number of blog platforms, including Roller, WordPress, Generic ATOM and Generic MetaWeblog (support for the new Blogger.com is coming). SWP is not free, but at $9.95 it's not that expensive either.

10. März 2007

Desktop Wikipedia with JaLingo

There are situations when having Wikipedia right on your computer can come in quite handy. One way to install Wikipedia on your machine is to download the MediaWiki software, then fetch a humongous database file and make everything work together. There is an easier way, though. You can use the JaLingo dictionary tool as a front-end to the Wikipedia database in the SDictionary format. To make your own desktop version of Wikipedia, download and install the JaLingo dictionary tool. Next, point your browser to the Wikipedia page of the SDictionary Community website and download the Wikipedia you need. The website carries Wikipedia in many different languages, so you are not limited to the English one. If you want to download the English version of Wikipedia keep in mind three things: a) the Wikipedia database is divided into three files called volumes, b) each volume is between 500 and 900MB in size, and c) the website is not particularly fast, so prepare to spend a couple of evenings pulling the files down.

Once you have all the files, launch JaLingo and press on the Settings button. Under the Dictionaries tab, press the Add button and select the first Wikipedia volume. Press Continue, wait till JaLingo processes the file (which can take some time as well), then repeat these steps for other two volumes. Close the Settings window, and you're done.

Figure: JaLingo with Wikipedia in Danish

The JaLingo-based Wikipedia does have two drawbacks, though: it contains no pictures, and there are no active links to the related topics. While you can't do anything about the former, there is a workaround for the latter. Simply select a related topic (all related topics articles are in italics), right-click on it, and select Translate.

Libertine: An open-source font

Need a nice open-source font? You might want to take a look at Libertine, a TrueType font designed as an alternative to the good old Times New Roman font. Libertine is still a work in progress, so not all features has been yet implemented.

JaLingo: A nifty dictionary tool

Even if you are not dealing with foreign languages on a daily basis, a good dictionary application can come in quite handy in many situations. JaLingo is a nifty cross-platform dictionary tool that supports different dictionary formats, such as DSL, Mova, and SDictionary. JaLingo sports an easy-to-use interface and a few clever features like the ability to save dictionary entries as HTML pages, support for multiple dictionaries, and history. JaLingo's website contains also an impressive list of freely available dictionaries.

Publishing Writer documents on the Web

"Although OpenOffice.org has an HTML/XHTML export feature, it is not up to the snuff when it comes to turning Writer documents into clean HTML files. Instead, this feature turns even the simplest Writer documents into HTML gobbledygook, and while it attempts to preserve the original formatting, the results are often far from perfect. Moreover, publishing static HTML pages is so '90s: today, blogs and wikis rule the Web. So what options do you have if you want to convert your Writer documents into tidy HTML pages or wiki-formatted text files? Quite a few, actually." Source: Linux.com

6. März 2007

Novell ships translator for OpenXML

''Amid the simmering debate over open file formats, Novell has released a translator that lets users open and save Microsoft’s OpenXML files in versions of the OpenOffice.org word processing program.'' Source: Network World

The translator is available for download from Novell's website.

5. März 2007

Tweaking a new OpenOffice.org installation

Here is a list of things you might want to tweak once you've installed OpenOffice.org.
  • If you use multiple languages, install additional dictionaries (File -> Wizards -> Install new dictionaries).
  • Set Locale settings.
  • Set all measurements to mm.
  • Disable the help agent. It's not obtrusive in the same way as Clippy but it's not necessary.
  • Activate AutoCaption feature (Tools > Options -> OpenOffice.org Writer -> AutoCaption).
  • Configure the AutoCorrect options as follows:
  • Options: Disable the Correct TWo INitial CApitals, Capitalize first letter of every sentence, and URL Recognition options.
  • Custom Quotes: the Replace check box (both Single Quotes and Double Quotes) is ticked so Writer uses curly quote marks.
  • Word Completion: Usually activated, but there are users that find this feature confusing.
  • Dock the Navigator and Stylist windows (double-click somewhere on the grey area while holding the Ctrl key down).
  • Install custom macros.
  • Install favorite extensions (for example, OOoWikipedia, Annotation tool, LanguageTool). Check the OpenOffice.org extension repository for more extensions.
  • Set a custom default template.
  • Replace the default dummy text with "Lorem ipsum" (see how).
  • Set new default template.
  • Import additional styles.

Regular expression search in Writer

Say, you need to find and highlight all occurrences of words "potato", "carrot", and "cucumber" in the current Writer document. You can do this using the following search technique (Source: OpenOffice.org Forum).
  1. Choose Edit -> Find & Replace.
  2. Press the More Options button.
  3. Tick the Regular Expressions.
  4. In the Search for box, enter each search word separated by pipe (|), for example, potato|carrot|cucumber.
  5. Press Find All.