Monday, August 31, 2009 3.1.1 now available is a suite of office applications, much like and compatible with Microsoft Office. Since it's an Open Source product, you can download, install and use the product for free; donations gladly accepted.

There are two points I'd like to make. One, about Open Source software; the other, about using instead of or alongside Microsoft Office.

Here's the definition of Open Source, for those who'd like to read it for themselves: In a nutshell, products made available under the Open Source concept are developed by a community of interested and talented parties. The programming code (the "source") is made available to the general public in hopes someone can improve it. Free, in this case, doesn't necessarily mean "no money", but free, as in open and available without license.

I've been installing and using (OO) either alone or with Microsoft Office for about five years. (strange name, but they want to include the .org in the name of the product) includes a word processor, spreadsheet, database, presentation application and math functions. Hmmm. Sounds like Microsoft Office. The difference? MS Office Professional 2007 sells for $499.

OO will open, edit and save documents in Microsoft Word or Excel format. It's just that simple! When you start a new document, OO will default to it's native format, but if you want it in Word so your not-as-savvy friends can open it, use the Save As feature to save it as a Word document or any of about two dozen other formats.

People ask me frequently how something that's free can be as useful as something that costs $500. The answer is always that it's Open Source, or "free" in several meanings of the word. There's no fancy packaging or marketing campaign. If you want it, you have to know about it and how to get it. There are manuals that can be downloaded to help get you started or find answers to your questions. There are active forums where you can ask a question and get an answer - free. No $49 Tech Support fee to find out how to line up your columns.

I've been a Microsoft and Bill Gates fan for a long time. You are welcome to your own opinion and experience. To the haters I say, come up with something better or stop complaining.

However, even I, math-stupid as I can be, can subtract $499 from $499 and come up with Zero.

Get here:

Monday, August 24, 2009

Twitter Essentials

Here's an excellent primer on working with Twitter. I'm still trying to figure out the fascination! Knowing how to use it definitely helps.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Firefox 3.5.2 released - update now

Yet another Firefox update was released late yesterday. You can update your version by opening Firefox, clicking on Tools - then Check for Updates. Follow the prompts to finish the updated. Or, you can download 3.5.2 at

People ask all the time - "Should I install the update when prompted?" Again, the answer is always "Yes". They are undoubtely fixing a security problem, a bug, or many of each!

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

New Java update available V6 update 15

Just released. Be sure to UNCHECK the box for the trial version of Carbonite during the installation. Unless you really want it!

Look for the version of Java that matches your operating system - 32-bit or 64-bit; or both, if you have a 64-bit OS. SAVE the file to your desktop, THEN run it!

Version 6, update 15 fixes a number of bugs. Read more here:

Fake Microsoft Patch may show up in your email

This was happening a short time ago; apparently it has new legs. Don't be fooled by spam emails that insist you need a Microsoft patch - Microsoft WON'T notify you by email! Ever.

Facebook Insider Info

Here are a couple of articles with really good information on using Facebook, MySpace, online quizzes and games and other Social media.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Adobe Reader Update 9.1.3 (Security Patch)

Adobe has released the promised security fix, making the current version 9.1.3. Go to to download the full version, or open Adobe Reader and go to Help - Check for updates. Follow the prompts to update.

And if you haven't checked for updates since installing Adobe Reader 9, now is the time to do so.

More information here: