novatownhall blog

Where you are held accountable for your convictions and record

Browsing Posts tagged Microsoft

As it turns out, Dan’s suggestion that I had gotten a corrupt download was correct. I just redownloaded the OpenOffice archive file, and it ran without any hangups in about five seconds.

It has a sort of strange initial behavior though. The other programs I’ve installed have created an application in the “applications” folder, but OpenOffice does not do that. In order to use it each time you have to “mount” the original disk image (.dmg) file and it shows up as another drive on the desktop, then you can execute the program. Sort of like running a program off a CD.

By contrast, TextMate was downloaded as a .dmg file, which after executing created an application in the applications folder, like most programs I am familiar with.

I am guessing this is something OO does by design, there are probably advantages in terms of system integrity, but I imagine it would be confusing for a casual computer user. The way to get around it is to physically copy the OpenOffice program into the applications folder – but that was a first for me. You would think that double clicking the file that is downloaded would do that, as TextMate did.

Another weird behavior is, unlike other Mac programs I’ve tinkered with so far, if you “close” OO by clicking the red button, it goes down to the dock – but cannot be reopened by clicking on the icon. You have to formally “Quit” the program, then launch it again … so you don’t want to close when not using, just minimize it and leave it running.

Anyway, I’ve changed the title to reflect the fact that the program does work if your download is not corrupted, but it takes some doing. I’ll leave the original post below for historical interest and in case others try to use it with a corrupted download file.


I hate, hate, hate to post this but I must: Stay the heck away from OpenOffice.

I just tried to install it – OpenOffice Aqua 3.0 – on my new MacBook Pro and it crashed the computer. Not an easy task, since the MacBook Pro is probably the greatest piece of technology I have ever owned. Instead, I will plunk down hundreds of dollars for Microsoft Office.

Just to put this in perspective: I am a total Linux/Unix guy and try to avoid Microsoft at every turn. The modern Mac, in my view, is the best personal computer platform the world has ever known. My MacBook runs like a screaming banshee on every sort of data I feed it, because the guts are Unix. I have the “Terminal” in my Finder sidebar, so at any instant I can jump to the Linux/Unix shell and peek into what the machine is doing.

It is a beautiful thing.

Microsoft (MS) is the anti-Unix: a bloated, opaque, proprietary, top-heavy operating system which sucks up hardware resources like a herd of cattle on a hot day before granting a tinch of usability.

So avoiding anything MS has always been at the top of my IT list of priorities. Naturally, OpenOffice, which purports to replace MS Office, seemed a smart alternative.

But I am here to tell you: OpenOffice introduces more problems than it solves. If your role in life is actually to DO work, rather than diddle over the tools, you would be much better served to buy MS Office than to mess around with OpenOffice. The one costs a few hundred dollars and the other is free, and in this case I have to say you get what you pay for.

I just realized this blog looks completely screwed up when viewed via Internet Explorer. Mainly, the sidebars are completely whacked. I have no idea why that is because the elements I am using are pretty much out-of-the-box WordPress.

(I think you Mac folks are fine using Safari.)

I could research and try to fix this IE problem, but a far superior solution would be for all of you – and I do mean ALL of you – to stop using Internet Explorer and instead use Firefox. With a reasonable broadband connection it will take all of five minutes to download and install the software, and even with DSL or dial up it is worth the effort, so if you are an IE person please go do that right now.

For anyone who has not already gotten a whiff of Vista, let me remind you what I have been saying for years: The less Microsoft software you use, the better.

Firefox is a far superior browser and after switching you will want to buy me steak dinners once a year for the rest of my life.

And you know what? I just might let you.