Computer Geek

Musings about technology, computer books and software.

November 06, 2005

Massachusetts Makes Smart Move Official

This article illustrates why it's better for government to use Open Source Software and open standards such as which uses the OpenDocument (OASIS) word processor format. This opinion article sums it up right at the beginning:
Switch to OpenDocument format will make state documents more accessible to the public because anyone can have the software to read the format.
Shouldn't that of itself be enough? Anybody can download the suite for free and because it's an open format, it'll be easy later to change software. That's better than having your data held captive. I particularly like this part of the article:
And let say it one more time: OpenDocument is an "open" format. Anyone, including Microsoft, can write to it.

Of course, Microsoft doesn't want to. The Redmond, Wash., giant makes its billions from locking users into its way of doing things. OpenDocument frees users. If everyone started using OpenOffice for their office documents they could decide, for instance, that StarOffice 8 for, say, $50 is a better deal than Microsoft Office at $500.

Using Gmail to...

ExtremeTech has this article on October 13, 2005 on how to use Gmail in other interesting ways including to-do lists, searching rss feeds such as news and torrent updates. making notes, as a spam filter for other email accounts, and as an online photo gallery!

Gmail's spam filtering is so great I use it myself for filtering my regular ISP email. First, I set my ISP to forward all email to my gmail account. Then I turn on Gmail pop access so I can access my email in my regular email program. All my ISP email is filtered through Google's spam filters before I see it. I also have the bonus of Google keeping an archive of all my email and I can check it online when I'm not at home.