Open MSO 2007 Files in Earlier Versions

I personally prefer the older version of Microsoft Office 2003 than the newer MSO 2007.[1] I have classmates who use the newer version on their Vistas, but I still work on documents, spreadsheets and presentations on my MSO 2003 with a Windows XP. In a situation like this where group projects and collaborative works are a necessity to get things done, and a non-ideal working environment of different computers with different software,[2] I happily share a solution for those people who cannot just give up an older licensed copy for a cracked upgrade.

Microsoft Office 2007 has a multitude of changes compared to the earlier versions. It doesn’t have the standard menu-and-toolbar environment we are used to be working on, but a general-purpose Office button and the Ribbon of the new Fluent User Interface. It also comes with a set of new file formats from the Office Open XML specification, primarily the .docx, .xlsx and .pptx file formats. Using ZIP compression, these new file formats are a lot smaller than the old formats[3] MSO 2003 or earlier versions create.

If you still have your Microsoft Office version at 2000, XP (2002) and 2003, you may want to install the Microsoft Office Compatibility Pack for Word, Excel, and PowerPoint 2007 File Formats. This will enable you to open, edit, and save documents, workbooks, and presentations in the file formats new to Microsoft Office Word, Excel, and PowerPoint 2007. You just need to update to the latest service packs for those earlier versions. There are, however, some document element differences you may encounter while working on a newer file format with an older application version.

Footnotes:

  1. ^ especially because I know a bug I still haven’t had news about being fixed.
  2. ^ or software versions.
  3. ^ .doc, .xls and .ppt, respectively.

My new baby, Azusa

Ever since Asus’ announcement of the Eee PC, I was interested to buy one, since I really need a replacement notebook for my display-dead Compaq Presario v2000, which is now on desktop mode connected to a much cheaper (PHP 10,000) external Samsung 19″ wide-screen LCD than a replacement (PHP 13,000~20,000) 14″ built-in one.

I actually bought one the moment an 8G galaxy black model came out on the US. That was early April this year, but my aunt who lives there had filled up the box meant to be sent here just about the end of May. Anyway, I’m just glad I’ve finally gotten a hold of my new baby I named Azusa the 23rd of July. That was almost 4 months of waiting. The Eee PC 90x is already out in some parts of the world. T_T

Final set up

She was so named from being an Asus laptop and a certain fictional high school teacher from a 1998 Japanese television drama played by the beautiful Nanako Matsushima.

I was planning to experiment which operating system I could use to replace its custom Xandros-based Linux distro that I find a little bit restrictive. I’m thinking Ubuntu Eee, but suggestions are very welcome.

Right now, I’m making this entry from Azusa herself. I hope, now that I’m confirmed as a camper for the upcoming WordCamp Philippines 2008, there would be free Internet access that I may enjoy on-site blogging.

I guess I’d review my Eee PC experience during the past 3 ½ days:

I was actually surprised how well it receives Wi-Fi signals from my router about 15 meters away from our living room, even my uncle is having a hard time with Wi-Fi on his Toshiba Satellite.

It is actually not so hard to type on this little keyboard, I just hope I could find a way to convert the input method to Dvorak Simplified Keyboard layout (one thing that makes me want to get rid of its custom Xandros-based Linux). It just bothers me with the lack of independent Home, End, PgUp and PgDn buttons, which are mapped to Fn+, Fn+, Fn+ and Fn+, respectively.

I couldn’t actually feel I’m on a sub-GHz Celeron processor right now—it boots up really quickly. Probably, if I’ve loaded this with a Microsoft OS, it would be a bit more sluggish.

Certain applications are somehow hidden from normal view, I wish I could create shortcuts for the text editor, terminal/console app, and a lot more customizations and settings.

Well, that’s it for now. More reviews later when I finally have time to experiment and do more stuff with my first ever product of blogging for money. Next stop? A digital single-lens reflex camera. 🙂

Firefox 3 Beta 1 Review

I’ve installed the new Firefox 3 Beta 1 on my Windows XP system back home. At first sight, nothing is so much noticeable about the new version. Only the bookmark button on the location bar is visibly different. But I’d share to you some features I’ve tried and liked, hoping you’d like them, too.

Firefox have been late to implement the following features that other browsers have already. Late as it may seem, Firefox integrated the best from three different competing browsers.

Resizer toolbar item
This nifty toolbar item lets you resize relative-width toolbar items (i.e., location bar, search bar, and flexible space) just like how Apple Safari lets you.
Full-page zoom
Images and objects now joins text when you resize just like in Opera and Windows Internet Explorer 7.
WaSP Acid2 Browser Test compliance
Now only Internet Explorer is the major browser left that doesn’t pass the test.

I’ve considered Mozilla Firefox the most innovative browser in the market since I’ve discovered it way back pre-1.0 versions. Here are some features as proof they are still leading the race:

Improved password saving
Instead of the usual dialog prompt that asks the user whether one wants to save the password before submitting the login information, Firefox 3 uses the notification bar so that the user could first confirm whether the password is correct (meaning successful login) before saving it.
Multiple text selections
Text could be now be selectively highlighted at the same time. Just hit Ctrl while doing selections using the left mouse button. Multiple copy-pasting and switching between windows isn’t necessary anymore. BTW, you still can’t deselect a portion even when using Ctrl, though.
Improved location bar autocompletion
Usually, autocompletion lets you type the first letters of the address and will try to fill in the rest (with or without the protocol and/or the www subdomain). Now, Firefox 3 tries to find all history entries using the rest of the address along with the title of the page. So, if you could remember just the specific page address, which is usually my case, or title, but not the domain, you could still find what you are looking for.
Resumable downloads
In Firefox 3, you could now resume paused downloads even when you quit Firefox, and it automatically continues downloads if the browser or system crashes.
Improved multiple opening of bookmarks in tabs
Bookmark folders feature an Open in Tabs option that now appends tabs instead of replacing all tabs on the current window, the behavior in previous versions. Take note the the current tab will be replaced by the first bookmark on the folder when using left-click, use middle-click to open everything on new tabs.

So, there you go—my preliminary review of the next-generation Firefox browser. Please note that this does not include the tons of other new features and improvements from the preceding versions, but only those I find most interesting.

If you’re still reluctant to try the beta, you may want to upgrade your current installation of Firefox to the latest stable security/bug-fix, version 2.0.0.10.

Firefox 3 Gran Paradiso Beta

Firefox 3, codename: Gran Paradiso, is the next generation browser from Mozilla based on the updated Gecko 1.9 layout engine. It includes many implementations of current, new and future standards, and is the first Gecko-based browser to be released to pass the Web Standards Project Acid2 browser test.

I’ve been waiting for this version’s release months ago. But since I haven’t much time understanding code, and trying to help determining bugs and fixes to trunk/development builds, I opted to wait for its more stable beta release. The only problem is that my computer is out of reach during weekdays.[1] Tough luck.

Hmm … since I just had my birthday, I really wish for someone to give me an ASUS Eee PC 8G that I could bring anywhere easily. I’d probably use it as a mobile blogging device and testing platform.

I know, I know—I already have the new shoes, new JavaScript and AJAX book, and new model cars, among others—but, I really want to have the subnotebook.

Anyways, I guess the review of the latest Firefox beta would just come later.[2] Just check out the Mozilla Developer News site for more info about the Firefox 3 beta release and how to download it.

Footnotes:

  1. ^ I’m currently using my cousin’s computer to blog this.
  2. ^ Probably this coming weekend or next week.

P.S.:

Thanks to those who greeted me before, during and after my birthday. Here’s some link love (in almost chronological order): Marisse, Mini, Marlon, Tracy, Ate Mayie, Mama, Papa, My Princess, Hershey, Monina, the rest of my classmates, Thea, Bro, Ruiza, Cheng, Peyt, Marj, Shari, Tito Andre and family, Karissa, Dindin, Emilio, Izia, Maple, Auds, Kuya Mike, Ate Lei, Ubuntu Forums, Martha, my uncles, aunts and cousins from QC, Bezy, and Lyka. Tell me if I forgot you, my SIM‘s message memory got wiped out accidentally, and my IM isn’t set to archive messages.

Fix Blurry Icons in Ubuntu

If you’ve recently tweaked the appearance of your Ubuntu installation, and selected anything other than the default Human theme, chances are that you may find some of your icons blurry. This is because the Human theme uses 24×24 icons and (probably) all others use 22×22. Therefore, choosing anything other than Human theme would compress all remaining icons on the main menu that has no corresponding icon from the newly selected theme, making them blurry.

For example, the following image has been taken after choosing the Glossy theme:

Blurry Icons
Note the icons for Keyring Manager and Network (highlighted)

If you don’t like the Human theme, but would like to preserve the crisp icons, you have to create a GTK+ 2 settings file. Do the following steps on a per-user basis:

  1. Open your favorite text editor, and create a text file ~/.gtkrc-2.0.[1]
  2. Place the line, gtk-icon-sizes = "panel-menu=24,24".
  3. Save and exit.
  4. Log off and re-log onto your account.

But, you may want to share the crisp icons for other users, too. So, you might as well hack into the theme file. The following steps would tell you how:

  1. Open a terminal application.[2]
  2. Type in, sudo <text editor command> /usr/share/themes/<theme directory>/gtk-2.0/gtkrc.[3]
  3. Type in your password for superuser status.
  4. Place the line, gtk-icon-sizes = "panel-menu=24,24" on any line outside any brackets.
  5. Save and exit.
  6. Log off and re-log onto your account.

The menus would then use 24×24-pixel icons that retains the original crisp.

Crisp Icons
Note the icons for Keyring Manager and Network (highlighted)

I’ve used more than a couple searches and mailing list pages to figure this out, but the most unambiguous workaround source surprisingly comes from the OpenOffice.org section on the Ubuntu bug tracker on Launchpad.

Footnotes:

  1. ^ where ~ points to your home directory
  2. ^ click on: Main Menu » Applications » Accessories » Terminal
  3. ^ for example: sudo nano /usr/share/themes/Glossy/gtk-2.0/gtkrc to edit the Glossy theme on nano

P.S.:

I haven’t actually tried the per-user setting file, but the system-wide theme hack worked for me, definitely. I just included it according to the instructions I’ve read for those who cannot acquire a superuser status on their systems, thus, the permission to edit the theme files.