Document Foundation LibreOffice

Key developers of the OpenOffice suite are bracing for change. Based on what happened to OpenSolaris, the likelihood of OpenOffice having the same fate as OpenSolaris is quite real. As you recall, OpenSolaris was recently abandoned by Oracle.

This week, a community of developers created the Document Foundation LibreOffice in an effort to create independence from Oracle. Although LibreOffice is not a fork, it may happen if Oracle doesn’t change its tune.

As you already know, I have been a proponent of open-source and particularly OpenOffice for years. I’ve used OpenOffice not only in Linux, but on Windows as well. To me, OpenOffice is a great and the only alternative to MS Office.

Based on Oracle’s track record with open-source, I don’t see Oracle jumping in the fray. I don’t see Oracle making contributions to the Document Foundation. The likelihood of LibreOffice forking is probably more real than we think.

What about MySQL?

iPad Great for Reading and Viewing

ZDNET has an article called “The truth about iPad: It’s only good for two things.” The author argues that the iPad is great for reading and viewing only. Ok, that doesn’t seem like a lot. It’s a bit overkill for a device that is worth $500 and upwards. You can do the same using your desktop, laptop, and netbook. I guess you can even argue a smartphone with an oversized screen can do the same things the iPad can.

You can also argue that the iPad is truly unique and has functions no other device has. It’s built by Apple, it must be really good. The main obstacle why people avoid buying one really comes down to price especially in today’s economy. No matter how many times I’ve visited the Apple store, I still get sticker shock, despite alreading knowing the price. Unless you have some extra cash to burn, most people will balk at idea of coughing $500 for a device that’s quite limited to what it can do.

Is the iPad overrated?

DD-WRT To The Rescue

I got a Linksys WRT160N wireless router with a wireless problem. It’s not good when a piece of hardware no longer function the way it was intended to. I can’t get my laptop connected to it even if I’m literally 3 inches away from it. Instead of throwing away the router, I’ve decided to install a third-party firmware called DD-WRT.

It was a little unsettling at first because installing a third-party firmware can potentially brick a router if I don’t do it correctly. But, since the router is already useless, I’ve decided to install DD-WRT. Just as a word of caution. If you decide to install DD-WRT, make sure your router is supported. Read up. Do your homework. And follow instructions.

Suffice to say, the wireless router firmware upgrade was successful. The router is functioning nicely. DD-WRT will give you router functions you normally see in enterprise equipment, but the biggest improvement is, I now have a router with a much stronger wireless signal. Linksys sets their routers to transmit power at about 40mW. The DD-WRT firmware allows you to change the transmit power from 1-251mW. Mine is set to the DD-WRT default, which is about 70mW.

In addition to increase signal, you can also set the router as a wireless client, a wireless client bridge, a wireless repeater, and a wireless repeater bridge. Awesome. If you have an old router that’s misbehaving, you might want to look into the DD-WRT firmware. You can breath new life in an old wireless equipment.


Recover Grub2 After Windows Install

If you run Ubuntu and you installed Windows later, then know what I’m talking about. Windows just wrote over the MBR record. Windows doesn’t play nice at all. You no longer have access to your Ubuntu distribution.

I’ve read tons of documentation how to recover Grub2, but this is the simplest and the one that worked for me. So, to recover Grub2 after a Windows install, just perform the following:

Boot from a Ubuntu Live CD.

Preferably the same release, but it doesn’t have to be as long as you have access to a Linux Terminal or the Bash shell.

sudo fdisk -l

That’s the letter L by the way. This should tell you where your Linux distribution is located. Mine is sda1. You may to look for the one with the Linux partition. Mine was set to ext4.

sudo mount /dev/sda1 /mnt

There shouldn’t be any errors if the partition is mounted properly. If you have experienced an error, you probably did something wrong like mounting a different partition or a partition that doesn’t exist.

sudo grub-install --root-directory=/mnt/ /dev/sda

Restore Grub2 to the MBR.

sudo shutdown -r now

There is probably a more graceful way of rebooting, but this one works as well.

sudo update-grub

Update the Grub menu after the reboot.

That was easy. Practically it’s just one command that really did the trick. There is no typing and editing involved. Like I said, the simplest way to recover Grub2 after a Windows install.

IE 9 Beta

Microsoft just released IE 9 Beta 1 which promises to be faster and standards compliant. We will see. But IE 9 has lots of competition from Chrome and Firefox these days. In order for IE 9 to stand out above its competition, it really needs to address security issues that has plague previous IE versions, as well as sticking with the tried and true industry standards.

In addition, IE 9 needs to keep up with speed improvements gained by Chrome and Firefox. For non-technical Windows users, IE 9 will most likely become their default browsers. However, most techies will most likely gravitate to a browser that gives them security, functionality and speed. That means usually either Firefox or Chrome.

Can IE 9 make a difference?

7Zip Is Better Than PKZip and Winzip

For Windows users who have been using Pkzip or the Winzip utilities for years, you should consider using 7zip. I’ll tell you why. First of all, it’s open source. It can’t get any better than that.

It can pack and unpack ZIP, GZIP, BZIP2 and TAR formats. It can unpack the following: ARJ, CAB, CHM, CPIO, DEB, DMG, HFS, ISO, LZH, LZMA, MSI, NSIS, RAR, RPM, UDF, WIM, XAR and Z. The 7Z format has the highest compression ratio of any packing utility out there. It has a compression ratio of 2-10% better than the ratio provided by Pkzip and Winzip. It also comes with a strong AES-256 encryption in 7z and ZIP formats.

In addition, it has a powerful File Manager, a powerful command line version, and a plugin for the Far Manager. If that’s not enough, it is also available in 74 languages. Download 7zip and give it a try.


I downloaded software last night that was extremely big. It was more than 560MB. The file was broken up into 3 separate files, all with a RAR extension. After the download, I ended up with 3 RAR files.

The only way to unzip the files and to put them all together was to use 7zip, which is a better alternative to PKZip because 7zip is free and open-source. It also handles tar, and its own 7z formatting. Extracting on any of the 3 RAR files will extract all parts into one file.

The only problem was the resulting file had a NRG extension. I don’t have a Nero CD or DVD burning software. The only way around to it was to convert NRG to ISO which is better anyways, because ISO is standard as opposed to NRG, which is proprietary.

I ended up finding this great utility online called NGR2ISO. The best part of this exercise is, NGR2ISO is free, open-source and it simply works.

Emptying Spam

My new favorite function in the WordPress Admin is Emptying Spam which you’ll find under the Comments section. There is nothing so something satisfying and gratifying as this particular function. The latest click resulted in the trashing of 2019 spam comments. That needed a quick celebration.

A Quick Look at Google Instant

Google Instant can predict results and complete searches before you even finish typing. Google boasts Instant can shave off time spent on searches. Definitely true. Google seems to be accurate 90% of the time, but the remaining 10% seems to be completely out of the blue.

Google Instant search seem to be based on location and personal preferences. Typing the letter A in the Google Instant Search bar for example, brought up Amazon, Aol and Apple. Typing B brought up BART. I’m sure the results wouldn’t be the same for someone living outside of the San Francisco Bay Area.

As far as personal searches, I have been searching for a Linksys WRT54GL lately. Typing WR brought up wrestling, writing and wrt54g. Not bad. It’s proof that results are indeed based on past personal searches.

Would I use Google Instant? Yes, definitely.

But, there might be instances where I may have to turn off Google Instant or use another search engine if it continues to give me random results. After all, a long brewed search at times is better than instant.

Display Your WAN IP Address

Have you ever wondered how dozens of websites can display your WAN IP address? The script is quite simple. You can probably host it if you have access to a web server. All you need to do is create a PHP file. Place the code below. Save. Upload the file to a web server and run the script. That’s it.

$ip = getenv(REMOTE_ADDR);
echo “Your IP address is:. $ip;