Sunday, August 26, 2007

Open Office - The Open Source Office Suite is a free open source replacement for Microsoft Office. For companies paying thousands of dollars for MS Office licenses it can prove to be a huge cost saver. It has a replacement for Word (Writer), Excel (Calc), Powerpoint (Impress) and Access (Base). It also comes with a basic drawing application (Draw).

One problem I have faced since the beginning of Open Office was that it comes with very few templates, especially for presentations. So instead of downloading Open Office you can download OxygenOffice Professional which is free a beefed up version of Open Office. You can also find a repository of free Macros for it at A very good article I found about making your Open Office installation even more powerful can be found here.

Various studies have been made by companies about the feasibility of shifting their workforce from MS Office to Open Office.
Results are mixed. No doubt it will be a relearning experience for the user which will require some training on the company's part. Then there is also the fact that the 2 are not 100% the same in terms of usability or in the way they save data. Although Open Office can read and write MS Office files, from experience I know that this process is not 100%. For example, sometimes images would not show up correctly or some formatting will be lost. Open Office's built in support for generating PDF files from any of its formats is a good workaround when you need to give a report to your client as there are no formatting issues there.

What it comes down to is to look at the company's goals in the long run.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Project Management Software

In December 2006 I went through training for Project Management Professional (PMP). It opened up my mind and made me see the possibilities of how a project should be managed. Now when I look back at the previous projects I have managed, I see how much better it would have been if I had known the techniques earlier. A couple of weeks ago I was doing some research on Project Management Software and came across a very good article on wikipedia. What I liked best was the section talking about the criticisms regarding using software for managing projects in certain scenerios where just a pen and paper would have sufficed.