Google Calendar Sync

I have no idea when Google first released Google Calendar Sync or why I never noticed it before, but I’m really liking it. The install was painless and worked well. My google calendar is much more user friendly than my Outlook calendar. The simplicity of Google calendar really makes it obvious how bad the calendar functionality is in outlook.

I have Ingrid’s calendar and mine shared with one another, and set up syncing for her today as well. Now it is much easier for each of us to see what is going on with the other. I’ve also got sports schedules, holidays and weather stuff in my google calendar, none of which I have in outlook.

OO.o / Netbeans Integration

A lot of people spend a good amount of time doing office suite type things on their computer. When I did more development at my last job, I did a good amount of work that centered around visual basic creating and/or modifying MS Office documents. Being able to leverage the capabilities of an office suite is very nice for at least two reasons. One is, the office suite may have some built in functionality that can save the programmer a lot of work. A couple examples might be charting through a spreadsheet application or the formatting options available in text or a spread sheet.

Along with that, delivering customers their application or data through an office suite provides them with an interface they already know. A lot of the reporting that I did in the past was delivered as an Excel spreadsheet. Management already knew the interface pretty well, and it also allowed them to do ad hoc analysis and massaging of the data. Pretty nice.

I don’t do that kind of work in my job now that I’m focused on database administration. But I still run across situations on my own, where I think about a tool that I might like to develop for my personal use. If I am doing that, I get to pick the suite and of course that means it will be OpenOffice.org.

Of course, this has already been anticipated and this kind of work, by and large falls under the OpenOffice.org Extensions project. There is an API and many examples. Much of this can be downloaded and installed in a single download by getting the OpenOffice.org Software Development Kit The SDK contains API documentation, code samples in various languages and everything else a developer would need.

I bring up all this because I was quite excited to find recently that another tool that is available is SDK integration with netbeans.

Right now NetBeans is my favorite java ide – and this extension (which is still pretty early on in development) makes it much easier to develop for OpenOffice.org with java. There are 6 project types that will ultimately be available through this tool – so far four of them are available. The four in there now are

  • Client Application Project
  • Calc Add-In Project
  • General UNO Component Project
  • Add-On Project

The two that are not in there yet are

  • Scripting Project
  • API Library API Wrapper Project

I look forward to watching these tools mature. They are really going to help provide the necessary environment for OpenOffice.org to continue to grow.

New OpenOffice.org and templates available

OpenOffice.org 2.1 has been released and it represents a significant improvement over all previous versions. Among other things:

  • Multiple monitor support for Impress
  • Improved Calc HTML export
  • Enhanced Access support for Base
  • Even more languages
  • Automatic notification of updates

Also, all of the templates and clipart that were submitted for the template contest are now available to download. Might be a good time to upgrade and check out the new resources.

OpenOffice.org Spreadsheet Template for Watching Weight

I thought I already put this up, but I never did. So part of this is a little late, but part of it isn’t. I have mentioned previously that I use and recommend the OpenOffice.org suite. Sometimes it feels lonely. I wish I had a dollar for every time I’ve mentioned it to someone and they had never heard of it. Let me quickly sum up if you are in that group what OpenOffice.org is.

It is a suite of tools that is very similar to the very well known Microsoft Office. There are a few differences. OO looks a little different than MS Office. Macros are written in a different language – if you want to add code to them OO doesn’t use VBA. The database for Open Office is not MS Access. But Open Office will open your MS office documents– word, excel, powerpoint. It can save new documents in those formats, open formats and can export documents to PDF. The biggest difference of course is that Open Office is free. Free as in speech, free as in cost. You just go to the site, download it and install it. It will run on windows and linux. I use it on both platforms.

Well, a bit back they announced a template contest (entries have to be in by the 31st of this month) and I sent in an entry. (That is the late part. I should have posted this back then in case there are any others who would like to send something in. Though you still have about 11 days if you jump on it.) I sent in my spreadsheet template for doing eatwatch style stuff.

Basically the spreadsheet allows you to put in a little bit of information about yourself – your height, resting pulse and age. Then it calculates for you target heart rates for variouls levels of activity and also can track your BMI. Behind the first page is a set of pages, one for each month. There is a column to put in your weight each day. From the first day forward it keeps a rolling weighted average and gives your BMI off that average as well as a variance between your weight and the average. Of course the eatwatch program does a lot more than that. This is my ‘poor mans eatwatch’ and I’ve found it to be pretty useful. I don’t expect it to win me any cash in the template contest but a t-shirt would be nice.

So if you have open office installed and would like a copy of my eatwatch template, you can download it here. If you don’t have open office installed, why not?