OpenOffice.org – one less step

On the Mac, OpenOffice.org is much better than Word 2008 when using EndNote as there is one less step.

Currently, EndNote (any version) is not compatible with Word 2008 on the Mac so you cannot use the Cite While You Write (CWYW) function. Thomson Scientific are working on a solution. In the meantime, Word 2008 users can use the Format Paper function. Note: If you have previously used CWYW, then you need to select the Cite While You Write option to “Unformat Citations” before proceeding with the Format Paper function.

The Format Paper function is how OpenOffice.org users format citations and build a bibliography. But, Word 2008 users need to save their paper as a Rich Text Format (*.RTF) file, whereas OpenOffice.org users can simply save their document as usual. Which if you haven’t looked at the file extension is an OpenDocument Text (*.odt) file.

Select the reference(s) in EndNote and choose Copy.

Position the cursor in your word processing document, and choose Paste to include the citation in your word processing document.

Save your document.

In EndNote, choose Tools -> Format Paper -> Format Paper and select an output style, for example, APA. Click the Format button and select your saved word processing file. Note: It probably is a good idea to enter a new name for the output file so that you have a new copy of your document.

Open the newly created word processing file to view your formatted citations and bibliography.

I have yet to understand why the paragraph and character styles are not consistent, and I do know that if references do not have an author then the output file is corrupted in some way. This is easy fixed, in that you check the integrity of your references before beginning to include them in your word processing document.

There is some mention of CWYW becoming available for OpenOffice.org mid year. But this may not be necessary if ‘Find Citation(s) …’, ‘Format Paper …’, and ‘Insert Citation’ listed in the Mac Services menu become available. Currently these are greyed out as is everything else when OpenOffice.org is the front application.

download, install, run

Yay, the next development preview of OpenOffice.org Aqua for Intel Mac has been made available, i.e. DEV300_m2.

I’m still learning about installing and uninstalling software on the Mac.

To uninstall, I’m simply dragging the software icon from the Applications folder into the Trash can? So to uninstall DEV200_m1, I dragged the icon over the Trash icon.

To install, I’m downloading a .dmg file, opening this and following my nose. Usually this means dragging a file or folder into the Applications directory.

I’m enjoying not having to change or save in different formats depending on what application that I’m using. Both TextEdit and OpenOffice.org open, edit, and save .odt formatted documents.

The ‘Sofware Update’ dialog prompted me to download and install software updates today. This is the only change that I have made to the machine prior to uninstalling OpenOffice.org DEV300_m1 and installing OpenOfffice.org DEV300_m2.

My next step now that I can create a word processing document in OpenOffice.org is to include some references using the ‘Format Paper’ function in EndNote. I believe I can leave the document in its native format (OpenDocument Text) and not have to convert it to Rich Text Format (RTF).

getting mobile with an apple

My first notebook, and its a MacBook.

Last year I felt that while I was at uni I could have been more productive if I had a computer available.

This year I need EndNote which is only available for Windows or Mac, not Debian GNU/Linux which I primarily now use at the office.

Fortunately, H has set up our network such that I was able to plug the MacBook straight on and get access to the internet so that I could download Firefox and KompoZer. Firefox, because that is the browser that I am most familiar with on other platforms, and KompoZer because I will be conducting a tutorial to create a web site similar to the one that I presented last semester using Nvu.

I don’t really need any super duper word processing or associated office type tools, but I thought that I could contribute to OpenOffice.org by downloading and installing the Mac OS X Aqua versions as they become available. In the meantime, I’m quite happy to use TextEdit to draft and save documents in OpenDocument Text (odt) format so that if I transfer them to my desktop machine I can continue to work there.

Apart from getting EndNote installed at uni, I have on my ta-da list to figure out how to transfer files across the network between my Linux box and the MacBook.

Also, I am in the process of decommissioning my very old SPARCstation (Solaris) and Intel box (Windows 98 SE) which will free up a lot of desk space and get rid of a lot of dust.

Etch from scratch – Xfce shutdown

The tie it up and lock it all down as a default approach is sometimes very frustrating. Having logged in to an Xfce session, when I came to shut down my computer, I can’t do this from within my log in as the button is greyed out. Not that I have ever needed to use it, but so is the ‘Restart’ button.

The Xfce – Session Manager documentation on my computer says that you have to be listed in the systems Sudoers file to execute the ${libexecdir}/xfsm-shutdown-helper command as user root. This is /usr/sbin/xfsm-shutdown-helper on my Debian GNU/Linux (Etch) system so I became root, ran the visudo command and added the line as per the example:

dilettante poppy=/usr/sbin/xfsm-shutdown-helper

where dilettante is my username and poppy the hostname.

It didn’t work.

Reading the Sudoers Manual, I read about the NOPASSWD tag value, so I edited the line that I added previously to:

dilettante poppy = NOPASSWD: /usr/sbin/sfsm-shutdown-helper

And it worked!

However, my computer is not exactly a PC, i.e. a personal computer. H ‘sometimes’ gets to use it 🙂 I could add H as a user to the Sudoers file, but a more inclusive solution was to use what Cameron set up for the Computer Angels Sarge system which H kindly implemented for me.

So that all (two of us) users can shut down poppy, Sudoers now includes:

User_Alias XFCE_SHUTDOWN_USERS = ALL
Cmnd_Alias XFCE_SHUTDOWN_COMMAND = /usr/sbin/xfsm-shutdown-helper
XFCE_SHUTDOWN_USERS ALL = NOPASSWD: XFCE_SHUTDOWN_COMMAND

Albeit slower, I guess choosing ‘Shut Down’ from the ‘End Session’ dialog is a more elegant exit than poweroff in a root terminal.

Etch from scratch – Java

There have been a few web sites, that I quickly move on from as they require Java. They have just not been important or enough of them for me to install Java – until today.

I received a notice that the Australian Science Media Centre were hosting an online briefing on biofuels. In order to participate, I needed Java.

Well, I installed Java, but not in time to participate in the briefing. But this will be available to download and listen to later if I’m still so inclined.

I guess if I really wanted to listen to the briefing live, I could have just installed the version (Java Sun JRE 5.0) that is available in the Debian stable repository.

I’ve already got a bit of a mess on my Debian Etch system having not used the package manager to install Adobe Acrobat Reader and Flash, so I was not about to go down that route with Java. But I learnt that Sun JRE 6.0 was available, and I could get it from the unstable repository. And my reading and learning did not stop there.

Having started reading Installing Java on Debian and then Getting Sun Java 6 On Debian 4.0 With APT Pinning on Weiqi Gao’s Observations, I got distracted reading about APT pining and Feta.

A morning later, I mostly followed Weiqi Gao’s Observations to install Java Sun JRE 6.0 (and the rest), and began to learn about APT pining and play with Feta.

The only thing that I would add to this, is that to get the plugin to work with Iceweasel, I needed to create a sym link in my .Mozilla directory to /usr/lib/jvm/java-6-sun/jre/plugin/i386/ns7/libjavaplugin_oji.so as per mozdev.org‘s PluginDoc.

The successful installation of Java has been confirmed using Java.com, entering ‘about:plugins’ in the Iceweasel Location Bar, and wiggling a molecule.

OpenCD to OpenDisc

I have only scanned the discussions on the forums and I’m pleased to see that OpenDisc has returned to being a CD of open source software for Windows and does not include Ubuntu. Previously, many of the people that took TheOpenCD from me were very confused as to what constitutes an operating system and whether they needed the Ubuntu ‘program’ to try any of the listed software included on the CD.

The difference a couple of days makes.

I prepared material for the ‘Creating a Web Site Using Nvu’ practical session presented on a Tuesday including the CD image (TheOpenCD SFD2007 Edition 2) that was prepared for Software Freedom Day 2007 from SourceForge.

On the Thursday, Chris Gray posted in his blog about stepping down from being the sole developer and caretaker of the OpenCD project to launch the OpenDisc project. This probably goes some way to explain why I found it so difficult to locate and obtain the ISO for the most recent ‘TheOpenCD’.

However, it will be a small thing to update my notes to refer people to http://www.opendisc.com. The web site is welcoming and very easy to navigate to enable you to download OpenDisc, setup notifications for new releases, satisfy your curiosity with about, faq, news and program list pages, and forums. The project web site invites you to comment, participate and contact the project members and other contributors.

Also, it is likely that KompZer will replace Nvu on the OpenDisc in the near future so I will need to update my tutorial material when the time comes to present the practical session again.

A CD that includes only open source software for Windows will make it much easier to distribute, and still provide an introduction to open source and free software, including GNU/Linux.

Nvu – creating a web site

I had the opportunity to create tutorial material and conduct a practical session at uni to create a web site using Nvu.

The purpose of the ‘Creating a Web Site Using Nvu’ practical session was to assist university students in the UWA Science and the Media (COMM3321) unit to design and create a web site (multiple web pages) using Nvu. This included:

  • creating a home page (index.html)
  • creating additional web pages (e.g. about.html)
  • adding images to a web page
  • links to other web pages and web sites, and other files (e.g. podcasts)
  • formatting web pages for a consistent look and feel

The practical session was two hours long and material included:

The tutorial was prepared on a Debian GNU/Linux system for use in a Mac Studio by students that use Windows at home (all except one). So the tutorial attempted to envisage any differences or difficulties between the three platforms. Fortunately, there was only one anomaly that was attributed to one platform, in that Safari did not launch automatically in the Mac Studio.

During the practical session, one of the students that followed the Creating a Web Site Using Nvu tutorial found that he could not modify the title using Format > Page Title and Properties having already modified the HTML in Source View. I will check this and edit some other minor formatting issues in a future revision.

Feedback from the unit coordinator and students affirmed that the practical session went well. Follow up the next week was less certain, but some students said that Nvu appeared to be straightforward to use and they did not feel they needed any further assistance.

I enjoyed this work because I was able to share my enthusiasm and introduce free software for the first time to colleagues and other students at uni.