Microsoft Office 2007 SP2: So Much for ODF Compatibility

May 5, 2009

Rob Weir did some tests of the new Microsoft Office 2007 SP2, which is supposed to provide support for the Open Document Format, ODF, out of the box. From his tests of an ODF spreadsheet, ODF files created by Office 2007 SP2 can be interpreted only by Office 2007 SP2 and no other application that supports ODF. And Office 2007 SP2 cannot read/interpret ODF files created by any other application. And we’re talking about a large number of applications here: OpenOffice, Google Docs, KSpread, IBM Symphony, Sun’s ODF Plugin, and the CleverAge ODF plugin.

Interestingly, all the other applications are able to create ODF spreadsheets that are readable by each other, except in the case of the old version of KSpread, which the reviewer used for reasons given in the article. So it’s not the case that the ODF format does not give enough details for spreadsheet formulas to be properly interpreted. Everybody else managed to implement it correctly.

Is this a case of Microsoft paying lip service to standards, so that they can gain inroads into governments’ procurement systems that demand open standard document support? If so, it means that they think all government officials are suckers and idiots.

If that’s not the case, then you’ll have to blame the Microsoft developers: are they so imcompetent that they cannot implement an open standard when everyone else and their grandmother has implemented it correctly? And it’s not as though they cannot see how the others have implemented it: OpenOffice is open source after all. Perhaps they will say ODF is not clear where spreadsheet formulas are concerned. Then how is it every other application is able to implement it correctly?

Filed in Outraged, Opinon, News, Software, Windows.

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Microsoft.com is Not Compatible with IE8 Standards View

February 18, 2009

I got a good kick over this: Microsoft.com is on the list of sites that is incompatible with IE8’s standards view. As mentioned there, the list can be obtained by typing res://iecompat.dll/iecompatdata.xml in IE8’s address bar.

Filed in Browsers, Web Design, Software.


The Return of the Crash-Prone Opera: 9.6

October 15, 2008

Opera 9.6 is even more crash prone as its previous version 9.52, if that’s possible. It even twice froze my machine solid. I had to power down to solve it.

I wish the Opera developers will fix their unstable browser. I was on the verge of switching to Firefox back when I was using 9.50 and 9.51. I hope that I won’t have to spend half my surfing time in Firefox again.

Hmm… I wonder if there’s a Firefox add-on so that I can configure the keyboard in Firefox.

Filed in Software, Browsers.


Opera 9.6 released

October 9, 2008

Opera 9.6 has been released. Hopefully it’s more stable than the crash-prone 9.52. It’s a recommended upgrade, because it contains security fixes.

Filed in Browsers, News, Software.


Security and Administrative Problems with Google Chrome

September 6, 2008

My Review of Google Chrome

As implied in my previous post, I was going to try Chrome when it was released. Well I just did.

Impressions

  1. As a browser, it’s okay. I didn’t try many sites, but those I did rendered okay. I didn’t try to log into my account at Gmail or other AJAX intensive sites, but I guess Gmail should work fine, since it comes from the same company. But its JavaScript execution is supposed to be faster than the other browsers.

  2. There’s nothing ground-breaking about Chrome. Its features have been in Opera for a long time, so I guess I don’t have much to say about it. It doesn’t seem as configurable as Opera. Its options dialog box are sort of limited. And some options are scattered all over the place. For example, the only way you can configure the search engine list is to right click the address bar. You can’t find it in the Options dialog. Not very organized.

  3. I couldn’t test out the search box addition thing, mentioned in the Chrome tips for webmasters, on my blog, because (*sob*) I don’t have a search box on my blog. Now that I know about that, I’ll add the search widget to my blog when I have more time although I don’t even know if Chrome is going to be popular enough to warrant the effort.

Problems

  1. What I find interesting is that Gmail installs into “c:\Documents and Settings\YOUR-USERNAME\Local Settings\Application Data”. Yeah. The program, data, and everything. Look into “Program Files” and you’ll see nothing. Weirdest place for the installation of a program I ever saw. I’m sure Windows administrators will have something to grumble about. Imagine a shared office machine with 100 users. You’ll have to install 100 copies of Chrome just for each of them to use. Not to mention that installing in that directory circumvents the “Deny write” policies that administrators have for the “Program Files” directory, to protect the machine and users from themselves.

  2. Others have been saying that Chrome lends itself to the same carpet bombing security hole that plagues Safari. I’ve not tested it myself, but the basic idea is that websites can code their websites so as to make Chrome download any executable they want onto your system. Since the default download directory is the desktop, if they name an executable “My Computer” with the explorer icon, unsuspecting users may double-click it and install the virus on their system.

  3. Do you know that the installer sets up a Windows schedule so that Google Updater runs every 10 minutes? It runs whether or not Chrome is running. Every 10 minutes! Don’t believe me? Check your Windows scheduler.

  4. When I got tired of playing, I tried uninstalling it. Well, guess what. The Google Updater cannot be uninstalled. Or maybe it just got overlooked by the uninstaller. So even when Chrome is gone, the Updater still runs every 10 minutes.

Verdict

Chrome is good if all you’ve ever experienced is Internet Explorer and the default Firefox install. It probably won’t convert anyone using a Firefox with lots of extensions installed, or anyone using Opera. Those people are probably hard-core browser users with lots of customizations and depend heavily on the features of those browsers.

Chrome also has its flaws, but I guess Google is still new to the desktop application business, so I suppose the kinks will be worked out eventually.

Filed in Browsers, Software, Opinion.


Google to Launch Own Browser on Sep 3: Google Chrome

September 2, 2008

Everybody’s talking about it. Google is about to launch their new open source web browser, called Google Chrome. The link doesn’t work yet, but it will when the browser is launched.

Since it hasn’t been launched, there isn’t very much information about it yet. There’s supposed to be a comic on it, but the server hosting it is down. All I know is that the browser will open a separate process for every tab, so that if a particular site crashes the browser, only that tab will close. And when the user closes the tab, the process will terminate and all the resources consumed by the browser for the site will be released. Apart from that, I don’t know anything.

Stay tuned.

Filed in News, Browsers, Software, Web Design.


Microsoft: Genuine Windows Can Revert to Become a Fake Copy Behind Your Back

August 28, 2008

Microsoft has apparently released a new version of their “Windows Genuine Advantage Notification Tool”, a tool that runs continuously in the background to check that your Windows is genuine. It’s interesting that it has to run all the time, and not just once, to check that your windows is a legit copy.

By releasing such a tool, Microsoft implies a few things:

  1. Microsoft believes you are an idiot. After forking out hundreds of dollars for Windows, you somehow still don’t know if your Windows copy is genuine. Not only that, their belief in your stupidity is such that they actually think you’ll believe their spin about the usefulness of having the notification tool installed.

  2. A genuine copy of Windows that you paid for, can unexpectedly revert to being a pirated copy behind your back. There would be no need for repeated checks otherwise. Neither would there be a need for people who have paid for a genuine copy to install it.

    One can also infer from the fact that they placed the notification tool in the Critical Updates that the moment you buy Windows, it is in imminent danger of reverting to a pirated copy. It can happen any time, that’s why you need to monitor it all the time. When it happens, the hundreds of dollars you paid will go down the drain, and you’ll have to pay again.

It’s times like these that make one think that the gradual move of PCs, starting with the ultra portables like Eee PC, to Linux is a good thing.

Filed in Outraged, Opinion, Software, Windows.