Shell's TechBlabber

…ShelLuser blogs about stuff ;)

Microsoft Word vs. LibreOffice Writer

You know what the biggest problem is with reviews? They’re written (or recorded) by people who have a certain bias either towards or against the product. Now there’s nothing necessarily wrong with that perse, but when it becomes obvious that this bias is also affecting the review then I think you got a bit of a problem because it will make the whole thing look out of place.

So before I continue I’d like to state that I am definitely biased towards Microsoft Office and that this blog post was even fully written within Word 2016 (I usually rely on Open Live Writer), so do with this as you want.

Fortunately for us the Document Foundation (= group behind the LibreOffice project) didn’t go here and instead set up an extensive feature comparison. However, the problem with that is that it becomes awkward if you see that some people apparently consider it an important feature that a product still supports obsolete standards. For example: when was the last time than you opened a PCX graphics file?

Therefor I figured I’d install LibreOffice and do a small comparison myself. And honestly? LibreOffice is an amazing and most definitely an impressive project. However… the saying that “you get what you pay for” still holds true today.

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April 28, 2019 Posted by | Editorial, Microsoft Office, TechBlabber | , , , , | Comments Off on Microsoft Word vs. LibreOffice Writer

Why I bought MS Office despite Libre & Open–Office being available?

office-365-icon-0When my PC crashed last year I had many administrative tasks on my todo list which were quite important to me. Fortunately I always kept the risk of my PC crashing in mind and maintained a KDE desktop on my FreeBSD server which included Libre Office and that seriously saved my hide. Well, apart from the ability to print, for some reason CUPS didn’t properly support my Samsung multi-function network printer even though it claimed to do so (the driver was even named after it).

Fast forward to the here and now; I got a new PC running Windows 10 and have less administrative tasks to perform. So surely Libre Office would be the perfect candidate, also considering that I’m quite familiar with it, right? Well… no. I ended up getting myself an Office 2016 pro license which only cost me around E 50,-. None of that 365 subscription nonsense: just a license and the desktop applications. And that made some of my friends wonder; why would you want to pay for an Office version when there’s free stuff available? And how did you get Office so cheap, doesn’t that normally cost hundreds of dollars?

Sounds like a good topic for my blog 😉

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March 4, 2019 Posted by | Microsoft Office, TechBlabber | , , , , , | Comments Off on Why I bought MS Office despite Libre & Open–Office being available?

Replacing NetBeans with Visual Studio Code

logoAlthough I’m not a fulltime programmer I’ve always been interested in software development, and during my time as Solaris systems administrator I quickly developed a fondness for Java.

Although it’s perfectly possible to write Java programs on a command line (which is even recommended as a learning experience) you’ll be more efficient when using an Integrated Development Environment, or IDE for short.

I quickly took a liking to the NetBeans IDE and have been using it ever since I got hold of version 4.1, now more than 12 years ago.

This week though it all came to an end.

And the most ironic part? I’m now using software which was designed and developed by none other than Microsoft, the competitor for Java if there ever was one. Am I slowly turning into a Microsoftie? 😉

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February 13, 2019 Posted by | Editorial, java, Software | , , , , | Comments Off on Replacing NetBeans with Visual Studio Code

Uninstalling build-in Win10 apps that cannot be uninstalled.

Windows 10 provides a lot of multimedia capabilities right out of the box. For example: if you have a webcam then you can fire up the ‘Camera’ application and start using said webcam right away. If you’re more into virtual reality then the ‘Mixed reality portal’ might be fully up your alley.

Heck: Windows 10 even provides out of the box support for an Android telephone; if you want to sent text messages with your phone then you can also use your PC to do it. Amazing!

But what if you don’t have a webcam, VR headset or an Android telephone? What if you don’t want to have all these applications installed?

Well, then you’re out of luck because Windows will refuse to de-install them. Bill knows what’s best for you 😉

Fortunately there’s a solution, and it’s name is PowerShell.

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February 11, 2019 Posted by | PowerShell, Tips and tricks, Windows 10 | Comments Off on Uninstalling build-in Win10 apps that cannot be uninstalled.

Windows 10 is amazing!

win10_logoIn November last year my trusty Windows 7 32bit machine with a whooping 4Gb of memory (of which only 2,7Gb could be used due to the 32bit restrictions) crashed for reasons unknown (later examination hints that the power supply might have failed). And this left me with quite a problem because it was the only Windows machine I had. And to make matters worse: in an attempt at creating redundancy I had set up dynamic disks to mirrored those. The strategy was perfect, but unfortunately you can’t easily access dynamic disks on another PC.

Alas; I managed to cope, thanks to my FreeBSD backup desktop, and had set my mind on getting a new PC. I wanted to go high end and earlier in January this year the new machine finally arrived. As one could expect it ran Windows 10, the same OS I had been actively trying to avoid for a long time (I even applied registry changes and installed anti-upgrade software to ensure that my Windows 7 environment wouldn’t get hijacked).

Although I did consider a downgrade first, as always, I gave the new environment a fair chance. And honestly? I came to enjoy Windows 10 quite a bit, I think it’s actually pretty good!

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February 10, 2019 Posted by | Editorial, Software, Windows | , , , | Comments Off on Windows 10 is amazing!

Linux is a joke

Once upon a time the computer market was dominated by the commerce guilds in the form of Microsoft and Apple. Some people used computers in a more professional way and had knowledge of an operating system even predating the GUI’s, called Unix. Unix, although far more difficult to use than either Windows or a Macintosh, also provided a lot more support to actually “do” something with the OS.

If you wanted to connect two computers together with a serial or parallel cable in order to transfer files then all you had to do was buy software such as Laplink or Norton Commander. And the cable of course 😉 Only then could you make the connection. Because your operating system itself wouldn’t support any of that. Unix on the other hand didn’t have this limitation. The OS provided tons of different features, including the ability to connect computers using serial, parallel and network links.

This eventually inspired the creation of Linux. A free Unix-like operating system which would not suffer from the burden and oppression which was enacted by the powerful companies. It would be an operating system build by professional hobbyists for professional hobbyists and it would embody the freedom of computing; giving the power of computing back to the users.

And now, many years later, I cannot help but wonder if Linux hasn’t turned into the very same thing it protested against.

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July 5, 2018 Posted by | Editorial, TechBlabber | Comments Off on Linux is a joke

How open are ‘open standards’ exactly?

VP_EAs you may (or may not) know I’m quite passionate about so called modeling languages; modeling standards which are often used within the field of software design. Some languages which I use on a regular basis are UML, BPMN, ERD and some diagrams which are specific for my modeling tool of choice: Visual Paradigm.

This week marks a bit of a milestone for me because quite recently I gained access to the Enterprise edition of Visual Paradigm which introduced me to Enterprise Architecture.

Although I was already roughly familiar with the concepts I never really followed up on those because I didn’t see the need. But now that I can get hands-on experience with Enterprise modeling languages and frameworks such as ArchiMate, TOGAF and BMM I figured I should do some research. ArchiMate for example is described as an “open and independant enterprise architecture modeling language”. It’s even developed by the ‘Open Group’ so surely this is as open and transparent as it gets, right? Well… maybe not.

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June 21, 2018 Posted by | Editorial, Visual Paradigm | , , , , , , | Comments Off on How open are ‘open standards’ exactly?

Computer security is NOT a product

At the time of writing I can’t access one of my favorite tech fora, which is the FreeBSD forum, because their certificate has expired. Seems somewhat sloppy indeed. However, what really upset me here was learning how my browser of choice (Opera) was now treating me like some sort of idiot.

It refused to give me access to the website because it deemed it “not private”. Which is not necessarily true because even an expired certificate can still be used for setting up an encrypted connection. But because the website opted for “HSTS” (which stands for HTTPS Strict Transport Security) it is impossible to access it anymore because most major browsers have opted to remove the feature which allows us to override this.

Which I think is utterly stupid. In fact: I think this nonsense can easily have the opposite effect of what was intended. I believe we’re in a period where many people seem to have a complete misconception about what security actually is and how it is achieved and maintained.

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June 15, 2018 Posted by | Editorial, InterNet, Security | , , , | Comments Off on Computer security is NOT a product

Using Git for Unix systems administration

Git, the version control system (“VCS”) developed by Linus Torvalds, is most commonly used for development purposes. You can keep track of your sources at any given time, branch out to test new ideas while your main source tree always remains untouched if need be. And of course you can revert changes (also temporarily) at any given time. And that’s not even mentioning the options to store all your work on a remote (central) repository in order to share it with others.

But Git can do so much more. In this post I’ll show you how you can use it to take Unix systems administration to complete new heights. If you ever wondered about some of the advantages which Git has over traditional systems such as Subversion then read on: I’ll be sharing some major examples.

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May 12, 2018 Posted by | Editorial, Tips and tricks | , , | Comments Off on Using Git for Unix systems administration

Git: A developer tool not just for developers, you might like it too!

Git

When Linus Torvalds launched Git I’ve read many things about it, but being a rather die-hard FreeBSD sysadmin I didn’t really see much use for it myself at first. After all: FreeBSD uses Subversion which I really enjoyed using myself as well. And if it isn’t broke, why change it?  Well…

Git was one of those things which sat patiently on my todo list until I had the time to check it out. And then it happened: I was trying to help out a Minecraft related project which hosted their code on Github. And that uses Git. And so I figured it was about time to scratch Git from my todo list and start a crash course to first and foremost get my suggestions sent to the project and we’d see what might be next.

That was a few weeks ago.

In the mean time I’ve converted all my Subversion repositories to Git, discovered ways to use Git which are totally impossible on Subversion and I even managed to scratch yet another idea off my todo list because of it. Simply put: I think Git is amazing. And not just for developers, sysadmins like myself can definitely benefit from this as well.

So I figured I’d share my findings.

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April 30, 2018 Posted by | Editorial, Tips and tricks | , , , | Comments Off on Git: A developer tool not just for developers, you might like it too!