Archive for November, 2007



by Kaj Kandler

There is a new magazine on the electronic newsstand. It is called o3 magazine and published by Spliced Networks.

The magazine reports on news in the open source world and is distributed as PDF document. The complete magazine is produced using open source tools, namely Open Office for writing articles, Scribus for page layout and Gimp for image production.

I read the recent #9: Open Source Publishing and found it rather unimpressive. The black and white design schema looks rather morbid and the overall layout is not very consistent. My pet peeve is gray text on black background for the table of content. Why make it hard instead of easier for readers to find what is in the magazine?

As to the content, it did not strike me as impressive. One article about publishing images with Gimp, and another one using Scribus, and two articles about OpenOffice, the very same tools that are used in the production of the magazine. The two articles about using OpenOffice are about writing a newsletter and about collaborative writing with the Open Office word processor Writer. Both articles lack a vivid writing style and any usable detail. What I learned from it was “Open Office can do both, collaborative writing and publish a newsletter”, no more. I didn’t learn anything how particular good OOo is at performing the task or how bad, how I actually do it, what steps to take, what pitfalls to avoid or where the programs limits are. Both articles did not even contain one screenshot to dazzle me with a marvelously appealing result.



by Kaj Kandler

I never cared for Hotmail, the Microsoft online mail account. I always found it not very user friendly. Hotmail was bought by Miscrosoft in 1997 to compete with the then dominant online mail provider Yahoo! Now, Sabeer Bhatia one of Hotmails founders, has launched an new venture in Online Office document software, called Live-Documents.

Mr. Bhatia is Chairman of Bangalore based, InstaColl and wants to compete with Google, Microsoft, Adobe and many others with a browser based application to create, edit and manage office documents. Documents can be shared with anyone who has an e-mail for notification of changes and edited online in a Adobe Flex based application. Live documents also supports off line work on documents through a plugin for MS Office 2003. The company also plans support for Open Office as well as a Flash based local client program from the company itself. Offline documents are synced back to the central service ASAP. The storage server allows light document management services such as permissions to edit or print a document as well as attaching workflow tasks like review and approval.

The new service is available on an invitation only preview basis. The company plans to offer free service for personal use and business use for a fee.



by Kaj Kandler

Today I had to read a proud account of Plaxo that its new Plaxo Pulse Web 2.0 networking platform has seen a traffic surge since it announced to offer the OpenSocial API.

My personal experience with Plaxo Stream is rather negative. For several weeks now Thomas Power, Chairman at Ecademy and Owner, sends to my Plaxo account and my Inbox messages reading:

Thomas Power shared something with the Jon… Network group.

You can view it here:…/

The Plaxo team

I don’t find this funny in any way. It is plain and simple spam. I don’t know the guy and as a spammer I will certainly not network with him.

Plaxo, fix your spamming issue and while you are at it fix your broken plugin for Thunderbird, which produces duplicates, if you want to do some good for your services.



by Kaj Kandler

While Everex started selling its low cost PC for <$200 at WalMart, it now offers the motherboard, CPU and OS bundled for $60. Add some memory and a hard drive ($40) and salvage an old computer case, power supply, keyboard and mouse ($0) and your are up and running for $100 and a little sweat equity. has an in depth report about Everex’s plans for its Linux and Google applications based $200 PC. LinuxDevices reports that Everex hopes to sell 50,000 to 60,000 PC’s through WalMart. The main concern for profitability are the support costs, which Everex hopes to keep under $30 per sale.

The developer board comes with the CPU and a DVD containing the ready to install gOS Operating System. According to the article, gOS is an Ubuntu based Linux distribution with the Enlightenment Window manager for the low cost PC is called gOS like in Google OS for its inclusion of all Google online tools available and pre installed. The vision is to use online Google tools for Search, E-Mail, Calendar, Bookmarks, Text Documents, Spreadsheets, and more. If needed local applications, such as the office suite are included as well. gOS is also open source and available for download, but it appears the version delivered with the board or the PC is pre configured to the hardware and adds programs for multimedia (playing mp3, DVD, etc.). You can’t expect an abundance of performance from the Via C7 processor, however, it does a good job with web browsing and running basic applications and multi media playback.



by Kaj Kandler

Gee, WalMart is becoming a major outlet for Open Source PCs. It just announced a desktop PC for under $200, including mouse and keyboard and even speakers. The machine is rather green than powerful, as it uses a 1.5 Ghz VIA G7 processor, which has enough juice for homework and playing mp3s, and in turn is quite energy efficient. This machine needs just 2 Watt power on average (how ever that is measured) and is almost not to be heard, with 28db noise levels.

The kicker is this is a PC with lots of open source software and w/o MS Windows. It runs a Debian based Linux distribution called gOS, including OpenOffice 2.2 and uses lots of Google, YouTube, Facebook and other web applications pre-installed. Some might see the Google web applications as bloatware, but at last they are not try & buy versions.

You have to buy an extra monitor or use one of those that are discarded in perfect working order. I know a few people who have dumped their nice 19″ tubes for flat screens. So if you have more space than money, ask around their might be a good monitor for free in some garage. Did anybody say Craig’s List?