Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

June

13

by Kaj Kandler

I love my ergonomic MS Elite keyboard, so I use it on my Mac Pro workstation. However, today I needed to boot into single user mode to repair the filesystem of the boot partition. Normally you hold down the Command+S keys, but that only works with original Apple keyboards (and even then it seems to be unreliable for bluetooth keyboards). Apparently the key mapping happens in the drivers or some later stage of the OS and this is not loaded at the boot time.

I found out that the boot manager rEFIt has an option to boot n single user mode as well. Simply select the Mac OS X you want to boot and hit F2 to get a menu of different boot modes, such as safe mode or single user mode.

November

28

by Kaj Kandler

In my quest to improve the user experience at Plan-B for OpenOffice/LibreOffice, I did change the over 1,000 video pages, such as “Export a presentation in PDF format” or “How to create an Agenda Template with Writer.”

All video pages were constructed the same. Front and center was a massive frame for the 800×600 video player. Every video started instantly when the page loaded. I replaced the frame it with a simple “play video” button that brings up an overlay to play the video. This button is much smaller and allows you to start the video multiple times.

I have read that starting video instantly is not appreciated by most users and I sympathize. Although our videos are silent, and do not draw attention immediately from everybody around, it feels better to be in control.

This change brings the textual content of the pages above the fold and I hope this will stimulate users to explore the site more fully. if I’m right this should influence lower the bounce rate and increase the average time spend on the site.

November

24

by Kaj Kandler

Three days ago I asked the question “How often do you view OpenOffice/LibreOffice documents on your Android device?” on Plan-B for OpenOffice.org/LibreOffice The 100 free answers came in fast. The survey was closed in less than two days.

Thank you to all that participated, here are the results

Survey results: 81% don't view ODF documents on their device

Clearly ODF documents are not very popular on Android devices. 54% that did take the time to answer the question said, they never needed to do so. 27% replied they don’t have an Android device. I assume the real number of users w/o an Android device is even higher, as it was self selecting to answer the question in the first place.

However 13% did view an ODF document at least once and 4% do it more often than once a week. I think we can assume that nearly 100% of Android devices are phones. The answers might be different when we ask the question for iOS, the Apple mobile operating system.

Your thoughts?

November

21

by Kaj Kandler

Today I added a survey to all video pages on Plan-B for Open Office / LibreOffice.

The survey asks “How often do you view OpenOffice/LibreOffice documents on your Android device?”

  • Never, I don’t have an Android device
  • Never, did not need to
  • Tried once, did not work
  • Tried once, successful
  • Several times
  • Once a month
  • Once a week
  • More Often

I used SurveyMonkey with a free account.

October

13

by Kaj Kandler

After a longer time of minimal maintenance at Plan-B for OpenOffice.org, I find more time to edit and improve the site.

I did clean up some broken links, updated the statistics to reflect that we now have over 1,000 videos and worked on some spelling errors.

I have decided I have to move this web site project of mine from an altruistic endeavor to something that sustains itself. I’ll experiment how to change things to make this resource more attractive to its users and also how to generate some income from it. I can’t continue to foot the bill for hosting and if I can get revenue from the site I can invest it back into adding content and improving the service to its users.

The first step will be to re-vamp its analytics, as to measure what works and what does not. Next I’ll experiment with changes to the site so that traffic increases but also to engage users in different ways and more deeply. The web has been a different place when I designed the site in 2004 and much has changed. Search engine optimization has changed a lot and still remains the same. And social network websites such as Twitter, Facebook or Google+ have become a medium for users to gather and share ideas. In addition users consume their content on cell phone and small screen tabled computers. I will have to adapt the site’s content and marketing accordingly.

But also OpenOffice has developed a good deal. There is an evolved look and feel and new features and especially the fork of LibreOffice has added a whole lot of new functionality to cover in tutorials and videos.

If you care bout these topics, please drop me a line or comment.

February

26

by Kaj Kandler

The recent GNOME 3 hackfest in the UK got me thinking of my ideal desktop design – task oriented and controlling interrrupts

Here would be my vision of this:

  • Have separate desktops for each task (open documents, web pages, chat sessions, e-mails, contacts, bookmarks, browser/search history, …) and that persists across login sessions (under a name) and ideally across machines (web sync like Mozilla Weave)
  • When I start a task I might want to start with the desktop of another task (snapshot) or a blank slate
  • Have a system to do fast task switching (like the multi screen desktops, but not limited to the number of those) and also a system that notifies me of activities that belong to other tasks (like chat responses, mail replies, etc.) Ideally filtered by a priority/importance level of the task intruding (or filter by the planned work – stuff relevant to tasks that I have planned to work on today or tomorrow –> scheduling)
  • Make task contexts such as personal/work/hobby/moonlighting (or even sub contexts like projects) and allow me to switch between those and filter notifications with different filters for disruptions in those. For example notify me of the important private reply at work, but not of the important reply on hobby. But while in hobby notify me of anything that is important.
  • Allow to set availability levels for IM with switching contexts (tasks with different priorities and task contexts) automatically. Sometimes even separate profiles.
  • Allow the kind of scheduling that is indicated with the Task popper and within the time buckets a simple order/ranking to make a plan
  • Give me desktop search with clear priority for task local results over global results.
  • All tasks are archived, the waste basked is only task specific. May be have a Shredder to really delete things across tasks?
  • In simple terms give me a desktop per task (where I can have the relevant documents, contacts, e-mails, etc. just persistent around, even if they may be shared across tasks) that I can switch between easily and a virtual room that I can control what communication comes through the walls to intrude with the tasks that I’m at.

    And I don’t start talking about sharing resources/documents across users for collaboration. That would be the ultimate virtual room/desktop, although who loves someone else rearranging one’s desktop, so I probably wanted my private view 😉

October

30

by Kaj Kandler

Today, I re-checked to see if the BBBOnline website is still unsecured.

The good news is, the expired SSL Certificate is gone. Instead the online form which asks all kind of confidential business and personal information is completely unsecured (http:// instead of https://).

BBBOnline Unsecured Business Application

Apparently they BBB is not willing to invest $50-$200 in a SSL Certificate to secure my data I submit to them. Way to go Better Business Bureau!

October

18

by Kaj Kandler

My trust in the Better Business Bureau® just got shattered. I always thought of it as a useful and trustworthy institution. Here is why I don’t think of them highly anymore.

I was researching good practices in privacy policies for websites and came across a terrific page by BBBOnline.org How to craft your privacy policy. It is really well written and I found it very helpful. So I decided to learn more about their BBBOnline Seal program. So far so good.

BBBOnline Seal Apply Now

It hit me in the face, when I did click on the little “Apply now” button at the bottom of the page. The SSL certificate of this terrific site is expired over a month ago.

An expired SSL certificate is more than a glitch, especially expired five and a half weeks. The very company that tries to dispense trust on the Internet can’t manage its trust certificate for a secure transaction? Shame on the webmaster of bbbonline.org and shame on the business leaders that have no control mechanism to detect such a vital issue.

BBBOnline.org SSL certificate expired

February

08

by Kaj Kandler

We at Plan-B for OpenOffice.org do love feedback from our users. On average, about 50% send us back a thank you for our answers to their OpenOffice questions. Some of the best we publish on our testimonials pages.

Dear users and readers keep them coming. We love your feedback and appreciate a thank you any time. It is so rewarding!

October

07

by Kaj Kandler

Posting to claim my blog on bloglines