OpenOffice.org 2.0 Beta

OpenOffice.org

There is a new version of OpenOffice.org in beta at the moment. The improvements made to the Writer application are noticable already. I favour Writer to MS Word (which I have a pathological hatred towards). And there is a new application: Base, which handles MS Access relational databases — excellent.

I’ve just downloaded the latest beta: 1.9.95. The latest stable version is 1.1.4 (for which there is also a security patch).

Later … I’m impressed with the improvements since the last beta I installed. I’d had a problem with printing leaving a grey bar across the page; that’s obviously been fixed. There are a number of other improvements such as the menus and the customizable toolbar — much more intuitive than the default MS Office method.

Blog spam

I’m getting sick of blog comment spam for online casinos and poker. This evening I spent at least three minutes deleted pages and pages of it. I have a couple of anti-spam traps installed, but they are not good enough. Obviously.

I’m trying not to feel angry about it, but it is a struggle.

(I’ve just upped the anti-spam treatment. So if your comment doesn’t get accepted, my apologies.)

Blagovest — Russian Choir Concert

Tomorrow evening St Salvador’s church is playing host to a choir from St Petersburg, Russia called Blagovest. This will be their third visit to us, although only their second concert at St Salvador’s.

The concert is at St Salvador’s Episcopal Church, 61 Saughton Mains Street, Edinburgh EH11 3QX at 7:30pm. Entry by donation. All welcome.

Their first visit coincided with our move to Edinburgh. As I was sitting at my desk emailing friends and acquaintances our change of address, somewhere in the Midlands sat my friend Geoff Anderson wishing that he knew of one other friend in Edinburgh as he was looking for accommodation for himself and the three male members of Blagovest. Fast-forward a couple of weeks and Geoff was sleeping on our sofa, and Team Russia was safely tucked up in the guest room. Their concert that year was in St Peter’s, Lutton Place.

Last year Blagovest joined us for an Ascension Day service. They sang the Mass, and following a break after the dismissal they sang a 40 minutes programme of Russian folk songs. This year they get the venue to themselves: 40 minutes of sacred music, 40 minutes of folk songs.

I’m very much looking forward to seeing my Russian friends again, and to hearing them sing. You would be welcome to join us.

How-dro Electric!

Jane and I have spent an hour puzzling over our Scottish Hydro Electric electricity bill.

Last month (24 March) I received a letter from Scottish Hydro Electric informing us that our monthly direct debit amount must be increased, from £29.00 per month to £67.00 per month. I couldn’t believe it! That’s an enormous leap: about 2.3 times as much. How on earth did they come to that amount?!

After an hour of pouring over their figures I still have no idea how they came to that amount. Here’s what Jane and I discovered:

  1. We’ve been here for 23 months (from July 2003) and started direct debits of £29 in January 2004; up until then we paid by cheque or by Switch over the phone.
  2. Over the 23 months we’ve been billed a total of £694.67
  3. We’ve been paying £29.00 per month, direct debit, for all but six of those months
  4. It averages out at £99.24 per bill, ie roughly per quarter
  5. It also averages out at around £30.20 per month (£694.67 / 23 months)

So HOW in the name of OfGem did they arrive at a figure of £67.00 per month?!

What I did, in the end, was telephone them a couple of weeks ago and pay off the amount that they were claiming (£145.03 … from a bill that would have all equalled out during the summer!) and started again, paying £30.00 per month. But HOW did they come to £67 pm?!

Firefox 1.0.3 released

The latest edtion of my browser of choice, Mozilla Firefox 1.0.3 has just been released.

While it is still much, much more secure than Microsoft Internet Explorer 6, this latest edition includes a number of security updates and a fix to improve the update process.

I’ve just downloaded it, and updated it on-top-of my current installation (Firefox 1.0.2) with no problems, not even with 3rd party extensions.

Seemingly Firefox has now been downloaded over 47,500,000 times since it went live as version 1.0 back in November 2004.