Friday, January 30, 2009

FREE Office suite

Do you need a comprehensive Office suite for your school, department, home office, or laptop computer? But you don't want to (or cannot) pay a large sum of money to get it?

Then you may want try Open Office, a FREE MS Office-compatible office suite from

Components include:
  • Writer (word processing)
  • Impress (slide show creator/presenter)
  • Draw (drawing/graphic editing tool)
  • Calc (spreadsheet)
  • Base (database)
This open-source software isn't exactly the same as MS Office (of course) but the general functionality and productivity is equivalent. And the files you produce in one Office suite are able to be used in the other Office suite.

[NOTE: The newer XML default file formats used in MS Office 2007 (such as .docx, .pptx, and so on) can be opened in Open Office 3.0 but cannot be saved in those formats.] has just released their latest version Open Office 3.0 . . . so's now is the perfect time to get on board. (or update your previous version of Open Office). has a nice little summary and introduction for teachers and academics at their website that I suggest you explore.

If you try it, or are already using Open Office, then please hit the Comment button below this blog article and let us know about your experience.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Recover lost files

Have you ever deleted photos from a memory card and then realized you hadn't copied them to your hard disk or CD?

Or cleaned out the Recycle Bin, then discovered that you needed an important file that you thought you didn't need but now you do?

Yep, me too!

There's a new FREE program that can help with those problems and more . . .

It's called RECUVA (pronounced sort of like "recover") and is available as a FREE download at

A thought just occurred to me . . . perhaps I could send this link to students who email me saying that they completed their assignment but accidentally deleted the file! If their claim is true, this software will allow them to recover it. If it's merely an excuse for not really completing the assignment, a valuable lesson is learned, eh?