Tag Archives: Office

Working From Home? Are You REALLY Working?

imageIf you work from home, the chances are high that you really are working. Despite the friends, and critical neighbors, who can’t get their head around the idea that one can be productive working from the same location where they hang their hat.

Frankly, I find it less than amusing when I hear – “working from home is not the same as having a real job”.  A common enough comment from those who are stuck in a time warp.

Connected technology and the Internet, have dramatically changed not only how we work but, for many of us, it has changed where we work. Working from a home office has exploded in recent years – and, with good reason. Although, I must admit, I’ve maintained a home office for more than 20 years.

There are more than a few good practical reasons for working from a home office including; working in your PJs, not having to shower before sitting down at your computer, not having to put up with assorted smells on the Subway during “rush hour”…….

On a more serious note, the real advantages of working from a home office, especially for a freelancer, include –

No commuting – the cost savings can be substantial.

Big savings based on not maintaining an outside office.

Less life stress – tied in to “no commuting”.

Flexibility in establishing work hours. Depending on your personality, you might find that you work longer hours than you might otherwise. Knowing when to hit the “off” switch I find, takes some practice.

No ever present boss’s “watchful eye” (if you’re not self-employed).

You can dress comfortably and casually and, maybe save some money on not having to buy into the latest fashion look.

And, many more good reasons, I’m sure you have.

My home office – not big, not fancy, but – it works well for me.


What you need to travel with the “big guys” while working from a home based office.


A dependable high-speed internet connection.

At least one fast workhorse computer and a large LCD monitor. A tablet computer can be a very handy extra.

The appropriate software for the task at hand.

A multi-purpose printer that includes fax, copier and scanning capabilities. I might add, that a Laser printer, given their current low price, can be a good investment.

A dedicated business line with voice mail capabilities.

A smartphone – for those times when you’re on the run.

Nice to have:

A separate space (with a door), dedicated to office use only.

Lots of desk space and storage.

A neighborhood IT guy who likes you.   Smile

Working from home is not all “wine and roses” of course. It’s been my experience that working from home is HARD work. Work discipline, and dedication to results, are more important than  the latest in technology, or an ultra comfortable work space.


Filed under Connected Devices, Interconnectivity, Point of View

Microsoft Disparages OpenOffice – Validating OpenOffice As A Competitor

imageI’ve often wondered just how many users actually run a fully licensed version of Microsoft Office – one that they’ve paid for. I wonder, because Microsoft Office is so outrageously expensive.

Here in Canada, the Home and Student version goes for $160.00, with the Office Home and Business costing $350.00. At the top end, Office Professional 2010 will set you back a mind bending $670.00. (Sharp shoppers may be able to buy any version at a discounted price, however).

I will admit, that I run a licensed version of MS Office 2010 on one of my machines, and a licensed version of MS Office XP on another. But, I also run OpenOffice 3.2 on a Linux (Ubuntu 10.04) machine.

If you’ve been around computing for a while, then you’re probably aware that OpenOffice is the leading open-source (FREE) office software suite for word processing, spreadsheets, presentations, graphics, databases and …..

Since I now spend 70% of my computing time in Ubuntu, more and more I find myself using OpenOffice 3.2. While not a perfect replacement for MS Office, OpenOffice 3.2 more than meets my business needs. As well, OpenOffice offers me a big plus – it can read and write files from other common office software packages, including Microsoft Word.

I’m not going to write a review on OpenOffice 3.2 today, in an attempt to convince you that this free office suite can effectively go head-to-head with MS Office (I’ve recommended O.O. here, numerous times) – I’ll let Microsoft do the convincing.

Most of us are pretty familiar with negative political ads. You know the type – the candidates disparage each others accomplishments, experience, ability, fitness for the job, and on and on.

Microsoft has taken a page from this playbook, and has recently begun a campaign to tear down OpenOffice by focusing on what Microsoft considers to be the downside of working with OpenOffice. Watch the following YouTube video then you be the judge.

While watching this video, keep in mind that it is sound business practice to go after only those who are considered competition – why waste time on those who can’t hurt your sales.

Obviously then, Microsoft now considers OpenOffice to be a threat to their core MS Office product line. If OpenOffice wasn’t every bit as good as most observers consider it to be, it seems to me Microsoft wouldn’t be making any effort to convince consumers otherwise. They would simply ignore OpenOffice.

But no, they see the threat and are reacting to it.


OpenOffice is available for the following operating systems: Windows, Mac, Linux, and others.

To learn more about this outstanding open source Office Suite, go here.

There is some discussion at the moment as to whether Oracle will continue to support OpenOffice, but according to an Oracle statement dated October 13, 2010, it appears that they will.

Oracle’s growing team of developers, QA engineers, and user experience personnel will continue developing, improving, and supporting OpenOffice.org as open source, building on the 7.5 million lines of code already contributed to the community.

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Filed under downloads, Free Office Suites, Free Word Processors, Freeware, Linux, Mac, MS Word Alternatives, Open Office, Open Source, Productivity Software, Software, Windows Tips and Tools

Lotus Symphony Office Suite – A Blast from the Past?

Free Lotus Symphony Office Suite – your office in a box for tough economic times.

When I heard the words “Lotus Symphony” recently, I had a quick flashback to the “good old days” of MS-DOS. Sort of like a “back to the future” moment.

Symphony was the first “all in one” software package (text, spreadsheet, etc.) I bought for my IBM DOS OS computer, back in 1984/85. It seems to me, I paid something like $700/800 for this innovative (for then), software. According to the Inflation Calculator, that translates into $1,600 in today’s dollars.

Today, Lotus Symphony Office Suite ( a cross platform application), can be had for the grand sum of $zero. How times have changed!

Lotus Symphony Office Suite, offered by IBM, is a fairly basic, free (open source) substitute for Microsoft Office.


The principal components of Symphony, as with MS Office are:

Word Processor




Presentation Graphics


Fast facts:


Reads and writes Open Document and MS Office formats

Macro support

Context-sensitive menus

Supports PDF conversion

Plug-in support to increase functionality

Multilingual supports 28 languages

If you are running a small office and you’re finding it tough going making ends meet, like the rest of us I suspect, the word “free” can be music to the ears. Lotus Symphony Office Suite while not a perfect replacement for MS Office, will meet your basic business needs.

IBM offers great support for this application, including plug-ins, downloadable clipart, and more.

System requirements: Windows XP and Vista; Intel Macs – OS X 10.5, Linux – Ubuntu

Download at: IBM

Open Office is another free Office Suite that is extremely popular and is worth a look.

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Filed under Business Applications, Desktop Applications, downloads, Free Full Versions, Free Office Suites, Free Word Processors, Freeware, Microsoft, Open Source, Productivity Software, Software, Windows Tips and Tools, Windows Vista, Windows XP

Microsoft Pulls the Plug on Office 2000. How Will This Affect Your System Security?

Guest writer Rick Robinette, one of my favorite Blogging buddies, explains why MS Office 2000 is poised to become a security risk.

You have heard it here, and on other blogs associated with “What’s On My PC…”“Keep your software up-to-date!” (to protect yourself from potential security vulnerabilities, or weaknesses).

But, what do you do when the software maker stops supporting a specific product version? The common sense approach is to upgrade; however, in some cases where economics (cost to upgrade) becomes a factor, the user will stick with the version that has economically worked for them.  A good example of this scenario are the people still using Microsoft Office 2000.


I really do not know what the numbers of actual users (or businesses) are, but if you are a Microsoft Office 2000 user, be warned that the lifecycle for Microsoft Office 2000 comes to an end on July 14, 2009.

Microsoft initially retired “Mainstream Support” for Office 2000 in mid-2004; however, extended support (for critical updates, patches, and fixes) continue to be available until July 14, 2009.

To put this in perspective:

Office 2000 has been patched 15 times so far this year alone, 12 of which were labeled “critical,” Microsoft’s most serious threat ranking.

Just last week, Microsoft patched 10 bugs in PowerPoint 2000, the presentation maker in Office 2000.

[ Source: Computerworld ]

If you are connected to the internet (or any network for that matter) and are still using Office 2000, after July 14th, 2009, then you are at risk of being targeted for any future potential security vulnerabilities (i.e. hijacking).

In a sense, Microsoft Office 2000 will become a security vulnerability in itself and a potential avenue for bot infections, etc. It is advisable that you upgrade to a newer version of Microsoft Office, prior to July 14, 2009, to protect yourself and other users.

Free alternatives exist to replace Microsoft Office; perhaps the most popular is the outstanding open source application Open Office 3.1. Many software application reviewers consider Open Office to be the equal of MS Office in most respects.

For information on this excellent free suite of office tools, checkout OpenOffice.org for information and download links.

This is a guest post by Rick Robinette, who brings a background as a security/police officer professional, and as an information technology specialist to the Blogging world.

Why not pay a visit to Rick’s site at What’s On My PC. Like me, you’re sure to become a frequent visitor.


Filed under Application Vulnerabilities, Don't Get Hacked, Free Full Versions, Free Office Suites, Freeware, MS Word Alternatives, Online Safety, Open Office, Open Source, Productivity Software, Software, System Security, Windows Tips and Tools