Category: software


Think Free As Cindy Aleo-Carreira noted on Profy.com, “ThinkFree is the latest entry in the online office suite arena. With a product suite that already includes Server, Portable, and Desktop versions of their software, it’s one of the first companies to embrace both the online and offline worlds of document sharing”.

She continues by saying that, “Their products are Microsoft Office compatible, and for those of us who aren’t running a Windows OS, the good news is that ThinkFree products run on Mac OS X (Tiger) and Linux as well as the standard Windows.”

Tris Hussey, of Blognation Canada had this to say about Thinkfree, “I’ve talked about ThinkFree before, and since then have been using it pretty much exclusively over MS Office. It rocks. It’s light, responsive, and really has only the things you need to get the job done”.

I have had an invite to ThinkFree, for sometime now and I must admit, I had been sitting on it. why, because I was convinced that there was not other office program like Bill Gates MS Office.

I have been an MS Office fan for the past 10 years and in that time period I only digressed once to try Corel’s Office Suite 12. That lasted all of a few hours. Just long enough to install it and look under the hood, so to speak and uninstall and archive the disk. Oh I did take it for a test drive and it, as I saw it, handled like a top heavy clunker driving cross ways to a 30 mph side wind.

As I continued to read Tris’s article my curiosity grew and then he hit me with the big guns, “I stood up before the audience and started presenting on the big screen. I showed the files I had up on the ThinkFree storage site, … it was to edit them online.” “And then I pulled the plug and disconnected my laptop from the network.” he continued”

Tris, like any good Rock Star, or in this case, Technology Evangelist had saved the best for last. “I just opened the synchronized copy of the presentation I had been working on, right there on my laptop, and continued presenting to the audience“, he stated. “You could feel everyone else gulping for air on my behalf, but I had my oxygen right there and I just kept on working.”

Lord have mercy”, I thought, “Tell me it isn’t so!“, I said, half aloud to myself. “I have got to Pimp my Work.”I continued, “and fast“.

Still a little woozy from the impact I slowly reached for my trusty mouse and began to follow the prompts on the invite Tris was kind enough to supply. He had all the bases covered.

Remember, I already had an invite to ThinkFree and had been fence sitting for some time, but this, this was the Thinkfree Premium.

Okay, yes, despite the fantastic sell job by both Cindy and Tris, I was a still a little leery. I mean my MS Office and I had a long-term relationship, almost like a finely tuned marriage. Sure we had our ups and downs and MS did have some rough edges and often was a little cranky, but it was nothing that could not be worked out, right?

Well they say that when a relationship gets stale a little spice may just be the answer to bring it back to life. Thinkfree was just, that little bit of spice, or so I thought, to renew my relationship with MS Office.

Ten minutes into the install and the usual look under the hood and, yes a quick test drive, I was in love all over again. Only this time it was with Thinkfree. I never knew what hit me.

Like MS Office, ThinkFree does include a word processor, spreadsheet program, and the equivalent to power point. The beauty is you can either work online or offline from your desktop as I did for this blog. There is also the option to sync your files at your leisure with ThinkFree’s server.

Did I mention that by having your files synced online that you can leave your computer at home and still access your files form another computer at your will, just as if you had never left.

Thinkfree has some really smooth lines, and the quick response to the various commands is astounding.

Unlike MS Office,. I found it to be very responsive, like a finely tined Ferrari as it breezed through the challenges I presented it. It was a good thing I couldn’t be arrested for speeding and I whizzed through the turns at breakneck speed..

Thinkfree has everything I use in both my word and excel programs with a few exceptions that I am hoping the guys and gals at ThinkFree would consider adding to complete the package.

When using excel, I always like to to have my cell selection to move to the right when I hit the enter key vs. moving downward. In word, one of the main tools I use besides spell check of course, is grammar check. Finally would be the ability to adjust the tool bars for less wasted working space. I calculate I could gain an extra 3/4 of an inch of working space, not to mention the over all layout would be more uniform.

Okay, so I am fussy, but I like it…

Over all it is going to be a long honeymoon, just ThinkFree and I.

ThinkFree was not kidding when they made the bold statement, “The best online office on the earth”

That being said, have you got your beta invite yet? Well what are you waiting for, don’t take our word for it, try it out for yourself, you won’t be sorry.


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Allan Herman, Creative Visual Marketing Services Incorporated (CVM Inc.)

Tubes

Always being on the prowl for new challenges and toys, I Stumbled across a little piece of software called Tubes.

Being a lover of shortcuts and the lazy mans way out of daily dilemmas I was smitten with the fact that Tubes would allow me to not only have instant access to files and programs I uses constantly on both my Desk top and my Laptop, but the ability to transfer files between the two. What caught my interest even more was the ability to have files at the ready should I be on the road and need access vs. carrying around my USB key and more so if I happen to have forgotten to bring it with me.

I should have been more alert when the installation started making my firewall go off like the 4th of July fireworks as it continually asked for access for this and that, but I was determined that this was the answer to my dreams and so I continued.

Once installed I found the interface simplistic in design and the upload speed was fast and efficient and with a one-(1) gig limitation, which concerned me just a little but free was free, I was set regardless.

tubes.jpg

“Tubes instantly builds synchronized, secure connections …between your desktop and the desktop of your friends, family, co-workers – even your other computers. …anything you drop in a tube is whisked to the desktop of anyone you choose – and vice versa. And Tubes syncs any changes in every tube …even when you don’t have an internet connection.”

Feeling rather cocky, I quickly installed it on my desktop and that is where the true reality of the program hit. I had found the golden answer of why I had never heard of the program prior and secondly why it was not being Twittered, Skyped and what ever other avenues of communication one uses, as the end all too some minor online storage and transfer options. One and a half hours later my Tubes was still attempting to synchronize ad find the file I had so lovingly uploaded to my tubes account to share. Attempting to access the online help file through the interface was not that much faster and so as my bubble burst I uninstalled Tubes with much agitated glee and not one iota of fanfare.

My final synopsis of Tubes is two thumbs down and a large hammer to make sure it stays down.


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Allan Herman, Creative Visual Marketing Services Incorporated (CVM Inc.)

 

Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 2 Icon

Image via Wikipedia

 

Being a long-term fan of Adobe Photoshop I was mildly skeptical when I first heard about Lightroom and more so when my first few attempts at using the program ended in utter confusion, not to mention my hair being in jeopardy of needing a transplant. That was until read the manual; I am staunch die-hard who refuses to use an instruction manual except as a last resort, usually just prior to reaching breaking point.

Lightroom is one of those pieces of software you either love it or hate it. For myself I have elected to make Adobe Photoshop my secondary choice for my photo enhancements. I also like the fact Lightroom uses fewer resources and gets right down to doing what it was designed for, enhancing your digital images in a professional yet cost efficient manner. Even as a colour-blind photographer I am amazed, at how easy it is to adjust the exposure on my digital images. That is not to say that is all Lightroom has to offer, there is much more but check it out for yourself at Adobe Photoshop Lightroom.

Some great Lightroom tips and tricks available at “Inside Lightroom.com“.


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Allan Herman, Creative Visual Marketing Services Incorporated (CVM Inc.)

Colour Blind (2009 film)

Image via Wikipedia

Okay so who wants to trust the colour-blind person to design a web site? Even I am hesitant and I am that person in question. Fear not, for I can ensure you I have the right code combination’s for that Light Sea Green, or Misty Rose and even Papaya Whip and Peach Puff you desire; gone are the days of, gasp, plain old Red, Blue, Yellow and Orange…

Now do not ask me where all those names came from but they are real as you can verify for yourself at, “Convertalot” Another great colour code site and my favorite is VisiBone which also offers great prices on numerous products revolving around web site design, colour codes, fonts etc. However, do not take my word for it, check them out for yourself.

On the plus side, these pre-defined colour codes allow each and every one of us the golden opportunity to create an individualistic style for personal and commercial web sites/feeds.

Dare to be different flashes through my mind, in a positive way. Even the colour-blind person can ensure he/she has the right shades and combinations without blinding their readership with new colour combinations only seen by the creator.

My personal and absolute option for analyzing my final creations revolving around colour is my wife. You can thank her for the colours you see on my feed which in actuality match my business cards and letterhead, which by the way have had great reviews from even the graphics firm who did the actual printing.

I created my own design layout and colour combination to print ready which in turn evolved into savings at my end.

The moral is when it comes time for you to choose someone to design your visual marketing material, do not over look the colour-blind individual, you may be greatly surprised when you see the final product that you made a wise decision as opposed to passing us by based on what you perceive to be a creative deficiency.


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Allan Herman, Creative Visual Marketing Services Incorporated (CVM Inc.)