Ian Hoar – Passion for Technology – Geeking Out - Technology, Web, Toys, Games, Design, Entertainment, Gadgets, & Geeking Out

Document formats like odt and docx and what to do when they won’t open

For as long as I can remember doc format has always been around. The format didn’t really follow any open standards and was even used by WordPerfect in the 1980s. There were compatibility issues from one word processor to another, but for the most part they would open, even if there were formatting errors and everyone was happy.

Over the past couple of years two new open formats have appeared on the scene and they are causing confusion. OpenDocument also known as ODF or by it’s extension odt and Office Open XML or by it’s extension docx. Now in a perfect world you think one of these standards could have been decided on and transferred to the doc extension to make everyone’s life easier, but it’s not a perfect world.

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Adobe Photoshop CS4: Still no animated GIFs? Part III

Photoshop IconSo obviously our beloved Image Ready is never coming back, so how is one supposed to open animated GIFs in all this mess. A couple of years back I wrote a work around for opening animated GIF’s in Photoshop in a windows environment. I later followed up with a more detailed description on how to do it.
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Copyright protection scripts: What are you thinking!

CopyrightI happened across an interesting website today with loads of useful information and photos. Unfortunately this site was using one of the most absurd web practices, a copyright protection script. What is a copyright protection script, it’s a JavaScript that completely breaks a users experience and fails to protect anything all at the same time. I’m sure everyone has stumbled across one at least once in their journeys across the web, especially if you like to open links in new tabs.

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Adobe Photoshop CS4: Blurry edges with the Rectangle Tool

Photoshop IconI was playing around with Photoshop CS4 and came across an odd setting. I’m not even sure what the default setting usually is, but for me it was my first time dealing with non-pixel perfect blurry rectangles in Photosohp and it really threw me for a loop. Below you can see two 60 pixel boxes created with the rectangle tool. Both boxes look the same, but upon further inspection you will see that the right box has blurry edges and the left box is pixel perfect and sharp.

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Bell Canada, a company that just doesn’t care

BellBig faceless corporations are never fun to deal with, but with a litter perseverance and a lot of patience you can usually get what you paid for. Whether it’s trying to buy a laptop without an extended warranty, or waiting on hold while you ask for a box to return your second malfunctioning Xbox 360, in the end things usually work out. The frustration and time wasted is generally outweighed by your desire for the product. Sometimes though, there is no hope; sometimes you have to throw your hands up in the air, surrender and yell at the top of your lungs “Bell Canada, I give up, you suck and you suck bad”. You could also write it down and share it with others.

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Outlook 2007, inline styles, and links

I recently discovered yet another weird Outlook 2007 bug with email newsletters. Every web designer has probably gone through the nightmare of Internet Explorer and then tried to explain to non-web people why it just plain sucks. Outlook 2007 raises the bar to a whole new level of awfulness, but enough with the ranting.

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Internet Explorer 6 and redirected anchor links

Why are my are my anchor links not working in IE6?

As a web designer I constantly run into browser bugs and 90% of these bugs belong to either IE6 or IE7. Remarkably these two browsers don’t even consistently break the same way. What is messed up in IE6 may be completely messed up in a different way in IE7. The standards compliant WebKit and Gecko engines used by popular browsers like FireFox, Safari and Chrome rarely see many of these annoying bugs, but the masses use IE, so we as designers and developers must make them work.

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How to transfer your itunes library to another computer

I spent a good chunk of time this weekend figuring out how to transfer files from an iTouch to a new laptop. The original library was on an old computer and I wanted an easy way to transfer the files from the iTouch to the new laptop. Considering how easy most Apple products are to use it’s surprising that there is nothing easy about transferring your files from an iPod to another computer. Yes there is the quick transfer purchases option, but unless you bought every song from the iTunes store it’s a pretty useless feature. Many of us have invested a lot of time ripping our old CD collections or heaven forbid may have bought our mp3 music elsewhere. Why is it so hard to transfer YOUR music? The apple method requires burning CDs, DVDs or transferring the entire hard drive over. Maybe the record labels play into this, who knows, but it’s damn inconvenient. The locks on transferring files are obviously artificial since an iPod is a simple USB storage device.

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Spam is bad, why is telemarketing not treated the same way?

Rotary PhoneWe all know that spam is just bad and wrong and plagues us daily with useless garbage. Why don’t we feel the same about telemarketing?

I recently got a new cell phone and was going to transfer my regular phone number to the new cell, but then thought about how many telemarketing calls I get a week. On weekends sometimes I get 2 or 3 on Saturdays alone. There is constantly messages left on my machine too. These are not places I do business with either. It’s always a survey, or I have been selected for a really great interest rate, or if I could just give a few moments of my time. No I can’t give any of my time. My time is important to me, especially on the weekend. No you can not have one moment of my time, if you are my client and you want to pay me for my time then fine, I’ll hear you out, otherwise buzz off and stop calling me. I am always as polite as I can be, but I do interrupt them as soon as I realize it’s a sales pitch. I usually cut in and say I’m very sorry I’m not interested and could you please take me off your call list. I do not allow the conversation to go beyond this point, but usually as I’m putting the receiver down I can still here the sales person on the other end pleading for one more moment of my time just before the click of the receiver.

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Bell Canada, new logo, same bad customer service

BellWhat is it with companies and their hard sell tactics? I wrote about this already in Extended Warranties and the hard sell and less then two months later I have experienced similar tactics with Bell support.

I recently bought an iPhone which was also my first cell. It’s rather pricey and I don’t really have a need for two phone bills so I called up Bell to cancel my home line. I will still continue to use their Internet service, so I have not completely left them. I fully expected the customer retention spiel and even put up with it for the first five minutes of the conversation.

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