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Technology

Broadly defined "technology" e.g. software, water pumps

Why Angies List Sucks

Note: "sucks" is a pretty strong and immature word, but it's the word to use online when you think someone has a bad idea. So, if that's off-putting, get over it. Or start a "sucks sucks" site.

Recently I was asked what I thought of Angie's List. Frankly, I had no idea. I was told it was a pretty neat list that has good ratings of local retailers. The idea is that you are looking for advice on a company to hire for a service (e.g. car repair) so you check Angie's List and see the advice and ideas of other users who have used the site. It's basically like Better Business Bureau, City Search, or one of thousands of other local directories. Many of these directories are broken: biased reviews, paid inclusion, incomplete information, etc. This is where Angie's List claims to be different. They use "only" consumer generated content and require a "small fee" to keep the reviews unbiased.

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Coming Soon to a TV Near You - Firefox Flicks Sponsored by Me

Firefox Flicks is starting up a new sponsorship drive to get their ads on TV. If you get in early enough and for $10 then your name will appear in the ad.

I sponsored the Daredevil add because it has such a great feeling to it. It reminds me of indulgent time spent in recreating as the sun goes down. It's the california equivalent of spending a day rock climbing in Eldorado and then coming home to a nice hot shower (and beer). And the music is pretty fun, too.

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SVN Status Code Cheat Sheet

Here's a handy little "cheat sheet" that tells you what all the SVN status codes mean. I was tired of doing

svn status

? files/small.txt
? files/small_0.txt
M boards/phorum/cache
M boards/phorum/include/db/config.php

man svn

So I made this simple little sheet. Print it out. Stick it on the wall. In a month, you know the codes and throw it away (or better yet, give it to your friend who is learning SVN).

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Google Reader - Search my Feeds

Dear Google,

I'm writing to remind you that you are a search company. You make the computer do stuff for me because my time is more valuable than the time of your server-farm-borg. I was looking for this which I get in my feed of cvs commits but I couldn't find it. Finding stuff is your job, ok. So, please start keep doing it in all of your products.

Thanks, you're the bestest!
Greg

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Best Free PowerPoint Replacement

I recently received this email:

What is the Open Source equivalent (or better) of PowerPoint? Where should someone go to download it?
Are there any difficult questions when downloading it?
If someone creates a presentation in the OS version, then takes their file to another computer, can PowerPoint play it or does the other computer need to download the OS version?
Anything else that should be thought through?

Perhaps the title Best Office/Productivity/Diagramming Software isn't sufficiently targeted at all the replacements, so let me restate that if you need a Free replacement for PowerPoint that can import/export PowerPoint files, OpenOffice.org's Impress tool works great! You can download it right on that page. It does request a donation, but you can skip that. The installation is pretty simple, though it does request that you register (free process) which helps them understand their users more. You have the option of skipping the registration.

Learning to Use Impress

There are Tutorials available online which are pretty decent. The person who wrote those is a former teacher.

Import/Export and PowerPoint compatability

While it can import/export to PowerPoint format, it doesn't do that by default. And sometimes you'll have problems with the import/export function, so it's best to get all of your friends to use OpenOffice.org as well. Unless you have some really really good reason that you use PowerPoint, OpenOffice.org is a much better piece of software that doesn't require any expensive licensing fees.

Generaly speaking, though, you can run the files that were created by OpenOffice.org on any Microsoft Office computer. Just be sure to select "Save as type" of the proper Microsoft Office program.

Templates for Impress

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