Tuesday, August 5, 2014

OO Calc - Fit to Pages Printing

Well, I'm back using OpenOffice in anger again (yay!!!) and have already referred back here more times than I can count for things I remember having problems with.  Time to add a few more entries.

A feature I use extensively in Excel that I have previously struggled to find in Calc is that of printing data fitted to x pages wide by y pages tall.

You may first need to define a print range.

Setting a Print Range

This wasn't where I expected it to be!

  • select range of cells you want included in your print out
  • go to Format | Print Ranges | Define
Now a neat little feature that I stumbled on by RTFMing - you can add non-contiguous cells to your print range!
  • once you've defined your print range, select another area of cells not currently part of it and select Format | Print Ranges | Add
If you want to change things like heading rows and columns to repeat, use the Edit menu item from Format | Print Ranges

Printing to x by y pages

  • Print Preview button
  • Format Page - opens a dialog box
  • Sheet tab
  • Bottom section is "Scaling".  Change Scaling Mode to "Fit Print Range(s) on number of pages. 
  • Then select how many page you want it fitted to.

Ok, I haven't played with wanting to fit to more than one page, but that's really what I always need, so I'm more than happy with that.

This is also the tab that you use for choosing to print gridlines, row & column headers and such like.

This is all properties of the 'Page Style', so you can modify it by just going to Format | Page instead of using the print preview if you prefer.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Android Input - playing with 8Pen

I recently read about 8pen - a new input method for Android, created for touchscreen input, rather than adapting our existing keyboard to somehow function in a tiny space with no tactile feedback or input guidance.

I was reluctant to give 8pen a go, not because I could see there would be a significant learning curve, but because I resent paying for an app that I really am just wanting to try out.  I am curious by nature, and I mostly agree that adapting what we have used for years to fit our new devices is a little on the side of craziness.  However, they sadly don't do a limited trial, so I spent the ~$NZ 2.04 and installed the app. (By this stage I'd already watched the introductory video so knew what I was getting myself in for).

So, just to briefly give you the gist of 8pen without sending you off to their website to find out more - the characters are laid out in an X shape, with a central round area as below:
You enter characters by starting in the central circle, moving out to the region your letter is on, then moving around the X through up to 4 quadrants and finally returning to the central region - it's really hard to explain in words, but quite simple in action. 

An example: to input the letter r
  1. start with your finger in the inner circle, 
  2. drag out to the right hand quandrant, 
  3. then in the direction that the r is in (so anticlockwise), drag your finger through 2 quadrants (ending  in the left hand quadrant between blue & green)
  4. and finally return to the central circle.
Why 2 quadrants? Because the letter r is the 2nd one along the axis.  If you'd wanted f - the 3rd letter on the same axis, you'd have done the same, however you'd have gone around 3 quadrants instead of 2.

To input a word, you simply string together a whole bunch of letters without raising your finger.  If you raise your finger after inputting a letter, a space is implied.

So, I expect that's probably as clear as mud - as I said, it sounds really complicated in words.

What did I think of it after using it?  Well, I like the concept, I think the implementation is pretty good - easy to capitalise, add special characters, insert smileys and punctuation, however, and this is a killer for me, I found all those tiny but quite precise actions that required me to keep my finger on the surface of the phone quite problematic - my wrist became very sore very quickly, and the build-up of skin oils on the screen means that dragging your finger across the surface becomes more and more difficult. 

I did a comparison from a comfort perspective between 8pen and the standard android keyboard, and I do find that pecking at the various keys on the keyboard is actually much better for my hands - rather than using lots of tiny muscles to make small precise movements with a single finger, I use a couple of large muscles and move my whole hand to the various keys.

I wasn't quite sure what was going on with the predictive text part of 8pen, but I certainly didn't find it as accurate as the standard keyboard - it seemed to regularly think that I was trying to enter obscure words of at least 5 syllables when I was just trying to write 'testing' for example!

8pen has also implemented non-standard gestures that you can record - anything that doesn't start in the central section can be recorded as a gesture.  So for example, I get really sick of having to type my email address in. With 8pen, I created a single gesture which I could draw in the input area and have it translate to my full email address.  This I like.  But the physical aspects of using 8pen mean that it is a no-go for me I'm afraid.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Holidaying in Sydney with an Android

We've recently returned from an 11 day holiday in Sydney, Australia, including a couple of days up in the Hunter Valley tasting wines and cheeses.  I used my Android phone extensively during the holiday, where I would previously have done a whole lot of research and preparation before I went, and carried guidebooks and pieces of paper with the things I thought would be helpful. 

Here is a list of the things I found helpful, and some things that enabled this.

  • Firstly, I didn't bother buying an Australian SIM card, which meant that I 100% avoided using any data over 3G - at $5 per Mb, forget it!  However, for the Sydney part of the holiday at least, we were staying in a hotel with free WiFi for all guests (Radisson Plaza on O'Connell St)
  • There are plenty of free WiFi hotspots around Sydney!  We made use of:
    • Upper deck of the Manly ferry - you have up to 2 blocks of 30 minutes/30Mb (whichever you hit first) per day
    • Museum of Syndey Cafe - there is a 'Free Wireless Hotspot' here that requires you simply to fill in a simple survey to get access (I believe there are more of these around)
    • The new Westfield Mall on Pitt St (which opened while we were there)
  • TripIt - Simon's been using this for a while, but finally convinced me to use it in earnest for this trip, where I would normallly have done up a one page calendar with all the hotel and transportation information and carried around a printed copy.  So I had the master trip in TripIt online, added Simon as a traveller, then installed the Android App so I always had the details with me.  (Nb that I also have a TripIt calendar linked into my Google Calendar - so I also had all the appointments in Jorte - my preferred Android Calendar app). One thing I would like to see from TripIt is that the app not be read-only as it currently is.
    • I used 'other' events in Tripit to write notes about shops we were interested in, restaurants we wanted to make bookings for and info we'd found about transport and such like - so again, these were all just there in my phone (again, with the slight frustration that I couldn't edit them using the TripIt app)
  • TripViewBeta - I cannot recommend this app enough!  I started off using a bus app, and 'next manly ferry' app, then stumbed on this one and promptly removed the others.  This includes all bus, train & ferry timetables for Sydney - you can either search by route, or by start and destination suburb, save trips, then refer to them as needed.  And the public transport in Sydney is fabulous!  (well, coming from Auckland it is anyway).  We did a lot of walking in central Sydney, but we also ventured out to Neutral Bay, Manly, Central, Surry Hills (a couple of times), and contemplated heading to Leichhardt, but gave that a miss in the end.
  • c:geo - for geocaching of course. :-)  Although I have to admit, getting coordinates in central city is an absolute nightmare, and every cache you look at will include log entries of people commenting about not being able to get a lock!  
  • Foursquare - again, this is another app that Simon has been using for ages and regularly encouraged me to do so, and I finally relented and signed up while we were in Sydney.  This was useful in that it was good to see where there other people nearby - this often indicated good local hangouts, and the tips at various locations were also useful - recommendations for dishes to try, seats to avoid, service to not expect!  One thing to note, if you sign up from your phone, even if you use the browser, you don't seem to be able to add a photo to your profile (at least on my N1 I couldn't, and had to use the netbook we'd taken with us).
  • Camera - I got some great pics from my N1 camera, which I then shared up to flickr using...
  • FlickrFree.  (photos can be seen here) Simon then used some of these, along with the ones he'd taken, for our Sydney blogposts.
There were a bunch of other guidebook style apps I had installed for both Australia & Sydney, but they all ended up being next to useless.  Most of what we did and saw was based on recommendations from friends (particularly restaurants), plus a few specific google searches for things we hoped to find while we were there.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Random including google, analytics and loving open office

I just checked out google analytics for this blog and found that someone found it this week after searching for "jane gianoutsos" and "jane gianoutsos openoffice".  Makes me feel a little bit famous.  Someone other thane me googled me.  [sheepish grin]

Anyways - if you're still reading mystery googler - Hi!

And once again, if anyone is swearing at Open Office, please please do let me know what's bugging you with it so I have more inspiration for working out how to do other things in OO and subsequently blogging about it.  Hmm, I must do that post on getting the most of TOCs - which I love btw.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Apps I use on my Android

Apologies to all those that I promised this to.  It's taken me waaaay too long to do it.  In the name of getting it done, I'm going for a list only here, but please feel free to ask questions in the comments.

What I'm using: Google Nexus One, running Froyo, Android 2.2, build FRF91.

Notes: 
  • I'll list all the apps I either find useful or interesting, and then will finish with a list of widgets I'm using.
  • All apps in the list are free unless otherwise stated, and currently there is only one app I have purchased (Robo Defense - see games below). 
  • for most of these apps listed I have tried multiple different apps to solve a need, and the list below represents the ones I have settled on as having the best combination of features, usability and fit for purpose.

General OS and device organisation
  • 3G watchdog - to keep track of when 3G is on, and how much 3G data I've consumed
  • Adobe Reader - so I can read PDFs on the phone
  • Astro - primarily for file browsing and file management
  • Android System Info (seldom used, but useful if I need to know what's going on)
  • Apps Organizer - this is one of my favourite apps - allowing me to categorize applications then create folders of related apps  - ie 'Games', 'Travel', 'Social' etc. (not as ugly as the default folder functionality, allows ordering by way of 'favourites')
  • Barcode Scanner - useful for scanning in QR codes for apps in particular
  • Bluetooth File Transfer - I find this much easier for sharing files to my PC via bluetooth than the standard system bluetooth features
  • Browser - I'm using the standard N1 browser.  I tried Dolphin for a while, but didn't find any of the features to enhance my experience, so went back to the default shortly after publishing this I was reading a blog on my phone that I wanted to subscribe to in Google Reader and realised it didn't have a 'subsribe to RSS' function (which I'm used to from FireFox). So I gave Dolphin another go - and I"m sticking with it - love the integration with all my google applets, Delicious, the ability to subsribe to RSS, and I think I'll probably find the gestures pretty useful too.
  • Dotty - not a useful app, but interesting - especially seeing some of the dodgy behaviour in multi-touch handling on the N1.
  • Dr Web for Android - antivirus
  • Sensors - again, like Dotty, not useful, but interesting to see the inputs from the magnets and accelerometers on the phone
  • Trafficstats - to see which apps are using the most WiFi data
  • VolumeToggle (free) - for managing sound profiles
Communication & Social Media
  • ebuddy - for instant messenging - this allows you to sign in with various IM apps, including windows live (which is what I use at home)
  • Delicious - I have 2 delicious apps installed - one allows me to tag pages from the phone browser to my delicious account, the other is meant to show me my delicious book marks, but it seems to be munted, I live in hope that an update will change this!
  • Facebook -  does what it says (although doesn't allow me to access any FB apps - just feeds, notifications and friends)
  • GMail - the default app for accessing my GMail
  • Handcent SMS - for text messaging - I find this more feature rich than the default SMS app, and love the conversation bubble display.
  • Mail - Yahoo Mail - my primary email account is on Yahoo, so I use this a lot.
  • NewsRob - for reading my Google Reader syndicated RSS feeds (I tried various different apps before settling on this one)
  • Phone - I don't even know if there are other phone apps! I just use the default
  • SMS Backup - I have this installed but haven't used it yet.  I probably should.
  • Twitter - I also tried Twidroid & Toiteur, but finally decided to stick with the official Twitter app

Scheduling & General Life Organisation
  • Contacts - I use the default contacts manager 
  •  Jorte - love love love this calendar app, I find it so much better than the default and it integrates beautifully with my Gmail calendar, including things like national holidays, contacts birthday calendar, and any others I have shared to me (for example I view Simon's calendar as well as my own). It also integrates with my Gmail Tasks list beautifully (manual sync for now, but that's not a problem).  This is probably my absolute favourite app.
  • OI Shopping List - and I use this for way more than just shopping lists, including packing lists, goals, general To Do.  Love the functionality of this one (and I tried a few)
  • TripIt - I use this online so it helps to have the Android app for offline viewing
Imaging & Documents
  • Camera - the default camera
  • Camera Illusion - for different effects, and with the added bonus that the 'shutter' sound on this camera is far more subtle than the default one
  • FlickrFree - for uploading photos to my Flickr account. (I must try Flicka now that it's out, but haven't got around to it yet, not to mention that FlickrFree does pretty much everything I could want)
  • Gallery - the default - I probably ought to look around for some alternatives
  • NoteEverything - document, scribble pad
  • NE GDocs - allows me to import my Google Docs to NoteEverything (not a 2 way sync), and export to new Google Documents
  • Whiteboard - love this for sketching design ideas down (I make handbags)
Location Related
  • c:geo - a fabulous app for Geo-Caching.  Allows me to link to my geocaching.com account, find caches, then download them for offline use (so I don't have to use 3G) - this includes maps at various scales.  Provides various methods of navigating to caches, plus the ability to log your find while in the field (network connectivity dependent).  This is a brilliant app and very much our preferred tool for geo-caching now
  • Compass - I can't think why I still have this now.  Given I would have installed it for geo-caching purposes, but c:geo does everything I need.
  • Google Sky Map - this is another of my favourite apps - location and orientation aware, this simply shows you a live sky map, which you can orient towards a star or constellation and compare what you see in the sky to what you see on screen and work out what it is you're looking at.  Love love love!
  • GPS Status - I find sometimes the GPS takes a bit to get a location, but this app gives me a bit of feedback as to why, and I find it also seems to speed up getting a lock. Also has a light intensity reading.
  • Maps - default maps app
  • Moon phase - does what it says, requires network connectivity
  • My tracks - haven't used this yet, but have it installed for recording GPS data on a journey
  • NZRoadInfo - requires network connectivity - then allows you to view all NZ traffic webcams
  • Places - Google Places - have occaisionally used this when we're trying to find a store, cafe, or.... nearby
Miscellaneous Tools

  • Bubble - a spirit level tool - vertical, horizontal, and a circle level for flat surfaces
  • Color Flashlight - turns the screen white for bright illumination (you can choose other colours), I'm told this is very useful if you get stuck with a flat tyre in a dark area - personally I'd just call AA. ;-)
  • Instant Heart Rate - uses the camera to read changes in oxygen in your blood and thus take your pulse rate.  Nifty. :)
  • Moon phase - requires network connectivity. Very basic, just tells you what phase the moon is in, when the last full/new moon was and when the next full/new moon is due.
  • OCR reader - I'm still playing with this, but basically, take a photo, run it through this to extract the text.  It doesn't seem to handle italic, serif fonts so well, but I do need to play some more.
  • Aldiko - ebook reader
  • Advanced Task Killer - while I still have this installed, I don't use it anymore. For ages I did, but then after a bit of reading I decided just to let the phone handle it's own memory - and it hasn't been a problem. (pre android 2.2 was another story, but that IS another story).
Games

There are several games that I've have a play with, got bored of and then deleted, I'm only listing ones that I go back to.

  • Andoku - sudoku that includes irregular areas
  • Backgammon free
  • Cribbage Pro
  • Galaxy domination - I've completed the 100 levels for this, so am due to uninstall, but it was fun for a time.
  • Gem Miner - haven't really played this one yet
  • Light Racer - kind of like snakes, but against an opponent, and there's no real goal or 'death', so nothing to keep you coming back
  • Paper toss
  • Robo Defense - my ONLY paid application, and then it was the grand sum of $NZ4.03.  I played up to the 10 free levels, was still loving it, so went ahead and bought the full version.  I absolutely love this game  - didn't realise I enjoyed tower defense games so much!  This is a great one for when I'm stuck somewhere waiting for someone or something and don't have network access.
  • Traffic Jam 
  • WordUp! (like boggle)
  • Zilch Free (a dice game)
  • I used to have a Yahtzee game.  Not sure what happened to that, possibly a victim of my stuffed SD card a month or so back.
Anything else?

I have a bundle of location specific apps installed - ie a London tube map (you never know when you'll need it!), and a bunch of things for Sydney where we're heading for a holiday soon.  So things like bus timetables, maps, public transport maps, Ferry details, travel guides.

Widgets
  • Jorte Horizontal 4x1 week view (Jorte has lots of options for calendar widget layouts - again, can't tell you how much I love this app)
  • Battery Widget - tells me what percentage of battery I have remaining
  • Volume Toggle widget - this is customisable, I've only got 2 profiles in the toggle - Silent and Normal (which is also customised).  Love the ease of silencing my phone with this.
  • OI Shopping list
  • Google Search
  • 3G watchdog - 1x1 display of total usage in period and also tells you if you have 3g on, includes a percentage of quota for period
  • Power Settings - for toggling wifi, bluetooth, gps, sync, auto-brightness (system supplied tool)
  • LED Flashlight - toggle for turning on/off the LED (which is the camera flash). That guy is seriously bright!
  • Default music toolbar widget (I had played with Double-twist, but wasn't using it enough to keep it, I may come back to it yet).
So, while this is not an exhuastive list of everything I have installed, it is a pretty good representation of everything I actually use on the phone.  Once again - any questions, even if it's 'oh, you use newsrob, have you tried Greader' (yes, rejected). ;-)  I've played with quite a bit!

    Saturday, July 24, 2010

    Android Update - last weekends 3G problem

    I had intended to get an update in last weekend, but I had one thing go really wrong with my Android on Saturday and I really needed to get past that so that I had lots of good to report as well! I hate having to write whiney blog entries.

    So first, my bad experience last Saturday.  On Friday evening I'd installed a bunch of apps, went to bed, woke up in the morning and my battery was dead. That should have been a hint that something was amiss, but I didn't quite take it.  I went out later in the day, and as I was about to head into a shop I noticed my 3G icon was on, indicating I was using data.  This is something I had explicitly turned off, becuase I didn't want to be chewing up data on a casual plan.

    Well, I sat with the phone in hand for a good 20 minutes, desperately trying to get 3G to STAY off. It didn't matter how many times I changed the APN to an off one that I had defined, something kept on changing it back to Vodafone and re-enabling it. So I renamed the Vodafone connection settings - STILL it kept connecting! Argh!  Well, finally I went and found the codes for getting into what was called the 'testing' menu under Android 2.1, and I forcably turned off the data connection. (see below for details).

    Later I uninstalled Twidroyd, which I think was to blame, but I'm still not 100% certain.  Since then it has behaved. And since then, I've also received the OTA (over the air) update to Froyo (Android 2.2) - which has moved that APN control to a menu you can get to it without entering seemingly random codes!

    Unfortunately this episode resulted in me using over 50Mb of data!!!  That one is going to ouch.  (Oh, I know how much I used because I had installed 3G Watchdog on the recommendation of a friend. Thank goodness for that.

    Well, that's the bad news out of the way.  A few tech details for reference if anyone needs to know, then I'll close this post and move on to the good news and how I'm using my fabulous new device.

    Facts:
    OS: Android 2.1
    Device: Nexus One

    I'd created an "OFF" APN which I had set as my default for data connection. You create this by:
    1. Go to Settings > Wireless and Networks > Mobile Networks > Access Point Names. 
    2. Press menu button then press New APN. 
    3. Set name to "Off", 
    4. set the APN to "blank", 
    5. then press menu and press Save. 
    6. After that press the circle to the right of your new APN so that it is selected as your APN. 
    I went one step further and I edited the type field to be Default, and I removed the work 'default' from the Vodafone APN.

    I ended up having to do the following to keep the connection off (if anyone can explain why other measures didn't work, I'd love to know!)

    1. Go to the phone dialler and enter *#*#4636#*#*
    2. This will take you to the 'testing' menu.
    3. Tap on Phone Information.
    4. Press the Menu key or button.
    5. Tap on More.
    6. Tap on Disable data connection to disconnect and make inactive any data connection immediately. 
    7. Also tap on disable data connection at boot to prevent any unwelcome surprises.
    I also installed 'Quick Settings' which I think does both the Disable Data Connection thing above, and it renames all of your APNs to ensure they don't work.  Others have mentioned APNDroid, but I've read some reports of it not working well on the Nexus One.

    More details on unexpected 3G use here : http://www.mydigitallife.info/2010/04/30/how-to-turn-off-and-disable-mobile-data-connection-2ggprsedge3g-on-android-phone/

    Thursday, July 15, 2010

    Falling for an Android

    I just deleted several very eloquent paragraphs for this post because I have soooo much I want to say about this particular story, that I can't afford to dress it up with extraneous words.

    The very simple back story:
    • iPhone 4 was announced
    • Simon said 'hey, you've been wanting a new gadget for a while, you should get an iPhone 4'.
    • I didn't protest, funny that
    • Simon brought home a loaner iPad to play with.
    • I was more impressed that I expected to be (and as Simon will attest, my expectations on technology are so high, the result is I'm rarely impressed)
    • I wanted that iPhone 4 more than ever
    • Simon brought home a loaner Google NexusOne Android to play with.
    • I played
    • He took it back
    • I pined
    • I bought a Google NexusOne Android. 3 days later. (and I was a little bit unbearable in my impatience I might add)
    In a nutshell, during that weekend with the Android, I discovered a sleek, functional, usable device, with a boatload of free applications available for easy download, a price tag significantly lower than what I'd be facing with the Apple, and an ideology that I have of recent years become more and more a supporter of (working for an employer who is passionate about open standards will do that for you!)

    There is essentially nothing I'd have got with the iPhone 4 that I don't get with the Android - with the exception of the Apple brand - an ommission which I'm more than comfortable with.

    Like I've been doing with Open Office, I'm going to write a series of blogposts on my experience with the Android, tips and tricks, things I've learnt, things I'd like to see (I always want more when it comes to tech!), and as always, I'm also more than willing to try things out on request if you care to leave a comment.

    Stay tuned!