Sunday, September 25, 2005

Lower Alabama .Net User Group Meeting One

From the reminder message I received

The Lower Alabama Dot Net User Group's first meeting is next Tuesday evening (September 27th) from 6:00 PM to 8:30 PM CST. We are really excited to have Joe Healy come and talk to us about Visual Studio 2005.

Guest speaker
Joe Healy, Microsoft's .Net Developer Evangelist for the Gulf Coast.

Visual Studio .Net 2005

Refreshments & Door Prizes
We will have pizza and drinks at 6:00 PM, and the meeting will start around 6:30. We will also give away several door prizes throughout the evening.

SouthEast Technical (SET) Solutions
273 Azalea Rd.
Office Park Three
Suite 200
Mobile, Alabama 36609
NOTE: A map to the location can be found here. SET is behind the Red Lobster at Airport & Azalea.

If you are planning on attending, please contact Matthew Hughes (mat_hues AT hotmail DOT com) so we can get an estimate of how much pizza to order. Thanks!


If you are available, please send Matt an e-mail and come out and support the user group. These kinds of things tend to last and succeed much better if there is community support. Plus, don't forget how great a networking opportunity these types of events are. I hope to see you there.

If you need more info, feel free to call me (my number is listed at the top of my blog web page).

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

DataWindow.Net 2.0 Sneak Peek Webcast

From the TeamSybase blog, there is a DataWindow.Net 2.0 sneak peek webcast happening on September 29, 2005.

If you currently use the PowerBuilder DataWindow (or have used it in the past) and are interested in seeing how it fits into the .Net environment then I highly recommend checking it out. Us PowerBuilder users have known about the DataWindow for years and it is truly amazing (and getting better all the time). Definitely worth spending a little time checking it out. Sybase's DataWindow.Net Product Page

Sunday, September 18, 2005

OpenOffice Ready For Prime Time?

I have been using the latest builds of OpenOffice as they have become available over the past 9 months or so. I have to admit I am quite impressed with how mature this product has become. I would have to say that this suite could be ready to replace Microsoft Office for the vast majority of users out there.

We all know that most of the features in the Microsoft Office suite sit unused for all eternity never to be touched by end users. Also if you have ever taken a look at MS's balance sheet, you will see that the Office suite is the big cash cow in their product line.

There is a nice article over on talking about the importance of OpenOffice and the need for more developers to get involved.

I would ask you to give it a try if it has been a while since you looked at OpenOffice. I am fully convinced my company could get by using this suite, but I think the level of resistance from end users and upper management would prevent this from ever happening. But think of all of the licensing costs that could be saved.

I have been eagerly watching the case regarding the state of Massachusetts giving closed document formats the boot. I wonder if there is any way I could push for something like this in my own city. Probably would have to run for city council before I could make this kind of change a reality, but you have to admit that the fact that a taxpayer funded government produces public documents in a format that requires the purchase of proprietary software seems a bit off.

If I had to gaze into my crystal ball, I would have to guess that Microsoft will be forced to create converters to and from the Open Document Format put together by OASIS. The question will be how long they will be able to hold out.

Here are some screenshots of OpenOffice opening some of Microsoft's template files available from their website. I especially like the presentation I pulled up in Impress (the PowerPoint equivalent). You can click the pictures for larger versions.

OpenOffice Writer (Word Processor)
OpenOffice Writer

OpenOffice Calc (Spreadsheet Application)
OpenOffice Calc

OpenOffice Impress (Presentation Software)
OpenOffice Impress

Update: Added Screenshots for OpenOffice Writer, Calc, and Impress

Monday, September 05, 2005

Southern Hospitality after Katrina

My friend Big Joe Duke showed off a bit of good old fashioned southern hospitality to the New Jersey Power guys yesterday. If you ever get the chance to check out Joe's ribs, you must. They are unbelievable (plus he has the coolest man shed/gameroom/gazebo/brickpit/grill/etc, etc around). Check out BJD's Pictures

Friday, September 02, 2005

Hurricane Aftermath

Things are getting back to normal here in Mobile. My house has power and internet so I feel whole again. Gas is hard to get (not because there is a shortage, but because everyone is trying to fill up everything that will hold gas since they are in panic mode). I have 100 miles left on my car before I need gas so it should get me through the long weekend and then gas should be easier to get next week.

Casey and I went down to Biloxi, MS to visit her parents and take them MRE's and cases of water. The destruction down there is unbelievable. Casey's parent's house and her grandmother's house were completely destroyed (meaning nothing but a concrete slab left) but everyone made it through the storm safely (which is the most important thing, the rest is just stuff).

Here is a link to pictures we took while down there showing her former house, the destruction on the beach, the casinos no longer in the water, and the house her parents rode out the storm in. Hard to imagine a storm having that much power. Sad situation for all those involved. Be nice to your neighbor and tell your parents you love them. You never know what tomorrow may bring.