Libreoffice has just released version 4 of their Free Office suite. This has similar functionality as Microsofts Office 2013. The Menu structure has not changed since version 2 making it easier to remember how the different sections work. Installation is extremely easy as there is no registration requirements. It is available for Windows (XP and later), Macs and Linux.
HP has now entered into the Google chromebook laptop era with a 14" device at around US $320. This comes with all the usual ports and a 16Gb Flash drive. Samsung, Acer, Asus, and Lenovo also market 12" versions of these. Originally designed for consumer use they are being picked up by the educational and business sector as a reliable cheap laptop that is mostly used online, although offline applications are being added daily. These computers would serve most customers needs without the worry of updates and viruses. These are compatible with HP's range of E-Printers and other manufacturers of "cloud ready" printers and scanners. Reliable sources say that approximately 10% of manufacturing in Laptops are Chromebooks which are expected to rise considerably over the coming year. Google Docs is the preferred Office suite, but Quickoffice or Microsofts Office 365 have been reported to work without any problems. An offline Mediaplayer is included for viewing films and pictures or playing music.
QR codes or 'Quick Response codes' can hold up to 3000 characters of text. These are normally used by mobile phones for displaying data, holding an e-mail or web address. Using a QR application and holding the camera to focus on the code it will automatically decode the information and display it if its text or open a browser if the data is a web address and display the contents. The picture shown holds an item of text from our blogsite. Try it with your smartphone but remember to get a free QR code reader from your app store first.
Google is more than a search engine. In the latest Chrome and Firefox browsers it can be used to view PDF, JPG and PNG files, play Flash videos, use as a file manager, create and edit Documents, Install apps on mobile devices, watch the latest news for NZ and the world. Looking at the black menu bar there are several headings that can be clicked on. 'PLAY' is used for installing applications on Phones and Tablets. 'DRIVE' opens the application for creating and editing documents, spreadsheets and presentations. The only requirement to use these is a free gmail account. Make sure a hard to break password is used. The file manager is invoked by entering 'file:///' in the address bar.