There have been several updates to software products that I use regularly, and I thought I’d alert you all to some fantastic, free software that is cutting edge.
First, there is the OpenOffice Suite 2.0 Beta. The list of the enhancements will give you a good idea of what to expect. (A full list of features is here. The screenshots are here.) OpenOffice Writer has interoperability with Windows Doc files as well as WordPerfect files. OpenOffice Calc interoperates with Excel, OpenOffice Database works with Access, and OpenOffice Impress can open Powerpoint, and so on. Of course, it will not be absolutely seamless. There may be formatting issues between Writer and Word, for example. But from my limited experience, those things are minor.
There are downloads for Mac, Linux, as well as us MS whores. Be warned, however, the download is huge–85 MB. Not for dialup. Even my DSL at home took a while.
e-Sword is by far the best Bible software I’ve ever encountered. Simply on the basis of language and translation comparisons, it would serve you well. But it also has the Brown-Driver-Briggs Hebrew lexicon and Thayer’s Greek lexicon, powerful searching, bookmarking, and listing capabilities. You can save your own study outlines and textual notes, and there is literally a seminary library available for you: all of the Ante-Nicene Fathers, the complete works of Philo and Josephus, and other commentaries (e. g., Calvin’s Institutes). If you have e-Sword, there’s an update–link opens in your download manager–to download. If you don’t have the program, you need to download the whole thing (17 MB). (Unfortunately, e-Sword is Windows only.)
If you don’t have Mozilla.org’s Firefox—you need to get with the program! You can get more Firefox info here. The download is 5 MB. There’s tabbed browsing–buh-bye IE! you ol’ clunker-clutterer. There’s a whole slough of extentsions, add-on software–so you can personalize your browser for what you need it to do for you. (I personally use FoxyTunes and Forecast Fox all the time.) There’s a built-in search box that has Google, Yahoo, Amazon, Dictionary.com, and eBay built right in. And if you store your internet links in Yahoo, or use Yahoo mail, there’s a Yahoo Companion toolbar and a Yahoo email notifier that you can add. There’s also a Gmail notifier.
Firefox has Windows, Mac and Linux downloads. I also use Thunderbird, Mozilla.org’s email program.
I’m tellin’ ya, folks. Open source is where it’s at.