CintaNotes and TiddlyWiki and Dropbox Fun

Kiran just reminded me the other day of something I heard about some one year ago or something, but which I had sort of shrugged off because of my slow internet connection: Dropbox. Well, with the reminder came with another set of exploration, in particular, beyond backup, sharing, and synchronization–all of which Dropbox does really well–can it really do anything more for me?

Let’s see where the fun takes us….

Drop caps with OpenOffice.org Writer

Tutorial Level: Elementary

From time to time, I like some minor embellishments in my design, and one such embellishment I use is the drop cap that you commonly find in magazines and so on. In OpenOffice.org (OOo) it is pretty easy to do this throughout a document. As with “Automation with OpenOffice.org Writer”, this one is also going to focus on how it can be done automatically using “Styles and Formatting” rather than having to manually recreate the effect on each paragraph.

Automation with OpenOffice.org Writer

Tutorial Level: Intermediate

At the Tata-Dhan Academy where I work, with each new batch of students, we try to promote the adoption of freeware or open-source software instead of promoting the already ridiculous levels of piracy that goes on around here. So, during our orientation, we introduce the students to OpenOffice.org—something which, unfortunately, causes many of them to groan and complain. However, I really do prefer OpenOffice.org Writer over Microsoft Word for several reasons, and one reason is that I find it very easy to automate certain document layout features that would require a lot of extra work in Microsoft Word.

Consider the following requirements:

  • You're compiling an A5-sized booklet of stories.
  • You want each story to have its title on a right-hand (odd numbered) page, and you want this page to have a background color.
  • The story itself should also start on a right-hand page, about halfway down the page (maybe you're planning to put a picture in the top half of the page).
  • The first paragraph of the story should have a drop-cap of two to three lines (depending on how many lines the actual paragraph takes up); the rest of the paragraphs will have normal styling.
  • When the story goes beyond its first page, you want the text to be in two columns.

So, is there a way to “automate” this to a certain extent?

With OpenOffice.org (OOo) Writer’s style options, once you’ve spent a little bit of time setting your styles up, doing something like this is not too difficult.

Here’s how we go about it.

Nested Lists and CSS

I don’t use lists too often for my own stuff, but I do have to use them often either with my work or with school assignments. Often these lists can be quite long, and have many lists nested within each other.

I was recently converting an outline from a Word document to an HTML document, and I wanted different list levels to be different list-types—similar to the results you would get in MS Word when you increase the indent of a list item. However, simply nesting the lists ended up in a reverting to regular Arabic numerals, so you ended up with a list that looked something like:

1. First Level Item 1
2. First Level Item 2
    1. Second Level Item 1
    2. Second Level Item 2

while what I wanted was something like:

1. First Level Item 1
2. First Level Item 2
     I. Second Level Item 1
    II. Second Level Item 2

"Las Historias de Ladera" re-design

New projects to keep me busy—more adventures into CSS. Yes, I’m busy procrastinating and doing geeky stuff to keep myself entertained in the interim. So, what do I do? Try something new… -ish….

So, for the project of killing time at hand, I decided to re-do the “Las Historias de Ladera” site that I did some years back for Peoples’ Self-Help Housing. My main motivation for re-doing the site is that the site in its original form made extensive use of frames.

Slow news month....

Man, where has September gone? I don’t quite know what happened this month, but it certainly flew by.

Stylin'

CSS is fun. Really…. It’s as simple as that….

I first started playing around with CSS (Cascading Style Sheets) when I was doing the second major revision of 2657 Productions, but the application for that site was pretty basic. I pretty much used it just for defining the colors and fonts of the headers and the paragraph sections of the text. Other than that, I really didn’t do anything fancy. It wasn’t until I started working on the Peoples’ Self-Help Housing website that I really started exploring the abilities of CSS even more.

Template Time

I’ve been enjoying playing around with PHP-Nuke, and I think I’m getting the hang of how to implement my own template designs. I guess that means that I ought to actually take the time to design some templates so that I can upload them and test them out.