OpenOffice vs Microsoft Office 2010 – WHS 17

office-showdown

Last week I provided a general overview of various office productivity software suites: Microsoft Office, OpenOffice, Google Docs, and Windows Live Office. This week I bring you a very high-level comparison of OpenOffice and Microsoft Office, two products that you can install today.

Both products will meet the needs of 99% of homeschoolers out there. You may run into a few compatibility issues with OpenOffice especially when importing documents from other suites like Word Perfect.

If you’re used to the MS Office interface (especially the ribbon) there will be a learning curve if you switch to OpenOffice. I was often frustrated when we switched because I couldn’t find a tool or feature.

Both products are stable and perform very well. OpenOffice is a little lighter with regard to CPU and memory usage because it lacks some of the bells and whistles that are in MS Office and this translates to a little bit better performance. If you have a new computer you probably won’t notice the difference, though.

If price is an issue (and it often is for homeschoolers) then OpenOffice is the choice for yo. Unless wait until Office goes on sale after the holidays or decide to purchase it when you buy a new PC you’ll probably pay close to the retail price: $149. Microsoft does offer discounts to homeschoolers so you may be able to purchase MS Office at a reduced price if you’re eligible.

That’s it for this week. Next week I’ll cover Google Docs and Windows Live Office.

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Web sites for each product: office.microsoft.com and openoffice.org

Other reviews:

If you’d like to leave feedback about this or any other episode you can call and leave a voice mail by calling 518-290-0228, send email to wiredhs [at] gmail [dot] com, or leave a comment on the blog. Don’t forget to follow me on Twitter: @jwilkers.

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Office Productivity Tools – WHS 16

Today I’m providing an overview of the office productivity tools available to the homeschooler.  This is not a comprehensive overview but just a quick run-down of what’s available.  I’m also not going to cover every product available, I’m just including what I feel are the top-4 products.

The four products I’m covering are: Microsoft OfficeOpen OfficeGoogle Docs, and Windows Live Office aka MS Office Live.

These products fall into two basic categories: free or paid and cloud-based or client-based.

The free products are: Open Office, Google Docs, and Windows Live Office.  Microsoft Office is the only paid product I’m discussing.

The cloud-based (or those you use on the Internet) are Google Docs and Windows Office Live.  The client-based (or those that have to be installed on your computer) are Open Office and Microsoft Office.

Most people only use about 10% of the features in MS Office so every one of these tools will meet your needs.  It’s really up to you whether or not you want to spend your hard-earned money on MS Office for ease of use and convenience.

That being said, I will go into a feature comparison of the products in upcoming episodes.

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If you’d like to leave feedback about this or any other episode you can call and leave a voice mail by calling 518-290-0228, send email to feedback@thewiredhomeschool.com, or leave a comment on the blog. Follow me on Twitter: @jwilkers. Also follow the podcast on Twitter: @wiredhs. Join the Facebook page over at http://facebook.com/wiredhs

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Feedback Episode – WHS 15

Feedback and Parental Controls

Originally I had intended to start my series on productivity tools but I realized I had a bit of feedback that I needed to respond to so the productivity series will have to wait.

Mentioned in this podcast:

Next week I will start a series on productivity tools. If you have any tools that you use for record-keeping, please let me know.

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If you’d like to leave feedback about this or any other episode you can call and leave a voice mail by calling 518-290-0228, send email to feedback@thewiredhomeschool.com, or leave a comment on the blog. Follow me on Twitter: @jwilkers. Also follow the podcast on Twitter: @wiredhs. Join the Facebook page over at http://facebook.com/wiredhs

The Wired Homeschool is a proud member of the Tech Podcast Network. For more family-friendly tech podcasts visit techpodcasts.com

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OpenDNS and FamilyShield – WHS 14

OpenDNS and FamilyShield are great tools for simplifying Internet security.

I’ve been using OpenDNS for years. I originally started using as a novelty. I soon discover the many benefits of this service and now recommend that everyone uses it.

The primary function that everyone will benefit from is the content filtering. If you want granular control then OpenDNS is for you. If you want basic filtering services then FamilyShield would be an option for you to choose.

Here’s a run-down of the features for both services:
OpenDNS Basic

  • Cost – FREE
  • Reliable DNS Infrastructure
  • Web Content Filtering
  • Phishing Protection
  • Typo Correction

FamilyShield features the same great services but lacks customization.

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If you’d like to leave feedback about this or any other episode you can call and leave a voice mail by calling 518-290-0228, send email  to feedback@thewiredhomeschool, or leave a comment on the blog. Follow me on Twitter: @jwilkers. Also follow the podcast on Twitter: @wiredhs. Join the Facebook page over at http://facebook.com/wiredhs

The Wired Homeschool is a proud member of the Tech Podcast Network. For more family-friendly tech podcasts visit techpodcasts.com

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SafeEyes – WHS 13

Keep your kids safe online with SafeEyes

Parental controls are important tools in your homeschooling toolbox. Keeping your children safe on the Internet from objectionable material can be difficult considering how many ways it can slip through the cracks. Even with very strict parental controls in place it’s still possible for your children to view content that would make your eyelids curl. No filtering product is perfect but I think SafeEyes has the features and tools that will help you in keeping your children safe online.

Features

SafeEyes features include:

  • Content Controls – Flexible content control allows you to select the types of website that are appropriate.
  • Program Controls – Control Instant Messengers, P2P File Sharing, and other harmful programs.
  • Time Controls – Control the amount of time spent online, and the times when the internet is available.
  • Usage Logging – Create and review logs of websites visited, programs used on the Internet, and Instant Messaging Chats.
  • Usage Alerts – Be notified instantly via email, text message, or phone call when someone visits inappropriate websites.

Final thoughts

SafeEyes looks like a great tool for families who want an all-in-one solution to their Internet accountability and filtering needs. At $49.95 a year I think it’s priced just right for parents who want to be confident that their children will not come across objectionable material on the Internet. As I said earlier, no product is perfect but SafeEyes has a number of features that certainly make it a viable option for the less savvy computer users.

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If you’d like to leave feedback about this or any other episode you can call and leave a voice mail by calling 518-290-0228, send email  to feedback@thewiredhomeschool, or leave a comment on the blog. Follow me on Twitter: @jwilkers. Also follow the podcast on Twitter: @wiredhs. Join the Facebook page over at http://facebook.com/wiredhs

The Wired Homeschool is a proud member of the Tech Podcast Network. For more family-friendly tech podcasts visit techpodcasts.com

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