BC Spreadsheet

I have been looking for a lightweight spreadsheet software, as Excel isn’t in universal yet and is nearly as slow as NeoOffice to start up. Often, I only need some basic spreadsheet functionality like summing a bunch of numbers, etc. and then it isn’t worth the effort opening one of the mastodont programs.

So I have been looking for something similar to TextEdit in the spreadsheet world. Strangely enough, the only program I have found so far is BC Spreadsheet. It is freeware, which is great of course, and does the basics. The only thing I don’t like about it is that it saves to its own format, and it can only eport csv-files. It would have been nice if it could have been saving to an open office (or even xls) file.

BC spreadsheet

Smart programs

I had a discussion about which software tools I use for my research, so here is a list of the most important (in no particular order):

  • Firefox: with adblock and mouse gestures.
  • NetNewsWire: for handling all the blogs I am reading.
  • MarsEdit: to write blog entries. Publishes directly to my WordPress driven blog.
  • OmniGraffle: for making diagrams. I even made my last conference poster with this program, works great also with photos.
  • OmniPutliner: for making nested lists of everything
  • BibDesk: for handling all my references + linking all the relevant PDF-files.
  • DevonThink Pro: for storing texts and PDFs of information. I also use the built-in AI-improved search tool for finding relevant stuff in my BibDesk library.
  • TeXshop: for writing my dissertation. Greatly simplifies writing a LaTeX document.
  • TextWrangler: for batch processing of text files.
  • Max/MSP/Jitter: for all my programming needs.

And some web services that I couldn’t live without either:

  • Google Scholar: for searching for documents. The best thing is that it even links to documents that the university have access to.
  • Amazon: for finding boooks, browsing through them and getting bibliography information.
  • CiteUlike: for extracting bibliography information automatically from various sources. The best thing is that it formats the reference as a bibTeX entry which I paste directly into BibDesk.
  • WordPress: for handling my web page and blog.

Word Attachments

I have received a number of Word attachments recently. Nowadays, I only touch MS Word when I am forced to by other people, as I rely on TextWrangler, TextEdit, OpenOffice and LaTex for my various text related activities.

I started to summarize why I think people should avoid Word, especially as e-mail attchments, but then I found some web pages with more well-thought and well-rounded arguments:

– Manuel M T Chakravarty’s Attachments in Proprietary Formats Considered Harmful

– Jeff Goldberg’s MS-Word is {Not} a document exchange format

– Richard M. Stallman’s We Can Put an End to Word Attachments

Good alternatives to the word DOC format is RTF or HTML, and this are easily writable and readable on all software and platforms I have tested recently.

Concerning PDFs: OS X has PDF-support built into the system. Windows people without an acrobat license can use CutePDF which supposedly is a totally free PDF maker for windows (many of the other free programs around are not that free when you start using them), but I don’t have any windows machines aroundt to test it right now.