At around 6pm today (BST) the final version of Firefox 3 will be released onto the web. If you happened to read my previous post you’ll be aware that Mozilla are trying for a Guinness World Record for the most downloads within a 24 hour period. So if you are a firefox fan or just curious to find out what the fuss is about then make sure you get a copy downloaded from the official firefox site by 6pm tomorrow!
I’d like to take this chance to remind staff that IT Services do not currently support firefox 3 and having it installed on a staff pc. If you do choose to install it then it must be configured to use our proxy server or you could be breaching the acceptable use policy. To configure the proxy settings go to Tools -> Options -> Advanced -> Network -> Connection (click settings). On this screen set Manual proxy configuration to webcache.edgehill.ac.uk using port 3128 then tick use this proxy server for all protocols. As this isn’t fully supported by IT Services you may find you have issues with certain Edge Hill intranet sites which don’t recognise you as an internal visitor. Currently I would recommend staying with Firefox 2 in work and only downloading 3 to your home computer. IT Services will be looking to upgrade staff and students to the latest version once we are able to secure it for use on our network.
With the impending release of the new Mozilla Firefox 3 web browser there is a unique opportunity being presented. Mozilla have been in contact with Guinness World Records and are looking to set a new world record for the most downloads of a software application in a 24 hour period. They have recently started a massive online campaign to promote the browser and try and get as many users as possible ready for the big day. I’ve long been a fan of Firefox and I thought I would do my bit by giving it a plug here.
I’ve been using the release candidate of Firefox 3 for a while now and I’m very impressed. There are loads of improvements from the initial look of the browser to a redesign of the bookmarks system and all sorts of other changes. Even from this pre-release version I can say that it will without a doubt be my favourite browser and I hope everyone who uses it currently will upgrade (and more importantly that anyone who hasn’t tried it yet will take this chance to give it a go).
No firm date is set for the release at this stage but Mozilla expect a date in the middle of June. So get yourself over to the Spread Firefox record site and join the 800,000 already signed up for release. Enter your details and you will be emailed the day it’s released and can take part in helping to set a new world record.
When you think of Microsoft Office the same old applications always come to mind: Word, Excel, Powerpoint and Access (maybe Outlook if you use it for your mail client). But what about the other applications packaged in the Office suite? Many have come and gone (Frontpage anyone?) but very few become regular additions. Publisher was probably the first big application to be added to the “core four”. Originally a standalone app, Publisher finally became proper part of the office suite with Office 2000 and has remained there ever since. So what will be the next application to make the jump and become an Office regular?
If I were a betting man then my money would be firmly staked on OneNote. In case you haven’t encountered it before OneNote is a virtual notebook application designed to simulate a filofax notebook for jotting down information and brainstorming. Now while I can’t see it replacing our lovely Edge Hill diaries (aren’t the new ones slick?!) I do think it could become an important part of our note keeping processes. I have been playing with the software for a few weeks now and using it for keeping track of several projects we have in the works (including the office 2007 rollout) and I have found it to be very useful. As with most new software the biggest problem is remembering to use it all of the time. When it is so easy to just scribble on a post it note why do we need software like this at all? Well if your office is anything like mine then I’m sure you are familiar with the post it note graveyard that soon forms. I often lose little bits of paper (sometime with import things on!) so taking a few seconds to type it up and have it permanently saved on my F drive is making all the difference!
So let us have a little look at OneNote. Above you can see the tabbed layout of the virtual notebook, each of these tabs represents a single section which can contain multiple pages (think of them as dividers in a folder that split up the pages into sections). These tabs form the basis of organising the notebook, in my notebook I have different tabs for each project I’m working on and then pages of notes stored under each one. This is a very effective way of organising your notes and lets you keep all of the information relevant to a single project or task all in one place. There are also options for having a rough area for random thoughts or quick notes. Maybe you could have a section for meeting minutes or for brainstorming, the options are very open.
While I have yet to test the function out there is also an option for creating shared notebooks. These allow a team of people to all share the notebook on the G drive and collaborate on the notes inside. To me this is a brilliant way of working on large projects or for keeping staff or procedure guidelines. IT Services use a wiki based system for sharing technical documentation and it has been very useful for keeping track of what we are working on and for leaving instructions on how to perform specific tasks. OneNote could allow for a similar system with any team around the Campus with extensive (and searchable) notes allowing a new member of staff to have easy access to a huge library of useful information. Whatever happens I hope that people will try out this fantastic piece of software and have a look at what it can offer for themselves and their teams.