April 10, 2007

My New Blog

Right, I have a brand new blog over at http://mathmo.blogspot.com/ which I am now using to put down all my thoughts (for reasons including but not limited to adsense, better editor and google account integration), so this blog is essentially dead (although I may still update occasionally, I dunno).

Anyway, my new blog covers numerous areas such as music, maths and computing, obviously trying to focus a bit on the maths component of that :)

So, if you have any interest on anything I may write about, or simply want to help a fellow student who's strapped for cash by reading his blog head over to my new blog


November 24, 2006


Writing about web page http://www.openoffice.org

So, I’m going to give a brief overview of the OpenOffice software – a free open source office suite for Linux, Windows and MacOSX.

I first used Open Office in the Linux room of the maths department in my first year, and at the time, although it was adequate for reading and editing Word docs, I found it was underpowered compared to the MS office suite I had back at home. Of course, as anyone that knows the maths department will tell you, the software on the computers in A0.01 have rather out of date software on.

Last week, I saw a news story on one of my RSS feeds about how open office is now supporting MS VBA – visual basic for applications, a language for writing macros, which I use most of the time I use Excel – and decided to give it another try. Unfortunately, I didn’t fancy the Novell branded version (a full ~500Mb ISO image), and didn’t want to compile my own. However, I was told by a friend that OOo has its own OOo Basic language, similar to VBA, and there are only a few additions to the new version to make it entirely compatible.

So, what does OOo consist of? You are provided with the standard office features – word processor, spreadsheet, presentation designer and database – along with a couple of extra bits (a math design mode, like MS Equation Editor, and a drawing program similar to Visio). Everything is saved in Open Document Format normally, but things can be saved in Microsoft or Lotus formats, PDF and even as LaTeX source.

So going back to my experience, I downloaded Open Office before creating a spreadsheet for some simple programming (calculating a collection of rational approximations to e) since my copy of MS Office is starting to play up these days (strange how we just accept the fact that as computers get older they start breaking, even if they’re exactly the same as before… That’s for another day though). I installed the software (a 93 Mb download for Windows – tiny really), and jumped straight into Calc – the Open Office spreadsheet.

Moving around Calc felt immediately familiar, with all control buttons in a similar place to in MS Excel. Going straight to the Tools menu, I found the Macros… option, and chose to organise my macros in the Open Office BASIC window. Finding where to put my macro wasn’t immediately obvious – the layout is slightly different to in Excel – but was really obvious enough. Most everything in OOoB is the same as VBA, however there are a few significant differences. You cannot just call “Cells(x,y)” to read or write, you have to perform a rather longer set of commands. Bear in mind, however, that OOoB can be used in any of the Office tools, not just calc. Writing my macro was as easy as in VBA really, and the Help menu is decent (better PDF documentation is available from the OOo website). One issue I did have was pressing the play button in the IDE to run the macro didn’t work, but this turned out to be my fault for not reading the documentation – I simply needed to save somewhere else or run from Calc instead. Finally, on macros, OOo also appears to support Python and something else – unfortunately this is not really my area so I can’t go any futher on that.

So, what about the rest of Calc? Well, it seems to provide all the usability of Excel and then some, from all the in-cell functions to being able to create simple commands with words (eg “profits – losses” given correct titles – this is like Excel for Dummies). Obviously, these for Dummies-esque bits do not really get in the way of everything else, and can be switched off in a jiffy.

The 2 random bits – Math and Draw – work well at what they do, creating Math equations (albeit not with quite as easy to use a GUI as equation editor, although a lot quicker) or creating Hierachical diagrams or even logos quite easily. I have to say though, I will not be using these a lot – if I need to write maths I use LaTeX, if I need to draw things, I’ll use the GIMP.

Writer (the word processor) is powerful and fast, with everything you could need (like mail merge and autocorrect) and some stuff most people would never touch (Python Macros anyone?). It’s a similar story with Impress (Powerpoint) and Base (Access). In fact, being like MS Office and then some seems to be a recurring theme throughout OOo, and with the ability to export to PDF being a big draw to many people (given that the only other way would be through Adobe Acrobat Standard, costing extra money over MS Office), I really feel this is something which could potentially replace MS Office in the home and workplace.

So, in conclusion:

Get OpenOffice.org!

February 06, 2006

Radio and The Sun

Well, I just listened to Ed's (from the show) radio show on the cambridge radio site, and he's really good! Quality show, worth a listen, 8pm-9pm Mondays, www.cur1350.co.uk .

He also happened to mention an article in The Sun Online – here .

Apparently I'm 26 and the Maths Society Captain… Not actually… well… true in any way shape or form, but at least I wasn't misquoted!


February 01, 2006

Interviews, Essays and… Err… Interviews

This is officially the week of death, to be honest I don't even have time to right this, but I'm just waiting for a phone call at the moment…
The phone call I'm waiting for is from the Coventry Citizen who are going to be running a story on the show (Beauty and the Geek, starts 10pm Tues 7th Feb on E4) and want to interview me… Don't really know what I'm going to say, just hope they lead with questions and I don't say anything stupid…. phone call… hold on…

Well, that was easy, didn't really ask me any particularly troubling questions, they did ask if they could send over a photographer in an hour, but I decided against it – far too much going on at the moment to have to worry about that as well! To be honest, the interview was so short that I assume that it's only going to be a tiny piece… Ah well, it'll have a photo at least – I'll upload it here when I've got it :)

In other news, I think I sent my new laptop to my last year's on campus address… Oops.


January 28, 2006

Me – A Reality TV Star!

Right, let's get down to it, over Christmas I was filiming my part in a new E4 + C4 Reality TV show called Beauty and the Geek (no prizes for guessing which category I'm in!), and today the first paper with my photo in came out! Okay, it was the Daily Mail, not a real 'paper' i suppose, but even so! Okay, scans are linked at the bottom in the edit…
It's starting on E4 at 10pm on the 7th Feb, for 6 weeks, then being shown on C4 at 10:30pm from the 31st March for 6 weeks, each ep repeated the day after at midday on T4 (C4). Put it in your diary, you'll get to see my cry on national TV!


edit: okay, the scans are shit, I'll try to find somewhere else to upload them...

edit2: okey here they are 1 2 3 4 Jeb

April 23, 2005

Dam photos

They are all up now here


In other news…

I wonder. What could all this mean? Is it just a figment of my imagination? You might want to find a cube…


March 31, 2005

Amsterdam 2005 =D

Hey, I'm just uploading the pics from the dam from a couple of weeks ago, it was awesome =D. Anyone that's not involved in RAG that reads this – join! It'll be the best decision you'll ever make =)


March 08, 2005

The Jack Martin Project – Part 2

Some crazy monkeys have been playing silly buggers with some roadworks stuff again… If we find who's responsible for this, we'll hunt them down and kill them, mark my words.
Enjoy the photos =D


February 12, 2005

The Jack Martin Project

The start of something great. Or maybe there are just bored students somewhere. Either way, on Jeb's Blog (sponsered by Radio Jeb ) I feel it is my duty to bring you the latest happenings in what I will refer to as the Jack Martin Project.
Part one is in the gallery now!


(PS – RADIO JEB 24/7 Rock Goodness. All queries, comments and requests to radio.jeb@gmail.com)

February 05, 2005

Right, let's get back into it

Righto, haven't blogged properly for a while, so let's start this again (I'll start taking my camera out with me more as well)

so, it's the start of reading week, there are like 2 people left in kitchen 1, so they're becoming members of our kitchen (I think Anika's the only one going anywhere from here). I guess we're planning to go up to the union tonight for the Elections party, I'll post some pics on here tomorrow.

I've got my radio station up, as I've said before, it's really only accessible from the uni because it's a 160 kbps stream though Have a look if you want .

Got to start my maths by computer now i guess…

Signing off


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