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Software Education

Free OpenOffice.org Training Videos 128

Rollie Hawk writes "Having trouble converting your family and office mates into OpenOffice devotees? NewsForge (Owned by the same people that bring you Slashdot) can now help you convince the visual learners around you that they can do it. NewsForge is releasing a series of free video segments that demonstrate OpenOffice in action from installation to day-to-day use. According to the site, these clips will play on any browser on any operating system as long as Flash is available. One practical topic that should be particularly interesting to the would-be business converts is 'making a slide presentation in a hurry.'"
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Free OpenOffice.org Training Videos

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  • by Anonymous Coward
    1. Fire up PowerPoint on Windows PC.
    2. Quickly layout presentation using the unparalleled tools of PowerPoint.
    3. Run out of office with completed presentation before OS zealots have completed building the bonfire to burn your witch ass.
    • by $RANDOMLUSER ( 804576 ) on Saturday November 12, 2005 @02:57PM (#14016247)
      > 1. Fire up PowerPoint on Windows PC.
      > 2. Quickly layout presentation using the unparalleled tools of PowerPoint.

      PowerPoint is nothing short of social malware.
      I wish I had a nickel for every PowerPoint presentation I've suffered through that was created to cover the fact that the speaker had nothing of value to say.

      • "the speaker had nothing of value to say."

        My sister once made a Corel Presentations slide show, and then showed it to me. It had nothing to say except that her favourite TV show "Boomtown" was on that night, and she wanted the TV at 9:00PM. But it had pretty cool special effects in it.
      • We had an administrative assistant to a second level manager who would send out a 2 megabyte, one slide Powerpoint to invite us to the department group meetings. One day I got one and a thought popped into my head:
        "No amount of formatting can make up for your lack of content".
      • True to a degree. Its not powerpoint that is the problem it is that most people who end up making powerpoint presentations just have no taste. I have seen many quality PP presentations that were very useful/interesting and worked well with what the speaker was trying to say.

        However, it is true that the majority that i have seen were far far worse.
      • I wish I had a nickel for every PowerPoint presentation I've suffered through that was created to cover the fact that the speaker had nothing of value to say.

        Amen, Brother! Powerpoint is nothing but a coloring book for executives. It lets them pretend they are busy. It lets everyone who needs to suck up pretend that they are good at something. "Wow, great presentation John! How'd you make that golf cart drive across the screen pulling the next slide with it? That really kept it interesting. I guess that's

    • I had been using OO for a while, but recently decided to buy MS office 2003. I certainly don't use all the features MS office has to offer and lack of features was never really an issue in deciding to purchase office. The reason I purchased office was more because it is easier to exchange files with people that don't have OO.

      The biggest surprise I had however was about MS-office's performance, where OO would easily take half a minute to start up on my old PIII-500, office apps start almost instant.
  • by httpamphibio.us ( 579491 ) on Saturday November 12, 2005 @02:43PM (#14016171)
    It doesn't matter how many times I've told her over the phone, how many times we've gone over it in person, how many times she's taken notes... my mom can't remember how to do even the most basic things. Opening and saving she has down... but copy and paste? Double space? Changing the font? Oof! Too difficult!

    Hrm... but now that I think of it, she probably won't be able to figure out how to bookmark the site, and even if she does she probably won't remember how to find the bookmark.

    Oh well... nevermind...
    • She won't care.
      It's always easier to phone you - after all, you have moral obligation to respond to her every demand [/sarcasm]

      And, likewise, no users will care. They have post-it all over monitor describing step-by-step how to do things in MS Office, anything different is worse, end of discussion :/
      • Actually the office software is very viable for business converts. My accounting instructor for instance teaches MS Excel to the accounting majors (they know Excel far better than I really want to), why doesn't he like OpenOffice.org? Cause, they don't have an accounting format for the spreadsheets. OOo has a currency format but, this is different than the accounting format that displays $0.00 dollars as a - and $1.00 as $ 1.00 now I can put in my own input mask and save it to get by in his class but,
    • Aside from the fuckin' fact that ifuckinhateyourhtml ( a table, fuckin' aaaaaargh!) I fuckin' find that fuckin' idea fuckin' cool. Fuckin' thumbs up :-P
    • I took a look at the "Installing OpenOffice" video, and I'm certain that most of the people that can't figure out how to install it on their own wouldn't be helped at all by this. Instead of sticking to the task at hand, the guy starts blabbing about how you should always go to "openoffice.org to get the latest and greatest" and starts clicking on things without telling or explaining what he's doing. I don't know what the other videos are like or if they're as bad, but it almost doesn't matter because the p
      • I looked at the one about "making a presentation fast". First he was setting up the slide transitions in the wizard, and he says we're going to choose "fast" for the slide transitions. But the preview doesn't seem to change it's speed at all, so he adds "which is actually not that fast". Then later it was amusing to see the guy clicking on different slide templates to try to change the layout of the title slide. Nothing was happening. Then apparently he realized you have to select the slide in the pane
  • Shame method (Score:4, Interesting)

    by saskboy ( 600063 ) on Saturday November 12, 2005 @02:43PM (#14016174) Homepage Journal
    If you're having trouble convincing someone to learn a new word processor, you can sometimes convince them using the "shame method".

    I tell them that if my 85 year old, blind grandmother could learn to email, then can learn how to use Open Office. Sure she wasn't blind at the time, and was only 77 when she learned to use a computer, but some people just need to hear that someone older and frailer than they are, could do something they've never tried. It worked to convince my grandpa how to use the computer. My grandma learned first, and he got kind of jealous that she knew how to play cribbage on the machine and he didn't, so he put his mind to learning it too.

    90% of teaching is convincing the person that they are capable of learning.
    • using the "shame method".

      You mean like I refer to my 8-year-old daughter? Who regularly reboots computers around the house into whatever live CD she currently likes, surfs the web with Firefox (customized to her preferences), tweaks the background and styles in both KDE and Gnome, knows how to navigate the interface in just about any window manager that runs on Linux (from Fluxbox and Window Maker to TWM.), has beaten half the games available for Linux and has figured out the level editors for all those t

  • Good idea (Score:4, Funny)

    by karvind ( 833059 ) <karvind AT gmail DOT com> on Saturday November 12, 2005 @02:44PM (#14016180) Journal
    Now I can watch the training video while the openoffice opens. It may take a while you know. No wait that is adobe acrobat reader. Sorry my bad.


    • Re:Good idea (Score:2, Informative)

      by guice ( 907163 )
      Acrobat Reader loads in a flash for me. It just takes a bit of Liposuction [theinquirer.net] (Plug-in requirements slightly different for Acrobat7, but not by much).
    • OpenOffice does take a minute to load...on my 266MHz Pentium II with 64MB RAM (that's how long it takes OpenOffice 1.1.4 to load on my laptop). However, once it is open, it is very responsive. I think I might upgrade the laptop to OpenOffice 2.0.

      However, OpenOffice 2.0 loads in about 10-15 seconds on my 950MHz Duron box with 384MB RAM. Even though it takes longer to open OpenOffice than it is to open an individual program in MS Office, OpenOffice doesn't seem excruciatingly slow as long as you don't hav

  • Most people are lazy and if they are required to watch a series of training videos to get the hang of it widespread adoption of Open Office will never happen. It's more important that the program itself is made in such a commonsense way that there's no reading/videos required for the majority of stuff. Though personally I find version 2 pretty easy and straight forward to use anyway.
  • YouTube (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Life700MB ( 930032 ) on Saturday November 12, 2005 @02:46PM (#14016189)

    They really should make use of tech like YouTube [youtube.com].
  • Thank you! (Score:1, Informative)

    by CyricZ ( 887944 )
    Those videos look fantastic. They should really help out with getting people to convert to OpenOffice.org.

    Indeed, a massive Thanks! to everyone who has contributed to them.

    Perhaps it is time for similar videos to be put out regarding the use of Firefox, Seamonkey, and other such open source projects. Ruby on Rails has some tutorial videos like that, and they're very helpful, too.

  • until he started working for me. On his machine I did not give him a choice - for his office apps he can use OpenOffice.org or simply not work. Now that he's used it for a week he has discovered that he can do everything he needs in the OOo suite and is going to be installing it on his home PC. He hasn't run into performance issues with large files yet, but by the time he does I expect the OOo will have addressed at least some of those issues.

    He was a Microsoft Office fan prior to this week (and to be fair,
  • the openoffice team would come up with some better icons. the program / file icons make the whole project seem amateurish
  • by viniosity ( 592905 ) on Saturday November 12, 2005 @02:54PM (#14016238) Homepage Journal
    I *just* went through a situation where this could have come in handy. We just completed a merger a month ago and some of the employees from the acquired company are now starting to relocate to the new HQ. On of the PHB absolutely freaked out when I told him we'd be installing OpenOffice. I've never seen a grown man go from mature manager to whining 4 year so quickly.

    Sadly, we escalated the issue to a non-technical boss who decided that it was best to appease the other PHB and just buy MS Office instead. I'm hoping that these vids will make evangelizing the use of OSS easier for me and avoid it happening next time.

    Yeah, I learned to be more proactive about educating everyone about OSS.. first demo/train and then install...

  • Do they show... (Score:1, Redundant)

    by ltwally ( 313043 )
    Do they show OO loading? Because that's a waste of a solid 60 seconds worth of video... ;)
  • Nice start, clearly styled after Microsoft's Office demos [microsoft.com]. However, these OpenOffice videos seem slightly unprofessional and cover the sort of topics that most users don't need help with. Clearly, for initiatives like the one in Massachusetts, a repository of advanced videos should be made available (see the variety and, more importantly, the relevance of the demos at the above link).

    A few basic videos won't sway anyone.

    But hey, maybe the whole state of Massachusetts will buy your book, right Roblimo
    • I think the Mr. Miller did a great job. These videos lets the PHBs see that OOo isn't some evil totally different featureless thing, it does work similar to Word, Excel, PP and many other similar programs.

      It being basic is a fine start, I think they would fit in for the novice and the experienced to get a feel for OOo. Around our office this is what most staff need to know.

      I agree with another poster that if communities have access to the technique used to create thier own screenshot videos, we would se

  • by ClippySay ( 930525 ) on Saturday November 12, 2005 @02:58PM (#14016254) Journal
    / Training people for free means we      \
    | clippies are gonna lose our jobs! It's |
    | untollerable! Clippies worldwide,      |
    \ unite!                                 /
            \     ____
             \   / __ \
              \  O|  |O|
                 ||  | |
                 ||  | |
                 ||    |
    • by Wisgary ( 799898 ) on Saturday November 12, 2005 @03:09PM (#14016304)
      / Did you mean:  \
      |    Untolerable  |
      \    Intolerable /
              \     ____
               \   / __ \
                \  O|  |O|
                   ||  | |
                   ||  | |
                   ||    |
      • / Clippy has detected a flame war about to start.
        | Would you like to:
        \ 1) Karma whore?
          \ 2) Join in the flame war?
            \ 3) Go for the humorous post?
              \ / __ \
                \O| |O|
                  || | |
                  || | |
                  || |
    • See, that right there is the number one reason to convert. The satisfaction of killing Clippy! I hate that little bum. I got him disabled, but the idea of him out on the street instead of in my harddrive space is a great reason to convert!! Not that I'm generally for booting people out of their houses, but in the case of Clippy and Dubya, I can make an exception.
    • Vigor offers altermative employment for displaced Clippies.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday November 12, 2005 @03:00PM (#14016262)
    Great thing to help users by recording this kind of videos :)

    Do anybody knows what program was used to mae thos videos?
    Might be some ViewletBuilder opensource/free replacement?

  • MPEG4, please! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by c0l0 ( 826165 ) on Saturday November 12, 2005 @03:10PM (#14016307) Homepage
    There are people (like me) who refuse to install Flash (well, at least until GPLFlash is done and does not ruthlessly crash my browser on load any more ;)) on their systems, so an alternative download for (non-interactive, if applicable) MPEG4-encoded, via a free codec like XViD, for example, versions of the files would be highly appreciated, methinks.
    • Re:MPEG4, please! (Score:3, Insightful)

      by imsabbel ( 611519 )
      If you are so aware of things (and got mpeg4 codecs to play videos), you are obviously not the target group of those videos.

      But they DO work nicely by just clicking on the link even in firefox (without the crap that embedded quicktime and wmv videos often pull), and thats the main point.
      You can just send the link to somebody and it WILL work...
    • Flash Movies "just work" for a lot of people, and especially for screencap videos they encode smaller than the fullmotion mpeg variants. e.g. most of CBT Nugget's stuff is flash video.
  • At work (a small college), we are concidering giving out OpenOffice to students who cant afford MS office Student/teacher since we dont have a campus agreement with MS, Training for end users is the only area where we see weakness in OOo, These videos could really help, can they be redistributed? A lot of students usde dial up so for us it would be better to put them on the CD or maybe have a DVD that they could borrow.
  • by bcrowell ( 177657 ) on Saturday November 12, 2005 @03:18PM (#14016345) Homepage
    I can't wait to watch these helpful videos! Now could somebody just point me to a free training video explaining how to play a video on Linux? Or if that doesn't exist, maybe somebody's written some documentation in OpenOffice format?
    • They are flash. If you have a distro that is less than 3 years old, it has flash on it. As to the other media, that is also on distros that are less than 2 years old.
  • by Hosiah ( 849792 ) on Saturday November 12, 2005 @03:28PM (#14016386)
    Now, I'm not talking about the people who simply don't know Linux, but are willing to learn. But there is a sizable proportion of the users out there that I've learned to stop beating my head against a brick wall over. I call them "dittoheads" after the Rush Limbaugh term, because they caught an MS-sponsored meme early on and it lodged in their heads once and for all, preventing them from ever advancing in life. Expressions such as "Linux will never be viable on the desktop.", "Linux is too difficult to learn.", "Open Source isn't really free.", etc. join with "The Holocost never happened.", "We DID find weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.", and "DRM is to protect the consumer." as some of history's greatest mind-stunting propaganda.

    I said it would be like this at the beginning of "The Information Age" (or at least when the public at large first heard of the term): I said that the information age would propegate fiction as easily as truth, and thus computers would not make us smarter as a people. Computers only magnify human intellect, and if that intellect is rotten, the rotteness gets magnified a thousand-fold.

    Anonymous cowards -> the line forms to the right.

  • "Default installation folder. I use it, never gone wrong with it." "Look at the license. I'm going to accept it, I think it's a nice license." "My name is already there on the computer. You don't have to put it in. Anyone who uses this computer, I'm going to share the program, not just for me, but you can install it any way you like." Hey man, this video is pretty relaxing. The guy reminds me of Bob Ross. Wonder if in the next episode he tells me how I can write whatever I like? Maybe I'll write about a squ
  • x-shockwave is not working on linux, so we can't see that.
  • If you pause the first video where Rob clicks on his start menu, you'll see an eMachines folder. Wow, whatever respect I might have had in the first place went completely down the toilet. You'd expect any geek to put together their own computer or, short of that, maybe grab a Dell machine if they're short on time. But eMachines? After seeing that, I was certain I'd find an AOL icon too.
  • After playing with version 2 for a bit now I've really been considering migrating my organization from MS Office to OO. Of course the biggest hurdle, as usual, is getting users to accept the change.

    These videos are great, but I do have a couple critcisms:

    1) My users range from novice to intermediate when it comes to using MS Office, but these videos are almost geared towards someone who has never used this kind of software before. Spending a great deal of time explaining how to change fonts and correct sp
    • by Roblimo ( 357 )
      But...you're only looking at *some* videos from a CD that accompanies a book, Point & Click OpenOffice.org [amazon.com], that'll be in bookstores by mid-December. You only saw an excerpt of the complete work, which goes into lots more depth than what you've seen. Plus I'll be making and posting more videos soon. Email me (robin at roblimo dot com) with your suggestions. I'll (obviously) start with the ones for which I get the most requests.

      Format choice side note: Like it or not, Flash offers the most bandwidth-eff
      • Robin, what did you use to make the videos?

        Its pretty neat to also support audio!

        Our company bought a license for camtasia which is very powerful, but I wouldn't mind something that's free for home use.

        • After trying every open source and/or Linux video screen capture tool -- and even offering a bounty to anyone willing to bring xvidcap [sourceforge.net] to full usability last year, I ended up using Camtasia and Blueberry Flashback -- both proprietary, Windows-only programs -- when I ran up against my book deadline.

          There's a GPL -- but Windows-only -- program on SF.net called CamStudio [sourceforge.net] you might want to try. I've had sound synch problems with it that I could probably solve, but it also used way more system resources than Ca
  • I just watched the "Draw" video...thinking of entering some Fark Photoshops. The guy says "....uhhhhh....you just have to dick around with it a little bit."

    I think more training videos should contain slang. I'm going to go "fuck around" with my playstation now.
  • This remains a show-stopper for me. The word processor has got to have a galley view ("Normal" in MicrosoftWord) for text editing.
    Then again, 99% of the people I know can't understand that document layout is something you do only after completing the writing and editing process, so I suppose the lack of a galley view won't stop most folks from switching to OO.o .
    • Not sure what you mean by "Normal", but in OOo, you can go to the View menu and uncheck the first entry (Print Layout). If that is not what you mean, maybe you can explain further.
      • Thanks Kristoffer -- that (turning off "Page Layout") switches to "Web Layout," which I thought had some html conversion going on. Apparently not. (This is in OO.o 2.0 for windows). I haven't checked it in detail, but it seems close to what I want. Too bad that manual page breaks don't get marked on the screen.
        So before I get too happy :-), are there other properties of WebLayout view that might get in the way of document editing?

  • I wonder if the videos include some of the things that should be unlearned. I suppose the general context would be Microsoft-based bad habits from their misfeatures. Unfortunately, I've been using Office junk for so long I've pretty much gotten used to the bizarreness.

    However, what actually got me thinking along this line was a glaring misfeature in OO, the Word Completion feature in the Autocorrect section (from the Tools menu). I may not be understanding it correctly, but it appears that it is offering

    • number one to unlearn : using direct formatting. seriously. it will heavily increase your productivity in long term.

      as about word completion - i don't use it myself, but disabling it is pretty easy, also help on "word completion" says it pretty clear ;)
      • Not sure what you mean by "direct formatting", which therefore becomes another example of confusion calling for training.

        "Word Completion" wasn't obvious to me, and I'm a fairly experienced user going back to WordStar on 8-bit CP/M. I didn't know what key word to use when I searched the help--"word" is rather too common to be of much use there. I wound up wandering around in the Options tabs for a long time.

        However, I still can't imagine the use for the feature. Presumably there must be some hot key to

        • direct formatting as in 'direct formatting vs styles' ;)
          using styles is a must and i first started using them when i moved from word to oo.org, as oo.org just stuck them in the face.

          of course, if you have no idea how the feature is named it is harder to find it in help, though in that case googling may help (if you manage to think about the correct keywords) - it might allow you to use more vague terms than oo.org help.

          as for using word completion - you clearly did not examine the tab where you can turn it
          • I had found the location you referred to and disabled the annoying setting. The impression I had received was that it was working dynamically based on the words I had already used.

            The notion of overloading the key in that way is terrible. It might be tolerable assigned to the key, if that's an option, though I'm still unattracted and plan no experiments.

            Not sure why, but I had already started working with styles, so apparently that part was intuitive enough for me.

            Finally, in a case of small world s

            • I had found the location you referred to and disabled the annoying setting. The impression I had received was that it was working dynamically based on the words I had already used.

              that's exactly how it works. you can change how long must the word be to remember it and also place an upper limit on word count (as this db can get quite big and affect performance)

              The notion of overloading the key in that way is terrible. It might be tolerable assigned to the key, if that's an option, though I'm still unattract
  • by floki ( 48060 )

    There's this nifty program called Wink [debugmode.com] that I use all the time to create GUI animations. It supports making manual shots, input-driven mode (key/mouse actions trigger screenshot) and time-driven mode (makes n shots per second). After recording the scene one can edit the cursor position, add descriptions and insert buttons for play control. In the final animation the cursor moves automatically between its position on two shots. Generates Flash animations or EXE files and can export to HTML, PDF and PS. There

  • by floki ( 48060 )

    There's this nifty program called Wink [debugmode.com] that I use all the time to create GUI animations. It supports making manual shots, input-driven mode (key/mouse actions trigger screenshot) and time-driven mode (makes n shots per second). After recording the scene one can edit the cursor position, add descriptions and insert buttons for play control. In the final animation the cursor moves automatically between its position on two shots. Generates Flash animations or EXE files and can export to HTML, PDF and PS. There

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