Simplenote—a slick note-taking app for Ubuntu

(Updated August 22nd 2016: Simplenote is now open source across all platforms, heralding an accelerated rate of innovation.)

Microsoft to increase Office 365 prices for New Zealand customers

New Zealand-based Microsoft resellers are presently advising their customers of Microsoft's intention to increase subscription costs by 22 percent for Office 365, taking effect on 1st April 2016. Businesses should ignore resellers' boilerplate statements in defence of Microsoft, and instead view this as clear evidence of the risks of using proprietary, closed-source office software. Microsoft's exclusive control of Office 365 enables them to set pricing and terms as they see fit—benefiting their shareholders but to the detriment of their customers.

Watermarks template for LibreOffice Writer

Customers using LibreOffice in business environments may wish to insert various standard watermarks in their text documents. Creating watermarks in LibreOffice Writer usually involves a degree of advance setup, but once prepared watermarks can be easily inserted using page styles. has a brand-new desktop app

It's a good time to be using for your business website – and the good times just got even better with a completely new, open source desktop app.

While WordPress already features a comprehensive, easy-to-use web interface for managing every aspect of your website, the new desktop app ships with a range of enhancements – including real-time editing updates, drag-and-drop image upload directly into posts, and super-fast performance. or WordPress self-hosted?

While working with a small business client recently on migrating a legacy website to, we were asked if using WordPress with a third-party host would be a better option. As discussed in a previous blog entry, "WordPress" can mean either the open source software that powers your website, or, the website hosting service offered by the company that develops the WordPress software itself (available at

Using PDF as a non-editable business document standard

In a previous blog post, we highlighted how proprietary fonts keep businesses locked-in to using expensive Microsoft products—and how using openly-licensed fonts is an effective remedy. In this blog entry, we'll examine how the common practice of exchanging documents in editable format—when there is no actual reason to do so—similarly creates a hurdle for businesses looking to replace Microsoft Office with LibreOffice.

Teachers and students are always eligible for LibreOffice

You may often see Microsoft advertising their Office 365 productivity suite as being free for teachers and students... with a certain "eligibility" caveat:

Substituting proprietary Microsoft Office fonts in LibreOffice

Microsoft Office is known to contain numerous components designed to intentionally lock businesses into using expensive Microsoft products. Examples of this practice range from proprietary, non-standardised file formats (which can only be interpreted correctly by Microsoft Office), to the full set of features only being available on Microsoft Windows (which prevents businesses from adopting superior alternatives).

A design professor on replacing Apple and Adobe with open alternatives

We recently came across an excellent article published by Brent Patterson, Assistant Professor of Design at State University of New York College at Buffalo. He describes how open hardware and software have replaced the use of proprietary tools in both his creative process and approach to teaching.

Scribus: powerful open source desktop publishing

For businesses needing to produce content such as brochures, newsletters, posters and business cards, software options have typically fallen on either Microsoft Publisher, or Adobe InDesign. Publisher is strictly entry-level, underpowered for professional use, ships with proprietary file formats, and is only available as part of a costly Microsoft Office bundle.


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