Thinking About Buying Kokoro™ by Ivy and Wilde?

I’ve recently ventured into Asian cooking – mainly inspired by my Japanese boyfriend. I grew up in a very British household, and while I can make a mean steak pudding, my skills in more exotic cuisines are…less than impressive. However, after seeing the crazy and wonderful dishes he makes, it gave me the motivation to try it out for myself!

My photo is shown above, and here’s what is advertised on the website:

Pretty close!

Being the all-or-nothing kind of girl that I am, I decided to go all out for this exciting venture and buy some authentic plates for my (hopefully) authentic meals. I wasn’t even sure where to begin – and at the risk of looking silly to my lovely boyfriend – did some online investigation.

Which led me to this delightful set of plates! I wasn’t too sure what ‘culturally luxurious’ meant, but they certainly looked cool. I’d never actually used Ivy and Wilde before, so it was a leap of faith when it came to the purchase. With lots of choice in the style of plate I wanted, I had a little play around and selected a few different plates I liked the look of. I’m in unchartered territory, I thought to myself – but the free shipping brought me back to my comfort zone.

Which is why I was delightfully surprised when the order arrived promptly to my door. Hesitantly, I opened the package to discover beautiful, quality dishes. I’m not sure what ‘authentic’ is supposed to look like, but these plates really do feel like the real deal.

At this point I was fairly mesmerised with their aesthetic side, but would they withstand the test of my exotic cooking? There was no better time to try. So without further ado, I pulled up a recipe from the internet for Chicken Noodle Ramen. A dash of spice here, a swig of soy sauce there and I was left with a fairly impressive rendition of a classic Japanese dish! I picked up one of the rounded dishes and scooped the noodle broth in. The feeling of eating a homemade Japanese meal in gorgeous, Japanese-style dishes was incredible. At this point, I plucked up the confidence to inform my boyfriend that I’d be making some home-style food for him. The dishes would be a nice surprise for him too.

Close up 🙂

Being dishwasher friendly was a massive bonus as I crammed them in and eagerly jumped on the web for more dishes to try out. My second meal was Japanese dumplings (Gyoza) and Katsu chicken curry. It might not have been Gordon Ramsey-level, but it was certainly good enough to impress my boyfriend. He was pretty touched by my efforts to integrate his heritage in the food. But in my opinion, the food wouldn’t have tasted as good if not for the gorgeous plates and bowls it was held in. The intricate, delicate styling of each dish truly reflected Japanese culture. I can definitely say that by having the right dishes, you can turn a mediocre meal into something far more wowing. I definitely recommend these!

 

College Bowl Trip: Fiesta in Arizona

The 2008 Tostitos Fiesta Bowl in Glendale, Arizona, was about the whole trip for me! Yes, the college football statistics and the bowl games are fun to follow, especially now that my kids and their friends attend colleges scattered across the country. How can I not cheer on a few teams, especially around bowl time?
However, truth is . . . my thoughts and feet wandered more toward a great restaurant, fun shopping (like how I snagged my recent purchased amazon tactical flashlight), and a nice place to stay. Admittedly, I am just a person who watches sports. I am a poor substitute for a real bowl fan.

Besides, the underdog lost. I always root for the underdog. The 37th Annual Fiesta Bowl matched University of Oklahoma Sooners head-to-head with West Virginia University Mountaineers. Sadly, my Sooners proved to be later. The Mountaineers proved the early birds, and grabbed the gold with a score of 48 to 28.

The game was only a snippet of the fiesta time for my college bowl trip. I needed lodging to fulfill my fiesta experience, so I chose the Fiesta Inn! It’s a natural choice by name and reputation. I have stayed there before, taking advantage of their special package deals, often including a fabulous breakfast in their full-service restaurant, Milagro’s. Also known as the Fiesta Resort Conference Center, Fiesta Inn is owned and operated by Driftwood Hospitality Management, LLC. It is located in Tempe, close to everything in and around Glendale, and the greater Phoenix, Arizona area.

Glendale’s Historic Downtown shopping district is the best kept secret in the greater Phoenix, Arizona metro area. After a delightful breakfast back at the inn, my fiesta continued in a leisurely stroll through the Glendale downtown square. The lush park and one-of-a-kind shops surrounding it are fabulous. Bargains and eclectic treasured surprises are everywhere. Keeping in the spirit of the old town ambiance, lunch at Bitzee Mama’s drew this hungry traveler into a fiesta of Mexican and American food. My only disappointment was that they only offer live music on Friday and Saturday nights, and my Fiesta Bowl travel window wasn’t open for the weekend.

The Fiesta Bowl game was held at the University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale. However, Arizona State University is close by and is traditionally an important site for some festivities leading up to the actual football game day. The full schedule of events was convenient and easy to follow on the Official Tostitos Fiesta Bowl Schedule of Events online. Even though those ASU events took place before my arrival to the Phoenix area, I could not resist a visit to ASU’s campus, Sun Devil Stadium, and surrounding area, including Tempe’s Mill Avenue District and Tempe Beach Park.

Admittedly, I’m biased because I have assumed a respectful amount of pride in the area, from living in Arizona nearly a decade. I have no doubt ASU and it’s Tempe town neighborhood played well as complimentary hosts to the 37th Fiesta Bowl events. They are both a joy to spend time in during special events and on lazy days just the same.

Before leaving Mill Avenue and the whole Fiesta Bowl trip behind me, I naturally had to break bread once more. The historic Monti’s La Casa Vieja is the oldest hacienda in Tempe. It is an icon of the old west, serving mouth-watering steaks and southwestern hospitality at its finest. The food is a tasty testament to why the hacienda has been feeding travelers and locals for nearly a hundred and fifty years. The Fiesta Bowl experience is not complete without paying homage to Monti’s fiesta style.

Clif Bars Offer Nutrition, but Not Much Flavor

 

Just as there’s a diversity of hiking and camping equipment manufacturers to choose from, so to are there a multitude of manufacturers of energy bars. PowerBar was the standard for years, and then Clif Bar came along to give the outdoor enthusiastic public an alternative. In its wake have come a bevy of different bars offering different vitamin supplements, and some even are catered to specific age groups and genders.


Still, Clif Bar is one of the top brands, offering a variety of flavors under the guise of being organic, and nutritious. This is well and good, but do they even taste good? Here’s a summary of a recent taste test by the author of some of the more common flavors of Clif Bars to find. For your next backpack, I definitely recommend The PNW Packable Backpack for hikers!

Apricot: Apricot, due to the heavy grainy flavor of the soybeans and oats, doesn’t really come through. At first it’s almost an orange zest flavor, but it quickly subsides. Only in the aftertaste, does a little apricot or peach flavor manage to come through. This bar is also on the stickier side, meaning that it’s stickier than most other varieties of Clif bar.

Chocolate Brownie: Chocolate Brownie has the same mealy texture as the other bars. I should be thankful, though, that this isn’t like the dense waxy texture of a PowerBar, which is not only hard to chew, but swallow because after awhile your jaws start to cramp. The chocolate is much more present in appearance and texture than in flavor. I’d call this more of a “hint of cocoa”� rather than an all-out chocolate brownie. If anything this appears more like a raccoon turd that’s been stepped on, considering how dark it is, filled with little chunks of grain.

Chocolate Chip: This is a pretty sub-par energy bar. It has the mealy texture of the other bars, and the chocolate chips are so miniscule you wouldn’t even know they were there if it didn’t say so on the wrapper.

Chocolate and Black Cherry: The flavor of the black cherry is a pleasing addition to this otherwise lackluster bar. Sure, it’s supposed to be an energy bar, but do they have to taste like crap?

Crunchy Peanut Butter: Well, at least the crunchy peanut butter shares the texture of the bar as it would without it. It tastes vaguely of peanut butter, but with all the soy and grains in it to begin with it’s almost as if the peanut butter was nonexistent.

Carrot Cake: Of all the flavors of Clif Bar, Carrot Cake is probably the most like carrot cake — really dense carrot cake. Still, the flavor’s there and the texture of the grains is reminiscent of walnuts in grandma’s carrot cake. This is also among the most inventive of flavors to come up with to be put into an energy bar.

The bottom line is that while Clif Bars are theoretically better than PowerBars and are much more health-conscious with their multi-grained purity, they still don’t beat the standard crunchy granola bars like those made by Nature Valley. The energy bar should add to the experience, not detract from it by leaving a mealy and gross aftertaste in your mouth that acts as a distraction from the wonders provided by Mother Nature.

What You Need to Know About Xsite Pro Web Design Software

For anyone who is thinking about, or is just getting started, in building their own website, Xsite Pro is the only way to go. Whether you need to build a website for your own business or you are building several different adsense or affiliate websites, this product is simply amazing. The software takes you by the hand and basically builds your website for you. There is no trying to figure out html code. All you need to do is add the content!
When I made the decision to put up my own website and market my book over the Internet, I had no clue as to how to get started. I had absolutely no knowledge of how to build my own website and add my product to it. That’s when a friend suggested I take a look at Xsite Pro. I jumped over to their website and took a quick look around for a few minutes.

Once I was on their site I watched the video they make available called the 7 reasons why you need Xsite Pro. I immediately knew that this is what I needed. What the company gives you for $197 is a complete package of software services that allows you to include practically everything you could ever need for your own website. Ask the experts or research first via web hosting Canada reviews.

Xsite Pro comes with a complete series of 11 videos that walk you through every aspect of building your own website. For those who like to read their information they also have a 400 page instructional manual to guide you along. For me, being able to watch someone actually use the software and build a site from scratch is the easiest way for me to learn. It eliminates the guesswork on my part.

The Xsite Pro website builder software includes features such as:

– A full set of various website templates in all different styles, colors and patterns

– The ability to easily change your header wording and even upload your own unique header quickly and effortlessly

– Add your meta tags and keywords for each webpage

– Copy and paste your content onto your site and immediately publish

– Easily insert Google Adsense ads onto any page you desire with just a click of a button. The code is automatically generated for you.

– A navigation menu, footer menu and a site map

– An SEO page that tells you exactly what you need to do step-by-step to make your website search engine friendly and gain higher rankings

– Built in spell checker

– Add links within your pages that pop up in a new window instead of taking your visitor away from your website

– Import pictures and add tables

That is just a brief description of what Xsite Pro will do for you. Using their software and watching the video tutorials I was able to build and publish my very first website in one day. It was that simple. So if you are looking for a solution getting your own website up and running without having to pay a web designer big bucks, you will want to take a good look at Xsite Pro.

TOP FIVE WAYS to UPDATE YOUR KITCHEN’S STYLE

 

TIP #1 UPGRADE YOUR FIXTURES Replacing your old sink and faucet with new models can freshen your look instantly, and add function at the same time. Check out the home center stores for 18-gauge stainless steel sinks and pull-out or pull-down faucets. In-stock models will be your best deals. (You’ll need a new drain while you’re there, too. The old one will look, well, old next to the new sink.) Also, you might consider plugging the empty hole, if there is one, with a soap dispenser.
TIP#2 PAINT YOUR CABINETS Give your tired old cabinets a facelift with a fresh coat of paint. You’ll need to rough them up and prime them first, but a fresh, contemporary color will make your kitchen look new. Bring one of your doors to a paint pro for advice on the right tools and paint for the job.

TIP #3 ADD MOLDING AND PANELING If there’s room for crown molding atop your cabinets, pick up some stock pieces at the home center and put it on. You’ll almost never get an exact color match to what’s there already, so you might try painting them the same color you’re re-painting the cabinets or, if you’re keeping the cabinets’ existing color, painting or staining the crown in a coordinating accent shade. More pizzazz can be had with molding at the bottom of the wall cabinets-called light rail. Decorative panels on the sides of your cabinets give a more finished look than a smooth veneered side. If you’re painting your cabinets, this would be a great time to add this detail. If you can’t find ready-made doors that look like the ones on the front of your cabinet, consider grooved paneling, unless your kitchen is ultra-contemporary.

TIP#4 UPGRADE YOUR FLOORING Vinyl, especially the sheet style that curls at the ends when it’s old, will bring down the look of your entire kitchen. Tiling your floor can add a huge visual boost without a huge budget hit. Look for stock tile at home centers, or tile discounters. Tiling your backsplash is another way to use this affordable material to enhance your kitchen’s style. Choose a color that coordinates with your countertops and looks good next to your cabinets.

TIP#5 UPDATE YOUR HARDWARE Cabinet knobs and pulls can date a kitchen, or make it look current and classic. Try putting in some wooden dinnerware sets for a nice touch. Changing them gives one of the most affordable style lifts available. If you have knobs currently, you can change to pulls by using one of the existing holes and adding a second one. If you have pulls, measure the space between the screws and fine new ones with that same dimension. This will save you a great deal of time and effort.

None of these enhancements will cost you a great deal of money, but all will give a great visual punch to your kitchen. If you’re getting ready to sell your home, these might be small changes that bring big results. If your budget can stretch further, consider stainless steel or stainless-look appliances and stone countertops. Some cities offer a stone top that sits on your existing laminate. That, or granite tile, could be a more affordable way of getting the look many buyers want right now.

Top 5 New Skincare Items: Gotta Have Products!

 

You had better believe I’ve spent my fair share of time flipping through Sephora catalogs and adding items to my wish list via their website. All that time has been well spent, too. Here’s a list I’ve concocted of the top 5 new must-have skincare items! Check it out:
Herbal Recovery Gel by Jurlique, $67 – Jurlique is a new product line at Sephora.com that uses natural resources in its skincare items. Because the items come from Mother Earth, they nourish and bring out that natural beauty everyone desires. The Herbal Recovery Gel, a powerful anti-aging cream, is especially great. As the Sephora website says, the gel “restores, firms, hydrates, and revitalizes the skin to minimize the visible signs of aging. With its rich infusion of herbs and precious plant oils, this expert treatment will bring out your skin’s most youthful glow.”

Tawaka Rejuvenating Lip Kit, $44 – When it comes to looking good, lips are everything. That’s why the brand new Tawaka Rejuvenating Lip Kit is a must-have when it comes to your skincare needs. It’s a two-pieced lip care set that works wonders on your smackers. Not only does it exfoliate, condition and perfect, it does so in a 100% all-natural way. That’s right, Tawaka’s Lip Kit is free of artificial enhances (like colors, silicones and preservatives). It includes the Tawaka Lip Exfoliating Cream and the Tawaka Lip Care Treatment.

Birthday Cake Batter Collection By Dylan’s Candybar, $16-22 – Cake batter is not just something to put in your mouth. These days, skincare companies like Dylan’s Candybar (love the name) are serving up delectable treats that are meant for your skin. I just love this whole Dylan line and am, obviously, especially drawn to the cake batter option. The scent is sweet, flirty and sugary and definitely gives you that whole “baking in the kitchen” feel. It’s not too heavy of a scent so don’t worry about it weighing you down like some super sugary scents can do. The body wash is definitely a winner for it’s rich lather and leaves you feeling ultra smooth.

Combat Lines Face Moisturizer SPF 30 by Billy Jealousy, $38 – I simply adore multi-tasking skincare products like dermaroller amazon. That’s why Billy Jealousy’s Combat Lines Face Moisturizer is a winner in my book and it deserves an automatic spot on my list. This hydrating, age defying sun screen (SPF 30) puts all the latest sun protection technology into it’s fierce 3.5 ounce bottle. It shields your skin from both UVA and UVB rays, minimizes wrinkles and enriches your skin with all sorts of vitamin goodness. And for $38? Honey, that’s a bargain.

RareMinerals 30-Day Skin Revival Duo by Bare Escentuals, $32 – People can’t seem to stop talking about this wonderful new product by Bare Escentuals. It’s a limited-time revolutionary collection whose purpose is to “revive, renew, and reveal radiant, healthier-looking skin,” says the Sephora website. Basically, it’s a 30-day product that ultimately leaves the user with a heavenly complexion. Keeping in line with other Bare Escentual products, this kit is composed of antioxidants and botanicals. The Sephora website also says of the ground breaking product, “it is the first clinically-proven mineral-based nighttime skincare treatment that effectively, yet comfortably, works to exfoliate and renew skin for visibly smaller pores and increased skin luminosity. It restores and re-energizes your skin while you sleep, so you can wake up with a radiant glow.” Love it!

Hope you enjoyed this list. For more cosmetic-related advice, tips and articles, click “Wendy Rose Gould” at the top of the page and view more of my content!

Several Reasons Why an in Home Day Care May Not Work for Your Family

 

Many women are trying to come up with additional ways to earn a living and make ends meet. Some families have even decided to open their home, and start babysitting in order to earn the additional income that they need. Online you will see a large number of reasons why many feel that having an in home day care is a good idea. There are however many reasons why you may not want to have an in home day care. Below you will find five reasons why an in home day care may not be a good idea for you and your family.

An invitation to germs
When you decide to baby-sit other children there is a guarantee that you will end up with your own family getting sick, more than usual. Even if you have a policy that says that parents need to keep their children home when they are sick, but many parents don’t follow that rule. Even if you ask them to come pick up their children from school like  Teddy Kids Kinderdagverblijf your home has already been exposed to the germs. It can especially be difficult if you have your own young children, in addition to the day care children. If you are babysitting you can expect a lot more visits to the doctor, and a lot more co pays. This is something that you will need to take into consideration. Also if your family ends up getting sick, more than usual this can take away from the amount of money that you are earning. So calculate the expense very carefully.

Late payments

One thing that many parents learn the hard way is that some parent’s tend to pay late, or not in full. Regardless of what you may put in your policy, your payments can easily be affected. Getting payments late can affect your paying your own bills on time. Even if you tell parents to pay you in advance you can still end up getting stuck, with no payment. This should also be taken into consideration. Some families, who run daycares in their home, have insisted that many families pay them a deposit, when they first start babysitting. This despot may be able to cover payments if someone is late paying you.

Difficult children

Let’s face it not all children are well behaved, and you may just end up with a home full of them. This can increase your stress level, and make it very difficult to care for the children. Remember that stress can make you sick, and if you are sick you can not care for the children.

Product Review: Genius SW-T2.1 1800 2.1 Touch Speaker System

 

The Genius 1800 2.1 Touch Speaker System is a fantastic sounding set with touch controls, separate bass and equalizer with input and output right on the control speaker for a fully featured sound system with great immersive sound.
Ease of Use, Performance: 24/25, Look amp; Feel: 23/25,
Features 23/25, How much I enjoy 25/25

Total: 95/100

Sound does not get much better than this, when you cannot really tell where the sound is coming from other than in that general direction, those are good speakers. The highs are clear, bass is nice deep and you can really feel it for good rock and roll but the mid tones are also very clear and overall well balanced.

Sound and audio components are a hard thing to review because you have the audiophiles who say you have to spend a lot of money to get decent sound. Then there are people like me who are looking for a good buy and when I find one I brag about it, the Genius SW-T2.1 1800 is a fantastic buy.

The sound is great and clear for all the varieties I played, rock mostly but I also check out a variety to see how well it does. A few jazz songs, a few classical, some voice greats like Harry Belafonte and the Blenders make for a good mix of music so I do think the speakers work well for a wide range of tastes.

The Genius SW-T2.1 1800 2.1 Touch Speaker System is a great sounding speaker set but has plenty of features as well; two connections for both input and headphones as well as equalizer and bass controls on the right speaker for starters. The SW-T2.1 1800 set comes with the two satellite speakers and bass subwoofer with a power cord, a 3.5mm to 3.5mm cable and a 3.5mm female to RCA cable along with a manual in 23 languages.

The two cables that come with the speaker set are nice for all those extra connections but the one speaker you have the controls on also has an input and headphone output for a really good feature. The headphone connection is a common one on speakers and systems but the input is not and is really nice for using an MP3 player like the Sansa View.

The powered control speaker is a touch screen with LED readout for volume, which equalizer setting the speaker system is on and bass adjustment. The equalizer has five settings; Flat, Jazz, Rock, Classic and Pop but a couple just don’t sound right like Flat or Pop. Classical setting puts a lot of bass while Jazz seems just right to me, but that is just my opinion, you can select which you like.

The Bass adjustment is a nice feature but is found on most decent subwoofers, just not one that is a digital control; it is usually a dial on the back of the subwoofer. But on the Genius 1800 it is right up front for convenient adjustment while you have the set in place where you want it instead of having to reach around the back of the subwoofer after it’s in position.

The subwoofer is a large pressed wood box with a plastic back that has the two circuit boards attached, one for the power and the other the controls and audio circuit. The audio circuit has a nice large heat sink for the power transistors on the audio circuit board so there will be no overheating with this subwoofer.

The subwoofer is a 6 inch 30 watt 3 ohm speaker with the usual placement in the subwoofer wooden box as well as the added cardboard tube for the reflex port. The bass is nice from this subwoofer and has plenty of power for floor thumping sound when you’re using your Genius 1800 speaker system.

One feature I like is the fact that the wires and cables come off the subwoofer so when you move the subwoofer around there is nothing attached to it. The two satellite speakers have a two inch speaker under the cloth covered front and there are some control stuff for the touch screen and LED panel on the right speaker.

The two speakers are attached to each other and have a 15 pin VGA connector that connects the cable onto the subwoofer while the audio cable has the 3.5mm stereo end. Setting up the system is as easy as placing the units, connecting the power cable into the subwoofer and a wall outlet and plugging in the 3.5mm stereo plug to your PC, MP3 player or other audio source.

The subwoofer has a power switch on the back to shut off power to the whole set and the right speaker has a touch switch to turn off the set. Adjusting the volume, changing the equalizer or adjusting the bass is simply a touch and swipe of the finger but I have found I sometimes will push the speaker a bit too hard. I often apply enough pressure to get the touch slide control to register but a few times I push too hard and start to push the speaker.

The speaker control also has a mute button that is handy but the input is what I like for that quick connection to another source on the side. The headphone connection and the input is a regular stereo 3.5mm jack and allows you the added connections for your home entertainment.

The base of the right satellite speaker could be a bit heavier but this was the only problem I found with using the Genius 2.1 1800 speaker system. I really enjoy using the speaker system and have to say I am very impressed with the sound and quality of the system especially the audio performance.

I highly recommend the Genius SW-T2.1 Touch 2.1 Speaker System for a great set of 2.1 channel speakers with volume, equalizer and bass adjustment. The simple touch adjustment is a nice added feature along with all the others for a great buy for your home theatre, game console or computer.

Drupal 7 Integrates Advanced Open Source CMS Features

 

Drupal.org launched the latest, much delayed version of Drupal 7 with a simple press release and a promise that the content management system (CMS) is ready to compete with medium to enterprise software systems under its upgraded framework. As part of the roll-out Drupal.org, its members, software integrators and customers participated in a choreographed 300 event, 95 country launch party roll-out.
The launch of Drupal 7 has opened the door for integration of enterprise software systems and Enterprise 2.0 needs of CIO’s . The open source project has already created ripples within medium and large sized web development rollouts. According to Drupal.org the latest CMS (DNN .net CMS) incarnation offers highly scalable and secure web design solutions with dramatically reduced maintenance and time costs.

Some of the advanced features of Drupal 7 are:
– Support for RDFa the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) recommendation for embedding XHTML medata within documents as a technological building block for the semantic web.
– Updated error, security and testing frameworks with over 30,000 automated tests.
– Drupal now boasts advanced caching, master/slave replication
– Administrators and editors now have updated WYSIWIG editor and Admin panels
– Developers now have the Content Construction Kit (CCK) as a part of Drupal 7.

Dries Buytaert, creator of Drupal and founder of Acquia in November estimated the total amount of all websites running Drupal was in the millions. Drupal web design examples include Whitehouse.gov, NPR.org, Examiner.com, Brown University and Chicago Public Media among many others.

For more information:
– see the Drupal 7 press release
– see the Drupal 7 information page

Productivity Software: A Comparative

 

There are many types of productivity software that one can use for such things as text documents, spreadsheets and presentations. Right now Microsoft Office is the most popular in business and even for personal use. The main reason for this is that Microsoft Office comes with many pc’s when you buy the computer.
This does not necessarily make it the only productivity software that’s any good or by any means the best. There are several other options out there for the person who either wants it all or wants it cheap. There are even some productivity software that are completely free for use by anyone. Others are comparable in price to Microsoft office but have the same or even more features.

Choosing the right productivity software for you is a personal choice (like how I choosed my Toad Diaries) and will depend on what you need if for, what features you want included and how much you want to pay. If you’re in business your productivity software needs will be different than someone who just needs to keep a checkbook and write some letters. This paper will offer you some options and help you make an informed decision.

Firefox – Browser

1. Many add ons and tools to choose from.

2. Favorites are easier to use and more organized.

3. Open source.

4. Free.

Safari – Browser

1. Favorites are easier to use and more organized.

2. Faster browsing.

3. Toolbars take up less space so you have a larger viewing area.

4. Free.

Word Perfect – Word Processor

1. Full feature suite, just like Office, comes with spreadsheet, presentations and email.

2. PDF tools.

3. Microsoft Office compatible.

4. Templates and advice built in.

OpenOffice – Word Processor

1. Free and open source.

2.Very easy to use tools that pop up when you need them. Like this table tool for instance.

3. Backgrounds, rulers, bullets, themes and sounds.

4. Free PDF conversion.

Microsoft Works – Word Processor

1. Free

2. No fancy graphics editor like Word, but good enough for me to write this paper.

Lotus – Spreadsheet

1.Voice activated templates.

2. @ functions make problem solving easier.

3. Simple summarizing by just typing in words such as “total”, “average”, “maximum”.

OpenOffice – Spreadsheet

1. Free and open source.

2. Does everything Excel does.

3. Backgrounds, rulers, bullets, themes and sounds.

4. Free PDF conversion.

Prezi -Presentation

1. Free.

2. Point amp; click, drag amp; drop. Very easy to use.

OpenOffice – Presentation

1. Free and open source.

2. Templates.

3. Easy to add charts.

4. Slide designer.

Does Microsoft Office 2007 Justify the Cost

When I compare the cost of Microsoft Office to the cost of OpenOffice there is just no way for me to justify the cost. OpenOffice, after all, is free and does at least as much as Microsoft Office does. For someone who is looking for productivity software for their own personal use I would say OpenOffice would be the way to go.

If, however, you are in business and you often find yourself sending documents to other people, you may want to invest in Microsoft Office. Not only because of the compatibility factor but also for convenience. If you were to use another type of software for your documents you would have the need to convert them before sending them to other people. This can become a cumbersome and weary task.

There are, of course other options out there. One of the best spreadsheet software on the market is Lotus 1-2-3. It includes some features Excel does not such as it’s speech enabled templates (Lotus 1-2-3, Features, 2010) . If you’re going to use the spreadsheets for your own personal use, this may be one to consider, although it’s not cheaper than Microsoft Office.

There’s also the free online option of Google Documents. Since it’s free this makes it a good option for home and school use. Since it’s online it’s easy to take with you places. You don’t even need to download it to a flash drive, although you will need Internet access. Free and online are it’s benefits, but it has it downside too, it’s not as advanced as Microsoft Office by any means. There are many features that are missing.

Compatibility Challenges When Using Different Products

Often times people choose to use one type of software and then realize that the person they are sending the document to will not be able to read their document because they have a different type of software. This happens often with text documents, images, spreadsheets and others. For the purpose of this paper I will discuss compatibility issues with text documents.

If I were to write a document using Word and then open the document in a plain text editor I would see a bunch of code, that’s no good to me at all. If I were to write my document in OpenOffice and then try to open it in Word it may look fine, if it’s a basic document. On the other hand, if any tables, graphics or extra features were used, it may look distorted. There is a way to create a document in OpenOffice and save it as a .doc file, but even that does not guarantee that the document will look right.

Another issue may be that a font you may choose to use in one text software may not be available in the other software. Or a graphic, such as a divider, emoticon or other type of clip art, may not show up. Your tables may be wider or longer than you wanted them to be.

Printing is also an issue. If some of the other things on your pages are not lined up correctly on this other software, your documents may print wrong. You may have some pages that print with just one line of words, or only an image.

It’s always good to find out what software your reader is using and then test your document in that software before sending. Make any changes as necessary so that you don’t end up looking like you don’t know how to format a document correctly.

Memo Example – Page One (To Staff)

To: Ahmed Kandil

From: Linda Roeder

CC: Introduction to Information Systems Students

Date: Aug 14, 2010

Subject: Software Products to Use In the Home, Office and School

I would like to take this opportunity to discuss with you which software products I feel are best to use when working at home, in the office or at school. Many people use Microsoft Office, mostly due to the fact that the demo comes with their computer so it’s the software that they’re most familiar with. This does not necessarily make it the best software available, although it is very good.

My feeling is that if you are looking for productivity software to use at work, Microsoft Office is your best bet. The main reason I say this is that since most people are using it, it’s to your benefit to use software that it easily readable by everyone. That being said, if you are to use other software, most let you save in .doc format anyway, so you can create in a different software and then send or save in .doc format.

As for school, it’s come to my attention that a lot of schools in my area are using Mac computers. Perhaps they’re getting a good discount, I’m not really sure. Maybe Mac will be the wave of the future. I hear from Mac users that they are easy to use and less buggy than Windows

Memo Example – Page Two

To: Ahmed Kandil

From: Linda Roeder

CC: Introduction to Information Systems Students

Date: Aug 14, 2010

Subject: Software Products to Use In the Home, Office and School

based pc’s. I would recommend using whatever your particular school favors for your productivity software. This way you have no conflict when handing in papers.

Home based productivity software is another subject all together. Since you are using it for your own personal use and don’t have to worry about other people using what you wrote, you can use whatever you like. If you want something secure that you can access anywhere I would recommend using Google Documents. Your documents will be saved online and you can get to them from anywhere you have Internet access.

On the other hand Google Documents is still a bit limited in what it can do. If you need more than just the basics for your documents then I would recommend using OpenOffice. First off, it’s free, this is a big plus when you’re on a budget. Secondly, like Microsoft Office, it has all sorts of features and tools. OpenOffice can be used to do anything Microsoft Office can do.