Convert DOCX To DOC On A Mac (OSX)

One of the developments of Microsoft Office 2007 was the introduction of the Office Open XML file format for Word Documents (extension is .docx), presentations etc. One of my clients has apparently upgraded in recent days as the new attachments I receive are all .docx, unreadable on the Mac in Office 2004, OpenOffice, any way you look at it.

None of the online converters I tried seemed to be working (one wanted a “lifetime” fee of US$5 to access to a conversion tool). Microsoft, on the other hand, released a beta converter for OSX that will convert your unreadable .docx documents to DOC / RTF format allowing them to be opened and edited. Via Microsoft…

Microsoft Office Open XML File Format Converter for Mac 0.2.1 (Beta)

This version of the converter extends the expiration date for this beta release.

This version of the converter can convert the following Open XML file formats:

  • Word Document (*.docx)
  • Word Macro-Enabled Document (*.docm)
  • PowerPoint Presentation (*.pptx)
  • PowerPoint Show (*.ppsx)
  • PowerPoint Template (*.potx)

The converter is a Beta release, and might be unable to convert all the data in Open XML files. After you convert a file, you should review the file carefully to make sure that it contains all of the information that you expect. For a complete list of known issues, install and open the converter, and then on the Help menu, click Office Converter Help.

This Beta release expires on December 31, 2008.

As converters go, it does exactly what it says on the tin. It installs with ease into your Applications folder then works on a drag-and-drop basis i.e. drag your unreadable document onto the app window and presto, one readable and workable document. You can find it by clicking here.

Keeping The XP Machine Rolling

Windows VistaIt looks like HP and Dell are going to continue shipping XP machines well past the June 30 expiry date, both manufacturers making use of “downgrade rights” offered as part of the Windows Vista license agreement.

While new XP orders will phase out from mid-June this year, new customers will be able to pick up Vista machines, pre-downgraded to XP on request, a practice I’ve seen many people make use of since Vista was unleashed on the public.

Barring the look and feel of the Vista interface, I’ve still not spoken with someone thoroughly happy with XP’s successor as a choice of operating system.

However, come June this will apply only to those ordering machines in the Windows Vista Business or Ultimate Edition specs as standard home models can’t be downgraded. The upside is, if you do decide to upgrade to Vista at any point after your purchase, the upgrade is already catered and paid for.

I’ll be weening myself off XP before the end of the year as it is. I’ve no intention at all of upgrading to Vista and with the purchase of the N95 now out of the way, the next target on the list is a new iMac for the house. The Mac Pro is just a little too far out of budget for the moment…

WordPress 2.5 Is Live And Wild (Plus Popularity Contest Notes)

Update April 5th: Download patched version of plugin here.. Note you’ll still need to make the database changes if you don’t have the tables already in place.

The long awaited WordPress 2.5 has been released. In fairness, some of the advances in WP2.5 are as great that it could well have been labelled WordPress 3.0 but who’s to argue with version numbers.

Before rolling out upgrades across a number of my own blogs and blogs I manage for others, I’ve been doing the precautionary thing of testing WP2.5 locally with a variety of homemade themes and some of my regular plugins.

Plugin Issues

So far I’ve only found an issue with with Alex King‘s Popularity Contest plugin – if you try to activate the plugin under WP2.5, for the moment, you’ll see it triggers a fatal error. This can be fixed as outlined here

Open popularity-contest.php and scroll down to line 59. Replace require(’../../wp-blog-header.php’); with require(’../wp-blog-header.php’);

However, in running the plugin locally I found that after making the changes in order to get the plugin to activate, it wouldn’t create the two tables needed in order to run, so these had to be entered manually (via phpMyAdmin). To create the tables, you’ll need to run the following SQL queries.

`post_id` int(11) NOT NULL,
`total` int(11) NOT NULL,
`feed_views` int(11) NOT NULL,
`home_views` int(11) NOT NULL,
`archive_views` int(11) NOT NULL,
`category_views` int(11) NOT NULL,
`single_views` int(11) NOT NULL,
`comments` int(11) NOT NULL,
`pingbacks` int(11) NOT NULL,
`trackbacks` int(11) NOT NULL,
`last_modified` datetime,
KEY `post_id` (`post_id`)

CREATE TABLE IF NOT EXISTS `PREFIX_ak_popularity_options` (
`option_name` varchar(50) NOT NULL,
`option_value` varchar(50) NOT NULL

Note that PREFIX refers to your WordPress table prefix, in most common cases it is simply wp_ unless you’ve got multiple copies of WordPress running in the same database.

Initial Impression

Love it. I downloaded the latest SVN version only yesterday in the office though never got around to playing with it (of course not knowing the full release would hit today). The admin interface is much smoother, I’m liking the customisable dashboard (I used to edit the admin index and strip out everything bar the ‘write a post’ link and stats) and the overall colour scheme is much more appealing. I was never a visual editor user before (and won’t change in a hurry), but I do like the changes they’ve made, including the full screen option for those intensive blogging moments.

I’ll have a full play around with the gallery / media functions yet as well as making sure my other preferred plugins (sitemaps, podpress etc.) are all up to working order before doing a widescale upgrade.

You can download the latest version of WordPress 2.5 right here. You can also see a full list of new features right here.

Antitrust To Cost Microsoft Another €899m

MicrosoftFour years ago Microsoft were fined €497m (as in million) by the European Commission, the company at the time ordered to release key parts of it’s Windows code to other developers. In 2006, the company were fined a further €280m. Today it emerges they’ve been stung for a staggering (in lay mans terms) sum of €899m, the EC finding Microsoft guilty of not handing over code and breaking an EU anti-trust ruling.

The sum equates to $1.4bn which works out at what, around 3.5% give-or-take of the total offered in Microsoft’s proposal to take over Yahoo? At the very least it would pay for a B2 bomber.

Whatever way you look at it, it’s still a huge chunk of cash to pay out, though I’m certainly interested in where this €899m will wind up. How about €899m worth of free software for schools in Europe?

In the press this morning, however, one might draw the idea that Microsoft would be challenging the imposed fine as they see it relating to issues resolved in the past.

We are reviewing the Commission’s action. The Commission announced in October 2007 that Microsoft was in full compliance with the 2004 decision, so these fines are about the past issues that have been resolved,” the company said in a statement. As we demonstrated last week with our new interoperability principles and specific actions to increase the openness of our products, we are focusing on steps that will improve things for the future,” the company said. (via)

You think the EU could step in and ask Apple to check their currency conversion rates at all?

This morning’s press release attributes the €899m fine to Microsoft having “charged unreasonable prices for access to interface documentation for work group servers“.

Check here for history on the antitrust case with Microsoft.

Failed To Locate Reason Engine, Exiting

If you’re having problems accessing Reason 3.0.5 on an Intel Mac after installation and you’re getting the message “failed to locate reason engine, exiting”, every time you try to launch, the likely reason is that your ReWire folder has been set to read only.

You’ll need to change the permissions on the folder to “Read & Write” in order to launch Reason in ReWire mode.

To do this…

  1. Open a Finder window.
  2. Browse your hard drive, going to Library > Application Support > Propellerhead Software.
  3. Control-Click on the ReWire folder and select “Get Info”.
  4. Scroll to the end of the info window and extend the “Ownership & Permissions” (small triangle to the left).
  5. Change the permissions in “you can” to “Read & Write”.

If you can’t change permissions, or the box is greyed out, you’ll need to change the owner (or I did anyway). The default is set to ‘system’, click the lock beside the Owner dropdown and select your username from the menu. You’ll see the permissions box is no longer greyed out. Click the lock to prevent further changes on ownership and set the permissions to “Read & Write”.

Go back to wherever you dragged your original Reason Adapted 3 folder to (I stuck mine in Applications) and launch Reason, problem free.

Remote Desktop Mac To PC (Windows)

I picked up the Microsoft Remote Desktop Connection Client for Mac last week and immediately thought ‘where have you been all my life’.

Connecting to the PC (or any number of PC’s) is a breeze, entering the machine name or IP address on the network, you’re pretty much good to go. The majority of my remote desktop work comes with managing an Apache install on a windows box in the office. Since I upgraded the RAM in my Macbook Pro a few months back I’ve been doing the majority of my office work on the laptop. Yet every time I want to make changes on the server I’m logging into another PC, remoting into the server PC (no physical display unit) and then going back to the Mac.

Not any more says he.

It is a beta product, and it does expire at the end of next March but it does exactly what it says on the tin and means I’m doing less moving around the office to get simple server changes done.

The DMG installer is about 4mb, give it a whirl if you’re a Mac user looking for a remote desktop connection to a Windows based PC.

Beta Release Of Vista Service Pack 1? Full Release November?

It looks possible that next week will see the beta release of the long-awaited Windows Vista Service Pack 1. I know I certainly won’t be downloading it anyway as a) my beta copy of Vista kicked the bucket about two weeks ago (or possibly before that, its been a while since I booted into Vista) and b) my experience with Vista to date hasn’t done anything at all to put a smile on my face.

Great detail on ZDNet from Sunday on the Vista SP1 beta launch. It will certainly be “more about fixes than new features”, thats true.

Leopard will be my next upgrade, looking forward to that!

Mac OS X 10.4.10 Update – Wha?

There’s something I wasn’t expecting to see – another update to OSX before the release of Leopard later this year. Not only that but the 50 meg update (10.4.10) brings up version ten of my preferred OS.

Mac OS X TigerThere’s improvements made in the handling and mounting of external USB drives, new RAW support for Leica users and those shooting the budget Nikon D40x, the problem with random frames being dropped on a DV cam import is fixed and there’s a few ‘security’ upgrades in there as well. Doesn’t seem all that long ago since 10.4.9 and I would have thought that the next logical step was 10.5 but I guess Apple can do what they like with version numbers – who said they have to stop at 9!

Update to Mac OS X 10.4.10 now.

And So We Wait For Leopard

Daw mentioned it yesterday in a blog post and I hadn’t heard anything else online until digging about this morning. Disappointingly, Leopard (Mac OS 10.5) has been postponed until October, to coincide with the release of the iPhone.

According to Cellphones etc.

The main reason for the delay is that Apple had to reassign key software personnel from the Leopard to work on the iPhone, an even much-more anticipated product from Apple.


Both myself and John have been looking forward to Leopard’s release which I had thought would be fairly soon, or should have been at least, and it will likely be Christmas at this stage before I make the upgrade on the Macbook Pro. At least it isn’t at Microsoft level with the ever increasing delays in OS releases. Should the iPhone and Leopard hit the market on the same day it’ll be a good coup for Apple. Looking forward to the new desktops and upgrades to

And so we play the waiting game….