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Business

‘mPassport Seva’ Application From Ministry of External Affairs

passport-topA passport is mandatory whenever someone is going on a trip abroad. But since last few years, many people who don’t have immediate plan of going abroad are also applying for passport. The major reason behind this is that passport is being used as Identification Document while applying for many government and private services. Till few years back applying for passport was a nightmare for a common citizen as the process was very time taking due to various reasons. To make the process fast and easy, Government of India launched ‘Passport Seva Project’ in 2010 on Public Private Partnership model with Tata Consultancy Services. This brought down delivery time of passport from months to weeks due to process optimization and use of technology.

Passport Seva website (http://www.passportindia.gov.in) is the official website of Consular, Passport & Visa Division of Ministry of External Affairs, Government of India which is maintained by Tata Consultancy Services. Division has also launched a mobile application ‘mPassport Seva’ few months back to expand the reach to more citizens. The application is very useful considering the fact that it is being launched by a government department.

passport-android-1 passport-android-2

There are five sections of the application as below –

  • General Information
    – This section is having information about applying for passport on the website and ‘Passport Seva Kendra’
  • Locate Centre
    – Passport Seva Kendra
    – District Passport Cell
    – Police Station
    – Mission/Post Abroad
    – Passport Office
  • Fee Calculator
    – This section provides application fee information depending upon various factors like fresh or renewal, age, normal/tatkal etc.
  • Status Tracker
    – This is most useful section which allows tracking of passport application as well as the RTI application in relation to the passport
  • Contact Us
    – Information about the Toll Free call center number of Passport Seva

As of now the application is available only for Android mobile phones. Overall the application is good. The application works in full screen mode which hides the notification bar; this is one minor downside of the app. 

Download Links

Download ‘mPassport Seva’ from Google Play

Passport Seva Website

Categories
Business

Kingsoft Office For Linux Added Pivot Table Function In New Update Along With English Website

kingsoft-featured

Kingsoft Office for Linux has got a new version update recently from Alpha 10 to Alpha 11. I introuduced Kingsoft Office (or WPS Office as it is called in China) to Appdunia readers in one of my previous post. Kingsoft Office is a good alternative of MS Office if you are using any distribution of Linux operating system. Apart from the update, new website for Kingsoft Office for Linux has also been launched in English language for international users. Until now there was a website in Chinese language.

One big feature of version Alpha 11 is added support for Pivot Table function. Major changes are as below –

  • Supported PivotTable function in Kingsoft Spreadsheets
  • Improved font matching under Linux
  • Improved appearance of the English interface
  • Disable option for online templates auto-start page
  • Various bug fixes

New version of Kingsoft Office for Linux can be downloaded from newly launched WPS International Community website in English. By launching an international website in English it is evident that Kingsoft software company from China wants to spread its reach. The website has Download page, FAQ page along with a Forum to discuss about the office suite.

Download Links –

Download from Kingsoft WPS Community International Website

Download DEB package for Ubuntu and other Debian based distribution

Download RPM package for Fedora/openSUSE and other RPM based distribution

Download TAR package for any other Linux distribution

Read more about Kingsoft Office for Linux

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Business

SoftMaker FreeOffice For Linux And Windows

SoftMaker-FreeOffice-Top

When we think of Office Suite, the first thing which comes to our mind is MS Office. There is no doubt about usability and functionality of MS Office but it is a paid software from Microsoft. Also, there is no version available for Linux. When we think about available alternatives, the most common are OpenOffice and its fork LibreOffice. Last month, I wrote about Kingsoft(WPS) Office  which has been  recently launched for Linux. One reader commented on this post mentioning about one another Office Suite called SoftMaker Office. 

SoftMaker Office is a product of SoftMaker Software GmbH, a software development company based in Germany. According to their website they are developing office software since their inception in 1987. There are two versions of office suite from SoftMaker; first is SoftMaker Office which is paid and second is SoftMaker FreeOffice which, as implied by the name, is free. Let’s keep our focus on FreeOffice as this is what you will be interested much about.

SoftMaker-FreeOffice-TextMaker

I downloaded SoftMaker FreeOffice for both Ubuntu and Windows and I have not noticed any difference till date. As like Kingsoft Office, there are three applications in the office suite as below –

  • TextMaker – MS Word alternative for word processing
  • PlanMaker – MS Excel alternative for working with spreadsheets
  • Presentations – MS PowerPoint alternative for making presentations

All three applications are good to use, best part being the compatibility with MS Office. I have opened some fairly complex documents created in MS Office 2010 and SoftMaker FreeOffice displayed these documents almost as it is. In some cases, it was more compatible with MS Office in comparison of Kingsoft Office. Although user interface of Kingsoft Office is much better and beautiful.

SoftMaker-FreeOffice-PlanMaker

Main features of SoftMaker FreeOffice are as below –

  • Can open and save .doc/.xls/.ppt files with great compatibility 
  • Can open .docx/.xlsx/.pptx files (For saving you need SoftMaker Office paid version)
  • SmartText – option for creating abbreviations for most used texts i.e. type ASAP for As Soon As Possible
  • Export to PDF
  • Track Changes
  • Comprehensive drawing and image functions
  • On-the-fly Spell checker as you type 
  • More than 330 calculation functions
  • 70 different Excel compatible charts
  • Unicode enabled
  • Work with documents in all languages of the world

SoftMaker-FreeOffice-Presentations

I am not able to use SoftMaker FreeOffice for much longer time but so far I found it good. It’s good to know that now there are more options for working with Office Suite applications specially for Linux.

Download Links

Download SoftMaker FreeOffice for Windows

Download SoftMaker FreeOffice for Linux

SoftMaker FreeOffice Website (Free Version)

SoftMaker Office Website (Paid Version)

 

Categories
Business

Kingsoft(WPS) Office – Best MS Office Alternative for Linux

Kingsoft-office-iconsWeb Browser and Office Suite are two most used applications on every computer. For Linux users there is not much trouble finding a web browser as Mozilla Firefox and Google Chrome are available on all major Linux distributions. But situation is not as good for Office Suite. MS Office has versions for both Windows and Mac but unfortunately not for Linux. OpenOffice and LibreOffice are the main office suite alternative available for Linux. Few years back, Open Office was having good compatibility  with MS Office version 2003. But things got changed with release of MS Office 2007 by Microsoft. It came with Ribbon interface and new .docx/.xlsx/.pptx extensions which were not compatible with OpenOffice. Later in year 2010, Sun (main sponsor of OpenOffice) got acquired by Oracle  and development of OpenOffice almost halted because most developers left OpenOffice to develop LibreOffice.

LibreOffice developers have introduced many new features since then but with every new release of MS Office compatibility got reduced. Now MS Office 2013 and 365 versions are available but files created using these are not compatible with LibreOffice 4, the newest version of LibreOffice. When you try to open MS Office created files with LibreOffice, formatting of the document is totally screwed up unless the document is pretty basic. Even I prefer to use Linux (Ubuntu) but just because of MS Office I have installed Windows 7 side by side as I need to work with complex documents and spreadsheets.

Kingsoft-Writer

Fortunately, few days back I discovered one new Office Suite for Linux called Kingsoft Office. Actually calling it new will not be appropriate as Kingsoft is one of the oldest software company based in China. Kingsoft has developed its first Word Processing System based upon DOS even before first release of Microsoft Office. Till now Kingsoft was actively developing Office Suites for Windows and Android but recently they have started developing new version for  Linux. In China, Kingsoft Office is known by name of WPS Office.

I downloaded Kingsoft Office on my Ubuntu powered laptop and found it pretty good. There are three applications in the suite as below –

  • Kingsoft Writer –  MS Word alternative
  • Kingsoft Spreadsheet – MS Excel alternative
  • Kingsoft Presentation – MS PowerPoint alternative

Kingsoft-Spreadsheet

Kingsoft Office is very much compatible with new versions of MS Office. I tried to open many .docx and .xlsx files in Kingsoft Office, and I can say that compatibility is around 95% even for the complex documents. Best part is that the user interface of Kingsoft Office is very similar to MS Office including the Ribbon interface. In fact, you can think of Kingsoft Office almost a clone of MS Office. This will reduce the learning curve for the new users who have recently migrated from Windows to Linux. One more useful feature is that multiple documents can be opened in Tabs so there is no need of switching between multiple windows.

Kingsoft-Presentation

As of now Kingsoft Office for Linux is in Alpha version so there are few limitations and there could be some bugs as well. Some limitations which I have observed so far are –

  • No option for saving files in .docx for Writer and .pptx for Presentation, .xlsx is available for Spreadsheet. 
  • No support for opening or saving files in Open Document formats (.ods / .odt / .odp) which makes it incompatible to LibreOffice and OpenOffice
  • No option for inserting Pivot Table and Chart in Spreadsheet

We can hope that the current limitations will be addressed in next versions of Kingsoft Office for Linux. Even with these limitations, Kingsoft Office is very much usable and useful for every Linux user. At least, you can view the files created in MS Office in almost original format.

Download Links –

Download DEB package for Ubuntu and other Debian based distribution

Download RPM package for Fedora/openSUSE and other RPM based distribution

Download TAR package for any other Linux distribution

WPS Office for Linux Website (Chinese) 

Kingsoft Office Website (English)