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Turn Your Netbook into an Android Device with Android x86

Got an ASUS Eee PC netbook lying around gathering dust? Thanks to the Android x86 project, you can turn it into a neat little device running the latest version 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich of the Android OS. Installing Android x86 on a regular netbook is not just a geeky way to kill time. If you want to check out the latest version of Android, and you don't feel like forking out for the latest smartphone or tablet, you can repurpose your old netbook as an Android testing platform. If you already have an Android device, but you don't want to go through the rigmarole of rooting it, running Android x86 on a netbook (or as a virtual machine using either Oracle VirtualBox or QEMU virtualization software) provides a perfect solution to the problem.

Epic giveaway: one Excito B3 for one of our readers!

We at Free Software Magazine are excited to announce our very first giveaway. And we are doing so with a fantastic, invaluable free software product: the Excito B3. Yes, you can win a great Excito B3 and enjoy your new server.

Winning is easy: it will take very little of your time, and some creativity.

Last call for the 2012 Cascadia IT Conference!

The League of Professional System Administrators and the Seattle Area System Administrators Guild are proud to present the 2012 Cascadia IT Conference. Cascadia 2012 is a regional IT conference for all types of system administrators – computer, database, network, SAN, VMware, etc. It will take place on March 23 – 24th (Fri – Sat) of 2012 at Hotel DECA in Seattle’s University District.

The Completely Blank Xfce Desktop

The Xfce desktop environment comes with Xubuntu and is also available in the Xfce versions of Linux Mint, Fedora and other Linux distributions. Using Xfce, you can easily set up a highly functional but completely blank desktop - no icons, no menus, nothing. Just a blank screen or a favourite wallpaper, ideal for the user who hates distractions or loves simplicity. Here's how to do it.

The Research Works Act (RWA): why Scientific Publishing needs FOSS Methods

I'm sure I don't need to explain SOPA or ACTA to regular readers of Free Software Magazine. They're toxic. End of. But RWA? It stands for Research Works Act. It's not the big sexy beast of the other two but it is, in its way, just as insidious and as harmful to the freedom of scientific publishing as SOPA and ACTA are to internet freedom and it's all interconnected. Here's why.

Upload Photos to Wikimedia Commons with Commonist

Sharing is caring, and there is probably no better way to share your photographic masterpieces with the world than adding them to the Wikimedia Commons pool. While Wikimedia Commons features its own web-based tool for uploading photos, a dedicated tool like Commonist can come in rather handy when you need to upload multiple photos in one fell swoop.

Practical guide to TCP Syn Port scanner from SecPoint

Do you know if your server or your home computer has unnecessary ports open to the internet? These days most of the people have multiple devices which are constantly connected to the internet; each and every device comes with many services with open ports running quietly in the background. The user might not even have an idea of those services running, but the open ports often open new possibilities of threats from the outside world.

The tool portscanner created by Secpoint comes to the rescue: see how.

Create a radio station in five minutes with Airtime 2.0 on Ubuntu or Debian

Airtime is the GPLv3 broadcast software for scheduling and remote station management. It supports both soundcard output to a transmitter, and direct streaming to an Icecast or SHOUTcast server. Web browser access to the station's media archive, multi-file upload and automatic metadata import features are coupled with a collaborative on-line scheduling calendar and playlist management. The scheduling calendar is managed through an easy-to-use interface and triggers playout with sub-second precision.

Book Review: Introducing Character Animation with Blender, 2nd Edition by Tony Mullen

This is the Blender 2.5 update to Mullen's very successful book on character animation. Since Blender 2.5 introduced a fairly dramatic change in interface design, this is a very useful update. This is a thick and extremely dense book that covers character animation from start to finish.

Python Scripting in Blender: A Piece of Pie - Part 1

Since script extensions are going to be a part of our toolchain on creating Lunatics, I thought it would be a good idea to familiarize myself with how scripts are created and run in Blender. As a learning project, I decided to create a script for creating 3D pie charts from CSV data files. My first task is to write this for Blender 2.49 using the API for Python 2.6. This is the version documented in the Python Scripting book from Packt that I recently reviewed, so it's a good place for me to start.

Book Review: Character Development in Blender 2.5 by Jonathan Williamson

Jonathan Williamson is established in the Blender community as an instructor for the Blender Cookie tutorial website. So it probably comes as no surprise that he should write an instructional book on using Blender. This one is an impressive work, and despite a relatively high price, may be worth your time if you want a thorough introduction to designing and modeling characters in Blender.

How to kill movie piracy: charge $1 for movies, and 50c for episodes

Movie piracy is the next big thing. The RIAA is quickly realising that their reputation is nearly beyond unrecoverable, after taking to court single mums, dead people, and children. In the meantime, in Australia they are having secret meetings to try and work out a way to prevent movie privacy. The solution is simple: to kill movie privacy, allow people to download movies, make it cheap, and make it easy. Yes it's hard. But yes, it's rewarding.

Is GNU/Linux just not cool anymore?

Software is becoming less and less important. Most people today just don't care about what software they use, what operating system they run, or who is behind the pretty screens they see. What they want, is something that works. Or, better, anything that works. This shift caused a series of changes which shook the whole industry. One of them amongst them: are GNU/Linux and free software in general just not cool anymore? Google Trends gives some interesting answers.

Book Review: Annie's CS101 by Dmitry Zinoviev

The full title is "Annie's CS101, A Charting Approach to Computer Programming." This is an interesting approach to an introductory programming course -- the target is for younger learners (although not children), and it focuses on the thought process behind conceiving of a programming problem and solving it. The language of instruction is Python, although this is not really a Python book.

Book Review: Machinima by Matt Kelland, Dave Morris, and Dave Lloyd

If you're wondering what machinima is, this book is a good starting point. If you're wondering what machinima is likely to be capable of and what its history has been like, then you'll likewise find it very useful. If you are looking for a how-to or tutorial on making your own machinima, then you'll find this book disappointing. It's basically a highly-illustrated "coffee table book" about the machinima artform.

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