End users

End users

Fun with Ubuntu - top ten next names, part 2

Last week I gave you half of my Top Ten Names for Ubuntu releases. As a reminder, they were: 'pissy porcupine', 'bitty bat', 'virtual viper', 'talky tortoise', and (my favorite) 'kinky kangaroo'. Now here are the rest. I do this, again, as a public service to Ubuntu, which can freely use these names as it sees fit (though a brand new laptop would be a most fitting 'gift' as a show of gratitude for my creative genius). Anyway... read em and weep! Oh, and you even get a bonus release.

Zesty zebra

Free Me: a DVD about free culture and free software

A DVD that comes with lots of great examples of Free Culture which plays in your DVD player, with even more examples when you put it in your computer – including a GNU/Linux Live CD. The idea is simple: help to get the word out about Free Culture, including Free Software, by showing off what's already been achieved; the thing is, we need your help!

Wengophone getting ready for round 2(.1)

Update: March 12th, 2007: The 2.1 RC1 is officially out. Go get it

With voice and video calls, file transfer capability and support for almost every instant messaging system on the planet, Wengophone candidates itself as the main free software competitor to Skype. With the 2.0 release, a pretty unstable, beta quality release, they failed the first attempt. What about the second?

OpenOffice.org and mail merge: how to suppress the Address2 line

Mail merges are a great way to save time, since they pull information from the same fields, over and over again with each new record in your database. There’s only one problem—all records aren’t created equal; they don’t all have, or all need, the same fields. This article solves that perpetual problem with labels. If you’re already familiar with the problem, you can go straight to the solution entitled: Suppressing blank lines with sections step by step.

The problem of blank [Address2] lines

The simplest way to make databases in OpenOffice.org

Do you need to make a database, but fear it’s too much of a pain or you don’t have the right tools? Don’t worry: it’s easy, free, and useful, too. Use the free OpenOffice.org office suite to get your data in shape for mail merges, queries, or useful analysis of your business data.

What’s the point of making a database?

Generating cool fractals

Whether you are a professional or amateur scientist, engineer or mathematician, if you need to make numerical calculations and plots quickly and easily, then PDL (Perl Data Language) is certainly one of the best free software tools to use. PDL has everything that similar high-level, proprietary, numerical calculation languages (like IDL or MATLAB) have. And it certainly comes with all the features you would expect to have in a numerical calculation package.

Making waves with Audacity

For me there is nothing quite as relaxing as the sounds of the beach. The slow crashing of waves and the gentle lapping of water in the tide pools really helps me find my inner calm. Of course, I could do without the smell of rotting fish carcasses, the constantly screeching gulls and the looming threat of melanoma. So I decided to create my own virtual beach experience using some free sound clips from the internet and the free software package called Audacity. I’ve got all the relaxation without the annoying dead fish, dive bombing birds and sunburn.


Dual-booting Kubuntu and Windows

We have come to a cross-roads in the computer world today. Stick with the familiar Microsoft Windows, or try the stable, secure, but unfamiliar GNU/Linux-based operating systems that have recently started taking off. There are two big factors that stop most people from loading GNU/Linux onto their computer. The first is that they think they need to be a geek to install it. I admit that it is often hard to install something you’ve never had experience with. But with the right coaching, you can do it. Also, people think that you can’t run Windows if you have GNU/Linux (so they lose all their games and other important programs). However, it is actually possible to run Windows and GNU/Linux on the same computer. So what are you waiting for?

Gnome vs KDE

It appears this old argument is flaring up again. On Linux.com there was an article discussing some recent posts on the Linux Foundation's Desktop Architects mailing list: Christian Schaller suggested Linus Torvalds should try using Gnome for a month and then report back on his experiences at the forthcoming GAUDEC conference in the UK. Inspired by this I've decided to take up the challenge – all be it in the opposite direction (and I won't be reporting back at GAUDEC!).

Desktop diagramming with Dia and Kivio

Don't let the simplicity of use fool you. Both Kivio and Dia, two free software diagramming tools, are very efficient at what they do. If you need to design a complex flow chart or create a no-fuss UML diagram then you could do a lot worse than to choose either of these packages. The tools have 90% of the expected functionality with only 10% of the hassle and fuss that more complex and unnecessarily feature rich proprietary diagramming tools deliver. The learning curve is small and the end result is potentially professional.

Firewall Builder

Have you ever wanted to configure a personal firewall for your GNU/Linux box, but were scared of the complexity of iptables? Well, I might not be able to make you a security expert, but I can show you a tool that will help you to configure your personal firewall the easy way. The secret? Firewall Builder (also known as fwbuilder for short).

Burning CDs in GNOME

The GNOME desktop environment comes with a simple and single-minded CD burner application built into the Nautilus file manager (not dissimilar to what Microsoft bundles with Windows XP’s Windows Explorer and Vista’s Explorer) that can handle a lot of your file burning needs. But what do you do if you need more complex tasks done, like burning or ripping an ISO file, or creating an audio CD?

Christmas postcards with the GIMP

While I am still waiting for the information I need aboutthe legal issues of making MP3s out of your CDs,I didn't want to sit here in silence and eat all thepandoro I can get.So I'd like to help you create your own Christmas/New Year's card withthe GIMP

First of all, get a suitable image to work on. I had one handy: mychild in his bath with a foam beard that made him look so similar to Santa Claus.

Scaling your postcardScaling your postcard

Two views of the 3D desktop

Since my first exposure to an Apple ][ in sixth grade, I haveinteracted with computers primarily through a text-basedinterface. From my first `PR#6' command to this little journal entry(I tend to use Emacs for writing), I eschew fancy heavy-weightprograms in favor of the simplest program possible. (I know, I said Iuse Emacs. Within that contradiction is the essence of simplecomplexity. Substitute vi if you wish.)

Managing your iPod without iTunes

While iTunes is a powerful application, it does have its limitations, mostly stemming from both Digital Rights Management (DRM) restrictions and the Recording Industry Association of America’s (RIAA) interest in preventing unauthorized copying of music, regardless of fair use and personal flexibility. The free software community believes that the ability to freely copy content you own between your iPod and a computer is a right, not a privilege. In this article, I’ll discuss how to fully manage the content on your iPod using completely free software.

The lazy user’s guide to OpenOffice.org Writer

All hail the lazy, for they will find the most efficient way to work a computer in general, and a word processor in particular. In this article, I’ll look at three lazy writer’s tricks that can relieve you of most of the drudgery involved in creating a fairly large document in OpenOffice.org Writer (henceforth, OOo Writer or simply Writer).

Make the computer do most of the work


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