End users

End users

Poking at iTunes

One comment: No wireless. Less space than a nomad. Lame.

Rob “CmdrTaco” Malda introduced the iPod to the Slashdot crowd with a statement rivalled only by Bill Gates’ quip “640 KB should be enough for anybody”.

Since that post in 2001, Apple’s iPod quickly became one of the most successful products in consumer electronics history. While its success largely derives from its “hip” factor and stylish design, the iPod’s integration with the iTunes music application and the iTunes Music Store has made the device a favorite among music listeners.

Hard passwords made easy

In the online world, security plays a role in all online activities. Passwords are the most commonly used method to limit access to specific people. In my previous article I discussed assessing the relative value of systems protected by passwords, and grouping passwords across locations with similar trustworthiness.

In a nutshell, don’t bother creating and remembering strong passwords for low value systems, and certainly don’t use the same passwords for low value systems that you use in high value systems.

Smarter password management

Your dog’s name... your anniversary... your childrens’ initials, birthday, or birth weight... your favorite hobby, or the name of your boat. Which one do you use for your password? Network Administrators and hackers know that most people choose passwords like these to protect anything from logging into web-based bulletin boards to buying things online.

Mac OS X: Welcome to the jungle

If software platforms are habitats, the Mac OS X platform is surely the jungle.

Mac OS X is a modern Unix-based operating system that combines the classic Unix/X11 environment, a modern Java toolset and runtime, the classic Mac OS Carbon framework, and the NextStep-derivative Cocoa framework in an elegant and user-friendly operating environment. This diversity of strongly supported programming options, combined with Apple’s modern hardware and operating system, presents developers and users with a compelling platform for producing and using software packages.

The magic of live CDs

A “Live CD” is a bootable CD, which contains pre-configured software, this allows the user to be productive without accessing any other hard drives (unless the user wants to store information).

Why would anyone want to have to carry around a CD, rather than having a desktop or laptop computer, which is fully installed and ready to go?

The value brought by live CDs is not immediately obvious to the majority of users

Dialog Recording with Audacity and a USB Microphone

Home recording is not that hard or expensive to do, and Audacity provides a great tool for recording and editing dialog. I recently got the equipment together to do decent voice recording for our "Lunatics" video project. Total cost was under $150.00 for a condenser USB microphone system, and the sound is a tremendous improvement over my previous attempts. Now our biggest challenge is the room acoustics. So far, we're having a lot of fun recording dialog.

36 Free 3D Model Sites Compatible with Free Blender Animation Projects

Digging through "free" sites to sort the "free beer" from the "free speech" content is quite a chore. Many of the sites are not useful for free culture projects, and many make it very difficult to tell. Fortunately for you, I took notes! Here you will find 8 sites with free-licensed content, 8 more with licenses that you'll probably find acceptable for many projects, and 20 others that might be useful on some projects if you're not a purist. There are also 22 sites I have to warn you away from, because their terms are incompatible with use in free-licensed productions.

The next big thing in personal computing

As far as personal computing, there has been a strong shift, in the last few years, towards multimedia contents. It started with digital cameras in phones, around 2003, which is when people really started taking a lot pictures with their phones, and started using their computers to organise them. They also started using MP3 players, and having to manage their music. If pictures and music weren't big and cumbersome enough, people also started managing their movie libraries (even though today a lot of people give up and opt for a cheap satellite TV subscription from sites like http://www.saveontvdirect.com/) instead, as movies still are too big to manage for a lot of people...

Learning with TuxMath

Rote learning of "math facts" is one of the really dull aspects of grade-school mathematics. But if you can't recall them quickly, it can really hold you back even in higher mathematical disciplines, because it just slows you down. Luckily, you can find an algebra tutor or other resources to help with comprehension. My son's been struggling with this for some time now, with traditional solutions like flash cards just not working very well. With "Tux of Math Command", otherwise known as "TuxMath", though, he's making considerable progress at overcoming his "wall" with math. Homework times are getting shorter because his recall speed is getting much better with just one or two games a day -- an easy goal to reach because the games are actually fun (Seriously. I play it myself now and then).

Project Management: Apollo, Fengoffice, Projectpier, Basecamp... and the world changed

We are all accustomed to the concept of TODO lists. You might have a shopping list in your pocket right now, or a piece of paper in the shed with a list of things that need to be done around the garden. Or when you go to work in the morning, you might have a morning meeting where your team decides who does what. Or, like some, you might consider every email you receive as a TODO item.

Life -- personal life and working life -- seems to be an immense, endless TODO list. Or, worse, two or three or four TODO lists, probably racing into your head.

The Internet gave us Facebook, the biggest time waster since the invention of the television. Can the Internet also provide us with tricks to manage time properly, rather than wasting it?

Welcome to the world of project management software, a world started by the guys at Basecamp (proprietary) and then continued by free software projects like Fengoffice and then revolutionised by Apollo.

A great Blender tutorial: back to school with Blender

One of my projects this fall is to take advantage of online "Open Courseware" classes, for personal and professional development. In setting up my own curriculum, I came across a very nice find: a class on 3D modelling based on the (free software) Blender 3D modelling application. This class, offered by Tufts University in Boston (USA) is one of the most professionally delivered collections of tutorials I have yet seen, and I think it may well be the easiest way to approach Blender if you have no prior 3D modelling experience.

Mail merge in OpenOffice.org

The office where I am network administrator switched most users to OpenOffice.org (OOo) back at version 1.1, and has followed the upgrade process to the current version 2.3 (a few poor users who have to exchange documents outside the office with high fidelity are still clinging to their MS Office 97). Our receptionist does a lot of general secretarial duties, including lots of letters, envelopes, and labels that involve mail merge. Since this seems to be a sticking point for many people, I am putting everything I have learned from helping her and have gleaned from various sources on the Internet together in this tutorial.

Ubuntu Netbook Remix: a detailed explanation

Lately, there has been a lot of noise about Ubuntu's Netbook Remix. In an unrelated (and definitely lucky) interview with The Guardian, Mark Shuttleworth hinted that Canonical were about to announce a version of Ubuntu for a new class of devices created by accident by Asus with the EeePc (talk about corporate luck...). Th buzz about this was monumental. But... what is Ubuntu Netbook Remix? Here is the answer...

Impossible thing #6: Closing the Digital Divide

For many years, there has been a growing concern about the emergence of a "digital divide" between rich and poor. The idea is that people who don't meet a certain threshold income won't be able to afford the investment in computers and internet connectivity that makes further learning and development possible. They'll become trapped by their circumstances.

Under proprietary commercial operating systems, which impose a kind of plateau on the cost of computer systems, this may well be true. But GNU/Linux, continuously improving hardware, and a community commitment to bringing technology down to cost instead of just up to spec, has led to a new wave of ultra-low-cost computers, starting with the One Laptop Per Child's XO. These free-software-based computers will be the first introduction to computing for millions of new users, and that foretells a much freer future.

Extending Nautilus: rotating JPG images

I recently went looking for a way to rotate JPG images from within Nautilus, and found a nice way to do this and more. It’s not difficult to customize the right-click popup menu in Nautilus to perform custom actions on files. Here are some instructions and scripts to get you started.

This article has downloads!

Introduction to Content Management Systems

In the beginning, the web was simple. You used Mosaic to browse it. You used a text editor to construct pages on it in a language called HTML. If you weren’t a techie, you probably didn’t even know it existed. Then people realised that even non-techies had useful information (“content”) to share. So the Content Management System (CMS) was born.

What is a CMS?

Free Open Document label templates

If you’ve ever spent hours at work doing mailings, cursed your printer for printing outside the lines on your labels, or moaned “There has got to be a better way to do this,” here’s the solution you’ve been looking for. Working smarter, not harder! Worldlabel.com, a manufacture of labels offers Open Office / Libre Office labels templates for downloading in ODF format which will save you time, effort, and (if you want) make really cool-looking labels

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