End users

End users

Mastering a DVD using QDVDAuthor

There are not a lot of free software options for mastering DVDs. One of the more complete solutions is QDVDAuthor, although it still has a number of rough spots. It's a front-end to a collection of command-line free software tools that do each of the individual steps involved in going from a collection of digital video files, audio files, and images to a DVD with menus. As such, it's quite complicated, and not as stable as some software. Still, it is a rewarding experience if you stick with it. Here I'm going to walk through creating a DVD for a collection of animated videos by my new favorite free-culture artist, Nina Paley (partly because the CC By-SA 3.0 license eliminates any questions about copying the material here, and partly because they're pretty cool in themselves).

Computer Institute under $5000

I love computers and have sat in front of it for hours and probably days at a time forgetting food, bath. Even today I took a bath at 6 PM, its a custom in India that one must take a bath at dawn, well I forgot and somehow remembered!

I like to teach art of computing to others. Its an obedient machine and does what you tell it to do. There was passion, and spark what lacked was tons of money. I have to settle in for shoe string budget to open my own training center. I had no choice and hence in came free software.

RepRap, the replicating machine: The Free and Open Source Factory on the Desktop?

RepRap (replicating Rapid-prototyper) is a 3D printer and it is impeccably free and open source under both the GPL and the Creative Commons Licence. It's early days but the implications and the promise are potentially enormous in their own right -- but the fact that it is resolutely not proprietary is what caught my attention.

Producing a book with Scribus: useful tips

While working on my own book for Apress, Free Software for Creative People, I've also been typesetting a 240 page poetry book by Richard McKane using Scribus, for the publisher Hearing Eye. Years ago I used to use Quark Xpress for this sort of project, so I was pleased to find out that free software can now do the same job.

Howto: Share mobile broadband in Ubuntu using only the GUI

Like many people who aren't able to get DSL, I use mobile broadband. Typically, at least in Ireland and the UK, you are forced to purchase a modem with your contract. What if you want other devices in your house to use this broadband and you don't want to fork out several hundred wing wangs for a mobile broadband router like the Novatel MiFi when you have a perfectly good modem and wireless router already? In Ubuntu you can setup the modem-connected machine as a robust router/firewall using the in-built Network Manager, Firestarter, and optionally, Gadmin DHCPD.

An easy library catalog with Tellico

Setting up an electronic "card catalog" for my books always seemed like a lot of work, so I hadn't really attempted it before; lately, I happened across a KDE program called Tellico that made it so easy and fun that I completed my inventory in under a week. Plus, I finally found a use for that "CueCat" scanner I've had collecting dust for the last several years!

Shutter on Ubuntu: is this the mother of all free software Screenshot Utilities?

Like anyone else who writes about software I subscribe to the maxim that a picture paints a thousand words. In short, I like to illustrate my text with timely and relevant screenshots; so I'm always on the lookout for good, free software to get the job done. Back in the mists of time I looked at a command-line utility called Scrot. It's immensely powerful and configurable but it does take some setting up.

Htop, a tip-top ncurses interactive tool for system monitoring your desktop

You don't have to be an uber system administrator of a network to use Htop. It might have been designed with the masters of the universe in mind but just because you are a mere solitary desktop user in a Pizza-strewn study room staring at a single machine doesn't mean you can't get it and use it too. This article will show you how to configure and use htop to monitor system resources and how to use this dinky interactive application to manage running applications and processes on your desktop.

Eye candy for KDE Desktop Manager (KDM)

There are several layers at which a GNU/Linux system's appearance can be customized. By far the most visible, especially on a multi-user machine, is the login manager screen. KDM (the KDE desktop manager) has a highly-flexible and easy-to-use XML-based theme system. If you can draw what you want, you can make it happen with a KDM theme. I'll talk you through the construction of one simple theme I designed for my ASUS Eee PC.

Ubuntu 8.10 upmc for the Asus EeePC? Don't bother, just install the full distro

I discovered recently the truth of the old saying that necessity is the mother of invention. Yes, I finally did it. I bricked my beloved EeePc. I had just installed the Smart package manager and a subsequent reboot saw me stuck in, well, an eternal boot loop. Impulsive mixing of repositories always ends in tears--but not being able to boot? Argh! To rub salt into the wound I had mislaid the Xandros DVD to do a reinstall and I didn't even have an external CD/DVD drive anyway. Organised or what?

Homebuilt computers for Christmas

In tight economic times when I was growing up, my family generally had "homemade" Christmases, where all the gifts were handicrafts they had made. It takes a lot of time, but it does save money, and in all honesty, those were some of the best I can remember. This year, I'm following much the same pattern, though my skills are different (I couldn't knit a sock to save my life, and while I can sew, I'm not exactly good at it): this year I'm giving my kids (refurbished) computers.

10 things for non-coders to do with free software over Christmas

Some of us will find some kind of alleged spare time on our hands over the next few weeks. Certainly, there's often some kind of break from "work" over the festive season. Traditionally free software developers have used such times for long coding sessions, get-togethers and "hack-fests". Of course we're not all hard-core (or even soft-core) hackers so here's a few suggestions for the rest of us who might want to try something new over Christmas.

YouTube and GNU/Linux: download and convert videos the easy way

YouTube has a rather frivolous reputation, the sort of site you might visit to see a video of snowboarding hamsters or jetpacking gerbils. It wasn't until I started re-learning the guitar, learning to play the piano too and sight reading sheet music that I began to realize that YouTube was a great source of online tutorials. The quality varies from the execrable to the sublime, but I found sufficient quality material to start wondering how I might best use YouTube to organize my digital music lessons. As a committed GNU/Linux user I wondered how to make the most of my distro's ability to manage my viewing and download experience. Unixland is a free country full of choice and here are the choicest tips, tools, tricks and applications to get the best out of YouTube.

Shred and secure-delete: tools for wiping files, partitions and disks in GNU/Linux

I carry a small, laminated card indicating my subscription to the IUSP (International Union of the Super Paranoid, tin hat division). Well, you can't be too careful. After all, we live in a dangerous world and computers are just an extension of that. After you've installed the right operating system--GNU/Linux, of course--secure browsers, rootkit and virus scanners, you might just start to feel secure--and smug. Don't be. Until you have understood and mastered some of these GNU core utilities to securely delete, shred and wipe files, directories, partitions and whole disks you're not in the clear. Why not?

In the last year or so the British press has been full of stories about Government departments and individual employees who have lost laptops and flash sticks. Lost in the post, left on train seats, you name it. Not password protected, not encrypted. Nothing, and you can bet they were all running Windows. A wet dream for anyone trading in identity theft or blackmail. This cavalier approach to computer security should come as no surprise. Most people just want to switch computers them on and use them. Security is usually an afterthought--if at all.

The H3v web browser. Is it a Dillo killer?

When it comes to browsers, the Unix community is positively spoiled for choice: Firefox, Konqueror, Flock, Opera, Epiphany, Galeon, Kazehakase, Links, Elinks, Lynx, W3m and Dillo. From the minimal to the relatively bloated all life is there. You might just be thinking that we need another browser like Medieval Europe needed the Bubonic plague, but I'm always a great fan of the different and new, of people doing their own thing. Even Firefox had to start somewhere. H3v is a relative newcomer to the browser pack and it definitely falls into the "lean, mean" category. I think it deserves a little more exposure.

Songbird plus Mozilla, the ultimate media mashup for your music

GNU/Linux has come a long way since XMMS, the Winamp wannabe. The number of free media players has bloomed: Amarok, Banshee, Rhythmbox, Kaffeine, Kplayer and JuK. They have enough features to cater for every need a dedicated music lover could wish for. So Songbird, which is not even at version 1.0, would have its work cut out to rival those media players especially the ability to play video as well as music. But Songbird has one unique feature. It has a built-in browser, Mozilla, which allows it to extract maximum mileage from your music collection. Web integration leverages your music and allows you to do some really great stuff. This article will look at the features of Songbird that make it an essential addition to any installation.

Pages

Subscribe to RSS - End users