End users

End users

Using Dia for diagrams

Everybody needs diagrams. Most users need to create one more often than they think: that flowchart for a presentation, that sketch of the bird feeder to build this weekend, or a time line. Getting more technical, there are always circuits and blueprints and the like. Stop wasting time with an office app, the GIMP, or a paint program: use Dia, an easy yet powerful made-for-diagrams editor.

Getting Dia

Google's Chrome, Mozilla, Explorer, rendering engines: let the war begin

Chrome is in fact a reference to the imminent release of Google's entry into the browser market. Apparently, the launch was accidentally "leaked" by a Google employee who was a little piggy fingered with the send button on his e-mail client. By the time you read this it may be available for download (probably Windows only in the first instance). I was intrigued by this because there have been "reviews" of Chrome already and the reason for this is the unique way Google has chosen to announce it. If you were launching a new browser, or anything else, would you do it through the medium of a comic?

Self-signed certificates and Firefox 3 - a possible solution

Some websites need to handle data securely and assure the end-user they are a) secure and b) who they say they are. The traditional way to achieve these is via Secure Socket Layer. Firefox 3 changed what happens when a self-signed SSL certificate is encountered. It's a change which has caused some concern and much discussion.

Should we only trust certificates signed by third parties? Are there cases where using a self-signed certificate is valid? Should users be informed or warned and how strong should the language of that notification be? Is it possible a simple solution is already available but has been overlooked in all the flan-flinging? I think so.

SliTaz live CD: small but beautifully marked

When I came across the oddly named SliTaz I really didn't know what to expect. Yet another predictable fork of some better known distro which would blaze briefly in the free software firmament, burn out and fall to Earth, spent? Boy, was I ever wrong. If you want to know why Switzerland may be about to become better known for more than chocolate and Cuckoo clocks, read on and be prepared to be impressed and delighted by a live distro of exceptional speed and size.

Inkscape tutorial: creating a simple ribbon

Inkscape is one of the most popular free software vector drawing applications. With minimal effort you can achieve some excellent results. However, for the inexperienced it can be a bit hard to find out how to get those results. In this tutorial I'll look at creating a simple ribbon effect which will hopefully introduce some of the key Inkscape features along the way.

GNU/Linux free software tools to preserve your online privacy, anonymity and security

Whether you are online or offline, freedom matters. Like good health you never think about it or miss it until it is under threat or actually gone. If you love freedom, you probably love free software and it has given us some terrific tools with which to defend freedom. In this article I will give an overview of some of the available resources (Freenet, Wikileaks and Tor) to protect dissident opinion, facilitate whistle blowing and promote the safe and anonymous development of free software.

Tale of a codec optimisation: doing things the GNU/Linux way

Encoding is a CPU-intensive operation. Whilst encoding, using optimised code is crucial. In this short article I will explain how I gained a 300% speed boost when encoding DVDs and will show how having the program's sources and being able to talk to the maintainers sometimes really, really helps. Welcome to doing things "the GNU/Linux way".

Workrave : combating RSI the free software way

Thanks to FSDaily, I recently came across an excellent post regarding useful exercises for geeks. What surprised me about it was that Workrave was not mentioned at all. Here I take a brief look at this great piece of free software designed with one purpose: combating repetitive strain injury (RSI).

ODF in MS Office? No, really!

Microsoft declared yesterday (May 21st, 2008) that Microsoft Office 2007 SP2 would include (among others such as PDF 1.5, PDF/A and some more) built-in support for OASIS OpenDocument Format version 1.1 (finalized, submitted to ISO, supported by OpenOffice.org, Kofffice, GNOME office apps and their forks) while ISO-submitted OOXML support would wait for Office 14.

Dillo the lean browser

Using browsers which are Web 2.0 enabled whenever you just what to Google something is like calling out the Fire Brigade when you have just burned the toast. Definitive overkill. If you are just surfing for information, then you want the little browser on the low fat, low body-mass index, skinny latte diet with a low carbon footprint. If Dillo were a catwalk model, it would be size zero. Think of it as the Victoria Beckham of browsers-- but better looking; where the big hitters like Firefox, Flock and Opera sometimes move like a Sloth on Mogadon, Dillo tears down the track like a Whippet on speed.

If you can program in C/GTK+, you can also get involved with this worthy project: see the bottom of the article for more information.

A quick look at the spring GNU/Linux distributions: Mandriva, Ubuntu, Fedora, and openSUSE

It's really the most wonderful time of the year. Out of the top 6 GNU/Linux distributions (according to DistroWatch.com), four are releasing or have released builds between April and June. What's new in them?

Composer, a potential HTML based word processor

Rosalyn Hunter writes about using Composer as a stand-in word processor. I too, have used it in this fashion on OS X. I like it for various reasons. For instance, I'm quite familiar with it, as I've used it for website authoring numerous times. It creates HTML files. I've come to the conclusion that HTML is not a bad “language” to use for a word processor, considering that it already allows for basic editing features--and then some. If it isn't obvious, Composer is an HTML editor that was part of the old Mozilla suite.

Watch flash without Flash

ever wanted to watch a flash video but don't want to use adobe's proprietary software? I know how you feel. But now you can with a plugin for Totem movie player that allows you to browse and play You tube videos without any flash plugin. here is the link to the article that will describe how to do this.


P.S. If someone could please clue me in on how to do anchored links in a post it would make them a lot more useful.

Play Mp3 on Linux without any Codec

Mon, 2008-04-07 19:40 -- birbal

It uses a free flash mp3 player, combined with the power of PHP/XML.

What you need.

1) php cli or apache module 2) download the zip file attached 3) extract to a folder say phpMp3 4) copy your mp3's in the same folder. 5) from your command prompt/cli or apache just run createTracks.php 5) open the index.html

Download and Source and Demo :- http://www.techbirbal.com/viewtopic.php?f=95&t=2025

Alternative Freedom the Movie

I was surprised to find that I have never seen nor heard of this movie before it just suddenly appeared in Google video today. Called Alternative Freedom the Movie I just couldn't resist.


Doseone (rapper: pop culture commentator) DJ Danger mouse (mix maker extraordinaire) Richard Stallman (The Grand philosopher of Free Software) Lawrence Lessig (Super lawyer, creator of Creative commons) Andrew "Bunnie" huang (reverse engineering pro)

KWordQuiz: An amazingly useful flash card tool

Since I was home schooled, I never had homework (homework and classwork were one and the same). And since I never had homework, I... never really had to learn how to study until high school. But when I did learn how to study, I found flash cards to be extremely effective. So I fell in love with KWordQuiz, a KDE Education project for flash card lovers just like me.


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