January 24, 2010

Software I couldn't leave with out - Part II

Continuing my last post here are three more software items who make my life easier.

Dropbox - At last some one had did it, some one had fixed one of my biggest problems, I work on three computers two of them have two operating systems, until now if I needed two share a file between two computers or two operating systems I had one of two ways. The first way was to send it to my self threw a web base e-mail application, the second is by using a flash memory disk. Both of those ways are a nightmare, every time I'd work on a file, I had to update every ware else, I'd often made mistakes or forget to update, some time I was sure I had updated a file when I didn't. Finally someone invented Dropbox, the magic folder, when I update a file that's in that folder, the file is automatically update where ever I installed Dropbox, now everything is synchronised and updated. Dropbox comes with 2 GB of storage space, you can get extra space by getting a friend to sign up for For every friend you sign up you get another 250 MB and he also gets a bigger space for storage, so if someone wands two sign up just live your e-mail at the comments and I'll send you an invitation, by doing so you and me will both get extra storage space.

  Miro - Formerly none as Democracy player, with Miro you can download pod casts and videos to you computer and listen or watch them when ever you have time, you don't need a Internet connection while watching the videos it's all on you computer. I mostly like it because I don't always have a wireless Internet connection, but I can still watch video programs that I like or listen to a podcast. There is a giant list of Internet TV stations that you can choose to subscribe. Here are the stations I've  subscribed to:
  1. Linux Journal - News about Linux, mainly tips.
  2. CommandN - News about the web.
  3. Ted Talk - Interesting people with interesting ideas.
  4. Cooking Korean food 
  5. Tekzilla - Gadgets and geek stuff.
  6. Tekzilla Daily Tip - Tips on computers.
  7. Happy Tree Friends - Stupid but funny cartoons.
  8. Hungry Nation - A nice food and recipe show.
  9. The Digg Real - A show about the most viewed videos on the web.
VLC - An amazing video and audio player, it can play any format none to you, from the avi to flv and MP4, every thing. It has tones of options, you can convert formats with it, you can add subtitles, it has extensions and skins, you can play streaming media with it, and all of that is open source. I must admit I actually don't know about most of it's options that's because there is so much you can do with it.

January 15, 2010

Software I couldn't leave with out - Part I

Here are six software apps I find hard to leave with out, I use them on a daily bases and they are the main reason for me having a computer:

 Ubuntu - Linux - as appose to other items on this list, this is a o.s., I hav'e been using It for the past year. It all started a year and a half ago I purchased a new laptop with Windows Vista installed on it, I immediately encountered problems  ,so I decided to check out Ubuntu Linux after trying it a few year back, and returning to Windows after a while. I first did with the Wubi installation, and after a while I read "The Ubuntu pocket guide"  installed it on my laptop along side Windows Vista. It's been now a year and a half and Ubuntu is my preferred choice for an o.s. It's reliable, It's free, It has plenty of customizing options, It doesn't slow out with time, there is plenty of software for it and the part I liked the most is the support Ubuntu has, It's forums are undeflatable , for every problem you encounter you just post it on the forum and someone will get back to you with a solution, some time more then one person gets back to you and if you need more help, someone will always be happy to help you, and all of that for free. When using Windows I always feared that I will have a problem (and Vista had allot of them) that I couldn't solve and no body could help me, with Ubuntu I never got this filling there is a strong and helpful community behind you. Thanks to Conical for developing Ubuntu, thanks to all the Ubuntu users that dedicate from there own time for helping other users.

Firefox - My preferred  choice of browser for the last 6 years has been Firefox, I still remember when people didn't understand what I was talking about when I told them that I serf the web with Firefox, they didn't even understand the difference between the internet and Internet Explorer, most people thought it's the same thing (people today don't know what a browser is). Firefox gets its power from it's addons, an endless amount of extensions that can be added to it, they change a simple browse in to a great tool not only for serfing the web but also a great tool for working or studing, it has an endless amount of addons, any problem you incounter there's a good chance there is an addon that can help you, you can see my list. This is a great demnstration of opensource's power.

Skype - One of the greats achievements on the web is VOIP and the software that makes it so good is with no doubt Skype it has more then a 170 million users all around the world, the technology it uses combined with the big number of users, had changed the face of telecommunication in the last decade, the price of international phone calls dropped and in the same time it makes people closer. Another thing is video capabilities ,not only I can speak with my friends and family who live far away, I can also see them and all of that for free. For a very cheap price you can call a land line phone or a cellular phone all over the world, you can all so get a voice mail if you want. Their is only one thing I'd be happy to see, they haven't upgraded there Linux version for more then 2 year, it's about time they do it.

To be continued.....

January 7, 2010

Testing Google Apps

For a long time I've been interested in Google apps, I work on three computers two of them have two different operating systems, which makes Google apps a perfect solution for me. Typing is quite straight forward so I decided to try out Google's spreadsheet. Nothing better then checking the change in percentage of the different operating systems, I took the raw data form W3Schools site and started working I summed up the percentage for each operating system each month between March 2003 to November 2009, I divided it in to three groups, Windows, Mac O.S and Linux. It wasn't a problem  with Mac and Linux, but in Windows there were different versions each month so I just summed them up, for example in March 2003 Windows consists out of Win XP, Win 2000, Win 98, Win NT and Win 95, in November 2009 Windows consists out of Win 7, Vista, Win 2003, Win XP and Win 2000. And here are the results (reading from right to left):

  No big discovers Windows still controls the market with 88.5% after it comes Mac O.S. with 6.7% and finishing with Linux with 4.3%. Windows started with 93.2% and is going down, it had a steep and short climb 2.5 years ago but since then Windows is losing it's share in the o.s market, the fastest climbing o.s is Mac, from 1.8% to 6.7% in six years. Linux is also climbing but in a slower rate it started from 2.2%. As a Ubuntu fan this is promising, but thats for another time.
As for Google apps, or more specific Google's spreadsheet, I tested it in 4 parameters, speed, options ,user interface and working offline:
  1. Speed - not bad, I accepted it to be much slower, since we are talking about a web app, they tend to be slower and some time they get jammed , for example when I pressed ctrl+s it save the worksheet  immediately it felt as I was in a desktop app. The menus open the second I pushed the mouse's button, I was quite impressed.
  2. Options - It's not Microsoft's Office Excel, it's not even Open Office's Spreadsheet, it's poor, simple things like adding a trend line do not exist, I couldn't change the direction of the horizontal axis, you can't copy a value of a cell with a formula in it, you have to copy the formula. This are just a part of the problems I encountered while using Google Spreadsheet.
  3. User Interface - Well it's not that different from Microsoft's Office or Open Office, it's the basic universal model of office apps, nothing new here.
  4. Working Off line - As appose to other office web apps like Zoho, Google apps can work off line which make ideal for users that work on different computers or different o.s., the only problem I had was opening a new document, when working off line I could only work on documents that were already save before.   
For conclusion, Google is working and working very hard to match it's main adversary, Microsoft, It's not only in the field of office apps but part of a bigger battle. Where will we work in the future, on a desktop and with desktops apps or on the web with it's apps, as you can see Microsoft's conception still controls the market (the last graph), but no one can tell what the future holds.    

January 6, 2010

All You Need is Love

I just found out about this video, it was taken on December 7 th at 1:30 GMT, people from 156 countries sang "All you need is love" at the same time. They did it to raise the awareness of AIDS in Africa. When you finish watching this video go to Starbucks site and add you voice, for every voice added they will contribute 5 US cent. Enjoy !!!

January 3, 2010

Interesting on the web

Muziic is a new music web app based on YouTube music videos, you can make your own playlists, listen to a whole album, there is even a desk top app for windows, all of those with no kind of any limitations, no copy rights issues involved (At least until now), no big record labels making a fuss.Muziic is the work of a 15 year old teenager  ,David Nelson, which makes it quite impressive. But from my point of view the best feature is not having to access the web from the U.S. or Europe, music or video likeHulu, Pandora and Vevo (a new service, smiler to Muziic, a YouTube and the record labels cooperation) are restricted to the U.S. and BBC iPlayer and Spotify are restricted to the U.K. and Europe. It's nice having a service that works out side the U.S., the U.K. or Europe. You can always use a proxy server, but it doesn't always work and it's a big headache.

Another new web app is Seesmic it's a new twitter client very smiler to TwitDeck but wokrs on a web browser, no installations needed. It has all the basic functions that all Twitter clients posses.

One more site is Give away of the day, every day you can download an application, the download is a full licensed version and not a trial or limited edition.

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