Wednesday, May 20, 2009

OpenOffice.Org

OpenOffice.Org is "The" cross platform, Office Productivity Suite, for people looking for an all in one Office solution, that will work on the platform(s) they chose, at the price they LOVE, FREE, you can get your copy, to edit and manipulate,

  • Spreadsheets
  • Presentations
  • Text Documents
  • Databases
  • Flow Charts
  • Etc.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

VLC Media Player

It never ceases to amaze me that most of the cross platform software that I've found has been, cross platform, free, and open source.

Sure, seems normal enough that if it's open source that it would also remain free, in fact before long you'll probably find the two words close by in a thesaurus. What with the whole idea that free doesn't always mean free as in free [insert object here] but rather that it means freedom for modification and distribution.

But as far as being cross platform goes, the differences between the platforms is quite extensive, sure they all have similarities at least in the *nix world.

I'm what a lot of, more technical, people might call a "newbie" or "noob" but that's not to say, that I've not had my fair share of fun, with experimenting between the different environments.

I've used multiple Linux distributions, almost all Windows versions, and I've recently purchased a Macintosh running OS X Leopard, as well as building most of my computers and recently upgrading the RAM in my Mac (that is a mini version 2,1) I guess my point is while they all have some similarities between the operation, and yes, especially with the *nix systems, the underlining systems, are inherently different.

This is evident by the fact that that you're not likely to just fire up a terminal and bash a .deb or .rpm file on an x86 Windows box, and you're also not likely to fire up your OS 1 through X and run a setup.exe executable. Without some sort of windows emulator - Crossover etc.

Oh, and as far as .app files good luck running that in Linux, or even unix for that matter.

They're different systems.

Enough, about platforms, though, today's topic is VLC.

It's cross platform meaning they've taken the work out of porting the application to your platform of choice, or, if you're like me and have a notebook running Linux, a Mac running well... Mac OS, and a Windows PC running well... okay, Windows. Then you're going to need it for all three.

Thankfully they've created the binaries for each platform that allow you to simply install and run this nifty program on any platform.

Supporting all the formats you know you need support for:
  • mp3
  • mp4
  • mpeg
  • ogg
  • wav
  • avi
  • m4a
  • mov
  • aac
  • aiff
  • asfBulleted List
  • flv
  • asx
  • divx
  • dv
  • flac
  • mod
  • vob
etc. and then a whole bunch that you didn't know you needed support for like:
  • MP1
  • MP2
  • m1v
  • m2ts
  • m2v
  • mka
  • mkv
  • mpeg1
  • mpeg2
  • mts
  • mxf
and many more.

Basically it can play your audio, video, and DVDs and doesn't require you to purchase any third party plug-ins, codecs, etc.

Granted, as with most things this powerful, I'm not sure it's won any awards for being the easiest to configure or even use for that matter, but if you're looking for an all in -one media player this may very well be your life saver.

If, you want something simpler, and you don't need it to be fully platform independent, (i.e. Windows or Mac is acceptable) then, best go with iTunes.

CMake

CMake, or Cross Platform Make.

Is an open source Cross Platform development tool that helps generate "make" files for compilation in the development environment you prefer.

Simple config files called cmakelists.txt are created to generate standard build files "CMake can compile source code, create libraries, generate wrappers and build executables in arbitrary combinations." - http://www.cmake.org/cmake/project/about.html

For more information about CMake visit it's project page: http://www.cmake.org/cmake/project/project.html

Most notably used to compile the popular K-Desktop Environment found on many *nix systems.

-It's free. It's Cross platform it's - It's ready to rock and roll.

For a list of release notes and changes visit: http://www.cmake.org/files/v2.6/CMakeChangeLog-2.6.3

Kompozer or Nvu as you may have heard it called

It's the cross-platform WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) Editor for HTML, CSS, XML, XHTML.

Sporting easy drag and drop methods for features such as:

Tables
Video
Images
Integrated File / FTP Manager
Quick switch between HTML and WYSIWYG edit using tabs
Multiple page editing using tabs
Forms
Templates
New color picker using slides for Red, Green, and Blue, or, just select the color picker tool and click on the color you want.

Multiple tabs allows you to edit multiple HTML documents without having to have multiple windows or "instances" of Kompozer, and also has individual un-do stacks.

And, best of all,

It's Free!

Pidgin Internet Messenger

It's a highly sophisticated program that's really nothing short of spectacular, now fully cross-platform, supports all of the top IM protocols including: AIM, ICQ, Google Talk, Jabber/XMPP, MSN Messenger, Yahoo!, Bonjour, Gadu-Gadu, IRC, Novell GroupWise Messenger, QQ, Lotus Sametime, SILC, SIMPLE, MySpaceIM, and Zephyr.

It also supports more with plugins.

For a more native OS X experience, you may want to look into Adium.

Tthis application is really a life saver, allowing you access to all of your favorite IM protocols without having to install and run each client application.

Like all of the best things in life there are compromises that must be made by enjoying them.

It, like any other IM client that supports multiple protocols, or even any IM client that's not produced by the IM server, it lacks the proprietary features for instance: video chat, chess, checkers, backgammon, etc. that are standard with Yahoo / MSN etc. however, Adium, and Pidgin both have a large selection of plug-ins some of which provide these features for certain protocols.

So there you have it, it's cross platform, it's free, and it's very customizable.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Log Me In

Remote connection is the topic of the day, Log me in is the answer not only do they have a free version with almost as many features as you can imagine, it's totally free for an unlimited number of computers.
Fast and easy are the subjects people get caught up in when they're talking about remotely connecting to their computers and they're built right in to Logmein Free.
Of course, if you need remote sound and drag and drop file transfers there's always log me in pro. -eh, not free.
LogMeIn has also come around and introduced their Mac client as well as a client for PC's and in their labs they have a client for Linux systems with beta clients available for download making it truly cross-platform.
You may say why not just use some form of VNC client?
The answer is clear, Virtual Networking Computing may be fine for terminal use on a LAN (Local Area Network) where you only need a CLI or Command line interface, but for practical use on a WAN (Wide Area Network i.e. THE Internet) or a GUI (Graphical User Interface) the screen redraw is just too slow.
Not to mention the security and connectivity issues that you have to account for with VNC like how to actually gain access to the network of the computer you want to connect to.
By either:
  1.  Setting up a VPN tunnel
  2. Connecting to an existing Virtual Private Network to gain access to that computer.

Look for more on VNC and VPN in other posts.
Thanks for reading
-Josh

Monday, March 16, 2009

GIMP

The GNU Image Manipulationn Program

Not exactly a Photoshop killer, but it does have some of the same features and is as free as they come with it's open source license.

Supports ranges from the common likes of JPEG (JFIF), GIF, PNG, TIFF to special use formats such as the multi-resolution and multi-color-depth Windows icon files

Photo Enhancement
Customizable Interface

And... Thanks to the transparent virtual file system, it is possible to load and save files to from remote locations using protocols such as FTP, HTTP or even SMB (MS Windows shares) and SFTP/SSH.

It also runs on all of the platforms listed below:

  • GNU/Linux (i386, PPC)
  • Microsoft Windows (XP, Vista)
  • Mac OS X
  • Sun OpenSolaris
  • FreeBSD
-Josh

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