Archive for Software

Ubuntu 9.04, Jaunty Jackalope, The Best Linux Distro Ever!

I have had an on and off experience with Ubuntu and for most of my usage have been very dissappointed in what many people considered to be the best linux distribution and has failed in many aspects. However, when I installed the newest version of Ubuntu on my old Dell Inspiron 6000 I was happily surprised in how much better this version is! First I would like to make a shout-out to Wubi, Ubuntu Installer for Linux,which is probably the best way to install Ubuntu if you are unsure if you want to make it your primary operating system, because all you have to do is download and run a .exe file and install it like a regular Windows program, but then when you reboot, you get a prompt to boot into either Ubuntu or Windows so, it is just like duel-booting without the work of partitioning Ubuntu is a great Linux distro and is definitly worth trying via Wubi because it is no risk!

The first part I was extremely impressed with is the sleek new user-interface, because with older versions of Ubuntu look bad and not nearly as leek as I would have liked. Now, with this new user-interface, Ubuntu rivals Windows 7 and Mac OSX in design. Ubuntu 9.04, also fixed one of the biggest problems that I had which was hardware support, while in prior versons I had problems with sound and wireless, in this version, I did not have to do anything to make my hardware work, everything worked out of the box! I am very impressed by that and I think that will truley help more people try it out if they don’t need to install any extra drivers and hopefully letting Ubuntu work immedietly on installation! Jaunty Jackalope also has a lot of other built-in features that used to need to be done with hacks and complicated processes! This new features are things such as: dual monitor support, built-in disk burning, and many other much need functions.

Now that Ubuntu is so much improved and there are so many great applications for it I think that their installation-base will become much larger and more people will become more aware of Ubuntu. Another contributor to the growth of Ubuntu, I think will be the growth of Netbooks and cloud computing because with netbooks you do not need to have the most elaborate operating system because you are just using an office suite, checking email and surfing the web. I suggest that everyone gives the  new Ubuntu a try and I am planning on trying to cover more linux and Ubuntu on my blog and videos in the near feature.

Application Stores, the Future of Getting Applications

Apple’s app store was a brilliant move on their part because it is a one stop shop for every iPhone application and because they developed a great payment program, where developers take 70% of revenue and Apple keeps 30% to maintain and host the store. This is great for developers and Apple and if the developer wants to make the application free, then they do not have to pay to host the app. This makes buying and installing applicatioons so simple because instead of going on Google and searching the whole web for a program, you can search a all inclusive store and find every app that meets that criteria. Linux has a very similar model with their Add/Remove Program installer where users can simply check boxes to install linux applications and not need to go onto the internet to get programs although there are more applications online. I think every major operating system should add this function to their operating system and partner with major and minor software developers and try to get as many applications availible.I am not saying the iphone model is going to work for everyone I think they should leave software installation the same as it has always been but develop this “store” to make applications easier to find and buy for the users and less expensive to distribute for the producers and just makes getting software so easy!

The Macheist, A Limited Time Software Bonanza for Mac Users

What if I told you for the next four days that you could get over $1,000 of software for only $40 and give 25% of that to charity. Well it is true! Macheist lets mac users buy some of the best shareware applciations for a limited time and only for $40! This bundle provides a lot of great apps like: KineMac, a easy to  use Mottion graphics program, Sous Chief , a great cooking application that suggests recipies based on supplies you have, iSale, a program that simplifies selling stuff on E-Bay, Picturesque, a easy image editor, World of  Goo, a great game, PhoneView, an app that lets users view the contents of their iPhone or iPod Touch, Little Snapper, A powerful screenshot utillity, Acorn, a simplified photo editor, and Wiretap Studio, a powerful audio recording utillity. Also, as MacHeist raises more money for charity they will “Unlock” more applications. When they raise a total of $400,000 they will unlock the “killer app” for me Boinx TV because it turns your computer into a video mixer without any  extra equipment. Also when even more money is raised, they will “Unlock”  Espresso, a very powerful web editor and Hit List a great productivity application.

If one application I described peaked your interest, then you should buy it, not only do you get a bunch of great applications but you also give money to charity and help people in need. I suggest that all Mac users invest the $40 and get a great collection of applications  but make sure you do it before time runs out!

My Thoughts About Windows 7

It has become the general consensus of technology analists and consumers alike that Windows Visa was an utter flop. Microsoft realized that and decided to ship a new operating system that is significantly better than Vista. It is called Windows 7 and it is a major improvement over Vista!

First of all, it does not demand nearly as high system requirements, unlike and because of that, the operating system is much more snappy! That is very likely the most important improvement because Vista was so slow and did not work on netbooks because they have very low system specs. This also allows the netbooks that people carry everywhere with them to have the newest operating system which makes compadibility much easier.  Secondly, the User Accout cotrols have eliminated the “Cancel or Allow” prompt which made changing system preferences extremly annoying! The final major improvement is the taskbar because, Microsoft has adopted a lot of the ideas behind the Apple dock which lets users find their programs much easier.

I do still have a few issues with Windows 7, the first is the versions there are still six versions of Windows 7, which is an improvement over the numerous versions of Vista but, would much prefer having only two versions, like in Windows XP, a Professional edition for business users and a home edition obviously for Home users. One step better is Apple’s model where they ship only one edition of  the operating system and have all the features availible to all users for the same price. But, Microsoft would probably much rather make money off of  people paying for upgrades. The final issue I have is the upgrade price, they are charging at least $100 to upgrade to  Windows 7. I say Microsoft owes all those people who have been stuck with Vista for the past few years and they are forcing them to pay another $100 to improve. I know Microsoft won’t give a free  upgrade but a $30 upgrade to Vista users would be a nice appology to Vista users and would make people more likley to do the upgrade. They should also, take another hint from their friends in Cupertino and have family packs so that users can buy licences for all the computers in their house and get a small discount.

All-in-all,  Windows 7 is much, much better than Vista and I reccomend trying out the beta version, it is a very stable snappy beta and I believe that it is very close to being a finished product. Although Microsoft has yet to confirm a release date speculation is that it will be released in Augest or September. Vista users should definity invest in the upgrade and XP users should definitly consider it at the very least.

My Favorite Firefox Add-ons

As I mention is Why Firefox Is the Best Browser, one of my favorite parts of using Firefox is because, there are thousands of extentions and add-ons that allow users to add features they want to the Firefox browsing expirence.I use a bunch of add-ons in my installation of Firefox and would like to share them because I think they are the best and want to help everyone get the most out of using Firefox.

  1. Bookmark Duplicate Detector– Prevents saving already saved bookmarks and provides an easy way to reduce your bookmarks for no reason.
  2. Bugmenot– Saves the trouble of having to sign up for an account with a service when you are only going to use it one time. This site allows people to submit accounts to share with everyone and save the trouble of getting an account for every website.
  3. Delicious Bookmarks– Integrates Delicious Social bookmarks into web browsing and helps me add all the best sites I find on my Delicious Account with one click of the mouse.
  4. Download Toolbar– Download toolbar allows you to track downloads without having to open another window and saves a lot of screen Real Estate.
  5. Foxmarks– Is a must-have for anyone who has multiple computers because it synchronizes both bookmarks and account passwords between all installations and keeps all computers up-to-date!
  6. Google Gears– Gears allows people who use Google web services like: Google Docs, Gmail and Google Reader to access therse services even when they are unable to connect to the internet. This is very useful to anyone who is dependant on Google Web Services like I am.
  7. Google Reader Watcher– This add-on is a very simple couter to alert Google Reader users of how many unread stories are in their GoogleReader Feeds.
  8. Password Exporter– Very simly exports passwords and allows users to modify their password list in Firefox.
  9. Picnik– Alows users to simly right click an image in a website and edit it in the online image editor, Picknik.
  10. Screengrab– An extremly powerful screenshot add-on that give the user the ability to take screenshots of website and use them how they like.
  11. Tab Counter–  It does exactly what it’s name suggests, , it counts how many tabs are open in a Firefox window.
  12. Tab History– When you open a link in a new tab it usually does not retain it’s history but, this add-on allows you to go back into the history of the tab.
  13. Twitterfox– This is my only Twitter client and the onlky way I update and check Twitter!
  14. URL Fixer– Fixes misspellings in domain ending so if you make mistakes like I do typing in domains quickly, then this is a must have.

If you are not already using these add-ons I reccommend giving them a try because they make me more productive and they will help you as well!

My Favorite Maemo Applications

I have said it over and over and over that I love my Nokia N800 Internet Tablet and I love having such a powerful devices where ever I go. One of the best parts of the Maemo operating system is that there are hundreds of Applications that you can install to turn you Maemo tablet into an even more useful tool and can make you more productive. I will list my favorite applications that I use on my N800 and after having the N800 for 1 year, I cannot live without these tools, because they make the N800 so much more powerful!

1.    Pidgin Instant Messenger-
Pidgin is the best free and open source instant message client for Windows and the version for Maemo is just as great. It allows you to communicate with all the major Instant message proticals like: AIM, MSN, GTalk, IRC and much more! This is one of the best communication tools and is great for instant messaging when on the go!
2.    Skype
Skype is amazing voice over IP (VOIP) application that I use a lot on my desk computer and it is great that I can make calls and chat from anywhere with a WiFi connection and make calls to all my Skype Contacts.
3.    GFTP
For people like me who run websites and run web servers I love having access to my FTP sites to manage and upload files wherever! GFTP is a great FTP client and I recommend it to all webmasters with an Internet Tablet.
4.    Maemo WordPY
Along with FTP WordPress is in my opinion the best Blogging CMS out there and it is Free and open source! Last year, I wrote my 2008 Technology Predictions using my Nokia Internet Tablet using a Mobile Admin Extension on WordPress. But, with Maemo WordPY, I do not need to have any extension installed on WordPress and makes writing posts on your Internet Tablet a breeze!
5.    Egg Timer
Egg timer is a simple and easy timer to time anything from tea, or exercise or anything else you need to time!
6.    Tip Calculator
One application that seems necessary on every mobile device is a tip calculator for when you are eating out at a restaurant and need to calculate how much you want to tip your server.  This calculator does not stop at calculating tips, it also allows you to split the bill among a group of people as well! I recommend this for all tablet owners that like going out to eat!
7.    Maemo Recorder
Maemo Recorder is a nice and simple application for recording quick voice notes to remind yourself of things you need to do and dictate reminders.
8.    mNotes
Similar to Maemo recorder mNotes is a great application that lets you take quick written notes and helps you get organized!
9.    mCalendar
mCalendar is probably my favorite Maemo application of all time! mCalendar is a great calendar applications that also allows you to synchronize with your Google Calendar which, if you are like me, and use Google Calendar as your primary calendar, then you know that this is a killer app!
10.     Tasks
Tasks is just what its name suggests it is a simple task list that allows you to organize what you need to get done. I use it as my primary task list and does it’s job great!
11.    Gnumeric Spreadsheet
Gnumeric Spreadsheet is a very powerful spreadsheet application on the Maemo tablet. It is compatible with Microsoft Excel Spreadsheets and lets you edit and modify them wherever you go!
12.    TiEmu
For any student that needs a Texas Instruments Graphing Calculator TiEmu is a free emulator of Texas Instruments calculator and save $100 on buying a calculator when you can just use your Internet Tablet.
13.    FBReader
FBReader is a ebook reader that allows you to load electronic books onto your Maemo tablet and use it to read books. This is a must have for students and avid readers alike!
14.    Publishr
Publishr lets you take pictures from your digital camera or from your Internet tablet’s built-in camera and post them directly on Flickr without transferring them over to your computer! The built-in memory card is great to transfer the best pictures to the web!
15.    Diskusage
Diskusage simply shows a graphic of how much disk space you are using and how much you have free. This is great to manage internal memory and any SD cards you put into your Internet Tablet.

Why Firefox is the Best Web Browser

There are so many web browsers available but, there is on that is significantly better than all the rest. Mozilla Firefox is the greatest Web Browser currently available. Firefox has so many advantages over other browsers from it’s extendibility with the thousands of add-ons available to get the most out of Firefox, to it’s superior speed to other browsers, Internet Explorer, Opera, Safari, Netscape and all other browsers are blown away!

First of all, Firefox is free and open source so if there are any problems, they can be fixed by anyone who knows how to code and can be submitted for approval to be released to all other users. In addition, users can type: about:config and tweak the internal settings of Firefox and optimize the browser. I would like to warn you all, that if you make a mistake with those settings it may make Firefox crash or just stop working so only make these modifications if you know what your doing. But, even without tweaking it, Firefox is still much faster than any other browser!

Another amazing part of Firefox is add-ons, which allows you to choose and install additional programs that extend the functionality of Firefox. This is my favorite part of using Firefox because I can integrate additional services into my browsing experience and makes using Firefox even better!

Similarly, Themes allow you to install different color schemes and icons schemes for Firefox and lets you make your browser your own! It makes you feel more at-home using a browser that has colors that you like.

With all these options and advantages it makes Firefox my sole web browser on all computers I use because of it’s flexibility.  Firefox allows the user utilize it to get what they want done.

The Problems with Windows Vista

When the most recent release of Windows, Vista, came out in January 2007 the majority of users were underwhelmed to say the least. Usually in operating systems, new release work better than their predacessor, and have more features. However, Vista caused some users who upgraded greif and sometimes was even less useful than their old operating system was.

Vista’s graphical user interface is a definite upgrade from XP, many believe it was copied off of Mac OS I think it is some what similar to Mac OS, but, I think that it has more if it’s own Windows style as well. Vista also requires more computing power in order to support their new features and a lot of machines that were shipped with Vista were not built to optimal specifications to support Vista well. So even with all this, Vista is still slower than XP. Other problems are security and the problems of functionality.

I believe that Vista was a 5 year project that should never be released and is the next Windows ME, as in an operating system that was a total flop. I reccomend any one getting a new to go with the much more relibable and stable Windows XP. I think however, Windows 7 will be a much better OS and could be a good replacement for XP.

Lookout Firefox Google has it’s own web browser!

Leave it to Google to make an amazing web browser for web applications and regular web surfing alike! Today Google released it’s Chrome web browser based on both Webkit and Mozilla Firefox! A quick warning right away as of today Chrome only runs on Windows for now but it will be coming out for Mac and Linux soon! Chrome is, at least in my mind a revolution of internet browsing and will be the direction that at least I think that will be the direction that all other web browsers will go in the next few years and is also free and open source!

Chrome has many features that are not availible on other browsers.  Chrome is extremely tab-centric meaning tabs of each-different web page is the primary method of surfing and the tabs are each a different process on the computer meaning you can kill a single tab that is slowing down your computer instead of your whole browser crashing when your in the middle of sending an important email in another tab which is one big improvement over Mozilla Firefox. Along the same lines, this browser also features multi-threading which is great for computers that have multiple processors, which most modern computers do! This allows you to surf the web even faster and with more ease! Another, cool feature is web apps can run in special windows separate specially made for the applications you are using.  Chrome also has some amazing security built into it because it runs in what are called “Sandboxes” which separate the files downloaded from the browser from damaging your computer! Also, in most web browsers you have a standard page (or a few in Firefox) in Chrome you get the added feature of having a screen that has your most visited websites making them easily accessible for the users. Another cool thing is you can drag tabs and separate them from the main window with ease. The final cool feature is a incognito mode where if you for some reason don’t want to have your browser history  or your cookies saved you can click one button and you are the invisible browser.

Chrome is a great web browser with its amazing speed and sleek user interface but, I will continue to use Firefox because of it’s  extentions and comfort.  If Google keeps working on it, Chrome can be an amazing browser and can over take the other browsers. I think the UI is so  sleek and intuitive I think that with a little more work Chrome would be a great replacement of Safari on the mac when it’s released for the macintosh platform. In addition Google plans to be making versions for many mobile platforms and I hope they will develop for maemo because it would be an amazing mobile browser for my Nokia N800!

Note: Also if you want to learn more detail about chrome here is a really cool comic about Chrome

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