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Software

Emacs & the obsessive email mongerer

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Development
Software

I had already mentioned in passing here that I am using Emacs for a variety of tasks: outline, project management and planning with Org-Mode, IRC (go figure, my default email client on all my machines is Emacs’ ERC), notes editing or quick scribbling with the Scartch buffer (happens to me all day long), and regularly, albeit less frequently than in 2013, various editing of html pages, javascript and sometimes even Python when I dare to edit one or two things in Python scripts. A consequence of all these use cases is that I have Emacs open almost everyday on almost any of my machines.

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Chrome 38 Beta: New primitives for the next-generation web

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Google
Software
Web

Today’s Chrome Beta channel release includes a ton of new primitives and APIs to simplify development and give developers more control over their web applications. Unless otherwise noted, changes described below apply to Chrome for Android, Windows, Mac, Linux, and Chrome OS.

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today's leftovers

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Software
HowTos

Leftovers: Software

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Software

35 Great Android Apps for Road Warriors

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Android
Software

So you’re a road warrior – that means you need to move fast and seamlessly across vast distances totally hassle-free. Gotcha. Here are the Android apps you’ll need to make your travels as fast and trouble-free as a “Beam me up, Scotty” command. No, there’s no transporter yet, but these apps are definitely the next best thing. And yes, there are Android apps here to help you get work done while you’re on the move too!

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Tux Paint: Doing FOSS Right

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Software

Apparently, I’m not alone in thinking highly of the software, if this page of testimonials is any indication. In fact, the publication “This Old Schoolhouse” recently echoed many other reviews in their article in the June 2012 edition. In the article, Andy Harris, the Tech Homeschooler, wrote, “Tux Paint is just about the most kid-friendly program I’ve ever seen. It’s designed so the adult can set it up, and even very young children can enjoy it thoroughly. It also has sophisticated enough features for siblings and parents to enjoy.”

Tux Paint is a project that does FOSS right: A wide-ranging team labors for the good of the program and consistently puts out quality software without fanfare or self-congratulation. The proof, as they say, is in the software itself: high-quality software which enjoys a high degree of acceptance with teachers and parents, to say nothing of holding the interest – and unlocking the creativity – of children.

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Enlightenment E19 Lands Its New Wayland Compositor Code

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Software

Enlightenment fans can celebrate today that the big Enlightenment compositor work has been merged to mainline Enlightenment ahead of the upcoming E19 release.

Prolific Enlightenment developer Chris Michael (a.k.a. "devilhorns") at Samsung merged his "e_comp_wl" branch into mainline Enlightenment (enlightenment.git). This "e_comp_wl" branch contains the rewritten Wayland compositor for Enlightenment. The rewritten version has reduced memory usage and improvements to handling of pixmaps and pointer images, among other improvements. Enlightenment's wl_desktop_shell module also now has XDG_Shell support.

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Powerful Command-line File Transfer Programs

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Software

File Transfer Protocol (FTP) used to be a popular and time-honored method of transferring files to and from a remote network site. The need for FTP has declined significantly; many consider FTP to be an unfriendly protocol when it comes to accessing data. Further, it is an insecure protocol as it sends your credentials in plain text to the server. However, there are still occasions where transferring files via this protocol has been useful; the time to put FTP to bed has not yet come.

This article provides my pick of the best open source command line file transfer programs. The software featured here supports a number of different protocols, not just FTP. They offer shell-like command syntax, and are great for scripting purposes.

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Leftovers: Software

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Software

Experimenting with Panamax

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Software

Panamax taught me a lot about Docker, and caused me to publish my first two images to the Docker registry, which is more than I expected to gain from trying it out. I’m not sure I’m the target audience – I don’t think I’d want to run production Docker apps under it on a headless server (at least until it’s more stable), which suggests that its main use is as an easy way to experiment with the development of containerized systems. But the friction introduced by the extra CoreOS host seems too great for it to be an awesome development platform for me. I think it’s a solvable problem – if the team can find a way to make the network port forwarding and the filesystem NFS sharing be automatic, rather than manual, and to work with ecryptfs on Ubuntu, it would make a massive difference.

I am impressed with the newfound ability to help someone launch a database-backed Django app without using any terminal commands, even if they’re on Windows and have no kind of dev environment, and would consider recommending Panamax for someone in that situation. Ultimately, maybe what I’ll get out of Panamax is a demystification of Docker’s orchestration concepts. That’s still a pretty useful experience to have.

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Scrivener Writing Software has a Linux Version

In some ways, Scrivener is the very embodiment of anti-Linux, philosophically. Scrivener is a writing program, used by authors. In Linux, one strings together well developed and intensely tested tools on data streams to produce a result. So, to author a complex project, create files and edit them in a simple text editor, using some markdown. Keep the files organized in the file system and use file names carefully chosen to keep them in order in their respective directories. when it comes time to make project-wide modifications, use grep and sed to process all of the files at once or selected files. Eventually, run the files through LaTeX to produce beautiful output. Then, put the final product in a directory where people can find it on Gopher.

Gopher? Anyway …

On the other hand, emacs is the ultimate linux program. Emacs is a text editor that is so powerful and has so many community-contributed “modes” (like add-ins) that it can be used as a word processor, an email client, a calendar, a PIM, a web browser, an operating system, to make coffee, or to stop that table with the short leg from rocking back and forth. So, in this sense, a piece of software that does everything is also linux, philosophically.

And so, Scrivener, despite what I said above, is in a way the very embodiment of Linux, philosophically.

I’ve been using Scrivener on a Mac for some time now, and a while back I tried it on Linux. Scrivener for the Mac is a commercial product you must pay money for, though it is not expensive, but the Linux version, being highly experimental and probably unsafe, is free. But then again, this is Linux. We eat unsafe experimental free software for breakfast. So much that we usually skip lunch. Because we’re still fixing breakfast. As it were.

Details with Screen Shots Here

Anyway, here’s what Scrivener does. It does everything. The full blown Mac version has more features than the Linux version, but both are feature rich. To me, the most important things are: A document is organised in “scenes” which can be willy nilly moved around in relation to each other in a linear or hierarchical system. The documents are recursive, so a document can hold other documents, and the default is to have only the text in the lower level document as part of the final product (though this is entirely optional). A document can be defined as a “folder” which is really just a document that has a file folder icon representing it to make you feel like it is a folder.

Associated with the project, and with each separate document, is a note taking area. So, you can jot notes project-wide as you work, like “Don’t forget to write the chapter where everyone dies at the end,” or you can write notes on a given document like “Is this where I should use the joke about the slushy in the bathroom at Target?” Each scene also has a number of attributes such as a “label” and a “status” and keywords. I think keywords may not be implemented in the Linux version yet.

Typically a project has one major folder that has all the actual writing distributed among scenes in it, and one or more additional folders in which you put stuff that is not in the product you are working on, but could be, or was but you pulled it out, or that includes research material.

You can work on one scene at a time. Scenes have meta-data and document notes.

The scenes, folders, and everything are all held together with a binder typically displayed on the left side of the Scrivener application window, showing the hierarchy. A number of templates come with the program to create pre-organized binder paradigms, or you can just create one from scratch. You can change the icons on the folders/scenes to remind you of what they are. When a scene is active in the central editing window, you can display an “inspector” on the right side, showing the card (I’ll get to that later) on top the meta data, and the document or project notes. In the Mac version you can create additional meta-data categories.

An individual scene can be displayed in the editing window. Or, scenes can be shown as a collection of scenes in what is known as “Scrivenings mode.” Scrivenings mode is more or less standard word processing mode where all the text is simply there to scroll through, though scene titles may or may not be shown (optional). A lot of people love the corkboard option. I remember when PZ Myers discovered Scrivener he raved about it. The corkboard is a corkboard (as you may have guessed) with 3 x 5 inch virtual index cards, one per scene, that you can move around and organize as though that was going to help you get your thoughts together. The corkboard has the scene title and some notes on what the scene is, which is yet another form of meta-data. I like the corkboard mode, but really, I don’t think it is the most useful features. Come for the corkboard, stay for the binder and the document and project notes!

Community chest: Storage firms need to pay open-source debts

Linux and *BSD have completely changed the storage market. They are the core of so many storage products, allowing startups and established vendors alike to bring new products to the market more rapidly than previously possible. Almost every vendor I talk to these days has built their system on top of these and then there are the number of vendors who are using Samba implementations for their NAS functionality. Sometimes they move on from Samba but almost all version 1 NAS boxen are built on top of it. Read more

Black Lab SDK 1.8 released

QT Creator - for QT 5 Gambas 3 - Visual Basic for Linux Ubuntu Quickly - Quick and dirty development tool for python emacs and Xemacs - Advanced Text Editor Anjuta and Glade - C++ RAD development tool for GTK Netbeans - Java development environment GNAT-GPS - IDE for the following programming languages. Ada, C, JavaScript, Pascal and Python Idle - IDE for Python Scite - Text Editor Read more

Did Red Hat’s CTO Walk – Or Was He Pushed?

He went on to say that some within Red Hat speculate that tensions between Stevens and Paul Cormier, Red Hat’s president of products and technologies, might be responsible, although there doesn’t appear to have been any current argument between the two. Cormier will take over Stevens’ duties until a replacement is found. Vaughan-Nichols also said that others at Red Hat had opined that Stevens might’ve left because he’d risen as high as he could within the company and with no new advancement opportunities open to him, he’d decided to move on. If this was the case, why did he leave so abruptly? Stevens had been at Red Hat for nearly ten years. If he was leaving merely because “I’ve done all I can here and it’s time to seek my fortune elsewhere,” we’d expect him to work out some kind of notice and stay on the job long enough for Red Hat to find a suitable replacement. Turning in a resignation that’s effective immediately is not the ideal way to walk out the door for the last time. It smells of burning bridges. Read more