Tech Tips

Non-Linux FOSS: TrueCrypt

TrueCrypt is a fully open-source tool for encrypting data. That data can be on a completely encrypted hard drive, or just an encrypted image file. Thankfully, the encryption works the same regardless of your platform, so Windows and OS X users can share encrypted files between computers.

EPUBReader

With our recent transition to a digital-only format, it's now possible to consume Linux Journal in a number of ways. For those so inclined, it's even possible to print each issue and bind it into a paper magazine. (The PDF lends itself quite nicely to that in fact) Electronically speaking, however, it's hard to beat the .epub/.mobi editions.

Rock Your Webcam Like It's 1995

Many Webcam applications exist for Linux. If you want to play with self-portraits, there's Cheese. If you want to set up a security system in your office, there's Motion. But, if you just want to have some fun, give HasciiCam a try.

You Need A Budget

This time of year is often rough on finances, and although there are many money-management tools available for Linux, none are quite like You Need A Budget, or YNAB for short. Unlike traditional budgeting programs, YNAB focuses on a few simple rules to help you get out of debt and, more important, to see where your money is going.

Casper, the Friendly (and Persistent) Ghost

Creating a live Linux USB stick isn't anything new. And, in fact, the ability to have persistence with a live CD/USB stick isn't terribly new. What many people might not be aware of, however, is just how easy it is to make a bootable USB stick that you can use like a regular Linux install.

gStrings in Your Pocket

What may sound like a perverse concept is actually one of the many ways smartphones can change your life. If you play a musical instrument but don't happen to have perfect pitch (most of us, sadly), you can buy a tuner, pitch pipe, tuning fork or any number of other aids to keep yourself in tune. If you have a smartphone in your pocket, however, you also can simply download gStrings.

Lowjack Your Body with RunKeeper

This past summer, I went to a beach resort in Mexico with my wife. It made sense to get into a little better shape so as not to cause any beached-whale rumors while I soaked in the rays. Typical geek that I am, I wanted to track my every move so I could see how much exercise I really was doing. And, I wanted to do that with technology.

Get More from Your e-Reader: Instapaper

If you use a dedicated e-reader to read Linux Journal every month, chances are you want to read other material on it as well. Thanks to a free service called Instapaper, if you have an e-reader like the Linux-powered Kindle, you can take your favorite Web articles with you on the go, even if your destination doesn't have Internet access!

Non-Linux FOSS: Juice

Many Windows or Macintosh users are perfectly happy to download their podcasts with iTunes or something similar. Here at Linux Journal, however, we like to offer open-source alternatives. Enter Juice. Juice is a cross-platform, open-source application for downloading podcasts.

PdfMasher--E-Book Conversion

If you've had problems reading PDF files on various devices (like mobile phones), PdfMasher may be just what you're looking for. According to the Web site:

Tech Tip: Create an Automatically Scrolling Reader

By combining three useful command-line tools (less, watch and xdotool) along with two xterm windows, you can create an automatically scrolling reader. Say you have a good book in text-file form ('book.txt') that you just downloaded from Project Gutenberg.

Roll Your Own Cthulhu Flick

I may not be Steven Spielberg, but every time I see a rerun of Gumby, I'm convinced I could be a famous producer. With Linux, I don't even have to get a fancy movie set. I can make my own science-fiction adventure film with nothing more than a Webcam and a streak of bizarre creativity.

CBZ, the MP3 of Comics

Digital music and, more recently, digital video and digital books, have changed the way we consume media. Comic books are no different, and with the advent of tablet computers, digital comics are becoming more and more popular.

Rock Your World with Firefly

No, I'm not talking browncoats and spaceships. Unfortunately, that ship has sailed. If you're the musical type, however, installing a Firefly Media Server is fairly simple. It was renamed from mt-daapd, so your distribution still might call it that. After a quick install, visit the Web configuration, usually at http://localhost:3689 with the default login mt-daapd and password mt-daapd.

Books Lens

If you are an Ubuntu user and a fan of the new Unity interface, you might be interested in a new lens in development by David Callé. The Books Lens provides a real-time search interface for e-books. It currently interfaces with Google Books, Project Gutenberg and Forgotten Books. By the time you read this, that list probably will have grown.

XBMC, Now with Less XB!

Xbox Media Center (XBMC) is one of those projects whose name makes less and less sense as time goes on. Sure, people still are using XBMC on an actual Microsoft Xbox, but for the most part, XBMC now is run on computers. In fact, recent versions of XBMC installed on an ION-based nettop makes just about the perfect media center.

How You Can Have Mosquito Vision

If you've ever been outside on a summer night, then come indoors to find you've been attacked by bloodthirsty mosquitoes, you know that those little buggers must be able to see in the dark. In fact, mosquitoes use infrared light to hone in on our body's heat in order to find our juicy bits.

Scrivener, Now for Linux!

The folks over at www.literatureandlatte.com have a rather nifty writer's tool called Scrivener. For years, it's been an OS X-only program for novelists and screenwriters that acts like a project management tool for big writing projects.

Dropbox Tips and Tricks

Dropbox, or one of the alternatives like Ubuntu One or SparkleShare, are great tools for keeping computers in sync. They offer some unique abilities as well. Here are a few of our favorites: Keep config folders, like Pidgin's .purple directory in your Dropbox, and symlink to it in your home directory. It saves entering the same information on your computers.