Tech Tips

Spice Up Your Desktop with Cinnamon!

If you are disgruntled by the new interfaces provided by recent distribution releases, namely GNOME 3 and Unity, you might want to take a look at Cinnamon. With its traditional feel and extreme theme-ability, Cinnamon is a desktop interface bound to spice up anyone's computer.

Calibre in the Cloud

I've mentioned before that I keep my entire e-book collection in my Dropbox folder, and I can access it anywhere I have a Web connection. I didn't come up with the idea myself; instead, I shamelessly stole the idea from Bill Childers. I suspect he stole it from someone else, so feel free to steal the idea from me.

Make TV Awesome with Bluecop

A few weeks back, I was whining that although Doctor Who was available on Amazon Prime streaming, I didn't have any way to watch it on my television. Thankfully, my friend Richard Servello pointed me to the bluecop repo for XBMC. Not only does bluecop support Amazon Prime streaming, but it also has add-ons for Hulu and countless other network-video-streaming collections.

Cryptocurrency: Your Total Cost Is 01001010010

Most people have heard of gold. Most people are familiar with dollars. For a handful of geeky folks, however, the currency they hope will become a global standard is digital. Whether it's a problem or not, the currency you use on a day-to-day basis is tied to the government.

Mercurial - Revision Control Approximated

A short while ago, an article appeared in Linux Journal implying Git was the be-all and end-all of source code revision control systems ("Git—Revision Control Perfected" by Henry Van Styn, August 2011).

Science the GNU Way, Part I

In my past several articles, I've looked at various packages to do all kinds of science. Sometimes, however, there just isn't a tool to solve a particular problem. That's the great thing about science. There is always something new to discover and study. But, this means it's up to you to develop the software tools you need to do your analysis.

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.