Arora – completely FLOSS Webkit browser

If you want to run a WebKit web browser with no strings attached (unlike Safari and Google Chrome), Arora is surely worth a try.

desktop_gnome

First plus is that it runs on Linux, Windows and MacOS X. It is fast, has private browsing and looks like it has some plug-in support. Another good news is the announcement Kubuntu will carry Arora as its default browser in the 9.10 release.

Ebook reader and manager

For those who like ebooks, Calibre is a great program that was created to manage pretty much any aspect of your reading files.

calibre

The list of features is pretty extensive:

  • convert files from and to epub, mobi, LRF and supports input of several other formats including PDF, html, odt, rtf amongst others;
  • syncs to mobile reader devices (seems to work well with the iPhone/Stanza and the Kindle);
  • convert a news feed to an ebook;
  • scans your computer to check for all supported ebook formats so you can keep them organized, download cover art and meta data;
  • runs on Windows, Linux and MacOS X.

At the present moment the app is on version 0.5.3 and seems to be under heavy development. For me, file conversion from PDF to epub format went without any hitches and I was finally able to organize my ebook library under one program.

Import and edit PDF files in OpenOffice

For quite a while now OpenOffice has been promising the ability to import and edit PDF files. Although not released with the program itself, you can grab the Sun PDF Import extension to do just that.

This extension is in beta and is available multi-platform for Windows, Linux and MacOS X systems.

Tests that I ran were pretty good. The text in the PDF file is imported well and in a way I could edit the text, font settings and images. There was a small problem in that the document that was shown to me had colors inverted (black background with white font). But, don’t ask me why, the imported file actually contained 2 layers. Deleting the one on top will show you the layer with correct colors and fully editable.

The extension is in beta but it is sure worth a try and beats editing the PDF through an image software like I used to do.

Using Twitter with Pidgin

The eco-system around Pidgin is fantastic, below is yet another cool plug-in tip for it.

Pidgin-Twitter plug-in works with Linux and Windows for you to get back into posting to and receiving notes from Twitter (also works well with Identi.ca too!). Steps to get it working:

  1. download and install the plug-in the plug-in;
  2. go to Pidgin menu under Tools > Plug-ins you’ll find Pidgin-Twitter to activate and configure;
  3. place your username / password and define a couple of other options (such as show users’ avatars)
  4. Add a buddy to your GTalk account called twitter@twitter.com and choose to display it even when it is offline.

You’re good to go! Open the chat window for the buddy you just created and instantly it’ll display your messages.

Abiword – multi platform word processor

After a recent exchange of ideas about Abiword on identi.ca, I decided to take a closer look at it again. Although OpenOffice is currently my office suite of choice, it is a bit bloated and slow. So, what does Abiword have to offer?

abiword1

  • It is blazing fast;
  • works in Windows and Linux;
  • has all the main text editing and formatting functions one needs;
  • saves and imports documents in multiple formats (Abiword’s own formats, .doc, .odf, .html, .rtf, .pdf, .docx, LaTeX, Kword and xml);
  • has revision control;
  • has spell checker and thesaurus built-in;
  • and, has a plug-in architecture to improve its list of features even more!

abiword-tools

It even has a collaboration function so you can share your document through Jabber or TCP connection (I haven’t tested it).

I have tried Abiword before but to be honest I didn’t know it had this many features. For this review I can say there are a couple of tools I might miss when collaborating a document with others, such as being able to track and manage document changes and notes.

Overall I really liked Abiword and will seriously think about using it more often.

Multiplatform desktop SVN

On Linux a nice small but highly effective tool I use to work with SVN is RapidSVN. The program is pretty small but highly effective for commit, checkout, merge, and log info.

RapidSVN works on Windows, Linux and MacOS X.

From their site, the list of features include:

  • Simple -easy to use for SVN features;
  • Efficient – simple for beginners but flexible enough for those experienced with Subversion;
  • Portable – runs on several platforms on which wxWidgets can run (Linux, Windows, Mac OS/X, Solaris, etc).
  • Fast – written in C++
  • Multilingual – translated to many languages: German, French, Italian, Portuguese, Russian, Ukrainian, Simplified Chinese, Japanese

Project Management

GanttProject is currently what I’m using for my project management duties. Why?

  • it is multi-platform (works on Windows, Linux, and MacOS X);
  • simple to use;
  • open source;
  • allows me to manage well dependencies, resources and milestones.

ganttproject-house-building-sample

The main drawback is that it is Java based so a bit slower to run than other native programs.

Recover lost Windows passwords

Forgot your Windows login password? You can recover it easily with Ophcrack.

You can run Ophcrack through a live CD and have your passwords in no time. Or download the software to run on different platforms, even running in Windows itself if you have access to another user’s account.

Once downloaded, the software is incredibly easy to use and will recover the passwords of all users in your Windows installation, Windows XP or Vista.

Transfer files through ftp with FileZilla

Throughout my blogging years and web experiences Filezilla has been of great use. The Filezilla client allows transfering of files through FTP, FTPS, and SFTP. Actually, you can also delete files on your server or rename them.

It runs nicely on Windows, Linux, BSD, Mac OS X, and you can run it through a USB drive with Portable Apps.

If you prefer to run something similar on your Firefox, you may also try out FireFTP.

By the way, get an FTP client from time to time and download all of the server files to make sure you have a safely secured backup. 🙂

Colonization gaming – FreeCol

FreeCol is an open source clone of the Colonization game. I admit, during college I was a bit addicted to this game, my style of strategy gaming.

For those who are not familiar, this is a strategy game where your objective is to Colonize the entire world with your nationality. So, you build your cities, grow them, build an army and expand your borders. Sounds pretty simple but for people like me, fun stuff to do for hours and hours.

FreeCol isn’t yet on its full release version yet, it is still on 0.7.4 about to release v.0.8. But, from the looks it is working pretty well. It runs on Windows, Linux, and Mac OS X.