Gnome-Pie could be one of the best user interfaces for accessing menus on any Linux desktop. It is a radial visual application that keeps your hands on the keyboard or the mouse to quickly launch any application. Launching frequently used programs could not be easier or more fun. Gnome-Pie brings functional eye candy to the menu interface.
My first question to the desk clerk at a hotel in a strange country is no longer, "What time does the restaurant close?" It’s more often, "Where I can get a SIM card?" $2-a-minute voice and $10-a-megabyte Internet roaming in many parts of the world make acquiring a local card a must. I recently had a pleasant first morning in an Egyptian town center haggling for a data-only 3.75G SIM card.
The latest release of Canonical’s Ubuntu Linux distro, version 13.04 or Roaring Ringtail, comes with a big yawn factor. I get a growing sense that the company’s rejections of users’ criticisms of Ubuntu’s native Unity desktop portray Canonical as Microsoft in a penguin suit. Regular Ubuntu users of previous versions will be satisfied with the new release.
The latest release of Canonical’s Ubuntu Linux distro, version 13.04, or Raring Ringtail, comes with a big yawn factor. I get a growing sense that the company’s rejections of users’ criticisms of Ubuntu’s native Unity desktop portray Canonical as Microsoft in a penguin suit. Regular Ubuntu users of previous versions will be satisfied with the new release.
With tablets possibly on track to overtake PCs within a few years, one might wonder just how that’s going to happen. Can tablets really perform as well as PCs in professional environments? I for one am still unpacking my laptop when it comes to power applications like imaging. Well, Adobe claims it now delivers its core Adobe Photoshop functionality in an app for Android tablets.
As the geek world drools over the first 13-megapixel smartphone camera — the Android-driven Samsung Galaxy S4 — we take a look at the current state-of-play in the must-have camera app genre for Android. Ready, set, go. Occasionally an app comes along that blows everything else away.
Pencil is an advanced drawing and animation tool that creates traditional, hand-drawn 2D animations and static sketches. Think of this animation/drawing application as an Etch A Sketch with colored sand on steroids. Pencil creates both bitmap and vector images. Finished animations can be exported as a PNG image. Animated sketches can be exported in several handy Flash or Movie file formats.
If you are looking for a fast, reliable, trouble-free, lightweight PDF viewer, and you stumble upon xPDF in your distro’s app listings — keep stumbling. Chances are it will not run on your Linux configuration. In theory, xPDF is a promising alternative to PDF viewers available for the Linux desktop such as Adobe PDF Viewer, Okular and Evince. It is a fast and light application that does not exhibit sluggish performance.
Chicagoans and Bostonians, you have a new way of hailing a cab. It’s called "Hailo," and it lets you grab a taxi by app command, rather than an arm raise at the curb. Hailo is coming soon to New York and Washington, D.C., and already is available in Toronto and several European cities. Hailo is different from some other taxi apps in that its relationship is with the individual driver, not with an entire fleet.
Knoppix is a lightweight Linux distro that is anything but light in its features and functions. It equals or exceeds the performance of all the desktop varieties I run in Ubuntu and Linux Mint. It also could easily replace the portability on a stick I get with Puppy Linux. Knoppix, much like Puppy Linux, provides a fully functional Linux distro that boots from a DVD or USB drive.
Tripit is a frequent flier travel organizer. It claims to sculpt your mishmash of itineraries, dinner arrangements and meetings into a functioning, unified whole — all accessible through your mobile device. The idea is that you email your airline, and other itineraries to it, and it then "does the rest." That’s a big claim, and in my experience big claims in new technology concepts often don’t deliver.
PeaZip is a handy utility for reducing the size of large files and archiving different files into one big container. Unlike most file compression tools for Linux, PeaZip’s user interface makes it easy to manage. When it comes to zipping and unzipping files, simplicity counts for most everything. PeaZip is a cross platform file and archive manager available for Linux, BSD and Windows platforms.
News360, a learning news aggregator for Android, has recently been updated. I decided to take a look. Uniquely, this app uses a thumbs-up button style of interaction in combination with collected statistics to provide stories that are supposed to be customized for you.
Chakra is an unusual Linux distro that rethinks what the Linux desktop should be. It gives users the tools to do it their way. This interesting approach to learning what makes Linux tick, however, is not a good starting point for first-time Linux users.
Relax and Sleep Plus lets you choose and play ambient sounds that might help you sleep.
With the unexpected news that Google’s RSS feed reader, Google Reader, is being put out to pasture, many users are scrambling to find new tools for news consumption. There are still plenty of excellent free news apps out there, and here’s a look at the top five available for the Android platform. Google Currents is a pretty, magazine-like aggregator with a true offline solution that works well in airplane mode.
ynapse is a desktop utility that adds speed and convenience to finding files and launching applications. It does not eliminate the Linux distro’s menu, favorites bar or panel icons. Instead, it cuts down on how often you resort to using them. A semantic-based tool that makes use of the Zeitgeist engine, Synapse is a graphical launcher that pops up when you call it with the Control-Space key combination.
The early-90s Windows 3.11 operating system offered a graphical user interface that was a breakthrough for me. It was, in fact, my first GUI. I’d been using command-line, error-prone MS-DOS for two or three years before that, and it was a delight to suddenly be able to maximize screens, switch programs, and point around with a mouse, after living with the syntactically regimented MS-DOS.
If you package e-books in the EPUB format, one of the handiest editing tools available is Sigil. The growing interest in mobile apps and e-reader devices such as Amazon’s Kindle Fire and Barnes & Noble’s Nook is fueling the e-book business for both reading consumers and authors.
We’re seeing an entire genre of Twitter clients proliferating within the Android ecosystem — each app with its own idea about the best way to interact with the monolithic, 500 million-strong social network. OneLouder’s Slices Pro for Twitter is the latest client to grab my attention — not least because it provides a way to browse Twitter directories by category to find the best Follows.