Posts Tagged With: Software

Essential Free Software for Mac OS X: My Personal Top 10 Indispensables (plus a few handy extras)

I realised when I was getting my system back to normal (HD faliure – probably post on this at some point) that I have not written any posts about any of the really great freeware I use on my Mac.

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Crazy!!!

I realise that a lot of people do these top ten lists for interesting software or fun software for Macs.  And a lot of them list programs you have to pay for.

My list is for USEFUL SOFTWARE I USE ALL THE TIME. 

And of course all software listed here is 100% FREE SOFTWARE.  

There is NO payware or shareware included.

So here’s my up to date list of all the software I consider indispensable for my happy Mac life.  These are vaguely in order of how often I use them. Continue reading

Categories: Essential OS X Freeware: Top Ten, Free Software, Mac & OS X | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

How I Chose my Wacom Bamboo Tablet + Thoughts after 3 weeks of using the Wacom Bamboo Fun Pen and Touch

About a year ago I decided that, although I am not a professional artist, I was ready to take the next step and purchase a graphics tablet.  But as graphics tablets are a rather expensive treat (especially in a time of recession) I decided to spend a year saving for it.  I therefore had a looooong time to do my research. 

To all those who are trawling sites and forums sifting every single dreg of information they possibly can:

I have been there, I have done that, and I have got the T-shirt, or rather, in this case, the graphics tablet. 

My first problem was that I didn’t know anyone who had a graphics tablet so I didn’t really know where to start.  So after reading countless recommendations for “first tablet” “tablet for beginners” “tablets for amateur artists” etc. I found that overall the Wacom Bamboo series had the most recommendations. 

But here I encountered my first problem.  I found that the highest number of recommendations within the Wacom Bamboo series went to the Bamboo Create, the Bamboo Capture, the Bamboo Pen and Touch, and the Bamboo Fun Pen and Touch (small and medium versions). 

But nowhere could I find any people who reviewed the Bamboo Create AND the Bamboo Fun Pen and Touch!!

It seems silly that I did not make the obvious connection at the time, which is, of course, they are the same graphics tablet!!!  Yes, it’s true.  The bundled software may be different but the tablet and its features are the same.  Continue reading

Categories: Art & Design, Graphics Tablets, Reviews | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 18 Comments

Information About the Wacom Bamboo Series

Firstly, if you are looking for an account of how I chose my Wacom Bamboo tablet from the Wacom Bamboo series, or a review of the Wacom Bamboo Fun Pen and Touch/Create, please read my post here.  If you are after a guide to registering and downloading the software bundled with your tablet please read my post here.

This post covers the differences between the various Bamboo tablets, the meaning of their product codes, and their equivalents worldwide.  This is a post informing you of the differences between the tablets, not a review of them.

The information here has been gathered from many sources including the official WACOM website.  Most of what I have written here can be found on the WACOM site in bits and pieces.  Mine is a more comprehensive and explicit summary of what is written there, on other websites, and in forums and customer reviews. Continue reading

Categories: Art & Design, Graphics Tablets, Reviews | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 13 Comments

How to Convert eBooks using Calibre

There are many places you can convert various formats to ePub online for free.  I have not actually used any so I can’t vouch for the quality or efficiency of said sites.  In any case, I prefer to be able to convert regardless of whether I have an internet connection.  So I use Calibre to convert all my eBooks to ePub format. 

As I mentioned in a previous post, Calibre is free eBook/eReader software which can convert many eBook formats into ePub.  You can read more about Calibre in my post here.  Although I have not tested it, I know that it also has the function to convert the other way.  But it’s worth mentioning that this function is available.  The official list of convertible formats is as follows: Continue reading

Categories: Calibre (eReader software), e-Books & e-Readers, e-Readers, e-Reading Software, Kobo Touch | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Free eReader Software: Calibre

My Kobo Touch did come with the designated Kobo software – Kobo Desktop. It wasn’t particularly bad software, but I prefer to use something which has a few more features.  Plus a few of the free ebooks I downloaded from non Kobo sites like Gutenberg were rejected by it.  So I use an excellent free alternative – Calibre.

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Calibre is a free and open source e-book library management application developed by users of e-books for users of e-books.

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Calibre is a bit like a library for your e-Books.  You can enter various information about them, including, author, title, rating, your description, etc. and sort accordingly.  You can move your e-books to and from your e-Reader to your computer.  I prefer to edit all the information about my eBooks using Caibre rather than editing them on my Kobo.  It is also much faster to edit in bulk , for example, as you can see below, some Sherlock Holmes eBooks list the author as Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and some as just Arthur Conan Doyle.  Calibre allows you to edit them all to have the same author name which makes them easier to locate on your Kobo. Continue reading

Categories: Calibre (eReader software), e-Books & e-Readers, e-Readers, e-Reading Software, Free Software, Kobo Touch | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Free Art and Design Software for OS X

I am a firm believer in not paying ridiculous amounts of money for programs. I don’t think that any program, even for graphic design, is worth over 600 pounds.  I mean, you should just buy a new computer or something for that sort of money.  Not mentioning any names of course…. *cough*Photoshop*cough* …. There are countless downloads and hacks for programs like Adobe Photoshop but I don’t believe that resolves anything.  So I use freeware and opensource programs.  There are far fewer free programs available for OS X than for Windows.  However, here are few art and graphics programs which I think are worth considering. Continue reading

Categories: Art & Design, Free Software, Linux and Ubuntu, Mac & OS X | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Ubuntu 10.10 – General Software

Depending on whether you do a custom or a default install you may or may not have the following programs.  After using Ubuntu for the last 6 months I recommend the following programs.  Remember, these are all FREE so if you don’t use them you can just uninstall them and it hasn’t cost you anything.  I actually think a lot of these are better than the programs you pay for.  Especially Video LAN Player.  I haven’t yet found a single video file type it can’t open.

To install these programs I usually use Synaptic Package Manager.  If you prefer to use the Terminal or the Ubuntu Software Centre that’s fine too.  I like using Synaptic Package Manager because it recommends you all the extra bits you might need for compatibility and such.  However, the Terminal is the quickest way so I will give the Terminal command for each one, and a detailed Ubuntu Software Centre/Synaptic Package Manager example at the end.

NOTE:  To install a program using the Terminal, open a Terminal window, copy and paste the command line into your window and hit enter.  Enter your Administrator password when asked and it should install it for you.

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  • Firefox – a really good web browser and far more secure than IE (and apparently Safari at the moment).  To install using the Terminal use the command

sudo apt-get install firefox

  • Open Office – similar to Microsoft Office except it’s completely FREE!  This should be included by default but if it isn’t install it using Synaptic Package Manager or Ubuntu Software Centre.

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  • VLC Player – a really good multimedia player which can handle most file formats.  AVI, WMV, DIVX, OGM, FLV, etc.  To install using the Terminal use the command

sudo apt-get install vlc vlc-plugin-pulse mozilla-plugin-vlc

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After that there are several optional odds and ends I recommend:

  • Audacity – a good sound file recorder and editor.  To install using the Terminal use the command

sudo apt-get install audacity

  • GIMP – the GNU Image Manipulation Program.  Similar to Adobe Photoshop… WAIT!  No…  GIMP is FREE not £650 which is the current price of Photoshop!  Seriously, who would pay that?  There are probably a few things it can’t do that Photoshop can but it’s a decent program that can do most things, and yes, it does them for free.  To install using the Terminal use the command

sudo apt-get install gimp

(if you like GIMP you can install some extras for it using sudo apt-get install gimp-data-extras)

  • Five or More – this used to be called Glines and is a bit like connect 4 but oh so much better.  Install this game at your peril, it is very addictive.  Install this using Synaptic Package Manager or Ubuntu Software Centre.

  • Inkscape – a vector graphics editor.  It’s good for people who would like to play around with Adobe Illustrator but refuse to pay the price tag.  To install using the Terminal use the command

sudo apt-get install inkscape

  • SM Player – another media player.  I find this player gets on better with some DVDs than VLC.  It’s a good alternative if you find you have problems.  To install using the Terminal use the command

sudo apt-get install smplayer

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You can install any of these programs using Synaptic Package Manager or Ubuntu Software Centre.  I will give an example for each method using VLC media player.

Using Synaptic Package Manager:

1.)  Make sure you have administrative privileges and your password.

2.)  Go to System > Administration > Synaptic Package Manager

3.)  Enter your password when asked.

4.) When looking for a program you have to options – you can either browse the list or use the Quick Search.  Either is fine.

5.)  So if I wanted to install VLC Media Player I would search for it in the Quick Search and then right click and choose Mark for Installation.

Of course as I already have it installed it already has a green mark next to it.

6.)  Click Apply and it should be installed.  If it asks whether you want to install the recommended extras, choose yes.  VLC should now be successfully installed.

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Using Ubuntu Software Centre:

1.)  Go to Applications > Ubuntu Software Centre

2.)  In the search type VLC media player and select it from the list.   You can click on more info if you would like to read about it before installing.

3.)  When you are ready click the install button.  The installation may take a little while but at the end VLC should be successfully installed.

Categories: Free Software, Linux and Ubuntu, Ubuntu 10.10 - Maveric Meerkat | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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