Open Source – Is It All Hype or Just Good Software?

This is a guest post by Randy Kemp

Open source software: Is it hype or just good software? Well, before we go into this question, we really need a definition. Let’s start with this good, basic definition of open source.


They say, Open source software is software for which the underlying code has been made available for users. Users are then able to read it or change it as they wish.This is a good definition. But how do we find good open source software, if such a thing exists?

Are you into country music? If so, do you remember a tune called Dust On The Bottleby David Lee Murphy? Well, the song is about this young lad, who goes to this country wine maker named Creal, for something to impress a young lady. And he pulled out a bottle of wine, covered with dust.

Let’s examine a couple lines from this song, and relate it to open source software. There might be a little dust on the bottle. But don’t let it fool ya ’bout what’s inside.So we get our first inkling about open source. It appears to be dusty on the surface, but it is good inside. And that is the problem. Not everyone has a person called Creal, to tell them what constitutes a good bottle of wine let alone good open source software.

Now let’s take another verse of the Murphy song, that gives us a better clue. There might be a little dust on the bottle. It’s one of those things that gets sweeter with time. Now before we get into this sweeter with timething, let me give you a bit of background, as to why I can speak on these things.

For several years, I was a software developer at Motorola, where I wore many hats. Three years of working with Oracle and Java, and three years of working with ASP.NET and SQL Server. In addition, I wore the hats of technical writer, project manager, business analyst, trainer, and six-sigma black belt. But I ran web servers for engineers, based upon the open source web server Apache, and scripted UNIX with Perl, another popular open source product. So let’s start this sweeter with time, with a product called Tomcat.

apache_tomcat Tomcat is a Java product, which is under the Apache organization umbrella, and the source was initially donated by Sun Microsystems. Tomcat is basically used to be a java interface between databases, like Oracle, and a web server. There was a lot of rumble initially that Tomcat was really buggy. But when it was released as open source, the worldwide community of super coders went to work cleaning it up. Today this product is in the same class as any commercial equivalent. So it has gotten sweeter over time.

lamp_logo Another example of sweeter over timeis L.A.M.P. L.A.M.P. is a hybrid of four products, named LINUX, APACHE, MYSQL, and PHP. What we have is an operating system (LINUX being the open source version of UNIX), a web server (APACHE), a database (MYSQL, even though I consider POSTGRESQL to be just as good), and a scripting language (PHP).

Each of these products has been successful for many years. But together, they constitute a powerful combination, for running complete web applications, with dynamic (database) content.

Now there are a couple of points here, that need to be shared, so as not to see open source as cut and dry.

  1. If you are running critical applications, make sure you give sufficient time, after a new architecture is introduced. So if Apache is going from 1 X to 2X, Tomcat from 5X to 6X, or Perl from 7 X to 8X, don’t be the first on the technology bandwagon. Wait until Apache 2.2 X, for example.
  2. Insure there are software support companies available; it is it critical to get a fix right away. I know, for example, that MYSQL has service contracts available, from the commercial company that oversees the software.

I hope you enjoyed this short introduction to open source software.  If you have any questions, please be sure to contact me, or leave post comments.  I love hearing from open source enthusiasts – even those who also need to be converted.

Randy Kemp is a B2B Technology Copywriter  (B2B-TechCopy), Motorola Six-Sigma Black Belt, Computer Scientist, Writer, Psychologist, former IT Consulting Company Owner, and Inbound/Direct Response Marketer.  He is committed to Providing Persuasion Artistry for B2B Technology Marketing Communications (I.E. white paper, case study, social media).  Please visit his website, for more audio and video social media links,  at

Free Memory Management & Optimization Utility

Most computers usually run slow because of heavy applications being built these days, however before you blame your CPU for the slowdown, let us just say that many times a PC may slow down because of low RAM or improper usage of RAM.

You can fix the problem of low RAM by adding additional memory, but how do you fix improper usage of RAM?

Related: Tools to Check Memory Usage


RamRush is a utility that allows users to monitor, manage and optimize memory usage. Using this tool you can free up physical memory and make your system work better.


This in turn will help you prevent system crashes and fix memory leaks to run your PC faster and efficiently.

RAMRush is available for download both as a installation and .

Download RAMRush

Windows Toolbox: Swiss Army Knife Utility Application

In our day to day blogging life we use several tools and applications like , color pickers, font previewer, application launcher among other things.

However we have to use individual applications for all these tasks, wouldn’t it be good to have all of these and more in a single application?

Also Read: PicPick Tools – All In One Design Tool

Windows Toolbox is a small that is a Swiss army knife like application for Windows.


Windows Toolbox packs in these features into a single application:

  • Application Launcher
  • Easy access to drives and folders.
  • Screen capture utility.
  • Color picker.
  • Access to installed printers.
  • Font viewer.

The software is and definitely worthwhile downloading.

Download Windows Toolbox

Backup Google Docs Files

Most of the time we try and files to the clouds using several sites, however it is always good to keep several backups just to be safe.

not only provides users with a Microsoft Office alternative but also provides users with a option to upload and store files online.

However if you do not trust the cloud for data storage you are always better off keeping backups locally, if you have many documents on Google Docs, you can easily export them or sync them with your local documents.


The LTech Google Docs Backup provides users with an option to backup and download their documents to their local drive. You can choose between various options to backup Documents, Spreadsheets and Presentations.

However this will only work for Google Apps Premier and Education editions.

If you are a regular Google Docs user and , you can export your Google Documents too with a Greasemonkey script, you can find the script and other useful things in our earlier post: Getting the best out of Google Docs.

Download Google Docs Backup [via a tweet & Read Write Web]

Automatically Adjust Monitor Color Based on Time

Many of us usually use the computers and laptops throughout the day including evenings and late nights, the darkness at nights cause computer screen to emit a glow that is not comfortable to look at.

However adjusting the contrast and color over and over again could be quite a hassle and we usually leave the settings the same throughout the day.


If you feel uncomfortable watching the computer screen at nights, a really useful and software called F.lux is what you should definitely be using.

F.lux makes the color of your computer’s display adapt to the time of day, warm at night and like sunlight during the day.

It’s even possible that you’re staying up too late because of your computer. You could use f.lux because it makes you sleep better, or you could just use it just because it makes your computer look better.


Flu.x will automatically detect your location and apply different color schemes based on the the time, however you can change the location and color settings to suit your own needs, by clicking on the Change settings button.

Flu.x will work on Windows XP, and Mac, they also have a version that will work on Linux.

Download F.lux [via tweet]

Download Free Tutorials For Anything Online

Did you ever think to start out learning something on your own and haven’t found the right resources for it, for example you want to take up designing and you want to learn Photoshop, or learn java on your own?

Google does provide users with a good way to search and find resources, but do you want to skip through things and just download the right tutorial?


Free Tutorial for Me is a handy online service that indexes more than 38 million tutorials, but wait they do not do it themselves, they still use Google, however they only show , PowerPoint presentations and documents in the results.

To view the tutorial just click on the view button next to the tutorial and it will load a internal viewer to load the PDF, document or presentation, so you do not even need to have any of these softwares installed on your computer to view them.

Definitely useful and worth using if you are looking for a site to search for tutorials.

Free Tutorials for Me [via Technospot]

Enhance Windows Seven Taskbar With Taskbar Overlord

You are probably aware that Windows Seven features a revamped taskbar (often called the Superbar). It’s possibly the most prominent change in Windows Seven and has received a lot of attention. While the Windows Seven Taskbar is definitely a big improvement over its predecessors there are a few nagging issues.

Taskbar Overlord is a simple hotkey application which enhances the Windows Seven taskbar by making a couple of small adjustments to it.

  • By default Windows Seven groups multiple instances of the same application together. If you click on the application icon in the taskbar, the thumbnail previews are displayed instead of restoring the last active window. This is pointless since the same thing can be achieved by hovering your pointer over the icon. Taskbar Overlord fixes this extremely annoying behaviour of Windows Seven Taskbar and forces it to restore the last active window on mouse click.
  • If you middle click on any icon (in the taskbar) a new instance of the program is created. Again, this not very useful since you can achieve the same thing through Shift+Click. Taskbar Overlord changes the default behaviour so that Middle Clicking on an icon closes all its windows.
  • Control Your Windows 7 Taskbar with Taskbar Overlord

    Taskbar Overlord doesn’t do much yet goes a long way towards improving the Windows Seven experience. Once you get used to it, you will be forced to wonder why these functionalities aren’t built into Windows.

    [ Download Taskbar Overlord ]

World Time Viewer

We may work in one country but we may have clients in several others, or for that matter even family and friends who stay in different countries.

Sometimes we tend to communicate with them, but the timezones are different, so if it is early afternoon at your location it may be past midnight in the other’s location.

Calculating time differences is quite a hassle, so why not use a simple World time tool to keep an eye on the time in several countries, without having to perform any time conversion.


Moo0 WorldTime is a handy tool that displays the time from several different locations, once you have installed the application you can choose the different timezones that want to see.


To view the time in different locations of the world, just right click on the WorldTime system tray icon.

Download Moo0 WorldTime

Find & Delete Duplicate Music Files

We all admire our music collection and arrange them carefully, however no matter how much we try, there may be duplicate copies of the same music in our collection.

Now we do have a choice of painfully sorting through each and every music file to find duplicates and then delete them, or then we could just use a tool to do the hard work for us.


If you decided to use a tool, Similarity is one we would suggest you to find & delete duplicate music and mp3 files. Similarity is a useful program that helps you to find and remove similar, duplicate musical files (MP3, WMA, OGG, ASF, WAV, FLAC, APE, WV) with the same or similar sound content, music tags (ID3,WMF,Vorbis).

You can adjust sensitivity of searching criteria to find exact or similar files. In this way it is possible to identify similarly titles with smaller differences. Duplicate files can be deleted or browsed.

Similarity Features

  • Three powerful comparing algorithms (content based, tags based and experimental).
  • Support lossy formats: MP3, MP2, OGG, WMA, ASF.
  • Support lossless formats: FLAC, APE, WF, WMA.
  • Support ID3v1, ID3v2, ASF, WMA, Vorbis tags.
  • Find files with same sound content (not byte to byte comparison, using sound analyzing).
  • Tag editor (support MP3,WMA).
  • Tag/file renaming tool.
  • Very fast sound content scanning.
  • Works with removable media devices like USB, etc.
  • Search local PC and over network.
  • Find duplicate from a selected set of folders.
  • Show files tags and properties.
  • Results can be exported to playlist.

Download Similarity [via Madhur Kapoor’s Blog]

Get Automatic Drive Icons On Your Desktop With Desktop Media

One really cool feature in Linux distros as well as Mac is that they automatically display any plugged-in removable media on the desktop. This is a rather handy feature as it saves you the trouble of opening up (My)Computer .

Desktop Media is a freeware which brings this feature to Windows. It works with all sorts of removable media including CD/DVD drives, USB Drives and network drives. Additionally it gives you the option of adding shortcuts to Fixed Drives (hard disc partitions) and even Ram Discs on your desktop.
For removable media such as CD/DVD drives, the shortcut will be displayed on the desktop only if a disc is present.

Desktop Media also provides a couple of other handy features including the ability to remember the icon positions, ignore specified drive letters and create Symbollic Links instead of Shortcuts. It effortlessly integrates with your Windows installation and even works with Icon Packs. This is definitely going to be appreciated by those who like to have a pretty looking desktop.

Desktop Media - Get Automatic Drive Icons On Your Desktop

Desktop Media is a tiny download (354 KB) and has an extremely small memory footprint(less than 4 MB). I love it because it performs a specific task and performs it well.
[ Download Desktop Media ]