Get Your Free ClipArt at OpenClipart.org

lady-bugI often spend too much time looking for the right image to use in a blog post or web page. My biggest problem is finding an image that I can use without worrying about copyrights. Most of the images you find on the web are not labeled with a clear message that says who it belongs to.

Since I’ve found OpenClipart.org, I think I’ll be saving a lot of time. Everything there is completely free. There are no strings attached. You can use their images in anything you publish.

open-clipart

OpenClipart.org has been doing this since they were founded in 2004. This is what they say about their project:

The usage of the name is to convey connection to Open Source software and culture. Also, the word conveys the concept of the project lowering barriers for participation for submission of artwork, development on the project, use of the site and use of the clip art stored.

If you just want to use the freebie art, you only need to go to the site and type in a search term or use the categories to find what you need.

They also offer several packages loaded with all of the clipart from the entire website. These can be downloaded in a couple of different formats.

Download Clipart

If you are an artist, they’d love to get your help with this project. Here’s how to get involved.

If you’re just an average graphics-challenged person like myself, be sure to tell everyone you know about this cool website.

Screenshot Preview of Kubuntu Netbook Remix

kubuntu-icon I recently tried the newest version of the Kubuntu Netbook Remix (KNR). As you may already know, the newest versions of Ubunutu 10.4 LTS (Lucid Lynx) and Kubuntu were recently released.

I’ve always been a bigger fan of the Gnome desktop in Ubuntu, but I still like to check out the KDE versions in Kubuntu, just to see what’s new. This release of the Kubuntu Netbook Remix, is really a great operating system for netbook users. I’ll show you what it looks like below.

Loading it onto the netbook was an easy task for me. I simply downloaded the 776mb ISO file from the download page. Then I burned it to a 2Gb SD Flash card using Unetbootin.

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Here are the screenshots:

1. The Newspaper Page

This page is revealed when you click the Newspaper’ button on the top task bar. The image below is actually a screenshot of the last version of Kubuntu. Somehow, I totally missed seeing this page when I gave it my test run. As you can see, it has a task list, calendar, weather report, sticky notes and image viewer.

kubuntu-screenshot-newspaper

2. The home screen

This first screen shows you the major categories of applications and settings. At first, I had no idea why there was an Installicon at the very top, all by itself. Later I found out that this section at the top is the favoritessection. You can add your favorite apps to this section by clicking on the little star you see when you hover over an application’s launch icon.

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3. The Office’ applications

Everything you need for your mobile office is included. I use the Open Office apps almost exclusively when I’m at home or on the road. Who needs the big dollar MS Office Suite when you can get the same functions for free?

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4. Education software

I can’t tell you much about the applications in the educational section. I’ve never used them.

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5. Games!

That’s my favorite section and I was happy to see my favorite game, Mahjongg. You might recognize some of the others as your favorites.

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6. Graphics

A good selection of image viewers and editors. I think they need to put Gimp back in though.

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7. Internet applications

There are tons of internet apps here. Browsers, Email, and a Blog editor are the main ones I’ve used. I was surprised to find that Firefox was not installed. However, they have a nice little launcher here that made it simple to install.

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8. Multimedia apps

I have never used any of these three apps. However, I’m told that Amarok is an awesome music manager.

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9. System tools

Everything you need to tweak your system is here.

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10. Utilities

Several handy and must have’ utilities are included here.

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11. Application switching (method 1)

The first way I found to switch the application displayed, was to click on the apps runningbutton on the top taskbar. It gives you a nice overview of the apps currently running. Just click on the one you want to use.

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12. Application switching (method 2)

The second method to switch running apps, is to use the ALT + Tab keys. This takes you into the awesome looking 3d task preview. It will certainly get some attention when someone is looking over your shoulder.

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Summary:

I enjoyed the few minutes I spent trying out Kubuntu Netbook Remix. I was amazed at how well it ran on the very limited resources that my netbook has. The KNR team has really put together a big winner here. However, it’s not enough to steal me away from the UNR (Ubuntu Netbook Remix) that I love even more.

Xiph.Org Foundation Responds To Steve Jobs’ Threat: “Creative Individuals Don’t Really Like to Give Their Business to Jackbooted Thugs”

Monty Montgomery of Xiph.Org Foundation has responded to Steve Job’s threat. Xiph is the foundation responsible for taking care of Ogg, Theora and many other codecs. If you have missed the on-going codec wars, now would be a good time to catch up. Check out our previous article on Steve Job’s veiled threat to Theora before proceeding.

Here is Montgomery’s response:

Thomson Multimedia made their first veiled patent threats against Vorbis almost ten years ago. MPEG-LA has been rumbling for the past few years. Maybe this time it will actually come to something, but it hasn’t yet. I’ll get worried when the lawyers advise me to; i.e., not yet.

The MPEG-LA has insinuated for some time that it is impossible to build any video codec without infringing on at least some of their patents. That is, they assert they have a monopoly on all digital video compression technology, period, and it is illegal to even attempt to compete with them. Of course, they’ve been careful not to say quite exactly that.

If Jobs’s email is genuine, this is a powerful public gaffe (‘All video codecs are covered by patents.’) He’d be confirming MPEG’s assertion in plain language anyone can understand. It would only strengthen the pushback against software patents and add to Apple’s increasing PR mess. Macbooks and iPads may be pretty sweet, but creative individuals don’t really like to give their business to jackbooted thugs.

Montgomery’s comment is both straight to the point and piercing. He is right in highlighting the fallacy of software patents. Instead of encouraging competition and innovation, they promote bullying and stifle the little guy. It’s ironic that Apple is trying to portray itself as open and also going after an open source project like Theora at the same time.

Update: Xiph’s Greg Maxwell has also responded to this controversy by trying to clear up the FUD (Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt) that companies like Apple and Microsoft are trying to generate around open codecs like Theora. You can read his take over here.

Steve Jobs: A Patent Pool Is Being Assembled to Go After Theora

Apple Most of you have probably read Steve Jobs’ thoughts on Flash. It was undoubtedly an entertaining read. He was spot on about Flash being a closed platform, which has a poor security and stability track record. Yet, anyone with an analytical mind could not help but notice the hypocrisy inherent in the letter by Apple chief.

OSNews has already done a brilliant job at dissecting the letter and illustrating Jobs’ ‘holier than thou’ attitude, so I won’t be repeating the same points over here. Even Fake Diary of Steve Jobs succeeded in highlighting the shortcomings in Jobs’ reasoning – albeit in its own tongue in cheek way. Both of them are highly recommended reading.

Anyway, Steve Jobs’ open letter prompted Hugo Roy to write another open letter to Jobs’, to which Mr. Roy surprisingly enough received a reply. You can find both Hugo’s letter and Jobs’ reply over here. Here I am concerning myself only with Jobs’ reply.

From: Steve Jobs
To: Hugo Roy
Subject: Re:Open letter to Steve Jobs: Thoughts on Flash
Date 30/04/2010 15:21:17

All video codecs are covered by patents. A patent pool is being assembled to go after Theora and other open sourcecodecs now. Unfortunately, just because something is open source, it doesn’t mean or guarantee that it doesn’t infringe on others patents. An open standard is different from being royalty free or open source.

Sent from my iPad

(emphasis mine)

If I am not completely misreading things, Steve Jobs’ letter seems to strongly hint that Theora may soon face a patent infringement lawsuit. If you are wondering why Theora matters, check out my post on the recent codec squabble. In brief, browser vendors haven’t managed to agree on the codec to be used for the HTML5 <video> tag. The two major codecs being considered are H.264 and Ogg Theora. While Opera and Firefox are backing the open source Ogg Theora, Safari and Internet Explorer have pledged to go with the proprietary H.264 codec. Google Chrome supports both.

Theora is built on On2’s VP3, which was open sourced and handed over to the Xiph.Org Foundation. Most of the patents related to video codecs are owned by MPEG LA. So, in all likelihood it is playing an active role in gathering the afore mentioned patent pool. Interestingly enough, Apple is also a part of MPEG LA. MPEG LA is also the firm which stands to benefit if H.264 becomes the de-facto standard for web video. It’s not very hard to see the interrelation among the recent developments. I would leave it up to you to draw your own conclusions, but one thing is sure – the codec squabble will only get murkier.

Macpup Opera 2.0 is Launched – Fast Portable Linux

puppy-logoMacpup Opera is a   branch of Linux based on the famous Puppy Linux, which is known for it’s small size and portability. Puppy was designed to be able to run from a CD or portable flash drive. Macpup Opera takes the Puppy feature set and wraps it up in a beautiful and user friendly interface. The release of version 2.0 of this distro brings with it:

• e17 window manager
• Opera 10 web browser
• Gimp image editor
• Abiword word processor
• Gnumeric spreadsheet
• and dozens of other programs

In order to try out Macpup Opera, I downloaded the 163mb ISO live CD image and burned it to my 2Gb SD Flash card using Unetbootin. In a few minutes, I was running Macpup, and I had a nice little laugh, because it barked at me when it was done booting.

The first thing I had to do was to get my wifi network connected. I’ve always been disappointed with the networking wizard that comes with Puppy, but I’ve struggled with it often enough that I got it to recognize my network. Next, I opened the Opera web browser to see how it worked in Macpup.

I was amazed at the speed that I was getting compared to my Windows systems. Opera was surfing, paging, and refreshing faster than I’d ever seen it. This alone is a good reason for me to keep a copy of Macpup around. If my Windows PC ever crashes, I can always boot into a Puppy session for getting fixes off the web.

The Opera browser comes with it’s new Unity service and lots of desktop widgets that you’ll love playing with.

Instead of boring you with more details, here’s a video showing off this unique and completely free OS:

Link to video

For those who can’t see the video, here’s a screenshot:

macpup-opera2

This is one sweet looking little operating system and it’s sure to get a second glance as people pass by your PC.

Download Macpup Opera 2.0

Techie Buzz Verdict:

Many people won’t have any use for this unique Linux version. On the other hand, it’s small, fast, free and really pretty to watch. It’s a great place to start for those who’ve never used Linux before.

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Techie Buzz Rating: 4/5 (Excellent)

Encrypt Your Files Quickly with AxCrypt

axxcrypt-ico [Windows Only] ÀxCrypt is a free and open source (FOSS) application that lets you quickly encrypt multiple files with a password. There are many free encryption utilities out there and some of them may be as good or better. However, AxCrypt is sure to be handy even if you don’t use encryption very often, since it comes with a portable version named AxCrypt2Go. You can always use the portable version on any PC without the need to install it.

For those who need to encrypt files often, AxCrypt integrates it’s actions into the Windows right click menus. It also allows you to create self-decrypting executable files (encrypt copy to EXE). The self-decrypting files allow anyone to open them up, as long as they have the correct password. It’s safe to send AxCrypt files using email, since AES-128 encryption is used, and it’s not likely that anyone will be able to crack your files open.

Here are some snapshots and descriptions of AxCrypt:

1. When you start installing AxCrypt, you will first have to agree to the GPL license.

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2. You can disable any features you don’t want, using the custom setup screen.

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3. One drawback at this point is that I didn’t see any way to tell the app where I wanted it to install at on my hard drive.

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4. Once it’s installed, the first thing it shows is a prompt asking for an email address. Don’t worry, you don’t have to if you don’t want to. So far, AxCrypt has over 1,805,250 registered users.

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5. Now it nags you if you didn’t supply an email address. Did they learn this trick from Microsoft? I wonder how many software engineers think that this really adds any value to the application.

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6. Nothing seems to happen after that, but now whenever you right click on a file or folder, you’ll see that you have more options under the "AxCrypt" menu item. Everything needed to use AxCrypt is in there. As you can see, it has some very nice features and functions.

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7. If you select "Encrypt", you’ll be prompted for a password.

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8. If you select either of the two check-boxes, AxCrypt will remember your password when it’s encrypting or decrypting files.

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9. Here you can see me getting ready to encrypt two music files.

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10. Once they are encrypted, the files will have an "AXX" file extension.

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11. If you right click on them again and choose "Rename" in the AxCrypt menu, it will rename them so that nobody can figure out what was in those files. When you decrypt those files using AxCrypt, it remembers what the file names were and puts them back the way they were before.

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12. To get the portable version of AxCrypt, I opened up the Program folder and copied the AxCrypt2Go.exe file onto my flash drive. In order to test it, I un-installed AxCrypt from my PC and tried to use AxCrypt2Go to decrypt some files. It worked fine, and now I don’t need to keep AxCrypt installed on my computer. I will simply keep AxCrypt2Go stored away until I need it. It’s only 486k in size.

axcrypt-snaphotc

AxCrypt will work on most PCs running Windows 2000/XP/Vista or later. AxCrypt has built in translations for English, Danish, Swedish, German, Dutch, Hungarian, Spanish, French, Italian and Norwegian.

Download AxCrypt

Techie Buzz Verdict:

I discovered that AxCrypt is very easy to use when it’s installed on your PC. However, the portable version definitely needs work. You can only navigate from the left folder view. If you click on any file or folder in the main (right hand) view, it opens the file or folder in it’s associated program. To encrypt or decrypt, you have to right click on the files. Once you’ve figured that out, I think you’ll find that it’s worth keeping.

Techie Buzz Rating: 3/5 (Good)

Put Firefox into Hyperdrive with Pale Moon

palemoon-ico [Windows Only] What is Pale Moon? It’s an open source project that takes the Firefox web browser code and recompiles it to run faster in Windows.

Here’s what the author says about it:

Why settle for a basic build of your Firefox browser on Windows Operating Systems when you can have one that performs 25% faster? Mozilla does not provide optimized browser packages for Windows, while many Linux users get the advantage of a browser built specifically for their system. That needs to change! So, here is the Pale Moon project: Custom-built and optimized Firefox browsers for Windows Operating Systems.

pale-moon-browser

I have been using Pale Moon for a few days now, and I did notice a performance boost in comparison with my usual Firefox installs. I would have to say that Pale Moon is a winner.

There are no drastic differences other than the name. All of your old addons should continue to work. You’ll just get around the web a little faster. The author of Pale Moon claims that only real differences are that it doesn’t support the accessibility features or parental controls. Since I don’t use either one, I don’t know what I’m missing.

There’s even a Pale Moon persona (theme) available on the home page that makes it look very cool.

Download and try Pale Moon

Techie Buzz Verdict:

The only major drawback to using Pale Moon is that it may sometimes be a release or two behind Mozilla Firefox. Other than that, there’s not much difference from what I can tell. I can’t think of a good reason why I shouldn’t recommend it for every Firefox user running Windows.

techiebuzzrecommendedsoftware1

Techie Buzz Rating: 4.5/5 (Excellent)

Google Chrome May Stop Showing HTTP in the Address Bar

chromium-logo One of the most recent builds of the Chromium web browser is drawing some criticism. As you may know, Chromium is the open source browser project that Google’s Chrome web browser is based on. In the Chromium version 5.0.375.3, something new showed up. The address bar was not displaying the normal http://in front of addresses. It was reported in the issues at Chromium’s code site as a possible bug.

URL BAR

However, it turns out that this is an intentional move, and it’s started a fairly heated debate there. Some of the people posting there do not want to have the http prefix removed. Some people argue that it’s a feature that everyone will eventually want.

Apparently, if you need to copy and paste the address from the Chromium address bar, it will automatically add the httpprefix, even though you don’t see it. This will need to happen in order to use copied URLs in other applications.

In my opinion, I don’t think it’s going to be a problem as long as the feature works as they say it will. I sometimes wonder why we even need to type the wwwin the address. It’s a waste of time and I’ll be happy if it goes away for good.

What do you think? Be sure to comment below.

Split and Merge PDF Files with GiosPSM

pdf-icon I deal with PDF files almost every day at work. Unless you have the full version of Adobe Acrobat, making changes to existing PDF files is sometimes a problem. I’ve discovered one program that helps me deal with splitting and merging PDF files. It’s name is Gios PDF Splitter and Merger‘ (GiosPSM).

GiosPSM is the result of an open source set of tools for manipulating PDF files. It is a stand-alone program and it’s all contained in a single executable file about 145kb in size. The program is small, mainly because it relies on the .NET Framework v2.0 libraries. Here’s what the main interface looks like:

GiosPSM-interface

The feature I like best about GioPSM is the fact that you can drag and drop PDF files into it’s list when you are using it. This is a big time saver when you are merging dozens of PDF files. So far, I haven’t found any other PDF split/merge tools that allowed drag and drop without some other limitations.

GiosPSM also allows you to set page ranges when you are splitting and merging so that you can specify exactly what you need to work with. There is also a command line version of GiosPSM for those who need to automate splitting and merging operations.

The one thing I don’t like about GiosPSM is the fact that it’s a little fussy and will occasionally crash on you. When it happens, no permanent harm is done and it’s only a minor problem.

Download: Gios Home Page (requires .NET Framework 2.0)

Techie Buzz Verdict:

techiebuzzrecommendedsoftware1 GiosPSM is easy to use, it’s small and it’s portable. This is a great free product that is actively being developed. The additional command line version is a real bonus for those needing to automate PDF operations.

Techie Buzz Rating: 4/5 (Excellent)

Will Open Core Steal The Thunder of Open Source

Open Core is the new buzzword in the world of Open Source. According to this new ideology, the product as a whole is not available as Open Source. However, the core of the application, which powers its features and functionalities, is available as open source for others to build upon. This makes the task of application developers tougher but proves profitable for the company itself as well as its sponsors.

The ideology of Open Core might not be new though. The current Eclipse license is already doing something similar by allowing companies to share a common code and selling proprietary applications and features built on top of it. This makes everyone happy.

The dark side though is that this might be misused by some developers who will tend to release incomplete versions of their products as Open Core and wait for others to take it higher.

Open Core is indicative of the fact that the Open Source business model is tending to fall and is looking for other solutions which are better at generating revenue.
[Via: ZDNet ]