Tag Archives: Open Source

Piwik: Free & OpenSource Alternative to Google Analytics

greenshot_2009-08-01_00-14-44 Piwik is free and opensource website analytics tool that you can install on a server (just like you would install WordPress or any script). Piwik is based on php and mysql and gives out real time reports.

Although a lot of people use Google Analytics, it depends on what your needs are. Google Analytics is easy to setup, Piwik gives real time data and a whole lot of flexibility.

Once Piwik has been installed, you will be given a JavaScript tag. Simply copy and paste this tag on websites you wish to track and then you can keep a tab on Analytics from your Piwik control panel. The Piwik control panel is fully customizable and you can drag and drop widgets wherever you want them to be. By default Piwik comes with 20+ plugins which are officially maintained. Other community supported plugins can be found here.

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If you know Php, you can also edit the files to enhance and modify the interface or reporting in any way you want. And since Piwik is installed on your own server (we recommend you install it on a subdomain, like analytics.example.com), there are no requests for external files. This also makes Piwik a lightweight alternative to Google Analytics.

Analytical widgets can be added and removed easily. Outcomes can be presented as bar graphs, pie charts, or plain text. And another great feature that is included in Piwik is embeddable charts. Take some code, put it on your website and there you have a live web analytical chart embedded on your website.

Piwik also has an interesting API that lets users build applications on this platform. The API makes possible a Desktop application that reports analytics data straight to your desktop.

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Piwik is a product by OpenX and was previously known as phpMyVisites.

Check out an Online Demo of Piwik | Download Piwik | Installation Instructions

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.

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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 http://www.b2b-techcopy.com

Free Personal Finance Manager

No matter how much money you make or how much you spend, there is always the need to keep track of income and expenses in a systematic format, so that you can see where the money is coming in from and where the money is going.

Managing personal finances is a little bit trickier when you want to keep track of day to day expenses and receivables, having a software to keep track of expenses can help immensely.

Also Read: Using Google Docs To Keep Track Of Your Expenses

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Microsoft Windows Goes Open Source

In a startling revelation that took the Microsoft employees by surprise, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer said that Microsoft would be making the source code of all Operating systems they manufacture open source.

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This announcement was certainly not expected from a company whose engineers working on the code themselves didn’t have full access to it.

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10 Open Source Alternatives To Photoshop

Photoshop is a very popular image editing and designing tool, however you do have to pay a heavy price for buying and using Photoshop, which definitely puts it out of reach of people who are just beginning out and do not have money to spend.

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However there are several alternatives to Photoshop and you can get similar features if not all, in the and Open Source alternatives.

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wikidPad: Wikipedia Like Note Taking Applications

There are 100s of note taking applications available to users and we had previously covered 11 useful and free sticky notes softwares, however most of the note taking softwares only provide you with a simple interface and does not allow you to cross-reference notes.

wikidPad is a innovative note taking freeware software that provides users with a Wiki-like notebook for storing your thoughts, ideas, TODO lists, contacts, or anything else you can think of to write down.

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