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Sunday, August 6, 2017

Cronometer

Who does not care about one’s health nowadays? How can teachers teach in holistic manner and do not care about their students' health? How can one take care of one’s health by using technology? Technology has been blamed for creating more couch potatoes!! Is it true? Well we are trying to find a good solution from open source products.


One of the more polished open source diet tracking apps available, Cronometer helps track calorie reduced diets plus exercise and biometrics. It comes in mobile, Web and downloadable versions. Operating System: Windows, Linux, OS X, Android, iOS. The Web version is the preferred one.


Please note that when it comes to healthy eating, one needs to discuss with a professional health person. Gadgets or any other technological app won’t replace the technical help of a professional person!


As usual, people need help before they master a new app or program. We don’t expect anybody to learn something in a blink of an eye. Here are some useful places on the internet:








Sunday, July 23, 2017

The Raspberry Pi


Teachers, educators, parents all those who spend countless hours with students know quite well that when students do and practice ‘hands on’ experience, their understanding, learning and enthusiasm shoots up!

Today we’re presenting the raspberry Pi. Although the small computer is NOT free, yet it has free software installed and could be used for various experiments in order to help students master some important principles. This is surely one of the most economical computers of them all. What’s more, it could be used for various projects by students in order to show the practical side of their studies.

One can buy more hardware in order to do more projects.

Here are several links which might be helpful:

Monday, July 10, 2017

Is Open Source important for the world today?


Some of the most pressing questions that I’ve heard about open source programs were: ‘Are there many open source (OS) programs out there?’ Is OS being used just by a few persons? Could I read my files and documents? If I go for OS programs, will it read my files? Can I send my files to others?’

This shows that rather being taught how to use a computer or any other device we were brainwashed into how to use a particular program of a closed source company!!!! One teacher was transferred from one school into another. He prepared his lessons for a particular kind of a white interactive brand. When he arrived in the new school, he found out that the school had a different kind of interactive white board. He couldn’t use his files. The second interactive white board couldn’t read his files from the first interactive white board!!!! The teacher panicked as he had ‘wasted a lot of time to prepare his notes!!!!’

Most of the people who are all for an adventure in education go for open source. Why? Because it easily transferable from one system to another; you can never be locked out as in the case of a propriety software; it saves a lot of time etc.. The best thing about it is that a student can experiment with the system without being charged for breaking the law. Indeed how can our students be professionals if we never let them delete, install, program on computers ?

OS will change teachers’ set of mind in many ways. One of the most important is that of sharing. How many times the students see the teacher using a program but they cannot have a copy (unless they pay)? Worse than that, is the fact that some teachers don’t want to share their power point presentations neither! It all shows that we still need to grasp the benefit of sharing with others. When we share our ideas, we are not losing at all! If we start sharing, there will be many people who will do the same. There are so many more ideas online and meeting other new people. By the way, other people already share a lot of their work online so it’s only fair to give our part after all.

Today we are presenting a link to the EU’s portal where most of the OS projects are published. The list is very long and very interesting. Have a look!

Sunday, June 25, 2017

OpenCart: ecommerce platform

 
One of the challenges facing both students and teachers (parents too!!), is that of starting projects which might lead them into the real world. This is true especially for students who want to start selling testing and/or new material. They obviously need to communicate with the outside world. They  need to start selling immediately. In most cases students are short of money, hence they don't need to waste a lot of time in looking for solutions, neither to go for expensive solutions. They need to start and run their business online. In other words they need an ecommerce platform. What program one has to use to start selling online?

As usual we resort to free and open source programs which are available/compatible for/with many operating systems. Today we presenting opencart. The second hurdle is: how can one learn the program?

Well, help is always available online. One has to click and go to the suggested links.

Demo (how it works in real life);
Showcase (see others how they are using open cart);





Monday, June 12, 2017

A free and non-spying Search Engine

One of the tools used by many internet users is surely a search engine. Knowingly or unknowingly we are basing our answers on what others present to us. As educators we should be concerned that a search engine gives us real and true results. The fact that the most popular search engines spy on us, might give rise to the suspicion that the results given are related to our geographical position or previous search results! Others might give us results according to the amount of money paid by a particular company!!

Today we are presenting the duckduckgosearch engine. If one would like to test it, it's here




Sunday, May 28, 2017

Gxweb: Drawing Chords and Angles in circles

Readers who are so passionate about mathematics can have real fun today! What about measuring angles and chords in circles? Well, today we are providing an online free and open source project where teachers, students and parents can make use of it! One can see it here

There is no need for any tutorial as it is very easy to play with it. It is compatible with all operating systems and any electronic device which connects to the internet. Just press the question mark and have fun!





Sunday, May 14, 2017

Project Libre


Schools are full of projects. Teachers would like to involve students in projects as these are more in line with today’s society. Students would feel excited about projects as they would show their true colours in working together as a team in order to solve challenges.

All schools run on a very tight budget. They can’t afford to buy more software programs. Besides they don’t want to be closed in a prison ie depending on one company for their products as otherwise they would kill all creativity and students can’t test and experiment as when they have free and open software!

ProjectLibre is the leading open source alternative to Microsoft Project. It has been downloaded over 2,700,000 times in over 200 countries and has won InfoWorld "Best of Open Source" award. ProjectLibre is compatible with Microsoft Project 2003, 2007 and 2010 files. You can simply open them on Linux, Mac OS or Windows. ProjectLibre key features:
  • Gantt Chart
  • Network Diagram
  • WBS/RBS charts
  • Earned Value Costing
  • Resource Histograms 
  • Compatibility with Microsoft Project
If you wish to download it, it’s found here. You tube tutorials are found here. Some information about the people responsible for projectlibre

 

Sunday, April 30, 2017

Clonezilla - copying all your files and programs.


Students, teachers, parents and all users experience problems with pcs, tablets, mobile phones etc…..The problem one has when all data is lost, is that how can one remember all the files and programs one uses for his studies/work? It needs endless time to install everything again. Who can give you back all the lessons notes one has on his/her pc/tablet?
Clonezilla creates a copy of the contents of a computer’s hard drive on another storage device and enables users to do backup and recovery on their personal computers. Clonezilla has two types:
  • Clonezilla Live: This unicasting version is adequate for doing a backup and restore on a single computer.
  • Clonezilla SE: This multicasting version is Clonezilla's server edition, and is suitable for doing a backup and restore for many computers simultaneously. It can clone more than 40 computers at the same time.
Some of Clonezilla’s features include
  • It is available free of charge
  • It supports many file systems, allowing it to clone GNU/Linux, Microsoft Windows, Intel-based Mac OS, and FreeBSD, NetBSD and OpenBSD operating systems
  • Clonezilla SE supports multicast, which can be used for cloning many computers at once. It can also be used remotely to save or restore a number of computers.
If you need more information regarding installation or how to use Clonezilla, just follow the links. You tube videos are found here. If you perfer the wikihow series, it's here.


Monday, April 17, 2017

GIT

Teachers and students would need to publish or put online various projects in IT department. Other schools would need to download the original version in order to use or to experiment with. A very good solution would be GIT.

Git is a free and open source distributed version control system designed to handle everything from small to very large projects with speed and efficiency.

This version control system has become incredibly popular thanks in part to the growing use of the GitHub service. Companies and projects that use it include Google, Facebook, Microsoft, Twitter, LinkedIn, Netflix, Perl, PostgreSQL, Android, Rails, QT, Gnome and Eclipse. Operating System: Windows, Linux, OS X.



Sunday, April 2, 2017

Virtual Box


Who Needs a Virtual Machine (Virtual Box) ?

When one tries various distros (operating systems like windows, mac or Linux), one may become attached with a particular program which is hard to copy in other distros. Instead of going through the complexity and pain of dual booting, you can easily use virtual machine to run practically any software.

Looking at the vulnerabilities found in Microsoft Windows, I would be extremely careful with it running on my main system. I am much more comfortable keeping Windows in a contained virtual environment. That way, even if it is compromised, it will not damage my entire system or data and will only affect the limited set of files it was accessing. 
 
VMs also can be useful for those non-Linux users who want to play with Linux or who want to migrate to it but don't want to jump shark by formatting the OS they were used to and switching to Linux. Virtual machines get these users comfortable with Linux, so they can make the switch with confidence when they are ready. And, you can be running Linux “inside” your shiny Mac OS X or Windows 10.

The best thing about virtual machines is that I can run multiple Linux distributions on the same hardware, without having to reboot to switch between distros. It’s extremely important for me to run various distros and keep an eye on them. And it’s even more important to be well versed with all major distros instead of being “vendor-locked” or totally dependent on any one. Using VMs, I can also run different desktop environments on the same system without having to log out to change the environment.

If you are aspiring to become a system admin or developer, you certainly don’t want to know only one distro; you must be an expert in any operating system; you never know which OS your employer or client would be using. You can’t say “sorry, I know only XXXX.” If you are a developer, you need different distributions to test your applications.

You can clearly see that there are many advantages of using virtual machines. The biggest advantages of using virtualization instead of multi-booting is efficiency. One wastes way too much time in formatting hard drives and switching between distros. With virtual machines, you can start a new virtual machine for a distro without affecting your work; it’s as easy as opening a new application.

It’s “virtually” impossible for many people to have six physical machines, which waste financial resources and electricity and take up space. Instead of buying six physical machines, one would rather invest in more RAM and a multicore processor that can handle more virtual machines. One can run almost a dozen distros (including Windows) on the same machine; and there is no downtime!!!

The reason we go for VirtualBox is that it’s extremely easy to use. It has tons of features and functionalities that can be easily accessed without any hard-core technical knowledge. The biggest advantage is its cross-platform support -- you can install Virtual Box on Linux, Windows, and Mac OS X. Obviously we go for the open source and free one.

Where to download;

Tutorials: video; written;






Sunday, March 19, 2017

Open Biblio: looking for books at the touch of a button!

Schools and libraries have a lot of special resources. Today we focus especially on libraries. A library is like the lungs to the rest of the human body. It keeps the school ‘breathing’. On the other hand, in today’s world nobody is prepared to waste precious minutes looking for information unless it is available at the touch of a button! Many people would like to have an update about the latest books available, or look for books available under a specific subject or area.
Today we are presenting OpenBiblio. Its features features include an online public access catalogue (OPAC), circulation, cataloguing, and staff administration. Operating System: OS Independent ie it works in any operating system!
More information about OpenBiblio: 



Sunday, March 5, 2017

Impro-Visor: a music notation tool


Music is part and parcel of education. Many people carry lots of songs on their mobile phone. Others go jogging with both ears having earphones attached. Maybe teachers and students would like to add more music to the school but sometimes you get one really great line or phrase for a song, but just can't get the rest. The Impro-Visor can help you finish your composition by suggesting improvisations and solos built on your theme. It's also a valuable educational tool for aspiring jazz musicians.

The objective is to improve understanding of solo construction and tune chord changes. There are other, secondary, things it can do, such as improvise on its own. It has also been used for transcription. Because rhythm-section (e.g. piano, bass, drums) accompaniment is automatically generated from chords, Impro-Visor can be used as a play-along device. Now having a wider array of accompaniment styles, its use is not limited to jazz.

It is free, open source and available for Windows, Linux and Mac. If you would like to download it, go here. Maybe you would like some tutorials. Other people might ask: with so many programs which deal with music, is there a place for another one? Well in this link, here the advantages of using Impro-Visor. Teacher who might query about its use in the classroom may visit this page.


Sunday, February 19, 2017

How about fixing an appointment with a large number of students?

Teaching, like most jobs today, involves meetings. Now sometimes one has an idea during the weekend (or festive holidays), and wants to share it with colleagues or students. How can one involve a large number of students about ideas, polls or an appointment?

Today we're presenting Dudle which is an online scheduling application, which is free and open source and consequently available for all platforms. The user is able to schedule meetings or make small online polls. There is no e-mail collection as in other programs. In fact this is one of the reasons why we are all in favour of not only free programs, but open source too as one can check the source code. Besides one can alter the program at will, with no law breaking accusations.

If one wants to download it, one must visit here. Examples are found here. If one wants to customize, it’s here. If one wants to change the source code, one needs to go here
 


Sunday, February 5, 2017

Recoll: seraching for files or quotations inside files.


How many times teachers and students would like to remember where they have put an important quotation? How would you find it in a computer full of files? Is a computer capable to look inside your files? Would you find it in time for your latest paper/project etc…?

Today we’re presenting Recoll, which is a full text search QT based free, open source program especially made for Unix-like and Linux but it is also available for Windows and Mac systems, licensed under GPL. It provides efficient desktop full text search from single-word to arbitrarily complex boolean searches, basically it indexes the documents data (along with their compressed versions) and huge number of files then let you find quickly whatever you search for. Recoll updates its index at designed intervals (for example through Cron tasks) but if desired, the indexing task can run as a file-system monitoring daemon for real-time index updates.

The Recoll document conversion and text extraction architecture makes it extremely easy to write new filters, and many document types are supported. Indexes the contents of many document types: text, HTML, E-Mail stores of all kinds, OpenOffice.org, Microsoft Office and Office Open XML, AbiWord, KWord, Gaim, Lyx, Scribus, PDF, WordPerfect, PostScript, RTF, TeX, DVI, DjVu, MP3 and other audio file formats, JPEG and other image file formats.

The following web pages are available if you wish to download; or look for documentation; or screenshots. Enjoy!


Sunday, January 22, 2017

BibleTime


Some of our readers have asked about religious programs. I’m sure that all of them need the Bible. The Bible is one of the most widely read book of them all, and of all seasons. Surely the religion teacher/student can find all the necessary tools in the bible. Today we are presenting BibleTime which is a completely free Bible study program. It is built for Linux, Windows, FreeBSD and Mac OS X. BibleTime contains over 200 free Bible texts, commentaries, dictionaries and books, provided by the Crosswire Bible Society via the SWORD programming library.

If you need more information, you should go to its website.


Sunday, January 8, 2017

Klavaro

We still remember the nostalgic sound of a typewriter. We used to take courses in order to learn how to use touch typing (ie focusing on the written note without looking at the keyboard layout!!). Nowadays most people do not take such courses….and then they complain because they need to type a few paragraphs, knowing that it will take a long time to type on the computer!

Not knowing what we used to call touch typing, makes the life of a teacher, student or parent quite miserable. Is there a program which might help in this area? Oh yes of course there is. Today we introduce Klavaro. It is available for Windows and Linux.

Klavaro is more than just a free touch typing tutor program. We felt like to do it because we became frustrated with the other options, which relied mostly on some few specific keyboards. Klavaro intends to be keyboard and language independent, saving memory, time and money!

In addition to the familiar "QWERTY" keyboard layout, it supports six other built-in layouts, or you can use the keyboard editor to create your own. It's also available for 25 different languages, making this a good choice for users. One can use it for a basic course or else use it for other purposes such as: fluidness test; velocity test; adaptability exercise; progress charts etc….

If one wants to download it, then go here. In this page there is also documentation and a forum, where users can look for further information or try to get an answer for their queries. If in need of graphical tutorials, then go here