Lotus Symphony: IBM’s office suite is back (in beta)

20 09 2007

IBM Just released a beta of its free office suite Lotus Symphony. The once forgotten, now resurrected suite seems to be coming along quite nicely, and has a few interesting and nice features.

“IBM® Lotus® Symphony™ has something for everyone, like a community-oriented site with tips, a template gallery and support to help you succeed. Businesses can gain more control over spiraling upgrade costs, while still protecting, accessing and maintaining documents well into the future. And for developers, Lotus Symphony tools support Microsoft® Windows® and Office applications, which means you can get even more from your current investments.”

I haven’t played around with it enough to make a judgment call on how well it stacks up against OpenOffice, or MS Office, but it is very aesthetically pleasing, and default ODF (Open Document Format) support is a plus. Unfortunately for now, it is Windows and Linux only, Mac users will probably have to wait until the official release.

IBM Lotus Symphony information page

Lotus Symphony download

Try out Firefox 3, Gran Paradiso

20 09 2007

Firefox 3 is shaping up to be a real mean browsing machine. The team has added a whole slew of amazing new features. While Firefox 2 was more of a big update, Firefox 3 (or codename Gran Paradiso) is shaping up to be a real makeover. It is really great to try out all the new features and play around, plus then you’ll be ready when the first stable release comes around in October. The easiest way to download it is through download site Softpedia. And don’t forget to report bugs!

Firefox 3 Alpha 7 from Softpedia

The fastest BitTorrent client: BitTyrant

15 09 2007

BitTyrant is a modification for Azureus that, unlike other clients, selects only the peers to connect with that will return the greatest download/upload rate, this has made downloads up to 70% faster than with a regular client.

There is, however, a lot of controversy with this client. Many people believe that it will hurt overall download speed and bittorrent as a whole by only connecting to selected peers, which would leave others in the dust. Though I’d say there’s no harm done as long as you do a bit more seeding than usual. That said, it’s probably best you only use it for painfully slow torrents. Read through the links, FAQ, and papers they provide to decide whether it’s right for you.


Get Automatix without the ticks with EasyUbuntu!

15 09 2007

Much like Automatix, Easy Ubuntu is a script (with a GUI) that will automatically download and install proprietary drivers, codecs, video players, flash, java, MS Fonts, and even skype. Unlike controversial Automatix, Easy Ubuntu uses apt, backs up any system changes made,  and won’t edit your sources.list file unless you allow it to do so.

“EasyUbuntu is an easy to use (duh!) script that gives the Ubuntu user the most commonly requested apps, codecs, and tweaks that are not found in the base distribution – all with a few clicks of your mouse.”

Though it is still in alpha, and I’d still recommend using envy for video drivers. It’s a good thing to keep in mind for the upcoming release of Ubuntu 7.10 Gutsy Gibbon in October.

The 46 best-ever freeware utilities

14 08 2007

“Gizmo Richards” at website Tech Support Alert has a list of the 46 best ever free software utilities for windows. The list is very comprehensive and covers basically any piece of software you might be hunting for. The reason I like this list the most is because it is regularly updated and if “Gizmo” finds a piece of software that he thinks is better he will replace it. He has given me a ton of good recommendations for software that I now use regularly.

The 46 Best-Ever Free Software Utilities

Color coordinate with agave

18 07 2007

Agave is a very simple and very powerful colorscheme generator for the gnome desktop. you have no Idea how much you will use this app until you try it. The website explains:

Have you ever been re-finishing a room in your home and found yourself asking “What color would go well with this”? Or been working on a new website and not been able to find colors that go well with eachother? Try Agave.

It’s also probably the perfect compliment to the GIMP.

Agave comes preinstalled in Ubuntu Studio, but other users can get it via the following command:

sudo apt-get install agave


Upgrade your sidebar with All-in-One Sidebar

16 07 2007

The All-in-One Sidebar Firefox extension squeezes a whole slew of extra features into your sidebar, as the website explains:

“All-in-One Sidebar (AiOS)is a sidebar control, inspired by Opera’s. Click on the left edge of your browser window to open the sidebar and get easy access to all your panels. It lets you quickly switch between sidebar panels, view dialog windows such as downloads, extensions, and more in the sidebar, or view source or websites in the sidebar. It includes a slide-out button and a toolbar, all of which can be extensively customized. You can set the orientation to left or right, set the minimum, default and maximum width and the behavior on browser startup.”

I like the option to load pages in the sidebar, it’s great for comparing two web pages and the extension does not slow down Firefox as much as the split browser extension does. Also there’s a ton of keyboard shortcuts to play with.

All-in-One Sidebar is free and works wherever Firefox and flock do.

All-in-One Sidebar website

All-in-One Sidebar Extension

Speed up an older system with Ram Idle LE

15 07 2007

TweakNow offers Ram Idle LE, a freeware application that optimizes older systems by freeing up RAM. As the website explains:

RAM Idle LE is a smart memory management program that will keep your computer running more efficiently, faster, and longer. The program’s intelligently manages the free RAM that is available to Windows, and prevents your computer from running progressively slower over time.

For older machines that are running low on system resources, this program is essential. While not initially, I noticed a huge performance boost on my 600Mhz laptop with 128 MB of RAM. Plus the tray Icon is really handy since it displays free RAM and CPU usage.