Category Archives: Software

A Review of “Simple Screen Recorder” for Linux

A personal review of Simple Screen Recorder for Linux. Simple Screen Recorder allows recording and screencasting of your desktop under Linux, in a very, easy to use GUI frontend.


By The Beard Of Zeus! – VLC and libbdplus for Blu-ray Playback

Thanks to the fine folks at phoronix, I caught wind of the VIdeoLAN project making an update to their Blu-ray library, enabling new features such as BD-J Java and more.  Just around this time as well, is another project making a splash, libbdplus.  This library bounced in and out of obscurity, but finally has seen the light of day.  Could this mean live play back for moves you acutually own (see infographic below)?

Read the rest of this entry

Software Spotlight – Organize Your Music With PuddleTag For Linux

p2A long while back in June, I finally settled on a tagging software that could adequately handle my music organizational needs.  Back in the XP hey-days, I found a neat little program called Mp3Tag, which let me accurately and quickly tag music.  Batch tagging, auto numbering, file to tag, tag to file, you name it!  When I fully cut over to Linux, this was one component I had sorely missed.  After several months of using Puddletag, I can safely say its the best music tagging software for Linux at the moment.  Just how good?  Read on …  Read the rest of this entry

OneNote Alternatives: Cherrytree Notes

The other day I showcased Zim Desktop Wiki, and briefly mentioned BasKetNotes (from the Qt world) as possible alternatives to Microsoft’s OneNote application.  I was still at a crossroads, due to the obvious fact that BasKet Notes was more full-featured, but has not been updated since 2010, and was not likely to be picked up again anytime soon.   Luckily a fine user on Reddit from the Linux Action Show userbase suggested Cherrytree Notes, which goes above Zim Notes, and appears to be designed with the much more appealing Qt graphical framework over GTK. Read the rest of this entry

Replacing OneNote on Linux: Zim Desktop Wiki

clippyLong have I been searching for a solution to OneNote at my work place to take structured notes that are easy to search, filter, and jump around.  The reason I use that at work is simple, 50 page word documents are a nightmare, and only manageable with bookmark/hyperlinks and/or style sheets which allow you to use the navigation pane (which no one at work even knows exist).  Sure, you can go to the cloud and lean on simple note applications, but I wanted the whole enchilada. 

I present to you: Zim Desktop Wiki Read the rest of this entry

You’re doing it Right – Netflx Playback on Linux with Pipelight

The day has come! (well almost, but in my case this worked well).  Let’s take a step back in time.  The year is 2004, and I ran into several frustrations, including several proprietary plugins, programs, and utilities.  Today, many of that is either native in Linux, reverse engineered (chinese wall methods), or ran via layers such as mono and wine.  Netflix-Desktop works fairly well in several distributions, but I often grapple with it on its window placement over my other monitors.  Thanks to the Linux Action Show, I caught wind of Pipelight, and it is GRAND.  Read on for more! Read the rest of this entry

Software Spotlight: Bitmessage

Bitmessage is one cool piece of software.  There are a lot of good things about it, but also a few pitfalls to watch out for.  In concept, Bitmessage is a P2P communications protocol in which you can send encrypted messages to others through special IDs or “subscribers.”  Being decentralized in nature, it is a much desired messaging system for those who do not wish to be identified.  Bitmessage is built on Python, enabling it to be cross-platform.

Authentication is strong and a paramount feature of the software, deterring spoof attacks and avoids storage of “non-content” data from the sender and receiver.  This includes identifying information that may finger either side.  In doing so, Bitmessage sidesteps eavsdroppers and wiretappers who are clawing at breadcrumbs for potential “threats.”

The one thing that is not quite there yet is an audit of the software itself.  Bitmessage carefully puts this disclaimer right on the homepage.  The source code is available however, on the github site.  If you are interested, there is also a very comprehensive whitepaper.

Installing Bitmessage

As far as I know, you have to compile Bitmessage unless a distro you use, has a user-generated package available (such as the AUR on Arch Linux).  Below are compile instructions that should get you going on Linux.   The full set of instructions can be found here.

Install the dependencies

APT-based distributions (Debian, Ubuntu):

sudo apt-get install python openssl git python-qt4

Raspberry Pi (Raspbian “wheezy”, PiBang):

sudo apt-get install python-qt4

RPM-based distributions (Red Hat, Fedora):

sudo yum install python openssl git


sudo pacman -S python2 openssl git python2-pyqt
Optional Daemon

Optionally, you can install the Bitmessage daemon , sidestepping Qt as a requirement.  You will also then need the API. Additinally this requires a keys.dat file  if you haven’t run Bitmessage yet, After doing this, you will have the keys.dat file.

Install the client:

To install bitmessage, perform the following:

git clone $HOME/PyBitmessage
cd $HOME/PyBitmessage/src/ && python

This will install the necessary files for the python client.  You can modify the $HOME path to be another directory, if desired.

Upgrading Bitmessage

Upgrading Bitmessage is fairly easy:

cd $HOME/PyBitmessage/src/ 
git pull origin master

Using Bitmessage

Bitmessage is pretty straightforward after installation.  To clarify, the official client is “PyBitmessage,” and Bitmessage is just the protocol.  You will need the “ID” of the person you will be sending the message to.  Also available are blacklists, and an Address book.  Be very careful when whitelisting or blacklisting, as it is not something to take lightly.  Bitmessage also will give you several options, including making multiple identities to receive mail from.

The inbox is where all your received messages will reside.  Down at the bottom of the screen you will see the context of any selected message, which allows copying and editing the message but it does not save any changes. The context menu in the message list provides additional features, such as HTML view or reply option. If you use the HTML view it will render some HTML tags from the message, like images.  Hitting delete will move the current message to trash.


Software Spotlight: KDE Connect (Linux KDE Desktop + Android)

KDE connect is one very interesting piece of integration software.  Most people are aware of Ubuntu’s Edge Indiegogo project, and the creeping feeling that it will not meet its goal.  While this is yet to be seen, one thing is for sure: you don’t need to pledge ~600 USD to get a cool experience.   Enter KDE Connect for Android, a hugly promising and innovative application for Android, as well as KDE on GNU/Linux. Read the rest of this entry

Software Spotlight: Well Darling, Shall We Dance?

Well Mac OS X, we meet again…You sinister Unix-like system, wrapped in showgirl makeup.  To be honest, we could have had more compatibility between Mac OS X and Linux, had it not been for the major changes made on top of Darwin’s Unix layer and the XNU kernel, including vast changes to the DE and handling of file types.  Enter “Darling,” a project aimed at emulating Mac OS X software, much in the same vein of the popular Wine software for Windows binaries.  What does this entail?  Read on to find out.   (image credit: Read the rest of this entry

Software Spotlight: easyLife for Fedora

I think the title pretty much says it all.  Installing software on Fedora is not “difficult,” even for a new user, but sometimes we just want it to get even easier.  Because I am lazy like that sometimes !  While I spend most of my time configuring via the Terminal window, I had to give this a good shot, as there are always cool project going on, and what better on to try that makes being a bum easy?  🙂 Read the rest of this entry