Ultimate Free Tool Box for Mac

 Apple, Open Source  Comments Off on Ultimate Free Tool Box for Mac
Dec 072015

Just because you forked out a gazillion dollars for your spanking new iMac or MacBook does not mean you must spend more money on buying a bunch of Mac applications.

In this post, we’ll consider several useful free and open source applications that work well on the Mac OS X platform.

Free is sweet, right? 🙂

So here we go.

1. Avast

No matter what you hear from the Apple fanboys, Macs too need protection from Malware.

There are too many bad actors lurking in dark corners waiting to pounce and devor unwary computer users.

Avast Free Mac Security

Further, there’s now a great deal of urgency because after terrorizing businesses and governments, ransomware creators have started targeting regular computer users and hold their computer hostage unless they pay a ransom anywhere from $300 to $3,000 in bitcoins.

Thank God, anti-malware software Avast is available for free on the Mac.

I downloaded Avast a few months back to my iMac and it’s provided timely alerts on several occasions when I was about to open a file containing malware.

You can download the free Avast application for Mac here. Continue reading »

Yawn! Another Open Source E-Mail Client

 Open Source, Products  Comments Off on Yawn! Another Open Source E-Mail Client
Oct 062015

Seriously, does the world need another open source e-mail client?

Answer: Does America need another TRUMPeting mountebank with a weird hairdo?

In Silicon Valley, people (VCs) with tons of money far too frequently knock into entrepreneurs full of gusto and gumption but often short of creative brilliance.

Voila, a partnership is quickly formed, money changes hands and a new startup announces a few millions in funding.

Case in point – San Francisco startup Nylas with its N1 desktop open source mail client.

Nyla’s free N1 e-mail client does not leverage the familiar mail protocols SMTP or IMAP but relies on its custom Platform APIs.

This means your mail passes through Nyla’s cloud server, which is a huge no-no in today’s world of vulnerable security, inadequate privacy and constant snooping. Continue reading »

LibreOffice 5: Good Office Suite Gets Better

 Open Source, Products  Comments Off on LibreOffice 5: Good Office Suite Gets Better
Aug 062015

LibreOffice Upgraded to Version 5Popular open source office application suite LibreOffice has been updated to version 5.0 giving it compatibility with Microsoft’s new Windows 10 operating system.

The tenth major release of the free cross-platform office suite, LibreOffice 5.0 includes a word processor (Writer), spreadsheet (Calc), drawing and flowcharting tool (Draw), database (Base), presentation software (Impress) and an equations and formula editor (Math).

Besides compatibility with Windows 10, other highlights of LibreOffice 5 include an improved user interface, better management of screen space, a cleaner look and new spreadsheet features supporting complex formulae, new functions and conditional formatting. Continue reading »

How To Install Atom 1.0 on Ubuntu

 Open Source, Products  Comments Off on How To Install Atom 1.0 on Ubuntu
Jun 252015

The free Atom open source text editor, a handy tool for programmers, moved into Release 1.0 today.

Developed by code sharing site Github, Atom is built on the Electron framework that lets developers write cross-platform desktop applications using JavaScript, HTML and CSS.

How to Install Atom Text Editor on Ubuntu

Available to the public for a little over a year, Atom has been downloaded 1.3 million times, and serves 350,000 monthly active users.

Developers can extend the capabilities of and add new features to Atom by picking from over 2,000 packages.

The Atom community has created 660 themes, and 2,090 packages including popular ones like linter, autocomplete-plus, minimap and Emmet (a pre-existing package for the Sublime-Text code editor). Continue reading »

Peerio Promises Encryption for Masses

 Open Source, Security  Comments Off on Peerio Promises Encryption for Masses
Mar 022015

Average computer users are in a terrified state today.

Trapped between the Scylla of anonymous hackers from around the world and the Charybdis of government spy agencies, countless computer users have abandoned all hope in the privacy and security of their computer messages and files.

The precarious situation would seem ripe for an explosion in the use of encryption, right?

And yet encryption has failed to take off in a noticeable way.

Only a tiny fraction of computer users (probably 0.000001%) leverage strong encryption for their messages and file storage.

The only reason encryption has not become ubiquitous in an increasingly dangerous world is that it’s impossibly hard to use by average Joes.

The mere mention of private keys and public keys has average computer users scurrying for cover.

That’s why the venerable PGP encryption has never taken off beyond a small group.

Enter a Montreal startup called Peerio Technologies with an ambitious open source project to make encryption technology “as easy as e-mail” for cloud storage and messaging.

Peerio builds off the miniLock encryption technology developed by the startup’s lead software engineer and security expert Nadim Kobeissi.

Peerio Technology

Combining cloud storage with messaging, Peerio promises end-to-end encryption that will ensure messages and files are encrypted before leaving your computer and read only by you and intended recipients.

Peerio simplifies key management by leveraging passphrases instead of passwords. The service lets users pick a username that can be made public, and then Peerio suggests a secure passphrase that generates private keys locally. Apparently, the keys are never sent to the Peerio server and when the app is closed so is the key.

Having Peerio provide the passphrase seems like a terrible idea to me from a privacy and security perspective.

But the company defends its decision stating that users sometimes forgot their passphrases and, further, it could not be certain they were picking secure passphrases.

Peerio developers attempt to allay concerns by saying they’re working on a ‘complex feature’ that will allow users to revoke previous passphrases and set up new ones. This ‘complex feature’ is supposedly in the works and will be ready soon.

As a second line of defense, Peerio offers two-factor authentication. So even if a passphrase is compromised, an attacker would still need the user’s mobile device to gain access to the account.

Other Peerio features include remote file destruction, real-time delivery notification and swift and secure transfer of large files.

As an open-source project, Peerio is publishing its code publicly and asking programmers and security experts to review and test its security.

Currently in “beta”, Peerio is now available for Windows and Mac computers and Google’s Chrome browser.

Visit GitHub to review Peerio’s code.

Mobile Support

Peerio intends to extend support for mobile devices in the near future.

Once the Peerio technology is available for iPhone, Android, Windows phones and Blackberry, users should be able to sync their data across all devices.

The Android and iOS beta should be ready at the latest by early April.

Version of Peerio debuted March 2, 2015 with improvements to the user interface, changes to signup and bug fixes

Peerio plans to make money by offering paid plans for both individuals and groups once its encryption technology is stable.

If you’re keen on test driving Peerio’s beta, you can download the software from its web site.

CentOS 7 – Making It More User Friendly

 Linux, Open Source  Comments Off on CentOS 7 – Making It More User Friendly
Dec 182014

Making CentOS 7 More User Friendly
Cent OS 7 with Gnome 3 has a bunch of vexing issues.

Fortunately, the issues can be easily fixed.

I did a minimal install and then set up Gnome 3 desktop on it.

Icons on Desktop

But one thing I found vexing was the inability to place shortcuts for applications on the desktop, something I could do easily with my other Linux distros like Ubuntu, Linux Mint etc, Mac or any Windows PC.

And then I discovered a solution to the problem of placing shortcuts on the Gnome 3 desktop.

Here’s how you can get application shortcuts on the Gnome 3 desktop in CentOS 7:

1. Click on home folder on desktop. The file browser window will open.

2. Next, click the Computer tab in the left navigation panel and go to /usr/share/applications. Now you should see all the applications icons in the right browser window.

3. Right click on any icon (calculator, Firefox browser, Contacts etc) that you want on the desktop.

4. After right clicking the icon, select Copy To in the context menu. A Select Destination will open up, now pick Desktop folder in the left navigation panel (via left-click)

5. Finally left-click the Select button in the bottom right of the window.

Remember the steps:

(Right-Click) Application Icon->Copy To (in Context Menu)->Select Destination->Desktop->Select

Voila, the icon shortcuts to your favorite applications should now appear on your desktop.

Tackling Panel Issue

Unfortunately, placing application shortcuts on the desktop is not the only issue with CentOS 7 (running Gnome 3).

There’s also the top panels issue.

For those struggling to add launchers to the horizontal panel bar, here’s the solution.

$ yum install gnome-shell-browser-plugin

After installing the plugin, navigate to https://extensions.gnome.org on your Firefox browser

In the search box, type Frippery Panel Favorites. After you click on Frippery Panel Favorites in the search results, a slider button will appear in the browser window. Slide it to On position and you will be given the option to Download and Install Frippery Panel Favorites from extensions.gnome.org. Click Install and you’ll have your favorites on the top panel.

You can add other extensions similarly by visiting the Gnome Extensions page on your Firefox browser

By the way, there’s also a way to edit applications in the Favorites/Panel list and the order they appear in.

Here’s how you do it.

1. Press the Windows key on your keyboard to get Overview overlay
2. Right-click any app in the left side-menu that you don’t like and remove it via the context menu
3. Open the Show Applications (nine white dots) icon at bottom of left-side menu
4. Now right-click on any application icon and select “Add to Favorites”
5. Change the order of icons in Favorites and on the Panel by dragging the applications up or down

After making the above changes, your CentOS 7 PC (with the Gnome 3 desktop) will be a friendlier, easier-to-use system than before.

CentOS 7 is a solid Linux distribution and with just a little extra effort we can make it a breeze to use.

Hope you enjoyed this post.