Best Online Construction Tools

The construction industry is ever changing as technology and techniques evolve and new opportunities and ideas come out. Like most other industries, the growth of the internet and software has come to have an effect on even this most hands-on world. Yes, when you start out you still buy a pair of cheap steel toe boots and a hard hat but you also learn about what online tools are available to make life easier.

The Sketchup car at its finestGoogle Sketchup (Free)

Everyone likes the word ‘free’ but this can sometimes mean not as good. When the word Google is involved though, this goes some way to ensuring that there is quality. This is a piece of software which allows the sketching of anything and transferring it to a 3D model and also has a database of 3D models already made up to allow you to place where you need. You can also work the other way, taking a model into a drawing with LayOut. From there, exporting to PDF’s is simple so you can send the file to your colleagues on an email.

Design Workshop Lite

This piece of software creates 3D models, images and even constructs walkthroughs at every level from sketches to complete presentation. It can generate everything from interiors, urban designs, landscaping and production designs and has a variety of different formats it can produce the end result in. The initial package is free and there is the option to upgrade to add extra features.

What is CAD?

If you simply want to plan out a floor plan to see how everything works in a house or workspace, then a CAD software might be the answer. CAD stands for computer-aided design and is also known as a home design software. They can often complete complex tasks and also produce beautiful drawings to scale to help with visualization.

One such piece of software is Floorplanner.com, which can be signed up to for free to sample. It can be used to plan a whole range of scenarios, from a new house, reorganizing a room or even planning out a room for your wedding. It can be used for home or office and even to plan out a garden layout. It also had a huge range of objects in its library to utilize in the plans.

Floor Plan Software is a similar piece of software that allows the planning of homes or work spaces from the basics of walls and doors up to furniture and appliances. It can be used for landscape plans including decking, kitchens and bathrooms as well as office spaces. It can also transfer the creations to PDF or to Microsoft Office.

This is just a glimpse into the world of free (or partial free) software which can be utilized in the construction industry. Computer aided design in particular can be endless useful when working out the specifics of a project with a client because it can allow them to see for themselves the images from their ideas and see if it fulfills their requirements.

Categories: Software
What is MySQL?

What is My SQL on freedevelopersAmongst all the Open Source database management systems, the most popular is MySQL.  This was developed and distributed by Oracle Corporation and is available from their website.  MySQL is named after co-founder Michael Widenius’ daughter My while the SQL stands for Structure Query Language.  It is available under the terms of the GNU General Public License.

What is a database?

A database is exactly what it sounds like, a piece of software which holds lots of information in such as way that it is easy to search it and find something specific.  For example, this might be orders from clients together with their shipping address, best method of payment information and previous orders.   Or it may be a collection of pattern and downloads for your best sewing machine allowing you to see which one you used for a certain project.

In one respect, a programme such as MySQL does what a filing cabinet did before the development of computers.  But the big advantage is you don’t need to go sorting through a drawer to find the information and hope someone put it back where it was meant to go.  It takes moments to find what you are searching for and it also takes no time at all to add further information.  Once you have retrieved the information, you can sort it in a variety of different ways to help you compare the information.  Also, you can access it from different places so if you work across more than one site, it is no problem to access the information wherever you are.

Lots of different programmes make use of a database.  For example,  blog software will use it to store the post someone makes to their blog and retrieve the correct one when a visitor requests it.  Or a photo gallery offering an online catalogue needs a database to hold all the information of the pictures which it can produce when a client requests it.

A computer language called SQL (pronounced sequel) is used specifically for this purpose.  It allows programmes to search through the data easily.  Lots of database use SQL including MySQL and PostgreSQL.

MySQL

MySQL was created by Swedish company MySQL AB, founded by David Axmark, Allan Larsson and Michael Widenius and the first version of the software appeared on 23rd May 1995.  It was created for personal use in the first place as an upgrade to existing mSQL systems.

MySQL is free and is used by many of the popular sites such as WordPress and majority of people using the site won’t need to know anything about MySQL.  It operates in the background and is automatically integrated with these sites.

The software is installed from a binary package in the standard configuration and is available on over 20 platforms and operating system such as Linux and Windows.  It can also operate on cloud computing platforms such as Amazon EC2.  It is also used by large-scale websites such as Wikipedia, Google, Facebook, Flickr and Twitter, though Google does not use it for searches.

Categories: Articles
History of Open Source Software Development
Open Source and its History

Open Source Logo

If you look it up in a dictionary or on Wikipedia, open source software developed is described as the process by which open source software is developed.  This means that these are products which are available ‘with the source code and under an open-source license’ which means users can change and improve the design.  Some of the most common names in this area are Mozilla Firefox, Google Chromium and Android.

Like every development, things have progressed since its infancy.  Just like kids started using skateboards, and now there are snowboards and cheap longboards as well as a huge number of different skateboards and different tricks, so has the open source software changed and evolved.

Beginnings

The first mention of two types of software came from Eric S Raymond in 1997 in his ‘The Cathedral and the Bazaar’.  Here he talks about two kinds of software develop; one which was closed source and he likened it to a cathedral.  It uses central planning, tight organisation and follows a process from beginning to end.  The second is an open-source development which he likened to a great babbling bazaar where differing approaches come from a stable system which almost seem like miracles.

Types

There are now several different types of open source projects.  Probably the largest one is the typical software programme or library which are made up of standalone pieces of code.  Some of these need to rely on other similar types of projects and they all serve a specific requirement.  Examples of these include the Linux kernel, Firefox web browser and the Apache OpenOffice.

Another type is distributions.  These are collections of software which come from the same source and have a common purpose.  One of the most prominent types of this software is an operating system such as the Cygwin distribution used by Microsoft Windows.

There are also standalone document or book projects which do not usually come as part of open source software packages.  The Linux Documentation Project has a number of these as part of their operating system.

Licensing

An open source license allows the licensees the right to ‘copy, modify and redistribute source code or content’.  This means the author still retains ownership of the copyrights but simply allows the licensee the right to use the software and modify it.  Examples of free software licenses are Apache License and Mozilla Public License.

One of the few negative aspects of open source is the difficulty in understanding the legal implication of all the different licenses.  There are more than 180,000 open source projects and a huge 1400 unique licenses, making it a very complex area.  Practitioners have begun to use a classification scheme to group the licenses based on various factors such as the existence and obligations imposed by the copyleft provision.

Conclusion

Open source software is quickly becoming a very prolific area of the software world and in general has many advantages.  The only thing to remember to is to get the basics of the licensing system in place before using the software just to make sure you don’t end up breaking the laws unintentionally.

Categories: Software
Open Source Software Could Make College Textbooks Free

Anyone who’s been to college in the last 15 years knows that not only is tuition skyrocketing – and government grants aren’t helping much -  but so are the price of books. When you’re considering what it costs per semester to go to college, the price of books now must be factored in. They can be upwards of $1,000 or more per semester depending on the courses and your major, and a lot of professors don’t like using old editions of books so buying them used may not be an option.

 

freedevelopers cookware reviews for kitchenmonsterThe University of Maryland is trying to help alleviate some of that stress by trying out a new idea: open source textbooks. Instead of passing time by looking at cookware reviews online because a student cannot afford the electronic textbooks they’re required to have, students will be able to keep up on their assignments and readings at a cost of $0.

 

The basic premise of the idea is this: opensource textbooks will be a gathering of books, articles, and information from the internet that’s not copyrighted. The opensource books will have the information either in its entirety, or linked to a place where you can read the material free of charge. This is the complete opposite of copyrighted electronic books that require purchasing the book outright, or buying a temporary membership to the site where the information is located.

 

This is just a pilot program at the moment, so the university is just testing things out right now, but they estimate that this program could save the 1,100 students in the program a whopping $130,000.

 

Technology is changing the university landscape. Right now the largest university in America by a long shot is the University of Phoenix, which is completely online and has around a half a million students. Students are now completing degrees and starting careers without ever stepping foot into a classroom. Other changes are also taking place at universities like the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, California State University, and Washington State University. All three schools now have a digital library where students can get entire coursework materials for free.

 

In response to these new ideas, the textbook industry – one which makes $14 billion per year – is offering up new ideas of their own like renting textbooks to keep pace. A student can find out what textbook they need, order it from the textbook company, use it all semester at a discounted price (and make highlights and notes if needed), then return the book by a predetermined date. If the book is not returned by that date, the student’s credit card or bank account will be charged the full amount of the book and the student keeps it. It’s very similar to how Redbox deals with their DVD’s and Blu Ray’s.

 

While this sounds like a great idea, it does have its obstacles. First, the professors all need to be on board with the decision. At most universities, professors control everything that goes on in the classroom especially the textbooks used. They are teaching the material, so it makes sense that they get control over what material they’re using, and a lot still enjoy teaching new material and physical books. Second, a lot of universities are bound by contracts with private companies who run the book store. It’s a misnomer that all universities own and manage the book stores on their campuses. Most are vendors who won a bid to run and manage the store so the universities can focus on other things.

 

The textbook business is big, and it won’t go away quietly, but technology is changing the textbook industry much like it changed the music industry. Information and entertainment are shared so freely that soon we may well get free textbooks, but don’t be surprised to if a Dr. Pepper advertisement is in the margins.

Categories: Software
Using WordPress to Start a Blog

I have my own blog that is mainly focused on different types of antique watches for both wrists and pockets that I use WordPress to create and maintain. I cannot even begin to tell you how glad I was to stumble upon such a great and user friendly program. It really helped me set up a great blog and I am able to write many posts about different watches based upon brand, style and era. It also helps me to keep my posts organized, which I need since I frequently find myself posting one thing about a pocket watch only to add another post about stopwatches the next day. I have included the steps that I followed in order to create my blog and getting it up and running. They are very simple steps to follow and will help you with the main elements of your blog.

Giving your new blog title will be the first step to creating a new blog within WordPress. To do this you will click on the “settings” to the left of your screen and select “general”. In the settings section along with titling your blog you may edit you privacy setting and edit your email address should you need to. There are a few other cool features that may be of interest, so it isn’t a bad idea to take a quick peak at what other options are available.

Choosing a theme is the next and very important step to starting a blog. This is a critical component since it creates a general sense of what you are presenting and most people will pay attention to the theme before they even read a sentence of one of your posts. You may gain or lose readers based upon what your theme looks like. To choose a theme you will click on the “appearance” tab that is on the left hand side of your screen. There are many different options to browse through to select just the right one for what you are writing about.

Now that you have created a blog title and selected your theme, you are ready to make your first blog post. Take a look to the left of your screen again and click on the “posts” tab, then click “add new”. You will then be prompted to title your new post and begin writing. This is the fun part. Let those creative juiced flow!

Now you are able to add widgets to your blog and specific posts. Widgets are super cool little buttons that allow readers to do certain actions while within your blog. You can add a search bar, a “like” button and give the reader the option to share or tweet one of your posts. To add widgets, just move your mouse over the title of your blog in the upper left hand corner. Once you are there a drop down box with appear. Click on the “widgets” link and from here you may drag the available widgets you’d like featured in your blog into the dedicated boxes on the right hand side of the screen. To remove the widgets you may drag them back to the “available widgets” area.

Now that your blog is nearly complete you will want to work on setting it apart from all of the other blogs out there. One great way to do this is to add lots of imagery to tie in with the majority of your posts. This will help your readers remember who you are and encourage them to come back and read more.

Lastly, but most importantly, you will want to begin promoting your blog since you have it up and running. I would share it on all if the social media platforms that you are involved with to generate a following. You may also want to ask friends or family to do that same to bump up your readership even more.

Categories: Articles
Case Study: My New Skin Care Blog

I recently started a blog about skin care since it is a real passion of mine and I learned a lot during the process. I asked myself what I wished I could have known during the process of setting up and maintaining my blog, so after brainstorming a bit I came up with a short list. These little tips are things that I felt really helped me and the success of my blog. I hope it helps!

Define Your Goals: When you begin your new blog you need to have a set idea of what direction you want to take it. Your blog will be much more successful if you have a clear, concise vision. My new blog, for example is about skin care, so I write many posts about how to care for your skin properly, make up and new health studies pertaining to skin. This is the focus of all of my posts. I don’t write about any random thoughts that jump into my head unless they pertain to my main focus.

Know Your Reader: It is important to keep in mind who will be reading your blog when you are designing it and writing your posts. If you are trying to appeal to a younger demographic it is important to remember what may be visually appealing to them as well as remember what they may want to read. My blog about skin care will hopefully reach a wide scope of readers. I am trying to target teens and older. The look of my blog will hopefully appeal to the large audience I am hoping to reach.

Be Consistent: Consistency is key when creating and maintaining a blog. Your readers will want to come back to you if they know that they can count you for a good quality blog each time you post. Your blog will be your brand.

Be Persistent: The more blog posts you create the better. A busy blog shows that you are an active blog host and it will keep your readers coming back for me. I post on my blog at least once a day and sometimes more often than that. Today alone I wrote 3 posts each on a different facet of skin care.

Be Inviting: It is super important to create an inviting space when you have a blog. Having a space where your readers can come and comment and have conversations about your blog is a great idea. I would also advise being an active participant in the conversations that are had in your blog space. Engage in discussions with your reader, thank them for the positive feedback they give you and take in any feedback that they may give you…even if it isn’t the most positive.

Be Visible: Make sure your readers know who you are. Give them a face and voice to put to the blog name. The more personal you make your blog and the more involved you are, means the reader will be more engaged and come back. Being a visible blog host and being inviting pretty much go hand in hand.

Take Chances: As a new blogger you may be hesitant to display your real voice and opinions…don’t be. Take risks with your posts and readers will appreciate your honesty and authenticity. When I started my skin care blog I was a bit afraid of writing posts about certain skin care treatments and remedies I had come across, but one day I just put on my big girl pants and did it. My readers responded with requests for more information and more blogs of that nature. For me it paid off and I’m sure for you it will too.

Categories: Articles
Templates for Firearms and Firearm Security Websites

There are numerous different types of WordPress templates that are able to be used for firearms and firearm security websites. These templates make it very easy for people who are trying to create their own websites to sell products because the information simply needs to be added into the template, rather than an entirely new website being created. This article discusses some of the WordPress templates that are very popular with firearms websites.

Weapon Store Responsive Jigoshop Theme

The Weapon Store Responsive Jigoshop theme is a theme that allows a company who is selling firearms to display pictures of each of their products in a grid format that is both aesthetically appealing and fully functional. Each picture is a link that can be clicked to bring the customer to a page that has more detailed information regarding the product that has been chosen. It is possible for a person who has purchased this template to add on different payment gateways and shipping method pages that will improve overall experience for the customer.

wordpress articleDetails

  • Code Used: CSS 3, HTML 5, JQuery, LESS
  • Price: $115
  • Jingoship Engine and Compatibility: 1.8
  • Width: 1800px
  • Template Number: 47920

Shooting Club Flash CMS Template

This template is entirely made out of Flash and has Moto Flash Management which will allow the person who has purchased the template to easily edit the site as it needs to be updated. This template is better for websites that are dedicated to providing information regarding firearms, rather than actually selling firearms. Its homepage consists of a large picture across the top their of the page, directly beneath the navigation menu bar, with articles underneath the picture. Each item in the menu bar can be clicked to allow the customer to easily navigate the website. Some websites like this one here, are using a standard WordPress template by genesis that lacks some of the features that the Flash CMS Template does.

Details

  • Code Used: Flash
  • Price: $139
  • Hosting: PHP v. 5.2 or 5.3
  • Width: 1250px
  • Template Number: 45965

Weapon Store Magento Theme

This particular theme uses the magento eCommerce platform which allows for an extremely efficient site layout and selling process. Features include a customer service page that will address any issues that the customer might have, as well as a checkout page that will allow customers to purchase items. The checkout page is directly linked to a shipping page that allows customers to specify where they want the items to be sent after they have been purchased. Site management tools are included in this template in order to make editing the site easy as new items that can be purchased need to be added. International support are included in the framework of the theme in order to allow the company to ship outside of the United States of America.

Details

  • Code Used: JQuery
  • Price: $180
  • Magento Engine and Compatibility: 1.7.x
  • Width: 1920px
  • Template Number: 47920
Categories: Articles
The Advantage of WordPress

One question that comes up a lot is what platform should we use to develop our website?

Regardless of whether it is a blog, e-commerce site or business website the standard answer is always WordPress.

Originally WordPress was developed as a platform for blogs. It was competing in the market with blogspot, tumblr and typepad and countless others. To me, the only two applications that differentiated themselves from one another were WordPress logoWordPress and Tumblr.

WordPress went out and made one of the simplest, yet elegant interfaces for a blogging platform. And what really took WordPress to the next level is plugins. Allowing users to develop, market and sell plugins spawned an industry within itself.

Plugins

If you’re not familiar with a plugin it’s essentially an “app” which you install on your wordpress interface that performs a variety of different functions. For example this WordPress Plugin, WordPress SEO, is one of the two dominant SEO plugins on WordPress. It takes a process that would otherwise require code, bundles it up nicely and allows webmasters the ability to make drastic changes with a click of a button.

Another very popular plugin is Share.It. Share it simply displays all of your social buttons on various places on your website.

There are other plugins which can handle your comments, security, backs your files up, optimize your page so it loads as quickly as possible. If you’ve got a need for it there is a pretty good chance there is a plugin for it. Recently, I went hunting for an e-mail gate for one of my websites. Could I have written the proper code to make it work? Sure. Did I want to? Not particularly. Often times I will develop plugins which I’ll use and which I’ll use for my clients, in this case I knew I would likely only need it for a few clients. The easiest solution is to find a plugin that does the job.

We recently developed a baseball equipment website. We were able to setup the layout, optimize for search engines, build tables all within a ten minute window. Without writing ANY code.

The beauty of WordPress is that when we hand it off to a Webmaster who happens to no zero code we won’t receive a phone call every time something breaks (usually this happens when said Webmaster decides to try an add a feature to the back –end – WordPress plugins all but eliminate this problem).

And this is only from a webmasters perspective. Why is wordpress so brilliant from a developers point of view? It provides a platform which millions of bloggers use to develop practical plugins and sell them. Just as there are companies who’s sole purpose is to develop apps for an I-phone there are companies who design and develop Plugins for WordPress.

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WordPress 3.8 and the New-Look Dashboard

Recently WordPress released version 3.8, which gave a significant overhaul to the dashboard and actual appearance of backend.

Apparently grasping onto the coattails of the popular iPhone 5C that featured bold colors for the first time, WordPress’ newest iteration offers customizable admin color schemes “to match your personality”. Perhaps this will be well received by creatives who are inspired by the available schemes. To most users, however, this will not be a change that makes much of a difference.

The new look is fairly clean, easier to use on mobile devices (including tablets), and offers cleaner typography. The WordPress.com dashboard has looked like this for a little while now, so if you operate in both spheres, you will have been used to the new look already.

The other notable changes include:

  • Better theme management
  • Twenty Fourteen theme
  • Continuing the new development process

Better Theme Management

It is easier to see your themes, both the actual visual theme and the information about it. If you have a lot of themes (which you probably shouldn’t, as if you don’t switch between them often for whatever reason, the unused one just takes up space and slows your site down), you can browse them more easily using just your keyboard’s arrows.

Within this, WP also notes that widgets are easier to use. Instead of dragging and dropping, you can select which widget area you’d like a particular widget to go into just by clicking on it. This makes it easier than dragging and scrolling through potentially dozens of widget spaces.

Twenty Fourteen ThemeWordPress 3.8 review

I suppose this is a subjective matter, but the new Theme certainly looks quite a bit different than the other WP default themes. Twenty Twelve was very popular, Twenty Thirteen took a step back (in my opinion), but Twenty Fourteen is totally new.

The theme looks much better on a tablet than on your laptop or desktop, and it only made sense after I looked at it on my iPad. Because of this, the new theme is a bit disappointing, but at least it’s different and should inspire people to make the most of it by creating child themes using it as a base.

It is a magazine theme rather than a more ‘pure’ blogging theme like the last few iterations. I tried it on a website I was working on about fishing electronics and unless you are into fish finders, I’m not sure why you’d want to read a site that reads like a magazine on the subject. I changed back to the old theme…maybe you’ll have more success.

Continuing the New Development Process

3.8 is the second release based on the “plugin-first development process”, and came out much more quickly than the last version. WordPress says that this is going to be a major step forward and that it is going very well so far.

WordPress may have turned a corner, so to speak, by changing the way they develop their product. It’s so new that we cannot really tell how much more power they will be able to harness with their new approach, but it’s safe to say that we can expect some really big things from WordPress in the near future.

Overall

I’m not sure this did anything too notable other than change the look of WordPress on the backend and to set up the software for future builds and iterations.

The new theme is…interesting, and may have some potential, but I haven’t found a good use for it yet (I mean seriously, do you read magazines about the Lowrance X4 fish finder? Didn’t think so).

Let’s take this and call it an interesting step forward, inching into a new era, and let us leave our minds open and hope that this is a great stepping stone for WordPress.

Categories: Software Tags:
What Is WordPress

WordPress is a free, open source self-blogging tool and a content management system (CMS) based on PHP and MySQL which runs on a web hosting service. A CMS is a system that allows publishing, editing, and modifying content as well as maintenance from a central interface.

WordPress is used by millions, primarily for blogging, but has since been utilized for a wide of assortment of different sites.

Word PressApproximately 19% of all of the websites on the entire internet are run through WordPress.

A staggering figure indeed when one considers it is downloadable without charge, but it’s very conceivable this fact is a major contribution to the software’s pervasive use.

WordPress allows for those without a background in computer science or coding to create sleek, functional websites of their own.

All of the coding has been done, the website’s creator need but pick and choose which aspects to introduce into their personalized site.

With over 28,000 plug-ins, any desire one could ask for in a site can be met by the open source WordPress community.

History

The blogging tool began life way back in 2001 as b2 cafelog, coming from one Michel Valdrighi. The original code was written in PHP, for use with MySQL. The predecessor, b2 cafelog, enjoyed some success as a blogging tool, having over 2,000 active blogs employing the code in 2003.

That code was then forked by Matt Mullenweg  and Mike Little, meaning a snippet of the b2 cafelog code was taken and ran with as a separate project, thus, the first incarnation of WordPress was born in 2003.

Matt Mullenweg remains an important contributor to the software today, maintaining a gracious attitude in the face of such immense success, demonstrated from his interview with Forbes on Sept 24, 2012 where he also talks about his intent for its creation.

Features

Plug-ins were later introduced in 2004 with version 1.2 (Mingus). Some may have noticed the interesting choice of name that came attached to the version update. WordPress code names have been homages to famous jazz musicians since this first version update.

The flair for this musical genre and its musicians comes from the developers love of the art.

Matt MullenwegThe basic features of WordPress already grant the user a myriad of possibilities in the customization of their site. Off of WordPress, there is an overview of the primary tools used in most sites building.

It offers built-in commenting tools, simple drag and drop for publishing images, articles, or posts, is multilingual: available on over 70 languages, a plug-in system, and as a derivative of this last point, really too many features to list.

There are literally tens of thousands with absolutely no upper limit on their use or even further plug-in development.

 

Plug-Ins

A sample of WordPress best received plug-ins are WordPress SEO which is invaluable for a site’s search engine optimization; Akismet checks your comments against the Akismet web service to see if they look like spam or not and allows for review the spam it catches under your blog’s “Comments” admin screen.

WordPress Gallery Plugin provides a powerful engine for uploading and managing galleries of images, with the ability to batch upload, import meta data, add/delete/rearrange/sort images, edit thumbnails, group galleries into albums, and more; and the list goes on for another ~29,000 plugins and growing.

 Community

An excellent choice of web hosting, adopted by millions, seen in nearly 1 in 5 sites on the internet and having the largest open source community ever, WordPress has a promising future to go on doing great things, allowing others to do great things with it.

Categories: Software Tags: ,
Demonstrating WordPress

WordPress, the world’ most popular website builder for blogs, news, technology, reviews, and any other site one could think of is the tool to fill out its own template. Easily accessible to even the most computer illiterate among us, this software is designed with simplicity and WordPressfluidity in mind. All of the basic functions of the site, such as posting articles or images, setting up links, providing a comment system, etc—all of this is made easy with WordPress.

 WordPress

With such impressive accolades as being at the core of approximately 19% of the internet’s websites, having the largest open source community, some 29,000 plug-ins, and being free to download, it is no surprise WordPress has become a common house-hold name for building websites. Since all of the features are already coded, and all of the plug-ins as well for their specific functions, it can give the amateur the power to look like a pro. If one were to create a website from scratch, the minimum amount of required skills to put every pixel into place and put it up on the internet, such as knowledge in HTML, CSS, PHP, server side tasks, and then some, not to mention site maintenance, it can be a daunting task even for the most well-read programmers. This also consumes months and months drenched with effort. WordPress can be downloaded and produce a very basic but running site in an afternoon.

 Usage

Of the various sites scattered across the web using the convenience and fashion of WordPress, where 48% of the top 100 blogs use it , let’s have a look at another site, thebestcatlitterbox.com. For those of you with cats, this a great site to find the best litter box for you Blogand your feline friend. It has articles on litter boxes and litter, reviews for manual and automatic boxes, litter, and even video reviews. A fine little site that’s been put together with the aid of WordPress.  Everything the way you see it and everything you can do on this site is due to WordPress. That search bar in the upper right, which is ordinarily no simple task in implanting into a website, is made available from WordPress’s vault of functionality. The banner at the top, the borders, the fonts and colors, again, all selected and incorporated through WordPress’s medium.

Guide

WordPress has their very own guide setup outlining the steps for new web developers, guiding them on their path to making their dream website. A lesson unto itself, in addition to a guide they offer instructional articles, organized logically by the multifariousness inherent with creating one’s own website. For instance, the lessons under WordPress for Beginners entitled “Using Images” walks the reader through posting images on your site . Like that banner at the top of thebestcatlitterbox.com or the images pasted alongside its articles, this can be taught and applied via WordPress.

Whether it be a cozy site like thebestcatlitterbox.com or the most popular blog on the net, both can be powered by WordPress, both are capable of the same features, and both are built by an astoundingly user-friendly, free, reliable site builder.

Transfer files on Filezilla

Introduction

FileZilla is free, cross-platform FTP, FTPS, and SFTP software, consisting of the FileZilla Client and FileZilla Server. Being FTP software, or File FilezillaTransfer Protocol (acting as the server for the Windows OS), FileZilla operates on the standard network protocol used to transfer files from one host to another over a TCP-based network: the most forthwith example being the internet.

A network protocol is the rules that govern communication over a network so as to ensure clearly defined sending and response.

An FTPS network protocol is an extension to the common File Transfer Protocol (FTP) adding support for the Transport Layer Security (TLS) and the Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) cryptographic protocols. Lastly, an SFTP network protocol (Secure File Transfer Protocol) is a network protocol that provides file access, file transfer, and file management functionalities over any reliable data stream, an extension of the Secure Shell protocol (SSH).

In summary, there are a dizzying amount of protocols, and so rules and subsets of rules and so on that make possible the transfer of data between computers over a network. Filezilla is reliable software that does this exceptionally well (though the GUI has been called intimidating to novices).

 Filezilla

Filezilla is open source and comes with all of the perks this entails. The open source community has the source code freely accessible, so plug-ins and other forms of modification or improvement can be pulled from thousands of other minds. As with many now popular open source projects, Filezilla was birthed in a clandestine programming manger by a trio of students for a class project in college.

Beginning as a computer science project in January 2001 by Tim Kosse and two fellow classmates, the three had already decided on publishing the software, the only quandary being under what license. By unfounded modesty, but perhaps ultimately the best choice, Filezilla was first made public under the open source license due to the fact none of the creators thought people would actually pay for their product.

 Features

There are a number of features which contribute to the cohesive, wholesome feel of the FileZilla client and the FileZilla server. The FileZilla client’s features as highlighted on FileZilla’s website include the subsequent:

  • Easy to use
  • Supports FTP, FTP over SSL/TLS (FTPS) and SSH File Transfer Protocol (SFTP)
  • Cross-platform. Runs on Windows, Linux, *BSD, Mac OS X and more
  • IPv6 support
  • Available in many languages
  • Supports resume and transfer of large files >4GB
  • Tabbed user interface
  • Powerful Site Manager and transfer queue
  • Bookmarks
  • Drag & drop support
  • Configurable transfer speed limits
  • Filename filters
  • Directory comparison
  • Network configuration wizard
  • Remote file editing
  • Keep-alive
  • HTTP/1.1, SOCKS5 and FTP-Proxy support
  • Logging to file
  • Synchronized directory browsing
  • Remote file search

 

The FileZilla server has bathed in much of the same praise awarded to the FileZilla client, and a sizeable chunk of the users implementing the client also unite it with the server.

SSL Secured Socket LayerSSL and SFTP

FileZilla supports SSL, the same level of encryption supported by your web browser, to protect your data. When using SSL your data is encrypted so that prying eyes cannot see it, and your confidential information is protected. It also supports on-the-fly data compression, which can improve the transfer rates.

Unfortunately, the compression setting can have mixed results, so it is advised to use it with care. It is possible for files that are already compressed to be transferred over the network using more than their original data size.

Support for SFTP (SSH File Transfer Protocol) is not implemented in Filezilla Server.

Surprisingly, the SFTP network protocol remains outside of FileZilla server’s capabilities, but still is compatible with the client. To most, anything besides an FTP protocol is superfluous, so this should raise no major concerns.

 Over 250 million downloads

FileZilla has been downloaded over 250 million times off its sourceforge open source free download page. The prestigious cnet.com has bestowed the software with a perfect 5 star rating, has gained a 4 star user rating, and is ranked as the #1 FTP software.

In all likelihood, if one were to ask someone in IT or most who are familiar with the network protocol out on the market today, FileZilla would come highly recommended for price, ease of use, and its constant updates and innovations.

 

 

Top 10 Open Source Software

Software developed through open-source is (largely) free and readily available to all who come across it. It is placed into a community in constant dialogue with itself, where patches, plug-ins, add-ons, and bug fixes can be incorporated into the original code, growing it to Top 10 Open Source softwaresomething more. Many open source software developers have come from humble beginnings, others from established developers or corporations, and that’s the beauty of it, because if a developer produces a worthwhile product and puts it out there as open source, anyone can be the creator of something used by millions.

 Top 10

Here are 10 of the best open source projects—be it by ingenuity, practicality, or popularity—available today:

 WordPress:

WordPress is a content management system and blogging tool. Approximately 19% of the sites on the entire Internet are powered by WordPress. This is a piece of software that was developed/is being developed by hundreds of volunteers. Since its release on May 27, 2009, the software has been downloaded nearly 10 million times.

Awards and recognition:

Packt Open Source CMS Award (2007)

Packt best Open Source CMS Awards (2009)

Hall of Fame CMS category in the 2010 Open Source Awards

Open Source Web App of the Year Award at The Critters (2011)

 

GIMP:

GIMP is a raster graphics editor capable of all sorts of clever forms of image creation and editing. It began as a project from two college students back in 1995 at the University of California, Berkley. Now, GIMP is a major competitor to the ever-popular Adobe Photoshop, retail price for Adobe Photoshop CC: $19.99 per month.

Awards and recognition:        Best Free Image Manipulation Program Award

 

VuzeVuze:

Vuze (formerly Azureus) is one of the most widely used BitTorrent clients. The client has received criticisms in the past for its layout, unnecessary software being installed in addition at download, and other, perhaps less well-founded claims. Vuze comes out with regular updates which often address the community’s gripes to form a better, sleaker, BitTorrent client. For $29.90 a month, one can upgrade their client to Vuze Plus, offering such features as DVD burning, anti-virus, and the removal of ads. Of course, the plethora of features already offered with the free version is enough for most users, leaving the majority of the features left untouched.

Awards and recognition:

Most popular open-source software, first annual Sourceforge.net Community Choice Awards

Softpedia Editor’s pick award (2005, 2012)

 

OpenOffice:

Open OfficeOpenOffice is a now discontinued open-source office suite. It was derived from StarOffice and made open source. Today, the roots of OpenOffice have grown into a few other independent projects, the most renowned being Apache OpenOffice. Oracle (then owners of OpenOffice) contributed code and trademark rights to the Apache derivate. OpenOffice consists of 6 separate applications: a word processor (and its web-authoring component), spreadsheet, presentation graphics, drawing, equation editor, and database.

MySQL:

MySQL is a relational database management system, and at the time of this article’s inception, the third most popular database management system and the second most popular relational database management. MySQL is fast, reliable, and efficient at managing the data in its applied database. Some of the web’s most notorious sites incorporate MySQL, such as Google, Wikipedia, Facebook, Youtube, and many more.

 

MagentoMagento

Magento is an open source e-commerce web application, released March 31, 2008, previously named Bento. It was developed by Varien with the aid of the open source community, but has since been bought by eBay under full-ownership. Magento has three distinctive editions available for download, tailored to the specific channel needs of the user: Enterprise Edition for fast-growing and large businesses, Community Edition for individuals who would like to work with the code themselves, and Magento Go for small businesses.

Awards and recognition:

Best new open source project, 2008 SourceForge.net Community Choice Awards

 

VLC:

VLC media player is a free, portable, cross-platform media player and streaming media server made by the VideoLAN project. This media player can handle any file one can throw at it and allows you to modify the file in nearly any way imaginable.

GnuCash:

Gnu CashGnuCash is a software accounting program implementing a double-entry bookkeeping system, where every entry to an account requires a corresponding, opposite entry to another account. GnuCash is an easy-to-use software for tracking the user’s bank accounts, stocks, income and expenses. It is free, multi-platform, and has an exceptionally informative manual and wiki to help beginners navigate the software.

Awards and recognition:   Editor’s Choice award, Maximum Linux France (2000)

 Audacity

Audacity is a digital audio editor and recording application. Another product of the college environment, Audacity was developed by Dominic Mazzoni and Roger Dannenberg at Carnegie Mellon University in 1999, launched in 2000. With its wide-spectrum of features and capabilities, Audacity is the prime choice for audio engineers and enthusiasts. Lauded in online review articles and by the user base, it quickly rose to the top of the charts for digital audio software.

Awards and recognition:

Sourceforge Community Choice Awards (2007, 2008)

LinuxQuestions.org Audio Authoring Award (2007, 2010)

 

Firefox:

This should be an open-source project that needs no introduction. As one of the world’s most popular web browsers it controls 16%-21% of the internet’s users. Firefox is non-profit, innovative, fast, flexible, and proven to be quite secure—all derived from an open source platform.

All of these are free, open-source software, many having some of the humblest, most unexpected beginnings before garnering an international user base of millions. Anything the average user may require has probably already been made and is available as a free download via open source, as opposed to a hefty wallet-centric burden. If not the case, it just might be the next big open source project.

GIMP Graphics Editor

GIMP

GIMP is a popular, free-to-use raster graphics editor capable of image authoring, image composition, and photo editing/re-touching. A raster graphics editor is any program that allows the user to create and edit images via their computer, displayed and interacted with by monitor, and able to be stored in some form of bitmap or raster format.

The most popular of these formats being .JPG, .GIF (pronounced guh-iff), .PNG, etc. The GIMP GIMPGIMPGIMPGIMPacronym stands for GNU Image Manipulation Program, having an acronym within an acronym.

GNU is the name of an operating system developed by Richard Stallman and was incorporated into the GIMP acronym when the OS developer visited the University of California, Berkley (GIMP’s creators attended institution) and was confronted to ask for permission to change their original acronym of General Image Manipulation Program to its current form—GNU Image Manipulation Program.

 GIMP’s Development

GIMP was developed at the University of Berkley for a shared professor of the software’s fathers, Peter Mattis and Spencer Kimball. The two worked on the project for an (estimated) 9-10 months before revealing the final, functioning product and the first edition of GIMP: GIMP 0.54.

The first public release occurred in January of 1996 with startling, unheard of features, especially for what was a piece of software developed by self-contained college students in the span of less than a year.

Some of its distinguishing features included a plug-in system, rudimentary drawing tools, being released under the protection of the GPL, and perhaps most intriguing of all, the image manipulation program came with an un-do feature, the first recorded implementation of this feature out there.

But as with all new software, there were bugs, and many at that by GIMP’s own admission.

 GIMP Progress

“But all was not well with GIMP. It had rather frequent crashes, that could be caused by plug-ins or problems in the main code. It had a dependency on Motif for its GUI toolkit, which made efficient distribution to a lot of users impossible.

This restriction also alienated a lot of would-be plug-in development. And GIMP had people making absurd claims that it was already more stable than Photoshop.”

MOTIFGIMP has a great variety of useful features for the image manipulating users out there. GIMP has a customizable interface which allows for the user to change the way the interface is presented, from the widgets, to the “docks” by which GIMP is modularized, allowing them to be stacked into tabs or left open on the display.

It can even be full-screened so the entirety of one’s monitor space can be utilized.

Photo Feature

GIMP’s photo enhancement features are a magnificent way to spruce up any photo or image. In the transform tools, there is offered ways a photo can be improved by just the application of a single function.

For example, the corrective mode in transform tools can fix perspective distortion resulted from the photographer’s tilting of the lens at the time of the photo’s capture. This being only one of GIMP’s photo enhancement feature, something invaluable even for the most inexperienced photoshoppers.Photographer

For the professionals in need of a more refined touch, GIMP has digital retouching features granting the user abilities to touch up those subtler features.

Images saved in GIMP are supported by the entire commonplace formats listed earlier.

For the more esoteric formats, GIMP has a plug-in registry where further support can be found for likely any odd or seemingly other worldly file format brought to its doorstep.

Adobe Photoshop

Predating GIMP in inception and (for most of the software’s lifetime) dominating it in popularity, Adobe Photoshop has been over-shadowing this incredibly adaptive image manipulating software. GIMP had a rough start.

Many bugs had to be fixed before it became the extremely capable software it is today. In recent years, it has seen favorable reviews and a steady rise in user-base. This article published on extremetech.com titled: “GIMP review: This free image editor is no longer a crippled alternative to Photoshop” walks readers through the under appreciated GIMP in its modern form.

Discover another very important piece of open source software called FileZilla.

GIMP is an excellent choice of image manipulation software, from humble beginnings to lauded heights of becoming a major company, it Is ready and suited for a user’s image creating and editing needs, compatible with GNU/Linux (i386, PPC), Microsoft Windows (XP, Vista), Mac OS X, Sun OpenSolaris, FreeBSD.   Go our article on the Top 10 Open Source Software where you’ll see GIMP and others.

My SQL Database Manager

MySQL is a relational database management system. It is also a mouthful, and can be abbreviated as an RDMS. To break this down into more readily understandable parts, a database is an organized collection of data. A database management system is a software system that uses a standard method of cataloging, retrieving, and running queries on data. A relational database management system is a database management system coming from the relational model for database management. Now we are almost finished guiding the uninitiated through this seemingly ceaseless defining process.

My SQL logoDatabase Management

 

The relational model is a model for database management created by Edgar F. Codd in 1969 best described by the following: “the organization of data into collections of two-dimensional tables called “relations.” These two-dimensional tables function by having the columns define attributes of the data and the relation for a table is a set of attributes which uniquely define the corresponding rows. Simple. In summary, a relational database management system is software that utilizes a method of managing the data in the applied database based off of the relational model.

 My SQL

MySQL is in fact one such major RDMS out on the market today. MySQL is at the time of this article’s inception, the second most popular database management system, coming in at a close second to Oracle (also an RBMS). Though, MySQL is the most popular open source database management system and it is utilized by many of the web’s most popular sites to organize their gargantuan daily influxes of data. Sites such as Facebook, Wikipedia, and craigslist all work in conjunction with a MySQL platform. It also is a major part of LAMP. LAMP is an open source enterprise software stack, the acronym standing for Linux, Apache, the M being MySQL, and PHP/Python/Perl.

 Microsoft SQL

Microsoft SQLMicrosoft SQL is a competing database management system, developed by Microsoft, and the third most popular database management system at present, though Microsoft SQL and MySQL are constantly in close contention for the second spot, and are nearly jockeying for the first spot for the world’s leading database management system. The question some may be asking now is, what does SQL stand for, and more importantly, what does it mean? SQL stands for Structured Query Language. A structured query language is a special-purpose programming language specifically designed for the relational database model as originally presented by the model’s founder in his revolutionizing publication “A Relational Model of Data for Large Shared Data Banks”.

Open Source Approach

A defining contrast between these RDMS’s is MySQL’s open-source approach versus Microsoft SQL’s more corporate/enterprise approach of being proprietary closed-source software. Each has its advantages. MySQL is free, which puts it at a major advantage already to some of the more penny-pinching businesses or private users out there, but also offers an Enterprise edition offering pricing for varying levels of features. With the open-source model, MySQL offers a vast, helpful community for any bugs one may run into employing their RDMS. MySQL’s primary fuel in the race to be the best is its speed. It is easily integrated with nearly anything required of it, and depending on the package, MySQL can end up being your only option for a major database management system.

Microsoft SQL does come at a cost dependent upon the edition, and there are far more editions offered, allowing more personalization for the customer’s specific needs—over a dozen choices actually. Microsoft SQL, being closed-source, has a level of compatibility with the Microsoft OS MySQL can never offer. Since everything is run through a Microsoft integrated system, the smoothness is incomparable, but surprisingly, MySQL is most commonly used in conjunction with the Microsoft OS.

Ultimately, it is impossible to say which is the “better” RDMS as both are exceptional, and leaders in the relational database management system game in their own right. It comes down to what the needs of the company or user are and the personal preference of that purchaser.

Open Office Suite

Open OfficeOpen Office is a now discontinued open-source office suite which acted as a much cheaper competitor to the ubiquitous Microsoft Office. It began as an open source project, derived from the office suite software StarOffice, and in 1999, was acquired by Sun Microsystems. Its life finally was snubbed out in 2011 by the Oracle Corporation (then-owner of Sun Mircrosystems. During this time, it gained a great deal of traction in international usage.

Open Office consisted of 6 components:

Open Office Writer

Probably the most commonly used application for most users, was similar in many ways to Microsoft Word. It was a word processor, filename .sdw, but probably the most distinctive difference which separated Writer as its own, unique word processor from Microsoft Word was its lack of the ribbon interface. A ribbon interface is a set of tabs, often located at the top of the page, with interface arranged by common use. This style has become popular since 2007 with the release of Microsoft Office 2007, and is probably what many of you are most familiar with. The more traditional layout espoused by Writer was the classic drop down toolbars, finding a functionality by sorting through the appropriate sets and subsets of the filing system. Many people still were quite fond of with this setup, and so, it became a major factor in the delineation of Open Office Writer.

Open Office Calc was the spreadsheet facet of Open office, parallel to Excel.

Open Office Impress was Open Office’s PowerPoint presenter. An interesting feature of Impress was a presentation could be displayed on any computer, so long as it had Flash player.

Open Office DrawOpen Office Draw

It can be described as it existed as an amalgam of many of the different drawing functions pervasive in the different Microsoft Office programs, and some neat features of its own. Draw had a Gallery for clipart, smart connectors which aided in creating charts and diagrams, a 3D controller that allowed the user to create and manipulate three-dimensional objects, and innumerable other ways the user could create, change, and organize their illustrations.

Open Office Math

It was a convenient tool for working with mathematical formulae. The only equal to this being Microsoft Equation Editor, a lesser known part of the Microsoft Office library.

Open Office Base was a database management program, like Microsoft Access. Base was accommodating as a front-end to numerous database systems.

The biggest difference setting Open Office apart from Microsoft Office is in its cross-integration. In this manual, published by the Open Office organization clearly outlining where the dichotomy between the two competitors emerge, it states,

“While the interfaces of OpenOffice.org and Microsoft Office are generally similar, there are some differences. The purpose of this chapter is to outline those differences and how to work with them. One of the underlying differences is the degree of integration of the applications. For instance, it is possible to open a Calc spreadsheet in Calc while working in Writer.”

ApacheWhen trying to distinguish oneself from the competition, especially such a monopolizing one as Microsoft, there needs to be something to offer, something vital, whether the users know it is vital or not. It was with this intriguing interface design Open Office was able to position itself as a real competitor in office software.

Apache Open Office

Gone but not forgotten, Open Office lives on in Apache Open Office. In 2011, Oracle donated the trademarks and code to the Apache group, where it was then reworked and finally re-released as Apache Open Office 3.4.0 in 2012. Other major off-shoots with its roots in the original Open Office include LibreOffice, NeoOffice, and, currently discontinued, StarOffice—which after Oracle bought out Sun Mircosystems, became Oracle Open Office, IBM Lotus Symphony, and Go-oo.

The prominent torch-holder, Apach Open Office, is still run on the open source platform, and continues its free updates to improve the Open Office software. They have a donation page  that helps to keep afloat this non-profit organization under the weighty costs that come with running any business, and so, Open Office lives on.

Open Source Free Developer

By Conner Ryan

An open source free developer can be anyone. It can be someone just taking their first steps into the world of software development, or the tech-genius founder of a multi-billion dollar corporation—and everyone in between. The idea behind the open source initiative is to create a global community of free-flowing information by making Open Source developerpublic the code developers use, to be then viewed, utilized, or tinkered with by anyone the world over.

The exciting thing about this is a complete transparency in what, though a scientific endeavor, still is a business venture for many developers. It’s so exciting because what open source is saying is it acknowledges human progress as a greater ideal than short term material gains. Anyone can be an open source free developer. You or I could be one, contributing to open source, tossing our lot into the limitless pool of human knowledge and being a part of something greater than the self.

 

Open Source Free Developer

 

What it is for something to be considered open source is not so simple as allowing access to the source code.  Find the true open source definition off of the Open Source Initiative website.

To distill the points outlined by this definition, each point is promoting freedom of exchange of the functioning product an open source free developer has posted. To be considered an open source free developer, you must adhere to the tenets of the open source initiative, which are briefly summarized as follows:

  1. Free redistribution – the license placing no restrictions on the use of the code, having no monetary gains for the creator
  2. Source code – absolute accessibility to the source code
  3. Derived works – sovereignty of work derived from the original to fall under the same license
  4. Integrity of the author’s source code – the source code can be restricted in distribution of modified form, but a patch would then be required
  5. No discrimination against persons or groups
  6. No discrimination against fields or endeavor
  7. Distribution of license – the rights are given to all parties who obtain the program
  8. License must not be specific to a product
  9. License must not restrict other software
  10. License must be technology neutral

These are the indelible laws by which open source free developers abide. The core idea remains unchanged: the free exchange of projects to all, building upon each other, but of course, nothing is ever that simple. There are grey areas that muddle the idealistic blueprints initially set out. Even so, the upholding of the definition of what it is to be open source does stay true.

 

Open source free developers do their work by the belief of it being free, but free in the sense of freedom, liberty, etc, not so much in dealing with free in terms of money. As in there is no money to be made in open source. It is true that once a project is released as open source, the developer no longer holds royalty rights of any sort, but there are other ways for these developers to monetize their products. In the same way open source relies on the altruism of its contributors, the same can be done for the contributors themselves. Crowdfunding sites like Kickstarter are a platform for developers to show the public what it is they are trying to accomplish, and those who believe in the developer’s idea can fund him towards that goal. Many other sites besides Kickstarter may be more convenient to a particular set of needs, and crowdfunding itself does not constitute the sole means an open source free developer can get back something for their giving. So be it crowdfunding or corporate funding, there are responses to the issue, if it is so an issue for the developer.

Mouse Open Source DeveloperTo become an open source free developer in name is easy. As stated, one need only submit something functional under the terms of open source, and then, that developer, just as much as one who has submitted countless projects ahead of him/her, has gained the same right to be called an open source free developer. This is nice, and a good first step, but most open source free developers strive to be more than a microscopic pebble drop in the ocean, or else, why become an open source free developer in the first place?

 

To become an open source free developer, by the true spirit of the title, the answer is found in the most obvious place. What it is to be an open source free developer. Freedom.

 

This passage from the book Producing Open Source Software by Karl Fogel elucidates the way an open source free developer should handle his work in terms of the open source community:

 

“What is necessary, however, is that enough investment be put into presentation that newcomers can get past the initial obstacle of unfamiliarity. Think of it as the first step in a bootstrapping process, to bring the project to a kind of minimum activation energy. I’ve heard this threshold called the hacktivation energy: the amount of energy a newcomer must put in before she starts getting something back. The lower a project’s hacktivation energy, the better. Your first task is bring the hacktivation energy down to a level that encourages people to get involved.”

 

This term, “hacktivation energy” is what open source free developers need to have in mind while creating a project. Ease of access is the name of the game. What would be the point of granting access to something inaccessible? What needs to happen is the clear communication of what it is the product does with the minimal amount of effort wasted on deciphering it.

The concept of open source free developers exists outside the realm of software engineering, but it is important to remember the concept may not be so easily applied to other professions. For example, in the business world there is a lot of potential lying in wait for the right person who can bring open source to their world too, but so it remains largely separate, perhaps in its current form unable to mesh with these disparate lines of work or perhaps never meant to. In the meantime, open source free developers are emerging from a growing multitude of other fields. Hardware, medicine, and even fashion have taken their first steps towards a more liberal discourse of information among peers.

An open source free developer can be anyone, sharing their ideas with everyone, and doing it all expecting nothing in return. All one needs is an idea.

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