Monday, August 25, 2014

Vocal | Open Source Podcast Manager

"Vocal is a podcast manager that aims to do what similar, and well intentioned, apps fail to: do one thing and do it well.

While it’s not the first to try and serve the needs of podcast users, its developer, Nathan Dyer, hopes to avoid the ‘clunky, bloated [and] unnecessarily complicated’ flaws of current options.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

LibreOffice 4.3 upgrades spreadsheets, brings 3D models to presentations | Ars Technica

"LibreOffice's latest release provides easier ways of working with spreadsheets and the ability to insert 3D models into presentations, along with dozens of other changes.

LibreOffice was created as a fork from OpenOffice in September 2010 because of concerns over Oracle's management of the open source project. LibreOffice has now had eight major releases and is powered by "thousands of volunteers and hundreds of developers," the Document Foundation, which was formed to oversee its development, said in an announcement today. (OpenOffice survived the Oracle turmoil by being transferred to the Apache Software Foundation and continues to be updated.)

In LibreOffice 4.3, spreadsheet program Calc "now allows the performing of several tasks more intuitively, thanks to the smarter highlighting of formulas in cells, the display of the number of selected rows and columns in the status bar, the ability to start editing a cell with the content of the cell above it, and being able to fully select text conversion models by the user," the Document Foundation said.

For LibreOffice Impress, the presentation application, users can now insert 3D models in the gITF format. "To use this feature, go to Insert ▸ Object ▸ 3D Model," the LibreOffice 4.3 release notes say. So far, this feature is available for Windows and Linux but not OS X."

Thursday, April 3, 2014

First Ubuntu Tablets To Launch This Autumn

For about three years, sensing the move from the desktop to the mobile device, Canonical have been making Ubuntu more tablet-friendly. Now we hear that tablets (and smartphones) are due to ship with Ubuntu OEM soon.
I've been a fan of Ubuntu for a long time, and if you'd like to try it out to see how easy-to-use free software operating systems are, you can do it online here: (Tip: full-screen your browser and it's like you're running it natively on your machine.)

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Building the XO Learning Tablet |

This is a great project that I'm keeping an eye on: a kiwi company that has built a management interface for Android tablets. The big features for educators are parental controls, app curation and deployment, all of which will help educators who want an alternative to iPads, but also want a way to manage multiple devices and stay sane.

"Freeing an idea by One Laptop Per Child, based around a graphical design by The Fuse Project, Morphoss has spent the last year developing & building the user interface and related software for the XO Learning Tablet.

The project to build the XO Learning Tablet was a complex and demanding one, requiring us to delve deeply within the Android OS in order to provide parental controls, support tracking of usage by multiple children. Outside of the direct user interface development we also built web-based administration software to help OLPC track the inclusion and classification of over 100 third-party educational applications. At the same time we also contributed code and translations back to the free software community for a number of projects which are used within the product.

We're proud to have been a part of this process and look forward to continuing to work with One Laptop Per Child as the tablet revolution evolves and develops.

Visit for more information."