Archive for the ‘Linux Entertainment’ Category

A new look for your old ancestors

Sunday, October 9th, 2011

runs on Linuxruns on Macruns on Windows
screenshot of PhpGedView

If you're into the whole genealogy thing, you've probably got piles of old documents, maybe a bunch of photos, and an inbox full of email sent by Cousin Susie and Uncle Fred. If you're totally old school, you've also got a bunch of forms and pieces of paper with notes and arrows scrawled across them, trying to keep track of who's related to whom, and how. Or maybe you're more high-tech than that and you're running some desktop app to try to make sense of it all. Once you get it all figured out and realize that Aunt Rose is also your second cousin, the only way to share all your hard work with everybody else is to once again print it all out, and hope it makes sense. Well, it turns out that your cousins have been doing the same work you have, so there's a huge duplication of effort out there. And maybe they found some important fact you missed, or vice versa. It would be nice if there were a collaborative way to work on this family tree stuff.

PhpGedView is an app that does exactly that. While you could probably run it on your desktop, it's really designed to be installed on a server out there where multiple folks can get at it at the same time. You can enter what you've found out, while other family members can add their information to it. When you're done, you've got the benefit of everybody's expertise and information, and it's easy for even non-contributors to see what you've put together, because the whole thing lives on the web. Realizing that there's some pretty personal stuff in there, security settings are a big part of this app. You can decide who gets to see what, and who can edit which kind of data. You can also add media files, like photos, voice recordings, and all to flesh your data out.

PhpGedView is a free download. To run it, you'll need a web server running PHP 5.2 or better, and a database like MySQL 3.23 or newer.

Download PhpGedView

Grab web content for your eBook reader

Friday, August 26th, 2011

runs on Linuxruns on Macruns on Windows
screenshot of GrabMyBooks

Congratulations! You just grabbed yourself one of those fancy, newfangled eBook readers. Goodbye dog-eared pages, hello convenience. It's like sticking a whole library in your pocket or briefcase, perfect for that long trip, day at the beach, or just curling up on the couch with a cup of cocoa. Then there's the matter of filling it up with content. You can buy the electronic version of a new book, or grab some older public domain volume. What if you're looking for something a little different?

GrabMyBooks is an add-on for Firefox that lets you grab online content and convert it into ePub format, which is compatible with just about everybody's eReader (although apparently not your Kindle). Find the site or story you're interested in, push the magic button, and GrabMyBooks will reach out and grab the content off the page, avoiding menus and all the other stuff cluttering up the screen in the process. Once you're imported the content, you can go back and edit and tweak things to help make them easier to deal with. This could all be quite helpful with technical material or sales information that's available only online, or just stuff that nobody's bothered to compile for you to read.

GrabMyBooks is a free download. Since it runs on top of Firefox, it should work just fine on any platform that supports that browser.

Download GrabMyBooks

Put a recording studio on your computer

Friday, March 26th, 2010

runs on Linuxruns on Windows
screenshot of Jokosher

Back in the day, if you needed to do some serious audio recording, you had to go out and rent Abbey Road Studios, or some other equally expensive venue. Fast forward to today, where your computer has the potential to turn your office or living room into a similarly equipped space, if you add the right software to your system.

Jokosher is a multitrack recording studio that lives on your computer. Starting with its easy-to-use interface, you'll be able to record your next podcast or demo record in no time. Once you've laid down your tracks, you can go back and massage them into just what you were looking for—play with the volume, move voices around, add or remove instruments, the whole thing. You can also import and export just about all regular audio formats, so you can add them to the mix or create just the right format to upload or burn to optical media.

Jokosher is available in versions for both Windows and Linux platforms.

Download Jokosher

Free Tooth Fairy Letters and Coloring Pages

Friday, September 4th, 2009

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screenshot of Tooth Fairy Letter

Do you remember when you lost your first tooth? Do you remember when you still had teeth? Either way, even though it was a little frightening—am I falling apart here?—there was consolation in knowing that evening a visitor would come by and convert your tooth to cash or some other little goodie. The Tooth Fairy was an idea that was almost too good for words.

Times have changed. Even though the amount she (he?) leaves has changed from a dime or quarter to five or ten bucks, the excitement is still there. And did you know that she's added another item to her bag of tricks? It turns out the Tooth Fairy can also leave a letter on her visits as well. If you're in charge of helping the Tooth Fairy out at your house, take a look at the offerings at Tooth Fairy Letter. They've got a dozen different letters from the Tooth Fairy to the little ones. There are general letters, notes specific to a boy or girl, and even letters for when the tooth is missing—can you imagine the heartbreak of the kid swallowing a tooth, leaving nothing to tuck under the pillow? In addition, they've also got a bunch of Tooth Fairy-themed coloring pages to keep the little ones entertained. And they feature a couple of pages of information about Tooth Fairy Family Traditions, as well as Tooth Fairy tips for parents.

Tooth Fairy Letters are available to download as free PDF files, or for a couple of bucks you can grab DOC versions formatted for Word, so you can personalize them. And don't forget to floss.

Download Tooth Fairy Letter

Free (Play) Money!

Friday, July 17th, 2009

runs on Linuxruns on Macruns on Windows
screenshot of Printable Play Money

Back in the day, Monopoly was my favorite board game. While it was always gratifying to get to choose the Scotty dog as a playing piece, and I always loved charging rent for Boardwalk (not so excited about paying it when I didn't own the property, however), probably the most exciting part was getting that pile of money to start with. All you had to do was to sit down at the table and you got a free $1500, by far the easiest money anybody ever made. Of course, you couldn't do much with that money, because it wasn't real, other than to the other players in the game. Nevertheless, play money can be oddly satisfying in its own way.

Printable Play Money lets you print all the money you could ever possibly need. Like the Monopoly money, you can't really spend it anywhere, but then maybe that's just a way to encourage saving, right? Use your play money to help teach kids how to work with money—count it, make change, that sort of thing. Or print a bunch of it and roll around on the floor in it, pretending you're Scrooge McDuck. Use it to light your cigars, proving to the world that you've literally got money to burn. (Don't really do that—fire's not safe, and goodness knows what type of nasty chemicals are in your printer's ink.)

Printable Play Money is free to download and print. You'll need a copy of the free Adobe Reader application to print out your fortune.

Download Printable Play Money

Free Printable Bookmarks

Thursday, July 9th, 2009

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screenshot of Printable Bookmarks

Way back when, we all used to read books. That was before the rise of the World Wide Web, e-Books, and Kindle. You're reading along, but eventually came to the point where you needed to put that book down—maybe it was time for school, or dinner, or maybe it was lights-out and off to sleep. How do you keep track of where you were reading? You could always lay the book down face-first on a table, but that could crack the book's spine. Go ahead and dog-ear a page, but eventually all the pages will be dog-eared and that won't be much of a help. So they invented this neat technology called a bookmark. It's kind of like a PostIt, but without the adhesive.

If you actually read books still, maybe you'd like a nifty bookmark to go with it. Check out the selection offered by Free Printable Bookmarks. They've got a couple dozen different designs to choose from. Just grab one you like from such categories as Adventure Bookmarks, Mystery Bookmarks, Christian Bookmarks, and more. Each bookmark is available as a PDF file. All you need to do is download it, print it out, trim it to size, and let the reading begin.

The bookmarks at Printable Bookmarks are all available to download for free.

Download Printable Bookmarks

Printable Birth Announcements

Wednesday, July 1st, 2009

runs on Linuxruns on Macruns on Windows
screenshot of Printable Birth Announcements

Are you, or someone you know, expecting? Even though it feels like the pregnancy is going to last forever, the Blessed Event will be here before you know it. You're going to want to let everybody know about it: date, time, weight, and length—all the vital statistics. And the last thing you want to do after coming home with your new Bundle of Joy is to head off to the stationery store. So maybe you want to think about birth announcements that you can print yourself? That's probably a much better solution.

Printable Birth Announcements has over twenty different designs to choose from. They've got announcements for boys and for girls; announcements with room for photos and footprints; they've even got announcements for adoptions. And the best part, aside from the whole not-having-to-go-out-shopping thing is that they're available for free. Just pick the one, or ones, you like, download them, and print them out with your copy of Adobe Reader. Or if you want to customize your announcements, for a couple bucks you can grab Microsoft Word DOC-compatible versions that you can personalize.

Either way, congratulations on the new addition. And don't forget to start saving for college!

Download Printable Birth Announcements

aTunes Java-powered audio player

Friday, June 19th, 2009

runs on Linuxruns on Macruns on Windows
screenshot of aTunes

Way back when, music used to come on things called "records." Those gave way to the audio cassette, which in turn was replaced by the compact disc. Lately, one of the biggest ways that music is distributed is via digital files—the MP3 and all of its cousins. Since these guys work with your computer, your smart phone, and a bunch of other platforms, they're quite handy to have. Of course, in order to listen to them, you do need the appropriate application. The phonograph played records; the tape deck played tapes, but your computer handles myriad other tasks, as well as taking care of your need for a soundtrack for your life. Luckily, it's not that hard to find that app.

aTunes is a digital audio player, similar in design and intent to iTunes, WinAmp, and all the others. One big difference here is that aTunes is written in Java. That means it'll run on any machine that handles Java—just try running iTunes on your Linux box and you'll see why this is important. You can listen to all the file formats you'd expect, and maybe even some you didn't. Use it to organize your music collection, and even rip tunes from your CDs so you can bring them along.

aTunes is a free download. It should run on any machine with a current Java runtime installed.

Download aTunes

Bonus: Free Father’s Day Printables

Monday, June 15th, 2009

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screenshot of Father's Day Printables

While it may not be the biggest holiday on the calendar, who can deny that Dear Old Dad deserves his own day? Whether he sat up with you all night when you were sick, checked for monsters under the bed, taught you how to throw a ball, or helped you struggle through algebra, he's a heck of a guy. Help make his big day more special with some free printables.

Wish the old man the very best with a printable Father's Day greeting card or two. Add a special Father's Day gift tag to the goodies you've got in store for him. One of those gifts could be a special picture you've colored just for him—your own original work of art—that's sure to be posted prominently on the refrigerator. And you can always award him a World's Best Dad certificate.

All of us here at wish your dad—and all the dads—the best Father's Day yet.

Bonus: Free Mother’s Day Printables

Monday, May 4th, 2009

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screenshot of Free Mother's Day Printables

One of the sure signs that Spring has Sprung is almost upon us: Mother's Day. Whether you're celebrating with your Mom, your Dad who was almost like a Mom, your grandmother, daughter, in-laws, or somebody else, be sure to take a moment and say "thanks" to all the Moms in your life. And, hey—if you want to make your celebration one of the best ever, maybe you should grab some free printables to include in the big day.

Grab a printable greeting card or two to wish Mom the very best. Is breakfast in bed in the cards this year—or maybe a big celebratory dinner? Grab some free Mom recipe cards to keep track of your favorites. You did remember to buy Mom a gift, didn't you? Make it extra special with a printable gift tag. After all, she needs to know who thought so highly of her, right? And speaking of gifts, children will enjoy coloring a special picture for Mom, with the help of the hundreds of free printable coloring pages to choose from. And finally, you can proudly hand her a World's Best Mom certificate to let her know just how important she is to you.

All of us here at hope that your Mom has the best Mother's Day ever!