Archive for the ‘Linux Graphics’ Category

Deck out your system with a free Wallpaper Clock

Monday, April 26th, 2010

runs on Linuxruns on Macruns on Windows
screenshot of Wallpaper Clock

It's nice to have an interesting image for your desktop wallpaper. Whether you're making an artistic- or maybe political statement, or just want something pretty, wallpaper can fill the bill. But it does tend to just sit there. I suppose that makes sense—after all the wallpaper in your dining room just sits there, right?

If you'd like for your wallpaper to earn its keep, maybe it's time to change your wallpaper. Maybe it's time to take a look at Wallpaper Clock. As its name might lead you to believe, these selections of wallpaper also serve as a clock on your computer. Specifically, these wallpapers update the time shown once a minute, so you're always up to date, even if your system clock isn't showing. There are bunches of different designs available to choose from, so you'll probably find one that works for you.

Wallpaper Clock selections are available for free; just find one you like and download it. For full functionality, you need to also grab a clock engine application to run the show. These are available for free as well for Windows, Mac, Linux, and even iPhone. Note that the "recommended" Windows app is only a 30-day trial, but in the "Other programs…" list below it on the download page, there are other free apps to choose from.

Download Wallpaper Clock

Free graph and chart editor

Friday, April 16th, 2010

runs on Linuxruns on Macruns on Windows
screenshot of yEd

There's nothing like a pile of indecipherable data. Whether it's a log of visitors to your website, or fluctuations in the price of tea in China, just having a bunch of numbers doesn't really help you to analyze and understand the world around you—or at least it doesn't without giving it some serious thought. Sometimes it's a lot more helpful if you can look at things graphically as a flowchart, bargraph, or in some other right-brain-friendly medium. It's easier to spot trends, for example, if you see a line sloping upward (hooray!) or downward (oops!), than just a jumble of digits.

If you're tying to gain mastery of your data, a tool like yEd might be your ticket home. It supports oodles of different layouts and and symbols, so there's bound to be a way you can make your data talk to you. It's easy to work with, as you can rearrange all the tools and palettes to make sense for your work style. And you can export your results into a bunch of different bitmap and vector formats, suitable for including in reports or posting on the web.

yEd is a Java application. If you've got the right JRE on your machine, it'll run anywhere, including Windows, Mac, Linux, and more. For some of these, it'll work even if you don't have the right runtime, since it's included with the download. Sweet!

Download yEd

Cross-platform image resizer

Thursday, December 24th, 2009

runs on Linuxruns on Macruns on Windows
screenshot of Shrink O'Matic

Tweaking pictures one at a time is a pain in the neck. A camera full of digital images takes up a ton of space, and would take forever to load if you were to put them on a website or blog. Shrinking them down into something more manageable will save space, and makes it easier for everybody who views your handiwork online to see it quicker and get on with their day.

Resizing images is easy with Shrink O'Matic. Just drag and drop your picture files onto the application, or browse for them on your hard drive. It works equally well with JPEG, GIF, and PNG images. Choose a maximum height or width for your tweaked pictures, and then save them in their original format, or convert them into one of the other supported image types.

Shrink O'Matic runs on the Adobe Air platform. That means that it's available for Windows, Mac, and Linux machines—any system that supports Air. That's handy, since you can use the same tool on all of your machines.

Download Shrink O'Matic

Open source diagram drawing tool

Tuesday, October 27th, 2009

runs on Linuxruns on Windows
screenshot of Dia

There are lots of drawing programs out there. If your graphical needs run to something for the kids to play with, or the occasional sketch you need to run to the hardware store with, then your operating system's default image editor may be just fine. If you plan to appeal to a wider—and perhaps more professional—audience, you may want to upgrade from this. If your illustrations require more precision, you might use a tool like Visio to draw illustrations of process flow or the next revision of the corporate organization chart. You might also want to go take out a loan to afford it.

Dia is a tool which, like Visio, is used to draw structured diagrams. Network layouts, flowcharts, etc., are right up its alley. It's got all the standard shapes you might need, and they're fully customizable in terms of color, size, aspect ratio, and all. Draw connecting lines between shapes and anchor them, so that as you drag shapes around the workspace, your connections go with them. Add text to the workspace to help explain what's going on, you start to believe that is picture really is worth at least a thousand words.

Dia is a free download. It's available for Ubuntu and openSUSE Linux, as well as Windows (Win2k or later).

Download Dia

Build your own containers

Sunday, September 6th, 2009

runs on Linuxruns on Macruns on Windows
screenshot of HowPack

Origami has always been intriguing to me. I could never make anything more complicated than the tried-and-true "cootie catcher" from the Third Grade, but that didn't stop me from admiring the work of others. I've never quite figured out what the problem is, since I've always enjoyed the "what will this shape look like when it is folded together?" tests. Maybe it's a lack of clear instructions on how to get from start to finish. Well now, here's a site with clear instructions.

HowPack features patterns for making various containers. Using their patterns, some heavy paper- or card stock, scissors, and maybe a bit of glue or tape, you can create all sorts of different containers. They run the gamut from a simple open-ended sleeve—think of a box with four sides but no top or bottom—up through milk cartons (pointed top), pyramids, little boxes, and more. Interestingly enough, the instructions are basically all nonverbal. The patterns and outlines for the various containers all show where to cut and where to fold to execute these containers.

HowPack patterns are all JPEG images, so all you'll need to grab them and start building your own containers is a web browser and a pair of scissors.

Download HowPack

Free printable maps in PDF format

Wednesday, August 26th, 2009

runs on Linuxruns on Macruns on Windows
screenshot of Printable Maps

It's a big, wide, wonderful world out there. How big? Big enough to fill a big expensive atlas with maps and maps. But you don't need to spend all that cash—not if you visit Printable Maps.

This site has a huge collection of maps—something like 150—for you to download. They've got maps of continents, and countries; regions and states. There are maps that are all labeled for you, and others that are left blank for you to label yourself. Get out the vacation brochures and plan your next trip. Teachers can use them in their classrooms. Students can use them for study and reports. And best of all, they're all free. Grab a map, grab two, or maybe download them all. Now you're giving Rand McNally a run for their money.

Printable Maps are free to download and use. They're all available in PDF format, so you'll need Adobe Acrobat Reader to open the files and print them out.

Download Printable Maps

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

Jalbum web album software

Wednesday, July 15th, 2009

runs as Online Serviceruns on Linuxruns on Macruns on Windows
screenshot of Jalbum

Back in the day, if you had a bunch of photos they probably stayed tucked away in a shoe box. If you were really motivated, you might go buy a photo album and stick some of them in there, but eventually you ran out of album–or money–even though you never ran out of pictures. With digital photography taking over the job formerly held by snapshots, you need to look for a different solution. I suppose you could burn all your photos to CDs and then stick them in a shoe box, but that wouldn't probably be the best use of technology. Electronic photo albums seem a much better solution.

Jalbum is both software and a service. You can download the Java-based application and build your own digital photo album. Once it's done, publish your handiwork directly to their site, or you can upload your album to just about any other site on the Web. The app is fully skinnable, which lets you change the look and feel of your published album.

Jalbum is a free application and service. The desktop app is built in Java, so it'll run on just about any machine with a Java runtime: Linux, Mac, Windows, and more. The online service is free as well. You should be able to access it with any recent browser.

Download Jalbum

Free Printable Bookmarks

Thursday, July 9th, 2009

runs on Linuxruns on Macruns on Windows
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