Google Keep as an alternative to Evernote

As our busy lives unfold day by day we are bombarded with new and fast information, there is a huge amount of things to be done, to remember, to solve. Keeping all in your head is not second nature for all of us so we have two options:

  1. Keeping a physical notebook.

Pros: – It’s more natural – writing with pencil on paper feels great. Although in 10 years from now writing on an electronic device will be natural. – It’s faster and accurate – i bet that you can write and draw better than on a screen. – it can be found and read (not password protected), long after you die, when your grandkids find your notebook in the attic, in a big box covered with dust. ūüôā Cons: – can’t set reminders – although using an agenda you can write new events on their specific dates and check the agenda regulary. – if you lose your notebook, all your planning is gone with the wind.

  1. Using technology.

Pros: – efficiency – use only one device¬†to write, draw, take pictures, set reminders, record sounds etc. – syncing – your data can be kept in the cloud and can be accessed anywere, on any devices that can connect to the internet. Cons: – if you lose your password or get hacked you can lose all your data. ~~~~~ We’re in 2016, everybody have a smartphone so using¬†one for note taking/planning it’s the most obvious way. I think the best and most complete¬†note taking/planning service is Evernote. I will not make a review for Evernote but the bottom line is the Evernote app, the online service, the desktop app are very intuitive and very powerful. But, as i never used high end devices a hundred pound Gorilla like Evernote can run seriously slow, so i searched for an alternative. The most obvious choice was Google’s note taking app Google Keep. It’s simple, intuitive and very fast. Now, you have to move/copy the Evernote data to Keep but the bad thing is that as for this day, Google Keep can’t import any data. So if¬†you have 2000 notes, you are pretty busy for the next 3 weeks. For a reasonable number of notes you can just copy/paste from Evernote to Keep. NOTE: One important thing is that the newly created/pasted notes in Keep will be at the top.¬†So start to create notes from the least used/important up. With all above said, maybe you managed to end up with important and frequently updated notes at the bottom of the list. DON’T WORRY!!! Tap and hold on a note and from the menu above choose Properties (the 3 vertical dots) and Make a copy. Now you can see that a copy of the note¬†in the depths of hell is now on top of your notes list. Now you can delete the bottom one. NOTE: You cannot select multiple notes and Make a copy! Google is such a step by step company. ^-^ This is not a VS debate, so please test both apps and see what app/service suit your needs. Have fun! ^-^

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Darktable Photo Workflow – debian amd64 packages

darktable darkroom mode

Image by jsogo via Flickr

The best digital photography workflow piece of software i found is the amazing darktable and because i’m on Debian GNU/Linux and there are no debian packages i put together darktable amd64 debian packages for you. This is my first try to make a debian package, it worked for me and i hope it will work for you and you will enjoy this great app. I don’t know if there is some kind of license for this and if i’m doing something not right please let me know.

  1. Right-click on this link and save the file on your computer: darktable_0-8-debian-amd64
  2. CHANGE THE FILENAME FROM .jpg TO .tar
  3. Extract the .tar archive
  4. Install darktable, darktable-dbg, darktable-plugins-legacy, darktable-plugins-legacy

Basically what i did was first to go to the darktable website and read about installation(point 4.3 in particular). Then i went to Pascal de Bruijn PPA and downloaded the necessary files plus the lcms2 library because in aptitude i found only the libcms1-dev library. First i build the lcms2 lib in a debian package and then the darktable files also in a debian package. I installed the debian .deb packages with right-click on the .deb files and choosing Open with GDebi Package Installer and boom, darktable was on Applications>Graphics>Darktable Photo Workflow Software.

Have fun !!!

Not true: “Linux lacks good 3D CAD software”

SVG version created by Freeformer, based on th...

Image via Wikipedia

One of the most frustrated Linux users/future users¬†i’ve seen,¬†are those who¬†want to get out of the Windows world and are¬†working in CAD or graphic design, but to be honest, i don’t agree with almost all of them,¬† and this is why.

Those who say “Linux lacks good CAD software” (3D mechanical CAD in particular) are¬†people who want free/open-source (FOSS)¬†CAD software and the fact they make such a statement is not true when they generalise this.

On Linux you have lots of great 2D CAD software, free/open-source and the best i’ve seen so far is QCAD¬†(the community edition is found on the repos of every distro i think) but i didn’t find a good, fully functional FOSS version of a 3D mechanical¬†CAD software.

Finally DraftSight for Linux is out !!! Hope to find some time to make some absolute beginner tutorials i promised.

But if one can’t find free/open-source 3D mechanical CAD software it is not the end of the world for Linux users, there are always great commercial products. I will mention here VariCAD, a powerful¬†but very¬†affordable 3D mechanical CAD software. Also great products¬†are Siemens NX, Pro/Engineer (thew last supported Linux version is Wildfire 3, Windows users have Wildfire 5),¬†gCAD3d, GraphiteOne, Medusa4¬†and names like NX and Pro/E are well known¬†in the 3D CAD world. Rabu Gree mentioned Briscad and Ares Commander, both working on Linux, not very expensive but looking very very powerful (This is not a complete list, tell me other names and i’ll update the post).

So to say that “Linux lacks good 3D CAD software” is bad for health, a more like “Linux lacks good free/open-source 3D CAD software” would be a more sane approach.

[EDIT] thanks to Rabu Gree comments below.

Issues so far with Linux [Ubuntu]

As you all know, things are not allways great, green is not allways green so in my “crusade” for getting to master Linux i’ve came upon some issues/limitations/frustrations and above that, many pros to this free OS.

Needs improvement:

  • Flash support – until recently, Flash 10 was not working very good with Firefox, almost all controls in YouTube for example didn’t work. The latest update solves¬†alot of those¬†problems.
  • Games – i really don’t understand exactly why they aren’t many Windows games that could run natively on Linux.¬†Some will say that the Linux market is too small for the trouble but anyways…it would be fun!
  • Software – i personally don’t cry for Microsoft Word or Excel and not even Photoshop or Lightroom and¬†i think¬†Open Office, GIMP and darktable will do the job. But, there is a but, i feel like there is not so much quality in a lot of the free/open source software. I think that if more and more programmers will embrace and support the open source movement, software will get much better. Dont’ get it wrong,¬†i’m very happy with the tools that i have¬†and i’ll love to see them improved.

And that’s pretty much all.

Now you may say, “Hey you stupid idiot!!! How can you say that that’s about it when you complain about software, software being like almost everything in the computer world?!”.

I’m not complaining, i just think it should get better.

Now for the good part (and what 80% (i think) of the people use in a computer):

  • E-mail – i use Thunderbird e-mail client and it works like a charm.
  • Browsing – integrated Firefox
  • Messaging – you can use Pidgin or Empathy with support for Yahoo Messenger, Gmail, Skype, Facebook etc.
  • Music – Rhythmbox can read all music files. It also has free internet music repositories.
  • Movies – MPlayer is great, install it, get a front-end for it (i use SMPlayer) and your Linux box will play any movie and music files known to man. At the same level is VLC.

What do you need more??!!

So what you will normaly and daily use in a computer works great and for the more specific jobs we must have another chat.

Getting to know Linux [Ubuntu]

[I’ll be focusing on Ubuntu 10.4 with Gnome]

Linux will be frustrating at first for Windows and Mac users but it’s ok, the greatst journey it’s not the easiest journey.

So what are some basic things to get you going with Linux?

Most used applications/alternatives:

Windows Explorer / Find – Nautilus

Winamp or iTunes – Rhythmbox / Amarok

Internet Explorer / Safari / Opera / Firefox – Firefox / Opera

Windows Media Player / bsPlayer etc. – VLC or any frontend to MPlayer

Microsoft Office – Open Office (can edit MS Office files)

Yahoo Messenger / MSN Messenger / Facebook – Empathy / Pidgin

Skype РSkype for Linux or Empathy or Pidgin via plug-ins

Photo organize/view like ACDsee / Irfanview – F-Spot / g-thumb

Nero burning ROM – K3B / Brasero

Specific applications/alternatives:

  • The mighty and cried for Adobe Photoshop – The GIMP (it’s very powerful and if you’ve worked alot with Photoshop around version 7 and CS1, GIMP will be child’s play) – can edit .PSD files.
  • Corel Draw / Adobe IllustratorInkscape / Xara LT – can export / edit .CDR and .AI files.
  • Adobe Lightroom / Aperture – darktable (still in development but very very promissing)
  • MAYA,¬†Softimage XSI,¬†3d Studio Max, Houdini, Lightwave, Cinema 4DBlender / Maya, Softimage XSI, Houdini and we hope for Lightwave CORE
  • AutoCAD – QCAD, VariCAD
  • Google Earth – Google Earth for Linux
  • Picasa – Picasa for Linux
  • There are many more Windows apps that can be run on Linux with WINE from www.winehq.org

You can do almost anything you can do on Windows or Mac OS with the same ease. One common thing to Mac OS is that it is build on Unix so the terminal (command prompt) and commands are the same like Linux.

Lots of people are scared about the Terminal and the fact that using Linux is like knowing tones of text based commands and arguments to do even simple tasks like watching a movie but this is not true; one thing i really don’t understand is that even now, on the internet,¬†you will get instructions how to do tasks that you can do visually, only by Terminal.

I mean, why if you have a .targz archive, you open up Terminal (Linux Shell), navigate to the location or the archive using cd /path/to/archive and then doing tar [flags] [tar file], when you can simply open Nautilus File Browser, go to the folder wjere the archive is, right click and Extract Here.

Stay tuned …

Darktable – a huge boost in photography under Linux

People say that on Linux you don’t have powerfull software for photography and some people didn’t make a full switch to Linux because they don’t want to dump Adobe products, especially Photoshop and Lightroom, but now, half the “battle” is won if i may say so.

Heeeeeerrrre’s DARKTABLE¬†!

I see it as a free/opensource¬†and VERY powerfull photo management and photo non destructive developing/enhancing tool and… i say it…, an alternative to Adobe Lightroom.

What’s neat is that the viewing/management part is based on the lighttable in real life.

First you Import the Film Roll (folder or single images) like slides and the interface is just like a backlit table, where you can zoom in and out with the mouse wheel or move/pan with <W, A, S, D>-keys. Also you can rate, filter, sort, put meta on photos and import/export from/in different file formats. This will be the lighttable mode.

The darkroom mode or the develop mode is where you adjust/enhance your photos and the tools are very straight forward like: RAW support, exposure, sharpness, color correction, ICC profile support, crop, lens correction and many many more.

Check the website darktable.sourceforge.net, read it from top to bottom, install the software and use it! Try different things on different photos to learn what every button does. The software is far from complete so many nice things hopefully will come.

HINTS:

  • on top, bottom, left and right of the interface there are small arrows, use them to show/hide panels of the interface.¬†Try pressing¬†[Tab].
  • the history stack is on the left, the last operation will appear on top of the stack. Press one entry on the stack to see only that operation.
  • try pressing [1], in both lighttable and darkroom mode.
  • in lighttable mode, move the “slides” (photos) with [w, a, s, d]-keys; very nice combination in addition with the mouse, just like in video games:).
  • the values on the sliders are changed with the mouse wheel.
  • at the bottom right of the interface there’s a panel >more plugins. Expand it to enable/disable ….. huuuhhhh…more plugins :). Use this to make room or have more controls on the right where the operators are.

It is really great piece of software and a huge addition to Linux arsenal for photographers and if you search for an alternative to Adobe Lightroom, this is it!

Use it! Discover it! It’s lots of fun! And please feel free to share your oppinions.

Have fun!!!