Category Archives: multiplatform freeware

TrueCrypt – Try it again! Waiting for CipherShed…

truecryptlogo_256TrueCrypt is safer than we thought! A specific audit tested TrueCrypt 7.1 unmantained through a complex verification process and the results are surprising.

First of all we have to consider that TrueCrypt is not mantained since 2014 and that its “natural” fork, VeraCrypt, is directly developed by Microsoft. For this simply reason many former TrueCrypt users prefer not to use VeraCrypt.

Secondly, the bugs revealed by the testers in TrueCrypt are less worrying than that discovered using its competitors solutions.

For this reason I decide to install TrueCrypt (that I use previously it was unmantained) on my Fedora 22 laptop.

To begin, I searched for a good repository and, at the end, I opted for that mantained by GRC. So I downloaded the TrueCrypt 7.1 archive from GRC that is still storing all the others TrueCrypt versions.

I decided to use the 7.1 version because it has more features than the last 7.2 version (the last known release of TrueCrypt). In any case I am monitoring the Swiss website and I wish that the CypherShed project will be completely developed soon.

After I extracted the file and moved it to a specific folder.

Last but not least I opened Terminal and typed:

sudo ./truecrypt-7.1a-setup-x64

and the software was correctly installed into my Fedora 22 OS.

After some tests I can adfirm that TrueCrypt is still a good security solution not only for the above mentioned audit but also because it is really stable, flexible, full of useful features and simple to use.

To sum up: Try it… again!

Online Speech to Text Recognition

radio64It’s fast, it’s immediate and it lets you to write an email or a text in a while, anywhere you are. When you use a mobile, you need to find the right app. For my experience the universal app for this doesn’t exist. It depends on the model of the mobile in general and in particular on the type of the installed microphone. This means you need to test different apps to fins a suitable solution for your specific needs. But usually it doesn’t keep much time.

When you are at home or for more complex works that need to be directly edited on a PC, you usually cannot use any Android app and so you need a similar tool. This is my case.

If you google it, you will find different solutions. Some of them are desktop software that can be installed and settled up in a reasonable time (usually few hours). These software are really accurate and have many tools that allow you to develop complex texts typing just few keys to refine some inaccuracies. The “problem” is represented by their cost that, for some products, is high (… certainly, we are talking about few bucks…). 

Instead, a good solution could be the online -speech to text- tools offered by different websites. They are usually free but you need to be obviously connected to the web if you want to use them. 

Furthermore the text results generated by these on line tools are connected with the particular model of microphone you installed into your PC. Also in this situation you can find enthusiastic reviews for an on line tool that is completely ineffective for you. And as for Android apps you need to spend some hours to discover what is the best online tool for your needs. Last but not least to use them you need to authorized Flash (sic! yes the nosey Flash…) for managing your audio hardware.

In my experience, after some tests, the best sites offering  -speech to text- tools are four:

  • Speechlogger that is really simple to use and the most versatile as for exporting the “written” text but it works just on the Chrome Browser (version 25 or later) and this is a big limitation when you are fond of Firefox:
  • TalkTyper that is also complete and it is supported by different browser (Firefox included);
  • Dictation that is very minimalist as web graphics but it really does what it promises in every browser…;
  • SpeechPad that  is very complete but it requires a free registration to use the -speech to text- feature. There are two big features offered by this website. The first is about that it has a good grade of recognition for speeches in Russian. The second feature is represented by the possibility of using an audio file or an url redirecting to audio files and/or video (but only for YouTube or HTML5audio/video).

Some of the above described websites have a large selection of different languages you can be interested to use. Others have a narrow choice of languages but for the accuracy of the -speech to text- work, could really be what you are looking for.

So, to conclude, if you need a -speech to text- online tool, you have just to invest some hours to find the right website for your needs. When you will start to use these kind of online tools you save a lot of time that before you spent for typing.

Installing YamiPod on Linux: a multi-platform, very versatile iPod Manager

YamiPod is a freeware application to efficiently manage your iPod on Linux. It can be run directly from your iPod and needs no installation. It also has extra features such as rss news and podcast support, remove duplicates, easy notes editor (with multipage support), songs synchronization, playlists export, a built in music player and much more. It has been translated in 12 languages.

On Linux, the installation is really simple:

  • have at least one song on iPod
  • copy the libfmodex audio library to /usr/lib (you need root privileges). You’ll find this file in the package you’ve downloaded
  • mount your iPod somewhere inside /mnt or /media with read/write access
  • make sure you have the df command installed, which is usually part of any standard linux distribution.

To run YamiPod just double-click on YamiPod’s binary.

Using YamiPod is also so simple when you want to Copy  Music to iPod: Drag&drop files into the song listbox. You can even drag and drop folders, YamiPod will add all valid music files found in sub folders.

In the window that will appear you’ll be able to assign song information (title,album name, artist…) for each single file or setting them for every file ticking the All checkboxes.

In Playlist tab you can select:

  • Destination: select a playlist where to add all dragged songs.
  • Lyric filename: how lyric should be named.
  • Create playlist from folder: this will add all songs in a folder to a playlist named as the folder. For example if you dragged a folder called Music with 2 subfolders: 70’s and 80’s containing various files. Files in 70’s will be added to a newly created folder called 70’s. Files in the other folder will be added to a playlist called 80’s.

In Advanced tab you can select:

  • Auto capital first letter: will titlecase all song tags.
  • If duplicated: what to do if song exists on iPod.
  • Get song info by path and filename: if your song tags are missing but you named and placed your song following a particular order, you can tell YamiPod to get song tags out of filename a path.

Holding SHIFT while dragging will add songs to currently selected playlist. If you’ve selected multiple songs to add you can quickly edit next (previous) song information by pressing ALT+down (up). AddThis mp3 link

Ubuntu to Windows XP folder sharing

Computer networks are sometimes comprised of various methods, and while operating a network made up fully of  Ubuntu desktop and server computer systems would definitely be enjoyable, some community environments must consist of both Ubuntu and Microsoft Windows systems working collectively in harmony.
When making an Ubuntu shared folder that was created with NTFS be accessible to Windows XP steps. Run the NTFS configuration tool on the drive.
It is advisable have admin rights to do that modification.
Select: Application –> Accessories –>Terminal
then type the following:

sudo gedit /etc/samba/smb.conf

In the [global] section, add the following line:

usershare proprietor only = false

AddThis mp3 link

LibreOffice vs. OpenOffice! What’s the difference?

Since the end of September 2010, a group of German OpenOffice volunteers left definitively the project to join the The Document Foundation and develop a fork version of the famous free productivity platform now controlled by Oracle. After just few months we have LibreOffice: a (more or less) new cross-platform productivity software based on OpenOffice version 3.3 beta. We compared both the free suites and apparently we did not notice particular differences in features and tools. Also the graphic interface is similar between the two platforms and the buttons position is the same. At the moment LibreOffice supports less languages in its Linux and MAC OS X versions and it is not compatible with Solaris based PCs. Both the productivity platforms are able to use the OpenOffice extension library.  Consequently, it is clear that it’s too early to notice relevant technical differences between the two competitors but, for sure, something will show off in the next versions. In fact LibreOffice has been created to guarantee a vendor independent office suite which can be developed with no copyright software chunks. The goal is prestigious and we can only say, Good Luck LibreOffice! AddThis mp3 link Flattr this!

Prey: a multiplatform, open source anti-thefth free software for laptops

What about losing your laptop? Obviously the chances to find it and have it back are very few! But there are several software you can install on your laptop to trace the ip and geo-location of te laptop and with a bit of fortune you could find it. Prey is one of these programs you can use and it is particularly interesting because it is open source and free up to three laptops. After the download of the proper version for your OS (Linux, Windows, Mac OS X or Android) you have to run it on your machine and configure it through a very simple interface (on Ubuntu: Applications —> System Tools —> Prey Configurator). Do not forget to select Enable guest account and Wifi autoconnect to improve the possibilities to trace your laptop. You are also asked to provide an email account where you will receive the geo-location reports if your laptop is stolen. When you activate your Prey account do not forget to fill in the Configuration and Modules tabs. Personally we suggest to switch to ON the following commands: Auto update, Notify new reports and all the commands contained in the left column of the Modules tab. At this point, if your laptop is missed, you have to log in your on-line Prey account and, in the Configuration tab, switch the Missing option on YES. Since this moment, Prey software on your laptop is activated and will start sending reports to your email and to your Prey webpage. Last but not least, to better protect your laptop I suggest to hide or cancel the Prey Configurator icon from the OS menu (in Ubuntu: System —> Preferences —> Main Menu —> System Tools and deselect Prey Configurator). AddThis mp3 link

Calibre: el mas versátil gestor, conversor y visualizador de eBooks

Los E-books están ganando cada vez mas espacio a los libro de papel y seguramente en un futuro no muy lejano llagaran a tener el mismo mercado que los libros de papel. Entre las varias aplicaciones para gestionar vuestra biblioteca digital y vuestros E-reader, he encontrado Calibre, que me parece una de las aplicaciones mejores al momento y es disponible para diferentes SO (Windows, Linux y Mac). Yo la he instalada en mi Kubuntu y tengo que decir que funciona a la perfección; tiene una interfaz gráfica muy intuitiva y aunque sea la primera vez que uso un gestor de E-book no le encuentro ninguna dificultad en moverme en las diferentes opciones que ofrece. Con Calibre es posible administrar nuestros libros en diferentes categorías: Fecha, Autor, Titulo, Editor, Tamaño… y también permite la conversión a diferentes formatos: ePub, PDF, MOBI, oeb, pdb y mas. Es posible también la sincronización con diferentes dispositivos: Kindle, Nook, Papyre, Sony. En el caso que algún libro tenga mas de un formato disponible, el mismo Calibre elige cual el mejor formato para nuestro lector. Calibre es disponible también para Iphone, Ipad e Android. Otra preciosa opción que ofrece es la configuración como lector de noticias y RRS pasándolas a formato de libro electrónico, Para concluir, os aconsejo de probar esta aplicación porque seguro que os puede ayudar mucho en gestionar vuestra Biblioteca Digital. AddThis mp3 link

Something to know before the release of Firefox 3.5: how to disable the geo-locating feature.

This week in our Freeware Page we we have written a quick post about disabling geo-locating feature in the upcoming Firefox 3.5. I have always been an enthusiastic supporter of Firefox because I think it is so flexible that I can find any add-on I need for any purpose. I am also sure that the new Firefox 3.5 will be the perfect tool for my everyday navigation but there is something I am a little bit annoyed. In fact, the Firefox 3.5 will contain a default feature (which can be triggered remotely by a website you are visiting) declaring your geo-location everytime you connect to a site. This feature (previously known as project Geode by Mozilla Labs) could be useful for people involved in social networking but it is a potential wasting time feature for all the others. In fact, you have to declare if you want to automatically display your geo-location each time a website triggers this feature. For this reason, if you are not a social network addict, my personal advice is to disable this geo-locating feature as soon as you install (or update to) Firefox 3.5… (it continues in the Freeware Page). AddThis mp3 link

Firefox add-ons: use Foxmarks to keep your bookmarks safe and synchronized!

This week, in our Linux Page (in Spanish), we posted a brief review about Foxmarks, a simple but effective add-on for Firefox which can seriously help you to manage, save and restore your bookmarks. In the past, we wrote some reviews about Online Bookmark Manager, Febe and Cleo but, at the moment, we truly believe that Foxmarks is the most flexible between all of them. It is cross-platform (or multiplatform if you prefer), easy to use and very intuitive thanks to its interactive wizards. Foxmarks can be used to simply sharing your bookmarks with your friends or as a professional tool to sync profiles via web between all your PCs. Last but not least, I would like to focus your attenyion on which allows you to access bookmarks on all your web-enabled devices. Recommended! AddThis mp3 link

How to easily check HD health using a cross platform software: GSmartControl 0.8.3

GSmartControl is a multiplatform (Windows, OS X, Linux) freeware drive health inspection tool which is very useful in all that case when you think something is not working perfectly on your HD. Today, in our Linux Page (in Spanish) we have posted a brief comment about this software which basically is the graphical user interface for smartct. The program is very intuitive and easy to use; it automatically detects all your internal HDs (with some external USB disks we had some problems because they were detected as unknown) and let you decide if you want to activate the SMART feature. This particular feature let you “predict certain kinds of failures with certain chance of success” so you have a better chance to avoid HD crashes and all the consequent data loss. If you prefer, clicking on the “Enable Auto Offline Data Collection” the HDs will be tested every four hours without impacting your CPU performance. I would like to focus your attention that GSmartControl is very well developed and it is possible to download many “personalized” versions for all the main Linux distributions, OS X and Windows. Last but not least, do not forget that SMART could predict some HD crashes but it is not 100% safe; for this reason we strongly recommend you to backup your PCs, at least every week! AddThis mp3 link