Help save VLC for MacOS X from extinction.

“We are looking for eager and capable MacOS X developers to join the VLC team.
“If you believe you are up to the job please present yourself on the developer’s mailing list, so that we know who you are and what your skill set is. If you don’t have the skill set yourself, but know of a friend who does, please pass on the proposition to them.
“While VLC has become a very popular media player on MacOS X, the lack of developers on this side means we are likely to see MacOS X specific bugs and improvements being missed out on. We don’t want to see this happen.”

That is a post in a thread on the VLC forum. Things do not look too bright for VLC on MacOS due to a lack of developers as noted by the reply to that post:

“There are now effectively zero active developers for MacOS.

“As an immediate consequence, the 64-bits releases for MacOS has already been put on hold.
I don’t need to mention the stale status of the MacOS user interface.
“If it goes on like this, MacOS support may be discontinued as of VLC 1.1.0. There is nobody to make the necessary updates to the MacOS support code, for instance to support the new VLC video output architecture.
“Taking into account the learning curve to VLC development, I think it is fair to say that the situation is now critical.”

Then there is this post which takes a look at how VLC for MacOS X is on the verge of demise due to a lack of developers. There are several ways you can help remedy this situation with donation of your programming knowledge being the most needed right now. Help in whatever way you can to save one of the greatest media players of all time from extinction on MacOS X.

7 cool applications to improve your Karmic Koala experience.

If you are using Ubuntu, you probably know there is some 2000+ applications you can install on your system. Obviously you would not need to install all of those to get the best out of your system, the following 7 applications will help give you more from your setup in case  you have not installed them already. Some of them are available in the revised software management hub called the Ubuntu Software Center.

I am assuming you have already installed the Ubuntu restricted extras that gives you multimedia codecs to play proprietary formats like MP3 and flash. If you have not, just go to the Ubuntu Software Center and search for Ubuntu restricted extras to install.

1. VLC
VLC is the best multimedia player under the sun, period. Forget Totem. With its built in codecs, it can play virtually any file format known to man. If VLC cannot play it, chances are only the CIA or NSA have the right player for it. Check out 7 of its features that should get you to install it right away. It’s available in the repos.

2.Opera
Though not Open Source, you really need to have this cool and slick browser on your system. It has some very impressive features that makes it stand out. My favorite two features of this browser are the Opera Turbo and Opera Unite. You will be glad to have Opera Turbo when you have the misfortune of having to use a crowded Wi-Fi or an agonizingly slow net connection. Read more and download it here.

3. Skype
Yea I know, I know. There’s Ekiga, but chances are 9 out of 10 of the people you know use Skype. This alone makes it a necessity to have on your Karmic box. And if you are new to Ubuntu and are just wondering, yes the Skype you are used to on Windows works on Linux. Just download it and double click to install the .deb file.

4. Devede
This application transcodes your video files into dvd formats for burning to a dvd disc or cd. Available in the software center.

5. VirtualOSE
There may be times when you want to use another OS for some reason or the other. You should have VirtualOSE around so you don’t need to physically repartition your drive. Also available from software center.

6. Scribus
As a DTP tool Scribus supports professional publishing features, such as CMYK color, separations, ICC color management and versatile PDF creation. It also has additional features not normally found in a DTP tool such as vector drawing tools with SVG support and it even has support for OpenType Fonts. You can follow the instructions here to get it up and running on your box.

7. Deluge
If you are a power torrent downloader like myself, then you really got to have Deluge. It’s faster, uses random ports, less resources and has more advanced features than the default Transmission. It is also available in the software repos.

I know there are so many more apps that are not on this list. For gamers, you can check out this post on how to play really awesome games from a liveCD. Your default install already comes with some great apps to get you off the ground, like OO.org. Those on this list are meant to augment the ones you already have. Give them a try and let me know what you think.

VLC Media Player Portable 1.0.2 Released

VLC Media Player Portable 1.0.2 has been released. VLC Portable is the popular VLC media player packaged as a portable app, so you can take your audio and video files along with everything you need to play them on the go. This release updates VLC to the latest version, fixing a security issue. All users are encouraged to upgrade. It’s packaged in PortableApps.com Format so it can easily integrate with the PortableApps.com Suite. And it’s open source and completely free.

Features

VLC media player is a highly portable multimedia player for various audio and video formats (MPEG-1, MPEG-2, MPEG-4, DivX, XviD, WMV, mp3, ogg, …) as well as DVDs, VCDs, and various streaming protocols. It can also be used as a server to stream in unicast or multicast in IPv4 or IPv6 on a high-bandwidth network. Learn more about VLC media player…

New In This Release

This release updates VLC Media Player to 1.0.2 (release notes – scroll down), adds Windows 7 support and has an improved installer.

PortableApps.com Installer / PortableApps.com Format

VLC Media Player Portable is packaged in a PortableApps.com Installer so it will automatically detect an existing PortableApps.com installation when your drive is plugged in. And it’s in PortableApps.com Format, so it automatically works with the PortableApps.com Suite including the Menu and Backup Utility.

Download

VLC Media Player Portable is available for immediate download from the VLC Media Player Portable homepage. Get it today!

Source: Protableapps.

7 cool VLC features worth knowing

For most people, VLC is the favorite media player because it plays everything they throw at it without hiccups. No hunting for codec. But VLC can do a lot of other things as well. Find out how many of these listed below you knew, and how many you did not.
1. Rip DVDs: VLC includes a basic DVD ripper. You probably would never use it when there are better DVD rippers available, but it helps to know that you can in fact, get a decent quality DVD rip with VLC. To rip a movie follow these steps:
  • Go to the Media menu and choose Convert/Save. Click on the Disc tab.
  • Here you can adjust the Starting Position and rip only specific titles or chapters.
  • Enter file name making sure to end with .MPG, and start ripping.
  • Click Save.
2. Record videos: With the new VLC, you can record videos during playback. The record button is hidden by default. To see it, click on View>Advanced Control. The record button will now appear. Clicking on the button while playing a movie or video will start recording. Clicking again will stop recording.
vlc-record
3. Play RAR files: Do you know VLC can play videos zipped inside RAR files? They play like normal video files and you can even use the seek bar. If the RAR file is split into several files, no problem. Just load the first part (.part001.rar ) and it will automatically take the rest of the parts and play the whole file.
4. Play in ASCII mode: VLC media player has an amusing ability, to playback movies in ASCII art. To enable ASCII mode, open VLC media player and click on Tools>Preferences. Open the section “Video” section and under “Output” select “Color ASCII art video output” from the drop down menu. Save it. Now play any video file to enjoy the ASCII art.
5. Listen to online radio: VLC includes hundreds of Shoutcast radio stations. You just need to enable it through Media>Services Discovery>Shoutcast radio listings. Now, open the Playlist and browse through the stations.
vlc-shoutcast
6. Convert Audio and Video formats: In VLC you can convert video and audio files from one format to another. Several different formats are supported like MP4, WMV, AVI, OGG, MP3 etc. To access the converter:
  • Go to Media>Convert/Save.
  • Load the file you want to convert using the Add button and click Convert.
  • Now choose the output format and output file location.
    vlc-convert
7. Download YouTube and other online videos: First grab the URL of the YouTube video page. Now click on Media>Open Network stream. Paste the URL and click Play. Once VLC starts streaming the video, click Tools>Codec Information and at the bottom of the window you will see a Location box. Copy the URL and paste it on your browser’s address bar. The browser will now download the file which you can save it to your hard disk. Alternatively, you can record the video. (See #2).

4 apps new Ubuntu users should not do without

The amount of applications available in the Ubuntu repositories can sometimes be overwhelming for a new user who is used to scouring the net for very simple applications to run on their Windows platform. To make things simple for such users, I have compiled this short list of four applications that new users should start their Ubuntu life with whiles they get used to the abundance of programs they lacked in Windows.
App 1 VLC
This is simply the player that rules the rest. The trail blazer when it comes to media players. With its own internal codecs and the ability to play virtually any file format known to everyday people, I strongly recommend new users install this app so as to reduce the frustrations they have to go through to install multimedia codecs in Ubuntu. A full list of the features and file formats playable by VLC can be found here. To install the latest release nicknamed the Goldeneye, just follow these simple steps and you are done!
App 2 K3B
 I know a lot of people will disagree with my choice of disc burner but I believe this application is the best available to the Linux platform and I highly recommend it to new users. It is a KDE app that also runs flawlessly on GNOME and has all the features new users  might be used to in proprietary counterparts. The default Ubuntu installation comes with Brasero which is also a disc burner way behind K3B. Just go to Applications>Add/Remove and search for K3B. Mark it and hit apply changes.
App 3 Skype
You probably know Skype if you are an ex-Windows user. Well it’s available on the Linux platform and you can download the .deb file here. I recommend it because so far I do not know of any Open Source application that can really replace Skype. Just double click the downloaded file to install it. 
App 4 Deluge
There are other alternatives, but to me, Deluge is the best Bittorrent client available for Ubuntu and I am still wondering why it is still not the default torrent client. It has every feature to make your torrent downloads a breeze and enjoyable experience. It also is very economical in terms of resource consumption. Go to Applications>Add/Remove, search for Deluge and mark for installation. That’s it.
This list a a subjective list which I believe can help very new Ubuntu users settle in quite easily. All the other productivity tools you may need are already installed by default; Openoffice is a typical example. The above list is in no way complete and different people may prefer different apps. 
Let me know which ones you prefer that are not on the list and why. Share your thoughts.

Install Pidgin 2.6.1 in 2 steps for newbie Ubuntu users.

The developers of Pidgin, the instant messenger that comes as the default in Ubuntu have just released a new version which has support for voice and video chat (currently only on XMPP). It also now has theme support in libpurple. There is also support for receiving handwritten (ink) messages and audio clips on MSN. A detail of the new features can be found here. 
To install this new release of Pidgin on your current Ubuntu system, just follow these two simple steps. You would have to uninstall the version you have on your system ( assuming you have one installed and is not 2.6.1) before proceeding with the steps below.
Step 1
Download the .deb file here 
Step 2
Install the .deb file you downloaded in step 1 with this simple command (just copy and paste in the terminal)
sudo dpkg -i packagename
Package name refers to the name of the package you downloaded in the first step. If your default download location is not your home folder, copy the .deb file to it before running the above command. That’s it! 
You now have the latest release of the popular, free and open source chat client on your Ubuntu system. You can also follow these simple steps here to install the latest release of VLC 1 ( Goldeneye) on Ubuntu. Enjoy chatting with your friends.

Please try to spare some few dollars to help with the further development of this wonderful application.

How to install VLC 1 (Goldeneye) in Ubuntu.

VLC media player is one player to rule all the rest. It is one of the best efforts of the  Open Source movement. It gives most of its commercial counterparts a good run for their money. It is in short all you will need to enjoy your digital media.

It is free, open sourced, cross platform, uses its own built in codecs and plays virtually every media format you can think of. Just give it a try and you will be glad you did. If you are using Ubuntu 9.04 or 8.10, the following steps will get it installed on your system.

1)  Edit /etc/apt/sources.list file with this command at the terminal

              gksudo gedit /etc/apt/sources.list

2) Add the following line (Januty)

             deb http://ppa.launchpad.net/c-korn/vlc/ubuntu jaunty main
For Intrepid users use this line instead 
             deb http://ppa.launchpad.net/c-korn/vlc/ubuntu intrepid main

3) Save and exit.

4) Install GPG key with this command

            sudo apt-key adv –recv-keys –keyserver keyserver.ubuntu.com 7613768D

5) Update your sources’ list with this command

           sudo apt-get update

6) Now install VLC with this command

      sudo apt-get install vlc mozilla-plugin-vlc

7) Enjoy your VLC and digital media without sweat.

WHAT IS FREE AND OPEN SOURCE SOFTWARE?

This is a question that I am asked time and again by my friends and colleagues both at home and in the office . So today I intend talking a little about what the concept of Free Software means. This is in no way an exhaustive post, neither am I an Open Source Expert. I am only sharing with you my knowledge and experience of FOSS and will provide appropriate links to relevant sites as much as possible.

So what does Free and Open Source Software mean?
The concept of Free and Open Source software refers to the right of the end user to modify a FOSS software however they want without any restriction provided the output will also be made available freely to other users.
So if you are Muslim, you can choose to modify an operating system like Ubuntu as the guys here have done. Christians can also check out what is here, also a derivative of Ubuntu. There are hundreds of softwares that are are available free of any restriction for you to use.

Free as in free beer or as in free speech?
Both. There are thousands of Foss softwares that are available both free as in free beer and free speech. From full fledged operating systems, office suites, graphics softwares , just name it. All you have to do is download them and use them. No licensing fees, no product keys, nothing. Just download and use. Simple as that.
Then there are those that are available as for free only as in free speech but have to be paid for to use them. So you would have to pay to use the software but can modify it as you wish.

Why should i use FOSS?
Simple. Aside from it being free, you can be assured of very quality and up to date products. This because almost anyone can contribute to the development of FOSS and thus people from all over the world help to develop any given software which enriches the diversity and flavor that go into it. Also, because open source softwares have their source code in the public eye, it makes it nigh impossible to add any malicious line of code without it being detected and eliminated quickly. This makes open source softwares more secure than their closed counterparts.

Do i need a particular OS in order to use FOSS?
No. There are FOSS softwares for almost all OS platforms around today. There are softwares for Windows, Mac OS and Linux. Just search for the softaware relating to your OS.

So what makes FOSS unique from other softwares?
In my opinion, what makes FOSS unique is the massive, dedicated community that you can choose to become part of when you use FOSS. An OS like Ubuntu has a very loving, dedicated and superb community that is just willing to help you with every single problem you may encounter with the OS and there hundreds like the Ubuntu Forums that to me, make FOSS such a joy to use.

OK. I want to try some out. Where do i begin?
I will just make a small list of some great FOSS that you can try out for yourself. You will be happy you did.

Web browser try Firefox if you are not already using it.
Image editor try Gimp. Also a free alternative to Photoshop.
Multi media player, try VLC.
I also suggest you try Ubuntu, a free, powerful and fully customizable OS.
You can also visit OSALT for all the free softwares you can think of.

Check out the video below. Enjoy using FOSS and I hope to see you on one of the really great FOSS forums around. Let me know what you think about open source.