This week saw significant updates to two of Open Media Boston's favorite applications—Firefox and the Transmission bittorrent client—and continued development on the recently reviewed BetterTouchTool Mac multitouch utility. Read on for highlights of the most important updates.
Software Update Roundup: Firefox, Transmission & BetterTouchTool
Restore a Lost or Discarded Firefox Session in Three Quick Steps
Firefox' session restore feature automatically restores a user's open tabs after an application crash, or from a previous browsing session when they start Firefox. This is great for conducting research as users can open a bunch of tabs and keep them open until they have the opportunity to read them, without needing to bookmark them or worry about losing them when Firefox quits. But what happens when you accidentally click start new session instead of restore session? Are all your tabs lost? Not if you follow these quick instructions.
Is Google's Chrome OS a Threat to Free Software?
Google last week announced the existence of a project that will bring its own operating system to netbook computers in the second half of 2010. The Google Chrome OS, which appropriately shares a name with the company's infant web browser, will be optimized for cloud computing (running applications online, rather than from locally installed software). But while the Chrome OS itself will be open sourced later this year, web applications like Google Docs and Facebook sometimes don't even allow users ownership of their data, let alone the source code. Like Microsoft before it, Google has the strength to force industry-wide changes, and if it pushes users towards closed network services, we might all lose.
BitTorrent News Roundup: Birdtorrent, Coda.fm and Transmission Updates
There's more going on in the tech world than we've been able to keep up with recently, so we've compiled some important BitTorrent news that's
fallen through the cracks bypassed the firewall. Here's a roundup of changes to Open Media Boston's favorite BitTorrent applications and services from the past couple weeks. Birdtorrent handler for Songbird media player reaches 1.0; Coda.fm music torrent site faces legal threats from Amazon; Transmission torrent client adds port randomization and more. Read on for details.
Participatory Culture Foundation Supports Open Video with Miro
As Hulu consolidates its distribution power online by finalizing content deals with Disney, Worcester, MA nonprofit Participatory Culture Foundation (PCF) aims to keep video distribution open and decentralized with an updated version of its versatile, open source video player and BitTorrent client, Miro, and three outreach campaigns. Read on for a quick start guide to Miro and to learn about PCF's efforts to create Open Video on the web.
RealPlayer Is Crapware. Install These Alternatives Instead.
VLC media player can play pretty much any video format a user throws at it. It's an essential application for Windows, Mac and Linux users. But RealNetworks keeps its RealVideo and RealAudio codecs locked down, and VLC won't handle them. Don't give up and install the invasive and irritating RealPlayer just for that one .rmv file. Check out these cross-platform RealMedia alternatives instead.
Yo, Ho Ho! It's a Pirate's Life for Me with Birdtorrent for Songbird
There's never been a better time to be a pirate sailing the open source seas. Songbird add-on Birdtorrent, currently in early development by programmer Anthony Hughes, will allow users to search for, find and download torrents directly into their music libraries, all from the Songbird media player. No doubt there are legal applications for the plugin, but those that help kill the music industry are so much more enticing. More on Birdtorrent and Songbird after the jump.
NeoOffice 3.0 Beta Offers Improvements Over OpenOffice.org
NeoOffice 3.0 beta was released Thursday to users who donate $25 or more to the open source project's coffers. The beta incorporates code from the popular OpenOffice.org office suite (currently in version 3.0.) into NeoOffice's long-established, stable and fast native Mac OS X code. While still in beta, this version offers many user experience improvements for Mac users.
Rip and Transcode Audio Like a Pro with Max
iTunes does an admirable job of simplifying media library management, but like many Apple solutions, it does so by sacrificing advanced features and user control. The open source, Mac-only application Max rips, transcodes and tags audio files in more than 20 formats, and gives users back control of their music library.
Secure Your Data Against Unlawful Search and Seizure with TrueCrypt
Computer users who want to protect their files from theft or discovery have many options for encryption. Probably the most secure and flexible of these is TrueCrypt, a cross-platform, open source application that provides on-the-fly encryption of part or all of a disk, and creates totally undetectable encrypted volumes. Get started quickly with this features guide.
Please check out these other articles of interest ...
- Software Update Roundup: Firefox, Transmission & BetterTouchTool
- Is Google's Chrome OS a Threat to Free Software?
- BitTorrent News Roundup: Birdtorrent, Coda.fm and Transmission Updates
- Participatory Culture Foundation Supports Open Video with Miro
- RealPlayer Is Crapware. Install These Alternatives Instead.