Virtual KVM Swtiches and PM Portal (OpenSource)

okvm – Open source virtual KVM solutions

KVM switches allow a single operator to control multiple computers and they have evolved from patch panels and mechanical switches to digital KVM switches and KVM over IP devices. However they all involve some hardware switch device. The notion of “virtual KVM” involves using software to route the operator’s Keyboard output, Video input, and Mouse output to/from the target computer – over the IP network.

Synergy – virtual control of multiple computers

Synergy lets you easily share a single mouse and keyboard between multiple computers with different operating systems, each with its own display, without special hardware. It’s intended for users with multiple computers on their desk since each system uses its own monitor(s).

Redmine – Full project management portal

Redmine is a flexible project management web application written using Ruby on Rails framework.

KeePass – great password tool

    Wireframing using Eclipse and WireframeSketcher

    WireframeSketcher – an Eclipse Wireframe plugin

    WireFrameSketcher LogoI came across WireFrameSketcher whilst looking for an easy to use, extensible wireframe tool for help show clients concepts and ideas. This product appealed to me because:

    • WireframeSketcher is an addin to Eclipse
    • WireframeSketcher is easy to use
    • WireframeSketcher is modular – in other words screens and wireframes can comprise other screens and wireframes (effectively templates and masters) which means that one change to the master has the effect of updating all child wireframes – BRILLIANT
    • WireframeSketcher can easily export to both PDF and PNG graphics
    • WireframeSketcher has a Storyboard facility which creates dynamic, hot linkable walk-throughs for the customer that can be easily exported
    • WireframeSketcher works in XML format files, making it easy for me to re-use and create import and exports to other systems
    • WireframeSketcher is plain and simple without so many options it takes weeks to learn
    • WireframeSketcher integrates into most Eclipse based systems including Flex3 from Adobe
    • WireframeSketcher has a free version that is NOT crippled except for an export cross on images

    Another think I liked about Peter’s philosophy was that he was open to providing full versions for those people (like myself :) ) who were happy to blog about products that were actually very good at doing what they say they do!

    Refactoring

    After having used the software within Eclipse Helios, Ganymede and Flex3 Builder I found it very easy to use and integrate with other applications. WireframeSketcher has recently (within the last few days) been updated with ‘Refactoring‘. Refactoring overcomes the problems with linking to master screens and then changing the names or locations of those screens. Any changes are automatically propogated via Eclipse – WireframeSketcher now supports the plugins that support this feature.

    In use, refactoring is a MAJOR saving of time… When screens are created they inevitably get created in an unorganised manner. As time goes on the repositories for the screens gets tidied up and re-vamped. Refactoring allows you to move and rename objects without breaking all your wireframe designs – this is VERY useful!

    Extensible Palette

    The WireframeSketcher’s extensible palette option extends the concepts of assets so that you create and maintain your own repository of objects to be used within your wireframe. These objects can be images or screens (master). The rendering in the palette shows a small preview of the object which can be further divided sown into categories for grouping purposes. This is a great concept and works really well within the whole Eclipse framework.

    Other useful WireframeSketcher facilities

    Generallyy speaking wireframeSketcher works straight out of the box, it’s simple to use and install within any Eclipse based environment. I was using this tool within minutes and have added it to my essential tools. Wireframing is key to creating good customer feedback and helps so much with the design process; before critical resources have been allocated ideas can be shown for approval.

    Overall here are the main aspects I love about WireframeSketcher:

    • It’s EASY to use (I was using this tool within minutes)
    • It uses COMPONENTS. Screens and wireframes are composed of other screens and components, which means one update affects multiple screens instantaly
    • It utilises HOTSPOTS so that links work, and enables a create INTERACTIVE prototype to be demonstrated to the customer.
    • It has support for STORYBOARDS. It will even bundle the storyboard automatically into a single file PDF that can be sent to the customer – including all hotspots.
    • It uses a good selection of generic WIDGETS provided with the installation
    • It’s easy to UPDATE (of course via Eclipse!)
    • It uses a set of WIKI syntax to create options within the WIDGETS – for example in the tab control, you can set which tab is enabled and highlighted, the Treeview control has mutliple otptions for the look and feel that can all be set within the actual widget.
    • There is the start of a MOCKUPS GALLERY that has a small selection of completed screens that would be useful for starting projects (for example there is an iPhone selection for prototyping iPhone applications)
    • WireframeSketcher shows GUIDE LINES on the screen when objects line up properly and also allows nudging, zooming, etc. with keyboard controls for accuracy.
    • WireframeSketcher comes with a great collection (over 140) of icons for contours in various sizes (small, medium, large, extra large) so that adding arrows and icons for forms is merely a question of selecting from a list (again all keyboard controlled if required)
    • There is much much more than discussed here! Lastly I love the fact that the whole system is based on open XML formats – which means that each wireframe could easily be repurposed for other systems.

    In summary, WireframeSketcher is a comprehensive system that allows effective wireframing within the Eclipse environment. For any developer out there using Eclipse, I would say without hesitation that this addin should be at the top of your list and your design process. It is worth every penny of the official registration, and allows another dimension to the development cycle – especially if you already use Eclipse for your development platform. 5 out of 5.

    Goto: http://wireframesketcher.com/index.html

    Paint.Net Free Tutorials

    Tutorials for Paint.Net

    As you all know (or at least those that are into free but brilliant software) Paint.Net is one of those wonderful pieces of software that not only works, but is somehow better than much of the commercial stuff that’s out there. Anyway for those of you using this great software I have found a mixture of free tutorials for the software.

    SoftFocus: http://docs.google.com/View?id=dsgjq79_810jvmx6df7
    Backgrounds: http://docs.google.com/Doc?id=dsgjq79_15hdnjpzv6
    Colour and B&W photo effect: http://paintdotnet.forumer.com/viewtopic.php?f=36&t=26974
    Antique effect: http://paintdotnet.forumer.com/viewtopic.php?f=36&t=26969
    Airbrushing: http://paintdotnet.forumer.com/viewtopic.php?f=36&t=27823
    Whiten Teeth: http://paintdotnet.forumer.com/viewtopic.php?f=36&t=31660
    Enhance colour: http://docs.google.com/View?id=dsgjq79_829f9wv8ncd
    Pencil Sharp Edges: http://docs.google.com/View?id=dsgjq79_803g5twxhkd

    One of the features that sets this software apart from so many others is the great collection of addins available. These addins add a wonderful array of functionality to the software to enable it to easily compete with Photoshop and other commercial software. The great thing about Paint.Net is that (a) it’s free – donationware and (b) it’s robust and (c) it’s easy to use.

    A quick scan on YouTube.com for tutorials shows 100’s of really good tutorials and videos to help use the software and create some great effects. I easily give this software 5/5 and recommend it to everyone that wants a very comprehensive free graphics package. Oh, and bye the way it works great with Windows 7 and has very comprehensive support for masks and layers.

    One last comment… be sure to check out the very popular Paint.Net forum for expert advice and help.

    Bustaname – online system to quickly create unique domain names

    www.bustaname.com

    Created by Ryan Stout

    bustaname - online domain name finderA web based wizard system that uses a very easy to use online interface to find domain names, it’s also very fast and effective by combining words in different ways. It’s basic features are:

    • Find domain names
    • Word Combiner in multiple sequences
    • Relating words – key words – description
    • Creates list of words (also using it’s built in thesaurus)
    • Combinations and other techniques to quickly find unique names
    • Shows whats available – VERY QUICKLY
    • Similar words can be easily added

    You can also:

    • Add prefixes
    • Add suffixes
    • Can sort easily using various criteria
    • A nice feature is “Quality” sorting (best domains first)
    • Add the word “ly” or “ster” or “i”, etc. in front of the domain
    • You can Pluralise words
    • Type a domain name in directly and show if available
    • Whois will check availability

    Results can be saved for later use,  you can then choose which registrar to use to register your domain names. The selection of ISP’s is comprehensive and actually shows you the cost of the registration, which is really helpful.

    I especially liked the addition of being able to create groups, and then drag words into the groups to differentiate good or bad domain names from the results. This really helped to weed out the final list of domain names to register. If you add the ability to go directly to a decent selection of ISP’s and directly register from the site, it makes this a wonderful and easy to use system.

    In summary, a very effective online tool to find a unique domain name given a list of key words. I give this a 5 star rating and have used it many times to find really good domain names. Domain name creation can be a real chore, with this tool it almost becomes both an enjoyable experience and and easy one!

    Floola the brilliant FREE Itunes replacement for the iPod

    image001Floola is a freeware application to efficiently manage your iPod or your Motorola mobile phone (any model supporting iTunes except iPhone and iPod touch). It’s a standalone application that can be run directly from your iPod and needs no installation under Linux (any GTK2 distro), Mac OS X (10.3.9 or newer!) and Windows (98 or newer, including Vista).

    Manage Music, Videos, Podcast and Photos all in one simple app, anywhere on any computer.

    Installation of floola merely involves unzipping the distribution and copying the .exe file to your iPod root directory. You can then run the application to manage all your music, download podcasts, images, smart playlists and synchronise with Outlook all from the iPod – no additional software is required. The process is very easy and quick. I haven’t found any issues with the software.

    Floola works on multi-platforms; Windows (from 98), MAC and any Linux distribution. Floola also integrates well with last.fm. Adding files to you iPod is now just a question of drag and drop onto the Floola interface – it couldn’t be easier. Other really handy features include a search for duplicate files, search for ‘lost’ files on the iPod, easy addition of videos, automatic conversion of audio and video that are not in recognized formats, synchronisation with Google calendars, export playlists to HTML – it will even try to FIX a iPod that is not working properly!

    Clearly an essential addition to your software if you do not want to have to rely on iTunes and its limitations.