Pixlr: Free online photo editor

Posted in Computers, Tech, Websites on November 20th, 2010 by Andy
A picture of a tank being edited in Pixlr

The interface is similar to regular photo editing software, but it's done in your browser.

Photoshop sucks. Most people only want to do a pretty limited set of edits to their photos, and paying out massive bucks or installing cracked software to do it makes no sense. If you haven’t checked it out already, point your browser at pixlr.com. It’s a free online photo editor that does everything most people want to do.

You can open and save files from your local machine, crop, scale, work with layers and adjust colours and levels. That’s 99% of what people normally do with their photos, and it’s free. And since it runs in a browser it’s ideal for low-powered machines like netbooks that would struggle to run heavyweight photo editing software like Photoshop or GIMP.

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Seamlessly integrated web apps for Ubuntu

Posted in Linux, Ubuntu on April 18th, 2010 by Andy
Blue sky and clouds

Why lug around a massive fat office suite when you can pull one down from the sky when you need it?

The soon to be released new version of Ubuntu contains some nifty new features that have been quietly snuck in. One of these is the ability to seamlessly use web-based  mail and office apps as if they were locally installed.

Simply install the packages desktop-webmail and webservice-office-zoho to get your machine all clouded up. For webmail you can choose to use Gmail, Hotmail, Yahoo or Zoho. Once installed, all mailto links will open in your webmail instead of Evolution.

For office apps it will use the Zoho online office suite. Zoho was chosen over Google Docs because it doesn’t require you to log in. The integration is pretty good. Any local file will open in Zoho when clicked, and you can save new files locally or online in a range of formats.

This really shines on netbooks with small drives, where ditching 300MB of Open Office lard can make a big difference.

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Ubuntu One: File storage goes a bit cloudy

Posted in Computers, Ubuntu on May 15th, 2009 by Andy
Besides integrating seamlessly into your Jaunty desktop, Ubuntu One has a web interface.

Besides integrating seamlessly into your Jaunty desktop, Ubuntu One also has a web interface. Note the applet on the top panel.

Cloud computing is a trendy concept right now. And why not? The amount of bandwidth we have these days means you can squeeze a lot of computer power through an internet connection.

Ubuntu has just unleashed their new cloud-based Ubuntu One service into public beta. The service is similar to Dropbox, and is free for the basic version.

In a nutshell you get 2GB of storage, which you can access through some nicely seamless integration with Nautilus, so the data you put there can be used by any of your apps. When you’re away from an Ubuntu One-equipped desktop there’s a web interface. I’ve found it really handy for documents I want to access from my Windows machines at work, as it saves the hassle of converting everything into Google Docs.

You can pay for more storage at US$10/month, but at the moment this only gets you 10GB, which ain’t a lot.

Overall, it’s an interesting development from a few angles:

  1. This is only the beta. How far will Ubuntu integrate this into the desktop? Will we see mail and or calendars linked up to this? Browser bookmarks? Gconf?
  2. Canonical (the cash behind Ubuntu) are clearly looking at cloud services as a way to monetise their freebie desktop OS. That doesn’t bother me at all, but i’d imagine some open source freetards will be unhappy.
  3. The Ubuntu One client (though not the backend) is open source and all pythony, so there’s not a lot stopping people from plugging their Debian or Fedora/Redhat desktop into this service. Or their Mac or Windows one, for that matter.

Overall, it’s an interesting service. It’ll have to add features to compete with Dropbox, which currently gives you more storage for the same price. Watch this space though.

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