Monday, February 19, 2007

Fun and Free Software Picks

Why is it that when I'm sitting on a pile of links for 4'ish posts in progress...all I can seem to do is collect non-related links and increase the contents of my link bin?

Oh, I am SO easily distracted.

So here are some freeware/Open Source software offerings you might find free and useful.

Free Flight Simulator

FlightGear Flight Simulator - FlightGear. Multi-OS support: Windows (v0.9.10), Linux, Solaris (sparc/x86), sgi, Mac OS X, and FreeBSD.

Take a look at these Screenshots, a list of Places to Fly, get a world-wide Scenery expansion pack. Like aircraft? Take a look at all these! Including Santa's sleigh, paragliders, a Sopwith Camel, the X15,

They even offer a Live-CD version. Boot your pc directly from the CD and it doesn't touch your hard-drive.

How cool is that!

There is also an active and thriving community around this software.

More reviews and screenshots at Flying high with FlightGear - Free Software Magazine.

Taking a Global View

Before we come back down to earth, here are two free global mapping software applications you might not be aware of.

Google Earth - OK. This one you may have heard about. Take a tour around the globe and zoom in and out. You spin me right-round baby!

NASA World Wind - This one you might NOT have heard of. Developed by NASA using a number of different satellite data, it is quite spectacular.

For more information, here are some links to help you sort them out: Main Page - World Wind Wiki, World Wind - Introduction Wiki, and Google Earth comparison - World Wind Wiki.

Don't forget ET

I've posted about these before, but seems a good place for a reminder:

Stellarium - Planetarium software. Easy setup. Fast data generations. Screenshot captures. Lots of options.

Celestia - 3D astronomy modeling program. Zoom around the galaxy and venture to worlds unknown.

Looking for World Domination?

Freeciv - If science isn't really your thing and civilization building is, consider Freeciv.

Although it has a single-player mode, it really runs strong in a on-line multiplayer environment. Supports Windows and Mac.

Be Organized

allsnap - This is one of those tiny little system tools that you don't realize you probably need until you find and use it. Most Linux systems have this "feature" already.

Allsnap automatically "snaps" your open windows to either the edges of the screen or the edges of other windows. That's it. Nothing fancy, but quite useful.

You can set several options like the "snap-zone" (how close a window needs to be to an edge before "snapping" occurs and some advanced fine-tuning features.

It is simple, light and quite nice.

Bonus tip: to quickly cascade all the windows on your Windows pc, just right click on the task-bar and select the "Cascade Windows" menu item. All your windows will form up in a nicely-sized cascade stack! Who knew? (tip via technofile)

Be Artful

Inkscape. Draw Freely. - Probably the most popular Open Source vectoring software out there. I love it, and each release just gets better. Current version now up to .45 Windows, Mac, and Linux friendly.

Think vector graphics are just about lines and solid colors? Take a took at Brazilian Luciano Lourenco's photo-realistic creation with Inkscape. Wow. Luciano's making good use of that new Gaussian Blur capability in Inkscape.

Illustrator John Bintz shows how to use Inkscape for comic rendering.

Paint.NET - Free Photo Editing Software for Windows - My favorite choice for quick and fast graphic editing when I need to work in layers. Easy learning curve, yet powerful enough for most jobs.

GIMP - The GNU Image Manipulation Program - Yes.. I know. I would be remiss for leaving this one out.. I don't use GIMP much, but I know it has a very active following. More high-powered than Paint.NET. Works with Linux, Windows, and Macs. See also: GIMP Portable | - Portable software for USB drives.

Be Clever with Code

Komodo Edit - My latest find in the quest to find a good HTML coding tool. . It has tabs, supports Perl, PHP, Python, Ruby, JavaScript, CSS, HTML and XML. Syntax checking and coloring is built in with tips on the fly. Works with Linux, Windows and Macs. Free from ActiveState software! (found via mykzilla: Three Things I Love About Komodo)

Similar software I have previously blogged here:

Interesting Free Software Links

Not all free software sites and link pages are alike. Some are trustworthy, but there are too many on the Web that may be dishing up files of dubious quality and integrity. These are some of the select-few I trust.

Happy and Safe downloading!


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