What is Ubuntu One?

19 10 2010

Canonical, creator and developer of Ubuntu and Ubuntu One, have offered it’s Linux users a valuable cloud computing service with Ubuntu One. Currently in public beta form, Ubuntu one is a full suite of cloud computing software that you can use to integrate your OS and your cloud with Evolution Mail for contacts or Tomboy for notes, as well as any other arbitrary files you find valuable.  Granted Canonical has been taking some heat due to the fact that as of yet, there is no Kubuntu Support for this product, and the closed source-code for the server-side of Ubuntu One, but most of all, the fact that you are paying for this service.  A very out of character decision by Canonical, who traditionally offer everything for free, and under the GNU License open-source agreement.

Ubuntu One starts off with a basic package, which allows you to have 2GB of free storage space.  There is also a paid Ubuntu One service which gives you 20GB extra for $2.99 a month.  You can add as much space as you want, always in increments of 20GB for $2.99 a pop.  Really, not a bad deal.  Especially when you take into account just how much ease of access and quality of service Ubuntu is offering with the Ubuntu One service.  The seamless integration with Ubuntu 10.04 Lucid Lynx is just amazing.

There is also a DRM free mp3 music store integrated with Ubuntu One, where you can purchase your music, and listen from almost anywhere.  This is where the mobile plan comes into play.  For $3.99 a month, or $39.99 for the year, you can enjoy a mobile Ubuntu One experience with unlimited music streaming from your Cloud to your Android device or iPhone.  Once you activate your account, search for the application in your App Marketplace, download and install.  There is also immediate contact synchronization for most any phone on the market today, not just Android or iPhone.  Right now Canonical is offering the mobile platform for a 30-day free trial.

Fortunately there is a Windows Beta coming soon for all of you dual-booters out there as well.  This is where Ubuntu one becomes the most valuable of services is because so many Linux Users will dual boot their computers with a copy of both Linux and Windows.  Now you will be able to rather seamlessly adjust files from one OS to the other with as little legwork as possible.  Something that a lot of newbies making the bridge over to linux will find rather convenient, rather than regularly finding you have to restart your computer to gain access to that file again.

Overall, Ubuntu One seems to possess a whole lot of potential.  Although it will definitely take some heat due to the fact that it does come with some cost to really use the services full potential, it is just that, a service.  The best part is, you don’t have to pay if you don’t want to. Just head on over to the site and try the free 2GB package they are offering, and start forming your cloud today!

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Amazing Backgrounds

18 10 2010

Here’s a brief selection of some of the best backgrounds I have found.

Enjoy!

 





Free Drawing & Graphic Software

13 10 2010

As the onset of Open Source software has been making more headway in the past couple of years, there is a bounty of quality free software around for anyone to try on for size.  Some more notable than others, but most are very well made products, and regularly updated through a small army of programmers.  The most common license for these products is the GNU General Public License, but there are other, less notable licenses as well.  This licensing ensures the quality and trustworthiness of the products you will be using in the future.  Anyone who has spent some time with the Linux operating system will be familiar with most of this.  If you are not familiar with Linux, get familiar.  Without further ado, let’s get listing!

1. GIMP – The GNU Image Manipulation Program

http://www.gimp.org

GIMP is essentially a full on Photoshop alternative, and it is 100% free.  I use gimp for almost all of my graphic design, and you can save your files in Adobe friendly formats that allow you full functionality with any Adobe suite or products you may already own.  This program runs much more efficiently than adobe in my opinion, I just enjoy the interface more.  Sure, there are some shortcomings that you just cannot ignore, such as the sheer quality edge and color detection you have in Photoshop, but if this is not essential for you, then why bother.

2. Blender – model – shade – animate – render – composite – interactive 3d

http://www.blender.org

Blender is a quality 3D modeling platform, also created under the GNU license.  It can be used for creating everything from 3D models and smoke simulation to creating animated films or video games!  Quality wise, Blender stacks up to other comparative programs, aka Maya and 3D StudioMax, rather well.  Sure it is limited in lack of Font Preview for text, lack of N-gon-based modeling workflow and some missing modeling tools.  It also is on the leading edge with advanced algorithms utilized for its UV unwrapping.  Basically, compare the price tag of Maya or 3D Studio to Blender and you definitely get what you don’t pay for.

Just a sample of what Blender can do:

 

 

3. Google SketchUp

http://sketchup.google.com/

Sketch up is essentially a simplified AutoCAD.  It has some one-dimensional aspects to it as well, and you can build houses for display in Google earth.  The simplicity lies in the interface, and the projects really just seem to come together.  I downloaded it on a whim, and wound up losing hours to trying to recreate my home, and building my dream one.  With some nice snap-to options, and a fun scaling platform, its worth the download.  And hey, who doesn’t trust Google?

This is really just scratching the surface of quality free drawing, image manipulation, and 3D modeling software out there, but if I had to pick, these are my top three.  Once you get into open source, or Google for that matter, it can be really hard to quit.  Hopefully this can help send you down a long and happy road of new, healthy computing options.