Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Transform Firefox into Google Chrome

image courtesy Lifehacker

The new browser Google Chrome from the stables of Google is out and both me and many others are raving about its speed, features and most of all its looks. There is no doubt that the web browser market is only going to get hotter with the upcoming releases of IE8 and Firefox3.1

But then Google Chrome will still have to work hard to reach the capabilities that Firefox has when compared to its rich collection of addons, themes and flexibility. Till then we can definitely try and get the same look of the new Google chrome in Firefox.

Just as I was getting hooked to Chrome I realized that I would like to get the same features in my current Firefox version too. I went around the blogs and yes found a huge amount of information on getting this done, but not one single place to round it all up together. Also there were a few issues with the existing suggestions for the conversion. After tweaking with existing implementations and reusing others I was finally able to get to the closest implementation of Chrome in Firefox according to me. This is how my final Firefox browser looks like after all the changes.


Theme:
To start off I hunted for a theme which would closely resemble Chrome and finally found Chromifox. Just the theme that I wanted but the tabs of the theme seemed upside down to me. Since it really is not a very difficult task to update the theme I went ahead and tweaked the theme to get the tabs flipped and oriented the way it is in Chrome.
This is how the actual Chromifox theme looks and if you observe somehow the tab orientation does not fit the real Chrome.

After the tweak though the tabs seem to be ok, but the gradation of the blue shade has also turned the other way. To get the shade fixed I would have to edit each of those tab images which would have required more time than a flip and had to be sidestepped. Maybe the original author would be faster on this issue.

I am attaching the updated/tweaked Firefox Chromifox theme jar here for you to download(please download and install it at your own risk) . You will have to drag and drop it to the themes(addon) window in Firefox. I would like to mention that I take no credit at all for this theme. This theme was designed and developed by falconer and he has designed a really beautiful and excellent theme for which all the credit should go to him alone.

Tab bar on top of the window, like Google Chrome:
Install the Stylish Firefox addon. The tab bar on top of the Firefox window is already included in this addon which will move the tabs to the top of the Firefox menu bar.

Hide the menu bar (similar to Google Chrome which has no menubar):
Install the Hide Menubar Firefox addon to hide the menubar. The menubar can be activated anytime by pressing the ALT key.

Autohide status bar:
Autohide Status bar addon will auto hide the Firefox status bar at the bottom of the browser window. The status bar will be displayed only when you hover cursor on a link or during page load.

The remaining:
The rest like highlighting the site name, displaying the download status of a file at the bottom of the browser window, speed dial etc... can be separately installed. More details on enabling Chrome's best features in Firefox can be found here.

A complete Firefox addon (Chrome Pacakge) is also available, but has a few glitches to it still, which I am hopeful will be resolved very soon.

Hope this brings you closer to both Firefox and Chrome. Both are wonderful open source browsers and both beautiful at that.

Let me know in case you have any suggestions for improvement.


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Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Open Source Video Editing tool in Windows?

Are there any open source video editing tools in Windows?

I saw this query on OStatic and realised that there is a plethora of GPL tools on Windows to edit video (in avi, mp4 etc. formats).

Best of all most of them are also being currently used by professionals too.

Jahshaka which has been around for quite a few years now has matured to a very stable and active version. It supports some really useful features like edit, effects in real time, animate with unlimited features, paint and design on moving video, support for any format at any resolution etc... In case you would like to try your hands on a software with pro like features, Jahshaka would be your first attempt.

Avidemux another interesting front runner in the video editing stage seems to be very simple and user friendly. Cutting, capturing analog video, command line usage, job list support (also batch editing), converting to DVD and DVD to AVI are some of its nifty features. Like other video editors it too uses multi threading to speed up the editing process.

One of the classics that I had come across a few years back was Virtauldub, which has matured over this period to be one of the most powerful video pre and post processing tool. Though not an editor in the true sense it can be used as an excellent companion to the editor.

Related Links:
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Monday, May 26, 2008

Run UNIX on Windows


Cygwin is one of the simplest ways of executing your unfavorite UNIX commands in Windows without causing any changes to the current Windows setup.

One of the major gripes of Windows has been its redundant and at most instances very useless command prompt and lackluster features, when it comes to heavy duty (say scripting and file manipulation) jobs. Even a simple search in Windows is a painstaking affair of reaching the find option and then waiting for the search to end (though the new desktop search options seem to have eased this problem a bit). When a simple task of finding the list of tasks running on the system involves pressing a combination of buttons and then reaching the right window and then only to find that there is no way to understand what each of those application names mean- it cant get any harder than this (in the Cygwin prompt use: ps -W ). Where as the same in Unix/Linux would be a single command on the prompt 'ps -ef'. There are more that I can go on and on about but would leave that to the two communities who are already at loggerheads on who is better than the other.

I personally feel Linux is much better and sooner or later would become close to what Windows is to us today. Did you know that the beautiful Mac is also another version of Unix? Very hard to believe isnt it?
Cygwin
Cygwin which is GNU licensed , is a Linux-like environment for Windows. It consists of two parts:
  • A DLL (cygwin1.dll) which acts as a Linux API emulation layer providing substantial Linux API functionality.
  • A collection of tools which provide Linux look and feel.
Cygwin will operate and run on x86 based systems for both 32 bit and 64 bit versions of Windows, with the exception of Windows CE. Hence most Intel based systems with Windows will support Cygwin.

But Cygwin has caveats too :
  • Cygwin is not a way to run native Linux apps on Windows. You have to rebuild your application from source if you want it to run on Windows.
  • Cygwin is not a way to magically make native Windows apps aware of UNIX ® functionality, like signals, ptys, etc. Again, you need to build your apps from source if you want to take advantage of Cygwin functionality.

  • Nonetheless you will be surprised with the likeness Cygwin has to Unix/Linux.
    Cygwin provides a very simple way of trying out Unix and its repository of powerful tools on Windows without having to really install or format the hard drive. It is very helpful for people who want to try and have a look at Unix or Linux before they jump to Linux or who would like the additional tools in Unix/Linux on Windows too.

    Installation: The Cygwin installation is simple with the install getting initiated from a small setup app which in turn gives you the option of downloading the packages of your choices from a list of hosted locations. And in case you are not very sure of the packages just go with the default and it should be ok. If for some reason you would like to install Cygwin on a computer without access to the internet, you could reuse the package downloaded locally by copying them to the other computer and selecting them as the source for install.

    I had always been a fan of Linux and had the opportunity to hang on with it though much of my personal work is on the Windows OS. Over the years I have come to learn of the huge benefits of having Unix/Linux tools around. The tools in Unix and Linux are one of the biggest reasons that people stick to them. Being a person who codes on Unix boxes and executes them on UNIX systems it was hard to accept that we don't have an option to use them in Windows. Tools like grep, find, ls, lynx, vi, vim, ps, kill and many many more are missing from Windows. I am sure that these tools might look a bit alarming at first because in the Unix/Linux world most of the time these are run directly from the command prompt, but I can assure you that me and most of my friends would happily give way to these in Windows if given an option.

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    Thursday, April 24, 2008

    Ecstatic about OStatic.com

    About Ostatic: Our goal is to increase the adoption of Open Source Software by helping users find viable projects and applications that fulfill specific needs, evaluate them against available alternatives and collaborate with their network of trusted peers.

    What I really liked about OStatic.com was that they really do a very good job of comparing proprietary and open source products. Their posts are very relevant and contemporary which I think is a major requirement in the Open Source World! OStatic is part of the famed GigaOM Network. Definitely quality stuff.

    I have been following its post for the past few days and enjoyed reading them a lot. The latest as I write is on Hadoop, something which me and my friend have been bantering about for sometime. Hadoop is something which I believe will in many ways turn the growth of future computing. Hearing about Hadoop on OStatic, shows to me a maturity on Open Source topics and knowledge of future trends which would be usually a bit hard to capture (more so when we are talking about the Open Source world)

    The Software section with each open source item marked with a and the proprietary one with is my favorite. Visit this section and if possible contribute to the alternatives if you know one.

    Excellent Open Source Resource and Reviews - OStatic.com

    Thursday, April 17, 2008

    DimDim -World’s first free web meeting service

    DimDim is the world’s first free web meeting service based on the open source platform. DimDim is a browser-based web 2.0 service that allows anybody to share their desktop, show slides, as well as talk, listen, chat, and broadcast via web cam. DimDim ’s hosted service is available for free and can be easily used for small gatherings, to seminars with hundreds of attendees. With absolutely no software to download for attendees, DimDim gives everyone the opportunity to hold Web meetings and to customize and brand these meetings.

    I have been following up on DimDim for more than one year. I have also got the alpha version of the open source DimDim running in my lab. Since then, till now a lot of visible changes have happened. One of the good ones has been their recent release of hosted public beta to the rest of the world. Good news because its been quite sometime since they have started work on it. In one recent correspondence with DD Ganguly I was told they are focusing in a big way on the upcoming release and will let the product speak for itself. I am impressed, not just with their entire approach but also with their determination to make it big. Since I was one of the early private beta users I too have been auto upgraded! Thanks DD...

    DimDim can be very easily mooted as a replacement for WebEx and MS Live Meeting like applications which help by setting up web meetings and screen-casts on the web. DimDim focuses mostly on the richness and completeness of a web experience according to me (based on whatever little I was able to spend on the alpha release and now public beta). It looks very promising and has a lot of features which makes it stand out on its own way. Based on a flash based interface which makes it very platform and browser portable, it also includes nifty features like real time chat and discussion. The best and the really clinching victory over its counterparts is that they have decided to make it Open Source and the community version of DimDim is available on SourceForge.net DimDim plans to make money from the support and enterprise version of the same.

    I had the opportunity to try Microsoft Live Meeting and frankly the experience has been harrowing at times! DimDim is a breeze compared to MS Live Meeting, though I wont be able to comment much on the open source edition since I could not upgrade to their latest release in my lab (they have hard coded port 80 which was not the case with earlier releases! can someone help me with that?)

    Some typical daily uses I foresee for myself with DimDim is to share my desktop with my brother in Delhi to help him with his incessant queries about his laptop. But the uses are pretty much more obviously! :)

    Quite sometime back I had emailed DD Ganguly and Sundar S about DimDim and their team. Sadly they never replied back. Hope they do reply to me as DimDim sure seems to be on its way up!

    Make way MS Live and WebEx- DimDim is here to stay :)

    Tuesday, March 04, 2008

    Site has Moved!

    open-source.onestop.net has moved to osafw.blogspot.com

    While checking today found that ONESTOP.NET has suddenly shutdown their free service without any warnings!

    Well luckily I had backed it up on blogspot and was able to republish it in the new site. But obviously there would be many broken links which will take time to be corrected. The inconvenience caused is regretted and apologies for the same.

    The site feed will continue to be published from: http://feeds.feedburner.com/osafw

    Monday, February 04, 2008

    Mp3 Tag Tools

    Since I got my own iPod I had to make sure that I get the ID3 tags of the MP3 songs right. Initially it was a tough job because most of the MP3 songs which I had had either no ID3 tags or were incorrect. With the number of songs in thousands it was getting difficult to manage all of them. Thats when I found a desktop tool named Mp3 Tag Tools which is a neat and extremely fast way to get my songs tagged and in turn accessed right from the iTunes application.

    The features which I use most to re-tag my mp3s using Mp3 Tag Tools are:
    • Mass ID3 tagging
    • Custom Filename Format specification like "(Artist) - Album - Title - Ignore" using shortcuts "(*1) - *2 - *3 - *0" or selecting checkboxes
    • Write ID3 tags from Filenames using Custom Filename Format
    • Rename Filenames From ID3 tags using Custom Filename or Directory Format
    • Recursion - All these tag operations can be carried out by individually selecting one or more files from a mp3 tag list, created by searching a specified directory with or without recursion.
    Introduction: Mp3 Tag Tools v1.2(C) 2003 John George K. is GNU GPL free software, intutive ID3v1.1 and ID3v2.x mp3 tag editing utility, with several features such as Mass ID3 tagging, Write ID3 tags from Filenames and Rename Files from ID3 tags using Custom Formats, Copy/Synchronize ID3 tags, Cleaning Filenames and Correcting their case, Create ID3 tags using Directory Formats, Create Directories and organize mp3s from ID3 tag info, Export ID3 tag data, Lyrics and Picture tagging, accurately read all MPEG info and append bitrate and mode to filenames. All these tag operations can be carried out with or without directory recursion.

    The other most important feature which I found very useful was that it was not a very big software either in its memory usage or disk occupancy. It was simple to get me going though the tasks were pretty complex at times as I had to do a lot of mass custom tagging on my mp3s. Being programmed in native Windows programming code it is blazing fast and efficient. I would rate this app a 5 on my usability and usefulness list.

    The application is Open Source (GNU GPL free software) and native Windows (programmed entirely in Visual C++6 & MFC). It has been programmed by John George K.

    My iTunes is now complete with Mp3 Tag Tools!