jueves, 31 de enero de 2013

What do You Get when Trying to Burn a PARDUS Cat?

The answer is simple: an active community that raises PARDUS ANKA from its ashes!

The Pardus ANKA community is making good progress with their fork of Pardus.  According to Pardus Life, the Anka community has already translated their site into English.  There, you can see what is happening with this distro.  Right now, they are promoting Anka by means of banners.  

According to Pardus Life, the official Pardus, now based on Debian, is advancing, too.  Their RC2 is very stable. 

For those who wanted to burn Pardus: now you have two big cats taking shape that will hunt you!   

I'm rooting for both Pardus Anka and Pardus!

domingo, 27 de enero de 2013

PicarOS: Linux Designed for Kids!

If you have kids, are involved in children's education, or somehow are curious about computing environments that offer kids opportunities for learning and leisure, then you should take a look at PicarOS.

PicarOS is a MiniNo GNU/Linux system that, while being fully packed with lots of applications, is easy on your computer's resources.  Since it is based on MiniNo Ártabros 2.0, it is able to run on systems with 1.0 GHz processors and 256 MB of RAM.  You will need at least 8GB to install it, but PicarOS can run off the DVD on live mode.

According to its developers, PicarOS (a word meaning "rascals" or "rogue" in Spanish), is meant for children in elementary school.  You can tell by its design and appearance that it was made with kids in mind.  While the system is loading, you'll hear a funny, cartoonish tune that will make you think: "here come the kids!".  Then, once PicarOS loads, its big, colorful icons will show the effort of its developers to make a system that children may find attractive.  If I had had a computer running something like this during my childhood, I would know a lot about computing right now!

If you think that appearance is not as important as what a system can actually do, then PicarOS does not fall short in that area, either.  It is, in fact, the most complete and amazing collection of learning tools I've seen.  It has nearly everything for children to explore and learn: music-creation tools, vocabulary drills, painting programs, educational games...it even comes with simple 3-D tools!

Now, PicarOS is also a full productivity suite.  Believe me, I have no problems using it myself: it comes with LibreOffice, Jclic Author, DeVeDe, VLC, Xfburn, Firefox, Chrome and many other applications that I use for work.

In fact, exploring the system, I found Anki, a very handy tool for learning vocabulary.  For kids?  Not necessarily: I downloaded flashcards for reviewing my Japanese vocabulary and kanji (it includes resources for the Japanese Language Proficiency Test, all levels!)  I also downloaded resources for practicing my Korean and an intermediate French vocabulary drill.  Along with them, there are many many other resources waiting for you!

 Finally, since seeing is believing, here you can have a look at the official video on Youtube:

I must say that PicarOS really impressed me.  Among the systems made for kids that I've tested, this is the best one.  I will keep it and I will tell my students about it.  Hopefully, they will find a great educational ally in it.

If you want your kids to experience the power and fun of computers as learning and talent-fostering tools, let this little cat (MiniNO, in Spanish) play with them!

miércoles, 23 de enero de 2013

Auralquiz: A Fun Game for Music Lovers

Aural Quiz is a small game that takes your MP3 music collection and turns it into a game.  It plays a short segment of each song and tests your memory by asking you the song's title or its interpreter.  If you happen to have a big screen or a projector that you can hook to your PC and good audio output, then you could even make competitions with up to 8 friends. 

This is where you choose the options:

The game looks like this:

Aural Quiz can be lots of fun.  It has, nevertheless, several limitations:

1.  It won't recognize some Asian characters.
2.  Since the segments played are random, sometimes you could get a silence as the hint for your song (if that song does have silences.)
3.  You should not use this game in competitive environments if you suck at recognizing songs.  It would be extremely embarrassing that your friends beat you up in a game that uses your own music collection!

domingo, 13 de enero de 2013

The Dormant Are Awakened: Elive 2.0 Topaz

Elive has started development again after quite a long time sleeping (3 years)!  I have to download the ISO right away!

On their site, they describe Elive as:

      A very stable system that will continue to run day after day without problems. The Enlightenment desktop is ultra-fast and perfectly stable with no random errors or surprises. There are no viruses, trojans, spyware, adware, or any similar nuisance. Elive is a secure and serious system.

I was greatly pleased to know that this Belgian, Debian-based distro using E-16 at that time is now moving forward.  It also comes now with E-17!

Concerning its development philosophy, the site states that:

        Elive is made with and for pleasure. Things designed with pleasure are worlds better than the things designed due to a workers obligation.

I must agree with those words.  I remember that Elive impressed me with its performance, design, and eye candy.  Everything worked off the CD, the visual aspect was very artistic and its animated wallpapers made me drool!

What does this Elive 2.1.23 (Alpha release of Elive 2 Topaz) bring?

  • The final stable release of Enlightenment 17!
  • Improvements in E17 like "focus remember", or an emodule for productivity (style pomodoro with window controls)
  • Composite and transparencies even in older computers without 3D accelaration, and other good features even when not in use
  • Very efficient and fast overall system
  • Allows for better resolution in older computers where it was once not possible to play high quality videos due to resources required (includes HD videos in h264)
  • Perfect screen sincronization in video playback.
  • Kernel 3.2.0 supporting older computers, which means that new computers will be supported too
  • Recent and updated applications
  • Lots of packages like libreoffice ready for giving a complete suite to the end-users
  • Extremely useful new tools made by Elive, like: bkp, waitfor, elivepaste, showmyip, etc...
  • A enlightened terminal with a great demo
 It sounds good, doesn't it?

Concerning the target users of this distro, there is a warning on the site, though:

      Elive is not made for newbies. Elive is not made for experienced people. Elive is not made for enterprises or personal user. Elive is art. It is simply for the people who appreciate it and want to use it. Feel free to try Elive, because only you decide what you want in this world!

Those are refreshing words in a world threatened to be Metrofied!  :P
Now, will Elive be for you?