Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Service Droid, for your ministry record keeping

After getting my android tablet, I wanted to make sure I put it to good use.

At first I wanted to use it for the epub files that are available at JW.org.

Then I had someone tell me that there were apps available for Android for Jehovah's Witnesses who wanted to record their ministry time, return visits, etc..

After trying several, I found Service Droid.

The number one reason I chose Service Droid is because it ran without having errors or crashing.

I am not certain why Ministry Assistant didn't want to work for me, but it did not.

Service Droid also is very simple and straight forward, and so I do like that. The service time recorder gave me some issues, namely if I turned the device off or let it go into standby it would not accurately record my service time.

But since I can do that for myself, It's a non-issue for me.

Here is what App Brain says about it:

Screenshot of ServiceDroid Screenshot of ServiceDroid Screenshot of ServiceDroid Screenshot of ServiceDroid
About ServiceDroid
A field service assistant for Jehovah's Witnesses. Keep track of your service time, return visits, and placements.

Record placements and visits in the Call Book, and the stats will update accordingly.

Stats can be viewed either monthly or by Service Year (Sept - Aug). Also easily offers to move your extra minutes to the next month when you send your report via email.

NOTE: This application requires you to use it for your Call Book to get the best out of it. If you simply wish to record your time and number of magazines placed, I recommend another app, like "On The Ministry Lite".

ServiceDroid makes automatic backups to your SD card. To see how to restore to a new device, read here: https://github.com/seanmonstar/ServiceDroid/wiki/Restoring-a-Backup

Languages Available:
* English
* Spanish
* Italian
* French
* Portuguese
* German
* Danish

Source code is available at http://github.com/seanmonstar/ServiceDroid

Please report issues to the email address listed, I will be able to directly respond and act quicker than issues mentioned in reviews.

Recent changes:
* Updated design, works better on newer phones without a menu button.
* Added support for future years of magazines
* Sort order is saved
* Fixed some crashers 
It is available on quite a few of the Android Markets. I got it from AppBrain.com.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Good free Android Markets

About a month ago I bought a Visual Land Android tablet.

While the device runs excellent, it did not come with "Google Play" the Google Android market.

The Android markets that came with it seldom wanted to work, or didn't have the software I was looking for.

I found these 2 while trying to get software I needed for my tab.

The first came as a extra gift. I installed Opera Mini, and along with mini came the Opera Mobile App Store.

Not a giant selection but a decent one, and I have never had a problem getting an app to install from it.

Then I found the mother lode. Aptoide.com.

Aptoide takes a little getting used to. Here is how you use Aptiode:

1 You install the Aptoide Android market app.

2 You Search for what you are looking for on Aptoide.com, not the Aptoide market app.

3 You add the store that offers the software you want to install. (By clicking install on the appropriate Aptoide.com app page)

4 You choose install when Android asks if it is OK to install this software.

If you just use the Aptoide app, you will only get a small portion of the apps available to you via Aptoide.

If you are interested in the Opera Mobile App Store, then click here:

If you are interested in the Aptoide App Store, then go here:

I think that these Android markets will make it so much easier to get what you need on your Android tablet.


Sunday, November 25, 2012

FBReader, an excellent epub/ebook reader

 I personally have gotten into epub books, or "ebooks" because of using my Android tablet.

The documents from JW.org are many times available in epub format.

I really like the Watchtower and Awake epubs, because the scriptures are right at your fingertips. You tap (or click) the scripture, and you can read it, you tap it again, your back to your place in the Watchtower.

Here are some screenshots of FBReader in action on an Android tablet http://www.fbreader.org/FBReaderJ:

FBReader ends up being not only my favorite epub viewer in Ubuntu, my personal favorite OS, but also is my favorite epub viewer on Android.

FBReader in my opinion, works better, faster, and is less clunky than the Nook and Kindle software available for Android.

Simple is usually better, and in this case there seems to be no exception to this rule.

From "man fbreader" on Ubuntu:

"FBReader is an e-book reader. It supports most open e-book formats, and can read compressed e-book archives."

From FBReader.org's About Us page:

"First public version of FBReader (for Sharp Zaurus platform) was written in early 2005 by Nikolay Pultsin. In July 2007 Nikolay founded Geometer Plus LLC. The company is registered in Russia, St.Petersburg."

If you are in the market for a epub reader on your computer or your tablet, give FBReader a try.

Here are some screenshots from my Ubuntu laptop of FBReader:

You can get FBReader on Ubuntu by either searching for it in the software center, or by typing sudo apt-get install fbreader in a terminal application, which is usually available via ctrl alt t, or the menu.

On Android, you usually can get FBReader via your Android Market of choice.

The website http://www.fbreader.org/FBReaderJ also contains downloadable versions for Android.

P.S., On the tablet, their are options to change the background image. I personally went with a solid color instead of the distracting background images, and made the background color less than perfect white which is all 255's in the color settings. I made red 245, green 245, and blue 245.

 But lower = darker, so if this is too bright for you, then you might want to go to 235, for instance.

The reading glare was too much for me at perfect white. (Again, all 255's for perfect white.)

Friday, November 9, 2012

LXMenuEditor, fast & small menu editor

Earlier I wrote about adding CLI based apps to the menu using terminator terminal emulator.

For this task I usually use Alacarte, a menu editor made for Gnome.

In my search for everything with a smaller footprint, I came across an excellent menu editor for LXDE, XFCE and Gnome.

LXMenuEditor's tar file is only 78k in size. Fully extracted and installed it is only 222 kb.

So the first thing I like about it is that it downloads in a blink of an eye.

Secondly, unlike Alacarte, it has no dependencies other than Java, which I install on all of my daily use machines anyway.

And it runs faster than Alacarte in my opinion, and is solid as a rock in the version I tested, LXMenuEditor-20120515.

And it has a fairly straight forward, simple gui interface:

Click to enlarge picture

 LXMenuEditor's official SourceForge page is here:

They have very simple and easy to follow install instructions here:

Check it out for yourself if your in the market for easy menu editing without the bloat of Alacarte!

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Get to know Xubuntu!

Before I start diving into this subject, let me explain what Xubuntu is.

Xubuntu is Ubuntu (a Linux based operating system), but with XFCE, a much faster and rock solid desktop environment than Unity (In my opinion), which is the default Ubuntu desktop environment.

Over the years I have played with many distributions of Linux, and the many ways available to render the desktop.

KDE, Gnome 3, Gnome 2, Unity, XFCE and LXDE for starters.

I have even used Blackbox, Openbox, and a plethora of other available "window managers".

After Unity became the standard for Ubuntu, I started shopping around for another desktop environment.

I don't hate Unity, especially now that it has grown up a bit. It just does not fit, it is a round peg, and I am a square hole, if you will.

I decided to retry XFCE. I wasn't a fan in the past of the look, but the Xubuntu team has gone a long way towards making XFCE look more rounded off and polished.

Older versions of Xubuntu had fairly normal XFCE. XFCE has a plethora of settings options, which in my opinion is just one of the reasons why it is head and shoulders above LXDE, and above the window managers like Openbox.

Here is a screenshot from Xubuntu.org:

And here is a screenshot from my desktop configuration:

Click the photo to enlarge it
XFCE responds much quicker than KDE, Unity or Gnome 3. It also responds quicker than Gnome classic "no thrills" edition.

I have yet to see a speed difference between XFCE and Openbox, which I have used extensively.

These are just a few of the reasons why I suggest you give XFCE, or better yet, Xubuntu, a try.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Your Ubuntu Tweaks

It seems that tweaking Ubuntu is a popular past time. Something I hadn't realized until just now.

The fact that I tweak Ubuntu myself should have been a clue.

So I am going to talk about my personal Ubuntu experience.

The first thing I do once Ubuntu has been installed is run a script I made some time ago. This script gets my most used apps installed, along with Wine, Flash, and a lot of codecs for my audio.

Here is my script:

sudo apt-get install mc moc irssi links htop ubuntu-restricted-extras wine mplayer cheese gftp synaptic unetbootin terminator ubuntu-restricted-addons audacity lame stellarium kompozer gimp gftp cheese alacarte cowsay leafpad openbox obmenu tint2 feh gmrun thunar lxappearance gkrellm gkrellweather xfce4-panel

Breaking down my script, this is what it does for me:

First it installs my CLI (Command Line Interface) applications. mc is a file manager, moc is my default music player, irssi is a irc client, links is a web browser, htop is a process viewer/terminator, and mplayer is another media player I use for watching videos and also for playing shoutcast audio streams.

Next is Wine, because there is a few apps that specifically need it, and I need them. (I.E., the Watchtower Library).

Then I install flash and codecs with the ubuntu-restricted-extras and ubuntu-restricted-addons packages.

Following that I install synaptic because i find it to be much better than the Ubuntu Software Center.

Cheese is a webcam picture taker.
Gimp is an image editor.
GFtp is a ftp client.

Stellarium is a very nice "view from earth" planetarium program. (Don't forget to set the location, unless you do live in Paris, France.)

Kompozer is the best html editor for Ubuntu, in my opinion.
Leafpad is my favorite text editor, very simple and quick to load.

Cowsay is a goofy, fun program I use to entertain my nephews with. It prints to screen a ascii cow with a talk bubble, with your message in it.

Alacarte lets me make changes to the unity and gnome based menus (which i use for xfce4-panel)

Terminator is the best terminal emulator on the planet.

Audacity and lame together give me the opportunity to cut audio how I see fit, and then turn that audio into open mp3's.

UNetBootIn allows me to put Linux based distros on usb key drives. (Very useful!)

Then there is my favorite window manager, Openbox, and the software I like to run with Openbox.

Openbox is what I use instead of Unity. obmenu is a menu editor for openbox.

Tint2 is a very handy task bar, with clock and a place for indicator applets like nm-applet.

Feh changes my background for me at start up (without feh, and a properly set up openbox autostart file, you will only have a grey blank desktop with openbox).

Gmrun is my favorite "run box" or "run dialogue box" program.

Thunar is my preferred file manager, minimalistic footprint and fast but yet full featured.

LXappearance is needed with openbox sometimes because you will have no icons in programs like thunar without it.

Gkrellm with Gkrellweather I use for the current weather conditions and to check my gmail.

Xfce4-panel I use because I forget the names of applications from time to time, and/or because I forget the proper cli command to launch them.

Then I copy over my backed up Openbox files, and then I switch to Openbox.

My openbox files have terminator tied to control alt t, and gmrun tied to alt-f2.

If you are interested in my Openbox set up, I have a more detailed article here:

Here is a look at my setup:

Click to enlarge picture
Ok, so you have now heard me go on and on about my setup, lets hear about your setup/tweaks to Ubuntu!

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Duck Duck Go!

I talked about DuckDuckGo.com 2 years ago on this blog. Back then it was something I stumbled upon on some now forgotten Ubuntu forum or blog.

Since then I have used it on and off.

It was a little too simple for me back then.

It has done a lot of growing up though in 2 years.

In many ways DDG is a lot like the open source community at large. It's not being developed only by those on the DuckDuckGo.com payroll, which is good because there is only one person on that payroll,  Gabriel Weinberg.

It is being developed by a large community of individuals, much like the open source projects running today.

Not only has Weinberg and his helpful voluntary staff accomplished a lot, but there is a lot still on there To Do list.

To check out the growing DDG community, go to http://duck.co/

Just like all the search engines today, DDG is continuously changing, but with the intent still on anonymity for the user, which is one of the big reasons I was drawn to it in the first place.

DDG doesn't track you. They also don't filter bubble you.

There's a video on this page that explains this better than I can:

My 2 favorite reasons for using DDG as my homepage are,

1: Quick Loading. On a slow broadband connection, Google is so massively entangled in it's own "services a plenty" that it can be quite slow to load.

2: I don't get the strange, useless ads I get on Google. If you where to search for feces on Google, you will get search results like "buy feces here!" or "buy feces now!"

I am not a Google hater. Google has many services I love. Gmail, Google Calendars, this blog, Google Image search, just to name a few.

And that brings me to my next point. The DDG crew know they can't duplicate all the wonderful services Google and Bing offer. So instead of recreating the wheel, DDG lets you directly use those services though DDG, like Google Image search.

Try out DuckDuckGo.com today, I think you will be pleasantly suprised.

P.S. Here is a list of all the DDG Goodies. It will probably do a much better job of explaining the awesome uses for DuckDuckGo then I can.


Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Watchtower Library disappears from Ubuntu Unity bar

***   Update for Ubuntu 64 bit users below   ***

I noticed a bug for Wine applications and the Unity side bar found in Ubuntu 12.04.

If you use Unity, you might have had this problem too.

Wine applications for some reason do not want to stay in the Unity sidebar. After several reboots I noticed every time the Watchtower Library Icon I had put there just disappeared after reboot.

My solution was to use a program called alacarte. You can get alacarte by looking in the Ubuntu Software Center for it, or by typing: sudo apt-get install alacarte in the terminal.

In alacarte, first you click on the category you want to add your new menu entry in. I chose "other" simply because none of the pre-defined category options really fits with the Watchtower Library.

You can choose "new menu" and make a new category if you want. Since my goal was simply to get the icon to stay put on the Unity bar, other worked fine for this.

click to enlarge picture

I then clicked inside the other category menu entries to make sure alacarte registered me as making changes in that category. I then clicked on the button marked 'new item'.

I got a box that looked like this:

click to enlarge picture

Inside that box, in the name field i put "Watchtower Library 2011" (without the quote marks, of coarse)

Then in the Command field I put this command:

wine /home/denny/.wine/drive_c/Program\ Files/Watchtower/Watchtower\ Library\ 2011/E/wtlibrary.exe

This command will change for every person. My account name for Ubuntu is denny. If your account name where oscar for instance, then you would want it to look like this:

wine /home/oscar/.wine/drive_c/Program\ Files/Watchtower/Watchtower\ Library\ 2011/E/wtlibrary.exe.

I then changed my icon by clicking on the icon button on the left of the new item window. Usually this looks like a springboard.

Once I did this, I was prompted with a file prompt box, and I had to tell alacarte where the icon I wanted was.

Here's what that box looks like:

click to enlarge picture

Once all that is done, I hit ok, and closed out alacarte.

Now when you look for Watchtower Library in the search box at the top of the Unity bar, you will see 2 entries for it. The one made by you, and the one made by Wine.

The one made by you will not have the "Watchtower Library 2011 - English" name, it will simply be what you named it. If you followed my lead, it will be called "Watchtower Library 2011".

Here's my example:

click to enlarge picture
Once you drag the proper icon (or menu entry, whatever you want to call this) to the Unity bar (and it seats itself) it will be there no matter how many times you reboot.

As a side note, this will need to be changed every year. It will be rather simple, just go back into alacarte, and edit your menu entry in "other" or whatever category you installed it in.

The change will look like this once you uninstall the 2011 library and install the 2012 library:

wine /home/denny/.wine/drive_c/Program\ Files/Watchtower/Watchtower\ Library\ 2012/E/wtlibrary.exe

*Remember, replace "denny" with your username, unless your username is denny. :)

This change should be the same for recurring years, i.e. 2013, 2014, etc... That is unless the brothers make a serious change as to how the library is stored in the /home/(username here)/.wine/ directory.

I hope this has been of help to you, if you have any questions, feel free to comment here, or email me at dennygoot@gmail.com

***   Update for Ubuntu 64 bit users   ***

I found out, by accident, that my little wine command above only works for 32 bit version of Ubuntu.

Here is my 64 bit correction:

wine /home/denny/.wine/drive_c/Program\ Files\ (x86)/Watchtower/Watchtower\ Library\ 2011/E/wtlibrary.exe

Again, you have to swap "denny" for your username. I.E., if your username is susan, it will look like this:

wine /home/susan/.wine/drive_c/Program\ Files\ (x86)/Watchtower/Watchtower\ Library\ 2011/E/wtlibrary.exe

The only change is that Program\ Files\ now says Program\ Files\ (x86).

Without this, you will NOT get wine running the Watchtower Library in your alacarte menu entry.


Monday, September 3, 2012

How to add your console apps to the menu

I noticed while looking over app choices people make, that console apps get ignored a lot because there is no Unity, Gnome, XFCE or LXDE menu entry for them.

If you have to open terminal and remember what to type, people aren't interested in using them, it seems.

I did some digging a few years back and have been using Terminator as my terminal emulator.

One of the great features with Terminator is you can pass it complicated instructions.

I am going to show you how I made easy to use menu entries with Terminator and the menu entry program Alacarte.

One of the first menu entries I made was for the program IRSSI.

To do this I needed to make an entry using Alacarte.

In Alacarte, I first clicked on the category that I wanted my app to be in. In this case "Internet" seemed the best choice.

Then I clicked the "New Item" button. This button will have a + symbol next to it.

As the picture shows below, you then have to add the name of the item and the command.

Click this picture to enlarge it.
The name for this item is simple enough, since my command logged me directly into freenode with my nick and password, I call it Freenode.

I could just start IRSSI, in which I would call the item IRSSI. The name of the item is entirely up to you.

Once you give the item a name, you can change the icon if you wish by clicking on the current icon's picture. In the picture above, it is a road cone.

Here is where Terminator comes in handy. There are 2 options here. If I just wanted to start IRSSI from the menu item I am creating, i can use the command: terminator -e irssi.

But I want it to go to the server irc.freenode.org, and to log me in with my registered nick and password.

So here is where the second option for terminator is so useful. The command to do all of this is: terminator -x irssi --connect=irc.freenode.org --nick=(add your nick here) --password=(add you password)

The -x option (or flag, as some call it) for Terminator allows me to pass a complex command with it's options to Terminator.

Once I have put all of this in the "command" section and hit Ok button (not shown in the picture above because the item was already created) then I now have a menu entry in Unity, Gnome, XFCE or LXDE that will launch my terminal, run IRSSI, and log me into freenode with my registered nick and password.

All of that done by choosing the menu entry I created now, Instead of having to open the terminal and remember all of that off the top of my head or dig around for an automated script I made earlier.

I personally use this option to make MOC my media player, to open my gmail with links, and a few other things I wanted at my fingertips.

Thanks to Terminator, and this wonderful option, you can automate just about any console work you have.

And thanks to Alacarte, you can put that automation into a menu option for ease of use by yourself and those who use your system.

I hope you found this little tutorial I made useful. I use my Freenode menu entry and my MOC menu entry daily.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Brasero burning issue

A week ago I had a unique project of taking an audio tape from the 90's and turning it into mp3's.

It's not a hard task, but it is long and slightly tedious.

I noticed though, after two attempts at burning, that I was making what computer geeks call "frisbees".

A frisbee is an improperly burned CD/DVD that will not work.

Brasero displayed an error saying it could not eject the disc. It then asked me to eject the disc manually.

Not a problem, until you notice that no matter how many times you eject the disc, Brasero is still asking you to do so.

Then when you ultimately hit cancel, you have your frisbee, which gets flung into the trash can at a high rate of speed.

The problem may have to do with not using the root user account, or with the fact that Linux distributions use different directories for the media cd mount directory.

In either case, I found that making your own temp directory in /home/user is the solution, for now.

Remember, /home/user is different for everyone. Mine is /home/denny/.

So I made a directory in /home/denny/ called temp. Now I have a directory tree that looks like this: /home/denny/temp/.

Now when you fire up Brasero, in the second screen it will have an option for choosing the temp directory.

It will look something like this:

But we do NOT want that temporary files option to read /var/tmp or anything else besides the /home/user/temp directory we made earlier. For instance, on my Brasero I want it to read /home/denny/temp.

The last step is a strange one. If Brasero gives you the same error it gave me, that it could not open the CD tray, and no matter how many times you open and close the cd tray it still shows the error, then you will have to hit cancel.

Hitting that cancel button seems like the last thing you would ever want to do, but by changing the temp directory to the one you created in /home/user, you should still have a fully burnt and functional CD or DVD.

In other words your Frisbee making days should be over. :)

Saturday, July 28, 2012

My tips for great deals on computers...

I was asked not too long ago by the neighbor kid how I manage to get deals on computers.

I explained to him that the first thing I do is try to buy a computer without Windows, that saves me some money.

But that's for Linux geeks like me, who are going to just wipe the hard drive anyways and install Ubuntu, OpenSuse, Fedora, or CrunchBang the first chance they get.

For someone like my neighbor kid Jimmy who wants Windows, this is not an option.

He "needs" Windows to play his video games.

I am sure by now some Linux geek is going to point out to me that you can play video games on Linux too.

I know, been there, done that.

But to tell the customer you have to tweak this and run a no cd patch for that... to get a Windows game running on Linux, it just isn't what the customer wants to hear.

So this is the list of companies I use to obtain computers with or without Windows for my not for profit computer repair organization, Denny's Computers.

First off is my tried and true computer drop shipment company, 3BTech.net.

These guys offer decent hardware at excellent prices.

The only downfall I have with 3BTech.net is they sell ChiefMax power supplies. which in my opinion is a bad power supply manufacturer.

I have had ChiefMax power supplies go out so often, half of the time frying out the computer you just purchased, that I can no longer in good conscience sell a computer with their product in it.

I have been working with 3BTech for about a decade, good people willing to help.

Secondly, and carefully, I use Pricewatch.com.

I say carefully because Pricewatch is not who you will buy the computers from, Pricewatch is just a service that searches for the lowest prices on the net for any given item.

A great service, but the companies you are directed to CAN be shady.

Don't buy from a Pricewatch sight until you are as certain as you can be that the company you are dealing with is reputable.

Pricewatch is a great bargain, but also a "buyer beware" market.

Third, I add Walmart.

Yeah, this is a Walmart plug. ???

No not really. I have been accidentally, and pleasantly surprised by Walmart's desktop and laptop prices though.

And "ship to store" means that if the computer you want isn't in the store, you can still get it without paying for shipping, which is a nice bonus.

I stumbled upon Walmart's deals though Pricewatch.com, of all places.

The very last place I shop for computers at is Ebay.com. If I have a customer that simply can't swing anything on the 3 currently stated websites, then I very carefully check out Ebay items.

If Pricewatch.com is a buyer beware market, then Ebay is a "don't shop in their without a detachment of Marines" market. A lot of things are shipped from overseas, are of low quality, and have a tendency to arrive DOA. (Dead on arrival)

In closing, I cannot stress the importance of being a careful shopper at Pricewatch, and especially Ebay, enough. BE CAREFUL!

I also suggest that if you are really strapped for cash and need a cheap computer, to check out 3BTech.net and Walmart's "out of lease" computers. Just like a car, after so many years the lease is up, and the computer is now more affordable, having been used.

Good computer hunting!

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Ubuntu 12.04 changes to Chinese, with no option for English

I wanted to write this article, because I have personally had this problem 3 times. I am not certain who causes this issue, but thanks to the good people at AskUbuntu, I changed it back to English.

I can personally vouch for just how amazingly frustrating this is... so here is the fix, as is stated at http://askubuntu.com/questions/132347/gnome-classic-language-turned-into-chinese-how-do-i-change-it-back-to-english/132350#132350 ...

*** NOTE! ***
My screen did NOT say english, it had a chinese character... However, i still followed these instructions and had my language turned back into english. Pick the top language! 

- Beginning of answer at AskUbuntu -

Click on your username in the upper right corner of the screen, and choose the bottom option in the menu that pops out.
User menu
In the dialog that opens, the second option allows you to change your language.
User account
Change it back to English, or whatever language you like. Then, reboot.
I have the same problem y I solved just one min ago.
You have to select the first lenguage option, and then relogin the Gnome session.
NOTE: if you do any changes from the Unity session, you will not sew a result.

- End of answer at AskUbuntu -
I have posted a bug report at Launchpad.net. it is visible here:

If you have had the same issues, please consider telling them it affects you as well...

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

15 Web Alternatives to Popular Desktop Software

I stumbled upon this in the most unlikely of places, StumbleUpon.com.

All kidding aside, This article opened my eyes. I didn't realize just how many options where available for web based applications. I knew there where a decent amount for pda's and phones, but these are also available for the desktop or laptop user.

Here is the list compiled by the author of 15 Web Alternatives to Popular Desktop Software, Ken Shi.

I think you should take a good look at these, they are all high quality software.

The only thing I don't like is moving away from the open source platform of Linux/Unix.

15 Web Alternatives to Popular Desktop Software
Web applications have come a long way. They used to be amateur imitations of their desktop counterparts, with only one or two functions and not at all practical. But my, have these web apps grown. Web apps these days have become so powerful and useful that in some cases, they’ve begun to replace desktop software.
Desktop programs are great and all, but they don’t provide the same benefits as web apps that make use of cloud computing. With most web apps, you only need a browser and an internet connection to access all your data online. That beats having to install annoying programs any day. To give you a better sense of how useful web apps have become, I’ve compiled a list of web tools and apps that can very well replace some desktop programs. I hope you take the time to try them all out. You’ll be surprised how well they work.
Without further ado, here are some great web alternatives to the popular desktop programs we all love.


Replaces: Microsoft PowerPoint
Sliderocket is a fully functional presentation web app that allows you to create, manage, edit, and share presentations on the fly. It offers many of the same features present in PowerPoint and then some. Sliderocket is an awesome tool and if you want to read more about it, take a look at our in-depth review of Sliderocket.


Replaces: Microsoft Office, Adobe Acrobat
Acrobat.com is a suite of web applications by Adobe that replaces your office suite. The online suite includes services like Buzzword, Tables, and Presentation which replace Microsoft Word, Excel, and Powerpoint respectively. Acrobat.com also offers other features, allowing users to convert files into PDFs, hold online meetings, and collaborate with one another. All of its services are free (with some limitations), but users can subscribe to different plans for more features. Check out the pricing section for more details.


Replaces: Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator, Soundbooth
We have already covered a list of online image editors, and of that list, my favorite would have to be Aviary. The Aviary web suite offers powerful tools that allow you to edit images, vectors, and even audio! Take a look at the huge list of the tools included in their suite:
• Phoenix: Image Editor
• Toucan: Color Editor
• Myna: Audio Editor
• Peacock: Effects Editor
• Raven: Vector Editor
• Falcon: Image Markup
• Roc: Music Creator. Check out our in-depth review of Roc.


Replaces: Quicken
If you’re still using Quicken to manage your money, it’s time to toss it out and move on to the better solution: Mint.com. Mint is a very popular personal-finance tool that allows you to keep track your credit card transactions, balance your budget, and create charts or graphs to help you visualize your spending. Mint is the free and secure way to manage your money online. In fact, Mint has been so successful that the makers of Quicken and TurboTax purchased it in 2009. What are you waiting for? Hurry up and sign up!


Replaces: Desktop Gaming
Forget about your desktop gaming – why waste space when you can play awesome games online? Kongregate is an online gaming community with a library of over 30,000 flash games. Not only do you have access to a variety of games, but you can also gain points, chat, and unlock achievements for the games you play. Developers can upload their own games and even make money off ad revenue for their games! If you’re looking for more online games to replace desktop games, take a look at our game roundups.


Replaces: Video Editing Software
JayCut is a very easy to use and powerful online video editor. With Jaycut, you can create videos with the same tools used in desktop programs. Add clips, transitions, audio, effects, and more with their simple UI. When you finish editing a video, you can choose to download it or export it directly to YouTube. Export up to 20 videos a month with 2GB of storage under a free plan, or pay monthly for a better plan.


Replaces: Unzipping Software
Have you ever tried to open a compressed file only to find out you don’t have the right unzipping software to do the job? In comes WobZip, an online tool that helps you uncompress your files. It supports a variety of compression formats, including the popular ZIP, RAR, and 7z formats. You can upload a zipped file from your computer or direct WobZip to a URL. The best part? WobZip will scan the files using BitDefender to make sure there isn’t a nasty virus lurking around.


Replaces: File Conversion Software
Instead of downloading dozens of different programs to convert a file, you can always use the Zamzar, the free online file conversion tool. Can’t open a crucial .docx or .pptx file and your boss is screaming in your ear? No problem, just upload and convert your files using Zamzar. Zamzar supports dozens of image, document, video, and music formats and is the only tool you will ever need to convert files.


Replaces: TV Tuner Software
I’m a cheap guy who spends all his time on the computer. How could I watch my favorite TV shows without leaving my computer? Well, I could purchase a TV tuner and install their lame software or I could head to Hulu.com and watch my favorite shows for free. Hulu is a website that offers streaming video of popular TV shows and movies in the US. It is ad supported, but allows you to watch your favorite shows from the comfort of your computer. Although Hulu is a U.S. only website, there are ways to access Hulu from outside the U.S.


Replaces: Desktop Chat Clients
With Meebo, you can chat with your friends from anywhere as long as you have a browser and an internet connection. Meebo is an online tool that allows you to login to any major IM network, including AIM, MSN, GTalk, and Facebook. You don’t even need to create an account, just input your IM information and you’re ready to go. If you take the 20 seconds to set up a Meebo account, you can login to multiple accounts at once. This sure beats downloading and managing three IM programs at once, doesn’t it?


Replaces: Video Chat
TokBox is an online video chatting app that enables you to chat with up to 20 people for free. There are no downloads required, just sign up and start a video chat! Invite your friends via social networks or IM and set up a chat in just minutes. TokBox is free to use, but if you’d like more options, you can sign up for monthly plans. TokBox may be free, but you’re going to need your own microphone and webcam.


Replaces: iTunes
You may have a huge iTunes library, but what happens when you go out and forget to bring your iPod along? Moof is the solution. Moof is another web app that streams music online, but I think of it as an iTunes alternative. You can export your entire iTunes library as an .xml file and upload that to Moof, so you can have a full backup of your music online. Where does Moof get all its music from? Youtube. Yeah, I know, it’s a little disappointing, but the quality isn’t that bad. Don’t like Moof? Check out our roundup of the top apps for music streaming.

ESET Online Virus Scanner

Replaces: Anti-Virus Software
While the ESET Online Virus scanner is a great alternative to Anti-Virus programs, you shouldn’t literally replace your Anti-Virus program. Think of this tool as a backup tool, in case your Anti-Virus software malfunctions. Made by the folks that brought you NOD32, the ESET online scanner uses the same threat signatures as NOD32 and allows you to scan your computer from your browser. It may take a while, but after the scan, suspicious files will be quarantined for you to restore or permanently delete. A great tool for your security toolbox.


Replaces: BitTorrent Client
When you don’t have access to a BitTorrent client on your computer, you can use the BitLet app to download your torrents. BitLet is a Java based file sharing protocol that allows you to download torrent files from your browser. Just upload a .torrent file from your computer or direct BitLet to the torrent URL and it’ll do the rest for you.


Replaces: Operating System
We’ve already covered dozens of web alternatives to desktop software, but why not go a bit further and include a web app that replaces your entire operating system? Meet iCloud, the future of operating systems. iCloud is a very slick web operating system that gives you access to hundreds of built in applications, including an office suite, a media player, a chat client, nifty games, and much more. You have 3 GB of free storage and can opt to buy more if needed. You can get everything you need in this web OS. For those of you interested in Web OSes, be sure to read our article about other operating systems that utilize cloud computing.

- End of article at http://web.appstorm.net/roundups/15-web-alternatives-to-popular-desktop-software/ -

I normally wouldn't post another person's article verbatim like this, but Ken Shi did an awesome job on this, better than I personally could have done I think.

The question he poses at the end of his article is whether or not this will eventually sound the death knell of desktop and laptop software, using only online solutions.

The question that comes to my mind is, will this sound the death knell of open source software.

I hope in both cases the answer is no. There is a lot to be gained by doing everything in the cloud, but there is something to be lost as well.

I will leave this question to be answered by you.