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GNU/Linux Free Software & Open Source News

Launching Notasbit, a website for tech news in Spanish

notasbit_preview
For the past year I’ve been on a radio show on Tuesdays talking about the tech news of the week. I started by hunting down the most important stories, writing my script in Spanish and then broadcasting it.

One day I thought it would be a good idea to put my scripts as posts in a tech news blog. I started the blog and it was a place for people listening to the news and wanted to know more or check out the photos or videos about them with links to the original sources.

But later with work loads I could barely have time to hunt for the news, so the blog languished. I couldn’t do all that extra work besides my main day job.

So as an engineer, I decided to automate things. Notasbit.com is no longer a news blog. It is now an automated tech news website. Notasbit is the point of reference for the most interesting tech news in Spanish. The site links to the latest posts from many Spanish language tech and science news websites and sorts the most important ones at the top of the list. It differentiates itself from a simple RSS feed reader with this algorithm, so you don’t have to dig into your several feeds to find the best articles. You can also see a list of all news gathered sorted by the time they were published.

I’ll be adding more enhancements and features that will help improve the selection of the best news. Many experts say that the projects consumed by their makers are the best ones, since you have to “eat your own dog food”. I’ll see if that happens in my case.

I really hope people enjoy Notasbit.com. For me, it will ease my task of hunting down news for the radio show and will also serve as the point of reference for people who listen to me and want to know more.

Let me know if you like the site or if you have any suggestions in the comments below.

Categories
News

Google Keep shadowed by Google Reader and Notebook

Google notebook

Google released Keep, a note-taking application that allows you to save your todo lists, notes, web clips, audios, photos, etc. and it stores everything in your Google Drive account. With the recent notice of Google Reader being shut down, this new application release has been badly received by users that are questioning Google’s trust on keeping a service alive for long, even when it has a lot of usage.

The funny thing about Keep is that this is the second incarnation of the service. The previous attempt was called Google Notebook and also got killed in July 2012. Will Keep stay for long?

Om Malik, on Gigaom, advices that it is wiser to trust a small company whose core business is the service you need. Companies like Evernote and Dropbox only have one core product, and they concentrate on improving it and keeping it useful since it is their core business. Google has a lot of products and services and it’s not a big deal to kill any of them at any given time.

The problem on depending on web services is not new and I’ve been talking about it several times. Companies come and go and people are trusting their services with their information. This is why it is important to create and use free network services. Owncloud is an alternative to cloud backup services like Dropbox. For note taking I’m not aware of any FAIF web service but applications like Tomboy (Gnome) or BasKet (KDE) are good desktop options. I personally use Emacs Org-mode and sync it with MobileOrg.

Will you use Google Keep or stay with Evernote or other similar service providers? Do you know any free web alternative to these? Let me know in the comments!

Categories
News Photography

Snapseed for Android vs Instagram

Snapseed

After Google bought Nik Software, makers of the then iOS-only app Snapseed, today they have released it for Android and for free! Snapseed is a very easy to use photo app to edit and enhance your shots.

Editing photos with Snapseed is very easy and the results are good. But let me compare it with the most popular photo sharing app right now: Instagram.

Filters

They both apply filters to photos. On Instagram you select the desired filter and see the preview instantly. You can’t select more than one filter on a photo. On Snapseed, not only you can apply several filters to a photo, but you can also tweak the settings of each filter.

instagram filters
snapseed filters

You have complete control over each effect you apply and that opens the posiblities to produce very interesting things. Snapseed not only applies filters to a photo, it can also straighten it, sharpen it and apply color correction on it.

snapspeed tweaking options
snapseed easy to use

Cropping

On Instagram all photos need to be square, and thus, you have to crop your images if you’re using the standard camera app on your device. Unless you use the Instagram camera app that takes only squared pictures, you will need to leave out something on your image when you crop it. Snapseed works with the full image, no matter the size. This includes panoramic and even the new photo sphere in Android 4.2.

instagram cropping
snapseed with panoramic photo

Social

The community is what is lacking in Snapseed, since it’s only a photo editing application, not a social network. But that is why Google has integrated it with Google+ and the photography community there is amazing. On Instagram you have a nice huge community but most of the pictures are not high quality material and since you can’t tweak the filters, you get the same feeling across multiple images and users. But even then, I love browsing the photos from my Twitter contacts that have accounts there, and double tapping to love their posts and explore new users to follow from what my peers have “loved” too.

With Snapseed you can stamp your own unique style to your shots and share them with the huge Google+ photography community. Over there, there’s more than just mobile photos of mirror self shots or coffee and food pictures. It’s a community with great professional and amateur photographers and good quality images. Also, it’s hard to browse and explore the Instagram social network from the browser. There’s been some improvements lately but still, it was not designed to be a web experience but a mobile one. Google+ is a very nice web and mobile experience and lets you post more than just your mobile photos.

instagram post
Google plus post via snapseed

Quality

One of my biggest rants about using Instagram is the quality of the images it produces. Since it was designed specifically for mobile devices and mobile sharing, the files are very compressed and with a very low quality. Here’s a sample of the same image before and after Instagram. You can see the difference in quality from miles away. For me, Instagram destroys your images and the only place they look good is on a mobile device (try printing your pictures!). Snapseed doesn’t compress the final image that much, so the result is a lot more enjoyable in any media.

instagram quality

Instagram quality

snapseed quality

Snapseed quality

Conclusion

I only use Instagram for it’s sharing capabilities. I can multi-post from one app to several social networks with one click. That part I do like. For the rest, I think that Snapseed covers most of my photo editing needs and it’s very good at that. Snapseed will give you all your photo editing needs on a full size image without completely destroying your image quality. They made it easy to share on Google+, naturally, but you can also send it to any other app with the standard “Share” button functionality, but it won’t be one click.

instagram sharing options
google plus post via snapseed

With all these competition for mobile photography, I wonder when will Flickr wake up and what will they do if they ever update and improve their poor and slow app.

Categories
Digital rights Law & Freedom GNU/Linux Free Software & Open Source News

YouTube offers Creative Commons licensing for video uploads

Today I uploaded my monster truck videos to YouTube and found the surprise that they are now offering the option to publish your videos under the Creative Commons Attribution license.

That is great news! YouTube is the biggest online video community and it was lacking this option, unlike its competitors Vimeo and Blip.tv.

But what does this mean?

Before this, all user uploads were licensed with full copyright, the famous “All Rights Reserved”, which means that if you want to use, distribute, share or remix (create a derivative work) you had to obtain explicit consent from the video author for doing so. This new option of licensing is a very important deal, because it meas that being the big video distributor that YouTube is, it will be a great platform for a lot of commons content that we can share, use and remix (of course, only material published under the CC-BY license by the author).

Although they are not giving users the ability to choose from all the six Creative Commons licenses available, they made a very smart choice of simplifying the options to the users by offering only the most free one. It benefits us all in the tech and culture worlds.

Free Culture = Free World

If you wish to change all your previously uploaded videos to CC license, you can go to your list of uploaded videos, mark the checkboxes on the left on all videos (or just mark the top one to auto select all), click the “Actions” button and select the menu option “Creative Commons (CC-BY)”.

I hope to see CC licensing in other Google products like Picasa web albums, like Flickr does. But anyways, the YouTube offer is a great milestone for Creative Commons. Lets just wait and see what new creations and remixes this move brings to the world.

Categories
News

Yahoo sells Delicious bookmarks to Youtube Founders

Del.icio.us logo

Good news to those still fans of the Del.icio.us social bookmarking site. On the delicious blog is now news that Yahoo! Inc has sold the property to the founders of YouTube, Chad Hurley and Steve Chen. Delicious will keep existing and will be part of their new company AVOS.

From the AVOS website, we read the following:

“We’re excited to work with this fantastic community and take Delicious to the next level,” said Chad Hurley, CEO of AVOS. “We see a tremendous opportunity to simplify the way users save and share content they discover anywhere on the web.”

That means that the service will continue to operate, and even better, to improve. So hopefully we can see a Firefox 4 compatible version of their browser plugin anytime soon. Lets see what else they come up with to improve the current site.

Some changes are already set. If you log in to your delicious account you will be prompted to confirm your authorization of migrating your data from Yahoo to the new Delicious home servers. If you do not authorize, your account will not be migrated and thus will be deleted.

I already signed up for the migration, and although I’ve been critical of proprietary software as a service solutions, I find delicious (and its firefox & chrome plugin integration) very handy and useful. I’d love to see free bookmarking services like Scuttle to improve to match Delicious, or see how Freelish.us develops, but in the mean time, I’m still a Delicious bookmarks user.

Categories
GNU/Linux Free Software & Open Source News

Freelish.us an alternative to Del.icio.us bookmarks plus microblogging

Freelish.us logo

The people from StatusNet have released freelish.us, intended to be a social bookmarking site to replace the almost dead del.icio.us. And I say intended because its more than that. Its actually a modified instance of the status.net microblogging software, so you can use it as you use identi.ca or twitter, but tags, links, images and videos get displayed differently than on the default versions, making it the perfect mix between microblogging and social bookmarking. You get all the benefits of the social and federated microblogging platform, like groups, tags and threaded conversations with your bookmarks.

You can import bookmarks from del.icio.us and there’s a bookmarklet so you can save any site quickly from your browser. The best part, is that you can also use Emacs Identica-mode with Freelish.us to save your bookmarks from Emacs!

I hope that these changes also make it to identi.ca to make it even more awesome than it is now.