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Posts published in “Tutorial”

‘Meeting for Good’ – Schedule Meetings in Multiple Time Zones

The Screening Room

One of the great joys of open source is that it can unite geographically dispersed people to work together on software and other projects. This often happens asynchronously, via email and other tools. However, sometimes there are real benefits to having a live meeting. When that happens, keeping track of people’s availability in different time zones becomes a challenge.

Phil ShapiroPhil Shapiro

For the past 10 years, Phil has been working at a public library in the Washington D.C.-area, helping youth and adults use the 28 public Linux stations the library offers seven days a week. He also writes for MAKE magazine, Opensource.com and TechSoup Libraries. Suggest videos by contacting Phil on Twitter or at pshapiro@his.com.

Using SlideWiki for OpenCourseWare

Open source is about much more than free (as in beer and speech) software and hardware designs. It’s being harnessed to do things like bring free or affordable health care to undeveloped nations, and as the underpinning for free education.

The Screening Room

Collaborative teaching and learning can theoretically occur via a text wiki, but SlideWiki looks like it goes far beyond text wikis. This Google Hangout explains the rich feature set of SlideWiki, including machine translated versions of your digital presentations.

Phil ShapiroPhil Shapiro

For the past 10 years, Phil has been working at a public library in the Washington D.C.-area, helping youth and adults use the 28 public Linux stations the library offers seven days a week. He also writes for MAKE magazine, Opensource.com and TechSoup Libraries. Suggest videos by contacting Phil on Twitter or at pshapiro@his.com.

Review of BeansBooks, Released Under ‘Open Code’ License

Before using BeansBooks, be sure to take a look at its “open code” license, which is a free software license but incompatible with the GPL and all GPL compatible licenses, whether “copyleft” or “permissive.”

The Screening Room

Open software often reduces the barrier to entry for small businesses. FOSS fans might well have heard of personal and small-business accounting software GnuCash, which is taught in the Penn Manor School District in Lancaster, Pennsylvania and described in Charlie Reisinger’s book The Open Schoolhouse. Less well known is BeanBooks, an “open code” SaaS accounting program created by the well-known folks at System76, which came onto my radar just recently. This screencast review of the software does a good job showing you its features.

Phil ShapiroPhil Shapiro

For the past 10 years, Phil has been working at a public library in the Washington D.C.-area, helping youth and adults use the 28 public Linux stations the library offers seven days a week. He also writes for MAKE magazine, Opensource.com and TechSoup Libraries. Suggest videos by contacting Phil on Twitter or at pshapiro@his.com.

Four Things a New Linux User Should Know

When you move from “that other operating system” to Linux, you’re going to find that in most ways you’ll be in familiar territory. However, that’s not always the case. We sometimes do things a little differently around here.

Linux

If you’re making the move from Windows or Mac (or even from Android or iOS), welcome to our world.

These days, using Linux for doing everyday computer tasks isn’t that much different than using other operating systems — meaning the learning curve is only slight. In fact, my colleague Phil Shapiro works at a library that uses Linux on the computers its patrons use and says that hardly anyone even notices they’re not using Windows. It’s that easy.

However, there are some things about using Linux that are quite a bit different — and we think better — than with the other brands. Here’s a brief heads up on some things that might be good for you to know before you cross the bridge from you-don’t-realy-own-it Windows to free-open-and-yours Linux.

Christine HallChristine Hall

Christine Hall has been a journalist since 1971. In 2001, she began writing a weekly consumer computer column and started covering Linux and FOSS in 2002 after making the switch to GNU/Linux. Follow her on Twitter: @BrideOfLinux

Growing Young FOSS Programmers With Help of Scratch and Al Sweigart

If your young child is showing an interest in learning computers, an introduction to Scratch and these instructional videos by Al Sweigart might be in order.

The Screening Room

Scratch Cat
Scratch Cat, the programming language’s mascot.

Talented book author Al Sweigart is a name familiar to many in the FOSS community. He writes books for kids and for adults — including the recently released Scratch Playground. Scratch is a free visual programming language developed at MIT Media Lab as an introduction to computer programming.

His zeal and talent for explaining is remarkable. I’ve been enjoying the “60 Second Scratch” screencasts (explanatory videos) he has been uploading to YouTube in the past two weeks. For example, check out this little gem:

Phil ShapiroPhil Shapiro

For the past 10 years, Phil has been working at a public library in the Washington D.C.-area, helping youth and adults use the 28 public Linux stations the library offers seven days a week. He also writes for MAKE magazine, Opensource.com and TechSoup Libraries. Suggest videos by contacting Phil on Twitter or at pshapiro@his.com.

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