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Discovering Perl Audio Converter

A while back I was looking for an easy way to manage my music collection. I wanted to keep high quality copies of my CD's so I figured a lossless codec like FLAC would be a good choice. The only problem was that not every device or computer supports FLAC. My solution was to keep the high quality FLAC recordings for my Linux systems, but convert to MP3 for everything else. It was in searching for an easy way to do this that I found Perl Audio Converter.

Perl Audio Converter is a great tool for converting audio files from one format to another. Need an obscure type? No problem. It supports MP2, MP3, Ogg Vorbis, FLAC, Shorten, Monkey Audio, FAAC (AAC/M4A/MP4), Musepack (MPC), Wavpack (WV), OptimFrog (OFR/OFS), TTA, LPAC, Kexis (KXS), AIFF, AC3, Lossless Audio (LA), BONK, AU, SND, RAW, VOC, SMP, RealAudio (RA/RAM), WAV, and WMA. You can even use it to rip directly from a CD.

Online Storage with JungleDisk

Most of us know we should backup our files, but even when we do it's usually not a fully thought out process and consists of dumping files to a CD/DVD or another hard drive in our homes. That's fine for most recovery situations, but what happens if you have a fire, flood, or your backup media also fails (this has happenned to me before).

Enter online storage. Amazon's S3™ service is an inexpensive way to store data online and JungleDisk makes it easy. At its heart JungleDisk is a WebDAV server that enables easy access to Amazon's servers. The beauty of it is that you can access the files easily through your existing file manager. No more clucky web interfaces or inability to use a favorite backup program.

iPod Audio, Photo, and Video Tools for Linux

From the moment Apple first launched the iPod it has been a spectacular hit. First with a single audio only version, then adding other sizes, photo viewing, and video capability. Besides the iPod itself, iTunes software was a key component that made it easy to manage for Mac users. Eventually Windows support was added, but what about Linux?

iTunes still hasn't made it to Linux, and probably won't, however there are tools available for everything except the iTunes music store and support for DRM protected files. Tools for using an iPod with Linux can be broken up into four categories: file management, audio, photos, and video; although there is overlap between them.

Switching from Windows to Linux using VMware Player

If you didn't just recently start using a computer, chances are your first time using Linux comes after switching from Windows. For most people this involves two key challenges: getting used to a different windowing interface; and learning to use new applications. These days the first challenge is getting ever easier with the KDE and Gnome desktops continuing to improve and distros adding better hardware configuration tools. It's the second challenge, however, that still continues to confound many of us.

Years of training in Photoshop is hard to replace overnight, and even though programs like the GIMP are feature equivalent in the areas that most users will ever need, there might be that one feature that you can't live without.

Konqueror your Desktop with KIO Slaves

KIO slaves are some of the most useful features of the KDE desktop, but many users aren't aware they exist. You probably use some of them know without even realizing it. A kioslave is a protocol that provides support for individual protocols that may provide access to files, web sites, and more. Below I will outline some of the most popular and most interesting kioslaves.

This listing is far from complete. The full list of KIO slaves installed on your system can be found by running KInfoCenter and checking the Protocols section.

Model Train Design with XTrkCad

One cool program that caught my eye is XTrkCad. It won't appeal to everyone, but for any model train enthusiasts out there it might be just the thing you need to design your next track.

Drupal and Quanta: A Winning Combination

Any of you who subscribe to this blog's RSS feed will notice that there haven't been any new posts in a while. The reason is simple, and no doubt obvious when you look at the site that surrounds these words. I've been working on the new design since I realized that I could either add a lot of the features I wanted to manually, or I could switch to a Content Management System (CMS). When I first started Linux App Finder I didn't even know that CMS's even existed, but one of the benefits to creating a database of Linux applications is that I find some really interesting ones that I want to try out.

The original site design consisted entirely of custom HTML and PHP code written in Quanta. It worked well for a while, but I started to get frustrated about how much time it was taking to make a blog entry, post some news about the site, or add features like a site-wide login. I resisted the move at first because it would be a significant effort and I didn't want to rewrite everything that didn't fit in with the structure of what I already had. Fortunately I had run across Drupal in a few articles and had seen a lot of sites I liked that used it. After reading through their website a bit, I decided to give it a try. Before I continue I should state that I picked Drupal because what I saw of it appealed to me and it felt right. I never tried any of the alternatives so I can't give a direct comparison.

Run Command Line Apps From A GUI

I came across a neat program today called Kaptain. Its premise is simple, but it may be a solution for those who don't like the command line, or have trouble remembering the available switches, but don't know of a good graphical alternative.

Kaptain displays a graphical interface with radio or check boxes for available switches and text boxes for everything else. A brief sampling of the supported programs is listed below.

  • find
  • grep
  • ls
  • tar
  • wget
  • whois

A template script is needed in order for an app to be supported. There are many useful apps included by default, but you can also add your own. Documentation can be found here.

How Do You Find Apps?

I've been doing some thinking recently on how everyone searches for an app. So far I have identified the five primary methods that are listed below. Please drop by the forums and let everyone know how you do it. We'd love to hear from you and will use the comments to better tailor this site to meet your needs. Stories about what you have had a hard time finding on Linux App Finder would be great.

In the descriptions below I'll explain what I came up with and also state how Linux App Finder either supports it or some ways that are being considered.

My Search for a DVD Ripper

I'm currently in the process of writing a comparison of available DVD ripping programs for GNU/Linux. I picked the best contenders that I'm aware of and compared their features and ease of use. The goal was finding the best app for converting the main movie of a DVD to a single file playable on any computer and the winner is a surprising one (at least to me since I almost didn't include it). As a bonus I threw in a few apps targeted at creating DVD ISO's for burning back to a rewritable disk. Hopefully it will be ready to go within a week. Keep an eye on the News RSS feed for an announcement.

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