Open Source Articles Authored by Jeff Macharyas
Published on Opensource.com
WordPress’ new content editor takes a radically different approach to designing web pages.
I recently attended WordCamp Toronto, where many of the speakers focused on Gutenberg. WordCamps are a series of one-day, community-driven, and informal WordPress conferences held around the world. Here’s some basic information you need to know.
Franz makes it easy to organize all your messages in one easily accessible place.
If you are like me, you use several different chat and messaging services during the day. Some are for work and some are for personal use, and I find myself toggling through a number of them as I move from apps to browser tabs—here, there, and everywhere.
The Franz website explains, “Being part of different communities often requires you to use different messaging platforms. You end up with lots of different apps and browser windows trying to stay on top of your messages and chats. Driven by that, we built Franz, a one-step solution to the problem.”
Open source SVG: The writing is on the wall
Animating text and objects on web pages is a great way to build user interest and engagement. There are several ways to achieve this, such as a video embed, an animated GIF, or a slideshow—but you can also use scalable vector graphics (SVG). An SVG image is different from, say, a JPG, because it is scalable without losing its resolution. A vector image is created by points, not dots, so no matter how large it gets, it will not lose its resolution or pixelate. An example of a good use of scalable, static images would be logos on websites.
Learn how to tell a story with TimelineJS.
TimelineJS 3 is an open source storytelling tool that anyone can use to create visually rich, interactive timelines to post on their websites. Reid Larson, research and scholarly communication librarian at Hamilton College in Clinton, New York, began searching for ways to combine open data and visualization to chronicle the history of Essex County (a county in northern New York that makes up part of the Adirondacks), in the 1990s, when he was the director of the Essex County Historical Society/Adirondack History Center Museum.
Just don’t forget the goggles and scarf.
Heard of Jenny Everywhere? Me neither, until I was looking for media to use for an open source character drawing contest I was involved in. As I Googled my way around the internet, I happened upon Jenny Everywhere. Jenny is described as “existing in every reality and being able to shift between realities.” Jenny Everywhere is also referred to as “The Shifter” and was created, according to Wintle, because there were no truly open source or public domain characters. This enables artists and writers to place the character into just about any medium they choose. There’s even a special day for people to send in their drawings and version of Jenny Everywhere every year on August 13. At Jennyeverywhereday.com, creators post their iterations of Jenny, and some have posted for years, like Elizabeth Beals, a fan from Georgia, who features her as a fiery redhead in a large red scarf.
To be a good graphic designer, you must be adept at using the profession’s tools, which for most designers today are the ones in the proprietary Adobe Creative Suite.
However, there are times that open source tools will get you out of a jam. For example, imagine you’re a commercial printer tasked with printing a file created in Adobe InDesign. You need to make a simple change (e.g., fixing a small typo) to the file, but you don’t have immediate access to the Adobe suite. While these situations are admittedly rare, open source tools like desktop publishing software Scribus and text editor Gedit can save the day.
Open Source by M. M. Frick
Casey Shenk is a vending-machine technician from Savannah, Georgia by day and blogger by night. Casey’s keen insights into the details of news reports, both true and false, lead him to unravel a global plot involving arms sales, the Middle East, Russia, Israel and the highest levels of power in the United States. Casey connects the pieces using “Open Source Intelligence,” which is simply reading and analyzing information that is free and open to the public.
I bought this book because of the title, just as I was learning about open source, three years ago. I thought this would be a book on open source fiction. Unfortunately, the book has nothing to do with open source as we define it. I had hoped that Casey would use some open source tools or open source methods in his investigation, such as Wireshark or Maltego, and write his posts with LibreOffice, WordPress and such. However, “open source” simply refers to the fact that his sources are “open.”
Although I was disappointed that this book was not what I expected, Frick, a Navy officer, packed the book with well-researched and interesting twists and turns. If you are looking for a book that involves Linux, command lines, GitHub, or any other open source elements, then this is not the book for you. (Recommendation and review by Jeff Macharyas)