Free Paint program for Mac OS X

As most of you might already know, I really like Apple products, especially their shiny new computers with Mac OS X. They keep saying its read out-of-the-box and you can do whatever you want from Day one. no other software necessary. its actually true. but there is one software missing that I can't beleive they did not include. Its a Paint program. There is no paint program shipped with Apple. I suppose its because most Apple user used to be designer and all needed Photoshop. but I don't need photoshop, I don't want to pay for it and I don't want to pirate it either.

So here comes, I have taken a screenshot for my desktop (for my next post) onto my clipboard and I need to paste it somewhere. Holding onto my paste I am hunting down Free Paint software for OSX.

I actually found quite a few.

First google result returns TuxPaint, some kind of kiddish paint program. Probably very good for 3-5 years old kid who wants to learn how to use the mouse and draw stuff. but ain't really what I was looking for.

Then I remembered the obvious The Gimp. Being a Linux user for many years, I know The Gimp as the de-facto imaging program under linux. But The Gimp still requires X11 to run, which is not as slick as I would expect and X11 also prevented me from pasting my image contect onto the gimp. BAD. Good news is that it got much faster than it was last year. anyway, lets move on.

ArtRage another totally different alternative. I could not do what I wanted but I discover what many people might like to play with. The paint tool is a pleasure to use. for all the artistic people within you, try this one out. its something to see going.

more seriously there is Seashore which is a port of the Gimp apparently. Mac-ized. Pretty sweet. I've done what I needed pretty quickly. It also got much stabler that last time I tried it, about a year ago. definitely a good pick.

and The one that is gonna stick into my applications folder. Pixen. just like Seashore I've been able to do what I needed. but it just look slicker. ain't a port of something else. worked perfectly. well actually now that I remember correctly, it crashed on the first paste. but I restarted the application and it worked fine.

so conclusion both Pixen and Seashore are good pics. ArtRage deserve a try for his artistic behaviour and if you got a kid you might want to install TuxPaint, just and only for him ;)

Happy painting ;)

Update: apparently PhotoShop Elements is also very good and inexpensive (ie. cheaper than Photoshop ... $150US) but I have not tried it as I was looking for something Free.

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Posted in , , | Posted on 03 Oct 2006 17:00by somekool |

The joy of WengoPhone and VoIP

I was using skype quite often before and quite like it too. they've done a pretty amazing job. Yet, there was many little things I was not happy with and I keep this old habbit to try out what's available see If I could not find any better. The main reasons I wanted something else is because release for Windows, MacOSX and Linux are not in sync and features sets are so different, it's quickly becoming different software. While they first advertise their software to be using Qt and full cross plateform. I remember The KDE News Site advertising Skype as this freshly created startup that commercially use Qt and we were all so excited about getting a decent VoIP cross-plateform. The other reason is, I never got it to work under Linux. If you have a desktop, with one simple sound card and a stupid basic microphone plug onto it, it should work. but if you have a laptop, with some weird sound card, a USB mic, or worse a USB webcam with internal microphone. just forget about it. There is tons of hacks around the internet. but seriously. none works. and think about it, when you want to call your mother and you are paying for a software, hacking around is not really what you want to spend time on.

So times has changes now, and there is various alternative. Gizmo and WengoPhone to name the two most serious ones. Both free, opensource and available on all commun plateform. There is others choices under linux, but I would want to make them appear worth than they are so I'm just not gonna name them.

So, few months ago, I decided to give a serious try to WengoPhone and bought 10Euro worth of credit. cost me roughly 14.50$can. They had a god promotion such as If you were buying credits, you would not used them. That's it fee calls. Sounded weird, but I tried it. So it last about a month, I could call my family for free, seeing my credits jammed at 10.22Euro.

To that point, things were great. I was using my girlfriends windows computer and I could do my calls for free. I was also looking for a cheaper altertive over to skype and Wengo is definitely cheaper.

but then a few flaws started to appear. You contact list is local to your wengo install. so if you switch computer, user, or reinstall wengo, you'll loose your contact list. I learned quickly how to not use their contact list and just use my address book for the number I have not memorize. Something a user should never have to do. Also, if there is two user logon on your windows machine at the same time, only one instance of Wengo can run at the same time, the second one simply won't launch.

As wengo is a french company, and all calls are virtually routed from France, every occupied-messages, dialing-error-messages or any type of message you usually hear from your phone company is in French. bonus points for people who doesn't understand french.

but the windows client works, well, the old version. the latest beta crash on started up. I submitted a bug report more than a month ago and nothing has changed, so I have to use the version 0.99

At work, I am using Mac, the beta version of Mac works. well, I have to launch it 3 times as it crashes on startup as well. but after 3-5 crash it seems to figure out his way through and then I can makes calls. weird? funny? I don't know but it's certainny nor fun nor quick to use.

So today I went on their website again to see if they had release a new beta. unfortunately not, but what I noticed though is the fact they are stating their BETA for PPC is "For advanced users only" while the BETA for Intel isn't. Well, it could be true, but let me doubt here. the look of this strangly look like a copy paste of the Win32 version, which states the BETA is "For advanced users only" but the 0.99 version not. which makes sense. so they copy/pasted this block, replace the version for the proper Mac version, but forgot they were both beta and they did not duplicated the warning for advanced users. A minor error you will tell me. but I seen so many mistakes of that kind on their websites, thinking about the actual code of the application scares the hell out of me. Such People lacking attention to details such as this can only provide crashing applications.

I'm gonna slowly use my wengo credit and then might switch back to Skype. well, I'll see at that point. but changing evil for worse was not for all the best. except that I could try out this app. I guess its something more under my belt but how usefull is it?

ah,... those guys over at WengoPhone.

Wengo Mac download area

I should mention a bit about Gizmo Phone project. I have not seriously try it, just installed it and did couple of tests, but nothing serious. but they also have an interresting promotion. They allow free calls between gizmo users. Skype also advertise something like that but there is a big different. Of course, all software as such allow you to do audio conferencing over the internet. but What Gizmo allow is different. You can call your friends real phone number for free if your friend as an account on gizmo and he had this phone number to his user profile. I don't know how secure it is to put your phone number in there. but I would expect that only my trusted contacts can have access to this information. but the point is. you sign up, enter your phones into your profile, your friend does the same and when he is not online, you can call him for free using gizmo. They are sure losing money on this. but they wants users so. way to go.

maybe gizmo is next finally, I don't know.

I hoped you enjoyed readings and won't post your useless thoughts on the comment box below.

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Posted in , | Posted on 18 Sep 2006 20:23by somekool |

A paranoid vision of the computing world.

Do Microsoft still owns important part of Apple? Do Mr Bill Gates received huge money from ipod sales and Mac switcher as well? I'd like to know if it is still the case. Because if so, things could become very scary.

What if the new popularity of Apple and the inaction of Microsoft was planned. Windows have not got a public release since 2001, except for service patch and server edition. People are getting tired and switch to Apple, for more security, easyness and newest technology. While windows keeps his hardcore fan until the end. but really, Microsoft is not doing anything.

Some guy recently was remembering me that a day will come where Steve Jobs will disapear from Apple and Apple won't be as cool and as nice as it is now. Then we gonna need something else to use.

Here is the crazy thought: when Microsoft windows gets infected by a virus or some similar crap. What happen ? The computer dies or almost, need to be reinstalled and potentially the computer had infected some others on the network. but really, is that it ? no data theft, no company corruption. just few machines behing reinstalled. no biggy eh ? What if Microsoft had always been behing viruses and now at the time of the information, it ain't enough anymore.

Because on Apple/Linux/Unix, when you get a security issue: it's a computer intrusion. Which can lead to network intrusion, data theft and company corruption. Much worse.

So here is the idea: Microsoft Windows is unmaintable, too many bugs, its just unfixable, everyone knows that, even Microsoft. OS X is a new and fresh product. Clean, Secure and becomes more popular. the adaption of Unix based system accross the board may cause more subtle problems. While insecure, people may not be informed and companies will access user data.

I think they want a bigger computer war. Where geeks are soldier, user are victims and companies are trying to control the world while geeks are warning their friend of the threat.

It is hard to show the actual point, I don't know if you see what I am trying to say. but it's not about a browser war anymore. Microsoft wants more and while everyone think they are asleep, they are installing their new weapon for world domination.

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Posted in , , | Posted on 09 May 2006 06:25by somekool |

My new KDE desktop

I changed my KDE desktop feels, I like it so much better :) And feel much more productive since then. it's been about a month now. and I totally love it.

I got rid of everything, make it simpler looking and giving me more screen space.

1 - kickerkicker is too large and takes too much of my desktop space for things I don't need that often. making kicker smaller bugs me even more. because than I miss kicker space to put my favorite applets. some applets are annoying in their small version. but some applets are worse when kicker is vertically positioned.solution ? getting rid of it. hard. with so many programs using the systray. I can't really. Hide it ? I always hated auto-hide, but still worth the try. And I made it so its fine. I wanted hidden, easily accessible but not over-annoying like hitting a edge by accident would raise it. The top-right corner of the screen is busy for the close button. so I choose the top-left corner of the screen as a hotcorner to raise the kicker. I moved the systrays icons to the left, because systray icons are really the most important reason why I still need kicker. And I don't want to ride my mouse from the top-left corner to my systray at the other end. so I then reordered all my applets by how often I am accessing them. putting the clock on the full right as I am not clicking on it very often. the K menu that I use maybe once a month. and the Garbage not so far as I am trying it out but so far, not appealing enough.2 - desktop icons.actually I like them, I press F11 to show my desktop and I use them very often. but recently I've been hitting on a bug that makes my desktop and kwin crash when I use the context menu of a desktop icon. and I don't like when it happens and I can't wait for the bug to be fixed. so I removed desktop icons. its nice to see my desktop backgrounds without a mess of icons on it.3 - task switcher.I use kompose, with a hotcorner on the bottom-right and F9/F10 hotkeys. its perfect. I'm also ALT-TAB addict but I like using kompose a lot.4 - flaws ?only one so far, I don't get changes notification from kwin. so I need to close kopete window or else I forget to answer my friends. its a big problem I'm trying to deal with. if you got any idea. I wish kompose could wake me up ;)4a - changes notification systemand two more requests: 4b - get the trash applet a better tooltip, 4c - titlebar buttons are just a 22 years old technlogy.got solutions or comments for me ? my ears are wide open.

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Posted in , , , , | Posted on 04 May 2006 09:39by somekool |

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