FFOSS (Freeware/Free & Open Source Software) Friday

by Todd Ogasawara

Here's a summary of last week's Mac Freeware & Free & Open Source Software (F/FOSS) from my personal blog. If you have freeware or Open Source software to recommend for Mac users, please post it in a response here (or email the information to me if you prefer to remain anonymous).

iTerm Better Terminal for Mac OS X
Open Source
Despite Mac OS X's great graphical interface, you can still get a lot done from the command line of a plain ol' text terminal window. If you came from the UNIX or Linux world, it is a must-have. I normally have at least one Apple Terminal window open on my Mac. But, I preferred something like Gnome Terminal with a few more options and features. Enter...

iTerm: The Terminal Redefined

iTerm is an Open Source terminal emulator available as an easy to install Mac OS X universal binary. The latest version was released on December 4.

Tabbed shells, bookmarks, and window transparency are only a few of the enhancements you'll find when using iTerm.

Alice 3D Authoring System (for Kids) from Carnegie Mellon University
Here's something that the techie-kid in your household with a new computer might find interesting.

Alice v2.0: Learn to Program Interactive 3D Graphics

This 3D authoring system created by the Stage3 Research Group at Carnegie Mellon University is a multi-platform (Linux, Mac OS X, Windows) Java-based Open Source application aimed at students in the middle school to college age range.

Earlier this year Electronic Arts agreed to help fund the development of Alice v3.0 and provide artwork (characters) for use in Alice.

FreeMind: Open Source Mind Mapping
I used to use mind mapping techniques quite a bit. Like most people, I started by simply doodling mind maps on paper to try to organize ideas. Then, I tried MindJet's Mind Manager at a former job. $200 seemed kind of pricey for software to doodle with once I left that former job though. Then, I found the multiplatform (Linux, Mac OS X, Microsoft Windows) Open Source app...

FreeMind - free mind mapping software

...and was able to satify my idea doodling needs. I don't mind-doodle anymore. But, now that I've reminded my...

Widgets and Gadgets
A few weeks ago my Dell notebook's hard drive died. Since I had to rebuild the system anyway, I decided to install Microsoft Windows Vista instead of XP Professional. I also decided to put the trusty Apple iBook I've been carrying to meetings away so that I could immerse myself in Vista to learn in a real world setting (vs. a the test PC I used for beta-testing).

The first thing Windows users ask about while looking at my Vista desktop are the Vista Gadgets in both the Vista Sidebar and scattered undocked on the desktop. Deja vu! It is just like what happened when Apple released Tiger (Mac OS X 10.4) and revealed its Dashboard Widgets.


2006-12-27 09:03:31
I have a freeware to recommend: LiveCalc

LiveCalc is an interactive realtime textcalculator. It calculates live and interactive large expressions, while you are typing it.

My Description:
If you'd like to know if there's an error on a receipt, the range of numbers of an RSA-2048-Key, or what's the result of 3456789^20*765512376^10*(876766776+123456789)^30/(7865-1491), then LiveCalc will be of use to you.

Typing the above expression into a typical calculator might be highly error-prone, and it might fail with the question about the RSA-Key. But with LiveCalc you can insert this expression simply via copy-and-paste or drag-and-drop into the input field, and you'll get the result immediately and in realtime. If you want to change something in your expression, just change, move and modify it. You will always see live which effect the modification has on the result.

This works far beyond the usual range of numbers. That doesn't mean that it's only interesting for "Numeric Freaks." You can use it for all kinds of everyday calculations, where you would easily lose the overview while typing into a simple calculator, or you like to compare different calculations in different