Friday, June 17, 2011

The Gnome Swahili Translation Project

The Gnome Translation Project is an Ubuntu/Linux effort that seeks to provide a unique experience for the end user running any distro,that of native language support. It is a massive undertaking that spans nations and continents and this time around it's in Africa with focus being on the Swahili language.
It is open to anyone and not much is required in terms of computer skills except maybe for the basics. In addition to that one has to register as a contributor for the translation programme with emphasis being on working together as teams. This can be done at this link. Once that is done, the next step is to download the translation files for the programmes one is interested in translating. the link for doing so can be found here and is in the form of an archive with a .pot extention at the bottom of the page.
Once that is done, all that is left is the piece of software that you will use to perform the actual translation. A recommended software application is Virtaal which is easily obtainable as a package on the software repository of whatever distro one is running.Virtaal is a relatively easy program to use and the on hand tutorial that is part of its documentation makes any problems you might have all the more easier to handle.
Upon complete translation of any particular programme of your choice, the next step is to upload your work on the same site where it is verified and put through all the checks and balances before being published with credits to you.
For any support you may need in word translations feel free to check out the Kamusi project website.

Third JLUG Meeting of the semester

Thursday 16 saw us in yet another engaging and informative session of jlug where Mike(club secretary) started us of with more information on the upcoming JKUAT Tech Expo as well as detailing us on the ground covered so far. He urged for more projects to be forthcoming while reminding all that the registration process is seamless at the official website. He also cast some light on previous winners of the earlier Tech Expo 2010 most notably the "mulika mwizi" application that went on to cause quite some ripples in the industry among a host of others.
The next presentation was all about the Gnome Translation Project which is an undertaking to translate Gnome into local languages. The Swahili project was highlighted with calls for more participation by any interested parties but more on this on a subsequent post...
Collins and Andrew who form the PR side of the club had just returned from the mlab and were on hand to inform the rest of us about their incubation hub that has now been officially launched. It's a space where developers come together to tap and nurture talent. Their core message was that these incubation hubs provide some of the best facilities out there for any serious developer with a zest for coding and that the onus was on us to take full advantage of such facilities.
The club continues to grow both in numbers and diversity as was showcased on this meet up. We had representatives from the GGIS, Computer Tech and a host of other schools. As was expected of such a mix,there were ideas streaming in from any and all sides so much so that i cannot effectively convey them all in this space. However,a quick mention:
  • mobile classes are currently ongoing both in web design and java and all are encouraged to apply
  • the need to be proactive and go after the dream instead of just sitting around waiting for opportunities to knock on your door
  • the importance of such forums where we gather together outside of a classroom environment and pick each others' minds
and many more... Ian our moderator thanked all for their attendance and pinned the date for the next meeting in a fortnight

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Linux Alternatives

OK so I'm a newbie to the Open Source world and the Ubuntu/Linux experience...or relatively so but that doesn't stop me from appreciating just how formidable an alternative it is. I'm currently running Linux Mint 10 64 bit on a Dual core Intel processor system and the experience has been nothing short of amazing.

However,coming from the Windows environment, one of the questions I'm constantly asking myself is what Linux app does this thing that my Windows app did and does it good a good enough job of it or possibly even better?...OK, maybe two questions. I've come to appreciate two wonderful facts: One,the software is all free, and two, I don't have to worry about viruses.

I'm nowhere near the league of some of the contributors on this blog but I've found a few apps here and there that I'd like to share. Links to the actual programs are not provided because they are easily available on the software centre of the particular distro you're running or even easier on the Terminal. They include:

  • axel-kapt : a "download accelerator"
  • kget :a "download manager"
  • uget :a "download manager"
  • multiget: a "file downloader"
  • aircrack-ng: which recovers WEP keys for b/g/n networks
  • kompozer: a dreamweaver alternative
  • bluefish: a dreamweaver alternative and one "for the experienced web designer"
  • aria2: a command line download client
  • anon-proxy: a proxy to surf the web anonymously
  • cget: a web page downloader
  • k3b: a burner
  • xvst: a download tool for video clips
  • cclive: a command line video extraction tool
  • bleachbit: deletes unneccessary files from the system much like c cleaner in Windows
  • rkhunter: a rootkit,backdoor,sniffer and exploit scanner.Additionally install "chkrootkit" (as recommended)
  • harden: "helps the administrator improve security of the system".
  •
  • aide: an intrusion detection environment. Make sure to include the "aide-dynamic" and "aide-xen" packages
  • chntpw: "provides a way to view information and change user passwords in windows NT/2000 user database file"
  • gdeb-kde: a "simple tool to install .deb files"

I haven't had the chance to use all these programs as yet but you can try them out and see how they work for you. Once you've found that alternative, you don't have to worry about looking for cracks or keygens, which are just Trojans that compromise your system.
Additionally there are websites dedicated to the Windows/Linux software comparisons which provide detailed information on all the applications available. A link can be found here which is just one among the many websites available.

Second JLUG Meeting June 2

Thursday June 2 marked our second JLUG meeting. A packed room and great minds together,and we were on. First up was Antony who provided a detailed walk through on the openSUSE 11.3 SB Rough Diamond custom build he has been working on, one which he was understandably proud to have completed. A complete breakdown of the entire project is available on this same blog for which he kindly made all the contribution.

The second presentation was a joint venture between club Chairman Dennis and club Secretary Mike who showcased the Arduino which is an open source prototyping solution aimed at the rapid applications developer. It's relatively easy to use and anyone from the novice hobbyist to the experienced engineer will find it a worthwhile tool. A variety of languages are available for one to code in and it comes with proper documentation as well as an online platform on their website from which people get together and share their experiences and concerns on the various projects they're working on.

Dennis and Mike effectively demonstrated a little application aided by the arduino which featured an infra red sensor that worked with a set of LEDs such that a particular LED would light up depending on the distance an object was from the sensor. To prove just how versatile the arduino is, Dennis explained that it only took him an afternoon and about 50 lines of C Code to implement the entire set up and get it working.

Calvin then took over and relayed the progress that had been made so far on the upcoming JKUAT Tech Expo .Everything is on track and we appreciate all the help we can get as this event affects us all as the JKUAT community.

Ian,"our moderator", officially called the meeting to a close and reminded us all that the next one is slated in a fortnight at 8 pm...