Have you had the need to create a high quality drawing on your Mac? If so, Inkscape may be your answer. Inkscape is a vector graphics editor (similar to Adobe Illustrator) that can satisfy the needs of the professional or the beginner. What sets Inkscape apart is it’s use of SVG (Scalable Vector Graphics), part of the W3C (World Wide Web Consortium) standards. The software is also cross platform – available for Windows, Mac OS X and Linux.
Whether you want to create a quick sketch, or a near photo quality image, you can do it in Inkscape. Vector design is often the preferred method of image creation for logos, illustrations and art which require high scalability. The Inkscape application is used across a wide variety of industries (marketing/branding, engineering/CAD, web graphics, cartooning) and individual uses.
A wide range of tutorials are included that will guide you whether you are a beginner or a seasoned artist. The list of features that Inkscape includes is extensive, as listed on the Inkscape web site:
- Drawing: pencil tool (freehand drawing with simple paths), pen tool (creating Bézier curves and straight lines), calligraphy tool (freehand drawing using filled paths representing calligraphic strokes)
- Shape tools: rectangles (may have rounded corners), ellipses (includes circles, arcs, segments), stars/polygons (can be rounded and/or randomized), spirals
- Text tool (multi-line text, full on-canvas editing)
- Embedded bitmaps (with a command to create and embed bitmaps of selected objects)
- Clones (“live” linked copies of objects), including a tool to create patterns and arrangements of clones
- Transformations (moving, scaling, rotating, skewing), both interactively and by specifying exact numeric values
- Z-order operations (raising and lowering)
- Grouping objects (“select in group” without ungrouping, or “enter the group” making it a temporary layer)
- Layers (lock and/or hide individual layers, rearrange them, etc; layers can form a hierarchical tree)
- Alignment and distribution commands
Fill and stroke
- Color selector (RGB, HSL, CMYK, color wheel, CMS)
- Color picker tool
- Copy/paste style
- A gradient editor capable of multi-stop gradients
- Pattern fills (bitmap/vectors)
- Dashed strokes, with many predefined dash patterns
- Path markers (ending, middle and/or beginning marks, e.g. arrowheads)
Operations on paths
- Node editing: moving nodes and Bezier handles, node alignment and distribution, etc.
- Converting to path (for text objects or shapes), including converting stroke to path
- Boolean operations
- Path simplification, with variable threshold
- Path insetting and outsetting, including dynamic and linked offset objects
- Bitmap tracing (both color and monochrome paths)
- Multi-line text
- Uses any installed outline fonts, including right-to-left scripts
- Kerning, letterspacing, linespacing adjustments
- Text on path (both text and path remain editable)
- Text in shape (fill shape following stroke)
- Fully anti-aliased display
- Alpha transparency support for display and PNG export
- Complete “as you drag” rendering of objects during interactive transformations
- Live watching and editing the document tree in the XML editor
- PNG, OpenDocument Drawing, DXF, sk1, PDF, EPS and PostScript export formats and more
- Command line options for export and conversions
- Perfectly compliant SVG format file generation and editing
Check out some of the artwork created with Inkscape on their on-line Gallery. If you need to create scalable graphic images, Inkscape may be just what you are looking for.
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I have occasionally had the need to edit audio files. A great tool for that is Audacity. Audacity is a cross platform (Windows, OS X, and Linux) multi-track audio editor and recorder. The features of Audacity include:
- Recording live audio
- Recording computer playback on any Windows Vista or later machine.
- Converting tapes and records into digital recordings or CDs.
- Editing WAV, AIFF, FLAC, MP2, MP3 or Ogg Vorbis sound files.
- AC3, M4A/M4R (AAC), WMA and other formats are supported using optional libraries.
- Ability to cut, copy, splice or mix sounds together.
- Ability to apply numerous effects including changing the speed or pitch of a recording.
- See the complete list of features.
Should you ever have the need to edit sound files, Audacity is an application that you should consider.
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I have an on-going project to research my family history. A program that I have been using to help document that is Gramps. This is an active Open Source project with multiple releases per year. Gramps is cross platform with versions available for Linux, Windows, OS X and BSD.
Gramps includes a full set of features that anyone wishing to document their family history might want:
- A dashboard to help you monitor the progress of your research.
A variety of widgets provide quick analysis of your data and
- A list of every individual in your records featuring
birth/death dates and more.
- A summary of the active person’s parents, siblings, spouses
- A list of every family group featuring parent names,
relationship status and, if applicable, marriage dates.
- A graphic representation of the active person’s ancestry
featuring photos and birth/death dates.
- A list of every event in your records featuring descriptions,
event types, dates and places.
- And much more
I have been entering my data now for about the past year and find this program comparable to the popular commercial software. The web site includes documentation as well as tutorials. If you are interested in documenting hour family history, this is a low cost, yet highly functional solution.
To see all of my Mac OS X related posts visit my MAC OS X page
A FOSS program that I use regularly is Filezilla, an FTP client. This is a cross platform client with versions that run on Windows, Linux, BSD and OS X. It supports FTP, FTP over SSL/TLS (FTPS) and SSH File Transfer Protocol (SFTP). It has a very easy to use interface, yet the client has many features.
Below is a sample screen shot of the OS X version of Filezilla. To connect to another system that is running a FTP server, fill in the fields for Host, Username and Password at the top of the page, then click on Quickconnect. Once connected, the right side of the user interface will be populated with data from the server you have connected to. The working directory can be easily changed on either your system or the remote server. Files can be transferred in either direction by selecting the file in either the left or right lower windows, then simply dragging and dropping the file onto it’s destination in the other window.
There is extensive documentation on the Filezilla web site including a tutorial. I have been using Filezilla on Linux and Mac OS X for over three years. I find it to be particularly useful when I need to upload/download a file from a server. The code is actively being supported with multiple updates each year.
There are commercial FTP clients for the Mac, but I have been able to do everything I wanted with this Free Open Source program.
To see all of my Mac OS X related posts visit my MAC OS X page
A short time ago I heard about this site http://www.howtoreplaceyourpc.com and took some time yesterday to check it out. If someone you know is thinking of replacing their PC or tablet, this is a good place to refer them.
I liked that the first thing recommended is to just buy a Macbook if the visitor isn’t interested in taking the time and reading through the entire explanation that the site contains. I personally think that is very good advice.
Beyond that, the site contains a great deal of information that the potential buyer should look over before making a purchase decision. The site lets the buyer evaluate his needs so that they can purchase the best computer for them.
The only thing that I feel is missing from the site’s overview is the inclusion of Linux as a viable Operating System alternative. I certainly feel that today’s most popular Linux distributions would work for many people.