Currently selected tag: Software

Awesome web-based tools.

What’s great nowadays is that you can basically run your pc as a thin client and do a lot of work and entertainment entirely web-based. You’ve probably already been doing it for a while with emails, documents (Google Drive or Office Web), music, games and more. Why not extend those use cases to more complex areas like graphics editing and music creation? Some tools are surprisingly feature-rich and fast-performing. Here are some examples:

  • Gravit, a design app for vector-based illustrations and more
  • Pixlr, a Photoshop-like editor
  • Tridiv, a CSS 3D editor that outputs 3D models as HTML and CSS
  • Audiotool, basically a complete DAW in your browser
  • smallpdf.com, a nice tool set for a lot of PDF actions (merging, splitting etc.)

Once again: All those tools are web-based which means they are easily accessible from anywhere while the results are stored in the cloud (but can also be downloaded and/or rendered for offline use). Most of them can be used for free as well and are based on Open Source code.

Of course there are downsides, too. Businesses and privacy-savvy people might criticize the idea of storing their data “cloud-first” and not every computer and browser might handle all the features and bigger data assets. Also there are many places where you cannot access the web at all.

However I’m excited for the future and the dawn of new possibilities, especially on the audio side of things (e.g. Web Audio and Web MIDI APIs).

If you know or find a cool web app yourself, please let me know!

Using Canon EOS Utility without a CD

3 February 2015

A few years ago I bought a DSLR camera by Canon and I’m very happy with it. What “grinds my gears” is that Canon users are required to keep and use their packaged software CD whenever they need to install the corresponding software for their cameras. Because all you can get online are “updaters” that would update the previously installed tools (which you’re supposed to install via CD only).

Luckily there are easy ways to alter those updaters in order to properly install the tools without the need of a CD. I’m just wondering what the motivation behind this installation/update policy is. Does it really hurt to give proper installers to everyone via the internet and forget about putting CDs in the boxes? (Let alone four thick manual books in four different languages.)

Canon EOS Utility


29 November 2014

Requested by one of our professors Mrs. Prof. Dr. Lemke, we organised our own little hackathon in Berlin last weekend! Since the topic was all around teaching beginners how to code we called it Hack-a-Lesson and invited people to create some nice concepts and ideas that will eventually influence the second volume of Mrs. Lemke’s book Einführung in die Wirtschaftsinformatik.

The participants of Hack-a-Lesson!

Hack-a-Lesson lasted for two full days, Saturday and Sunday, and we got 32 people to join and work together in 6 teams while we tried to keep them alive with food and drinks while also observing the event and eventually rating the results (because there were some serious prizes involved, too!).

The team of Hack-a-Lesson: Sebastian, Bao, Tobias and Ben.

It was a great experience and the feedback was more than positive from all sides so far. We were even featured in a long article in the Berliner Zeitung (no longer available online). I’m glad I was able to work as part of a great team and collect new experiences and got to know new people that way while at the same time making other people happy.

Nonetheless for now I’ll return to being a participant of those kind of events again. :)

P.S.: Check out that awesome cake that was made just for that event!

Hack-a-Lesson Cake!

Choosing an Unzip / Extraction Tool for Mac

22 October 2014

Is it really called “Unzip Tool”? Or rather (un-)archive software? Anyway, I guess you’re already aware of what I’m referring to. Since Mac OS X doesn’t provide the capability of extracting (or creating) certain archive types like rar or 7zip, you’d really need some third-party software for that.

The real struggle is now: Do I choose the (boring) Unarchiver or the recently discovered Keka with such a cool app icon?

The Unarchiver and Keka

But wait, there’s more: iZip and UnRarX (down by now) also seems to deliver the same features! Oh well, I’ll probably just stay with the tool which has the better symbol.

Free Software for Students

9 October 2014

It’s a good time to be a student! Usually, students (and teachers or other faculty staff) can already get interesting discounts from retailers and software companies like AmazonAppleAbletonAdobe and Autodesk. But recently JetBrains also decided to give out their cool IDEs to students and educators for free. Same goes for GitHub which decided to not only give you a micro account for free for two years but bundled it with additional licenses for other platforms as well: they call it GitHub Student Developer Pack.

Just to complete the list: Microsoft is also offering lots of advantages for students. My school is for example giving out Microsoft Imagine (formerly DreamSpark) licenses to every student. That lets us download Microsoft Operating Systems and other Microsoft software for free (even new Windows preview versions or the Visual Studio IDE).