Tag Archives: Software

Trelby – Open Source Screenwriting Software

 

Screenshot-at-2012-01-10-200256-300x174

Picture: Trelby.org
 

One of the things I am always looking for is good writing software. I mean “writing” in the sense of “novels”, “short-stories” or even “whole books”. It is a bit silly actually, for in order to write something decent you need pen and paper, or, if you must, a text editor. And every computer has a good text-editor, producing wonderful, allround .txt files.

But, of course, I prefer to dream about great software “helping” me. OMG!Ubuntu! wrote some days ago about Trelby, a free, multi platform, feature-rich screenwriting program. It is, according to OMG!Ubuntu! a resurrection of “Blyte” – a “film-making friendly tool”. This old Blyte page confirms this.

It looks good and interesting, but it is, as it also clearly says, for screenwriting. And I am not planning to write anything like that.
I downloaded it nevertheless, to see if I could disable the screenplay editor, which “Enforces correct script format”. I couldn’t find out how to do that, though it might be possible.

It should definitely be no problem to use the program to write novels, or other types of works, once you get past the hurdle of learning the screenwriting-script. There is not too much help around about ways of using it in the Trelby Manual, but the internet can, as ever, help you out.

So it seems to be a program for people who know what they are doing, namely screenwriting, and who know how they are supposed to do it.

Personally, I’ll keep waiting for my dream program, something along the lines of yWriter5….

Linux Mint 11

From Linux Ubuntu to a fresh Linux Mint.

Linux Ubuntu’s Unity was not made for me. That was my conclusion anyway after a few months of trying to get used to it. I never liked the layout, which seems to be mostly for touch screen, it had a few bugs, didn’t get used to it and I couldn’t change it or get rid of it for ever. Therefore, like many other people I suppose, I decided to install Linux Mint as a second Operating System. This all went well, except for the fact that in the process of trying out things I came to delete a bit too much from my harddisk, so that none of the installed operating systems would start properly. Inpatient as ever, I found that the best solution was to just wipe the whole harddisk and start out a freshly installed Linux Mint 11.
Since I only saved my personal files from my home-directory, all extra applications and settings had to be downloaded and installed again.

Linux Mint 11

Linux Mint 11

Here is my todo-list to get a freshly installed Mint 11 tweaked as I want it:

  • Tweak Firefox
  •     Add-ons and search engines.
  •     Started Firefox Sync, which will save my bookmarks and preferences so I  won’t loose them again next time.
  •    Installed the research organizer and collector Zotero and Zotero Word Processor plug in. My Zotero account came in very handy to reinstall data.

Screenshot of the whole screen, showing a tweaked Firefox

  • Installed Dropbox (synchronisation) again and feeling blessed to have so much online – it contains a lot of important files, like backups and databases.
  • Downloaded the launcher Kupfer -IMO it beats Unity, and is therefore the main reason for switching away from Ubuntu. (Gnome-Do is a good alternative).

Kupfer

  • Change power- and screensaver settings
  • Go through the programs that start automatically at every boot of Lunix. Disable those not needed. (As explained in this blogpost)
  • Download Chromium to install the Tweetdeck app. – my favourite twitter client. (Didn’t they say that Adobe will no longer support the Adobe Air application for linux? So Chrome comes to the rescue to run Tweetdeck.)
  • Install the password manager KeepassX and thank Dropbox for keeping my Keepass database available. So no passwords were lost this way.
  • Download Skype – Eventhough it is not the full version that is available for Linux, it still comes in handy for long distance calls.
  •  Downloaded the Linux Feed Reader Liferea. (Dropbox had a list of my subscriptions).
  • Downloaded RSSOwl.  Another rss-reader with lots of options to play around with.

RSSOwl

  • Downloaded the podcast collector gPodder – and made my gpodder-account put the subscriptions back into it.
  • Downloaded Abiword. I want that fast and lean wordprocessor at hand.
  • Installed Textroom. The fullscreen tekst processor to grab those fleeing thoughts that can’t stand distraction.
  • Scid. Has all you need to study and play chess. I just have to figure out how I added the super strong chess-engine Stockfish to its list of chess engines.

And I couldn’t resist installing

  • 0AD again. The real-time open-source strategy game with the truly stunning graphics. The gameplay is not finished yet, but starting it up feels like going on a holiday to the Mediterranean.

After that I went through the Control Center – Main Menu again to uncheck all the items I don’t think I will miss and that I therefore don’t want to see there.

There were a few things I found out during the process, that I didn’t know about:

  • Glipper for Gnome comes in handy when you want to past something you copied a while ago on a page you can’t remember. So I installed that too.
  • The template folder that can be found under “Documents” is used for opening templates directly from the desktop, Right-click on the desktop and choose “Create Document” to do so. Unfortunately it creates a shortcut to new file on the desktop. That’s not completely what I want, I would prefer it just to open the new file.
  •  I never realized that by just selecting a piece of text in Linux, it is already copied to the memory of the mouse, so by clicking on the wheel or the button in the middle, it can be pasted. Smart!
  • There is option on my “print” option screen to “print to PDF”, which creates a PDF of the selected items and puts it into the Home folder.

I tried Backing up my system with the back-up tools provided by Linux Mint, but I think I will do it myself next time, and only go for the folders with my content, such as the “Photos” and “Documents” folders, before installing a new release.

So there you are. Mint 11 is running fine with everything I want installed, and I got rid of Unity. Starting up programs and finding folders seems much faster now with Kupfer, and I don’t have this row of icons on my desktop.

From Ubuntu 9.04 to Fedora 12?

Logo_fedoralogo

I thought that updating Linux Ubuntu would be quick and easy, but in the end it took me more than a week. After the switch from Ubuntu 9.04 to 9.10 I was stuck with a system that could start and sometimes did let me log in, but only to display the dashboard for a few seconds before showing a ‘loading Ubuntu’ grafic again. Apparently Ubuntu tried to start or restart but it never came out of this loop.
I must admit that I had not anticipated a problem like this so I had to reconsider what to do next. After trying for a day or two in the recovery mode to try to solve the problem I felt that I had to give up in order to move forward. Reluctantly I had to log in to Windows again after not using it for almost a year. So the ever-so-slow Windows had to update a lot as well as the anti-virus system, firefox etc. But after that I was able to browse and download a program that made it possible to access the linux partition to save my data. The windows partition wasn’t big enough unfortunately so I had to create some space once in a while before being able to transfer all files.
I reinstalled 9.04 from the live cd but for some reason I couldn’t install the Adobe flash player.

As I didn’t like having to return to 9.04 without knowing if I could upgrade to 9.10 in the future, and since I had to make a clean install anyway, I decided to try another Linux distribution that perhaps could give me a similar version as Ubuntu 9.10. OpenSuse seemed to be an option or Fedora. Both were about to be upgraded to a newer version within a week or two, but I didn’t want to wait for that and have to rebuild my Ubuntu system for those two weeks. Somewhere I read that Fedora might work better with some hardware so I tried to find out how to install Fedora as there seemed to be 5 cd’s needed for an install. I had however Fedora 9 on a live cd so I installed that, updated all and from within the system upgraded to Fedora 10. That didn’t work however as the computer never managed to go through the entire upgrade cycle of Fedora 10. So I burned a Fedora 11 live cd and installed that and to my joy that worked well, Flash could be activated and it runs perfectly.
Actually, for some reason Fedora is the most quiet Operating System I tried so far. There is an enormous difference in noise coming from the computer when running Windows or Fedora, the first being practically constantly irritating noisy  and the latter being almost completely silent.
Fedora also offers and installs the latest software, including beta versions where as Ubuntu can be many versions behind.
Fedora 12, the latest version, will be released in a week or so. I will wait a few weeks before updating I suppose and then hope for the best.

And I am not sure if I dare to update my Notebook from Ubuntu 9.04 to 9.10.

Update 29-11-2009: It was unfortunately also not possible to install Fedora 12. As far as I can find out it has to do with the boot-memory being to small. This might be the problem for both Ubuntu and Fedora. Anyway, I gave up.  For now I’ll run Fedora 11 until the next versions of Fedora or Ubuntu will be released, because  who knows….

But the good news is that my Notebook did update without a problem to Ubuntu 9.10!

Dropped Drupal

grey-mAfter 20 days of reading, building and experimenting with Drupal I finally got my new blog up and running… in WordPress. It took me 5 hours to make WP work for me and I am rather satisfied already, convinced that it can function as a Contents Management System as well

The final reason why I turned away from Drupal was that it took me too long to find out which navigation system was best for my Drupal site. I had a thorough look at taxonomy and the taxonomy- and taxonomy menu module, the menu options, primary and secondary links, but couldn’t figure out how best to use it for my purpose. The only thing I achieved was the creation of a tagcloud for the blogpart of the site using taxonomy and the tagadelic module. But it was disappointing to see that for that I needed extra modules and some thinking to install it, and that creating a category “widget” was rather impossible for me at the moment. And I knew that I still had a long way to go, finding out about the complicated views-module and the CCK module for example, and that it would take me a couple of weeks more to get the basics in place.

Maybe it was the amount of choice and the many different opinions and manuals that frustrated me. Drupal probably can do more than WordPress, but that certainly doesn’t mean that it is easier to take the right decisions.

Drupal is a good choice for those that want to build up a more complex site from scratch without having to write code from the first line to the last. Or people who enjoy learning and discovering the possibilities of this particular system.

For an end user like me, eager to write content and to get started, it is not userfriendly enough yet.

Probably as a reaction to my struggle the last weeks to understand the terminology and manuals I now choose a nice WordPress theme (out of the richness of well functioning themes) with many features that work right out of the box – not very challenging or creative perhaps -but I actually like it a lot and it works well. Now I can start blogging and tweak the site as it develops.

My first impressions of Drupal.

drupliconlargeAfter some years experimenting with several blogging systems as for example Blogger and WordPress.com and .org I almost by coincidence, finally, understood what a Content Management System (CMS) actually is. As I had been thinking about starting a (yet another) new blog/homepage, I had a look at some background information and got interested in Drupal. As my web-hotel provider only allows one mySQL database per domain I decided to buy a new webhotel to install and experiment with Drupal.

Now, a little more than a week later, I start to get closer to understanding what such a CMS is. I read the beginner-chapters on Drupal.org and the “cookbook” that also can be found there, and I now know that Drupal is software that tries to make it easier to build a homepage without losing too much of the flexibility when building one using templates. Unlike for example WordPress, Drupal doesn’t work with “standard” pages that together form a blog, but it constructs blocks of information or content that can be used on different places and in different combinations. In Drupal you don’t build a page but you build blocks that appear whenever the presence is triggered by someone clicking a link or a query… something like that.

This makes Drupal more flexible than for example WordPress but it definitely also makes it harder to understand its concept for a beginner like me. Drupal has many modules that can be installed to add functionality to the core, but it is not easy to know which ones are needed now or later. One has to understand the basic concept of Drupal first and then one has to plan a website/blog well before the actual building can start.

WordPress is proud of the fact that it “only takes 5 min” to install and start running a blog with their software. Drupal will might take a week for most people but it probably indeed can add more functionality to a site. When used clever it can for example fairly easily handle multiple users with different rights and possibilities for each and every block of information or adapt a site to the operating system or the location of a visitor. It has different ways of building menus and can create many types of input or output “blocks” that can be placed in the often many places/regions on a page that the chosen theme allows.

I am not perfectly sure whether I really need all this, I actually don’t at the moment, and at some occasions during the last week a quick switch to WordPress definitely crossed my mind, but for now the learning process is exciting and might provide good possibilities later.

I look forward to continue building and to start using Drupal, as I sense that all the explanations, suggestions, instructions and information about possibilities I read this week can make it more confusing than it actually is.