Get free stuff for Web design

If you are a Web designer with large budget to back your project, you can call up whatever resources you require to get the gig done.
Professional photographers and models to create great looking images? Book ’em.
HTML and CSS experts to creating great looking layouts. No Problems?
Professional copy writers to write the “Great Australian Content”. Order a dozen.

For the rest of us, we work on a shoe strings. We need all the help you can get. IBM (yep Big Blue themselves) has an article entitled Get free stuff for Web design. It covers all sorts of free Web resources, as well as warnings against some stuff that might seem free, but may not be.

Some of the great resources covered, Creative Commons (CC), as a source of licenses used by people who offer free stuff.

CSS instruction and examples, the most famous of which would have to be CSS Zen Garden.

Several sites are covered that offer royalty-free graphics. One project that you should pay attention to is the Open Clip Art Library, a collection of contributed, down-loadable clip art.

Design tools are covered such as’s Color Scheme Generator. It’s great for those of with challenged colour taste.

Have a look at the article. It might save you a lot of stress.


Following the tsunami that hit Southeast Asia on Boxing Day in 2004, the open source community of Sri Lanka got together to develop a disaster management system in three weeks, spearheaded by the Lanka Software Foundation, a FOSS R&D non-profit organization in Sri Lanka, with contributions from about 80 volunteer developers.

Sahana is the resulting application, a secure Web portal that provides applications for coordination and collaboration in the aftermath of disasters. Applications include finding missing people, connecting organizations, reporting on the distribution of aid and services, matching donations to requests, tracking temporary shelters, and, overall, providing transparency and visibility to groups working in a disaster. Key features include GIS, biometrics, PDA support, and availability in the form of a live CD. It’s been used during Pakistan earthquake and in the Philippines mud slides, Sahana was used to manage and track organizations, people, and camps.

It has been featured recently as Project of the Month for June 2006

It is aimed at Disaster administrators, government organizations, non-governmental organizations (NGO), disaster victims and is actually used only during disasters or while preparing for one.

Free and open source is all about voluntary work, and in a disaster there are lot of IT experts wanting to assist, so to my mind it makes sense that a disaster management system should be free and open source.

GParted live CD


Linux zealotry time.

Need a way to resize NTFS partitions, mirror disk images, or otherwise muck about with disk partitions and cant afford or don’t want to use a proprietary package like Partition Magic (good product, serious price)?

Answer yes to any of the above?

If so, have we got a tool for you. Enter stage left … the GNOME Partition Editor.

GParted is an excellent open source tool for the task and seeing as how the GParted team released the GParted live CD version 0.2.4-2 recently, it was obviously good time to take GParted for a walk around the bock and see how it did.

GParted handles Ext2, Ext3, FAT16, FAT32, JFS, ReiserFS, Reiser4, NTFS, XFS, and other filesystem formats. At a bare minimum, GParted can detect, read, copy, and create partitions using those file systems and, in some cases, can shrink, expand, and move partitions.

You really need to check out the features section over at the GParted site for the full spec.

I already have a copy of the CD in the toolkit and will be trying out the USB version as soon as I can.

Ten tips for new Ubuntu users

Time for some Ubuntu zealotry…

As regular readers will be aware I think that Ubuntu is the easiest ways for people to join the ranks of Linux users. On the up side it’s easy to install (and getting easier) , easy to use, and usually “just works.” (Fujitsu laptop screens notwithstanding).

But moving to a new neighbourhood always can be confusing, no matter how well-designed it is. Here’s a list of tips over at that will help while you get oriented (resistance is futile).

Ten tips for new Ubuntu users

1. Getting multimedia to work

The default Ubuntu install contains free software only, which means that it doesn’t support some popular multimedia formats straight out of the box. This is inconvenient, but the Ubuntu folks have good reasons for not shipping with support for MP3, DVDs, and so forth — including that software could cause them some legal headaches, or incur some serious fees.

Fortunately, as a user, you don’t need to worry about fees (though some of the packages may not be legal due to patent restrictions or restrictions on circumventing copy protection, depending on where you live). The Ubuntu wiki has a page on restricted formats that explains how to get the packages you need.

and so on for another 9 hints.

Streaming Suitcase

Adam Hyde has been described as a “tactical media artist” Adam was born in New Zealand and is permanently transient. He is a consultant, developer and artist working at the convergence of broadcasting and Internet technologies.

And why does he get a mention here?

He writes manuals. He writes the kind of manuals you can send to your mum and have her streaming music from her PC without ring you up. (Well almost)

The Streaming Suitcase is his website and is based on Hyde’s streaming workshops using free and open source software. You will find manuals offering plain-language instructions for streaming audio and video across the internet and can be downloaded in PDF, or output in a print friendly format..

Hyde invites us all to ‘have a browse and take what you want. All the manuals are licenced under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.0 Licence. This means you can:

  • download the manual for free
  • distribute the manual to whom you like for non-commercial purposes
  • use parts or all of the documents in other publications / documents as long as it is for non-commercial use and you credit the source (that would be Adam).

To give you an idea of his work, here is the Audio Hardware manual I’m going to send my mum.

Firefox – DisableBackspaceNavigation

Today’s post combines Firefox zealotry and helping Jools (win – win ). Firefox users out there who write stuff in text input boxes (bloggers) will have on occasion flipped over to another screen to check something (spelling? address? name of the band) and then flipped back to the screen where the last hour of entry has been going on and then hit the backspace key to make the correction and it all vanishes.

The reason is that in IE and Firefox, if you aren’t in a text field, the Backspace key takes you back to the previous page and while we can’t do much about it in IE, Firefox does have a solution.

Yes you guessed it, there’s an extension called DisableBackspaceNavigation which (funnily enough) Disables the Backspace key’s back navigation function.

Cool huh?

Oh ? What’s that? How do you go back a page? Alt Left Arrow should do it quite nicely and yes, Alt Right Arrow Moves you forward a page.

Now to answer the trickier question, “How do you find if there is a Firefox extension that does…”

eConsultant does it again, (we mentioned them back in May) have a site that will answer that very question.

It’s called I want a Firefox Extension to … 200+ common problems solved

So if you want to say Block Pop up Advertising there is a section called

I want to …

1. block ads on webpages : Adblock
2. block ads on webpages : Adblock Plus
3. automatically update adblocker filters : Adblock Filterset.G Updater
4. block Flash ads/content : Flashblock

You click on the one that is closest to what you want and it takes you to the site where you can download and install it.

Really, really handy and growing daily.