The Essential Tool and Reference Kit for Media Educators


suite.jpgPeople often ask me, which free or open source tools I suggest for their university labs, which storage archives should be used and which browser-based applications should be bookmarked in their labs. In the US, students would probably stage a riot if university labs would completely abandon proprietary software tools. They'd perceive a lack of familiarity with these packages as a intolerable disadvantage when it comes to job applications and they are right. In the United States it'd be elitist and arrogant to leave out the mainstream tools that are used in the market place. Surely, most of their Floss equivalents are not as slick and are perhaps a bit harder to use. My recommendation is to install both, a set of useful Floss applications and the unavoidable “Photoshops” of this world. I always opt for diversification of tools to avoid or counteract centralization of a particular tool or service. Familiarity with Floss tools is paramount for students as they will learn to use instruments and access references that are available to them for free, which is crucial for the moment that they leave the university and don't have legal access to the expensive proprietary software anymore. Here is what I suggest:  

Audacity is free, open source software for recording and editing sounds. It is available for Mac OS X, Microsoft Windows, GNU/Linux, and other operating systems.

Firefox The award-winning Web browser is now faster, more secure, and fully customizable to your online life. With Firefox 2, we’ve added powerful new features that make your online experience even better.

Vienna is a freeware, open source RSS/Atom newsreader for the Mac OS X operating system. It provides features comparable to commercial newsreaders, but both it and the source code are freely available for download.

Smultron is a text editor in Cocoa for Mac OS X. You can easily compare several documents through a sidebar that lists all documents. It's ideal for programming. The interface is simple and easy to use.

Processing is an open source programming language and environment for people who want to program images, animation, and sound. It is used by students, artists, designers, architects, researchers, and hobbyists for learning, prototyping, and production. It is created to teach fundamentals of computer programming within a visual context and to serve as a software sketchbook and professional production tool. Processing is developed by artists and designers as an alternative to proprietary software tools in the same domain.

Jukebox. I also recommend Jukebox, which is not free ($19) but it is one of the few packages that has a similar functionality to Itunes. I recommend it because using Jukebox takes away from the centrality of Itunes. If you know of a better replacement for Itunes, please let me know here (especially compatibility with hardware is important of course).

Cyberduck is an open source FTP and SFTP (SSH Secure File Transfer) browser licenced under the GPL with an easy to use interface, integration with external editors and support for many Mac OS X system technologies such as Spotlight, Bonjour, the Keychain and AppleScript. Not as good as Transmit but free. 

Isquint let's you convert Flash movies into mp4. This is useful to convert Youtube videos, that you can initially download with the Video Downloader Firefox extension (as .swf) and then convert with Isquint.

[zoh-TAIR-oh] is a free, easy-to-use Firefox extension to help you collect, manage, and cite your research sources. It lives right where you do your work — in the web browser itself.

BitTorrent is a peer-assisted, digital content delivery platform that provides the fastest, most efficient means of distributing, discovering, and consuming large, high-quality files on the Web. Our mission is simple: to deliver the content that entertains and informs the digital world.

GIMP is the GNU Image Manipulation Program. It is a freely distributed piece of software for such tasks as photo retouching, image composition and image authoring. It works on many operating systems, in many languages. Interface is not great.

<p><span class="sizeGreater20"><strong>VLC - the cross-platform media player and streaming server</strong><br />VLC media player is a highly portable multimedia player for various audio and video formats (MPEG-1, MPEG-2, MPEG-4, DivX, mp3, ogg, ...) as well as DVDs, VCDs, and various streaming protocols. It can also be used as a <a href="">server to stream</a> in unicast or   multicast in IPv4 or   IPv6 on a high-bandwidth network.</span><br /> <span class="sizeGreater20"><a target="_blank" href=" "></a>/&nbsp;</span>&nbsp;</p><p><span class="sizeGreater20"><strong>StudyLog</strong><br />This cross-platform Diector-based German Floss tool could replace Keynote or Powerpoint but it is not based on slides. You have to click on the file icons to access files on your computer. For now only enter your first and last name and nothing else. It should give you the otion to download Studylog in German or English.<br /><a target="_blank" href=""></a></span> <br /> <br /> <span class="sizeGreater20"><strong>BugMeNot. </strong>Find and share logins for websites that force you to register<br /><a target="_blank" href=""></a>&nbsp;</span></p><p><span class="sizeGreater20"><strong></strong> is a multiplatform and multilingual office suite and an open-source project. Compatible with all other major office suites, the product is free to download, use, and distribute.<br /><a target="_blank" href=""><br /><br /></a></span><a target="_blank" href=""></a><span class="sizeGreater20"><strong>More Open Source and Freeware Tools fo the Mac</strong><br /><a target="_blank" href=""></a> and <a target="_blank" href=""></a>/</span></p><p>&nbsp;<strong><br /><span class="sizeGreater20">Freeware Directory on Wikipedia<br /></span></strong><a href="" target="_blank"><span class="sizeGreater20"></span></a><br /><strong><span class="sizeGreater20"><br />FREE WEB APPLICATIONS OR SERVICES</span> </strong><br />&nbsp;<br /><span class="sizeGreater20"><strong>NoteMesh</strong> is a free service that allows college students in the same classes to share notes with each other.     It works by creating a <a target="_blank" href="">wiki</a>     for individual classes that users can edit.  Users are free to post their     own lecture notes or contribute to existing lecture notes.  The idea is that users in the same class     can collaboratively create a definitive source for lecture notes.<br /><a target="_blank" href=""></a> <br /></span></p>  <p><span class="sizeGreater20"><strong>CiteULike</strong> is a free service to help academics to share, store, and organise the academic papers they are reading. When you see a paper on the web that interests you, you can click one button and have it added to your personal library. CiteULike automatically extracts the citation details, so there's no need to type them in yourself. It all works from within your web browser. There's no need to install any special software.<strong> Non-profit, Canadian.</strong><br /><a target="_blank" href=""></a> </span><br /><br /><span class="sizeGreater20"><strong></strong> is a social bookmarking website -- the primary use of is to store your bookmarks online, which allows you to access the same bookmarks from any computer and add bookmarks from anywhere, too. On, you can use tags to organize and remember your bookmarks, which is a much more flexible system than folders. <strong>Owned by Yahoo: r</strong></span><span class="sizeGreater20"><strong>equires Yahoo account.</strong></span><span class="sizeGreater20"><br /><a target="_blank" href=""></a>&nbsp;<br /><strong><br />Flickr</strong><br />Flickr - a good online photo management and sharing application. <strong>Owned by Yahoo: requires Yahoo account</strong><a target="_blank" href=""><br /></a><br /></span> </p><p><span class="sizeGreater20"><strong>Youtube. </strong>YouTube is a free online video streaming service that allows users to view and share videos that have been uploaded by our members. <strong>Owned by Google.</strong><br /><a target="_blank" href=""></a>&nbsp;</span></p><p><span class="sizeGreater20"><strong> </strong><br />The Internet Archive is a 501(c)(3) <strong>non-profit              </strong>that was founded to build an Internet library,              with the purpose of offering permanent access              for researchers, historians, and scholars to historical              collections that exist in digital format. Founded              in 1996 and <a href="">located in the              Presidio of San Francisco</a>, you can upload video and audio free ofd charge. <strong>No ads, not owned by Murdoch or Google or Yahoo.</strong><br /><a target="_blank" href=""></a></span><br />&nbsp;<span class="sizeGreater20"><a target="_blank" href=""></a><strong><br />EyeSpot.</strong> Use the <a href="">Mixer</a> to edit and combine your videos, photos and music online. Share mixes by email, blog, download or cell phone for free! <br /><a target="_blank" href=""></a></span>&nbsp;</p><p><span class="sizeGreater20"><strong> YouSendIt</strong> lets you send files that are too big for email.  It's easy to use, fast, and secure.<br /><a target="_blank" href=""><br /><br /></a></span><span class="sizeGreater20"><strong>Moodle</strong><br />Moodle is a Floss cms. <br /><a target="_blank" href=""></a></span>&nbsp;</p><p><span class="sizeGreater20"><strong>Freshmeat<br /></strong>Largest Floss repository on the WWW. The link leads you to content management systems. </span><br /><span class="sizeGreater20"><a target="_blank" href="">;section=projects&amp;Go.x=0&amp;Go.y=0</a> <br /><br /></span><span class="sizeGreater20"><strong>Tor. Annonymous web communication toolset</strong><br /> Tor is a toolset for a wide range of organizations and people that want to improve their safety and security on the Internet. Using Tor can help you anonymize web browsing and publishing, instant messaging, IRC, SSH, and other applications that use the TCP protocol. Tor also provides a platform on which software developers can build new applications with built-in anonymity, safety, and privacy features.<br /><a target="_blank" href=""></a>/ </span></p><p><strong><span class="sizeGreater20">BLOGWARE</span></strong></p><p><span class="sizeGreater20">Textpattern. A free, flexible, elegant, easy-to-use content management system for all kinds of websites, even weblogs. <br /><a href="" target="_blank"></a>/<strong>&nbsp;</strong></span></p><p><strong><span class="sizeGreater20">OPEN ACCESS&nbsp;</span></strong></p><p><span class="sizeGreater20">Links to open and free journals should be added to this list. They are equally essential to media education. For now I will only point to <strong>Fibreculture Journal</strong> and <strong>FirstMonday</strong>, which I am using all the time.</span>&nbsp;  </p><p><span class="sizeGreater20"><a href="" target="_blank"></a>/ <a href="" target="_blank"><br /></a>/</span></p><p><strong><span class="sizeGreater20">SEARCH</span>&nbsp;</strong></p><p><span class="sizeGreater20">Often I found searches for video and audio more successful when I used <a target="_blank" href="">Singingfish</a>.</span><br /></p><p>l&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p>

Originally posted on 'journalisms' by [Trebor]