So today saw the launch of the long awaited Raspberry Pi Model B.. This small yet perfectly equipment little circuit board is almost certainly going to change many peoples lives.. Booting from an SD card the Raspberry Pi is currently able to support a hand full of Linux Distributions, including Raspbmc, OpenELEC, Debian GNU/Linux, Fedora, Arch Linux.

“So what?” I hear you cry.. Well look at it this way, how many other functional machines can you get for a mere £21.60! Sure, the Pi looks tiny, but check out the list of features below..

Features

  • Broadcom BCM2835 700MHz ARM1176JZFS processor with FPU and Videocore 4 GPU
  • GPU provides Open GL ES 2.0, hardware-accelerated OpenVG, and 1080p30 H.264 high-profile decode
  • GPU is capable of 1Gpixel/s, 1.5Gtexel/s or 24GFLOPs with texture filtering and DMA infrastructure
  • 256MB RAM
  • Boots from SD card, running the Fedora version of Linux
  • 10/100 BaseT Ethernet socket
  • HDMI socket
  • USB 2.0 socket
  • RCA video socket
  • SD card socket
  • Powered from microUSB socket
  • 3.5mm audio out jack
  • Header footprint for camera connection
  • Size: 85.6 x 53.98 x 17mm

Not only that, put the Pi supports AirPlay, making it a cheap customisable stand in for the Apple TV devices.

Popular desktop based applications have already been ported over to Raspberry Pi including XBMC, which as you can see from the YouTube video below suits the device perfectly!

That’s the exciting stuff out of the way, now for the bad news.. This device is almost certainly going to sell out in seconds..  So if I was you, I wouldn’t get my hopes up of getting one too soon. However to stand a better chance, you might want to register over at RS Components website, who will let you know when there available



Back in December 2008 I posted a link to a tutorial on how to create iPhone ringtones. Which worked well, as long as you had the patience to pin point the timings of a track. Well since then I have had to get a little bit more ‘technical’ with my ringtone creation. Mainly because of the music I was trying to clip.. So I thought it was about time I put another tutorial together, but this time a little bit more in depth, covering all the aspects of clipping using the wave display.

First of all your going to need some tools to attack the music file you want to convert. I have always sworn by Audacity for all my music work. Audacity is ‘freeware’ and available for Windows, Mac OS X, Linux and Unix
Once you have downloaded Audacity you will need to download and install the library, I use the FFMpeg Library which is also available for WindowsMac OS X, Linux and Unix
Once you have all the tools downloaded, launch the Audacity editor. You will be presented with a new project window which looks similar to the one below (depending on OS)

Now, all you need to do is locate your MP3WavSound file through the built in menu system, or drag and drop it into the dark area in between the menu bar and status bar. Once it’s done loading the music file you should be presented with a window which looks like this (obviously this will differ for each sound file)

Using the built in menu bar you can play the track, and locate the section you want to clip. Remembering that most devices using 30 seconds of the clip for the tone. Once you have found the section you want click on the wave table where it starts, and drag you mouse whilst keeping an eye on the field under the ‘Length’ radio button until you have grabbed 30 seconds worth. You should notice the highlighted section will turn a slightly darker grey colour:

With the section highlighted, if you press the ‘Play’ button Audacity will play the section you have selected. If you are not happy with it you can move the highlighted section back and forth with your mouse until you find a section you like.

Once done simply click Edit > Cut in the menu bar, or ctrl + x on your windows keyboard (cmd + x on Mac) to cut out the section of track. Now click File > New to open a fresh project window and paste in your clipping. (Edit > Paste etc)

Check you have clipped the correct part using the play button, and once you are happy click File > Export. Give it a meaningful name and select a location for the file, in the format drop down box select “M4A (AAC) Files (FFmpeg)” and click ok.

Once the export has completed, locate the file and rename the extension from .m4a to .m4r.

Now open iTunes, select the ‘Ringtones’ sections and drag in your newly created .m4r file. All that’s left to do now is sync you iPhone, select the new file in the settings menu and your done.

So hopefully, you will never pay for a ringtone again :)



DropBox
Online storage solutions seem to be popping up all over the place thick and fast. Each featuring it’s own good and bad points. One of my favourite’s is Dropbox. As with many online storage solutions drop box features it’s own feature rich desktop client. The client is available for Windows, Mac, Linux and some mobile devices. Some of the clients features include: File Sync, File Sharing, Online Backup and Web access. For a complete list of features check out the website.
One of the best points of the Dropbox client is it’s ease of use. The local Dropbox file system is just like your native file system and fits in seamlessly with it’s surroundings. The only give away being the slightly different icons and different context menu. 
The context menu (right click) gives you access to some of Dropbox’s main features from inside your local Dropbox location. Features include ‘grabbing’ the public URL, navigating to the Dropbox webpage and reverting to a previously backed up file.
DropBox FileEach file stored inside the local Dropbox folder contains an addition to it’s icon, in the form of a tick. This is a quick and easy way of checking the status of files in your local and remote Dropbox locations.
For example, Dropbox has the ability to make files you place inside the ‘Public’ folder available to download by anyone who you pass the link onto. So if you copy a file into you local DropboxPublic folder, wait for the green tick to appear then right click on the file and click ‘copy public link’. Your clipboard will now contain a link to a public version of the file you have uploaded. An example of this is a PDF file stored in my public dropbox:  http://dl.dropbox.com/u/4204803/burgerking.pdf this is a collection of promotional vouchers for a popular fast food chain. This method works with almost any file and on any version of the Dropbox client.
The Dropbox service also offers a web-based front end to your ‘Dropbox files’, thus giving you the ability to access your files from anywhere in the world with an active internet connection. This combined with the ability to Sync the contents to as many devices as you want creates quite a powerful collaboration solution, for groups of people who work on large numbers of files.
The sync’ing also gives you a seamless background backup solution, ensuring that all your critical data is backed up without you having to do a thing!
The online storage can even be used to host a simple website which you can share with your friends and family.
Dropbox accounts are completely free if you are happy with the 2GB’s of storage, however if you are hungry for more you can upgrade your account to either 50GB or 100GB’s of storage space for a small monthly fee.
If you are interested in finding out more information about Dropbox, or in signing up for an account you can find their website here.


….. No, not A GIMP – just GIMP - The GNU Image Manipulation Program. Everyone knows just how powerful Adobe Photoshop is, which is all well and good if you are a professional user who can claim the costs back against your companies funds.. However for the average home user, wanting to edit their holiday photo’s from Costa France, there are few alternatives that provide similar ability and tools..

One of the major players in the market is GIMP. The GIMP project launched back in early 1998 and has been going from strength to strength ever since. 
The project is now unto version 2.6, which features a massive collection of tools and capabilities. All of which can be viewed on the GIMP features page.
GIMP is available for the following operating systems: OS XGIMP 2.6.7 for Windows and for Linux.


VirtualBoxAlthough I am starting to get used to the completely different approach of the Mac OS X, and actually starting to think it’s faultless, I still have a need for a Windows based operating system. Mainly for development works but also to run some of the apps which don’t yet have Mac equivalents. 

Which is where virtual PC’s come in. A virtual PC is basically a single file containing an operating system, which with the correct software runs inside a window in your booted OS.
So for me to use my development tools and other windows based products I am using Sun’s VirtualBox application. I have used this since the early versions on my Linux Mandraje Distro. Its ease of use and mass of configuration options beats its competitors hands down.
You can download Sun’s VitualBox from http://www.virtualbox.org/ and have a Guest operating system up and running in less then an hour! Perfect if you still miss your windowslinux environment on you new hardware or OS installation.



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