Kamis, 18 Desember 2014

TechSource: How to Write Screenplays Using Your Android Device

TechSource: How to Write Screenplays Using Your Android Device


How to Write Screenplays Using Your Android Device

Posted: 18 Dec 2014 12:57 AM PST

If you are a budding screenwriter who's always on the move, writing a screenplay on your Android smartphone is the last thing you'd think of. In fact, there are barely any apps that fulfill the promise of a full-fledged writing experience on your mobile device. Having said that, hope's not lost. Android users who love to travel and love to write will find some of the screenwriting apps that we are about to share with you quite handy.

Most of the following Android apps work very well on Android smartphones. However, one must generally avoid writing full-fledged scripts using the phone's small screen. What these apps work great for is editing bits and pieces of your script without you having to wait till you get home from work and open your computer. In short, these apps, though few, work quite well, but cannot be relied upon too much so investing in quality desktop screenwriting tools is still highly recommended.


FadeIn Mobile

FadeIn is a fabulous screenwriting application that works across all major platforms including Windows, Linux, and Mac. The mobile version of the software is designed to complement the desktop counterpart. This means that you'll be able to edit .fadein files on your smartphone without any difficulties. What's appealing about this app is that you don't have to worry much about formatting as it's automatically taken care of. Also, if you are someone who worries a lot about losing your files, FadeIn hooks quite nicely with your Dropbox account thus allowing you to safely backup your script. The only and perhaps the biggest drawback of this app is that it doesn't work with .FDX files or any other major file formats in the industry. 



Celtx Script


Celtx is a well-known free application that lets you write screenplays across multiple platforms. Its desktop counterpart retains most of the features that let you write scripts in screenplay, AV, stage play, audio play, and comic formats. To use the app, you'll need to sign up with a free Celtx account. This means that your scripts will be safely backed up and synced to the cloud without needing any external account. Though the app doesn't come with many fancy features, it is still useful for quickly typing out things on the go.



DubScript Screenplay Writer

DubScript undoubtedly has to be one of the most feature-rich applications on the list. The app works with four of the major script formats: Fountain 1.x, Final Draft (.fdx), Trelby, and CeltX (.html). And yes, this is the only app that provides you a suitable environment for creating a screenplay from scratch and then exporting it. What makes DubScript so special is that it uses the Fountain markup. This means that you won't have to waste unnecessary time focusing on the format of your screenplay. Just write and the app will handle the formatting part for you. Once you are done writing the script, it is neatly formatted by the app and can be exported as .fdx or even an .html file. If you want to print it directly, you can use Android's printing functionality to do that. The app can also export files into PDF format. You can then send those files to anyone one else by exporting the file via email, Evernote, or even Twitter if you are a little courageous.



MyScreenplays

MyScreenplays is another great app for writing screenplays on your smartphone or tablet. What makes this app stand apart is that it provides a unique non-linear approach to screenwriting. In other words, you can pick out any part of your script and start editing it whenever you want to. Most of the formatting happens automatically without you having to worry about it. MyScreenplays acts like a non-linear video editor but for screenplays. As for the supported file formats, the app can both import and export files in .fdx format. If you want, you can also export in HTML, Doc, PDF, and Celtx. Apart from extensive support for various popular formats, MyScreenplays also comes with some great editing options.



Kamis, 04 Desember 2014

TechSource: 5 Tempting Firefox Features That May Make You Ditch Chrome Forever

TechSource: 5 Tempting Firefox Features That May Make You Ditch Chrome Forever


5 Tempting Firefox Features That May Make You Ditch Chrome Forever

Posted: 03 Dec 2014 07:55 PM PST

Chrome has transformed itself from a mere browser to a full-fledged operating system. It now has apps, extensions, themes, and a complete ecosystem built around it. Developed by Google, this browser, which is based on an open-source project, has become one of the most popular products made by the search giant. In fact, combined with Android, Chrome has the potential to become a formidable force that might be able to completely unshackle users from the clutches of Microsoft.

Chrome OS on the other hand, isn't lagging behind either. Its popularity is growing in huge numbers and a more tangible proof of that is Evernote, a company that has created an app just for them. This ever-growing presence of Chrome coupled with the domination of Android is like a Google fanboy's dream come true.

Having said that, despite its soaring success, Chrome isn't as great as it used to be when it first started. What used to be a blazing fast alternative to the then-reigning Firefox has now become a bit bloated. Too many features and tracking that may drive privacy conscious people a tad crazy has pushed a few people to go back to the mighty fox. While we don't think a regular Chrome user would be able to move to another browser so easily (given the amount of services it's tied to) we think Firefox still deserves another chance. It's a browser that has stood the test of time and has matured despite the strong competition.


1. Customization: This is a big area where Firefox's new Australis revamp has managed to take the browser a couple of steps ahead of Chrome. With the new design, you can customize pretty much any area of Firefox thus making it look the way you want. Be it a download button on the toolbar or an address bar that sits alone just like you have on Chrome, Firefox lets you shape your browsing experience any way you want.

2. Privacy: Google's main revenue source is advertising. And needless to say, that worries a lot of people who are concerned about their privacy. With Google's tracking built-in, Chrome tracks your searches in the Omnibox along with the suggestions. Also, most people don't like having all their data in one place, and that's why ditching Chrome might be a good idea. Firefox, on the other hand, has a strict focus on maintaining its users' privacy and this might help soothe any frustrations you have about making the switch. 

3. Better Extensions: When it comes to extensions, Firefox still reigns supreme. What makes its extensions so good is that they fit in perfectly with the rest of the browsing experience. Also, they allow you to change or modify pretty much every aspect of your browsing experience, something you'd rarely find in Chrome. Overall, Firefox's add-ons, though many of them require a restart, are much more mature and stable as compared to those on Chrome.

4. More organized:
Compared to Chrome, Firefox's browsing experience is much more organized. Firefox comes with Tab groups out of the box, which allow you to club various types of tabs together and thus reduce clutter. Think of it like virtual desktops for your browser. What's good about the feature is that it's easily accessible. Just press Ctrl+Shift+E and the browser zooms out allowing you to rearrange the tabs in groups. You can even search through your tabs in this zoomed out mode thus relieving some of the tab overload we face on a daily basis.

5. Completely open source: Last, but not the least, Firefox is completely open source. This means that you can trust on it more than any other type of software in the world. Chrome, on the other hand, is based on an open-source project called Chromium. As much as Google emphasizes the fact that it's "based on an open-source project," it's still not open-source, and many FOSS enthusiasts like us agree with the fact.


Conclusion: Firefox is not perfect. It still has some aspects wherein Chrome will beat it hands-on if there ever was a competition between the two. But if there were a war between all the browsers in the world, both Firefox and Chrome would come out on top making them the two best choices any Internet user could make.


Written by: Abhishek, a regular TechSource contributor and a long-time FOSS advocate.

Senin, 17 November 2014

TechSource: How to Build Awesome Android Apps

TechSource: How to Build Awesome Android Apps


How to Build Awesome Android Apps

Posted: 17 Nov 2014 03:59 AM PST

Over the years, Android has grown from a simple mobile operating system to a highly profitable ecosystem. Among the people to benefit from this growth are Google, gadget manufacturers (Samsung, HTC, Motorola), and millions of app developers from around the world. With multiple ways to monetize applications, Android has been responsible for turning many small-time developers into the "rich geeks" who have made quite a following for themselves in the pop culture.

What makes Android app development so appealing is that it is based on Java, which is a language pretty much every guy or girl with a computer science degree knows. Secondly, Android being open-source and free to develop with, anyone can start making apps right away without spending a single buck. All you need is an Internet connection and some coding skills. This is a far cry from Apple's model wherein you have to pay Apple to become a developer.

Making apps on Android can be fun, informative, as well as monetarily rewarding. If you are willing to put in some time and effort into learning the basics of Android app development, you will be making good apps very quickly. If your idea is unique enough and the app is relatively bug free, you can release it in the Google Play Store and watch it become popular. You can also monetize it by enabling in-app payments, ads, and even putting a small price for your app.

So, if you are excited about learning how to develop Android apps, read on as we have links to some of the best tutorials out there for getting started.


Official Android Tutorials

Google offers a lot of official tutorials that can help you learn Android from the guys who made it. These go a lot in depth and are easy and fun to follow along. A great place to start is the Android Training Guide that starts off by helping you create your first Android project. Then, as the course moves forward, you'll learn to deal with various elements of the development process thus helping you create solid, well-designed apps that look exactly the way Google intended them to. If you are starting off, take some time and read through all of the notes. These will help you with everything be it security, notifications, or even monetization. For additional help you can check out the Android Developers YouTube channel which has a lot of hands-on examples on the development process.


Vogella

Vogella is a training and consulting website that has a lot of free tutorials. One of them is Android Development by Lars Vogel. This tutorial takes you from the very basics like "What is Android" to advanced stuff like modifying XML files. Complete in itself, Vogella takes you from the basic steps of downloading the SDK to the more advanced steps of emulating the app, testing it, and finally deploying it. The whole tutorial can be read from the single web page and is full of useful diagrams and images. If you are following it, make sure you keep it bookmarked.


Android Fundamentals/Udacity Free Course (By Google)

Google wants to make sure that more and more people start taking advantage of its huge ecosystem. That's why, partnering with Udacity, the search giant has created a full course that combines both practice and theory. The course starts right away with the UI then moves to more advanced topics like responsive layouts, background services, and third-party integration. This course, unlike others on the list, requires you to have at least 3 years of programming experience in Java or any other programming language.


Android Application Development Tutorials (by thenewboston)

Thenewboston is a popular YouTube channel that has a fantastic set of tutorials on various tech skills. One of them is its playlist on Android application development. The tutorial covers pretty much all basics of Android app development with most of the concepts neatly explained by the narrator. Instead of talking to the screen, the host demonstrates the coding process in action thus helping you learn a lot.


Android Development for Beginners by Derek Banas (YouTube)

This playlist by Derek Banas on YouTube is great for someone who wants to make a simple Android app in a week or so. It focuses mainly on App Inventor, which is a WYSIWYG tool for creating simple Android apps. While this tutorial won't help you build the next WhatsApp or Snapchat, it will definitely give you some head start in creating some simple apps.


Android Training Tutorials by Lynda.com

Lynda.com is a popular subscription-based website that gives you access to hundreds of great online tutorials. Android Training tutorial is one of their courses which is quite useful if you are a complete beginner and are looking for something that's both easy-to-follow and useful. In the course, you'll be creating an Android app from scratch as you build it with Java. Though a paid course, it's not a bad investment for someone who is looking for something comprehensive and beginner-friendly.


Android Design Guidelines

This is not a tutorial but a set of principles and guidelines that will help you make your app look like the way it's meant to be on Android. Many rookie developers -- and some big ones too -- make the mistake of creating apps that look and feel completely out of place. They go in with the thinking that they'll create two apps, one for Android and one for iOS while keeping the design same for both of them. This not only makes the apps you have look weird and clunky, it also shies many customers away from your app. A great way to remedy this problem is study the guidelines first, make a blueprint for the app, and then start creating it.


Learn by Doing - Android for Beginners

This is a great free course with more than seven hours of content that teaches you Android programming in a more practical way. Learn by Doing teaches exactly the way you want it to -- in practical hands-on videos aided by elaborate videos. Accompanying the instructions are exercises to test and hone your skills. Overall, the course is targeted towards helping you get an app running as quickly and as efficiently as possible. If you are looking for something in-depth, make sure you go through Android's official guide, which is quite exhaustive and covers a lot of important concepts. That being said, you'll definitely end up learning a lot of stuff about Android development thus helping you springboard to more complex development topics.


Creative, Serious and Playful Science of Android Apps by Coursera

If you are excited about creating your first Android app but also want to learn more about the science of what goes behind building it, this next course is just for you. Created by University of Illinois, this is an 8-week course that will take you through creating your Android app, working with various libraries, and yes, along with that you get to learn all the computer science fundamentals. If you are planning to take this course, expect investing around 7 hours a week in it. This is a great starting off point for anyone who wants to get into Android development, as it requires no prior experience in computing. Passing all the tests and completing the course diligently will earn you a verified certificate from the University of Illinois.

Kamis, 06 November 2014

TechSource: Best Android Apps Created by Celebrities

TechSource: Best Android Apps Created by Celebrities


Best Android Apps Created by Celebrities

Posted: 05 Nov 2014 10:49 PM PST

When Kim Kardashian came up with her own game and it made her millions of dollars, the whole world went a bit crazy. Among the critics of this new phenomenon were many "app purists" who were a bit perturbed by the success of an allegedly second-rate application. However, upon actually using the app, many users have loved it. In fact, there are many people who aren't fans of Kim Kardashian and her reality TV clan; however, they do enjoy the game quite a lot.

In today's interconnected world many apps created by celebrities are usually looked down upon. And yes, many of them are really, really bad. However, some of them do stand out. Some of them are actually worth trying. So, in today's article we're listing some of the best applications created by celebrities:


Shatoetry by William Shatner

Have you ever wanted to write poetry? Okay, well, have you ever written good poetry? And how about somehow you could get William Shatner to read your poetry? Wouldn't that be cool, eh? Well, this next app brings a similar experience to your Android smartphone or tablet. Created by William Shatner himself, the app lets you arrange words so as to create poetry or witty quotations. Then, once you are done, you can have it read in William Shatner's voice. Though not really exciting at first, but it is a very unique idea since you can keep using the app endlessly. 



Snoopify by Snoop Dogg/Snoop Lion

Apart from being a famous musician, Snoop Dogg/Snoop Lion is known for his distinct look and his laid-back persona. This app is probably as close as you can get to taking a picture with him. Though this at first looks like yet another "Photobooth with celebs" kind of app, it does prove itself much more useful. All you have to do is take a picture or add a picture from your gallery. Add a funky sticker from a sticker pack (stickers like bling bling, some cool-looking shades, or even pictures of Snoop Lion) and then add them to your own photo. The stickers when added to the photo make it look quite funky and the effects don't look out of place at all. The app can be quite fun to play around with, even more so if you are a big Snoop Dogg fan.  



Kim Kardashian: Hollywood by Kim Kardashian

While many consider this a bad application, we have quite a different opinion. What makes Kim Kardashian Hollywood so special is that it lets ordinary people experience the Hollywood lifestyle without burning giant holes in their pockets. The whole celebrity lifestyle in one game is quite entertaining and can quickly become a guilty pleasure for even those who don't like the posh LA lifestyle. This is definitely an app that looks quite simplistic at first but then quickly gets addictive. 



Taylor Swift Greeting Cards by Taylor Swift

This is a great application that lets you create and send customized greeting cards to your loved ones. Created by Taylor Swift, the app creates cards that are quite attuned with Taylor's style and personality. Once installed, you start out by choosing a template for the card. This could be a picture of a cute dog, a Happy Birthday message, or even an inspiring quote by Taylor Swift. Then, add your message, sign the card, preview it and send it. What makes this app special is its simplicity and ease of use. It is a great greeting card app to use even if you aren't a big fan of Taylor Swift. 



Alicia Keys: Mama Mae & LeeLee by Alicia Keys

Probably the best app on the list, Alicia Keys' foray into the world of apps seems to have struck quite a chord amongst the kids. Specially designed as a unique storytelling experience for children, this app is about an eight-year-old girl facing everyday challenges with the help of her wise grandmother, Mama Mae. The character of Mamma Mae is voiced by the popular actress Della Reese with songs by Alicia Keys herself. If you have a kid at home, this is a great app to have. 



Written by: Abhishek, a regular TechSource contributor and a long-time FOSS advocate.

Senin, 27 Oktober 2014

TechSource: 7 Nifty VLC Tricks You Should Know

TechSource: 7 Nifty VLC Tricks You Should Know


7 Nifty VLC Tricks You Should Know

Posted: 27 Oct 2014 05:47 AM PDT

VLC started as an academic project in 1996 and back then it was called "VideoLAN Client", and hence the name VLC. Soon, however, it grew to become a client as well as server that can be used to stream videos across the network. Its popularity showed steady growth leading up to the development of Version 1.0 that was released in 2009. In other words, the project took 13 years of development to reach its first major release, something that shows us how stable the open-source tool has indeed become.

Be it Windows, Mac OS X, or Linux, VLC still remains the undisputed king of media players. From playing YouTube videos and MP3s to helping you enjoy Blu-ray movies, this open-source tool is regarded as one of the indispensable tools every desktop user should have installed. If you are using Linux right now, chances are you are a VLC user too. And if you are, we've got some useful tips for you that will help you get the most out of it.


1. Taking Screenshots of the Currently Playing Video

Whenever you are playing a video, you can grab a quick screencap without even pausing. All you have to do is press the combination Shift + S and your screenshot will automatically show up in the Pictures folder. If, however, you are using Mac OS X, use the shortcut Cmd + Alt + S and the snapshot will be waiting for you in the Pictures folder. 


2. Bookmark a Position in a Video

Imagine you are busy watching your favorite movie and suddenly your smartphone rings. It is a bummer right? Start the video again and then seeking to the last position you were on. Thankfully, VLC saves you the trouble by letting you bookmark a position in the video so that you can come back to it whenever you want.

All you have to do is go to the menubar and then Playback -> Custom Bookmarks -> Manage. A new window will pop up. Here, simply click on the button that says "Create" and you will have the bookmark at your disposal whenever you want.

Note that you can also use this for listening to audiobooks as well where bookmarking plays an important role.


3. Record the Currently Playing Video/Audio

If you listen to streaming audio or watch a lot of online videos natively, this next tip will help you keep the best bits to yourself. By recording a currently playing song or video, you can re-listen to it whenever you want.

To start recording, simply go to the menu bar and navigate to View -> Advanced Controls. Once you do that, a small red button will show up below the video or audio. Click on it and the stream will be saved to your default Videos or Music folder.


4. Record from a Webcam

If you are a wannabe rising YouTube star, this tip might help you a lot. VLC, apart from playing your favorite movies, also lets you do a recording from the webcam. Simply go to Media -> Open Capture Device. There, you'll find a dropdown menu. There, select DirectShow to select your webcam. Once that is done, start recording by hitting the red button. The video will be stored in the default videos folder.


5. Play Video Files in .zip and .rar Archives

The next time someone hands you a bunch of video files packed in a .rar archive, simply open it in VLC and it will play. VLC reads through the archive letting you play the video files contained in it.


6. Watch a YouTube Video Without a Browser

Instead of watching a YouTube video in a distraction-ridden webpage, you can use VLC to watch it on your desktop. Simply click on the menu bar -> Media and click Open Network Stream. There, paste the URL of your favorite video and it will start playing automatically. Alternatively, you can press Ctrl + N anytime and paste the video directly.


7. VLC Does Podcasts Too

VLC can do a lot more than playing videos and music. It also acts as a full-fledged podcast downloader and player. Open VLC and if the playlist view isn't showing up yet, press Ctrl + L or hit the playlist button at the bottom. In the left pane under Internet, you'll find an option that says Podcasts. Hit the grey button besides it and paste your favorite podcast URL.

Selasa, 21 Oktober 2014

TechSource: Best Android Games that let you Build your Own Farms and Towns

TechSource: Best Android Games that let you Build your Own Farms and Towns


Best Android Games that let you Build your Own Farms and Towns

Posted: 20 Oct 2014 11:56 PM PDT

Being a farmer in the bustling cityscape might not be the ideal dream for you. However, if you are still keen on doing that, you can do it anywhere. But wait, before you head out to your lawn and start planting seeds, relax and pull out your Android smartphone or tablet.

Yes, do that now because in this list, we are going to help you build not only your own farms but your own towns as well. Of course, these are just games, but you'll be surprised how hooked you'll be once you start playing them.


Green Farm

Imagine inheriting an old manor from your uncle. However, despite your really good luck, it isn't as good as you'd wanted it to be. Your mission in this game is to secure it, beautify, and grow a complete farm in front of the manor. Once you start building the farm, you'll come across many missions that involve full farming, harvesting, and even crafting. Of course, you'll have help from your friends and neighbors, but most of the time, you'll be on your own. The game works quite well on tablets as well as smartphones.



Farm Story

With over 150 varieties of fruits, flowers and vegetables, Farm Story is a game that lets you build beautiful farms in no time. You can design your own farm by decorating it with trees, fences, and buildings. Once you've designed your ideal farm, plant the crops so that they start growing. You can even invite neighbors to watch your crops grow, making this game even more fun. As with many titles in this genre, Farm Story is free to play but also offers paid in-game upgrades. Worth giving a shot if you love building farms.



Farm Town: Happy Day

This game is one where you get to do pure farming. You can grow variety of crops, hay, vegetables, fruits, and berries. Moreover, you get to help your neighbors build their own farms too. Apart from basic farming, you also get to take care of cute pets as you keep gathering resources in building your dream farm. 



FarmVille 2: Country Escape

Quite possibly the most popular game in this genre, FarmVille is a title that started it all. Not only can you build and grow your own farm, you can also do a variety of activities that traditional farming games don't offer. Making use of the right resources, you get to make various gourmet foods, raise farm animals, go fishing with fellow farmers, and build a whole new family farm by the coast. What makes this game stand out is the sheer size of its universe. Furthermore, there's offline play, multi-player, and even the ability to play co-op with your friends online. No wonder Farmville still remains the king of farming games despite having formidable competitors. 



Adventure Town

With over a million users, Adventure Town still remains one of the best titles in the town-building genre. What sets this game apart is the ability to create your own unique heroes who will defeat villains and save your town from danger. Not only does this title let you build your own town, it also lets you fight against evil monsters at every major level. This combination of light combat and city-building make it a highly engaging game.



Triple Town

Quite unlike the traditional town-building games, Triple Town stands apart by adding the puzzle element to it. The game moves forward only one premise: the larger the city you build, the more points you score. Though a turn-based, "thinking required" game, it is highly addictive even if you are looking for something casual to spend your Sunday afternoon playing. Triple Town has raked more than 5,000,000 downloads since its release and has been rated quite well by Android users worldwide. 



Town Maker

Town Maker, as the name suggests, lets you build any kind of town you want. Be it a village or a whole new city, this one got it covered. With bright funky graphics and lots of engaging elements, Town Maker excels in pushing the limits of what you can build on your Android smartphone or tablet. Be it putting the Eiffel Tower in the middle of a primitive village or the pyramids in the midst of Victorian buildings, this is a game that will let you explore your creativity. 



Written by: Abhishek, a regular TechSource contributor and a long-time FOSS advocate.