Saturday, July 26, 2008

Free College Education, Sort Of

MIT is making its entire course curriculum available for free on the internet. The only thing missing is the professor. Some of the classes that you can see have video, many have lecture notes and presentations.

The catalog has over 1800 classes and pretty much every topic area is covered.

They make a point that by using this site, you are not getting an MIT education. You're just using their materials:

MIT OpenCourseWare (OCW) is a web-based publication of virtually all MIT course content. OCW is open and available to the world and is a permanent MIT activity.

What is MIT OpenCourseWare?

MIT OpenCourseWare is a free publication of MIT course materials that reflects almost all the undergraduate and graduate subjects taught at MIT.

  • OCW is not an MIT education.

  • OCW does not grant degrees or certificates.

  • OCW does not provide access to MIT faculty.

  • Materials may not reflect entire content of the course.

You can read more in the FAQ.

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Thursday, July 24, 2008

5 Free Online Editors

Editors and word processors are personal things. Some people like command line editors like vi and others hate them. Some people want a GUI but want it to just sort of sit there, others want bells and whistles.

I like online editors because I use a lot of different computers. I tend to store text documents and source code on-line. That way it doesn't matter where I am, I always have my documents and source code available to me (as long as I have an internet connection).

Here are a few different editors (all available online) for you to try. I've run into quite a few editors (amongst other sites) that require MSIE. All of the links below will work with Firefox.

Big Huge Labs Writer - Nice, clean editor. Keyboard short cuts. Auto save. Simple, elegant. Distraction free writing.

Edit Pad - Very bare bones. Blank screen. Just start typing. If easy and free is your type, this is your editor.

Google Docs - Full featres, MS Office compatible, word processer. All the bells and whistles. Now with offline support.

Dark Copy - Another distraction free editor. Small area or full screen.

JavaScript VI - It doesn't get any more painful than this. If you hate VI, do not click this link. If you love VI, now you can access it from any computer.

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Wednesday, July 23, 2008

More Free Books

I can't believe I haven't blogged about this as yet. It's been around for a long time.

Baen books has the Baen Free Library. Now, I wouldn't call this their A+ catalog. Most of these are more frequently seen in the bargain section at Barnes and Nobles rather than a best seller list but some of these are hidden gems. There are also some books from the masters: Norton, Bujold, Hogan, Lackey, Laumer, Niven, Pournelle, Saberhagen and Turtledove.

This site is well worth a look and a bookmark. Heck, download them and put them on your laptop just in case you get stuck in an aitport some where. It might be fun to just browse them and find a new favorite.

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Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Free Sci-Fi Books

Tor has opened a new Sci-Fi community called How appropriate. ;-)

There are blogs, forums, etc but the most important thing is the freebies. Free books to be exact. Some really good ones too. Scalzi, Carver, Turtledove, and lots more.

There are also free short works available.

Right now there are mote free novels available than stories but I expect that ratio to flip in time.

Get'em while they're hot!

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Monday, June 2, 2008

Recommend a good, free HTML Editor?

This isn't related to my blogging. I use Zoundry Raven for blogging and am very happy with it. I am asking about HTML editors for a regular web site that I am working on.

I used Arachnophilia for a long time as my HTML editor. It's a robust editor, but it really is that, an editor. It's starting to feel a bit long in the tooth for me. I've decided to move on to a more CSS oriented WYSIWYG style editor. I used Dreamweaver many years ago but don't feel like dropping that kind of money on an HTML editor.

Right at the moment, I am using Amaya. While Amaya is free and supports CSS (to a degree) it has some very annoying issues. In general, like most open source, it feels somewhat incomplete. It also has a tendency to lose my background, icons, etc every now and then. Most times, resaving the file fixes it but sometimes I have to exit and come back. The worst thing though, is that it doesn't support SSI so my pages all look funky. Still, it's completely free and that's a bonus.

I loaded up Trellian Webpage and it looks promising. I played with it for a few minutes but haven't actually started using it. Two others I've downloaded but not played with yet are Aptana Studio and Evrsoft 1st Page 2000. The Aptana Studio looks good because it also does Ruby, PHP and Adobe Air via plugins.

Before I invest anymore time on this, I figured I would put the question out to you. What tool are you using for HTML development and/or can you recommend a good tool for me to try? It needs to support CSS and I would prefer some kind of support for SSI. Do any of the ones I already have fit the bill? Any better suggestions?

Thanks in advance,

LewisC : , , ,

Friday, May 23, 2008

ScrnShots - Free Screen Shot Hosting

LewisC's An Expert's Guide To Oracle Technology

This ain't no Flickr! Every blogger needs a place to host screen shots. Flickr is the best place for photos (IMHO) but they ask that all the images you post be photos (not that they're rabid about that). But now there's Unlimited screen shot uploads. You can tag them for easy searching. The photo below is a screen shot of and it is hosted on How recursive is that!

It works pretty much like flickr. Take a screen shot and save it on your computer. Upload it, add a description and tags. Embed it using the provided html. They do ask that you link back to them which is the same thing flickr asks.

On the social side, I've found that people frequently comment on shots. It's fun to browse around and look at the shots other people are taking. I'm going to try to post at least one interesting shot per day and I'll try to comment on any interesting ones that I find.

I am very happy to have this available. I'm not sure what the financial model is for this. I'm hoping they don't disappear anytime soon. Flickr seems to be going strong, especially now that they got bought. Maybe google will buy this one.


Friday, May 16, 2008

Free Floor Panning Software

I've started playing with a new online tool, This is a really neat little tool. From the site:

Buying a new home, rearranging your room, or moving into a new office? You can save time and have more fun if you lay out your ideas ahead of time.
Floorplanner is the easiest, quickest, and best looking way to create and share interactive floorplans. Using point-and-click, drag-and-drop tools, you can make your floor plan in minutes, and rearrange it as often as you want. Then you can save, send, and print your designs to share them, or place them on your own website.
It's easy to use and works in almost any modern browser, no extra downloads required.
I haven't used it heavily but so far it works fine. The free version will only let you create a single floor plan. Since I ownly own a single house, that's not a problem for me. ;-)

You can upgrade to the Plus version. That gives you 5 floor plans. It costs $30.50 per year. That's about what you would pay for a comparable desktop version but a desktop version would give you unlimited floorplans.

You can also upgrade to Pro for $24.50 per month. That seems really steep to me even for a professional.

The free version is definitely worth a look though.