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August 13, 2013  7:54 PM

Video Editing in Linux, Part One

Robin Robin "Roblimo" Miller Profile: Robin "Roblimo" Miller

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Linux is less likely to crash than Windows. It runs on less robust hardware. In many ways it’s easier to use, especially for people skilled with computers. (That would be you, right?) But not all software written to run on Linux is perfect — or even necessarily 100% usable. I’ve battled with the idea of editing video in Linux for over a decade, now, and it is finally becoming possible. Sort of. And there’s hope that it may get better. The most “complete” video editing programs for Linux right now are supposed to be flowblade, KDEnlive, LiVES, Shotcut, and OpenShot. These programs are all free both in the sense that they cost $0.00 to use, and in the sense that you are free to do with them as you wish in ways you cannot with proprietary software.
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July 31, 2013  11:08 PM

I Use Linux Because I Like It, Not Just Because it’s Free

Robin Robin "Roblimo" Miller Profile: Robin "Roblimo" Miller

LinuxSome people use Linux because it’s free in the GNU sense of software freedom. Some like it because it’s free in the financial sense. I use Linux because it’s my favorite operating system. Specifically, right now I’m using Kubuntu, which is so much to my taste that it could have been designed just for me.

Let me start by mentioning something that sounds silly, but is a basic Linux/Unix characteristic: Programs and files that take two mouse-clicks to open in Windows open with a single click. This is not silly when you open and close dozens or hundreds of files and programs in the course of a workday. It’s something you don’t think about when you use Linux unless you move to Windows suddenly, as I am often forced to do for video editing. Then the double-click thing become an irritation, and makes it feel all the better to escape back to Linux.
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July 22, 2013  3:18 PM

Beware the Frumious Shipping Charge

Robin Robin "Roblimo" Miller Profile: Robin "Roblimo" Miller

99centHow can a $26 item cost less than the same thing for $19? Is it the Jabberwock, my son? Very possibly. In his poem, Jabberwocky, Lewis Carroll wrote, “Beware the Jabberwock, my son! The jaws that bite, the claws that catch! Beware the Jubjub bird, and shun The frumious Bandersnatch!” Could this poem have been a metaphor? Could it really have been about shipping charges?

The thumbnail at the beginning of this story is from an Amazon page for a bicycle tail light. If you buy much from Amazon you’ve seen this sort of thing more than once: an item priced impossibly low, with a ridiculously high shipping charge to make up for the low price (and then some).
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July 14, 2013  10:09 PM

How Brick and Mortar Stores are Commiting Suicide by Internet

Robin Robin "Roblimo" Miller Profile: Robin "Roblimo" Miller

A blog called Cheap Computing is obviously about getting things at the lowest possible price. As the Cheap Computing blogger, I obviously love finding the best deals not only on computers and software but also on car repairs, BBQs, and even coffee makers. But even though I buy a large percentage of the items I need in my life over the Internet, I regret watching the traditional retail industry die. Even worse, I hate the way retailers are killing themselves off, and using the Internet to do it.
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July 9, 2013  5:04 PM

Loads of Free Data for Business and Personal Use

Robin Robin "Roblimo" Miller Profile: Robin "Roblimo" Miller

dataLogo2I’m talking about government data, and there’s a lot of it out there. It’s not really “free” since your tax dollars paid for it, but it’s free to use, and it’s now getting concentrated in one handy place where you can use it however you like. This bonanza is at the data.gov website, which carries the tagline, “empowering people.”
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July 1, 2013  12:36 AM

G2 Crowd Helps You Find the Best Deals on Enterprise Software

Robin Robin "Roblimo" Miller Profile: Robin "Roblimo" Miller

G2logoFinding a good price on a single-user desktop program is one thing. Getting a good deal on software that will be shared by 10, 20 or 300 users — or more — is something else. For one thing, you can’t rely on software reviews at that level because most software news publications don’t have the resources to test software meant to be used by many people, and if it’s software that is typically customized heavily for each corporate user, a review of how it works in one situation may be meaningless to you if your use scenario is not the same as the reviewer’s. Indeed, the only way to get an unbiased review of enterprise software is from other users. This is what G2 Crowd is all about, and why you need to know about it.
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June 21, 2013  8:10 PM

Do You Really Need All Your Employees to Work In Los Angeles, New York or San Francisco?

Robin Robin "Roblimo" Miller Profile: Robin "Roblimo" Miller

laprogrammerI see it over and over again: “Bachelors degree or equivalent, 5 years senior-level experience, must work in Los Angeles office.” If it’s a job that involves staring at a monitor and typing on a keyboard, with maybe some phone action in between, why shouldn’t you save money and hire someone in a low-cost location instead of in one of the world’s most expensive ones? Sometimes a computer — and the person in front of it — are cheap because of where they are, not because of their abilities.
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June 14, 2013  5:08 PM

Really Good (but Cheap) Coffee Makers

Robin Robin "Roblimo" Miller Profile: Robin "Roblimo" Miller

CuisinartI don’t know about you, but before *I* go near that keyboard I need my coffee. And the better the coffee, the better I work, so I recently went on a coffee maker research binge. My venerable (and not exactly cheap) Cuisinart drip machine was starting to get a little worn out. I’d had it so long that the part of the machine where the thermal pot sat was starting to rust. My first thought was just to replace this passable Cuisinart with another one just like it. But then I started thinking about getting something a little better suited for my one-coffee-drinker household instead of yet another 10-cup device, and that though led to… dum de DUM dum… research! …starting with a bunch of reading, then the purchase of a Bialetti Moka Express from my local Bed Bath & Beyond.
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June 7, 2013  4:25 PM

If One Free Malware Removal Program Costs $0.00, How Much do Three Malware Removal Programs Cost?

Robin Robin "Roblimo" Miller Profile: Robin "Roblimo" Miller

virusOh, oh, oh. A friend’s computer isn’t working right. Could it be a virus? Or just as likely, a worm, which many people would call a virus even if it isn’t one? The traditional troubleshooting technique here is, “When in danger or in doubt, run in circles, scream and shout.” But we’re smarter than that, right? We are immediately going to buy three of the highest-priced virus removal programs on the market. Or are we? Aren’t there useful free antimalware programs we can use? Why, yes! There are!
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May 27, 2013  11:13 PM

A $69 Android Tablet That’s Worth Buying

Robin Robin "Roblimo" Miller Profile: Robin "Roblimo" Miller

WalmartMy last post, Beware the Nearly Useless Low-End Android Tablet, was about my efforts to find a low-cost Android tablet that was worth buying. I mentioned that I was ordering a $69 Nextbook 7″ Tablet with 8GB Memory from Walmart. I’ve now been playing with it for a few days, and I like it. The main reason I chose this tablet is that it explicitly said it had Google Play preloaded. And it did. Last week I noted that some bottom-of-the-line tablets only had dorky, semi-useless proprietary app stores, not Google’s huge one — which many people (including me) consider the best thing about Android.

But wait! That’s not all!
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