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Planetarium Software ~ Aimed at astronomers, good planetarium software helps you pinpoint the constellations whatever the weather and saves you wrestling with your telescope. Here you’ll find a vast selection from the long forgotten to the actively maintained, from the free to the commercial and for a range of operating systems, that includes hand-held devices.
Planet Watcher ~ Home to a dynamic astrology chart that updates when you visit or refresh the page. You can also move forwards or backwards through time and customise the planets or aspects that you want represented. You are generously allowed to feature either a dynamic or a fixed chart of you own choosing on any website you handle, using an especially prepared widget.
Playing with Canvas ~ This week I’m showcasing a neat star field made using the new <canvas> tag, proposed as part of the forthcoming HTML5 standard, but already implemented by all the major browsers with the exception of Internet Explorer. This enables you to draw graphics using just Javascript, promising a real alternative to Adobe Flash…
PrintFriendly ~ Modern web pages often cannot be printed easily. They are built to be viewed online and many developers, either don’t care or are keen to discourage you, from messing with their creation. This useful site strips out the text content from any web page, allowing you to preview it and delete anything superfluous, before either printing or saving it as a PDF…
Project Honey Pot ~ Unsolicited bulk email or spam, is a big issue. In 2009, Microsoft estimated 97% of all email to be unwanted, although this figure had decreased to around 70% by 2013. Measures to stop spam are legion; Project Honey Pot aims to gather information about those harvesting email addresses and spamming them, updating their statistics in almost real time.
Puffin Browser ~ Not long ago, developers were encouraged to work with Adobe Flash. Sites that have been around a few years often extensively used this technology, until Apple unilaterally decided not to support Flash under iOS. However, you can still enjoy the tutorials on *this* website by downloading the Puffin Browser for your mobile device. It’s free and trashes Safari, after all.
Rosicrucian Calculation Program ~ The Rosicrucian Fellowship again, after last week’s mention of the free astrology references on their website. Once more, I’m not endorsing any set of beliefs, but if you’re after a free Windows program that can handle the essential calculations for all the most important astrological techniques, you may just have pinpointed your goal.
Rubular ~ A regular expression is a sequence of characters forming a search pattern, used mainly for matching text data in computer log files for example. A good regex is hard to construct and Rubular, an editor written in the Ruby programming language was such a help recently when I needed to produce my own, I wanted to give it a mention and help spread the word.
Sky-map.org / Wikisky ~ Spectacular, but ultimately largely unusable online planetarium, that aims to offer a view of the sky as it looks through a high-powered telescope. It’s a brilliant concept and hence the recommendation, but at the moment it’s too cumbersome, the navigation is obscure and loading is a painfully slow business, even on a fast link…
Sky View Café ~ One of the best planetariums I’ve seen online, this site uses Java technology to recreate your view of the sky for a time and location of your choosing. Based on detailed astronomical data presented graphically or numerically, it is easier than ever subsequently finding your way round the planets, stars and the constellations.
Solar Fire 8 on Linux Mint 13 ~ Ed Gillam of the Exeter Astrology Group, writes extensively about how he has managed to get one of the leading astrology programs for Windows, up and running in possibly the most popular Linux distribution nowadays. It’s a hack based on a compatibility layer that isn’t really in the spirit of things, but he says he has it working mostly, so respect.
Stellarium ~ Stellarium is a free open source software planetarium for Windows, Mac OSX and Linux. It prides itself on offering photorealistic views of the sky from your chosen location, so although I did try running it a few years ago and quickly uninstalled it, a new version has been released recently that promises considerable improvements.
Swiss Ephemeris ~ After all the talk about the tz database here over the past few weeks, any coders listening have the data they require to adjust time zones around the world. Now you simply need a good ephemeris and this is probably the best, plus it’s free if you embrace the GNU GPL software license, which these days you so obviously should.
Terminal.sexy ~ This recommendation is aimed at the dwindling bunch of diehards who eschew the banality of Twitter, the limitations of web templates, a blog or that huge invasion of privacy known as Facebook, to code and maintain their own site. If this offering attracts you, or you are remotely amused by the name, let me explain. You’ve been at your computer, far too long…
Time Zone Database ~ The tz database is a compilation of data about the world’s time zones, primarily for use within computing and such. It is a free download weighing in at only a couple of hundred kilobytes. For the most comprehensive understanding of this subject you’ll ever find, extract the archive when it lands and open up the files with your text editor.
Top Cities For Malware Infections ~ While nerding out with an eye to cybersecurity, this article caught my attention. These are published statistics from the authors of an antispyware solution, ranking the top twenty cities in the US according to the prevalence of malware infections. Global data would be better, but I was intrigued nonetheless. Tampa, FL takes the crown again…
Top Ten Linux Distributions ~ Back to DistroWatch, after last week’s mention of all the Linux distributions that are available to try. Here is a breakdown of the current top ten, based on their popularity and with a screenshot of each one, together with some background and history. As I’ve said, if you burn a free live CD/DVD, you can try many risk-free on your own PC.