Windows Desktop Customizer

    Have yet to cover a Windows only piece software on the blog yet, but plenty of Linux only software. With Linux there are many options for the desktop and even more options for each desktop interface, but with Windows you need third-party software to get a really customized desktop. Well that software is called Rainmeter, and is open source and free to download.

Here are a couple of example of what Rainmeter can do. All the skins are easily customized and parts from different skins can be combined, or you could make your own from scratch which is made easy by allowing the creators to focus on the look by plugging there artwork into functions that are already available.

    Rainmeter is the best known and most popular desktop customization program for Windows. Enhance your Windows computer at home or work with skins; handy, compact applets that float freely on your desktop. Rainmeter skins provide you with useful information at a glance. It's easy to keep an eye on your system resources, like memory and battery power, or your online data streams, including email, RSS feeds, and weather forecasts.

    Many skins are even functional: they can record your notes and to-do lists, launch your favorite applications, control your media player - all in a clean, unobtrusive interface that you can rearrange and customize to your liking.

    There are thousands and thousands of skins available, crafted by a large and ever-growing community of Rainmeter users. !!! WARNING !!! Be careful where you get your skins and plugins, try to only get skins from and when downloading from make sure the comments aren't disabled on that skin!

    Rainmeter is not just an application, it is a robust toolkit. Create and modify your own skins in a simple language that's easy to learn, with the help of extensive documentation, getting started guide and skin tutorials. Skins call upon measures, a set of powerful built-in modules that do all the heavy lifting, and create interactive meters to display that information however you decide. In this way, Rainmeter brings productive innovation together with creative artistry like no other platform of its kind.

    Over the last few years, a thriving community has built up around Rainmeter, as average users freely contribute their own original skins, their generous knowledge and support, and their inspirational ideas to a project whose scope and capabilities are constantly expanding.

    Rainmeter is designed for YOUR system. Rainmeter uses very little CPU and RAM resources, has a tiny space footprint, and will run perfectly well on any hardware using Windows XP through Windows 8.

    Rainmeter is free and open source. Rainmeter is open source software distributed free of charge under the terms of the GNU GPL v2 license. If you want to get involved, check the Developers page.

Official website
Rainmeter 101
The source code is on Github

OpenEMR - Electronic Medical Records

    Recently came across this software used to keep hospital records while browsing a site called BigThink. It is called Open-EMR (Electronic Medical Records), a 10 year old project with ~500,000 lines of code, became one of the first PHP projects to become a government certified EHR. OpenEMR is an ONC-ATB Ambulatory EHR 2011-2012 certified electronic health records and medical practice management application. It is written in php and runs on LAMP systems, most of the developers are Linux enthusiasts but the user base for the software is mainly Windows machines.

The website for the application
The non-profit organization for the application
List of OpenEMR's features
Online demo of the software
A presentation about Open-EMR
Download the application and or the source code

Music Sites for Digital Artists

    Creating a multimedia piece online is relatively easy now, with the rise of Youtube videos, and sites such as Qik and Animoto, make publishing multimedia content even easier. One of the problems many digital creatives face, is music licensing. If you want to use / share someone else’s music, you have to be careful.

    Regardless if you live for music or make a living off of music we can all enjoy Creative Commons licenses. Creative Commons helps you share your knowledge and creativity with the world.

    Creative Commons develops, supports, and stewards legal and technical infrastructure that maximizes digital creativity, sharing, and innovation. By allowing your work to be available to millions of other creators on the web, you might be responsible for the next big thing.

Here are a couple of artists that use Creative Commons licenses

Brad Sucks is the name of a one man band. All MP3′s are available for free download and can be mashed up and used in youtube videos / animations etc.

Josh Woodward
Using the same strategy as Brad Sucks, Josh Woodward offers free albums licensed under Creative Commons.

Nine Inch Nails – Ghosts

    Those are just a couple of the popular artists using the Creative Commons License, a great place to discover new artists is Jamendo. Linux users should be familiar with this site, as access to it is a feature built in more then one music application by default on the Linux desktop.

When browsing for some music to add to your collection go with Creative Commons with help from this list of music sites.

Creative Commons

ccMixter is a community music site featuring remixes licensed under Creative Commons where you can listen to, sample, mash-up, or interact with music in whatever way you want.

An electronic music community that offers Creative Commons-licensed tracks from genres like IDM, drum ‘n’ bass, and ambient.


This site currently has 19 pieces of music dedicated to the Public Domain, contributed by 1 composer.

SoundClick offers a search engine interface to find creative commons mp3′s.


Personally a big fan of the Magnatune approach to music distribution. Their offering allows you to use music in your project, whilst it is being created, then once you create something commercial, you can move to a commercial license.

FreeSound -  Freesound's focus is only on sound, not songs, which separates it from the crowd. They provide collections of sounds as w


    This is only scratching the surface. There are plenty of brilliant artists out there using creative commons licensing, now at least we have some great sites emerging online to find them. If you offer you music open source, stick a link in the comments for me, and I’ll get you added in here.

Skeltrack - Control Linux with Camera and Body

Skeltrack is a Free and Open Source Software library for tracking skeleton joints from depth images.

    It is implemented with GLib and uses plain mathematics to detect the human skeleton and although it does not use any database, it was inspired by Andreas Baak's paper: A Data-Driven Approach for Real-Time Full Body Pose Reconstruction from a Depth Camera.

   One or both hands are used control the mouse pointer, perform clicks, drag things around and simulates a pinch gesture which adjusts the zoom level. Hands can be also interpreted as if holding a steering wheel, making racing games so much fun.

Skeltrack is device independent however you can use a kinect to start with.

Visit the devs site
Get the full source code @

Django/Rails-Like Rapid Development for Ubuntu

Glade + Python is about as easy as it gets for doing Linux GUI development.

With Glade you build a XML-file describing a Gnome graphical user interface using a GUI editor.

    The boiler plate code for a Python GTK project would be some stuff like importing the libraries you need, loading the Glade XML file, creating the initial class for your application and then starting up the gtk.main()-style mainloop.

    Once that is done then it's mearly a matter of defining class methods and assigning them to your various buttons.

    This tool works perfect for the novice programmer just about anyone should be able to get from zero to 'hello world' GUI program in about 2 minutes. With full version control, build environment, and the ability to easily create installable packages.

    From there on everyhing from accessing the hdd, remote file systems, dbus for system events, gstreamer transcoding/encoding/decoding, telepathy for integration into online services, and all that happy stuff is just a few edits away.


$ sudo apt-get install quickly quickly-ubuntu-template

Begin Tutorial

$ quickly tutorial ubuntu-application


New To Programming? Learn Python, which is a good choice for learning programming.

Old articles about Quickly - quickly-new-rails-like-rapid-development-tools-for-ubuntu -2010 - unchaining-the-opportunistic-programmer - 2009

Cyclos On-Line Banking System

    With the recent crash of the economy in Greece the people have come up with a new cashless Euro-free currency.  Rawstory: Greece develops cashless, Euro-free currency in tight economy

They were able to do this with the help of Open Source Software by a group called STRO (Social TRade Organisations). STRO’s objective is to move money as a major steering mechanism in society from causing environmental abuse and preventing many poor to optimise their capacities, to become an instrument that serves a qualitative human development. The first STRO was founded in 1970 in Holland.

STRO picks up the challenge described by Bank of England’s governor Mervyn King:
“Is it possible that advances in technology will mean that (...) the world may come to resemble a pure exchange economy? Electronic transactions in real time hold out that possibility. There is no reason, in principle, why final settlements could not be carried out by the private sector without the need for clearing through the central bank. (...) There is no conceptual obstacle to the idea that two individuals engaged in a transaction could settle by a transfer of wealth from one electronic account to another in real time. (...) The same system could match demands and supplies of financial assets, determine prices and make settlements. Financial assets and real goods and services would be priced in terms of a unit of account. Final settlement could be made without any recourse to the central bank.(...) Without such a role in settlements, central banks, in their present form, would no longer exist; nor would money.”

Visit to check out all the features of this Open Source project.