Google offers plenty of great services that normally we may not consider. A huge portion of our lives involves Google.
From our phones to our personal computers to even jobs, Google has had some part in shaping it. Just when one thinks they’ve seen all that Google has to offer, there is more. Although just about everyone has heard about Chrome, Maps, Gmail, Youtube and Picasa, few have heard of the amazing educational and utility resources Google has to provide.
Google SketchUp is Google’s take on a combination of 3d modeling and professional CAD work made easier. A lot modeling work is hard to get into and SketchUp gives dive-in functionality and ease of use to just about anyone. Google Labs is another great educational resource that teaches people the technology and development that goes behind innovations at Google.
Google offers many other services including free sites, data visualization, graphing services and scholar papers. Knol, Groups, Orkut and Blogger are made for people to socialize online. Finance and Patent Search helps innovators and business people stay on top of the latest developments in their fields. Google has many free online services to offer so be sure to check them out next time!
Ubuntu is a Linux distribution based on Debian that is gaining a lot of popularity in the desktop OS.
This distribution focuses on ease of use and comes bundled with tons of open source software like OpenOffice, The Gimp, and the Evolution mail client with countless more available in the package manager. Ubuntu comes on a LiveCD which allows you to test out the OS without actually installing it, if you like it you can just install it straight from the CD. Partitioning is done with the Gnome Partition Editor and is rather painless.
The nice thing about Ubunt is that everything just works, and in the rare event there is a problem, there is a huge forum community that has the resources to solve almost anything you search for. I’ve been a windows user for longer than I care to remember, but since I installed Ubuntu, I haven’t been back once. I would highly recommend at least trying out the LiveCD, it’s worth it.
Discovery Studio 1.5 from Accelrys is a new Life Sciences software package. It allows standard protein modeling and simulations and incorporates docking capabilities as well. An X-ray crystallography package has also been included, but most users would want a dedicated X-ray crystallography package. DS1.5 is the next generation package and is a combination of features from DS1.1 and DS1.2. It is much more user friendly in that it plugs directly into the windows structure for data storage, rather than using an Oracle database. Unfortunately some usability seems to have been lost, for example it is now not possible to modify your own minimization/molecular dynamics calculations.
In terms of runtime, the new version is an improvement over the old, however many bugs still remain. As this is still a young program, only recently ported from a Linux platform (Insight II), this is not unexpected. I recommend not wasting time attempting to port your data from 1.1 or 1.2, as most of the information is not compatible with the new version. Only structures and data tables can be converted. For new users I would recommend trying other software such as Sybyl from Tripos, now up to version 7.2. This software package has very few bugs and is much more reliable.
Having owned one of these new machines for almost 3 months now, I would say I’m extremely pleased with this Mac. Thought (and feared) to be a dangerous “transition” product by many, Intel equipped iMacs perform great and look amazing. One of the worries of buying one of these machines, was if Rosetta (Apple’s built-in PPC emulation) would be able to handle serious apps like Adobe CS Suite and Freehand without much hassle. I’ve found they run just fine, besides the obvious increased memory use due to emulation, and I’ve been able to keep up with my work until the universal versions are released by Adobe.
Even tough Apple is not widely regarded as an economic brand in any way, one has just to check out the incredibly bright and huge display on the 20″ model. It ranks up with the best in the market, and now that you can boot Windows XP in these machines, there are less and less reasons to not buy a Mac.
Combine Google Earth with Google Sketchup to do some amazing designs and win cool stuff. You are now able to import a 3D site from Google Earth into Google Sketchup. This means you could import the Grand Canyon and then design a bridge using Sketchup. The best part is that you can then send your model back into Google Earth and have the world look at your design. Fun stuff! You can even win prizes using these tools, check out this site: http://lineofsite.info
This method can also be used to get sites into AutoCAD, Revit or Civil 3D!
Fedora Core 5 Linux is a very stable operating system that works well for most tasks. I personally use it for work and home tasks as a Linux administrator for a web hosting company. It’s stable on the desktop as well as in the server environment. Although the installation process is finicky (The Fedora Project hasn’t worked all the bugs out of Anaconda yet) once it is installed it is very simple to use.
While not 100% intuitive for a first time user, most folks will get used to it very quickly. It comes with Open Office 2.0, and Mozilla.com’s excellent FireFox browser. Installation of new software is quite easy thanks to the RedHat Package Manager, and most mainstream Linux software is available in this format. Hardware detection is excellent, with no major problems that I’ve found.
So, if you’re thinking about trying Linux, give Fedora Core 5 a try. Sure, you could try Ubuntu or another distribution, but Fedora Core 5 is my personal favorite for every day use and I highly suggest it.