Goodbye activeCollab, hello ProjectPier

The project management application I use extensively for some of my tasks has turned its back on the open source beginnings that attracted me and, I’m sure, many others to it during its initial versions.

ActiveCollab is a clone of the popular Basecamp project management application. The main difference is that while Basecamp is a hosted service with various account levels, activeCollab is something you install in your own server and on which you have full control.

ProjectPier PROJECTPIER. The ProjectPier installation that replaced activeCollab in my webserver. I’m using the goCollab monochrome theme that came it.

The project management application appealed to do-it-yourself type geeks who wanted to host the data on their own and deal with less restrictions on accounts. Plus, it was free.

When it was first released, activeCollab came with an open source license and that was what attracted me to the project. I thought it held promise of being a very powerful and useful project management application if developed by an active community of users.

But the developer has decided to stop open source development on the project. Development will now be closed source, at least on the core features. The next release, version 1.0 due out next week, will also not have a free version. Your only options for activeCollab 1.0 are SmallBiz ($199) and Corporate ($399).

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Edit your website, blog design live and without breaking it

CSSVista is a tool any blogger or website owner will find useful. The Windows-only application allows you to load any website in Firefox and Explorer and then edit its CSS code live, with the changes showing immediately in the two browser windows.

cssvista CSSVISTA. The application makes editing website designs easy. CSSVista loads the page in Explorer and Firefox and allows you to edit the designs live, with changes showing up immediately. Click on photo to view larger image.

I’m working on a new website on online journalism and independent publishing and CSSVista saved me a lot of time in finalizing my site design. I use Drupal for the site, building on the Zen theme, a very good theme to base your design on. I will launch the new website early next week with an explanation on my choice of content management system.

What I did before I found CSSVista was 1.) I’d edit the template (Zen uses PHPTemplate) and CSS files in Bluefish, 2.) Upload the files into the server, 3.) Cross my fingers; and 4.) Hit reload like crazy to see the changes.

This process is tedious and I was about to look for ways for Bluefish to be able to edit the files directly in my web server or research on how to make Firebug work in my Ubuntu Linux installation when I found a link to CSSVista in the popular page of del.icio.us.

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From YouTube to your phone, MP3 player

It was love at first note when I heard Amy Winehouse sing. Her voice exudes raw emotion unmatched in decades.

I first played my copy of her Back to Black album in Rhythmbox in my Linux laptop, while I was struggling with getting a graphical interface to Subversion working. When I heard her sing, it was as if I mangled my system and did an svn merge that automagically produced a track from my collection of songs of Dinah Washington, Billie Holiday, Sarah Vaughan, Eartha Kitt, and Dodo Greene.

I finally settled with using RapidSVN but I wouldn’t settle with the few Amy Winehouse songs I had. I browsed YouTube to view videos of her performances (especially her AOL sessions) and played them over and over again. Over and over and over again.

I wanted to sleep to her songs. I didn’t want, however, to leave the laptop and the modem router on. The siren’s calls were too strong, I knew I had to have her songs in my MP3 player.

Luckily, I had bookmarked VConvert.net weeks earlier, when I spotted a link to it in the popular bookmarks page of del.icio.us.

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Sony Ericsson makes me sing the blues

Inside the junk food section of a downtown department store, I decided to stop listening to my jazz collection at home.

Two weeks back, my family sought shelter in a Cebu City pension house from a scheduled overnight brownout in Lapu-Lapu City. We went to a downtown department store to stock on food and refreshments when we ended up, inevitably, on the biscuits and junk food section.

Sony Ericsson headset, data cable SONY ERICSSON CONNECTORS. If there’s one weak spot in Sony Ericsson phones, it’s the way its data cable and earphone connects to the unit. After a year, you’d start to experience cutting off of connections.

Our four-year-old son kept saying he wanted potato chips so I brought him to where there were rows of various potato chips in different flavors. He got one pack, placed it in the grocery cart, and then sang “you like pot-ah-to, I like patata.” He sang the song repeatedly that night–on our way to another department store, on our way to the pension house, while eating the potato chips.

His brother got into the act, repeatedly singing the line “everyone’s gone to the moon” in a mock Nina Simone rendition. It was a room full of singing, out of tune.

I got the message.

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Zyb goes social with new version

Zyb, a web service that provides free online phone data backups, has launched its new version with a better website interface and several new features, including social networking through phone contacts and micro-blogging.

I find Zyb a useful service and use at least once a month to make sure I have an off-site backup of my contacts list.

My primary backup of phone data—contacts, messages, and calendar items—is in my personal computer. I use Float’s Mobile Agent not only to manage my phone, a Sony Ericsson K750i, and send messages with it but also to archive messages and back up my contacts database.

zyb-new-version2
NEW ZYB SERVICE. The website now offers social networking via phone contacts and micro-blogging.

Zyb, however, provides an easier backup solution that’s also more convenient. The website allows you to store all your contacts online and synchronize it with your phone. If you add another contact in your phone, it will be uploaded into your Zyb account once you synchronize the data. The service reminds you at least once a month to synchronize your data to make sure your Zyb account has the latest version of your phone contacts.

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