Stone Chains

Series | Golem

In this series of posts you will find all my articles published on the German news site golem.de, translated in english.


Following 6 posts belong to Golem ...

Poppy Green
Golem

Radio Garden

Free, registration-free and simply cool - Travel through the radio stations of the world with Radio Garden

In the age of streaming services, radio may seem out of date, but it still surrounds us constantly, even if we often hardly notice it - in the car, on the public transport, at work or simply at home in the kitchen. One strength of the old medium is that it presents us with music we haven’t heard before, away from our playlists on Spotify or iTunes.

The easiest way to rediscover new artists or entire genres of music is to pick a radio station at random. It’s precisely this lack of control, the being at the mercy, the sometimes unpredictable that makes the medium so appealing to many - and with digital streaming, many of the world’s stations are just a tap away.

As is so often the case in the modern world, it’s the oversupply that leaves some confused and frustrated. You first have to be able to pick out what you might like from the gigantic haystack of options. For this purpose, there are little helpers that more or less independently suggest what you might listen to. One of them stands out from the crowd because, on the one hand, it does not pursue commercial interests and, on the other hand, it approaches the station search very intuitively: Radio Garden (https://radio.garden).

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Ancient Cockpit
Golem

One mouse to rule them all

Multiple monitors on one computer are elementary for effective IT work. However, operating multiple computers with one input set requires tools, for example one from the Microsoft Garage.

The trend is toward second or third devices, especially among IT workers. In addition to the stationary computer, which may still be under the desk, there is a laptop and possibly a tablet. All of them are connected to cloud services. If the desk is large enough, there may be two monitors and a full-size keyboard connected to the desktop, the laptop on the left, on which two or three special programs are installed, and the Surface tablet on the right for communication with its narrow-track keyboard. And spread out on the table are three mice in different colors so as not to constantly get the wrong one. A scenario that the author of these lines was also confronted with … yes, until a few years ago a small tool for Microsoft Windows fell in front of his feet, which abruptly ended the input chaos: Mouse Without Borders.

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Thomas' Garden VI
Golem

Dopamine, a music player for Windows 10 as it should be

A minimalist MP3 player under Windows, distributed as open source, which does not shy away from large collections

There are about fourleventy millions music apps for smartphones running Android and iOS. However, most of them are relatively junk or try to foist malware on users. You have to make sure that you separate the wheat from the chaff. On the other hand, the situation is surprisingly different for Windows, the much older operating system. The older ones of us will still remember the glorious WinAmp times, whose current owner Radionomy has been making a very long new attempt for a new version 6 since 2018 (version 5.8 is already a handsome 6 years old), but you can actually count the good music players for Windows 10 and higher on one hand, if you subtract the streaming apps such as Spotify and Co. and disregard everything that comes along as a jack of all trades and can ALSO play MP3. The best known are the in Windows included and miserably failed iTunes clone from Micosoft called Groove, AIMP, foobar2000, MediaMonkey and MusicBee. Some nostalgic people might also add the good old Windows Media Player, which managed to survive on the net despite Groove. If you look at the download pages of these music player candidates and try to look behind the business model, some of them simply do not download. One or the other player also overdoes it with the featuritis. Bouncing balls or bars to the music are gimmicks that were thought to be outdated long ago, when it is actually only about listening to music.

Belgian software developer Raphaël Godart (twitter.com/RaphaelGodart) must have felt the same way a few years ago when he set out to launch his own player for local MP3 collections, which in this case sounds falsely commercial because his player Dopamine is freely available on GitHub and open source under GPL 3.0 license. It plays music under a plain and simple, yet chic interface … Period. Everything a music lover’s heart desires is on board:

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Manometer
Golem

Gitpod - Visual Studio Code on the Web

The popular code editor is conquering the browser and remote work and the Kiel-based company Gitpod is at the forefront with their solution

It’s amazing how quickly the editor Visual Studio Code (VS Code) has conquered the developer community (#1 in the Stack Overflow Developer Survey Ranking 2021) and even those from the Linux faction, who are historically rather critical of Microsoft, but for good reason. The company from Redmond has done quite a lot right with the tool and has gathered a large group of open source developers around it (currently 1,640 contributors), who contribute to the fact that the Swiss Microsoft team around Erich Gamma can bring out a new release for Windows, Linux and macOS every few weeks.

It all started with the Monaco Editor, the core around which VS Code is built and which was first released on April 14, 2016. The exciting thing about Monaco and VS Code is, that it is consistently written using web technologies, i.e. HTML, CSS and Javascript, packaged and executed using the framework Electron developed by GitHub, which in turn is based on Node.js and the open source browser engine Chromium from Google.

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Dicker Anton
Golem

Checker Plus - Gmail in better...

Few Chrome browser extensions are as close to user needs as Checker Plus for Google's Gmail, Calendar and Drive services.

Those who have a Google account usually also use the web-based mailer Gmail, often Google Calendar for appointments and perhaps Google Drive for storing files in the cloud. The US internet company makes it very easy for users to use its web-based services. The entry barriers are low and the interfaces are tidy and intuitive.

If you use the in-house Chrome browser, you can also be informed about incoming mails or upcoming appointments. One click and the browser opens with Gmail or Google Calendar …

But it is not always necessary or desirable to load one of the Google tools completely in a new browser window, when you may already have two or three dozen tabs open in several windows and are in danger of losing track of them.

That’s what Montreal-based software developer Jason Savard seems to have thought ten years ago. At that time, he began writing a Chrome extension that would report a newly received Gmail by means of a small icon in the extension bar of the browser and display it directly in a separate pop-up window by clicking on it. The result was Checker Plus for Gmail.

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Thomas Wild Tulips
Golem

Tringula And The Beauty Of Mathematics

Triangula is a great tool for artfully breaking up images into polygons. Another tool also makes it possible to use them as website placeholders.

This post is a new version of Triangulate your images with Triangula and the first in a series of articles published on the German news site golem.de.

When talking about triangulation, non-mathematicians generally understand it as a geometric method for measuring distances. Roughly speaking, two known points in space can be used to calculate a third via the angles to it. In one or the other Hollywood flick of the genres war or spy movie you have surely come across this.

However, triangulation also refers to the division of a surface into triangles or, more generally, the description of an object by means of polygons. It is used in topology and land surveying, but also in imaging methods of modeling.

How wonderfully this field of mathematics can be applied to photos is shown by the GitHub user RyanH with his program Triangula written in Go, which first roughly splits a given JPG or PNG image into triangles and then refines it further and further via mutations. Among other things, you can specify how many points you want to start with and how many mutations the program should perform. It is also possible to calculate the new image using hexagons instead of classic triangles.

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