Pencil – An open-source GUI prototyping tool that’s available for ALL platforms…

I first noticed Pencil on

Pencil is a free drawing program that helps users to create mockups on their PCs. Its friendly graphic user interface provides ready access to a collection of built-in shapes that can be used to create interfaces for both mobile and desktop platforms. The prototyping tool is available for all platforms.

If you want a powerful but free drawing program, then Pencil is a good choice. Even beginners will find it relatively easy to use because it works on the “What You See Is What You Get” (WYSIWYG) basis.

SOURCE: Pencil Project

A FREE Open Source (Powerful) Video Editor That Is Easy To Use

Here is a video editor called OpenShot, that will give you the ability to edit those videos you take using your smartphone.  OpenShot is a Linux, Mac, and Windows based software application that offers many transitional effects and recognizes nearly all media formats out there (including video, audio and image files). Through experimentation of my own, I found OpenShot quite user-friendly and recommend for the computer user’s at home.


  • Cross-platform (Supports Linux, OS X, and Windows)
  • Support for many video, audio, and image formats (based on FFmpeg)
  • Powerful curve-based Key frame animations
  • Desktop integration (drag and drop support)
  • Unlimited tracks / layers
  • Clip resizing, scaling, trimming, snapping, rotation, and cutting
  • Video transitions with real-time previews
  • Compositing, image overlays, watermarks
  • Title templates, title creation, sub-titles
  • 2D animation support (image sequences)
  • 3D animated titles (and effects)
  • SVG friendly, to create and include vector titles and credits
  • Scrolling motion picture credits
  • Advanced Timeline (including Drag & drop, scrolling, panning, zooming, and snapping)
  • Frame accuracy (step through each frame of video)
  • Time-mapping and speed changes on clips (slow/fast, forward/backward, etc…)
  • Audio mixing and editing
  • Digital video effects, including brightness, gamma, hue, greyscale, chroma key (bluescreen / greenscreen) , and many more!

SOURCE: OpenShot Video Editor 

A FREE Screen Capture Program That You Must Have

Just when I think I am running out of steam and have tried and tested all the screen capture programs out there, I find ShareX…  Really, I do not know how I missed this awesome “must have” screen capture program.


What makes ShareX standout is that you can upload your screenshots to over 25 different file hosting services. The ShareX user interface is easy to use and understand allowing you to use hotkeys to initiate a screen grab (or capture); or you can launch the screen capture selections by right mouse clicking the ShareX icon in the system tray. ShareX can capture screenshots with different shapes such as rectangular, rectangular rounded, ellipses, triangular, diamond, polygon and freehand. There is a built in editor where you can apply different effects (such as transparency, shadowing, torn edges, text, borders, etc…).

ShareX is available as a full install and if you dig deep enough on the site you will find that there is a portable app version as well (which is what I went for)…  Really nice screen capture program that is open source and FREE.


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A Start Menu That Comes Highly Recommended For Windows 8

If you follow my blog, then you probably are beginning to think that Ramblinrick is sure stuck on third party Start Menu options for Windows 8. Well, in a sense, I am…  Here are the most recent posts on this topic:

A Start Menu for Windows 8 That Is A Portable App

My Pick For A Windows 8 Start Menu

Seven Alternatives To Restore The Start Menu In Windows 8

Following yesterday’s post, Two Options to Boot Windows 8 To The Desktop, Bill Mullins’ from Bill Mullins’ Weblog – Tech Thoughts contacted me with another recommendation, called Classic Shell .

Classic Shell

Classic Shell is free and open-source software that is a collection of features that were available in older versions of Windows but are removed from Vista and Windows 7. In summary, I am seeing that Classic Start Menu is a jack of all trades and out of the many picks I have tried, this one is tried, true and tested; meaning, it has been around for awhile.


  • Drag and drop to let you organize your applications
  • Options to show Favorites, expand Control Panel, etc
  • Shows recently used documents. The number of documents to display is customizable
  • Translated in 35 languages, including Right-to-left support for Arabic and Hebrew
  • Does not disable the original start menu in Windows. You can access it by Shift+Click on the start button
  • Right-click on an item in the menu to delete, rename, sort, or perform other tasks
  • The search box helps you find your programs without getting in the way of your keyboard shortcuts
  • Supports jumplists for easy access to recent documents and common tasks
  • Available for 32 and 64-bit operating systems
  • Has support for skins, including additional 3rd party skins
  • Fully customizable in both looks and functionality
  • Support for Microsoft’s Active Accessibility
  • Converts the “All Programs” button in the Windows menu into a cascading menu (Vista and Windows 7)
  • Implements a customizable Start button (Windows 7 and 8)
  • Can show, search and launch Windows Store apps (Windows 8)
  • And last but not least – it’s FREE!

So if you are at a loss that there is no Start Menu at the Windows 8 desktop level, then Classic Menu may be the one to go with. It comes highly recommended by a highly respectable blogger.  Thank you goes out to Bill Mullins’ for making us aware of Classic Menu.



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An Advanced Email Client for Android

Recently I posted an article about an Android email client,  called Email Tray, that gives you the ability to manage multiple email accounts using one app. I was very excited to find that there was such an app for the Android based tablet or smartphone that mimicked the application that I have installed on my desktop PC (called PopPeeper).

As I often do, I continued to search for other Android email clients and found another gem of an email client called K-9 Mail; that, as of this writing, has become a mainstay on my tablet pc. There are particularly three things I like about K-9.  One, I can quickly pull down mail from all of my email accounts; two, it is open source; AND three, its’ simplicity.

K-9 Mail

K-9is the best email client for Android. It’s incredibly powerful and 100% free

K-9 Mailis an open-source e-mail client with search, IMAP push email, multi-folder sync, flagging, filing, signatures, bcc-self, PGP, mail on SD & more!

K-9 supports IMAP, POP3 and Exchange 2003/2007 (with WebDAV).

K-9 is a community developed project. If you’re interested in helping to make the best email client on Android even better, please join us! You can find our bugtracker, source code, mailing list and wiki at



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Kylo The Browser For Your TV is Now Open Source

I bet you have never heard of Kylo?

Kylo is a Mozilla (Firefox) based web browser that has been specifically developed for TV screens (home theater). Kylo gives you the ability to browse the web on your HDTV from the comfort of your couch.

Kylo is a web browser developed by Hillcrest Labs for Microsoft Windows and Mac OS X. Initially released in 2010, the Kylo web browser features a 10-foot user interface, with large fonts and buttons that make it easy to see from across the room, making it especially suitable for use with a HTPC (Home theater PC) connected directly to a high-definition television.


The cool here with Kylo is that it is now open source, meaning it is being made available to developers (throughout the world) to play with… Even though it was developed for big screen TV, I downloaded it to my PC and was very impressed. Kylo auto resized itself to fit my screen and  I soon found Kylo to contain a great selection of media content (by default).  You are not just limited to media content and are able to browse the internet as you would with any other browser.  It actually gave the illusion (on my 23” monitor) of a big screen…  Kylo also features a popup keyboard that gives you the ability to go to mouse only browsing.

If you are looking for a really cool way to browse online media, then give Kylo a try. With Kylo going open source, I can’t wait to see what other builds we will see come out of this.

Note:  There are many ways to connect your PC to your HDTV.  [CLICK HERE] to learn how.


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Best 119 Free Windows Programs

With computers being mainstreamed in people’s homes for more than 10 years it still amazes me that people do not realize the gold mine that is available in FREE software. To put this in perspective, I have three computers in my home and all three, with the exception of one, have nothing on them but FREE software apps. The one exception is that I have Microsoft Office installed on my main PC, due I need it for my job; otherwise, all the other apps are FREE. To put this further in perspective, any software you see reviewed on my blog, is FREE software.


If you are interested in getting a start on using FREE software, has compiled a list of the best 119 FREE Windows programs.  They have conveniently categorized the apps to make navigation easy. You can preview those categories below and while you are on their site, check out their other articles. Great site; highly recommended!

Anti-virus Malware removal Firewall Apps Defragmenters
File Recovery Uninstallers Backup Apps System Maintenance
Browsers Email Clients Communication Photos/Images
Audio Tools Video Tools Files/Drives Documents
Productivity Archive Managers CD/DVD Tools Downloads


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