As the summer vacation season comes to a close in the northern hemisphere I reflect on 10 applications my family and I used during the summer to keep ourselves entertained. All of the following applications are available as Snaps that work on all major Linux distros once snapd is installed.
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Mozilla Firefox is a free and open-source web browser. My family and I used Firefox to plan our summer holiday including booking ferry crossings, planning our route to drive across France and booking our accomadation. Firefox was also a great way to catch up on our favourite TV shows and films via Netflix and Amazon Video during overnight stays in hotels while we were travelling. Get Firefox from the Snap store or install it on the command-line with:
snap install firefox
Spotify is a digital music service that gives you access to millions of songs. My laptop pulled double duty as a jukebox while we were travelling, giving us access the music we love while we were on the road. During BBQs we connected the laptop to bluetooth speakers and let the kids queue up the party music for the evening. Get Spotify from the Snap store or install it on the command-line with:
snap install spotify
Buka is a modern ebook manager and reader. The Buka book reader is a great way to organise your ebook collection and we loaded Buka with a selection of books for my daughter so she could take part in her school summer reading challenge. Get Buka from the Snap store or install it on the command-line with:
snap install buka
Musescore is free music composition and notation software that can be used to create, play and print beautiful sheet music. We’ve been using it home to create sheet music of simplified versions of tunes my daughter is learning to play on the piano and to also capture her own compositions. MuseScore is capable of much more and suitable for musicians of any skill level. Get MuseScore from the Snap store or install it on the command-line with:
snap install musescore
Darktable is an open source photography workflow application and raw developer. A virtual lighttable and darkroom for photographers, it manages your digital negatives and lets you view and enhance them. Throughout our summer holidays we used Darktable to get the best out of our photographs. Get Darktable from the Snap store or install it on the command-line with:
snap install darktable
Shotcut is a free, open source, cross-platform video editor. We had great fun editting together videos we captured on our phones during our travels, but my daughter and I had the most fun making two short films starring Lego models she’d created. Get Shotcut from the Snap store or install it on the command-line with:
snap install shotcut
Simplenote is an easy way to keep notes, lists, ideas and more. We used Simplenote to quickly collate our travel itenary, keep track of places we wanted to visit and to create shopping lists for those all important BBQs. Get Simplenote from the Snap store or install it on the command-line with:
snap install simplenote
VLC is the def-facto video player to unwind with your downloaded video content. With hardware accelerated decoding to take the load off your CPU and extend your battery life, VLC is the best way to watch content offline. We copied some of our favourite TV series and films from the home media server to my laptop which helped while away a couple of lengthy ferry crossings and a one rainy afternoon. Naturally my daughter and I used VLC to bore our family with the epic short films we’d created using Shotcut.
Get VLC from the Snap store or install it on the command-line with:
snap install vlc
Sweet Home 3D is a free interior design application that helps you draw the plan of your house, arrange furniture on it and visualise the results. Our family has been using Sweet Home 3D for years to plan furniture arrangements when moving house, designing the interior of a canal boat and even creating the builders plans for a considerable home extension. Get Sweet Home 3D from the Snap store or install it on the command-line with:
snap install sweethome3d-homedesign
Wire is a secure messenging platform. My family use Wire, and those sweet, sweet free WiFi services, to stay in touch and coordinate our activities while we’re roaming abroad to avoid mobile data surcharges. When I am travelling with work Wire is a great way to stay connected with your family at home either by text, voice or video. I’ve also been using it for team communication at work too. Get Wire from the Snap store or install it on the command-line with:
snap install wire
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Header image by Ethan Hoover.
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