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Narakeet Review: A Narrated Video Editor

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Narakeet, formerly Video Puppet, is an impressive web tool for making narrated videos with an AI voice generator. It’s now out of Beta and open for business.
What sets Narakeet apart is the ability to automate most or all of the production steps. From generating visuals, adding background music, and synchronizing media, to synthesizing voice over narration.The tool is great for quickly putting together instructional or marketing videos, tutorials, demos, and more.The narration features leverage some of the best machine-generated voice synthesis systems in the industry like Amazon Polly and IBM Watson Text to Speech. Although Narakeet’s over a hundred voice models in more than 20 languages are very natural-sounding and lifelike, it’s possible to provide recordings of your own voice narration.To create a video, upload a PowerPoint presentation with the slides containing the visuals and the voice over text in the speaker notes. Or write script files using a Markdown dialect with additiona…

Don't Publish Large ePub or Mobi Ebooks

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Do you sell ebooks directly on Gumroad or on your website? Don't ship large ePub or Mobi files, they may make it impossible or impractical for readers to load the files in their favorite reading apps.Here's an example of an ebook I bought on Gumroad and available in PDF, ePub, and Mobi format. I'd like to read it on my Android phone and tablet.My ePub reading app, Google Play Books, is ubiquitous on Android. It can sideload files up to 100 MB, but the ePub version of that Gumroad book has a size of 105 MB.I can't use the Kindle Android app via Send to Kindle because the book's Mobi file is 33 MB. Gmail, along with most other email clients, can't send attachments over 25 MB. For larger files, Gmail sends download links that don't work with Amazon's automated Send to Kindle system, which can't click links. Also, Gumroad doesn't provide a Send to Kindle button for the file the author supplied.This leaves the PDF file. However, it’s a suboptimal opt…

Mockup Generators for Google Devices

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Mockup generators are tools that combine screenshots with renderings of the frames and bezels of the desktop or mobile devices they are taken on. The generators can also overlay the screenshots to photos of actual devices.
The combined images are used as illustrations or for promoting apps, ebooks, websites, or other digital products.There are several mockup generators for mobile and desktop devices such as smartphones, tablets, and laptops. But they usually focus on Apple hardware. The few frames in the Google ecosystems like Android phones or Chromebooks, when available, are often out of date.Google's own Android device art generator is missing the latest generations of flagships. Chrome can take screenshots with device frames but, again, there are no recent Android devices. Yeah, the cobbler's children have no shoes.
List of mockup generators for Google devicesI use mockup generators for sharing Android and Chrome OS screenshots, so I’m always on the lookout for suitable too…

Running Linux Astronomy Apps on Chrome OS

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I got a Pixel 2 XL for its unique astrophotography features, along with a tripod for long-exposure photography with the phone. This is not enough, though. The workflow for producing images of the sky is best achieved with specialized astronomical image viewing and processing software.There are two good such Linux apps that work fine on my Chromebox in Crostini, Siril and SAOImage DS9. I can install the .deb files from the Chrome OS Files app or the Terminal.
Siril is an advanced image processing app. Although it loads all the major general-purpose image and video file formats, it internally works with FITS, the leading format for astronomical images and data. Siril supports calibration, stacking, background and noise removal, scripting, and many more features.With the Pixel 4 XL I take photos of the sky in RAW and export them as DNG files, the format the Google camera app that ships with Pixel devices saves RAW photos to. Siril can import DNG files and convert them to FITS.DS9 is a FIT…

A Tripod for Smartphone Astrophotography

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As an amateur astronomer, Astrophotography mode is one reason why I got a Pixel 4 XL.But there’s another essential piece of gear for taking long-exposure photos of star fields or astronomical phenomena, a tripod. The one I bought for the Pixel 4 XL is a Phinistec photo tripod.I do all my astrophotography from an apartment building in Milan, Italy, where I live. It’s a light-polluted urban area, but these days I can’t wander around much.I observe the sky from the apartment’s small balconies, which have the area of a medium-sized carpet. This constrains the camera holding gear I can use. I wanted a full-height tripod that can extend to at least waist level, not a tabletop tripod, as I can’t use tables or other elevated surfaces to set the photo equipment on.The Phinistec tripod can extend to a height of 125 cm. It’s cheap, compact, and very light. It comes with a smartphone adapter, a Bluetooth remote shutter, and a handy carrying pouch. There’s also a Gopro adapter I don’t need.Althou…

AppGyver Composer Review: First Impressions

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It’s not just non-coders who use no-code development tools. If anything, having some programming experience gives an appreciation of how much time and effort these tools can save.
This is why, despite having been a hobby programmer for decades, I’m interested in no-code solutions. The ones I tried in the past are App Inventor and Thunkable, for creating mobile apps, and Bubble for web apps.

A few months ago I discovered AppGyver Composer, an impressive app builder for developing both mobile and web apps that seems more powerful than the others I’ve seen. Here are some quick notes on my experience with the tool so far. Keep in mind I'm still exploring AppGyver, not using it for real projects.

About AppGyver
AppGyver Composer Pro is the best no-code, drag & drop app development environment I've seen. It allows to create both web and mobile apps for Android (even Android TV) and iOS, packs tons of flexibility, and offers most of the best features in a generous free plan. I can’…