The Crockford Files – April 2013

The Crockford Files – April 2013
Image by Backdoor Survival via Flickr Creative Commons

By John Crockford

A Free Phone, 250 Free Minutes and 250 Free Texts Each Month

Enrollment is available to individuals who qualify based on federal or state-specific eligibility criteria. You may qualify if you are on certain public assistance programs such as Medicaid or the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). You can also qualify based on your household income. You must provide proof of program participation or proof of income. For more information, visit Assurance Wireless ( or call 800-321-5880.

iPhone/iPad Developers Course

Stanford University is offering a complete (and free) online course ( on how to develop apps for the iPhone and iPad. Note, however, that Apple charges $99 a year to develop, test and distribute apps for these devices.

Mozilla Does One Better: The New Firefox Operating System

The new Firefox OS is “built entirely using HTML5 and other open Web standards, Firefox OS is free from the rules and restrictions of existing proprietary platforms.” For more information, visit

Open-Source Backup Software

If you are running Linux on your computer, you prefer Open Source and you are not willing to trust your valuable data to closed, proprietary products for your backup application, try SafeKeep (

Google for Nonprofits

From the Google Web site: “With Google for Nonprofits, you’ll gain access to a suite of products that will help you achieve your goals in new ways. Google for Nonprofits includes premium products that we’ve discounted or made free for organizations like yours. It also includes products that are free to the general public, but which we feel can be used to great effect for nonprofits.” Learn more at

A Bad Omen for the Future of RSS?

And speaking of Google, the company will be shutting down its Google Reader service this summer. This leaves a void for many who use the RSS news-feed service to get their news and other information. For those, a free news-feed reader, RSSOwl, is available at

eBook Information

Booktype ( is a free, open-source platform that allows organizations and communities to produce beautiful, engaging books formatted for print, Amazon, iBooks and almost any e-reader within minutes. The free starter subscription allows collaboration by up to 10 users on a single book project.

The free, open-source Web technologies behind e-books are coming to your car. From an article on CNET: “So don’t be surprised to see proprietary technology for e-book readers and in-dash computer systems slowly disappear in favor of software based on Web technology” (

eBook Shortage at the Library

Libraries are experiencing a shortage of e-books. For more info, visit the Fresno County Public Library Web site (

Games as Learning Tools

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is looking at mobile games as public health awareness tools and has invited the creator of a popular game called Plague Inc. to speak at the agency. For more information, visit

If you are interested in more information about politics and games, you may enjoy reading some of the articles at

Another Internet battle

Amazon wants exclusive rights to Web sites ending with .book, .read and .author. This has some authors and publishers upset. For more on this, visit>.

Software of the Month

OpenClinic is an easy-to-use, open-source, medical records system written in PHP. Designed for private clinics, surgeons and private doctors, It is platform independent and it has multi-language architecture. Learn more at

Open-Source Software Use by Local Government

I recently submitted (on Feb. 24) requests online through their respective Web sites for information from the cities of Fresno and Clovis and from Fresno County asking if they utilize any open-source software in any of their computers, systems or networks and, if so, will they provide me with a summary of the type and manner of use of the open-source software used.

In three days, I received a reply from the Clovis IT manager stating that “yes, the City of Clovis does use open-source software for a number of things,” and then proceeded to outline how they were doing it.

As of March 15 (the deadline for this article), neither the county nor the city of Fresno had responded even though the request was re-submitted on March 10.


John Crockford, a self-described “geek with Luddite sympathies,” is an independent Web site designer and consultant. Contact him at or follow the Crockford Files (@crockfordfiles) on Twitter (


  • Community Alliance

    The Community Alliance is a monthly newspaper that has been published in Fresno, California, since 1996. The purpose of the newspaper is to help build a progressive movement for social and economic justice.

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