Finchley: Computer corner

By Andrew Taylor
This first appeared in the February issue

I wrote last month about public wi-fi in Finchley. After some research, the only public and free wi-fi I can find is at the Library in Hendon Lane, the El Bazaar coffee house at 11 Ballards Lane, where you can frequently find people working on their laptops; and The Dignity public house in Regents Park Road near the station where, at lunchtime, you can find busy executives wolfing down their lunch whilst they frantically reply to some email or other on their iPhone, Blackberry or Hero smartphones. [Ed: WiFi is also available at the Cafe Tapas in Long Lane]

As much as possible from now on, the software I will write about will be Open Source (free), and the same program will be available on at least the three main platforms: Windows, Apple Mac and Linux. In addition the data files will be interchangeable between these platforms.

Today I want to tell you that The Finchley Arrow has begun to investigate a new desk-top publishing program which we hope to publish the newspaper with. This is called Scribus; it is free, and is available on the above three platforms. When I first looked at it I thought it wasn’t up to producing a newspaper such as ours. In the last few weeks I have discovered some very good publications made with this software and I now know it can cope with the finer detail. [Ed: The March issue was published with this software]

I purchased a book on Scribus for £23.56 inclusive on Amazon and am now ploughing through it. It is exciting, as it will enable a volunteer to produce the newspaper without having to buy any software.

If there are any desk-top publishing experts who would like to be involved with the newspaper, you can download the program here, and the book can be found easily on Amazon.

During the next few months I intend to write about a free graphics program called Inkscape which is also available on all three platforms (Mac, Linux and Windows). This is a little along the lines of Coreldraw but not as top-heavy. I have bought a book on this (about £9.50 including postage) and will, in due course, ‘get stuck in’.

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