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7 Fun App Ideas for the Weekend Tinkerer

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Here in the U.S., we’re getting ready to celebrate Thanksgiving, which for many folks means a long weekend — my favorite time to tinker, particularly with software. So I’ve gathered together seven free app tinkering ideas from around the GigaOM Network that you may get a kick out of.

Handbrake Speaks Video. Handbrake has long been a favorite open source video transcoding and DVD ripping application. Over on OStatic, Lisa discusses the latest release, which has a slew of new features, including better picture quality and ways to make ripping DVDs easier. You can also use preview features to see how a video will look before you go through a lengthy transcoding process.

Create Your Own Game. If you don’t think you have what it takes to create your own multiplayer online game, check out this post on Arianne, a free software framework for creating slick ones. Create your own game environment and Arianne does the work to deliver your game to users online.

Music Muscle. The world of applications you can use to enjoy, organize and share music is hardly limited to iTunes. There are lots of free applications that are fun to dig into.  Do you want to play Doom on your own customized OS for iPods or most other music players? Do you need customized music library management for multiple software platforms? Check this post for 8 free, open source tools that let you do those things and more.  Also check out this post on the popular Amarok music app, organizer, and media player, which is out in a new version.

Blender University. Blender has long been one of the most popular free, open source 3D animation and graphics applications. You can access almost 70 hours of free online instruction from Tufts University on how to use the app; you can learn how to create a great-looking logo, how to execute special effects and more. Blender has been used to produce striking full-length animated films and is worth getting to know if you haven’t tried it.

A Free Book on GIMP. In “6 Ways to Get Much More Out of GIMP” the OStatic editors collected a number of excellent resources for the powerful, free, open source GIMP graphics application, available for Windows, the Mac and Linux. You’ll find a complete, free online book on GIMP, tips on getting plug-ins and more.

Weekend Zen. Do you write a lot? I sure do, and if you do, too, you may enjoy WebWorkerDaily’s take on free, Zen word processors. They strip away the interface annoyances found in most word processors and leave you with a tabula rasa experience that some writers really like.Try a little tinkering.

Free Media Centers. Have you tried out any of the free media center software platforms that are available? Boxee is a very popular one, but there are other good ones for Windows, the Mac and Linux. Read about four here .

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