January 2010 - Posts

Friv - Free Online Games that are Fun and Addictive
Friday, January 29, 2010 2:37 PM

 

 

There are tons of places online to play little flash games and what not, and I am sure there are better ones out there that Friv.com. Having said that Friv is a great website that has a bunch of really interesting and fun game that you can pickup and play in seconds. Non of them are particularly hard or take that much skill to play but many of them that I have tried are actually really clever and fun. They have a large range of games from puzzle games to shooters and even point and click games.

 The downside to Friv is that you don't know what you are going to get when you enter a game. The home screen of the website just has a bunch of icons that you click on to play that particular game. All you know about the game is the name. There are no descriptions of any of the games no categories and no searching. Just point and click and play, which I guess could be considered an asset depending on how you look at it. It gets you to try games you perhaps would not have tried otherwise but a little description would be nice.

 I think one of my favorite Friv.com games is called Shift. Its located in the third row from the top and is the next to last in that row. You're in a black and white maze and you have to get your little guy to the doorway. When you hit the shift key the black and white invert, which changes the puzzle. You have to run around in the level inverting the colors to get to the doorway. It's a lot of fun and will be sure to entertain you for a while at least.

 Checkout Friv.com and play some of the game they feature.  

by willburns1 | 1 comment(s)
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Guerrilla Bob for iPhone – One of the Best Shooters for iPhone
Friday, January 29, 2010 12:29 PM

 



Guerrilla Bob is one of the newest additions to the App Store by Chillingo's catalog of games. Some of other their other game creations like Cogs and Minigore are some of my favorite games for the iphone. So their reputation as far as producing good quality games in my mind is top notch.

In the game Guerrilla Bob, Bob is trying to regain his military honor after John Gore, from the iphone game Minigore, framed him. John Gore is now a notorious criminal and the details of Guerrilla Bob's framing remains unknown. You play as Guerilla Bob fighting his way through tons of enemies to clears his good name. What game would be complete without bosses at the end of every level, and Guerilla Bob doesn't disappoint. There are common enemies as well as special enemies armed with a range abilities and weaponry, not to mention the challenging bosses at the end of each level.    

Guerrilla Bob is a classic iphone shooter featuring double virtual joystick controls. The left joystick controls movement while the right one aims and fires. There are three customizable weapons a machine gun, rocket launcher, and flamethrower. Seems like a low number of weapons but each weapon can be upgraded and in the game play you probably couldn't handle any more than those three anyway. The graphics are awesome and the game plays very smoothly with crisp and clean graphics.  

Guerilla Bob also is designed to work with the Crystal game network that gives you access to Challenges, Achievements, Leaderboards, and a Social Network. This makes playing the game a lot of fun and exciting as you play trying to unlock the Achievements and complete the challenges. It's always fun to see how you match up against other people and the leaderboards give you that chance.

Guerrilla Bob is $2.99 and is worth the money for this very well made and exciting game. Checkout the game at the App Store today.

Guerrilla Bob @ App Store

 

by willburns1 | with no comments
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Showzey Review – Bring your photos together
Thursday, January 28, 2010 2:13 PM

 



There are many different places to store pictures online. A lot of people upload photos to Facebook and even though its great for sharing photos with friends is not a good environment for discussing photography. So you upload some photos to Flickr so you can enjoy the photography community there. You also use Picasa to upload photos online because it easy to upload and share images with friends and family.  You of course have friends and family that send you photos to your email address that sometime never makes it into your photo management application or online. So you find yourself all discombobulated with your all your images spread out all over the web. How do you bring them all together in one place?


Showzey is an online website that will bring all your photos together in one place and allow you to share and move them from one service to another. There is no signups or registration just go to the website and add your different image service giving Showzey permission to find your photos. Showzey then indexes all your images from all your services so you can search and filter your photos to find the ones want. You can then add the photo to one of your other service, download it, add it to a photo set, add captions or comments that are shared with your Showzey friends.


Showzey currently works with Facebook,Myspace, Flicker, Picasa, Yahoo, Gmail, and Kodak. If you have several of these Showzey will index and bring all your photos and your friends photos right to you in one place. You can even create a RSS feed of your photos. The length of the indexing process depends on how many photos you have, since my Facebook profile and friends profiles have more than a combined 17,000 photos it took a while to index them all. Once the indexing is over Showzey will not have to index them all again only the new ones which shouldn't take that long.

If you are seeking to get all your images in one place and have the ability to copy photos from one service to another without downloading from one and then uploading to the other Showzey is for you. Give it a try it's a free service.

 Showzey.com

by willburns1 | 1 comment(s)
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Cogs Puzzle Game now on the iPhone and iPod Touch
Thursday, January 28, 2010 12:20 PM

 



Cogs was and is a great puzzle game for PC and has now made it's way to the iPhone. Cogs is a puzzle game where you have to rearrange gears and other devices to make the device work properly. It's more than just getting the puzzle pieces into the right place, you have to get them in the right order and in the case of a music puzzle make the device make the right sounds. This makes solving the puzzles just that much more interesting and fun.

There have been many imitators of this games aesthetic and design but no one does this game like the original. There are 50 levels to play and 3 different game modes. Inventor mode introduces you to the puzzles allowing interact with gears, pipes, balloons, chimes, hammers, wheels, props, and more. You get as much time and as many moves as needed to solve a puzzle. Time Challenge mode only gives you 30 seconds to solve the puzzles from the Inventor mode. Move Challenge mode only gives you a certain number of moves to solve the puzzle.

Cogs is only $.99 to purchase from the app store. Unfortunately the game only comes with the first 11 levels, but you can purchase 10 more for only $.99. I feel this game with worth more than $.99 so I don't feel cheated when having to purchase more levels for an additional $.99. It might take me a while to master the first 11 in all three modes anyway.

Checkout Cogs in the App Store Today Only $.99
by willburns1 | with no comments
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beaTunes – Helps you take control of your iTunes Library – Mac and Windows
Wednesday, January 27, 2010 4:22 PM

 



Do you like a well organized iTunes library? Do all those typos in your songs meta data bother you but you just don't have the time or energy to fix them all. Well beaTunes just might be the application for you.

Not only can beaTunes fix those pesky typos in your songs meta data it can also create playlist based on one or more sample songs. It can also import lyrics for your songs from Lyricsfly and will automatically determine the language. If you have a track that you have no idea what the title, artist, or album is beaTunes can lookup the song using the acoustic fingerprint. That way you don't have to go searching around the web for the proper title.

An interesting feature of beaTunes is the ability to categorize your music by color. That way you can add songs to a playlist that have the same color making them likely to go well together. Not something I typically think about or do often and seems interesting.

BeaTunes has a some really cool feature that are sure to save you time in cleaning up your itunes library. I put a full list of the applications features at the bottom of this post for you to review at your leisure.  You can download a free trial version of this application at the application's website. The full version is $31.95 give it a try and let me know if it's for the price the are asking for it.

BeaTunes Website  


    *  Automatically determine BPM (beats per minute) and store the result in iTunes
    * Automatically detect the tonal key of your songs
    * Look up track metadata using acoustic fingerprints
    * Inspect and fix your music library (typos, wrong genre, wrong sortname, missing file a.k.a the iTunes exclamation mark problem, etc.)
    * Create matchlists, i.e. playlists based on one or more sample songs
    * Import lyrics from Lyricsfly and determine their language automatically
    * Sort existing playlists so that matching songs succeed each other
    * Browse songs from your music collection that match the currently selected song
    * Discover albums that aren't in your music collection, but would complement it
    *  Keep up to date through Amazon™ album charts
    * Categorize songs by their sound color
    * Automatically set start and end times of songs based on their volume
    * Create blog entries on blogger.com with your favorite playlist or songs
    * Add del.icio.us like tags to your songs
    * Manually determine BPM and store the result in iTunes
by willburns1 | with no comments
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Apple iPad – What it has and what it doesn't
Wednesday, January 27, 2010 3:24 PM



The rumored Apple tablet is real and it's called the iPad. It is basically like a big ipod touch. All your apps from your iPhone or ipod touch can be put on the iPad. The iPad has some new great applications that make it more than just an ipod. You can run iworks on the iPad which gives you a great suite of office applications for only $10 each. All the standard application have all been redesigned for the device and take full advantage of the large screen including the Mail app, Youtube, Calenders and more.


What the iPad has

Hardware
The iPad has a 9.7 inch screen that is actually more 4:3 than it is 16:9 which makes it not a widescreen like the iPhone. It's powered by a 1GHz processor A4 chip, which Apple made specifically for the iPad. The iPad also has 802.11 n Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 2.1 + EDR, a 30-pin connector, a speaker, a microphone, an accelerometer and a compass. The battery life as Apple claims is 10 hours but we will see how that translates into the real world usage.

Connectivity

The iPad comes with Wifi and some models with 3G mobile internet. If you want the 3G model you will have to pay more for the device and $30 a month for unlimited internet.

 Ebooks
People have been saying that the Apple tablet was going to be a Kindle killer and I think they might have been right. The iPad is going to have an Ebook store called “iBooks” where you can purchase book online and read them right on your iPad.

Accessories
The iPad has a dock that has a full size keyboard connected to it. So if you want to do a lot of typing on the device you can.  Apple also showed an iPad cover that looked like a legal pad.  

Price

All the iPad models come with Wifi but if you want the 3G capability then you will have to pay more for the device. You will also have to pay AT&T $30 a month with no contracts to have unlimited data usage. The iPad ships in 60 days.
Without 3G:
• $499: 16GB
• $599: 32GB
• $699: 32GB
With 3G:
• $629: 16GB
• $729: 32GB
• $829: 32GB

What the iPad doesn't have
The iPad does not have a camera, which was one of my biggest disappointments. I wanted a forward facing camera to do Skype and video conferencing. The iPad will not have Flash just like the iPhone and iPod Touch don't. So you will have to watch Youtube videos from the Youtube app, which is fine with me. The is no USB connection so you can't plug any USB device into the iPad. There is only a dock connection on the bottom, which I suppose is sufficient for most accessories. The iPad does not have gestures like people had thought it might. The only gestures the iPad has is the ones already implemented on the iPhone and iPod Touch. There is also no multi-tasking on the iPad just like the iPhone. You can only have one application open at a time.

That's about it for more information go checkout Gizmodo which is where I got my pictures from.
Gizmodo Post  

by willburns1 | 1 comment(s)
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StumbleUpon Script that Makes Sharing Websites a lot easier!
Tuesday, January 26, 2010 2:46 PM

 



The New StumbleUpon does not allow you to send pages to all your friends without individually selecting them. This takes time and is very annoying. With a Firefox plugin called Greasemonkey you can install custom userscripts that allow you to change the way a website works. Someone has written a userscript that allows you to make groups of friends in StumbleUpon and then with one click select then in the share menu. This make sending pages to a specific group of friends or all your friends fast and easy.

If you have a group of friends who like specific kinds of posts you can create a group for them and when you want to send a page they would like you can select their group and it will be sent to them. Likewise you can put all your friends into several groups and send to all of them. The script allows you to create 48 groups with a maximum of 99 in each group. This make sending pages to friends a lot easier and allows you to target different groups of friends more effectively.

How to install and use this script!

1.The first thing you will need is the Firefox plugin Greasemonkey which you can find here.
2.After you install it and restart Firefox you will need to instill the script for SU. Install script!
3.After you install the script go to the subscribers SU page here and on the top right you will see a new box that says “add group” enter a group name and hit Add.
4.Then click on a friend and on their page in the top right you will see a box called “Friends Groups” hover over it and it will drop down and show all your friend groups. Click on one to add that friend to a group.
5.When you go to your favorite page and click on the Share button it will show your groups at the top of your friends list. Click on a group to select those friends. Then click “Share Now”

That's it your done. Now you can share pasts on StumbleUpon like a champ.
by willburns1 | 1 comment(s)
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Google Voice Comes to iPhone and Other Smart Phones VIA HTML5 Enabled Browser
Tuesday, January 26, 2010 12:11 PM

 



Google has solved the problem they were having getting Google Voice on the iPhone. As some of you out there might remember Apple had rejected Google iPhone application a while ago. Apple then followed up by pulling other third party Google Voice apps from the app store. Apple claimed the apps were redundant to the iPhone features. Google said from the beginning of the struggle that they were going to make a webapp that would have the same functionality as a native app but run in the browser.

Google has finally released their Google Voice webapp that is everything they said it would be.  
Google created a HTML5 web app that has all the functionality of a native application. The webapp can be accessed on any HTML5 enabled smart phone like the iPhone and the Palm Pre.

The webapp has the same functionality as a desktop app you can place calls, send SMS, listen to voicemails, change settings, and get to all of your contacts. When you place calls using the webapp instead of Google Voice calling you and then connecting you to the person you were trying to call you receive a dialog box that pops up giving the option to call a number that connects you directly to that person. This makes placing calls using your Google Voice number from your phone even faster and easier. You can even add dialing credit right from your phone. So you can always have your phone credit tank full to place those international calls.

The webapp has great functionality and I don't really see what else is really needed. Some people are saying that it would be nice to send SMS to multiple people at the same time, which is not currently available. Others are saying that the contact being sent a SMS needs to have their name at the top as well as their number. I don't feel those issues are that big of a deal and that Google did a great job making a webapp for HTML5 enables smart phones. 

 Try it out m.google.com/voice

by willburns1 | 1 comment(s)
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RocketBox – Better Apple Mail Search Features
Monday, January 25, 2010 2:20 PM


I have been using apple mail for a long time. The search feature has always left something to be desired. I am not one of those people that file emails if I need to find an email I just do a search and perhaps with a little bit of work I can find it.

The search feature in mail is much like that of the Finder in the Mac OSX. You type in your search and then click on the tabs to refine your search to a specific mailbox, trash emails, or junk mail. Other than that you are pretty much on your own.

With Rocketbox you can select several different filters that will help you find exactly what it is you're looking for. You type in your search and then check the filter boxes you want your search to be refined to like whether or not the email has flagged, replied to, forwarded, has an attachment, from a specific account, or a specific mailbox. You can also search based on person so all messages sent from any of their emails will be presented. Rocketbox will present the emails with text highlighted snippets that show why the email was a match for your search.

One thing I don't like about Rocketbox is that it only shows a snippet from your email search results. If the information you are trying to get to doesn't appear in the snippet you might not be able to find it. If you know who sent it to you and at least one word that was in the email Rocketbox will find it in a snap using there search by person feature.

You can get a free 30 Day demo of Rocketbox with the full version costing $15 bucks. TechCrunch has a $5 discount on their post about Rocketbox if you are one of the first 200 to purchase Rocketbox from their link.

Rocketbox 30 Day Trial

by willburns1 | with no comments
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Garmin Voice Studio – Record your own GPS Voice for your Garmin Device
Monday, January 25, 2010 10:38 AM

 



I have always wanted to record my own voice and make it my GPS voice. There are several websites out there that allow you to do that but I have not found one that is free. With the Garmin Voice Studio application for Windows you can record your voice and then send the voice file to your GPS so you can hear your own voice shouting directions at you rather than the ones the GPS comes with.

 The Software leads you through a list of voice commands consisting of 65 words. According to Garmin it should take you about 30 minutes to complete which is not that bad. You have to record everything that the Garmin would say to you on any route you take so it's going to take some time. Here is the list of compatible devices. If your device is on that list you can download Garmin Voice Studio here and start recording.

aera™ series
GPSMAP® 620 & 640
nüvi® 200-series
nüvi 205-series
nüvi 500-series
nüvi 700-series
nüvi 705-series
nüvi 800-series
nüvi 1200-series
nüvi 1300-series
nüvi 1400-series
nüvi 1600-series
nüvi 5000
zūmo® 660

VIA LifeHacker
by willburns1 | with no comments
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YouTube integrated HTML5 so you can say goodbye to Flash
Friday, January 22, 2010 1:11 PM

 



Flash is a great plugin and allows you to do all kind great things on the web, but it doesn't always play nice with your browser or operating system. I have always had little Flash problems with my Mac where this Flash app or that one doesn't work properly. YouTube in now testing out HTML5 code standards on Youtube. If you have a browser that is supported you can watch videos without Flash, which is huge for Linux users where Flash never really worked that well to begin with.

If you want to try YouTube with HTML5 video you have to have Google Chrome, Apple Safari, or Microsoft Internet Explorer with Chrome Frame installed. I am sure that Firefox will be add to this list soon considering the new 3.6 added HTML 5 Support. To join the HTML5 Beta all you have to do is go here, and click on the “Join the HTML5 Beta” link. Once you do all videos that have HTML5 support will play using HTML5 and not Flash. Videos that don't have the support will default to the Flash player.

The HTML5 video is supposedly faster with fewer video stalls and jumps. I tested it out with Google Chrome and it worked pretty well. The videos did seem to load faster and I didn't see any video skips or pauses, that could be because the video quality is less than awesome. You can't at this point watch videos in full screen either like you could with the Flash plugin, but you can open the video in a window and make the window full screen and watch it that way.

Check it out HTML5 video is not awesome yet but I think it's a good option for people with slow computers or people who have computers that don't get a long with Flash.

 Youtube HTML5 Beta


by willburns1 | with no comments
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FireFox 3.6 is out – It's Faster and now has skins you can add to your browser
Friday, January 22, 2010 11:32 AM

 



Firefox is 3.6 is out and according to Mozilla is 25% faster than the last version. They added a bunch of new and exciting features like that of “personas” which allows you to apply a skin to your browser with a single click. It doesn't change the theme of your browser just the background images under the theme.

It seems to me like the persona feature for less tech savvy people who want the Twilight guys or Harry Potter on their browser, but I found some that were less distracting and pretty cool. You can add a persona to FireFox by going to getpersonas.com.

Other Features

Firefox also add a plugin manager that will detect when your plugin is out of date. This will help keep people safe from security concerns with up to date plugins. Firefox has also integrated support for the new HTML 5 specifications. Firefox now supports the following in HTML 5: audio and video, File API for local file handling, font support like Web Open Font Format (WOFF), CSS gradients, and device orientation.

by willburns1 | with no comments
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Netflix Signs Agreement to Delay New Releases – More Studios are sure to follow
Thursday, January 21, 2010 3:18 PM

 



Netflix the biggest internet rental service and has signed an agreement with Warner to delay the release dates of all Warners movies by 28 days. Movie studios are trying to drive movie sales by preventing movie rental services from renting them on the actual release date. They are hoping that people will go out and buy the movie when it comes out rather than just renting it. The question is will this work and what makes them so sure consumers won't go elsewhere to rent their movies. Since Netflix seems to be open to the idea other studios are sure to follow suit. This means that pretty soon Netflix will be 28 days behind in most if not all new movie releases.

This is the same thing that Redbox, a movie rental kiosk company, was going to court with 20th Century Fox to fight. While one company is going to the mattresses (Godfather reference seemed appropriate) and fighting for the right to rent movies on the actual release date, Netflix is taking it lying down and is signing agreements with them.

The Studios are going to have to sign everyone up to delay movie releases because most people have enough options in the rental market to find someone who has the movie on the release date. Everyone including Apple's iTunes Store, Blockbuster stores and online, other brick and mortar video rental places, RedBox, Xbox live Marketplace, Amazon video, and others. With my current location and devices in my house I could rent a movie from any of those services. So if I really wanted to rent a movie that was delayed by Netflix I would just go somewhere else. They are also assuming people will not pirate the movie. I guarantee you that movie piracy will go up if they start delaying movie releases everywhere. It's a simple fact whenever the movie industry pushes the piracy community pushes back.

I think Netflix did a dumb thing, but I frankly don't care. I can wait till the movies comes out on Netflix. I am in no real hurry to get any movie to watch it right when it comes out, and if I am I'll just use my Apple TV or Xbox or Blockbuster or Amazon. I guess I'll just be a month behind everyone but I think I can handle that. I have never really been concerned when movies are released so I perhaps won't even know it's been out for a month. 
by willburns1 | 1 comment(s)
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BumpTop for Mac – Turn your desktop into a 3D room – Mac and Windows
Thursday, January 21, 2010 1:43 PM

 



BumpTop takes a normal desktop and turns it into a 3D room. It allows you arrange your icons along the floor and the walls of the 3D space. BumpTop came out early last year for Windows and only recently come out for Mac.

BumpTop allows you to organize your icons on your desktop in a whole new way. The 3D environment allows you to organize and stack your icons on top of each other just like a stack of papers. When you click the stack it expands into a grid view, much like your stacks on the Apple dock. You can also increase the size of your icons to make them more prevalent and more easily spotted in the crowd of icons. Another interesting feature is the picture frames you can place on the walls. You can attach a frame to a folder of pictures and the pictures will rotate displaying in the frame.

BumpTop is free and has pro version that that sells for $29 that unlocks a couple extra features like the ability to flip through stacks using the mouse wheel and automatically growing icons that you use often.

Even though I think BumpTop is a great idea and has some great features I just don't think it's that practical. I am one of those people that can't stand icons on my desktop. I only have items on my desktop that I am currently working with and typically get put away or deleted by the end of the day. So I don't think BumpTop would be that useful to me. BumpTop also takes up memory and CPU when you are using it something I am just not willing to give up.

Don't let my opinion persuade you from trying out BumpTop. Go to their website and download it and try it for yourself.
by willburns1 | with no comments
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Butane Mini Launcher – The Noisy Cricket of the Spud Gun
Wednesday, January 20, 2010 1:58 PM

 


I have always loved making spud guns, potato cannons, tennis ball mortars, or anything that shoot anything but I have not really had the opportunity to live somewhere where firing them would be okay. I currently live in an apartment complex and can't really run around shooting projectiles everywhere. I am sure there is something a little bit illegal about them anyway and don't feel like getting into trouble because of a concerned neighbor.

Having said that this little Instructable by Kipkay is pretty cool and made me think why hadn't I thought of that. Why not make a mini butane shooter, like a mini spud gun. It works on the same principals and an electric lighter has everything you need to make it work, an ignition source and fuel.

All that is left for you to do is to figure out a way to make the lighter spark inside the chamber and a way to get the fuel in there effectively. Add a barrel that is the width or your desired projectile and your done. In the introduction of the instructable Kipkay lists a bunch of different projects that gave him the idea that inspired his version. Those are worth you taking a look at because there are many different ways to make something like this.

Have fun with your Butane Mini Gun and be careful with that thing. If you like stuff like this and haven't been to KipKay's Youtube page you should most definitely should check it out.
by willburns1 | 1 comment(s)
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