February 2011 - Posts

Voice Controlled Video Game Actually makes you go PEW PEW PEW to fire!
Monday, February 28, 2011 12:42 PM

There are a lot of video games that go PEW PEW PEW, but not many are voice controlled by two people one of which has to make a PEW PEW PEW sound to fire and progress through the level. This new 2-D side scroller video game requires two people to play. One to blow into the mic to control upward and downward movements and the other to say PEW into the mic to fire at obstacles.

The game is called, you guessed it, 'PewPewPewPewPewPewPewPewPew' and will be availible on Xbox live Indie Game market place sometime soon. No word yet on price but it will sure be confusing to passerby who are unaware of the object of the game. 

'PewPewPewPewPewPewPewPewPew'


by willburns1 | with no comments
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Place Contact Information on your Login Screen - (Clever Idea)
Monday, February 28, 2011 11:43 AM

I thought this was a pretty clever idea I saw on Lifehacker this morning. A program that I have mentioned before called Onyx has a nice little feature that allows users to add contact information to your login screen. This would be invaluable if you force users to login before accessing an account and you ever lost your laptop. Of course the laptop would need to fall into the hands of someone honest but if they were the login screen would be the only one they could access and having contact information on it would be pretty handy.

VIA Lifehacker
by willburns1 | with no comments
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New iOS Game Tiny Wings Could take Angry Bird's Thunder!
Monday, February 28, 2011 9:34 AM
There's a new iPhone game that is taking the app store by storm, and it's called Tiny Wings. You are a little bird that has, you got it, tiny wings. It has trouble flying so it relies on the hills where it lives to get up enough speed to jump to the next island.

The controls are simple, you touch the screen to tuck your wings in making you dive downward. That combined with a downward slope of a hill gains you speed and more height coming off the next. You gain points for collecting coins and speed boosts. You start out in the same place each time striving to reach farther each time you play, discovering new islands, before night fall. When night sets in the game is over and the bird falls asleep. You receive multiplayers for completing tasks that allow you more daylight which allows you to go farther. 

One of the cool things about this game is that it changes every day you play. It has Procedural generated graphics which changes the levels look and hill layout every day you play. The game sells for just $.99 and it's a must have. It's super addictive and a great time waster. 

by willburns1 | with no comments
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DropPhox - iOS Camera App that Automatically Uploads Images to DropBox
Friday, February 25, 2011 11:48 AM

DropPhox is a simple camera app that automatically sends pictures taken with it's built in camera to Dropbox as soon as you take them. The app allows you to login to your Dropbox account and choose the desired folder to upload images to. Then all you have to do is start taking pictures and the app starts uploading.

From reviews of the app it seems it needs some work, but I'm sure the developers are working on it. The app needs the ability to upload images not taken by the app and the ability to upload images in the background. Currently you have to stay in the app while images upload or you have to restart the precess next time you open the app. That is a bit of a bummer, but not a deal breaker in my book. The app sells for $1.99 in the App Store.

DropPhox $1.99 App Store
by willburns1 | 1 comment(s)
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Lion Server to come in Mac OS X Lion
Friday, February 25, 2011 10:28 AM

It's no surprise that Apple is starting to put a lid on it's server hardware and software. Well it seems they aren't getting rid of the server software they are simply adding to the regular release of Lion. This is something I have wanted for a while. I have always wanted to create a server like setup with my standard OS but it simply doesn't have the tools to make it happen.

So what kind of server tools are going to be available in Mac OS X Lion? Users will be greeted with a guided step by step process for setting up their Mac as a server. Services for users local and remote the OS provides push notifications, file sharing, calendaring, mail, contacts, chat, Time Machine, VPN, web, and wiki services. All this is built in and doesn't cost you a penny more.

This is great news for people who love networking and want to turn their Mac into a server without the extra software or having to purchase the server OS at a cost of $499.

Via Tuaw
by willburns1 | 1 comment(s)
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Map your Facebook Friends on Google Maps in Seconds - WhereMyFriends.be
Thursday, February 24, 2011 12:07 PM
Not sure why anyone would need this, but I have to say it's pretty cool. This little website called wheremyfriends.be maps out all your Facebook friends and places them on a Google Map. It's a cool and interesting way to see just how far your network of friends have spread.

The application is simple and works fast. After giving it permission to access your profile information it starts popping up your friends all over the map. One of the developers, Ajay Mehta says
“Surprisingly, there aren’t a lot of apps like this. There were a few that were very poorly developed and eventually canceled years ago. They weren’t this visual either, most had a lame loading bar or something similar and the mapping was laggy/slow. We have friends pop onto the map in a cool, interactive way (which was the hardest part to hack together).”
The site was developed by three college freshmen and is currently down due to the amount of traffic sent to it from a Mashable article written about it. If you want to give wheremyfriends.be a try for yourself simply leave your email address and they will alert you when their service is back up.

Mashable Article
by willburns1 | 1 comment(s)
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Get Free Chipotle for Watching a Commercial for a New NBC Show on Facebook!
Thursday, February 24, 2011 11:33 AM

NBC is promoting their new show "America's Next Great Restaurant" by giving you a buy on get one free coupon for one of Chipotle's Burritos, Bowls, Tacos, or Salads. All you have to do is watch a 90 second commercial about the up and coming show on NBC and you can print the coupon.

The man who started the Chipotle is one of the judges on the new show, so that's the connection Chipotle has with the show. The show itself actually looks pretty good, and NBC's strategy of give away free food to watch a show promo is also a first for them. A free burrito from Chipotle sounds good right about now. I know what I am having for lunch!

Get the Coupon
by willburns1 | 1 comment(s)
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FaceTime comes to the Mac App Store. Now with 720P HD Video!
Thursday, February 24, 2011 10:26 AM

FaceTime for the Mac OS has officially come out of beta and now resides in the Mac app store. The application allows users to video chat from computer to computer as well as computer to the iPhone 4. The application works much like the beta connecting to your address book and allowing people to call you even when the application is closed. I love that feature, but it can be turned off in the preferences if you are not a fan.

One of the major differences between the beta and the official release is the support for 720P video. So if you have a HD webcam or are planning on purchasing the new Macbook Pro, which is equipped with a HD iSight camera, then you are in luck. FaceTime can be purchased from the app store for $.99.

FaceTime Mac App Store
by willburns1 | 1 comment(s)
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How to Create Strong Passwords for Every Site and Remember them All
Wednesday, February 23, 2011 1:05 PM

Creating a strong password is essential to keeping you identity and online accounts safe. When websites get hacked and usernames and passwords are stolen many time the thieves have to decrypt the passwords first. If yours is secure enough they might give up on yours before they crack it, or at least give you time to change it.

What makes a password secure?

There are a number of factors that make a password secure including length and the variety of characters you use. A long password with numbers, letters, capitalized letters, and special characters makes for a very secure password that could take some time to crack. Each time you add a variable to your password it increases the time it takes to crack it exponentially.

Create a Password Generation Rule
One of the best ways to create long secure passwords that is different for every site and that you can remember is to create a password generation rule for unique to you.

  • Start by thinking of a short default password starter link a nickname, keyboard combination, or whatever you want.
  • Then add a rule that involves the name of the website or service. You might think to remove vowels or consonants or whatever you can think of that you will remember. If your starter is "qwerty" and the website is Google your password might be qwertyggl.
  • Add some special characters and numbers that you can remember at specific places in your password. So our password might now look like this qwerty@ggl2003.
  • then decide to always capitalize at least one letter. So now we have Qwerty@ggl2003
Now all you have to do is remember your password rule and you can figure out any password for any website you come to. The likelihood that someone would figure out your naming convention with a single password is unlikely and if they have multiple passwords of yours you have bigger problems than someone stealing your passwords. Many hackers simply steal credentials and use a script to attempt to use then elsewhere. If they are unsuccessful they often times dumped them. So if your password is secure and different on all sites you will most likely be okay or at least have time to change them before a breach.

Password Service
There are many password services out there that provide password generation and auto filling that can be very handy. One of my favorites is OnePass. OnePass is free and works on all the popular browsers which is great if you don't hold true to one browser. It's full of great features and is very secure. It can even prevent keylogging malware from getting to your passwords with a virtual keyboard input system for logging into your OnePass account. It also works with a yubikey which I have written about before and adds another layer of protection.
by willburns1 | 1 comment(s)
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It's official! iPad Event on March 2! What can we expect?
Wednesday, February 23, 2011 11:49 AM

Apple has just sent out the invitations to their press conference event on March 2. It seems they are going to make an announcement about the iPad 2 which they gave away by putting an iPad right in the invitation. I am sure Apple has more up it's sleeve for the event so what else can we expect?

iPod 2
Well since the iPad is featured on the invitation I assume it's going to the star of the show. So what can we expect from the second iPad. Well rumors say it will be faster featuring the next-generation ARM chip, the multi-core ARM Cortex A9, which will be much faster than the A4 chip that's in there now. It's expected to have forward and rear facing cameras and support for Facetime. Some people are saying it will have an SD card slot, but I wouldn't hold my breath on that one. Some people are saying the new iPad will have a retina display, but counter rumors say that isn't true, so I wouldn't expect that either.

Macbook Pro Updates  - Update 02-24-2011 09:08 AM - New Macbooks just released. Apple.com
Everyone has been talking about the new Macbook pro updates that are rumored to land on the March 2 press conference. According to BGR the new Macbook pros will have a 8GB -16GB SSD dedicated to the Operating system, which means the OS should boot up very quickly. They are saying it will have a larger trackpad and be a little lighter than the previous model. Also rumored is a new high speed connection called Thunderbolt which is said to be featured in the new Macbook pros.

Other possibilities
Don't forget that we are still waiting to see what Apple has in store for Lion, the up and coming OS for Mac. We might get a little taste as to what they are working on for that. Also Final Cut 8 is coming out in the spring so it wouldn't surprise me if we get a demo of that as well. Some people have talked about the Macbook Air getting a refresh but I haven't heard much about it since then so perhaps that rumor is dead as well.

Can't wait to see what Apple has for us, and the new iPad 2 should be awesome. I don't know how I'm going to be able to resist buying one!
by willburns1 | with no comments
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Facebook Messenger - iPhone App has Message and Voice Chat
Tuesday, February 22, 2011 1:13 PM

Facebook Messenger is an iPhone add from Crisp App which lets you chat with your Facebook friends but with one important difference. It can initiate a VioP call, right from within the app, to any friend on Facebook. Users who also have the "Facebook Messenger" app can simply answer the call and other using a computer receive a link which opens a URL that opens the call using a flash application.

The layout of the app is pretty good and features a pretty clean and simple chat window and controls making this app pretty easy to use. Other than VioP  calls the Facebook Messenger app can send photos from your camera or from your camera roll. Chats that are currently open show up in a second window pane which can be viewed by sliding you're finger the left just like the iPhone home screen.

My only complaints is that if you leave the app the call is disconnected, which is a pain. That and I wish their icon didn't look identical to that of Google Voice's. Also the name of the app when installed is Messenger which is a little misleading considering it only does Facebook chat. Other than that it's pretty good. I look forward to seeing where they take the app with future updates.

Facebook Messenger
by willburns1 | with no comments
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HipMunk - Makes Finding Flights Super Simple and Now with iOS App
Tuesday, February 22, 2011 12:14 PM

Hipmonk is a simple and clean way to find flights on the cheap. I'm sure you have gone to discount travel sites before and searched for flights but unlike Hipmonk other sites are crowded and confusing to use. Hipmonk is simple and has a great layout and unique design.

Hipmonk features a unique calender like view that shows all flights like calender events. The event like display allows you to differentiate flight times very easily, seeing early flight on the left and late flights on the right of the time grid. Airlines are color coded, each with their own color, and each flight has the connecting city abbreviation in the middle of the bar representing the flight. Clicking on the flight allows you to see detailed information as well as allowing you to select the flight which then moves you on to choosing the return flight.

Hipmonk also offers a variety of ways to sort flights, including Agony, Price, Stops, Departure Time, Arriving Time, and Duration. Sorting the flights by Agony takes into consideration the duration, flight time, and number of stops, something I find very useful. You can also filter out flights that are early morning, are before noon, or only show morning flights, which is an option that would come in handy for some.

Hipmonk also has an iPhone app that provides the same services as the website. The layout is much of the same simply shrunk down for the iPhone. The down side is once you find your flights you have to checkout with the airline or aggregator's website using safari which can't be fun. However Hipmunk does allow you to send the booking to an email so you can checkout later when you're on a computer. All in all a great website tool and iPhone app check it out.

Hipmonk
 


by willburns1 | with no comments
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Amazon Prime Gets Unlimited Streaming
Tuesday, February 22, 2011 10:47 AM

Well it seems the rumors were true and the internet is a buzz with the news that Amazon has pulled the covers off their instant streaming service. Amazon Prime members can now stream an unlimited number of more then 5,000 movies and TV shows for $80 a year. That comes out to $6.66 a month which is a little bit more than a dollar cheaper than Netflix. Don't forget you get free 2-day shipping with Amazon Prime as well.

Not all movies that you can stream on Amazon are free to Prime members just the movies that are Prime Eligible, but there are a good amount of them and you can only expect it to expand. If you are a Netflix subscriber you might find the lineup of movies familiar since many of them are also available on Netflix.

I think this is a great move for Amazon and since Amazon Prime was a good deal even before their streaming service it could convince many more people to join up. I wish they allowed you to pay for your membership monthly rather than in one lump sum, but that's just the way they do it I guess.

by willburns1 | 1 comment(s)
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Buy Magnets in Bulk to Turn Anything Magnetic (Clever Idea)
Monday, February 21, 2011 3:06 PM

I was thinking today how handy certain items that feature magnets really are. A kitchen timer is great, but a kitchen timer that's magnetic is even better. A flashlight can come in handy when working on a car or trying to find your way in the dark, but a flashlight with a magnet on it is even more convenient. So my theory is everything is better if it has a magnet on it. So why not buy super strong magnets in bulk and put them on tools and other objects you wish were magnetic? 

You can buy super strong rare earth magnets for pretty cheap and turn everyday objects into super magnet items. Magnets like the ones pictured above have a pull force of 4.0 lbs each. Considering they are only 3/8" by 1/8" just one of them could anchor a large range of objects under 4lbs. A 30 pack of these sells for just $6.49 on Amazon.

If your object can be drilled into, you can use a drill bit to make a hole allowing you to recess the magnet for a more finished look. If you can't drill into the object you can simply glue the magnet to the objects surface using something like gorilla glue or an epoxy.

Checkout Magcraft magnets on Amazon 
by willburns1 | with no comments
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Fooducate - iOS App that helps you put good food into your body
Monday, February 21, 2011 12:20 PM

I think we are all guilty of eating things that aren't good for us. It's not a bad thing to treat yourself every once in a while to something you know isn't good for you, but when it becomes the norm you forget how bad some foods really are for you. Well next time you go to the store or the pantry take along the Fooducate app and see just how good or bad the food you eat really is for you.

Fooducate is an iOS app that allows you to scan bar-codes on food packaging. Fooducate will then pull up the product from it's database giving you it's healthiness grade, calories per serving, Weight Watchers food score per serving, and any other positive or negative facts about the product. Fooducate gives products grades from A - F based on a number of factores including how processed it is, extra sugars or chemicals that have been added. So even low calorie food items can get a low score based on the chemicals included and how it's processed. Fooducate takes more into consideration than just calories, which I think is a good thing.

The app is pretty good at identifying name brand items, but off brand or generic products seems to be harder to identify. Also food items from Aldi seems to be absent from their database as well. The good news is that you can get your food items added by taking a picture of the front of the packaging, the nutrition information, and ingredients. The app composes an email which you can send off to get the item added.

The wish there was a way to just search for products, but you are forced to either manually enter the UPC code or use the camera to scan the bar-code, which can be inconvenient depending on the product. Overall a great app and you can't beat it with it's free price tag.

Fooducate $Free @ App Store
by willburns1 | with no comments
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