Archive for December, 2009
This has got to be the cheapest (probably free for most people!) mobile broadband signal booster you can find. Now you can forget about building a diy 3G antenna or buying a high gain external aerial for your dongle, this is a completely home-grown version that everyone should be able to try out.
I’m surprised it’s taken this long, to be honest. Microsoft’s posted a job offer, seeking a Principle Program Manager, who can "bring Xbox LIVE enabled games to Windows Mobile."
Based at their Redmond HQ, the right person for the job will "focus specifically on what makes gaming experiences "LIVE Enabled" through aspects such as avatar integration, social interactions, and multi-screen experiences."
I imagine to do all that, they’ll be needing some top-notch Windows Mobile handsets, and really the Snapdragon-powered HTC HD2 is the only device on the market so far capable of doing it. Not that it at all resembles a device targeted at Xbox gamers. Give me a Zune phone any day of the week. [Microsoft via Engadget and Kotaku]
Windows: What’s the most popular and powerful editor on Windows among text aficianados? Notepad++, by a hefty margin. Want something a smidge less menu-rich and, well, different? Notepad GNU is a very clever, open source alternative.
Notepad GNU has a lot to recommend on its own, including optional background transparency, loads of HTML and other code-minded plug-ins, a menu that can quickly send a file to a browser or other app (even Notepad++), and all that text tweaking tools you need without the Office integration nonsense you don’t. It doesn’t offer everything that Notepad++ does, but that’s kind of the point—it’s a different layout and setup, and one newcomers might find pretty useful.
The one drawback, for English speaking users at least, is the hit-and-miss translation of some of Notepad GNU’s more obscure features. You’ll be able to grope your way around in the linguistic dark, most likely, but if you speak Russian and like the app, by all means—offer to help with the translation.
Notepad GNU is a free download for Windows systems only. It comes packaged in a RAR container, oddly enough—you can easily unpack it for free using 7-Zip.
This little app works so well, it is a little scary. It is a good thing to run to see just how exposed your PC is.
IE PassView is a small password management utility that reveals the passwords stored by Internet Explorer Web browser, and allows you to delete passwords that you don’t need anymore. It supports all versions of Internet Explorer, from version 4.0 and up to 8.0.
For each password that is stored by Internet Explorer, the following information is displayed: Web address, Password Type (AutoComplete, Password-Protected Web Site, or FTP), Storage Location (Registry, Credentials File, or Protected Storage), and the user name/password pair. You can select one or more items from the passwords list and export them into text/html/csv/xml file.
You can find many other cool tools at the site.
Sure, OSX is pretty and functional, but can it fit on a 32mb flash drive? Mac-on-stick is a complete Mac OS 7.0.1 environment that runs on Windows, Mac, Linux, and even Pocket PC. Use it to run old-school apps or classic games like Dark Castle.
Running Linux, Windows or applications like Firefox, Thunderbird, and AbiWord from a USB flash memory device is old hat. How about a Mac 128K or Plus on a USB key? You may think of it as a curiosity, but a “portable” Mac system has a few practical uses:
- Play with old system software and applications without dusting off your old Mac.
- Impress your friends, or show others what the older Mac system looks like.
- Use Mac on Windows and Linux.
Taking ownership of system files or folders in Windows 7 or Vista is not a simple task. Whether you use the GUI or the command line, it takes far too many steps.
Thankfully somebody created a registry hack that will give you a menu item for “Take Ownership” that will handle all the steps for you. (If you are the person that originally made this script, let me know and I’ll give you credit)
Here’s what the new right-click menu will look like after installing this registry hack.
Download and unzip the files contained in the zipfile. Double-click the InstallTakeOwnership.reg file and click through the prompts. No reboot necessary.
Double-click the RemoveTakeOwnership.reg file and click through the prompts. No reboot necessary.
Windows: Application launchers can speed up your computer experience, but they aren’t always pleasant to look at. Krento is not only easy to configure, but it adds some serious 3D eye candy to your desktop, with little impact on resources.
Krento runs in the background from the system tray, and can be launched by either right-clicking the icon, clicking your mouse’s scroll wheel, hitting Windows + C, or double-clicking a toggled "pulsar"—basically a small, semi-transparent animated icon—in the corner of your screen. To launch an program, just click on it’s box (or "stone", as Krento calls it). Or, if you don’t want to move from the keyboard, you can also hit ctrl + the function key that corresponds to the program. In the above-pictured case, for example, Ctrl + F5 for the Command Prompt.
To add programs to the launcher, just drag and drop them onto a stone. You can even create multiple "circles" for different categories of programs, so you’re not just limited to 12. Krento is also skinnable,and takes up very little RAM and CPU, which is always nice—especially for something that looks this good.
Krento is a free download, Windows only.
gDoc Creator is a free program that can perform a number of document format conversions, including converting PDF to Word (.DOC) format. It can convert PDF, XPS, or any MS Office format (Word, Excel, PowerPoint) into any of three formats: DOC, PDF, or XPS. It also can optionally install add-ins for MS Office that enable saving directly to PDF or XPS and will install ’virtual printers’ that enable converting any printable document into either PDF or XPS.
If you didn’t get the geeky watch you wanted for Christmas you should consider building yourself a MakerBotWatch. The watch is an Arduino, using an ATmega328 microcontroller running the bootloader. The watch has two concentric circles of LEDs for minutes and hours. A vertical row of four LEDs adds in the additional resolution needed to get 60 minutes on the watch face.
The schematic and board layout are available from an SVN repository so you can make your own board. The device will go into production as a kit but currently the laser-cut bezel will not be part of it.
The newest HD player from Itoos, the M6HD is looking a lot better than its brother the iToos M8. But don’t be fooled by its sleek design as the iToos M6HD is officially a $58 PMP. Itoos swapped the full 1080p HD support on the M8 pulling the video support down to a 1360 x 768 pixel resolution. It’s still HD and it will still play a host of video formats (H.264, MKV, VOB, DAT, RM/RMVB, AVI). The 4.3-inch TFT LCD screen gives you 16 million colors. For the full 720p experience you can plug it to a bigger LCD screen via the HDMI out. It features FM radio and a remote control. Ownta has the model available for $86.75 including shipping.
For more photos, Akihabaranews has them here.
Ding-dong, the DRM is gone. But not in the way we really want. The copy protection scheme that is used for most Kindle books has been cracked. We’d much prefer it hadn’t been there in the first place but then there’d be no challenge for security hackers.
Giving credit for the advancement gets a little messy. Apparently two folks figured this out at approximately the same time. [Labba] posted about his discoveries while [I (heart) Cabbages] wrote about his exploits in a blog entry. Either way, you can now strip the protection and use your legally-purchased books on any device you choose by using this Python script.
This means that both Kindle and Nook have had their DRM broken. Are these companies really trying to prevent copying (fair use) or do they just want to be able to tell the publishers that there are copy protections while turning a blind eye to what happens in the privacy of your personal computer?
SharePod is a lightweight iTunes alternative you can. In addition to basic music playback and playlist management, Sharepod can back up and restore your entire iPod or simply copy individual tracks to and from the device. Note: Run Sharepod for the first time on a computer where you have administrative privileges to ensure it will run properly on computers where you have limited access. For more tips and tricks to get the most of your iPod, check out Adam’s excellent 20 Best iPod Utilities feature. Sharepod is a free, Windows only, portable application for managing your iPod music collection. Its free, but you should always donate for software you use.