Monday, May 4, 2009

A clip from Arrested Development...

I'm preparing for finals so the dull bulb gets a back seat. But that doesn't mean we can't be enjoying funny videos. Enjoy this clip from an episode of Arrested Development. If you haven't watched this show, I suggest you do, its hilarious.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Convert Docs in the Cloud

Need to convert your .pdf files to .doc files or visa versa? Well CometDocs will convert basically any document to any file type online. The service is super easy to use. Just go to the site, upload your document, select a document type as your target, and put in your e-mail address (use your junk e-mail account just in case). You will recieve an e-mail with a link to the download of your document. Easy shmeesy - Pam Beasley...

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Busy Busy

Sorry for the lack of posts the last couple days... I have been very busy with school. I am also working on giving the dull bulb a new look. I should be back soon with more great stuff.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Time for a new haircut.

If you are like me, you like some variety in your wallpaper selections. It was refreshing when Vista came out because it came with a handful of new wallpapers. Windows 7 is on the verge of being released and it will have a LOT of new wallpapers for your enjoyment.

The good news is you don't have to wait until then. You can enjoy the Windows 7 wallpapers now. Here is a small preview of what's out there:

I used Photovisi to make this collage... Booya.

Download them all here.
Download them individually here.

Friday, April 17, 2009

BumpTop -

Computer desktops are a common theme here at the dull bulb. I like finding programs that make desktops more flexible, convenient, and easy to use. For example, in the past I have featured dock applications, virtual desktops, desktop grids and many others. The purpose is maximizing the utility of your computer's desktop.

Recently I found a program that does more for desktop organization than I have seen in a LONG time. Its called BumpTop. Basically, it turns your rigid, unflexible computer desktop into a more flexible desktop that can be used more like your physical desk. Allow this video to demonstrate:

As you can see, its a beautiful concept. In fact, the idea is so wonderful, we will be seeing this concept take hold in future operating systems. Think about how the iPhone has revolutionized user interfaces. Apply the easy-touch interface of an iPhone/Touch to a GUI (graphics user interface) like BumpTop and you have a pretty awesome computer that has the flexibility of a desk and the utility, productivity, and power of a computer. Want an example? Check this out:

Visit the site. Download it Here.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Photosynth - Its like you were there...

A while back, Microsoft came out with something new and very cool. Its part of the "Live" project (a group of applications that sync together to allow people the ability to integrate various things like e-mail, chat, photos, blogs, etc.). The new web application is called Photosynth. Its a pretty neat idea.

What does it do?

Photosynth gathers photos of significant places and events and stitches them together to form a very large picture. It uses the photos to stitch together a larger 3D image to make you feel like you were there. Here is a video intro.

Right now, the full version can only be used on a PC. The Mac version is somewhat limited but its still pretty cool. Here is a little Mac demo of Obama's Inaguration.

How about using Photosynth to solve crimes... Microsoft found a good place to advertise their new application: CSI

And if you really want to learn about what Photosynth can do, watch this small lecture:

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Horrible Argument

I have to make a practice oral argument today. I'm nervous. But at least I'm not this guy:

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

the dull bulb's Daily Pick

I want to introduce the new feature on the blog - the dull bulb's Daily Pick. Everyday I will post a new song on the right side of the blog for your listening enjoyment.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Make your own Spy Camera

One of my IS professors during my undergrad had an interesting experience with a pen thief. He kept a cup full of nice pens on his desk. He noticed that his pen collection was diminishing on a daily basis and grew suspicious that someone was in his office while he was not there. To investigate the situation, he placed a small, well disguised web camera in between books on his book shelf before leaving for the day and used a program to capture video whenever the camera detected motion.
That is a spy camera - it also doubles as a laser capable of melting your face...
Oh, it also launches missiles at Russia - only Russia though.

The following morning he reviewed the video from the previous night. He found out that the only person coming into his office was the janitor and that the same janitor was indeed his pen thief. He decided to keep monitoring the situation and quickly became aware that this janitor was doing "a lot more" in his office than stealing his pens.

Like playing with his desktop basketball set...

The moral of the story? Spy on people that come into your office using a small, undetectable web camera so you can catch them red handed.

Here are some instructions on How to build a Spy Camera.

Unless you are James Bond. Q will likely hook you up with a much better gadget than you could make yourself.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Photo Collage maker

Time to make some photo collages! I searched the web for fast and easy collage makers so that I could make desktop wallpapers on the go. The following collage maker is one of the best that I found for fast and simple collages!

Photovisi is a fast and easy-to-use collage maker. It really is simple. You don't even need an account.
  1. First, click the Start button
  2. Choose your collage template
  3. Upload your photos - you can select multiple photos to upload by holding control (command) as you select your photos
  4. Wait a second while your photos upload
  5. Preview your collage - at this point you can delete, crop, or replace the photos in the collage
  6. Click the "Preview Ok" button to proceed
  7. Photovisi will offer you three different resolution sizes of your collage for download. Simply select the one that fits your purpose. For example, if you want to use the collage as your desktop background, download the size that most closely matches your computer resolution.
You're done! Simple, clean, fast, FUN! Enjoy making collages on Photovisi.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Throw Out Your Workout DVD's... Workout With Free Video Podcasts!

Stop paying money for workout DVD's and hop on the Free Fitness Podcast wagon. I stumbled across an article that provides information on how to get free fitness podcasts from iTunes.

Its not at all difficult to find the podcasts:
  1. Go to iTunes Store
  2. Select "Power Search" on the right hand side of the page
  3. Fill out the search parameters as shown in the picture below. Your results should look similar to mine.
  4. Now just find a workout that you like and go for it. Here is a link to one that I like - although I have never used it...

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Get Motivated

Enjoy some of my favorite motivational posters from around the web.

I took this one with my phone. Its funny.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Holy Bonus: How to remove iTunes DRM from Movies

Have you ever purchased a movie from iTunes and been frustrated by the fact that you can't burn it to a DVD? Even worse for iTunes, have you never purchased a movie from iTunes knowing that you can't burn it to a DVD?

Lucky for us, there is a method of stripping the DRM (digital rights management - the yucky stuff that prevents you from straight up burning an iTunes movie to a DVD) from an iTunes movie file. I found an article at Wired that explains the process. Wired is a Tech news, review, and How-To site. The How-To portions functions like a Wiki where people can post How-To articles to the site in a manner similar to Wikipedia.

Here is a link to the article.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Pod to PC

Let me tell you a story about me and the iPod: Between 2003 and 2005 I was out of the country and was unable to remain abreast with technological changes. After arriving home, I remember driving with my older brother somewhere and listening to some music (my brother used to really love music - now he just likes it). He kept changing songs using some small, magical, music playing device. I asked, "what is that?" pointing to the device. He replied with a little surprise: "an iPod..." I then asked the question that would change my life forever: "What's an iPod?"

Thing is, iPod's came out in 2001 but were so expensive until 2003 that I never heard about them up to the point of my leaving the country. I was in Brazil and if iPod's were unattainable in the U.S., they were most certainly unattainable in Brazil.

This Newsweek demonstrates that iPod's really became
uber-popular in 2004 - check out the date of the issue

The point of the story is that when I first became introduced with the iPod, I thought it was sweet because that would mean my friends could give me all the music on their iPod by simply attaching it to my computer and uploading all the files. Alas, Apple (and record labels of course) were fully aware that people would want to share music in such a way and therefore made it completely impossible to use iTunes to take music off an iPod and put it back on a computer.

Although I may have wanted to use this method to share music in the past, today I wish that I could just use my iPod as a means of backing up my iTunes library. I own an 80gb iPod Classic. They only sell 160gb classics at present. I want to be able ot use my iPod to listen to music AND backup my music in the even that my computer hard drive were to fail. Unfortunately, because people (like me) would use a iPod to Computer function to share music, Apple refuses to allow the functionality.

Despite the fact that iTunes does not allow you to transfer music from iPod to PC, MANY MANY applications exist that will enable you to just that. Today's post is one such application.

Pod to PC: The following information comes directly from Pod to PC's About page and explains very well the benefits of using Pod to PC.

Applications and Features:

iPod Icon Easily copy any music or video files from any iPod onto your computer.
Free Software The full version of Pod to PC is 100% free. There are no transfer limitations.
Recovery Icon Recover your music in iTunes after your computer crashes by transferring the music on your iPod or iPhone back to your computer.
Preview Icon Preview music and movies on any iPod before transferring it into your iTunes library.
Automatic Transfer Use the Automatic Transfer button to instantly select, then transfer all songs on an iPod that are not already in your iTunes Music Library.
Playlist Icon Easily copy a whole or partial playlist from any iPod into iTunes.
Already in iTunes Prevent duplicate transfers: Tracks already in iTunes are indicated with a blue check.
All Song Info Gets Transfered All track info gets transferred including the track play count, rating (out of 5 stars), album and more.
Search and Filter Quickly find the tracks your looking for with the Pod to PC search bar and filter options.
Free Upgrades Automatic upgrades notifications, keeps users up to date with the latest iPod and iTunes versions.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Still Tasty - do your food a favor...

In my house we constantly have a problem using up our broccoli before it goes bad. We buy broccoli, fully intending to enjoy its goodness, then forget about it and it goes bad. It would be nice to know what kind of life the broccoli has so that we can plan accordingly. Or maybe even get some tips on how to preserve its life.

Still Tasty is the answer to our food preservation problems. It has a plethora of information.

"Forgive me El Guapo . . . but could it be that you are angry at something else and are looking to take it out on [your food]?"

Anyway, Still Tasty will hook you up with some pretty important information about broccoli (and a bunch of other stuff). See:

Oh! So that's how you freeze fresh, raw broccoli! Freaking Awesome.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Use Google Preview - All the Cool Kids are doing it.

If you use Firefox you are already a cool kid. If you have the Google Preview extension - you are an even cooler kid. Google Preview is a really simple Firefox add-on that simply provides you with a preview of a webpage when you google any particular topic. I'll show you:

You see the little pictures next to the sites? Awesome! So how do you add the extension (add-on)? Easy:
  1. Go here
  2. Click the "Add to Firefox" button
  3. A little pop-up box (drop down box whatever it does) will show up and prompt you to install the extension
  4. Click Install
  5. Restart the browser and you are in business
Enjoy the Google Preview and I will show you some other cool extension in the future.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Lala - The Dark Horse of Online Music Streaming

This post is about music so why not listen to some while you read? And why not make it John Legend - Awesome. I am constantly exploring online music services. I dig music. I dig music that is free. I dig sites that deliver free music in a unique way. I have previously mentioned sites like Pandora, PureVolume, SadSteve, B-Sides, iTunes, Soundunwound, Soundflavor, and others, which are all good to listen to music and learn about new music. Recently I found the darkhorse of online music services...

Lala is an online music service that allows listeners to choose songs they like, create a queue (a playlist of sorts) and listen to music that they choose and love. In that regard, Lala is not a very unique service. In fact, if that is all that the site does, I wouldn't be posting about it. A better way to describe Lala is as an online music repository. What does this mean? Two things really:
  1. Lala is a place where you can purchase and accumalate music to which you have a right to listen to as if it were your own. Purchase? Yeah, purchase. Songs cost $.10 and you get the right to listen to the purchased track as much as you want, whenever you want. You do not get to download it to your own computer unless you pay the usual, iTunes standard $.99. So what is so special about that? Basically, you buy music online AND you get to store the music online AND download it to your computer. A lot of people buy music from the iTunes store. I would argue that this method allows you to back up your entire music collection for FREE. Further, this method allows you to access your files online, anytime. I think thats pretty fantastic.
  2. Lala is a place where you can store music that you ALREADY OWN and accumulate music that you purchase. Thats right! You can upload your entire music library to Lala for free - have access to it from anywhere in the world with internet access. That is a unique concept that makes Lala worth trying out.
How does it work: When you set up an online account, the site gives you 50 free music credits. These are credits that you can use to go out and "purchase" any song. I use the term purchase loosely in this context because there are two types of purchase of a song on Lala: a strictly online purchase and an online purchase that allows you to download and keep the file. So you can accumulate music in two ways, strictly online (less expensive) or online and on your computer (normal cost of music).

Music Mover: Lala has its own software that searches your computer for music and uploads it to Lala. Basically, the site matches your music with online music and then automatically gives you the right to those songs which you already own. Honestly, this is what makes Lala one of the most amazing onlines services on the web becuase of the possibilities. Think about it:
  • Do you have a large music collection on your home computer but don't want it to take up all the space on your laptop? Or is your laptop a work laptop? Or do you just want to access your music from a public computer or from someone else's computer. Lala makes it so you can access your music library without storing it on your computer at all! Better yet - you can do this from anywhere with access to the internet.
  • Own an iPhone or iPod touch but hate that you can't fit your whole collection on it? Get the Lala app and connect to your music on the interweb. This App is forthcoming but check out the amazingness of the concept.

Music Mover in action - you know, just doin' its thang

My music collection post Music Mover upload - after it did its thang.

More About Music Mover: Music Mover is a small program you download. To use it, you simply specify the source location of your music library and begin the upload process to Lala. Music Mover will go through a rather time consuming process of uploading all your music (unless it is unrecognizable) to Lala. Depending on the size of your music library, this process can take a long time or a short time. I have around 6000 songs and it is taking hours and hours and hours. Right now I have access to around half of my music and it took the program about 3 hours to accomplish. In my opinion, that is a small price to pay for having access to your music anywhere, anytime!

More About the Site: The site's interface is clean, straightforward, and very easy to use. Searching for music is very simple. Once your library is uploaded, your view of your music is similar to what iTunes used to look like when it wasn't so album art-based. The music player streams music with ease and maintains a position on the top of your screen while you browse their site.

That is the Lala homepage for my account

This is what the Queue looks like - You can also make playlists - even on iTunes then upload them.

Lala has a very simple "share" app allowing you to share any song on your own site, facebook, or whatever. Here is another great tune.

Things I think will improve the site: the site will benefit from a better interface for music collections. Right now, its a little old looking and difficult to use when there are a lot of songs in the library. Also, I think a pop-out music player would be awesome. Right now, you can't navigate away from that page (which isn't so bad) and that makes it difficult to see what you are listening to or change a track while looking at a different site.

A BONUS: If you want to check out Lala without going through the uploading process, just leave a comment on this post and I will hook you up with access to my collection. Obviously, I will only give access to people I know and trust...

Tuesday, March 31, 2009 - More Like Sick

"In today's troubled economy..." I hate it when the news says stuff like that. But in today's troubled economy who couldn't use great savings on consumer items? That's what I thought. When it comes to good deals people are like drooling dogs with dollar signs in their eyes.

Or just dogs made out of money begging for more money...

Sam, my friend and source of many cool and fantastic sites, told me about two "deal" sites: and

that's Sam, he is a hardcore thug

The great thing about both sites is that they have REAL coupons and deals for REAL companies linking to those company's websites. For example, I saved $70 on a printer using a coupon from fatwallet. My wife purchased a $100 swimsuit for $13 AND paid no shipping. There are all kinds of deals and they are all through companies that you are familiar with: BestBuy, HP, Walmart, Landsend, etc.

The best of the two is Slickdeals because it is laid out a bit better than fatwallet. But who am I kidding, they are both great. So why are you still reading this - go check out the deals and come back and tell me what you think.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Boxhead - ZOMBIES!

I love this flash game. All you do is kill zombies using a vast array of weaponry from a pistol to a railgun. The game is Boxhead - there are a bunch of versions out there (just Google it or play it below). Anyway, its kind of fun to do if you have a minute to kill (pardon the pun) or need a break from the grind.

Go play the game here - I'm tired of it loading up everytime I load my blog... So annoying.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Depression Cooking

We humans love to eat. Eating is a necessity and pleasure that most of us associate with fun, emotion, and social gatherings (whether it be families gathering nightly for dinner or friends gathering over lunch). When I spent two years in a foreign country, I learned a lot about the people in that country from the food they eat and the way they eat it. Its amazing what food can tell you about a culture, even a specific time period.

Think about that wonderful Ball Park Frank

Depression Cooking: I want to introduce you all to Clara. She is 93 year-old lady making YouTube cooking videos using recipes from the depression. She provides instructions on how to make super cheap and filling foods. While she cooks she tells personal stories from the depression. I really love her recipes, thoughts, and stories. I have included a video below that I really like (it's 7:46 minutes long).

Honestly, I want to try some of these meals. It seems to me that if I eat what they ate during the depression, I will get a glimpse at what my ancestors experienced during that period and maybe learn a little about them from the food. Anyway, watch her videos and give her meals a try. That lentil soup actually looks pretty darn good!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Boost that Wi-Fi - Windsurfer

So your Wi-Fi coverage sucks in your house... Sounds like a little parabolic boost is just what the Wi-Fi doctor ordered. A parabola is that thing you studied in geometry and algebra and totally forgot about because you thought it was inapplicable to real life - well now you know it is applicable. The Windsurfer is the superhero of Wi-Fi connectivity.

The way it works is you call the Windsurfer when your Wi-Fi connectivity sucks and he descends from the heavens on his surfboard made of pure wind. He then overcomes the evil Wi-Fi Weak Signal Guy (the supervillian) and raises the Windsurfer flag of triumph.
Just make sure you hide all your valuables and children from him -
He will most certainly steal and sell off your stuff to buy weed and your children will be frightened,
or worse, idealize his lifestyle and "move to a van down by the river."
I would also lock your doors real tight so he can't get in when your aren't there... Stupid hippies.

The way it really works is you go download a little template cutout (grade school style) from the internet, print it, paste it on a manilla folder, glue some tin foil on the back, assemble the parabola, and attach it to your attenna. The final product: a goofy looking Wi-Fi router that boosts your signal and makes you feel better about life.

This is a quick rundown of the process - for more detailed info and instructions see the other video:

Here is another video by the same dude (he references it in the above video) that provides a little more detail on the concept and creation of the parabolic booster.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Benchmarking - figuring out why your computer sucks...

Benchmarking is the process of testing your computer's speed at executing certain tasks, then comparing the results of the test with results of other computers similar to yours. Whats the point? The point is figuring out where your computer is deficient and how it can be improved.

For example, lets say you notice that when you are editing a photo, your system goes at a snail's pace. Besides knowing what the obvious answer to your problem is, you can also run a benchmark. This process will identify specifically what the problem is by showing you what is making your computer slow. In this case, its most likely RAM, but in other cases, it could be your graphics card, a virus, your HDD, or some other problem that is causing you some distress. Today I want to briefly touch on benchmarking your PC or Mac (I will leave the more detailed "touch" to the dudes in the video below and only if you are REALLY interested in the process) and provide you with some simple options to benchmark your machine.

For Mac: Xbench. I will start with a benchmarker for Macs. Xbench is a staightforward application that tests the following: CPU (one core), Thread (multi-core), Memory, Quartz (graphics), OpenGL (graphics), User Interface, and the HDD. It scores each individual category then averages the scores to give you an overall result. You can then submit the test and compare your results with other computers, either of the same type or other models.

Just Xbench doin' its thang.

The test I just did scored around a 70 which compares well against other machines of the same type.

If you want to see the picture better, click on it. My computer is red. On that test
my computer scored a 71 and compares pretty well against other machines of the same type.

Looking through my results, I noticed the weakest scores came from my graphics card. Really the only area where my computer was deficient was in graphics. If I had the desire and the money, I might consider improving my graphics card to get better performance out of my computer (especially if I played a lot of computer games... which I don't). This is ESPECIALLY applicable to desktop computers that are more readily upgraded than laptops.

For PC: the concept is the same as for Mac. I could do the same process for the PC but I think you get it. For FREE benchmark software, consult Roy Longbottom... the apparent expert in the area of free PC benchmark software (I just typed "free benchmark PC" into Google and it came up with Roy Longbottom and he provides an exhaustive list of free software for benchmarking PC's - thanks Roy - Great surnamea).

The following video provides more detailed insight into what benchmarking is and how it can be used to your benefit (Warning: there are some major nerds in this video, proceed with caution - oh yeah, its like 20 minutes long too, but its informative):

Yes kids, those are REAL LIFE nerds!

Monday, March 23, 2009

Go on a Picnik... Edit your photos

Sorry for the brief hiatus. Spring break wasn't actually much of a break. Anyway,I am back with fresh posts!

I really like web-based photo editors. They are not the most sophisticated photo editing applications but they are easy to use, fast, and do small jobs quite well. They are good for adding quick effects, fixing small blemishes, and a host of other small - but important - tasks. Today's site is Picnik.
wrong kind of picnic - but that would be fun too.

Picnik may be the most polished of the web-based photo editors out there. The site looks and feels very clean (very few ads) and navigating is straight forward. Here are some of the things you can do with Picnik:
  • Edit Photos: use Picnik to auto-fix, rotate, crop, resize, sharpen, reduce red-eye, and change the exposure and colors of your pictures. These are the basic photo editing tools that pretty much all photo editors do. Picnik completes these tasks with relative ease as long as your internet connection is quick.
  • Add effects: When you edit photos, there is a seperate tab that says "Create." This tools is for adding effects to a photo to make it more interesting. The most notable of the effects is the filter tool which creates a customized look for your photo based upon various preset filters. Other effects include: font, stickers, touch up, frames. Picnik will also allow you to create your own filters (although, you need to have some programming expertise to do so).
  • Save and Share: you can save up to 5 photos at a time and share your photos automatically to Facebook, Twitter, and other social networking sites and to blogs as well.
  • Create Collages: Picnik allows you to create collages of your favorite pictures, a feature missing from a lot of photo editors. Its fun to do and easy to share the collages you create.
  • Scrapbook Collages: similar to the general collages, you can also make scrapbook-like fancy collages.
My Opinion: In general, I think Picnik is a great site that has a lot of good FREE freatures. The site does have a premium service that is not free but you get a lot out of the free stuff. If you really want to pay for a premium service, you probably should just buy a good photo editing program. But as for what you get for free, I like what Picnik has to offer. The only other downside is the lack of storage space provided on the site itself (Photobucket, for example, offers a lot of free space to users). To circumvent this obstacle, simply share your photos to a Facebook album (or even photo sites like Flickr) and store them there.

Anyway, thats Picnik! Go try it!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Re-Run, Shmee-Run

Don't you hate it when you sit down to watch a new episode of the Office and its a freaking re-run? Well, if its the Office, its usually not that bad because its funny even 3 and 4 times over. But its disappointing...

What's a "rerun?"

So here is a way to check and make sure that your favorite show is giving you something new this week: RerunCheck. All you do is run a search for your favorite show and it responds very simply: yes or no and the show time. Check it out.

Now if only they would make it a Firefox add-on or desktop widget!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

DivX Player - Video Player

Some of you have, no doubt, come in contact with a little error when you try to play a video file that says that your video player requires an additional plugin (codec) to play that file. DivX is that plugin.

DivX. The theme this week is video players. DivX is another free application (not open source) that pretty much plays every video format. (There is also a paid version which goes beyond playback and will actually convert video files.) DivX is very similar to VLC player so mostly everything I say about DivX is true of VLC. Some of you have, no doubt, come in contact with a little error when you try to play a video file that says that your video player requires an additional plugin (codec) to play that file. DivX is that plugin.

Coincidentally, DivX has updated its main package very recently and now is at its 7th version. So be comforted in knowing that the video player has gone through plenty of versions and is very stable. In additional to it being a video player itself, DivX also allows other video players to play files that couldn't play them before. Specifically, DivX enables Windows Media Player and Quicktime to play .avi files and other files similar to it, including DivX's own file format: .divx.

The benefits of DivX player:
  • It's a truly all-in-one player. It plays almost every movie file out there (but, it doesn't play EVERY file like VLC does)
  • The player is stylish. When you play a movie with DivX, it dims the rest of your screen to give you the "lights off" effect. It has a pretty sleek interface and just feels like a really professional application.
  • If you use a PC, DivX is even better. The player feels a lot better than Windows Media Player and its a lot lighter on the system - takes less time to load and shut down, uses less resources
In general, DivX is just a solid video player that I would suggest to anyone that routinely watches .avi and .mpeg4 specifically. However, I stand by my earlier comment that VLC Player is the best video player. DivX is a good alternative though.

Mac/PC Download here.

Monday, March 9, 2009

VLC Player - I can't believe I haven't mentioned it before

I really can't. VLC Player is a video player that basically plays every video file out there... Quite literally. It plays files from normal mpeg 4 and AVI files to VOB files (files ripped from DVD's). It is a cross platform application - available on Mac, PC, and Linux. If you are wondering what all this means: its a program that plays movie files on your computer - not DVD's, but other files that you would normally open with Windows Media Player or Quicktime.

Best of ALL: its open source and free. Amazing.

To tell you a bit about the applications popularity, the site claimes (and even boastfully displays) that it is downloaded 2.5 times per second. In total, it has been downloaded a total of 45.5 million times.

Why I use it:
  • Its FREE
  • Its Open Source
  • It plays EVERY video file I have ever come in contact with
  • It is lightweight and easy to use. This means that it opens quickly and does not use as many system resources (RAM and Battery Life) as other media players.
  • It goes fullscreen on my TV when my laptop is connected.
  • It has a cone as its icon

The cone thing may not seem to matter, but did you see what the little devil could do?

PC download here. Mac download here. Linux download here. If links are broken here.

Anyway, I love it and I hope you will love it. Its not a flashy program but who cares right - I mean use what is best, not what seems best.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Deadspin Sports Blog

Deadspin I like ESPN as much as the next guy, but sometimes I like some sports news with a twist. I stumbled on Deadspin Sports Blog somewhere in my attempt to learn more about the recent Alex Rodriguez scandal (and everyone is jumping on that news cash wagon). Anyway, Deadspin is sports news with a twist. They add a lot of humor and cynicism to the news they report. The news is all legitimate (so its not like the Onion) but it is a more cynical look at what is happening.

A good example of Deadspin's take on sport's news is a post from today: You Win, Terrorists: Minnesota Cracks Down On Unsportsmanlike Conduct. Another favorite from today is: Even Alaska Wants Nothing to Do with T.O. These news stories are the same as what you hear all the time in the mainstream sports news. The twists make otherwise routine news a little more interesting and something to chuckle at - while learning the news.

Go check out Deadspin and maybe even add it to one of your regulars.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Why aren't you using a dock?

Yeah... Why aren't you? Unless you are a Mac user, you are probably not using a "dock" because... well... you don't have one. A dock is a very simple efficiency tool that allows you to access programs, files, and folders directly from the desktop without cluttering your space with icons. A dock is built into Mac operating systems but not Windows operating systems (actually, Dell ships computers with a dock installed - but you may not have a Dell). There are quite a few options for docks, but I will just highlight two: RocketDock and ObjectDock.

RocketDock: This program is my personal favorite. The makers of RocketDock made the program completely free. You can download it here. Watch my video tutorial below to get a feel for how the program works and ways you can use it to be more efficient.

**Note** I am new at the whole video tutorial thing. They will get better as I practice more. The benefit is that I can do posts faster by just demonstrating sometimes than going through all the steps. So, be patient with me and I hope you enjoy the videos.

ObjectDock: This program is free, but only for the basic package. ObjectDock was developed by StarDock - a company that I have featured before. The program runs really smooth and has a slightly different look than RocketDock. For more info, go here. Download here. I didn't make a video tutorial becuase I have already gone through the general features of ObjectDock in another post.