Something a bit different for you this week. We’ve given minimalism the boot and told it to ‘man up’, in favour of a wallpaper so pumped full of testosterone it’s liable to start humping your leg. Yes, it’s a Captain America wallpaper, created by someone called deaviantwatcher from some original artwork created by Sega for their Captain America: Super Soldier game. Anyway – it’s a terrific wall and you should go and get it, right now.
The biggest website on the planet obviously generates quite a few third party applications – photo-uploaders, editors, page customisers and so on. But the favoured app amongst Facebook users according to download volumes are ready-access apps. These are utilities that sit in the menubar and enable you to view posts, news and pages by just clicking on the icon on the taskbar.
Facelet is a Facebook ready-access app that combines a sleek interface and simple concise access to all the standard Facebook functions. You can post status updates and view recent news from the main window and scroll down through all entries – the interface window is such that nothing feels cramped.
Custom styling has been applied to Facebook sections such as the Friends list, Photos, Events, Notes and Places. Despite the fact that everything’s squeezed into a window just 350pixels wide, nothing feels cramped. So if you’re a regular Facebook using Mac owner, then this smart little freebie’s a no-brainer. Snag it before they realise it’s worth good money.
Here’s a cute little app that’s currently available for free in the Mac App Store. My Diary 2 is a simple application for recording your daily notes in. It’s called a Diary app, but the functionality is such that you can use it for anything that requires some form of date-based record.
The app’s split into a calendar/entry pane on the left and a text pane on the right. I say a text pane because that’s all it is – there’s no option here for dropping graphics of any kind in.
You can choose and style fonts if you want – but that’s all. The text pane also has a text sizing slider which enables you to ramp up or down the text size on the fly for easy-reading.
The calendar pane on the left shows any entries you’ve made for a particular day. You can add multiple entries for each day if you wish. You can also colour code all entries by click on the colour label icon and then filter by that colour code in the left-pane. So for instance you could have ‘work’ entries as red, and so on.
There’s a simple four digit pin-code security option in case you do wish to use this app to record your deepest, darkest thoughts. There’s also a syncing facility for the iPhone/iPad app of the same name and a built-in back-up/restore facility. All in all it’s a simple, unembelished sort of an app that does just one thing – the up-side of that is that’s both very simple and very fast.
Well now, we’ve got a superb selection of wallpapers for you today. We’ve scoured the wallpaper libraries from DeviantArt to Wallbase to find the best sunset walls available. This is not some dodgy list compiled from the most popular downloads, we’ve actually gone through all the sunset wallpapers looking for the best ones and handpicked them all. What’s more, we started out with 50 finalists and we wittled the list down to 20 that we’re happy to give the Geekosity stamp of approval. Enjoy.
Just click on any image to view its download page …
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Not only does this app have one of the strangest names ever, but it’s also a fairly ‘out there’ concept. The name can at least be explained as being a contraction of ‘Sweater, Jacket or Coat’, but the concept of this funky weather app, that’ll take a while longer to gestate. What we can tell you is that it’s a weather application that comes in App Store (free) and web application (also free) formats.
So the basic idea of this app is to distil the basic weather information down into something you can glance at quickly and know how you should be dressed before venturing outside the front door. An honourable intention for sure, but it advised this Australian to go outside in a t-shirt and slacks with a maximum temperature of 16c forecast. No offence, Swackett, but I’d freeze my bollocks off.
The actual weather data seems pretty accurate, which is pretty rare when it comes to weather forecasts and this country of Australia. Not sure where they’re getting their data from, but it’s spot on for the most part. The main panel gives you current conditions, today’s forecast, tonight’s forecast and tomorrow’s forecast in funky tabbed format. Scroll down the page and you get separate 14 hour and 7 day outlooks, along with radar and satellite images if they’re available in that area.
Swackett might be a free app, but it’s also one that features in-app advertising in the form of Google adverts. It kind of messes up the otherwise sleek lines of the application, but not to such an extent that you start dragging it towards the ever-loving arms of the trash bin.
If you’re a fan of Team Fortress games and you haven’t played Valve’s superb Team Fortress 2, then you’re missing out on some classic fun. The follow up to a game that was so popular it had European, American and Asian leagues with cash transfers of players between teams (I know, I was one of them) has recently been made available on Steam for free.
Robin Walker from Valve was quoted by Develop as saying:
It’s a belief of ours that in multiplayer games it’s generally true that the more people playing the game, the higher value the game has for each individual customer. The more players, the more available servers in your area, the wider variety of other players you’ll find, the greater the opportunity for new experiences, and so on. Another way we think of it is that there are a class of players who will never pay us a dime, for a variety of reasons. We’re not upset by that, it’s just a constraint we need to design around. The interesting problem to solve is how to make those freeloaders produce value for our paying customers. Obviously, getting those free players into the game is the first step to doing that.
1up Games, by way of Develop, report that the game will be financed henceforth by the in-game shop that enables you to buy cool new weapons, hats and other goodies. As someone who’s been playing TF2 since closed beta, I haven’t got much interest in paid upgrades, but if it keeps the game alive then I’m all for it.
Here’s a cool little application that’s perfect for inquisitive kids. The work of Chris Dennett, JellyCam is a really simple stop motion animation application that runs on cross-platform Adobe Air. It’s a tiny 3Mb download, but if your kids are anything like mine, then it’ll keep them occupied for a long time.
The idea of JellyCam is simple – it captures frames via your webcam in order to build up a stop motion animation. You can either manually capture via the spacebar or set it on a timer. Once you have sufficient frames you can view your masterpiece and save it out as a video file.
It’s an incredibly simple but really well designed little application that removes a lot of the tedium from animation and just lets you get creative. For an idea of what’s possible, check out Chris’s demo below.
Everyone has their own personal likes and dislikes when it comes to browsers, usually tempered by the add-ons available for it. Firefox went through something of a rough patch over the last couple of years with persistent memory leaks hampering not just the browser’s operation but slowing your entire PC down.
The latest Firefox release – version 5, doesn’t look very different to version 4, but there have been some substantial changes made under the hood to improve its performance. In fact it’s in exactly the area of network utilisation and memory space that the Mozilla coders are promising the most changes. So while it might not be the most exciting Firefox update so far, it certainly looks like being one of the most essential.
If you’ve got the attention span of a goldfish and therefore don’t notice the fact that your local radio station only owns a collection of 10 records, then Internet radio is probably going to be of no use to you. But for those of us who have non-mainstream tastes and/or like listening to something other than the local Flacid FM, then Internet radio is a god-send.
I’m an Internet radio junkie. This is partly because I live in Australia, a country that has just one half-decent radio station (Triple J) but which unfortunately champions rock music – which I’m not the biggest fan of. Anyway – I like listening to Internet radio – specifically the BBC, but also good chillout or dance stations. Up until recently however I had to restrict that listening to those times when I was sat in front of my PC. Not anymore though – thanks to RadioShift I can listen to all my favourite shows whenever I want.
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The best way of thinking about RadioShift is as a PVR for your Internet Radio. It can tap into the listing pages, show you the schedule for the coming day, and let you subscribe to anything that takes your fancy. So if you want to wake up to a news bulletin every day for instance, you can subscribe with a single click of the mouse. Since the partnership with TuneIn Radio (the famous iPhone app), listings are now far better and you can actually search directly for individual programs rather than just radio shows.
Like many Mac programs, RadioShift is beautifully designed and very easy to use. The main interface enables you to search or browse for stations and shows. When you find something you like the sound of, you click the subscribe button, check the details and add it your list of shows. The radio shows you record can be listened to from within RadioShift, or you can click a button to transfer them over to iTunes, where they can be transferred to your iPod in the same way that you do with podcasts.
Since installing RadioShift I’ve been enjoying all my favourite shows, on tap, in my car using my iPod. It’s great being liberated from lousy local radio stations and their identikit playlists. If you’re suffering from poor radio output in your area, give RadioShift a go.
This week’s five star wall is a beautifully understated design. It was created from this stunning photo by Thinh Nguyen. The colour palette’s a cool aqua blue that works really well on the desktop allowing for effective display of your customised desktop icons. It’s only available in 1920×1200, but other resolutions are only a Photoshop chop away.
Like all modern operating systems, OSX has an archiving utility built into it, but it’s not configurable and it doesn’t work on all archive file types. Step forward and take a bow then, TinyExpander. Released free-of-charge by MacInApps, TinyExpander will take care of pretty much all your archive extraction requirements, including 7z, RAR, TAR, XAR and 20 other archive types. It’s available in the App Store now.
In this era of home media centres and multimedia consoles, we’ve started watching our favourite television shows in a different way. Disatisfied with staggered global viewing dates and adverts every seven minutes, downloaders have embraced the torrent sites and Usenet archives to get their fill. You download the shows you like, you watch them when you like, you can view them in HD and you miss out on all the adverts messing with the show’s flow. Don’t feel bad about consuming your favourite TV shows in this fashion. If the media companies had wised up 10 years ago, they’d have found a payment model us consumers could stomach and they’d have realised we don’t like it when they butcher shows so much they turn into commercials with occasional TV show snippets in-between.
Anyway, the fact is that the torrent sites and Usenet are teeming with fresh TV show downloads. Which is all well and good, but it can be a bit of a bore having to check the websites for your latest show, in your preferred format and quality. There is another way though – it’s perfectly possible to automate 95% of the process. Your media centre can download your shows as soon as they become available and your media centre software can categorise it and make it available for your viewing pleasure. There are a couple of ways of doing this that we’re going to cover here.
RSS Feeds and BitTorrents
RSS feeds are such a useful facility. They enable you to sidestep HTML and access precisely coded text only feeds from websites. What you may not know is that most of the main torrent sites operate fully customisable RSS feeds. What this means is that you can create a custom search with as much precision as you wish and save it as an RSS feed to be used by a download program.
By way of example let’s create a custom RSS feed for a TV show. For the purposes of this article we’re going to be using the excellent BitSnoop website, but BTJunkie, Demonoid and UK Nova all have RSS enabled searches. We’re going to use the Bitsnoop Custom TV RSS Feeds page to create our feed.
Now it’s time to define our RSS feed. Just choose a show or shows in the column on the left and click ‘em over into the box on the right. Once you’ve chosen your shows, choose how many episodes to display – if you’re currently up-to-date with these shows then set it to 1 – if you need to catch up, set accordingly. And that’s the hard bit done. Now simply copy the Custom Feed URL into your clipboard.
Now obviously we need a bit of software to download these shows with. There are several options here, but I’m going to make two recommendations – Miro or uTorrent. Miro’s great because it’s a full blown media player too and you can download view your shows in the one application. uTorrent’s a nice simple torrent downloader that handles RSS feeds with ease and is far more configurable than Miro. If you’ve never done this before, try both and see which you’re most comfortable with.
If you’re using Miro, click on the ‘Sources’ tab in the sidebar and then just paste your custom RSS feed into the URL window and click the ‘Add Source’ button. Your downloads shows begin immediately – simply check the right episodes are coming down – if they’re not, click the X button to remove it.
If you’re using uTorrent, it’s every bit as easy. Start the program and click the ‘Add Feed’ button. Paste in your RSS feed and you’ll see it listed in the Feeds in the sidebar. Once it’s been added, click your feed and then click the ‘Edit Smart Feed’ button. In the options window, tick the ‘Download only one version of each episode’ box so you don’t end up with 42 versions of the same show. Now click on the Advanced tab and you can select a Quality type and an episode range if required.
RSS Feeds and Usenet
In my humble opinion, Usenet is superior in pretty much every regard to Torrents. I’m pretty sure the only reason more people don’t use it is because they aren’t aware of it. If you’re not, you can read up on it here. The main advantages from this downloader’s point of view are that a) you download at near the full speed of your connection for the duration of the download and b) there’s no ratios to worry about and no requirement to seed. In order to use Usenet you’ll need an account – I’m lucky enough to get one for free thanks to my most excellent ISP, Internode. But if you need an account your first and only stop should be Astraweb (I get a small affiliate kickback if you sign up via that link but that’s not the reason I recommend them – I recommend them because they’re the best).
So now you have your Usenet account you should aquaint yourself with two new websites – Newzbin and NZBMatrix. Think of these is Usenet aggregating sites like the big torrent sites – they don’t actually house any content, they simply offer the unifying NZB files which do the same as .torrent files and enable one-click downloads. Both those sites offer premium membership for very reasonable rates – pick the one you prefer and pay ‘em a few Bucks – personally I prefer NZBmatrix and that’s who I’ll use for this example.
Okay, so NZBmatrix offer the same RSS functionality as the torrent sites. If you go to this page you’ll see a simple form. Enter your username and NZBmatrix API key (click on My Account to find out what that is), select a category (such as TV:HD) and enter a search term in the text box – et voila – a custom Usenet RSS feed.
So we’ve generated ourselves a custom RSS feed, now all we need is some software to plug it into. The only software I recommend for this purpose is SabNZB, which is cross-platform, open source and very good. To enter your custom RSS feed into SabNZB, click on the Config button and then the RSS link in the sidebar. Give your feed a name, paste the custom RSS feed in and click the Add button. You can create as many of these as you want – I personally use one for each show I watch.
And that’s all there is to it. Once you start looking out for RSS feeds you’ll start seeing them on pretty much all the download sites. Get a couple of good RSS feeds set up and your favourite shows will download automatically as soon as they become available.
Jason Morrisey, the brains behind the popular Reddit client – Alien Blue has just revealed some details of his latest project – a Reddit Client for the Mac. Alien Blue for Mac looks like being a very cool bit of software – reminiscent of another great Mac application – Reeder.
As you can see from the screenshots, the app uses a slick split-pane layout with your subscribed reddits listed on the left. posts in the middle pane and the selected posts on the right.
Amongst the features that Jason’s promising in the forthcoming release are – read comments while viewing videos, images and articles, deep HTML5 YouTube and Vimeo integration, multiple tabs, a readability engine (let’s face it that alone is probably worth the price given how awful Reddit looks) and (innovative this one) a one-click palette for Reddit memed rage faces and the like.
HydraCoach; calculates your need for hydration (don't know if I need this but it's a nifty gadget).
This is a hybrid bike with not only exceptional performance but stunning aesthetics as well. The motor power and battery capacity is well over the industry standard and a truly futuristic look will sure attract some eyeballs around you. The Terminus is the ultimate trail-machine for the ones who appreciate the best availa
Camalien LED concept watch changes its colors depending on your surroundings - Designers Peter and Sam have come up with a concept watch they’ve dubbed the Camalien. It’s an LED watch with a sleek design that also comes with a camera built into it that will record your surroundings and will change the watch’s color accordingly. | #Design #Watches |