Once upon a time yours truly used to be a club DJ. At the height of the dance boom in the early to mid 90s I was working in the clubs in South West UK, raining down phat beats on the dance-obsessed public. In order to feed that obsession I had to buy vinyl and lots of it, which in turn meant frequenting debauched establishments known as record shops. In those shops you could pick out a load of likely looking floor-fillers and wait in turn to preview them on the shop’s Technics 1210s. Most DJs could listen to a song for a few seconds and know whether it was a keeper or not.
So then came the digital music revolution and the records shops went the way of the dinosaur and online music stores replaced them. But what about those Technics 1200s and wading through a two feet high pile of tracks searching for the next big thing? It’s this area that Boom Boy Track Reviewer aims to reclaim – it’s the 21st century equivalent of a dance record store. Utilising the SilverLight framework, it enables you to connect to the main online music stores (Juno, Beatport etc), download two minute chunks of the latest tracks in the genres of your choice and then quickly audition them, utilising a Like/Dislike button combo to educate the app’s database. The (very useable) alpha is available for free download, here.
Something cool for your desktop this week. To celebrate the latest minimalist wallpaper round-up on the site, we’ve found a very funky blissed-out split-tone aqua wall for your desktop. Airena is available in widescreen friendly 1920×1200, though given the design of the image you could crop it to any resolution. You can get it, right here.
Here’s a piping hot and brand new batch of minimalist wallpapers to adorn the coolest desktops around. We’ve curated this collection from DeviantArt, which is no mean process as many ‘Deviants’ seem to have a pretty fucked perception of what constitutes minimalism. If you like this article, plus consider ‘Liking’ or ‘+1′ing it below. Anyway – on with the show:
Here’s a great little app for enhancing the good looks of your already gorgeous customised desktop. CD Art Display will display coverart and song details for the currently playing track in AlbumPlayer, Helium Music Manager, iTunes, Winamp, Windows Media Player, foobar2000 and MediaMonkey. It includes full transparency support and so will fit in well with the rest of your Aero-enabled desktop.
CD Art Display isn’t being actively developed anymore, indeed version 2.01 (the latest version) was released in 2009. However it works well with Windows 7 and has a large library of custom skins that you can utilise. Alternatively, put the bundled skin editor to good use and create your own custom art display. You can get it here and browse the skins library here. It’s free.
CCleaner is without doubt one of the most useful Windows utilities around – its ability to clean-up digital detritus in a quick and efficient manner mean it should be a default install on all PCs. CCEnhancer aims to improve on the winning formula by adding support for over 500 new programs into the in-app database.
After a quick download from the CCEnhancer website, the new apps are imported into the database and ready for checking immediately. The developers sourced the list of applications that have been added to their database from the Piriform (CCleaner developer) Support Forums, so they’re all solid applications worthy of inclusion.
Here at Geekosity, we’re currently in the throes of winter, but we understand that most of you guys live in that other hemisphere, upstairs. And with that in mind and with nothern hemisphere schools and colleges all breaking up for the long summer break, we thought we’d tap into that cool road-trip summer vibe with this rather funky wallpaper of a VW Combi Van. You can get it, right here.
Here’s a turn-around for you. CloudApp is a simple file/link sharing service for the Mac that enables you to share images, links, music, videos and files via a very simple drag-and-drop interface. FluffyApp is a Windows client for this service that operates along similar lines.
Once you’ve installed FluffyApp you’ll see a simple cloud icon in the system tray that serves as the only interface between your stuff and the cloud. To upload anything, you just drag it onto the icon and then a shortcut to that link is copied into the clipboard ready for you to paste into an email, Skype message or whatever.
On CloudApp’s Free plan you can upload 10 files per day up to 25MB per file. There’s some paid-for plans too which enables you to upload as many files as you want as long as no one file exceed 250Mb in size. You can view your uploads at any time on the CloudApp website, where your files will be automatically categorised by type.
Electronic music has always been a butt-clenchingly contrived process. Ever since the dawn on the synthesizer, electronic music makers have had to contend with the most specialised vocabulary outside the world of penguin dentistry. The science of sound is such that endless parameters go into shaping each parameter. Electronic music making software is therefore pretty damned complicated too.
So it’s great to see the possibilities of the touch environment being brought to bear on the music software interface. TouchOSC is a modular OSC (open sound control) and MIDI control surface for iPhone / iPod Touch / iPad. It enables you to harness the power of your favourite music-making package, such as Logic Pro or Ableton. The touch interface is, it must be said, far more conducive to creative music making than twiddly on-screen knobs with the mouse and keyboard.
Currently running to version 1.63 and available in the app store, TouchOSC can utilise faders, rotary controls and the like, but it can also use your iDevice’s accelerometer for a truly creative twist. The interface editor software is available in Mac, Windows and Linux flavours on the developer’s website. If you’re a music-making, iPad-owning tech-head, check it out here.
Mozilla have released the latest version of the popular email client, Thunderbird. If you fancy making the switch to Thunderbird, you’ll be pleased to hear that it has a migration agent to ease the process, along with a mail account setup wizard that can handle IMAP, SMTP and SSL/TLS settings without much input from you, beyond the usual username and password.
Thunderbird 5 has a one-click address book which enables you to add a new contact by simply clicking on the star icon next to their name. There’s also a quick filter toolbar, fully indexed search, built-in archiving and junk mail tools and phishing protection.
As always, it’s a totally free open source download, available in the usual Windows, Linux and Mac flavours for download right now from the Mozilla website. Changes from the previous version are:
More responsive and faster to start up and use
Thunderbird is based on the new Mozilla Gecko 5 engine
New Add-ons Manager
Revised account creation wizard to improve email setup
New Troubleshooting Information page
Tabs can now be reordered and dragged to different windows
Attachment sizes now displayed along with attachments
Plugins can now be loaded in RSS feeds by default
There are several theme fixes for Windows Vista and Windows 7
Support for Mac 32/64 bit Universal builds (Thunderbird no longer supports PowerPC on Mac)
Over 390 platform fixes that improve speed, performance, stability and security
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.
It’s great to see the Windows customisation community back in full song again. I suppose that over a decade of Windows XP will blunt anyone’s enthusiasm, but Windows 7 seems to have reignited the scene. And for as long as there has been a customisation scene, there’s been Rainmeter – it’s one of those venerable apps that’s been there from day one, like Windowblinds and Winstep. It has evolved out of all recognition since the early days when it was, in fact a rain meter. Now it can pull off amazing skins like Omnimo.
Omnimo 4 is inspired by Windows Phone 7′s cool angular colour blocks interface. It’s a multifunctional interactive desktop information center which runs on top of Rainmeter. It utilises a huge number of custom tiles to provide various information/settings at a glance, right on the desktop. Moreover, this is a skin that was designed to be customised itself – every single tile can be tweaked, modified or positioned according to your requirements. It bears more than a passing resemblance to the early builds of Windows 8 that Microsoft demoed recently.
Out of the box, Omnimo 4 looks sensational, but don’t stick with the default layout. You can either click on the settings icon and add your own tiles or download some new, highly specific ones, from the add-ons library. If you’re into desktop customisation and you haven’t taken this suite for a spin yet, you’re missing out on something truly amazing. If you want to supply feedback, be sure to favourite and comment on the DeviantArt entry.
Though the roots of HDR (high dynamic range) photography go back well over a hundred years, the modern digital form of HDR that we’re all more familiar with was created by Steve Man at M.I.T. but brought to public attention by Paul Debevec in 1997. It has gone from being a very complicated process, to something anyone can accomplish with even the most meagre of images. Recently however, HDR’s been getting a bad name for itself. Photographers who don’t have a clue, release wildly over-saturated, over-lit disasters and give what is an incredibly interesting form of photography a bad name. Even then, it wasn’t until Apple incorporated an HDR mode into the iPhone 4 that the technique finally received mass market exposure.
The software tools to create HDR images from single RAW files or multiple exposures have been gradually improving. Applications such as Photomatix Pro, which can hook directly into Lightroom, have taken HDR back to the pro-sumer enthusiasts market and the HDR fight-back began. The latest cool tool in an HDR photographer’s toolkit is Oloneo PhotoEngine – a relighting and real-time High Dynamic Range (HDR) re-exposure application. It incorporates one particularly innovative feature, that blew us away.
HDR Relight enables you to use merged RAWs or JPEGs to control in real-time the settings of each individual light source after the photos are taken. If you begin editing and decide that the light from a particular lamp is too harsh or you’d like to warm it up slightly, you can use Relight to tweak just that one single light source. It’s a pretty amazing facility and one that I suspect photographers and image editors will be drooling to get their hands on.
However as cool as Relight is, it’s not PhotoEngine’s only claim to fame. On other HDR apps, the process goes like this: 1) import your image(s), 2) choose the settings you think will work best, 3) Render, 4) Tweak settings, 5) Re-render .. etc etc. In PhotoEngine, once you’ve imported your images, you can balance the various HDR settings in realtime. This will enable a level of experimentation that simply wasn’t practical before. To see what’s possible, check out the YouTube clip below.
The software’s available for purchase now, on Windows only unfortunately, though the developers reckon that it runs well on Parallels for Mac.
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 |