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.
Let’s face it – XP is a messy operating system. It’s a bit like a young kid with a lot of toys and a large bedroom. It leaves stuff lying around all over the place, it rarely puts things back where they belong and it isn’t very good at tidying up after itself. XP leaves the digital equivalent of socks and lego all over your hard drive and all that digital detritus slows down your PC and makes it more likely that something will break on your operating system.
Well – if XP’s a messy child, then CCleaner is like its super-efficient mum. It will check your hard drive, search every nook and cranny for crud and then clean it all away with a click of the mouse. It’s one of those brilliant little programs that does one job exceedingly well. If you’re looking to speed up your system or clean up a little hard drive space then CCleaner is the first place you should start.
So what does it tidy up? It’s first line of attack is Internet Explorer. Microsoft’s web browsers leaves behind a mountain of useless crap – from old cached files to cookies you don’t even need. It then goes after the Explorer, cleaning out the clipboard, temporary files and even the run history. Finally it searches for things like the CHKDSK fragments left behind when XP’s done repairing your hard drive. And when it’s finished looking, you can click one button to flush all that crud down the digital pan.
The registry comes in for a similar deep-cleansing. Having analysed your registry for long-deleted applications and other remnants, it will offer to back up your changes before it deletes them (always a good idea). Then your registry is flushed and your computer can boot up and operate that little bit quicker. CCleaner is worthy of being a permanent fixture in the Utilities section of any Windows user’s start menu.
I think that there’s an on-going issue in the wonderful world of software. People are using programs that are far too complicated for their needs. Part of this has been brought on by rampant piracy of programs such as Photoshop, but it’s not the whole picture. Creating a back-up of a hard drive is a case in point. Many people use Norton Ghost or Acronis True Image which have, over successive ‘upgrades’ turned into bloated monsters, when the reality is that an application like DriveImage XML is probably far better suited to their needs.
There are two kinds of drive backup. First, there’s the spur-of-the-moment type when you’re reinstalling your operating system, or the drive’s making funny noises, or you suddenly realise that it’s over 18 months since you backed up. Second there’s the scheduled type when your data is backed up diligently every day or week to a reliable external drive. The problem is most of us are still spur-of-the-moment backer-uppers, due in part to the over-complicated design of drive cloning tools like Ghost.
First things first – DriveImageXML is free to home users. Because it’s free, Runtime Software who produced the program will not support it. But that’s no biggy, because DriveImage is simplicity itself. To back-up your software, you simply choose the source drive, then the destination for the backup files and set it going. Restoring is similarly easy, just browse to the location of the backup and hit the Restore button. And if you only want to retrieve certain files or folders from your backup? No problem – just browse the backup archive, select the files you wish to restore and browse to where you want them saved. If you want to complete a full clone from backup to a new drive, then the Drive-to-Drive option is all you’ll need. About the only thing that DriveImage doesn’t do, that Ghost does – is incremental backups. And it does all this for absolutely no wonga at all – whereas Ghost costs $70.
Don’t let DriveImage’s simple interface fool you – underneath the surface is a very powerful tool. For instance, DriveImage utilises Volume Shadow Services which means that you can clone a drive even if you’re sat there using it at the time. Moreover the XML design of the program makes it far more flexible than something like Ghost, because it doesn’t use a proprietary file format. And if you want to make use of regular scheduled back-ups, then you can use the Task Scheduler to get things up and running.
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.
Mac owners have long been able to use the System Profiler to gain a technical overview of their computers. Speccy, from the guys at Piriform (makers of the excellent CCleaner, Defraggler and Recuva) has just been updated and offers similar capabilities for Windows users.
Speccy details exactly what’s lurking inside that PC case of yours. Most people have only a vague understanding of the components in their PCs, which makes ordering new memory, upgrading a graphics card or replacing a hard drive a much trickier job. Speccy details all this information in a cool and concise interface and now, when the man at the computer store asks you what sort of memory you need, you can reply with confidence and get the parts you need.
One of the biggest issues on Windows media centres has always been around the playback of exotic filetypes. Packs such as the K-Lite suite were a blessing in this regard because they packaged up all the codecs and the players required to use them and offered a one-stop download.
This latest edition includes updates to Media Player Classic Home Cinema, updated ffdshow and updated Xvid amongst many other changes. If you have K-Lite installed already you should update and if you don’t have K-Lite installed, get it here.
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.
There are loads of cheat-sheet style wallpapers out there, but the vast majority of them are either horrible to look at, or so specialised that they hold little interest for most people. For the purposes of this round-up we’ve tracked down six wallpapers that look great on the desktop and include useful facts or information.
So You Need a TypeFace
Anyone who’s ever struggled to find the right typeface will appreciate this functional
and useful wallpaper which will guide you through the whole process. Get it
Another reference sheet for designers. This wallpaper manages to combine a very cool
design with useful advice. Get it
Colourful and informative at the same time. If you’ve ever had one of those ‘where the
hell is Kruminjistan anyway …’ moments, this is the wall for you. Get it
An absolute design classic, the original London Underground map looks great
on your desktop whether you live in in ‘the smoke’ or not. Get it
The Anatomy of Type
Great cheat-sheet this one – it breaks down all the elements that go into making and
using a font. Get it
Elements of Design
The absolute basic building blocks of design are explained clearly and concisely
in this useful and attractive wallpaper. Get it
Not so long ago you had very few options when it came to screen grabs on Windows and most of those were rubbish. When I was reviewed software for PC magazines I usually plumped for something old school like Paintshop Pro. However things have changed and, perhaps spurred on by the veritable glut of such utilities available on the Mac platform, there are now some terrific and free options. For the purposes of this article I’m going to look at two of the best screen grab tools – Screenpresso and Greenshot. Both programs enable you to perform sophisticated screen grabs that capture precisely the area of the desktop you require.
Screenpresso comes in free and ‘pro’ versions. The differences between the two mainly pertain to the uploading of screenshots or screen videos to online services like YouTube. You can still upload to these sites, but the software will brand your video – upgrade to Pro to remove them. Hitting the Print key (or PrtScrn depending on your keyboard) brings up Screenpresso’s crosshairs – you can either click once to screenshot just an active window or hold down the mouse button and drag the crosshairs out to grab just a specific region. An on-screen loupe enables you to precisely line up your screen grabs. Images captured are then immediately placed in the application’s library and can be saved out in a variety of formats (including alpha enabled PNG and PDF), copied to the clipboard, printed, renamed or uploaded to all the main library sites (Flickr, Imgur, YouTube etc) or alternatively to Twitter, Facebook or Evernote. It’s all very comprehensive and means you can use just one application to grab, edit and upload your images.
The editor in Screenpresso is a minimalist but very effective effort. You can speech bubbles and arrows to annotate the image or highlight areas in dayglo green. If you’re taking grabs of password entry screens or simply wish to obscure something you can use a simple blur tool to disguise them. In the Image tab of the screen editor you can crop or resize the image, modify the canvas size or apply some tasteful effects such as reflections and torn edges.
Unlike Screenpresso, Greenshot is an open source application created and maintained by enthusiast coders. As anyone who’s a Linux distro will know that isn’t a bad thing either. What it does mean is that this will always be free and there won’t be any special pro editions. It performs the same functions as Screenpresso but, it must be said, it’s considerably less polished. It can grab selections, windows or full screens using the usual hotkeys. As soon as you’ve taken a screenshot, the image is shown in the application’s own editing window. From there you can either modify it or save it.
The image editor in Greenshot is far less capable than Screenpresso’s. Yes it does all the same basic things such as blurs, arrows and text boxes, but it’s much clunkier and the end results look a bit rough. The editor also lacks the upload capabilities of Screenpresso, so once you have your annotated image ready to go you’ll have to save it somewhere and upload it manually. While it’s not something we were concerning ourselves with for the nature of this review it is worth adding that Screenpresso also has some advanced screen movie capture capabilities that Greenshot lacks.
I first wrote this guide over at my personal blog. It got picked up by Lifehacker and is in the Stumbleupon archives, so it still gets a fair bit of traffic. I’d been threatening to update it for some time and, with the new Geekosity site I figured that now was the time to do it. So if you arrived here afresh or were redirected from my blog, welcome.
When this guide was first produced four years ago, there were far fewer opportunities for the homesick expat or traveller to view TV from home. Since then, as broadband speeds have grown ever more capacious, so have the options. Enterprising companies have started branding themselves directly in order to attract these customers and existing suppliers have produced special products. All that being said, the general thrust of this article hasn’t changed. The bottom line is that if you want to watch TV from another country, it’s far more convenient to simply download it and watch it later than it is to attempt to view either live or via a specialist country-specific player application such as iPlayer or Hulu.
Authors note: I live in Australia and my principle interest is in viewing UK television and the better American output, however many of the topics discussed below apply equally whether you’ve living in Perth or Panama.
Update: 12/10/11 – If you’re looking for a quick and simple automated TV show downloader, check out this tutorial I just added to the site. Update: 23/04/12 – Check out this iPhone/iPad app that lets you watch UK TV channels live!
Before you dismiss your new country’s televisual offerings out-of-hand, have a good look at the schedules. Depending on where you are you’ll probably find a great deal of UK and American TV. Here in Australia the national broadcaster (ABC) is virtually a British TV channel on some nights of the week. Moreover the national 24 hour news channel (again, ABC) broadcast an hour of news from the BBC in the small hours of the morning. Invest in a decent media centre or a satellite PVR (either Foxtel IQ or MyStar here in Oz) and you can record these programmes broadcast at exotic times of the night.
Satellite broadcasters weren’t slow to capitalise on the foreign visitors market. On Australian satellite TV there are numerous UK channels, such as UKTV, Lifestyle and BBC Knowledge – I’m sure the situation’s similar in the USA. In fact there’s so much ‘homegrown’ telly on the satellite here that you may well find you don’t need to go any further afield to satisfy your cravings. What may force your hand is the age of the programmes being broadcast, soap operas broadcast on satellite here are famously behind the UK.
Far and away the cheapest and easiest way of getting your fix of British TV is to download it. Yes it’s illegal and yes everyone’s doing it – but if you’re the nervous type I’d still stick to satellite TV.
Downloading Shows via Torrrent
Without doubt, the best way of infesting your PC with spyware and viruses, is to download bent software, movies or music. But then you probably already knew that, right? It’s a bit like smoking – many of us are prepared to take the risk. Unlike smoking, however, you can cut down on your chances of contracting something undesirable by staying away from the dodgier download sites. Get a decent antivirus and antispyware package on your PC and instead get your pirated TV shows and movies from torrent sites.
To download you need a torrent program such as uTorrent on the PC or Transmission on the Mac. Install them. Nurture them. Love them. Here endeth the ‘which downloader program is best’ section.
In order to watch your shows once they’ve downloaded, you’ll need a decent media player of some sort. The one I’d recommend is VLC Media Player which is cross platform. Alternatively, combine your torrent downloading with a very capable viewer and use Miro. If you have a media centre then get XBMC if you’re on a PC or Plex if you’re on a Mac.
The days of having to burn your downloaded shows onto DVD are well and truly at an end. With the massive variety of purely digital playback formats available these days, it’s hardly worth bothering mentioning it. However – if you’ve burning shows or movies for a friend who only has access to a DVD player, then you have a couple of options. If you the DVD player in question can playback DivX and/or Xvid files (and it’ll probably say on the front of the player if it can) then you just just burn the files to disc as if it was ordinary data and they’ll playback fine. If your DVD player does not support DivX or Xvid then you’ll have to convert the downloaded files into full DVD format for which you’ll need something like ConvertXtoDVD.
On the torrent sites, you’re generally supposed to share as much as you download – so if you’ve downloaded at 500Mb TV show, you’re supposed to let uTorrent upload 500Mb too. However. It’s only the sites you have to register for (such as TheBox) that you have to care about that for. If you download from Pirate Bay you can stop the file uploading as soon as you’ve finished its download. It’s called doing a hit and run and it’s not the done thing to do, but fuck it.
Once a file’s finished downloading (and if you’ve uploaded as much as you want to in order to keep your ratio high at sites like The Box), you can click on its name in the main uTorrent window and hit the delete key to remove it. This will not delete the actual TV show or whatever, just the torrent details from within uTorrent. As long as a file remains in that main uTorrent window it will continue ‘seeding’. If you let it, uTorrent will use *all* your upstream bandwidth, which can make things very slow for web browsing and the like – so you can either limit it, or just leave it going overnight (which is what I do). If you want to limit the upload speed, so you can browse the web etc without slow-downs, open uTorrent and go to Options > Preferences > Connection … and in the bottom right where it says ‘Global maximum upload rate’ set it to 10. This won’t harm the speed things download at – just the amount of upstream bandwidth you donate to sharing the files.
There are zillions of torrent sites, but just two are exclusively devoted to all things UK – they being UK Nova (the original British TV torrent site) and The Box (the new kid on the block). For more general TV downloads I can recommend Pirate Bay and Demonoid.
Now the thing to bear in mind with sites like UK Nova and The Box is that the people that run them have a rather inflated sense of their self worth. They seem to have forgotten the fact that they’re helping to peddle pirated copyrighted media and instead think they’re great big throbbing cocks of love. The truth is halfway between the two. Anyway – the specialist torrent sites take things very personally when you simply download what you want as quickly as possible and then stop. It’s also pretty difficult to register on either of the aforementioned sites and so you’d be spiteing yourself if you didn’t share as much as you snag. Personally I find all that ‘upload as much you download’ business so draining that I go out of my way to download anywhere but UK Nova and The Box.
Direct from the Source
As you may or may not be aware, the BBC, ITV and Channel 4 have made many of their programmes available online. They’ve all followed pretty much the same model – some things are available for just 7 days after they air on TV – others can be downloaded whenever. They usually come equipped with nasty DRM (digital rights management) that means that a) you can’t watch them anywhere but blighty and b) seven days after you’ve watched them, they self-destruct like a cheesy Mission Improbable prop.
To make matters worse, the BBC (in particular) employ some very effective geographical IP scanning, which means that unless you are physically located in the UK at the time of download – you can’t watch nuffink. Guv.
VPN Tunnels are a good way of getting round geographical IP checks. There are numerous companies offering there services in this market and as more and more broadcasters have begun locking down their feeds to other countries, they’ve also started marketing themselves as a specific solution to the geo-IP lock-out. The VPN Tunnel creates a direct secure connection between your computer and the server operated by the VPN company. Once you’ve connected, your IP address will cease to be Australian (or American or whatever) and become a UK/US one. When you want to watch or download something from iPlayer or Hulu, you just connect the VPN tunnel and start downloading. It really is that simple.
You can find the BBC’s iPlayer here, ITV Catchup here and Channel 4 on Demand, here. Fill your boots.
Some people have had success using a proxy based software/subscription service called HideMyIP. The software costs $29.95 and then you’ll need to pay $7 a month for the premium subscription service to get yourself a useable UK based IP. If anyone’s actually used this service and can both stream and download from BBC iPlayer – please let me know.
The current favourite amongst homesick telly addicts, however, is Expat Shield. This uses a simple proxy to fool the foreign servers into thinking you’re in Birmingham and not Barcellona. Even more amazingly, Expat Shield is completely free. The only problem I have with it is that whenever I’ve tried to use it, it’s been chronically slow. However I know plenty of people who swear by it – so give it a go – you’ve got nothing to lose. Oh and unfortunately, it’s Windows only at this time.
I recently stumbled upon a new cool (and free) VPN service that worked really for me. It’s called TunnelBear and comes in both Windows and Mac flavours. For free you get 500Mb of bandwidth to play with, which is useful for testing the service out. If you decide it’s working really well for you then the full service is a very reasonable $4.99 a month. We had really good results with this VPN watching BBC iPlayer from Australia – and if that works well (given the 12,000 miles between me and the server) you can be pretty sure that everything else will.
I recently gave Unblock-us.com a roadtest, using the company’s 7 day trial period to view BBC iPlayer in the UK and Hulu in the states. While Hulu playback was fine from here in Australia, the iPlayer wasn’t – it buffered endlessly and after bumping the video quality down to dialup grade, it ground to a halt. Your mileage may well vary depending on where on the planet you are and what size pipe your modem’s plugged into.
I’m used to be a paid subscriber at Strong who are the biggest of the VPN companies and while their service is not without its faults, it works okay. I never got terrific results streaming from the UK to Australia, but US feeds were, for the most part, fine. The main issue I had with Strong is that switching servers is a pain in the arse. On other VPN services I’ve used, you simply set up a couple of concurrent VPN accounts and join the one that’s appropriate to your viewing requirements. However if I set up a UK based VPN on Strong and then want to change to an American server to watch Hulu, I have to log into their control panel, select a new server and then enter a new username and password. It’s a silly setup, but since I hardly bother with Hulu these days, I just leave my UK connection active.
Current VPN Recommendation
This is the BBC iPlayer app running on an iPad using UnoDNS service to bypass the Beeb's region-blocking.
The service that I currently use is called UnoTelly. I reviewed their service here and have found their solution to watching region-blocked TV to be far and away the best I’ve used. UnoTelly’s UnoDNS service gets round a couple of major problems quite neatly. Firstly, it’s easy to setup and requires no extra software. Secondly you can set it up on your modem/router and all the attached computers, smartphones, media centres and TVs on your local wi-fi will have access to the service. Thirdly, the same service affords access to UK and American region blocks with no changes required. Fourthly and most importantly, it totally rocks – I can stream BBC iPlayer live and in high resolution from the UK to Australia and that’s something that no other service I’ve used has ever managed.
If you want full hi-def quality with AC3 5.1 surround sound then your best option is to sign up to one of the better Newsgroup providers (like Astraweb) and download your shows automatically in 1080p. If you use a server based download application like SabNZB and get an account at nzbmatrix.com or newzbin.com then you can set up simple search expressions to download your shows as soon as they become available.
Kicking off the first of what will be a regular weekly update, we’ll be picking out one wallpaper from the wider Internet and awarding it five star status. I’m sad to say that I don’t know who the creator of this image was, or whether it was an amateur designer or an ice cream company behind it. What I do know is that it’s a superb colourful desktop wall that can and will brighten up your day. Click below to download from Wallbase.
Looking for some replacement desktop candy for your workhorse application suites? Well step this way, Sir or Madam. We’ve hunted high and low for some cool icons for the Adobe CS5 suite and for the latest Microsoft Suites. All packs are cross platform, just use your favourite icon replacement software (we namecheck a couple at the bottom of the article) and spruce up your desktop. You can use these to replace desktop icons or in your system dock, or both.
There are a couple of excellent icon management applications available for the Mac and for Windows. Candybar for OSX is a pricey but comprehensive application, while LiteIcon is a simple and free icon swapper or you can rock it old school. On Windows there’s the venerable Iconpackager or IconTweaker. Have fun.
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 |