Who needs a universal remote? Actually, we do – juggling receiver, TV, Xbox 360 and Blu-ray player controllers is a pain in the ass – but if a company called Crestron has its way, universal remotes may just become a thing of the past. The company is working with consumer electronics manufacturers to roll out its newly announced “Crestron Connected” standard, which allows users to monitor and control their Creston Connected devices from anywhere in the world using a web-based interface.
You're a veteran tech geek. You build all your own systems. Your friends and family always look to you for advice when buying PC gear or gadgets. Yet there's still stuff you don't own, and don't realize you need. Now, it's true that many of you may have a couple of the items on this list. But there's likely gear here you don't have, and didn't realize you could use.
Have you always had a hankering for some home automation, but felt that the technology was either too expensive or too complicated to install? Throw that excuse out the window. Starting today, Verizon is offering a $10/mo. service (plus the cost of the installation kit) that will let you remotely change your house’s temperature, track energy usage, turn lights and appliances on and off, watch a video feed of your home, and heck, even unlock the front door if you want – all via your web-connected PC, smartphone or FiOS TV. Sigma Design’s Z-Wave technology powers the system.
I’m amazed you’re even reading this. Not because the quality of the prose is lacking in this week’s roundup of open-source and freeware applications, mind you. Rather, if you haven’t noticed by the coverage (and advertising) permeating just about every known tech site in the universe right now, Starcraft 2 just came out. It’s a miracle I’ve been able to tear myself away from defending humanity to write this but, well, my heart for free software is just too strong.
While it would be awesome to give you some kind of “Top 5 ways to get Starcraft 2 for free” article or something like that, it’s just not happening. And no, before you ask, there really aren’t any launchers or applications specifically designed for the game that can give you some kind of competitive edge or awesome third-party tie-in just yet. Wishful, if not silly thinking, no?
However, that’s not to say that applications don’t exist that could otherwise enhance your Starcraft 2 gaming experience in some capacity. Like I said, nothing’s been written specifically for the title, but there are a number of useful, free apps that you can use to otherwise bolster your gaming-life-that-just-so-happens-to-be-Blizzard’s-latest-title. I apologize for the tongue-twistedness of it all; simply put, you can use the following 5 apps to make Starcraft 2—or any game—rock just a little bit more.
In a time when just about everyone has his or her own free Web show, it only makes sense that you come to the table fully prepared to rock it... with a little help, that is. Or if you aren't the kind of multimedia, Web 2.0 junkie that I'm talking about, then you'll at least want to check out this awesome Web app the next time you have to give a presentation or otherwise impress people with your "impromptu" speaking skills.
I throw that word in quotes, because the Web app Cueprompter.com is akin to one giant cheat sheet for anything you want to type in. Input your text, select a few variables, and Cueprompter will transform your screen into a giant teleprompter--just like what you'd see as a news broadcaster. You can play and pause the scrolling text, alter the speed, and send it in reverse (or forward) to catch up to bits and pieces you might have accidentally missed (blame the assistant).