Google music streaming service, Gmail improvements, and Galaxy S4 becomes next Nexus phone?
If you weren't one of the 6 million people who tuned in to YouTube to watch the Google I/O 2013 keynote on Wednesday, don't sweat it, you've come to the right place for an extensive recap of all the big announcements. Some of it you may have already read about here on Maximum PC, such as Google partnering with Samsung to offer a totally clean version of the Galaxy S4 complete with an unlocked bootloader or the introduction of an All Access music service, but we also have some new stuff to share.
Trying to track down a list of “five game mods you must download right now” is a lot like trying to choose your five top games of all time. Sure, your list might be impressive—maybe even awesome—but you’re still going to get a heap of contenders sobbing in the corner at your refusal to acknowledge their almost-noteworthy existences. And nobody likes bawling boxed titles.
So let that be a warning to you, fun-loving gamer who continues to read this article. I’m covering freeware game modifications this time around—freeware, obviously, because I doubt your average enthusiast is going to risk the wrath of a developer’s fury because he or she is selling blood, sweat, and tears in the form of a $5 game add-on. As well, I’m not just looking at maps, or other whip-dip little tweaks. I’m talking about huge transformations that range from, “making this game playable in the modern era” to “wow, I want to go back and revisit this title because it is now sweet.”
I’m paraphrasing, of course. But you get the idea.
But as I mentioned, narrowing down to a list of five is near-impossible. So if you don’t have an affinity for the Infinity Engine (including Baldur’s Gate and Planescape: Torment), Sins of a Solar Empire, Fallout 3, TIE Fighter/X-Wing Alliance, or Half-Life 2… you might want to sit this one out. Otherwise, let’s get real.
The Belkin Play Max’s claim to fame was a fat set of hardware features and a generous collection of apps that ran not on the router but on client PCs connected to the router. In relaunching the Play Max as the Play N600 HD, Belkin has kept all the hardware features but axed three of the apps (the music library tool Daily DJ, the backup utility Memory Safe, and the MP3 tagger Music Labeler).
No big loss, as far as we’re concerned; we’re far more interested in the hardware. Like its predecessor, the Play N600 HD features two wireless radios, so you can operate distinct networks on the 2.4- and 5GHz bands, plus a second guest network (on the 2.4GHz band only) that provides Internet access while isolating visitors from your LAN. You’ll also find two USB ports, so you can share both a mass storage device and a printer across your network (but not with clients on the guest network).
I don't get super-excited over new Web apps very often--not unless said application has the words, "World," "Warcraft," or "Apple" in the title (I kid; I kid). But a new find on my Web App radar has had me rocking out all weekend long. Literally, rocking out, as said app is an awesome tool for finding new music to jam to.
I'll steer this one off at the pass: No, the Web app is not Pandora. However, it does borrow from Pandora's general setup in that it attempts to create an online playlist of songs for you to rock out to based on a common theme or classification. In this case, you don't start out with a favorite band as the first breadcrumb in your trail of match-ups. Instead, the Web app Stereomood does as its name suggests--you pick from a whopping list of emotions and, upon doing so, the service matches you up with a ton of music to listen to based on your selection.
Unless you have some super-fancy configuration set up, odds are good that you--like most--default to Windows Media Player as your multimedia software of choice for playing just about anything that comes across your system. There's no shame in that. While a number of freeware tools support more codecs and/or file formats, and come bundled with other fun features and extensive customizations, it's alright to admit that you use Windows' built-in tool for the job.
In fact, you might very well have found yourself quite fond of your operating system's default media player. That's alright too. I'm not about to show or suggest third-party tools that might add confusion to your routine. Instead, you might want to check out a little chunk of software called Windows Media Player Plus! This app--really, a series of plugins--isn't a replacement for Windows Media Player. It simply builds free enhancements into Windows Media Player to give you even more options to tinker with and features to enjoy.
Sometimes, a particular application comes along that is just so groundbreaking, so interesting, so... kick ass... that it deserves its own special mention in a separate, "you must download this app right now" kind of article. While I write a number of these such stories-weekly updates of interesting little programs you might want to check out if you have a spare moment-rarely do I so vehemently demand that you grab an application and download it. Immediately.\
Instant Elevator Music is that kind of an application.
Why bookmark when you can Huff-duff? Excellent point. Now, what the heck is a Huff-duff? Actually, "huffduffer" is both a verb and a Web service, a word that's derived from a technology you can use to triangulate the location of radio transmissions from any given point. Huffduffer, the offshoot of "huff-duff," allows you to perform a similar-but-not-really kind of triangulation for online audio files.
Rather than helping you search for new music, podcasts, or sounds, Huffduffer is instead a platform that allows you to add these sounds into an ever-growing list that--surprise--is actually a podcast of its very own. That's a super-long way to describe what Huffduffer does, but I'm a bit apprehensive to suggest that the Web app allows you to build your own podcasts. It does, technically, but it's not as if you suddenly have a centralized service for recording, editing, tagging, and launching a radio show of your very own.
No, Huffduffer merely aggregates files you've already found on the Web into a podcast of your very own. But that's a useful feature for a number of reasons.
A thousand pardons! I got so caught up in various bits and pieces of the weekend that I completely forgot to grace Maximum PC with a Web App of the Week for last week! It's a real shame too, as I was totally proud of (and wasted a lot of time playing with) last week's big selection.
I won't put off the details any more than necessary with my usual rambling introductions. The app's called Codeorgan and, like the name implies, it's an excellent fusion of raw geek Web construction with music--truly, my two passions.
So what is Codeorgan? You'll find out pretty quickly as soon as you hit up the main Web site. In short, the Web app uses a fairly complicated algorithm to scan the behind-the-scenes HTML content of any given Web page. It then takes this information and automatically crafts up a little synthpop-style piece of music that's somehow related to the coded mumbo-jumbo. Your results will vary (extremely). However, the beauty of the app isn't necessarily for the music it creates. Rather, it's just a great example of how data in one construct--Web creation--can be parsed out to a completely different form and function--music--with a touch of engineering prowess.
That, and Codeorgan will waste two to three hours of your day as you frantically leap about the Web trying to find the coolest automatic construction of a song that you can lay your hands on. I had great results with CNN one day, yet found the song lacking as the news updated throughout the next few hours. If you find a relatively static site that delivers a rocking beat, do be sure to leave it in the comments!
How many YouTube videos do you watch on a daily basis? Worse, how many YouTube videos do you send to your friends on a daily basis? If the answer is anywhere near "one or more," and I bet it is, then I've found the perfect Web app for you. Because one of the tough things about forwarding along a funny YouTube video is that you're forced to watch said person enjoy the experience at their leisure. You can't force them to click play, nor can you really appreciate their laughter and enjoyment as it happens in real-time: You don't know how far along they are in the video, after all.
To address this grave concern, some enterprising folk have come up with a Web App that's one part chat-room, two-parts edit bay. It's called Synchtube, and I bet you can guess exactly what it does by the name alone. Don't let that dissuade you from clicking the jump, however. I'll explore Synchtube's many (two) features and tell you exactly why this little Web app is the future of multi-person video viewing and hilarity preservation.