Alright, cheap geeks. It’s tough to want to put out even $0.99 for the latest single on iTunes (or wherever), and don’t even get me started about the annoyance that occurs when you find some slammin’ new track on Youtube, only to realize that you can’t rock out to it in your car because… it’s… on… Youtube.
Youtube is like the poor man’s free music library – just go scan for any music video and voila! It’s an instant way to dial up your favorite songs without having to pay for the track. However, this isn’t really the kind of solution that you can take with you.
For starters, pulling up Youtube video after Youtube video on your phone in a vain attempt to rock out sans cash investment will make you look like the biggest cheapskate alive. It’ll also drain your battery. And, here’s the kicker, it won’t work anywhere that’s lacking in wireless coverage. Or, to put it another way, there’s no reason why you should be trying to transform Youtube videos into your song library.
The Black Hat security conference attracts the creme de la creme of the security industry. This year the organizers even offered a paid live stream for those unable to make the trip to Vegas. Called Black Hat Uplink, the service carried a $395 price tag. But as security expert Michael Coates found out, the price could be waived entirely, thanks to “a combination of logic flaws and misconfigured systems which provided access to a testing login page that could be used with user credentials that were not fully "registered" (e.g. no payment received). “
Coates, who oversees web security at Mozilla, wrote on his blog that he was unable to attend this year's event and so decided to closely monitor it online. “In this process I noticed the new "Black Hat Uplink" service that would allow remote individuals access to streaming Black Hat talks from two select tracks,” he wrote.
“I identified a series of flaws that would enable the creation of an account with only providing an email address (e.g. no name, address, phone etc) and I was never asked to enter any credit card data. Odd I thought, perhaps you enter the credit card info upon your first login.” Upon completing the registration, he was faced with a slight problem: he didn't have a registration email do direct him to the login page.
“A few select Google searches and I ended up on a relatively vanilla looking login page. I have a username and a key, let's give it a shot. To my surprise the login was accepted and I was now sitting in front of the live Black Hat video stream.”
He wasted little time in contacting the event's organizers, holding off the public disclosure until they had fixed the flaw. He also revealed that Black Hat used a third-party solution for the video feed. Can't see them using the same vendor for the next event, though.
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.
Soccer madness is upon us. If you're a true geek, you're watching game, after game, after game of this year's World Cup from the privacy of your personal computer. It's not that hard to find an online stream of any of the games in this year's tournament, and it's the perfect way to combine your love of the foot-ball and your need to actually get work done during the day. Can't lug a television into your cubicle, after all-right?
Anywho, two Firefox add-ons come to mind when I dream of soccer balls, 90+ minute feats of endurance, and that annoying horn sound buzzing in the background of every single match I watch. One of these add-ons is pure entertainment--it does nothing to enhance your Firefox experience beyond expressing your pride for a particular World Cup team in a grand, digital popularity contest. The other, however, is the add-on for up-to-the-minute World Cup scores... and more!
As I mentioned in my previous Firefox Add-on of the Week, it's World Cup time here in the ol', er, world. And just as there's a handy add-on or two for those interesting in keeping up with the latest scores and information via their Mozilla-based browser, so is there an equivalent way to stay on top of the World Cup through Google Chrome.
Just like before, I'm going to take a quick look at two different extensions for the browser. Unlike my choices for Firefox, however, there aren't any prettied-up or theme-changing elements to go around this time. It's nothing but pure soccer in this week's batch of extensions--whether you want to watch stats or watch the games directly, you're covered.
Listening to the Maximum PC podcast #131 this past week (I'm behind) brought back some fond memories. Not only was there a little glint in my eye because I was actually mentioned on said podcast, but I was also tearing up a bit at the realization that the very art of podcasting could serve as an excellent Freeware Files roundup.
Thus, here we are! Podcasting is a huge topic in itself, so I'm trying to bridge a bunch of different worlds in this week's list of awesome applications. Just interested in listening to podcasts? Don't worry--I've got you covered. Looking to make a Maximum PC (or Freeware Files) fan podcast of your own? You'll find a fun trick or two within the bits and bytes of this week's post. Tired of all the same-ol', same-ol' podcasting programs that you read about on all the other tech sites (like iTunes, cough cough?) Well, I'll do my best to surprise you with a new app or two!
Even if, like me, you think that 99-percent of all podcasts are lame and not really worth your time, you can also use some of the enclosed apps and utilities to exert some editing influence over existing audio files. As well, you'll even find an awesome player for video and music files that even comes with a built-in Bittorrent download capability.
As always, slap on your favorite pair of headphones and click the jump--it's podcasting time!
I don't care what you use BitTorrent for. I don't even want to know. What you download is your own business. That said, don't even think about coming in the comments with a "omg check out this awesome freeware Pirate Bay scanning app it helped me download all the copies of My Little Pony in like no time whatsoever." Not cool.
Now that the semi-useful disclaimer is out of the way, let's get down to business. There's no denying that BitTorrent is a powerful tool for downloading (legal) files of all kinds. It can run faster than a straight one-to-one transfer from a Web site and, more importantly, it allows you to preserve files online when you would otherwise have no direct way to host them.
That sounds a little weird, so hear me out: Suppose you have an awesome recording of you playing piano in eight grade and you want everyone to hear it, only you don't really have access to a direct host for these files. Nor do you want your files to be dependent on a Web host that could theoretically go down at any time. No worries--just find a place to stash a .torrent link to your information and let everyone connect (and subsequently share) your information with the world. Your files will live in perpetuity provided others are as willing to share your data as you.
Got it? Good. Now click the jump and check out five different ways to take your downloading to the next level... with a particular emphasis on one of the best BitTorrent clients around, uTorrent!
Sometimes, you have a whole 'lotta people you need to chat with at once. And more often than not, you are all spread across ten different social networks, messaging programs, time zones, and lifestyles. Getting you all together in a single room would destroy your Skype client, not to mention your sanity--wrangling these people up is going to be a lot more complicated of a process than you bargained for.
Or is it?
The Web app Tinychat couldn't make the process of setting up Web-wide chat rooms any easier. You don't need a login; you don't even need customized software. As long as your browser supports Flash, you have scored yourself a ticket to a chat application that not only functions as a text-based room, but as a full-fledge Web cam and microphone gateway for telecommunications as well.
Are you ready to rock? Because you'll be doing a lot of head-banging and dancing around once you've transformed every computer in your living area into a collective speaker system. Perhaps the better question remains unasked: Why would you do this? Because you can. Because you want to. Because it reverses the issue of having to connect to or stream from a central music repository (like an iTunes database) and instead allows you to push tunes out of a single music hub to anywhere you want to them to go.
Also, you want to do this because the app that makes this cacophonous symphony possible--SpeakerShare--is super-easy to use and well worth the small time investment you'll make. For the full details on this virtual conductor, check out the rest of the article after the jump.
So here's the deal. You have a ton of extra storage sitting around your house/apartment/basement. That's great. So what's the problem? It's just sitting there, doing you absolutely no good. You've maxed out the SATA ports on your desktop rig, but would love for a way to make use of your hard drives in some manner that's geekier than a doorstop, a height extension for your coffee table, or a crude weapon.
Have you thought about building your own server?
Woah, woah. Don't skip over this article just yet. It sounds complicated, but crafting up your own personal server for your files (and multimedia) isn't that complicated. In fact, for some of the free solutions I'm about to show you, all you need is a working PC that accepts USB keys. That's it. Plug it in, fire up the software, and you'll have a brand-new storage array that's ready to receive your file backups and music files in equal measure. And why is that important? Because you're probably not running a RAID array on your main PC--if your primary drive goes, that's it. Game over. End of story. And if you're the most backup-conscious person around, wouldn't it be nice to have a low-powered PC that serves up multimedia for any networked computer in your abode? I thought so.
All this and more awaits you in the land of home servers!