As Wikipedia sits silent and dark for legions of despondent would-be users (who, apparently, never thought of Googling for some help around the blackout), a trio of old-school publications have stepped into the void to try and replace the collective knowledge of the Internet. The Washington Post, the Guardian, and NPR have been taking tweets from information-deprived Webizens and trying to provide answers to all life’s questions, large and small. Just smack an #altwiki tag at the end of a question and the combined brainpower will try to supply you with an honest-to-goodness answer.
If you aren’t a huge Gmail user, feel free to skip the next few paragraphs or so. That’s a not-so-subtle warning about this week's Chrome Extension of the Week, as it’s a super-useful add-on that allows you to climb deeper into the depths of your ever-expanding Gmail Inbox. Go figure, it’s called, “Graph Your Inbox.”
Unfortunately, the extension only works for Gmail and Gmail alone—sorry, other email services. But if you’re one of the proud users of good ol’ Google mail, you’ll be able to use this extension to see exactly how many different kinds of emails you’re receiving over days, months, and years. Think of it as… a kind of Excel chart for your inbox.
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.
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.
Listen up, Windows 7 aficionados: This one's for you. You've no doubt noticed your operating system's lack of location-based functionality. Unlike Apple's competing OSX, which can triangulate your system's position based on the geographical locations of nearby WiFi hotspots, you can't really... well. You can't do any of that on Microsoft's platform. While you might not need to know exactly where your desktop is (hint: your dwelling), it would sure be nice to have this feature for a more mobile system.
And that's not even in the, "I'm lost in the wilderness and I see a bear help" sense. Wouldn't it be great to automatically have the weather displayed for your current location on your Windows sidebar? If you use Twitter (and yes, readers, I realize you hate Twitter), you could just as easily pull up a listing of messages centered around your particular location: "I just ate a great meal here," or "@bear2 There is a silly human wandering around here; I will eat him," et cetera.
Well, Microsoft hasn't come to your rescue on this one--a third-party developer has created an free application that allows you tap into the wonders of geolocation all by your lonesome. Go fetch your laptop from the other room, then click the jump!
Consumers and producers undergo a constant, ritualistic dance when it comes to information. Consumers want more, but are often too lazy to get it. Producers want to provide it, but its tough to do when consumers won’t follow through. Rather than fight the consumer producers are looking for ways to tap into their lazy. And Microsoft has an idea for how they can do just that.
It’s called Tag, and it’s little more than a fancy bar code. Actually, a really, really fancy bar code, because it incorporates both color and design. Using a mobile phone that’s been loaded with Microsoft’s Tag reader, consumers only need focus on the bar code until it’s recognized, and a wealth of information will be headed their way. Microsoft says Tags can be used on advertisements, product packaging, signs, storefronts, or in print publications. They can used to “gain instant access to websites, videos, reviews, schedules, contact information, social networks, discounts, and promotions.” You’d have to be a pretty lazy consumer to pass up an opportunity like this.
Mmm. There really isn't a great way to start off a roundup of open-source and freeware games. We should just be able to say that: "Hey! Over here! Free games! Free, fun games for you to play! Come play them!" But that would be a dull and uninteresting way to start a feature article about free games. So with that out of the picture and all, maybe we can describe a game or two that you'll be seeing in this little roundup. A sneak preview, if you will.
First up, we have a great quasi-sequel to a zombie-killing classic. We say "quasi," because it's not really a sequel, just a graphical modification. But going from 2D to an orthogonal view adds such depth and joy to the game that we can't bear to keep it all to ourselves. Oh, and the zombie-killing. You kill a lot of undead creatures in this title. In fact, that's really your sole purpose: survival, killing, and more killing.
Second, we're taking a look at this crazy numbers-based puzzle game. It's a lot like Tetris, only instead of trying to make solid lines from falling shapes, you're tasked with matching groups of numbered blocks together. The more you use the fantastic powers of addition to combine your blocks into larger numbers, the crazier combinations you can create. If we weren't having so much fun playing this, we'd swear it was educational...
But that's enough teasing for now. Click the link and check out the five awesome, free games we're playing this week!