Sunday, February 28, 2010

Show Hidden Files and Folders in Vista and Windows 7

I was just asked from a frustrated ex-XP user, "how do you show hidden files in Windows 7? Why did they change it from the way that it worked since everyone knows how to do it?"

While I can't answer the second question, who knows what goes on in the mind of a Windows programmer, but to show hidden files and folders is the same in both Vista and Windows 7.

- Microsoft logo (generally, bottom-left-hand corner)

- 'Control Panel'

- 'Appearance and Personalization'

- Under 'Folder Options' click 'Show hidden files and folders'

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Can I Patent the Hug?

After Facebook made its move yesterday to patent the news feed and making computer pundits everywhere scream foul, I started thinking about what is required to patent something? I went over the U.S. government's patent Web site ( and began to see what was required.

Basically getting a patent is broken down into five steps. Step 1, make sure no one has your exact patent before. Step 2, keep an eye on that fee schedule. Step 3, apply for the patent. Step 4, check the status of the patent. Finally, step 5, maintain your patent.

Since Facebook can take a relatively simple thing like the news feed and patent it, I decided that it may be time to patent the hug. There is money to be made and while yes, it is relatively popular and has been around awhile but someone needs to start collecting. Now I know that the regular hug is too popular and out in the open, kind of like Facebook knew the concept of the news feed has been around way before them, so to avoid being turned down by the governmental snobs who manage patents, I decided to make my hug more specific and give it a special name.

My hug is a lower-back hug. A lower-back hug requires that the hugger's hands meet behind the huggee's back on the lower-back, approximately 4-6 inches from the ass region. I began to go through the steps, I searched the database for lower-back hug. To my delight, there were 0 patents. Since nothing is being manufactured, my patent will be a utility patent so that looks to run me about $500. I'll go ahead and apply for my patent and it is now just a waiting game. In a few weeks - every lower-back hug is money in my pocket.

I would like to commend Facebook for taking the initiative of taking a common Internet component and having the courage to say, we may not have invented it, but we can say we patented it. If only more companies would take the time to take up public domain concepts of the Web and make it corporate, the entire Web will belong to corporations (as opposed to the huge chunk that already does).

In closing, after reading this please take the time to go ahead and give your loved one's a nice big hug. In a few months, I may start collecting so watch where those hands end up. Didn't you hear, there is money to be made?

Friday, February 26, 2010

What Baseball can Learn from Bases Loaded

I wrote about the dullness of basketball here and how to improve football here, now it is time to boost baseball's watchability as it is rather painful. What it needs is more interaction from the umpire. Bases Loaded for NES knew the importance of the umpire and player interaction.

Geeky Round-Up: 2/20-2/26/10

Facebook Patents the News Feed
Facebook added the news feed a few years ago and everyone lost their minds threatening to ban Facebook because they hated the new look. Since then, Twitter and Google Buzz started up and began using the same concept. Today Facebook's patent for the news feed has been approved. What they will do with it is yet to be seen. They can potentially take Twitter to court and attempt to shut them down. Just because something has been patented doesn't mean that a court will agree that it is the same technology. But, it would have to be decided by a jury of people. It is a jury of people that also thought Microsoft Windows didn't rip off Apple's OS because the icons were on the other side of the screen. People, for the most part, are stupid so Twitter would be toast. Also, Twitter may not have the financial muscle to compete with Facebook. I don't know if Facebook would try this with Google seeing as Google owns the world (they are watching you right now and you don't even know it) and probably has the financial means to make this cost Facebook more than it would be worth just out of spite. Whether Facebook wants to anger the Twitter fanboys and girls will be interesting to see. It could be a potential PR nightmare if they go that route.

Yahoo! and Twitter Hook Up
Last week I talked about Yahoo! and Bing hooking up to make little cyberbabies and take on Google. Now, Yahoo! has worked out an agreement with Twitter so that Yahoo! will be able to display real-time Twitter updates as part of its search engine. So that means, if you ever query Yahoo! 'Yummy sushi goodness #foodporn' you will get the Twitter results you were hoping.

Twitter Phishing Schemes all over the Place
'haha. This you???? LINK' messages followed 'lol, this is funny LINK' message as direct messages from Twitter. Clicking the link would take them to a page that looks identical to Twitter and asks for the username and password. Once logged in, the schemers then direct message all of the friends of the person who just logged in. I got about fifty of these and they are rather annoying but easy to ignore. On the other hand, I wonder what super funny picture of me are they referring too, maybe I should log in just once to see...

Virtual Console Game of the Week - None...thanks Nintendo!
Since there are about 10,000 available titles that can be made into a Virtual Console game, there is not one this week.

Nintendo Unleashes DSi XL to Kick your Ass
Nintendo may have been too busy to worry about Virtual Console this week as they announced the DSi XL. Going for $190, the XL features a 93% larger screen than the DS Lite. In other words, if you look at it funny, it will beat you down.

[caption id="attachment_695" align="alignleft" width="300" caption="What you looking at punk?!?"][/caption]

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Star Wars: Stabbing at Leia's 22nd B-day Party - a Geeky Classic

I just thought about this today and haven't heard it discussed for a long time and, for whatever reason, hasn't been treated as the meme status it rightfully deserves. Here is some super light sabering carnage at 'Stabbing at Leia's 22nd Birthday Party' and it has very NSFW language but a classic nonetheless.

Zeppelin Fans - A Must Download

I don't normally do this but I grabbed this from a music site I frequent and have to say, one of the best sounding Zeppelin shows I have heard. Since this isn't really geeky necessarily, to make this a geeky post, I will give a link for a MegaUpload Chrome extension that automatically downloads after the time ticks down on the MegaUpload site. Here is the link here

Madison Square Garden
New York, New York
Soundboard/Matrix Recording
240 kbps (vbr)
Artwork Included

CD 1:
01. Intro
02. Rock n Roll
03. Sick Again
04. Over the Hills & Far Away
05. In My Time of Dying
06. The Song Remains the Same
07. Rain Song
08. Kashmir

CD 2:
01. No Quarter
02. Trampled Underfoot
03. Moby Dick

CD 3
01. Dazed & Confused
02. Stairway to Heaven
03. Whole Lotta Love
04. Black Dog
05. Heartbreaker


Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Discussing Stoll's Famed 'The Internet? Bah!' Article

An old Newsweek article made its way through the many portals of the Web yesterday written by Clifford Stoll titled, "The Internet? Bah! Hype alert: Why cyberspace isn't, and will never be, nirvana" - link here. I stumbled upon this when a friend posted it on Facebook and, in my own usual fashion, read it quickly without realizing that it was written 15 years ago and had to scoff and rant at pretty much everything in the article. It was then brought to my attention that it was an old article, there was a slap to the forehead, and I reread the article with that in mind.

I then saw it being discussed on different Web sites and people discussing Stoll as being a closed-minded naysayer with no grasps of the potentials of the Internet. I would like to take this opportunity to discuss some of the things Stoll talks about in his article and while I believe, as a scientist, he was outspoken in his article, the article may not necessarily deserve all of the backlash that it is being given. And, on the other hand, it may. Let's take a look at both.

Defending Stoll

Let's start out defending Stoll a bit. He starts out describing that he had been on the Internet for twenty years, and the article came out on February 27, 1995 so he would have been on the Internet since 1975 (I'm good at math).

Let's put the article and 1995 into perspective in terms of the Internet. Just four years before this article was written, the Gore Bill was introduced which helped to build on the prior infrastructure that had been in place since ARPANET in the late 1960's. It was that bill that funded the National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA) at the University of Illinois. And, it was the NCSA who helped to build Mosaic and Netscape Navigator.

The beta version of Netscape Navigator wouldn't have come out until about a week after the Stoll article (March 6, 1995). The Internet that Stoll saw was a completely different Internet than what would be around five years later. And, seeing the major technical advancements prior to the Gore Bill or lack thereof, it would not be completely unorthodox for him to have his doubts.

"Even if there were a trustworthy way to send money over the Internet--which there isn't," Stoll writes and would have been true since Netscape Navigator brought in SSL 2 in 1995 which would later be upgraded in 1996 to a SSL 3 after security flaws were found SSL 2.

Reasons for the Backlash

It is Stoll's own ego that seems to be predicating some of this backlash. He states, "Do our computer pundits lack all common sense? The truth in no online database will replace your daily newspaper, no CD-ROM can take the place of a competent teacher and no computer network will change the way government works." Well, again using a hindsight is 20/20 mentality, these statements are laughable. But why, as a scientist, would Stoll scoff at such things when it was such an influential time for the Internet.

As I described above, the Gore Bill would give the potential (or at least the thought of potential) of those things some merit. Why would he be so put off by them and use an iron fist to say, "no, this just won't work and anyone who thinks it will is kidding themselves"?

I am not going to talk too much about Usenet and his ideas on bulletin boards, there are arguments I could make to both defend and mock Stoll on those issues - especially if anyone has a large array of friends on Facebook, some are worth listening to and some just join the cacophony of noise Stoll discusses.

To me, it seems that Stoll just had a mindset to go against the ideology of the potential of the Internet with the hopes that he was right. In the end, he failed miserably. What makes the entire article entertaining to me is that when I read it I can think of when the things he talks about happened on the Internet and remember which failed and which had not. If you remember the pre-dot com bust, there were sites that would do just about everything Stoll discussed (e-commerce, travel sites, networking sites, online libraries, etc.) Some failed and some persevered. Over time, the Internet evolved into its limitless potential that we have now and, while I feel Stoll's pain for his misguided attempt at mocking "computer pundits" lack of common sense, it was his own arrogance that was his downfall.

Ironically, I wonder how the Internet's shortcomings and lack of security have done for his blow glass bottle selling business that started in 1996 (one year after the famed article came out). See his site here.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Importance Of Keeping Web Ads Fresh

I redesigned a site a couple years ago for a client who did speaking engagements. The site's purpose was to put content about her field of expertise (white papers, etc.) and in the end everyone was happy, the stars aligned, and it was a rather pleasant experience. As part of the creation, she had me create some 'save the date' ads for her speaking engagements and conferences for the next several years. She had a pretty good following already and was happy with not only the site but the registration traffic that the ads were generating. Fast-forward two years and an e-mail from her wondering why the new registrations were dropping at a steady rate over the last couple months. I queried about the Web traffic and she said that it was steady, growing even, so a new Web design may not necessarily be in the works (bummer for me).

Here is where I began priming myself to explain that the economy has been in a tough spot for awhile, etc., etc. but before I decided to go down that road I went back to her site and noticed that she was using the same ads that I designed over two years ago. I remembered that when I gave her the ads I did explain that those would need to be updated and she told me she was planning on learning PhotoShop to help make small changes to the site to save money. But, she never worried about it since the traffic and the registrations kept flowing in.

I decided to take the time to remind her that the attention span of Web users was like that of a toddler, unrealistically short. On top of that, tunnel vision when dealing with ads has become a must for experienced Web users. Be honest, do you even pay much attention to Web ads much anymore (with the exception of the creepy guy with the beard and the crazy mullet on Facebook ads, I notice him every time)? That is why bigger named sites are now bringing out the elaborate Flash ads that take up the entire screen so the user literally has to find the X to close the damn thing. The advertiser figures in the time that you are searching to close it, you may actually look at the ad.

But she told me that she didn't necessarily have a budget that would fit that kind of marketing so my advice to her was to get rid of the static ads and create new ads as often as it was fiscally possible. Since she had a strong traffic base and a strong following, she would get the user's eyes on her site but she needed to capture their attention and a static ad left up for two years would no longer be able to do that. After awhile ads left on the site too long begin to just look like part of the design to frequent visitors. They stop noticing them.

Even a novice can make simple changes to an ad to keep it fresh. Change the font color, change the background, just moving things around in the adspace itself will at least keep frequent visitors from ignoring the ads altogether. Any good Web site is based on fresh content, but that is not always the only thing that needs updating. The advertisements also need to be kept in mind - especially if it is for your own self interest to do so.

In the end, I think she was happy to find that the drop in registrations wasn't a lack of interest in her site but poor marketing practices. She had me change the ads a bit, and then reiterated that, this time, she was going to take some PhotoShop classes. In other words, I may hear from her again in a few months.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Saturday Night’s Afterparty/Bar Video Game – Mario Kart

A few weeks ago I picked GoldenEye as my afterparty game of the week for, among other reasons, it was an easy way to make your friends cry out of anger. And nothing is more fun when returning home from a long night of partying than making your friends cry (well there are things that are more fun but we won't get into those). Another game that is notorious for creating welled eyes and obscenity-laden tirades from your friends is Mario Kart.

Miyamoto's team came out with the original in '92 on the Super Nintendo and each subsequent Nintendo console since. Any version will do for your afterparty gaming, they are all good. In a nutshell (or turtle shell) Mario Kart is a go-kart game that uses the characters from the Mario series as its racers. It does have a one-player mode where you can go through circuits but that is boring, the best way to play Mario Kart is by grabbing three of your friends and doing VS. mode.

It is the VS. mode where Mario Kart shines by using power-ups to take out your competition (and by competition, I mean your friends). Whether it be throwing a turtle shell, dropping a banana peel, or dropping some dynamite - the true brilliance of Mario Kart lies in humiliating your friends by hitting them with a turtle shell right when they are about to cross the finish lines (see: making your friends cry above).

As GoldenEye showed, the best games become world renowned outside a gamer's realm. Mario Kart has its own Internet meme and is credited for the catch phrase, 'boom goes the dynamite'.

My personal favorite is the N64 version (probably because that was around when I was in college and we would play) but I have played each of them and they are all great games that will suffice your needs this evening. Be sure to include it in your plans this evening, and when your friend throws the controller to the floor, calls you a very bad name, and storms out of the room because your banana peel caused a crash leading you to win the race ahead of them, think of me.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Geeky Round-Up: 2/13-2/19/10

What a boring week in Geekdom...

PayPal and Facebook Hook Up
Now you can pay for items in Mafia Wars and other time-consuming Facebook games via PayPal. Apparently Facebook and PayPal made an agreement to buy Facebook credits though a user's PayPal account. This could be less exciting, but I am really not sure how - maybe if Tiger Woods were buying Facebook credits through PayPal, then I will officially be asleep or suicidal.

Yahoo! and Microsoft Hook Up
In a week where companies seem to be trying to spawn little company babies, who will eventually be teased by the neighborhood kids for it's parents giving it a stupid name like Bingoo or Yang, Microsoft and Yahoo! have reached an agreement to work together to take down Google. Of course, two failing search engines combining to form one big failure will have no chance of doing that and it seems rather ridiculous seeing 'Powered by Bing' on Yahoo!'s search page. If it's powered by Bing why would I go to Yahoo! except maybe to play Fantasy Football? I can skip the middle man and go directly to Bing or its inevitable new name Bingo.

Tiger Takes Over Twitter
After Tiger Wood's apology today, he is the only thing being discussed on Twitter. I guess the crazy guy who crashed a plane in the IRS building to garner attention should have waited until after Tiger apologized because no one is going to be talking about crazy guy anymore. Poor crazy guy.

Time to Update to FireFox 3.6
If you have the 3.5 versions of FireFox, Mozilla released patches to fix some security holes. Before going through all the work of grabbing the patches, just grab the newest version of FireFox here.

Virtual Console Game of the Week: Sonic & Knuckles
In 1994 both Sonic 3 and Sonic & Knuckles came out and I never have been able to decipher which one is my favorite Sonic game because they are both great titles. Both are fast, fun, and full of Sonic-y goodness. This one offers the ability to play as Knuckles who may be slower but can plow through just about anything, and has a cool name...Knuckles. Unfortunately, this is the game that screwed up the entire naming system for the Sonic games. It should have been Sonic 4 but that would have made it easier to keep track of the Sonic games. As a side note, Sega announced that they will be creating Sonic 4 - Episode 1 (WTF??!!!???) this Summer. Why can't they just stay with the number system? It appeared to have worked with everything else in the world, why not Sonic games. Why name them Sonic Heroes and Sonic Gems when it could be Sonic 4 and Sonic 5? Anyway, I digress. In the end, Sonic & Knuckles is well worth your Wii points so spend, spend, spend - Nintendo needs the money.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Classic Game Console Curriculum - Through 1995

First off, a little history. I came up with this idea while perusing 1up and someone stated that a certain NES game should be considered Gaming 101. I decided to ask the advice from about five dozen different sources on what games would be appropriate in a gaming console curriculum for those not yet exposed to retrogaming. The advice I was getting was too widespread so I narrowed this to first-fourth generation consoles (through 1995, ending at the 16-bit era). Below is what I consider to be a 'must play' list of games for one who has yet to be exposed to older gaming.

FOR GAMERS NEW TO RETROGAMES: I have found that there are some gamers who refuse to give anything previous to the year 2000 a fair shake seeing as it doesn't have the stellar graphics and soundtrack of later generation consoles. That being said, the intention of this is to give suggestions for those with an open mind about retrogaming and give them a chance to experience some great gaming without an instant, "this game sucks" simply because it doesn't have the graphics and sound qualities they have grown accustomed. Of course, these would be best played on the original consoles however, I know that may not be possible. I have marked off the games available on Virtual Console (more than half) in the categories section. Also, with a little querying of a search engine, you should easily be able to find emulators and ROMs of these games (not that I condone such things).

FOR RETROGAME FANS: I assume that you have played the games listed below but if you have not, I highly recommend giving them a try. And, for fun, go ahead and run though them again, I plan to.

I did make some stipulations:

1.) Only one game for each series of games. In other words, does Metroid and Super Metroid both deserve to be on here? Yes. However, I tried to make this concise and not scare off anyone by having all of their game play be on one series of games. This was probably the hardest call I had to make - picking which was the best in a great series (i.e. Zelda, Metroid, etc.). By using the term 'best' of a series I used several different considerations seeing as, of course, 16-bit versions would be higher in quality (in most cases) in graphics and sound. I looked into the game's innovation of the series, playability, and overall enjoyment.

2.) Yes, Super Mario Bros. and Super Mario Bros. 3 are both on the list which goes against everything I just said in stipulation 1. That is because, a.) Super Mario Bros. is clearly the CLASSIC NES game and not having it on any list of this type would be a severe misstep in judgment and b.) Super Mario Bros. 3 is easily in the top 5 of any seasoned NES fan's favorite games so it also has to be on here.

3.) The classics category can be played on any console even current generation systems. Since gamers who haven't been exposed to 8-bit and 16-bit systems will probably have to adjust their means of gaming from their XBox 360, PS3, or Wii so I figured forcing them to break out an Atari 2600 game or Commodore-64 would be too much of an adjustment and may make them scrap this whole concept.

4.) Defeating each of the games isn't a requirement. You will choose the games you enjoy and wish to finish. These are my recommendations to get a clear overview of these generations of gaming. Also, since a great deal of these are available on Virtual Console, now you know what you can do with those left over points.

5.) I included three games that suck for the NES. I had a suggestion that it would be worth showing people not used to the old NES games some of the types of games we would have to succumb to. These are listed in the categories section.

6.) As I mentioned above, there were a lot of difference of opinions of what games should be considered 'must play' games. I tried to be as unbiased as I could but I am sure some of my opinions still reared their ugly head. If you disagree, please feel free to use the comments and let me know.

Classic Game Console Curriculum (recommended order broken down into tiers):

Tier 1:
Super Mario Bros. - NES
Donky Kong - Any
Tetris - NES
John Madden Football - Any year (up to 1995)/any platform
Contra - with Konami code

Tier 5:
Galaga - Any
Dr. Mario - NES
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles IV - Turtles in Time - SNES
Mega Man II - NES
NHL Hockey - Any year (up to 1995)/any platform

Tier 2:
Alex Kidd in Miracle World - SMS
PacMan - Any
Columns - Genesis/SMS
Mike Tyson's Punch Out! or Punch Out! - NES
Golden Axe - Genesis

Tier 6:
Super Mario Bros. 3 - NES
Gradius III - SNES
Mortal Kombat - Genesis
Super Metroid - SNES
Dragon Warrior - NES

Tier 3:
Sonic the Hedgehog - Genesis
Space Invaders - Any
Gunstar Heroes - Genesis
Tecmo Bowl - NES
The Legend of Zelda - NES

Tier 7:
Shinobi 3 - Genesis
UN Squadron - SNES
Super Mario Kart - SNES
Y's Book I & II - TG-16
Adventures of Bayou Billy - NES

Tier 4:
Bonk's Adventure - TG-16
Joust - Any
Strider - Genesis
Thuderforce IV/Lightening Force: Quest for the Darkstar - Genesis
Street Fighter II - SNES/Genesis

Tier 8:
Bionic Commando - NES
Ninja Gaiden - NES
Phantasy Star II - Genesis
Super Castlevania IV - SNES
Silver Surfer - NES

Tier 9:
Chrono Trigger - SNES
Final Fantasy - NES
Karate Kid - NES

Classic Game Console Curriculum by Category:

Bionic Commando - NES
Golden Axe - Genesis (Available on Wii's Virtual Console)
Ninja Gaiden - NES (Available on Wii's Virtual Console)
Shinobi 3 - Genesis (Available on Wii's Virtual Console)
Strider - Genesis
Super Mario Bros. 3 - NES (Available on Wii's Virtual Console)
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles IV - Turtles in Time - SNES

Chrono Trigger - SNES
Dragon Warrior - NES
Final Fantasy - NES (Available on Wii's Virtual Console)
Phantasy Star II - Genesis (Available on Wii's Virtual Console)
Super Castlevania IV - SNES (Available on Wii's Virtual Console)
Super Metroid - SNES (Available on Wii's Virtual Console)
The Legend of Zelda - NES (Available on Wii's Virtual Console)
Y's Book I & II - TG-16 (Available on Wii's Virtual Console)

Note: These can be played on any console.
Donkey Kong - Any (NES Version Available on Wii's Virtual Console)
Galaga - Any (NES Version Available on Wii's Virtual Console)
Joust - Any
PacMan - Any (NES Version Available on Wii's Virtual Console)
Space Invaders - Any (SNES Version Available on Wii's Virtual Console)

John Madden Football - Any year (up to 1995)/any platform

NHL Hockey - Any year (up to 1995)/any platform
Mike Tyson's Punch Out! or Punch Out! - NES (Available on Wii's Virtual Console)
Mortal Kombat - Genesis
Street Fighter II - SNES/Genesis (Available on Wii's Virtual Console)
Super Mario Kart - SNES (Available on Wii's Virtual Console)
Tecmo Bowl - NES (Available on Wii's Virtual Console)

Columns - Genesis/SMS (Genesis Version Available on Wii's Virtual Console)
Dr. Mario - NES
Tetris - Any platform

Contra - NES (Konami code ok)
Gradius III - SNES (Available on Wii's Virtual Console)
Gunstar Heroes - Genesis (Available on Wii's Virtual Console)
Mega Man II - NES (Available on Wii's Virtual Console)
Thunderforce IV/Lightening Force: Quest for the Darkstar - Genesis
UN Squadron - SNES

Signature Character Game:
Alex Kidd in Miracle World - SMS (Available on Wii's Virtual Console)
Bonk's Adventure - TG-16 (Available on Wii's Virtual Console)
Sonic the Hedgehog - Genesis (Available on Wii's Virtual Console)
Super Mario Bros. - NES (Available on Wii's Virtual Console)

Poorly Designed Games:
Adventures of Bayou Billy - NES
Karate Kid - NES
Silver Surfer - NES

Monday, February 15, 2010

So, A Pedophile Logged into Google Buzz

No, not the start of a creepy joke, just some observations after using Buzz for a few days. According to Google, Buzz has been spreading like wildfire around the Internet so my guess is, it is here to stay. The other day, one of the people I have been following, who had been posting some relatively decent content, posted a rather explicit picture of a key part of the female anatomy. My first thought was, "uh...dude, you're kinda creepy" which was followed by an unfollow. Then I thought about the Google's GMail sign-up process and while it asks for your birthday, it doesn't have any form of age restriction for Buzz.

So, I went ahead and signed up for a new account, put my birthday as 02/15/1995 and signed into my account (sorry Google for creating a bogus account, I am sure I am not the only one). Once logged in, I opened Buzz and went to find friends. I put in some dirty words that would have made George Carlin blush and sure enough, as a 15-year-old, I could have followed some less than stellar individuals on Buzz.

Now in Google's defense, Twitter does not have an age restriction either. However, Twitter doesn't incorporate e-mail into the network and accesses to user's contacts if the user is too naive to hide them. On top of that, Twitter doesn't have the same abilities to simply post a picture or video into the conversation feed. Given, you simply have to click a link to get to the information but that requires a little extra work. Basically in Buzz, if a pedophile decides to target someone under age, once they are able to get the minor to follow them, the next thing they can do is post any pictures or video that they wish directly into the stream. Also, Twitter isn't as heavily used by the under 18 crowd but Buzz definitely has the potential for all age groups just by carrying the Google name. "Dad, I'm not doing anything I'm not supposed to, I'm just on Google," can become a pre-teen's mantra.

Not only are child predators salivating at this new form of media but I am sure porn sites can't wait to start spamming not only minors but all of us with follow requests. Do I really want there to be age restrictions? Not really. If the world were a perfect place, there wouldn't be a need. But, and I know this is going to be hard to believe, the Internet is filled with some really, really creepy people and any means that can be made to keep them at bay, the better. In the end, just like I tell all of my students, the only real way to keep children safe on the Web is parenting them while they use it.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

How to Make Basketball less Boring to Watch

I was flipping between the olympics and college basketball and realized that basketball is really rather boring. Only the last five minutes of the fourth quarter are pretty much the only thing worth watching. Then I was hit with a realization on what could make basketball better - adjust the rules to follow those of the arcade game Arch Rivals...

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Saturday Night’s Afterparty/Bar Video Game – Super Mario Bros.: The Lost Levels

Take one of the greatest games of all time and make it real, real hard and you get Super Mario Bros.: The Lost Levels. I have to admit I didn't get around to playing this one until recently and the rumors of how hard it is are accurate. Now, don't get me wrong - it isn't impossible or even unbeatable, probably a night's worth of gaming for an average to above-average gamer. But if you are used to the challenge of the original SMB or its pitiful attempt at a sequel (the American Super Mario Bros. 2) then this will definitely keep you on your toes (think SMB3's world 8, but for the whole game).

A little history. Super Mario Bros. 2 was originally released for the Famicom disk system. However, Nintendo felt that the game was too hard for us poor Americans so it was never released in the US until the Super Nintendo version brought it as Super Mario Bros.: The Lost Levels in the early '90s. It was packaged as Super Mario All-Stars and came with SMB1, SMB2, SMB3, and the Lost Levels. The SNES version had upgraded graphics - sort of. It is a mesh of graphics from the original Super Mario Bros. and Super Mario World for the SNES. In the end, it was like George Lucas going back in and adding things to the original Star Wars movies - it didn't really work, they should have kept them the way they were. That is what the Wii did. It took the original game and simply ported it. That would be my recommendation but if the SNES version is all you have, it is better than nothing.

Since Americans were not given the original Mario in all of its glory, we were given the American version of Super Mario Bros. 2 which took the Japanese game Doki Doki Panic, stripped out the characters and inserted Mario characters. That is why that game plays completely different than every other Mario game - it wasn't a Mario game. Not to say it was a bad game, it was ok - nothing that I would go out of my way to play necessarily but nothing I wouldn't recommend either. But, it surely wasn't worthy of calling itself a Mario game. That didn't stop it from being the third best selling game on the NES (behind Mario 1 and Mario 3 - both superior games). Happily, Nintendo scrapped most of the new features of American Mario 2 when it made Mario 3. I would hate to imagine Luigi jumping in Mario 3 with his legs stupidly spinning or being able to be the princess and float across entire levels or, even worst yet, being Toad (was anyone ever Toad in the American SMB2?)

There are three different versions of the real SMB2 that are acceptable to play for the Saturday night afterparty/bar game. There is a version for the Wii (actually Virtual Console), which is just the unreleased version for the NES ported over. It is available for 600 points (why it is one of the few games that costs 100 points more than all the other Wii games is beyond me). As I stated, my first choice would be the Wii version. However, if you don't have a Wii, the SNES version will work as well. Lastly, they do have a version for GameBoy Color.

What makes this game so much harder than the original? It is painfully unforgiving. The jumps have to be perfect, the timing has to be perfect, fake bowsers, and there is a bastard blue mushroom that kills you and makes you think, 'hey, I need a mushroom, great there's one. And, now I'm dead. Damn!' Forget about warping, if you warp you can't get the hidden levels. But most warps that I found took you backwards anyway. We were sitting around laughing last night at the lack of flowers in the game and my reasoning was not a lack of flowers but a lack of staying super Mario long enough to get firepower.

Is it the hardest NES game I have ever played? Not even close. If you review 'My Top 10 Hardest Old School Nintendo Games' here this would never make that list. Word of caution: I read on 1up and on GameFAQs about Super Mario themed drinking games and would not recommend this be one of those games, unless you have a lot of booze and absolutely nothing to do tomorrow because it will have you drinking to the point that your buddies may need to call 911. See you in the emergency room.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Geeky Round-Up: 2/6-2/12/10

Facebook Gets A Facelift (get it...Facebook...facelift...)
The much talked about and rather dull Facebook redesign happened for the masses this week (some lucky souls received in on Friday of last week) and it was rather uneventful. I discussed in a blog post this week that the big redesign actually happened a few months ago when they decided to change the privacy settings, this redesign was simply cosmetic. However, that doesn't stop the world from coming to a halt while everyone bitched talked about it. The thing that bothered me was I spent all my time creating damn lists for friends and now I have to click Friends > then the list name instead of just having it appear in my left navigation bar like the previous design. Am I picky, yes. Will I stop using the lists function, most definitely. Am I the victor who has officially shown Facebook who is boss, of course. Don't cross me again Facebook or I will stop using other repetitive and worthless features! That's right, I am looking at you 'Top News' button.

Google Gets Its Buzz On
First it was a browser, then it was an OS, then a cell phone, next an ISP, and now Google will throw their hat in the social networking ring. Google introduced Google Buzz, yet another social networking platform that will be built into their online GMail system. Basically Google Buzz is a little bit Twitter, a little bit Facebook, and a little bit e-mail. Status updates, check. Hyperlinks to content from around the Web, check. Built-in third-party sites like Flickr and Twitter, check. Contact groups like Facebook used to have before the redesign, check. Privacy holes, check. It's got it all...and of course I had to get an account, follow me on Buzz (if you dare) here.

Oops, Microsoft Did it Again
Apparently Microsoft's update to Windows XP had made a ton of users very unhappy as it caused a perpetual blue screen of death and made the machine not even able to load in 'Safe Mode'. This is now the third time that they released a patch that has taken out computers. It doesn't happen to all versions of XP but if I were still running XP, I wouldn't be taking any chances and may skip this update. What makes this story even more humorous to me is that they were patching an exploit that was 17 years old...I guess in 17 years, they couldn't come up with a fix that wouldn't render the machine useless.

...And Another Shocker - Flash Security Hole
Adobe mentioned nonchalantly that there is a new security hole in Flash and that you should go to their Web site and grab the security patch. I don't know if HTML 5 will make Flash go bye, bye but it would be nice to have one program that I don't have to worry about weekly security updates. Here is a link to the security update from Adobe - here and it is probably a good call to go and pick it up.

Virtual Console Game This Week: Princess Tomato in the Salad Kingdom
If Princess Tomato was a track on a rock album, it would be considered a deep cut (I am trying to work on my metaphors). Originally on the NES and costing 500 Wii Points, Princess Tomato is seldom mentioned as one of the greats for the NES and to be 100% honest, it isn't. That being said, it is still better than 80% of all of the games that are out there for the NES. It is fun, hysterical, and mind numbing in its unintelligible brilliance. I always thought that old school game designers had to have done a lot of drugs and this game proves that had to be the case. Besides the title alone, some other drug induced nuggets in the game - Princess Tomato's parents weren't tomatoes, it was an adventure game but you can't die, you play a cucumber, your nemesis is a pumpkin, and there is a lot of rock paper scissors going on. If you ever wondered what Japanese game designers think about when on three doses of LSD, here you go - interactive vegetables. Definitely worth the points if you never played!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Google Chrome Extension for Google Buzz

That didn't take long. There is now a Google Chrome extension to get your Buzz notifications right in Chrome without having to go to your GMail account. You can get it: here. Pretty cool stuff...

BTW, if you are on Buzz, post your profile URL in the comments and I will follow you.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Ways to Get your Daily Clown

There are now multiple ways to get your daily clown updates. Feel free to subscribe to any of the following:

1up Page: Click here

Subscribe to E-mail: Click here

Facebook Fan Page: Click here

Google Buzz: Click here

RSS: Click here

Twitter: Click here

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Madden Football on Facebook: A Colossal Mistake

EA announced that it will be creating a version of its Madden football series for the 400 million users on Facebook. I discussed last week that Civilization is also being ported over for Facebook so it is apparent that the growing trend is to bring every game ever made over for play on Facebook.

Civilization is a turn-based game that will work well on Facebook but I have to admit I don't really see how Madden will work and find bringing a franchise like Madden over to Facebook a colossal mistake. For starters, since users have to play on both offense and defense, both players would have to be online at the same time similar to Yahoo! games. One of the nice things about Facebook is that you don't need to be online at all times, you go to the site, find out who your friends think they look like/what they are watching on TV/the color of their bra, and you leave - that is the whole point. Would you have to be considered online for users to know you are available to play Madden? If they know I am online, they can chat with me and that is just not going to happen. As a side note, does anyone really put themselves online and available to chat?

Madden is the cornerstone of console and PC football games and its fans are damn dedicated to its attempt at realism and its expansive features. EA explained that they are going to simplify Madden and looking at how Facebook generally works, it will more than likely have be Flash based so there will be all kinds of limitations. Doesn't that defeat the purpose of Madden at this point? Even the first versions of Madden were expansive for their time so stripping down the game and simplifying it seems to go against the core ideology of the Madden series. And, let's face it, a simplified version of Madden sucks - has anyone played Madden on the DS, that one is stripped down and it's painfully boring.

With the plethora of games at EA's disposal, I am baffled why they would try to bring Madden of all games over to Facebook unless they are simply hoping to gain users by the name alone. Yesterday I discussed how the users of Facebook were getting older and that the younger generations were leaving for other social networks. One thing I neglected to mention (since it had no bearing on yesterday's post about Facebook's redesign) was that there are nearly 10% more female users to male users on Facebook. Couple older users with a higher percentage of female users and you begin to lose a great deal of Madden's core fanbase which is generally male, college-age gamers.

Why not bring a form of The Sims over to Facebook? Wouldn't that make more sense? The fanbase is both male and female, it has a simple UI that doesn't require a great deal of tech-savvy, and it could be played task-based like other Facebook games that doesn't require all players to be online at the same time.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Facebook's Redesign Came in Two Stages to Avoid Greater Backlash

Why user's are complaining, if the complaints are valid, and Facebook's two-stage strategy to avoid a larger backlash

It's already starting. Facebook has begun converting users to its newly redesigned site and the complaints are coming strong. Since I am one of the few who does not yet have the new Facebook - call it Facebook envy, I can't actually comment on the new design and if the design changes are actually worthy of the complaints that it has been receiving. However, I did some thinking about why every time Facebook makes any sort of redesign, the 'I want my old Facebook back' users come out of the woodwork.

Fear of the New
From a designer's point-of-view the Facebook site has been consistently rather bland and melancholy. From the images of the redesign it seems to follow suit proving that the design itself isn't necessarily the issue. What I find the most entertaining about the complaints, they seem to come from the same people who complained after the last Facebook facelift. And, in six to eight months when they do another facelift, those will be the same people who want the current version back. It is fear of the new.

Size and age of the User
To a certain extent it is Facebook's size that is a problem. Not only the size but the age of its users. I think that it is safe to say that the younger generations will have an easier time adapting to change than older generations. The younger the user the less likely they are to be stubborn to change and will also have better odds of being able to adapt to the new technology. It is the nature of the beast.

Over the last year, the percentage of total Facebook users who were 13-17 years old dropped nearly 3%, the 18-24 age bracket dropped 15%, 25-34 group 2% while the 35-54 age bracket jumped 15%, and the 55+ jumped 8% and are the largest growth percentage at 922.7%. Younger generations are leaving Facebook for other forms of social networking and older (and in all likelihood less tech-savvy) generations are embracing Facebook which is a contributor to the backlash.

User Interface
Another important contributor I talk about in so many of my posts, the idealogy of ignorance. Users who are used to a certain User Interface (UI) have a habit of instantly hating a new UI simply because they don't understand it. Let's be realistic, Facebook is a monster company at this point. Does anyone really think that they just brought in the neighborhood kid who knows HTML to design their Web site in exchange for pizza money? No, they hired trained professionals who have been working in the business of UI, usability, development, and design for years. They have studied what works and what doesn't work and will base redesigns on those experiences. However, users who are used to a certain UI will rebel and state that it doesn't work to their liking until they get used to it and then will forget about the old UI.

Valid Complaints and The Two-Stage Redesign
Now, to be fair, I have read a few articles that have stated that the preliminary backlash of the new design is nowhere near the ramifications of the March, 2009 redesign which users lost their minds. The arguments that I've heard that Facebook is taking less control from the user and, in turn, are forcing the user's hand into privacy holes are valid. Especially those users who are inexperienced and wouldn't even think about adjusting their privacy settings with concerns of 'breaking Facebook'.

I use the 'breaking Facebook' example because, after a decade of teaching, that has been a statement I hear consistently from inexperienced users. "Change your cookie settings for better privacy," I will say in an Intro to Internet class and will hear the reply, "I don't want to break the Internet." "Adjust Microsoft Word to not change quotes to Smart Quotes," I will say when teaching Office and will hear, "I don't want to break Word." It is a user mentality that adjusting the default settings will make the program inoperable. Facebook has unfairly used that to their advantage by making the defaults of the privacy settings looser than they should knowing that some users will be reluctant to change them with fears that they will no longer be able to use Facebook.

In my opinion, to avoid a backlash like they got in early 2009, Facebook's redesign came in two stages. Facebook made the privacy changes a few months prior to the Web redesign with the hopes of avoiding a more powerful backlash, and it worked. Make changes to the privacy settings and deal with a small backlash then once users are used to the changes, redesign the site to work better with the adjusted privacy settings and deal with a small backlash due to the redesign. Smaller backlashes are safer and easier to deal with and will get less press. Facebook has been threatened by users for the last six years that users will boycott and move on to another social networking site. However, the numbers haven't shown that users are holding true to their threat. Twitter's numbers have stalled and MySpace continues to bleed users. For the time being, Facebook is king - and they want to keep it that way.

All in all, the redesign (and its backlash) are a necessary evil. Web sites need to be redesigned in order to keep it fresh and to stay on top of current trends. If you are concerned about Facebook's privacy defaults, check 'Tell Google to Stop Searching your Facebook Page' here and 'Update your Facebook Privacy Already' here and then rest easy that your privacy is better protected.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Saturday Night’s Afterparty/Bar Video Game – Tecmo Bowl

Was there any question of what this week's game had to be? Tomorrow is the 44th Super Bowl and what better way to get yourself psyched for the big game than breaking out the NES (or Virtual Console) and grabbing Tecmo Bowl (or Tecmo Super Bowl).

I am going out on a limb and saying that Tecmo Bowl is the best football game to ever be released. Now, Madden fanboys calm down. Madden is a great franchise and has proven itself to be the complete package when it comes to football games both in game play and in simulation. Hell, I bought pretty much every Madden game since the first one appeared for the Genesis in '90 (before the players had names - just numbers). However, when you break down a game for the purposes of playing it, in the end it comes down to fun. And, Tecmo Bowl is fun with a capital F.

If you ask retrogamers about the best baseball game for the NES, you will get a cacophony of answers, Baseball Stars. Bases Loaded. Original Baseball (ugh). RBI Baseball. But with football games, you will have a hard time finding someone who doesn't believe that Tecmo Bowl is the quintessential NES football game. 10-Yard Fight? LJN Football? John Elway's Football? Please.

Released in 1989 for the NES, it was actually a ported arcade game. However, no one played the arcade game which lead to Tecmo Bowl to be thought of as an original NES title. If you were to ask anyone about Tecmo Bowl, no one will mention the arcade version - just the NES.

Unlike Madden, Tecmo Bowl doesn't bother with extensive playbooks, only four plays and if the defense picks the right play, an interception or a mass tackle in the backfield is inevitable. Yet, it's Tecmo Bowl's imperfections that make it a perfect game. Yes, if you pick the right pass play, you will get the interception each time. Yes, Marcus Allen and Bo Jackson are an unstoppable duo. Yes, LT can block every extra point. Yes, breaking tackles is as easy as Mario jumping over a goomba. Yes, Mike Singletary has a strange knack for getting interceptions. It is these quirks that make the game fun.

NFL Blitz tried to steal some of Tecmo Bowl's magic in its arcade series and there was a sequel for the Super NES. Tecmo even tried to bring back the series for the DS but the classic NES title is still the best. So, in your preparation for this evening's festivities remember to break out the NES and Tecmo Bowl or cash in your 500 Wii points because Tecmo Bowl is a must to get you ready for Super Bowl 44!

Note: You can even save Tecmo Bowl for halftime tomorrow, it will probably be more entertaining than watching The Who play their CSI soundtrack to appease CBS.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Geeky Round-Up: 2/1-2/5/10

Dude Builds Sex Robot you can Buy for $7k

In the 'using your computer science background for good instead of evil' department, apparently Douglas Hines, a former Bell Labs employee, decided to create a sex robot. And this is no ordinary sex robot mind you. This little lady doesn't walk but you can bend her in just about any position imaginable (shutter) , she does talk (and you know they will have an upgrade where celebrities will be able to lend their voice to her - the voice for Fran Drescher will sell out instantly), but that function can easily be turned off, and she has a strange Kathy Griffin vibe but even creepier (if that's possible). On top of that, there are 4,000 preorders for this sex robot named Roxxxy. I applaud Hines and his efforts to better humanity. Sure, he could have created a charity to give to Haiti relief but instead he saw the need of real people in the world who were suffering and gave them a product that will end that suffering. On top of that, if you look at this picture (here) is there any doubt that this guy needed to build a sex robot.

Facebook Hopes to Take Over All News Media
Apparently there is a Web site called Facebook. And, it's kind of popular. I guess a few people use it on occasion. Facebook late last week began asking its users to go ahead and start using Facebook as a way to follow news. Initially they are just asking to follow your favorite news channel. Since it has been successful, I am sure a full-blow user interface change is on its way, and about 4,000 'I hate the new Facebook News Interface' pages will be created. Once you become a fan, whenever news happens, your 'Live Feed' will be updated. That just means there will be less space to see about my friend's 'Mafia Wars' and 'Farmville' updates as well as finding out about the color of their bra strap and what celebrity they think they resemble.

Speaking of Facebook, it turned 6 this week
Facebook turned six this week and its CEO said, "we are glad we can help assist you to stalk people you hardly knew in high school." Please Note: Facebook's CEO didn't actually say that, the exact words were, "we are glad we can help assist you to waste time when you are supposed be working and give you the ability to send requests to your friends over-and-over again to make your Mafia Wars family even bigger." To celebrate their sixth b-day, they did a major redesign that will anger the masses and create 4,000 'I hate the new Facebook' pages to accompany the 'I hate the new Facebook News Interface' pages (see above).

Sun CEO Resigns in Style
Sun CEO, Jonathan Schwartz tweeted his resignation in an unorthodox and downright amusing manner this week, as haiku, "Today’s my last day at Sun. I’ll miss it. Seems only fitting to end on a #haiku. Financial crisis/Stalled too many customers/CEO no more”. I applaud this form of resignation and hope it takes off. Such as Lovie Smith's, current coach of the Chicago Bears, 2011 imminent resignation, "Lost the Super Bowl/Dismantled a solid team/Sorry Dennis Green".

Thank you to the VP of Obvious: Ex-VP of Microsoft Thinks Microsoft isn't Innovative
Dick Brass, VP of Microsoft from 97-04, told the New York Times that working there makes it nearly impossible for innovation because of inner-company fighting that squash new innovations. I for one have given up on Microsoft coming up with anything new or innovative since Windows '98, I would rather they just get Microsoft Word to not turn an entire document into a hyperlink if you use the wrong key combination or have Internet Explorer not display, 'The Page Cannot be Displayed' every other page you try to bring up in IE8. In other words, you you can't innovate new products when you can't get your existing products to not suck.

VirtualConsole Game this Week: Alex Kidd in Shinobi World
It's kind of like Reese's Peanut Butter Cups, "you got your Alex Kidd in my Shinobi, you got your Shinobi in my Alex Kidd. Hey, that's pretty good." Now that I have totally dated myself (for anyone not born pre-1970's, that was an old 80's commercial for Reese's Peanut Butter Cups) this Sega Master System game is pretty good and a fun combination of two good games. Definitely worth the points if you never played it before.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Tips to Avoid Unnecessary Web site Changes

A common Web designer/developer headache: You get hired by a client to make a Web site. Using your ample years of experience, you create a good site for the client's purposes. After some knit picking, everyone involved is happy and the site goes live. You feel that you job here is over and move on to other projects. Months go by, you keep hearing how the site is growing, and then you get this panicked e-mail:

"I got an e-mail saying that it was hard to find the widget product so I think that we need to move it to the homepage."

Of course then you have to go to back to the site, look through your notes and find the "hard to find" widget. You discover that the widget is hierarchically in a position that it should be and that the three-click rule applies. You respond, "has anyone else seem to be having problems finding products?" The response, "no, but they could be because this person did."

You go onto the site, look at the logs and statistics, see steady traffic, and then realize you now are hit with yet another way to save a client from making a mistake.

This scenario happens more times than I would like, but it is a necessary evil. Since the client hired you with the idea that you were in charge of making the site useable for the Internet masses, you cannot blame them for wanting to jump every time they hear about a complaint. After all, this is their site and, in a lot of cases, their livelihood. The problem, you can't be responsible for everyone, you can only be responsible for the majority of users.

There are always going to be users who are technologically inept and just have a hard time doing anything on the Internet. I have taught 'Introduction to Computers' many a semester and I have seen people with absolutely no clue of what they are doing with a computer. And when I say no clue, I mean rubbing the mouse on the monitor. Inept users are inevitable and it isn't possible to design for all of them, especially since they will be inept in their own unique way. It is possible, however, to keep the client from leaping every time they may receive a message stating that something is too hard for them to use.

There are some key components that I use to keep them from jumping at every little complaint - the most important and effective being the traffic logs. If the site is getting a steady stream of traffic and products are selling, then one comment shouldn't deter that and force a redesign. On top of that, I make it a point to explain that making a drastic change may make finding a certain product easy for this particular person but may open up to complains from dozens of others (probably those who actually know HOW to use the Internet).

That being said, if the traffic is nonexistent or the client has received numerous e-mails (and the site has been around awhile), it may be worth taking the time to reevaluate the navigation to make sure that the audience is less tech savvy than you originally anticipated. As I talked about in my post, Making a Web site’s Navigation Bar – Concepts to Keep in Mind, the first step in making a new site is figuring out the audience and making the navigation and the layout work for that audience. Double-check that the client's site is bringing the type of traffic you thought. As I stated in the aforementioned post, it is ok to make a navigation bar a bit more sophisticated if you feel that the users would have a greater level of technological knowhow. If the site in question is one of those cases, you may have had too much faith in the audience.

I also recommend explaining early in the process that you are never going to satisfy every user on the Web. As I have stated in several posts, Web design is one of the few artistic forms that everyone feels that they know what is good design and what is not. You are always going to get conflicting opinions and can't jump the gun every single time someone disagrees with the way that site is layed out.

Explain that other sites do not jump every time a user challenges the site's design. Think if Facebook or MapQuest jumped every time a user complained about the User Interface or the design of the site, we would have new redesigns daily. Again, it goes back to playing to the masses.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Civilization for Facebook Beta Delayed until July

Mafia Wars and Farmville fans can begin to prepare themselves now and non-gamers can prepare to hit their 'hide' button because Sid Meier's classic game Civilization is coming to Facebook.

For those who have never played, Civilization is a turn-based simulation game, which would work wonderful in Facebook, where players attempt to build the strongest empire over the course of time. It originated in 1991 being released by MicroProse and has had numerous sequels over the years.

The Facebook version seems to be a perfect fit seeing as Facebook, like Civilization, is rather addictive, gives an ample amount of players, and features tons of people who like to play games instead of doing something productive (like, yours truly).

No real ideas of how the game is going to play out yet as Meier is being rather vague but it appears to be taking a page from Mafia Wars and having friends join together to create the strongest civilization. Those civilizations will then compete against each other.

Now don't get too excited, the beta hit a snag and isn't expected until July and a final version won't be around until next year, after Meier announced he expected a 2010 release in October. Will Facebook still be around in 2011? Probably. Will people still play games on Facebook? Probably. Will people still be annoyed when they get 2593 requests for Civilization Network in 2011? Most definitely.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Make Facebook Waaaay Better - Get Facebook Fixer

I have been talking about my recommendation to get Google Chrome. For Facebook fanatics, here is another reason, Facebook Fixer is available as an Extension.

What does Facebook Fixer do? Here is a basic rundown: adjust what displays on the home page (including the right column), allows you to decide what is displayed on the 'Live Feed', make the pictures larger on mouse-over on the 'Live Feed' and in photo albums (especially cool and helpful), show people's age on their profile, show people's sign on their profile, differentiate between available and idle chat, add the ability to download videos, and a ton more.

If you have Chrome 4.0, you can download Facebook Fixer from Google. Here is the link here.

If you need to get Google Chrome, click here.