Friday, July 30, 2010

Microsoft Helps me Out - the Mayans were Right about 2012

 In December my iPod died and I saw a great bargain for an 8 gig Zune for $100 w/ car adapter and leather case so I went ahead and grabbed it as a pseudo Christmas present to myself.  Fast forward five months and the damn thing died without warning.  Worked great while I exercised and the next day nothing - won't turn on, won't charge, nada.

 So I called Microsoft and let them know that the Zune sucks and it doesn't work.  They had me try plugging it in for three hours (like I didn't try that) and then unplug it.  Nope.  They had me unplug it and then plug it in real fast.  Nope.  Since it was under warranty they told me to send it in and I should get it back in 15-21 days.

 Today they just sent me my Zune back.  But it wasn't my Zune.  It was an 80 gig replacement Zune.  Could Microsoft just upgraded me for no charge?  Could I be that lucky?  Sure enough, plugged it in and it was the upgrade.  The only downside, it was filled with someone else's music!  Hopefully some dude isn't sitting waiting for his Zune back since I just deleted all his tunes and is loading it with mine.  Is it possible I have just given Microsoft a compliment two days in a row?  Hell is truly freezing over - the Mayans were right 2012 is coming.  Prepare for the pillage.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Microsoft taking on Google for Worthless Street Tool

I think it is safe to say Google's StreetView is relatively worthless. I have used it maybe five times in my entire life - four times as complete, "this is kinda cool but worthless" moments and once to find out where that damn tire place is on the unbelievably busy road.

That being said, Microsoft (who I am always worried to promote anything of their's) has come out with Streetslide which takes the relatively worthless Streetview and makes it a whole lot cooler. With Streetslide you can pan down the street instead of having to move the panorama. They took it one major step further by putting the addresses and the business names in the view so finding that damn tire place on the busy road will be much easier. Take a look, I think if it isn't ridiculously buggy on release, it could be relatively worthless but cool.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Shadow of the Ninja: I Don't Mean to Toot my Own Horn but…Toot, Toot

In April, I wrote a review 'A Great NES Game You Probably Never Played: Shadow of the Ninja'. I was just informed that in June, it was released on Virtual Console. According to
Get ready for furious side-scrolling, platforming ninja action! The mad emperor, Garuda, holds the city trapped in his diabolical claws. Only two brave ninja warriors dare to stand against him. They move as silently as shadows in the snow, swift and graceful as the wind, and strike with the explosive fury of razor-clawed tigers!
Playing solo or co-op with a friend, you'll slice, bomb, and shuriken your way through Garuda's army of vicious soldiers, agile ninjas, and monstrous robots. Use your ninja skills to hang from moving platforms, leap over lethal pitfalls, and dodge diabolical traps. Collect deadly powerups to give yourself an edge against the overwhelming odds that face you...if you can hold on to them. It'll take all of your platforming prowess to navigate the game's thirteen intense levels and bring some old-fashioned ninja justice to Garuda!

Mmmmm..."furious side-scrolling" and striking with explosive fury...that's a lot of fury and a whole lot of adjectives for one paragraph. If you don't think it is worth the 500 points to get this, do the rest of society a favor and stop playing games altogether and take up playing the recorder because you are not cool enough for your Wii (and just from the consoles name alone, that is an oxymoron).

Anyway, what does this mean? I have finally elevated to a mouthpiece for the gaming industry who waits on my every post so that they can make their decisions based on my advice. That has to be it. I refuse to believe in coincidence - it is much more effective thinking that I am near God-like status.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

3 Must Have Chrome Extensions for YouTube

I have mentioned on more than one occasion my love for Google Chrome as a Web browser. Since Google has already made it clear that its intentions are to take over the world and enslave each and every one of us, I highly recommend going along with it and making it as painless as possible. Of course, it is a matter of taste with Firefox fanboys clamoring for more Firefox, Opera lovers claiming lightning speeds, and IE users just waiting for IE9 because just maybe this time, it won't suck in comparison with all the others I just mentioned.

One of the biggest improvements that Google has put into Chrome is the ability to use extensions to better Chrome and some Web sites. They ripped off Firefox on the concept but what are you going to do? I have been on a small YouTube kick the last week or so and thought I would give you three great extensions for using YouTube. Enjoy.

Auto Replace for YouTube DOWNLOAD
This is a cool little tool that puts an 'Auto Replay' check-box above the video you are watching. I find this comes in handy for concert footage and music. Some on the developer's site were bitching that it doesn't automatically replay when you are in a different tab but I haven't found that to be the case - seems to work fine for me so maybe they tweaked it with their latest version.

Auto HD for YouTube DOWNLOAD
This is a no brainer and should be built into YouTube. Just tell the plug-in what preferred quality of video you want in the options and this extension will automatically make it in HD (if it is available in HD of course).

Youtube Thumbs DOWNLOAD
Another little tool that I have gotten accustomed to using. It allows you to hover over thumbs to animate a little. Helps to avoid some useless search results (or Rick Rolls).

SanDisk Walks Tall and Carries a Really Small Stick

SanDisk just announced that they are coming out with the smallest USB flash drive dubbed Cruzer Blade (my assumption being that it was named after the Wesley Snipes character in the 'Blade' movies and it is a powerful tool to assist in the elimination of vampires). Now, I would never take this opportunity to be a comedic hack and throw in the whole, size does matter thing (even though I am sure it is going to end up being part of their marketing campaign because marketing geniuses are just that damn clever.) Anyway, ZDNET says...
SanDisk on Tuesday unveiled what it calls the smallest USB flash drive in North America. The drive weighs about the same as a penny and is the size of a paper clip.

So I guess the future is here and it is the size of a paper clip. As an instructor, I look forward to students losing these constantly and having to hear incessant complaining that, "I can't find my drive because it is too small." Then, I will respond and say, "that's what she said." Then, I will point both index fingers at them as I yell, "zing!"

Friday, July 23, 2010

YouTube Full-Screen URL Trick

In yesterday's promise to keep up with posting, here is a quick URL YouTube trick/hack to make it full-screen.

Full-screen trick:
To skip a step and watch YouTube videos in full-screen, change the URL by taking the watch?v= out and putting a v/ in its place. See below:

Change -


Saturday, July 17, 2010

XBMC Tricks and Workarounds

Quick rundown on my week - I have Windows Vista 64-bit and it didn't come with Windows Media Center. I have no idea if Windows Media Center is any good or worthless since I don't have it. After doing some research, I decided to go with XBMC (

I have been messing with XBMC lately on my PC just so that I can have all of the places that I can watch movies or TV and listen to music all in one place. I went through all of the help materials, etc. but found a few things that didn't work as planned. I got it to work to my liking and have been loving using it. Here are some things that I found helpful in setting up.

Check out before you get started and you will get your system set up quickly.

Some things that I found didn't work that should have and some workarounds:

Streaming Internet Audio .strm Files: This was probably me over thinking but I followed the instructions here but didn't understand why XBMC couldn't find the stream files. I figured out, you just select the folder that the streams are in, not double-click it to open. If you open the folder, it will be empty. Just click it once, and press 'Ok'.

Sorta, kinda, hack around to get NetFlix and Fancast to work: There isn't a straight plug-in for NetFlix and Fancast to work. What I ended up doing is grabbing the Web Browser plug-in (you can do that through XBMC Zone Installer). I set the Web browser to use Internet Explorer (I know IE sucks but Chrome and FireFox both crashed repeatedly). And, I set up the Arguments (optional) to -k so that it opens in kiosk mode. Then I set up the bookmarks for NetFlix and Fancast and also to a GeekyClown page that took my TV post and simplified it. Here is the URL - Once I set up the bookmarks, I right-clicked and chose as Favorites. NOTE: You will need the keyboard when these are open so that you can Alt-F4 to close IE.

Vista 64-Bit Fails: Visualizations froze up the program each and every time they would start so I had to turn them off so if you are running Vista 64-bit and having freezing problems, you will need to turn Visualizations off through 'Settings'. Also, it errored out on install because I needed to install the newest DirectX environments. I had heard that was the case with Windows 7 as well.

Anyway, I have only been using this for a few days so I am sure there will be further 'workarounds' I will need to do to get it to work. I will share as I go. Please, XBMC experts if you have any hacks or tricks for using XBMC use the comments and let the XBMC NooB know.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Watch Free Movies Online - Legally

As a follow up to a post that I put out a few months ago, 'The Definitive Guide to Online TV' here is a list of places that you can watch free movies online legally. Just like my TV guide, I take you directly to the table of contents so you don't have to mess around with trying to find the free online movie goodness.

Legal Free Online Movie Sites:

- AMC (B-Movies)


- Crackle

- Fancast

- Fearnet

- Hulu

- Indie Movies Online.Com

- Jaman


- Logo


- Public Domain Torrents