Saturday, May 23, 2009

Google Chrome 2.0 Released

So for those of you using the previous version of google's web browser, it's time for you to upgrde. Google has just made a rather large software jump to version 2.0. If you hop on over to Googles website and try downloading the new version of their browser. And if you haven't installed the previous version of google chrome then it's time to make the switch. Especially if you are still using explorer LOL. Chrome, for those of you who haven't used it before, is a very minimalist browser. It's beautifully light and the speed it has is pretty damn sweet too. Chrome has lots of awesome functions and it is even above par (at least IMO) structurally. Chrome uses a method called sandboxing, which is basically a way of saying that each individual tab you have open is a seperate process, allowing the sites to run faster and if one crashes the entire application doesn't crash. Which is frackin useful.

I myself haven't gotten a chance to install the new chrome yet, but I will sometime today. I'll hopefully be able to post my observations either later tonight or tomorrow. Unfortunately, my computer is currently being fixed by the school (since I graduated and we get to keep our laptops, the school has to remove all the school software and reinstall a nice new copy of windows on the machines. So not only am I without a laptop for almost a month, when I so get the laptop back I'm going to have to install another Linux partition which is a solid hour out of my day. Fml LOL) and so I'm not able to really do the same depth posts I so when I actually have a computer. He'll, this post right here took me about 35 minutes to type because I have to use my iTouch for the whole thing. And let me tell you, that is a major pain in the ass to do.

So anywho, just bear with me as I try to make blog posts on an iPod for the next nomen or so, and be sure to check back for my opinions on the new version of Google Chrome. I'll install it on my home computer as soon as I get the chance. Until then, everybody have a good start to summer (I know I will) and I'd you haven't already, ditch Internet Explorer for either Mozilla Firefox ilor Google Chrome. It's up to you which one you pick, but please don't pick IE: that's like choosing vista over ubuntu. It's heresy.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Songbird -- My New Love

So, it happens that once in a while I stumble upon a new program and try it out.  Sometimes I fall in love with it.  Other times, I hear of a program and simply refuse to try it out for one reason or another.

And sometimes, I hear about a program, refuse to try it but finally do, and fall in love with it asking why I never tried it earlier.

Enter Songbird.  This is, in my mind, undoubtedly better than iTunes.  As a media player, it does everything I have ever wanted, and so much more than iTunes.  Some of the great features that swung me include:
  1. Global Shortcuts.  Now, just like in Linux and OS X, you can hit some keys and have the music go to the next track, previous track, or pause, without actually going back to the application.
  2. Launchy/Quicksilver functionality.  While it isn't perfect, I can choose my next tracks without going back to Songbird because it too has a global shortcut.
  3. Add-ons!  Songbird is made by Mozilla, the same people who make Firefox.  So, of course, there are many addons which add important functionality to the Media Player.  One of my favorite is the automatic Lyric finder.  Anyone sing?
  4. Built in web browser.  While I still use Firefox, the built in web browser is very useful for installing addons and finding music.  Since it is essentially Firefox, perhaps I may stop using the two different applications entirely.
  5. Open Source.  'Nuff said.
There are a few things lacking in this program which I would like to see in the future.  I would like to see better "Launchy" integration, which could come in the form of an addon.  Having it be a little more streamlined and effective would be excellent.  Also, better iPod support.  While there is an addon for iPod's, it only works on the older models, the one's that allow "Disk Usage."  My iPod touch is not supported, which means I will need to keep iTunes around.... for now.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Another Konami Code Hack

A few posts ago I showed you how to unlock a cool little facebook Easter egg using the Konami Code. Well, today I'm going to show you another website that has another AWESOME hidden feature that is bound to make you either laugh uncontrollably (as I did) or maybe cry. It really depends on how geeky you are.

Anywho, the website who's hidden feature we will be checking out today is a neat little site that has blog posts about just about any gadget or geeky thing you need. The website, Geek Stuff has all sorts of information ranging from iPod stuff to digital camera's, where to buy them, why to buy them, and all sorts of good information if you're interested in purchasing something.

But that, of course, is not why we are interested in their site. Oh no, we are only interested in what happens when you press [up] [up] [down] [down] [left] [right] [left] [right] [B] [A] [B] [A]. So go ahead, meander on over to Geek Stuff and try out the Konami Code. A word of advice - once you enter the code it will take a few minutes for the Easter Egg to load. And make sure you have your speakers turned on, otherwise you'll miss the amazingness. And while you are unlocking the hidden wonders, remember what the wise men say - "Forgiveness is divine, but never pay full price for late pizza".

Thursday, May 14, 2009


For those of you who haven't heard, google went down early today. As in, an epic fail. And it really just goes to show how much of the internet relies on Google's services. It's even scary, one might say. Anywho, here's a wired article to check it out: google fail

Also, just want to apologize for the lack of updates. As most of you are probably in the same boat as myself and Wayfarer, I hope you'll understand. You see, we're both dealing with this little thing called the end of the school year, and for an end-of-year present every year, the schools love to give these gifts called exams. And these wonderful little godsends have been sapping all of our energy and time. So as soon as our exams are over, you can expect more updates to be made. No more of this week-long no-post crap. Apologies again on the delay. And also sorry I couldn't write a longer article today. I have to go... study...

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Facebook Easter Egg

I guess Facebook has been on my mind recently, as this post is again about Facebook. It's not, however, a post saying how bad and overbearing Facebook is, and how everyone should be using Twitter instead. This is just a cool little trick you can do with Facebook.

After you log into Facebook, use the arrow keys to type [up][up][down][down][left][right][left][right] then hit the [B] [A] [enter] buttons. This sequence of keys typed in this order (commonly called the Konami Code in the gamer culture) will release a secret easter egg. Please note that on the computer an Easter Egg is a hidden feature, not a little hardboiled egg thats painted.

To view this easter egg, after you use Konami's Code, just scroll up or down in the browser and enjoy!

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Texting on the iPod touch

Ah, yes, you can feel the power in your palm.  The power of the internet.  Your little iTouch can do almost anything - it can email, play games, control computers, and make farting noises.  But even with the many applications out in the marketplace, I have found one terrible niche that has yet to be successfully filled.


Now, at one point, there was InfiniteSMS, the perfect texting app.  Simple set up, mimicked the feel of the real SMS deal, and worked quickly.  However, it used Google's SMS gateway, and when it became too popular (Because it was so good!) Google killed it off.  What does that mean for the rest of the world?  It means that InfiniteSMS's monopoly was gone and other apps got the chance to shine.

They were given a chance - and they have all proven that they can't fulfill.  I have tested app after app looking for the best solution.  Most of them are expensive, and do nothing more than convert your text message to an email and send it.  Some go as far as to even show you the mail app and let you edit the message there.  Lame.  TextFree is the closest I have come to, and even it is not perfect.  With no landscape mode, bad button positioning, an ugly UI, it has a lot to move onto.  Not to mention it's $5 price tag.

What do we need?

There needs to be the perfect texting app again.  The app that dominates the marketplace because it is just so damn good.  It needs to support landscape mode, it needs to be simple and have perfect contact list integration, it needs to be able to delete messages, perhaps even archive messages.  It should be relatively inexpensive (~$3-$4) and it should never fail.  With all of those in one app, it would sell thousands.

Big Brother is Watching... Your Facebook

So I found something interesting while Stumbling my way through history class. Apparently, Facebook has initiated an interesting "security" (aka- keep Facebook's ass clear) feature. They are censoring all of their users emails. That's right folks: everything that you send in a Facebook message can, and will, be checked.

Now before everyone starts going all paranoid about the fact that all their email's are being read by Facebook, theres a few points you should consider. One, Facebook uses an automated checker that will scan all email for keywords, phrases, URL's and such. It's not like there are actual people sitting at a computer all day reading every word of your email (we call those people "stalkers"). Another point, Facebook isn't the only service that does this. Most email clients use similar programs to scan for, and remove, spam messages.

I decided to test their censorship, and here's what happens when you try to send "contraband" text (click for a larger version):

Pirate Bay,Facebook,Censorship,blocked,Big Brother

What was the terrible, terrible term that I put into this email message? A simple URL. I tried sending the URL for a torrent copy of a Don Quixote eBook (note that this was perfectly legal as the book is old enough that it is no longer bound under copyright laws), but it was blocked. Facebook wouldn't let me send the message, or allow my friend to receive it.

So is Facebook going too far? What do you guys think? Should they be censoring their users email? How "deep does the rabbit hole" go, as our good friend Morpheus would ask? It's possible for Facebook to search email for anything including drug usage, underage drinking, hackers, ponies, gum drop buttons... you get the point. So we ask you: They have the power to do this, they "technically" have the authority, but do they have the right? Should they?

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Aircrack-ng on the iPhone

Well, as far as I can tell, it hasn't happened.  Yet.  But a proof-of-concept of the idea has been made, and now I really want it to happen.  This could be the most devestating attack against wireless networks everywhere; WEP would be made virtually worthless.  Anyone with an iTouch or iPhone would be able to tear apart the code in a few minutes and hop on the network.  I don't hold out any hopes of the aircrack-ng version being able to crack WPA, at least not yet, because of the resources it would require.  But someone needs to step up the plate and get this working.  Trust me, the moment it gets onto the internet, I'm going to get it.  Updates to come.