Friday, July 31, 2009

Have a voice in the US government, Regulations.Gov

Whilst searching the internet, I stumbled across a website that everyone (even non US citizens) should know about. Regulations.Gov is a website where anyone can weigh in on proposed or already passed regulations. This is a great oppurtunity to be vocal on an issue that may concern you. About 300 government agencies as well as other groups use the website to receive feedback and suggestions. The website is part of a larger initiative to increase public access and participation in creating new regulations and rules. Commenting is open to anyone, including non-US citizens. Remember, a voice can be more powerful than a vote.

Friday, July 17, 2009

The Elder Scrolls II Daggerfall released for free download

A few days ago, Bethesda, the maker of many successful RPGs such as Fallout 3 and the Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion has released TES: Daggerfall for free download on it's website. Originally released in 1996, Daggerfall has the biggest in game landmass in the series.

To run this game on newer computers a DOS emulator (DOSbox is recommended) is needed. The game has not been modified at all for this release to increase compatibility and Bethesda is offering NO technical support, however installation instructions are being provided at the unofficial Elder Scrolls wiki. The game is provided as is.

The game can be picked up here along with TES: Arena. Please remember, Bethesda is providing no support, so play the game at your own risk.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Google to make new operating system, the Google Chrome OS

According to Google's latest blog post on the Official Google Blog, Google intends to make a new operating system focused upon the Google Chrome web browser. The new OS will be based of the Linux kernel, so compatibility shouldn't be too much of a problem. Although not many details have been released yet, it boasts a new 'windowing' system. The main goal of this operating system is to be lightweight and is targeted towards netbooks.

Although Google is pretty authoritative, many web users are not sure Google can break Microsoft's grip on netbooks. Even though many OEMs offer linux distributions in lieu of a windows installation on many netbooks, consumers tend to buy what they are familiar with. This may be a limiting factor for the new operating system. Also, Google's seemingly endless BETA tag on their projects may deter people from adopting this operating system early, hurting it in the long run. Compatibility is also an issue amongst consumers, who prefer to use Microsoft's OS with the applications they are familiar with. However, Google's wide range of web based programs and format compatibility with many Microsoft products may be enough to get people to switch.

I for one am excited about the new release and will be purchasing a netbook in the near future, hopefully with this new operating system.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Happy 4th of July!

I would just like to take the time to wish a happy fourth of July to all of my readers. Even if you are not patriotic (or American), sit back and relax today. Enjoy!

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Firefox 3.5 Released Today, Faster Browsing!

Earlier today, the long awaited Firefox 3.5 was released. If you are currently a Firefox user, upgrading to 3.5 is a must. If you do not currently have Firefox, it may be time for you to start.

Firefox 3.5 has had a lot of performance improvements. The new Tracemonkey javascript engine is a lot faster and more robust. In addition, DNS prefetching allows you to click from page to page with less latency. The new rendering engine renders pages more efficiently. Overall, Firefox 3.5 has a smaller memory footprint. For the non-techie user, this just all means faster than fast browsing!

In addition to the improvements in performance, the new release of Firefox includes a great deal of new features. Most notably, Firefox has adopted some of HTML5, including the new audio and video tags. This allows for the playing of movies and music without installing a third party plugin. Furthermore, a private browsing mode has been added. Similar to the 'incognito' mode of Google's Chrome browser, Firefox will not store any information while in this mode (dubbed the pr0n or porno mode by many). Native JSON and CSS3 support are also featured in this release.

Many changes have been made to existing Firefox 3 features. For example, location bar that automatically made suggestions based upon your bookmarks has been changed to allow it to search through history instead. Also, bookmarking is also a one-click ordeal (by clicking on the star in the location bar). Plus, the canvas elements have been changed to bring them up to web standards.

Upgrade to Firefox 3.5 today.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Dear FTC, stay the fuck out of my internet

Recently, I read a post at ARS Technica that really angered me. Apparently, the FTC wants to crack down on undisclosed sponsored blogging. The Federal Trade Commission wants to make bloggers "back up any claims made" and "disclose [any] compensation" that a blogger gets for a post.

Anyone that regularly visits blogs may sometimes come across material that seems like someone is promoting a product, service, etc. with way too much enthusiasm, suggesting it may be a sponsored post. I agree that these posts may be misleading, but these tactics are commonly used in print materials (which have been around alot longer than blogging). Why no FTC complaint there?

Also, the FTC have neglected to give any information about their proposal and how much 'disclosure' is required.
"If you walk into a department store, you know the (sales) clerk is a clerk," said Rich Cleland, assistant director in the FTC's division of advertising practices. "Online, if you think that somebody is providing you with independent advice and ... they have an economic motive for what they're saying, that's information a consumer should know."
A blogger and a sales clerk have much in common. Both share their opinions, and both can sometimes be biased and/or influenced by money or other goods. What if I put a disclaimer at the end of my blog saying that I accept incentive based posts? Is that enough disclosure? A sales clerk simply wears a nametag, he doesn't have to disclose the percentage of the sale he gets as commission, so why should I have to say what I get in return for my posts?

And to all of you who have been 'misled' by blogger posts, isn't it common knowledge that you should take everything on the internet with a grain of salt?

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Prototype (Game) Review

Today, I just finished playing Prototype, previously one of the most anticipated games this year. Prototype is an open world (also referred to as sandbox) action game that was released last week. Here is a quick review of the game.Graphics: The graphics in this game are not top of the line, but do get the job done. More work could have been done in the area of building design, however, the ground level looks amazing.

Controls: The controls have are quite easy to learn. They are simple enough that almost anyone familiar with a keyboard (or a controller, for console players) can get into the game quickly, yet leave room for complex maneuvers and combinations that more avid gamers will enjoy.

Multiplayer: Nonexistent.

Story/Plot: Prototype has a novel-worthy plot that is integrated into game play exceptionally well. Elements of the story are non-intrusive but do provide a great sense of immersion. Plenty of twists and turns in the plot keep you on the edge and wanting more and more.

Gameplay: Most of Prototype's storyline missions (unfortunately) have a similar feel to them. However, there are some unique twists and gameplay changes in each one, just enough so that you will not be bored. Aside from the main storyline, you can take 'breaks' in between missions and enter freeroam mode. In freeroam mode, you have several things to do. Many time based challenges exist which test your control and skill. Also, scattered throughout the city are 200 orbs which you can collect, as a sort of 'adventure challenge', which will help you appreciate the city. My favorite thing, interestingly enough, is the ability to go around on a killing spree. After completing the storyline missions, you have two choices. Play through the game again (with all unlocks) or continue running through the current city you are in, destroying military bases as well as 'hives' as well as experimenting.

Cons: Although this is probably one of the better games I have played recently, this game does have some spots that I thought were not as good as they should have been. The map in this game is huge, but after boasting about it for quite some time, it feels like the developers shortchanged me in regards to the size of the map. Also, for a sandbox-style game, you are not given many opportunities to customize the experience. Lastly and most importantly, for some reason the only vehicles that you can control are tanks and helicopters, leaving much to be desired.

Overall Rating: Go get the game. Nothing is perfect, but this game is sure close to it. One of the best $50 I have ever spent.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Frame remover script has been installed

Personally, I don't want someone having a frame over my content, such as how the new Diggbar works. Therefore, I have decided to install a frame remover script on this blog. When anyone gets this webpage in a frame, the webpage will reload and remove the frame.

To install this on your own website, place the following code in your html tag on each page you want frames removed (or in a template file, whatever works for your hosting platform):

<script type="text/javascript">
if (top !== self) top.location.href = self.location.href;

Friday, May 15, 2009 is a SCAM!

A few months ago I bought the 4 year hosting package from Recently, I was informed that my hosting account was suspended, along with many (or all) of the users of blazewebhosting. This caused one of my other websites, a forum, and a blog to go offline and essentially loose visitors and not allow anyone to access the information it provided. After recieving no response from the support at, I checked the domain name servers and found that blazewebhosting was using a reseller program from another hosting company, Hostrocket was quick to respond to my support questions, including temporarily allowing me to access my website to backup my data (my previous backups were about a week old). Hostrocket seems to be a legitamate web hosting company and even offered to transfer everything for me if I were to buy hosting from them. If this is not resolved soon, I will do exactly that. In addition, the owner of blazewebhosting has just recently sold it (after the suspension incident) on SitePoint. Aparently, tons of negative feedback on the forums was not enough to stop someone from buying it.

In the end, don't buy from or They WILL screw you over. If you have been scammed by this, please comment here.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

File compression programs

File compression is probably one of the best things that has happened since, well, files themselves. Have you ever needed to move a file that was just too large? Have you ever needed to backup a directory full of files and wished it was as easy as copying one file? Are you strapped for bandwidth (have a slow internet connection) and wished you could upload a smaller file? Getting a file compression program could help you in all of these situations. When I think of compression, three programs come to mind. All of these programs work in a similar way. Specify a directory or list of files, and these programs will make those file(s) into one archive with a collectively smaller file size.
  • WinRAR: WinRAR is one of the best compression programs I have found on the internet (when it comes to paid solutions). Although to access all features of this program you need to buy the 'full version', the average user will get everything they need from the free version. WinRAR comes with the standard set of features, including the ability to compress to the popular .rar format (as well as many others). The rar format is far better than the windows standard zip format compression.
  • 7-Zip: 7Zip is not as complete as WinRAR but does serve it's purpose. It can open and compress rar files as well as it's own 7z format and a few other less popular formats. 7-Zip is completely free and easy to use. Linux users can also make use of 7Zip through the command line after downloading the 7-Zip linux package.
  • KGB Archiver: KGB Archiver is not as well known as the other mentioned softwares. It also has higher software requirements and in some cases compression time will be a bit longer. However, KGB Archiver has an extremely good compression rate when using its own format kgb files. In some tests, files were able to be compressed at a 90%+. In addition, many more encryption and security measures are offered for KGB Archiver than on WinRAR and 7-Zip. If you really are in a crunch for space and/or you need to hide some information from someone, KGB Archiver would be the best choice of archiving programs.
Right now I have all of these programs installed. Each one has their own strengths and weaknesses.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Quality search engines OTHER than Google

Amongst the many people I talk to, Google seems to be ubiquitous. However, many people do not know of alternate search engines. In fact, some time it may be more useful to have an alternate search engine. I currently use Google for most of my searching. When I feel like I need a change of pace or I feel like I am not getting what I need from Google, I make use of these search engines:
  • Yahoo!: You've heard of Yahoo, haven't you? At one time or another you must have come across Yahoo's name in an article or some type of search. Despite the tough times that yahoo is going through (in regards to trying to stay with the ad market), it does provide pretty good search results. Yahoo may have less 'useful' listings but at the same time it has less 'junk' than Google.
  • Ask: Ask is pretty unique compared to other search engines. Ask has a proprietary algorithm for it's searches that allows you to ask questions rather than searching for articles using relevant key words. If I was looking for a specific answer to a simple question, I could enter the question in lieu of finding an article and sifting through the data. For example, if I wanted to learn how old George Washington was when he became president, I could type "how old was george washington when he became president" into ask. On other search engines, I would have to look up a general page on George Washington and try to find that piece of information.
  • Dogpile: Dogpile is a unique search engine. Instead of crawling the web to get it's own results, it uses results from Google, Ask, Yahoo and Live Search to display the most relevant content. Dogpile is best used when you are looking up a very specific item/article.
  • Picsearch: Unlike most search engines, Picsearch is just an image search. If you are looking for an image, this should be the first place you look. Sometimes Google images just doesn't cut it.
  • ChaCha: ChaCha's search feature is just as good as any other search engine. Because search engines are not always enough, ChaCha has a 'guide' option for you to use. If you are having trouble finding what you are looking for, you can ask a ChaCha guide for help. These guides are people paid by ChaCha that sift through search results and use their own intelligence to find what you need. In addition to being used on the internet, you can also text or call ChaCha to recieve answers from these guides.
  • Alexa: Alexa sorts it's search results by relevance AND popularity. Due to this simple fact, you will find more high quality results at the beginning of Alexa's results, as opposed to search engines that index by pagerank and relevance.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Free computer games

In these tough economic times, it is not good to spend lots of money entertaining yourself. However, it is still important to keep yourself entertained. Videogames are one of the cheapest ways to keep you occupied, especially when they are free. These next few games are completely free and also very entertaining.
  • Combat Arms: Combat arms is a multiplayer only first person shooter. It focusses on modern warfare and weaponry. Players play online against other players to earn points. These points can be used to rent out weapons to improve their game. Although Combat Arms is a good game, it does have it's drawbacks. There are a considerable amount of cheaters on combat arms and Nexon (the company that owns Combat Arms) seems to be doing nothing about it. Also, be prepared to play alot to earn cash to rent out all of the weapons you need to actually be competitive.
  • Quake Live: Quake III was an extremely great game. For those of you who miss it, you should check out Quake Live. Quake live is based on the quake III engine and is almost the same game. However, there have been slight improvements to the engine. Also, this game is played from your web browser, so you will need to download a browser plugin rather than a game client.
  • Instant Action: Instant Action is a collection of 9 games (at this time) which can be played through your web browser after downloading a plug-in. There is really alot of variety on this site. Games range from simple 2d puzzle games to 3d puzzle games to 3rd person shooters. There is something for everyone. (For you mech assault fans, there are two mech assault like games on the site. Check it out!)
  • Last Chaos: If you are looking to kill some time, nothing is better than an mmorpg. Last Chaos is a well built fantasy mmorpg that is free to play. It's fighting and leveling system seems different than most. It speaks for itself.
  • Phun: Phun, unlike most games described here, is not multiplayer. In fact, many may not consider it a game at all. It is a 2d physics sandbox that is extremely 'phun' to play with. It is an extemely unique game.
  • Urban Terror: Urban terror is a first person shooter with a theme similar to counterstrike, Terrorists vs Good guys. Urban terror is based on the quake 3 engine. You can install this as a mod for quake 3 arena or as a standalone game. This game is definately worth checking out.
If you have any additions you would like to make to this list, place a comment here with some basic information about the game, and you will be thanked.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Legal free music on the internet

Many people know that they can get free music from the internet. However, not many people know how to get free music from the internet LEGALLY. There are many ways to do this, you just need to pick the method(s) that are most comfortable to you and suitable for your listening needs.
  1. Spiralfrog - Spiralfrog is a website powered purely by the advertisements they place on the website. And believe me, there are tons of ads placed on the site. They also require you to use a downloader program built specifically for Spiralfrog to download their music. Spiralfrog does allow you to download music and listen to it on your computer, however, burning it to a CD is against the rules.
  2. Pandora - Pandora is an internet 'radio' streaming site. This means you will never be able to download the music, but you can listen to everything free of charge. Pandora works by allowing you to enter an artist or song, and then it will select songs 'similar' to it through it's experimental music matching algorithm. This becomes your 'station' which can be shared with others or listened to again by yourself. Pandora will learn what you like to hear over time. You can skip a limited number of songs on the radio listings. Also, at anytime you can give a song a thumbs up or a thumbs down. Pandora adjusts the station in reaction to these actions.
  3. Last.FM - Last.FM is also an internet radio site. Stations are not as adjustable as Pandora, similar to real life radio stations. However, there are a large variety of stations so it is likely you will find something you like. Many music videos and songs can be played independently from the 'radio' on this website as well.
  4. AOL Music - AOL Music has a large selection of videos, songs and music news. Unlike most websites, these songs can be played on demand and for free with limited interruption from advertisements. AOL tends to cover a lot of artists, but not many songs from each artist.
  5. MySpace Music - Much like AOL Music, MySpace Music has a large variety of songs, probably more than any other free music website. However, the music archives are almost completely non navigable. MySpace also includes alot of low quality recordings and rips of songs.
Now you can listen to music legally without breaking your wallet.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Selecting the right computer for you

Computers constantly become obsolete. One day, you may find yourself working on a machine that is not up to your standards. Maybe you don't even own a computer at all. Choosing a computer that fits your needs and is affordable at the same time can be quite a head-scratcher. Here are some questions you need to ask yourself before making the final decision.

What will the computer be used for?
You will never find a computer that does everything extremely well without breaking your wallet. Identifying how the computer will be used can help you choose what features your computer will need. For example, a computer meant for word processing, basic internet browsing and e-mailing will not need all the extra bells-and-whistles that a media based computer would need. Aim to buy only what you will use, not what looks "nice" or sounds like it would be "cool".

What Operating system should I use?
For most people, Windows Vista or Windows XP will be the OS of choice. For low-budget buyers, a Linux distro may make the most sense. For people that like a more intuitive GUI and are new to computers, having Mac as your operating system would probably be the best for you.''

How future-proof is the computer?
As mentioned before, computers become outdated fast. Expect nothing to be top-of-the-line for more than a few months. If a computer just barely fits your needs now, how will it perform a year from now? What about two years? For myself, I choose systems that will last me for a few years (2-3 years). Most machines are upgradable and small upgrades over time can increase the longevity of your computer.

Is this a good price for what I am getting?
The rule of thumb in most situations is that systems $700 and under are worth the price. Once you start getting above $700 dollars ($850 if bundled with other stuff, such as a monitor), it may be cheaper to build the machine yourself (or pay someone else to build it). You also need to factor in the risk. You can make mistakes or wind up buying incompatible parts for your computer. Also, expect little to no support from companies when building your own machine. For the average user, anything around the $600 dollar area should be enough.

Make sure you shop around before you make your final decision. Computers cost a nice chunk of change and in most cases are non-returnable.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Happy New Year!

Happy new year! Post your new year's resolutions. Random commenter wins 100 EC!