Archive for June, 2005

Step Mania, a free Dance Dance Revolution clone

Thursday, June 30th, 2005

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Step games are all the rage, and Step Mania is jumping on the bandwagon — er, dance pad — with both feet. The application supports games similar to Dance Dance Revolution, Pump It Up, EZ 2 Dancer, and Para Para Paradise. You will need a dance pad, and the site offers step-by-step instructions on connecting a variety of different pads to your computer. The application features cool 3D graphics and visualizations, and is available for Windows, MacOS, and Linux. You can download additional songs, announcers, and graphics to keep the game fresh. Want to start dancing? Step to it!

Get Step Mania

Explore Satellite Images and Maps

Wednesday, June 29th, 2005

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So Cheapie stayed up wayyyy too late last night playing with Google Earth, a program just released by Google. Google Earth combines satellite images with mapping functions for a fun and educational look at… well, everything on the planet. Start by entering a city and state, and Google Earth zooms in to that spot from space. You can then rotate and tilt the view — in some cities, you can even see 3-D representations of the buildings. You can get driving directions from place to place a la Google Maps, and overlay the images with notations about landmarks, restaurants, and schools.

(And if you like to keep up with the latest Google news and rumors, bookmark Google Blog Roundup.)

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Small Program, Big Encryption Power

Tuesday, June 28th, 2005

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Is your private data truly private? The typical PC user often neglects to encrypt data because they feel that it isn't necessary. This couldn't be further from the truth. If you keep any kind of sensitive information on the PC — such as bank accounts or your mother's secret recipe for acorn muffins — you need a good encryption program. DsCrypt is a powerful but tiny encryption program that takes up only 14KB of space, and is very easy to use. The drag-and-drop design is intuitive, and the encryption technology is top-notch. You can rest assured that your information will stay where it belongs.

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Effortless Backups

Monday, June 27th, 2005

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Backups can be a major pain. They are difficult to do, and take quite a bit of time to complete. Karen's Replicator can be an answer to the backup blues. With a few clicks you can backup a set number of files, a directory, or even a whole drive. The application features customization options that make backups more efficient: you can choose to backup only files that have changed since last time, or retrieve deleted files. You can schedule backups at intervals for an automatic safety net. If regular backups are giving you a headache, ease the pain with Karen's Replicator.

Get Karen's Replicator

A secure file-wiping utility

Sunday, June 26th, 2005

Imagine having your personal journal, calendar, correspondence, financial data or other sensitive information read by strangers. Unfortunately, digital files stored on an Internet-connected computer could be more easily accessible than paper files stored in an unlocked drawer. No wonder so many Internet users suffer a constant fear of being spied. Spytech Eradicator, a secure file-wiping utility that's simple enough for everyday users, may put those fears to rest. With configurable levels of secure deletion, files and data can be eradicated without a trace or possibility for undeletion. With its easy and intuitive interface, anyone can get started with Eradicator today.

Get Spytech Eradicator

Usenet newsreader for Windows

Saturday, June 25th, 2005

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The strength of Xnews is its simplicity: easy configuration and access to newsgroups, without complications or hyperactive installation features. Xnews is 100% compliant with the Good Net Keeping Seal of Approval, which means that it follows an accepted set of standards for "well-behaving" Usenet newsreaders. Features include filtering by subject or author; support for multiple servers or identities; organizational categories for subscribed groups; remappable keyboard support; binaries handling for mime, base64, uuencode and other formats; optional header and article caching; and folders for permanent archival. To install or update Xnews, just unzip the files to a single directory, and voilà.

Get Xnews

Encourage creativity with Tux Paint

Wednesday, June 22nd, 2005

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Children should be encouraged to experiment with computers and Tux Paint gives them just such an opportunity. This simple paint program allows little ones to experiment with colors and textures alongside a cute animated Linux penguin. Tux Paint supports more than 50 languages, and is perfect for schools and day care centers. The teacher tools prevent kids from printing 50 copies of their artwork. Your little one will have access to the program and nothing else — putting you at ease. Windows, Mac, and Linux users can enjoy this gem for free. If you are looking for a fun way to encourage creativity in your children, look no further than Tux Paint.

Get Tux Paint

Cruise the universe

Tuesday, June 21st, 2005

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Ever wish that you could take a ride on a space shuttle? Celestia is a 3D simulation that puts you in the passenger seat for a ride around the galaxy. Celestia features all of the major astronomical bodies, along with many star clusters. If you can't find a particular celestial body, you can probably find it in the extensive add-on library. If you prefer sci-fi, you can download the Death Star from the Star Wars series and a laundry list of other fictional add-ons. The application is available for Windows, Mac, and Linux and takes up 12MB of hard drive space. The universe is yours to explore with Celestia.

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An addictive, action-packed space game

Monday, June 20th, 2005

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In the mood for an addictive, action-packed space game? How about this: you’re piloting your spaceship through the "Maelstrom" asteroid belt, the "deadliest stretch of space known to mankind." You find yourself surrounded by massive asteroids and pursued by deadly Shinobi fighter patrols. If that's not bad enough, your best friend — as well trained as you are, with the exact same ship as yours and who knows everything about you, including your defense tactics — is piloting a sister ship and decides to fire at your cockpit. Intrigued? The realistic graphics and game intensity will transport you to space.

Get Maelstrom

Record and edit audio

Sunday, June 19th, 2005

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Believe it or not, you can record and edit your own audio without spending big bucks on software. Audacity is an open source, easy-to-use audio editor and recorder for Windows, Mac OS X, GNU/Linux and other operating systems. You can record live audio, digitize the audio on old-fashioned tapes and records and edit sound files (Ogg Vorbis, MP3, WAV). Like high-end audio editing software, you can cut, copy, splice, mix sounds together and change the speed or pitch of a recording. Audiophiles concerned with sound quality can record up to 96KHz, mix an unlimited number of tracks and much more.

Get Audacity