Archive for February, 2007

Lock up your grubs… it’s Chicken Invaders

Sunday, February 18th, 2007

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If you've ever woken up from a bad dream, trembling at the thought of chicken hordes invading the planet, perhaps you're too delicate to tackle Chicken Invaders. On the other hand, if you're sitting in front of your monitor with a bucket of KFC, you'll want to immediately download this fun one or two person game from InterAction Studios. The game is an updated version of a classic from the 1980s. You must defend the Earth from an invasion of intergalactic chickens, collecting weapons and missiles as you move through increasingly difficult levels.

The high score table in the game is Internet-based, so you'll be able to see how you stack up against other players. The game is not at all processor-intensive, and the only requirement is a Pentium 166mHz PC and a lowly 32MB of RAM. After you've completed Chicken Invaders, there are two more games which continue the storyline, but only the first level of each of those is free to download.

Get Chicken Invaders

Design your own screensaver

Saturday, February 17th, 2007

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ScreenSaver Works is a simple program which makes a slideshow type of screensaver out of your photos. You designate the images you want to appear in the slideshow by selecting them from folders on your computer. The images can be .gif, .jpg, and .bmp, and can come from any number of folders. Just set the number of seconds you want each image to appear, and whether you want the images to show up randomly or in sequential order, and you're finished. The program can be further-tweaked using the Desktop Properties >> Screensaver features in Windows.

There are certainly fancier screensaver design programs out there, including a few which can convert Flash files into screensavers. Nevertheless, the slideshow type of screensaver is perfect for taking into the office, so you can passive-aggressively bore people with baby photos all day long. Designing a custom screensaver would also be a good gift for a parent – guaranteed to make Mom cry on Mother's Day!

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Monitor your AdSense account from your desktop

Friday, February 16th, 2007

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One more for the webmasters today. This time, it's a utility called SysSense which allows you to monitor stats relating to your AdSense account, right from your desktop. Instead of logging into your AdSense account using a browser, just install SysSense so it can reside in the system tray. A sound and/or system tray icon balloon can be configured to alert you when your statistics have changed (for example, when you've made money!), and you can monitor an unlimited number of accounts.

SysSense is easy to configure, and recent versions are skinnable. It will create full-color bar graph reports so you can chart your earnings. The program has built-in tips which point out different program options you might not be aware of, but if you have any questions, the software creator maintains a support forum and welcomes bug reports.

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Track your site’s search engine popularity

Thursday, February 15th, 2007

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Whether you have a small family website, or hundreds of intertwined websites for business, you want to know how your site is faring in the search engines. It's important that our websites are easy to find and are being seen — after all, that's why we made them. RankQuest offers a number of free SEO tools, but the one that's possibly the most convenient is the SEO Toolbar. Just install the toolbar in IE, Firefox, Flock, or Mozilla, and you're just a couple of clicks away from finding out information from thirty intuitive, built-in, SEO tools.

Using the SEO toolbar gives you access to a link checker and an html validator. You'll get a meta tag analyzer, a keyword density analyzer, and even a tool which will suggest appropriate keywords for AdWords. You'll be able to see all inbound and outbound links on a page as well, and can break the results down to the three major search engines. Try it out on your own site or on a competitor's. This might be just the thing to help you tweak your site a bit to improve your rankings and to draw more visitors.

Download SEO Toolbar

Recipe organizer from Dannon

Wednesday, February 14th, 2007

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It's Valentine's Day, and the way to just about anyone's heart is through a great dinner. In honor of the occasion, why not download Dannon Recipe Box? This is a free program from the folks who created Dannon yogurt, and it will let you store, organize, and share recipes. The program comes pre-populated with recipes which require Dannon ingredients, and the company regularly releases new recipe additions. However, you can also add your own recipes, complete with photos, to create a thorough recipe database.

Recipes can be sorted by ingredient, type of meal, category, season, and occasion, and they can also be searched. Mark your favourite recipes for quick identification in the future. If you've made something so good it needs to be shared, recipes can be emailed to friends and family directly from within the program.

Dannon Recipe Box runs on Windows 98, 2000, and XP.

Download Recipe Box

System information for Windows

Tuesday, February 13th, 2007

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System information for Windows is a handy utility which puts a plethora of information about your computer right at your fingertips. While the program doesn't generate any new information about your system, it gathers details already available and displays them in an easy-to-read interface. You'll get everything from motherboard information to a list of serial numbers of installed software programs. The program offers information that you may not have even known resided on your computer.

SIW provides lists of hardware and software specs, as well as tools to view and recover passwords, and tools to monitor your system performance in real-time. You can use it to generate a report file for future reference (handy in case you ever need to do a system restore). The program is standalone, doesn't need to be installed, and can even be run from a flash drive. SIW runs on all PC versions of Windows from 98 to Vista, on Windows Server, and on Tablet PC. It's free for personal use.

Get System Information for Windows

Everyone can play Neverball

Monday, February 12th, 2007

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Neverball is a fun game with an odd name. Adding to the intrigue is the fact that Neverball can be enjoyed by Mac, Windows, and Linux users alike. This is a game truly trying to build bridges within the gaming community.

At its most basic, Neverball is a game where you roll a ball around obstacles by tilting the floor around it. The game is controlled by either your keyboard or mouse. More than that, though, it's a game of stunning and unusual graphics, as the game seems to take place in some three dimensional alternate universe. The colors are bright, full of reflection and movement. As you try to move your ball around obstacles, you'll encounter coins that you need to collect in order to progress to the next level. There are 75 levels total, so you might be playing this game for the next few years. If you do a web search, you'll find a few sites which keep track of high scores and maintain "The Neverball Hall of Fame".

The Neverball download includes another program called Neverputt, where you use the same principles from Neverball to play miniature golf.

Download Neverball

Track your workouts with Perfcontrol

Sunday, February 11th, 2007

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Of course you've kept your New Year's resolution to diet and exercise, so right about now you're probably looking for an easy way to track your exercise progress. Use Perfcontrol, a fitness management program suitable for both casual and serious fitness buffs.

Perfcontrol enables you to make a list of the elements in your workout routine, either using standard exercises included in the program, or by adding your own customized exercises to the mix. Once you have your list created, you can print it out and take it to the gym with you. To track your progress, a calendar display will let you record all your workouts, and a statistical interface lets you enter information like your weight and body measurements. If you want to truly see your progress, Perfcontrol will analyze the data you've entered and show you how much success you've had. This program is a good way to stay on top of your fitness routine, and it will help you detect when you need to work harder or need to slow down. Give it a try and see if it makes your exercise program more efficient.

Get Perfcontrol

Organize your fonts with Fontpage

Saturday, February 10th, 2007

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You know they're in there, somewhere, lurking on your system, hogging memory. Fonts. You probably have far more fonts installed on your system than you'll ever use, and you may have some great fonts languishing in the font folder because you've forgotten about them. Fontpage is your solution to the problem of unorganized fonts.

With Fontpage, you can examine and compare all the fonts installed on your Windows PC. It will display normal fonts, as well as those in bold, italic, underline and even 3D. If you think two different fonts look suspiciously similar, you can bring them both up in the program and compare them side by side. FontPage can also print a sample page for selected fonts or print a list of all installed fonts. This is a great way for you to figure out which fonts you don't use, so you can remove them. Once you've freed up space, use Fontpage to preview new fonts you haven't yet installed.

Fontpage has a very intuitive interface and a thorough help file if you run into problems.

Download Fontpage

Schmap dynamic travel guides

Friday, February 9th, 2007

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In the mood for a vacation? Don't forget the Schmap! Just install Schmap on your Windows PC and you'll have access to an ever-growing collection of interactive travel guides for cities and countries all over the world. Every Schmap Guide comes with dynamic maps, useful links, playable tours, top picks, plus photos and reviews for 100s of sights and attractions in the city of your choice. Whether you've wondered about travel to Perth, Australia, or wanted to take a virtual stroll down the streets of Lake Tahoe, Schmap will help you do it.

Schmap Guides can be downloaded individually, if you already know your destination. If you're still undecided, you can download special packs geared towards people with special interests. There's a Schmap Guide about the best golfing destinations, about the best destinations for those who love food, and even one listing unsung tourist treasures right here in the United States. More and more Schmap Guides are being added every day. The company actively solicits user feedback and wants to improve their product, so you're welcome to speak out about your Schmap experience.

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