Monday, April 30, 2007

10 Cool Freebies

PCWorld recently published an article on 101 free applications, and I was amazed at how many good ones were left out. Below you will find my list of 10 freebies that I believe are worth mentioning.

1. Firefox

Duh. If you want to read one of my articles on this awesome browser, just type "Firefox" into the search box above.

2. Google Page Creator

This wonderful web-based web page editor has failed to make headlines, but not because of a failure to impress or a lack of features. Making a website has never been easier, and hosting is free. Want to see an example?

3. YouOS

This one has been getting a lot of press lately, and its feature-laden yet simple interface and piles of free applications make it a winner of a web OS.

4. CCleaner

This registry tuner and disk dejunker works lightning fast, and the result is a lightning fast computer as well. Constantly updated, this application takes seconds to install and the results are wonderful.

5. Ares

Who said file sharing has to be difficult? This free application lets you share music, video, and more with hundreds of other users worldwide.

6. Alesti

This free web-based RSS reader works like a desktop application, allowing import/export of OPML files, reading summaries and full items, and linking to news pages.

7. Anvil Studio

This free MIDI music mixer allows easy creation of music tracks featuring hundreds of different instruments and with a very simple and easy-to-use interface.

8. AWIcons Lite

This eval version of an amazing icon editor is free and features almost Photoshop quality editing capabilities. Wonderful for creating icons of all sizes and bit depths.

9. Programmer's Notepad

For the programmer, nothing beats this application for quick and easy editing of almost any standard programming language's source code.

10. Blender

This popular 3D modeling program rises above the rest, even the expensive commercial applications such as Maya.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Vista: Your Files Are Safe! NOT!

Windows Vista implements a new feature known as Shadow Copy, which creates copies of your personal files at regular intervals and allows you to revive them at will. Or so we all thought.

Unfortunately, while Vista Home Basic and Vista Home Premium versions do back up the files (taking up a significant amount of space on your hard disk), they won't let you see these files or bring them back to the land of the living. In other words, Vista guarantees the safety of your files, unless you actually want those files.

Can't have 'em. They're there, but unavailable to you, the user. I know, it sucks. That's what you get for skimping on your OS. You should have bought Vista Home Premium.

So this guy makes a suggestion: Vista Ransom Edition. You have to pay a small fee for each "rescue" of a file. Makes sense with Microsoft's current business model: suck 'em dry.

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Tuesday, April 10, 2007

TechTrek: How Far We've Come

Looking back, I guess you could say we really didn't stand a chance. But in this article, I'm going to recap everything TechTrek has come through in the last two years.


"I started this blog because I knew it needed to be started. Not too many blogs exist where the word "game" does not necessarily mean a First-Person Shooter. I knew that there needed to be a place where serious gamers - who believe games should not be mindless shoot-em-ups - could gather."

And so began yet another crappy blog that nobody would ever read, named Gaming Avenue. Dedicated to gaming, I soon ran out of topics to write opinion articles on, as we will see later on.

Enter Ryan Levingston

"I would like to take this opportunity to thank Levingston for his excellent writing so far and encourage him to keep up the good work!"

May 19th, 10 days after my initial request for additional writers, Ryan Von Levingston (also known as "mokatua") joined the team. He proceeded to write incredibly detailed articles and wonderful game reviews.

In Name Only

The next change TechTrek went through was, well, becoming TechTrek. This change cake from a realization that no matter how I tried, I could not keep from running out of gaming topics to write opinions about. I didn't want to just write game reviews. And so, roughly July 2006, I renamed Gaming Avenue to TechTrek, the blog you see today. An old blog with a new purpose.

So Long Mokatua

Shortly thereafter, mokatua stepped down as writer for TechTrek. I've been on my own ever since, but the offer is still open.

2 Years and Still Strong

Now that TechTrek has gone through some major changes, I feel it has gotten on its feet quite well and established itself in the technology news stream. We still hold the same principles and goals as the day we went online, back in the day.

The Future of TechTrek

First of all, I'm not sure how much longer I can keep up the lead role in TechTrek: I am getting older, and getting a college education is my #1 priority. That means I may not have time to be any more than a minor contributor in the future.

That said, our goals have not changed: although we expanded our horizons when we made the move to a mainly technology based blogazine, we still aim to explain and clarify the digital universe, and hopefully change it for the better in the process.

So what do you think? Do you like TechTrek? Do you want it to continue, and get better? If you answered yes, please consider helping out by joining the team and becoming a contributor to TechTrek.

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Sunday, April 08, 2007

Finally, a Charity Worth Funding

That's right folks, I found one. And this one actually has some potential.

One Laptop Per Child is a non-profit organization that is making amazing headway in supplying affordable and durable laptops to children in "developing nations" (code for "third-world countries"). Their first model, the XO (due to ship in July) only costs $150, runs on man-generated (or in this case, kid-generated) power, has a water-proof keyboard, and is capable of mesh-networks, and tons more. There is so much thought that has gone into this product, it is truly unbelievable (Google: hire these people quick!)

Rugged, cheap, and almost unbreakable, this laptop features a tablet mode, two screen modes (one for direct sunlight, and one for darker situations), USB ports, and purely flash memory (no hard drive to fail). It has a touch screen, 1200x900 resolution, and a Linux-based OS that is multi-lingual.

There's so much more to this that it's literally impossible to list it all here. You just have to see it for yourself. All I have to say is, they've got my money.

AJAX Site of the Week: Google Docs & Spreadsheets

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