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Windows Live Messenger - Free Invites!

It's finally here! Windows Live Messenger is the newest instant messenger client from Windows. The big deal is a new feature that allows you to create a folder of files to share with your buddies. WLM is currently all the rage, and it is invite-only. Invites are scarce, but I have a modest amount. Personally, I will stick with Trillian, but if you want a Windows Live Messenger invite, then follow the instructions below:

Go to the sidebar of this blog --->
Scroll down until you see the FeedBlitz subscription box.
Input your email, and you'll receive an invite as soon as FeedBlitz emails me.
Posted by PU on Thursday, January 19, 2006 at 3:20 PM Comments (25)

Windows XP Games - Tips & Tricks

FreeCellFreeCell

Secret - Instant Win
Instructions - Hold down Ctrl + Shift + F10 during game play. Then you will be asked if you want to Abort, Retry or Ignore. Choose Abort, then move any card to instantly win.

Secret - Hidden Game Modes
Instructions - In the "Game" menu choose "Select Game". Enter -1 or -2 to activate the hidden game modes.

Minesweeper Minesweeper

Secret - Reveal Mines
Instructions - Minimize or close all running applications. Launch Minesweeper, then type xyzzy. Next hold down either shift key. Now when you move the mouse cursor over a Minesweeper square you will see a tiny white pixel in the top left corner of your desktop screen. This pixel will change to black when your mouse moves over a mine. You may need to change you desktop background to a solid color other then white or black to see the pixel.

Pinball Pinball

Secret - Extra Balls
Instructions - Type 1max at the start of a new ball to get extra balls.

Secret - Gravity Well
Instructions - Type gmax at the start of a new game to activate the Gravity Well.

Secret - Instant Promotion
Instructions - Type rmax at the start of a new game to go up in ranks.

Secret - Skill Shot
Instructions - Launch the ball partially up the chute past the third yellow light bar so it falls back down to get 75,000 points. There are six yellow light bars that are worth a varying amount of points:

First: 15,000 points
Second: 30,000 points
Third: 75,000 points
Fourth: 30,000 points
Fifth: 15,000 points
Sixth: 7,500 points

Secret - Test Mode
Instructions - Type hidden test at the start of a new ball to activate Test Mode. No notification will be given that this is activated but you can now left-click the mouse button and drag the ball around.

Secret - Unlimited Balls
Instructions - Type bmax at the start of a new ball. No notification will be given that this is activated but when a ball is lost a new ball will appear from the yellow wormhole indefinitely. Once this is activated you will be unable to activate other secrets without restarting the game.

Solitaire Solitaire

Secret - Instant Win
Instructions - Press Alt + Shift + 2 during game play to instantly win.

Secret - Draw single cards in a Draw Three game
Instructions - Hold down CTRL + ALT + SHIFT while drawing a new card. Instead of drawing three cards you will only draw one.
Posted by PU on Saturday, January 14, 2006 at 5:03 AM Comments (4)

Pandora - "Find Music You'll Love"

Pandora is a great site created by the Music Genome Project, a group of people who analyze musical components. What this site does is just find you new music you will like, based on the songs you already like. So just enter a song, and get your own streaming radio station with songs with similar qualities.

For example, I entered the song Encore, and Pandora returned another song called The Next Episode because it had "west coast ganster roots, modal harmonies, heavy use of slang, club rap influences, and dry snare and acoustic drum samples." I liked the first song, and I also liked the next few songs the station provided. Excellent!

Check it Out!
Posted by PU on Sunday, January 08, 2006 at 1:39 PM Comments (0)

Konfabulator - a.k.a. Yahoo Widget Engine 3.0

Whenever a great new idea comes out, the company is immediately bought out by a tech giant, such as Amazon or Yahoo. Konfabulator was one "great new idea." Yahoo bought the site and software and renamed it Yahoo Widget Engine 3.0, but I would have stuck with the tag Konfabulator. Anyway, Konfabulator is (or was) a great program that lets you put little interactive "widgets" on your desktop. They just sit there like icons, but they can be hidden or made transparent. Perhaps a live weather indicator, a trendy looking moon phase indictator, a card that will display your XBOX Live stats, or even an iTunes remote. Plus, users can easily create their own widgets for free with no additional software. Wow! For some examples, check out five of the thousands of widgets available here.

Get it Now!
Posted by PU on Saturday, January 07, 2006 at 2:59 PM Comments (0)

Portable Apps - Run Programs From A USB Drive!

Portable Apps are not a new breakthrough in technology; the capability has been out there for a while. But now portable applications are taking off, and the first major portable apps have come out. So how does it work? You download the file, and then put the folder on your USB flash drive. Then, when you head over to you friend's house, you have all your programs at your fingertips. Extremely useful if you are a Firefox fan, and you have a lot of Extensions, and your library computer only has IE. The only drawback is that most free programs do not offer a portable app version. However, here are a few notables. I encourage you to check them out, and maybe put them on your flash drive.

Mozilla Firefox (web browser - better than IE!)
Mozilla Thunderbird (alternative to Outlook Express)
Mozilla Sunbird (calendar software)
Open Office (great Microsoft Office alternative)
NVU (a web editor)
Gaim (similar to Trillian)
Foxit Reader (A PDF reader)
PStart (Use this to start all your portable apps from one menu, rather than individual folders)
Posted by PU on Friday, January 06, 2006 at 2:42 PM Comments (1)

Clusty - Google Goes Down

I have been a diehard Google fan ever since it came out of Beta at Stanford University many years ago. I have seen the new search engines come and go, but Google has always been my favorite. Yesterday, I (voluntarily) changed my homepage for the first time in five years. Clusty is a new search engine, and it, well, clusters. I have used other clustering search engines in the past and hated them, but Clusty is different. It also has an image search as well as a blog search, two of my favorite Google features.

Check Clusty Out!
Posted by PU on Monday, January 02, 2006 at 1:15 PM Comments (2)

Audacity - For All Your Mix-n-Mash Needs

Audacity is a great piece of freeware. With it, I can record mp3 files with a simple microphone. I can then burn these mp3s to a CD with a couple of clicks. A CD compilation of some homemade songs would make a great Christmas present for Grandma. You can also mix and mash your favorite songs, and add your own voice overlay with one click!

Level 2
For all you more advanced techies, Audacity lets you import MIDIs and raw data, which you can convert to mp3 format. Furthermore, you can edit ID3 tags, which come in handy for Itunes and Ipod users. This is the best (relatively) unknown freeware program I have seen in a great while.

Download it Now!

Posted by PU on Sunday, January 01, 2006 at 12:48 PM Comments (0)