31 May 2010

World Cup South Africa 2010 Windows 7 Theme

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The World Cup South Africa 2010 is just around the corner now, and as it looms closer and closer, the craze for everything about it is also gets more intense. Want to be part of such momentum and contribute to the problem?. You can!.

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Just get yourself this package with 5 World Cup 2010 Windows 7 Themes, that would should do the trick. 

Linkage

WC2010 W7 TP                                                                              <— Details

5 World Cup South Africa 2010 Windows 7 Themes     <—Direct Download Link

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Microsoft Download Manager

Microsoft Logo

It is not openly known, but Microsoft got quite a tradition in Download Managers. Just that until now, every single one of them had been for Internal use, Beta Software Testers or Subscribers. That has just changed.

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Microsoft Download Manager is a non browser integrated standalone download manager for Windows. At version 1.1 it looks it is optimized to download files that come from Microsoft. It can also download files only from urls starting with http:// . But it is perfectly capable of pausing, resuming files, you can set up the number of consecutive connections it can have (up to 16) and also setup  specific parameters for file url retries in the case of a download error.

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It should be stated that Microsoft is only offering this passively and without any info or official statements. So that means it is a Beta state even if not indicated.  That could also mean it is a app being worked on for integration with something else. The most probable guess being Internet Explorer 9, thing that would make a whole lot of sense given how simple the app is and because until now IE has never being released with a integrated download manager of its own. So i do hope that is the case.

The Microsoft Download Manager while being a basic download manager is still a good enough choice to try along with IE8 or if you simply want to keep track of your download independently of your browser. It works for Windows XP, Vista & 7.

Linkage

Microsoft Download Manager               <— Direct Download Link

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Tempalias: A Excellent Temporary Email Alias Generator

Tempalias Logo

If you like to try a lot of new online services or just want a better way to filter the way you receive emails without putting your personal E-mail address at the risk of spam. A temporary email alias is just what you may want. This way every email that you get from a temporary email alias will be forwarded to your personal email address. Once in your inbox, you will know from where you are being e-mailed or will be rest assured that any new service you give your Email, will not be able to know your real email address and sell it to spammers.

Tempalias is a Temporay Email Alias Generator that can generate as many Email Aliases you want for your real Email Address. Tempalias, unlike ShadyMail will not give you a inbox. It will only give you the Email Aliases. These only got the function to forward whatever emails they get to your real email address. Nothing more than that.

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The best about Tempalias is the free range control you have on how long your Email Alias is going to last. You can set a number of days you want it to last, a number of messages for it to be able to get and then expire or both. So for example (see screenshots) i have set a temporal email alias to last only 1 day or 1 message. That means it will expire as soon as it  receives and forwards me one message or after one day after the time i set it up.

It is up to you to decide.

Once you have created your temporary email alias, it will be ready to use until it expires. No need of a user account in the site or for you to return to the site after that. So the only limitation is you cannot change the way your alias will expire once you set it up.

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Tempalias is the very best execution of a temporary email alias generator i have found so far. A definitive plus is how well designed it is the site. Totally recommended.

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Tempalias

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Microsoft Robotics Developer Studio 2008 R3

Microsoft Robotics Developers Studio

Previously, if you wanted to try out Microsoft Robotics Developer Studio for free, you could do so accepting certain limitations. Then later you could opt for a paid version that included more features, better settings and a complete toolkit. Now you can have everything the paid version had for free.

But not only you now can get a full Robotics Developer Studio for free. You can also take advantage of lots of also free documentation and training materials in order to learn using it effectively right away.

Microsoft Robotics Developer Studio 2008 R3 is a .NET based IDE that you can use to create robotic applications across a multitude of compatible hardware. This program can be installed in Windows XP, Windows Vista and Windows 7. While it can exist independently, you can also use it alongside Visual Studio 2008 or Visual Studio 2010, even if you are using a Express Edition.

Features

Lightweight Asynchronous Services Oriented Runtime
Concurrency and Coordination Runtime (CCR) makes it easier to handle asynchronous input and output, eliminating the conventional complexities of manual threading, locks, and semaphores. Lightweight state-oriented Decentralized Software Services (DSS) framework enables you to create program modules that can inter-operate on a robot and on connected PCs using a simple, open protocol.

Visual Programming Language (VPL)

VPL provides a simple drag-and-drop visual programming language tool that makes it easy to create robotics applications. VPL also provides the ability to take a collection of connected blocks and reuse them as single block elsewhere in your program. VPL is also capable of generating human-readable C#.

DSS Manifest Editor
DSS Manifest Editor provides simple creation of application configuration and distribution scenarios.

DSS Log Analyzer

The DSS Log Analyzer tool allows you to view message flows across multiple DSS services. DSS Log Analyzer also allows you to inspect message details.

Visual Simulation Environment
VSE provides the ability to simulate and test robotic applications using a 3D physics-based simulation tool. This allows developers to create robotics applications without the hardware. Sample simulation models and environments enables you to test your application in a variety of 3D virtual environments.

Microsoft Robotics Developer Studio 2008 R3 was already a excellent IDE for Robotics Programming and Development. Now at the low low price of Free, it becomes the best option around. Option that can become even better if you use it alongside a Visual Studio installation. Proof of it is that it has been already downloaded around 2 million times. Considering the very specific kind of niche software program this is, that is a huge lot.  You don’t download a half a gig software package like this without the intention of actually using it.

Some Notes

On the why Microsoft has made it free, many are thinking that is because it was not a successful software development. But according to numbers and interest on it. That don’t seems to be the case. So there are 3 logical possible reasons for that:

1.-There is supplemental premium software coming that will be compatible with this program

2.-There is a new version of this very program coming that will breakaway significantly from this version

3.-Microsoft wants to cultivate this software niche faster that what they had projected having it as a paid program. In order to introduce premium solutions later on.

The Robotics market is going to start growing dramatically from 2010 on, because this is the year where many developed countries had already scheduled new initiatives for promoting development  in the space.  So whatever reason Microsoft may have to put this software for free, if you are interested in Robotics. 2010 is the perfect year to try your hand on it, as things will only heat up a lot faster from here on.

Linkage

Microsoft Robotics                                                               <— Homepage

Microsoft Robotics Developer Studio 2008 R3       <— Download Link

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SaveMyNing: Backup And Archive Your Ning Network For Free

Update *This project is no longer operating and has been closed down as it has met its goal during its pertinent time-frame*

Ning Logo

Ning.com decided 6 weeks ago that they would no longer offer a free option for their “Roll On Your Own Social Network” service. And that they would offer current members using the free version the chance to upgrade to a paid version or to move on. The deadline is getting closer, and there are now only 5 weeks left for current free users to stay and pay or to move on.

If you are a current user of a free Ning Network but you have not decided what to do, there is something you can do while you decide.

SaveMyNing is a online project that got the goal to backup and archive the Ning Networks of Ning Members in the previously free plan. The only thing you need to do is to apply for it. If you pass their selection criteria, you will then get your Ning Network backed up for you.

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A good option if you are pretty sure you will not upgrade for a paid plan in Ning and also a way to get even more time to make your mind on what to do with your Ning Network.

Linkage

Submit your Ning Network for Backup  *             <— Direct Link 

SaveMyNing      *                                                               <— Project Homepage 

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Update *This project is no longer operating and has been closed down as it has met its goal during its pertinent time-frame*

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30 May 2010

WizardRSS: Full RSS Feed Generator

WizardRSS logo

I always advocate for sites and blogs to offer a Full RSS Feed option. In my case it is even the default choice, thing some do not agree on and that is fine. But at least there should be the option so readers choose the one they want to subscribe to. But if a site happens to only offer a cut up feed, there will always be a way around that…

WizardRSS is a Full RSS Feed Generator that allows you to input any site or blog incomplete (summary or headlines only) rss feed in the site web form and get a full RSS or ATOM feed less than a minute after that.

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Or you can even skip going to the website and generate full feeds directly from your browser address bar with this address:

http://www.wizardrss.com/feed/  + the direct url address (No Http:// or WWW) of the feed you want convert just like this rss.news.yahoo.com/rss/topstories

So the WizardRSS generated full RSS feed address would then be:

http://www.wizardrss.com/feed/rss.news.yahoo.com/rss/topstories

And from that same rss address example a summary feed that usually looks like this:

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Will instead look like this:

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Very simple and completely free. The only catch is that it will scrap any image or media from all entries. That means you will only get a text feed.

But if you are ok with the trade off, WizardRSS is the fastest and easiest way to get a full feed from a site that only offers a incomplete one.  But if for some reason it don’t works for you, you can also check FullFeeds or Full Text RSS Feed Builder as the other options to do the very same.

Linkage

WizardRSS

*Update* 1 (03/15/11): Almost Everything in this blog post still applies with the exceptions that WizardRSS is no longer of limited usage and that it has now has gone with a simpler look.

WizardRSS.com screenshot

Not enough changes to justify a whole new post. But it changes more, the a new post may be issued to replace this one. 

*Update* 2 (03/17/11): Added Full Text RSS Feed Builder as a option for a service that does the same that WizardRSS does.

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29 May 2010

Google Wave: One Year Later

google_wave_logo 

It is been a year after the first version of Google Wave was shown to some Google enthusiastic web developers and the press. How things have changed since then with Google Wave as a viable consumer offering?.

Not much, actually.

Google Wave continues to be a offering only suited to power users, the tech press and web developers. To the point where Google accepted that so by purchasing Etherpad; A more user friendly version of the same concept Google Wave is gunning for.

What has changed?

While Wave biggest achievement in the past year was to gain the stability and performance needed for it to be offered as a freely available Google App, lots of things changed around it as Google has adjusted many of their web strategies, and even released what could be seen as a competing (even if not fully) offering now known as Google Buzz.

Then there is Google Chrome, now at version 5 that got it plugin story changed radically as Google has downplayed and retired both Google Gears and O3D in favor of HTML5 and WebGL.

Google also decided to do a big strategic partnership with Adobe on all fronts and they decided that Flash will be bundled with the chrome browser, android and chrome os. Finally, on the NaCl front, things have been going slower than they planned and there is not really anything done Google had shown that end users can care to check for themselves at this point.

Those changes (Etherpad, Buzz, Chrome) have put the push for Google Wave to the sidelines. I expect that Google will start pushing for it again once the first full version of Chrome OS gets released to the public later this year. Also because until now i don’t see that what Google expected to get from Etherpad had been integrated into Google Wave. But being optimistic about it, we should do see it in the coming months.

Should it be retried now?.

Yes if you plan to use it for Liveblogging, Group Researching, Group Studying, Project Meetings or even as a new take on Online Chatting and Instant Messaging. Just remember about the logging, the replaying and the impulsiveness of it since what you say appears as fast as your think it and write it in. 

The reason being its fully real-time wild nature that lets you have several people interacting into a communication stream overlapping into each other. Something that works well for a conscious transmission of text and media that don’t needs to be 100% fully coherent or clear. Just something that can follow a certain timeline, theme or idea.

No if you want to use it as a social hangout, network, community,forum, document collaboration,

The reason being that it is too messy for it. And if you got more than 10 people in a stream everything in it will end up in a bunch of senseless noise or something that would need to be edited several times over for it to gain a sense of order. Also because Google actually does offers you two other choices for things like that in the form of Buzz and Docs. That should be a clue that it only fits well for some specific scenarios and that while you can force it into others, it don’t means  you should or that it will workout well if you do.

But if you are still keen on force it to do your bidding, you can check out what Novell among others are doing with the code of Google Wave.

Conclusions

I do not want jump into any final ones yet. I think that Google Wave still got lots of evolving to do in order for it to fulfill its potential. The problem is that not all the tech it needs is there yet and that it still lacks a huge lot of user controls, better settings and even better performance, stability and browser compatibility (Since it continues to be a good experience ONLY in Webkit based browsers) to really be able to judge it properly once and for all.But i will be doing just once a full year of  my first post on it passes.

While that time mark would indicate Google Wave will have almost a year and half in the spotlight since its dev introduction. Given how Google develops things internally from ideas to alpha in around 6 months. That would mean it will have  at least 2 years of continuous development by then. More than enough time to get some strong conclusions and even some final perceptions for the future of it on Google hands.

But in the meantime check it out for yourself now that is open for everyone. The only requirement is of course a Google Account.

Linkage

Google Wave

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Technorati Tags:

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*Edited(03/06/10)*



21 May 2010

Boxoh: Universal Package Tracking

Boxoh.com

Tracking packages online is now being integrated into all the Top E-mail providers, but there still a gap as not all the Package Delivery companies are represented or fully integrated. The same happens even with Bing or Google. 

Boxoh is a online package tracker that lets you track any package shipped by the USPS , UPS, FedEx or DHL.  A quick and simple online single purpose tool that will save you time that adds up if you shop online.

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Would like it if they offered a Windows Gadget version of it. but if you want to put this in your desktop, you can always use Bubbles SSB.

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Boxoh

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Lissn: A Neo-Retro Take On Online Chats

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Quirky takes on old ideas attract me and sometimes they even capture my attention long enough to post about them. A Neo-Retro 2010 take on online chat rooms (a nineties thing) sure did just that.

Lissn idea is to make for a more accessible online chatting that can be fully public and yet feel personal.  The execution is really marrying the old late nineties browser chat room, web based IM clients and some in vogue options  like sharing your chats via Facebook or Twitter. Or at least that is the feel i get after having tested it recently.

The reason i call it Neo-Retro is because it uses current modern web conventions mixed with a old web model in a anachronistic look and feel. It of course may not end up looking or feeling like this at all once it reaches a fully realized 1.0 version. Whenever that may be, but at this moment is how it call it.

Quick Walkthrough

Homepage

The first you see on when visiting is a welcoming emoticon asking you to register, a demo video and the counter of people in the site under the “world” description at the top right of the site.

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User Page

Once you have registered, you are greeted by a card asking you to start a conversation. While giving hints of what themes you can use in your chats like: Ask, Tell, Teach.

You can also see that there are new counters in the top right corner for “Memory” and “Me”.

Memory is for chats you bookmark so you can easily keep track of them and reply back later if you have to go off.

Me are for the chats initiated by you.

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If you still have some doubt there is a help card you can consult by clicking the “explain this page” action link.

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Chat Channels

In the case of the World Channel, it will only list the active chat channels from registered users online in the lissn site. Me and Memory will list all the chats initiated or bookmarked respectively.

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A Lissn Chat

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Once you enter a active lissn chat you will see that how things work. The host will be the indicated by the Host Picon at the left and all visitors picons will be put at the right. If you like the site, you just  click remember to bookmark it for revisiting it later or you can send a shout out for it via Facebook or Twitter so potentially more people join the chat. That is it at this point.

Some Notes

As i said, this is a web service in transition and the transition can be seen as Alpha to Beta. It should change a lot. The reason i found it amusing is because i would like to see the idea executed well since it intrigues me.  I have seen this idea before fail with thins like Lingr or Chatte. 

So if lissn want to do better it needs to shake up the look, add a great template that makes the chats feel more like a cross of IM and Social Messaging (Twitter, Yammer) and allow not only for text but a lot more. Another thing would be to make it extensible to websites and blogs by allowing chats to be redistributable via Widgets.  That without mentioning that it needs a proper homepage, blog and feedback form. Because if it lacks to evolve that way, it will just fade away like previous attempts in this niche.

Linkage

Lissn

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Moo0 MultiDesktop : Multiple Desktop Environment App

Moo0 MultiDesktop Logo

Moo0 MultiDesktop is a app that let you have Multiple Desktops in Windows in the same way they are in lets say OpenSUSE or Ubuntu. So you can set workspaces and keep a workflow without ever running out of screen state and without having to close apps. An idea that existed in Windows roots but that was never accessible by default. The reason for this was because Microsoft opted to push for people to focus on managing the apps open or having a second monitor. And also later on you also simply managing your apps and workflow via minimizations and OS integrations. 

Today there is no really much of a point for this app if you got Windows 7 as the Super Taskbar and all the other conventions introduced by it make such a concept completely unnecessary (And even if you wanted to use it with Windows 7, it will not play 100% nice with Aero or Windows 7 effects).

But it is still very useful if you got a Windows XP or Windows Vista Netbook, since the screen size and resolution is very limited in a Netbook compared to a regular laptop or desktop. Moo0 MultiDesktop then not just makes sense, it makes a difference by improving your workflow and maximizing what you can do in a Netbook. I personally tried it out with a MSI Wind U100 and it is a nice added capability to have.

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Then you can have 4 desktops that you can fully manage from your system tray. So if you got yourself a Windows XP or Windows Vista Netbook, give this app a try. You may like it quite a bit.

Linkage

Moo0 MultiDesktop        <— Download Page

Moo0                                     <— Homepage

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via Life Rocks 2.0

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20 May 2010

Diagram Designer : A Universal Windows Flowchart App

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While Flowcharts are now used a lot for senseless Internet Memes making the rounds. They do actually have a useful utility even today whether you are a Engineer, Scientist, Mathematician, Teacher, Software Developer, P.I or even a Writer.  They are the best way to create a structured relational map quickly and efficiently that can be applied to any situation you are planning, studying or explaining.

Nowadays you can create some awesome and very stylish flowcharts with Office 2007 or Office 2010.

That is good and dandy it is for a professional presentation, a important school paper. But what if you are not really doing a big presentation and you only want to make flowcharts and flowcharts only.

Then these will need to be done super fast and in a simple and plain way. No need for anything that fancy.

MeeSoft got you covered then. They got this Universal Windows Flowchart App called Flowchart Designer so you only focus on making flowcharts as fast as you can. Why i say it is universal?. Because it can run in any windows from Windows 98 to Windows 7.  So it is “universal” to the times we are living in (Yeah, i just justified the title of this blog post).

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Features

  • Customizable template object palette.
  • Spellchecker (see below about dictionaries).
  • Import/export WMF, EMF, BMP, JPEG, PNG, MNG, ICO, GIF and PCX images.
  • Slide show viewer.
  • Simple graph plotter to plot mathematical expressions.
  • Advanced "pocket" calculator with equation solver.
  • MeeSoft Image Analyzer integration for bitmap image editing and extended file format support.
  • Uses compressed file format for minimizing drawing file size.

Diagram Designer could not be easier to use and there are also some add-ons for it like more templates, dictionaries and language packs. So if you want to quickly create flowcharts or even some UML class diagrams. This is a great free choice.

Linkage

Diagram Designer

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via DS

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Windows Error Message Lookup Portable Tool

FaveSoft

Hexadecimal Error Message Code Number dialogs are now quite rarer in Windows 7 respective to XP where they are common and in Vista where they still appear from time to time. The problem with these errors is that they will mean pretty much nothing to a non windows developer/expert.  The usual way to look up these error messages, if you don’t know what they mean is to get the Windows Documentation on them and then find what your code references to in it. That just so you know what you need to know, in order to look up for more info about that error to then find a way to fix it. Yeah, it reads more complicated than it is, but it is indeed just as slow as it reads.

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But that little problem and inconvenience is now a thing of the past. Now you only need this little portable app called Error Message Lookup (or ErrMsg for short).

Then you only need to copy the error message code number (example: 80000008) and add “0x” at the beginning of every code number when you type it into the ErrMsg app.

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That way if you need to troubleshoot some error by searching online you can then just search for:

Error Message Code Number + Error Message ID Info (The one you got from ErrMsg) + Your Windows OS version and that should lead you into entries of probable causes to let you fix  or know more about any issue linked to that error.

ErrMsg is a 370k Portable App and it can run in Windows XP, Windows Vista and Windows 7. No matter if you got a 32 or 64 bits version. Useful for when you get unexpected hexadecimal error message codes (quite usual in XP) and to have as a back up troubleshooter tool in case the new Microsoft Fix It Center don’t provides a automated solution.

Linkage

ErrMsg             <— Direct Download Link

FaveSoft

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via A.T

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17 May 2010

i2pdf: Convert A Selection Of Images Into A PDF File

i2pdf

i2pdf allows you to convert a selection of image files (JPG, PNG, BMP, TIFF and GIF) into PDF files.

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The advantages that i2pdf got compared to other apps is that it is light (1mb), fast (compared to other apps that do the same),  portable (don’t requires to be installed, just to be contained within any folder you want) and that it works in any Windows OS from Windows XP to Windows 7 ( 32 or 64 bits)

Once you download it, just create a folder and extract there the contents from the Zip it comes in.

To start using it just open Windows Explorer and browse to where you got the images you want to convert into a PDF file. Then execute i2pdf and drag and drop the images  into the App.

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The only other thing you may want to do is to open the options for the PDF file you are going to create. Select your settings and click “Build PDF”, You are done. The time it takes to convert your selection of images into a PDF file will depend on the number of images and the size of the images.

But you can create PDF files as big as your Virtual Memory allows you to. But unless you are using this app in a old machine, you should have more than enough memory to create a file from as many images you want.

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Linkage

i2pdf                           

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via LR 2.0

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Audio Orchard: Silverlight Based Collaborative Music Recorder

AudioOrchard.com

There are many Flash/Flex based drum machines, synthesizers, sequencers and recorders. But i don’t remember one that is actually all of those and that also happens to be collaborative and comes with its own community.

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Audio Orchard is all of those things and it is Silverlight 4 based.  So it is pretty cutting edge on that regard and it is 100% web based right now. The only thing you need to have to use it is Silverlight.

With this app you can record, host and share your own songs or beats and also connect with other people doing the same. You can even remix other people music or check out how others remix your own. And even if you are not interested in doing your own music, you can listen, share and download the music uploaded by the Audio Orchard community.

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If you have never used a similar app but want to learn how to use Audio Orchard, you can do so right away with the 3 video tutorials being showcased by the site. Watch all 3 and you will be making your own beats and songs in no time.

Audio Orchard is a really great Online Music Recording app because it is not only very easy to use but it is also powerful enough to give you the experience you would get from a similar desktop based app thanks to it being Silverlight 4 based.  Another advantages of it is that it comes with a community from where to learn and to be inspired in better ways to use the app, that it is free and that you can directly host, listen, collaborate, comment and share any track you want besides making your own tracks.

That said, i would still like to see Audio Orchard in a SL4 OOB version (installable to desktop) that could contain all the experience of the app and site community while being able to have it integrated to your PC. Simply because having the option to do that just makes sense given it is SL4 based.

Linkage

Audio Orchard

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via 10REM.net  (very recommended as the post comes with a interview to the creator of Audio Orchard and all the technical details behind it)

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Bing Screensaver : Use Bing.com Best Photo Backgrounds As Your PC Screensaver

Bing

 

The Bing Photo Background is not only one of the things that people identify Bing.com for, it is also the most liked differentiator all around . Many like the Bing Photo Backgrounds so much that they collect them and then they set them for their Screensaver via Photo Gallery. Thanks to Bing UK, now you will not need to do that manually as they have released a Bing Screensaver app.

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Bing Screensaver is a little application that sets a collection of some of the best Bing Photo Backgrounds ever (according to Bing UK) as your PC Screensaver without you doing nothing but some clicks to set things up.

It is a very light app and it can run in XP, Vista and 7 no matter if your PC is old or new as the requirements are very very low. You can download it and set it up in about a minute.

The best choice for those that wanted a official Bing Screensaver as this is the only official one so far.

Linkage

Bing Screensaver                            <— Homepage

Download Bing Screensaver       <— Direct Download Link

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Technorati Tags: ,,

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