Find Free Alternatives to Expensive Software!

I am a huge fan of the website AlternativeTo.net. I have been using it since they were in their infancy, I submitted several product reviews and filled in a few blanks in my time on the site. It’s a very useful site for tech geeks like myself, who might be looking for a program that is similar to something else, but might be more affordable, or have a different feature set. If you want something similar to Norton Ghost, it might suggest Clonezilla, or if you want DropBox, you might want to check out SugarSync or SkyDrive.

AlternativeTo covers all of the major platforms, from Windows, to Mac OSX, to Android, iOS, and even WebOS… you can find great suggestions if you’re looking for an app similar to another, because one doesn’t quite suit your needs. I can suggest the website enough, it’s all built up with user feedback, and I really hope it’s around for years to come.

1998 – Eve 6 – Self Titled


I remember the holiday season of 1998 like it was yesterday. I was given a portable CD player, and a few albums. One of the albums I had asked for was Eve 6’s album, Eve 6. I remember listening to the major single from the album, Inside Out over and over. Little did I know, at the time, that the rest of the album would grow on me so much.

The album opens up with the track How Much Longer, which immediately gets you bobbing your head and tapping your toe with percussion. You’re pulled in to a fast paced album and you’re hooked. It’s followed up with the major single, Inside Out, then other tracks that I can’t get out of my mind to this day continue to follow up. Leech, includes lines about the kind of person who needs to lie to try to make themselves more interesting in social situations… “you’re suckin’ on my brain / you’re the teacher I’m the student / turnin’ things around, your story’s not congruent.” Something that holds as true now, as it did when I Was 14, is the fact that I’m still shocked to hear the word “congruent” in a lyric.

Maybe the song writer simply used a rhyming dictionary, but it really seemed like an intelligent form of rock that was hard to find. I was thrilled when I heard Open Road Song, just because it was a fun song that made you want to go fast – whether I was cranking it through headphones while roller blading at 14, or when I turned 16 and got my driver’s license. Still songs like Small Town Trap seemed like an anthem for my tiny hometown and people like me stuck in it as teenagers. And even as a child, I could tell that the song Tongue Tied was about someone tired of being smarter than their classmates, and just wanting to be one of the kids in class, just like everyone else: “Pardon me, sir, / could I ask you a favor? / Make me a cowboy / like my next door neighbor.”

Yes, Eve 6 was geek rock, in the vein of the Weezer music of the time. That is to say, a time before Weezer got an unusual amount of confidence in who they were, and forgot that they grew up in their garages playing Dungeons and Dragons and listening to KISS. But I digress. The self titled Eve 6 album is a rare gem I still find myself enjoying from time to time, and it is something you should listen to more than just the hit single from. Eve 6 wasn’t a one-hit-wonder in my memory, I really enjoyed their first major-label album all the way through.

A few places where you can pre-order the Wii U

That certainly didn’t take long. Hours after Nintendo announced the availability date and pricing for their upcoming Wii U console, Gamestop has already begun taking preorders. They were the first, several hours ahead of the others. Best Buy and Toys “R” Us have also begun their preorders.

The Wii U will come in two flavors at launch: a black, 32GB model, and a white 8GB system. The white system will be $299 and the black with additional storage capacity will run you a $50 premium. 64 days from now, you could have a glossy new console in your home. The question between now and then will be: will it be sold out everywhere this holiday season? Should you get your preorders done now and hope to get a console before you’re stuck without one? Or will you wait and try your luck, and believe that this generation of Nintendo console isn’t as big of a deal as the last? Although I’m certainly not expecting it to live up to the hype of the Wii, which was “hard to get” for three holiday seasons in a row, I would expect it to be a top ticket item this year.

As of the time of publication, we’re still waiting for Amazon’s preorder page to go live, but we’ll be sure to update with a link when it becomes available.

Introducing page translations…

I’ve been watching my stats, and although the extreme majority of traffic to my website is obviously from the US and UK, as well as other English-as-a-first-language nations, more and more visitors who don’t speak English natively are finding their way to this little website. I can even see some of the translation sites showing up in my traffic logs. Well, thanks to a plugin from WordPress community developer lovelucy, every post now has a “Translate” link near the bottom, next to the various social networking “share” buttons. It’s powered by Bing Translator and appears to work pretty well. I hope this helps some of you, and if anyone has any questions or suggestions for making the site easier to access internationally, please leave a comment or contact me and let me know!

GoDaddy's big or bigger blunder?

So earlier this week the world saw what would happen if GoDaddy were to suddenly close up shop and leave town. Reports spread quickly, and an a member of “Anonymous” stepped forward saying he is the one who brought GoDaddy to their knees.

Although this may or may not be true, GoDaddy emphatically and categorically denies that such a thing happened. They say an internal error caused the several hour outage.

My co-workers and I crunched a few numbers yesterday and it could be said that GoDaddy is affiliated with some 30 million domain names, if we looked at the right information. Maybe more, maybe less… But would it really matter? Would you like to admit that a mistake, one wrong keystroke, brought down such a huge chunk of the internet? Or would you rather hope that your customers are sympathetic to your plight, that you were an unfair target and they were the collateral damage of a DDOS attack by “some nasty hackers.”

Was their mistake causing their own problem? Or was their bigger mistake admitting it? Does that open them up to a wider swath of people who want to leverage a class action lawsuit against them? They may have had a lawsuit dropped on them either way, in fact you can nearly be certain it will happen, but will more people be likely to pile on without remorse knowing that GoDaddy themselves caused the issue? It’s hard to say for sure, but I think GoDaddy may have slipped up big, this time.

Yahoo Fantasy Sports (Football) for Windows Phone 7? Yes!

Football season is upon us. Fantasy Football players are an “on the go” group, these days, and as such need their fantasy stats to go with them. One of the leading places Fantasy Football players meet up is with Yahoo! Sports Fantasy Football. While the iOS and Android ecosystems have easy to use apps direct from Yahoo!, Windows Phone 7 has no such luck. However, the sports loving geek(s) that make up app developer Bushwood Studios has come to our rescue with Fantasy Ferret – a Yahoo! Fantasy sports app for Windows Phone 7. It covers more than just football, and seems as fully featured as Yahoo’s official apps!

When you open the app, you see your current week’s matchup (or matchups, if you’re in multiple league or playing multiple sports), and both teams’ scores. Swipe to the right to see the whole league. Press the Menu icon to the far left to open the “leagues” Window, select the league you want to make changes in, then tap your team name. From there you can make roster changes, add or drop players, and even read the latest news about your player, to decide whether or not you should start them next week!

Not that I want this app, anymore. After my sound 129.5-to-91 butt-kicking against the London SillyNannies I think I’m already about to throw in the towel on my fantasy season!

Windows 8 & Windows Server 2012 shortcuts

Knowing your way around Windows 8 is going to be critical. Microsoft has put together a list of Common Management Tasks for Server 2012, many of which apply to Windows 8. Be careful, there are some differences – for instance, according to the article, the Start Menu in Windows Server 2012 will be located in the upper right hand corner of the screen (defying all logic). But don’t worry, classic keyboard shortcuts like pressing the Windows Key, or Control + Escape will still bring it up.

Other standards still hold true, as well, like Windows Key + E to open My Computer, and Windows Key + R will open the Run dialogue box – even if you’re at the start menu, it will drop back to classic desktop mode and open the Run prompt.

Check out the TechNet article for even more great tips.

1967 – The Beatles – Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band


I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. Music Monday isn’t always about discovering something new. It’s just something you should hear. And if you grew up like I did, you heard a lot of The Beatles. And if you’re father is like mine, track 11 on this album will be etched in your 8 AM memory like no other song in history.

I, like most teenaged computer geeks, stayed up too late and slept in whenever I could. But 8 AM when my dad (Red) wanted to wake me up, we would pop this disc in, skip to 11, and crank it… to 11. A rooster crows, the band kicks in, “Good morning, good morning, good morning, good morning, good morning-a!” Many people call this the album where The Beatles sold out – their style changed, it was too accessible.

I disagree, because prior to this, they were pop-gold! Songs like HELP!, and even on Revolver, just prior to Sgt. Pepper, Got to Get You in to My Life – the songs were love songs. It wasn’t until the follow up to Sgt. Pepper, fall ’67’s Magical Mystery Tour that the flop top good boys from across the pond really started to “off the deep end” and starting putting out more and more psychedelic songs.

You get a taste of that on Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, in the song A Day in the Life, which really takes you on a journey and tells a story. But from beginning to end, I still love this album, and it holds a special place in my memory. Songs like Fixing a Hole, and Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds might’ve been a precursor of things to come, while songs like When I’m Sixty Four are just simple sweet love songs. It was a great album when The Beatles were at a crossroads, and when the boys from Liverpool were growing up the only way 1960’s rock stars knew how.