Apps Gone Free

Apps Gone Free is an app for iOS, which is extremely obvious. It highlights apps that have experienced recent price drops. It reminds me of AppShopper, but in this case they get nearly exclusive promotions. Obviously, the apps will be on the app store no matter what app you use to find them, but Apps Gone Free will often create partnership deals. Apps Gone Free works with developers to promote the application, through a ‘bumping’ process which, from what I gather, allows users to vote on apps they want to become free, so that the Apps Gone Free folks can work with other app developers.

It’s very convenient, and you can even scroll through several days worth of items that went free. Several of the deals may have expired and prices gone back up, but you can still what the deals were. And scrolling back is still worth it, because some items may stay at their reduced price for a few days. So go ahead and install Apps Gone Free for your iPhone or iPad and see what deal you can find!

How to download Office 2013 64-bit

Another one of Microsoft’s little messes. It’s the year 2013, and Microsoft is still so afraid of jumping head first into 64-bit computing that, by default, Office 2013 users who need to download their installer will download the 32-bit client. As if it’s impossible for Microsoft to run a script on the web page to identify what version of your OS is loaded on your computer? It’s just another one of those SNAFU’s that you get used to, I guess.

First you buy a license at a store like Best Buy, or Amazon. Then you have a product key, nothing more. You have to enter your product key to download the software. But don’t start the download right away! After you click the “get started” button as pictured above, you need to look for (I wish I screenshot of this, sorry, I don’t have one right now) “Language and Install Options.” Then there will be another link that says “Additional Install Options.” There you will find your 64-bit installer.

Perfectly logical, right?

2012 – Flatfoot 56 – Toil

So yesterday was St. Paddy’s day. The jukebox at your local bar cant hold another dollar, you’ve played every Flogging Molly and Dropkick Murphys song at least three times each. You’ve gone far enough to play a bunch of House of Pain songs. Enter Flatfoot 56.

Flatfoot 56 exists in a similar genre as our favorite Irish rockers. A hint of punk, and a dash of bagpipes makes for an enjoyable sound. They are also a Christian Rock band – which, I know, will imemediately turn some people off. But when 90% of people say “I don’t listen to the lyrics,” I don’t know why they suddenly do when it’s Christian music?? The complaint never made sense to me.

Anyway, the good news is the Flatfoot 56 isn’t one of those bands who wanted to jump on the bandwagon. The band formed in 2003. The first note of the first track of their first album begins with bagpipes. They knew what they wanted to be and went straight for it. The downside? After listening to Rumble Of 56, The Sounds of the Midway EP, and Toil, I haven’t found tracks that jumped out at me. The music is good… but none of it is great. Nothing made me go back and listen to that one song again, right away. With a lot of albums, I like to listen all the way through before hearing any song a second time. And that’s okay – but when a song really grabs your attention so much that you immediately want to hear it again? That’s a good sign. Nothing from Flatfoot 56 really had that.

So today’s recommendation comes with, honestly, a little bit of a “it might not wow you” warning, but that’s okay. The point is it’s something different, and still enjoyable. Give Flatfoot 56 a listen! You can start with their latest release, Toil.

What you need to know about Apps on your Xbox 360

Some users are still getting used to having Apps on their Xbox 360. And occasionally you might run in to a bug or two. Microsoft has compiled a list of Top Issues and FAQ’s for apps on the Xbox 360. For instance, you can figure out what to do when you select the Netflix icon and nothing happens. You can get step-by-step instructions for deleting and reinstalling the app.

Overdue for a Half Life 2 run

I own Half Life 2 on Steam. And during last week’s Ultimate Game Sale, I bought the Orange Box on Xbox 360 (I used own the disc based game, sold it off years ago). I have missed Portal… although I also own that on Steam. I just couldn’t resist the temptation to go back through Portal with a controller, and re-live Half Life 2 with a mouse and keyboard.

I’m not looking forward to driving through barren wastelands in a noisy car assembled out of someone’s plumbing. Nor the subsequent roaming around in sewer pipes near a canal. What a pain that part is. But I have a feeling that I’m going to be flashing back a little bit and playing me some Orange Box on the my Xbox 360 this weekend! Unfortunately, I’m pretty sure it’s too late for any level 1 newbies to start playing Team Fortress 2.

Why not let Bitcoin cure cancer?

Bitcoin keeps making headlines as this mysterious currency that nobody understands. And from what I’ve seen, people swap BTC back and forth paying each other in their virtual currency, but there are very few ways to cash it in in the real world. But I don’t care about that. What I care about, is all of the wasted energy and processing power.

To earn “Bitcoins” you must mine them from software. And not in a cute, fun “Minecraft” video game sort of way – in a processor intensive and electricity hungry CPU crunching method. A small application sits, and runs, and tries to mine bitcoins. They say that the calculations being done are essential to the peer-to-peer backbone that makes up Bitcoin. Then comes a company like Butterfly labs, who puts out a small box that is designed for literally nothing more than mining Bitcoins. They’ve gone so far as to build a $30,000 server with a custom processor.

Meanwhile, what of Folding@home? Stanford University, for years, has used distributed computing to help simulate protein folding experiments that could someday be used to fight cancer, alzheimer’s, or other diseases. BOINC & Rosetta@Home has similar goals, looking in to HIV and Malaria research.

When the Sony PlayStation 3 launched a Folding@home app, I was excited to see idle CPU power being put to good use. But Bitcoin is making people with Powerhouse PC’s decide to focus solely on greed. Virtual greed, at that. Maybe I’ll be sorry I didn’t stay on the Bitcoin bandwagon someday, but right now, I just wish people were more aware of projects like these. I once took part in the SETI@Home project, processing thousands of hours of recorded space audio, hoping for a repeating signal or a hello from E.T. – but none ever came. I was still impressed with the idea that they could just pass the work out to millions of home computers and let them crunch the numbers.

I had heard of Folding@home after SETI, and decided to put my CPU cycles to a better use. For a while I worked with Rosetta@home, but found it more clunky, to me, than the Stanford project. I liked the idea that Rosetta@home was a registered not for profit, and I was all about seeing HIV eradicated. But more I have seen cancer attack people I love, and am now concentrating CPU cycles behind the Folding@home Cancer project. It even adds gamification features, like stat-tracking, and community driven leaderboard.

Please, do the world a favor, use distributed computing for the right reasons.

Pebble Notifier does everything the Pebble Watch SHOULD do!

When I heard about the Pebble I wasn’t interested. I know, call me crazy. It just seemed over priced for not having to reach in to my pocket. It’s not THAT convenient. However, I do have friends who bought the Pebble Watch. I became even less interested when I heard that only certain apps could send notifications to the Pebble Watch. Lucky for you, the geeks are already on your side!

Pebble Notifier was quick to arrive. Open it up, choose from the list of apps on your phone, and have notifications pushed to your Pebble. This app isn’t going to help me, but I have good feedback telling me it works pretty reliably, so I wanted to pass it along to the Pebble owners out there.

Where and How to configure Out of Office in Outlook 2010

You might have some travel planned and need to spend some time away from work. In the age of mobile phones it feels like we can never be too far away from our email, particularly when it is work related. Still, it is professional courtesy to leave an “Out of Office” message on when you’re gone – so that people who send you email get an automatic response to their email. I generally put in a blanket statement saying I’m out of the office, and I’ll be back at a certain date; including a contact number for someone they can reach quickly if they need help is a nice addition. But how do you DO it when it comes to the “vastly different than its predecessors” Outlook 2010? This is how:


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2003 – Trigun (boxed series)

I don’t remember when I first saw Trigun, but I remember it was one of the most serious episodes in the series. Vash The Stampede is the main character, who tries to be hero, but is often followed be enough trouble that he is referred to as the Human Typhoon. Johnny Yong Bosch does the English dubbed voice, but he is the person who drew me in. The episode I saw drew deeper emotion out of him than I was used to seeing in most animated series. I was already well versed in anime, and even emotional heavyweights lime Akira and My Neighbor Totoro, but Boch’s voice made me care for this character. After catching several episodes the way most Americans had back then, on Cartoon Network, I went ahead and bought a boxed set of DVDs on eBay so I could finally watch the story unfold.

It has been a few years since I sat down and watched the whole series, but the DVDs sit on my shelf, constantly beckoning me back. Eventually I will, but it’s almost the kind of thing you need to be in the right mindset for, because although there is ample action and comedy, the series can be draining at times, as you get wrapped up in the mystery of this sci-fi western. Go ahead and pick up the Trigun – The Complete Boxed Set.