A shareware title to pass the time between incredibly important work-related projects.
Brain-training games are all the rage these days, and IQ: Identity Quest wants to sharpen your language, memory, observation, logic, intuition, and musical skills. The nonlinear story has you jumping between locations to solve puzzles and gather clues about the origins of your mysterious “puzzle cube.” The puzzles should look familiar—they’re based on Memory, Boggle, Sudoku, Simon, and Minesweeper-type games—but the variety of gameplay types and the sharp graphics kept us entertained for hours.
Universal remote brings harmony to your living room.
How many remotes does it take to watch TV? It sounds like the setup for a cruel joke about our entertainment system. Just to watch a television show, we have separate remotes for the TV, TiVo, audio receiver, and HDMI switch. The universal Harmony One is nearly perfect to replace these and other controllers, combining all your devices into one sleek, adaptable remote.
Instant messaging used to be the most convenient way to have a conversation online. Then along came audio chatting to free us from all that typing. Today video chatting is the best way to feel directly connected to others over the Internet—it’s the next best thing to being there. And while iChat can pull off amazing video chats, it has two main drawbacks: It only supports video chats with up to four people, and it’s Mac only.
On, off, on, off. AT&T's wireless website announced its free Wi-Fi for iPhone plan this morning. AT&T has changed, started, and stopped the service numerous times. The new Wi-Fi service is supposed to grant iPhone users free Wi-Fi at over 17,000 locations including over 8,000 restaurants, if you consider Starbucks a restaurant.
The number of hotspots starts to dwindle when you exclude Starbucks, according to AT&T new routers have been placed in over 700 bookstores, 50 groceries, 31 hotels and 23 universities.
While that sounds great, AT&T once again pulled the site this morning. The link announcing the Wi-Fi plan, died several minutes after we loaded the site. The link now takes us AT&T’s wireless site map.
According to MacNN.com, AT&T spokesperson Seth Bloom, said the webpage was posted in error, and AT&T hopes to offer free Wi-Fi in the future.
iPhone users, AT&T is toying with us like a cat playing with a very trapped mouse.
Have you ever tried adding up the number of keystrokes you tap out in a day? We didn’t think so. But we bet you’d be shocked by the total. We were happily surprised when we saw how many keystrokes we’d saved—4,572—after a few days using TextExpander, SmileOnMyMac’s supersmart text-substitution utility. Speed typists might be skeptical about the app’s usefulness—and we might have sided with those skeptics before we installed it. In mere minutes, we created a couple dozen “snippets,” or chunks of text that appear in any application when you type certain shortcuts. TextExpander also allows you to limit the apps that certain snippets work for, which is useful for keeping your html snippets out of Word documents, for example.
A shareware game to pass the time between incredibly important work-related projects.
If you’re a fan of 2D platform games like Dark Castle or Pitfall, Midnight Mansion is fun, easy to pick up, and should keep you busy for a long time. Its eight mansions hold 350 rooms to work your way through (avoiding monsters, climbing vines, collecting keys, and so on), and the included Mansion Builder lets you design your own levels. Three difficulty levels keep players of all abilities coming back for more, and the 32-bit graphics are polished enough that Midnight Mansion doesn’t feel like a relic from a bygone era.
In Little Snitch’s configuration screen, we set iTunes to deny connections to the Internet radio while still allowing access to the iTunes Store. In Safari, all websites are allowed except for www.pandora.com.
The Internet speed at my office slows down tremendously when my employees are streaming music through iTunes Radio and pandora.com. Is there any way to block my employees from streaming music on their Macs?
You could invest in a hardware-based content filtering firewall such as the Barracuda Web Filter (starting at $1,499, www.barracudanetworks.com), which blocks the users on your network from accessing websites that you specify based on domain name or category. It can also prevent applications, such as iTunes, from accessing the Internet.
For a software-based solution, there’s Little Snitch ($29.95, www.obdev.com), which informs you whenever a program attempts to establish an outgoing Internet connection (letting you know the specific port and IP address that your application is trying to access) and lets you block those attempts. You can prevent apps from accessing the entire Internet or just certain websites. Best of all, you can lock Little Snitch to prevent users from making changes to the settings that you’ve customized.
Norm and Will over at MaximumPC took part in the exciting E3 festivities in Los Angeles this week. Being the super geeks that they are, they decided to try out the iPhone 3G's GPS capabilities while shooting down the tarmac and flying over greater California.
Within the weatherproof body of the new, 10.2-megapixel Pentax K200D beats the transplanted heart of the K10D—a sophisticated, semipro camera that garnered a Mac|Life Editor’s Choice last year (5 out of 5 stars, Jul/07). Almost every feature (and more) that made the K10D stand out is now integrated into the K200D—and for less money.
It’s been approximately 175 hours since opening day and the iPhone craze is still going strong. At the Apple Store in downtown San Francisco, eager patrons have lined up every morning this week, with long lines continuing to scale Stockton Street regardless of the store’s closing hours. (Above, a cell phone quality photo of the store’s front, taken by a discreet salonista on her way to work.)
We called several of the other high traffic Apple Stores here in the Bay Area to find out if they were experiencing the same kind of morning rush. At the Apple Stores in Burlingame, Santa Clara, and Stonestown Mall, no one answered the phone. At the Chestnut Street location in the Marina, a female employee answered the phone on the sixth ring and exasperatingly declared the line was up to two hours long. The Stanford Shopping Center location managed to keep their cool after all this time; A levelheaded Mac Genius informed us that the line was only half an hour long and added that only the 16GB model was available.
This presents quite a problem for existing customers who show up prepared to do the quick switcheroo between OG and 3G. Not to mention, new customers hoping to jump on the iPhone bandwagon. The long lines only emphasize the fact that AT&T didn't get the stock they needed and that the Apple Retail Stores are still getting hammered as demand for the iPhone doesn't seem to show signs of subsiding. The official page for iPhone availability nationwide also shows that stock is sold out at numerous retail locations. As a result, those anticipating a quick trip to the Apple Store for their iPhone will be faced with long lines, a number of overworked employees and may still walk away iPhone free.
Computers can’t understand the analog waves that make up old VHS tapes and pre-DV camcorder videos. These curvy patterns contradict the binary world of “off” or “on,” so you need to digitize those sources before your Mac can “see” the picture. Pinnacle’s Video Capture for Mac is a fin-shaped box that handles this job—and little else. Plug in an analog video source, and the unit translates it into a 640-x-480-pixel MPEG-4 file your Mac can recognize. It works, but armchair archivists will immediately wish it had a few more features beyond its single trick.