June 4, 2007
If you need to take a break and the usual distractions won’t do (email, twitter, Google Reader, IM) you can try Lumosity, a brain fitness program that let’s you waste time but still feel good while you’re doing it.
Lumosity, designed by neuroscientists, is scientifically demonstrated to improve your memory, attention and processing speed. Not bad huh? The best part is, it’s very addictive – like gaming – you will want to increase your scores.
You can check your Lumos IQ without signing in but if you get hooked and want to try more exercises you will have to register. If you do sign up, you will go through a brain fitness program over the course of 30 sessions where the sessions are 15 minutes.
The exercises are free while the Lumos site is still in beta, but it won’t be free forever.
May 30, 2007
I’d wager that there are a huge number of Windows users who would probably be quite happy with Ubuntu Linux as their day-in day-out OS of choice. If only there were an easy way to try Ubuntu out on your windows machine without breaking anything, repartitioning or dealing with the diminished performance of a Live CD.
You’re in luck. Wubi takes the hassle out of installing Ubuntu on a loopback file system located on your Windows partition, while making it bootable just like a real-deal Ubuntu install. In fact, it _is_ a real-deal Ubuntu install, albeit in a slightly unconventional manner. If you go glassy eyed at the word “loopback”, don’t worry.. it’s just a fancy way of saying that your whole Ubuntu install is self-contained and stored in a single large file on your Windows drive.
May 30, 2007
Pitaschio adds a few very basic window manipulation features to Microsoft Windows which probably should have been included in the first place. Essentially, Pitaschio tries to make Windows a slightly better neighborhood in which to live.
With features which allow you to minimize regular windows to the system tray, keep windows from opening with any part outside the desktop area, window transparency adjustment using the scroll wheel and a whole list more, Pitaschio goes a pretty long way towards enhancing the rather bland set of features available for window management in the world’s most common OS.
If you’re unhappy with the weak feature set in Windows, Pitaschio could help close the gap.
May 30, 2007
Justin over at Gadling has been trying out a new online swap market called Swaptree. Users can trade books, music, movies, or video games with other users. No money changes hands, and Swaptree doesn’t take any money off the top (we imagine they have plans to make money eventually, perhaps through advertising).
All you have to do is type in an ISBN number for the books you want to trade, or UPC code for your other media. Then list the items you want in a “want” list, similar to an Amazon wishlist.
Swaptree will automatically search for users who have what you want, and want what you have. When it finds a potential trading partner, the service will send you each an email. If you both accept, Swaptree will provide each user with the others’ mailing address.
You can even print shipping labels directly from Swaptree. And with media mail rates, most items should cost $2.50 or less to ship.
The service is in private beta at the moment, but Justin’s got a few invites to give out.
May 23, 2007
Windows/Mac/Unix (Firefox): The HighlightAll Firefox extension highlights any text on a web page matching the text you’ve selected with your mouse.
Like most good Firefox extensions, Highlight all does one simple thing well. This performs the same function as the “Highlight all” button when you’re searching a page with Ctrl/Cmd-F, without the need for typing or watching your screen jump around to matches as you search. After all, you’ve already found the text you want highlighted, so just select it and you can see all other instances. You can toggle HighlightAll with a configurable keyboard shortcut (F8 by default), so matches to your highlighted text doesn’t always need to show up in yellow. This seems like a great research tool for quickly digesting web pages by keyword.
May 23, 2007
LightZone, the RAW photo converter, can cost you hundreds of dollars for the Windows or OS X versions, however, the Linux version is free. LightZone is a powerful photo editing software package based on tonal zones with an easy intuitive interface.
The Windows and OS X versions are available in a Basic edition for $150 and a Full version for $250. The Linux version is functionally equivalent to the Full version, and did we mention, is free? LightZone is copyrighted by Light Crafts of Palo Alto, CA. They do not provide online support for the Linux version however, Anton Kast, Light Crafts’ chief architect and Linux devotee maintains a separate page to keep the Linux version updated and to provide technical support.
source [Linux.com / downloadsquad]
May 23, 2007
The folks at Audio Ease are working on a new Mac utility called Snapper. It basically makes it easier to access and manipulate sound files from Finder.
Every time you click on an audio file, a little window opens up, docked to the bottom of Finder. You can play files, or set Snapper to autoplay files when you click on them. You can also perform rough edits, like saving a selection of the audio as a new clip.
You can also convert files to mp3 with a click of the button, email a file or a selection from that file as an mp3, or import a file into Pro Tools for editing.
It’s not exactly a full fledged audio editing tool on its own. If you’re thinking about setting up a podcast or starting a career in radio, you’ll need more than Snapper. But it looks like a really nice add-on for Pro tools. It’ll be interesting to see if Audio Ease adds support for other programs like Audacity.