Monday, December 27, 2010

10 Great Android Apps - Shit You Totally Need

A list of 10 highly recommended and totally FREE Android Apps that you totally need.

Now that Christmas is over, I'm sure you didn't get everything you wanted!  So, why not treat yourself to some cool new Android apps that don't cost a dime?

Below is a list of 10 Great Android Apps, all totally FREE.  This is shit you totally need.
Each app has a link to the AppBrain market so you can download it to your computer, or you can just navigate to the app in the market on your phone.  Screen grabs are included and the descriptions should do a decent job of telling you why that app is SHIT YOU TOTALLY NEED!

VLC Stream & Convert
I've posted on this awesome app quite a few times, so it's obvious I would put it on this list.  Stream HD/SD/MP3 from your computer to your phone.  Over Wifi/3G/4G.  Convert files for playing on your phone.  Use your phone as a remote control for VLC (i.e. control the computer's VLC from your phone).  It's badass.  Free version and paid version.
VLC S&C is the king of streaming

Streaming a 720p MKV file to phone via 3G
Have you been hiding under a fucking rock?  Download this app and listen to music.  Enter info to create a channel (like a song name, artist, genre, etc.).  Listen to music on that channel.  It's kind of like being able to create your XM radio channels.  Be careful with their updates though...sometimes shit breaks.  Check the comments before updating this app.  I'm still running an old version, but it seems like their latest fixed a bunch of bugs.  Free application.  Free and paid subscriptions available. 

NextApp System Panel
Best app utility out there for Android.  Check running tasks.  Kill tasks.  View processor, memory, and network useage.  Collect device performance history in easy to read graphs.  View the Top Apps utilizing processor power.  Shows you tasks running that even Froyo won't show you.  Free.

BatStat Battery Widget
Great widge for one of your home screen.  Get percent readout on battery life, temperature, and voltage.  Very accurate.  Very easy to use.  Minimal footprint.  Does not drain battery.  Beware of other impostors they will drain your battery! (kind of ironic when you think about it...) Free.
BatStat is next to the Airplane Widget

Display all of your "accounts" in one easy to read screen.  Financial - like banking, savings, investing, etc.  Bills - like comcast, att, sprint, etc.  Subscriptions - like Netflix, etc.  They just put out a big update for their Android app and changed the look and feel.  Nice upgrade.  You need this.  Free and paid version.  Edit to add:  A lot of people are commenting on some extra info for those interested:  1 - you enter the account info using the website, primarily.  Account numbers are not displayed in the phone, just balances and pertinent particulars (cell minutes remaining, bill due date, recent transactions, outstanding balance, etc.)  2 - you can't access accounts or manipulate accounts from the phone (or the website).  In other words, you can't transfer funds, change passwords, change address, etc. etc.  It only displays info - no controls offered.  3 - you can put a special password for the app itself, which can be diff than your phone password.  you can also allow/deny access to the phone using the pageonce website.  All in all, unless you consider the ability to view your account balances a significant security risk, there really isn't much reason to worry.  
Visual voicemail.  Customize answering messages by contact, or by contact groups.  Manage your voicemail via the web.  Very easy to use, very easy to setup.  Free and paid version.
Watch TV for free on the phone from CBS.  It's one provider only, but the offering is good, and the quality is good.  Full episodes, live TV and clips.  Free.

ASTRO File Manager
Best file and folder manager out there for Android.  View files/folders over the network.  Has a great image viewer for viewing large picture galleries.  Let's you basically treat the phone SD card and memory like Windows Explorer.  Free.
View shows and artists going on in your area.  Add a list of your favorite artists, see when they play next.  Use the locator to see whats going on around you.  Learn about the show, venue, artist and even buy tickets.  Very easy to use.  Free.
ShootMe (Screen Grabber)
Take screenshots of your phone.  Turn on the app and shake the phone.  Presto - screenshot.  Saves the pictures to a folder on your SD card.  Very easy to use.  It's how I make screenshots for this blog.  Free.

So that's it, 10 Great Android Apps to get yourself as a post-christmas gift.  The best part is everything is totally FREE.  Look for another installment of Android Apps - Shit You TOTALLY Need coming in the near future!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Question: Are you using either Usenet or VPN Services?

Do you use either Usenet or VPN services currently?

Hey Readers,

I'm curious - are you using either a Usenet newsgroup provider, or a VPN service provider?  If so, which provider are you using for the service?

Giganews, VyprVPN, StrongVPN, Easynews, NewsDemon, TuVPN - another service provider?...

Thou shalt secure thine connection before traveling
Doesn't really matter if it's a pay or free provider, of either service.  
All pimps wear this hat
I'm trying to figure out what is actually in use out there.  I can look it up all I want, but I figure asking you readers is just as effective.

Is this how you get security on the net?
Please let me know in the comments!  Yes/No (to either service), and who is the provider...THANKS!

**bonus - if you're willing to comment on how the service is, in your opinion, that would be AWESOME!**

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Blogger Settings You Should Know - Blog like a Pro

Changing your default Blogger settings so you can Blog like a pro!

1.  Turn off Captcha.  Seriously, it makes me want to kill kittens.  And that's a bad thing.
Settings > Comments > Show Word Verification > No

For the love of god, please disable captcha!
2.  Add your blog/website link to your profile.
Dashboard > Edit Profile > Homepage URL > Enter your blog address
Dashboard > Edit Profile > Select Blogs to Display > Select your Blog

Make your homepage URL your blog

Select your blogs and they appear on your profile
3.  Get Adsense going.  Put an ad up, or two.  You might make a dollar, or not.

AdSense will make you rich in no time
4.  Add the followers widget somewhere on your page.

5.  Allow anyone to comment.
Settings > Comments > Who can Comment? > Anyone

Allow anon, it's important
6.  Turn off comment moderation
Settings > Comments > Comment Moderation > Never 

You can always delete comments later anyway...
7.  Let the world know
Settings > Basic > Add your blog to our listings > Yes
Settings > Basic > Let Search Engines find your Blog > Yes

Get your blog listed by search engines
8.  Get a real domain name
The cost is minimal to get a dot com for an entire year, $7.49 - $10.00
GoDaddy and Google are both top notch.  Get a real dot com for yourself.  Drop the ""
See my earlier post on GoDaddy deals ($7.49 domain name, and free private registration!)


USE THIS COUPON CODE - OK412 - $7.49 Deal
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Monday, December 13, 2010

Gawker gets their butt handed to them - Gawker gets pwned by hack

Gawker was hacked over the weekend, and much rejoicing was heard around the world.

Special note to my readers:  I do not like Gawker, or their network of sites.  I never have.  This post may come off as 1/3 current events, and 2/3 rant. 

Gawker Media, pretty much the most arrogant media house and blog conglomerate on the planet, got their ass handed to them by a group calling itself "Gnosis".

This weekend Gnosis beat Gawker like a red headed stepchild by posting about 200,000 user account emails and passwords for their various sites.  note:  Gawker runs, the gadget shithouse known as Gizmodo, Lifehacker, and various other sites where idiots pose as writers and journalists.  

Of course anybody that graduated high school knows Gawker is pretty much a gigantic POS, so this doesn't come as much of a surprise.  However, the really great part about this is the attack yielded a whole pile of lulz with defacement, posting of source code, additional cracking of twitter accounts, and posting of instant message logs.  Not to mention the 1.5 MILLION ACCOUNTS CRACKED.   

So yeah, it's safe to say that Gawker was served its ass on a silver platter this weekend. 

To make matters worse for the imbeciles at Gawker, they actually brought this on themselves.  First, you have to understand how arrogant and pretentious Gawker, their staff, writers, and sites are.  This isn't hard.  Browse any one of their sites and pick an article, the crap overflows the page, off  your screen and onto the floor.  Read about anyone who was ever critical of Gizmodo, or any of their other sites, you'll see so much arrogance on the part of staff and editors it's hard to believe people still visit their sites.

Second, you need to turn back the clock a bit to this summer.  And refresh your memory on a certain young girl with the initials "JS".  Yeah, Gawker saw fit to call out anyone and everyone who even laughed at the plight of said girl.  They went on and on about "griefing", as if somehow they are god's gift to morality and we should all look to their sage wisdom.

Here's a tip boys and girls, it's never good to call people out on the internet.  Nor is it a good tip to do in a bar, on the sidewalk, or really anywhere - at anytime.  Except if you're Mike Tyson, it's the 90's, and you're standing in a boxing ring. 

But the story doesn't end here, oh no.  Gawker had the balls to talk even more trash in IRC, via email, and via IM once they started noticing "suspicious" attacks on their sites.  Yeah, keep on poking that lion, it totally looks sleepy and's behind a cage, what can it really do?

Well, Gnosis and their group of "script kiddies" (yes, Gawker called them that) just showed them what a sleeping lion can do.  It can go medieval on your ass, at a moments notice.  Tearing your servers, database, accounts, and files to shreds.  

Let's hope that some lessons are learned from this by both Gawker, it's readers, and the public in general.  I'll try to encapsulate said lessons into simple points, in the hopes that they sink in, though I seriously doubt they will.  Especially since everyone at Gawker has a history of acting like a complete jackass anytime anyone says anything even slightly negative about their "empire" or one of their sites.
  • Lesson #1 - Gawker, and their sites suck.
  • Lesson #2 - Never think you're too high and mighty, because someone will come over and knock your ass off that pedestal.
  • Lesson #4 - Get your blog news, tech news, and other info from somewhere other than Gawker sites.
#3 is a really important lesson, and should be #1 - I just couldn't resist putting Gawker sucks at the top.

As a last and final note, I'd just like to send a shout out to a certain jerk editor at Gizmodo:

You suck.  Your writers are worse than the average high school student, and your site is a POS.  Most of the articles couldn't pass for scrawl on a bathroom door at a truck stop.  I don't care how much ad revenue it earns, or who wants to suck on your ugly balls.  I don't like you, your writers, or your site, and I never will.  

Friday, December 10, 2010

Get a Domain Name - Dot Com for only $7.49

GoDaddy is having a special on registration of dot com's.

COUPON CODE - NC3D17 - Free Private Registration

One year for only $7.49!

You can get off the, for a whole year, for only $7.49.  There is no minimum purchase.  In other words, you need only purchase one year to get the discount.   

COUPON CODE - NC3D17 - Free Private Registration

It's really easy to register the domain name of your choice, and the discount is applicable to a .com address.  Unlike a lot of other specials that involve .us, .co, .info, .tv, or other random type domains - this one actually covers the popular .com type.

It's also really easy to transfer your address, so that it redirects to your new .com address.  Google has help pages on it, as does GoDaddy.  You can still use all the blogspot controls, widgets, and control panel too.  

You can also set it up to cover, without the typical www prefix.  (included in $7.49 purchase) 

You may notice that my blog is now located at:
Took me about 10 minutes to order and set it up.  

Minimal expense, and it gets you off blogspot domain name - which is a big benefit on search engines and directories.  Basically, you want to remove as quickly as possible.  I found my search engine ranking went up, as did my pageviews.  Plus it just looks cooler and more legit! 

Try it out!  Only $7.49 for one year.   
COUPON CODE - NC3D17 - Free Private Registration

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Congratulations SpaceX!! - Images & Video from COTS 1 Demo

Congratulations again to SpaceX for their successful demonstration mission yesterday!  The Falcon 9 and Dragon vehicles performed admirably.

My first post yesterday covered their successful launch and achievement of orbit with the Dragon crew/cargo capsule.  My second post yesterday covered their successful re-entry.

Here are some more images to continue the celebration.
Dragon with parachutes deployed
Recovery boat approaches Dragon
High Res of the Falcon 9 launch by NASA
High Res of launch by Parabolic Arc
High Res of launch by Florida Today

Youtube has some great video of the launch as well, here are some good selections:
  • Link 1 - HD coverage from NASA TV of the launch (no onboard video) 
  • Link 2 - Original SpaceX webcast footage of launch (with onboard video)
  • Link 3 - Post Mission interview with Elon Musk (55min long)

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Congratulations SpaceX!! - COTS Demo of Dragon is SUCCESSFUL!

Congratulations to SpaceX for a successful demonstration today of the Falcon 9 launch vehicle and the Dragon crew/cargo capsule!!  Way to kick some serious ass!!

Earlier today I made a post on their successful launch, separation, and initiation of orbit. 
Launch today at KSC of Falcon 9 with Dragon by SpaceX

Around 10:30am EST SpaceX launched the Falcon 9 launch vehicle with a Dragon crew/cargo capsule on it from Kennedy Space Center in Florida.  After reaching orbit, Dragon separated from the second stage of the vehicle and proceeded to circle our blue dot (i.e. orbit earth).  For space nerds like myself, watching the SpaceX webcast of these events was cause for mass celebration!
Second stage engine with nose cone falling back to earth

Around 2:30pm EST Dragon did a re-entry burn, entered the atmosphere, deployed parachutes, and splashed down.  SUCCESS! 

This feat made SpaceX the first commercial company EVER to conduct the re-entry of spacecraft from low earth orbit.  Big balls!  :-D

All of this was part of a demonstration SpaceX conducted for NASA and the US Government on a program called "COTS".  Essentially this program is designed to commercial spaceflight to service the International Space Station (ISS).  The immediate goal is to service cargo to and from the ISS, with the strong possibility of rotating crew...eventually. 
Business end of the Falcon 9 with 9 liquid rocket engines

Today's success is a huge milestone for SpaceX and commercial spaceflight in general.  This is a big win for the US, a relatively small company, and the hopes of many that believe commercial spaceflight is the way of the future (at least to low earth orbit aka LEO).  Respect to SpaceX and it's team that made this happen.  Don't forget NASA and the US Government though - they are footing some of the bill here, and essentially creating the "marketplace" by creating contracts for SpaceX (and others, like Orbital Sciences Corp) to service ISS.

All in all, a very good day for space and spaceflight.  Grab a pint, and toast to the stars tonight! 

*note:  I've got some video and other pictures I will add later, please check back tonight or tomorrow for another update!

Congratulations SpaceX!! - Falcon 9 / Dragon Test Flight

Congratulations to SpaceX for the successful COTS demonstration launch today!  HELL YEAH!
Falcon 9 looking sexy on the pad
Today's launch of the Falcon 9 launch vehicle with the Dragon crew/cargo capsule appears to be a huge success.  Launch went well, first stage / second stage separation went well, and the Dragon capsule confirmed separation and powered on it's propulsion systems successfully in orbit.
Today's Falcon 9 launch at Kennedy Space Center, FL
Second stage kicking ass

Damn fine job.  I watched the webcast with great anticipation, as this test had a lot on the line for the US, SpaceX, NASA, and human spaceflight in general.  Very happy to see that it went smoothly.  These screenshots are from that webcast.  (
Dragon capsule separates and starts to kick ass on its own

All that is left now are a few orbits around the earth, re-entry (not trivial), and recovery (and inspection). 

Dragon capsule can carry cargo and crew to LEO
Will be looking forward to additional updates on their COTS demonstration mission as it becomes available.  I might post more, as information and images trickle in from various sources.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Ten Awesome Android Live Wallpapers - Free for Download

 A selection of 10 awesome Live Wallpapers for your Android phone, all FREE!

Android, unlike the iPhone, has "Live Wallpapers".  Wallpapers that move, play videos, play games, and are interactive.  Below are 10 awesome Android Live Wallpapers that you can download to your phone.  Each live wallpaper is free, and I have provided screenshots for you as well.  Unfortunately I didn't go to the trouble of making .gif's or anything - so the screenshots are static images.  However I try to describe the movement or "live" aspects of each in the description.  A link is provided to the live wallpaper in App Brain so you can download it too. 

Let me know which ones you like and don't like, or if you have any favorites of your own! 

1.  Galactic Core
Very nice live wallpaper of a whirling galaxy that you can tilt and control.  The free version has limited settings, but there is a pay version that gives full control.  Detail and quality of the wallpaper is very good and the live movement is excellent as well.

2.  Pac-Man 
Really cool live wallpaper of the iconic arcade game.  Pac-Man roams the levels avoiding the ghosts and doing what he does best.  The AI is pretty good on this wallpaper, Pac-Man avoids the ghosts, collects points, gets the power-ups and then eats the ghosts.

3.  Substrate
This is a collection of live wallpapers - each with it's own "substrate" flavor.  I highly recommend this live wallpaper for the variety and the customization.  Each live wallpaper comes complete with full settings, even though it's free.  Shown here are Sandollar, Guts, and Sand Traveler.  The live wallpapers are drawn on the screen, detailed, and then repeated.

4.  Flying Toasters
From waaayy back when, the flying toaster returns!  Toasters and toast fly across your screen.  Need I say more?  Nostalgia!

5.  Flurry
The Mac OSX style "Flurry".  For anyone who's ever owned a mac, used a mac, or knows what I'm talking about...this is a live wallpaper version of the Flurry screensaver.  Pretty much a perfect copy of it too.

6.  Galaxy Live
This is another collection of live wallpapers - each a different type of galaxy or nebula.  Although not exactly true to the real stellar phenomenon, each live wallpaper is quite a sight.  There are more than a half dozen to choose from, each various colors and detail.  Movement is pretty much the same amongst them all, but the colors and details provide a nice variety. 

7.  3D Matrix Code
There a lot of Matrix code live wallpapers, and they all pretty much do the same thing - stream Matrix code on your screen.  This one has a slightly different twist by adding a 3D effect.  There is some depth, or distance, to the code that changes its size.  The developer also added some flames, which are actually a nice touch. 

8.  Living Music (Album Art)
This live wallpaper takes your album art and creates a live wallpaper with it.  Album art is randomized and interchanged creating a nice look and feel.  The album art is not colored though, but the overall grey color keeps the screen from feeling cluttered.  There are other version of this same type of live wallpaper, though most of them are paid versions. 

9.  Liquid Particles
A cool live wallpaper that puts colored light particles on your screen that you can interact with.  As you tap the screen the particles fly about until finally coming to rest.  Tap the screen again and they continue to fly.  Do nothing for awhile and they start flying on their own. 

10.  Metal Slug Zombies
Some live wallpapers also double as games.  This one is a take on a fantastic old game - metal slug.  Zombies walk across the screen and you bomb them.  Tap the screen to drop the bomb.  A plane flies in, drops the bomb, and the zombies explode.  There are lots of settings that allow for customization of the background, the zombies, bombs, and other features.  It also keeps track of your score.

There we have it, a top 10 list of free Live Wallpapers for your Android device.  Let me know if you have any suggestions to add to the list!