Archive for February, 2008:
We all use search engines every day to make our lives a little easier, but Good Search allows us to improve the lives of others just by searching the Internet. Every time you do a search on Good Search, they donate a penny to the charity of your choice. This can be any legit charity in existence, so if your local charity of choice hasn’t signed up at Good Search yet, be sure to tell them about the site.
Good Search is powered by Yahoo, so it’s no different than searching at Yahoo.com, other than the fact that you’re helping out a charity in the process. It doesn’t take many searches to make a difference either. If you get 100 people to do 2 searches a day, you’d make an estimated $730 a year for your charity. With a thousand people doing 2 searches a day, you’d make $7,300 and with 10,000 people you’d make $73,000. As you can see, Good Search can benefit both large and small organizations.
Good Search also offers a site called Good Shop, which has links to several major Internet retailers. If you make a purchase at these retailers, they’ll donate a portion of your purchase price to your charity of choice.
So bookmark Good Search and start donating to your charity by doing searches today, and don’t forget to tell your local charities about the site as well. If you have any questions about the site, you can check out their FAQ by clicking here.
Arcades, a Japan staple for over 30 years with cutting-edge video and games, are under attack, hit by the success of Nintendo’s Wii console.
Once a testing center for next-generation games ranging from “Street Fighting” to dance, major industry players like Namco Bandai are closing arcades as potential patrons stay home.
America’s arcade industry was killed by the original Nintendo in the eighties but Japan’s arcades have been fairly healthly until now. This is depressing news for fans of arcade games, as the few new games that make it to the U.S. each year almost all originate in Japan. Less video arcades in the world mean less game developers making new games.
The ironic thing is that this ends up hurting the console makers like Nintendo as well, as many of the greatest console games over the years got their start in the arcades. It’s yet another testament to the domination of the Wii that the Japanese now prefer to stay at home and play Nintendo instead of going to their high-tech arcades, which have been a large part of youth culture for decades now.
One of the classic time wasting sites on the web can be found at Lunchtimers. It’s a virtual refrigerator door covered in letter magnets. The fun is trying to spell out words while other people around the world are also trying to spell out words of their own. You can work together, disrupt their attempts, or try to post your own message on the fridge. It’s a unique way to kill 5 minutes and it’s something that could only exist on the Internet. Click here to check it out.
Every year, Girl Scouts around the country have an easy time raising funds for their troops because everyone loves Girl Scout Cookies. People actually complain about waiting for their cookies and if they know a Girl Scout, they often bug her about when those darn cookies are coming out.
Personally, I love the thin mints and the peanut butter patties, and I don’t think my wife would turn down any kind of Girl Scout cookie they make. There are plenty of people addicted to these things.
The question on my mind, and one that has bothered me since I was a Cub Scout many many years ago, is why don’t the Boy Scouts get to sell cookies or a similar product that everyone wants? Instead, we always had to sell overpriced popcorn that wasn’t anything special. Unlike the Girl Scouts, who have people beating down their door for those cookies, people only buy the Boy Scout popcorn out of a sense of obligation, not because it’s something they’re actually excited about.
Sometimes the simplest sites are the coolest, such as Falling Sand, a page where different colors of sand drip down from the top of the screen and you use your mouse to draw lines and shapes to change the path of the sand. Play around with this for a few minutes and see what kind of crazy patterns you can create. Check it out here.
Jib Jab is another one of those goofy, time-wasting sites where you can upload photos of your friends, family, co-workers, etc. to make videos of them dancing like idiots or doing other ridiculous stuff. Hilarity ensues. I tested the site out above using some photos of co-workers. Below, you’ll see one of Jib Jab’s sample videos, disco-dancing Clinton and Obama. The only thing I don’t like about the site is that there are fees involved in using most of their templates, although some of them are free, like the one I used above.
Johnny Chung Lee from Carnegie Mellon University demonstrates another innovative use for the Wii Remote in this cool video. I’d love to see some game developers incorporate some of his ideas. Find out more about Johnny Lee’s Wiimote Projects at his official forum or development blog. He’s also the guy that came up with the $14 Steadycam.
Tivo dominates so much of the digital video recorder market that sometimes products that are infinitely more innovative don’t get the attention they deserve. One of those products is the Neuros OSD, a device that lets you record from live TV, DVDs, VHS tapes, or any other device that you can hook up to a TV. It can save that video in a format suited for playback on your TV, your cell phone, an Ipod, or a PSP. And you have a choice of methods to store your video, including external USB hard drive, networked PC, SD card, Pro Duo, or Compact Flash. The Neuros can also play videos from the Internet (such as Youtube) and media that you have stored on your home network.
Basically, for those of us that like to watch our recorded videos on our portable devices, the Neuros eliminates the need for a PC to do this. They’ve basically taken out the step of getting the video on your PC and then converting it to the proper format. The device is also attractive for those looking for a quick and easy way to convert their VHS and DVD libraries to a digital format.
As it stands, the Neuros OSD is a device best suited to tech nerds, however, once they perfect the user interface, I see this device being mass-marketed to consumers as a way to record from commercial DVDs. There’s definitely something attractive about the idea of having your entire video library store on one small device and accessible with the click of a remote button. Not only that, as portable media players become a larger part of our daily routine, devices like this become a great time saver.
One of the most common questions people have when browsing sites like Youtube is, “How can I download these movies to my hard drive.”
The answer is quite simple. Youtube and similar video sites convert all movies uploaded to their servers to Flash format. Flash videos end in the .flv extension. You can’t download these videos in your browser by default, but it is possible if you have the right plug-in installed and you’re using the right browser.
What’s the right browser, you ask? Well, that would be Firefox, of course. Firefox is a free alternative to Internet Explorer and a superior product in just about every way. Why anyone would voluntarily use IE exclusively when Firefox is available is a mystery to me. Anyway, if you want to download Youtube videos, you’re going to have to download Firefox first and then read on.
There are thousands of sites on the web that offer movie trailers, but sometimes you need to download a trailer for some reason. Either you want to post it to another website or you want a copy to send to a friend. Finding download links for trailers is never an easy task (unless you can download .flv files, which I’ll talk about in another post), but I stumbled across a site yesterday called Movie List that makes it fairly simple.
Movie List has direct download links to trailers of upcoming films, current releases, and popular movies of the last couple years. If there’s a trailer you’re searching for, chances are you’ll be able to find it at Movie List. This site has made my own life easier, so I thought I’d pass it along.