Category Archives: Software

Thriller and Mario Paint Composer

media-playback-start-3[Windows + Mac]

Today I ran into a video showing off the Thriller tune in Mario Paint Composer. I was amazed. Here’s the video …

Click here if you can’t see the video.

I’d never heard of Mario Paint Composer, but it’s been around since 1999 on Nintendo game systems. According to Wikipedia, Mario Paint was rated the 162nd best game made on a Nintendo System in Nintendo Power‘s Top 200 Games list.

The design team at unFun Games has a version you can run in Windows and Mac. Anyone, even someone as musically stupid as me, can create their own tunes in it. Here’s what the authors of the game say about it.

Mario Paint Composer is a remake of the music system from the original Mario Paint for the Super NES. It is made by unFun Games. The game is, of course, completely free, but we ask that you check out our website if you like it. You’ll find other fun online games to play there for PC and Mac!

Mario Paint Composer is 100% virus/spyware free. It will not harm your computer in any way.

mario-paint-composer

I downloaded and unzipped it to my computer and within only a few minutes, I’d figured out how it works. You can load tunes, save tunes and even download tunes that others have created.

arrow-down-double-3 Download Mario Paint Composer

Techie Buzz Verdict:

Mario Paint Composer is fun for all ages. It’s easy to create and share music with others and the software is easy to use. It’s portable freeware and you can run it from a Flash card or USB stick if you need to. This one gets a big thumbs up from me.

techiebuzzrecommendedsoftware1

Techie Buzz Rating: 4/5 (Excellent)

10 New Animated Autumn Screensavers – Mountains, Rivers and Falling Leaves

screensaver-ico[Windows Only]
As many of you have learned by now, not all free screensavers are created equal. Many times, free means that you have to install stupid toolbars, adware and other unwanted junk along with the screensaver. That’s not true of the ones at NewFreeScreensavers.com. Now that Fall is nearly on us, you can get prepared for the weather with 10 new Autumn screensavers.

autumn-alley autumn-duck autumn-waterfallautumn-mountain-riverautumn-mountain-river2 autumn-mountain-river3 autumn-mountain-river4 autumn-river-house autumn-river-butterflies autumn-river-rain

Two weeks ago, I told you about their new screensavers with   Yellow, Green and Blue Themes. This Autumn set is not only beautiful, the author has added new settings to help you control the screen and sounds.

autumn-settings

Be sure to check out the top ten most popular screensavers which are available as one easy download. All of these screensavers are safe, totally free, and there are dozens more to check out once you visit.

arrow-down-double-3 Download Page

Techie Buzz Verdict:

Since the author added controls for sound, I was looking forward to fewer noisy surprises. However, the settings are not working for me at this time. Don’t let that stop you though. The problem might be on my end, and these awesome animated Fall scenes are well worth the download.

Techie Buzz Rating: 3/5 (Good)

Free and Portable – MPlayer WW for Video Files

[Windows]

MPlayer WW is an open source player that supports dozens of multimedia formats. It not only handles almost any video format, it also has a nice selection of skins to make it fit your tastes. Below is what the default skin looks like.

mplayer-ww-fantasy

To get started using MPlayer WW, you will have to download a zip file from the home page, then extract the files onto your computer. You can start MPlayer by double clicking the mplayer.exe file.

mplayer-ww-executable

Since this is portable, you could create a shortcut to the program and place it on your desktop. That would make it easy to access when needed.

However, a better alternative is to create file type associations to your favorite media file types. This will allow you to double click a media file and open it automatically with MPlayer. To associate file types in MPlayer, right click on the program’s title bar and select the preferences as shown next.

mplayer-ww-preferences

Click the Associatetab and you’ll be able to set associations by adding check marks next to the ones you want.

mplayer-ww-associate

Once you have a movie running in MPlayer, you can control playback using the visible controls at the bottom. There are also plenty of keyboard shortcuts which you’ll find under the Input tab in the Preferences.

MPlayer has a few other features that only true video geeks will appreciate. The most important fact about MPlayer is that it does it’s job very well with no problems.

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Download MPlayer WW

Note: Check out these other free media players.

Techie Buzz Verdict:

MPlayer WW allows you to easily play many different types of video files. A few of its best features are that it’s open source, light weight and portable. Although it’s not as fully featured as some of the bigger, more popular media players, it deserves a thumbs up.

techiebuzzrecommendedsoftware1

Techie Buzz Rating: 4/5 (Excellent)

Freeware Fridays | Top Tools Of the Week #19

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In case you haven’t seen them, here are the most recent posts in our Freeware category. We hope you enjoy reading about these freebies, and maybe you’ll find a keeper in the mix.


Collect Complete PC System Information with WinAudit

win

WinAudit is a small, stand-alone executable and it’s free for personal or business use. When it comes to collecting useful system information, it does far more than you’d expect from such a compact program.

 

Opera 10.62 for Desktop Released

Opera-Logo

Opera 10.62 is a recommended update that fixes numerous stability and security issues.

 

Firefox 4 Beta 5 Adds Hardware Graphics Acceleration, Audio Capabilities and HSTS

Firefox 4 Beta 5 Download Released. Firefox 4 Beta 5 adds new API for HTML5 Audio and Video tags, hardware graphics acceleration and also implements a new Security protocol called HTTP Strict Transport Security (HSTS).

 

Slim Down and Speed Up Your Computer with SlimComputer

win

SlimComputer offers nearly every utility you need to speed up a computer. It’s still in beta, but it seems to be better than most of the junk that’s offered on TV commercials.

 

Manage Windows Services with Portable Services Suite

win

If you need a fast, functional and easy way to manage the services that run on your PC, take a look at Services Suite, a portable application from RoyalFool.de.

 

Instant Weather Reports with ForecastFox

weather

The ForecastFox addon/extension is excellent for keeping me up to date on weather. It stays out of the way and does it’s job with no visible hit to my system performance.


Be sure to let us know if you have a favorite freebie you’d like to see posted here. Our comments (below) are always open to you.


Collect Complete PC System Information with WinAudit

[Windows only] There are dozens of utilities around that will give you details about the guts of your PC. If you’re looking for a free and easy to use system information tool, WinAudit is one of the best. Here’s what the authors of WinAudit say in their description of this program.

PC audit and inventory of software, licenses, security configuration, hardware, network settings…

  • Easy to use
  • No setup
  • Csv/html/pdf/xml
  • E-mail
  • Database export
  • Command line
  • Fully documented
  • Free for any use!
  • WinAudit can be used to collect information on home PCs or work PCs on a network. Since WinAudit can be run from the command line, it’s easy to set up business PCs to automatically run a WinAudit report and file the reports on a central server.

    The program is offered for download as a ZIP file. After downloading, you should unpack the single program file to a safe place. To launch the program, simply double click the WinAudit.exe file.

    winaudit-file

    When running in normal mode, this is what you’ll see:

    winaudit-home-screen

    The first things you should do are to set your default language under the Language menu and then click the Options button to set the types of information you want to collect. As you can see next, there are plenty of categories of information to be seen.

    winaudit-settings

    The report interface is easy to navigate and search.

    winaudit-reports

    Once you are done looking things over, you’ll be asked if you want to save the report. The reports generated can be saved in several formats, such as PDF, CHM, CSV, TXT, HTML or XML.

    The information you file away should probably be saved someplace safe, either online or on another PC. That way you’ll have it if you ever need to replace broken hardware or software.

    arrow-down-double-3 Download WinAudit

    See also: Know Your System’s Details With Speccy

    Techie Buzz Verdict:

    WinAudit is a small, stand-alone executable and it’s free for personal or business use. When it comes to collecting useful system information, it does far more than you’d expect from such a compact program. In addition, this program is fully explained and documented in the help menu. WinAudit deserves to be highly recommended.

    techiebuzzrecommendedsoftware1

    Techie Buzz Rating: 4/5 (Excellent)

    Slim Down and Speed Up Your Computer with SlimComputer

    win [Windows Only]

    Even new computers have too much junk on them. Many PC manufacturers include special software packages and trial offers that you’ll probably never need. The common term for this stuff is crapware. As time goes on, your computer may also get slower because many different programs add themselves as startup programs. This means that every time you boot your PC, you’ll have to wait while lots of hidden programs automatically start.

    In the past, I’ve used a program called PC Decrapifier to get rid of crapware. I also use WinPatrol to keep a close eye on the startup programs. A new program called SlimComputer now offers to do all of this and more.

    On first run, you’ll be offered a chance to scan your computer for pre-installed software that you don’t want. All you have to do is to hit the big orange Run Scanbutton to get started.

    slimcomputer-first-run

    When it’s done scanning, you’ll get the chance to uninstall the programs that it believes are crapware. Be sure to un-check any apps you want to keep, then click the Removebutton to continue.

    slimcomputer-remove-apps

    After that, the Optimize section (button on left sidebar) allows you to view your startups and services. You’ll find that many of the items listed have a color rating that will tell you if the item is good to keep or needs to be removed.

    slimcomputer-optimizer

    If you remove things from Startup, you can always restore them later by using the Restoresection, which can be accessed on the left sidebar. There’s not much danger to removing startup applications. However, the next tab, Services, is a little easier to deal with.

    image

    There are only two choices when you are optimizing the Services. You can use Original Settingsor you can choose what they call SuperCharged.

    Next, you can visit the Uninstaller page to remove programs from your PC. It’s not much different from the Add/Remove applet in your Windows Control Panel, except that they give you a colored rating on each app.

    slimcomputer-uninstaller

    Finally, there’s an interface called Windows Tools. There you’ll find most of the common tools that you can usually find in your Accessories System menu on the PC.

    slimcomputer-windows-tool

    arrow-down-double-3 Download SlimComputer

    Techie Buzz Verdict

    SlimComputer offers nearly every utility you need to speed up a computer. The only thing missing is a registry cleaner and optimizer. I might hesitate adopting this suite since it’s still a beta version, and there may still be hidden bugs. They might also decide to sell this application once it gets out of beta. It’s certainly better than most of the junk that’s offered on TV commercials.

    Techie Buzz Rating: 3/5 Good

    Manage Windows Services with Portable Services Suite

    win[Windows Only]

    If you need a fast, functional and easy way to manage the services that run on your PC, take a look at Services Suite, a portable application from RoyalFool.de. Below are some screenshots and a brief description of how it works.

    To use it, you’ll have to download and extract it to a folder somewhere on your PC or on a flash drive. It’s offered as a RAR file download, so if you aren’t familiar with RAR archives, you we’ll show you how to open a RAR file.

    Once you have it unpacked, all you have to do is double click the file ServicesSuite.exe to start the program.

    services-suite-file

    When it’s first started, you may have to select your language in order to read the menus. Right now, it’s only available in German and English.

    The program interface will list all of the registered services on a PC in a three column format. The three columns are automatic, manual and deactivated, as shown next.

    portable-services-manager

    In order to change the status of any service, you can click on it and drag it from one list to another. When you are finished making changes, you’ll have to write these changes to the registry by clicking on the check mark icon in the top right of the application window.

    portable-services-write-changes

    That’s all there is to it. The only problem you might have is if you aren’t a system administrator on the PC you are using. Some services can only be changed if you are the administrator.

    arrow-down-double-3 Download Services Suite (requires .NET Framework 2.0)

    [via WebDomination]

    Other ways to work with Windows Services:

    How To Delete/Remove Services In Windows XP and Vista

    Tweak Windows 7 Services With SMART | Windows 7 Services Optimiser

    Advanced Windows Service Manager Plus

    ServicesEditor Makes Tweaking and Restoring Windows Services Easy

    Techie Buzz Verdict:

    For experienced users, this may not be a huge help. After all, you can easily access the system services using the services.msc applet. However, it’s nice for quick changes and it’s so simple to use. The fact that this app is very small, portable and free, makes it a win on my score card.

    Techie Buzz Rating: 3/5 (Good)

    Freeware Fridays | Top Tools Of the Week #18

    freeware-sign2

    In case you haven’t seen them, here are the most recent posts in our Freeware category. We hope you enjoy reading about these freebies, and maybe you’ll find a keeper in the mix.


    JumpControl Adds ShutDown, Restart, Logoff and Hibernate Options in Windows7 Taskbar

    JumpControl is a free utility for Windows7 which adds Shutdown, restart, hibernate, sleep, Logoff, lock options in Windows7 Taskbar.

    Read More | Comment | Tweet This | Share

    HTC Home: HTC Weather and Clock Widget for Windows

    HTC-Home-Weather-Widget

    HTC Home is a beautiful weather widget for Windows that emulates HTC Sense UI’s combines weather and clock widget.

    Read More | Comment | Tweet This | Share

    Labs Crazy Experimental Stuff Now in Google Chrome Canary

    canary

    If you like trying out crazy experimental stuff in Google’s Chrome web browser, you might be happy to hear that Chrome Canary now has a Labs feature.

    Read More | 1 Comment | Tweet This | Share

    10 New Animated Screensavers Yellow, Green and Blue Themes

    screensaver-ico

    10 new screensavers that offer a you a nicely animated yellow, green and blue themes. Here you’ll find one of the few places that you can trust for getting safe freescreensavers.

    Read More | Comment | Tweet This | Share

    Voice Translation Now Available in Chrome 7

    english-to-french

    The newest version of Google Chrome supports speech recognition. Check out this website that translates spoken English to French.

    Read More | 3 Comments | Tweet This | Share

    Hardware Accelerated Browsing Experience: Chrome 7 vs. Firefox 4 vs. Internet Explorer 9

    A comparison of rendering capabilities of hardware accelerated builds of Chrome 7, Internet Explorer 9 and Firefox 4.

    Read More | Comment | Tweet This | Share

    Initiate Alt-Tab Command Using A Simple Mouse Gesture

    altedge-alt-tab-with-mouse-gesture

    Learn how you can use a simple mouse gesture to switch / rotate between opened Windows.

    Read More | Comment | Tweet This | Share

    10 New Animated Screensavers Bugs, Birds, Fish and Flowers

    screensaver-ico

    10 new screensavers that offer a you a nicely animated view of bugs, birds, fish, flowers and much more. This is one of the few sites that you can trust for getting safe free screensavers.

    Read More | 4 Comments | Tweet This | Share

    DriveSMART : Know Your Hard Disk Health

    DriveSmart is a free tool that check on the health of your hard drive. In case your drive health is deteriorating the application will alert you about the damage so that you get a chance to backup valuable data on the disk before the disk crashes.

    Read More | Comment | Tweet This | Share

    Aero Flip Task Switching for XP with WinFlip

    aero-flip-win7

    There are plenty of ways to make XP look more modern, but sometimes these tweaks make XP run slower. WinFlip is an easy way to gain a cool looking feature without paying a big price in performance.

    Read More | Comment | Tweet This | Share

    What are Chrome Web Apps?

    chrome

    I can tell you a little about the new Google Chrome web apps and the upcoming Chrome Web Store. So far, I’m not impressed with what I’ve seen. Do you want to know why?

    Read More | 2 Comments | Tweet This | Share


    Be sure to let us know if you have a favorite freebie you’d like to see posted here. Our comments (below) are always open to you.

    JumpControl Adds ShutDown, Restart, Logoff and Hibernate Options in Windows7 Taskbar

    [Windows only]: Windows 7   taskbar allows you to pin applications and folders to the taskbar for quicker access. You can right click an application or the respective start menu entry and pin the program to the Windows7 taskbar for one click access, which is great !

    JumpControl is a free utility for Windows7 which allow you to add Shutdown, Restart, Hibernate, Sleep, Log off and Lock Computer options in Windows 7 taskbar. The idea is great, you can quickly turn off the computer or restart it without having to click the start button or use any keyboard shortcut.

    The best part of JumpControl is that it’s portable, hence can be used from a removable drive without installation or modifying Windows registry.

    Download JumpControl

    Once you have downloaded the package, extract it and right click the JumpControl.exe file. Choose “Pin to taskbar”, as shown below:


    Clicking the JumpControl icon from the taskbar allows you to handpick the different options you want to show as a taskbar item. Since I am the only user of my computer, I unchecked the “Switch user” option and checked the remaining ones which includes Shut down, Restart, Sleep, Hibernate, Lock and Logoff.


    The result was a nifty little icon in Windows 7 taskbar, right clicking which shows different options to shutdown or restart the computer with just one click.

    Make sure you read our earlier trick on how to shutdown the computer at a specified time using a timer. Thanks Vishal.

    Techie Buzz Verdict

    The options in JumpControl are cool but it’s very basic. There can be improvements e.g adding a timer, shutting down the computer at a specified time or shutting down the computer after the downloads has finished and so on.

    Techie buzz Rating: 3 (Good).

    Download iTunes 10 with iTunes Ping Support

    At the Apple Special Event today, Steve Jobs announced the introduction of a new social networking platform for music lovers called iTunes Ping.

    iTunes Ping

    iTunes Ping is a social networking site for music lovers, where you can follow your favorite artists and friends and discover music they’re listening to and downloading.

    itunes_10_itunes_ping[4]

    iTunes 10 also introduces new TV show rentals at 99c per episode. It also adds a new feature called AirPlay which allows you to play your favorite music anywhere in your house without having to be connected through wires.

    Learn more on what is new about iTunes 10 here. You can also find out more information about iTunes Ping here and download iTunes 10 with iTunes Ping from here.

    10 New Animated Screensavers – Yellow, Green and Blue Themes

    screensaver-ico[Windows Only]
    As many of you have learned by now, not all free screensavers are created equal. Many times, free means that you have to install stupid toolbars, adware and other unwanted junk along with the screensaver. That’s not true of the ones at NewFreeScreensavers.com. Here are the most recent additions to the site.

    nfsBoobleFlower nfsClockPointer nfsColorAbstractLine nfsColorDotsYellow nfsDigitalClockClouds01_2 nfsGreen nfsGreenAbstractionBlur nfsMicrobe nfsRandomBlue nfsStarsBlue

    Just a few days ago, I told you about the Bugs, Birds, Fish and Flowers screensavers. Now a new set of ten brings you some colorful themes and a unique time clock made from clouds. Another addition to the site lets you snag the top ten most popular screensavers in one easy download. It’s so tempting to try out all of these new ones, but I’m going to have to be careful that I don’t fill up my hard drive.

    Over the last few months, I’ve installed twenty or thirty of the screensavers at this site, and I’ve never had a problem with any of them. All of these screensavers are safe, totally free, and there are dozens more to check out once you visit.

    • Download Page

    Techie Buzz Verdict:

    Most of these screensavers are silent, but the ones that aren’t may not have a setting to turn off the sound. Some of these might include a tiny message at the bottom of the screen that displays the website address. It’s not very noticeable and other than that, these are all very well done.

    Techie Buzz Rating: 3/5 (Good)

    Initiate Alt-Tab Command Using A Simple Mouse Gesture

    [Windows Only] If you keep several windows open while working on your computer, then its obvious that you often get lost while switching between them (windows). This is when a Windows user uses the most common Alt+Tab key combination that gives a simple visual display of the opened windows. This helps you to locate and move to the correct window you are looking for.

    altedge-alt-tab-with-mouse-gesture

    Have you ever wondered if it is possible to use this feature with a simple movement of the mouse ? Here is a tool that will help you to do that. Download and run AltEdge. Now whenever you need to switch between windows, just move your mouse pointer to the left side of the screen. You will see the all open windows listed as they are shown when Alt+Tab is used. The switching goes on automatically and whenever the pointer is on the desired window just move your mouse away to right. The window will come to focus.

    [Download AltEdge]

    Techie-Buzz Verdict

    This is a very useful tool and is one of its kind.You can easily use the Alt+Tab feature with a simple mouse gesture. You need not remember the keyboard shortcuts, and you can also use the Alt+Tab feature if any of the keys (Alt or Tab) on the keyboard are not working.

    Techie Buzz Rating : 4 / 5 (Excellent)

    10 New Animated Screensavers – Bugs, Birds, Fish and Flowers

    screensaver-ico[Windows Only]
    As many of you have learned by now, not all free screensavers are created equal. Many times, free means that you have to install stupid toolbars, adware and other unwanted junk along with the screensaver. That’s not true of the ones at NewFreeScreensavers.com. Here are the most recent additions to the site.

    nfs-birds-dragonflies nfs-clock-16hd nfs-flowers-animated nfs-fly nfs-hunting-fish nfs-running-man-and-woman nfs-sea-relax nfs-space-abstraction nfs-spider nfs-traces

    The Birds screenie is fun to watch as humming birds and dragonflies swoop and flit among the flowers. The Fly and the Spider are sure to give some people the creepsas these realistic bugs crawl across the screen. The cartoon-like Fish is fun to watch as he repeatedly tries to catch other fish. The ocean-front view of Sea Relax is just what it says, relaxing to watch.

    Over the last few months, I’ve downloaded and installed several of the screensavers at this site, and I’ve never had a problem with any of them. All of these screensavers are safe, totally free, and there are dozens more to check out once you visit.

    • Download Page

    Techie Buzz Verdict:

    Most of these screensavers are silent, but the ones that aren’t need a way to turn off the sound. I also noticed that the author is now including a tiny message at the bottom of the screen that displays the website address. It’s not very noticeable and other than that, these are all very well done.

    Techie Buzz Rating: 3/5 (Good)

    DriveSMART : Know Your Hard Disk Health

    DriveSmart is a free tool that checks the health of your hard drive. In case your drive health is deteriorating, the application will alert you about the damage so that you have a chance to backup valuable data on the disk before the disk crashes. The application uses S.M.A.R.T (Self-Monitoring, Analysis and Reporting Technology) to track the health of your hard disk.

    Why do you need it ?

    S.M.A.R.T (Self-Monitoring, Analysis and Reporting Technology) is a technology that can be found in almost all modern hard disks. This resides inside your hard disk and keeps track of some parameters like temperature, disk heads, surface state, electronics, etc. Once it senses any danger it pings the user about the problem. The error report takes time to show up as the disk tries to recover on its own. This is where DriveSmart comes into play. It accesses the S.M.A.R.T data and lets you know about the condition, so you have enough time to get your backup.

    [Download DriveSmart]

    Techie-Buzz Verdict:

    The tool is available for Windows (XP Home and Professional, 2K Professional and Server, Me, NT 4.0 Workstation & Server, 98, 95b, 2003 Server) and Mac (OS X 10.2 and 10.3). Unfortunately, the tool is not available yet for Windows 7 and Vista. I recommend this tool to everyone who has any of the supported OS installed.

    Techie-Buzz Rating: 3.5/5 (Very Good)

    Download Google Calendar Sync for Outlook 2010

    I am a heavy user of Google Calendar and used to use Google Calendar Sync for Outlook. After I switched to using , Google Calendar Sync stopped working as it only supported Outlook 2007 or lower.

    Google Calendar Sync Outlook 2010

    However, the latest version of Google Calendar Sync now works perfectly with Outlook 2010 and can sync your Google events with your Outlook Calendar. The newer version of Google Calendar Sync for Outlook is available for only 32-bit versions of .

    If you have been waiting for the update you can go ahead and download the Google Calendar Sync for Outlook 2010 from here.