Tag Archives: Free

Bejeweled 2 – Free for Today Only

bejeweled2-icon I just downloaded and installed Bejeweled 2 FREE! If you know about this game, I don’t have to tell you what a great time-waster it is. To celebrate 10 years since the release of the original Bejeweled, PopCap Games is offering it for free, today only.

Your deadline is 10pm PST. In case you didn’t catch the significance, the date and time are 10-10-10 @ 10 pm.

bejeweled2-offer

It seems like everyone is celebrating this once in a lifetime alignment of tens. Did you know that 10-10-10 is the answer to Life, the Universe and Everything? Yes, it’s a very special day.

Here’s what PopCap says about the game:

Get set to play the PopCap game that set the standard in casual gaming! Match sparkling gems three at a time to make them burst in showers of color and points. Match four or more to create flashy power gems that boost your score and your mood with brilliant cascades and combos. Soar to gem-matching heights in Classic mode, or speed through matches against the clock in Action. For even more dazzling fun, bump up your brainwaves with multi-faceted Puzzles, or enter the Zen state of Endless play. Every match is high-carat fun!

And here’s a glimpse of the game:

bejeweled2-game

I’ve kept you waiting long enough here’s the link to get this free offer:

(requires a name and email address)

Go Here to Get Bejeweled 2 for FREE

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12 Animated National Flag Clock Screensavers

[Windows Only] Not everyone would consider themselves nationalistic or patriotic. However, most of us do enjoy seeing our national flags flying high and rippling in the breeze of a bright day. NewFreeScreensavers is offering 12 great free animated flag screensavers with an analog clock in the center. The flags are full screen animations that should work well on any Windows display. The settings for the screensavers are simple and allow you to change the display resolution.

usa-flag aus-flag bri-flag brz-flag can-flag fra-flag ger-flag isr-flag ita-flag jap-flag kor-flag nth-flag

All of the free screensavers at NewFreeScreensavers are completely ad-free and contain no malware. There are dozens of cool free animated screensavers there that you must see to believe.

Screensavers Download Page

Check out the rest of the free screensavers we’ve talked about here at Techie Buzz.

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If you have your own tips on places to find great free screensavers, be sure to comment below or email me.


Desktop Weather from The Weather Channel

twc-icon [Windows] Here in the States, if you want to check weather on the TV, you’ll probably be watching The Weather Channel(TWC). On the web, TWC, or weather.com, has more competition, but it’s still one of the biggest weather services. So, you’d expect them to have a few apps for PCs and mobile devices. They do have a few, and I recently tried the Weather Desktop app for PCs. Below you’ll find some screenshots and commentary on it.

twc-installerFirst, I hit the big red Downloadbutton and I ended up with a 300kb installer stub. As you may know, a stub is a download manager that starts a larger download and installs it on your computer. After installing, I ended up with about 3.5mb in the program folder.

Here’s the first screen I saw during the install.

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Next, I had to say Acceptto a license agreement. I read it briefly and I did find one section I didn’t like quote:

TWCi may require the update or automatic distribution of the Software on your computer when a new version of the Software application becomes available. This update or new download may occur automatically or through other means.

I don’t even like it when Windows updates without my knowledge. Did I really want desktop weather this badly? Yes, for now, I’ll give it a try.

After accepting the license, I hit three attempts to install software that I may not want. Pay close attention here if you don’t want these apps. The first is the Dealioshopping bar. Be sure to uncheck Set Yahoo as my default search, and also hit the Declinebutton at the bottom  if you don’t want Dealio.

weather-desktop-dealio

Next you’ll see an offer to install Advance Registry Optimizer. It’s shareware and you have to spend $30 to get it to work fully. If you don’t want it (and you really don’t), then hit the Declinebutton.

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After the last Decline, the Weather Desktop will finally install and you’ll see the application window.

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Yes, it’s ad supported. Do you see the advertisement in the bottom right? At least it wasn’t flashing at me and jumping up and down.

The main window has lots of stuff you can check out. First and most important to me was the current weather and the weather alerts. As you can see, there was a weather alert when I first ran this. We had some pretty heavy thunderstorms that night.

I liked the built in radar image. You can see the storm had passed over me and nothing else was close to me yet.

The menu on the left had several different things you could do to learn about the weather.

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Most of these menu items worked well, but sometimes nothing seemed to happen when I chose them. I noticed that the Weather Desktop is marked as Betaat the top of the page. Below are some of the features that did work.

weather-desktop-alergy weather-desktop-national weather-desktop-video weather-desktop-trivia

When you close the main application, it will minimize to the system tray and a little icon will tell you the current temperature. The icon is normally blue, but it turns orange and flashes when there’s a weather alert.

weather-desktop-systray

There’s plenty more to the app, but that’s all I’ll show you for now.

Techie Buzz Verdict:

It’s free, but it is ad supported. There are tons of great features, but some of them don’t work right now. I like this little program, but it still needs work. The major things I didn’t like were the third party software offers while installing, and the very loose licensing language. The Weather Desktop app has more drawbacks than I like in a free application. However, you may like it better than I do.

Techie Buzz Rating: 2/5 (Below Average)

5000 Free Icons at the Open Icon Library

Most web searches for free icons will lead you astray. You will often end up at sites that offer a few free icons, just to show off their paid icon collections. Other times you’ll find that the icons have license restrictions that don’t allow you to use them online or for business use. Do you need a good source for free icons?

open-icon-library-logoI discovered that the free icons at the Open Icon Library are not only free, but are free to use anywhere for any purpose. Here’s what they say about their collection:

A free and open Icon collection. Over 5000 Unique Icons. Free for anyone to use on you computer, website or any other project. The library is not a theme. Its a centralized source for icons to cover all your needs. The goal is to cover all common apps, operating systems, mimetypes, devices, and country flags.

You can easily browse the Open Icon Gallery by using the three main categories of Flags, Icons and Pictograms. If you don’t have time to look through them all online, you can always download the entire collection to your computer. There’s also an additional collection of icons specifically designed for use on web pages.

If you need even more free images, be sure to check out these pages:

IconArchive, Christmas Icons,  OpenClipArt, MorgueFile and Wallpapers.


Free Credit Reports from CreditKarma

shield-green-check-ico When you are looking for free credit reports, be careful where you go. There are plenty of very shady (almost evil) websites out there that offer you services that may cost you plenty if you aren’t careful. Have you seen the TV commercials for FreeCreditReports.com? I checked them out at the Better Business Bureau and they were rated with an F. That’s bad, very bad.

ckLogoRecently, I’ve seen one service that appears to be safe and highly recommended. The service at CreditKarma.com checked out with an Arating at the Better Business Bureau and it’s even registered as an Accredited Businessthere. Here’s what Credit Karma says about their service:

Credit Karma believes consumers have a right to know this information with no charge or without the bait and switch of 30 days free followed by enrollment products with confusing opt outs. We subsidize our cost of pulling the credit scores by selling advertising on the site.

They offer several reports and even some tools for helping you improve your future scores. The only complaints I’ve seen so far, are people reporting that the FICO scores are sometimes inaccurate. Since the only other FICO scores you can get are not free, you may decide you can live with results that aren’t perfect.

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Here’s a nice tour of the Credit Karma service that was created for Sears credit cards.

In addition to Credit Karma,  another truly free place to get yearly credit reports is at the Annual Credit Report site.


Conclusion:

Not all free credit reports are created equal. You can always check with the Better Business Bureau before you give personal information to a website.


Alien Swarm Mini Review

Why I term this a mini review is because I have not played this game online. Considering the fact that this is mostly an online-only co-op game, I have not played much. Nevertheless, the little bit of Alien Swarm that I have played shows that this game is pretty much one of the most generous gifts by Valve to the modding community at large. It’s also a pretty cool free game. Completely, utterly free.

AlienSwarmLogo

What’s that? Access to a modding community, did you say?
Yes, sir. Alien Swarm is a decent game on its own right, but the included Source SDK as well as a level editor pretty much makes this game infinite. It also allows anyone to dive into some of the best games and mods available these days. I’d personally recommend FLIPSIDE and Weekday Warrior for anyone looking for a different gaming experience. Note: Mods that rely on existing content of Source-based games such as Half Life 2 or Team Fortress 2 will, of course, remain unavailable to those who only have Alien Swarm.

That’s all very good but how good is the game? Get on with the review man!
Oh yes, the game is very good. Pretty good in fact. Considering that this was originally an Unreal Tournament mod, the game has turned out to be something that we can waste lazy afternoons with!
The basic premise has you being in control of one of four classes of soldiers:-

AlienSwarmCharacters

The Officer with passive boosting aurasand access to the class-restricted shotgun.
The Special Weapons soldier dealing massive amounts of damage with autoguns.
The Medic the game’s healer who is invaluable when fighting Parasites and other aliens in general.
The Tech who has access to special weapons as well as the person who can open locked doors with a mini game. (I can imagine how flustering the experience would be when playing under hard mode!)

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The game features quite a lot of weapons most of which I sadly have not unlocked. They will be opened in due time with online play and leveling up, I am sure!

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The game is quite good to look at, with soft bounced lights, realistic shadows of unrealistic things (see next screenshot) and some great effects. There is talk about how you can play this game in first person and the video does not look bad at all!

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In all, this game is pretty awesome and I can’t wait to see some Indian servers go up. Not until they stop playing Counter Strike: Source, of course.

Get Alien Swarm today!

FamilyShield Blocks Phishing, Malware and Adult Websites

family-shield-icon A few weeks ago, a good friend of our family posted a question to me in Facebook.

How can I block adult content on my kid’s computer?

Fortunately, I already knew about several methods, but I wanted to give them something free and easy to use. I pointed them to the free OpenDNS service.

Why OpenDNS?

There’s no software to download and it’s always up to date with the latest information on what websites need to be blocked. It also works on Windows, Mac, Linux or almost any operating system.

To use the free OpenDNS Basic service, you will have to register an email address to be able to change the settings that control what types of web content you wish to block. However, OpenDNS is now offering   a new service, called FamilyShield, which doesn’t require registration and is even easier to set up.

What does FamilyShield block?

• Adult websites that are unsuitable for kids
• Proxy and anonymizer sites commonly used by savvy kids to bypass traditional Web filters
• Phishing sites that aim to trick you into handing over personal or financial information
• Some virus-spreading malware websites

How does FamilyShield work?

To tell you how it works, I’m going to use one of the 650+ free wallpapers from VladStudio.

Image: How the Internet Works by VladStudio:

how-the-internet-works

When you are using FamilyShield or any other OpenDNS service, you are telling your PC to use OpenDNS as your default DNS server. Do you see the owl in the third frame of the picture? The DNS server (the owl) tells your computer the real address (IP address) of all the websites that your computer tries to access.

OpenDNS is a smart owl. If you ask it for the IP address of a website that contains something bad, OpenDNS won’t give you the address and you won’t be able to access the bad website. If you set up FamilyShield on your home network router, all the devices in your home are protected from the bad stuff out there.

Below, I’ll show you the typical FamilyShield setup for protecting your home.

1. Sign in with an email address or skip it by clicking the link labeled continue. They don’t require your email address.

family-shield-1

2. Choose to set up FamilyShield on a single PC or on your home network (router).

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3. If you choose router, you can find specific instructions for the most popular router models.

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4. Below you can see the instructions for a Linksys router.

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5. Once you have the router set up, you can test to see if FamilyShield is working by using the Test your new settingslink at the top of the instruction page.

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That’s it. No software needed and your PC or your home network is protected. Your kids and you will be much safer using the FamilyShield from OpenDNS.

Techie Buzz Verdict:

I can’t tell enough people about this awesome free service. If you are reading this, you should tell all of your friends. It’s not a replacement for knowing what your kids are doing on the PC, but it’s an easy way to help protect them.

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Moonbase Alpha Goes Online on Steam

NASA has teamed up with the US Army game development studio (the makers of America’s Army) to deliver an almost-realistic lunar base simulation. Moonbase Alpha is a pretty neat looking game that has you (and up to five more players) restoring NASA’s lunar base – Moonbase Alphaafter it was damaged in a critical meteorite impact. Using cutting-edge lunar technology and varied tools and robots, you and your friends must save the colony before the oxygen runs out in the base.

moonbase1

The lesser the time you take, the better your score is and in the near future I would expect a lot of competition to pipe up on this game. The game is well integrated with Steam with stats and leaderboards supported. Also, Valve’s Anti-Cheat (VAC) system is also integrated into this game.

Moonbase2

The best part about this game is that it’s free. Yes, it’s rated E for Everyone and is great for family gaming and is also entirely free!

Download it from Steam today!

Save Money on Office 2010 or Get a Free Office Suite

no-word Microsoft left out a key ingredient in it’s recipe for getting everyone to use it’s newly released Microsoft Office 2010. They failed to offer Office 2010 upgrade discounts to the current users of Office 2007. What’s up with that?

office-2010

There is still hope for those wanting to save money on Office 2010. Microsoft is offering free upgrades to 2010 for those buying and activating Office 2007 or upgrading from Office 2003 to 2007. The best savings are for those upgrading from Office 2003 to Office 2010, as detailed in a post at PC World. The post mentions that there are several restrictions on the free upgrades. Due to the restrictions, many people and companies will still be paying a lot of money for a full featured and modern office suite. I have to wonder if MS Office is really worth all the trouble. After all, there are several free alternatives to MS Office.

Many companies, home users, local governments and schools have saved big money by scrapping Microsoft Office and switching to Open Office 3.2. Since Microsoft Office is so expensive, now is a good time to ask yourself if OpenOffice, which is completely free, could replace your existing Microsoft Office 2007. OpenOffice has a some great FAQs that can help you decide if it’s a good deal for you. Take a look at “Why OpenOffice.org“.

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There are plenty of questions raised when considering the cost of an office suite. Have you asked all the right questions?

MS Office 2010

OpenOffice.org


Freeware Fridays | Top Tools Of the Week #10

freeware-signIn 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.

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Great Windows Search Replacement Agent Ransack

If you’d like a good, light weight replacement for the slow Windows file search, you won’t find many tools better than Agent Ransack

wifi-ico

Find Free Wifi Hotspots with WeFi

If you are out in the world with your laptop, netbook or mobile devices, you might want an easy way to find free wifi hotspots. WeFi is an application and web service that may be just what you need.

music-notes

Record Shoutcast Music Stations with MP3 VCR

These days, computers have made it much easier to record music. There are many methods to record the streaming music at internet radio stations and I’ve discovered that the MP3 VCR is one of the easiest.

Thunderbird 3.1

Download Thunderbird 3.1 Release Candidate

Mozilla has released Thunderbird 3.1 RC1 for downloads. Users can download Thunderbird 3.1 RC1 for Windows, Mac OS X and Linux in 44 languages.

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Remove Stubborn Toolbars with New IObit Uninstaller

Uninstall stubborn toolbars with the new IObit Uninstaller software. IObit Uninstaller willuninstall toolbars from IE, Firefox and other web browsers

Nitro PDF Viewer

Free Nitro PDF Reader Is A Decent Foxit Reader Alternative

Nitro PDF Reader is a excellent Foxit Reader alternative which packs in several interesting features such as form filling, PDF reading and more. Download the Free PDF Reader today.

music-player-oldies

Clementine Music Player Amarok for Windows and Mac

Have you ever heard of Amarok, the music player and organizer for Linux? Now there’s a version of it for Windows and Mac. It’s called Clementine.

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Clouds and Sky Make Great Screensavers

The folks at NewFreeScreensavers posted a letter to me the other day. They’ve released a few new screensavers that I thought you might like to see.

Megaupload Downloader

Megaupload Downloader Downloads Files From Popular File Hosting Sites

Megaupload Downloader allows users to download files from Megaupload, Rapidshare, Sendspace, Depositfiles, 4Shared, Mediafire, ZShare, Easy-share, Uploaded.to. Megaupload Downloader can also download videos from YouTube and Veoh.

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.