Angry Birds – Now you can play it in a browser.

Y’know, it used to be that the only Angry Birds I ever knew was when I’d tread on their handbag dancing down Ritzy’s on a Saturday night. Although I’ll be honest, they were never that friendly even when I wasn’t stamping on their fake designer bag and I just tried talking to them.

But these days Angry Birds also equates to something else. Because with 300 million downloads on iPads, iPhones and other clever devices, there are a lot of people very familiar with an entirely different kind of Angry Birds, the game.

Me, I’m certainly well acquainted with it, because I’ve got an iPod Touch and for the 59p that I spent to download Angry Birds it is simultaneously the best value of anything I’ve ever purchased and positively the most costly, time robbing, counter-productive thing I ever, ever did.

Angry Birds LogoThe hours I’ve enjoyed/wasted catapulting little birds at green pigs, wooden planks, glass panels and stone slabs I wouldn’t like to calculate but it is the epitome of a ‘one more go game’. Only usually I’m saying those words to myself over and over again and still been bloody playing.

In fact I’ve deliberately allowed my iPod battery to drain down to nothing so I couldn’t have one more go.

Only now I can’t even rely on that fail-safe because they’ve only gone and made a version for the browser as well. And viciously they’ve even made it totally free, the bastards.

That’s right, now anyone has access to Angry Birds, although for this new browser based version they’d like you to think it’s available in only one particular browser, that being Google Chrome. Actually it plays exactly the same in Firefox 4 and above, Safari and IE 9, it just has the Chrome branding all over it still.

Where the Chrome exclusivity does kick however is that you can download it as an Chrome app (the fancy name for add-on these days) and then you can play it offline as well.

You have to hand it to Google, if a multi-million pound promotional campaign isn’t enough for people to adopt Chrome, hooking them in with the gaming equivalent of Crack is a credible Plan B.

Not that they really need it, already embraced by 20% of computer users in the UK, Chrome is an excellent browser, secure, stable, with thousands of cool add-ons but most crucially, it is very fast.

If you don’t have it yet, perhaps you should, you can download Google Chrome here.

But what of Angry Birds itself, and its hours of fun/frustration. Well to play it directly in Google Chrome, or the other browsers I mentioned, all you need to do is to click this link – Angry Birds for Chrome.

You’ll soon get the hang of the controls, zoom in and out with your mouse scroll wheel, or the up and down arrows of your keyboard, and use your cursor to pull back on the catapult. Don’t worry it will all make sense when you’re there.

Oh and look out for the Chrome logo in later levels to aim at and unlock some extra Chrome inspired levels (you can still play them on any browser though). To download the offline app for Chrome, you’ll see the link featured prominently anyway.

Whatever method you choose, if you’ve been curious to play Angry Birds but not had the right gadget before, this is your chance. At least it’s something different to playing Solitaire when you should be working.

But if you do start playing it, may I just say two things.

Enjoy it and I’m very, very sorry.

The 107 best websites on the web…apart from this one.

Now you know I like to keep up to date with all the latest and greatest new web apps and web sites don’t you.

But finding them and then finding the time to tell you about them are two different things. These days you see I can barely find the time to scratch my arse if it itches…and unfortunately I can’t find the volunteers for that either.

Nevertheless I remain as committed as ever to bringing these great websites to you, even if I can’t always tell you about them in my own inimitable fashion. Namely long-windedly and with a few bad jokes.

And so it is with pleasure that I present a ready formed run-down of some of the websites that I’ve been wanting to to tell you about, plus a few extra for gravy, in a new list from MakeUseOf called The 107 Best Websites on the Web.

Now why they chose the 107 best websites on the web when it’s such an arbitrary number I cannot say. Or indeed how they can claim it’s a definitive list of the best websites when [spoiler alert] this one isn’t on it.

But that obvious quibble aside, it is a list to include many other great websites broken down into 20 bite-size categories like Entertainment, Productivity, Software Downloads and Security/Privacy so there’s bound to be something of interest to everybody, whatever you’re looking for.

Although I think the best discoveries from lists like this are the ones you didn’t know you were looking for.

There is one which should appeal to everybody however and that’s Groupon in the Local Category. Which given it’s a discount shopping portal may make it a strange candidate for a Local section. But it’s a discount site with a twist because the deals come to you, they are all for your local town and when they’re usually at least 60% off, it doesn’t matter where they put it, you should look at it and sign up for it. Their link takes you to the American site though, use this one for Groupon UK.

So there we are, that’s the 107 best websites on the web according to MakeUseOf. Funnily enough they include themselves on their own list but I don’t blame them because it really is a great resource for everything web related. They certainly have plenty of free how-to guides on subjects like Facebook and Twitter and all sorts of other computer stuff which are available here.

I can’t say that ALL the other websites would be on my list though, I mean Wikileaks is on there. Wikileaks! Surely the best websites are the ones that are the most useful to the most amount of people. How is that Wikileaks?

Its readership has gone down by at least one in Pakistan recently as well.

Prostopleer – What’s the Russian for free music downloads?

You know what a sure sign of success on the net is, it’s when your name isn’t just a name anymore, it becomes a verb.

And we’ve certainly had that with Spotify when it comes to listening and building up a collection of free streaming music via the web.

It’s been great and still is. But once they realised that building our music libraries while they lost millions every month was not the best business model, things changed a bit. Because now with their free accounts limited to just 10 hours a month, the Spotify music gravytrain may not have come of the rails completely but we’ve definitely lost a carriage or two over the side.

So in that case, what else can we hitch our musical caboose to?

Well, there’s always We7. Not the service it used to be with its unlimited free requests for artists and songs (although you can still have 50 specific requests a month after you register), We7 has changed to an exclusively ‘Radio’ based format. And while I think it’s probably the best at that type of service, it does spoil the goodwill rather with just a few too many adverts.

And then there’s Grooveshark, the biggest free streaming music player available from the States. All request based I’m pleased to say with lots tracks and features although unfortunately there’s still no getting away from the ads. However once you get past a big advert on the front page, for something American it’s not too bad ad wise.

But if you prefer your free music players to be just about playing the free music without the big intrusive images, I have another option for you.

It’s called Prostopleer, it’s Russian and apart from Roman Abramovich’s millions if you’re a Chelsea fan like me, it might just be the best Russian export since Vodka.

Prostopleer logoBecause what you get is a very cool, very minimal but very slick streaming music service that makes it a doddle to search for your favorite songs. And should you take the few seconds necessary to register with Prostopleer you can then drag and drop them into any number of playlists you create. The quality of the music is great and while not everything is on there, I’ve found plenty of tracks that Spotify and We7 don’t have.

Mind you, that might have something to do with the way Prostopleer gets its music, since it allows its users to upload new tracks to it and for that matter download those songs as well….for free.

Now whether you do that is up to you, I’m just saying that it’s a feature over and above its entirely safe music streaming. But I did my due diligence before writing this, ok I Googled for half an hour, and I found no bad reviews for it at all, reviews I could read in English anyway. Look, I’m just trying to cover my arse here.

I will categorically tell you though that I’m using Prostopleer a lot. If you’ve previously focused on Spotify it’s a great unlimited music alternative. And don’t be put off if it displays in its native Russian when first loaded, down the bottom of the page there’s an option to quickly toggle the user friendly English version.

I still don’t know though what Prostopleer itself means, to me it sounds more like a cure for male prostate problems. What I do know is that you should definitely dip your finger in.

Go on, perform your own examination now at the Prostopleer website.

Fences – It’s time to love your Desktop again.

Right then, are you a tidy sort or a messy sort?

Not in life, if you’re the messy sort in real life there’s not much I can do to help, you filthy degenerate. No, I mean your computer life, are you the tidy or messy sort on the Desktop of your PC!

Because if you have let your Desktop get out of control, if it does look like someone picked up your monitor, shook it like a Flatscreen Maraca and now all of your assorted crap is scattered in no discernible order whatsoever, I have just the little application for you.

It’s called Fences and it’s the perfect way to stop being at least a Desktop filthy degenerate.

For just by downloading this ever so useful little utility it can organise your Desktop into nicely styled little boxed areas of folders, of programs, files, and shortcuts and correctly label them as well, automatically!

Fences - Desktop Organiser

(And you needn’t worry if this new found order only confuses you. Because before doing anything Fences will take a snapshot of your Desktop in its original messed up state so with a click of a button you can watch as it reverts every icon back to its previous place in your organised chaos.)

You have manual control too, you can hold right-click to ‘draw’ your own Fences, move them around, change their colour, change their label, resize them, drag icons in and out of them, just about everything you’d want to keep pleasingly customisable order on your desktop.

And for the ultimate cleanaway, with a double-click Fences will also hide every icon on your desktop. So you’ll now be able to view your desktop wallpaper of the Windows logo, abstract lines, sand dunes, poppy fields or even Justin Bieber in all its unobscured glory before another double-click on the desktop brings everything back again.

I won’t pretend Fences is a life changer, it doesn’t pretend that itself. But it is something that serves a very useful purpose in a very efficient manner and it’s a wonder Microsoft don’t build the same sort of thing into Windows from the start.

Because even from just a normal couple of columns of icons on your Desktop, Fences will still arrange things more tidily, make icons easier to find and in a way that will prompt you to keep it like that.

I know, because I am a reformed Desktop filthy degenerate.

And I haven’t mentioned yet that you can get it absolutely FREE, you can download Fences here. (There is a paid version available as well)

So then, to sum up this great little organsiser in one fittingly succinct sentence.

Fences, it’s neat.

How to watch ‘The Daily Show with Trevor Noah’ in the UK.

READ THIS – VERY IMPORTANT UPDATE 2nd Dec 2015 Well I suppose it to happen eventually, Comedy Central got wise, or more likely finally got around to stopping the little video unblocking workaround that I detail in the post below. And lo there was much lamentation and speaking of naughty words. But just when all seemed lost there came a man, and it wasn’t me this time, who informed of a new easy way of watching The Daily Show. His name is Archbishop Shaggy and he posted a comment down below on the 2nd December 2015, with a follow up from this humble scribe explaining in just a little bit more detail, on how you might once more resume your TDS viewing. So read my post if you wish, but really the way to go now I believe is detailed in the comments below on 2nd December.

Update Oct 2015: Ok, so obviously things have changed since I first wrote this post back in 2011, namely one host of The Daily Show, hence a nameswap in the title. But the method still works exactly the same and so read on, follow the simple instructions and enjoy.
Although I fear just not quite as much as you would with the old host.

Ok folks this one is not like other posts, it’s very personal, is aimed very specifically at a particular group of people and if you don’t even know what a ‘Daily Show with Jon Stewart’ is then frankly you need not read any further, this one will not concern you.

For those it does however, this may be the most important post I will ever write.

Because this one is written in the fond hope you found me by Googling something like the title above. This one is because I desperately did the very same thing and eventually found the priceless information I’m going to share. And this one is because like me you love watching ‘The Daily Show with Jon Stewart’ and can’t anymore because More4 have f***ing cancelled it!

(*I wrote this in Jan 2011 when it had just happened remember, obviously we have Comedy Central UK to thank for returning Jon back to us since) (And they’re not showing it either now!)

God knows it was bad enough when FX cancelled ‘The Colbert Report’, but this, this was like getting shot in the face by Dick Cheney.

Of course it wouldn’t matter so much if you could just watch them on Comedy Central’s own websites. Trouble is, as I’m sure you’ve already discovered, that none of the lovely videos play once they realise that you’re not visiting from the U.S.

Well, they won’t…unless you make ’em think you are visiting from the U.S.

And it turns out that you don’t need expensive kit or some dodgy download, you just need to use Firefox as your browser (and you ought to anyway, it’s waaaay better than Internet Explorer, click here to get it), install a single legitimate Firefox add-on and follow these simple instructions that probably even most ‘Fox News’ presenters could manage.

(Breaking news – 18/6/12. It used to be that you had to use Firefox for this type of workaround but now there’s a very similar method for Google Chrome. So if you are an ardent Chrome user, still scan the instructions here to get the gist, but then look down to my comment dated June 18 2012.)

  1. So assuming you already have Firefox and have it open, go to http://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/967 and install an add-on called Modify Headers.
  2. Firefox will now ask to restart, let it and once it has, look to the top menu bar and go to Tools -> Web Developer -> Modify Headers.(OR, if you’re on a PC and running the newer Firefox that doesn’t show the menu bar by default, go to the orange Firefox tab on the top left -> Web Developer -> Modify Headers)
  3. Either way, a separate smaller window will open and you’ll see towards the upper left a ‘Select Action’ dropdown box, click it and choose ‘Add’.
  4. You’ll also see 3 input boxes, in the first after ‘Add’ enter “X-Forwarded-For” without the quotation marks.
  5. In the second box enter “12.13.14.15” without the quotation marks. No spaces and no full stop after the 15.
  6. Leave the third box empty and click the other button with ‘Add’ to the right of it.
  7. Ok, so now you have created the clever little filter you need, confirmed in the space below along with a green circle, all that’s left is to click that funny looking smiley face in the top left that says ‘Start’.
  8. And that’s it, you’re all done, give yourself an Emmy.
  9. Next for the best bit, head directly to The Daily Show or ColbertNation websites, giggle with happiness and emit shouts of whooooooo like you’re in the audience when the videos come on.

How the magic works I don’t fully know and I don’t really care. I know that it hides your IP address behind a proxy one so that your real geographical location is disguised, and even if it does sometimes interfere with video on other sites, I also know that all I have to do is go back to the Modify Headers interface and disable it temporarily. No, bugger all that, all I actually care about is that I can watch Jon Stewart AND Stephen Colbert again. Hallowed be their names.

So if this works for you, and it really should, you’ll now share my overwhelming sense of relief, but it can’t end there.

Nation, we have to rally to restore the sanity for every hero. Go forth and spread the word about this on Facebook, Twitter, forum websites or on toilet walls even. Or perhaps leave a simple grateful comment on here confirming that it works.

And let it be a moment of zen to those assholes at More4 who made us do this.

.

(I really have to give a tip of my hat to someone called Saiftk on Reddit Canada. His is the original information I’ve adapted and while those details are a bit out of date now, it was the means that has made me and hopefully many others very happy.)

 

Top 10 Internet Predictions for 2011

Ah 2010, what a year. We had that iPad thingee that proved quite popular and a whistleblowing website that became extremely famous even though only U.S. government agencies, newspapers and some people in caves in Pakistan would have visited it.

Actually I don’t feel qualified to talk much about 2010 as I spent way too much of it on my Xbox 360 when in previous years I would have been writing on here. In my defense though, there were some terrific games released.

Still with a resolution for somewhat more insightful journalism over this 12 months, what better way to start than with another round of predictions that proved so accurate in 2010. Well I assume they were, who knows, I’ve been too busy playing on my Xbox.

Anyway, without further ado, and in absolutely no order of probability I present my Top 10 Internet Predictions for 2011.

  1. With the BBC blowing all of its money on the Royal Wedding, the Queens usual Christmas Day broadcast has to be released on Twitter instead.
  2. The porn industry adapts 3D technology to the internet. When male porn stars turn around people will be seen to duck.
  3. Hostilities between North and South Korea reach crisis point when the South Korean P.M. de-friends Kim Jon-il on Facebook.
  4. Wikileaks founder Julian Assange miscalculates badly by creating a sister site called Wookieleaks aimed at Star Wars. All the computer geeks who supported him previously now crash his servers.
  5. When the E.U Monetary System threatens to collapse only Google has the money for a bailout. Not ones to miss a trick they place Adwords on Euro banknotes.
  6. ‘Black Monday’, the busiest online shopping day before Christmas will be attacked by the PC brigade for perceived racist overtones.  Is renamed to the more appropriate (In the) ‘Red Monday’.
  7. You think Apple place their computers in lots of TV programs now, once product placement laws in the UK are relaxed on Feb 28th they’ll show up in a badgers holt in Springwatch.
  8. The price comparison site war turns dirty as thousands of specially trained ‘attack’ Meerkats are released in the Go Compare offices.
  9. As .com addresses become exhausted new top level domain names are tested for specific markets. Cricket teams get .ball, printer firms get .matrix, EastEnder fan sites get .cotton and morse code sites get .dotdot
  10. The term ‘cloud computing’ will become the internet buzz phrase in 2011 and still nobody, absolutely nobody, will know what it means.

Oh yeah, that last one, that one will happen.

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Invisible Hand – The money saver you’ll want to see.

Right then my friends, since we all like absolutely the best deal when shopping online, I shall now tell you about the easiest way of ensuring you get it.

And I am talking about yet another browser add-on but handily this one comes not just for Firefox but several other popular browser flavours as well, so even all you stubborn Internet Explorer diehards are in luck this time.

Of course, luck like that is similar to only winning a tenner on the lottery compared to the veritable jackpot of add-ons if you are an enlightened Firefox convert.

Anyway leaving all that aside for now, time to get back to the subject at hand, in this instance an Invisible Hand, the name of this terrific little money saving extra.

A curious name admittedly but I guess it’s because it acts as your unseen scout scouring most of the very biggest shopping sites comparing prices, then either confirming the site you’re on has the cheapest deal or pointing you towards the one that does.

So granted, at heart it’s a just a price comparison tool but what sets Invisible Hand apart is its ease and convenience, all YOU need to do is shop normally.

I’ll give you a scenario, say you’re on Amazon looking at the page of the latest shoot ’em up game for your XBox 360

Well, after a few seconds of contemplation, Invisible Hand will smoothly slide in from the top of your browser and tell you whether Amazon does indeed boast the best price for death and destruction on an apocalyptic scale, OR whether any of the other UK retailers it monitors has a better deal.

It will specify exactly how much the saving is and just for swank even provide a link directly to your item on that cheaper site. Now you’ll never pay more than necessary to blow shit up again!

Honestly, while Invisible Hand doesn’t cover all categories of items yet, getting it is a no-brainer. If you shop online at all you’d be mad to miss the potential savings for electronics, software, games, music, books and even girlie stuff like cosmetics from companies such as Boots, Asda, John Lewis, Argos, PC World, HMV and of course Amazon.

So I urge you, if you know what’s good for you, go to the Invisible Hand website now to download it.

It may be called Invisible Hand but for online shopping the savings it provides are obvious.