Like many free applications, The Hat from Harmony Hollow Software uses software to do something usually done "the hard way." In this case, it's drawing names from a hat, the time-honored method for randomly selecting individual entries from a group. The app can randomize a list of names so no one can complain about who goes first and who goes last. It can also draw individual names or pairs of names for raffles, sweepstakes, and ongoing contests. It does this all without requiring you to actually write down names, cut up the list, and throw it all … Read more
After entering into a landmark deal with Amazon.com last month, a well-known literary agent has backed off its agreement with the online retailer.
The Wylie Agency had inked a deal with Amazon that made digital versions of some of its clients' titles, including Norman Mailer's "The Naked and the Dead" and Ralph Ellison's "Invisible Man," available exclusively to Amazon's Kindle e-reader platform for two years.
The agreement was considered a landmark because it skirted the publishers of the books' paper editions and effectively offered more revenue to the authors or their estates.… Read more
It's more enjoyable to use personal photos as wallpaper instead of sample photos that come preinstalled on your computer. Wallpaper Randomizer randomly displays and changes images of your choice as desktop wallpaper. This free screen utility makes things fun by mixing it up.
Wallpaper Randomizer is easy to access and use. The ReadMe file explains how to get started with the program. Wallpaper Randomizer runs from your computer's system tray; right-clicking the icon calls up its controls. There are also keyboard shortcuts if you want to change your wallpaper without having to click on the program's icon … Read more
With the near ubiquitous nature of broadband-enabled video game consoles, we've seen an increase in games that are intended primarily for online cooperative play. Games such as Left 4 Dead and the new Borderlands have basic single-player functionality, but are clearly intended for multiplayer sessions with friends.
Jeff, Scott, and Dan took the game for a spin to see if it's worth a spot on your holiday wish list. … Read more
Bridge Baron provides all the tools you need to enjoy the classic card game of contract bridge. The program's realism and teaching ability make for an excellent game of bridge for newcomers and old hands alike.
Bridge Baron's interface is simple and inviting, even to people whose bridge skills may be a little rusty. A navigable layout and excellent tutorials on the rules and specifics, such as convention practice, cover all the bases. From starting off bidding for the contract to unloading your deck and scoring against opponents, it does a fine job of mimicking real play. While … Read more
Random Intelligence Test will seem like a joke to most users since it is an intelligence test that didn't tell us how intelligent we are. Its frustrating design and lack of direction ensures this game is a flop.
This program was one unintelligent headache after another, starting with its lack of a Help file and any direction as to how the game should be played. We tried moving the multicolored balls around the gridlike game board for several minutes without understanding why our scores kept changing. Eventually, we realized that linking up same-colored balls earned points. However, we never … Read more
Amazon.com's Kindle may be the most-popular e-reader on the market, but that doesn't mean everyone is happy with it.
Amazon announced earlier this week that it will, in fact, sell a Kindle version of "Da Vinci Code" author Dan Brown's latest novel, "The Lost Symbol." The book is slated for release on September 15.
The Kindle version of "The Lost Symbol" was in limbo since Amazon first placed the hardcover version on its site for preorder. Its publisher, Random House, was concerned with releasing a Kindle version on the same day as the hardcover version. The company reasoned that with such a low price ($9.99 on the Kindle) compared with the hardcover version, which Amazon is currently offering for $16.17, that Kindle sales would cannibalize hardcover sales.
Random House's issues set the stage for what could have been a major battle between Amazon and publishers. Dan Brown's book promises to be a bestseller the day it's released. Random House might have had some leverage.
But after entering into discussions with Amazon, Random House announced last week that it had approved a Kindle version.
"Now that all of our security and logistical issues surrounding the e-book of 'The Lost Symbol' have been resolved, the e-book will be released simultaneously with the hardcover on September 15," the publisher announced. It didn't elaborate on what those issues were.… Read more
Bee Wallpapers allows users to customize their desktops with thousands of free wallpapers. The randomly changing wallpapers are high quality and the program offers just enough customizable features to be useful but not overwhelming.
The program's interface is straightforward and intuitive, with the wallpaper images arranged in an easily navigated tree structure. Five sample wallpapers are included, but users can easily download many more from the publisher's Web site with the click of a button. Wallpapers are helpfully arranged by themes such as nature, celebrities, and science fiction so that users can easily enable or disable entire groups … Read more
Random Number Generator Pro lives up to its title by providing users randomly selected numbers between specific parameters. While the program's function is a success, users may be immediately turned off by its interface.
With a cluttered black and white screen featuring several buttons controlling the high and low numbers, most users will think to immediately jump to the Help file. Unfortunately, the Help file doesn't provide much direction and barely even defines what each section of the screen does and how it results in random numbers. Confused users should simply try experimenting with this tangle of buttons … Read more
The notion of horse legs for humans just seemed strange to me--until I saw longshot Mine That Bird's gorgeously graceful sprint to the finish in Saturday's Run for the Roses. Now I sort of get why a human would want to approximate equine movement. Such strength, such speed, such hooves.
Seattle artist Kim Graham says her Digitigrade Leg Extensions "give a person the uncanny and graceful appearance of an animal." Granted, they don't look all that comfortable, though the artist insists it takes just 10 to 15 minutes of walking to get used to them. … Read more