Saturday, December 31, 2011

4 Little-Known And Portable Browsers That Should Be On Your USB Drive

4 Little-Known And Portable Browsers That Should Be On Your USB Drive:

Your browser is the centerpiece to your internet experience and keeping it nice and portable is an awesome luxury. While does a great job of bundling our most popular software together into portable, auto-launching applications, I tend to avoid the packages because I often install my portable applications within Dropbox. A lot of portable applications, typically designed for USB drives, don’t mesh well with Dropbox. I’ve found some that do, though.

You may not have heard of a couple of these browsers, but each and every one brings a unique benefit to your portable arsenal. Don’t let the fact that you may not have heard of them stand in the way of finding your new favorite browser.

Avant Browser

We’ve already covered a nice and in-depth review of the Avant browser, but it’s time to rehash the software now that an official portable version is readily available on their official website.

Avant is like a souped-up version of Internet Explorer. One of the main differences is how well Avant handles Flash, in comparison. Avant is only a little slower than the current Firefox build, which puts it plenty ahead of IE’s speed. It’s also got a ton of features built in, like ways to disable on-page sound, scripting, and animations right out of the box.

You can download the official portable version here.

Pale Moon

What Avant is to Internet Explorer, Pale Moon strives to be alongside Firefox. Pale Moon is an alternative, slim-downed version of the Firefox browser that is built on Firefox’s official source code. The browser has been around for years and has been proven to use less memory than the original Firefox without the user being able to notice much difference alongside the powerhouse browser that Mozilla has on their hands.

You can download Pale Moon’s official portable release from this page.


Browzar has a distinct advantage over the rest on this list in respect that the official build of the original browser itself is portable. Browzar leaves an incredibly small fingerprint and is one of the most secure and easy-to-use browsers that I’ve used right from a flash drive.

While it does lack somethings in the features category, Browzar can’t be beaten when you’re looking for something to jump on and jump right off with. Browzar will even clear every single bit of sensitive, session-specific data after closing.

You can download it here.


I decided to save the best for last. While Opera may already be my favorite official browser in the first place, it is not the Opera team who developed this third-party portable port. Nonetheless, it’s flawless. It’ll even update alongside released Opera versions and still maintain it’s portable status.

Other than that, there’s really not too much more to explain about Opera@USB. It is simply Opera in a portable package. Give Opera a shot just for a few days and I promise you’ll start to fall in love a little. You can click here to download Opera@USB.

Though unheard of and maybe even a little obscure, these portable gems will help put your flash drive on the right track. If you enjoyed this list, check out 100 other portable applications that you may enjoy. Shoot me a line about any of these in the comments.

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Friday, December 30, 2011

5 Ways To Get 3D Content For Your New 3DTV

5 Ways To Get 3D Content For Your New 3DTV:

get 3d contentSo, lucky you – you got a new 3DTV for Christmas, eh? May I be the first to say, congratulations – you obviously understand that 3D is most certainly not a passing fad, and at the end of this article will be armed with the know-how to suitably impress your friends with all the 3D content you’ll have.

So, where does one actually go about getting 3D content then? Read on!

Playstation 3 – 3D Gaming Galore

Unlike the Xbox, which has focused on Kinect and media center-like capabilities this holiday season, Sony has been instrumental in pushing 3D gaming content on their masterpiece Playstation3 console. You can find a full list of compatible, 3D-mode enhanced games at Wikipedia, but here’s some highlights from both the Blu-ray disc and PSN download selection:

  • Uncharted 3
  • Wipeout HD
  • Resistance 3
  • Motorstorm (3D Rift and Apocalypse)
  • Call of Duty: Black Ops (but not Modern Warfare 3, curiously)

Those are all triple AAA titles I pulled from the list, but there are tons more. While the PlayStation Move sensor has turned out to be a bit lame in comparison to the Xbox, it is most certainly winning the 3D battle. If Motorstorm 3D doesn’t impress your mates, I doubt anything else will.

get 3d content

(Picture credit: Kotaku)

You can download a small selection of 3D movies through the PSN Video Store too, but that’s just the icing on the cake really.

The Playstation is also able to act as a 3D picture viewer if you have photos from a recent 3D camera or from the Nintendo 3DS, removing the need to plug the camera directly into the TV through mini-HDMI cable.

Blu-Ray Movies

where can i get 3d contentWith either a standalone Blu-Ray player or even a Playstation 3, you’ll now be able to playback a range of 3D movies available on Blu-Ray. Check out the full list at , but in general you should expect anything that’s heavy in FX or computer animated to be released with a 3D version going forward.

Note: The 3D BluRay versions are sold separately, so do check the version first. There’s also usually a little more expensive, but what’s $5 for a whole extra dimension!?

Broadcast TV

In the UK, Sky 3D is the only 3D specific TV channel at the moment and even then it’s only available to Sky customers, which is a crying shame. Those of us on Virgin Media are stuck with a 3D movies on demand option, at the ridiculous price of £6 for a 1-day rental. If anyone is still wondering, it’s this kind of pricing that makes people PIRATE MOVIES. Virgin, you officially suck.

In the US, there seems to be a much wider choicer with most cable networks embracing 3D somehow. DIRECTV has a 24/7 3D channel called 3net, as well as m3D and ESPN 3-D, while Comcast has Xfinity 3D that launched last year, and ESPN. We British are definitely getting the bum deal here.

where can i get 3d content

PC Gaming Rig + Tridef/iz3D Drivers

I touched on this topic a while ago when addressing the frequently asked question can my computer do 3D?“, but since you’re reading an article on getting 3D content for your shiny new 3DTV, I think we can safely assume you do actually have a 3DTV already. The good news is that nearly any modern computer is equipped with a graphics card capable of playing games in a 3D mode suitable for your TV. All you need are some replacement video drivers from TriDef or iz3D, Windows, and of course some games to play on it.

Results will be dependent upon the actual game – some may be more suited to 3D while some will display obvious visual artifacts or oddly placed objects in the 3D viewing space, but you should find something good. First person shooters are generally the best suited, but role play games like Fallout 3 are excellent too (go cross-eyed on the picture below for an example – you should see a 3D image merge in the centre), as well as racing games.

where can i get 3d content


Without wishing to endorse or condone the downloading of copyrighted material, nor spark a moral debate – if you were so inclined, you could find 3D-BluRay movies just the same as you could any other movie – usually indicated with the tag [3D-SBS] or [half-SBS] - SBS meaning side-by-side. Bear in mind that for 3D HD 1080p content, you’re likely to be looking at about 5 to 15 gb download per movie.

Obviously this is 100% illegal, so please make your own moral decisions about breaking copyright law. Also, I will not be posting links to any torrent sites, so please don’t ask me to in the comments.

get 3d content

That’s it from me, and I hope you can see why I tend to yawn when it’s said that there simply isn’t enough 3D content out there. My personal suggestion is to get a PlayStation, as that not only opens up a world of gaming to you but also acts as a great BluRay player. If that’s out of your budget, try hooking up your computer instead and replaying some of your favorite games in 3D.

Got any more tips for where to find 3D content? Share your bounty in the comments!

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Enter A Strategic Tank War Game In BZFlag

Enter A Strategic Tank War Game In BZFlag:

tank war gamesFor many years, I considered myself to be an avid gamer. From high school through college, and even the first few years after getting married and having kids, there were plenty of times when I would stay up until 3 or 4 in the morning blasting away.

When network gaming came out and became wildly popular along with the Internet itself, the late night gaming episodes increased in frequency.

However, as I’ve gotten older and the kids and job have become more demanding and time consuming, those late-night episodes eventually faded away into a distant memory.

But I must admit, there are times when I discover yet another game – another highly addictive, networked game – when I am brought back to my heyday college years of binge-gaming and lots of caffeine. Recently, I stumbled across just such a tank war game called BZFlag, and I had to share.

A Strategic Tank Battle

I first caught wind of BZFlag in Tim’s article on open source games. Tim didn’t actually write about it, but one of the readers briefly mentioned, and I quote, “bzflag rules!!!”

Once I downloaded and installed BZFlag, I realized why the excitement. It is a really cool tank war game.

tank war games

BZFlag stands for Battle Zone capture the Flag. It’s a 3D tank battle game that’s fast paced and at times pretty intense. There is no single-player game – it’s all about team-match network gaming. Some of the games may be set up as one huge team against a second huge team in a classic capture the flag game. Other games are set up in smaller teams – much more intense.

From what I can tell, there are lots of active game servers almost always available, with plenty of players available.

tank wars

My favorite part of the game is just how much information is on the screen at once in a pretty cool heads-up display. There are a lot of controls, which take a little bit of time to get used to…it took me a while to realize why all of the other players were flying around whenever I tried to shoot them – you can jump with the Tab key!
tank wars

The HUD display has the real-time scoreboard in the upper left corner, status updates at the top, team scores at the upper right, a scrolling kill roll at the bottom, and most importantly – the radar at the lower left. The radar is the area of the screen you’re going to want to watch the most often, because it’s where you can aim your shots to ricochet off walls to destroy the enemy tanks. Trust me – it’s a lot harder than it sounds, as you can see from the screenshot below.

That’s the screen you’ll see when you get destroyed – I saw it more often than not. Some of these folks have gotten really good. At first you’ll want to try to get up close and personal and blast tanks away like a first-person shooter. Most of the time the enemy tank will launch itself into the air before you can do anything.

After a while, you’ll see that the real art of this game is carefully planning your shots so that it cuts off the path of the enemy tank when he or she least expects it. Or bouncing your shot off a wall nearby and blasting the tank from behind. Getting the knack of jumping helps too. Here I am soaring over the battlefield after some dude tried to blast me.

tank wars

Another helpful tactic is shooting through the barrier/shield doors (enemy bullets can’t get through, but yours can), and taking pot shots at the enemy tanks through the slots in the walls, like the one I’m peeking through in the screenshot below.

strategic tank game

Most of the strategy of this game takes place in that little radar window at the lower left. In the screenshot below, you can see my tank in the center of the screen against a square wall. If you look closely, you can see where my shots (just little specks on the radar) went through the openings in the walls, bounced off the corner wall, and headed for the red cluster of enemy tanks. The goal is to outsmart them before they outsmart you.

tank war games

Is BZFlag worthy of being called one of the most popular open source tank war games ever? I’m not sure about that, but I do know that it’s very easy to get addicted to it. I was informed by my wife that I had been playing the game for three hours (it felt like 30 minutes). That’s the sign of a great game.

Give BZFlag a shot (get it?) and let us know what you think. Is it fun, or do you find it boring? What’s you’re take? Give your feedback in the comments section below.

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