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Archive for the ‘Free apps’ Category

Reviving Riven on the Mac

26 December 2011
Posted in: Free apps, Gaming, Tech | No Comments

RivenThis is one of those stories that starts with “Once upon a time” and ends with “happily ever after”. And no, there are no dragons and princes and princesses in it. Not even a witch.

Once upon a time, way, way back in the 1990s, I used to play a game called Riven (along with its predecessor Myst). It has always remained a fondly-remembered favourite, but as technology evolved (in other words, the development of the Intel-based Macs killed off the Classic environment), I had more or less given up hope of playing it again.

Oh, all right, I’m being a little dramatic. I could have played it on Windows. But I didn’t want to. So there.

Till I recently discovered Riven X. In the words of the developers, Riven X is the “rebirth of the best episode of the Myst saga”. A bunch of people got together to create a new engine to make Riven playable on Intel Macs.

Riven X still uses your old Riven five-CD or single-DVD game discs. Download the app (under 2 MB) and install it in the Applications folder. When you run it, it will prompt you to install (or buy Riven). If the install disc is in the drive, it will detect it and start the installation. The rest is easy — each time I want to want to pit my wits against the puzzles of the D’Ni landscape, all I have to do is fire up Riven X.

Oh, and the best part is, none of that annoying CD-swapping. See… happily ever after!

~PD

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Saturday Night Freeware: Itsy

9 July 2011
Posted in: Free apps, Tech | 2 Comments

ItsyItsy is the Twitter client I use on Mac OS. As its name indicates, it is small and light, which is why I like it. It’s easy to use and, most importantly, not in-your-face, so it stays in the background till you need it. It might be basic, but takes care of my Tweeting needs. Hence, it is this week’s Saturday Night Freeware.

The home screen shows your timeline, though you can also view the chronology of mentions and direct messages. There is a search tab built in as well. It would have been good to have a retweets tab too. A small text balloon icon on the top right activates the text box to type your messages to the world.

It integrates with Growl; shows images from Yfrog, Twitpic, Imgur and Instagram inline; shows reply chains; is skinnable; and opens links in the background in your default browser. Most of all, it is cute in its tiny-ness. I usually keep the Itsy window shut and when there are messages I get notified by the icon in the menu bar changing to a smiley and the one in the dock winking.

Overall, Itsy doesn’t compare to the likes of TweetDeck, with its panels and what not, but it works perfectly for me since I wanted a simple, lightweight client for my occasional Tweeting. You can get Itsy from the Mac App Store or download it from Mowglii.com.

~PD

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Saturday Night Freeware: Opera Mini

1 July 2011
Posted in: Free apps, Tech | 1 Comment

Opera MiniBrowsing the Net on a mobile phone? No biggie, right? But less than a decade ago it was a rather big deal, expecially if you didn’t have a fancy phone. It must have been at least half a decade ago that I discovered Opera Mini and have never looked at another mobile browser since. And, of course, it is this week’s Saturday Night Freeware.

Opera Mini is not to be confused with Opera Mobile, Opera’s full-featured mobile browser. The Mini is a lite version that pre-processes pages on Opera’s dedicated servers before delivering them to the mobile phone. In doing so, it compresses the pages, making them smaller and faster to load, and makes less demands on resources. Thus, for years it has been bringing the full Web experience to “ordinary” mobile phones.

Till a few versions ago, Opera Mini used to be a Java-based application, but now is also available for the iOS, Android, Symbian/S60, BlackBerry and Windows Mobile. The current version is 6.1, but users of older or more basic handsets can opt for an earlier J2ME version (4.3).

Opera Mini provides full HTML access, tabbed browsing, history, bookmarks support, predictive text, password manager, privacy management and more. It includes some of the features that makes the desktop version of Opera special, like Speed Dial and Opera Link.

Opera Mini isn’t perfect — it doesn’t support Flash, full rendering or HTML 5, which Opera Mobile does. However, it is a great option to have if you have limited bandwidth or a phone that doesn’t sport fancy features or OSes. Try it today!

~PD

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