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Mysticgeek

Lowell Heddings, better known online as the How-To Geek, spends all his free time bringing you fresh geekery on a daily basis. You can follow him on if you'd like.

To kick it off I thought I would start with Online Music Factory.

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For regular readers of my blog, you know that I am almost fanatic about the audio players I use on my PC as is evident with my iTunes rant.  I have covered several different players, and currently my player of choice is J River Media Jukebox.  Today I am going to cover another audio player I have been trying out the past few weeks, COWAN America’s Jet Audio Player.

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Steve Ballmer the current CEO of Microsoft gets egged at a presentation in the country of Hungary. 

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Creating a professional looking chart for Excel presentations is extremely easy in Excel 2007.  Making charts is a more interesting way to present data than just going through the rows and columns on a spreadsheet.

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I am a huge fan of the classic arcade games.  Of course the Pac-man series are arguably the most famous ever.  I remember many… many hours and quarters spent (from my allowance) at my local arcade trying to get to the red dots.  We would meet up for tournaments once a week.  Back then we didn’t have “LAN Party’s”  we had pockets full of quarters and pitchers of Mountain Dew to last us until the owners kicked us out.  So while at work today, go ahead and spend a few minutes down memory lane and play what I think is the best Mrs. Pac-man emulation on the web.  From 1980-games.com but make sure not to start kicking your computer when Blinky gets you!

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The latest addition to my guitar arsenal is the Boss RV-5 Digital Reverb Pedal.  This is probably the sweetest reverb pedal I have heard in a long time.  My current head is the original block letter Peavey 5150.  This amp is notorious for a less than stellar clean channel.  It takes a lot of tweaking to get the clean channel to sound useable … which I have done … then adding the Boss RV-5 is just icing on the cake!  The reverb setting that come from the RV-5 are extremely spacious sounding.  I cannot say enough!  This is high quality reverb that should impress even the most “finicky” audiophile guitarists.

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Do you get annoyed by the downloads dialog box (shown below) that pops up every time you download a file when browsing in Firefox? 

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I find giveawayoftheday.com a pretty interesting site.  I usually check it everyday to see if there is an application I might want to try or an entertaining game I want to play.  I know several of our readers go there as well to get different software applications as well.  I would just urge caution with some of the applications and also to make sure and read the reviews.  Sometimes if you have too many applications there is the possibility of some not playing nice with each other leading to some corrupt files and / or Windows not working correctly. 

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I am sure you have seen 3D Curveball around the net.  Another simple yet addictive game to pass the boring office time by.  3D Curveball is basically like Pong but a bit different as you can curve the ball away from your opponent.  

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CD / DVD ROM emulation is a good thing especially if you only have one optical ROM drive.  The other benefit of a virtual ROM drive is the ability to run programs on your local hard drive which means less changing in and out discs and the programs actually seem to run faster.

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There are several online backup services to choose from out there.  Out of them all so far Mozy has been my service of choice.  I just have the Mozy Home Free version which allows 2GB of storage.  I know 2 GB is not a whole lot these days but I only back up MP3′s of some of my guitar recordings.  So far it seems to be enough.  There are different backup plans you can purchase at varying prices.  Let’s take a look at the free software.

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Today’s Time Killer really is!  5 Minutes To Kill yourself gives you 5 minutes to run around the office to find a way to off yourself.  If your having “one of those days” this game is a great stress reliever. 

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Today’s Office Time Killer is a lot of fun.  Fancy Pants Adventures:  World 2 developed by Brad Borne is a great adventure world that flows smoothly and allows you to take your mind off the TPS reports.  Plus, what is not cool about playing soccer with snails?

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I got positive feedback when asking members of our forum if I should write articles related to home recording and production and I thought I would start writing different articles on some of the techniques I use.  I am by no means a professional with any of this what so ever.  I am just a musician and geek who loves to play with tech.  I have covered some home recording in previous posts and today I thought I would show you how to record a guitar track with Cakewalk Guitar Tracks 3.  I rarely recommend commercial software, but this utility shouldn’t break the bank and it’s my favorite.  In this article I am going to assume you already have or are familiar with Cakewalk.  For a great overview of Guitar Tracks 3 you can check out the Cakewalk Site.

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If you are a social networking junkie and enjoy the web surfing of Firefox then Flock Internet browser might be right for you.

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Since we all know working for “The Man” sucks, I thought I would start posting cool time wasting games you can play while the boss isn’t looking.  To start with I thought we can take a look at ESPN’s Pressure Kicker 3D. 

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One of my favorite VST commercial plug-ins for recording guitar is the BBE Sonic Maximizer.  This plug-in emulates the actual BBE Sonic Maximizer hardware.  It adds a lot of meat and more punch to your recorded guitar tone.  I will use it a lot if I am quickly recording some ideas for riffs.  If my tone is weak during the recording (which it probably is because I just want to get the musical idea down) I will use this plug in to beef it up. You can also use it in real time if you have a properly set up computer with no latency.

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One thing we love to show you at How-To Geek is ways to simplify your computing experience.  The Geek has several tips on becoming a Keyboard Ninja for navigating your OS.  Today I found a nifty application that should definitely speed up the computing experience for Power Users. SlickRun! Although it is in the same idea realm of a Hotkey Program, it is something quite different.

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I have neglected several included features in Windows Vista.  And to be honest I have not used many of them assuming they won’t work very well.  Rather than be an ignorant assuming geek, I have decided to go over some of the included features in Vista.  Today I will start with Windows DVD Maker.

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Don’t you hate it when you try to uninstall a program it either does not include an uninstaller or when using Add / Remove Programs in Windows, there are several traces of the software left?  It is definitely one of my bigger pet peeves … just check out my iTunes uninstall rant.  I came across a cool little program the other day that claims to do a much better job of uninstalling applications and all of the tidbits and left-overs associated with them.  Revo Uninstaller.

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Today I saw the preview of War Games: The Dead Code and I have to say that I think Hollywood is messing up another great classic movie.  I am really looking forward to your comments so post away!!!!

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In a previous post I showed the initial screen shots for setting up Open Office on Vista.  In this post I would like to show the final finishing set up steps.

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Sometimes when setting up computer workstations for company employees and / or family members, you might not want certain default XP applications to be accessible. In this tutorial I will show you how to disable the features Outlook Express, Windows Media Player, and MSN Instant Messenger.  Keep in mind that this process does not technically remove these applications but it makes them not available.

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Since it is Earth Day I thought I would include a quick post on how cool Freecycle groups are.  I doubt these groups will “save the world” or anything like that, they are pretty cool to join nonetheless.  I have found some cool tech items and other items that come in handy for everyday living.  If you are a geek who likes to hack and play around with legacy computers and video game systems then this is a great way to acquire them.  One time a home owner gave away a brand new 52″ HD TV!  I live in a rural area … and there is a lot of ground to cover so I am a member of two different groups in different nearby counties. 

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Last week i wrote about switching my main OS to Kubuntu and so far everything has been going fairly well except for a few configurations here and there. I hope to have some cool posts regarding Linux topics in the near future. One of the things I really have enjoyed so far is Open Office. We can install Open Office on a Windows machine as well.  If you have never heard of or used Open Office I thought I would take the time to show you around. This office suite is completely free and a great alternative to Microsoft Office. Below are a series of screen shots in order they appear during initial installation.  These shots are from my Vista machine.  These are fairly straight forward and I have left comments on certain ones. Please feel free to contact me with any additional questions!

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