Google Chrome

Internet Exporer, Firefox, Safari, Opera, and now comes Chrome. The new open source web browser made by Google looks to be a new direction on how we surf the web. Chrome is stripped down to the basic necessities, and shows this in the speed it renders web applications. Gmail in particular (wonder why?) loads about twice as fast as in traditional browsers.The idea of “web applications” is shown the ability of chrome to create a shortcut to open a single page in an even more simplified Chrome window. For example, I created a shortcut to gmail on my desktop, that when clicked opens a single Chrome window with just gmail, and nothing else (no address bar or bookmarks). This could be handy for people who want to open webmail as they would a local program like Outlook, or Thunderbird. This feature also expands on the idea of Web 2.0

Another new idea put into reality by Chrome is creating a separate instance of the Chrome browser for each tab launched. While this can eat up loads of memory, it should (in theory) make Chrome highly stable, as one tab’s contents will not affect the performance of another. For example if one website was to cause an error and crash, the other tabs in Chrome would be isolated, and hopefully continue to run as usual.

Also worthy of mention is Chrome’s “incognito” function. This allows the user to browse without having to worry about Chrome creating records of sites visited. While this is possible by tweaking settings on most popular browsers, Chrome takes it one step further by having an easy shortcut to this feature for people who don’t wish to go digging around in settings.

Lastly, Chrome makes life easier by its ability to import most personal settings from an already installed web browser. In my test drive, Chrome was able to import not only my bookmarks, but also my saved passwords from the Firefox installation on my PC. This is a nice feature, because it saves you from having to retype any passwords, or request a forgotten ones.

Overall I found Chrome to be quite fast, but it is no Firefox. Chrome is built not for functionality, but for speed. Numerous extensions or add-ons would simply slow it down, and get away from the main idea behind Chrome. So, if you are looking for a browser with loads of add-ons avaliable for increased funtionality, Chrome is not it. If however, you simply need a browser to view webpages, no more, no less, than give Chrome a shot, you may be pleasently suprised.

Introducing MP3.PC-pad!

We’re happy to introduce a new feature on PC-pad: The MP3 section. Basically, we now offer a small on-demand music streaming service at We’re filling up the playlist with our favorite electronic songs, including trance, house, techno, hardstyle, and industrial. You simply select what you want to hear and it plays, or just sit back and let the player shuffle the playlist for you. It’s all Creative Commons, so while you won’t hear Basement Jaxx, we think you’ll like our selections. If you feel something’s missing though, there’s a link on the page where you can recommend us your personal favorites. Before you inundate us with Daft Punk’s “Alive 2007” (and rightfully so, it was an excellent album), remember the songs must have a Creative Commons or similarly permissive license. We’re not trying to profit from free music (there will be no ads or similar capitalist ventures), we simply don’t have the funds to pay the RIAA’s protection money.

Give it a spin now and be sure to send us some feedback.   😉

Electric Sheep gives your PC a wooly zap!

Sheep frolic in the electric fields

Screensavers today are in a sad state—either you’re stuck with the mindbogglingly dull defaults that came with your operating system, or you walk through a minefield of spyware and gaudiness.  There hasn’t been an After Dark release in over a decade.  Our thirst for satisfying imagery for our idle computers will leave us dehydrated.

Or will it?  Enter Electric Sheep, the open-source lovechild of Scott Draves and thousands of computers worldwide.  On the most basic level, it’s a distributed computing project like [email protected], but instead of curing diseases, Electric sheep renders animated fractal light shows.  With an Internet connection, you can swap these animations (called “sheep”) so that the show never gets old.

Video of some sheep (transitions are more fluid in screensaver, this is just a demo):

No video? Get the DivX Web Player for Windows or Mac

For PCs that are Internet-impaired, you can download premade sheep from elsewhere and simply throw them into the right folder.  The amount of premade sheep available is staggering—ArmoredCavalry casually told me that he had downloaded eight gigabytes of the critters.  Just be sure to set your cache to the amount you download. If your cache is smaller, it will automatically delete the excess. For music lovers, electric sheep can be used as a Windows Media Player visualization with a free plugin.

One cool little feature is that the sheep can “evolve.”  By pressing up or down on your keyboard when a sheep is running, you say that you like it or dislike it, respectively.  The most popular sheep will “mate” and develop new sheep that have characteristics of both their parents.  If you aren’t scarred by the suggestion that love is a popularity contest, you can be treated to some pretty cool images.