Home Reviews Software The Shareware Report March 2002
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The Shareware Report March 2002 Print
We enjoy the solitaire life: that's right, a solitaire life, not a solitary one. You see, we're players -- of cards -- online and off. Years of Idiot's Delight have rendered us more idiots than delighted.

Solitary Refinement

{mosadsense4joomla ad_layout="A"ad_align=""}Our Patience has worn thin. We've canned Canfield. And, we've freed ourselves from the Free Cell cell. These days, we have our winning hands full with Atlevcah's WinHanafuda v1.1.3.6.

Since its debut in Shogun times, Hanafuda, The Flower Card Game, has gotten a good deal of play in Japan, Korea, and Hawaii. Based on a colorful deck of 48 cards, Hanafuda rules vary across cultures. Atlevcah's WinHanafuda version is based on the Hawaiian game.

The game is an interesting dichotomy of simplicity and complexity. The object is simple: collect suits of cards while obtaining the highest scored card combinations in the deck. However, we admit that figuring out scoring is difficult. Nevertheless, WinHanafuda's ace in the whole is a point score tool tip for each card and running score of the suits you've won. Learning the suits takes practice as well. Unlike our four-suited cards, these cards are parts of a picture that, when the four cards in the suit are laid together, create a scene of the 12 months of the year.

WinHanafuda lets you play a solitaire game, or when you register the game and become a member, enables you to play online with other card sharks. Stop shuffling deuces and deal yourself a good hand with a bit of solitary refinement.

Where to get it: http://www.winhanafuda.com/
Price: $15.00
System Requirements: Pentium, 32MB RAM, 25MB free hard disk space, 4MB SVGA, mouse, Windows 95/98/NT4.0/Win2000/XP, 800x600 video settings

Giving IE a Needed Boost

As great as Internet Explorer 6 is, we're always left wanting. That right-click menu seems a little anemic, doesn't it? It could use a few more menu selections to help us resize windows, get stats for images, view style sheets, and other fun stuff.

IE Booster offers free web browser extensions for Internet Explorer; it's one of those utilities you didn't think you needed until now, especially if you're a web author or webmaster. It installs what IE has left out and fortifies your surfin' abilities in at least nine ways. You'll be able to grab the stats (size, dimensions, usage count, alt text, etc.) of images on a page, get a list of hyperlinks (useful for creating lists), copy link targets and page titles to your clipboard, and even copy selected content as plain text (stripping formatting and coding). One of our favorites was the show form and applet selection, letting us view hidden form attributes.

Even if you don't code pages for a living, you'll find IE Booster an advantage for its ability to open frames in the same or new window. You'll also learn a bit about how pages are constructed when you can view the style sheet page statistics. The guided tour on Paessler's site also details the many features.

So give IE a B-12 shot with IE Booster. It won't hurt a bit.

Where to get it: http://www.paessler.com/
Price: Free
System Requirements: A PC running Windows, an Internet connection, and Internet Explorer 5.x and higher

DivX(tm): The MP3 of Video

Just when you thought you couldn't get enough music downloads thanks to MP3, DivXNetworks introduces the DivX(tm) Player for ISO MPEG-4 Standard video files. This emerging technology, DivXTM video code(compressor/decompressor), compresses massive movie files to an eighth of an MPEG-2 file size with near-DVD, full-screen quality playback. At that compression, you can download a 90-minute movie in less than a half hour over a broadband connection.

Although some players, like Windows Media Player, are upgradeable to this technology, the DivX(tm) Player boasts the ability to download movies online and watch a feature length film on demand. You can visit DivXNetwork's Movie Showcase at http://www.divx.com/showcase/index.php and watch full-length movies. Some movies are free while others cost a small download fee.

On the road? Watch a movie or listen to music! If you have a Jornada, iPaq, or Casio PocketPC, visit DivXNetworks' Pocket Showcase http://www.projectmayo.com/projects/detail.php?projectId=9, install the PocketPC version of the player, download a movie or music, and enjoy. Given the amount of disk space available currently on small hand-held PocketPCs, the movies in the Pocket Showcase aren't full- length, but they're fun to watch.

MPEG-4 is becoming a popular format. We'll bet you've even recently downloaded AVIs that won't play with your standard media player. Get the DivX(tm) Player. Within a couple of years, we predict the DivX (tm) Player will do for the film industry what Napster did for the music industry. Get ready on the set for "Lawyers! Counsel! Legal Action!"

Where to Get It: http://download.divx.com/player/DivXPlayerInstaller.exe
Price: FREE
System Requirements: Windows 98/ME/2000/XP, Pentium II 450 processor or equivalent, 64 MB or more of RAM, 8 MB or higher video card, DirectX 7 or 8

Search and Ye Shall Find

Needless to say, we collect so many URLs in our Favorites list that scanning through them to find a specific address can become unwieldy. Sure, we could sort the list and place similar URLs into directories, but who has the time? With our aging and short attention spans, we want an address when we want it.

FavSearch, from Harmony Hollow Software, helps you find what you're looking for. It searches your Internet Explorer Favorites for text or Web addresses you specify, then displays them in a results box. From there, you just click on the address you sought, and Explorer brings up the page. (FavSearch works only on Internet Explorer.)

This is one of those little utilities you'll find useful to place in your taskbar or even IE's standard buttons bar using Harmony Hollow's other great utility, Add-A-Button (previously reviewed). Our one gripe is that FavSearch wouldn't let us save our results in a file, nor could we select and copy the results to send in an e-mail or print out. Also, any right-mouse button options were disabled.

FavSearch does allow you to sort your results by description, URL, date added, or location. If you, like us, have absent-mindedly added the same address to your favorites, you'll find the duplicates here.

For what it does, though, FavSearch expedites sifting through the morass that a Favorites list can become, so until we can tidy up our IE bookmarks, FavSearch will help us winnow out what we want, when we want it.

Where to get it: http://www.harmonyhollow.net/
Price: Free
System Requirements: A PC running Windows, an Internet connection, and Internet Explorer 5.x and higher

2002 © Bill Dubie and Dave Sciuto

 

About the Authors:

Bill Dubie and Dave Sciuto co-host New England's longest-running computer talk show, The Computer Report, on Talkradio 980 WCAP in Greater Boston Saturdays from 4-6 pm.
You can contact them at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or check out their Web site at http://theReport.com.
Shareware available at
http://shareWarehouse.com 

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