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emudir » Everything Most Useful... so long as it's free!

Aug 05


Legendary illustrator Edward Gorey had a unique, distinctly recognisable style of hand lettering (shown here with just a single word) that conjured up visions of the sort of gothic goings-on beloved of Tim Burton and fans of the genre will delight in.

I came across this delightful font because of the liner notes from Favoritism, MC Frontalot‘s compilation for the Humble Music Bundle. Because – guess what – the file was made by none other than Front himself!

Download: from emeraldrain.com

Jul 04

Kings’ Quest II: Romancing The Stones

ADGI remade Kings Quest II as a free rewritten version. Unlike a lot of fan remakes, this one actually has a licence from Sierra Online, the original creators – it’s the version they would have written, if they had the time! (Found via cracked.com.)

Download: from ADG interactive

Jul 03

Happy July 4th!

Why not celebrate Independence Day with this little American flag screensaver?

Courtesy of Microsoft, it’s a 299K download (which means it would fit, about five times, on a floppy disk) and adds… well, a screensaver of the American flag to your computer.

Microsoft claim it works on Windows 2000, 98, ME and XP, but we can’t see too much reason why it shouldn’t work on later versions of Windows. That said, download at your own risk. :)

Download: from Microsoft.com

Flag from flags.net

Jun 23

Free Video Flip And Rotate

There was an astonishingly good beatboxer busking in Reading today, and I videoed him with my phone to show everyone I knew. Unfortunately, I held the phone the wrong way round. So what did I do? Look on the web for a free video “flipper”. The first one that came up – and it seems to be working quite well right now – was DVDVideoSoft’s “Free Video Flip And Rotate”. Simple name, and quite simply just does what it says on the tin.

Warning: the installer attempts to install toolbars and other items – don’t forget to untick these as you go along!

Download: from developer’s website

Jun 17


While Facebook chat in your browser is all very well, and the desktop Facebook messenger is nice, it’s getting cumbersome to have all the chat clients installed and running – you never know where you are.

Pidgin, on the other hand, is a nice open source chat client that handles Facebook, MSN, Yahoo, AOL, Gadu-Gadu… nearly all the major chat networks. It’s always evolving, and so far the Windows version looks nice and stable so far. OK, it doesn’t handle video chat, but it’s nice and stable, all chats are in the same window – regardless of which chat network you use – and it’s friendly, easy to set up, and doesn’t require an account set up on their servers. And with no advertising – true open source – it’s great. Does a single job – text based instant messaging, across as many networks as you like, with file transfers – and does it well. Highly recommended

Download: from website
Homepage: http://www.pidgin.im/

Jun 17

Practical Performance Profiling in .Net

If, like me, you spend your days writing code using the Microsoft tool stack – Visual Studio, C#, .Net – then you’ll know how complex an issue performance tuning is. When you’re writing web services, or other things that take a long time, or that need to respond quickly when being used by what feels like everyone on the planet.

So here’s a useful little book about performance profiling – basically how to find where the bottlenecks are, so you can do something about them! (As any doctor will tell you, the right diagnosis always helps in treating the patient!)

Download: From Red Gate software (registration required)

Found on LinkedIn.

Jun 16

The Chicken of Tomorrow

This is a quirky little Public Information Film from 1948 from the Prelinger collection. By turns modernistic or quaint, unintentially hilarious or bordering on creepy, this film presents a view of the modernisation of the poultry during American agriculture’s gritty post-World War 2 reboot. Of course, things have changed since then – their “new intensive farming methods” are generally known as “freedom food” methods today, and we generally don’t refer to “meat type chickens” any more (which begs the question – what were the other types? Robot cyber-type chickens? Marshmallow type chickens? The mind boggles…)

Fortunately their breeding methods are quaintly old fashioned, and don’t venture into the “too much information” territory beloved of the modern biology teacher, while the living-being-to-dinner conversion sequence is tastefully skipped over, with the results merely coming straight out of the sort of oven chefs have nightmares about. It’s lots of fun – so long as you take it with a pinch of salt. (And some stuffing, gravy, roast potatoes and maybe a glass of chilled white wine…)

Download: From The Internet Archive

Jun 16

Yes, we are back…

OK, things have been left a bit around here, and we’re abandononing the two level structure for categories, so everything is going to get reallocated soon…

Keep watching, and I hope you enjoy the new look thanks to the awesome Graphene theme :)

Jun 16

Glastonbury 2010

Here’s an album from 2010, featuring acts from that year’s Glastonbury festival. Yes, OK, this was a while ago – but it’s still worth bringing to your attention, as it features such luminaries as Florence And The Machine, Crystal Castles and Marina and the Diamonds. It was published by the UK’s NME magazine – you’ll need to scroll to the end of the page for the download link. We advise that you do – it’s a useful little addition to your collection…

Download: from the NME’s blog.

Nov 23

Cory Doctorow: “Context” and “Content”

"Context" coverCory Doctorow is a sci-fi author and commentator, who is usually to be found in his capacity as co-editor at boingboing. His most recent essay collection, Context covers a diverse set of topics, trying to reconcile the “freemium” nature of the Internet (something we’re strongly in favour of here at emudir) and the need for creators to benefit from their hard work (we all have to eat, right?) What’s more, it is itself a “freemium” product, being a Context, is a Creative Commons licensed free download, as well as purchasable as a physical book.

This give-away model has also inspired Jan Rubak to do a similarly CC licensed audiobook reading of the book, just as he did with Doctorow’s previous book, Content. With not only the author’s permission, but also his thanks. Which is nice.

If you enjoy the book, you can either buy it directly, or donate a copy of either Context or Content to a school or library (which we would highly recommended, by the way).

Homepage: http://craphound.com/context/
Download the book: http://craphound.com/context/download/
Download the audio book: http://www.archive.org/details/CoryDoctorow-Context

Homepage: http://craphound.com/content/
Download the book: http://craphound.com/content/download/
Download the audio book: http://www.archive.org/details/CoryDoctorow-Content_268

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