Filezilla’s user interface


By Matt Estes

The internet is huge, with millions of websites at our disposal. Each website has content, and there are many ways to get content from a person’s computer to the internet. Some methods, however, are easier than others.

As webmaster for the AUMnibus, a program called Filezilla makes my job much easier. Filezilla is easily the most well known FTP client. FTP stands for file transfer protocol, and programs called clients help facilitate the transfer of files.

The program takes files from my computer to the AUMnibus site’s hosting company using one simple interface. I can then code the website while having those files at easy access. While I use WordPress to create the articles, I use Filezilla to insert every image and media file you see outside of the articles.

While most hosting companies have their own built-in client, a user must upload them to the website sometimes one file at a time. This method is quite time consuming. That’s why FTP clients are so popular.

If you ever decide to undertake anything beyond basic web design, you need to learn to use Filezilla. It has a low learning curve, so a user can learn the basics in about 30 minutes.


knoword - Copy


Want to improve your vocabulary? Do you like games where you’re constantly under pressure? If Knoword.

Knoword is an internet game where you must give the correct word based on the definition. The catch is that your time limit is quickly decreasing. You’ll be surprised how many words you can’t come up with on the fly.

Our best shot yielded 16 out of 18 correct answers within the time limit. Can you do better?

You can try your hand at Knoword by clicking this link.

What is Snipping Tool?

By Matt Estesst2

“Can you take a screenshot?” asks your resident technology guru when you have an end-of-the-world computer problem.

“Erm… sure,” you reply, inwardly befuddled.

So what do you do? How do you take a picture of your computer screen? Do you run go dig out a digital camera from the storage closet? Do you try to take a clear picture using your cell phone? No. You use snipping tool.

Snipping Tool is a built in program on the Windows operating system. It comes installed with Windows Vista and later, making it one of the only innovations Vista did correctly as an operating system.

The steps to using it are simple.

  • Snipping Tool's user interface.
    Snipping Tool’s user interface.

    Open snipping tool.

  • Select “New Snip.”
  • Drag the cursor over what you want to save as a picture.
  • Save the picture or copy it to your clipboard.

The program has a multitude of uses, from diagnosing problems to comparing different colors on the screen. Use it to copy Flash images or produce mosaic art.

You can even highlight words or write on the image inside the program.

There are other ways to take a screenshot. If you’re using an earlier version of Windows, you can use the “PRTSC” button on the keyboard. That will copy a full image to the clipboard. If you’re using a Mac, you can press Command, Shift, and the number three on the keyboard simultaneously. This will automatically save the screenshot to the desktop.

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Classic Video Game Review: Ristar

By Matt Estes

ristar bannerI want you to try out a video game you’ve never played before. Most people have never played “Ristar.” That needs to change.

“Ristar” is a colorful and creative game released on the Sega Genesis in 1995, but you wouldn’t know it because the game looks gorgeous. While most Genesis games can only render limited graphics, “Ristar” takes that rule and tosses it off the nearest planet.

You take control of, of all things, a star. This star maneuvers by stretching his arms and grabbing objects in the varying worlds. The fun is in the experience of tactically getting past enemies and through levels. The creators find interesting ways to craft the environment in every round.

One of the standout features of this game, besides having the best graphics on the Genesis, is the music. The tunes pop with atmospheric energy. There is not one track in the game that is not pleasing to the ear. It’s exactly the style modern dance music DJ’s shoot for when making rhythms.

I won’t lie to you, this game is very difficult. You will not beat it on your first play, no matter how good you are at platform games.

If you have a Genesis console, track down a copy online or find one at a local thrift store. It’s also available on the Wii Virtual Console or on “Sonic’s Ultimate Genesis Collection” on the PlayStation 3.

[Edited by Darrell Puckett 10/30/13]





Anyone can be a musician with this unique internet app. Arrange music using the graphical representation of sea creatures swimming in the ocean. After you make the sounds and tones, set the creatures free to move around the sound source. This produces organic sounds that can never be duplicated. Record them, and you’ll look like a musical genius.

Check out Seaquence by clicking this link.

What is Device Manager?

By Matt Estes


Let me introduce you to a feature that a typical Windows user doesn’t know about. This is Device Manager, and it’s been at the heart of Windows software since the Windows 95 operating system.

Device Manager is simply a list of all of the hardware in and attached to a computer. Every component associated with a computer is featured in a drop down menu.

If something goes wrong on a computer, this is the first place a professional will look to diagnose a problem. If a device is broken or not attached properly, it will be denoted with a red “X” or an exclamation point. Symbols like these help to determine the extent of the computer problem.

Device Manager is also where the term “driver” comes into play. A driver is a set of software instructions that tells the computer how to use the device that’s been installed. While driver technology has improved over the years, figuring out why a driver is not working can still be one of the most frustrating tasks for a Windows user.

If you have the courage, try exploring Device Manager. You can access it from the control panel on all Windows operating systems. Just be careful. While it’s difficult to cause permanent damage to a computer from Device Manager, it’s not impossible. Do not fiddle with any driver settings, especially in the area of hard drives or system devices.

The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time


By Matt Estes



According to Metacritic, a site that amalgamates critical opinion of media, “The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time” is the highest rated in video game history. This has lead many people to tout it as the greatest video game of all time. I agree with that assessment.

I first played “Ocarina of Time” when I was 16 years old, which means I first played the game a full 10 years after it was released. Growing up with the “Sonic the Hedgehog” and “Kirby” franchises battling it out for favorite video game series, I decided to branch out and try to find a series I would like even more. What I found was “The Legend of Zelda,” and I was not disappointed.

“Ocarina of Time’s” reputation preceded my first experience with the game, so I knew it was good. I just did not know how much I would enjoy it. Never has a mere video game been so cinematic, so solid in its gameplay, and so emotionally potent. When I was playing I could see past the dated graphics and immerse myself in the world of Hyrule.

The important thing about OoT is its status solidifying 3D adventure games as an actual genre. This game crafted the Zelda formula that is still enjoyed by gamers today. You can look at any recent adventure game, including juggernauts like “Skyrim” and “Grand Theft Auto,” and find the elements that premiered in this game.

Nintendo somehow managed to pack an emotional wallop into this game. Themes of childhood, death, and good versus evil permeate the adventure. This is capitalized by the music, which itself is beautiful and top notch.

If you can look past the somewhat dated graphics, see if you can track the game down on the Nintendo 64 or play it on the Wii’s Virtual Console. If you cannot forgive graphical limitations, there is a remastered version now available on the Nintendo 3DS.

[Edited by Dagur Jonsson - 10/9/13]

Classic Game Review: Super Mario Bros.

By Matthew Estes

smb splash


It’s hard to imagine that there is any other fictional character more recognizable to the world’s cultural consciousness than Mario. It all started with this game, the Nintendo Entertainment System classic Super Mario Bros. 

Put simply, this game introduced the world to everything it knows about modern video gaming. The objective is simply: control Mario, avoid the obstacles, get to the end of the level, and move on to the next one. The influence of this game for the entire video game industry cannot be overstated. While modern games continue to expand and improve in scale and graphics, this title remains at the core of everything we know of video gaming.

Everything about this game is memorable. I’ll bet no matter how long ago you played this game, you still remember the first seven notes of the first stage’s music. Here, let me help:
duh duh duh  duh duh  dum  duh. The sound effects are catchy. The graphics are bright. The controls are simple. Everyone knows the story is to rescue the princess.

To be honest, it’s very difficult to levy any criticism at a game that defined a genre. You could say that it’s too hard, but that was the nature of almost all games from that time period. You could say the story was too simple, but that is missing the point of the game.

This is the best selling (non-bundled) video game of all time, selling over 40 million copies. If you still have it, go break out the old NES and play Super Mario Bros. Perhaps you still know the first few levels by memory. Or, if you don’t have an NES, the are many other ways to play it. It’s available on the Wii Virtual Console and the 3DS shop.

CCleaner: Get Your Computer Running Faster

By Matthew Estes

People who know how to work on computers knows the drill by now. They get a call from a friend or a family member complaining about how his or her computer is acting incredibly show. When that call occurs, said computer geek is already reaching for his flash drive equipped with a program called CCleaner.

CCleaner’s user interface.

CCleaner is a computer optimizing program by Piriform. It’s designed to do the little things that would be too time consuming for a person to do on their own.

CCleaner does the following things:

Corrects Registry Errors. The registry contains the installed references and options to files and programs all over the computer. When a program is uninstalled or a file is changed, sometimes it leaves behind indications in the registry. CCleaner removes the references in the registry that are no longer useful.

Removes Unwanted Files. From files left behind on your system from browsing the internet to the contents of your Recycle Bin, CCleaner removes unwanted files on your system. The options of what to remove are customizable, but there is a good chance the default settings will work for you.

Wipes Hard Drives. You can also use CCleaner to wipe a hard drive or flash drive if necessary. This can be useful for the protection of personal data or reformatting the drive.

The features on this program are easy to use and useful for anyone looking for an easy solution for speeding up a computer. You can download Piriform CCleaner here.