SharewareGod – Supervillain to the World

It is I, your Shareware God, back to this mortal coil. And not a moment too soon, it would seem. Forgive the tardiness of your Dutiful Digital Deity, but I was busy being held prisoner in the nether regions of that most foul and horrid of underworld grottos — we’re talking the TENTH plane of Hell here folks — the Microsoft Pro Developers’ Conference 2000 in Orlando. Please insert whatever sound you make when an evil chill runs down your spine.

Ah, how I long to return to my native stomping grounds of Scotchgard (which is similar to Asgard, only everyone wears more plaid). In the meantime, however, your Humble Narrator was in the neighborhood and thought he’d deign to share a few of his more recent shareware playthings with you for fun and profit.

Our last few columns have been greatly concerned with Important Things and Purposeful Applications to help you live a better life. Concepts like Efficiency, Productivity and Usefullness have all been bandied about like so many Nerf balls. But all work and no play makes Your Shareware God a dull deity and we simply can’t have that. Even Zeus lets his Hera down once in a while … (ooh, pretty bad joke there. Please imagine your own rimshot if you’d be so kind.)

So this time, let’s play hooky from Saving the World Through Mac Technology and just have a laff, whaddayasay?

First up is the irrepressibly fun program Anagrams ($15 for individuals; trevorrow.com). Did you know that “The Shareware God” is also a “Watershed Hog Ear?” How about “A Gathered Shower?” Better yet, “Gas-Wreathed Hero.” As you can see, the possibilities are endless. This program does exactly one thing, and does it splendidly. I guarantee you will have hours of fun impressing your younger relatives or discovering hidden truths. “HolyMac Dot Com” was quickly revealed to be a “Moody Cloth Cam,” someone called “Old Coach Tommy,” a “Cocoa Mold Myth” and “Thy Mod Loco Mac,” all of which sounds about right to your Shareware God.

Another amusing time-killer is the marvelous Jigsaw 2.1 ($20 from Vincent Tan, available from macdownload.com, along with a patch to update 2.0 to 2.1). A program that simply breaks up any picture (TIFF, GIF, JPG, PICT) you throw at it into jaggy puzzle pieces you must then reassemble. It sounds deceptively simple, but it’s actually great fun. Vincent Tan kinda gave up on this one about 1996 and went on to do something really useful, which was to co-author the marvelous FTP program Netfinder. Nevertheless, unless Peter tells me Jigsaw is no longer collecting shareware fees, we shall assume he still wants his money.

But let’s move on to something you can really get your teeth into. We Gods up here in Scotchgard get to drop in on you mortals anytime we want, and we often take a quick look in just for a chuckle or two. You all look so cute first thing in the morning!

Now, thanks to iCamMaster 1.5 ($20 from catdis.com) you can get a surprisingly accurate feel for what it means to be able to flit about the globe (and beyond) hither and yon. Your Shareware God feels it only fair to warn you that having an easy-to-use program that gives you global access to views from just about anywhere may invoke a “Dr. Evil complex” in some of you, so proceed with caution. That said, when a mere sawbuck can give you a big-picture perspective that even a Bond villain would envy, how can you say no?

This is also a great program to lord it all over your PC-using friends. Sure, they can load up the web pages that these webcams are on and see them too. But using iCamMaster you can do it so quickly and easily it is child’s play to flit around the planet, looking at both historical towns and picturesque ports right down into people’s offices and living rooms. There are even cams pointed at the Sun, stock price cams, weather cams and traffic cams for your own town! If you ever left the house, why, you’d be omniscient!

Next time I suppose we’ll have to go back to looking at great Mac shareware that’s (sigh) educational, or wonderfully productive, or will revolutionize the way you work with your Mac, blah blah blah.

Oh heck, let’s do some more anagrams, what say ya? Lessee … “William H Gates III” could be “While I Gas Militia,” “I Wail Geisha Limit,” or (without the “III” part) “Saw a Limelight,” “Allies with Mag,” and “We Light Salami” (hoo hoo!)

Just plain old “Bill Gates” turns up “Lit Bagels,” “Big Stella,” and “Begat Ills” (saaaaaayyyy!).

“Steve Wozniak” comes out “Knave, size two” or “Size a Wok Vent”. “Steve Ballmer” yields “Slave Tremble,” “Let Marvels Be,” and “Mr. Teal Bevels.”

“Microsoft Corp” comes up with “I Comform Crops” and “Mr. Coco Profits” BWAHAHAHAHA