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Posts Tagged ‘print’

Free card games with Dvorak Game Wiki

August 7, 2009 3 comments

I decided it was time for another geeky article to complement the recent gaming ones. Whilst we’re all too familiar with gigantic MMORPGs, zippy racing games, and baffling puzzle games, we may have neglected the humble card game. You’d be right in stating that there’s very little geeky about such standard card games as poker or blackjack, but we’re talking about a different type of card game here – think Dungeons and Dragons, but without the dice and long appendix list. Dvork Game Wiki is a depository of user-created card games which can be printed out and played with a group of similarly nerdish friends. Oh, and before I start, I think it’s worth pointing out that it’s made by the same lovely chap that gave us Chore Wars – so naturally I loved it before I even visited.

Everything from Zelda to Roman politics has a deck of cards ready to print and play.

Everything from Zelda to Roman politics has a deck of cards ready to print and play.

The primary feature is the broad listing of card games created by users of the wiki. These range from doing epic battle with spaceships, to fighting your friends with copyright  laws in pursuit of controlling 70% of humanity’s information. Your nerd senses are already tingling – I can tell. You’re picturing a bunch of sweaty, pock-marked teenagers sitting around a table in a poorly lit basement as they argue about whose card has the better stats. Go on, admit it. The website does bring up strong connotations of such events, but they could serve as a good method for getting together with friends for a social gathering and doing something fun, different, and free. Though you might have trouble convincing them that they won’t have ‘Loser’ tattooed across their forehead if they join in.

You can search for card decks by entering something in the search box if you have an idea as to what you want to play, or you could just keep clicking ‘Random page’ until you come across an interesting one. The  rules are generally outlined on the wiki page which shows the cards, and there’s also link to print the cards. The print feature is rather smashing too, since it lets you set the size of the cards and text size. Therefore even your grandmother can’t use her poor eyesight as an excuse not to join in the fun. You can then use your dainty fingers to stick these onto card and cut them out. I know, I know, it’s a hard life, isn’t it? Of course there’s nothing to stop you adapting the rules if the deck creator is being a little bit over-the-top with his rules and directions.

If nothing already on the website tickles your fancy, you can always create your own deck of cards. This would involve creating the cards itself so they can be printed and used by your fellow nerds, and some directions or rules to outline how the game should be played. Cards can be left with just text, or you can also add images to spice them up a little bit. If you’re not a fan of playing with physical bits of card, you can bring out the super-nerd and use the Dvorak online method – it looks like a DOS-style command window – plain white text on black background. It would be smashing if they software could be improved upon to allow players to engage in the card games visually, either with invited friends or other Dvorak users.

In a vain attempt to balance out all the nerdy fun, I’ve concluded that the service could be used for educational purposes. I’m not currently quite sure how this would work, but at the most basic level you could have a card game with occasional cards which contain questions or facts which relate to something you need to learn about. Alternatively, for a subject like history you could create a deck of cards that accurately use battle tactics which were used in WWI. You would then need to pit the cards against another player – whilst the outcome might not be the same as the war, at least you’d be learning about the tactics and conditions. Therefore these card games used in an educational way could benefit both students wanting to revise for exams in an exciting way and with friends; and teachers who want to try something new with their classes.

Don’t be afraid to unleash your inner nerd – there’s no need to hide it! www.dvorakgame.co.uk provides everything you need for that great night in playing cards with your mates. If it’s all too geeky and strange for you, how about making a drinking game? Getting blotto helps you to stop loathing yourself for playing a card game.

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Shots and screencasts with Jing

If you’ve ever need to show someone how to do something on their computer, or log a scary error message, you’ll be familar with taking screenshots and possibly recording videos of your screen. Screenshots in Windows can be a fairly long-winded process: take the screenshot, paste into an editor, crop/change, add annotations, save, upload to the Internet. That’s where Jing comes in.

It’s a small program that sits in the form of a little yellow bubble at the top of your screen, ready and waiting for you to call on it when you’re in need of a quick and easy snap or recording of your screen. Hovering over this bubble will

Jing makes it simple to take screenshots and videos

Jing makes it simple to take screenshots and videos

allow you to select a certain area of your screen, Jing then offers to either take a screenshot or start recording a video. It’s a doddle to simply hover on the title-bar of an application and have it ‘automagically’ selected by Jing for a screenshot. If you want to choose a more refined area, you can drag your own selection. Once the screenshot or video is recorded, Jing then allows you to add annotations to it in order to make it more clear, followed by choosing what you wish to do with your image or video, including: copy, save, or upload to the Internet for a quick way to share it.

I think one of the simplest, yet most useful features is the ability to add a key command to quickly take snaps, mine is set to ‘Ctrl+Print Screen’. This ability saves you having to click on the program each time you wish to make a recording. Also included is a zippy little gallery which lets you view and edit all your previously taken screenshots and videos, ready to be opened and edited again.

Whether you’re a student who has to take hundreds of screenshots to prove your work to an assessor, or you’re often making video tutorials for others, you’ll find Jing a lifesaver. It may just help you keep your sanity by making it so much faster and less monotonous. Give it a try and see what you think by downloading it from www.jingproject.com