Smooth your startups, track your firefox history, and play with chocolate

Thumb through the Web

Sifting through your browser history to return to a site is pointless if you can't recognise the URL. Firefox users have a new tool in ThumbStrips, an extension that shows pictures of Web pages you've recently visited. Once installed, this time-saving freebie from Intuit Innovation Lab sits at the bottom of your Firefox window, letting you scroll through thumbnails of the pages you've visited in your current session.

Each thumbnail identifies the site's name and how long ago you last visited it ("3 minutes ago," not "12:02 pm"). The thumbnail shows the page exactly where you left it; clicking the thumbnail returns you there. You can filter by domain or temporarily stop recording your travels. You can also save or e-mail a ThumbStrips session. Page Break

A Delicious Puzzle

For a sweet mental morsel, try the Chocolate Castle demo--it's part maze and part sliding-tile puzzle. You clear Easy, Medium and Hard versions of each of four rooms by shifting, joining, and eating pieces of chocolate. Four characters eat chocolate that's colour-coded to match them, but each disappears after eating one piece. The trick is to meld chunks of chocolate in advance, and timing is crucial: once joined, pieces can't be separated, so they can become roadblocks. The full version's 120 puzzles include twists like slippery ice and exploding Turkish delight.

The Hard-level puzzles may make you grateful to the makers for providing Undo and Redo buttons. If you're stumped, you can generate text files that record incomplete games to your Clipboard in chess-like notation. From there you can e-mail them or post them to the free BBS maintained by the creator, Lexaloffle Games, to seek help (or conversation) from other players. Chocolate Castle's charmingly retro music and graphics help this sweet stuff preserve a tiny 235KB footprint. Chocolate Castle, free 12-puzzle demo, $US20 for full (120-puzzle) game.

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Laura Blackwell

PC World (US online)
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