28 July, 2008

Western Digitals 500GB external drive

I just brought a new external hard drive(Western Digitals 500GB external drive),and I must say, Im quite impressed! The drive doesnt make a noise, the transfer speeds are neat, and to top all that, its got a shiny blue LED lighting to show when the drive is working and when its not.

I think the external hard disk is an internal hard disk in a USB casing, or so it seems. I could be wrong. The coolant does its job flawlessly. There was barely any heat after 4 hours of data transfer and over 148 GB was downloaded into the drive. That makes it 37 GB per hour! Quite impressive!

Im completely impressed with the drives functioning, and would gladly recommend it to all my friends in need of a drive space. It provides 500 GB of space. And, believe me, its not as small as it sounds. You'll start running out of things to fill it with, but its only a matter of time before I get that filled up too.

26 July, 2008

WWW = World Wide Wait?

I have been working with the internet for a few years now..maybe 6 years or so. In all these years, I have seen the internet evolve from the equivalent of a fish to the equivalent of a whale in terms of speed and reliability. These days, the speeds that computers households get are in the average of 2-3 Mbps worldwide.

But in all the hurry to increase the speeds are we forgetting some of the basic concepts which were the founding principle of the internet?

The internet was born out of necessity. The US military was the first organized network. But why do we find people still connecting to the internet through 56k modems?why doesnt everyone have broadband? Even though broadband is affordable these days, there are millions who are still using dial up connections. I would say this is mainly due to corporate incompetence.

The "big" companies such as AT&T want to make profits by giving the customers nothing but crappy speeds. Until and unless there is a revolution in the way companies think, the equivalent of a 56k modem will always be around.

And, to add to all this, the service providers have started providing internet connectivity to mobile systems, whose speeds are even more pathetic. Suddenly, there seems to be a big leap of faith towards the mobile computing platform.

Internet downloads remain pretty much a dream to people such as myself. It takes a lot of time to download even an Mb...

25 July, 2008

Bangalore bomb blasts

I would like to take a moment off my busy schedule of writing about technology and condemn the blasts in bangalore, India. I am a resident of bangalore, and I must say, this day shall go down as one of the darkest days in bangalores glorious history.

Over the years, Bangalore has been giving entrepreneurs and politicians major boosts in terms of infrastructure. IT industries flourished in what was once a deserted and barren city. I am put up in the outskirts of the city right now. But this fateful day, I happened to commute through 4 of the 6 blast sites. And I must say, the scene was horrible. I wanted to play hero, and go help with some of the rescue work. But the cops wouldnt let me, nor the others who wanted to help. They were busy chasing off people.

I saw a city weep today. I stopped at a restaurant on my way home, and I heard an old timer say, "These terrorists wont let us live in peace". How true. What a statement. This city, which has inspired millions upon millions to take up careers in the IT industry has suffered a fatal blow, in that, all these days, one could roam around in Bangalore like a free bird. This will no longer be so.

North India was the only place where the terrorists let their kind flourish. Such barbarism, and malice was unknown to us South Indians. Yet, terrorists have spread their fatal roots in Bangalore, and if you ask me, it will take all our efforts to weed it out.

Ive seen this city smile.Ive seen it weep. Ive walked with gods, and wept with angels. Rock on Bangalore city.

23 July, 2008

Social bookmarking in opera: A dream?

Hey guys.I use StumbleUpon for bookmarking my sites, and must say that the service and the quality of sites bookmarked have been very good. Except for one thing- There are no social bookmarking toolbars available for opera 9.5 !

Now, I know Opera might be a little low on plugins unlike your Firefox, but still, I felt that the opera developers left out this major chunk of my internet experience!

I have been told that social bookmarking sites take up almost 2% of the internets total traffic. At first glance, 2% is not such a big deal. But then, do you realise how many websites and URLs this may run into. Heck, this may run into billions for all I know!

So, a question to all you opera developers out there: Why no support for plugins?

And a warning to all you social bookmarking addicts out there: This is just not the right time to switch to opera!

Update: There is one method by which you can do this in opera. Goto OperaStumbler.com

22 July, 2008

Is Bux.to scam? well of course it is!!

What else were you expecting from a site which runs in a foreign country, doesnt respond to its own ticket system, AND ignores users' grieviences??

Yes, I was a kid with dollar signs flashing in my eyes. Not until BUX.to burst my bubble. Now, I have around 194 dollars in my BUX.to account. All for what? What use is money that you cant withdraw?

First I was told that they had a major problem with PayPal (though I cant imagine what that could be, other than PayPal refusing to support scam sites!). Thus, I got myself an AlertPay account. Now, the site wont let me login! Next, they tell me they have a "MAJOR" problem with the sites' script (can't Imagine what that would be!!), and thus ALL payments are delayed! Recently they tell us, they're gonna clear it all within 4 WEEKS. Are these people kidding me??!!

On top of that, my requested amount of $10 hasn't yet arrived(after 4 months)! The moderators at the forum said that the payments would arrive for non-premium members after 2 months, and they even have a calculator for that, for crying out loud!!!

On top of that, they post fake success stories every now and then. Old members and new apply the theory stated below, and they keep clicking, thus making HUGE profits for the people at BUX.to.

We are the sort of people that say "Aw look honey, there are mangy looking aliens in the front yard. Hope they're here for the neighbors!!Lets all pray they really are here for the neighbors!". This continues until the aliens themselves catch you by the throat and then you try to warn your neighbors who are gonna say the same thing. So, Im telling you now, stay away from this site! Its a total scam!

What a novel way to run a scam! On top of all this, the moderators at the forum, have the audacity to tell me that no lawsuit can reach them because they're in another country.


Common Firefox myths

Firefox is faster than IE:
WRONG!! Firefox is in fact slower than IE. The fastest browser in loading and in performance is Opera 9.5 !

Firefox is a non-profit organisation:

WRONG!! Firefox has a tie in with google refferals. Thats why you see so many websites supporting firefox.

Firefox's plugins dont slow my pc :

WRONG!! Firefox slows down with the first plugin you install. Overall, for a simple HTML page, it consumes about 20 MB of memory as opposed to 15 by IE and just over 7 MB by Opera!!

Firefox is very safe:

WRONG!! There have been many security loopholes detected over the years in Firefox. They(Mozilla foundation) dont release patches very often. Now which browser is safer IE(which gets constant updates and patches) or Firefox? I would say Firefox is just as vulnerable as any other browser is!

Firefox is open source:

WRONG!! Do your own research as to why this is not so.

Firefox is the only browser available for Linux:

WRONG!! Konquerer is an excellent browser available on all flavors of Linux.

21 July, 2008

Record movies in HL2/CS:S efficiently?

Ok, it seems many people don't know how to do this, so I will explain how this is done. All you need are the game itself, VirtualDub , and the trial of DivX Pro, which can be downloaded. NOTE: When I say to type something such as "record [filename]" in the instructions, I mean type it without the quotes. When I say click 'File > Open video file', I mean click the File menu, then the next option, which would be 'Open Video File' in that case.

Step 1: Recording the Movie in Half-Life 2 / Counter-Strike : Source as a Demo
(If you already have the demo file you want, skip to Step 2)

Open the game, and when it's time to record, open the console by pressing the tilde (~) key. Type "record [filename]" and press 'Enter'. Replace '[filename]' with whatever you want the demo to be titled. When you're done recording, open the console again and type "stop".

When you're ready to leave the server and start Step 2, read on.

Step 2: Converting the Demo to TGA Files

Change your video resolution in-game to whatever size movie you'd like. I use 640x480 since no larger is really necessary, and a single 640x480 frame is 900KB, which means 1/3 of a second of a 30FPS movie is 9MB. 1 second = 27MB. Huge, huh?

Then change your audio (if you want the audio to be recorded at all) to 2 speaker, and not headphones or 5.1 or whatever. You can leave the Options window open if you'd like.

Open the console. Type "host_framerate #" and press 'Enter'. Replace '#' with however many FPS you want the movie to be. I suggest 30 - it's rare any higher is necessary, and again, 1 second @ 30FPS = 27MB. Higher FPS = higher movie size.

Then in the console, type "startmovie [filename]", and hit 'Enter'. Replace '[filename]' with whatever you want the movie files to be called. This can be the same as the demo name, it doesn't matter.

While still in console, type "playdemo [filename]", and hit 'Enter'. Replace '[filename]' with the name of the demo you want converted. At this point, the demo will start, the frames will be rendered slowly (you'll experience 5 to 20 FPS most likely), and will be saved off as TGA images (many of them... host_framerate X length of demo in seconds).

When the demo is done and you're back at the menu, open console and type "endmovie", and hit 'Enter'. This will end the capture. If you don't enter this command, the menu of CS:S or HL2 will be recorded as additional 900KB+ frames. We don't want that, now do we?

Close the game. Go to Step 3.

Step 3: Putting the TGAs Together into an AVI

At this point, I'm assuming you downloaded and extracted VirtualDub. If not, go back to the top of this page.

Open VirtualDub, and click 'File > Open video file'. Navigate to the folder of the game (in CS:S, this will be the cstrike folder). Make sure 'Image Sequence (*.bmp, *.tga)' is selected in the 'Files of Type' drop down menu. Double-click the first image of the record sequence. There will be HUNDREDS (maybe thousands) of these images, double-click the first one.

VirtualDub will read them and begin piecing together a movie. We're not done yet, though!

Choose 'Audio > WAV Audio...'. If you can't select it, choose 'Audio > Full processing mode' first, then 'WAV Audio...'. In the same folder as the TGA image sequence, there will be a WAV file titled similarly to the images. Double-click this WAV file. VirtualDub will attach it to the movie.

Now, if you want to chop out parts of the movie, do so by finding the beginning frame of the part you want chopped and press 'Home'. Then find the last frame of that part and press 'End'. Then press 'Delete'. Do this with all useless / pointless parts of the movie. The WAV will also be chopped up, which is why it is important that the WAV be inserted before chopping!

Once you're done editing, it's time to set compression. If you don't want to compress, or want to use another program to do it (WM Encoder, for example), just click 'File > Save as AVI' and you're done. But if you want it to be small, and not the 500MB+ file an AVI itself is, you need compression. So, make sure DivX is installed, then continue.

Choose 'Video > Compression'. Choose the DivX codec, and click 'Configure'. Select 'Slow' from 'Encode Performance' - this will yield a slower processing time, but a better quality video with better compression, which means a smaller file to download. Click 'OK', then 'OK' again to leave the VDub compression dialog box.

Now choose 'Audio > Compression'. Choose 'MPEG Layer-3' from the list on the left, and a bitrate (preferrably stereo of some sort) from the right and click 'OK'.

Choose 'File > Save as AVI'. Locate where you want it saved, and what you want it called, and click 'Save'. VirtualDub will now work on compressing the video into a nice little DivX-based AVI file. Enjoy!

19 July, 2008

How to remove worm/autorun.blw virus?

First of all, update your antivirus

If say, the drive d has the virus, open notepad, goto open and type d:\autorun.inf

If there is a text block displayed then your system has an autorun virus, removing which is simple.

Open notepad,Create a blank file as autorun.inf. just drag and drop this file into the drive d, after opening my computer. DO NOT COPY AND PASTE!!

As the trojan depends on autorun.inf to do its job, a blank autorun.inf will disable it!

Why dont HCL and HP give you backups of your device drivers?

I have had many friends asking me to search for them, device drivers for their newly purchased desktops/laptops. What I dont understand is the fact that HP and HCL (2 of the major computer assemblers in the US) dont provide device driver CD's / DVD's with the computers that they sell. I understand that these PC's have genuine windows versions installed on them, but why not provide drivers?

Some of my friends wanted me to bring this up on my blog, cause this might serve as an early warning system to all of you people considering to buy a previously assembled PC.

One of my friends ran into a certain trojan problem on his HCL PC, and wanted me to re install his windows (since Im the guy in the know-how). I tried formatting the disk, and re-installing windows on it, but guess what! It simply refused to install on his PC. Thats when I threw in the towel and told him to call up the HCL guys, and ask them for help. Three frustrating hours of troubleshooting later, they decided to send one of their own to look into the problem. And guess what he does, after he gets there! He takes out a windows XP CD out of his backpack, and it installs like nothings been wrong with the PC! I was surprised to find out that even the drivers come bundled with his version of windows XP so he doesnt have to install it seperately.

Asked if we could have a copy of his disc in case there was a future failure, we were told his boss would have his head if he found out, but the nice guy agreed anyway! I got into all the technical details of the CD copy, and found out that HCL has a special windows disc, licensed exclusively to them (of course!!!) by Microsoft.

Now, what this disc did was, it read the hardware device configurations from the ROM, and only upon finding that this was a genuine HCL PC, and not a lookalike, did it start installing windows.

No wonder the HCL, HP guys wouldnt give you the discs!

14 July, 2008

Trojan in DotaKeys !

If you are an avid fan of DotA AllStars, you'd probably know that farming is one of the most important parts of the game, other than pwning other heroes' heads. But farming is difficult for newbies. I hit upon this software called "DotaKeys" made by a guy who called himself "Fucko". I didnt have any problem with this guy, until I updated his software. The software downloads a backdoor trojan which might compromise your computers' security to this guys whims. I googled the problem and I came upon this post. Here, this "Fucko" dude goes about bashing anyone who tells him hes given them a program with a trojan. 

He argues its open source, and even provides a link for its source. SURE its open source, who denied it!! All Im saying is that the program itself doesnt contain malicious trojans. These appear once you update the program.

And just for all of you people who are thinking how he made this program, there is a software called Autohotkey. A pretty nifty program that has its own language, a compiler, and what not, all under 2 MB !

Im working on an alternative to this program, and am going to release it maybe by this months' end. Thanks as always for a patient read

Blogger is behaving strangely these days!

Yeah, I just wanted to add some more content to my other blog, and I clicked on the add html/javascript link in my blogger accounts' "Add new page content". Blogger came up with a "ERROR 404 Page cannot be found". The main cause of this problem is that blogger uses redirection to take you to different pages. 404 occurs on web pages that do not exist on servers. Yet, if you try after a minute or two, it will show up with the content. How can a page, non existant 2 minutes ago appear all of a sudden? Thats because, the server to which it redirected is probably under heavy load, because of bloggers like you and me, clicking the same link. There is no other solution other than waiting for sometime and clicking the link again.

Please correct the errors on this form.  

Your request could not be processed. Please try again.

This is another one of those errors that I keep getting these days. If you're getting this error too,I recommend you do the following :

> Turn off any download accelerators and stop ALL downloads

>Do not load other sites when saving

Google runs on AJAX (Asynchronous JavaScript and XML) and so does Blogger. It doesnt need to refresh the whole page. Doing so would take up bandwidh, and is reliable, but AJAX involves making a "non-interrupting" call to the server. Thus, only a single fragment of a message needs to be sent to the server. If the call to the server times out, the message will not reach it, and thus the message. That was why I recommended having enough bandwidth availableto let that "small fragment of a message" through.


Polycom makes some of the best speakerphones. So a compact VoIP product from the company piques my interest. The polycom communicator is not just for hands-free skype conversations but also great for small conference rooms.

All you need is a notebook, a broadband connection and Skype. The device is plug-and-play, but you dont need Skype to use it;I used it with Google talk and it worked seamlessly without any extra software. You need the polycom software though.If you want to use the soft-buttons on the device.This device is equipped with two micro-phones that are strategically placed on the two bottom corners which catch sounds from the remotest corners of a small room. I tested the product from a distance of up to 3m(11 feet) and experienced no voice quality problems. The sound was free of any distortions. The speaker which paced in the center, produces a significant volume of sound-enough for a few people to hear the other party clearly. Since this is a USB-powered device, you dont need a seperate power adapter.

The device has four buttons that are used to connect to Skype, start a call, control volme, or mute a call. There is a headphone jack too, if you want to hold a more private conversation. Flip the device over, and it reveals an extremely smart cable management system. The lid on the storage bay acts as a stand once opened. This allows you to easily pack and carry the communicator.

This product is extremely capable, works well and is ideal for VoIP users but for a hefty price tag.

Price:Rs 7,740
 roughly 190 dollars.

12 July, 2008

Stupid reasons why JAVA beats .NET :

The answer is a BIG "yes" if you ask me! Though some might argue that these
so called frameworkswere built for different purposes, there are a few
applications that can be built with both. For example web applications.
JAVA has the J2EE libraries and .net has, well ASP.net . Java counters with
JSP if I forgot to mention.

So, why do I like JAVA more than .net?

Reason #1: JAVA suppports an open source mindset, .NET does NOT

Reason #2: With all the inherant complications, JAVA seems like a tough nut
to crack. Ever heard the saying, girls dig complicated guys?? Something like that

Reason #3: .NET just makes things even more complicated by providing an IDE with
drag and drop, and at the same time introducing complex concepts such as assembly,
GAC's and what not. Im thinking of removing .net from my resume', you know why?
Ive never heard a saying which goes "Girls dig overly complex, nerds".

Reason #4: JAVA always gave me options, for example, if I wanted to develop a web
application, I can do it with a JSP page, or an HTML page with a servlet back end.
Yeah, .NET does it too, with its ASP.net, but I never got to use the full functionality
of the libraries, simply because, there are complex types which profess to do stuff, but dont,
or there are variables where there should have been none. If you're an avid .NET programmer you'll know.

Reason #5: JAVA was made by SUN microsystems, whose SOLARIS isnt that much of a money grabber.
And, .net you know, was made by Microsoft...Oh, I always hated Microsoft! Corporate dominance
makes me sick to my stomach!

If you were expecting a complete technology comparison like I do everytime, sorry to disappoint you,
wasnt in the mood today!!

11 July, 2008


Network garbage is like desktop garbage, only worse: All that excess activity saps your systems' resources. Anything that unnecessarily drains your laptop battery deserves to get dumped. Aa quick
tune upcan make any notebook more energy efficient.


Choose the right pwer scheme for your work stule. Click Start->Control Panel-> Performance and maintainence->Power options. Under this, pick Max Battery and click OK.
This setting shuts off your monitor after 1 min and puts your notebook in standby if you dont use it for 2 mins. If thats too soon, repeat the steps and choose the portable/laptop power scheme which goes into standby after 5 mins.

Another way to reduce your notebook's power consumption is by dimming the screen. Unfortunately, every notebook manufacturer seems to have a different technique for dimming, so you may have to go digging in your owners manual.

A notebook's built-in wireless card sucks up power as it looks for access points, so disable yours when you're not working on a network. Other laptop power grabbers that you should unplug when you don need them are USB devices and PC cards.


Give autostart programs the heave-ho when you're running on battery power. In addition to following this step, right click icons in your system tray and shut down programs you dont need. They'll start up again the next time window loads.


Win XP's standbymode stops your HDD and monitor, but everything in your systems memory stays there, using a little trickle of power. Hibernation mode writes everything in memory to the hard drive and shuts down the machine completely.
Windows spriings back quickly from standby mode, but it takes much longer to come back to a working state. If you will be gone for a short while, it makes sense to leave your system on standby, else, leave your system in hibernation.

08 July, 2008


Have you updated your computer's anti virus software today?Have you configured your desktop to automatically download and install its security updates?

Presumably, your answer is yes. But there is a problem with many updating systems, as a recent paper by three researchers at the university of Massachusetts makes alarmingly clear.

Many update systems, it seems, are themselves riddled with security vulnerabilities. In the paper, professor Kevin Fu shows that update systems in popular software packages like McAfee VirusScan and Mozilla Firefox can actually be used to take over a computer thats trying to update itself!

The so-called secure update problem is twofold, say the researchers. First and foremost, programs need to have some way of authenticating some their updates to establish their legitimacy. But it is also critically important that programs have an authenticated connection to the update server.


An authenticated update means that there is some way for the software doing the update to assure itself that the update is an authentic version from the intended source. Without authentication, a clever attacker can arrange for the program doing the update to download and run the exploit instead.

In practice, updates should be authenticated with a digital signature-they should be signed with a private key. The matching public key should be embedded inside the application doing the update. Before the update is run, the application should verify the digital signature. If the nature doesn't verify, the update should be deleted.

The UMass researchers discovered that many programs don't authenticate their updates. This may not be so surprising-lots of software has security vulnerabilities, after all. But what is surprising is that among products that didn't have digitally signed updates were McAfee VirusScan and McAfee Virex, to antivirus, malware programs.

Exploiting the flaw is actually a lot easier than you might think. Most of these unsecured update systems simply goto a web or FTP server, check the time stamp of the most recent file and download the file if it's new enough.

The address of the server is usually hard-coded into the program doing the update, although occasionally it is stored in a configuration file.

To exploit flaw, all the attacker needs to do is send the program doing the update to a server thats run by the attacker. One way to send the program to the wrong site is by using a DNS-based attack.

Though signing updates with a digital signature doesn't prevent hostile code from being downloaded, but it does prevent the code from being run. Unfortunately, this is only half the battle. Even if updates are signed, an attacker capable of intercepting DNS requests or diverting internet traffic can still use an update service to take over an unsuspecting victims computer.

Another way that an attacker can subvert the update process is to run an update server that always responds "No updates today!" clients will then connect, find no update, and disconnect, and never will they know that they have been deceived. A well placed attacker could prevent an entire organization from installing updates for a period of time, then attack all vulnerable machines

07 July, 2008

Warcraft III screen garbled? Resolution problem?

Is your warcraft III game screen garbled, or reverts to some unknown resolution each time the game starts? Cant see anything on the screen except colored lines?...I have the solution!

I experienced the same problem a while ago, and was jubiliant when I discovered the solution. The method, in 10 steps is as follows :

1. Goto Start -> Run

2. Type "regedit" without quotes. This is to open the registry editor.

3. you would be presented with a screen with 2 panes. The left most pane will have items such as HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT,etc

4. Expand "HKEY_CURRENT_USER", then expand SOFTWARE

5. You should see a key called "Blizzard Entertainment", expand that too

6. Now expand Warcraft III then expand Video

7. We'r almost there!! You should see a series of blue colored keys on the right pane.

8. Double click on reswidth. *Click Decimal* THIS IS IMPORTANT! Then,type in 800

9. Double click on resheight. *Click Decimal* THIS IS IMPORTANT! Then,type in 600

10. We are done now! Go ahead and start the game, the resolution should be fine now. I have demonstrated with 800x600 resolution. You can try it for any resolution you want I have also tried it with 1024x768 and it works!! Just replace 800 by 1024 and 600 by 768. That should do it!

The call of convergence

Not long ago, things were fairly simple. To get a landline phone, you went to one service provider, and for a mobile phone, to another.Cable TV services were run by your neighborhood operator,and the phone service provider was your ISP. Choice was limited-if it existed at all-and there was little recourse if you were unhappy with the quality of service or the tariffs.You either put up or shut up.

Over the last few quarters, there has been a big, but largely unnoticed shift in the communications landscape. We are seeing wider availability of services from one operator, and pilot runs of new technologies.Powering this change is the use of new generation technologies that are flexible, scalable- and considerably cheaper for operator deploy.Chief among them is the Internet Protocol(IP), which all service providers have embraced since it provides a cheaper and more efficient way to move data on networks.

Using IP, a telecom network can be configured to handle telephone conversations, internet access and data transfers, video conferencing and even television-all on the same physical link. In fact, IP technology can be used to integrate wireless and wired networks and deliver advanced services to mobile phone users too. The attraction of IP to service providers is patently obvious-it eliminates the need to build multiple dedicated networks for each service, and makes the addition of new services quick. This is one reason why you see cable operators offering internet access and telephony, and telecos promising you television over the telephone line.Device and equipment manufacturers have already jumped on the convergence bandwagon. Think media center PCs, VoIP phones, home theater amps that can connect to the internet and mobile phones that can receive TV broadcasts. For consumers this technological convergence between consumer electronic products and computing devices, and between diverse communication and entertainment services is interesting.For one, it obviates the need to buy multiple specialty gadgets and gizmo's, and second, it reduces obsolescence. For every new service, you don't need a new device, just a software.

On the infrastructure front of convergence will increase competition between service providers and provide the economic incentive to craft and deliver innovative services. For instance, wouldn't you like a mobile phone that automatically switches to a landline or a WiFi network when you go home ,or enter your office-even retaining its identity? How about a video phone service at your desk? or perhaps secure payments at cinema halls with your mobile phone instead of a credit card or even cash? convergence will also enable smaller companies with good ideas bring us useful services, and perhaps even greater personalization of the services we have today.

04 July, 2008

List of service providers who provide servlet hosting

The Adrenaline Group maintains
a list of over 50 ISP's who host Java Servlets (http://www.adrenalinegroup.com/jwsisp.html) . Another list is at http://www.servlets.com.

A few ISPs have also said that they can host Java applications: