Adobe Flex...the ultimate web-application tool

Posted by Shashank Krishna Thursday, July 31, 2008

Adobe Flex
is a collection of technologies released by Adobe Systems for the development and deployment of cross platform rich Internet applications based on the proprietary Adobe Flash platform. The initial release in March 2004 by Macromedia included a software development kit, an IDE, and a J2EE integration application known as Flex Data Services. Since Adobe acquired Macromedia in 2005, subsequent releases of Flex no longer require a license for Flex Data Services, which has become a separate product rebranded as LiveCycle Data Services.

In February 2008, Adobe released the Flex 3 SDK under the open source Mozilla Public License. Adobe Flash Player, the runtime on which Flex applications are viewed, and Adobe Flex Builder, the IDE built on the open source Eclipse platform and used to build Flex applications, remain proprietary.


Posted by Shashank Krishna Wednesday, July 30, 2008

If you can obtain the IP address of the person, then yes, you will be able to know what country, general location, ISP, etc about the person. I've not used Google Talk enough to be know, but sometimes finding an IP from an IM type program can be a bit challenging.

IP2LOCATION is a website where you can verify an IP address and get that information. It will not tell you who the person is however. But, if you can get the IP it may be enough to tell you if it's the person you believed it to be.

The easiest way to obtain the IP address is from the routing information on an email. But, if this is someone you don't wish to have on your Google Talk list, it's also likely someone you don't want to have your email address too.

China becomes biggest net nation

Posted by Shashank Krishna Tuesday, July 29, 2008

China now has the world's largest net-using population, say official figures.

More than 253 million people in the country are now online, according to statistics from the China Internet Network Information Center (CNNIC).

The figure is higher than the 223 million that the US mustered in June, according to Nielsen Online.

Net penetration in the US stands at 71% compared to 19% in China suggesting it will eventually vastly outstrip the US.

The development is significant because the US has had the largest net-using population since records of how many people were online started to be kept.

"This is the first time the number has drastically surpassed the United States, becoming the world's number one," said a statement from the CNNIC, the nation's official net monitoring body.

The 2008 figure is up 56% in a year, said CNNIC. Analysts expect the total to grow by about 18% per annum and hit 490 million by 2012.

About 95% of those going online connect via high-speed links. Take up of broadband has been boosted by deals offered by China's fixed line phone firms as they fight to win customers away from mobile operators.

China's mobile phone-using population stands at about 500 million people.

Despite having a greater number of people online, China's net economy still has a long way to go to match or exceed that of the US or even that of South Korea.

Figures from Analysys International said China's net firms reported total revenues of $5.9bn (£2.96bn) in 2007. By contrast net advertising revenue alone for US firms in 2007 stood at $21.2bn (£10.6bn).

Search engine optimisation folks always talk about how important hosting location is. Or at least what country it is. Most of the tools that I use to look at a website location are very good at telling me what country they are in, but rarely much more than that. Here is some examples of how some sites show the location of your server:

However, Vertical Leap have a fun tool that can actually find for you the location of the server where your site is located and show you on a map! Here is where the Vertical Leap website lives:

Why not look where your website lives using the Vertical Leap Geolocation Tool!

Google - UK Superbrand 2008

Posted by Shashank Krishna

Google was yesterday named as the UK's top consumer brand for the first time in a study by Superbrands.

Google has this year beaten Microsoft who have held the title for the previous 2 years and moved up 2 places from 3rd.

The biggest worldwide search engine has beaten some old and established prominent brands and now leads the way as the UK's Superbrand. The list in general illustrates the importance of the technology and media sector to the UK market - as along with Google and Microsoft, the BBC, Sony and Apple rate highly.

Other strong performers here are the some members of the automotive world, the drinks giant Coca-Cola, the sports behemoth Nike and an assortment of household goods suppliers.

Being the most popular brand in the UK just illustrates how important searching on the internet has become as this is now a mainstream media distribution channel that is only going to grow further.

How To Get Visitors To Your Blog

Posted by Shashank Krishna

Think of the following situation :- You've started your spanking new blog and begin writing spiffing entries crammed with information. Everythings ok in the world. EXCEPT you now need people to actually find it and read it so they can interact with your blog. "But how can I get people to visit my blog" you may ask. Well just for you here are some great ways to get more eyes on your precious blog:

* Word of mouth - I'll start with a simple one - let your friends know about it. They'll be dead impressed and insanely jealous :) Word of mouth can work wonders you know, online and offline.

* Get links - As your blog is online a lot of visitors can be got by getting lots and lots of lovely links from other websites. Know someone who has a website? Drop them a mail letting them know and maybe they will be happy to give you a link.

* Search engines - Search engines like Google and Yahoo can provide you with tons of visitors if they like your blog. Writing entries with lots of useful and descriptive content is one way to do this. Search engines love content that is valuable to other people. Write nice decriptive titles for all of your blog entries. For example if you are posting photos from your holiday in Dublin, Ireland than rather than calling the entry "Photos" be descriptive and call it "Photos from my holiday in Dublin, Ireland". That way someone searching for photos of Dublin will find your blog.

* Forum signatures - If you are a member of any other forums sometimes you can sometimes place a link into your signature (the text that appears under every post you make). This is a perfect place to add a link to your blog.

* Email - Send an email to any of your friends that may be interested to read your blog.

* Post on the forum - Everytime you make a post on the forums you will see a link appear that points to the last blog entry that you wrote. Posting more often on the forums will greatly increase the chances that someone will read your post and follow the link to your blog. Once they read your blog once they will be hooked and will return again and again.

* Write a great blog - If you write an excellent quality blog you will appear higher because your blog will get more views. Since you will appear higher than the other blogs in the lists you will get more people who will click on your blog.

These are great ways to build up a really popular blog. And let me tell you a popular blog is a very satisfying achievement. It will become an extension of yourself :)

Gaming Peripherals

Posted by Shashank Krishna

If you are looking for the perfect video game controller like a joystick, steering wheel or perhaps something a bit more extreme like a full immersion gaming chair this is the place for you. Reviews of all types of gaming peripherals and how-to's on choosing the best one for your needs.
Top 5 PC Gaming Gifts for Dad
If your dad is a PC gamer and you need some good gift ideas for a special occasion anything from this list of the top gifts for PC gamer dads will fit the bill. This list includes all sorts of items from different categories and price ranges. Give dad anything from this list and earn some serious brownie points.

Top Gaming Peripherals
There are many types of PC gear that could be considered gaming peripherals from mice and keyboards to joysticks and game pads. This list is going to have a look at some of the best gaming peripherals on the market. There are lots of gaming peripherals around and it is hard to tell the good from the bad when you are shopping online and in stores. This list should help you make your choice and get…
Saitek Cyborg Rumble Pad Review
Saitek has a new gamepad for PC called the Saitek Cyborg Rumble Pad that has a unique feature. The control is customizable to your preference with a movable joystick. To find out how well the Saitek Cyborg Rumble Pad performs read on.

Fragpedal Elite USB Gaming Footpedal Review

Why should your hands do all the work when it comes to gaming? With the Fragpedal Elite USB Gaming Footpedal, your feet can get in on the gaming action too. With the Fragpedal Elite USB Gaming Footpedal you can bind game commands to two foot pedals making gaming more fun and giving you more options for controls in game.
Saitek X52 Pro Flight Control System Review
Flight simulation games can be made all the more realistic with the use of a good flight control system such as the Saitek X52 Pro up for review today. The Saitek X52 Pro is a great HOTAS system with a separate joystick and throttle that flight sim fans will love.
Ideazon Fang Gamepad
Traditionally one of the biggest short comings I see with gaming keyboards is not in the gaming function, but rather most often it is the keyboard function. Ideazon is trying to remedy that problem with their New Fang Gamepad. The Fang has all the good of the typical Ideazon design and allows me to keep my normal keyboard for typing.
Interview with RazerGuy about the new Pro|Solutions Line
Razer makes some of the best and coolest gaming peripherals on the planet. Razer has recently announced the addition of a Professional series of products aimed at design pros and business users. This interview asks a few questions about the additional product line.

Thrustmaster Ferrari GT 2-in-1 Racing Wheel
The Thrustmaster Ferrari GT 2-in-1 Racing Wheel is a cool Ferrari branded racing steering wheel for both PC and PS2. The Thrustmaster Ferrari GT 2-in-1 Racing Wheel also has rumble force feedback.
Thrustmaster Rechargeable Wireless 2-in-1 dual Trigger Gamepad
The Thrustmaster Rechargeable Wireless 2-in-1 dual Trigger Gamepad is a gamepad that will work with both your PC and your PS2. The Thrustmaster Rechargeable Wireless 2-in-1 dual Trigger Gamepad is wireless and has good range.
Thrustmaster Rallye GT Pro Force Feedback Steering Wheel Review
The Thrustmaster Rallye GT Pro Force Feedback steering wheel is the only five axis steering wheel controller available currently for PC. The five axes allows you to have progressive handbrake, inside view and clutch.

Voice Buddy Interactive Game Control Software

Voice Buddy Interactive Game Control software turns your voice into a game controller. Simply set up your voice commands with the Voice Buddy Interactive Game Control software and tell your game what you want it to do.

Top Flight Simulation Products
Fans of Flight simulation games often need particularly specialized joysticks and other gear to get the most realism out of their flights. This list is some of the top flight sim gear to both improve your game and make it more realistic.
Saitek X52 Flight Control System
The Saitek X52 Flight Control System is a great throttle and joystick intended for use with flight simulation games. The Saitek X52 Flight Control System has numerous programmable switches to allow you to keep your hands on the joystick rather than the keyboard.

CH Products FighterStick USB
The CH Products FighterStick USB is authentically modeled after the F-16's flight stick. With over 132 programmable functions, the CH Products FighterStick USB is the ultimate flight sim joystick.
CH Products Pro Throttle USB
The CH Products Pro Throttle USB is one of the most functional and realistic F-16 style throttle control you will find. The CH Products Pro Throttle USB features numerous programmable buttons and switches and has great feel during play.

CH Products Pro Pedals USB
CH Products Pro Pedals USB are a great product for flight simulation fans. The CH Products Pro Pedals USB are designed to be used as the rudder pedals for added realism in flight sim games. The CH Products Pro Pedals USB can also be used for the brake and gas pedals for racing sims as well.

CH Products Flight Sim Yoke USB
Flight simulation fans tired of flying with a plain old joystick, the CH Products Flight Sim Yoke USB is your ticket to more realistic flights. The CH Products Flight Sim Yoke USB looks for all the world like the yoke inside a Cessna.

CH Products USB Throttle Quadrant
The CH Products USB Throttle Quadrant is a throttle quadrant that is designed to give flight simulation fans the realism they desire in flight. The CH Products USB Throttle Quadrant has six levers and six buttons.

Top Computer Joysticks
There are a wealth of cool joysticks available to make PC gaming more enjoyable. This top picks guide will help you decide which joystick is the best for you.
10 Great Gifts for Gamers
Gamers have very different needs in computer peripherals than non gamers do. A keyboard that works great for data entry my fail miserably for gaming. The perfect mouse for Excel may get you fragged in your favorite game. this list has 10 of the best gifts for gamers.

1.Logitech MOMO Racing Steering Wheel
The Logitech MOMO Racing Steering Wheel is an excellent force feedback steering wheel that makes driving games so much more enjoyable it is shocking. The force feedback function of the Logitech MOMO Racing Steering Wheel adds greatly to the realism of driving games.

2.Saitek Cyborg Evo Force Joystick
The Saitek Cyborg Evo Force Joystick is a really cool joystick that can be used by right or left handed gamers alike. The Saitek Cyborg Evo Force Joystick also features a customizable handle for different size hands.
Before You Buy Gaming Peripherals
There are many types of gaming peripherals available from mice and keyboards to joysticks & game pads. Sometimes choosing the best gaming peripherals can be difficult.

3.Logitech Cordless Rumble Pad 2 Gamepad
The Logitech Cordless Rumble Pad 2 Gamepad is a great PC game controller. With a button layout very similar to the controller for Play Station 2, many gamers will already be familiar with the feel and layout of the Logitech Cordless Rumble Pad 2 Joystick.

When I play games, I want my PC to be able to generate as many frames per second as possible; it's a measure of the strength of the CPU and GPU solution which is used consistently in gaming benchmarks to show which processor and/or graphics card is better. My PC can beat up your PC if I can generate eye candy at a whopping 130fps and you can only do a mere 100.

Why then are home theater PC folks so obsessed with playing back at a paltry 24 frames per second when graphics solutions (including integrated graphics) are easily able to send out 60?

Okay, so it's not an actual bug, it's just a bad pun. But the key is the word "judder". To understand why it matters, we must understand how films are made.

Motion pictures in 99% of Hollywood cinema are recorded at 24 frames per second and then each frame is strobed twice before the next frame is indexed. In effect, film in theaters is displayed at 48Hz, though the actual content is 24Hz.

Historically speaking, TVs are 60Hz (to match the AC frequency of the wall socket; in other countries with different wall socket frequencies, the TV rate is different). While I won't get into the specifics or the full history here (there are lots of sites out there which cover why this was so and how it was compensated), the major understanding to carry forth is that in order to get 24 frames of content into something that is refreshed 60 times per second, you have to repeat frames in an irregular way.

In short, the first frame in every second is repeated 3 times, the second frame is repeated 2 times, the third frame is repeated 3 times, the fourth is repeated 2 times, etc. This process is known as "3:2 pulldown", and you can see from the math that if you repeat 12 frames 3 times each and 12 more frames 2 times each, you will get 60.

So all of the picture content makes it onto the television screen, so everything's great, right? Alas, the human eye is only partially fooled: on scenes with high amounts of motion or where the camera pans across a landscape, the phenomenon known as "judder" manifests. The motion should be smooth, but you can see some jerkiness to it due to the fact that every other film frame is of slightly different duration.

This isn't a new problem: film has been 24fps for a long time, and TV has been 60Hz for almost as long. When TVs were interlaced the issue was reduced because at the transition between the 3-frame and the 2-frame the middle frame was essentially a mix of the two (again, not going into the specifics on interlacing history). Nowadays, TVs are made with non-interlaced (aka "progressive") components and you can see the judder artifacts better.

There are ways around this; people with computer monitors have a bit more flexibility with their refresh rates than TV users traditionally do. Setting the graphics to output at 72Hz generates a nice image (since 72 is an even multiple of 24), but the vast majority of television sets won't accept 72Hz signals. And while there are some computer monitors you could reasonably call "home theater worthy", most are a bit small and limited.

As I mentioned, this is not a new issue, but until now most sources were interlaced (even DVDs are generally interlaced, though flags in their software exist so progressive player hardware can pick out the original frames) so the issue wasn't high profile. With new technology like Blu-ray, the video is stored as 24 actual pictures per second, and the only limiter left is the display.

Of course, when you're a Consumer Electronics manufacturer, any nifty gadget you can add to your TV to distinguish yourself from your competition is a good one, and someone got the bright idea to include inputs which would accept and display 24fps. Everyone else soon followed, and now a lot of mid- to high-end equipment has the ability to take in images at 24fps and display it at some multiple of that (technology in the generic TV set has changed enough to decouple it from the original 60Hz number).

Early drivers for the 945G, G965, G33, and G35 were all capable of 24Hz output. You had to play tricks on them sometimes to convince them they could do a resolution/refresh they didn't know about by default, but if you got the drivers to accept that they could do it the chipset graphics would deliver 24fps goodness. After all, theoretically in sheer processing power it should be easier than the normal 60fps; any integrated graphics chip should be able to do it.

In reality, there were some difficulties, and they remain today. Desktop work at 24fps was fine, but watching media at 24fps exhibited very jerky behavior every several seconds or so... then returned to silky smooth motion once more. This was across a variety of software players-- both free and consumer-- and across multiple motherboards and chipsets. And didn't manifest on either ATI or Nvidia graphics... suggesting, once more, that this was a problem with the drivers. (It's vaguely possible this is a hardware issue with the chipsets, whose design concentration would logically have been "ensure high refresh rates".) There was some sign this might be modulated by the renderer used (EVR vs VMR) as well as by the presence of extra frames in the source files, but as of the 15.7 drivers there manifested a new problem: all support for 24fps is gone.

Whether your EDID is advertising the 24fps capability or not, even if you use the trick I linked to above, the resolution won't show up as selectable in the Intel drivers. 48Hz still seems to work fine... but as there are only a handful of TVs which accept 48Hz signalling, this is small consolation.

It could be that someone on the driver team recognized that 24fps was broken and removed it, or there could be something else going on that's even more mysterious. It could entirely be an oversight. But the fact is, even if you want jerky 24fps on Intel graphics you now have to use older drivers, keeping yourself in the past and avoiding fixes you might want for other bugs.

I haven't gotten my hands on a G45 system yet, so I don't know if this issue is fixed on newer graphics chipsets yet, but I sure hope so.

If you ask around in the home theater PC community, there are three issues which prevent Intel graphics from being an all-around winning solution for HTPCs:

1) The HDCP repeater bug

2) The 24fps problems

3) The Denon HDMI EDID issue

You'll note that these three issues just happen to be the ones I've covered in my blog. This is not coincidence.

I've seen internal presentations, and if our drivers meet or exceed the hardware the G45 is going to be a great chipset from a home theater standpoint. But it's important that we address the enthusiast in this space (because the enthusiast is going to tell his friends what to buy) and the enthusiast sees all three of those issues as important to have solved in a quality system.

So far I've not noticed a driver release which fixes any one of them. I don't know that any of our Graphics (or Audio) folks read this blog, but I sure hope so.

P.S. I won't even discuss the fact that it should really be 23.976fps instead of exactly 24fps. You'll have to figure that one out on your own. :)

'Second Life' enters the world of mobile phones

Posted by Shashank Krishna Monday, July 28, 2008

Demanding a better-than-average processor, a 1024x768 screen resolution, a boatload of RAM, and a strong video card just to take part, it's hard to believe that Second Life, the virtual world developed by Linden Lab (download for Windows and Mac), could ever survive on a mobile phone.

Yet on Tuesday, Vollee, a 3G streaming services provider, began offering the free, open beta version of Second Life for 40 Wi-Fi-enabled and 3G cell phones with more handset compatibility coming soon. That means you, iPhone.

'Second Life' avatars can fly and teleport from 40 mobile phones.
(Credit: Vollee)

In Second Life Mobile, users will be able to fly and teleport all over the virtual world, and chat when other friends are online.

Talk about porting Second Life to cell phones began in February, and a private beta program of Second Life Mobile appeared shortly after.

How does Vollee accomplish the gargantuan, scoffed-at task of hosting a huge, graphics-hungry PC game on such compact devices? They won't spill much, except to say that Second Life Mobile is a thin client downloaded to the high-end cell phone that communicates with the full, unmodified game that's hosted on Vollee's servers. All the adaptation happens on Vollee's end, with the mobile-friendly results streaming to each individual handset.

We haven't had a chance to try it out yet, but we will soon. Watch this space for our first take of gameplay.

5 reasons to take the iPhone on vacation

Posted by Shashank Krishna

Even if you won't get reception where you're headed, think twice about leaving your iPhone behind. The iPhone's all-new iTunes App Store makes it an even indispensable travel tool for international excursions, even if it's rendered essentially useless as a phone (unless you're not adverse to being charged oodles in roaming fees.)

Media console
As romantic as travel sounds, a large hunk of it is wasted on waiting. There's airport check-in, long train and bus rides, and time to kill while a fastidious companion prepares for the day. Besides, there's only so much battle a heavy book can do against an hour-long museum wait. That's when you plug in headphones and turn on the iPod, play a few games such as Texas Hold'em or Super Monkey Ball, or open up that preloaded e-book you've been meaning to read.
Super Monkey Ball on iPhone

How many levels of Super Monkey Ball can you pass on a four-hour train ride?
(Credit: CNET Networks)

Internet tablet
As long as you've got Wi-Fi, you'll still be able to surf the Internet and access Web mail from the iPhone while you're abroad. Text messages will shoot up your monthly bill, of course, and you could incur quite substantial data roaming fees for any application that uses data networks to update. But keep an eye out for Wi-Fi hot spots and you'll have your own personal Internet cafe--minus the spyware worry from dubious public PCs. To stop yourself from slipping into the territory of advanced charges, enter the Network settings to disable 3G and turn off data roaming.

Ice breaker
Not sure how to make small speak in a foreign language? Lonely Planet (review), Babelingo, iLingo, and Lingolook all have audio phrasebooks that cover much the same ground and help you find food, shelter, and new friends. If conversation fails, you can always pull the iPhone 3G out of its holster and dazzle the passersby with your hip possession of this moment's most hyped source of gadget jealousy. After all, who needs talk when you have flashy technology?
Lonely Planet Italian Audio Phrasebook

Lonely Planet is only one of many iPhone application vendors selling audio phrasebooks.
(Credit: CNET Networks)

Note taker
If traveling makes you more alert to wondrous views, masterful architecture, and inspiring cuisine, you may find yourself waxing contemplative. The iPhone's native notepad is one way to jot down your impressions without worrying about a paper memo pad or pen. It isn't anything fancy, but you'll be able to e-mail your thoughts to yourself at a later date and can use the built-in application as a substitute for Web mail (and to avoid racking up data charges) while out of hot spot range.

Emergency flashlight
One of the first things a new cell phone owner understands is how to turn a cell phone into an improvisational flashlight. Now what if you screen was twice the size of the average cell phone and put out a clearer, unadulterated light than you'd get by just waking a sleeping phone? Several applications for iPhone will glow a full-screen white until you quit; one such freeware version is simply called Light.

There's a lot that the iPhone won't do for you when you're traveling abroad. It's not so hot with roaming charges, of course, and if you're not careful it's easy to rack up a bundle in fees. The iPhone's weak camera is also a drawback, and not a substitute for a point-and-shoot camera. Not so with the Nokia N95, which, with its 5-megapixel shooter, hovers in the same price range and obviates the need for another $200, $300, or more gadget purchase. Still, the broad range of iPhone apps gives you breathing room to innovate travel uses.

Windows only:
Free application ProcessQuickLink adds small icons to the left of every running process in the Windows Task Manager that—when clicked—tell you what that process does. The app looks up its information from, which provides a description of the process and recommendations for whether or not you should feel comfortable disabling it. When your computer seems slow and bogged down with running processes you can't make heads or tails of, ProcessQuickLink's seamless integration with Task Manager seems like the perfect way to hunt down and eliminate your unnecessary processes. For a full snapshot of all your running processes and their priorities, check out previously mentioned ProcessScanner. ProcessQuickLinks is freeware, Windows only.
ProcessQuickLink [ProcessLibrary]

if you have liked it plz post a comment.......

On June 30 2008, Microsoft officially ceased sales of Windows XP to all major retailers and PC manufactures like Dell, HP, Lenovo etc.
Sadly even the great Save XP movement couldn’t bring about any change in Microsoft’s decision to prolong Windows XP lifetime so the question now is whether if Windows XP is really going [...]

if you have liked it plz post a comment.......

FIREFOX a must!!

Posted by Shashank Krishna Sunday, July 27, 2008

Upgrade to Firefox 3.0.1 for more Security and Stability

Mozilla has released the new Firefox 3.0.1 update which promises to make Firefox more secure and stable.
Last month a very serious vulnerability was discovered in the Firefox source code which affected both Firefox 3 and Firefox 2.x.x and could allow a hacker to execute commands remotely on a machine. Hopefully this new update will fix [...]
Do not Use Firefox 3 to Make Secure Payments Online

Firefox 3 is no doubt the most secure state-of-the-art browser that has some amazing security features.
But if you use Firefox 3 to make secure payments online using your credit card then you might want to consider switching to Internet Explorer and here is why!
How to set Gmail as Default Email Client in Firefox 3

For those users who do not have any default email client setup on their computer, they can use the new feature in Firefox 3 which lets one set Gmail as the default email client.
The tip, shared by Gmail blog, will automatically launch Gmail whenever you click on a mailto link.
How To Login to Websites Instantly in Firefox

Firefox has an amazing password manager which stores all your login credentials and allows you to easily login to websites but the problem is that you still need to type the username everytime.
Secure Login is a Firefox add-on that will allow you to login to websites instantly just with one-click.

Firefox 3.0 Vulnerable to Remote Execution

It looks as if the world’s most secure browser i.e. Firefox 3.0 may still have big security vulnerabilities in the core.
According to a report by TippingPoint, a research organization for vulnerability analysis and discovery, Firefox 3.0 has a security loophole which could allow an attacker to remotely execute arbitrary code.
Automatically Fix URL Typing Errors in Firefox

Not every average computer user is a typing expert. No matter how many years of typing experience one has, URL typing errors or typos are still inevitable.
URL Fixer for Firefox is a simple little add-on that will make sure your typing mistakes are automatically corrected as you type.

if you have liked it plz post a comment.......

Gmail has a security feature which most free online email services still lack. It is the ability to use SSL (Secure Socket Layer) or more simply a Secure Connection.

Secure connection makes sure that the data and information shared between Google servers and your web browser remains encrypted. It proves to be beneficial when using Gmail in public sector area e.g. public WiFi hotspots or college/university labs.

Previously the only way to initiate a Secure connection between Gmail and your web browser was to manually type the (https://) protocol instead of (http://) to access Gmail but as it is not feasible for the unaware masses, Gmail has now introduced a new setting called Browser Connection.

Browser Connection lets users choose whether or not to force a secure connection. This way they won’t have to type in the (https://) protocol again and again while accessing Gmail.

One point to note is that though forcing a secure connection makes your data safe, but it slows down the speed and latency of your connection as it has to always encrpt/decrypt data at both ends while transfering. This feature is mostly recommended for users accessing Internet through a public WiFi.

Now with all those security features in hand, who thinks Gmail is the most safe and secure email service on Internet?

if you have liked it plz post a comment.......

Add Wikipedia, Google to Vista's Start Search Box

Posted by Shashank Krishna Saturday, July 26, 2008

The Online Tech Tips Blog digs into Vista's Start Search box—which earned an honorable mention in our recent Hive Five app launcher roundup—and details how to make it even more convenient by adding quick searching of Wikipedia, Google, or nearly any other site with a search interface. We've shown you how to perform super-quick "I'm feeling lucky" searches from Start Search, but this tutorial digs into opening up a whole results page. If your Vista lacks a Group Policy Editor, the How-To Geek has a registry-editing solution that should work just as well.
Add Wikipedia, Google to Vista start menu instant search [Online Tech Tips]

if you have liked it plz post a comment.......

WINDOWS 7....The aftermath of VISTA

Posted by Shashank Krishna Friday, July 25, 2008

Typically when Microsoft ships a new OS (like Windows Vista), we immediately start talking about the next version-which begs two questions: 1) is Microsoft working on a new version of Windows, and if so, 2) why aren't you talking about it?

Windows 7 (formerly known as Blackcomb and Vienna) is the working name for the next major version of Microsoft Windows as the successor to Windows Vista.[3] Microsoft has announced that it is "scoping Windows 7 development to a three-year timeframe", and that "the specific release date will ultimately be determined by meeting the quality bar."[4] Windows 7 is expected to be released by 2009 or near January 2010.[2] The client versions of Windows 7 will ship in both 32-bit and 64-bit versions.[4] A server variant, codenamed Windows Server 7, is also under development.
I thought I would spend a minute giving you an update on where we are. First, yes, we are working on a new version of Windows. As you likely know, it's called Windows 7.We are always looking for new ways to deliver great experiences for our customers. This is especially true of Windows - where we're constantly examining trends in hardware, software and services to ensure that we continue to drive the innovation that has both made Windows the world's most popular operating system and has provided a foundation on which our partners built great products and businesses. When we shipped Windows 2000, we were already working on Windows XP and we started working on Windows Vista even before we released Windows XP. So naturally, we've been thinking about the investments we made in Windows Vista and how we can build on these for the next version of Windows.

What is a little different today is when and how we are talking about the next version of Windows. So, why the change in approach? We know that when we talk about our plans for the next release of Windows, people take action. As a result, we can significantly impact our partners and our customers if we broadly share information that later changes. With Windows 7, we're trying to more carefully plan how we share information with our customers and partners. This means sharing the right level of information at the right time depending on the needs of the audience. For instance, several months ago we began privately sharing our preliminary plans for Windows 7 with software and hardware partners who build on the Windows platform. This gave them an opportunity to give us feedback and gave us the opportunity to incorporate their input into our plans. As the product becomes more complete, we will have the opportunity to share our plans more broadly. Steven Sinofsky, Windows and Windows Live Engineering SVP, talks more about this in his interview with CNET's Ina Fried, published today:

We know that this is a change in our approach, but we are confident that it will help us not only to build even better products, but also to be more predictable in the delivery of our products. We also know that this change has led to some confusion, so we would like to share information today that will hopefully clear up some of this.

Before we talk about what's ahead, we should take a look at where we are today with Windows Vista. From a quality perspective, both Windows Vista SP1 and the ecosystem have delivered measurable progress in the six dimensions of quality we track -- device compatibility, application compatibility, reliability, performance, battery life and security. The business results speak for themselves. As of March 31, we had sold more than 140 million Windows Vista licenses, and analyst firm forecasts indicate that Windows Vista adoption among businesses is on a similar pace as Windows XP in similar timeframes. Millions of enterprise users are already running Windows Vista, and we invite you to read their stories published in more than 100 case studies. The benefits they are experiencing range from energy conservation, lower TCO for mobile users, and greater security. Our job is not done, but we've worked hard with our ecosystem to improve the quality of Windows Vista and we're pleased with the customer response.

Another question we often get asked is whether Windows 7 is a major release. The answer is "yes" -- it's hard to describe any product that is used by millions of people and worked on by thousands of engineers as anything else. That said, the long-term architectural investments we introduced in Windows Vista and then refined for Windows Vista SP1 and Windows Server 2008 will carry forward in Windows 7. Windows Vista established a very solid foundation, particularly on subsystems such as graphics, audio, and storage. Windows Server 2008 was built on that foundation and Windows 7 will be as well. Contrary to some speculation, Microsoft is not creating a new kernel for Windows 7. Rather, we are refining the kernel architecture and componentization model introduced in Windows Vista. While these changes will increase our engineering agility, they will not impact the user experience or reduce application or hardware compatibility. In fact, one of our design goals for Windows 7 is that it will run on the recommended hardware we specified for Windows Vista and that the applications and devices that work with Windows Vista will be compatible with Windows 7.

We are well into the development process of Windows 7, and we're happy to report that we're still on track to ship approximately three years after the general availability of Windows Vista. As always, we will be releasing early builds of Windows 7 prior to its general availability as a means to gain feedback, but we're not yet ready to discuss timing and specific plans for any Beta releases. In the meantime, customers can confidently continue with their Windows Vista deployment plans.

if you have liked it plz post a comment.......

Last week, Microsoft gave a teeny, tiny bit of information about the successor to Windows Vista, currently named Windows 7. There wasn't a lot of real meaty data in its disclosures, but it said enough to reset any expectations you might have that Windows 7 would be a radical departure from Windows Vista.

if you have liked it plz post a comment.......

Google Hosts More Malware Than Anyone Else

Posted by Shashank Krishna

Security firm Sophos has been poking around the Internet on the hunt for malware and found out that Google's Blogger service is the world's No. 1 repository for the evil code. Some 2% of all malware can be found on Google's servers. Google, time to clean house.
if you have liked it plz post a comment.......


Posted by Shashank Krishna Saturday, July 12, 2008

1: Add the Run command to the Start Menu

Beginning way back with the release of Windows 1.0, Microsoft has been all about the GUI interface (more or less effectively). But sometimes you just want to run a program without having to navigate the GUI maze of menus and folders. Windows Vista, by default, does not include the Run command on the Start Menu. This was a common and favorite feature of Windows XP.

To add the Run command back to the Vista Start Menu, follow these steps:

1. Right click the Taskbar in an open area
2. Click on Properties

Click on the Start Menu tab (See Figure A)

Figure A

Taskbar and Start Menu Properties

3. Click the Customize button to get to the Customize Start Menu

Scroll down the list until you find the Run command checkbox and check it (See Figure B).

4. Click OK and the Run command will now appear on the Start Menu.

Figure B

Customize Start Menu
2. Disable the Welcome Center and Sidebar

The Windows Vista default setting is to show the Welcome Center on startup. While the Welcome Center is mildly interesting the first time you see it, you will quickly tire of it appearing every time you boot your Vista PC. This behavior is easily changed by unchecking the Run a Startup button located at the bottom of the Welcome Center as shown in Figure C.

Figure C

Welcome Center

Similarly, the Vista Sidebar is also on by default. While some users will find the Sidebar and its widgets useful, many will desire the desktop real estate and underlying resources for other more productive uses. You can turn the Sidebar off by:

1. Right clicking the Windows Sidebar icon in the system tray
2. Click Properties
3. Uncheck the Start Sidebar when Windows starts checkbox (See Figure D)
4. Click OK

Figure D

Windows Sidebar Properties
3: Change the Product Key

A Windows Vista installation disk essentially has all of the various editions of Vista included on that one disk. Which version gets installed is dependent on what product key you enter during the installation process. At some point you may want to upgrade your current version to a version with more bells and whistles, which would require a new Product Key.

Or you may want to Activate your Windows Vista under a different Product Key for some reason. The easiest way to change your Product Key is through the System applet in the Control Panel. (See Figure E)

Figure E
System applet

Under the Windows Activation section there is a link: Change Product Key. Clicking that link brings up the screen shown in Figure F where you can enter in a different Product Key.

Figure F
Windows Activation
4: Start Windows Explorer at somewhere other than documents

While Windows Vista has desktop search that will theoretically allow you the option of merely typing in a location on your hard disk to get an Explorer view, some users will undoubtedly prefer to use Windows Explorer. By default, Windows Explorer in Vista shows you the files located in the user Documents folder. Follow these steps to have Windows Explorer start in a different folder:

1. Copy the Windows Explorer shortcut, usually found in the Start Menu under Accessories, to the Desktop.
2. Right click the shortcut and click properties.

Click on the Shortcut tab to get the window shown in Figure G.

Figure G
Windows Explorer Properties

3. Change the Target filed to the desired location.

For example, to have Windows Explorer start at C:\ type in"
C:\Windows\explorer.exe /n, /e, c:\

4. Click OK

5: Privacy tweak

As a convenience, Windows Vista by default saves and displays a list of recently opened files and programs on the Start Menu. Ostensibly, this is supposed to make it easier to find a file or program. However, many users would prefer that information to remain hidden. Here is how to turn it off:

1. Right click the Taskbar and click Properties on the resulting menu
2. Click the Start Menu tab

Uncheck the checkboxes under Privacy (See Figure H)

3. Click OK

Figure H
Privacy settings
6: Smaller icons on Start Menu

The icons located on the Windows Vista Start Menu default to large (Figure I).

Figure I
Large icons

For many users, the personal preference will be for those icons to be much smaller. Here is how:

1. Right click the Taskbar and click on Properties
2. Click the Start Menu tab
3. Click the Customize button
4. Scroll down to the bottom of the list (See Figure J)
5. Uncheck the Use large icons checkbox
6. Click OK twice

Figure J
No more large icons
7. Add Internet Explorer to the Vista Desktop

For some reason known only to the Windows Vista development team, there is no easy option to add the Windows Explorer icon to the Vista Desktop. You can add Computer, Recycle Bin, and the Control Panel --- perhaps someone can explain that to us. In the meantime, if you want to add Internet Explorer you can do it with a Registry hack. Before editing the Windows Registry it is always advisable to make a backup of the Registry file.

1. Click the Start button
2. Open the Run dialog box (or type regedit in to the search box on the Start Menu)
3. Type in regedit and press Enter
4. Navigate to the following registry key:
5. Create a new DWORD 32-bit by right clicking in the key area (See Figure K)
6. Copy this as the key name including the brackets:
7. Close regedit
8. Right click on the Desktop and click the Refresh menu entry --- Internet Explorer should now appear.

Figure K
Regedit Internet Explorer
8: Change Security Center notifications

One of the most often leveled criticisms of Windows has been its lack of security. To overcome that perception Microsoft had programmed Vista to complain loudly and often if it discovers your malware, firewall or virus protection software is off or requires maintenance. For many users, the constant badgering to update your virus definitions is more annoying then effective. To calm Vista down a bit you can change the way you are notified of potential lax security.

Open the control panel and click the Windows Security Center as shown in Figure L.

Figure L
Windows Security Center

Click the link Change the way Security Center alerts me to reach the dialog box shown in Figure M.

Choose you preference for notification

Figure M
Chose your preference
9: Set Folder options

One of the first things experienced users change when they get a new Windows computer is change the Folder View options to a preferred setting. Windows Vista is no exception to this rule.

1. Open the Control Panel and click on the Folder Options icon
2. Click on the View tab (See Figure N)

Figure N
Folder options

3. Check or uncheck your folder preferences --- some suggestions:
1. Check show hidden files and folders
2. Uncheck Hide extensions for known file types
3. Uncheck protected operating system files

10: Adjust power settings

By default, Windows Vista sets the power options to what it calls a "Balanced" plan. While for many users this plan will be adequate, there are many who will want to make adjustments. For laptop users specifically, settings can vary greatly when operating on battery power versus plugged into an outlet. To adjust power settings:

Open the Control Panel and then click the Power Options icon (See Figure O)

Figure O
Power Options

Click on the Change Plan Settings under one of the default plans to make changes (See Figure P)

Figure P
Power settings

For additional fine tuning click Change advanced power settings (See Figure Q)

Figure Q
Advanced power settings
11: Reduce Desktop Icons

By default, the Windows Vista Aero GUI uses what it classifies as "Medium" icons on the Desktop. Medium in this case is really quite large. (There is also a Large icon setting, but we won't go there.) To bring the icons back to a less eye-popping size:

1. Right click on the Desktop
2. Choose the View menu item
3. Change to Classic Icons (Figure R)

Figure R
12 Add another time zone

For many of us working away from home offices at satellite offices, home or on the road, knowing the time across various time zones can be a necessary evil. Windows Vista will allow you to keep time in two additional time zones to the machine time.

1. Right click on the time display located in Taskbar System Tray
2. Select the Adjust Date/Time menu item
3. Click on the Additional Clocks tab (See Figure S)

Figure S
Add clocks

4. Choose a time zone
5. Click the checkbox next to Show this clock
6. Click OK

Now when you mouse over the time in the Taskbar System Tray you will get the time in your chosen time zones.
if you have liked it plz post a comment.......

vista tricks

Posted by Shashank Krishna

3. Health Check -- Stat
You know there is a new performance monitoring tool called the Reliability and Performance Monitor. You may have noticed that it's a good deal more robust than its predecessors. All this additional capability may seem overwhelming, but before you push it aside, you should know there are a couple of preconfigured diagnostics you can run on your system with little trouble. Here are a few steps you can take:

The Simple Method: From the Control Panel, find Performance Information and Tools (or type it into the Search pane from the Start orb). In the Tasks pane, you can select Advanced Tools. You'll notice a bunch of different tools. Locate the "Generate a system health report" tool. Wait about one minute while the test runs and you'll get a nicely detailed report. Even though you went through a different tool, you're still using the Reliability and Performance Monitor.

The Quick Method: If you need to do a quicker health check, open a command prompt. (It doesn't matter whether it's elevated or non-elevated. It will still ask you for UAC permissions to proceed.) Type perfmon /report and the same tool kicks off. You could also use perfmon /report "Data_Collector_Set" to run any one of the System Data Collector Sets or your own User-created Data Collector Sets.

The Admin Method: Time to take the next step. Run the tool from the Reliability and Performance Monitor itself. Open the monitor tool and you'll see the System Data Collector Sets. There are four preconfigured tests, so you can do more than an overall system diagnostic. You can do LAN diagnostics, System Performance and Wireless Diagnostics, as well as System Diagnostics.
Figure 3
[Click on image for larger view.]
Figure 3. The System Diagnostics Report gives you a full rundown of how your system checks out.

To perform the System Diagnostics, for example, select "System Diagnostics." Then right-click and choose Start. Look down to the Reports section, open the System Diagnostics and select the report that is currently running (the latest one at the top of the list). This may sound complicated, but you have to start somewhere with the new Reliability and Performance Monitor.

Go ahead and use the quick command-line method to see the Reliability and Performance Monitor in action. It's a truly solid diagnostic tool, and it's no longer hidden beneath a ton of complexity or a million selection options.

4. You Have the Control
Parental Control is a great new feature in Windows Vista, and it's useful for much more than keeping your kids away from sketchy Web sites. You can control when and for how long someone uses a computer, what games or applications they can play and use, as well as what Web sites they can visit. Afterward, you can see an audit of all their activity both on and off the Web. It's about time this type of solution was integrated directly into the operating system.

When working with the Allow/Block settings, you should only include "Allowed" sites at first. Trying to handle the thousands of blocked sites will drive you crazy. Start a user (or your child) off with a handful of approved sites and then expand the list over time. This is the best way to prevent them from circumventing your efforts by using proxy sites or by going through Google image (or other image-viewing sites) and viewing inappropriate content.
Figure 4
[Click on image for larger view.]
Figure 4. You can choose to "Only Allow," which is the recommended approach. You can also import a WebAllowBlockList file.

You can configure the Allow/Block sites through the Parental Control settings or by importing an Allow/Block file. First, go to your Allow or Block specific Web sites section. You can type an address in the Web site address pane and then hit Allow or Block to manually add sites. For faster progress, hit the Export button and save the file.

When you go to open the file, you'll notice it's an odd file type. It's called a WebAllowBlockList file. Aside from the Parental Control being able to open the file, you won't see any other options. Right click the file, select Open With, and then choose Notepad or some other text editor.

Now you'll see that the file isn't all that complicated to work with. Here is a simple example that includes one allowed site and one blocked site:

The numeral 1 is the code for Allow and 2 is code for Block. From here, you can add as many sites as you like. When you're done, you can import the file back into your Parental Controls.

Obviously, there are a billion possible sites you might want to block. You can do this manually or pick up a filter off the Web. In the latter case, you would then have to configure the entries to work with your Parental Control entries. For example, you can search for "URL deny lists" or "URL block lists."

One of my favorite best block lists comes from Rich Krol (get it here). You'll notice there are two XML files -- one list for porn content and one for spyware. Take the time and reconfigure these to work with the Vista format.

Keep in mind that you can create a list with only Allow settings and then choose the "Only Allow Web sites that are on the allow list" option. So when a friend asks for the list of Web sites you let your users (or your kids) visit, you can export your entire list to share.

Sometimes the mere presence of a deterrent is effective. Even if you don't filter a thing, if you let your users or your kids know that you can see every site they visit, that should scare them enough to resolve most of your worries.

5. Give Yourself High Marks
The first time many of us opened up the Windows Experience Index (WEI) and saw the pitiful score, we were ticked off-at least I was. A brand new laptop should have a higher score than a 2.9.

As you learn more about how the rating works, however, the score probably won't sting as much. To calculate the WEI, Vista takes the lowest of five scores that relate to your processor, RAM and so on. Maybe that's the goal of the WEI -- to embarrass or anger us into spending more money on better hardware.
Figure 5
[Click on image for larger view.]
Figure 5. How is this for a WEI Score?

There are a couple of ways to increase your rating (besides shelling out thousands of dollars for upgrades). First off, run the test again. Sometimes just running it again will boost you over the three mark. I ran mine again and got a 3.1. Another tip is to turn off your Aero glass interface, which will boost performance. Or, you could go right into the .XML file that stores the results and give yourself a higher score.

The Windows System Assessment Tool (WinSAT), which is the tool that calculates the WEI, stores its output in the %systemroot%\Performance\WinSAT\DataStore. Each time you run WinSAT, it creates a new XML file and stores it in this folder with the assessment date at the beginning of the file name.

For example, a file might look like this: 2007-01-01 Assessment (Formal).WinSAT.xml. When you first open the folder, you might be shocked to see there are more than five results. In fact, WinSAT runs a variety of tests and assigns scores, but it will typically only show us the top five.

My research assistant Alan Wright took some time and tweaked the file to see if he could change it. "The first thing I would recommend is turning off the UAC for this procedure," he says. "Then open the file using WordPad (I used several editors but WordPad was the easiest to work with and didn't try to change the file format). You only have to change the top five scores to whatever number you like and close the file. When you go to look at your WEI settings again, it should show you the new number.

"If you stay below 5.9, your number will still have a blue background, but if you go too high it does change the background to grey, which isn't a big deal either way but does indicate a difference," he says. "To 'fix' this and make it go back to normal, I just deleted the file and rebooted my machine and then re-ran the test. It worked fine. I was back to my 3.1 rating. Knowing that I could tweak it, I went back in and gave myself a 4.0. That's how I feel today. Maybe tomorrow I'll be a 6.0."

Now why would you even want to do this in the first place? Well, for one thing, you learn a lot about WinSAT by playing with this. You also see that the testing process is a lot more detailed than you might have thought.

Really though, this is just one of those things that makes you smile, especially after seeing that 2.9 rating. To see some other scores that people are getting there's a site called where people are competing for the highest scores. Of course, you and I know how to win that game.
Finding the Diamonds
So there you have it -- five diverse cool tips that you may or may not use. Vista is filled with nuggets like these. You just have to dig a bit, sift through some files to find them, bring them to the surface and polish them up. Redmond
if you have liked it plz post a comment.......

Are You Planning on Quitting Facebook? Why?


About Me

My Photo
Shashank Krishna
Bangalore, up, India
nothin much to say.........doin in IIIT allahabad loves bloggingn hacking.... :) and loooves blogging
View my complete profile