Saturday, February 27, 2010
Check out these hacks and increase your internet browsing speed:
Reduce the amount of RAM Firefox uses for it’s cache feature:
1) Type “about:config” (no quotes) in the address bar in the browser.
2) Find “browser.sessionhistory.max_total_viewers”
3) Set it’s value to “0“;(Zero)
Increase the Speed in Which Firefox loads pages
1) Type “about:config” into the address bar and hit Enter. (Normally the browser will make one request to a web page at a time. When you enable pipelining it will make several at once, which really speeds up page loading.)
2) Alter the entries as follows:
Set “network.http.pipelining” to “true”
Set “network.http.proxy.pipelining” to “true”
Set “network.http.pipelining.maxrequests” to some number like 10.
This means it will make 10 requests at once.
3) Lastly, right-click anywhere and select New->Integer. Name it “nglayout.initialpaint.delay” and set its value to “0“;(Zero)
This value is the amount of time the browser waits before it acts on information it receives. If you’re using a broadband connection you’ll load pages faster now.
Optionally (for even faster web browsing) here are some more options for your about:config (you might have to create some of these entries by Right Click –> New– >Interger or String
“network.dns.disableIPv6”: set “false”
“content.notify.backoffcount”: set “5”; (Five)
“ui.submenuDelay”: set “0”; (Zero)
Reduce RAM usage to 10mb when Firefox is minimized
This little hack will drop Firefox’s RAM usage down to 10 Mb when minimized:
1) Open Firefox and go to the Address Bar. Type in about:config and then press Enter.
2) Right Click in the page and select New -> Boolean.
3) In the box that pops up enter “config.trim_on_minimize”. Press Enter.
4) Now select True and then press Enter.
5) Restart Firefox.
Best Albums of the Decade. Top 25
Of Montreal - Skeletal Lamping
I flip-flopped on the position of the two Of Montreal albums several times. As bizarre and cross-genre as the band is, this album feels like "more of the same" from Hissing Fauna. However, it's also much better and maybe even easier to sing along to if you can parse the words.
Menomena - Friend and Foe
Local Portland three-piece who sound like a cross between a Jazz band and The Mars Volta. Given the amount of instruments on the album, I was blown away to see the three of them pull it off live. It's my understanding that they're working on a follow-up album. I can't wait.
Gospel - The Moon is a Dead World
I've fallen hard for post-hardcore and for some reason I really enjoy listening to it in unexpected locations. I feel asleep on the plane listening to Maths on repeat. I wandered around the beach in Hawaii listening to Gospel. Something about it feels so epic, even if it's just some guy screaming. Unfortunately the band is not longer together.
Brand New - The Devil and God Are Raging Inside Me
I'm not sure I actually like this band as I don't like their previous work and I don't like their follow-up album "Daisy." Still, I put this on when I'm in a bad mood. The title seems to fit perfectly.
A.F.I. - The Art of Drowning
I've been listening to this album for 10 years. Unlike a lot of the stuff on this list which I discovered later, I think The Art of Drowning might have been my first real punk purchase. Blink 182 and Green Day don't count. The album further refines Black Sails in the Sunset and is the last decent AFI album until this year's Crash Love. Still, even the best parts of Crash Love make me want to put The Art of Drowning on instead.
Gorillaz - Demon Days
How awesome is Danger Mouse? I liked the first Gorillaz album and I love Dan the Automator, but Demon Days is on a whole other level. The album alternates between poppy tracks with hip-hop guests and spacey electronic songs. If you hate diversity, Damon's The Good, the Bad & the Queen is basically an entire album of the spacey songs. Furthermore, Fire Coming Out of a Monkey's Head might be the most enjoyable spoken-word track of all time. It doesn't hurt that King Koopa is reading it.
The World/Inferno Friendship Society - Addicted to Bad Ideas
These gypsy punk-rockers from NY have always created enjoyable albums, but their energy and multitude of artists and instruments have always been a bit out of control. This concept album (and possible musical) about the life of Peter Lorre reins them in and gives the album an easy narrative to follow all the way up to the sad finale "Heart Attack '64."
Rx Bandits - Progress
My favorite band, probably one of my first concerts and definitely my driving soundtrack for 3-4 years. Progress began the transition from generic 3rd wave ska band to progressive rock gods. I don't think the Rx Bandits have rocked this hard until some of the guitar-driven stuff on 2009's Mandala. This is also Steve Choi's first with the band. Despite the fact that he didn't actually record on the album, it's nice to know he was around. His influence on the later albums completes the bands transition.
Death Cab for Cutie - Plans
For what sounds like an incredibly depressing album, I usually finish it feeling uplifted. The Postal Service wrenches my heart a little ever time, but Plans makes me smile. I can't really get into Transatlanticism and Narrow Stairs was a misfire in my opinion, but Plans is something I imagine I'll be listening to long into the next few decades.
La Dispute - Somewhere at the Bottom of the River Between Vega and Altair
Does anyone else know this band exists? The band fulfills all my 2000s requirements: post-hardcore, concept album and a cohesive listen all the way through. I don't think they've toured in Portland yet, but I'm still hopeful. I imagine the live show must be epic. This album is all about loss and anger. Here's hoping I'm never in a position where this becomes my soundtrack, but atleast it should be cathartic to scream along.
Girl Talk - Feed the Animals
A perfect, polished improvement over Night Ripper. This is the definitive mash-up album. Greg uses a lot more classic songs and rock samples while still maintaining the perfect balance and juxtaposition with various rappers on top. Lil Wayne's Lollipop over Red Hot Chili Peppers? Perfect.
Rx Bandits - Mandala
The climax to a decade of refinement and improvement. The band may have lost all of its horns, but that has unleashed the guitars. Like ...And the Battle Begun and The Resignation, this album was recorded "live" with the band rehearsing until they were confident enough to record it in one shot. The result, as before, is an incredibly organic album, complete with human flaws, missed notes and a perfect representation of their wonderful live show.
The Postal Service - Give Up
I've been to DC and I quite enjoyed it. If I were to attempt to wander the streets listening to this album, I may just end up in a corner hiding from people. This is the ultimate break-up album, but it's not encouraging in any way. I usually end up thinking "I am a fool and an asshole" at the end. Gibbard convinces you that it's all your fault and I'm not sure there is a rainbow at the end. I usually try to avoid listening to this when I'm sad, but I guess misery loves company.
Head Automatica - Popaganda
Another follow-up album that decided to dump Dan the Automator. And yet, like Demon Days, it's better for it. Popaganda does exactly what it claims to, takes Daryl Palumbo of Glassjaw's eccentricity and stuffs it into a pop-rock box.
Deltron - Deltron 3030
Hey look, more Dan the Automator! Del the Funkee Homosapien created the definitive hip hop concept album with this loose collection of songs about life in the year 3030, Del's life as a mech warrior and the oppressive regime that true artists must fight against. It's been 10 years and Del has been claiming Deltron Event II is mostly complete. I can't wait.
mewithoutYou - Catch For Us the Foxes
My first post-hardcore album. Basically, one brother asked his other brother to read his poetry (loudly) over his band's rock. The outcome is just pitch perfect.
Rx Bandits - The Resignation
I feel like I've already said enough about the Rx Bandits. This one was the first recorded "live" and ends with the massive build-up of Decrescendo. I'm also happy to see folks in 2003 complaining about America's wars.
The Mars Volta - Frances the Mute
I don't really know how to describe Mars Volta albums. Super-long songs. Unintelligible vocals. Epic.
Leftover Crack - Fuck World Trade
My favorite gutter-punks crafted a surprisingly coherent and beautiful album. There are piano interludes and songs about killing cops. Still waiting on a follow-up, but Star Fucking Hipsters are enough to hold me over.
Why? - Alopecia
Clever, hipster, jewish hip hop. What more do you need to know? Look at these lyrics:
i know, i know
there's nothing more appealing
than the sound of high heels
down the marble tile hallways
of your distict's one allotted
city funded steiner school bilingual
or montessori followed by
a single high pitched scream
followed by breaking glass
but could your anger be mapped
into an interpretive dance
to a trip hop track
could it be bowed out on strings
or strung into a pattern
for a god's eye to bring to
your alma mater's holiday fundraiser boutique thing
Justin Timberlake - Futuresex/Lovesounds
Pop music in the later-half of this decade was defined by Justin Timberlake. Yes, I'm counting Dick in a Box as well. Hip hop music in the same period was defined by Timbaland. This collaboration setup the new king of pop and fully erased his boy-band history. Will there be a follow-up? I hope so.
Bloc Party - A Weekend in the City
While Silent Alarm is a great album, A Weekend in the City is really an experience. The perfect rainy-day album, whether you're in London or not. I think I could leave this on repeat for an entire weekend. There is also an instrumental version which is wonderful in a completely different way.
At the Drive-In - Relationship of Command
ATDI's last album. After finally achieving mainstream success with "One Armed Scissor," they promptly imploded. There's never been anything like ATDI before or since. A different monster than Mars Volta, even if they share random, crazy-person lyrics.
The Format - Dog Problems
I've been listening to these guys since we were both in high school. We were even neighbors for a short time. Probably the only Phoenix, AZ band worth a damn. The band finally broke out with Interventions + Lullabies and nearly collapsed from the pressure. So they took a step back and decided to have fun. Dog Problems is the result, incorporating a ton of instruments, whimsical flourishes, a little bit of Beach Boys, a little Bowie and a lot of fun. Nate's new band, actually named "fun," follows the same formula, but probably needs a few more albums to mature.
Say Anything - ...Is a Real Boy
Who am I to argue with statistics. According to last.fm, I listened to this album way more than any other album. I love all the Say Anything albums, but this one is a little more rough and angry, which is a good thing. The new, married, happier Max Bemis is still great, but I enjoy his disgust.
Friday, February 26, 2010
2. In the memo field of all your checks, write "for sexual favors."
3. Specify that your drive-through order is "TO-GO."
4. If you have a glass eye, tap on it occasionally with your pen while talking to others.
5. Stomp on little plastic ketchup packets.
6. Insist on keeping your car windshield wipers running in all weather conditions "to keep them tuned up."
7. Reply to everything someone says with "that's what you think."
8. Practice making fax and modem noises.
9. Highlight irrelevant information in scientific papers and "cc" them to your boss.
10. Make beeping noises when a large person backs up.
11. Finish all your sentences with the words "in accordance with prophesy."
12. Signal that a conversation is over by clamping your hands over your ears and grimacing.
13. Disassemble your pen and "accidentally" flip the ink cartridge across the room.
14. Holler random numbers while someone is counting.
15. Adjust the tint on your TV so that all the people are green, and insist to others that you "like it that way."
16. Staple pages in the middle of the page.
17. Publicly investigate just how slowly you can make a croaking noise.
18. Honk and wave to strangers.
19. Decline to be seated at a restaurant, and simply eat their complimentary mints at the cash register.
20. TYPE IN UPPERCASE.
21. type only in lowercase.
22. dont use any punctuation either
23. Buy a large quantity of orange traffic cones and reroute whole streets.
24. Repeat the following conversation a dozen times.
"DO YOU HEAR THAT?"
"Never mind, it's gone now."
25. As much as possible, skip rather than walk.
26. Try playing the William Tell Overture by tapping on the bottom of your chin. When nearly done, announce "No, wait, I messed it up," and repeat.
27. Ask people what gender they are.
28. While making presentations, occasionally bob your head like a parakeet.
29. Sit in your front yard pointing a hair dryer at passing cars to see if they slow down.
30. Sing along at the opera.
31. Go to a poetry recital and ask why each poem doesn't rhyme.
32. Ask your co-workers mysterious questions and then scribble their answers in a notebook. Mutter something about "psychological profiles."
There are just over 300 million cell phones used daily in the United States alone.
A shrimps heart is in it’s head.
Kissing is actually healthier than shaking someones hand.
Natural pearls will melt in vinegar.
An olive tree can live up to 1500 years.
Cleopatra married two of her brothers.
Ants can’t shut their eyes.
On a Canadian two dollar bill, the flag flying over the Parliament Building looks like an American flag.
Men’s shirts have the buttons on the right, while women shirts have the buttons on the left.
Chewing gum will help reduce tears when cutting an onion.
Red wine will spoil if exposed to light. Hence the tinted bottles.
The day after Thanksgiving is the busiest day for plumbers. (In the U.S. of course.)
Studies have proven that cold showers actually stimulate your sex drive.
Coffee beans are not beans at all, rather fruit pits.
Fortune cookies were invented in America in 1918, by Charles Jung.
Scuba divers can not pass gas at depth deeper than 33 feet.
The Mona Lisa has no eyebrows. It was the fashion then, to shave them off.
The average American consumes enough caffeine in one year to kill a horse.
Henry Ford produced the model-T in black. Because black paint at the time was the fastest to dry.
The word “Naked” means, unprotected. The word “Nude” means unclothed.
Thursday, February 25, 2010
Art is hard to define as a concept and is being understood different as time passes. Sculptors have often been the flag carriers for art around the world. Here’s just a small list of some amazing art works that just stand out, public sculptures that just stand out.
The magic tap
It seems to be taken straight out of photoshop, but it’s as real as you can get. Located in the Aqualand in Cadiz, it seems to be floating and pouring water all day long. It’s not rocket science figuring out how it works; there’s a pipe hidden in the stream of water which is the answer behind it.
A statue of Charles Joseph La Trobe, gifted to the Library by the La Trobe Society, was unveiled in 2006. Located in Melbourne, the sculpture is standing upside down and seems to be a wonder of balance.
The Shark has been an attraction for tourists in Oxford for more than 20 years. This house is not different to any other; it was built as a semi-detached house in about 1860 but now attached by a link to a second house to the north.
Computer chip Mona Lisa
It may not seem that great, but this sculpture made just from computer chips is definitely something to be admired whenever you’re in the Asus Headquarters.
Here are the 5 best websites that play music matching your mood or the mood you desire.
AUPEO! was launched just over a year ago in Berlin, Germany. This explains the funny language on great parts of the website. However, the mood categories are pinned down in English, so you’re all set to go!
As you can probably guess by the screenshot, you can also play music you like by entering an artist you enjoy listening to. The stations are grouped by genre and are compiled by AUPEO!’s music experts. Within personal you can play your personal station, which is based on whatever you have previously listened to and requires that you sign up with AUPEO!.
MeeMix plays music you like. So it basically works like Last.fm or Pandora. You start a station by entering a song or artist, then you rate whatever MeeMix plays to you, and it will further refine its suggestions.
In addition to playing what you like, you can also push some sliders in the Mood Control on the bottom left to finetune the algorithm that picks the next song for you and plays music for your mood.
The start page of Moodstream has the following introduction:
Moodstream is a powerful brainstorming tool designed to help take you in an inspiring, unexpected direction. Whether you want images, footage or audio, or just need a stream of fresh ideas, tweak the Moodstream sliders to bring a whole new creative palette straight to you.
Moodstream is not only an audible, but also a visual experience. Getty Images has skillfully combined a clever interface with fantastic background pictures and animations. It’s a pleasure and I bet you’re ready for this!
You can select one of eight presets, including inspire, excite, refresh, intensify, simplify, or stabilize. You can also manually push the sliders to define your mood in various terms. Don’t forget to refresh the stream to activate changes.
A little drag is that Moodstream doesn’t play entire tunes, but only short snippets. However, you can add whatever you like to your Moodboard, save any combination of image/sound snippets, and play your board over and over again later.
Stereomood works on many different levels. You can use the inconspicuous search bar at the top and select music for your mood or activity. From the resulting playlist you can either play single songs or the entire list.
You can also pick a tag from the cloud and get a playlist with all matching songs.
A menu on the left reveals which songs with that tag are found in artist or mood categories. When you’re logged in you’ll see a like option and you can add songs to your library by clicking the plus icon. You can create custom playlists based on items you have added to your library.
Musicovery delivers the entire package. Pick genres, decade, and mood or dance-ability. The result is displayed in a visually inspiring cloud, which rapidly changes as you adjust your settings.
As a registered user you can like and ban songs. With a premium account you can also play any song you want from the playlist, play your favorite songs only, and all in hi-fi quality.
If you have a Mac, you can download a beta version of Musicovery and use it with your iTunes library. As a Mac user you might also want to try Moody. If you have an iPhone or iPod touch, have a look at Moodagent.
What songs make you smile?
Wednesday, February 24, 2010
This book started as a personal project in summer 2007, and was soon published from a Japanese bookstore "Utrecht". It's a flipbook, but rather than seeing animation, it creates a 3D rainbow in your hand. Since being published it has been featured on Japanese TV, Newspapers, major news & blogsites like yahoo news, coolhunting and fffffound. This book won this years NY ADC silver cube.
Tuesday, February 23, 2010
What is a Virtual Machine (VM)?
In fact, even if you install spyware, adware, or rootkits in a VM, they won’t infect your host computer. Just shut down the VM, and your computer is as clean as ever. VMs are also a great tool for learning networking, allowing you to connect several different computers when you only have one computer available.
After the jump, my recommendations for home users who want to use VMs:
Microsoft Virtual PC
Virtual PC is the right choice for people who just need to test downloads or browse the Web with total privacy. It’s free with Windows 7–in fact, Microsoft even includes a license for Windows XP to allow you to run any old applications that aren’t compatible with Windows 7. It’s polished, fast, reliable, and (like VirtualBox) it can share USB devices and network connections.
It also has a couple of unique features: It can log you on automatically to a Windows VM, it’s integrated into the Windows 7 Explorer interface, and it supports the AERO interface in Windows 7. It’s biggest downfall? It can’t run Windows Server 2008 R2, because it doesn’t support 64-bit VMs. Your host computer can run 64-bit versions of Windows, however.
This is my favorite free virtualization software because it does several things Microsoft Virtual PC can’t do. First, it can run 64-bit VMs. That’s important, because Windows Server 2008 R2 is only available in 64-bit. Second, it supports multiple processors on the VM, which can improve performance.
Third, and most importantly, VirtualBox supports snapshots. With a snapshot, you capture the state of a VM. Later, if you mess up the VM, you can return it to the snapshot state–like instantly restoring a computer from a backup. With a snapshot, you never have to worry about messing up a VM. Snapshots are great when you need to test something repeatedly and you want the computer to be in a “clean” state when you do it.
Both apps support the following features:
- Run on 32-bit or 64-bit hosts.
- Install integration software on the VM so that you can move your mouse in and out of the window–though this must be done after the operating system is installed.
- Supports a variety of different operating systems on the VM, including different versions of Windows and Linux.
- Connect USB devices to the VM–though this isn’t working in VirtualBox on a Windows 7 host for me–I get an error when it attempts to install the driver.
- Automatically change the VM by resizing the VM window (this requires you to press a key in VirtualBox, but not in Virtual PC).
Microsoft Virtual PC has these unique features:
- Supports Aero in Windows 7. This is the pretty, glass-like user interface, along with Aero-features like 3D-flip. To get Aero in VirtualBox, you need to connect to the VM using Remote Desktop.
- Automatic login for Windows VMs. This saves you having to type Ctrl+Alt+Del and your password.
- USB device sharing works properly with Windows 7. VirtualBox offers this feature, but it’s not working for all USB devices–for me, at least.
- Integrated into Windows Explorer. VMs appear as files in a folder. Actually, I hate this feature–I’d prefer starting VMs from within an application.
Sun VirtualBox has these unique feature:
- Runs on Windows, Linux, and Mac hosts. I’m a Windows guy myself, but I suppose if you’re using Linux or Mac, you’ll need this so you can run all those Windows apps in a VM. Ouch! No hatin’!
- Run 64-bit VMs. This allows you to run Windows Server 2008 R2, which isn’t available as 32-bit.
- Seamless mode. Applications in the VM act as standard Windows on your desktop. In other words, you can start an application in the VM, and move it anywhere on your desktop, even outside of the VM window. In the figure below, notice that I’m running Internet Explorer in Windows 7 on the lower window, and Internet Explorer in Windows XP on the upper window.
- Remote display. You can use Remote Desktop (or any RDP client) to connect to a VirtualBox VM, even if the VM’s operating system doesn’t support it or the OS hasn’t yet been installed.
- 3D and 2D video acceleration. This might allow you to do some 3D work, though performance still won’t be great on games.
- Multiple processors. VirtualBox supports up to 8 CPUs in your VM–as long as your host has that many.
VirtualBox is the clear winner–though I still need to use Virtual PC for those times when I need to share a USB device with a VM. I’ll also use Virtual PC for those times when I need the Aero user interface but Remote Desktop won’t do the trick.
Monday, February 22, 2010
Twitter vs Google Buzz Microblogging
Google Buzz microblogging is new, but Google Buzz may be the killer microblogging tool to Twitter.
- Twitter is a single feature tool which may be too simple.
- Friendfeed may be too complicated to new users on social microblogging.
- Google Buzz may have just enough features to become the right microblogging tool.
Twitter vs Google Buzz (Pros’ Comparisons)
- Twitter has built an early lead with an estimated 75 million user base, most of those are technology and media savvy influencers.
- Twitter.com is simple and easy to use, and is a single-purpose site.
- Twitter’s key feature is to allow retweet with one click.
- Twitter has plugins connecting to social networking sites including Facebook and LinkedIn, and blogging platforms like Wordpress blogs.
- Bing search engine has a vertical search channel, Bing Twitter, that ranks Twitter’s Tweets.
Google Buzz’s Pros:
- Google Buzz started with an estimated 100 million active Gmail users. If Google can quickly convert Gmail users and Google’s web search users to Google Buzz’s user base, Google will be able to monetize through Adsense / advertising.
- Google Buzz is a light version of Friendfeed, but offers more features than Twitter (Google Buzz Beginners’ Guide to Microblog). Google has a talent pool of engineers who will continue improving and integrating Buzz with Google web search, Chrome, and mobile devices.
- Google Buzz has no characters limitation on any Buzz posts.
- Google Buzz allows geo-location microblogging.
- Google is the search engine that sets the algorithm on how microblogging messages like Buzz/Tweets/Re-Buzz/Retweets are ranked in the search engine results pages.
Twitter vs Google Buzz (Cons’ Comparisons)
- Twitter allows a maximum of 140 characters per tweet (or post).
- Twitter’s simple features may have led Twitter to become a status update tool or a commodity, as most Twitter users are only posting “status updates”.
- Twitter’s easy-to-use features can easily be replicated.
- Twitter has started to show slower user growth rates. Large portion of Twitter users are inactive.
Google Buzz’s Cons:
- Google Buzz is a similar to Google Wave which was previously launched by Google and is a confusing tool/service to Google Buzz.
- Google hasn’t had real success developing any killer online social tools including Orkut, Google Friend Connect, and Google Wave.
- Google Buzz is not integrated with Facebook.
- It takes more than 1 click to “re-buzz” someone’s Google Buzz post.
- Google may run into privacy issues by revealing too much user personal information, including showing users’ geo-locations
Publisher: 2K Games | Developer: Irrational Games | Release Date: June
What is it? Pretty much the same highbrow, dystopian game we told you about on 360: You discover an undersea city that served as the home of a near-cult of crazed Libertarians. Only, things have taken a turn for the extremely weird.
Why should I care? An unusual setting, an unusual premise, and some really, really unusual characters and enemies all but guarantee that this game's going to be very...unusual.
What's the prognosis? Really good. The developers of the awesome System Shock series know how to make things creepy, for sure.
| Crysis |
Publisher: Electronic Arts | Developer: Crytek | Release Date: September
What is it? One of the most graphically stunning games we've ever seen. Like Crytek's previous game Far Cry, Crysis boast a tropical setting and open-ended FPS gameplay.
Why should I care? OK, so you're not a graphics whore. There's more to this one than a pretty face. For example, your character boasts an ultra-high-tech nanosuit that confers powers bordering on the superhuman. You'll also get an array of 32-person multiplayer matches that make use of the unique tactical features of the suit. And of course, you'll get the "sandbox" map builder to create your own content.
What's the prognosis? The system requirements for this puppy are through the roof...but if you've got a machine that can actually run it, you should be one happy little soldier.
Publisher: BioWare | Developer: BioWare | Release Date: Fall
What is it? A new RPG from arguably the finest developers of RPGs in the Western Hemisphere. Dragon Age appears to step away from the clean-cut medieval formula and into some dark territory, with a story influenced by mature fantasy like George R.R. Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire series.
Why should I care? While Dragon Age is certainly a fine looking game, it's not about the looks; it's about the story. Story is so important that you'll actually play through an "origin story" -- a sort of prequel to the main game -- that's different depending on you choice of character. Which sub-race you choose will influence not only your origin story, but also the way other characters respond to you throughout the game.
What's the prognosis? It looks incredible. What more can we say?
Enemy Territory: Quake Wars
Publisher: Activision | Developer: Splash Damage | Release Date: Summer
What is it? A hand-animated, point-and-click adventure game set in a haunted '70s disco. Just kidding, it's a multiplayer sci-fi FPS. What were you expecting from a Quake game?
Why should I care? You get to play as either a tricked-out human in the Global Defense Force or an ultraviolent alien Strogg. And not only does each side get a huge assortment of vehicles to do some serious damage with, you also get to pick among some very specialized -- but very important -- battlefield roles.
What's the prognosis? This is one of the finest games we saw at last year's E3, and it just keeps looking better. The lack of any single-player story is a bit of a disappointment, but aside from that we may be looking at the Next Online Classic.
Half-Life 2: Episode 2
Publisher: Electronic Arts | Developer: Valve | Release Date: Fall
What is it? The next edition in the stellar Half-Life 2 saga. Ep. 2 branches outward from City 17, involving a great deal of travel and a lot more vehicles. Much of the episode will take place out in the wilderness, with appropriately huge set pieces and breathtaking vistas.
Why should I care? Well, not only is the game all but guaranteed to be awesome by virtue of its continuation and expansion of the Half-Life story, it's also shipping with the long-awaited Team Fortress 2 and the almost indescribably cool-looking first-person puzzler Portal.
What's the prognosis? Damn good. Half-Life 2 is one of the greatest FPSes out there, and there's no reason to think Episode 2 won't continue the trend.
Left 4 Dead
Publisher: Valve | Developer: Turtle Rock | Release Date: Spring
What is it? The result of an experiment in Counter-Strike: Picture a handful of player-controlled players armed to the teeth, going up against vast swarms of bots equipped only with hand-to-hand weapons. Now picture the bots as zombies and you've got the general idea.
Why should I care? By building the entire game around a few-versus-many formula, Turtle Rock is crafting a compelling co-op game. And more than that: It should also be a game with quite a lot of replay value, thanks to procedurally generated enemies and some advanced, dynamic AI routines.
What's the prognosis? Excellent. Turtle Rock is the studio responsible for the acclaimed Counter-Strike bots, so setting up believable, challenging enemies shouldn't be a problem.
The Lord of the Rings Online: The Shadows of Angmar
Publisher: Midway | Developer: Turbine | Release Date: April
What is it? It's the long, long, long-awaited MMORPG set in Middle-earth.
Why should I care? If you don't have a secret desire hidden somewhere in your heart to go visit Hobbiton, even in a virtual way, then you have no heart. (Or, possibly, you've never read LOTR. We're not sure which is more likely.) There's also expected to be a really substantial community element, including a robust web-based interface featuring character stats, blogs, and even a Google Maps-style mapping tool for Middle-earth.
What's the prognosis? Somewhat precarious. The game itself seems quite solid, but we're not sure if the familiar setting is going to be enough to lure players away from WoW.
Unreal Tournament III
Publisher: Midway | Developer: Epic Games | Release Date: Fall
What is it? A new FPS from the folks who have been refining the genre for years. And it's not just an incremental upgrade; this one is a full-fledged sequel. It gets its own number and everything!
Why should I care? There seem to be two camps in the FPS world: Those who like slower-paced, realistic strategy and those who dig fast, frantic, over-the-top sci-fi action. UT3 plops itself square in the middle of the latter camp, with outlandish vehicles and weapons, gorgeous scenery, and ridiculous weapons. But this time, there's a significant new addition: A true single-player campaign.What's the prognosis? A new Unreal, with a legitimate story, spanking-new technology, and virtually unlimited replay value? Yeah, it'll probably flop.
Sunday, February 21, 2010
User Interface & Extensibility
When you consider Windows Live Mail, it has a sleek, crisp and clean user interface, wherein the contacts list opens in its own window. Some users find it handy, while some of them find it rather annoying or probably next to useless (if not annoying).
On the other hand, its counterpart Thunderbird comes with a user-friendly interface and the basic functionalities. However, there are a number of extensions and plug-ins available from the house of Mozilla, to make it more powerful.
When the discussion boils down to a comparative analysis of Thunderbird versus Windows Live Mail, in terms of extensibility, the latter one turns out to be a big loser. With the handy Contacts Sidebar extension, Thunderbird can display contacts in the main window, while no such option is available for WLM.
Accessing Multiple E-Mail Accounts
In terms of accessing multiple e-mails accounts, both Thunderbird as well as Windows Live Mail are proficient in this regard, though some users have had loads of trouble using hotmail with Thunderbird. Basically, it just happens that sometimes you need to feed in the password twice while accessing Hotmail through Thunderbird (this has not been accepted as a bug though), while no such complaint has been brought to notice by Windows Live Mail users.
Common Issues & Sources of Trouble
Moreover, there are a good number of so-called bugs (which Microsoft doesn’t bother accepting as bugs, let alone try to fix them) in WLM that have been a source of distraction for users. For instance, the color scheme suddenly changes whenever someone adds a new contact. Something similar happens when you click on Options or try to open a dialog/properties box; the overall look is quite shabby and kind of reminds you of Windows 95 & 98 rather than XP or Vista.
On the contrary, Thunderbird users don’t have any such complaints, though the hotmail issue has been the biggest disappointment to date. Unless you have a premium Hotmail account (which not many bother to take) you need to go to hotmail.com every single time and sign in rather than accessing it directly through Thunderbird whenever you want to access multiple Hotmail accounts simultaneously. But, except for Hotmail, all other email services work fine with Thunderbird so perhaps it's just the result of rivalry between Mozilla and MS.
Search & Miscellaneous Options
While Thunderbird provides the option of “tagging” messages with pre-defined meaningful descriptors like “To Do” or “Done” as well as letting you create your own tags, WLM totally lacks such a possibility. Even in terms of search filters, Windows Live Mail doesn't provide a way to search the title and body of an email separately. On the other hand, the advanced search option of Thunderbird has been always been acclaimed to be lot better than its counterpart in WLM.
Of course, the choice of browser, e-mail client, text-editor and similar things always varies from one individual to the other, and the same thing is applicable in case of the Thunderbird vs. Windows Live Mail scenario, too. But, as far as inconsistencies are concerned, there are a whole lot of them in Windows Live Mail, while the count is pretty low in case of Thunderbird. However, most existing WLM users have been continuing with it for a long while rather than shifting to Thunderbird (some are hardcore MS fans, but things may change in the future).
Saturday, February 20, 2010
HTC LegendWhy You Want It: It's like an HTC Hero, except with Android 2.1, an OLED screen, and a brushed-to-perfection aluminum body, which may be the most stylistically interesting design choice HTC has ever made.
Alcatel OT980Why You Want It: It'll be a cheap Android handset in a totally under-recognized form factor. Some may see it as a knockoff of the Pre, but I just see it as a nice little messaging phone, without the restrictions of a dumbphone OS.
Motorola XT800Why You Want It: It's got the brains of a Droid, without the keyboard. Plus, it's got support for dual SIM cards—a rarity in Android phones—and HDMI output.
General Mobile Touch StoneWhy You Want It: Remember the HTC Touch HD2? The one with the orgasmically beautiful hardware, and categorically disappointing software? This is pretty much that, with Android.
Acer beTouch E110Why You Want It: When Android phones are available for free on contract, this is what they're going to look like. The specs on this thing are underwhelming, so it might not be accurate to say that you'd want it for you, but you might want it for your tweenage kid.
The Puma PhoneWhy You Want It: The first phone designed entirely around a sporting lifestyle. Oh, and it's got a solar panel!
LG GW990Why You Want It: It's the first phone with Intel's Moorestown chip, and the first with the hybrid Maemo/Moblin OS, called Meego. And seriously, come on with these specs: A 4.8-inch screen at 480 x 1024 pixels? A 1850mAh battery? Intel's Atom-based system-on-a-chip?
Samsung WaveWhy You Want It: Its Bada OS may be underwhelming, but it's a nicely spec'd phone with a couple game-changing features: the first "Super OLED" screen, which doesn't look like ass in direct sunlight. It's also the first handset with USB 3.0, which is, you know, fast.
Toshiba K01Why You Want It: It's essentially the TG01 with a slide-out keyboard, which makes it the thinnest slide-out-QWERTY smartphone of its kind. (Its kind being massive, massive phones.) It's a proud, final signoff for the entire category of ultraspec'd Windows Mobile 6.x phones.
Sony X10 MiniWhy You Want It: The Xperia X10 done had itself a baby! An adorable little baby! You get the full Sony Ericsson Timeline interface overlaid atop Android, in a much more compact package. And it'll probably be cheap.
Samsung i8520Why You Want It: Ignore everything else: This phone has a built-in projector. Ha!
Texas Instruments BlazeWhy You Want It: Look! Look at this thing! Two 3.7-inch screens, the OMAP 4 chipset based on the ARM Cortex A9, three cameras, a keyboard—this thing is outright insane.
Sad part to all of the above is some of the above phone may not be even launched in India...
How to Creater Secrets of Perfect Counter Strike Server in 16 Steps .?
Hi Guys ...!
Today i trying my heart out to make you learn the same way i made my lagless server ...!
Guess what .... It is Absolutly possible and easy to make 20 People server under 512Kbps (kilo bits per second) without any noticible lag ..!
Looks.. interesting ... Read on...!
16 Steps to perfect Counter Strike Server:
Get ready with Pen and paper to jot down important values.
- Power on your computer and close /kill all un-necessary processes in task manager.
- Open your favorite browser and Go to Speedtest.net to check your Upload speed (Download speed doesnt matter much here). Note down the Upload speed value in the piece of paper.
- Now install the CS 1.6 Server to root of any partition you like (e.g D:\HLDS) .... .........(Teach me this Step 4)
- Install AMX MODX in the same directory .... (Teach me this Step)
- Install only Necessary AMX MODX plugins in the server ... (Teach me this step)
- Create a RAM DISK of atleast 600 MB .... (Teach me this step)
- Copy server folder (e.g. HLDS) to root of RAMDISK (e.g E:\HLDS)
- Swap drive letters RAMDISK (E:) and Original Server drive letter (i.e. D:) such that Now RAMDISK has D: drive letter and Original Server drive letter is E: ...(Teach Me this Step)
- Click here and Calculate important Server Settings ... Note Down in that piece of paper.
- Paste those setting in server.cfg file ( server.cfg file located in D:\HLDS\cstrike\ folder)
- Save RAMDISK image (i dont mean any picture here) ... so that it can used as backup.
- Now Go to CS Server folder and Launch the hlds.exe in console mode ... so just Go to cstrike folder and right click oh hlds.exe and select Send to desktop to create Shortcut icon on Desktop, On Desktop right click on "Shortcut to hlds" and select properties and In Target enter " D:\HLDS\hlds.exe -console -game cstrike +maxplayers 16 +port 27015 +sys_ticrate 250 +heapsize 262144 +map de_dust2 +mp_timelimit 0 +fps_max 100 +sv_unlag 1 +sv_maxunlag 0 +mp_freezetime 2 +clientport 27055 -insecure "
- Copy the Shortcut to HLDS icon from desktop to D:\HLDS folder to make backup of it..!
- Make sure you have applied all the Server Optimisation Tips and Tricks Descripbed in this site.
- Start your Server (hlds.exe) using Short to hlds icon created in step 13.
So Howz you r server running noW ?
Any thing else you wanna know ..?
Friday, February 19, 2010
2. More calories are wasted by sleeping than sitting and watching tv.
3. The first object with a number scanning label is the chewing gum.
4.The Wright Brothers’ first flying journey is shorter than a Boeing 747 airplane’s wings.
5. In 1987,after an airline company reduced a small piece of olive on every first class passenger’s meals,$350,000 USD was saved annually.
6.Everyone drinks coffee to perk themselves up,but in fact an apple can perk one up more than a cup of coffee can.
7.The majority of dust in your home consists of your own dead skin.
8.The full name of the Barbie Doll is Barabra Millicent Roberts.
9.When Hitler’s mum had Hitler,she once seriously considered abortion but the doctor persuaded her to keep the baby.
10.Marilyn Monroe has 6 toes on her foot.
11.In the movie E.T,the sound of E.T’s footsteps are made by someone squashing oranges rotten.
12.Pearls melt in vinegar.
13.In the number of people posting marriage ads,35% are already married.
14.You can pull a cow upstairs,but the cow will not know how to come down by itself.
15.A pig cannot stare up at the sky.
16.”quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog” has the 26 alphabets in it.
17.A duck’s quack will not have echos,the reason til now is unknown.
18.A snail can live for 3 years without food and sleeping.
19.Tommy Lee Jones and America’s vice-president were roommates in Harvard.
20.In a month,if the first day is Sunday then that particular month will have a Black Friday.
21.Heating up a rock in the microwave oven will cause the rock to explode.
22. 1,111,111 x 1,111,111 = 1234567654321
23.The only word that has 15 alphabets not reused in it is “uncopyrightable”.
24.A cat can produce over 100 types of sounds,but a dog can only do 10.
25.The darker the environment,the more frequent a cat’s passing urine times.
26.If you toss a coin upwards 1000 times,the number of times of heads facing upwards is 495.
27.According to the Newton dictionary the longest word in the world is pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanocon…
28.A human’s stomach will renew its food contents inside every 2 weeks,or else it will self-digest.
29.Coke was originally green in colour.
30.The Hawaiian language only has 12 alphabets.
31.The country with the highest proportion of people walking to work is Alaska.
32.If Barbie was a human,her measurements would be 39-23-33
33.On average,the number of people in the air every hour in America is 61,000 people.
34.Only honey will not turn bad forever.
35.Near the Carribean sea there’s a species of oysters that knows how to climb trees.
36.The world’s youngest parents appeared in 1910,an 8-year old and a 9 year-old Chinese people.
37.A human’s ears and nose never stop growing bigger and bigger
38.There’s a square-shaped melon in Japan,it was cultivated because of its convenience to place in refrigerators.
39.A starfish has 8 eyes,one on each leg.
40.Some insects’ eyes have hair.
41.A giraffe’s tongue measures 2 feet long in length.
42.An elephant can stand on its head.
43.An ant will scratch itself when it wakes up.
44.Thomas Edison is afraid of the dark.(so that’s why he invented the lightbulb lol)
45.The world’s oldest goldfish is 41 years old,named Fred.
46.Because of Einstein’s inability to speak at the age of 9,his mum once thought he
47.Arab women can initiate a divorce if their husbands don’t pour coffee for them.
48.Only 55% of Americans know that the Sun is a star.
49.Most lipglosses have fish scales content in them.
50.Giraffes cannot cough.
51.Owls are the only bird species able to differentiate numbers and colours.
52.A whale’s heartbeat only averages 9 times every minute.
53.The water that we drink into our body is already 3 billion years old.
54.Only 30% of people can expand and contract their nostrils at will.
55.A clam can switch its gender from male to female,and it will take place few times
throughout its life.
56.According to a British law passed in 1845,suicide is a very serious crime,death sentence of hanging is the punishment.
57.In space,astronauts are unable to cry or shed tears because there’s no gravity pull hence the tears are unable to come out.
58.A chameleon’s tongue is twice as long as its own body.
59.Americans use toothpicks most often.
60.On average a human must move his eye muscles for 10000 – 15000 times a day.
61.An elephant will still remain at its standing position even when it has died.
62.Some insects are still able to survive for a year without its heads.
63.Da Vinci spent 12 years alone painting Mona Lisa’s lips.
64.When glass shatters,the average speed for glass is 3000 miles per hour.
65.A dairy cow can produce more milk when listening to music.
66.A rose picked during afternoon can survive longer than a rose picked in the morning.
67.Baby tiger sharks fight each other in the womb,the winner will be able to be born alive.
68.A 70 pound octopus can only go through a hole a coin’s size because it does not have a vertebrae.
69.An Indonesian bamboo insect has the longest body in the world,as long as 1 feet.
70.In fact,a hippo can run faster than humans.
71.The inventor of parachutes gave the chance of parachuting first in the world to a dog.
72.A Japanese crab can be as long as 12 feet long.
73.A newborn turkey must be taught by its parents how to eat food,or else it will die of hunger.
74.A shark can detect blood content up to 1/1000000th percent in water.
75.the original meaning of Samba in the Samba dance actually meant “rubbing bellies together”
76.Children grow faster during spring.
77.Bats are the only mammals able to fly.
78.A catapillar has over 2000 muscles.
79.A human’s heart can produce pressure that can squirt blood 30 feet high.
80.A male mantis cannot mate with a female mantis with its head,so when they mate the female mantis has to chop the male mantis’ head off.
81.A shrimp’s heart is at its head.
82.You can never lick your elbow with your tongue.
83. 50% of the world population has not received any calls before at all.
84.A rat and a horse cannot vomit.
85. “Sixth Sick Sheik's Sixth Sheep's Sick” is one of the hardest sentences to pronounce in the English language.
86.If you sneeze too hard,it may cause your chest to rupture. But if you hold back your sneeze by force,it may cause one of your blood vessels to break.
87.If you talk on the phone for over an hour,the amount of ear **** in your ears will increase by 700 times.
88.A lighter was invented earlier than a matchstick.
89. When you sleep,you may eat over 70 kinds of small insects and about 10 spiders unknowingly.
90.The strongest and most flexible muscle in our body is the tongue.
91.It is impossible to sneeze with your eyes open.
92.It is impossible to kill yourself by holding your breath.
93.Everytime you lick the back of a stamp,you would have absorbed 1/10th of calories.
94.Right-handers live an average of 9 more years than left-handers.
95.Fish are unable to stick out their tongues.
96.Polar bears are left-handers.
97.An ostrich’s eyes are larger than their brains.
98.Starfish do not have brains.
99.Lice can jump over a distance 350 times longer than their bodies,equivalent to a human jumping over the length of a football stadium.
More info: Farmville is the most popular application in the history of Facebook, with 62 million registered users and 22 million logging on at least once a day. Farmville is bigger than Twitter.
--> The tongue of a blue whale weighs about as much as a full-grown elephant or a 2005 Hummer H2 SUV.
--> 'Typewriter' is the longest English word that can be made by using only one row of a keyboard.
--> There are no clocks in Las Vegas gambling casinos. It increases the sense of freedom, a disconnect from reality and thus, increases the dollars spent gambling.
Some other tricks casinos use:
1) There are no windows, so people don't know if it's day or night outside.
2) They design casinos to be like mazes so you can't find your way out.
3) They give free alcohol to the gamblers so they continue to gamble.
--> Human thigh bones are stronger than concrete.
---> Women speak about 7000 words a day. The average man averages just over 2000.
--> In every episode of Seinfeld, there is a Superman reference somewhere.
--> Michael Jordan makes more money from Nike annually than all of the Nike factory workers in Malaysia combined.
Keep watching this space for more...
Wednesday, February 17, 2010
Most people who are active on social networking sites have a profile on both MySpace and Facebook. However, despite being on both sites, each user almost always has a preference for one site over the other. That's due to the fact that there are some significant differences between the two networking sites and the people who are most active on them. Neither one is necessarily better than the other but any one individual might consider one "better" in comparison because of the different uses for each of the sites. Here's a closer look at those differences:
There's been an interesting shift in who uses the sites. MySpace began with a big preference for teenagers whereas Facebook was designed specifically for college students. (When it first started, you even needed a college email address to sign up with Facebook.) As the two sites have grown up, their users have changed. These days, teens may be on either site. And college students turn up on both of them as well.
Where the real differences lie now is in the professionals who are networking on the sites. Facebook has a number of different professionals who are on the site for networking and job hunting. Head hunters hang around to find people who might be right for certain jobs. If you're a career professional in the computer or business fields, Facebook is more your game. That's not to say that there aren't professionals on MySpace. However, they tend to be involved in more creative careers. Musicians, comedians and fashion designers are easy to find on MySpace.
Facebook has MySpace beat hands down for the number of applications that you can use on the site. In fact, new applications are being designed on a regular basis for Facebook, many of which assist with the professional networking that takes place on the site. If you're interested in the cutting edge ways that you can communicate with people (such as using Click-to-Call widgets to contact Facebook friends via voice communication) then Facebook is your place. If all of those applications are too confusing for you, you might want to stick with MySpace.
Despite the fact that there are plenty of applications for Facebook, the types of designs that you can have on your own profile page are somewhat limited. Most Facebook pages look basically the same at a first glance. In contrast, it's possible to really alter your MySpace profile so that it looks completely unique. People who want to show off their creative tendencies are likely to find that MySpace makes that a little bit easier to do.
Both MySpace and Facebook offer users the opportunity to create and join groups on the site. This can be a way to keep everyone from an old group (such as a college sorority) together on the site. It can also be a way to meet new people with the same interests as you. There are a range of different groups on each of the sites so which site you like better might depend on the ease with which you find a group on the site that you're most active on.
In general, many people say that they prefer the MySpace groups. This is due to the fact that the groups are very easy to find on the site. There is a page available which shows which groups there are under different categories. It also shows how many members are active in those groups. On the other hand, Facebook will tell you which groups were recently joined by your friends so you can get some hints as to which groups you might like because of that feature. In this category, it really depends on your own interests and your preference between the appearance of the group layout on MySpace as compared to Facebook.
Spam doesn't seem to be a problem on Facebook whereas it can be quite a headache on MySpace. People hack MySpace profiles and send viruses to their friends on the site. MySpace users check their messages and find beautiful sexy girls there who want them to "come check out pics on this others site" (a site that is adult-only and needs to be paid for). If you don't want to deal with spam, Facebook is currently the place for you.
Ultimately, which social networking site you prefer really depends on what you like in a site. In addition to MySpace and Facebook, there are numerous other social networking sites that you can use to meet new people and to stay in touch with old friends. Each of these serves its own niche group (for example, there is Linked In for professionals). What is important to remember is that the popularity of each of these sites is going to wax and wane over time. If you're just looking to get on the latest trend, you'll have to flitter from site to site. But if you want to really develop connections on the sites, find the one that has an interface you're most comfortable with using and start getting to know people there!
Google Chrome vs Mozilla Firefox
Finally, Google Chrome is out of the box and into the sunlight for us to play. So, I did install it and started playing around. Since there are many sources which describe the features of the browser, I thought I would do an initial comparison with my current browser instead. Here we go.
First of all I should mention the setup. When I installed Chrome, I chose to import all my settings from Firefox to Chrome (bookmarks and history included).
Start up Time
On my computer, Firefox takes 8-9 seconds to start and be ready for use. Chrome on the other hand took about a split second to be up and running. And that’s not all of course, it also shows me the most visited site in its default view when it opens.
Chrome is faster by orders of magnitude in starting up as compared to Firefox.
After starting both, they end up taking similar amounts of memory to begin with (around 50 MB). However, Chrome is running one extra process (when I view it in my Task Manager). It turns out that chrome fires up one process for every tab that is open (plus one to manage all of these tabs).
Next, I opened up 10 different web pages in 10 different tabs on each browser (the same set on both). Here, Firefox shot up to 132 MB, and chrome opened up multiple processes (one per tab), the total memory for all of these added up to about 230 MB.
Chrome is more memory hungry as compared to FireFox.
However, when I closed all the tabs (except one), Chrome quickly went down to 20 MB, but FireFox went down only to 96 MB.
Firefox takes much longer to release memory resources.
I have to say that there is some smarts behind creating each tab as a separate process:
Update: In fact, having multiple processes for multiple tabs does help in stability a lot. There is a develop menu in Chrome which lets you access its inbuilt Task Manager. Here I can select and close individual tabs. Eat your heart out Firefox.
There are some other things that I checked which were important to me from a usability perspective:
Notice the resize handle on the lower right of the text box. This is the comment box on. I can make the box bigger.
Try out Google Spreadsheets, and every cell is extensible like this.
Not very useful, at this stage. But I can imagine this coming in handy on certain web pages.
This deserves a mention on its own. While I can always do this with the other browsers, I will have to put in a lot of effort. And earlier on, it won’t be worth the hassle. However through Chrome, I have the following on my Quick Launch bar:
Notice the Icon with the tool tip. When I click that icon, my gmail account opens in its own nice Chrome Window (and once I have sized it, it remembers the size per such application shortcut). So, now I don’t need to open a browser to visit my most used applications (notice the icon next to Gmail launches my analytics account). When I click on the icon, it launches the following Window:
Pretty neat, I think. I have now a bunch of these ‘web applications’ that I use regularly with their own icons on my quick launch bar (and mapped to my SlickRun). Like I said, the fact that this is so easy to do makes it a worthwhile activity (it takes three clicks).
I am sure there are many more things that I will find which are different between the two browsers, and I will update this post as I find them. So keep checking back.
Update: I have to mention (as so many readers have pointed out in comments) that in practice there is absolutely no comparison between the two browsers because the extensibility of FireFox by way of its add-ons make it infinitely better than Chrome. Having said this, remember that Chrome is still a baby when it comes to browser lifetimes.