Wednesday, January 26, 2011

What are Intrusion Detection Systems?

Intrusion Detection System (IDS) are becoming a very important part of any strategy for enterprise
security. But what are Intrusion Detection systems? CERIAS, The Center for Education and Research in Information Assurance and Security, defines it this way:

"The purpose of an intrusion detection system (or IDS) is to detect unauthorized access or misuse of a computer system. Intrusion detection systems are kind of like burglar alarms for computers. They sound alarms and sometimes even take corrective action when an intruder or abuser is detected. Many different intrusion detection systems have been developed but the detection schemes generally fall into one of two categories, anomaly detection or misuse detection. Anomaly detectors look for behavior that deviates from normal system use. Misuse detectors look for behavior that matches a known attack scenario. A great deal of time and effort has been invested in intrusion detection, and this list provides links to many sites that discuss some of these efforts



(http://www.cerias.purdue.edu/about/history/coast_resources/intrusion_detection/)

There is a sub-category of intrusion detection systems called network intrusion detection systems (NIDS). These systems are looking for suspicious activity and monitor the packets. Network intrusion detection systems can monitor many computers at a time over a network, while other intrusion detection systems may monitor only one.

Who wants to breaking into your system?

One common misconception of software hackers is that it is usually people outside your network who break into your systems and cause mayhem. The reality, especially for corporate workers, is that insiders can and usually do cause the majority of security breaches. Insiders often impersonate people with more privileges then themselves to gain access to sensitive information.

How do intruders break into your system?

The simplest and easiest way to break in is to let someone have physical access to a system. Despite the best of efforts, it is often impossible to stop someone once they have physical access to a machine. Also, if someone has an account on a system already, at a low permission level, another way to break in is to use tricks of the trade to be granted higher-level privileges through holes in your system. Finally, there are a lot of ways to gain access to systems even if one is working remotely. Remote intrusion techniques have become harder and more complex to fight



How does one stop intrusions?

There are several Freeware/shareware Intrusion Detection Systems as well as commercial intrusion detection systems.

Open Source Intrusion Detection Systems

Below are a few of the open source intrusion detection systems:

AIDE (http://sourceforge.net/projects/aide) Self-described as "AIDE (Advanced Intrusion Detection Environment) is a free replacement for Tripwire. It does the same things as the semi-free Tripwire and more. There are other free replacements available so why build a new one? All the other replacements do not achieve the level of Tripwire. And I wanted a program that would exceed the limitations of Tripwire."

File System Saint (http://sourceforge.net/projects/fss) - Self-described as, "File System Saint is a lightweight host-based intrusion detection system with primary focus on speed and ease of use."


Snort (www.snort.org) Self-described as "Snort® is an open source network intrusion prevention and detection system utilizing a rule-driven language, which combines the benefits of signature, protocol and anomaly based inspection methods. With millions of downloads to date, Snort is the most widely deployed intrusion detection and prevention technology worldwide and has become the de facto standard for the industry."

Commercial Intrusion Detection Systems

If you are looking for Commercial Intrusion Detection Systems, here are a few of these as well:

Tripwire
http://www.tripwire.com

Touch Technology Inc (POLYCENTER Security Intrusion Detector)
Http://www.ttinet.com

Internet Security Systems (Real Secure Server Sensor)
http://www.iss.net


eEye Digital Security (SecureIIS Web Server Protection)
http://www.eeye.com 

Operating Mutual Funds - how these profit exploding money makers actually work

Although investing in mutual funds isn't the type of subject associated with wild parties and celebrations - it is something the serious investor should consider as a way of increasing their total worth.

"But what EXACTLY is a mutual fund" I hear you ask - "how does it work, who does what and how much do they cost?"

Hang on, slow down - one question at a time please.

What exactly is a mutual fund?

Mutual funds are sold in shares to the public, allowing them to own different percentages of the fund depending on the amount they invest.

Pay more = own more. Own more = get more $$ back again (theoretically)

Simple.

Stocks, bonds, money market securities and the like are purchased through the assets of these mutual funds in the financial markets. Shareholders indirectly own the assets held in the mutual fund, but the fund is guided by the investment company that finds the best way to earn the biggest return. (Indirectly owning the assets through these funds allows them to avoid the big tax hit.)


How does a Mutual Fund work?

Usually, mutual funds are also known as open-ended investment companies. This means that they constantly issue new shares and redeem existing shares, but not all mutual funds are open however. Some mutual funds are 'locked' where they no longer will take on new investors.

The fund's Net Asset Value is the key concept to understanding how a mutual fund operates. By this value you can determine the value of a share of the fund at any time. The market value of the fund's assets less any liabilities, divided by the number of shares outstanding is the formula to understand Net Asset Value.

If you work through that it will show you exactly how much each share in the fund is worth when you are looking to invest in them. By comparing this number over time you can see the returns earned in a percentage. This is generally all done for you on a funds website or on any of the mutual fund sites that feature stats.



Although investing in mutual funds isn't the type of subject associated with wild parties and celebrations - it is something the serious investor should consider as a way of increasing their total worth.

"But what EXACTLY is a mutual fund" I hear you ask - "how does it work, who does what and how much do they cost?"

Hang on, slow down - one question at a time please.

What exactly is a mutual fund?

Mutual funds are sold in shares to the public, allowing them to own different percentages of the fund depending on the amount they invest.

Pay more = own more. Own more = get more $$ back again (theoretically)

Simple.

Stocks, bonds, money market securities and the like are purchased through the assets of these mutual funds in the financial markets. Shareholders indirectly own the assets held in the mutual fund, but the fund is guided by the investment company that finds the best way to earn the biggest return. (Indirectly owning the assets through these funds allows them to avoid the big tax hit.)


How does a Mutual Fund work?

Usually, mutual funds are also known as open-ended investment companies. This means that they constantly issue new shares and redeem existing shares, but not all mutual funds are open however. Some mutual funds are 'locked' where they no longer will take on new investors.

The fund's Net Asset Value is the key concept to understanding how a mutual fund operates. By this value you can determine the value of a share of the fund at any time. The market value of the fund's assets less any liabilities, divided by the number of shares outstanding is the formula to understand Net Asset Value.

If you work through that it will show you exactly how much each share in the fund is worth when you are looking to invest in them. By comparing this number over time you can see the returns earned in a percentage. This is generally all done for you on a funds website or on any of the mutual fund sites that feature stats.

Tips For Cooking The Best Fajitas

Fajita is generally beef, chicken, pork or shrimp grilled and served on a flour tortilla with condiments. The chicken is worked with onions and bell peppers. Fajita is served to the table sizzling loudly on a metal platter with tortilla and condiments on the side. Making your lips watery?

Texans would love to take credit for giving the world fajitas but the honor goes to south of the border, Vagueros, who learnt the art of cutting tough beef into skirt steak. Fajitas are basicallyTex Mex dishes. Nowadays Fajita is almost anything cooked and wrapped in a flour tortilla. Only true fajitas are skirt steak.

The preparation of Fajitas starts with marinating the beef using limejuice to tenderize at least for 24 hours. Well, there are no set rules for marinating; you can use your creative sense for that, but don't forget to use limejuice. To marinade beef or chicken, you can use the Ass Kickin Soakin' and Grilling Sauce. This would bring a true Mexican flavor.

Fajitas are real fun to eat, and here are the ways to cook the best Fajitas, namely:

Grilling an exciting fajita

Traditional method for cooking fajita is over coal for approximately 6 minutes on both sides for skirt steaks around one pound. After the meat gets cooked, you should let it rest for a few minutes and cut it across the grain diagonally in to finger length strips.

Oven broiling fajitas

Broil the meat 4 inches below the flame for about 6 minutes on both sides. Then you can let it rest for a few minutes and slice it diagonally in to finger length strips.

Pan frying fajitas

Drain the meat and cut it across the grain in finger length strips and fry over high heat for not more than 1.5 minutes turning frequently. Roll them in flour tortilla. Choose thick tortillas available in any supermarket. Warm them up by sealing in foil packages, 6-8 at a time. On a frying pan, add few tablespoon ofolive oil, cut one large onion and separate into rings and cut bell peppers into strips. Add them to the frying pan and stir fry. Serve with stir fried onions and bell peppers.



Some specialized fajita preparations are Pico-de-gallo, guacamole, Fajita on a stick, Fah-HEE-Tah, Beef Fajita Marinade and many more. Here are a few, which I find interesting, but you can always add your magic touch to them:

Pico-de-gallo

This fiery and flavorable salsa is like any other salsa but the ingredients are finely chopped. If rightly made it is hot. Since people make it to their liking they can control the heat.

Guacamole

Cool and buttery smoothness of guacamole adds the finishing touch on a fajita. Experiment your ideas on it and get it right. My suggestion is to select the right Avocado of Haas variety with brownish-black skin with a pebbly texture.

Fah-HEE-Tah

Traditional skirt steak has to be marinated for long 24 hours in limejuice, red capsicum and garlic. Cooked meat is cut into strips and them wrapped in a warm tortilla and garnished with salsa or guacamole.

Fajita On A Stick

Soak 8-9 bamboo skewers for 10 minutes. Trim fat from steak and cut crosswise into ½ " thickness. Thread equal amount of beef weaving back and forth onto skewer. Combine dressing and lime juice. Brush on beef peppers and onions. Place vegetables on grid for 15 to 20 minutes. Remove and add beef to the centre. Add salt. When ready, serve beef and vegetables in tortilla with salsa.

Beef Fajita Marinade

Combine limejuice, tequila, crushed dried oregano leaves, cloves of garlic, minced fresh cilantro, ground cumin, ground black pepper. Mix well and pour marinade over meat, refrigerate overnight or even 24 hours in zip top bag. It makes enough marinade for 1 ½ pound flank steak.

Fajitas are terrific for informal dinner party. It is inherently festive or goes hand-in-hand with margaritas or Mexican beer and Tex Mex treat. Good Luck! Taste your own Fajitas, don't go for the restaurant version of Fajitas.

Nanotechnology

As the horizons of technology expand, the real world is shrinking into a Global Village; Nanotechnology is the new area of interest in technology.
Nanotechnology is an umbrella term that covers many areas of research dealing with objects that are measured in nanometers or billionth of meter. It is a hybrid science combining engineering and chemistry.

The goal of nanotechnology is to manipulate atoms individually and place them in a pattern to produce a desired structure. Nano-sized machines called assemblers, that can be programmed to manipulate atoms and molecules at will, would be used to build consumer goods. Some nanomachines called replicators, would be programmed to build assemblers.

Nanotechnology would enable creation of new generation of computer components with enormous storage capacity. But the greatest impact of nanotechnology could be the medicalindustry. Patients would drink fluids containing nanorobots programmed to attack and reconstruct the molecular structure of cancer cells and viruses to makes them harmless. Nanorobots could also be programmed to perform delicate surgeries.

For environmental clean-up, airborne nanorobots could be user programmed to rebuild the thinning ozone layer. Contaminants could be automatically removed from water sources, and spill could be cleaned up instantly.

Nanotechnology was first introduced in 1959, in a talk by the Nobel Prize-winning physicist Richard Feynman, entitled "There's Plenty of Room at the Bottom", Feynman proposed using a set of conventional-sized robot arms to construct a replica of themselves, but one-tenth of the original size, then using that new set of arms to manufacture an even smaller set, and so on, until the molecular-scale is reached. if we had many million or billions of such molecular-scale products built from individual molecules - a "bottom-up manufacturing" technique, as opposed to the usual technique of cutting away material until you have a completed component or product -"top-down manufacturing".

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

The Influence Of Blues Guitar On Modern Music

Anybody interested in modern music sooner or later asks the question, "Where did it begin?" Well, if you leave blues guitarmusic out, you will not have much of an answer. So let us look at where the blues came from, where it went and who it met on the way. We will also take a look at the "blues guitar sound" and how it has its unique effect on our feelings.

The blues as a musical phenomenon began around 1911 when W.C. Handy published popular songs, notably "Memphis Blues" and "St Louis Blues", which affected the hearts and souls of the black people. By the nineteen twenties the general population were beginning to hear this new music through its influence onjazz. Early blues singers like Bessie Smith and Billie Holiday sang with jazz bands while others played with "jug bands" accompanied by fiddle, kazoo and washboard.

Of course to people like W. C. Handy who were brought up singing in church, the piano was the natural instrumental accompaniment to their songs. But the guitar is portable and always was popular so it had to have a place in blues and jazz. Blues guitar players like twelve string guitarist Leadbelly and future electric guitar player B.B. King were making sure the guitar would be an integral part of the blues. Other blues guitarists made their living in smoky saloons playing slide guitar using a bottle neck or the blade of a knife to fret the notes.

After the Second World War young artists like Elvis Presley and Bill Haley were wrapping the blues in a new package called "rock'n'roll" and the players of the electric blues guitar like B.B. King were heralding the arrival of the lead guitar, soon to be a great attraction for both musicians and audiences. Throughout the evolution of the blues the guitar had always taken its turn for solos in jazz bands but now it competed with the singer for the attention of the audience.



Blues guitar can be played in any key that takes your fancy and comes in three basic forms: eight bars, for example "Heartbreak Hotel", sixteen bars like "Saint James Infirmary" and twelve bars like "St. Louis Blues". For some reason the twelve bar blues form is way more singer-friendly and popular with audiences than the other two, and it is the basis of many great songs outside the blues idiom.

If you go poking around the internet you will find that the blues scales are just your garden variety major and minor scales except that the third, fifth and seventh notes are played flat. However, you may be astonished to learn that blues players managed for centuries without knowing about European musical theory. They learnt to sing and play from their families and friends just as many of the young white blues players of the nineteen sixties learnt from imitating the artists they heard on records.

And this is where the blues takes another direction. After years of imitating their idols something odd happened to the white blues guitar players in Britain and the USA. They developed their own authentic, original styles. The older blues players even began using the new arrangements of classic songs and adopting some of the unbluesy musical innovations introduced by young white guitarists like Eric Clapton. So the beat goes on. A foreign culture influences American popular music and in turn gets fresh input from a new generation of guitar players from all over the world. 

Stock Market - What's in a Trading Edge

Unless you are able to develop a considerable trading edge over the other traders, you will end up losing your money, even if you are disciplined and organized. In this article, I discuss some elements that I use in my trading edge.

Fundamental Analysis

Fundamental analysis is the process of evaluating the financial condition of a company using financial reports, price/earning ratios, revenues, market share, sales and growth, etc. This type of analysis can be time consuming so instead of going through pages of financial reports, I simply look at IBD ratings.

I like to use Investor's Business Daily (IBD found at investors.com) to get a quick overview of a stock. The IBD rating covers:

1 - Earnings Per Share (EPS) rating: tells me a stock's average short term (recent quarters) and long term (last three years) earning growth rate. The number I see is how the company compares to all other companies. The scale runs from 1 to 99, 99 being the best.

2 - Relative Price Strength (RS) Rating: Measures a stock's relative price change in the last 12 months in comparison to all other equities. The scale runs from 1 to 99, 99 being the best.

3 - Industry Relative Price Rating: Compares a stock's industryprice action in the last 6 months to the other 196 industries in IBD's industry list. The scale is from A to E, A being the best.

4 - Sales + Profit Margins + ROE (Return on Equity) Rating: Crunches a firm's sales growth rate during the last 3 quarters, before and after profit margins and return on equity into one letter. The scale is from A to E, A being the best.

5 - Accumulation/Distribution rating: Applies a formula of price and volume changes in the last 13 weeks to determine if it is being accumulated or distributed. A = heavy buying, C = Neutral, E = heavy selling.

If you like the idea of including fundamental analysis into your trading plan, consider trading only stocks that meet some minimum requirements - for example A or B, > 70, etc.

I like to use fundamental ratings for longer term trades such as the ones I plan on weekly charts. It is not really useful if you trade intraday.


Technical Analysis

Fundamental analysis is great to build a list of strong stocks, or as a way to filter out weak stocks, but that's about it. It does not provide you with an objective method to enter and exit trades. All my trading decisions (entry, exit, and stops) are based on technical analysis.

Technical analysis is the study of prices. The price action draws patterns on charts and because human behavior can be repetitive, the price patterns can also be repetitive.

You can choose from a variety of chart types. The Japanese candlestick charts are by far the best and it is the only form you need. There are entire books dedicated to the study of candlestick patterns - if you are serious about studying candlestick charts, look at books written by Steve Nison and and Gregory L. Morris.



- Support and Resistance: The most important concept in technical analysis is Support and Resistance. It forms the foundation for every trading decision and could cover many pages but I will limit myself to simplified definitions and a couple examples:

Support level: A price level that a declining market or stock failed to penetrate
Example: the low of the previous day forms an area of support and is often used as a stop loss.

Resistance level: A price level that a rising market or stock failed to break through
Example: a prior high in an uptrend forms an area of resistance and can be used as a minimum objective to take some profits.

Some technical indicators may also provide some support and resistance, for example moving averages, in part maybe because so many traders expect it.

- Oscillators

An oscillator is a technical indicator that tells you at a glance whether a market or a stock currently trades in an "overbought" or "oversold" condition. Some traders use oscillators to forecast a change of direction. Some examples include the RSI, Stochastic Oscillator, and MACD.

There are hundreds of oscillators and technical indicators. I personally look at them to filter out some stocks if I have too many good ones to choose from. I never use them as a signal to open or close a trade.

- Public Sentiment

I look for support and resistance on the VIX (Volatility Index) daily chart to anticipate reversals.

I look at the Put/Call Ratio (5 MA and 10 MA) on the daily chart to see if traders are too bearish (MAs > 0.8) or too bullish (MAs < 0.5).

(MA = Moving Average)

- Market internals to see if the market is overbought or oversold

I look at the TRIN (5 MA and 10 MA) on the daily chart - overbought (MAs < 0.8) or oversold (MAs > 1.2).

I look at the McClellan Oscillator – the market is overbought if it rises above +70 and oversold if drops below -70. A buy signal is generated if it falls into the oversold area (-70 to -100) and then turns up - a sell signal is generated if it rises into the overbought area (+70 to +100) and then turns down. If it goes beyond the -100/+100 levels then it may be a sign of continuation of the current trend.

- Market and Industries

I like to buy stocks from industries in a strong uptrend and short stocks from industries in a downtrend. I also consider the direction of the industry for the day (positive or negative).


Putting it all together

This article is not about teaching you how to develop an edge but hopefully it shows you that there are many different tools that can be used to improve your odds. It takes time to find a combination that fits your personality. It takes time to find what works for you. 



Stock Investing For Dummies
Understanding Stocks

PSP2 may pack an OLED touchscreen and 3G, to be announced in three days


I think that all PSP gamers will agree that it’s time we get a next generation portable console. The original PSP is more than 5 years old now and it seems its life-cycle will come to an end this year.
main PSP2 may pack an OLED touchscreen and 3G, to be announced in three days

A PSP2 concept
The latest rumor reveals the PSP2 will pack an OLED touchscreen and 3G capabilities in addition to the Wi-Fi support. There will be no phone service though.
It’s unclear whether the PSP2 will have model variations (such as Wi-Fi-only, 3G+Wi-Fi).
As the rumor has it, Sony will announce the PSP2 at a special press-conference on 27 January. The premiere should come later on in 2011 with Japan probably the first country to get it.
This is another confirmation that the PSP2 announcement will take place even before the PSP phone a.k.a. XPERIA Play, which is expected to be unveiled in early February at the MWC.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Best Running Shoes For Flat Feet

People were born with different physical characteristics in their bodies. With regards to feet considerations, you may be blessed (or cursed) to have a flat foot. In accordance with this aspect of biological uniqueness, the best running shoes for flat feet should be used for optimum comfort and convenience.

What is a flat foot?

Having a flat foot can sometimes be a frustration in searching for the appropriate accessory, like shoes. A flat foot is characterized by your foot print looking like a blob contoured in the general shape of a foot. You can easily check this using a footprint on a piece of paper. Also, physically, you may observe that there is almost no curve going inward from your toe to your heel. Another significant characteristic is that when you press firmly on any surface, your foot seems to spread out.

What shoes to use?

Shoes are generally created to provide protection to a person's feet. However, even though most of the commercially available shoes are using soft and shape shifting materials, a specific pair of shoes should be used for flat-footed people. Usually, when a person has flat feet, they are also considered to be an overpronator. It is a condition when the foot rolls inward while running. That is why the appropriate shoes should be used.

The most appropriate shoes for flat feet are the ones that are equipped with high stability properties as well as with motion control materials. Also, shoes with firm mid-soles are far the most efficient types. These factors reduce the capability of your flat foot to roll over in specific areas, thus making your walking or running more comfortable. You should avoid shoes that are highly curved in inward soles for these types may reduce your stability and compress your foot painfully.



Since running shoes were manufactured based on the activities of runners, they are equipped with padding and cushion materials for greater flexibility. You won't need shoes that have multiple layers of padding since this will apply pressure to your flat feet, thus making it very uncomfortable to use. You can just use running shoes that have at least a single layer of comfort pads but are not too curved.

There are some health problems that you may have if you do not use running shoes ideal for flat footed individuals. For example, if you tend to run long distances with an inappropriate shoe type, you may experience instability from the flat panels of your feet towards the upper portion of the legs. These conditions may cause knee and leg injuries while running. Also, your balance capability is compromised, leading to an uncontrollable body movement while in motion.

If you are going to purchase a pair of running shoes, you can search over the basic items sold in the market. But, you should always bear in mind that you might need to sacrifice style and brand in order to make sure that you have the best running shoes for flat feet. Although this may seem to be a little frustrating, you should always consider the health factor of using them. You may ask for assistance to get you the right model and brand of shoes for flat feet. 

Linux or Windows - Which is it?

Computer users and programmers have become so accustomed to using Windows, even for the changing capabilities and the appearances of the graphical interface of the versions, therefore it has remained Microsoft's product. Although, Lycoris, Red Hat, Mandrake, Suse, Knoppix, Slackware and Lindows make up some of the different versions of LINUX. These companies release their own versions of the operating systems with minor changes, and yet always with the same bottom line. The simple fact that not one of these companies are close to competing with Windows, for the most part causes the difference in market share.

It sometimes seems everyone on the planet is using Windows. Many say Windows is way better than LINUX because of the simple handling of the software or hardware. There are huge differences between the number of users of LINUX and Windows. Many say LINUX is far better because it started as an Open Source software and thus is more flexible than Windows. Then what accounts for the enormous difference in market share between these two operating systems?

Windows and Linux are different in many ways.

1. Windows GUI is an integral component of the OS; speed, efficiency and reliability, while the Linux GUI is optional, are increased by running a server instance of Linux without a GUI, something that server versions of Windows simply can't do. The nature of the Linux GUI makes remote administration of a Linux computer easier with a more natural feel than Windows computers.

2. The command prompts of the operating systems are very different. The command interpreters in the Windows 9x series are very similar to each other and the NT class versions of Windows also have similar command interpreters. There are, however differences between a Windows 9x command interpreter and one in an NT class flavor of Windows. Linux, like UNIX, also supports multiple command interpreters, but it usually uses BASH or "Bourne Again Shell".



3. While you have to pay hundred's of dollars for a new Windows version, you can just go download Linux. There's no manuals or simple installers for the free version. Although there is quite a learning curve when utilizing the free package. There are some easy automated packages of Linux for low prices.

Microsoft's "big con" is the supposed security issues with windows. Most spyware, adware and malicious files programs work with Windows just fine. In general you do not deal with these kinds of circumstances unless you are working with Windows. whereas Linux offers a strong protection, password protection for Windows can be bypassed with ease.


The software availability is the key to why Windows wins over Linux in this competition. Most software releases are already configured for Windows. If you chose to use Linux you must copy Windows with special software in order to use your windows based programs. You could always install Windows as a subsystem to Linux, this would take the administrative capabilities of Windows and allow them to funtion on Linux.

If Linux is ever to compete with Windows, it must become more user friendly and provide serious technical support. 

"Food Of The Future," 40 Years In The Making

Forty years ago, a first-class stamp cost a nickel, a new science fiction television show called "Star Trek" made its debut and a tasty topping began its crunchy history of enhancing salads, baked potatoes and Americans' cupboards.

General Mills first tested Bac-Os as a better-for-you alternative to bacon in select markets in 1965. Bit by bit, the product's popularity took off, and it was dubbed a "food of the future" in early television advertisements. Consumers enjoyed the convenient product's multipurpose use-a savory ingredient used to jazz up casseroles, salads, soups and other favorite dishes. This handy condiment helped home cooks streamline their kitchen prep and promised the smoke-cured, sizzling flavor of bacon without a splattering mess.

"A jar of Bac-Os brought the flavor and texture of crisp bacon right to the family dinner table in a fraction of the time," says Maggie Gilbert, manager of the Betty Crocker Kitchens test kitchen. "Because they were considered superconvenient and required no refrigeration, they soon became a familiar ingredient in popular recipes of the day, such as holiday party dips, sweet-sour beans and twice-baked potatoes."

The brand debuted in its first print advertising campaign in 1970. The product was featured in several new recipes from the Betty Crocker Kitchens in national magazines, such as Better Homes and Gardens and Family Circle. Shortly thereafter, General Mills extended the line to include Saus-Os and Pepr-Os, two new soy proteins with distinct flavor possibilities.

Today, Bac-Os continues to appeal to consumers, particularly by offering added health benefits: They're made with the goodness of soy, are kosher and contain no MSG. They can also help consumers keep healthy eating in check, without tipping the scale on calories, fat, saturated fat or cholesterol.

Happy Birthday, Bac-Os!

Italian Spinach and Mushroom Salad

This seasonal salad for special gatherings has extra crunch and a burst of added flavor.

1 package (10 oz.) fresh spinach leaves, rinsed and patted dry

1 package (8 oz.) sliced mushrooms

1 can (19 oz.) Progresso chick peas, drained and rinsed

1/3 cup Betty Crocker Bac-Os bacon flavor bits or chips

1/2 cup seasoned croutons

1/2 cup Italian dressing

In large salad bowl, toss all ingredients except dressing. Just before serving, drizzle with dressing and toss gently. Makes 4 servings.

Jars of a revolutionary new "food of the future" product appeared on grocers' shelves 40 years ago, offering busy consumers the bacon flavor they loved with a simple shake of the wrist. 

Dodge Grilles

Many people like the look of Dodge grilles on their vehicles. But many people find that billet grilles add an extra touch that makes their Dodge vehicles look even better.

It is quite easy to get a hold of these Dodge billet grilles. Thanks to Auto Parts Online it is even easier; they are a new source that has everything you can think of buying for you're Dodge vehicle, including billet grilles.

They are one of the top online parts suppliers. The company can cater to most of your needs. They sell electrical parts, engine parts, fenders, wheels, mirrors and much more to offer Dodge vehicle owners and other vehicle owners. They are a good place to check out for replacing any kind of part on your vehicles at low prices.

Billets grilles are custom grille inserts that you can put over or replace the grille on your vehicle. The most commonly material used for the grilles is billet aluminum, though some manufactures use stainless steel or ABS plastic. But it doesn't really matter because the grilles are still stronger then other custom add on grilles. It doesn't matter what material they are made of.

As the grilles can be made from different materials, the grilles can also be formed in different styles as well. So whatever your desire you can get the grille that you are looking for. Including, billet grilles featuring punched holes, meshed metal and interwoven bars.

Check out Auto Parts Online they can help you find many kinds of Dodge billet grilles with various material and styles. They have a wide rang of grilles that can fit each and every Dodge vehicle. Doesn't matter how big or small your vehicle is, they have one that will fit your needs.

So go check them out, they can change the look of your car with one small change. 

3 Secrets To Increasing Traffic In The New Year

Now that 2010 has arrived, it is the habit of many people to make a resolution for the New Year. While many people focus on self-improvement, some opt to make resolutions about their business. Usually this involves a resolution to increase their revenue for their online business.

But did you know that it is actually quite easy to increase your online revenue?

The trick is to drive more traffic to your Internet business(es). As you know by now, more traffic generally means more money.

No matter what type of site you have, your success hinges on getting as much traffic as possible. But like many online business owners, you have probably exhausted many sources for increasing traffic.

Recently I have found three incredible ways to drive more traffic to your site. The good news is that all these methods are not being done by many webmasters.

So if you want to increase traffic for 2010, be sure to use each of the following three traffic-building mechanisms:

1- Data Feeds

Do you like the idea of creating hundreds, even thousand of pages of legitimate content?

With a data feed, this is possible.

Many online businesses utilize data feeds as a way to help their affiliates. If you are not familiar with this concept, a data feed is file that contains a list of products, descriptions and prices for individual items that are sold by a company.

With a data feed, you can create a specific content page for each product. So if an affiliate program has thousands of products, then you can create thousands of pages of quality content. As you probably know, the more content usually leads to more traffic.

Data feeds are great for getting natural search engine traffic because they list specific products that people are looking

for. If you can find a data feed that is related to your specific website, then you can easily generate more natural traffic for your online business.

2- Viral eBooks

Another tool that can dramatically increase your website traffic is a viral ebook or report. Most of the time, a viral ebook is a PDF that people send to their contacts, which contains your marketing message. It is called viral because every person that receives the ebook is given a reason to pass along your material.



Before starting a viral marketing campaign, it is important to create a reason why people will want to pass along your marketing message. Some of the best reasons can include simple greed or a desire to provide entertaining information to their friends. If you can develop a hook that will take advantage of either of these, then it will be easy to create a successful viral marketing campaign.

What I usually do is create a special 5 to 10 page report on a specific topic. Then I find an affiliate program that is related to the topic. Then I create a mechanism where people can easily brand this ebook with their own affiliate link.

This type of viral ebook is valuable because you can place a mini advertisement or sponsorship on every copy. In addition,

you can let the reader know that he or she can make money by offering this viral ebook. As a result, there is a chance that every person that reads the book will click over to your site.

3-Blogs

By now, you have probably heard about the power of blogs. If you haven't created one, then you should use the New Year to take advantage of this traffic pulling tool

With blogs, you are providing your audience with fresh new content about your topic. People love to read them, because most

blogs contain new information in an entertaining and easy-to-read format.

The best part about blogs is how much they are valued by search engines. The majority of search engines consider any information on a blog to be important current news, so they pay special attention to articles listed there. As a result, you can use blogs to drive a larger portion of traffic to your Internet business.

For 2010 you should make a resolution to get more traffic to your site. By implementing these three tools into your marketing mix, you will discover that your web traffic (and income) will dramatically increase. 

5 Reasons to Choose a Notebook Over a Computer Desktop

Many of us are so used to working on a computer desktop that when it comes time to purchase a new computer, we don't consider other options. Today, computer notebooks - which were once called laptops - offer a number of advantages over a computer desktop. Here are just five reasons why you should take a second look at notebooks.

1. Mobility

You might be used to pulling up a chair to your computer, but it makes much more sense to pull your computer up to your chair. Laptops can certainly be used at your desk, but you also have the option of bringing them to the spot where you're most comfortable. Maybe you'd like to surf the Web in the evening out in the living room or catch up on your favorite blogs before bedtime. Notebooks with wireless connectivity can travel with you throughout your home, so you can check your email or do your Internet shopping anywhere.

Of course, notebooks also make sense for those who are on the go. Students can take laptops to class and to the library, while businesspeople can take them along while traveling. With WiFi so widely available, it even makes sense to have a notebook while on vacation. With the right notebook, it's easy to take photos with your digital camera, upload them, and email them to friends and family before you even get back home. Or you can use it to write a vacation blog and include those pictures from your digital camera.

2. Better Displays

The size and quality of computer notebook displays has improved so dramatically that there's little difference between laptops and a computer desktop. For example, you can get Apple's MacBookwith a 13.3-inch LCD widescreen (1280 x 800 pixels), a 15.4-inch LCD widescreen (1440 x 900 pixels) or a 17-inch widescreen (1680 x 1050 pixels). Similarly, the Compaq Presario has a 15.4-inch display.



3. Lighter Weight

Just a few years ago, even the lightest notebook was a pain to lug around. Today, though, laptops are increasingly easy on the back. The MacBook is slightly over an inch thick and the Toshiba Portege weighs in at about four pounds. While that's still heavy compared to come of the new ultralight convertibles (Fujitsu's LifeBook U810 weighs only a pound and half), it's a significant improvement over the old seven-pound laptops.

4. Better Computing and Battery Power

Historically, two drawbacks of notebooks were their limited RAM, limited space on the hard drive, and short battery life. Times have changed, though, and laptops now have as much power under the hood as their computer desktop cousins. The MacBook, for example, has 1GB of memory (configurable up to 4 GB) and a hard drive that's configurable to 250GB. This means that your software will hum right along and you'll be able to zip through programs as quickly and as easily as you do on your desktop. Likewise, batteries in today's notebooks don't heat up and don't conk out.

5. More Features

In older laptops, the computer's size and weight limited the number and types of features available. Today, with smaller processors and other components, there's room to pack more features into notebooks. For example, the MacBook has a DVD player, built-in webcam, built-in wireless capability, two USB ports and a FireWire port, built-in microphone, and audio and digital input/output.

There are so many advantages to owning notebooks that, before you buy your next computer, it's worth your while to take one for a spin. 

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Intel starts 2011 with a bang: 29 new Sandy Bridge CPUs are here

Intel used the first workday of 2011 to announce a fresh lineup of Core processors. The second generation of i3, i5 and i7 chips uses the Sandy Bridge architecture and so far includes no less than 29 CPUs.
gsmarena 001 Intel starts 2011 with a bang: 29 new Sandy Bridge CPUs are here
All the new Intel processors are based on 32nm manufacturing process and boast improved performance plus better power efficiency. And it’s not just the reduced-size instructions that lead to it – according to Intel it’s also due to the L3 cache, which is now shared between all cores.
The new CPUs come with built-in HD 2000/3000 graphics that promise a 2x improvement in performance compared to their predecessor. That’s still not matching a discrete GPU, but it’s not like everyone actually needs so much graphics power. Early reviews say that the new Intel graphics are even good enough for gaming if you can live with the lowest detail settings.
The Turbo boost technology was also improved in the latest generation of Intel chips. It now allows for even higher clock speeds. For example the 2.8 GHz Core i7-2600S can reach 3.8 GHz with Turbo Boost, which is downright impressive.
gsmarena 002 Intel starts 2011 with a bang: 29 new Sandy Bridge CPUs are here
If you are looking to upgrade your desktop PC or laptop in 2011 you obviously have quite a lot to look forward to. Intel promises over 500 systems based on the new chips to appear this year so you can bet choice won’t be limited.

Samsung finishes the development of the world’s first DDR4 DRAM

Although DDR4 DRAM is not expected to be in anyone’s computer system until the beginning of 2012, Samsung is already done developing it. The new DDR4 modules will not only be faster than their DDR3 predecessor, but they are going to run using less power as well.
gsmarena 001 Samsung finishes the development of the world’s first DDR4 DRAM
In order to accomplish the lower power consumption of the modules, Samsung is using the 30nm-class process technology.

Now you may be wondering how much faster the new DRAM is compared to the current DDR3. We can’t know for sure, until the production of actual units starts, but here are some initial figures for you. The speed of data transfers that DDR4 DRAM can achieve is 2.133Gbps (gigabits per second) at 1.2V, compared to the DDR3 DRAM, which can only pump out 1.6Gbps at either 1.35V or 1.5V.
The modules make use of a new circuit architecture, which helps them make the jump from 1.6Gbps all the way up to 3.2Gbps. This is tremendous improvement compared to the usual speeds of 1.6Gbps and 800Mbps for DDR3 and DDR2 DRAM respectively. In addition, when used in notebooks, the new DDR4 DRAM is expected to be 40% more energy efficient than the commonly used 1.5V DDR3 modules.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Android Task Killers Explained: What They Do and Why You Shouldn't Use Them

Android Task Killers Explained: What They Do and Why You Shouldn't Use ThemAndroid task killers improve your phone's performance while also boosting battery life—or at least that's the much-debated promise. Here's a look at how task killers actually work, when you should (or shouldn't) use them, and what you can do instead.
A task killer is an app from which you can (sometimes automatically) force other apps to quit, the hope being that the fewer apps you have running in the background, the better your Android's performance and battery life will be. Not everyone agrees with this premise, though. The argument about whether task killers are effective rages all over the internet: Android forums are full of threads with constant bickering and conflicting anecdotal experience, making it difficult for most users to make sense of the situation.
Below, I'm going to dig into the truth about Android task killers: that apart from maybe some older phones, Android manages tasks fairly well on its own, and how task killers present quite a few problems. I'll also take a look at the rare occasions when they're useful, and offer some alternatives you should try to improve your phone's performance and battery-life quirks.
Before we dive in, here's a quick overview of how Android handles process management by default.

How Android Manages Processes

Android Task Killers Explained: What They Do and Why You Shouldn't Use Them
In Android, processes and Applications are two different things. An app can stay "running" in the background without any processes eating up your phone's resources. Android keeps the app in its memory so it launches more quickly and returns to its prior state. When your phone runs out of memory, Android will automatically start killing tasks on its own, starting with ones that you haven't used in awhile.
The problem is that Android uses RAM differently than, say, Windows. On Android, having your RAM nearly full is a good thing. It means that when you relaunch an app you've previously opened, the app launches quickly and returns to its previous state. So while Android actually uses RAM efficiently, most users see that their RAM is full and assume that's what's slowing down their phone. In reality, your CPU—which is only used by apps that are actually active—is almost always the bottleneck.

Why Task Killers Are (Usually) Bad News

Android Task Killers Explained: What They Do and Why You Shouldn't Use ThemApps like Advanced Task Killer, the most popular task killer in the Market, act on the incorrect assumption that freeing up memory on an Android device is a good thing. When launched, it presents you with a list of "running" apps and the option to kill as many as you want. You can also hit the Menu button to access a more detailed "Services" view, that lists exactly which parts of each application are "running", how much memory they take up, and how much free memory is available on your phone. This set-up implies that the goal of killing these apps is to free up memory. Nowhere on the list does it mention the number of CPU cycles each app is consuming, only the memory you'll free by killing it. As we've learned, full memory is not a bad thing—we want to watch out for the CPU, the resource that actually slows down your phone and drains your battery life.
Thus, killing all but the essential apps (or telling Android to kill apps more aggressively with the "autokill" feature) is generally unnecessary. Furthermore, it's actually possible that this will worsen your phone's performance and battery life. Whether you're manually killing apps all the time or telling the task killer to aggressively remove apps from your memory, you're actually using CPU cycles when you otherwise wouldn't—killing apps that aren't doing anything in the first place.
Android Task Killers Explained: What They Do and Why You Shouldn't Use Them
In fact, some of the processes related to those apps will actually start right back up, further draining your CPU. If they don't, killing those processes can cause other sorts of problems—alarms don't go off, you don't receive text messages, or other related apps may force close without warning. All in all, you're usually better off letting your phone work as intended—especially if you're more of a casual user. In these instances, a task killer causes more problems than it solves.

What You Should Do Instead

That said, not all apps are created equal. Many of you have used task killers in the past and actually found that after freeing up memory, your phone works a bit better. It's more likely that this is because you've killed a bad app—one that was poorly coded, and (for example) keeps trying to connect to the internet even when it shouldn't. Any performance increase you experience is more likely because you killed the right app, not because you freed up loads of memory (or, in many cases, it's just placebo). Instead of killing all those apps, find out which ones are actually causing the problems. If you really know what you're doing, you may benefit from using a task killer to stop the one or two inefficient-but-loved apps on your phone.
Note, however, that this is still a contested notion. A lot of developers (including ROM builder extraordinaire, Cyanogen) will not even look at your bug reports if you're using a task killer. In this humble blogger's opinion, your best bet is to stay away from regular task killer usage entirely. If you absolutely have to have that one battery-killing app on your phone, though, kill away—just be aware that when you experience a recurring Android bug later on, the task killer may be at fault. Of course, you can just stop using it to determine whether that is or isn't the case.
With task killers firmly in the better-off-without box, there are still a number of other things you can do to fill the void, improving your performance and battery life:
Android Task Killers Explained: What They Do and Why You Shouldn't Use Them
Watch for Runaway Processes: Previously mentioned Watchdog is a slightly different kind of task killer, in the sense that instead of telling you your phone's out of memory and it's time to go on a task killing spree, it alerts you when the occasional app starts eating up CPU for no reason. You can then kill the app with Watchdog and get on with your day (though honestly, at that point, I usually just reboot my phone). If it happens often with the same app, however, you may want to move on to the next step.
Android Task Killers Explained: What They Do and Why You Shouldn't Use Them
Uninstall Bad Apps: Worse than the occasional, one-time runaway app is the poorly coded, always-eating-CPU app. If you find (with Watchdog or through some other method) that a particular app seems to drain CPU and battery life whenever it's running, confirm your suspicions by uninstalling it and seeing what happens. If an app is causing problems on your phone, you're probably better off without it.
Android Task Killers Explained: What They Do and Why You Shouldn't Use ThemRoot Your Phone: We advocate rooting Android devices a lot at Lifehacker, but that's because it really is as useful as everyone says it is. You can over- and underclock your phone with SetCPU, install custom ROMs that noticeably improve performance and battery life, and use the ever-useful, crapware-thwarting Autostarts utility to stop apps from starting up on your phone in the first place. Honestly, with one-click rooting apps like previously mentioned Universal Androot available for most phones, rooting only takes a few minutes to do, and you'll be much happier for it.
Update: Many of you also mentioned the root-only app Titanium Backup, which will help you get rid of the pre-installed crapware that comes on most phones, which are one of the worst offenders of phone lag. Thanks to all of you that sent this in!
Android Task Killers Explained: What They Do and Why You Shouldn't Use Them
Seriously, Use the Power Control Widget: This may sound ridiculously obvious, but if you aren't already using some form of the Power Control widget, you should. The things that drain the most battery on any smartphone are Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, GPS, and your screen. Turn them off when you don't need them and you'll find that you can eke out considerably more battery life.
Android Task Killers Explained: What They Do and Why You Shouldn't Use ThemCharge Your Phone: Even more obvious yet rarely heeded advice: Charge your phone often. This isn't as hard as it sounds for most people. While you're sometimes stuck going out for 14 hours with no place to charge your phone, the majority of us spend our days in our homes, our offices, and other places rife with electrical outlets. Buy a few extra chargers and place them strategically around your home, car, and office. Whenever you're sitting around at home or working away at your desk, you can use that time to dock your phone and give it some extra juice without worrying about battery or performance drains. Before I upgraded to Android 2.2, my battery life was pretty awful, but just having a charger in my car and next to my computer made a huge difference in how often I got the dreaded "low battery" message.

How and Why Chrome Is Overtaking Firefox Among Power Users

Chrome-Overtakes-Firefox.jpegFirefox has long been the go-to web browser among power users for its impressive feature set, extensibility, and openness. But Google's nimble, light, also extensible and open browser, Chrome, has won over Firefox's core user base. Here's why:
On Monday, we asked Lifehacker readers to share their current browser of choice, and the results were surprising. While we'd expected to see a jump in Chrome usage since our last poll (in which Firefox was favored by 57 percent of respondents to Chrome's 21 percent), we didn't expect Chrome to have surpassed Firefox usage by almost 10 percent. Specifically, out of 40,000 responses, 42 percent chose Chrome as their browser of choice; 33 percent chose Firefox.
browser-poll.jpg
We've championed Firefox at Lifehacker HQ since we opened our doors back in 2005, and we may never be able to adequately express the love we feel toward Firefox for rescuing us from the clutches of Internet Explorer. But if our poll is any indication, there may be a new sheriff in town. Here's how and why Chrome is overtaking Firefox among power users.

Solving Unnoticed Problems

Chrome has fixed problems and made improvements to the browser experience many of us didn't recognize until Chrome fixed them. You can install and start using Chrome extensions without restarting your browser; Chrome isolates tabs into separate processes so if one tab crashes, your browser stays up; or one of the smallest of my favorites: When I close a tab, the remaining tabs don't resize until my mouse leaves the tab bar, meaning I don't have to worry about hitting moving targets. (Try it; it's pretty smart.)

Chrome's bringing a lot of creative new solutions to browsers from a user interface perspective (consolidating the search box and address bar seems so obvious), and they're good enough that Firefox somehow feels like it's playing catch-up on a lot of fronts, and switching between the two, Firefox can start to feel downright clunky. That's not to say Firefox isn't still innovating—for example, a clever new tabbed-browsing interface, called Firefox Panorama, is on its way in the upcoming Firefox 4 release. But Firefox's innovation can feel stale (and slow—see next point) when compared to Chrome.

Frequent, Incremental Updates

As of July, Chrome has accelerated their release cycle so that a shiny new version of Chrome's stable release is available every six weeks. The benefit to the user? Instead of waiting for a massive release to consolidate a laundry list of updates, new features end up in your browser as soon as they're ready, a few at a time. From a user-experience perspective, this is great. Your browser gets incrementally better, and rather than learning to use a laundry list of new features each time there's a major release, you can familiarize yourself with one or two new features at a time.
The upshot: You don't have to run the bleeding edge beta or developer releases to get new features shortly after they're developed.

User Experience Is Everything

speed.jpgEvery few months, we pit the latest and greatest versions of the most popular web browsers against each other in a series of performance tests, and almost every time, Chrome comes out on top. Firefox has made leaps and bounds in speed over the past few years, and despite coming out on top in memory use in the last round of tests, Firefox has one very big problem: Firefox users think Firefox is growing progressively slower and more bloated, and at the end of the day, user perception is always more important than all the speed tests in the world.
I can attest to this: When I use Chrome, it feels faster, and that's all that matters. I'd attribute that feeling to more than just interface design (though I wouldn't be surprised if Chrome's sleeker design does color my perception, too). At the end of the day, I want the browser that's going to deliver web sites and information quickly and pain-free. The extensions and other niceties are just jelly; the browser needs to be fast and serviceable before the other stuff really matters. For users who want speed, functionality, and extensibility, Chrome is turning a lot of eyes from Firefox.

Browser Sync

Power users love things that sync. Synchronization means you can work from any computer and expect the same basic environment. Chrome started integrating sync into the browser about a year ago (not long after its first birthday), and as of June of this year, it had conquered the final frontier of browser syncing—extension syncing.
Yes, Mozilla has their own browser-syncing tool that they plan on integrating in future releases of Firefox, but it still doesn't do extension syncing, and word of its integration came some seven months after Chrome had started built-in sync.
(It's worth noting that a new Firefox extension, called Siphon, can sync extensions across Firefox installs. Also, other third-party tools offer better syncing functionality than either Chrome or Firefox—see Xmarks for bookmark sync and LastPass for password sync—but Chrome's still leading on these in-browser features while remaining lightweight.)

Integration with Google Services

If you're a big Google fan, Chrome has a lot to offer. First, it can sync all your browser data (see more below), and tie it all together with your Google account. If you're a Gmail user, Chrome got first access to drag-and-drop attachment uploads, drag and drop picture insertion, and drag and drop attachment downloads. If you're an Android user, the new Chrome to Phone app-plus-extension lets you instantly beam stuff from your browser to your Android device. Android2Cloud (not an official Google tool) pushes stuff from your phone back to your computer.
When Chrome OS comes out with a stable release, you'll be able to sync your full computing experience by just logging in with your Google account. It's not there yet, but it's all part of where Chrome is going.

Where Firefox Still Wins

Chrome hasn't outdone Firefox at every turn, and it certainly doesn't outdo Firefox on every front. Take, for example, Firefox's best and most robust extensions.
  • As a web developer, I haven't found anything on Chrome that can compare with Firebug (though Firebug Lite for Chrome is a start, and Chrome's Developer Tools are way better than what's built into Firefox). Update: Giving Chrome's Developer Tools another look, they're actually much more impressive than I'd remembered.
  • I don't block ads on the web, but from what I've heard from Chrome users, no ad-blocking Chrome extension stacks up to Adblock Plus for Firefox.
  • If you download a lot of content from the web, you won't find a better tool for streamlining your downloads than DownThemAll. It's only available for Firefox, it's not coming to Chrome any time soon, and I miss it the minute I start downloading a large file in Chrome.
The privacy concerns that follow Google around everywhere they go probably play a more important role here. If you're a big Google user, the search giant is already handling your web queries, email, chat, documents, and calendar. For some, eschewing Chrome for Firefox is simply a matter of not putting too many eggs in one basket (and despite Google's "don't be evil" mantra, they're really not evil-proof). Google's got a tempting basket, too, since the more eggs you put in it, the better it works.

Top 10 Things to Do with a New Windows 7 System

Top 10 Things to Do with a New Windows 7 SystemWhether you've just bought a new PC, upgraded to Windows 7, or reinstalled your OS, a just-installed system is a great opportunity to make some helpful changes and fixes. Here are the things we recommend anyone tackle on a minty fresh Windows.
We've previously rounded up the bulk of our Windows 7 advice, from first installation to fine detail tweaking, in our complete guide to Windows 7, as well as packaged our favorite little utilities and customization apps in a list of 10 booster apps. This guide, in contrast, doesn't include many downloads, and focuses on what one can do to fix up their system from the get-go, no separate app required.

10. Change Up Your Theme

Top 10 Things to Do with a New Windows 7 SystemUnlike its predecessors, Windows 7 offers a lot of non-hacker-ish ways in which you can change the entire look of your desktop, not just the wallpaper. We took an early tour of Windows 7's many free and legit themes, and noted that Microsoft checks in occasionally to provide more themes at its site. If you'd like to keep your wallpaper fresh, but don't want to hunt down the widescreen-friendly pics yourself, set up Bing's backgrounds as a auto-rotating wallpaper feed. (Original posts: more themes, Bing backgrounds)

9. Take Advantage of the Better Printer Setups

Top 10 Things to Do with a New Windows 7 SystemWhen Vista came out, it broke a lot of printer compatibility. Now that most manufacturers have had time to update drivers (and users had time to replace old printers), we can get the most from Windows 7's better printing tools. You can, for example, make your computer change its default printer based on network connections, which can be a real boon to laptop warriors. You can also keep your XP systems connected on your network happily, as Windows 7 and XP can share printers, as explained by the How-To Geek's own site. (Original post: XP/7 sharing)

8. Extend Your Activation Period, If Necessary

Top 10 Things to Do with a New Windows 7 SystemYou swear that you've never used this copy of Windows 7 before, or thought you'd deactivated the license on the system you did use it on. For whatever reason your activation code isn't working, you can give yourself 120 days to purchase one or get your act together otherwise.

7. Set Up XP Mode and Make It More Convenient

Top 10 Things to Do with a New Windows 7 SystemIf you've got apps that just don't play nice with a newer Windows, even with some compatibility mode tweaks, you'll want to set up XP Mode for free and learn how to make the most of it. If Microsoft's own virtualization tools for Virtual XP don't impress you much, go ahead and run the XP Mode image in VirtualBox for full control over states, hardware usage, and other variables.

6. Get Your Old "Show Desktop" Button Back

Top 10 Things to Do with a New Windows 7 SystemTo preview or show the desktop in Windows 7, you need to hover or click on the little translucent bar—that tiny strip there, in the far bottom right. Missing the old puffy-corner icon and a taskbar button to click on? The Tweaking with Vishal blog shows us how to bring it back—kinda/sorta, actually, since you're really creating a small toolbar with just one button. Still, it's a popular tweak, and it helps ease the transition from Windows XP. (Original post)

5. Integrate Dropbox with Your System

Top 10 Things to Do with a New Windows 7 SystemOn its own, Dropbox is a must-install app—it syncs your files, starting at 2 GB, from a folder that just magically keeps itself up to date across all your systems and devices. But you can make it a more helpful part of your Windows system. You can sync folders outside your main Dropbox, for starters, then change the location if need be. There are plenty of other clever Dropbox uses, but in Windows 7, something as simple as adding Dropbox to your Start menu can pay off in long-term time savings.

4. Organize and Customize Your Libraries

Top 10 Things to Do with a New Windows 7 SystemWindows 7's Libraries are one of the OS' neatest, most helpful features, but they don't go out of their way to explain themselves. Luckily, writer Mysticgeek at the How-To Geek's own site wrote up a helpful Libraries how-to, detaling the adding and removing of files and folders and getting a grip on how to make them more convenient. If you'd rather handle your folders all by yourself, you can simply disable libraries, too.

3. Set Up a Dual-Boot System

Top 10 Things to Do with a New Windows 7 SystemWhen your Windows system's new and just-installed, that's when you want to set it up to run another system. In fact, you'll almost always install Windows first when you're dual-booting Windows 7 and Ubuntu Linux. If you're adding Windows 7 in as a companion to XP, we've got a system for doing that, too. Finally, if you're running a Mac and want to add in Windows 7 as its own OS, you can get that done with Boot Camp.

2. Learn the Shortcuts

Top 10 Things to Do with a New Windows 7 SystemWindows 7 has no shortage of shortcuts, like its predecessors, but this newest version of Microsoft's operating system does a lot more to put control of the windows, the new Taskbar, and other really great features into the tips of your fingers. Here's the master list of new Windows 7 shortcuts. Read up, test them out, and learn them. Your fingers, hands, and emptying supply of free time will thank you.

1. Get Your Must-Have Apps Installed Quickly with Ninite (and the Lifehacker Pack)

Top 10 Things to Do with a New Windows 7 SystemYou've probably got a set of free, downloadable apps you install on every system. Each of those apps has a license agreement, a usually redundant series of options to click through, and a wait while the app installs. Ninite lets you pick out your apps from a web form, then download a customized installer that plugs all those apps into your system at once, no extra clicks needed. Which apps should you grab? We've got a Lifehacker Pack full of suggestions, and a page at Ninite pre-loaded with those picks.