New mystery from Microsoft?

February 27, 2006

origami projectEver wondered what Microsoft has been upto lately? With Windows Vista knocking on the door to be released and Office 12, what else is Microsoft plotting right now? Well the latest scoop is based upon this new web site called origamiproject.com. Now, the question of the day is, “What’s origamiproject.com?” All we know so far can be concluded into this: It belongs to Microsoft and appears to be a part of some viral marketing campaign. Currently the web site has nothing but an ambiguous AT&T-esque message that says, “Hello. Do you know me? Do you know what I can do? And where I can go? Or how I can change your life? You will. Learn more on 3.2.06…” There are “Week 1,” “Week 2,” and “Week 3” buttons, but currently only Week 1 (the above message) is enabled. Some fingers are pointing to a similarly-named handheld prototype that National Semiconductor demoed at COMDEX in 2001, but I’m skeptical. Conveniently, origamiproject.com has an RSS feed that’ll presumably notify you when “Week 2” is enabled. I wonder what is the deal with this origamiproject.com…. what is Microsoft upto now..?

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Tacky scratchy!

February 27, 2006

How many times this happened to you that a friend of yours borrows some CDs from you and vanishes in thin air without any trace only to crash in your place a couple months later to “check on” with you and give you back something which happens to belong to you. So, after like a couple months you get your stuffs back, not to mention some rather scratchy looking *artworks* on the shiny side of quite a few of them. This should be a rather accustomed kinda matter provided that you have a decent CD collection and some amazingly (un??) grateful friends. However, when those CDs happen to contain one of your esteemed and most preferred stuff, this kinda situation, no matter how customary, should get onto your nerves real badly. So, there I was, starring blankly on those zigzagged lines on top of the shiny silvery background, I did not understand why it felt as if those were not mere lines, I felt as if those lines were actually cast on my flesh, engraved almost, unchangeable and immutable, as if divine proclamation had been pronounce upon me! Lol.. okay.. I might be exaggerating a bit but I was basically mortified after I found my beloved authentic DVD version of the simply awesome unplugged performance of the Eagles from the year 1994 that my uncle sent me from the states a couple years back, in that kind of state.

So, there I was, desperate to find a way to retrieve the data from the disk. I found numerous tools in the internet that claim to be effective in retrieving data from CDs, no matter how damaged. I gave every friggin one of them a shot only to find my drive in even a seemingly worse condition than the DVD itself, which was rather natural after all those bullying sessions it had to cope with me. It took me quite a bit of time to realize that making it do something that it didn’t want to do on the first place wasn’t such a great idea after all. That was one of those rare few occasions in my life when I decided to consult professional help rather than my own knowledge. I coughed up a few hundreds bucks to get myself a copy of the original one and had to be satisfied with it.

Anyways, obviously CDs don’t last forever and scratches sure can pose some major problems with your CD. For those people who had faced or are facing similar kinda problems and are really desperate to fetch the data from the damaged CD, might find this tutorial from hardwaresecrets rather useful.

Was the CD’s contents are preserved, a scratched CD can be recovered by polishing its plastic surface. If, after carrying out the above cleansing, the CD persists in giving reading errors, just polish the CD with toothpaste. That’s right, toothpaste. It works wonders, and you won’t spend a fortune buying professional cleaning kits. Polish the scratches with a cotton swab, rubbing gently the paste-imbued swab over the scratches until they disappear or until you notice that you have removed them as far as possible. Sometimes the paste may cause new scratching, but it will be merely superficial and easily removed. After clearing the scratches, wash the CD in water.

Hope you guys have more luck with the digital resurrection thing than i had myself!

Yahoo! Answers
Google
released Google Answers a while back as a paid service. It will cost you $2.50 per questions and guarantees that you will get one of its 500 researchers to answer your question within 24 hours. In answer to Google, Yahoo recently released Yahoo! Answers, which is very similar to Google Answers with some differences in features and services. For starters, its completely free!

So, the deal with Yahoo! Answers is that its free to ask questions and you can even answer questions. Yahoo realised that just because you are not a “researcher” doesn’t mean you can’t answer a question about something that you know very well.

To use Yahoo! Answers, simply log on with your Yahoo! id (or just get one incaes you don’t have one), than just type your question in the question box. Yahoo! Answers will keep your question open for two weeks. But in most cases your question will be answered pretty soon. I can assure you that becasue i asked one myself and got a reply in matter of a few minutes.

Now, here is how things get even more cool! Yahoo has included a really neat looking point system. As you sign up, you will get 100 points instantly. Each time you choose the best answer to your question you get 5 more points.. put your answer to a vote and you get another 5 points! You get points for signing in, voting for an anser or rating a best answer. If you are rated as having the best answer to a question, you get 10 points.

So, now, what are you going to do with all those hard earned points? Well, you will be promoted to higher levels (1-7) and get a “super-special yahoo! answers thank you”. mmm.. okey.. the rewards are not all that great, but every free things have limits!

Here is how the level system works: From levels 1-4 you get your level number*10 answers (ie. level 1= 10), questions and ratings. Levels 5-7 offers you unlimited numbers of questions, answers and ratings.

The point system is really interesting, but the most interestingand the most important thing about Yahoo! Answers is that it allows people to maximize their knowledge and help other people who have burning questions. You can also search for questions that has already been answerd.

The procedure is really straightforward and nice designed. So, is it better than google? I think.. it just mi8ght be..

You can access Yahoo! Answers from here.

Ever thought what is this song?.. just let Tunetic tag it for you!

Here is a nifty piece of free proggie I stumbled upon while looking for a tag editor. It lets you find artist or such information about songs. A really handy tool provided that you have audio files without any kind of tag information.

Got this song you really like but have no idea who the artist is or from which album the song is from? Just let Tunetic listen to the song and it will get the artist’s name and the song’s title in matter of seconds. Tunetic is the very first song search engine based on the sound of your computer. All you need is a microphone and internet access to use this software.

For further information, documentation and downloadable links you can visit here.

smiley_headphone

contemplation

How does one define life? I mean.. common.. what is the meaning of life anyway? Why am I going through this so called thing called life every friggin day.. why am I nourishing this organic body of mine.. providing it with indispensable substances to keep it animated..? To live another day? Or maybe a few more months.. or years? Be it another day or few more years.. gaea will get rid of my existence nonetheless and alter it into an antiquity of some sort. So, is that it? Is life all about just waiting for that so-called “judgment day” to come.. or is there something else to it.. some greater purpose, perhaps?

Talking of purposes.. when you give this issue some thought every friggin living being out there, have one basic aspiration to live.. and that is to survive. To them life is all about survival.. so what about us.. the homo sapiens..? Is life all about just survival to us..? Technically speaking.. yup! We are living to survive; survive in a tangled jungle created by us to begin with. But in our case, the difference from our fellow non human dwellers is the existence of a degree in the term “survival”. For some, the term “survival” refers to just appeasing the most basic of needs such as hunger… while for certain people this exact term goes through some interesting changes… picture all the insanely rich folks out there and you’ll get the point.

..mmm… frankly the more you think of this kind of issues the more jumbling it gets. So, the best solution is ditch these kind of *silly* contemplations and enjoy life the way it is.. whatever it is… and live yet another day for certain things.. or certain people who care about you… your existance..

Anonymous Web Surfing..

February 25, 2006

With all the increasing privacy issues in the internet, anonymity has become a major concern these days. TekMonkey.org published a simple tutorial to help you anonymize yourself while surfing the internet.

Anonymity is you right!

Check here for the tutorial.

The three free methods pointed in the tutorial are (1) Using a web-based proxy, (2)HTTP proxy with a browser and (3) Using Tor.

From personal experience, i’d say that using a web-based proxy is the easiest and most hassle-free way to stay anonymous for a short period of time. Although the method is easy to use and offers fast results, not all web proxies support every kinds of scripts. Plus you might not feel comfortable with it. But it offers fast results and is nevertheless, a good choice if you are looking for a hassle-free way to be anonymous.
The second method suggests you to search for usable proxies and change your browser’s network settings to function with the corresponding proxy. While this may sound a bit time consuming and may require knowledge on clients site, this method will offer a more permanent result of anonymity.

The last option suggested is using a free software called Tor, which is developed by EFF (Electronic Frontier Foundation). Using this proggie will allow you to be routed to several secure encrypted Tor servers, makin it impossible to trace your whereabouts.

Happy anonymous browsing!

World Press Photo of the Year 2005

For those who are not aware, World Press Photo is run as an independent, non-profit organization with its office in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, where it was founded in 1955.
The organization is controlled by an independent management board and employs around 20 permanent staff members. The Amsterdam office acts as the hub for a network of professional contacts worldwide. The cooperation and assistance of people in this international network makes organising the contest, exhibitions and other activities on such a large scale possible

Celebrating its 50th anniversary year, World Press Photo has launched a digital photo gallery with the entire collection of the award winning photos till date. If you haven’t seen these already, just take a look at the World Press Photo winners. Some truly stunning (in all senses of that word) pictures.

The following information is provided by Canon Australia, who are one of the sponsors for the exhibition.

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World Press Photo began with a competition, and even now the competition is at the core of the foundation’s activities. Held annually, the World Press Photo contest simply creates an overview of how press photographers and photojournalists tackle their jobs worldwide. It is the only international event of this stature, not simply just bringing together pictures from all parts of the globe but also reflecting trends and developments in photojournalism, and revealing how the press gives us the news.
This the 50th anniversary year the of World Press Photo foundation and in this occasion they launched a photo gallery which includes all World Press Photos of the Year to date, including captions and context, plus portraits and short biographies of the authors. From the iconic images of the Vietnam War to key photographs of more recent date, the gallery is a kaleidoscopic catalogue reflecting issues that moved the world in the last half century. While browsing through the full range of awarded images, it is easy to be struck by the visions, events and emotions illustrating the history of the profession of photojournalism.

For further information please visit Canon Austraila .

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What makes the competition significant this year is the fact that for the first time the photos were judged in digital format.

What makes the competition significant this year is the fact that for the first time the photos were judged in digital format.You can check the digital exhibition here.