Tuesday, October 06, 2009

External USB hard disk not detected

Many external hard disks fail to get detected on some systems, whether they run Windows xp, windows vista or even linux.
The reason for this problem is the USB ports. Many USB ports are not directly connected to the motherboard, they use some internal hubs to connect to the cabinet of the PC.
The solution to this problem is to connect the external hard disk to a different USB port,preferably USB ports in the back of the CPU.
The drives fail to detect because they are not getting enough power from certain USB ports, connecting the external hard disk to the rear end of the CPU will solve the problem.
The fix mentioned was tested several times, and it works with all external hard disks.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

OpenID: Login anywhere with a single id

OpenID Basics
Most websites require a user to login before they can start using their website. So,users are forced to signup at every single website they intend to use.The signup process is usually a time consuming process since email verification is mostly necessary in order to verify the validity of the user.
Yahoo's id can be used across its network (email,groups,answers etc),and Google's id can be used on its network (gmail,gtalk,blogger etc) and Microsoft has Passport (mail,Spaces,and all MS services including Windows itself).
But what about the other majority of internet not owned by Y!,Google or MS? Its where OpenID comes to the rescue.
Started in 2005, OpenID eliminates the need for multiple usernames across different websites.Its designed by the OpenId foundation which provides it as a open source implementation. OpenID can be signed up using one of the OpenID providers. Once signed up,it can be used across the network of websites that support OpenID.OpenID foundation claims that OpenID is supported by more than 50,000 websites.
Some major websites include blogger,wordpress,livejournal,scribd,digg,dailymotion,facebook etc.,and more and more websites are starting to support OpenID gradually.

OpenID offers users ease of use and there is no need to sign up in websites supporting OpenID.
For website owners,the advantage is that more users will be signed up for their website since users dont need to signup separately, and users only need to sign in into OpenID and join the website.
So,users can easily join an OpenId supporting website.Thats a plus for both users as well as website owners.
Moreover, OpenID can be easily implemented by website owners.
And regarding security,the OpenId password will not be submitted to the website, it will be submitted only to the OpenID provider who acts as the middleman in the sign-in process.

Yahoo supports OpenID
Yahoo started to support OpenID in 2008 as a OpenID provider.The implication is that existing Y! ids can be used as OpenID logins (username/password).However, it needs to be enabled separately.
Just go to openid.yahoo.com and login with Y! username/password and enable OpenID.
After that, Y! id can be used to login into any OpenId website.
An important thing to be noted is that the Y! username/password should not be entered directly into any website's login boxes.Enter yahoo.com in the OpenID field.The browser will redirect to Y! authentication servers.Y! username/password should only be entered in Yahoo's login page.
Of course,the user has the option to sign up with any OpenID provider.
Even Google and Microsoft are OpenID providers.

OpenID providers: websites that allow to create OpenIDs (trivially, Y!,G and MS allow creation,but they can't be used for login in their own networks,but usable on all websites implemeting OpenID)
OpenID websites: websites that allow OpenID to be used as a login method (websites that allow users to login)

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Estimated worldwide internet users

Infographic from newscientist.com

Sunday, July 05, 2009

Yahoo groups ad container is obscuring mail content

Ever since Yahoo groups adopted the box type advertisements on top of email, users are irritated by the advertisements that hover over the email content rather than flowing with the content.
Yahoo groups adds these advertisements to all emails processed by the groups' system.
So, the email that comes via yahoo groups end up obscured,that is,partly hidden behind yahoo's own advertisements.
Every service need advertisement revenue,but ads should not be over the content.
Ads should not mask the content.The
elements are having absolute positioning values and they hover over the content.
This is predatory advertising.

Notice the green arrow,it points the advertisement.
This screenshot taken at 1600x900 resolution with latest Firefox.

This screenshot taken at 1024x768 with latest IE 8

This screenshot taken at 1024x768 with latest Firefox.

In all the screenshots, the ad masks the content of the email.
It masks images as well as text.
Atleast, this box should have a close or hide button.
Else,it should be positioned relative to the content.

I have contacted Y! groups, lets see if they correct this.
Y! ads spoilt the first ever earth rise photo by placing their ad over the image in my mail,

Y! has responded to my complaint, here is the response from yahoo.

Hello Bharath,

Thank you for writing to Yahoo! Groups.

I understand that the box in the upper right-hand corner of messages
from your group is covering text within the message. I apologize for
any inconvenience.

The details you have reported have been passed along to the proper
support group for further testing.

In the meantime, if you switch from "fully featured" emails to
"traditional" the box will not show up when you are viewing messages.
There are 2 ways to change this setting:

Option 1:

- Go to any page in the group

- Click "Edit Membership" towards the top of the page

- In "Step 3" select "Traditional" and click "Save"

Option 2:

- Send an email to groupname-traditional@yahoogroups.com (Replace
"groupname" with the full name of your group).

- You will receive a confirmation email, reply to the confirmation email
and your settings will be changed.

If you have any other questions or concerns, please let us know. We're
always more than happy to help and we appreciate all feedback that helps
us identify ways to constantly maintain and improve our services.

Be sure to check the Official Yahoo! Groups Blog for more information
and the latest updates about Yahoo! Groups.




Yahoo! Groups Customer Care

Comparison between "Fully featured"(left) and "Traditional"(right) mail delivery.
Fully Featured Traditional

The above mentioned fix suggested by Yahoo groups works.
Change mail delivery to traditional.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Override right click protection and save images in websites

Some websites disable right click and drag/drop on certain images to prevent users from saving them.
Its very inconvenient for those who want to save a local copy of some images/photos.

In Firefox this can be done by ,
1. Tools -> Page Info
2.Select the Media Tab, all images on the page will be listed with adress at top and preview at bottom.
3.Press the "Save as" button above the preview pane and save the image.
Interestingly, a similar process can be also done using IE 8, Internet explorer 8 has some interesting developer tools.

In IE 8,
1.Press F12 or select T00ls-> Developer Tools
2.On the developer tools window, select the menu Images ->View Image report
3.A report of all the images and their attributes along with preview open in a new tab in IE.
4.Right click and save the image required.

Friday, June 26, 2009

RapidShare Fined $33 million

Court rules site, and others like it, are responsible for ensuring copyrighted material isn’t illegally hosted on their servers.

The Hamburg Regional Court of Germany has ruled against German-owned file hosting website RapidShare this past Tuesday. It found the site guilty of violation of German copyright law and set damages at about €24 million ($33.4 million).

In what could prove a key precedent, the court found Rapidshare, and by extension similar file-sharing sites, bear principle responsibility for ensuring copyright-protected material is not illegally posted on their servers.

The ruling was a major victory for German royalty collection agency GEMA, which had brought the suit against Rapidshare for allowing some 5,000 protected music titles to be posted on their site.

“The judgment states that the hosting service itself is now responsible for making sure that none of the music tracks concerned are distributed via its platform in the future,” said GEMA in a press release. “This means that the copyright holder is no longer required to perform the ongoing and complex checks.”

RapidShare’s been under assault by copyright holders for a while now, it’s most recent attacker being German book publishers who wanted the site placed on the ISP’s blacklist of blocked sites.

Apple's ipod 3.0 firmware unlocks bluetooth for 9.95USD

Apple released the iphone/ipod firmware 3.0 version recently.
The catch for ipod touch users is that this firmware upgrade is that it activates(unlocks) the bluetooth chip in ipod touch.Ever since it was released,there was no bluetooth option in ipod touch,but it had an option to connect with Nike gadgets.
The chip that was used for Nike is now being unlocked to provide bluetooth access to ipod touch,enabling multiplayer games,wireless headphones etc.
But, there is a catch here too, the firmware upgrade is not available for free.
It needs to be purchased for 9.95$ (USD). (file size 257.8MB)
Normally, it is the duty of the vendor to provide firmware updates for free.
Imagine Nokia selling its phone's firmware updates,or Microsoft selling service packs!
Apple has monopoly in this segment since they are the leaders.

And then, there is this problem of Apple bundling stuff.
Quick time is bundled with itunes.Why cant Apple integrate quicktimes' codecs into itunes itself?
I have itunes 8.1 and its been bugging me to upgrade to itunes 8.2,but i declined the upgrade. So, what Apple did was to bundle the ipod touch 3.0 firmware with itunes 8.2!I need to upgrade to itunes 8.2 in order to upgrade to 3.0 firmware which i bought for 10USD.

All in all, the bluetooth unlocking is too good to resist.
The upgrades in 3.0 include,

Stereo Bluetooth

Multiplayer peer-2-peer gaming

Landscape mode typing in Safari,Notes etc


Friday, June 19, 2009

Mobile number portability by September 2009

- MNP (Mobile Number Portability) will allow a mobile customer to change his/her service provider for any reason, while keeping the old number intact, all for a small fee.

- IT minister A.Raja had said that MNP will begin in October. (on June 2009)

- Mobile number portability (MNP) is set to roll out in Chennai from September, the focus will now shift from pricing to quality of service.

- In most of the countries where MNP is prevalent, the subscribers are not charged for availing the service.

- TRAI had earlier recommended a charge of Rs.200 for the number changing procedure,since higher prices may make the service unattractive.

- Number portability will be able to keep a check on the quality of service offered by mobile service companies and is also likely to provide a level playing field for all mobile companies, including new entrants.

Related news
- Tamil Nadu has a very high penetration market for mobile companies in the country. Already, Chennai has the highest teledensity at 111% (111 mobile phone connections per 100 persons)

- Tata Docomo, a joint venture between CDMA major Tata Indicom and NTT Docomo of Japan, will launch its GSM services in Tamilnadu by June-end.

- Idea Cellular, an Aditya Birla company with services in 17 of the 28 circles, is all set for a commercial launch in Chennai.

- Sistema Shyam Teleservices Limited (SSTL), a joint venture between Sistema of Russia and Shyam Group of India, which rolled out its telecom brand MTS' in Tamil Nadu recently, has clocked 55,000 subscribers within a month.

- Reliance Communications, which rolled out its GSM services in Tamil Nadu in April with a soft launch, will soon start full-fledged services across the state.

- The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) is considering to introduce portability for the Direct-to-Home (DTH) segment.So, one DTH set can be used with DishTV/SunDTH/Airtel's when DTH portability is implemented.The procedure is in initial stages,may take years to implement. (TRAI was recommending Number portability for mobile phones since 2003!)

Sunday, May 10, 2009

How to force restart or shut down ipod touch

There are certain instances in which the ipod touch needs to be restared manually, such as in the case of application crash, or irresponsive ipod.

To restart the ipod touch, press and hold both the power button at top and the home screen button at bottom middle.Press and hold for few seconds, ipod will restart.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Travian troubles

From travian website,
Travian is a browser game featuring a world with thousands of other real players. One begins the game acting as a chief of a tiny village.
The problem with travian is that it requires the players to put in their maximum possible amount of time.Thats unrealistic expectation because players have their real life to tend to.
played on two travian worlds each lasting ten days.
On the first world, i played as a newbie and then switched to a different world with a good experience to play. But, being a browser game,and without much interactivity the game demands too much time.After 2 weeks,alliances started building up and i joined in one of them.I met players who played 16 to 20 hrs per day,and they are the successful players. Any players who spared a few hours a day will be farmed like hell, thanks to their system of timed construction where one just gets to watch a timer tick to zero.

Resources keep accumulating and unless you spend your resources wisely in every 6 hrs(max),your resources will be stolen.How can anyone spend their time to check in on travian so many times a day? Most people done even check email, or reddit or digg so many times a day.

And, its unlike WOW,where one can engage in something interesting all the time, watching the timer is a gruesome part of travian.

My advice to any would-be travian players, please keep away from travian unless you want to waste your precious time watching stupid timers all the time (atleast play Warcraft 3 or WOW!).
The fact that one spends a lot of advertisement money does not mean they have a great product in their inventory.

Monday, March 02, 2009

A glimpse of future computing

An inspiring video by Microsoft.
<a href="http://video.msn.com/?mkt=en-GB&playlist=videoByUuids:uuids:a517b260-bb6b-48b9-87ac-8e2743a28ec5&showPlaylist=true&from=shared" target="_new" title="Future Vision Montage">Video: Future Vision Montage</a>

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Simple screenshot application

This app takes the screenshot of the current window and saves it to a file.
File location and file name prefix can be changed,date and time stamp will be attached to the file name automatically. The screenshot taken can be opened by clicking on the "view" button.
And, there is no need to worry that your screenshot can get overwritten,since i attached a very unique date,time and millisecond stamp to the file name.

Screen shot taker 1.0

The application is available for download here.
VB.net developers looking to modify it can get the source code here.

Dont try to take screenshot of empty desktop,will work fine for taking screenshots of any window, i didnt care to fix that bug since there cant be no productive use for taking screenshot of empty desktop.If anyone wants to fix it view above source code.

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Apple ipod touch 8GB extensive review

Bought my Ipod touch (8GB)for 12,000 INR on 23rd Dec 2008 at TNagar,Chennai.
Its features include 3.5inch touchscreen(multi-touch),533MHZ ARM processor,WIFI...

I was a bit disappointed at the time of purchase due to the fact that the ipod wont even start up until its connected to a PC with iTunes.Sadly, iTunes isnt provided in a CD.It simply said "Connect to iTunes" till i connected it via datacable to a PC with iTunes.
Thats where the disappointment ends.

As soon as it starts up,its a very feature-filled device.
The menus and navigation are excellent.
This is the starting screen(Home screen).

One row at the bottom is dedicated to Music,Videos,Photos and iTunes.
Sadly, entering into iTunes says "This store is not available in your country(India)".

Let me list out the apps available by default.
Then there is the settings icon and App store icon.
Safari browser works great,zooming in and out are done with simple gestures using two fingers.
There is support for opening multiple webpages,and the browser changes to landscape mode upon rotating it sidewise.
Youtube application provides Youtube integration and is ised to browse and view YouTube videos directly without opening the browser.

One more drawback is that it is not possible to download from the AppStore without providing a credit card.
Actually, there are loads of free apps on the AppStore and you may never need to spend a single rupee to get those free apps,but, you still need a credit card to create a iTunes account.The iTunes account is required to download any app from the AppStore.
But, once an account is registered, more than 15,000 applications await at the AppStore.

Most free apps and games are enough to provide entertainment/functionality, but there are some must own apps that can only be bought, albeit at a very small price.

Another headache is iTunes.
It is not possible to acces the device in PC without involving iTunes.
iTunes is responsible for managing music,videos,photos and apps.
And,its not possible to transfer and view ebooks(pdf)/documents(word,ppt,excel etc).
But, such files can be viewed on the browser if the files are opened via internet.
Here is a simple workaround i found.
I bought this "Memory Stick" app from Appstore for 45Rs (0.99$).This app can store any file and the file can be opened in iPod,and documents can be viewed from within the app. There are some free apps to provide this functionality too,but they have certain limitations.

Here are some photos of the ipod.

In standby,

Locked screen,

Safari browser,

Safari in landscape view,

Audio player app,library view of Albums,

Audio player, "Now Playing" screen,

YouTube app,

The "stocks" app,

AppStore, Category view,

Mail app,

Maps app,

Glossy, mirror like bottom-side of iPod Touch,

Sorry about the amateur photos, thats what i could make out of a N73 camera during night.

A warning note to all ipod users, never set your ipod headphone volume to more than 80% maximum.It leads to loss of hearing gradually.Apple is being sued to indicate this warning on its ipods.Read more about volume limiting here.