Wednesday, February 28, 2007

What to do when Windows Vista goes in to reduced functionality mode?

(screenshot courtesy zdnet photogallery )

If you fail to activate and validate Windows Vista within stipulated time, it goes in to reduced functionality mode for a period of 3 days before your computer is locked. Fine, but a pre-activated and validated Windows Vista may also go in to reduced functionality mode and want you to validate it again - due to some software/hardware bugs. Yes, you are reading it right. Windows Vista may go in to reduced functionality mode as had been experienced by Ed Bott. Adrian Kingsley-Hughes, had graphically described the disaster recovery process he had adopted in such situations. According to him, you can relax a bit. You can do many things even in reduced functionality mode-

  • You can use command prompt to do various but limited tasks.
  • You can use networking for file access and transfer.
  • You can use Internet Explorer to browse web.
  • You can use IE7 to access file system.

Further, you can enhance the grace period to validate Windows Vista for further 30 day in real desperate situation. Here is how:

Start IE 7, and go to Computer>Local Disk>Windows>System32 and select cmd.exe and then right click on it. Then select Run as administrator. It will ask for your permission, click on Continue and on the command prompt that appears, (go to Windows > System32 directory, typically it is C:\windows\system32 and give command if you find difficulty in running command from other location) give command-

slmgr.vbs -rearm

After the command is over, it will ask for a reboot, and in the first screen, you will be prompted to validate Windows Vista. Choose Ask Me Later and you are done.Your Windows Vista will now have a grace period of 30 days to get it validated.

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Tuesday, February 27, 2007

How Phishing sites work? See it live on You tube.

Yes, F-secure had brought a video for you that you can download (8 MB, XviD format) to watch how phishers work. Alternatively, you can watch the video on Youtube here.

Phishing sites registers themselves with look-alike names to fool users. In the said video, working of a phishing site named - had been investigated. The phisher was found to redirect credit card information to a certain gmail mail address!

Must watch informative video.

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Monday, February 26, 2007

The best free edutainment software for your kids

Gcompris: One of the best, cross platform, free Edutainment software for your Kids.

Gcompris is a collection of educational games that provides many edutainment activities for your children aged beyond 2. It has nearly 100 activities as of now, and many more are being added. Moreover, the best part of Gcompris is it is available in 18 International languages! Gcompris is meant for Kids, but in fact, some games are so lovely and well thought, even I love to play them!

Here is a quick look - what will you get from this free edutainment suit-

Discover the Computer activities : Keyboard and mouse manipulation activities.

Discovery activities : Color, maze, memory, time, geography and sound based activities.

Experimental activities : Many educational activities such as Know water cycle, electric schema, Sea race etc.

Amusement activities : Football game, tuxpaint, animation etc.

Mathematical activities : calculation, geometry, numeration activities.

Puzzles : Many puzzles that includes Tower of Hanoi, fifteen games etc.

Reading activities : Letter, word reading, pronunciation, fill in missing letter, typing etc.

Strategy games : Chess, oware, bar and connect game.

These educational games have many levels and your child may engage and enjoy these games while learning simultaneously.

Download Gcompris 8.2.2 for Windows from here and for Linux from here. The complete and full version of Gcompris is bundled pre-installed with Knoppix live DVD - just boot in to it and enjoy these games without the hassle of installing it in Hard disk. For more information, visit

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Wednesday, February 21, 2007

How to install 3D Desktop in Linux

3D Translucent Desktops are talk of the town ever since Windows Vista had released with these eye candies and visual effects. Nevertheless, it is a sad fact that Windows Vista can only give you these visual pleasures only on machines installed with high end graphic cards. Owners of entry level, hugely popular 3D graphic cards like Intel 865 chipset based on-board graphic cards can't dream to display Windows Vista Aero 3D graphics.

On the other hand, in Linux platform, you can have 3D and all kinds of Windows translucent visual desktop effects even on these entry level 3D graphic cards like on-board Intel 865 chipset. Here is how to install and enable 3D desktop in Linux.

There are various solutions - such as -Beryl, Compiz and Mettise. You can find many Linux distro with default Beryl support. SUSE has nice Mettise support in its certain version. But the most popular 3D desktop solution in Linux is Beryl. You need to install, configure and run Beryl in your Linux machine to get effects of 3D Desktop. you can install Beryl in your any Linux distribution in many ways, but it is recommended to install it through apt (Debian based installation) or yum (Redhat/Fedora based installation). For example, to install Beryl in Fedora, give following command -

#yum install beryl-gnome

To install Beryl in Gnome environment.

If you use KDE desktop environment, then the command will be-

#yum install beryl-kde

Make sure, you must be connected to high speed Internet. Beryl packages were about 7-8 MB download. After giving above commands, follow on screen instructions, and, after a while, all packages required to run Beryl will get installed.

Then, to start Beryl, the 3D Desktop, simply give following command:

# beryl-manager

Your 3D desktop will be up and running.

You can set animations, window behavior and hundreds of other visual effects of 3D desktop through Beryl Settings. To run Beryl settings, simply give following command:


A setting and configuration window will appear where you can tweak various parameters of your Linux 3D desktop.


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Tuesday, February 20, 2007

The ‘Open' Tower of Babel

By - Rajesh Ranjan (rajeshkajha at

Here's a reality check on the regional desktop localisation efforts. According to the Bible, there was a time when all those on earth spoke one language. And humanity, united by one language, started building the Tower of Babel to reach the heavens and discover the ultimate truth. As this was open defiance against God's wishes, He thought that the best way to stop these efforts would be to create confusion between humans by making everybody speak different languages so that no one could understand each other. Soon, humans could no longer communicate with each other and the work halted. The Biblical myth ends with the tower being left unfinished, and mankind's dream of reaching the heavens effectively thwarted. "The confusion of tongues" created by a Biblical God has been preventing knowledge decentralisation even today. And this very confusion has also become a barrier in the process of actual penetration of IT, as more than 80 per cent of the population of the world speaks a language other than English. But in the world of open source, GNOME and KDE are serving as the ‘open' tower of Babel. GNOME and KDE are the two most popular desktop environments and are available in several languages. Today they are eroding the layers of the "confusion of tongue" by helping to create desktops in the languages people can understand.

The first constructor

GNOME 2.16 has just been released. Dzongka, Hebrew, Indian Bengali, Latvian, Malayalam, Norwegian Nynorsk, Slovenian and Tamil are the new languages supported in this latest version. Also noteworthy is the support for British and Canadian English. Among the languages of the Indian sub-continent that were already supported are Indian English, Gujarati, Hindi, Nepali and Punjabi. Marathi, Oriya and Telugu are also moving towards being supported. Do not be surprised by two versions of Bengali, Bengali (bn) and Indian Bengali (bn_IN). This is the result of the choice and freedom that open source offers to its communities. GNOME 2.16 is the world's first desktop release that features support for the Unicode Character Database (UCD), version 5.0, which defines more than 99,000 characters for the languages of the world. The improvements are built into GNOME libraries GLib and Pango, and are thus available to all other open source and free software projects that use these libraries. Some Indian regional languages are spoken by more people than the national languages of certain other countries. Sixteen of the top 70 global languages are Indian. GNOME and KDE ‘open' desktops are available in several languages. With more and more computer users shifting towards Linux, the demand for localised interfaces has gone up for non-English speaking users. The power of IT is coming to people in their own language. It is very exciting, but not a simple task at all. Translating the whole GNOME desktop is no mean task. There are 32715 strings to translate in GNOME 2.16. For GNOME 2.16, if you take a look at the status page, 119 languages are listed as being supported by the GNOME project. This statistic is mind-boggling. No commercial project can even think of localising as many languages as GNOME and KDE support.

The other constructor

KDE started translating itself before KDE 1 was released. And since then, KDE has added new languages every year. KDE's I18n (internationalisation) team leader, Stephan Kulow says, "In 1999, we had only 34 languages; in 2003 we were with 74 languages and today we have 88 languages." He also adds, "For KDE, translations are very important as many users do not speak English well enough to understand the interface without translation. KDE does not select languages, the translators of a language select KDE." This is the main advantage of open source. Commercial projects select languages on the basis of market share and profit, but KDE takes what it gets from contributors. Hindi, Tamil, and Punjabi teams have done wonderful work in translating KDE. Gujarati, Marathi, Bengali and Kannada are registered at KDE but these teams are not so active nowadays.

IndLinux has long been working on GNOME and KDE L10n (localisation). While steering the Hindi effort, it has also helped start Gujarati, Punjabi and many others. Even Nepal and Bhutan used IndLinux expertise to train their teams for localisation. The progress of the Nepali language on the GNOME L10n front has been very impressive. But the main force behind IndLinux- Karunakar-is not very satisfied with the progress of the recent localisation efforts. He feels that for the past one year, not many new translations have been added; existing ones have been updated or maintained. He stresses the need for a review workshop. Due to initiatives by Sarai and IndLinux, review workshops for the Hindi language have happened twice but most other languages lack this important aspect of localisation.

Hurdles in the path

The key to judging any language translation is its comprehensibility and consistency. Localisation of a desktop should be done according to the users' point of view. So without the review of the localised desktop of GNOME and KDE, it is not possible to get the entire benefit. Therefore Karunakar feels that the effort needs addressed first," asserts Ratlami. He goes on to add, "What we've addressed is only the tip of the iceberg. There are hundreds and thousands of things to be done in each and every Indian language." He gives the community a shot in the arm when he says, "The community has achieved something big with so little resources." According to Ratlami, KDE is definitely better, well thought out and well designed. Ravikant of Sarai has a very strong rationale for the availability of most linguistic projects on open source, "From its very inception, Sarai-CSDS has been inspired by the debates and practices around free software. We believe that these debates are crucial in understanding and interrogating the property regimes, the new form of which we encounter in the shape of ‘Intellectual property'. The licensing In the world of open source, GNOME and KDE are serving as the ‘open' tower of Babel. GNOME and KDE are the two most popular desktop environments and are available in several languages. more volunteers, more translations and more feedback from users. But unfortunately, that has not been coming in a significant way. "Localisation is one activity that has a low entry barrier, where anyone can get into the FOSS development. While it may seem a monotonous task, it can be very enriching in the long run and help preserve the language in the digital age," says Karunakar. Ravi Ratlami, one of the Indic language pioneers in open source localisation efforts, stresses on the need for some common funds to attract volunteers to do translations. "This job is very boring, non- glamorous and thankless in India. It must be compensated for in various ways. Also, there still exist several problems related to Unicode, Inscript or Font, that the community faces during translating anything into their mother tongue. These problems are of prime importance and should be procedures that challenge the dominant norm established by EULA are good for poorer societies like ours. Free Software is also the way to go for localisation, for globalists- induced localisation is on the whole market driven. The market typically supports languages that have big user-bases with a legacy of linguistic resources at their disposal. I believe that this digital moment is the one to grab if the languages that missed the print-technology bus want to revive themselves. It is easy to generate, store and circulate content in practically any language, even the ones that do not have a script. So smaller linguistic communities do not have a choice other than embracing free software, which allows for any number of modifications and adaptations across languages."

The ‘sarkari' behaviour

Talking about the government attitude towards open source software and desktops, Ravikant quips, "My views about the government's attitude towards either open source or localisation are far from charitable. For one, hefty corporations like Microsoft have a foothold in the highest echelons of power in the country. If Bill Gates dines with the prime minister, the media gleefully reports the meeting as if Windows is the only computing reality. Second, the government actually spent a great deal on local solutions, but its model was an old bureaucratic one. It allowed small companies to play with forms and formats, resulting in anarchy of fonts and standards. This delayed the localisation process considerably in India. Third, the government also made the mistake of creating solutions with expert-driven methodologies, and it tried to earn money on what could be popular solutions. The result is that people refused to buy redundant software like Ileap. You can also see that even Microsoft had to launch community portals for its language solutions." That is where Ravikant and several others believe that free software is invaluable-you have the opportunity of catching and correcting errors and bugs all the time. Ravikant adds that the Indic solutions from the Indlinux group of volunteers-which Sarai has been a part of - is far superior, more creative and on the cutting edge than any other efforts. He complains that they have approached the TDIL and CDAC more than once to use software that is freely available in the public domain, but the organisations do not evince any interest.

The hope still lingers

In this age, information is power. The quality and quantity of information that we have decides how powerful we really are. The quality of localisation is heavily dependent on the community. That is one reason why some proprietary companies have also launched community portals for their language solutions. But the community working for them is not the real community. The real one is the open source community, where power lies with the community itself. Punjabi localisation enthusiast Amanpreet Singh Alam is very positive about the success of open source desktops, "If common people start participating in any war, then it is impossible for any army to defeat a country and its people. So is the case with free software and open source versus proprietary software. Eventually, the peoples' desktops- GNOME and KDE-are going to win." And once the construction of the ‘open' tower of Babel is over, the knowledge of IT will be available to everyone, irrespective of commercial benefits.


(originally published in Linux For You magazine, Feb, 2007)

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Saturday, February 17, 2007

Windows Vista : Tips and tricks

Windows Vista Tips : Tip #1

How to display file extensions and hidden files in Windows Vista?

By default, Windows Vista does not display file extensions of known file types and also does not display Hidden files.

If you want to display them, follow these simple steps:

Open Windows Explorer by clicking Windows startup logo in taskbar, and go to All Program>Accessories>Windows Explorer.

On Windows Explorer menu bar, click on Organize and then click on Folder and Search Options

In the window that appears, click on View tab and de-select Hide extensions for known file types and click apply. It will display file extensions in Windows explorer and everywhere else.

To display hidden files, click on radio button - Show hidden files and folders to select it, click Apply and you are done.

Windows Vista Tips : Tip #2

Where to find Multimedia Video demo tutorial of Windows Vista?

Windows Vista comes with many Multimedia Video demo tutorial, and that includes - Learn to how to use the mouse!

You can find them in the directory - windows/help/windows/en-us

The media files (in Windows media video format) are:

Media file name Brief description about tutorial

accounts.wmv - Understanding user accounts

internet.wmv - Using the web

mail.wmv - Using windows mail

mouse.wmv - Learning to use the mouse

navigate.wmv - Getting around in Windows

organize.wmv - Working with files and folders

printing.wmv - Printing in Windows Vista

programs.wmv - Working with programs - Start, stop, install and uninstall programs

security.wmv - Security basics - Firewall, antivirus, spyware protection

started.wmv - Understanding the parts of computer

support.wmv - Diagnosing problem and getting help

As you can see, these tutorials are of very basic in nature, don't help you much, and if you are pretty advance user, you may not need them at all! Hence, you can safely delete them. They occupy 54 MB hard disk space - no wonder Windows Vista demands more than 6 GB hard disk space to install itself - just to install things like that!

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Friday, February 16, 2007

Windows Vista : The First Indic reView

You can find zillions of review about Windows Vista all across Internet and in every technical and non-technical Magazine. Every body has his own reason to praise or bash Windows Vista. However, I have not come across any review in which Indic Language computing capabilities of Windows Vista had discussed.

Finally, I had able to review Windows Vista for you taking in account its Indic Language computing abilities and support. Here are my take:

Though I know the minimum Hardware Requirements for Windows Vista before hand, still I wanted to dirty my hand by trying to install it on my 2.8 G.Htz, 256MB RAM machine. Nevertheless, my attempt failed. The minimum requirement of RAM for Windows Vista is 512 MB and its installer halts if it does not find minimum 512 MB RAM in your system. I had to rush to market to buy additional 256 MB RAM. I have to write this review anyhow.

I attempted to install Windows Vista once again after upgrading my PC's RAM to 512 MB. After further two step, its installer again struck demanding at least 6.8 GB free HardDisk space (recommended space is 8.3 GB) and that too in NTFS partitions. It seems that security is prime concern for Windows Vista, and that is why; it has completely dumped age old, un-secured FAT file system. In my PC, I had two hard disks 20 GB and 60 GB each, with many tiny partitions including some for various versions of Linux, and I had no free partition with that much of free hard disk space. Anyhow, I emptied one of the partitions, merged another to get 8 GB, converted it in to NTFS, and then proceeded once again for Windows Vista Installation.

My third attempt to install Windows vista finally succeeded. It takes about an hour to complete its installation. The first new thing you will notice during installation - you will get option to select default ‘System' as well as ‘Keyboard' Language. Since my version of Windows Vista was English, hence, there was only one option - English Language to select as system vide Language environment. But there were almost all language keyboard of almost all languages of the world you can choose for your default Keyboard. There were many Indic languages like Tamil, Punjabi, Gujarati, and Malayalam and, of course, Hindi. I selected Hindi (Indic, Unicode Hindi Inscript as default keyboard) as my default keyboard. The default Hindi Keyboard gets enabled from initial login screen. But, unlike Linux, alas!, I happily find Keyboard setting tool right there at the corner of login screen through which I can toggle my language between English US and Hindi through mouse click or through left Alt+Shift keys, else one cannot login if his user name and or password is stored in English Language characters. You can add additional language keyboard through control panel, but I cannot find a simple way to change the default Hindi Keyboard in to English.

Once you start installation, its animated cursor keep animating for about one hour until the installation is finished. Unlike previous version of Windows, it does not tell you how much time it will take, and what it is doing in the background. Once you forward one-step in installation, you cannot go back to correct or change any installation setting.

After installation, I came to know that Windows Vista could not recognize my Realtak PCI lan-card which is still working perfectly with Windows XP and Linux (installed in same machine in different partitions). Further, my onboard PCI Audio needs to setup externally.

After this roller coaster experience of Windows Vista installation, first thing attracted my mind was - decoration of Windows Vista. Much talked about translucent and 3D desktop still needs high-end graphic card, which I do not own, yet, Windows Vista desktop is looks lovely. You ware greeted with on-the-fly changeable desktop wallpaper and colorful login icon. Program menu has new incarnation and there is no infamous ‘Start' button any more. Instead, you will find colorful Microsoft Windows logo with various menus arranged neatly. For example, to shut down your PC, you do not need to click notorious ‘Start' button any more. When you hover your mouse pointer, entries gets aligned and dropdown lists come alive - expand and collapse dynamically. Programs have been arranged differently, and traditional Windows users may find it little hard to adapt to it. Some new tools and games had also been added. Chess finds a place in Games section and there is Snippy tool to capture Windows Screen. Snippy tool lets you highlight a selected portion of screen during screen capture. Minesweeper too has a great facelift, now it is all 3D with great graphics and multimedia capabilities - Bombs explodes with audio-visual bang and smoke and all that. Windows Vista has agreed that Search is big business now, and hence it has added Search as a very first menu in Program start menu.

Windows Explorer too has a total transformed, new look with dozens of new features. At the right top most corner, you will find a search input box. It searches for the files by the names as you type in the current directory. The search function is quite powerful, and supports Unicode search. I searched for Kahani in Unicode Hindi (कहानी) and it dynamically produced all the files having a string ‘Kahani'. But when I gave option to search specific word within files, my computer hanged. Similarly, when I tried to run the external third party ‘Snippy' screen capture program (not the default Snippy tool that comes with Windows Vista) , Windows Vista crashed and restarted automatically. Folder navigation in Windows Explorer has been made easy and it reminded me of Konqueror - the KDE file manager, but Windows Explorer has more extended functionality. In folder browse view, entries gets self aligned according to availability of space for best possible view. When you select any item, the details were shown beautifully with better graphics. All these well though features makes our computing life easy. Isn't it?

Security is prime concern for Windows Vista. At every instance when you try to tweak system setting or install a new program, it asks you for your confirmation, and it locks computer unless you give your consent. During boot or during shutdown, occasionally it takes unusual long time, and you had no clue what is going on beneath it.

Windows XP's NotePad had full Unicode Indic support, but Unicode support in WordPad was somewhat buggy. Windows Vista's WordPad has full Unicode support, and Indic typing and rendering (I tested with Unicode Hindi) were flawless. It even gives you option to save your word RTF file in Unicode.

While using Windows Vista, I was constantly reminded sub-consciously that I am using Linux and working with KDE and Konqueror. Similarly, currently, when I was working with yet to be released Linux Fedora Core 7, I was happily stunned that its program menu had been re-designed with Windows simplicity. What does it means? It means, Windows is becoming a bit complex, a bit geeky like Linux and Linux is becoming more easy more Windowish! Great!

Windows Vista had hundreds of more new functionality and features, reviewing them are beyond the scope of this article. But it sure is that Windows Vista is all set to climb to a new height of a popular, function full, secure Operating System - it will make your computing chore easy yet with full security.

My final Verdict? - Windows Vista is not for UPGRADE to your current system. Either your old hardware may not function well or your old software may not support. If you are planning to buy a brand new computer - whether a Laptop or Desktop PC, then consider going for Vista, else you need to rush to shopping mall to upgrade your hardware. But, then, isn't it a high time to get rid of your current, old, garbage like system?


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Tuesday, February 13, 2007

First Look: BOSS - The Indianized Linux

After a quick review of BOSS - Bharat Operating System Solutions - Live CD v 1.0 (Tarang), my final verdict:

Impressive, Easy to use, out-of-the-box Indic support.

BOSS is Linux operating system distribution, brought to you by CDAC to address your Indic Computing problems. It incorporates all kinds of Indic language resources. It has Pre-configured and Pre-enabled SCIM (Smart Common Input Method) for following Indic Languages :

Language Available Keyboard:

Hindi : Inscript, Phonetic, Remington

Bengali : Inscript, Probhat (phonetic)

Gujarati : Inscript, Phonetic

Kannada : Inscript, KGP

Malayalam : Inscript

Nepali : Romanized, Traditional

Punjabi : Inscript, Jhelum, Phonetic, Remington

Tamil : Inscript, Phonetic, Remington

Telugu : Inscript

Marathi : Inscript

All these keyboards are pre-installed and a particular language keyboard can be enabled with a simple mouse click.

Further, it contains special localized version of OpenOffice - called BhartiyaOO. In addition to that, you can find a nice, document format conversion tool. With this tool you can convert proprietary Microsoft documents to OpenOffice format and that too in bulk. BOSS has comprehensive user manual. It has Plug and Play USB and Blue-tooth support. However, multimedia support is lacking in many count. It has kept itself steer clear by not including proprietary media codec. But, there are methods given in the manual to how to install them.

BOSS has full NTFS read-write support, and when you boot through its live CD, all such hard disk partitions gets mounted in rw mode. It also has 3D desktop support through OpenGL, but your hardware must be advanced enough to display 3D.

Installation of additional application or up-gradation of applications are easy. You can use apt for debian packages or alien for rpm packages.

By default, BOSS boot in English environment, and you need to logout to change language the environment. It will be better if the option for language selection will be given during boot process - implemented in similar multilingual Indian Linux distribution - Rangoli.

You can download BOSS live CD v. 1.0 from Here. You can visit BOSS wiki Here


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Monday, February 12, 2007

Yahoo! Pipes : customize your feed subscriptions

I had subscribed to more than two dozen feeds. Managing and reading them becomes hard as number of contents gets piled up. Now, with all new Yahoo! Pipes Beta, I can manage all of them in a single location online. Not only that, I can sort, filter and do many more such operations with feed contents prior to final display.

The best part is, I do not need to write complex code and give complex command syntax. I can use very easy, graphical online tool - Yahoo! Pipes. I simply drag-n-drop modules, collect them in order to process, and save them. The end result will be simple, yet mind-blowing. I can share my customized feed with any one over the internet. The output itself is in rss format.

Here is a simple, quick example- Narad, the popular Hindi Blog aggregator gives contents sorted by the time of publication of a blog. I created a Yahoo! Pipe for Narad and filtered its feed through Alphabetical Ascending order. I hate cricket, so I filtered out by blocking all contents having occurrences of word Cricket. The output is simply impressive, which you can see here. It seems that Pipes Beta has some bug - it does not display Unicode Indic (Hindi) character in contents correctly, though it displays them correctly in post headings.

Presently, Yahoo! Pipes works only with RSS and Atom feeds. However, a similar, but not that easy or graphical as Pipes tool called NewsRack is available for quite some time that also works with non syndicated contents (use crawlers to collect new contents) as well.

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Sunday, February 11, 2007

Top 10 Valentine gift ideas

Well, if you believe me, there is no such thing as top 10 great gift ideas for Valentine. Or, for any occasion, like Christmas or birthday. There is only one - I repeat - only one (one for each gender, to be precise,) evergreen great gift idea. If you still believe me, read on...

Great Valentine gift for him:

Men love gadgets. The more complex the gadgets becomes, men like them more. If a man finds a complex program that needs one and a half day to install and run, just to type a dozen line of simple text, then he gets immense kick and pleasure. Simple dumb programs do not attract him much. If you gift him a microprocessor controlled complex looking real complex beer can opener tool, he will thank you a million time, love you equally more and will proudly show his prized gadget to every passerby. Got my point? So rush to a hardware shop, find a real complex, ultra modern tool for your man. Even if he had all kinds of tools and gadgets that he may dream of, you can still gift him similar, slightly different. It will make no difference. He will love to have it, have them all.

Great Valentine gift for her:

Women love gifts. However small may be. They love simple, usable gifts. But they actually love ‘BUYING gifts'. Women love shopping. Got my point? Let me elaborate further. You love your woman, and want to surprise her with a great expensive gift. You secretly buy one and present her at that special moment. In all probability, she may hurt inside because she instantly know that the color scheme does not suit her skin, but apparently, she will show you that she is very happy. Either she will not use your gift any more (may be due to a different size, if color is acceptable) and dump it in her cupboard, or she will exchange it very next day. Now you got my point? Yes, gift your woman shopping experience. Take her to shopping mall to buy a valentine gift for herself and you pay the bill. If you do not want to get over budget, tell her the upper limit to spend. In all probability, she will spend much less than that, and still feel happy.


Happy Valentine day!

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Saturday, February 10, 2007

First look at Fedora core 7

Fedora core 7 is slated to be released at the end of April 2007. However its test version is available for download and preview.

I tested Fedora core 7 test live CD in my Celeron 1.4 Ghz, 256 MB RAM machine. The first thing came to my notice - Fedora now has neat and clean, Desktop computer like interface. It now has neat program / application menu, where applications are neatly arranged. It reminded me of Windows Desktop. Windows users may now feel familiar with Fedora core 7 program menu. In fact, it has Accessories program menu which contains Archive Manager, Calculator, Character Map, Dictionary, Terminal (the command prompt) and Text Editor (notepad) - how windowish!

Further, a new taskbar menu called Places contains Home folder, Desktop, Computer and Network - handy since most users frequent these places most often. However, Fedora core 7 still uses Nautilus File manager, which is not the best option. Instead, the new, XFCE's file manager Thunar that can be used independently might be a better option - Thunar is better in every count - is fast and feature rich in comparison to plain odd Nautilus.

The other big difference you will notice in this distribution - applications of Fedora Extra are merged in Fedora core, and there may not be fedora extra any more.

You can download Fedora core 7 (test built) torrents from here and distribution images from here

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Thursday, February 08, 2007

Who needs silly eye candy and 3D desktops?

XFCE-4.4.0 : For the people who need speed and not silly eye candies for their cmputing need...

Xfce, the lightweight Linux desktop environment's latest version - xfce-4.4.0 is out. It has new, lightening fast file manager called Thunar, which has been re-written from scratch. Thunar has some amazing built in file preview thumbnailers that can be customize and extended at will. Thunar also uses Gnome's thumbnailing technique.

Thunar is claimed to be real fast, easy and capable to do most things a user wants in his file manager. Not only that, Thunar's interface is clean, intuitive and does not include any confusing or useless option by default (you can add them later if you wish :)). While testing, in the same machine, Thunar instantly started up whereas Konqueror takes ages to load initially.

Thunar is secured enough, it can execute applications, but, by default it runs only certain executables from certain locations only and not all, and has some nify built in functions such as bulk renamer that can further be extended at will - for example, you can add ‘Send to Flickr' context menu in Thunar. Thunar comes separately (though the part of xfce, but Thunar has separate installer) and runs independently, therefore, you can use it in Gnome / Kde as well if you do not want to use xfce only for Thunar.

However, when you download Xfce-4.4.0 graphical installer and try to install it in fedora core 6, you will face some backward-package-compatibility issues, and installations fails. It is therefore recommended to use web based installation of Xfce since it handles package dependability automatically. For web based installation, use start menu option > install - update application > desktop > xfce. Make sure your internet connection is up and running and has good speed (the installer is about 25 MB download)

And yes, the Xfce-4.4.0 has new look too. It has new set of icons, menu more intuitive with greater functionality. for example, settings contextual menu will show you almost all system setting related command - from keyboard to mouse to desktop view setting to choose from. Xfce is localized in many languages too.

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Saturday, February 03, 2007

Yet another Windows Vista - Linux comparison : Which one is Better?

(Screenshot of Free Mandriva Linux)

Linux is better, and, Windows has written longest suicide note in history with its Vista Content Protection Specification.

I am not saying them. I am no authority to say anything like that, either. These are the findings of two separate studies done by industry pundits.

Why Linux is better than Windows Vista?

Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols has done detailed shootout - between Windows Vista and Mepis Linux - from installation to hardware detection to smooth running along with much hyped features like 3D, translucent desktop and many more in the very same machine.

His conclusion: Overall, Linux is Better than Windows Vista.

Now, you will ask the obvious question: Who is Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols?

Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols is an advanced Computer user and system administrator. According to his own words:

"I've been working with Vista since its beta days, and I started using Linux in the mid-90s. There may be other people who have worked with both more than I have, but there can't be many of them. Along the way, I've formed a strong opinion: Linux is the better of the two."

Read full story Here.

Why Vista Content Protection Specification is considered to be a death knell for Windows?

Peter Gutmann, summarizes his lengthy, yet interesting research paper about Windows Vista Content Protection Specification somewhat like this:

"....Windows Vista includes an extensive reworking of core OS elements in order to provide content protection for so-called "premium content", typically HD data from Blu-Ray and HD-DVD sources. Providing this protection incurs considerable costs in terms of system performance, system stability, technical support overhead, and hardware and software cost. These issues affect not only users of Vista but the entire PC industry, since the effects of the protection measures extend to cover all hardware and software that will ever come into contact with Vista, even if it's not used directly with Vista (for example hardware in a Macintosh computer or on a Linux server). This document analyses the cost involved in Vista's content protection, and the collateral damage that this incurs throughout the computer industry...."

He sums up his research with this one line executive summary:

"The Vista Content Protection specification could very well constitute the longest suicide note in history"

Peter Gutmann is a researcher in the Department of Computer Science at the University of Auckland, New Zealand, working on the design and analysis of cryptographic security architectures.He had helped write the popular PGP encryption program and have authored a number of papers and RFC's on security and encryption including the X.509 Style Guide for certificates, as well as Cryptographic Security Architecture: Design and Verification (published by Springer- Verlag). Most of his time is taken up with development and support of the open source cryptlib security toolkit.

Read the full story here

What is your opinion? Just Comment on.

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