Hello reader! 2007 is about to end, and MBB wanted a theme (Theme #4) about the end, so here is my contribution. Thought it might be a good idea to review the year from my point of view, and talk about things that marked this interesting year, alas with a bloody ending.

For me, 2007 started on a good tune, with my HSC coming to an end, and results being announced. Not bad actually, those Aaa and BB. I kinda sux in Maths and Physics sooo.. :/

Nothing much after that. The long months of holidays, doing nothing, unless spending 12+ hrs per day on a computer can be considered to be an "activity". I think my mom didn't consider it to be, so I was "motivated" to go for N+ and S+ courses. Was nice, specially after some friends and myself accidentally wrecked havoc there! I think I'm officially banned from bringing a laptop now! :( Those were nice. Very nice. The teacher, Ikhlass was fun! Miss those times! Sorely miss them. :(

After that? Uni! That was the best! A totally new experience for me, and totally worth it. New friends, new faces, new poke victims, new things to learn. Niiiceee! The only thing I complain about is that I have too much free time during the day. Why can't all the courses be crammed in morning, leaving afternoon free? This remains to be answered.

Basically, this was my year. Nothing so great after all. Now, how did the world change in 2007? If I could resume it all in one idea, I'd say that 2007 was just a bloody year. Call me a pessimist or negative person, but it was the truth. Want proofs?

Virginia Tech Massacre. Iraq war. Assination of Mrs. Benazir Bhutto. Oh yes, it has been a bloody year for most of it. War. Bloodshed. Terrorism. Violence. Suicide-bomber. Those might be the most used words in the news in 2007 IMHO. The pictures down can only remind us of the violence we came to face in 2007. A bloody year indeed.

The year is going to end in the world mourning the death of a woman. Benazir Bhutto was assassinated less than a week before the year ends, on the 27th December of the bloody 2007. I personally think that killing a woman, defenseless at that, can simply be called inhuman.

However, the year also had its positive sides. Al Gore won the Nobel Peace Prize for his priceless work on climate change, and his movie which is a real eye-opener, and is a must-watch.

We also saw the coming of the much hyped device from Apple, the Iphone. It might not be the gadget of the century, but that small thing surely packs enough power to satisfy most users in performing usual tasks.

Another happening that surely got much media coverage was the Digg revolt, whereby users posted the famous "Numbers" related to HD-DVD encryption, and this line came "You'd rather see Digg go down fighting than bow down to a bigger company." That should indeed be a clear sign that big companies can't simply mess with customers as they see fit.

After a while, we finally got to see the end of the Harry Potter series. Not much of a big event, but still, it reaped some millions to Rowling. So it's worth mentioning.

I dunno what more I can say. These events are those that marked my year, and I'd be glad to hear what marked yours! So? Comments appreciated! :P

Right! It's THAT time of the year... you know... pine trees, snow, twinkling lights, fireworks, GIFTS! It's:

Christmas Time! :P

I'm sure many of you have already chopped their tree, or bought their plastic thingy one, and have already filled it up with twinkling, shining, roundish and spikish stuff which makes it all pleasant to see. Why all the effort? Come on! I'm sure it's because of the gifts that will be placed at its foot. This plant deserves special attention IMHO. Maybe some of you have even readied their:


Ok, I don't put up socks 'cuz I don't want my gifts being restrained by the size of the sock! Lol.

Anyways, I'm sure good old Santa Claus is riding to your place a-la Ghost Rider style, sky flaming snowing, along with the rocking music and beard flapping in the wind. Vrooom! (I don't know what sound reindeers make)

Check out the "ride"! :P

So I think you will find

gifts under the tree tonight! What are you expecting?

Gentlemen might be expecting something like this:

Wonder if it fits under the tree...

While ladies might be looking for this:

Twinkling lights! Where does Santa get the $$?

While the bad kids can only expect to see this:

Coal, folks!


Oh yes! Anybody who knows me, knows that I love these! I just hope there is no void in there! :P

Anyways, on this note, I wish you, dear reader


and hope that you get what you wish tonight, whatever it may be, physical, material or emotional. Santa is here, time to make a move.

Inf has booby-trapped his place with motion sensors, lasers, homing cameras, alarm systems, trapdoors, cages and other stuff. I'm gonna catch the one who leaves things in my room for Christmas! Come'on Santa! Try evading me this time (even if you did for the last few 20ish years)...

In the morning, I reset my router because I wanted to know if it was causing Daryna's (Linux Mint) Static IP addressing to go haywire. Figures that it had nothing to do.

However, I had to reconfigure my router, and made a huge blunder. Somewhere, I forwarded port 81 and 82. At first I got no issues, but troubles soon came.

I wanted to check my mail, and saw that I could not access my Hotmail account. Nothing from the Live domain worked, even msn and Microsoft's site. Weird. Digg didn't work too. However, other sites worked normally.

I thought Hotmail was down or something, maybe the DNS servers in Mauritius got some problems, but nothing. Neelesh said Hotmail was up and running, and there was no mention of MSN/Live servers having any trouble. That meant the problem was on my side.

I searched like mad, checking my routing tables, pinging addresses, netstat, virus scan and whatever I could think of. Nothing.

The funniest thing is that, even Daryna could not access Hotmail. Meaning it was not OS related. I then turned towards my router. I changed settings. Nothing.

Then I noticed the 2 forwarded ports, 81 and 82. I suspected that this might be the problem, since 80 is for HTTP traffic. I deleted the forwards, and tada! I could access everything again.

Moral of the story: Never forward ports you are not sure of. That holds for ports less than 10000. These are especially important. It's a lesson learnt for me.

I woke up yesterday, and got really irritated at Kubuntu. I suddenly hated its bulkiness, its looks, its bugs and all. I wanted something minimalistic. I wanted GNOME. Dunno why. It was just an urge. I checked out Ubuntu Gutsy. After a while, I got a bit tired of anything *buntu-related. I wanted something new, and I required simplicity. I wanted things to work out of the box. After some checking, I found a new distro that is quickly rising to fame. Linux Mint. I wanted to try it out, the distro that claims "with freedom came elegance". Nice slogan. So here's my nooby review of Linux Mint. I got Linux Mint 4.0: Daryna.

Linux Mint is essentially based on Ubuntu, running kernel 2.6.22-14, and GNOME as interface.

~700MB later, I had my new distro ready. I booted into it via LiveCD. Yikes! Gripes. Dunno why, but it didn't boot at first. It just showed me a nice black wallpaper, and my cursor. GNOME was not starting. Reboot! Again, but this time, I saw the GNOME bottom panel, but blank, and no icons! WTF! REBOOT! Poof! This time, for a weird reason, everything loaded fine, and I got my desktop and all icons and all. Strange...

Desktop and Menu

After this rough start, I wanted to try it out, to see if it lives up to its name. At first sight, I really really liked its minimalism. No longer did I have to see a large KDE panel at the bottom. The sleek GNOME panel was awesome. The wallpaper, and the default theme gave an incredible look.

From the menu, I could see a whole bunch of applications already installed, most notably Firefox, Thunderbird, Pidgin, GIMP, Totem, Mplayer, Amarok, Open-Office 2.3 and Serpentine. All the awesomeness of Linux already there! These are really useful, and I didn't have to install those. Overall, I had what I needed out-of-the-box.

Regarding drivers, I was amazed. My WiFi (Intel Pro Wireless 4965) worked directly, prompting me for ESSID and the other usual settings, and minutes later, I was on Google. Same for my graphics driver (Intel GMA 965), giving me my 1280x800 native resolution. Sweet!

What really amazed me in Mint was its support for formats. Most audio I threw at it worked, directly out-of-the-box! Same goes for video. I tried mp3, avi, mov, rmvb, flv and wma. Anything I tried, Mint ran them all! This is superbly great! I had a whole portable media player system directly from LiveCD. Flash plugin was also installed by default! Here I come, Youtube!

Media support (Rmvb playing)

So much awesomeness prompted me to rapidly discard my bulky and buggy Kubuntu Gutsy install, to be replaced by Mint.

Install went on smoothly, with the usual questions of language, keyboard, timezone, partitioning and all. 15 minutes later, I had Mint installed and running fine.

File browsing is handled by the quite heavy Nautilus, but I didn't complain. I might try Thunar some time later.

File Browser - Nautilus

What I want to say is that Linux Mint is really great for users that want a simple and clean system, that is fast and efficient, and that works without hours of configuration. Judging from what it offers, I confidently say that I'm moving away from Ubuntu, towards Mint. It's that good, and I tend to be very exigent. Even then, it manages to satisfy me very well. I didn't have to set permissions for my File Browser to run. I didn't have to ndiswrapper anything (note that there is a GUI front-end to ndiswrapper in Mint - useful for beginners), and did not have to install anything to get an almost complete system. My devices were all recognized out of the box, and I can say my sound is better on Mint than on Vista! I hear bass more clearly now. Dunno why.

In fact, till now, I only installed gkshutdown - to shut my pc automatically at desired times, and the updates being offered. Nothing else was required till now.

Aside from all this goodness, there is also a control centre, sort of control panel where you can do all your system setting changes and customization. It's pretty useful if you want to tinker with loads of settings.

Control center

Note that for eye-candy lovers, Compiz is already installed and usable. Unfortunately, I am unable to use it due to issues with the GMA 965. Maybe later, when the issues are resolved. I've seen guides to make it work, but I'm not in the mood to be downloading Xserver packages and all. Maybe later..

Mint is a complete Linux system, with added support for media formats, already installed goodies and apps. It also has the generic features of linux, like workspaces, terminal and everything you might expect to see in any decent distro. And it has this with GNOME: Custom panels. This is extremely useful.

Custom Panels

To conclude, I'm heartily recommending Mint to anybody who wants a simple and sleek Linux distro that works. It easily handled all my media, detected and ran all my devices and has all the apps that I commonly use. What more can I ask? Apart from the initial booting problems of LiveCD, I have no complaints. I think that after loads of searching, I finally found my soulmate distro. For now.. :p

Anyways, whatever I say here might seem great, or bland, depends on you. The best way to get to know Mint is to go download it and give it a try. Even if you don't install, check out the LiveCD. I can say it's one of the most usable ones out there.

Btw, this also qualifies for Theme #3 of ThemBB Weekly Themes! This is my review of Linux Mint.

As always, comments appreciated! Thanks for reading.

I'll start a sort of "bi-monthly post" as from this week, titled Useful Apps, in which I'll TRY to make you discover a new application, or one that I use often. It might help you, just as it helped me. Most of these apps will be freeware/open-sourced. Say twice per month or so. Might be more frequent. Might be rarer.

So, this week's candidate is... *drum roll* IZARC!

IZArc is what people will call, a free alternative to the popular WinRAR. In fact, that's how I came across it. I was looking for free Zip programs to use, and after using 7Zip for quite a while, I was sorely missing a very useful feature from WinRAR which is called "Extract to Separate Folders". This allowed me to select a bunch of archives, and have them extract to each one's separate folders. Eg. 1.zip, 2.zip, 3.zip would extract to folders 1,2,3 and with their subfolders if any.

7Zip did not offer me that facility. WinRAR was not free. Possible choices were: IZArc, Zip Genius and some other names. Just google "WinRAR freeware alternatives" and come up with your own list. Some offered me "Extract to Separate Folders", but none offered me the simplicity of IZArc.

As you can see from above, the interface of IZArc is really clean and friendly, and a bit WinRAR like. I like this simplicity. The task of extraction is furthur simplified since IZArc integrates with your Explorer shell, as shown in the menu above. Vista is also supported. Like WinRAR and others, IZArc offers the common things people look for, like self extractor, test archive, backgrounding tasks, and more.

Regarding compatibility, IZArc supports:


As you can see, the list is quite extensive, including: ZIP, RAR, IMG, ISO, NRG. This means that IZArc can open ISO files generated by your burning program, and you can extract the contents like an archive. Pretty nice and useful.

Nothing much to say more, except that it's the best Archive manager I came across till now. It's freeware, and spyware-free. It's totally worth the download. If you want a new Archive manager, give it a try. No regrets from me, and no complaints till now.

For more info, check their site.

And for people who want portability, check out IZArc2Go, the same greatness, but portable! Very useful if you need to extract/pack something on the go, without the need to install anything. Run IZArc2Go from your flash drive or portable media, and you are off.

File sizes: ~3.5MB

One of my contacts on MSN sent me a link: http://www.free-offers-your-clicks.com.

I immediately thought it was some kind of spamming program that sends its links to the person's contacts.

Being curious, I went to the link and saw it redirected to www.blockdelete.com

As soon as I saw this site, I knew there was something wrong with it. I didn't even bother to test it.

According to me, this site is a SCAM SITE / Spam Harvester that will phish for your msn account and get your email address to spam you. I really think this is a phishing site that's after your username and password.

I will NOT advise using this site, putting in your login name and password. If you have been a victim, it's important to change your password as soon as possible.

AFAIK, there is NO sure way to know who blocked you on MSN, and site like these will NOT help. DO NOT input your credentials (username, password, or personal details) on sites you are not sure of.

More info here:

Peter Bromberg's Blog
Whirlpool Forums

I saw a Mind Test off Neelesh and thought I'd give it a try.. Personally I think it's highly accurate! :)

Lemme know ur comments. Here's the results..

ISTP - "Engineer".
Values freedom of action and following interests and impulses.
Independent, concise in speech, master of tools.
5.4% of total population.
Free Jung Personality Test (similar to Myers-Briggs/MBTI)

Introverted (I) 53.33% Extroverted (E) 46.67%
Sensing (S) 52.78% Intuitive (N) 47.22%
Thinking (T) 57.58% Feeling (F) 42.42%
Perceiving (P) 52.78% Judging (J) 47.22%

hidden, private, has trouble describing feelings, not very affectionate, loner tendencies, lower energy, can be insensitive to the misfortunes of others, disorganized, messy, fears drawing attention to self, anti-tattoos, anti counter culture, not comfortable in unfamiliar situations, avoidant, rather unemotional, does not like attention, more interested in intellectual pursuits than relationships or family, hermitic, not complimentary, dislikes leadership, more submissive then domineering

favored careers:
aerospace engineer, technician, computer scientist, software engineer, software developer, scientist, bar owner, automotive technician, electrician, engineer, mathmatician, industrial engineer, nuclear engineer, biotechnology, mechanic, systems analyst, computer animator, data analyst, video game designer

(OMG! Check all the geek things in that list! :P)

disfavored careers:
artist, fashion designer, theater director, poet, dancer, actor, singer, english teacher or professor, art teacher, healer, stage manager, florist, art therapist, school teacher, music journalist

And my Global Personality Test...

withdrawn, not wild and crazy, private, loner, not relationship obsessed, not swayed by emotions, insensitive to the needs of others, unhelpful, interested in intellectual pursuits, avoidant, does not put the needs of others ahead of self, thinks before acting, very scientific, not upset by the misfortune of strangers, avoids small talk, values solitude, private, does not get worked up about most things, fearless, unaffected by the suffering of others, calm in crisis, not easily excited, won't do much to avoid rejection, not known for generosity, not easily confused, cold, not prone to complimenting others, dislikes most people but tries to get along to minimize hostility, hard to get to know, more dominant than submissive, not easily hurt, driven by reason, influenced more by self than others, rarely worried, hard to impress, not that interested in relationships, hard to influence, not concerned about failing when trying something new, self confident, knows why they do things, not easily moved to tears, not prone to jealousy, not guided by moods

During my casual news scanning, I saw two interesting articles which I thought are worth commenting here. One of them is an interesting program, and the other is a new type of network. Here goes:

1. Gonein60's (via Lifehacker)
Quite a name, right? What does it do? It allows you to un-close your accidentally closed programs. Say you are working on an important doc, and you accidentally close your word processor. Two things follow: the extreme frustration at losing your unsaved work, and regret. Not now. Use Gonein60's. Essentially, what it does it that it hides your closed windows for a duration of time, instead of closing them immediately. After this delay, the windows are then closed. During this delay, you can un-close those closed windows.

Note that the site from which you download Gonein60's contain LOTS of useful windows programs, such as one to dim the screen on inactivity, to disable the close button of certain windows, to mute on idle, to make windows transparent, add toolbars and much more. Feel free to explore. It's really a great site with lots of useful tools. Here's the site.

2. BAN (Body Area Network) (via Arstechnica)
It's now official. IEEE has formed a work group for devising the 802.15.6 standard, that is, Body Area Network. This low-frequency network will allow wearable devices to interact using their own network, a-la SC-FI. This technology opens avenues for loads of interesting uses. I've listed two here: You approach a person at a conference, and you automatically exchange business cards when you are within range. Your wristwatch connects via your mobile to the Internet, and automatically syncs the time with time servers.

Now, there are some security concerns that need to be addressed before it becomes widely used, but that won't be too difficult considering the short range of the BAN.

Prepare yourself folks, such things as bone-connectivity devices, skin connectivity, brain implants and the other cybernetic body implants are not very far away... :P

That would be all. Comments awaited.

Via Engadget:

Remember that blisteringly fast channel bonding modem Comcast showed off earlier this year? Turns out that the firm's CEO is apparently aiming to roll out internet services that can reach up to 160Mbps down / 120Mbps up sometime in 2008. As in, next year. In a recent interview with Fortune, Brian Roberts stated that service based on DOCSIS 3.0 technology would start "rolling out" sometime in 2008, and casually noted that it should provide "more than enough bandwidth to do multiplayer online gaming." Additionally, Cable Digital News explains that the firm has plans to cover some 20-percent of its footprint with the uber-quick service before 2009, and while we're left to guess what areas will be covered, we'd bet locales fetching FiOS could entertain some competition. Granted, we've still got aways to go before we can go toe-to-toe with a certain Swede, but we'll take any progress we can get.
Only three words comes to my mind: WTF OMFG WOW!

But that's sooo friggin awesome!! 160 friggin Mbps DOWNLOAD! 120Mbps UPLOAD! That's even faster than 100BaseTX LAN!! That means a damn maximum of 20MBps down and 15MBps up. That's the theoretical maximum, but it's still awesome. Even 10MB/5MB would be bliss!

In comparison: You'll a full 4.5GB DVD of your aXXo rip Linux Distro in like 70 seconds considering 10MB down. 1 minute. That's all.

And that would be in.... 2008. Next month. NEXT MONTH IS 2008! That's not 2009. Not 2018. It's 2008!

Now, imagine 160Mbps in Mauritius. Right... 2098. Nothing before! Till then, enjoy your crappy bandwidth that sux, like Avinash Meetoo says. :P

Note: It's not bad enough yet. 160Mbps is nothing. We need THIS!

Oh yes!! People usually know me as a Linux fan that likes the freedom of open-source, and the customization abilities of Linux. But as Faris says, "there comes a time in the life of every man [insert comment here]". My comment is "to rant about Linux".

For this two, I'll rant about two favourites, namely Kubuntu Gutsy Gibbon (the KDE flavor of Ubuntu) and PCLinuxOS 2007.

Ok.. so I got myself a fresh copy of Kubuntu Gutsy. It's so flaming new that I could see the gloss while downloading the ISO. Ok.. it was just the Vista effects. Anyways, I was going to test it on my Vaio Laptop, which is quite recent. After burning the ISO and all the blablas I was into Kubuntu.

At first sight, nothing had changed. KDE was still fat and heavy, and the wallpaper is still blue. The menu had changed in simple ways, like the Find Files and Folders had been changed. And some other random stuff. I loved Feisty Fawn which unfortunately didn't work on my laptop due to that weird "Cannot access TTY: Job control turned off" error message. Gutsy booted fine, so I proceeded to install. That, as usual, was a breeze. Nothing bad till now. Now the evil awoke.

I rebooted into the installed system and started browsing around. I started by testing Dolphin, the new file browser. First thing that pops-up to my face.. "XYZ file in ABC path is not writable: Permission denied". I got like 5 of these at once. WTF? How can a path in my home directory not be writable? Anyways, I was still in a good mood, and decided to set [all] the permissions right. Took me some time to do these files individually. Ok.. Dolphin worked. Time to get my WLAN settings up.

NetworkManager said it detected WLan0, which is cool. Funny thing is, my LED indicator for WLAN on refused to light up on Linux. Strange.. Anyways, I proceeded to configure it with Static IP and the other settings. After iwlist scan and all, it still refused to work. Now, I was starting to get frustrated.

I got my laptop plugged in on cable, configured settings, leeched NDisWrapper off the repositories, and installed my windows driver for my WLAN. Tada! It worked! FOR ONCE ONLY! After a reboot, it decided not to work again. I had it correctly configured and all, loaded as module and whatnot. Hours of Ubuntu-forums searching yielded nothing new. I gave up on WLAN.

Now I wanted to send some files to my main PC. I got SAMBA and installed it for file sharing with windows. I configured it, share-level security and all. What happened? Darn thing asks me for a Login/PWord combination. I gave for root then for myself. Nothing worked. XP couldn't access Kubuntu. I tried to self-connect from Kubuntu. Same thing. Login/PW, nothing got accepted. That was weird. I reviewed smb.conf, and all. It seemed to be in order. Testparm said nothing. Duh. I even copied off a guy's smb.conf and amended it. Nothing could make SAMBA not ask for a Login/PW. Now I got pissed off. I logged off and decided to go try another distro.

PCLinuxOS it was. Again, DL the ISO, burn, boot, but no install. I got pissed off at the beginning itself. My display driver for Intel GMA 965 was not supported. I was stuck at 1024x768 instead of 1280x800. Duh.. PCLinuxOS seemed to have many good things to use.. like pre-installed Firefox and codecs. It played MP3s and most movies out-of-the-box. But 1024 is just too much of a pain to use on widescreen.

And so, after my epic journey through Linux, I was safely back to my comfort zone called Vista. Poor me. That was a tough night.

What I meant to say is.. Linux is still not ready to be a normal-user's Desktop OS. One simple example would be the Dolphin permissions crisis. When I open My Computer, I don't get errors like "Permission Denied" on first use. Vista recognized my WLAN on first run. Same for my Display. Ok, these are driver-related issues, and Linux cannot be blamed. Manufacturers should. But still, it makes Linux a tedious experience. Mind you, I won't back down from using my Fav OS. But it can make life tough when it wants, particularly when you want to have things "simply work". Like.. why the hell does Samba keep asking for a damn password? I said don't ask, so DON'T! These kinds of things are what keep Linux from being adopted as a friendly OS.

Much progress has been made since the times of CLIs, I can't deny that. But there is still way to go for Linux to be able to claim to be as user-friendly as Windows. Maybe in 5 years. For now, it remains a geek's toy.

I await your flames and comment. Go wild but NO SPAM! :)

Has it ever happened to you that you have 2 firefox clients running on one computer, and you wanted to access your bookmarks from both clients? That is, one bookmarks file, shared by many Firefox instances? I did.

I was running Kubuntu, and Vista, and wanted my bookmarks to be available in both OS. I also wanted that, if I add an entry in Kubuntu, it should also be available in Vista. After some googling around, I found these steps. They allow you to set where you want the Bookmarks file to be stored, instead of just inside your Profiles folder.

Normally, under Windows, it'll be somewhere in Applications Data -> Mozilla, and under Kubuntu, it'll be hidden inside your Home folder. Maybe ~\.mozilla or something. Now, you do these steps, and you can have your bookmarks shared. I set Vista's bookmarks as the main file, and Kubuntu will access it as shared. Do these steps.. Oh I forgot.. with this technique, you can also share bookmarks between different browsers, not just Firefox. Eg. You might share bookmarks between KMeleon and Firefox.

1. Close Firefox.

2. Determine where your Bookmarks file is located. Under Vista: C:\Users\[username]\App Data (hidden folder) \ Roaming \ Mozilla \ Firefox \ Profiles \ [yourprofile] \ bookmarks.html

For Kubuntu, I think it's: ~\.mozilla\Firefox\Profiles\[yourprofile]\bookmarks.html.

3. Re-open Firefox. In your address bar, type "about:config" without quotes. No http://www nothing. Just "about:config". Press Enter. You'll see a lot of lines. Don't panic. These are your complete firefox and extensions options. (Tip: Feel free to look around and see to what extent Firefox can be customized. Don't play around too much though. Change at your own risk.)

4. Right-click on one of the listings (any), and select New - String from the menu.

5. Type: "browser.bookmarks.file" and click on ok. No quotes again.

6. Next, type in the path of your Bookmarks file. Refer to step 2. Press ok.

7. Restart Firefox and it should have access to the file you pointed to in step 6. Now you can share bookmarks between different user profiles, and different OS.

I wonder if this trick will work if the file is located on a network.. Gotta try that! :P

I found these videos while browsing randomly, and I think they're really well made and creative. Check'em out!

MBB launched the Theme of the Week, or the MTW. This week, we'll be talking about online communities, so here's my post. :P

Online communities. That's an interesting word. First I'd like to define the web as we know it today. Simply put, it's a network of computers, connected together that is. Now what is a community? People connected in some way to other people. See the similarity? By the very basic definition of web, we know that it will, at some point, involve the inter-connection of people, via the inter-connection of machines. The web has brought far-flung people together, people who can now chat, talk, view and interact with each other as if they were mere metres away. This is the marvel of the web, and of online communities.

I think the oldest online communities I know of would be newsgroups, particularly those of Usenet. Imho, these have always been around. Should be a by-product of the big-bang or something. Com'on! Who hasn't heard of Usenet at least once? If no, it's really time you get to Wikipedia and Google Groups! NOW! Newsgroups are interesting places where people used to share "news" and bits of discussion. In some ways, they are the ancestors of our "forums" of today. These were regrouping people who shared the same ideas and passions, and formed the first communities.

Gradually, people wanted a more "real-time" way of interacting. With this came IRC, Internet Relay Chat. This is again, another very popular community on the web. Although it's not really a community by definitions, many IRC rooms have their own subculture, their own jargon and their own lifestyle if you want. They are like small worlds of their own. To me, these look like communities too. IRC is still very much alive today, and widely used. There are rooms for almost everything: books, food, games, general, and as was to be expected, p()rn.

Over the years, Usenet evolved into forums. MBB has its own forums, so do many many other sites. They allow users to post messages, and read other's message on a particular topic. Forums usually have many topics in many boards. In fact, forums can be said to be a very common way of community-building today. You want an example? Assume you have a passion for stamps. Build a site for stamps, create a forum, and in no time, you'll have other people sharing the passion joining your forum. That or you might be over-run by p0rn-posting spambots.

Nowadays, we are seeing the Web 2.0 revolution, that is the migration of "commercial" web into "social" web. And whenever you see social, you should also be seeing "community". Web 2.0 brought its whole lot of new communities with it. With the first waves came Del.icio.us, the well-known social-bookmarking site, and Flickr, the social-photo sharing site. As I said, wherever you see social, there are communities. Del.icio.us is a community for people to share links, Flickr is for sharing pictures. DeviantArt (artists' community) rode into 2.0 too, and hasn't stop growing till then. Our small cute art Deviant is now a frickin big huge mammoth Mega Deviant with millions of users. Other well-known communities would be Digg where people share news, same for Fark and many others. The list would be long and un-ending. All these sites are online communities. And this goes without mentioning blogs, which again are small communities upon themselves, evolving through posts and commentors!

Other kinds of communities now are the file-sharers community, namely via Napster, Imesh, ex-Kazaa, ex-WinMX and others. These have a life and moral of their own, and are not afraid to defy the big boys to continue their community. These are Peer-to-Peer networks, and are like Hydras. Cut one head, 2 pops out. Here it'd be bring down one network, 734^87389 others come up!! I won't elaborate here since it's a subject upon itself.

Now another kind of community is coming to the scene. Virtual lives. Ok, we are not yet into Minority Report-like life where humans have nearly merged with machines, nor into Ghost in the Shell, where "humans" are technically machines and can connect to networks with their (cyber) brains, but we are not far from that. By virtual lives, I mean that people have alter-egos on the internet that differ from their real lives personality. Taking myself as example, I am not called Inf in real life... Ok, my friends DO call me Inf in real-life too and I have nearly the same personality online and offline, a geek!

Facebook, Hi5 (Mauritians' favourites?) Orkut, MySpace, Bebo.. bla bla bla. Name it. There are tons and tons of such communities where people meet people. Like a dating site, but less dating, more friendship. Or so they say. In real life, I can be a classy company CEO, but my Facebook profile might not reflect it. Instead, it may reflect my online alter-ego who could be a famous rockstar, a vision of myself that people in my company might not know. A more vivid example is Second Life, which is a 3D virtual world where people live alternate lives. They build houses, buy things (with real cash, not virtual!) and interact with others. Again, it's just an avatar, and may not totally reflect their real self, or it might as well reflect it. All depends on how the person wants the community to see him or her. I want to point out that since Second Life exists, and as per Rule 34 of Internet, a p()rn version also exists, for the curious! :D

As you can see, just as the web evolved, so did the communities. They grew bigger, have more features, have more users, and are more functional. And the best thing is, they keep evolving to match the new eras. This is what's fun about the Internet in general: it evolves.

I personally think that as time passes, people will become more and more interconnected. It's the nature of the human race to be inter-connected, since humans are often defined as "social animals" that cannot live solitary lives for long. And I think that the Internet too will evolve to match the desires of its creators: to be more connected. We are already seeing this trend today. Internet shifted from computer-only to mobiles, and other devices, and more recently, to Portable Media Players and other devices like freezers. It's not unexpected that in the near future, we would merge with machines and maybe as in Ghost in the Shell, access the global network just through our brains via implants. We will be able to participate in our communities, just as if we'd do in real-life, through immersion. I think this would really mean "be part of the community" then! :P

Oh yes!! Seems today is the day of the OH YES's!! :P

Anyways, after almost a day of downloading Xubuntu (~500MB but slowness kept me waiting), I ran it in Live-CD mode on my laptop, a Sony Vaio FZ-240. What happened? IT WORKED!

With Kubuntu Fiesty Fawn, I couldn't boot it without applying a set of commands. I was getting dropped into Busybox with this error message

"Cannot access TTY. Job control turned off.", together with some bla bla's.

After reading around, I guessed that Fiesty was not able to handle my hardware. I waited and tried different distros. Puppy Linux, Damn Small Linux and Knoppix worked charmingly. I didn't particularly like any of them. I'm a *Ubuntu fan, so I wanted some variant to use.

For some folks, the older Dapper Drake worked. That failed for me. I kept waiting, begging Bobster and Neelesh for the Gutsy Gibbon CD of Kubuntu. They forgot me and left me in my torment. :( (Bad things happen when you deprive me of Linux. I get weird.)

But now! BUT NOW! I got Xubuntu. And I just can't describe the feeling I got when I saw XFCE in front of me. And this thing runs sooooooo smoothly on Core 2 Duo! Even my resolution was supported out of the box. Now, what remains is my WiFi driver that's not working. Will fix that soon enough, either with iwlwifi, or via Ndiswrapper if it fails. I'll start posting my Xubuntu experiences soon enough. That, until I get Kubuntu from one of my tormentors or if my ship-it arrives!

Yes I know. Minimalistic desktop. No bangs and frills. Just cleanliness. Amazes me too, who is used to the bulkiness of KDE. Anyways, you'll get my feedbacks soon.

I initially downloaded Xubuntu to run on an old Intel Celeron 600MHz PC I have at home. It has 128MB of RAM, and 16MB VRAM, with a 15GB HD. I will try it on that, and post my reviews as to whether Xubuntu can really revive old PCs. I tried Damn Small Linux (DSL) and Puppy Linux on it. It worked, but it lacked features. I'll be posting my review of DSL and Puppy afterwards. Puppy failed to boot. Xorg has issues apparently. No luck with XVesa too.

For now, I return to my revision. Why do geeks need test weeks? Life's sooo unfair! I'd kill to have full-days spent on my pcs! :(

The news might be out, or it might be a rumor. KotZot, and some other blogs report that DJ Tiesto will be in Mauritius!

Sat Dec 15, 2007 at 08:00 pm
Stade Anjalay
Belle Vue

DJ Tiesto is one, if not THE best, trance and techno DJ in the world, and the official ambassador for Dance4Life HIV/AIDS campaign. This guy is simply marvelous! With tunes like Love Comes Again, Forever Today, Elements of Life, He's a Pirate and many many others, this event promises to be huuugggeeee, specially coming from the guy who remixed for the opening ceremony of an Olympics Game!

The price of tickets are as follows:

Standard: Rs. 900 (pre-booked)
Standard: Rs.1100 (at door)
VIP: Rs.1800

EDIT: This is no longer a rumor. The event is listed on Tiesto's Site. YESSSSS!

By now, most Mauritian bloggers and Internet users must be aware of "The Facebook Affair", to which the Mauritian Blogosphere reacted quasi-immediately, with criticism popping out from everywhere. It was considered to be a drastic measure and a step towards curtailing of the basic Freedom of Information of Mauritians.

Now, another event came on to the foreground, and acts as a real confirmation that our freedom, our rights and our ethics are really being messed with. What is that event? Read on!

If you have read Le Defi Plus of Saturday, you'd have seen the main article. Our Minister of I.T and Communications imported a certain device that allows people to listen-into conversations of people. Yes people, Mr. Etienne Sinatambou imported a spy gadget. The worst thing is, it was to be installed at his workplace, the Ministry of IT and Comms.

Carricature from Le Defi Plus

Now, if that is not invasion of privacy, I don't know how to term it. What did he want to do with that gadget? To spy of fellow colleagues? To know what they are saying about him? In one word: To spy.

Utilisé par les militaires, selon l’Icta

Cet appareil devait être installé au ministère des Technologies de l’Infor­mation et de la Com­m­­unication au bâtiment Paille-en-Queue. Il pouvait intercepter les conversations dans un rayon de 400 mètres

According to the article, the range of this gadget is around 400m. Now imagine that being installed in Paille en Queue building in Port Louis. Imagine the coverage! Everything from around KFC, to Rogers and to SBM would be covered. Now this is nasty.

I leave you to your conclusion, but according to me, we are in for some troubles. I don't know how this Government thinks, but I don't think it considers our rights and freedoms.

Here are two very interesting articles I found. One on the Facebook Affair, and the other on the Spy Gadget thing of Etienne Sinatambou. Beware folks, we'd be having Men In Black in Mauritius now, using ear-pieces and having tranquilizer guns and all. :)

Yes.. The Test Week at UoM will begin soon for me. It will be the last week of November. So this post functions as an excuses letter. Just to tell you that I will not be posting very often till the end of November. I gotta revise my stuff, and practice obscure maths questions. This does not mean there won't be updates. Once per week seems fine.

So long people.. Talk to you soon! :D

Gizmodo has a nice picture from Toronto where giant ad screens got the infamous Blue Screen of Death!

Check this picture out! Apparently, these things pop out randomly on devices. I have one of the Wanadoo Internet phone booth at Caudan food-court having a BSOD! I can't find it, if I do, it will be here! In the mean time, check this! :D

Well folks, the day's here. The day when Indians celebrate the home-coming of Rama to Ayodhya after 14 years of exile. On this special day, Rama returns with his brother Lakshmana and his wife, Sita.

Divali/Deepawali is known as the Festival of Light, whereby Diyas are lit to symbolically mark a path for Rama to follow. It is believed that the more light there is, the better it is. Divali also symbolizes the victory of good upon evil, the victory of light upon darkness. Darkness symbolises fear and ignorance, whereas light symbolises courage and wisdom.

Divali is also about celebration, and sharing the joys of victory. In this light (no pun!), sweets of various kinds and tastes are shared among friends, family and relatives.

On this, I leave you to your celebrations.

Wish you Happy Divali!!

For some of you, you must have seen that Facebook seemed to be down for the past few days. Today, we learn that it wasn't down. It was just that ISPs were banning access to Facebook from Mauritius. Why? Read below.

Apparently, somebody usurped our dear Prime Minister, Dr. Navinchandra Ramgoolam's identity and registered a Facebook account under his name! I didn't confirm it, but apparently, some other politicians also seem have their accounts.

In case you don't know, usurpation of identity is a criminal act.

The ICTA was investigating, and access to Facebook was banned from Mauritius by our local ISPs. Radio Plus just announced the news today. Pascal Grosset has noticed that earlier. For my part, I didn't know about what had happened until today, and thought I might share it with you folks, in case you didn't know too.

And yes, TheMediaGuru has completely reviewed the affair, IMHO. Give it a check.

Ur views on that?

Joking! In fact, it means Highly Fatigued Student. Lol. Com'on! It's friggin 1 am and I'm having my posting spree! What can I do? Bear with me!

Anyways. Today I wish to introduce to you my readers, a program that has helped me in numerous ways, and I hope will help you too. Its name? HFS: HTTP File Server.

As you can see, the interface is quite neat and is real easy to get a grasp of. The left pane indicates which files you have for share. The right pane indicates what action is currently being done, and by who. The bottom pane shows who is connected to your server.

The screenshot here shows the program in Easy mode. You can switch to Expert mode by clicking on the "You are in Easy Mode" button. Expert mode gives you a whole lot of options which enhances the program. These include accounting features. You can create accounts for you and your friends, and password protect your shared files. You can also impose bandwidth limitations, customize the access page and others. Just go through the Menu to check out the tons of features this small program has in its belly.

HFS works by using a Virtual File System. That is, when you right-click and add a file to HFS, it is not added physically. What is added is a link to the file which allows people to download it. But what happens when people need to upload a file to you? You will need to create a Real Folder. This is simple. Create a normal folder on your computer. Right click on the left pane of HFS and select Add Folder from Disk. Easy! The uploaded files will go to the folder you just created.

Now, how do people access your server? Check the screenshots. Near the top, you will see an HTTP address with an IP address. You copy this address and send it to your friends. They can then access your server and download/upload files to you by accessing the address from their web browser.

Some issues now. If you are using a router, you need to correctly port-forward HFS for it to work, and in HFS, you need to configure HFS for it to look for your external IP. This option is available in Menu - Start/Exit - Find External IP on Startup. Port-forwarding will not be explained here. Use this if you need help.

HFS is a really powerful tool, and if you commonly share files with friends, I encourage you do download and explore it. It's freeware, and malware-free. So go check it out and test out its features. Note that it's not totally unhackable, although it's pretty safe.

Personally, I prefer this method of sharing files with friends, rather than emailing, or sending via IM. This allows more flexibility, allows my friends to resume their downloads, and also upload files to me. In essence, HFS is an essential tool for any Internet power-user. I definitely recommend it.

Yes and no. Yes, I was downloading ~45Kbps on 8th Nov. at 00h36 when I should have been asleep. No because my connection became unstable then. It randomly disconnected, for obscure reasons.

I guess Telecom+ is still doing maintenance on their network, or that they are doing everything possible to kill my downloads. In either case, I'd wait some more to pronounce my final judgement.

I was using the MyT usage calculator some days back to determine if ever I switch over from 512K to MyT when I saw these 3 fields (see below). These got me thinking, and the conclusion is rather funny, but serious all the same!

Those three fields may imply "How many copywrited works do you download per week" IMHO.
Why? Because the vast majority of music clips available online are copywrited, and so are most video clips. The last field is interesting. "Number of software downloaded per week, more than 100MB in size". Frankly, I do not know many legit software that exceeds 30MB, excluding Linux distros, and some development platforms.

Would this mean that MyT is, in some ways, telling people that you will be able to pirate more using their service? It might be just me, but this is the message I got by checking those 3 fields.

With this, I want to raise another point. ISPs in the world are all going for the "I offer more bandwidth" race. We see megabit connections popping up everywhere, from 1Mbps and all the way to the 50-ish Mbps. Now, why the hell would you need such a fast connection for? I don't think simple browsing requires that amount of speed. Ok, your usual Youtube session will be a lot smoother. And so will be viewing your fav HD television channel. Apart from those? Your downloads, legal or illegal, will be lightning fast.

This is funny. ISPs offer such speeds, that are just cut for massive-sized file downloads, and associations like the RIAA still want us not to download stuff. Isn't that some kind of "service-contradiction"? Don't go telling me that all those kids with 8Mbps are using all that speed only for browsing pages, Youtubing and downloading Linux distros all day long!

You don't need 8Mbps just to browse. Unless you browse like 137634tdfjd pages of Youtube at the same time! :D

Make your own conclusion, and let me know your comments.

Another great software through Lifehacker!

I've always been looking for a small and simple program that docks to one side of my screen, and acts like an icon-container for my frequently-used icons. I wanted something simple, easy to use, auto-hiding, customizable, light and of course, free.

I've been through loads and loads of these "Launchbar" programs, but every one of them seemed to lack one or another feature from what I wanted. That was until I found a really cool (I mean it, really cool) and useful program called RunMe that allows you to create a customizable (real customizable) sidebar launcher. I mean it, this thing is really powerful! Check the screenshot:

As you can see from above, RunMe is themeable, is dockable on any part of the screen, remembers its dock position, has loads of customizable effects (the Show Delay option is really important, more on that later), and some other options. See above pictures for more details.

RunMe, as seen from the first cap, supports loads of things, including icons, folders (which can be made to act like menus), and other commands, like the Run box. Overall, RunMe is ZOMGly powerful. Try it out for yourself!

The site says WinXP only, but I tested it on Vista and it works fine. No problems till now.

About the Show Delay option: It is the setting that determines for how long the mouse must be held over the side of the screen for RunMe to show. Set it resonably high if ever you dock it on the right side of your screen (like me), else it pops out as soon as you try to access your vertical scroll-bar, which is not nice. Oh yeah, it has Always on Top too! :P

Go try folks! It's malware-less! Or what you might call "safeware", if ever the term exists.. :D

I just found a nifty trick from Lifehacker which allows you to get a list of all drivers on your computer. It lists available drivers, including installed. It works with Windows XP, 2003 and Vista. Check it out:

Start - Run - Type "cmd" - click Ok - Type "driverquery" without quotes - Press Enter

Tada! You now have a list of all drivers you currently have!

Also, check "driverquery /?" for help. You will find that apparently, it can query drivers installed on remote machines too! Quite cool, isn't it? :D

Go experiment now, kids!


I got tagged by carrotmadman6. Time to answer some questions and find some "victims":

Top 5 quotes/Lines:

- We must become the change we want to see in the world (Mahatma Gandhi)
- Anybody who has never made a mistake has never tried anything new (Albert Einstein)
- Damn it! You will have to trust me on that! (24hrs Chrono - Jack Bauer)
- Never disturb your enemy when he is making a mistake (Napoleon Bonaparte)

5 Things I'd Love To Do Before I Die:

- Get myself a 100Mbps/100Mbps or more Internet connection
- Become the proud owner of Alienware factories
- Become the ultimate supreme godlike geek
- Find love (Duh.. :P)
- Turn into a cyborg (Can't die then, eh?)

5 Things I will Not Do Even If It Kills Me:

- Smoke / Drugs
- Buy something from Micro$oft
- Buy Mu$ic, specially Pop
- Turn into a non-geek
- Dislike driving

5 Things I want to Say And Never Will

- Bobster, you really need to turn into a non-geek!
- Microsoft is the really damn best company there ever was!
- I'm a Linux-supporter, but my lappy refuses to run it!
- Geek life makes you GF-less! (Unproven)
- I'm sooo tired of hearing damn mobile ringtones!!

5 Things I Do When I’m Away From The Public

- Blogging (hehehe!)
- What-you-might-think-I-tend-to-do-privately
- Sleep
- Revise / Work / Read
- Swear at my foes / rivals (if required)

5 Things I’ll Make You Wish You Didn’t Do, If You Did

- Take my computer(s) and gadgets away from me
- Deny me of fast Internet
- Intentionally or unintentionally cause me or my family / friends harm
- Ever try to impose things on me
- Try to act overly smart (brag when you don't know a dime)

That'd be it! :P

Now... My next targets will be: Neelesh, Selven, Sundeep, RiverofBliss and Davina

The popular image format, JPEG from Joint Photographic Experts Group, is to be extended to a format called JPEG XR. JPEG XR will be based on Microsoft's HD Photo Spec and will allow High Definitions pictures apparently.

Major camera manufacturers and other giants like Adobe will have to amend their products to handle the new format.

The new format features better compression techniques, better image fidelity, and enhanced in-camera editing features among others.

JPEG XR for now, is just a paper-standard, and will take almost a year or two to come to the level of JPEG in terms of usage and adaptability. Microsoft has already opened up some of its HD Photo Specs for developers to study and work on. For now, keep looking out! :P

The complete article can be found here.

So?? You think it's true? :D I say yes (somewhat)! Add some blood-seeking rampage when I'm cold. That'd be it!

IP Address?

I do not know if you have noticed, but the IP pool for Telecom Plus' ADSL users seems to have changed...

Before, the IP Address assigned to users used to be one of those:


Nowadays, it seems I'm getting stuck with this:

- 196.20.160.x

This follows the "Internet Down" syndrome ADSL users experienced a few days back. I do not know what this mean. Maybe some kind of upgrade or maintenance on the servers/routers or whatever. Or they are amending their policies. Nevertheless, I can't seem to get any speed out of that IP.

What about you folks? If you want to know your IP Address easily, use http://www.whatismyip.com

Powered by ScribeFire.

Yes. This was not a typo. Some folks developed a "memory card" which is in fact a wireless adaptor and it is called Eye-Fi.

Basically, it is a 2GB SD card that actually stores photos taken from your digital camera. But it has an added functionality: It integrates WiFi technology to your camera.

You just need to configure your wireless router/access point to accept wireless transmissions from this baby, and if you are shooting pictures in wireless range, they are automatically uploaded to your computer. It also includes a service that allows you to also send the pictures to sites such as Flickr and others. What's more? You can take out the card and replug it, and the photos will still be there, and they will still be uploaded when re-plugged.

That's a pretty sweet device IMHO, except for its $100 tag. If you shoot loads of pictures, and don't want to keep plugging in a cable, this is for you.

If you want to read more, check Gizmodo's article.

I keep seeing/hearing people write/say the terms "anime" and "manga" interchangably. This is totally wrong!! These two words are very distinct to each other, and I decided to write this small "tutorial" to help people.

What is anime?

That's not a question to ask! I'm sure most of you already know what it is, but didn't know how it was called. It's what we Mauritians usually call "ti comik". Anime comes in various forms, but they have a very distinct style that differenciates from all other "ti comiks". Check these out, and see if you recognize any of those:

Yes. "Anime" is shortened of "Animation", meaning animated movies. They usually originate from the country of the rising sun, Japan, and usually use hand-drawn frames and graphics. Anime therefore refers to the motion picture, the video if you want.

What is manga?

Manga? This you might not have seen, but any die-hard anime-fan will immediately tell you what it is. Here:

You see? Manga are books, or pages, or even images. Manga are also drawn pictures, but in the form of books, and on paper.

As you see, these terms cannot be used interchangably. So next time you want to talk about anime/manga, use your terms well. And if you want to be a respectable fan, learn the differences, and know how to appreciate both forms of media.

I'll have another post about anime and manga terms soon. Till then, Sayonara! :P


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