Dragonboy IT & Electronics Journey

Friday, March 31, 2006

Stylish Wireless Mouse from Sony

Sony create a snew tylish mouse. What is so stylish? the colour and the shape. It doesnt look like a normal mouse. If you notice its a "Square". So unless you like the touchpad from notebook, I dont think you will be able to use it comfortably.

You can bought it at Audiocubes.
The price is US$49 . So you can still bought it just to be a stylish.

URL: Audio Cubes - Store

I need to be honest, I really dont like a touchpad, so I am pretty bias towards this mouse, but I know some poeple like touchpad, so I still put this thing in just in case you are interested to buy it :-)

For myself ?? naaahhh. I will give it a miss :P.

1. Nice colour
2. Wireless
3. Optical
4. The USB Receiver is stored directly in the mouse

1. Shape -> I dont think i will be able to use it comfortably, but tell me if you had tried it. I might change my mind :)

More info: http://www.i4u.com/article5350.html


Accoona - New Search Engine

Another Search Engine? Do we need another search engine? We have already had Google, Yahoo, MSN. so Why we need to have a new one?

Accoona is another new search engine, that some of us did not aware of, since its launched.

Why I put this search eingine, because I found its interested about the shareholders of the company:
1. Former CEO of Compaq: Eckhard Pfeiffer
2. Chess Master: Gary Kasparov ---> Dont tell me you never heard about this guy :)

So that make me curious and I try it out, not bad, the search engine is very fast.
It claims to use AI to better understanding the search.

One of the nice feature of this search engine is a "Super Target" feature.
It can narrow down the information based on "country, last published".
When You search for Tsunami, there will thousands of reference of this word. Then you can use the super target feature to say only "Indonesia".
Then it will only display those that are published for Indonesia.

So try it out yourself by going to Accoona website.

URL: http://www.accoona.com

More Info: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Accoona


UMPC Emulator or Origami Emulator

Remember my previous posting about the Origami - Tablet PC - UMPC ?
If you forgot about the acronym, UMPC -> Ultra Mobile PC. This device will be running Windows XP Tablet edition. The street price will be roughly US$ 1000. So far, only 1 vendor has announced that it will release this device at US$ 900. With more competition, I am hoping the price will goes down after a few months. I cant wait to get a hold of it myself.

Microsoft has already released the emulator so that the developer could test the applications using their desktop / notebook before moving it to the UMPC itself.

I consider this is a very nice feature since it is a hassle if you have to develop using desktop and move the application to the device, and tested it from there, there will be significant time loss, with this emulator, the developer does not have to move and can test their application right from their desktop :).

Download Link: UMPC Emulator from Microsoft


Thursday, March 30, 2006

AjaxSketch - Illustrator on the Web

The same company that made AjaxWrite release a new product called AjaxSketch. What is AjaxSketch ? This is a free web application that allow you to create diagram, Flow Chart and free hand drawing. You can consider that this AjaxSketch is a slim down version of Illustrator. The pplication itself is using AJAX language that promise a better user experience using a web browser.

The application itself doesnt need anything else except a web browser. Currently the only browser supported is a firefox 1.5. Hopefully they will release the version that will support IE.

I have tried myself in the morning, it looks promising but allows very limited operations for now, but its not hard to learn.

Here are some of my testing:
1. Save a file
2. Open a file
3. Put a text to the drawing board
4. Put some auto shapes that comes built-in with this application
5. etc -> I will update it later

1. It is easy to be used for new people
2. Free
3. You need Firefox version 1.5 in order to use it. Internet Explorer wont work.

1. For now it only support firefox v1.5. It will support IE and Safari (Apple OS) in the near future.

2. Bandwith, eventhough in my testing is fast, but I can not conclude when a lot of people is accessing the same application.

AJAX is a great language and definitely help the browsing experience especially with the drag and drop ability, Right click mouse, etc. But...for now, Ajax is not yet good enough for big application. The bandwith is not fast enough to cater for it. For a local network its possible to deploy an AJAX application, but via internet :). Oops.... not yet..especially for those of you that are still using Modem or Bandwith cap. Just forget it :).


Wednesday, March 29, 2006

USB Flash Drive - 64 GB?

I never thought that this day will come. A flash drive with 64 GB, the size is very similar with a normal flash drive that we have. 128 MB, 256 MB, 512 MB.
And now 64 GB ?????.

Ouchhh, I am pretty sure you can put A complete Operating System, complete with Office applications, Web Browser, etc etc :). I am not yet talking about XP though, since XP still have problem to run on USB drive. But Linux Operating system should not have any problems to run on this USB thumb drive.

But this gadget is very PRICEY. *Sigh*.
Guess the cost?
US$ 500 ?? US$ 1000 ?? US$ 2000 ??

Nope, the cost according to the website is:
US$ 4999.99

Ouchhh, it will hurt my pocket, so I will give this baby a pass :(.

Want to read more?

Here is the link:


Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Future Notebook- For Those that like to pretend working

Future notebook is almost here,

Same like the previous 2 posting, I am not even sure whether this is an advertisement from Lenovo or real product in testing, but........I would love to have this so that I can go for lunch for 3 hours and pretend working ha ha ha.

just kidding, anyway, watch it for yourself.

Notes: Lenovo is a company that bought over IBM Thinkpad notebook.


My Comment: I want to have one notebook like this :).


Notebook Testing - Flying notebook ?

I am always curious how company do the test for the notebook.

In this movie clip, I am still not very sure whether this is an advertisement or a real product under testing.

But its really cool to see the testing. When I see the clip, my jaw can not close.

You dont believe me ? See it for yourself.
Notes: Lenovo is the company that bought over IBM Thinkpad.

Movie Clip: http://www.lenovo-tapes.com/kent.html

My comment: I hope this is a real product :).


Notebook Testing - Coffee spill over to notebook

Notebook Testing - Coffee spill over to notebook

Admit it, how often that we are drinking our drink or eating and its spill over to the keyboard. How clean is your keyboard?

Lenovo was testing this notebook. I am not even sure whether this is a testing or advertisement, but its kinda cool :-)

PS: Lenovo is the company that bought over IBM Thinkpad.

See it for yourself.


My comments: Cool. Whether this is advertisement or not, I still would like this thing to happen :).


Saturday, March 25, 2006

Skype - FAQ

I will list down some of the FAQ that I notice People ask in the Forum:

This list will grow along when I got time to update it :-)

1. How to mute / unmute during your conversation?


Skype - How to mute/unmute your conversation in Skype

Skype - How to mute/unmute your conversation in Skype?

Sometimes you need to mute your conversation, maybe because you are watching video or your background is getting noisier, so you want to mute your conversation.

So How to do that?
Very simple, you only need to do this:

To mute your conversation
Step 1: Just click the “Mute” icon toolbar.
Step 2: Done

To un-mute your conversation:
Step 1: Just click the “Mute” icon toolbar one more time.
Step 2: Done

Friday, March 24, 2006

Logitech Pro 5000 Webcam

I have reviewed about my experience using Logitech Pro 4000. Last week I manage to get a hold of Logitech Pro 5000. My friend needs to get a new Webcam, so I suggest her to get the 5000 series. so we went to Fry's and get this webcam.

The price is drop now. Its only cost USD79.90. Last time my Logitech Pro 4000 cost me USD 99.90. Oh well, thats electronics's world. When the new version came out, the price for the old version will be slashed to make way for the new generation.

Enough talking :) so what is so great about this Logitech Pro 5000.

When I compare this Logitech Pro 5000 with my Logitech Pro 4000
- The size is the same
- The color for the Logitech Pro 5000 is darker.

Do you like that ?
Nope, of course thats not the only difference :), Just kidding....lets continue

- The quality for the image is clearer and sharper. This is tested since after reaching home,
I immediately try it out with my friend, I keep switching the webcam between 4000 and 5000.
Everytime my friend said that 5000 is better.
Note: The quality is better perhaps due to "Right Light" technology

- Logitech Video Effects,
It will allow you to change your appearance to something else like a shark in MSN.
This is just useful when you want to joke around with your friend.

- Builtin Microphone with RightSound technology
The echo cancellation suppose to be better with this technology. But in my testing, the echo noise is still there, I could not tell a difference, so my recommendation a Headset is still required for a proper conversation.

So thats it :), I finish my comments, For now, If you want a better quality webcam, get a Logitech Pro 5000.
Why for now? because new version will always came out :P.

I tested the quality of the webcam using:
1. Skype video 2.0
2. Yahoo webcam 7.0
3. MSN 7

On the side note, these are my own testing when I use a ADSL and normal 56K bps
For those that have bigger bandwith: (Cable Modem No cap)
1. Use MSN for the webcam
2. Use Skype for the voice

For those that have bandwith cap: (10G /month -> Australia)
1. Use Yahoo for the webcam
2. Use google talk for the voice

For those that have lower bandwith: (Modem 56Kbps)
1. Use Yahoo for the webcam
2. Use MSN for the voice

More information: http://www.logitech.com/


Thursday, March 23, 2006

AjaxWrite - MS Word on the web

We have been using MS word for years. I myself start to know MS Word since its version 2.0. Previously I am a big fan of Wordstar 4.0.

For now MS Word is the king of Word Processor application for years, nobody seems to be able to shake it.

Eventhough some alternative came, but they are always come in 2nd and 3rd :).

What do you think if you can use MS Word alternative from Web, Quite cool right?
The 1st free version www.writely.com has been bought over by Google so for now its no longer available until Google revamp it :).

Today I found another free version of MS Word alternative in the Web. The name is Ajaxwrite.
So what is exactly this Ajaxwrite? This is an application written using AJAX language so that you can experience a better application eventhough you are using a browser.

Normal Browser does now allow:
1. Drag and Drop
2. Pull Down Menu
3. Right Click Mouse

So with AJAX, all these can happens, so its another level of improvement for browsing experience:
1. Google Mail and Google Finance was using AJAX for the webpage
2. New Hotmail was using AJAX too.

More and more companies now using AJAX.

So after I try it out this morning, here is my comments:
The Application itself is very user friendly but, the its still not fast enough since they will need to bring down the application to my PC. the speed is not fast enough yet.

Especially after the announcement by the CEO, A lot of people trying to access this webpage, now I could not even enter the webpage anymore :P.

For those of you that are interested:

I have tried myself in the morning, it looks great and very user friendly, you can do the basic operation:
1. Save a file
2. Open a file
3. Left , Right, Centre Justified
4. etc -> I will update it later

1. Mimic MS Word so it will be easy to used for new people. (newbie)
2. Free
3. You need Firefox version 1.5 in order to use it. Internet Explorer wont work.

1. Slow for now - you need high bandwith. This morning the speed is reasonable but now too slow, I could not get the application. I bet the webserver did NOT expect the announcement of this application will attrack too many people. So it bring down the website :)

2. For now it only support firefox v1.5. It will support IE and Safari (Apple OS) in the near future.

3. Web Server problem like today, oops, nobody can access the application. This is bad for user.

AJAX is a great language and definitely help the browsing experience especially with the drag and drop ability, Right click mouse, etc. But...for now, Ajax is not yet good enough for big application. The bandwith is just not fast enough to cater for it. For a local network its possible to deploy an AJAX application, but via internet :). Oops.... not yet..especially for those of you that are still using Modem or Bandwith cap. Just forget it :).

Soon, I can be changed when the bandwith is getting cheaper and 10Mbps is getting more common and cheap for normal average user :).

PS: voip used to be slow too when I am using modem, but when I upgrade to ADSL and cable modem, the experience differnet, I like voip now :)

so I believe the same thing will happen with AJAXwrite. For now, I will by pass this web application and will only used it on the "go". I will stick with MS word for now :)

More Info: http://www.ajaxwrite.com


Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Joke - Relax a bit

Don't Mess With Old Ladies

An older lady gets pulled over for speeding...
Older Woman: Is there a problem, Officer?
Officer: Ma'am, you were speeding.
Older Woman: Oh, I see.
Officer: Can I see your license please?
Older Woman: I'd give it to you but I don't have one.
Officer: Don't have one?
Older Woman: Lost it, 4 years ago for drunk driving.

Officer: I see...Can I see your vehicle registration papers please.
Older Woman: I can't do that.
Officer: Why not?
Older Woman: I stole this car.
Officer: Stole it?
Older Woman: Yes, and I killed and hacked up the owner.
Officer: You what?
Older Woman: His body parts are in plastic bags in the trunk if you want to see
The Officer looks at the woman and slowly backs away to his car and calls for back up. Within minutes 5 police cars circle the car. A senior officer slowly approaches the car, clasping his half drawn gun.
Officer 2: Ma'am, could you step out of your vehicle please! The woman steps out of her vehicle.
Older woman: Is there a problem sir?
Officer 2: One of my officers told me that you have stolen this car and murdered the owner.
Older Woman: Murdered the owner?
Officer 2: Yes, could you please open the trunk of your car, please.
The woman opens the trunk, revealing nothing but an empty trunk.
Officer 2: Is this your car, ma'am?
Older Woman: Yes, here are the registration papers. The officer is quite stunned.
Officer 2: One of my officers claims that you do not have a driving license.
The woman digs into her handbag and pulls out a clutch purse and hands it to the officer.
The officer examines the license. He looks quite puzzled.
Officer 2: Thank you ma'am, one of my officers told me you didn't have a license, that you stole this car, and that you murdered and hacked up the owner.
Older Woman: Bet the liar told you I was speeding, too.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Kingston USB thumb drive - Privacy Edition

Kingston. Brand known for Memory. Beside Memory, Kingston also produce a lot of things, one of the item that they have is a USB Thumb Drive.

Almost all of us have already seen a thumb drive. the price range from US$20++ Up to US$ 300 depending on the size. I have seen a 512 MB thumb drive cost only 19.99 USD. so the price is a lot of different compared to 2004. :). I bought mine 256MB about US$80.

Oh well thats electronics world, When the new version came out, the price will be slashed to make a road for the new Product.

So what is so special about this USB Drive? This is different with a normal thumb drive since it allows you to put
1. Encryption / Password
2. Self Destruct / Privacy --> Deleted the data, not really "blow up" :) I wish it would though.

Encryption itself is nothing new, most of the common USB drive have this feature, the interesting part is the "self destruct" functionality.

If you enter the password WRONGLY for 25 times, oops, your data will be "deleted". Oopsss..

You might be wondering why do you want to buy this thing then, especially people tend to forget the password :).

Okay this is a good feature if you want to store a sensitive information i.e. Salary Information, Social Security Number, Personal photos (What kind of photos ? :P ).

Definitely you do not want these kind of data to falls to the wrong hand, otherwise you will be in trouble so for that reason, this device is very useful for corporate or paranoid people :).

This Thumb drive is already available now and comes with different size depending on your wallet :)
DTEP/256 - US $48
DTEP/512 - US $75
DTEP/1GB - US$119
DTEP/2GB - US$222
DTEP/4GB - US$347 --> Expensive :P

1. Self Destruct ability
2. Hardware based. So its more difficult to cheat the system

1. 25 times sounds very little, I would prefer that I can set the number myself, oh well nothing is free :).
2. Cost more than the normal USB Drive

1. Is there any counter that will show in the screen, number of password remaining before its automatically deleted?

PS: I have not try this device myself, so I will assume after the data will be deleted, you can still use the thumb drive, but most probably youwill need to set the password again. But will update this blog once I get more information :).

More info: http://www.kingston.com/press/2006/flash/03a.asp


Monday, March 20, 2006

Google Mail - Too much space now? GMAILFS might help you

Google Mail...When the first time google came out, it was offering 1 GB free storage, then it increase the size to 2 GB, and now its already hit 2.7 GB. What can you do with all these storage ?
Save all your Emails ?? Save all your junk mails ?

Yes, its true, but you can also use this to store your pictures or other files.

For myself, I use it for my emails and my Pictures. Keep sending those files to myself, after a while its tired especially if you just make a trip to somewhere, you will have > 100 pictures to be stored.

I have heard about GMAILFS that will help you to do it for quite some time, but I never bother to try it out, until last weekend since I got plenty of time to do some research, so I try it out, and see how it works, Hmm finally I conclude, that this programs worth to be kept :).

Okay what is GMAILFS?

Its a free program that will integrate with your "Windows Explorer" and create another drive in your desktop. After it create another drive, you can do the normal operations:
1. Copy a file
2. Delete a file
3. Move a file

You cant rename a file though. But you can do a workaround by Deleting the file, and copy a new one. (*Painful for bandwith*)

You can download the free program from here:

After installing the program, you can see the new drive in your desktop.

You only need these following steps to complete:
1. Click on the Gmal Drive
2. Enter your User Name
3. Enter your password
4. Click OK button

Done :), Now you can copy and paste your files to the GMAIL Drive.

You must be wondering, how does the program works:
1. The program is just an automation application to send a file to your email.
2. The subject of the email will be: GMAILFS
3. The file itself will be attached in the email

So there is no magic in the programs, its basically:
1. Connect to Gmail
2. Retrieve all the subjects with GMAILFS
3. List down the contents in the windows explorer
4. Any operation for Copy, Delete, Move, will be done in the Google mail itself by the program. (Delete an email, or create a new email, etc)

Good feature? Yes, but after done all this, your inbox emails will be cluttered with all the subjects "GMAILFS". It can be a lot if you are storing a lot of files. So it will be pretty messy after a while.

What is the solution? Gmail have an ability to do archiving. So lets create a filter that will do an archive based on the subject.

1. Go to Settings

Picture 1 (Go to Settings)

2. Create a new Filter

Step 1 -> Choose Filters Tab folder

Step 2 -> Choose "Create a new filter"

Picture 2 (Create a new filter)
3. Create the Filter - Step 1
Step 1: From: @gmail.com e.g. testing@gmail.com
Step 2: To: @gmail.com e.g. testing@gmail.com
Step 3: Subject: GMAILFS
Step 4: Choose "Has Attachment"
Step 5: Choose Next Step

Picture 3 (Create the Filter - Step 1)

4. Create the Filter - Step 2

Step 1: Turn on the checkbox for "Skip the inbox"

Step 2: Create Filter

Picture 4 (Create the Filter - Step 2)

5. Done Completed.

Now you can retry again, to copy or delete a file, it will no longer clutter your inbox.

Pro of this GMAILFS program:
1. Easy to use

Cons of this GMAILFS program:
1. Everytime Google update the "authentication" mode for a user ID to login, this program will not work, and you need to wait until the website has been updated.
2. Limited to 40 characters in the file name (*Including the folder name*)
3. Limited up to 10 MB file per file.

These are what I do: *I dont consider this as a best practise but feel free to try*
1. Use photos.yahoo.com to store your image so that you can access or share it easily online.
- Yahoo allows unlimited storage to store your picture
- You need to pay for printing (*using the High Quality Image*)
- You can not retrieve back the high quality image
- You can only see the low quality image online.

2. Burn the original high quality image to CD
3. Store a backup of the original high quality in Google Mail
Since its limited to 40 characters, I need to cut the name as much as possible
I will create a folder let say:
pict -> SF1 -> readme.txt (*Picture -> San Fransisco 1st trip*)

4. The readme.txt will contains:
a. the description of the trip
b. The date of the trip
c. who that I go with
d. Album photos in the yahoo Photos

5. In the event I need to get a high Quality image of a picture, I can go back to my Yahoo Photos,
and look at the image name that I want, and I can retrieve it by:

a. Opening the readme.txt to see the contents

b. Use the Google Mail Search and look for the image name or by date in the readme.txt

Happy Uploading.

More Info: http://www.viksoe.dk/code/gmail.htm

Updated: 20th June 2006
Be careful when you upload, try not to upload more than 200 MB/day. Above this, will lock your account for about 24 hours :P.


Friday, March 17, 2006

Logitech Premium USB Headset 350

Previously I was reviewing Logitech USB Headset 250. Today my friend want to get a headset, since I know there is a new model i.e. Logitech USB Headset 350. I asked her whether she wants to try it out.

So here it is, After went back, I try it first so that I can compare with my Logitech USB Headset 250 side by side.

Here is the Specs for USB Headset 350:
1. Convenient soft-touch controls let you adjust volume control.
2. You can use the soft touch control to mute the microphone.
3. Plug and play with Windows XP - No driver needed
4. You can use this webcam together with your Skpe, Yahoo, and MSN voice chat (voip)
5. Adjustable headband.
6. Noise cancelling feature to filter the background noise. This is a very useful feature so you can hear "voice" and not "noise" background :).

How about the difference between USB Headset 350 and 250?
Here are the lists if you are interested:
1. The cushion for USB Headset 350 is bigger than USB Headset 250. So its much more comfortable to use 350.

2. The quality of the voice for USB Headset 350 is superior than USB Headset 250.These are the feedback when I switch from 250 and 350 from my skype friend.

3. You can control the volume Up and Down directly from the soft-touch control in the Headset.
This is a nice feature, because when you use skype or MSN, you will have to use your mouse to modify the volumn, now since its integrated with the headset, you can control it much more easlily :).

4. You can mute by pressing the button directly from the soft touch control in the headset.
Another nice feature :).

So conclution: the Logitech USB Headset 350 is my number one choice to use with Skype now :). If you need a headset, I fully recommend this headset.

Price: USD$ 49.99

Where to buy: Fry's

More info: http://www.logitech.com


Thursday, March 16, 2006

Car - The most expensive car for 2006

Bugatti Veyron 16.4 . One of the most expensive car in the world for now.

I will consider this as part of advance technology until they can produce this solid and magnificent car :P.

Anyway, enough said, I dont really notice car normally, except for this one. This car is just beautiful.

And the price is also....*knock my head*. 1,000,000 Euro.

So if you manage to get 1, please consider to donate the car to me. I will be very welcome it :)

More Info: Forbes - Car


iDog for iPod

Another accessories for iPod, iDog. This is not really new. This cute dog will be able to moves and dances according to the music.

Actually its not eclusively for iPod, this cute toy can be used for other music player devices too since its using the standard input for other music player devices like Rio and Discman.

What this cute little dog can do ?
- Respond emotionally by touch
- Communicate thru the movement, sound and flashing lights on the head
- It can compose and play music based on its mood.
- Remember up to 70 songs
- When it play a song, it will respond the rhthm if you are touching the head :).

Another nice present if you have a girl friend.

Where to buy:
1. Amazon - http://www.amazon.com
2. Ebay - http://www.ebay.com

More information: http://www.idog-segatoys.com


Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Video - Too much Money?

What will happen when you have too much money?

Found this on the web:
Monitor: http://youtube.com/watch?v=HUvrJ2KpMi0
Computer: http://youtube.com/watch?v=PvYZzfdqMpY
TV: http://youtube.com/watch?v=nmsA0neHVW8

PS: When I have money, I will never and never do that to my own things. But sometimes when you are frustated MAYBE you will feel relief after doing that :P


Monday, March 13, 2006

Google Mail Without Chat

Gmail with Chat. The 1st time Google announce it, it looks very cool, since this is the 1st time that Email in the web combine with real time chatting. But after quite a while, I realise that this is not a feature that I would like to turn it on all the time.

There are times that you want to do just email, no chat. so here is a tip to turn it off.
1. Scroll down to your last mail
2. Look at Gmail View:
3. Choose "standard without chat"
4. Logout and login again.
5. Done

iPod accessories for iPod

Louis Vuitton, Dior and Juicy Couture are also following iPod trend. They came out with the case for iPod shuffle, iPod mini and iPod vidoe. If you own any of these and one of the fans of the above brands, you are very lucky. I manage to find a website that sold these Luxury Brands for your iPod.

For the ladies, you can try to show the website to your boy friend, and give a hint that everyday is a valentine to him :).

Where to buy: http://www.eluxury.com
Search for: ipod

For Guys: Just prepared for your credit card :).


Online shopping with Paypal

Online shopping with Credit Card? How about Online shopping with Paypal? Have you ever done it ?. Paypal is one of the alternative for Credit Card Payment for online shopping. If you have been used Ebay, you will know Paypal is one of the option to pay.

What is Paypal? Payal is a company that will allow you to transfer money using an email address. (*Assumption the other party also have paypal*). It belongs to Ebay though just in case you are curious. Ebay bought Paypal years ago.

When you need to buy stuff from internet, sometimes you are worried to use your credit card. so when a website offers to use a Paypal payment. Use that.

Paypal will act as a broker between you and the shop.

There are 3 main account in Paypal:
1. Personal Account
2. PremierAccount
3. Business Account

What are the difference between these 3:

Personal Account:
a. You can send money when the other person also have a paypal account.
b. You can ONLY receive money when the other person also have a paypal account. -> Free
c. You can NOT receive payment using a credit card if you want to sell stuff
d. You can withdrawn your balance to your USA Bank account -> Free
e. You can withdrawn your balance to other Country with some fee
f. You are the owner of the account

Premier Account
a. You can send money when a person have a paypal account
b. You can receive payment using a credit card if you want to sell stuff -> Transaction Fee applies
c. You can receive money from other paypal user -> Transaction Fee applies
d. You can withdrawn your balance to your USA Bank account -> Free
e. You can withdrawn your balance to other Country with some fee
f. You are the owner of the account

Business Account
a. You can send money when a person have a paypal account
b. You can receive payment using a credit card if you want to sell stuff -> Transaction Fee applies
c. You can receive money from other paypal user -> Transaction Fee applies
d. You can withdrawn your balance to your USA Bank account -> Freee.
e. You can withdrawn your balance to other Country with some fee
f. A company or group name that will own this account

Which one is good for you? You can always start by opening a Personal account. Its free though :).

Some sample scneario on how you use Paypal
1. I will open an account in Paypal - Personal account
1. I will put money into Paypal using credit card $50. (*You need to trust Paypal*)
2. I can shop in any online shop that offers Paypal and use Paypal to pay up to $50
3. After finish shopping, if you are paranoid, you can change your password at paypal.

Assuming, there is something wrong with the online shop, you will only lost $50 instead of $1000 dollars or more if you are using Credit Card, since the maximum the person can receive is $50.

You like it ??

What happen if you are a seller ??
1. I will open an account in Paypal - Premium Account
2. I will open a shop in the web and offer payment using paypal
3. People can pay me either using Credit Card or Paypal account. (*Some transaction fee applies*)
4. You get more customers since you offer 2 ways to pay the shop.

More info: http://www.paypal.com

Note: Save Online Banking Rules applies. Info here
Enjoy your shopping :)


Sunday, March 12, 2006

HDTV - Digital TV

HDTV in Fry's. HDTV in Best Buy. HDTV in Circuit City. Almost everywhere now you can see HDTV.

Are you ready for HDTV? What is so special about HDTV? What so different with the old TV that we have at home?.

HDTV is High-definition television. Based on this definition, all that I can say that:
1. The quality is MUCH better than the standard TV that we have at home.
The color is better, the quality is better, and the view is longer. (*Wide TV*).

If you went to the stored and see the demo yourself, you will know the colour is brighter and clearer.

If you had already bought one and you found out that the quality is not as good as your old TV, then you better call the technical support. There must be something wrong with the way you setup the TV.

So what happens when you subscribe to a digital TV network and you do not have a HDTV at home? No problem, you can still watch a digital TV but you will need a converter.

You see a HDTV signal is "digital" and the old TV is "analog".
So what you need is a converter from a digital to analog box.

Great, does that mean I will enjoy the same quality as using the normal HDTV?
Unfortunately, NO.

Due to the convertion, the quality drops, so you can only enjoy an analog quality.

is there anything wrong in the conversion? No, there is nothing wrong with the conversion.
Its just happen that:
a. HDTV have a higher resolution than normal TV.
HDTV can display about ten times as many pixels as an analog TV set.
For illustration only, so if analog TV shows a picture with maximum 10,000 pixels for 1 screen, a HDTV will be able to support 100,000 pixels for 1 screen.
So what will you get ? A better picture of course :)

b. Aspec Ratio
HDTV is 16:9
Standard TV is 4:3

That means you can have see more things in the TV. (*Wide screen*) without any cut off.

A lot of countries now is trying to push for Digital TV. Why ? Because its very difficult to maintain 2 standards. So by 2009, in USA, its expected that most TV stations will be converted to HDTV quality.

So dont worry, you still have a few more years to go to change your old TV with HDTV.

Some vendors that have already support HDTV:
1. Sony
2. Sharp
3. Hitachi
4. Samsung
5. etc

So how can you get a HDTV channels?
1. Over a satellite
Example: DirecTV or Dish Network in USA

2. Over a Local Cable Companies
  • Comcast in USA
  • Starhub Cable TV in Singapore

3. Over the air
Your normal TV station if they provide HDTV quality otherwise...too bad :P.

More info: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HDTV


Voip - Skype

Skype, Yahoo, MSN, AOL, ICQ. There are so many of them. All of them can be used for Instant Messaging, All of them can be used to send or receive files. So why so special about skype?

Sometimes, when I ask people did he use skype? He will said, "No but I got yahoo and msn, and thats enough for me. I do not want to have another IM". Unless I need to voice chat with him, I will just let it go :), I am not working for skype, so I dont really have to push it so hard he he he.

Anyway, why I like skype so much because "It Works". I didnt said yahoo, MSN, AOL and ICQ ar not working. all of them are working fine. but...Skype is very good on File Transfer for me. I am happy with File Transfer using skype.

Features available in SKype:
1. Voice Chat - Free
So far with its noise cancellation, I am happy with skype. Not perfect, but I can use my external speaker and external mic (*Without using my Logitech USB Headset 250*). and there is not much echo in it since skype has a built-in software echo cancellation.
Note: Its still feel much better if you use headset, so I still fully recommend you to get this one.

2. Chat Messaging - Free
As normal, Skype provides you with these traditional chat. Not as fancy as Yahoo and MSN but it suits me. Not many icons available, no theme, nothing, very plain. But it suits me.

3. File Transfer - Free
Skype is doing VERY GOOD JOB on this. Whether you are behind firewall or not, it will always WORKS. Eventhough at the worst case if you are really under firewall, the transfer rate will be very slow i.e. 1kb/s. But...it...work...thats the point.
Other IMs, normally will need to take 2 or 3 times trying and..."maybe" it will work. So if they insist not to install skype, I can only ask them, please send me the picture using Email. I know it will work he he :).

4. Webcam - Free
One thing that I like from skype: it will allow you to see your friend's picture in a full screen.
make sure the webcam is a decent one otherwise the quality will be bad :).
MSN will allow you to see the full screen too but if you use the "video" conference i.e. Voice from MSN and Webcam from MSN.

If you use the voice from skype and webcam from MSN, you will not be able to use the Full screen from MSN. (sad, because MSN video quality is better than skype for now*).

1. Skype's will show your own picture in the conversation too, but its "very small". so I dont like this part, I want to be able to adjust it so hopefully skype developer will make some improvement.

5. Skype out - Not Free
On top of calling PC to PC, skype allows you to call your friends in the rest of the worlds that are using Mobile Phone and Home Phone. They call this feature skype out. Try this, and really not bad, for popular destination it will only cost € 0.017 per minute.

6. Skype In - Not Free
This is one feature that I like, Skype allows you to have a Phone number. so when your friends call this number, your Skype will ring and you can just talk as per normal.
i.e. Skype In only available in certain countries i.e. USA, UK, Hong Kong SAR, Brazil, etc. For complete list check out skype website :)

Note: If you have more than 2 Skype Number in different countries, you can play a joke with your friend to guess where you are now ;).

7. Voice Mail - Free with Skype In, otherwise not free
When your friend subscribe to this feature, and you try to call them but they did not pick up the call (online or busy), you will be able to leave a voice mail.

Note: Yahoo Messenger provides Voice Mail for free.

8. Call Forwarding - Free to skype user but not Free to transfer to Mobile Phone/Home Phone
When you are on the road, but you are expecting a call in skype, you can forward your Skype call to your Mobile Phone. Cool right.

More Information: http://www.skype.com


Saturday, March 11, 2006

iPod Accessories and Coach

There are many accessories for iPod mini, iPod video, and iPod nano. What will happen if we combine iPod and Coach. What will you get? iPod case from Coach he he he. If you like these two brands (iPod and Coach), you are in luck. While browsing the web, I found some interesting products from Coach.

iPod case for all types of iPod.
Price range from: US$48 - US$ 178

Check out the rest of products yourself:
URL: Coach - iPod Case

Nice gift for your girl friend :).


Windows XP Tablet PC

Windows XP Home Edition, Windows XP Professional Edition and another one is Windows XP Tablet PC edition. Windows XP for Tablet is not something new. It has appears for a few years. what is so special about this now?

Recently Microsoft join venture with some vendors develop a new device and it uses the Windows XP Tablet PC 2005 Edition. The project code is "Origami Project". They are really good at playing secret on this project. They just release a bit information every day. So People keep guessing and finally the waiting is over. on the recent CES, Samsung unveil the 1st Origami device.

In the future, the origami device will be called: "Ultra Mobile PC" or "UMPC".

You will be able to buy this product in this year. So hopefully we can get this in April / may :).

According to Microsoft this device will cost less than US$ 1000, so its not a toy :). But I like it, because eventhough I have a Windows Mobile Edition, but I found some limitation in it, like there is no full support of java, full support of IE. everything is in "micro" edition.

According to the current Spec:

a. Windows XP Tablet PC Edition 2005 OS

b. Approximately 7” diagonal display (or smaller)

c. Minimum 800 x 480 resolution

d. Approximately 2 pounds

e. Integrated touch panel

f. Wifi and Bluetooth enabled

So I am looking forward for this device, if its really a full feature of windows XP and it support all kind of software that is currently running on Windows XP Desktop Edition, I will convince myself to get it.

One of the new feature in here is the keyboard, they have a special virtual keyboard rounded and split to left and right screen.

The only problem with this device is "battery". Eventhough they are using a low power Intel processor. Do not know how long the device will last. So far the news said that the battery for the final product will last for 3 hours.

If it can be extended longer to 8 hours, then I will be the happy man :). and there is no doubt, I will not think twice to get it. Anyway lets see when this device appears, when it appears, I will definitely update this blog again.

More Info: http://www.microsoft.com/windowsxp/umpc


Friday, March 10, 2006

Wireless USB Hub has been updated

Wireless USB Hub / Cable Free USB has been updated with new picture and vendor URL.


Credit Card - Online Shopping

Visa Card, Master Card, Diners, American Express are sample of Credit Cards. Most people carry more than 1 credit card in their wallet.

Its a very common to pay Restaurant Bill, Hotel Bill, Airline ticket with Credit Card. But how about Online shopping? Do you dare to pay using your credit card?

Unlike Online Internet Banking, online shopping is a little bit different, with internet banking, we know the bank, but with online shopping sometimes we did not know whether we should trust the store or not.

So I seldom give my credit card thru the internet UNLESS I trust the website i.e.
a. Amazon
URL: http://www.amazon.com

b. Paypal
URL: http://www.paypal.com

c. Essentials
URL: http://www.theessentials.com

Below are the safe tips when you want to do online shopping:
a. Make sure you trust the website
Do a google on the website and check what other people said about the website if its a new site.

b. Make sure you are on the https secure site. (*I will make a blog about this next time*)
Take a look on the URL: make sure it start with https:// instead of http://

c. Print the receipts or email it to yourself or save the webpage for your proof of purchase

d. Do not forget, check your credit card statements. Make sure it match with your receipt.
If there is anything wrong, quickly inform your bank and the online website.

e. Consider to get a separate credit card "just" for online shopping, so it will be easy to be keep tracked :).

f. Password
Make sure you are using a "good" password. I know you will have a problem memorising them :P.

g. Make sure your anti virus and firewall is running and up to date.

h. Remove your cookies and Temporary Internet files when you are done shopping.

Happy shopping.

Internet Banking

Internet Banking is free, easy and secure. Do you believe this statement ? Maybe yes and maybe not. Some of my friends doesnt want to touch Internet banking at all. They afraid of someone will hack into their account and do some malicous thing like withdraw their money, do some unauthorised transaction, etc.

I myself believe that internet banking is fast, easy, convinient and for secure, as long as you practise safe internet banking practice, there should not be any reason to be paranoid on this.

What is the benefit of Internet Banking?
1. You can see your balance everytime and everywhere
2. You can see your transaction details anytime
3. You can pay your bills (if possible) like Electricity, Credit Card bills, Rental
4. You can transfer $$ to your friends (*up to a certain limit)
5. You can transfer $$ within your account.

Benefit number 3 and 4 are the one that make a lot of people afraid to use internet banking.
Actually you dont have to afraid.

How to practice safe Internet Banking?
1. Never and never click a link in your email claiming from your bank to verify personal information. (Phising)

2. Use the Internet Explorer - Favourites Features to go to the internet banking site. So it will guarantee that you do not go to the wrong site (Another phising)

3 Update your Windows, Antivirus and firewall periodically and make sure you turn on your firewall and antivirus in your desktop.
4. Scan your PC/Notebook with your antivirus periodically, everyday during lunch time, leave it run.
5. After finish using internet banking, clear your internet browser cache and temporary internet files.
6. Never use your birthdate as your password :).
7. Ask whether your bank allows you to have a secure-pin for financial transaction i.e. transfer fund amount will require you to authorised either via SMS, or phone code, or some calculator that will keep giving you a new number every 1 minute. -> Separate blog may be needed for this.
Notes: Some bank in Singapore are using SMS to authorised transfer
8. If you see there is any unauthorised transactions, report it to the bank as soon as possible. The bank *maybe* will waive the transactions.

For those paranoid users, you can try to ask your bank whether its possible:
1. Limit the transfer amount to 0, no transfer possible. so even a person steal your password, they cant do anything since what the person can do is only to see your available balance and transaction details.
Note: Its possible to do this in Singapore


Thursday, March 09, 2006

Wireless USB Hub

Wireless USB Hub or known as Cable Free USB Hub. Finally I have been waiting for this product. After all these years since I have mt first USB mouse appears, and all the wireless product came out, I have been waiting and question, how come there is no wireless USB Hub.

What is a cable Free USB? This is a USB hub that will allows you to connect your USB gadgets i.e. printer, scanner, external storage and you can access it wirelessly.

From the picture: (Image from belkin wireless hub - not available yet only for reference)
a. the hub (right side) -> the hub that will connect your gadgets.
b. the small dongle (left side)-> the gadget that will be connected to your notebook. The dongle job is to connect to your hub wirelessly. so from the Windows it will be treated as if they are connected locally.

If you notice in one of my blogs about Belkin USB 2 High Speed Hub, i am able to connect to 7 USB gadgets into the same Hub. so these cable free USB is much better right, since I am able to connect all the gadgets wirelessly instead having a big table with all the gadgets near by :).

Sample scenario:

Old Way
I have a PC, a printer, a scanner, a hub, a mouse, a monitor.
I will need to have a big table to store all the stuff, otherwise I will need to have a very long cable and connect my printer or scanner on the other place. Messy cable :).

New Way
I can have a room with a Cable Free USB Hub and connect my printer, my scanner, my Disk Drive, my CD Writer to the Hub.

Then I will just bring my Laptop out, watch tv, and connect to the Hub using a small dongle like the picture above and do my printing and save my document to the external drive. All can be done while you are watching your fav TV shows. What a nice life :).

The dongle will connect to the hub wirelessly using 802.11g (54 Mbps). So the speed is not bad, of course will definitely slower than if you connected locally. But its a small price to pay.

This product will be ready from Belkin in July 2006.

But if you cant wait, I have seen another brand, silex at Fry's today. The price is US$149.99.
I have already tempted to buy it, but....no budget :-P.

Based on the specs (this part I remember), its compatible with:
1. Wireless 802.11g
2. Printer
3. Scanner
4. External Storage
5. Up to 15 USB (including hubs). --> Come on 15 should be enough ;)
6. USB Card reader i.e. memory Stick, Compact Flash, SD Card, etc.

Currently its still not compatible with:
1. Web Camera
2. Speaker

But its good enough, so if you need to print something and you dont have enough space in your desk, now you could just put the printer and scanner in separate place and connect them to your wireless hub. Cool right :).

More info about this Silex Wireless USB Hub

More Info: http://www.everythingusb.com/cable-free_usb.html


voip vs voip - New Era for Phone Calling

voip phone. voip phonecard. voip USB Phone. voip Router. voip Gateway. Voice over Internet Protocol. If you live in overseas (outside of your home country), chances you have been using voip now and then.

When you make a call to overseas using a prepaid phone card that can allows you to talk more minutes than your "home phone". Its highly chances that you have been using voip.

What is so good about voip? it costs less, and allows you to talk longer than your normal phone.
Few years ago, it will cost me 1 dollars and 20 cents to make a call to my country, but now with voip, it will cost me 18 cents per minute. Big difference right ? but good for customer, so I do not mind.

What is the drawback of voip?
1. Emergency Numbers
most of the voip vendors required a broadband so in the event when there is a power cut or maintenance of the internet. You cant call Emergency numbers from your phone. It might be change in the future though *I am still puzzling how they will do that when the broadband is down*

2. Security / Encryption
Most voip vendors do not support encryption yet. But not to worry, this will be change in the future.

History of voip comes a long way, the quality varies from vendor to vendor, sometimes when you got more minutes, but the quality of the voice is horrible. Either I can not hear the other party talk, or the other party can not hear me, or both can not hear each other :).

So I dont really used a lot last time since the voice is horrible.
How about now? is it as bad as last time ? With internet bandwith is getting cheaper and faster. Its different now, if you have a good broadband (unlimited) with 128Kbps and above, you can use a decent voip from your own computer.

If you want to use voip at home, you will need:
1. PC
2. Sound Card
3. Microphone (*without this, the sound will be echo terribly*)
4. Webcam (*Optional, but it would be nice if you have a good web cam camera*)
5. voip Phone (*Can be USB, can be wireless*) -> See my old blog for Linksys USB phone for Skype

Refer to my blog for Logitech USB Headset 250

If you have been using Yahoo, MSN or Google talk for chatting, you have already had voip applications. the voip ability already bundled with these Instant Messaging.

Quality of voice is varies from each one of them. But doesnt mean one of them is superior than the other. I used all of them with different reason and purpose:

These Instant Messanging comes with a built in voice chat:
1. Yahoo -> Call Icon
2. MSN -> Voice Icon
3. Google Talk
4. Skype

Based on my experience, Skype is the best for the voice quality.

If you have a good bandwith:
1. Use skype for the voice quality
2. Use MSN for the Web Cam (optional)

If you have low bandwith i.e. 56 K bps, dont lose heart, you can use voice too:
1. Use MSN for the voice --> You can still heard each other.
2. Use Yahoo for the Web Cam (optional)

If you have a bandwith cap i.e. Australia, Once your bandwith is capped, you can use these:
1. Use Google talk for voice
2. Use Yahoo for the Web Cam (optional)

You see, I used all of them at different time :). if One of the system is down for maintenance, you can switch to the other messaging system.

Thats my own experience, it could be different with other people :) so dont fight over it.

How about office? is there any practical real life scenario that is using voip? Sure, most companies now has already switching to voip since it will cost them cheaper. Especially if they are multi national company, instead of paying international call to call the subsidiary, so now they will just need to pay the bandwith which can be much lower than the international call.

What will they do is (Scenario only):
1. Assign 4 digits number within the company: 1234, 4567, 8903
2. Assign 2 digits for the company code in the same country: 45, 89, 43
3. Assign 2 digits for the country code: 65 (Singapore), 66 (Thailand), 22, 33, etc
4. Assign a prefix for voip, e.g. 1 for voip, 9 for dialing out, 0 for operator, etc

So to call someone in Thailand from Singapore: it will be: 1 65 45 1234
Then it will be uniquely identify an employee in Thailand, both of you can talk as long as you want now since it will be a voip and normally you only need to pay for the bandwith. The quality is comparable to normal phone. Except.....when the bandwith is low :-P.

voip to voip -> normally free, thats why you can chat using google talk, skype, yahoo, msn for free as long as you are calling PC to PC.

voip to Mobile Phone or Home Line -> Most likely not free, come on, somebody needs to pay the bill to the telecom provider :). but it will cost less than the standard International Call rate.
For example:
When I use my International Calling Card to Singapore, it will cost me US$ 69 cents.
When I use a prepaid card to Singapore, it will cost me US$ 1 cents.

When the quality is BAD, which sometimes it does happen, I have no choice other than switch back to ICC card again. eventhough they are more expensive, but the quality is better :P.

So there is a trade off sometimes, I need to use both. Not all my friends are using Skype, Yahoo and MSN. Strictly they do not want to use Instant Messaging. Dont ask me why, but oh well. its up to them.

Lastly, dont forget skype allows you to make a call to normal phone with SkypeOut with a lower rate.
Voice Quality of skype out:
1. PC to PC , the quality is excellent - best :-)
2. PC to Phone, the quality drop to normal phone quality. but its reasonable though.

More info: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/VoIP


iPod Accessories

iPod nano. iPod mini. iPod video. So many type of iPod available. Its very common for iPod fans to say "I want iPod nano. I want iPod mini. do you have an iPod? What kind of iPod model that you have?" iPod has became a big thing in the digital music player. actually the Top brand for the mp3 player. Other vendor is trying to stealing the pie from apple. but still unsuccessful. Apple is still the lead together with the iTune store.

So after you have an iPod, what kind of accessories that you can have with an iPod player?
1. scratch remover and lens polish
the new iPod nano and iPod video allows you to watch movie, so if there is a scratch in your iPod player, it will be irritating to watch it. so you can use this to polish and remove minor scratch in your iPod.
Where to buy: http://www.ipodstreet.com/

2. Connecting Cassette
If you have a car, and you want to share the sounds with the people in the car, you can use this connecting cassette to hear the music.
Where to buy: http://www.dlo.com
Pro: Quality is better than radio FM transmitter
Cons: not many new car coming with a cassette player. Most of them comes with a cd player.

3. External Speaker
No need to say about this, there are so many different brand and model for external speaker. Most speaker comes with a built-in charger for the iPod. so you can choose which model and brand that you want. iPod-Hi-Fi is one of them :).
Some vendor: Bose, Apple, DLO, Altec Liansing, etc.

4. Stereo Cable Kit
If you do not want to buy an external speaker, not to worry, your existing Hi-Fi can still be used as the external speaker. you just need the cable to connect the iPod to your existing Hi-Fi.
Where to buy: http://www.dlo.com

5. FM Transmitter
when you connect this to your iPod, and listen to a certain Freq Hz, it will allows you to listen using a radio. This is an alternative to the Connecting Cassette.

Pro: You do not need to have a Cassette Player
Cons: Quality drop. Connecting Cassette sounds better since there is no audio loss in the air :).

6. Belt Clip
You can carry your iPod everywhere on your belt (mostly guys)
Where to buy: http://www.dlo.com

7. Radio Clock + Charger+Speaker
Another add on to the external speaker, beside speaker now you can have a radio built in :).
Where to buy: http://www.dlo.com

8. Sega iDog
This dog will dance along with the music.
Where to buy: http://www.amazon.com

9. Buy a Movie and Songs from iTune Store
You can buy the movie and song from the iTune store. using your iTune software.
Where to buy: http://www.apple.com/itunes/

10. etc, etc Later :-), I will update once I have time.


Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Spam and Spammer

Spam and Spammer, I got many junk email today. Tired of cleaning it up. If I do not clean the spam email for 1 week, i will get a hundred of them. *sigh*. Then I decided to blog about spam.

What is actually a Spam? to me, a Spam is a junk email that is sent in bulk to many people with or without the intention of commercial but most of the time, we do not request to have the email delivered to our mail box.

A few years ago, when you open your hotmail, every day, I will need to clear up my hotmail from junk mail manually. Until finally Hotmail introduce a filter.
I quickly setup a filter:

Every subject that have:
1. $$
2. Lottery
3. Win

Just filter it away to junk mail :).

But its not enough, they are getting better, so finally I have no choice, I have to introduce a new method, so finally i go to exclusive mode.

Means, instead of filtering by words, I filter everybody :P, as long as their name are not inside my list, just throw them to junk mail.

There is a catch though, if I do this, I might filter the genuine people, long forgotten friend, new friend, etc.

Why Spammer keep sending you email?
Because its cheap, to send 250,000 Emails, some spammer company will only charge you 199 USD. Means, 1 Email will only cost the advertiser: 0.000796 USD. How did they get email address ? trust me, when you do posting in the internet, homepage, or any mailing list that you have. some automatic robot program can harvest those email addresses from the web.

Sooooo cheapppp, and the idea is, if for every 1000 people they got 1 genuine buyer, means for the price of 199 USD, you got 250 buyer. Its really tempting business for advertiser.

But oh well, nothing is perfect.

Recently there are lots of improvement in-terms of fighting with spam:
1. in USA alone, you can be sued if you send spam.
2. Program anti-spam is getting better, they use analyse of the subject, body, and mark it as spam.
3. Filter the hosts that is known for sending spam. --> not really effective though, since the hosts will just keep changing.

Some entreprise product - (Means only a company will buy it :P )
a. Symantec Brightmail AntiSpam -> not free
URL: http://www.symantec.com/

b. Spam Assassin -> Free
URL: http://spamassassin.apache.org

c. Etc, etc.

I do not want to talk about the product so much since I am sure nobody will be interested since most of the people do not have a MAIL SERVER :), they only use hotmail, yahoo, gmail :).

How to reduce Spam? (*Noted: You can not avoid spam*)
a. Never give your email address publicly in homepage, email, etc.
instead use this technique:
Assume your email is: abcdef@hotmail.com, you can put it like abcdef_AT_hotmail.com

So program harvesting email address will not pick up, obviously smart program will be able to do that, but most of them will just ignore it :).

b. Use Filter if possible
Filter the email with subject, from, thats possible, since if my name is dragonboy and my email is dboy. I am really sure nobody will call me: Hello dboy in the subject.

So in actual fact, I did that too, any subjects contains my "exact" email, straight go to the junk mail :).

c. Check policy before submit your email online - to be sure they will never send any spam
bla bla bla, I am sure you will never do that or read the fine line. how many of you actually read my blogs every word by words :)

d. Never and never respond "please remove me from your mailing list". Most of the time, you will just get more. WHY ??? because it confirm that your email is valid and active :-)

e. Open a 2nd email for special junk mail purpose. You can always have additional email account in different domain like yahoo, google, or hotmail. Once only for your personal usage. The other one is meant for junk mail or subscribe mailing list, etc.

Currently there is a debate whether to have a "pay mail" system i.e. if you want to send an email, you will have to pay for it maybe a very small amount like 1 cents. Eventhough I dont like this idea, but I am really sure it will reduce SPAM since now, they will have to pay 1 cents per email :), but its not good for your pocket too.

So we shall see, there are lots of debating on this 2nd generation of email, we shall see who will win next. But I am sure, we can not avoid spam, even if they have to pay to send email, they will do it, they will just increase the cost of advertising for sending email higher.


Firewall Security - Intrusion Detection

Did you turn on your firewall ? These are the most common thing that your IT support will ask you whenever you have virus in your computer. So whats is a firewall? A Firewall is a security application that is very useful to prevent malicious application i.e. virus and spyware. Normal antivirus program works based on signature of virus. so when a new virus came, the antivirus programs needs to be updated in order to know how to detect and how to clean the program after it was being infected.

Firewall on the other hand is another useful utility that can be used to detect: spyware program and malicious activity by a program without being updated.

in here, I will only blog about Personal Firewall. Since there are many different types of Firewall, so I will only concentrate with 1. in the future maybe more :)

Personal Firewall normally protects only 1 PC. Personal Firewall is an application
that you need to install in order to protect your machine from spyware and virus.

Once you install a firewall program, at the beginning, it will be ANNOYING, because you need to train the firewall application to know which application is allowed to use the internet, and which one is not.

Everytime you run an application to connect to the internet, the firewall program will alert you that a program is trying to connect to internet. Its very useful since now you know that this program is trying to connect to internet.

Sample scenarios:
1. Internet explorer -> so you will always choose an option - always allowed to connect to the internet
2. Yahoo Messenger -> allowed to internet
3. zdkdfkj.exe --> what ????? how come this file want to connect to the internet.

Notice from the above, there is a file called zdkdfkj.exe and this program is trying to connect to the internet, if the file is just a normal application, what its trying to do ???? is it a spyware program that trying to report an activity.

Everytime there is a pop up screen asking you whether you want to allow a program to connect to the internet, you need to ask your self these following question:
1. Did you install this program yourself?
if you did not install this program, there is a chance that your system has been
compromised by a worm/virus. so you might want to do some clean up activity.

2. is this program suppose to connect to internet?
if a program is not suppose to connect to the internet and yet it wants to connect. You might want to check with google about comments of other people about this program. There is a chance that it might be an auto update so its reasonable to allow the program to connect. But there is another possibility that its trying to do something fishy

So a personal firewall will help you to notify you whenever there is a danger out there. Unlike an antivirus, Personal firewall needs less update. (*It still need update to the application to get a bug fix*), but less often, since personal firewall normally is a stable application and you are the one who decide whether an application will be allowed to connect to your machine, or allowed to connect to the internet.

So if you do not have a personal firewall now, please get one, it will help you to protect yourself against spyware and virus out there.

Some personal firewall are free too, some vendors are listed down here.
1. Zone Alarm -> Personal Firewall is Free for non business use
URL: http://www.zonelabs.com
Direct URL: Zonelabs - Zone Alarm

One of the first product that I use to protect my system.
Great product, so you could try it.
If you like it and would like to use the professional edition (more things to configure), you could do that once you are happy with the personal edition.

2. Symantec Intenet Security -> Buy it ;)
URL: http://www.symantec.com
One of the best product available in the market.

3. Sygate Personal Firewall -> Free version is available
URL: http://www.sygate.com

4. Kerio Personal Firewall -> Light version is free
URL: http://www.kerio.com

5. etc, etc.

Firewall also comes with a side effect:
1. Some application does not like a firewall during the installation or auto update.
If you encounter some problems surfing a website, or installing an application. Try to turn off your firewall application temporarily. It will help :)

2. You need to train the firewall application to recognise what application that is allowed to connect to internet. After a few days, most likely 90% of the rules has been set.

You could always change your mind to allow or not to allow an application to connect to the internet by going to the setting. Normally it will be listed down nicely somewhere in the configuration.

You need to have a Personal Firewall in your PC. Get from one of the above vendors if you do not have one currently.

More info: Wikipedia - Firewall


Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Skype Day - Free 20 cents Euro

If you want to be able to do skype out. Today is your lucky day if you are in USA and UK.

Go to: Skype Free - Day

And claim your rewards. you will need to know your user ID and password though.
Once you enter, you can click the button and get your 20 cents Euro ;).

Remember this is only valid for today, if you miss it, the link most likely will be invalid. I have claimed mine ;) keep Trying though, according to the promotion its valid until 30th march 2006.

20 cents Euro will allow you to talk for 10 minutes for most country, so this is a good chance if you never used skypeout before :). You can try it out, if you like it, then you can buy more.


iPod Hi-Fi. is it good ?

Another day, another lunch. This time again I went out with my colleague to the mall for lunch. This time there is a demo of iPod Hi-Fi. This is a new product just released from Apple.

What is iPod Hi-Fi? this is an add-on product for your iPod. there is a small opening at the top of the iPod Hi-Fi that will allow you to put your ipod.

The guy was demo-ing Ipod-Nano movie with colour :). The 1st time I see this Hi-Fi in the news, I dont really pay attention because I recalled that I have seen similar look from Bose.

But whats interesting, the sounds from iPod Hi-Fi surprisingly clear, and good quality.

The docking station is also universal means:
1. You can put your iPod, iPod mini, iPod nand, and iPod shuffle.

Thats nice right :), the design is sleek and simple too.
I like white colour, so I have no complaint for the colour he he he :).
overall this iPod Hi-Fi is a nice product. It cames with a remote control.

You can control the volume from 3 ways:
1. from your iPod itself
2. from the iPod Hi-Fi itself, (there are 2 button to adjust the volume)
3. from the remote control.

Nice right :-).

Some nice features:
1. You can recharge your iPod by docking it to the Hi-Fi.
2. Portable. You can use battery or Normal Electricity. (Means, if you want to bring it out for some outdoor activity, you can use battery to power it up, make sure you have a spare battery though*)

Weight: 7.6kg (with battery) or 6.6 kg (without battery)
1. It can recharge your iPod too.

Price: US$349.
I dont like the price though, since I can buy the iPod nano less than the Hi-Fi. :P.

Other than that, I can say that its a nice product :).

More info: http://www.apple.com/ipodhifi/


Spyware - Including Free detection and removal application

What is spyware? Spyware is not a virus like in my previous posting. It doesnt spread out by itself, instead spyware is a program that is being installed without you knowing and it will secretly do some monitoring for your activity for 3rd party commercial gain.

The activity could be:
1. Your browsing surfing habit. It will send the result of your browsing habit to a 3rd party most of the time for marketing purpose.

2. Steal some personal information i.e. credit card number, bank account information.

How can you get a spyware?
1. When you are surfing the web, there are some websites, will shows a pop up screen trying to install some application in the mask of "some goodies", or "patches for your windows". When you click yes to install. Oopssss, the spyware program will be installed secretly. The next time you reboot your computer, the spyware program will run by itself and start monitoring you.

2. When you install some of the P2P program i.e. kazaa. Because if you notice, once you run Kazaa, a lot of pop up screen will appears. So its monitoring your surfing habit.

3. Exploit some loophole in the applications/Operating System.
Same like virus, when it found a loophole perhaps in the browser, a spyware can exploit the loophole in order to install itself in the victim's computer.

How do you know you got a spyware? Some of the spyware is obvious, it reveals itself that its indeed have infected your computer.
1. You will notice your computer is slower
2. You will notice that your computer boot slower than usual.
3. Pop Up screen start to appear as soon as you are connected to the internet.
4. Your initial page or error page from internet explorer redirect you to some advertising website.

Typically, the one that is very obvious is the pop up screen, most of the time, there will be a lot of pop up, and they are HARD to kill. You try to close one, the other one appears.

If you asked me? Have I ever got spyware in my computer? The answer is "yes", there are some incident, that, your hand moves too fast, instead of clicking "NO", by accident I click "Yes". *Sigh*, it took me several hours to clean up my machine after that, and make sure all the spyware gone.

Is there any way to detect that you have a spyware?
Yes, there are a lot of programs out there that will help your computer are infected by Spyware.

These are some programs that will help you:
1. Microsoft Anti Spyware -> Free
URL: Microsoft Defender

2. Search and Destroy -> Free
URL: http://www.safer-networking.org/

3. Symantec Anti Virus -> Trial version
URL: http://www.symantec.com

4. AVG Antivirus -> Free
URL: http://www.grisoft.com/doc/1

5. Lavasoft -> Free for personal use is available
URL: http://www.lavasoft.com/

6. etc, etc.

Remember, none of them are perfect, so sometimes, you will need to have more than 2 programs in order to catch all the latest spyware. Spyware is also evolving. Their technique are getting better and better too.

Last note: Eventhough some of the program are free, but if you could support their product by giving them donation, or buy the professional edition, that would be nice. We need to give them support of what they do, right.

Once you have already downloaded the programs above, do not forget, that you need:
1. Update Your Windows
Since spyware is increasing and evolving, you need to update your Windows as well. Spyware is like a virus, it will try to exploit Windows O/S. If you did not update, it will be useless.

2. Update your Anti-Spyware Program
Just like Windows, Anti Spyware programs needs to be updated in order to update all the new signature of a spyware program.

How to prevent spyware?
1. Turn on your pop up blocker. Only turn off your pop up blocker when you know that you need to see the pop up. Some websites needs the popup blocker to be turned off.

2. If you download some emails or programs from internet. Run your antivirus and check the file. Even MS Word or Excel can contains macro that can download a spyware program. So do not let your guard down. Always check your file before you run it.

How to turn on Pop Up Blocker?
a. Internet Explorer 6 with SP2 have a built in pop up blocker -> Free
b. Symantec Security have a pop up blocker -> If you have the license is free :P
c. Yahoo Toolbar -> Free
d. MSN Toolbar -> Free
e. Google Toolbar -> Free

If you got any comments, just leave it in the comments section.


Monday, March 06, 2006

Virus Computer including Free Antivirus product

Virus Computer. Now a days, its no longer the era of getting a virus thru booting a computer with a CD, most of the virus comes with either these 3 methods: (Top 3 according to me)
1. Email ->
The email will try to tell you its a nice picture, or some interesting documents. So when you run the file its actually a virus and your computer will be infected immediately.

2. Download a virus program thru Web or P2P
Can not say much, some program is being named so nicely until you are tempted to run it :).

3. Loophole in the Application/Operating System
Most of the time there is a loophole in the O/S or application. Windows XP got many bugs. Its common for a gigantic application to have lots of bugs. So I will never accuse Microsoft, since I know when I create program, I can create bug too :P.
So far microsoft is doing a good job, once Research Antivirus company reporting a bug, Microsoft will close the hole within days/weeks.

There is a problem with this closing the hole though, most customers are LAZY to do an update to their O/S. Either because its take too much time to download or too expensive for phone bills. So what is the implication if customer did not do an update to the O/S.

This is what Virus Writer will do, everytime Microsoft close the hole/bug, and put the patch to the website for customer to download

The virus writer will just have to download the patch, and see the difference between previous version and current version. They will just concentrated with the "bug" and after that its easy. Since they only compare a small portion. They will only needs 1 day or two to come out with an exploit that will utilise the bug and infect your machine with it.

Notice the problem, eventhough Microsoft can do a very good job to close the hole, but if customers did not do their part i.e. to download and install the patch. It will be useless :P.
I really cant blame the customers too since the download can be very slow especially if you are using "modem 56K". You dont even want to bother to download since the patch can be up to 1-10 M file, and phone line is expensive in some country.

4. Outdated Antivirus / No Antivirus installed
Even you have an antivirus in your system, or a firewall in your system, as long as they are not UP TO DATE, it will be useless.

Some of the antivirus and firewall can be pretty expensive too.

Here are some vendors that will be usefull if you are interested to buy or install one.
Some of Antivirus Vendor
1. Symantec -> http://www.symantec.com/ --> Free Trial
2. Mcafee -> http://www.mcafee.com/ --> Free Trial
3. AVG Antivirus -> http://www.grisoft.com/ --> Free version is available.
4. Trend Micro -> http://www.trendmicro.com/ --> Provide free Scan of virus.
4. etc, etc.

So if you do not have a budget, download the AVG, its a decent antivirus product and updated periodically. and there is a free version available in the website.
Direct link: http://www.grisoft.com/doc/289/lng/us/tpl/tpl01

If you had already used the AVG - Free edition, you could support the company by purchasing the professional edition if you like the product.

If you have budget, get a Symantec Anti Virus. Eventhough one thing that I hate about Symantec, when you try to uninstall and reinstall it, you will have to spend 1/2 - 2 hour to do that, since the program will complaints corrupted. bla bla bla bla. But when its up and running its a good anti virus, so I will not complaint too much once its up and running.

For Mcafee, I used to use it during the Dos operating system :), I like it, but I can not comment so much since I have not been using this product for many years.

So what is the solution then ?
1. Update your Windows regularly
2. Update your Antivirus program regularly. A good antivirus program will remind you to do an update and remind you when your subscription fee is expired :P.

If you are a home user and would like to use it at home, dont forget a free antivirus product is already available. AVG Antivirus

More info:
1. AVG Antivirus -> http://www.grisoft.com/ --> Free version is available on the website for home user.

Notes: if you have question for virus computer, you can leave a comment though, I will read it :).
This week, I will dedicate the blog for Virus/Worm/Firewall. So come back again tomorrow if you want to know more about this.


Sunday, March 05, 2006

Google Mini - Make searching for company's intranet easier

Google search?...Mention this word and you will get a response, Yes, I know google search, I have been using google search for years.

Almost every people that knows how to use internet has and at least try to use Google search engine.

Eventhough there are a lot of other search engine, like Yahoo and MSN, but google is still the number 1 search engine at this time.
For some statistics recently published, these are the top 3 search engines:
1. Google - 48.2%
2. Yahoo - 22.2%
3. MSN - 11%
4. Others - 18.6%

Google captured 48.2% of the market. Not bad right.

Dont you wish that your Company's "intranet" website is easy to be searched as well? I have been working with big companies in the past, and *sigh*, to find some document in the intranet, its like a "maze". It can took 10-30 minutes just to find some old documents in the intranet, and the most annoying part, the website keep changing, and so the link, they keep trying to update the face of the site, and the old link doesnt work. Arrgghhhh, sometimes it frustates me to when searching for documents.

Not anymore now :), Google have a solution for the companies, they call their product "Google Mini" and "Google Search Entreprise". I will just focus on Google mini, since I like this name.
Google mini is a hardware device with "Google" software inside.

From the google website, these are the description:
"The Google Mini is a hardware-software solution designed to help your organization make the most of its digital assets by delivering the power and productivity of Google search across your documents and websites – quickly,easily and affordably. "

Nice, if there is one thing that I like about google search, is no training needed.
Almost everybody has already known how to use google search.

So what the companies needs to do to:
1. Buy Google Mini
2. Configure the google mini to point to your company website. The configuration is using web based.
3. Let it "crawl" to the companies website, it will index all the documents that it found i.e. MS Word, Text File, HTML File, PDF File, etc.
4. Put some link in the company Webpage: to do searching, but its actually pointing to google mini
5. Done. you can find all the documents easily with the same user interface as the normal google website.

Next time when you need to find document related to "Annual Increment" you will just need to spend minutes to look for the document since google's has already make your life easier.

So How much is it?
Google Mini comes with a different flavour depends on how big is your company's intranet website:
1. 50,000 Documents - US$ 1995
2. 100,000 Documents - US$ 2995
3. 200,000 Documents - US$5995
4. 300,000 Documents - US$ 8995
5. more than 300,000 Documents -> use the google entreprise, and I dont know the price :P.

Not cheap :), but if the company is big, to buy this product and with the benefit of
a. improve the performance and response time ,
b. cut down employee time to search for document, it worth it.
c. cut down employee training

I believe its worth it.

Lets give some example:
1. For an employee to come out with a search engine program itself to index the company's intranet document, it will take about 2 months. Assume the salary of the employee is about 3000 USD.
2 months = 6000 USD.
How about bug of the progam? Amount of time for testing, number of users that involves in the testing....ouchhh.........At the end, it will easily above >15,000 USD :-) and keep increasing.

But with this google mini, 1 time buy, and it will solve all the pains, you know the software works. since you have been using google every day :).

And for all that maters, within the 1st year, if anything spoilt with the hardware and software, google will replace it. And after the 1st year, its up to the company whether they want to get the support or stick with the current hardware and software without any additional charge.

Noted: I am not a google employee :-)

More Info: http://www.google.com/enterprise/mini/


Saturday, March 04, 2006

Notebook Hard-Disk Slow ?? Here comes Hitachi 7K100 to rescue.

I have heard comments liket his many many times: "Notebook is slower than PC". But actually its not entirely true. To be honest, I used to think like that too. But not anymore now, because after you know all the components that make up Desktop PC and notebook, then you start realise that there is a big difference betweeen Desktop PC and notebook.

The big difference is in the hard-disk:
1. Desktop PC's Hard-Disk is 3.5"
2. Notebook 's Hard-Disk is 2.5"

so of course when you build some thing, the first technology that is easy to implement is for the one that is bigger i.e. 3.5". So far the normal commonly found hard-disk, they have 4 speeds:
1. 4200 rpm (rotation per minute)
2. 5400 rpm
3. 7200 rpm
4. 10000 rpm (only Western Digital 3.5" have these, limited availability and $$ expensive)
5. 15000 rpm and above (*Forget it, this is too expensive for us*)

The faster the rpm, the better performance you will receive. Until recently notebook hard-disk can only have : 4200 rpm and 5400 rpm. While in Desktop PC, its very common to have 5400 rpm and 7200 rpm.

So if your notebook is very slow, check the hard-disk model, If you do not know how to check the hard-disk speed *oops*, get your friends to help you :).
If you are curious: use this website to help you: http://www.computerhope.com/issues/ch000497.htm

After you found the model number, use google to search it :).

When you get a 4200 rpm hard-disk, dont worry, i can guarantee you that the speed will be VERY VERY SLOW. I have seen it myself with lots of people.

So is it true that notebook hard-disk will always be slow?

NOT ANYMORE :), Hitachi GST has already came out with 2 products 7k60 and 7k100. These 2 products are specially designed for notebook. and they came with ....7200 rpm :-).
7k60 -> 60 GB with 7200 RPM
7k100 -> 100 GB with 7200 RPM

And I am one of the lucky person that have 7k60 rpm in my notebook. Ouwwwww.... I can feel the difference of the speed when I just change the hard-disk from 5400 rpm to 7200. Normally I will need to wait for about 40-50 seconds to boot windows XP. and wait everytime I launch my application. but not anymore with this 7200 it really cut the wait. Now I really enjoy the speed of my hard-disk.

My desktop PC in the office is only 5400 rpm. and it have 2.8 Ghz intel on it.
While my notebook only have 1.7Ghz centrino with 7200 rpm.
But for performance, my notebook is faster than my desktop he he he :).

So for all of you that wants to buy a notebook or hard-disk, please take note, dont just buy based on the price:
1. 100 GB hard-disk with 5400 rpm
2. 100 GB hard-disk with 7200 rpm

there will be a difference in term of cost between these 2, but if you really needs performance, spend a little bit more to get a 7200 rpm. Its worth it.

Dont get a 120 GB hard-disk with 5400 rpm for your notebook. Its much better get a 60 GB 7200 RPM. After that, buy an external Hard-Disk, where you can buy a 3.5" 400 GB - 7200 rpm with much a cheaper price.

At the end you will be more happy when your application launch faster.

Recently I manage to convince one of my friend to get a 7K60 Hitachi harddisk and replace his 30 GB 4200 rpm. He is very happy after the change so I hope you can consider to change your hard-disk if you notice that eventhough you have a new notebook, but the performance is very slow. Dont blame the notebook, blame the hard-disk :)

Where to get a 7200 rpm notebook? So far I only know Hitachi GST that have these :P.

Specification for Hitachi 7k100:
1. 100GB maximum capacity
2. Industry's only second-generation 7200RPM hard drive
3. Desktop-like performance in a mobile drive --> I like this...
4. Power requirements similar to 5400RPM products --> Good, then you can sure it will be compatible if you decide to change
5. 50% improvement in operational shock tolerance

You can find out more on this website:
More info: http://www.hitachigst.com (Products -> Travelstar)

Nice review of all the speed of hard-disk:
Toms Hardware - Notebook Hard-Disk Summary