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Tuesday, September 26, 2006

The Torrent World

BitTorrent is a peer-to-peer (P2P) file distribution protocol. Bittorrent is designed to distribute large amounts of data widely without incurring the corresponding consumption in costly server and bandwidth resources. Reports say that BitTorrent traffic accounts for ~35% of all traffic on the Internet now.

BitTorrent clients are programs which implement the BitTorrent protocol. To share a file through BitTorrent, clients first create a “torrent”. This is a small file which contains metadata about the files to be shared, and about the host computer that coordinates the file distribution. The .torrent files contain an “announce” section, which specifies the URL of the tracker, and an “info” section which contains (suggested) names for the files, their lengths, the piece length used, and a SHA-1 hash code for each piece, which clients should use to verify the integrity of the data they receive.

You need to install the BitTorrent client first to start downloading torrent files. These are some of the major clients: BitTorrent, Azureus (Java based, so multi-platform), BitComet etc. My favourite is BitComet. It has a preview feature which shows what are the contents of the torrent file and you can skip files if you don’t need it. For example, you are downloading a multi-disk 4GB game, and if you already have some of the disks with you, you can skip it and download only what you want. They recently added another feature called video preview, so now you can make sure the file you download is actually a video itself and it is what you wanted! Some times sick people share other files in pretext of video or you might get a fake one.

Once you download the client, you may want to go to a bitTorrent portal to start downloading the files. You can search these portals for torrent files and just click on them to start downloading. The actual downloading is not from the server, but from the P2P network. So you may want to check there is enough seeders for the torrent you are going to download. These are some good torrent portals: isoHunt, BitTorrent, TorrentSpy, mininova

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Cygwin/X – The free X Client

You might have used Exceed or XManger as an X Window system for Microsoft Windows, to connect remotely to your X based OS (Unix, Linux, Solaris etc). But as you know, both XManager and Exceed are highly priced products ($200+ for an enterprise license)! So unless you spend top dollars, you were left out with only telnet/putty to access a linux/unix based system remotely. All though CLI (Command Line Interface) would be still a hot thing for the wanna be or so called geeks, it is neither user-friendly nor efficient. Why should you type from A-Z for everything when linux systems offer you the option of plenty of beautiful X Window systems starting from KDE to GNOME?

So here come the life saver. A free X Server for the windows platform, using which you can connect to any X based OS which offer XDMCP (X Display Manager Control Protocol) service. It is called Cygwin/X ( Cygwin/X runs on all recent consumer and business versions of Windows, from Windows 95 to Windows Server 2003. Cygwin/X consists of an X Server, X libraries, and nearly all of the standard X clients, such as xterm, xhost, xdpyinfo, xclock, and xeyes. Cygwin/X has a modified GNU General Public License and the source code and binaries are freely available.

Quick Setup:
Cygwin/X is installed via Cygwin's setup.exe and the installation process is documented in the Cygwin/X User's Guide. Whether or not you already have Cygwin installed, you can add Cygwin/X to your installation by downloading the latest setup.exe, running setup, and selecting the 'xorg-x11-base' package from the 'X11' category. The default selection is 'Skip', click once to change. The dependencies of the package will be automatically selected. See the screenshot below.

(Note: The installer is around 60MB in size. So depending on your internet speed, it may take a while)

Quick How to:
Once installed, goto Windows Start -> Cygwin -> Cygwin Bash Shell
When the shell opens, type -> XWin -query [your machine name OR IP]

You should be seeing your login screen in a few seconds. Njoy!

Friday, September 08, 2006

ABC of Orkut

is the social networking product of google. In simple words it is an online community that connects people through a network of trusted friends. You can meet new people, you can keep in touch with your friends, you may even find your long lost friends. You can also create or join in various groups/communities and share your ideas with similar minds. And the best part is, you get it all for free! And no ads too (yet)!

The unique thing about orkut is that, to join orkut you need an invitation from an existing member. This helps to reduce spammers or software bots who creates fake profiles for advertising or other misuse of the network. And with google’s take over, google is on a spree tightly integrating everything with google account, including orkut, blogger etc.

You can see a preview of orkut here:

Orkut login/welcome screen (click on pic to enlarge)

A sample orkut profile

An orkut group

How to join orkut:

Sorry, but you will have to find a friend of yours who is already in orkut. Once you get an invitation, click on the link, follow the instructions and create your profile. Search for people, groups and make your presence felt. Upload a picture and make your profile catchy.

A word of caution: It is better to avoid leaving your contact info like phone number, instant messenger id, mail id etc in the open for everyone to see. You may either set it to be seen only by your friends or you may choose not to give any at all. Another increasing concern is that the pics (especially of cute females) from the orkut album are stolen by the dating sites to create fake profiles for advertisement and attract more guys to their sites. You may perhaps not put many clear shots of face or perhaps you can engrave your pics with your name or say ‘orkut’ so that no body steals and use it somewhere else.

Orkut tips:

1) Did you know – your friends are listed in the order of recent login. Means, the one you see first in your friends list is the one who last logged in, and perhaps he is still online.

2) Others leave messages in your scrapbook, and you should post the replies in their scrapbook, not yours.

3) Scrapbook is open to anyone in orkut, so avoid posting anything of private and confidential nature, including your contact details. For such things, there is an option in orkut to ‘message’.

Will keep updating this, keep checking once a while!

Thursday, July 06, 2006

The online photo album search!

I have a decent digital camera and have been looking for a while for a decent online photo-sharing site. I have been using yahoo photos for years, but sometime back yahoo decided that no body could see or download the originally uploaded hi-res pictures. Result, I have to now live with the low-resolution pictures offered by yahoo and all my original high quality ones is gone!

So I started looking for alternatives. I came across many options. I thought I would briefly list them with their limitations:

1) Flickr (

Flickr was bought by yahoo. It is a good service with privacy options and also allows others to post comments. But, the catch is the 20 MB bandwidth limit per month! That is too low.

2) Multiply (

Multiply is an all in one solution. It offers you a site, blog, photos, video, music, review, calendar etc. It even gives you the option to retain the original hi-res photos. But on further analysis, found that they will replace the hi-res ones with a low-res version if you don’t order any prints online for 6 months! Now that is not fair!

I will add more to this soon. I am trying out more options.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Migrate the Contacts!

I have been happily using a Nokia 6230i and recently got a new 6682. I thot I will use the new one for a while since it has a bigger screen and a different platform (Symbian OS). 6230i is series 40 and 6682 (same as 6681, this is the American version, triband with GSM 900 instead of 800) is series 80 platform. I downloaded the latest version of Nokia PC Suite (6.80.22) and thought I can migrate all the data from 6230 to 6682 in a snap with the USB cable. Well it wasn't that easy as I thought. I have close to 400 contacts with many entries having multiple numbers and other contact information like email address, notes etc.

I cant use the conventional SIM transfer as SIM cant hold all my contacts (I think max is 256) and all the different entries in the individual contacts will be split per phone number. Ughh! What a mess! So I connected my 6230i via USB and copied all the contacts to my laptop. Then I connected the 6682 and copied the contacts from laptop to the phone. Everything looked fine, until I verified the contacts. Oops, the primary contact number in all the contacts is missing! So most of the contacts are empty and the ones with multiple entries doesn’t have the primary phone number! The thought of sending each contact individually by bluetooth brought a quiver to me!

Suddenly the bulb lit in my head. I wouldn't be the first one in the world doing this. So I googled a lot and the best information I could get was to use Outlook in between and synchronize. Seems it has worked for many in similar transferring between incompatible platforms. I tried my luck with outlook express. I could copy all the contacts to outlook successfully. But somehow nokia is not copying it back to the new phone. I played with it for a while, trying unidirectional update to phone etc, still it returns saying zero updates made.

Finally I found out that in 6682 there is an option to load contacts from the memory card. I copied all my contacts (vcf files) to the folder \MCard\Others\Contacts and then from the phone, used the option in contact book to copy from memory card. Voila! It works, all the info in each of the contacts is in tact. Thank God!

I guess there could be people looking for this info somewhere else in the world also. So here I share the same, njoy!!

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Watch FIFA world cup online -FREE!

Are you at work during the matches? You don’t have the channels in your cable? Is cable/dish too costly or you don’t have access to a TV? Don’t worry, don’t miss the matches, see it online… provided you have a fast internet connection.

You have the following options:

1) ESPN 360

High quality real-time streaming by ESPN itself, with English commentary. Good speed, great quality!

2) TVU Player

TVU networks uses P2P technology to broadcast TV programs live over the Web. The service is based on a number of patent-pending technologies, covering high-quality video coding, efficient real-time P2P distribution, and effective digital rights management.

3) SopCast

Sopcast is the Streaming Direct Broadcast System based on P2P. The core is the communication protocol produced by Sopcast Team. It could make any node in the network to act as a retransmitter, and slowdown the media server’s workloads when audience quantity grows. You can use SopCast to watch TV; furthermore you can use it to build your own channel.

The last two were built and managed by the Chinese. Let us see how long they survive!

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Virtual Keyboard - Windows

An alternative keyboard in Windows

In case your keyboard or some keys stop working, Microsoft provides you with an alternative way to type in using the mouse...

To start this tool, go to Start menu --> Run
Type in OSK, Press OK

An 'On Screen Keyboard' will appear as follows...

Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Up, up and away with Java EE 5

J2EE 1.5 is now Java EE 5.

With version 5 of the Java Platform, Enterprise Edition (Java EE, formerly referred to as J2EE), development of Java enterprise applications has never been easier or faster. The aim of the Java EE 5 platform design has been to streamline the features and add convenience, improve performance, reduce development time, and help developers get products to market that much sooner.

Here are a few of the significant changes:
  • Most boilerplate requirements have been eliminated, and XML descriptors are now optional. For example, the ejb-jar.xml descriptor is no longer necessary in most cases.
  • More defaults are available, with a special emphasis on making them meaningful. Developers now have fewer details to remember.
  • Web service support is simpler, and the number of supported standards has increased.
  • The EJB software programming model is significantly simpler.
  • The new Java Persistence API is available to all Java platform applications, including those based on EJB technology.
  • JavaServer Faces technology has been added to make web application design more convenient.
Other relevant highlights include - Enterprise Application Development Made Easy (annotation framework), Streamlined EJB Software Development (Fewer required classes and interfaces, Optional deployment descriptors, Simple lookups, Simplified & lightweight persistence for object-relational mapping, Interceptors etc..), Easier Access to Resources Through Dependency Injection (object's dependencies are supplied automatically by an entity external to that object), Lightweight Java Persistence API Model, Simpler, Broader Web Service Support (JAX-WS 2.0), Convenient Web Application Design With JavaServer Faces Technology (a server-side framework that provides UI components for building web applications), JavaServer Pages Standard Tag Library, JAXB 2.0 etc..

Read more:

If you appreciate the quality of O'Reilly books, this is a great site for Enterprise Java:

Go ahead, try the 'Project GlassFish', dive in!

Monday, February 20, 2006

Multi-touch Screens

Imagine you are inspecting a 3D model on the computer screen. How would you like if you have the option to rotate, zoom in, zoom out and all with your fingers on the screen, rather than going for the mouse or keyboard. Or say you are drawing a picture... what about dipping your finger in a color and just rubbing it on the screen to paint that picture of yours? Sounds good? Then be ready to welcome multi-touch screens.

Follow the link for a demo video and more info:

Friday, February 17, 2006

IP: Your identity in net

So, how anonymous are you in the internet, or as a matter of fact, any network? But generally internet is considered unsafe, unrestricted and uncontrolled and hence everyone browse around with much increased caution than your trusted LAN or WAN. People generally use at least a firewall and an up-to-date antivirus before they jump into the World Wide Web. Business networks go a step beyond and make sure they have a tightened hardware or software proxy/firewall too. Still you think you are fully anonymous? Try clicking the following link and find what I know about you:

Note: Be known, you can be traced back to your doorstep ;-)

Monday, February 06, 2006

System, heal thyself

Have you heard of Autonomic Computing? Not yet?! You need a lot of catch up to do pal; you are running behind in the world of IT. Autonomic Computing was inspired from the autonomic nervous system in our body, which reacts to most of the reflexes by itself, without always waiting for the control centre, brain, to analyze and take corrective action. Feel lucky that you are able to take your hand off that hot iron before you need to see smoke coming from your hand!

Autonomic Computing is a vision, a new path in Information Technology, aiming to build self-managing systems. As we climb up the technology ladder, juicing out more from technology applied to daily use, systems tend to get complex. Complexity increases administration costs and makes it more error prone. Most of the system administration tasks are mundane and doesn't need the much valuable time and effort of a technical expert. Think of a new world, where systems themselves take care of most of those silly errors, and will wake up the nodding admin if something is out of its control. Wow, what a beautiful world, isn't it?

If you still think I am talking about 2020, where robots would be walking around, does every work and you just need to press that blue button for a robot to bring your food, wake up! It is happening now, and everyone is talking about it, everywhere. IBM has released something called an Autonomic Computing Toolkit, which has tools and technology to make almost any system autonomic. The four main aspects of making a system self-managing is thru making it self-healing, self-optimizing, self-protecting and self-configuring (Self-CHOP characteristics). The Autonomic Computing team in IBM has even released two working scenarios, showcasing the self-healing and self-configuring features of Autonomic Computing.

Here is an introduction video on Autonomic Computing, by the leaders of this initiative. Find out why IBM ‘thought leaders’ believe autonomic computing is a remedy whose time has come:

If you are in orkut (google community), I found a group dedicated for Autonomic Computing there:

So, what are you waiting for? Go ahead and dive into the world of Autonomic Computing:

May be you can learn by trying out something too. Here is the link to the freely downloadable Autonomic Toolkit:

Have questions? Here is the 24x7 monitored forum for all your AC queries:

Friday, February 03, 2006

MyWife - scheduled to attack this Friday, Feb. 3

BlackWorm (MyWife.d), Severity: High Risk

BlackWorm is a new and potentially destructive Internet worm currently making its way around the globe. It is infecting users via e-mail and is scheduled to destroy all Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint, PDF, PSD and ZIP files on Feb. 3. Open emails from strangers cautiously and be careful with the attachments. Update your antivirus right now.

W32.Blackmal.E@mm is a mass-mailing worm that attempts to spread through network shares and lower security settings. On the third day of every month it attempts to rewrite files with certain extensions with custom text. This attempts to send itself as an email to the addresses it gathers using its own SMTP engine.

CME-24, Win32.Blackmal.F [Computer Associates], Email-Worm.Win32.Nyxem.e [F-Secure], Email-Worm.Win32.Nyxem.e [Kaspersky], W32/MyWife.d@MM [McAfee], W32/MyWife.d@MM!M24 [McAfee], Win32/Mywife.E@mm [Microsoft], W32/Small.KI@mm [Norman], Tearec.A [Panda Software], W32/Nyxem-D [Sophos], WORM_GREW.{A, B} [Trend Micro]

Note: The destroyed files have the following text:
DATA Error [47 0F 94 93 F4 F5]

More information on Virus visit here

Removal Tool

Links to AV Vendor pages
Symantec Latest Virus Threats:
McAfee Newly Discovered Threats:
McAfee Recently Updated Threats:
Trend Micro Virus Advisory Site:
One Stop Vendor Threat Reference Site: