Huge Discounts on Mobiles, Books, Cameras, Computers etc: @Flipkart

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!