June 26, 2014

Justice!

FIFA World Cup, Brazil 26 June 2014 - Uruguay forward Luis Suarez banned for nine matches and banned for 4 months from any football activity. Bravo! FIFA, you can still do some things right.

Details being updated at: http://www.bbc.com/sport/0/football/28023882


June 03, 2014

Why Windows still lags Mac OS X - Part II (aka Lenovo saga)

The machine took its time to do the Windows updates with the mouse pad showing no sign of working. Finally, after the updates finished, I restarted the machine and it goes back to the Thinpad/Lenovo log and nothing happens.

Did some quick search on the net and Lenovo has suggestions for (not the same model) Thinkpad BIOS upgrade. Even if the model was in their list, I don't see a way to upgrade the BIOS if the machine does not even go into the BIOS!!

Almost at the edge to return the package to Newegg :(

June 02, 2014

OnePlus One - can't wait to get one

The new OnePlus One phone that I'm hoping to get my hands on soon, although it will probably serve me as a small tablet controlling my Chromecast.
Highlight specs: It has a 5.5" screen (1920x1080), Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 processor clocked at 2.5GHz, 3GB RAM, 13Mpixel camera which supports 4K recording. You can see detailed Specifications at your leisure.


See more at OnePlus website.

Easy clean browsing

With all the tracking cookies, disturbing advertisements and privacy concerns when one faces these days when browsing the Internet, below are the simple things that can be done to have a better experience.

  1. Use Firefox browser - the wide range of addons available for it make it a good candidate
  2. In Firefox install the following addons:
More explanation to follow for the addons. These, I think, are the bare essential addons one should use to have a relatively safe and clean browsing experience these days.

Those looking for better privacy and cleaner (read - inconvenient) browsing, they can look towards NoScript based Tor Browser or even Tails.

Why Windows still lags Mac OS X

I received a Thinkpad T530 earlier today and as soon as I got home, I opened it up to configure it. As per the few instructions on the pamphlet which came with it, I connected the battery and the power adapter. I set it to charge for a few minutes in case the battery had no juice in it.

After about 10 minutes, I pushed the power button to turn it ON and the Thinkpad logo appeared... and it didn't go away. No lights except the green halo beside the power button. No HDD activity at all! After waiting for about 3-4 minutes, I shut it down and tried again. 5 minutes and nothing changed. Third time, I powered it on and started looking for customer support information. Took me some time and when I looked towards the screen, it had something.... that was around 10minutes after powering ON!

I have had Mac machines and their power ON and the configuration (which I usually skip) is almost instant. It has been like this since at least 2006 Mac OS X Tiger. If Windows/Lenovo or other laptop makers cannot get their hardware/software to be more responsive, they are going to continue to loose the fight to Mac OS X.

That wasn't all though - during the configuration the mouse pad or the red pointing device DID NOT WORK. Luckily I know how to use a machine without a mouse and was able to get through the configuration without the mouse. After initial configuration, I started Windows updates and I still cannot use the mouse pointer!!

PS: Machine is for someone else, I would have slapped a Debian install by now if it was for me.

October 27, 2013

FPN registration woes

I recently bought a couple of Sailor fountain pens. As one of them was quite expensive, I was thinking of asking on the FPN forum on tips for first use, if any. As expected, the forum required a registration and I filled up the form (see below). However, after multiple tries the form gives the same error that I didn't write the answer to their spam protection question correctly!
FPN registration form error screen capture

As you can see on the screen shot above, all required fields are filled up and after multiple tries (with different answers to the question), the error still comes up!!

The spam protection feature seems to be preventing legitimate users to signup too. I wonder if FPN really want users to sign up to their forums.

It was hard to find a way to contact them too. Took me about 15minutes to find an email address: fpnadmin@gmail.com. Waiting to get a reply now.

If it matters, I'm using Iceweasel 24.0 browser on a Linux machine.

August 11, 2013

Why Newegg has turned into Blackegg?

Newegg's packages that I have received have phrases as "May Contain Awesome", and "Go Ahead and Review me" and a tag line "Take it from a Geek" as the website cites itself as the online place where computer hobbyists get their components from at great prices. They stepped into Canadian waters in late 2008 with their site Newegg.ca. A lot of people were happy to be able to get good prices that their friends were getting south of the border e.g. this. Many-a-times the deals were the best anyone could get from other online retailers in Canada. However, over time the deals have become "cold" as many would say. I have noticed that pattern even in their ShellShocker deals. The latest example is the ShellShocker Soul by Ludacris SL49C earphones. They are listed in the deal for $58.31 and free shipping (with original price as $103.31). That looks like almost half the price. But if you go over to the Newegg.com site, the same product is priced $39.99 and free shipping and the original price being $69.99!


Neither the original price are anywhere representative of the CAD/USD conversion nor does the deal price look attractive when considering that the same product goes for even less without Shell Shocker south of the border!

In general, either the ShellShocker discounts are not significant enough or they are on stuff that one doesn't care for much. Where did the original Newegg idea of special prices for great stuff go? We don't want the Blackegg, we need the Newegg back.

June 16, 2013

PDFCreator installs malware


I have been using a free software called PDFCreator to save files as PDF on my Windows XP machine. Being a SourceForge hosted project, I was quite confident that it was not one of those free software with crippled features which you only get when you buy the "Full" version or that it would be a clean software without any malware.

However, I noticed something odd today when I had to install it on a VM, during the installation process, it "asks" the user for installing an add-on "DefaultTab" (giving you an addon called Search Settings in your IE/Firefox/Chrome browsers).

In the screenshot below, you will notice the sneaky way that they try to make you install this malware:
  • The options to uncheck the three browsers are in a "greyed out" colour to appear disabled
  • The cancel button is also in a grayed out hue 
The only options that seem obvious are 1) to scroll down the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy text - which I'm sure more than 99% of users never read, and 2) the Next button.
Search Settings window while installing PDFCreator

Advice: when installing software, choose "Advanced" install rather than default and read the prompts at each step.

Another user found the inclusion of the malware distasteful for this open source project. His investigation contains more information, you can read it on the blog post.

PS: As it was a VM on which I installed it, it was easy to revert back to original state after creating the PDFs.

May 31, 2013

Chance

What are the chances that we are still alive on this planet? ...