Monday, October 31, 2005


What's a MMORPG you ask? No it's not some new secret Al Qaeda weapon, it stands for - Massive Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game. Its a game played online with thousands of other people in real time, interacting and working together in a virtual gaming world. Other MMORPG's like World of Warcraft and Guild wars have become very popular, but you have to buy the software and sometimes pay an online monthly fee. Dofus, although the name is kinda whacky is a free MMORPG for the kiddies. No cost for the download and no online fees. I am gonna sign up tonight and see how it is. Say hello to me, my nickname is AngryFetus and my character name is Ginku

check it out here.


Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Hacking the iTrip

A lot people use the iTrip from Griffin Technology as a way to interface their Ipod with their FM car stereos. In fact is a great wireless FM Transmitter. But the problem is that it has a very short range, and the signal starts breaking up very easily. Here is a little hack from I-hacked that shows you how to extend the range to around 60 feet and clear up the sound.

Steps to Follow:

1. First, use a razorblade to pry the unit open.
2. Get a paperclip and tightly wrapped a long section of copper wire around it like a spring.
3. After taking the copper wire off the paperclip, slide it over the existing antenna, then with a section of heat shrink to seal it
4. Pop it back together, there shouldn't be any more static, and the range should be increased to like 60-70 feet away.


Tuesday, October 25, 2005

October Deals & Steals $$

Here are some recent tech deals I have come across on the net. Christmas is right around the corner, and some of these are great stocking stuffers for the geek in your life ;) Hint Hint!!

1.) Maxtor 300GB HD with Enclosure for $99 - This Bundle Includes • Maxtor 300GB ATA-133 Refurbished Hard Drive • Ultra 3.5" USB 2.0 / Firewire External HD Enclosure

2.) Lexar JumpDrive™ 1GB $39 - Store, transfer and carry your data with you wherever you go! JumpDrive Secure is your answer for dependable and reliable storage of all types of files. With JumpDrive Secure security software, your confidential data will remain password protected and encrypted, even if someone else tries to use your JumpDrive.

3.) 70 Free Songs From iTunes! - Download 70 songs on iTunes made by Stanford student. the songs include "A wide range of musical performance by Stanford student,faculty, alumni and artists-in-residence.

4.) 300GB 7200RPM Hard Drive now just $89.99!! (After $50 MIR) - Price: $139.99 - $50 Rebate After Rebate: $89.99 This is one amazing price!

5.) Free Audiobooks ! - God bless the project Gutenberg folks. This one is great; more of us should take time to read the classics for those of us who don't have time to read the classics.

6.) Free Paper from HP - Just tell them where to send it.

7.) Never pay for wi-fi access again! - The world is full of free wi-fi locations so why pay for them? Skip Starbucks and other paid access locations and support local businesses and your community for free.


Hide My Ass

That pesky firewall or websense software blocking you at work or school, and you can't get to your favorite websites. Well here is an easy and free solution, that will allow you to bypass the sentinals and surf anonymously ;)

The site is called Hide My Ass and you can check it out here


Wednesday, October 19, 2005

10 things you shouldn't buy new

Thought this was an interesting artice on MSN. Tells you how you save a boatload of money, by buying these 10 things used.

1.) Books, books, books
The reality is that most books don’t get read more than once, if that, and they’re astonishingly easy to find used at steep discounts -- if not absolutely free.

DVDs, CDs and videos
The list price for Quentin Tarantino's most recent film, “Kill Bill, Volume 2,” is $30, and you can get it new for about $20 from Buy from one of the retailers selling it used on the same site, though, and you’ll save at least $10. You can find similar deals online for videos and CDs. Other good hunting grounds for purchase of used items: movie rental chains like Blockbuster; used record stores; yard sales.

Little kids' toys
Parents know: it’s all but impossible to predict which toy will be a hit and which will lie forlorn at the bottom of the toy box. So rather than gamble at full price, cruise consignment shops and yard sales for bargains.

Fat markups on most gems (100% or more is fairly common) means that you’d be lucky to get one-third of what you paid at a retail store, should you ever need to sell.

Sports equipment
We may buy everything from badminton rackets to weight sets fully intending to wear them out, but too often they wind up collecting dust. Buy someone else’s good intention and you’ll save some bucks.

You could call these a notoriously lousy investment if you could call them an investment at all, but you can’t -- because what real investment is guaranteed to lose 30% to 70% right off the bat? That is, unless you buy used. There’s a huge number of folks who caved in to three hours of hard sell and are now desperate to dump their shares. For more details, read "Get the best deal on a time share."

The average new car loses 12.2% of its value in the first year, according to; on a $20,000 car, that’s $2,440, or more than $200 a month. Some cars depreciate even faster, depending on demand, incentives offered and other factors.

Software and console games
Buy used, and you’ll pay half or less what the software cost new. Console games like those for the Xbox and Sony PS2 that list for $50 new, for instance, can often be purchased used for $20 or less a year after release.

Office furniture
Built to take a beating and last a lifetime, good-quality office desks, filing cabinets and credenzas are relatively easy to find even when a recession isn’t cratering the local economy.

10.) Hand tools
Well-made tools with few or no moving parts -- like hammers, wrenches, shovels, hoes, etc. -- can last decades with proper maintenance and are relatively easy to find at yard sales. If you’re not going to use a tool frequently, you may be able to rent it or borrow from a friend or neighbor rather than buying something else to clutter up your garage.


Tuesday, October 18, 2005 - Free Online Courses

Suite101 is a great resource for e-learning. All of the courses they offer are now totally free ;) You will find a wide variety of general interest courses.

Check it out here.


Tidy Up iTunes MP3 collection

Many of us use iTunes and as you may know your Music library can get pretty cluttered with songs being imported from the various sources out there. Many of my song files are missing ID tags, artwork, etc. Well here is a way to organize all that music in your playlists ;)

Step 1 Tagging

Even if your tracks have been imported directly from CD the ID3 tags can still contain errors, especially if you are importing old CDs or non-mainstream CDs. The best tool I have found to fix tags is MusicBrainz Tagger. This great tool scans your various music files and writes clean metadata tags (ID3 tags or Vorbis comment fields) to your files.

For files that MusicBrainz doesn't recognize, MB submits acoustic fingerprints (TRM ids) of the files back to the server and asks the user to manually edit the track information, so that the next time someone uses the tool these tracks will be identified.

MusicBrainz allows you to set the threshold at which it thinks it has a match. For my collection I found that very few mistakes were made with a threshold of 80% and I was able to automatically update the tags on around 50% of my 8,000 track collection this way.

For the other 50%, MetaBrainz Tagger still made a pretty good guess as to what the correct tags were. In some cases I was able to automatically accept MB's best stab, but in other cases I had to use the tools within MB to find the correct details. This took quite a long time, but was worth the effort as MB helped me identify a lot of previously unknown tracks and artists. Sorting by album proved to be the quickest way to process my tracks as once I'd confirmed what album a particular track came from I could usually process another 10 tracks from the same album immediately.

Step 2 - Re-import to iTunes
(a) iTunes unfortunately manages its own tag database so it won't immediately pick up the new information. This can be fixed by:

- highlighting all tracks in the library, right clicking and selecting “Get Info.”

After doing this, the files are all processed and the tag changes will be picked up, and your playcounts and playlists will remain the same.

(b) I had some problems with the above method as iTunes seemed to get a bit confused and wouldn't find the modifed tracks so what I ended up doing was going into my iTunes folder, deleting the iTunes music library files, and re-importing my music folder which picked up all the new tag info.


Step 3 - Removing Duplicates
Once you've tidied up your tags removing duplicates becomes much easier. iTunes has a 'Show Duplicate Songs' command in the Edit menu. It only matches track name, which should be fine if you've tidied up your tags. Once you've done this it's just a case of working through the list and deleting duplicates.

Step 4 - Add Album Art
iTunes doesn't automatically add the artwork from CDs. The iTunes Art Importer solves this problem by adding album images from Amazon to your CDs - very clever.

Now your Itunes should be organized and easier to work with ;)


23 Ways to Speed Up Windows XP

Here is a great list of 23 Items, to help speed up your system.

1.) To decrease a system’s boot time and increase system performance, use the money you save by not buying defragmentation software — the built-in Windows defragmenter works just fine — and instead equip the computer with an Ultra-133 or Serial ATA hard drive with 8-MB cache buffer.

2.) If a PC has less than 512 MB of RAM, add more memory. This is a relatively inexpensive and easy upgrade that can dramatically improve system performance.

3.) Ensure that Windows XP is utilizing the NTFS file system. If you’re not sure, here’s how to check: First, double-click the My Computer icon, right-click on the C: Drive, then select Properties. Next, examine the File System type; if it says FAT32, then back-up any important data. Next, click Start, click Run, type CMD, and then click OK. At the prompt, type CONVERT C: /FS:NTFS and press the Enter key. This process may take a while; it’s important that the computer be uninterrupted and virus-free. The file system used by the bootable drive will be either FAT32 or NTFS. I highly recommend NTFS for its superior security, reliability, and efficiency with larger disk drives.

4.) Disable file indexing. The indexing service extracts information from documents and other files on the hard drive and creates a “searchable keyword index.” As you can imagine, this process can be quite taxing on any system.

The idea is that the user can search for a word, phrase, or property inside a document, should they have hundreds or thousands of documents and not know the file name of the document they want. Windows XP’s built-in search functionality can still perform these kinds of searches without the Indexing service. It just takes longer. The OS has to open each file at the time of the request to help find what the user is looking for.

Most people never need this feature of search. Those who do are typically in a large corporate environment where thousands of documents are located on at least one server. But if you’re a typical system builder, most of your clients are small and medium businesses. And if your clients have no need for this search feature, I recommend disabling it.

Here’s how: First, double-click the My Computer icon. Next, right-click on the C: Drive, then select Properties. Uncheck “Allow Indexing Service to index this disk for fast file searching.” Next, apply changes to “C: subfolders and files,” and click OK. If a warning or error message appears (such as “Access is denied”), click the Ignore All button.

5.) Update the PC’s video and motherboard chipset drivers. Also, update and configure the BIOS. For more information on how to configure your BIOS properly, see this article on my site.

6.) Empty the Windows Prefetch folder every three months or so. Windows XP can “prefetch” portions of data and applications that are used frequently. This makes processes appear to load faster when called upon by the user. That’s fine. But over time, the prefetch folder may become overloaded with references to files and applications no longer in use. When that happens, Windows XP is wasting time, and slowing system performance, by pre-loading them. Nothing critical is in this folder, and the entire contents are safe to delete.

7.) Once a month, run a disk cleanup. Here’s how: Double-click the My Computer icon. Then right-click on the C: drive and select Properties. Click the Disk Cleanup button — it’s just to the right of the Capacity pie graph — and delete all temporary files.

8.) In your Device Manager, double-click on the IDE ATA/ATAPI Controllers device, and ensure that DMA is enabled for each drive you have connected to the Primary and Secondary controller. Do this by double-clicking on Primary IDE Channel. Then click the Advanced Settings tab. Ensure the Transfer Mode is set to “DMA if available” for both Device 0 and Device 1. Then repeat this process with the Secondary IDE Channel.

9.) Upgrade the cabling. As hard-drive technology improves, the cabling requirements to achieve these performance boosts have become more stringent. Be sure to use 80-wire Ultra-133 cables on all of your IDE devices with the connectors properly assigned to the matching Master/Slave/Motherboard sockets. A single device must be at the end of the cable; connecting a single drive to the middle connector on a ribbon cable will cause signaling problems. With Ultra DMA hard drives, these signaling problems will prevent the drive from performing at its maximum potential. Also, because these cables inherently support “cable select,” the location of each drive on the cable is important. For these reasons, the cable is designed so drive positioning is explicitly clear.

10.) Remove all spyware from the computer. Use free programs such as AdAware by Lavasoft or SpyBot Search & Destroy. Once these programs are installed, be sure to check for and download any updates before starting your search. Anything either program finds can be safely removed. Any free software that requires spyware to run will no longer function once the spyware portion has been removed; if your customer really wants the program even though it contains spyware, simply reinstall it. For more information on removing Spyware visit this Web Pro News page.

11.) Remove any unnecessary programs and/or items from Windows Startup routine using the MSCONFIG utility. Here’s how: First, click Start, click Run, type MSCONFIG, and click OK. Click the StartUp tab, then uncheck any items you don’t want to start when Windows starts. Unsure what some items are? Visit the WinTasks Process Library. It contains known system processes, applications, as well as spyware references and explanations. Or quickly identify them by searching for the filenames using Google or another Web search engine.

12.) Remove any unnecessary or unused programs from the Add/Remove Programs section of the Control Panel.

13.) Turn off any and all unnecessary animations, and disable active desktop. In fact, for optimal performance, turn off all animations. Windows XP offers many different settings in this area. Here’s how to do it: First click on the System icon in the Control Panel. Next, click on the Advanced tab. Select the Settings button located under Performance. Feel free to play around with the options offered here, as nothing you can change will alter the reliability of the computer — only its responsiveness.

14.) If your customer is an advanced user who is comfortable editing their registry, try some of the performance registry tweaks offered at Tweak XP.

15.) Visit Microsoft’s Windows update site regularly, and download all updates labeled Critical. Download any optional updates at your discretion.

16.) Update the customer’s anti-virus software on a weekly, even daily, basis. Make sure they have only one anti-virus software package installed. Mixing anti-virus software is a sure way to spell disaster for performance and reliability.

17.) Make sure the customer has fewer than 500 type fonts installed on their computer. The more fonts they have, the slower the system will become. While Windows XP handles fonts much more efficiently than did the previous versions of Windows, too many fonts — that is, anything over 500 — will noticeably tax the system.

18.) Do not partition the hard drive. Windows XP’s NTFS file system runs more efficiently on one large partition. The data is no safer on a separate partition, and a reformat is never necessary to reinstall an operating system. The same excuses people offer for using partitions apply to using a folder instead. For example, instead of putting all your data on the D: drive, put it in a folder called “D drive.” You’ll achieve the same organizational benefits that a separate partition offers, but without the degradation in system performance. Also, your free space won’t be limited by the size of the partition; instead, it will be limited by the size of the entire hard drive. This means you won’t need to resize any partitions, ever. That task can be time-consuming and also can result in lost data.

19.) Check the system’s RAM to ensure it is operating properly. I recommend using a free program called MemTest86. The download will make a bootable CD or diskette (your choice), which will run 10 extensive tests on the PC’s memory automatically after you boot to the disk you created. Allow all tests to run until at least three passes of the 10 tests are completed. If the program encounters any errors, turn off and unplug the computer, remove a stick of memory (assuming you have more than one), and run the test again. Remember, bad memory cannot be repaired, but only replaced.

20.) If the PC has a CD or DVD recorder, check the drive manufacturer’s Web site for updated firmware. In some cases you’ll be able to upgrade the recorder to a faster speed. Best of all, it’s free.

21.) Disable unnecessary services. Windows XP loads a lot of services that your customer most likely does not need. To determine which services you can disable for your client, visit the Black Viper site for Windows XP configurations.

22.) If you’re sick of a single Windows Explorer window crashing and then taking the rest of your OS down with it, then follow this tip: open My Computer, click on Tools, then Folder Options. Now click on the View tab. Scroll down to “Launch folder windows in a separate process,” and enable this option. You’ll have to reboot your machine for this option to take effect.

23.) At least once a year, open the computer’s cases and blow out all the dust and debris. While you’re in there, check that all the fans are turning properly. Also inspect the motherboard capacitors for bulging or leaks.


Free PDF Maker

There are many times when you need to create a PDF of a word doc or some other file. If you don't have Adobe Acrobat to accomplish this, here is a free PDF maker that will get the job done nicely ;) Its called PrimoPDF - With it you can, convert to PDF from any application by simply 'printing' to the PrimoPDF printer - it couldn't be easier! Within minutes, you can create high-quality PDFs by converting from Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and virtually any other printable file type.

Check it out here.


Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Linking an Ipod to a Car Stereo

Here is an article I came across in PC magazine. Many of you have iPods and have wondered how to get all that great music off the iPod and playing on your car stereo. Here is 6 way to achieve it and the pros and cons of each.

1.) FM modulator.

The modulator is a low-power FM transmitter that broadcasts on an unused frequency. You plug a connecting cable from the modulator into your music player's headphone jack. Most of the portable satellite radio tuners from Sirius and XM have modulators built in, and usually run $20-$30.

Pro: Works on every car with an FM radio. Choose from multiple frequencies. Affordable. Most don't need installation.
Con: Quality ranges from okay to poor. For models that don't plug into the lighter, you must remember to bring a spare AA or AAA battery.

2.) Cassette adapter.

Plug this familiar (since the 1980s and the first portable CD players) gadget into your car's cassette slot, and press Play. It works adequately if you, ah, still have a car cassette player. Cost is $10 to $20.

Pro: Works with every car with a cassette player.
Con: Works only with cars with a cassette player. Adequate sound quality.

3.) FM modulator (antenna direct connection).

This modulator transmits, but not over the airwaves. You insert the car radio antenna plug into the back of this modulator, and the modulator's antenna plugs into the back of the car radio where it directly injects the signal. Sound quality is better, and less variable, than with other FM modulators. Cost is $30 to $75 and you may want an audio shop to install it. Check out products from Fahrenheit and Scosche, among others.

Pro: Adequate to good sound quality. Draws from car power (no batteries).
Con: May need pro installation (but it's not that hard). A handful of esoteric cars may lack the standard antenna jack or it will be in the trunk (requiring extra wiring).

4.) Line-in connection.

Run a cable from the headphone jack of your music player to a jack on the front of your car radio, a music-in jack in the glovebox, or in the center console. Can't find it? Automakers only got religion in the last year or so, and a few started adding line-in jacks, although others, like Lexus, will charge extra for it. Before, they (or the dealers) thought you'd be willing to pay $500 for a trunk-mounted CD changer that would play six CDs. Look for a stereo line cable with 1/8-inch jacks at both ends; this is the common size for music player headphones. Cost is $2-$10.

Pro: Excellent sound quality.
Con: Few cars have line-in jacks yet.

5.) Line-in connection via CD changer.

Most cars built in the past decade have a jack in the trunk for the dealer-installable CD changer you never bought. Or a CD changer connector on the back of the factory radio. If your car lacks a line-in jack and you want best sound quality, this is where you make the connection. Sound quality won't be any better or worse than a standard line-in connection, but this may be the only way to hack in. Some trunk-mount satellite radios can actually pass track-and-title information to the radio head unit. Cost varies from $25 to $150 plus an hour or two of installation time. It may be possible to have both a satellite radio and a music player connected with a custom A/B switchbox. Look into products from, (Pacific Accessory Corp), and

Pro: Excellent sound quality. Possible to pass satellite radio station, song information to car radio.
Con: Not cheap. May require disconnection of CD changer if you have one.

6.) iPod smart-cable connection.

Cables or black box (actually silver box) modules specific to Apple's all-conquering iPod connect into the CD changer jack or the back of the radio's CD changer / satellite radio jack. They pass the signal to the radio and charge your iPod at the same time. Some modules pass artist, track, and title information to the car radio. Others (Harman/Kardon drive+play, Monster Cable iCruze) have their own small LCD panels that mount on the dash, replacing the display of your iPod, which can be safely stashed in the glovebox. Costs range from $100 to $250.

Pro: Excellent sound, battery recharge, (sometimes) song information passed to car radio or dedicated LCD panel.
Con: Costly. Complex (for you, not the shop) installation. Disables iPod faceplate/controls, May limit you to a half-dozen playlists with specific names.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Using Google to find Movies

Awhile back I wrote about how to use the google search to find Mp3 files and Ebooks. Here is a way to use similar searches to find movies using google searches.

To achieve this we will borrow some of the operators from the Mp3 Search, namely -inurl:htm -inurl:html intitle:”index of”

You could also add “-inurl:php” to avoid those nasty index.php files as well.

Now we could simply add the known movie file extensions like mpg, avi, wmv to the search and look at the first results.

We probably want to find special movies, like tv commercials, movies with a special actor in it, adult movies aso. What you do is to simply add what you are looking for to the search. For example movies with Claudia Schiffer would be found with the following search

-inurl:htm -inurl:html -inurl:php intitle:”index of” (mpg|avi|wmv) “Claudia Schiffer”

The (mpg|avi|wmv) operator can also be written (mpg or avi or wmv).


Thursday, October 06, 2005

Disposible Email Address Services

None of us like Spam and one of the best tricks to stop spam e-mail from reaching your inbox is by creating a disposable e-mail address. I’ve used a Yahoo account for spam for a long time, but recently, many services have popped up which serve exclusively to route spam to. Here is a list of some disposible email services on the web.
  • AnonInbox- no registration, simple, no frills.
  • DodgeIt- no registration required, provides RSS feeds, receive-only.
  • E4ward- requires registration, provides mail forwarding, allows multiple aliases of an account.
  • GreenSloth- no registration required, receive-only, e-mail expires automatically after a week.
  • KasMail- requires registration, allows up to 25 aliases, can set aliases to expire after a certain amount of time.
  • Jetable- provides mail forwarding, account autoexpires after certain amount of time.
  • Mailinator- no registration required, provides handy spam map, receive-only, e-mail expires automatically after a few hours.
  • PookMail- no registration required, very simple to use.
  • SneakeMail- requires registration, provides mail forwarding.
  • SpamDay- requires registration, provides mail forwarding, account is automatically destroyed after 24 hours of opening.
  • SpamGourmet- requires registration, provides mail forwarding, can create custom aliases which automatically expire after a certain number of e-mails received.
  • no registration required, no frills. You can see all spam being sent to all accounts, or just your own.
  • SpamMotel- requires registration, provides mail forwarding, mail can be accessed through desktop e-mail clients, can reply to e-mail from your real e-mail address using SpamMotel e-mail.
  • Will Hack for Food- requires registration, account expires after user indicated period of time, best name ever.