Xtra-Google is a neat idea. Site facilitates one-click searches for all of Google's services.

Free MP3 downloads from Amazon

Wow! I read this article in Aunty Spam's Net Patrol blog that Amazon actually lets you download 200 mp3 at any time and refreshes this list every 6 hours. You can view the top downloads list at their web site.

You may think that they probably only have unheard musicians. Well, they have some well known names like Depeche Mode and Bob Marley too. Is not that great?

Mark Minasi Introduces Log Parser

In his monthly bulletin, Mark Minasi has covered Log Parser, a free tool available for download from Microsoft.

A First Query
Let's try out just about the simplest Log Parser command possible:
logparser "select * from *.log" -i:iisw3c
Picked apart, it is the command "logparser," followed by a SQL query statement -- don't run away, I'll show you all the SQL you'll need today! -- followed by the -i option, which explains to Log Parser what kind of file it is (an IIS log file, in this case). The SQL query is "Select * from *.log", which just means "get everything" -- the asterisk works in SQL the same as it does in DOS commands, meaning "everything" -- from all of the files with the extension "log" in the current directory.
(Aside: this is why learning Log Parser is difficult -- you're trying to learn two new things at the same time. Half of what you're trying to learn is Log Parser's syntax, which is ugly enough all by itself. But every Log Parser query includes a SQL query, and if you've never written SQL queries then you'll find that they're a quite wide field of syntax to master as well. I strongly recommend taking the time to browse through the logparser.chm Help file that installs in the same directory as Log Parser. And let me note at this point that I'm not a SQL query expert, so I may not be approaching these problems in the best way.)

Read more at source.


Problems opening PDF files in Internet Explorer

I was having problems opening PDF files in Internet Explorer. IE would just show an image placeholder icon instead of launching Acrobat Reader.

I goggled the problem and came across with

Troubleshooting problems opening PDF files in Internet Explorer window site. It has is a useful troubleshooting checklist. As advised, I reregistered pdf.ocx and that solved my problem.


The 46 Best-ever Freeware Utilities

Here is a list of The 46 Best-ever Freeware Utilities by TechSupportalert Site.

Ars Technica: USB Flash Drives

They are given different names like USB Flash drives, Pen Drives, Thumb Drives etc. etc. Anyway, Ars Technica has a nice article about 10 Flash drives. Check it out here.


Windows Server Hacks: Remotely Enable Remote Desktop

Windows Server Hacks: Remotely Enable Remote Desktop

This is a really simple way of enabling Remote Desktop just by just setting a registry key:

HKLM\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\Terminal Server\fDenyTSConnection to 0 (enabled)


USDA updates Food Pyramid

United States Department Of Agriculture yet again updates Food Pyramid, this time to fight against obesity.

Honestly, I do not trust them. This is the organization that could not stand against big food companies and played a key role in the increase of obesity.

It's simple people! Everything you eat is converted into engery (ie. calories). Some more some less. You have to spend the calories you take in not to gain weight. 3500 calories = 1 pound. You start spending more calories than you take, soon you will start losing weight.

I was weighing 210 pounds roughly this time last year. I weigh ~175 pounds now. I actually reached that goal about 6 months ago and I am keeping it without any trouble. How? Well, I started working out 3 times a week and also started a low-carb / low-fat / high protein diet. I had witnessed some of my friends successfully applying Atkins but it seemed harsh to me. As a matter of fact, Atkins evolved and changed some of their recommendations which brought them closer to South Beach. so, I took South Beach diet as the basis but modified it as I thought would be fit.

The good thing about diets is that you read and learn more about what you eat. Before I started dieting, I never paid attention to Nutrition Facts. My life changed afterwards. It's been a year and I can not drink most of the soft drinks like coca cola if it is not diet. I know how painful it is to get rid of 160 calories in gym.

Ordinary men need about 2000 calories and although it is very easy to get that much calorie, human body is an amazing animal; it is very efficent and it uses the calories efficiently. I went on to Work out my muscles so they became bigger and higher-maintenance; ie. when I am doing the same daily activities I am spending more calories. Leaving healthy in a junk food addict society may not be be easy but it is not that difficult too...


Microsoft Time Zone Utility

As part of my job, I usually need to know what time is on some other parts of the world. I recently found about this cool Microsoft Utility called MS Time Zone Utility . Basically, you can enter 5 cities and when you click on the icon on the notification area, it shows you the time in these cities. Cool!


Bad, Bad Orkut. No soup for you!

I found out that Orkut was a project developed by a Turkish guy in his '20% personal time' while he was working for Google. His full name is Orkut Buyukkokten Looks like a cool guy and apparently a busy one (he did not reply to me :)

Anyway, I've been using Orkut for sometime now and I can tell more about it. Unfortunately, the servers where Orkut resides are very very unstable. I get something like below message every other time I click on something:

Bad, bad server. No donut for you

Unfortunately, the server has acted out in an unexpected way. Hopefully, it will return to its helpful self if you try again in a few minutes.

Ahhh! If it works though, it is a vast network with really cool features like 'communities'... There are tons of communities that you can join. These are basically forums where you can read/post messages and it is a good way to meet new people. Clicking the name of a poster will take you to their profile page and you see their friends and communities as well as personal information and pictures they may be sharing. On the other hand, unlike Microsoft's Wallop & Yahoo's 360 there is no blog feature

When you add someone as a friend, you are actually giving the person ability to see more about you and if (s)he does the same then you become connected-friends. You may write a testimonial about your friend.

There in the forums, I've read that server instability has always been an issue and there has not any improvements, so people are even speculating that Google may drop Orkut service all-together. Now that Yahoo & Microsoft are in the game, I don't think that will happen soon.


What's wrong with Comcast?

I have read a few days ago that there was a huge Comcast outage related to some DNS configuration error. They claimed it was fixed in an hour but in fact, I had problem for hours. Since then, my internet connection is on and off. I constantly see DNS problems.

Unfortunatly, I can not even reach Comcast Support to tell them (I am sure they do know anyway). 1-800-Comcast keeps me on the line for sometime and then disconnects, so called direct number, 1-877-6373128, is always busy. I am not sure if this is specific to NJ :(

Well, this turned out to be yet another DNS related issue. After a week of on and off connection, finally they got it right.


Free SysInternals Utilities

Probably all Windows System Admins know the name 'SysInternals' very well, mostly because of their free set of Windows Utilities called 'Winternals'. They have just released the new version: PsTools v2.14.

The guy behind the creation of these tools is Mark Russinovich. I have recently used his Registry Monitoring Tool (Regmon v.7) to see what was going on on my system following Mark's blog on MSN Desktop Search Tool.

I found out that 'Hello', which is an IM that was recently bought by Google and is a convenient application currently you can use to post a picture to blogger, was non-stop polling the registry 10s of times in a second filling all the monitor screen...

I killed it and then started it up again. Apparently it is trying to communicate with Picasa -yet another cool imaging tool Google purchased recently- related registry keys. Whatever the reason is, I derive from Mark's blog entry that Hello is ayet another badly written application. So, instead of keeping it minimized in the tray when I am not using it, I will just terminate it. I suggest you do the same.

Yoko Ono receives lifetime achievement award from Japan Society

Everyone has heard of her name but probably many does not know much about her. She is surely an enigmatic person.

If you look at the comments following the subject article in Japan Times, there are quite interesting stuff you probably never heard of.

However, what I found most interesting is the comprehensive page on Yoko Ono in Wikipedia.


The State's Game

Test your geography knowledge of US

... The State's Game ...

MSN Messenger 7 & MSN Spaces Final

I was using MSN Messenger 7 Beta for quite sometime and found it acceptable. Yesterday Microsoft released the final version of his Instant Messenger. you can download it from

MS claims that it has better Audio/Video quality. My previous experience with MSN audio was pretty good but video was not. They seem to integrate it with MSN Spaces now. So when you click your icon on top (see below) it shows you the last blog entries from your 'space'.

As for MSN Spaces, I have not noticed any additional functionality on top of 'Beta' version. I still can not reclaim the space I had deleted. I have yet to hear from 'MSN spaces support' why..

Lasik Surgery

I've been wearing glasses for more than 15 years now and I am done. I decided to go for Lasik surgery last year. I started to research the available technologies and eye centers. I also started put money in my Flexible Spending Account.

I met with Dr. Della Russo in the autumn of 2004. He is one of the well known high profile Manhattan eye surgeons. Although he is one of the original creators of VisX Excimer Laser technology, he currently uses a tehnology called LadarVision. He had done about 1600 operations with it and he was talking highly of the method he was using.

Even with DavisVision insurance I had, he was charging about $2050 per eye at the time. His son works with him and charges a little bit less. Anyway, I did not mind the amount of money but somehow did not feel much comfortable with the method. He would dilute my eyes and after the operation he would put a protective lens which would be removed the next day. I did not like the necessity of using protective lenses.

As I lost my glasses in a funny way last week, I decided to check out my second choice Stahl Eye Center. I've chosen Dr. Thierry J. Hufnagel as he had successfully operated one of my friends a few years ago. My friend was pretty happy with the results; and had no side effects like 'Halos' at night or 'dry eye' problems. They use the 4th generation of VisX technology S4 VisX (which Dr. Dello Russo had belittled when I asked him about it).

There is not yet any study, as far as I know, that proves Ladarvision results are better than S4 VisX although I believe it maybe slightly more advanced with its 'Active' Ladarvision technology which essentially tracks your eye when its moves and adjusts itself. On the other hand, S4 VisX, for example, would detect the eye movement and stop but would not adjust itself. Then again S4 VisX is told to be a very adaptive and easy to use device which may explain why many Doctors choose it over others.

So, on April 25, I will undergo the Bladeless CustomVue Lasik surgery!

It looks like it all comes down to the surgeon but for my situation,

If you are looking into Lasik surgery, below are a few web sites I found useful:

I've also looked into following doctors but their did not contact them as their offices were not close to me:


I am smoke-free!

Well, well. I quit smoking cigarettes 10 yrs ago but never quite quit 'smoking'. Although there were months or years of break, I smoked cigarellos. But I am now done! So, today is the beginning of the rest of my life. I am no longer smoking anything. Enough already!

Last Laugh '04 'Speechalist'


This is hilarious! Don't miss it.


feedmap .net: Where Blogs Meet Maps

feedmap .net : Where Blogs Meet Maps

This is a cool site that I've added to my links. Basically, you tell them where you live (or where your blog is located) and they show you blogs published near you :)

Google Adds Satellite Images to Maps

My U shaped Apartment Block in Google Maps Posted by Hello

I see, however, a green field behind my apartment which has been replaced by a new building now. So I guess images date back about a year..

Mozilla Products Arbitrary Memory Exposure Test

Here we go: another vulnerability was discovered in FireFox (actually in all Mozilla products). There is actually a test page to demonstrate it.

I am not surprised and not discouraged by these. Open Source or not, it is perfectly normal for a populer product to draw more attention from Hackers, no?


Google Toolbar 3 Beta

I've just noticed that Google has Google toolbar 3 Beta out:

Google Toolbar

An important concession: MGM says ripping MP3s is OK

An important concession: MGM says ripping MP3s is OK by ZDNet's Joe Brockmeier -- On Tuesday, the Supreme Court heard arguments in MGM v. Grokster. The Grokster case, for those who haven't been following it, concerns the liability of distributors of P2P software. As we all know, there are legitimate uses for P2P software (think BitTorrent and distributing Linux ISOs, which are legally free and clear for distribution) and infringing uses (distributing MP3s of Dark Side of the Moon on a P2P network). The question is, whether a distributor should be held liable for infringing uses when there are substantial non-infringing uses as well. The case is a test of the famous (or infamous, if you happen to be on the recording industry's side of the fence) Betamax standard. (See the Electronic Frontier Foundation's Betamax ...

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Early Version Of Yahoo 360 Confusing All Around (

Early Version Of Yahoo 360 Confusing All Around ( "Early Version Of Yahoo 360 Confusing All Around"

As I've been using it for a few days now, I do not know what is so confusing about it??? Anyway, read on...

SharpReader vs. RssReader

That's the dilemma! Both SharpReader (current version and RssReader (Current version are FREE Rss/Atom readers.

I've been using RssReader for about a year now. There have been rare updates to it. The things I like about it:
  • Powerful & real fast search/filtering capability. So, if I am looking for say "usb", I put that in the Keyword field, and only the articles which have that keyword show up.
  • Interface is clean and simple
  • It used to be a memory hungry app but latest version trimmed it down considerable. It just uses a few megs now!

And that's about it. What I do NOT like:

  • You can not specify to have the read pane on the right as in Outlook 2003 (unfortunately it is the same in SharpReader)
  • It can import but can NOT export my feeds to the commonly used OPML format. Ie. I had to manually copy/paste all my feeds to SharpReader :(
  • If left on for an extended period, will start throwing atom/xml parsing errors instead of handling them and memory usage goes up!
  • When clicked on an item to view the whole story, it is usually slow to parse the page (SharpReader seems faster but I've been testing it for a day only)

It's still early to submit a judgment for SharpReader but it already annoys me not to be able to subscribe to a feed and immediately categorize it. Another early annoyance is the sort function which does not seem to work for categories...

Review: Desktop Search Programs Differ

Yahoo! News - Review: Desktop Search Programs Differ: " Google's ability to index Thunderbird e-mail"

There is a nice article above that reviews 3 desktop search engines.

MSN - Video Downloads

MSN - Video Downloads

This is a new service from Microsoft. Check it out at the above address.

How Do I Download Portable Video?

MSN Video Downloads does most of the work for you. All you have to do is sign up and you’ll start receiving daily downloads to your PC, ready to be transferred to your Windows Mobile™-based portable

device using Windows Media Player 10.


Haloscan commenting and trackback have been added to this blog.

Download GMail to Outlook 2003

Download Outlook to 2003

Above link takes you to GMail Support page where they show you how you can download your gmail to Outlook 2003.

FireTune for FireFox

FileForum | FireTune

I stumpled upon an optimization tool for firefox 1.x My first impression is OK. It seems to make FF a little bit faster but as I have BB and dual 2.8 GHz PC with 1 Gig RAM, I guess I should not expect much...

United States of Electronica

USE - Emerald City

Check out this video from U.S.E., if you have broandband.


More on Wallop and Yahoo 360

I've been testing both systems now. Unfortunately Orkut was a bit disappointing as the servers are very unstable and I find myself reading it is down again and again.

Yahoo's 360 & Microsoft Wallop on the other hand seems quite stable. Yahoo is very new but I like the way they have integrated their IM to the service. It gives you 10s of invitations so I sent out a lot to my friends and they already started to sign up :)

Wallop is flash based and therefore has a very cool interface. I tend to right click now and then though :) I've found out how to delete a post (picture or music). Help does not really help as it does not have much information in it but Wallop team is very helpful and responding quickly to questions.

They keep on adding new feautures and fixing bugs one of which is about importing your RSS from another site. I learnt that they will fix it soon. One of my contacts in there told me to re-importing the next day is a workaround. I'll test and see.

In the meantime, acts up time to time and I am still looking for a better blogging site. Both Wallop and 360 allow blogs but they do not have the bells and whistles...

Get Solaris 10 for Free

Get Solaris 10

You can download it from above URL. It's good thing that they allow CD or DVD images. I will get on one of my PCs soon and test to see what they are up to :)

[UPDATED ON 07/27/2005]

And here are some useful links (From Linda Wu):