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Monday, May 31, 2010

How to Create a Program Launcher

How to Create a Program Launcher


Finding a program to run on Windows can be difficult when many more programs are installed and get cluttered in one place without grouping.

Windows XP has four places to launch a program, but all with some limitations:

  • Desktop shortcuts, cluttered with too many icons.
  • Programs pinned to Start Menu, a limited space.
  • Programs listed in All Programs, over crowded if many programs installed.
  • Quick Launch, a limited space.

To cope with these restrictions, Vista adds another place to launch a program:

  • Start Search, a keyword search challenges the user's memory. Some program names (such as IZArc) might be difficult to memorize.

Windows 7 hides Quick Launch and removes Classic Start Menu. It adds a new approach to running a program:

  • Programs pinned to Taskbar, again a limited space.

Why not create a Program Launcher?

Do-It-Yourself Program Launcher

To prevent many programs from cluttering in a limited space, grouping of similar programs in the same folder by their functions helps the user access to the programs, quick and fast.

With this in mind, you can create a program launcher easily with a toolbar that comes with Windows, without the need to install any other programs.


Create a Program Launcher in Two Steps

These are two simple steps, I and II, to build a Program Launcher using the toolbar:

I.  Creating a Folder Containing Sub-folders and Shortcuts

  1. Create a new folder called Launcher (any other name, or just an invisible space by pressing Alt+0160).
  2. Under the Launcher folder, add sub-folders Home & Office, Cleaning & Tuning, etc.
  3. Under each of the sub-folders, add shortcuts to the programs.

For example, you may right-click a program Notepad.exe, select Create shortcut, then cut and paste the program shortcut to the sub-folder Home & Office, and so on. Rename the shortcut if needed. (Note: A program shortcut can also be created in a single step by dragging a program to a folder while holding down Ctrl-Shift keys).

The Launcher folder will then look like the screenshot here.

II.  Linking a New Toolbar to the Folder

  1. Right-click on the taskbar, mouse over Toolbars and click New Toolbar.

  2. Browse to the Launcher folder and click OK (on Win. 2K & XP), or Select Folder (on Vista & Win. 7).
  3. Voila! the Program Launcher is ready for use. A click on the double right-angle brackets (">>") brings up a Context Menu to run the programs like this, no more cluttering.

Other Features Available to the Launcher Toolbar

After setting up the Launcher, you can utilize other features available to the toolbar:

  • Drag a program shortcut from other places (e.g. Start Menu, Desktop, etc.) onto the double right-angle brackets (">>") on the taskbar. 
  • Drag and drop a program shortcut from one category to another in the Context Menu. 
  • Right click Launcher on the taskbar, select Open Folder to go directly to the Launcher folder for creating more categories or adding shortcuts in the Windows Explorer.
  • Change icons of the category folders to your liking—right-click a folder > Properties > Customize > Change Icon.

Other than programs, shortcuts to favorite folders can be added for quick access too.

Applicable to: Windows 2000 / XP / Vista / 7.

Go there and see Pics...


May the Phorse be with you - Hack a Day

May the Phorse be with you

posted May 31st 2010 1:00pm by Jakob Griffith
filed under: led hacks

The PhorsePOV by [Julian Skidmore] almost slipped by, but we thought it was a nice easy hack for your Memorial Monday. The gadget uses an ATTINY25 to drive 6 LEDs aren’t standard characters 7 units high? Which when waved in the air produces a readable message. What we were really interested in is the use of a single button for text entry, called Phorse code, or an “easier to learn and remember” version of Morse code. While it seemed silly at first, most of us here could enter messages within a few minutes of trying.

Go there..


Forget the potato, Opera 10.6 speeds past Google Chrome 6

Forget the potato, Opera 10.6 speeds past Google Chrome 6

Potatoes shooting out of tubes... A browser racing against boiled spuds... It's all good for a lighthearted laugh, but you're probably more interested in how a browser performs against non-tuber.

A while back, Opera 10.5 briefly snatched away the speed crown from Google Chrome on my system. Chrome's been comfortably in the lead for quite some time now when it comes to performance, but that may be about to change with the arrival of Opera 10.6.



Drug Tests Often Trigger False Positives

I've heard this for years... but didn't think there was much truth in it. Evidently there is!

Drug Tests Often Trigger False Positives

Poppy Seeds, Cold Medications Can Trigger False Alarms
By Charlene Laino
WebMD Health News
Reviewed by Laura J. Martin, MD

May 28, 2010 (New Orleans) -- If your child insists his positive drug test results are a mistake, there's a chance he could be telling the truth.

Drug tests generally produce false-positive results in 5% to 10% of cases and false negatives in 10% to 15% of cases, new research shows.

Eating as little as a teaspoon of poppy seeds -- less than the amount on a poppy seed bagel -- can produce false-positive results on tests for opioid abuse, says Dwight Smith, MD, of the VA Medical Center in Black Hills, S.D.

The poppy seeds can lead to false-positive results for two or three days, he says, yet one recent study showed only about 50% of doctors were aware of the problem.

Knowing the tests' limitations is crucial given that about 150 million drug tests were conducted in the United States last year, he says.

"We drug test everyone, our students, our athletes," Smith says.

Also, many private and federal employers require regular testing, he says.

False-Positive Results in 5% to 10% of Cases

To get a better picture of the tests' flaws, Smith and colleagues at Boston Medical Center reviewed scientific articles on drug screening published between January 1980 and September 2009.

The results were presented at the American Psychiatric Association's annual meeting.

Cold medications, the antidepressant Wellbutrin, and tricyclic antidepressants can trigger false-positive results on tests for amphetamines, according to the review, and the antidepressant Zoloft and the painkiller Daypro can show up as a benzodiazepine problem.

The quinolone antibiotic drugs can trigger false positives for opioids, and the HIV medication Sustiva can show up as marijuana use, Smith says.

On the other hand, just being in the room with someone who is smoking marijuana is not going to trigger false positive results, no matter what your child claims, he says.

"Unless [they] were in the van with Cheech and Chong, that's not what happened," Smith says.



US Fund To Invest $250 Million In Skolkovo, The “Russian Silicon Valley”

US Fund To Invest $250 Million In Skolkovo, The "Russian Silicon Valley"  

by Robin Wauters on May 31, 2010

Siguler Guff & Company, a US-based private equity firm with over $8.5 billion of assets under management, is investing $250 million in a high-tech hub outside Moscow that is often referred to as Russia's 'answer to Silicon Valley', according to various reports.

Siguler Guff, owner of a subsidiary called Russia Partners, has made the investment public right after a visit to innovation center Skolkovo.

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev recently invited a group of US venture capitalists and entrepreneurs to visit the high-tech hub, which is located in Moscow's woody suburbs, in an effort to convince them of his plans to spur economic modernization and reduce its dependence on oil and gas by giving birth to a local 'Silicon Valley'.

Siguler Guff will be pumping a quarter billion dollars in digital infrastructure and IT services for Skolkovo.

The private equity firm this becomes the first foreign investor in Skolkovo, but according to Russian business newspaper Vedomosti, there are currently talks with a number of companies in the United States, Asia and Europe – some names that are dropped include Cisco and Nokia.

Thanks for the heads up, Yakov.

(Images are sketches only, more are available here, at end of article)


SimilarWeb Changes Name To SimilarGroup, Raises More Funding

SimilarWeb Changes Name To SimilarGroup, Raises More Funding

by Roi Carthy on May 31, 2010

SimilarWeb, which will henceforth be known as SimilarGroup, has raised more funding, bringing the total of capital injected into the company to $1.1 million.

The fresh funding is considered to be the company’s Series A round and will be used to expand its line of products, based on the core technology we previously wrote about:

The backbone of SimilarWeb’s technology is based on multiphase analysis, which in plain English means that there are several engines running in the background, analyzing websites based on different mechanics, metrics and workflows. These include: user browsing trends, user ratings, tag analysis, ecosphere analysis, semantic breakdowns, and automated background research.

The company claims to have mapped millions of sites, and adding tens of thousands daily. This means that it will always suggest other sites, regardless of whether the site the user is currently on is a popular one, or one much further down the tail.



Yoono Nows Plays Nice With YouTube, Chrome Extension On The Way

Yoono Nows Plays Nice With YouTube, Chrome Extension On The Way

by Leena Rao on May 31, 2010

Yoono, a nifty browser plug-in and desktop application that serves as both a social network aggregator and media hub, is upgrading its offering today with YouTube integration, additional language support, and further Twitter functionality. Yoono aggregates and centralizes your online profiles, including IM tools like Windows Live Messenger, Google Talk and AIM as well as a wide variety of social networks such as Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, Flickr, and more. The app also includes real-time search capabilities powered by OneRiot.

The new YouTube integration allows you to see all of your YouTube updates (new videos, comments) in your stream; access your Channels (subscriptions, playlists, favorites, uploads); search YouTube videos; playlists and channels directly from Yoono; and share, favorite, comment on and even download videos directly from either the plugin or desktop application. And Yoono now allows you to favorite tweets and reply all from the application.



Sunday, May 30, 2010

Linux Today - 8 of the best photo managers for Linux

8 of the best photo managers for Linux
May 30, 2010, 19 :04 UTC (0 Talkback[s]) (1337 reads)

(Other stories by Nick Veitch)

"Adding tags and metadata is almost a necessity too. High-end cameras can usually shoot what are known as RAW images. These files are the high-quality recorded data direct from the camera's sensor, but this comes in a dazzling array of formats, so isn't a format as such, but a term applied to a huge number of different and often proprietary file types.

"Because cameras have limited resources, the JPEG images they produce can often be improved upon in software on a computer. A good photo app will accept the RAW data and convert it to a JPEG file. The long-used utility, dcraw, is often employed to decode these formats, and all the apps here use it or their own libraries to decode RAW files, to varying success."

Complete Story

Go there read more great articles!...


Install A Home Generator for Emergency Power - DIY Home Improvement Guides - How to Repair and Remodel your Bathroom, Kitchen and more

This is the kind of Home Backup Generator I want. That and some
Batteries for Backup too.

Install A Home Generator for Emergency Power
A Backup Power Source will Keep Life Running Smoothly
Click here to view full project video
If you are the victim of regular power outages you know the frustration
that can accompany a few hours, or even days, without electricity. Aside
from the inconvenience, it can also be expensive as freezers defrost and
food starts to spoil. While a portable generator can help you shed some
light on the subject during an outage, a backup, or emergency power
system can keep your home running the way it should. With a variety of
fuel sources available, the perfect model for your home isn't far away.

Go there Read More and see the 3 short Videos...


HowStuffWorks Videos "Ultra Science Videos"

HowStuffWorks Videos "Ultra Science Videos"


Audio Adrenaline - Big House / Station: Audio Adrenaline / Songza Radio

Kuick and easy Web Radio Station Search and Auto Play Page. I searched
for Christian Rock and got this...

Audio Adrenaline - Big House / Station: Audio Adrenaline / Songza Radio


Ten awesome ways to find new music online

Ten awesome ways to find new music online

I think the need for music and rhythm is one of the most basic human needs; and as we evolve, so evolve our ways of hunting and gathering this precious commodity.

In this post, I've gathered 10 great places to expand your musical horizons: free, legal ways to discover music online, which work everywhere (not only in the US or in Europe)!

Not all of the sites below actually let you listen to music – they are not all players; but they can all help you find the next big thing, or just a tune to groove to.

Let's get started!


Uvumi is one of my favorite players in this space. You probably won't find much music you already know there; it's a community for budding artists, which lets them put their music online, be discovered and get direct feedback from their listeners.

I've covered Uvumi in detail, but if I had to sum it up in brief, I'd have to say that what impressed me most about the site is how well-managed it is. Marshall (the guy behind the site) seems to be taking both the listeners and the artists really seriously, and there's a true sense of community once you get into it.

YouTube Disco

When was the last time you listened to some music on YouTube? Probably sometime today or yesterday, right? It's something most of us do on a routine basis, and there's a whole cottage industry of mashups which use YouTube as a music repository and dish out recommendations.

And then there's Youtube's own Music Discovery Project. It's pretty much what you would expect, and it's certainly worth knowing about.

To see eight other ways to find and listen to music online (and a bonus mention!), keep on reading after the fold.


Bandcamp seems to be geared more towards the artists than the listeners, but it's still awesome. It is meant to be used as a "band homepage", and lets artists showcase their work and sell (or give away) their music using a very slick, sophisticated interface.

One recent addition to Bandcamp is the tags page, which lets you browse music by genre or physical location (in case you'd like to see the band live).

The Hype Machine

The blogosphere remains one of the most prodigious sources for music recommendations. After all, people like talking about music. There seems to be an endless amount of music blogs, both large and small, and some also embed single tracks along with their reviews.

The Hype Machine takes a large chunk of this teeming community and aggregates it into its own interface, letting you see who's talking about what, and most importantly you can listen to audio tracks right on the site.


Grooveshark is my go-to service when I just want to find one song and check it out with minimum fuss. When someone mentions a track which sounds interesting, I just fire up Grooveshark, search for it, and hit Play. Of course, that's just one way to use this incredible service.


We've somehow never covered Deezer before, which really should be remedied. Deezer is based in France, but the interface is available in English, Italian, German and Spanish as well. It's similar to Grooveshark in that it is a Flash application which lets you quickly find the music you're interested in, and they also have a Radio feature.

Selection seems to be smaller than Grooveshark, though; in searching for some Ben Folds tracks, all I found was weird karaoke mixes and some MIDI files (!).


Musicovery presents an interesting tradeoff. The interface is really nice, but the sound quality is horrible (at least for the free service). While they claim paid subscribers get to enjoy "Hi-Fi" quality, I was unable to test this. What I could test was an interesting, if somewhat crippled way, to discover music using a canvas of associations, and an intuitive way to specify what you're looking for.

You dial in a genre, and then specify how upbeat or mellow you want your tunes to be, and Musicovery then dishes out surprisngly accurate results. But if you're serious about using this service, you should really go for the Pro option – their free service is kind of bare-bones.


Mufin is actually one of the most amazing services on this list; I just discovered it now myself while researching for this feature, and it is simply awesome.

While the web service seems a tad generic (how unique can you be in this space, after all?), their desktop player is amazing. I'm strictly a Foobar2000 guy, for years now, but this player is good enough to make me think of switching.

It takes your music library and neatly catalogs, and lets you easily find similar tracks and email tracks (or actually, links to those tracks on Mufin's site) to your friends. It's an incredible memory hog (271MB on my system, holy cow!) but it's simple, fast and responsive.

They also have a Pro version which seems quite interesting. It has a feature which displays your entire music library as an animated cloud of tracks, which you slice and dice on-the-fly to find just the music you want. There's no trial available for the Pro version, but I have contacted Mufin to see if they'd be interested in a review. If they are, we might just do a giveaway, too.

... this is definitely one to wait for!


It seems like Allmusic has been around forever. This is actually one of the first music discovery services I have ever found online, and it's been going strong for years.

Allmusic features a mind-boggling mass of detailed artist and album reviews, painstakingly cataloged by mood, genre, style, theme, running time, and more. The reviews are long and comprehensive.

While you won't find full tracks on Allmusic, you can listen to short snippets. It's mainly a great way to discover artists somehow related or similar to artists you already know, so you could then go and hunt down their music via other means (or buy it on Amazon via Allmusic).


Remember Muxtape? Back when the service started, it was about free-for-all playlist sharing. Of course, the big labels would have none of that, and gave the service quite a thrashing.

Muxtape then went on hiatus, and came back as a service aimed at indie musicians and smaller bands who wish to share their music with the world. It's kind of like Bandcamp with an added dose of hipster-juice. Muxtape's player remains one of the most innovative and simple online players I've ever seen.

Bonus: ExtensionFM

Now that you've found all of this music online, you may want a nice way to catalog it. ExtensionFM may just be that way. While it won't work with all of the services above, it's a great match for The Hype Machine, and might also work with Bandcamp (tell me in the comments if it does). I recommend you read Lee's detailed review, but in a nutshell I can tell you it's a Chrome add-on which automatically collects and catalogs all of the music you find online, and does it very nicely.

p.s – in case you're wondering why I never mentioned, it's because just about everybody knows about it, and because it's just not that good anymore now that it's so restricted (in my opinion).

Got another site or tool you use to discover awesome, new music online? Let's hear about it in the comments!

Go there...


Uvumi builds a community for musicians and fans - Interview + tour

Uvumi builds a community for musicians and fans - Interview + tour

In theory, the Web is supposed to level the playing field for new musicians; its democratic nature lets them find their own audience, without having to beg for the approval of a record label.

Of course, real life turns out to be much more complicated than the theory. It may not be a nice thing to say, but there is a lot of bad music being made. Of course that's very subjective, but by "bad" I mean music that very few people would find enjoyable. Maybe we can call it "niche music," or "the product of budding musicians trying to find their way." At any rate, a random stroll through MySpace makes the point abundantly clear; as a listener, it's not always easy to find the good stuff.

That's where Uvumi comes in; the site operates in a niche quite similar to TheSixtyOne (which was previously covered here), and tries to make it easier to find new music from indie and unsigned artists. Compared to TheSixtyOne, the site takes a decidedly different approach, both in looks, and in communication and interaction from the developers.

I first heard about Uvumi as part of the backlash against TheSixtyOne's re-design (see comments), and I recently decided to check it out. One of the first things I noticed was Uvumi's active blog (updated once a week or so), and specifically, this blog post from Marshall, the head developer for Uvumi. It is a 537-word post in which he warns users against some impending downtime, and carefully explains why it's coming and what he's doing to minimize it. This really stood out for me. It is in stark contrast to the latest post on TheSixtyOne blog, which is a 113-word post that is almost two months old, and essentially mocks the users who did not like the redesign.

[More thoughts, an interview with Marshall and screenshots on the next page]
Uvumi's design is very simple, and almost utilitarian in nature. It seems as though music really is the focus here, rather than any sort of visual bling. In other words, if the music won't keep you here, the visual flare certainly won't. On the plus side, there are virtually no banners and ads at the moment (but they might appear in the future).

The emphasis on music also continues in the way that users interact with the site; this is not a "game" with points. Users can "favorite" songs, but that doesn't have much of an impact on its ranking. There are per-genre "charts," and songs place on the charts based solely on the number of plays. The logic is that if users listen to a track, it means that they like it. It's a very solid and simple premise, IMHO.

Users can tag songs, and you can see what tags the song already has. One innovative feature is that you can see what a song was "most tagged" as. This means that if a given track can be tagged as either "alternative," or "sad," and a greater number of people chose "alternative," you'll see that at a glance (see the gallery to get a sense of what I mean).

My main issues with usability are not being able to pop the player out of the window, or get an m3u file of the current playlist. Also troublesome is the fact that the title of the current track does not appear in the window title. You can't see it even if you're within your browser, but just in another tab. You need to switch back to Uvumi to find out what you're listening to. Other than that, the whole thing is very slick and simple to operate.

I interviewed Marshall over email, and here's what he has to say:


New Sysinternals Tool: RAMMap | Find the best freeware fast

New Sysinternals Tool: RAMMap

I just noticed that Sysinternals released a new free utility called RAMMap. It is a great companion to the rest of this extraordinary set of system utilities.

RAMMap requires Windows Vista or higher, or Windows Server 2008 or higher.

Here is what Sysinternals writes about it:

Have you ever wondered exactly how Windows is assigning physical memory, how much file data is cached in RAM, or how much RAM is used by the kernel and device drivers? RAMMap makes answering those questions easy. RAMMap is an advanced physical memory usage analysis utility for Windows Vista and higher. It presents usage information in different ways on its several different tabs:

  • Use Counts: usage summary by type and paging list
  • Processes: process working set sizes
  • Priority Summary: prioritized standby list sizes
  • Physical Pages: per-page use for all physical memory
  • Physical Ranges: physical memory addresses
  • File Summary: file data in RAM by file
  • File Details: individual physical pages by file

Read more about and download RAMMap here:

I also added RAMMap to the Sysinternals Toolbox which is just a convenient setup package for the most popular Sysinternals utilities:

Go there...


RHIFID Speakers - "This is a Journey into Sound" on Vimeo

RHIFID Speakers - "This is a Journey into Sound"

Demo of the RHIFID speakers developed at CIID. Using a combination of RFID technology, Processing and Arduino, the speakers work as location aware controllers, allowing the user to interact with music and the environment by moving the speakers around.

The RHIFID speakers were used for the project “This is a Journey into Sound” - an educational trip into the history of electronica, rock and hip hop from the past 50 years. A grid is mapped out using RFID tags (the red things on the floor), allowing each user of the two speakers to listen to a song individually, within a specific genre and decade by placing it on the RFID tag. Each RFID is mapped to a song iconic of that decade in the appropriate genre.

Putting the two speakers together triggers the speakers into playing one common song, creating a social listening experience. The RHIFID speakers can also be modified into musical creators rather than just controllers, allowing location and rotation to control such things as pitch, samples and effects.

Providing more than two speakers in this setup can spark an entire set of creative events during which collaboration and interaction can bring people to a completely new level of experiencing music.

Go there See Video...

On Hack a Day...

Pretty Cool:) I can see the potential of this Tech being used in Wireless Headphones and with IPods and such devices. Say, in a Museum or other Presentation. As you move through the site, your head phones play the music and dialog automatically changed with each exhibit, with now bleed over between display. Cutting done on noise confusion in such exhibits. I think you have a money maker there:) This would be really great fro Trade shows. With IPods, you could set yours to share the song you are listening to with a fried. You could use it to share play lists and any other data that you want to share. Oops, here come those security concerns!:O I can see a new type of DJ Play Board being made, with controllers being moved around instead of Speakers. Dancers could use this in a beautiful way on a stage. Kind of like the old Dancing Squares Game. But way better! You could use Bird Sounds, Animals, Nature to compose a musical Floor. The possibilities are endless I think!:) Personally, I would like to hide on in my cap or shirt or jacket... And then secretly install my favorite music in every Elevator, Doctors office and any where that they play music for the Public in the World!;) Then where ever I go, I get to hear what I like!:)


Saturday, May 29, 2010

Introduction « Ask an Astrobiologist « NASA Astrobiology

Nibiru 2012
Nibiru - Google Search
YouTube - Nibiru A Must Watch
Nibiru - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Nibiru - Crystalinks
Nibiru - Google Search
Surviving Nibiru
Nibiru - Armageddon Planet or Astronomical Baloney? : Discovery News
Go here and watch this video last...
Introduction « Ask an Astrobiologist « NASA Astrobiology

here's the actual url...


Dweb98 sent you a video: "evidence for giants nephilim rephaim anunaki part 1"

YouTube help center | e-mail options | report spam

Dweb98 has shared a video with you on YouTube:

This is an interesting Video.
© 2010 YouTube, LLC
901 Cherry Ave, San Bruno, CA 94066

Whirlpool refrigerator er2chmxpl 06 defrost often info and Model Serial Numbers

Whirlpool refrigerator er2chmxpl 06 defrost often info and Model Serial Numbers, Attached...

Whirlpool refrigerator er2chmxpl 06 defrost often
whirlpool refrigerator er2chmxpl 06 defrost often - Google Search
Drain hose keep freezing up - Appliance Repair Forum
Part Details - WHIRLPOOL Heater, part number: AP3859446
Whirlpool Customer Support
whirlpool refrigerator er2chmxpl 06 register - Google Search

Whirlpool refrigerator model er2chmxpl 06 Product Registration

I tried to register the Fridge. But I don't know the price or the date
of purchase. You can do it Online here...

Whirlpool refrigerator model er2chmxpl 06 Product Registration Page...


VLC 1.1.0 Release Candidate supports WebM / VP8 - The H Open Source: News and Features

VLC 1.1.0 Release Candidate supports WebM / VP8

VLC 1.1.0 RC on Mac OS X. Vergrößern The VideoLAN Project developers have announced the availability of a release candidate for version 1.1, the next major release, of their popular VLC Media Player. According to the developers, the latest 1.1 branch of VLC is much faster and more stable, thanks in part to a substantial amount of "important code clean-up" and rewrites. VLC is a free open source cross-platform multimedia player for various audio and video formats.

The latest development preview, code named 'The luggage', is aimed at "power-users" and features a number of changes over the previous 1.0.x 'Goldeneye' branch, including support for the latest open WebM / VP8 video format introduced by Google as part of the WebM Project. Version 1.1 allows users to write their own plug-ins for VLC. Like Mozilla's Firefox web browser, the extensions will let users add even more functionality to VLC, such as an IMDb add-on to get plot or cast information about a movie.

Go there...


Friday, May 28, 2010

K3b could not load or find the Mp3 decoder plugin

Mp3 Audio Decoder plugin not found.
K3b could not load or find the Mp3 decoder plugin. This means that you
will not be able to create Audio CDs from Mp3 files. Many Linux
distributions do not include Mp3 support for legal reasons.
Solution: To enable Mp3 support, please install the MAD Mp3 decoding
library as well as the K3b MAD Mp3 decoder plugin (the latter may
already be installed but not functional due to the missing libmad). Some
distributions allow installation of Mp3 support via an online update
tool (i.e. SuSE's YOU).


Fedora 13: Rock It! Is out now...

Fedora 13: Rock It!

Fedora 13

What's new in Fedora 13? Read the release notes. >>

Fedora is a Linux-based operating system that showcases the latest in free and open source software. Fedora is always free for anyone to use, modify, and distribute. It is built by people across the globe who work together as a community: the Fedora Project. The Fedora Project is open and anyone is welcome to join.

The Fedora Project is out front for you, leading the advancement of free, open software and content.

Learn more. >>

Linux VOIP Device distro

Here's some research on setting up a Linux VOIP Device distro... 

Linux VOIP Device distro
Linux VOIP Device distro - Google Search
AstLinux: An Asterisk-Optimized Linux Distribution
0.7.2 |
userdoc:new-install [AstLinux Documentation]
Skype preps open source Linux VoIP UI - News - Linux for Devices
The Definitive Guide to VoIP for Linux Users | VoIP Now


VOIP Device

I want to set up my own VOIP Device. Anyone know a good Linux Distro for that?

VOIP Device
Linux VOIP Device - Google Search
Ooma 100-0201-100 Telo VOIP Device at
Linux dominating VoIP devices? - News - Linux for Devices
Linux Online - VoIP Howto: Setup
Digium - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

World's Funniest Windows Error Messages | TechSource

World's Funniest Windows Error Messages

Posted by jun auza On 5/27/2010

World's Funniest Windows Error Messages: We all know how it sucks to see error messages. If you have been using Windows all your life, you have probably seen lots of them already.

Since some people have learned to look at the bright or should I say funny side of life, they have decided to create something out of those error messages. They have Photoshopped or edited some Windows error messages and made them look so realistic to try to tickle our funny bone.

I want you all to sit back, relax, and enjoy our collection of some of the world's funniest Windows error messages:

Go there...


Thursday, May 27, 2010

Linux Today - iPad's Popularity Comes at Netbooks' Expense

iPad's Popularity Comes at Netbooks' Expense
May 28, 2010, 00 :02 UTC (1 Talkback[s]) (215 reads)

(Other stories by Andy Patrizio)

"Nearly one in three buyers who had been considering a netbook did their evaluations and then bought an Apple iPad tablet instead, according to a survey of more than a thousand U.S. consumers by the consumer electronics review site Retrevo.

"The firm asked consumers if they held off on buying a netbook after the iPad was announced in January. Only 30 percent said they didn't wait and went ahead and bought a netbook. Another 40 percent decided to go with a notebook instead while the remaining 30 percent chose the Apple(NASDAQ: AAPL) iPad.

"The equation gets even more interesting when notebooks are taken out. In that scenario, 76 percent of those surveyed chose the iPad over the netbook. The survey also found people preferred laptops by a two-to-one margin among both those who had already made a purchase and those considering making a purchase in the near future."

Complete Story



Rock it - What's new in Fedora 13 - The H Open Source: News and Features

Rock it

What's new in Fedora 13

by Thorsten Leemhuis

Known as "Goddard", Fedora 13 not only boasts a current software selection and a modernised design, it also offers an extensive range of technological improvements. As usual, the distribution demonstrates its pioneering role in this area and many of its advanced features are likely to appear soon in other Linux distributions.

Source: Almost exactly six months after releasing Fedora 12, the Fedora project has released Fedora 13, a Linux distribution promoted via the slogan "rock it" and named after rocket scientist Robert Hutchings Goddard. With this release, the Fedora project stays true to form in two ways: The distribution was released two weeks later than originally scheduled and offers tons of technological advancements that are bound to appear in many other distributions in the near future.



Ubuntu Lucid Lynx 10.04 can read your iPhone's secrets | ZDNet

Ubuntu Lucid Lynx 10.04 can read your iPhone's secrets

By Adrian Kingsley-Hughes | May 27, 2010, 4:43am PDT

Do you have a PIN code on your iPhone? Well, while that might protect you from someone making a call or fiddling with your apps, it doesn’t prevent access to your data … as long as the person doing the snooping around is using Ubuntu “Lucid Lynx” 10.04.

Security experts Bernd Marienfeldt and Jim Herbeck discovered something really interesting when they hooked up a non-jailbroken, fully up-to-date iPhone 3GS to a PC running Lucid Lynx …

I uncovered a data protection vulnerability [9], which  I could reproduce on 3 other non jail broken 3GS iPhones (MC 131B, MC132B) with different iPhone OS versions installed (3.1.3-7E18 modem firmware 05.12.01 and version 3.1.2 -7D11, modem 05.11.07) , all PIN code protected which means the vulnerability bypasses authentication for various data where people most likely rely on data protection through encryption and do not expect that authentication is not in place.

This is what you get via an auto mount without any PIN request:



The SSL security model is falling apart at the seams

The SSL Security Model Is Falling Apart At The Seams

Alex Trent
Staff Writer

SecurityProNews: Insider Reports Insider Reports RSS Feed

Can anyone with the right resources hijack your connection? If so then what good is SSL?

It was only less than a year ago when Dan Kaminsky and Moxie Marlinspike showed just how easy it is to trick a Certificate Authority (CA) and a web browser into faking an SSL certificate by simply dropping a null character into the name to be registered. Simply placing a null character after the name of the site to fake as a sub-domain of the site before the real domain name would accomplish this. An example would be\ Even worse is the fact that ANYONE could just register what is called a wildcard domain, ex. *\, and masquerade as any site on the Internet they pleased.

After that CA's cleaned up their act by stopping the issuance of such certificates but previously issued certs would continue to work until new versions of web browsers were released that would check for such flaws. Today we should all be safe from such attacks using modern web browsers, Firefox 3.5+ is not vulnerable to this type of attack, but the researchers example should make it quite clear that such a gaping hole in SSL security could happen again.

As if I could not rain down on the SSL parade any more, recently, a paper was released by Christopher Soghoian detailing how governments, law enforcement, and potentially malicious entities can easily hijack SSL connections through coercion or even policy. As many governments have been given their own CA's so that they may control their own encryption needs they can just issue themselves a certificate for a real site and pretend to be that site. Then if a device existed to load that certificate onto that could be located between the victim to be spied on and the real site, then there's nothing stopping them from eavesdropping.

Such a device does exist. In fact, the only currently known commercial entity that produces them, called Packet Forensics, attempted to deny their existence for some time. For this to be true, it must mean two things. One, that through some means, coercion, theft, or otherwise, CA's are allowing such certificates to be collected and used on these devices. And two, that there must be a market for these type of devices. There may be other companies producing these devices as well that are just unknown to the general public.

So, there you have it, if you were paranoid about government spying before, then this should help push you over the edge. I'm not just talking about governments though, corporations, employers, family, ANYONE who can get their hands on such a device, or build one for that matter, and can buy, coerce, or steal the certificates needed to spy on their targets can do just that! On the other hand, I can hear the sound of new private eye shops opening up, based on this technology. Go-Go-Gadget SSL Circumvention!

"I still lock my doors even though I know how to pick the lock" - Matt Blaze,
-quoted from

View All Articles by Alex Trent

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Majority Of Browsers Leave Fingerprints Online

Majority Of Browsers Leave Fingerprints Online

Mike Sachoff
Staff Writer

SecurityProNews: Insider Reports Insider Reports RSS Feed

The majority of web browsers have unique signatures that create identifiable "fingerprints" that could be used to track Internet users as they surf, according to new research from the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF).

The findings were the result of an experiment EFF conducted with volunteers who visited the EFF's Panopticlick website.

The website anonymously logged the configuration and version information from each participant's operating system, browser, and browser plug-ins -- information that websites routinely access each time you visit -- and compared that information to a database of configurations collected from almost a million other visitors. EFF found that 84% of the configuration combinations were unique and identifiable, creating unique and identifiable browser "fingerprints." Browsers with Adobe Flash or Java plug-ins installed were 94% unique and trackable.

"We took measures to keep participants in our experiment anonymous, but most sites don't do that," said EFF Senior Staff Technologist Peter Eckersley.

"In fact, several companies are already selling products that claim to use browser fingerprinting to help websites identify users and their online activities. This experiment is an important reality check, showing just how powerful these tracking mechanisms are."

EFF found that some browsers were less likely to contain unique configurations, including those that block JavaScript, and some browser plug-ins may be able to be configured to limit the information a browser shares with the websites users visit. But overall, it is difficult to reconfigure your browser to make it less identifiable. The best solution for web users may be to insist that new privacy protections be built into the browsers themselves.

"Browser fingerprinting is a powerful technique, and fingerprints must be considered alongside cookies and IP addresses when we discuss web privacy and user trackability," said Eckersely.

"We hope that browser developers will work to reduce these privacy risks in future versions of their code."

View All Articles by Mike Sachoff

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The History of NSA Computers Well up until 1964 at least Part I

The History Of NSA Computers. Well, Up Until 1964 At Least. Part I.

Alex Trent
Staff Writer

SecurityProNews: Insider Reports Insider Reports RSS Feed

Recently a formerly classified document was declassified describing how the NSA used computers to crack codes.

Part I: ATLAS I and ABEL

The History Of NSA Computers. Well, Up Until 1964 At Least. Part I.
The History Of NSA Computers. Well, Up Until 1964 At Least. Part I.

Before the NSA, its predecessors used punch card systems for about 15 years, beginning in 1935. There were 750 such systems in use by the end of World War II. Several types of punched-card devices were used: tabulators, collators, sorters, reproducers, and the keypunch. As we know now, the use of punched-card equipment would not last for ever. Finally, in December of 1950, the first real computer arrived.

ATLAS I's beginning can be traced back to a series of lectures in 1946 at the Moore School of Electrical Engineering on electronic computing. The Navy had a young mathematician named LCDR James T. Pendergrass who attended. The lectures inspired Pendergrass to suggest that the Navy should have a computer. The computer was constructed by a contractor for the Navy at a cost of $950,000, it had 2700 tubes and used parallel circuitry.

Originally the computer was intended to have 36-bit words, but the design eventually used was 24-bit words. These words would be stored on a magnetic drum that would hold 16,384 of them. The drum had a fascinating feature called an "interlace" where it allowed memory to be accessed by a plugboard system that gave programmers the freedom to design programs that could jump one step forward or backward in memory using pre assigned addressing via the plugboard. Access time was as low as 32 microseconds using this system. Unfortunately, the average access time was 8,500 microseconds and in more proving situations, could jump as high as 17,000 on occasion. Later on, the interlace was upgraded to support jumping in steps larger than one in memory.

ATLAS I was not the only computer available to the Navy at the time. ABEL, was created to serve as a training machine for new programmers. Although logically identical to ATLAS I, ABEL was was several hundred times slower and only supported 2,047 words on its drum. After presentation to the Albert Einstein High School in 1963, ABEL was permanently dismantled.

Three years after ATLAS I's initial arrival, a second computer, identical to ATLAS I arrived in May of 1953. Both machines were upgraded in 1956 with high-speed core storage units of 4,096 word capacity. Before the high-speed core memory was installed, programmers used the interlace function excessively. Now they could store constants in the high-speed memory for quick access. Only three more years later, both machines were removed from operation. One was salvaged for parts and the other was shipped to a NATO Anti-Submarine Research Center in Italy.

If ATLAS I had a design flaw it was its lack of magnetic tape storage. When the machines were dismantled, this was likely the reason. Other than that the machines were operational above 90% of the time. The lack of tape storage restricted their used to problems with small volumes of data.

This article is the first in a series of articles on NSA computers up until 1964.
For more in depth reading:

View All Articles by Alex Trent

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slight paranoia: New paper

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

New paper

My latest paper, co-authored with Sid Stamm, is now online:

Certified Lies: Detecting and Defeating Government Interception Attacks Against SSL (this link downloads the PDF)

The abstract:

This paper introduces a new attack, the compelled certificate creation attack, in which government agencies compel a certificate authority to issue false SSL certificates that are then used by intelligence agencies to covertly intercept and hijack individuals' secure Web-based communications. We reveal alarming evidence that suggests that this attack is in active use. Finally, we introduce a lightweight browser add-on that detects and thwarts such attacks.

The first paragraph describing the threat:
A pro-democracy dissident in China connects to a secure web forum hosted on servers outside the country. Relying on the training she received from foreign human rights groups, she makes certain to look for the SSL encryption lock icon in her web browser, and only after determining that the connection is secure does she enter her login credentials and then begin to upload materials to be shared with her colleagues. However, unknown to the activist, the Chinese government is able to covertly intercept SSL encrypted connections. Agents from the state security apparatus soon arrive at her residence, leading to her arrest, detention and violent interrogation. While this scenario is fictitious, the vulnerability is not.

We are hoping to release the CertLock browser add-on described in the paper in the next few weeks. In the mean time, we welcome any feedback on our paper.

In general, the SSL/Certificate Authority system is horribly broken, and it needs to be fixed. However, broken SSL is still better than no SSL -- which is why the big name email providers, social networks and any other site that handles sensitive data needs to step up and protect their users.

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LOST IN SPACE ROBOT...and other Adventures
B9 Enters the Cloud
Team Filo Continues the evolution of their scratch Built Lost In Space
Robot- B9
This B9 Robot has 14 motors and is on a mobile platform
This Year B9 enter the cloud with an 802.11 WiFi Link that allows the
Robot to be remote controlled from the Web or be driven by remote AI
resident on a distant device

We are currently finishing fitting the WiFi controller to the robot.
This will permit us to control B9 by a remote Tablet PC and use Visual
AI software to enable autonomous behaviors.
Team Filo Volunteered on the USS HORNET's Celebration of the Recovery of
the the Apollo 11 Astronauts.
We prepared an exhibit with a Gemini Jetpack and Apollo Astronaut.
Starting with Video Production Company's surplus moosuit costume, We
added fittings, hoses, flaps, a cooling garment and a posable 1/2
mannequin to recreate Buzz Aldrin on the moon We had a Great Time Aboard
the HORNET and got to meet Buzz Aldrin!

We are also making a 1/2 scale Lunar Module "Face" This can be used as
a Backdrop, and Simulator Housing.

Go there see Pics and Videos...


Video: "Building The Robot in 60 seconds"

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Some picture during construction and then driving around
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Dweb98 sent you a video: "b9 test drive 2"

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b9 test drive 2
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Adding SCART to a cheap CRT television - Hack a Day

Adding SCART to a cheap CRT television

posted May 27th 2010 1:31pm by Mike Szczys
filed under: classic hacks, home entertainment hacks

[133MHz] cracked open a cheap tube television to add a SCART connector. He knew he had a chance at success when he discovered all of the knock-outs on the back of the connector panel because one of them was exactly the right size for the connector. But it wasn’t quite as easy as soldering in one component. He ended up injecting his own RGB data from the SCART connector directly into the onscreen display, making an end run around the missing feature. [133MHz] removed some resistors in the circuit and used the empty lead holes to patch in his own circuit, feeding the RGB data from the SCART connector to the OSD chip in the format it needed.

This one takes you way down the rabbit hole. We’re glad he provided so much background about the hack but it’s going to take us a little while to fully wrap our heads around how he figured it out.

[Thanks Victor]

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BAMF2010: Look sir, droids! - Hack a Day

BAMF2010: Look sir, droids!

posted May 27th 2010 10:00am by Phil Burgess
filed under: cons, robots hacks, roundup

Ask any engineer what originally sparked their interest in technology, and almost universally the response will be a Hollywood film or TV robot — Star Wars’ R2-D2, the B9 robot from Lost in Space, or Short Circuit’s Johnny 5, to name a few. Engineers need a creative outlet too, and some pay homage to their inspirations by building elaborate reproductions. At this year’s Maker Faire, droid-builders had their own corner in the center hall, their work ranging from humble craft materials to ’bots surpassing their film counterparts in detail and workmanship.

Probably the most beloved film robot of all time would be R2-D2, and probably the best-known reproductions originate from the R2-D2 Builders Club, who’ve been profiled in Make and Servo magazines, among others. Every kid’s dreamed of building their own R2, perhaps from a wastepaper basket and scrap, but the club’s astromech droids are anything but kid stuff, with machined aluminum domes and intricate motor and sound systems. The club doesn’t sell robots — that would infringe on trademarks — but they do share techniques and component plans. The finished droids (are they ever really finished?) put in appearances at fan conventions and charity events.

Danger Will Robinson! Career inventor [Andrew Filo] has been engineering practical everyday items for three decades, but he cuts loose by bringing his early inspirations to life. His carefully-researched reproductions include an Apollo-era NASA spacesuit and a talking, walking…er, rolling…B9 robot.

Read more see pics...


Scramjet sets hypersonic flight record -

Scramjet sets hypersonic flight record

Test flight lasted more than 10 times longer than previous record

Image: X-51A Waverider
The X-51A is powered by a Pratt Whitney Rocketdyne SJY61 scramjet engine, which is designed to ride on its own shockwave and accelerate to about Mach 6.
U.S. Air Force
By Tariq Malik
updated 10:07 a.m. ET, Thurs., May 27, 2010

An experimental aircraft has set a new record for the longest hypersonic flight after streaking across the sky Wednesday for more than three minutes while flying at Mach 5 — five times the speed of sound — the United States Air Force has announced.

The vehicle, called the X-51A Waverider, dropped from a B-52 Stratofortress mother ship while flying over the Pacific Ocean just off the southern California coast. It successfully ignited an air-breathing scramjet engine than accelerated up to Mach 5, Air Force officials said in the announcement. 

The entire test flight lasted just over 200 seconds, more than 10 times longer than the previous hypersonic record (just 12 seconds) set by NASA's X-43 vehicle in 2004.

"We are ecstatic to have accomplished most of our test points on the X-51A's very first hypersonic mission," said X-51A program manager Charlie Brink of the Air Force Research Laboratory at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Ohio, in a statement. "We equate this leap in engine technology as equivalent to the post-World War II jump from propeller-driven aircraft to jet engines."

X-51A's new record
Wednesday's test flight was aimed at evaluating the X-51A's scramjet engine, thermal protection, stability and control, and other systems.

With a profile that gives it a shark-like look, the X-51A scramjet cruiser is 14 feet (4.2 meters) long and is virtually wingless. It is designed to ride the shockwave it creates during flight, leading to its nickname "Waverider," the Air Force has said.

Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne built the SJY61 scramjet engine at the heart of the X-51A cruiser.

The Air Force began Wednesday's test at 1 p.m. EDT, when the B-52 Stratofortress hauling the X-51A took off from Edwards Air Force Base in California. The X-51A test craft dropped from its mother ship while flying 50,000 feet (15,240 meters) over the Point Mugu Naval Air Warfare Center Sea Range on the Pacific Ocean. 

Four seconds into the flight, the X-51A's solid rocket booster – actually an adapted Army Tactical Missile booster – accelerated the experimental aircraft to Mach 4.8 before being jettisoned to let the scramjet engine take over.

After the flight, the vehicle was expected to splash into the ocean. There were no plans to recover the craft, according to the Air Force.

"Now we will go back and really scrutinize our data. No test is perfect, and I'm sure we will find anomalies that we will need to address before the next flight," Brink said. "But anyone will tell you that we learn just as much, if not more, when we encounter a glitch."

The test was actually the third flight of the X-51 vehicle; it was the first time it flew independently. It had remained attached to its mother ship on both earlier flights.

Three more X-51 hypersonic tests flights are scheduled for later this year. The Air Force has built four X-51A cruisers in all, with one of them now successfully flown.

The project is a joint effort by the Air Force Research Laboratory, industry teams and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency.

Going hypersonic
Hypersonic flight, typically defined as beginning at Mach 5, is more challenging than supersonic flight at lower speeds because of the higher temperatures and pressures involved with the faster flight speed. The speed of sound, Mach 1, is about 760 mph (1,223 kph) at sea level.

Conventional turbine jet engines can't handle such speeds, Air Force officials said.

But scramjets, air-breathing jet engines driven by supersonic combustion, like the one on X-51A have their own challenges too. Air Force project officials compared it to "lighting a match in a hurricane and keeping it burning."

The X-51A is not the U.S. military's only project undergoing tests this year.



The Spy in the Middle - Matt Blaze's Exhaustive Search

A decade ago, I observed that commercial certificate authorities protect you from anyone from whom they are unwilling to take money. That turns out to be wrong; they don't even do that much.

SSL certificates are the primary mechanism for ensuring that secure web sites -- those displaying that reassuring "padlock" icon in the address bar -- really are who they purport to be. In order for your browser to display the padlock icon, a web site must first present a "certificate", digitally signed by a trusted "root" authority, that attests to its identity and encryption keys.

Unfortunately, through a confluence of sloppy design, naked commercial maneuvering, and bad user interfaces, today's web browsers have evolved to accept certificates issued by a surprisingly large number of root authorities, from tiny, obscure businesses to various national governments. And a certificate from any one of them is usually sufficient to bless any web connection as being "secure".

What this means is that an eavesdropper who can obtain fake certificates from any certificate authority can successfully impersonate every encrypted web site someone might visit. Most browsers will happily (and silently) accept new certificates from any valid authority, even for web sites for which certificates had already been obtained. An eavesdropper with fake certificates and access to a target's internet connection can thus quietly interpose itself as a "man-in-the-middle", observing and recording all encrypted web traffic traffic, with the user none the wiser.