Thursday, September 27, 2007
Tipping to the next Level
I like food, and I'm not really good at the creative art of cooking (though I'm a fine sous-chef), so I eat out at restaurants a lot. I usually pay by credit card. In the US, waiters have a minimum wage below the normal minimum wage, and thus you always have to tip, and so you never pay what the bill says (and I usually tip well, unless the service or food was appalling, even outside the US).
The net effect of this is that you basically get to decide how much you pay. Indeed, credit card bills at restaurants have a space where you fill in how much you want to pay.
I don't like doing arithmetic, especially not of the kind "$85.47 * 1.17", and so I just approximate. $85.47 is about $90, 15% of $90 is about 15, round to down to cancel out the earlier approximations gives about $100. So I pay $100.00 and go on my merry way.
One day I looked at my bank statement and it was something like:
|POS Trans ZIBIBBO PALO ALTO CAUS||$76.00|
|POS Trans CHEESECAKE PALO ALTO CAUS||$40.00|
|POS Trans OUTBACK #0514 CUPERTINO CAUS||$210.00|
|POS Trans BROOKFIELD'S REST #2 SACRAMENTO CAUS||$34.00|
Look at all those zero cents... there are data bits there, lying unused! It struck me that with every single restaurant transaction I could set the cents field to some number under my control, thus allowing me to communicate with myself at a later date!
This would be really useful as a way of sending ratings information back to myself, so that I could later review the restaurants online or otherwise keep track of where I would want to go back to or where I would want to avoid (since I eat out a lot, restaurants somewhat blend together in my memory).
We can set any number from 0 to 99. In binary, that's 0b0000000 to 0b1100011. In other words, we have seven bits to play with, except that if both of the high bits are set, then we lose bits 3, 4, and 5.
There are five things I wanted to be able to communicate. The first was the number of guests, so that I can divide the price by how many people I was paying for, to determine the price-per-person. The second was the rating, whether I should go back or not. The last three were whether the restaurant had wifi, whether they were suitable for vegetarians (Carey is vegetarian), and whether they had drinks I liked (I don't drink addictive drinks, drinks containing mind-altering drugs, carbonated drinks, and drinks containing high fructose corn syrup, which basically excludes almost anything you can buy in the US in many cheap restaurants, and even some fancy ones).
If we consider the rating to be a four-state flag, with values "avoid", "ok", "good", "awesome", and if we limit ourselves to being able to specify 0, 1, 2, or "more than 2" guests (in addition to me), and if we establish that if we want to avoid the place in future then it really doesn't matter whether the restaurant had Internet, a vegetarian selection, or good drinks, then we can neatly fit this into our contstrained not-quite-7-bit bitfield like this:
The rating, according to the following scale:
0 awesome 32 good 64 ok 96 avoid (and ensure d, v, and i are set to 0)
Whether drinks are good or not (set means they are good)
Whether a vegetarian selection is available (set means there are vegetarian options)
Whether free wifi Internet access is available (set means wifi is available)
How many guests were paid for in the transaction:
0 just me 1 me and one guests 2 me and two guests 3 me and three or more guests
I did this, and used it for a while. I quickly discovered that something was wrong. The numbers in my bank statement made no sense, for example dinners with more than 2 guests at locations where I knew that I had been with just one person.
I changed to a new scheme. Instead of encoding data in the cents field, I instead just store the last two digits of the dollar amount into the cents field. A checksum, if you will. So if it cost around $34 with tip, then I put $34.34, or if it cost $122, then I put $122.22. I do this reliably now, on all restaurant transactions.
What I've found is a shocking number of restaurants don't charge me what I write. For a while I thought I just had bad handwriting, but I then went out of my way to write very clear numbers and that didn't help. For example, Zibibbo's in Palo Alto. I remember very clearly writing $77.77, but was charged $76.95. That's not the original amount without tip (which was probably closer to $65), it's not what I wrote, what the heck is it? On the other hand, the other time I went, they charged me $865.65, exactly what I wrote. A cafe in Monterey (Portola Cafe) charged me $18.28. Either they charged me ¢10 too much, or they gave me a $10 discount. The Melting Pot, San Jose, charged me $70.54. Where did the .54 come from? Why not take the remaining ¢16? Pasta Pomodoro did the same trick as Portola, charging me $37.47. But two months before that, they charged me $34.31, which is probably ¢3 less than I wrote. Why am I getting overcharged sometimes and undercharged others? In Hawaii, the majority of restaurants ignored the tip altogether, just charging me the original amount regardless of what I wrote. Are people in Hawaii so relaxed that they don't need the extra money from tips?
My theory is that it is because I don't write an explicit tip, I just give the total. Maybe restaurants need the tip as well as the total, and so to save time they just work out a round dollar tip that is close to what I wrote, and charge me that. My next step, to test this theory, is to start always writing the actual tip amount in.
Wednesday, September 26, 2007
By Beth Schultz, Network World, 09/24/07
1. Arm yourself with salary statistics when you meet for your annual review. Patti Henderson, IT director at Boise, Idaho, law firm Givens Pursley, got an above-average 8% raise this year by using statistics to show her superiors just how comparatively inferior her salary was. The statistics came from IT sources, such as the 2006 Network World Salary Survey, as well as from the American Legal Association. "I've been following salary surveys for the last three years . . . and I requested a substantial raise on the idea that here are all these surveys [showing that I'm underpaid for the work I do]," she says.
2. Increase your chances of getting budget approvals by knowing when the company's financials look strong. IT Manager Pam Davey says this tactic has worked well for her at Buyers Products, a Cleveland, Ohio, company that makes products for the mobile-equipment industry. While not required to submit a formal budget, Davey does keep the company controller regularly up-to-date on her long-term spending requirements. But she also tracks the bottom line so "I know when the time is right to ask for more money," she says.
3. If your company has an education benefit, take advantage of it. Going back to school, whether for a bachelor's, a master's or a doctorate, not only benefits you but also sets a great example for peers and direct reports, says Jonathan Campbell, director of network services at FirstHealth of the Carolinas, an expansive healthcare network based in Pinehurst, N.C. Campbell is taking advantage of FirstHealth's education benefit as he works on his master's, he says.
4. Grab every opportunity to cross-train that you can reasonably handle. Even as the top-level network executive, FirstHealth's Campbell knows there's always more to learn about networking. With that in mind, he says he's excited by talk of a new Cisco certification program for network architects. "There a lot of [Cisco Certified Internetworking Experts], and I'm one of them, who spend a lot of configuration time but don't really understand the architecture piece that everything relates to a whole as far as the unified system itself — voice, data and integrating mobile devices, and doing the traffic engineering. With this new certification, we'll finally be able to address that," Campbell says.
David Lampert, network operations manager at Physio-Control, a Redmond, Wash., business unit of medical device maker Medtronic, agrees. The best network executives are those who take a multidisciplinary approach, he says. After all, he adds, "the No. 1 rule of networking is to know your applications." For example, Lampert calls networking his strong suit, but says he can hold his own in systems, applications and other IT disciplines.
5. If you dream of promotions and big salaries, identify a long-term career goal and stick to it. That doesn't mean you can't make adjustments, but don't get derailed by getting too steeped in one type of technology or pulled too deeply into the business side — you need a good mix of technology and business, Physio-Control's Lampert says. As you take each step down your career path, you've got to stop yourself and ask, "Am I fundamentally on my way to achieving that goal?" he says.
As much as I love my DSLR, I often times wish I had a video camera for multiple reasons that I'm unable to divulge. The only problem is is that they're entirely way too big or you sacrifice quality of video to have a smaller form factor. Here's where the Sanyo Xacti HD700 takes the cake with 720p HD video and 7.1-megapixel photos. While I wouldn't replace my DSLR with the Xacti altogether, I will be more inclined to take this device with me to a bar/club since it fits in my pocket. It's a smooth operator with a very fast startup time of 1.3 seconds.
Video and photos are stored to an SD or SDHC card. The HD700 records video in MPEG-4 AVC/H.264 and takes pictures up to an ISO of 3200. There's also the 'face chaser' that's all the rage these days, a 5x optical zoom with an aperture setting of f/3.5. All video and photos are viewed on the 2.7-inch LCD that flips out and rotates 285 degrees. Storage as I mentioned earlier is saved onto an SD or SDHC card and with an 8GB card you can record just under three hours of 720p video. Fret not for there is an HDMI out and a bevy of other features that will force you to pick one up next month for $599.99.
CHATSWORTH, CA, September 26, 2007 – SANYO, a world leading digital camera manufacturer, debuts the Xacti HD700, a pocket-sized, 720p high-definition digital camcorder. The HD700 is a high-performance camcorder capable of recording both high-definition video and 7.1-megapixel photos easily to an SD or SDHC memory card (memory card sold separately). Featuring an ultra-compact, ergonomic shape, the HD700 is specifically designed for publishing high quality video and high resolution still photos in formats ideally suited for Web-use or sharing. Fun and easy to use anytime inspiration strikes, the HD700 is truly an advanced communication tool for the emerging information age.
The SANYO Xacti HD700 will be available in Silver, Red and a gorgeous Brown color in the U.S.A. at the end of October, 2007, and has an MSRP of $599.99*1.
"The new SANYO Xacti HD700 is our best everyday-use camcorder ever" said John Lamb, SANYO's Senior Marketing Manager for the Xacti line. "At 16% smaller and 10% lighter than our popular HD2, the HD700 combines a host of new features in a sleek, affordable and easy-to-use camcorder."
HIGH-QUALITY VIDEO, EASY WEB USE
The HD700 uses the same new optical processing engine found in the recently announced VPC-HD1000, which is unique in its ability to process images quickly with lower power consumption. In addition to utilizing SANYO's proprietary H.264 engine, the camera only needs 4.0 watts of power, made possible by combining two engine chips into one miniaturized fast-processing image engine.
Video is recorded in the advanced MPEG-4 AVC/H.264 format encoding technology. This advanced compression delivers exceptional video clarity and detail while maintaining the smallest file size possible.
Also, in addition to the reduction in data capacity needed to store the images and video clips, photos or movies are easily copied and loaded on a personal computer or uploaded and shared on the Internet for online use on blogs, video-sharing websites and personal websites.
7.1-MEGAPIXEL STILL IMAGES
The HD700 captures 7.1-megapixel still photos and provides excellent low-light performance all the way to the ISO 3200 level of sensitivity.
AUTOMATIC "FACE CHASER" FUNCTION FOR STILL PHOTOS
The HD700 includes the new "Face Chaser" function that automatically detects and isolates faces to assist the camera's exposure and auto-focus. The HD700 is capable of detecting up to 12 independent faces at a time.
5X OPTICAL ZOOM
The HD700 digital media camera features a 5x all-glass optical zoom with a bright maximum aperture of f/3.5. Consisting of nine groups and twelve total lenses (3 aspheric elements, 5 aspheric surfaces), the HD700's lens provides a fantastic field-of-view with a 38-190 mm range (35 mm equivalent). Combined with the 12x digital zoom, the HD700 provides up to 60x zooming capability.
LARGE 2.7 INCH WIDESCREEN DISPLAY
The Xacti HD700 features a large 2.7 inch Liquid Crystal Display (LCD). The bright, widescreen display flips out from the camera and rotates up to 285 degrees on an axis that allows you to take great video or still images from otherwise-difficult-to-view positions, especially useful when shooting in large crowds or in small rooms.
MAC OS COMPATIBLE
The HD700 is designed to work with Apple's full complement of video editing applications including the new iMovie 08. Easily edit your movies and add them to your website or YouTube for sharing or create versions for iPod, iPhone or the Apple TV.
ADOBE® PREMIERE® ELEMENTS 3.0 INCLUDED
For Windows users, the SANYO Xacti HD700 includes the powerful award-winning Adobe Premiere Elements 3.0 video editing software. Adobe Premiere Elements 3.0 software makes creating and sharing impressive home videos a snap. Burn your footage to DVD in two simple steps, complete with a DVD menu and scene index, or easily assemble your movie by rearranging clips with drag-and-drop simplicity. And share your movies on DVD, the web, mobile phones, and virtually anywhere else.
CONVENIENT SD/SDHC MEMORY CARD STORAGE
The SANYO Xacti HD700 records high-definition and photos directly to a standard SD or SDHC Memory Card. The camcorder can record up to 2 hour and 46 minutes of 720p high-definition video on a single 8GB card (sold separately).
Each video is recorded as an individual MPEG-4 and each still as a JPEG so you can have true random access allowing you to review a specific image or video quickly and easily, without waiting for tape rewinding or fast forwarding.
The Xacti series has become known for its ergonomic design and small, easy-to-use file sizes. The HD700 is also designed for convenient, one-handed use and adopts the new 105 degree angle design that recent research has proven to be less tiring to hold and shoot than typical camcorders. Easy-to-hold and easy-to-shoot, the HD700 raises the bar in compact camcorder design.
ADDITIONAL SANYO XACTI HD700 FEATURES:
* HDMI High-Definition Output (with included Docking Station)
* Digital Image Stabilization
* Superfast Startup (Record in as little as 1.3 seconds).
* Playback directly onto a HD or standard TV screen.
* Easy connection to VCR or DVD recorder.
* Expand the fun of viewing home movies and photos on television with 'Xacti Library' for easy playback and saving of files.
* Equipped with 'SIMPLE' mode for even beginners to create high quality, beautiful high definition movies.
* 'Talking Navigation' informs user of current state/setting
* 'Super Macro' allows close-ups of 1 cm
* In-Camera Editing
* Equipped with 'Wind Noise Reduction' reducing wind noise from the microphone when recording movies
* Compatible with Exif Print*2 and PRINT Image Matching III*3 for printing
* Print pictures without a computer using PictBridge
* Innovative Docking Station Included
* Remote Control Included
From Sunny 16 to Moony 11, 8, and 5.6, these facts, formulas, and photographic rules can get you out of a jam and help you get good shots when nothing else will.
By Jason Schneider
What happens when your systems go belly-up, when all of that cutting-edge technology dies and you must rely on (gasp!) your own knowledge? It pays to have these basics in your head. They can get you out of a jam and help you get good shots when nothing else will.
1. Sunny 16 Rule
The basic exposure for an average scene taken on a bright, sunny day is f/16 at a shutter speed equivalent to one over the ISO setting—that is, f/16 at 1/100 sec at ISO 100. From this you can interpolate, and try f/22 at the beach, f/11 on a cloudy-bright day, etc.
2. Moony 11, 8, and 5.6 Rules
There are many different rules that work well when shooting the moon. One favorite for a proper exposure of a full moon is f/11 at one over the ISO setting. For pictures of a half moon, use the same shutter speed at f/8, and for a quarter moon, use the same shutter speed at f/5.6.
3. Camera Shake Rule
The slowest shutter speed at which you can safely handhold a camera is one over the focal length of the lens in use. As shutter speeds get slower, camera shake is likely to result in an increasing loss of sharpness. So, if you're using a 50mm lens, shoot at 1/60 sec or faster. Not enough light? Use a flash, tripod, or brace your camera against a solid object.
4. Anatomical Gray Card
Metering off an 18-percent neutral gray card is a good way to get a midtone reading that will give you a good overall exposure of a scene. Forgot your gray card? Hold your open hand up so it's facing the light, take a reading off your palm, open up one stop, and shoot. (Various skin tones rarely account for even a full-stop difference.)
5. Depth of Field Rules
When focusing on a deep subject, focus on a point about a third of the way into the picture to maximize depth of field, because the depth-of-field zone behind that point is about twice as deep as the depth-of-field zone in front of it. This works for all apertures and focal lengths, but the smaller the aperture and the shorter the focal length, and the greater the distance you shoot at, the greater the depth of field.
6. Largest Digital Print Rule
To calculate in inches the largest photo-quality print you can make with a digital camera, divide the vertical and horizontal pixel counts (see your manual) by 200. For critical applications, or if you want exhibition-quality prints, divide the pixel counts by 250.
7. Exposure Rules
The classic advice is, "Expose for the highlights, and let the shadows take care of themselves." This works with slide film and digital. But with negative film, especially color negative, you're better off overexposing by one stop.
8. Quick Flash-fill Rule
When using an automatic flash unit that doesn't provide auto flash-fill ratios, set the flash's ISO dial to twice the ISO you're using. Meter the scene, select an f-stop, set the autoflash aperture to the same f-stop, and shoot. The resulting 2:1 flash-fill ratio will produce filled shadows one stop darker than the main subject.
9. Flash Range Rule
Want to know how much extra flash range you get by going to a faster ISO? The rule is, "Double the distance, four times the speed." For example: If your flash is good to 20 feet at ISO 100 (film or digital), it will be good to 40 feet at ISO 400.
10. Megapixel Multiplier Rule
To double the resolution in a digital camera, you must increase the number of megapixels by a factor of four—not two. Why? The number of pixels in both the vertical and horizontal dimensions must be doubled to double the pixel density across the image sensor.
11. Action-stopping Rules
To stop action moving across the frame that's perpendicular to the lens axis, you need shutter speeds two stops faster than action moving toward or away from you. For action moving at a 45-degree angle to the lens axis, you can use a shutter speed one stop slower. For example: If a person running toward you at moderate speed can be stopped at 1/125 sec, you'll need a shutter speed of 1/500 sec to stop the subject moving across the frame, and a shutter speed of 1/250 sec to stop him if moving obliquely with respect to the camera.
To get a properly exposed sunset, meter the area directly above the sun (without including the sun). If you want the scene to look like it's a half-hour later, stop down by one f-stop, or set exposure compensation to minus one.
Why Your Coffee Sucks (and How to Drink Great Coffee for a Fraction of What You're Paying Now)
Written by Brett Kelly of the Cranking Widgets Blog
For more than a millenium now, people have been drinking coffee. You can hardly drive down a major street (in the US, anyway) without encountering one or more Starbucks establishments. For all of it's forms and varieties, it's one of the most-consumed beverages in the world. I'm sure many of you reading this are probably doing so with a hot cup of joe within arms' reach - which is what makes what I'm about to say all the more meaningful and pointed:
Your coffee is, most likely, crap.
Yep, even you with the Venti Skinny Vanilla Latte (that probably cost you upwards of $5). The fact is, the vast majority of the coffee consumed, especially in the US, is either of poor quality or simply stale. The good news is, this is a fairly easy situation to remedy. And, if you're willing to invest a bit of time and elbow grease, you can save a whole heap of money in the process.
First, here's a couple of glaring facts about coffee that reinforce my claim that you're drinking bad coffee:
Roasted coffee beans are partially stale after 2 weeks
That's right - and you can bet your bottom dollar that the pound of coffee you bought at the grocery store or at your local Starbucks was roasted weeks (or perhaps months) ago. It was likely roasted in a huge roasting facility (where the batch size can be in the hundreds of pounds) several weeks before it even hits the shelves at your local store.
Ground coffee has lost much of it's flavor 20 minutes after grinding
You may think you're saving time by buying pre-ground coffee, but you're sacrificing what little flavor was left in the probably-stale beans.
But don't lose heart, fellow lovers of the brown nectar! In a few simple steps (and for considerably less money than you'd expect and quite possibly less than you're spending now), you can enjoy some of the finest coffee the world has to offer.
A quick aside - for those folks who drink coffee purely for the caffeine and don't care about it tasting good, you can stop reading here :) Personally, I think of coffee as so much more than just something to slug back in the morning to wake up. When prepared properly, it can be just as flavorful and nuanced as a fine wine or whiskey. That said, my point in making and drinking coffee is to create a fantastic beverage, and only secondarily a caffeine delivery system.
So, let's get down to brass tacks - how do you make a great cup of coffee?
First, you need clean water. I use bottled water to make my coffee - something that many people think is a waste, but whatever. Once you try this, you'll definitely notice a difference. Even purified water (using one of those pitchers you put in your refrigerator, for example) will do the trick. Water temperature is key here - you want it between 195F-204F for optimal extraction.
Second, you need good coffee. If you want to roast your own, a whole range of options exist from a coffee roasting machine (I use the iRoast 2, retails for about $180) all the way to using a frying pan on your stovetop. It's really easy, too - only takes about 15-30 minutes depending on the batch size and roasting method. I won't go into the finer points of homeroasting, but if you're interested please get in touch with me and I'll point you in the right direction. Suffice it to say, this is an option for just about anybody. Oh, and did I mention that the coffee will probably cost you between $2-$5 per pound?
If you don't want to spend the time roasting your own coffee, there are plenty of places to buy fresh roasted coffee. Personally, I'd look for local mom-and-pop coffeehouses in your area that might roast their own coffee. You'll get small roast batches probably roasted by people who really love it - and you'll taste the difference.
You can also buy your fresh roasted beans (surprise, surprise) on the Internet. Personally, I like to buy from Sweet Maria's. Tom, the proprietor, flies all over the world sampling different coffees from all sorts of different farms, hand-selecting what he thinks are the best coffees around. A pound of roasted coffee (shipped) will run you roughly $12-$13, about what you'd pay at Starbucks - but it was roasted the same day it was shipped!
Now, brewing methods - your first order of business is to pick up your $20 Mr. Coffee brewer and drop it into the trash can. Yep, I'm not joking - these things make truly lackluster coffee and can be replaced by a far-superior solution that'll cost you approximately $6. Next, head down to your local grocery and pick up a pour-over brewer and a set of paper filters - my local store keeps these supplies right near the coffee, I'd imagine yours will to. Read this excellent article by Mark Prince for more information on how to use a pour-over brewer.
My personal favorite (by a damn sight, I must say) is the Aeropress. This one is slightly more expensive at $25, but worth 10 times that, if you ask me. Makes a fantastic, smooth cup of coffee and I'm confident in saying that if you haven't tried it, you won't go back once you do. This thing produces small amounts of high-octane, perfectly smooth coffee concentrate and you just add some hot water!
The last thing we'll need to talk about is grinding. If you stopped to peruse the pour-over brewer article linked above, you probably got a taste of how important a grinder is to making a great cup of coffee. While this is true, please don't be dismayed if you can't spend the dough. A blade grinder, while definitely subpar compared to a burr mill, will still do the job well enough. The point here is good coffee for little money, right?
The grinder I use is called the Solis Maestro Plus (retails for about $160). It's a fantastic grinder for all types of brewing methods from espresso to french press. If you're lucky, you can get your hands on a Zassenhaus mill (accept no substitutes!). A manual, hand-crank grinder that produces a show-quality grind. A quick glance of eBay and Craigslist shows a few of these guys available.
Really, the only potentially big expense you're looking at for great coffee is a grinder - and really, the coffee nerds aren't going to take your coffee if you don't have an industrial-grade grinder ;) The important thing is that you enjoy it. Honestly, since I've become what my friends and family affectionately call a "coffee snob", I actively anticipate my morning coffee instead of just making it as part of a routine. Perhaps you might venture down the same path?
Monday, September 24, 2007
IT company Unisys is under investigation by the federal government following the revelation that it may have failed to detect a break-in by Chinese hackers to Homeland Security computers. Making matters worse, the FBI says the company tried to cover up the lapse, a charge Unisys denies. About 150 computers were compromised between June and October 2006.
Unisys has had a contract with the US government since 2002 to provide and manage IT services, totaling $1 billion. An additional $750 million follow-up deal was reached in 2005. The FBI is taking the lapse and cover-up seriously, and is apparently considering fraud charges, according to the Washington Post. In a statement, Unisys said "facts and documentation" would prove the charges false and that it "acted in good faith to meet the [government's] security requirements."
Sunday, September 23, 2007
1. If you ask a woman out for a date, take the lead, be a gentleman, and plan. Don't show up without a plan.
2. Don't show up for a date wearing torn jeans, cut off jeans, or a combination of the above with Tevas or Birkenstocks. Instead, put some thought into what you wear. First impressions are lasting impressions.
3. If you are self-conscious about your body, then work out. Working out produces endorphins, which make you happy.
4. If you had a bad day at work and you are simply in a negative mind space, you are probably better off not bringing your date down, so let him or her know you need to reschedule. Your date will appreciate your honesty.
5. If you are balding, get a buzz cut—it's sexy.
6. Don't EVER arrive to pick your date up and have a drink in the car. We aren't talking water, we are talking about an alcoholic beverage. Can you say DUI?
7. On the car theme, when you pick a lady up, make sure you have taken a few minutes to clean the inside of your car (i.e., throwing your excess papers in the trunk).
8. When you see your date, please compliment her.
9. When driving to dinner, don't yell at other cars, blast the music, or mock homeless people. Your date will think that you are aggressive, hostile, and have a major anger-management issue.
10. Gentlemen walk on the outside on the street, ladies away from the curb. Women like to feel protected.
11. Gentlemen, please always open doors. This basic courtesy goes a very long way.
12. Pre-date, turn that cell phone on silent or vibrate for the remainder of the evening. It is rude not to. If you really have to make a call or check a message (assuming it is work related) then excuse yourself and go to the restroom to do so in a nonchalant manner.
13. Don't drink too much at dinner—set a maximum, such as one or two drinks for the
night. Otherwise, your date might think you are a lush if you start slurring your words.
14. Guys like women who make an effort to look good and are well-kept. Put some thought into how you look. Feminine goes a long way. Guys tell me they love a great pair of fitting jeans and a cute top. Work your best asset to your advantage. Great legs, then show them off. Great chest, then show a little cleavage and wear pants to compensate.
15. Don't ever ridicule your date, belittle or make fun of them in anyway. Don't ever make fun of your date's dreams and personal goals if they disclose them to you.
16. When in doubt, pay compliments and be upbeat.
17. Don't talk about how much money you make, it's a turn-off! On a similar note, ladies don't tell your date about the new diamond earrings you just bought with your bonus, or the Carerra you just bought as you are "so" successful. DOWNPLAY, DOWNPLAY, DOWNPLAY. Guys, same goes for you. New BMW, sweet, but don't share (yet).
18. Always be courteous to wait staff. In a Business 2.0 July '05 article on "The CEO's Secret Handbook" it states, "A person who is nice to you but rude to the waiter—or to others—is not a nice person, this rule never fails."
19. Don't interview your date or quiz them. A spotlight on them will make them feel really uncomfortable. I speak from experience.
21. If you see an ex-beau or ex-girlfriend at the restaurant, act normal and say hello. Introduce your date to them, by saying, "So and so, I'd like you to meet my friend, blank." After, you don't have to explain necessarily who it was, just let it be.
22. Don't ever talk about past relationships on the first date. I think this follows the same principle of not revealing too much on the first date. Once you get to know one another, then you can begin to reveal more.
23. Have a laundry list of dating conversation topics already stored in your memory bank. Great topics are crazy travel stories, favorite restaurants, family, and the college years.
24. Don't ever reach over and take a bite from your date's plate. Are we in a zoo?
25. If you ask someone on a date, follow through and go out. Guys, call the day prior to confirm. This does not mean sending her a text, it means calling on the phone.
Thursday, September 20, 2007
If you had lost some very important data, or if you see that your computer is simply dying, the following recovery tools will be indispensable for you. You'd better burn yourself several of these useful tools before the disastrous thing happens.
SuperDuper is a program that makes recovery painless, because it makes creating a fully bootable backup painless. Its incredibly clear, friendly interface is understandable, easy to use, and SuperDuper's built-in scheduler makes it trivial to back up automatically. And it runs beautifully on both Intel and Power PC Macs. It is an indispensable tool, specially if your hard drive starts making that horrible clicking noise, your most important day-to-day application isn't working with the system update you just applied, or you need to restore a stable copy of your system, but don't want to lose what you've been working on, or other similar cases.
The Ultimate Boot CD will be of great help if you want to run floppy-based diagnostic tools from CDROM drives, consolidate as many diagnostic tools as possible into one bootable CD. Avoid digging into the dusty box to look for the right floppy disk, but simply run them all from a single CD.
Now you can run Ultimate Boot CD from your USB memory stick. A script on the CD prepares your USB memory stick so that it can be used on newer machines that supports booting from USB devices.
KNOPPIX is a bootable CD with a collection of GNU/Linux software, automatic hardware detection, and support for many graphics cards, sound cards, SCSI and USB devices and other peripherals. It can be used as a Linux demo, educational CD, rescue system, or adapted and used as a platform for commercial software product demos. It is not necessary to install anything on a hard disk. Due to on-the-fly decompression, the CD can have up to 2 GB of executable software installed on it.
Ghost for Linux is a hard disk and partition imaging and cloning tool similar to Norton Ghost. The created images are optionally compressed and transferred to an FTP server instead of cloning locally.
GParted Live CD aims to be fast, small in size (~50mb), and use minimal resources to get that disk partitioned the way you want it. GParted Live CD is based on Gentoo-catalyst, and uses Xorg, the lightweight Fluxbox window manager,
and the latest 2.6 Linux Kernel. The CD also offers the following programs: parted and fdisk vi, ntfs-3g, partimage, testdisk, Terminal and Midnight Commander.
SystemRescueCd is a Linux system on a bootable CD-ROM for repairing your system and recovering your data after a crash. It aims to provide an easy way to carry out admin tasks on your computer, such as creating and editing the partitions of the hard disk.
The Magical Jelly Bean Key Finder is a freeware utility that retrieves your Product Key (cd key) used to install windows from your registry. It has the options to copy the key to clipboard, save it to a text file, or print it for safekeeping. It works on Windows 95, 98, ME, NT4, 2000, XP, Server 2003, Windows Vista, Office 97, Office XP, and Office 2003.
Undelete Plus is a quick and effective way to retrieve accidentally deleted files, files removed from the Recycle Bin, in a DOS window, from a network drive, from Windows Explorer with the SHIFT key held down.
It works under Win 95/98/Me/NT/2000/XP/2003/Vista operating systems. The program supports all Windows file systems for hard and floppy drives.
System Information for Windows is a tool that gathers detailed information about your system properties and settings and displays it in an extremely comprehensible manner.
It can create a report file (CSV, HTML, TXT or XML), and is able to run in batch mode (for Asset Inventory Tracking, Software and Hardware Inventory, PC Audit, Software Audit, Software License Compliance Management).
USB PC Repair Kit is a list of programs. The programs are loaded onto a USB Pen Drive to help fix your computer. The Kit contains the programs that can tell you if you really need to reboot after installing a program or permanently erase sensitive data from your hard drive that may still exist after using the windows delete feature.
TestDisk is a powerful free data recovery software. It was primarily designed to help recover lost partitions and/or make non-booting disks bootable again when these symptoms are caused by faulty software, certain types of viruses or human error (such as accidentally deleting your Partition Table). Partition table recovery using TestDisk is really easy.
FSBackup is a shell script that automates the execution of backups using the
tar archiving utility. It is designed for use by technically knowledgeable users (programmers, system administrators, or other power users), for backing up a small network or individual computers.
Corruption Corrector is a program designed for fixing corrupt files. It is for situations when you have (downloaded) many copies of the same file, but all of the copies are a bit corrupt. If the corruptions are in different parts of the file, it is possible to combine the good bytes from each file and get an uncorrupted copy of the file.
myrescue is a program to rescue the still-readable data from a damaged hard disk. It is similar in purpose to dd_rescue, but it tries to quickly get out of damaged areas to first handle the not yet damaged part of the disk and return later.
Relax and Recover is a highly modular disaster recovery framework for GNU/Linux based systems, but can be easily extended to other UNIX alike systems. The disaster recovery information (and maybe the backups) can be stored via the network, local on hard disks or USB devices, DVD/CD-R, tape, etc. The result is also a bootable image that is capable of booting via PXE, DVD/CD and tape (OBDR).
Wednesday, September 19, 2007
First of all, watch your interactions with people, specifically when you are retelling an event to someone, and notice when they react positively to that story. If you get 2-3+ positive reactions, you have a story that you can retell, and it will hit well without much tweaking.
But if your story needs some retooling, and isn't hitting the way you want it to, here's the formula that I learned from an exercise called "String Of Pearls":
Break your story into 6 parts:
- Who: Start with who is involved. Was it you alone, with another person, or a group of people. How are you related to those people?
- What: Communicate what the action was, such as being at a party or driving to a friend's house.
- Where: Actively describe where you are, using senses. If you are good at establishing the location, you can get the listener to start re-living the senses with you.
- Conflict: This is the bulk of the story. What is the importance of this story? What happened, and what action did you take to try to resolve what was happening?
- Resolution: How were you able to handle the task set up in "conflict"?
- Tag: This one is a bit tricky, but it's the aftermath of the resolution, and usually is a joke, or the big finish of the story.
WHAT: was walking
WHERE: in the city
CONFLICT: and heard someone saying they didn't like this city
RESOLUTION: so I told him to walk with me to the best coffee shop in town. He liked the shop so much that
TAG: he bought me a cup!
See? Very simple when you know the breakdown.
Now, for the next level, try and link parts of the formula together. This isn't required, but adds a different level of depth to the story. For this example, I will link:
- Who - Tag
- What - Resolution
- Where - Conflict
WHAT: was walking
WHERE: in the city
CONFLICT: and heard someone saying they didn't like this city
RESOLUTION: so I told him to walk with me to the best coffee shop in town. He liked the shop so much that
TAG: he bought me a cup!
- "I" goes with "me"
- "walking" goes with "walk"
- "city" goes with "city"
Now that is very basic, and you don't have to link with words. Link concepts instead.
The freedom here is that you can link any one of the first three concepts with any of the last three concepts. "What" can go with "Tag", "Who" can go with "Conflict". Mix and match to your heart's content!
With this formula, you can make most stories have an interesting, effective arc!
Posted by Lindsay Beyerstein at 5:01 AM on September 19, 2007.
Kudos to Spec. Jeremy Hall of the 97th Military Police Battalion for standing up for his rights as an infidel:
FORT RILEY, Kan. - A soldier whose superior prevented him from holding a meeting for atheists and other non-Christians is suing the Defense Department, claiming it violated his right to religious freedom.
The lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court in Kansas City, Kan., alleges a pattern of practices that discriminate against non-Christians in the military. It was filed Monday to coincide with the 220th anniversary of the signing of the U.S. Constitution. [AP]
Hall's lawsuit alleges that he got permission to distribute fliers on his base in Iraq advertising a meeting for atheists and other non-Christians, that an officer prevented him from holding the meeting and threatened to file charges against him.
It's ironic... Some believers love to claim, disparagingly, that atheism is just another kind of religion. Yet, I wonder how many of them are also prepared to treat atheism and free thought as equivalent to religions in the full legal sense.
If you've vacationed in an international destination, you know that learning about its food is one of the best ways to become familiar with a new culture. But lately, Americans have also taken greater interest in global cuisine because of health benefits attributed to certain styles of eating.
Three servings or more a day of produce can lower the risk of stroke, heart disease, and some cancers.
Books, such as "The French Diet: The Secrets of Why French Women Don't Get Fat," by Michel Montignac, and ongoing nutrition studies of the so-called Mediterranean diet and Asian foods continue to garner new headlines.
We've sifted through the research to offer the following eating and meal-planning tips. Making small changes in the way you eat can bring big health benefits -- and more enjoyment -- to your table.
Healthy Habit 1: Eat plenty of produce and whole grains
Countries known for putting it into practice: China and Greece
In many countries, meat is a garnish. The traditional Chinese diet, for example, consists primarily of vegetables, fruits, and whole grains. And in Greece, "vegetables and legumes are main meals, not just side dishes," says Antonia Trichopoulou, M.D., Ph.D., professor at the University of Athens Medical School and director of the World Health Organization's Collaborating Center of Nutrition.
Research finds that three servings or more a day of produce can lower the risk of stroke, heart disease, and some cancers. Harvard University's Nurses Health Study, for example, which examined almost 85,000 women over 12 to 14 years, found that those who ate the most fruit and vegetables had a 20 percent lower risk for heart disease.
USDA diet and nutrition guidelines recommend we eat between five and 13 servings of fruit and vegetables a day, and we're starting to hear the message. Today, the average American consumes more than 330 pounds of fresh produce per year, up from 287 pounds in 1990. Plus, with the growth of America's farmers' markets, the introduction of Consumer Supported Agriculture, where community members buy produce from local farmers each month, and home delivery from many supermarkets, opportunities for Americans to have fresh produce abound. CookingLight.com: America's healthy living habits
What you can do:Try to fill two-thirds of your plate with produce and whole-grain foods, and the remaining third with fish or meat, Montignac says. Also, challenge yourself to put as many colors as possible into your meal. Or go on a fruit exploration: Try one new type of fruit from your local market each week. In summer, freeze some of your new favorites for a frosty after-dinner treat.
Healthy Habit 2: Savor leisurely dining
Countries known for putting it into practice: Italy, France, Spain, Greece, Japan
A meal in these countries often lasts several hours. In fact, one of Greece's dietary guidelines, its version of our USDA dietary guidelines, is to "eat slowly, preferably at regular times of the day, and in a pleasant environment." Sharing a meal is so important that Greeks call someone a friend "by saying we have shared bread together," Trichopoulou says.
For the French, Italians, and Spanish, meals provide quality time with friends and family, a practice that encourages healthful bonds. Eating comfortably and slowly discourages overeating and fosters relaxation, which aids digestion. The body processes food more easily and efficiently when it's calm, Montignac says.
What you can do: Take time to savor the scent, texture, and flavor of food. A traditional Japanese tea ceremony, for example, includes a role for each of the senses -- watching and listening as the tea pours from pot to cup, picking up the cup and feeling the heat, smelling, and finally, tasting. Another way to savor your supper: Divide it into separate courses. Instead of bringing everything to the table at once, have a salad course, then fruit, entrée, and dessert -- with, say, at least 10 minutes between each course to digest, chat, and relax. Whether you're dining with a spouse, family, or just you, set the table and sit down, rather than grazing in the kitchen -- and enjoy.
Healthy Habit 3: Practice portion control
Countries known for putting it into practice: France, Japan
We have an abundance of delicious and nutritious food available in America; we just need to pay attention to portions. An average meal in France is 25 percent smaller than one in America, according to a University of Pennsylvania comparison, which examined portion sizes at 11 similar pairs of establishments, from pizza parlors to ethnic restaurants. The study also found that a typical carton of yogurt sold in Philadelphia was 82 percent larger than one offered in Paris, and a soft drink was 52 percent larger. In Japan, foods also come in smaller sizes and are often eaten out of bowls, rather than large plates or platters.
What you can do: Japanese from the Okinawa region, who enjoy the longest life span in the world (an average of 82 years), practice "hara hachi bu," which translates to "eight parts out of 10" and means Okinawans stop eating when they are 80 percent full, says Brad Willcox, M.D., coauthor of the "Okinawa Diet Plan." To adopt the concept, set down your fork and remove your plate at the first twinge of fullness, instead of taking a break and eating more. You can also use smaller plates and bowls when setting the table; use a food scale to measure portions; and opt for filling, fiber-rich foods, such as lentils and vegetables. CookingLight.com: Portion size wise
Healthy Habit 4: Eat a variety of unprocessed, fresh foods
Countries known for putting it into practice: Italy, France, Greece, Japan, the United States
The first thing many foreign visitors comment on when they enter an American supermarket is how many choices are available. It's not uncommon to find wild Alaskan salmon, olive oil from Greece, and grains from Italy all in one store. Organic foods and farmers' markets have also never been more popular. Many of these outlets feature interesting varieties, such as heirloom fruits and vegetables.
Shopping in countries such as France and Italy may also involve several stops -- at the butcher, the greengrocer, and the baker --which not only increases the shopper's activity level, but also results in meals made with unprocessed ingredients, Montignac says. Studies show that fresh foods provide more fiber; fewer calories, saturated fats, and trans fats; and less added salt and sugar.
What you can do: Skip the prepared food aisles at the market and choose fresh, whole foods. Also, indulge in salads: With so many fresh vegetables and fruits available, you can put together a big, colorful one in minutes. Combine baby greens, sliced mushrooms, cherry or sweet grape tomatoes, prechopped fresh bell peppers, and red onions. Drizzle with a bottled, reduced-calorie vinaigrette, and add whole-grain crackers, melba rounds, or matzoh crackers on the side to sneak in whole grains. Also, take vegetables beyond salads and steamers by pairing sautéed broccoli or spinach with whole wheat pasta, and tossing with roasted beets and walnuts. CookingLight.com: Food trends worth following
Healthy Habit 5: Spice up your plate
Countries known for putting it into practice: India, China, Thailand, the United States
Herbs and spices add delicious, attractive, and healthful flair to your plate. In addition to being low in calories and virtually fat free, researchers are discovering that herbs, such as garlic, thyme, and rosemary, and spices, like cinnamon, cloves, and curcumin (also known as turmeric), may fight disease. One 40-day study of 60 people with type-2 diabetes found that consuming half a teaspoon of cinnamon twice daily significantly lowered subjects' blood sugar and cholesterol levels.What you can do: In the United States, we have many ethnic restaurants and food choices where spices take center stage, and there are still more ways to add them to your diet. For example, to make sure fresh, delicious herbs are available year-round, start a container garden on your windowsill. You can also experiment with using unfamiliar spices on familiar foods. For example, if you love roasting a whole chicken or chicken breasts in paprika, try it with, say, curry powder. Rub the chicken well with the powder, then roast until juicy and tender. Dip bites of the chicken in bottled chutney mixed with a little lemon or lime juice. Alternatively, add a sprinkle of earthy ground cumin, a touch of ground cinnamon, and a pinch of nutmeg or coriander after rice cooks to add bold flavor and aroma. You can also add fresh herb leaves, such as basil, mint, or tarragon, to salads for a flavor boost.
Friday, September 14, 2007
What is the secret to getting a solid 7 to 8 hours of sleep? Head for the kitchen and enjoy one or two of these 10 foods. They relax tense muscles, quiet buzzing minds, and/or get calming, sleep-inducing hormones - serotonin and melatonin - flowing. Yawning yet?
Bananas. They're practically a sleeping pill in a peel. In addition to a bit of soothing melatonin and serotonin, bananas contain magnesium, a muscle relaxant.
Chamomile tea. The reason chamomile is such a staple of bedtime tea blends is its mild sedating effect - it's the perfect natural antidote for restless minds/bodies.
Warm milk. It's not a myth. Milk has some tryptophan - an amino acid that has a sedative - like effect - and calcium, which helps the brain use tryptophan. Plus there's the psychological throw-back to infancy, when a warm bottle meant "relax, everything's fine."
Honey. Drizzle a little in your warm milk or herb tea. Lots of sugar is stimulating, but a little glucose tells your brain to turn off orexin, a recently discovered neurotransmitter that's linked to alertness.
Potatoes. A small baked spud won't overwhelm your GI tract, and it clears away acids that can interfere with yawn-inducing tryptophan. To up the soothing effects, mash it with warm milk.
Oatmeal. Oats are a rich source of sleep - inviting melatonin, and a small bowl of warm cereal with a splash of maple syrup is cozy - plus if you've got the munchies, it's filling too.
Almonds. A handful of these heart-healthy nuts can be snooze-inducing, as they contain both tryptophan and a nice dose of muscle-relaxing magnesium.
Flaxseeds. When life goes awry and feeling down is keeping you up, try sprinkling 2 tablespoons of these healthy little seeds on your bedtime oatmeal. They're rich in omega-3 fatty acids, a natural mood lifter.
Whole-wheat bread. A slice of toast with your tea and honey will release insulin, which helps tryptophan get to your brain, where it's converted to serotonin and quietly murmurs "time to sleep."
Turkey. It's the most famous source of tryptophan, credited with all those Thanksgiving naps. But that's actually modern folklore. Tryptophan works when your stomach's basically empty, not overstuffed, and when there are some carbs around, not tons of protein. But put a lean slice or two on some whole-wheat bread mid-evening, and you've got one of the best sleep inducers in your kitchen.
What if none of these foods help you get your zzz's? Check out your sleep habits with this quick RealAge test to find out what's keeping you up at night. http://www.realage.com/health_guides/RLS/intro.aspx
For an extra treat, here's the ultimate sleep-inducing snack...
Makes 12 low-fat muffins
Between the bananas, the whole wheat, and the honeyed touch of sweetness, these muffins are practically an edible lullaby.
· 2 cups whole-wheat pastry flour
· 1/2 teaspoon salt
· 1 tablespoon baking powder
· 2 large, very ripe bananas
· 1/3 cup applesauce
· 1/4 cup honey
· 1/2 cup milk or soymilk
Preheat oven to 350F. In a large bowl, combine the flour (make sure it's whole-wheat pastry flour or you'll produce golf balls, not muffins), salt, and baking powder. In a blender, puree the bananas; add the applesauce, honey, and milk. Blend well. Pour the banana mixture into the dry ingredients and stir until just moistened. Line muffin tins with paper muffin cups, pour in batter, and bake 30 minutes or until tops are lightly brown and slightly springy.
Per serving: 119 calories; 1g fat; 2.5g protein; 27g carbohydrates; 10g sugars; 133mg sodium; 3g fiber; 35mg magnesium
Here are a few Great open source apps i am using and most which i would definitely recommend to anybody, even if your not particularly skillful with software, these applications have such an easy user interface utilizing should be a breeze. I put them in a list so it is easily browsable .
The premier free, open-source browser. Tabs, pop-up blocking, themes, and extensions. Considered by many to be the world's best browser.
Video Player / Video Podcasting
Beautiful interface. Plays any video type (much more than windows media player). Subscribe to video RSS, download, and watch all in one. Torrent support. Search and download from YouTube and others.
IM - Instant Messaging
Connect to multiple IM accounts simultaneously in a single app, including: AOL IM, MSN, and Jabber.
Powerful spam filtering, solid interface, and all the features you need.
Simple, lightweight aggregator.
Solid cross-platform RSS client.
A simple, easy to use filesharing program. Gnutella network.
A very good Gnutella search and download filesharing program.
A powerful, but complicated BitTorrent client. So many features you'll lose your mind.
Plays more video files than most players: Quicktime, AVI, DIVX, OGG, and more. Pretty good interface.
Similar to VLC– plays loads of video formats.
Media Player Classic
Compact, but powerful media player. Plays anything under the sun. No install necessary.
DVD Ripping / Video Conversion
Great tool for ripping CDs, DVDs, etc and converting between tons of video formats.
Word Processing / Office Suites
Big, full featured suite of tools for word processing and spreadsheets. Compatible with and a free replacement for Microsoft Word documents. Also supports OpenDocument Format.
A word processor. Leaner and quicker than OpenOffice. Compatible with Microsoft Word documents and OpenDocument Format.
Solid podcasting client.
DVD to MPEG-4 ripper/converter.
Simple sound recording tool.
Graphics / Photo Editing
Photo editing application that rivals Photoshop in features.
Graphics editor with a very nice interface.
Vector graphics application.
FTP / SFTP
Excellent FTP program.
An innovative application for note taking and outlining. Takes time to get used to, but some people swear by it.
Open Source note taking application written in Java
Open Source note taking application, very good. I use this myself extensively
Simple, easy to use application for managing personal finances.
Easy to use Accounting package
MSN Messenger client written in TCL/TK
More Web Browsing
Fast, nice web browser.
Amaya Browser for Windows
W3C developed web browser and editor for multiple platforms
Immersive, trippy screensaver.
GNUTella client based on the Limewire codebase.
3D Graphics and Modeling
Powerful 3D Modeling software.
Stars and Outer Space
Open-source 3D planetarium software. Akin to traveling through space (outer space).
"Renders realistic skys in realtime." See what you would see if your city wasn't so light-polluted. Used in real planetariums.
Also see: macORSA - Orbit Reconstruction, Simulation, and Analysis
Marathon: Aleph One
Engine for Bungie's free FPS series Marathon. Play online, solo play with rich original story, many total conversions and thousands of maps.
3D zombie strategy game.
3D Tron game.
First-person tank game.
Battle for Wesnoth
Fantasy / Strategy Game
Free File Hosting
Host Creative Commons video or audio files for free on archive.org with this easy uploader.
Easy to use port scanner for Windows
Network Protocol Analyzer, formerly called Ethereal
Creates encrypted virtual hard drives for extra security
Open Source Anti-Virus. Very good at detecting viruses. Can be plugged into hMailServer for e-mail protection
LIMITATION: Real Time scanning not implemented yet
Delete files securely off your hard drive utilizing DoD standards
MP3 and Audio Tools
Easy to use MP3 manipulation tool for Windows. adjusts sound levels on MP3's so they are all the same
MP3 Book Helper
This program provides rapid Mp3 (ID3v1, ID3v2) and Ogg/Speex/Flac Vorbis tags editing and file renaming functions. Mass Tag editing is done using special variables and Regular Expressions.
Open Source MP3 Player, ripper and organizer written using the .NET Framework
Open Source IDE for the .NET Framework. Utilizes the multiple programming languages and Windows forms
Open Source programmers notepad for Windows
Source code Editor for Windows and X
Web Developer Server Suite
Very good WAMP Stack (Windows, Apache, MySQL, PHP) Very thouroughly tested on Windows Server 2003 and Windows 2000 Server (preliminary testing on Longhorn Server underway). Highly Recommended.
Nasa World Wind
Mapping tool similar to Google Earth for Windows. Must have the .NET Framework installed.
- Corvalis - is a free, open source address management system .Export to/import from other popular e-mail programs such as Outlook and free e-mail service. Improved search features and group management .
- Rubrica - is an address book manager for the GNOME Environment. It allows you to add personal data (name, surname, address, etc.), web links, irc and email addresses, telephone numbers, job information (company where contact works, company infos, contact's assigment, etc.) and notes.
- MediaCoder - is a free universal batch media transcoder, which nicely integrates most popular audio/video codecs and tools into an all-in-one solution. It converts file formats, giving you a great deal of control over the output. It can also save you plenty of hard disk space by shrinking media files. There are also lots of extensions you can download that expand the programs' capabilities, such as make it easy to transcode files for specific media players.
- Audacity - is a free, easy-to-use audio editor and recorder for Windows, Mac OS X, GNU/Linux, and other operating systems. It allows users to record live audio, convert tapes and records to digital formats, or mix pre-existing digital audio tracks. Supported formats include Ogg Vorbis, MP3, and WAV sound files. Operating system: Windows, Linux/Unix, OS X, Classic Mac.
- HandBrake - is an open-source, GPL-licensed, multiplatform, multithreaded DVD to MPEG-4 converter, available for MacOS X, Linux and Windows. It grabs video from a variety of sources, including a DVD and a DVD image, and grabs audio from sources as well, including MPEG audio tracks. You'll then be able to output a digital file in a variety of formats, including MPEG-4, AVI, OGM for video, or AAC, MP3, and Ogg Vorbis for audio.
- LAME -is one of the best MP3 encoders in the world, producing excellent quality MP3s. It is used by many CD rippers, combopacks and so on and its popularity is increasing almost daily. Also, in great quality DivX encoding, people tend to use LAME over other MP3 encoders.
- AC3Filter - is an open source AC3 decoding filter that allows you to watch videos with AC3-encoded surround audio. After you install the filter, all video players, including Microsoft's Windows Media Player, that use DirectShow, should be able to play AC3 audio correctly. Filter also supports ProLogicII audio as well.
- MP3Gain -analyzes and adjusts mp3 files so that they have the same volume. It does not just do peak normalization, as many normalizers do. Instead, it does some statistical analysis to determine how loud the file actually sounds to the human ear. With MP3Gain you can adjust your songs per file, which makes them all play at the same loudness (radio gain), or per album, which keeps the volume differences within an album but makes the albums play at similar loudness.
- Moosic - is a music player for Unix systems. It focuses on convenient and powerful playlist management. The key feature of this music player is its playlist management/queuing abilities. By default, Moosic supports MP3, Ogg, MIDI, MOD, and WAV files, but it can be configured to support other file formats as well. Operating system: Unix.
- StreamRipper - allows you to record and save Shoutcast streams and other Internet audio. Its key feature is the ability to find silences and mark them as possible points of track separation. Operating system: Windows, Linux/Unix.
- EasyTAG - is a utility for viewing and editing tags for MP3, MP2, MP4/AAC, FLAC, Ogg Vorbis, MusePack, Monkey's Audio and WavPack files. Its simple and nice GTK+ interface makes tagging easier under GNU/Linux or Windows.
- phpBB -is a high powered, fully scalable, and highly customizable open-source bulletin board package. phpBB has a user-friendly interface, simple and straightforward administration panel, and helpful FAQ. Based on the powerful PHP server language and your choice of MySQL, MS-SQL, PostgreSQL or Access/ODBC database servers, phpBB is the ideal free community solution for all web sites. Features include: Unlimited forums and posts; Multiple language interface; Private or public forums; Powerful search utility; Private messaging system; Templates.
- Firebird -is a relational database offering many ANSI SQL standard features that runs on Linux, Windows, and a variety of Unix platforms.
- PostgreSQL -is an advanced PostgreSQL-based search engine that provides online indexing of data and relevance ranking for database searching. Close integration with database allows use of metadata to restrict search results. Operating system: Windows, Linux/Unix, OS X, Solaris.
- Joomla! - is one of the most powerful Open Source Content Management Systems on the planet. It is used all over the world for everything from simple websites to complex corporate applications. Joomla is easy to install, simple to manage, and reliable.
- Drupal - an open source content management platform. Equipped with a powerful blend of features, Drupal supports a variety of websites ranging from personal weblogs to large community-driven websites.
- Wordpress - is a state-of-the-art semantic personal publishing platform with a focus on aesthetics, web standards, and usability.
- Plone - Content Management System built on top of the open source application server Zope and the accompanying Content Management Framework
- XOOPS -is an extensible, OO (Object Oriented), easy to use dynamic web content management system written in PHP. XOOPS is the ideal tool for developing small to large dynamic community websites, intra company portals, corporate portals, weblogs and much more. Read the All about XOOPS page for more details.
- Opencms - is a professional, easy to use website content management system. It is based on Java and XML technology. It can be deployed in an open source environment (e.g. Linux, Apache, Tomcat, MySQL) as well as on commercial components (e.g. Windows NT, IIS, BEA Weblogic, Oracle).
- WebGUI - is a web application framework and web content management system that puts the publishing power in the hands of the people who create the content, rather than the IT staff. Join the thousands of businesses, universities, and schools that have found out just how easy web can be.
- PHP-Nuke -is a powerful Open Source portal application. It can be used as a weblog or as a CMS. PhpNuke allows webmasters and editors to easily post new content and comment existing articles. PHPNuke is much for game clan and guild sites. It is free software, released under the GNU License.
- phpMyAdmin - handles the administration of MySQL over the Web. phpMyAdmin performs many database administration tasks like running SQL statements, adding and dropping databases, and adding, editing or deleting tables or fields. Operating system: OS Independent.
- Dev-C++ gives you a full-featured Integrated Development Environment (IDE) for the C/C++ programming language. It uses Mingw port of GCC (GNU Compiler Collection) as it's compiler. Dev-C++ can also be used in combination with Cygwin or any other GCC based compiler.
- EasyPHP - is a complete software package allowing to use all the power and the flexibility that offers the dynamic language PHP and the efficient use of databases under Windows. Package includes an Apache server, a MySQL database, a fully PHP execution, as well as easy development tools for your web site or your applications.
- XAMPP - is an easy to install Apache distribution containing MySQL, PHP and Perl. XAMPP is really very easy to install and to use - just download, extract and start. Operating system:Windows, Linux, OS/X, Solaris.
- jEdit - is a text editor written in Java. It supports auto indent and syntax highlighting for 130 different coding languages, as well as dozens of independently developed plug-ins and macros that make programming easier. Operating system: OS Independent.
- TortoiseSVN - is a really easy to use Revision control / version control / source control software for Windows. It works directly from Windows Explorer and you can use it with virtually anydevelopment tools. Operating system: Windows.
- DotNetNuke - is a powerful open source framework that creates and deploys robust modules on the ASP.NET platform. Written by its core team of developers, this book will provide youwith the tools and insight you'll need to install, configure, and develop your own stunning
- AppServ - is an Apache/PHP/MySQL distribution designed to be completely installed and configured in less than one minute. While it works on Windows, the developers recommend Linux for Web ordatabase servers that will be used heavily. Operating system: Windows, Linux/Unix.
- SharpDevelop -is a free IDE for C#, VB.NET and Boo projects on Microsoft's. It includes a forms designer, code completer, an integrated debugger, and many other features. Operating system: Windows.
- wxWidgets - lets developers create applications for Win32, Mac OS X, GTK+, X11, Motif, WinCE, and more using one codebase. It can be used from languages such as C++, Python, Perl, and C#/.NET.
- Hibernate - is a powerful, high-performance object/relational persistence and query service. Hibernate allows you to express queries in its own portable SQL extension (HQL), as well as in native SQL, or with an object-oriented Criteria and Example API.
- Ultimate++ is a C++ cross-platform rapid application development suite focused on programmers productivity. It includes a set of libraries (GUI, SQL, etc..), and an integrated development environment.
- DeskWeb - applies the iconography and usability of a common Windows desktop system to Web applications. It is familiar and user-friendly and lets users easily learn how-to exploit all of the software's features. It can be used in various ways, such as a content management system, a company groupware, a wiki, or more. Operating system: OS Independent.
- Zile - is a small Emacs clone. Zile is a customizable, self-documenting real-time open-source display editor. Zile was written to be as similar as possible to Emacs; every Emacs user should feel at home. Operating system: Linux/Unix.
- WAMP5 - installs automatically Apache, PHP, MySQL, PHPmyadmin and SQLite manager on any Windows system. It was created in order to make it easy to use the latest version of PHP?PHP5Operating system: Windows.
- MiKTeX - is an up-to-date TeX implementation for the Windows operating system. It is a typesetting program with a complete set of fonts, utilities, and macros.
- TEA - is a GTK+-based text editor that supports a number of different coding languages, but it is especially helpful for writing HTML. It?s very small but includes a file manager, spellchecker, search function, and more. Operating system: Linux/Unix, OS X, Solaris.
- SiSU -is an information structuring, transforming, publishing and search framework. Supported formats include plain-text, HTML, XHTML, XML, ODF, LaTeX, and PDF. Operating system: Linux/Unix.
- PDFCreator -is a free tool to create PDF files from nearly any Windows application. It allows users to create PDF files from any printable Windows document. As an added bonus, it can also create PNG, JPG, TIFF, BMP, PCX, PS, or EPS files. Operating system: Windows.
- Ghostscript -allows users to convert, view, and print PostScript and PDF files. Different versions of the software are available either as open-source or as commercial distributions. Operating system: Windows, Linux/Unix, OS X, Classic Mac.
- DOSBox - isa long gone from Windows–the command prompt inside Windows isn't truly DOS anymore. Many old games simply won't run from the Windows command prompt. They need true blue DOS. You can get the free DOSBox, which does a great job of emulating it. Install and run the program, then run any DOS game–or DOS application, for that matter–inside it. When you run DOSBox, it automatically sets any sound-system related variables, so that your sound system will work properly with your old games.
- ZNES - is a Super Nintendo emulator programmed by zsKnight and _Demo_. It lets you play your Super Nintendo games on your PC. Some games work better than others, and it?s very much a workin progress. Operating system: Windows, Linux, FreeBSD, and DOS.
- eMule -is one of the biggest and most reliable peer-to-peer file sharing clients around the world. Many developers contribute to the project, so the network gets more and more efficient withevery new version. Operating system: Windows.
- Ares - is a P2P file-sharing program. It's easier to figure out how to search for files and download them, and it also will download files using BitTorrent, which is probably the most popular file-sharing protocol today. Also useful is that the program includes a built-in media player, as well as chat capabilities and a built-in Web browser.
- Wine - is an Open Source implementation of the Windows API on top of X, OpenGL, and Unix. It lets you run Windows programs on x86-based Unix systems. Operating system: Linux/Unix, OS X, Solaris.
- BitTorrent - is the global standard for delivering high-quality files over the Internet. BitTorrent enables you to publish your own content. If you are a filmmaker, musician, or even a comedian, it?s the perfect place to showcase your work to worldwide audience. Operating system: Windows, Linux/Unix.
- DC++ is an open source client for Windows for the Direct Connect network. Direct Connect allows you to share files over the Internet without restrictions or limits. The client is completely free of advertisements and has a nice, easy to use interface. Firewall and router support is integrated and it is easy and convenient to use functionality like multi-hub connections, auto-connections and resuming of downloads.
- BBurst! - is the BitTorrent client that uses less memory and other resources than the original client. Key features include a torrents manager and super-seeding mode. Operating system: Windows.
- BT++ is an improved client for the BitTorrent peer-to-peer file distribution solution. It is written, like the official BitTorrent client, in Python and wxPython for maximum cross-platform compatibility. It should work on any platform that wxPython is available for.
- Shareaza P2P - is known by its support for numerous P2P networks, including Gnutella2, Gnutella1, eDonkey2000/eMule, and BitTorrent. And its "Collections" feature allows users to preview albumcovers, song lists, and descriptions from a single screen. Operating system: Windows.
- ABC - is an improved client for the Bittorrent peer-to-peer file distribution solution. ABC is based on BitTornado which extended from from Original Bittorrent Core System , coded by Bram Cohen. It offers some unique customization options. With this app, you can customize which information is displayed, prioritize the queuing system, and download multiple files simultaneously in the same window. Operating system: Windows.
- RevConnect - is a file sharing program based on DC++. It is fully compatible with the Direct Connect network. RevConnect is an free open-source, ad and spyware-free client, written in C++ for the Direct Connect protocol that allows you to share files over the internet with other users. Operating system: Windows.
- WinSCP - allows users to transfer files securely via FTP and SFTP. It incorporates Secure Shell (SSH) technology. Operating system: Windows.
- cURL - is a command line tool for transferring files with URL syntax, supporting FTP, FTPS, HTTP, HTTPS, SCP, SFTP,TFTP, TELNET, DICT, FILE and LDAP. curl supports SSL certificates, HTTP POST,HTTP PUT, FTP uploading, HTTP form based upload, proxies, cookies, user+password authentication (Basic, Digest, NTLM, Negotiate, Kerberos…), file transfer resume, proxy tunneling and a busload of other useful tricks. Operating system: Windows, Linux/Unix, OS X, Solaris.
- ScummVM - allows you to port many classic point-and-click adventure games to nearly any platform you like. Supported games include Simon the Sorcerer 1 and 2, Flight of the Amazon Queen, Beneath A Steel Sky, Day of the Tentacle, Broken Sword 1 and Broken Sword 2, Monkey Island, Samand Max, and dozens of others. Operating system: OS Portable.
- StepMania - can be played using the keyboard or a sensor-laden "dance pad". StepMania has game modes similar to Konami's Dance Dance Revolution and Andamiro's Pump It Up, Amuseworld'sEZ2Dancer, and Konami's Para Para Paradise. Operating system: Windows, Linux/Unix, OS X, Xbox.
- BitPim - is a program that allows you to view and manipulate data on many CDMA phones from LG, Samsung, Sanyo and other manufacturers. This includes the Phone Book, Calendar, WallPapers, RingTones(functionality varies by phone) and the File system for most Qualcomm CDMA chipset based phones. Operating system: Windows, Linux/Unix, OS X.
- PortableApps - aims to make all of your applications portable. It makes it easy to transfer software and data from your PC to a USB flash drive, iPod, portable hard drive, or other device. Operating system: Windows.
- Gallery - is an open source project with the goal to develop and support leading photo sharing web application solutions. It allow some basic photo manipulation, such as resizing, rotating, and altering image quality, but does not include advanced photo editing. Operating system: OS Independent.
- Coppermine Photo Gallery - is a multi-purpose fully-featured and integrated web picture gallery script written in PHP using GD or ImageMagick as image library with a MySQL backend. It offersa huge lineup of features including multiple languages, e-card creation, thumbnails, and many more. In order to use it, you need a Web server running Apache, PHP, MySQL, and either GD or ImageMagick. Operating system: OS Independent.
- aMSN - is an open source MSN Messenger clone. It allows you to communicate with users on multiple networks. a MSN also allows you to display pictures and emoticons and add skins to yourchat window. Operating system: Windows, Linux/Unix, OS X.
- Miranda - is a small, fast and easy instant messenger with support for multiple protocols. Miranda IM is designed to be resource efficient and easy to use while still providing many features including support for AIM, Jabber, ICQ, IRC, MSN, Yahoo, and more. Operating system: Windows.
- Pidgin - is a multi-platform instant messaging client that allows you to connect with all your buddies from a single messenger, even if they are using different networks. It supports MSN, AIM, ICQ, Yahoo, IRC, GroupWise, QQ, SILC, SIMPLE, Same time and XMPP. You can login to multiple messenger accounts at one, allowing you to chat with your buddies onYahoo, ICQ and MSN (for example) at the same time.
- PeerGuardian - protects your privacy while you?re using P2P file sharing networks. It supports multiple lists, list editing, automatic updates, and IPv4 blocking. Operating system: Windows, Linux, OS X.
- Eraser - is an advanced security tool (for Windows), which allows you to completely remove sensitive data from your hard drive by overwriting it several times with carefully selected patterns. Works with Windows 95, 98, ME, NT, 2000, XP, Windows 2003 Server and DOS.
- ClamWin Free Antivirus - is a Free Antivirus for Microsoft Windows 98/Me/2000/XP and 2003. With Clam Win you can scan individual files manually or you can use the Microsoft Outlook add-in to find and remove infected attachments automatically.
- IPCop Firewall - provides a good option for home users and small offices. It?s stable, secure, and easy to configure and maintain. Operating system: Linux.
- UltraVNC- is a powerful, easy to use and free software that can display the screen of another computer (via internet or network) on your own screen. The program allows you to use your mouse and keyboard to control the other PC remotely. Key features app include File Transfer, Video Driver, optional Encryption Plugins, MS Logon, Text Chat, Viewer Toolbar, and others. Although it?s designed primarily for Windows, the Embedded Java Viewer allows you to transfer files to and from other operating systems as well. Operating system: Windows.
- TightVNC - is a free remote control software package derived from the popular VNC software. With TightVNC, you can see the desktop of a remote machine and control it with your local mouse and keyboard, just like you would do it sitting in the front of that computer. TightVNC offers additional features like file transfers, video mirror drive support, scaling of the remote desktop, support for two passwords, and more.
System Administration Tools
- Webmin - is a web-based interface for system administration for Unix. Using any modern web browser, you can setup user accounts, Apache, DNS, file sharing and much more. Webmin removes the need to manually edit Unix configuration files like /etc/passwd, and lets you manage system from the console or remotely.
- Wireshark - is the world's foremost network protocol analyzer. It supports hundreds of different protocols, multiple platforms, and can analyze VoIP traffic. Operating system: Windows, Linux/Unix, OS X, Solaris, All BSD Platforms.
- Nmap -is a free open source utility for network exploration or security auditing. It was designed to rapidly scan large networks, although it works fine against single hosts. Nmap uses raw IPpackets in novel ways to determine what hosts are available on the network, what services (application name and version) those hosts are offering, what operating systems (and OS versions) they are running, what type of packet filters/firewalls are in use, and dozens of other characteristics.
- TrueCrypt - is an open-source disk encryption software for Windows Vista/XP/2000 and Linux. It is a software system for establishing and maintaining anon-the-fly-encrypted volume (data storage device). On-the-fly encryption means that data are automatically encrypted or decrypted right before they are loaded or saved, without any user intervention.
- GLPI - is the Information Resource-Manager with an additional Administration- Interface. You can use it to build up a database with an inventory for your company (computer, software, printers…) Operating system: OS Independent.
- ClameWin - is a Free Antivirus for Microsoft Windows 98/Me/2000/XP and 2003. ClamWin Free Antivirus comes with an easy installer and open source code. You may download and use it absolutely freeof charge
- VirtualDub -is a video capture/processing utility for 32-bit Windows platforms (95/98/ME/NT4/2000/XP).It?s useful for basic trimming and cleaning up footage, and also has batchprocessing capabilities.
- MediaCoder - is a free universal batch media trans coder, which integrates most popular audio/video codecs and tools into an all-in-one solution.
- FFDShow - is a DirectShow decoding filter for decompressing DivX, XviD, H.264, FLV1, WMV,MPEG-1 and MPEG-2, MPEG-4 movies.
- Xine - is a free multimedia player. It playsback CDs, DVDs, and VCDs. It also decodes multimedia files like AVI, MOV, WMV, and MP3 from local disk drives, and displays multimedia streamed over the Internet.
- MPlayer OS X - is binary distribution of MPlayer (The Movie Player for Linux) and comes with native GUIin MacOSX. After installation you can simply (by Drag&Drop) play almost all3ivx, DivX 3,4,5 and other codecs files in the window or full screen mode. Rendering of very nice antialiased text-based subtitles is also supported.
- WDM - is a Video Capture driver for Bt848, Bt849, Bt878 and Bt879 based video capture boards. It tries to take the most of the hardware, using all the features the chipset has to offer. It is also implemented as a WDM driver, so the same driver works under Win2000,Win98SE, WinXP and WinMe without modifications.
- MediaPortal - is an Open Source application ideal for turning your PC / TV into a very advanced Media Center. Media Portal allows you to listen to your favorite music & radio, watch and storeyour videos and DVDs, view, schedule and record live TV as a digital video recorder and much much more.
- LiVES - is a very flexible tool which can be used by both VJ's and video editors - mix and switch clips from the keyboard, trim and edit your clips, and bring them together using the multi track timeline.
- VLC Media Player - is a highly portable multimedia player for various audio and video formats (MPEG-1, MPEG-2,MPEG-4, DivX, mp3, ogg, …) as well as DVDs, VCDs, and various streaming protocols.