Rabu, 12 Desember 2001

How To Block Direct Image Linking Using .htaccess

Most of us have a specified limit to the amount of traffic our web servers will handle for us. That limit seems very generous – until you start looking at image downloads and the bandwidth required. A few dozen users downloading an image – that's one thing. But what if you have an image that dozens of other websites like?

Worst-case scenario: suppose you run a site that gets hold of a picture taken by an Iraqi soldier of an incident that gains a lot of media attention. And suppose you have the exclusive rights to that image. You want to sell it, of course, not give it away, so you don't post it as a freebie. You may have a downloadable version that others can take away to post on their own website, generally with a link to your site. But your original image is reserved for your use only.

Here's the problem. Webmasters, often amateurs not really understanding why what they are doing is harmful, want to deliver the best possible image to their own readers. So instead of downloading your free file or linking to your site, they embed a link in their own page that downloads your picture, and only your picture, as part of their own website. This is easy to do; all you have to do is use the image link straight out to the other website.

With that excellent and lucrative image referenced above, you may have blogs on both sides indexing you; you may even have news sites or image sites indexing you. How much bandwidth can your site take before it exceeds your monthly limit? Chances are, even a medium-case scenario is going to turn your site into a DNS instead, and you will lose viewers and site ranking while you are unavailable. Not worth posting that great picture anymore, is it?

But you do have another option: the .htaccess file. This works primarily in Apache servers; if you're not certain what you've got, call and ask. Because not all systems will allow them, and some can even be damaged by improper .htaccessing, you should contact your server administrator before you upload one, anyway.

What Is .htaccess?

.htaccess is a type of file that has, for years, been used to restrict access to protected web pages or areas, such as error pages and password-protected directories. You create it using a text editor such as NotePad or SimpleText, and then save as plain (ASCII) text. Upon saving it, the file extension needs to be changed from .txt to .htaccess – and the rest of the name needs to be left off. Your file should be named nothing except for .htaccess. Not file.htaccess. Just .htaccess.

If your text program insists on appending the .txt, you can right-click the file anywhere you normally open it and select Rename to remove the .txt. If your computer system does not show file extensions, look up how to make it show them! Alternately, telnet and ftp programs will also allow you to rename files and remove extensions.

Creating .htaccess Files

Your first step in creating this file should be to open your text editor and save an empty page as .htaccess. Turn off your word wrap function. .htaccess files are intended to be single-line commands, and a word wrap can throw this completely off and make your file unusable, either by breaking lines in the wrong place or by putting in unwanted characters when it's uploaded.

When you upload an .htaccess file, it should be encoded as ASCII, not binary. CHMOD the file to either 644 or (RW-R—R--) so that the server can use it but a browser cannot; readable .htaccess files can compromise your security by allowing hackers to figure out what you have protected and where the authentication files are. (You can also prevent this problem by putting your authentication files above the root directory so that they cannot be accessed via www.)

An .htaccess file affects the directory it's placed in as well as any subsequent subdirectories; if you have files everywhere you want protected, you can put the .htaccess file in your root directory. If you only want to protect your images, you can put it in your images directory alone. The closest .htaccess file to any given directory, reading up the directory tree, is the one that is applied to that specific directory. Try to use the fewest number of .htaccess files possible; redundancies can cause an infinite loop, which is bad for your site.

Preventing Hot Linking

The most important thing you want to do with an .htaccess file is prevent hot linking of non-HTML objects like images and movies. Hot linking is often referred to as "bandwidth stealing."

Your .htaccess file will disallow hotlinking; instead of the image your thief is trying to use, they'll get something else, like a broken image symbol or content you specify (angry men are popular).

Your .htaccess file content should read as follows:

RewriteEngine on
RewriteCond %{HTTP_REFERER} !^$
RewriteCond %{HTTP_REFERER} !^http://(www\.)?mydomain.com/.*$ [NC]
RewriteRule \.(gif|jpg)$ - [F]

The first two lines you don't have to modify in any way. However, the third line's http://mydomain.com needs to be modified to reflect your URL. The fourth line in the example is set up to deny use of GIFs and JPEGs; you can add, using a pipe (|) separator, any other file type you wish.

If your server is set up to deliver alternate content (call your server administrator and ask), you can add another piece to the fourth line of code in the .htaccess file to do this:

RewriteRule \.(gif|jpg)$ http://www.mydomain.com/angryman.gif [R,L]

This delivers an angry-man image you have in your directory; just as above, make certain you change that domain name to the proper one.

Senin, 12 November 2001

How to Clean a Dirty Aquarium

A fresh water fish tank requires about 30 minutes to an hour of work a week depending on the size of the tank.

Waht you will need:
1) You will need a clean 5 gallon bucket that has never had chemicals or soap inside of it.
2) A hose or gravel cleaner
3) A bag of natural or synthetic sea salt

I have split the work into two parts the tank which needs to be cleaned ever week on the same day and the filters which can be cleaned every 2 or 3 weeks.

The very first thing you have to do before you start cleaning your fish tank is to unplug your tanks heater if you have one. The heater can not be allowed to be removed from the water while it is hot so make sure to leave it unplugged at least 20 minutes before attempting to remove it. The water help cool the glass on the heater if removed it could crack, or the glass could totally shatter. You should also remember to never stick your hand inside of any fish tank before making sure the heater is not only off but unplugged from the wall. A small crack in the heater could be more then enough to cause a shock to you that can be fatal.

After the heater has ha time to cool you can safely remove the heater from the tank or it the heater is submersible you can just push it down to the bottom of the tank.

Now take any decorations you may have placed in the tank, so all you have are the small gravel at the bottom, this will allow you to get any dirt that those decorations may have been covering up. Now if you do not have a gravel cleaner you are going to have to roll up your sleeves and get your hands wet. You will need to stir up the gravel to get the dirt that has settled between the gravel into the water, and start removing the water into the bucket with the hose. Do not throw out the water you will still need it to clean the filters.

If you have a gravel cleaner, push the plastic tube into the gravel until it hits the bottom of the tank, then start a siphon into the bucket, every second or 2 move the gravel cleaner over an inch or 2 and repeat this process until either you have removed 15 percent of the tanks water of you have cleaned all the gravel.

Now at this point you can clean the Aquariums filters. The insides of the filters are used to grow bacteria, that help break down the nitrites and nitrates that are in the water from fish waste and uneaten food. To make sure we don’t kill all these Aquarium friendly bacteria, we clean the filter materials and sponges in the dirty water that I also full of the bacteria. Take everything out of the filters and rinse them of in the bucket of dirty Aquarium water, then give the sponge a couple of squeezes in the bucket and reassemble the filters, and put them back on the tank.

Now before adding the water sea salt must be added to the tank. All water has some amount of salt in it and to replicate the natural habitat of the fish there must be salt in your tank as well. Add approximately 1 cup of sea salt for every 50 gallons of water.

Now you can add water to the tank, but you must make sure the water is the within a degree or two of the temperature of the water in the tank. A drastic change in the tanks temperature suddenly can throw the fish into shock and kill them or weaken their immunity and help give them a fish disease. I recommend filling the bucket with hot water and checking it regularly till it is the same as the tanks temperature, then slowly add the water to the tank, start the filters and the heater.

Cleaning the filters only needs to be done once or twice a month, but the water in the tank must be cleaned on the same day every week.

Jumat, 12 Oktober 2001

How to Choose The Right Computer

How To Choose:

There are only a few main parts of the computer that truly make the difference between the others. As long as when you are looking for the right computer to buy, you pay attention to these parts and see what they are, and how fast they are, you will end up with the computer system you really want and need, instead of another computer that you will be looking at upgrading in the near future.

The Processor:

All computers only understand 1's and 0's which is the binary language. The processor does the calculations with these 1's and 0's to give you your windows, icons, folders, text, pictures, etc.. The faster your processor's speed is, the faster it can do these calculations, the less wait time or "lag" you will have. Now that doesn't mean that you have to get the latest and greatest of processors out. It just means that you have to make a decision based on understanding what that number next to the GHz means.

If you are a student or you are going to be using this computer for such purposes as: research, surfing the web, playing card games, word processing, book keeping, or anything of the like, it is recommended that you get a processor that is accommodating for these activities. You definitely do not need anything super fast, but you do not want to get too low end either, otherwise you will be left in the technological dust when the new processors come out and everyone you know upgrades. Typically a 2.6Ghz processor is as low end as you want to go, but with the new (M)obile technology that laptops have out this number changes. If you see "Mobile" or a "M" anywhere in the processor area when you are looking at a laptop, the low end in this case is around 1.7GHz.

If you are a gamer or a power user on the computer, or plan on being one, you will want to go with something a bit more powerful. Recommendation is definitely something over 3.0Ghz or 2.0Ghz(Mobile Technology) as a low end. If you are a gamer or power user you will want to be in a high end computer to best utilize the speed capabilities of your programs and games. This too does not necessarily mean you need the latest and greatest processor out there, but you do want something that will give you the power you need without killing your wallet, but also not leaving you having to upgrade as soon as the newest games or high-end programs come out. A good rule of thumb is to look around and compare a few different computer systems, and look for the best speed you can find, just before the price jumps up some crazy amount just for another 0.2 or 0.4Ghz.


What is memory anyways? RAM or Random Access Memory is a type of computer storage where the content can be accessed in any order. It is primarily used in computer systems to hold information that you or your computer are actively using or actively changing. When you run a program or a game, all the information about that program or game are loaded into memory, but only certain parts of it are needed at a time. The computer sorts through the memory and pulls out this information as needed. The more memory you have to work with, the better off you are. Most companies now a days recommend a minimum of 256mb. This is only if you are on an extremely tight budget. The minimum of today is 512mb of memory, but it is recommended to get 1GB. Not being able to run a program or a game due to not enough memory, is one of the greatest heart breakers. Memory is fairly cheap in today’s computer market, so it is not worth going the cheap route in this area just to come up short later.

Hard Drive:

No matter what you have heard, you can never have enough hard drive space. A few years ago people would laugh when someone bought a 1GB hard drive, saying that they would never be able to fill that in a lifetime. Then people started getting 10, 20, even 40GB hard drives, thinking the same thing, they will never be able to fill up that much space. Well let’s face it, when it comes to our loved ones pictures, and our favorite songs, or videos, we as humans are packrats when it comes to storing things on the computer. We have the ability to burn things off on CD or even DVD now, but we want our “favorites” to be easily accessible. The computer itself uses some of this hard drive space to be able to function, with what is known as a swap file. Your computer will claim a section of your hard drive to use as “virtual memory” so it can access all your commonly used information faster than just your memory(RAM) alone. When choosing the size of your hard drive, remember this, because you will need enough storage space for all your programs, all your music, movies, games, pictures, plus the amount that your computer uses automatically. Make sure that you pay attention to the “rpm” of the drive or rotations per minute. This is how fast the information is read from the hard drive or written to the hard drive. This speed is generally either 5400, 7200, or 10000. The faster the rpm speed the better, but choose this speed based on how you are going to use your computer. If you are using the computer for games, video editing, or 3D modeling, you definitely want your hard drive to be as fast as possible.

Video Graphics:

The graphics capabilities of your computer is a very important factor to take into consideration, especially if you are to be doing gaming, 3D modeling, or video editing. All graphic cards have memory of their own, which enable them to process video graphics and render them to the screen as fast as possible, without slowing your computer system down by using some of its precious memory. Most computers today from major manufacturers have built in graphics cards. These can be upgraded if your needs call for it, but unless you are doing something that requires a major amount of video graphic capabilities, 64-128MB of graphic memory should be an ample amount. For the extreme gamers and 3D artists out there, it is recommended that you get nothing less than 256MB of video memory for optimal performance.

Minggu, 12 Agustus 2001

How Smartphones Communicate Using Bluetooth

How Bluetooth Works

In the modern age of digital electronics, wireless access to different devices are inevitable. If you buy Smartphone you'll notice that it uses this same kind of technology, but how does this work? Here is an explanation of the whole bluetooth mystery.

Bluetooth devices will normally operate at 2.4 GHZ
in the license free, globally available ISM radio
band. The advantage to this band includes worldwide
availability and compatibility. A disadvantage to
this however, is that the devices must share this
band with other RF emitters. This includes
automobile security systems, other wireless devices,
and other noise sources, such as microwaves.

To overcome this challenge, Bluetooth employs a
fast frequency hopping scheme and therefore uses
shorter packets than other standards within the
ISM band. This scheme helps to make Bluetooth
communication more robust and more secure.

Frequency hopping
Frequency hopping is basically jumping from frequency
to frequency within the ISM radio band. After a
bluetooth device sends or receives a packet, it
and the device (or devices) it's communicating with
hop to another frequency before the next packet is
sent. This scheme offers three advantages:
1. Allows Bluetooth devices to use the
entirety of the available ISM band, while never
transmitting from a fixed frequency for more than a
short period of time. This helps insure that
Bluetooth conforms to the ISM restrictions on the
transmission quantity per frequency.
2. Ensures that any interference won't
last long. Any packet that doesn't arrive safely
to its destination can be resent to the next
3. Provides a base level of security as
it's very hard for an eavesdropping device to predict
which frequency the Bluetooth devices will use

The connected devices however, must agree upon the
frequency they will use next. The specification
in Bluetooth ensures this in two ways. First, it
defines a master and slave type relationship between
bluetooth devices. Next, it specifies an algorithm
that uses device specific information when
calculating the frequency hop sequences.

A Bluetooth device that operates in master mode can
communicate with up to seven devices that are set in
slave mode. To each of the slaves, the master
Bluetooth device will send its own unique address
and the value of its own internal clock. The
information sent is then used to calculate the
frequency hop sequences.

Because the master device and each of the slave
devices use the same algorithm with the same initial
input, the connected devices will always arrive
together at the next frequency that they have agreed

As a replacement for cable technology, it's no
wonder that Bluetooth devices are usually battery
powered, such as wireless mice and battery powered
cell phones. To conserve the power, most devices
operate in low power. This helps to give Bluetooth
devices a range of around 5 - 10 meters.

This range is far enough for wireless communication
but close enough to avoid drawing too much power
from the power source of the device.

Kamis, 12 Juli 2001

How Safe Is Your Computer - You Be The Judge

Is your computer safe from a virus? You might say yes, but do you know that for sure. If you do not have anti virus protection installed you are leaving yourself susceptible to a computer virus. Trust me you do not want a virus on your computer. Depending on the virus it could cause some real damage to every aspect of your computer. A really harmful virus could completely disable your computer, causing the need for a new hard drive or even motherboard.

Your computer can become infected with a virus in a variety of different ways. Such as via email, downloads, or even hackers. Just visiting a certain website could give you a virus, if they have downloads that are unseen by the eyes. The only way to protect yourself from a potential harmful and costly computer virus is to install anti virus protection. This protection comes in the form of antivirus software.

This is the only way to protect your computer from being infected with a virus. What is great about some of this protection is that, thanks to the internet, you can find free antivirus software. Of course, not all anti virus scans are free, but great majorities of them are.

You may think that free antivirus software has only one function, to find and rid your computer of viruses. While this is one of their functions, in most cases it is not the only one. Many of the latest antivirus software come with many other features that can help protect your computer while you are using it. For example, not only will some find and eliminate the viruses already on your computer, but it will also monitor your computer from that point on blocking any viruses that are coming in. Most will scan your downloads and email to ensure your computer remains safe and virus-free.

Most of the free antivirus software also scans and eliminates instances of annoying adware and spyware. Both of these work to slow your computer down and make your time on the computer a whole lot less enjoyable with unwanted popups and advertisements. Your best defense from a virus is good, solid, and reputable antivirus software.

You can find software and anti virus scans all over the internet. It is wise to choose your anti virus protection based on recommendations from other users, ease of use, price, as well as reputation. By doing so you will protect yourself from a computer virus and enjoy safety and peace of mind during your internet travels.

Selasa, 12 Juni 2001

Home Internet Options: The War Between DSL And Cable

If you are still using dial-up, you have probably gotten either the “You don’t use DSL yet?” or the “You don’t use cable yet?” expressions of credulity. So you’ve decided that it’s probably time to get off of dial-up – yet, the question remains: which is better, DSL or cable? There are advertisements arguing the perks of both, but which will really get you more bang for your buck?

The three issues to take into account when comparing DSL and cable Internet connection are speed, customer satisfaction and security.

Theoretically, cable modems run faster than DSL because they offer more bandwith. There is also a form of DSL called VDSL which can match the speed of a cable modem. However, the speed of cable is relative to the number of people in your area who are accessing the neighborhood at the same time. One popular commercial compares cable modems to drinking out of a straw – the straw is fine, if one person is drinking from it. But if the straw must be shared – well, obviously things slow down a little. Both DSL and cable also vary in speed by the minute depending on the congestion caused by multiple users.

Customer service surveys conducted by J.D. Power and Associates in 2004 showed that DSL had an edge over cable in customer satisfaction ratings. This survey looked at billing, the provider’s business image, cost and tech support, and email services. Earthlink and Verizon, both DSL, were the top two service providers rated in the survey.

Since cable modems necessitate the sharing of a cable line to provide service to the entire neighborhood, DSL is slightly more secure. However, cable modems are easier to install, and many sources believe that the difference in security is not significant enough to go through the trouble of installing DSL. Many cable customers avoid security problems by putting up firewalls in order to protect themselves, and their information.

Sabtu, 12 Mei 2001

Home Audio Recording For Everyone

I'm not really sure how old I was when I got the gift for Christmas, but I remember thinking it was a pretty impressive piece of electronic hardware. It was really cool looking (technologically speaking), and I was awfully proud to own it. It certainly made for lots of fun times.

What was this high-tech gift, you ask? Why, it was a tape recorder! It was a monographic, reel to reel tape deck that came with it’s own plug-in microphone. I could hold that mic up to my transistor radio’s speaker and record songs onto tape. I could also play the guitar and sing and record every second of it. I could even hide and record conversations from unsuspecting family members. I was in recording heaven!

Years later I owned an 8 track stereo recording deck (ok, that was a mistake). At another point in time I had a stereo cassette recording deck that would physically flip the tape over when one side was finished recording or playing. Now I own a more conventional stereo dual cassette deck, but I no longer use it for recording or much of anything else for that matter.

All my recording is now done on my computer. The audio and midi software available today for computer recording is quite amazing. You can record multiple tracks, edit the recordings and add special effects as desired. Many of the audio recording programs come with their own native special effects such as reverb, compression, flanger, and chorus, to name a few. Some of the recording software can also accept third party effects such as vocal removers, tube amp effects and many more.

Multitrack recording software allows for recording various live instruments, vocals, etc, onto individual tracks. After recording one track, you can play it back while recording another. Once finished, you can mix all the individual tracks down into one stereo track. Some recording software will import and record both audio and MIDI, some audio only. If you have a MIDI keyboard or other MIDI instrument, be sure to pick software that handles both formats.

Creating a simple home audio recording studio is easy. In addition to software, an audio and/or midi interface will allow you to plug all kinds of audio components, microphones and instruments into your computer for live recording, recording from tape or even from your old vinyl lp’s. You can also use a home stereo system as an interface for audio components by running cables to it from your computer’s sound card. A laptop with recording software and a USB interface can serve as a totally portable recording studio. And again, if you have MIDI instruments, be sure to get an interface that will allow connecting them in additon to audio components and instruments.

The digital revolution has made music recording easily available to anyone with a computer. If you enjoy music and want to do more than just download mp3’s from the Internet, get some multitrack recording software and start your own home sound studio.

Kamis, 12 April 2001

Have The Pimpest Myspace Profile Using Free Myspace Layouts

You have various options with MySpace profiles, as you can pimp them out as you please. Since this is a networking site, there will be millions of users. So naturally there has to be a great variation with the look and feel of all profiles. Imagine if all the profiles had the same images. It would become boring for all the users, so using various free MySpace layouts will make the use more exciting.

There are many readymade layouts to choose from, and they are completely free of cost. These layouts will also be unique, as there are thousands of choices. Sometimes if you look through other profiles, you will find that hardly any two profiles are the same. Such is the variety of free MySpace layouts, so you can have a unique profile yourself.

There is the need to use the right theme, as this will help your profile stand out. You can also enjoy yourself with this activity, as there will be plenty to look at and choose from. According to the content of your profile, you can choose layouts accordingly. This will make it more interesting, as it is theme based. This way, people will also understand easily what the profile is all about.

They will know what your interests are and will easily be attracted to your profile. You can build a network of friends and associates faster and you can also have many groups as well. Free MySpace layouts will offer you the opportunity to do the above. You can find various suggestions and tips on many sites to pimp the profile using layouts.

Since free MySpace layouts are completely free, there might be spam, so users should use the right sites to enhance their profiles. Once you take a little effort to set the right layout for the profile, you can do wonders for the publicity. There will be thousands of people who would become part of your friends groups. The use of free MySpace layouts helps a great deal with building plenty of contacts.

People with same interests as well as those who are curious will be part of the group. You could also begin various groups with the help of the layouts. For example, you could choose a celebrity if you are a fan, and you could begin a fan club for the same. All these activities will make everything more exciting, instead of just having some boring plain layout on your profile.

While you are pimping the profile, do not be afraid to experiment. That does not mean that you should be picking odd layouts, it means that you can choose a variety and keep changing them. This will make the profile better, and you can also enjoy talking to all the new visitors who come your way.

Headsets And Their Essential Benefits

Telephone headsets have played an essential role when it comes to communications. They are used both in the workplace and at home.

Headsets are typically attached to a phone system, either mobile or landline. They are also plugged into personal computers to be used in several applications.

Here are some advantages of headsets over the typical headphones, mobile phones or telephone handsets:

1. Headsets offer a "hands-free" option when communicating.

Typically, this is used for talking over the phone so that both of the user's hands will be free to do other things.

You can see headsets used in the office, where the receptionist accepts incoming calls and uses the computer at the same time.

Almost all headset models available in the market now can be plugged into any compatible telephone system, or individual handy, mobile or landline phone.

With this convenience offered by headsets, they end up being an essential tool especially in the workplace.

2. Headsets have ergonomic benefits.

As compared to the traditional handsets which lets you tilt your head at a certain angle to cradle the earpiece, headphones help maintain good posture.

It lets you sit up straight because it frees up your hands. Headsets also save space, you can just hang it on your desk instead of taking up an entire area in your desk to help free your office of clutter.

There are also wireless types which do not tie you to your desk.

3. Headsets may be used for various PC applications.

Headsets may be used as another means of communications. Search engines now offer "voice chat" where you can speak with the person that you are chatting with.

Call centers and other business establishments use this as their major means of communications and an essential tool in their business.

Once a telephone headset is attached to a telephone system, it can work alongside a personal computer which has a USB port or an audio socket and a sound card. This would result to various applications in business.

For gaming and multimedia pruposes, a good quality headset is also a great investment.

When purchasing a headset that will best suit your needs, try to check on the following:

- Sound quality

Headsets should produce a good sound quality Since it is used for communication purposes, you should not compromise the sound quality of the set that you will buy even for a hefty cost.

- Microphone quality

Headsets are made up of two major parts: the earpiece and the microphone.

There are brands which have a device installed in the microphone which cancels outside noise.

These microphones actually filter the sound coming out of your mouth to be better received on the other end.

Make sure that the microphones would not be susceptible to feedbacks which will produce unnecessary noise on the background. This will further improve speech accuracy on the part of the speaker.

As long as you have a headset which has a good sound and microphone quality and the brand that you will buy is reliable enough, then you can go ahead and use it for the application of your choice.

Senin, 12 Maret 2001

Good Computer Maintenance - Part One

Normally we think of maintenance as a chore, something we have to do to keep things running smoothly and prevent problems down the road, whether with our car, house, or computer. But with a PC, maintenance can actually be fun ... approached from the right perspective.

Automatic Updates

The "joy" of computer maintenacne takes many forms. These days, automation is the byword. Operating systems such as Microsoft Windows and Symantec's Norton Interenet Security let you automatically keep crucial parts of your computer system up to date. It's fun to watch the technology keep tabs on itself.

The security vulnerablilites of Windows are legion, and this forces you to download patches and updates if you want to minimuze your exposure to hackers seeking to break into your system over the Internet.

You can run Windows Update periodically through Microsoft Internet Explorer, which automatically detects which versions of Windows components you currently have installed and, by checking with Microsoft's site, which have newer versions.

Or, if you are running Windows XP Home Edition, you can automate things even further by directing Windows to check for "critical updates" by itself at the frequency and time of your choosing. From the Control Panel, go to System and click Automatic Updates to specify your settings.

Website Updates

You can keep your other software up to date by periodically checking the Websites of the respective manufacturers. Typically, by pulling down the program's Help menu, you will quickly be directed to the site. But the Website VersionTracker (www.techtracker.com/products) does something similar with multiple programs, for free, whether you have a Windows PC or a Mac. The ad-supported site has 30,000 programs in its database. Pay versions, starting at $24.95, automatically alert you when new updates of programs that you're using become available.

Using Utilities

Staying up to date is crucially important these days in keeping the bad guys away from your computer and those using it. A good utility suite for this is Norton Internet Security (www.symantec.com), which combines such crucial tools as a firewall, anti-virus program, porn-blocker, spam filter, spyware detector, and pop-up ad blocker. If you use the program, make sure you let its LiveUpdate feature automatically keep your virus definitions and other components up to date.

Symantec's other utility suite, Norton SystemWorks, is less useful, and if you need system tools more powerful than those provided by Windows itself, a better package overall is V Communications' SystemSuite (www.v-com.com).

SystemSuite includes tools for preventing and recovering from hard disk crashes, recovering accidentally erased files, completely uninstalling programs you no longer need, and completely shredding sesitive files. It also has an excellent file manager, PowerDesk, that makes quicker work of copying, moving, deleting, and otherwise manipulating files than Windows Explorer.

With today's large and fast hard drives and more efficient operating systems, one maintenance task that's no longer as necessary is disk defragmenting. When working with files over time, they invariably wind up stored in places at different locations on your hard disk. Running a defragmenter gathers up the pieces and places them together in one contiguous location.

Recent testing by the computer magazine PC World, however, showed that defragging no longer improves performance the way it used to. It still makes sense to defrag once in a while, though unless it's for a network file server, there's usually no need to buy a separate program for this beyond what comes with Windows itself.

So in all ... even automated maintenance can be fun in that it is automated and can leave you more time for other endevours.

Senin, 12 Februari 2001

Ham Radio

Amateur radio (also called ham radio) is a hobby enjoyed by about 3 million people throughout the world and over 600,000 in the USA alone. It is about communications and the multiple ways of communicating through radio waves.

What most people do not know about this hobby and the people that are operators is that they are one of the most used groups as means of emergency communication, when other conventional means of communications fail, in a disaster situation for example.

Local communications is one of the first things to go away in case of a disaster such as hurricanes or tornadoes. Phones and electricity go down and the only thing left is amateur radio operators that can operate from a battery and a piece of wire for an antenna.

These operators have networks set up all over the world that can be immediately activated and used to coordinate disaster relief activities. Recent examples include the 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center, when amateurs worked weeks side by side with rescue crews supplying communications.

Amateur operators were also involved this last year in all the hurricanes that we had all over the world. They have been watching and reporting the advance of the storms, setting up nets to pass traffic for rescue groups as well as passing health and welfare traffic to people trying the get in touch with relatives in the stricken area. They carry a message out to someone that says we are ok and we are alive and that is always great.

The National Weather Service might have great radars, but a radar can't see the storms like human eyes can. Just ask someone that works for the weather service about the role of radio operators and you will get one answer- they are the “eyes” of the National Weather Service. They are on duty any time that there are storms in the area. Any time of day and night these people are watching storms and reporting what they see.

Their accurate reports can be used immediately by the weather service and further by the local radio and TV stations which broadcast the reported data to the public.

Amateur radio operators are saving thousands of lives each year, yet this gets almost no recognition. And the kicker is that their service is at no cost to the public. As mentioned before, amateur radio is a personal hobby; this means the operators buy all their own radio equipment.

And they use it for public safety. Whenever needed to warn the public of danger.

Are they heroes? Think about it.