Sunday, December 30, 2007

Backup Content in Blogger (Blogspot)

If you’re using Blogger (Blogspot) platform, you probably want to backup your content unless you really trust the Blogger (Blogspot) which hosted by Google won’t screw up your content. Do they have a backup as well? I really don’t’ know. Have you ever think about your blog has been hijacked one day? In case you don’t know, there are quite number of Blogger’s blogs have been hijacked. You may face a risk to lost all your content in your blog.

Recently I found a tool called “Blogger Backup Utility”. It is in Beta releases. Thanks to gduncan411 who are actually doing this for free. You can backup all your posts and comments in your blog. In case of you lost some of the posts or all the posts, you can restore them using this tool. Of course, I don’t hope to use the restore feature one day but who knows?

For the "Save posts as (format)" option, I think we better choose "Atom, One File Per Posts" rather than "Atom, All posts in a single file". I think I read it somewhere if you choose "Atom, All posts in a single file" the restore feature may not work.

Since this tool is BETA, don’t expect this tool is completely out of bugs. Every software has bugs. One of the things I found not working is the “Save Comment” feature. If I redirect my feeds to feedburner the following error happens:

Error looking for comments, retrying (0)
Error looking for comments, retrying (1)
Error looking for comments, retrying (10)

I’ve already filed a report and hopefully this will be fixed in the next release. According to some of the discussions, if you don’t redirect your feeds to feedburner it should be fine. I haven’t tried this yet and I think I will just wait for the fix in later release. As for now, I will just backup my posts without comments.

One final note, the "Images or Pictures" are not able to backup yet at this moment. So you may want to download again for complete features of this tool in future.

[Updated: 05/02/09]
I think comments and pictures have still not yet supported. It seems like the authors has stop developing this tool but for the basic functions to backup the blog content, it works perfectly. 

Download “Blogger Backup Utility” here. Click the release tab for the latest release.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

How to Burn Audio CD with Media Player

I was not aware of this feature until I want to burn my own customized music CDs and listen to them in my car every morning I drive to my office. At first I thought Windows Media Player can't do that but I'm wrong.

Here are the very simple steps to burn Audio CD with Window Media Player:

Step 1
Insert blank CD into your drive

Step 2
Play the song with windows media player (I have bunch of songs in my laptop and I want to listen to them first before I decide to burn them into Audio CD).

Step 3
Click the “Burn” tab at the top and make sure the “Audio CD” is selected. If I like the song, I will right click the song and click “Add to Burn List”. I will continue doing this until the Audio CD is full.

Step 4

When the Audio CD is full (close to 0:00 remaining time). I will click the “Start Burn” button at the lower left. When the burning is done, the Audio CD will automatically be ejected (default option).

Step 5
Label the CD.

So far, I have burned 2 CDs with all my favorite songs. :)

Sunday, December 23, 2007

MP4 is not supported by Windows Media Player

Recently I got a video clip in MPEG-4 (.mp4) format but I was unable to play it with Windows Media Player. Later I only found out MP4 format is not supported by Windows Media Player.

But wait, I thought I had already install the K-lite Codec Pack which suppose able to play MP4. Perhaps the codec was corrupted somehow and can't play MP4 format. So, what I did is to reinstall the codec. However when I uninstalled the K-lite Codec Pack, I got bunch of warnings asking me whether I want to remove this entry from registry.

The following DirectShow filter was detected as broken:”
Name: Native FLAC Source Filter

There are quite number of these warnings message. So, I clicked "Yes" manually one by one for each message box until the un-installation completed. I think the codec really was corrupted for some reasons. After that, I reinstall the latest K-lite Codec Pack 3.62 and finally the MP4 can be played.

Thanks K-Lite Codec! :) Now I can play mp4 shared by my friend.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Copy & Paste Folder Tip in Windows

I used to copy a lot of folders from one machine to another machine. However, I misunderstood the overwrite feature in windows. This is to share my stupidity.

Consider the following scenario:

Folder A (Machine X)
File 1
File 2

Folder A (Machine Y)
File 3
File 4

Assuming machine X and Y are connected in the network, I want to copy File 1 and File 2 from Machine X to Machine Y and the end-result will be something like:

Folder A (Machine Y)
File 1
File 2
File 3
File 4

So I right click and “Copy” Folder A in Machine X and “Paste” it to Machine Y. A message box appears as below asking whether I want to overwrite (my assumption) the existing Folder A.

What I really need to do is just click “Yes”, it will MERGE the Folder A in Machine Y without removing the existing File 3 and File 4. Before that, I used to click "No" because I thought File 3 and File 4 will be gone. So what I did is manually copy File 1 and File 2 to the Folder A in Machine Y. If I have 10 folders, I actually manually do it 10 times! You see how stupid I am!

Look back to the message carefully (which I ignore all the while), it actually explains it very clear - "Do you want to MERGE this folder". Ya, Windows XP doesn't explain that and probably this is the reason I thought all the while is the overwriting feature if we replace the folder. No, it is the merge feature.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Why Mozilla Firefox?

It has been quite sometime Mozilla Firefox has gain market share from internet explorer since 2004. So you may ask “Why Mozilla Firefox?” or “Why not Internet Explorer?” It is time to understand why and you can make your own choice whether you want to switch or not. I’m going to share my own personal experience from user perspective why I like Mozilla Firefox.

1. Firefox is More Secure Than IE

When Firefox was first announced in 2004, it was more secure than IE for various reasons. This is also one of key main reasons why majority of users switch to Firefox for more secure surfing. However, when the recent IE 7 release, I no longer sure this still holds true because a lot of improvements has been made by IE all these years. No software is free of bugs and of course both Firefox and IE cannot run away from it.

HOWEVER, I will still say Firefox is more secure than IE. This is also what most people say but they do not understand the reasons behind. The reason behind is hackers do not want to hack Firefox, they want to hack IE! One of the reasons is 85% of people use IE and as a hacker, you want to target to the bigger crowd. Another reason is most hackers have a strong anti-Microsoft sentiment. They hate Microsoft and they will do their best to hack IE and screw Micrsoft. On the other hand Firefox is an open source and as you know open source is loved by hackers. So, what are you still waiting for? Switch to Firefox now!

2. Firefox has Tabbed Browsing and Better UI

I would say this is the best feature that I like most. I wonder why there is no such feature in IE until IE 7. With this tabbed browsing feature, I no longer require to open too many browser windows in my desktop. It is really messy sometimes. In IE 7, this feature has already been supported. However one thing sucks about IE 7 is they change the UI! If you just switch to IE 7, I bet you have hard time to familiar yourself with the new UI. The whole file menu is gone. I wonder if I should hold back my respect to Microsoft UI which I believe Microsoft's UI the most user-friendly.

3. I love the Firefox’s Find Features

This is also one of the most frequent features I used during surfing. I use the “Ctrl-F” to find a specify string in a page especially there are a lot of information on the pages. IE has this “Ctrl-F” feature but it is really annoying. In IE, it pops up the dialogue when you press “Ctrl-F” and you enter search string. You hit “Enter” to perform the search on the page. However, when you want to search for the next string in the page you need to press “Ctrl-F” again and annoying pop-up dialogue box appears again. You need to continue doing this until you've found what you want.

In Firefox, when you press “Ctrl-F” instead of pop-up dialogue box, it is placed at the lower left just above the browser’s status bar. You can just enter your search string there directly and the Firefox will search the page while you’re typing. The searching is incremental and the found strings are also be highlighted in the page. You hit “Enter”, you will go to the next found string. It is really a very useful and efficient feature as compared to IE.

4. Firefox is Platform Independent

This probably won’t apply to you if you’re just using Windows platform. I like Firefox because it is platform independent. It can runs on Linux, Windows and Mac. It gives me the same user experience when I switch to my Linux box from Windows.

One last thing in terms of speed and memory consumption, I don’t feel much different between Firefox and IE although some say Firefox runs faster with lower memory consumption. For me, there are almost the same. In summary, yes, I do prefer to use Firefox and IE. Please keep in mind that not all the pages can be run one Firefox. Those pages are usually run using Active-X control which is the Microsoft technology. You need an IE browser to run this page. I just don’t understand why the web designer wants to design such a page in the first place? They must be Microsoft supporters.

Get the Firefox now for better browsing now! Download Firefox here...

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Vista Performance Is 10% Slower Than XP

Other than driver compatible issues and you may want to ask what Vista sucks? Yes, you're right. It is the performance. In short, Vista is 10% slower than XP. Check out the news here.

Summary of the News

  1. Vista SP1 will released next year and it is intended to boost the performance. However with the SP1 beta testing, yes it does boost but less than 2%.
  2. Microsoft responds some craps that they will continue make improving and make the Vista a better tool.
  3. Microsoft mentions a lot of us do not fully understand the features in Vista. We need to be educated. Perhaps Microsoft means the 100 reasons to use vista in my previous post.
  4. Others not important stuff, marketing talk.
Well, Vista when are you going to catch up XP? Wait until XP retire? or Wait until the later service pack from XP that slows down the performance in purpose?

Related Posts:

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Structured Web Search by Yahoo

Recently Yahoo introduced a structured web search which is said to be suitable for e-commerce application (e.g. online shopping). However, I can't test it out as it seems like they haven't implemented yet in their search engine. I wonder could it be something similar to the Cluster Search Engine (Clusty). Could it be yahoo steal the concept from Clusty? Maybe something more advance than this?

So the first question you or I may ask, will Structured web Search by Yahoo can beat Google? I honestly don't know because I can't try. They just said it soon to be rolled out. If I want to give my best guess, I will say "No way, Structured Web Search by Yahoo cannot beat Google". Yes, that is only based on my feeling until I really try it out. Maybe I've already fallen in love with Google. Opss...

Related Post:

Cluster Search Engine by Vivisimo

What search engine you're using right? Google or Yahoo? No need to say much, I bet most of you are using the Google search engine. Yes, I'm one of them.

Today I'm going to introduce you a new search engine that you may have never heard of it before. It is called Clusty. It was originally from Vivisimo company. It is a new way of searching the web. Instead of displaying a million of pages in a long list, Clusty uses a "cluster" concept to group meaningful pages together. Most importantly this cluster search engine helps you find result that you may have missed especially those results appears in the third or fourth pages of your Google or Yahoo search.

This is what you may want to do:
1. Search from Google but can't find what you want.
2. Try it out Clusty, it may hits.

Ok here come a sad news based on my personal experience, most of the case whatever I can't find in Google, I can't find it in Clusty too. Only just once in a while for certain keyword the Clusty gives me a better result than Google. Therefore, most of time I'm still using Goolge Search Engine. Why don't you experience it now? Perhaps you can share the results with me here? Doest Clusty find what you want?

Try Clusty Now! and let me know what you think.

Not to talk about the result, the cluster concept is very impressive. It could be next generation of search engine. Both Google and Yahoo will adopt it one day...

Friday, November 23, 2007

Best Free Anti-Spyware Software Review

When I first got my laptop baby (MS Vista), I'm glad that it comes together with anti-spyware within the Vista OS itself. It is called "Microsoft Windows Defender". So I thought I could save my time not to install any anti-sypware anymore. Something not right after almost a year until today, MS Windows Defender do not catch any spyware threat. Unlike my previous anti-spyware from LavaSoft (Ad-Aware) which installed in my XP catches quite number of threats within a month. I start suspecting this free feature from Microsoft. What a another crap from Microsoft? So, I decided to my little research here.

I do a full system scan on the following 3 free products and here is the result:

Anti-Spyware Program

Number of Threats Found

Ad-Adware (LavaSoft)


AVG Anti-Spyware(GriSoft)


Windows Defender (Microsoft)


Threats caught by Ad-Adware consist of "Tracking Cookies" and "MRU Object" but AVG Anti-Spyware only consist of "Tracking Cookies" but Windows Defender has nothing. Although these threats are not critical but I would prefer my system are 100% clean from them.

Based on my little research here, I would like to conclude that the Ad-Adware from LavaSoft is the Best Free Anti-Spyware. Most importantly, don't rely on MS Windows Defender. If your system resource is not a limitation like my case, I would suggest you to install both Ad-Adware and AVG Anti-Spyware in your system.

Monday, November 5, 2007

Qlock Kicks Out Daylight Saving Wrongly

Yesterday, Nov 4 2007 was the last day of daylight saving in US. However, the Qlock kicks out last week on 29 Oct 2007. I check the Qlock setting and it shows the daylight saving ends at the last Sunday of October (29 Oct) which is wrong. The daylight saving should end yesterday. It looks the Qlock is not that accurate in daylight saving.

Accidentally, I found out a new feature in Vista allow you to add additional clocks. It adjusts the daylight saving correctly. This is what I do:

  1. Click the Time at lower right
  2. Click "Change Time & Settings"
  3. Click "Additional Clock" tab
Here you go, just set the additional clocks that you want based on the time zone. Once you done, move our your mouse and you see the following tooltip:

Then, click the time and see the following:

Is it cool? The only problem is it only able to show 2 additional clocks. I think it still okay with me since I use the third clock (UK) once in a blue moon. This is only available in Vista but not in XP. Now, I start wondering should I uninstall my Qlock? It looks like now I have no reasons to use Qlock anymore in my Vista laptop.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Firewall Blocks File Sharing in Vista

For some reasons, my laptop (Microsoft Vista) unable to share files in my office network. I can connect my laptop to my office PC (Microsoft XP) but not the other way round. Ping is okay but is the file sharing doesn't work from Vista to XP. I have tried couples of steps but no lucks. However, this doesn't happen in my home network where I can share files in 2 ways with my PC (XP).

At last, I figure out the firewall which blocks the file sharing in Vista. I do enable the file sharing in the firewall (that's why I can use it in my home network) and somehow it doesn't allow in my office network. So what I did is to disable the firewall and everything works fine. I just disable the firewall in local LAN network but not the wireless LAN network. It should be quite safe since most of the time I use the wireless LAN network.

I don't know if this is a bug but I believe so since I"m working fine in my home network. So if you encounter file sharing in Vista, for a quick fix you may want to try disable the firewall. It may works. Perhaps you have a better idea even with firewall enabled? I will try your tips then.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Rescue Windows System Files - SFC Utility

One of the thing that I dislike Windows as compared to Linux is the stability issues. Windows loves to crash especially if you do not restart your PC for a long period of time. It happens to me many times already. Most of the cases, what I do is to re-install my windows. I have been doing this once a year in average.

What the heck yesterday, it happened to me again. 2 of my main applications (i.e. MS office, Citrix Client) cannot run at all after I restarted my PC. It has some kind of "dynamic dll link error". I try the system restore point, it didn't help at all. Ok, never mind, I re-installed one by one to fix the problems.

However, I'm happy too fast. I got the following RUNDLL error message when I run the system properties from control panel:

"An exception occurred while trying to run "C:\WINDOWS\system32\shell32.dll, Control_RunDLL "C:\WINDOWS\system32\sysdm.cpl", System"

It seems like the sysdm.cpl is corrupted and I have no choice to reinstall the OS. I hate windows! I almost give up until I find a utility called "SFC" - System File Checker I guess. It is the utility that comes together with Windows. It able to rescue all the protected system files. What you need to do is to run the following command in your command prompt:

  • sfc /scannow
You need to put your original Windows OS CD into the drive and the SFC will do the rest. After running the SFC utility, the problem above doesn't occur anymore. Oh, thanks I learn one new thing today that I no need to reinstall the whole OS for system files corruption (which I used to do) to save my little baby. It saves me a lot of time too (i.e. time to install the OS and all the applications). Hope this is something helpful to you, perhaps not now but in future.

Few tips and trick:
  1. Restart your PC at least once a week
  2. Run "chkdsk" at least once a week
  3. If windows system files corrupted, try use system restore point.
  4. If it doesn't work, try the SFC utility.
This is assuming your PC is not attacked by virus or hackers. This is assuming your PC is attacked by himself (Windows OS) - self destructive mode. I'm just kidding. Good luck!

Monday, October 15, 2007

100 Reasons to Use Vista

Microsoft posted a web page with 100 reasons why everyone's so speechless. It basically give 100 reasons why Vista is so amazing and why people should upgrade to Vista? This is so amazing that they can come up with 100 reasons. For me, I only able find 2 reasons as stated in my previous post on whether we should upgrade to Vista or not.

First reason is Windows Aero. It is a very cool UI feature, it gives the feel of Macintosh. But remember it eats performance and your battery life (if you're using laptop). Based on some reviews on Windows Aero's performance, it consume 4-5% more power than XP. So if power and performance is not a top priority concern, Windows Aero is cool.

Second reason is the security. I feel better with the User Account Control and it gives me peace of mind from hackers or intruders.

Oppss... that's all I can come up with. Are those 100 reasons crap? Are these 100 reasons the key feature? Do we really need them? or it is just something not essential? I don't know, you tell me. Feel free to let me know if you have any "real" reason to upgrade to Vista in your personal opinion.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Useful PowerToys Software for XP

Althought I have been switching to Vista but my office PC is still using XP. So for those who are still using XP, the PowerToys is the additional software add-on into XP to improve the windows experience. However not every softwares from PowerToys are useful. Sadly that most of the softwares are useless (to me) or I already have a solution.

These are the software I have tried as I think they're useful (to me):

  1. ClearType Tuner (Recommended)
  2. Open Command Window Here (Recommended)
  3. Virtual Desktop Manager (Not Recommended)
ClearType Tuner
This is the most useful PowerToy in my opinion. This is especially for those who are using the LCD screen and has difficulty read the fonts (i.e. not clear enough). You can give it a try.
After installed, you can run the ClearType Tuner and it appears some kind of Wizard to allow you to choose the best font that best suit you. After the Wizard, your font will be configured and looks clear.

If you're using CRT monitor, I don't think it gives you huge improvement but you can give it a try.

Click here to download

Open Command Window Here
If you're the Unix user, you probably get used to running command from console. Installing this PowerToy, it allows you to access to the command prompt directly from the explorer. I personally find this useful as I don't need to CD to the directory every time I open the command prompt window. I can use the Windows Explorer to browse to the directory and "Right Click" and click "Open Command Window Here" to open the command window. The command window shows the same current directory where I "Right Click" from the Explorer.

Click here to download

Virtual Desktop Manager
I love virtual desktop. Therefore, I have been trying many virtual desktop software tools in Windows platform. I tried the Open Source and also this one but none of them satisfy me. The reason is all of them are somehow unstable. It ether cause my PC hang, or my things in Desktop 1 move to Desktop 2, or my whole Application's UI is missing and many more. Therefore I do not recommend to try this. If you have ever known any "Stable" Virtual Desktop in Windows platform, feel free to let me know.

Click here to download
(If you still want to try)

To see the full list of software provided by PowerToys, click here.

Friday, October 5, 2007

AVAST is better than AVG

This is just to share a bit why I say that. I has been using the AVAST for less than 6 months and the AVAST manage to catch 3 viruses threat so far when I'm browsing the internet. However, the AVG can't catch them at all.

I tested this by disabling the AVAST and visit the same site that has that virus threat. I forgot what site I have visited, if not I can probably put it here for you guys to give it a try. Anyway, this is just my experience. Honestly so far, I haven't catch any virus using AVG. I have been using AVG for 1 year. The last time I install AVAST it detected a virus in my PC which didn't caught by AVG all the while. This is so scary.

Have a second thought before you decide to remove AVAST and keep AVG or choose a AVG. Is AVG is really better? I should have test the site with McAfee Anti-Virus. Anyway, I'm doubt. That's why I install both AVG and AVAST as what I recommended in my previous post. Why don't you do the same?

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Fake OpenOffice Website?

It has been quite sometimes I noticed this but I can't be sure. Here is the website Initialy I thought this is fake or scam website that's until I read some posting in the official OpenOffice website comments the following:

This is a company which begins with (OOo) and adds additional programs to it. This is legal under the OOo license (LGPL).

Having said so, even though the company is legal, the website doesn't address why I want to buy this product as I can download it free from the OOo and it charges me $47 (offer price). It looks to me like they have an intention to hide the fact that we can download the OpenOffice software for free from I wonder what amazing extra program causes worth $47. The free version has already fulfill all my needs. Bonus anti-virus program? I can get it free from AVG and AVAST. Hmm....

How many of users out there really buy this product? How many of them really find it useful for the additional programs? Is $47 really worth? Do these users aware of they can also download it free from OOo?

Sunday, September 30, 2007

MagicDisc Causes Microsoft Vista Unbootable

I'm happy that Vista or perhaps XP has a restore point feature to restore your previous known startup stage. I was trying to get an software to play the MDF and MDS image format. It turns out the MagicDisc has a very good review.

MagicDisc is freeware. It is an utility designed for creating and managing virtual CD drives and CD/DVD discs. You know what, after I installed this fellow, it caused my PC unable boot. This fellow crashed my Vista!!! My baby is dead!!! Luckily I still managed to save my baby using the restore point feature from Microsoft. Kudos to the Microsoft this time. Microsoft, thank you...

From now on, I have no longer trust any softwares that are from this site I advise you not to try MagicDisc, it is probably not going to work especially in Vista. You can try your luck but use at your own risks. You can download this MagicDisc here.

I'm still searching for utility to view my MDF and MDS video image format file...

Friday, September 28, 2007

Best World Clock Software - Qlock

I work with all the people around the world, mainly UK, Toronto, and San Jose. I used to manually calculate the time based on the time-zone difference. It is completely inefficient! This is even confusing when there is daylight savings in United State. Oh boy, I completely lost.

Now, this free Qlock Software solve all my problems. See my desktop below:

Click here to download the free Qlock.

After you install the software, the next thing is to "Create Qlock" for the places that you want. What you need to do is to right click the icon on the lower right of the task bar, then select "Create Qlock". Select the City your wants and that's it. You will have something similar to my desktop. You can drag & drop and even resize the Qlock as you like. Try to play around with it and it is very user friendly.

Another thing, you can also set the alarm for each Qlock. Thought it will be useful to some of the people. I seldom use the alarm features as I don't really need it.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

View Galaxy and Stars from Google Earth

Recently, a new version (Ver 4.2) Google Earth allows you to explore the sky. So for those who are interested in astronomy, they should be very excited with this features. Are they?

Anyway, I just give it a few minutes try on this feature. In short, sorry Google, "I don't like it". First, I try search "Nibiru", the tenth planet in our galaxy but no luck. Second, I try search "Earth". Third, "Sun". None of them give me any result. Ok, last chance, I search "Milky Way" our galaxy name, no search result. Ok, I give up. Perhaps I don't know how to search at at all. It is just not user friendly enough.

I try zooming in and zooming out, I'm expecting something amazing like we zooming the earth. It lets me down again. It is not fun to play as compared to the Earth View.

If you are really interested and all the while you study and research all different kind of galaxy, stars, I think you can give it a try. If you are just like me, and expecting something amazing like "Earth" view, an amazing zoom in and zoom out from Galaxy and Stars, let's forget about it.

Some said the stellarium and celestia is better but I haven't tried it out yet. You may want to give it a try. If it is good, let me know.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Can MS Office Survive? Not only IBM, Google is Helping too...

Recently IBM joined OpenOffice community to fight against MS Office. Guess what? Now, Google is also announced to fight against MS Office intensively.

On Tuesday, Google and IBM both announced that they are intensifying efforts to challenge Microsoft's Office suite, which dominates the market for productivity software on office and home computers. Read more here...

So, the question is can Microsoft Office survive? Of course, yes. Worst case, Microsoft can just make the MS office free. Even more worst case, Microsoft can just ship MS Office that comes free together with the OS. So what is the point they fight so hard against MS Office? It is not want to make him die, we all are just want to make it FREE. Don't you think so? What we consumer really care are 2 things, standardization and free.

Google, IBM I fully support you guys!

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Best Visual File Comparison Software

If you're a software developer, you probably already have your own favorite file comparison software. Even if you're not a software developer, file comparison software can be very useful. A utility to compare files and directories makes my day-to-day work very efficient. I use it to compare and merge source code, web pages, settings files and other text files. I also use it to perform code reviews and audits. Without this tool, I don't think I can survive.

So, who is the guy makes me can't live without? The Araxis Merge... I have tried other file comparison software, these are the key few differentiators why Araxis Merge is the best:

  1. User Friendly (Araxis UI is very common sense)
  2. File Merging Ability (Very user friendly, try it you know what I mean)
  3. Directory Comparison (Cool, I like this most. )
  4. Binary File Comparison (Wow, not only text file comparison)
The only disadvantage of this guy is Araxis Merge is not free. Oppss, sad news is I have been trying other free file comparison softwares and none of them is comparative to Araxis Merge. These are the free file comparison softwares that I have tried so far:
Yes, this is still something better than nothing. It can do most of the basic stuff. Nevertheless, the Araxis Merge is much more better. Maybe I have already get used to it but I'm still searching for the free one. So, what is your favorite file comparison software? Perhaps you can just share with us?

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Can OpenOffice Win the War? Now IBM is helping...

Who is the industry leader for office tools? I bet you and me will agree, it is Microsoft Office. But who is the next generation office tools? As you know in my previous posts, I think OpenOffice is the next generation office tools. Don't you think so? Now this boost up my confident after reading the news "IBM Joins Community"

10 September 2007 -- The community today announced that IBM will be joining the community to collaborate on the development of software. IBM will be making initial code contributions that it has been developing as part of its Lotus Notes product, including accessibility enhancements, and will be making ongoing contributions to the feature richness and code quality of Besides working with the community on the free productivity suite's software, IBM will also leverage technology in its products.

Wow! Isn't this amazing? I read several software blog too, they all did mention about this news. What a amazing now the now supported by the big giant company like IBM. Having said that, Microsoft can easily just kill the OpenOffice by making Microsoft Office becomes Free. When OpenOffice becomes a threat, I bet Microsoft will be just going to make Microsoft Office becomes FREE! It probably something like Internet Explorer (IE) that comes together with the OS. But if they don't do it now or later, one day it could become too late... Will it be really too late? Remember how easy IE just kills Netscape? What is your thought?

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

WordWeb is Not Completely Free!!!

Just aware of this after reading the post from Shuva few days ago about. The best free dictionary - WordWeb is not completely free. This is their free licensing agreement:

You may use the program free of charge indefinitely only if

  • You take at most 4 flights (2 return flights) in any 12 month period
  • AND you do not own or regularly drive an SUV (sports utility vehicle).
If you do not qualify you must uninstall the program after the 30-day trial period or purchase WordWeb Pro.

The full license is here. This is the most funniest licensing term that I have ever heard. I just told my friend today, he is shock too! Anyway, thanks for Shuva for bringing the awareness to us. But, the question still will you uninstall it if you don't meet the term?

I'm quite sure most of the Asia people, they will not follow the term. I"m not sure about the Western (e.g. US, Europe) culture. Looks like they really follow? I don't know.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Best Video Codec - K-Lite Codec Pack

Have problems watching the Video format that you just downloaded? Just give it a try, K-Lite Codec Pack. This is the best codec that I have tried so far. There are 3 version of of the K-Lite Codec Pack:

  1. Basic
  2. Standard
  3. Full
To make it simple, just download the Full version. This is what I usually do. I will basically install everything except the player -Media Player Classic. Honestly there is no point to install the player since the windows has already come with the player (Windows Media Player).

Download the K-Lite Codec here.

After you install, all kind of video format can be played except for Real Player format (e.g. *.rmvb). So what I normally do is to download it from, just do a "Real Player" search. The reason I don't want to download from official real player website is because it mentions 14 days trial in the website. I have no idea why they want to do this. I thought real player is the freeware? Nevertheless, what I downloaded from has no expired date so far. I have been using more than a year. It is completely free!

[Update: 19 Sept 2009]

I recently tried VLC media player and I found that it is better than K-Lite Codec. You no longer need to download Real Player anymore. You can check out my
VLC review here.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Spy Myself With Google Earth?

Google Earth is the most amazing software from Google that I have ever used. It really impressed me with this product when my colleague showed me few years ago. I recently downloaded it again from Google Earth Website and tried to spy myself using Google Earth. As far as I remember when I did it last time to zoom my apartment in Penang, the image was really so blur and wasn't clear at all. I can't even locate my apartment's building. Surprisingly, it is amazingly clear now when I try to zoom my apartment. Of course, it is not as clear as compared to the buildings in USA.

I then later try to spy on my another house at Bandar Laguna Merbok, Sungai Petani. Sadly it is not so clear. It is just like the image I saw my Penang house few years back. Hopefully, the image is going to be improved soon. Google, will you "Google Earth" my house?

The coolest part about this Google earth is not really just to spy on myself, but showing it to my parents and relatives. When I first time showed this to my relatives and parents, where my house is located from satellite view, all of them were SO IMPRESSES! That's why I feel great about it just to see them get impressed. I'm not sure if you have the same feeling with mine but this is how I feel. I feel great to show Google Earth to someone. "Wow! This is so awesome!", I like to hear this.

Of course after I've done spying myself, I will spy on others. It is the human curiosity to spy on others, don't you think so? I bet you do that too.

It raises some questions to myself after using it for sometimes. Do I use it for map? No, I don't. Do I use it for direction? No, I don't. So what do I exactly use the Google Earth for? Ya, why I use Google Earth? It is really just to spy myself or spy others? Not really? Oh boy, I finally only realized I use Google Earth is just to show off and showing off makes me feel great. Oh boy...

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Improve Windows XP or Vista System Performance

Sometimes I just feel sad when I use my friend or my colleague's PC and their system performance is really unacceptable SLOW!!! So I'm thinking to share this very simple tips to you guys. Hopefully you can find it useful or at least can improve your Windows performance.

Ok, if you like all the fancy Windows Effects stuff and it's default UI apperance and you're okay with it's existing performance, you can ignore this post. However, if your Windows performance really affects your productivity(which is my case), and you don't really care the Windows Effects and appearance, what you can do is to DISABLE ALL THE FANCY WINDOWS EFFECT STUFFS.

In XP, go to:
Start -> Control Panel -> System -> Advanced

In Vista, go to:
Start -> Setting -> Control Panel -> System and Maintenance -> System -> Advanced System Settings

The "system property" dialog box appears:

Click the setting in the performance, "Performance Options" dialog appears:

Well, just click "Adjust for best performance" and click OK. Now your system performance has been increase by 20%!!! The 20% is my feeling, don't quote me and I do not have any data to support it. Anyhow, I can really feel the performance increase. How do you feel?

Friday, August 17, 2007

Best Free Anti-Virus Software - AVG & AVAST

No money to buy McAfee Antivirus Software (which I believe is the most famous one)? No money to buy Norton Antivirus from Symantec (which I believe is the second most famous)? So, I guess you're just like me - looking for free anti-virus software and you wonder is there really the free one? If really free one, you may wonder is it reliable?

So I did a little survey on anti-virus to download all the anti-virus software. What am I exactly looking for anti-virus? After some thoughts, I realized what I really want from you the latest virus thread detection. The anti-virus software must be able to detect the latest virus thread as soon as possible. The problem is NONE of the anti-virus software can provide that.

I was still remember when I had Norton Antivirsus and McAfee Antivirus installed on the same computer. The point is both of them caught a different virus on my PC. One able to detect the virus and the other can't and vice-versa. Try to find the latest virus database from Norton and McAfee, I bet you will see the different results. It concluded that I need to have at least 2 anti-virus software install on my PC.

But the problem is the cost, I can't even afford to pay for 1 single anti-virus software. So what I exactly want to look for is 2 free anti-virus software to give me the full protection of my PC just to be safe. At last, I found 2, AVG and AVAST.

Here are the comparison and my comments between these 2 anti-virus program:

Free Anti-Virus Program



Company Website

User Friendly

Yes. Very simple UI and understood by even for beginner

Not really but I take me sometimes to figure out some of the features. Honestly, the UI really screw up.

Catch More Virus (based on my personal experience)

No, catch less than AVAST

Yes, catch more than AVG

Virus Detection Efficiency (I created a fake virus file)

Detected very fast once the file virus is accessed

Detected very fast once the file virus is accessed.

Virus Recovery Database


Yes, but I’ve never tested this features since my PC is free of virus until at least today. I think this is really a cool feature if it able to recover to the fee-virus state.

Other general anti-virus program features

Nothing special, very similar.

Nothing special, very similar.

Competitive Analysis (Compared the McAfee as the base in my other PC)

Yes, all viruses detected by McAfee can be detected by AVG.

All viruses detected by McAfee can be detected by AVAST. Strangely, I have experienced that some viruses are detected by AVAST but not in McAfee. Does this mean AVAST is better than McAfee? I do not dare to say.

CNET Reviews


5 Stars

CNET User Rating

4 Stars

4.5 Stars


Very Easy

A little bit troublesome. It requires you to register and request a license. I personally don’t like this.

My Recommendation

Yes (Better to run both on the system)

Yes (Better to run both on the system

Click here to download AVG

Click here to download AVAST

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Understand Why Linux Uses Up All the Memory Resources

Have you ever wonder why your Linux uses up all the memory resources even though you don't run any applications? On the other hand in Windows, I see a lot more free memory resources. You give me an impression that your memory manager is better but why? Does Linux really sucks because of memory leak? Is it due to the fact that Linux is open source and therefore the quality is low?

I bought a Dell Machine sometimes ago and install the Linux Redhat on to that machine. The dell machine has 2 G of memory space. Therefore, I think it should be more than enough. However, after the machine turned on less than 24 hours, the free memory left only24 M bytes (see it from the top command) even though I killed all the applications.

Therefore, I made a conclusion that is the OS problems and it does not manage the memory efficiently and causes the memory leak. Even the application has memory leak, the OS should able to clean it up when the application exists. What a screw up Open Source OS? "You are really sucks and you let me down!", spoke in my mind. So what I did was to restart my Linux Machine everyday just to release the memory...

Interestingly after a few months, I only realized that I was wrong when I upgraded my memory to 4G. I realized that the free memory is also 19 M Bytes, same with my previous 2 G of memory space. "What's wrong?", I started to ask myself. So I started to investigate and finally found out that it is how the memory management works in Linux. It is not due to the memory leak and there is no memory leak in Linux.

The Linux kernel is designed in such a way that use most of the available RAM for buffers and cache in the system. Thus, most of the Linux system, you will see have a little small numbers (i.e 24320k) in the "free column" on the the "Mem:" line (see it from the top command). This free number will only be high immediately after booting, then drop to very little (i.e. 24320k) as you use the disk.

In fact, Linux's memory management is more efficient than the Windows. For example it takes 5 seconds to load an application for the first time and it becomes 2 seconds to load it the second time. As for Windows, you will take 5 seconds to load even for the second or third time.

In conclusion, if you notice your Linux uses up all the memory resources, don't worry. This is how Linux works. To have a better estimated used memory resources usage, it is better to refer to the buffers column rather than the free column in the top command. Lastly I would like to take this opportunity to apologize for blaming my dearest Linux that you're not doing a good job. I do not aware your memory manager is such a capable worker. You're still a very great OS. Keep up the good work!

Monday, August 13, 2007

Windows Vista - Is it the right choice?

Perhaps this is the most common question everyone is asking after Microsoft announced the new OS and force all of us to use it. So you may want to justify yourself, why should I buy or upgrade to Windows Vista? If you want to do a comparison between Vista and XP, just google it and you will find plenty of information. But, don't waste your time because all these comparisons are just crap.

Here are my advice:

If You're Windows XP Users
You don't do anything. You don't need to upgrade to Windows Vista. Unless you really have a very valid reasons to upgrade. Do you? Perhaps I'm wrong? In terms of usage of my personal experience, I don't feel any major differences between XP and Vista.

Their interface is exactly the same except those fancy UI which I normally disable them in both XP and Vista for performance. Honestly, I don't feel there is a need to enable all these fancy UI stuff? Other than just make myself pretent to be cool at Starbuck, I really can't find a single reason why we need those fancy UI stuffs. So the Windows Aero that introduced by Vista is completely useless (my personal opinion only since I don't turn it on). It looks cool especially the 3D effects, something like Macintosh UI, but it hurt the performance so much. Stick with XP is the best unless you really don't care about performance and you love fancy UI. Perhaps you want to consider Macintosh?

One more last Vista feature I like (yes, this is the only one) is the security features - User Account Control. Even if you have the full access to you PC, you're required to allow the access as an administrator for any application trying to access your hard drive. This is something like (but not exactly) in the Unix environment where normally people do not login as root and you're required the root password to access root's files and folders. This gives me a peace of mind that I do not need to worry any intruders, hackers, or viruses anymore. A pop up message something like below appears whenever there is application trying to access your PC.

User Account Control is the one Vista feature that I want, just because of only one feature should I upgrade to Vista? Have you ever thought why Microsoft want to invent (does they really invent) the new OS? Why don't just integrate as part of the XP update? I think you should have already had the answers for the question. If I were to buy Vista, only for one reason - the User Account Control features. Nothing else.

If You're New PC Buyers
You're buying a new machine and thinking to whether to buy XP and Vista. My advice to you is to buy Windows Vista. Not because it is good, it is because we're being forced. What else can we do? I don't think you want to spend your extra money just to buy Vista again when Microsoft announce XP will be obsolete few years from now.

In conclusion, buy Vista if you do not have the existing OS. You do not do anything if you're existing XP users until they obsolete your baby XP one day. Then, at that point in time, you may want to consider the upgrade. By the time, I believe the Vista should already more stable than today. Having say so if you really like fancy UI stuff, buy Apple Macintosh.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Next Generation Office Tool - OpenOffice

Have you ever been thinking to bring back your Microsoft Word (MS Word) document from office and want to read it at home? Work from home? Not only just reading, you may also want to make editing to the MS Word document. Unfortunately, you need a license to use the tool, Microsoft Office (MS Office) but you can't afford to buy the license. Even though you can afford to buy, will you pay $149 (The cheapest suite - Microsoft Office Home and Student) just to use it with probably less than 5% of the product features? So, what should you do?

The solution is the OpenOffice. Most importantly, the office tools are free! Yes, it is free and it allows you do read and edit your MS Office document. I have been using this tool for 2 weeks and it works perfectly and I do no encounter any problems so far. Not believe me? You can Download OpenOffice and try it by yourself.

Not only supported MS word but also MS Excel. The most amazing thing is it supports Macro! All the macros that I have written in MS Excel are compatible. This makes my life easy. Also, the graphic chart that I plot from MS Excel can be transfered successfully over to OpenOffice without any error. The chart looks exactly the same! This is the an example of my spending pie chart over a year I did it in MS Excel, it looks exactly the same in OpenOffice!

Needless to say, OpenOffice support MS PowerPoint format too and all kind of MS office tools. Hey OpenOffice or perhaps those volunteer developers, thanks for making my life easy and I do not need to spend extra money to read and edit my office document at home.

What about business usage?

So far what I have been discussing is for personal usage. Have you every thought about business? Isn't the OpenOffice is the next generation office tools? Isn't that the your company should use OpenOffice? What MS Office can done, can be done by OpenOffice. What are the reasons holding it back? Don't you think so sooner or later the OpenOffice will dominiate the office tools market? Of course, we don't know what Microsoft will do when the time comes and perhaps MS Office will be shipped for free one day? Or perhaps one day OpenOffice will shipped with paid licenses? Or OpenOffice baught overy my Microsoft? Or Google Docs and Spreadsheets win the war?

I recommend OpenOffice to everyone who would like to save cost for their personal usage or for the company. You can download OpenOffice here.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Google Desktop Search

There are quite number of desktop search software available in the market. These are the fews:

Not enough? You can check out the complete list here. But what's the point to check it out all these Desktop Search Software since there is already the best one, Google Desktop Search?

You may get mad if I'm telling you that out of all these Desktop Search products,, I have only tried Google Desktop Search. That's why Google Desktop Search is the best. Honestly, I didn't have a single chance to try others. It is not that I don't want to try out the others but this is due to the fact that the GDS has already satisfied all my needs and solve all my problems.

Some of the benefits or the main reasons I use you:
  1. Searching Speed
    • Try to search a file in Windows, how fast the windows can search? You can just do it in 1 second or less. So you said, should I use you or not?
  2. Missing Files
    • One of the amazing things you can do is you are able to search the missing files. Imagine I lost my file (e.g. I accidentally deleted it) and I need the content, you are able to retrieve the content to me. Your caching ability is really impress me.
    • Not only just files, this is especially useful for my emails. As you know we delete emails very often and there are higher chances I delete my email accidentally. Wow, you able to retrieve all my old deleted email. Once again, thank you.
Yes, basically these are main reasons that I have in mind why I use Google Desktop Search. If you want to know about it's complete features, you can check it out here.

To download Google Desktop Search, click here. It supports Linux and Mac as well.

After you download, it may takes sometimes to index your Desktop or PC. Let me share my Google Desktop Preference Settings to you which you may find it helpful.

The following are the settings that I will set:
  • Under search type, disable "Secure pages (HTTPS) in web history"
    • I will always disable this guy. Secure pages basically means confidential content. Of course, I don't want Google to cache it. I don't want to share my secure stuff with people who accidentally or purposely use my PC.
    • It is really up to you. Remember what you allow to be cached by my friend, he won't keep your secret. He will just tells everyone as long as someone ask him. Make your own judgment.
  • In the display tab, under the search box, you can choose "Sidebar", "Deskbar", "Floating Deskbar" but don't choose them. Instead, choose "None"
    • Ok, I have to admit that these features are really sucks. I hate them and they're some more enabled by default. Unless I have a very large wide screen monitor, then I can probably consider enable them. These features will just make your screen smaller.
  • Enable "Quick Search Box"
    • With this option, I really don't see what the purpose of the Deskbar and Floating Deskbar. Why with this option, they are still exist? They're just useless.
    • I like this features, as I can just "Click Ctrl Twice" anywhere to do a Web Search. This is so cool!
  • Select "Search Web" for Default Search Type for Search Boxes.
    • As I don't do local desktop search that often as compared to web search, setting this option as "Search Web" is a better choice for me.

  • The last one is Enable "Safe Browsing" in the other tab.
    • Ok, I'm not sure this is exactly useful. If I turn it off, does this mean I'm in danger even I have anti-virus installed and I'm using Firefox browser with security? I don't know. I"m scare, that's why I leave this option enabled.
Technically, Google Search Engine is really amazing. It search fast and most importantly it's indexing database is not very large as I expected. Try to see it's database file size. It is really awesome small. How other desktop search engine can do? Can they be better than Google Desktop Search?

Best Free Dictionary - WordWeb

I have tried Babylon dictionary which is used to be my favorite until they force me to pay for the software. It keeps popping up a message box asking me to upgrade to full paid version. This is really very annoying. Then, at one point in time I decided to uninstall the Babylon and search for the dictionary from

I tried couples of dictionary software including the Oxford Dictionary of English (Second Edition) 2.2 , Merriam Webster's Concise Dictionary and etc. The sad news is none of them satisfy me until I found WordWeb. I have been using this dictionary quite sometime until today. I have no complains about this software.

To download this WordWeb dictionary software, click here.

Few tips to configure the WordWeb for my personal preference which you may also find useful.

  1. Go to the Hot Key Settings. Click Options Menu->WordWeb HotKey...
  2. I will configure the Hot Key based on the following:

After the Hot Key setting, I basically just need to hold my "Ctrl" key and "Right Mouse" click on any words that I can view from my windows and it automatically shows the meaning of the word that I click. I can do this to windows icon, windows menu, almost really everything that you can click from your windows. This is really awesome. I hope they don't force to buy or upgrade one day later just like what Babylon did to me.

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Privacy Policy for SoftwareTracker.Blogspot.Com

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