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 download.com.

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

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