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Saturday, September 01, 2007

Google Earth has Something to Hide!

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Have you downloaded the latest version of Google Earth? You probably thought Google Sky was cool. Wait till you see this!

Google Earth Flight Simulator, hidden easter egg in Google Earth

Yup, I bet you didn't know that Google hid a flight simulator as an easter egg inside Google Earth (those sneaky guys, I wonder what else they're hiding). The instructions to start flying around are very simple.

First of all you'll have to install the latest version of GE. Once you've started it all up, explored Google Sky a bit, then all you have to do is hit Ctrl+Alt+A (if you're running OS X it's Command+Option+A).


A dialog box will popup and you'll have a choice of flying an F16 or SR22. Start flying from your current view, a list of airports or your last position. It even has joystick support! Plus it's all for the low low price of free. I bet the Microsoft flight simulator guys are peeing in their pants now.



See Macro's Blog (link below) for more screenshots, tips and tricks with the Google Earth Flight Simulator 2007.

[Link: Google Earth]
[Source: Marco's Blog]

 

Mythical Chupacabra Found?

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Mythical Chupacabra (vampire dog) Found? More weird stuff is happening in Texas (what are they doing down there?). The last one was a giant 200 yard spider web made by social spiders. Now a hunter claims to have found the mythical chupacabra. If you're going, "What?", welcome to the club.

Canion and some of her neighbors discovered the 40-pound bodies of three of the animals over four days in July outside her ranch in Cuero, 80 miles southeast of San Antonio. Canion said she saved the head of the one she found so she can get to get to the bottom of its ancestry through DNA testing and then mount it for posterity.


In case you are not a walking encyclopedia, here's an explanation of Chupacabra.

Chupacabra means "goat sucker" in Spanish, and it is said to have originated in Latin America, specifically Puerto Rico and Mexico.




And no, this isn't the first finding. Many people claimed to have found it before. But none were the Chupacabra. This probably won't be the last time that the Chupacabra gets discovered.

[Source: Comcast News]

 

Wish Upon A Ton of Shooting Stars

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Rare Aurigid Meteor Shower on September 1 If you missed the lunar eclipse just a few days ago, don't fret just yet. The Aurigid Meteor Shower is expected to come pouring down at 4:30 a.m. Pacific daylight time on September 1. The shooting stars are likely to be a chance of a lifetime for many, since nothing similar is expected for 50 years.

But don't get your hopes up too high. Scientists aren't really sure what to expect. Some NASA dude is predicting the meteor rate to be 100 per hour, while over at National Geographic they have an optimistic prediction at 200 per hour. But they all agree on one thing. This is probably your best chance at witnessing a display of shooting stars and getting a few wishes in while you're at it.

[Source: NASA, National Geographic]

 

Mummified Girls is the Latest Japan Fad

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Kegadoru in Akihabara, the latest Japan fad Just when I thought I became numb to all the weird stuff in Japan, kegadoru, which means "injured idols" when literally translated, comes along and scores one for Japan. Yes, those maid costumes are no longer the favorites of Otaku fans in Akihabara.

Wrapping yourself in bandages and eye patches is now the latest fad to hit Japan, at least for attention-seeking girls. One girl explains why she does it.

"When you're covered in bandages, everybody pays attention to you and worries about you. They also provide a chance to start talking to guys, who'll ask you how you hurt yourself, so the bandages are really, really good," she tells Weekly Playboy.


She also explains why the guys love it.

"One guy into the injured woman look told me that the reason he likes it is because he loves the idea of seeing a thin woman's body wrapped in bandages because it looked kind of like bondage and made him want to protect her from harm. I think those wearing the bandages get on well with the guys who want to look after them because they don't want them to get hurt."


And they have more interviews in the article with a psychologist and a porn novelist, who both have intriguing and differing views on this trend. See the article for their views (linked below).

This may only be gaining momentum only in Akihabara, but I'm sure this will spread like wildfire to the rest of Japan pretty soon (since girls in bandages tend to show more skin as you can see).

[Source: Mainichi via GridSkipper]

 

Friday, August 31, 2007

Turn Your World Upside Down

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Upside down house in Poland

Did that just mess your head up? Nope, you're not seeing an illusion. The upside down house is not caused by some freak of nature but a deliberate action by some really rich guy in Poland. This polish philanthropist wants to remind people of wrongdoings (note the typo by Reuters in the link below) against humanity through this house.

And apparently it works really well. Workers that built this upside down house needed to rest every few hours while visitors get sick after just a few minutes in it. Just looking at the video may make you puke! Ok, I'm exaggerating.


But seriously, now you know the secret of getting people to listen to you.

Step 1: Get an upside down house.
Step 2: Lock people in it and throw away the key.
Step 3: Loop your desired message until they puke.
Step 4: Profit!

[Source: Reuters]

 

Impossible Quiz 2

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It's Impossible Quiz 2! The sequel to Impossible Quiz. More crazy nonsense testing your speed, skill, brains and mouse dexterity. To see what you're getting yourself into, watch someone play the Impossible Quiz in record time.


Now you got all warmed up and you're ready for anything! Time to to conquer Impossible Quiz 2! First person who completes it gets a prize from =Splapp-me-do! (Warning: Very addictive/11Mb flash file)


Oh you need help? Already? Visit =Splapp-me-do's forum for help, answers, tips, walkthroughs. Or you can try asking here.

Update: I found some video walkthroughs. FYI: There are more than 100 questions!







[Link: The Impossible Quiz 2 by =Splapp-me-do]

 

Fun with matches

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So you've got a box of matches lying around gathering dust? No idea what to do with it? How about making a match rocket? Wait... A match rocket?? If you're wondering what that is, you're not the only one.

Over at Tutorial Ninjas, they have a simple howto on making match rockets. As you can see, it's very simple and fun. In fact, you could learn it just by watching the video.

Plus, it's handy thing to know if you all you've got is a some matches, aluminum foil and a paper clip with you and some baddie is out to get you. Ok, so that's a stretch, but just imagine more matches and more foil (do I see an evil glint in your eye). Nah, bad idea. Just stick to two matches or three or...



Can't get enough? There's more at Instructables.

 

Have They Been Shut Down?

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Have our spammer friends been shut down? Their latest site, celeblookalikesite.com, along with all their other sites such as coolfreepeople.com or hotyoungpeople.com have gone up in smoke or at least their domains have been parked as of yesterday.

The whois for coolfreepeople.com now shows a negative result for coolfreepeople.com and is the same for most of the sites except for the main server - coolstuff2see.com. The spam/phishing page is still up there hidden at coolstuff2see.com/skanks/register.html, leaving our spammer friends slightly battered and bruised but not broken. You'll have to wonder what it'll take for whoever's in charge to finally remove that shady site.

 

Thursday, August 30, 2007

The Most Ambitious Spiders Ever

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The Most Ambitious Spiders Ever, 200 Yard Giant Spider Web Engulfs Texas Park (Lake Tawakoni State Park) Trail at Willis (Wills) Point, Probably made by Social Cobweb Spiders

These are the world's most ambitious spiders. This spider web at the Texas Park Trail is so massive and widespread that its brownish tint comes from the dead mosquitoes and insects trapped in it. What were those spiders thinking? How about taking over the world one park trail at a time? Nah, I think they're just singing

"SPIDER TEAM

SPIDER TEAM

Does whatever a SPIDER TEAM does

Can we swing

from a web?

Sure we can!

We are spiders!

LOOK OOOUUUTTT!!!!

We are a SPIDER TEAM!!"

[Source: ABC News]

 

Why Gmail is Free

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Did you ever wonder why Gmail is free? How is Google able to cope with googols (yup, it's a word) of mail a day? Well here's the answer! Now you know where Google's been hiding your emails (and why they offer 2.8Gb and counting for free).


Just kidding! It's really how Google sends your mail. How else can they do it?

Got you there! On a more serious note, clips were submitted by users to Google to stitch together the final piece you see up there. See the official Google blog or this special link for more details.

 

Nokia iPhone? Oops, just a demo.

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The latest hot story today is that Nokia launched their very own iPhone. Engadget started off with the confusion, which led to it going on digg, and finally it hit the mainstream news. And many articles appeared asking if Nokia was copying Apple.

But a few hours later, Engadget came back with a story that basically said they made a mistake on their last post. It turns out that Nokia was just showing off their software and not the phone itself (Yes, the phone is fake, it's computer generated). Of course Nokia never clarified that in the ad (but it does look nice).

Nokia fanboys may be left disappointed but Nokia sure is happy. With a little twist of fate, the upcoming phone from Nokia received more attention than it would have if it was demoed on some other mock-up. And just in case you haven't seen it, here's the Nokia iPhone ad.

 

Star Wars + Simpsons = Awesome!

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What happens when you combine Star Wars and the Simpsons? You get the best of both of worlds (and a really awesome video). This parody of the Simpsons intro is so good, it looks like the real thing. Just too bad it wasn't a full episode. Enough said, enjoy the video!

 

It's All About TV

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TV seems to be getting a lot of attention recently. No, not because you're watching TV instead of surfing (I didn't say your TV). The latest news about the health of TV is bleak according to a Google expert. From that article, he states that

"85 per cent of all video we watch is pre-recorded, so you can set your system to download it all the time," said Mr Cerf, who is now the vice-president of the Google, the world's largest search engine.

And that may very well be true with sites such as Hulu, Watch Tv Sitcoms and VideoHybrid popping up on the internet. There are plenty more where that came from but these are the newest ones to gain fame (possibly, notoriety).


hulu Hulu is the newest one to join the game, as a joint venture between NBC and News Corp. It hasn't even launched yet, but everyone's talking about it anyway, just cause Hulu wants to be a Youtube killer. Not looking too good for it though, since Hulu in Swahili is "cease" and "desist". If you want to get in on the beta, visit it at Hulu.com now to get an invite.


WatchTVsitcoms.com logo Next up is Watch TV sitcoms. It was quite a popular search earlier today, most likely due to its wrestling and fighting TV shows that it offers. It has a pretty decent collection of shows, including popular ones such as Dexter, 24 and Lost. Other than TV shows, it offers movies and music as well. Legality of the content however is in doubt.


VideoHybrid logo Lastly we have VideoHybrid. This was started by two teenagers in the US. It works on a similar model as digg - user generated content or in this case, user requested content. The flow is simple. (You) Request, (Others) Hunt, (they) Notify (you), Enjoy!

Note that while its content is plentiful and accessible, VideoHybrid may not fare too well in the legal department. It's probably walking the thin line that user submitted content is not the responsibility of the owner.

Of these three, Hulu looks to have the highest chance of survival considering its backing, although it doesn't have very positive reviews. The other two, however, look like they may just "disappear" one day. So don't worry about TV, it's not going to die just yet.

 

Add Another One To The List

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Haven't you seen many of these sites lately? Ooohhh, is that you here or some other enticing message with a curious link? Like hotyoungpeople.com or bestubelieve.com, celeblookalikeonline.com is the latest spam/phishing site appearing on Myspace daily. If you have absolutely no idea what this fuss is all about, read about it here, here or here.

They may have changed their naming techniques, but the main server remains at coolstuff2see.com. Block with the methods I mentioned here. And shouldn't someone be doing something about them already (hint: Myspace)? How about blocking pages that contain iframes pointing to coolstuff2see.com?

Whois: celeblookalikeonline.com

 

Miss South Carolina does it again

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Miss South Carolina, Lauren Caitlin Upton, explains just what she was saying the other day (well, not really) on Miss Teen USA 2007. She says she was nervous and all, and to give her the benefit of the doubt, she was on live tv. She also claims she didn't hear most of the question (one or two words). I don't watch pageants, but is it possible to ask for a repeat of the question? Anyway, her answer wasn't simply poor, it didn't even answer the question at all.

The hosts on the show do seem to empathize with her by telling her they do that all the time. And they laugh. Then you wonder, hmm, are they laughing with her or at her? They even ask her the same question again! Of course, answering the same question again looks like an attempt at damage control, plus it sounds rehearsed. In fact the whole interview seems to have been scripted.

In case you want to relive the moment of Mario Lopez sneaking a grin in, or haven't watched the video where she answered a question with an incomprehensible answer, you can watch it here.

 

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

How Do You Go To School?

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I bet it's nothing as exciting or dangerous as this. Most people walk, run or take a bus/car to school, but these kids have got balls of steel. Their mode of transport? A steel cable! And it's suspended a few hundred meters above a river gouge! Any mistake and you're dead. Just to get to school. I think I'll stay at home. Plunging to a watery death is just not my cup of tea.

By the way, while it does get a bit draggy, there's a twist at the end of the video. Be sure to watch till the end!



[Source: Noob.us via digg]

 

Oops! HappyYoungPeople are very happy!

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Thanks to our spammer/phisher friend (see posts here and here to see what I'm talking about) who unfortunately chose a name, hotyoungpeople.com, that Google asks to correct to HappyYoungPeople.com, the guys at HappyYoungPeople are very happy right now. Yup, HappyYoungPeople.com is a legitimate site if you do a search in Google you'll see how long they've been around.

In fact, if you did a little research, you'll see that this dude, Neal Obermeyer, contributes to HappyYoungPeople. He says this on his blog for one, and if you looked at Wikipedia, you'll see it there too. Actually if you actually did a simple search, you'll see that HappyYoungPeople are not even related to the spam site.

But is anyone saying otherwise? Well, this site says that HappyYoungPeople are related to our spammer/phisher friend, as you can see in the thumbnail below. Oops! It was even posted to digg. Here's the full screenshot of it.



Apparently someone didn't even visit the site.

As I was typing this, another baddie appeared at coolyoungpeople.com. Yeah, I did sneak a peek to make sure coolyoungpeople is related to our spammer/phisher friend. And sure enough it is.

Moral of the story? Do your research.

Whois of the above sites:

 

Thanks for working! Here's a metal bar.

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n907up

In commemoration of its Founder's Day, United Parcel Service Inc. is giving every employee a metal bar that came from the first aircraft in the company's fleet.

Atlanta-based UPS (NYSE: UPS) is celebrating its 100th anniversary, and Tuesday marks the exact date that the company was founded a century ago.

To commemorate the day, UPS melted down the air frame of N907UP and made 3-inch bars to give its employees, according to spokeswoman Jackie Blair. UPS bases its airlines division in Louisville, Ky.

Since its inception in 1987, UPS Airlines has grown to be the eighth-largest airline in the world, with more than 250 aircraft. It serves more than 400 domestic and 375 international airports and flies more than 1,050 domestic and 765 international flight segments daily.

Here's a look at the coveted metal bar:
n907up, metal bar front
Front of metal bar

n907up, metal bar front
Back of metal bar

It's always nice touch to give out stuff to your employees on anniversaries, especially important ones. Although if I were an employee I'm not too sure what I'd do with it. This guy sure does. He sells it on ebay! Genius! Don't worry, you could always get some here or here. Found another auction here (in German). Want more? Try this ebay search. (Note that the links to ebay, while informative, are also ads by auctionads.)

Doesn't this remind you of a T-shirt? You know the one that says, "I worked for UPS and all I got was this metal bar." I guess this could get quite popular pretty soon.

[Source: Atlanta Business Chronicle]
[Link: Some details about about the plane.]
[Picture of n907up from Airliners.net]
[Pictures of metal bar from respective ebay auctions.]

 

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Wanna watch the eclipse?

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If you're in the US, and happen to be awake right now, you are probably planning to watch the highly publicized, excessively hyped and over-dramatized (kidding) lunar eclipse. In case, you're one of those who live under a rock, there is a total lunar eclipse, happening, oh, I'd say right about now.

This event is so popular that NASA even created a special page for it, just so you wouldn't miss it. Unfortunately for NASA, their web server seems to be crying out for help and here I am ready to give a helping hand, with special thanks to Google (since they own Blogger). Hopefully, it'll fare better than NASA's server.

So here are some of the stuff from NASA's page on the lunar eclipse (the more important stuff like when you can see the total eclipse). I've highlighted some stuff in bold.

Times and Phases of the Total Lunar Eclipse of August 28, 2007

From start to finish, August's lunar eclipse lasts about three hours and thirty-three minutes (not including the penumbral phases which are very difficult to see).
The partial eclipse begins as the Moon's eastern edge slowly moves into the Earth's umbral shadow.
During the partial phases, it takes just over an hour for the Moon's orbital motion to carry it entirely within the Earth's dark umbra.
The color and brightness of the totally eclipsed Moon can vary considerably from one eclipse to another.
Dark eclipses are caused by volcanic gas and dust which filters and blocks much of the Sun's light from reaching the Moon.
But since no major volcanic eruptions have taken place recently, the Moon will probably take on a vivid red or orange color during the total phase.
After the total phase ends, it is once again followed by a partial eclipse as the Moon gradually leaves the umbral shadow.

The total phase of a lunar eclipse is called totality.
At this time, the Moon is completely immersed within the Earth's dark umbral shadow.
During the August 28 eclipse totality will last 90 minutes.
This is less that the maximum possible duration of 107 minutes (see: Total Lunar Eclipse of July 16, 2000).

The major phases of the eclipse occur as follows (all times are GMT or Greenwich Mean Time).
The partial eclipse commences with first umbral contact at 08:14 GMT. Totality begins at 09:52 GMT and lasts until 11:22 GMT.
The partial phases end at 12:23 GMT.
Eclipse times for time zones in the United States and Canada are shown in the following table.



Total Lunar Eclipse of August 28, 2007

North AmericaOther
EventTime EDTTime CDTTime MDTTime PDTTime ADTTime HSTTime GMT
Partial Eclipse Begins: 04:51 am 03:51 am 02:51 am 01:51 am 12:51 am 10:51 pm* 08:51 am
Total Eclipse Begins: 05:52 am 04:52 am 03:52 am 02:52 am 01:52 am 11:52 pm* 09:52 am
Mid-Eclipse: 06:37 am 05:37 am 04:37 am 03:37 am 02:37 am 12:37 am 10:37 am
Total Eclipse Ends: 07:22 am 06:22 am 05:22 am 04:22 am 03:22 am 01:22 am 11:22 am
Partial Eclipse Ends: 08:24 am 07:24 am 06:24 am 05:24 am 04:24 am 02:24 am 12:24 am
* Event occurs on evening of August 27, 2007


Key to Time Zones
ZoneDescription
EDT Eastern Daylight Time (= GMT - 4 hours)
CDT Central Daylight Time (= GMT - 5 hours)
MDT Mountain Daylight Time (= GMT - 6 hours)
PDT Pacific Daylight Time (= GMT - 7 hours)
ADT Alaska Daylight Time (= GMT - 8 hours)
HST Hawaiian Standard Time (= GMT - 10 hours)
GMT Greenwich Mean Time

For the non-US people, there's supposed to be a webcast at this link. But it's not working. Bumper.

 

What the ҉???‮‪‫‬‭‮

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This one just caught my eye on digg. Apparently if you insert this character, ‫‬‭‮‪‫‬‭҉, it will screw up your typing and it'll start going from right to left. Spooky! Well, that's not entirely true as you can see from the previous sentence. But I can try..‫‬‭‮‪‫‬‭.
‫‬‭‮‪‫‬

‫‬‭‮‪‫‬‭‮҉ What's happening?

I had no idea what that character was either, but upon reading the very helpful comments at the site, I began to understand what was going on. If you refer to the ever helpful Wikipedia, you'll see that it's not ‫‬‭‮‪‫‬‭҉ at work, but invisible (non-printing) unicode characters to enforce right-to-left (think arabic) directional flow. These characters simply force left-to-right stuff to become right-to-left stuff.

Another person notes that ҉ is simply the Unicode character U+0489 COMBINING CYRILLIC MILLIONS SIGN. And there you have it, mystery solved.

[Source: Tip o' the Day]

Edit: I had to bump this post up because, well, let's just say this is quite popular and few are actually seeing it, even though it is in fact on the blog!

Some even think that this is ‫‬‭‮‪‫‬‭‫‬‭‮‪‫‬‭‮҉language . a

 

Halo 3 - 18 minutes of Gameplay Video

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Warning! This file is high quality and will blow your mind! Please mentally prepare yourself. Shows 18min of campaign game play. Highlights: See how the playback function works (highly rated), pause the game and rotate the camera or see some other area of the terrain, take and share your screenshots with your friends.

Download it at: Gamersyde (includes torrent of HQ 1.2gb version)

[Source: Xbox 360 Rally]

 

Monday, August 27, 2007

Bloglines New Beta Now Open to Public

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Bloglines If you use RSS, or more appropriately, make use of web feeds, you may have heard of Bloglines. No idea what Bloglines is? Quite simply, Bloglines allows you to read all your feeds anywhere you want, as long as you have internet access. I've been using Bloglines on and off for about a year or two (I think) and it has served me well.

Bloglines Beta in Opera 9 Bloglines just announced that they have released their latest beta to public so you could also try it out if you had Firefox or Internet Explorer 7. But what about Opera? Well it turns out that Opera users are not left out as you can see in the picture on the left. Opera is also the reason why I've used Bloglines periodically, as it has a built-in feed reader, so I only use Bloglines when I feel the weight of my laptop > my utility of laptop. So what's new other than the cute β (Greek letter, beta)?

The Start Page

Bloglines Beta start page, mouse hovers over article

The start page has been revamped to show a quick overview of your feeds recent contents if you choose to add them in, which would be useful for those who keep track of many feeds. As you can see from the screenshot above, it shows the five most recent articles from your selected feeds. When your cursor hovers over an article (cursor not shown in screenshot above), it shows you a quick preview of it.

Bloglines Beta start page, mouse clicks on article

Clicking on an article expands it and marks it as read (as seen above).

In this beta, you get 3 different views to choose from - Quick view, Full view and 3 Pane view. Compare this with the previous version - Display headlines only (Quick view), Display summaries and Display entire posting(Full view). It would seem that display summaries has been removed.

The Quick view

Bloglines Beta, quick view

As the name suggests, the quick view gives you, well a quick overview of any single feed. If you have many articles in a feed, you could simply scan through all of them and pick out those that attract you. In this mode, clicking on an article marks it as read, as seen in the screenshot above. Maybe it would be nice if they added a preview of the article (like the one in the start page) when your cursor hovered over an article.

The Full view

Bloglines Beta, full view

The full view shows you the header and contents of the articles. Nothing really new here (I think).

The 3 Pane View

Bloglines Beta, 3 pane view

The 3 Pane view is arguably the most popular view for web mail. So it's no surprise that Bloglines decided to implement the 3 pane view in this redesign. If you're familiar with using web mail such as Yahoo Mail, using this view should be a walk in the park.

Some other new stuff
In this beta, simply viewing a feed doesn't cause you to read every single article in the feed. Maybe it's just me, but that's what happens when I select on a feed to read articles. It's slightly annoying if there are plenty of articles in a feed (possible for a feed like digg). The only exception to this is when you are in full view. In full view, as you scroll down, each article in view will automatically get marked as read. However, I feel this is an improvement over automatically marking every article in the feed as read when you select the feed.

If you notice in the screenshots above, there are a few thousand articles unread. However, the scrollbar doesn't become anorexically thin. This is due to the dynamic loading of articles introduced in this version. Bloglines will load about 50 (I guess) articles and when you scroll to the bottom, it'll load another 50. This is superior to the old version where up to 200 articles in a feed will load.

What remains the same
Some shortcuts are still available like 'j' to move to the next article and 'k' to move to the previous article. 's' to move the next subscribed feed and 'r' to refresh the left pane are also kept the same. 'm', 'n', 'o', 'O' don't seem to exist anymore. 'f', 'A' were not tested.

What's missing
Quite a bit seems to have disappeared or maybe I'm just passing them by. For example, I don't see where the blog, clippings and playlists links went. Feed options also seem to have been omitted. At first, I suspected this could be due to me using Opera, but viewing the beta in Firefox did not prove any different.

Conclusion
As a current Bloglines user, I welcome the new beta especially the 3 Pane view. Admittedly, the start page won't be too useful to me, although dynamic loading of 50 articles and manual marking of read articles is very much appreciated. The shortcuts I regularly use are also still there so the only parts that are missing (that I can see) are the links to blog, clippings and playlists as well as feed options. Hopefully, these could be implemented soon so I could fully enjoy the beta!

 

How Do You ExplainThese?

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Looks like our spammer/phisher friend has been busy at work. If you have no idea what I'm talking about refer to my previous post.

For the past couple of days, people have been receiving Myspace links to his/her sites. And this didn't just start yesterday or the day before or even the day before that. Nope, it went back to at least a month ago, when the sites below were first registered. As always I don't link to the original sites, so they are linked to their whois results at godaddy.

From the looks of it, I think it's BestUBelieve that this is not about to stop. If you think otherwise, how do you ExplainThese sites? Since you are likely to be exposed to these sites sooner or later (especially if you are on Myspace), I suggest looking at some ways of preventing it from happening (listed below). Since everything points to coolstuff2see.com, once you black hole this site, they'll all fall down like toy soldiers (Martika - Toy soldiers, it happened to be playing while I was typing this :) ). In my opinion, it would be BestThisWay.

In my last post, I listed out some ways of reducing the damage if you had already visited these sites. However, what should you do if you would like to stop yourself or others using your computer from visiting these sites? Well here are some ways you can do that.
  • If you're using Internet Explorer, you should be able to add the sites into the restricted zone. This should prevent you from exposure to these sites, but if you install another browser, eg Firefox or Opera, I believe that you can still access these sites through Firefox or Opera. So this is not a totally foolproof method.

  • Another way would be to add them to the HOSTS file on your system. By adding them such that they resolve to a non-existent ip address or your own computer, your computer will not be able to access these sites. These should work for any operating system that uses the HOSTS file, including windows, macs and linux. However, this is still not entirely foolproof if you use a router, but for most users, this method or the previous method should be adequate.

    If you use a proxy to resolve addresses, there is an extra step. You will need to configure your browser to access these sites directly. This is because connection through a proxy will bypass the HOSTS file, since the proxy is doing the resolving of addresses. Search for your proxy settings and add the sites addresses into "No proxy for" or "Do not connect through proxy" (it's different for various browsers) for your browser. By accessing these sites directly, your computer will use the HOSTS file and will be unable to go to these sites.

  • Lastly, if you use your own proxy such as SQUID, or if you use a router, you should be able to add these sites into an access control list or a block list.
Know of other ways? Add them in the comments.

 

Sunday, August 26, 2007

CoolFreePeople? Nope, Just Spam.

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A website has started populating the web with useless sites that probably includes nasties as well (I didn't like the prospect of spending the weekend cleaning my computer of whatever-ware they have there). The idea is simple really. Setup a site at coolstuff2see.com and have other websites that contain iframes pointing to this site. Just so people won't notice when they visit the homepage of coolstuff2see.com, say it's under construction. Perfect!

Yes, you can tell it's the weekend and people are in the mood to be careless. I suppose the webmaster was thinking, hmm what would people like to do during the weekend. Maybe you'd like to meet coolfreepeople at this site coolfreepeople.com (not linked to protect you). Or perhaps you'd want to check out cool stuff at coolstuff2see.com/skanks/register.html (again not linked to protect you). How about some amusement at amusementpeople.com (do I need to say it again)? If you thought you'd find something nice at these sites, think again.

What do these three sites have in common? Well, first, they are basically useless to most people except for maybe the webmaster. Second, they are newly created sites as you can see here, here and here. Third, not only are they useless, they may contain crapware, adware, spyware, well, stuff that is not too good for your computer.

So do yourself a favor this weekend, and don't go looking for CoolFreePeople. Not at these sites anyway.

Edit: I just realized that I totally forgot about the people who had visited the mentioned sites above before coming here. So what if you had already gone to the site?

First off, stop going to sites that you received in your instant messages or email. If you really need to, check it out first.

Next, do a virus/adware/spyware scan. Basically do a check to see if anything on your computer had been compromised.

Lastly, since that seems to be primarily a phishing site, if you entered your email and password (bad idea), change them as soon as you can. If you use the same username or email address and password for other sites, change those as well. Phishers are normally in it for the money or identity theft, so focus on changing your bank, paypal, e-gold, etc passwords.

That's all I can think of to reduce your collateral damage. If you have any more ideas, the comment form is just a click away.

 

How Not To Answer A Question, Ever.

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Normally I don't care about pageants. But this video was the highlight of the recent Miss Teen USA pageant 2007. Miss South Carolina, Lauren Caitlin Upton, was asked a question in the final five. And what happens? Well, let's just say she speaks for herself.


The simple, innocent question:
A recent poll showed that some Americans can't find the USA on a world map and why do you think this is?

Her mind boggling answer:
I personally believe that U.S. Americans are unable to do so because, uhmmm, some people out there in our nation don't have maps and uh, I believe that our, I, education like such as uh, South Africa, and uh, the Iraq, everywhere like such as, and I believe that they should, uhhh, our education over here in the US should help the US, uh, should help South Africa, it should help the Iraq and the Asian countries so we will be able to build up our future, for us.

The result? Not as disastrous as you would like to believe. I mean four out of five ain't too bad considering her answer. I honestly thought with such an incomprehensible answer, she would have been booted from the show. On another note, I think people watch this just for the comedy. Seriously.

[Source: DListed]

Afterthought: By the way, did you notice the host's (Mario Lopez) face after her answer? You could see him start to form a smile which eventually becomes a wide grin as he looks to the camera.

 

Red Red Moon

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Red Red MoonStill can't get over Cas Haley losing out to Terry Fator in America's Got Talent? Well, this beautiful, serene sight coming on Aug 28 should calm you down. It's Red Red Moon day (or night if you prefer) and it'll last 1.5 hours, enough for you to lay down and just forget the world. Yes, let's waste time, chasing eclipses, around our heads.

The upcoming eclipse is called a central lunar eclipse. It's central because the moon is entering the center of Earth's shadow. A lunar eclipse is simply Earth casting a shadow on the moon, unlike the one in Heroes, which is a solar eclipse, where the moon casts a shadow on Earth.

Depending on where you are, the eclipse will begin at various times with varying degrees of darkness. Unfortunately, all of the times happen to be in the morning, like really really early morning, when most people are asleep. Oh stop complaining, will you? It's not everyday that you get to see an eclipse, although I keep seeing it on Heroes.

[Source: Astronomy Magazine]

 
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