Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Internet Explorer 7 for Google

That's right! Here's a new version of Internet Explorer specifically customized for Google. What does this mean?

  • Personalized Google homepage
  • Integrated Google Ioolbar
  • Google as default search engine
Homepage: IE7 for Google

There's a new "memory" in town!

Say goodbye to the "old" flash memory. Apparently, IBM, Macronix, and Qimond are working on a new "species" of memory, called the "phase-change" memory, which appears to be 500 times faster and uses half the power to boot than the flash memory.

But, what is exactly the "phase-change" memory? Does anybody know?

Source: Engadget

"Evil Twin" Wireless Routers: the new hacking approach

Hackers started using a new technique to get hold of private information from public wireless routers' users. It's called the "evil twin" approach and the technique is based on the following principles:

  • The hackers go to an area where there's a public wireless access point
  • In this area they deploy a new wireless access point with the exact same name and properties as the public wireless access point
  • This way the users are mislead in using the "evil twin" access point instead of the real one and all transfered data can be monitored by the hackers
  • In doing so, the users share private information, such as passwords, links and emails without even knowing
This kind of activities have already been detected in a first-class private lounge of an airline company in a USA airport and in a specialized workshop for luxury cars, which had a room where their costumers could use public Wi-Fi access while waiting for their cars to be ready.

Source: Módulo Security News (Brazilian Portuguese)

Don't turn off your phone! Somebody might be listening...

Apparently, the FBI has discovered a new way to "eavesdrop" on criminal's cellphones. Using a specific software (which can be installed remotely or by getting hold of the phone), the FBI can listen to conversations nearby the phone, once this is disconnected.

The software misleads the criminals in thinking that they have just turned off the phone, when in fact the phone is actually "calling" to the FBI.

So, "bad guys", a piece of advise: take off your batteries. That's the only safe option :-)

Source: New Scientist Blog

Monday, December 11, 2006

More rumours on the iPhone

New rumors from a "solid" source regarding the iPhone:
- Going to be coming out in January
- Really small
- The OS is supposed to be "cool"
- Doing some unique things
- Two batteries, one charger. One for MP3 portion and one for Phone.
- 4GB ($249) and 8GB ($449)
- Flash memory, Slide out keyboard
- Maybe touch screen?


Source: MacRumors

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Yet another study saying "no link between cell-phones and cancer"

A huge study from Denmark offers the latest reassurance that cell phones don't trigger cancer. Scientists tracked 420,000 Danish cell phone users, including 52,000 who had gabbed on the gadgets for 10 years or more, and some who started using them 21 years ago.

They matched phone records to the famed Danish Cancer Registry that records every citizen who gets the disease -- and reported Tuesday that cell-phone callers are no more likely than anyone else to suffer a range of cancer types.

The study, published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, is the largest yet to find no bad news about the safety of cell phones and the radio frequency energy they emit.

But will the debate end?


Monday, November 27, 2006

A screen made of fog and much more!

Just got back last week from the IST2006 in Helsinki and I've seen quite some interesting new technologies that may just revolutionize the way we interact with machines.

Check out this Fog Screen technology:

And how about this never ending screen?

This never-ending screen was produced by a set of sequential projectors that were placed in a way such you wouldn't be able to detect where the image of one projector ends and the other begins.

Imagine playing an "in-your-face" game with this kind of screen: enemies everywhere, real action everywhere, 360º view of your environment :-)

I was there to present an innovative emergency assistance technology built on top of the CASCOM infrastructure.

This kind of application allows a user in an emergency (with chest pain, for example) to request for assistance with the medical emergency services by using only a data connection on his/her mobile phone.

By automatically sending relevant data (location-based information, symptoms and personal information such as social security number), the application helps improving the way the emergency assistance system addresses all the requests that are received.

By using this information, the emergency services can allocate the mission to the nearest ambulance and send the received data and also collect more relevant data of the user (such as past medical information), thus improving the action taken by the ambulance physician.

Don't recycle just yet...use your paper again.

Toshiba has made a demonstration on this very interesting technology that allows the re-use of the same sheet of paper(-like) material up to 500 times.

This new printer, which will allow to reduce the use of paper and the amount of waste produced in big companies, uses a polyethylene-based plastic paper.

As it can be seen in the demo movie, the printer heats up the paper and the chemical reaction on the polyethylene allows manipulating the content on the paper, thus providing a way of erasing and printing new content on the same sheet.

Source: Peopleware (Portuguese)

Keen on putting one of those fingerprint locks at your place? Wait up...they're not so secure!

The guys from "Mythbusters" discovered, not only one, but three ways of picking one of these "never-broken" fingerprints locks.

The first two might be difficult to implement as they don't involve simple materials and techniques. But the third one....PLEASE!! A photocopy and a little bit of saliva???

How can you trust this technology now? :-)

Well, alternatives are on their way: finger vein scanners!

These kind of lockers, which instead of scanning fingerprints, scan vein structures in the user's hand/finger, don't actually need to make contact with the hand.

You place your fingertips on the reader, and presto, the door unlocks, assuming your veins match its stored list of 10 authorized patterns.

Source and photos: Engadget post 1, post 2

So, we're back to paper

So many digital standards for storing data (CDs, DVDs, Zip drives, etc...) and now we're back to the simple good old paper!

A student in Kerala has developed a technique for portable data whereby the data can now be stored on an ordinary piece of paper. In order to get the data back to the computer all you have to do is just scan the piece of paper and process it over the created software. Instead of using zeros and ones for computing, this technique uses geometric shapes such as circles, squares and triangles for computing which combine with various colors and preserve the data in images. In order to do this, all kinds of data has to be first converted into a common format called “Rainbow Format.”

Named “Rainbow Technology”, the new technique is the brainchild of Sainul Abideen, who has just finished his MCA at Muslim Educational Society Engineering College in Kuttipuram in Kerala’s Malappuram district.

The extremely low-cost technology will drastically reduce the cost of storage and provide for high-speed storage as well. Files in any format such as movie files, songs, images and text can be stored using this technology. The Rainbow Versatile Disc (RVD) can store 90 to 450 GB.

Sainul has simultaneously developed a scanning drive based on his Rainbow software which will come in smaller sizes to be initially carried with the laptops and later to fit into their bodies.

From: Arab News

Exercise yourself with the new Nintendo Wii

Nothing like some good motion-sensitive remote controllers to get the "lazy" game-console fans to do some exercise. Some of them already consider the new Nintendo's Wii remote controller to be just as similar as a good workout.

However, some reports point to aching backs, sore shoulders and other exertion-related pains. I see two outcomes of these developments: one, parents will finally see their kids stop playing, even though if it's because of the unbearable pain while playing; two, Nintendo should prepare for potential lawsuits on these injuries, if they are proven not to be temporary.

Anyway, the marriage between console gaming and motion-sensitive accessories, might actually be a good thing for those kids who need more physical activity in their lives.

Source: CNET's Blogma

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

The PS3 Madness: part III

It's just amazing. The video says it all...

Google Page Creator new features.

Google has released a few upgrades to their instant web site product, the Google Page Creator, including image editing, multiple URLs and automatic mobile versions.

For example, lighten, darken and resize your page's images within Google Page Creator, and also create up to 5 different sites with multiple Google Pages URLs. Also, the Google Page Creator creates automatic mobile-optimized versions of the pages, in order to be seen in mobile phones.

From: Lifehacker

Sorry, not true! Nokia N97 will not have those amazing specs...

Contrary to as previously posted, Nokia N97 is not even a rumor yet, let alone have those amazing features such as the 20Gb HD. It turns out that a member of Nokia's developer forums dreamed up the superphone.

Source: Engadget

Monday, November 20, 2006

Nokia continues the "Multimedia Computer" development wave

Whether it's the N95 smartphone or the newly announced N97, Nokia is really taking the lead on this new wave of mobile "multimedia computers".

You could argue that these phones are no computers at all, but it's kinda difficult to do so, when you look at the N97's specs:

  • 20GB HDD
  • "3D stereo speakers"
  • 3.2 megapixel camera with flash and 2.4x optical zoom
  • 15fps video recording
  • a 3-inch screen
  • FM radio
  • miniSD
  • 400+ hour standby time
  • 4+ hour talk time
  • and 24+ hour music playback
They're getting there...that's for sure :-)

Picture from: Engadget

Apple iPhone: is this for real?

The rumors continue and still not a word from Apple about this... Is the iPhone for real? When will it be released? What are the specifications. I guess the speculation will continue until Apple gives some certainty to this issue.

For now, let's take a look of some of the interesting rumors wondering around in the web on this:

  • Basically, the iPhone will merge traditional cellular capabilities with Apple's legendary iPod digital music player technology
  • Apparently, the product has been finalized, released to manufacturing and will start production in February
  • The device will have a 2Mega-pixel camera
  • It will have a 2Gb storage capability, which stores up to 500 songs
  • It will also have Bluetooth connectivity and will be as intuitive and simple to use as the normal iPod

It's quite appealing, isn't it? Let's wait and see if Steve Jobs will present this soon in an Apple Event.

Source: AppleInsider

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Where the ... is my DLL?

Need a specific DLL and can't find it anywhere? Check here: DllDump.
It's great for those missing/corrupted DLL files in our system.

Tip from: Peopleware (Portuguese)

Online image resizer

Ever needed to resize an image and didn't want to open a whole picture editing program just to do that? Well, why not use ResizR? On their own words:

Often you do not need more than just resizing an image on the fly. Before ResizR you required a desktop software to do this - heavy applications which can do much more than just resizing an image. ResizR changes the game - it's much easier. Select an image - choose the width - rotate optionally.
Website: ResizR
Tip from: Lifehacker

The PS3 Madness: part II

The PS3 Madness continues...

The enigmatic game box from Sony has raised a lot of extreme violence around the people that want to be the first to buy one.

Check out the latest news on this:

Source: Engadget

Football on your Firefox

Install this extension to your Firefox and you don't have to lose another goal of your favorite football team :-)

Website: Footiefox
Tip from: Peopleware (Portuguese)

One commercial app for free each day

Giveaway of the Day gives you one free commercial software application every day. What's the catch? Each program is available for 24 hours only, and you must install it the day you download it.

No, the software doesn't expire after 24 hours. Rather, you have a 24-hour window in which to nab it and load it. But once that's done, it's yours to keep. Great, isn't it?

Source: Lifehacker

PocketPutty: SSH client for PocketPC

PocketPutty is an SSH client which allows to connect to SSH1 or SSH2 servers and Telnet. The interface is quite simple and connection is quick. It allows to launch programs on your computer or to kill tasks when a distant program crashed.

Link: PocketPutty
Source: PocketPCFreeware

Got a 30Gb Zune? Why not have your very own home-made 40Gb Zune?

If an extra 10GB is worth the price and hassle to you, then there's a way to turn your 30Gb Zune into a 40Gb Zune. Turns out the Zune uses the same battery as that of the 60/80GB iPod, and apparently, an upgrade to a 40GB Toshiba drive is relatively painless as well.

Source: Engadget

Friday, November 17, 2006

Add tweaks with Google Desktop

Google Desktop is not only a local-search tool. The new version Google Desktop 4.5 adds tweaks and cosmetic changes to the popular desktop tool, including a sexier Sidebar and compatibility with the latest software.

Google's words on it:

The new Sidebar is transparent, so it fits seamlessly with your desktop environment. Gadgets that fought for attention now look right at home, and content-heavy gadgets get new frames and icons that make it easier to tell them apart. And this version is compatible with all of the latest software, including Microsoft Vista, Office 2007, and Mozilla Firefox 2.0.
However, since I first installed I can't let go the feeling that the CPU and memory are spiking just a little bit too often for my taste.

Anyway, the feeling of control over the desktop, including iTunes playing control, computer resources monitoring, e-mail and photo preview and even a mini notebook where you can just write down some important draft ideas, are an overall satisfaction. And the list of available gadgets is quite diverse.

Homepage: Google Desktop
From: LifeHacker

Hotmail will store 1Gb

Microsoft will expand the storage capability of Hotmail accounts to 1Gb, however this will only be applied to users that now have accounts with 250 Mb capacity.

Also, the unused expiration time for accounts with more than 2 years will now be 60 days, instead of the usual 30 days.

From: CDRWXP (Portuguese)

The PS3 Madness

All you have to do is visit PlayB3yond to start getting that tickling in your thumbs just thinking of the hours you'll be spending playing this new era of console gaming.

BUT is it worth it to wait for hours in line and get shot by an air gun or robbed to be the first to buy one? Or even get inside a war zone and fight your way in?

What about the woman who was nine months pregnant, which was trying to ignore her contractions in order to stay in line? This is so bizarre that I can't even believe it.

Grow up...

Image by Engadget

Zune & Windows Vista: not a match

The new portable multimedia player from Microsoft, Zune, is not yet compatible with the new Microsoft operating system Windows Vista. However, Zune's official site refers that an update to Zune should be released soon, which will fix this compatibility issue.

Source: Peopleware (Portuguese)

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Not using your pre-installed windows? Get your refund...

Freelance programmer Dave Mitchell bought a Dell laptop on October and since he was planning to run the Linux open source operating system on the machine, he had no need for the copy of Windows XP Home that had been pre-installed in the machine.

When he started it for the first time, he clicked the box that said "Do not agree" on the Windows license agreement that asked him to agree to its terms. The text of this agreement states users can get a refund for the "unused products" on their new computer if they get in touch with the machine's manufacturer.

And that's exactly what he did. Mitchell contacted Dell and asked for a refund for not using the pre-installed version of the Windows Home Edition. Surprisingly, Mitchell received an affirmative answer just two days from his request. The total refund was for £55.23 (around 80€/$105), which Mitchell took to be the value of a pre-installed version of Windows XP Home.

Even more surprisingly, Dell has not asked for the installation disc to be returned :-)

How about if we all do the same?

From: BBC News

iPods on a Plane

The integration wave of iPod doesn't seem to be slowing down. Apple is teaming up with Air France, Continental, Delta, Emirates, KLM and United to add charging, audio and video integration for airline passengers.

This might be interesting for most iPod users, but until I get a more comprehensive list of functionalities I would rather prefer to see some "integration" for my laptop. I use my iPod all the time on flights and since it has such a good battery, I never even need to charge it. This is not the case for my laptop, which if I use while I'm waiting for boarding, I just might end up with no "juice" left in a 3 hour flight.

Source: Engadget

Faster Ethernet Connections

Infinera, the University of California Santa Cruz, Internet2 and Level3 Communications have just demoed a 100 gigabit per second Ethernet connection over a fiber network between Houston, Texas and Tampa, Florida. This will sure trigger a new generation of ethernet routers by, who knows, next year?

From: Engadget

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Control your computer with hand gestures

Here's a new technique that may start the revolution on the human-computer interactions. It's very simple and quite straight-forward. A camera points down towards the user's keyboard from above, letting the user control on-screen windows with hand movements.

Watch the video:

Source: João Bordalo

Windows Vista was cracked...already!

Windows Vista activation process was cracked. The cracked RAR-compacted files that allow activating Microsoft's most recent operating system, should be used in security-mode and will replace certain files related to the activation process and the OS activation key.

Source: CDRWXP (Portuguese)

Do you have a lot of PS1 and PS2 games? Don't go off buying PS3 just now...

The new Playstation3, launched in Japan on Saturday, is supposed to be compatible with game software designed for its previous models. However, it does not run some PlayStation and PlayStation 2 software titles properly, so don't buy it just yet if you have quite a large library of the previous Playstation versions games.

According to Sony, sound is eliminated on some software titles when played on the PS3, while some other titles do not play on the latest machine at all.

Source: Reuters Tech News

Java Open Source

Sun has released its Java software for free to the entire open-source community. With this move, Sun seeks to boost sales of computers, data storage gear and services by making the company's software more widely available.

In addition, Sun has a version of Java that works on portable electronic devices such as cell phones, which it is also making available for free.

Source: Reuters Tech News, IDG Now (Portuguese)

GMail is a virus, according to Microsoft

From late last week until Sunday night, the Windows Live OneCare security software incorrectly flagged the Google e-mail service as a threat. A warning popped up when OneCare users opened the Gmail Web site, telling them that their systems were infected with a virus called "BAT/BWG.A."

According to a Microsoft representative, this was a limited false positive issue with the anti-virus protection, which is now resolved with the release of a new anti-virus signature on Sunday evening.

From: CNET

Thursday, November 09, 2006

The worm wave continues, this time in Google

It's not only Apple and McDonald's that have problems with "worms". Google on Tuesday inadvertently sent the Kama Sutra e-mail worm to the 50,000 subscribers of a Google Video e-mail group. Three postings were made Tuesday evening to an e-mail list that sends out postings to the Google Video blog. Some of these posts contained a virus called W32/Kapser.A@mm--a mass-mailing worm.

W32/Kapser.A is better known as the Kama Sutra worm. Kama Sutra was designed to overwrite files on infected computers on a specific date. However, the worm, which spread under the guise of pornographic content, caused virtually no damage.

From: CNET

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Scrybe: organize yourself online (or even offline)

Scrybe is an online (and offline) organizer with very simple, yet very useful and efficient functionalities. Check out the video below to have a glimpse of what this tool can do:

Source: João Bordalo

Misspellers get bigger page ranks in Google

Here's an interesting story of how an innocent spelling error can give your website a good page rank in Google.

Source: João Bordalo

Your mobile has the Answers

One of my favorite sites for (literally) finding answers has gone mobile. You can now easily find answers in an encyclopedia-like website, directly on your mobile. Just connect to the Internet and go to and you're ready to start getting some answers.

Source: Lifehacker

Check your addiction online

Have you ever wonder exactly how much time do you waste on the web and on which specific sites? Well, now you can check it out with the new Firefox add-on: PageAddict.

This extension gives you a summary of how much time you've spent visiting different sites. Just install the plug-in, surf like you normally do, then return to to see your results. You get the time spent at each site, the percentage of your overall time spent at each site, and the option to apply tags to them.

Source: Lifehacker
Website: PageAddict

The world wide web is not big enough for Google: continued

As posted before, Google is really trying to get in the offline business and this time it's radio. Google is hiring scores of radio sales people and is spending heavily in a bid to expand its position in the $20 billion radio industry.

Google spokesman Michael Mayzel said this week that the company will begin a public test of Google Audio Ads by the end of the year. Advertisers will be able to go online and sign up for targeted radio ads using the same AdWords system they use to buy Web search ads.

From: Reuters Tech News

Monday, November 06, 2006

The world wide web is not big enough for Google

The Internet is too small for the giant corporation that Google is becoming. Google is set to begin helping customers buy advertisements in 50 U.S. newspapers in a test to see how the Web search leader can extend its business into offline media.

Source: Reuters Tech News

Office 2007 ready to be distributed

Microsoft has completed the software code for its Office 2007 suite and will begin to offer the world's most popular package of desktop software to corporate customers on November 30.

By announcing the Microsoft Office 2007 suite was ready for "release to manufacturing," it signals that the product is relatively bug-free and suitable for wide distribution.

From: Reuters Tech News

Wikipedia does not spread only knowledge

The free on-line encyclopedia was used to spread malicious code across users of the Wikipedia.
The entry for the MSBlast worm in the German version of the popular online encyclopedia was altered to include false information about a new version of the Lovesan/MSBlast worm, with links to a supposed fix, which was, in fact, a piece of malicious code.

From: CNET

A virtual Big Brother

The popular internet virtual world Second Life will host the next generation of reality shows, starting with the world famous Big Brother.

Endemol, the original producer of the show, will select 15 international Second Life contestants to spend at least eight hours a day inside a specially constructed glass-walled house for one month. As in the real-world version of "Big Brother," the contestants will be voted off until only one remains.

The winner will receive a virtual island within Second Life, worth about US$1,675.

Source: Reuters Tech News

"Silent Jet" to make airport areas a "quieter" place to live

Researchers at MIT and Cambridge University have unveiled a design for a "silent aircraft" that would radically reduce the noise emanating from airports.
Besides re-imagining the shape of traditional jumbo jets, the 40-person team also moved the engines from under the wings into the body of the plane itself, allowing them to take in air from the top of the wing and minimize the noise heard by people on the ground. The quieter design could result in airports being constructed much closer to residential areas, meaning that passengers would be able to start their two-hour wait at the security checkpoint that much more quickly.

From: CNET, Engadget
Photos: CNET

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Don't sell your (ilegally) downloaded musics, and you're home least in Spain

A Judge in Santander, Spain, has ruled that "non-for-profit" download of musics is not a crime. The defendant was a 48 year old man who downloaded musics from the Internet and shared them with his friends. The accusation wanted the man to be sentenced to pay a fine and compensation to copyright holders.

However, the Judge decided that downloading musics with no intention to have any profit from it, is not a copyright infringement, thus opening a very important precedent in Spain. The defendant walked free without having to pay neither the fine or the compensation.

Source: Peopleware (Portuguese), Diário Digital (Portuguese)

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Shuffle fans get ready for Friday: smallest iPod ever is here!

Apple Computer announced that the second generation of its iPod Shuffle will be available globally on Friday, Nov. 3. The 1-gigabyte screenless iPod, has been the subject of much fan speculation because of Apple CEO Steve Jobs' claim that it's the world's smallest digital-audio player--it's half a cubic inch in volume.

From: CNET News

Windows Media Player 11

"Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery", and that's exactly what you think when you have a look at the new Windows Media Player 11. Microsoft found the formula: imitate those that are successful and you just might be successful too.

Let's have a look:

  • The new WMP11 is very similar to iTunes
    • it has the same metal-like skins
    • similar configuration of the controls
    • similar arrangement of the media files
    • browsing through album covers (just like iTunes 7)
  • The new WMP11 has some Firefox features too
    • tabbed browsing
    • toggling between player, library, ripping, burning and syncing up media
But that's where the similarities end. The Urge tunes store embedded in the WMP11 is in no way comparable to the quality of iTunes.

Wired News Verdict:
"Windows Media Player 11 is definitely a significant improvement over its predecessors. Taking a cue from Apple, Microsoft has devised a gorgeous and surprisingly uncomplicated media player. However, if the boys from Redmond want to truly gain ground on the folks at One Infinite Loop, they'll have to integrate a better music store than Urge into future WMP sequels. And hey, Microsoft, you guys are on the right track, but you should spend more time listening to what your customers actually want instead of telling them what they need."

Homepage: Windows Media Player 11
Source: Wired News

You can change Windows Vista 10 times, after all!

Microsoft stepped back on its decision of allowing only "one time" transfer of the Windows Vista License. As up to now, Microsoft would only allow you to re-install Windows Vista once. But now, Microsoft has changed the EULA and apparently you will be able to re-activate Windows Vista 10 times.

Even though this may seem a "good-will" attitude from Microsoft, I can't help feeling a little bit deceived on their marketing techniques:

  • Ok, so first they limit our possibility of transferring the license from one computer to another. This would pose quite a problem once you decided to change some major piece of hardware in your computer (for example, the HD). What would then happen if you decided to add a new motherboard? Forget about it...Windows Vista would detect that and would "decide" that you would have to buy a new license.
  • Now, they give us 10 pseudo-licenses. And you start thinking: "Ah, much better! This way I can change my computer the way I want. 10 times should be enough". That's exactly the point: it might not be enough! I have countlessly re-installed Windows XP on my computer in the last years.
People shouldn't even feel grateful for Microsoft allowing to change the computer 10 times. It shouldn't even be limited at all. But I guess Microsoft doesn't have enough money. They need to impose this kind of licenses to earn a little bit more.

Source: Peopleware (Portuguese)

Wireless Internet for free in Lisbon's gardens

Lisbon (Portugal) is now offering free Wireless Internet access in 21 of the capital's public gardens in a move to promote the use of WiFi technology and, at the same time, the use of these "green spaces".

So far, the free access is guaranteed until June, 2007. After that, the decision of whether this free access will continue or not, will be taken based on the results of this initiative.

More Info: CM Lisboa (Portuguese)
From: SIC Online (Portuguese)

Monday, October 30, 2006

Security pushed to the limit

A new mobile phone in Japan takes security pretty seriously: It can recognize its owner, automatically locks when the person gets too far away from it and can be found via satellite navigation if it goes missing.

Read the entire article at Wired News

Friday, October 27, 2006

Internet Explorer 7: my experience...

I've just installed the last version of Internet Explorer and I'm not totally convinced. What does it offer that Firefox doesn't offer in previously (over one year ago) versions?

Ok, it is fast and secure...but so is Firefox 2.0.
Ok, it has Feeds reading support...but so had Firefox 1.1.
Ok, it has Tabbed browsing... but so had all Firefox versions.

It totally follows Firefox, but it's never quite there. Here's an example on why Microsoft will never please the users:

While installing IE7 I got this screen telling me that it was (already) downloading updates before installing the web browser.
What kind of installer needs updates??? If there are (already) updates to be made, why not create a new installer that already includes the updates?

Another thing: this screen was shown for about 20 minutes and as you can see, no button to cancel, exit, minimize or anything else (and if you look closer, even the close button is gray - unusable). And all I had was a stupid blue marker going back and forth in the slide bar, without giving me any real notion of the progress of this procedure.

After installing it, I also had to (re)install some plug-ins, and update the internet settings.

This kind of attitude by Microsoft is just completely ridiculous and will always piss off users for providing such a poor service. Specially, when the alternatives are so good and easy to use.

I installed Firefox 2.0, here's my experience: setup last 2 minutes, no updates were installed, all my settings/plug-ins/bookmarks/everything was kept and the browser is running perfectly.

What else can I say?

If you're still want to try it yourself, click here.

Firefox 2.0

Here it is: the final release of Firefox 2.0. I've installed it and so far I must say, even though not many interesting features have been added since the last version, it is quite lighter and faster than before.

Homepage: Mozilla

iPod will play all tunes...

A hacker who as a teen cracked the encryption on DVDs has found a way to unlock the code that prevents iPod users from playing songs from download music stores other than Apple's iTunes, his company said on Tuesday.

Jon Lech Johansen, a 22-year-old Norwegian who lives in San Francisco, cracked Apple's FairPlay copy-protection technology, said Monique Farantzos, managing director at DoubleTwist, the company that plans to license the code to businesses.

"What he did was basically reverse-engineer FairPlay," she said. "This allows other companies to offer content for the iPod."

From: Wired News

Create your own (customizable) search engine

A new Google tool will let people use Google's search platform to create search engines focused on the content of their choice. Google Co-op is a platform that enables web site and blog publishers to customize the web search experience for users of both Google and their own website.

With a Google custom search engine, publishers can provide custom results most relevant to their readers, incorporating a site's online community and its ability to provide contextual ads. The customized search engines can also be tailored to aesthetically match any Web site.

The search engine can be customized quickly by choosing keywords and a list of sites the publisher wants included in the search index. These can be the only sites searched, or simply the ones with the highest priority. Alternately, users can exclude sites from the search index.

From: CNET

A trojan horse that keeps you safe from virus?

In addition to setting up a compromised computer to relay spam, the new malicious software SpamThru (as it has been called) also installs Kaspersky Lab's anti-virus program to get rid of competing malicious software.

When it first gets onto a PC, SpamThru connects to a control server and subsequently installs a pirated copy of Kaspersky AntiVirus. The system then starts a scan for malicious software, skipping files that it detects are part of its own installation.
Any other malware found on the system is then set up to be deleted by Windows at the next reboot.

From: CNET's Security Blog

No more MP3 for Denmark

A Danish court has ruled that an ISP in that country must block access to, the Russian download site accused of pirating music, according to a story in the Register.

Allofmp3, which has denied violating the copyright law in Russia, has suffered several setbacks as much of the world attempts to isolate the site.

From: CNET's Media Blog

A new test-bed for Google Search

Google has launched a new search site on a move to study and implement new search features that may be useful to the users of this giant search engine. This new search engine, SearchMash, uses the same "database" as Google, but it adds new interesting features, in an attempt to innovate the well-known search engine. Each user can test this and provide feedback on the features section.

Here are some of the new features:

  • No need to have your cursor in the search box to start typing your query
  • Click the green URL of a web result to open a menu of options for viewing the URL or refining your query
  • The top three image results are displayed next to your web results
  • Click the number next to a result and drag it around to reorder. For now, this does not affect the way the results will appear in the next queries, but Google may use this feature to improve the rank of web results
Website: SearchMash

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Sony profits fall because of costly recalls of batteries

Sony continues the recalling of its own batteries, since the discovery of explosion hazard. Because of this, Sony said on Tuesday it may change its full-year earnings forecast because of these costly recalls of its batteries.

From: Reuters Technology News

Google to have largest solar-powered office

Google is planning to have a solar-powered electricity system at its Silicon Valley headquarters that will become the largest U.S. solar-powered corporate office complex.

The Web search leader said it is set to begin building a rooftop solar-powered generation system at its Mountain View, California, headquarters capable of generating 1.6 megawatts of electricity, or enough to power 1,000 California homes.

A Google executive said the company will rely on solar power to supply nearly a third of the electricity consumed by office workers at its roughly one-million-square-foot headquarters.

From: Reuters Technology News

5.5G iPods with Windows virus

Apparently, is not only McDonald's and Coca-Cola that have shipped mp3 players with unwanted software.

Apple has announced that less than one percent of their 5.5G iPod shipments made after September 12th have a little present in the form of the RavMonE.exe virus, which propagates via mass storage devices, and purportedly had infected a PC at the manufacturer where the iPods were produced. RavMonE.exe, which "technically is worm, not a virus", only affects Windows-running computers, lowering the security of the PC but not actuallly messing with your data itself.

Apple is working really hard to weaken Microsoft, but this time, they have been a little too far :-)

From: Engadget

Zune now available for pre-order

EBGames has started taking pre-orders on Microsoft's premiere entrant into the portable audio space, the 30GB Zune.

From: Engadget

Google working on "GoogleDrive"?

Rumour has it that Google is working on a new product called the "GoogleDrive", or simply "GDrive", that will enable users to share and store files.

Apparently, this product is already available but only for internal use, to allow Google employees to exchange/share/store files.

Let's wait for further developments...

From: CNET's Google Blog

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Second Life - The Virtual World

There's another world, a Virtual World, where you have a second opportunity. This is called the Second Life. This site is a 3D online digital world imagened, created and owned by its residents.

This site is a simulation game, where people use characters to interact with other people and services. It even has its own news service by Reuters.

From: Second Life, Reuters News, Wired News

iPod - Happy Birthday (5 years)

Congratulations to the iPod family! 5 years of excellent design and performance.
Here's a little bit of History.

See: Wired News

"GooTube" won't be the next Napster

Google won't let recently acquired YouTube to become the new Napster and be the target of all copyright holders destruction rage. Instead, Google will work together with these corporations to find a solution profitable to all and still let the users to use this tool to broadcast all kinds of videos.

From: Wired News

"This page requires Internet Explorer..." pseudo-fix

For those enlighted ones that use Firefox browser there has always been a problem with viewing some pages that are specifically made for Internet Explorer. Sometimes, these pages even display a boring message such as "This page requires Internet Explorer to function properly".

This is somewhat annoying and arrogant, since Firefox can do anything that Internet Explorer can do, and better. So, the problem remains in the User Agent that is being sent over the HTTP Connection. When some of these sites (usually related to Internet Banking) receive the connection and see that the User Agent is Firefox (or any other) they display this ridiculous message.

To avoid this, you can use a Firefox extension called the User Agent Switcher. This extension allows you to "deceive" these sites by saying that in fact you're using Internet Explorer. As long as the web page doesn't have ActiveX content, you're home free.

I know that this may come as a sacrilege to some, but at least we can prove that Firefox is a better tool and that this discrimination is useless and ridiculous.

Tip from: Monkey Bites

Another Power Point security flaw

Microsoft is investigating a report of a new, yet-to-be-fixed security vulnerability in PowerPoint, the company said late last week.

Sample attack code that exploits the vulnerability has already been released on the Internet, a Microsoft representative wrote on a corporate blog. Use of the code in an attack could cause a complete system compromise, according to Microsoft.

From: CNET

"Black Box" for cars

A new device, invented by Fujitsu-Ten, will allow monitoring and analyzing the driving behaviour that can cause accidents. The device, connected to 2 cameras and microphones, is powered by the lighter plug and is equipped with a sensor that manages the recording of all suspicious activity.

It stores in memory only the sounds and images captured inside and outside the vehicle in case of sudden acceleration, braking or other abnormal driving situations. The data, stored in a memory card, can then be further analyzed in a computador using a specific software.

From: SIC Online (Portuguese)

Monday, October 16, 2006

McDonald's and Coca-Cola's MP3 Players "play" malware

Recently, McDonald's and Coca-Cola joined forces to launch a campaign where they would give away 10,000 self-branded MP3 players. These players were pre-loaded with 10 tunes and... apparently, some delicious malware.

It looks like some of those players also brought a variant of the QQPass family of trojan horses which capture passwords and other personal information when the MP3 player is plugged into the users' PC. The code then proceeds to email the details to the author.

McDonald's has already set up a hot line to answer any questions on this subject. And I bet they will receive a lot of them :-)

From: Engadget

Your car is watching you

This past week at the Intelligent Transportation Systems exhibition in London, a new set of cameras mounted on the dashboard in a prototype vehicle will make sure that a driver's attention is focused on the road.
The new cameras will be trained on the driver's eyes and will flash a warning light and will sound an alarm if it finds that the driver's eyes aren't staring at the right places at the right times.

Furthermore, these new sensors -- developed by researchers at University of Southampton in the UK-- are also able to determine what other cars and objects around the car are doing, all of which could lead to safer road design and a more thorough understanding of driving behavior.

From: Engadget

Singapore to "give away" free WiFi and computers purchasing aid

On a move to boost the use of the Internet, Singapore government will invest over $63 million to launch a free WiFi service for all of the laptop public community. Further, the government will provide subsidies on computer purchases for low-income families.

From: Engadget

RFID tags on your boarding ticket

The inventors of a new monitoring system that uses RFID tags claim it could improve airport security by tracking passengers as they mingle in the departure lounge.

The plan is to issue an RFID (radio frequency identification) tag to every passenger at check-in so human traffic can be monitored throughout the airport via transponders and video cameras.

From: CNET

Friday, October 13, 2006

TIP: how-to make the AVG paid version freeware

Here's a nice tip for AVG users:
Apparently, if you install AVG version 7.5 (which is supposed to be paid) on top of the free-version 7.1, the anti-virus software remains "free".

The installation process assumes the same license as in the previously installed version and if that version happens to be the free version...there you go. "Free"-paid version 7.5 of AVG :-)

From: Peopleware (Portuguese)

Network monitoring with Dude 2.0 beta

Dude Network Monitor is quite a useful tool for network administrators. It allows to automatically scan all devices within specified subnets, draw and layout a map of your networks, monitor services of your devices and alert in case some service has a problem.

License: Freeware
Homepage: MikroTik
From: Peopleware (Portuguese)

Secure P2P sharing with Hamachi

Hamachi is a zero-configuration virtual private networking application, which allows you to arrange multiple computers into their own secure network just as if they were connected by a physical network cable.

With this application, you can share musics, movies and all types of files with your friends in a total secure and private way.

License: Freeware
Homepage: Hamachi
From: Peopleware (Portuguese)

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

J2ME Polish

If you're working on the development of J2ME applications for mobile devices, you should seriously consider the use of J2MEPolish.

J2ME Polish is a collection of tools for developing J2ME applications:

  • Build tools for creating application bundles out of one source project - for multiple devices and multiple locales.
  • A device database which can be used to adjust your application to different handsets with Preprocessing.
  • A user interface (GUI), which is designed outside of the application code with simple text-files (CSS).
  • Utiliy classes like the BitMapFont or ArrayList.
  • Standalone Tools like the editor for modifying binary data files.
Check i out! It's simple and you will achieve excellent results.

Website: J2MEPolish

It's true after all: Google will buy YouTube!

It's not a rumour anymore: Google will buy YouTube for $1.65 billion.

Web search leader Google Inc. said yesterday it agreed to acquire top video entertainment site YouTube Inc. for $1.65 billion in stock, the highest price yet paid for a consumer-generated media site.

The first deal to value one of the new generation of user-participation Web sites at more than $1 billion combines two of the most popular Internet brands: Google, synonymous with Web search and rapid innovation, and YouTube, a Silicon Valley upstart that has spearheaded the video-sharing craze.

But YouTube has been the target of criticism in the media industry for allowing pirated video clips to be uploaded. "YouTube until now has been a community garden. Once you get the corporate backing of Google I do think it becomes a more inviting target for lawsuits," said Jeff Lindgren, an intellectual property attorney with Morgan Miller Blair, a law firm in Walnut Creek, California.

What's left is to see how's Google going to face the imense river of potential lawsuits that flooded YouTube in the last few months.

From: Reuters Tech News

Monday, October 09, 2006

Online Media Converter

This website converts all kinds of multimedia files between formats. For example: convert a WMV file to MP4 and you have a video for your iPod, convert images from JPG to PNG, WAV to MP3, etc...

A must-have in your favourites. 100% free, no software installation or registration required.

Homepage: Media Convert

Intel Wireless x3

Intel has announced a new wireless chip for 2007 which will integrate support for 802.11n, for WiMAX and for 3G HSDPA.

The new technology will be implemented in the next version of the Centrino Duo platform, which means that all future laptops equiped with this new technology will be able to exchange data in all 3 mentioned standards.

This is a great step towards the goal of "always-on": Wi-Fi for hotspots access, Wi-Max for Wide Range Networks (range of several kilometers) and 3G HSDPA (High Speed Downlink Packet Access) for access in areas with 3G mobile phone coverage.

Intel had previously announced the intention of providing a new mixed chip for Wi-Fi/WiMAX, but decided to include the 3G support due to a collaboration with Nokia.

From: Exame Informática (Portuguese)

Google will buy YouTube?

It seems that Google is interested in buying YouTube, the biggest free video player in the Web, for 1.6 billion dollars according to some recent news in the Wall Street Journal.

This technique based on the idea of "If you can't beat them, join them" (but with a more agressive touch of "If you can't beat them, buy them and then merge with your own service") seems all but a good idea for Google.

Even though after this acquisition, Google would own more than 50% of this market of free video in the Web (40% of YouTube and 11% of Google Video), it hardly seems true that Google is interested in "collecting" the million-dollars law suits that YouTube is getting everyday on copyright issues.

Anyway, these are only rumors at this point :-)

From: ars technica

What color is this???

Ever wonder about what was the code of the color you're looking at in the screen but you never got around to know its RGB code? Well, now you can.

This applications gives you the RGB code of the color your mouse cursor is pointing to in the screen. Really handy for Web developers, huumm?

Homepage: WhatColor 1.0 from 1 Hour Software

Google Code Search

The Open-Source Code of the world is finally accessible over the world-wide known search engine Google. You can now search for millions of lines of code in languages such as C, C++, Java, PHP and other languages in programs that are Open-Source.

This service is meant for students and professional programmers that need to find solutions for specific programming issues that were already addressed in Open-Source applications that are freely open to the public.

Homepage: Google Code Search

VDownloader 0.3 Alpha

VDownloader is a program that easily allows downloading videos from websites like YouTube, Google Video and others, and converting to standard formats such as AVI or MPEG.

Usually websites such as YouTube use a format known as FLV which, after downloading through some of the possible existing solutions (such as the VideoDownloader extension for Firefox), only allows visualization through specific players that can play FLV files.

This program changes that since it allows, besides downloading the files, converting the files to well-known formats such as AVI and MPEG, allowing for normal visualization of the videos in programs such as Windows Media Player, Winamp or BSPlayer.

From: epuertas Blog (Spanish)

Download: VDownloader 0.3 Alpha

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Firefox UI Tweaker 1.7.0

Don't like all those options in Firefox? With Firefox UI Tweaker (the software formerly known as Toolbar Cleanup) you can customize your very own Firefox.

Remove options that you don't use, optimize the toolbar, and more...
The application is very simple and intuitive.


License: Freeware
Homepage: Firefox UI Tweaker

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Real-time HTML editor

For those that are starting their way on HTML, here's an excellent training tool.

This site does not teach how to make web sites in HTML, it is only a place were you can test, in real-time, some HTML code. The code that you write on the upper part of the website, originates the webpage on the lower part of the website.

Homepage: HTML Editor

3-way view LCDs

The Japanese company Sharp has announced that it was able to develop the first screen capable of reproducing 3 different images in 3 different directions. It allows for a user that is on the left side of the screen to see one image (or video), the one on the right side to see another image (or video) and the one on the center to see another completely different image (or video).

So, no more fights at home to see who gets the remote control, as now everybody can see their own program at the same time in the same living room.

From: Reuters Technology

Invisible clothing

Another amazing technology. Still in the beginning but you can see where this is heading :-)

Invisible clothing!

Multi-touch Interface Screens

This technology will change our view of Human-machine interface.

I want one of these. Amazing :-)

Fading windows with Jedi Concentrate

I found this app and I think it is very interesting. It is simple to use and it allows fading all windows on screen except for the currently active one.

This enables a higher concentration on a specific window for when you need that extra concentration on work :-)

Download, unzip, launch the executable and once the icon appears near the clock, it's loaded. From now on, just click F12 and all windows (except for the currently active one) fade to the background.

The app is highly customizable, however it appears that somehow this application influences the accentuation in the keyboard, which is very "nagging" for me when I have to write Portuguese ;-)
Also, the application doesn't appear to work accross multiple expanding desktops.

Homepage: An App A Day


  • Ghoster 1.1 - does practically the same but less customizable
  • Compiz - more advanced windows manager but for Linux

New short-range wireless standard

Nokia, along with a consortium which includes Broadcom and Epson, has announced the attempt to create a new industry standard for short-range wireless connections between small devices.

"Wibree", which is the name of the radio communications technology to come, would fit with other local linking systems, but use just a fraction of the power, allowing for smaller and cheaper applications. That would provide radio links of up to 10 meters (30 feet) between devices like watches or sports sensors.

Nokia also said this technology would be easy to integrate with Bluetooth short-range radio technology, currently mostly used to connect mobile phones to devices like headsets, printers or microphones.

From: Reuters Technology News

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Let's change Yahoo Mail

Do you want to add new innovative services to your Yahoo Mail? Now you can!
Yahoo is planning to release the code for its Yahoo Mail software in order to encourage software developers to build new applications based on e-mail.

This move is based on the success of initiatives of open software like Google Maps and Yahoo's Flickr, which inspired a new wave of programming where the client users are the developers of "extensions" to the original software.

From: Reuters Technology News

Saturday, September 30, 2006

Google maps on your phone

Google has released its own version of Google Maps for J2ME, giving the oportunity to access the world's maps through any MIDP-compliant device, such as Java-enabled mobile phones.

The application's download is only available through its WAP website in directly to the mobile phone, but it is free.

The downside of the application is the amount of GPRS traffic caused by the intensive downloading of the maps' tiles to the mobile phone. My first try of the application was just a quick browsing of the area surrounding my home and I ended up downloading 500Kb+ of data in just a few seconds.
Also, no GPS support is available in the application.

But every once in a while it may be useful to have installed on your mobile phone just in case you need to check some directions or have a look at some maps.


  • Mobile GMaps - A free application to access Google Maps on your mobile phone with GPS Support (License: Free for non comercial use)
  • J2ME Map - Also free, this application gives access to Google Maps on your mobile phone with GPS Support (License: Free and open-source - contact author)

The tech in me

My first try...let the blogging begin!