Saturday, June 21, 2008

ATI Radeon HD 4850 gets official:available immediately

Considering that we've already seen AMD's ATI Radeon HD 4850benchmarked, it's not like we really needed some official verbiage to cement our belief that the unit was real. Nevertheless, said verbiage certainly doesn't hurt, and that's precisely what's been delivered this morning. The HD 4850 is a single-slot PCIe 2.0 card featuring 512MB of DDR3 RAM, a 625MHz clock speed, 993MHz memory speed, 480 stream processors and support for CrossFireX / DirectX 10.1. We're also told that at least Diamond Multimedia's HD 4850 is available as we speak from a number of fine retailers, thus we presume everyone else's version of the card shouldn't be too far behind.

Google plans to become net-access nanny

Google is planning to release tools that let internet users know if their service provider (ISP) is tampering with their internet connection - for example by throttling access to popular bandwidth-heavy sites.

It is the latest round of the net neutrality debate. Net neutrals like Google say the the internet should be a straightforward commodity. Although you may pay more or less for access, what you get is always the same - freedom to use and access the internet as you wish, with all those potential activities being treated the same by your ISP.

In the opposite corner are those who think ISPs should be able to choose which services they support, and which they don't. For example, under this scheme an ISP could slow all traffic to pizza delivery sites except those it had commercial agreements with.

Google's planned software will let you know when that is happening, by presenting an easy-to-understand breakdown of how your connection has been performing. Exactly how has not been revealed. I'm guessing one way would be to let you know if certain applications or websites consistently perform badly on your connection, compared to Google's own data on how they usually perform.

Google is one of the most influential pro-neutrality organisations. But its as-yet-unnamed tool (Throottle, Nootral?) is unlikely to be downloaded by large numbers of people.

If Google wanted to push it to more than just principled geeks it could throw it in with Google Toolbar, which already comes bundled with other software. Adding the neutrality nanny into that mix could dramatically increase its impact.


Sunday, June 15, 2008

Figuring Out Which Video Card Is Right for You

When you think about upgrading a video card, do not just think it's for "gamers only." A number of specialized video cards on the market have nothing to do with games.
Here's a cross section of what's available:
  • A gamer's card: The latest 3-D video cards (equipped with GeForce 7 and Radeon X850 chipsets, from NVIDIA and ATI, respectively) kick serious tail for all types of games out there - no matter which are your favorites. If you haven't seen the realistic 3-D figures that these cards can produce, visit the gaming store at your local mall and ask a salesperson to crank up the latest game. Of course, Windows will display ho-hum applications faster with one of these cards as well. Many 3-D gaming cards also offer dual monitor support so that you can run two monitors side-by-side for a really big desktop.
These high-end, 3-D cards run tremendously hot - after all, they're practically separate computers - so they usually have a fan already installed on the card. However, if you're planning on installing the card in an older PC, you should have at least two fans installed in your case - that's one for the power supply (which is standard equipment) and at least one auxiliary fan (to help circulate air to all those hot components).
  • An MPEG card: These cards are specifically designed for encoding and decoding Motion Picture Experts Group (MPEG) digital video (usually from a DVD, but hardware MPEG support is also very useful for doing serious video editing on your PC). The idea is simple: Let the card do the video grunt work instead of your PC's processor, and everyone is happier. High-end video cards especially designed for digital video editing are significantly more expensive than video cards meant for home and gamer machines.
  • A capture card: This popular video upgrade card allows you to capture an incoming analog video signal and convert it to digital video. For example, you can connect your VCR or older analog VHS-C camcorder into the card, convert the signal to digital video, and then record CD or DVD backups of your home movies. If you can display it on your TV, you should be able to capture it with one of these toys.

20 things about Windows XP you never knew!!!

* It boasts how long it can stay up. Whereas previous versions of Windows were coy about how long they went between boots, XP is positively proud of its stamina. Go to the Command Prompt in the Accessories menu from the All Programs start button option, and then type 'systeminfo'. The computer will produce a lot of useful info, including the uptime. If you want to keep these, type 'systeminfo > info.txt'. This creates a file called info.txt you can look at later with Notepad. (Professional Edition only).

* You can delete files immediately, without having them move to the Recycle Bin first. Go to the Start menu, select Run and type 'gpedit.msc'; then select User Configuration, Administrative Templates, Windows Components, Windows Explorer and find the Do not move deleted files to the Recycle Bin setting. Set it. Poking around in gpedit will reveal a great many interface and system options, but take care -- some may stop your computer behaving as you wish. (Professional Edition only).

* You can lock your XP workstation with two clicks of the mouse. Create a new shortcut on your desktop using a right mouse click, and enter 'rundll32.exe user32.dll,LockWorkStation' in the location field. Give the shortcut a name you like. That's it -- just double click on it and your computer will be locked. And if that's not easy enough, Windows key + L will do the same.

* XP hides some system software you might want to remove, such as Windows Messenger, but you can tickle it and make it disgorge everything. Using Notepad or Edit, edit the text file /windows/inf/sysoc.inf, search for the word 'hide' and remove it. You can then go to the Add or Remove Programs in the Control Panel, select Add/Remove Windows Components and there will be your prey, exposed and vulnerable.

* For those skilled in the art of DOS batch files, XP has a number of interesting new commands. These include 'eventcreate' and 'eventtriggers' for creating and watching system events, 'typeperf' for monitoring performance of various subsystems, and 'schtasks' for handling scheduled tasks. As usual, typing the command name followed by /? will give a list of options -- they're all far too baroque to go into here.

* XP has IP version 6 support -- the next generation of IP. Unfortunately this is more than your ISP has, so you can only experiment with this on your LAN. Type 'ipv6 install' into Run... (it's OK, it won't ruin your existing network setup) and then 'ipv6 /?' at the command line to find out more. If you don't know what IPv6 is, don't worry and don't bother.

* You can at last get rid of tasks on the computer from the command line by using 'taskkill /pid' and the task number, or just 'tskill' and the process number. Find that out by typing 'tasklist', which will also tell you a lot about what's going on in your system.

* XP will treat Zip files like folders, which is nice if you've got a fast machine. On slower machines, you can make XP leave zip files well alone by typing 'regsvr32 /u zipfldr.dll' at the command line. If you change your mind later, you can put things back as they were by typing 'regsvr32 zipfldr.dll'.

* XP has ClearType -- Microsoft's anti-aliasing font display technology -- but doesn't have it enabled by default. It's well worth trying, especially if you were there for DOS and all those years of staring at a screen have given you the eyes of an astigmatic bat. To enable ClearType, right click on the desktop, select Properties, Appearance, Effects, select ClearType from the second drop-down menu and enable the selection. Expect best results on laptop displays. If you want to use ClearType on the Welcome login screen as well, set the registry entry HKEY_USERS/.DEFAULT/Control Panel/Desktop/FontSmoothingType to 2.

* You can use Remote Assistance to help a friend who's using network address translation (NAT) on a home network, but not automatically. Get your pal to email you a Remote Assistance invitation and edit the file. Under the RCTICKET attribute will be a NAT IP address, like Replace this with your chum's real IP address -- they can find this out by going to -- and get them to make sure that they've got port 3389 open on their firewall and forwarded to the errant computer.

* You can run a program as a different user without logging out and back in again. Right click the icon, select Run As... and enter the user name and password you want to use. This only applies for that run. The trick is particularly useful if you need to have administrative permissions to install a program, which many require. Note that you can have some fun by running programs multiple times on the same system as different users, but this can have unforeseen effects.

* Windows XP can be very insistent about you checking for auto updates, registering a Passport, using Windows Messenger and so on. After a while, the nagging goes away, but if you feel you might slip the bonds of sanity before that point, run Regedit, go to HKEY_CURRENT_USER/Software/Microsoft/Windows/Current Version/Explorer/Advanced and create a DWORD value called EnableBalloonTips with a value of 0.

* You can start up without needing to enter a user name or password. Select Run... from the start menu and type 'control userpasswords2', which will open the user accounts application. On the Users tab, clear the box for Users Must Enter A User Name And Password To Use This Computer, and click on OK. An Automatically Log On dialog box will appear; enter the user name and password for the account you want to use.

* Internet Explorer 6 will automatically delete temporary files, but only if you tell it to. Start the browser, select Tools / Internet Options... and Advanced, go down to the Security area and check the box to Empty Temporary Internet Files folder when browser is closed.

* XP comes with a free Network Activity Light, just in case you can't see the LEDs twinkle on your network card. Right click on My Network Places on the desktop, then select Properties. Right click on the description for your LAN or dial-up connection, select Properties, then check the Show icon in notification area when connected box. You'll now see a tiny network icon on the right of your task bar that glimmers nicely during network traffic.

* The Start Menu can be leisurely when it decides to appear, but you can speed things along by changing the registry entry HKEY_CURRENT_USER/Control Panel/Desktop/MenuShowDelay from the default 400 to something a little snappier. Like 0.

* You can rename loads of files at once in Windows Explorer. Highlight a set of files in a window, then right click on one and rename it. All the other files will be renamed to that name, with individual numbers in brackets to distinguish them. Also, in a folder you can arrange icons in alphabetised groups by View, Arrange Icon By... Show In Groups.

* Windows Media Player will display the cover art for albums as it plays the tracks -- if it found the picture on the Internet when you copied the tracks from the CD. If it didn't, or if you have lots of pre-WMP music files, you can put your own copy of the cover art in the same directory as the tracks. Just call it folder.jpg and Windows Media Player will pick it up and display it.

*Windows key + Break brings up the System Properties dialogue box;
*Windows key + D brings up the desktop;
*Windows key + Tab moves through the taskbar buttons.

Sunday, June 1, 2008


Curious how much hype your site is getting from consumers,
bloggers, analysts, reviewers and reporters?
Well this is your lucky day…kind of. The Webbed-O-Meter utilizes a scale of 1-100 to determine your website’s buzz. Algorithms calculate the site’s word-of-mouth by utilizing ten authoritative sources such as: Technorati, Digg, and Wikipedia. I don’t think you can do much with this tool, but it is interesting.
Here’s the really funny part. When you put Webbed’s website into the Webbed-O-Meter, you get this message: “Ah, very clever. There are some things even we don’t tell!” Nice!
so check it out and see your website's Buzz. It also help you how to increase your site's Buzz.