Archive for January, 2006
About 30 Minutes ago or so I was visiting a page on the Microsoft website and came across a small add type button which said Download your free trial of Groove Virtual Office, I had never heard of Groove Virtual Office or even Groove networks in my life, so I wondered what it was all about and found out that the Microsoft Corporation acquired Groove Networks in April 2005 and that the company is now a wholly owned subsidiary of Microsoft, operating from its offices in Beverly, Mass.
Anyway after finding this out I decided to try and find a bit more about it but it didn’t seem like there was too much information on it, though there was one major phrase that I saw in quite a few places on the site, this was:
Groove Virtual Office allows you to share files and other information with the people who are members of a workspace.
So I thought this sounds interesting and did a little bit more digging around the site, I then found this:
Groove Virtual Office is desktop software that allows teams of people to work over the network as if they were in the same physical location.
Whether your daily activities revolve around working with files, managing meetings and projects, tracking data and processes, or all of those things, there’s an answer to “Why Groove?” for you, your team, and your entire organization. With Groove Virtual Office you will:
- Effortlessly bring together team members from both inside and outside your company, with no IT assistance required and no need to waste time thinking about firewalls, servers, security, or network access
- Get work done faster by always knowing each other’s virtual location, or online presence, thus allowing for organic and quick conversation and collaboration
- Bring relevant information together in one place – data, files, messages, edits, forms, meetings, calendars, etc. — for everyone in your team to see
- Always work with the same information whether you’re online, offline or on low bandwidth connections
And well I thought I better download it to believe it, so I registered for the free trial straight away, you can even get a free license if you recommend the site to friends and they download it which I thought was a pretty good way of getting people to download it especially if they can recommend it and get a free licence, anyway I downloaded it but haven’t had much of a chance to test it out as I would need to test it with somebody else!
So if you would like to test it with me, let me know!
Here’s a quick screenshot of it!
And here’s the link fot the trial:
Feed up of trying to access a Blocked website from school or work, then try VTunnel now!
What is VTunnel?
VTunnel is what’s known as a CGI Proxy service, that is, I run a website based proxy on my server, and you connect to it to retrieve websites. This can be done to evade website blocking by schools, corporations, or governments, to access websites that would normally be blocked. It can also be done to protect your anonymity, so that the website you are visiting does not know who you are.
Why should I use VTunnel instead of some other proxy?
Unlike standard “open proxies”, VTunnel requires no special browser configuration. And unlike many proxies, cgi based or conventional, VTunnel allows the HTTP Form Post method, which means that many websites that require logins will work with VTunnel that will not work with the majority of free proxies. Finally, unless abuse becomes a problem, VTunell will also allow file downloads, whereas many proxies do not.
Why should I trust VTunnel?
By going through any proxy, you trust any data you send or receive to the proxy owner. To earn your trust I will be as open and honest with you as possible. See below for information about who I am and why I run this service. Open proxies may be honeypots to steal your information, or may be left open accidentally and be down tommorow, or be otherwise unreliable. VTunnel however, operates soley off money derived from advertising shown during the proxy session, and therefore will not be down tommorow. Because our visitors value their privacy, it is not in our interests to spy on you, lest we lose traffic and advertising revenue. Because government subpenoa could require us to hand over our server access logs, access logs are regularly deleted to protect your privacy. In short, we value your browsing experience as well as your anonymity, and would not do anything to break your trust in us.
Who is VTunnel
VTunnel is administrated by Gabriel Ramuglia, owner of the Overnight PC computer repair shop located in Fairbanks, AK. I too once went to school, and didn’t much appreciate being blocked accessing various websites. I also run a browser based game, Oil Fight, which appeals to people bored at school and work. Because Oil Fight is a game, it could potentially be blocked by schools or corporations. These two reasons are why I set up VTunnel. If VTunnel gets popular maybe it’ll even make some money
How can I contact VTunnel?
VTunnel administrators can be reached by emailing VTunnel [at] OvernightPC.net
Ok there’s been quite a lot of news about Global Warming lately so for those of you who are still living under a rock I thought I better post you the latest news about it!
Jan. 31, 2006 Global warming could cause ice at both poles of the Earth to start melting this century, driving up sea levels, according to a major study published Monday by the British government.
The study, “Avoiding Dangerous Climate Change,” collates evidence presented by scientists at a conference staged a year ago ahead of the 2005 Group of Eight (G8) summit, where Britain placed global warming high on the agenda.
British Prime Minister Tony Blair added his voice to the warning on Monday.
“It is clear from the work presented that the risks of climate change may well be greater than we thought,” Blair said in the study’s foreword.
“It is now plain that the emission of greenhouse gases, associated with industrialization and economic growth from a world population that has increased six-fold in 200 years, is causing global warming at a rate that is unsustainable.”
The consensus view among scientists, the document warned, is of large-scale and irreversible disruption to the planet’s climate system if temperatures rise by more than 3° Celsius (5.4° Fahrenheit) above current levels.
Such a rise is well within the range of climate change projections for the century, it said, warning: “In many cases the risks are more serious than previously thought.”
The international conference, which took place in Exeter, southwest England, was the biggest gathering of climate scientists since a landmark report in 2001 published under U.N. auspices.
That report confirmed that temperatures were rising and pinned the blame on carbon emissions disgorged mainly by the burning of oil, gas and coal.
It said that future greenhouse gas emissions were likely to raise global temperatures by between 1.4 and 5.8°C (2.5 and 10.4°F) from 1990 to 2100. The temperature has already risen about 0.6°C (1.6°F) since 1900.
But the U.N. report also acknowledged some uncertainties as to when, where and how this pollution would affect the climate.
The latest study says that some of the knowledge gap has been filled. Compared with the U.N. report, it said, there “is greater clarity and reduced uncertainty” about the impacts of climate change across a wide range of systems, sectors and societies.
There is a serious risk of large-scale, irreversible system disruption, including the possible destabilization of the Antarctic ice sheets, if the warming goes beyond 3°C (5.4°F) above current levels, the report warned.
A regional increase of 2.7°C (4.9°F) above present levels could trigger melting of the Greenland ice cap, it said.
It said increasing acidity in the ocean would be likely to reduce the capacity to absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and affect the entire marine food chain.
Even a more modest rise in global temperatures of about 1°C (1.8°F) would probably lead to extensive coral bleaching, the report said.
Source: Discovery Channel
Looks like the police are getting more into depths with software piracy!
Ten internet service providers have been ordered to hand over the details of 150 UK customers accused of illegally sharing software.
The High Court order follows a 12-month covert investigation by the Federation Against Software Theft (Fast).
Among the internet providers are BT, NTL, Telewest and Tiscali.
Over the next two weeks, they are expected to provide the names, addresses and other personal details of the alleged file-sharers.
An undercover investigator working for Fast in a project codenamed Operation Tracker identified 150 people suspected of illegally sharing software.
Most file-sharers use false names and e-mail addresses. So the software anti-piracy group went to the High Court to force the internet providers to hand over customer details.
The federation said it would approach the police and Crown Prosecution Service once it has the personal information.
“We can easily take down links, but this does not tackle the root causes of software piracy, because the links will reappear elsewhere in a matter of hours,” said John Lovelock, director general at Fast.
“Instead, we plan to take action a lot further, making an example of the perpetrators to stop them from stealing and passing on the intellectual property of our members for good.”
The federation accuses the 150 individuals of breaking copyright law by uploading software and sharing it online.
Penalties for the illegal communication to the public of copyrighted works, including software, can attract a maximum punishment of up to two years imprisonment and/or an unlimited fine.
Julian Heathcote Hobbins, Fast’s senior legal counsel, said the court action was “only the first wave of an ongoing strategy”.
“We expect to be bringing these actions anytime and anywhere we see software being misused,” he said.
According to the anti-piracy trade group, the Business Software Alliance, about a quarter of software used in the UK is an unlicensed, counterfeit or pirated copy.
We need to see more programs like Utorrent, programs that are not ‘bloatware’. Ludvig can do it, why can’t you?
A few months ago, I pretty much thought having decent software weighing in at 1 megabyte (let alone 130 kilobytes!) was a pipe dream but that’s before I got my hands on a copy of µTorrent (a BitTorrent client). When I first downloaded the software back in September 2005 when µTorrent was first released, Ludvig can do it, why can’t you? I figured it was probably just a novelty application that weighed in at just over 100 kilobytes (compressed binary). In the era of Java applications that take 100 megabytes of memory for a single application, I’m pretty much relieved anytime I see a native Win32 application that uses less than 20 megabytes of RAM. Anyone who even remotely knows me knows that I really have a low tolerance for bloated software so I figured µTorrent was worth humoring. Little was I prepared to be blown away by a fully functional µTorrent client that did pretty much everything I needed it to do and I haven’t even ran in to any obvious bugs these past few months.
Unlike many sloppy applications that make a mess of the registry and shared DLL files in Windows, µTorrent didn’t even need to be installed! It just ran off of the tiny 100 KB executable and the only install it did was put a desktop shortcut to the executable. Once µTorrent loaded in a matter of milliseconds, it was ready to rock and contained itself in less than 5 megabytes of system memory which is insane by today’s standards. From a features stand point, µTorrent may not have all the features of some of the heavier BitTorrent clients but it does have everything that 99% of the population wants.
Although µTorrent is still a small player among Torrent clients from a marketshare standpoint, every person that I have ever recommended the software to has switched to µTorrent because no one likes bloatware. Some Linux vendors like SuSE who distribute their software via the BitTorrent protocol specifically point to µTorrent as a nice little Torrent client to download SuSE Linux. Considering the fact that µTorrent came out of nowhere just last September, it has enjoyed tremendous success and has already been downloaded more than half a million times from the official µTorrent website alone.
I was so fascinated by the software that I decided to contact µTorrent author Ludvig Strigeus from Sweden who works as a programmer for a company in the automotive industry (talent wasted in my opinion). We had a nice conversation over Skype and it turns out that Ludvig had only worked on µTorrent for a few months in his free time after work. Ludvig still prefers the old Microsoft Visual Studio 6.0 because of its low memory foot print and fast user interface and he used it to write µTorrent entirely from scratch with the exception of a basic runtime-library functions. This explains why µTorrent is so tight and works completely independently of any shared DLL files in Windows. I also had the opportunity to clarify the meaning of “µ” in the name which as I suspected represented the scientific SI symbol for “micro” since µTorrent obviously lives up to its name.
In any case, I highly recommend that you give µTorrent a try since it will pretty much run as-is without an installer. I even go as far as keeping a copy on my USB key so that I can run it directly off USB on any computer I use but I usually just copy it to the host machine just to have it there permanently. If anything, this should be a lesson to the software industry as a whole who always give the excuse that it’s just too expensive to write good tight code. Now I get to say: Ludvig can do it, why can’t you?
Last week I came across a new news site called Newsvine which apparently is pretty good, especially as you get to be part of the News and write your own News Articles, I thought this was a really nice idea that you could do this so I registered my email on Newsvine hoping I would get sent an invite and well what can I say it didn’t take them long to send me one!
I’m just checking all of its features out now, it’s pretty good, I also have been given some invites to Newsvine so if you think you are worthy of being part of Newsvine, leave a comment and tell me why you would like to join and what you can offer and I’ll invite you!
But for now here’s a bit more about it:
Seattle-based Newsvine, Inc. was founded in 2005 by a small team of like-minded colleagues with one purpose: to build a perfectly different, perfectly efficient way to read, write, and interact with the news. Founded by veterans of Disney, ESPN, and other media organizations, the mission of Newsvine is to bring together big and little media in a way which respects established journalism and empowers the individual at the same time.
Reading on Newsvine
Established news sites like MSNBC and CNN are able to bring you a wealth of information from around the world mostly by editing and syndicating thousands of Associated Press articles every day. Depending on what your favorite news site is, somewhere between 70 and 90% come from the A.P. Newsvine syndicates these exact same articles but takes things a step further.
Why shouldn’t you, as a reader, be able to comment on every single article you read? After all, you may have information the original author did not have. How about chat? If 20 people are reading an article at the same time, why shouldn’t they be able to discuss it amongst themselves afterwards?
At Newsvine, all this happens right within the story itself. Nothing to purchase. Nothing to install. Just start typing and Get Smarter.
Writing on Newsvine
Aside from being the friendliest place to read your news, Newsvine is also a great place to write. Sign up for a free account and you’ll have your own column within seconds. Want to write about a popular subject like the NFL, The Supreme Court, or mobile phones? Go ahead. How about a lesser known subject like your kid’s little league team? Not a problem. As long as you “tag” your articles correctly, they will automatically show up in the appropriate section on Newsvine.
For instance, if you write an article about Michael Jordan’s gambling habit, you might enter a few tags (keywords) like “michael-jordan, gambling, poker, addiction” in the tags field at the end of the article. Your article would then automatically show up on:
Tags are great for writers, but they are equally great for readers. Are you looking for news on Saddam Hussein? Just go to newsvine.com/saddam-hussein. No need to even search Google.
You don’t even need to be a writer to make good use of your column on Newsvine. Perhaps you just want to point to other news around the web. Save the “Seed Newsvine” button to your browser bar and you can publish a link to any article you’ve just enjoyed with one click. Here’s an example:
You’ve just read a great story from Bill Simmons on ESPN.com. Click the Seed Newsvine button and a small window will appear. In it, you type:
- (headline): Bill Simmons takes Alex Rodriguez to Task
- (comment): Does Alex Rodriguez really think that $250 million can buy him happiness? As long as he’s playing for the Yankees, he will always be in the shadow of Derek Jeter.
Then hit the Publish button and a link to that ESPN story appears both in your column and elsewhere around Newsvine (attributed to you of course). Not only is seeding Newsvine a great way to influence the news but it also creates a list of stories you’ve enjoyed for future reference.
So why participate by writing articles or “seeding The Vine”? Other than the warm-fuzzy feeling you’ll get from seeing an article you brought into Newsvine reach the top, we want to reward you for your contributions by giving you all of the earnings generated by the content you create and recommend. Thats right, Newsvine users are financially rewarded in direct proportion to the value they add to the community by way of creating and submitting articles. We do this because we believe that there is a vast number of people out there who are experts in a particular field or on a specific topic who are not professional writers or journalists, yet have a lot to share. We want to share the wealth with those who share a wealth of information.
Sounds great. Now what?
Go set up your free account and begin exploring!
Great news Microsoft has now released Internet Explorer 7 Beta to the public!
Microsoft plans to take the wraps off Internet Explorer 7 on Tuesday, releasing the new “preview” version of its Web browser to the general public for testing.
The program, still a work in progress, will be available shortly for download from the Internet Explorer section of Microsoft’s corporate Web site, the company said. The company, which began limited testing in July, had promised to deliver a public beta by the end of March.
“The big update is that it’s public,” said Margaret Cobb, group product manager for Internet Explorer at Microsoft. “All previous releases were limited.”
The latest version works only with Windows XP Service Pack 2 and includes many of the features Microsoft has been touting for months. Among them are new security and privacy protection capabilities such as mechanisms designed to combat phishing attacks, spyware and other threats.
Another new feature lets users clear their browsing history more easily and thus wipe out passwords, form data and cookies in one click, the company said.
The new browser also includes tabbed browsing and a search box, concepts that should be familiar to users of Firefox, a rival browser distributed by the Mozilla Foundation.
Tabbed browsing lets users open multiple Web pages in a single browser window. Microsoft has tried to best Firefox with something called Quick Tabs. That feature provides an at-a-glance, thumbnail view of all open tabs in a single window.
In addition, the program is supposed to let users more easily subscribe to syndicated feeds from news and sports sites, blogs and stores. The browser detects feeds enabled by Real Simple Syndication, or RSS, technology, illuminating an icon on the toolbar. Users can preview, subscribe and scan syndicated headlines directly through the browser, Microsoft said.
IE 7 also includes a number of new features for Web developers, including support for up-and-coming Web-programming technologies known collectively as AJAX.
Microsoft plans to release a final version of IE 7 later this year, around the time the company debuts the next version of its Windows operating system, Windows Vista.
The photos for the Windows Live Session UK/1 in London have now been posted my Romain on Flickr so why not go ahead and check them out, try and see if you can spot me!
As you may have noticed Live.com has now been updated, here’s a bit about the update from Phil Holden’s Msn Space, Phil Holden is the Director for Windows Live!
Yesterday we released an update to live.com that focus’s on a bunch of user experience issues we have received from our customers over the last couple of months. The most visually obvious update is that the RSS feeds now preview small thumbnails of the images within the feed and display them to the right of the text headline. These images rotate every 20 seconds or so for the number of feeds that you display. In addition to this there are a few other changes
- Performance: We hope customers will see some significant performance improvements as their feeds load as we have fixed a bunch of memory leaks in the RSS module. Let us know if you see anything notable!
- Home navigation: We have made the Windows Live Logo hot so that customers can easily get back to the top page of live.com. This was one of the major user ability issues that our customers had with the experience before.
- Search auto-detect: For machines that are Firefox or IE 7 we auto-detect the search engine and offer to change this to our search. I have to say that I haven’t tested this yet as the machine I’m currently using doesn’t have either installed.