Monday, September 29, 2008


There sometimes comes a funny feeling of paranoia when my PC is acting strange. After running anti spyware and anti virus scans with normal results, but still my computer is sluggish. Now comes the need to know feeling what processes and services are running in my computer, usually I run it with Glary Utilities' process manager. Glary works just like your Windows Task Manager but richer. It monitors your computer's running processes, CPU usage percentage, memory usage, program manufacturer, and also rates the program in terms of Trustworthy, Safer, Safe, or Unknown. When in doubt about a running program, you can always go online to obtain more information before finally ending or deleting its running process. Besides the process manager Glary Utilities also comes with a startup manager, file shredder, registry cleaner, junk, disk, and temp files cleaners and various helpful services.
There is also an autorun scan in Revo Uninstaller, whereby a trojan kavo.exe hiding in my computer was identified and named as such, thus making removal easier. Autoruns Systernals also provides a more richer detail of your running programs and services, but whatever autorun monitor you use, be always careful before ending or deleting a running program.

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The first pre-beta version of Windows 7 will be in the hands of developers next month, Microsoft has confirmed.
Speculation that Microsoft was preparing to hand out early versions of Windows 7 began in August, when the software giant revealed that developers would get their first peek at Windows 7 in October 28, with the Professional Developers Conference (PDC) looking the likely event for the operating system's first official demonstration.
Now, Microsoft blogger Dan Fernandez has confirmed the rumor, revealing that every PDC attendee will get a pre-beta build of Windows 7 on an external USB 2.0 drive.
The successor to Windows Vista will also be covered in 21 PDC sessions, with developers expected to be shown improvements to the Windows kernel, networking, and user-interface. The sessions will also cover energy efficiency; graphics systems; building communication applications; documents and printing convergence; new APIs to find, visualize and organize; new text and graphics APIs; the operating system's design principals; and APIs for building context-aware applications.
Microsoft plans to ship the final version of Windows 7 in January 2010.

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Friday, September 26, 2008


                              Medieval Combat-Age of Glory
                             Tom Clancy's Rainbow6 Lockdown
Tom Clancy's SplinterCell Chaos Theory
Asphalt UrbanGT2
Tom Clancy's Rainbow6 Vegas

Revival time folks, I've been playing most of these games ages ago in their S-30 version with my Nokia 3530 and I became a Gameloft fan after that. And these picks are some of my faves, I know anyone whose gone through many cell phones upgrade, especially Nokias are familiar with these games. Let's just say for a mobile game with limited capacities the graphics are good enough and each game concept in terms of difficulties and levels is fair enough to while your time playing. For those who have not played these games yet {is there anyone?}, try it, and those who have played these games over and over, what the heck, let's play it again.
Download Gameloft Gamepack.zip1.11MB

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Wednesday, September 24, 2008


You can convert PDF files to Word, Text, Excel even .jpg free without downloading or paying for converter softwares. Check out ZamZar for your free online conversion.

To convert, just follow their simple 4 steps procedure:
Upload your file
Choose the conversion format
Enter your e-mail address to receive the converted files
Click Convert

Then you will be advised that your file will be sent to via email address that you entered and will be stored for 24 hours after receipt. As for me, I checked my email after a couple of minutes and the ZamZar message is already there with the download link.
Unfortunately, PDF files cannot be directly converted to Excel. Following the usual ZamZar procedure, first, you have to convert your PDF file to Text format, then download the Text file from your ZamZar email, and save the file to your computer. Now open your Microsoft Excel, click File, then Open, when you see the Open File box, below at the Files of Type, change the All Microsoft Excel Files to All Files. Now all files will be visible including your converted Text file. Go to the folder where you saved your converted Text file, Select your Text file and click Open. What you'll see next is another box labeled as Text Import Box. Just check Delimited and click Next.

At the Step 2 box, under Delimiters check Space and click Next. Voila, now you will find your Text file divided into columns by vertical lines.

Click Next and at Step 3 click Finish, now save your file as Microsoft Excel. I admit the finished converted Excel file is not completely finish for my taste yet, so as I have to do some editing for it {a PDF revenue tax form for my bookkeeping purposes} to suit my usage. Also the common Excel formula function bar is not present.

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Tuesday, September 23, 2008


Movie star Brad Pitt has shoved Paris Hilton off the top of a list neither will have coveted being on. A fan entering Pitt's name in a search engine now has a startling one in five chance of finding a malware-hosting site instead, says McAfee.
Pitt is top of the fake website malware league, just ahead of a collection of pop and film stars that reads (in descending order) Beyonce, Justin Timberlake, Heidi Montag, Mariah Carey, Jessica Alba, Lindsay Lohan, Cameron Diaz, George Clooney, and Angelina Jolie.
Hilton no longer even makes the fake web top ten, but can perhaps take some solace from her continued popularity with spammers.
If you're never heard of some of these people then it's a fair bet that you are not the intended target of a technique that has been for some years one of the commonest ways to infect a PC. But still it persists, driven by an apparently insatiable appetite among some Internet users for computer screensavers, wallpaper, ring tones and star pictures, at whatever risk to themselves.
"Cybercriminals employ numerous methods, yet one of the simplest but most effective way is to trick consumers into infecting themselves by capitalizing on Americans' interest in celebrity gossip," commented McAfee's Jeff Green. "Tapping into current events, pop culture or commonly browsed sites is an easy way to achieve this."
Reading the latest statistics, it's hard to avoid the conclusion that malware writers think that the celebrity-obsessed are as recklessly naive as they are star-struck. Most malware-infection techniques have shown some evolution over the last two years, but the fake website ploy just goes on and on.
In fact, a deeper problem is the way users interact with search engines, as was pointed out by McAfee itself only a year ago. McAfee's motives for publicizing the issue aren't entirely neutral - at least one search engine, Yahoo, recently took up using McAfee's SiteAdvisor tool to filter the websites it returns in search boxes.
And for those users who only visit legitimate websites they know about, there is also bad news. The biggest hack trend of the last year has been compromising perfectly legitimate websites to serve malware - witness this week's large attack on the website of BusinessWeek magazine. For Internet users there is no easy escape, only the awareness of the growing number of pitfalls.
Sep 21, 2008 5:05 am

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Saturday, September 20, 2008


Snatched from my WARSHOCK G-blogs

Researchers Craft Multimedia PasswordsJohn E. Dunn
Aug 14, 2008 10:23 pmCanadian researchers have come up with a novel solution to the perennial problem of stupidly insecure passwords — create secure ones using images, MP3 files or videos.
Mohammad Mannan and P.C. van Oorschot of Carleton University in Ottawa, Canada, have come up with ObPwd (object-based password), a way of creating complex, random passwords from SHA-1-based hashes generated using a range of image and sound file types as input.
Instead of using the easy-to-guess name of a pet cat as the password — easy meat for a dictionary cracker — the user could use a picture of the same animal to generate something sophisticated enough to withstand even the best password cracking tools. Getting round the technology would mean having to have access to the specific image or file from which the password was generated.
“Users keep a record (memorized or written) of a pointer to their content used in generating each password. Users can write down the password in a `secure’ place, or re-create it from the content when needed,” write the authors in a public paper on the concept.
The end user’s mental effort is transferred from having to remember a string of text to simply having to know which file was used to create the password, they point out. ObPwd is advanced enough for the researchers to have released the software in beta form as an add-on tool for Mozilla, and as a stand-alone Windows XP utility.
The concept has some limitations. They recommend using files above a certain size — 30 bytes - to create long enough passwords, but not so large that the generation process is slowed down. This rules out using large video files, unless the password is based on only part of the file. They also warn against creating passwords from public material, such as pictures on a Facebook page or common image files. The password from a given file will always be the same, making secure possession of file imperative.
The program could, however, be secured using what is called a ’salt’, a PIN number used to protect the program’s output from a given image, though this would obviously detract from the simplicity of the ObPwd idea.
Obpwd should not be confused with the much simpler idea of using images themselves as pictorial passwords or mnemonics, which has been around for some years. Numerous systems exist to do the latter, including the UK-based PicturePIN.

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Friday, September 19, 2008


WASHINGTON - Details emerged Thursday behind the break-in of Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin's e-mail account, including a first-hand account suggesting it was vulnerable because a hacker was able to impersonate her online to obtain her password.
The hacker guessed that Alaska's governor had met her husband in high school, and knew Palin's date of birth and home Zip code. Using those details, the hacker tricked Yahoo Inc.'s service into assigning a new password, "popcorn," for Palin's e-mail account, according to a chronology of the crime published on the Web site where the hacking was first revealed.
The FBI and Secret Service launched a formal investigation Wednesday. Yahoo declined to comment Thursday on details of the investigation, citing Palin's privacy and the sensitivity of such investigations.
The person who claimed responsibility for the break-in did not respond Thursday to an e-mail inquiry from The Associated Press.
"i am the lurker who did it, and i would like to tell the story," the person wrote in the account, which circulated on the Internet. What started as a prank was cut short because of panic over the possibility the FBI might investigate, the hacker wrote.
Investigators were waiting to speak with Gabriel Ramuglia of Athens, Ga., who operates an Internet anonymity service used by the hacker. Ramuglia told the AP on Thursday he was reviewing his own logs and promised to turn over any helpful information to authorities because the hacker violated rules against using the anonymity service for illegal activities.
"If you're doing something illegal and causing me issues by doing this, I'm willing to cooperate," Ramuglia said. "Obviously this is the most high profile situation I've dealt with."
The break-in of Palin's private account is especially significant because Palin sometimes uses non-government e-mail to conduct state business. Previously disclosed e-mails indicate her administration embraced Yahoo accounts as an alternative to government e-mail, which could possibly be released to the public under Alaska's Open Records Act.
At the time, critics of Palin's administration were poring over official e-mails they had obtained from the governor's office looking for evidence of improper political activity.
Details of this week's break-in, if authentic, were consistent with speculation by computer security experts who said Yahoo's "forgot-my-password" service almost certainly was exploited. The mechanism allows customers to retrieve or change their password if they can verify their identity by confirming personal information such as birthdate, zip code and the answer to a "secret question," such as a childhood pet's name or school mascot.
Palin's hacker was challenged to guess where Alaska's governor met her husband, Todd. Palin herself recounted in her speech at the Republican National Convention that the pair began dating two decades ago in high school in Wasilla, a town near Anchorage.
"I found out later though (sic) more research that they met at high school, so I did variations of that, high, high school, eventually hit on 'Wasilla high'," the person wrote.
The McCain campaign issued a statement describing the hacking as an invasion of Palin's privacy.

By TED BRIDIS, Associated Press Writer

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Thursday, September 18, 2008


Intel's latest server chips, the Xeon 7400 series, formerly called Dunnington, are now available in six-core and quad-core models designed to be used in systems with four or more processors.
The new chip line offers a performance bump over its predecessor, the Xeon 7200 series, Intel said. Much of that increase comes from adding a 16M-byte level 3 cache. The 7400 series processors are the first Xeon chips to use a level 3 cache, which stores data closer to the processor cores, helping to boost overall performance.
"With the level 3 cache, that does contain additional performance for some of the high-compute-intensive and data-intensive enterprise applications," said Adesh Gupta, regional server platform manager at Intel Asia-Pacific.
The extra cores also help. Unlike desktops and laptops that rarely run applications capable of tapping the full processing power of quad-core chips, many server applications, like virtualization, run better on multi-core processors.
The first processors to come out of Intel's India Design Center in Bangalore, the Xeon 7400 chips run at clock speeds up to 2.66GHz and have either four or six cores. They are priced ranging from US$856 to $2,729, in 1,000-unit quantities. Servers based on the chips will be available starting Tuesday from vendors like Hewlett-Packard, IBM and Dell, among others.
The Xeon 7400 contains all six cores on one piece of silicon, while Intel's existing line of quad-core Xeon chips pack two pieces of silicon inside a single package. This was possible because the 45-nanometer process used to make the new chip reduces the size of the features on a chip, increases performance and reduces power consumption.
"We knew that this process would help us pack in more transistors," Gupta said.
The Xeon 7400 series is the last member of Intel's Penryn chip family to be released. Later this year, the company will shift to a new processor architecture called Nehalem.
Like earlier chips, the Xeon 7400 relies on a memory controller located in an external chip, which can cause memory bottlenecks in certain applications. The level 3 cache helps to alleviate this problem, but cannot eliminate it entirely. Nehalem will move the memory controller onto the processor itself, which is likely to speed up memory access considerably.

IDG News Service
Sep 16, 2008 2:50 am

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Tuesday, September 16, 2008

UNLOCK YOUR MMC for Nokia Users

There are plenty of ways of unlocking password guarded MMCs like downloading MMC unlockers or formatting through PC. Why I prefer this unlocking technique, because it is simple without using a PC, no unlockers, and much safer for your data. This can be done by using the famous Fexplorer, a more extensive file manager than the Nokia build in file manager. With Fexplorer you can easily manipulate your files, copy, cut, paste your files to your choice location, you can even rename various file extensions so you can send copyrighted files. That is why whenever I have a new Nokia unit Fexplorer is one of the first applications I install first.

Here's how we find the password for your MMC:

1. Download and Install Fexplorer

2.Open your Fexplorer and you can see C, D, E, Z filing. Move your directional pad up down to highlight C.

3.Press right on your pad, then press Options, then "File", press right, select "Find".

4.You will see a "File To Find" window, type in "mmcstore", then press OK.

5.You will notice that your phone may seem to load for a few seconds, then you will see a "MMC Store" file, press Options, highlight File, press right, select "Editor{Viewer}"

6.Now you can see the password in plain text.

Now you can open your MMC or Remove Password whenever or whatever you like.

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Monday, September 15, 2008


Want to download videos files from free video hosting sites like YouTube, Google,, iFilm, and etc. Of course you can using assorted free downloaders for this and that.Now most of these free downloaders are slow when downloading videos files from those video hosting sites.There's a faster way and just for a variation, why don't you try this.
Let's try YouTube videos.. First go to the YouTube video page of your choice and copy the watch url, not the embed code, of your choice video. Go then to KeepVid and paste the copied watch url in the download address bar and then click download.

Then at the DOWNLOAD Page you will be prompted with the following options with instructions:
.flv for low quality video
mp4 for high quality video
Just follow the right click and save instructions and simple as that you are already downloading.

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Saturday, September 13, 2008


I have been a NFS series fan and a follower of the old game series, especially NFS UNDERGROUND 2 which is my favorite. How can you not get hooked by the level upgrades in the career mode, the unlocks, DVD and magazine covers, the cool soundtracks at that time, and especially the outruns. Let's see what makeovers they applied from the old NFS series. I hope you enjoy the trailer. Was that a Porsche being chased by the cops?

Repost from my WARSHOCK G-blogs

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Friday, September 12, 2008


Have you ever experienced a cell phone user whom you wanted to pack up and ship to Miss Manners? Or have you ever witnessed a person on a cell phone do something so completely rude that you stop in your tracks? I have, and it continues to intrigue me just how polarizing cell phones can be. Sure, almost everyone has one, but they can drive even their most loyal users crazy.

Though I write about cell phones every day, even I think it makes perfect sense that cell phones are continually cited in studies that say good manners have gone out of the window. You don't need a sociology degree to see just how handsets have changed how we relate to each other; and I'm not talking about their positive effects (though indeed there are some). Rather, I'm talking about how you can put a cell phone in an otherwise courteous person's hand and then watch how that person loses all awareness of the people around him.

Let me emphasize that I'm no luddite. I think cell phones are great and serve a very useful purpose. But just as people hide behind email to avoid face-to-face communication, it's amazing how some cell phone users think a handset makes them so much more important than everyone else. Here's some extreme behavior I've seen and be sure to share your own experiences and advice, as well.

-Be nice to the person behind the counter
Last week I was waiting in line to order lunch behind a man blabbing away on his phone. When he got to the counter, he handed the cafe employee a piece of paper with his order and said, "I'm on an important call." So is it just me or is that completely rude? Doesn't the person behind the lunch counter deserve just an ounce of respect? I think so. Next time Mr. Important, hang up or at least put your caller on hold.

-Take it outside
I'm also in favor of taking your phone outside, or at least away from the table, when you get a call in a restaurant. No one around you, much less your tablemates, care to hear what you have to say. That is, unless you're guiding someone to your table in a cavernous eatery. And if it's really important, you could always text. But even that has a limit, as well.

-Use your inside voice
I'm always fascinated how people's voices (me included) automatically go up a few decibels when they get on a cell phone. I can understand when you're using your phone in a crowd, near a construction site, or next to your local airport runway, but it happens even in quiet rooms. I just don't get it.

-You're welcome
Have you ever held the door for someone who's been on the phone without them acknowledging your presence? It happened to me last week. Remember folks: Even though you're on the phone you still exist in this world to other people.

-Drive to distraction
I know I'll open a whole can of worms here but please, when you're driving with a phone use a headset. And whatever you do, don't text while driving. Yikes.

-Yes, they're talking to you
I don't pay $10 to hear your cell phone ring during a movie so turn it off. But if you absolutely have to keep your phone on, please turn it on vibrate. And please don't start talking until after you've left the theater. It's just being polite. The same goes for weddings, funerals, and other milestone events. Every time I went to my college's graduation, they'd ask people to turn off their phones before the ceremony. And every time, someone's phone would ring and they'd slink out of the building. Remember that when they ask you to turn off your phone, they're talking to you.

-Work out your body, not your mouth
I don't care how important you think you are, the gym is no place for a cell phone. Don't talk when you're doing cardio and don't take up space on equipment so you can sit and catch up the latest dish. If you're bored while you spin, read a magazine.

-Not in the bathroom
Don't use your phone in a public restroom. That's just gross.

-Remember the people around you
If you're out with a group of friends, it's fine to answer the phone for a few minutes. Just don't make that conversation more important than the one you're already having. Granted, I know I'm throwing stone from a glass house, but be courteous and keep it to a limit.

-Bluetooth geeks
I've made no secret of the fact that I think wearing a Bluetooth headset when you're not talking on the phone just make you look like a geek. That's why I'm saying it again here.
By doug_clist

If you have anything to add folks, jaz post it here via comments. I am a Nokia Symbian addict myself and I admit, sometimes I go way beyond the line with my cell phone. Anyone is welcome..thanks.

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Tuesday, September 9, 2008


She remembers everything, FOREVER.

RAM Woman:
She forgets about you, the moment you turn her off.

Everyone knows that she can't do a thing right, but no one can live without her.

EXCEL Woman:
They say she can do a lot of things but you mostly use her for your four basic needs.

She is good for nothing but at least she is fun!

Difficult to access.

Always busy when you need her.

She makes horrible things look beautiful.

CD-ROM Woman:
She is always faster and faster.

E-MAIL Woman:
Every ten things she says, eight are nonsense.

VIRUS Woman:
Also known as "WIFE"; when you are not expecting her, she comes, installs herself and uses all your resources. If you try to uninstall her you will lose something, if you don't try to uninstall her you will lose everything.

Snatched from Funtoosh.

To good wives .. jaz are NOT in any way a trojan, worm, or a BankAccount PWS..ha ha

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Monday, September 8, 2008


Zafar Anjum, MIS Asia
Sep 7, 2008 3:05 am

While the Asia Pacific region is making accelerated progress in the telephony sector, the area in which the region really stands out is the uptake of advanced Internet technologies, especially broadband Internet access.
This is according to a report by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU). The ITU launched its key Telecommunication/ICT Indicators Report for the Asia-Pacific region, at the ITU Telecom Asia 2008 in Bangkok, Thailand, on Sept. 1.
The report noted that the Asia-Pacific region is the world's largest broadband market with a 39 per cent share of the globe's total at the end of 2007. In terms of broadband access, the region has seen subscriber numbers growing almost five-fold in five years: from 27 million at the beginning of 2003 to 133 million at the start of 2008.

In the region's high-income economies, ubiquitous access is progressing through a competitive race to provide ever faster fixed broadband access, the report said.
Providing concrete examples, the report highlighted that operators in Hong Kong (China) and Japan have launched 1G-bps (gigabits per second) broadband and triple-play services aimed at the residential market, featuring applications such as Internet telephony and television. The Republic of Korea leads the world in terms of the percentage of households with fixed broadband access, and no less than five economies in the top ten are from Asia-Pacific. The Republic of Korea, Hong Kong and Japan also lead the world in terms of the proportion of households with fiber optic connections, essential for supporting the next generation of ultra-high speed Internet applications.

The ITU report further noted that these high-income economies are also leaders in terms of third generation (3G) mobile cellular deployment. "Fixed and mobile broadband technologies complement each other and users enjoy continuous high-speed Internet access," it said.
Citing the case of the Lion City, the report said that in Singapore, a ubiquitous Internet access plan combining unlimited 8M-bps (megabits per second) fixed broadband, 2 M-bps mobile broadband and access at some 800 WiFi hotspots is available for just US$35 per month.

However, not everyone lives the ultimate high-speed Internet access experience, the report said.
"The regional broadband divide is striking, with poor economies having a close-to-zero broadband penetration, compared to that of rich economies where one in four persons is a broadband subscriber," the report noted.
According to the report, the gap in available broadband speeds between rich and poor countries is as wide as broadband penetration. In Japan, the Republic of Korea and Hong Kong, the minimum advertised broadband speed is faster than the maximum broadband speed in Cambodia, Tonga, Laos and Bangladesh.

Another significant point raised by report is how mobile phones are not yet fulfilling the potential of broadband access. "By the end of 2007, only Indonesia, the Maldives, the Philippines and Sri Lanka had commercially deployed WCDMA networks," the report said. "The region's two largest mobile markets, China and India, have yet to launch mobile broadband. By the end of 2007, there were over 120 million mobile broadband subscribers in the region, but almost all (97 percent) were in high income economies."
The report also argues that broadband uptake enables a range of socially desirable and valuable online services in areas such as government, education and health. It also identifies a number of obstacles that policy-makers must address to overcome the broadband gap.

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Sunday, September 7, 2008


Maggie Q to star in live-action sequences in EA’s next installment of underground street racer for 360, PS3, PS2, PSP, Wii, DS, and PC.

Snatched from WARSHOCK G-Blogs
Black Box & Electronic Arts officially confirm Need for Speed Undercover, a new installment in the popular racing series. This game features the international movie star, Maggie Q (Mission Impossible III and Live Free or Die Hard), as the lead character in the live-action sequences. The good news about this one is EA’s decision to "take the franchise back to its roots and re-introduces break-neck cop chases, the world’s hottest cars and spectacular highway battles."

“Need for Speed Undercover features a deep and engaging story of spectacular Hollywood-style live-action that will transport players into the fictional world of the Tri-City Bay Area,” said Bill Harrison, Need for Speed Undercover Executive Producer. “Working with talent the caliber of Maggie Q allows us to deliver an unparalleled level of storytelling that will keep players engaged in between 180-mile an hour races.”

Need for Speed Undercover hits stores in North America on November 18 and in Europe on November 21. It's currently in the making for the Xbox 360, PS3, Wii, PS2, Nintendo DS, PSP, PC and mobile.

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Thursday, September 4, 2008


ha ha...Don't point a finger at me guyz, i just picked it up. Seriously, with IE on the ugly side,{like viewing WordPress' large images with IE} Microsoft better come up with pretty makeover with their IE8. Personally I use Opera 9.52 when blogposting, coz it's lighter and faster loading.

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Georgian women refugees sit on a straw-laden farm transporter as they rest before continuing their flight from Russian troops.

By Tom Clifford, Deputy Managing Editor
Published: August 15, 2008, 09:21

Gori: One town, two countries. The contradictions of war were clearly apparent in Sarp, a town shared by Turkey and Georgia.

On one side were streams of refugees fleeing the fighting and on the other side of the town in Georgia itself people were sunning themselves on the beach, as if oblivious to the suffering of their own countrymen.

Sarp is where the Turkish Red Crescent are based to deal with the refugee influx.

More than 3,600 Georgians dash to Sarp each day, mostly from Western Georgia. They bring tales of atrocities and heavy fighting.

Meanwhile, the Black Sea port of Poti, about 100 kilometres north, has been shelled by Russian warships and - according to refugees - resembles a ghost town.

"I brought my wife and nine-year-old son from Poti today," said Qabakh.

"It is not safe there. The Russians may have withdrawn their heavy armour but irregulars crowd around the town, robbing and looting," he said.

On the Turkish side of Sarp stands a convoy of 104 articulated trucks caught in the no man's land of war during a ceasefire.

Among them are Turkish Red Crescent trucks with huge banners down the side stating that their contents are a gift from the Turkish people to Georgia.

For the people of Georgia, the French president's announcement of a ceasefire just does not ring true.

The refugees' tales are a harrowing testament that Nicolas Sarkozy's announcement was a triumph of spin over substance.

The front line in this campaign is not in Tbilisi but in Western Georgia where the remnants of the routed Georgian army have taken to the hills and where Georgians blame Chechen irregulars for atrocities which are too well documented to be just propaganda.

Georgia is being slowly strangled and a vicious Bosnian style conflict is emerging.

The area between Poti and Gori is becoming a no man's land where the gun carries the day and undisciplined bands of young men, many from Chechnya, roam.

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Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Stardock Says You Have Rights, PC Gamers

In the boldest, wisest, and frankly coolest collection of axioms I've ever seen a developer lobby in three decades of PC gaming, Galactic Civilizations designer Stardock today released a 'Gamer's Bill of Rights' describing what gamers should expect from developers, publishers, and retailers going forward.

In just 10 succinct points, Stardock simultaneously identifies a lot of what's wrong with the PC games industry while courageously suggesting that:

-Gamers shall have the right to return games that don't work with their computers for a full refund.
Me: You know, we used to have this right a decade ago. Remember the era when stores like Babbages and Software Etc. gave you 30 days on opened software with a valid receipt?

-Gamers shall have the right to demand that games be released in a finished state.
Me: I'd add an important corollary: Game developers have a right to demand that publishers never, ever force them to release a game in an unfinished state.

-Gamers shall have the right to expect meaningful updates after a game's release.
Me: I'm assuming Stardock means updates = expansions, and not the sort of optional free content a developer should never feel obliged to offer if the game adheres to point number two. But yeah, if we're going to pay from one-half to two-thirds the cost of the original game for an add-on, it needs to deliver at least commensurately.

-Gamers shall have the right to demand that download managers and updaters not force themselves to run or be forced to load in order to play a game.
Me: I religiously uninstall third-party download managers the second I've finished pulling down a file or game (exceptions being Stardock's and Valve's).

-Gamers shall have the right to expect that the minimum requirements for a game will mean that the game will play adequately on that computer.
Me: This one's a toughie, because "adequately" is still so vague. Adequately for me is Crysis with everything set to "max." Adequately for someone else might be Crysis in a tiny window with everything set to "low." This gets even trickier when you consider how completely anarchic benchmarks are in terms of morphing drivers and elusive one-off optimizations. Unless hardware vendors counterintuitively agreed to develop to an independent performance index, getting a good definition of "adequately" will probably remain the purview of one-size-fits-all consoles.

-Gamers shall have the right to expect that games won't install hidden drivers or other potentially harmful software without their consent.
Me: 'Nuff said. Well, and maybe something in there about serious legal threats against anyone who violates this point.

-Gamers shall have the right to re-download the latest versions of the games they own at any time.
Me: Another tricky one, because bandwidth costs publishers money, and games aren't getting smaller. If you could convince me that publishers are paying less than pennies on the dollar to maintain download servers, I might bite, but with PC gaming vectoring toward total digital-distribution, I'm conflicted.

-Gamers shall have the right to not be treated as potential criminals by developers or publishers.
Me: Hear hear. Begone, StarForce and all your misbegotten hasn't-stopped-a-single-pirate-to-date progeny.

-Gamers shall have the right to demand that a single-player game not force them to be connected to the Internet every time they wish to play.
Me: I've been an advocate of this since Valve launched Steam and made this mandatory. Valve eventually wised up and made it optional. So bravo (again) Valve, thank you as well Stardock, and the rest of you need to follow suit, because going online should always and forever remain an option and not a requirement.

-Gamers shall have the right that games which are installed to the hard drive shall not require a CD/DVD to remain in the drive to play.
Me: Color me ambivalent on this one. But speaking as a laptop gamer, games that don't require discs tend to play (a) much more quietly and (b) generate far less heat. The latter can be crucial if you're utilizing a high-end mobile GPU.

One last "right" I'd like to add...

-Gamers shall have the right to expect members of the gaming press to challenge game companies when they violate any of the above principles.
Me: The press is an engine of inquiry, not a press-release patsy. There's supposed to be an element of bias in expert reporting. You wouldn't accept on its face what a politician tells you, and you shouldn't uncritically accept what a game company does as in everyone's best interest. As history shows us, time and again, that's not always the case.

-by Matt Peckham

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Monday, September 1, 2008

CIA - THE WORLD FACTBOOK ...For Nokia s60 Mobiles -jDictionary.Mobile.The.World.FactBook.Java.jar

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If you are looking for an online World Factbook that is comphrehensive, periopdically updated, complete with reference maps, flags of the world, appendixes, and each country underheadings topic include governmnent, military, transportation and other related aspects of each country. Visit the CIA-THE WORLD FACTBOOK. What is a better reference source than the greatest intelligence agency in the world.

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