Oh AeroSnap!

If you love Windows 7’s Aero Snap feature and you’re stuck with a Windows XP machine – like me with my office computer, don’t fret. Here’s a nifty little tool that mimics the feature. It’s a very handy productivity tool. Enjoy!

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Re: Do I need a Zune HD right now?

zune-hd-black.jpgZunePH, one of my favorite blogs, made a very interesting blog entry about Zune HD. The blog entry, aptly titled “Do I need a Zune HD right now?” shares the author’s point/counterpoint in getting the Zune HD. Instead of making a comment on the blog I decided to dedicate an entire blog to it.

Here’s my take on that: High-end gadgets NEVER belong to need list. Case in point: there are thousands of cheap but functional phones out there but most people drool over smartphones. Even if the only thing they’ll need are the text and call feature. Another silly point here is that most advanced feature of a smartphone (albeit 90% of them) would require data plan for it to be truly functional – mobile internet. GPS, push email – but data plans are just too much for the masses. But that doesn’t stop people from getting an expensive phone. Another example are Portable Media Devices (PMP’s), Heck Sanza Clip alone could make Apple run for its money, it’s cheap and packed with features. But I don’t see it grabbing any market share from Apple.

The way I see it is there are handful of reasons why people haplessly fall for ridiculously priced gadgets. People just can’t get enough lust for high-end gadgets. Either spurred by their curiosity or their need for validation, we make gadgets a priority like it is one of our monthly bills. I can’t remember how many times I’ve been impulsive when it comes to buying gadgets. My iPod classic is a testament to that and no I will not tell it here, hehe. High-end gadgets are, in a way, a personal statement. Either we want to be differentiated from the crowd or we just want to show off what we can buy, is something high-end gadget can surely convey. I was long-time Nokia phone user but I wasn’t really happy. Until I learned about Windows Mobile phones where you could install apps, tweak it’s registry and even create your own software for the phone. When I got my hand on my first WinMo phone (O2 XDA mini), I told myself, “ok, this phone is my phone”. I figure it was the geek in me longing for the phone.

So I might not pre-order the Zune HD now or even order right after it’s release (September 15!) but I’m sure I will get it somehow, someday. I know I don’t need it but what the heck I can’t get enough of how sexy it is and it is one thing that will differentiate me from the millions of iPod lemmings out there!

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There are some things that you don’t wish you’d use but you’re glad it’s there.

Yesterday my Windows 7 Beta expired, and me being a complete idiot was so excited installing the new build of the OS that I have completely forgot to back-up my 5-year collection of photos. The minute I realized my collection was gone, which I didn’t until the evening yesterday, I went like crazy. It all went blurry. All I can think about is I must have backed it up somewhere else. But of course, I haven’t.

And you know what’s the unbelievably stupid part is? (yes, deleting the pictures was not) I was able to save everything else, including a copy of ‘Kailangan Kita’, what the heck is wrong with me!

Seriously, I was really, really frustrated. It’s five years of my life gone because of my utter stupidity. Not to mention the efforts I made to organize, tag and edit this collection. Anyway, moving forward I know for a fact that deleted files – even formatted ones – can still be recovered using a software. I remember using a software called ‘File Scavenger’ before (yes, this is not the first time that I have ‘accidentally’ deleted some files). So there I was, I’ve spent the night scouring my hard drives looking for any trace of my photos, something that I never imagined doing. I recovered some of the pictures but not the entire collection. From the looks of it, it’s roughly 50% of the collection. Damn it. I’m gonna make a few more scans on my hard drives tonight and hoping that I’ll uncover more.

It’s gonna be a long night.

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tweaking our home network

For a few months now, I’ve noticed that our home network is just painfully slow either on accessing files over the network or just surfing the net. We have three PC’s on the network, two of them run on Windows 7: a desktop, our media center and a Sony Vaio laptop running on Windows XP. We also have a few gadgets that occasionally piggyback on the network: three mobile phones and PMP (portable media player) with wi-fi and the only thing that connects them together is a 4-port wireless Linksys WRT54GC.

Googling (and Binging) around, I saw a couple of tips on how to improve our hapless router’s performance. Some of them are straightforward, like picking a good location for your router so that it has good coverage on each of the device on the house. Some of them are just trivial, which I will cover here:

  • The first that I did was to change my router’s channel. It turns out that most routers use the same channel by default so if you’re in a wifi congested area, connection gets weaker. To change your router’s channel access the router’s page, if you’re using a Linksys router, point your browser to:

    http:///192.168.1.1/

    You will be prompted with a security dialog box, provide the credentials. The default username is admin, leave the password empty.

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    Go to the wireless section of the page and the value router’s wireless channel. Six, one and eleven are common values so stay away from them. You can download net stumbler to detect the channels that are being used around your area.

 

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  • The next thing that I did is to tweak the settings of each of my PC’s wireless adapter. I’m not going to discuss them here since most of the things that I did was just fiddle with the values of the adapter’s settings. I suggest that you check the documentation of your network adapter first before changing anything.

    To view your wireless network adapter’s settings, right-click on “My Computer” > Manage > Device Manager > On the right pane, expand “Network Adapters” then double click your network adapter.

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  • The last that I did – it may sound Greek but just bare with me – was toimage configure my router to use  OpenDNS instead of the default DNS  from my ISP (SmartBro). OpenDNS is a fast, secure and reliable DNS alternative, in english, it’s just plain better. Anyway, applying DNS can be a little tricky depending on the router’s model. Case in point, Linksys WRT54GC only allows you to specify the DNS using “Static IP” and not “DHCP”. The first thing you need to do is go to the router’s settings page just like on the first tip. Once you’re there, go to the Set-up section of the router’s settings page. If you’re using a Linksys, its the default landing page. On this page, change your “Internet Connection Type” to “Static IP”. After this, you will need to supply the values for the fields. I found the values of these fields by checking the “Status” page of my router setting page.

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    Copy these values on their respective fields.

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    Don’t forget to click the “Save Settings” at the bottom of the page.

After these steps, there’s a noticeable change of speed in copying files over the network and some very subtle change in internet connection. There you go. I hope these tips help. Leave me a comment if you have some questions.

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THE list

I think I’m a sucker for lists. Although I don’t qualify even remotely as an organize person. I don’t know, maybe it’s the thrill in organizing thoughts. Heh, ok now I’m also a perv.

So here’s another list for me and this is no ordinary one. This is THE list. I don’t wanna call it my bucket list, I’m not that old. But these are the things that I want to do (with my Bee, syem’pre) in the next quarter of my life.

  • Attend a TED ConferenceTED is a community of passionate people on their field who wants to make a difference on the world, literally. Every year, a conference is held to give some of these incredibly smart people to share what they’re doing to the community. There’s a lot of inspiring talks every conference. If you wanna see some of these talks, they are freely available at TED. I strongly that you add them to your podcasts.
  • Watch Chris Rock live – If you haven’t seen any of Chris’ stand-ups (NOT the movies) then I suggest that you immediately stop reading, head to the nearest video rental shop and rent a copy of his shows Chris is just outrageously funny. He can talk about politics, race issues, romance and a whole more that you can pick up and laugh.
  • Witness Aurora Borealis (or Australis. Either, I’m not really that picky, ha!) 
  • Live for a year in Tuscany – I know, I know. That’s the gayest thing a man could ever put it his list but I can’t help it. I’m just in love with the place (and yes, I’ve seen “Under the Tuscan Sun” a million times and would not hesitate to see it again).
  • Live for a year in New York – who doesn’t? I’m just curious what the fuss is all about, what makes it the greatest city in the world.

 

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crossed out: la mesa eco park

Slowly, I am inching my way in crossing out all of the items in my list. This is my third item to cross out – here are the first and the second. Yesterday, since I’m pretty much unoccupied, we went to La Mesa Eco Park and and kill some time. We killed time alright, we blast every minute till we ran out of it.

It was a quickie, roughly just 2 hours, but we made every minute count! There are handful of fun activities that you can do there, but since we’re in nick of time, we made a little hands-on management: we prioritize. Boat riding was fun but can be little tiring and confusing at first. Rowing is not an easy chore! It’s more than just a physical activity, you need to think how you’ll paddle your way through the lake. And I thought I can leave my brain at home. The boat costs P100 for 30 minutes.

Fun slide was the highlight actually. Finally, some adrenaline for a slooow weak. It’s P100 per person which I think is a little pricey? Or am I just being tight on my wallet. Anyway, it’s really fun, you should try it. There are other stuff that you can do there like wall climbing, paint ball, etc.

Some of our pictures below:

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episodal [strikes] back[slide]

image  When you get used to being busy, holidays aren’t necessarily good news for you. Three days at home without work may sound relaxing, but if work is something that keeps your mind occupied then that means three days of being on-occupied. Three days of nothing to think about but catching up missed episodes of some TV shows, pigging out, afternoon sleeps and hours and hours of mindless surfing on the net.  Don’t get me wrong, I like doing those things. I love doing nothing. But for three days?

The thing that sucks when you’re not doing anything is your mind tends to fly. “Fly” and “mind” in one sentence is never a good one. All of these images swimming, backstroking in your brain like a scene from some weird movie. Picking some random thoughts from your recollection like its some kind of torture-yourself-day. And that’s not even the worst part, wait until you get to sleep and you couldn’t. When everybody is in la-la land and you’ve seen all the TV shows  and you’ve read every article on your RSS reader and you’re still wide awake.

Yes, It’s 2:18 in the morning and I wanna think about work. I am thinking of what I’m gonna do the minute I sit on my desk. I am composing in my mind every code that I’ll be writing, every email that I’ll be sending,  and every little thing that I need to do. I am thinking about anything because I don’t want to be not thinking. I think I’m wired this way. I think we’re all wired this way. And that’s just all right. Life is just too short to throw away some moments of not thinking. I’ve wasted enough.

I think I just had my “fill”. I’m hitting the sack now.

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