Thank you for stopping by my blog. This is my first dip into the blogging trench, started out of my curiosity to know what actually is a blog. I try to put here my readings from various sources; books, blogs, sites. I also grab stuff from here & there and try to showcase it in my own style here. If you'd like my scribblings, please subscribe to my full text RSS feeds.

Currently I am experimenting a few new features on my blog, like Peekaboo and Post Summary; the reason for the slight distortion you see. I am hoping to frame up these soon, please bear with me!

Definitions of Tip on the web:

  • cause to tilt; "tip the screen upward"
  • mark with a tip; "tip the arrow with the small stone"
  • give a tip or gratuity to in return for a service, beyond the compensation agreed on; "Remember to tip the waiter"; "fee the steward"
  • topple: cause to topple or tumble by pushing
  • the extreme end of something; especially something pointed
  • tiptoe: walk on one's toes
  • gratuity: a relatively small amount of money given for services rendered (as by a waiter)
  • information related to a particular thing or process that could help the interested perform the task with ease or without any problem
  • an indication of potential opportunity; "he got a tip on the stock market"; "a good lead for a job"
  • tap: strike lightly; "He tapped me on the shoulder"
  • tip off: give insider information or advise to; "He tipped off the police about the terrorist plot"
  • point: a V shape; "the cannibal's teeth were filed to sharp points"
  • peak: the top point of a mountain or hill; "the view from the peak was magnificent"; "they clambered to the summit of Monadnock"
  • remove the tip from; "tip artichokes"

We'll talk about the definition in red. This definition relates to the tiny nuggets of information that can have surprisingly profound effects on our lives. They can make life easier and less frustrating; they can make our activities safer; they can make our work more efficient and they can help us save money too.

We always take tips from our granny but after the task is achieved, we seldom bother to archive it, or pass it to the needful. TipBin exactly does this task for us. TipBin is a huge collection of tips posted by users like us who'd like to educate the rest of us with this useful tips. These tips range over a variety of topics. A neat and clever tag cloud lets you easily browse thru the tips related to your topic of interest.

Conceived by Christian Cantrell, TipBin's mission is to:
  • Make as many tips as possible available to anyone who wants them at any time
  • Make information easy to find and share with each other
  • Make it easy to provide feedback on tips so you know which ones you can rely on
Check for the tips on a topic of your interest. Who knows, it could be the very same tip you got from your granny sometime back. Esle it could be a very useful tip that could save you a great deal of money and time. Before you could suggest the world with your tips, you need to register with TipBin.

In context to my earlier posts on US VISA Interview Appointment and VFS Global, I also felt the need to keep my readers informed with some (or rather complete) info on the complete application procedure. Excerpts from various sources and largely from VFS have helped me put together the information collectively at the tip of your mouse pointer. Please pen your suggestions if this document needs updations with some info that I might have missed.

Read this doc on Scribd: H1B VISA Application Procedure

A new website, Blackle, aims to act as a starting point for eco-conscious web searchers. The site, which serves as a front end for Google searches, reverses the color schemes of search-result pages so users see light-colored text on a black background. It’s a trick that, allegedly, cuts the energy consumption of computer monitors. Blackle claimes it had saved more than 5,500 watt-hours of electricity since its debut in March. Blackle also has an Indian version too!

The Google cache version of the site’s “about” page, which carries some white screen space from Google atop the black page, explains that the site was inspired by a blog by Mark Ontkush claiming that if Google went all-black, it could save 750 megawatt-hours a year (a megawatt-hour is one million watt-hours). But as the blogger mentions, the savings are most likely to accrue from older CRT (cathode-ray tube) monitors, rather than the more-modern, more-compact, more-energy-efficient LCD (liquid crystal display) screens that have come to dominate the market (representing three quarters of all monitors world-wide as of last year).

On LCD displays, color may confer no benefit at all. Cadmus Group, which specializes in energy and environment, and does work for the government; quickly tested this behavior by loading Blackle, Google and the Web site of the New York Times (which is like Google, mostly white on-screen) on two monitors — one CRT, one LCD — and connecting a power meter to both. “We found that the color on screen mattered very little to the energy color consumption of the LCD monitor,” said David Korn of Cadmus. The changes were so slight as to be within the margin of error for the power meter. Tweaking brightness and contrast and settings had a bigger effect. The bulkier CRT screen did see savings with Blackle of between 5% and 20%. Mr. Korn emphasized that this was a quick test, not a rigorous study.

“Even if the energy savings are small, they are representative of the need for each of us to start taking small steps to save energy,” quoted Blackle’s Dr. Heap in an email. “My hope is that by setting Blackle as their home page people will be reminded of this need to save energy each time they go online.” Similar wording appears on Blackle’s “about” page.

Video thumbnail. Click to play

Click To Play

Blackle is part of the Google Co-op program, which means it shares in ad revenue from searches. A Google spokesman said, “Google is not affiliated with Blackle and we do not have any additional comments to provide at this time.”

Google says "We applaud the spirit of the idea, but our own analysis as well as that of others shows that making the Google homepage black will not reduce energy consumption. To the contrary, on flat-panel monitors (already estimated to be 75% of the market), displaying black may actually increase energy usage. Detailed results from a new study confirm this."

source:the wall street journal

The Gmail team came up with an idea to stitch together a bunch of video clips that all share one element: someone hands the Gmail M-velope in from the left of the screen, and hands it off to the right. All these videos had to include the Gmail's M-velope logo. Put them all together, and they form one long chain of hand-offs. The number of responses was impressive - more than 1,000 videos. Watch all of them here. Google selected some of the best videos, edited them and created a final video that showcases some of the most important values behind Gmail: creativity, collaboration and fun. Check the video here.

Check out this nice symmetrical flash animation. Roll your mouse over the jockeys to trip them! And let the horse reform from nowhere, just like T-1000 in Terminator2: Judgement Day.

Part of the Zurich based Kuoni Travel Group, VFS Global was established in 2001, in Mumbai (India), as a specialist partner for diplomatic missions worldwide. VFS Global serves diplomatic missions by managing all the administrative and non-judgmental tasks related to visa application, enabling diplomatic missions to focus entirely on the key tasks of assessment and interview.

Today, VFS Global serves 16 diplomatic missions in 31 countries worldwide, handling over four million applications (contracted) every year. In early 2006 VFS Global was awarded a 200 million contract (spread over 5 years) with UK Visas to provide visa outsourcing services in 7 geographical regions, covering close to about 70% of UKvisas visa applications globally.

In addition VFS is also the first Indian company to be awarded contracts for visa outsource services by the Government of India. As on date, VFS Global has been awarded contracts to provide outsource service to the Embassy's of India at Beijing, Bangkok & France.

As a reliable partner, VFS Global has always relied on Trust, Technique and Technology to maximise convenience and efficiency for both diplomatic missions as well as the visa applicants.

The survival of VFS Global's business depends entirely on the trust diplomatic missions place in them. As a rule, all our business dealings are conducted strictly as per the code of ethics laid down by the client governments.

VFS's authority extends only to the documentation and selection process. The issuing of visas is solely at the discretion of the concerned high commission. To ensure that there are no unethical practices whatsoever, a vigilance and security team closely monitors all interactions with applicants. A clear directive from top management also ensures that no employee attempts to influence any application or seek any favours from diplomats.

VFS Global is committed to provide individually customized solutions to each client government. For every new assignment, a Project Management Team studies the processes of the new client government in micro-detail and proposes customised solutions accordingly. VFS's prior experience with other governments, always serves as a library of best practices for our reference.

VFS Global has made major investments in software development in order to handle large volumes of applications. They have developed proprietary software systems for passport tracking, database creation and data upload. Their technology support also extends to website maintenance and online appointment scheduling facilities.

They have entered into technical and support agreements with leading IT hardware and software giants to ensure compliance to security policies and also adhere to meeting the stringent norms of diplomatic missions on IT Security and Data Protection. They have contracted with one of the Top 5 global Audit firms to conduct health checks and internal reviews on their systems and procedures so as to ensure robustness and continuous monitoring of the commitment to agreed customer service levels.

As described by wiki, "Infomania is the debilitating state of information overload, caused by the combination of a backlog of information to process (usually in email), and continuous interruptions from technologies like phones, instant messaging, and email. It is also understood as distraction caused by the urge to check email, text messaging and other sources of information, which causes the person to show symptoms to neglect other, often more important things - duties, family, etc. (For instance, a typical symptom of infomania is that of checking email frequently during vacation.)"

The term "infomania" has been used since the 1980's, but has only recently been used as a term for a psychological debility. The term was coined by Elizabeth M. Ferrarini, the author of 'Confessions of an Infomaniac' and 'Infomania-The Guide to Essential Electronic Services'. Ferrarini's 1984 Infomaniac book is the first book about life online. The very first installation of the book appeared in Cosmopolitan magazine in 1982.

Many workers are always on standby to react to incoming messages. Workers distracted by email and phone calls suffer a fall in IQ more than twice that found in marijuana smokers, new research has claimed.

The study for computing firm Hewlett Packard warned of a rise in "infomania", with people becoming addicted to email and text messages. Researchers found 62% of people checked work messages at home or on holiday. The firm said new technology can help productivity, but users must learn to switch computers and phones off.

Losing sleep

The study, carried out at the Institute of Psychiatry, found excessive use of technology reduced workers' intelligence. Those distracted by incoming email and phone calls saw a 10-point fall in their IQ - more than twice that found in studies of the impact of smoking marijuana, said researchers. More than half of the 1,100 respondents said they always responded to an email "immediately" or as soon as possible, with 21% admitting they would interrupt a meeting to do so.

The University of London psychologist who carried out the study, Dr Glenn Wilson, told the Daily Mail that unchecked infomania could reduce workers' mental sharpness.
Those who are constantly breaking away from tasks to react to email or text messages suffer similar effects on the mind as losing a night's sleep, he said.

View more on Infomania:
Infomania world
Time to fight back Infomania

source:bbc news

Miro Player plays almost any type of video content available on internet via standard protocols available. This player is 100% Free, Opensource software licensed under GPL. View screenshots of Miro player. A neat demo of the player is also provided to taste it before you can proceed with the download.


Play Anything:
Play virtually any video - Quicktime, WMV, MPEG, AVI, XVID, and more. Browse your collection, make playlists, stay organized. One player for all your videos.

Internet TV Shows:
Subscribe to any video RSS feed, podcast, or video blog. Explore hundreds of free channels with the built-in Channel Guide.

Subscribe & Download to/from Channels:
Miro has a built-in Channel Guide. Lists more than 1,000 free channels. Subscribe to channels with a single click.

Search YouTube, Yahoo videos, and Google videos and play what you want.

Torrent Client:
Easily download any BitTorrent file and watch it in the same application.

Check this neat instructional video from iphoneunlocking that shows you how to unlock your iPhone. Though the video is a bit blurred (shot on N95), the process of doing so is clear.

Pay close attention and spot what's wrong in this image.

iPhone...iPhone...iPhone everywhere. Are you nuts? This has been the buzz word going around in circles since it is out for a grab (or even before its release). I got bugged up with it.

Just in time to help me come out of the iPhone mania, I came across iPoor. A strong and potential competitor to the much hyped iPhone. Say Hello to iPoor.

iPoor is a parody of the iPhone created by Steve Nojobs and designed by Jim Whimpey. Take a look at the amazing features of iPoor.

It's Beautiful
The iPoor is the most gorgeous and simple phone ever created. Its beautiful, colourful outer casing is bound to turn heads. The huge pink antenna is not only attractive but functional, providing an astonishing 25 foot range.

Multi-Touch Technology
Move over, Jeff Han. The iPoor features the most revolutionary user interface since the mouse. With over 5 colorful buttons you can touch, or even press multiple buttons at the same time for true, patented multi-touch technology.

Stellar Battery Life
Life just got simpler. No other phone offers the reliability and simplicity of the iPoor. In the package are real maps you can use to easily locate the nearest available iBooths TM in your area. iBooths are now available at malls, restaurants, and other public places near you.

Mind Blowing Phonebook Simplicity
iPoor provides calling simplicity like no other cell phone can. Options range from a green bunny to a dark green bunny to a bear. There are 4 calling options, all of them colorful animals!

Why iPoor???

With iPoor on the scene, buying an iPhone is almost a humanitarian crime against yourself. Do you really want the iPhone's sexy, metallic body when you can have colorful plastic? Do you still want reasons?

It's Cheaper
Using amazing manufacturing techniques, all of the iPoor's amazing features are available at an AMAZING price!

Improves your dating life
iPoor features the Am I Hot Widget (tm), a mirror located in front of the phone.

Increases your IQ by 17%
iPoor goes back to the basics, allowing you to memorize phone numbers and thus increasing your IQ.

Do you need more reasons?


iPoor has already caught the attention of some biggies and heres what they have to say about it:

Steve Jobs, Apple CEO: "Incredibly pathetic attempt."

Michael Arringtones, Techcrutch: "I guess it has a better battery life..."

Steve's mother: "Get a real job."

The Wallet Street Journal: "iPoor is the real iPhone Killer."

Camlin Permanent Markers

Holi @ Hostel

Cadburys (Classic)

CenterShock Chewing Gum

HappyDent White

Anti-Smoking Commercial



Fevicol Cliff Ad


"Book online bus tickets to Mumbai, Hyderabad, Bangalore, Chennai, Pune, from Delhi, Ahmedabad, Manglore, Calicut, Shirdi, Tirupathi. Volvo bus ticket in Sharma, Neeta, Kallada, Kesineni, Kaleswari, VRL, Prasanna Tours, KPN travels, Konduskar" is their title.

redBus is an innovation from Pilani Soft Labs Pvt. Ltd. setup with the vision to innovate for everyone's convenience.

This startup is the brainchild of a group of BITS-Pilani graduates, one of the best engineering institutes India has. The marketing is headed by an IIM-B Alumni, which needless to say is the best management institute in India. With work experience spanning across various IT majors, team redBus displays vigor both technically and managerially.

redBus employs the best-in-class security and the transactions done through redBus are secure. redBus uses Secure Socket Layers (SSL) data encryption which ensures that the information exchanged with redBus is never transmitted unencrypted thus protecting the information from being viewed by unauthorized individuals. This encryption is done using 128-bit RC4 encryption. In addition the credit card information is processed over secure gateways which are certified by VISA.

I have tested this service for tickets from Hyderabad to Vijayawada and the results are really surprising! It reflects most of the bus services I knew in this region. Neat work I should say! redBus's efforts to ease user interaction is clearly visible, they have effectively implemented the KISS thumb rule. The results are displayed in such a manner that even a layman can easily get thru. The results display the travels, the bus and seating type, timings and the fare. This tabular display can also be filtered by boarding point. One can even choose the seats based on a simple visual lay-out. The user is also greeted by a number of payment options to choose from.

redBus has already won lots of accolades with its simple, timely, up-to-date info and customer centric services. No wonder redBus backs on IIM and BITS-Pilani brains!!!

Captured below is the World Web Map 2007. It is based on the websites world classification carried out by Alexa and ComScore, the major providers of web traffic information. The websites traffic is correlated with the surface of the countries.

Slightly confusing it is, you can view it here in other formats.

In todays e-age, with spyware, viruses, hackers lurking around you; it is very easy for anyone to become a victim of online fraud or identity theft.

I stumbled upon this informative and exhaustive reading on the web that describes how to avoid such a menace. I have shrinked the original article to suit the general mass of netizens.

Here are 10 measures you can take while accessing the internet to make sure your data is safe.

1. Keep your personal and sensitive data off your computer: If you want to keep your personal data (bank account numbers, passwords etc.), refrain from storing this data on a computer. A flash drive can do that for you. If you need to refer to the documents, just plug in your flash drive. If you really want to store same on your computer, then make sure it is encrypted.

2. Avoid saving credit card info, etc on shopping sites: Many web sites today, such as Orbitz, Amazon, eBay, give you the option to save your credit card info so that you don’t have to type in all the information each time you want to buy something. If someone eventually hacks into their database and downloads your credit card numbers, bank account numbers etc., you're doomed! Always refrain from this practise.

3. Do not use the same password for everything on the Internet: You don’t have to keep a different password for every site but definitely not just one. Make sure passwords are different and more complicated thus increasing your password's strength. Just throwing in a number or symbol at the end will make it hundreds of
times hard for a person to crack your password!

4. Always think before providing information when solicited: If you ever get an email that has a link in it that requires any personal information, make sure you go to the web site yourself manually by typing in the address. Half the time links in emails point to fake addresses. And just because a web site exists does not mean it it legitimate! If you’ve never heard of the site before, try Googling before you dig in.

5. Only connect to secure wireless networks if you can: If you have a home wireless network, secure it quickly! Connecting to non-secure wireless networks is inviting trouble. Avoid them!

6. Clear your browser’s cache after an online transaction: Sometimes your browser will save certain information you typed into forms, etc when you are online, so it’s always good to clear that after you’re done. If you get a pop-up message from your browser asking you whether you want it to automatically save your passwords etc., click NO.

7. Make sure anti-virus and anti-spyware are installed and up-to-date: Anti-virus programs like Kaspersky Anti-Virus or free programs like AVG are good. Suggested is that you also have an anti-spyware program also installed. Many anti-spyware applications are available for free on the web and they are good too.

8. Turn off your computer or on standby when you’re not using it: If your computer is on, then a hacker, virus, or anything else possibly can harm your computer. Make sure you turn off or put your machines into sleep mode when not used. Why open it to attack if you’re not using the computer?

9. Make sure the URL has an HTTPS instead of HTTP: The S makes all the difference! This means that the communication between your computer and their server is secure and encrypted. Passing unencrypted data over the net = making your data public.

10. Use a secure Internet browser when you are online: Firefox is considered more secure than IE and that’s what a number of sites also have tested. IE 7 has more security features than ever before, but it still has lots of holes too. Using a secure browser can help protect against browser hijacking etc.


If you ever wished you run multiple instances of your favourite IMs' on the same machine, this is the perfect solution. No big hacks required nor you ought to be a geek. Simple but effective tricks listed below can solve this maze.

Advantages of such a hack? I leave it to your imagination!

Google Talk

1. Point to the application launch icon (either in your programs list or the shortcut on your desktop)
2. Right click to get the Google Talk Properties pop up window
3. Replace contents of the target text box with "c:\program files\google\google talk\googletalk.exe" /nomutex (include the quotations and spaces as well)
4. Click OK and you're done

Now you can launch multiple instances of the GTalk messenger.

Yahoo Messenger

1. In the RUN command box, type in regedit and hit Enter to open the registry editor
2. Go to HKEY_CURRENT_USER > Software > Yahoo > Pager > Test
3. On the right pane, right-click and choose New > Dword value
4. Rename it as Plural.
5. Double click on it and change the Base to Decimal
6. Type 1 in the value text box. Exit the registry and you're done

Now you can launch multiple instances of the Yahoo messenger.

source:gaurav sharma @ gaufire

Long back I received a mail from one of my friends. This had an xls attachment and a swf game embedded in it. The game is to kill, or swat for the light hearted, mosquitoes! No...not at your home, here on the web. Just another silly and kiddy pastime flash game. Mind is addictive and kills more time than the mosquitoes you'd kill (lol)!

All this time I didn't know how to extract the swf from the xls. Only today I came across this interesting and educative post which made this task as easier as 1-2-3. And to top this, I always had problems enbedding objects in my posts. Thats when I blindly dug up Digital Inspiration; blindly coz I knew there would be a solution for this problem. Enjoy the game.

Microsoft has many small and useful utilities hidden in XP. These tools are handy and very powerful. XP users seldom know these tools and their abilities. If harnessed in a controlled fashion, these utilities can relatively boost your machine(s).


1. Character Map = charmap.exe (very useful for finding unusual characters)
2. Disk Cleanup = cleanmgr.exe
3. Clipboard Viewer = clipbrd.exe (view contents of Windows clipboard)
4. Dr Watson = drwtsn32.exe (troubleshooting tool)
5. DirectX diagnosis = dxdiag.exe (diagnose & test DirectX, video & sound cards)
6. Private character editor = eudcedit.exe (allows creation or modification of characters)
7. IExpress Wizard = iexpress.exe (create self-extracting / self-installing package)
8. Mcft Synchronization Manager = mobsync.exe
9. Windows Media Player 5.1 = mplay32.exe (basic version of MediaPlayer)
10. ODBC Data Source Administrator = odbcad32.exe
11. Object Packager = packager.exe (packing objects for insertion in files, appears to have comprehensive help files)
12. System Monitor = perfmon.exe (very useful, highly configurable tool, tells you everything you ever wanted to know about any aspect of PC performance, for geeks)
13. Program Manager = progman.exe (legacy Windows 3.x desktop shell)
14. Remote Access phone book = rasphone.exe
15. Registry Editor = regedt32.exe [also regedit.exe] (for hacking the Windows Registry)
16. Network shared folder wizard = shrpubw.exe (creates shared folders on network)
17. File siganture verification tool = sigverif.exe
18. Volume Control = sndvol32.exe
19. System Configuration Editor = sysedit.exe (modify System.ini & Win.ini just like in Win98!)
20. Syskey = syskey.exe (secures XP Account database – appears to encrypt all passwords)
21. Mcft Telnet Client = telnet.exe
22. Driver Verifier Manager = verifier.exe (utility to monitor the actions of drivers)
23. Windows for Workgroups Chat = winchat.exe (an old NT utility to allow chat sessions over a LAN, help files available)
24. System configuration = msconfig.exe (used to control starup programs)
25. Group Policy Editor = gpedit.msc (used to manage group policies, and permissions)
26. Local Users and Groups = lusrmgr.msc (useful in renaming Administrator)
27. Certificate Manager = certmgr.msc (used for encryption and certificate management)
28. Device Manager = devmgmt.msc

source:Swizzy's Hideout

A CAPTCHA is a type of challenge-response test used in computing to determine whether the user is human. "CAPTCHA" is an acronym for "Completely Automated Public Turing test to tell Computers and Humans Apart", trademarked by Carnegie Mellon University. A CAPTCHA involves one computer which asks a user to complete a test. While the computer is able to generate and grade the test, it is not able to solve the test on its own. Because computers are unable to solve the CAPTCHA, any user entering a correct solution is presumed to be human. A common type of CAPTCHA requires that the user type the letters of a distorted image, sometimes with the addition of an obscured sequence of letters or digits that appears on the screen.

Get to see here some of the craziest CAPTCHAS in use on the web.

Have you seen more wierd CAPTCHAS? Show the world...

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