Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Beware of Phishing

Phishing is an online fraud where you will get fake emails asking you to disclose your credentials. Most often you will be redirected to a fake website on which you will be asked to enter important information like email ids, passwords, bank account numbers, credit/debit card numbers, etc. The fake website will be designed skillfully that it is not possible for an average customer to spot the difference. There has been an increase in phishing scams in recent years. Some banks have fallen prey to the nuisance of phishing. Recently microsoft's hotmail accounts were hacked and the passwords were published publicly on the internet. The victims had been asked to login to a fake page and their credentials were stolen. There are instances where even income tax department websites are feigned by hackers and fake emails being sent to tax payers to login. It is always a good practice to keep changing passwords of important accounts often and not responding to unsolicited and anonymous emails claiming that you have won prizes or anything related to money transfer.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Why speak on the mobile while you drive?

Attending a call on your cell phone while you are driving is a cardinal sin you cannot afford. I have seen people talk in their mobile phone while driving a bike, car or bus. People don't care to stop their vehicle and then pick up the phone while on the move. Very few of us are good at multitasking and it is foolish to drive and speak on the phone at the same time. The brain cannot handle too many things at a time and you might end up in an accident for this silly mistake. Don't take a such a huge risk in your life with such a simple phone call. Please stop along your way and then attend the call.

Friday, September 18, 2009

The Godfather 1 - Movie Review

The Godfather is an acting festival with the likes of Marlon Brando and Al Pacino stealing the show under the direction of Francis Ford Coppola. The film is highly acclaimed by critics and public alike which makes it one of the greatest films ever. Marlon Brando sizzles as Don Vito Corleone and his on screen presence adds beauty to the script with the panache of a true mafia leader. The character Michael Corleone was neatly sculpted and played with passion and craft by Al Pacino. The Godfather is a visual delight to watch Mario Puzzo's work on screen. James Caan too deserves praise for his resplendent performance. The film is slow yet absorbing with the plot revolving around one of the mafia families. The story attempts to pack in all the mundane family issues amid the blood shed and business battles. The background score is pleasing to the ears and some of the backdrops in the film are really dazzling. For a seventies film you couldn't have asked for more in terms of technology and cinematic maneuvers.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Animated Gif Images - Problem with blogger

When I tried to include a graphical image in my blogspot web page I noticed that the gif image was not changing and it was just static. I actually uploaded the image to blogger and embedded the image in my web page. But it looked just like any other jpeg image out there and lacked its graphical capabilities. I just couldn't figure out what the problem was. My html tag was flawless and the gif image is working perfectly fine on my desktop. Then I realized that the bug was with blogger. So I tried to upload the image to a free image hosting service like imageshack and then linked it to my web page. The problem was solved and my gif image is now moving and showing its animation characteristics perfectly.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Beware of your clipboard data

For all those who have this lazy habit of copying and pasting account numbers and passwords before you login to a financial websites, beware! You might expose critical information to hackers and other mailicious people on the web. Just a simple javascript application can extract your clipboard data and a high profile techie can steal them.

Try this in Internet Explorer 6:

Copy any piece of text from your browser or computer and click on the button below.



Friday, July 31, 2009

American Beauty Film Review

I saw this film yesterday on television. I really liked this sad and mad movie. I was impressed with the way the story was narrated. I liked the acting of Mena Suvari in this film. The characters in this film are complex and it takes a while after watching this movie to fully understand the film. My heart melted in the climax in the scene when Mena Suvari accepts that she is a virgin saying "This is my first time". The finishing dialogue in the movie is also very good and thought provoking when Kevin dies and you can hear his mind saying "You have no idea what I'm talking about, I'm sure. But don't worry, you will someday". This is not the kind of film where everything happens perfectly and the climax is matching the story. In real life nothing goes by the script. You never know what is in store for you. At times you need to accept the intricate journey of life and this film is a good example that human life is not a perfectly written script.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Where are the monsoons?

The last three months were really hot and the high temperatures just refuse to go away. I'm eagerly awaiting rain which is just not happening. Water scarcity is already wrecking havoc in the city and people living on flats and apartments are shelling out more for water. Adding fuel to the fire are the power cuts. For some reason there are frequent power cuts of longer durations in the suburban areas. Last year there was healthy rainfall but this year there are no indications of any rain yet. Both the corporate world as well as the domestic sector will struggle with water scarcity. The number of industries in the city has gone up in recent years and the demand for water has increased multifold since then. May be the impact of destroying forests and trees is showing up. The global climate change is not what we wanted but for sure it is giving us a hard time. Just pray for rain!

Saturday, June 20, 2009

H1N1 woes

The recent outbreak of swine flu is giving health authorities nightmares across the globe. The contagious disease is declared a pandemic by WHO and the whole world must unify to fight the fatal virus. First of all if you get the disease just stay at home in order to prevent the spread of the disease to others. Maintaining good personal hygiene is paramount to stay away from H1N1 infection. Avoiding physical contacts with affected and avoiding crowds is wise to shield ourselves from the viral disease. Take regular health checkups with your doctor and improve your immunity. Patients who are affected by the disease must develop the attitude of not spreading the diseases under any circumstances. Wash your hands with soap and clean running water. Awareness is mandatory for the affected and so try to learn more about the disease and spread the word about swine flu precautions.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Elections - A vote that wasn't?

India went through elections this month and the ruling congress party has won again. I have never failed to register my vote since the day I became eligible to vote. I always believe that every Indian must vote and it is the fundamental right of every citizen to vote. In India the Congress and the BJP have been the two most popular parties and no other political party has managed to lift its head above these two in recent times. My honest opinion is that both these parties are useless and they have never done enough to the people during their regime. Whenever the elections get over the people are the biggest losers. The dream of every Indian for that imaginary PM who could eradicate poverty and drive India to the top of the world still remains a dream.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

City life never the same

Life in the city has changed a lot. It is never the same old city with less traffic, limited population and superfluous beauty. More and more people are migrating from villages in to the city and this has resulted in congestion and starving for resources. The city limit keeps on expanding and the traffic never ceases. Whenever I see an old film it makes me nostalgic and I always wished I were born in the early seventies and I enjoyed the eighties as a teenager. But the city experienced a vast amount of changes as I grew up and now everything seems misplaced and out of order. The government never cares and the people never realize what they really need. Life in the city in a highly polluted and congested environment is not worth living for at least in my book. Many of us might think the same way but money is the driving force behind all these changes. You never get enough of money and we all keep chasing it till the end. When we look back during old age you will find that you have lost a lot of experiences in the process. Life in the countryside wouldn't have been luxurious but definitely it would have at least been peaceful. But who cares?

Friday, March 20, 2009

Absolute Zero BBC documentary

Yesterday I saw this BBC documentary regarding the travel towards absolute zero. I have come across this word several times in my physics textbook but never understood the real meaning behind it. After watching this documentary many things became vivid. The portrayal was gripping and it gave me goose bumps when I learned about many great scientists who tried to conquer absolute zero. The refrigeration process explained was amazing and I never expected that ice had such a wonderful history. Every student must see this documentary to understand the finer aspects of thermodynamics and heat engineering. At the end of the documentary I felt petrified by the sheer power of science.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Trojan Horse Generic Virus solution

For the past few days my computer was infected with Trojan Horse generic.bmrk and I didn't know what to do. I use AVG antivirus but it did little to tame the culprit and every time I switched on the modem I got the display message that Trojan horse was found. I tried for help in several forums and was surprised to find that many others also faced problems similar to me. The antivirus softwares were ineffective against Trojan. At last I decided to download malwarebytes and installed it in my computer. On launch of the application I did a quick scan and it showed all the infections perfectly. I removed the Trojan from my computer with the help of malwarebytes.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Global warming perplexing scientists

A new study has indicated recession in the warming pattern of our environment. After a period of steady increase in global temperature recently there seems to be a flat trend in temperature rise. The cause for this global cooling effect is unknown and also whether it is a natural process or a human induced happening. Several opinions have propped up in this regard. Some say that the oceans are sucking in the heat to deeper beneath. The increase in tropical clouds reflecting sun's energy might be the other possible reason. For the time being this slow down in global warming is speculative.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Make the iphone your fitness aid

Gone are the days when phones are used only for speaking. This is the era of smart phones and the gap between the computer and a mobile phone is closing steadily. Apple's sensational iphone has allured software developers and many useful applications have come up recently. Now you can use your iphone to track your health and calibrate your fitness. Technology firm iTMP has built a module called SM Heart Link that will enable your iphone to communicate with body area sensor networks to report your performance in real time. The data can be stored or sent to online medical assessment websites to generate your fitness report. The price of the module will be a dampener and you need to spend $155 to own it.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Shake it firm

Interviews are all about confidence and the interviewer searches for signs of confidence in the interviewee. A firm handshake to kick start the interview process is vital for success. First impression is always the best impression and so you are expected to wear elegant attire and carry a smile on your face. Job applicants should bear in mind that a firm handshake maximizes their chances of getting picked. A study has proposed that candidates with a firm handshake are more likely to be selected than those with a flaccid grip. People with stiff shakes are perceived as affable and dominant whereas those with a flabby grasp are seen as shy and phobic. The handshake is a perfect symbol of the person's attitude and confidence level. Along with the handshake maintaining eye contact is of utmost importance. If a women possess these qualities then she will be a better performer. So never be cynical about yourself and come out of your shell to succeed.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Need for Interdental care

Brushing your teeth everyday helps you protect your teeth from cavities. But a majority of the tooth loss in adults is not due to tooth decay but it is because of gum disease. Therefore gum care becomes very essential in order to protect them from bacterias. Gum disease can affect you at any age making your gums tender, swollen and red resulting in bleeding, bad breath and loose teeth.

We should realise the need for cleaning between the teeth. Flossing provides you the solution for preventing gum disease. Take a 50cm floss and wrap it around each middle finger leaving 5cm in between. Now hold it firm and gently slide it between your teeth without hurting your gums. Make a curve and move it up and down the sides of each tooth. Repeat the procedure for all the teeth by unrolling a new portion of the floss as you proceed from one tooth to another.

Some of the other products designed for interdental care are interdental brushes and interdental woodsticks. The brushes are suitable for people with wide spaces between their teeth and people who are using clips on their teeth. The woodsticks can also be used for massaging the gums. If you follow your interdental cleaning plan the likelihood of you getting any dental infections is minimum.

Monday, February 16, 2009

e-invitations

Last week I attended the marriage of my friend's sister and it turned out to be a grand function. My friend didn't come to my home with the invitation for the marriage. That is the traditional way of inviting people to any function here in India. But I received the scanned copy of the original Invitation via email from my friend before the marriage. Being a person of this generation I didn't mind about the e-invitation and was determined to attend the function in any case. But my friend was kind enough to give me a call and invited me for the occasion. But it didn't matter for me. I would have gone anyway. Many people here are still not prepared to accept this modern way of inviting for any function. They consider the traditional way of inviting by visiting their home as a mark of respect and the e-invitation as being a negligent attitude shown towards them. Conducting any function is hard work and distributing invitations is one of the most difficult part of it. We need to make sure that no one is missed and also deliver it on time so that the visitor can make arrangements for their travel well in advance. All this can be fulfilled by electronic invitations. People are still not able to approach this trend with an open mind. May be there are a lot of emotions involved and truly it is a different feeling when someone invites you personally coming to your house. Making use of technology is fast and easy but human values and feelings can never be compromised. It is not just the difference between reading a book and its e-book version. But it is a matter of pride and love for most of us. I have mixed opinions on this issue but still one has to say that the traditional method is more Indian and more close to the heart. It doesn't even matter for people like me though.....

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Chennai more vulnerable to quakes

Experts have said that Chennai will have to be reclassified as a more susceptible area for earthquakes. Chennai is currently placed in Zone III in the seismic map. Ongoing studies have indicated an increase in seismic activities and the non-uniformity in the soil characteristics across the city. Therefore the city will be placed in a zone higher than Zone III.

The GSI have been conducting extensive geo-physical surveys and mapping Chennai's soil strength and composition for the last one year. The results point to parts of North Chennai more at risk to quakes than South owing to higher thickness of sediments made of clay and sand. A similar study performed by Anna University a couple of years ago marked places like Guindy, Vadapalani, Nungambakkam, Vysarpadi and Adyar as high risk areas. The enduring mapping process by GSI will be completed by 2009 and after that the BIS will assign new ratings to the city.

The State Government has already realized the plight of the city and is taking measures to prevent possible mishaps in the future. Training is going on for officials of the state at the National Institute of Disaster Management in Delhi. Civil engineers, architects, masons and bar benders will be made aware of the quake-proof construction techniques. The PWD will join hands with the IIT to conduct visual screening of old buildings and perform ultrasonic pulse velocity testing to identify the weaker buildings. Anna University is working on a quake simulation software for disaster mitigation and management. The private builders should also co-operate with the government and assume responsibility towards welfare of their customers. So next time you buy a flat or a home for yourself make sure that the building is quake-proof.

Friday, January 23, 2009

E-Noses

Electronic noses in the future can sniff and identify things which will have applications in almost every field. These e-noses are very expensive but the latest technology owes to deliver them are affordable price levels in the near future. The technology has advanced over a period of 20 years and is now looking for commercial entry. E-noses can replace manual inhaling to recognise objects in day-to-day life.

The reason for this major breakthrough has been the improvements in printed electronics and conducting polymers. Conducting polymers act as transducers and sense the chemicals with odour and convert them into charges. By having an array of such sensors different types of smell can be detected with a single piece of equipment. The basic idea behind electronic smelling is pattern recognition. The e-nose first samples the gas and the sensor array generates a pattern which is compared with stored patterns in a signal processor. Several complex algorithms are proposed for the pattern recognition function. The e-noses are very flexible and many fold better than today's lock and key sensors. By storing different patterns in the database a single e-nose can be trained to identify any object. By having a system that can update its library with new patterns in real time practical situations can be handled easily.

The most important application of e-nose is in bomb detection which can save human lives. Other applications are in sensing tainted wine, decayed consumables, packaging, greenhouse gases and in medical field. It could be a household appliance very soon.

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