Monday, December 29, 2008

Bringing The Files Online : Gmail Drive and Windows Live Skydrive

Internet is the future, and having an online storage sure is easy. Online storage is useful when you need to upload some files that you scared might get damaged if you stored it in a pendrive or harddrive. There are 2 online storage service that might catch your attention. 

The 1st 1 is Gmail Drive, created by It uses the your Gmail account to store files by adding a drive in your "My Computer" called Gmail Drive. Currently, Gmail have about 7 Gigabytes of space, enough for storing some documents. It's limitations, however, is unable to upload .exe and .zip files nor files exceeding 20MB. You can circumvent this problem by compressing them into .rar or .7z format. 

The 2nd 1 is Windows Live Skydrive. By registering for Windows Live ID, you get a generous 25GB of space to store pictures or movie clips. You can go to the website to choose files to upload or you can just drap-and-drop with ActiveX tool installed in Windows Explorer. There are only 1 limitations, that is, files upload must not exceed 50MB.

Did any of you ever tried these online storages? Or do you think that they are worthless as it's gonna take a long time to upload and download? Then leave your opinion here.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Digsby reviewed : An Almost All-in-One

If you got tired of Windows Live Messenger, there is alternative to the popular IM (instant messenger) service of Microsoft. Other than the web messenger Meebo that I reviewed, there is also Digsby, a new IM client. Digsby is developed by dotSyntax, LLC and rendered using Webkit (the same engine that powered Chrome and Safari).

After installing Digsby, I registered with Digsgy and login to Digsby. I'm greeted with a simple interface that looks good and simple in my eyes. Then it start login to my accounts 1 by 1. They got email notifications for Gmail, MSN, yahoo! and etc.

And they also have social networking shown below (source from Wikipedia):
  • MySpace: updates to your friends' profiles, status, and private messages. Provides instant access to various parts of your MySpace account, such as your profile, home page, blog, etc.
  • Facebook: updates in your friend feeds. Digsby now works with both the new and old styles of Facebook.
  • Twitter: allowing you to easily submit new "tweets", and view your friends' tweets.
  • LinkedIn: various updates from your friends.
I don't know about these social networking sites cause I never used them. But I think they fuction same way as the email notifications. Or maybe they just incorperate them into the contacts interface.

The chat interface looks good. And you can change the chat interface too. There are a lot of options to choose from, but I still prefer the "Smooth Operator" theme as other theme lags a bit whenever I want to trace back my conversation.

There is also a problem with the chat interface, where I can't see who really talking when I'm in MSN group chat session. It just display the contact name rather than the nickname of the person talking (typing I mean).

The status display are quite good too as you can type what you are doing. Or you can just choose the Away option.

Overall, this IM client is quite good, only the problem with displaying nickname in MSN group makes me from using Digsby and ditch the Windows Live Messenger.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Opera 10 alpha preview: Unfinished Porshe

Being the underdog of the Internet browser war, Opera still haven't given up it's effort of becoming top 2 or maybe top 3 browser. For you info, IE currently dominates the browser market, occupying 70% of the browser market while Mozilla Firefox occupies 20%, Safari 6% and Opera 0.8%. That 0.8% is really really low. Even Google Chrome beat it by 0.1% since it's release a few months ago.

I have been using Opera since version 8, thanks to the recommendation of a friend (jitren~). This version 10, codenamed Peregrine, retains the same visual interface as the version 9.5 Opera and up.

That visual not really bad, nor it is attractive. I just feels that that big black bar is taking too much space for tabs. I know the appearance can be changed, but still, why do Opera want that bar to become so BIG?

The Opera 10 boasts about it's ability so scored 100/100 in acid3 test. But, in my case, I only get 98/100. No matter how many times I refreshed, it still remain 98. Perhaps my download got a bit corrupted?

Since it's only an alpha version, I expected it to run into many problems, such as missing objects in browser or crash unexpectedly. Here, I must say that I'm pretty impressed with this alpha version, as it display correctly on websites that I frequently surf, expect for 1. It's the Blogger 'Create Post' section. It won't display all of the options such as font type, font size, alignment and etc. When I'm typing this post, I don't even know whether I'm in "Edit Html" or "Compose" mode.

Well, so far so good. I really like Opera browsers. Simple interface, fast load speed, and non-IE look, it really belongs to the royal section of web browser. But I will still be using Firefox for now, because I dearly need the Google toolbar (Gmail notifications and Pagerank) and the Flashgot extension (to intercept every download).

Click here to download the Opera 10 alpha 1.

Got any opinions about Opera? Or do you disagree with my preview? Then leave your comments~

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Release of AMD Athlon X2 7xxx : Cutting Phenom X4 in half

On December 15th...AMD made a cutting move...and thus...AMD Athlon X2 7xxx series is born~ Yeah~~
OK, what's the big deal about this processor? Well, it's basically AMD Phenom X4 with 2 cores disabled (just think of a hotel with a floor being cut off from access), like Phenom X3 with 1 core disabled.
However, this Athlon X2 7xxx series will perform better compared to any Athlon X2 6xxx or 5xxx that have the same clock speed. For example, Athlon X2 7750 at 2.7GHz will surely beat Athlon X2 5200 at 2.7GHz.
There are 2 Athlon X2 7xxx Series now, which is Athlon X2 7750 black edition for USD 79 (about RM 280) and Athlon X2 7550 (2.5 GHz) for USD 69 (about RM 245).

For more detailed review, click the website below:

Monday, December 15, 2008

Google Docs | meebo | 2 free web apps that I always use

"Dawn of the web are coming upon us...". Hehe, that just a dramatic sentence for this post. That sentence aside, I'm sure that the lot of you have internet connection which either use broadband or WiFi. Well...(my trademark word~) if you can go online, why not fully use what the connection have offered you? That's why I don't install things that I use sparingly, such as word processor or presentation, or even less, spreadsheet.

The first web apps I introduce is Google Docs. You might ask why don't I use the Zoho office suite, they have more apps to use. Hell...did you even read my words above? I hardly use those programs, giving me more apps that I hardly touch is useless.

Google Docs supports format such as .doc, .xls, .pdf and all openoffice formats. Problem is, to edit your documents, you have to upload the file, which might take awhile if your file is big. You can download the file you edited to your computer or just leave it on the Google server so you retrieve it anywhere.

However, there are limitations. Quote from Wikipedia, "There is a limit on how much a user can store on his/her account. Each document must be under 500k plus 2MB for each embedded image. Each spreadsheet must be under 10,000 rows, 256 columns, 100,000 cells and under 40 sheets. A user can have a total of 5,000 documents and presentations, 5,000 images, 1,000 spreadsheets, and 100 PDFs. The maximum number of spreadsheets that one can open at one time is 11. Only presentations under 10MB can be imported."

Next, the instant web messenger, meebo. It supports many protocols, which include : Yahoo! Messenger, .NET Messenger Service, Google Talk, AIM, ICQ, and Jabber. You can also register for meebo account so that it remember you settings whenever your sign in. The interface is simple, and you can edit the background or the color of the interface.

I tried the webcam chatting service, but the service seems to have some problem (on my side). My can view and hear the other people, but the other people could hear me but not see me. I will seek the root of the problem once I got time.

Still, this app is sufficient for daily uses. 1 more thing, this apps doesn't have the ability to display your pic, which is a bad thing if you like to show yourself~

Thursday, December 11, 2008

AMD Display Driver 8.12 and ATI Avivo Video Converter

AMD has released the new display driver for this month (8.12). The driver enables owners of 4800 and 4600 series Radeon graphics cards to have the privilege of able to utilise the stream processors in these graphics cards for more general computing tasks that are handled by CPU nowadays. 
Simply said, the graphics cards will help CPU in processing, IF the software supports ATI Stream.

With the ability to harness the power of stream processors in 4800 and 4600 series Radeon graphics cards, AMD has released ATI Avivo Video Converter for free. This converter uses the ATI Stream to speed up the video conversion, up to 17x the speed of CPU conversion speed.
The converter is included inside the Catalyst 8.12 suite.

You can download the driver suite here and read more about the Avivo converter here.

Successful with the conversion? Then leave your comments here.

Sunday, December 07, 2008

December PC Configuration

After a month, oil prices drop, technology become cheaper, and you can get more out of your money. So here are this month's pc guide.
  • 2k pc can play games at 1440*900 or 1280*1024 or 1680*1050 resolution with medium to high settings.
  • 3k pc can play games at 1680*1050 or 1920*1080 with medium to high settings
And here's the pc guide for 2k pc:
  • CPU: AMD Athlon X2 5200+ (2.7GHz) - RM 220
  • RAM: Kingston Value RAM DDR2 800MHz 2GB *2 - RM 150
  • Motherboard: Palit AA-780GA - RM 225
  • Hard Drive:Western Digital 320GB SATA - RM 165
  • GPU: Forsa 9800GT 512MB - RM 400
  • Optical Drive: LG DVDRW SATA - RM 70
  • Monitor: Benq 18.5" G900HD - RM 390
  • Casing: Cooler Master Elite 340 - RM 125
  • PSU: Cooler Master Extreme Power 460W - RM 170
  • Keyboard+Mouse: Logitech G1 Gaming Desktop - RM 89
  • Speaker: Logitech R5 2.0 - RM 49
Total : RM 2053
Note 1: Compared to previous month's pc guide, you get a bigger monitor (17" vs 18.5")

And here's 3k pc guide:
  • CPU: AMD Phenom X4 9650 2.3GHz - RM 510
  • RAM: Kingston Value RAM 2GB DDR2 800MHz * 2 - RM150
  • HDD: Western Digital 640GB SATA - RM 235
  • Motherboard: Gigabyte MA78GM-S2H - RM 300
  • Graphic Card: Palit HD4850 SUPER 512MB DDR3 - RM550
  • Optical Drive: LG DVDRW SATA - RM70
  • Monitor: Benq 22" LCD (T221W) - RM 560
  • Speaker: Edifier M1350 2.1 - RM 80
  • PSU: HEC Ace power 480W - RM290
  • Casing: Cooler Master Elite 340- RM 125
  • Keyboard+Mouse: Logitech G1 Gaming Desktop - RM 89
Total : RM 2959
Note 2: You get a faster processor (2.2GHz vs 2.3GHz), a more feature motherboard with HDMI and a cheaper monitor.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

6 reasons why you should not choose LabelFlash or LightScribe

Label Flash and Light Scribe are both disc labeling technologies that lets you imprint some graphics on a disc. While it may sound cool that you can "burn" images on your disc with your computer, there are drawbacks that certainly make that thought vanish with a blink.

First and foremost, these technologies doesn't come cheap. It's the exact opposite, they are very expensive. You have to purchase a Light Scribe or Label Flash compatible blank disc which is 75% more expensive than normal blank disc. Imagine, for buying every 100 Light Scribe or Label Flash compatible blank disc, you can get 175 normal blank disc.

Secondly, you have to buy the Light Scribe or Label Flash compatible optical drive(CD/DVD-ROM) too. Though I don't know how much they cost now, but it is surely more expensive than normal optical drive. Combined the cost of blank disc and optical drive together, they are really really expensive.

Third, not all software supports these technologies, that's another reason you have to fork out money to buy the software too. Freeware such as CD BurnerXP does not support both the Label Flash and Light Scribe, but shareware such as Nero supports them both.

Fourth, you have to wait for the images to be "imprint" on the discs. The drive don't burn and imprint the images at the same time. You have to do one at a time and well, the "imprint" time is not as fast at burning. Light Scribe and Label Flash have to use at least 20 minutes and 7 minutes respectively to finish their imprint.

Fifth, the images that imprinted on the disc are not colorful as rainbow. Heck, they can't even print out more than 1 color. You can only look at the disc to admire the design rather then the color. And when you put the disc into your computer, I highly doubtful you can look at the design.

Finally, you have to store the disc away from extreme heat, humidity and direct sunlight. As if that is not enough, you have make sure your hand is very clean and free of grease to prevent the smearing of your image. This only applies for Light Scribe disc.

Below summarizes drawbacks of using Label Flash and Light Scribe :
  1. More expensive blank disc as they need to be Light Scribe or Label Flash compatible (roughly 75% more expensive compared to normal blank disc)
  2. More expensive Light Scribe or Label Flash optical drive
  3. Have to buy specific software that supports Light Scribe or Label Flash
  4. Long image "imprint" time (7 minutes for Label Flash and 20 Minutes for Light Scribe)
  5. Mono colored images
  6. Exercise precaution when storing the disc (for Light Scribe)

My conclusion is, if you have money to burn, time to wait and have an artistic taste, why not use the Label Flash and Light Scribe. For other who have better things to do with their money and time, a normal blank disc is overall a better choice. In my opinion, disc are only used for storing data files, not a decoration.