Firefox 3 is coming!

The latest and the much awaited version of the Firefox is all set to be released today! Of all the years I have known internet for, this is one software that people have been waiting for a long time, with huge expectations. I’m sure Mozilla will live up to them. The release is scheduled at 10.30 PM IST. (Click to know your local time)

Banking on the amazing hype that Firefox version 3 has created much before its release, Mozilla is hoping to set a new world record on the total downloads of a software in one day. To support this cause, click on the image below to pledge to download Firefox 3 within the 24 hours of its release.

Download Day - English

The restructured browser engine has been improved to work 250% faster and with it, brings a host of new features which only promises to makes the browser more hot! With 18% stake in the global browser market, Mozilla hopes to see that figure go up. One thing that the Firefox 3 is sure to do: Add fuel to the burning browser-war, and definitely stand up as a tough competition to other browsers. Microsoft’s Windows Internet Explorer, Apple’s Safari and Opera – Watch out!

Edit: 2.08 AM 18th June, 2008

Here is my certificate of download!
Download Day Certificate

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Windows Live Messenger (WLM) Vs Yahoo! Messenger (Y!M)

Just when I had enough of the legendary “Microsoft Internet Explorer (now known as Windows Internet Explorer) Vs Mozilla Firefox” debate, I’ve noticed a feeble exchange of words on a newer debate: The WLM vs Y!M. This apparently is not a feature-war. No one is worried about which is safer; and no one is bothered about which Instant Messenger (IM) the other person is using; and more importantly, in contrary to the IE vs FF debate, nobody thinks that the other person ought to have used his preference. I guess this is more healthier a debate!

Anyways, to start off, when I say WLM, I’m not referring to the Windows Messenger that Microsoft cheaply ported with all Windows versions (hope Vista doesn’t have it) I’m talking about the Windows Live Messenger that you can find here. And btw, I hate the Windows Messenger — not WLM!

Well, with that bit cleared up, on the very first look at both WLM and Y!M, I’d prefer WLM. Simply because it has come a long way when compared to the sluggish-looking Windows Messenger. A lot has changed; rather improved. Its more sleek and the newest version wears the Vista look. (Microsoft is changing all its software’s interface to match with Vista’s; wonder why?) The best part of the new WLM is its smiley set. The animated smileys say a lot more than normal smileys convey. And they are a real fun to watch when used aptly.

Coming to Y!M, I was a regular user of Y!M for many years. Back then, it seemed like the only messenger people used on the net. Somehow, today, it has lost its popularity. I blame it entirely on the lack of major changes in its looks. 5 years ago, the Y!M’s interface looked very much like today’s except for the major change in the title bar. One thing that was good and stayed good with Y!M is its games. Awesome fun; won’t know the time passing.

Good things about WLM:

  • No annoying search button when you hover on text in the IM window.
  • The ads and the search bar on the bottom of the main WLM window is well placed and are inconspicuous when compared to the placing in Y!M.
  • Can change the background image and the interface color of the IM window.
  • Similar to Gtalk, WLM has custom messages that can be viewed by everyone. Easy to say something to everyone without having to type it out for each of them.

I guess the debate is going to become meaning-less if Microsoft takes over Yahoo! However, I’d say WLM is better than Y!M any day. More over, since you can IM Yahoo! users through WLM also, it must not matter much.

Happy IM-ing!

Tips to take care of your PC against aliens (Viruses, Worms and Trojans)

What an alien does to your system can be pretty irritating. Disabling system functions, high memory usage, internet bandwidth stealing to name a few. Other times, it can be dangerous as well; stealing passwords or bank and credit card information.

The best way to avoid infecting your PC with these aliens is to block their source of entry into your PC. Usually, these aliens propagate through Pen Drives, EMail, Illegal downloads, Torrents, and other means of data transfer such as CDs and DVDs.

Basic security settings:

  • Use a good anti-virus software, update it regularly and scan your system frequently. This does 25% of the work. A good anti-virus software with a real time scanning ability will detect most of the infection before it occurs, thereby saving you the trouble even before it erupts.
  • Update your Windows OS with all the security releases from Microsoft. This is pretty essential, but I haven’t seen many high-priority updates since SP2. So, if you have SP2, I guess that’s update enough; but always update if you can.
  • Always watch the task manager. Be aware of the number of processes that your system usually runs. This could help you detect any unwanted processes running in the background.
  • Always scan any file that you download from the internet or your email inbox before executing it.

Safeguarding from infection through Pen Drives:

Aliens in pen drives rely upon autorun to affect your system. As soon as you insert an affected pen drive and double click on its icon in My Computer, be assured that your system is now infected. The best way (probably the only good way) to stop this is by disabling autorun. You can do this by manually editing the registry which is not always the best option. Instead, you could download TweakUI, released by Microsoft for tweaking the performance and related issues of Windows XP.

Using TweakUI (TweakUI is a PowerToy for Windows XP released by Microsoft):

  • Download it from Microsoft Download Center and install it. Pretty straight forward installation and shouldn’t be any problem. Run it.
  • Disable autoplay on all drives. (You may keep it on for your CD or DVD drives if you wish)

tweakui1.jpg
  • This will disable autoplay for all drives and hence, when you insert the device, your PC will not be infected. But it is not over yet.
  • As soon as you connect a device, always right click on its icon in My Computer and click on Open. Better yet, use Windows Explorer to view the contents. Enable option to view hidden files and folders.
  • Delete the ‘autorun.inf’ file if present and any suspicious ‘.exe’ files if found.
  • Your pen drive is now clean.

Follow these steps every time you use the pen drive. These steps are usually required if your anti-virus software fails to detect/resolve the threat.

Getting StumbleUpon

About StumbleUpon:

Quote:
StumbleUpon helps you discover and share great websites. As you click Stumble!, we deliver high-quality pages matched to your personal preferences. These pages have been explicitly recommended by your friends or one of 3,686,922 other websurfers with interests similar to you. Rating these sites you like automatically shares them with like-minded people – and helps you discover great sites your friends recommend.

How Does it Work?

Quote:
StumbleUpon uses ratings to form collaborative opinions on website quality. When you stumble, you will only see pages which friends and like-minded ‘stumblers’ have recommended. This helps you discover great content you probably wouldn’t find using a search engine.

More: http://www.stumbleupon.com/about.html

I’ve been using StumbleUpon for almost 4 years now and it is an amazing tool to websurf the internet. It is a great tool which has really helped me discover a lot of interesting pages on the internet, which I wouldn’t find in search engines too.

For all those, oblivious to the existence of such a tool or for those who were thinking it a cumbersome task to install it, I thought I’d share some thoughts on how easy it is to actually install and use it.

<< Getting to the work >>
Step 1: StumbleUpon supports two well known and most-used browsers – Mozilla Firefox (FF) and the Windows Internet Explorer (IE – Yes, it is now called as Windows Internet Explorer , not any more as Microsoft Internet Explorer)

Step 2: Downloading the BHO (Browser Help Object – IE) or the Extension (FF) is easy. Click on “Download Now – Free” on the mainpage of the stumbleupon website (http://www.stumbleupon.com) and you’ll be taken to the page to download it based upon the browser you are using.

Step 3: Installing – Follow the steps required for your browser and you may also need to restart your browser.

Step 4: After the restart, you’ll see a new toolbar that says: “Start Stumbling..”. If you have an account click on Login and enter your credentials or else you will have to create an account at StumbleUpon. Just follow the steps (might take you 2-3 minutes) and you are good to go.

Keep clicking on the Stumble! button and you’ll see a random page from all the topics of interest you chose. If you like a page click on “I like it” to increase the quality of your future stumbles.