Entries Tagged as ''

SoundAsleep

soundasleep.jpg Not sure if you’ve ever slept around computers, but when you don’t remember to mute them… man, it’s annoying when in the middle of the night you hear an update sound or something that scares the living bajeebus out of you.
We’re talking, “WHOA! What the heck was that!” type of startling. Well, no more of that. You can sleep soundly knowing that your Mac won’t be waking you up with SoundAsleep. Just set the “night time mode” with hours and all, and sleep soundly.

Why Netflix has great customer service

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If there’s any other reason to use Netflix, it’s the fact that their service is impeccable. I got this in my inbox today, and so did many others. Due to the fact that there was a delayed shipping, they credited 5% back to every user affected by this issue. What’s interesting is that they not only identified an issue, and solved it, but they also gave back to the customers that keep them in business without any prompting. This is how to treat your customers and retain customer loyalty. And this is how to respond to a problem.
In a service oriented business environment, sometimes many corporate people forget that the make or break people are the customers and that if you make a mistake, you should turn that negative into a positive. Good job, Netflix.
Disclaimer: Author is a Netflix shareholder

Music Review: Hellogoodbye – Hellogoodbye (Remixes) – EP

Tthese remixes are from Hellogoodbye’s older albums. While that’s the case, it still doesn’t change the upbeat, dance music along with what is known as the “Cher effect” or autotuning. This is done in a lot of electronica, and very evident in the songs produced.
Nothing like indie music, with simple lyrics but a catchy tune that can have you just humming along as you go about doing your usual business. Grabbed it off of Hellogoodbye - Hellogoodbye Remixes - EP. You just have to love this stuff if you love electronic.

BlueProximity

blueproximity_conlogo.png For those of you that have gawked at the fact that there are devices out there … yes, bluetooth devices, that allow you to step away from your computer and have it lock up but only for Windows? Look no further, BlueProximity brings that functionality to linux.
Usually set to a device such as your mobile phone, when your mobile phone leaves the vicinity, the computer will automatically lock itself. When the phone comes back? Bam! Computer is back in action. Amazing eh? It’s got to be one of the most interesting ways of locking a device and now it’s for linux and open source. Totally neato skippy.

Intricacies of MBR rootkits

A long long time ago, there was a time where I had a stockpile of viruses and their source code sitting on a floppy somewhere. It was amazing to see how they functioned, and how they attacked the systems.
The most fascinating of them was those that could run in stealth mode, and polymorphers. Polymorphers were viruses that could change themselves and rewrite their code. This took a significant amount of thinking since this virus would mutate and hide itself very well. The other one, stealth, knew how to sneak into the crevices of your computer, never to be found until it dropped its payload.
Obviously things have changed from those times, but it seems that now there’s a new variant called StealthMBRs. A combination of virus and rootkit, it actually rewrites your MBR with a version of its own and then sets up its own defense network. What was fascinating is the way it bypasses virus detection and cleaning since it’s in the MBR and having “feelers” put out when it knows something that isn’t right to restore itself.
All in all, it’s always good to know what you’re up against which is the reason I watch security threads and read things such as the Avert Labs posts. Call it an old fascination of mine.
Photo Credit: (.hj barraza)

Visual CD

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Ever had a need to categorize your CDs that you burn? Mainly because you don’t remember what exactly you burned on them and it would be mind numbingly painful to go through each of them to find that one single file that you’re looking for?
That’s where Visual CD comes in handy. It basically creates an searchable index of your CD, and thus eliminating the step of looking through your stuff one by one. Like you wanted to do that anyways. Freeware for Windows.

8A: Conversation with Kina Grannis


I was fortunate enough to have a conversation with Kina Grannis, one of Interscope’s latest additions, on behalf of 8Asians. This girl is going places in the entertainment industry, partaking in a totally different style of marketing with Youtube and original songs played out for the fans even before they make it to an album.
The above video is her latest blog post and the original Stars Falling Down (starts at 1:12 mark). Definitely catchy and totally can see this hitting the pop charts. In any case, if after listening to that, you still want to listen to my interview with her, then catch it at 8A.

Why today’s SAT scoring seems subjective

Back when I took the SAT, it was during the time that they had just introduced the SAT II and were in the process of re-scoring. It was then, when they turned up the math scoring so that you could actually miss a couple problems and still make a 800. I remember clearly that it was also the time that many Ivy league schools moved their average entrance score from 1350 to 1450. It was said that the shift was made due to the standardized scores being low internationally for American students in internationally based statistics. Who knows if that was true or not.
Well, just recently I heard from a cousin that the total score has changed yet again. Apparently now it’s out of 2400 as of 2006. They took away the analogies section, changed mathematics to encompass three years of high school mathematics, and added in the SAT II Writing exam into the main one.
And all I have to say is: “Ick.”
The analogies section was stripped due to some criticism by the University of California system:

“A famous example of alleged bias in the SAT I is the oarsman-regatta analogy question.[23] The object of the question was to find the pair of terms that have the relationship most similar to the relationship between “runner” and “marathon”. The correct answer was “oarsman” and “regatta”.”

Now, I have to say that it’s kind of ridiculous to say that it’s a social issue in knowing the definition of either regatta or an oarsman. The whole point of analogies was a stronger vocabulary, and those particular words or phrases were not in the least bit difficult.
The replacement section (writing) is also very subjective. While they are to be scored on quality of writing the amusing thing is that quality of writing is very subjective. In fact, I had papers in college that would not have passed muster with certain English professors, and would have had amazing grades with others.
The critique from a MIT writing professor came down that the longer the essay, the higher the score according to some trend results from data he was given. That is completely ridiculous.
Unfortunately, it seems that students these days have to deal more so with the human aspect of test taking beyond the scope of right, wrong, or no answer. Now it must be taken into account that someone might like or dislike your writing style to judge quality. I truly feel for today’s high school students since it seems that the college entrance exams have finally met up with politics. And that’s just a sad thought.
Photo Credit: (TheBrassPotato)

ExtractNow

If you’ve ever had multiple archived files and you were extracting them one by one, then you know the painfulness of your index finger on the mouse.
Look no further than ExtractNow. This isn’t the end-all-be-all archive utility. In fact, the only thing it was made to do is to extract multiple files at once without the danger of sequential clicking.
So if you have lots of archives, and you need to take those and extract them all at once… then you’ve hit the jackpot. Freeware for Windows.

CacheSort

CacheSort.jpg When you’re looking to copy files directly from the Internet cache, to a place of your choosing, CacheSort is the way to go. It’s basically a copier of cache, which is useful when you’re looking to dump the things you’re surfing or what not into categories. Works with Internet Explorer, Firefox, and Opera. And it’s freeware for Windows.
So the next time you’re looking to just get some stuff copied over, but you don’t want to go through the trouble of saving each and every website, just do a dump of your cache with CacheSort. It’s easy, fast, and super customizable.