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Sunday, May 22, 2005

Damn! You know there are two addictions that are really hard for me to shake off;

Damn! You know there are two addictions that are really hard for me to shake off; one – watching television, second-drinking aerated drinks. These are two things which are difficult to stop when once started. So I try and keep myself away from these things, as far as possible. You know at niit, in my batch there is this guy, Mohit, damn this guy is so irritating, he has doubts in just about every line, spoken by the faculty or given in the book, see, I have no problem with this, I understand that doubts have to cleared as early as possible, but this guy asks some really illogical questions, you know even the faculty is stunned, his stupid questions really slows down the pace of my course. But what can I do, all that can be done is bear him, and you know I even told him this, but he says he can do nothing about it. Yeah sure! You know today I just managed to save myself from a bicycle accident; bringing back memories of the two big bicycle accidents I had experienced. When I was in 9th standard, I was coming home from school on my bicycle, then as I was riding up a hill, slowly, bang! Someone bumped me from behind, the hit was so strong, I went flying (hyperbole) but managed to land quite safely getting only a few bruises and a torn uniform, as I slowly got my senses online, I was looking at two girls on their scooty, they were the ones who had crashed into me, and you won’t believe it, all passerby’s gathered around the girls, trying to help them, not even a single person cared a inch about me, damn, I just left the scene with my disfigured bike. But this wasn’t that dangerous, the recent one was, this happened last year, I was riding my bike on this road jammed with vehicles, the road was not only in bad state but also was wet, on the part where it ran under a railway bridge, I tried to overtake, and I had almost made it, but then the road condition, made me, for the 1st time loose control of my bike, I slipped bang in the middle of the road, my spectacles had fallen off, and with my bare hands I was trying to stop the tire of a motorbike from crushing me, thank god that the bike guy for being there, not only did he try to stop the bike quickly, help me get up, but he got between me and a rickshaw and a ST bus, damn, if he wasn’t there, that would have been “The End” of life’s movie, I managed to find my spectacles, but only with one glass, well, in 9 years, this was the first time I miscalculated and I will try and make it my last. Had a bit of apprehension to ride on the same route again, but its gone now. I love riding my bike, I do so whenever I am feeling confused, stressed up, or just want to get away. Hey, you know tomorrow, I will be celebrating the birthday of one of my pet fishes, it will be 4 years (approx.) old tomorrow, ok I haven’t seen it from being an egg to a fish, but have seen it grow, for about 4 years, and its an amazing feeling, to see someone grow. You know two years ago I had a tiny pet turtle; it was a Singaporean import, nowadays they aren’t available. I used to call it Kimi; after a formula one driver. We had developed such a great bond that he (or maybe it was she I wasn’t sure) used to recognize me quickly and would have his food only from me, but when he passed away, I was so sad, I cried, well yeah, even guys cry, sometimes. Especially while watching sensitive movies. The last movie which made me cry was makdee. Damn! The powers gone, need to finish this quickly, UPS shouldn’t be kept on for long, OK bye

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By Sanket Kambli

These tips are for PC’s with Windows XP but I am sure many of them are suitable for non-XP user’s too

Fine tune Internet connection speed : Tip on changing QoS parameter

Networking Quality of Service (QoS) refers to a variety of techniques that prioritize one type of program when these operate across a network connection rather than relying solely on "best effort" connectivity. By default, programs like windows media player etc. can reserve up to an aggregate bandwidth of 20% for their updates etc... To use full internet bandwidth for your purpose & thus to improve internet speed, go to
RUN > gpedit.msc > Computer Configuration > Network > QoS Packet... > Limit Reservable Bandwidth, Enable it & set Bandwidth Limit = 0.
Change the default search engine in Internet explorer?
Default search engine of Microsoft Internet explorer is MSN. But there are better search engines available. I like and you may have your own preference. Recently I came across article that indicated how to change the default search engine through registry. Open registry editor by going to START-RUN and entering regedit and navigate to following three keys separately and change it as shown below:
Is it taking long to resume or boot?

There are a variety of reasons why your windows XP system would boot slowly. Most of the times it this has to do with the startup applications. If you would like to speed up the bootup sequence, consider removing some of the startup applications that you do not need. Easiest way to remove startup apps is through System Configuration Utility (Go to START-RUN and enter MSCONFIG) and going to Startup tab and deselecting application(s) that you do not want to startup at boot time. If this works, great! If not you can also look into SERVICES tab and possibly deselect WORKSTATION option and see if that helps.
You can do this to stop some applications that run automatically at start up like Yahoo Messenger!

Speedup boot sequence by defragmenting all key boot files
Open Registry by going to START-RUN and typing REGEDIT. Navigate to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Dfrg\BootOptimizeFunction. In right hand panel look for Enable. Right click on it and set it 'Y' for enable.

[HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Main]
"Search Page"=""
"Search Bar"=""
[HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\SearchURL]
[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Search]
If you are unable to find any setting, make a new.
Just type keyword to go to a site, for eg. type google to go to

If in Internet options, Display result and go to most likely site or just go to most likely site is enabled, you can type only the domain root in the Address box and Internet Explorer attempts to locate the correct Web site by searching different domain types. For example, if you type "Microsoft" in the Address box, Internet Explorer searches the domain types in the Autoscan list until a domain name match is found (in this case,
By default, Internet Explorer searches the following domain types when the Autoscan Common Root Domains option is enabled:
.com, .org, .net, .edu

Do not allow messenger to start automatically at start up!

Windows Messenger is automatically loaded and running when a user logs on to a Windows XP computer. It eats some system resources & RAM.
You can use this Group Policy Editor to stop Windows Messenger from automatically being run at logon.
Start > RUN > gpedit.msc > Computer Configuration >Administrative...Windows Compo... > Windows Messenger.
If you enable this setting, Windows Messenger will not be loaded automatically when a user logs on. (XP Professional Only)

Locate SYSOC.INF in the \Windows\INF folder (hidden file and folder), Open it in Notepad and locate the line: msmsgs=msgrocm.dll, OcEntry, msmsgs.inf, hide, 7
Remove the word "hide" from the line and save the file. You will now have an entry in add/remove programs. Now do what you want from Control Panel > Add & Remove Programs.

How to improve on shutdown time? Close apps automatically & quickly at shutdown

Open Registry by going to START-RUN and typing REGEDIT. Navigate to HKEY_CURRENT_USER\CONTROL PANEL\DESKTOP and look for AutoEndTasks. On my computer default value is 0. Change it to 1. That’s all. Further more you can reduce the time it takes for Windows to issue kill directive to all active/hung applications. In doing this only constraint that you should make sure exists is that HungAppTimeout is greater than WaitToKillAppTimeout. Change the values of WaitToKillAppTimeout to say 3500 (since default value for HungAppTimeout 5000 and for WaitToKillAppTimeout is 20000)

Disable error reporting

Open Control Panel
Click on Performance and Maintenance.
Click on System.
Then click on the Advanced tab
Click on the error-reporting button on the bottom of the windows.
Select Disable error reporting. Click OK

Enable write caching on disk and improve disk performance

WriteCache is nothing else but implementation of concept of delayed write. The I/O activities are generally slow and hence if they are synchronous can significantly reduce the system performance. Hence if system performance has to be improved we have to reduce I/O activities. . We can control the frequency of diskwrite by specifying regular intervals. All that needs to be written between the intervals would be writen in a write buffer which would be maintained in RAM. This write buffer would be written to the disk at regular intervals or whenever it gets full. This is a smart concept with one drawback. There is a chance that you may loose some data in case of critical power loss or system failure but this is not an issue for most of the users.
To enable write cache on your disk, go to DEVICE MANAGER. Then select hard disk in the disk drives and right click on it and select properties. Go to policies tab and select checkbox which say "Enable write caching on the disk".

Turn off System Restore

If you want your computer to become little more fast & free up some RAM, disable system Restore. You can also free up some hard disk space by limiting the space to be used. By default, it is 10% of harddisk. If you dont have very important data, disable System Restore.

Remove shortcut arrow from desktop icons

Here's how you can remove those shortcut arrows from your desktop icons in Windows XP.
Start > RUN > regedit.
Navigate to HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT lnkfile
Delete the IsShortcut registry value.
You may need to restart Windows XP.

Turn off CD Auto Play

You can turn off CD Auto Play in XP
Open My Computer
Right click on your CD ROM and choose Properties
Click on the Auto Play tab
In the drop down box you can choose the Action for each choice shown in the drop down box
Go to Start > Run > gpedit.msc
Computer Config > Administrative Template -> System
Double click Turn off Autoplay
Enable it.

Customize Internet Explorer Skin/Title bar

You can use a different colourful skin for your Internet Explorer using Group Policy Editor. Start > Run > gpedit.msc > User > Administartive... > Windows Compo... >Internet Explorer.Use a small file for skin so that it dont take long to load, Use around 750* 100. You can also change Title from there. (XP Professional Only)

(XP Home)
Open Registry by going to START-RUN and typing REGEDIT. Navigate to HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Internet. Explorer\Main. In right hand panel look for string "Window Title" and change its value to whatever custom text you want to see.

How many questioning questions can a questioning questioner question in a questionable amount of time, question mark?


Ø Thou shalt not use a computer to harm other people
Ø Thou shalt not interfere with other people’s computer work
Ø Thou shalt not snoop around in other people’s computer files
Ø Thou shalt not use a computer to steal
Ø Thou shalt not use a computer to bear false witness
Ø Thou shalt not copy or use proprietary software for which you haven’t paid
Ø Thou shalt not use other people’s computer resources without authorisation or proper compensation
Ø Thou shalt not appropriate other people’s intellectual output
Ø Thou shalt think about the social consequences of the program you are writing or the system you are designing
Ø Thou shalt always use a computer in ways that insure consideration and respect for your fellow humans

Funny One Liners

Funny One Liners

By Voices Team

ü Life is wonderful. Without it we'd all be dead.

ü Daddy, why doesn't this magnet pick up this floppy disk?

ü Give me ambiguity or give me something else.

ü I.T. (Income Tax Dept.): We've got what it takes to take what you've got!

ü We are born naked, wet and hungry. Then things get worse.

ü Make it idiot proof and someone will make a better idiot.

ü He who laughs last thinks slowest!

ü Always remember you're unique, just like everyone else.

ü "More hay, Trigger?" "No thanks, Roy, I'm stuffed!"

ü A flashlight is a case for holding dead batteries.

ü Lottery: A tax on people who are bad at math.

ü Error, no keyboard - press F1 to continue.

ü There's too much blood in my caffeine system.

ü Artificial Intelligence usually beats real stupidity.

ü Hard work has a future payoff. Laziness pays off now.

ü "Very funny, Scotty. Now beam down my clothes."

ü Puritanism: The haunting fear that someone somewhere may be happy.

ü Consciousness: that annoying time between naps.

ü Don't take life too seriously, you won't get out alive.

ü I don't suffer from insanity. I enjoy every minute of it.

ü Better to understand a little than to misunderstand a lot.

ü The gene pool could use a little chlorine.

ü When there's a will, I want to be in it.

ü Okay, who put a "stop payment" on my reality check?

ü We have enough youth, how about a fountain of SMART?

ü Programming is an art form that fights back.

ü "Daddy, what does FORMATTING DRIVE C mean?"

ü All wiyht. Rho sritched mg kegtops awound?

ü My mail reader can beat up your mail reader.

ü Never forget: 2 + 2 = 5 for extremely large values of 2.

ü Nobody has ever, ever, EVER learned all of WordPerfect.

ü To define recursion, we must first define recursion.

ü Good programming is 99% sweat and 1% coffee.

ü Home is where you hang your @

ü The E-mail of the species is more deadly than the mail.

ü A journey of a thousand sites begins with a single click.

ü You can't teach a new mouse old clicks.

ü Great groups from little icons grow.

ü Speak softly and carry a cellular phone.

ü C:\ is the root of all directories.

ü Don't put all your hypes in one home page.

ü Pentium wise; pen and paper foolish.

ü The modem is the message.

ü Too many clicks spoil the browse.

ü The geek shall inherit the earth.

ü A chat has nine lives.

ü Don't byte off more than you can view.

ü Fax is stranger than fiction.

ü What boots up must come down.

ü Windows will never cease. (ed. oh sure...)

ü In Gates we trust. (ed. Yeah right....)

ü Virtual reality is its own reward.

ü Modulation in all things.

ü A user and his leisure time are soon parted.

ü There's no place like

ü Know what to expect before you connect.

ü Oh, what a tangled website we weave when first we practice.

ü Speed thrills.

ü Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach him to use the Net and he won't bother you for weeks.

Stuff I wrote for my college campus newspaper - 24

Gradual Poisoning

By Sanket Kambli

Many are unaware of poisoning caused by re-using plastic bottles. Some of you may be in the habit of using and re-using your disposable mineral water bottles (e.g. Bisleri, Aquafina, Kinley, Evian, etc...), keeping them in your car or at college. It’s not a good idea. In a nutshell, the plastic (called Polyethylene terephthalate or PET) used in these bottles contains a potentially carcinogenic element (something called diethyl hydroxylamine or DEHA). The bottles are safe for one-time use only; if you must keep them longer, it should be or no more than a few days, week maximum, and keep them away from heat as well. Repeated washing and rinsing can cause the plastic to break down and the Carcinogens (cancer-causing chemical agents) can leak into the water that you are drinking. Better to invest in water bottles that are really meant for multiple uses. This is not something we should be scrimping on. Advise the members of your family about this threat, especially kids, take care.

Stuff I wrote for my college campus newspaper - 23

Football in India - 1

By Sanket kambli

This article is first in the series about the situation of Football in India.

This article, doesn’t aim to be an analytical report on Football in India, but is only reaction of a young football fan on the situation here, as his eyes see and ears hear.

Cricket in India is always in season, there is never a time when cricket is not played here. But monsoon makes it virtually impossible for wannabe tendulkars and pathans to play cricket, this is when a ball is kicked around, football is the one of the few and most popular games which can be played without any problems during showers. So as dark clouds start gathering, wannabe beckham’s and zidane’s start inflating their footballs from a local air pumping station and look around for an empty ground , more the slush the better, slush filled grounds are preferred to any other surface as one can try out histrionics like sliding tackle, heading a ball into the net ,without any serious injuries. The fun is totally beyond the understanding of people who have never played football in a muddy ground with rain crashing on them. It brings you a sensation which puts you on ‘cloud number nine’. But what bothers me is that, many a times this is how our national team trains for big events. Well, our team training is not completely a mud and rain affair but the quality of training is not really at par even with hockey. And this surely explains our ranking in world football, I am not expecting my country to be next to Brazil in the list, but I expect my country to rank beside Asian power houses like Japan, Korea, and China. Is it asking too much? Now that I have mentioned all this, it may seem logical for me to enlist ways in which football can be developed here. But isn’t that something everyone in the media has been doing for many years, even before my birth. So what exactly are we supposed to do, wait for FIFA to ban us, as already AFC has served us notice for not developing football in the right manner? And see our lone star striker Bhichung Bhutia carry out after match analysis on ESPN or what?

Stuff I wrote for my college campus newspaper -22

Fact or Fiction? You Decide!


· There were many reports about the movie ‘Ab Tak Chappan’ being based on the story of some encounter specialist of Mumbai Police, but it is hard to believe that, no critic of the movie has even thought about the similarity it has with the characterization of the Hollywood movie , ‘Training Day’. Many parallel’s can be drawn between the two movies, especially the relationship between Nana Patekar and his junior officer, can be compared to the relationship between, Denzel Washington and Evan McGregor in the aforementioned movie.

· While commenting on the capacity of India and China to rival the western economic super powers, once Shekher Kapur had commented that “We will still have Spiderman but when Spiderman takes off his mask, he will probably be Chinese or Indian”. And it has been reported that Sharad Devarajan CEO of Gotham Entertainment had plans to replace Peter Parker alias Spiderman with a Indian dude by the name Pavitr Prabhakar sporting a whose costume consists of dhoti and kurta. Yeah! Now how many fans of this cult comic star will digest it is all together a different question.

Stuff I wrote for my college campus newspaper - 21

Know Your Self

Compiled By Sanket Kambli

Nowadays just about everyone is saying ‘be yourself’, they are saying don’t ape anyone create your unique identity .But to ‘be yourself ‘you need to know yourself and so we have come up with some a list of places from the world wide web where you can first get to now yourself (by giving some ‘easy peasy’ tests) and then go about ‘being yourself’. Here it goes,

The Tests Khazana: --- This site claims to be the biggest online testing place, with more than 200 tests they can never be wrong. This site has many psychological tests, it also has ‘have fun’ tests and quizzes. Once you are on this site you won’t feel like leaving it. --- No! They don’t sell coffee with their online tests but this site has some very unique tests like Marriage Readiness Test, Emotional Quotient Test. Enjoy the tests with a cup of coffee -- This is an IQ test only site, the test has some 30 questions, with age playing a significant role in your test result. They also tell you where your score Vis a Vis others. --- This is a site for all those who don’t want to tax their grey cells but want to know something about themselves. This 5 minute test is very easy all that one has to do is select your preference for certain colours. This test is a scientific method based on research by Dr. Max Lûscher. Go show your true colours. --- This is a well designed and pro managed site, this site has a wide range of tests with many funny ones, like there are even tests to determine your dog or which character from the the show ‘Friends’ you are more like. --- This one’s for the daredevils, this site has a lot of humour, most of it sarcastic but definitely entertaining .Some tests are unusual while some are outrageous. Don’t even think of taking these tests seriously, even the serious ones. --- For all those smitten by love, this site is for you. offers all types of quizzes for those who are thinking about that special someone. Take the Original Love test then move on to get the Numerological analysis and the Astrological Compatibility test for you and your heart-throb. All this leads you to answer the big question-is he or she the one? But don't take the results too seriously; after all it’s just for a laugh. -- After all those tests and quizzes you might just want to make one of your own. Quiz Your Friends allows you to make a quiz that you can get your friends to take. The idea is to test your friends with a bunch of questions about you, just to see how well they really know you. You can build the quiz online and then e-mail friends and family, challenging them to take it. All your friends’ results can then be compared.

Note: All the test sites mentioned above, provide free tests and free brief results but one needs to pay to view a detailed report.

Stuff I wrote for my college campus newspaper - 20

R & B Music Demystified

By Sanket Kambli (with inputs from R & B aficionados)

Rhythm and Blues (R&B) was and still is a term used for a number of post-war American popular music forms. The term is credited to Jerry Wexler when he was editing the charts in Billboard magazine (1947). The term was used in the chart listings from 1949 onwards and the charts in question encompassed a number of contemporary forms that emerged around that time. R&B clearly has its origins in the secular folk music of the American black musician - the Blues. Blues is essentially about emotional expression and is predominantly a vocal medium - although there are many examples of blues instrumentals to refute this assertion, it is the singer who expresses the feelings of the blues; and there are a number of vocal techniques which are used to create the desired effects. There are of course, a range of blues instrumentations which accompany the central vocal performance (the bending of guitar strings, the classic bottleneck of so many of the great blues guitarists, the harmonica imitating the idioms of the human voice etc. etc.) and which clearly help to create the unique blues performance. It is clearly influenced by the work songs of the deep South, ragtime, church music and folk, even some forms of white popular music. The earliest and most frequently cited references to the form are to be found in the early 1900s and one of the early musical reference points is the W.C. Handy composition 'Memphis Blues'. Interestingly however, perhaps the first real blues recordings were made in the 1920s by the women of the blues, artists such as Ma Rainey, Ida Cox and the wonderful Bessie Smith. At this stage their performances were still largely based on their stage backgrounds, backed by the leading jazz players of the day. One of the critical external factors which moved the blues form forward was the economic migration from the American South to the cities of the North by millions of black southern workers. The blues went with them, adapting to a more sophisticated urban environment. The themes of blues songs understandably became more urban, the solo bluesman was joined by a number of other musicians and the blues combo was born. The piano, harmonica, bass and drums and, most importantly of all, the electric guitar became the cornerstone of a sound of increasing rhythmic intensity. The Blues has influenced just about everything musically which subsequently developed. Not least of which was the emergence of what came to be known as Rhythm and Blues. One of the major advances for the genre was the development of an R&B roster within Atlantic Records, where Ahmet Ertegun, Jerry Wexler, along with engineer Tom Dowd proved instrumental in shifting R&B to a wider audience. They showcased some of the great female names in R&B, including Ruth Brown and Lavern Baker and, of course, they recorded one of the greats of modern black American music - the wonderful Ray Charles, Clyde McPhatter and Chuck Willis throughout this period and such artists, along with the aforementioned Ray Charles, can now be seen as the clear links between the blues and R&B of the 1940s and 50s and the classic soul of the 1960s and early 70s. By the early 1960s rhythm and blues, in its narrowest sense, was an ageing and waning genre, certainly from the perspective of straight record sales. Soul was the term adopted to describe black popular music as it evolved from the 1950s into the heady heights of the 60s and through to the early 70s. There are those who saw it as simply a new term for Rhythm and Blues but this interpretation does miss one of the most important facets of the soul era - many of the great performers of the soul period did much to redefine R&B and black popular music in general, radically reinterpreting the sounds of the rhythm and blues pioneers. Critically many, though not all, found success with the white record buying public in a way that would have been unrecognized by the R&B pioneers of the 30s, 40s and even the 50s. Very simplistically put, if rock'n'roll can perhaps be seen as a white artist interpretation of rhythm and blues, then soul was quite clearly a return to the roots of black music - to the blues and in particular gospel and the church. The style retains similarities with the blues; the emotional honesty, the vocal intensity, the use of call and response, its glorious, in turn uplifting and heartwrenching, sometimes beautiful or achingly sad. Always true to a spirit, an emotional honesty, that is hard for other genres to match.

NOTE: - It's an attempt to illustrate the music, but it cannot lay claim to be a theoretical, academic or scholarly treatise.

Stuff I wrote for my college campus newspaper - 19

MRTS in Mumbai

By Sanket Kambli

MRTS stands for Mass Rapid Transit System. Here transit stands for ‘an elevated rail’. Since the last four years BMC has been planning to deploy some kind of MRTS in Mumbai. Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) was given the charge of managing this venture and recently they have sent out tenders, which is sure sign of the fact that MRTS will soon come up. MRTS is initially supposed to link Versova-Andheri-Ghatkopar, which is a 144 km stretch and depending on feasibility it will implemented elsewhere .And if this MRTS thing is hard to imagine, you should to take a clue from Konkan Railways pet project ‘The Sky Bus’, which should give you an appropriate vision of what MRTS is. But the question is do we really need an approx. 1200 crore project. The answer is ‘Yes’, because this city needs an alternative transport system very much ,as whatever is available is turning out to be grossly insufficient, and anybody who travels by our local trains knows what I am trying to say. Some of you may say why we can’t upgrade the existing transport system. But here we have a problem, first let us consider road transport, the number of vehicles on road is increasing but the augmentation in the road networks can’t be at the same pace and its fallout is traffic congestion, which has become common place. Then if we consider our local trains, it is one hell of a task to increase the number of tracks, on the already huge network of suburban railway, and there is always limit to the number of trains they can send. And if someone wants us to ape New York or apna Delhi and build a underground transport system, then that is one idea which begs for reasons, as to why it wasn’t considered, maybe the underground trains won’t look as high tech as trains zipping on tall beams, maybe they won’t be able to match the spectacle of the ‘Sky Bus’. Let’s hope MRTS starts soon and elevate our transit woes.

Keyboard Shortcuts

After all it’s a machine, because there comes a time when your mouse may not function very well and you will be left solely dependent upon your keyboard (horrors!) to navigate through your PC and you start to think of all those keyboard shortcuts you had heard somewhere to make your job simpler. So here are some familiar and some not so familiar keyboard shortcuts.

1. Ctrl+s - probably one of my most frequently used shortcuts, this saves your work in a program.

2. Ctrl+x - Cuts highlighted text to the clipboard to be pasted elsewhere.

3. Ctrl+v - Pastes text from the clipboard.

4. Ctrl+c - Copies text to the clipboard

5. Win+e - Opens Windows Explorer.

6. Win+f - Opens the Find File box.

7. Win+pause - A little-known shortcut that opens the system properties window.

8. Win+m - Minimizes all your windows and shows tthe desktop.

9. Win+d - I'm not sure how it differs from Win+m, but it also minimizes all windows. Press it again and they all pop back up...Magic!

10. Win+r - Opens the Run Program window.

11. Alt+F4 - Closes the program you're currently using.

12. Ctrl+F4 - Closes the current window, but not the entire program.

13. F1 - Probably the most famous shortcut, it's been around since the '80s, and it brings up Help.

14. Alt-Ctrl-Del or Ctrl-Alt-Del - Also a very famous shortcut. In DOS it reboots the computer, in Windows it brings up the Close Programs box, useful for closing hung programs. Press it again and the computer reboots.

15. Shift+del - This deletes a file permanently, bypassing the Recycle Bin. However there seems to be a little bug in Windows, and it doesn't always work first time. 80% of the time it does work however, so just keep trying it until it works.

16. Ctrl+i - Makes the text italics

17. Ctrl+b - Makes the text bold

18. Ctrl+u - Underlines the text

19. Alt+double-click - Brings up the properties box of a file or folder

20. Ctrl+z - Probably the most useful shortcut, this one undo's the last action you made. (not always available)

21. Ctrl+a - Highlights everything on a page

Internet Explorer Shortcuts

1. F5 - Refreshes the webpage.

2. Backspace - Goes back a page.

3. Alt+left arrow - Goes back a page.

4. Alt+right arrow - Goes forward a page.

5. Escape - Stops the website loading.

6. Home - Goes back to top of webpage.

7. End - Goes to end of webpage.

8. Ctrl+mousewheel-up - Decreases the size of the text in Internet Explorer.

9. Ctrl+mousewheel-down - Increases the size of text on the Internet Explorer.

10. Shift+click hyperlink - This opens the link in a new window.

11. Alt+d - Jumps to the address bar so that you can type a new address.

12. Shift+mousewheel-up - Forward a page.

13. Shift+mousewheel-down - Back a page.

14. Ctrl+h - Brings up the history list of visited websites.

15. Ctrl+f - Find a word or phrase in the website.

16. F2 - Used when icon/folder/file is selected (highlighted). It lets you rename the icon/folder/file.

17. Ctrl+Enter - This is a great timesaver! Type google in the address bar and press ctrl-enter. You'll notice it automatically adds http://www. and the .com. This works for any address!

Multiple Selections (how to select more than 1 item at a time)

This is quite a useful tip, and I use it frequently to save time. If you want to select a number of icons, files, items in some list etc, you can use the ctrl and shift buttons to help you. Control, lets you select individual items, and shift lets you select all the items between the initially highlighted one, and the one you click. This sounds a bit complicated, but I don't know how to word it any easier!

To demonstrate this, go to a folder in My Computer that contains many files. Highlight the first file in the folder. Now, press and hold Control, and click various other files in the folder while still holding the control key down. You'll notice that all the files that you click get highlighted. This is useful for changing the properties of numerous files, or deleting numerous files. Click on a file again to deselect it.

Now, release Control and click anywhere else in the folder (not on an icon) to deselect all the icons. Highlight the first icon again, press and hold Shift, and click another file in the folder while still holding the shift key down. You'll notice that Windows highlights all the files as far as that row, and all the files as far as that column. You can do a similar thing by dragging out a highlight box with your mouse, but the Shift key also works in other programs that don't have a highlighting box.

You can also use multiple highlighting boxes using Control and dragging with the mouse!

Google Trick (search within websites from!)

This is a really cool trick I just learnt! You can search within websites using Google. Go to and type in the search string (what you want to search for) followed by site: and then the URL (address).

e.g. "How to make pizza"

That will search for "how to make pizza", within the site This is very useful when searching vast websites like Microsoft, or just to find something that you are looking for in a large website.

Hwinfo (Hardware Information) -- (I am not sure that it works in windows XP)

If you are having a problem with your computer, this utility may help you out. I can only assume Microsoft didn't want anybody to find this program, because it is so hidden, that you can't even run it as an ordinary exe file!! To run the program, go to start>run and type hwinfo /ui. Wait a little while, and a screen will come up with reams of technical information. To be honest, most of this stuff would only mean something to a computer engineer, however some of it is perfectly understandable, and you could at least locate an error.

If you would like to put a shortcut to this utility on your start menu, you will have to do this:

Navigate to the c:\windows folder and find hwinfo.exe. Right-click it and select copy. Then go to your desktop and paste. Now drag to icon to your start menu button. Hold it there until the start menu pops up. Now, while still dragging, navigate across the menus as you would normally, except that now your left-mouse button is held down. I suggest putting this program in the System Tools menu, so go to programs>accessories>system tools and release the icon in the menu. Now, you'll need to right-click your new icon and click properties. After where it says c:\windows\hwinfo.exe add the letters /ui. Click ok, and you're done!

Thumbnails (How to get all your images in a folder to display as thumbnails)

Note: This is different from just getting a thumbnail to be displayed when you click on an image file!

So you don't have Windows XP yet, but you would like all your images in your folder to display as thumbnails. Firstly, you have to enable thumbnails for every folder you would like them to be displayed in. To do this, navigate to the folder which you want to enable. This folder must be within your hard drive. For some odd reason, trying to do this in c:\ (my hard drive) does not allow the option.

Right-click on a blank piece of folder space, and click properties. At the bottom of the box it will say enable thumbnail view. Make a check (tick) in that box and click ok. Now press F5 to refresh the folder, and right-click again on a blank piece of folder space. Now go up to view, at the top of the menu, and on the slide-out box click thumbnails. Now most images in the folder will display as thumbnails! As far as I know, gif, jpg, html and bmp images will all display as thumbnails. Some less common file formats may also work.

How to Take a Screenshot

I'm sure many of you have wondered how computing magazines (and this website) print images of windows, and programs in Windows, when there is no command for printing out the contents of the screen. Most people can print a document written in Word, for example, but how many can print the actual window surrounding the text as well. Or what if you just wish to show your friend a picture of your desktop? The following tutorial also applies to saving an image in a game.

Well, it's very simple. Go to the window that you want to "capture", and press the Print Screen button on your keyboard. This should be to the right of F12, and above Insert, on most keyboards. What this does, is it copies an image of your screen to the clipboard. That is the same place that images and text go when you press copy or cut.

Note: The following steps can be done after you are finished working or playing your game, as long as you do not copy or cut anything and you do not exit Windows. If you log out or restart your computer, the image will be lost.

Now open an image editor. If you do not have a specific image editing program, just open MS Paint. You can get there by going to start>programs>accessories and clicking on Paint. This program comes with all Windows computers.

Now go to the edit menu, and press paste. You may receive a message like "The image in the clipboard is larger than the bitmap. Would you like the bitmap enlarged?", in which case you click Yes. And there you go! The screenshot you took when you pressed Print Screen is now in the window! If you would like to trim the image, then use the trimming tool in your image editor, or...

If you are using Paint, select another tool, e.g. the paintbrush tool. This clears the selection made on the screen. Then click the dotted rectangle at the top right of the toolbox. Drag out a box over the area that you would like to have remaining. If you make a mistake, just click somewhere outside your box and drag the box over the area again until you get it right. Now click edit on the menu at the top, and then copy. Go to file and click new. Unless you wish to save the rest of the image (non-trimmed), click no when it asks you if you want to save. Now go to edit and click paste. The trimmed image that you selected from your screenshot now appears in the window. If it asks you again if you want to enlarge the bitmap, click yes.

Now you are finished creating your screenshot!! This sounds awfully long and hard, but it is just because I had to cover all possibilities while explaining. There are really only about 5 things to do, and if you are not using Paint, it makes everything a lot easier. Being familiar with your graphics program also makes it less complicated. I have to admit that using Paint is probably more difficult.

To save your screenshot, go to file and click save. Just select the folder to save the image in, click save and you're done! In almost any image editor besides Paint, you will be able to select which format you want to save the image as. I recommend a JPEG. Now you know how to print out screenshots, e-mail them to your friends, or just keep it on your hard drive. I like doing this to show my friends screenshots from games I am playing. You can capture dramatic explosions or outrageous stunts and show your friends proof that you really did it!

Special Characters

You can type special characters such as ½, ë and ® in a number of ways. The easiest (but not quickest) way to do this, is to go to start>programs>accessories>system tools and open Character Map. There you can select your character that you want to insert into your document by clicking select. Then you press copy, and you just "paste" it into the relevant document.

The second way, is much quicker, but requires remembering ASCII codes. I won't go into a lot of detail as to what ASCII is, just to say that whenever you press a letter on your keyboard it is converted into an ASCII number. Keyboard keys are really just shortcuts for the ASCII numbers. What this means, is that if you don't have a key on your keyboard, you can actually type the character manually!

All you do is you press and hold alt, and then you type the ASCII number in the numpad. That is, the little keypad with the numbers like a calculator on the right of the keyboard. E.g. if you want the ½ sign, you press and hold alt, type 171 on the numpad, and release alt. The ½ sign will appear where you were typing!!

Here are a few useful ASCII numbers for you to integrate into your everyday typing:

156 = £ (useful for people with non-British keyboards)

157= ¥ (the yen sign; currency of Japan)

167= º (as in: it is 25ºC outside)

253= ² (as in: E=MC²)

171= ½

172= ¼

241= ±

Remove Outlook Express Splash Screen

Warning: Not for beginners. Always back up your registry before making changes!

This trick is a real gem! It removes the startup screen from Outlook Express, thus speeding up its loading time.

Open up the Registry Editor by going to start>run and typing regedit. Click the little + sign next to HKEY_CURRENT_USER. Click the + sign next to Identities, click the + sign again next to that long string of numbers and letters, again for Software, Microsoft and Outlook Express. Now you should see 5.0 (or whatever your version number is). Click once on the word "5.0" or the little yellow folder next to it.

You should now see a whole lot of text in the right-hand pane. Right-click somewhere in the blank white area in the right-hand side, go to new, and then DWORD value. Type nosplash. Now right-click the word and click modify. Now write a 1 in the Value data box. Click ok and close the Registry Editor by pressing the x button in the top right of the window or going to the menu and selecting Registry>Exit.

Now Outlook Express will open up without the splash screen!

Random Tips (Quick easy stuff that you might not know)

Permanent Delete - If you want to delete a file permanently straight away, without it being sent to the recycle bin, just press shift-del when you want to delete it. Or right-click, press shift and then delete. Due to a Windows bug however, it often doesn't work first time. Do it a couple of times and it does work though.

Open With...

If you want a choice of programs to open a certain file in, select the file, press shift and then right-click the file. You will now see the option open with... appears in the menu! (3rd from the top)

Reasons you may want to do this? Maybe you want to open up a file in a different program from normal. Or maybe you accidentally did not remove the notorious always use this program to open this file checkmark (tick) when opening a file with an unregistered extension, and now you can't open any file of this type because they always open up in the wrong program? If this sounds familiar, then this trick will solve that problem!

Folder or A: refresh

If you are in the A:\, and you insert a different stiffy (floppy), instead of re-opening the folder to see the new contents, just press F5 and the window will update itself. This works for any other folder where you want to refresh the contents.


This one helps if your computer is running low on RAM or resources, and you want to get some back, without rebooting your machine. If you keep getting an illegal operation, this might also clear it without your rebooting. I have recovered as much as 8% system resources, and 30% GDI resources using this trick!

Just press alt-ctrl-del once (not twice!!). This brings up the task manager. It says close program at the top of the box. Select explorer and click End Task. You will see the Shut Down Windows box appear. Press cancel. Wait a couple of seconds, and you will see a message telling you that the program is not responding, do you want to end it. Click end task. Explorer will reload, refreshing quite a bit of accumulated muck with it!

Note: You need to move the mouse before the hourglass mouse pointer goes away...another weird Windows thing.

Quick Resize (in columns)

This handy trick lets you resize columns in listed information without having to drag the column (with the double-headed arrow) to the correct size. All you do, is you move the mouse over the column divider until you see the double-headed arrow, then you double-click. The column will automatically resize itself to fit the biggest piece of information in the column.

Extended Scandisk Options

If you want to, there are even more options for Scandisk that you can fiddle with. All you have to do is go to c:\windows\command and open up Scandisk.ini. Inside the file are all the instructions needed to update the settings. Just be careful what you change though. If you're not sure what it does, just leave it!

Stuff I wrote for my college campus newspaper - 18

The Tree Of Life

Which tree did you fall from?

Find your birthday, find your tree and then scroll down.

This is really cool and somewhat accurate,

and also in line with Celtic astrology.

Dec 23 to Dec 31 - Apple Tree

Jan 01 to Jan 11 - Fir Tree

Jan 12 to Jan 24 - Elm Tree

Jan 25 to Feb 03 - Cypress Tree

Feb 04 to Feb 08 - Poplar Tree

Feb 09 to Feb 18 - Cedar Tree

Feb 19 to Feb 28 - Pine Tree

Mar 01 to Mar 10 - Weeping Willow Tree

Mar 11 to Mar 20 - Lime Tree

Mar 21 - - - - - - Oak Tree

Mar 22 to Mar 31 - Hazelnut Tree

Apr 01 to Apr 10 - Rowan

Apr 11 to Apr 20 - Maple Tree

Apr 21 to Apr 30 - Walnut Tree

May 01 to May 14 -AshTree

May 15 to May 24 - Chestnut Tree

May 25 to Jun 03 - Ash Tree

Jun 04 to Jun 13 - Hornbeam Tree

Jun 14 to Jun 23 - Fig Tree

Jun 24 - - - - - - Birch Tree

Jun 25 to Jul 04 - Apple Tree

Jul 05 to Jul 14 - Fir Tree

Jul 15 to Jul 25 - Elm Tree

Jul 26 to Aug 04 - Cypress Tree

Aug 05 to Aug 13 - Poplar Tree

Aug 14 to Aug 23 - Cedar Tree

Aug 24 to Sep 02 - Pine Tree

Sep 03 to Sep 12 - Weeping Willow Tree

Sep 13 to Sep 22 - Lime Tree

Sep 23 - - - - - - Olive Tree

Sep 24 to Oct 03 - Hazelnut Tree

Oct 04 to Oct 13 - Rowan Tree

Oct 14 to Oct 23 - Maple Tree

Oct 24 to Nov 11 - Walnut Tree

Nov 12 to Nov 21 - Chestnut Tree

Nov 22 to Dec 01 - Ash Tree

Dec 02 to Dec 11 - Hornbeam Tree

Dec 12 to Dec 21 - Fig Tree

Dec 22 - - - - - - Beech Tree

APPLE TREE (the Love) - of slight build, lots of

charm, appeal, and attraction, pleasant aura,

flirtatious, adventurous, sensitive, always in love,

wants to love and be loved, faithful and tender

partner, very generous, scientific talents, lives for

today, a carefree philosopher with imagination.

ASH TREE (the Ambition) - uncommonly attractive,

vivacious, impulsive, demanding, does not care for

criticism, ambitious, intelligent, talented, likes to

play with fate, can be egotistic, very reliable and

trustworthy, faithful and prudent lover, sometimes

brains rule over the heart, but takes partnership very


BEECH TREE (the Creative) - has good taste, concerned

about its looks, materialistic, good organization of

life and career, economical, good leader, takes no

unnecessary risks, reasonable, splendid lifetime

companion, keen on keeping fit (diets, sports, etc.)

BIRCH TREE (the inspiration) - vivacious, attractive,

elegant, friendly, unpretentious, modest, does not

like anything in excess, abhors the vulgar, loves life

in nature and in calm, not very passionate, full of

imagination, little ambition, creates a calm and

content atmosphere.

CEDAR TREE (the Confidence) - of rare beauty, knows

how to adapt, likes luxury, of good health, not in the

least shy, tends to look down on others,

self-confident, determined, impatient, likes to

impress others, many talents, industrious, healthy

optimism, waiting for the one true love, able to make

quick decisions.

CHESTNUT TREE (the Honesty) - of unusual beauty, does

not want to impress, well-developed sense of justice,

vivacious, interested, a born diplomat, but irritates

easily and sensitive in company, often due to a lack

of self confidence, acts sometimes superior, feels not

understood loves only once, has difficulties in

finding a partner.

CYPRESS TREE (the Faithfulness) - strong, muscular,

adaptable, takes what life has to give, content,

optimistic, craves money and acknowledgment, hates

loneliness, passionate lover which cannot be

satisfied, faithful, quick-tempered, unruly, fussy,

and careless.

ELM TREE (the Noble-mindedness) - pleasant shape,

tasteful clothes, modest demands, tends not to forgive

mistakes, cheerful, likes to lead but not to obey,

honest and faithful partner, likes making decisions

for others, noble-minded, generous, good sense of

humor, practical.

FIG TREE (the Sensibility) - very strong, a bit

self-willed, independent, does not allow contradiction

or arguments, loves life, its family, children and

animals, a bit of a social butterfly, good sense of

humor, likes idleness and laziness, of practical

talent and intelligence.

FIR TREE (the Mysterious) - extraordinary taste,

dignity, sophisticated, loves anything beautiful,

moody, stubborn, tends to egoism but cares for those

close to them, rather modest, very ambitious,


industrious, uncontested lover, many friends, many

foes, very reliable.

HAZELNUT TREE (the Extraordinary) - charming,

undemanding, very understanding, knows how to make an

impression, active fighter for social cause, popular,

moody, and capricious lover, honest, and tolerant

partner, precise sense of judgment.

HORNBEAM TREE (the Good Taste) - of cool beauty, cares

for its looks and condition, good taste, is not

egoistic, makes life as comfortable as possible, leads

a reasonable and disciplined life, looks for kindness

and acknowledgment in an emotional partner, dreams of

unusual lovers, is seldom happy with its feelings,

mistrusts most people, is never sure of its decisions,

very conscientious.

LIME TREE (the Doubt) - accepts what life dishes out

in a composed way, hates fighting, stress, and labor,

dislikes laziness and idleness, soft and relenting,

makes sacrifices for friends, many talents but not

tenacious enough to make them blossom, often

wailing and complaining, very jealous but loyal.

MAPLE TREE (Independence of Mind) - no ordinary

person, full of imagination and originality, shy and

reserved, ambitious, proud, self-confident, hungers

for new experiences, sometimes nervous, has many

complexities, good memory, learns easily, complicated

love life, wants to impress.

OAK TREE (the Brave) - robust nature, courageous,

strong, unrelenting, independent, sensible, does not

like change, keeps its feet on the ground, person of


OLIVE TREE (the Wisdom) - loves sun, warmth and kind

feelings, reasonable, balanced, avoids aggression and

violence, tolerant, cheerful, calm, well-developed

sense of justice, sensitive, empathetic, free of

jealousy, loves to read and the company of

sophisticated people.

PINE TREE (the Particular) - loves agreeable company,

very robust, knows how to make life comfortable, very

active, natural, good companion, but seldom friendly,

falls easily in love but its passion burns out

quickly, gives up easily, everything disappointments

until it finds its ideal, trustworthy, practical.

POPLAR TREE (the Uncertainty) - looks very decorative very self-confident, only courageous if necessary,

needs goodwill and pleasant surroundings, very choosy,

often lonely, great animosity, artistic nature, good

organizer, tends to lean toward philosophy, reliable

in any situation, takes partnership seriously.

ROWAN TREE (the Sensitivity) - full of charm,

cheerful, gifted without egoism, likes to draw

attention, loves life, motion, unrest, and even

complications, is both dependent and independent, good

taste, artistic, passionate, emotional, good company,

does not forgive.

WALNUT TREE (the Passion) - unrelenting, strange and

full of contrasts, often egotistic, aggressive, noble,

broad horizon, unexpected reactions, spontaneous,

unlimited ambition, no flexibility, difficult and

uncommon partner, not always liked but often admired,

ingenious strategist, very jealous and passionate, no


WEEPING WILLOW (the Melancholy) - beautiful but full


melancholy, attractive, very empathetic, loves

anything beautiful and tasteful, loves to travel,

dreamer, restless, capricious, honest, can influenced

but is not easy to live with, demanding, good

intuition, suffers in love but finds sometimes an

anchoring partner.