Sunday, November 22, 2009

Advanced Internet music player for YouTube

If you are a music fan, take a close look on a new service, recently featured by TheNextWeb. is not just one more search engine for music videos on YouTube, but the interesting and comprehensive social community with the ability to build and share your video playlists of songs with others.

The slick iTunes-type interface allows you to search for music either via YouTube or via’s database of releases. Then you can add individual tracks or whole albums to a playlist. As you play your favorite track, simultaneously the video clip is shown from the YouTube alongside with artist information from and related lyrics (where available) displayed from isn’t just for personal use though; it’s got the beginnings of a strong social side thanks to embedded features of playlist sharing. You can share your music taste through Twitter, Facebook, by email, or by a copying a direct URL. You can even befriend other users of the service and show off your finely crafted playlists to them directly on the site.

Everything about screams quality – right down to small touches like the way a floating thumbnail for a video that appears when you hover over an item in your playlist.

It was developed by a London-based duo over four months and they are currently hard at work developing version 2 of the service. The revamp is due for launch next month but the current interface and set of features is already quite impressive.

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The service is absolutely free for all users, and it is completely web-based, so you do not have to install any code on your computer.

Authors website:

Video Review for

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Panoramio – Google’s Community of Geolocated Photos

There are tons online web sites where you can store your images. It is hard to make something different to attract customers in fierce competition. Panoramio was able to get out of crowd and earn respect and solid reputation in the online community. Mere fact, that the company has been acquired by Google in 2007, proves value of its services and intellectual property.

Panoramio allows you to allocate photos on the map exactly over the place they were taken. So, every photo is linked with the particular place both physically and in your memory. You can store up to 2 Gb, approximately 2000 photos with 4 Mega Pixels camera, and your photos are stored at your personal area in their original size and quality.

The opportunity to link photos with particular place is particularly handy for tourists, backpackers, and travelers, where location makes a lot of sense in understanding of the photo content.

Note that Panoramio is absolutely not the same as Google Earth, even the sites are sharing some mutual technologies. So, uploading photos onto Panoramio does not automatically mean they will appear on Google Earth, and it will not happen instantly. Basically, photos get updated and nominated by the Panoramio Team as "Popular" and can be seen in the Popular Tab of the Panoramio World Map. These photos are then forwarded to Google Earth who then make their own selections.

When you have logged into the Panoramio site, and can see your photos, Blue Compasses next to the photos indicates that they have been approved for Google Earth and may get included in the next batch upload to Google Earth which usually happens on a monthly basis.

Website address:


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Friday, November 13, 2009

20 Recommendations on How to Take Proper Care of your Laptop

Mobile computers become our permanent companions. My son is taking his laptop in business trip. But higher utilization and various external “extreme” conditions might not be healthy for the laptop.

Sometimes, you cannot avoid the negative environment effect, but if you know, where to look, at least you will try to save your mobile friend from disaster, damaging it and destroying all valuable data inside.

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Once, I had to jump to the river with my clothes and all electrical toys I had with me, including GPS, Blackberry smart phone, walkie-talkie, and video player. Strangely enough, being for after 10 minutes under water, most of the electronics eventually recovered, actually all, but video player. However, my smart phone had to be replaced in several months, and my GPS still works, but slightly slower than before “swimming”.

So, we have to prevent our laptops from any potential damage as much as possible. Please refer to the following tips for a laptop to work on the maximal performance.

  1. Do not bring a beverage or liquid to the proximity of your laptop, if you want prevent liquid spills and any short circuits inside.
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  1. Do not put a laptop close to the magnetic field source, such as TV, Speaker, Radio Transmitters, Magnetic Tape, or phone. Magnetic field might substantially affect the hard drive components of your laptop.
  1. If you plan to carry your laptop around, use the special carrying case or bag. The certified cases are designed for the safer laptop transportation needs and protect the case from scratches, hits, direct sun light, etc. To keep the case clean, you might decide to spend some money on the special cleaning utilities, which can be purchased in computer stores.
  1. Prevent mechanical damage. Do not place or drop objects on top and do not insert any foreign objects into the Notebook PC.
  1. Do not move laptop before it is completely shut down. When the Hard Drive still working, and you move the laptop, the cylinder head might scratch the disk, causing the fatal damage, or it might affect the mechanics of the Hard Drive.
  1. Use stable electric power. All the computers with Windows Operating system hate, when you shut them down improperly. They scream aloud, when still alive. Sometimes, power break might cause permanent damage to the Hard Drive. Therefore, you might consider using the power stabilizer / power normalizer / UPS, if your electric power supply is not stable.
  1. Lend your laptop to no one. The laptop is intelligent device, which is already learned your lifestyle, working standards and techniques. You give one computer to a friend, and you get back absolutely different one. You do not recognize new programs; you see unfamiliar order in your directories. And what if the person is not familiar with virus threats? You might get back not laptop, but its “dead body”. 
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  1. Lock your notebook, when not around. This might sound unnecessary but locking your laptop will keep anyone around you from looking at what you are working on and ensure that anything private stays that way. To lock your laptop easily all you have to do is just press the Windows Key + L at the same time and it will lock your laptop. To unlock your laptop simply press Ctrl + Atl + Del and then enter your password and you will be returned back to exactly where you were previously.
  1. Install anti-virus and anti-malware software and update them periodically. Yes, it is a must in the modern world, when you are definite target for spam, viruses, Trojans, malware, greyware, adware, spyware, and more –wares. Note, that some malware elements might not be visible at first, so do not wait before you see the problem. Make the automatic scanning for viruses a part of your computer routine.
  1. Put the laptop into a horizontal position. Try to avoid working on your laptop when it is not placed horizontally on the flat surface. In addition to recommendations of ergonomists, your Hard Drive will suffer always, when it is not parallel to the ground. Save you eyes by choosing the proper working position, and save your drive as well.
  1. Store in places with normal temperature. Never leave your laptop in the parked closed car, if the weather is hot, and do not leave it in direct sun light. Excessive heat can damage the components of a laptop.
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  1. Avoid excessive humidity.  Regardless of the reason for the humidity, you should do your best to protect your laptop from humidity. This can cause damage to the motherboard as well as possible damage to the screen.
  1. Do not place laptop on a soft surface, while working. Laptops placed not on solid flat surface, are inclined to absorb heat very quick, so you might experience computer overheating pretty fast. It is definitely higher danger to drop it as well…
  1. Do not open and disassemble your laptop. It is a definite NO-NO, if your computer is still under warranty, since no technician will accept the responsibility for the computer damage, if there will be any signs of the forced entry. But even later, do not “try” to fix the computer, if you are not sure what you are doing. Sometimes, if there are just signs of the trouble, you can still revive the data. But, after repair attempts, in most cases, the data becomes unrecoverable.
  1. Wipe LCD screen with special clothes. Cleaning the monitor screen, use the special soft pad. Do not press too hard, and motion the pad in one direction only, from left to right. LCD is formed by liquid crystals, and its surface is thin and fragile. So, be careful and gentle while cleaning it. Using harsh cleaners like Windex, ammonia, or alcohol is not the best thing for your LCD screen.
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  1. Clean the keyboard with a vacuum cleaner or air sprayed on the sidelines of a button. Do not knock or shake the keyboard hard.
  1. Periodically check the laptop vents. It is recommended to review status of all the vents on your laptop at least once a week to ensure that they are clear and not blocked. Be sure you do not push anything into the air vents; the safest way to clean these vents typically is using a simple can of air that can be purchased at most computer supply stores.
  1. Check the fan. If your fan is not working correctly you could experience some huge problems with your laptop overheating, which can cause troubles with your monitor, memory or even the hard drive. To avoid this problem you need to make sure that the fan is working properly. If you are unsure whether the fan is working properly check the website for the laptop manufacturer, you can frequently find software there to use for testing purposes.
  1. Exercise caution when opening and closing the laptop screen. There are special hinges between LCD and the CPU case to allow you open monitor to the most convenient angle. These hinges are one of the weak points of the laptops design, so at the time of opening and closing laptop, be extra careful.
  1. Treat the battery properly. For the first time, the laptop battery should be charged completely, before you use the computer. Experts say that you need to charge and discharge the battery completely three times in the row for better battery performance and longer lifetime. You should do the same for the laptop, which was not used for month or longer. If you do not plan to use your laptop for long time, remove the battery from the laptop and store it separately.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

How to remove Floppy Drive icon from PC?

May be, I am too old, but I clearly remember, when 3.5” Floppy drives appeared on the market, replacing the old mild 5.25” Diskettes. I remember that at the beginning that was two types of the 3.5” diskettes – 0.7 MB and 1.4 MB. The latest were more expensive, and I was purchasing 0.7 MB and was drilling some holes to convert them into 1.4 MB. Good old time. How many of you are still use Floppy Disks?

It is not surprising that most of the modern computers do not came with Floppy Disk Drive, preinstalled on the machine at all. But still the Floppy icon as drive A: is visible in the configuration. I got request from one of the readers of this blog to explain how to remove it forever. My first reaction was to disable it in the BIOS. But do you really want to reboot your computer for that? I bet, some of the users even do not have a clue how to enter BIOS on their computers. (BTW, if you do need to enter BIOS for some reason, review my brief instruction with hot keys listed).

There are several ways to disable the Floppy Drive, which do not involve BIOS operations. Let’s take a look:

1. Registry

If you are comfortable with registry operation, there is a way to disable the Floppy Drive there.

  • Start – Run – type regedit in the box.
  • In the registry editor, navigate to the entry HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Policies\Explorer
  • Now right click in right side pane and create DWORD Value. Call the new registry value as "NoDrives". Double click on "NoDrives" to enter a Decimal value. This value depends on the drives you wish to hide, and is created by adding the numbers for each drive you wish to hide from the list below. Click OK once you have entered this number.
For example, to hide drive D you would enter a decimal value of 8. To hide both drives D and E, you would enter a decimal value of 24 (8+16).

Values for each drive per its letter:

A = 1
B = 2
C = 4
D = 8
E = 16
F = 32
  • Therefore, if you want to hide just A: drive, you may enter 1. If you want to hide both A: and B: drives, you may enter value 3.
2. Device Manager

There are several ways to enter Device Manager on your computer:

1. Click Start > Run
  • Type compmgmt.msc
  • Choose Disk Management in the left column.
2. Click Start > Run
  • Type devmgmt.msc
  • Device Manager will be open.
3. Right click on my computer
  • Select properties.
  • In the hardware tab select 'Device Manager'.
In the Device Manager listing you’ll see an entry “Floppy disk drives”.
Go to its sub entry which is named as Floppy disk drive.
With right click choose Properties service menu.
Next, you can go to Driver tab and select the Disable button.
System will ask for confirmation, click Yes. Then Click OK.

You see, there are multiple opportunities and ways to perform relatively simple task – removing your unneeded Floppy from Windows Explorer. And now it is up to you, which one you choose.

Monday, November 2, 2009

19 Common Facts about Computers

1. 80% of all pictures on the internet are of naked women.
2. Another name for a Microsoft Windows tutorial is 'Crash Course'!
3. Bill Gates' house was designed using a Macintosh computer.
4. By the year 2012 there will be approximately 17 billion devices connected to the Internet.
5. Domain names are being registered at a rate of more than one million names every month.
6. E-mail has been around longer than the World Wide Web.
7. For every 'normal' webpage, there are five porn pages.
8. In the 1980s, an IBM computer wasn't considered 100 percent compatible unless it could run Microsoft Flight Simulator*.
9. MySpace reports over 110 million registered users. Was it a country, it would be the tenth largest, just behind Mexico.
10. One of every 8 married couples in the US last year met online.
11. The average 21 year old has spent 5,000 hours playing video games, has exchanged 250,000 e-mails, instant and text messages and has spent 10,000 hours on the mobile phone.
12. The average computer user blinks 7 times a minute, less than half the normal rate of 20.
13. The first banner advertising was used in 1994.
14. The first computer mouse was invented by Doug Engelbart in around 1964 and was made of wood.
15. The first domain name ever registered was
16. The world's first computer, called the Z1, was invented by Konrad Zuse in 1936. His next invention, the Z2 was finished in 1939 and was the first fully functioning electro-mechanical computer.
17. There are approximately 1,319,872,109 people on the Internet.
18. There are approximately 1.06 billion instant messaging accounts worldwide.
19. While it took the radio 38 years, and the television a short 13 years, it took the World Wide Web only 4 years to reach 50 million users.

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