BotHack makes getting things done easy and fun. Delving deep into the technoweb, BotHack brings back simple and totally life-altering tips and tricks for managing your information and time. At this wild moment in the development of human-oriented technology, BotHack is your own personal early adopter, here to guide you through the onslaught of the new. The world is full of fascinating problems waiting to be solved: BotHack can help.

Monday, November 14, 2005

The Good News and the Bad News

The Bad News:
We regret to inform that BotHack will be closed down for this month, since the editors are on leave. We thank and appriciate everyone of you for your support all this while.

The Good News:
Though BotHack - the blog has been closed down, the beta site is up online. Please do visit the site and give us your suggestions. This site will be updated everyday, so keep geeking.


Die Dulci Fruere

Friday, November 11, 2005

Who Farted? Oh It’s A Smell Tone!

Keitai KunKun have developed “smell tones” as the next-gen ringtone. Using the these smell tones, you simply set up the enclosed liquid to hang off your phone. When you get a call or message, instead of a ring, you can get a smell alerting you to pick up your phone. I don’t see how this could be useful when your phone is shoved in your pants and your jeans start to reek of Doraemon-scent after awhile.

However if multiple scents could be used, it’d be genius. When your girlfriend calls, a perfume scent could eject and if it’s your buddy, the stench of warm beer could emit slowly from the phone. They’re retailing in Japan for 1980 Yen a pop or about Rs.750 here and come in scents like Hello Kitty, Disney, and Doraemon. What, no Transformers motor oil scent? What gives?!

Sniff N’ Talk [Red Ferret]

Die Dulci Fruere

One-pot Cooking Tutorials

For all you bachelors out there, here is a great page to your rescue. I cook my food and often it is frustrating to wash some ten dishes, bowls, spoons, etc. When it comes to meals, often times the easier—especially when it comes to cleaning up—the better! Over at eartheasy there are some good methods and recipes to get you on your way to some great one-pot meals.
"One-pot cooking used to be the exclusive domain of bachelors, campers and college students just moved away from home. Meals were quick, simple and often right out of the box. The concept was great - just one pot to wash, but the meals could be quite uninspired. Here are a few variations on the “one-pot” theme, which broaden the possibilities for creative cuisine, while maintaining the simplicity and energy savings of one-pot cooking."

Thanks to Apoorva for the tip!

Die Dulci Fruere

BoTutorials : Short and simple C++ function reading a BMP file into an array

I was working on a program in C++ and I needed a simple function that could read a BMP file into a simple array of the pixels and BGR color information. So I Googled around and all I could find was a bunch of complicated code using complicated things like objects and a bunch of library files and stuff. So, just to expand my experience in C++, I decided to make my own function. This function uses only the stdio.h header file.

First, I had to find out how a Bitmap file is put together. I could have found a tutorial but instead I decided to open up a small BMP in a hex editor to take a look. And what I found was that BMP files are surprisingly simple to read.

I noticed that the width and height were integers starting at offsets 18 and 22 respectively.

I'm not sure what the other stuff in the header is for but the important thing to know is that the actual pixel color information starts at offset 54. From then on, each byte alternates Blue, Green, Red (the opposite of usual). The only other thing to know is that after each row you have to skip a number of bytes which is equal to the remainder after dividing the width by four. I don't know why this is, doesn't it just waste disk space?

Now, about using my function. Here is how you might set up your program to load the Bitmap:

#define MAXW 500
#define MAXH 500

byte Bitmap[MAXW][MAXH][3];
int BMPw;
int BMPh;

loadBMP("../kompo_l.bmp", &Bitmap[0][0][0], &BMPw, &BMPh, MAXW);

The arguments that are passed to the function are: loadBMP(filename of Bitmap, pointer to the start of an array of bytes, pointer to integer where the width will be stored, pointer to the integer for the height, length of row in array)

And, here's the function:

void loadBMP(char *filename, byte *BitmapP, int *owidth, int *oheight, int max){
byte curnt[3];
int width;
int height;

//Open File
FILE *fptr;
fptr = fopen(filename, "rb");

//First, get the width and height
fseek(fptr, 18, SEEK_SET);
fread(&width, sizeof(int), (size_t)1, fptr);

fseek(fptr, 22, SEEK_SET);
fread(&height, sizeof(int), (size_t)1, fptr);

*owidth = width;
*oheight = height;

//Now start to read all the pixels and colors and everything.
fseek(fptr, 54, SEEK_SET);
for(int y=1; y < height + 1; y++){
for(int x=1; x < width + 1; x++){
fread((BitmapP + x*(max*3) + y*3), sizeof(byte), (size_t)3, fptr);
fseek(fptr, width % 4, SEEK_CUR);


The array now contains: Bitmap[x][y][Green(0) or Blue(1) or Red(2)]

Die Dulci Fruere

Bot-Page : Aggregate your feeds with SuprGlu

SuprGlu is an online service that creates a page for you based on your various RSS and Atom feeds.
"SuprGlu is about bringing the pieces of your web content together into one central place for you, your friends, and maybe even your friends to-be. With the advent of so many fun to use applications, it is a shame for us to not use them. So keeping that in mind, what would be even better is to blog them."

As of this moment, they’ve got a fairly wide range of services they can integrate, and should be adding more. You can also add your own feeds if you don’t see the service you want


Die Dulci Fruere

BotHack: Guide to Social Engineering

Introduction: What is Social Engineering?

Social engineering is the act of presenting false and/or intimidating information to an individual in order to manipulate that individual into providing you with goods, information, access, or authority which would normally be difficult or impossible to obtain using other methods. While I certainly do not advocate the theft of personal property, especially by using a method as dishonest as social engineering, in some cases social engineering is necessary... even for survival.

The purpose of this article is to further explain the psychological aspect of both sides of social engineering as well as certain common problems encountered by individuals who have attempted to social engineer.

(For most of the remainder of this article, I will use "SX" to represent the term "social engineer" as a verb and "SE" to represent the term "social engineer" as a noun.)

Part One: Preparing for the Attack

It seems that few people are truly skilled at social engineering. I feel this is because of two main reasons. The first reason is that many people are so afraid of failing that they do not even try.

If you have ever attempted to SX someone, you probably remember your first time, regardless of whether you were successful. You probably had "butterflies in your stomach", as they say, and shaky hands. As with hacking, social engineering gives you a rush; a unique high that comes from a mixture of danger, secrecy, and an "I really shouldn't be doing this" feeling. For some, even the very idea of SXing is too much to handle. They can't do it. For most of those people, it is simply a matter of being too nervous. For some, however, it is a justified fear of being caught. This fear can be remedied fairly easily.

The most common medium of SX attacks is the telephone. Therefore, we need to consider how we can use the telephone to our advantage, as well as how the telephone can be used against us. One of the biggest advantages of the phone is only our voice is received by the other side. If you can disguise your voice well enough, you can become anyone on the phone. Also, you do not need to control your facial expressions while using the phone. The major disadvantage of using the telephone, though, is that it is very easy to trace a call (caller ID also creates a problem). This is a problem that must be corrected before any SX attempt is made. Fortunately, getting around it is fairly easy. You never want to SX from your home, so the two most feasible options are payphones and your neighbors' phones. Payphones are great, because even if the call is traced, there is no way for authorities to know it was you (except for in rare cases when there is a security camera near the phone). The major downfall of payphones is that most of them say "PAYPHONE" in the caller ID stream. That makes your call look very suspicious. The other option is to use a neighbor's phone line. This used to be much easier, as you could pop open the junction box on your neighbor's house and connect a phone to the terminals. The phone companies have gotten wise, however, and have recently started removing the junctions altogether. Now the line runs straight through the box, if the box is there at all. There are still ways to access the phone line, though they are not as discreet. You will need to skin the two wires and connect your beige box to them, then you should be able to dial out. Of course, there is still a small risk with the caller ID, but a personal name looks better than "PAYPHONE". If you are still worried about caller ID, in some areas you can use *67 before dialing the number (the caller ID will say "PRIVATE" or "BLOCKED").

If the SE uses either of the previously mentioned methods, he doesn't have anything to worry about. Of course, if it is his first time, he will still be nervous. Therefore, I suggest a few practice runs. Go to a payphone and call up a local shopping center (Wal-Mart, K-Mart, et cetera). Ask to be transferred to a specific department, then talk that person into telling you the department codes. It doesn't matter if you are successful, you are just getting rid of the nervousness.

Part Two: Forming the Attack

The second reason for the lack of skillful SXing is because of ignorance. People just assume they can lie and be believed. There is much more that needs to be taken into consideration, however.

Perhaps the greatest skill an aspiring social engineer can learn is that of empathy. If you can think the way someone else is thinking, you will be able to talk them into almost anything. Empathy comes naturally for some. Unfortunately, the outgoing people who are willing to try SXing usually cannot empathize easily. Before you can develop empathy, you must develop sensitivity, which is a simple form of empathy. Try to think of how other people are feeling emotionally, and why they are feeling that way. Analyze the things they say and their actions, and try to guess their thoughts. You will probably be wrong, but the more you consider others' feelings, the more you will understand people in general, and then specifically. (People will like you more, as well.) For most, it can take several months to a year to understand a single person. For sensitive people, several days. For empathetic people, it takes only one conversation. That should be one of your goals as a social engineer.

While empathy makes it possible to SX almost anyone, it is not the most vital part of SXing. You can know your target inside and out, but if you cannot communicate with them in the proper way, it's worthless. When SXing by phone, the most obvious warning sign to the target is a shaky voice. Even if they're not smart enough to understand that you're trying to trick them, they will subconsciously know there is something wrong, and it will cause problems for you. Usually, a shaky voice can be overcome with practice. If you're voice is shaky all of the time, it is probably because you don't talk much. The more you talk, the better you will sound, and you will even become more articulate. Drinking something warm might also help you keep your voice steady.

Once you have mastered your voice, you will need to learn to control your face (this is only necessary if you are going to be SXing face-to-face). When you are lying, the ultimate giveaway is your eyes. That is what police interrogators watch when they are questioning a suspect. When you ask someone a question, they will move their eyes in one of two ways, depending on whether or not they are lying. For example, when they are remembering information (and getting ready to tell the truth) they might move their eyes to the side, and when they are making up information (and getting ready to tell a lie), they might roll their eyes for a few seconds. Each person moves their eyes differently, and you need to find out how you move yours. Practice with a friend, and then when you know how you move your eyes, practice lying while moving your eyes like you're telling the truth. As with a shaky voice, a victim may not realize how you are moving your eyes, but he will know subconsciously that something is wrong. In most cases (except when you are role-playing [part four]), you should try to maintain almost constant eye contact with the victim.

Part Three: Executing the Attack

When you are SXing, the first step is to let the victim know that you have authority, and you know what you're doing. As long as they believe that, you will have no trouble. You can tell them that you are friends with the owner of the company (make sure you know his name first) and he gave your permission. Or you can say you're with another department and you've already gone through the proper channels. This is your chance to be creative.

The next step is to let the victim know what you are after. You can do this two ways. First, come right out and say it. Let them know what you want and hope they buy your story. The other way is to get them to trust you, make subtle hints about what you want, and then present them with an opportunity to give it to you (it takes a lot of practice to pull this one off). The first method is easier and works most of the time, but when you're working in a delicate situation, sometimes the second way is the only option.

The third and final step is to "cover your tracks". It's not as hard as it sounds. You simply end the conversation on a good note, without doing or saying anything out of the ordinary. The ultimate objective is to pull off the whole thing without calling attention to yourself. That way, even if you fail, you can try again without much unnecessary risk.

Remember that during any part of the conversation, something unexpected could happen (and probably will). Always be ready for anything.

Part Four: Additional Tips and Tricks

One of the best-kept secrets of SXing is role-playing. It's a slightly complicated method, but once you learn it and practice it, it will help you tremendously. The theory behind role-playing while SXing is that you should have the opposite personality of the victim. For example, if the victim is quiet, humble, and goes along with anything, then you should be loud and commanding and act like they owe it to you. If they are sure of themselves and talkative, you should be meek and unsure and SX by making "suggestions". One of the only times you should not take on an opposite personality is when the victim is monotonous. You will want to actually match their personality, because they are likely in a bored state and will give you what you want as long as you don't "wake them up", so to speak. (Role-playing can be difficult to pull off. If you're not sure, then don't try it.)

Bluffing rarely works, and should only be used as a last resort. When I say "bluffing" I'm talking about stuff like "I already talked to your manager. Go ahead, call him!" That's a no-no.

If it doesn't work out, don't make a fuss. Just say something like "Oh, that's okay. I'll have my boss work it out tomorrow. Thanks. Bye." As I said earlier, your ultimate objective is almost always to do the job without calling attention.

Offer wrong information (an insignificant detail), and then correct yourself. This makes you seem more believable. If you try this, only do it one time in the conversation, and do it toward the beginning.

Make sure you do your homework. Whenever I SX, I like to totally make up my character on paper. I write a short biography, come up with details including date of birth, parents' names, friends, and previous jobs, and then I practice acting like that character before I actually SX. I also study the target(s), whenever possible. Find out how long they've been in their position, how old they are, and anything else that might be helpful. Usually, though, you won't be able to discreetly find information about the individual, so study the company or organization instead (study both if you can).

Disclaimer : All this info is only for educational purpose (yea right!). Anybody gets into trouble is on his own, we do not encourage SX, it is on your interest only.

Die Dulci Fruere

Over 35 Graphic Templates

Education Place has a good collections on pdf templates on graphics templates that can help you productively brainstorm and going through ideas. For instance Problem-Solution Chart is a page with two columns table with Possible Problem, and Possible Solution, which can assist the way you break down into different problems, and identify different solutions for each of them. Here are the list of the template names:

Clock, Cluster/Word Web 1, Cluster/Word Web 2, Cluster/Word Web 3, Describing Wheel, E-Chart, Fact and Opinion, Five W's Chart, Flow Chart, Four-Column Chart, Garden Gate, Goal-Reasons Web, Ice-Cream Cone, Idea Rake, Idea Wheel, Inverted Triangle ,ISP Chart (Information, Sources, Page), KWL Chart, KWS Chart, Ladder, Observation Chart, Persuasion Map, Planning Chart, Problem-Solution Chart, Sandwich, Sense Chart, Sequence Chart, Spider Map, Step-by-Step Chart, Story Map 1, Story Map 2, Story Map 3, T-Chart, Ticktacktoe, Time Line, Time-Order Chart, Tree Chart, Venn Diagram

Graphic Organizers - [Education Places]

Die Dulci Fruere

Daily News Roundup

Die Dulci Fruere

Download of the Day 2: Color Control Panel Applet

Microsoft’s new Color Control Panel Applet is designed to help photographers and designers manage Windows color settings to make sure their work looks the same across all media.
"[U]sing this tool a photographer can easily switch between two different display color profiles (one for the internal LCD, and a second for the external projector) when delivering a presentation using a Windows XP notebook computer. Windows will apply the correct color profile so that images look best on the intended display."

Of course, you don’t have to be a professional photographer or designer to want consistent color.

Die Dulci Fruere

HOW TO - Build Noise-Canceling Headphones

"In today's hectic and noisy world, we are all searching for a little peace and quiet. Well, you might not be able to slip off to a tranquil forest for an hour or two, but you can block out background noise with the Noise-Canceling Headphones. The theory behind this project is that by picking up ambient sound with a microphone and reproducing it out of phase, we can actively cancel or "null" out background noise. In fact, several commercially available devices perform the same function. However, by building your own headset, you can add features not otherwise available and have fun while doing it!".

Link. [via MAKE]

Die Dulci Fruere

How to Stop Worrying

Anxiety Culture has an article called How to Stop Worrying which talks about worrying is a learned and conditioned behaviour in the modern days. It also discusses what are the obstacles blocking one to stop worrying. So how to overcome your worry? - The article suggests a trick that can postpone your worries, so that you get into habit on not worrying in the present:

"… The trick is that whenever you feel plagued by a worrying thought, note it down on a “worry sheet” (a piece of paper set aside for the purpose) – you can then forget about it, knowing that you plan to worry later.

This deceptively simple technique is effective because it bypasses the psychological obstacles mentioned above. Your mind is “fooled” into thinking that you haven’t given up worrying. Meanwhile, you lose the habit of worrying in the present moment…"

Very interesting article (with fun site design). Worth a read.

How to Stop Worrying - [Anxiety Culture]

Die Dulci Fruere

Monday, November 07, 2005

Download of the Day: Quickie

IE Tab Firefox Extension
IE Tab, an extension from Taiwan, features embedding Internet Explorer in tabs of Mozilla/Firefox. This extension is derived from the famous extension IE View, but they are quite different. While IE View always open IE-only pages in newly launched windows of Internet Explorer, IE Tab can open them in tabs of Mozilla/Firefox.

Great idea especially if you have a web site that needs to be tested with both browsers, but “sorry, I do not want to run IE at all”. It works quite nicely with some quick tests.

Google Desktop 2
Google Desktop gives you easy access to information on your computer and from the web. It’s a desktop search application that provides full text search over your email, computer files, music, photos, chats and web pages that you’ve viewed. By making your computer searchable, Google Desktop puts your information easily within your reach and frees you from having to manually organize your files, emails and bookmarks. It makes searching your computer as easy as searching the web with Google.

Firefox 1.5 Release Candidate 1
Some great features include automated update to streamline product upgrades; Faster browser navigation with improvements to back and forward button performance; Drag and drop reordering for browser tabs; Improvements to popup blocking; Clear Private Data feature and much more

Die Dulci Fruere

Sunday, November 06, 2005

BoTips : Map your running route with MapMyRun

MapMyRun creates Google Maps of your running (or walking or biking) route with a series of simple points and clicks while dynamically calculating and updating the distance.

After you’ve mapped out your run, enter your vitals (sex, age, weight, and height) and your time, and MapMyRun outputs your pace, speed, and calories burned.

If running on the treadmill isn’t your thing, but you want to keep a close eye on how many calories you’re dropping, MapMyRun is an excellent solution.

Die Dulci Fruere

Free Book on Producing Open Source Software

There is a book which has been just released called Producing Open Source Software. The author, Karl Fogel talks about how open source projects operate, their process, intrastructure and workflow to assist the project and social and political aspects within the project community, and communication and other technical related issues.

If you are interested into open source project. This is the book to get started.

If not, you can still learn a lot of life hacking in the book. Topics such as Social and Political Infrastructure, Money, Communications, Working with others are some of the good topics. It relates to the life because open source community in some aspects reflect to a bigger social system.

Here is an snippet from Karl on the situation of open source project:

"… When running a free software project, you won’t need to talk about such weighty philosophical matters on a daily basis. Programmers will not insist that everyone else in the project agree with their views on all things (those who do insist on this quickly find themselves unable to work in any project). But you do need to be aware that the question of “free” versus “open source” exists, partly to avoid saying things that might be inimical to some of the participants, and partly because understanding developers’ motivations is the best way—in some sense, the only way—to manage a project.

Free software is a culture by choice. To operate successfully in it, you have to understand why people choose to be in it in the first place. Coercive techniques don’t work. If people are unhappy in one project, they will just wander off to another one. Free software is remarkable even among volunteer communities for its lightness of investment. Most of the people involved have never actually met the other participants face-to-face, and simply donate bits of time whenever they feel like it. The normal conduits by which humans bond with each other and form lasting groups are narrowed down to a tiny channel: the written word, carried over electronic wires. Because of this, it can take a long time for a cohesive and dedicated group to form. Conversely, it’s quite easy for a project to lose a potential volunteer in the first five minutes of acquaintanceship. If a project doesn’t make a good first impression, newcomers rarely give it a second chance…"

Read online as multiple HTML pages
Read online as a single HTML page
Download PDF or XML Files
In Book format: Producing Open Source Software

Die Dulci Fruere

How-to : Download Google Video

Okay, it is just not fun to play video online with slow Internet connection - to have smooth video playback, the best way it is still downloading the whole clip locally and playback. However Google Video does not provide a link for one to download. The movie is played by Google Video Player, which is Online Flash FLV player. Good news is that Felipe Cepriano over at FelipeCN has found out a quick way to download Google Video. The key is to unescape the parameter of the Google Player URL by using a javascript function. In simple instruction:

  • Go to Google Video and find a video.
  • View the page source code and search for the keyword ‘googleplayer
  • Copy and paste the videoUrl parameter (all of the characters after the keyword ‘videoUrl=’)
  • Press Ctrl-L to go to URL location bar. Type Javascript:unescape(”videoUrl”) where videoUrl should be the last parameter you have copied into the clipboard.
  • It should output the actual URL on the broswer, copy and paste that URL onto your browser location bar again to download the FLV movie.
  • Play it with a FLV Player.

Download Google Videos - [FelipeCN]

Die Dulci Fruere

Bot-Page : Guitar Shred Show

Here is a really addictive web site to play your guitar solo online.

This quirky site puts you in the boots of one of the true masters of shred guitar, Mr Fastfinger.
Now, this guy is not real, at least I hope not with a hairdo like that.

It is a cartoon animation that allows you to trigger killer electric guitar moves using the keys on your keyboard, to most satisfying ends even if you have no musical talent whatsoever.

The first thing you notice is the loading screens which all made to look like part of the story unfolding. A nice touch the first time you visit the site, but a little annoying thereafter.
Inside the main menu, clicking the plectrum by Show Off Solo will launch a demo of the kind of effects you can achieve, but the real fun is to be had behind Lesson and Jam.

With the plectrum pointing at Lesson you can try out the sets one by one, and a printable tablature even appears at the bottom if you fancy trying to recreate them in the real world.
But the pinnacle of the site resides under Jam, the joys of which I will have to leave you to discover on your own.

Guitar Shred Show [via BBC Online]

Die Dulci Fruere

HOW TO - Alarm clock of the short now

A beginner's PIC project, the Maker writes "I am unemployed at the moment, but I'm very busy. I tend to work late nights and wander over to bed when I run completely out of steam. The problem is that this happens at a different time every day. I end up being too lazy and stupid to re-set the alarm clock, so I don't bother. I oversleep. Recently I realized that I need a special alarm clock that instead of going off at a particular time goes off after a set duration. Like an egg timer, but grand!. So, I made one, and I realized that it would be a great beginner's project. It includes a very basic C program and a simple PIC schematic."

Link. [via Make]

Die Dulci Fruere

Download of the Day: Google Desktop out of beta

Desktop search application Google Desktop is out of beta with a few cool new features. Most notably, the sidebar now features Google Maps integration.

"Fans of Google Maps will want to check out Sidebar’s new maps panel, which lets
you do all the usual cool maps stuff — local business info, directions,
sightseeing — plus a new one: finding new locations relevant to the web pages
and emails you’re reading and showing them in your maps panel."

There’s also a simple new to-do panel. Other third party panels are available, including gdTunes, a very cool plug-in that integrates with iTunes and even displays album art.
If you’ve been waiting to try Google Desktop until it graduated from Beta school to become a full Doctor of the Desktop, now’s the time to get indexing!

Desktop grows up [Google Blog]
Google Desktop

Die Dulci Fruere

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Quickie roundup

Hacking Digital Cameras

This book is on my list to check out - "Hacking Digital Cameras, recently released at the end of September, is the first and only book on the market that is aimed for the DIY photographers. It contains numerous hacking projects for the camera, lenses, accessories, tools, and storage. Whereas other photography books aim to explain how to use camera equipment, control lighting, and framing the shot, Hacking Digital Cameras shows the reader how to build lighting tools and hacking their camera to get the desired picture."


Anyone try this out yet? Post up a review in our comments.

Make speakers from hard drives...

Sven writes "About a year ago, inspired by other projects like Afrotech's Hard-disk Sound System, I built a first version of my harddisk speaker. The first one was just a very quick hack to see if it would work and was destroyed due to too much power melting the coils and cables. We hooked it up to a 50W guitar amp and pushed the volume a bit to far... Since it sounded really great, I decided to build a second one."


Robot Combat returns to San Francisco

David from Combots writes "The best flame-throwing, high-energy, steel-crunching robots in the world come to SF for the championship (Sat/Sun, Nov 12-13, 2005). Biohazard, Sewer Snake, Megabyte, and other famous bots weighing up to 340 pounds will spew fire, flip their opponents, and spin hundred-pound weapons faster than Bruce Lee on meth - all competing for the $10,000 grand prize."


Die Dulci Fruere

Daily News Roundup

  • Sony attacked over anti-piracy CD [BBC]
    “Sony’s music arm has been criticised over the technology used to stop CDs being pirated.”
  • Internet phone calls on the rise [BBC]
    “People will increasingly make calls via the net instead of using traditional phone lines, say analysts Gartner.”
  • Microsoft to buy Internet calling software company [Reuters]
    “Microsoft Corp., the world’s largest software maker, said on Wednesday it will acquire a privately held, Swiss-based company that develops technology to route and manage phone calls placed over the Web.”
  • Yahoo Redesigns Its Online Mapping Service [AP]
    “Yahoo Inc. has redesigned its online maps to make it easier to get driving directions to multiple destinations and find local merchants — the latest move in the company’s duel with Internet powerhouse, Google Inc.”
  • Google Offers Index of Public Domain Works [AP]
    “Google Inc.’s Internet-leading search engine on Thursday will begin serving up the entire contents of books and government documents that aren’t entangled in a copyright battle over how much material can be scanned and indexed from five major libraries.”
  • Survey: One in Five Teens Have Own Blogs [AP]
    “Nearly three in five school-age teens with Internet access have created online content, including Web pages with artwork, photos and stories — and about a fifth have their own blogs, which also allow friends and other readers to create feedback postings.”
  • Microsoft patches may break Web sites [CNET]
    “Web sites that use certain custom applications won’t display as expected in Internet Explorer after installing two Microsoft security updates.”
  • The Hit Factory [Wired]
    “Who needs major labels, marketing or airplay? MySpace gets more hits than Google — and becomes the MTV of the internet generation.”

Die Dulci Fruere

HOW TO - Make a DIY flash diffuser

Piers writes "Daylight savings has started now, and it was still quite light, but not light enough, and I really needed to use a flash. The shadows cast from my built-in flash are really harsh and especially prominent in close-up shots, so I made a makeshift light diffuser out of the top of a slide box, lined on the inside with some thin paper. It worked pretty well, as you can see, the photos have a nice soft light."


Die Dulci Fruere

DIY Augmented reality with cheap hardware...

Tweaq has this great augmented reality project "You can use their free software and patterns, and view augmented reality using your webcam. It's a lot more astonishing when you actually see it, and you can pan around the object using your webcam." From the site "...inspired by ARToolkit, the popular system designed for Augmented Reality...

"ARTag consists of a library of patterns, which when mounted on a flat surface by themself (or now in arrays) and viewed by a video camera or webcam, can be robustly identified. Pose can be found accurately and with low cost using a camera as the only special hardware. For Augmented Reality this means the viewpoint (pose) can be determined from the markers so a 3D object can be rendered so it looks like it belongs in the scene when you see it with a webcam or look at it with your HMD. A full SDK with camera and OpenGL support is available for you to develop your own AR applications!"


Die Dulci Fruere

DIY : LCD Monitor Rejuvenation

Inventgeek has a tutorial that shows you how to repair the backlight of an LCD monitor.
"LCD Monitors have become very popular with prices coming down, and screen sizes growing. Those of us that have used LCD monitors for a while know that over time the backlight starts to dim and will eventually completely fail. Leaving you with some electronic scrap that you could sell on eBay for 35 bucks or so. Well for less than $20.00 and about a half hour of your time you can replace the backlight and rejuvenate that monitor to as good as new condition. So man the surplus scrounging wagon and head out to your local school surplus or eBay!"

If you’re looking for a cheap monitor or have an old LCD you still want to use this could help.

Die Dulci Fruere

Downloa-Of-The-Day : ZoneAlarm

Software firewall ZoneAlarm protects your Windows PC from viruses and hackers penetrating open ports on your computer.

If your computer’s connected directly to the Internet (ie, not behind a home router or office network firewall), download and install ZoneAlarm. ZoneAlarm adds a layer of protection between you and the evils of automated programs that constantly scan computers for vulnerabilities.

Especially important for Windows laptops which connect to open wireless networks, ZoneAlarm will ask you to authorize all outgoing an incoming network traffic to your computer - including all software applications that connect to the Internet. (These days, they all do.) You can permanently authorize or block programs within ZoneAlarm. The initial white/blacklist takes some time and a series of interruptions to set up (ie, “iTunes is trying to connnect to the Internet. Allow it to continue?”) but after the inital investment, it’ll stop bugging you and you’ll rest assured knowing your computer is protected.

Windows Firewall caused all sorts of strange problems for me, including preventing certain programs from starting at all. ZoneAlarm, however, is a breeze to use and manage. It’s especially satisfying to view reports of all the blocked high security hacking attempts. ZoneAlarm’s basic package is a free download, Windows only.

Update: There are a few problems with version 6.0.667 of Zone Alarm detailed in the ZoneAlarm Users’ Forum. Like most Zone Alarm users, I am continuing to use version and will only upgrade to version 6 when the problems have been fixed. I haven’t had any “sudden email problems,” but downloaders beware.

Die Dulci Fruere

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Bot-Review : iMac G5 Reviewed (Verdict: Thin)

iMac G5 is Apple’s first real foray into modern multimedia goodness and definitely a harbinger of things to come. reviews this new standalone PC and finds that its the little differences that stand out in this new incarnation of the iMac.

This, I think, is the most important part of the review:

"For $19 you can purchase Apple’s Video Adapter to output your iMac’s video to a TV. This then connects Front Row to the television, resulting in a more exciting Front Row experience (especially if you have surround sound)."

TV-out, people. Expect a FrontRow powered PVR pretty soon, lads and lassies. Mark our—and’s—words.

First Impressions: Apple’s iMac G5 []

Die Dulci Fruere

BoTip: TUX Magazine

The first issue of TUX Magazine can be downloaded online. This is an online (PDF) mag aimed at the NEW Linux user. You know you have been wanted to make the switch to linux.. Well now is the time. Subscribe to the online mag at

If you want to read the first issue, here it is in pdf format.

Die Dulci Fruere

Finding Online Webcams!

Ok, we have already discussed Google Hacking, now we are going to use the same basic steps to find networked webcams and security cameras. What is sweet is a lot of these cameras let you rotate and control zoom functions!.

A network camera is a camera which is linked to a network and/or the internet. There is no need for a PC. The cam has a mini-PC in it-self! The camera can be easily accesed with an internet browser. The camera image is usually placed in a certain web page...

Someone has already done a lot of homework and compiled a list of open cameras, you can see this list at However, lets find our own cameras! :)
Rufus at has put together a nice list of google hacks that we can use to find these cams...

Axis cameras:
  • /view/view.shtml axis 'google'
  • "adding live video to one of your own pages a very easy task with an AXIS 2100 Network Camera" 'google'
  • "Live view - / - AXIS" 'google'
  • "Your browser has JavaScript turned off.For the user interface to work effectively" 'google'
  • indexFrame.html axis 'google'
  • "Live web imaging unleashed" 'google'
My friend submitted this cool hack..
Find axis 205 webcams with dynamic dns.;lr=&c2coff=1&safe=off&start=40&sa=N open startmenu open run type cmd (command in early versions of windows)
type nslookup
type server OR server
ls -d
OR to get a outputfile ls -d >>

Canon cameras:

MOBOTIX cameras:

JVC cameras:

  • "(c)copyright 1999-2003 VICTOR COMPANY OF JAPAN, LIMITED. All rights reserved" 'google' (- finaly I got to know the
    meaning of the letters in the brand name JVC :)
  • "V.Networks [Motion Picture(Java)" 'google'
  • "Control the Pan/Tilt and move to the Preset Position" 'google'

FlexWatch cameras:

Panasonic cameras:

TOSHIBA cameras (maybe you need Java):

  • "TOSHIBA Network Camera - User Login" 'google'

Sony cameras:

webcamXP (software):

Die Dulci Fruere