Saturday, December 29, 2007

Microsoft's New Security Vulnerability Research and Defense blog

This is good news from Microsoft ! M$ has a new blog for disclosing otherwise confidential technical information about their vulnerabilities.

From their website at
"We are excited to have this outlet to share more in-depth technical information about vulnerabilities serviced by MSRC security updates and ways you can protect your organization from security vulnerabilities. ... We expect to post every “patch Tuesday” with technical information about the vulnerabilities being fixed. During our vulnerability research, we discover a lot of interesting technical information. We’re going to share as much of that information as possible here because we believe that helping you understand vulnerabilities, workarounds, and mitigations will help you more effectively secure your organization."

Will have wait and watch what this yields !

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Ten Tips to increase the fuel efficiency of your car

Here are ten tips summarized from for increasing the fuel efficiency of your car. Some of them may be applicable only to U.S. conditions but i think it can be largely practiced by everyone.
  • Maintain your car regularly as per the schedule given by the automaker.
  • Keep Your Tires Properly Inflated.
  • Dont overload the vehicle.
  • Drive less aggressively. Avoid braking hard and accelerating in a rush. From the article "On the highway, the DOE says that every 5 mph you drive over 65 mph represents a 7-percent decrease in fuel economy."
  • Use the highest gear possible.
  • Use cruise control whenever possible.
  • Keep your car clean and waxed. It helps improve the aerodynamics of the car.
  • Dont idle.
  • On the freeways, keep the car windows up as it increases drag on the vehicle and increasing fuel consumption.
  • Avoid starting the engine from cold many times in a day. This means that try to combine your short trips into a long one. A cold engine requires more fuel to get going.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Savvy Graph

I guess everyone reading this post is somewhat familiar with and may have done some shopping on it. It not very unlikely, that you may have searched for a product that has a ton of reviews and different ratings. I always felt that there should be a simpler way to make sense of all those reviews and ratings. Guess what ! Someone was thinking along similar lines and they actually a very neat and nifty tool called savvygraph.

Quoting from a article about savvygraph "Web site SavvyGraph displays the average rating and number of reviews for each on a simple graph to give you a quick method for comparing items on Amazon. The idea is that the higher the rating and number of ratings a product has, the better it's likely to be. So products garnering a place on the top right of the graph (high rating, high number of reviews) are the best buys. You can hover over push-pins to see which products are which, and the color of the pins indicate whether or not free Super Saver Shipping is available for that product through Amazon."

Visit and see for yourself.

I liked the concept and feel its a useful enough tool to get a quick and dirty estimate about a particular product before pouring into reviews.

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A small and stupid one liner for seeing the instantaneous bandwidth

Disclaimer: May or may not work for you. Use a bash shell or make necessary changes to support any other. There may be many other ways of doing this efficiently.

Usage :
- Edit the variables int and dir as desired.
- dir = RX will calculate download speed
dir = TX wil calculate upload speed.
- Cutpaste the one liner as is on a bash shell.

int="eth1"; dir="RX"; oldbytes=0; while [ 1 ]; do bytes=`ifconfig $int | grep "$dir bytes" | awk '{print $2}' | awk 'BEGIN {FS=":"} {print $2}'`; bw=`expr $bytes - $oldbytes`; bw=`expr $bw \* 8`; bw=`expr $bw / 1024`; oldbytes=$bytes; sleep 1; echo "$bw Kb/s"; done

Use of the above : Left to the readers imagination.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

MIT students power supercomputers with bicycles

An excerpt from the article highlighting the achievement :

"The ten cyclists pedalled their bikes, set on stands, with the wheels driving dynamos to generate direct current power which was converted into the alternating current needed. The supercomputer modelled a nuclear fusion reaction."

Read the full article at

This is not the first time something of this sort is being done. For a good list of things that are being done refer to

Monday, December 10, 2007

Google Tech Talk: Vint Cerf (Co-Designer of the internet)

For those of who who are not aware, "Google Tech Talks" are videos of lectures delivered by eminent personalities encompassing a wide variety of topics. The following is a very good lecture by Vint Cerf, who, as some of you may know is credited as the co-founder of the internet. You may want to search for more at

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