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January 22, 2008

Random Thoughts

I’ve had more than my share of conflicts with Gandhian philosophy. I guess I moved on since then, pursued various other schools of thought, reflected on them and experimented upon them. Now looking back, I don’t quite seem to remember what exactly I had in mind that conflicted with Gandhi.
I guess its just a natural process where every generation tests the collective knowledge assimilated by its previous ones to take a stand, sometimes on the same and sometimes on the other. Without this, mankind’s progress maybe hindered or even haltered.
Non-violence, abstinence, non-materialistic lifestyles and selflessness go together.
I’ve heard people blame Buddhism for India being ruled by foreigners for over 1400 years in the last 2000 years of its existence. While Buddhism did put an end to Ashoka’s and Ajatashatru’s conquests, it also did spark off violence down south. The Kalabhra’s conquered the south of India patronizing Buddhism and Jainism. The return of the Cholas, Cheras , Pandyas and the Pallavas was marked by the fall of Buddhism and Jainism to reinstate Hinduism or the brahmanical cults.
Emotions and motivation play a very important role in uniting people. The freedom struggle against the British was marked by prayer meetings. Prayers – the farmer’s cry for rains and the street performer’s cry for a clear sky, however shallow and superficial it may seem to the intellectual’s eye roped people in together for a common cause. Besides, while the British had every ethical authority to curb a political gathering would’ve never been able to curb a gathering in the guise of religion. It was a religious and superstitious cause that gave rise to the sepoy mutiny of 1857. We humans and Indians in particular are probably religious and superstitious fools afterall.
I dream of a society that shall live in smaller self-sustainable communities with minimal materialistic pursuits. Every successful nation that has built a closely knit society with a strong economy is smaller than the political superpowers. The people shall collectively work in agriculture, industry and services with minimal hierarchy. Children shall be raised collectively. The aged shall contribute to society with their expertise and wisdom. Population control, conservation of energy and materials, peaceful co-existence and preservation of the environment shall form the fabric of the society. This requires a society with a high level of integrity and intellectual maturity. This shall be ensured via a holistic educational system that groom the children while they are still moldable.
I do not desire an economic boom. I would like to see prosperity and happiness. Prosperity and happiness are relative terms.
Chaos is fundamental in natural. When a system of governance degrades or collapses, chaos prevails. The best example of this would be the highest levels of drug addiction in war raged Afghanistan, countries with a regime collapse – Russia & Yugoslavia, countries with unstable political regimes in South America
I personally disown all the religions of the world. The purpose of religion is to induce and upkeep morality in a society. In an intellectual society, a logical and rational collection of philosophies may do this and in a more ignorant society, the same philosophies may need to be referred to an arbitrary reference called god.


April 05, 2007

Panda NanoScan (Anti–Malware)

Writing about web page http://www.nanoscan.com/

Panda’s free online scanner just got better. Updates after exams!

Key points:
  • Two types of scan – quick scan or total scan
  • Vista support – coming soon

February 25, 2006

Windows Defender

Writing about web page http://www.microsoft.com

Hi all,

Just to point out that Windows Antispyware is now Windows Defender, and the 2nd Beta version is available to download from Microsoft now.

I wouldn't be surprised if future versions turn out to be effective anti-virus tools, too.


January 31, 2006

Test


November 12, 2005

Visual C++ Programming

Writing about web page http://msdn.microsoft.com/vstudio/express/visualc/download/

Visual C++ 2005 Express Edition is free to download (click on the link above) until November 2006!

Unlike previous versions this one allows drag-and-drop form designing.

Note: The interface and implementation seem quite different from previous versions. If you're new to C++, have an older version available as well.


May 24, 2005

Interesting Projects in Delphi

Hi Everyone,

I was just wondering if there are any Delphi programmers at Warwick with any interesting projects. Has anyone done any Windows API stuff?

One of my projects is for controlling FPS games. It uses a low-level mouse hook to intercept mouse messages and generates keyboard events at driver level to control the game. All the inputs for the game are made by holding one of the preset 'function' keys and then using the mouse buttons.

Anyone else got any good Delphi or Windows API projects?


May 23, 2005

FIRE FOX BROWER – AN ALTERNATIVE?

Coming out soon

I am currently updating this blog. All queries should be sent to the author

Oladipupo Oshodi


May 22, 2005

Ad–Aware (Anti–Spyware)

Writing about web page http://www.lavasoft.de/ms/index.htm

What does it do?

Ad-Aware will scan your files and computer memory for spyware. If it finds any, you can then automatically remove it.

How do I get it?

Ad-Aware can be downloaded from the web page shown above. When you have downloaded the file from the website, run it to install Ad-Aware on your computer. Just follow the on-screen instructions to make the program ready to use.

How do I use it?

When you have downloaded and installed Ad-Aware, you can run it every time you want to use it by clicking on the desktop icon or via the programs list on the Windows start menu. When you run it you may be asked to download a newer version of the file that helps to find the spyware, so you should agree and follow the instructions on-screen (this process is very quick and simple).

When you have run Ad-Aware you will see the main screen. Click on the 'Scan now' button to get ready to scan your computer for spyware.

To scan for spyware:

  1. Click the 'Scan now' button, as above
  2. Select a scan mode (I suggest the 'smart system scan')
  3. For most users, I would recommend turning off the 'Search for negligible risk entries' option because it is generally not required – if the button is green, click it to turn it off (it will go red)
  4. Click 'Next' to start scanning with the options you selected
  5. When the scan has finished you will see a 'Scan Complete' screen telling you how many spyware items were found
  6. If no spyware was found you will see a green tick and you can close the program
  7. If the program says that it has found any 'critical objects' then you can remove them – see below

To remove detected spyware:

  1. Click the 'Next' button on the 'Scan Complete' screen
  2. Right-click on the list of spyware to get the right-click menu, and then click on 'Select All Objects'
  3. Click 'Next'
  4. Click 'OK' on the confirmation screen to remove the spyware
  5. You can now exit the program

To check for and install updates:

  1. You should check for updates each time you run Ad-Aware – first click the globe icon in the top-right corner of the main screen
  2. Click the 'Connect' button
  3. If an update is found, agree to install it – otherwise just click 'OK' on the screen that pops up
  4. Click 'Finish' on the update screen

Tips

  • When the spyware scan starts, you may find that your computer seems to freeze for a few seconds – don't worry, this is just because Ad-Aware is scanning your computer's memory
  • Most users should choose not to search for 'negligible risk entries' on the scan options screen – otherwise Ad-Aware will search items like your recent documents list and will just take longer
  • Don't worry if Ad-Aware finds many 'critical objects' on your computer – in most cases these are simply text files used by advertising websites
  • When you check for spyware for the first time, you may find as many as several hundred 'critical objects' – don't worry though, it is likely that most of these are harmless
  • For most users, one spyware scan every week will be sufficient
  • It's a good idea to check for updates every time you run the program

Note – the instructions above are for guidance only. The software and website referred to are subject to change without notice. Contact the software vendor for comprehensive directions.


May 20, 2005

Panda ActiveScan (Anti–Virus)

Writing about web page http://www.pandasoftware.com/products/activescan/com/activescan_principal.htm

What does it do?

Panda ActiveScan will scan the files on your computer for viruses and spyware. It can automatically remove the viruses, and will tell you about any spyware.

How do I get it?

Panda ActiveScan is a web-based scanner, which means that you use it by visiting a website. The scanner downloads files to your computer, but you need to visit the website again each time you want to use it.

You can run the scan by first visiting the web page shown above. When you get to the website click the 'Scan your PC' button.

How do I use it?

When you have accessed the website and clicked the 'Scan your PC' button a new window will open – you must keep this window open while using the scanner.

Then follow the on-screen instructions to start the download process.

To scan for viruses and spyware:

  1. Click the 'Scan your PC' button, as above
  2. Click 'Next' to accept the legal terms
  3. Type your email address* and click 'Send'
  4. Leave the window open while the scanner files are downloaded
  5. Once downloading is complete, choose what to scan for (under 'Scan options', I suggest you make sure you enable the option to disinfect automatically)
  6. Click what you want to scan to start the scanner (usually 'All my computer')

*At the end of the scan, you will be asked to choose your email program so that results can be emailed to you. The results of the scan will be displayed in the scanner window anyway. Don't worry about spam – Panda will not send you lots of junk messages although they may send a small number of promotional emails.

To remove detected viruses and spyware:

  1. Viruses will be removed by the scanner, if you remembered to choose the option to disinfect automatically
  2. Spyware will not be removed; if it is detected run a spyware removal program such as Ad-Aware
  3. When you have finished you can then close the browser window to exit the scanner

To check for and install updates:

  1. You don't need to worry about updates – the scanner will automatically use the latest version every time you visit the website

Tips

  • Unless you want a second opion, speed up the scanning by disabling the spyware detection option – you should use a spyware detection program such as Ad-Aware to stop spyware
  • To speed up the scanning, you could also disable the heuristics scanning option (which can also remove clever but harmless programs, thinking they are viruses)
  • I suggest you use Panda ActiveScan occasionally (say once every month) to be sure that your computer is secure, but you may find it is generally quicker to use a full anti-virus program installed on your computer

Note – the instructions above are for guidance only. The software and website referred to are subject to change without notice. Contact the software vendor for comprehensive directions.


October 25, 2004

My Learning Style

Writing about web page http://www2.warwick.ac.uk/cll/skills/personalacaddevelopment/learningstyles/

Aim of the Learning Styles activity
  • To enable you to understand your own approach to learning better
  • To adapt your learning strategy to be most effective during your time as a student at Warwick.
Result:
  • I had a strong preference for being an Activist
  • I had a strong preference for being a Reflector
  • I had a moderate preference for being a Theorist
  • I had a moderate preference for being a Pragmatist

My strongest preference was found to be: Reflector (71%)

This Learning Styles activity was devised by Warwick Skills

More Learning Styles Web links...

It is a good exercise and exactly describes me!!


October 18, 2004

How secure is your computer?

If your computer doesn't have these…

  • Firewall
  • Virus scanner
  • Spyware remover

…or they're not up-to-date, you need to take action! To find out more about securing your computer, look at my 'Protect Your Computer' entries. Or if you're an expert on computer security, please add comments with suggestions or improvements!

Any questions? Add a comment!


October 17, 2004

Money–related threats

Phishing is the use of hoax emails claiming to be from financial institutions to obtain peoples' bank or credit card details. A phishing email might claim to be from your bank, asking you to confirm your details. If you were to release your details in this way, your money could be stolen.

You will never be asked by a legitimate organisation to confirm your details by email. Never reply to phishing emails.

Dialers are malicious programs which can connect to premium rate phone lines without your knowledge whilst you are connected to the internet. You may only realise that you had a dialer program on your computer when you get the phone bill! Some dialers can detect when a user has been away from the computer for a while by monitoring mouse and keyboard activities, and will wait until they think they can change the connection without being noticed. Dialers are removed by anti-virus programs such as Norton Antivirus.


Backing up

Backing up your files has got to be the most important protection you can have. You should frequently copy your files onto removable media such as writable CDs and DVDs, flash drives and memory cards, or even floppy disks (unreliable but better than nothing). If your computer were to suffer from failure of hardware (for example your hard disk) or the effects of a malicious program, a recent backup of all your important files could save you hours of work!

You could have a series of say five writable media (such as CD-Rs) for backing up your most important files as you work on them. The media would be numbered 1 to 5, and each time a backup was made the next medium would be used. This system has certain advantages:

  • If you are using rewritable media, you can overwrite the oldest backups and still have several recent ones.
  • The media that you are backing up to will suffer less wear than a single medium would when used frequently.
  • Even backups can fail (for example a CD-R with a label-side scratch, or a corrupted floppy disk) but with frequent backing up with this system you would be pretty much guaranteed a working recent copy of your work.

October 16, 2004

Protecting against hackers

What are hackers?

Hackers are people who attempt to gain unauthorised access to computers and networks. Hackers gaining access to your computer could potentially edit or remove your files, or install malicious programs. However, hackers are mainly interested in corporate networks where the challenge is bigger and the rewards are greater.

How can I block hackers?

You can block hackers by using a firewall program on your computer. Firewalls can also improve the general security of your computer by preventing malicious programs from being downloaded, and not allowing websites to monitor your surfing activities.

Firewalls are typically included with internet security packages. ZoneLabs' ZoneAlarm is a powerful and highly customisable firewall. If you are using Windows XP you can use its built-in firewall. For the best internet security you should install Service Pack 2 for Windows XP, as well as regularly updating Windows. Once installed, Service Pack 2 will automatically activate Windows Firewall and improve the security of Internet Explorer. Service Pack 2 is free to download or a CD can be ordered from Microsoft. To download the service pack, go to Windows Update on Microsoft's website by clicking on the following link:

Windows Update

Before you install Service Pack 2, you should check that your computer is not running any programs which are incompatable with it. Visit Microsoft's website for a list of incompatable programs:

Incompatable programs

For more information about dealing with compatablility problems visit:

More Information

Don't forget to keep checking for security updates for Windows and all your security software.


Protecting against viruses

What are viruses?

Viruses are programs that are able to replicate themselves. Generally they spread via the internet, because in this way they can infect many computers very quickly. Virus programmers are writing new viruses all the time, and different viruses are designed to do different things. Some viruses are just annoying jokes, whilst others are capable of corrupting and removing your files.

How can I remove viruses?

You can use an anti-virus program to search for and destroy viruses. Some anti-virus programs also prevent viruses from installing, by scanning email attachments and downloaded files (which may have viruses attached) as soon as they arrive on your computer.

If you are studying at Warwick you can share the university's Symantec Norton Antivirus licence, which means you can get the anti-virus program and updates for free. To download Norton Antivirus, or to download the necessary patch if you have Service Pack 2 installed on Windows XP, click on the link below:

Symantec AntiVirus Corporate Edition/Patch for Service Pack 2

Before you install Norton Antivirus, be sure to first uninstall any other anti-virus software you might already be using.

When you have installed Norton Antivirus, you should run Live Update as soon as possible to get the latest virus information, and then scan your computer. You should then continue to run and update Norton Antivirus frequently (at least every few days).

The removal of some malware may require special tools, rather than your virus scanner. Some worm removal tools are available from Symantec:

Removal tools

If you think your virus scanner might have missed some malware, get a second opinion. There are various free online scanners – try Panda ActiveScan:

Panda ActiveScan


Protecting against spyware

What is spyware?

Spyware is a general name for spying programs that try to obtain information about you or your computer. These programs can be downloaded onto your computer without your knowledge whilst you are connected to the internet. Some spyware programs monitor your surfing activites and are used by advertising companies to try to find out what sort of products you would buy so they can target you with pop-up adverts and spam emails. Other spyware may be used to steal your passwords and bank details.

How can I remove spyware?

You can use a spyware removal program to search for and destroy spyware. Some spyware removal programs are included with internet security packages that you can buy, or alternatively you can download a free program such as Ad-Aware. This will search for and remove spyware both on your hard disk and in your computer memory:

Ad-Aware

Like anti-virus programs, spyware removal programs will need to be run and updated frequently to ensure that your computer is secure. Unlike anti-virus software, you can use more than one spyware removal program on your computer. Microsoft are developing a spyware blocking and removal program, which should be available as a free download when the final version is released. Panda's free online scanner is now able to detect (though not remove) spyware, as well as viruses:

Panda ActiveScan

Ad-Aware is known to be reliable and effective, and is probably the best option for most users at present.