New Firefox alert boxes

After the Firefox 4 beta versions came out, there were a lot of changes. The most notable being the orange button on the top.
But today I noticed that the latest version 4b08 had the alert boxes revamped.
Look at the difference.

The old alert box The new alert box
[Click to enlarge]
Cool change by the FF team. Since their change in the Javascript engine, most of the stuff has been changed and improved.
Love this browser!
Get it here.! [Fireffox 3.6] [Firefox 4 beta]

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Black Ops, a total computing disaster!

After a tiresome 7GB transfer of files, I didn’t get the satisfaction I thought I’d get with COD’s new title Black ops. Owing to several bad reasons, the gameplay sucked.!

Reason number one is my hardware! The old 9600GT is seeing its end of days as a top gun. The new titles aren’t just it’s capacity. After the Fermi releases with loads of GTX cards, the 9600 is going to be forgotten, in sands of time. Only it’s past written in the hall of fame will remain! Enough of that shit, back to the point! I owe this partly to the processor too. Its a puny 1.7G (1.6 over-clocked!) The Pentium Dual Core cant handle the heat, and the VGA has to get all the burden, with no backup. Activision recommends a E6XXX something. I’m really glad with the 15-20 FPS I get.

The second, is the game’s build itself. Activision has paired with some dorks! The game’s soul is nowhere to be found! COD is a game which you play with the NPCs, supporting them, and getting backed-up. I didn’t see it in the first levels much. And the engine! MAN! its heavy.

There are also a lot of complains about bugs and all too.

The first play session was a disaster for me. I couldn’t use the mouse to look when I moved! And the movement of the mouse was done ‘after’ I stop moving.! I thought the game was not playable at all. But after deciding I had a bad headache and was sleepy as hell, I left it for the day.

Then I did some googling today and among all the cursing of the forums I got this link, which is a good tweak-guide. I did the tweaks and lowered some settings and I could play at 1024 again. I bet the FPS is at around 18 most of the time and at about 6,7 at some. But the tweaks did work the magic and I can move like before.

When I said the soul of the game was gone, I meant it. You will see it the first time you die! No quotes! I guess Activision needs to get their bearings right the next time.

As COD used to say..”all that is needed for evil to triumph, is a few good men to do nothing!”

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To the dark side and back. A walkman's tale by Tharaka Devinda.

It's been a while since i wrote a post. A lot of things happened in the meantime. I sold my car and fell off the ceiling trying to repair a broken ADSL splitter.
But now i'm totally ok apart from the fact that i miss the car a lot. The order time for a new one takes three months!

The most happening thing to me was loosing the phone. Well, I'd call it to the darkness and back.
It happened when my father and i were coming home to Mattegoda from our new home at pubudu mawatha. We hopped into a three wheeler taxi and it had dropped inside the taxi. I figured it out the next day.
After giving up all hope I wrote the imei number and went to office the next day.
Gave the number to some of my buddies but no hope.

Then i waited a few more days and something strange showed up on my Gmail access log. An ip address that i haven't seen before.

I knew it was the phone since i didn't change the password of the account. Good old IMAP was fetching mail!

I did a whois search and got that the ip address was etisalat's allocated list for gprs. Now that i have the operator, all i had to do was to get the number out. While filing in a complain at the police station, i pulled some strings. Since our officers don't know the difference between gps and gprs, i had to do that in order to get my phone back before google releases android version 10.

But the thief in this case was dubious after me calling his number and all, he decided to hand me the phone back, despite him having used it for some time. But he told me that he was looking for the owner. I wonder how he was doing that with his sim card in my phone!

Anyway, this walkman was'nt going to loose me that time. I have to be more careful with my electronic stuff.

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Bad Company 2 – My Experience

I’ve been playing the game for about a week now and was trying to write something about it for the same amount of time. The problem was, I couldn’t get myself to write the blog in the time when I could stay awake and play! Its such a good game I had to wait till I finish it to write about it.

Bad company 2 is a COD style cold war era game. I’m not pretty sure about the timeline though.

There are many good things about this game, first being it’s lightweight. I’ve been playing 1024 all the way and the FPS only drops at about 19 where there’s an awesome amount of particles and foliage and a lot of enemies and buildings around. Whoever made this game was really conscious about the memory and processing power it needs.

There are so many cool stuff here. Take a look at this sniper shot. You have to wait till it thunders and cover the sound of the gun.

There are a lot of activities in-game. You not only have to point and shoot. You have to operate vehicles ranging from Remote controlled Arial vehicles to Tanks. I personally love the jeeps and dune buggies.

There are some intense cases as well. Take this trap for example. During this mission, we have to keep our eyes open for man-traps laid out in the open. They are so small and are hard to spot. [click to zoom]. Check out the trap wire near the crosshair.

The game’s physics engine rocks to the limit. Trees break apart and walls break down in the shootouts. And the best part is; buildings collapse when their structure is damaged beyond a certain point.! Take a look at this bombing. The ground troops mark the target and keep your eyes on the building in the incline where it falls out completely. Totally realistic!

The foliage and the surrounding is also exquisite. I guess I dont have to explain when you see the movie below!

There are some crazy-ass characters like this pilot. He dodges RPG while talking to the crew!

I’d say this is one great game I’d remember and talk about for a long time and when times come where other games make mistakes. This is one good benchmark. Good games like COD, Crysis and Bad Company are really rare!

Really annoying add-on Software

Have you ever come across add-on software put on devices by the makers that is actually a pest rather than help? Well, I’ve come across many. Most of them are in Laptops. For an example, I remember two of my friends owning two acer laptops and one of them had some software that made windows arrange on the desktop. When one of them showed-off that feature to me I made the other laptop ‘without’ that add-on do the same thing by using “Arrange windows” feature in Windows itself!

So you see, there are some software developers out there that are somewhat dumber than you’d imagine.

The reason for this post was one such software I came across today.

It was on a Western Digital external USB HDD. Madhavi and Hasitha came over today for a chat and Mad was ‘sane’ enough to bring up her new toy from Aussie, an External HDD! All she wanted was some music but I didn’t have much. So I agreed to give some movies instead. So after they went home giving me the disk, I plugged it in (with the moral fear of her bringing me an array of viruses in her USB’s) and waited for it.

It turned out bad! The damn thing had some software that made the HDD look like a CD-ROM to the PC.! I assumed this was some mechanism to keep the viruses from the disk. So I used the software to install a driver it had inside and then tried to get the internal storage to unlock. The stupid thing won’t barge!

Me being allergic to these add-ons, I called Mad and asked her what she did normally when she used the drive and got the most unexpected reply. (Getting an unexpected reply wasn’t that unexpected anyway) She never plugged the thing onto the PC before. Making me the idiot who used it for the first time!

I asked her whether I should remove this piece of rotten meat out of the drive. And as always, her reply was “if you don’t burn it down, OK with me.”

So armed with clearance, I tried to use the software to get the disk to open again. But no detection from the software


Then I checked the Storage devices whether the partitions were really available. They were visible and it was clear that none of them were mounted.

So I came to the conclusion that the driver would not mount the partitions at all and I mounted one manually. And voila! The software starts to show up the drive’s storage.! How stupid was that? It looks like any idiot could use the software as long as that idiot knows how to mount drives up!

So I installed another software on the drive that was some kind of tray icon launcher. It told me to power cycle the drive, which I did and after that, the CD-ROM thing was gone!

I realized this was a no-good piece of crap which WD software guys wrote when they were using laptops in the bathroom. So I manually deleted all the partitions and then re-created two new ones one with 300GB and the other 404GB (ironic! 404 – stands for “Not Found” :D)

The drive was not fully usable. Named the partitions “Vidi” and “Vici”. I never went anywhere. It came to me! But I saw and I conquered.!

The copying speed was good as well. But not that good compared to my USB Flash!

Hope Mad can still use it when she plugs the drive onto her laptop. :D

Metro 2033

Metro 2033 is the first FPS I got to play after HL2 EP2.

Its a bit more like Stalker. But this is better. In my viewpoint, STALKER sucked. No in-game sense of direction or any hints for help. But Metro has some sense of play. One could assume this is the way to go or this is what I need to do now.

But the game is overly dark. You have to use the flashlight a lot. They also know it. There is a flashlight charger to charge the flashlight as well. :D

I need to mention this as well; my 9600GT is an old granpa for this game. It runs at around 23~25 FPS and sometimes drops to 18. The video settings are at one level lower than the most detailed with 4XAA (lowest setting) at 1024x768 res.

Here are some screenies;

The menu.

This is a guy talking about Russia before the Nuclear weapons destroyed the world.

This game has nVidia physics support. This shattered glass will make sounds and alert the bandits if we step on it. There are traps made out of strings as well. But I’m still to see FEAR grade physics in this.

Here is another place.

The game title itself is displayed at many places. There are DVD boxes on desks of people as well. Its a bit too much sometimes.

Here’s an alien of some sort. Maybe a mutated human or something. Need to find that out by playing :D

 

Will post if there’s any other interesting stuff is there. I think most of you guys have played this and aren’t a Grandpa to Games like I am now. :D

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Sally, our doggie pal…


After looking all over for pet dogs Nadeera and I got our eyes on a female German Shephard who happened to be in a pet shop. It cost us a small fortune but both of us are happy that we got it.

We took around half a day thinking of names and Nadeera came up with this because it was called with no name for a long time and we were sick of that.

Richie is an active dog. But a bit stupid. It whines at the back door while the front is wide open and it just peed in the house not waiting 15 seconds till I open the door for it. I think with time, she will learn to do things. But for the time being, this dog hates the backyard and the front.

Whenever we put it out, she cries like hell in front of the door. :D

What to say other than…I love my dog!!!



..
PS.: She was renamed to Sally :D since Richie was a boy name!

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The fall of a Giant…

Too bad I have to write a sad story after a long pause! For the first time in nine years, my 40GB Maxtor hard disk has failed! It all began when I tested a new software called xcode which would have enabled me to write some test apps to the iPhone.

But I found out that my version of leopard was not compatible with the software. So I decided to install the long awaited snow leopard x86 hackintosh. So i made up my mind and shut the mac down. That’s when all the problems started to arise. Everything got stuck. Nothing was Force closable and nothing was responsive except the mouse pointer which gave the busy icon.

So I had no choice other than to reset the system. Then I swapped the boot priority from BIOS and booted into Win7. But it took a very long time to boot. Then I noticed that my 40G Maxtor and the DVD RW was not there in ‘My Computer’. That’s when the fun began. After playing a bit with BIOS and cable I got to know that the Maxtor was faulty.

Then I checked BIOS. It detected the disk as Maxtor ‘ARES 64K’, with something I’ve never seen before. The “ARES 64” actually Blinked in the screen. This was enough to trigger the internal debug mode of myself. I knew the disk was burnt the instance I saw that.

I downloaded a zerofill tool. But the tool was not able to detect my disk or even initialize it.

1

Look at the disk space reported by the software. LoL. I could’ve downloaded the whole internet if I had such a disk!

Windows was not able to initialize the disk either.

That was yesterday. I tried some zerofill utilities today but nothing worked. There is one solution from Maxtor and the damn thing does not run on x64! CRAP!

Then I got my hands on a Maxtor software called Powermax. It had only a floppy version and after some googling I got an ISO. Burnt it to a CDRW and booted. It detected and told me that the disk was failing and I should send the error codes and the disk to maxtor for repair. Hell.! Maxtor don’t even exist now! Its been bought by Seagate. After that, all the utility software in the downloads have been moved. Stupid Seagate.!

So I tried Zero-Filling with PowerMax. Then I struck on to the brick wall of coders’ lameness.! The software was designed to run on a floppy. When it starts to zerofill, it writes a log file to the floppy itself. The CD is ROM! Unable to write the damn log, the software gives and error and exits.!!! How bad is that!????

Now I’m going to try a more cunning approach. I’m going to get the .img of the same software to a pen, and boot. Luckily, it might work.. Will keep you posted.!

Duriyan

There are two types of people in this world. Those who crazily love Duriyan and those who utterly dislike it. As for me, I belong to the fans!

Since this is the season, my Father found one fruit and brought it home. Nadeera wanted to have a bite but milliseconds after moving a piece near her, she went into the un-believers’ side.! Now all that is left of the Duriyan fans in my family are my Father and me! Since we moved to a new home, its just me.

This sign is from Singapore where they’ve banned Duriyan in a certain area. Looks like there are a lot of haters than lovers!

Duriyan is rich in Carbohydrates, Vitamin C and Potassium! Potassium is good for me since I’m a haven for muscle cramps!

My friend Sankha has a few trees at his place and despite the notorious price it’d give him if he sold them, he brings us a few each season. (Thanks man!) This time I booked not one, but two fruits.

But my Father is away in an office trip so I have to run this show alone!

One of the two was ripe. So as soon as I got home, I started the frenzy!

This is the parted fruit. [click to enlarge images]

The second one doesn’t look ripe. But the tell tail cracks are there to indicate that it is! Wonder whether it was caused when I took it home by car!

 

No matter what, I’m having the second one tomorrow. Who knows? it might get rotten ;)

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Surf the net Ad-Free!

Some of us surf the web a lot more than we do other things. Amongst a lot of other stuff, we expect our websites to be clean and ad-free as much as possible. That is if you’re not buying stuff on EBay. Ads are good when it comes to online marketing and stuff. But when ads pop up saying you’re the 99999th winner or something, or it flashes in your face telling you to play some kind of game, it annoys you.

For those who dont use Firefox, this is another pull towards the world’s greatest browser. (This is for you opera users and Chrome junkies and you safari fans. Not for IE guys coz i’ve given up on them :S )

Ad block plus is an extension that is developed by a person named Henrik Aasted Sorensen and was improved by Wladimir Palant.

The add-on does the exact thing as it says. It blocks those ads. Even mighty Google fails to pass this app! What it does is; it examines the URL of the HTTP object and it tells firefox whether to go ahead with the GET action or not. What we can do now, is to gather up all those URLs of Ads and then filter them on the browser. Not an easy task. The internet is HUGE!

Happily, the developers have come up with a solution. Subscriptions. They have a set of rules (filters) for specific areas that we can use. As an example, I use the subscription called “Easylist USA”

So whats the big deal not seeing the ads?

One main advantage is bandwidth. Ads take a considerable amount of your bandwidth. It is you who have to download the ad. With that ad, comes a lot of kilobytes. reduce the number of ads and you reduce the amount of data you download. If you are on a pay per downloaded data plan, you gain bigtime!

Another advantage you get is the neatness of the pages. Ads aren’t always designed by the person who designs the webpage. They may take away the aesthetic value and even some functionality in a page. So if you refrain from seeing/loading the ad, you see a much more organized page.

The third is a wonder point for notebook / netbook users. Adblock actually has proven to reduce the load off the browser and preserve battery.! The less computing power used by the browser means you save on battery life.

It will reduce the load time for a website as well. See the pics below for facebook with and without ad-block in Firefox 3.6.3 with Firebug. Notice there is a time difference.  [click to enlarge images]

With Adblock Enabled (No Ads) Without Adblock Enabled.

If there were a lot of ads, this time might start to feel even though its small for this load. Imagine when you load the FB pages 50,60 times. Adblock will save you a minute.!

The following screenies are from famous sites with and without AdBlock enabled. See the difference yourself. [Click to enlarge the images]

With Adblock Without Adblock

The site ‘thepiratebay.com’ (our all time favorite torrent tracker) had banners on it’s side. It took me around a year to realize they were there. I never knew it. I got to see it only when I used to browse the site through another PC! Thats how seamless Adblock is!

There are the cons as well. For an example, you might miss on some important information in the ad. And Adblock has proven to be a killer in the internet business. Since all adsense and other ad content are blocked, users won’t click links. Which leads to site owners with less income.

So the final decision is yours.! Do you want those ads or not? :D

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Wesak Celebrations 2nd Day

After all the Dansal yesterday, as I promised, the eating continued! :D We went to the Ice Cream Dansala and then afterwards, had a walk in the housing scheme area.

Click to enlarge
The long line to the Dansala

Then we decided to walk to the Sumanarama Temple where a Pandol was being shown. But we decided that going by car would be easier. So we hopped in and drove to the place.

This is the Pandol. It shows the sixteen dreams of King Kosol; who dreamt of the forthcomings of his land and acted accordingly after consulting the Buddha!

Click to enlarge

There was another Dansala there, which we had coffee :D

Here’s a small video

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වෙසක් අසිරිය!

ඔන්න වෙසක් දවස ආවා! 2599 වෙනි බුද්ධ ජයන්තිය!

පුරුදු විදියට පන්සල් ගිහින් දන්සැල් වන්දනාව පටන් ගත්තා.

ඇත්තම කිව්වොත් ඉතිං වැඳලා, බෝධි පූජාවෙ බාගයක් ඉවර වෙනකොට මගේ එකතැන ඉන්න බැරි අමාරුව උපරිමේට ආවා! එළියේ මම ඉන්නං කියල මං එනකොට හසිතයයි මාධවීයි එතන! උන් දෙන්නා නදීරා ටත් කථා කර ගත්තෙ නැද්ද! ඉතිං කට්ටියම ඇවිදලා ඇවිදලා ආවා වතුර ටැංකිය ගාව බත් දන්සැලට. ඊට කලින් පන්සල ගාව තිබ්බ මඤ්ඤොක්කා දන්සැලෙන් හොඳට සප්පායං වෙලා කට්ටියම හිටියෙ!

පෝලිමේ ඉඳල කන්න ගත්ත! පේනවනෙ ගිලින හැටි!


මේ හසිතය විසප්පු ගෙඩි කිය කියා හොඳට අඹරනවා!



පේනවනෙ උගේ නොනත් ඌට දෙවනි නෑ. කිව්වට මොකෝ නදීරයි මායිත් කෑවා . හැබැයි අවුලකට තිබ්බෙ දන්සැලේ කස්ටිය බත් කන්න එළවලු දුන්නෙ අම්බානෙක අඩුවෙන්. බත් ටිකෙන් කොටසක් අහක ගියා ඒ වැඩේ නිසා.

 

ඊට පස්සෙ ගෙදර ආවා හෙට අයිස් ක්‍රීම් කන්න දන්සැලට එනවා කියලා!! මෙහෙමත් කෑමක් නේද?

 

මේ අපේ ගෙදර කූඩු! කීර්ති බාප්පාගේ සැකිලි ටික අපි දෙන්නගෙ ඇලවිල්ල හා තාත්තගෙ ආලෝකකරණය!

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Rain and cars

Its common practice for people who have cars to use it on rainy days. Even when you don't use it in regular days, in a rainy day its used. But these days, I ended up doing the exact opposite!

I think there are others out there thats doing the exact same thing as I am. Whenever it rains these days, it pours like hell! Which floods most of the roads and my tiny car can't handle that kind of water.

So after a certain threshold of rain, its the bus for me!

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Bullying the Chinese a bit more!

Here is a message I just got from a Chinese seller on ebay. These guys should find some free software to check what the heck they’re sending to their consumers…!!

Dear buyer: Are you got the goods? If you already got please give us a feedback. If the good dont arrived.Maybe your item delay arrive your address. don't worry it. it will arrive in 12-30 days in USA,UK,CA,AU country, other country need 15-35 days. We will refund the full money to you if you still have not got the item exceed 35 days. you can get the delivery time on our system. http://delivery.gamesalor.com.cn Best Regards

“maybe your item delay arrive your address. Don’t worry it”? Of course I’m not going to worry the item.! How can I make a cable worried? I’m worried about the damn thing not coming to my postbox!

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Cleaning up Conroe’s Mess..!

Yesterday when I tried to copy my Wedding and Homecoming DVDs to duplicate DVDs, I did some stupid thing on the second copy. I ran JetAudio when the disc was burning. Some IRC error must’ve gone up an alarm was coming from the PC.! It was a buzzer type alarm which I never heard before. Neither could I get what it was nor was the burner spinning the disc. So I assumed the worst, and ejected the DVD, sacrificing the DVD for the ROM!

I use the free software called CD Burner XP (yeah on Win7!!) to burn CDs coz I’ve had it with Nero! So, the application itself was stuck! So I restarted. The alarm didn’t go away! I shut the PC, then removed the case and rebooted again. In the process, I looked at BIOS settings and PC health counters for any abnormal activities. Then I saw something else.!!!

I ran CoreTemp to check the temperatures, thinking it was a high temp alarm. It wasn’t. But, the values were at 50 something Celsius!!! That is unheard of in my PC. It was 50C when I ran some benchmark Anusha gave me and I stopped it there. Now the PC was running at that temperature!!!

That is when I looked at the CPU! Man! It was a mess. All the dust from the external fan with light was on the cooler. That must be a reason. All that dust must be doing something. So I decided to clean the mess up.

First thing in the morning, removed the case and tried to remove the fan. After some tries, I managed to get it removed. In the process, I managed to loosen one of the CPU heatsink bases. It came off. I was scared that I had to run all round looking for arctic silver if the compound was damaged. Hopefully no.!

These are the pictures of the fan and the heatsink before I cleaned them

So I took the vacuum cleaner and then started sucking everything up. Careful not to suck the resisters in, I did the best I could. Then I noticed something else.

The VGA’s fan was blocked by the old POTS modem in front of it. So the air coming into the fan was
1. Partially moved away because of the blockade.
2. Was already hot from the modem’s own heat.

That’s bad. Since I no longer use the modem, I removed the card and then taped up the opening in the back.

After the clean-up operation, the heatsink and looked like this;

And the temperatures? Look at these values; (click to enlarge)

Now the Idle goes at around 35C. Phew!! That’s a relief!

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