Groups, Places and Collectives for Makers in Seattle Area

We went to Mini Makers Faire in Seattle today and one of most surprising thing I learned was how abundant are the local resources for hackers and makers! Reminded me of geek fairy tales of Homebrew Computer Club that you often hear. Here are some of the things you want to check out if you are interested in making stuff and live in Seattle area: Metrix Create: Space – I think this was the coolest thing I came to know about.

Tomato Firmware for Router and Comcast Cable Modem

Just a note… if you have Tomato installed as firmware in the router and Comcast cable internet then try followings: Disconnect cable modem and router and wait until their lights go off. For Comcast modem it takes fair bit of time because of internal battery. If Internet connection is still lost then connect your computer directly to cable modem. If this doesn’t work then you need to call Comcast at 1-800-COMCAST.

Phun With Physics Simulations

This addictive program can easily keep you busy for rest of the weekend so be careful :). Phun is a physics simulator that even kids can use and its absolutely a delight. I watched the video and had to immediately download to give it a try. At first the interface might seem not as easy but after reading tutorial in main page and forums, you might be able to accomplish everything shown in video in less than 15 min of learning curve!

Google Indexing Leg

This is different for different websites but it took Google 24 days to index my last blog entry!

Chinese As a Second Languge

Dumping popular French and Spanish and taking Chinese [2 minute video - IE only] in schools is such a cool idea. [via A VC]

Really Slick Screensavers

These are some of the best screensavers I’ve seen anywhere. Check out especially skyrocket which is extremely cool simulation of fireworks with randomly moving camera in 3D space and also Helios. Too bad I can’t use them because I’ve donated my free computer time to World Community Grid to compute protein folding :(.

Go Left Handed For Mouse

Recently I observed how unequally I use my right and left hands. It’s not because I don’t type with my both hands but it’s because I use only the right hand in maneuvering and clicking the mouse. Considering the number of clicks I make per day, this huge lack of load-balancing is terrible! So I switched the mouse on left hand and it’s been great (reminds me the first time I hold the mouse) except that my mouse is curved so it’s comfortable only on right hand.

A New NewsGator Online Convert

Any software that isn’t open source AND also isn’t evolving fast enough to keep up with their customers should be seen with the sign “Stay Away”. These things gets in to your computer in the name of easing up your tasks and it indeed appears so for a while until you just run of out its capacity and start spending most of the time in just managing it or dealing with information overload.

Google Cheatsheet And Clusty

I thought I know everything there is to know about Google searching, until… I found there is an operator to search for synonyms and two words separated by a word and so on. Check out the Google Cheetsheet! It appears that I’m often switching to Clusty for “hard to find” things - usually when Googles first page of results is just irrelevant. I think clustering is inevitable technology for search engines and really hope Google speeds up their effort for implementation.

DVD-Audio Format

In my recent quest to find new music, I bumped in to brand new DVD-A format on which many new demanding music albums are being delivered. It appears that this is definitely the next generation of music quality but there is very little or no information on many of its aspects. Here I’ll try to summarize what I found so far: This format is capable of delivering very high quality multi-channel surround sound on your home theater system.

Continual Survival Of SharpReader

I use SharpReader to read my news (opml zip). This is a small free app that has amazingly survived like an unevolving little insect in an environment where new species with more beef keeps coming. But this thing is still not extinct. I run around to look for an option with more features and end up at using SharpReader again and again. I’m though more interested that it dies away for one reason - the author isn’t publishing source code and at the same time he doesn’t have time to improve it by himself.

I Replaced My Task Manager, Have You?

This Task Manager for Windows rocks. Besides doing everything that you ever wanted from a thing called Task Manager (even showing open files for every process), it has one of the sweetest option that your application should provide: Replace Windows native [equivalent thing]! I just keep wishing if there had been free and with-source Calculators and Explorers and everything else Windows that I can just replace with a click like this and move on rather then waiting for a decade on Microsoft to improve their age old featureless apps.

NotepadX Preview Is Out!

This is the thing I needed since like 3 years now and I started writing it by myself early 2003. But I knew something like this should have been already out there and I was probably wasting mytime in doing it all over again. So I decided to write several reusable application components rather then app itself and then build the app as a “demo” of components. I used NotepadX for about an year as a solo user while evolving and writing more code to make it better.

IE Most Wanted Tools

I just came across these Internet Explorer “power tools” which I’d wanted since soooo long. These little things called booklets are actually just shortcuts pointing to JavaScript which you can install by just drag and drop on your Links bar in IE (check View > Toolbars menu if you don’t see Links bar). If you want to save time from having browse through each of these things, you can also download my selection and extract them in to your Documents and Settings$$!

Cool Pocket PC Stuff

If you got this thingy and don’t know what to do with it besides storing phone numbers and birthdays, well, here’s some “secrets” I came across after my first night with it 🙂 Sexual Positions 1.0 - Of course, this has to be the first to grab :). No freaky stuff in this one and it’s legally free. Pocket Bartender - It’s so convenient to handover your Pocket PC to bartender and ask her to make that drink that no one else has ever heard of!

New Google Toolbar

New version of Google Toolbar is released and it’s even more cooler. It now has Popup blocker plus blogging support. I just blogged this straight from the toolbar!

Yahoo! Launch Getting Better

My favorite online music service Rhapsody is not working for me these days. They removed entire Linkin Park collection, few albums from Kid Rock and God knows what more. So I’m back to my old favorite Yahoo! Launch. They have gotten better with more selection, many more videos and more features. The best thing is, ofcourse, you can tell it what you liked and it will select more your kinda music rather then purely random songs.

Virtual Worlds With POV-Ray

POV-Ray is the 3D graphic software which allows you to create 3D world with lightings, reflections, shadows, color gradients, materials, textures and so on. I’d read about it about 5 years ago and almost ignored it - until just few days back I decided to gave it a whirl one more time (I think it was a sudden urge to create some 3D graphics). Just after a quick simple installation and spending 15 minutes on beginner’s tutorial, I was totally in to it.

The Better Giving

A year ago it took me around 6 months before I felt it was the perfect gift to give it to my cousins. But the trouble was that by the time they received it they got confused whether it was for last year’s occasion or coming year’s! It’s an art to find a gift that’s unique, hard to find, memorable and the one matching with person’s personality and need. Here are some of those tips and places that I came across over time to help you out this holiday season.

How To Get To Sleep Faster

Not submitting ourselves to sleep is a problem for many of us. Here’s few of the ideas that I found works getting little closer to your dreams 🙂 The thing that almost always worked for me is to read real complex book filled with poorly proven math equations and undecipherable physics text (or some translated ones). It quickly drains out all extra energies and puts you in nice sleep (no pun intended)!