The Media Guru

Dec 31, 2007

Top 5 events of 2007

1. Oil reaches $100 a barrel.
2. Pakistan falls apart - martial law is imposed & assassination of Benazir Bhutto.
3. Burmese people rebel against the Junta.
4. Nicolas Sarkozy is elected French President.
5. Al Gore & the IPCC win the Nobel Peace Prize & the framework has been laid for a new global warming agreement after Kyoto.

Top 5 less important events

1. Harry Potter & the Deathly Hallows is released.
2. Windows Vista is launched.
3. Apple iPhone makes its debut.
4. Alan Johnston is kidnapped in Gaza.
5. Airbus A380 makes its maiden passenger flight.

Top 5 sporting events

1. South Africa beat England in the Rugby World Cup Final 2007 at Stade de France.
2. Kimi Raikkonen wins the Formula F1 championship, just one point ahead of Lewis Hamilton.
3. England are out of Euro 2008 finals.
4. AC Milan beat Liverpool in the UEFA Champions League Finals.
5. Man Utd win the English Premier League 2006-2007.

Top 5 movies (Hollywood)
1. Transformers
2. Ratatouille
3. 28 Weeks Later
4. The Golden Compass
5. The Bourne Ultimatum or I Am Legend (tied)

Top 5 movies (Bollywood)
1. Bhool Bhulaiyaa
2. Heyy Babyy
3. Dhol
4. Jab We Met
5. Taare Zameen Par

Top 5 songs
1. What I’ve Done - Linkin Park
2. Shadow of the Day - Linkin Park
3. Beautiful Girls - Sean Kingston
4. 1973 - James Blunt
5. What I Want - Bob Sinclar presenting Fireball

Top 5 songs (Bollywood)
1. Bhool Bhulaiyaa (Remix) - Bhool Bhulaiyaa
2. Tum Se Hi - Jab We Met
3. Labon Ko - Bhool Bhulaiyaa
4. Saathiya - Darling
5. Beete Lamhein & Mausam - The Train (tied)

Top 5 gadgets
1. iPhone
2. Nokia N95 8GB
3. Dell Latitude XT Tablet
4. Wii
5. Microsoft Surface

Top 5 cars
1. Audi R8
2. Lamborghini Reventón
3. Nissan GT-R Proto
4. Ferrari 599 GTB Fiorano
5. BMW E92 M3

Top 5 games
1. Halo 3
2. Need for Speed - ProStreet
3. Call of Duty 4
4. Crysis
5. God of War II or Gears of War (tied)

2007 wasn’t a great year… for studies.

After an almost 10-month holiday, I joined the University of Mauritius. But before that there were the HSC results, in which I scrapped only a single B. Nevertheless, it was enough for me to grab a scholarship at UOM & enrol into the Mechatronics course. Everyone said it was the toughest course at UOM… & now I know why…

2007 - Year of blogging!
I started blogging not on dial-up… but on GPRS! Yes, just at the beginning of February, Cell+ GPRS was made free! & I managed to make it work on PC! It wasn’t the best of all connections - the 64kbps was highly unreliable & I had to permanently charge my mobile – but for someone who has used 12h of dial-up all his life, it was incredible!
Just like everyone else, I discovered the greatest online money-making machine - Google AdSense. I decided to setup a supposedly niche entertainmentech blog & try to get a few clicks. It wasn’t good enough - only 2-3 clicks per week (i.e. I used to click on my own ads).
But then Cell+ updated their network & GPRS was no longer free! I couldn’t keep up running my blog on dial-up… It was time to move on… to broadband!
Two weeks later I got my 128k unlimited connection… But it was the broadband that really revived my blogging! I started taking blogging seriously & it was then that I discovered the real pleasure behind blogging…
With 150 posts (this is the 151st), 249 comments & 39000 visitors, in over 7 months of existence… that’s not too bad. I also had Pagerank 3 but Google removed it after I signed up with PayPerPost.

2007 - Year of broadband!

That’s the best thing that has happened in 2007 for me - I got a broadband unlimited connection! Although 128kbps is actually the minimum broadband speed in the world, it’s the best I could afford (although it’s still a bit tough on the income, with a Rs. 1000+ telephone bill). Actually it was a battle between My.T or Wanadoo ADSL? My.T was 256kbps at the same price but the speed wasn’t constant - so I opted for a connection that is much more reliable.
A 700MB DVD-RIP movie takes 15 hours to download… it’s not that fast, but I’m happy with what I have. (However powering up my PC for 18 hours a day does have its toll on the electricity bill…)
& it was also the year when I managed to use a 512kbps connection… at UOM. Top speed 70KB/s.

2007 - Harry Potter & the iPhone

2007 was supposed to be the year where book seven, the Deathly Hallows would bring to an end the epic Harry Potter series. The book was OK, it wasn’t the baffling ending everyone expected… but the entire spotlight was stolen by Apple’s iPhone. Love it or hate it, the iPhone is the product of the year. & I also think it’s the flop of the year. If Americans weren’t so Apple-crazy, I bet the iPhone would have been just another product…

2007 - Windows Vista?

If there was anything that was second to the iPhone this year, in terms of hype, it would have been Windows Vista. There goes another flop product… Microsoft focused more on eye-candy, & less on system compatibility, system stability & usage. The result - a Windows that can only be installed when SP2 is released!

2007 - Year of inflation!
No, I’m not talking about Zimbabwe’s 10000% inflation, but of inflation in Mauritius. Oil prices have reached record highs, meaning every other commodity has increased - bread, transport, gas, etc. There have been shortages (or “pénuries”) of essential things like milk, processed seeds, iron bars (essential for the booming construction industry). Although everywhere around the world, prices are following the same trend, but Mauritians have been the hardest hit. With the ongoing drought, vegetable prices will definitely increase next year & there is an incoming flour shortage & price hike.
Everything is getting expensive & we’re getting poorer…

2007 - Year of Global Warming

With the awarding of the Nobel Prize to Al Gore & the IPCC, the global warming cause has been given a huge boost this year. Yes, everyone is now aware of how an inconvenient truth global warming is… but are we really doing anything to tackle it? Just as the Bali conference clearly showed, we are just laying a timeframe to reduce this & that… but no carbon emissions reduction has actually been implemented? & btw all those extreme climatic conditions like hurricane Dean, tropical cyclone Sidr & floods in Europe have not been caused by Global Warming… as we all know, they are just natural disasters.

MMVII - the year of violence

If there’s one thing that is in “vogue” this year, it’s not the iPhone, but suicide bombing. More than any other year, 2007 has been among one of the bloodiest of all. Suicide bombings, booby-trapped cars, massacres & shootings. The Virginia Tech massacre was well publicised but let’s not forget the one that happened in Finland as well. African countries are still in war, the situation in Iraq & Afghanistan has deteriorated, riots everywhere, uprisings & political crackdown, assassination, bombings in major cities… either way violence has increased & the security situation has worsen everywhere in the world.
For Mauritius, it’s NO COMMENTS.

All ends of the years seem to repeat themselves. In 2004, there was the Indian Ocean tsunami. In 2005, riots in Australia & the Chad-Sudan war. In 2006, 11 bombs detonated in Bangkok. & this year, Benazir Bhutto was assassinated by a suicide-bomber….
A perfect end of year without any deaths? Dream on…

What to expect of 2008?
Apart from more violence, I’ll prefer focusing on the more positive things… 2008 will be the International Year of Planet Earth, but I don’t predict any important step will be taken towards combating Global Warming.

There will be the Euro 2008 & Beijing 2008 Olympics - I’m sure the number ‘8’ will be very lucky to the Chinese.
2008 will also be the year of Russian & US Presidential Elections… In Russia I expect a one-man-show… but in the US, I hope history will be made - either the first black president or a woman president! Either way, they’ll definitely be more environmentally-conscious that the current president…

2007 is over. Let’s now welcome 2008!

Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance you must keep moving.
- Albert Einstein

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Dec 29, 2007

Nero 8 or Nero 8 Essentials or Nero 8 Ultra Edition Enhanced or Nero 8 Premium Reloaded… is the latest version of the most popular burning software for Windows.

Took 2 restarts to install Nero… since it had to remove Nero 7 first before proceeding any further!

& as with any other software, Nero still “forces” you to install search toolbars - so don’t just click “Next” blindly!

Nero 8 compiles all the improvements from previous editions of Nero 7 such as Blu-ray support, HD-DVD support & Windows Vista support, but all in a new look.

The overall layout hasn’t changed but most icons have been “vistarized.”

Burning hasn’t changed a bit since Nero 7, but thankfully it didn’t corrupt my DVD - that’s why I moved to Nero 8 since the last DVD I burnt with Nero 7 got corrupted!

Another “major” improvement is the addition of a Nero intro animated ring when starting up the applications.

Wave Editor hasn’t changed except for the colour of the wave… (from blue to grey).

Don’t forget to turn off Nero Scout… & by mistake don’t even open up Nero StartSmart… it’ll bring up the Nero Media Indexer that will take up 100% CPU.

Time to look for a new burning software… :P

More Info:
Nero AG official website

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Dec 28, 2007

Behind this rather obscure name hides one of the most powerful graphics editing software…

I’ve been using Jasc Paint Shop Pro 9 since quite a long time… actually since 2004 when the software was first released… I’ve always been attached with Jasc PSP ever since I first used it on my Windows 98 PC. At that time it was really convenient for me, for minor graphics editing… i.e. cropping, rotating, etc.

In 2004, Corel purchased Jasc Software & rebranded the suite into Corel PSP. The latest version of PSP is the PSP Photo X2, where X2 stands for version 12.00 (XII).

One of the reasons why I decided to move to a newer version of PSP was that lately PSP was taking a bit too much memory & CPU usage for doing simple jobs… and it was quite tedious to do repetitive work if you have to configure the options now & then.

PSP X2 was quick to install & surprisingly when I ran it, it took ONLY 15 MB of memory!!! That’s incredible for graphics editing software – the application takes less memory, meaning more memory for the image!

Second surprise… all my settings & scripts from Jasc PSP 9 has been added to PSP X2! No need to configure ANYTHING then! There are many improvements, mainly in the UI… new icons & a new theme – graphite. Although “graphite” may not be the best theme for image editing on a cloudy day… but it’s better than the default “white-grey” background.

When you save an image, there’s no need to scroll up twice to get jpeg… it’s available as one of the default file formats. This is one of the strengths of PSP… most of the settings are on "last used." & it's a weakness as well if you need to crop… it just shows up the last used frame, meaning you need to clear it before “drawing” a new crop frame. & the copy-paste function has impressed me the most… no need to right-click anywhere – just Ctrl+C & Ctrl+V – the image will be pasted as a new layer! In short, PSP seems perfect for repetitive work…

Is it better that Photoshop? Yes… & no!
Both have their strengths – Photoshop (CS3 Extended Edition) is for the advanced user, you’ll have to configure settings everywhere, there is a large array of commands that are hard to find, it’s anti-user-friendly & you easily get lost.
Meanwhile anyone can use PSP, commands are easy enough to understand & the application is “light” on your system. Price is not a factor, although if it was… PSP would have been the winner… since it’s sold at 1/6 the price of Photoshop!
The verdict: use Paint Shop Pro for light to moderate image editing & Photoshop for advanced image editing & making…

More info:
Official site

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Dec 27, 2007

Top Gear Season 10 is finally over… & if you missed some of the episodes, here’s the chance to catch up…

Episode 1
Jeremy reviews VW Golf GTI W12 concept & concludes that “if you want a slow car that looks like a Golf… get a Golf.”
Then Jeremy takes a Lamborghini Gallardo Superleggera, Hammond a Porsche 911 GT3 RS & James a (stripped-down) Aston Martin V8 Vantage N24… to find the best driving road in the world (in Europe).

Some say that his scrotum has its own small gravity field… and that because our producer rigged a phone vote, he now has a new name. All we know is… he’s called Cuddles.
Episode 2
Jeremy Clarkson reviews the Audi R8 supercar & then races against Hammond’s Porsche 911 Carrera S in a drag race.
The three presenters decide to make their own amphibious vehicles to attempt to cross the Channel… Jeremy adds an outboard motor & two oildrums to his Nissank pickup & Hammond adds a hull to a VW Vanagon Dampervan while May decides to use Triumph Herald sailboat (from the previous amphibious episode) with a collapsible mast.
Ambitious, but rubbish!

Some say that he’s banned from the town of Chichester… and that in a recent late-night deal, he bought a slightly dented white Fiat Uno from the Duke of Edinburgh. All we know is… he’s called The Stig.
Episode 3
James May reviews the Rolls-Royce Phantom Drophead Coupé… & Jeremy shows off the Lamborghini Reventón.
He also reviews the Ferrari 599 & then drives the Peel P50 into a meeting at the BBC HQ…
Finally… Richard Hammond races a Bugatti Veyron against a Eurofighter Typhoon…(more here)

Some say that he gets terrible eczema on his helmet… and that if he'd been the video ref in the world cup rugby final he would have seen that… of course it was a try you blind Australian halfwit. All we know is… he’s called The Stig.
Episode 4
In this special episode, the 3 presenters have to cross Botswana in a used car that costs up to £1500… Challenges include crossing a salt pan, a delta infested with wild animals and a river… & there’s also a time trial with The Stig’s African cousin…

Some say he's seen the Lion King one thousand, seven hundred and eighty times… and that his second best friend is a Cape Buffalo. All we know is… he's not the Stig, but he is the Stig's African cousin!
Episode 5
Hammond takes on his Aston Martin V8 Vantage… against a man on roller-skates-with-a-turbo-powered-rocket-backpack in a drag race. Jeremy then tests the Caparo T1… with all the emergency services on alert! The 3 presenters & The Stig try to determine what is the fastest way to cross London at peak-time. Jeremy drives a powerboat on the Thames, James takes a Mercedes GL 500, Hammond his bicycle and The Stig uses a very big car (a bus) & the Underground.

Some that to unlock him you have to run your finger down his face… and that if he was getting divorced from Paul McCarthy, he would keep his stupid, whining mouth shut. All we know is… he’s called The Stig.
Episode 6
Jeremy Clarkson reviews the 3rd Generation Honda Civic Type R, the BMW M5 Touring & the AMG Mercedes E-Class… James instead reviews the Alfa Romeo 159 & races against a man (swimming through muddy swamps) to cross a river…
Hammond tries out a new form of racing called motorhome racing…

Some say that he thought Star Wars was a documentary… and that he recently pulled out of I'm A Celebrity because he is frightened of trees... and Australia... and Koo Stark... and Ant... and Dec. All we know is… he's called The Stig.
Episode 7
Jeremy reviews the Aston Martin DBS & compares it to the DB9… Then to celebrate the 40th Anniversary of British Leyland, the 3 presenters decide to find out the best car Leyland ever made... with a £1200 car challenge. Jeremy takes a Rover SD1, May an Austin Princess & Hammond a Triumph Dolomite Sprint. They’ll have to complete 4 challenges to test the cars’ performance, handbrakes, ride comfort & build quality…

Some say that he knows two facts about ducks and both of them are wrong… and that 61 years ago, he accidentally introduced Her Majesty the Queen to a Greek racialist. All we know is… I'm going to the Tower to have my head cut off… er… and he is called The Stig.

Episode 8
Jeremy reviews the Vauxhall VXR8… & tries out a new driver-less BMW around the track!
James May & Jeremy Clarkson embark on an epic journey to find the first car that introduced the control that modern cars use today… Meanwhile Hammond finds himself going too slow in the Renault R25 F1… Lewis Hamilton is the Star in a Reasonably Priced car.

Some say that when he slows down, brake lights come on in his buttocks… and that if he’d been the Manager of the England Football squad, he wouldn’t have been a feckless, ginger, gum-chewing buffoon who ruined it for all of us. All we know is… he’s called The Stig.
Episode 9
Jeremy compares the Daihatsu Materia against the Ascari A10… which incidentally becomes the fastest car on the Power Lap board with a time of 1:17.3. James May then races the Fiat Nuova 500 against youths on BMX bikes…
But the main challenge in episode 9 consists of Top Gear Team taking part in the Britcar 24h race to burn the “petrol” they made last season with rape seed, in a modified BMW 330d. Due to the lack of sponsors, they decide to make up their own brands… and they find out that they will be competing alongside actual 200mph supercars. But nevertheless they have an ace up their sleeves…

Some say that he once lost a canoe on a beach in the north east… and that he once did some time in a prison in Canterbury because his teddy is called the baby Jesus. All we know is… he's called The Stig.
Episode 10
James May reviews the Jaguar XF. The 3 presenters then go to Spain to find the best sedan out of the BMW M3, the Audi RS4 & the Mercedes C63 AMG.
Richard Hammond then races a Radio Controlled toy car against a G-Wiz radio controlled by The Stig!

2007 Top Gear Awards:
- Lifetime Achievement Award - Traffic "Wombles" (officers) from the the Highways Agency for blocking motorways after minor accidents
- Ugliest Car - MINI Clubman
- Worst Car - G-Wiz
- Worst Dressed Presenter on Top Gear - Jeremy Clarkson's drysuit on the British Leyland cars film
- Best Noise - Richard Hammond when 'Oliver' sank.
- Best Driver - Simon Cowell
- Car of The Year 2007 - Subaru Legacy Outback or the Ford Mondeo (they couldn't decide)

Some say, as we speak, he is actually relaxing in the resort’s pool, and that he is… actually, yes he is.
Every time I watch a Top Gear episode, I convince myself that this is the best thing they’ve done but eventually they surpass themselves in the following episode… how hard can it be?

Get the download links for Top Gear Season 10 here (txt file).

[via Wiki]

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Dec 24, 2007

EXCLUSIVE spy-shot of Santa Claus practising before tonight’s long mission! Unlike most other Santas, our Mauritian Father Christmas cannot use reindeers because there’s no snow or chimneys here… so he has to resort to local means of transport…

& btw I couldn’t reach Santa Claus at all on his landline since it was clogged up… all I could do was send an sms & an email… I hope he received them & I will receive my gifts tonight… :P

Merry Christmas to everyone! & I hope Father Christmas will fulfil all your wishes!(& you get loads of gifts!)

PS: I forgot where I got that pic, so I can’t link back… :P

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Dec 23, 2007

Nokia PC Phone is an experimental service that gives you a possibility to use your mobile phone with your Web Browser.

You can call, text and manage contacts from your phone.

You can communicate by using Nokia PC Phone with your friends and family even though they don't have the Nokia PC Phone themselves. Your friends are not able to tell the difference whether you are using the Nokia PC Phone or not, because your calls and text messages are actually made from your own Nokia phone.
This is the exact description from the Nokia PC Phone website… So, understood anything? No… nor me either.

So I decided to check out what was behind Nokia Beta Labs’ latest creation…

This is Nokia PC Phone installer. Ok, first thing I’ve noticed is that the software really deserves its Beta status… since the Finnish-to-English translation seems to have been done by Google Translate Beta… (for the PC Phone website as well…)

PC Phone supports both Firefox & IE7, the world’s worst browsers!

Let’s get connected! I prefer using my USB cable rather than my Bluetooth, since it’s less complicated.

Set up complete. Phone connected… let’s move on.

PC Phone wouldn’t work on my first try. I had to kill & restart those processes before it would properly recognise my phone. I was afraid that it would only recognise Symbian 3rd Edition phones only… but it seems to work with all S60 phones.

This is Nokia PC Phone Beta running on Firefox In the message tab, I can write messages on my PC, select my contact & then send it via my phone…

Let’s try it! It automatically uploads all my contacts & allows me to select what phone number I want to send to…(unlike what is displayed, I’m not calling anyone!)

Message sent! It works! The message was stored in the outbox.

I tried calling home, but it doesn’t work at all. Maybe it was something to do with network configuration.

Nokia PC Phone also allows me to manage my contacts!

So, what is Nokia PC Phone? My first thought was that it was a kind of Nokia File Browser that works on Firefox as an add-on, not requiring you to install any drivers or the Nokia PC Suite. But unfortunately, it’s just an offline-installable-web-2.0-app that allows you to send messages, make calls & manage your contacts from within your PC, by using your phone. I seriously don’t see any use of initiating a call from your PC… if you need to use your phone to talk? Or maybe it uses your PC microphone to make that call (thus explaining why it wouldn’t work?).
The only good thing is the message application that makes you forget your keypad for a while… I hope Nokia will add much more features to the final version… how about a webcam or the file browser!

Download here only if you are bored to death…

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