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Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Office 2007 SP2 Released

The second service pack for Office 2007 has been released. Highlights include ODF document support and the usual slew of stability/performance enhancements. Get your 290MB copy either from Microsoft Update or from the official download page:

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

nVidia, OpenCL, and GPGPUs

 Nvidia Releases OpenCL Driver, SDK | Maximum PC

General-purpose graphics processing unit (GPGPU) technology has the potential to revolutionize compute-intensive tasks such as video encoding, large-scale simulations, and molecular/protein research (Folding@Home!). However, it’s been hindered by the lack of a standardized, open API to unify compatibility among various GPU manufacturers, first and foremost ATI and nVidia. It looks as if nVidia will be the first to overcome this hurdle with today’s release of their OpenCL implementation. Compare this to CUDA, nVidia’s first (but closed-source) attempt to enter the GPGPU market. Though it’s in pre-beta stage, the new toolkit just might usher in a new era of computing.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Court Finds Pirate Bay Founders Guilty, slapped with 1-Year Jail Sentence and $3.6M fine

The Pirate Bay Verdict and the Future of File Sharing - PC World


Today is a sad, sad, day for pirates and file-sharing enthusiasts alike. It’s all over the interwebs now: A Swedish court has ruled that the four founders of the popular BitTorrent tracker The Pirate Bay are guilty of “assisting in making copyright content available”.

Quite frankly, the verdict is shocking given the technical competence of the prosecution and their inability to make a solid case.

Best of luck to the TPB team as they try to combat this BS verdict and appeal, but if worst comes to worst, rest assured that file-sharing, P2P, and BitTorrent will be around for some time to come, thanks to rapidly evolving decentralized networking tech as well as the inumerable small-scale and private P2P networks and sites/trackers.

Long live the pirates!

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

A List of 900 Private Torrent Sites

900 Online Private Torrent Trackers: 2009 Edition | THE source for BitTorrent & P2P Tips, Tricks and Info. | FileShareFreak

For all you hardcore BitTorrent and file-sharing/P2P aficionados, you may find this quite exhaustive compilation of BT trackers from FileShareFreak quite interesting. If you have enough time to vet all of them, you really do have too much time on your hands.

Check out a book…with Google Book Downloader

Google Book Search and its ambitious scanning project have put many of the world’s finest literary and scientific works at our fingertips. One can download entire works if they are public domain or are no longer under copyright, but for current-market books only a preview of a certain number of pages is allowed. So…let’s say, hypothetically, that you DESPERATELY need the full text of a book, but don’t feel like making a late-night trip to the library. What then? Why, it’s Google Book Downloader to the rescue!

This handy little tool, written in C#, solves your literary woes. Simply input the Google BookID (found in the URL of the original Google Books page) and hit Check. Once that completes, click “Download All” and GBD does the rest by systematically downloading the pages in a randomized order (boy, does that make sense :) Finally, click “Save entire book as” the temporary downloaded pages are compiled into a nice, neat PDF. The GUI could use a little work, but once you figure out how to use the tool things work out nicely. PDF creation is handled by iTextSharp, the C# port of the popular iText Java library.

GBD in action:

gbd (.NET Framework 3.5 is required.)

Note that I do NOT condone any illegal or unsavory use of this software. Have a nice day.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

The Best April Fools' Jokes on the Web

Finest Internet Jokes for April Fools' Day 2009 | The Underwire from

Well's 11:05 pm, April 1st...that means that you need to go check out this nice, long
list of April Fool's jokes.

Sticking it to the TurboTax Man

Any TurboTax user needing to file forms in more than one state will quickly find that they need to pony up $39.95 per state after the first free state. Almost $40 just for a bunch of electronic forms? Puh-leez. That’s probably enough to buy ANOTHER copy of TurboTax! Considering the current state of the economy, Intuit sure doesn’t seem to be helping its customers.TurboTaxLogo275

Naturally, this led me to some tinkering with TurboTax’s innards. I gotta give them some kudos here – a registry and filesystem sweep turned up nothing on how TurboTax keeps track of what states you have and whether to charge you. Nevertheless, I came to the conclusion that this data must still be present locally as a fresh install on another computer still allowed me to download the first state for free.

After installing TurboTax on a VMWare Workstation install of Windows XP, I was able to download the first “free” state. The downloaded state forms are located in folders in C:\Program Files\Intuit\TurboTax 2008\forms\  (e.g. the Michigan forms are in a directory named mii_08). After zipping that folder up and copying it to the corresponding TurboTax folder on the real computer, TurboTax happily detected the new state forms. Voila – talk about increasing your refund by $40!