Tech Xpress

Personal Data Stolen? What Precautions can you take?

According to computer security firm Symantec, some Monster.com users have started receiving fraudulent phishing emails after it was reported last week that attackers stole personal data of users from the popular job website. The attack caused usernames, email & home addresses, phone numbers of several Monster users to be uploaded to a remote machine.

What can the attackers do if my data is with them?
A lot of things; email spam being the most common. However, it is phishing which can cause a lot more pain than spam.
So beware if you receive genuine looking emails even if it includes your personal information, for you could be a possible phishing target.
This brings us to the topic of 'Phishing'. What is it? How can one stay safe online? How phishers steal bank account passwords from unsuspecting users?

Check out a detailed post I had written a few months ago that explains Phishing and how to protect your bank account from being phished. Just thought this was the right time to revisit that post.

Hope this helps. Have a Happy and Safe browsing experience!

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posted by Vijeesh Ravindran, Wednesday, August 22, 2007
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Sketch and watch a replay of it!

My previous post covered a nice little website which let's anyone convert images to sketches. Today, we'll take the sketching thing a little ahead with another site called Sketchfu.

Sketchfu, which is a 'draw and share' kinda site, would make a great resource for beginners who wanna develop their e-drawing skills. What makes it good for starters is the replay feature for the sketches. Just select any of the drawings and hit the replay button to watch a video of its making, right from scratch! Plus, you can also control the speed of replay to adjust to your needs.

A nice site to visit if you are interested or got lots of time to kill! Yeah! There's more than 50,000 drawings available at Sketchfu. Do you know about any other similar sites?

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posted by Vijeesh Ravindran, Tuesday, August 21, 2007
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Make Pencil Sketches of Digital Photos in one step

I'm not really a talented sketch artist(I don't know how to do it) but I always enjoyed watching professionals make sketches during tennis and football matches they showed on TV. Hey! I can still make nice sketches though; Not with pencils, but with one or two mouse clicks! And they look as good as professional sketches.

Here's a nice little site that has really interested me. Dumpr.net provides several features to tweak pictures; one of them was Instant Sketch, which can be used to create sketches from pictures.




All one has to do is upload a picture. Once uploaded, Instant Sketch will generate a sketched image of the original picture which you can download or mail it to friends.
You can either upload images from your computer or provide the links of images on the web.

One good use is for people who wish to remain anonymous on the Internet. Pictures can be and are easily misused on the Web. So if you are uncomfortable with sharing your pictures in forums and other social networking sites, just get a sketched image of your photos and show them off.
Link: Instant Sketch

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posted by Vijeesh Ravindran, Saturday, August 18, 2007
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Nokia warns of overheating batteries; Offers free replacement

Its all over in the news! And it should be with Nokia being such a dominant player. Nokia's warning about overheating of batteries applies to 46 million BL-5C battery pieces made by Matsushita of Japan between December 2005 and November 2006.

The overheating does not cause the battery to burst; it only gets dislodged. Close to 100 overheating incidents have been reported, but more importantly, with not serious injuries or damages. Also, these incidents have only occurred when charging the battery.

How do I know my Nokia phone is vulnerable?
Nokia have set up an advisory page on their website. Head over and follow the instructions listed there to check if your battery is vulnerable. If you are, immediately contact Nokia for a free battery replacement.

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posted by Vijeesh Ravindran, Tuesday, August 14, 2007
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Create a nice Wallpaper with MS Paint

Got this stuff from a forum. Everyone who has used Windows will be aware of MS Paint. Here's a trick to create a nice and simple wallpaper with Paint.

1. Open MS Paint by going to Start >> All Programs >> Accessories >> MS Paint.

2. In Paint, go to Image >> Attributes. The 'Attributes' window opens. Alternatively, you can also press Ctrl + E to open the Attributes window.

3. Set the Width and Height as 2 and 2. Make sure Pixels is selected in the Units section. Click Ok. (See image below; those who can't see it click here)


4. Go to View >> Zoom >> Custom and set it to 800%. Click Ok.

5. Your Paint window will show a small white box. Use the Pencil tool in Paint and fill the box in the following way:
a) Black colour in the bottom-left.
b.) Dark Gray in the bottom-right.
c.) Light Gray in the top-left.
Save the file.

6. Now set this file as your desktop wallpaper. Right-click on your desktop and click properties. Go to the Desktop tab and select the file. Remember to stretch it while setting it as your wallpaper. (See image below; those who can't see it click here)


Note: I have only tested this on a 800 x 600 screen.

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posted by Vijeesh Ravindran, Sunday, August 12, 2007
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Quickly Zoom In/Zoom Out in Word, Excel, Internet Explorer, Firefox..

Seems like a standard shortcut for zooming in or out in applications; at least in quite a few important applications like MS Word, MS Excel, MS PowerPoint, Internet Explorer & Firefox.

How to use the shortcut?
Hold down the Ctrl key of the keyboard and use the scroll wheel of your mouse. Scroll down or up to zoom in or zoom out. It's that easy!
Quite handy if you hate clicking the mouse to zoom in or out.

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posted by Vijeesh Ravindran, Monday, August 06, 2007
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Off topic - Man escapes after slipping between train and platform(pics)

Got this stuff by mail. The man slipped in the gap between a Mumbai local train and the platform. And how did he came out unhurt? Well, he remained calm and did the right thing i.e. not to move! The train passed and he came back physically unhurt.
Check the pics. (Note: For those who cannot see the pics below - Pic1, Pic2)


Another similar train escape:
Video - Lucky couple escape while crossing a railway track

Both the incidents above depict different points. The man remained calm after he slipped and used some common sense to decide not to move or panic. The second incident is stupidity at its best..crossing a railway track when a bridge is built for that purpose. Anyway, all is well that ends well. Hope the couple learn from their experience and use the bridge the next time!

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Source: Email (The email had mentioned the first story appeared in Mid Day viz a tabloid in Mumbai)
posted by Vijeesh Ravindran, Friday, August 03, 2007
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Shortcut to Increase/Decrease Text Size in MS Word - Windows Tip

How about increasing/decreasing the font size in MS Word using your keyboard? I don't really know whether this will increase your productivity by leaps, but anyway this is a pretty useful tip to know.

Before you use the shortcut, you got to select the text in the document for which the font size needs to be changed.
The shortcut key is Ctrl + [ (the left square bracket which is near the P key in a QWERTY keyboard) to reduce the font size and Ctrl + ] to increase the size.
Every time you hit this key combination, the font size changes by one point.

I have only tested this with MS Word 2003 and it works fine. This should also work in MS Powerpoint and MS Outlook.

Source: My mom! Yeah, she knows to use MS Word better than me..

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More Word Tips:
How to quickly change text case in MS Word
Create a Table in MS Word without using the keyboard
Select text vertically in MS Word
Move rows in MS Word using the keyboard
posted by Vijeesh Ravindran, Wednesday, August 01, 2007
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Not a Bird or Plane; Its a Robotic Fly!

Always used to love those gadgets they showed in cartoons! This one isn't from cartoons; its real and quite intriguing to say the least.
The next time you hear that annoying buzzing around you, be sure to take a closer look, for that fly may be doing more than you think.


(Image source: Technology Review. Those who can't view the image above, click here)
Scientists have built a tiny robotic fly which looks( Well! Almost) like a fly and flies like the real thing. With a wingspan of about 3cm and weighting 60 milligrams, the device is meant to be used for military surveillance (spying would be a better word for civilians like us), rescue operations, exploring dangerous and inaccessible places etc.

The robot mimics the moments of a real fly by flapping its wings more than 100 times a second, and generates enough thrust for it to lift off vertically. At present, the fly requires to be powered externally. Check out the videos here & here.

Apart from the uses listed above, my mind only seems to thinking a bit evil; or maybe not.
So friends, what do you say about this?

Source: Mumbai Mirror

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Related posts:
Video display in your Eye-glasses
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posted by Vijeesh Ravindran, Wednesday, August 01, 2007
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