Sunday, December 6, 2009

Cannot delete file: Access is denied

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Sounds familiar? Tried editing/deleting a file which is currently being used by an application or process but it has crashed?

Fear no more, there's a neat tool call the Unlocker which you can get it free from . This tool have saved me a lot of restarts and reboots :).

To use it, just right-click->Unlocker to unlock the file, and it will even tell you which process is actually locking the file. Neat, huh?

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Make your Life Easier in Windows 7 with the Windows Key

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There’s more use for the Windows Key (the one between the left ctrl and alt key) in Windows 7 now. Enterprise Security MVP Debra Shinder shares some of her favourites.

WIN + SPACE: Same effect as clicking the “Show Desktop” area at the end of the taskbar; all windows become transparent so you can see through to the desktop.

WIN + G: Don’t need to see the entire desktop? Just want to see the information displayed on your gadgets? This one brings the gadgets to the top.

WIN + T: Scroll through the items in the taskbar. It’s really cool to be able to do this without taking your hands away from the keyboard.

WIN + P: Select display options when connected to a projector (Computer only, Duplicate, Extend or Projector only).

ALT + P (in Explorer): show or hide the Preview pane (I love this one).

WIN + the Plus or Minus key: This lets you zoom in or out, magnifying the screen without using the mouse.

WIN + Left or right arrow key: This will dock the active window to the left or right side of the monitor, just as dragging to the side does.

WIN + SHIFT + left or right arrow key (with multiple monitors): Moves the active window to the monitor to the left or right of the one on which it’s currently residing.

WIN + Up or down arrow: Maximizes or minimizes the active window

What’s yours?

Get the full list of Win shortcuts at

Monday, October 26, 2009

26th October 2009, My Birthday, and also the End of the First Web Host I Used

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Yeap, today is my birthday. While it marks 25 years of my existence in this world, it also marks the demise of one of the first few web host ever to grace the Internet, Geocities.

I started using Geocities to host my personal website during my secondary school days about 11 years ago. At that time, web was still pretty much primitive with most connections are as fast as 48.8 kbps. Never could we have imagined the possibility of web applications, online games or even Facebook. After 11 years, things have really changed.

That’s when Web 2.0 emerged. Social networking sites appeared like mushrooms growing in a rainy day. Every online citizen started blogs be it a personal one, sharing or even some sharing jokes. Streaming sites such as Youtube enabled us to share and show our personal talent to the world, without going through agents and companies. Suddenly everything seemed possible, everything seemed exciting. However Geocities did not move on.

Geocities was then acquired by Yahoo! in 1999. This move proved to be very unpopular as users started to quit using the service. It was then Yahoo started introducing Yahoo! Web Hosting to persuade current Geocities users to upgrade their accounts. However, Yahoo! Web Hosting is a paid service, whereas Geocities is free.

Geocities had so much potential with its neighborhood and homestead concepts. It could have easily been a geographical version of Dacebook if it was managed properly. Yet, whatever that’s done is done and vice-versa, on this very day, would be the day that Geocities is put to rest.

RIP Geocities (1994-2009)

p/s: This is a tribute to Geocities "who" served millions of users throughout the past decade.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Who is Eugene Kaspersky? Find out more in!

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Who is Eugene Kaspersky? He's the founder of the antivirus company that we all come to trust, Kaspersky-Labs. Still don't know who he is yet? Remember seeing those Jackie Chan commercials fighting computer viruses in TV? Yeap! That's it.

Kaspersky Labs now plays a very important role in computer and cyberspace security. His interest in computer security was actually ignited when the Cascade virus was detected in his computer. From then on, he continued to further his interest in this field, and eventually formed his own company. What a journey isn't it?

He also qouted that "Everyone should and must have an identification, or internet passport,... The internet was designed not for public use, but for American scientists and the US military. Then it was introduced to the public and it was introduce it in the same way."

Keep up the good work!

Want to know more? Visit the Kaspersky club at

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Recycle your Handphone & Get Cash?

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Remember seeing those plastic boxes at shopping complex where you can put your gadgets and batteries for recycling purposes? In the near future, we might be able to get some cash by just recycling our old gadgets like what we do with unused papers.

ecoATM or Automated Recycling Stations was recently launched to promote gadget or metal recycling to consumers. Li-Ion batteries in particular, commonly found in modern gadgets and handphones, cannot be discarded the same as normal rubbish. Batteries should always be recycled because they are harmful to the environment if discarded incorrectly.

So, what does this new ATM machine do? Once you dump in your item into its slot, it will examine the item and tells you how much your item is worth. Should you accept it, you'll get the cash. If the item is of no value at all, a "free item' will be issued and a tree will planted by your name. Sounds good?

Currently not available in Malaysia yet, but I'm looking forward to it. Hope the government will bring this fella in soon.


Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Microsoft Security Essentials is finally out!

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After being one of the lucky beta testers a few months ago, I’m glad to hear that MSE has finally reached release status. You can easily grab it from . For beta testers, your beta version of MSE should prompt you to upgrade to the full version of MSE. My upgrade was painless and it just seemed like any other normal update. As for those who’s doing a clean installation, the size of the installation file is just approximately 8MB file, which is small compared to other free AV installers. The only hurdle in the installation would be the WGA process, which shouldn’t be a problem if you’re using a genuine version of Windows.

Some of my findings from the beta testing was MSE was really good in terms of scanning speed. A complete system scan (130GB filled with roughly 360,000 files) took only about 30 minutes. I read reviews from other online sources that if your system is infested with malware, it would take longer. That could be a sign that there are viruses lurking somewhere in your system if it takes unusually long.

I recommend MSE for Windows users who are looking for standalone ad-free antivirus solutions. MSE was included in the recent AVTest's tests at

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Are Expensive HDMI Cables Worth It?

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You bought a new LCD TV, AV System and well probably a PS3. You spent about RM 5000-6000 (that's about USD 1500-3000), so the sales guy approaches and persuades you to buy a branded HDMI cable which cost about RM300 ++ (Usd 50-100). Then you start to think, "I spent so much already, might as well spent a few more hundred to get a premium grade cable?"

STOP! For normal Home A/V use where most of your devices are close to each other, cheap HDMI cables is usually sufficient enough. Quality and material build may be critical for analog cables for analog speakers (those copper ones with the split red and black cable), they are not important at all for a HDMI cable. They do not affect the quality of the display and sound being projected by your TV and AV System.

Why? Unlike analog cables, HDMI carries digital signals which consists of 1's and 0's. This means its either the devices receives the signal successfully or not. If it does, perfect. If it doesn't you'll see distortion and rubbish on your screen because the frame is corrupted. This means as long your cable is able to transmit the signals from your source to your TV, your cable is fine, even if its made of iron!

Another thing that confuses consumers is the various versions of HDMI. The sales guy might tell you that you need to replace your HDMI 1.2 compliant cable with a HDMI 1.3 one if your TV is HDMI 1.3 in order to get full utilization of the higher bandwidth, speed and resolution. Again, this is just another marketing talk. Physically, from the birth of HDMI up to HDMI 1.3, there is no difference made to the cables. In fact, HDMI 1.0 cables were already "prepared" to handle future enhancements without the need to alter the cable. Perhaps for HDMI 1.4, you might need to get new cables due to the slight alteration in the cable characteristics, but that's in the future. There's no HDMI 1.4 devices in the market yet anyway.

The only time when you really need to purchase these premium cables is when distance is an issue. If the cable length is only 3-6 feet in length, the cheap cables will do. However, the length exceeds that, you may need to consider those premium cables. Due the strict timing in data transmission, the cable have to be robust enough to transmit those gigantic bursts of data, especially across long distances. This is where the build and material quality of those premium cables shine. This is also the reason as why there are specific length when you look at premium HDMI cables, and they must never be altered after production. This means you can't cut a cable to be shorter and terminate it yourself. You'll end up burning your cash in the end.

If premium cables are still the way to go, I'll recommend Monster. If you are looking for cheap, affordable ones and living in the US, check out Optimization World. They have pretty cheap cables with free shipping.

The AudioHolic guys also did testing on various HDMI cables here. If you're interested, go have a look. You'll see that at 6 feet, all the cheap cables passed.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Snow Leopard? Update your flash player now!

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According to the blog on Adobe, it seems that the installation of Snow Leopard will downgrade your Flash Player to an old version which has some bugs and vulnerabilities. It is recommended that all users to upgrade to the latest version of Flash Player ( for security purposes. You can download the flash player from


Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Telling Your Oven to Start Cooking, With Your Mobile Phone!

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Recently, there was a news report about an oven being turned on, and started cooking at the highest setting on its own. Its trigger? Its none other than your mobile phone. All you need to do is to leave your mobile phone near the oven, and dial it.

Recall that you leave your phone too near a computer speaker, there is this “bee-boo-bee-boo” sound emitting from the speakers, or your monitor screen gets distorted when a call comes in. This is caused by “electromagnetic Interference (or EMI to Electronic Engineers). This is also the reason why you should NOT place your mobile phone near your chest if you are using a pacemaker. This is the probably why how the mobile phone could turn on the circuitry is the oven, and then trigger it to cook without any human intervention.

On the bright side, you can now leave your turkey in the oven and place a mobile phone beside it before you go to work on Thanksgiving Day. After you have lunch, all you need to do is to dial to your mobile phone!

You can read the news article on the link here. Most ovens are safe from this though, I assume.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Win a iPhone 3GS or Western Digital Hard Disk?

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In conjunction with the 52nd Merdeka Celebration, Exabytes is giving prizes to lucky people who is participating in their contest. All you need to do is register and put their banner in your site / blog. Don’t worry, its a just a small button-size banner that would reside on the top right of your site. What are you waiting for? Just hop in my clicking the banner on the top right of my site or here . Oh yeah, you can put my email as your referral, otherwise you won’t be able to register =P. If you win, I’ll win too!

Merdeka Malaysia!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Super Mario AI Competition

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In association with the IEEE Consumer Electronics Society Games Innovation Conference 2009 (ICE-GIC) and IEEE Symposium on Computational Intelligence and Games (CIG), a Super Mario AI competition is being organized. Those interested can still submit their codes as the deadline is August 18th (ICE-GIC) and Sept 3rd (CIG). Meaning you probably have to crank up the codes in the space of a month. The competition is based on a modified version of Infinite Mario Bros by Markus Persson, which was coded in Java,

Cash prizes are as follows:

ICE-GIC (Deadline: August 18th)

Prizes – USD 200,100 and 50 to respective winners

CIG (Deadline: September 3rd)

Prize – USD 500

For more information please check out the competition page at

Current AI prototype clips available (not done by me!):

The one below tries to follow the mouse.

Good luck everyone! Programmers, open up your IDE!

Monday, August 3, 2009

New Commenting System

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I have integrated Disqus commenting system to replace the default blogger system. If there's any problem with it please let me know.

Only future posts will have the new commenting system implemented.

Friday, July 31, 2009

Rechargeable Battery Care


Nowadays, rechargeable batteries is a must for our gadgets and is commonly used in mobile phones, notebooks and home electrical appliances. Very often we take them for granted and provide the wrong battery care! Not taking care of your batteries properly not only shorten their lifespan dramatically, but can also cause harm and damage to you and your surroundings. Below, I would cover two commonly used battery types in our household, Nickel-Cadmium (NiCd) and Lithium-Ion (Li-ion).

Nickel Cadmium (NiCd)

Charging / Discharging

NiCd batteries suffer from memory effect, if they are are recharged and discharged to the same level of charge regularly. This is usually obvious when the battery voltage suddenly drops dramatically. However, the capacity is not reduced substantially. To recover this lost capacity, perform a deep or full discharge to INDIVIDUAL CELLS once in a while by using the battery until its fully discharged (or even better, with your battery charger if it came with a deep discharge function). It is not recommended to discharge your battery pack as a whole, as some cells may be discharged earlier, and this will result in a cell reversal charge condition. If you do not have any of these dischargers at your disposal, just use your batteries with an electrical appliance until its near dead flat for the FIRST time (If you have a voltmeter, stop the discharging sequence when the battery pack voltage drops to 1.0 V). After that, recharge it like normal. Individual cells can be discharged to zero voltage without harm.

Do not perform deep discharge too often as it will shorten the lifespan of the battery. (Once a month should be fine)


Typically, 1000 charge cycles before its capacity drops below half of its original capacity.


If not used, the battery should be discharged to maximum 40% of its capacity and store it in a cool dry environment.

Other precaution measures

Do not mix old and new batteries together. Old batteries loses its capacity quicker and could be damaged due to cell reversal charging. It could also cause damage as hydrogen gas is produced when this occurs.

Lithium Ion (Li-Ion)

Charging / Discharging

Unlike NiCd batteries, Li-Ion batteries do not suffer from memory effect. In fact, they should be charged as often and regularly as much as possible and should NOT be fully discharged. Discharging it fully will damage the battery (below 2.4V) permanently. Good Li-Ion batteries will always self discharge slowly from time to time, since it has an internal safety circuit that will prevent a “dead” battery to be charged (recharging a dead Li-Ion battery can be very dangerous). Since its charging process is a non linear process, its therefore dangerous to charge a Li-Ion battery without any monitoring mechanism. The charging sequence usually consist of 3 parts as quoted from Wikipedia:

Part 1. Apply charging current limit until volt limit per cell is reached.

Part 2. Apply maximum volt per cell limit until the current declines below 0.03C

Part 3. Periodically apply a top-off charge about once per 500 hours.

Some devices may have optimization charging mode when you charge the battery “in-house” together with the device turned on. It is recommended that you turn your device on while charging so that the device is able to monitor and prevent overcharging from occurring. Most dedicated chargers have this circuitry as well. If you are to charge it unmonitored, do not charge it for more than 3 hours or manufacturer specified time.


Typically, 1200 charge cycles. However, it is important to note that Li-Ion batteries age with time, even if not used.


Charge/Discharge it to 40% and store in a cool place to reduce the aging effects. Do not store a Li-Ion battery at 100% charged.

Other precaution measure

Li-Ion batteries are sensitive to heat. You should consider removing the battery from your equipment like notebook if you are going to connect it to a direct power supply for long hours. You should also buy Li-Ion batteries only when you need it due to its aging effect.

Sources – BatteryUniversity, Wikipedia

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Deposit Cheques at Home – Using a Scanner


It seems that we can deposit cheques from the comfort of our own home with just a scanner and internet connection soon, at least for the US-based residents. USAA, a financial service company which only serve people and family members who served in the US military is currently providing this service called “Deposit@Home”. This is specially convenient for those who travel often and have no time to go to the bank to drop in the cheque. You can check out the demo video at this link . There is report that Florida-based EverBank is about to start offering this service as well in the next few weeks.

I have no idea on whether this will actually be implemented in Malaysia. Luckily for us, the queue for cheque deposit aren’t usually very long.


Monday, July 20, 2009

Fujifilm 3D Camera – Taking photos in 3D!


Two decades ago, Fujifilm developed the world’s first fully digital camera. Later this year, Fujifilm will unveil another new camera technology – the world’s first 3D digital camera.

FinePix Real 3D System (its tentative name at the current time of blogging), Fujifilm’s new gadget will hopefully allow it to be ahead of the competition in the already saturated consumer market. This will definitely rejuvenate the saturated digital camera market as the limits on the megapixels, optical zoom as well as as other features such as face detection and anti-shake seems to be common for all digital cameras to date.

I did not have the opportunity to have a look at the actual prototype of Fujifilm’s new camera. Based on reading other articles and sources, its quite pleasant to know that the prototype was not much bigger or heavier than the current digital cameras in the market. One obvious difference in Fujifilm’s 10 megapixel camera is that it uses two lenses instead of one, spaced from each other about the same distance between the two human eyes. This allows the camera to shoot two photos from different angles as viewed by each individual human eyes of the same scene. The camera then intelligently presents the two images discretely to the right and left eye of the viewer, thus resulting in a stereoscopic image (this two images help provides the depth lacking in 2D photos). For 3D prints, a plastic overlay is also needed to act as a lens to provide the depth effect.

It would be interesting to see how much would this print cost and will user be able to print these photos at home without much cost.


Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Google’s Operating System - Google Chrome OS


Google finally announced it. I bet most of us were half-expecting it will come to this day, so I was not surprised by this announcement. Google announced on their blog that they were working on a new project called “Google Chrome Operating System”.

Basically, the OS is an open source (like Chromium project for Chrome), lightweight operating system which targets the netbook segment. The codes will be available by the later part of the year, and consumers will be able to use it by second half of 2010. Sounds good?

The netbook segment current represents quite an interesting dilemma. Being a stripped down version of the notebook with less power, the operating system has to be able to do the same tasks as a notebook with less brawl. At least basic tasks such as web surfing, playing music, typing emails and maybe some simple flash games. Currently, most netbooks’ operating systems are Windows XP (already obsolete), Windows Vista (soon to be obsolete when Win 7 comes by), Ubuntu / Linux and the upcoming Windows 7. Among the choices that we currently have, Ubuntu and Windows 7 seem to be the only viable choices out there as Vista will just crawl so bad and Windows XP will be losing official support very very soon in the next few years.

So, why would users use Google Chrome OS over the other OS veterans? Because its free? No. Because its open source? No. If there’s one thing Google can learn over problems which plague other OS, that is security. Google has managed to developed a secure browser with its Sandbox feature, it can do it with the OS version. They should have enough to learn to rectify and prevent security issues that could potentially plague an operating system, and they were pretty good at that with the browser so far.

Since Google made it very clear that the OS will be a web-centric OS, most of your applications will be on the web. That probably means a tighter integration with Google Apps (Gmail, Docs etc.). This will improve the performance of your netbook as the load will not be as heavy as a normal Windows or Ubuntu netbook. Perhaps we don’t even need to scramble for device drivers again as we can search and install driver through the “cloud” in Google’s enormous networks (installing drivers were often a bane when it comes to installing Windows on a fresh new PC). These will definitely make users happier.

Stay tune for more updates about Google’s OS. The architecture of this new OS will be interesting, especially on the security aspect.

By the way, if you din’t notice, Gmail has shed its beta label already =).

Microsoft, be prepared, be very prepared.


Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Microsoft Research Paper : CIBAI


If you’re from Malaysia or Singapore, you’re probably going to laugh your head off and going “WTF”. After that, please proceed below on what the research paper is about. For those peeps who don’t understand the fuss about the “Cibai”, I will explain at the end of this post.

“Class Invariants By Abstract Interpretation” , or CIBAI for short was a paper submitted by a researcher by the name of Francesco Logozzo. According to the abstract, Cibai is a generic static analyzer based on abstraction interpretation for modular analysis and verificiation of Java classes. A popular approach that’s frequently used validate program code is unit testing (eg. JUnit). Cibai was proposed to verify and test Java classes in a different way, and its results showed a higher level of automation and precision while having comparable performance. I have yet to finish reading through the paper, perhaps I’ll update this post later if I deem necessary. In fact this paper may be interesting for Java Developers to increase the quality of their codes.

Did you know that Cibai is also a word in Hokkein? A very "crude" one.

Cibai means female’s vagina in hokkien. It is also a commonly used vulgar word as it is the equivalent to the F word commonly used in English. Imagine a conference paper submitted by that name and its being read and heard via loudspeakers @_@.

This was just a coincidence, albeit a very rare random case. Please be careful when naming your products or papers. Google it before you actually put those words to paper.

Microsoft Research : Cibai

Hokkien Definition of Cibai

Monday, July 6, 2009

Norton AV and Internet Security 2010 beta is out


A few weeks after MSE beta was announced, now its Symantec’s turn with their latest Norton Internet Security 2010 and Norton Antivirus Beta. I was never a fan a Norton’s AV because of their huge memory footprint in previous versions. I heard that the 2009 version improved on this aspect but I was already “converted” to be a loyal user of Kaspersky, so I doubt I will ever go back to using Norton ever again. Don’t let this hinder you to test drive the beta though if you’re interested.

To the folks who want to try out the beta, you can grab it from their Beta Center at

Bear in mind, I have no idea how long the beta will last before it expires. I heard its about 2 weeks to a month, but I’m not able to find any details on this. Just keep this in mind if you decide to test drive it. Do let me know by posting a comment in this thread if you know.

And yes, it works with Windows 7.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Charging Your Mobile Phone Wirelessly


“Hello? Yes Ma, I want to tell you that I will be … *beep *beep *beep, dead battery.”

How many times have we encountered this surprisingly common scenario? As for me, I always end up searching for the nearest un-vandalized telephone booth. Sometimes I wish my phone came with solar cells so that I can recharge by leaving it under the sun or some portable battery mobile phone charger (I did see one which uses a 9V battery to charge, but its only for old Nokia phones).

Nokia did it. You can charge your phone anywhere, everywhere, even at night! How?

They developed a new prototype charging system, which collects the ambient and stray radio waves such as TV, radio and even mobile phone signals and convert them into electricity. The power currently harvested by the prototype is still quite far from the required power in order to keep the phone in standby indefinitely though, for now. Nevertheless, this is a good sign that it still has great potential.

---Geek mode started! Proceed if you like to know more ---

This conversion of wireless energy into an electrical form was actually demonstrated before by Nikon Tesla in 1893, in his attempt to build an intercontinental transmission tower to send power wirelessly across the Atlantic Ocean. Nokia’s version is a very simple version of it, with just a wide-band antenna and two circuits. The antenna and receiver circuits harvest signals from 500 MHZ to 10 GHZ and convert these EMG waves into electrical current and feed it into the second circuit. The feeder circuit will then feed the current to charge the battery of the mobile phone.

There is a problem though, these circuits have to use less power (power loss + consumption) compared to the amount of power harvested from the EMG waves. Currently, the amount that can be harvested is up to 5 mW. 20 mW is needed in order to charge the battery of the phone enough to keep it on standby mode indefinitely without doing any phone functions. However, for a meaningful charge, a power of 50 mW is needed.

--- Geek Mode End ---

Nokia expects these phones to be out in three to five years time.

By the way, Palm Pre can be charged wirelessly via electromagnetic induction through its “Touchstone”. However, this still requires you to “dock” it to charge it.


Wednesday, July 1, 2009

The Death of AC Adapters in the Future?


Recently, Fujitsu Labs has announced that the company has developed a new type of energy-saving transistor, which would eliminate the need of AC Adapters used for notebooks.

This new type of transistor made of gallium nitride can reduce losses that are lost in current power supply units of computers, notebooks and other devices to up to one-third or less of the current level. Also, with the smaller size of this new transistor, the power supply unit can thus be integrated into main body of the notebook itself. This will be handy, all you need is just a power cable (hopefully a generalized cable can be used so that we can use one cable for all different brand of notebooks) direct from your wall socket. This would also help to eliminate possible fire hazards, as I began to doubt the reliability of notebook AC Adapters recently due to frequent report of burnt adapters nowadays.

This transistor is expected to be around for practical application in 2011.


Friday, June 26, 2009

Preliminary Results for Microsoft Security Essentials by Av Test GmbH


Microsoft has finally did it. MSE passed Av-Test GmbH's preliminary tests. Their tests basically consist of a mixture of 3200 common viruses, bot Trojans and worms. They were obtained from the most recent WildList, so yeah, the malwares are pretty updated.

It is also mentioned that MSE successfully detected all the threats and treated them. Not only that, it also did well in the clean files tests, where MSE are to scan files which are commonly mistaken as "fake positives". MSE did not trigger any false alarm.

Despite claims by rival competitors that MSE will not be able to provide the protection needed, MSE did well to defy the odds. Looks like its a huge slap back on their face.

More tests will need to be done to see if MSE is finally a matured AV product or not. As of now, it looks to be in pretty good shape. will be testing the MSE in August, results of the tests will be know in the following month.

I won't bother running my own tests for MSE, the tests from these security companies are credible enough.

Ah, MSE does not use "cloud" to scan, it has its own local database and virus signatures.

Michael Jackson (1958-2009)


This is a post that is not related to the blog, but I would like to dedicate this post to pay tribute to our King of Pop, MJ who passed away this morning at 6.55 am (Malaysian Time) due to cardiac arrest. You will be remembered and may you rest in peace in heaven.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Microsoft Security Essentials - Day 1 First Impressions


Ok I was one of the few who spammed the F5 key when midnight was nearing so that I was able to try this AV out. I downloaded the Win XP version, and its size was about 7.5 MB. Below are my quick first impressions so far (I'll write more when I have time later, together with some screenshots). MSE provides both anti-virus and anti-spyware protection.

Installation was a breeze. I encountered no particular decision making problem during the process. Perhaps the only hiccup was the WGA check, it din't bother me as mine is genuine Windows anyway. Perhaps others might not be as fortunate as me =P. It was just clicking next,next,next, finish.

Initial Run
After it finishes installing, it automatically tried to update the virus definition file, as usual for all AV products. After that, it runs a quick scan of my system. I did not notice any lag (in fact, I din't realise that it finished scanning). I did check my task manager about the memory consumption during the scan, and it seems to hover around 7.2 to 7.7 MB only. Very impressive!

Basic Testing with EICAR sample virus files
All was detected without any problems. It manages to detect and delete the affected files (Quarantine option is there as well) as soon as I finish downloaded the file.

So far its pretty good, and it is non-disruptive with its small lightweight memory footprint. This will even put AVG to shame as I do experience lag when I run a scan with AVG. I did not realise any slowness when I ran MSE. However how good is its detection engine? So far its pretty good, but its capabilities are not stretched yet. I'll probably download a few viruses to find out :).

If you have a brand new PC and need some basic protection, do consider MSE. The only catch is, you have to be using genuine Windows.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Microsoft Security Essentials Beta is now available!


Grab it from . Only for the first 75,000 downloaders.

Added at 11.17pm GMT + 8 Hours.
To those having problems getting the download link, or receiving the invitation errors, now its fixed. You have to answer a survey by Microsoft before you're able to get the download links. Happy Beta-ing!

Monday, June 22, 2009

Microsoft Security Essentials (codenamed Morro) beta to be available soon.


This is one of the Microsoft products that I am actually waiting for (besides Windows 7). From readings at Zdnet blogs and neowin, it does seems promising, especially for basic protection for newly installed PC. Its downloaded size of roughly 4-5 MB is definitely tiny, which even makes the lightweight AVG looks like a giant.

Stay tuned for June 23rd !

Here's some screenies for Morro.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Intel Nehalem Chips Preview


Yesterday on the 26th of May, 2009, Intel previewed their latest member of the Xeon family, codenamed Nehalem-EX despite the global recession. Basically this chip will be the next streamline chips for high-end enterprise and server platforms.

Basically the summary of the new chip from Intel's site is as follows: (copied and pasted from Intel's site)
  • Intel Nehalem Architecture built on Intel's unique 45nm high-k metal gate technology process
  • Up to 8 cores per processor
  • Up to 16 threads per processor with Intel® Hyper-threading
  • Scalability up to eight sockets via Quick Path Interconnects and greater with third-party node controllers
  • QuickPath Architecture with four high-bandwidth links
  • 24MB of shared cache
  • Integrated memory controllers
  • Intel Turbo Boost Technology
  • Intel scalable memory buffer and scalable memory interconnects
  • Up to 9x the memory bandwidth of previous generation
  • Support for up to 16 memory slots per processor socket
  • Advanced RAS capabilities including MCA Recovery
  • 2.3 billion transistors
It is also interesting to note that this chip will offer up to nine times the memory bandwidth compared to the previous generation chip (Xeon 7400). That's a whopping but worthy upgrade, especially with the rise in the usage of web applications. In time we'll see if this complements or hinder cloud computing concept.

The chips will be available by second half of 2009. We'll see what AMD will do by then.

Intel, Xeon and the Intel logo are trademarks of Intel Corporation in the United States and other countries.

* Other names and brands may be claimed as the property of others.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Windows Installer Service could not be accessed


[This is for Windows XP]
I encountered this problem while installing MS .Net Framework 3.5 Sp1. It failed with an error code MSI 1601, which is "The Windows Installer Service could not be accessed. Contact your support personnel to verify that the Windows Installer service is properly registered." according to Interestingly, I was unable to uninstall any programs which uses Windows Installer from Control Panel's Add/Remove Program as well! 

Well, there are a few troubleshooting steps you can take, before you start panicking =).

1. Run Services.msc in Start->Run. Scroll down until you find Windows Installer. Try to start it if you can find it. If you can't find it, see the next step. If you're unable to start it, go to step 3. 

2. If you can't find Windows Installer, Run CMD in your Run Command to open the Command Prompt. Run the following lines to reregister the service without the qoutes:

"msiexec /unreigster"
"msiexec /regserver"

If it still doesn't appear in your services. you will need to reinstall Windows Installer. It can be downloaded from

3. In the rare cases that you're unable to start the service, this is usually due to the installation of the AppLocale Utility (which happened to me).

One way to fix this is to delete the following key regedit: "HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\AppCompatFlags\Custom\MSIEXEC.EXE". Remember to do a backup of your registry before you delete the key.

If the steps above did not help you, please refer to the KB at