Technology Gadgets Made Out of LEGO Bricks

Technology is all about creating advancements in any subject.  The fact that people can create these devices out of LEGO parts is even more amazing.  This means that this popular building toy is being used as a real-world modeling tool.

Potentially everyone has the opportunity to become an inventor.  The best part is that you don’t have to work out some of the more tedious aspects of designing.  The base materials that are found in LEGO bricks have worked out things like precise measurements and the ability to make a consistent model.

It is one thing to make something that works.  However, it is ten times more useful to be able to duplicate the gadget with ease.  The following builders all are pushing the envelope of what’s possible.



The beginning of moving pictures started with things like the zoetrope.  Chad Mealey wanted to see if this technology could be applied to a LEGO creation.  The concept is that a number of frames are shown in quick succession.  This tricks the human eye into thinking that you are seeing movement.  Chad based his twelve frame motorized version on the Muybridge photos of a running horse.

Ludwig Piano


Normally music is for those with the ability to hear.  However, there is a concept known as induced synesthesia that attempts to engage other senses to enable the experience of music by the hearing impaired.  Vimal Patel has developed a LEGO piano that displays lights along with the sound.  This increased form of stimulus is meant to expand people’s enjoyment when played.



Not many would think to make a device that could in turn make more pieces to build with.  Jan Holthusen is not most people.  His creation is a 3-D printer that can make objects.  To do this, it requires a pliable material to work with.  In this case, hot glue is melted and then ejected for the printing process.  With this gadget, Jan has the capability to make some unique designs.  Granted, they’d be made out of hot glue, but the end result is astounding.

LEGO Printer


Not everyone has the need for a 3-D model.  You are more likely to print something out on paper.  Danilowille uses the various robotic options from LEGO Mindstorms to create a LEGO printer.  Practically the only thing not made from LEGO bricks is the pen and paper it uses to write with.

LEGO Ball Clock


Many people are familiar with the various ball contraptions fans have made with LEGO bricks.  This is a slight variation of that process.  JK Brickworks has created a specific type of clock he had as a child.  The clock features three rows.  Depending on where balls are on each row will tell you what time it is.  The bottom row is hours, the middle row is ten minutes, and the top row is single minutes.  As a row fills up, it deposits a ball into the row below before emptying into the reservoir, thus giving you the time in a quasi digital fashion.


Carlo Pandian is an adult fan of LEGO and freelance writer, and his dream is to become a Master Model Builder at LEGOLAND Discovery Center Boston. When he’s not online, Carlo loves to learn new things such as Arduino and DIY design.

Legotrope No 3 Horses
 Ludwig Piano
 Lego printer
 LEGO Ball Clock

Water Car Technology: The new way for better mileage

Climate change has received global attention due to the dangers it poses not only on future generation, but also on current generation. Global warming has been discussed and solution being sort at regional and international level. It is the subject on international and local newspaper, science journals, radio and televisions, social media such as Facebook and twitter.

World leaders have converged series of conferences to address the issue and signed treaties (for example, Kyoto protocol) to curb pollution and subsequently global warming and climate change. Of recent and more sustainable way to address the issue is development of water powered vehicles.

Water powered vehicle are thought to be the way out in solving energy crisis around the globe, for example, due to fuel shortage in 2008, many countries faced economic turmoil and most of automotive industry realised low profit. Use of water is forthcoming in solving such problems since water is readily available; in fact it covers 70% of the universe.

 Power Production

Water is made up of three atoms, two hydrogen atoms and one oxygen atom, which are bound by hydrogen bonds. Through electrolysis process, bonds are broken and the molecule separates to yield hydrogen molecules and oxygen.

With most of water powered engines, it uses membrane electrode assembly (MEA) to split water molecule. The engine needs to be supplied with air and water to function. Hydrogen produced is used to power engine, while the by product is water vapour and is released to the atmosphere. Water vapour is pollutant free.

Advantages of water as source of power

Water is readily available, in most cases, water is in excess. Water engines can solve the problem of high fuel prices especially to users of gasoline powered machines. Oil prices are sky rocketing each day with some people particularly in developing world and sub-Saharan Africa in particular, almost not able to buy gasoline fuel. In some countries, a litre of gasoline is more expensive than daily earning, this is more pronounced to unemployed individuals.

More powerful- scientist have proved beyond doubt that water powered engines are more powerful than gasoline, in fact; water is 2.5 more powerful than gasoline fuel. It can be used to run heavy machines and vehicles.

More environmental friendly

Gasoline produces some greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide. This is the major cause of global warming and climate change evident in many parts of the world, for example, the rising of ocean level such as Atlantic Ocean and Indian Ocean, Hurricane such as Katrina in 2005 that left many people dead and damaged a lot of property in US. Such occurrence can be alleviated by use of water engine fuel because use of gasoline engines is among the major cause of environmental pollution.

Boosting developing countries economy- though developed countries are major pollutant, it is unfortunate because developing countries suffer more, for instance, most African countries rely on agriculture as the main source of capital and foreign exchange. Slight adverse change in environment will cost them more due to the fragile nature of the economy, use of water powered vehicle will result into reliable agriculture in these countries because the weather will be more predictable, furthermore, this will reduce death rate in these countries because disaster management and mitigation measures will be put in place.

Save the non-renewable sources of energy, this will help to curb depleting non-renewable energy sources. It is good to keep yourself posted on current issues in automotive industry, and you can contact DVLA contact number for more information on water powered vehicle.


Does your machine behaving weird these days?

Keep in mind that a combination of symptoms is much more likely proof that you’re infected: rarely does a virus have just one effect. That said, here’s a checklist of what to look out for before you press the almighty Scan button on your anti-virus (if the virus hasn’t already disabled it!).


    1. 0Your computer takes charge and does things on its own—moving the mouse cursor all by itself, randomly closing and opening windows, showing you messages that say “We’ve got you!” and so forth. If any of this is happening, we don’t even need to tell you that you’re infected!
    2. 1Your computer often stops responding. This is more so a sign of an infection with Windows 7 than with earlier versions: Windows 98 used to stop responding often even without infection, so that doesn’t mean much!
    3. 2The crashes-and-restarts-on-its own syndrome: this is a pretty good indicator of viral activity on your computer. Of course, it could be something else, but if this is happening and your antivirus is working, why not do a scan anyway?
    4. 3Several apps seem broken. The key word here is “several”: one program not working correctly, like we said, is seldom an indicator of a virus. But if you notice functional anomalies in several applications, it’s time to scan.
    5. 4Certain drives on your computer have suddenly become inaccessible, even though they show up in My Computer.


    1. 5Not being able to print correctly has been stated as an indicator of a viral infection, but don’t panic if you get a bad printout. It’s probably due to something else. But if it happens in conjunction with other symptoms…
    2. 6Unexpected error messages with weird codes! Of course, error messages are seldom user-friendly, so the key here is how often they pop up, and how weird they are. For example, a big red cross and an OK button that doesn’t say “OK”.
    3. 7Now this is so typical of possible viral infection that we hardly need to mention it: distorted dialog boxes and menus. Hit “Scan” immediately. And if it turns out not to have been a virus, there’s still something wrong with your computer, so have it checked.
    4. 8If, despite all our warnings in the past five years, you still opened a suspicious-looking attachment—driven, of course, by what is called the libido—and immediately after that, everything (or at least some things) went funny, you’re in for it. Hit Scan. And hope that the anti-virus will scan.
    5. 9It could be that your anti-virus needs a re-install, but it’s unlikely: if the anti-virus is disabled and you didn’t disable it, you’re very likely infected. Before panicking, first try reinstalling the antivirus. If that doesn’t work, panic.
    6. 10Continuing along those dire lines, if you’re able to install any program but an anti-virus, then yes, you are a victim.


    1. 11When someone tells you he or she got an infected message from you, you almost certainly have something bad on your computer. It might or might not be a virus.


    1. 12A not-so-common symptom, but a deadly giveaway, is the mouse pointer changing to something else. Of course, if you went to one of those “1000 cursors free!” sites and downloaded and installed cursors, then you’re infected by spyware anyway.
    2. 13Icons on the desktop that you didn’t place are again a giveaway symptom.


    1. 14Unnecessary shortcuts have been created of files and folders that don’t even needed.


  1. 15You cannot see anything in a folder or drive but it is still occupying memory space. Best solution to try is Go to Organize > Folder and Search Option > View and Unmark – Hide Protected System files, also – Select Show hidden files and folders. Most of the time you will get your hidden files through this.
  2. 16If you just installed a program—successfully—and it doesn’t work properly, or if its icons have vanished, don’t reinstall it! There’s no time to waste—quickly do a scan.
  3. 17Now this could also be an indicator of spyware, but when you notice that your modem is doing a lot of activity on its own—both sending and receiving—or if your hard disk is performing more activity than you’d expect, like chattering away when you’re not even working on anything, it could be a sign of viral infection.

Then there’s the System Configuration Utility, activated by typing in “msconfig” at a command prompt. Run it and take a good, hard look at all the programs running. If you see something with random character strings as its name… you’ve guessed it: you’re infected by either a virus or spyware. But most viruses and spyware don’t give themselves away so easily, and call themselves by decent names.

One thing to remember is that slow behavior could also be due to spyware, and it doesn’t necessarily mean a virus. Of course, it could be nothing at all, and all in your head.

You need to decide on what “slow” and “odd” mean. First off, whatever your machine, you know when it’s running slower than usual, and when that happens, there’s a possibility that you’re infected. Windows pop up more slowly. Random activity seems to be happening in the background more often than it should. Something negative seems to have happened to the overall responsiveness of the system.

Camera Keywords Explained

Have you always been fascinated by photography but found the whole thing to be a little too daunting? Have you always been “clicking an auto” but want to learn the finer details of functions? Well, worry not as we’re going to simplify all the technical keywords that comes with having to operate a camera, so that all you have to do is dial in the settings and shoot.

aperture camera


Aperture: Aperture is the term that refers to a circular curtain inside the lens which determines just how much light goes into your camera. An aperture values signifies just how much the curtain opens and is measured in fractions. Therefore, a bigger fraction denoted a bigger opening, eg. ½ is bigger than 1/16. The larger the aperture opens, the more light hits your sensor. Therefore to shoot in low light, a big aperture is a must.

Shutterspeed: Once the light has crossed the aperture, it sort of just sits inside your camera before hitting the sensor. What’s blocking it is another curtain called shutter. The shutter decides for how long all this light that has entered your camera will hit the sensor. Allow it too much time and your image will start turning white and allow it too little time and it will be too dark. The duration for which the shutter is open is measured in fractions as well, unless you are doing a long exposure of several secs/mins/hours.

ISO: The ISO on your camera determines just how sensitive your sensor is to light. The higher the ISO, the more sensitive it is, meaning it needs lesser light to create an image. This, however, does not mean that you can crank the ISO setting all the way to the highest, as there are a few downsides to using High ISO.

Light Meter: A light meter is a little module that measures the amount of light coming into camera and factors all the conditions to generate a “good” exposure based on preset parameters. This is what tells you how much shutter speed and aperture values to use. Unfortunately, the light meter is not always a 100% accurate, so always review your images after shooting and if they look over or under exposed, do use exposure compensation.

Exposure Compensation

By Kathy Eyster

Exposure Compensation: Exposure compensation is the method where you expose a little longer or for a shorter duration than what your light meter says should be the right setting. This can occur when you shoot at the light meter recommended settings and your exposure Is either over or under exposure. So you can do positive exposure compensation (to increase exposure) or use negative exposure compensation (to underexpose). You’d ideally use exposure compensation as a quick fix to your exposure problems, without having to change the shutter speed or aperture.

Depth of Field: The Depth of Field (DoF) of a particular photograph essentially refers to the area in front and behind your intended point of focus. The more the depth of field, the more you will have in focus in your image and smaller the depth of field, the more background (and foreground) blur you will get. Macro shots tend to have a “shallow” depth of field, while group shots must have a great depth of field.

Bracketing Shots: Bracketing is a method where the camera can take a number of shots simultaneously at different exposure values. Normally, this would be a “0” exposure (the value determined by your light meter as ideal) and two (or more even numbered shots) more with an exposure value of a higher and an equally lower value. This is an extremely handy method for shoot High Dynamic Range images.   If you are going to buy a new camera device, than don’t forget to check these point of concern that you should keep in mind.

NFC Demystified: Just a matter of touch?


First of all, NFC stands for Near Field Communication. It is a technology for wireless transfer of data between two devices. If that sounds a lot like BlueTooth or WiFi, that is because it is a similar.

NFC has its roots in RFID or Radio Frequency Identification. RFID tags are like bar-codes that don’t need to be scanned, but merely placed near an RFID reader. An RFID chip—which by the way can be smaller than a grain of rice—can be read by an RFID reader without the need for contact, so if a shopping mall were to tag everything via RFID, all a shopper would have to do is pass their shopping bag / trolley near an RFID reader, and all the products could automatically billed.

An RFID tag is essentially a chip storing some data which gets activated by an RFID reader. The radio waves from the RFID reader are intercepted by the RFID tag, and these are enough to power the device. The tag uses the power it gets from the RFID reader to send back its own radio message with the data it stores—or it could just have a small battery. In this case an RFID reader is a passive device that sends the same bits of data it is stored no matter what.

What if you were to create a similar system where two devices could communicate using similar means? Where both devices could work as both a tag and a reader to pass along small messages. Well, NFC is exactly such a system. NFC is in fact compatible with RFID, and you could have NFC tags, just like RFID tags.

Many experts say NFC really is fundamentally secure by virtue of its extremely short range. In order to snag your NFC signal, a hacker would need to be very close to you. Uncomfortably close. In other words, you’d know they were there. And unless it was a very intimate friend of yours, you’d likely not be happy about it.




Bluetooth Low Energy

RFID compatible

ISO 18000-3 active active

Standardisation body

ISO/IEC Bluetooth SIG Bluetooth SIG

Network Standard

ISO 13157 etc. IEEE 802.15.1 IEEE 802.15.1

Network Type

Point-to-point WPAN WPAN


not with RFID available available


< 0.2 m ~100 m (class 1) ~50 m


13.56 MHz 2.4–2.5 GHz 2.4–2.5 GHz

Bit rate

424 kbit/s 2.1 Mbit/s ~1.0 Mbit/s

Set-up time

< 0.1 s < 6 s < 0.006 s

Power consumption

< 15mA (read) varies with class < 15 mA (read and transmit)


NFC technology is mainly aimed to be used in mobile phones. NFC uses both write and read technology. The connection is established when two NFC devices are bought within the distance of 4 centimeters.

NFC chart


As you can guess from the name, and from its ancestry NFC is for communication between devices placed very close by, distances much closer than those required by BlueTooth or WiFi. In fact devices usually have to be touching or placed a few centimetres apart. While this might seem like a disadvantage, and most certainly can be in many situations, it also has its positive sides. While BlueTooth and WiFi require that a device be paired, or share a mutual password, NFC has no such requirements.

Authentication is assumed based on the fact that the devices are nearly touching, which would require both device users to choose to do so. In fact NFC can be used as an alternative to entering long WiFi keys or traditional means of pairing devices using BlueTooth. For example if you have a WiFi point that supports NFC, it could automatically transmit the WiFi key to any device that is placed very near it. Or, rather that start a tedious BlueTooth pairing process, you could simply tap two phones together and they would use that gesture as consent for a BlueTooth pairing. This particular feature is in fact available in Android in the form of Android Beam. While NFC can be used for data transfer, it can be quite slow for large amounts of data, especially when compared to BlueTooth or WiFi.

So Android Beam uses NFC and take advantage of its convenience in quick communication over short distances, and uses that to authenticate the devices so that that it can use quicker technologies for the actual transfer of data. As such it can transfer anything, music, videos, or the state of an application, such as tabs open in a browser, the saved state of a game etc. NFC is also finding many uses in places where RFID was used earlier.

NFC isn’t a newfangled technology, but it’s just now beginning to filter into mainstream products like smartphones. With an NFC chip and antenna, you can use your smartphone to make contactless payments at NFC retail terminals, parking meters, taxis and many other places.


Key Benefits of NFC

NFC provides a range of benefits to consumers and businesses, such as:

  • Intuitive: NFC interactions require no more than a simple touch
  • Versatile: NFC is ideally suited to the broadest range of industries, environments, and uses
  • Open and standards-based: The underlying layers of NFC technology follow universally implemented ISO, ECMA, and ETSI standards
  • Technology-enabling: NFC facilitates fast and simple setup of wireless technologies, such as Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, etc.)
  • Inherently secure: NFC transmissions are short range (from a touch to a few centimeters)
  • Interoperable: NFC works with existing contactless card technologies
  • Security-ready: NFC has built-in capabilities to support secure applications

For example it can be used as an alternative to ID cards. One up and coming use is as a means of payment. Google Wallet for example allows one to initiate payments by simply tapping your phone on a payment device. Your financial details can be stored on Google Wallet, and when you initiate a transfer using NFC, Google Wallet only needs your authorization for payment, and handles the rest. Games can use NFC to initiate a multiplayer gaming session and use WiFi or BlueTooth for the actual game data. Tapping mobile and tablets, or putting them in close proximity makes a lot of sense, but one is likely to have a hard time imagining such a thing working with desktops. Even so, a laptop or desktop fitted with NFC can use that functionality to enable all kinds of useful interactions. You could for example, transfer your browsing session to your tablet / mobile from your laptop / desktop before leaving home. Or sync between you laptop / desktop and mobile / tablet just by using NFC.

NFC is only one technology, with Bluetooth and RFID just as able to strike-up a conversation between two gadgets, but there are distinctions within NFC, too. In comes in both passive and active flavours, including P2P mode (exchanging information, such as business cards or contacts) and SecureElement NFC (where a machine recognises a NFC phone as a bankcard).

You won’t find NFC on many laptops or desktops but it is only a matter of time. Look at how BlueTooth is now common on any laptops and you will see how it is likely to find future laptops fitted with NFC. Desktops usually have neither but are flexible enough to use dongles to add those capabilities. There are tons of imaginative uses for NFC that people have yet to come up with. All one needs to know are the advantages of NFC at your disposal, quick initiation of communication, moderately fast data transfer speeds (around 400 kbit/s) and the possibility of having passive (without battery) items that interact with NFC devices.

Tips: Installing Freeware Wisely


Though one cannot be 100 per cent safe, there are some simple rules one can follow while installing freeware, or any software for that matter, to ensure that spyware applications do not install themselves on your computer.

❍ Download software only from trusted and reliable sources. If at any point you are unsure about the legitimacy or the trustworthiness of a download source, it would be advisable to look elsewhere.

❍ Though it can be a pain, it is definitely worth the while to read the Terms of Agreement of the software. Look for sentences like “When you agree to these terms you agree to allow third-party software to be installed on your computer.” Immediately avoid such programs. These are added in the application installer and some of them will ask you as your will, simply uncheck the option.

❍ If you really want to install a software you downloaded, but are not sure of its integrity, you should ask someone who knows more about the subject. Even a simple Google search should bring up some answers. Popular forums, Yahoo Answers, Ask, Stack Overflow are some good platform to find audience of all sort of categories. The golden rule is: only install software the contents of which you’re sure of.

❍ Spam is one of the leading sources of spyware. A large amount of spyware (posing as Trojans) is spread through e-mail. So always try to avoid opening email from unknown sources, and never ever download any attachment accompanied with it.

❍ Use your discretion and a general sense of caution when clicking on Internet ads (if you do). A lot of banner ads have buttons that say “Cancel” or “No” that you’re prompted to click if you don’t want the product they offer. Do ~not~ click that button! More often than not, doing that will take you to another ad site. If you are unsure about what to do, just close your browser window.

❍ Everyone needs pop-up blockers, and luckily, most new versions of popular browsers have pop-up blockers already inbuilt. It is advisable to install the latest version of your Web browser. Updates will also fix vulnerabilities found by developers.

Why is Ubuntu popular ? Who can’t use it ?


Ubuntu is a Linux-based operating system with its origins in South Africa. Its name means “humanity towards others”. Back in 2004, Linux was already established as a server operating system, but free software was not yet a part of everyday life. Further, Linux was thought of as a complicated operating system which non-technical people couldn’t use. It was at this time in 2004 that Ubuntu began as a Linux distribution aimed at ease of use. Mark Shuttleworth, the creator of the project, gathered a few developers and went on to create the most popular Linux distribution till date. 

Why is Ubuntu popular? 

For those who’re interested in computing, Linux is something which they take pride in being a user of, and love its freedom and flexibility. Among all the Linux distributions, which already are extremely popular (use Google’s free keyword tool to avail salvation for yourself), Ubuntu is the most popular. The reason for its triumph over all other Linux distributions is its ease of use.

Before Ubuntu came into picture, Linux was thought of as a real tough nut to crack. Many had the (wrong) notion about Linux being a completely command line based operating system. While it is still true that an extremely rich set of useful applications, programs and features of Linux are dependent on command line (or call it the console), Linux certainly was much more than just a console-driven, type and press Enter styled operating system, even before Ubuntu was born. The one thing it lacked was the real ease of use offered by other operating systems such as Windows and Mac.

Ubuntu changed the scene with its innovative solutions to issues. It ensured that users could download new software easily. The OS was further popularized by the fact that it allowed you to use the system right from the CD and install it only once you felt pleased enough. The installer was simple and the looks were different and beautiful. Ubuntu software updates were fuss-free even for the regular user to understand. One of its most innovative technical aspects was its self-upgrade feature. You didn’t need to download a separate ISO file, burn it to a disk and then install or update from it. All you had to do was upgrade from within the OS. The required files would automatically be downloaded and installed. Version changed! Slowly, many other innovations came in: a music store (just like Apple), a software centre, integration of music players and social service into gnome shell and what not. It’s these little changes over time that increasingly increased the interest of new as well as already interested users.

The cherry on the topping was the awesome ‘no drivers required’ approach. Ubuntu made it easy for users to plug in their mobile phones, select their country, fill in a few details and get ready with a GPRS connection. This was, and still is, a huge boost for people (mostly students) who live in places where they can’t afford to have wired connections or costly wireless plans.


For some users, the last mentioned feature (built-in drivers) is most important. Although you won’t find Pentium 4 processors in the market anymore, some still use such machines just because it does all they want it to do. These users don’t upgrade either due to monetary problems or because they’re simply happy with the PC which taught them what a computer is. The bigger problem with owners of ‘boxes’ such as these is more on the side of support than features. If you lost the only copy of the driver CD of the motherboard for a P4 computer today, you will be forced to buy a new system. The reason is lack of support from the manufacturer. In all probabilities, manufacturers would have stopped supporting the device. So you wouldn’t get the drivers on their web site, with little luck getting it elsewhere either. Since the Linux kernel has a huge database of drivers, Ubuntu gives you reason to rejoice. It brings life back to such old PCs. While system requirements of most other new operating systems for running are high, Ubuntu doesn’t need much to get great performance from older machines. While 512 MB RAM might seem a little less for Windows 7 or Windows Vista, Ubuntu can not only be used on such systems but can also perform pretty decently.

In case that description suggests even in the slightest of ways that Ubuntu (or any other Linux distribution) is meant to run on slow devices, you might be enlightened to know that most supercomputers in the world today use Linux as their operating system. All these facts and features make Ubuntu more popular than any other Linux distribution. Not only it is capturing computers, it has started targeting smartphones recently which is still in beta version by the way but who knows? Ubuntu could be the next iOS.


Who can use Ubuntu? 

If you were to ask this question to the creators of Ubuntu, they would say ‘anyone’, and they wouldn’t be wrong. Ubuntu comes with almost all software which you would require as a normal computer user. We know demands differ, so let’s look at the valley from different mountains:

Home user 

The term ‘home user’ would almost automatically ask your creative side to form an image of a person who enjoys using a computer for entertainment and a few not-so-important tasks. That would include music for passing the boring Sunday evening, a few movies to make yourself smile, email to keep you posted, web browsing to stay updated, a messaging client to chitchat with friends and probably a spreadsheet to help keep expenses in limit. Ubuntu comes with all of this. It’s got ‘Banshee’ to play your music, the ‘totem’ video player to play the movies, ‘Evolution’ to manage your calendar, contacts and email, Firefox to browse the mighty online mess (although beautiful and organized, the web is a mess after all!), ‘Empathy’ for chatting with friends on Yahoo, Google Talk and others and ‘LibreOffice’ for your office needs. We believe that is what a home user would want from his / her computer.

However, in case an Ubuntu aficionado wants more, installing software on this OS is a piece of cake. Windows users has direct installation wizard tool known as Wubi.


Office user

 The typical office user fills data into spreadsheets, creating presentations to be shown to clients and/or typing in a leave letter. Despite the change in definition of offices or its users, almost all software manufacturers (including Microsoft) continue to consider “office applications” as a set of software used for creating documents, presentations, spreadsheets and small database applications. Ubuntu comes with an office suite named LibreOffice (Libre means open) which is similar to and compatible with the Microsoft Office range of applications. In addition to the document, spreadsheet, and presentation application, it also comprises two other programs named ‘Draw’ and ‘Math’ which can be used to create illustrative drawings and complex formulas for office purposes. Math is unique to LibreOffice because it is a full-fledged formula editor. You couldn’t ask for more.


 Who can’t use Ubuntu? 

This is one question which depends heavily on the needs. If you’re a hardcore gamer, Ubuntu probably isn’t for you. If you want to blame it on Linux, we suggest you change your mind. While there are games made for Ubuntu, the most popular games (we believe your brain is running a pronunciation simulation for spellings like ‘Crysis’, ‘Need for Speed’, etc.) were never meant to be run on Linux platforms. Although ‘Wine’ and ‘PlayOnLinux’ exist and recently steam was also released, a clean run can’t be promised, not by us at least.


The reasons for Ubuntu not having major game releases are much more social than technical. The first reason would be that Linux developers and users have traditionally been geeks (until the recent changes) and gaming was never on their list. So Linux didn’t receive much attention from the game developers. The second reason could very well be the mental set-up of game manufacturers: only those who can pay for software would pay for games. Since Linux is free, the platform never was considered good for hardcore gaming. Yet another point in favour for Windows can be the availability of DirectX APIs on Microsoft platforms as they make life easier for game developers. Nvidia rejected to pay attention for the drivers and support in Linux because of its open source tag and they are afraid that their so called secret ways to handle graphics will be easily accessed by public. There, however, are some fine 2D and a few nice 3D games for Ubuntu. Oh, and it does have board and card games like Chess, Sudoku and (the all-time favourite) Solitaire. You might also not like Ubuntu if you are a designer. Most desktop design and publishing software are not available for Linux. So if you’ve produced all your great graphics using Adobe’s Photoshop software, you won’t be able to open those beautiful projects inside GIMP as they don’t get along well. Animators and movie creators may also dislike Ubuntu for not supporting their Windows software.

Ubuntu, however, has some very good applications for all these tasks. Audacity, Blender, dia, Inkscape, GIMP, Pinta and VideoLAN Movie Creator are a few names you might want to keep in mind. But as we said earlier, the reasons for not using Ubuntu (or any other Linux system) are more social than technical. Different file formats, different software packages, different features, interfaces and a lot other similar problems and issues stand between you and Ubuntu. If you’re ready to restart your life in a free world, Ubuntu, we remind you, means humanity. It will warmly welcome you into a fresh new world.



If a summary of who can’t use Ubuntu is expected, we’d encapsulate it in one sentence: Anyone ,whose previous life has been on influenced by closed source software so much that he can’t survive without it, might not be able to use Ubuntu. At the same time, it’s our duty to remind you of two great terms: Wine and Virtualization.

Fed up with ads everywhere ? Learn how to get rid of them

If you wanna remove those nasty ads from the pages which waste lot of time and bandwidth then here is something for you I believe will help you a lot.  This is done without using any software.

How it works

It’s possible to set up a name server as authoritative for any domain you choose, allowing you to specify the DNS records for that domain. You can also configure most computers to be sort of mini-nameservers for themselves, so that they check their own DNS records before asking a nameserver. Either way, you get to say what hostname points to what IP address. If you haven’t guessed already, the way you block ads it to provide bogus information about the domains we don’t want to see – i.e., all those servers out there that dedicate their existence to spewing out banner ads.

completely fake ad

The hosts file

Probably the most common way people block ads like this is with something called the “hosts file”. The hosts file is a simple list of hostnames and their corresponding IP addresses, which your computer looks at every time you try and contact a previously unknown hostname. If it finds an entry for the computer you’re trying to reach, it sets the IP address for that computer to be whatever’s in the hosts file. is a special IP address which, to a computer, always means that computer. Any time a machine sends a network request to, it is talking to itself. This is very useful when it comes to blocking ads, because all we have to do is specify the IP address of any ad server to be And to do that, all we have to do is edit the hosts file. What will happen then is something like this:

1. You visit a web page

2. The web page contains a banner ad stored on the server “”

3. Your computer says “ never heard of it. wait a second, let’s see if I’ve got the number on me…”

4. Your computer finds its hosts file and checks to see if is listed

5. It finds the hostname, which points to

6. “Great”, says the computer, and sends off a request to for the banner ad that’s supposed to be on the page

7. “oh”, says the computer, and fails to show anything because it just sent a request to itself for a banner ad


Where’s my hosts file?

* Windows 95 / 98 / ME: C:\Windows (I think)

* Windows NT: C:\WinNT\hosts

* Windows 2000: C:\WinNT\system32\drivers\etc\

* Windows XP: C:\Windows\System32\drivers\etc

* Windows 7: C:\Windows\System32\drivers\etc

* FreeBSD / Linux / Mac OS X / Unixish operating systems: /etc/hosts

* Classic Mac OS: please read this helpful information submitted by David “iNerd” B

* Mac OS 9: Marcia Skidmore sent in details that hopefully explain what you need to know


Note: Windows 7/8 users might want to open a notepad with administrator rights then edit the host file, without it an error with not enough permission will going to pop up.

The format of the hosts file is very simple – IP address, whitespace, then a list of hostnames (except for older Macs; please see above). However, you don’t need to know anything about the format if you don’t want to as you can just view the list hosts file.

Of course, that’s not the only way to use the list, but it’s probably the most simple for most people.

Here is the hosts list which are serving you the ads just append it to your hosts file and enjoy ad free surfing makes things faster. If you want ad from certain site then just remove it from the list below.

You have to copy all these domain names from here and paste at the end of your hosts file. Here is a text file if you are lazy enough and dont want to copy all of them. *BLEEP*

The Google Quiz: Are you a Google expert ?

Do you know everything about the company and its services? Or are you still new to the topic, and you only used their search engine for a couple of times so far? Well, you can put your knowledge to the test in this quiz which will answer the question:

How much do you know about Google? Get a pencil and cross the single right answer for every question, and calculate your score afterwards.

  1. Google Inc. was founded in …
    • 1996
    • 1998
    • 2000
  2. Google Inc. was founded by …
    • Sergey Page and Larry Brin
    • Eric Schmidt and Larry Page
    • Larry Page and Sergey Brin
  3. Which search operator does Google enable by default?
    • The AND operator
    • The OR operator
    • The NOT operator
  4. Google once used Yahoo’s search result to feed its engine.True?
    • Yes, from 1998-200
    • No, it was the other way round – Yahoo used Google once.
    • No, Google and Yahoo never had any search relationship.
  5. Google Analytics is a service to …
    • Check if your web pages validate
    • Check how many people visit your web pages
    • Check your Google PageRank
  6.   In 2006, Eric Schmidt is Google’s …
    • Vice President Engineering
    • Eric left the company in 2004 to pursue his hobbies
    • Chief Executive Officer
  7.  What was the name of the search engine the Google founders developed before Google?
    • PageRanker
    • BackRub
    • Gogol
  8.  What is the algorithm behind Google’s PageRank?
    • The more pages link to you (and the higher their PageRank), the higher your page’s PageRank
    • You get 1 PageRank point for every web page you own
    • The algorithm behind PageRank is kept secret, similar to the Coca – Cola formula
  9.  Why do some sites get “banned” from the Google index?
    • They tried methods to get their pages ranked better which Google considers spam
    • They have content which is illegal in this state/ country
    • Both are true.
  10.  At which university did the Google founders meet?
    • Oxford University
    • MIT
    • Stanford University
  11.  What is the “Googleplex”?
    • It’s where Google employees work
    • It’s a solar system which shares only the name with
    • It’s the server farm Google built up to deliver search results to you
  12.   Around how many hits do you get for the word “Hello” (in 2006)?
    • 420,000 pages
    • 420,000,000 pages
    • 42,000,000,000 pages
  13.  If you want to find a place to grab a pizza, you go to …
    • Google Food
    • Google Places
    • Google Local
  14. At the Association of National Advertisers annual conference in October 2005, who said Google will take 300 years to fulfill its mission to index the world’s data?
    • Eric Schmidt
    • Larry Page
    • Marissa Mayer
  15. What colors do the letters of the Google logo have, from left to right?
    • Red – Blue – Green – Yellow – Green
    • Blue – Red – Yellow – Blue – Green – Red
    • Blue – Yellow – Purple – Yellow – Red – Blue

How well did you do?

Calculate your points by adding 10 points for each question you answered like the following:

1 – b, 2 – c, 3 – a, 4 – b, 5 – b, 6 – c, 7 – b, 8 – a, 9 – c, 10 – c, 11 – a, 12 – b, 13 – c, 14 – a, 15 – b.

0–50 points: Though you have a mild interest in Google, you’re new to the topic. Maybe you prefer other search engines, or you’re not using the web for a lot of tasks. You have yet to learn how to become a power searcher, but you’re on your way. 60–110 points: You already understand more than just the basics of how Google works. Using your search power, you can locate almost anything you want. You are likely making good use of Gmail, Google News, and other Google services. 120–150 points: Consider yourself a Google guru. In fact, with your knowledge you could write a book like this. Chances are you are reading a lot of news

Science behind Linux boot sequence

Identifying each stage of the boot process is invaluable in fixing boot problems and understanding the system as a whole. To start, zero in on the boot loader, which is the initial screen or prompt you get after the computer does its power-on self-test, asking which operating system to run. After you make a choice, the boot loader runs the Linux kernel, handing control of the system to the kernel.

As it turns out, there isn’t much to the boot process:

  1. A boot loader finds the kernel image on the disk, loads it into memory, and starts it.
  2. The kernel initializes the devices and its drivers.
  3. The kernel mounts the root file system.
  4. The kernel starts a program called init.
  5. init sets the rest of the processes in motion.
  6. The last processes that init starts as part of the boot sequence allow you to log in.

There is a detailed discussion of the kernel elsewhere in this book from which this article is excerpted. This article covers the kernel initialization stage, the stage when the kernel prints a bunch of messages about the hardware present on the system. The kernel starts init just after it displays a message proclaiming that the kernel has mounted the root filesystem:

VFS: Mounted root (ext2 filesystem) readonly.

Soon after, you will see a message about init starting, followed by system service startup messages, and finally you get a login prompt of some sort.

NOTE : On Red Hat Linux, the init note is especially obvious, because it “welcomes” you to “Red Hat Linux.” All messages thereafter show success or failure in brackets at the right-hand side of the screen.

Most of this article deals with init, because it is the part of the boot sequence where you have the most control. init

There is nothing special about init. It is a program just like any other on the Linux system, and you’ll find it in /sbin along with other system binaries. The main purpose of init is to start and stop other programs in a particular sequence. All you have to know is how this sequence works.

There are a few different variations, but most Linux distributions use the System V style discussed here. Some distributions use a simpler version that resembles the BSD init, but you are unlikely to encounter this.


memelinuxAt any given time on a Linux system, a certain base set of processes is running. This state of the machine is called its runlevel, and it is denoted with a number from 0 through 6. The system spends most of its time in a single runlevel. However, when you shut the machine down, init switches to a different runlevel in order to terminate the system services in an orderly fashion and to tell the kernel to stop. Yet another runlevel is for single-user mode, discussed later.

The easiest way to get a handle on runlevels is to examine the init configuration file, /etc/inittab. Look for a line like the following:

  • id:5:initdefault:

This line means that the default runlevel on the system is 5. All lines in the inittab file take this form, with four fields separated by colons occurring in the following order: # A unique identifier (a short string, such as id in the preceding example) # The applicable runlevel number(s) # The action that init should take (in the preceding example, the action is to set the default runlevel to 5) # A command to execute (optional)

There is no command to execute in the preceding initdefault example because a command doesn’t make sense in the context of setting the default runlevel. Look a little further down in inittab, until you see a line like this:

l5:5:wait:/etc/rc.d/rc 5

This line triggers most of the system configuration and services through the rc*.d and init.d directories. You can see that init is set to execute a command called /etc/rc.d/rc 5 when in runlevel 5. The wait action tells when and how init runs the command: run rc 5 once when entering runlevel 5, and then wait for this command to finish before doing anything else.

There are several different actions in addition to initdefault and wait, especially pertaining to power management, and the inittab(5) manual page tells you all about them. The ones that you’re most likely to encounter are explained in the following sections.


The respawn action causes init to run the command that follows, and if the command finishes executing, to run it again. You’re likely to see something similar to this line in your inittab file:

1:2345:respawn:/sbin/mingetty tty1

The getty programs provide login prompts. The preceding line is for the first virtual console (/dev/tty1), the one you see when you press ALT-F1 or CONTROL-ALT-F1. The respawn action brings the login prompt back after you log out.


The ctrlaltdel action controls what the system does when you press CONTROL-ALT-DELETE on a virtual console. On most systems, this is some sort of reboot command using the shutdown command.


The sysinit action is the very first thing that init should run when it starts up, before entering any runlevels.

How processes in runlevels start

You are now ready to learn how init starts the system services, just before it lets you log in. Recall this inittab line from earlier:

l5:5:wait:/etc/rc.d/rc 5

memelinux-levelsThis small line triggers many other programs. rc stands for run commands, and you will hear people refer to the commands as scripts, programs, or services. So, where are these commands, anyway?

For runlevel 5, in this example, the commands are probably either in /etc/rc.d/rc5.d or /etc/rc5.d. Runlevel 1 uses rc1.d, runlevel 2 uses rc2.d, and so on. You might find the following items in the rc5.d directory:

S10sysklogd S20ppp S99gpm S12kerneld S25netstd_nfs S99httpd S15netstd_init S30netstd_misc S99rmnologin S18netbase S45pcmcia S99sshd S20acct S89atd S20logoutd S89cron

The rc 5 command starts programs in this runlevel directory by running the following commands:

  • S10sysklogd start
  • S12kerneld start
  • S15netstd_init start
  • S18netbase start
  • S99sshd start

Notice the start argument in each command. The S in a command name means that the command should run in start mode, and the number (00 through 99) determines where in the sequence rc starts the command.

The rc*.d commands are usually shell scripts that start programs in /sbin or /usr/sbin. Normally, you can figure out what one of the commands actually does by looking at the script with less or another pager program.

You can start one of these services by hand. For example, if you want to start the httpd Web server program manually, run S99httpd start. Similarly, if you ever need to kill one of the services when the machine is on, you can run the command in the rc*.d directory with the stop argument (S99httpd stop, for instance).

Some rc*.d directories contain commands that start with K (for “kill,” or stop mode). In this case, rc runs the command with the stop argument instead of start. You are most likely to encounter K commands in runlevels that shut the system down.

Adding and removing services

If you want to add, delete, or modify services in the rc*.d directories, you need to take a closer look at the files inside. A long listing reveals a structure like this:

lrwxrwxrwx . . . S10sysklogd -> ../init.d/sysklogd lrwxrwxrwx . . . S12kerneld -> ../init.d/kerneld lrwxrwxrwx . . . S15netstd_init -> ../init.d/netstd_init lrwxrwxrwx . . . S18netbase -> ../init.d/netbase …

The commands in an rc*.d directory are actually symbolic links to files in an init.d directory, usually in /etc or /etc/rc.d. Linux distributions contain these links so that they can use the same startup scripts for all runlevels. This convention is by no means a requirement, but it often makes organization a little easier.

To prevent one of the commands in the init.d directory from running in a particular runlevel, you might think of removing the symbolic link in the appropriate rc*.d directory. This does work, but if you make a mistake and ever need to put the link back in place, you might have trouble remembering the exact name of the link. Therefore, you shouldn’t remove links in the rc*.d directories, but rather, add an underscore (_) to the beginning of the link name like this:

  • mv S99httpd _S99httpd

At boot time, rc ignores _S99httpd because it doesn’t start with S or K. Furthermore, the original name is still obvious, and you have quick access to the command if you’re in a pinch and need to start it by hand.

To add a service, you must create a script like the others in the init.d directory and then make a symbolic link in the correct rc*.d directory. The easiest way to write a script is to examine the scripts already in init.d, make a copy of one that you understand, and modify the copy.

When adding a service, make sure that you choose an appropriate place in the boot sequence to start the service. If the service starts too soon, it may not work, due to a dependency on some other service. For non-essential services, most systems administrators prefer numbers in the 90s, after most of the services that came with the system.

Linux distributions usually come with a command to enable and disable services in the rc*.d directories. For example, in Debian, the command is update-rc.d, and in Red Hat Linux, the command is chkconfig. Graphical user interfaces are also available. Using these programs helps keep the startup directories consistent and helps with upgrades.

HINT: One of the most common Linux installation problems is an improperly configured XFree86 server that flicks on and off, making the system unusable on console. To stop this behavior, boot into single-user mode and alter your runlevel or runlevel services. Look for something containing xdm, gdm, or kdm in your rc*.d directories, or your /etc/inittab.

Controlling init

Occasionally, you need to give init a little kick to tell it to switch runlevels, to re-read the inittab file, or just to shut down the system. Because init is always the first process on a system, its process ID is always 1.

You can control init with telinit. For example, if you want to switch to runlevel 3, use this command:

  • telinit 3

When switching runlevels, init tries to kill off any processes that aren’t in the inittab file for the new runlevel. Therefore, you should be careful about changing runlevels.

When you need to add or remove respawning jobs or make any other change to the inittab file, you must tell init about the change and cause it to re-read the file. Some people use kill -HUP 1 to tell init to do this. This traditional method works on most versions of Unix, as long as you type it correctly. However, you can also run this telinit command:

  • telinit q

You can also use telinit s to switch to single-user mode.

Shutting down

shutdown_button_wallpaperinit also controls how the system shuts down and reboots. The proper way to shut down a Linux machine is to use the shutdown command.

There are two basic ways to use shutdown. If you halt the system, it shuts the machine down and keeps it down. To make the machine halt immediately, use this command:

  • shutdown -h now

On most modern machines with reasonably recent versions of Linux, a halt cuts the power to the machine. You can also reboot the machine. For a reboot, use -r instead of -h.

The shutdown process takes several seconds. You should never reset or power off a machine during this stage.

In the preceding example, now is the time to shut down. This argument is mandatory, but there are many ways of specifying it. If you want the machine to go down sometime in the future, one way is to use +n, where n is the number of minutes shutdown should wait before doing its work. For other options, look at the shutdown manual page.

To make the system reboot in 10 minutes, run this command:

  • shutdown -r +10

On Linux, shutdown notifies anyone logged on that the machine is going down, but it does little real work. If you specify a time other than now, shutdown creates a file called /etc/nologin. When this file is present, the system prohibits logins by anyone except the superuser.

When system shutdown time finally arrives, shutdown tells init to switch to runlevel 0 for a halt and runlevel 6 for a reboot. When init enters runlevel 0 or 6, all of the following takes place, which you can verify by looking at the scripts inside rc0.d and rc6.d:

1. init kills every process that it can (as it would when switching to any other runlevel).

# The initial rc0.d/rc6.d commands run, locking system files into place and making other preparations for shutdown. # The next rc0.d/rc6.d commands unmount all filesystems other than the root. # Further rc0.d/rc6.d commands remount the root filesystem read-only. # Still more rc0.d/rc6.d commands write all buffered data out to the filesystem with the sync program. # The final rc0.d/rc6.d commands tell the kernel to reboot or stop with the reboot, halt, or poweroff program.

The reboot and halt programs behave differently for each runlevel, potentially causing confusion. By default, these programs call shutdown with the -r or -h options, but if the system is already at the halt or reboot runlevel, the programs tell the kernel to shut itself off immediately. If you really want to shut your machine down in a hurry (disregarding any possible damage from a disorderly shutdown), use the -f option.