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What I Learned Today

How to Enter God Mode in Windows 7 or Vista

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This is a really cool little trick. Want to have all admin controls available in one place (actually one "folder")? All you need to do is create a folder somewhere and rename it to


Inside this folder a lot of items will appear, everything from Device Manager to Firewall, Printer, Sharing settings and many more will be just a click away.


Proxing a cybercrime? Not too remote a possibility

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I've often wandered who would be willing to "donate" his or her own computer to work as a proxy. Proxies allow people to pretend they are surfing, accessing a website, etc. from a location which is different from their real one. It turns out people don't really do that willingly, as this interesting post describes. There is a public (but not free...) service on the web that lets you select where you would like to be (i.e. how the site you are trying to access/trick sees you), not clear is where or rather who the proxy computer actually is. The author of the post uncovered the identities of some of them, which turned out to be servers of sizeable companies and organizations, who were reportedly unaware of the "trade" that was going on with the computer systems. The fact that mainly businesses where being "rented" as proxies was also shown by the number of available proxies, which peaked during US (there are the mostly requested proxy locations) business hours.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 12 April 2011 01:50

Computational Knowledge Engine

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A cool tool that lets you search for things, compute the square root of two, convert from dollars to yen, find the value of Pi, and all in a single text box. That's what I call the "Google principle", functions look extremely streamlined, no unnecessary hassle for the user... type and go, sort of.

And this tool is a sort of google but with a better chance of getting an answer, when there is supposed to be an answer anyway. Though you can ask something like "Ultimate Question of Life, the Universe, and Everything", you will get in reply a quote from one of the books from Douglas Adams' humorous science-fiction novels (like The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, The Restaurant at the End of the Universe, ...).


Power Adapter: 115V more efficient than 230V

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Was looking at the energy report from Apple, regarding their MacBook and MacBook Pro models. It turns out a power adapter working at 100V consumes less power (in terms of Watt) than the same adapter (presumably) working at 230V. This happens in all situations from "computer off" (0.25W vs. 0.27V) to "display on" (12.2W vs. 12.4W). On the other hand the efficiency is higher for the higher voltage range (due to the higher ratio of voltage downgrading I suppose), and in general very high for the Macs (close to 90% in both cases).

While 100/115V wins here I think the transmission is more efficient with a higher voltage (might be wrong here...), so the way from the substation to the power socket is in favour of the 230V voltage. Of course a thousand other factors affect in actual practice the real efficiency and with it ultimately power consumption of our PCs.

(cool thing I remember seeing: A version of google "in black", which is supposed to make our screen save energy by displaying darker pixels)


Feature Phones Crashed by SMS Virus

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What is a "feature phone" anyway? It is, as I've learned, a "normal cellphone", i.e. not a smartphone. One of those "old" phones 80% of worldwide mobile phones users (including myself) rely on. It turns out these old phones can be crashed quite easily by a malicious SMS through "special binary characters and overflowed headers" according to this article.

The process is aided by the network carrier repeating the sending operation when this fails, and by a special shutdown watchdog which is built in in some older Nokia phones, which shuts down the phone after receiving three malformed SMSes in a row.

What's not so bad in all this, is that the effects are only temporary, as the phone will work fine after restarting.


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