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Mic check, 1 2 3…

Posted by hs on October 6, 2007

Testing if this thing still works.


Posted in D'oh, Rant | Tagged: | 1 Comment »

Microsoft WMF Vulnerability – Patch Conundrum

Posted by hs on January 5, 2006

There has been a slew of patches for the WMF Vulnerability. In addition to the unofficial patch by Ilfak Guilfanov, a as-yet-unfinished Microsoft patch was released online inadvertently.

The vulnerability is very critical in the sense that the user does not need to do anything, except view the image. This can be viewed either in a email or via a browser. Microsoft refused to depart from its monthly patch-release schedule to release an express patch. This gives a cosy 10-day window for the vulnerability to wreck its way worldwide.

Meanwhile Ilfak rose to the occasion and posted an unofficial patch on this website. His site was down earlier due to humongous load (‘half the planet is downloading WMFFIX_HEXBLOG14.exe’), but is back now. The patch has also been mirrored by a number of sites including,, Sunbelt Software, Antisource. F-Secure and Internet Storm Center (SANS) recommended that customers use Ilfak’s patches while Microsoft puts its patch together.

Update: Microsoft has released a patch – it is being automatically applied to machines (Win XP SP2 atleast) with Automatic Updates enabled.

Keywords: WMF, Vulnerability, Microsoft, Ilfak Guilfanov, Patch, WMFFIX_HEXBLOG, WMFFIX_HEXBLOG14,, Window, Patch Schedule, F-Secure, Internet Storm Center, SANS, FAQ, Securiteam, Advisory

Posted in Bug/Vulnerability, Computing, Internet | 1 Comment »

A Google ‘Failure’

Posted by hs on December 28, 2005

Here’s a fluke:

1. Goto 

2. Type ‘failure’ (without the quotes) in the search box

3. Press “I’m Feeling Lucky”

4. Voila! (if you did’t get it, here’s the link to the site)

Keywords: Google, Failure, I’m Feeling Lucky, Fluke, Fun

Posted in Fun | 2 Comments »

Largest Prime Number Found

Posted by hs on December 27, 2005

The Great Internet Mersenne Prime Search (GIMPS) project has found the largest prime number for the second time this year. On Dec. 15, the team discovered a Mersenne Prime that is a 9,152,052-digit number. Here’s the press release (may not be online).
Mersenne Primes are a subclass of Prime numbers, and are defined as a prime numbers which are 1 less than a power of 2. 7 is a Mersenne Prime since it is 2^3 -1.

The prime discovered is the 43rd Mersenne Prime discovered so far, but fails short of claiming the $100,000 award from Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) to be awarded for discovering a 10-million digit prime number (part of EFF Cooperative Computing Awards).

Keywords: Prime Number, Mersenne Prime, Mersenne, Largest Prime, EFF, GIMPS, Prize, 10 million digit prime, Cooperative Computing Award 

Posted in Computing, General | 1 Comment »

Winter Solstice

Posted by hs on December 21, 2005

Today is Solstice – Winter Solstice in Northern Hemisphere – the longest night, or the shortest day – whichever way you see it. Sun is over Tropic of Capricorn (and thus in the Southern Hemisphere, its Summer Solstice – longest day/shortest night).

Solstice is not always wonderful, it can be especially hard on some people. Dark periods affect people negatively and they take to various things to get over the blues. The seasonal variation of light causes Seasonal Affective Disorder that is not exactly what the doctor would order for holiday season.
The Winter is officially here!

Keywords: Solstice, Winter Solstice, Longest Night, Shortest Day, Winter start, Seasonal Affective Disorder, SAD, Holiday Season, NMHA, Northern Hemisphere, Southern Hemisphere, Tropic of Capricorn, Sun

Posted in General | Leave a Comment »

AOL-Google Deal Closer

Posted by hs on December 19, 2005

(Updating a previous post)

NYTimes is reporting in AOL’s Choice of Google Leaves Microsoft as the Outsider that Time Warner would formally announce tomorrow Google buying 5% stake in AOL.

There’s an interesting parallel that NYT draws out between circa 1997 Netscape-IE battles and Google-MSN battles of today, with the slight twist: Microsoft is on the other side. Although MS was believed to have almost clinched the deal about 3 months back, this is what seems to have turned the tables: Microsoft’s refusal to take AOL’s Internet-access business, and its decision not to contribute its e-mail, messenger and, most important, its new portal to the venture.

AOL and Microsoft also passed on a chance to create a third big portal to compete against Yahoo & Google.

Google, on the other hand, provides AOL with, what is, arguably the best Internet search technology currently. It would also help AOL in sending traffic to AOL’s free, advertising-supported Web sites and give AOL the ability to offer its existing advertisers search ads for the first time and will allow AOL’s sales force to sell display advertising on Google’s extensive network.
Yahoo might have to look for other ventures for its search service business – MSN might switch away from Yahoo once its own technology matures, and that might be as early as next year.

Update: NYTimes Business report – AOL and Google Formalize Partnership to Include Shared Selling of Ads
Keywords: Google, AOL, Deal, Stake, MSN, Yahoo, Netscape, IE, Search, Advertising

Posted in Economics, Internet, Tech/Biz | Leave a Comment »

Gmail Easter Egg

Posted by hs on December 18, 2005

Here’s an undocumented Gmail feature

Gmail (Google Mail) ignores the period (.) in the addresses. So, all the following addresses are perfectly legal and would deliver to the same mailbox:

  • reach.singhsong
  • reachsinghsong
  • r.e.a.c.h.singhsong

However, the username still remains the one you had signed up with.

Keywords: Gmail, Google Mail, Easter Egg, Period, Dot, Ignore, Mail address, Email

Posted in Internet | Leave a Comment »

Gmail Holiday Bonanza

Posted by hs on December 18, 2005

Gmail has come up with a bunch of cool features recently. Significant ones:

  • RSS Feeds (Tip: If you want to add your own RSS feed, put the feed URI in the Search box, and once Gmail shows you the feed with Title, etc., you can add it)
  • Vacation Autoresponder: with some nifty customizable features (for example: Do not send an autoresponse more than once in 4 days)
  • Contact Groups: Useful for arranging managing the humongous addressbooks.

Read about more features here.
Makes for a real good bunch of holiday goodies 🙂

Keywords: Gmail, Features, Google Mail, RSS Feeds, Vacation Autoresponder, Autoresponse, Out of Office, Contact Groups, Holiday, Goodies, New Features, Virus Scanning, Read, Office document, HTML, PDF

Posted in Internet | Leave a Comment »

The Newest Outsourcing Dimension – OutSexing

Posted by hs on December 18, 2005

Caution: Strong language, reader discretion advised.

HE: Honey, its Friday night. Time for “fun?!!
SHE: (I’m done with headaches, back aches, this ache and that ache…need to find out a work around soon): Yes!! You know our neighbors have come across this concept of outsourcing “fun? to India…and they call it as outsexing. We just have to DIAL 1-800-Out-Sexing for India and ask operator to connect to any couple of our choice. That’s it.
HE: Is it that simple? Wow!! I think we should give it a try. What say hun?
SHE: Go ahead!!

Read the complete conversation here.

Keywords: Risque, Outsourcing, New Frontier, Dimension

Posted in Fun, Risque | Leave a Comment »

Google to buy stake in AOL?

Posted by hs on December 16, 2005

Coming as it does shortly after Steve Case made the case for splitting Time Warner (AOL – A Time-less Saga?), BBC is carrying a news item on purported sale of 5% stake in AOL to Google at approximately $1 billion.

This is especially valuable for Google since its the current search provider for, and gets 2-4% of its annual net revenues. Google might also be interested in leveraging AIM (AOL Instant Messenger). AOL is valuable also because its one of the few independent big portals left. Google can’t afford to lose it to MSN or Yahoo (which already have their own portals – and

On the flip side, Google might have already recouped some of the deal cost as reflected in the share price jump (7% to $435.20).

However, Carl Icahn doesn’t seem to be pleased:

It is my belief that, if the proper partner were allowed to have control of AOL, shareholder value would be much more greatly enhanced than through a half-hearted joint venture that might only serve the purpose of entrenching management.

Keywords: AOL, Google, Stake, 5%, Share price, Carl Icahn,, MSN, Yahoo, Search engine, Portal, Steve Case, BBC, Sale

Posted in Economics, Internet, Tech/Biz | 1 Comment »