Category Archives: Computers

Staying “off the grid” [volume.1]

We all need a Social Security number, but who said we actually have to use it?

If you’re unsure what living “off the grid” refers to, think of M. Night Shymalan’s The Village. Complete disconnection from the rest of the world, especially corporations and the government. That’s true living off the grid, however, today that’s near, if not impossible for almost everyone, so I’ll bring you monthly tips on how to keep yourself as best off the grid as possible.

What’s the benefit from staying “off the grid”? Hopefully you’ll find your own personal reason(s) as you read through these posts. I can think of one thing that most of us can enjoy with little to no fear of having a shaded knock at our doors.

First, the basics;

Before I begin, I want to say: stop, using, Google. They index everything you search, and while it may be anonymous, if you have to use it, do it at a library.

  • Financial: No checks, no credit cards. Green = good, pay for everything in cash and change only. Don’t get a bank account, get a piggy bank. Also, loans or anything that require your information to truly optional places of financial standing are something you should avoid. Save your money and store it securely.
  • Security: Invest in a good ol’ fashioned Louisville Slugger, not an alarm system. Some alarm companies (Brinks, ADT, not necessarily them however) have the capability of monitoring the activity of their systems without any malicious activity having to go on, not to mention that’s another place where some of your most sensitive information goes. Look at the bright side, an alarm system offers no physical defense. Baseball bats, now, that’s another story. Be creative with a homemade alarm system. Get in the green mentality and recycle those noisy soda cans in a unique way.
  • Health: This one’s tough. Hospitals are nice, but if you can manage to find the right free clinic and take good care of yourself, you won’t have to give anything more than your name and a place for them to send the bill, which brings me to my next point.
  • Mail: Get a post office box, and have ALL of your mail go to that. An average post office box costs a little over $100 a year. Not bad at all for personal security. Not to mention any spam that you catch is diffused by the simple change of your box number, instead of having to move.

While that may be a short list, it takes a good effort to implement into your life. Please comment on this post with your experiences or if you have any suggestions.

[ Source: experience ]

God speed, and Best wishes.

¥

Brain Train. [part 2]

Briefly, I would just like to apologize for being absent last week. However, due to the events I promise you better information than what was available last week.

Also, I have two shout outs: One for all the Indy fans out there! I hope you all enjoy the movie today (or last night) as much as I’m sure I will this weekend. Secondly, a dedication to a very special someone who has loyally read my articles and grown to become one of the single most important things in my life. You know who you are. : ) Thank you for everything.

On to this week in That’s GN:

Have you ever done something, and later you realize you have no idea why? This is commonly dubbed as an “impulsive action” or usually something you do that you “didn’t think about”. How would you like to be in better control of, not only your impulses, but know how to tap into the impulses of others?

You have three brains, similar to what we discovered last week. What we’ll talk about this week is the survival part of our brain, that controls involuntary actions like breathing and our heart beat.

There are 6 stimuli, or, “attractions” that need to be understood about our “old brain”. It has been dubbed the old brain since every living creature requires it, and in fact has it, to sustain their life. The other 2 brains we as humans possess, many other mammals and creatures do not. Let’s divide these stimuli into points:

1: Self centered – To illustrate, please watch this video:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=–Fwjtd_KxI

This is an example of the old brain lacking communication with your other brains, thus working on instinct rather than incorporating and reason into the decision. Thus the humor of the commercial, since anyone in their right mind would make a different decision.

2: Contrast – Our old brain easily picks out differences, or contrasts such as night and day, near and far, black and white.

3: Tangible – Things we can touch and feel whether it be physically or something we perceive to be real, despite how unrealistic it is to our minds (in other words by sight), it can appeal to us. Here’s another commercial that will give you an exaggerated idea of this:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=67MuBNnJC60&NR=1

While we know it’s (most likely) impossible to get the strength to push a car over a cliff from an energy bar, the point is well made, that this energy bar will give you a very good dose of energy. Instead of telling the consumer it does, they make the idea tangible by appealing to your tangible senses.

4: Beginnings and Ends – Please read this passage out loud:

“Aoccdrnig to a rscheearch at Cmabrigde Uinervtisy, it deosn’t mttaer in waht oredr the ltteers in a wrod are, the olny iprmoetnt tihng is taht the frist and lsat ltteer be at the rghit pclae. The rset can be a total mses and you can sitll raed it wouthit porbelm. Tihs is bcuseae the huamn mnid deos not raed ervey lteter by istlef, but the wrod as a wlohe.”

How long did it take you to read that? Surely not very long compared to if it was unscrambled. In addition to this point, YOU MAY NOTICE THAT IT’S PROBABLY EASIER TO READ NON-CAPITALIZED SENTENCES SINCE CAPITAL LETTERS ARE NON-FEATURELESS BLOCKS yet sentences with letters having more variety in ascending and descending fashion are easier to differentiate between letters.

5: Visual – Aristotle said the mind needs an image to think. This is fundamentally entirely true. You can first think of when we hear a loud crash, you might think someone is breaking into your house. You naturally visualize on impulse someone breaking into your house, so you think of that. When we see an image, a split second process occurs.

To explain, there are actually two reactions that occur, and each follow a separate path through your brain. Both paths start at the thalamus where they split. The faster reaction path goes to the amygdala which specializes in reacting and triggering what you would consider the emotional fear. The second path travels to the cortex first, where the information received is analyzed using information from the other parts of the brain, then to the amygdala. The first, faster path produces an immediate “instinct” like reaction 250 times faster than the second path, which determines whether or not the reaction is actually needed. In this example, the loud crash could be a harmless cat, instead of a robber as our immediate reaction might tell us.

Even though the reaction differences are so fast, 250 times is still much faster. Coupled with that reaction speed, once an emotion is turned on, it’s difficult for the cortex and your reasoning to turn it off, so fishing for this sense makes your “hook” difficult to unhook.

6: Emotion – Do you remember where you were and what you were doing on 9/11? For the more experienced audience, what about Apollo 13 or Kennedy’s assassination? I remember where I was and what my family said exactly during the morning of 9/11. Our old brain makes associations with emotion. Very few of us weren’t heavily impacted by 9/11, and most of us probably remember exactly what was happening when we actually heard the news, not necessarily when it actually happened.

—–

Whether your talking to someone, giving a sales pitch, or even picking someone up, keeping in mind these 6 stimuli will give your message more attraction to that instinctual part of your brain. Why is that such a big deal? When something appeals to your involuntary senses, it makes more sense to your voluntary senses to move forward or progress in that direction; it makes it more reasonable to come to an acceptance of it.

[ Sources: http://www.neuromarketing.com ; Entrepreneur.com – Is there a buy button? Inside the brain. ; Serendip.BrynMawr.edu – The Role of the Amygdala (paragraph 4) ]

God speed, and Best wishes.

¥

Silence Your Hard Drive Through Rubber Suspension

Guys, I was looking around at LifeHacker and I was brought to this article where this guy used rubber elastic bands from his craft store to tie up his hard drive.  The effect?  The elastic bands takes case of the vibrations, so it does not go through the rest of the case.  Pretty cool, eh?  Of course, there is a slight temperature rise in the hard drive itself, since it is not secured to the hard drive chassis for conduction.

Nonetheless, a very sick DIY mod.  Check out the rest of the article below:

Source

First Sale Doctrine == $null? && RIAA == /diffused?

Hey faithful Underground readers. Normally I would post a life post, unfortunately it’s going to have to be delayed one week.

Currently, I am undergoing a project which collects the landmark events of digital history relating to piracy, laws on the electronic frontier, and the serious lack of competence and open minds in authority and political figures in today’s world.

I stumbled across this post yesterday, and felt it was my duty to link it and spread the news as much as possible. It’s yet again, a prime example of the ludicrous behaviors we see from the very people we entrust our sustenance and security to.

Essentially, Universal Media Group is [quoted] “saying that merely by putting some fine print on a CD, it can effectively ‘own’ that CD forever.”

I’ll let you read the article and decide for yourself.

http://svextra.com/blogs/gmsv/2008/04/uh_that_promo_copy_of_bad_we_sent_you_in_87_it_was_a_loaner_and_we_want_it_back.html

Another few day old piece of news, is posted here by the magnificent crew over at Ars Technica, about some interesting RIAA developments. This adds a great outlook on the recent Andersen vs. RIAA case from a few weeks ago:

http://arstechnica.com/news.ars/post/20080402-maine-law-students-try-to-derail-riaa-lawsuit-express.html

[ Sources: Article stumbled upon @ Silicon Valley.com ; LARGE PDF file of court case – EFF.org RIAA working diffusal – ArsTechnica.com ]

God speed, and Best wishes.

¥

Battle of the Banners- Animation at Work!

Beta Test- The Underground Banner

The Underground – Version 3

OK everyone, prepare to break out the Photoshop tools and brush up on your Animating Skills because THE UNDERGROUND wants to see your best work!

 

This post is both a Beta testing of a few simple banners of our own AND

A Competition amongst ALL The Underground Members/Guests that wish to participate. The competition is to see who can create the best animated banner. It is better if it has an “Underground” theme but all themes will be accepted. The best of the best will be chosen by popularity. The Underground Members will decide who is the WINNER!

 

All entries can be submitted as direct links in the Comments section or emailed to i.am.neverending@gmail.com. You can’t see pictures in the comments so you must post a link instead. Pictures emailed will be uploaded and posted on here.

(Submissions will be added to this post so that people can see them on this page as well)

 

Deadline For Submissions is: TBA, Keep Submitting!!!

Winners Will Be Announced on: TBA, Keep Submitting!!!

Frets On Fire – The Free Guitar Hero

Frets On Fire- Pose

Frets on Fire

“Frets on Fire is a game of musical skill and fast fingers. The aim of the game is to play guitar with the keyboard as accurately as possible.” – Source

Frets on Fire is an amazing program that allows you to play a Guitar Hero like game on your computer without spending $80-100 on the guitar and game. This game is free and guess what! You can put ANY songs you want on it! I have found a good collection of songs you can download for it and the link is below. As for the game, a Free download can be found below as well.

FoF Download

A Good Collection of Songs to use with FoF

Enjoy rocking out on your keyboard!

~Musicmasteria

FREE PS3- Check This Out!!!

[App] ClearType Tuner Powertoy

ClearType Tuner is, by far, the best thing one can do for his or her eyes when reading text on an LCD monitor or any type of monitor. Its purpose is to make text more readable and easier on the eye by allowing the user to go through a series of text selections and pick the one that is the most readable. By doing so, the program will automatically adjust the text to your previous selections. Of course, the example that Microsoft previews to the viewer is atrocious, but the subtle changes can make a big difference over time. ClearType Tuner can be done through Microsoft’s online site or with the installer that it provides to you. Due to the dimensions of this blog, it is simply better to view the picture on the former site.

ClearType Tuner: http://www.microsoft.com/typography/cleartype/tuner/Step1.aspx

New Proxy

I am proud to present to you….. the TCSU Proxy. I have upgrades hosting companies andTCSU I am getting a $1500 server (free). The new proxy will not allow you to view Youtube videos but will allow most other things. Please click the ad to keep this proxy up! Click the picture to go to the proxy!

[Edit 6/28/08] UltraSurf – World’s Best Proxy Surfing Technology

[EDIT: 1/30/08 – We at The Underground strive to get you the best programs, information, etc. It has come to my attention that Ultra Surf is not working as well as it should. Anti-virus programs have now named it a Trojan and will not let you install it with the anti-virus on. Because this file is marked potentially dangerous, you are downloading it at your own risk. If you have already downloaded it, you may remove it if you wish. There hasn’t been any large complaints about it but for the security of your info, you may want to scan your computer, delete the ultra surf file (if necessary), and find an alternative proxy program (or wait for us to do the searching for you!).]

Addition: 3/7/08 – Download link for a newer version of Ultra Surf has been added

Addition: 6/6/08 – Removed Rapidshare links to not violate WordPress ToS.

Addition: 6/28/08- Added Direct Download Link From UltraReach/Wujie (UltraSurf’s Company)

So at one point we had a post telling you all a bunch of proxies that would let you access blocked sites at school, libraries, etc. Well we found that, actually, the blocking programs got a step ahead and even blocked those site so you couldn’t even get to the proxy page in the first place. Well guess what, here at The Underground we like being the one with the step ahead so I did a little searching for you all… and found this- UltraSurf!

Why does this work instead of the proxy web site?

  • Because the web blocking programs block the sites but they can’t block a proxy program running on the computer itself.
  • That’s right, this is a program, not a website.
  • UltraSurf is the back door you are looking for!

Here is some info on UltraSurf:

So what exactly it is??

It is the flagship software product from UltraReach Internet Corp. for Internet anti-censorship. It enables users inside countries with heavy Internet censorship to visit any public web sites in the world safely and freely. it enables users to browse any website freely just the same as using the regular IE browser while it automatically searches the highest speed proxy servers in the background.

Learn More

What does it means??

  • 100% freedom to have 100% information in most secure way.
  • It means no matter where you are you can access 100% freeversion of internet I mean no firewalls no restriction nothing….
  • Almost all schools, universities and corporate offices raise firewalls to filter out not work related sites, now those firewalls will be of no use or they have to change their plans.
  • Everybody can access various social networks like Orkut, Youtube, Myspace, Hi5, Facebook, Linkedin etc. which are blocked almost in 99% schools and offices.
  • 100% real time and it’s encryption is better then any online banking system.

How to get going??

It’s very simple you have to just-

  • download an exe file [Download Below]
  • then extract it
  • and run
  • Set proxy if u have any (generally in offices internet are provided through proxies, you can find that, through tools>>internet options>>Connections>>LAN Settings>> there you are with proxy server for your LAN and it’s port
  • Just copy that to proxy settings of Ultrasurf.
  • Then a window will pop up, says some thing in Chinese, just close this window
  • And open fresh internet explorer
  • There you are, you can surf any information.
  • For office people: beware don’t spread words to your colleagues keep this info as limited as you can, coz if system people got to know about it then they’ll take your comp for scrutinizing.

What is the Flip Side??

I should start with a quote that I’ve learnt in my life

“Too much freedom can Make you or it can Break you”

The flip side is that you can access to anything, I think you got my point, In school, universities and Work office various sites are blocked to raise their efficiency and productivity, and it is very much likely that if anyone get freedom he/she will definitely try to miss use it.

Source

So do you want this program now, or should I just give it to you later? Lol, like I guessed, you want to Now. Well fine I guess I can give you a couple of download links…

  • Rapidshare: [download removed]
  • NEW – VERSION 8: [download removed]
  • Geocities: on request
  • Other: on second request (shouldn’t need this but just in case)
  • Direct Download Link From UltraReach/Wujie: DOWNLOAD

Please Use Rapidshare if you can because I’m gathering points for your downloads. THANK YOU!

OK so once downloaded, unzip it (if at school, put it on your student folder so it will go with you from computer to computer, just hide it a little) and run the program. It will open up a web browser and another small program window. You will also see a Lock in the bottom right corner of the screen (I don’t know how to get it off but it doesn’t really bother me). Minimize the small program window and surf away on the web browser!

Enjoy your surfing freedom! Use it wisely and try and keep it a secrete because the schools, libraries, etc. will eventually find out if enough people are using it. This thing would spread like good gossip!!!

Ubuntu Customization Guide v2

    Avid Linux Blogger just made an amazing guide on how-to customize Ubuntu Linux. It’s 100% Compatible with Gutsy Gibbon 7.10 and shows you not only how to get widgets and the compiz fusion effects set up and working but also teachs alot on using AWN Windows navigator and how to mess with system sounds, Themes, Splash Screens, etc.

If you want you linux looking alot less like well…. linux then check it out here at the Tux Enclave