Windows Live beta

Windows Live beta.

I test drived it and feel it’s like Google personalized page, a portal like homepage, you can integrate your content such as email, flickr RSS feed and a lot of third-party gadgets into one convenient place. AJAX technique is used so very little page reload is needed and drag-and-drop is also usable. As a matter of fact, I am more interested in Windows Live Mail and Messenger. But up to date they are still in development and sign up is not available yet.

UPDATE: Today (3/7/06) I was invited to try the new Windows Live Mail beta, which is supposed to give to those “Hotmail VIPs” as in the invitation email (I feel a little bit flattered though I never use Hotmail to deal with any of my emails… :) ). I feel it’s more like a “web-based traditional email client”. The speed is good, but there are ad’s flashing on the page. It’s not firefox friendly definitely, because you will not be able to access some of the options if you are with firefox browser. Anyway, if you are interested in finding out how Hotmail is going to respond to Gmail‘s big popularity, you’d better try it out by yourself.

Gmail for your domain

Gmail for your domain.

UPDATE: submitted application on 2/24/06 but still have not heard from Google yet.

UPDATE: Received beta tester invitation on 3/27/06. So I can provide email addresses such as username [at] gqshen [dot] com powered by Gmail:

Personal social bookmarks

Insipid, a clone, can be used as personal (private) bookmark management system. It’s easy to install and use.

Among its simple but nice features, my favorites are to set bookmarks private and to get the snapshot of the bookmarked website.

Create your own browser toolbar

Create your own browser toolbar in several simple steps. You can add your personalized links or RSS feeds on it and share with others. Interesting idea. Click the link below to create your own brand now.

My favorite freebies

FREE does not mean “not good”, sometimes it only means “not perfect enough”.

  • Email: Gmail. It simply rocks and totally changes my email using habit, especially my attitude toward web mail. I believe it’s not perfect yet because it’s still in “beta” stage.
  • Photo sharing: Flickr. Another “beta” service, but it stands out and blows those not-beta-and-even-not-free services away.
  • Online album: Gallery. I have been using this great software for about five years and its neat layout and robustness satisfies me a lot.
  • Blogware: WordPress. This blog is running on it.
  • Online RSS reader: Bloglines. The first one on my browser’s quick links.
  • Browser: FireFox. After several “to change or not to change (from IE)” rounds, I finally dumped IE. FireFox with Tabbrowser Preferences and other nicely written extensions surely make me one of the happy FireFox users.
  • Social bookmarks: Now even there’s a FireFox extension for it.
  • DNS: ZoneEdit. Their free DNS service just makes things done perfectly. I used their service for two weeks before I finally moved my DNS records to my hosting company, and I was impressed by their efficient service and extremely simple configurations. Besides, their nslookup service is neat too.
  • Online notebook: Google Notebook. It’s a handy tool to record contents, including pictures, on a web page being visited. With the firefox extension, it’s a click away.

A cool software

Magic Map
This software is pretty cool. You input a telephone number then it will output name, detailed address and even map! Give it a try and you will be impressed.

Zoto – another choice for online photo sharing

zoto is another pretty good online photo sharing service comparable to flickr.

Flick toys

Virus attack

Though I use my computer very carefully and always keep in mind to beware of virus and spyware, I still got my computer attacked by a worm virus last week. I was noticed by our network administrator that my internet connection was cut off because they received complaint from a Denish network administrator that my computer kept scanning their computers in hacking manners. Our admin suggested me to reinstall my system and rebuild my computer but I think this is very troublesome because I have to reinstall all the applications on my computer. So I tried to resolve this security issue by digging into the system.

1. Since last Thursday, I found a popup error message for “remotetest1.3.exe” and asked me if I want to report this error to Microsoft or not. I got this message for the first time when I was using my computer via remote desktop from home. And after that I lost the network connection to my office computer, I believe they cut it down. Then I checked my registry and found a suspect key “Microsoft Update Service=cssrs.exe“, which appears in both HKLM/Software/Microsoft/Windows/CurrentVersion/Run/” and “HKLM/Software/Microsoft/Windows/CurrentVersion/RunServices/“. I searched the internet and found it’s a worm virus. The filename “cssrs.exe” is very like the “csrss.exe” from the system so can be easily ignored. These registries were deleted.

2. I scanned my computer with Norton AntiVirus and Webroot Spy Sweeper with latest virus definitions loaded, to make sure that my computer is now virus and spyware free. During this procedure, a “NetSky” worm virus was found and deleted. Besides that, I found some suspect files in my web server root directory, including an “explorer.exe” file, which is loaded into memory when Windows starts up. They were deleted as well.

3. I upgraded the system to Microsoft Windows XP SP2 for enhanced security features. And autoupdate for Windows is always on.

4. I installed a third-party firewall software, ZoneLabs Integrity Desktop, which can control both inbound and outbound network traffic. And every in/out-bound network traffic needs my authorization. This is much better than the firewall comes with XP SP2, which can only block incoming access.

After all these steps, my computer works very well so far.

Flickr album

Flick Album.

This site can generate a looks-like-real photo album for you. What you need to input is your flickr ID name and tag of the photos you want to include in the album. Here’s the one I tried: slide show.