Nov 3, 2009

New features in Ubuntu 9.10

New features in 9.10 since Ubuntu 9.04

These features are showcased for your attention.


As part of our boot performance work, we have now transitioned to Upstart. If you are testing on your primary machine, we strongly suggest having an Ubuntu 9.10 LiveCD available, or creating an Alpha 5 USB startup disk before doing an upgrade. This will allow us to help you recover in the case that something goes wrong during the boot of your system after upgrade. We request that all bugs affecting the performance or functionality of boot be tagged with ubuntu-boot in Launchpad.

Boot Experience

We've done some work on improving the overall look and feel of booting the system. Please open bugs with the tag "ubuntu-boot-experience" on any messages you see flashed after grub loads and before the new Ubuntu Splash screen (xsplash) displays. If you have trouble catching them before the splash screen loads, you can also check vt1 or dmesg output for copies of these messages. We also accept photos or video attachments if that's easier, however please make sure the text is readable.

Software Center

Ubuntu 9.10 Beta includes the Ubuntu Software Center, replacing 'Add/Remove' in the Applications menu. We kindly request users to try it out, and report any bugs they find.


Ubuntu 9.10 Beta includes the latest GNOME 2.28 desktop environment with a number of great new features:
  • Empathy has replaced Pidgin as the default instant messaging client, introducing the Telepathy framework.
  • The gdm 2.28 login manager is a complete rewrite compared to the version in earlier Ubuntu releases, permitting a more integrated login experience.

Application development with Quickly

Quickly makes it easy for developers to make new applications for Ubuntu, and to share those application with other Ubuntu users via .deb packages or personal package archives.


Kubuntu 9.10 includes the first Kubuntu Netbook release, Social from the Start and the latest KDE packages. See the Kubuntu technical overview.

Ubuntu Enterprise Cloud Images

Ubuntu 9.10 Beta includes images for common use on Ubuntu Enterprise CloudEC2 Starter's Guide. (UEC) and Amazon's EC2. You can try out the latest Ubuntu 9.10 server image instantly on EC2 using a preconfigured AMI, or download an image and put it into your own Ubuntu Enterprise Cloud. For information on using UEC images on Amazon EC2, see the

Ubuntu One file sharing

Ubuntu 9.10 Beta ships the Ubuntu One file sharing service by default, providing tightly-integrated file synchronization of your computer with other computers and the Ubuntu One network storage service.

Linux kernel 2.6.31

Ubuntu 9.10 Beta includes the 2.6.31-11.36 kernel based on The kernel ships with Kernel Mode Setting enabled for Intel graphics (see below). linux-restricted-modules is deprecated in favour of DKMS packages.

hal deprecation

Ubuntu 9.10 Beta's underlying technology for power management, laptop hotkeys, and handling of storage devices and cameras maps has moved from "hal" (which is in the process of being deprecated) to "DeviceKit-power", "DeviceKit-disks" and "udev". When testing Ubuntu 9.10 Beta, please be alert for regressions in those areas and report any bugs you find.

New Intel video driver architecture available for testing

The Intel video driver has switched from the "EXA" acceleration method to the new "UXA", solving major performance problems of Ubuntu 9.04. Ubuntu 9.10 Beta also features kernel mode setting by default on Intel hardware, which reduces boot-time flickering and dramatically speeds up suspend/resume.

ext4 by default

The new "ext4" filesystem is used by default for new installations with Ubuntu 9.10 Beta; of course, other filesystems are still available via the manual partitioner. Existing filesystems will not be upgraded.
If you have full backups and are confident, you can upgrade an existing ext3 filesystem to ext4 by following directions in the Ext4 Howto. (Note that the comments on that page at the time of writing about Ubuntu's use of vol_id vs. blkid are out of date and are not applicable to Ubuntu 9.10 Beta.) Maximum performance will typically only be achieved on new filesystems, not on filesystems that have been upgraded from ext3.

GRUB 2 by default

GRUB 2 is the default boot loader for new installations with Ubuntu 9.10 Beta, replacing the previous GRUB "Legacy" boot loader. Existing systems will not be upgraded to GRUB 2 at this time, as automatically reinstalling the boot loader is an inherently risky operation.
If you wish to upgrade your system to GRUB 2, then see the GRUB 2 testingupstream draft manual. page for instructions. See also the
Some features are still missing relative to GRUB Legacy. Notable among these are lock/password support, an equivalent of grub-reboot, and Xen handling.

iSCSI installation

The iSCSI installation process has been improved, and no longer requires iscsi=true as a boot parameter; the installer will offer you the option of logging into iSCSI targets if there are no local disks, or you can select "Configure iSCSI" in the manual partitioner.
Putting the root filesystem on iSCSI is now supported.


AppArmor in Ubuntu 9.10 Beta features an improved parser that uses cache files, greatly speeding up AppArmor initialisation on boot. AppArmor also now supports 'pux' which, when specified, means a process can transition to an existing profile if one exists or simply run unconfined if one does not.

New profiles

In addition to the above changes to AppArmor itself, several profiles were added. Enforcing profiles for ntpd, the GNOME document viewer (evince), and libvirt are enabled by default. Complain mode profiles for Dovecot are now available in the apparmor-profiles package. A new profile is provided for Firefox as well, though it is disabled by default. Users can enable AppArmor sandboxing of their browser by running:
$ sudo aa-enforce /etc/apparmor.d/usr.bin.firefox-3.5

Please see the SecurityTeam/KnowledgeBase for a full listing of readily available profiles in Ubuntu.


Libvirt now contains AppArmor integration when using KVM or QEMU. Libvirtd is configured to launch virtual machines that are confined by uniquely restrictive AppArmor profiles. This feature significantly improves virtualisation in Ubuntu by providing user-space host protection as well as guest isolation.

Uncomplicated Firewall

The Uncomplicated Firewall now has support for filtering by interface and egress filtering when using the ufw command. Documentation for ufw is also improved to help users better utilise the ufw framework and take full advantage of Linux netfilter's power and flexibility. See UbuntuFirewall#Features for a full list of features.

Non-eXecutable Emulation

Non-eXecutable (NX) memory protection, also known as eXecute-Disable (XD), has always been available in Ubuntu for any systems that had the hardware to support it and ran the 64-bit kernel or the 32-bit server kernel. The 32-bit PAE desktop kernel (linux-image-generic-pae) now also provides the PAE mode needed for hardware with the NX CPU feature.
For systems that lack NX hardware, the 32-bit kernels now provide an approximation of the NX CPU feature via software emulation that can help block many exploits an attacker might run from stack or heap memory.

Blocking Module Loading

To block the loading of any further modules after boot (generally for servers with unchanging hardware), the /proc/sys/kernel/modules_disabled one-way sysctl flag now exists to add another layer of protections against attackers loading kernel rootkits.

Position-Independent Executables

Building on the work done in Ubuntu 8.10 and 9.04 to proactively protect Ubuntu from unknown threats by using strict compiler flags, more applications have been built as Position-Independent Executables (PIE) to take advantage of the Address Space Layout Randomisation (ASLR) available in the Ubuntu kernel.
In addition to the growing program list, PIE programs are now also built with the BIND_NOW linker flag to take full advantage of the existing RELRO linker flag. This results in PIE programs having fewer places in their memory that can be controlled to redirect program flow when an attacker attempts memory-corruption exploits.

Sep 21, 2009

Multimedia - video tools


CD en DVD software audio en video software, graphics drivers and support

CD mediaworld CD/DVD DVD, DVDR, DIVx, CD protection, DVD/movie software, CD/DVD Writer Software, DVD/DivX Playback Software, CD/DVD Reading Utilities, Virtual CD/DVD Drive Utilities, DVD Codec Software, DVD Conversion Software & Tools, CD/DVD Protection Utilities, Photo to DVD Software, DVD/Movie Rip Software, CD/DVD Identifying Utilities, CD Conversion Utilities, DVD Region Selectors, CD Protect Utilities, DVD-RAM Software, CD/DVD Benchmark Utilities, CD/DVD Testing Utilities, Audio Extract/Conversion Utilities

Codec Installation Package for Windows Media Player 7.1 or later

Codecs to install to play a given AVI file

DirectX 9.0c download Microsoft DirectX is a group of technologies designed to make Windows-based computers an ideal platform for running and displaying applications rich in multimedia elements such as full-color graphics, video, 3D animation, and rich audio. DirectX 9.0 includes security and performance updates, along with many new features across all technologies, which can be accessed by applications using the DirectX 9.0 APIs

DirectX 9 uninstaller

Divxcodec DivX is the name given to a video codec (a piece of software encoding and decoding video) and is based on the MPEG-4 compression format. MPEG-4 is a new standard of video compression that is both high quality and low bitrate

DVDsmith DVDSmith Movie Backup is DVD Decrypter and DVD copying software to copy entire DVD movie to hard disk, and removes all the protections (CSS, RC, RCE, APS, UOPs and Sony ARccOS) while copying. With DVDSmith Movie Backup you can make clones of your favorite DVD movies hard drive with just a few clicks -- either complete with all the extras or just the main movie only, in selected audios and subtitles

DVDSubEdit DVDSubEdit allows you to visualize and make modifications to the subpics (subtitles or button highlights in menus) directly inside the VOB files, without the need to demux and remux the subpic stream VIDEO CODECS: FFDShow MPEG-4, DivX 7.1, Koepi's XviD Codec, DScaler MPEG Filters, DivX Free, OggDS / OGM Codec, Nic's XviD Codec, Ligos Indeo Codec, AUDIO CODECS: MPEG Layer-3 Codec, AC3 Filter, AC-3 Decompressor, CoreVorbis Decoder, LAME DirectShow Filter, LAME MP3 Encoder, Monkey's Audio, Vorbis Ogg ACM Codec

Free Studio With Free Studio you can convert video and audio files between different formats and to iPod, PSP, iPhone, BlackBerry and other portable devices; burn and rip DVDs and audio CDs; upload and download videos and music to your computer, iPod, PSP, iPhone and BlackBerry; perform basic editing of audio and video files

Imgburn DVD Decrypter is a free tool which enables you decrypt and copy a DVD to your PC's hard disk

MediaCoder MediaCoder is a free universal batch media transcoder, which nicely integrates most popular audio/video codecs and tools into an all-in-one solution. With a flexible and extendable architecture, new codecs and tools are added in constantly as well as supports for new devices. MediaCoder intends to be the swiss army knife for media transcoding in all time, AVI, MPEG/VOB, Matroska, MP4, RealMedia, ASF, Quicktime, OGM, MP3, Vorbis, AAC, AAC+, AAC+v2, MusePack, Speex, AMR, WMA, RealAudio, mp3PRO

Media portal turns your PC in a very advanced Multi MediaCenter, allows you to listen to your favorite music & radio, watch your video's and DVD's, view, schedule and record live TV,MediaPortal is an Open Source application ideal for turning your PC / TV into a very advanced Media Center. MediaPortal allows you to listen to your favorite music & radio, watch and store your videos and DVDs, view, schedule and record live TV as a digital video recorder and much much more. You get MediaPortal as Open Source software

MPEG4IP a tool for streaming video and audio that is standards-oriented and free from proprietary protocols and extensions, a live MPEG-4/H.261/MPEG-2/H.263 MP3/AAC/AMR broadcaster and file recorder, command line utilities such as an MP4 file creator and hinter, and an player that can both stream and playback from local file

MPEG Recorder A real-time recorder and compressor of audio and video input for the Windows platforms, using MFC, DirectX, FFMPEG and MPEG4IP. The program is capable of generating avi and mp4 files and streaming MPEG-4 audio and video via Apple Darwin Streaming Server

MPEG-4 Modifier This program modifies a MPEG4 video (XviD, DivX) without re-encoding (aspect ratio, userdata, packed bitstream removal, and interlaced field order). The video must be in an AVI container

Multimedia software audio en video software, CD en DVD software, DVD, DivX, VCD, MPEG, ..., tools, DVD backup resource

Nvidia drivers drivers for all NVIDIA multimedia processors and additional software applications, tools and games designed to demonstrate the exciting features of NVIDIA processors - Freeware programs Video converters, Audio converters, Pazera Video Converters Suite is a collection of portable video converters which helps you to convert between almost all video formats like AVI, MPEG, MP4, MOV, WMV, FLV, M4V, 3GP. The collection also includes audio extractor & converter, which allows you to extract audio tracks from video files and conv...

Perian The swiss-army knife of QuickTime® components, Perian enables QuickTime application support for additional Media Types: AVI, FLV, and MKV file formats, MS-MPEG4 v1 & v2, DivX, 3ivX, H.264, FLV1, FSV1, VP6, H263I, VP3, HuffYUV, FFVHuff, MPEG1 & MPEG2 Video, Fraps, Windows Media Audio v1 & v2, Flash ADPCM, Xiph Vorbis (in Matroska), MPEG Layer II Audio, AVI support for: AAC, AC3 Audio, H.264, MPEG4, and VBR MP3

QuickTime plug-in The QuickTime family of digital media creation, delivery and playback software lets you deliver live or pre-recorded video and audio to an audience of any size. When combined with QuickTime Player and QuickTime Pro, these applications work together to provide the industry’s first end-to-end, standards-based digital media delivery system

RIVA tuner powerful tweaking utility for NVIDIA and ATI display adapters running under Windows 98 / Windows 98 SE / Windows ME / Windows 2000 and Windows XP, nVHardPage, RivaTuner, Die-hard Overclocking & Case Modifications, Videocards - NVIDIA Drivers Section, Videocards - ATi, Videocards - NVIDIA, ...

Stereoscopic 3D applications and software

Terragen terrains, with real world scale adjustment, cloud shadows and sunbeams

TFM the Film Machine: easy AVI - MP4 - divx to VCD - DVD converter

TV tool program for controlling better nVidia TNT-chipset and TV-out functionality

Video Cutter Video Cutter is a very simple tool that can cut any video in almost any format easily. It supports MPG, VOB, DAT, AVI, DIVX, MP4, WMV, MOV, MKV, FLV and other video formats

VirtualDub VirtualDub is a video capture/processing utility for 32-bit Windows platforms (95/98/ME/NT4/2000/XP)

Windows Media Player 10

Windows Movie Maker 2.1 Download Windows Movie Maker 2.1 makes home movies amazingly fun. With Movie Maker 2.1, you can create, edit, and share your home movies right on your computer. Build your movie with a few simple drag-and-drops. Delete bad shots and include only the best scenes

Video download - YouTube

Free Studio manager Free YouTube software, Free video and audio conversion software, Free burning and ripping software, Free video and audio editing software

Free Video Downloader Free Video Downloader is an absolutely free application that allows you to download high definition video files from YouTube and Video files are saved in original format (mostly FLV) or they can be converted to many popular audio and video formats (AVI, MP4, WMV, MP3, WAV and other), zip file

KeepVid Download videos DIRECT from most video sites

VideoCacheView v1.50 After watching a video in a Web site, you may want to save the video file into your local disk for playing it offline in the future. If the video file is stored in your browser's cache, this utility can help you to extract the video file from the cache and save it for watching it in the future

youripper YouRipper is a small, easy to use utility which enables the end-user to download videos from the major video sharing websites such as YouTube. YouRipper also enables Webmasters, Bloggers and MySpace Hosts to Embed videos from YouTube etc into their own pages, using a generic, fully customizable video player

YouTube Downloader YouTube Downloader is a free YouTube downloader which enables you to easily download favorite, latest and most popular videos from YouTube. With the built-in "monitor", this YouTube Downloader can automatically detect the videos being browsed and catch them

Youtube to Mp3 MP3Youtuber is a free, TOTALLY FREE, download and conversion tool for your favorite (free) songs from Youtube

YouTube to MP3 Converter Free YouTube to MP3 Converter. Extract and download audio from YouTube video and save it as MP3 file on your PC with one mouse click and with this YouTube Converter

Web Cam Viewers

AvaCam WebCam tool to view your WebCam(s) or whatever video device you have installed (not just webcams) on your PC

CamStudio CamStudio is able to record all screen and audio activity on your computer and create industry-standard AVI video files and using its built-in SWF Producer can turn those AVIs into lean, mean, bandwidth-friendly Streaming Flash videos (SWFs)

U-Broadcast U-Broadcast is a webcam viewer, TV-tuner viewer, video capturer, live-stream server application

WebCam Capture a webcam capture application that can be use with any compatible webcam for Windows (or other digital camera). Freelabs Webcam Caputre features include: Save images as JPEG, Store images on local disk, Upload captured images to a FTP server, Capture images base on a time interval, Write time stamp to captured images, Adjust camera settings

WebCam Viewer 4 WebCam Viewer 4 is a small tool which allows you to view WebCams without surfing to the appending website

Yawcam Yawcam is a webcam software for windows written in java. The main ideas for Yawcam are to keep it simple and easy to use but to include all the usual features. Yawcam is completely free to use

Jul 26, 2009

convert word files to HTML using Gmail

The following method is one of the simple method to create a HTML webpage without any  knowledge of  HTML. Almost every one who uses computer is familiar with email and ms office word. Also most people  are good at creating  word documents. But to create a html webpage we need to know the html language or a good wyswyg html editor. Learning html takes time and to write code for simple html page you need a lot of patience. A good wyswyg html editor software comes at a price.Also there are not many wyswyg editors available freely on the net.

One way to convert  a Word document to HTML is to send it to a Gmail account as an attachment. With this method, you can maintain your file format as .doc. (I’ve not tried this tip with Word 2007 .docx file format.)

To have Gmail convert a Word doc to HTML,

1. Open your favorite email program

2. Attach your Word document (the .doc file format) to the email.

3. Send the email to your Gmail account.

4. Open the Gmail item with the attachment.

5. Click the link at the bottom that says “View as HTML”. The document will open in your browser.

6. Right-click in your web browser and select “View Page Source” or “View Source”

7. Copy and paste the contents into a HTML editor or Notepad. Don’t paste it back into Microsoft Word.

8. Scroll toward the top of your file and look for the code Google adds to download your file. You should remove this link.

<div style="background:#ffffcc;padding:4 8;border-bottom:thin solid #eeeeee;font-family:Arial,sans-serif"><a href="/mail/?attid=0.1&disp=attd&view=att&th=1192fa6dbxxxxxxx">Download the original attachment</a></div></div><div style="margin:1ex">

9. Make any changes in your editor.

10. Save your file with the .htm or .html extension.

Jul 10, 2009

Free AntiVirus software for windows

ClamWin is a Free Antivirus program for Microsoft Windows 98/Me/2000/XP/2003 and Vista.

ClamWin Free Antivirus comes with an easy installer and open source code. You may download and use it absolutely free of charge. It features:

  • High detection rates for viruses and spyware;
  • Scanning Scheduler;
  • Automatic downloads of regularly updated Virus Database.
  • Standalone virus scanner and right-click menu integration to Microsoft Windows Explorer;
  • Addin to Microsoft Outlook to remove virus-infected attachments automatically.

The latest version of Clamwin Free Antivirus is 0.95.2

Please note that ClamWin Free Antivirus does not include an on-access real-time scanner. You need to manually scan a file in order to detect a virus or spyware.


To download the latest version clickhere

Feb 27, 2009

windows shortcut keys

General keyboard shortcuts














Delete selected item permanently without placing the item in the Recycle Bin.

CTRL while dragging an item

Copy selected item.

CTRL+SHIFT while dragging an item

Create shortcut to selected item.


Rename selected item.


Move the insertion point to the beginning of the next word.


Move the insertion point to the beginning of the previous word.


Move the insertion point to the beginning of the next paragraph.


Move the insertion point to the beginning of the previous paragraph.

CTRL+SHIFT with any of the arrow keys

Highlight a block of text.

SHIFT with any of the arrow keys

Select more than one item in a window or on the desktop, or select text within a document.


Select all.


Search for a file or folder.


View properties for the selected item.


Close the active item, or quit the active program.


Displays the properties of the selected object.


Opens the shortcut menu for the active window.


Close the active document in programs that allow you to have multiple documents open simultaneously.


Switch between open items.


Cycle through items in the order they were opened.


Cycle through screen elements in a window or on the desktop.


Display the Address bar list in My Computer or Windows Explorer.


Display the shortcut menu for the selected item.


Display the System menu for the active window.


Display the Start menu.

ALT+Underlined letter in a menu name

Display the corresponding menu.

Underlined letter in a command name on an open menu

Carry out the corresponding command.


Activate the menu bar in the active program.


Open the next menu to the right, or open a submenu.


Open the next menu to the left, or close a submenu.


Refresh the active window.


View the folder one level up in My Computer or Windows Explorer.


Cancel the current task.

SHIFT when you insert a CD into the CD-ROM drive

Prevent the CD from automatically playing.

Dialog box keyboard shortcuts




Move forward through tabs.


Move backward through tabs.


Move forward through options.


Move backward through options.

ALT+Underlined letter

Carry out the corresponding command or select the corresponding option.


Carry out the command for the active option or button.


Select or clear the check box if the active option is a check box.

Arrow keys

Select a button if the active option is a group of option buttons.


Display Help.


Display the items in the active list.


Open a folder one level up if a folder is selected in the Save As or Open dialog box.

clip_image001[2]Natural keyboard shortcuts
You can use the following keyboard shortcuts with a Microsoft Natural Keyboard or any other compatible keyboard that includes the Windows logo key (key) and the Application key (clip_image002[1]).




Display or hide the Start menu.


Display the System Properties dialog box.


Show the desktop.


Minimize all windows.


Restores minimized windows.


Open My Computer.


Search for a file or folder.

CTRL+ key+F

Search for computers.


Display Windows Help.

key+ L

Lock your computer if you are connected to a network domain, or switch users if you are not connected to a network domain.


Open the Run dialog box.


Display the shortcut menu for the selected item.


Open Utility Manager.

clip_image001[3]Accessibility keyboard shortcuts



Right SHIFT for eight seconds

Switch FilterKeys on and off.


Switch High Contrast on and off.


Switch MouseKeys on and off.

SHIFT five times

Switch StickyKeys on and off.

NUM LOCK for five seconds

Switch ToggleKeys on and off.


Open Utility Manager.

clip_image001[4]Windows Explorer keyboard shortcuts




Display the bottom of the active window.


Display the top of the active window.

NUM LOCK+ASTERISK on numeric keypad (*)

Display all subfolders under the selected folder.

NUM LOCK+PLUS SIGN on numeric keypad (+)

Display the contents of the selected folder.

NUM LOCK+MINUS SIGN on numeric keypad (-)

Collapse the selected folder.


Collapse current selection if it's expanded, or select parent folder.


Display current selection if it's collapsed, or select first subfolder.

Feb 11, 2009

Recommended Software in Design and Technology

3D CAD modelling

***PTC ProDESKTOP v8*** (Now ProEngineer) - the most used 3D design software in D&T departments provided free through the Design and Technology Association (DATA), but only after teachers go on a training course and pay a nominal registration fee. N.B. ProDESKTOP is no longer supported by PTC, it is to be replaced by the more complex ProENGINEER.

SolidWorks Education Edition – a bit of a newcomer to schools due to recent price decreases. In July 2008, it was sold as a 60 user site licence for around £700. This allowed schools to distribute ‘student’ copies of the software with limited functionality. Like ProDesktop and ProEngineer, it can generate 3D parts and assemblies. Students can quickly draw 3D images, rendered images and working drawings.

Google SketchUp 6 (free version) – this excellent 3D design software can be downloaded free from Google. It is very quick and easy to pick up. Designs can only be saved as a jpeg (or as a propriety SketchUp file type) therefore designs cannot be exported as files for machining; but because of its accessibility, it is an absolutely ideal sketching and modelling application for creating and developing design ideas.

2D CAD drawing

***TechSoft 2D Design Tools v2*** - the most used 2D design software in D&T departments. It is sold through TechSoft and is most often used for engineering drawings, drawings to convert to machine tool paths for milling machines, vinyl cutters and laser cutters. Not really suitable for complex graphics, but the new version (v2) can let you import jpeg/bitmap images that can be incorporated into packaging designs, etc. The new version is really worthwhile. If you already have an older version, the upgrade costs £295 (site license V1 to site licence V2.)


Nutrients Software - diet analysis software that analyses ingredients related to particular groups of people. The analysis can be turned into a spreadsheets, word tables and even food labels. Its use could also be incorporated in PSHE courses supporting the ‘Food in Schools’ strategy.


SpeedStep – this textiles design software, like ProDESKTOP, is supported by DATA. Similarly, teachers must go on accredited training courses, which incurs a fee, but the software is then freely distributed. The software is starting to be better supported, with some of the network issues being solved.

Free alternative: Wild Things - Excellent pattern making software that has loads of standard project items in like bags and hats, type in the size and it creates the patterns ready for printing.


Yenka (formally Crocodile Technology 3D) - the new version of this electronics modelling software incorporates virtual circuit modelling, 3D - real world - circuit modelling, circuit track design mechanisms and PIC modelling. There is also a useful website with examples and tutorials. School site license costs between £400 -£600


Focus on Design Technology CD-ROM – this is a range of CD-ROMs from Focus Educational Software Ltd. There are a wide range of titles covering Resistant Materials, Graphic Products, Plastics, Wood Joints and Mechanical Toys. There are excellent titles ideal for Primary design and technology too. Each CD-ROM has lots of animations, videos, text, databases and useable teaching material. Pricing starts from £19.95 per title for a single user to £79.95 for unlimited site license.

Art drawing and painting

Revelation Natural Art – A great art package that allows users to paint with a wide range of media to produce a realist effect. It is a much more pleasant experience than using some generic painting packages such as Microsoft Paint. A 40 user license costs £219.45.

SketchBook Pro 2009 – This is a great drawing package to be used with tablet PCs and graphics tablets. It is as naturalistic as they come. Download a 15-day (non-sequential) fully featured trial from Autodesk.

Free alternative: ArtRage 2 – free painting package.

Photo editing / Graphics

***Adobe Photoshop Elements 6*** – not as feature packed as the full Photoshop application, but is still an excellent choice for use in schools.

Free alternatives: Picasa – free Google photo editing software.

Paint.NET – free photo editing software.

Systems and Control

Economatics Logicator - Control systems are created by flowcharts by dragging commands onto the screen and drawing lines between them. Logicator includes six Soft Systems on-screen control simulations.
It is also ideal for developing real control systems with Smart Box or Control Station which are bought separately. Can be purchased with eLearning Credits.

Free alternative: Scratch - a free programming software that makes it easy to create your own interactive animations, games, music, and art and share your creations on the web. This is a brilliant, easy to use systems based icon driven software.

Jan 26, 2009

Jan 22, 2009

Mobile phone jammer

A mobile phone jammer is an instrument used to prevent cellular phonesbase stations.
When used, the jammer effectively disables cellular phones. These
devices can be used in practically any location, but are found
primarily in places where a phone call would be particularly disruptive
because silence is expected. from receiving signals from or transmitting signals to

The rapid proliferation of cell phones at the beginning of the 21stcentury to near ubiquitous status eventually raised problems such astheir potential use to invade privacy, contribute to academic cheating,

or even aid in industrial espionage.
In addition public backlash was growing against the intrusive
disruption cell phones introduced in daily life. While older analog
cell phones often suffered from chronically poor reception and could
even be disconnected by simple interference such as high frequency
noise, increasingly sophisticated digital phones have led to more
elaborate counters. Cell phone jamming devices are an alternative to
more expensive measures against cell phones, such as Faraday cages,
which are mostly suitable as built in protection for structures. They
were originally developed for law enforcement and the military to
interrupt communications by criminals and terrorists. Some were also
designed to foil the use of certain remotely detonated explosives. The
civilian applications were apparent, so over time many companies
originally contracted to design jammers for government use switched
over to sell these devices to private entities. Since then, there has
been a slow but steady increase in their purchase and use, especially
in major metropolitan areas.
As with other radio jamming, cell phone jammers block cell phone use by sending out radio wavesalong the same frequencies that cellular phones use. This causes enough interference with the communication between cell phones and towers to
render the phones unusable. On most retail phones, the network would
simply appear out of range. Most cell phones use different bands to
send and receive communications from towers (called full duplexing).
Jammers can work by either disrupting phone to tower frequencies or
tower to phone frequencies. Smaller handheld models block all bands
from 800MHz to 1900MHz within a 30 foot range (9 meters). Small devices
tend to use the former method, while larger more expensive models may
interfere directly with the tower. The radius of cell phone jammers can
range from a dozen feet for pocket models to kilometers for more
dedicated units. The TRJ-89 jammer can block cellular communications
for a 5-mile (8 km) radius.

Older jammers sometimes were limited to working on phones using only
analog or older digital mobile phone standards. Newer models such as
the double and triple band jammers can block all widely used systems (AMPS, iDEN, GSM,
et al) and are even very effective against newer phones which hop to
different frequencies and systems when interfered with. As the dominant
network technology and frequencies used for mobile phones vary
worldwide, some work only in specific regions such as Europe or North
The jammer's effect can vary widely based on factors such as

proximity to towers, indoor and outdoor settings, presence of buildings
and landscape, even temperature and humidity play a role.

There are concerns that crudely designed jammers may disrupt the functioning of medical devices such as pacemakers.
However, like cell phones, most of the devices in common use operate at
low enough power output (<1W) to avoid causing any problems.