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9 Firefox addons to cover your dirty browsing tracks

Say you are browsing, ahem, stuff on the Internet that you aren’t supposed to see and somebody walks into the room. We have discussed this scenario before and provided you with 10 different boss-keys to choose from - programs that hide any open windows with the hit of a key. Also recall the previously mentioned Ghostzilla that let your browse from within any application and hide it in a flash. But lets talk about Firefox in particular and what it’s numerous addons has to offer.

1. TabRenamizer is a Firefox extension that is useful in cases when the person walking into the room isn’t too intrusive. He or she just glances at the titles of the opened tab on your screen and walks away. TabRenamizer allows you to get away by disguising the tab names. With a quick keyboard shortcut you can change the tab titles to a random one selected from a predefined set. The set of titles that you wish to display when you activate this addon can be created and customized at leisure from the addon’s settings window. You can also activate it from the tools menu but the hotkey is faster. But remember that the page doesn’t change, only the tab titles does.


2. Page Title Eraser is a similar addon that lets you hide the title of the tabs, but this one is odd. It can hide the title of only the active tab. It’s pretty useless if you have several tabs open that you want to hide. Also the shortcut combination is ridiculously long (Shift+Alt+Ctrl+H) and cannot be changed.

3. hideBad extension quickly saves the current browsing session, closes it and opens the default homepage with a hotkey. It also clears the browser’s history, cache, search entries and other stuff.

4. Panic Button is for situations when you need to panic – you need to hide all open browser windows because you aren’t supposed to be browsing the net at all and getting caught in the act can lead to dire consequences. With Panic Button installed, a single click of on a toolbar button or a keyboard shortcut will quickly hide, minimize or altogether quit all Firefox windows. When you choose the Hide option, you can recover the session by clicking a button on the Restore Session toolbar. But of course, you can recover the session automatically when you quit the browser too.
panic-button  panic-button (1)

5. Panic is similar to Panic Button but instead of closing all tabs or the whole browser which looks suspicious, it closes the opened tabs and then opens another tab with a page you choose. This looks like as if you were browsing a different site and not just staring at the blank desktop.

6. Distrust creates a silent browsing session during which it monitors all activities in Firefox, picks up all surfing trail that you leave behind, and then flushes them out when the Distrust session is turned off. All history items and cached pages during this session is removed from the browser and leave the computer as it was before the browsing session began. (Original post)
Firefox3 users, download the latest version from here since the Mozilla page is still not updated.

7. stealther Stealther is another extension that does pretty much the same thing Distrust does. On activation Stealther will temporarily disable the following:
- Browsing History (also in Address bar)
- Cookies
- Downloaded Files History
- Disk Cache
- Saved Form Information
- Sending of ReferrerHeader
- Recently Closed Tabs list

8. Close'n forget has even better stealth properties. When you visit a page and want to remove it’s tracks from the history simply use a special close button that this addon installs on the toolbar instead of the regular close tab button. Doing so will close the active tab and with it wipe out all cookies from the domain of the closed page. The number of deleted cookies is briefly displayed in the status bar. You can choose whether you want to delete all cookies under the domain or only the cookies for that particular page.
The difference between Close'n forget and Distrust and Stealther is that for the latter two you need to activate the addon before you start the private browsing session, while Close'n forget allows you to remove the history after you leave the page which is useful if you just happen to stumble upon an objectionable page without intending to and need to delete it from history.

9. HistoryBlock works differently. It allows you to create a list of sites that you want to be blocked from history. If you have a couple of sites that you visit regularly then you can use HistoryBlock to permanently prevent those sites from getting into the history records no matter when and how many times you visit it.
And don’t forget to checkout Pornzilla.


Isn't it funny how most of us let our lives be ruled by an imaginary sky daddy whose existence is as disputed as a Flying unicorn or a Pixie? If ruling individual lives weren’t enough, religion has forced people to kill, sodomise, rape, sacrifice their near and dear ones, etc. in the name of this sky daddy whom most people call God.
Now the so called moderates of these religions come up with rebuttals like, ‘Religion does not kill, people do’. Well, in that case how does one explain explicit lines in the Qur’an or the Bible wherein followers are specifically asked to kill people who insult their respective Gods, or where the act of apostasy needs to be dealt with stoning the Apostate to death, or where women are openly considered to be inferior to their male counterparts?

People like to derive their morals from these Holy Scriptures, but how does one justify the killing of all innocent first born babies in a land only because this God wanted it to be so? So, aren’t these people selectively seeking out morals as per their convenience? How does one rationalise the killing of millions of species of animals who played no part in the so called sinning that caused the same God to wipe out the entire living population on the Earth except for a few chosen ones and flood the earth to such an extent that even the topmost peak of the world was 2 feet under water. I’d like to use a popular internet slang here. OMFGLOLROFLMAO at that! And people actually believe in this horse crap? Come on! Why send your kids to learn Science and Math in school when you eventually intend to fill that child’s mind with such unadulterated piece of bullshit?

This selective morality stands true for all religions. Let’s talk about God now. The title ‘God-fearing’ is used like a food junkie would use cheese in his burgers and sandwiches. Why the fuck should I be afraid of a mythical creature who was (claimed to) last seen a couple of millennia ago? And what’s with the rapidly decreasing no. of appearances of this God character? Around 3000-4000 years ago, he used to visit the earth whenever he wished to (Krishna, Rama, etc.). 2000 years ago, he got tired (and old?) of his repeated excursions to the earth and decided to send his Son to preach his part of divine bullshit. That got tiring too, so he next decided to speak with a chosen one. It’s ironical that he chose a paedophile (Mohammed) for this latest revelation. Does this explain the scores of paedophiles amongst these religious bigots? I guess it does.

Now, living as an Atheist in this country is weird. Once people know what my name is, their next question is, ‘Which Church?’ You try to fill some form; the question pertaining to religion does not have Atheism as an option. I agree that it would have been an oxymoron if Atheism was indeed an option, but they should at least have a ‘No religion’ option for fuck’s sake! And by the way, one can’t legally be an Atheist in India. It’s as fucked up as the law opposing homosexuality. Well, some things will never change in this country. This brings me to another thing. Why is religion awarded such an important status everywhere? One can be criticized for his/her taste in music, clothes, sports, etc., but not religion? I can call your favourite football team a sellout whore and I can’t say anything about your religion? Who gave this special status to religion? An entity which doesn’t even stand on proven true grounds like a football team does. Hypocrisy of the highest level enforced by blind theistic assholes?

My denunciation of religion/God will go on till I die. For now, all I can do is feel sorry for people who choose to blindly follow fairytales, which don’t even have interesting stories to tell, instead of seeking the truth for themselves. They love to live in their delusionary world and expect the rest of the world to do the same. Do whatever the fuck you want to, in the confines of your homes, but the moment you start preaching, expect the asshole who’s writing this post to comprehensively fuck your imbecile theories and childhood fantasies. So, if you're a theist, either go back to sucking up to your God, or find the truth for yourself by challenging these archaic laws which are meaningless in our world.



People who have problems with atheists, do not read any further. People with bleak sense of humor are requested to discontinue reading as well. Any content that may insult or offend your religious beliefs is purely intentional.

Why are atheists considered abnormal, evil, blasphemous? What exact wrong have they done? Why are people so sensitive about God-related matters? Why is it necessary to have religion to instill morality? Why can't you be good without 'God' telling you to be? Is it so hard? Why does one have to believe in a non-existent 'holy' power to guide them? Atheists do not hate God. Who can hate a non-existent thing anyway? May be people who believe in God will be able to hate him. I just can't stand the way faith is given more importance than reason and knowledge. Why do we go to schools/colleges and learn about science when at the end of the day we have to believe in the story of God instilling life on earth? (You know that Adam and eve/Noah's ark shit?) And believing in Ramayan and Mahabharat who preach such great moralities like gambling, raping their brothers' wife, polygamy and what not?! OR believing in a man who used the fairer sex just for his pleasure and married a 11 year old girl? Preaching people to suicide for their religion in order to go to heaven and have the pleasure of 72 virgins? Is this crap justified? Why do we choose to ignore it rather than reason it out and abandon this? People who claim to be open-minded also believe in these things, so they aren't really open-minded, are they?

Its all so foolish and sick. I can't even tell you, this can go on and on and on.

Here, have a look at these:

This is true. Whatever you do, you can't deny it.

Religion is much much more than just this fickle-minded crowd. :/

This what the so-called holy books preach. What a filthy, biased character God is. :/

Whatever happened to the freedom of expression/speech?

I so wish parents would stop that. -__-

And this too. Such an insult to the great song. (Imagine - John Lennon)

Because you see, babies are not born with any religious concepts in their minds. Its the parents and the society who preach them these 'good' values. Only if they were allowed to choose what they wished to be ..

And here comes the uncalled for Godly invasion. Can't a poor person even sneeze in peace?

How ironical? :)

So far, so true.

Really, is it any different?

Yep, clowns is what they sound like. How can people believe shit such as this?

And it couldn't get funnier than this. So, religion also approves of social-backwardness and sexism. Nice. :/

And how does one explain the existence of the beautiful nature? This is how you do it. God's creation as the reason is so lame.

And for all those people who relate spirituality with God, check up your dictionaries please. They do not even relate. And all those spiritual babas (bastard) are nothing but suckers for money and power. Here's a good article: Jawed Akther's 'about myself'

On a concluding note, I'd like to add these :

And this is my favorite atheist comic of all times: Littlest atheist

And you may also go ahead and read another atheism-related blog post if you'd like (its not by me of course) : The greatest lie ever told

And googlism: Proof that Google is God (how the hell could I forget it?!) :P

That's it from me for now,
Chao :D

Bing doesn't know that Africa exists

Microsoft's much-hallowed search engine, Bing, which was launched after Microsoft CEO Steve Balmer vowed to "f*cking kill Google", is a bit.... limited, shall we say. Apart from the availability and reliability issues that are so characteristic for Microsoft (the page to submit a site frequently comes up as "not available, please reload"), there is one thing strangely absent from Bing's list of countries to search in: /the entire continent of Africa is missing/! Bing places South African customers in the UK and there's no way to change that. Are they mad?

Well, that should help South African companies to be listed as relevant search hits. :-(

Wake up, Microsoft! Oh, and if you need me, I'll be on Google...

Update: I have complained about it, but don't get your hopes up...


Hello behen log aur unke bhai log. Aaj hum log hindi mein vartalaap karnge, theek hai?

Kya theek hai?
Tell me to get back to normal.
You won't?
I'll come back to normal myself only. -_-
Useless people.

It's technically Monday now. See, for a change, I'm posting this EARLY. Isn't that awesome? Like really? Well, I'm referring to the previous few 'Monday' posts that I posted on Tuesdays out of laziness and forgetfulness.

So here are the 25 nothings, TADA! :/

1. Life's still the same. SAME, nothing ever changes. Not one thing.

2. I wish I could play real loud music and blast off the thoughts inside my head.

3. I wish wishes came true.

4. You knowww, bro's sending me Ipod touch 32gb soon. :)

5. I watched Badmaash Company on TV today. Don't ask me why. Please.

6. All I want to say about that movie is, that those smart ideas are impractical in real life.

7. Mom and dad went off to bed at ten! I mean, at TEN! Do people sleep that early anymore?

8. My dad has asked me to wake up by at least seven. What I told him was, that I'd do whatever he wants me to do at that hour and then sleep. I guess that was tad bit rude.

9. Whatever.

10. I surprise myself with my own mood swings, have I told you that before?

11. It felt good to speak out after ages.

12. I let go off a few grudges that I held against a few people recently. Feels good to forgive them. Feels good to lose them.

13. 'A weekend with you (and nothing else to do)' by Blackstratblues makes me thoughtful and emotional every time I listen to it. Right now, it's just not helping my already emo mood. :/

14. No, not that gothic emo. I meant, overcome with emotions kinda emo.

15. Being dumb is the best thing you can do to yourself and to others.

16. I've started preparing for entrance exams from today. I hope this enthusiasm lasts for sometime at least.

17. You know that feeling of helplessness that you get when you can't be where you want to be? It sucks to the core.

18. Coming back on Badmaash Company, that movie I told you about? Vir Das kinda looked cute in it. :/

19. Whoa, it's 19 already? I thought it was 9. :/

20. Result of absent-mindedness I guess.

21. Mom's not letting me join anywhere 'cause dad might get transferred anytime soon. I'm like literally hanging in nothingness.

22. If we do get transferred, I wish it's a new, nice city. I don't want to go home yet.

23. I wish 2010 would end sooner.

24. I wish life would be black and white again, I'm hating all the grays.

25. Btw, I forgot to tell you, new 5.1 speakers in my room. ^-^

Off now, bye bye.

PS, this is also my 130th post on this blog. :)

Human rights in South Africa - what human rights?

No matter how you look at it, no one can deny that South Africa has a great future behind it. Back in 1994, when Nelson Mandela became the first black president of South Africa, all was rosy: everyone was free, democracy had been unleashed to shower down its blessings upon the huddled masses of the oppressed, and the culture of inequality in which a small minority grew rich and fat by ruthlessly exploiting the rest of the population was at an end.

What a beautiful dream.

So where do we stand, 16 years later? Well now, let's see. No, I'm not going to bore you again with all the things that regular readers of these pages have heard many times before: the combination of corruption and insanity that has turned South Africa's government into a circus where the biggest clowns are in charge; the dodgy deals and the shameless looting of the country by grinning ANC heavyweights who consider themselves above the law (and in fact they are); the way the roads crumble and the energy infrastructure is being run into the ground by politically appointed managers who are both incompetent and uninterested (in anything but how much money they can get into their own pockets, that is);  corruption being common in the public sector and nepotism having become the norm higher up; unparallelled economical mismanagement, municipalities in chaos and unable to deliver basic services, et cetera ad nauseam, while ANC heavies live the good life and have fights about who can throw the biggest party.1) No. We've been through that many times already. Instead, let's just look at the human rights situation in South Africa: where we have been, where we are now, and where we are headed.

When Nelson Mandela became South Africa's first (albeit reluctant) black president in 1994, he was generally regarded as a human rights activist. Freshly laureated with the 1993 Nobel Peace Prize (which he shared with his white counterpart F.W. de Klerk) he faced the task of giving black South Africans what the ANC had promised them for decades. No one could have done more than scratch the surface of that virtually impossible task, so considering the circumstances Mandela didn't do all that badly. Granted, there are issues (such as HIV/AIDS) that he could have handled differently but, on the whole and within the context of the times, he was a fairly good president.

Most importantly however, and something that is perhaps not sufficiently recognized, is the fact that his personality and his reconciliatory attitude were instrumental in preventing the atrocities that many whites feared would follow the end of apartheid. These fears were not without justification: there were many who sharpened their knives (literally) for the moment when all old wrongs would be set right in truly African fashion. However no lynchings and killings ensued, and that is in no small part due to Mandela's success in moderating these vengeful sentiments. Today Mandela's reputation as a human rights activist is even acknowledged by the Chinese government which, ironically, is not known for its high regard for human rights.

But then Mandela finished his five years of presidency and made way for Thabo Mbeki. At that point things began to deteriorate rapidly. While South Africa's neighbour Zimbabwe wiped the floor with human rights, Mbeki ensured that South Africa never even spoke out against dictator Robert Mugabe's reign of terror. (As an interesting aside, when you search on Google for 'Robert Mugabe', the list of suggested related searches includes 'Idi Amin'. Go figure.) During Mbeki's administration the response of the South African government firmly remained limited to "peaceful talks" between Mebeki and Mugabe, which accomplished exactly nothing - mainly because they did not include any apparent intention to make a difference. When Mbeki was ousted from the presidency and summarily replaced with Jacob Zuma, nothing changed with regard to South Africa's stance on Zimbabwe - the deplorable human rights situation just north of the border isn't even mentioned.

South Africa's first stint as a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council in 2007 and 2008 was even more shameful. South Africa repeatedly sided with Russia and China and helped them to block Western-backed resolutions against Myanmar, Iran and Zimbabwe, among other things. The reason for this shameless squandering of South Africa's emerging reputation as a nation that respects human rights is simple: both Russia (or rather, the former USSR) and China were firm backers of the ANC during the Apartheid years. In other words, the pay-off of political debts and the covering of political assets prevailed over human rights.

Nor is this surprising. The simple truth is that the ANC has never championed freedom and human rights. True, the ANC opposed the Apartheid government which was in power at the time, but mainly because the ANC wanted that power for itself. The rest was just incidental. The struggle against Apartheid was, ultimately, never about freedom for the people. It was about freedom for members of the ANC top to do as they please, and about their personal power, wealth and prestige. These days this is typically expressed in the form of expensive cars and a lavish life style for members of the ANC top, while the many promises made by the ANC during the days of the struggle against Apartheid have almost invariably left empty.

Jacob Zuma's presidency has brought little change. Zuma prefers to completely ignore the existence of any human rights issues. He seems as comfortable in the presence of dictators as Mbeki was, and as oblivious to the atrocities they commit. He has carefully avoided to even mention the subject of human rights in public. He has also been carefully silent about the recent row between the Chinese government and the Nobel Peace Prize commission following the awarding of the peace prize to Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo - even though Xiabobo thus joins the company of Mandela and De Klerk.

South Africa has also consistently failed in its own obligations to address torture and other "irregularities' in South African police cells and prisons. While South Africa did sign the United Nations' Convention Against Torture in 1998, it never got around to making  torture a criminal offence under South African law. Let me repeat that: torture is still not a criminal offence in South Africa! Nor is anything being done to change that. Under international human rights law South Africa is obliged to report periodically on what it has done to prevent torture and to respond to allegations of torture, but so far it has not done so. One report was submitted in 2005, five years too late, but that report was sent back by the UN with the request to urgently clear up a number of issues. South Africa has yet to respond. Ironically it was the death of Steve Biko in a South African cell that prompted the UN General Assembly  to adopt the UN convention against torture in 1984 in the first place. Biko must be spinning in his grave.

While this does not bode well for South Africa's future as a country where human rights are respected, recent events are even more worrying. For starters there is the much maligned "Protection of Information Bill" which is set to be signed into law any moment now. This bill, which is generally considered to be a Protection of Corruption Bill, will allow members of the government (and to all intents and purposes that means the ANC top) to arbitrarily classify anything as 'secret' and to suppress any information thereon in the press. A "media tribunal" will be instated to restrict the freedom of press on a day-to-day basis, and to arbitrate ex cathedra on what may and may not be made public. The bill does not specify what can be considered secret and what not, or on what grounds such a decision should be made. It is left solely up to the ruling politicians, who are answerable to no-one, and as a result can get away with anything. The bill simply hands them the power to keep anything and everything secret, out of the media and out of public view. Investigative journalism will no longer be possible, as publications in the media on subjects that the government wants to keep under wraps will now be punishable by law. The ANC's State Security Minister has even gone as far as stating that the public interest should not be considered in the implementation of this bill, as that would "tantamount to shredding it". Go figure! Even presentations dealing with the bill itself have been designated as "classified".

Many protests from the opposition and freedom-of-information activists notwithstanding, the bill is virtually a fait accompli and will soon be made law, according to statements made by president Jacob Zuma, who said that the ANC "will continue processing the resolutions of both [the] Polokwane [conference] and the NGC [National General Council] ... in this regard" and that South Africa must "redefine" freedom of press. But even now, before the bill is in effect, the publication of details on dodgy dealings or other embarrassments involving government officials, law enforcement officials or ANC heavies is routinely suppressed. State broadcaster SABC, meanwhile, had been fully under ANC control for 16 years now, with the net result that it has not only been reduced to a party mouthpiece, but is also a financial and operational disaster area.

To make up for the deficit in news reaching the public, though, a new newspaper has been launched. It is funded by the Gupta Group, which has close ties with the ANC and with president Jacob Zuma personally. The paper promises "more positive" news, and will "highlight the accomplishments of the ANC". The editor and four senior staff members resigned hours before the paper was set to be launched, with the general impression being that they did so in response to fears about media freedom, although they have not come out and admitted this in public. When the launch went ahead a bit later, the first edition did not do much to raise expectations - about the best that critics have said about it so far is that at least it contributes to the diversity of voices in the country.

One of the first things that will undoubtedly disappear from the free news channels as soon as the Protection of Corruption Information Bill comes into effect is South Africa's continuing emergence as a dodgy arms dealer. While not the largest arms manufacturer and exporter in the world by far (the US and Russia will continue to head that particular list for a long time yet) the arms business in South Africa continues to grow. Give it some time - especially since South Africa has taken to supplying arms to whomever has the money, with no care whatsoever as to the way in which these weapons are likely to be used. A good recent example is South Africa's arms shipments to Somalia in clear contravention of UN rules that South Africa (itself now a senior member of the UN security council) agreed to uphold. And that is just one example. According to lobby group Ceasefire, fully half of SA's arms exports in the past decade have gone to no fewer than 58 countries that failed to meet at least one of the criteria required by the National Conventional Arms Control Act. This is further supported by a report from South Africa's own Auditor-General.  Why this is a violation of human rights should be obvious: especially in Africa, arming the wrong people invariably to large scale suffering.

In the film Lord of War (which I heartily recommend) Nicolas Cage states that there is currently one firearm on the planet for every twelve people, and he wonders how to arm the other eleven. What Cage does not mention is that these firearms are not evenly distributed across the globe, and that in some regions (especially West Africa, although not just there) the average is much, much higher than one in twelve. The fact that this part of the world is also known for its frequent eruptions of war, massacre, slaughter, genocide and other forms of prolonged, intense, large-scale human suffering is of course not a coincidence. Rwanda, Somalia, Sudan, Nigeria and Congo are only some of the better known examples, but they are only the tip of the iceberg. Supplying militant groups in these and other countries with weapons practically garantuees that countless numbers of civilians will be mowed down in a hail of bullets sooner or later. It's become a way of life in those parts.

Another thing that will conveniently be disappeared from public view under the Protection of Corruption Bill is the apalling things that have been going on in the mining sector lately. ANC Youth League leader Julius Malema, who somehow manages to spend around three times as much as he officially earns (this will undoubtedley become "protected information" under the Bill as well) is currently campaigning fiercely to have the entire mining sector nationalized by 2012, in order to pry the country's resources from the stealing hands of the white colonials and put them into the hands of the oppressed black population, where they belong. Does that sound familiar? It should. South Africa's land reform policy is already underway, with similar results as in Zimbabwe, and the ANCYL only wants more of it. Now they're gearing up to do the same with the mines. And if recent events are any indication, this should be even more fun.

For example, let's take a look at the Aurora Mine at Grootvlei, which is owned by none less than a nephew of Jacob Zuma and a grandson of Nelson Mandela. Illegal mining and other forms of theft is a real problem in South Africa, but the response of Aurora's security staff seems just a tad excessive: when they discovered 20 trespassers on their property, they simply shot them dead and buried them. This did not happen just once; there are several more incidents in which trespassers were summarily executed at Grootvlei, and we can pretty much rule out that this is an isolated accident. So far Mandela Jr. and Zuma Jr. have not even been approached by representatives of the law, let alone held accountable for what goes on at their mining complex. Meanwhile other parts of Aurora's mining properties are being neglected, and the miners living there continue to succumb to inhumane poverty.

I could go on here... but it gets kind of ugly and depressing. I think I'll leave it at this.

So. Where do we go from here?
1) Update: OK - maybe I goofed just a little bit here. Kenny Kunene himself is not really an ANC heavyweight (although he is up to his eyeballs in ANC connections, you bet your Gluteus Maximus) and Robert Gumede, also referred to in the linked article, does rub shoulders with Zuma, Sexwale, Malema, Cele and the rest of that particular clique. Thanks, Leslie!


Blah blah:
1. Eric Johnson - A song for life
2. Creednece Clearwater Revival - Proud Mary
3. Euphoria - Dil
4. Led Zeppelin - Stairway to heaven
5. Porcupine Tree - Door to the river
6. Lucky Ali - Tere mere saath
7. The Beatles - The long and winding road
8. John Denver - Rocky mountain high
9. Candlemass - Crystal ball
10. Heaven & Hell - Bible black

And I take this moment to announce that I have finally come into possession of the iPod touch, the one which my bro sent over a month ago, last week.. :)

1 Gigabyte is Not Equal to 1024 Megabytes

If you pickup any computer book or a computer magazine and look up the term Gigabyte, chances are that you will find that 1 gigabyte is equal 1024 megabytes, which is equal to 1024 kilobytes, which again in turn is equal to 1024 bytes. That’s what we have been taught and that’s what everyone thinks it is. But that definition of gigabyte, megabyte and kilobyte has changed nearly 8 years ago.

Traditionally, one gigabyte has been defined as 10233 bytes or 1,073,741,824 bytes or 230 bytes. This is the definition commonly used for computer memory and file sizes. Then in December 1998 the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC), the leading international organization for worldwide standardization in electrotechnology, introduced new symbols and prefixes for binary multiples and changed the earlier ones. According to the new definitions, one gigabyte no longer equals 10233 bytes but 10003 bytes and 10233 bytes is now represented by a new term called gibibyte. The new prefixes for measurement of bytes are shown in the table below.

That explains one common anomaly in size measurement that we notice everyday in our lives, that is, the size of the hard disk. You go and buy a 160GB hard disk, but when you plug in to your computer and turn it on you find your operating system saying that you have only 149GB. That's because hard disk manufacturers no longer use the old convention of measuring sizes but the brand new ones. When a hard disk is labeled 160GB it has a capacity of 160 x 10003 bytes and not 160 x 10243 bytes, because like I explained, 1GB is not equal 10243 bytes. So a 160GB hard disk has a capacity of 160 x 10003/10243 bytes or 149 GiB (gibibytes).

The IEC binary naming convention however, is not widespread and most publications, computer manufacturers and software companies prefer to use the traditional units. For instance, the memory (RAM) manufacturers continue to use the old naming convention. So when you buy 1GB of memory you get 10243 bytes of RAM. There is however a good explanation for this discrepancy. Computer memory is addressed in base 2, due to its design, so memory size is always a power of two. It is thus convenient to work in binary units for RAM. Other computer measurements, like storage hardware size, data transfer rates, clock speeds, operations per second, etc., do not have an inherent base, and are usually presented in decimal units.

To add to the confusion, different softwares as well as hardware manufacturers use different unit of measurement. Examples of software that use IEC standard prefixes (along with standard SI prefixes) include the Linux kernel, GNU Core Utilities, Launchpad, GParted, ifconfig, Deluge (BitTorrent client), and BitTornado. Other programs like fdisk and apt-get use SI prefixes with their decimal meaning.

Screenshots of Gnome Partition Editor and Windows Disk Management show how different software utilities use different measurement for hard disk capacities

Floppy disks uses the binary system of measurement. A 1.44MB floppy disk has a capacity of 144,000,000 bytes which is equal to 1.38 MiB (mebibytes); notice that the operating system reports this as 1.38MB.

CD capacities are always given in binary units. A "700 MB" (or "80 minute") CD has a nominal capacity of about 700 MiB (approx 730MB). But DVD capacities are given in decimal units. A "4.7 GB" DVD has a nominal capacity of about 4.38 GiB.

Network speeds use the binary units of measurement. A 1Mbps internet connection has a throughput of 1,000,000 bits (125 kB, approx 122 KiB) per second assuming an 8-bit byte, and no overhead.

All these ambiguity in measurements have led to consumer confusion and there actually have been two significant class action lawsuits against digital storage manufactures by consumers. One case involved flash memory and the other involved hard disk drives. Both were settled with the manufactures agreeing to clarify the storage capacity of their products on the consumer packaging. But most hard disk manufacturers still continue to use decimal prefixes to identify capacities, with no mention of capacities in terms of gibibytes.


In this good-looking oriented world, I feel like I've done some wrong.

I'm gonna have to pay for it. But I'm hoping, that this brutality would stop in coming future. And that people like me would have the right to be themselves. That the majority of 'good-looking-perfect-figure' people won't look down upon us as if we've committed some grave crime.

When you don't know whether to be happy or sad, being indifferent helps.

I hope I live through, welcoming this new life.

PS. Don't even ask me what I am talking about.


Not much has happened lately.

The economy is in a slump (South Africa seems to be trailing behind the rest of the world in that respect, too) and business has been very slow lately. I'm taking the opportunity to redo my company website which has been getting rather stale and dusty, and this time I'm doing it properly, based on my own framework, and using CSS for layout rather than tables. In the process of which I discovered that while using tables is not really advisable anymore in 2010, using CSS instead (as God intended, according to some) sucks balls has some severe limitations. For example, something as elementary as making a multi-column layout in which each column has its own background image is a major pain - the damn things just won't line up at the bottom no matter what. CSS (CSS2, at least) just cannot do it! The best work-around so far seems to be using a single background image for multiple columns (which is a pain and somewhat inelegant) or using Javascript and the DOM to modify element properties on the fly upon completion of page loading (which is majorly inelegant).

Spring is slowly coming closer, and the tree in my neighbours' garden is in bloom while the birds are getting more active and start thinking about nests and such. It's still pretty chilly but the worst of the cold is over. I'm making plans for my herb garden, and I'll be starting the seeding trays for it this week. But my experiments with leek, cabbages and broccoli during the winter have clearly shown that the soil needs a lot of work; as it is now it is much too poor. A load of manure would be good (the country is full of it, after all) but it's about three feet from my bedroom window, so I might want to think a bit more about that. :_)

South African politics are still the same - an ugly little fight over power and money among politicans and their cronies - a bunch of ego-maniacal opportunists who are only interested in helping themselves to whatever they want. Did I just repeat myself?

Update: The idea behind using CSS for layout was to have a good look at mobile compliance. With more mobile devices than computers on the planet, ignoring mobile users is something that one just can no longer afford. And catering to the screen sizes of mobile devices is nearly impossible with tables - what's needed here is a separate style sheet that hides some elements, uses custom sizes for others, and does not tie one into a layout that has been fixed for all eternity by tables hardcoded in HTML.

Unfortunately, while the mobile market is booming, support for mobile devices is a complete pig's breakfast at this time. Every device manufacturer does things differently. Some ignore major aspects of CSS, others do a fandango on tables, and screen sizes can be just about anything. The web was never intended as a place where absolute positioning could work, or where assumptions about the client device could be trusted, but right now the only solution that really works seems to be a separate design and implementation for each and every make and model of handheld device, which is of course impossible. Not to mention that some wireless providers run content through a proxy that strips out selected portions of whatever HTML and CSS you use, which makes it even more of a crapshoot.

And that's pretty much it at the moment, really...
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