Archives for June 2011

Reinstalling the Firmware on your iPod

If you are a harassed iPod owner, this article is for you. iPods don’t always behave the way we want them to. If your iPod is behaving funnily and you have tried everything possible to repair it, without success, then a firmware re-installation might help your case.

Firmware software re-installation is an extreme measure that you should resort to only if nothing else sets your iPod right. You will have to erase your iPod for successful re-installation. It is therefore advised that you backup all your iPod data before you start this procedure.

Step 1: Erase your iPod

The protocol you implement to erase your iPod will differ based on the operating system of your computer.

1. MAC OS X. If your computer has OS X, proceed to Disk Utility (DU). DU can be accessed as follows — Macintosh HD> Applications> Utilities. Once you have the Disk Utility window open, look for your iPod in the list. Select it and then click the repair button. Next, select the Erase option to erase your iPod’s memory.

2. Windows XP. If you use XP on your computer, erasing your iPod is a straightforward procedure. Open “My Computer” and select your iPod. It will be located alongside your “C” drive. Place your mouse’s pointer on your iPod’s icon. Right click and select “Format.” From the different options that show up on the Format screen, select “FAT 32,” and then click on “Format.” Formatting will erase all the data on your iPod. Once formatting is completed, you may be prompted to reboot your computer – that’s an optional step that you’ll most probably not need to do.

Step 2: Restore your iPod

After it has been erased, your iPod is as good as new. You will have to restore it to its former glory. Start by connecting your iPod to the computer using the USB cable or FireWire that you had bought it with. Open iTunes on your computer after the iPod is connected. iTunes will automatically find the connection. It will then prompt you to install the software necessary to get your iPod up and running again.

If iTunes does not prompt, look for the “Source” column in the left half of the iTunes window. Choose your iPod in the “Source” column. Next, select the “Summary” option for your iPod. You will find it at the top of the iTunes screen along with other tabs such as “Music,” “Contacts” and “Photos.”

Click on “Restore” in the “Summary” window. If you are asked for your username and password, type them in and confirm the restore process. Your iPod’s factory settings will be restored. After restoration, remove the USB or FireWire cable from your iPod. On disconnection, your iPod will prompt you to reconnect. Use the cable and reconnect again. Your iPod will now update and restart. After your iPod has restarted, you will see a “Do not disconnect” message flashing on its screen.

iTunes will then prompt you to name your iPod. Type in a name and select “Done.” iTunes’ main window will now be displayed. Wait until you get an “Update Completed” message. You can now quit iTunes. Remove the USB or FireWire cable from your iPod. A few seconds after disconnection, your iPod will display “Language” options. Choose the language you want. You are done. If your iPod does not turn on, it might help to leave it unused for a period of about 24 hours. Try this procedure again. If it still doesn’t work, you’ll need to get professional help. If the iPod’s warranty is valid, you can contact Apple via their support page. If it isn’t, get it repaired from an expert.


How to Spot and Protect Yourself from Potential Phishing Emails and Websites

‘Phishing’ is a malicious act by online con artists using emails that are supposedly from reputable companies. The purpose of these emails is to lure recipients into submitting personal data and information that can then be used for illicit transactions. The term ‘phishing’ is a simply a purposeful misspelling of ‘fishing’.

This is because phishing also involves throwing out bait — in the form of fake emails — and hoping someone takes this bait and becomes ‘hooked’. The emails can look quite real and will usually appear to be from large companies financial institutions or popular retail sites. Basically, any company where people are likely to have financial accounts or personal accounts that could be misused, can be used as the alleged email sender. The emails will usually inform you about some urgent matter like suspect account activity, suspension, financial transaction and others in order to get you to quickly click the link inside.

The email will include a link for the recipient to click on so that they can be taken to the correct site and page to rectify the problem. But this link will not lead the real site; instead it will take the person clicking it to a clever imitation, often a clone of the company’s official site. This can be achieved by copying the HTML code of the official site page. If the fake site is not a clone, another technique is to dress up destination page to look official. The page will normally include identical graphics, images and brand logos as the real company, in order to fool a visitor that this is an official page.

Once on these fake phishing sites the visitor will be urged to fill out forms using personal data, such as: bank account details, credit card numbers, social security numbers, passwords, etc. Anything that could be used to access the visitor’s financial accounts, or data that could be used to make illegal purchases using the visitor’s payment details, is often the target.

The best way to avoid these phishing scams is to be extra vigilant when opening emails received from well-known companies (like eBay and Amazon) and especially from banks and credit card companies. These companies will never ask for personal data, or if they do they will only ask for a section and never account details and a password.

Another giveaway can be seen when hovering over the link in a potentially fake email: If the destination address that appears at the bottom of a browser is indicating that you would be taken to a completely different address than the link, or one that is obviously not a site connected to the alleged email sender —this is a phishing scam. If you are in any doubt that an email is a phishing attempt, contact the company directly (that it is supposedly from) and inform them of the email you have received. They will be able to confirm whether the email is real or fake.

You can never be too prudent with these types of scam online – if con artists get a hold of your personal information, they can really mess up your life. Use the above tips and stay safe.


How the Giclee Brought Artists to the Digital Gge

It is no secret that technology has been transforming the world in recent years. From the way we live to the way we communicate to the way we work with one another, rapid advances in technology have been changing the very way we relate to the world around us. This transformation is also happening in the world of fine arts, where advances in printing technology and the quality of printed reproductions is changing the way artists around the world market and sell their creations.

Just as digital photography slowly but surely killed off the world of film cameras and darkrooms, advances in digital printing technology, most notably the giclee method, has been quietly transforming the way prints are made. Before this printing procedure was introduced artists had limited choices when it came to creating prints of their original artworks. With the advent of digital high end inkjet printing, artists have many more choices when it comes to creating special edition prints and marketing their favorite creations.

The term giclee is thought to derive from the French, and the term loosely translates to “squirting” or “spraying” in English. This is no doubt due to the way these high end professional quality inkjet printers put colors on the canvas to reproduce original artworks pixel by pixel. No matter what it is called, there are a few important characteristics of true digital fine art printing. One of the most critical is that the print uses archival pigmented inks along with archival fine art papers to create those works of art. If quality inks are not used, the results will not be good.

And even if the initial prints look fine, they will not stand the test of time and will begin to deteriorate rapidly. Giclee printing also uses true professional grade inkjet printers. These printers are a far cry from the ones most of us have sitting on our desktops at home. A true professional inkjet printer will use professional grade nozzles, along with the finest quality inks, to produce results that are far superior to anything a typical computer user could achieve at home.

When choosing a giclee printing service, it is also important to make sure that service uses individual color profiling for each paper. This is very important, since this individual color profiling will provide colors that are richer, more vibrant and truer to the colors used on the original piece of art.

The giclee process has definitely pushed artwork into the new digital world, and this can benefit both artists, who can create more unique and varied art pieces, and customers, who will get them for cheaper than ever before.


Access your Favorite Sites from Behind a Firewall

Employers and educational establishments prefer employees and students to spend their time productively—this includes using internet access for work-related research. The ever-growing popularity of social networking (i.e. Facebook) has led to many people preferring to spend their days keeping in touch with friends, or playing the latest apps, on social networking sites — using company resources.

To combat this growing trend of work-time online socializing, many businesses and institutions have attempted to restrict access to any, or all, social networking sites and forums. For any establishment using an Intranet-based system, this can be as simple as instructing a server to block access to these sites – and for the more-advanced systems, a record can be kept of the individual terminals attempting to logon to any restricted URL addresses.

How to bypass any Intranet System that blocks Facebook Using a Proxy Address

This technique will work for any of the social networking sites but for this example we will use Facebook. What you will need is what is commonly referred to as a ‘Facebook proxy’. This is a website that allows you to access Facebook via that website. This means that any Intranet system will only see the user as visiting the proxy website (which is unrestricted) and due to the way that the website redirects a user to Facebook, the blocked URL address is hidden from the Intranet server.

Here is an example using a proxy website called This site can be used to access many of the social networking sites and is 100% free to use. By following the simple instructions on the site for accessing Facebook, a user can be taken directly to Facebook’s log-in page. Whereas a normal URL address for this page would be “”, accessing Facebook via will give a URL address like “”. As you can see, this URL address has no mention of the dreaded Facebook URL and will be completely invisible to any Intranet server that has instructions to block access to the Facebook website.

Even after logging in and accessing further Facebook pages the Facebook URL will still be completely hidden, using the same URL format. (Note: Facebook may ask a user to answer a few simple questions when they first logon to the site via a new proxy address. This is because Facebook does not recognize this address and wants some confirmation).

Another point to remember is that accessing any site via a proxy address will add a small time-delay to any function performed. This is nothing more than a few extra seconds to load the next page and is certainly worth the wait to have unrestricted work-time access to your favorite website.

Here are a few more Facebook proxy websites:,, You can find many other similar (and fresh) sites by doing a simple search on Google for “Facebook proxy”.

Some clever Intranet administrators may notice that a lot of people are suddenly visiting certain random websites (the proxy sites) and may start to block access to these. It is a good idea to vary which Facebook proxy sites you use and to keep this technique to yourself — don’t be tempted to broadcast it to all your other friends, or colleagues, suffering Facebook withdrawal. This may seem mean, but so is losing your own Facebook access due to sloppy track-covering by colleagues.

Now you know how you can access Facebook anywhere, anytime, using a very simple technique!


Upgrading your Laptop – How to Replace an MXM Video Card

For those into video gaming, being able to take advantage of the latest line of graphics cards means better frame rates, better image quality and, overall, an improved experience in every game. Upgrading a graphics card in a desktop is something anyone can do. All you have to do is buy the new card having checked whether your PC will run it, slot it in and install new drivers.

However, for those with laptop computers, upgrading the graphics card is quite another matter. You hear of people upgrading desktops all the time, with relatively few restrictions. By contrast, for laptops, it is hard to find the necessary parts and harder still to actually install them. Many laptop computers are simply not upgradeable in this respect, but you may be surprised to learn that a great deal of models actually are.

How Do I Know if My Laptop Graphics Card is Upgradable?

The first thing to check is what sort of graphics system your computer already has. If your laptop only has a basic integrated graphics solution as most lower end machines do, then there is no possibility of upgrading. This is because the graphics adapter is integrated into the motherboard of the machine and there is no slot in which to connect a new one. But if your laptop has an NVidia or Ati dedicated graphics adapter (be aware, they also have integrated ones!), your laptop might be upgradeable.

Secondly, the dedicated card needs to be of the MXM standard. MXM stands for Mobile PCI-Express Module and is the interconnect standard for many laptop graphics cards. MXM comes in various different types as well including the 1.3, 2.0, 2.1 and 3.0 specifications. To find out exactly which one your computer uses, you will need to search online for a list of laptop models and their graphics card types. You are not likely to get much help from your computer’s manufacturer regarding this.

Purchasing a Laptop Graphics Card

Of course manufacturers don’t want you to upgrade your existing laptop – they’d much rather prefer you buy a new one. This is because they would rather have you buy a new laptop altogether. MXM graphics cards are normally only sold to corporations. However, there are some sellers out there which do make a point of specializing in laptop cards. You may also be able to find them on the online auction sites. They cost quite a lot more than their desktop counterparts, but can be much cheaper than buying a new machine.

Installing a Laptop Graphics Card

Provided it is of a compatible MXM specification, installing a new card should not be too difficult at all. However, opening up your laptop will most definitely void your warranty – but chances are if you want to upgrade, your warranty is long expired anyway. If you are at all unsure about carrying out the upgrade yourself, you may want to leave it in the hands of a computer professional. Additionally, once you have physically installed the card, you will need to install the correct drivers for your hardware and operating system.

The upgrade isn’t as hard as it may sound, though, and in the end it’s worth it, since you’ll be able to play games better and get a better overall performance out of your old laptop, without having to spend a lot of money on a new one.