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User FAQ's

What is vorbis ogg audio music format ?? Why is it better than mp3 or why should i use it instead of mp3 ??
The ogg format is the open-source version of mp3.It is faster and the compression ratio is high.For more questions like these go to

How do I play files with .ogg extension ??
I personally prefer Zinf(formerly known as FreeAmp) because it is open source.But Winamp is really cool too for folks who dont care whether the code is open source or not.

How do I convert my CDs or .wav file to this vorbis/ogg format??
Download the Oggdrop from the site and then Drag and drop the files.

Where can I find more Information on vorbis/ogg format ??

I want to copy songs from my CD to the desktop.But whenever I try that it just copies the .cda files from the CD.But these can never be played??
This is the most common problem people encounter and the common notion about this is that the CD is encrypted or copy-protected.But that is not true.The Windows Explorer just shows it to you that way. There are various ways to do this.
The simplest of them is to download CDex software. And then convert the CD into .wav files.The only problem with .wav files is that they are huge.If you are short on space then convert it either to .mp3 format or .ogg format.My personal prefernce as mentioned above is .ogg. Here is how to conver the CD into .ogg files.After downloading the CDex software launch it.The go to Options-->>Settings and in the encoder tab and in the encoder drop-down select Ogg Vorbis DLL Encoder.And then your files will get encoded into the .ogg format.

I have a lot of audio cassettes.I want to convert them to CD or just want to make backup copies on a computer ??
N.B.The current version of MusicMatch Jukebox mentioned in the article does not have this recording feature available.It is now available in the paid version of the product.But you can download the older version 6.1 from the website has all the recording features enabled.

I have lots of pictures I want to make a VCD out of do I do it??
.I have not tried this but Im sure it should work.

I want to convert DVD's to VCD ?? have not tried this as my computer does not have a DVD player.

Is there a free/open-source software which can make backups of DVD to a single CD ??
DVD Master Backup can be used to make backup copies of your DVD on a single CD.I have not tried this as my computer does not have a DVD player.

Like mp3 can shrink audio files is there something which can shrink movie files like the ones from DVD ??
Xvid is a format which can used.
Another open source Theora format shold be availabel by the Summer of 2003.

With Napster dead what are the alternatives which I have for file sharing ??
GNucleus . This is a gnutella-network client which enables you to do file sharing.It is free and open source so you dont have the risk of spyware programs built in it like the classic case of Morpheus.Also check out my tips page for gnucleus.
Another gnutella client is called Phex.It is a completely java based client and hence runs on all platforms where java runs.

I want to edit my photos.Are there any tools available free of charge??
The most advanced free tool which I have used is GIMP.To download the windows version download it from here
There is a book available from Sams Publishing called GIMP in 24 hours

What browser is the best browser ??
Mozilla 1.6
Another reason to switch is that there is an inbuilt popup ad-killer to stop those annoying popup ads.To enable killing popup ads go to Edit-->Preferences-->Advanced-->Scripts and Plugins.In that uncheck open Unrequested windows.

Perfromace of Mozilla can be enhanced by enabling HTTP pipelining. Its very simple heres how to do it. Go to Edit-->Preferences-->Advanced-->HTTP Networking To enable HTTP pipelining check both the boxes of Pipelining on Direct and Proxy connections.This will definitely improve your browsing speed.
Here is the comparison of other features
101 things that Mozilla can do that IE can't do.
Why Mozilla Rockks!!!.
If you use/like Mozilla then please consider donating some money to Mozilla Foundation .All donations are tax-deductible.

What are the free alternatives to Microsoft Office Suite ?? 1.0
This is a real cool software.It has all the software which you will require to create Microsoft Word,Microsoft Excel,Microsoft Powerpoint documents. It can also read the documents created from the above Microsoft products and vice versa.This is a must have software.

Is there a free alternative to Microsoft XP,Windows 2000 etc ??
GNU/Linux Is a much better and definitely more secure Operating system.I would recommend that try it on a old machine(considered outdated by Windows) and install it and Im sure that you would definitely see the performance of GNU/Linux even on this old machine much much better than Windows.

How do I create .pdf files??
Creating PDF documents

I have a computer DVD player can I connect it to my TV and see the movie??
Yes.One of the ways in which this can be done is if you have S-Video output.There are other ways of doing this.

How can i unzip a .zip file.I usually get these when I download stuff from the Internet??
There is a software called 7-zip.Download it from the website and install it on you machine and henceforth whenever a file with .zip extension is downloaded you can expand its contents.

I want to encrypt my mails so that no on except the people intended can read it and no one can modify the contents.Is there any open-source free software which I can use for this ??
GNU Privacy Project is a free open-source software which can be used to encrypt and decrypt emails.

Are there any free news aggregators available ??
Rss Viewer is a Java based News Aggregator(RSS feed viewer).
If you do not have Java then you can also use Amphetadesk which is pretty good too.

There are many times when I just leave my computer on.No one is using it but still it is on.Is there are way in which we can donate this processing time??
Yes there are various noble causes in which your computer can participate especially when the computer is sitting idle.You can help in disease research.Just download the software from Folding@Home and install it on you machine.Just select the project which you are willing to donate your computers power.Then this software will start using the power for its complex calculation.Typical calculations will range from anywhere from 4 hrs to maybe 24 hrs.Once the calculation is completed it will send the result to the server.During these say 24 hrs you do not have to be logged on to the Internet. It is an open-source project so you don't have to worry about trojans etc.Also the results are published in scientific journals so that everyone can benefit from it. Also this task runs in the lowest priority of your machine,in the case Please do participate in this noble cause.

Is it possible to charge my laptop/cell phone or other devices from my cars cigarette ligther?? or Can I get AC 110V output from my cars cigarette lighter
Yes these are the products which can be used especially for this purpose.Imagine how much money you can save when you buy a new cell phone and you dont have to buy a new car charger.You can make use of the existing power charger which comes with the cell phone.
From RadioShack
From Frys electronics. Product Name : Wagan 2001 150Watt Power Inverter, 12-Volt DC In, 110 Volt AC Out

Is it possible to play mp3 songs through my car's speakers??
Yes it is possible to do this if your car has a cassette deck.Using any car cassette adapter like for e.g. Car Cassette adapter from Fry's electronics you can connect your laptop/MP3 players headphone jack to it .
Back in the days when people didnt have CD players in the cars you could buy a personal CD Player and then connect to this cassette adapter and then play a CD in your car.

Is there a way to control my computer using the TV remote control or can i control my TV with my laptop/computer??
Yes this is entirely possible.Take a look at the website.Most of the laptops have a IRda port which can be used.For a desktop you might have to buy a smalll serial IR adapter.
Imagine using your TV remote control to play/skip/pause mp3/ogg vorbis songs by controlling your mp3/ogg vorbis players. Windows IR Control

What is home automation??Are there any products available for Home Automation
Home Automation is a concept where in you can cotnrol devices,computers,dvd players,lights,torchiere,wireless cameras etc from one place and in many cases automatically.They are also called Smart homes.
A good starting point to read about home automation and related products is Smarthome

Developer FAQ

Is there a Free/Open Source altenative to Microsoft .Net ??
Dot GNU. is the Free/Open Source alternative to Microsoft .Net.

Im a webmaster/web Developer.What is the best graphic format which I can use ??
I would replace all .gif files on my website with .png files.There are many reasons for this.One of the most important being that .png is the officialy preferred form of graphic format from W3. The PNG format is open source and no one has to pay royalty for the proprietary .gif format. As far as jpegs is concerned I would not replace them until W3 comes out with the PNP format.

Im a webmaster/web Developer should i be concerned for a law suit against my company for using gif's on my website ??
Yes there is a very good chance that Unisys can create problems for using illegal gif's on your website.Unisys has done this in the past.Here is a website which has details on this I were to be the webmaster I would surely replace all the gif's with png.

I want to use GNU/Linux but my company does not officially allow it.I dont want to partition my hard drive of my personal PC.Can I still get my feet wet on GNU/Linux ??
Here is a list of full fledged GNU/Linux on a CD.You dont have to install anything on the hard drive it loads from the CD into the RAM.The compression ratio is also pretty high by which the files are compressed from about 2 gig in a 650 MB CD.

Is there a free secure shell client for windows ??
PuTTy client
is a open source client which can be used instead of telnet which is inherently insecure as it transmits your login/password information over the wire in plain text.

I maintain a lot of computers for my company.Can i have a remote control tool for each one of them ??
TightVNCThis is by far my favourite tool as far as remote controlling computers is concerned.It is easy to setup.And easy to carry around.The file is so small that the viewer can fit on a floppy. Another thing really cool about this is that you can even remote control your machines from a browser.
Th original authors of VNC have now formed a company called Real VNC which can be contacted for official support.Their software is completely free.

Java sucks!!.Java is too slow.My applets load too slow.Is there a simple non-geeky way in which I can improve its performance ??
Go to the Control Panel.Then double click on the Java Control Panel. Copy this string to the -Xmx256M -mx256M the Java Runtime Parameters on the Advanced Tab. Here instead of 256M specify how much maximum memory you want to allocate to the VM.The reason why sometimes Java applets appear to run slowly is because it does not get the required Virtual Memory.In that case what happens is that it keeps on garage collecting and it is a time consuming activity.

When starting java apps manually give the the same command i.e. instead of
java classfilename
Type in
java -Xmx256M -Xms10M classfilename
In the example above i set the max heap size to 256Mb and initial start size to 10Mb.Change these parameters according to your system memory and definitely you can see that the Java apps will run much faster.

I want to convert multiple .bmp files to .jpg files or other format can I do that ??
.It has a lot of command line utilities which can do image editing in minutes which can take hours if we were to do it manually. Like it saved me hours when I wanted to convert more than 200 pics from .bmp to .jpg and of the size 640X480.

I want to convert multiple .wav files to .ogg in a batch processing mode ??

Is there a free Java Development Environment availbale ??

Is there a free alternative to Hummingbirds Exceed(X-Server) ??
Yes there is a free X-server available for Windows. XFree86

Is there a free diff/merge utility for Windows ??
KDiff3 .It is very very good.One of a kind out there which works on both Unix/Windows
WinMerge (Currently does not have merging functionality)

Is there a utility like tail (on Unix) for Windows ??
Yes there is a free utility called Tail for Windows available which can help you monitor log files in real-time. Tail for Win32

Is there a way in which I can compile trees of Java related projects,preferably XML based ??
Ant is a tool which just does that.

Is there a free Source control tool ??
This software is used by a lot of open source web sites.So once you get used to it and in the future you intend to be involved in Open Source development,it will sound all familiar.There is a cool windows front end to it also

Are there any free open source databases available??

Is there a free bug tracking software available??
GnatsA lot of of open source software uses this software for bug tracking.

Is there a free open-source ERP/CRM application ??
Compiere ERP + CRM Business SolutionHere is the extract from their website "Smart ERP+CRM solution for small-medium enterprises (SME) in the global marketplace covering all areas from customer management, supply chain and accounting. For $2-200M revenue companies looking for "brick and click" first tier functionality."

I want to get involved in Open Source development,what do I do ??
Dot GNU.
Free Developers
UNESCO Free Software Portal
Open Source Applications Foundation
You can also help the above projects by donating some money.
To start with you might also be interested in reading the book The Cathedral and the Bazaaras to how the open source community works and it's history.

Why I try to avoid Microsoft as much as possible ??
I would advice everyone to read these articles with an open mind.
How NSA access was built into Windows

Microsoft wants to own the Internet
Trust or Treachery??
Windows XP Shows the Direction Microsoft is Going.Very good article
Microsoft.NET Gains Speed
Reasons to avoid Microsoft

What is Microsoft's Palladium Platform??Is it good for everyone??
Microsoft's Palladium platform is a way by which Microsoft wants to control the whole Internet.They tout that it will be "Trusted Computing" but the believers in freedom of Internet call it rightly as "Treacherous Computing".It will severly restrict you as to what you can do with your own computer. Read on about Palladium and how harmful it can be.
Another website is No TCPA

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