Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Hidden Files Not Shown

This is another problem associated with the w32.USBWorm seen in the previous post. Sometimes this problem occurs even independently, without any association to the mentioned virus. This is basically due to a wrong registry key value.

The following steps have to be taken so as to restore hidden files and folders.

  1. Go to Start > Run, then type Regedit
  2. Navigate to the registry folder HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\Advanced\Folder\Hidden\SHOWALL
  3. Find a key called ChekedValue
  4. Double click CheckedValue key and modify it to 1. This is to show all the hidden files

Now you should be able to view all the hidden files, and also to alter its status from folder options.

Removing Orkut Hater - w32.USBWorm

I don't hate Mozilla but use IE or else
Use Internet Explorer U Dope
Orkut is banned you fool, The administrators didn't write this program guess who did?? MUHAHAHA!!

These are not any statements to encourage the use of IE or defame Orkut, but the indications of a virus infected machine, yes Virus. This virus is basically a malware named as w32.USBWorm and spreads primarily through pen drives. Well on the brighter side, this virus is a decent one and does not affect any of your files or damage your system.

Now coming to its removal, unfortunately many of the anti-virus software today are not in a position to detect this virus. So it has to be removed manually, the following steps have to be followed for its removal,

  1. Press CTRL+ALT+DEL and go to processes tab
  2. Look for svchost.exe under the image name. There will be many but look for the ones which have your username under the username
  3. Press DEL to kill these files. It will give you a warning, Press yes
  4. Repeat for more svchost.exe files with your username and repeat. Do not kill svchost.exe with system, local service or network service!
  5. Now open My Computer
  6. In the address bar, type C:\heap41a and press enter. It is a hidden folder, and is not visible by default
  7. Delete all files here
  8. Now go to Start --> Run and type Regedit
  9. Go to the menu Edit --> Find
  10. Type "heap41a" here and press enter. You will get something like this "[winlogon] C:\heap41a\svchost.exe C:\heap(some number)\std.txt"
  11. Select that and Press DEL. It will ask "Are you sure you want to delete this value", click Yes
  12. Now close the registry editor

Now the virus is gone. But be sure to delete the autorun.inf file and any folder whose name ends with .exe in the pen drive.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Download Your Favorite Videos

Every day, we see thousands of videos being uploaded in many of the video hosting sites like Dailymotion, Youtube, Veoh. These sites are very interesting as there is something in every genre - Science and Technology, Gaming, Music.

In fact any video can be found with a proper search. However a small problem exists with these videos, they can be seen but cannot be downloaded straight from the website as there is no download facility in most of these sites. So the storage of our favorite videos is not possible. But as usual, there is always a solution to a problem.

Let me explain this with an example. Consider this video, It is from Dailymotion from the games genre. It is the preview of the latest Need For Speed game - The Prostreet (I know I can embed the video here, but I want you to go to the original site).

Now, you can see the video being buffered so that it can be viewed; scroll down a bit in the page. Here two important links will be given. One is the permanent link and the other is the embeddable player. The embeddable player code can be copied into an html page for the video to be embedded onto the webpage. However we are aiming to save it on our system. This is now possible with a few websites that help us to download video content. A few of them are KeepVid, ClipNabber.

Consider I am downloading from ClipNabber. I paste the permanent link in the space given there, which is right below the logo and click the download button. Now scroll on the same page a bit, and just after the logo you will find a "download link" button. Click on that and select save, select the folder where it is required and the job is done. The video will be stored in the computer. Whatever maybe the format of the downloaded video, change the extension of the file to .flv. You will need Flash Player to play files with this format.

Better players can be found with a little bit effort. The beauty of the flv format is its small size, that is in this example 45 seconds of video was only of about 1.5 MB, which is very less when compared to other formats. This video can be converted into other formats with the help of video converters also if required.

This solves a large part of our initial problem, but not the entire problem. That is because this works with videos that are available directly without any registration. Now what if a registration is required, we cannot use any of these sites for download. Generally registration is required for some websites and a few videos of the above-mentioned sites. However this problem was solved by the latest version of Real Player that was released. This player can download video that can be watched by us. For example, if there was a video which can viewed only after registering, all we have to do is register and go to the video, immediately a small pop up will appear above the video saying "Download this video using Real Player". Click on this and the video will be downloaded on to the system. However Real Player 11 is still a beta version and its limitations cannot be told yet.

Before I conclude this article, I would like people to know that this article is not for supporting piracy, but only for videos which have proper rights. After all an original will always be an original.

Have fun!

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Thermoelectric Power

The Seebeck Effect is the conversion of temperature differences directly into electricity. In other words, it is the generation of electricity in a circuit containing two different metals, or semiconductors, by keeping the junctions between them at different temperatures. This effect is due to two effects - Charge Carrier Diffusion and Phonon Drag. This principle is used in thermal diodes and thermoelectric generators.

The Seebeck Voltage is the voltage produced between the two junctions of a ferrite material, when they are maintained at two different temperatures. This voltage is produced due to the fact that when two junctions are two different temperatures, the majority charge carriers (holes/electrons) are diffused from the surface having high temperature to a surface having relatively low temperature.

This voltage can be mathematically expressed as V = (integral)(T1 to T2) [SB(T) - SA(T)]dT where SA and SB are Seebeck coefficients of two different metals A and B, T1 and T2 are temperatures of hot and cold junctions. Generally, V = (SB - SA)(T2 - T1).

The term Thermoelectric Power is a misnomer since it measures the voltage in response to temperature rather than power. It is also known as Seebeck coefficient. It is defined as the open circuit voltage produced between two points on a conductor, where a uniform temperature difference of 1K exists between those points. It is a measure of the magnitude of an induced thermoelectric voltage in response to a temperature difference across that material. It has units of V/K. It is also a measure of entropy per charge carrier in the material.

Mathematically it is represented as S = Thermoelectric Voltage / Temperature Difference. In terms of electric field, it is written as S = E / Temperature Gradient. If m is the Thompson coefficient of an material, then S = (integral) [m / T]dT.

Thermoelectric power determines the efficiency of a thermoelectric material. More the Seebeck coefficient better is the efficiency. Materials with high Seebeck coefficient are Bismuth Telluride and Uranium Dioxide.

One of the important applications of Seebeck coefficient is the determination of Fermi Energy Gap. For a n-type semiconductor, QT = Eg - Ef + 2KT and for a p-type semiconductor, QT = Ef - 2KT where,
Q - Seebeck coefficient
Eg - Energy gap of the ferrite semiconductor
Ef - Height of fermi energy level from the top of the filled valency band
2KT - the term, which accounts for the transfer of KE of the ferrite to a cold one

For certain materials, the conduction takes place in exceedingly narrow bands or in localized levels, so the KE term can be neglected, so for a n-type semiconductor, Ef = Eg - QT and for a p-type semiconductor, Ef = QT.

Another important application of the Seeback coefficient is the determination of Carrier Concentration. In the case of low mobility semiconductors such as ferrites, the activation energy is often associated with the mobility of charge carriers. They are considered as localized at the ions or vacant sites and the conduction occurs via a hopping type process, which implies a thermally activated electronic mobility. In such cases, it is appropriate to consider small polarons as charge carriers rather than electrons or holes. Further, it is known that the concentration (n) is given by Q = - (K/e) [ lnb(N-n)/n + St/K ] where,
St - Entropy transport term, which is negligible for ferrite materials
N - density of states or number of available sites
K - Boltzmann constant
e - electronic charge
b - degeneracy factor which includes both spin and orbital degeneracy and its value is taken as 1

Considering n << N, we can reduce the above formula to n = N exp (Q e/K). If V is the volume of the sample and the value of K/e is found to be 86.4, so we get n = N/V exp (Q / 86.4). In the case of ferrites having exceedingly narrow bands or localized levels, the value of N, the density of states can be taken as 10^(22) cm^(-3).

In the case of n-type semiconductor material, the hot junction becomes positively charged, as it loses some of its electrons. The cold surface of the semi conductor becomes negatively charged due to the diffusion of free electrons from the hot portion. Conversely in a p-type semiconductor, the hot surface becomes negative, and the cold one positive. Thus the type of conduction in a given semi conducting material can be determined from the sign of the thermo emf.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Solar Cells

A solar cell or photovoltaic cell is a device that converts light energy into electrical energy. Sometimes the term solar cell is reserved for devices intended specifically to capture energy from sunlight, while the term photovoltaic cell is used when the light source is unspecified.

Fundamentally, the device needs to fulfill only two functions - Photogeneration of Charge Carriers (electrons and holes) in a light-absorbing material, and Separation of the Charge Carriers to a conductive contact that will transmit the electricity. This conversion is called the photovoltaic effect, and the field of research related to solar cells is known as photovoltaics.

Solar cells have many applications. They have long been used in situations where electrical power from the grid is unavailable, such as in remote area power systems, Earth-orbiting satellites and space probes, consumer systems, e.g. handheld calculators or wrist watches, remote radiotelephones and water pumping applications. More recently, they are starting to be used in assemblies of solar modules (photovoltaic arrays) connected to the electricity grid through an inverter, often in combination with a net metering arrangement. Solar cells are regarded as one of the key technologies towards a sustainable energy supply.

Thin-film solar cells use less than 1% of the raw material (silicon or other light absorbers) compared to wafer based solar cells, leading to a significant price drop per kWh. There are many research groups around the world actively researching different thin-film approaches and/or materials, however it remains to be seen if these solutions can generate the same space-efficiency as traditional silicon processing.

One particularly promising technology is crystalline silicon thin films on glass substrates. This technology makes use of the advantages of crystalline silicon as a solar cell material, with the cost savings of using a thin-film approach. Another interesting aspect of thin-film solar cells is the possibility to deposit the cells on all kind of materials, including flexible substrates (PET, for example), which opens a new dimension for new applications.

Gas Sensors

Gas sensors interact with a gas to initiate the measurement of its concentration. The gas sensor then provides output to a gas instrument to display the measurements. Common gases measured by gas sensors include Ammonia, Aerosols, Arsine, Bromine, Carbon Dioxide, Carbon Monoxide, Chlorine, Chlorine Dioxide, Diborane, Dust, Fluorine, Germane, Halocarbons or Refrigerants, Hydrocarbons, Hydrogen, Hydrogen Chloride, Hydrogen Cyanide, Hydrogen Fluoride, Hydrogen Selenide, Hydrogen Sulfide, Mercury Vapor, Nitrogen Dioxide, Nitrogen Oxides, Nitric Oxide, Organic Solvents, Oxygen, Ozone, Phosphine, Silane, Sulfur Dioxide, and Water Vapour.

Important measurement specifications to consider when looking for gas sensors include the response time, the distance, and the flow rate. The response time is the amount of time required from the initial contact with the gas to the sensors processing of the signal. Distance is the maximum distance from the leak or gas source that the sensor can detect gases. The flow rate is the necessary flow rate of air or gas across the gas sensor to produce a signal.

Gas sensors can output a measurement of the gases detected in a number of ways. These include percent LEL, percent volume, trace, leakage, consumption, density, and signature or spectra. The lower explosive limit (LEL) or lower flammable limit (LFL) of a combustible gas is defined as the smallest amount of the gas that will support a self-propagating flame when mixed with air (or oxygen) and ignited. In gas-detection systems, the amount of gas present is specified in terms of % LEL: 0% LEL being a combustible gas-free atmosphere and 100% LEL being an atmosphere in which the gas is at its lower flammable limit. The relationship between % LEL and % by volume differs from gas to gas. Also called volume percent or percent by volume, percent volume is typically only used for mixtures of liquids. Percent by volume is simply the volume of the solute divided by the sum of the volumes of the other components multiplied by 100%. Trace gas sensors given in units of concentration: ppm. Leakage is given as a flow rate like ml/min. Consumption may also be called respiration. Given in units of ml/L/hr. Density measurements are given in units of density: mg/m^3. A signature or spectra measurement is a spectral signature of the gases present; the output is often a chromatogram.

Common outputs from gas sensors include analog voltage, pulse signals, analog currents and switch or relays. Operating parameters to consider for gas sensors include operating temperature and operating humidity.

Copper Oxide (CuO) thin films were deposited using a reactive DC sputtering method for gas sensor applications. The structure of the films determined by means of an X-Ray diffraction method indicates that the phase of Copper Oxide can be synthesized in the total pressure and temperature ranges of 6-8.5 mbar and 151-192 °C, respectively. The resistivity of the film synthesized at a substrate temperature of 192 °C increases from 0.104 to 0.51 Ohm-m after absorbing Carbon Dioxide gas at 135 °C. The gas sensitivity of the film synthesized at the substrate temperature of 192 °C increases up to 5.1 in the presence of Carbon Dioxide gas at 160 °C. The gas sensitivity in the presence of Nitrogen gas reaches only 1.43 even at 200 °C.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Indian Movies At Oscars - Case Studies

In the previous articles we have discussed the Expectations, Causes of Failure and the Importance of Oscars. This post covers a few case studies, which could not make a successful performance at the Oscars in the past.

Mother India (1957)

Produced and Directed by Mehboob Khan, Mother India is perhaps the ultimate tribute to womanhood. Why Mother India couldn't make it at the Oscars -

  • The length of the movie
  • Apartheid was on a high during that time, which might have been another cause of failure

Salaam Bombay! (1988)

Produced and Directed by Mira Nair, Salaam Bombay chronicles the day-to-day life of children living on the streets of Mumbai. All the children acting in the movie were real street children, given proper training for the movie. Why Salaam Bombay! couldn't make it at the Oscars -

  • The cast was totally unknown
  • The movie was not properly marketed, especially in India, which retarded it's promotion in the Oscars

Lagaan: Once Upon A Time In India (2001)

Produced by Aamir Khan and directed by Ashutosh Gowariker, Lagaan is probably one of India's finest movie, mixing the British rule with Cricket. Though it was a splendid movie, it lost to “No Man’s Land”, dealing with two wounded soldiers caught in the no man’s land. Why Lagaan couldn't make it at the Oscars -

  • The movie was taken at a time when the British ruled India; the movie had nothing to do with the present times, which became a important cause of its failure

Rang De Basanti (2006)

Though this movie was not even nominated to the Oscars, let us even consider why it could not succeed. Produced and Directed by Rakeysh Omprakash Mehta, Rang De Basanti is one of the movies, which inspired the youth of the country to a large extent. The entire movie moves in and out of the time of freedom struggle and portraits many freedom fighters. Why Rang De Basanti couldn't make it at the Oscars -

  • As already said, the movie moves in and out of the past. Though the concept was good, it created a huge confusion among the viewers at times, which as a result led to its failure

These were a few movies that we can discuss now, though there are other movies still left for discussion, there's no point in doing that now. Let's move ahead and hope that we can create a movie that will put the Indian culture in front of the world, and thus succeed in getting an Oscar.

Indian Movies At Oscars - Importance Of Oscars

What makes Oscars important for Indian movies?

  • To achieve international appreciation
  • To increase the market of Indian films worldwide
  • As we deserve it

We all know that winning an academy award is nothing but achieving international appreciation so it’s important for us to win it to prove ourselves.

And by winning this award the range of market, for our films increases, which make the film, do well at box office. And this means the producer wouldn’t be at loss due to the lack of non-commercial elements in his movie.

The important thing is that we deserve the academy award for our films, there is no doubt that some discrimination towards Indian films exists otherwise it’s ridiculous that we haven’t won it till now even though decades have passed since its inception.

Do we really need an Academy award?

  • As it’s just a normal award like any other
  • As we have a national award which is more important
  • As we already have a huge market for our films in abroad

We unnecessarily think about an award which is not for us and not given by someone who could understand our culture, emotions and feelings so why should we give it importance moreover we have won lots of appreciation for our films in other film festivals like Cannes film festival.

We do have a national award, which is more important for us, rather than a award which doesn’t belong to us. As many of Indian people are staying abroad, because of them there is already a huge market existing worldwide for Indian movies this is the reason for Indian movies doing well at abroad.

Does the hype created by media for Oscar’s necessary?

Every year when the ad’s for Oscars starts in television channels the media starts creating hype for it and gives it more importance than our national awards. They never telecast the national awards ceremony but they do it for academy awards. It’s the media, which is creating an unnecessary discussion about the awards and they even mention every time that we weren’t nominated even after knowing the reasons.

Indian Movies At Oscars - Causes Of Failure

  • Politics in Indian selection committee
  • Differences between local film industries here
  • A good number of films being produced yearly
  • Most of the movies being the remakes of English ones
  • Less number of movies produced for the sake of human values

To explain the above terms briefly, let’s talk about the politics in Indian selection, we actually have a selection committee in India to select a movie among the Indian movies to send as the Indian entry to the Oscars. The committee consists of the members coming from different territories of India and they support the films of their region without looking for standards and the film from a region with more number of members will be selected irrespective of the standards. Due to this reason the film "Water" has been nominated for Oscars as a Canadian entry though being an Indian film.

Differences between the Indian film industries imply that we have many languages here in our country and each language has its own film industry. Most of the people abroad think that Indian films implies Hindi films but the actual fact is we have here films being produced in more than 25 languages and equal importance not being given to the films of all languages, every year it’s only a Hindi film that’s being selected as the Indian entry.

Yearly thousands of films are being produced in India and not even one film is being nominated for Oscars. Our films are not nominated at least for alternate years or at least for once in five years. From this we can understand the standard of our film making.

Another main reason is that famous English flicks inspire many of our films. Many of the Indian movies suffer the tag of plagiarism. Most of the popular Hindi and Telugu movies are remakes of a foreign movies or an English itself. A few of them are Josh (West Side Story), Shakti (Not Without My Daughter), Jism (Double Indemnity), Koi Mil Gaya (Extra Terrestrial). We cannot blame anyone for this fact since; it would be ridiculous if a foreign award was to be given to movie which itself is a copy of a foreign movie.

Here in India, films are produced to just entertain the people rather than for the sake of human values. The reason for this is that people here don’t show much interest towards a movie with less dose of entertainment and more of message or other stuff and due to this the films made for values doesn’t do well at the box office.

Non-realistic approach of a film implies the way we show certain things in our movies that doesn’t take place in real life. For example in an English if an actor flies in air or some thing he is shown as if he has super powers whereas in our movies the hero himself who is meant to be a common man has all the powers of a superman. Even in English they make films based on just imagination but not real but they give all the appropriate conditions to make that look true but here in our films a mother could know whatever happens to his son who is miles far away from her, we call it emotion or sentiment and they call it rubbish. But we can’t help it as our films are based on our culture and for the sake of Oscars we can’t change it.

Indian Movies At Oscars - Expectations Of The Jury

Previous Oscar Winners

The Oscar is a distant dream for the country's top award-winning filmmakers, but as thought it is not that we have never got an Oscar award.

  • Bhanu Athaiya (1982) is the first Indian to get an Oscar. She received the Costume Design Award for her movie Ghandhi
  • Satyajit Ray (1992) got an Oscar in the Lifetime Achievement Category

However these awards are customarily thought to be some sort of consolation.

What does the jury expect from a movie?

  • A Good Script is something which properly conveys the message that the director imagines in his mind
  • Realistic Approach in the sense to approach the script in most common way as if the story happened really and what if it happens really and all those cases which may take place if the story of the script is real
  • Natural Way of Taking is to shoot the scenes so that the viewers feel that they were real
  • A Good Cast is very necessary as they should suit the characters of the film and should enact them properly
  • Proper publicity is to make the film reach the people near and abroad
  • Movies should be made Straight to the Point instead of beating around the bush. On an average a movie in our country lasts for nearly for two and a half hours or three hours, on the other hand their films are just for about an hour and an half or two

Indian Movies At Oscars - Introduction

Recently few of my friends (Raghuveer, Bhanu Kishore, Swetha and Mounika) and I disturbed by the fact that India never won an Oscar decided to present a case study on the "Position of India at the Oscars" in a Non-Technical seminar at our college. This and the following few articles are about it.

The Academy Awards popularly known as the Oscars, are the most prominent and most watched film awards ceremony in the world. Awarded annually by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS) since 1929 in Los Angeles. It recognizes excellence in many aspects of motion picture making such as acting, directing and screenwriting. AMPAS is a professional honorary organization which as of 2007 has a voting membership of 5,830. Actors (with a membership of 1,311) make up the largest voting block at 22%. The votes have been tabulated and certified by the auditing firm PricewaterhouseCoopers.

The only award that concerns us is the Best Foreign Language Film started in the year 1947. It is an yearly award for the best film in a language other than English. Though the award is given to the director, it is considered as an award to the Country of origin. Every year in each country a jury in that country can select the best non-English film of that country they may submit to the Academy. These form the so-called longlist. Five of these are nominated and one of them wins.

Friday, February 23, 2007

Operating Systems For Mobiles

An Operating System is a program which manages the hardware and software resources of any device. We are acquainted with the Operating System of our computer which is usually Windows or Linux, but how many of us know that the mobile which we use also has an operating system of its own. A few of the operating systems that are widely used in mobiles are the Symbian, PalmSource, Microsoft Windows, Linux, etc.

Symbian OS is an operating system designed for mobile devices with associated libraries, user interface frameworks and reference implementations of common tools, produced by Symbian Ltd. Several mobile companies like Nokia, Ericsson and Samsung use it. Its major advantage is the fact that it was built for handheld devices, with limited resources, that may be running for months or years. There is a strong emphasis on conserving memory, using Symbian specific programming idioms. They keep memory usage low and memory leaks rare. Further Symbian OS programming is event based, and the CPU is switched off when applications are not directly dealing with an event. Also they may also provide better battery life. Most of the Symbian OS programs can be programmed in OPL, Python, Visual Basic, Perl, JavaME, etc. This OS has been subject to a variety of viruses, the best known of which is Cabir, however anti-virus soft wares have been developed to overcome the effects of these viruses. Some of the devices that use this OS are the S60 series such as the N72, Nokia 6630 and many more.

Palm OS is a compact operating system developed and licensed by PalmSource, Inc. for personal digital assistants manufactured by various licensees. It is designed to be easy-to-use and similar to desktop operating systems such as Microsoft Windows. The Palm series and Treo 650 are a few of the famous models using this OS.

Further some of the operating systems used for computers like Windows and Linux are also used in mobiles. However they are not as popular as the others mentioned. The Samsung Black Jack, Motorola Q are few of the smart phones which use the Windows OS. Motorola first launched the Linux OS with its model E680.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Interesting Facts

  1. Money isn't made out of paper; it is made out of cotton
  2. The 57 on a Heinz ketchup bottle represent the variety of pickles the Company once had
  3. Your stomach produces a new layer of mucus every two weeks otherwise it will digest itself
  4. The dot over the letter 'i' is called the title
  5. A duck's quack doesn't echo, no one knows why
  6. Forty percent of McDonalds profit comes from the sales of 'Happy Meals'
  7. Every person has a unique tongue print
  8. 315 entries in Websters 1996 dictionary were misspelled
  9. On an average 12 newborns will be given to wrong parents daily
  10. During the famous chariot scene in "Ben Hur", a small red car can be seen at a distance
  11. Warren Beatty and Shirley Maclaine are brother and sister
  12. Chocolate affects a dog's heart and nervous system. A few ounces will kill a small sized dog
  13. Most lipsticks contain fish scales
  14. Donald Duck comics were banned in Finland because he doesn't wear pants
  15. Ketchup was sold in the 1830s as a medicine
  16. Leonardo Da Vinci could write with one hand and draw with the other at the same time
  17. There are no clocks in the Las Vegas gambling casinos
  18. There are no words in the dictionary that rhyme with orange, purple and silver
  19. A tiny amount of liquor on a scorpion will make it go mad instantly and sting itself to death
  20. By raising your legs slowly and lying on your back, you can't sink in quicksand
  21. American Airlines saved $40,000 in 1987 by eliminating one olive from each salad served in first class
  22. Chewing gum while peeling onions will keep you from crying
  23. The glue on Israeli postage stamp is certified kosher (halal)
  24. Guinness Book of Records holds the record for being the book most often stolen from Public Libraries
  25. Astronauts are not allowed to eat beans before they go into space because passing wind in a space suit damages them

Friday, January 12, 2007


UNIX is derived from the word UNICS - Uniplexed Information and Computing System. It's a computer operating system originally developed by AT&T employees at Bell Labs including Ken Thompson, Dennis Rithchie, and Douglas Mcllroy. Over the years, several Unix like operating system such as Linux, Mac OS X have been encountered.

Unix is an operating system widely used in both servers and work stations. It is more useful at server space than at client space. It is considered to be very reliable and secure. The various components of the Unix operating system are

  • Kernel - Handles memory management, system calls, etc.
  • Development Environment - Includes libraries, compilers and assemblers
  • Commands - Contains the executable commands
  • Documentation - Contains the manuals and documents for various commands

Though the earlier version did not have a Graphical User Interface (GUI), the later versions even included the GUI component.

Later, a GNU Project was announced to create a free Unix like system. A compatible Kernel was successfully developed called Linux. Examples of these Linux based Operating Systems are Fedora, SUSE, Mandrake.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Graphic Cards

A Graphics Processing Unit (Visual Processing Unit) is a dedicated graphics rendering device for a personal computer, a workstation or a gaming console. Their highly parallel structure makes them more efficient than a typical CPU for a range of complex algorithms. The most common operations of these devices is their 2D graphic support. However the modern GPUs even support 3D graphics and include digital video related functions. Examples of companies that produce such GPUs are GeForce and Radeon.

Modern GPUs use transistors to do calculations related to 3D computer graphics. They are widely used for texture mapping and rendering polygons. Since most of these computations involve matrix and vector operations, GPUs are also being used for non-graphical calculations. Recent graphics cards even decode high definition video on the card, taking some load off the central processing unit.

The presently available Graphic Cards can be classified as

  • Dedicated Graphics Cards - The term "dedicated" refers to the fact that these cards have RAM that is dedicated to the card's use. These cards are removable as they interface with the motherboard by means of an expansion slot such as "PCI Express Graphics" or "Accelerated Graphics Port". They are considered to be the most powerful class of GPUs present. Examples includes the graphic cards from GeForce and Radeon
  • Integrated Graphics Solutions - These are graphics processors that utilize a portion of a computer's system RAM rather than dedicated graphics memory. Such solutions are typically far less expensive to implement in comparison to dedicated graphics solutions. However they are considered unfit to play modern games as well as run graphically intensive programs. Modern desktop motherboards often include an integrated graphics solution and have expansion slots available to add a dedicated card later. An example is the Intel built in graphic card
  • Hybrid Solutions - This type of graphic cards competes with the integrated graphics in the lower end PCs. They are a bit more expensive than Integrated Graphics but cheaper than dedicated cards. They share memory with the system memory, that is, they utilize a part of their internal memory and a part of the system RAM. It is important to note how much of the system memory is utilized besides the total memory. Examples are Hypermemory and Turbocache
  • Stream Processing - A new concept application of GPUs is that of stream processing and the General Purpose Graphics Processing Unit (GPGPU). In certain applications requiring massive vector operations, this can yield several orders of magnitude higher performance than a conventional CPU. Still efforts are being made to pursue this new market with an array of applications

To know about your graphics card, follow these four simple steps

  1. Open start menu
  2. Select Run
  3. Type dxdiag and press Enter (This actually runs the diagnostics of DirectX)
  4. Select the display option to know about the graphic card