Unwind

Just a few weeks ago I was browsing  YouTube when I came across  a chilling short film titled ‘UNWIND’ based on the first book of a series by Neal Shusterman. I felt goosebumps as I watched, and by the time I had re-played it so many times I knew it by heart, I had already decided this one’s going to be my new favorite book series once I got hold of it. I was right. I completed the 4-book dystology in less than a week, and two weeks later, I’m still thinking about it. I’m telling you guys, this is one book you don’t want to miss. asd

Anyways, the story goes like this: It’s the near future, and after a civil war over the abortion debate, an agreement was reached: human life is untouchable until between the ages of thirteen and eighteen, when the parents can decide whether they want their child or not. The unwanted children would be ‘unwound’, a process in which the various body parts are extracted and sent over for transplants. As each and every part of the child is used for transplants, the child is not technically ‘dead’. The story follows the lives of three kids chosen to be unwound: Connor Lassiter, a troublemaker who is difficult to control; Risa Ward, an orphan the state can no longer afford to fund; and Lev Calder, an angelic tithe born and raised to be unwound as a sacrifice by his rich, religious parents.  In a weird twist of fate, the three meet, and finally they have a chance to escape and survive.

The sequels are equally interesting, if not more. What got to me the most was the mob mentality of the people, how, when told countless times that the wrong thing is right, people actually come to believe it, and the role of media in the whole thing.

The book made me really think, not only about the issues mentioned, but also how unwinding is a metaphor for the many wrongs in our society we are forced to believe are right.

This series is a must read for everyone. I can assure you it will be one of the best books you have ever read. A free download to the complete dystology in PDF format is provided below. You’re welcome :)

download

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Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

search engine optimization
Search Engine Optimization

What is SEO

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is an organic method of increasing a website’s visibility in search engines by selecting the best and the most suitable keywords related to the website and then submitting them to various search engines. It is a process of creating, formatting and promoting web pages and websites in such a way that ensures that they are ranked highly for selected keywords and phrases when a user performs a web search. The websites with the higher page ranks are generally more likely to receive a greater number of visitors from the search engines than those with lower page ranks. As a most popular internet marketing strategy, SEO analyses the working of different search engines, and finds out what exact search terms people are most likely to use when searching for a particular thing on the internet.

Optimizing your Website

In order to implement SEO in your website, you need to do a little research on what people generally search for and how they actually write their queries in search engines. There are tons of online tools that can help you with this, the most popular being Google Adwords Keyword Tool, which helps you choose related keywords to the ones that you put there. After you have selected the right keywords and phrases, you need to use these keywords in your site’s content, its code and its meta tags. This process is called optimization. Additionally, you may also highlight the keywords and phrases by stylizing them differently than the rest of the content or by using them in headings and titles.

Market Share of Popular Search Engines
Market Share of Popular Search Engines

The most popular search engines on the web are Google, Bing, Yahoo Search, AOL Search, and Ask. Generally search engines’ algorithms are kept strictly hidden, however, you may easily find out some of the factors that influence their rankings. Algorithms of different search engines can vary extensively from each other, so a website that ranks number 1 in one search engine may rank number 100 in another one. However, one of the common factors that influences the rankings the most, is, yeah you guessed it right, the content. So be sure your content is always up to date, grammatically and factually correct, and of course, keyword rich.

You can submit your website to any or all of the search engines mentioned above to be listed; however, you don’t have to. A simple backlink from a reputable website will get the search engines to visit yours. Getting listed can take time, usually from a few hours to a few weeks, so be patient.

SEO Checklist

  • Create a Sitemap of your Website: Adding a site map to your website makes it a lot easier for the web bots to search your site.
  • Use Keywords: Use keywords and phrases in your website that describe your content and your site. Try to embed the keywords in the titles, headings, metadata, links, the image and video tags. Be careful while using keywords though, irrelevant, misplaced, and too-often used keywords leave a bad taste in the mouth.
  • Make your URLs Search Friendly: A good idea is to include your basic keywords in your URLs so that the engines pick it up faster.
  • Content is the King: Keep your content fresh and updated, as well as of relevance to your visitors. An article about food and cuisine, no matter how well written, will not do well in a website for science and technology.
  • Add Image and Video Descriptions: The web bots can only search text for keywords, and not the text in your images or videos. So it is always a good idea to associate some text descriptions with your images and videos.
  • Swap Links: Exchanging links with other webmasters can be great for your website. Add links to other relevant sites in your website, and ask those sites to link to yours.

How To Keep Your Computer Running Smoothly

Slow Computer

Here’s a situation we have all faced at least once in our lives. We have just bought a new computer, and we’re amazed at how fast and smooth it runs. Unfortunately, very soon our new machine starts to act like an old clunker, no different than the ancient P3 we have had sitting in our basement for years. What?! All that money down the drain? What happened to the ‘Best Performance’ as advertised on the box? Sounds familiar right? Well don’t worry. This computer doesn’t have to go join the P3 in the basement yet. By following a few simple tips, you can give a boost to performance and keep your computer running fast and smooth, just as it was the day you bought it. An additional plus: you can also apply the same tips on that old P3, it won’t magically turn into a Core i7, but it surely won’t be as useless anymore.

Clean out the Windows Registry

The Windows Registry is the central database that contains a massive batch of files that contain information about everything and anything that happens on the computer. Every time you do something on the computer, read a file, save something, install a new program or run an existing one, etc, new information is saved in the registry.

 Sometimes, the registry saves something incorrectly, and over time, these errors can pile up and can start slowing down your PC. By removing these errors either manually or by using a program, you can greatly increase your computer’s performance.

Do Away with Unnecessary Programs and Files

You might have a couple of programs or applications you have not used in a while, or some you don’t need anymore. Now is the time to delete them to get back some valuable memory space, as these programs do little more than take up space on your hard drive. The same applies to files that you don’t want any longer.

Stay Virus Free

If you use the internet regularly, it’s probably just too easy to get infected with computer viruses. There are different kinds of viruses, some of which will slow down your computer’s performance and corrupt your files, while the more dangerous ones will complete destroy your computer’s operating system and will render it useless. Therefore, it is essential that you run virus checks regularly. Always be wary of viruses when downloading stuff online, and don’t click on strange links in email. It is also a good idea to use a firewall when using the internet.

Shut Down Safely

Never turn off the computer before it has shut down completely. Doing so could damage the hard drive or result in data loss, which would invariably affect the performance of your computer.

Remove startup items

Startup items have a big hand in slowing down the average computer. These are the programs that load right after startup, before you even open your first program. To remove startup items, all you have to do is go to System Configuration, and click on the ‘Startup’ tab. A list showing all the startup programs will be shown. Just uncheck the ones you don’t want to open with Windows, and click OK.

Back Up Your Computer

Careful as you are, hardware problems may occur more frequently that you think. Be sure to periodically back up all your data on external media so as not to lose valuable data in case of an accident.

Super Dragon Ball Z

Super Dragon Ball Z
Super Dragon Ball Z (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Introduction:

Another fighting game representing the Dragon Ball Z series, Super Dragon Ball Z is a ‘cel-shaded’ 3D fighting game originally released for European and Japanese arcades running on System 246 hardware, and then later for the PlayStation 2. The game features 18 playable characters representing most of the characters from the classic Dragon Ball Z, a number of destructible environments, and a style that reflects the era of arcade games.

Game Play:

The controls in Super Dragon Ball Z are a little different from the other Dragon Ball Z games and can therefore be a little hard to learn. There are 18 characters in all in the game, all of them completely unique and having different sets of moves and combos. The levels of the game are quite large and finely detailed, each level containing a secret, which is either something special for you to look at, or to use to your advantage. Also, you can use the environment to your advantage, for example you can use a pillar to block an attack.

Modes:

There are just a few modes in Super Dragon Ball Z, including the Original, Z Survivor, Versus,  Customise, Training and the Dragon Summoning mode.

1.  The Original Mode:

The Original mode is the arcade version of the game. You take on 7 opponents, each of which give you Dragon Balls, and make your way to the Cell.

2.  The Z Survivor Mode:

In the Z Survivor mode, you have to fight 9 battles with just one life bar. After each battle, you have access to choose an option from a roulette containing 7 options like Dragon Balls and regaining lost health. As you win more battles, you will gain more battle power, and becoming stronger. You will also recieve points to unlock new skills. Once you have collected all 7 Dragon Balls, you can have a single wish granted, usually geared towards customizing your own character, or, once in a while, unlocking a new character.

3.  The Versus Mode:

The Versus is the basic mode, where you can select a character, then stage and battle your friend.

4.  The Customise Mode:

The Customise mode, as the name implies, allows you to customize your

character. You can change your character’s clothes or skills in this mode.

5.  The Training Mode:

The Training mode allows you to practise your moves and attacks. You can set your opponent to be controlled by the computer or a person in this mode. You can also set the way you want your stage to be, and how your opponent responds to different attacks.

6.  The Dragon Summoning Mode:

The Dragon Summoning mode is where you collect all 7 Dragon Balls and have your wish granted. Because the wishes in this mode are much more detailed and complex, there are two sets of wishes: a Normal and an Enhanced set of wishes.

Graphics and Sound:

The graphics in Super Dragon Ball Z have a great 3D, cel-shaded quality, and are perfectly detailed. The colors in the game are rich and vibrant, and the characters are virtually flawless. The movements of the characters, too, are pretty fluid. The sounds of the game, however, are nothing to be proud of. The audio quality is abysmal, especially in the music and voiceovers.

Conclusion:

In a nutshell, it can be said that Super Dragon Ball Z is a solid game, and that fighting fans and fans of Dragon Ball Z the series will not be disappointed at all.

Get Super Dragon Ball Z Now!

Components of a Computer System

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The term ‘Computer’ does not describe a single entity. Instead, a computer is a composition of various units assembled together. Generally, a computer is made up of the following basic components:

  • Hardware
  • Firmware
  • Software

Now, let us describe each component of a computer system in detail:

Hardware

‘Hardware’ refers to the tangible components of a computer system. It consists of all the physical parts and attributes of a computer system. The computer screen, keyboard, mouse, speakers, microphone, printer and scanner are all examples of hardware. There is also another type of hardware, which cannot be directly seen by the user, but which makes the computer actually run. This hardware normally resides inside the CPU chassis, and can only be viewed when the chassis is removed. Some of the more common hardware parts of the computer are:

  • Mother Board:

Also called a ‘Main Board’, ‘Logic Board’ or a ‘System Board’, the mother board is the primary circuit board that makes up the electronic system of the computer.

  • Central Processing Unit:

This is one of the main components of a computer that reads instructions, processes data, and produces an output of the calculation in computer programs.

  • Random Access Memory:

A RAM is the main memory of the digital computer where the free space is used for manipulating and displaying data. RAM is volatile memory, which means that data is lost when the computer is shut down, unless it is properly saved.

  • Power Supply:

The power supply, as the name suggests, supplies electrical energy to the computer to make it run.

  • Computer Bus:

The bus is used to transfer data, instructions, or power within the various components of a computer, or between multiple computers.

  • CD-ROM Drive:

It is a device that is used to play the CD-ROM, a kind of removable data storage device.

  • Hard Drive:

It is a type of data storage device that stores the data on rotating disks with magnetic surfaces. The hard drive can retain the data even when the power is off.

Firmware

Firmware is a kind of permanent software present inside ROM chips that controls the internal functions of hardware devices. Firmware boots up computerized or digital devices, as ROM chips are non-volatile, meaning they do not require a power source to hold their contents. This distinguishes firmware from RAM, which loses all of its stored data immediately at shutdown. Most computer devices like printers, scanners, cameras, and USB drives have their own firmware embedded inside them. Firmware may be updated, or it may be replaced in some cases.
The most common firmware in a computer system is the one present inside the Basic Input/ Output System. The BIOS chip on a motherboard holds instructions that help the hardware initialize, and the software programs of a computer including the operating system to load and run, and control the computer. To enter the BIOS setup, press either of the following directly after restarting the PC, before the operating system loads: F1, F2, Esc, or Del.

Software

Software basically means a set of instructions or data. As opposed to storage and display devices that are called hardware, software is anything that is stored electronically into a computer and that which is intangible is called software. There are further 3 kinds of software in a computer system:

  • System Software

System software is a kind of software that is responsible for managing and operating a variety of hardware components, so they can work together properly. It is also responsible for providing a platform for running the programming and application software. Examples of system software include the operating system, device drivers, servers, as well as all the utilities that help the computer function.

  • Programming Software

Programming software includes all the resources and tools that software developers use to create, maintain, debug, and support computer programs or applications. Programming software may include compilers, debuggers, linkers, interpreters, and text editors, that can be combined together in an Integrated Development Environment (IDE) to help a programmer to write computer programs and applications.

  • Application Software

Application software is a kind of software that makes the computer perform specific processes and computations for the user. Examples of application software are word processors, spreadsheet programs, and database management systems.

RSS Unveiled

RSS Feed
RSS Feed

So you are a regular internet user who has a long series of frequently updated websites or blogs that you visit everyday. But you are a busy person also, and one of the biggest chagrins in your life is opening a website or blog only to discover it hasn’t been updated. Well then congratulations! RSS is the perfect solution for you. But what is RSS exactly, and what does it do? Read on to find out!

What is RSS

RSS is an acronym for either “Really Simple Syndication” or “Rich Site Summary”. It is a really easy and efficient method to publish and distribute regularly updated content such as news, blog posts, update notices, headlines, and web content to people in a standardized format normally called a “feed”.

History of RSS

Developed in the late 1900s by Netscape, RSS is an XML format that can quickly and easily distribute information and updates to a large audience. The initial version of RSS was called “RDF Site Summary”, and was based on a similar format created by UserLand Software sometime earlier. Several versions came out before Netscape decided to transfer the rights of RSS back to its original developer, UserLand, who continued to expand it. Meanwhile, another software group came up with a new version based on the original principles of RSS, but UserLand was not very happy with it and in 2002 introduced RSS 2.0, that quickly became popular. Now, RSS is widely used by people all over the world.

How it Works

RSS creates a list of notifications referred to as the “RSS Feed” of a website or a blog. This feed is actually a small and light weight XML file that resides on the web server. Subscribing to this feed will keep you updated with the latest headlines and updates of that particular website or blog. There are special programs called “RSS aggregators” or “RSS Feed Readers” that are designed to automatically access the websites and blogs regularly for the latest feeds and provide you the results in an organized, readable manner.

Why use RSS

RSS helps you to stay up to date and informed all the time by bringing you the latest highlights and updates from your favorite websites and blogs. It also saves a lot of your time as you don’t have to visit each website and blog individually to check for updates. It also provides you the facility to control the quantity and quality of the information you receive from the feeds.

How to Subscribe to a Feed

There are two ways you can subscribe to a feed of your interest:

  • Enter the feed’s URL into your RSS feed reader
  • Click on the orange feed icon on the desired website/blog to initiate the subscription process.

How to Generate RSS Feed for your own Website or Blog

Again, there are two ways of doing this:

  • Use free specialized tools called Feed Generators to extract data from your web page or blog
  • Use the RSS library of PHP. A PHP script will build an XML file by using the titles and the descriptions of pages and blog posts from the content of your website or blog.

How to Change File Associations

What is File Association
The term ‘File Association’ means which item is associated with which program. For example, an image on your computer may open with Windows Photo Viewer, and a text file may open with Notepad. More often than not, a single file may have the capability of opening with multiple programs. It is important that the right type of file is opened with the right program, otherwise it may not open successfully. For example, if you try to open an audio file with a photo viewer, you may get an error message stating you cannot do so. In this article, I will show you step-by-step how to set or change the file associations on your computer.

Changing the Associations
There are two ways you can change the file associations of your system. Before you start, you need to know that you may need to be logged in as an administrator to carry out the steps below.

  • The Shorter Way:

Step 1
Right click the file you want to change the associations of.
Step 2
In the menu that appears, scroll down to ‘Properties’, and click it.
Step 3
A window appears. In the ‘General’ tab, go to the portion where it says ‘Opens With:’. Here you will find the name of the program that it currently opens with. Click on ‘Change’.
Step 4
Another window appears. You will see a list of programs under the title ‘Recommended Programs’, which are, as the name implies, recommended to be used by the file. Select the one you want, and click on ‘OK’. If the program you need is not in the list, then click on ‘Browse’ and select it from your ‘Program Files’ folder.
Step 5
In the ‘Properties’ window, click on ‘Apply’ and then ‘OK’. Your file association has been changed.

  • The Longer Way:

Step 1
Click on ‘Start’, and then on ‘Control Panel’.
Step 2
In the search box on the top of the window, type in ‘Associations’. Now click on ‘Change the file type associated with a file extension’ under the sub-heading Folder Options’.
Step 3
Now wait a while for all your file types to load, this waiting time largely depend upon how many different programs you have installed in your system. When all the file types have loaded, scroll down the list and select the file type whose associations you want to change.
Step 4
Highlight the file type whose association you want the change, and then click on ‘Change Program’.
Step 5
A window appears. Select the program you want to use under the heading ‘Recommended Programs’, and click on ‘OK’. If the program you need is not in the list, then click on ‘Browse’ and select it from your ‘Program Files’ folder, and click on ‘OK’. Make sure the program you are selecting supports the opening of it.
Step 6
Now click on ‘Close’ to close the window and save your changes. Your file association has been changed.