Terrible Internet Connection & A Second Round PageRank Update?

October 25, 2007 by · 40 Comments 

I’ve been experiencing a terrible Internet connection since yesterday and probably unable to post lengthy post for now. I’ve called Streamyx last night but I was disconnected after going through all the ‘mandatory’ troubleshooting for 20 minutes. Yea, that’s a ‘great’ TMNet customer support that you come to expect.

I am on the phone with them right now.

Anyway, apparently Google is doing a second round of the PageRank shake up and according to HTNet, is now a 3. I can’t check this myself because my connection doesn’t even load main page properly. (Update – yes that’s seem to be the case)

If you are wondering how this would affect me. well it’s still business as usual but then I’ll have to realign some of my strategies. I have over 40 domain names and about 30+ are active blogs/websites/forums. Not all of them are affected. In addition, the majority of them do not depend on PageRank to make me money. I’ll write about this more in my next post.

Anyhow, the penalty seems to affect almost everyone regardless of how good the content. is compiling a list of sites affected by this ‘debacle’ PR6 PR4 PR7 PR5 PR6 PR4 PR6 PR4 PR6 PR4 PR6 PR4 PR7 PR4 PR7 PR4 PR6 PR4 PR6 PR3 PR6 PR4 PR5 PR3
Vlad PR4 PR2 PR7 PR4 PR6 PR4 PR7 PR5 PR7 PR5 PR7 PR5

Are your sites or blogs affected (again)?

Upgraded to Windows Vista and Here’s My Thoughts

June 18, 2007 by · 5 Comments 

A few months after I wrote about my intention here and here to upgrade my operating system to Microsoft’s latest operating system, Windows Vista, I finally did it on Saturday last weekend.

I managed to grab an OEM copy for RM680 after shopping around at Karamunsing Complex in Kota Kinabalu.


Getting Ready For Vista

I ran the Vista Upgrade Advisor, an application that helps Windows XP users identify which edition of Vista meets their needs and whether their PCs are ready for an upgrade and I passed with flying colours.

Vista Upgrade Advisor recommended Windows Vista Business edition but I thought I could benefit from the extra features offered by Vista Ultimate so I bought that edition instead.

If your PC is less than two years old, chances are good that you can run Windows Vista. I bought mine in October 2004, so it’s just over two years old but I still manage to run Vista without much hiccups.

Here’s my PC specs

Pentium 4 3.2 GHz
1 GB of RAM (upgraded to 3 GB)
250 GB Hard drive (added an external 300 GB recently)
128MB Radeon X800SE graphic card.
Dual 17 inch LCD screen


my pc


Now if you have a PC with less than 3.0 GHz processor, I would recommend purchasing a new system altogether. One that’s equipped with a dual core processor should fit the task nicely.  In the memory department, I would recommend having at least 2GB of RAM to ensure the smooth running of Vista. Your graphic card is also important if you want to experience the Windows Aero and all the eye candy Vista has to offer. In addition, you’ll need to have a DVD ROM drive in order to install Vista.

If you find your system struggling and isn’t responsive after installing Vista, check your Windows Experience Index to see what holding you back. More often than not, the problem may be attributed to your hardware inability to keep up with Vista’s resource demand.

Mine is my processor which is the main limiting factor. But with a score of 4.1, all Windows Vista features run quite well nonetheless. The highest base score you can get is 5.9. Base scores of 6.0 and higher are not defined yet.




Installation and Compatibility Issues

Installing Vista was a breeze and it actually much quicker that of XP. I was up and running in less than 30 minutes top. I did a clean install instead of upgrading my existing XP installation which I recommend everyone upgrading to Vista should do.

I heard of horror stories where people were swamp with software and hardware incompatibility problems after installing Vista on top of their existing XP installation – or even fresh installation of Vista for that matter.

Contrary to what some people may expect, nearly everything works like a charm on the first try for me. My hardware works as if they were made for Vista, however to be on the safer side and current, I downloaded the latest drivers from their manufacturer’s website later..

The only problem I encountered was when I tried plugging in a rather old digital camera and it wasn’t auto detected. Quicken 2005 was having problem running but this was fixed after I installed the latest upgrade. My favourite game, Starcraft (old game I know), was not displayed correctly when setting up a game, but the problem went away during a game play.

To be fair though, it’still too early to conclude whether all my software and hardware will work seamlessly because I haven’t installed and test everything yet. But the initial prognosis looks good and I expect fewer problems down the road.


Running Vista & My First Impression

OK my first impression after login into Vista – it’s a modern looking interface with shiny gadgets everywhere. Everything looks good in Vista, even Internet Explorer looks prettier.

I enjoy the changes that remove a lot of the little annoyances that have been plaguing previous version of Windows. The combination of thousands of little improvements, better usability, better navigation, better dialogs, better speed and so on make using Vista a much better experience.



You can switch between open applications using the new "Windows-Tab" key combination .


You can start searching just about everywhere in Vista. The Start menu equipped with a search box. As you type in the box, Vista starts showing the data that matches your search term: application names, files and even emails.

The new Start Menu with a search textbox at the bottom.


The Siderbar, running along the edge of your desktop give quick access to all sorts of mini-applications. These are what I need to give up Google Desktop Search.


Image of the new Windows Sidebar


Windows Explorer is fully revamped to make it easier to navigate your hard drive. The favourite links on the left pane is especially useful because it doesn’t change no matter where you are within Windows Explorer.

Microsoft has also introduced a nifty feature which is a clickable trail of directories a user has followed to get to the current location. So a user can get anywhere within a trail with a single click instead of several clicks to go up or down the directory tree.


Picture showing the Favorite Links on the left pane and clickable Breadcrump (trail of directories)


Performance & Stability

I was surprise things actually work faster in Windows Vista compare to in XP.

Most applications launch a few seconds faster. This is probably due to the SuperFetch feature which is introduced in Vista. It prioritises the programs you’re currently using and adapts to the way you work by tracking the programs you use frequently, at what times of day that programs are used and intelligently preloading these into memory. Good thing that I upgraded my RAM to 3GB before installing vista.

I also noticed I can start launching programs right away while Vista is still loading all the start up programs such as Norton Internet Security and so on when starting Vista. In XP I usually have to wait a minute or longer to allow everything loaded up before I could even start using Outlook or Firefox.

At some points I noticed Internet Explorer retrieving pages from the Internet at a faster speed than when in XP but I doubt Vista actually improves my overall Internet speed. In addition, I noticed IE consumes low memory footprint.

Everything isn’t perfect though, random CPU outage occurs at random intervals which freezes Vista for a few seconds. I wonder if this incident will become more frequent as I install more applications in the coming days.

In term of stability, it looks like the I/O hangs is now a thing of the past. Terminating rough processes via Windows Task Manger really kills the processes right away. Unlike in XP where it sometimes needs a few minutes to kill a process, or does not terminate at all.

When one program crashes, it does not bring down the whole system, that’s really a reality in Vista.

As far as I can tell, this is the most stable version of the Windows operating systems.


Windows Vista Security

One of XP’s biggest security problems is that it promotes everybody who wants the ability to run a vast number of programs and conduct common activities as an Administrator. As a result anybody, including a malicious program that has the admin privileges is able to wreak havoc and exploit your system.

Vista ’s User Account Control solves this problem by creating a Standard account which is not as powerful as the Admin account but it still allows the widest possible range of activity, even an Administrator runs at Standard level. A warning is displayed when elevated privilege is required. This warning dialogs can be a nuisance but you can’t have both as far as convenience and security are concern. There has to be a compromise and obviously you haven’t used Linux before.

Microsoft has made great strides in improving its security features and this change should be welcomed.


Should you upgrade?

While there are goodies to be had in Vista, if you are happy with Windows XP and it gets the job done, there’s no need to upgrade.

If you are concern whether your PC can cope with Vista’s resource demand, don’t upgrade, just buy a new PC with Vista pre-installed instead.

As a software developer, I need to test my software compatibility with Vista so upgrading is a must. While most of the new features and eye candy are bonuses for me, I appreciate the improved security and specific features that can help me become more productive.

And if you are like me who feels some trepidation about installing a completely new OS on your main computer, fret not, you can always make Vista coexist with XP like what I am doing.

Vista is installed on a separate partition in my hard disk and I am slowly migrating my data from XP to Vista. If something goes wrong, I can always go back to XP.

I’ll write a tutorial in my next post on how to make Vista coexist with your current OS.

Microsoft launches Microsoft Affiliate Network

May 18, 2007 by · 4 Comments 

Today Microsoft announces the launch of Microsoft Affiliate Network which “exclusively encompasses all the Microsoft premier affiliate opportunities.”

I wonder what’s taking them so long before jumping into the affiliate marketing bandwagon. I know they have had affiliate program in a much smaller scale before but that’s different.

Their program is managed by customized version Kowabunga affiliate management software.

At the time of this writing, only one offer is available which is their OneCare product. Participation into the program is by invitation only.

However you can head to to get more info and apply. Keep in mind though they currently accept applications from the US and Canada.

I am sure this restriction will be removed in the future.

Windows Vista Advantages & Learning to Become A Competent Linux System Administrator

April 13, 2007 by · 11 Comments 

The more I read about Windows Vista, the more tempted I become to upgrade my Windows XP to the latest release from Microsoft as soon as possible.

I decide to upgrade not because I can afford to or because I have a Vista Premium Ready PC but because I need to. As a software developer for the Windows platform, there’s no escaping for me to ensure that my software are compatible with the latest OS in the market.

I was asked several times by my customers if my software is compatible with Vista . While I expect them run without problem, the only way for me to know for sure is to test them on Vista myself

However, instead of replacing my Windows XP installation, I am considering to install Vista on a separate partition allowing both Vista and XP to coexist. This setup will allow me to select which OS to run while the PC is booting.

This will also give me ample time to play with Vista before migrating all the data from XP partition and finally make it as my default operating system. I believe there’s a tool in Vista that simplifies data migration between the two operating systems.

Besides the necessity to get Vista as I mentioned above, there are several other advantages that one could enjoy for upgrading. The obvious advantage most people have heard of are enhanced security, cool Aero interface, built-in instant search – like what you get from Google Desktop – and several others.

However, most have not heard of the internal advantages such as SuperFetch, protected processes, cache management, resistance to system hangs on I/O, and the multithreaded kernel.


Windows Vista Advantages

SuperFetch prioritizes the programs you’re currently using and adapts to the way you work by tracking the programs you use frequently, at what times of day that programs are used and intelligently preloading these into memory.

So what so great about this you ask. If your computer is struggling to accommodate other tasks while your antivirus or backup utility or even Photoshop image processing is running, just plug in a USB 2.0 thumb drive to boost the memory and you can literally enjoy a performance boost instantly.

If you are using a laptop, SuperFetch will lengthen your battery life too because your hard disk spin less frequently which translates to less power consumption.

As for me, the reason I upgraded my desktop RAM to 3GB recently is to take advantage of this feature.

Those I/O hangs will be a thing of the past as Vista is engineered to avoid them and the interference from rouge processes. Yes no more system hanging and pressing the reboot button finally.

From the security department, one of XP’s biggest security problem is that it promotes everybody who wants the ability to run a vast number of programs and conduct common activities as an Administrator. As a result anybody, including a malicious program that has the admin privileges is able to wreak havoc and exploit your system.

Vista ‘s User Account Control solves this problem by creating a Standard account which is not as powerful as the Admin account but it still allows the widest possible range of activity. Now, even an Administrator run at Standard level. A warning is displayed when elevated privilege is required.

Another cool feature of Vista is the ability recovers previous versions of overwritten files with a click of a mouse.

The multithreaded kernel feature is made for multicore processors. Unfortunately, this is one area that my PC can’t take advantage of because it’s a single core machine. If you have multicore processors or dual core system, you’ll notice a significant improvement in performance when running applications that support multithreading.

There are many other advantages Vista’s has over XP. One can always say other OS such as Linux has been supporting multithreading and better user management so why bother with Vista? You don’t have to if are happy with what you got and it gets the job done for you.

But me, I want BOTH.


A Self-Sufficient & Competent Linux Server Administrator

I am quite excited actually with the thought of learning another new operating system along side Vista. I got another machine on my home LAN running Windows 2000 where I plan to install Fedora Core 6, one of the freely available open source Red Hat Linux variants.


The computer will be setup to simulate a production server where I hope to learn the ins and outs of Linux administration. There’ll be no fancy interface there, just the dreaded command line interface which I find quite interesting actually as a programmer.

This will be helpful as I am making the transition from the owner of a managed server to managing an unmanaged one. Actually I’ve been on unmanaged server before for five years. I know the basic Linux commands and basic server administration but that’s not enough for me. I survived with that server because I sourced out the complicated tasks such as server hardening and optimization to a third party.

To help me learn, I am going to buy these books from


Linux System Administration



Linux Administration: A Beginner’s Guide


Obviously there’s some money to be saved when moving from a managed to an unmanaged server. By doing everything myself, the saving it brings will allow me to rent a more power server. How cool is that.

BTW, the migrations of my accounts from the current server to the new one are doing fine. That’s only after tech support fixed a problem which prevented me from continuing with the transfer. I am getting tired of this old server dying on a daily basic, sometimes several times per day as you may have noticed.

I hope to complete the transfer before the end of next week.

Why You Should Advertise On MSN adCenter

March 27, 2007 by · 1 Comment 

If you are doing pay per click advertising on AdWords, there are several good reasons why you should expand your PPC campaigns on MSN adCenter.

MSN adCenter allows you to select the time and days you want your ad displayed – a useful feature that’s missing from AdWords and Yahoo! Search Marketing.

There are four unique value prepositions to the MSN adCenter model as described by Joe Griffin from Search Engine Journal.

  • Because they have far less advertisers than Google and Yahoo, the bid prices are still quite a bit lower in almost every category. MSN has also proven to sustain conversion rates in the same range as Google and Yahoo, often times higher in certain categories.
  • MSN adCenter offers a very unique way to target specifically by demographic. This technology is still being enhanced, but initial case studies show that by setting demographics you are more likely to get clicks from those demographic profiles.
  • MSN is great for newbies. Microsoft has done a good job of offering support for this project and just rolled out a new Quick Launch program designed for marketers spending $30 a day or more.
  • It’s a natural carry-over for any old-school Yahoo! Search Marketing users. In many scenarios it just makes sense to add MSN into the mix since the same keywords you were paying for through Yahoo! when they powered MSN’s PPC results often be purchased for less money.

I am using MSN adCenter and am looking forward to deploy all of my AdWords campaigns here and you should too 🙂

Getting Ready For Vista Ultimate

March 16, 2007 by · 16 Comments 

Sooner or later I’ll have to upgrade my operating system to Microsoft’s latest OS – Windows Vista. As a software developer it’s important for me to ensure that all my software are compatible with this latest operating system.

I also love to get my hands on this sparkling new OS and experience the striking eye candy together with all its new features.

So in anticipation to this move, I’ve decided to upgrade my computer’s hardware one at a time. Today I’ve added a pair of 1GB Kingston 667 RAM into the empty memory slots on my motherboard, upping my total RAM from 1 GB to 3 GB.

A 1 GB Kingston costs around RM270+ in KK, but I managed to get it for RM240 from Mid Valley in KL by asking my sister to buy it for me when she was there recently.


I could have waited for a few months for the price to go down further but if I choose to do that, I might just as well wait until next year but what’s the point? I’ve waited long enough and the cost of RAM now days is quite cheap already.

With 3GB on board, I immediately noticed a significant improvement in performance especially while running CPU intensive applications.

It’s like a breath of fresh air really.

Now I can run Norton Internet Security full system scan along side disk defragmentation and still able to continue working with several office apps and surf the web via multiple tabs browsing without any noticeable slow down.

Next to be replaced will be my graphic card. There’s nothing wrong with it – except that it’s getting less impressive performance wise compare to the latest crop of graphic cards.

I would like to have the best card I can afford. I am currently using a 128MB Radeon X800 SE.

My computer was like a state of the art when it was purchased it in 2004. I just hope my 3.2 GHz P4 processor could handle Vista Ultimate without the urgent need to upgrade to a beefier dual core processor. I know it could but most would recommend running Vista on a system equipped with a dual core processor.

My only concern after the upgrade would be hardware and software compatibility issues. Security wise, it’s still early to tell if Vista is really as secure as Microsoft would like us to believe.

In the mean time I’ll go ahead upgrading my hardware and enjoy the improvement in performance before taking the plunge later.

Have you upgraded or currently using Windows Vista? Feel free to share your experience in the comment section.

Thinking of upgrading to Vista? Think again.

January 11, 2007 by · 4 Comments 

According to PC World, to take advantage of all Vista’s features, you’ll need at a minimum of 1 GB of RAM. This requirement has been discussed before. On top of that, you are going to need a fast dual-core processor.

I have several computers and the most powerful one is a Pentium 3.2 GHz single processor but obviously it doesn’t meet the requirement. I know Vista will run on it but as a software developer, I need to make sure my own software work with Vista with all the bells and whistles running.

Another thing that concerns me is that security vendors such as McAfee and Symantec claim that Microsoft’s making it difficult for them to gain access to the part of the OS they need in order to upgrade their antivirus and anti-spyware tools to work with Vista.

This is another good reason not to upgrade if this issue is not resolve.

If you are using a laptop, with all the bells and whistles running, your battery power will run out faster.

There are also concerns about program incompatibilities, the risk of hardware drivers not being available. But I believe this will be sort out along the way.

Check out the full story:
Vista Upgrade: The Not-So-Rosy Picture

IE7 to be distributed via Automatic Updates!

July 31, 2006 by · 2 Comments 

Microsoft will distribute Internet Explorer 7 as a high priority update via Automatic Updates (AU) after the final version is released for Windows XP in the fourth quarter of this year.

Alternately, you will be able to visit the Windows Update of Microsoft Update sites and obtain IE7 by performing an Express scan for high-priority updates.

One problem that continues to discourage me to completely switch back to IE from Firefox is the seemingly slower tab browsing function in IE. But that seems to be improving now.

Somehow the IE interface, albeit prettier than that of Firefox, has the bloatware feel to it.

In addition, my Roboform plugin, a password manager and form filler, does not work well in IE too. In certain situation, I have to fill in a form manually, simply irritating.

Let’s wait and see if the stable release for IE7 solves this problem.

[via IE Blog]

Quick News Links: YouTube and Office 2007 Delays

July 2, 2006 by · Leave a Comment 

Is YouTube a flash in the pan?
As video-sharing site YouTube rides an enormous wave of popularity, a research firm has expressed doubts about the company’s business prospects.

Microsoft delays Office 2007 again
Microsoft said Thursday that it is making another slight delay to the planned arrival time for Office 2007, citing performance concerns with recent test versions.

Test Drive Microsoft Office 2007 via Your Web Browser

June 28, 2006 by · Leave a Comment 

In an effort to attract more interest in the upcoming release of Office 2007 next year, Microsoft has launched an online preview of the software.

The online preview allows you to play around with the software without going through the trouble of downloading the large beta versions because it’ll run via your browser.

Still, to use the online demonstration, you must use IE 5.5 or later. You may also need to download a plug-in and must register with the company.

To be honest, I haven’t tried it myself but I’ll do that soon to see if it’s worth the upgrade from my Office 2003.

Test Drive Microsoft Office here

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