WordPress 3.0.4 Releases To Address A Critical Security Bug In The Core

A short message just to alert WordPress users that they need to update to the latest version of WordPress, because the developers have found out about a critical security issue in the core of the software itself.  Updating to the latest version now so a WordPress installation won’t be vulnerable to hacking.  Since December 29th, 2010, a blog post was posted on WordPress’s blog to address this very issue.  The latest version of WordPress is 3.0.4.  Automate update process has worked for me very smoothly!  For precautionary purpose in case updating process goes awry, you need to disable all plugins, backup all files and database before you do an update. It takes only a few clicks to completely update your WordPress, so do it fast!  Have fun blogging!

Source: http://wordpress.org/news/2010/12/3-0-4-update/

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Windows 7 HomeGroup Makes Sharing Contents Easy

my first desk at MegsINet

Image by wjr via Flickr

Windows 7 users are able to link multiple computers so they can share videos and music and files and printers on all of them.  Microsoft calls this feature as HomeGroup.  When a Windows 7 user allows a computer on the same local network to join HomeGroup, the very computer which joins the HomeGroup will be able to view files, videos, and music on all other computers that are in the HomeGroup.  Also, I believe you can also use the printers that are available on the local network even though the specific computer that you’re on is not even connecting to a printer, but it’s able to do so since it’s belonging to HomeGroup.

This feature is also very convenient in a way that when you have a computer in HomeGroup once, you don’t have to bother with it again unless you make a computer leaves HomeGroup.  Viewing contents from HomeGroup is easy as go to Start >> Computer >> HomeGroup.  I’m confident that when you have HomeGroup set up, you’ll be able to view contents of other computers on the local network as if those contents are on the very computer you’re looking at.

So how do we go about setting up HomeGroup?  First of all, HomeGroup is a feature that will not work if you don’t have a network!  What is a network?  Usually, a simple network requires a single wireless or wired router, couple computers that are connecting to the same router, and the router is connecting to your ISP’s modem.  The part where a router is connecting to your ISP’s modem is optional since a HomeGroup requires only local area network.  Sometimes, your ISP may provide a router which saves you some money from buying a router.  Sometimes, ISP’s modem is a router itself — as if it’s providing two capabilities.  Making sure you have a correct setting for your local area network or else your HomeGroup won’t be working.  Here is a hint, sometimes a firewall on a particular computer or on the router itself may prevent contents from being available for HomeGroup, but this is rare.  In the case of a router with strict firewall setting for local area network may also prevent a computer on a local network to join HomeGroup, and this is also rare.  It’s important for you to work on one thing at a time so you will be able to spot which particular area of your local network is the cause of non-functioning HomeGroup.

The next step is to create HomeGroup.  Just remember that only Windows 7 will be able to join HomeGroup.  If you have a Windows XP or Vista PC, I fear you have to upgrade your PC’s operating system to Windows 7 before it can join HomeGroup.  Also, if you’re using Windows 7 Starter or Windows 7 Home Basic, you can join HomeGroup but won’t be able to create one.  Let us create HomeGroup by firing up a Control Panel >> Network and Internet >> HomeGroup.  Following the instruction that Windows 7 gives you so you can create HomeGroup correctly.

After HomeGroup is available, you can begin to walk to other computers of your and fire up Control Panel >> Network and Internet >> HomeGroup, and join HomeGroup.  At the time you create HomeGroup or join one, Windows 7 offers you choices of choosing what you want to share such as printers, videos, and so on.  Obviously, you can always change this particular setting again at a later time.  When creating HomeGroup, Windows 7 will help you create a HomeGroup password, and you have a choice of printing the password, but you can always write it down — it’s really depending on you.  Some people notice that they cannot print the HomeGroup password, because they had not set their Internet Explorer browser as a default browser for their computer.  By making IE as the default browser, printing a HomeGroup password won’t be a problem.  At the time of joining HomeGroup, you have to enter the HomeGroup password.

In addition to what I’ve already written above, here are a few more tips where a computer may not be able to join HomeGroup.  Tip number one, a computer must be on a Home network in order for it to join HomeGroup.  Tip number two, you have to enable IPV6 for your Network Adapter, but usually this is enabling by default.  Tip number three, entering wrong HomeGroup password is usually the cause of unable to join HomeGroup.  Tip number four, check your physical wiring or wireless setting, because a break in a network at physical level or an error in wireless setting can prevent a computer to join HomeGroup.

Source: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sEI2dQPODrQ&feature=player_embedded

Boxee, Another Hulu?

By now some people may have heard of Boxee and others may have heard of Hulu.  The two services are somewhat similar, but Boxee is a little bit different for it has a hardware version.  Buying a Boxee box, you can watch TV shows and movies on your big screen TV.  Not everyone wants to spend some money for a Boxee box, and so Boxee allows you to download a software version onto your computer, install Boxee software, and connect your computer to a big screen TV to watch TV shows and movies.  Unless you don’t feel like taking the extra steps such as acquiring an HDMI cable and connecting your computer to a big screen TV, you can use Boxee right on your computer to watch TV shows and movies.  Many TV shows are free, and most movies are for rental on demand.

Boxee works with Mac, Windows PC, and Linux.  Installing Boxee on Windows PC and Mac is pretty straight forward, but I haven’t yet installed Boxee on Linux so I haven’t had a clue how easy it would be for installing Boxee on Linux.  Even better if you have a Facebook account, because you can connect Boxee with a Facebook account.  Boxee also allows you to connect itself with Twitter and Netflix.  OK, let get back onto the topic of installing Boxee.  Installing Boxee on Mac and Windows PC is simple as downloading Boxee onto your computer, double click on the download package, and following clear step by step instruction.  At one point, Boxee will ask you to create a username and a password for Boxee account, just do it so you can log into Boxee after the installation.  Don’t forget to check your email address to validate the Boxee account that you had signed up for.

I’m scratching my head now and wonder why I need cable or satellite any longer!  Unfortunately for me as my family requires an International channel which Boxee and Hulu and other similar services do not yet carry, otherwise I would have ditched cable or satellite altogether.  The point is to save money, and services such as Boxee allow we to do just that.  Even Internet radio services such as Last.fm are a blessing for us all.  The more accessible these services have become, I can see the doom day for cable and satellite is just over there.  What you think of Boxee?

Using Kinect To Play World Of Warcraft, And Other Computer Games

Kinect sensor as shown at the 2010 Electronic ...

Image via Wikipedia

The talented researchers and developers at USC’s Institute for Creative Technologies are in the process of developing a software known as FAAST.  This amazing software acts as an interpreter of sort for Kinect(s) and computers so any body movement can be translated into the signals that the computers can understand.  This means you can play any game that is not yet compatible with Kinect on your computer but using the Kinect to translate your body movements — that’s your body is a controller for any game.

They’ve tested the FAAST software with a very popular MMORPG (i.e., Massive Multiplayer Online Role-playing Game) known as World of Warcraft (i.e., WOW).  In my opinion, it may be too much of a workout to use Kinect with WOW since WOW gamers usually play the game for hours on end.  Nonetheless, whoever wants a really good workout and have fun at the same time, FAAST will be perfect for such a purpose.

Watch the YouTube‘s video which demonstrates how FAAST works when playing WOW after the break.  A speaker in this video also suggests that you can download FAAST for free!

Source: http://ingame.msnbc.msn.com/_news/2010/12/28/5725872-kinect-meets-world-of-warcraft

Korea Uses Robots As Teachers, Replacing Many Foreign English Teachers

Picture of a 914 PC-BOT

Image via Wikipedia

In Korea, students are learning English from robots.  The article here suggests that Korea is going to replace more foreign English teachers with robots.  20,000 to 30,000 foreign English teachers may lose jobs.  In a good way, robots have no bias toward a single student.  In a bad way, these robots aren’t yet perfect as in measuring up to a real human teacher.  It’s unclear how robots are responding to students’ concerns beyond a curriculum.  Human teachers know how to use subtle means and methods to advance a student since each student learns differently, how robots are going to do that?  Obviously though, robots are going to have more knowledge than any single teacher since its memory could hold a lot more data, unlike fickle memory of a human.

Korea is going where few countries have yet ventured in education by using robots in replacing human teachers.  If the program goes well, nobody knows how far Korea will go along with the robots as teachers.  Teachers in Korea may lose jobs in great number if robots are better at teaching.  Maybe in the future, the whole school will be under supervision of one human principal and the rest of the teachers are robots.  Addressing the bully students still have to be a responsibility of a respectable human such as a human principal, because I still cannot imagine how a robot will be able to address such a scenario for the students.  What do you think about robots as teachers?  Source: http://news.cnet.com/8301-17938_105-20026714-1.html?part=rss&subj=news&tag=2547-1_3-0-20

Tinkering With Xbox 360 And Windows 7 Media Center And Pogoplug

3 main SKUs of Xbox 360

Image via Wikipedia

Xbox 360 users can view their Windows PC‘s videos and recorded TV programs on their big screen TV by pairing up Xbox 360 and Windows 7 Media Center.  Xbox 360 can act as an extender for Windows 7 Media Center.  The process is pretty simple.  First, you need to fire up your Xbox 360, and then go to My Xbox.  In My Xbox row, slide over till you see Windows Media Center.  Enter the Windows Media Center using your Xbox 360 controller, and the paring process will begin.  Your TV will show 8-digit code that can be entered onto your Windows 7 PC’s Windows Media Center.

On your PC, open up Windows Media Center (i.e., Start >> Windows Media Center), and select Tasks.  Click on Add Extender.  You’ll see the Windows Media Center asks for 8-digit code.  Using the 8-digit code that the Xbox 360 gives you earlier, your Windows Media Center will begin the pairing process with Xbox 360.  On your Xbox 360, you can now navigate to Windows Media Center and view videos, listen to music, watch recorded TV shows, and watch live TV.

Things may not work smoothly if your Xbox 360 is not on the same network with your Windows 7 PC.  Strange firewall settings such as blocking local devices to have access to your Windows 7 PC may also prevent your Xbox 360 from viewing Windows Media Center’s contents.  Connecting your Xbox 360 to a router behind another router where your PC may not reside on the same router as your Xbox 360, this setup can also prevent your Xbox 360 to pair up with your PC’s Windows Media Center.

Having a Pogoplug?  You may be able to view videos and other contents from your Pogoplug using Xbox 360 if your Windows 7 PC’s Windows Media Center is able to recognize Pogoplug on your network.  I had my Windows 7 PC recognized Pogoplug, added the drives of Pogoplug to Windows Media Center, and I was able to watch the videos that resided on Pogoplug using Xbox 360.

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