From Azureus to µTorrent

\"µTorrentEver since BitTorrent was introduced to me, I chose Azureus as my BT client not only because it\’s feature-packed but also because it gave me the fastest download speed possible in my DSL connection (512 kbps downstream / 256 kbps upstream). Azureus is built from Java and thus uses Java Virtual Machine (JVM). I didn\’t mind using Azureus on my desktop PC because it has enough DDR RAM to run Azureus along with bunch of other application all at the same time. One disadvantage is that Java applications tend to use a lot of RAM after prolonged use because of JVM overhead. On my laptop I had trouble using Azureus because JVM sucks most out of my Penitum M 1.5 Ghz processor and 384 Mb DDR RAM (My laptop actually have 512 Mb RAM but 128 Mb is shared with graphics card). I tried other BT clients such as BitComet but I couldn\’t get all the features in Azureus. Some features in other BT clients are implemented in a different fashion to get the same result but I prefered Azureus\’ way. In the end I gave up using BitTorrent in my laptop.

Lately, I tested the recent release of µTorrent 1.3 and I was surprised that I am getting decent download speed comparable to Azureus, sometimes even faster, without the ridiculous overhead of JVM. It does not need any installation at all. Just downloaded it and you\’re ready to seed and leech. With such a small footprint, I wonder how µTorrent achieves this performance. My laptop will love this BT client.

µTorrent at a glance (taken from the official website):

  • Multiple simultaneous downloads
  • Smart bandwidth usage
  • File level priorities
  • Configurable bandwidth scheduling
  • Global and per-torrent speed limiting
  • Quickly resumes interrupted transfers
  • UPnP support (WinXP only)
  • Supports popular protocol extensions
  • Trackerless support (Mainline DHT)
  • Localized to different languages
  • Typical memory use less than 6 MB
  • Incredibly small: 115 KB (slightly varies from each release but is still very small)

Azureus is a very powerful BitTorrent client. I won\’t argue because it\’s true; however, I\’m switching to µTorrent because I need a fast BT client without much memory consumption. I\’ll miss some features of Azureus not present in µTorrent but most of the features I like in Azureus are implemented nicely in µTorrent too that\’s why in just a matter of days I\’m fully convinced that µTorrent is going to be my BT client of choice from now on. µTorrent is still very young compared to other BT clients and it is gaining more users because of its efficiency.

Links:
µTorrent official website: http://www.utorrent.com
BitTorrent, µTorrent, utorrent, torrent

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DivX Browser Plug-In

\"DivXGood news video-codec junkies, DivX has released a new browser plug-in which supports all the major browsers. Currently only Windows is supported but MacOS X and Linux versions will follow soon.

This great plug-in allows you to play high-quality DivX video in full glory. The idea is to make DivX media viewable inside your browser so you won\’t open it in an external player. It\’s also loaded with great features like saving the files into your disk so that you can replay them later using the free DivX player. You can also switch to fullscreen mode right inside your browser. There are more useful features in this plug-in so if you want to try it just download it from DivX labs.

Supported browsers at the moment:

  • Internet Explorer (5.0 and above)
  • Firefox (1.0 and above)
  • Mozilla (1.7 and above)
  • Netscape (8.0 and above)

\"DivX

Links:
DivX Lab: DivX Browser Plug-In (Beta 1)
DivX, Firefox, plug-in

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Yahoo! Widget Engine 3.0.1 Released

\'Konfabulator\'After several complains from pre-3.0 Konfabulator users, Yahoo had finally released a new version of Yahoo Widget Engine (YWE). This version (3.0.1) fixes most of the bugs present on the last version.

From the change log:

  • Improved upgrade path from pre-3.0 installs. We now migrate preferences for Stock Ticker, The Weather, and PIM Overview correctly to Yahoo! Stock Ticker, Yahoo! Weather, and Day Planner. We also now adjust the user\’s loaded and recent Widgets lists so that the Widgets launch as expected after the upgrade completes.
  • Fixed crash when unescaping a string with bogus escape codes in it.
  • Fixed problem in animations that could lead to a crash if a function object went out of scope.
  • Fixed Traditional Chinese string file. Was leading to a crash on startup.

It\’s good that Yahoo offered this new version soon after the release date of YWE 3.0. I think that Yahoo really made a mistake not doing a proper upgrade path from Konfabulator 1.x / 2.x to 3.0. Some old Konfabulator users had been traumatized and pledged not to upgrade again since the good old Konfabulator 2.x is working fine anyway.

Link:
Yahoo Widget Engine (previously Konfabulator)
Konfabulator, widget, Yahoo

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Google Released New Firefox Extensions

Google released two new extensions for Firefox few hours ago. They are called Blogger Web Comments (BETA) and Google Safe Browsing (BETA). They are currently available at Google Labs.

\'Blogger

Blogger Web Comments for Firefox is an extension that makes it easy to see what bloggers are saying about a page you\’re viewing in Firefox and even make your own blog post about it, all without leaving the page you\’re on.

\'Phising

Google Safe Browsing is an extension to Firefox that alerts you if a web page that you visit appears to be asking for your personal or financial information under false pretences. This type of attack, known as phishing or spoofing, is becoming more sophisticated, widespread and dangerous. That\’s why it\’s important to browse safely with Google Safe Browsing. By combining advanced algorithms with reports about misleading pages from a number of sources, Safe Browsing is often able to automatically warn you when you encounter a page that\’s trying to trick you into disclosing personal information.

UPDATE
I just learned that these are US-only extensions for now… and if you\’re outside US you won\’t be able to install this.

There\’s a work around to install this extension though.
(Courtesy of Digital Inspiration, labnol.blogspot.com)

1. Download google-safebrowsing.xpi and google-webcomments.xpi in IE or Opera, choose Save.

2. Start Firefox and drag the google-safebrowsing.xpi and google-webcomment.xpi onto the Firefox interface.

3. Restart Firefox.

Links:
Google Labs
For US visitors:
Install Google Web Comments
Install Google Safe Browising
Google, Firefox, Firefox extensions, Blog, Blogger, Blogspot, phising

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Firefox Tweak Guide

\'Firefox\'Whether you are a newbie or a veteran Firefox user, you might be interested to learn more on customizing Firefox beneath the hood. After all, Firefox is well known for its extensibility. To fully customize your own copy of Firefox you need to have a better understanding of each and every feature of Firefox. Fortunately, Techspot has posted a detailed guide on Firefox which covers basic interface customization to numerous advanced settings adjustment to suit your needs. Finally, you don\’t need to be a geek to enjoy and harness Firefox\’s true power.

You should be running Firefox 1.5 in order to fully take advantage of this tweaking guide although some sections are still applicable in Firefox 1.0.x.

Link:
Techspot\’s Firefox Tweak Guide

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Adobe – Macromedia New Software Bundles

\'AdobeHave you recently visited Macromedia\’s website? The dark gray website of Macromedia now sports a whitish website complementing Adobe.

Adobe had completed its acquisition of Macromedia on December 5, 2005. You can read the press release here.

Soon after the completion of the acquisition, Adobe released Adobe Design bundle which combines Adobe Creative Suite 2 Premium software with Flash 8 software, worth $1599. Adobe also combined Creative Suite 2 Premium software with Studio 8 softwares in Adobe Web bundle, worth $1899.

If you purchase CS2 ($1,199) and Studio 8 ($999) separately it would cost you $2,198 while buying CS2 and Flash Professional 8 ($699) would cost you $1899. Therefore you save $299 when you buy these new bundles. :)

Links:
Press release: Adobe Completes Acquisition of Macromedia
http://www.adobe.com
http://www.macromedia.com

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Konfabulator 3.0

\'Konfabulator\'Yahoo Widget Engine 3.0 was released , a.k.a. Konfabulator 3.0.

I was quite disappointed when Yahoo! renamed Konfabulator to \”Widget Engine\”. I prefer the old name because it\’s very original. When Yahoo bought Konfabulator I didn\’t see this coming. I really thought they would preserve the name.

Seven (7) out of the 20 widgets that ship with YWE 3.0 are new Yahoo! Widgets namely Yahoo! Mail Checker, Yahoo! Maps, Yahoo! Notepad, Yahoo! Search, Yahoo! Stock Ticker, and Yahoo! Weather widgets. Basically, all new default widgets have Yahoo! branding in it and it irritates me quite a bit that the good old Konfabulator days are over. I just don\’t like too much Yahoo! in my desktop. I don\’t like too much branding until the very widget I run.

When you run widgets made by other users, you\’ll get this prompt: You are about to run <name of the widget> for the first time. This widget was not created by Yahoo! Inc, or a trusted partner, so we want to make sure you\’re okay running it. That could mean two things: Yahoo! is concerned about your privacy and security or Yahoo! only recommends their Yahoo widgets. Previous versions of Konfabulator does not have this kind of bias against independent widget developers.

I also don\’t understand why the default installer is a web installer — which means you have to download something in order to get it installed. The old Konfabulator does not require any download to install it anyway. YWE 3.0 also includes optional installation of Yahoo! Central. If you don\’t pay attention when installing YWE you might accidentally install it. Some users reported that it installed automatically Yahoo! Messenger in their machine although I have not confirmed this yet. Beware that most old Konfabulator users were outraged when YWE 3.0 installer from Yahoo! wiped out all old widgets and configurations they have made. So if you are currently using Konfabulator 2.x, you need to backup your widgets if you don\’t want to download them all once again. Too bad Yahoo! didn\’t warn Konfabulator users about this.

In my opinion, Yahoo Widget Engine 3.0 is a lame upgrade. It messes a lot of things in your old preferences. There\’s nothing new to look forward except better integration to Yahoo ID accounts… and that\’s about it. Too bad if you\’re not using any Yahoo! service. If you\’re currently using Konfabulator 2.x and you don\’t want to mess anything on your current setup, don\’t install this yet. Wait until Yahoo makes a better upgrader from Konfabulator 2.x to YWE 3.0 or don\’t install this at all.

Links: www.konfabulator.com (redirects to http://widgets.yahoo.com)
Konfabulator, widget, Yahoo

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