Monday, 28 September 2009

Commandos : Behind Enemy Lines

Not Sure how many of you heard of this but Commandos : Behind Enemy Lines is a real time strategy war game in which the player controls SIX commandos, each with different abilities and skills and try to synchronize their actions to accomplish the mission.

The whole story is written on the back drop of World War 2 where a small, very small (six), group of soldiers are selected to infiltrate enemy lines and complete a mission. Some of the missions are to destroy the entire station, some to rescue war prisoners, some to destroy base camps and one of them was of an assassination.

The bird's view kind of gaming experience gives the player an insight of the whole surroundings and a map which can locate where an enemy can be spotted. With this the player has full knowledge to think, observe and plan. Also the missions are set in four different countries resulting in different kind of landscapes and experience, the white top of a snowy land to a red-blazing earth of the deserts to a cool-shady coastal area to unending roof-tops in a juxtapose.

There are 20 missions in the game, the level of difficulty increasing with each one. You can save your missions played anytime by going to the main menu. Every mission does not involve every commando, they are selected automatically according to the skill required. To complete a mission all the instructions in the mission notes is to be completed and all the men must return ALIVE. Depending on the performance of player in the mission, they are given promotions and stars.

I dont remember the names of the soldiers but I know them according to their skills,
Green Beret: Camouflage skills, climbing, hiding bodies, silent kills, Decoy
Sapper: Explosive skills-Time bombs, Detonator Bombs, Setting traps
Sniper: Sniping skills
Marine: Diving, Boating-carries Inflatable boat, silent kills with a harpoon, can 'hide' in water
Driver: Driving skills, Handling Machine and Sub-Machine Guns
Spy:Stealing Enemy uniforms, Distracting enemy soldiers, silent kills with poisonous injection, hiding bodies

Caution: This game requires a great amount of time, being a strategic game and a good deal of patience. Nevertheless this is very interesting and entertaining. When I played this game, I used to sit for hours together and my mom used to scold me for that.. :) . There were a few places where I was stuck but I managed to complete that. After completing 14 missions with dedication and hard work and harder thinking.. :P , I started the 15th when I came to know about the Cheat Codes in the game. I still regret that day, because the moment I had the cheat codes with me I lost the interest in the game. All the excitement and anxiety was lost. So my suggestion: Never even think of Cheat Codes, its cheating.. :P.

You want to try it out, then here is the link to Commandos : Behind Enemy Lines Demo
This is a 25 MB file with two missions in it. I think a torrent can be searched for full version of this. Best thing, this game doesnot require any hi-fi display adapters or Graphics supporters. Very basic system requirement and Lo! you are ready with a great game to play.
Those who have already played this one do let me know how you like it and do let me know of any other games that you like.

Tuesday, 22 September 2009

Killer Bean Forever - Awesome Animation

From the lead animator of Matrix Reloaded, Jeff Lew, comes an awesome, animation movie, Killer Bean Forever.

The animation is super-class and the direction just keeps you glued to your seats and the action sequences will make you jump of your place. I know I am making an oxymoron statement but that is what this movie makes you feel.

And the most unbelieving part is this is a One-Man animation movie. Jeff Lew has completed this 85 minute movie sequence in 4 years all by himself.

The storyline, Killer Bean,works for shadow agency, is on a mission. But he makes his own rules when it comes to work. He is against the biggest narcotics and weapons dealer in the town, Cappucino, who has a few warehouses and an unending army of men, oops, I mean beans.
In course of his encounters with Cappucino's best bean, Vagan, there is a twist. And then there is a mind blowing one on one action towards the climax of the movie which will leave you thrilled.

Also, look out for long dialogue deliveries, which is very funny indeed.

A 5 on 5 for this one.

Here's the trailer:

Saturday, 19 September 2009

How can we identify the signs from nature?? Kiran's Q

Kiran asked
: well many ppl say that nature itself gives you the answers to the biggest problems it was mentioned in one of the books "The Alchemist" but all i need to know is how can we master it i mean how can we identify this signs frm nature ???

Answer: (Again, questions of this type can have more than one answers)

I understood your question as (owing to your referring The Alchemist), that nature gives out some signs, some omens, that if identified can lead you to happiness or content. The catch is to identify such omens or signs.

The Alchemist is a good story, most of the people like it, some dislike it. That is a story of Santiago, a boy shepherd, following his dream to find a treasure in the Pyramids and traveling from Spain. During the journey, he is robbed, he finds a job, works hard to earn enough, finds love in the Oasis, finds the legendary Alchemist, finds trouble, literally talks to nature, the sun, the desert and the wind to find a way out. (Already told enough, Sorry :P , for the end read the book, a small one it is).

So the bottomline, he identifies the signs of nature that leads him to his dream.

But Wake UP!!!! Thats a fable, a legendary story, a fictitious story. That definitely boosts up the morale, but the truth is it is much easier to find the signs of nature in actual life.

Lets analyse:
1.We have some beliefs like if a person sneezes just when you are leaving the house, it is considered a bad omen. A sneeze is natural, hence the sign. My question what is the logic? Nope I dont feel this is a sign from the nature.

2.Suppose you are talking on the phone and crossing the road which seemed clear, but suddenly a speeding car moves just in front of you or you were just saved from a danger of falling into a pit or anything. This could be a sign.
This reminds me of a story I heard of Hitler as a kid, not sure if it is true, that Hitler once tried to commit suicide before coming into power and put a gun onto his head and pulled the trigger, but the gun wouldn't shoot as the trigger is jammed. He took this as a sign that he should not commit suicide and he should live as he is supposed to live to deliver something great to the world. (His belief of greatness could be different :) ) Nevertheless he saw a sign.
I think incidents such as this could be taken as omens.
(This doesnot mean that if you first fail in the examination, you are destined to become a cricketer or an actor!!)

3.Signs through the Science of observation. I am negotiating a deal with a customer, I will not wait for God or an Angel to come down and give me a sign by making the customer put his left foot first in the office or the right one. Or by making him wearing a red shirt or a pink(!!) one.
But I would observe his demeanor. Is he blinking a lot while talking, is he thinking a lot, is he seated comfortably on the chair or displaying anxiety, is he showing me the correct statistics in the market or just false data, is he a good man per his reputation in the market, etc. This is called the Science of Observation which can be in turn taken as signs of nature. These are the clear signs that would lead to right decision. Although Science of Observation can be mastered only through practice and experience.

4.I dream of becoming an animator, my parents tells me that requires hardwork and innovation and looking at my performance at school it doesnot look like I can do it, my friends tell me that there is a huge unemployment in the market for animators (example, I really dont know), my teachers tell me that animator when there are much better options, there is only one animation school in the town and that too is 15 km from my home, etc. All these are 'negative' signs of nature, that is compelling you not to pursue your dream. But if you see these as 'negative' signs as 'positive' and you really, from your heart, find solace in animation, then the path to this dream becomes easy for you, against all odds. Great men are made who follows their dream against all odds.
(This doesnot mean that you parents, friends or teachers are wrong, but they become the signs you are looking for. ) Every time the sun sets it doesnot mean that darkness is eternal, it actually indicates that there will be a new dawn tomorrow.

5. Fifth and the final in my list is the most superior and fool proof method of looking for signs. It is called Questioning . 'WHY' is the word. And questioning not others but yourself. When you think that yes, I am vegetarian, you should actually ask why. God gave you a set of teeth that can tear as well as chew, and a digestive system that can digest meat and vegetable, unlike herbivores animals that have flat teeth that can only cud grass and digestive system that digest only veges, unlike Carnivores that have teeth that can only tear like scissors and a digestive system that can digest only meat, then why do you have only vegetables? So the sign is in the mirror, only thing that you don't know to look into it as you have not questioned yourself.
You can find some answers to the questions that is favourable to you in some places, but to actually find the 'signs' you have to look at a place that gives answers opposite to what pleases you. The sign may or may not be in you favour, but thats the way you find a sign.
So, first question 'why', then look for answers at places that pleases you, then look for answer at places that displeases you, then decide.
(Vegetarianism is just an example here, i dont want to further argue about it here, may be some other time and place, please comment on the way to find a sign that I mentioned)

Hope I am clear...

This ends the list of questions I had, Anybody wants to ask more can comment to this post.
Anyone wants to suggest/comment on the way I answer are free to do so...
I take your comments as signs that I am doing well.. :)

thanks for asking and reading...

Monday, 14 September 2009

Does God Exist---Sanjay' Q.


Answer: I take the question as "Does God Exist?"
Pondering over this question sometime back when I was in junior college, I came across many articles that tried to provide an answer through logical reasoning or through philosophy or through scientific facts or through moral laws. As I was not an athiest, neither am I now, these articles were enough for me to be satisfied with. But it is a tough job to prove it to an athiest.

I have come across a lecture by renowned scholar for Islamic and comparative religions, Dr.Zakir Naik, and was very impressed by the lecture. I first thought to answer this question by merely presenting what I had heard in the lecture but then I thought it would be better if you hear it from the scholar himself. I wanted to answer it from an Islamic perspective, but I cannot explain it like he did, so I am including here the 9 minute VIDEO as answer to this question.

If you want to READ the same thing, you can CLICK HERE.

Wednesday, 9 September 2009

Success And Happiness--Another question

My senior in school asked (I dont know who by name) : "I think in present competitive world people are comparing with others and spoiling there happiness, I mean if you start comparing your success with someone who is in better position than you, you cant enjoy the happiness of success.what do you say about this?"

(Again answers to questions of this type are just perceptions, there can be more than one answers)

I would not be wrong if I say that everything in the world is relative.
You dont call yourself successful just because you are earning good, a few people know you, or you never had any major problems in your life. You say that you are successful when you earn a better amount when compared to a few others you know or a majority in general, or you are more healthier than average in the society. I will not go into discussion in defining success, will generally take it as money+fame+health+"happiness".
If one doesnot compare with anybody else, he compares it with himself. "Five Years back, I was just a clerk in the office and now I am a manager; this is my success." Meaning Success is always a relative term.

Coming to happiness, someone has rightly defined happiness as "Wanting what you actually got" implying that after you get a 'thing' you realise that this was what you had wanted in the first place.
So my conclusion:
Success depends on 'others' (could be an average, something which no one had discovered/invented/achieved before, or simply oneself in some other time frame).
A good part of Happiness depends on success.
Coming to the question:
As success is relative, one cannot completely avoid comparing it with others success.
If others are more successful than you then it simply implies that you are not successful. ( There is never an Ultimate Success)
Which inturn implies you will not be happy.

The Key to happiness here lies in something called as "Complacency".

If you are satisfied with what you have then, even if you compare with somebody else, you will not feel that you have less or as a matter of fact more. A sense of fulfillment enters your mind and you can enjoy life to the fullest. But again even this should have a limit, because if you are complacent with anything you have or do, you will lack enthusiasm in achieving bigger and better results. I think the push and pull created by Complacency and Strive born out of comparing success nullify at some place, different positions for different people, and thus happiness and success varies among people. Thus some people are happy even if they have less and some people are 'not so happy' even if they have more.

So, finally, the answer to the question, according to me, is "Most of the times, Yes".

I hope this is not confusing... :) :)

Saturday, 5 September 2009

Is orkut/facebook safe? -Keerthi's Q.

Keerthi Reddy asked
: Is an orkut or facebook is a safe way of communication?

I think this question, particularly about social networking sites, comes to mind only because of it vulnerability, which is obvious or tangible. Otherwise, the same question can be asked about emails or banking or any other website that we log into with/for sensitive personal information.

Lets see problems related to, in view of, social networking sites, which the question originally is for.
1.Hacking into Website UserIds and Passwords
2.Using personal information for Identity Theft and inturn for Financial, Criminal, Medical benefits
3.Using the information for spreading Hate about a community, a religion, a nation, etc
4.Using pictures in the profiles, especially of women, for criminal activities
5.Luring people into fake businesses or relationships
6.Creating fake profiles of celebrities and defaming them
7.Increase in spam mails, mainly increasing the unnecessary storage size at the server of the site
8.Spreading viruses, malware, Trojan Horses and worms.

I think these are the main issues concerned with such networking sites.
Hacking and obtaining userids and passwords are done mostly for Banking sites and thus obtaining information such as bank account number, credit card information, etc. The two most common and effective way of hacking are:
1. Through Keyboard Logger. This is a software that secretly installs in a computer and logs all that is entered through a keyboard by the user and then mailing back the log to the hacker. This software mainly comes as a camouflage, appearing like a JPEG or a ZIP file. While opening this file the software gets installed to our computer and as this is a hidden software we are not aware of it. So be careful and any such suspicious attachment should be discarded.
2.Is through phishing. We normally see some scraps in orkut which says 'click on the below link' or 'copy paste the below link in the browser for more details' etc etc. Or sometimes we get mails which appears as a mail from our bank site, which says that so and so transaction was done in your account, if it is not done by you then inform us immediately to stop any further such transactions. Then it leads us to a site, which actually appears to be bank site and asks us to login with our user id and password. These details once entered are sent via mail or FTP to the hacker and his job is done!

2.Lot of personal information on orkut/facebook or any social networking site can be dangerous. There were cases around the globe where people have used information about others as their own for financial gains, for buying restricted drugs, for posing as others to defer arrest and to get into relationships.
Previously, if we remember, we were able to see scraps of people who were not in our friends list. But due to increase in such cases and a threat to people's identity being misused, a security featured was installed where the user can set preferences as to who all can see his scraps, photos, profile and videos.

3.Just type the word 'Hate' in orkut and as much as 213 results crop up in communities. Many would be like, 'I hate waking up early' but if you search a little more, you will find communities such as I hate India, I hate Pakistan, I hate Americans or I hate Israelis, etc etc. Although Orkut is taking care of banning such hate groups but one or the other show up all the time. These groups spread nothing but hate among people and thus play a very important role in spreading riots and tensions all over the world.

4.There were cases of misusing pictures from profiles, especially of women, when anybody could see the pics of anybody's profile. Security feature has been added by orkut. And I believe other sites too have this feature. The choice most of the times are left on the users whether they want their profile to be public or available only to friends.

5.Every now and then we see a message in our inbox saying, 'Earn 20k per month while sitting at home' blah blah.. and 99% of these cases lure people by saying its a great earning opportunity with only a minimal amount, say 500Rs as investment. And I had a chance to talk to one such person who advertised in the newspaper, and I got to know that the work was to lure some more people into this business and earn from the investment amount they send to us. No product, no services, nothing. It is pure chain marketing that 'begs' money from people and asks them to 'beg' from others.
Another intention, as we had encountered a case in India sometime back, is to start and grow relationships especially with rich and young people, then ask money as a favour. In an extreme case when one such individual couldnot give money, he was murdered in a rage.

6.Sometimes we hear that so and so celebrity has created profile in orkut and thus such profile are flooded with friend requests and traffic. Although many do it to increase traffic on their sites related to the profile while some do just for fun to defame a celebrity.

7 & 8.These are interrelated as increase in spam mails in turn increases spread of viruses and this in turn increases unethical hackers which in turn increases fraud and crimes.

So, if all such things can happen, why are people still using it without fear?
Although we normally dont hear much of such cyber crimes, it is definitely rising. And only next to pornography are cyber crimes such as hacking and tempering with confidential documents and identity theft, etc.

However, to answer your questions in a sentence, I would say it is pretty safe to use orkut/facebook or any social networking site as a matter of fact, if we know what we are clicking and whom we are talking to.
Not everybody can hack so easily and when it comes to hacking a google account it is even more difficult as these use a four level login procedure. Some simple tips will protect you:
Login using only Orkut site and not through any other link.
Never click on links sent through scraps or message, as they are phishing sites, not even it they say orkut tips and tricks.
Never disclose login details to anyone.
Never "talk" to strangers.
Do Not copy paste any URLs sent via scrap, or any javascripts.
Do not install any suspicious attachments.
Never use Remember Me option on shared computers.
Always Logout when closing sessions.

I am not sure if anybody is aware of it, but there are two ways of transferring data on net, one is HTTP and other is HTTPS. Altough Orkut uses HTTP, but we have an option of using HTTPS for Gmail account. Whats the difference? HTTPS is a secured way of transferring data, i.e it encrypts the data before it is sent 'on air', thus making it a lot safer while communicating.
Its simple...Open your gmail account, goto settings and check the option: Always use HTTPS and save. See that your browser address details will change to HTTPS. I have read this once in newspaper and changed mine since then.

Hope this article was useful.
A few words before closing:
Orkut/Facebook are revolutionary web services that have brought old friends together, that have given a voice to the common man, that have brought similar minded people together. Lets use it wisely. Although it is necessary to be 18 to use orkut ( think 13 for facebook), a lot of users are below 18 who use it. Parental guidance is necessary and helpful to stop being a victim of cyber crime.

Happy Orkutting!!!!!!!

P.S. One of the source of information, a friend, Krishna, a certified ethical hacker, a wannabe cyber crime inspector.
Please visit the blog spot '', a newly created one, for more information on hacking. We will be updating it regularly especially about hacking.


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