Thursday, May 19, 2011

Top Tips For Windows Media Player

Why am I still stuck with version 11 of the Windows Media Player? The simple reason is that the next iteration ““ Windows Media Player 12 comes bundled with Windows 7RC and not yet as a standalone application. So folks, there’s still time for you and me to squeeze the maximum juice out of Windows Media Player 11. And as they say, it’s never too late to teach an old dog a few new tricks.
Windows Media Player 12 is streaming in with a lot of improvements but as with everything in life, most of the old tips will hold good for the new too. We all have our favorite media players. For some it’s the one which plays music best, for others it’s all about the movies. Windows Media Player 11 is no slouch in both departments. But its feature set needs getting used to. So let’s poke around and discover cool Windows Media Player 11 tips and tricks and “˜upgrade’ our experience with this popular media player.

1. Go from full screen to compact with a click

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windows media player 11 tips and tricks
Windows Media Player 11 offers three choices of looks ““ the default Full mode, the Compact mode and the Skin mode (with choice of skins). While listening to music, you can just click on a tiny arrow and switch to compact mode. Press Enter to revert back to the Full mode. The Skin mode can be applied from Menu ““ View ““ Skin Mode. The better option is to become quick fingered with the keyboard ““

For Full Mode ““ CTRL + 1
For Skin Mode ““ CTRL + 2

2. Keyboard toggles for volume control

Three quick and easy to remember keyboard taps to control volume instead of reaching for the mouse.
Increase volume: F9
Decrease volume: F8
Mute sound: F7

3. Resolve codecs and play it all

With the hundreds of codecs in use today, Windows Media Player isn’t bundled with them all. Fortunately, freely available codec packs fill up this lacuna and let us play everything from Real Media to DivX.
To find out the codecs installed, go to Help ““ About Windows Media Player ““ click on Technical Support Information. A browser page opens up with all audio and video codecs listed.
You can play almost everything with the K-Lite codec pack. Other must have downloads include the XP Codec Pack and Vista Codec Pack. Even watching hi-definition DivX movies is not a problem with the freely downloadable codecs.

4. Search ““ get two birds with one search

wmp11 tips
You can search your library for audio tracks using a combination of search terms. The + or AND operator lets you search a song using two values. For instance, search by song and singer ““ Pink Floyd AND The Final Cut.
Use the OR operator to search across two attributes ““ Jazz OR Blues. Songs can be searched according to length, ratings, whether it is protected or not etc. The results depend on the media information that’s available with the song.
Look at the help file (Help ““ Organizing your digital media collection ““ How do I perform advanced searches?) for more search operators.

5. Play songs according to musical eras

wmp11 tutorial
Do you like the golden oldies or the more current hip-hop? WMP 11 lets you play songs according to the period mentioned in the tracks. Type in the year range, like 1980..1990 for all songs in that period. This gives you a short cut to particular songs without trawling throughout the library or creating period playlists.

6. Go Bass with the SRS WOW effects

SRS WOW Effects let you increase the bass (i.e. the lowest part of a musical range) of a track for richer quality sounds. The SRS WOW Effects can be found under Menu ““ View ““ Enhancements. Turn on the effects and choose your speaker type. Slider movement sets the TruBass between high and low. The adjacent slider increases or decreases the WOW effect.

7. Smooth the flow of streamed music

Streaming content relies on buffers to smoothly playback a movie or music track. To compensate for the stop gap of internet bandwidth due to slow speeds or packet drops, WMP stores a few seconds of content before it starts the playback. As the streaming proceeds, some content continuously gets stored in the background (that’s the buffer).
The buffer size can be changed if you feel that the streaming is not smooth enough. From the Menu (or right click on title bar), choose Options ““ Performance tab. In the Network buffering section choose the bullet option for Buffer and enter any value between 0 to 60 to buffer that much of content before playback. Click OK. Too much buffering can slow downloads.

8. Tweak speed for podcasts and speech audio

Don’t let your interest flag with the slow drone of an audio book or podcast. Some simple settings allow you to change the pace of the voice. With the audio playing, from the Menu choose – View ““ Enhancements. Alternatively, right click on the WMP title and select. The Play Speed Settings shows a slider which can be dragged to the left for slow playback and to the right for faster play speeds. Or you can choose from the three presets ““ Slow, Normal or Fast. You have to trust your ears as not all files will sound well with change in playback speeds.

9. Shed light on dark movies

Enhancements include another setting which helps me out with making light corrections to particularly dark movie scenes. From the Enhancements sub-menu choose Video Settings. Lighten up the scene by slightly increasing the Brightness (drag the slider to the right).

10. Censor Movies by Ratings

In my wonder years, it was “˜Blue Lagoon’. Now, I am not sure what’s PG and what’s not! But you can prevent DVD movies with “˜not suitable for children’ ratings from being played through the WMP. Windows Media Player 11 allows you to block certain movies which have higher playback restrictions using a simple dropdown. Navigate to Tools ““ Options ““ DVD tab. Select the restriction from the dropdown. (Umm”¦but I guess your child will be smart enough to sidetrack this lockdown).
There’s a lot we can explore under the hood of Windows Media Player to further enhance our listener experience. I have purposely avoided getting into ways to tag your tracks and manage your library with playlists as they require tutorials on their own. For tagging your music collection, lot of specialized tools like MP3Tag editor are handy .
How do you feel in general about the Windows Media Player? Is it your preferred jukebox or do you have a more specific choice? Let us into a few Windows Media Player 11 tips and tricks of your own.

Top 15 Wonderful Houses In The World

Little boxes on the hillside aren’t for everyone. While some people might be content with a cookie-cutter home in a bland suburban neighborhood, others create truly one-of-a-kind homes with incredibly imaginative shapes and materials. In addition to the 70 amazing houses around the world that we’ve featured before, here are 15 jaw-dropping examples of architecture from a decaying wooden skyscraper in Russia to a mushroom-shaped home in Cincinnati that looks like it was custom-made for Dr. Seuss.

Bart Prince House – Albuquerque, New Mexico

(images via:
Architect Bart Prince is renowned for his incredibly creative approach to designing structures. The homes he has created look nothing like the boxy houses you and I live in; they’re quirky, they’re organic, and they’re most definitely one-of-a-kind. Prince says his designs start from the inside out, and that every home he builds has an idea behind it. Pictured are Prince’s own home in Albuquerque (top) and the Seymour residence in Los Altos, California.

Dar al Hajar – Yemen

(images via: Travel Adventures)
This striking rock palace is not a hotel or a museum. It’s not even a primary residence. Dar al Hajar was built as a ‘summer home’ by Imam Yahya in the 1930s, and it’s a stunning example of rock-cut architecture. Standing at the base of this imposing structure, you have to crane your neck to see the top. The palace has since been restored so that visitors can buy a ticket and get a breathtaking 360-degree view of the surrounding landscape.

Bubble House – Tourettes-sur-Loup, France

(image via: Wikimedia Commons + Freaky Martin)
The ‘bubble house’ of Tourrettes-sur-Loup, France, is only 35 years old and has yet to be finished, but that hasn’t stopped the French ministry of culture from listing it as a historic monument. Designed in the 70s by Hungarian architect Antti Lovag for fashion designer Pierre Cardin, the bubble house is futuristic yet organic, with lots of built-in furniture and oval, convex windows. The design is meant to take optimal advantage of the volcanic Côte d’Azur landscape, and its windows certainly provide a beautiful view of the Mediterranean.

Wooden Skyscraper – Arkhangelsk, Russia

(images via: The Telegraph + English Russia)
Nikolai Sutyagin, a former gangster, began building this ‘wooden skyscraper’ in Arkhangelsk, Russia with the intention of it being only a two-story building. But, a trip to see wooden houses in Japan and Norway convinced him that he hadn’t used roof space efficiently enough, so he kept building. “First I added three floors but then the house looked ungainly, like a mushroom,” he said. “So I added another and it still didn’t look right so I kept going. What you see today is a happy accident.” The multimillionaire became a pauper after his possessions were destroyed during a stint in prison, and the house is now decaying around him, but he still lives in the bottom floor with his wife.

The Upside-Down House – Szymbark, Poland

(images via: Fresh Home)
Polish businessman and philanthropist Daniel Czapiewski built The Upside Down House as a statement about the Communist era and the end of the world. It took 114 days to build because the workers were so disoriented by the angles of the walls. It certainly attracts its fair share of tourists to the tiny village of Szymbark, who often become dizzy and ‘seasick’ after just a few moments inside.

Hang Nga Villa – Dalat, Vietnam

(image via: Travel Blog)
Looking like something out of a child’s fairytale gone wrong, the bizarre-looking structure in Dalat, Vietnam was built by the daughter of Ho Chi Minh’s right-hand man. Madame Hang Nga created the Hang Nga Villa – now known simply as ‘Crazy House’ – to reflect her interest in art and architecture. Made of concrete, the house now serves as a restaurant and reception area for an adjacent French colonial-style hotel in a jolting contrast in architectural styles. The inside is said to be even stranger, with all the kitschy decor you can handle, including a giant eagle with red Christmas light eyes, “for the Americans”.

Toilet-Shaped House – Suweon, South Korea

(images via: Reuters)
The world’s one and only toilet-shaped house was built to mark the launch of the World Toilet Association, a campaign for more sanitary restrooms worldwide. Sim Jae-Duck, nicknamed “Mayor Toilet”, had the 4,508-square-foot concrete and glass structure built in his native city of Suweon, South Korea. At the center of the home is a glass-walled “showcase loo” that produces mist to make users feel more secure. Sim, who was born into a toilet and has made clean restrooms his life’s work, now lives in the home.

Eliphante & Hippodome – Cornville, Arizona

(images via: Apartment Therapy)
Called the ‘Eliphante house’ for the look of its entrance, this sculptural home was created by artist Michael Kahn and his wife Leda Livant with found materials over a period of 28 years. Eliphante and several outbuildings occupy 3 acres of land and incorporate rocks and scraps from construction sites. There was never any kind of floor plan for Eliphante – it just sort of evolved. Ms. Livant’s residence on the property is the ‘Hippodome’, a mosaic-covered creation that looks like a hippo emerging from a lake.

Inversion House – Houston, Texas

(images via: Flickr user Kevin O’Mara)
When two old studio buildings owned by The Art League in Houston were set to be demolished, they decided to take the opportunity to turn them into a temporary art installation. Artists Dan Havel and Dean Ruck sculpturally altered the two buildings, peeling off the exterior siding of the front building to simulate the appearance of a funnel-like vortex. The opening was actually a tiny hallway (only kids could fit through it) that passed through the two structures and emptied out into an adjacent courtyard.

Shoe House -  South Africa

(images via:
The ‘shoe house’ of South Africa is the work of artist and hotelier Ron Van Zyl, who built it for his wife Yvonne in 1990. The shoe houses a little museum of sorts, showcasing Van Zyl’s wood carvings. The shoe is part of a complex that includes an eight-chalet guest house, camp site, restaurant, pool and bar.

Mushroom House – Cincinnati, Ohio

(images via: Agility Nut)
Architect Terry Brown created this much-maligned ‘mushroom house’, an unusual piece of architecture situated in a rather upscale area of Cincinnati. Brown’s architectural style developed when he began experimenting with materials like wood, colored glass, shell, ceramics and various metals to create irregular shapes that mimic those found in nature.  A professor of architecture and interior design at the University of Cincinnati, Brown frequently had to defend the unique design of the house against complaints by neighbors before passing away in 2008.

Floating House – Ukraine

(images via: Aphasia Design)
An optical illusion? Trick of Photoshop? Nobody really seems to know much about this supposed ‘floating barn’ which was reportedly located in Ukraine and may or may not still be standing. Cantilevered barns do exist – mostly in the Appalachian region of the United States – but usually aren’t quite this dramatic looking. Real or fake, it’s certainly pretty striking.

Space House – Signal Mountain, Tennessee

(image via: Coast to Coast AM)
The ‘Space House’ in Signal Mountain, Tennessee was built by Curtis King and his sons in the 1970s and is quite a draw for curiosity seekers in the area, who have been filing by and taking photos for decades. Six concrete support pillars look like landing gear beneath the main part of the building. The Space House sold on the auction block in March 2008 but the buyer defaulted, so it’s being offered for “whatever the public is willing to pay” on December 14th.

Crooked House – Sopot, Poland

(image via: The World According to Google)
From Poland comes another interesting building, the ‘Crooked House’. The design was inspired by the drawings of Polish artists Jan Marcin Szancer and Per Dahlberg, which have a whimsical and Dali-esque feel. It’s not actually a house – it’s part of a shopping complex. But, it’s very cool all the same, with its surreal angles and blue-green glass.

Hundertwasser Haus – Vienna, Austria

(images via: Wikipedia)
Austrian artist Friedensreich Regentag Dunkelbunt Hundertwasser may not be well known across most of the world, but anyone who has visited Vienna knows of his iconic creation, the Hundertwasser Haus.  It’s an apartment complex characterized by patchwork paint, undulating floors, the incorporation of vegetation and a façade with seemingly no rhyme or reason to its structure. Hundertwasser reportedly took no payment for designing it, considering it a public service to prevent something ugly going up in its place.

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Top 10 Most Dangerous Jobs In The World

Although not tied directly to his job, the recent death of 'Deadliest Catch' star Justin Tennison has brought dangerous jobs to the forefront again.
All jobs comes with health risks, but while some are minor, like computer eye strain or a slipping hazard in the break room by the coffee machine, others are more serious and even potentially even fatal. Falling from great heights, being crushed under heavy equipment, and crashing into a fiery explosion are just a few of the job dangers many workers face daily.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics compiled data from such hazardous jobs and created this list of The Top Ten Most Dangerous Occupations. Of course there's an upside to dangerous work, which is that often the added danger translates into higher pay.

1. Fisherman
Median Annual Salary: $44,141*
Death rate: 200 per 100,000
Why it's so dangerous: Hauling and maneuvering nets or cages weighing several hundred pounds (or more) is tricky enough even without heavy rain, wind, slippery decks, and ice cold waves splashing and sloshing everywhere. And of course drowning is always a very real possibility.

2. Logger
Median Annual Salary: $40,278*
Death rate: 61.8 per 100,000
Why it's so dangerous: Loggers work at great heights and on unstable, uneven terrain with chain saws and logging machines that are dangerous even when used properly. They're also required to negotiate the incredible momentum and massive weight of falling trees and tree limbs, often in inclement weather and in remote locations where proper health care faciltiies are not readily available.

3. Aircraft Pilot
Median Annual Salary: $117,948*
Death rate: 57.1 per 100,000
Why it's so dangerous: Bush flying, crop dusting, banner towing and piloting commercial flights are all included in this group. Crop dusting and bush flying are by far the most dangerous due to the fact that they fly in small planes, very close to the ground, and often work long hours. Also, as with all pilots, if something goes wrong there's little option other than to come crashing down.

4. Farmer/Rancher
Median Annual Salary: $30,450
Death rate: 38.5 per 100,000
Why it's so dangerous: Farmers and ranchers face an array of on-the-job hazards including being crushed or entangled by heavy machinery such as combines and balers, kicked or trampled by livestock, trapped inside silos or grain elevators, and exposed to toxic levels of pesticides and other chemicals. All this while working extremely long hours during planting and harvest seasons.

5. Roofer
Median Annual Salary: $36,895*
Death rate: 34.7 per 100,000
Why it's so dangerous: Heights, severe inclines, slippery surfaces, uneven footing, a lack of safety harnesses or netting, and tasks that usually require both hands, make falls are a very real possibility for roofers. Add in searing heat, wind, sun, and dehydration, and you have a potentially fatal workplace environment.

6. Structural Iron/Steel Worker
Median Annual Salary: $47,013*
Death rate: 30.3 per 100,000
Why it's so dangerous: No matter how coordinated, balanced, and focused you are walking 4-inch wide metal planks, climbing ladders, and dodging falling debris all day at dizzying heights (sometimes dozens or even hundreds of feet above the ground) is risky business.

7. Refuse Collector
Median Annual Salary: $35,945*
Death rate: 25.2 per 100,000
Why it's so dangerous: The seemingly mundane job of "garbage man" is a surprisingly hazardous one, in part due to risks associated with operating heavy lifting and compacting equipment, but mostly because of the way they ride from house to house clinging to the sides and back of their garbage trucks. They often perch precariously on narrow ledges and running boards -- just one little slip and they can easily be caught under the wheels of the truck and/or hit by passing traffic.

8. Industrial Machinery Maintenance Worker
Median Annual Salary: $46,645
Death rate: 18.5 per 100,000
Why it's so dangerous:Large-scale machinery designed to crush, melt, bend, or reform metal or other industrial materials can easily crush or mangle a human in seconds if something goes wrong. There's also the risk of fire or explosion, exposure to toxic chemicals, and falling or shifting debris.

9. Truck Driver
Median Annual Salary $*43,048
Death rate: 18.3 per 100,000
Why it's so dangerous: Driving is hazardous for anyone for any length of time but especially for those that drive for a living. Long hours and boring stretches of road make staying alert and focused a challenge, while high speeds, very large vehicles, and heavy loads make the consequences of even a small error or lapse exponentially more serious.

10. Construction Worker
Median Annual Salary $*66,422
Death rate: 18.3 per 100,000
Why it's so dangerous: Construction workers labor in all sorts of environments including underground, at great heights, and on busy highways and building sites. In addition they often work with hazardous materials, explosives, heavy equipment, and power tools.

Top 5 Costliest Laptops In The World

Lets switch to those 5 Most Expensive Laptops Ever in this Cool Sunday’s Series

#1. Luvaglio Laptop : $ 10,00,000 (1 Million)
Luvaglio laptop is considered as the first luxuries laptop which is fixed with 17” inches LED wide-screen and was exclusively designed with anti-reflective glare coating for crystal clear and brighter image prospective. It is loaded with an integrated screen cleaning device as well as very rare and peculiar colored diamond piece that which doubles up as the power button when placed into the laptop and also, this one will acts as identification device for security.
Luvaglio One Million Dollar Laptop 550x277 Cool Sundays : 5 Most Expensive Laptops Ever
Luvaglio Laptop : A Million Dollar Laptop
Luvaglio Laptop is the Most Expensive Laptop in the world worth 1 Million Dollars ($10,00,000) and they provide flexibility for the buyer as they were allowed to customize it to his/her choice of leathers, precious metals and even real woods. It is designed in a dynamic way that it allows the upgrades for component without much trouble. It has 128 GB solid state drive, MP3 player, a built in USB stick and “integrated screen cleaning feature” as well.
#2. Tulip E-Go Diamond Laptop : $ 3,55,000
Tulip E-Go Diamond Laptop is one of the World’s Most Desired luxury Laptop. The chrome handle and rounded curves reminds us the casual Ladies handbag. It consists of the changeable skins which are made-up of superior quality leathers with white gold plates decorated with the diamonds. The titanium hooks as well as the sliding panels mask the unsightly connections and ports. The specifications of this Laptop is same as that of the normal Laptop. It is one of the Most Expensive Laptop worth around half a million dollars ($3,55,000). It has a 12 inch anti-glare display, 2GB of RAM, 160GB hard drive with integrated webcam, Bluetooth 2.0, and DVD burner.
Tulip E Go Diamond Worth 355000 Cool Sundays : 5 Most Expensive Laptops Ever
Tulip E-Go Diamond - Worth 3,55,000
#3. Ego for Bentley : $ 20,000
The Ego for Bentley is one of the Most Expensive Laptop in the World worth around $20,000. The Authentic Bentley Leather, color schemes and stitchings are really a stylish things that every Women would like to own. It is available in different variant colors that matches your car body or you costumes, when closed the laptop handle resembles like the door handle of the automobile. The Women who are having Rich taste can own this without any hesitation. It has 64 bit CPU for 64 bit Vista and a meager 160 GB HDD.
ego bentley laptop 550x414 Cool Sundays : 5 Most Expensive Laptops Ever
Ego for Bentley : Worth $ 20,000
#4. Voodoo Envy H – 171 : $ 8,500
If you are looking for a real performance oriented Laptop with stunning looks to match your style, we can buy Voodoo Laptop which provides you the high performance with its satisfactory configuration which reflects that it’s worth the price, and is loaded with specifications such as Intel Core 2 Extreme X6800 processor, a chunky 4GB of RAM,  1.3MP webcam, dual 250GB hard disk, 7-in-1 memory card reader, dual layer DVD RW drive and a high resolution 17 inch 1920X1200 display, twin Nvidia Quadro FX Go 2500M graphics card. We are allowed to select it from 24 color ranges(variants) and comes with a tattoo selected from one of the 14 edgy designs to match the style of yours.
Voodoo Envy Cool Sundays : 5 Most Expensive Laptops Ever
Voodoo Envy H - 171 Worth $8,500
#5. Rock Extreme SL8 : $ 5,000
Rock Extreme SL8 was considered as one of the fastest laptop in the world and is also one of the Most Expensive Laptop worth $5000. It is supported with an Intel Core 2 Quad Processor, NVIDIA 9800M GPUs in SLI and exciting 8GB of RAM. It is also loaded with a Blu-Ray drive which enables us to catch up with a high definition movies as well.

rock xtreme sl8 Cool Sundays : 5 Most Expensive Laptops Ever
Rock-Extreme-SL8 - Worth $5000
There are few other Expensive Laptops like Alienware Area 51 worth $5000, Lenovo ThinkPad W700DS worth $4500, Toshiba Qosmio G35-AV660 worth $3500 and Dell M6400 worth $3000 which are considered as the Most Expensive Laptops where it satisfies the customer by its good looking along with its cool features.