Thursday, 26 August 2010

Great read!


Often we need to strengthen our vocabulary in order to become better at descriptive, argumentative and passionate writing.

One of the best ways to learn is by example, and I feel that the Telegraph Comment articles are exemplary.

They are both a pleasure to read and use a wide range of vocabulary, that is sure to strengthen your own word-bank.

Happy reading. And one of the best articles I read today was this! Open-mouthed smile

Sunday, 22 August 2010

The best site for learning the Quaran

imageHey, often in Islam class, I had to look over many sites when trying to understand the different ayats in question.

Often, having to learn the separate ayats in the right pronunciation as well understand it’s thorough meaning that I needed a very good piece of software that would show me the meaning, give me the recitations ayat by ayat as well as show me the rules as to why a certain arabic verse is pronounced in a particular manner.

My search led me to Quaran Explorer.


imageThis excellent piece of software can do the following:

  • Recite an ayat(s) any number of times
  • Say the meanings
    • Has a large number of interpretations
  • Show the actual meaning and the actual Arabic text
  • Has a wide variety of reciters
  • Highlights in different colours the different areas of particular pronunciation
  • Go to almost every destination in the Quaran in just a few clicks

With addition to all of this, the site also now has a new Hadeeth Explorer, that has pretty much every Authentic Hadeeth there. From Sahih Al-Bukhari,, Muslim and the rest, you will find a plethora of Hadeeth waiting for you, all in the English language.


imageThe Hadeeth explorer is what I use most now because I feel I am good at reading the Quaran right now. But it is really very difficult to get English versions of the Hadeeth. But this piece of software has everything you could ever ask for.

I would like to advise you all that you should strictly use Firefox or IE on this site. Some functions do not work with Chrome.

I hope this piece of software will help you all during the Holy month of Ramadan! Open-mouthed smile

Jazak Allah Khair to you all. Smile

Thursday, 19 August 2010

Outstanding site for Video Lessons


Sometimes we do not always completely understand or are unable to comprehend the lessons that we had. And this often leads to us scrambling through the pages of our books to make some descent sense of what on earth we are learning.

But what if, you could actually watch videos of teachers teaching you the subject material. On one of my previous posts, I showcased Thinkwell, a software which just brings an entire class lesson back to your home. But that is a piece of software that you have to buy (if you did not use torrent files), very big and a small area for the lecture.

But the Educational Channel, is a channel that gives you free video revision material which you can study from. Made by the creator of various educational sites, now intends to bring back to life the class room through his free video site.

Right now, it is mainly packed with mathematical videos, but hopefully after the upgrade, it will be a site to marvel at, and a gem for your bookmark bar! Winking smile

Edexcel A2 Text book answers

Hi again! Open-mouthed smile

The answers to the A2 Physics and Chemistry books follow this path:

{Active-Book folder}>>>{eda2(physics/chem/bio)}>>>{ab}

The word Documents in the ab, are the answers to the questions.

If you do not have the Active-Books, or simply do not want to get into this hassle, then simply download them from mediafire the following links.


Edexcel A2 Chemistry Book answers

Edexcel A2 Physics Book answers

The files are in .rar format.

Tuesday, 17 August 2010

A great background site


One of the best sites that I used is a site called VladStudio. This place is filled with great back-grounds for your PC. But what I also found it useful was when I wanted to create PowerPoints for my school. You will find all sorts of backgrounds here, fulfilling their roles as backgrounds for a plethora of occasions. I spent eons, just looking at the work on this site.

What I loved most is that you can get a wide range of free backgrounds, for your own personal use. I found this website one of the best I have ever visited.

Click on the Icon, to go to VladStudio! Open-mouthed smile


One of the most useful tools that I used was Dropbox. It is essentially a syncing tool between any number of computers through the web.

Basically with Dropbox, when you save it to the Dropbox folder, and it will be automatically uploaded to your account on the Dropbox site, where you can also access the file from any other computer.

Dropbox also allows you to sync between computers, meaning that you can one file on two computers, and if you edit on one, it is automatically saved on the other.

This means, that for people who have to work between computers, it is an ideal solution to your problems. You can also share files with anyone and directly e-mail them the files. What this helps is that you do not have to keep sending yourself mail!

Click this link to create an account!

Saturday, 14 August 2010

Adobe Presenter

Adobe Presenter

Acrobat Presenter is another much over-looked product from Adobe. It is essentially an add-on for Microsoft PowerPoint.

Essentially with this application, you can create flash videos of a presentation. This is especially useful for instructors, as they can capture themselves speaking through their webcam, and record what they are saying through a recorder.

In doing so ,you get a presentation, that almost “Talks” to you. You get this application along with Adobe Acrobat.

You can also download the application from here

And, you can get a comprehensive understanding of what the application is capable of through this PowerPoint.

I believe this tool to be an excellent one for teacher as well as students. For students, it can serve as a very comprehensive way to present something.

The PowerPoint given should give you a very comprehensive understanding of what the product is capable of.

Friday, 13 August 2010

Saving web pages

imageOften, when we save a web-page, we get a single .html file, along with a folder containing the other files. Now, at times, during clean-up or an accidental delete of the files in the web-page, can lead to the web-page not working at all. As you can see to my right, this is a problem when you are saving a large number of WebPages.

imageTo solve this problem, we have a separate way of saving files called the .mhtml format. This saves the file as a single file. You can now view these files offline, but in one single file.

Google Chrome

Google Chrome has this as an extension, called single file, you can download it from this link, and post a comment on what you think about it.

Mozilla firefox

For Mozilla the add on is called UnMHT, and it creates a singe .mht file, which allows you to save the entire webpage in one single area, Like this, if your internet ever disconnects, you can simply view it from your browser with ease.

Have saving! Open-mouthed smile

Monday, 9 August 2010

Tablet vs. All

The recent tech boom has had learners from a wide array for age groups rushing to buy a computer. And why not? With a computer you feel as though the world is at your finger tips. So far, I have talked about the various uses of computers, from useful software to awesome web applications. But this time, I am going to drag your attention to the computer itself.


Now, if you are a person who is heavily dependant on computers, then when it comes to the examinations, your handwriting will definitely be slower than before. True some manage to keep their handwriting swift, but most do not. And the ones that did had exceptional printing costs!


If you are serious about your subjects, then you will definitely do a lot of question papers. Now, the first thing that comes to mind is the insatiable need for paper and ink, that nearly had me bankrupt! If you want to look at the question paper on the computer, be my guest, but do not blame me if your eyes pop out like grapes! With the tablet PC, you will be able to write on the question paper, and keep a back up of what you have done so far.
You can see you past mistakes, and also if you have Adobe Acrobat, you can have layers in your Acrobat, that show you different fill outs at different tries. You can compare them in real time, and what more, this will be remarkably faster than if you were trying to find the completed question paper that you most probably tore up and put in the bin.
Printing costs these days are just so expensive, even if you buy a laser printer, you need to refill the ink, the drum at regular intervals. Now, I know what you were thinking, “I am never going to print more than 4000 pages a month”. My Lexmark can print 4000 pages per toner, which costs a fortune! But, the truth of the matter is, that you really do print more than that.
One past paper question (write on) is often more than 25 pages (Cambridge IGCSE). Now say you are going to doing more than 5 for each subject and, you have 8 subjects. Now lets see how much that adds up to: 1000 pages. Now, the figure is mostly lower than that when you are talking about a day’s average. But you also need to add the expense of the time needed to print this. And for some of us, we do not have laser printers, we are cursed with DeskJets!
Believe me, buying a tablet will save you a lot of money!

Everything in one place

The freedom you enjoy of having your notes, and your documents in one place is so satisfying, that it is ineffable. You can write your essays, listen to music while you are doing it as well as literally drag stuff with your fingers (always use a pen, but its fun dragging pictures with your hands)! If you are trying to help your friend by explaining a question, you can use the pen on msn, and you can explain math formulas as if he was next to you. You have less clutter, (exercise books, sheets of paper, a trash basket full of ripped papers) and everything in one place!
The truth is, when you consider the cost cutting benefits, the drawbacks are not that bad. You have to handle the device with caution, because the touch screen is sensitive, preferably you should buy a cover, so that your hands do not get burnt. You also need to make sure that it is clean. Also another draw back, is that this should be for normal use, such as word processing, and other work, this is not a PC for games(unless you buy the super expensive one). But, most importantly, it is the care that it needs the most.
Considering this, I still think that the tablet is an ideal thing for the student. You can read books, newspapers as if they were really in one little box. You also need to carry less stuff in your bag pack.
Just take a look at a tablet, and try it out for some time. I can almost promise you will not be disappointed (unless you break it while playing with it!).
My personal favourite would be the HP Touch Smart tm2t. But you can look at the ones that are idea for students on this webpage.

Happy writing! Open-mouthed smile

Friday, 6 August 2010

Open Office

In one of my previous posts, I hinted that I would post something with regard to Open Office. Open Office is an free office suite that allows you to use virtually all the tools that Microsoft Office allows you to use. For the average student, there is no difference between Open Office and Microsoft Office apart from minor differences in the user interface. I do not understand as to why Office 2003 users still hold on to their software.
I have talked to a lot of people over the summer, while most have happily adopted Microsoft’s sleek ribbon interface, there are those that prefer the conventional Microsoft Office interface that was last seen in the 2003 version of the Office suite.
If you prefer the old interface, and would like to be able to read and take advantage of the new document formats coming out (.docx, .xlsx, .pptx etc.) then this is the perfect office suite for you.

This is the Microsoft Word ribbon interface, an example of a ribbon interface.

The latest version of the programme is Open Office 3.2, with the beta of Open office 3.3 which promises a ribbon like interface, to be released sometime this week.
The Open Office suite consists of six office applications, that will allow you to easily perform a variety of tasks.


Writer is a software similar to Microsoft Word, a word processor. It has virtually all the functionality of Word 2003 and much more.
What is has better than Microsoft Word 2003 is that it allows you to natively create .pdf format files, without the need of an add on, so if you are having freezes or problems when printing to the Adobe .pdf format, this should offer a smoother way to create .pdf format files. It can also open .docx formats as well as a wide range of other formats.
To be absolutely honest, I feel that in virtually very way Open Office 3.2 Writer is better than Microsoft Word 2003.


Calc is a spreadsheet authoring tool, like Microsoft Excel.
I did not have the time to check out all the formulas and functions, but I think this will do no less better than Microsoft ExceL when it comes to the IGCSE IT examination. With a great user interface and a powerful engine, as well as native .pdf creation option, this is a very powerful tool.
Come to think of it, it definitely wins over Microsoft Excel 2003. It can also open the .xlsx format unlike Microsoft Excel 2003.


Impress is a presentation authoring software like Microsoft PowerPoint. I would say, that it is at par with Microsoft PowerPoint 2007, and surpassed 2003.
The deficiencies of Impress in comparison to PowerPoint 2007 is the lack of templates as well as dynamic shapes (Microsoft Smart Art), better animation. With PowerPoint 2007, you can create better looking PowerPoint, but for the IGCSE examination, there is no advantage with Microsoft Office 2007.


Draw is a unique tool in Open Office and a great advantage over the Microsoft Office Student and Enterprise package. Being a diagramming tool that can create complicated vector graphics it is similar to Microsoft Visio, which you have to buy as a separate piece of software, compared to something similar being offered absolutely for free.
If I do compare this to the New Microsoft Office Visio 2010, Visio 2010 definitely will win. But, you can create diagrams similar to it, for free using this piece of software. I have to remind you, you do not get this in the conventional Microsoft Student and Enterprise package.


Base is a database tool that allows you to do all the things that Microsoft Access 2003 and 2007 is capable of. When it comes to the IGCSE Examination, there should be no difference in using this as compared to Office 2003 or 2007.
The query interface is also far more user-friendly and informing of errors and status. Although it does not provide as wide a range of tools as Office Access 2007 does, this is not an issue for the student doing the IGCSE ICT syllabus.


This is the single best advantage for me personally. This tool is an equation creator, that has the ability to translate formulas into the MathML format, that allows you to put the formulas directly to the internet as code. Microsoft Office 2003 does not have an equation editor and Microsoft Office 2010’s equation editor does not have a MathML format translator.
Looking at the odds, this allows you to create formulas and equations, publish them directly to the internet as code (on the diagram you simply copy the code on the bottom onto the web page you are trying to create, and what you will get is what you see on the top).
I think this makes Open Office far more alluring for the internet than Microsoft Office.
If you still use Microsoft Office 2003, then you should definitely quit and start using this. It has everything you need, its FREE and much much more!

Oh,and I forgot to mention they have more extensions than you can count!

If you still are not convinced, listen to what Open Office themselves have to say, and why you should chose this piece of software over all else.

Download it free, from here!

Happy creating, editing and drawing! Open-mouthed smile

Thursday, 5 August 2010

The RSS feed

The abbreviation RSS actually means “Really Simple Syndication”. RSS is used by websites, that have updates or changing information on them, such as a newspaper or a blog such as my own.

This is an advantageous tool for those, who want timely updates on their important sites. It can also be of great help if you do not want to spend the time visiting a site. It is a great notifier, and keeps you constantly updated.

Using the RSS

Conventionally, RSS ‘feeds’ used to be updated by web services such as Google reader, but now you can do it directly from your web browser.

For example:

This is a demonstration with Firefox


As you can see, there is a small RSS icon next to the yellow star. If you click on it, you will see a list of the feeds, available on the page.

Google Chrome

For Google Chrome, there are no native tools for subscribing to the RSS feeds, however there are numerous add-ons. This is the one I use.

And it is as simple as that. After you subscribe, you will get an update of the new feeds available. Here is an example of what the feeds updated would look like if you installed that particular Google chrome add on.

I personally think, that the RSS is a piece of technology that is barely used by students, especially the ones I’ve met.

It can be used to quickly check for updates on your school website. Also, news and other feeds to websites of your interests can quickly be tapped into.

I use it on an everyday basis, and something that I find immensely useful when it comes to keeping myself up to date.

File uploading websites

It is no longer a rarity, that we need to send large chunks of files. Often, we need to send video files or large power-points files, that exceed the 25 MB limit (the maximum attachment limit in e-mail). The new hotmail wave 4 has just been released and you can send up to 50 GB in total, but the maximum size limit in individual file size is 50 MB.
But, say you need to send something that has more than 100 MB per file, and you want it available to everyone. In this case, you need to use uploading websites.

Here is a useful list from Wikipedia. 

I believe that Mediafire is the best for normal usage, there are only two problems and thatis if you are inactive(no one downloads your stuff and you do not log onto the account) in your account for a period of more than 60 days, your files are deleted. Also, the 200 MB limit is a pain. But, you will get notifications in your e-mail if your account has not been accessed in a long time. However, there is no limit on bandwidth and there is no storage limit.

imageAnother great site is filefactory. This site is covered with a large amount of ads, and will remove files with copyright infringement easily. However, it offers 1 GB of storage space per file, and there is a 100 GB limit to how much you can upload if you signed up for a free account, however, if you do not have an account, you can upload a maximum of 25 files, all of which have a maximum limit of 1 GB. So, this is preferable, if you want to store very large files for a short time. I am not sure of the period of time, but I am sure, that after a period, the files are also deleted.

imageHotfile, is also a useful website if you want to share very large files, you can upload up to 2 GB per file, and there is no storage limit. However, you are allowed only one parallel downloads, and the problem is that often if you have IP conflicts, you cannot download the file(similar to rapidshare).The bandwidth is also limited, so you cannot always download at your maximum possible speed. One advantage however, is that you do not need to create an account like you need to do in Mediafire. Another subtle advantage is that the files are kept for 3 months after their last active download or our log in.
At the end of the day, the best for normal use, if you do not have extra large files is Mediafire.

Happy file hosting! Open-mouthed smile

Wednesday, 4 August 2010

The Michel Thomas method

Michel Thomas is a linguist with fifty years of teaching experience. He developed a new way of learning languages, that emphasises on making the language seem easy for the student. The method focuses on making the course fun, with no memorising, no physical or mental  homework, pretty much a very unconventional way to learn. What is even better, is that there are several languages that you can try out.

His recordings on language can be found on a variety of torrent websites. I would suggest that you use demonoid, which is an excellent source for his recordings. Alternatively, you can also buy the audio books from Barnes and Noble.

Microsoft Math

imageOne great unappreciated tool that Microsoft unveiled was Microsoft Math. Essentially a powerful calculator, the programme has the unique ability to do a range of mathematical functions.

Equation Solving

Say, you’re stuck on a particular question, and you need to know, how exactly the working is done. Microsoft Math, will give you a not only the answer to the question, but also the working involved.

For Example:


Find a solution for

So, we enter the problem, in the equation solver.


However, one problem associated with the equation solver is that, it cannot show the working for all types of equations, but it can do with a majority

Plotting graphs

Microsoft Math can deal with any and all types of graphs.


In the previous example, the quadratic equation has been put into the graph.

Triangle solver

The triangle solver can be used to solve any triangle. You simply input the values in a given question, and it does the rest.


Unit conversion tool


The unit conversion tool can convert anything into anything else. From  to  or from  to .