May 29, 2009

XP Animations.

You can turn off window animation ("exploding" windows), displayed when you play around with minimizing/maximizing open windows. This makes navigating Windows 95/98/ME/NT4/2000/XP a lot quicker, especially if you don't have a fast video controller, or if you got tired of seeing it all the time (like I did). smile.gif To do this,
run Regedit (or Regedt32) and go to: HKEY_CURRENT_USER Control Panel Desktop WindowMetrics or if you are the only user of your Windows computer
go to: HKEY_USERS .Default Control Panel Desktop WindowMetrics Right-click on an empty spot in the right hand pane.
Select New -> String [REG_SZ] Value. Name it MinAnimate. Click OK. Double-click on "MinAnimate" and type 0 to turn OFF window animation or 1 to turn it ON. Click OK. Close the Registry Editor and restart Windows. Done.

Customize Explorer Toolbar Tip

Customize Explorer Toolbar Tip:

In Windows Explorer, you can customize the toolbar to make Explorer even more handy. The Toolbar is the bar of icons directly underneath the menu bar. It contains icons for going back, up one level, displaying folders or search, etc. You can right-click an open area of this Toolbar and choose Customize to change the order of these icons, and even to add new icons to it. For instance, I like to add the Map Drive and Disconnect buttons. In Windows XP, you may have to unlock the Taskbar before you can make changes in Windows Explorer.
Lock the Taskba - If you find that your Windows XP Taskbar keeps being changed, or moved to one side or the top of your screen, and you didn't mean to have it do that, this tip is for you. Once you have your Task Bar arranged the way you like it, in the right location on the screen, and with all the right toolbars and icons, you can lock it, so that it won't get changed accidentally. To lock the Taskbar, simply right click it and choose Properties. In the window that appears, check the box (click) next to "Lock the Taskbar." Now you won't accidentally bump the mouse and have your Task bar end up on another side of the screen.

View Admin At welcome Screen

By default windows XP doesn't show the Administrator in the user list at the welcome screen. Here's a way to get around it.

Now head up to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\WindowsNT\CurrentVersion\Winlogon\SpecialAccounts\Userlist

create a new DWORD entry and name it as Administrator and change its value to 1.

exit and reboot for the changes to take effect.
To change it back change its value to 0 or simply delete the key.

Now you can open them fast!!!

Some shortcuts for Windows XP users!!
'Windows key' + R and type the following (without qoutes) :

"winword" to open Word.
"powerpnt" to open Powerpoint.
"excel" to open Excel "mspaint" to open Paint.
"notepad" to open Notepad.
"wmplayer" to open Windows Media Player.
"wordpad" to open Wordpad.
"sndrec32" to open Sound Recorder.
"iexplore" to open Internet Explorer.
"firefox" to open Firefox.
"msconfig" to control startup.
"services.msc" to manage the Services.

Increase the life of ur dvd rom

This is an interesting one!!!

This is for those who watch movies on their computer's DVD rom drive!!!
There is software called DVD idle pro which can really increase the life of your dvd drive. By using the Smart Read-ahead Cache,
DVDIdle saves DVD data which will be played soon onto the hard disk cache or RAM cache, and
then feeds it to DVD player.
This allows the DVD drive to rest.

For example:
a 6X-speed DVD drive will only work for 15 minutes when you are watching a 90 minutes DVD
Here is the link:

A nice conversation between Abdul Kalam & Bush:::::::Too Good:: Read Till Last

*While visiting India, George Bush is invited to tea with Abdul Kalam.

*He asks Kalam what his leadership philosophy is.

*He says that, it is to surround himself with intelligent people.

*Bush asks how he knows if they're intelligent.

*"I do so by asking them the right questions," says the Kalam.

*"Allow me to demonstrate."

*Bush watches as Kalam phones Manmohan Singh and says,

*"Mr. Prime Minister, please answer this question:

*your mother has a child, and your father has a child, and this child
is not your brother or sister. Who is it?"

*Manmohan immediately responds, "It's me, Sir !"

*"Correct. Thank you and good-bye, sir," says the Kalam.

*He hangs up and says, "Did you get that, Mr. Bush?"

*Bush nods: "Yes Mr.

*President. Thanks a lot. I'll definitely be  using that!"

*Bush, upon returning to Washington, decides he'd better put the
Rice to the test.

*Bush summons her to the White House and says, "Condoleeza, I wonder
if you can answer a question for me."

*"Why, of course, sir. What's on your mind?"

*Bush poses the question: "Uhh, your mother has a child, and your
father has a child, and this child is not your brother or your sister.
Who is it?"

*Rice was puzzled and finally asks, "Can I think about it and get
back to you?"

*Bush agrees, and Rice leaves. Rice immediately calls a meeting of
senators, and they puzzle over the question for several hours,but
can *come up with an answer.

*Finally, in desperation, Rice calls Colin Powell and explains the

*"Mr. Powell, your mother has a child, and your father has a child,
and this child is not your brother or your sister. Who is it?"

*Powell answers immediately,

"It's me, of course."

*Much relieved, Rice rushes back to the White House, finds George Bush,
and exclaims, "I know the answer, sir!

*I know who it is! It's our Colin Powell!"

*And Bush replies in disgust, "Wrong, Stupid

it's Manmohan Singh!"

Long live Bachelors ( Enjoy )- Iam sure u will enjoy it




Long live Bachelors

Every man should get married some time;

after all, happiness is not the only thing in life!!


------------ --------- --------- --------- --------- ---------

Bachelors should be heavily taxed.

It is not fair that some men should be happier than others.

--Oscar Wilde

------------ --------- --------- --------- --------- --------- ---------

Don't marry for money;

you can borrow it cheaper.

--Scottish Proverb

------------ --------- --------- --------- --------- --------- ---------

I don't worry about terrorism.

I am married for two years.

--Sam Kinison

------------ --------- --------- --------- --------- --------- ------

Men have a better time than women;

for one thing, they marry later;

for another thing, they die earlier.

--H. L. Mencken

------------ --------- --------- --------- --------- --------- ------

When a newly married couple smiles,

everyone knows why.

When a ten-year married couple smiles,

everyone wonders why.

------------ --------- --------- --------- --------- --------- ------

Love is blind but marriage is an eye-opener.

------------ --------- --------- --------- --------- --------- -----

When a man opens the door of his car for his wife,

you can be sure of one thing:

either the car is new or the wife.

------------ --------- --------- --------- --------- --------- -----

I take my wife everywhere,

but she keeps finding her way back to home always.


------------ --------- --------- --------- --------- --------- -----

We always hold hands.

If I let go, she shops.

------------ --------- --------- --------- --------- --------- -----

Badd Teddy recently explained to me

why he refuses to get to married.

He says "the wedding rings look like minature
handcuffs... .."

------------ --------- --------- --------- --------- --------- ------


If your dog is barking at the back door and your
wife yelling at the frontdoor, who do you let in first?

The Dog of course...

at least he'll shut up after u let him in!  


------------ --------- --------- --------- --------- --------- ------

A couple came upon a wishing well.

The husband leaned over, made a wish and threw in a coin.
The wife decided to make a wish, too.

But she leaned over too much, fell
into the well, and drowned.

The husband was stunned for a while but then
smiled "It really works ! "


May 28, 2009

E-Utilities URLs : 28 May 09


This encryption toolbox offers 5 different encryption features,
encryption of; Text, Email, Files, MSN and ICQ. It's very easy, just
copy/paste encryption of any text in any application. For automatic
email-encryption, you would need to use an email client (an email
program such as Thunderbird or Outlook or any other), webmail is not
safe say the developers. The email encryption is done according to
the ZIP-standard, so no extra software is required to be installed by
the receiver. All encryption is done with AES 256 bit encryption
algorithm and a password. Advanced users have the option of using the
OpenPGP standard. True-free version of Flexcrypt permits encrypted
communication upto three addresses.

Flexcrypt can be downloaded at

A user manual can be browsed at

To startwith it would be prudent to test Flexcrypt with non-critical data.

STOIK Imagic

STOIK Imagic can help amateurs organise and enhance photos. Yes,
Photoshop is a great tool but not for ordinary folks, it's too
technical and not a freeware either. STOIK Imagic 4 is a freeware
limited edition of STOIK Imagic 4.0, a integrated photo browser,
viewer, image and video editor. It has a a simple but effective
interface to import, find, organise, enhance and share your photos.
Its features include: Two modes - "Browse mode" that shows photos in
thumbnails or "View mode" that displays them one by one; organises
all photos in the disk automatically - its fast indexing algorithm
can find and grab scores of photos in a jiffy; Dark Room tool to
enhance photos using advanced tool such as linear curves, exposure
sliders, shadow modification and more; Advanced JPEG export lets
saving of JPEG photos in a size that is 1.5 times less than other
tools and more.

STOIK Imagic 4 for Windows 2000, XP and Vista can be downloaded at


AutoVer is a configurable automatic or real time backup and personal
versioning system. It can monitor every change made to files and back
them up automatically. AutoVer features include: Option to select any
number of separate folders or folder trees (including sub folders) or
drive (including memory sticks); choice of straight backup or
versioning mode; Option to create an initial backup before the
automatic backup starts; Option to zip or delete old versions after a
specified period of time; choice of folder to back up all the files;
browse backups with the Backup Explorer; Open backups or file
versions directly (file extensions are preserved), Fault tolerance in
case backup folder/drive goes off line or source files are locked and
much more.

AutoVer can be downloaded at

AutoVer developers welcome small donations to continue its development.



DH reader Sanath Kumar wrote

Could you please suggest me a good download accelerator (freeware)
that can increase the download rate by around four times?

DH suggested

You could try DownThemAll, an addon to Firefox web browser.
Its developers claim that the application has an advanced
accelerator that increases download speeds up to 400% and
lets you pause and resume the process at any time!

DownThemAll at



Confidence on the outside begins by
living with integrity on the inside.

-- Brian Tracy

May 26, 2009

APSRTC online bus ticket booking



Form now onwards we can book bus tickets in online using this website, but I think site is having some problem.

May 25, 2009

Lunch with GOD... :)


U can see, dine with, and hug God!!



          A little boy wanted to meet God. He knew it was a long

            trip to where God lived, so he packed his suitcase

             with Twinkies and a six-pack of Root beer and he

                           started his journey.

            When he had gone about three blocks, he met an old

           man. He was sitting in the park just staring at some

           pigeons. The boy sat down next to him and opened his

           suitcase. He was about to take a drink from his root

           beer when he noticed that the old man looked hungry,

                       so he offered him a Twinkie.


          He gratefully accepted it and smiled at him. His smile

           was so pleasant that the boy wanted to see it again,

                      so he offered him a root beer.


           Again, he smiled at him. The boy was delighted! They

           sat there all afternoon eating and smiling, but they

                            never said a word.


          As it grew dark, the boy realized how tired he was and

          he got up to leave, but before he had gone more than a

           few steps, he turned around, ran back to the old man,

             and gave him a hug. He gave him his biggest smile



           When the boy opened the door to his own house a short

            time later, his mother was surprised by the look of

          joy on his face. She asked him, "What did you do today

            that made you so happy? " He replied, "I had lunch

            with God." But before his mother could respond, he

                          added, "You know what?

            He's got the most beautiful smile I've ever seen!"


              Meanwhile, the old man, also radiant with joy,

                           returned to his home.

           His son was stunned by the look of peace on his face

            and he asked, "Dad, what did you do today that made

          you so happy? "He replied, "I ate Twinkies in the park

              with God." However, before his son responded,he

           added, "You know, he's much younger than I expected."


             Too often we underestimate the power of a touch,a

              smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest

             compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of

              which have the potential to turn a life around.

           People come into our lives for a reason, a season, or

                                a lifetime.

                           Embrace all equally!


                         Little Acts of Kindness,

                           Little Acts of Love,

                       Help to make the earth better






A German once visited a temple under construction where he saw a sculptor making an idol of God. Suddenly he noticed a similar idol lying nearby. Surprised, he asked the sculptor,
"Do you need two statues of the same idol?" "No," said the sculptor without looking up, "We need only one, but the first one got damaged at the last stage."
The gentleman examined the idol and found no apparent damage. "Where is the damage?" he asked.
"There is a scratch on the nose of the idol." said the sculptor, still busy with his work.
"Where are you going to install the idol?"

The sculptor replied that it would be installed on a pillar twenty feet high. "If the idol is that far, who is going to know that there is a scratch on the nose?" the gentleman asked.
The sculptor stopped his work, looked up at the gentleman, smiled and said, "I will know it."

The desire to excel is exclusive of the fact whether someone else appreciates it or not.
"Excellence" is a drive from inside, not outside. Excellence is not for someone else to notice but for your own satisfaction and efficiency...


May 20, 2009

Update on Site4Sites Toolbar

A new feature in the Site4sites toolbar.

We have added 100’s of TV channels in the toolbar. You can just access it by a single click.

We have added lots of radio stations - Telugu radio, tamil radio, punjabi radio, malayalam radio, bengali radio, hindi radio, english radio etc.

Online TVs for India, UK, USA, Germany, France, Spain, Italy Etc.,

Free Online watching TVs for India like 9XM,Sony TV, IBN 7, SUN TV, Star Plus TV, Star One TV, Zee Tv, Set Max, B4U Movies, CNBC Awaaz, Sun TV, Star Vijay, Raj TV, CNBC TV 18, CNN IBN, IBN Lokmat, Star Gold, Indus Vision, Star Utsav, Zoom TV India, Zee Cinema, Zee Gujarati, NDTV Profit, Zee Punjabi, Zee Marathi, Zee Bangla, NDTV 24X7, NDTV India, NDTV Profit, NDTV Imagine, Geo TV, Geo News, News X, Times Now, Star News, TV Asia, Aastha TV, MTV Music India, Sanskar TV etc

To add any weblinks or add any stations just mail us @

or give in comments

May 14, 2009

Engineers can do anything .... :) :)


Ques: We know that 2/10=0.2


Prove that 2/10=2

Ans : Normal college students insist Question is "OUT of Syllabus".


Engineering Students replied:


therefore Two/Ten = Two/Ten = wo/en.




Therefore wo/en=38/19=2.

Hence Proved

FOR, Engineers " It doesn't matter ans kya hai, they say ans kya lana

May 13, 2009


You can lock and unlock your folder with this simple trick !

Procedure :
1. Make a folder on the desktop and name it as "folder"
2. Now, open notepad and write ren folder folder.{21EC2020-3AEA-1069-A2DD-08002B30309D} and now (Notepad Menu) File>save as.
3. In the 'save as' name it as lock.bat and click save ! (Save it on Desktop)
4. Now, again open notepad again and write ren folder.{21EC2020-3AEA-1069-A2DD-08002B30309D} folder and now (Notepad Menu) File>save as.
5. In the 'save as' name it as key.bat and click save ! (Save it on Desktop)
6. Now, double click lock.bat to lock the folder and now if you open your folder, control panel will open up !
7. Now, double click key.bat to open the folder and now if you open your folder, you can access your data inside the folder again !
8. Lock your folder and hide the key.bat somewhere else on your hard disk !
9. Whenever you want to open your folder just paste the key.bat on desktop and open your folder using it !



To change the name of the Recycle Bin desktop icon,
follow these steps
goto RUN type regedit
and then go to:


and change the name "Recycle Bin" to whatever you want (don't type any quotes).
plz leave ur comment

Custom Views in MS Excel

Some times we create and use big files in Excel. It becomes difficult to search for the cell we want to work on. So we cannot use Go To features. Not only this we also get confused for go to new cell, print the new cell, create the print settings and make the builders.

Can we create and go to most used cells list. Yes we can. This depends on how do you see the Excel work sheet. The custom view feature gives the solution for this. First you decide the workbook view or printing view then you can save that. This makes some changes but this is to create your favorite views and settings. If you create the print setting for particular view that also gets saved in view setting. We can save and retrieve as many cells we want in a worksheet and hide others. This saves time and energy. Ways to creating the view setting.

First open your large workbook.
Then go to the place you are using.
Now make the changes you want. For example create print area, hide rows, filters, subtotals. Then create the view settings.
Go to view menu and select the custom view there. Now open the custom view window.
Press the Add button to create new view. The opened window gives the feature of decide the name of the new view. Select the view name that is used to identify easily.

You can also decide the new view print settings. After doing that give the name for view then click ok. This is a method for creating your favorite views and save these views. Now you return to the workbook and drop it there. Then you can retrieve the saved view. For that go to view menu then select custom views there. Select the wanted view in select the name of the view at the window and click show. Now you got a workbook with selected cells and settings. If you want delete the view setting go to custom views then press the delete button.


Gmail Shortcuts

• Note: Must have "keyboard shortcuts" on in settings.

• C: Compose new message.

• Shift + C: Open new window to compose new message.

• Slash (/): Switch focus to search box.

• K: Switch focus to the next most recent email. Enter or "O" opens focused email.

• J: Switch focus to the next oldest email.

• N: Switch focus to the next message in the "conversation." Enter or "O" expands/collapses messages.

• P: Switch focus to the previous message.

• U: Takes you back to the inbox and checks for new mail.

• Y: Various actions depending on current view:

• Has no effect in "Sent" and "All Mail" views.

• Inbox: Archive email or message.

• Starred: Unstar email or message.

• Spam: Unmark as spam and move back to "Inbox."

• Trash: Move back to "Inbox."

• Any label: Remove the label.

• X: "Check" an email. Various actions can be performed against all checked emails.

• S: "Star" an email. Identical to the more familiar term, "flagging."

• R: Reply to the email.

• A: Reply to all recipients of the email.

• F: Forward an email.

• Shift + R: Reply to the email in a new window.

• Shift + A: Reply to all recipients of the email in a new window.

• Shift + F: Forward an email in a new window.

• Shift + 1 (!): Mark an email as spam and remove it from the inbox.

• G then I: Switch to "Inbox" view.

• G then S: Switch to "Starred" view.

• G then A: Switch to "All Mail" view.

• G then C: Switch to "Contacts" view.

• G then S: Switch to "Drafts" view.

May 12, 2009

Mobile Number Portability in India by Sept 20

Department of Telecom has issued (.pdf) a notification stating that long awaited number portability will finally be available by September 20. The main object of number portability is to be able to retain the same number even after switching between different mobile service providers.  

Mobile Number Portability gives a mobile subscriber the leverage of retaining his/her mobile phone number even after switching between networks. As per Department of Telecom - Mobile Number Portability is to be implemented in Delhi, Mumbai, Maharashtra and Gujarat Service areas of Zone I and Zone 2 includes Kolkata, Tamil Nadu, Chennai, Andhra and Karnataka of within six months of award of license by September 20, 2009, and in the rest of the country by March 20, 2010.

Syniverse Technologies have been licensed for MNP operations in Zone I while MNP Interconnection got licensed for MNP operations in Zone 2.  

TRAI will decide all kinds of mobile number portability tariffs like the transaction fees from customer seeking number change. Also TRAI will try to keep cost of the Mobile Number Portability at reasonable level so as most subscribers are not put off by the charges. 

May 8, 2009


One day an employee sends a letter to his boss asking for an increase in his salary !!!
Dear Bo

In thi
$ life, we all need $ome thing mo$t de$perately. I think you $hould be under$tanding the need$of u$.We are worker$who have given $o much $upport including $weat and $ervice to your company ..
I am
$ure you will gue$$what I meant and re$pond $oon.


The next day, the employee received this letter of reply:















I k
NOw you have been working very hard. NOw a days, NOthing much has changed. You must haveNOticed that our company is NOt doing NOticably well . NOw the newspapers are saying the world's leading ecoNOmists are NOt sure if the United States may go into aNOther recession. After the NOvember presidential elections things may turn bad. I have NOthing more to add NOw. You kNOw what I mean .

---- Your Boss..


May 7, 2009


Both Vista and Windows XP let you take control of preventing a user not to shutdown the machine by editing the group policy. For example if your friend is using your computer and you went somewhere ( and you have still some unsaved document left) and he shutdowns the pc without saving them…you loose a good amount of data. ( Trust me I have lost one whole blog post and project code at same time ). This is what you can do

Restrict PC Shutdown

* Type gpedit.msc in run dialog box [ WIN KEY + R ]
* This will open Group Policy Editor. Now there are two things in it, Computer Configuration and User Configuration
* Click on User Configuration > Administrative Templates > Start Menu and Task Bar
* Now look for “remove and prevent access to shutdown command”
* Double Click and Enable it.
* Exit the group policy editor.

This setting removes the Shut Down option from the Start menu and disables the Shut Down button on the Windows Security dialog box, which appears when you press CTRL+ALT+DEL. This setting prevents users from using the Windows user interface to shut down the system.

Now if you try to shutdown by clicking on start , the shutdown button must have disappeared. Moreover check the task manager and you will find all shutdown,restart and others disabled except switch user.


Have you ever felt bugged-up with the Start-up and Shutdown jingle of your Windows XP or Vista ? If yes, here is the solution, now you use any of your favorite voice or music or dialogue as your PC’s shutdown and start up.

It’s a simple 4 step process.

Step 1.

Choose the track which you want to play at start-up and shutdown jingles,

Limitations are

* It should be in .WAV format.
* The size of file should not be large, prefer keeping them within in 1 Mb, otherwise your startup will take a bit longer.

If the file you want to make your start-up or shutdown is not in .WAV format, you can easily convert them using Jet Audio 7, or any other converter.

Step 2.

Now rename these files as “Windows XP Startup.WAV” and “Windows XP Shutdown.WAV” respectively.

Step 3.

Now Go to “C:\WINDOWS\MEDIA”, here you will find files “Windows XP Startup.WAV” and “Windows XP Shutdown.WAV”, move them to some other locations, this step is required for, in case you need to revert back these sounds, else you can ignore this step.

Step 4.

Now the files you have chosen and renamed, just copy-paste or cut paste them in “C:\WINDOWS\MEDIA”, here you go, now you can enjoy the new Start-up and shutdown.








SELECT "String Value". A NEW "String Value" WILL BE CREATED.

[5] RIGHT CLICK ON IT AND CHOOSE "Rename". TYPE "LegalNoticeCaption"
TO "Rename" IT.


[7] NOW CREATE YET ANOTHER NEW "String Value" IN THE RIGHT PANAL AND "Rename" IT BY "LegalNoticeText".


[9] NOW, CLOSE THE "Registry Editor".

[10] "Restart" YOUR COMPUTER.


What is swine flu? Its Information Pl Read Its good to be informed

A small AWARENESS about the dangerous swine flu.  





What is swine flu?

Swine flu is a respiratory disease, caused by influenza type A which infects pigs.

There are many types, and the infection is constantly changing.

Until now it has not normally infected humans, but the latest form clearly does, and can be spread from person to person - probably through coughing and sneezing.



What is new about this type of swine flu?

The World Health Organization has confirmed that at least some of the human cases are a never-before-seen version of the H1N1 strain of influenza type A.

H1N1 is the same strain which causes seasonal outbreaks of flu in humans on a regular basis.

But this latest version of H1N1 is different: it contains genetic material that is typically found in strains of the virus that affect humans, birds and swine.

Flu viruses have the ability to swap genetic components with each other, and it seems likely that the new version of H1N1 resulted from a mixing of different versions of the virus, which may usually affect different species, in the same animal host.

Pigs provide an excellent 'melting pot' for these viruses to mix and match with each other.



How dangerous is it?

Symptoms of swine flu in humans appear to be similar to those produced by standard, seasonal flu.

These include fever, cough, sore throat, body aches, chills and fatigue.

Most cases so far reported around the world appear to be mild, but in Mexico lives have been lost.



How worried should people be?

When any new strain of flu emerges that acquires the ability to pass from person to person, it is monitored very closely in case it has the potential to spark a global epidemic, or pandemic.

The World Health Organization has warned that taken together the Mexican and US cases could potentially trigger a global pandemic, and stress that the situation is serious.

However, experts say it is still too early to accurately assess the situation fully.

Currently, they say the world is closer to a flu pandemic than at any point since 1968 - upgrading the threat from three to four on a six-point scale following an emergency meeting on Monday.

Nobody knows the full potential impact of a pandemic, but experts have warned that it could cost millions of lives worldwide. The Spanish flu pandemic, which began in 1918, and was also caused by an H1N1 strain, killed millions of people.

The fact that all the cases in the US and elsewhere have so far produced mild symptoms is encouraging. It suggests that the severity of the Mexican outbreak may be due to an unusual geographically-specific factor - possibly a second unrelated virus circulating in the community - which would be unlikely to come into play in the rest of the world.

Alternatively, people infected in Mexico may have sought treatment at a much later stage than those in other countries.

It may also be the case that the form of the virus circulating in Mexico is subtly different to that elsewhere - although that will only be confirmed by laboratory analysis.

There is also hope that, as humans are often exposed to forms of H1N1 through seasonal flu, our immune systems may have something of a head start in fighting infection.

However, the fact that many of the victims are young does point to something unusual. Normal, seasonal flu tends to affect the elderly disproportionately.


Can the virus be contained?

The virus appears already to have started to spread around the world, and most experts believe that containment of the virus in the era of readily available air travel will be extremely difficult.


Can it be treated?

The US authorities say that two drugs commonly used to treat flu, Tamiflu and Relenza, seem to be effective at treating cases that have occurred there so far. However, the drugs must be administered at an early stage to be effective.

Use of these drugs may also make it less likely that infected people will pass the virus on to others.

The UK Government already has a stockpile of Tamiflu, ordered as a precaution against a pandemic.

It is unclear how effective currently available flu vaccines would be at offering protection against the new strain, as it is genetically distinct from other flu strains.

US scientists are already developing a bespoke new vaccine, but it may take some time to perfect it, and manufacture enough supplies to meet what could be huge demand.

A vaccine was used to protect humans from a version of swine flu in the US in 1976.

However, it caused serious side effects, including an estimated 500 cases of Guillain-Barré syndrome. There were more deaths from the vaccine than the outbreak.


What should I do to stay safe?

Anyone with flu-like symptoms who might have been in contact with the swine virus - such as those living or travelling in the areas of Mexico that have been affected - should seek medical advice.

But patients are being asked not to go into GP surgeries in order to minimise the risk of spreading the disease to others. Instead, they should stay at home and call their healthcare provider for advice.

After the WHO raised its alert level over swine flu, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office began advising against all but essential travel to Mexico.


What measures can I take to prevent infection?

Avoid close contact with people who appear unwell and who have fever and cough.

General infection control practices and good hygiene can help to reduce transmission of all viruses, including the human swine influenza. This includes covering your nose and mouth when coughing or sneezing, using a tissue when possible and disposing of it promptly.

It is also important to wash your hands frequently with soap and water to reduce the spread of the virus from your hands to face or to other people and cleaning hard surfaces like door handles frequently using a normal cleaning product.

If caring for someone with a flu-like illness, a mask can be worn to cover the nose and mouth to reduce the risk of transmission. The UK is looking at increasing its stockpile of masks for healthcare workers for this reason.

But experts say there is no scientific evidence to support more general wearing of masks to guard against infections.


Is it safe to eat pig meat?

Yes. There is no evidence that swine flu can be transmitted through eating meat from infected animals.

However, it is essential to cook meat properly. A temperature of 70C (158F) would be sure to kill the virus.


What about bird flu?

The strain of bird flu which has caused scores of human deaths in South East Asia in recent years is a different strain to that responsible for the current outbreak of swine flu.

The latest form of swine flu is a new type of the H1N1 strain, while bird, or avian flu, is H5N1.

Experts fear H5N1 hold the potential to trigger a pandemic because of its ability to mutate rapidly.

However, up until now it has remained very much a disease of birds.

Those humans who have been infected have, without exception, worked closely with birds, and cases of human-to-human transmission are extremely rare - there is no suggestion that H5N1 has gained the ability to pass easily from person to person.


Where can I get further advice?

Further information and advice on swine flu can be found at websites of leading health and research organisations around the world. The World Health Organisation gives background information on the virus. The UK's Health Protection Agency advises the public about what to do if returning from an affected area. NHS Choices outlines how swine flu is different from other flu. The US government's Centre for Disease Control is counting the number of cases in the US.

You can also track the spread of swine flu reports using unofficial sources. Healthmaps maps viruses using news reports. Social media guide Mashable lists some ways to track the virus . Links to useful websites are being shared on Twitter , the micro-blogging service.




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