Beauty Treatment Of My Dreams

A few days back I read one of Kenny Sia’s blog entitled The Latest Fad In Beauty Salons that cracked me up. He mentioned how the fast growing beauty industries are “happily taking advantage of the situation, cleverly turning people’s insecurities into a multimillion dollar business. They also boast some of the most ridiculous technology I have ever seen.”. I guess it’s true that some / most people feel insecure with the way they look thus burning a big deep hole in their pockets.

Full AdvertisementI have always doubted the before and after pictures posted by beauty centers in advertisements. Most of the time they seem so unreal, unreachable and even unbelievable. Other times, I’m almost certain that they have mislabeled the pictures. :twisted: Whatever it is, before and after pictures must be one of the most exploited marketing tool used in beauty advertisements.

Last Saturday after having breakfast, I notice this advertisement in our local newspaper. It’s a typical looking advertisement, with a few before and after pictures that they claimed are their faithful customers (before and after using their products), and some special promotion.

What caught my eyes is the comparison between a set of before and after pictures of one of their customers displayed in the image below. They claim the customer’s age is 39 and suffering from freckles. I’m not sure if it’s only me, but don’t you notice an obvious difference between the two pictures? Even at first glance, it looks like those two people are not the same person. What do you think?

Before and after picture close up

I’ll not argue if they claim the lady in the before picture (hereinafter named “Ms Before“) is 39. However, the lady in the after picture (hereinafter named “Ms After“) must be at most in her late twenties. Next, Ms Before has a bigger and flatter chin, while Ms After has a smaller and pointy chin. Ms Before looks 10 pounds heavier than Ms After, just look at how the fats in Ms Before’s face and the lines on her neck disappears in Ms After.

However, the biggest difference is the neck. Just look at it. Stare at it. See the difference yet? If you haven’t, just slap yourself in the face. (I mean it, do it). Ms Before has a short neck. In fact, her neck is so short, her chin is almost level with her shoulders. On the other hand, Ms After has a much longer neck. That must be at least a 4 inch neck if you ask me. So WHY the difference?

I have a few possible suggestions, Photoshop being one of them. I’ll keep the others to myself and leave you with your own imaginations (saving my arse from any possible lawsuit). Next, if you look closely at the word ‘After^’, you should notice the symbol ‘^’ beside the word ‘After’. Diving down the advertisement, holding the newspaper up close to my eyes barely inches away shows the message below.

After picture close up conditions

“^Your results may vary. …..”

Well, for those of you who are a little too naive, always remember this. Your results may vary, or it may not, but IMHO it most probably will. I know people who has modeled for beauty advertisements whose picture was photoshoped before printing.

Conclusion: If it’s true that Ms Before and Ms After is indeed the same person, I guess going for this company’s skin treatment not only beautifies your skin, it makes you look 10 years younger, help you lose weight and most important of all, it helps your body organ grow LONGER.

From the advertisement, I’m guessing that this is a facial product. But I am wondering if it is as effective if I would to apply it on my groin area. With that, I would gladly recommend this treatment to people who are suffering the same problem as I am. Hopefully, after the treatment, we can all be like Ms After, who now has a BIGGER … LONGER ORGAN.


Tutorial: Create a favicon.ico for your website

(Sunday, February 18, 2007)

For some time now, I’ve wondered how and why some websites are able to place an icon beside their URL (shown in Figure 1). So I’ve finally googled it and found out a few facts about them. Firstly, the name of the icon is “favicon.ico“. It is only 16 X 16 pixels large. That’s not a lot of space to work with. However, it is possible to create the initial design on a larger canvas, and later resize them to 16 X 16 pixels. It is advisable that the design canvas be a multiply of 16 (eg. 32, 48, 64, 80, 96, ….).

Example of favicon.ico
Figure 1: favicon.ico icons beside URL

There’s a few ways of creating a favicon.ico. Some sources suggests downloading a photoshop plugin. The icon can then be exported to the .ico format. Another way would be to download an executable program to convert the icon to the .ico format manually.

However, I will be using a web tool to convert my original icon image to the .ico format for this tutorial. The web tool can be accessed from www.chami.com. The steps to create the favicon.ico is as below:

Step 1: Browse for the original file. Click “Generate Favicon.ico”. A preview of the icon will be displayed (both animated & non-animated versions).

Step 2: (optional) Click on “Test in Browser” to view the icon in action on the same page.

Step 3: Download the favicon files to your local hard drive.

Step 4: Open the zip file. It contains the favicon.ico file, a readme file (with instructions to install the favicon.ico file) and some extra bits.

Step 5: Upload the “favicon.ico” file to your server into the root folder (usually “public_html”).

Step 6: (quoted from the readme file included in the zip file):

You can add a favicon to your web page by uploading favicon.ico to your website and inserting the following HTML tag inside the … section of your web page.

<link rel=”shortcut icon” href=”favicon.ico”>

Optional: if you would like to display the animated favicon, upload animated_favicon1.gif as well and insert the following HTML tags.

<link rel=”shortcut icon” href=”favicon.ico”>
<link rel=”icon” href=”animated_favicon1.gif” type=”image/gif”>

That’s it! You’re done. Below are the before and after photos.

Before Picture before

After Picture after

Hope this tutorial helped.

Tutorial: Restore Firefox Bookmark

(Saturday, February 17, 2007)

This tutorial guides you on the process to restore firefox’s bookmarks. It is important to act QUICK. If your bookmarks has been corrupted / broken for more than 5 days, your chances of recovering it is slimmer. I’m running on Windows XP. Therefore, some instructions or folders may be different if you’re running on a different operating system.

Firstly, startup the ‘Run‘ command (Start button –> Run). Type “%APPDATA%\Mozilla\Firefox” into the box and click “OK” (as shown in Figure 1).

Run Command
Figure 1

If no error occurs, a folder will open as shown in Figure 2.

Application data folder
Figure 2

Proceed by opening the “Profiles” folder until you’ve entered a folder named “bookmarkbackups” (as shown in Figure 3). Here is where your previous 5 days backup of bookmark is stored.

Backup bookmarks
Figure 3

Each file is named as such “bookmarks-(backup-date)”. Start by opening the latest date available and check if that file is working. A corrupted file may be empty, or may contain non-alphanumeric characters. If the file is corrupted, try the next latest date, until you found one that is working. A working file will list all your previous bookmarks accordingly.

Once you’ve found a working backup file, you may restore your bookmarks using one of the following 2 options below:

1. In Firefox, open the Bookmarks Manager (Bookmarks –> Organize Bookmarks…). Open the following menu (File –> Import). Select the “From File” option and click “Next”. Select the working backup file, and proceed.

2. Note: All current bookmarks will be lost. Choose option 1 if you’ve any bookmarks you would like to keep.

Close all Firefox browser. Rename the backup file to “bookmarks.html”. Next, copy and overwrite the backup file to the parent directory which contains another “bookmarks.html” file (which is your current bookmark).

Eg: Copy and overwrite “bookmarks.html” from “…\Profiles\by8e3pfj.default\bookmarkbackups” to “…\Profiles\by8e3pfj.default”.

If you’re using a different operating system from Windows XP, click here to find out where your backup bookmarks folder is located.

For more information, read this.

There you have it. Hope this tutorial helps.

UPDATED on 20th March 2007:

I just received a comment from Kettir who said he has the same problem (losing all my Firefox bookmarks) as I did few weeks back. He has recovered his bookmarks from the backup but is experiencing problems adding new bookmark now.

In fact, I had the same problem as well. I managed to restore my bookmarks, but wasn’t able to add new bookmarks to it. I did find a solution to it. However, I didn’t included it in this tutorial due to SEVERE LAZINESS. Sorry…here it is:

According to this article, it seems that this problem is caused by a corrupted localstore.rdf file. This file is located in the parent directory of the bookmarkbackups folder. In other words, if you bookmarkbackups folder is in “…\Profiles\by8e3pfj.default\bookmarkbackups“, then the localstore.rdf file is located in “…\Profiles\by8e3pfj.default“.

To diagnose if your localstore.rdf file is corrupted, simply open it with wordpad. If it’s corrupted, you’ll see hundreds of ‘boxes’ like the one below.

Corrupted localstore.rdf

A healthy looking localstore.rdf file should contain identifiable XML tags and words that you should be able to read. Note: I said “read”, not “understand”. :) The picture below shows a healthy looking localstore.rdf file.

Working localstore.rdf

If you’re absolutely sure that your localstore.rdf file is corrupted, here’s how to fix it. According to the same article mentioned earlier, you should:

Step 1: Close all your Firefox browsers.

Step 2: Delete the localstore.rdf file (Note: Read the article, do not delete the wrong file. There seems to be another localstore.rdf file in a different folder. However, I strongly suggest you rename the file to something else (eg. localstore.rdf.bak instead of deleting it. At least you have a backup if you need it again).

Step 3: Open your Firefox browser again.

There you go, your bookmarks should be working as usual now.

Hope this updated version helps.

Lost and Found

(Saturday, February 17, 2007)

My brother just came back from KL, for the CNY holidays. I told him about my Firefox bookmark problem, and his response was, “Why not you try to google for ‘restore firefox bookmark’?”. And that was when I realize how silly I was for not being able to think of that earlier.

So I googled it and sure enough, there was a solution for it. It appears that Firefox makes a daily backup of the bookmark and stores it in a folder. However, it will only keep the previous 5 days backups. This means that if I had this problem for more than 5 days, my ‘good’ bookmark would have been lost…..(this time…really)….. FOREVER.

I will put together a tutorial of how to restore Firefox bookmark if it has been corrupted. Check out my next blog.

Arggghhhh….just when I thought that I don’t need to spend time organizing my old bookmark. But of course, I’m happy that my collection of bookmarks is restored now! :-)

Lost them all

(Friday, February 16, 2007)

I’m furious. Came back, and noticed all…I do mean..ALL my Firefox bookmarks are G-O-N-E!!! EVERYTHING….gone. If that’s not bad enough, I’m having trouble bookmarking now….which is troublesome. I guess I’ll need to reinstall it again. Hopefully that will solve the problem.

I really can’t believe it. All my important sites that I’ve bookmarked, for years….is all gone. There must be over a hundred sites in it….some fresh…however mostly obsolete. Just a week ago I realize I needed to manage my bookmark by deleting old, unused sites, and organizing the others in meaningful categories. However, due to severe laziness, I didn’t. haha. Even if I did, it would be tough to delete the bookmarks that I won’t be using now, but feel that I ‘might’ need it in the future (which I probably won’t need it anyway).

Oh well…I guess this ‘accident’ could be a blessing after all. Instead of going through each bookmark, and deciding whether to keep, or to delete it, now I’ll be starting with a new, fresh, EMPTY bookmark. That saves a lot of work doesn’t it? Yippeee!!!!! :-D