Thursday, April 17, 2014

New Google Camera App Lets You Defocus Background

One of the reasons why people prefer an SLR camera over compact cameras or camera phones, aside from the image quality, is that an SLR camera allows you to take photos with a shallow Depth of Field. Shallow depth of field makes the object of interest "pop" by bringing the foreground into focus and de-emphasizing the background. Achieving this optical effect traditionally requires a big lens and aperture, and therefore hasn’t been possible using the camera on your phone, at least, optically.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

5 Ways to Have Fun With GIF Images

Back during the days of Geocities, no website would be complete without a healthy dose of 256-color animated GIF images thrown in wherever possible. Twenty years later, GIF images haven’t aged a bit. Now more mature (and sometimes not), they still rule the internet in one form or the other whether they be providing demonstration of complex machinery, or showcasing something beautiful or posting awful memes.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Popcorn Time is Netflix Type Movie Streaming for Pirates

It has been argued, and quite successfully, that piracy can be fought back by making content readily available to paying customers. Services such as Netflix, Amazon Instant Video and Hulu are based on this very model and appears to be largely successful, both in business and in cutting down piracy so much that BitTorrent traffic has been reduced in North America to only 7.4% from 31% five years ago, while Netflix now accounts for nearly one-third of total internet traffic in the continent. This is all great if you live in the U.S. But what if you don’t?

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

How to Convert Image URLs Into a Thumbnail Gallery

There are typically three ways to share or post images on blogs, discussion boards and social media sites – 1) embed the full image with or without the image URL, 2) embed a thumbnail sized image with a clickable link to the original image or 3) post only the URL of the image, clickable or not. Each one has its merits and demerits.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Nothing to Hide, A Game Inspired by Govt. Surveillance

Nothing To Hide is an anti-stealth game that carries a not too subtle message. The protagonist is a teenage girl named Poppy, who lives with her father in a world constantly under government surveillance. Poppy must sneak out of the house and across the city but without alerting the government's numerous surveillance tools. While a typical stealth game requires the player to stay out of enemy’s sight and security cameras, Nothing To Hide, being an anti-stealth game, requires Poppy to stay in sight of the cameras at all times. Wandering outside their view for longer than a few seconds gets her killed and she has to start again.

3 Calculators Better Than The One in Windows

The default Windows calculator is a decent program that, aside from basic math, can perform binary and hexadecimal calculations, Boolean arithmetic, handle trigonometric and logarithmic functions, and perform statistical analysis. It can also convert measurement units, calculate calendar dates, and figure out your mortgage, vehicle lease and fuel economy. It’s an all-round multipurpose calculator that should be enough for most people. You can still pick at it, if you want to. For instance, you can argue that there is no way to save history or a session. After trying out several different calculators, I rounded up three programs that in my opinion, are a tad better than the default Windows calculator.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

NASA Offering Free Online Course for Space Systems Engineering

American space agency NASA in collaboration with non-profit Saylor Foundation is offering a new massive open online course or MOOC on “Space Systems Engineering” starting March 3, 2014. The six-week, general-audience course is available to the public at no cost and provides a unique opportunity to learn from and alongside NASA's engineers. Students who participate will also earn a free certificate.

Bring Windows Experience Index Back to Windows 8

As part of reshuffling things, cutting down on old features and introducing new features that happen with any new software release, Microsoft decided to bring the axe down on a relatively useless feature called Windows Experience Index on Windows 8.1. Windows Experience Index or WEI is a benchmarking tool that rates the performance of a computer based on its hardware and software configuration. However, the tool was not entirely removed, and it was still possible to generate the WEI scores by running a process via the command prompt. It was only a matter of time before someone came up with a proper frontend to the process that benchmarks the system. The time has come.

Monday, February 3, 2014

Open Device Manager: An Alternative to Android Device Manager

Smartphones are precious, and losing one can be painful, which is why anti-theft and remote device tracking apps such as Prey and Cerberus are so popular on the Google Play Store with over 5 million installs each. When Google realized that remote tracking should be an integral component of Android itself, they introduced Android Device Manager, an application that allows device owners to track their devices online and even wipe all data, should the need arise.

NeatMouse: How to Control the Mouse With Keyboard

Keyboard shortcuts are possibly the fastest way to interact with a computer, but that might not hold true for all scenarios, especially since most user interfaces are designed to be used with a mouse. Indeed, some programs don’t even have keyboard shortcuts associated with all its actions. While I haven’t seen anyone without a mice close at hand, if not in hand, the mouse could be broken or the battery could be dead and you might not have a spare one close by.