Microsoft has announced that they would shutdown their blogging platform Windows Live Spaces and migrate all users to Wordpress, which is not exactly a bad move as Live Spaces was a limited blogging platform.
Thursday, September 30, 2010
Wednesday, September 29, 2010
Here is a fun time waster: head over to http://erkie.github.com/ and drag the bookmarklet on the page to your browser’s bookmark toolbar. Then just visit any website and click on the bookmarklet. A small triangular spaceship should appear that you can steer around with the arrow keys. Press space and it will start firing bullets which destroy any page content it hits accompanied by fireworks display and sound effects.
Google showed off a new application that translates conversations on Android mobiles at a recent conference in Germany. Instead of typing the text you want to translate, you can just speak it and Google will convert speech into text, translate the text and use text-to-speech to output the result. This enables two people to have an almost live conversation even if they speak different languages.
The hottest music downloading application, Mulve, that hit the Internet last week has been taken down by RIAA. We knew it would happen – we just didn’t expect it to happen so soon.
A group of developers from OpenOffice.org has decided to break free of Oracle, the company that owns OpenOffice.org, and released their own fork of the open source office application suite. The group, called the Document Foundation, published beta versions of its software, called LibreOffice for download on Tuesday.
Tuesday, September 28, 2010
Over the last few years the browser has become the predominant application on your computer – it’s importance has started to eclipse the operating system itself. Many people feel that the browser is going to completely replace the operating system in the future. At the spearhead of this revolution has to be Google with their enthusiastic Google Chrome based Chromium OS which is slowly taking shape.
Monday, September 27, 2010
If you ran out of space on your primary partition because you installed too many applications on it, there are two methods to relocate the applications to another drive without going thorough the usual uninstallation and reinstallation procedure.
Sunday, September 26, 2010
Last week, a new music download software named Mulve dropped in from nowhere and started making rounds on the Internet. The response was so great that Mulve’s server was brought down to its knees, before I had the chance to download the tool, which is why I had delay the review for two days.
Saturday, September 25, 2010
Google’s latest search incarnation Google Instant is being extra careful on what it suggests to users. Although the regular Google search offers almost uncensored suggestions and results (depending on your search preferences) the real-time version holds itself back when it detects naughty queries in order to protect users from embarrassment. Any suggestive or offensive words and words with a sexual inkling draws a blank screen, but plenty of innocent words are caught up in the filters as well.
The Autodesk Student Community was launched in 2006, with the idea of providing a place where students and faculty can download selected Autodesk software for free and where support materials can be found. The barrier to entry is a valid email address issued by a recognized university or school. As far as I can tell, there is no restriction on geographic location.
One sure-fire way to speed up DNS lookups from your computer is to setup a DNS proxy server or DNS cache locally on your computer. The local DNS server sits between the web applications and the network and intercepts all DNS requests sent to Internet DNS servers. These requests are then cached locally on the machine so that further DNS queries can be looked up from the local cache instead of from a remote DNS server. This has a positive effect on the speed of browsing.
Traditional cameras use a single lens or rather a single lens system to produce an image of the subject on the camera’s sensor or film. A plenoptic camera, in contrast, employ an array of microlens to capture light from a scene. The microlens array sits between the lens of the camera and the image sensor, and refocuses light onto the image sensor to create tiny images taken from slightly different viewpoints. This enables the camera to record each fragment of the scene with better detail and with more information about individual light rays entering the camera.
Friday, September 24, 2010
Jump Control is a simple tool that lets you shutdown, restart, hibernate, sleep, lock, logoff or switch user on a Windows 7 machine from the taskbar. Although these options are readily available on the start menu and an extra click or two won’t actually kill you, having a shutdown button on the taskbar can’t be a bad thing.
Even though on the Windows Vista and Windows 7 start menu it require far less effort to find a program, thanks to its search-as-you-type feature, it is still one of the most disorganized application launchers. The start menu does not employ any categorization and this hasn’t changed since the Windows 9x days. All application installers, by default, dump program shortcuts under the ‘All Programs’ group which over time makes the list so long that it seems to scroll for eternity. Finding a program on it becomes a nightmare.
Some data changes at such a fast rate that scheduled backups are just not enough. For example, files and documents you are currently working on changes every few seconds and even the few extra bytes created or modified in those few seconds are critical. A backup job scheduled to run at intervals cannot help you recover the lost data. In such situation you require a real-time backup solution.
Dropbox might be the most popular online file synchronizing and backup tool, but it sure misses some very basic features. Multiple folders backup, for one, and advanced control on what to and what not to back up and also the direction of sync. While we have to wait for the developers to integrate better synchronization control with the application, there is something we can do about the lack of multiple folders backup.
Thursday, September 23, 2010
Forbes has just released their annual list of richest man in the United States. The list is topped by – no wonder – Bill Gates who retained his position as the richest man in the US with a net worth of $54 billion, topping Forbes '400 Richest Americans List' for the 17th year in a row. However, what may surprise many is that Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg is richer than Apple CEO Steve Jobs.
Wednesday, September 22, 2010
SlimCleaner is a system cleaning and maintenance utility for Windows that makes use of user ratings to help you decide which items should be removed and which kept.
The program’s primary tool is the cleaner. This tool takes care of Windows temporary files, history logs, lists of recently opened documents and other unnecessary elements. It can also clean files from locations used by popular Windows applications to store logs and document history. A wide variety of Windows programs such as media players, productivity tools, browsers and anti-malware software are supported.
Websites such as BBC, Hulu, Dailymotion and so on, uses Flash based videos to provide you with streaming video content. If you want to save these videos you will need a tool that can sniff out the URL of the video clip and then download the video file from the source. Some video URLs are easy to discover while some others are difficult like videos on Hulu and BBC.
Canonical recently demonstrated a system which detects user movements through a web cam and uses it to interact with programs running on the computer. While this not a new concept, what makes it exciting is that if the idea is developed well enough we could see it implemented in future releases of Ubuntu.
Tuesday, September 21, 2010
Google on Monday announced the addition of new security layer to user logins -- a two-step authentication process that requires a combination of a password and a verification code sent to the users' mobile phones. The new feature will be rolled out first to its paying customers, i.e. Google Apps Premiere, Education, and Government edition customers, with plans to bring it to all Google users in the next few months.
Monday, September 20, 2010
More in an interesting add-in for Microsoft Word for creating collapsible/expandable sections within a Word document, the kind we frequently encounter on web pages and many Windows applications. Usually the collapsible sections are marked with a +/- indicator or words such as “more”, or “details”. Clicking on the indicator expands the section to reveal more content. Clicking it again collapses it. More enables you to add such hidden sections to a Word document.
The guys over at Wondershare is organizing a giveaway for Wondershare Video Converter Ultimate, a total solution for DVD ripping, video/audio converting, online video downloading, video burning. The software, which is priced at $69.95, will be available for free download from Sep 20 to Sep 26 on their Facebook page. (The page is yet to be updated at the time of this writing.)
Software publisher Ashampoo is giving away the full version of 5 of their popular software products over at their website. The 5 products that are one offer are:
- Ashampoo Burning Studio 2010 Advanced
- Ashampoo Home Designer
- Ashampoo Snap 3
- Ashampoo WinOptimizer 6
- Ashampoo PhotoCommander 7
Delete Files By Date is a free program that allows you to search files by date in one or multiple locations and delete the same. The program is a good choice if you do not know where files are located, and need to look in many locations. Windows has a file searching by date option but it is limited and nowhere as flexible as that offered by Delete Files By Date.
Saturday, September 18, 2010
Google Calendar has three way of notifying you upcoming calendar events and appointments. One is the regular email alerts and the other is pop-up reminders in your browser. The third option is SMS alerts which is ideal when you are on the streets. The pop-up reminder is kind of useless as it requires you to keep the Calendar page open.
Google has announced the availability of a new data layer for Google Earth which shows all commercial flights currently above the US, with a slight delay in time. The flight tracking feature, which is a result of a collaboration with Flightwise.com, is a dynamically updating KML file of commercial flights over the U.S. The KML file is created from data available on the Flightwise website, which they collect from the FAA every few minutes.
Most text editors are incapable of handling text files that are hundreds of Megabytes in size. Attempting to open such files usually result in program freezing or crashing. If you regularly need to open huge log files or other text files, you have to turn to more reliable programs such as Large Text File Viewer or LogViewer.
Friday, September 17, 2010
Dropbox is a great service for file backup and sharing but not everybody uses it. This becomes a problem when you need somebody to send files to you, because this requires the person to signup for Dropbox and then you need to setup sharing and permissions for your online folders.
The following three services enhances file uploading to DropBox by completely skipping the steps involving signup, account setup and software download.
Thursday, September 16, 2010
One of the killer feature of Internet Explorer 9 is website pinning. You can drag the favicon of any site from IE9’s address bar and drop it on Windows 7’s taskbar to pin it, just like you pin other applications. The common usage scenario will be to pin your favorite websites so that you can visit them any time with a click. But pinned websites are more than just taskbar bookmarks. A pinned site can behave like a desktop application with its own JumpList and icons. Better still – Microsoft allows website owners to customize how their Jumplist will look when pinned to the taskbar.
Microsoft released the first beta of Internet Explorer 9 just a few hours ago. The entire Internet is abuzz with it – reviews, demos and benchmarks from bloggers are streaming in hard and fast. The first impression has been very positive.
This has happened to all of us when writing an email or composing a blog article – you try to copy some text from a webpage but when you paste it in, you get all the original fonts, colors, and other formatting along with the copied text. Google Chrome has a keyboard shortcut the avoid this.
Wednesday, September 15, 2010
Wouldn’t it be great if you could run Windows 7 on your iPad or even Linux? You will be able to watch Flash videos, play games and do all the things you couldn’t with your snappy new device. Well, you can, for just $6.99.
HTC Home for Windows is a free desktop version of the distinctive HTC clock that comes with all HTC mobile devices. The stylish clock and weather combo gadget looks exactly like its mobile counterpart.
HTC Home for Windows displays the time and date, your location, the current weather, and a 5-day forecast. You can pick your city for the weather, choose what unit temperature is shown and choose from one of 4 widget sizes.
Graph Your Inbox is a Google Chrome extension that allows you to plot on a graph any activity on your Gmail account over time. Activities include email conversation with a particular contact, mails containing a keyword or phrase, mails with particular labels etc. By allowing you to visualize your communication, you can uncover all kinds of statistics about your Gmail usage.
Sometime you may want to remove the white content or background from an image and fill it with another color. The quickest solution is to load the image in Photoshop, grab the Magic Wand tool from the toolbar on the left and click on the background you want to remove.
Then fill the selection with the color of your choice using the Fill Bucket tool or Paintbrush or Delete it to get a transparent background. But that doesn’t always work. Often you will find that around the edges some background pixels are left behind which makes the image look poor.
Tuesday, September 14, 2010
What is the easiest way to share a file with several users without making the file server buckle under the load of everybody trying to download it at the same time? Make a Torrent of the file, upload it to your server and share the link to the Torrent file with your users. This way each downloader will be contributing to the bandwidth needed to let everybody else download. Your users are happy, your server is happy. BitTorrent is beautiful.
Monday, September 13, 2010
BitMeter OS is a free, open-source, bandwidth monitoring application for Windows, Linux and Mac OSX. BitMeter OS keeps track of the bandwidth of your internet or network connection, and allows you to view this information through your browser.
Malware writers often target vulnerabilities in browser plug-ins such as Adobe Flash and Java. Undisclosed vulnerabilities and zero-day exploits on plug-ins are a common occurrence. If you use Chrome you can take advantage of the browser’s built in PDF plug-in, plug-in blocking and sandboxing capabilities. This is what you need to do.
A new Chrome extension has been spotted in the wild that brings real time search results from up to 15 popular websites and sources, all in one page.
Sunday, September 12, 2010
In high-level sport, the use of new technologies to improve the performance of a team or an athlete is becoming increasingly common. In team sports with a high tactical component, such as hockey, basketball and rugby, coaches and players often use videos to analyze the game of the opposing team and their own, in an effort to raise the game to the highest possible standard.
Last week, Microsoft announced that the company would stop offering Windows SteadyState come December 31, 2010. Windows SteadyState is a program using which an administrators can lock a computer down in such a way that no changes, whatsoever, are possible to be made on the system. This is made possible by caching all changes made to a file, which is discarded when the computer is restarted thereby undoing any changes made and returning the system to its previous state.
Friday, September 10, 2010
My beloved and the world’s best feed reader has just seen a new update after a long hiatus. The project’s sole developer, Nick Bradbury, announced the availability of FeedDemon 3.5 pre release yesterday. The new version came with several bug fixes, as usual, and some new features that are worth checking out.
Thursday, September 9, 2010
As you might have already heard, Google today introduced a new search enhancement feature called Google Instant that displayed search results even before you type. According to the announcement, Google Instant requires Chrome 5, Firefox 3, Safari 5 for Mac and Internet Explorer 8 to work, which made me believe that Opera was lacking in some feature because of which it was unable to run Google Instant.
Last year, YouTube introduced automatic audio transcription for videos, called Closed Captions. Powered by Google's automatic speech recognition (ASR) technology, YouTube captions enabled people with hearing disability or non-English speakers to watch and understand videos on YouTube. Along with automatic captions, Google also enabled automatic machine translation of the same allowing videos to reach an even wider population.
Do you wish your text editor offered more than just a spellchecker, suggestions maybe? Do you want to quickly type a word or a phrase without having to think much? Google has a solution for you – Google Scribe.
Google Scribe is a slick new tool that offers you intelligent and almost magical text suggestion anywhere there is text box using a simple bookmarklet.
Google has been experimenting with real-time search results for a while now. This next generation update for search went officially live today. Google Instant is essentially a search-as-you-type search engine. Instead of suggesting search terms when you type a phrase into the search box, Google Instant immediately starts showing you results the instant you press the very first key!
Wednesday, September 8, 2010
Browsers today are blatantly ripping features from each other in an effort to stay ahead in the competition, even as the browser war is heating up to temperatures never experienced before.
Last month, Firefox unveiled a new feature called Tab Candy (or Panorama) which has taken the browser world by storm. Tab Candy brings efficient tab management to Firefox by allowing users to visually organize tabs into groups. Users are impressed. Some Opera employees are not.
Can a computer start playing classical music at random, out of the blue? If it does, it is surely a sign of malware infection, right? Although, some virus infection has been know to cause Windows machines to hum tunes, you will be surprised to learn that in some particular occasions it might be the result of a feature built into the machine’s BIOS.
Last week, Microsoft released a new tool that could help users stuck on Windows XP or Windows Vista make the jump to the latest iteration of Windows, while keeping legacy applications, those that require a pre-Windows 7 OS, intact.
Google recently integrated Google Voice into Gmail allowing users to make phone calls right from within Gmail’s interface. The new phone call feature proved to be an instant hit. 1 million phone calls were made the very first day of launch, and by the end of the first week, 10 million calls have been made.
Tuesday, September 7, 2010
Windows SteadyState, for those who are not informed, is a free utility from Microsoft that gives administrators enhanced options for configuring shared computers, such as hard drive protection and advanced user management. Windows SteadyState caches all changes made to the system to a file, which is then discarded when the computer is restarted thereby undoing all changes made and returning the system to its previous state. Hence ‘Steady State’.
Monday, September 6, 2010
Here are the results of last week’s WinX DVD Ripper Platinum giveaway contest. The following 25 contestants have won a lifetime license of WinX DVD Ripper Platinum each, a software that sells at $39.95.
Given the ubiquitousness of Google’s services – search, maps, Gmail, Analytics - the company can collect huge amount of information about you in ways you won’t even know. Some of them are obvious, like the Google Analytics code that almost every website uses to track visitor data. That data is sent to Google’s servers and not the server of the website the tracking code is on. Although this information is anonymous, Google can use it to size up visitor’s demographic and user’s tastes worldwide, and use this information to target ads and for other marketing purpose. Other data gathering ways might not be that obvious.
Ever sent a seemingly harmless email with good intentions but all it did was cause upset because you didn’t use the right phrases? Written correspondence is very different from spoken conversation. Often when corresponding through mail what you might think is okay to write might sound angry to the receiving party. Now a technology has come up which it claims will stop misunderstandings in emails by analyzing the phrases you use to see what tone they create.
Sunday, September 5, 2010
A quick heads up for our readers: Softpedia is giving away the full version of WinX DVD Author, no strings attached. The promotion is likely to be time limited, so if you want to grab this $40 product, you should download it now.
Saturday, September 4, 2010
Those who are unfamiliar, the MBR or master boot record is a 512-byte boot sector that resides in the first sector of a hard disk and which is responsible for bootstrapping your operating system into memory and holding a disk's primary partition table. The MBR is essential for booting into the operating system, Windows in this case.
There are a couple of Chrome extensions that let you save and restore browsing sessions. FreshStart is the best one that I could find. What makes FreshStart better is its customizability.
To save a browsing session, click on the FreshStart icon in the toolbar to bring up the session manager window. Here you can select the tabs you wish to save and name the session. The date and time of the session are automatically imprinted allowing you to easily identify saved sessions later.
Friday, September 3, 2010
Last month Google released a new version of Picasa, the image organizer and viewer, with several new features like Picnik integration and batch upload to Picasa web albums. Among these new features, my favorite is what they call Face Movie.
A Face Movie is essentially a picture slideshow but centered around a particular face.
The blinking network activity icon that you used to have in Windows XP and earlier is missing in Windows 7. You can get that helpful indicator back through the Network Activity Indicator software.
This is a tiny freeware that requires no installation. Just unzip the downloaded package and run the executable. Apart from bringing back the classic network icon to Windows 7, Network Activity Indicator can also show you statistics of the network packets going in either direction through your network pipes.
Thursday, September 2, 2010
A scorewriter or music notation software is an application used for creating sheet music. A scorewriter is to music notation what a word processor is to text. Traditionally, musicians and composers used pen and paper to write notations and create music. Then they played them out on an instrument. Modern composers use scorewriters.
Wednesday, September 1, 2010
When a website does not open, web browsers throw a general “website not found” or “server not responding” message. Such messages are vague and does not tell you whether the web server is actually down or if the problem is elsewhere. Your ISP could be facing technical problems, or deliberately blocking the page, there might be a temporary traffic congestion or something wrong in your home connection.
Stylebot is a Stylish like extension for Google Chrome browser that allows you to quickly customize the appearance of any website or webpage and make it adaptable to your taste. The customization made to the page can be saved so that they are automatically applied every time the page or website is visited.
WinX DVD Ripper Platinum is a commercial DVD ripping software for Windows that can rip the content of DVDs to all popular video formats such as AVI, MOV, FLV, WMV, MPEG, MP4, 3GP, etc. WinX DVD Ripper Platinum can also rip DVDs to mobile device specific formats such as those supported by Sony PSP, Apple iPhone (iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4), iPod, iPad, iTouch, Apple TV, Zune, Mobile phone, etc.