It’s like a tradition I’ve been following for the past two years – bringing you new collection of the best “designer” themes for Windows that I could find, every few months. This is the third part of the Windows 7 themes series, and I have a feeling we are going to see many more in coming months. Those who missed the previous collections, can click on the following links to visit the respective galleries.
Sunday, October 31, 2010
Saturday, October 30, 2010
Remember Chatroulette, the controversial video chatting service that randomly pairs users for webcam conversations? The service quickly gained notoriety for it’s X-rated exhibitionism. With the site’s founders unable to prevent the relentless horde of flashers, traffic to the site dropped and Chatroulette was forced to put their shutters down, temporarily.
Climbing Mount Everest is recognized as one of the greatest human feats and test of endurance, yet until now those who have successfully reached the summit could share their news of achievement using only bulky and expensive satellite phone. This is going to change with the installation of a permanent 3G base station in the vicinity of the world’s highest mountain peak by Ncell, a subsidiary of Swedish phone company TeliaSonera.
Friday, October 29, 2010
Early this week a Firefox addon named Firesheep took the Internet by storm by letting anybody, practically anybody, to get into your Facebook, Twitter, Google and any number of online accounts over an unsecure wireless network.
Connecting to an unsecured public Wi-Fi network is always taking a chance, but now it has become even more frightfully insecure. A new Firefox addon called Firesheep makes it simple for anybody to gain access to your online accounts if you are connected through an unsecured wireless network.
After giving away WinX DVD Ripper Platinum v6.0 last week, which I hope you’ve taken full advantage of, Digiarty Software, Inc. is here with another Halloween treat. The publisher contacted me today with the news that starting today, i.e. Oct 29, copies of fully functionally WinX HD Video Converter Deluxe will be available for free download for both Windows and Mac users. The giveaway will last till Nov 4.
The Intel Data Migration Software is a utility that copies your drive's contents from your old storage device to your new Intel Solid-State Drive, with focus on making the transition smooth and painless. The migration software has been designed with user friendly features that is able to automatically detect both the old and new drives, and guide the user through a simple cloning process.
Let me say this. I hate FileZilla. I hate the look of the program, I hate the way it operates, I hate everything about it. I’m just tired of using the same FTP client, with the same features, with the same interface for the last 10 years. I’ve developed a feeling akin to revulsion for this innocent FTP program. I needed a change.
Thursday, October 28, 2010
CrystalXP, the creators of popular Windows appearance enhancing software like BricoPack and Vista Inspirant, has released a new customization software called CustoPack that lets users easily customize Windows appearance through the installation of packs.
eBay auctions have a time limit. User bid their price on an item and other players try to better it by placing a higher bid. This goes on and on, usually in circles with the same players bidding multiple times, until the auction’s time limit expires. The player with the last bid wins the item. So the trick to win an auction in eBay is to place your bid in the last second. That means that you have stay glued to your computer screen till the very end and hope your Internet connection doesn’t betray you during the last few seconds.
The Russian Government is planning to build their own operating system to compete with Microsoft Windows and reduce dependence on the US based company for their competing needs.
Project Rome is the latest offering from Adobe, a company know for their extensive line of revolutionary products. Adobe describes it as an “all-in-one content creation and publishing application” targeted to consumers, small businesses, and educators, and designed to be easy enough to be used by the average user yet powerful enough to entice professionals.
Wednesday, October 27, 2010
Although beta builds and unofficial releases of Windows 7 service pack 1 has long been available on the BitTorrent network, those who were waiting for the official announcement can start their download engines now.
Tuesday, October 26, 2010
Breadcrumb navigation, for those who are not aware, is a type of text-based Web site navigation feature that provide links back to each previous page the user navigated through to get to the current page in hierarchical site structures. Breadcrumbs provide a trail for the user to follow back to the starting or entry point of a website and is considered a useful navigation feature by most web designers.
It is not recommended to install multiple antivirus software on the same machine. At many times it is impossible to do so because the antivirus setup program will check if another antivirus program is installed before allowing you to proceed with the installation. You can however trick the installer by disabling the real-time scanning engine of the installed antivirus program. This way you can keep multiple antivirus programs on your computer for on-demand use.
Kids start using computers early these days, and it’s not a bad idea to get them used to office applications at an early age, because kids write too. Office suites are mainly intended for adults and when a kid has to work with complex tools designed for their parents, it is less likely they are going to enjoy doing it. This is exactly what OpenOffice4Kids is for.
Monday, October 25, 2010
Looking for a nice and sleek audio player with tons of functionality that is still easy to use? Spider Player fits the bill perfectly.
First of all the player looks great. It has a simple and clean layout, with buttons at just the right places. Usually media players or any software, for that matter, that comes with lots of features, either tries to put a button for every function on the main window and clutter up the interface or goes the minimalist way and hides every option in menus. Both are bad from a design point of view. Spider Player does a great job in creating a fine balance between the two.
Due to poor recording and encoding, sometimes the audio volume on the two channels of a stereo audio file do not match. When such an audio file is played back on the computer or on a music player, one speaker plays louder than the other, and the stereo surround effect is lost. Depending on how bad the mismatch is, it may be impossible to hear the low playing channel over the high playing one. Trying to adjust the volume with the volume knob is futile since the volume control acts on both the channels at the same time.
After almost a year since the last release, the ReactOS team announced the availability of version 0.3.12 of the open source operating system. The new release has been termed as “huge” for the team, not just with regards to the number of improvements which this release holds but in terms of the leap forward architecturally, stability wise and in bringing some of the more modern aspects of the NT kernel into ReactOS.
USBDummyProtect is a small utility that employs a clever trick to prevent spreading of viruses through USB drives. This open source tool creates a dummy file that takes up all free space available on the drive. With every byte of free space gone there is no room for viruses to get into the drive.
Friday, October 22, 2010
Google India, in partnership with In.com, SaReGaMa and Saavn.com, today launched a free music search portal at http://www.google.co.in/music that allows users to search and listen to almost any Hindi music. The best part is that the service is not restricted to Indian users – anybody can use the search engine, even outside India. Search results can be streamed instantly and free of charge in a pop-up Web player no matter where the user is located geographically.
WinX DVD Ripper Platinum can rip the content of DVDs to all popular video formats such as AVI, MOV, FLV, WMV, MPEG, MP4, 3GP, etc. It also has the ability to rip different DVDs (including encrypted DVDs) to Sony PSP, Apple iPhone(iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4), iPod, iPad, iTouch, Apple TV, Zune, Mobile phone, etc.
What are MOD (and TOD) files?
MOD and TOD are propitiatory video file formats used by tapeless (hard disk or SD memory card based) digital camcorders manufactured by JVC, Panasonic and Canon. MOD is used exclusively for standard definition video files, while TOD is used for high definition files.
AllMyNotes Organizer is a powerful personal information manager that allows you to centrally store and organize all your notes – whether it be shopping lists, contact list, to-do list, diary, financial records, project plans or practically anything that can be written down.
Most Facebook applications request rights to access different user information during installation. Some apps may request for basic information necessary for them to function properly, while many requests additional rights which aren’t needed for their functionality, like automatically posting on the walls of your friends.
Thursday, October 21, 2010
Wondershare has just released a completely free version of DVD Slideshow Builder that lets you turn your photos into attractive slideshows and burn them into DVDs which can be played on any DVD player. According to Wondershare, you can make “Hollywood-like movies” from photos. I wouldn’t call the effects Hollywoodic, but they are definitely have a style.
Wednesday, October 20, 2010
Did you know that Facebook Connect – those pesky widgets imploring you to ‘join’ their websites – phones home every time you visit a webpage with the widget embedded? Worse, they have a history of leaking personally identifiable information to third parties.
Picket fence animation (sometimes also called barrier-grid animation) is an optical illusion. The illusion consist of two sheets – a white sheet with an image printed on it and a transparent plastic sheet with a number of black bars on it. The white sheet of paper underneath has a number of alternative images printed on it, in the form of very thin vertical stripes. In front of the picture card is a piece of clear plastic, which has vertical black and opaque stripes printed on it with thin gaps. When the plastic sheet is moved from side to side, the image printed on the sheet underneath appears to animate. A video demonstration is shown below.
For those who take Internet privacy seriously, there is tool called Bynamite that allows you to see and control what information advertisers collect about you. The tool, which is available as an extension for Firefox and Chrome, aggregates information advertisers have collected about you by scanning your browser’s cache and presents the information in an easily managed personal profile.
Tuesday, October 19, 2010
The Edubuntu Team has launched a service called Edubuntu WebLive that allows people to try out the operating system straight from the browser without downloading or installing it first. This is a good solution for people who wish to see what Edubuntu has to offer, and a smart move by the Edubuntu team that will popularize the OS.
Monday, October 18, 2010
Today Adobe announced the next version of their Acrobat Family of Products which includes Adobe Reader as well as Acrobat Suite, Acrobat Pro, and Acrobat Standard. The version 10 will be henceforth written with the Roman numerical ‘X’. The most notable change in Adobe Reader X, apart from the new numbering scheme, is improved security brought about by the so called ‘Protected mode’.
OSL2000 is an advanced multi boot manager using which you can install, boot, and manage up to 100 independent operating systems in your computer. It lets you have independent copies of Windows - even multiple copies of the same Windows in one system, which isn’t allowed by the Windows boot manager. This is because OSL2000 is more advanced than Windows boot manager or GRUB (used on Linux systems).
BackRex Internet Explorer Backup is a simple backup and restore tool for Internet Explorer, that allows for backing up of favorites, history, proxy settings, fonts, dialup accounts, autocomplete passwords and cookies. Using the same tool, you can restore all settings back to Internet Explorer.
EditShare, the company behind the Academy and Emmy award-winning video editing software Lightworks announced plans to release its product under an open source license. Lightworks is a professional video editor used in the production of several movies like Shutter Island, Revolutionary Road, The Aviator, The Departed, Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, Pulp Fiction, LA Confidential, Mission Impossible and many more. This is huge news for the video industry, particularly independent film makers and small studios.
Saturday, October 16, 2010
YouTube today formally rolled out YouTube Leanback. As the name suggests, Leanback allows you to actually lean back on a living room sofa and watch YouTube on a big TV screen. The 10-foot interface is designed to be used on Google TV or anything big with a long viewing distance. The layout features minimal set of controls, scraps the comments and many of the other visuals while making many common features available through keyboard shortcuts.
Math Input Panel is a utility found in select Windows 7 editions (Home Premium, Professional, Ultimate and Enterprise) that has the ability to identify mathematical symbols and equations entered or rather drawn onscreen using a mouse, table pen, or a finger (in the case of touch screens).
Friday, October 15, 2010
Although web based office apps like Google Docs and Zoho are a great way to keep your documents synchronized and access them from any computer, compared to desktop office suites like Microsoft Office or Open Office and it’s many variants, these web based apps always fall short on features. Hence, some people prefer to use a more matured, desktop office software to create and edit documents and then upload them to an online office program. This way they get the best of both worlds.
Removing objects from an image without leaving any clues behind is tricky enough. Now imagine doing this over and over again on each frame of a video consisting of hundreds and thousands of frames? Video manipulation is indeed a laborious job. Now researchers at Technical University of Ilmenau in Germany have developed a software called “diminished reality” that can not only delete an object from a video, but does it from live, full-motion video.
Digiarty software is giving away free copies of MacX DVD Ripper Pro, both Windows and Mac version. The offer is valid till October 28, 2010.
Thursday, October 14, 2010
Google Chrome offers a vast amount of information and statistics about the browser through its numerous ‘about’ pages. There is no link on Chrome’s interface to access these pages directly. The only way to get to these pages is by typing in the URL in the address bar, until now.
PDFTiger is a Word To PDF Converter and PDF To Word Doc Tool that quickly and accurately create PDF documents from Word, Excel, Powerpoint, txt or Images. PDFTiger can also convert PDF files into editable MS Word Documents, Rich Text Documents, Plain Text Files, Images, HTML Files, and Shockwave Flash SWF Files.
Today, the Opera desktop team has “confirmed” that Opera Extensions will be a feature of Opera 11, the alpha of which will soon be available for early adopters.
Wednesday, October 13, 2010
Last week we ran a contest for Prayaya V3 – the portable virtual operating system, where we promised to give away 10 licenses, worth $49 each. Thank you all for the participation and today we are going to announce the winners.
Grooveshark is an exceptional online music streaming service, which is receiving a lot of well deserved media attention lately. After Last.fm abandoned free accounts and with services like Pandora and Spotify restricted to specific geographic regions, international users has started to flock around Grooveshark.
A while back I published an article covering the several different options we had that allowed anybody to upload files to your Dropbox account, without going through hassles of setting up folder shares and without compromising the security of your Dropbox account. A new service called DropItToMe has extended our collection by one.
Tuesday, October 12, 2010
Back in the early nineties, when the World Wide Web was still young, a group of geeky girls hailing from the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) – the birth place of the World Wide Web - used to perform at the organization and other HEP (High Energy Physic) events. They called themselves the “Les Horribles Cernettes” which translates to "The Horrible CERN Girls".
Moo0 ConnectionWatcher is a simple program that lets you watch over any TCP/UDP connection made to and from your computer. It lets you find out which applications are connected to the network, to where it is connected and the number of bytes transferred. Essentially, Moo0 ConnectionWatcher is a frontend to the netstat command, targeted towards users who are not comfortable with the command prompt.
Ocster Backup Pro 5 is a great backup software that was designed from the start to work fully automatic. You simply specify what you want backed up and when and then the software takes care of the rest.
Emails can be tracked the same way visitor tracking is done on websites – a small piece of code, usually in the form of an image, is embedded into the body of the mail. When the email is opened, the image code sends a request to the tracking server to get the image, and this action lets the sender know that the email has been opened.
Monday, October 11, 2010
There are several ways to temporarily lock your computer when are away from your desk. One option is to use the native desktop locking feature in Windows – the keyboard hotkey Win+L. Pressing the keys Win and L together, at any time, locks the computer and takes it back to the logon screen. The computer cannot be unlocked without entering the correct user password.
Busy Docs is a software that is designed to help people organize documents on their computer and on the network. Users can quickly find important files on network servers, apply labels, and drag and drop them into the right folders. Additionally, Busy Docs can connect to a user’s Google Docs account and automatically sync the contents of any folders to the cloud.
Here is a quick heads-up: AVG is offering free 12 month license of their complete security package, AVG Internet Security 2011, which is worth $54.99. The AVG Internet Security 2011 includes AVG AntiVirus, AntiSpam protection, a firewall and an Identity Protection module.
Sunday, October 10, 2010
Saturday, October 9, 2010
DoubleCAD XT is a compact CAD utility for users who are looking for a replacement for AutoCAD which is free but close enough to AutoCAD in terms of functionality. Based on the developer's professional CAD product DoubleCAD XT Pro, DoubleCAD XT is a slimed down version of the CAD package, but it offers more than most CAD software and for a price that is hard to beat: free.
The zip file format is the most popular form of data storage and widely used for backup and transfer of files over the internet. Archiving files allows one to bundle several individual files into a single package which is easier to transfer across a network and download. Additionally, all archived files undergo compression so they require less space to save on hard disk and hence less bytes to transfer.
Friday, October 8, 2010
Microsoft Office products has its own charting tool, powered by Microsoft Graph - the native charting component in Microsoft’s Office suite. Microsoft Graph has been the primary tool for creating and incorporating charts in Excel, PowerPoint, Word and other Office applications. But the charts produced by Microsoft Graph are static and lack the visual bling necessary to spice up a boring presentation.
Prayaya V3 is a virtual operating system that you can run from a removable drive such a USB stick to launch a self-contained environment - which we commonly refer to as a ‘sandboxed’ system. Within this sandbox a user can install application software without making any changes to the host operating system. This enables Prayaya V3 to be used as a test bed for untrusted or beta software. Prayaya V3 also enables users to carry a complete desktop environment, along with their stuff such as software and files, on a USB Flash drive and use it from any computer.
Thursday, October 7, 2010
One of the simple pleasures that the digital age robbed us off is the joy of receiving mails in the mailbox. I’m talking about the good old paper mails. Email may be fast, convenient and environmentally greener but nothing beats the feel of paper in one’s hands. Well, you can re-create some of the old magic by automatically printing new emails as they arrive in your inbox. This is very easy to setup in Microsoft Outlook.
Task Coach is a simple yet surprisingly feature rich, free and open source task manager to keep track of your personal tasks and projects. The program’s most definitive feature is the support for composite tasks. Often, tasks and other things todo consist of several activities. Task Coach is designed to handle composite tasks by allowing creation of sub-tasks. In addition, it offers effort tracking, categories, notes, attachments and reminders.
Mattel Inc, the toy company of Barbie dolls, Hot Wheels and Masters of the Universe fame, has launched a new toy that gives dogs the ability to send Twitter updates about what he or she is doing. This enables pet owners to keep track of their dogs, who are often left behind at home, from work through the same interface they use to gather crucial information like what’s their friends are having for lunch.
Wednesday, October 6, 2010
Windows Live Photo Gallery, which is a part of the Windows Live Essential 2011 suite, has an impressive and innovative tool called Photo Fuse that lets you combine several photos together to create a composite picture. This is different from stitching photos together to create panorama, which is also possible on Windows Live Photo Gallery. Rather, Photo Fuse takes different regions from different photos and merges them together to create a new photo.
If you blog about computers and often show keyboard hotkeys for programs in your post, you can stylize those keyboard keys by using the KEYS.css stylesheet.
A common hurdle in web design is in the inclusion of non-web-safe fonts. One solution is to replace the text with a similar web-safe font or use a series of similar-looking fallback fonts. But this a compromise a designer is often not willing to make. Thanks to the Web Open Font Format, it is now possible to embed custom fonts on web pages. When a visitors visits the page the font is downloaded from the specified server so that the page is always displayed with the chosen font.
Tuesday, October 5, 2010
SysMetrix is a free skinnable clock and metering application for Windows that displays a wide variety of system information as well as time and date.
There are several different ways to hide the taskbar in Windows 7. One way is to hide the Windows 7 taskbar by choosing the Auto-hide option in Taskbar properties. This will hide the taskbar when the mouse pointer is away from it, and reveal when the pointer is moved towards the hidden taskbar.
Automation through scripting, as you may know, is a process of making a computer perform repetitive tasks by itself without human intervention. Normally this is achieved by coding scripts in languages such as Java, or Objective C or Python.
An exciting new project called Sikuli has been developed by the folks at User Interface Design Group, MIT Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) that takes the pain away from learning a scripting language or creating an automation script. All you have to do is take screenshots and put them together using some basic commands.
Monday, October 4, 2010
Spoon, formerly called Xenocode, is a web-based application virtualization service that allows users to run a variety of different Windows applications without installing them. The application files are streamed from a server to the computer and can be launched from a browser. Spoon applications run in isolated “sandboxes”, enabling multiple applications to run side-by-side, even legacy applications that aren’t natively supported by the newer operating systems. The applications run without conflicts, dependencies, or modifications to the host PC.
Saturday, October 2, 2010
The Google's SEO Starter Guide is a beginner's guide to the basics of Search Engine Optimization. The guide covers around a dozen common areas that webmasters might consider optimizing. These include title and description meta tags, URL structure, site navigation, content creation, anchor text, and more. These area would apply to webmasters of all experience levels and sites of all sizes and types.
Mz 7 Optimizer is a free, complete system optimization suite for Windows 7, and quite possibly the only optimization/customization tool you will ever need. The number of tweaks and hidden Windows settings that this tool brings out in the open is staggering. Most of these settings are, of course, available from various places in Windows, but it’s good to have all of them at one place.
Friday, October 1, 2010
A few weeks ago I showed how you can keep your system safe from vulnerable and exploitable plug-ins when using Google Chrome entirely through built in features.
In the latest build of Chromium, the open-source projects behind the Google Chrome browser, that was pushed out today, two more security features were spotted. These are - an inbuilt XSS protection and a feature to disable outdated plugins automatically.
Google’s URL shortener that was launched last December, has just opened it’s doors to the public. Now you can just say meh! and move on, or stop to investigate it. As the title of this post indicates, Goo.gl can do a lot more just shorten URL.
One of my favorite childhood puzzle games that I still enjoy playing is ‘Spot the difference’. In this game two versions of an image are shown side by side, and the player has to find differences between them. Depending on the difficulty level and the target age group, some of these games can be extremely challenging.
Ninite, the web service that allows users to download installers for a range of popular Windows software in a single pack, has landed a beta for Linux.
Although installing software on Linux is easy from the terminal and the Ubuntu Software Center, it can still be a bother for inexperienced users.
Following close upon the success of the WebM project, the royalty free video container format, Google is proposing to redo the entire web, once again, by offering an alternative to the JPEG image format.