Finding music isn’t hard these days. We have so many services like Grooveshark and Last.fm and Spotify. Even YouTube is a nice place to listen to music. When I want listen to some music by an artist I simply go to these sites and search by the artist’s name. If I want to discover new tracks by the artist, I usually go to the Wikipedia page of the artist or band and look under the Discography section. It always has the full catalogue of songs composed by the artist in question. I then search for these specific tracks on my favorite music sites. Now a new web service makes this task a tad easier.
Wednesday, November 30, 2011
If This Then That is an incredibly clever new tool that lets you automate interactions between dozens of Web services you use in ways you never thought is possible. The service functions on the simple logic of “if this, then that”. The user is allowed to program the “this” part, which is the trigger, and the action – the “that” part. By carefully and ingeniously choosing both you can create tasks that ranges from the mundane to the bizarre and useless.
Not too long ago, I wrote guide showing you how to extract images and multimedia files embedded in Microsoft Office documents like Word and PowerPoint. I believe the guide is easy to follow and the technique described there allows you to selectively extract only those content that you are interested in. But if you are looking for an automated tool that can process large number of Office documents in batches, then Office Image Extraction Wizard is the one you might be interested in.
Tuesday, November 29, 2011
Excel Mixer Nano is a fantastic add-on for Microsoft Excel that allows you to adjust values in a cell with the help of sliders and observe in real-time how the result of a formula change as you vary the inputs. It can be used to study how different inputs in a mathematical or scientific formula has an effect on the result.
Monday, November 28, 2011
@MAX Tray Player is a music player that is designed for people who listen to music when they work on their computer. The music player integrates into the taskbar taking position either next to the start menu button or next to the system tray, or within the system tray next to the clock. The integrated player provides instant access to control buttons for playing and pausing music as well as buttons to play next or previous track on the playlist. Despite being small and compact, @MAX Tray Player includes powerful features like equalizer, visualization, hotkey support and a music organizer.
Audials One is an all-in-one tool to organize and play music, listen to online radio stations, record streaming music and video, download music, convert videos, subscribe to podcasts, make ringtones, and rip DVDs. It can also remove copy protection from purchased music and video, sync your portable media player and even play music from your personal cloud storage.
TweepsMap is a new tool launched under Microsoft's BizSpark initiative for startups that lets you see exactly where your Twitter followers are coming from around the globe. To do this, TweepsMap links to your Twitter account, analyzes your followers and provides a map or chart that shows where they’re located by country, state or city.
Whenever you switch the view mode in Windows Explorer to thumbnails (in Windows XP and earlier) and medium or large icons (in Windows Vista and 7), Windows generates thumbnail images of all files in the folder. The thumbnails are then stored in a file named thumbs.db so that these thumbnail images could be displayed faster when you open the folder the next time. The thumbs.db file is basically a miniature replica of the contents of the folder, contents that might no longer exist but saved in thumbs.db, unknown to the user. If you can peek into the thumbnail cache, you can see what files the folder had once contained.
Saturday, November 26, 2011
This collection consist of themes released/updated in November as well as in October. I skipped the October edition not because I forgot but because not many good themes were made during that period. I’ve noticed some slack at the rate of theme production, the last few months. Maybe the designers are running out of ideas. :) Enjoy this new collection.
Just like Google Street View inspired photographer Aaron Hobson to go on virtual sightseeing around the globe collecting fascinating images for his latest project, it inspired UK based producer Tom Jenkins to make a short film. Address Is Approximate is a stop-motion animation film that tells the whimsical and inspiring story of a lonely office toy's journey to the California coast in the only way he can - using a toy car and Google Maps Street View.
Google's Street View camera cars can sometimes capture unbelievable landscapes and moments, as Pittsburgh-born photographer Aaron Hobson discovered when scouting for locations around Los Angles using Google Street View for a new project. After getting addicted to Google Street View, Hobson began exploring other places around the globe for amusement. Soon he had amassed a collection of Street View shots of the loneliest and most isolated places on earth.
Friday, November 25, 2011
PotPlayer is a freeware media player for Windows that shares its roots with KMPlayer, another very widely used open source media player. This powerful and advanced media player is developed by the same Korean author who wrote KMPlayer. Kang Young-Huee originally developed KMPlayer in 2002, and then five years later sold it to a Korean streaming video company called Pandora TV. The present KMPlayer is maintained by its owner Pandora TV while Kang Young-Huee works on its replacement, the PotPlayer.
Microsoft Office Starter 2010 is a free edition of Microsoft Office 2010 that is distributed only with computers and laptops from OEMs, that is, PCs you buy with Windows pre-installed. Microsoft Office Starter 2010 has reduced functionality and comprises of only Word and Excel. It doesn’t come with PowerPoint, Outlook or OneNote but what it does come with are advertising to make up for the ‘free’ price tag. Although it’s a cut down version, it packs enough functionality for many purposes, and if you can live with the non-obtrusive ads, this is a good replacement for the pirated edition of Microsoft Office you are running on your laptop.
Thursday, November 24, 2011
To celebrate thanksgiving day, a number of software publishers are organizing giveaways, aside from the usual discounts. Here is a round up of various software that are up for grabs:
Hotmail founder Sabeer Bhatia, along with Yogesh Patel, has announced the launch of JaxtrSMS, a cross-platform, texting application that allows one to send SMS over the Internet to any other cell phone user around in your country or any where in the world. What makes JaxtrSMS stand apart from other over-the-internet SMS application is that JaxtrSMS allows you to send messages from your own number. This means that recipients see your number and name and not that of JaxtrSMS as the message sender. Additionally, the recipient doesn’t need to be a JaxtrSMS user in order to receive messages.
Did you ever wanted to know what other sites a blogger owns? Maybe the blogger is blogging anonymously and didn’t have a contact address and you need to get in touch with him or her. If you can find out if the person has another site then maybe you can discover some means of contact. Or maybe you are just creepy and want stalk the poor guy. Andy Baio posted how he unmasked several bloggers using a simple reverse Google Analytics lookup.
Wednesday, November 23, 2011
People use their Dropbox account to store all sorts of files, and some of these files need to be frequently updated. Maybe you are storing your to-do list, files for your website, and snippets of programs. If you have several text based files in your Dropbox account that needs to be edited often, there is handy tool that allows you to edit the files directly inside your browser without having to download them first or upload the edited files.
Does the battery of your Android device lasts 8 hours? No? Then you can’t play even one round of Desert Bus, but that shouldn’t prevent you from picking up the most notorious game from the Android Market.
In 1995, Absolute Entertainment prepared to release a video game package titled Penn & Teller's Smoke and Mirrors, based on comedy-magician duo Penn & Teller, for the Sega. Unfortunately, the publisher went out of business and the game was never released. Penn & Teller's Smoke and Mirrors contained several mini-games designed to prank or torture your friends, the most infamous among them is Desert Bus, a game vicious for its intentional monotony.
Tokyo-based company Burton Inc., has developed a technology called Aerial 3D that makes it possible to produce pictures in 3D in mid-air or underwater without using a screen. Aerial 3D is a "True 3D Display" which can produce bright dot in the air so audience can see 3D images in true 3D space, just like we saw in Star Wars and many Hollywood movies thereafter. Burton says their laser-based system is the only one of its kind.
Six degrees of separation is an idea that any two people on Earth, is on average, separated by no more than six intermediate connections so that a chain of "a friend of a friend" can be made to connect any two people in six steps or fewer. The idea was first proposed in 1929 in a short story by Hungarian author Frigyes Karinthy, and made popular by the John Guare play and movie, Six Degrees of Separation. Now researchers at Facebook and the University of Milan reported that the average number of acquaintances separating any two people in the world was not six but 4.74.
Monday, November 21, 2011
CX.com is a new cloud-based syncing and storage back-up solution similar to Dropbox, SugarSync, SpiderOak and dozens of others but with collaborating features. CX offers you free online storage, automatic syncing of folders on your machine, the ability to access these files from anywhere and give people access to your files so they can collaborate on them.
WebP is a new image format developed by Google that provides lossless and lossy compression for images on the web. WebP lossless images are found to be 28% smaller in size compared to PNGs, and WebP lossy images are 25-34% smaller in size compared to JPEG images while providing comparable image quality. WebP supports features such as alpha channel, animation, ICC color profile, XMP meta-data and tiling. Smaller size of WebP images means less download time and that make them ideal for use on the web.
Direct-to-fan marketing is a new concept gaining popularity with bands and artists who prefer to use the internet to market themselves and sell merchandise without the help (or control) of a recording label or distributor. On its own, this approach can be time consuming and requires a solid understanding of social networking and eCommerce. To help make it easier for bands to harness the power of true independence, a number of services exist that streamline the process and offer tools to make direct-to-fan activities much easier than before.
BBC is possibly one of the oldest radio broadcasting service that is still operating today. BBC programs are available both on numerous over-the-air channels, digital radio as well as on the Internet giving the stations a worldwide audience. You can listen to BBC programs on the Internet using the Adobe AIR based BBC iPlayer. These programs become available on BBC’s website right after the official broadcast and remain there for 7 days, after which they are taken down.
After a tiring day at work when you are riding back home on a bus or train, often you lack the strength to keep your eyelids open. A lot of people actually take the opportunity to take a short nap, others just succumb to it. The trouble is waking up on time so that you don’t sleep through your stop. But with a location based alarm, you’ll never have to worry about that. Let’s look at some of the best choices we have on the Android platform.
Saturday, November 19, 2011
In the old days when presentations were done by feeding transparent plastic sheets into overhead projectors, or by scrawling on blackboards with chalk, the presenter used to carry a long stick to highlight specific areas on the board. When overhead projectors gave way to digital projectors and plastic slides were replaced by PowerPoint slides, the wooden stick became obsolete as it was possible to highlight areas on the screen using the mouse. But if you want to bring back the old school feel, or just want to make the mouse pointer huge, here is a tool for you.
David Braben, a well-known game developer best known for the 1980’s hugely popular video game Elite, is currently spearheading a foundation called Raspberry Pi to mass produce an ultra cheap, super small computer. Raspberry Pi, that is scheduled to be released next month, is a computer that you need to get excited about because it delivers in two keys areas – price and size. Previous attempt to miniaturize the computer and make it affordable were more or less a failure. The One-Laptop-Per-Child project hasn’t been able to keep the prices down and the $35 Indian tablet is not exactly a computer. But Raspberry Pi is, and it’s small.
Thursday, November 17, 2011
Subtitles are the translated version of dialogues in a movie or TV program that are displayed at the bottom of the screen to allow people to watch and follow a movie made in another language. The subtitle is an important part of foreign language films. A badly translated subtitle can spoil the movie. A subtitle of poor readability, one that requires effort to see and read, can also make a movie less enjoyable experience. If you watch foreign language films or plan to watch one where you will be using subtitles, it’s important you make the correct choice between media players.
Have you ever used Facebook from your friend’s PC or mobile phone and then forgot to logout before you walked away? Your Facebook session is still active on your friend’s PC which might tempt your friend to cause mischief. If you forgot to logout from a public computer, it may lead to far more disastrous consequences.
When you enter a query into the search box on Google and press Enter, Google takes the query and runs a “complex set of algorithms that expands and improves the query you’ve typed to find the best results”. In an effort to improve search results Google will automatically correct spelling, substitute some keywords with synonyms, make personalization based on your search history, match similar terms to those in your query, and sometimes even drop words from the query. Unfortunately, rather than improving the results it often pollutes it by bringing in lots of unrelated links.
Tuesday, November 15, 2011
When I come across an interesting article or a website that I would like to visit again I bookmark it in my browser. Sometimes I save the page locally on my computer to read them later. I used to do that a lot some years ago. At one point I was saving so many pages that I quickly lost track of which pages I had read and which I hadn’t. Sometimes I couldn't figure out why I had saved a particular page. Worse, I was saving them all over my hard drive. Some were on my desktop, others went into the Documents folder and many others got lost somewhere on my hard drive. If you are dealing with a similar problem I have a good solution for you, provided you use Firefox. The solution is an add-on called Scrapbook.
A Word or PowerPoint document can contain embedded images, audio and video files. These files can be copied to the clipboard and pasted to another Word document or PowerPoint slide, but copy-paste cannot recover these files in the original format or resolution. If the document author had resized the image after importing them into the document, you will get only the scaled image and not the original one. Embedded audio and video cannot be copied and pasted to your hard drive, for instance. This guide will show you how to extract embedded files in Word documents and PowerPoint presentations in their original format.
Monday, November 14, 2011
Watch this jaw dropping new video taken by the crew of the International Space Station as it sails above the earth. This time-lapse video sequence was put together by the film's editor, Michael Koenig, from a series of still photographs taken with a special low-light 4K camera by the crew of Expeditions 28 and 29, as they orbited Earth from August to October this year. Konig says the video has had some post production tweaking to make it flow better but there are no software gimmicks.
Ever found yourself in one of those dreadful office meetings or boring conversation that drags on and on. You want to leave but you just couldn’t find an excuse. You keep on wishing that someone would call you so that you can run. So here is your escape strategy – make your phone ring, pick it up, pretend as if it’s important, and get the hell out of there. It never fails. If the meeting was planned in advance, you can have someone call you at the scheduled time, but one often finds themselves in a position when they expect it least. Prepare yourself for such situations by keeping at least one of these 6 apps in your phone.
Sunday, November 13, 2011
Plenoptic camera maker Lytro has unveiled its first product, the Lytro Light Field Camera, that sports a totally new type of lens system. Unlike conventional cameras, the Lytro light field camera captures all the rays of light in a scene providing capabilities such as the ability to focus a picture after it's taken. The pocket-sized camera, which offers a powerful 8x optical zoom and f/2 lens in an iconic design, creates interactive "living pictures" that can be endlessly refocused.
Saturday, November 12, 2011
PC On/Off Time is an easy-to-use program which graphically displays when your PC was turned on, shutdown or gone into standby for up to the last three weeks. This data is readily available from Windows Event log that contain records of all events and problems that a computer encounters, including software installs and uninstalls, system crashes and system shutdown. While the data is already there, it is not easy to see because the Event Log Viewer is one of the most horribly designed Windows program. This is why I suggested readers to use EventLog Inspector. PC On/Off Time is an entirely different tool though.
The other day I was watching a video tutorial on Photoshop. The instructor was using a Mac, and every time he used the keyboard to press a shortcut key, the video screencast displayed the key pressed. It was wonderful because I could see what the user was actually doing with his keyboard. I found many Mac screen recording software that does this – show key presses aside from recording video of the screen, but Windows screen casting software capture only the mouse. If you create video tutorials a lot, here is how to replicate this feature on Windows.
Friday, November 11, 2011
Connecting to secure Wi-Fi networks with a mobile device is a pain because it requires you to type passwords. No matter how good you may be with the keyboard, there is a good chance that you hate this part. And god forbid, if the password is a complex one. There is an easier way to share Wi-Fi network passwords and let others to join the network, and that is through QR Codes.
Thursday, November 10, 2011
When shopping on Amazon.com you can save a reasonable amount of bucks if you pick up products that are eligible for Super Saver Shopping. Under this scheme, if the total value of your order exceeds $25 you are entitled to free shipping anywhere in the United States. Similar scheme exists for Amazon UK, Amazon Germany, Amazon Japan and other countries where the retail giant operates.
Decreased Productivity is an extension for Chrome and Firefox that turns bright and colorful webpages into dull and boring, effectively toning down their cheerful appearance making it appropriate for surfing during work.
Basically, what Decreased Productivity does is apply custom stylesheet on websites. Using custom stylesheet a user can change the appearance of a website everything from the layout to fonts and colors of links. Additionally, users can remove images, Flash and other multimedia contents, restrict animations etc.
Tuesday, November 8, 2011
Free Clipboard Manager is a simple clipboard managing utility for Windows. It automatically saves to the hard disk every piece of text and image you copy to the clipboard. All copied items are displayed on a floating window that remains visible on the lower right hand corner of the screen. To paste an item that was copied earlier, one needs to select it from this window and copy it back to the clipboard using the right-click menu. The item is now ready to paste.
TeamLab is an open-source platform for project management and business collaboration developed by Ascensio System, a Latvian-based vendor of open source solutions. TeamLab allows small and mid-size companies to organize business tasks and milestones, store and share your corporate or personal documents, use social networking tools such as blogs and forums, as well as communicate with their team members via corporate IM. Written in ASP.NET and powered by Amazon Web Services, TeamLab provides a reliable infrastructure in the cloud.
Monday, November 7, 2011
Whatever your opinion might be on over-the-top airbrushed and Photoshopped images of glamour models on magazine covers, there are times you wish you could do some airbrushing on your own photographs. ArcSoft has just released an application called Perfect365 that makes this possible. Without speeding a dime on professional image makeover services or software, anybody who is willing to spend a few minutes can achieve similar results.
Saturday, November 5, 2011
As the world welcomed the 7th billion person on last Monday, the UNFPA (United Nations Population Fund) and BBC launched a new initiative called 7 Billion People and You with the purpose of putting you in perspective to the rest of the world and finding your place on the list, to give you a unique number.
Friday, November 4, 2011
If you are not familiar with Opera, it’s unlikely that you have ever heard about the follower tab. Even Opera fans doesn’t talk about it much, not that everyone is aware of its existence. It is one of those perks of using Opera – you use the browser for years and it still keeps surprising us with new discoveries.
Windows 7 introduced theme packs, which are executable files that contain all of the necessary assets that together make the theme, including wallpapers, sound files, Windows color and appearance setting, mouse pointers, screensavers and icons. Microsoft just revealed a peculiar problem around theme packs that prevents their installation, and a solution to the problem.
Thursday, November 3, 2011
Last summer, YouTube asked thousands of people all over the world to document their experiences on a single day and upload the footage. Over 80,000 people from 192 countries contributed and this resulted in a 90-minute documentary film titled "Life in a Day" directed by Kevin Macdonald and produced by Ridley Scott. The movie documents people’s lives around the globe – “from the mundane to the profound, everything has its place as we spend 90 minutes gaining greater insight into the lives of people who may be more like us than we ever suspected, despite the fact that we're separated by incredible distances.”
Microsoft Office Labs team just released a free Facebook app called Photo Vote that lets you gather inputs and opinion from your Facebook friends by polling them. While there are quite a few Facebook apps for creating polls, Photo Vote is unique as it lets you add images to poll questions. Additionally, it allows you to easily export that data into Excel.
Wednesday, November 2, 2011
Just last month Facebook was under fire for snooping around the history records of the browser and sending information about every site visits and other online activities back to Facebook servers. Facebook has denied all allegation saying they use tracking cookies only to personalize content and make the social networking site more secure, and never to target ads. But we know better.
Have you seen the International Space Station with the naked eye? When the ISS is at its perigee (closest to earth) and its magnificent solar panels fully lit by sunlight, it appears as a bright star, steadily moving across the sky. When fully lit, the ISS is the second brightest object in the night sky brighter than Jupiter and Venus. At other times it appears as a moderately bright star.
Game Downloader is a small open source download client to download open source, indie or freeware games. The program has a large server side library of free games that you can browse and download using the client program. Not only does it make downloading games easier without visiting the game’s website, it’s also a great way to discover free games you were not aware of.
Just like you are not supposed to switch off the power to your computer and walk away, you are not allowed to pull out a USB device that is in use, because such rash behavior may corrupt the data on the drive or it may even damage it. There is a procedure to safely remove a connected USB hardware such as Flash drive or external hard disk, one that I assume every user is aware of. Now every so often Windows is unable to let go the drive. This happens when some process is still reading data from or writing data to the USB drive, and when that happens Windows displays a message such as the one below.
Tuesday, November 1, 2011
Here is a quick heads up: to celebrate Halloween, three software publishers are giving away some of their software for free. While Halloween is over, the giveaway is not. So if you are looking for a DVD ripper or video converter there is still time to grab them.
In Windows XP and earlier it was possible to create independent toolbars from any folders and dock it to the screen edge. You right-click on the taskbar, create a new Toolbar and choose a folder. The contents of the folder would then become available on the new toolbar as shortcuts. The toolbar could then be moved out of the taskbar and assigned to any edge of the screen where it functioned as a dock and application launcher.
Taking periodic breaks from work, particularly work on the computer, to relax your eyes and muscles is necessary to prevent long term detrimental effects on your health. We have discussed this issue at least three times in the past by reviewing different break reminder programs (also Workrave and FadeTop). We will just continue from where we left and add three more programs to the list for your benefit.
If you are reading this on Google Reader, you must have already seen the new interface and discovered to your dismay that the ability to Share items with your followers as well as to follow others are gone. ‘Like’ and ‘Share’ is replaced with the +1 button which you can click to share with your circles on Google+. As for the following feature, Google expects you to join Google+ and befriend persons whom you wish to follow. Others who want to follow you can do the same.