Every business owner, freelancer, office worker, parent, and almost everyone else has to sign legal documents at some point of time in their lives. Typically you receive papers which you need to sign in ink and send them back either by post or in person. This, being the digital age, you often receive these documents as email attachments. The sender expects you to have the documents printed, signed, scanned and emailed or faxed back to the person. The ability to receive and send documents through email is convenient, but having to print or scan them is not. Not only does it require access to these stupid devices, it prevents you from getting them signed when on the road.
Tuesday, January 31, 2012
The pitch drop experiment began in 1927 when Professor Thomas Parnell of the University of Queensland in Brisbane, Australia, set out to demonstrate to his students that some substances that appear to be solid are in fact very high viscous fluids. He used tar pitch, a derivative of coal once used to waterproof boats, in an experiment to prove his point. At room temperature, pitch appears to be solid and can even shatter if hit with a hammer, but despite its look and feel, pitch can also flow at room temperature, albeit extremely slowly.
SyncWall is an open source wallpaper changer program with special abilities such as synchronize wallpaper change between computers on a network, and add special effects like desaturation, Gaussian blur, sharpen, sepia color and more. Wallpapers can be changed automatically on schedule or on demand with global hotkeys, and the change can be pushed to other computers on the network so that they all change at the same time. Isn’t that cool?
Auslogics File Recovery is an easy to use file recovery software for Windows that can recover any type of files irrespective of the file extension/type from any kind of storage media such as hard disk, SD card, USB drives, digital camera, iPod etc. The software also supports file recovery from major file systems: NTFS, FAT16, FAT32, and exFAT.
Sunday, January 29, 2012
The double-click mouse action was introduced by Apple Computers when they created the first Macintosh computer in 1984. The original Mac came with a single button mouse, but since not much could be done with one button, a second action was attached to the button by the way of double click. When Windows came out with support for two-button mouse, it became possible to make three unique actions with the device. Today, a typical mouse has three buttons with a clickable scroll wheel acting as the middle button, and some modern mice have even more buttons on the side.
In recent months, Facebook has been revolutionizing how it formats information and connects it together, adding features like News Feed Sponsored Stories, friend lists and Subscriptions.
Thursday, January 26, 2012
Windows keeps record of most activities users performs on their computer including which files were opened, which directories viewed, which documents accessed, what commands were ran, what was searched and so on. Browsers keep history of websites visited, cookies saved, and files download. All these records are kept at different places, and often there is no clear way to view them. History Viewer is a handy tool that lets you easily view the history of all that has been done on your computer on a single interface.
Early this month we had organized a giveaway for business cards sponsored by Next Day Flyers. The winners of this giveaway are entitled to receive a set of 250 business cards printed in their name and shipped to any destination within the U.S. free of charge. We picked three names from among those who participated, and they are:
Microsoft Outlook provides desktop alerts for new emails but there is no way to filter these notifications such as to highlight important emails or suppress less important ones. It’s either all or none. Important Mail Alert for Microsoft Outlook solves this problem by bringing rule based alerts to the email program. Using this free add-in you can configure Microsoft Outlook to immediately notify you when you receive emails that contain specific keywords or phrases or mails from persons you actually care about.
Monday, January 23, 2012
Adobe released a free beta version of Lightroom 4 or Photoshop Lightroom 4, as it is officially known, early this month. This is the first beta of the image management software which is eventually going to replace the current Lightroom version 3, maybe later this year. Lightroom 4.0 drops support for Windows XP, but introduces several new features including a completely new book-creation module, expanded support for video, soft proofing capability, and geo-tagging of still and video images via a Google Maps-powered module. Image editing tools have also been significantly updated, with a new process version that includes a reworking of the Basic panel controls and new localized editing options.
Security software publisher Comodo recently released their first anti-virus application for Android, Comodo Mobile Security, that provides real-time protection from viruses, unsafe applications, spam messages and more. Comodo Mobile Security offers more than malware protection - in addition to core antivirus protection, Comodo Mobile Security includes SMS and Call Blocking, Software and Process Manager, and Private Space with Apps locking.
Mozilla is planning to add a reset feature to Firefox that will enable users to repair their Firefox install or revert to a default state, while also retaining bookmarks, history and other data. The proposed feature will allow users to solve problems such as startup crashes and corrupted user profile without resorting to drastic measures like complete reinstall.
Sunday, January 22, 2012
A selection of articles published between January 15 and January 21 of previous years.
1 Year Ago
- Attack Surface Analyzer: A free security application from Microsoft for developers and users alike, designed to catalog changes introduced to the Windows platform after installation of new software.
CyanogenMod developer Koushik Dutta revealed, through a Google+ post, the possibility of an Android app store that will house apps banned from the official Android Market for various reasons. These will include custom ROMs, classic gaming emulators pulled due to copyright complaints, unofficial tethering apps, Voicemail apps, one-click rooting apps and other apps.
Saturday, January 21, 2012
Sometime around last year, with the release of Firefox 4, Mozilla completely revamped the add-on manager windows of the browser. The current add-on manager features bigger fonts and thicker add-on details panel with generous amount of padding thrown all around (just like the new Google). Also, other utilities like themes, plug-ins, userscripts etc. are grouped along with add-ons but separated by tabs. Overall, a nice change and functionally better than the old add-on manager but uses too much vertical space. Here are some add-ons that fixes the various flaws in the new add-on manager.
Chinese computer peripherals manufacturer Genius has developed a new wireless mouse that doesn’t use traditional batteries. Instead, it uses a gold capacitor to hold charge. Rather than deriving power from chemical reaction as in standard batteries, the DX-ECO mouse draws power from a gold capacitor. The capacitor holds enough charge to last for 24 hours, but replenishes the lost charge in only three minutes. All you need to do is plug in the mouse in the morning for three minutes and you are good to go for a full day. Being battery-less means that it’s also environmentally friendly.
Friday, January 20, 2012
If you shuffle between multiple computers and browsers while having dozens of tabs open, you may have faced this problem: you want to switch computer but you also want to take with you the unfinished browsing session that you have open before you. You could use tab-syncing solutions that are available for Chrome and Firefox, but only if you plan to move your browser tabs from Chrome to Chrome or Firefox to Firefox. What if you want to move the tabs from Chrome to Firefox or vice-versa?
Although it has hardly deterred enthusiasts, overclocking is a serious and risky business. Typically if your processor dies because you pushed too hard while overclocking, you are left with an expensive piece of silicon that Intel won’t take back even if you wave the 3-year warranty contract before their face. But now you have reasons to cheer. Intel has announced a new Performance Tuning Protection Plan under which it will replace selected processors damaged by overclocking as long as the processor is covered by the original 3-year warranty. So if you have held yourself back from overclocking your new Sandy Bridge out of fear of burning your processor and cooking your motherboard, it’s time to open your toolbox.
Windows Installer Cache is located at C:\Windows\Installer and the folder is hidden by default to protect it against tampering or deletion. The Installer Cache can take significant amount of space on your hard drive, particularly if you have installed large software or large number of updates, and it might be tempting to delete the contents of the folder - considering they are just backup copies of installers. But Microsoft advises users against it.
Wednesday, January 18, 2012
There are plenty of alarm clock apps on the Android Market available either as free, free and ad-supported or as paid apps. Among the crowd of alarm clock apps, you will find three apps that stand out by virtue of the number of votes received and the number of successful downloads and install. They are Alarm Clock Extreme, Alarm Clock Plus and Alarm Droid. The purpose of this article is to compare these three apps and determine which serves the best for the purpose of waking you up in the morning.
Busdog is a filter driver for Microsoft Windows XP and higher that logs data as it transfers between the computer and an external device connected to the computer’s USB port. In short, Busdog is a traffic sniffer for the USB port.
When you run the Busdog executable, you will be prompted to install the Busdog filter driver. The filter driver sits on top of all USB and HID devices on your system and captures data as it transfers between the machine and the USB device. After installation, the program window will provide a list of connected USB devices and USB controllers. Check the box next to the device which you want to monitor, move to the Trace tab and click on the Start/Play button. Immediately, you will see USB events as they happen.
Mozilla announced on Tuesday that they are working on a new Extended Support Release (ESR) version of Firefox that will be updated less frequently to keep pace with corporations whose technology doesn’t move at the speed at which the web does. The ESR version of Firefox is targeted towards enterprises, public institutions, universities and other organizations that centrally manage their Firefox deployments. Releases of the ESR will occur once a year, unlike the standard version of the browser that takes place every six weeks, providing these organizations with a version of Firefox that receives security updates but does not make changes to the Web or Firefox Add-ons platform.
To make image sharing more fun on Google+, the newest social network has added the ability to create image memes using photos that are uploaded to Google+. The feature was announced by Google Senior Software Engineer Colin McMillen on his Google+ account.
After the user drops a photo into the sharebox on the Google+ feed page, they can click the ”Add text” button that’s located underneath the uploaded photo. This launches a new window that allows the user to type words on the photo at the top, middle or bottom of the picture. The font will automatically change in size based on the amount of text included on the photo and users can also choose left, right or center justification for each line of text.
A few hours ago, Wikipedia, along with a large number of prominent sites went black to protest against the SOPA/PIPA bills. Different website have employed different methods to show their protest – Google has a message at their homepage (some are even seeing a black Google logo), Arstechnica turned their website black, BoingBoing went completely offline and so has Wikipedia. But not quite.
Tuesday, January 17, 2012
Wikipedia is going to shut down the English Wikipedia for an entire day tomorrow to protest against the draconian bills - the ‘Stop Online Piracy Act’ (SOPA) and the ‘PROTECTIP Act’ (PIPA) proposed in the United States. For 24 hours Wikipedia will be unavailable for millions of visitors who use the site everyday. If Wikipedia is indispensible for you, have you prepared yourself to deal with tomorrow’s blackout?
Google has recently introduced a new way to securely login to your Google account without typing your password, which will find useful application in situations when you need to login from unsafe places such as a public computer. Using a public computer is always risky as you never know what malicious programs are running on it to steal your passwords. With the new login process you can use your smartphone instead and a QR code to login to a public computer.
Monday, January 16, 2012
Samsung unveiled a futuristic transparent LCD TV at the International Consumer Electronics Show 2012 (CES) this week that looks like a scene right out of Minority Report. The see-through screen could be installed in your kitchen and used to access recipes, or placed in your in your bedroom wall to watch movies or check Twitter. Samsung showed off a few widgets running on the Smart Window like Twitter, a calendar, a clock and even Microsoft Office. You can even use it as a window with virtual blinds that you can close to shut out light. Despite being completely transparent, the device acts as single side mirror: whatever you are viewing on the screen is completely private from those outside.
Thursday, January 12, 2012
Although Google is the market leader in web search, it fails miserably when it comes to integrating search in their own products. Example: Chrome webstore and Android Market. With limited options for filtering and sorting, it’s hard to find what you want unless you know exactly what it is.
The Official Android Market recently crossed 400,000 apps, and hundreds, if not thousands, of apps are being added each week. 68% of these apps are free and even a greater number of them are junk. Not to mention, there are several marketplace from where you can buy or install Android apps. The Internet can help, but the more you search the less helpful it becomes.
Browsers usually consider web surfing and email reading as separate activities, except Opera and Seamonkey which have integrated email clients for out-of-the-box experience. But email is a necessary part of your online life, and if you don’t like running a separate email program you can bring one into Firefox just like in the aforementioned browsers.
Wednesday, January 11, 2012
The energy crisis is more than gasoline and heating costs, it hits us at a basic level in our everyday lives, from using our computers to making our morning coffee. It costs us a small fortune every year to power our offices and gadgets, and leaves a carbon footprint in dire need of reduction. With technology at the core of our lives, what can we do?
Google has been personalizing search results for users for a long time, starting with innocent practices like personalization based on geographical location, and later bringing in past search history and recently Google+ shares and circles.
Yesterday, Google launched Personal Results, Profiles in Search, and People and Pages, in search results starting a new beginning of Google's social search era. Google search now has two modes: global and personalized. Personal search results show content from your Google+ network, and global search results appear as they were before the new Google+ integration.
At the 2012 Consumer Electronic Show, BlueStacks revealed a functional demo that runs Android apps seamlessly on Windows 8 Metro UI. The company debuted BlueStacks App Player for Windows 7 in October last year, but the application is now compatible with Windows 8. Unlike in Windows 7, where Android apps ran from a separate launcher, in Windows 8 they will run as desktop apps as if they are native Windows application. And suddenly, even before development of Metro apps have started, you have over 400,000 Android apps ready to run on Windows 8’s much touted Metro UI.
Tuesday, January 10, 2012
After nearly two years since the last stable release and four years since development began, open source desktop publishing software Scribus has released version 1.4.0. Over 2000 new feature requests and bugs have been resolved in this release since the development started, making it the first major release in several years.
People hate Flash for various reasons: browser crashes, vulnerability in the add-on that permits an attacker or attacking website to install malware on the PC, lack of support on certain mobile devices or self-playing animated advertisement. When you install an extension such as Adobe Flash in a browser, it is automatically permitted to run on all websites. But one feature that is unique to Internet Explorer 8 and 9 is that it allows the user to restrict the use of add-ons on specific Web sites.
Saturday, January 7, 2012
Starting from today, I will be rounding up a selection of posts and articles published on Instant Fundas exactly a year ago. These ‘One Year Ago’ posts will highlight some great software applications or web apps reviewed or tutorials published during the same week last year. Focus will be on posts that are still relevant today. Hopefully, this will enable readers to rediscover programs and read articles that were forgotten or lost among the constant stream of updates from hundreds of blogs in your reading list.
These collections will appear once per week, preferably on Saturdays, but it may also appear on any other day depending on my convenience. I might even skip a week or two if required. There are no strict schedules.
Firefox 10 is already in beta and when it hits the release channel in a couple of weeks from now, users will find that overnight a huge number of add-ons have become compatible with their browsers, even those that didn’t work on Firefox 9 or earlier. This is because Mozilla plans to make all add-ons compatible by default in the upcoming Firefox 10. This can have both positive and negative repercussions, and as a Firefox user, you should be aware of both.
An intriguing new software to manage your movie collection is taking shape. If you have a large collection of movies and frustrated with the time consuming process of manually building up your library, that some movie managing software employ, you should take a look at Movie Explorer, and also a few other ‘zero configuration’ movie managers that I shall present here.
Friday, January 6, 2012
Windows 8 news website Winunleaked.tk that is steadily becoming the source for many recent leaks of screenshots and inside-news relating to the upcoming operating system from Microsoft, has discovered a trick on Windows 8 Developer Preview and Windows 8 Beta build that enables users to turn on transparency effect on the ‘Aero Lite’ theme.
"Transmission of documents via telephone wires is possible in principle, but the apparatus required is so expensive that it will never become a practical proposition." --- Dennis Gabor, British physicist and author of Inventing the Future, 1962.
The invention of the Fax Machine and the internet quashed this cynic's outlook on the digitization of information, an optimistic one when compared to today's predictions on the future of some e-reader and tablet devices. E-readers like the Nook and Kindle are a household staple in many parts of the world, and tablets are quickly replacing stacks of books in classrooms.
Wednesday, January 4, 2012
For our first giveaway of the year, we have something different. Three lucky persons from among you will each receive 250 pieces of business cards printed in their name and business. So what if you don’t own a business? You can use them as your contact card with your name, email, phone number, address and website. The business cards will be 2 inches by 3.5 inches in size and printed in full color on both sides with UV coating. Each winner will get the opportunity to choose a template, upload a custom design or use their online design wizard to build a custom business card from scratch right inside the browser. This event is sponsored by the online printing company Next Day Flyers.
RegFromApp is a new utility from Nirsoft that lets you monitor changes made to Windows registry by the application you choose in real time. Furthermore, RegFromApp can create a standard RegEdit registration file (.reg) that contains all the Registry changes made by the application. You can use the generated .reg file to import these changes with RegEdit when it's needed. I can image one scenario where this application can come extremely handy.
If you use EaseUS Todo Backup to create disk images or for backing up your files, it’s time for an upgrade. The company has released a new version that brings a revamped interface with several new including support for Exchange 2010 and GPT disk partition backup and recovery. EaseUS Todo Backup 4.0 also features a new Central Management Console that enables you to deploy backup task to other clients.
What do you do when you arrive at a webpage that says Error 404 – Not Found? Do you click your tongue and close the page? Wait, not so fast. There is a good possibility that the deleted page is cached somewhere on the web. You just have to know where to look.
Tuesday, January 3, 2012
Last week, which was also last year, we organized a giveaway for idoo File Encryption Pro, a file encryption program for Windows. A decent number of readers took part in the contest from among which 10 winners were selected by a random draw using Random.org’s excellent random number generator. If you have taken part in the competition, check the list below, for you could be one of the winners.
Monday, January 2, 2012
Ethervane Echo is a clipboard manager or extender for Windows that automatically captures data copied to clipboard from any Windows application, stores it and lets you retrieve it easily later. Some of the striking features of Ethervane Echo are extreme customizability, integrated search, automatic sorting of clips based on length, time at which the text was copied, source application and more.
After years of waiting for Google Drive, an Asian company called Insync has unveiled a desktop synchronization tool of the same name that allows Google Docs users to use Google online storage the same way they use their Dropbox account. Insync has actually been around for more than a year, but only recently the service went free. The company has also rolled out a revamped version of its product, removed registration and sync limits and streamlined the user experience.
Amarok based, cross-platform and open source music player Clementine now stands at version 1.0. The player received a significant number of new features as it traversed from version 0.7 to just beyond the decimal point. The most notable ones among these changes is support for several online music streaming services including two very popular ones, namely Spotify and Grooveshark. Additionally, Clementine can now transcode music to a number of different formats including the lossless FLAC format.
A camera is a mechanical device, and just like any piece of mechanical equipment, it will eventually fail. The life of an SLR or Digital SLR...
Whenever the computer is lagging or some application is taking too long to respond, we usually fire up task manager and look under the Perfo...
Did you ever wish there was an undo button on your PC so that if you mess up something you could just press it and everything returns back t...
Recently, my brother-in-law bought a new Sony Bravia HD-Television that plays videos directly from USB drives. Everything was going find unt...
Are you running the same mouse cursor (pointer) that came with Windows XP or Vista? How boring! If you can change your desktop wallpaper and...
A Content Management System without a database seems so unorthodox that one might feel that it shouldn’t have been put into practice in the ...
If you have changed the default Facebook profile picture and uploaded your own, it’s fine. But if not, then why not replace that boring pict...
Organizing your movie collection is much more than making a list of it. Apart from helping you to quickly browse through your personal co...
Wordle is a web site that allows you to create "word art" from text that you type into a box. You can also enter a URL of a site....
Search engines can pull up hundreds of recipes for any given dish. Which one will you choose? Surely, the one that doesn’t require you to ru...