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Showing posts from April, 2012

Spotflux: Free VPN With Encryption, Anti-Virus Protection and Ad Blocking

Spotflux is a new VPN service that adds something new and unique to the VPN market for consumers to choose. Aside from tunneling all traffic through their VPN servers, Spotflux will also encrypt your traffic which rules out wire-tappers and middle-man attackers from learning all your secrets. Furthermore, Spotflux employs anti-virus scanners and “millions of real-time and automated calculations to remove tracking cookies, malicious viruses, and other nasty things from your internet connection.” Spotflux protects your privacy by hiding your IP address, it protects you from malicious programs/persons who might be reading your outgoing traffic and it also protects you from Internet malware.

How Safe Are Cell Phone Payments?

Have you ever checked your bank’s online site on your phone? Made a payment for something or tried to conduct a bank transaction? If the answer is yes, you’re not alone. The Pew Research Center’s Internet and American Life Project along with the Imagining the Internet Center at Elon University are of the view that in another 8 years or so cell phones will take the spot light as the primary form of payment beating both cash and cards. Options like Google Wallet are also making their way through the market for cellular transactions. What it does is it lets users coordinate with a payment terminal through a phone. It’s still a work in progress but progress will definitely not be slow on this one.

Norton Identity Safe Password Manager. Cross Browser and Cross Platform

Symantec, the company behind Norton Antivirus, has released a new password manager called Identity Safe, that aims to relieve you from the burden of remembering passwords of your online accounts and ensuring password security at the same time. If you use Norton Internet Security or Norton 360 then you already have Identity Safe installed. But now Norton Identity Safe is available as a standalone product that aims to rival tools such as 1Password, KeePass and LastPass. And unlike some of these services, Norton Identity Safe works across Windows, iOS, and Android devices. It also supports all the major browsers including Chrome, Firefox, Opera, Safari, and Internet Explorer.

Put Your Dropbox or Google Drive Folder Inside SkyDrive for Multiple Cloud Backup

With the recent launch of Google Drive and re-launch of Microsoft SkyDrive customers seeking for online file storage/backup solutions today have more choices than ever. However, “choice” is not the right word. Cloud backup is not the same as social media or email. Most users don’t have the time to actively follow Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest and tons of other social networking and sharing sites. Instead, we pick one or two where most of our friends and contacts are active. With email, it’s inconvenient to juggle between multiple inboxes so we stick with one. But with cloud storage, nobody is forcing you to be on Dropbox or on Google Drive alone. You can combine these services together to get lots of free storage.

Facebook Offering Free Antivirus Licenses

Facebook today announced the Antivirus Marketplace that’s offering its 900 million users free downloads and six-month licenses from several antivirus companies including Microsoft, McAfee, TrendMicro, Sophos, and Symantec. Aside from downloadable and installable malware protection, these five companies will also augment Facebook’s URL blacklist system to prevent malicious URLs from being shared on the network. This means that whenever you click a link on Facebook, not only will be it checked against Facebook’s blacklist, but also the blacklists provided by Microsoft, McAfee, TrendMicro, Sophos, and Symantec.

20+ Chrome Apps for Google Drive

This is an exciting week for personal cloud storage. We saw the official release of Microsoft SkyDrive , an update from Dropbox and the long awaited Google Drive. Google Drive was a bit disappointing. Only 5GB space for free users (we expected more) and functionality wise only little more than Google Docs. In any case, third party apps for Google Drive are coming hard and fast. Here are some of the most interesting ones available for Google Chrome right now.

Descriptive Camera: Point, Shoot, Read

The Descriptive Camera works a lot like a regular camera — point it at subject and press the shutter button to capture the scene. However, instead of producing an image, this prototype outputs a text description of the scene. Rather than using some kind of advanced AI that can read images, it simply passes the description task to Amazon's Mechanical Turk system, which in turn distributes the job to humans. Between 3 to 6 minutes after taking the pictures - slightly longer than a Polaroid takes to develop a picture – the Descriptive Camera spits out the description in a piece of paper.

Extract Files from Windows System Restore Points with Z-VSScopy

Z-VSScopy is a free program that lets users manage the restore points that your computer has created. It allows the user to browse the content of the restore points and extract individual files and folders contained within them. This way a Windows user can bring their computer to a previously working state much more easily as they can restore just what they need.

Opera to Discontinue Unite, Widgets and Voice

The Opera browser has three add-on platforms - Extensions, launched last year, Widgets and Unite. Today the company announced that it will retire two of the platforms in the upcoming Opera 12 release. The platforms that got the axe are Unite and Widgets. Also phased out will be speech recognition, text-to-speech and VoiceXML. Starting with Opera 12, Opera Unite and Opera Widgets will be turned off by default for new users. The two Add-on platforms will be completely removed in a later releases before the end of this year.

Move Aside Dropbox. SkyDrive Desktop App is Here With 25GB Storage

Microsoft has just released a desktop client for their cloud hosting service Skydrive . The application is available for Windows and Mac, as well as for iPhone and Windows Phone and it fully integrates the user’s Skydrive folders into their desktop computer or mobile device. Along with the application release, Microsoft has also changed the amount of free space available on Skydrive Free. Previously, users were allowed 25GB of free space on sign up. This has been reduced to 7GB. However, users who already have an account on Skydrive can keep their 25GB quota by logging into their accounts and taking the necessary actions. This offer is available only for a limited time.

Post Updates to Google+ via SMS

Google has updated the post-via-SMS feature on Google+ by extending support to 41 new countries, and by doing so took the total from just 2 to a whooping 43. The 43 countries that Google selected has very low adoption of mobile broadband that can be attributed to high cost and poor coverage. India, for example, has 900 million mobile subscribers as of March 2012, but only 10-12 million of those subscribers are on 3G services. Smartphone usage in India is quite low as well with even the most optimistic reports putting the numbers at 25 million. However, all subscribers have access to cheap SMS services.

Get Detailed Gmail Activity Stats with Gmail Meter

Today, Google Blogs wrote about a nifty Google Docs script contributed by a Google Docs user that provides rich statistics about how you’ve used your Gmail account over the past few week or months. Called Gmail Meter, this script scans your email inbox, retrieves key information about your emailing habits and presents them in a form that’s easy to analyze and reflect.

How to Get Notified When Programs Finishes Processing

Some programs require several minutes to process data. Usually anything that involves encoding and decoding requires time. File compression, video encoding/decoding, image processing take the most time to get done. Often we have to wait while these programs are processing data. We don’t exactly stare at the screen and twiddle our thumbs, instead we move to other programs that require our attention such as an unfinished Facebook game, but one way or the other, we wait.

National Geographic Photo of the Day Downloader

Previously, I wrote about PictureThrill , a program that downloads pictures everyday from National Geographic and several other sites such as APOD, Bing, EPOD etc. The difference between PictureThrill and National Geographic Photo of the Day Wallpaper Changer is that aside from downloading the picture of the day for the current day, this free program can download pictures published on days gone by.

Kill Evil for Chrome Removes Unwanted JavaScript Actions on Websites

Some websites perform annoying JavaScript tricks on you. One commonly encountered JavaScript action is disabling of the browser context menu (right-click menu). The website author feels that disabling the menu will prevent people from copying contents from the site, completely disregarding the fact that it pisses off a larger population of visitors who might want to perform legitimate action like access the context menu search or open in new tab and countless others. Some sites even take the liberty to resize and reposition our browser windows.

How to Show Detailed (Verbose) Information During Windows Shutdown and Startup

If you ever had your computer stuck at startup or shutdown, or take unusually long time, you know how frustrating it is because you don’t know what is causing the delay. Unlike in Linux, Windows doesn’t display detailed information during startup and shutdown. However, there is a verbose message switch in Windows. If you flick it on, Windows will start displaying a little more details about what is happening behind the blue screen. For example, if verbose message is not enabled you only see the message “Shutting down” at shutdown or “Welcome” at startup. If verbose logging is enabled, you will receive additional information, such as "RPCSS is starting" or "Waiting for machine group policies to finish...”.

Manage and Troubleshoot Third Party Shell Extensions with ShellExView

Shell Extensions are in-process COM objects which extends the abilities of Windows operating system. Most shell extensions are automatically installed by the operating system, but there are also many other applications that install additional shell extension components. For example, if you install WinZip on your computer, you'll see a special WinZip menu when you right-click on a Zip file. This menu is created by adding a shell extension to the system.

Take a 3D tour of the Titanic’s Wreck on Google Earth

On the 15th April 1912, exactly 100 years ago, the RMS Titanic sank in the North Atlantic Ocean after colliding with an iceberg during its maiden voyage from Southampton, England to New York City. The sinking of Titanic caused the deaths of 1,514 people including some of the wealthiest people in the world. It was the largest ship afloat at the time of its maiden voyage. The story has been written into history books, made into movies and is memorialized around the world in museums and monuments. Now, despite its depth on the sea floor, you can explore this ill-fated ship from the comfort of your home using Google Earth.

Prevent Windows from Shutdown or Logoff When USB Drive or DVD is Present

I’m sure this has happened to you before: you insert a DVD or CD into the optical drive to browse the contents of the disc or access some files, and after sometime you totally forget about the disc and shutdown the computer while the disc is still inside the drive tray. I can’t count on how many occasions I had to restart the computer just to take out the disc. The same happens with USB drives.

Amazing 64KB Demos at Revision Party 2012

Revision Party’s 2012 demoparty just concluded in southwest Germany. The event which took place from April 6th to 9th of 2012 in Saarbruecken, Germany, saw hundreds of entries from demosceners pushing the limits of what can be done in a single 64KB executable file. According to the rules of the competition, entries cannot be larger than 64 kilobytes for the executable (4KB for the 4KB competition), which is barely enough for an image but apparently plenty for code. Using extensive procedural techniques and compression, demosceners created stunning realtime animations, featuring high quality rendering, sound, 3D models, and textures. The most noteworthy example in the competition was the winning entry titled Gaia Machina by Approximate .

Download the Entire English Wikipedia on Torrent

There are many ways to download and read Wikipedia articles offline, some of which has been mentioned in the past. There are standalone tools like Okawix and WikiTaxi, and browser add-on Zipedia that lets you download and read Wikipedia within Firefox. Not long ago, a Chrome extension was also developed that does the same for Google Chrome browser. Raw database dumps of Wikipedia articles has long been available for anyone who wants to set up a Wikipedia clone on their personal computer.

Microsoft Office Mobile Now Available on Symbian

Last year we saw the fruit of the Nokia-Microsoft partnership in the form of the beautiful Lumia Windows Phones, and it is obvious that the collaboration will bring more new Windows Phone products in the future. But Nokia hasn’t forgotten Symbian. Today the Finnish company announced the availability of a full suite of Microsoft Office apps for their Symbian line of phones.

SFunKey Keeps Laptop Fn Keys ON or Locked at All Times

The Fn or 'Function' is a modifier key found on laptop keyboards to assign additional actions to the Function keys (F1, F2 etc.). In function, it is similar to the Shift, Ctrl and Alt keys, but found only on laptops. It is mainly used for the purpose of changing display or audio settings quickly, such as brightness, contrast, or volume, and is held down in conjunction with the appropriate key to change the settings. On full sized desktop keyboards these multimedia keys are usually kept separate. But on laptops, since multimedia keys are difficult to fit on the chassis, the Fn key is used instead.

Adobe Reader Adds E-Signature Capability

Adobe has released an updated Adobe Reader X with free eSignature capabilities that lets users electronically sign and send documents from their desktop as well as smartphone or tablet. This is the result of Adobe’s last year’s purchase of e-signature vendor EchoSign.

Tabs Synchronization Available in Chrome Beta

Google Chrome has built in synchronization tool that allows users to keep all their data synchronized between different devices running Google Chrome. These include bookmarks, history, extensions, apps, typed passwords, autofill, themes and settings. Now with the latest Chrome Beta, you can sync your open tabs too.

Better Looking Metro Styled ViStart Skins for Windows 8

One of the ways to get the missing start menu back on Windows 8 is through the Windows start menu replacement program ViStart. Since Windows 8 has no start menu to replace, ViStart simply adds a new start menu to the taskbar. The program has been around for a long time and is a very popular Windows customization tool because it gives users the ability to switch appearance of the start menu using skins.

Get Windows 8’s WinX Menu in Windows XP, Vista and 7

In Windows 8 when you right-click on the lower-left corner of the screen, you open the WinX menu. The WinX menu is so called because it can be also launched by the keyboard shortcut Win+X. The WinX menu has shortcuts to some advanced system functions that are slightly out of reach, for instance, the Control Panel, the Task Manager, Device Manager, Command Prompt, Registry Editor, Computer Management etc. WinPlusX is free program that adds the WinX menu to previous versions of the OS – Windows XP, Vista and 7.

Linux on Android

Linux on Android is an ongoing project that attempts to port the Linux operating system to Android. It consist of an installer that installs a complete Linux distribution on an Android device without removing Android from the device. Once you have the distro up and running you can pretty much run and install any Linux software you like, provided there is an ARM port or the application is not architecturally dependent.

Content Aware Image Resizing With Seam Carving GUI

Content Aware Image Resizing, also known as Seam carving and content-aware scaling, is a way to re-size an image without modifying its content ratio. The algorithm resizes images non-uniformly and while doing so, magically preserves the content of the image by getting rid of unimportant areas. The purpose of the algorithm is to display images without distortion on various media using document standards, like HTML, that already support dynamic changes in page layout and text, but not images.

Customize or Add New Shortcuts to WinX Menu in Windows 8

Most of you know that Windows 8 doesn’t have the traditional start menu or the start button. Instead, you’ve got the start screen. There is but a second menu that is accessible by righting click on the lower-left corner of the screen. This context menu is called WinX menu because it can be launched by the keyboard shortcut Win+X.

Incredible Animated Real-Time Wind Map of the US

A typical wind map looks like this. This one is from Weather Underground. But at Flowing Media, computer scientists have created a real-time animated wind map that is stunning to look at.

Tour Inside the White House on Google Street View

The White House routinely organize tours for visitors, but getting into the building requires some planning and about a month of waiting. If you aren’t able to get a ticket for the tour, Google has made an arrangement by bringing you the White House through its Street View cameras. President Obama and first lady Michelle Obama announced this morning that the White House has been added to the Google Art Project as part of an effort to make the president's house more accessible.

Opera Mobile for Android Now Supports Extension

Opera Labs today released a new Opera Mobile build that supports extensions. The new Opera Mobile Labs is available only for Android, for now. In addition, they’ve released extension-enabled Opera Mobile Emulator Labs builds, so that developers can test their extensions in a desktop-based Opera Mobile instance. Opera hasn’t said whether extensions will be available for Opera Mobile on other platforms such as iOS. Opera Mobile, as you may be aware, is the only browser to run on virtually any mobile phones available including the feature-less Java phones.

Drawception: Humorous Game Based on Broken Picture Telephone

Broken Telephone or simply ‘telephone’ is a kids game, in which one kid whispers a short sentence to another kid, and that kid turns and whispers it to the kid sitting next to him. This goes on until the message is passed through dozens of kids and by the time the message gets to the last kid, it’s a so different from the original message that it has everyone laughing hysterically. The game has no winner: the amusement comes from comparing the messages with one another. Broken telephone is played around the world and is known by various names in different parts.