Firefox Sync Will be Integrated into the Next Major Release

Firefox Sync, the flagship browser syncing extension is now officially a part of the Firefox roadmap. It will be available in Firefox by default from the next major release and is available for use as an extension until then.

Firefox Sync, earlier knows as the Weave Sync has come out of the Mozilla Labs and has reached the version 1.3 now. The new version also has several changes, the major ones of those being one click access to all previously synced tabs, availability in multiple languages and a simple signup process.

However, this inclusion of Firefox Sync into Firefox imminent as the latest iPhone Home application is totally based on the Firefox Sync add-on and syncs with data fetched  from it.

This is a nice feature and no wonder, it is going to attract some more users though, Firefox has once again been a follower in this race. Opera browser has a links feature which does a similar task and it has been present in Opera even before the inception of this idea for Firefox.  It is time Mozilla takes us a stronghold on the innovation front and develops a never before feature. That would give people a reason to use Firefox now that it is no match for speed with other browsers.


Ubuntu 10.04 Supports iPhone OS Out of the Box

Ubuntu 10.04 is finally out of the box compatible with iPhone. It needs no hacks or tweaks and identifies the iPhone as a plugged in device bringing up options to import music and images. This was made possible with updates in the libraries of libimobiledevice and usbmuxd/gtkpod which are also present in Fedora and Mandriva that will get equal benefits.

Not only that, you can also browse most of the files on your iPhone and if it your iPhone jailbroken, you can see all those files. You can also check out this Ubuntu help page on accessing iPhone data on Ubuntu thought, this needs your iPhone to be jailbroken and you can do an array of otherwise restricted things after that.

This comes in as a great relief as Apple had encrypted its library database  from Firmware version 2.x onwards and any transferred file failed to be recognized. This changed with Firmware version 3.x as support for iPhone rolled in natively with the release of this new firmware. The help page writes,

Lucid natively supports both iPhone and iPod Touch 1G, 2G, 3G and 3GS models  (iPad should be too) running up to firmware 3.1.3 without the need to jailbreak. This is due to the GNOME 2.30  libimobiledevice support.

(Via: iphonelife)

New GPS Satellites to Help Mobile Apps Locate More Accurately

Location based apps are all over Android and iPhone. From Google Maps to geo-tagging of photographs to location aware search, all of it gives wonderful results with GPS.

Though, one thing that has not caught up with this is the speed of GPS satellites serving data. This scenario is going to change with more satellites being launched for this sole purpose. GPS has been really slow on phones until now. Also, current GPS satellites are accurate only to a certain limit. Though, with the new satellites, the figures can get significantly less.

Boeing is manufacturing 12 new  Block IIF satellites which have twice the accuracy of current satellites. These will be stationed in the next ten years. This accuracy of GPS data can come in handy in checking population concentration, track usage of apps and in other activities like search and  rescue.

Augmented reality which barely works currently will also get more realistic with this improvement. Once again, all this comes at the cost of privacy as apps may collect various types of location based user data. The improvement of GPS is a boon though, and is a welcome move as it will open up a new dimension of mobile computing and application development.


Google Has Britain Under its Radar

Google might have come up with apologies for collecting user data and  trespassing  on private Wi-Fi networks but the damage has been done already. Now, the big question is what is Google going to do with the data it has already collected? For that matter, a recent report says Google has mapped every wireless router in Britain which is proving helpful for Google commercially and people are able to access information on stores,  restaurants, cinemas  and hotels better than ever.


Google made this announcement only after it came out of collecting Wi-Fi data in Germany safely. In an argument that Google gave, it said that other companies have also collected Wi-Fi data it in the past. A company called Skyhook Wireless did this for Apple once. They said, this is not as grave as it sounds as Wi-Fi signals extend over a certain range beyond physical barriers of property; making them public or rather, publicly accessible.

An investigation into the matter is imminent and it is only time before local courts take their individual turns against Google based on their own laws. Google has been asked to retain all the information it has collected for investigation my numerous authorities and this attitude of “we were right in doing this” will cost Google a lot.

In the meanwhile, Google will work towards serving accurate content in Britain which is as we say, “totally under their radar”.


Pakistan Unblocks Facebook After One Day of Bangladesh Blocking it

It was just yesterday that Bangladesh blocked Facebook following Pakistan’s move, which came a few weeks ago. This was followed by a couple of arrests and anti-Facebook protests demanding the site be  blocked in Bangladesh.

Today, Pakistan has unblocked Facebook and it is accessible all throughout Pakistan once again. There are two things that arise from here.

Firstly, Facebook has promised Pakistan and the world that no religiously offensive material will be found accessible from Pakistan on Facebook anymore. Now, to what extent can people really trust Facebook after it took it’s user’s privacy on a roller coaster ride. Seriously speaking, for a website which does not care about its users worldwide, I do not see it holding its end of the deal for only a section of its users. Sooner or later some controversial content is going to creep into Facebook again and it will have some technical jargons to throw at us as the reason for the mishap.

Secondly, in the wake of this situation, a new version of Facebook for Muslims worldwide,  Millat Facebook was created which gained popularity. Though, Millat Facebook seriously lacks the features of Facebook and its user’s base. Now that Facebook has made amendments, Muslims worldwide have options to use either Millat Facebook or stick to Facebook itself.

This can either prove as a heavy loss for Facebook or a total failure for Millat Facebook. Only time will tell which of these websites appeals more to Muslims. Facebook sure has a lesson to learn from this and needs to bring in more checks on what is going up on its pages and how it is being served in different parts of the world.

How To Use aDosBox on Android Phones Without Physical Keyboard

I got hold of an HTC Legend as my first Android phone last week and I have quite enjoyed using it. Though recently, I thought of trying out something cool on my phone and I recalled that there was a blog on running Windows 3.1 on Android.

A bit of googling took me to this page and I thought of trying this out. I installed aDosBox and ran the application to see that I could not bring up the keyboard on this application! However, it  occurred  to me that only if I could type into aDosBox by some other method, this would work. Some more searching on the market took me to an app which does exactly what I wanted. These are the steps I followed and with the same, you can type into aDosBox or any other emulator which does not bring up the default keyboard on your Android phone.

  1. First, download and install aDosBox from this page as it is not available on the market yet.
  2. Next, install an app named Wi-Fi Keyboard from the android market.wifi-keyboard
  3. Now, enable it by going to Settings > Language and Keyboard and selecting Wifi Keyboard.
  4. Next, you need to change the text input method to Wifi Keyboard. To do that, bring up a text area and long press into the text box. You will get an option to select the input method. Select Wifi Keyboard on the next screen.
  5. Now, switch on the Wi-Fi on your phone and connect to a network to which you PC will connect.

That will set up your phone to receive text inputs from your PC and completes the first part of the tutorial. Next, you need to connect your PC over Wi-Fi and navigate to the URL:

in a browser. You will see this page.


This sets up your computer for sending text inputs.

Coming back to aDosBox, run it and you will see the DosBox screen. With the browser opened at the same time on your PC, you can send text and command inputs to your phone.


To bring up “:”, press “alt + H”. Try other combination for some other characters which do not appear normally. This will be needed to mount folders as drives.

On an ending note, I could not run Windows 3.1 on my phone as aDosBox simply crashed every time I issued Though, the attempt was thrilling in itself and I enjoyed trying.

How to Disable the “Read more:” When Copy Pasting Content From Websites

For the past few days, I am seeing an annoying link appear next to the text content I copy and paste while writing a blog. Being a blogger, I often copy text like references and quotes because they are to be presented in their original form. However, many popular blogs in the blogosphere have signed up for a service called Tynt which is totally tainting the image of these blogs.

Tynt appends an attribution link to the source at the end of the copied content. This content when pasted, appears as a “Read more:”. This manipulation is done with the help of JavaScript and the #tracer is used to track down the copy content.

Not only is this a huge annoyance, it also scales in behavior depending on the size of the copied text. This polymorphism was baffling me and I could not take it anymore.

The obvious solution of simply deleting the link helps, but I wanted something full proof and automated. Some googling came to my rescue. John Gruber at The Daring Fireball has come up with an excellent method. He has blocked the Tynt server from his hosts file and you should do the same too.

In Windows, go to “C:\Windows\System32\drivers\etc\hosts” and add

In Linux, do the same at /etc/hosts. This will block the Tynt server and will put your clipboard back at you control again. Try if it works by visiting TechCrunch and copy-pasting some content.


YouTube Wants You to Dump Your TV

YouTube is really getting somewhere with its huge bandwidth consumption. It recorded a full 2 billion video views which is a big milestone. Being more ambition as YouTube should get now, it is jealous of people sticking to their television sets. YouTube wants you to dump your TV set and switch to YouTube instead.

What started as a site for bedroom vloggers and viral videos has evolved into a global platform that supports HD and 3D, broadcasts entire sports seasons live to 200+ countries. We bring feature films from Hollywood studios and independent filmmakers to far-flung audiences.

Although the average user spends 15 minutes a day on YouTube, that’s tiny compared to the five hours a day people spend watching TV. Clearly, we need to give you more reason to watch more videos! And we want to give you all the tools and support to make YouTube both your career and your community. After all, this is only the beginning of the video revolution. We’re just getting started.

Those lines are clearly dripping with ambition and YouTube has it in itself to deliver this. Though, let us see what hinders this development.

Firstly, the worldwide Internet and broadband connection is still not capable of watching streaming videos. That is when we have a satisfactory broadband penetration which is again a far-sight.

Secondly, the cost of watching TV is far lower than watching videos on the Internet at many places in the world. The better option is the cheaper one for most people out there.

Thirdly, the playtime and quality of videos on YouTube is just not enough to keep people glued to it like they are to TV. And finally, there is a big difference between watching short 2-5 minute video clips and full movies and serials.

YouTube has plans for a new clean uncluttered look which it will roll out soon. It is expected that YouTube will try and bring the user experience closer to the TV using this new interface.


Desktop Notifications For Chrome Extensions

Google Chrome extensions have brought features to the browser and coupled with the awesome speed Chrome has, this gives us an amazing overall browsing experience. I have personally switched over to Google Chrome as my default browser and am satisfied with it.

Google Chrome extensions now have an added advantage. Chrome got a nifty feature of extension notifications whereby any installed extension can send out windows style notifications. This feature was already available to websites from Chrome 4. In the latest build, this feature will be made available to extension developers by a notification API.

One of the first to use this notification is the Gmail notifier add-on for Google Chrome. This added feature into the notification API can mean two things.

The advantage of this is that extension developers are no more limited to OS capabilities to display notifications and can easily do so using the browser. This will get clearer when more extensions use this feature to create a better user experience. Facebook and Twitter apps will be the first to follow.

Though, a downside of this is how extension developers will use this to provide some real functionality or simply for creating annoying notifications.


Bing Will Not Replace Google as Default iPhone Search

There were rumors of Microsoft Bing replacing Google search as default on the iPhone. However, some more details have surfaced on this and according to that; Google is still to remain as the default search on iPhone as it has always been.

This issue sparked when Microsoft started talking to Apple about including Bing as a search option on iPhone and not necessarily as a replacement to the Google search option.

Most mobile devices currently include the option of Google search and Yahoo search though, Google is the default option everywhere and very few people know that Yahoo even exists in the option, a fewer of them changing the option to Yahoo.

What Microsoft is trying to do for its Bing search here, is get included as a third option in that list. Given the kind of relation Apple has with Microsoft and the amount of revenues a Google search can generate, it is unlikely that the option will be changed to anything else.

Though, this rumor can turn into a reality given the tension developing between Google and Apple in their competition into common areas. Google has readily attacked Apple in the I/O conference and is being forward in this animosity. Apple has not yet confirmed the nature of this inclusion.