All posts by Pallab De

Pallab De is a blogger from India who has a soft spot for anything techie. He loves trying out new software and spends most of his day breaking and fixing his PC. Pallab loves participating in the social web; he has been active in technology forums since he was a teenager and is an active user of both twitter (@indyan) and facebook .

Linux Mint 10 Julia Release Candidate Released

The release candidate build of Linux Mint 10, codenamed Julia, is out. Linux Mint is an Ubuntu based distro that is noted for its simplicity and polished interface. Julia is based on the recently released Ubuntu 10.10, and introduces some subtle improvements to Mint 9, which saw the addition of a new software manager and an improved update tool.

Linux-Mint-10

Possibly the biggest change in Julia is the new default skin. Mint has finally unveiled the metallic theme called Mint-X that was under development for the past several months.

Mint Menu, the signature element of Mint’s interface, has been improved as well. APT has been integrated with the menu and the search function is now aware of the packages installed on your computer, as well as packages available for installation. If the package you are looking for isn’t installed in your system, you can now directly install it from the Mint Menu. Wikipedia and Google search have also been added to the Mint Menu.

Other improvements include an updated software manager and update manager.

[ Download Linux Mint 10 Julia RC – x86 | x64 ]

Firefox 3.6.11 and 3.5.14 Released

With Firefox 4.0 hogging all the limelight, it’s easy to forget that most of the users are still using stable builds of Firefox 3.5 and 3.6. Earlier today, Mozilla pushed through a recommended security and stability update for both the trunks.

Firefox

As many as nine vulnerabilities have been fixed in this release, including five critical ones. This update also fixes numerous stability and performance issues – 40 in Firefox 3.6.11 and 23 in Firefox 3.5.14 to be exact. For more information about the fixed vulnerabilities refer to the bugzilla thread for Fx 3.6.11 and 3.5.14.

[ Download Firefox 3.6.11 | Download Firefox 3.5.14 ]

Android 2.1 Coming to Sony Ericsson Xperia X10 Next Week [Videos]

The long awaited Android 2.1 update for Sony Ericsson Xperia X10 is finally on its way. Although Sony Ericsson is yet to disclose specific dates, X10 users will begin getting Éclair from next week. According to unconfirmed reports, X10 owners in UK should receive the update on October 25. X10 users in Netherlands should also receive the update by October end. Users on branded (carrier locked) handsets will have to wait for a bit longer. T-Mobile has confirmed that they won’t deploy the update until late November.

I published the changelog last month. Besides Android 2.1, this firmware update will also introduce 720p HD video recording with autofocus, improved Timescape and contact list, and an improved home screen. Sony Ericsson’s product manager Rikard Skogberg has demoed these features on a dev. build of the firmware. Check them out to get an idea about what SE has been cooking over the past few months.


Sony Ericsson Xperia X10: Improved Home Screen


Sony Ericsson Xperia X10: 720 Video Recording with Autofocus


Sony Ericsson Xperia X10: 720p Video Recording with Autofocus Stress Test


Sony Ericsson Xperia X10: Improved Timescape and Contacts

Back to the Mac: New iLife ’11, MacBook Air and a Mystery Product

Apple’s Back to the Mac event is scheduled to take place later today in San Francisco. As usual, Apple is being tightlipped about what to expect in the event. However, BGR has already confirmed that we will be seeing a new MacBook Air, as well as the latest edition of iLife suite, which includes iPhoto, iMovie, iDVD, GarageBand, and iWeb. The confirmation came in the form of categories in Apple’s official discussion forums.

Back-to-the-Mac

Apple staffers also created a mystery category called “Reserved 10 20″ for a possibly unknown product. I am hoping that the mystery product turns out to be Mac OS 10.7, which has been speculated to be codenamed Lion.

Engadget has also managed to learn about the key specifications of the updated MacBook Air. The new Air will be as sleek as the original Air (actually smaller), while bumping up the specifications by a fair bit. Here’s what Engadget was told about the Air.

  • Display: 11.6 inch screen.
  • Processor: 2.13GHz Intel Core 2 Duo (optional 2.33GHz upgrade).
  • RAM: 2GB.
  • Other: Mini DisplayPort, 2xUSB (one of the left and one on the right), and SD card reader. Air’s trackpad will be similar to the multi-touch trackpad in MacBook Pros.

Get Ready For Halloween with Halloween Android Apps

With Halloween just around the corner, the time is ripe to get into the spirit of Halloween with some spooky Halloween apps. You can already dress up your computer for the festival of scares with Microsoft’s Eerie Autumn theme. Now, I will share a few Android apps that will help you prepare your mobile devices for the occasion.

Halloween-Live-Wallpaper

Have a great Halloween and don’t forget to share your favorite Halloween Android apps.

Unallocated IPv4 Reserves Drop Below 5%

Techie Buzz readers are probably already aware that we are running out of IPv4 (Internet Protocol version 4) addresses. An IP address is essential for uniquely identifying devices connected to the internet. The trouble is that the currently prevalent protocol (IPv4) only supports up to 232 addresses, which was thought to be enough back in the day. With the number of devices connected to the internet rapidly increasing, we are quickly nearing the exhaustion of the address pool.

A newer version of the protocol – IPv6, solves this problem, while introducing other significant benefits. IPv6 supports 2128 (about 3.4×1038) addresses. Unfortunately, IPv6 protocol requires new hardware or updates to legacy hardware. However, users on IPv6 networks will still be able to access content on IPv4 networks. In spite of the repeated efforts, the adaption rate of IPv6 has been slow due to the financial investments required and general consumer apathy.

The Number Resource Organization (NRO) has announced that less than 5% of the addresses now remain unallocated. The good news is that IPv6 adoption increased this year by 70% compared to just 8% for IPv4. This indicates that IPv6 adoption is gaining momentum. On its part, the Indian government requires all telecom and ISPs are required to be IPv6-compliant by the end of next year, and wants to start using IPv6 by March, 2012. However, unless the ISPs get their act together, even this might turn out to be too little too late.

Facebook Beefs Up Security: Adds Remote Logout and One-time Password

Facebook has almost made a habit of getting into controversies surrounding its privacy and security policies. The stinging criticism from a wide section of the press, following the launch of Open Graph at f8, has clearly had an effect on Facebook. The beleaguered social networking giant has been busy cleaning up its act over the past few months.

Now, Facebook has added a couple of more features to enhance security. The first of them is Remote Logout, which Facebook has been testing for some time. As suggested by its name, this feature allows you to remotely log out of Facebook in other systems that you might have used in the past. It can be a lifesaver in case you forget to log out while surfing on a public terminal, and has long been a feature of Gmail. You can access this from Account –>Account Settings–>Settings–>Account Security.

Facebook-Remote-Logout

The other new feature is One-time Password. If you have registered your mobile phone with Facebook, you can text otpto 32665 (FBOOK) to receive a temporary password that can be used to log into Facebook. This password can only be used once and stays valid for twenty minutes. This feature is once again intended for use on unsecured public terminals, which might house keyloggers and malwares.

Both of these features are welcome additions. Unfortunately, like many other Facebook initiatives, their availability isn’t immediately noticeable to users. For example, in Facebook, the remote logout option is buried deep within the settings panel, whereas Gmail presents it in the footer of every page.

Don’t forget to do your bit. Spread the word by sharing this article with your friends.

Microsoft Releases Two Stunning Windows 7 Themes – Eerie Autumn and Lightning

Eerie-Autumn-Windows-7-Theme

It’s autumn and unsurprisingly Microsoft has released a new Windows 7 theme to go with the season. Autumn is the season that marks the impending arrival of the dreaded winter. It’s the season of melancholy. But, perhaps more significantly, autumn is the season Halloween is celebrated in. The splendid wallpaper collection captures the essence of autumn in a brilliant, albeit slightly unnerving fashion.

Eerie-Autumn-Windows-7-Theme-Wallpapers

While the Eerie Autumn theme is spooky, the Lightning theme is simply awe inspiring. This theme captures Mother Nature at her fiercest. I don’t know about you, but lightning and thunderbolt always manages to send shivers down my spine.

Lightning-Windows-7-Theme

Both the themes are available for download from the official Windows 7 personalization gallery.

(via IntoWindows)

Mozilla Announces Open Web App Platform

Web is the future and the browser will make the operating system redundant. I am sure you have heard this argument before, and will probably hear it in the future. While I am still not sure about the web browser making the operating system insignificant, a lot of the big guys (especially browser manufacturers) are definitely convinced.

Back in 2006, Opera introduced widgets, which are essentially applications developed using existing web standards that can run on desktop, mobile phones and even other devices like television sets. Last year, Google announced their web-oriented operating system – Google Chrome OS. While the Chrome OS is yet to arrive, the Chrome Web Store is expected to launch pretty soon. And, just a couple of days back, Opera joined the Wholesale Application Community – an alliance of the world’s leading mobile operators working together to define, create and deploy a common mobile application platform that leverages the power of the web.

Open-Web-App-Platform

Now Mozilla has also jumped in and announced its own “Open Web App Platform“. Conceptually it’s very similar to Google’s Chrome App store. Developers can build applications using existing standards (HTML, CSS and JavaScript) and must include a special manifest file that confirms to the Open Web App platform specifications. After that the app can be installed and used from any operating system (desktop or mobile) that has a modern browser. Unlike Google’s offering, which is restricted to Chrome OS alone, Mozilla supports Internet Explorer 8, Chrome 6, Safari 5, Opera 10 and WebKit mobile.

Head over to appstore.mozillalabs.com to get a taste of what Mozilla is planning.

HP Announces webOS 2.0: Improved Multi-tasking, Flash, Skype and More

Palm’s webOS was hailed by critics as the best mobile operating system in the market when it was launched. Unfortunately, the lack of appealing handsets coupled with poor buzz led to disappointing sales for the would-be iPhone killer. When HP bought Palm, many of us hoped that its financial clout might just turn out to be what the doctor ordered. On its part, HP made it clear that they view webOS as a prized possession, and would like to “double down” on it.

Palm-webOS-2

HP has just announced the next generation webOS, and at least on paper, it’s an impressive update. With webOS 2.0, we’re advancing the innovations we introduced 16 months ago, expanding the features that make webOS great for consumers, enterprises and developers,said Jon Rubinstein, senior vice president and general manager, Palm Global Business Unit, HP. We’ve made tremendous strides since the platform launched, and now we’re taking our biggest leap forward with powerful new features that make it easier to get more things done with your webOS device.

HP webOS 2.0 will improve Palm’s original card metaphor interface and add powerful multi-tasking capabilities. The stacks feature in webOS 2.0 will automatically group related cards together to create a more intuitive multi-tasking environment.

Palm-webOS-2-Stacks

Another new feature in webOS is Just Type, which is an evolution of Universal Search. Whenever you want to e-mail, send an SMS, update your status, or just search, you can simply start typing. WebOS will automatically take you to the appropriate destination. The Just Type feature can also be tapped into by app developers to provide a richer user experience. PalmCentral has a nice low-down on this new feature that is worth checking out.

HP has also beefed up webOS’ social capabilities with HP Synergy, which can be used by developers to add new Messaging, Contacts and Calendar application sources. The unified messaging app now includes support for Yahoo! Messenger. Other new features include Flash and Skype (for Verizon Wireless customers) support.

Palm Pre 2, which was also just announced, will be the first device to carry webOS 2.0. Pre 2 will be go on sale on Friday in France, and will be available in the coming months in the U.S. from Verizon Wireless.