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 .

Sony Ericsson Xperia Will Get Android 2.2 Update

Sony Ericsson has yet to launch its line of Android phones, but expectations are already sky high. Xperia X10 is slated to come out soon, while Xperia X10 Mini and Xperia X10 Mini Pro should hit the market by the end of this year.

Sony-Ericsson-Xperia-X10

Sony Ericsson has been working on its dazzling user interface, dubbed UX (Rachael), for more than a couple of years. As a result of the long developement cycle, Xperia X10 would initially ship with Android 1.6 – which is fairly outdated. Thankfully, Sony Ericsson is not planning on leaving buyers of their brand new smart phones stranded with an outdated operating system. Speaking to CNet Asia, a Sony Ericsson spokesperson confirmed that SE will be upgrading all of its Android devices to the newer version. He teased that the upgrade "will be an Eclair variant, so it could be 2.1 or even 2.2″.

This news should be music to the ears of Sony Ericsson fans and anyone looking to buy an Xperia X10 device. At the moment, very little is known about Android 2.2. In fact, SE is possibly the first device manufacturer to even confirm its existence. The update timeframe is also ambiguous, and Sony Ericsson may take four to eight months to deliver the update. However, one thing is sure – exciting times lie ahead for Sony Ericsson and Android fans.

AutoPatcher Adds Support for Windows 7 – Download and Distribute Updates Offline

AutoPatcherEarlier today, we shared with you how to slipstream (integrate) Windows updates into the setup, in order to avoid downloading them every time you (re)install Windows. In case you do not want to take the trouble of creating a custom Windows setup, AutoPatcher is your best friend.

AutoPatcher has a very simple aim – to make installing updates as simple and hassle free as possible. Originally, all the essential Windows updates used to be included in the download package itself. However, due to objections raised by Microsoft AutoPatcher had to change its ways. In its current form, AutoPatcher comes with an update module, which identifies and downloads all available updates. The deployment tool then takes care of the rest. The final product is a simple executable file, which can be used to install all available updates at one go.

Until now, AutoPatcher was available only for Windows 2000, Windows XP and Vista (with the latest Service Pack already installed). The good news is that AutoPatcher has now been updated to support Windows 7. The biggest benefit of AutoPatcher is that it is able to effortlessly install multiple updates in a batch without requiring repeated user intervention. Additional modules also available for deploying essential utilities like Adobe Reader, DirectX and .NET Framework.

Create Custom Windows 7 Setups with RT Se7en Lite

You may be wondering why anyone would take the trouble of creating his or her own Windows setup when the default installer works just fine. To be honest, creating custom setups is not something every user would need to do. The default Windows setup is designed to provide a balanced experience to everyone. However, an installation fine-tuned for an individual or an organizations needs would obviously perform better under certain circumstances. Sure, you can tweak the system after installation. However, this is not the ideal solution for a computer administrator or a user who frequently formats his computer.

RT-Se7en-Lite

RT Seven Lite is quite similar to nLite (for Windows XP) and vLite (for Windows 7). It allows users to remove unnecessary Windows utilities and integrate system updates, drivers, third party applications, tweaks, wallpapers and themes into Windows installations. The entire interface is wizard based and is designed to ensure that the process is as simple as possible.

Techie Buzz Verdict

RT Se7en LiteAlthough, vLite works reasonably well with Windows 7 there are several issues since it does not officially support Windows 7. This makes RT Seven Lite a must have for anyone looking to create their custom Windows 7 setup. Even if you have not tried customizing your Windows setup earlier, give it a try. Benefits such as unattended installation and integrated security updates make it work the effort.

Techie Buzz Rating: 4/5 (Excellent)

[ Download RT Se7en Lite ]

Snarky and Amusing Comments Present within Palm webOS Code [Friday Fun]

Welcome to another edition of Friday Fun. Working on large software development projects can be quite demanding, especially if you have a deadline to meet. During this demanding period, it is a common practice among developers to unleash their creativity (and also let off steam) through code comments.

Palm-webOSUsers at PreCentral.net have managed to locate quite a few snarky and amusing comments present in Palm’s webOS code. While they aren’t as insane as the ones spotted by Codeulate (warning: NFSW), they are amusing and interesting in their own geeky way. While one developer labeled users as “slimy ******* users”, another revealed the time constraints he was working under. Here are some of my favorites:

  • //<-- gaze into the javascript abyss
  • // This should not happen
  • // Every time you call this, somewhere a kitten dies
  • // this is weird
  • // Welcome to the house of javascript hacks. Please enjoy your stay!
  • // Finally remove any remaining scripts to avoid any evilness they may bring
  • // TODO: Peter will fix this
  • // On the offchance that the user hits the ‘minimize’
    // before we finished capture … slimy ******* users.
  • var depressed = false; // spot the pun!
  • // hide all buttons and plead for patience.
  • //TODO: this is not a great user experience, but will get the job done given the time constraints.
    // A preferable solution would be to add a spinner while the account is being deleted or send the
    // user to the accountpreferences assistant and invoke the Remove Account button.

(via fearphage)

Opera Will Power Vodafone’s Android App Store, Opera Mini to Support Widgets

Today Opera Software hosted its fourth Capital Markets Day in Oslo, Norway. You can download the excerpts of the event from here. Although, the document doesn’t provide any detailed information about their future plans, there are quite a few interesting revelations:

  • Opera Mini Widgets: Opera has been tirelessly promoting widgets, which are essentially tiny applications developed utilizing web standards. Widgets are currently available only in Opera Mobile and Opera for desktop. However, Opera will soon be introducing widgets to Opera Mini. This is a significant announcement, as this would allow even basic phones to run web-applications (widgets) such as eBook reader and Twitter Client.
  • Opera “Bream” UI: At the moment, little is known about Bream, but Haavard K. Moen teased that it “covers the entire mobile value chain”.
  • Opera-Platform

  • Revolutionizing the TV: Opera is already focusing on emerging segments such as Television sets. Opera estimates the number of connected TVs to grow from 14.7 million in 2009 to 87.6 million in 2013. It intends on building a HTML5 based open applications platform for TVs. The development platform and developer tools are expected to be launched later this year.
  • Continued Collaboration with Global Operators: Currently Opera has agreements with 11 out of top 30 mobile operators globally. It plans on increasing both short-term and long-term revenues by teaming-up with even more extensively with device manufacturers and mobile operators. Opera will be powering Vodafone’s Android app store client.
  • Opera Turbo to Go Mobile: Opera will be introducing Turbo devices (possibly in collaboration with Vodafone). Opera Turbo is a technology, which was introduced in Opera 10 for desktop. In Turbo mode, all webpages are routed through Opera’s servers, where they are compressed to dramatically reduce page load times on slower connections. Exactly what Opera means by Turbo enabled devices is not clear, as Opera Mobile 9.6 already supports Turbo.
  • More Than 100 Million Users: Opera currently has 48 million desktop users and more than 50 million mobile users. The total desktop market share is estimated to be 1.73 billion users. This means that Opera’s desktop market share is approximately 2.7 %. Opera estimates its mobile market share to be around 26%.
  • Opera-Revenue-Framework

  • Impact of Ballot Screen: After the soft launch (website launch) of the ballot screen, Opera’s daily download rate tripled in several European countries. The impact of the actual launch (on March 1) should obviously be much larger.
  • Opera-Ballot-Screen-Impact

New Highly Critical Vulnerability Discovered in Opera for Windows

Opera-10.5-Vulnerability New 0-day vulnerability has been discovered in Opera, which can be utilised to gain control of a user’s system. The vulnerability is known to affect Opera 10.10 and Opera 10.50 for Windows (other versions may be affected too) and a proof of concept submitted by Marcin Ressel is available here.

Secunia has categorised the vulnerability as highly critical. Apparently, the issue is caused due to a buffer overflow error, which can be triggered by a malformed HTTP “Content-Length:” header. Successful exploitation of the vulnerability may permit the execution of arbitrary code on the user’s system.

At the moment, no solution is available for the exploit. Until Opera Software patches this vulnerability, all Opera users should be cautious while browsing untrusted websites.

Update: This vulnerability may not be as dangerous as previously believed to be. Haavard K. Moen from Opera Software indicated that this vulnerability is not exploited. In other words all it can do is crash Opera. Execution of malicious code or gaining control of the user’s system is not possible.

Opera Mini Comes To Windows Mobile phones

Traditionally, Opera Mini has been available as a Java software intended to run on a large range of phones. However, Opera Software has also been working hard to port it to as many different platforms as possible. Opera Mini 5 already supports Blackberry and native Android and iPhone apps are under development. The only major mobile phone OS which Opera had been missing out on is Windows Mobile. However, that is no longer the case as Opera has just launched a native version of Opera Mini 5 beta for Windows Mobile 5- and 6-based handsets.

Opera-Mini-for-Windows-Mobile

Opera Mini for Windows Mobile will include all the features we have come to expect from Opera Mini including tabbed browsing, visual speed dials, password manager, download manager, touchscreen support and synchronization. The biggest advantage of Opera Mini is speed. Each of the pages are compressed and rendered at Opera’s servers. Opera claims that it can reduce the size of webpages by upto 90%. This results in a significant speed boost and can even reduce your bandwidth bills.

By integrating Opera Mini with the Windows Mobile platform, Opera Software is hoping to deliver an optimized version of the popular browser that will dramatically improve performance and the overall user experience. “Windows Mobile deserves a mobile browser that looks better, handles better and delivers better than the default browser,” said Dag Olav Norem, Vice President of Products, Opera Software.

You can download Opera Mini for Windows Mobile by browsing to m.opera.com/next from your mobile phone. Alternatively, you can download it to your computer from opera.com/mini/next/.

Microsoft Releases New Windows 7 Theme to Celebrate the Onset of Spring

Robin Williams said that, “Spring is nature’s way of saying, ‘Let’s party!'”. Indeed, Spring is a season whose onset is marked by festivals in most parts of the world.

Spring has already arrived in most of the Northern Hemisphere. However, even if it hasn’t yet arrived at your place, you can get in the spirit of spring thanks to Microsoft.

Windows-7-Spring-Theme

To celebrate the onset of spring, the official Windows 7 Personalization Gallery has been updated with a brand new theme called Czech Spring (České jar). It includes eight gorgeous wallpapers featuring Mother Nature in her full glory. Each of the wallpapers is simple yet refreshing and enchanting. Download the theme pack from the Official Personalization Gallery if you wish to freshen up your desktop.

Windows-7-Spring-Wallpapers

(via IntoWindows)

Opera’s Co-Founder Believes That P2P Is the Future of the Web – Calls Chrome Just a Skin

Jon von TetzchnerOn the eve of Opera 10.5’s launch, Opera’s co-founder Jon Von Tetzchner sat down to speak with The Register. In a freewheeling conversation, he discussed a wide range of issues including future of the web, evolution of mobile web and of course Opera.

Speaking on the Browser Ballot screen, Opera’s co-founder was hopeful that it would help users across Europe discover faster and safer alternatives to Internet Explorer. While speaking about competitors, Tetzchner was dismissive of Google’s effort, You know what Chrome means? It’s plating, a skin. That’s what Chrome is.

He also indicated that Opera is unlikely to implement the per-process model (each tab is a separate process) employed by Chrome. Unknown to most, Chrome isn’t the first browser to utilize per-process architecture. In fact, it was implemented in Opera for BeOS almost a decade back because, “the BeOS team were very keen on threading”. “We can do that now”, commented Tetzchner, But we find if you do things the Google way, you use a lot more memory.

In spite of minimal presence in the desktop market, Opera has always been a leader in the mobile segment. It championed the philosophy of One Web, even when most of the world was intent on using WAP. Now people can see we were right, said the man who was at Opera’s helm for more than a decade.

Today, Opera believes that P2P is the next stage of Web everywhere. Jon pointed out that Opera is no longer restricted to Computers and Mobile devices. Indeed, Opera is being used in set top boxes, televisions and even cars. Unite – which can convert any system which has Opera installed into a web server, is Opera’s attempt at tackling the demands of the evolving web.

Today a photo you take on your phone [waves E71] stays on your phone. But if each phone had an IP address, and then people could connect to you and see it. That’s why we think you’ll have Unite everywhere. We want to bring home the message that the web will be everywhere, in your mobile, in your GPS, in your set top box.

Opera also sees the browser as the next application development platform. Although, Jon pointed out that what Google calls HTML5 is really an attempt to create a common platform for their services, he agreed that browsers are the best option when it came to running cross-platform applications.

Opera 10.50 For Windows Released – A Worthy Challenger To Firefox And Chrome

As predicted, Opera 10.5 (final) for Windows is here. Yesterday, the Browser Choice screen went live in European Union countries and quite obviously, Opera is hoping to woo new users with their latest offering. However, does it have enough to challenge the likes of Firefox and Chrome?

Opera Software promised to deliver speed and with Opera 10.5, they have managed to deliver it with a dash of panache. Opera 10.5 features a markedly improved user interface (UI), which makes the best use of modern operating systems. The tab bar has been merged with the title bar and all the menu options are now offered through a single O-menu button. Opera 10.5 also makes use of Windows 7 features such as Jumplists and taskbar tabs.

Opera-10.5-For-Windows

The overall browsing experience is a lot more fluid thanks to the attention paid to minute details. The annoying dialogue boxes used in previous versions of Opera have been replaced with overlay boxes, which don’t get in your way. The address bar, search bar as well as the zoom button has received small tweaks but these minute changes have a big effect on the pleasantness of the UI.

Private Browsing has also been introduced in this version. Although Opera is the last of the major browsers to implement this feature, its implementation is probably the best. Opera supports Private Windows as well as Private Tabs. When you open a Private Tab or Window any browsing activity performed within that specific tab/window won’t be recorded.

There are major under the hood changes in Opera 10.5 including a brand new JavaScript engine (Carakan) and an updated rendering engine (Presto 2.5). As a result, Opera is now the fastest browser according to most tests. Opera 10.5 also boasts of full CSS 2.1 support and improved CSS 3 and HTML5 support. HTML5 videos (powered by Ogg Theora) are now supported in Opera.

Opera 10.5 is an immensely impressive browser. Whether it is the best browser or not simply boils down to personal preferences. Nevertheless, it should please anyone looking for a fast and pleasant web browsing experience.

[ Download Opera 10.5 for Windows ]

Opera 10.5 RC for Windows Released

Opera’s development team has been working overtime to ensure that Opera 10.5 for Windows is ready when the Browser Choice screen goes live in Europe. As a result, we have witnessed two beta releases along with a dozen snapshots during the month of February. Now, Opera Software has released Opera 10.50 RC for Windows.

Opera-105-RC

Opera 10.50 has been getting rave reviews around the web thanks to its improved UI and jaw-dropping speed. Check out our past articles if you wish to know what is new in Opera. In short, the major new features include a brand new ECMA engine, Windows 7 integration, refined skin and a sexy user interface, private windows/tabs, geolocation and improved html5 and css3 support (including support for <video> tag).

The Release Candidate build includes a host of bug fixes and skin tweaks along with support for seeking in HTML5 powered videos. Quite obviously, Opera has been prioritising the Windows build, as they want to offer their best when European users are given an opportunity to choose an alternative browser. This makes it likely that the final build would be unveiled within the next twenty four hours.

[ Download Opera 10.50 RC for Windows ]

Mozilla JaegerMonkey – Bringing Speed Back To Firefox

Firefox-JaegerMonkeyMozilla was one of the first browsers to talk about native code compilation for JavaScript. In fact, this is what allowed Firefox and Chrome to zoom ahead of other browsers in terms of rendering speed. However, now that other browsers have also implemented similar features, Firefox has once again fallen behind.

Obviously, Mozilla isn’t pleased with the current situation. In most speed tests, current builds of Firefox end up getting trashed by every browser other than Internet Explorer. This has prompted Mozilla to begin work on a new engine called JaegerMonkey.

TraceMonkey

Work on JaegerMonkey is just getting started and it will possibly take several months for this to appear even in the alpha builds of Firefox. Nevertheless, this gives Firefox users something to look forward to.

Vodafone Announces World’s Cheapest Phone, Would Be Available For Less Than $15

While the big names have been busy dazzling the world with the latest and greatest offerings at MWC 2010, Vodafone has unveiled, what it claims to be, the lowest-cost mobile phone on Earth. The Vodafone 150 will be available for less than $15 (Rs 700 approx.) and is targeted at developing countries. It will initially be launched in India, Turkey and eight African countries including Lesotho, Kenya and Ghana.

Vodafone-150-Cheapest-Phone

Mobile phone sales has been experiencing explosive growth in emerging markets like India and total mobile ownership is predicted to reach 5 billion in 2010. SMS has become a way of life even in villages located in far-flung parts of the country. Vodafone is obviously hoping to attract new customers thanks to its ludicrously low price.

While Vodafone 150 is a black and white phone supporting only voice calls and SMS, a comparatively luxurious alternative dubbed Vodafone 250 (priced at $20.00) will include color display and FM radio. Vodafone has stated that a simple payment service will also be built into these ultra-low-end phones.

[Image Courtesy: FoneHome]

Samsung i8520 ‘Halo’ Android Phone with Projector Spotted

At MWC, it is all about who can grab the most eyeballs and Samsung has certainly kicked off in a fine fashion. Earlier today, we shared with you official pictures of Samsung Wave S8500. However, Wave is not the only surprise Samsung has in store for us. A look at the spec sheet also revealed details about a yet to be announced Android Phone – Samsung i8520.

Samsung-i8250-Picture-Android

Samsung i8250 will feature a 3.7-inch WVGA Super AMOLED display, 8-megapixel autofocus camera (with a secondary VGA camera), 720p / 30fps video encoding/decoding, A-GPS, Bluetooth v2.1 and 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi. Although, we don’t know much about the processor powering the phone, we do know that it will be running Android 2.1 which has been modded to provide a TouchWiz like user interface.

Samsung-i8250-Picture-Projector

Samsung i8250 is packed with multimedia features and will support H.264, H.263, MPEG4 and DivX/Xvid video formats along with MP3, OGG, AAC, AAC+, eAAC+, AMR-NB, AMR-WB, WMA, WAV, MID and AC3 audio formats. On top of this, Samsung has also included a DLP Pico Projector and a ‘Specialized Projector UI’. Pricing as well as launch date is not known at this point of time.

Mobile World Congress 2010 Schedule and Events List

Mobile World Congress (MWC) is the world’s largest exhibition for the mobile industry. It is an annual extravaganza in which thousands of companies exhibit solutions that will define the future of the mobile industry. Although, Microsoft’s keynote is arguably the most highly anticipated event (courtesy Windows Mobile 7), there will be plenty of other exciting events and conferences in MWC 2010. Here is a quick look at the highlights of MWC 2010. Plan in advance, if you don’t wish to miss any of the good stuff.

Mobile-World-Congress-2010-Schedule

Monday

09:00 MotoDev Breakfast at Motodev in AppPlanet Hall 7
11:30 MotoDev Android Developer Panel Hall 7
11:30 MotoDev Maximise your Android Market Opportunity App Planet Hall 7
14:00 Mobile premier awards Palau De La Música 4 08003 Barcelona, Spain 932 957 200
15:00 – Microsoft Keynote (Possible Windows Mobile 7 announcement)

Tuesday

08:30 Opportunities with on-device payments and preloaded content Tanla MWC Seminar
08:00 UKTI Challenges in Japan Location Sala D
11:30 UKTI Turkish / UK Partnering Event UKTI stand?
17:00 Scottish Development International Whisky Reception Stand, 1E66
18:00 GoMo Incognito BAR, calle Fusina 6, 08003 Barcelona, Spain
18:00 Androiders Dinner at MWC

Wednesday

08:30 – UKTI UK / US Panel discussion UKTI?
09:00 – Android dev lab (Games Dev) Hall7 App world, MWC
12:30 – Sony Ericsson talk App world Hall 7
14:00 – Tech crunch Mobile 2010

Thursday

08:00 – GetJar Demo App Planet Auditorium, Hall 7, FIRA, Barcelona, Spain
9ish – WIP Jam App Planet Auditorium, Hall 7, FIRA, Barcelona, Spain