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 .

MySpace Begins Testing Redesigned Profile Pages

If you still care about MySpace, there is some exciting news for you. The social networking giant, which has been struggling to stay relevant, is currently testing a redesigned profile page.

We’re testing a new look and feel of our site among users and the response so far has been positive”, a MySpace representative confirmed to Mashable.

MySpace-New-Profile-Page

Among other things the new profile page offers improved navigation and more focused social stream. The screenshot obtained by Mashable suggests that the new profile page also includes a module to promote profiles on other social networks like Twitter and Facebook.

To be honest, the new profile page appears really slick and is definitely a significant improvement. However, is this a case of doing too little, too late?

San Mateo D.A Returns Items Seized From Gizmodo Editor

Apple The EFF is reporting that the San Mateo police will return all items seized from the house of Gizmodo Editor, Jason Chen. The San Mateo police raided Jason Chen’s house after Apple filed an official complaint regarding the theft of an iPhone 4 unit, which was purchased by Gizmodo.

While this is most likely an entirely unrelated event, the timing certainly suites Apple quite well. Over the past few weeks, Apple has receiving a lot of heat from the blogosphere as well as the mainstream press for iPhone 4 hardware and software issues. Any amount of positive publicity will be certainly be welcomed by Apple.

Nevertheless, the withdrawal of the warrant doesn’t necessarily mean the end of the matter. The case is still open and the police can still move forward with it.

Apple Will Offer Free Bumper Cases to iPhone 4 Owners

As predicted by many pundits, Apple has announced that it will provide free bumper cases to iPhone 4 owners. This offer will be applicable to all iPhone 4 handsets purchased through September 30. In order to satisfy demand, Apple will also offer consumers the option of choosing a third-party iPhone 4 case. Anyone who has already purchased a bumper case is eligible for complete refund.

The iPhone 4 death-grip controversy is a rare instance where Apple has been caught completely off guard. It’s even rare to see Steve Jobs being forced to defend an Apple product in front of journalists. Yet, that is what he did today.

iPhone-4-DeathGrip

“You know, we’re not perfect. And phones aren’t perfect either. But we want to make all of our users happy. And if you don’t know that about Apple, you don’t know Apple”, is not the kind of statement you would normally associate with Jobs. Also, by giving away a free bumper, Apple is virtually admitting that the death grip is an hardware issue, which can’t be fixed through software updates.

Jobs also promised to fix the other significant issue with the iPhone 4 – the proximity sensor, through a software update.

Apple is obviously hoping that the freebie will diffuse the negative publicity surrounding the iPhone 4 death-grip. In many ways, it was the only realistic option available to Apple. On one hand, the controversy threatened to snowball into a massive backlash, if left unattended. On the other hand, a full recall would have been immensely costly for Apple.

If you are an iPhone 4 owner, don’t forget to let us know what you feel about Apple’s offer? Are you satisfied, or does being forced to use a case bother you?

Image Courtesy: Engadget

Android Market: Doesn’t Have 100,000 Apps, But Still Doing Pretty Damn Well

AndroidAccording to the unofficial metrics provided by AndroLib, the Android Market now has more than 100,000 apps. Unfortunately, it appears that the figures suggested by AndroLib might be inflated. Google’s official count states that there are only 70,000 Android applications in the Market.

This discrepancy might be due to international markets. It appears that Google only considers the US Market, while AndroLib takes into account foreign Markets as well.

While Android might not be growing at the exponential rate suggested by AndroLib, it is still growing rapidly. The official figure points to a 40% growth since April. AndroLib is also predicting that the Market has crossed 1 billion app downloads. However, this may also turn out to be inflated.

Apple remains the clear leader with more than 225,000 apps. Nevertheless, with 160,000 Android handsets being activated every day and new devices being released every month, Android platform continues to impress.

Epic: A Web Browser Made For India, By India

While it’s hard for a new browser to make an international impact, one can argue that there are still untapped opportunities on a regional level. For example, Maxthon is hugely popular in China, yet it remains largely unknown internationally. Bangalore based startup Hidden Reflex certainly believes that it can gain sufficient traction by offering a distinctive Indian flavor.

Epic-Home

Epic, which is based on Mozilla Firefox, cleverly taps into several already available services to serve content tailored for Indian users. Among other things, it uses Google Indic Transliteration tool to enable typing in Indian languages like Hindi, Bengali and Tamil. The custom sidebar also offers one-click access to regional and national news including live video streams (served by NDTV), cricket match scores, share market updates and music charts. Epic also provides box file backup (through Gmail), mail (Yahoo and Gmail) and social networking (Facebook, Twitter and Orkut) apps. Additional security is provided through ESET NOD32 and WOT. If you want more you can always install more apps from Epic’s online gallery, which currently houses more than 1,500 applications. Additionally, since Epic is based on Firefox, it also supports standard Firefox extensions.

Epic-Indian-News

Techie Buzz Verdic

EpicOn the whole, Epic impressed me with its features as well as overall execution. It’s a lot more than just another Firefox port, which is what I had initially expected it to be. The fact that it is built on top of Firefox, which is already fairly popular, should come to its advantage. Casual users are notorious for sticking to what they are already familiar with. In spite of being packed to the brim with features, Epic does well to keep them neatly tucked away in a separate corner. The additional features doesn’t get in your way. Epic still very much feels and behaves like Firefox. At the same time, the default persona is a bit gaudy and Epic would do well to adopt the new minimalistic theme Mozilla is embracing.

Techie Buzz Rating: 4.5/5 (Excellent)
[ Download Epic ]

Rumor: Motorola Droid X Will Self-Destruct If You Try To Mod It

Motorola-Droid-X According to a post on MyDroidWorld, the Motorola Droid X includes a self-destruction mechanism to prevent unofficial ROMs being installed on the phone. The Droid X has something called an e-fuse chip, which basically bricks the phone as soon as it detects that the bootloader has been tampered with. Here’s a selected excerpt from the forum post:

If the eFuse failes to verify this information then the eFuse receives a command to “blow the fuse” or “trip the fuse”. This results in the booting process becoming corrupted and resulting in a permanent bricking of the Phone. This FailSafe is activated anytime the bootloader is tampered with or any of the above three parts (firmware information, the kernel information, and the bootloader version) of the phone has been tampered with.

I doubt that even this would succeed in entirely blocking unofficial ROMs. BoyGeniusReport assures us that the same mechanism was also present in other OMAP3 handsets like the Motorola Milestone. In fact, one modder already seems very optimistic about the Droid X. Nevertheless, this can potentially turn out to be a major hurdle for modders. If you like to mod your Android phone, then you might want to wait or pick up one of the many alternatives.

Opera Mobile 10.1 Beta for S60 Phones Released

Opera-10.1-Beta-Symbian-S60 Opera Software has been busy refreshing its mobile offering over the past few days. After sprucing up Opera Mini for budget phones as well as Android handsets, Opera Software has now released an improved version of Opera Mobile for Symbian S60 handsets.

Opera Mobile 10.1 Beta for S60 features the new Presto rendering engine, Vega graphics library and Carakan JavaScript engine. This brings Opera Mobile’s rendering capabilities on par with the desktop edition. Also new to this release is Geolocation, which allows location aware web-applications to directly pinpoint you on a map.

“Opera Mobile 10.1 beta is a new upgrade, including the latest rendering technologies to boost browsing performance on Symbian Series 60 phones,” said Dag Olav Norem, Vice President, Mobile Products at Opera Software. “Millions of people already use Opera Mobile on their Nokia Series 60 phones and we hope many of them will help us test this new beta.”

Opera Mobile is a full-featured mobile browser, which offers desktop-like browsing experience on mobile phones. Some of its salient features are speed dial, Opera Link (synchronization), password manager, Opera Turbo, tabbed browsing, kinetic scrolling and auto-rotation.

You can download the latest beta directly to your mobile phone from m.opera.com/next/.

Motorola Droid X: Available NOW!

The wait is over folks. The Droid X is now available for purchase on Verizon Wireless’ online store. The handset costs $199.99, if you opt for a two year contract with Verizon. Without the contract, it will set you back by $569.99.

Droid-X-Order

The Droid X is Motorola’s much awaited answer to the Apple iPhone 4 and HTC EVO. It boasts of a 4.3” screen, along with a 1 GHz processor. Also included is an 8 megapixel camera that is capable of recording HD (720p) videos.

If you don’t mind standing in a queue, you can also pick up the Droid X from a Verizon outlet in a few hours. Even as Apple continues to struggle with iPhone 4 issues, Motorola is betting big on the Droid X. Will the Droid X succeed in taking America by storm? Let us know what you think.

Image Courtesy: Engadget

RIAA Spent More Than $16 Million in 2008 To Recover Only $0.391 Million

RIAA-Sucks If there is one thing that RIAA is famous for, it is suing people. Unfortunately for RIAA, their sue-happy policy doesn’t seem to be paying off. The Recording Industry vs. The People blog has uncovered that RIAA managed to recover only $391,000, after spending more than $16,000,000 in 2008 on litigations.

The statistics look even more dismal if you consider the three year period between 2006 and 2008. During this period RIAA spent more than $64 million and managed to recover only $1.3 million.

It’s ironic how a trust whose primary purpose is to look after the interest of artists is wasting money on litigations. The only ones benefiting from RIAA’s actions are the law firms. RIAA paid Holmes Roberts & Owen more than $9.3 million, Jenner & Block more than $7 million and Cravath Swain & Moore $1.25 million.

Well done RIAA!

Windows Phone 7 Will Offer Out of the Box Theft Protection

Windows-Phone-7 Misplacing a smartphone can be an agonizing experience. Not only do you lose your prized possession, but you also lose all your contacts and data, while potentially exposing yourself to a privacy and security nightmare. It’s no wonder that operating system developers are working towards providing mobile security services to all users.

After RIM, Microsoft has also revealed that they are developing an anti-theft solution dubbed Find My Phone, which will ship with all Windows Phone 7 devices. Find My Phone will be able to remotely lock, ring and wipe stolen handsets, besides tracking it online. Online synchronization will take care of syncing miscellaneous information including calendar, contacts and notes. Also included will be SkyDrive integration, which will provide you with 25 GB of free web storage.

Windows Phone 7 based devices will begin appearing in time for this holiday season. To begin with, they will be restricted to 5 languages – English, French, German, Italian, and Spanish. With Windows Phone 7, Microsoft will also introduce their new online app store called Windows Phone Marketplace, which will be initially available in 17 countries including US, UK, Canada, Australia and India.