All posts by Joel Fernandes

Joel Fernandes (G+) is a tech enthusiast and a social media blogger. During his leisure time, he enjoys taking photographs, and photography is one of his most loved hobbies. You can find some of his photos on Flickr. He does a little of web coding, and maintains a tech blog of his own - Techo Latte. Joel is currently pursuing his Masters in Computer Application from Bangalore, India. You can get in touch with him on Twitter - @joelfernandes, or visit his Facebook Profile for more information.

Sony Introduces World’s Thinnest Camera – Sony Cybershot DSC-TX55

Sony has introduced a new compact camera, Sony Cyber-shot TX55, which it claims to be the world’s thinnest camera at just 12.2 mm (0.5″) in thickness.

The Cyber-shot TX55 is the world’s thinnest camera in its class (among cameras with an optical anti-shake function). It redefines what a compact camera can do. In addition to the newly developed, ultra-thin chassis design, the camera features an incredible combination of features and performance, putting more creativity at users’ fingertips than ever before.

The new cyber-shot comes with Carl Zeiss Vario-Tessa lens that is paired with a 16.2 megapixel Exmor R CMOS sensor.   The camera’s 5x optical zoom is further improvised by the company’s ‘By Pixel Super Resolution’ process. With the touch of the shutter button, the Dual Rec takes 12MP still images without disturbing the full HD video shooting.

 Sony Cyber-shot DSC-TX55

Sony Cyber-shot DSC-TX55

The camera has been equipped with a 3.3-inch Xtra Fine OLED wide touchscreen and displays seven picture effect options. It’s Superior Automode lets the camera handle a number of shooting situations without any user adjustment, and the camera’s intelligent panorama tools enable users to grab panorama shots up to 42.9 megapixels.

The Sony Cyber-shot DSC-TX55 hosts another impressive feature which is the 3D Still Image mode. The feature lets you snap two images with a single shutter speed, and enabling users to view 3D images without a stereoscopic lens. This tool can also be used to capture 3D panoramas and sweep multi-angle shots.

Sony Cybershot TX55 Complete Features:

  • DSLR-like picture quality
  • 16.2 Megapixels Exmor R CMOS sensor
  • 5x optical zoom and up to 10x with Pixel Super Resolution feature
  • Ultra-thin chassis design (12.2 mm)
  • 3D Still Image captures with 3D Sweep Panorama mode and Sweep Multi Angle
  • Full HD AVCHD video recording
  • 3.3inch Xtra Fine OLED wide touch-screen Monitor
  • Seven picture effect options includes HDR Painting, Rich-tone Monochrome, Miniature, Toy Camera, Partial Color, Pop Color and Soft High-key.
  • SteadyShot image stabilization for Full HD video shooting
  • Electronic image stabilization for vertical and horizontal handshake correction
  • Intelligent Sweep Panorama mode
  • Supports Memory Stick Micro, microSD/SDHC cards for up to 16 GB of removable storage.

The Sony Cyber-shot DSC-TX55 will be made available in September 2011, and attaches a price tag of $350. (India Price: Approx. 20,000 ~ 25,000/- INR). It can be  purchased  from Sony stores, sonystyle.com and other authorized retailers throughout the Sony Dealer Network.

Protect Your Photographs from Being Stolen on the Internet

Most photographers work hard in protecting their photos from being used by others. This is one of the greatest challenges that photographers are facing when it comes to protecting their work. Despite several techniques like watermarking and copyrights, protecting pictures has become nearly impossible.

Although the Internet has changed a lot of things on how art is shared and distributed, it has also shown a way to steal them. Thousands of photos are uploaded every day on free/paid hosting sites such as Flickr, 500px, Picasa and elsewhere. If the hosting service  provider  says that the photos uploaded are protected, then they are wrong. There are several back entries to gain access to them (Well, viewing the source code is one way).

I have to admit, nothing on the internet can be protected. The best way to protect your art/photos from being downloaded or stolen is to not upload them online. However, it is possible to make image theft harder, but like I said, there is always a back entry.

This article reveals some of the techniques required in order to protect your photos from infringement, ranging from preventing downloads from blogs, finding unauthorized usage of images and modifying your photo’s EXIF data. Let us take a close look at each of these techniques.

Preventing Downloads

Photos uploaded on your photo blog can be prevented in several ways. Here are two basic, yet useful ways – disabling Right-click using Javascript and placing images as a background to Tables.

Disable  Right-click using Javascript:

When you right-click on an image, you have an option to save it. Disabling right-click will prevent visitors from saving your images. To do so, just add the following code in your HTML page –

Place this javascript code after the <head> tag.

<script type="javascript">
<!-- Begin
function disableRightClick(e) {
var msg = "Go hang yourself!";
if (navigator.appName == 'Netscape' && e.which == 3) {
alert(msg);
return false;
}
if (navigator.appName == 'Microsoft Internet Explorer' && event.button==2) {
alert(msg);
return false;
}
else return true;
}

function onRightClick() 
  {
  if(document.images)
    {
    for(i=0;i<document.images.length;i++)
      {
      document.images[i].onmousedown = disableRightClick;
      document.images[i].onmouseup = disableRightClick;
      }
    }
  }
// End -->
</script>

Replace <body> tag with this –

<body onLoad="onRightClick()">

Placing Images as a Background to Tables

You can place your photos as a background image to Tables. Doing so, will remove the option “Save image as…” from the right-click menu. Replace the background-image with the URL of your image in the code below –

<table style="background-image:http://cache.techie-buzz.com/images/joel/copter-burnout.PNG');
</table>

Here’s a demonstration of the technique.

Right-click on both the images to see the difference.

Alternatively, you can hide your image behind a transparent image. i.e., by placing a transparent image within the table data <td> cell. This will, however, enable the Save image as…option, but when someone tries to save/download the image, the transparent image will be downloaded instead of the original image.

Here’s a demonstration.

Right-click and save the image below and see what you have downloaded.

Finding Unauthorized Usage

Recently, Google introduced a new functionality to Google Images where users can search photos by just dragging them into the search bar. Impressive enough, however, the feature focuses on finding similar photos, but not exact ones. To find if your photos are being used elsewhere, you can make use of TinEye. Designed by Idèe, TinEye can be used as an alternative to Google Image search. It is a free image search service that allow photographers to upload a picture and then search for the same image across the Internet.

TinEye allows you to either upload an image or enter the URL of the image, in which the attributes of the image are analyzed instantly, and its fingerprint is compared to the fingerprint of every single image in the TinEye search index. It then provides a detailed list of websites that are using the image.

Modifying EXIF Data

Almost all digital cameras save JPEG files with EXIF (Exchangeable Image File) data. EXIF data contains camera settings such as camera model name, lens, shooting mode, exposure and so on.

When you are uploading a photo online, make sure that you edit the EXIF data and add your information (like your name) in the comments field. It is rare to find infringers to go through the EXIF data and modify it. When you come across someone using your photo without your knowledge, you can sue them for it.

Creating a “Loading…” Animated GIF Using Photoshop [Video Tutorial]

In web designing, it is very much necessary for designers to be creative and use different techniques to attract a viewer, and we have seen most websites using animated GIF images to drive attention. In this tutorial, we’ll take a look at the Photoshop animation feature which can be used to create animated GIF image.

Note: In this tutorial, I am using Photoshop CS 5

Final Preview

Here’s a final preview of what you will be creating –

"Loading..." Photoshop Tutorial

Step One:

Draw the outline (circumference) of a circle, like the one shown below.

"Loading..." Photoshop Tutorial

Step Two:

Using the Polygon Lasso tool, slice a part of the circle. In other words, create an arc. You should obtain the following shape:

"Loading..." Photoshop Tutorial

Once done, delete the rest of the circle. We don’t need it anymore.

Step 3:

Create three additional copies of the arc (i.e., by duplicating it) by pressing Ctrl + J. Arrange the four arcs in such a way, that it appears like a (broken) circle. Go to Edit > Transform > Rotate 180/90 CW/90 CCW

"Loading..." Photoshop Tutorial

Step 4:

The steps from here are quite tricky and confusing. Hence, the rest of this tutorial is shown in the video below:

Gradient Color used:  b2e10f

I hope you have followed the tutorial carefully and  accomplished  the end result. After you saved the file, make sure you open it in the browser to view it.

Facebook Rewards $500 for Every Bug Reported

Remember Google’s Chrome Bug Bountyprogram? Well, when Google released Google Chrome 12, it announced on its blog that it rewarded developers/researchers who found vulnerabilities (bugs) in its code. Earlier in August 2010, it was reported that Google gave away a total estimate of $10k of rewards. Mozilla too has the bug bounty program which pays $3,000 in hard cash plus a free Mozilla T-shirt for finding bugs!

Facebook has joined Google and Mozilla, and is following the “Bug Bounty” program, by rewarding its security researchers. However, the reward offered is way too less. For security related bugs – cross site scripting flaws, for example – the company will pay a base rate of $500, but if they’re highly significant flaws, Facebook has promised to pay more. However, the company executives haven’t revealed the bonus reward.

“To show our appreciation for our security researchers, we offer a monetary bounty for certain qualifying security bugs,” Facebook stated on its portal.

Facebook launched a new Whitehat hacking portal where researchers can sign up for the program and report bugs. They have also published a list of about 42 researchers who have made responsible disclosuresin the past.

Facebook Bug Bounty Program

With over 750 million  active  users, looks like Facebook is highly concerned about its security issues. Facebook hired a computer hacker who was recently sued by Sony for hacking the online gaming system PlayStation 3, last month.

If a bug has been discovered, the researchers  are asked to provide  as much information as possible. In order to receive the award, a detailed  explanation of steps is  required and all legitimate reports will be investigated.

Here’s the company’s policy –

“If you give us a reasonable time to respond to your report before making any information public and make a good faith effort to avoid privacy violations, destruction of data and interruption or degradation of our service during your research, we will not bring any lawsuit against you or ask law enforcement to investigate you.”

In addition to that, the researcher who reports a bug first is only rewarded. For instance, if two researchers find the same bug individually, the first one who reports it will be eligible to claim the reward.

Facebook’s Bug Bounty Eligibility Rules

In order to be eligible for the reward, researchers must follow to Facebook’s Responsible Disclosure Policy.

  • You must be the first person to responsibly disclose the bug.
  • Give Facebook a reasonable time to respond to your report before making any information public.
  • You must live in a country not under any current U.S. Sanctions.
  • You agree to report issues that may compromise a user’s information including Cross-Site Scripting (XSS), Cross-Site Request Forgery (CSRF/XSRF) and Remote Code injection.
  • Only one payment per bug will be awarded.
  • Bugs in third-party applications, third-party websites that integrate with Facebook, Denial of Service Vulnerabilities or Spam or Social Engineering techniques will not be eligible.

Google, Mozilla and Facebook are not the only ones who reward its security researchers. Microsoft does it too. Microsoft, on the other hand, offers a big reward of US$250,000 to anyone who provides information on a virus culprit who masquerades in the Windows theme.

[Video] Girl Brutally Pranked by 2 Guys While UNCONSCIOUS! – Facebook Scam

Yet another video related Facebook scam is spreading rapidly on Facebook. Just like earlier scams –  Brother Rapes and Kills His Sister,  A Girl Raped by Her Teacher in the Classroom  and the  Ex Girlfriend Revenge Video scam, this too comes with a title and thumbnail that would make most Facebook users curious and click on the scam message.

The new scam titled [Video] Girl brutally pranked by 2 guys while UNCONSCIOUS!with a description that states these guys took this prank to far! How could you do that to someone?is reportedly spreading like wildfire.

Girl Brutally Pranked by 2 Guys - Facebook Scam

From the above screenshot you can see that there are two versions of the scam with different descriptions. There could be several other variants in which this scam might be spreading. The website URLs in these updates might be different and not work because they get blocked pretty quickly.

The scam promises you to show a video after you have verified your age by clicking Jaatwice. By clicking the Jaabutton, your Facebook account will be click-jacked and like-jacked which will automatically update your Facebook wall with the scam message.

After you verifyyour age, you will be redirected to another page where you will be asked to complete a set of surveys. However, you will not be shown any video. It is advised that you ignore/delete the scam message from your news feed. Otherwise, it might lead your friends also to fall for the trap.  You can report the scam to  Facebook Security  as well.

We have  compiled  a list of  Most Actively Spreading Scams on Facebook  that you might want to have a look at. In addition to that, don’t forget to check out our article about  Avoiding Facebook Likejacking and Clickjacking scams.

You might also want to  use a security application for protecting you from Facebook scams. As a precautionary measure, always check which applications you use and remove unwanted or suspicious ones. If you aren’t sure how to do it, you can always check our guide on  removing apps from Facebook.

Speak Asia in Big Trouble; COO Arrested

The Singapore-based online survey and market research company – Speak Asia, which ran advertisements during the IPL matches on TV, is now in big trouble. The company organizes online surveys for various products and companies. Their online survey scheme involves users to subscribe to the scheme by paying Rs. 11,000 ($250 USD) and fill up the survey forms. The subscribers are then paid a commission once they have completed the surveys or refer a friend.

The Economic Offences Wing (EOW) of the Mumbai Crime Branch on Friday arrested Tarak Bajpai, COO of Speak Asia, and four other officials for financial irregularities and unearthing a multi-crore scam in which over 13 lakh investors have been cheated.

Bajpai stated, “I am going for a small investigation. The management of the company is there to support all Speak Asians. All departments have given us a clean chit and this too is a small investigation. I have stay order from high court to deal with unforeseen problems.”

Also Read:  Speak Asia a Fraud

Speak Asia Scam

The company does not have a registered office in India yet, and no legal documents of the company are available online.

Also Read:  Gold Safe A Fraud Show on Indian Television Channels

Speak Asia is currently being investigated under Section 591 of the Companies Act, which is applicable to companies incorporated outside India and that have established a place of business within the country.

Crime Branch chief Himanshu Roy said, We estimate that until now the company has duped investors of Rs 1,320 crore ($300 million USD).  Speak Asia assures its subscribers/investors a return of Rs. 52,000 ($1,181 USD) over an investment of Rs. 11,000. Subscribers are provided with two surveys every week and are paid Rs. 500 ($11.3 USD) upon completing a survey successfully.

Last month, United Overseas Bank, based in Singapore has closed all accounts of Speak Asia.

Our bank account in Singapore has not been frozen… we are only moving our company account to another bank. We are approaching and evaluating various other banks in Singapore from where we will soon be able to disburse the payments to all panellists,Speak Asia said in a statement.

Gender, No More a Secret on Twitter

When Twitter initially launched its service, users created Twitter handles with nicknames and aliases that did not reveal the gender and it was difficult to identify it. Nevertheless, Twitter still does not have an option to let its users reveal their gender. However, a bunch of researchers has figured out a way to identify, or rather predict the gender of a user on Twitter based on their tweets.

In a paper called Discriminating Gender on Twitter, researchers at the Mitre Corporation have come up with an algorithm and stated that with the help of the algorithm, they could identify a user’s gender by analyzing the tweets.

According to FastCompany, team members – John Burger, John Henderson, George Kim and Guido Zarrella – selected a set of Twitter users whose gender they were sure of. They then narrowed their research to users who linked to major blog services where they revealed their gender. The data obtained showed that about 55% were female and 45% were male. By examining the users’ real name as posted on their Twitter profiles, the computer guessed the gender correctly on around 89 percent of instances. Remarkably, the program was able to guess a user’s gender correctly 65.9 percent of the time by looking at a single tweet.

The team created the algorithm, which suggests that different people use different languages in different ways. They found out that, by looking at certain characters or combinations of characters, the computer could easily guess the gender of the tweeter. For example, if the user used an exclamation mark or a smiley face, it guessed that the user was more likely to be a female.

Twitter Gender Analysis

On other platforms, I have seen users creating fake profiles by updating their gender as female, even if they are male in reality. It’s a human nature that males are more attracted to females, and the majority of male users on the Internet send friend requests or follow female users. Thus, by creating profiles under female gender will bring in more followers or friend requests no matter what.

Perhaps this is why Twitter has not yet introduced an option that lets its users reveal their gender. The other reason could be that there are several organizations and brands on Twitter. Well, one cannot describe the gender of an organization.

Although Google+ does not support brand and organization entities, it recently updated its system by adding an option called Otherin gender. Additionally, if Google Plus users did not want to reveal their gender, they always have an option to disable it or share it with selected people. I think Twitter should consider introducing a similar option, at least to organizations and brands in order to make it easier for other Twitter users to identify whether it’s a brand or a person.

Girl Caught by Her Dad While Having Fun on Chatroulette..!! – Facebook Scam

A picture is worth a hundred word, but a thumbnail on Facebook is worth a thousand notorious thoughts. Here is a scam with a very displeasing thumbnail of a girl stripping her clothes down. Earlier we had seen a scam that indicated a girl caught by her dad while she was on web cam. Today I came across a similar scam titled – “AWFUL!!! Girl gets caught by her dad while having fun on chatroulette.. !!that describes – This is just WRONG!! Poor father … this is so awkaward!. The scammer couldn’t even get the right spelling of ‘awkward’.

Girl Caught be Her Dad - Facebook Scam

Well, clicking on the scam link redirects you to the same old Jaapage. You will have to verify that your over 13 years of age before you can watch the video. However, there is no video shown even after you verify your age. Instead, clicking the Jaabutton will click-jack and like-jack your Facebook account by automatically posting and likingthe scam on your Facebook wall.

Girl Caught by Dad - Facebook Scam

After that, you will be redirected to another page where you will be asked to complete a set of useless surveys.  Scammers earn money by getting users to complete such surveys. We have also seen scammers creating apps that promise users to give 2000 Facebook Credits for free. It is similar to the Free Cityville coins Scam that offered 4000000 coins and 400 in cash.

It is recommended that you ignore the scam message or delete/remove the scam from your Facebook news feed immediately. Alternately, you can report the scam to Facebook Security.

We have compiled a list of  Most Actively Spreading Scams on Facebook  that you might want to have a look at. In addition to that, don’t forget to check out our article about  Avoiding Facebook Likejacking and Clickjacking scams.  You might also want to  use a security application for protecting you from Facebook scams. As a precautionary measure, always check which applications you use and remove unwanted or suspicious ones. If you aren’t sure how to do it, you can always check our guide on  removing apps from Facebook.

Recently Reported Facebook Scams/Spam:

Creating HDR Images with Photoshop, Quick and Easy

High Dynamic Range-technique (HDR) is a photography technique that is achieved by shooting two or more standard photographs, taken at different exposure levels, and then merging them together into an HDR image. The merging of these photos can be done with the help of photo editing tools such as Photoshop and Photomatix.

HDR can create extremely beautiful pictures that highlight the viewer’s perspectives, which can make the picture, look more realistic.

In this tutorial you will learn how to create or transform your pictures into HDR by tuning them with the help of Adobe Photoshop. Unlike the actual HDR technique, this Photoshop trick will require only a single JPEG image. You don’t have to shoot into RAW images or take multiple photos.

Note: In this tutorial, I’m using Photoshop CS5 (CS4 compatible), so there might be a few changes with regard to menu options if you are working with CS3 or lesser.

You may also be interested in the following  related posts:

End Result

HDR Photoshop Tutorial

Step 1

Open the image that you want to convert to HDR

HDR Photoshop Tutorial

Step 2

Go to Image -> Adjustments and click on Shadow/Highlights. Set the Shadow and Highlights to 45-50%

HDR Photoshop Tutorial

Step 3

Now, duplicate the layer by pressing Ctrl + J on PC. Desaturate the duplicated layer by pressing Shit + Ctrl + U (Or Image -> Adjustments and click on Desaturate). After that, change the layer blending to Hard Light

HDR Photoshop Tutorial

Step 4

You’re almost there. Now to make the picture look more realistic, let’s add extra colors to it. Duplicate the base (original) layer again, and move it on top of the other layers as shown below.

HDR Photoshop Tutorial

Next, go to Filter -> Blur and select Gaussian Blur, and set the Radius to around 35 pixels. Now, change the layer blending to Soft Light.

HDR Photoshop Tutorial

Step 5

You’re done. If you’re not satisfied with the effect, then you can redo the above steps to give your image a strong effect.

HDR Photoshop Tutorial

P.S. The image used in  demonstrating  this  tutorial  was shot by me sometime back. I request you to link back to my Flickr page or this tutorial if in case you are using it elsewhere.

Browse the Web Using Mouse Gestures on Google Chrome

Google Chrome is the most widely used web browser. Google is taking every possible step to increase Chrome’s growth rate. Recently, we saw Google introducing Angry Birds on the Chrome Web Store. This has definitely got a huge number of people to switch over to Chrome. However, one of the primary reasons why many people use Chrome is because of its speed and the availability of a number of extensions. One such extension that I highly recommend is Smooth Gestures, which will speed up many tasks that you usually use to navigate through the web.

Smooth Gestures is a free extension for Google Chrome that allows you to browse the Internet by using mouse gestures. The extension helps you browse the web quickly and easily, by allowing you to execute commands without having to use the keyboard, menus or toolbars.

Also Read:  Google Chrome Extensions List

The extension comes with pre-defined mouse gestures. It also allows you to set your own gestures, according to your feasibility. It enables you to use gestures to perform usual tasks like opening and closing tabs, go forward and back in history, view source code, list all stored cookies, reloading a page, and so on. It also has gestures for less used tasks like undoing closed tab, merge tabs, pin tabs, etc.

However, the extension does not work on the extension website, or other built-in chrome pages due to security restrictions (including new tabs and Speed Dial). But it does work on almost all http:// and https:// pages.

Learn How to: Install Google Chrome Extensions in Firefox with Google Chrome Extensions Manager

To begin with, install the extension on your Chrome browser. Once done, hold your right mouse button down and do the gesture shown below. It would open up the Options page for Smooth Gestures.

Smooth Gestures - Option page

The Options page is pretty self-explanatory. It shows how you gestures work and how to use them. As you scroll down the Options page, you would see several pre-defined gestures that you can use right away. If you scroll down further, you will find some difficult gestures to perform, however to start with, you can get used to the easy ones.

Creating Your Own Gestures

Although there are common gestures that are already pre-defined, you can still create your own custom gestures. Here’s an example of how I created a gesture to load Techie Buzz.

Click on the + Add Custom Actionto define an action. Click save after you have filled in the details.

Smooth Gesture - Techie Buzz

Click the “+” button to create a gesture. A pop-up window will open where you need to hold the  right  mouse button and draw a shape (gesture). In my case, I drew the letter Twhich was then auto reshaped to a properly curved design. Once you are satisfied with the shape, you can save it.

Smooth Gestures - Techie Buzz

You can see that I have added a gesture to load Google as well. The shape resembles the letter “G”. Now, if I have to open Techie Buzz or Google, all I have to do is draw a Tor “G” anywhere within the browser’s  work space or display window. Simple!

Go on, play around with it. I’m sure you will love it.

If you want to uninstall Smooth Gestures, then right click on the logo in the address bar and uninstall it.

Smooth Gestures - Uninstall

Let us know how useful the extension is to you by adding your feedback in the comments section below.