All posts by Keshav Khera

Keshav Khera is a young freelance writer from India. Alongside writing for the web, he also attends school and tries not to bunk classes. He keeps interest in music, table tennis, reading and of course, twitter (@keshav)

Fedora 12 Beta Released [Download]

Today comes a good news for those bitten by the Linux bug. The Fedora Foundation has released the first and the last Beta for Fedora 12, its mainstream consumer Linux distro. After many delays and postponements, the beta is finally available for download.

There are a lot of improvements and new features in the beta. Let me briefly jot them down together for you:

  • Optimized performance for Atom CPUs, thus improving functioning on Netbooks and devices based on Atom chips.
  • Smaller update files due to a new compression system called XZ being used, rather than gzip.
  • An enhanced NetworkManager finds it way in Fedora 12 Beta improving IPv6 and bluetooth support.
  • Improved Ogg Theora Video playback, now in version 1.1, plays video as good as H.264
  • Improved Graphics support with experiment 3D support for AMD Radeon HD 2400 and later graphics cards.
  • The new beta also fares better at virtualization with extensive improvements in performance, management, resource sharing, and security enhancements.
  • Better bug reporting with Abrt, a tool to help non-power users report crashes to Bugzilla with a few mouse clicks which has now been enabled by default.
  • A newer, faster and more flexible boot system has been deployed. Dracut, an initial ram disk generation tool with an event-based framework designed to be distribution-independent has been made available in Fedora with this beta.
  • “PackageKit now has a plugin which can install an appropriate package when a user tries to run a command from a missing package. Another new plugin allows installation of software packages from a web browser”
  • Bluetooth can now automatically start when needed and shuts down itself after a 30 second no-activity timer; saving resources and battery life.
  • Support for the Moblin Desktop Interface has also been made available with this release. Users who wish to experience the the new mobile platform may get the Moblin Desktop Environment package.
  • Once again, the PulseAudio system has been improved. Significant improvements have been made on UPnP media integration and hotplug support. An improved Mixer Logic makes volume control even more fluid.
  • In order to mitigate the impact of security vulnerabilities, permissions have been hardened for many files and system directories and process privileges have been lowered for a number of core components that require super user privileges- Quoted
  • To much rejoice by the developers, Fedora now deploys a SELinux Sandbox, where programmers can experiment with their applications, confining applications’ access to the system and running them in a safe sandbox.
  • Wireless networking has been improved for Broadcom chipsets.
  • The Live images provided in this release can be directly imaged onto a USB stick using dd (or any equivalent tool) to create bootable Live USB keysThis is great news!
  • Better and improved support for webcams brings quality rich video one step close to your near and dear ones.
  • The latest Gnome 2.28 desktop environment comes by default. Included is Gnote, a lighter replacement for Tomboy, Empathy, which finally replaces Pidgin as the default Instant Messenger program. The Volume Control has also been improved, bringing in new features without getting too complicated.
  • Fedora 12 includes an early version of GNOME Shell, which will become the default interface for GNOME 3.0 and beyond. To try it, install the gnome-shell package, and use the Desktop Effects configuration tool to enable it. It will only work correctly from the GNOME desktop environment, not others such as KDE or Xfce. This is a preview technology, and some video cards may not be supported. Quoted.
  • The KDE flavor will include KDE 4.3 which features an updated Airtheme.
  • Perl 6, PHP 5.3, SystemTap 1.0 and the newest Netbeans IDE is included. Moreover, Eclipse Galileo now has more plugins than ever before.
  • New functionality has been added for System Admins. Clustered Samba devices are now more easy to manage and the ability to boot a cluster of Fedora systems from a single, shared root file system has been added.
  • X.org has been updated to 1.7, introducing the X Input Extension version 2.0 which provides a new API for handling input devices and also Multi-Pointer X devices, making it easy to deal with multitouch desktops.

Read the Beta announcement here, which includes this same list, but in a very explained manner (If you like to read it short, read it here! ;) ). Also, do give a read to the feature list for Fedora 12 Final. Download Fedora 12 Beta here.

How To Create Your Own Private IRC Channel/Room

222271430_d833395bd1 Before the world went crazy about Twitter and Google Wave, there was something called IRC (Internet Relay Chat). In this post, I am not going to tell you how I used to enjoy IRC so many years agoor how things have changedsince then, because last week was the first time I experienced IRC to a considerable extent.

About four years ago, when I started using the Internet, Yahoo messenger was ruling the roost in Internet chat.  Everyone used it, so did I. I did hear of IRC back then, but ignored it, just because of the fact that it was old’. Although I got a taste of it when I tried out Ubuntu, I didn’t quite get the hang of it at that time. GTalk and Twitter triumphed.

We, the authors at Techie Buzz, frequently have conferences and group chats. Almost everytime, we create a room at TinyChat and hop in. It’s quick and easy, but the room had to be created everytime and it was not password protected. Moreover, there were not enough controls to please the geeks.  Move on, think of an alternative, we thought. Then it struck me, old is gold! IRC! I went ahead and got a private room which no one but the right people can join, and believe me it was easy. I’ll tell you how you can also create your own private room on IRC in a few minutes:

Choosing an IRC Client

Before we go ahead, you’ll need to download an IRC client. If you use Firefox, ChatZilla is a Firefox add-on that will allow you to perform chats using IRC from within the browser. If you prefer to use IRC from your desktop, Nettalk is the preferred alternative. These are two of my recommended clients for IRC. You can find more options for your own operating system in this list of IRC clients.

Selecting a Server

The next step involves setting up servers/networks. Think of a channel  as a small room, among many rooms in a hotel. To create a channel, you will need to enter a server first. You can create as many channels on a server as you wish, of course, rules and regulations for each server are different.

For this guide, we will be using Foonetic as our network/server. You can use any other server, depending on their rules.

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Create and Register a Nickname

Let’s get it going. Pull up your geek socks. Open up Nettalk and enter /server irc.foonetic.net. The program will open the foonetic IRC server for you. Now you’ll need a nickname, just like you’d need one for twitter and email. To create your nickname, type  /nick nickname and press Enter. Replace nickname with your desired nickname. If the nickname is not available, try a different one.

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Just like the government keeps a record of all newborn babies, an IRC nickname server will keep record of all the registered nicknames. This prevents users from registering duplicate nicknames on the same server. You can register your nickname so that no one else can grab it when you log off.

In IRC world, the ministry of nicknames is called NickServ. To register your nickname, type /msg nickserv register password email. Replace password and email with your desired values. The server will reply with a confirmation. In a short while, you will receive an email at the email address you registered. The email will contain a confirmation code from the server.

To verify your email address, type the command as it appears in the email message in the IRC server window. When that is done, the server will give a confirmation that your email has been verified. The next time you wish to login with your username, type /msg nickserv identify password and replace password with your password.
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Create and Register a Room

Give yourself a pat on the back, you just created your username!  To start chatting on IRC, you need to create or join an existing room.  Think of a name for you room, and type /join #channelname. You will need to add a “#” before the channelname. If the room you want to join already exists, you will be entered into the room. However, if the room does not exist, the server will create a new room with the name you provided.

Congratulations, you have just created a functional room in IRC. You can now invite your friends and chat with them. However, like Tinychat, this room is not reserved permanently. You will have to register this room with ChanServ, a service that handles channel registrations.To register your channel, type /msg chanserv register #channelname password description. Replace channelname with the name of your channel, which you created earlier, and replace password and description with obvious values.

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The password you set here will give you founder-level rights when you log in next time. Note, this password doesn’t password protect the room. It just recognizes you as the founder of the channel and assigns the channel to your nick (It will make you the channel operator). Initially, you will be logged in automatically. The next time, use /msg chanserv identify #channelname password and the server will give you founder-level access to your room.You can enter your room by typing /join #channelname.

The channel is now ready for regular use. Invite your friends and have a blast, but it is still not restricted. Until you set a password for the room, any user will be able to access it by typing /join #channelname. So let’s make it password protected.

Password Protecting Your Room

You can set a password for your channel by using /mode #channelname +k password. People can then join the channel with /join #channel password. If you login as the founder of the channel, as explained in the last step, you won’t need to use the password now.

Although the channel is password protected now, it is visible in the rooms list of the server. Set your new channel to secret by typing /mode #mynewchannel +s. If you don’t mind your new channel being public, don’t do anything. All new channels are automatically public.

Accessing the Private Room

Voila! You are done! Your password protected and secret IRC channel has just been made. Your friends might ask how they open it, right? Give them these three points:

  1. Type the command  /server irc.foonetic.net [or the server you chose]
  2. Get a nickname with /nick nickname. Also consider registering it with /msg nickserv register password email.
  3. Join room with /join #channelname password (append password if you password protected it, if not, just drop the value.)

What do you think of it? Will you start using IRC (again)? Or do you think this is too geeky? Let me know your comments below! I am looking forward to them!

(Image Courtesy: Flickr user Mammal)

More Resources:

Wikihow | IRC Help | Wikipedia | NickServ Commands | ChanServ Commands | List of All Commands

openSUSE 11.2 Milestone 8 Released Today

Today happens to be a relatively active day for Linux testers. Earlier in the day, Milestone 8 for Novell’s openSUSE 11.2 was released to the public for testing. The linux variant has got various bug fixes and feature additions, though it’s worth noting that it is a development build and is recommended only for those who can endure a few bugs and glitches here and there.

greenshot_2009-10-01_19-59-17 Milestone 8 for openSUSE 11.2 comes packed with the final artwork and branding of the operating system and fixes some of the most annoying bugs. Several changes have taken place between the last milestone and current one. The linux kernel has been updates to 2.6.31 and GNOME 2.28 RC is preinstalled on this build. Apart from the core, numerous packages have also been updated. OpenOffice, Pulseaudio, Samba and postgresql have been upped to their latest or most stable version. The themeing pack, as mentioned earlier, is now in place and kicking. If you’re feeling really adventurous, download this milestone here.

Ubuntu 9.10 Karmic Koala’s Beta is also scheduled to be released later today. We’ll keep our eyes open and holler the moment it peeks out of the bushes.

Sony DPP-F700 Digital Photo Frame is a Printer Too!

We’ve  seen cameras getting into our phones, movie players going hand to hand with music players, computers doing the task of a television, and projectors being built inside cameras. Do more’, is what every manufacturer is pushing their products toward. And there’s a new Sony product that seems to follow in the same league.

The Sony DPP-F700 is digital photo frame that’s slated for a release in November this year. What’s unique about it, is that it functions as a printer too! Only a few years ago, photo frames were something that you would place on a wall and they would remain there for all time. But time changes. Now with everything getting digitized, how can photo frames dawdle?

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The frame has a 7 inch WVGA screen (16:10, 800×480) and has 1Gb of internal memory. Plus, it’s got a camera. The camera can be used to make quick prints – a great take for those who get visited by friends a lot.

The frame supports a variety of storage media: Memory Stick, Memory Stick Duo, SD Card, SDH Card, CF Card, and xD-Picture Card. Coming to the printer, the photographs produced are 4×6 inch printouts at 300 x 300 dpi. According to SonyInsider, the printouts integrate TruFast technology and are resistant to fingerprint marks, water, as well as discoloration when exposed to light, allowing them to easily preserve vivid memorable moments.

Their is no word on the date of release or the price yet, but it is expected to be around two hundred euros. The photo frame-cum-printer combo should be out in the market by November, or at least at the CES. Check out the complete specifications for the device.

LED Lit Halloween T-Shirt Grooves To Your Music

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Halloween is just around the corner coming next month. If you haven’t already thought about that wicked prank you’ll be playing on your friends yet, there is not much time left. And if you plan to have a pixilated party in the evening, we’ve got something to light you yes, you!

The shirt you see here is a very cool sound activated LED lit pumpkin T-shirt. The fabric used is cotton and the lights are powered by a small battery pack that can be removed when you wish to wash the shirt. The lights form an equalizer and that is when the sound activated’ thing shows the magic.

The shirt has a built in sound sensitive spectrum analyzer. As the music beats, the equalizer moves to the beat of the music! Each frequency of music will activate a different equalizer bar, just like the equalizer on your stereo at home! It’s a must have accessory for all concerts, parties or even raves! It has a fully functional Electro Luminescence panel with a battery pack that snuggles discretely into a pocket inside the T-shirt. The end result is a tremendous sound sensitive music T-Shirt that commands attention!

The lights flow in green, yellow and red and the battery pack has an on/off switch so you can choose when you do and don’t want to flash. The shirt is on sale for two days and is available for $10. If you like, hurry and get it from here.

[via crazziestgadgets]

How to Listen And Record Internet Radio Stations

screen_pp Screamer Radio is a free internet radio player. It can be used for playing radio streams as well as recording them directly to your computer, so you can play them later at leisure even when there is no internet connection.

Screamer Radio has a huge database of Internet Radio stations. You can browse by genre, language, network or region. Favorite channels can be bookmarked into the Favorites List’. Streamer Radio can also play and record radio that does not currently reside in the presets. All you need to do is add the url for a radio station’s pls file into the program and it will start playing it. This way, you can also play and record Shoutcast radio streams that expands the application’s access to a large variety of popular radio stations from the largest radio website on the planet.

Streamer supports OGG, WMA and ACC streaming. Recording can be done on the fly, with just a click of a button. Songs will be recorded on the disk as different tracks, so you won’t have to go through the headache of cutting the audio later.

Screamer Radio is ad free and has no spyware or adware. Download it for Windows.

Via Clif’s FreewareWiki.

How To Restore The Original Flickr Logo [Scrape Off ‘From Yahoo’]

flickr-yahoo-logo Some days back, a slight change happened at Flickr. A small Yahoo logo was added to the Flickr logo so that it reads Flickr from Yahoo!. We say, it’s fine if Yahoo wants to remind people of that fact that it owns the largest photo community on the web; we are absolutely cool with it. But the fundamental fact here is that as techcrunch puts it – Flickr users, many of whom are techy hipsters, just don’t mix well with middle America Yahoo.

The change was met with a lot of criticism. People thronged to Flickr’s forums and tweeted how being owned by Yahoo is something to be ashamed of. Ultimately, it’s the company’s sole decision to select the way they wish to brand their products. If the Yahoo branding looks hip on your screen, that’s great; if not, let’s get a greasemonkey to do the job.

Flickr user,  aspherical element, must be really troubled with Yahoo intervening his place of tranquility. He picked up the task of creating a greasemonkey script that scrapes off the yahoo branding and brings back the original logo. If you follow the same league, get the Greasemonkey script here. As a necessary rule, you’ll need Firefox and the Greasemonkey addon installed (Or Google Chrome if you’re geeky enough to enable scripts)

How To Activate Kaspersky Internet Security And Anti-Virus 2010 With Key File

greenshot_2009-09-27_04-32-17 Recently Kaspersky released their 2010 range of products. With all the new security features in the updated suites, Kaspersky also changed the way their applications are activated.

Previously, to activate the software, the user had to input a key file that he’d purchased. But now, following a method similar to that of Adobe and Norton products, users needed to input a string of numbers and get the license validated through the internet.

This method, although decreases chances of piracy of the software, creates an unnecessary hurdle for those users who don’t have an internet connection where they plan to install the security suite.

Incidentally, the WebTrickz blog has come up with a nifty trick that lets you use the old way of installing and activating a license through a key file. You need not knockout anything, or break into any freakish Windows registry. All that you’ll need to do is enter a beta key string (when disconnected), the setup will try to connect to a server and when it will fail, you’ll get an option to browse for a key file. Read the blog post for all the details.

How to activate Kaspersky 2010 products using a key file | Webtrickz.com

Honda U3-X Omnidirectional Unicycle: You’d Want One Before You Die

greenshot_2009-09-26_21-23-38

We have seen Honda release weird products, cool products, awesome products and products which remain concepts. But products like the Honda U3-X make you long for the time when concepts will be commodified.

You may call it strange to look at at, but every uber cool thing seems strange at first. The Honda U3-X has just one wheel and has a  foldable  seat on that top that fits into the eight shaperound shaped hollow. The device or vehicle is balanced like you’d balance a cycle, it moves where you lean and can turn in any direction.

If it ever gets commercialized, it will probably change the entire office interior landscape. Stairs will be RIP and ramps will be all that you see. Moreover, it has a high success potential for domestic households. Going from your desktop to the kitchen to get a drink would be just a lean away, though don’t even think of going to pee on it for it doesn’t have those disposable pee-bags that astronauts have (yet!)

Anyway, see it to believe it. Video in action:

And one more, if you please

Thanks Danny Choo

Release Schedule for Ubuntu 10.04 Lucid Lynx [Roadmap]

Lucid Lynx Ubuntu 9.10 Karmic Koala is just around the corner, due for a release next month. If that doesn’t excite you enough, then take a look at the release schedule for the version that comes after it Ubuntu 10.04 Lucid Lynx, which will be a Long Term Support Release, providing three years of updates for desktops and five years of updates for servers.

Ubuntu 10.04 (Lucid Lynx) Release Schedule

December 3rd, 2009 Alpha 1 release

January 7th, 2010 Alpha 2 release

February 4th, 2010 Alpha 3 release

March 4th, 2010 Beta 1 release

April 1st, 2010 Beta 2 release

April 15th, 2010 Release Candidate

April 29th, 2010 Final release of Ubuntu 10.04 LTS

For a further detailed Roadmap with Kernel Freezes and dates of testing and developers summits, check out the schedule on the Ubuntu Wiki.

Thanks to the guys at Ubuntu Geek for bringing this to our attention!

Sony Ericsson’s New MH907 Headphones Make Sound Exclusive To Your Ears

Imagine this scenario: You are listening to a song on your mobile phone, and just before your favorite line comes, somebody enters your room and starts blabbering. You pull out the earbuds. When you put them back, you’ve missed the line.

mh907_black Sony Ericsson wishes to cease this hassle with their new MH907 motion activated headphones. The button less headphones will only work when you put them in your ears. Two things can happen when you pull the buds out of your ears: If listening to music, it will automatically pause. If you are in a call, the call will be terminated.

This is actually quite an intuitive concept made into reality. To pick up a call, all you need to do is pick up the earbud and put it in your ear. If you need music, just wear a bud and it will start. The technology does not depend upon pressure or force on the surface of the earbud, so nothing bad will happen when the headset is placed in your bag or pocket. Engadget reports that this technology is capacitive in nature. In other words, removing an ear bud isn’t breaking the flow of current between buds (and across your noodle) — it’s destroying the dynamic capacitor formed by the touch of human skin. Right, this is technology we’ve seen before in capacitive touchscreens and trackpads

The MH907 headphones will be available in colors of yellow, white or titan chrome. It is about 164cm (64.57 inches) long, weighs about 25g (0.88 oz) and will be available this week for €39. The headphones will be compatible with all phones that have a Fast Port connector.

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Ubuntu 10.04 Named ‘Lucid Lynx’

399px-Lynx_lynx2Ubuntu’s next 9.10 release is just around the corner with it’s final release due for late next month. The heat is building up and many people are gearing up to try the latest Alpha that was release last week. But before Karmic Koala comes out, the version that comes after that is already making news.

People at the Atlanta Linux Fest got the news first. Mark Shuttleworth announced that Ubuntu’s next version, 10.04, scheduled to be released in April 2010, will be named Lucid Lynx. The name for the next version is usually decided months before it’s release, and this happens mostly in conferences held amongst avid linux enthusiasts or through mailing lists, like it happened last time. Ubuntu names are typical of alliteration, in fact they follows a particular scheme of Adjective + Animal Name. It all started with Warty Warthog way back in 2004 and since then, we’ve had nine more releases with zany names.

Lucid Lynx will be a long term support release (LTS) with updates that will last for 5 years. So, organizations that still run Hardy Heron 8.04 (LTS) should consider upgrading to this updated version as it releases next year. The Omg Ubuntu Blog quite excitedly points out that Ubuntu 10.04 will ship with Gnome 3 as default, a newer X server and aim for an even faster boot time. The Kubuntu variant will also sport a newer KDE 4.4

So what do you say? Does Lucid Lynx’ delight you?

A lynx is a short-tailed wildcat with usually tufted ears. They are valued for their fur. (Image: Wikipedia)

WordWeb: Quick Dictionary Lookup [Software]

A language can only be learnt through experience and practice, and honing a language as weird as English can be a devil of a job. In a language in which you can spend the last evening evening out a pile of dirtor in which a soldier decided to desert his dessert in the desert, a language which is official in 53 countries, spoken by more than a billion people and has several families and styles, can no doubt be a hard nut to crack.

For a language which has far too many words, people often use a dictionary. Ok, that’s an underestimation. People always use dictionaries to lookup word definitions. Earlier, we had printed books and hand printed manuscripts, but today, even though we still have hard copy dictionaries, most people just use their computers to quickly look up words or type in queries in their iPhones for quick meanings.

WordWeb is one such desktop application, that you can install on your PCs and fire it up whenever you find a word that even your cat hasn’t heard of. A superstition has it, that cats have seven lives. So even in seven lives, if your cat hasn’t heard of pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconiosis, you should accept that your cat is dumb and dig in a dictionary to see what it means.

WordWeb is a comprehensive one-click English thesaurus and dictionary for Windows. It can be used to look up words from almost any program, showing definitions, synonyms and related words. It includes pronunciations and usage examples, and has helpful spelling and sounds-like links.

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Looking up a word in WordWeb is a piece of cake. Either use the keyboard hotkeys to fire it up (CTRL+ALT+<modifier>) or click the right mouse button while the CTRL key is pressed down. WordWeb is available in two editions. A free edition which has 150,000 root words and 120,000 synonym sets and a pro edition which will cost you $19. The pro edition has 6000 more definitions and some extra features such as a editable word database and wildcard word search.

In all, WordWeb makes up for a amazing quick look up dictionary and thesaurus. Although the pro version has some extra features, the free edition will be more than enough for an average user’s unfathomable, arcane and deviant word needs.

Pentax K-x: Entry-level DSLR With HD Video and Live View

greenshot_2009-09-18_23-18-44Pentax recently unveiled a new entry-level digital slr camera called the Pentax K-x. The K-x targets the first gear camera market, and people looking to up their photography skills moving from point and shoots to digital slrs.

The Pentax K-x includes several features that makes it a tough contender in its category.

It employs a 12.4 megapixel CMOS sensor with built in image stabilization. So whatever lens you choose, you’ll always have shake free images. The video capture works for upto 4 stops max. On the rear, there’s a 2.7 inch LCD screen that features Live View with contrast, phase difference, and Face Detection autofocus (up to 16 faces).

The camera also features widescreen HD video recording in 720p resolution (1280×720) at a frame rate of 24FPS. Also included are HDR image capturing mode and a selection of creative filters. The camera is powered by Pentax’s Prime II image processing engine and takes burst shots at 4.7 FPS (depends on memory card used) capture speed and 1/6000 second shutter speed. A responsive 11 point autofocus system will help you track moving subjects.

The camera will be available in a choice of white and black and special limited edition colors of red and navy. The company claims that the K-x can shoot 1900 shots with one set of fully charged AA lithium batteries( or ~1000 shots if you don’t use the flash half the time), so you will have to get either rechargeable cells or buy new cells every time you run out of juice.

The K-x is a good bet for people looking for a DSLR camera that won’t break the bank. At the starting price point of $650 for body and one Pentax 18-55mm lens it rivals the Canon 1000D and 450D, which sport similar functions for almost the same price point. The company will start shipping the camera in October 09 but you can pre-order it from the Pentax Web Store.

Best Of Fall In Movies On Blu-ray and DVD

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If you haven’t already seen, it’s worth checking out the latest best of movies list on Amazon for Blu-ray format. The list is topped by Star Trek and followed by Walt Disney’s Up. Next in line are Gladiator and Braveheart and the fifth position is bagged by The Wizard of Oz.

The list of top 25 dvds has some relatively newer movies and tv shows. First two spots are bagged by Up and Star Trek and the three followers are It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia: Season 4, 30 Rock: Season Three and The Office: Season Five.

What’s your format of choice? Blu-ray or DVD?