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)

40 Artistic And Eye-Catching Laptop Skins and Decals

Ever noticed the artistic skins some laptops sport? Like the Lamborghini or Ferrari models that some manufactures launch? Fancy sporting a similar one for your laptop without spending a fortune on those brand centric models? You’ve come to the right place. Artistic decals or skins for laptops aren’t a new thing. People have been designing them since years, and laptops have been wearing them like Guccis and Armanis and Axes.

But finding the perfect skin for your laptop, the one that suits your dashing personality, may need some digging in. So we’ve got help. Without further ado, let me take you through the best artistic laptops skins that I’ve found, dashing ones.   Prices are not much, each of them vary between ~$7-20 and $30 at the most.

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Give your laptop a mean look with this Jules Winnfield skin, of the virile hitman from Quentin Tarantino’s evergreen classic Pulp Fiction. It will play to parts. First it will attract eye balls and then it will keep bad prying eyes away. So what’ver you need, this solves the purpose. We just need art, right?

Made for 13, 15and 17notebooks and available on Etsy.

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So here comes the squirrel to eat the nuts..err.. no, it’s the Apple this time. So if you like the lovely, shining Apple being chomped down by a cute squirrel, feel free to put this on your Macbook. Well, I guess non-macbook users are out of luck on this one, because Dell, HP or another manufacturer don’t have fruits or vegetables as their logos. The mighty squirrel doesn’t like to starve.

This black die cut vinyl decal is approximately 5″ high by 10″ wide. Fits on 13″, 15″ and 17″ laptop covers. Decals will adhere to most smooth flat surfaces, are easily removable and won’t leave sticky residue. Available on Etsy.

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This one sports a classic and traditional look. Although it covers the entire laptop lid, you could order a translucent skin, from which the laptop label can be seen, if you care. It is anti-scratch and waterproof and leaves no residue when removed. Available on Etsy in sizes ranging for 10to 17

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This is a perfect fit for those who love pianos, and well, flowers, and well, leaves, and well…all that you see in the picture. Like it? Get it here. Order as per your laptop size and select between the type of material to be used for the skin: Dull polished, leather, silk and shimmering.

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For those who love to fly and feel the air, can bring the experience to their laptops with this decal. Although stay warned, even if the laptop sports a featherydecal, it won’t fly. So don’t throw it up in the air to try.

Make it yours here. You also get texture options like the previous one.

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If you’d wanna scare your coworkers with CCTV Cameras built right into your laptop hood and staring them like their fifth-grade chemistry teacher, this might be a better bet.

Made of black vinyl, the skin can be ordered from here.

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If you are the ataraxis kind of person, this should look cool on your laptop. Make it stand out in a fun way with this tree and birds vinyl decal. Select a color that will personalize your computer your way. The tree measures approximately 7″ tall and 4.25″ wide and comes with 3 birds that can be placed anywhere you would like. Get yours here.

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Light up your laptop with this blue fireworks sticker. Works best on dark bodies. Available in leather, silk, shimmering and dull polished. Get it!

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You like cats? You like them sitting on your keyboard, spilling your coffee? Then you should surely like them sitting on your laptop hood spilling everyone’s prying eyes.

Get this sleeping cat with eyes open’ (brings back Top & Jerry memories! ) from Etsy.

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If you are the industry type then this cog wheel and gear decal should interest you. Available in custom sizes and colors of your choice, get it from here.

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I’m sure geeks would love this one. This circuitry board decal would surely had an extra spark to your laptop lid. Available in custom sizes and different colors. Get it.

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This vector type artistic decal comes personalized for 13laptops, although you can ask for custom sizes when ordering. The decal is like a really big vinyl sticker with a special adhesive that sticks to the smooth, clean surface of a laptop, but doesn’t damage it when removed. It’s also scratchproof. Find it here.

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Let’s jam with Lego! This one’s 7″ X 5″ wide and sticks to any smooth surface, including laptops. As usual, leaves nothing behind when removed and keeps your laptop clean. Get it here.

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Make your machine The Pirate Bay Machine! This Pirate ghost ship sticker is 6.25″ X 7″ wide and can be ordered in different colors. Get it here if you like pirates and their ghost ships. (this decal does not infringe any copyright, :P )

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These lovely hibiscus flowers are available in sizes of 5and 4and you can select between different colors. Light your laptop with these large colorful flowers, grab these here.

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Hail the Fail whale! Really admire the lovely fail whale? Get it on your laptop! (It won’t fail your laptop, though :P ) Have it custom build as per your laptop size and the color you wish from here.

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This one is a cute Hello Kitty sticker. Works best on light colored bodies. Available in custom sizes from Etsy.

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Check out this blossom vinyl sticker for a scintillating looking laptop. Sizes available, get it from here.

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Have a look at this Blossom in the nightdecal. Interests you? Get it in custom sizes and different textures from Etsy.

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Finally! A Ferrari sticker! Even if you don’t have a Ferrari, you could have a Ferrari laptop, at least ;) Try it with custom sizes and different textures. Grab it here.

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Check out this cute cat face. Put it on any smooth surface, whether laptops, fridges or cars. Available in three different sizes 2, 3and 4, get it from here.

greenshot_2009-09-12_14-08-44 If you think that I is greater than youthan take your ego with you wherever you go with this sporty decal. Shop for it on LaptopSkins.

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This one is hand-down the best laptop decal to carry for any, any support desk guy! Tell everyone to Read the F’ing manualand sip a cup of coffee in the meantime. Get it on LaptopSkins.

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Give your laptop an industrial look with this cool looking decal. Shop for this one and other industrial types here.

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Get this Hokusai The Great Wavelaptop skin for PC, Mac or a custom size. Get it from Schtickers.

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Sport your laptop with a chic urban look. Take it in the city and make it yours. Available for all sizes, from Schtickers.

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You like racing striped? Custom ones? Check this out. Put this Red Racy striped laptop skin on your computer and you’re ready to swoosh. Get it from Schtickers, in all sizes. Don’t like red? There’s a black alternative too.

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Have this Rock on decal on your laptop and get ready for some fun. Suits best for party goers and office bunkers. Available in all sizes. Get it here.

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Put this cute panda guitar hero on your laptop and enjoy the fun. Comes in custom sizes from Gelaskins. (Skins from Gelaskins usually go above $20)

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Get this sea side scenery for your laptop. An excellent work on hand painting, this one will cost you thirty bucks from Gelaskins.

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This one brings back memories of Wall-E. This red robot is shown leaving this city, a city of well, broken building and bigger bad robots. If it mesmerizes you, get it from here.

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Another lego robot on the list. This time it’s with birds. Get this Red Robot decal from here. If you fancy a red robot with a dog instead, it’s there too.

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This one’s for music freaks. Get this cool cartoonish figure for your laptop hood from here.

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I love this one. The picture is so artistically made, it makes the whale look so cute, don’t you think so? Well, go ahead if you’re just getting it for the sake of a better fail whale. Grab it here.

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I don’t know what bird is this, but it looks like a peacock. And it’s beautiful. To put it on your laptop, get it here.

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Pwn! others with this slick decal. Available on for both Mac and PC, get it from here.

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Flight to the rhythmwith this cool vector decal. Another one for music lovers, get this one here.

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This one’s called Madness and mind it, the face really looks like of a drunk person! But it’s cool, and if you like it, get it here.

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Put this exhilarating artwork on your laptop lid. It’s called What lies aheadand is available on Infectious.

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If you like old school stuff, you might wanna adapt your laptop to your liking. This VHS decal makes your laptop look like a pile of tapes. Like it? Get it here.

So that finishes the list. Last, but not the least, do tell us about your favorite laptop skins in the comments and also how you like your laptop dressed!

Dropbox Updates Web Interface – New Bulk Controls Introduced

dropbox Dropbox, the amazing file syncing application that most people are a fan of, released an update to their web interface recently. With this new update, managing files on the web interface became a bit more easier and functional, making Dropbox even more awesome. The features that top the list are: An overhauled interface for the web and some nifty new features that make bulk handling of files even more easier.

Within the new chic interface, you can now select multiple files and folders and then perform bulk actions over them. Selected objects can be moved or copied to another folder or bound together in a zip file and downloaded. With large file bulk operations, you’ll also get a progress bar so you’ll know how much more is there to wait.

Other features include a search box to search your archive of files and gmail like keyboard shortcuts. Keyboard shortcuts would not be enabled by default and will have to be enabled from the Preferences dialog under Account Settings. They are very gmail-like indeed. We have j’ for next file and k’ for previous file, o’ for opening a folder and so on. After enabling this function from the preferences, you can go through the whole list of shortcuts by tapping shift+?on the keyboard.

Their development team seems to have taken care of mobile users, as a new mobile-optimized site has also been brought up along with the normal upgrade. As for iPhone users, the official Dropbox application has already been submitted for approval in the Apple Store. Only time will tell when it gets approved it’s been 4 weeks already.

Anyhow, these updates just make us love Dropbox even more.

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Samsung Unveils Ultra Slim Camera: ST45

samsung_st45_1Samsung recently revealed an ultra slim camera, adding to its compact camera line up. The ST45 is a 12 Megapixel camera and features a 3x optical zoom. The best part about it? It’s just 16mm in thickness.

This zero figure camera from Samsung will be enclosed within an aluminium body and will sport a 2.7 inch LCD on the back for live view. Samsung won’t let you complain of grainy or shaken images, for Image Stabilization is included with ISO going upto 3200 for highly sensitive pictures.

Other features include Smart Scene Recognitiontechnology, which according to Samsung, will give you 11 optimized picture settings such as Portrait, Night portrait, Macro, Macro Colour etc.. and help people take the perfect shot regardless of the conditions the press release says.

The Samsung ST45 will be available by late September in colors Red, Black, Blue and Grey. The camera is slated for a UK release first and US model should appear shortly after that.

Thanks Photography blog!

Wikify Automatically Adds Wikipedia Hyperlinks Into Text

Ever wanted to inject Wikipedia links into some lines of text? Found it tedious? Here comes Wikify that’ll let you inject Wikipedia links into text automagically.

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Wikify is a web-service allowing everybody to enrich their arbitrary text with links to Wikipedia.org. In other words, it makes hypertext from your plain text. You’ll need to put some text in the box provided and then hit the Start Wikify’ button. The tool will then go through your text and look for words that have corresponding Wikipedia pages. You can then copy the html code that has hyperlinks injected into it and then use them as you wish.

However, Wikify is not perfect. It will not come to know what you mean when a word has different meaning and variations. For instance, it will link to Internetand Explorerseparately when you wanted a link to Internet Explorer the browser.

But still, it should come in handy for those weird projects, where you might want to give Wikipedia some serious link love.

How to Enable Opera-Like Smooth Scrolling In Google Chrome [Extensions]

Google Chrome Opera users know what it means to have smooth scrolling. When browsing ruthlessly through pages, smooth scrolling really helps as it feels more natural and makes the page movement fit well with the motion of your eyes. You had it on Opera? We have it on Chrome. Check it out:

You’ll need the latest developer build of Google Chrome and will need to change some shortcut urls, do check out the guide on enabling extension support in chrome.

After that’s done, download the extension from here. Chrome will automatically bring up a installation dialog once the download is finished. Click the Install Extension’ Button and then restart Google Chrome.

When Chrome is fired up again, you’ll have Smooth Scrolling working in full swing!

Samsung’s WB5000 Shoots Raw, Zooms 24x at 12.5MP

Samsung has just announced it’s latest superzoom camera, the WB5000 compact. The uncanny long name aside, this camera boasts of a lot of up-market features. The Samsung WB5000 is loaded with the most powerful lens ever outfitted on a (Samsung) digital compact, featuring a whopping 24x image stabilized zoom and a resolution of 12.5MP.

samsung-wb5000The camera also offers shooting in RAW as well as video recording at 720p (H.264) and is fitted with 26mm wide angle lens. On the back, you’ll find a 3-inch LCD for Live view and a optical view finder. The WB5000 was announced in Korea yesterday, with a price tag of around $550 and will ship later this month. No word on extensive specs as of now.

But by looking at the specifications already made available, this camera is surely gonna give some tough competition to Canon and Panasonic, and other superzooms in the market. Canon’s SX 10IS offers a 10MP resolution and a 20x zoom, whereas Panasonic’s FZ35 (also coming in September)  will bolt in a 18x zoom at 12.5MP. It will be interesting to see where these supercharged superzooms supercameras go.

Press Release on Korea Press Release Network | Via

Skype 2.1 Beta For Linux Gets Video & SMS Support

Linux seems to be getting some real good attention these days. First Pidgin gets an update that featuring support for video calls and now the guys at Skype seem to follow the league.

greenshot_2009-08-29_01-28-28Skype 2.1 Beta for Linux came out this week. Users of the popular VoIP application on the Linux platform had been demanding video support since like ages. They may rejoice now as this Beta release features native video call support, among several other features.

What are the showstoppers?

  • High Quality Video support (640×480 at 30fps)
  • Support for PulseAudio
  • SMS sending support
  • Typing notification in chat (Example: Jack is typing…)

Improvements in Skype 2.1 Beta

  • Enlarged tray icon, also showing number of missed events.
  • Updated ALSA device detection, nicer to USB headsets
  • Birthday reminders are now displayed 24 hours before birthday
  • Calling phone numbers of a contact can be done using context menu
  • Warning dialog when cancelling file transfer

Skype 2.1 Beta is available for most major Linux distributions, namely Ubuntu 8.04 and 8.10, Debian Lenny, Fedora 9 and 10 and openSUSE 11

Download Skype 2.1 Beta For Linux | Read the Release Notes

Please note that this is beta software and is still undergoing development. Do not expect butter-smooth experience and stay prepared with your airbags for crazy accidents. Srsly.

[Via]

Create a Job Board in Minutes With jobberBase: An Open Source Job Board Software

It’s recession, right? But who cares. We all need jobs, work to do, money to earn & bread to eat. The internet just makes the task a little more easier.

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jobberBase is a free and open source server software that gets you a job board site up in minutes. It’s based on Php and MySql and licensed under a MIT license which in non geek speak means that you can use the application for commercial purposes.

The default design of the software is very slick and easy on the eyes. A navigational bar on the top makes browsing easy. Coming to the features, jobberBase is no dud. Users can post jobs without an account, there’s a powerful search facility, there are RSS feeds and also javascript widgets to embed on other sites. Setting up a job ad is a piece of cake. Only the most basic details are required. Give it a title, mention whether it’s full time, part time or a freelance gig, enter the location and then give it a detailed description.

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If you job is interesting enough, applying to it won’t be a difficult task either. All the applicant will need is name, email and a nicely written message or he/she could simply upload a resume file. Once again, no registration necessary on the applicant’s part.

jobberBase is already used on a wealth of sites. I liked how this job site from Singapore has modified the layout and brought out a very refreshing design. And then there’s also this job board for 7-figure jobs, check it out.

If you’d want to set up your own job site on your server, look no further than jobberBase.

Updated Development Builds of Fedora & openSUSE Released

While the internet is abuzz with news of Windows 7 and OS X Snow Leopard releases, do not mistake the open source world to be dilly-dallying. Both Fedora and openSuse teams pushed updates recently for their development versions. Fedora got one step closer to its next release, Fedora 12 with its Alpha build out now and openSUSE marched ahead with its version 11.2’s milestone 6 released.

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Logo_fedoralogoCodenamed Constantinethe alpha version of Fedora 12 packs a box full of improved network performance, better integration with webcams and the iPv6 protocol. Power Management has been revamped which should make laptop owners, or let me say, netbook owners jubilate. There are several other changes that are worth mentioning. Software packages in Fedora have been switched from Gzip to the more efficient XZ (LZMA) compression method, to save space on mirrors and reduce download times. Drastic improvements have been made to the Ogg Theora video codec and all applications supporting it can now take advantage of the improvements.

Fedora 12 now includes a updated version of GRUB with Ext4 support as the default file system. The Fedora design team has also added support for dynamically rotating wallpapers. Making a debut in this release is support for Dracut a new booting system replacing the previous monolithic system. This replacement can be downloaded from the repository for now, but will be enabled by default in the final release. There are further improvement in design and interface and also bluetooth connectivity.

In this release, Gnome 2.28 sits aboard. Empathy becomes the default IM client and the default KDE environment is version 4.3.

Fedora 12 releases on November 18th, 2009. Meanwhile, you can try out the alpha by downloading it from here.

openSUSE

OpenSUSE Coming to openSUSE, it surely depicts signs of progress. Milestone 6 for version 11.2 came out on Monday this week and includes several new packages and updates. Bittorrent client Transmission is now available on the Gnome live Cd and the KDE version packs a bunch of new apps like Okteta, Kompare and Choqok among several others.

Support for the linux kernel has been updated for 2.6.31-rc6. Several onboard applications have been updated to their latest versions: Firefox 3.5.2, GIMP 2.6.7, GNOME 2.28 Beta, Konversation 1.2 Alpha 6, OpenOffice.org 3.1.1 Beta 2, VirtualBox 3.0.4 and Wine 1.1.27.

However, seems like they forgot to put Evolution the mail client in the Gnome Live CD, so you won’t find it there. Worry not, it’s been brought to their attention already and it’ll be hopefully fixed by the next release.

It is worth noting that Milestone releases are not major releases and include only a small number of updates or software inclusions. The final openSUSE 11.2 will be released on November 12th, 2009, six days before Fedora 12 is out. If you can wait till then, well and good, if not, grab the latest and bleeding edge 11.2 Milestone 6 from here.

And for the Ubuntu Fanboys (is that a term? Anyway, I just invented it), Ubuntu 9.10 Karmic Koala will be releasing before Fedora 12 and openSuse 11.2 on 29th October. So don’t forget to check it out when it releases.

How to Embed Album Art In MP3 Files

Album Art If you are an audiophile and anything like me, you probably have got loads of music stacked up inside folders and folders. Managing a large collection of music can be a bit of a task sometimes, but with the help of some useful tools it can be made much easier.

Album Art is one thing that makes browsing your music library a lot more easier and fun. The graphic draws your attention towards the band or artist and forms a virtual connection that links your music taste with it. However, it’s not necessary that all your music would have embedded album art information. Probably, some of your music came from CDs, some from friends, a fraction from online stores and maybe, a larger fraction from, well, The Pirate Bay for instance.

Difference between external and embedded album art:

Album Art can either be external or embedded into the file, in the ID3v2 Tags. The ID3v2 tagging standard allows any kind of image to be embedded into the audio file. JPEG or PNG files can be embedded, but JPEG has been the norm. The difference between embedded information and external information is as simple as it sounds. When you embed something (an image file in this case) into the audio file, the size of the audio file increases relatively. Although external information does not increase the size of the file, the major drawback that it creates is unportability of the information. If one media player recognizes external Album Art, your media centre might not recognize. Plus, external files also increase clutter.

How to Embed Album Art into MP3 Files?

What we’ll need:

  1. Mp3tag Mp3tag is an advanced ID3 tag editor that also lets you edit embeddable information, like Album Art.
  2. The Album Art graphic file: You’ll of course need the graphic file that you wish to embed as album art. The recommended dimensions are 200×200 or 300×300. You can try searching for Album art on Google Image Search or Wikipedia. You can also you use a software like Album Art Downloader that will fetch you the Album Art for the specified Album from various sources like Last.fm, Amazon, various online music databases etc.

Here we go:

1. Open Mp3Tag, go to File > Change Directory (Ctrl+D). Select the directory of your Album or where your music files are located. Similarly, you can drag-n-drop the files you wish to edit and embed Album Art.

2. Select all the files with the mouse pointer or press CTRL+A. Right click on the selected files and chose Extended Tags.

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3. A dialog box will open that lists all the extended tags of the files selected. On the right, you’ll see a box where you can select the Album Artwork. Click the Add Cover Button on the right (which has a star on it), browse and select the image file you’ve downloaded and chosen to embed as artwork and click open. Then click Ok.

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4. Voila! Your selected music has been updated with the Album Art of your choice.

Mp3Tag is quite a powerful tagging software. You can use it to edit other meta information in your music collection and wash out the mistakes in the tags. incidentally, you can also extract artwork from mp3 files, by clicking on the save’ button.

Well, I think that solves it. Have an organized and lively experience with your music! :)

Image courtesy: tupton

Download Official Mac OS X Snow Leopard Wallpapers

Apple’s next major update to its OS X platform is set to launch for late September this year. Termed Snow Leopard, Mac OSX 10.6 will feature several new features and updates and will particularly go head-to-head with Microsoft’s next operating system, Windows 7.

We’ve already featured a bunch of stunning Windows 7 wallpapers, both official and community made. Now here’s Apple turn. Our friend Mayur has got his hands on a download of official Mac OS X wallpapers. And here is your turn to grab the beauties.

The wallpapers are high resolution, 2560×1600 and feature stunning scenery, beautiful beasts and groovy graffitias Mayur notes. The excellent photography and design portrayed in the wallpapers are also a delight to the eyes. So whether you use Windows or OS X (or linux), these wallpapers are a sure shot to go, to add to your collection. Download links after the break:

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Download: Mac OS X 10.6 Wallpaper Pack (40MB, 36 files)

Thanks Mayur!

How to Turn Foobar2000 Into a Super Music Player

Foobar2000

Foobar2000 is an advanced music player that sports a very minimalistic look and can manage features TNT size – at the same time. Developed for Windows by Peter Pawlowski, a former freelance contractor for Nullsoft the company that makes WinAmp, Foobar2000 is totally the player of dreams for anyone who needs power, control and speed at the same time in the same player.

However, just after installation, you’ll notice the GUI is very simple, in fact, it’s the most simplest. It’s just grey. That’s all. Then how is it powerful? That’s what you’ll find out in this post.

Default GUI

Although Foobar2000’s base is closed source, it’s development kit, the SDK, is licensed under the BSD license. So there’s a plethora of plugins and modules that can enhance the player’s functionality. Moreover, a lot of advanced features are actually hidden under its hood, that we will tell you about today.

Settings and Configurations

There are several changes you can make to the default installation to make Foobar more happening and useful. Let us check out what they are. Below are some components that we recommend.

1. Add all your media files to the library (and keep them in sync): Just like any other player, you can import all your library into Foobar. The folders that you wish to add will be synchronized and any deletion/addition of music from those folders will instantaneously reflect in your Foobar library.

  • Click Library → Configure. In the dialog box that opens, click on Media Library’ in the sidebar.
  • Click on Add to add the folders you wish to monitor. Once added, Foobar will import all music files present in those folders and also monitor them for any changes.

Media Manager

2. Associate File Types: Foobar supports a large list of file formats. To select Foobar’s association with different formats, follow these steps.

  • Click Library → Configure. In the dialog box that opens, click on File Types’ in the sidebar.
  • Select for which formats you wish to make Foobar the default music player.

File types

3. Configure Keyboard Shortcuts: Keyboard shortcuts play a very important role for any music player. And Foobar does a very good job of handling them. You can create and edit keyboard shortcuts in Foobar, it’s just so easy.

  • Click Library → Configure. In the dialog box that opens, click on General’ and then Keyboard Shortcuts’ in the sidebar.
  • Click the Add Newbutton. Select an action in the Action’ column. Use the Filter box to quickly browse through the actions you require, example: next, play pause, volume up/down.
  • Go to the Key’ box and type in the keyboard key you wish to make the shortcut for the specified action. It can be a combination of keys. Also, if you wish to make it a Global Hotkey, click the corresponding checkbox. Making it a Global Hotkey will let you use the shortcuts even when Foobar is not selected, or you are using another application!

Keyboard Shortcuts

4. Make the cursor follow playback: When songs are being played in a playlist, by default, the song selection does not automatically shift when a new track plays after another. It means, the window will not automatically scroll up or down as per the track’s location. To fix this:

  • Click on Playback’ and select Playback follows cursor’ and Cursor follows playback’

Playback follows cursor

5. Set the order of playback: You won’t see the usual Random’ or Shuffle’ button here in Foobar. It is, in fact, just a click away under a submenu.

  • Click on Playback’ → Order. Select the order of playback you want from the options given. Ample options, eh?

Playback options

6. Minimize to Notification area and Balloon Tooltip: You can minimize Foobar to the Notification area with a single config edit. Enabling balloon tooltips also needs just a click.

  • Click Library → Configure. Select Display → Default User Interface. Under the System Notification Area’ column, select Always show notification area icon’, Minimize to notification area’ and Show balloon tooltip on song change’. Of course, you may select the options you desire and not necessarily these.

Notification Area options

7. Installing themes: Foobar also supports GUI customization and theming. There are several themes available on the internet, most popularly on DeviantArt. Each theme has its own installation instructions and many themes also require certain modules to be installed. More on modules later. Anyhow, to install a theme:

  • Click Library → Configure. Select Display → Default User Interface. Under Theme Management’, click on Import theme’. Select the theme file you’d downloaded from DeviantArt or any other place.

IBIZA Ibiza Theme by Br3tt

Components and Modules

Functionality can be added to the player by using several components or modules that are available. A bunch of them have been developed and supported by the developer, rest are community developed.

The Fooblog has an interesting read on useful components. You should definitely check it out. Fooblog notes:

Installation of components couldn’t be simpler, once downloaded browse to your foobar2000 application directory, typically:

C:\Program Files\foobar2000\

From here enter the componentsdirectory, making sure that fb2k is closed, paste the newly downloaded component .dll file here. Close the folder and open up fb2k again to check the component has installed go to File > Preferences (CTRL+P) > Component. This page lists all the installed plugins, their titles and their version numbers. Double clicking the component will bring up some basic information about it, for instance its purpose and the author.

Each component will have a different method of configuration but ultimately these options will appear in the preferences panel under the associated section, e.g. Display, Tools, Library, etc.

1. Enable Last.fm Scrobbling

Last.fm scrobbling

  • Download Audioscrobbler (foo_audioscrobbler.dll)
  • Save the file in [InstallationDrive]:\Program Files\foobar2000\components
  • Restart Foobar2000
  • Go to Library → Configure → Tools → Audioscrobbler and set the settings. You’re done.

2. Decoding support for Apple Lossless Audio Codec files (.M4A)

  • Download foo_input_alac.zip
  • Extract the file and paste the dll file in it to the components folder as mentioned previously.
  • Restart Foobar2000

3. Customize Columns. Make Layout iTunes Like

Columns_UI

This module makes it very easy to customize the layout of your Foobar2000 player. You can customize where what is displayed. Different modes are already available for you to choose to select the layout.

  • Download Columns_UI
  • Extract the dll and file and paste it in the components folder
  • Restart Foobar. You’ll be asked which UI you want to choose. Select Columns_UI
  • From the Quick Setup window that appears next, select the layout you prefer.

4. iPod Manager

iPod management component which allows you to manage most Apple iPod models without the use of iTunes. Features include:

  • Artwork support
  • ReplayGain to SoundCheck conversion
  • Gapless playback support
  • Conversion/transcoding of unsupported audio formats
  • Smart playlist creation

Extract the downloaded archive – using suitable compression software, such as 7-Zip – to the components sub-directory of your foobar2000 directory. Additional requirements/steps   and Download here.

5. Add ASIO output support

Useful for rare/obscure soundcards that provide ASIO drivers but no regular Windows audio drivers, as well as for bit-exact output on any soundcards that provide ASIO drivers.

  1. Install the ASIO component from the foobar2000 official components site.
  2. Configure it – Preferences / Playback / Output / ASIO Virtual Devices. This step is necessary because there’s no automatic way to detect which ASIO device channel corresponds to which speaker; additionally, multiple identical soundcards present in your system are presented as different ASIO channel groups provided by one driver rather than different drivers.
  3. Set your output device to one of configured ASIO devices.

6. Audio CD Burning Support

This module allows you to burn audio CDs from any of supported audio formats, through context menu commands. No longer requires Nero to be installed.

Download dll file and place it in your components folder.

7. Displays your media library in multiple list views.

default

Facets is a flexible media library viewer for foobar2000, based on linked lists. It provides a very sleek and modern looking playlist view that you must be familiar with while using other players like iTunes, Songbird etc.

Download Facets | Screenshots | Feature List | Installation Instructions

8. Pause Playback when session is locked

This module adds the menu command “Pause On Lock” which will automatically pause playback when the desktop is locked or when a Fast User Switch occurs, then resume when the desktop session is restored.

Download Component

9. View Playback Statistics

Playback statistics Playback statistics

This module collects playback statistics for your Media Library content. Statistics can be displayed in the Properties dialog or using %first_played%, %last_played%, %played_per_day%, %play_count%, %added% and %rating% in the Playlist view of the Default User Interface under the Library → Configure.

Playback statistics

10. Quickly Tag Music with Quick Tagger

Quick Tagger adds customizable context menu commands for quickly setting tag fields to preconfigured values (for rating and such). Can be used to bind keyboard shortcuts to simple tag modifications.

The configuration for the Quick Tagger can be found in the foobar2000 preferences on the Tools > Tagging > Quick Tagger page. For example, it can be used to write a rating tag to files. Click the Add New button to add a new preset, and change the name to “Rating” (without the quotation marks) and press Enter. Then press F2 or click on the values column and change the text to “1; 2; 3; 4; 5″. This will create a new submenu in the context menu at Tagging / Quick Tagger. The new commands can be invoked directly through the context menu, or they can be bound to keyboard shortcuts as usual. [by foosion]

Adding Quick Tags Values: Quick tagger

Now setting up keyboard shortcuts for the values:

Quick Tagger Keyboard Shortcuts

Download Quick Tagger

11. Install Equalizer Presets: Foobar2000 has a built in Equalizer, but there are no presets for you to choose. But we can download some and load them as we need.

  • Download Equalizer Presets (Second option, under the Download heading)
  • Extract the zip package and put the preset files somewhere you can find them later.
  • Restart Foobar2000. Go to View → Equalizer. Check Equalizer Enabled’ and click the Load’ button. Select any one preset you downloaded previously.

Equalizer

12. Channel Mixer

This module lets you make certain changes to the way sound output is done. Like:

* – (up|down)mix (to|from) 1-6 channels
* – redirect bass to subwoofer channel (6-channels output mode only)
* – delay rear channels by 1-40 ms (4 or 6-channels output mode only)
* – surround sound effect (2->4 or 2->6 mode only)
* – changing virtual width of a stereoimage

Download Channel MixerComponent

13. Grab Song Lyrics and Update the song’s lyric metadata:

This component, once installed, let’s you download lyrics for one, or any number of songs selected from the LyricWiki or LyricPlugin Database.

Select one or multiple songs, right click, select Lyric Grabber and click on one of the two sources:

Lyric Grabber

Once it searches for lyrics, you click the Update File button, and then the lyrics will be stored in the music file as a ID3 tag.

Lyric Grabber

To know more about ID3 tags, click here.

Download Lyric Grabber Component

What Say?

Foobar2000 is a minimalistic yet powerful media player. It’s got a wealth of customization options. A good deal of developers can be found at HydrogenAudio Forums where you can also get support for the application. A list of ALL components can also be found here.

Even though, it lacks some features such as Video playback, it does Audio playback nicely and is well, very snappy at what it does. Whatever number of components you load into it and whatever functionality you add, it still takes no more than a second to start up.

With a totally customized version, a number of components installed and monitoring a music library of 30Gb, Foobar on my machine does not take any more than 14Mb of RAM at a time.

foobar2000 memory footprint

Isn’t that great? Download Your Own Foobar2000 Today!

PS: I call it the player of geeks! :P

HD Webcam From Microsoft: LifeCam Cinema Does 720p Video at 30fps

Tired of having blurry, grainy or bad quality video chats? Not immune to Microsoft’s PR department? You’re sold. Microsoft recently launched LifeCam Cinema, an HD webcam that does 720p high definition quality video at 30 frames per second. This thing is actually, umh, drool worthy.

Lifecam Cinema

LifeCam Cinema will give you a full 1280×720 resolution video and includes a 4x digital zoom. Also, there’s a noise-cancelling microphone that is present on the top of the cam. Microsoft has also put in something called as a ClearFrame’ technology that makes smoother and better video. We will have to see what this ClearFrame does, as no one currently knows!

The body of the camera is made of aluminium and thus can be recycled when you get bored of the gadget. Moreover, the stand is built to work with both desktops and laptops. The camera has also got a quick start button for Windows Live Messenger to initiate calls faster.

Microsoft mentions that the LifeCam Cinema is compatible with it’s Windows Live range of products, including Live Messenger, Movie Maker and Photogallery but what’s worth noting are the basic system requirements of the camera. Pocket-Lint observes:

The system requirements are quite high though, as you need at least a dual core 1.6GHz processor, but Microsoft recommends a 3GHz dual core processor and 2GB of memory, which are unusually high specifications for a webcam.

Moreover, not many video clients support video at 720p so you may not be able make the best use of the camera. We’re not sure about Skype, but Windows Live Messenger should be able to harness the best quality off the LifeCam Cinema. It’s not compulsory to use the camera for video chats or conferences, you could be making awesome youtube videos with this, after all, it’s 720p!

Microsoft is not the first one in the race to bring up a 720p camera that cranks out video at 30fps. The Logitech Webcam Pro 9000 has been there for some time now and it forks out 720p video at 30fps as well, albeit at a native resolution of 1600×1200.

Microsoft LifeCam Cinema will be available on September 9 for $80. It will be worth checking out its quality then, and how it stands against others in the bandwagon (like the Logitech counterpart, which is available for $89 currently).

Pidgin 2.6 Released | Gets Voice And Video Support for GTalk

pidginThe popular multi-protocol client, Pidgin, got an interesting update yesterday. Some new features, some new fixes, and here, one of the best multi-protocol chat client got even better.

The spotlight in this releases falls on the new voice and video support for XMPP networks, that Google’s GTalk IM works on. Other important features to look for are theme support and p2p file transfer for the Yahoo Messenger network.

Feature List in Brief [Full Changelog]:

  • Voice & Video support, voice support with GTalk and voice and video support with the GMail web client.
  • Theme support in libpurple.
  • Support for receiving handwritten (ink) messages on MSN
  • Support for receiving audio clips on MSN.
  • Show when the user was last logged in when doing "Get Info" on an offline buddy, provided the server supports it.
  • New XMPP and Google Talk accounts require SSL by default.
  • P2P file transfers in Yahoo Messenger.
  • Sending text messages (address to +<countrycode><phone number>) from Yahoo Messenger.

Now here’s the raw deal. Pidgin released 2.6.0 yesterday and just after a few hours, also released 2.6.1 to fix some bugs. But neither of the new versions are available to download from the Pidgin Download page. The Window version that is available is still lingering on 2.5.8 and Ubuntu repositories and PPA haven’t yet been updated with the new version.

So, Windows users will have to wait while they update their site with the 2.6.1 version, but Ubuntu users should rejoice, as the latest version of Pidgin, i.e. 2.6.1 can be grabbed from GetDeb. So if you use Ubuntu, get yourself the .deb file and enjoy.

There’s still one glitch though. The WebUpd8 blog points out:

The biggest setback this far is that these features [voice and video] are not supported on Windows – but the Pidgin devs are working on it! And it also appears that the package from GetDeb does not provide voice/video support because Jaunty does not have the required library versions, so you probably must wait until Ubuntu 9.10 Karmic Koala.

Disappointment! Anyhow, if you just want to try out the other features in this release, either wait for the Windows version, or get the deb file as linked above.

Setup Adobe Flash Permissions For Applications

Adobe Flash Player, thou art great. But Adobe Flash Player, thou art not my playmate. Ok, I know I suck at poetry and that was a really bad attempt. But anyways, we are talking about Adobe Flash Player here, you got the idea? Cool.

Adobe Flash Player, whatever distress it might cause to developers or users alike, is still very prominently used today. Many applications are based on it and many people make a living from it. But our dear Flash Player has a minor Security Feature. A security feature, that’s not loved much.

Flash Player warning

Recognize this warning? This dialog always pops up whenever a flash object tries to connect to another location which is either on the internet or another network. So, this will pop up when a locally saved flash file will try to connect to an internet based location. The warning will popup for any flash object that is using as older security algorithm.

This security feature, does actually save you from many threats, but if you know that the location the flash object is trying to communicate with is safe, you can change the settings.

  1. Click the Settings button from the dialog that pops up (as seen in picture above)
  2. The Adobe Flash Player Settings Manager will open in a new tab. In the Manager, Click the Edit Locations link, add a location and browse for the file you wish to add to the whitelist.

greenshot_2009-08-15_01-26-41

You can set flash player to always ask for your permission when a potentially unsafe connection is going to be made (Recommended), set it to always allow any connection (not recommended) or deny all connections. Any location which will be added to the Trusted list will be exempted from any interference while running or creating a connection.

Settings Manager

If you trust’ an entire directory, all the files and subdirectories in that directory will be also be added to the whitelist. If you still get the warning, you might need to add a few more files to the whitelist as some flash objects need a swf file as well a html file for working.

Needless to say, Adobe should have made this process of allowing applications network access far more easier. It should have been inbuilt into the browser or flash object itself, and the user need not go to the Adobe site to change settings. That’s why I said. Adobe Flash Player, thou art not my playmate