Amarok 2.3.1 “The Bell” Released

Amarok is one of the best music players available for Linux (and a personal favorite of mine, if I may add). Although is is a KDE application, it has a loyal following even from GNOME users.

Well there is a good news. Amarok 2.3.1, codenamed “The Bell” has been released a few hours ago. Here is a brief list of what it has to offer:

  • Automated Playlist Generator which helps you create playlists based on criteria like song length or file size.
  • Two new applets have been added for the Context View. The Upcoming Events applet shows concerts and events that the currently playing artist is participating in and the Similar Artists applet uses the Last.fm database to show similar artist and makes the ones in your collection directly playable.
  • Cover fetching has seen a lot of improvements and we added support for the new system tray protocol.
  • Improved responsiveness when expanding/collapsing items in the collection browser.
  • Lots of bug fixes!!

You can get the official release announcement and the changelog at kde.org.

IE6 Almost Gone! Holds Less Than 5% Market Share Now

IE6 is probably the most dreaded piece of software on earth. Web developers don’t hate anything more than this silly browser full of security holes, bugs and not conforming to much web standards. Once heavily used, the market share for IE6 was almost 90% back in 2002 and 2003, however, with the introduction of new browsers like Firefox, Chrome and Opera, users started ditching Microsoft’s  disastrous  browser.

According to StatCounter, a free web analytics tool, the market share of IE6 in the US has fallen to 4.7% down from 11.5% a year ago. Similar stats resonate in the European market. These usage trends were identified by analyzing over 15 Billion page views in May 2010. The browser with larges market share currently is IE8, followed by Firefox 3.6 and IE7 respectively.

IE 6 Obsolete

One large reason IE6 is taking so much time to become obsolete is the corporate users who are usually the last one to switch to a new software due to potential issues and related costs. Moreover, a lot of corporate tools that were built 5-6 years ago still don’t work with Firefox or latest versions of IE, leaving the users with no other choice than to hang on to the dreaded IE6. It is probably the only piece of software against which several online campaigns have taken place. Most of the large websites like YouTube have already dropped support for IE6 and ask you to use an alternate browser if you try to access using IE6.

Rumor: Sony Ericsson’s New Walkman Series Phone Running On Android?

The Sony Ericsson Walkman series lovers have a very good news to cheer. Sony Ericsson announced earlier, that the Walkman and Cybershot series is no more, but the rumors says that a Walkman series phone is under completion by Sony Ericsson. This Walkman series phone will run on Android platform.Rumored Sony Ericsson Walkman Phone

The phone specification is also leaked. The phone will have a 2.6inch touchscreen, just like in X10 mini. In fact, the phone looks like X10 mini. The camera will be of 5MP resolution without LED flash. It will have the same hardware as in X10 mini. It is expected to get unveiled by June/July this year. That is all we know about this rumored device till now.

Here is a picture of this rumored handset (Picture is not clear). It looks like the X10 mini but the Walkman symbol in the bottom right is something to notice. Stay tuned for further developments in this topic.

(Source)

Image Source Se-nse

Dell Streak Is Ready To Hit The Stores

According to the Carphone Warehouse in UK, the tablet cum phone, Dell Streak will hit the stores in UK by 4th of June. The Dell Streak has a gigantic 5inch capacitive screen with WVGA resolution. The phones weighs around 220gms and is 10mm thick.  dell-streak

The Dell Streak will have Android 1.6 at the time of release and will be upgraded to Android 2.2 by the end of 2010. The Dell Streak has nearly the same hardware; just like in any other high-end Android phone currently in the market.

Dell Streak has 1GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon processor, Wi-Fi, GPS, Bluetooth 2.1 and will have flash support in future. It has a 5MP camera with LED flash. A HDMI port is also present. The internal memory is of 16GB and is expandable up to 32GB (microSD). The RAM is a weak point in it with 256MB.

Dell-Streak-Mini-5-O2-UK-Android-official-2

The Dell Streak will have a price tag of £429 without contract in UK and £25 a month on a free contract. Dell Streak will be eventually launched in other countries soon.

(Source)

Google Employees Are Told to Quit Windows For Security Reasons

Looks like Google is planning to ban the use of Microsoft Windows for Google employees due to security concerns, according to a report from Financial times.

Financial times reports that several Google employees were told to move away from Windows PC’s and head towards MAC or Linux systems. We’re not doing any more Windows. It is a security effort,said one Google employee.

This can be a result of the recent China hacking attacks when Google had to leave China, sometime during early April of 2010.

Yes, Windows is more prone to virus or malware attacks and more susceptible to virus threats on the internet. But considering the fact that most of the Google employees use Windows as their primary operating system – a sudden switch was not expected.

Some employees said that the Operating system switch is also a part of the long term initiative to run the company on Google’s own products, not to forget the forthcoming Chrome OS which is expected to be a strong competitor of the Windows Operating system.

New recruits at Googleplex are given the option of using either MAC computers or PC’s using Linux. It would be interesting to see which operating system makes it place permanent at various Google offices, around the globe.

image credit

Ubuntu 10.10 "Maverick Meerkat" Code Freeze In Place, Alpha 1 Coming Thursday

Barely a few weeks after Canonical released Ubuntu 10.04 aka Lucid Lynx, they already announced plans for Ubuntu 10.10 aka Maverick Meerkat, with a release schedule aimed to launch Meerkat in October 2010.

With the increased frenzy around the new build, there is some good news now that the initial codebase for Ubuntu 10.10 Maverick Meerkat has been frozen, which means that no more major changes will go into the latest build and Alpha 1 of Meerkat will see the light of day as scheduled on Thursday, June 3, 2010.

The freeze for Maverick Alpha 1 happened ahead of schedule and was announced in the Ubuntu developers newsletter. The announcement states:

Hello fellow Ubuntu developers,

the Meerkat wants to stick its head out to the world the first time!  We
haven’t really started landing new features from ourselves yet, but the first
milestone is important for testing the new kernel on a variety of hardware, as
well as the result of the autosyncs from Debian and first wave of merges and
package updates.

Between tomorrow and Thursday, the developers will iron out the bugs in the existing codebase and prepare the build for the first milestone in the schedule. So, rest assured you will be able to say hello to Maverick Meerkat soon enough.

Are you excited about Ubuntu 10.10 Maverick Meerkat? Will you be trying out the Alpha?

China Shutting Down Internet Cafes Before National Exams

China is no stranger to banning websites on the Internet, however, a recent directive issued by the Government will cause many people to be flabbergasted.

China Internet Cafes

According to some reports, some Linchuan district officials have given directives to Internet cafe owners to shut down till June 9th to allow students to prepare for the upcoming National College Entrance Exams.

The supposed ban is happening in Linxian county in Shanxi province and Linchuan district in Jiangxi province. Authorities there have warned Internet cafe owners that fines will be levied on them if they do not comply with the directive.

Ironically an official Linchuan Culture Bureau admits that what they are doing is probably illegal, however, what they are doing is for the sake of Linchuan’ education.

Now, I would definitely call such a ban stupid as students can definitely access internet from their home or at their friend’s place, and it is not like only students visit internet cafes. What would happen to the other people who want to access internet and depend on these cafes?

Alas, that is a hard question to answer, but anything can happen in China when it comes to internet.

(Source)

Star Wars iPad Briefing Parody

Remember Hitler’s take on everything and anything cropping up on ? Well, if you don’t this link might help. Now, when initially came out there were a lot of jokes about the name Steve Jobs chose for the device, however, there haven’t been much parodies about the device.

But like always, there is always a geeky fun element to any device or software and I want to introduce you to one such parody of iPad.

Adam Buxton, an English comedian has come up with a iPad parody which involves a Star Wars iPad Briefing, Steve Jobs style. The video in itself is funny and mocks Steve Jobs on stage doing an introduction of the iPad.

Interested in watching it? Well just hit the play button in the video below.

By the way, you can read all about Adam’s inspiration in creating this video at this personal blog here. Oh and do share any other parodies you have seen for the iPad through your comments.

Record Shoutcast Music Stations with MP3 VCR

music-notes [Windows Only] Many years ago, I remember recording broadcast radio stations using reel-to-reel, 8-track and finally cassette tape recorders. It was pretty simple tune in your radio, start your tape recorder and let it run. The biggest drawback was that you didn’t have a song list and it was often hard to identify the artist or the name of the song playing.

These days, computers have made it much easier to record music. There are many methods to record the streaming music at internet radio stations and I’ve discovered that the MP3 VCR is one of the easiest. All you have to do is:

  • Search Shoutcast.com for a radio station
  • Drag the station link to the Source Informationfield
  • Set music storage folder
  • Click the Start Recordingbutton

Here’s what the setup applet looks like:

mp3vcr-setup-interface

At Shoutcast, the link you need to drag and drop is the yellow TUNE INbutton.

shoutcast-station-list

Once you’ve started recording, you’ll see the main interface. There are a few buttons at the bottom that you can use for Pause, Stop, Listen or Mute while recording, Timed Recordings, Station Listings, Setup and Exit.

mp3vcr-main-interface

The station list is a nice feature. It allows you to play, add and remove Shoutcast radio streams.

mp3vcr-station-list

MP3 VCR actually detects the song titles of most station streams and creates an MP3 file for each song.

folder-music-files

This recorder is also advertised to work with stations at Live365.com. I haven’t had much luck with that, but I never use their service. There are thousands of stations at Shoutcast, what more can you ask for?

Download MP3 VCR

http://www.mp3vcr.com/

Techie Buzz Verdict:

There are plenty of ways to record music from the internet. MP3 VCR is free and it’s one of the easiest recording methods I’ve tried. In addition to plenty of documentation, this program’s source code is also available. Based on what I’ve found so far, I can highly recommend MP3 VCR.

techiebuzzrecommendedsoftware1

Techie Buzz Rating: 4/5 (Excellent)

Indian Startup Lifeblob Accuses Facebook Of Copying Related Photos Feature

has been working on a new feature called "Related Photos" which will display similar photos next to a photo your are viewing based on who has uploaded the photo and name tags used in it.

However, interestingly a Indian Startup called Lifeblob’s founder has accused Facebook of blatantly copying the feature from the site. The accusation which was done in a post by Lifeblob’s founder Pranav Bhasin on his personal blog (read here), says this (notes added by me):

With this supposed innovation, facebook will now start showing other photos of people who are face-tagged in a photo next to it. The application feature addition is designed to drive users to explore additional photos that may be of interest based on the photo they’re currently viewing, thereby further personalizing the experience (and increasing page views).

Just to set the record straight, we have had this feature ( and a lot more ) at http://www.lifeblob.com for over a year now and facebook has blatantly copied it. Every time you upload a photo on lifeblob, a recommendation engine not only looks at the face tags, but also the other information associated wtih (sic) your photo to show you photos that are closely related around it.So when you upload your graduation day photos, we discover other photos of your graduation day and show it next to your photo. What facebook has done is picked up this idea and launched a simple version of it that only uses face tags. Bravo!!

Pravin has also posted a screenshot which demonstrates the similarity of the feature on both Facebook and Lifeblob, which can be seen below.

facebook_lifeblob_controversy

The accusation in itself sounds pretty straightforward, however, there are this is nothing new in what Facebook is doing and there have been several times when they have cloned features from Friendfeed and Twitter too in the past, remember the like feature in Facebook, this was what came from Friendfeed, along with some design changes to the site which made it look similar to Twitter.

However, neither of these companies have started to accuse Facebook of theft and Facebook even went ahead and acquired Friendfeed.

Inspiration is definitely a good thing, however, this accusation of theft may not hold in a court of law. First thing to note here is that Lifeblob does not have any patent for their features and even if they had, they would not be able to sue Facebook in US if they had a Indian patent.

All said and done, I do feel that if Facebook did come out with this feature based on inspiration from Lifeblob, they might not come out and say it outright. And Lifeblob in itself might not be able to claim a intellectual theft in a court of law, so this accusation will remain just that.

What are your thoughts about this? Do you think that Facebook really copied the feature from Lifeblob or this is just another thing anyone could do?

(Source)

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