Firefox 4 Beta 1 Review

Firefox 4 Beta 1 was released earlier today. The newer version of Firefox from Mozilla is definitely better than Firefox 3.6 and is definitely worth trying out. Firefox 4 runs on the Gecko 2.0 web platform. Earlier today I downloaded Firefox 4 and put it through some drills, here is a review of Firefox 4 Beta 1 where you can find the new features and also the how Firefox 4 fares against other browsers in web browser benchmarks.

New User Interface

Firefox 4 New User Interface

Firefox 4 sports a completely different interface, some of which are from and . Firefox 4 has some new buttons and also a unified menu which is similar to the one Opera 10.6 has. In addition to that the tabs also default to the top which is similar to Google Chrome.

However, the menu bar is initially hidden and users can unhide it to go back to the older navigation found in Firefox 3.6 and below.

Firefox 4 Bookmarks menu

Firefox 4 also has a new bookmark button giving users easy access to their bookmarks with one click. You can find and navigate through all your bookmarks and folders using the bookmark button next to the search box.

New Add-ons Manager


Firefox 4 sports a new add-ons manager which integrates into the browser. However, the interface is still under construction and you cannot use the add-ons manager to browse and install add-ons yet. However, it is definitely much better than the earlier version and also has some new developer tools.

Mozilla also says that the add-ons manager UI will be changed before the final release, so don’t start falling in love with it yet.

Search and Switch to Open Tabs


Firefox 4 also has a hidden gem in the smart location bar, which will allow you to switch to an open URL by typing in the URL or searching for the title of the page. The feature is very handy if you have several open tabs and want to switch to it without navigating through all the tabs.

When you want to switch to an open tab, just start typing the URL or the title of the page and you will be shown an option to Switch to that open tab. Pretty neat.

Windows 7 Integration

firefox_4_windows_7_integration firefox_4_windows_7_jumplists

Firefox 4 tightly integrates into by having tab previews and Jumplists. Using the tab previews you can easily preview all open tabs. In addition to that the jumplists allows you to quickly perform tasks and open frequently opened URLs.

Native HTML5 WebM Videos Support


Firefox 4 has native support for WebM videos. WebM is an open source royalty free codec for HTML5 videos which is an alternative to H.264 and Theora codes (Learn more about WebM). In my tests HTML5 videos works pretty good on .

Speed and Other Benchmarks


Firefox 4 is definitely much more lighter and faster than Firefox 3.6 and it uses much less memory than the earlier versions. However, Firefox 4 is not yet the fastest browser and it was beaten by both Google Chrome 6 (dev) and Opera 10.60 in the Peacekeeper benchmarks I ran.


Firefox also failed the Acid 3 test, but the results were far better than Firefox 3.6. This shows a lot of improvements being done under the hood. Firefox 4 was also slower than in the SunSpider JavaScript Benchmark  and way too slow in the V8 benchmarks I ran (screenshots coming shortly).

Other Features

Firefox 4 also has Crash protection for Flash, QuickTime and other plugins, however, this was introduced in Firefox 3.6. Firefox 4 also has a HTML5 parser which allows you to run the latest apps, support for WebSockets for real-time online interactions like chatting and gaming and IndexedDB which will allow users to use offline storage.

If you have not yet downloaded Firefox 4 Beta 1, you can do it from here or visit this blog post on Mozilla to find out all the latest features available in Firefox 4.

Auto Backup for MySQL Database

If you have a blog or a regular website which makes use of a database to store information, there could be times when the database crashes or for that matter your hosting provider does. In such cases, having backups of your MySQL database is really very very important.

Of course there are several ways to backup your MySQL data, however, most of those require manual intervention and can be easily forgotten.


Auto Backup for MySQL is a MySQL Backup Solution which allows users to schedule the backing up and restoring of your remote and local MySQL Database. Auto Backup for MySQL allows you to create different tasks to backup or restore MySQL database. You can choose to automatically backup MySQL database to SQL files or also choose to upload them another server or to another database altogether.

In addition to the above tasks you can also export the MySQL tables to CSV, XML, HTML or Text files and execute regular MySQL queries on the database.

Once you choose a task, the software will walk you through a wizard which will create the steps required to perform the task. For detailed instruction on creating a task using Auto Backup for MySQL you can visit this post.

Techie Buzz Verdict

Considering that the database is the most important part of any website or blog, Auto Backup for MySQL is definitely a useful software. Using the software you can schedule backups to occur at regular intervals, thus ensuring that you have backups in case your database or host crashes.

However, the only problem I saw with the software is that it expects that the host allows connection from external IP address, whereas many servers come with installations which restrict database access to only local machine. It would be good if the software could allow for SSH tunneling through which it could backup the database too.

Auto Backup for MySQL is available as a free trial for 15 days, after which you can buy different editions of the software starting at $59.95.

Download  Link:

Pro Link:

This is a sponsored review of the software, all views in the post are unbiased and true.

Histwi – A Desktop Twitter Account Management App for Linux

The rapid explosion in the  popularity  of Twitter has resulted in a plethora of desktop Twitter clients being available. However, there is one client, Histwi, which claims to be different from the rest. Instead of being a Twitter client, Histwi is called a Twitter account management client. How different is it actually from a normal Twitter client? We will come to that later. But first the installation.


If you are using Ubuntu 9.10 Karmic Koala, it is quite easy to install Histwi. Here is what you need to do to install Histwi in Karmic Koala:

  • Open the terminal.
  • Add the PPA with the command:

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:nikolay-blohin/histwi

  • Update your software list with the command:

sudo apt-get update

  • Finally, install it with the command

sudo apt-get install histwi

If you are using another version of Ubuntu or another distro, you can download the .deb file or the source file from


I use Ubuntu 9.10, so my installation was smooth and problem free. After installation, Histwi can be found in Applications -> Internet in GNOME or KickOff -> Applications -> Internet in KDE SC.

This is what you get just after you start it, before any configuration. As you can see, “Add User”, “Delete User”, “Sync User” are given a very  prominent  place where it is very visible.

Clicking on “Add User” brings up a dialog where you have to enter your Twitter username and password to get started. Upto this point, it is a breeze. There is no need to go to Settings, Configuration menu etc to look add your Twitter account.

After you have entered your Twitter details, Histwi downloads your Tweets. This is where it gets irritating. It took a good 20-25 minutes to download my tweets.  However, I found out that this is where the first difference between a simple Twitter client and a Twitter account manager comes up. Since Histwi is a Twitter account manager, it downloads all the of your tweets unlike Twitter clients which needs to download just the latest few tweets. Another difference is that unlike Twitter clients, it does not download the tweets of those you follow.

After, all your Tweets have been downloaded, you can see your all your tweets ever by clicking on “Tweets”. You can save your tweets as a text file or a html file (although I cannot come up with any reason why anyone would want to do that).

Clicking on “Friends” brings up the list of people you follow and those who follows you. You can follow or unfollow people from this window. In this window, you can also see the number of people whom

  • you follow but doesn’t follow you
  • you follow and in turns follows you
  • you don’t follow but follows you

I sure would love to know who are the people in the various groups as mentioned above.  However, Histwi does not provide any way to see who are the people in the various categories mentioned above.

The search is however, one feature that I am very impressed with. It provides a number of search parameters which results it in being a very powerful search tool. And the best part is that it searches the public timeline, not your followers timeline.

This is the search result, I got when I searched for “tegan and sara” as “All of these words”. Quite impressive I must say.

What I Liked

  • Powerful and versatile search. This can be real useful when you are searching for something specific.
  • Easy and simple interface. The interface is such that even a newbie can jump right in and start using it right away without any peoblem.

What I Disliked

  • The whole concept behind the app. I cannot understand why anyone would want to have an app which he can only only use to manage his Twitter account. Unless it is someone who has a number of Twitter accounts, I do not see any real use for this app.
  • No Tweet and no friends timeline. Right now the app does not have any way to post tweets and we cannot see our friends timeline.

[Review] Clementine 0.2 Music Player in Ubuntu

For many Linux users (me included), Amarok is the music player of choice. However, the Amarok 2 series introduced a radical change in Amarok for the earlier series and has found many haters. As a result many people still refuse to upgrade to Amarok 2 series and are sticking with Amarok 1.4. For those people who want to have Amarok 1.4 along with the new tecnologies that Qt4 brings, there is a new music player called Clementine.

Clementine is basically a port of Amarok 1.4 to Qt4. Techie Buzz author, Sathya Bhat, has already covered Clementine when it was at a very early stage of development. Now, it has matured a bit more. Some of the features have been rewritten to take advantage of new features provided by Qt4. Now with the new release, some new features/improvemnts have been added:

  • Album cover art is now automatically loaded from disk for your library.
  • Cover manager downloads missing covers from
  • Covers for radio tracks are shown in notifications.
  • Much better Various Artistsdetection.
  • Shuffle and Repeat modes for the playlist.
  • Playlist columns for album, artist, composer, file type, date
  • Support for Media keys (play, stop, etc.) in Linux.

Clementine provides a very simple and no-frills interface which is extremely easy to use, just like the one you get with Amarok 1.4. In fact, I think it is the exactly the same interface that Amarok 1.4 had. For software at such an early stage of development, it is extremely stable. I have been using it since yesterday and yet it has not crashed or hung or done anything of that sort.

Clementine has a dead simple configuration editor, where even newbies will feel quite at home. Like Amarok 2.3, it uses Knotify to notify when a new song starts which is much better than the OSD that Amarok 1.4 uses.

Feature-wise, Clementine provides most of the features that you would expect from Amarok 1.4. Of course, it does not have stuffs like the applet supports that you get with Amarok 2 series, but users of Amarok 1.4 should be quite satified with the features that it provides. However, it still does not have some very basic things like iPod and MP3 player support. This can however be overlooked for the time being as it is in early development stage.

A feature missing in Clementine that can however cause problems is that there is no option to use an external database instead of the default SQLite. With a large music library SQLite tends to be slow, so with Amarok, I use an external MySQL database to maintain my library. With Clementine I am forced to have SQLite handling the entire library. However, if you have a relatively small collection (from my experience I would say less than 10k songs), this will not be a problem.

If you would like to try it out you can  download the .deb file and install it. It is available for both 32-bit and 64-bit systems. For Ubuntu, Karmic Koala is the only supported version. Since it is Qt based you will also need some KDE libraries to run it.

[via Digitizor]

A New and Improved Start Menu with StartMenu7

In September of 2008, Keith wrote about a Windows Start Menu replacement called VistaStartMenu. The author of that program has created a new alternative based on the Windows 7 menu. If you are running an older version of Windows, and you have a slight case of feature envy, StartMenu7 may be an option you’ll enjoy adding.

7start-menu-icon I recently tried StartMenu7 and took a few screenshots. I’ll share them with you here and add a few comments on some of the features.

This screen-shot is from the author. It shows the default skin.


If your system supports it, portions of the menu are transparent.

This menu has a search box at the bottom, like Vista and Win7. It works pretty much the same. Typing into it searches your Start Menu for programs or actions. Also across the bottom are buttons for PC power control and options. Just above the power buttons are three tabs labeled All Programs, Quick Startand Autorun. The All Programsis the default view and it shows all of your programs. The Quick Startmenu can be populated with items that you add to it through the Options.

Here’s another skin called Classic…


… and another skin called Windows. I liked this one the best.


At the top of StartMenu7 are two buttons for adding and removing program shortcuts. There’s a third button for access to a custom Runmenu with several interesting features.


Shown above is the Runsub-menu called Commandsand below is the sub-menu for Folders.


StartMenu7 is installed like most other applications and can be removed using the Windows Add/Remove applet. You can launch StartMenu7 normally or you can set it to automatically launch when Windows boots up.

There are many options that I haven’t explored. Here are a few that are listed on the program’s website.

  • The list of menu items is alphabetically sorted, so you can easily find any program or command by its name.
  • Open any location on your PC with a single click.
    You can create, modify, and reorder items in Start Menu 7. So it’s easy to create a list of the most used locations, popular directories, and virtual folders to access them with a single click.
  • There is a special Run button to access seldom used locations without adding them into menu.
  • Start Menu 7 has a customizable Power Buttons panel.
  • With Power Timer feature you can delay any of power management operations.

Download StartMenu7 (Windows 2000, 2003, XP, Vista, 7)

Techie Buzz Verdict:

I don’t use many addons like StartMenu7. I like to keep my resources free and I’m also a big fan of Classicmenus. That said, I’m very tempted to add StartMenu7 to my Windows XP machines. While I was using it, it seemed bug free and didn’t slow things down one bit. I really did like all of the extra features it adds.

Techie Buzz Rating: 3/5 (Good)

Nokia N97 Mini Exclusive Hands-On Review

Recently, I got to play with Nokia N97 Mini in our Techie Buzz Labs. At the first sight, the QWERTY keypad looks absolutely stunning, but I wasn’t amazed with the Symbian S60 v5 operating system, as I’m used to it. I’m already using Nokia 5800 Xpress Music for the last 5 months, but the major difference in software between both the device was that of “Kinetic Scrolling”. The other feature I liked was that of customizable homescreen. I had a perception that this device wasn’t a value for money, thanks to its operating system. With all my friends, contacts, emails and widgets on the homescreen, this device proved me wrong.

nokia n97 mini

What’s in the box?

nokia n97 mini box

  • Nokia N97 Mini
  • Nokia Battery
  • Nokia Travel Charger
  • Nokia Connectivity Cable
  • Nokia Wired Headset
  • OVI Suite DVD
  • User Manual

To know more on the contents inside the box, check out our exclusive N97 Mini unboxing video. You can even have a look at out exclusive hands-on pics.

Positive Features

  • Smooth Slider
  • Large Touchscreen Display
  • Excellent QWERTY keypad
  • 8GB in-built memory
  • Kinetic Scrolling
  • Supports Popular Audio/Video formats
  • Stylish Metallic Battery Cover
  • Wide Range of Useful Apps
  • Customizable Homescreen

Negative Features

  • Poor Display Under Sunlight
  • Unimpressive Battery
  • Unsatisfactory Camera
  • No Changes in UI
  • Poor Web Browser

Design And Hardware:

N97 Mini is constantly being compared with its big brother, Nokia N97. The design of this device is quite attractive as compared to N97. The build quality of N97 Mini is just brilliant. The battery cover is made up of a metallic material, which makes it look like a high end device, unlike N97 which has a plastic battery cover. This device is absolutely comfortable and it easily fits in my pockets.

n97 mini metallic back

N97 Mini has a little smaller display as compared to N97. This device has a display of 3.2 inches (similar to Nokia 5800 Xpress Music), while N97 had a 3.5 inches display. It comes with a resistive touchscreen, 360 x 640 pixels resolution and it supports 16 million colors. N97 Mini has a sharper and crystal clear display under normal lighting conditions, but it becomes almost unreadable in direct sunlight.

Above the large display, there is a proximity and light sensitivity sensors, earpiece and a video call camera. The proximity sensor helps to switch off the display automatically, when you hold the device near to your ear. Below the display, you can find a menu key along with a touch sensitive call and end keys. On the left side, there is a microUSB port and the screen lock slider. On the right side, there are camera and volume keys. The power key and 3.5 mm audio jack are situated on the top of the device.

nokia n97 mini qwerty

The sliding QWERTY keyboard is just amazing. The slider is absolutely smooth and there isn’t any chances of damage during its regular usage. The keys are a bit smaller as compared to N97, but they are perfectly placed with proper spacing between the keys. N97 Mini has arrow keys, unlike the useless D-pad key on the N97. The keys are easy to use and they aren’t pain on your fingers.

On the back, you will find a 5 megapixel camera with a dual LED flash and a stylish metallic battery cover. The battery of this device is also smaller than N97. This device has a 1200 mAH battery as compared to N97 which has a 1500 mAH battery. The MicroSD card slot is situated under the battery cover while the SIM card slot is placed under the battery. N97 Mini supports upto 16GB of external storage.

nokia n97 mini hardware

Nokia N97 Mini is available in three stunning colors – Cherry Black, Garnet and White. The build quality of this device is much better than N97. But the power, volume and menu keys are completely unsatisfactory. Sometimes I was not able to open the slider in one go. There is always a fear in mind regarding the damages to slider due to the thin plastic support on its back. It was quite comfortable and faster to send emails and texts, thanks to its amazing slider QWERTY keypad. They should have provided covers for the USB port and dual LED flash, since they can be scratched easily. The proximity sensor works perfectly. It is quite a pain to change SIM cards.

Check out the full specification of Nokia N97 Mini here.

User Interface:

nokia n97 mini interface

As I have said earlier, for the first few days I didn’t liked this device because of the Symbian S60v5 operating system. I was already bored of the same user interface as I’m used to it. But the major difference in the user interface of Nokia N97 Mini and other Symbian S60 device was that of Kinetic Scrolling and an amazing homescreen. Kinetic Scrolling was available everywhere, even in menus and applications. I really liked the kinetic scrolling of this device. The icons menus are very appealing as compared to the list menus. The menu icons can be customized easily within few seconds. Sliding out the QWERTY keypad rotates the screen vertically.


nokia n97 mini homescreen

The customizable homescreen in N97 Mini is brilliant. The widgets in homescreen helped me a lot by saving my valuable time. Almost all my needs were fulfilled from the homescreen itself. You can add, remove and organize upto 5 widgets on the homescreen. The clock widget is set by default and it cannot be removed, but you can place it anywhere on the homescreen. My favorite homescreen widgets are Facebook, AccuWeather and Shortcuts.

I tried adding Gravity on the homescreen but it looked dull. Gravity isn’t optimized for N97 Mini homescreen, but it would be fun to have an excellent app, like Gravity, readily optimized for the homescreen. The menu key below the display is quite uncomfortable. Hence, I have added the menu shortcut on the homescreen as I didn’t wanted to use that menu key anymore.

Check out 20 stunning wallpapers for Nokia N97 Mini here. You can also find more amazing wallpapers here.


nokia n97 mini connectivity

The Nokia N97 Mini is a powerful device which has a wide range of connectivity options. This device comes with GPRS, EDGE, Bluetooth, USB, Wi-Fi and 3G connectivity. It has 2G and 3G quad band, which can be used globally with any wireless operator. You can easily find and connect to Wi-Fi signals, with the help of this device. I tried using Wi-Fi on this device and the hi-speed browsing experience was just incredible. The connection manager shows all the active connections, along with the current download and upload speed. You can always stay connected with your friends, thanks to its wide range of connectivity options.


nokia n97 mini messaging

There are no changes in messaging client as compared to Nokia 5800. Nokia N97 Mini comes with SMS, MMS and Email messaging services. The messaging client fulfills most of my needs when it comes to SMS and MMS services. To compose a message, you can use the amazing QWERTY keyboard or you can even use the alphanumeric keyboard on the touchscreen itself. You can even type long texts and Emails easily, within few minutes. What’s more, you can use your own handwriting to type messages on the go. Messaging isn’t a pain in N97 Mini since it comes with an outstanding QWERTY keyboard.

Sending and receiving emails in N97 Mini is a child’s play. I was able to configure my Google Apps, Gmail as well as OVI mail within few seconds. Setting up OVI mail was the easiest one as you have to only key in the username and password, nothing else. I would suggest you to use IMAP instead of POP for retrieving email, but the final choice is ultimately yours.

Since 3G is still not available with the private operators in India, I was not able to test messaging in a 3G environment. I tested the email service using EDGE and Wi-Fi, and the service was pretty neat. Hundreds of emails were retrieved within seconds. Reading mails in Nokia 5800 is quite a pain, but it isn’t in N97 Mini, thanks to the kinetic scrolling.


nokia n97 mini camera

Nokia N97 Mini has a 5 mega-pixel camera with Carl Zeiss optics and the dual LED flash. The maximum resolution for an image is 2592 x 1944 pixels. Though there is no major difference in the camera as compared to N97, you will find the lens cover missing in the mini version. The interface is the exact copy of what we have seen earlier in the Nokia 5800 and N97. You can find all the settings under a common menu, but the flash has a dedicated shortcut with 4 options Automatic, Reduce Red, On and Off. You can switch to secondary camera or video mode directly through “Options”. The device has 8 scene modes, 5 color tone, white balance, exposure, light sensitivity, contrast, sharpness and image sequence mode.

Transparent Display Alarm Clock

transparent display clock

Stagecoach Bus

stagecoach bus

The camera quality of this device cannot be termed as excellent. The images do not have much visible noise in them. The images taken with N97 Mini are slightly better than the original N97. The images taken during night were visibly poor as compared to those taken during the day. I saw yellow tint in most of the images taken during the day. The color balance is definitely not upto the mark.

I was quite amazed to see that this device does not have face and smile detection technology. Even cheap mobile phones, such as Samsung Corby come with a smile detection feature. This device has a VGA video recording @ 30fps. The video quality is quite satisfactory.

Images And Videos:

You can view all your images in the photos application. This application is pretty neat, and you can easily browse thousand of images with the help of kinetic scrolling. The app has a basic photo editor where you can add effects, such as inserting clip arts, frames and texts, crop the image, increase brightness and so on. You can double click on any image to zoom it. You can directly send the image as an attachment, right inside the photos application.

The video player allows you to view 3gp and mp4 videos. The video experience on a large screen is simply awesome. You can watch videos of upto 360 x 640 resolution. I have added 5 full length movies and watched it on the go. If you want to skip some part of the video, then you can drag the bar to any part of the video. For some reason, if you stopped the video, the next time, video starts from that position itself. This is quite useful when the device is switched off due to low battery.


nokia n97 mini music player

The device come with a 3.5 mm headphone jack, 8GB in built memory, 16GB expandable memory and support for MP3, WMA, AAC, eAAC, and eAAC+ audio files. I have added some extreme chartbusters to make it a complete music phone. The stereo headphone provided with this device is pretty decent. Compared to other Nokia devices, the loudspeakers are not too loud.

The music player has the same old S60 interface. Songs are arranged according to their album and artist name. I would ask you to update your ID3 tags for arranging songs neatly in the device. Even if you have thousands of albums in your device, you can browse them easily with the help of kinetic scrolling. The music player even allows you to rewind and forward any track while listening. The music player definitely needs some improvement.


nokia n97 mini browser

The web browser of N97 Mini is not too bad, but it is not well optimized for webpages with lots of links. While browsing Techie Buzz, it automatically redirected to the mobile version, which I turned off later. The browser supports flash content, so you can watch your favorite YouTube videos right inside the browser. The kinetic scrolling helps to browse long web pages easily.

The bookmark manager is quite unsatisfactory. The page opens instantly even on a EDGE connection. On the top of the browser, you can see the size of the web page, which is quite useful, if you have a limited data connection or while you are browsing while roaming in another country. I really want Nokia to improve the S60 browser for its future devices.

Pre-Installed Apps:

nokia n97 mini apps

Nokia N97 Mini has a bunch of pre-installed apps. Through it comes with a wide range of free apps, some of the pre-installed apps were only trial version. Sadly, N97 Mini does not have a single pre-installed game. Check out the complete list of pre-installed apps below.

  • Drawing
  • JoikuSpot
  • Qik
  • Boingo
  • Soccer
  • Facebook
  • Friendster
  • Hi5
  • Metro
  • MySpace
  • Traveler
  • AccuWeather
  • Amazon
  • AP Mobile
  • Bloomberg
  • CNN Video
  • Elle
  • Slideshow
  • Vingo

Third Party Apps:

n97 mini apps

Nokia N97 Mini supports thousands of paid and free apps. You can head over to OVI Store for complete application gallery. To test third part apps, I installed Gravity, the best Twitter application for S60 5th Edition devices. The app worked pretty smoothly. Check out the top 10 applications for Nokia N97 Mini here.


nokia n97 mini

I have used Nokia N97 for few days, but it was a complete disaster. The moment I opened a few apps, it started freezing. I was not able to view YouTube videos properly. So, I had a perception that N97 Mini will also be a highly-priced device with lots of flaws. When I used the device for first two days, I didn’t found anything new. But when I used it for almost a week, it completely changed my mind.

The spectacular combination of hardware and software makes this handset one of the best mobile communicating device currently available in the market.

Nokia N97 Mini is a complete winner in the long run. The touchscreen is very responsive and the call quality has been significantly improved. This device fits perfectly in the pockets. I used the device for more than two weeks, but it haven’t freezed once. Though there are not many changes in the UI, the kinetic scrolling is a complete savior. I liked the QWERTY keypad of N97 Mini a lot. Even OVI Store have thousand of useful apps that fulfills most of my needs.

The browser is not up to the mark, but the camera of N97 Mini is  definitely  better that N97. Though many of you will still prefer N97  because  of its 32GB inbuilt memory for almost same price, but I would recommend you to get this device since it is high on  performance  and  quality. The recent firmware update of N97 Mini, solved all the flaws of this device. Nokia N97 Mini is one of the best touchscreen handsets manufactured by Nokia. Go For It!!!

Techie Buzz Rating: 4/5 (Excellent)

[ Image Credit ]

Create a Hyperlinked Notes Database with Tomboy

tomboy-icon I’ve been playing with Linux for a couple of years now. One of the applications on Linux that I’ve grown to use often, is Tomboy. Since I spend most of the day in Windows, I was pleased to find out that the developers of Tomboy have ported it over to Windows (and Mac). I’ll tell you a bit about this app and how to install it on your Windows PC.

What is Tomboy?

It’s a note taking application. However, it blends normal text with links and hyperlinks, such as you see while using a web browser. A link in Tomboy usually opens another Tomboy page. This feature allows you to quickly build a personal knowledge database that’s easy to navigate, organize and manage. Tomboy also allows you to use web links and email links.

Here’s what a Tomboy note looks like:


When you need to create a new page in Tomboy, you can either use the “new page” button, or you can create a link using a word or several words in a page. Once you’ve created a link such as “My Personal Info”, every time you type those words into Tomboy, the text automatically turns into a link to the “My Personal Info” page.

Here are some other features of Tomboy:

  • Text Highlights
  • web links & email address links
  • Undo/redo
  • Font styling & sizing
  • Bulleted lists

When you highlight text in Tomboy, a single click can turn it into a link, or you can format the text by using the “Text” menu.


When it’s not in use, Tomboy normally resides as an icon in the system tray. Right clicking on the system tray icon will bring up the main menu. However,   I’ve noticed that sometimes the icon disappears in Windows. Tomboy can still be accessed by using the ALT + F12 hotkey combination to pop up the Tomboy menus.


Take a look at the following video to get a better idea of how Tomboy works.


Installing Tomboy in Windows?

Tomboy requires .NET 3.5 (from Microsoft) and GTK# (from Novel) in order to run. If you are running Windows 7, you already have .NET, but XP users may need to install or update their current .NET.

Dowload GTK# for Windows and install it.

Once you have .NET and GTK# installed, you can download the Tomboy Installer and run it.

Final Note: Tomboy also has the ability to synchronize notes between operating systems and between different computers. I plan on showing you how to do this in a later article.

Techie Buzz Verdict:

I usually don’t care much for applications that have strict requirements such as .NET. In the case of Tomboy Notes, I’m willing to overlook this failing. The ability to work with the same notes when I’m using Windows, Linux or Mac is pretty valuable to me. Many would argue that several online services already allow you to do this from a web browser. Just as many people still like to have a local application to keep their private notes more secure and easier to access. If you need to keep your notes on a local drive, Tomboy can be a flexible choice for you.

Techie Buzz Rating: 3/5 (Good)

Sync Google Contacts, Picasa, YouTube And Google Reader With Google.mE

Google.mE is a java based application that helps you to synchronize your online Google world with your desktop. This java based application allows you to access  Google Contacts, Google Docs, YouTube profile, Picasa albums and Google Reader right from your desktop.


To use this application, you need to provide your Google and ID. It takes a little time to sync your data. After syncing you can access your docs, videos and others from this application.

It has Google Docs, Contacts, RSS Feeds, Picasa and YouTube each arranged in separate tabs. Some of its features are:

  • You can upload or export files from Google Docs.
  • You can add new RSS Feeds to your reader or read existing RSS Feeds.
  • You can save photos from your Picasa albums or add photos to them from your computer.
  • You can add/remove contacts or move them from one folder to another.

Techie-Buzz Verdict:

This is a good little application. If you use lot of Google products like Google Reader, Docs and so on, then this is a great application to have. However, this application has a slackness. You cannot read the Google Docs directly from it. you need to download it and then view or edit it. This is a minus point. Overall, an average application.

Techie-Buzz Rating: 3/5


Chat on Skype without Installing Skype Client on Your PC

Skype is one of the most popular VOIP (Voice Over Internet Protocol) services. A   drawback in Skype is that it does not have an online client. You have to install a desktop client to chat with your buddies.Here is a simple tool that can help you overcome this drawback. is an online service that helps you to chat with your Skype buddies online. This service allows users to IM, talk and voice chat without actually installing Skype on the computer. Apart from Skype, this service has many more IM protocols such as MSN, Yahoo, Google Talk, AIM, My Space and Facebook.


This service is very simple to use. All you need to do is, go to Select the IM protocol you want to use. Enter the corresponding username and password. Start Chatting!


  1. The Whiteboard feature in this service lets you create drawings, diagrams and text documents in real-time with your friends online.
  2. You can upload and share your photos with your buddies on your list at [email protected] It provides about 2GB of free space.
  3. You can even create broadcasts about your service/ blog using its broadcast feature.
  4. Another feature that is worth to mention in this service is, you can log on to multiple accounts simultaneously. So you can chat with your Skype buddy while pinging your GTalk buddy.

Techie-Buzz Verdict

It is a very good service. It has really cool and simple interface. It does not have any messy ads unlike many other online services. It’ amazing features such as whiteboard and multiple account login provides this a plus point.

Techie-Buzz Rating: 4/5 (Very Good)

Free Full Version of WinOptimizer 5

As is often the case with Ashampoo products, shortly after they roll out new versions, you start seeing free offers for the previous versions.

There’s nothing wrong with that at all. I’ve used several Ashampoo products after free versions became available. I’ve found their offerings to be very good in most cases. Ashampoo WinOptimizer is also one of those cases.

What is WinOptimizer?

winoptimizer-5-box WinOptimizer is a PC cleaner and optimizer. After scanning the system, the software offers you opportunities to change the PC settings to increase performance. It also scans for unnecessary (junk) files and orphaned or corrupted registry keys.

Here are a few additional features:

  • Undeleter
  • Icon Saver
  • Real-time backup
  • Registry Optimizer
  • Drive Cleaner
  • Tweaking Tools
  • Process Manager
  • StartUp Tuner
  • File Wiper
  • One-Click Optimization

WinOptimizer has consistently had a 4 out of 5 user rating at and is a popular download despite a normal cost of around $40 or $50 USD after a trial period.

In order to get it for free, you will have to jump through a few hoops. However, none of the hoops are on fire, and I’ll guide you through them step by step.

Get a free license and download WinOptimizer: