Tag Archives: Software

HP Updates TouchPad To webOS 3.0.4.77

Even though you didn’t get your hands on a webOS TouchPad, there’s nothing stopping HP from providing marginal updates to their defunct platform, right?

HP has just started pushing out the latest update to the their tablet, the TouchPad. It’s still webOS, although there are ways to get Android running on yours. It’s a small update, it brings the usual speed improvement, performance and stability updates, and fixes some rather huge gaps in the system (that you probably never cared about). You may have noticed that puny 1.3 MP camera on the front, but that there was no way of actually using it to take pictures; well fear no more. There is now a built-in Camera app to take care of your video and picture-taking requirements. Likely, the camera attached to your phone is more suited than the TouchPad, but it’s nice that HP has addressed this.

You also may have been having issues pairing your phone with the TouchPad — that’s because in their infinite wisdom, HP decided to disallow non-webOS devices from connecting. Well, they’ve also fixed that. You can now pair any device, smart or dumb phone to your TouchPad and use it as a phone. Thanks HP, holding and talking into a 10″ screen is exactly what I want to do. Instead, HP should have added the Bluetooth DUN profile for tethering or maybe OBEX-FTP for sharing files between devices. There’s no reason a modern mobile platform should be missing either of these. Shame on you, HP.

Of course some other minor additions such as OGG Vorbis support, and being able to actually toggle between offline and online while logged in to an IM service have been added.

These certainly are nice additions that most definitely make up for HP stabbing Palm in the back, abandoning webOS and shattering the dreams of many customers. Thanks for the bone, HP! Next time, do all your customers a favor and instead of shipping 2 or 3 devices with Android pre-installed, set it up for everybody and save yourself the PR nightmare.

Ubuntu 12.04 Named, The Countdown Begins

The very popular Linux distribution, Ubuntu, has received its new name. With every public frozen release of Ubuntu, a code-name is chosen which traces its roots back to when Canonical took the reigns and pushed out ‘Warty Warthog’ in 2004. Since then, each 6 month release has received a name made up of a carefully selected adjective paired to the name of an animal. From 8.10 ‘Intrepid Ibex’ to 11.10 ‘Oneiric Ocelot’,  we have now arrived at the latest iteration of Ubuntu nearing release – 12.04.

Mark Shuttleworth, founder of Canonical Ltd, explains the thought process for coming up with the newly named release, Precise Pangolin.

We’re looking for something phonetic, something plausible and something peaceful too. We’ll avoid the petulant, the pestilent, the phlegmy (phooey!), the parochial, the palliative and the psychotic. We’re aiming for mildly prophetic, and somewhat potent, without wanting to be all pedantic and particular. Phew.

Let’s ask the question differently what are we trying to convey? 12.04 is an LTS. So we want it to be tough and long-lasting, reliable, solid as a rock and well defended. It’s also going to be the face of Ubuntu for large deployments for a long time, so we want it to have no loose ends, we want it to be coherent, neat.

Ladies and gentlemen, I give you the  Precise Pangolin.

So, what on earth is a pangolin and why is it precise?

It’s very similar to an ant-eater. It has armor to protect itself, it’s versatile and can adapt to the environment. Fitting name for an operating system that needs to be robust and reliable, yet friendly and approachable by a new user.

To anticipate the launch, the Ubuntu team has put up an online countdown timer. It’s vague and they’re purposely skimping on details to create a stir. The timer runs in real-time and will end in just over 24 hours, when everything will, hopefully, be revealed.

Siri On Apple’s iPhone 4S is Serious Business

Let’s face it, Apple started and hyped the entire ‘app metaphor’. They made it important to have a centralized distribution center for software  and  bundle it into an ecosystem — where multiple layers of hardware and software interact and have clearly defined relationships. With the not-so-recent push to “web technologies”, browsers are becoming the dashboard for data and dedicated ‘apps’ are taking the back-burner. We’ve been slowly moving away from using a specific source to get specific information. This is where voice control comes into play.

Voice control has been around for years. Everybody knows about Nuance, Windows Voice Command and the Mac OS text-to-speech widget, yet they have an extremely limited scenario for usage. People use voice control on their mobile devices for simple tasks like dictation, music control or calling people. Siri on is going to change this. Although it was available in the App Store previously, now that Siri is integrated into iOS5, things are going to be different.

I’ll say the majority of mobile usage can be separated into 2 streams; either you’re giving information, or you’re getting information. Sending emails, taking pictures or replying to text messages, falls under giving. Browsing the web, listening to music/podcasts or using navigation software, falls under getting.

The purpose of Siri is to abstract both of these activities into a single method of interaction. It’s  appstraction!  Current smartphones owners have learned to launch apps to complete tasks. It requires active thought in order to do so. I want the weather, so naturally I am going to open a weather app. I want to set an alarm for tomorrow, so I’ll open the alarm/clock app. There is an active thought, a solution to the thought and then physical interaction with the mobile device begins. It’s an extremely recently-learned response. Speech, however, isn’t. Most of us have been talking since we were at least 3.

Speech is an immediate and direct subset to thought. It’s the next easiest thing to do — ask a question, get an answer. Using speech to get and give information is inherent to humans. It’s intuitive. It’s fast and it’s (usually) straight forward. If there’s one thing that Apple has been able to do, it’s provide relatively intuitive interfaces and experiences, on a consistent basis. Consistency is key.

Most people are lambasting Siri because they don’t want to talk to their phones. Voice usage is down, data usage is up. We know you don’t want to talk to people, let alone your phone. Stop trying to imagine yourself in a crowded subway station or mall, yelling at your phone in order to dictate an e-mail. You can still type it out on the horrid virtual keyboard. Now imagine you’re in bed and you forget to set an alarm. Don’t lift the glaring screen to your face, tap an icon, fat-finger the input to 7 AM and then put it back down. Lean over, press the home button and say “Wake me up at 7 AM”. Roll over and go to sleep. You didn’t even open your eyes.

I know change is hard. You want to interact with your phone. You want to hold and look at your phone. You want to swipe and flick through the interface on your phone. Except when you don’t want to and you simply want to get something done. Siri simply enhances your ability to reduce the amount of interactions it takes to get something done. Most consumers use technology because it betters their life. Siri will drastically reduce complications you have with your iPhone, if you want it to.

Click.To Transforms Everything On Your Computer Into a Hyperlink

The mouse was invented to make navigation easy and perform common tasks as quickly as possible. But that was 1970, when multi-tasking was an unknown phrase.

Computers and computing have come a long way since then. Today, we have dozens of apps, browser tabs, documents, settings and other things to worry about and if your computer is without a mouse it is as good as a block of metal weighing 2.72 Kg.

Another annoying problem I encounter every single day is to copy and paste stuff from one place to another. A cool Facebook status update, Google search for a phrase, retweeting someone’s tweet, copying a link and pasting it in Microsoft Outlook, referencing to the biography of the author whose eBook I am reading the list goes on.

Click, Copy, minimize, maximize, click, paste – eyes and fingers moving like crazy. A single mistake in the sequence and you find yourself starting the loop all over again.

If you’re anything like me and need a simple way to copy and paste stuff from one application to another, try Click.to. It’s a sweet little utility for Windows which lets you copy text and files from one application and paste it on any other application. Text, photos, videos, uploads anything!

Did you copied an article on Wikipedia and want to add it to the word document you are currently editing? Do you want to bulk upload photos to your Facebook account from desktop? Do you want to copy a phrase and tweet it?

Select the text or files, hit Control C and Click.to will give you one click options to send the copied text and files to any application on your system. This is useful because you don’t have to open the target app, copy the text from the source app and paste it again on the target app. Click.to will handle all the three hassles in just one mouse click

click-to

From the program preferences, you can choose which application icons are shown on the default Click.to dialog box, that pops up whenever you hit Control + C. With Click.to, everything on your computer transforms into a hyperlink. It’s sort of hopping over from one app top another and pasting stuff on the fly. When you are editing huge segments of code and need a quick way to copy and paste codes from one file to another, Click.to will be a lifesaver!

Watch the following video to understand how Click.to works

Breathtaking Mandelbrot Videos – Now in Brilliant 3D

Yesterday, I saw the most amazing videos. These are called Mandelbulb videos, and half the fun of watching them is understanding the science and mathematics behind them. If you don’t want to learn how these are made, you can skip to the end of this article.

What is a Mandelbulb?

It’s a type of mathematical entity that’s based on ideas behind  Fractals  which were discovered in the 17th century. Fractal mathematics describe  geometric patterns that repeat at ever smaller scales to produce irregular shapes and surfaces that cannot be represented by classical geometry. Fractal patterns are often seen in nature, such as in snowflakes. Here’s an example of a Von Koch curve, which is one of the simplest forms of a fractal.

 

von koch curve

When a fractal shape is calculated, it is calculated in steps, or iterations. You can see the shape change, above, as it goes through each iteration.

Here’s another example of a complex fractal which was generated by the  GoogleLabs JuliaMap Generator.

Google Labs Juliamap web app

If you follow that link to Google Labs, your web browser will generate a fractal. One of the unique properties of fractals are that you can zoom in on the patterns and see even smaller but very similar patterns.

Over the years, many mathematicians have tried to determine the formulas for true 3D fractals. Finally, in 2007,  an amateur fractal image maker,  Daniel White, came up with some formulas that seem to generate these 3D fractal shapes. Daniel started his work by using one of the most famous fractal types, called the  Mandelbrot set. The resulting shapes are called Mandelbulbs.

A couple of months later, some software hackers and fractal enthusiasts got together to work on software to render Mandelbulbs on computers. The Mandelbulber Project has been a success, and as you’ll see below, it’s also resulted in some very fantastic images and videos.

Here’s a screenshot of what the software looks like, running on a Linux PC. The software is Open Source, completely free to download  and also runs on Windows PCs.

Mandelbulb Interface

Here are a few screen-shots of Mandelbulber’s artificial worlds.

mandelbulb 45

 

mandelbulb 14a

 

mandelbulb image

 

mandelbulb 1

 

mandelbulb 2

 

mandelbulb 3

 

mandelbulb 4

Finally, we have reached the video. As you’ll see, Mandelbulber can create entire virtual worlds that can be explored. In fact, it can create an infinity of different worlds and some of them are almost scary in their complexity.

Video:  Trip to center of hybrid fractal

Here are more Mandelbulb videos from XLACE. It’s interesting to see how his videos have evolved over the years, and how Mandelbulber has suddenly changed the world of fractals forever. Someday, I expect to see these artificial worlds appear in movies. If you need an alien place for a Sci-Fi movie, it’s pretty easy to see where you could get one.

 

Evernote Introduces Note Links, Copy Notes; Now Link Your Notes from Other Notes

evernote_logoOne of my favorite all-device software Evernote has released a really awesome update. This update allows users to interlink notes inside other notes or software; copy link for multiple notes and also copy notes and paste it wherever you like.

The new Note Link feature will allow you to create a link for a particular note and then add it to any other software including Evernote itself. This new feature will dramatically improve how you create and maintain notes in future.

Evernote Link Notes

Take for example, you are doing a research for a party and want to create a list of recipes you want to cook. Now, you can create each recipe individually and then include it in your party planning note through note links. This will keep your party planning list clean and allow you to quickly access those recipes with the click of a link.  You can also use this feature to create a index of similar notes which want to refer to as part of your research. Note links can be accessed on Windows, Mac OS X, and .

Also Read: Encrypt and Password Protect Notes in Evernote

Another important new feature in the updated Evernote is the ability to copy notes and place them wherever you like. You can copy notes and create a new note or paste it another notebook and so on.

Evernote has also added several new features in this update which include:

  • Snippet View – Allows you to view notes as snippets and provide useful information without opening the notes
  • Note Browsing History – They have added back and forward buttons for easy navigation of recently browser notes
  • New Note Menu – Now has all the new note options
  • New exporting options for windows (windows only)
  • Drag and drop text and images inside a note to desktop or other notes (windows only)
  • Disable PDF Preview (windows only)

Overall these additional new features to Evernote makes the note-taking software a really useful one. You can download the latest version from the Evernote site or go to Help -> Check for updates to update to the latest version of Evernote.

For complete information and changes in this version, visit the Evernote blog.

Also Read:

Facebook Acquires Sofa – A Software and Interaction Design Company

The social networking giant Facebook has acquired Sofa, a Amsterdam-based company.

Sofa is a small software and interaction design company,  founded in 2006 and is an Apple Design Award Winner for their Mac applications, Kaleidoscope and Versions.

Facebook Acquires Sofa
Sofa said that their products, Keidoscope and Versions are not a part of the acquisition and will remain available.

Sofa announced about the acquisition in a blog post

“Sofa’s products, Kaleidoscope and Versions, are not a part of this acquisition. Both apps will remain available and we’re committed to securing a great future for them outside Sofa. We’re also working with our joint venture partner to provide the smoothest transition and best possible future for Checkout, Enstore and their collective customers.”

Sofa now will be moving from Amsterdam to Palo Alto in the coming weeks.

The terms of the deal are not being disclosed.

SPB TV 2.0 Now Available For Windows Phone 7 Smartphones

SPB Software finally launched its popular application, SPB TV for Windows Phone 7. This application is already available on Android, Bada, Symbian, iPhone, iPad, BlackBerry, webOS and Maemo platforms. SPB TV for Windows Phone 7 allows you to watch Live TV channels on the go. You can easily download this application from the Microsoft Marketplace. Check out the complete features of SPB TV below.

spb tv windows phone

SPB TV Features:

  • More than 150 TV channels from more than 20 countries, subscription free
  • Unique TV browser with fast channel launching and switching
  • Integrated TV Guide with a list of current & upcoming TV shows
  • Video-on-demand
  • Network bandwidth fluctuations support
  • Onscreen controls

“The user has an opportunity to make an informed decision about the channel to watch even without launching it. A channel selection screen provides all the needed information about the running TV program including a screenshot and TV guide information. While the selected channel is streaming full-screen, the user can choose another channel by seeing a preview picture of it in Picture-in-Picture mode,” the company notes.

SPB TV has been integrated by the leading carriers and broadcasters, including MTS, StarHub, MegaFon and Skylink with a total of 250 million subscribers worldwide. SPB TV 2.0 is available for all smartphones running Windows Phone 7 OS. SPB TV requires a reliable 3G or WiFi network connection for proper streaming. To download SPB TV, head over to this page.

Parley.im – Great Way To Download Albums And Chat With Your Facebook Friends

Currently, there are hundreds of desktop client for Facebook, but most of them offer the same features, while the rest are not up to the mark. Recently, I found out a new desktop client for Facebook called Parley.im, which not only helps you to chat with your Facebook friends, but it also allow you to download your friend’s photos and albums.

parley im

You can download the Parley.im from the developer’s website. This software requires .Net Framework 2.0. If you haven’t already installed the .Net Framework 2.0, then it will automatically download and install the .Net Framework on your PC. After installing this program, you will need to sign up for a Parley.im account. Then you will have to sign in with your Facebook account and connect it with the Parley.im account. The complete procedure will not take more than a minute.

parley im

Google Talk allow us to stay invisible or busy, but the Facebook Chat does not offer these features. Facebook Chat has only 2 chat modes – Online and Offline. Hence, I would recommend you check out the amazing Parley.im client, which has 4 chat modes – Online, Invisible, Away and Offline. The invisible feature allow you to appear offline to everyone, but you will be able to see who is online. On the other hand, when someone send you a message, they will get an auto-reply stating that you are away or busy, thanks to the “Away” feature.

parley im

Most of the time, the Facebook chat list is not accurate. Some of the friends are shown online in the chat list, even if they have signed out 5 minutes ago. Parley.im solves this problem since it always displays the accurate chat list. It also offers an IM style Facebook Chat with bigger interface and individual windows to chat with your friends. A small popup window alerts you when a friend comes online or when you receive a new mail, requests or comments.

parley im

Facebook does not allow you to download your friends photos and albums, but Parley.im comes with an in-built photo browser which helps you to directly view your friends photos and albums from the desktop. This software also allow you to download your friends photos or albums. You will just need to select the album and it will automatically download all the images from the album to your hard drive. You can also select multiple albums, but it may take some more time to download, depending on the album’s size.

Techie Buzz Verdict:

Parley.im is an amazing desktop client for Facebook. Currently, this program is in beta stage, so you might find some problem, while using this software, specially while viewing and downloading your friends photos and albums. Parley.im is more responsive and stable than chating in any browser. It works on Windows 7, Vista and XP.

Techie Buzz Rating: 3/5 (Good)

[ Download Parley.im ]

Use Your Android Device As A Side Monitor With A Windows or MAC Desktop

Dual monitor setups are ideal for multitasking. You can move application windows from one monitor to the other, keep an eye on programs like Tweetdeck on the secondary monitor while doing your primary work on the main one. Multiple monitors surely consume a fair amount of desk space but they are actually worth it.

In case you don’t have an extra monitor at home but have an Android tablet or a smartphone, you’re in good company. iDisplay is a simple application for Android devices which lets you use your Android smartphone as an extra side monitor with PC or MAC desktop. You will need a common Wi-Fi network at your home or office to use the Android device as a side monitor with PC or MAC.

Here are the step by step instructions that needs to be followed:

1. On your Windows or MAC desktop, fire up the browser and download the iDisplay desktop client. During installation, Windows firewall will block some features of the iDisplay server, click Allow Accessto grant all the necessary permissions.

idisplay-installation

2. On your Android device, go to the Android market and install the iDisplay client for Android. The application isn’t free but you can use the trial version of the app for 1 week.

3. Make sure both the computer and your Android device is connected to the common Wi-Fi network.

4. Now run the iDisplay desktop client on your Windows or MAC computer and launch the iDisplay application on your Android device.

5. On the first run, the Android app will automatically detect your desktop computer, as shown below:

Android-detection

6. Tap on the name of the computer and you will see a notification on the desktop computer, as shown below:

idisplay-desktop-app

7. Click Allow Accessand it’s done. You will see the following notification window on your Android device:

Android-notification

8. Click Okand you will see a preview of your desktop screen on the Android device. Drag any program or application window towards the edge of the desktop monitor and you can slide the window into your Android device. Here is a view of Windows Explorer when viewed from my Android phone:

Windows-explorer-android

Using program or application Windows On the Android screen is a bit tricky but once you get used to it, you will love playing with them. There are two ways you can control an application or Explorer window on the Android screen. Either move the mouse cursor from your desktop computer to the Android screen or use Android’s own touch features for minimizing, maximizing and moving program windows from one position to another.

And here is a broader view of my laptop running Windows7 and the Android phone acting as an extended side monitor using iDisplay ( I regret the poor image quality, blame my retro mobile camera).

Android-phone-side-monitor

Note that I can move multiple browser windows from the desktop computer to the Android device. The only downside is that the corresponding size of the window decreases when you slide the window on your Android device. While using a smartphone as a side monitor is not that useful due to it’s small screen size, folks who have an Android tablet can make good use of iDisplay. [ via ]

Give this a try and let us know your thoughts in the comments section.