Saturday 31 December 2011

University of Technology Sydney develops 'LiquidKeyboard' for tablets.

Typing on a tablet’s touchscreen has never been an easy affair. However, this could soon be a thing of the past, if a new software from the University of Technology in Sydney gets implemented. Computer systems researcher, Christian Sax, along with his colleague, Hannes Lau, have unveiled a new type of keyboard technology that they call, ‘LiquidKeyboard’ . Now, don’t take the name literally as this doesn’t involve any actual liquid, but more from the keyboards ability to morph around the users fingers. Confused? Let the video do the explanation.

In the traditional keyboard, you have to reach out to the keys that are spread across a 10-inch tablet screen. This is one of the reasons why you can’t type very fast. This concept brings a group of keys closest to the respective fingers and places them around it, so you need not move your palm at all while typing, just the tips of your fingers. I’ll admit, it would take some time getting used too, just like Swype, but it does look promising. Hopefully, they’ll have a Beta version out soon, so we can have a go at it ourselves.

Microsoft to create an exclusive library of Windows Phone games?

Mobile games/apps are predicted to grow immensely next year. Microsoft doesn’t want to leave any stone unturned for its Windows Phone platform. It now decides on sprucing up the mobile platform for gaming. As tipped to WMPoweruser, the company is now setting up exclusive games for Windows Phone. This library of games may compel mobile gaming enthusiasts to buy Windows Phone devices. With the Xbox platform in its tow, it shouldn’t be tedious for Microsoft to achieve this.

Reportedly, some of these games by Microsoft are already in the making. Users are likely to expect one exclusive app per month. Apparently, the company will continue to get its key apps from iOS to Windows Phone 7. Obviously, the App Store is inundated with games and Windows Phone doesn’t even come anywhere closer. So, will Halo come around on the Windows Phone platform to woo mobile gamers? We are anxious what Microsoft plans to dish out, as it’s making every possible attempt to form a niche market for its mobile platform amidst competitors like Android and iOS.

Intel to unveil GPU-less Sandy Bridge CPUs next year.

In an attempt to plug a few gaps in their product line-up or simple get rid of unused silicon, Intel plans on launching a couple of new Sandy Bridge CPUs without onboard graphics. These new CPUs include the Core i5-2550K, Core i5-2380P and Core i5-2450P and will be architecturally identical to the existing Core i5 CPUs. One feature that will be missing is VT-d that’s present on all non-K series Core i5 CPUs.

The new chips will in all probability be the parts where the GPU wasn’t working properly so rather than waste it, simply disable the GPU and sell it at a lower price. This does mean that you won’t be able to take advantage of Intel’s Quick Sync technology, but for those who don’t care about that, you could pick one of these models and in turn save a few bucks. The Core i5-2380P is clocked at 3.1GHz and a Turbo Boost (TB) frequency of 3.4GHz, same as the Core i5-2400. The Core i5-2450P is clocked about 100MHz slower than the Core i5-2500. which makes a bit of an odd ball. Finally, the Core i5-2550K is 100MHz faster than the existing Core i5-2500K.

We don’t have any of the approximate launch dates or pricing for these new models, just yet, but looking at the specifications, they’d better be cheaper.

Lemon: Capture & Store All Your Receipts Online.

Mobile devices have made the tracking of expenses much easier. But even in this age of smartphones, many people still can’t get their daily finances in order. What we need is a dedicated app that will not only track your expenses but also capture and store online paper receipts so that everything has a tangible record. This is what Lemon does best.

Lemon is both a web app and a mobile app that captures receipts for you, done by sending your online receipts as an email to your Lemon account, or by snapping photos of paper receipts and saving them on the app. Lemon also helps figure out where your money goes by showing exactly how much you spent based on the receipts that you collected.

Since all your receipts are stored, you can easily backtrack, browse, and view specific receipts – handy if you need to return an item or write expense logs. This saves the trouble of fiddling through your messy wallet to find the receipt that you need.

Lemon is also a great companion app for paperless expense tracking – which not only reduces clutter, but saves trees too!


1.> Capture and store receipts for expense tracking.
2.> Use e-mail to save online receipts.
3.> Take a photo of paper receipt and save to your account.
4.> Provides expense reports based on receipts.
5.> Mobile app available on iOS and Android handsets.
6.> Free and easy to use.

Check out Lemon from here @

Root almost any Android phone with Unlock Root (One-click solution)

Yes, that is true. It is the mother of all rooting tools, and can help you in gaining root access on around 200 Android smartphones (to be frank, I did not count them, but that list of supported devices is huge). This tool supports devices from manufacturers like HTC, Motorola, and Sony Ericsson to unknown Chinese OEMs running on different Android versions.

While, it is unclear which exploit this tool is using, but it works. We tried it on two devices that we had in our hands right now and it worked like a charm.

To use this tool, all you need is a Windows PC, device drivers, usb cable and the device. Just grab the tool download from here and start rooting your Android phones.

Do let know in comments if you were successful in rooting your phone with this tool. It will surely help others who are looking for a simple tool to gain root access on their device. We have noticed that it installs an App called AnTuTu Battery Saver on your phone at the time of rooting, it can be easily removed later.

Some of the popular Android phones that can be rooted using this tool are:

=> HTC Sensation (G14) , Galaxy Nexus (i9250) , LG Optimus 3D (P920), HTC Wildfire S (G13), Galaxy Note (I9220), LG Optimus 2x, HTC Desire S (G12), Galaxy S II (I9100) , LG Optimus LTE, HTC Incredible S (G11), Galaxy S (I9000), LG Optimus Black

To check out all the supported devices, check here.

Disclaimer: Although we did test this tool from our end before posting, but be cautious before doing anything that you might regret later.

Friday 30 December 2011

UbiSlate 7+ up for pre-order.

Head over to, rightaway. If you're among those who're waiting to lay their hands on the upgraded version of the UbiSlate 7 tablet, which is the commercial version of the Aakash tablet, i.e. UbiSlate 7+ can now do so, since the tablet has gone up for pre-order on the official site. However, those preordering UbiSlate 7+ will be able to avail it only in March, since units scheduled to reach users by January and February have already been sold out. The UbiSlate 7+ will run on Android 2.3.

Here's what the specifications sheet of the UbiSlate 7+ looks like:

1.> Cortex A8, 700 Mhz processor with HD Video co-processor
2.> 256 MB RAM
3.> Storage: (Internal) 2GB Flash / (External) 2GB to 32GB supported
4.> Peripherals: 2 Standard USB Ports (V2.0)
5.> Audio out: 3.5mm jack
6.> Display and resolution: 7-inch display with 800x480 pixels
7.> Supported document formats: All version Office document formats and many more
8.> High quality video streaming and HD quality video playback
9.> Input devices: Resistive touch screen
10.>Connectivity with GPRS & Wi-Fi IEEE 802.11 a/b/g
11.>Battery: Upto 180 minutes of battery

The UbiSlate 7+ is being offered for Rs.2,999, which is slightly higher than UbiSlate 7 (Rs.2,499). But, the upgraded version is definitely worth a consideration, since for just a few hundreds more, users are being offered a good deal. Check out its features, in detail here.

The UbiSlate 7 came with an ARM11 – 366MHz processor, while the UbiSlate 7+ packs in a Cortex A8 – 700 MHz processor, which means you get a faster running device for a slight hike in the price. In addition to Wi-Fi connectivity, which the UbiSlate 7 offered, too, the UbiSlate 7+ comes with added GPRS functionality. The new tablet will also come with DataWind's patented UbiSurfer browser, which according to its manufacturer, DataWind offers "accelerates web pages by factors of 10x to 30x, allowing for a web experience who’s speed is unrivalled."

LG to launch first Intel Medfield powered Android phones at CES

LG will be reportedly launching the first Android smartphones with Intel’s Medfield SoC at Consumer Electronics Show next month. These smartphones are expected to reach stores in March 2012.

A high ranking LG official has told Korea Times that LG will produce Intel’s first Android smartphones that use Intel’s own mobile platform.

LG official spokesperson however declined to officially confirm this, but on the other hand Intel Korea chief Lee Hee-sung has stated that Intel’s chief executive Paul Otellini will indeed release Intel’s first Android smartphone at the CES, but did not mention LG’s part.

It is being said that LG is getting huge subsidies from Intel to use their SoC, which will help in popularising it. No details are currently available on this LG Android phone, but we won’t have to wait long as CES will kick off on Jan 9.

HTC and Samsung to launch LTE Windows Phones by early 2012.

HTC and Samsung are no strangers when it comes to launching handsets running on the Windows Phone 7 OS. Though these manufacturers are well known for their Android handsets, they have launched a range of devices using the Microsoft based OS. According to a report by The Verge, sources have informed them that HTC and Samsung would be launching handsets that run on a pre-Tango version of Windows Phone that has LTE support.

HTC is set to launch the Radiant, while Samsung will announce the Mandel. Not much is known about either handsets, except that the latter will feature a display that is larger than 4.3 inches. We recently saw a roadmap for Windows Phone in 2012 and learnt that Microsoft set to release Tango, which is designed for lower end WP7 devices. This may not hold true as it appears that Nokia may launch their upcoming flagship handset the Lumia 900 with this OS. The report goes on to state that these handsets by HTC and Samsung would be launched alongside the Lumia 900 in early 2012.

The launch date for these devices is not yet known, but the report suggests that it could be launched at the Mobile World Conference at Barcelona in February 2012.

Taiwan PC makers invited to be in-line for Aakash-2 bidding.

Aakash tablet, the world's most affordable tablet flew off shelves, soon after it went up for sale. With such amazing numbers, the government has high hopes from the next-in-line, Aakash-2 tablet, which can be expected to be unveiled by either January or February, 2012. News has it that the Indian government wants nothing short of best to go into the making of the Aakash-2, and for that it has some grand plans. DigiTimes reports that the Indian government has invited PC manufacturers from Taiwan to participate in the bidding for Aakash-2 tablet. The international bidding for the tablet, which was originally scheduled to take place in December, may be pushed to January, next year, according to reports.

Needless to add, with manufacturing expertise from Taiwan coming at the disposal of the Indian government, keeping the prices of the tablet at a consistent low of $35 will be possible. The report further reveals that the government's plans about the Aakash-2 are ambitious, to say the least. While Aakash managed to reach some 8,000 students for trial use, the government plans to ship some 230 million units of the Aakash-2 tablet in the years to come.

HTC releases bootloader unlocker for its phones.

HTC is one of the few mobile manufacturers who're encouraging users to unlock their phones by the look of things. They’ve released a new bootloader unlocker that will allow users to unlock their bootloaders on their phones. The official post on HTC’s site mentions that phones released after September 2011 can be unlocked using this tool. There’s also a list of phones that are currently supported by the tool. There are more updates coming up in the future, which will allow more phones to be unlocked. There are reports that phones other than the ones mentioned by HTC can also be unlocked with this tool.

An official tool by HTC makes it much simpler to unlock phones than using a third-party application designed for a whole bunch of other devices. However, HTC has made it clear that your phone warranty will be void if you unlock it. Flashing a new firmware and unlocking phones can sometimes be risky. HTC also has made it clear that firmware upgrades over the air may not work. There are a whole bunch of devices supported from the HTC Sensation to even the HTC Flyer tablet. An unlocked phone opens up a variety of possibilities and choices for the user.

Windows desktop client for Facebook Messenger officially released

Yesterday, via a leak, news about Facebook Messenger for Windows being out began doing rounds. Today, however, news of an official launch of the desktop client of Facebook Messenger has reached us. Downloadable from Facebook's Help Center, the desktop client for Facebook Messenger just needs a one-time setup, and all future updates will be automatically installed.

Essentially, Facebook Messenger for Windows, albeit still in its trial stages will allow users to access Facebook Chat, notifications and ticker even when they haven't logged onto their Facebook account.
For it is still in its trial stages, the first version of this app is being tested on a small group of users. Facebook also clarifies that, "During this trial period, we plan on rolling out changes to the app and expect outages and periods of instability as we make improvements."

Android 4.0 ‘ICS’ port available for Droid Bionic.

First Ice Cream Sandwich port for Motorola Droid Bionic is out. Based on CyanogenMOD 9, this ICS port is currently in Alpha, so you can expect number of bugs and unfinished hardware integration.

As of now, it seems like a quite nice build, with camera, 3G data and USB mounting being the only major hurdles in the way. Available for download now, it is still recommended only for advanced users, as developer is not going to provide any support if you mess up your Bionic.

Ics4Bionic Alpha Details:

Dev: Ics4Bionic
Base Version: Android 4.0.3_RC1
Working: Graphics, ADB, Touchscreen, Capacitive buttons, Charging indicator, Bluetooth, Both SD cards, Builtin Screenshot feature, Reboot menu, Phone, SMS, GPS, Audio, and 1X Data.
Not working: 3G/4G data, USB Mount support, Camera
You can grab the download and find the detailed installation instructions here.

AvatarHarmony: Synchronize Your Profile Picture Across Multiple Networks.

Having multiple social networking accounts online means having to individually update your profile picture on each network. But you can easily get rid of that inconvenience, thanks to a web service called Avatar Harmony.

AvatarHarmony works for users of Facebook, Twitter, and Gravatar. All you have to do is visit the homepage of Avatar Harmony and connect at least two of your networking accounts from Facebook, Twitter, and Gravatar. Thumbnails of the display pictures of your connected accounts will be shown; under these you will be able to choose your default display picture. The selected network’s picture will be synchronized across other networks.
So if you selected Facebook as your default choice, display pictures you upload on Facebook can be easily synchronized to Twitter and Gravatar.


1.> A user-friendly web service.
2.> Lets you synchronize display pictures across multiple websites.
3.> Supports Facebook, Twitter, and Gravatar.
4.> Lets you choose main network for synchronization choice.

Check out AvatarHarmony from here @

What’s So Ultra About the Ultrabook?

We’re pretty well on into the 21st century, and while we don’t live in domed cities on Mars or have personal jetpacks to propel us to work every day (yet!), we do have portable, personal computers galore. Like our favorite pair of shoes, it’s hard for many of us to imagine leaving home without some form of gadget to keep us connected, on a whim, to each other and the Internet. We’ve got our tablets and notebooks and netbooks and laptops and e-book readers and smartphones, sure. And you may already be familiar with Apple’s MacBook Air, but have you heard about the Ultrabook?

Picture a laptop, but it’s ultra thin (less than 20 mm thick). It uses a lithe, flash-based SSD (solid state drive) instead of older (and heavier) CD/DVD and hard drives, so it’s also ultra light (weighing in at just a wee bit over three pounds). This combination makes the Ultrabook ultra portable, so you can carry it leisurely around the town in your backpack without getting a sore and sweaty shoulder or an aching back for your trouble. Sounds pretty rinky dink, right? Wrong. Because, aside from being ultra portable, it’s got a processor (CULV [Consumer Ultra-Low Voltage] Intel Sandy Bridge for now, with Ivy Bridge and Haswell processors projected for upcoming versions) that would be the envy of any modern desktop system and a serious graphics card that even the pickiest gamer grudgingly respects — in other words, it’s ultra powerful without sacrificing performance for size or form. Oh, and if you happen to find yourself far away from an electrical outlet for long periods of time, you’re in luck, because the Ultrabook has a battery life of five to eight hours — so it’s ultra energy efficient, too.

You might imagine that an Ultrabook, with all of its ultra features, would also be ultra expensive. But among the many seemingly contradictory surprises that this powerhouse packs, one of the nicest is that the Ultrabook is ultra affordable!

So more than simply being yet another option in the portable computer market, the Ultrabook is really an evolutionary step forward of the form itself. Why would you pay more money for a big, heavy, wimpy, dim, weak hunk of junk when you can spend the same amount of money you’ve set aside for a new portable computer on an Ultrabook?

While Ultrabooks are being made by several manufacturers (Acer, Asus, Lenovo, LG, Toshiba, Samsung, and HP), a system must conform to the aforementioned Intel-designated standards to carry the Ultrabook label.

In summary, let’s go over what this Ultrabook thing is all about.

What is an Ultrabook? An ultra thin, ultra light, ultra portable, ultra powerful, ultra efficient, ultra affordable, next generation computer.

What is an Ultrabook not? It’s not a clunky, cheap “netbook.”

Why do we need the Ultrabook? It’s as powerful as a desktop while being lighter than a traditional laptop.

What’s missing? Legacy products like CD/DVD and hard drives. Solid state, for the win!

What’s the future? A more affordable computer for the average home or business user that doesn’t sacrifice power for portability.

When it was first unveiled at Computex 2011, Intel projected that the Ultrabook would seize 40% of the laptop market by the end of 2012. And while we’ve still got another year to see how this projection plays out, the Ultrabook has enough of an edge over its comparable competition to make such predictions seem reasonable. As a consumer, can you honestly say that you wouldn’t be happy to pay less for more?

Even among Ultrabooks, though, how do you know which one’s going to pack enough punch for your needs?

Reasons to Choose Android Over iOS.

Android and iOS have been compared to one-another with each new OS update and hardware release for the past two years. Undoubtedly, the two have traded blows in terms of new features and unique updates, but each operating system ultimately brings its own blend of function and form to the table which appeals to each user differently. Some might enjoy the Android experience more than they would iOS, but that doesn’t necessarily mean one is better than the other.

In this article, I’ll explain some of the features that make Android appealing to a wide range of users from students to IT professionals and all points in-between.

Here are reasons to choose Google’s Android over Apple’s iOS.

Hardware Options:

Where iOS leads in controlled software, Android leads in choice. The size of your screen, carrier, color, and even build materials are all dictated to you in the iOS environment. You can buy from one family of devices made by one manufacturer and that’s all you can really do. Android is installed on smartphones and tablets made by a variety of different manufactures and made available on virtually every carrier.

The Transformer Prime, Amazon Kindle Fire, Samsung Galaxy Tablet, etc. are all great examples of the kind of diverse hardware you can choose from while still enjoying a single base OS. Apps you purchase on one device may be easily used on others in a variety of form factors and price points.

Open Software Environment:

Android is an open environment when compared to iOS. This makes it a perfect playground for programmers and users that enjoy modifying their user experience to meet their own specific needs. Android offers you more control over your device where iOS sets limits that can only be overcome by jailbreaking. Even then, a jailbroken iPhone may well be bricked by an update from Apple which itself warned users that doing so was illegal before a court ultimately determined that users have the right to modify products they purchased.

Android doesn’t force software developers to pass through an intense approval process that may deny an app if Apple deems it as being uninteresting or otherwise undesired. Android is open, which means that you can pretty much do whatever you want with it as long as it keeps the phone in operating condition and doesn’t violate any regulations. If you jailbreak your iPhone, good luck getting it replaced under warranty should an update brick it.

Many of the most popular programs you can find on iOS are also available on Android. Because Android has such a large grasp on the overall smartphone market, there’s no reason not to expect more developers to start concentrating more on the open platform moving forward.

Part of the open software environment is the widgets. Apple is very controlling as to what does and doesn’t appear on the home screens. Android, on the other hand, allows the software to spill in to this screen and provide at-a-glance information to the user. For example, the weather and your social network updates can be accessed without specifically launching the program. This is a huge advantage for people who just want to take a glance down and get back to what they’re doing without having to check programs one-by-one.

Voice Recognition on Every Phone:

Apple made headlines when it announced Siri for the iPhone 4S. Siri is a virtual assistant that operates through voice recognition and a link to calculation engine Wolfram Alpha, Wikipedia, and a number of other sources. Siri is an incredibly fun addition to the iPhone, but it’s only available on one device. iPhone 4, 3GS, iPad, and iPod touch users are all unable to take advantage of Siri.

Android has built-in voice recognition and control software available out of the box on any Android device with a microphone. Granted, this software is slightly less functional than Siri, but it gets the job done when it comes to music playback, web search, and dictation. Google is one of the largest information resources on the planet, and being linked to a voice recognition app on your Android device makes it a fairly useful feature of the OS.

iOS has had voice recognition for a while for things like dialing. Even an on iPhone 4, you can use voice recognition to call specific people on your list. This doesn’t work for dictation or application control, however.


There are expensive Android devices on the market, don’t get me wrong. Where the advantage of Android comes is in the value one can find in the budget market, while the cheapest iPhone without a subsidy is several times that amount.In the tablet realm, there’s the iPhone and everything else. The iPad 2 is currently going for $499 for the 16GB model. This is a baseline model that offers Wi-Fi connectivity only. On the Android side, a Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 runs about $430. You can also find the Sony Tablet S and the Asus Transformer Prime with 32 GB of storage capacity for the same price as the iPad.

If you really wanted a drop in price, the Amazon Kindle Fire is $199 and is an exceptional tablet for the price.

Final Thoughts:

Android is an excellent OS, and one that I personally feel has reached a point of maturity that makes it a viable candidate for a wide variety of users. There are plenty of great apps out there that appeal to just about anyone from Mom and Dad to IT professionals and programmers. What makes Android so interesting is that it offers users choice. Choice of manufacturer, hardware, software, UI, and more.

Apple’s iOS is a great solution, and may be better for many users. Android delivers on a promise of choice. If choice is important to you, then I can’t see any reason why it shouldn’t be considered a great candidate for your primary phone and/or tablet OS.

Thursday 29 December 2011

Samsung Galaxy Tab 750 (10.1) getting Android 3.2 update in India.

Samsung has started rolling out Android 3.2 update for Galaxy Tab 750 in India. This update is currently available for the 3G version of the tablet and is rolling out OTA, so you just have to go to Setting>>About Tablet>> Software Update to manually check for the update.

There is no official change-log available but it is a pretty major update for the device and includes several performance improvements as well as bug fixes.

Samsung Galaxy Tab 750 Update Details:

Size: 88.43MB (so prefer downloading it via Wi-Fi unless you want to incur heavy data charges)

Build Number: HTJ85B P7500XWKL1

Do let us know about your experience with the updated Tab in comments. If you are a Wi-Fi only version users, then you can also check for the update, but there is no confirmation as of now.

Huawei launches E303C dongle and E560 MiFi data cards in India.

Huawei Devices, a subsidiary of Huawei Technologies, today announced the launch of the data cards EC303C dongle and E560 MiFi in Indian market. The EC303C Dongle offers consumers the liberty to choose their favourite operator as per the best data plan available in the market. In the semi-urban markets, the customers can utilize the same SIM card used in a handset, to connect and access data. The E560 Mifi offers Wi-Fi facility, where the users and the entire family can access Internet facilities through one MiFi plugged in.

With these dongles, customers have the freedom to choose any 3G/2G operator for accessing Internet. Both the devices will offer 3.5G speeds HSUPA 7.2 Mbps download and 5.76 Mbps upload. Huawei E560 MiFi will allow the user to create a hostpot and connect 5 devices to Internet and they can also carry it, wherever they go.

Incapsula: Protect Your Site From Hackers & Bots By Routing Traffic Through Incapsula Cloud.

Websites are often targeted by hackers and bots. When these penetrate a site’s defenses, important data can be lost and even if you have made a backup, the site downtime can cost you a lot of valuable time. What you need is a method by which hackers and bots are never allowed access to your site. This method is provided by a service called Incapsula.

Incapsula is a web service that webmasters will surely appreciate. The service protects your website from unwanted traffic such as hackers and bots. Through a simple DNS switch, your website traffic is routed through the Incapsula cloud where unwanted traffic is blocked. Resultantly your site experiences faster loading times and better security. The service also offers analytics for your website, without affecting Google Analytics, if you have them already running. You can view various details such as the day’s visits, data, threats, etc. All the information is presented as figures and graphs in a visually appealing way.

Incapsula offers a free plan for websites with low traffic, and a business plan that supports SSL websites and provides faster load times, better security and account control with dedicated support. Customers with large scale traffic and number of sites or looking for a network and application level DDoS, can join the enterprise plan.


• A user-friendly web service
• A must-have for webmasters
• Protects your website from hackers and bots
• Routes your traffic and blocks unwanted traffic
• Does not affect Google Analytics data
• Potentially speeds up your website
• Presents site traffic and threat data graphically and statistically

Check out Incapsula from here @

Should You Install a Custom ROM on Your Android Device?

What are the pros and cons of installing a custom ROM on your Android device?

It can be hard to resist the temptation to root your Android device and install a custom ROM, even at the risk of voiding your warranty and bricking your device. Custom ROMs can give you additional features and in same cases, improve battery life. They also allow you to update to versions of Android that are not normally available to your phone, such as Ice Cream Sandwich (4.0). There are tools that make it a quick and simple process, but that doesn’t necessarily make it a good idea. There are risks and extra work involved.

Reasons you should not install a custom ROM:

You will void your warranty. The manufacturer or third-party warranty company will not be willing to repair a damaged phone that has been rooted or has a custom ROM installed. While the ROM may not be the cause of the issue, your warranty will still be voided. During the process of rooting, something may go wrong. You could brick your phone. There are ways to unbrick it, but you could potentially need a new phone. Without your warranty (you just voided it), you will have to pay full retail price for a replacement. Custom ROMs may cause you to experience odd issues. I once used a ROM that would crash every two to three minutes during phone calls. It was extremely frustrating. Custom ROMs update quite frequently to fix bugs. (Sometimes causing more bugs, but that’s another story.) You’ll end up having to update every few days, sometimes even having to wipe your data and restore it later. This can be a good thing, because bugs are getting fixed, but it can also be annoying to have to update that frequently. You may accidentally give a malicious app root access, allowing the app to do whatever it wants to do with your phone. It could potentially wipe all of your data, take your files, including private pictures, and send spam to your contacts. With that said, I have a custom ROM installed on my phone. I was unhappy with the stock ROM due to a bug that caused Android OS to drain the battery very quickly. After that issue is resolved, I may switch back just so I don’t have to deal with keeping my ROM updated every few days and the bugs that can come along with those updates. Below are the reasons you should install a custom ROM, but I want you to think about the reasons not to install it while you’re reading them.

Reasons you should install a custom ROM:

Speed tweaks. Most ROMs are tweaked to maximize speed and minimize RAM usage. I have a Samsung phone, which comes with TouchWiz. For those of you who have not used TouchWiz before, it’s not the prettiest launcher available, it lacks features, and does not feel very smooth. The speed tweaks of my ROM have made TouchWiz a lot more enjoyable, but I still prefer to use other launchers, such as ADW Launcher. Tethering. While this does void your carrier’s terms of service, and I do not recommend doing it without a tethering plan, custom ROMs usually provide you with the ability to tether without a tethering plan. It is often the only reason people want to install a custom ROM. Again, I do not recommend this because you may eventually be caught and your service may be terminated. It is essentially stealing from your carrier. You’d be getting one of its services for free. Battery life improvements. With root access, you have the ability to calibrate your battery, which usually will fix any issues you’re having with battery life. Some custom ROMs also under clock the CPU to reduce battery usage. With my ROM, I get a few more hours of battery life than I had with the stock ROM, and performance is actually better. If battery life improvement is all you’re interested in, I recommend that you try JuiceDefender. It’s an app that manages your wireless connections and disables them when your phone is locked to save battery life. It enables the connections once every 15 minutes so that you can still get notifications. Apps. Some apps require root access. A good example of this is DroidWall, which lets you keep apps from using data while on 3G. This is great if you’re on a limited data plan and getting close to your limit. I’m also a fan of BatteryCalibrator, which is the app I use to calibrate my battery after flashing a new ROM. Over clocking and under clocking. You can use an app, such as SetCPU, to over clock your phone, giving it better performance, but sacrificing battery life. This may be something you want to do if you’re having trouble running a game you really want to play. Some Custom ROMs are already configured to over clock your phone. You may also be interested in under clocking your phone. Under clocking reduces performance but increases battery life. Newer Android versions. I’m excited to try Ice Cream Sandwich, but a release date for this update, for my phone, has not been announced yet. However, I can install a custom ROM that includes version 4.0 of Android (ICS) and use it way before the official update is released. I believe that there are more reasons to install a custom ROM than to stick with the stock ROM, but I still don’t recommend it for everyone. You must be willing to deal with getting it set up, backing up all of your apps, restoring them after flashing, calibrating your battery, and updating very frequently. This is something that I’d prefer to avoid, so I’ll likely go back to the stock ROM after the issue that I was experiencing has been resolved. I love the performance tweaks and additional features, but I’d rather not spend the time required to keep up with it. However, you may feel differently. You may think that the benefits far outweigh the extra work involved, and that’s fine. I’d love to hear what you think.

What is your opinion on rooting and installing custom ROMs? Do you do it? Are you against it?

Galaxy S to receive a Value Pack update, not ICS.

A few days ago, rumours around that Samsung having no intention of including the Galaxy S in their Ice Cream Sandwich update plans, were doing rounds. This was due to hardware limitations in the form of an insufficient RAM and ROM, making it inadequate to run Android 4.0 along with Samsung’s TouchWiz UI. This decision by Samsung to omit the Galaxy S from the update was met with some backlash from the handset users. Owing to this stir in the community, it was reported that Samsung would try and port Google’s latest OS to the smartphone. Now SammyHub reports that Samsung will not update their Galaxy S handset to Ice Cream Sandwich, but will provide a Value Pack upgrade, instead.

The report states that with this Value Pack update, the Galaxy S will receive implementations, such as improved web browsing, multi-tasking, new widgets, etc. in order to bring the user experience as close as possible to Ice Cream Sandwich. However, the handset will still run on Android 2.3 and not Android 4.0. The Nexus S has similar hardware specifications as this handset and is receiving the Ice Cream Sandwich upgrade. It appears that Samsung are slashing the capabilities of the Galaxy S, because of its TouchWiz UI.

We will have to just wait and see how the whole thing pans out. For all we know, Samsung may actually provide Ice Cream Sandwich, instead of the Value Pack update. But don't be too hopeful about it, as it may very well be a case of something against nothing.

How to Choose an ISP for Your Small Business.

It may seem as if all Internet connections are the same, but some differences--beyond price--exist between Internet service providers, and between types of connections that a single ISP offers. This guide is designed to help you choose the ISP and the connection that best suit your small or midsize business or organization.

Internet Connection Types

When shopping for Internet access, you'll probably encounter several marketing terms frequently. Broadband and high-speed are used to describe pretty much any type of Internet connection that provides bandwidth speeds faster than traditional dial-up access--and nearly all connections offered today qualify as faster than dial-up. Wideband, a relatively new term, refers to connection types that provide throughput at levels approaching or exceeding 50 mbps.

Here are the three most common connection types you're likely to see when shopping for an ISP.


This is generally the cheapest connection type. Though DSL uses traditional telephone lines, you can carry on voice calls and transfer data simultaneously. DSL performance depends on how far your location is from the ISP's exchange, but speeds may reach 15 mbps for downloads and 1 mbps for uploads, which can support a dozen typical users simultaneously or a point-of-sale system.


This is one of the most popular connection types.The technology works over standard television cable lines, but it permits concurrent TV viewing and even digital phone use. ISPs may offer cable speeds of 50 to 100 mbps for downloads and 2 to 10 mbps for uploads--enough for a few dozen simultaneous users. Cable connections share bandwidth among other users in the vicinity, so speeds may be slower during peak (work) hours.


This newer connection type offers superior performance. Telecommunication companies have been using fiber-optic lines in their backbone infrastructure for some time now, and in the past few years they have extended the fiber connections closer to end-users. Some companies run fiber-optic cabling to a neighborhood distribution point and some are installing fiber connections all the way to their customers. Fiber-optic connections permit download speeds of 15 to 150 mbps and upload speeds of 5 to 35 mbps. Since fiber provides such high bandwidth, it can easily provide TV, phone, and Internet service for 24 simultaneous users.

Bandwidth Speed

ISPs offer a couple of service levels or plans for each connection type. The main point of distinction between levels is the bandwidth speed. Choosing a suitable speed is one of the key decisions you must make.

Generally, the greater the number of people who'll be using the connection, the more bandwidth you'll need. In addition, the more performance-intensive the users' needs are--for example, watching or streaming video, downloading large files, or using Internet-connected VoIP phones--the more the bandwidth you'll need. On the other hand, users who want to use their connection for email and browsing the Web won't need as much bandwidth.

Some ISPs have begun to cap data usage. Under a data cap, if you exceed the data transfer limit during a billing cycle, the ISP may automatically throttle back your speeds for the remainder of the cycle, or it apply a surcharge to your bill. But unless you stream an extensive amount of video or download a great many large files, you probably won't run afoul of a data cap.

The Fine Print

It's important to read and analyze the fine print of a service provider's contract before signing up. The prices that most companies post online are conditional: Many require contracts, ranging from one to three years in order to get the advertised monthly service rate. In addition, some prices include a discount for a set amount of time or are locked in for a limited period. You may even see prices listed that apply only when you arrange to subscribe to a bundle of Internet service.

Most ISPs offer a service level agreement (SLA) that spells out the service's performance and support terms, including up-time guarantees, support availability, and guaranteed response-time for support or fixes; they usually also state your compensation if the ISP fails to meet its obligations under the agreement. Compare the SLAs of any providers you're looking at before you sign a contract.

Other policies of note are the ISP's subscriber agreement, its terms of service (ToS), and its acceptable use policy. These documents state the rules governing how you may use the service, including any bandwidth or data usage limits that may be in force. You can browse the ISP's site for these documents or run a Google search for the company name and the word "policies."

Equipment and Installation Fees

Consider the hardware each ISP provides. Some services provide nothing more than a basic modem, while others may give you a gateway that includes a router with ethernet ports, firewall protection, or even a built-in Wi-Fi router. ISPs rarely post this type of information on their website, so you'll probably have to call the service's sales line for details.

Installation or activation fees are another variable. Some companies provide free installation and activation, but most make waiving the associated fees contingent on your accepting a one-, two-, or three-year contract.

Since ISPs usually install the basic Internet modem or gateway and verify access on a single computer, you'll likely be responsible for setting up the service on your other computers. DSL providers normally provide kits for the user to install, in lieu of offering professional installation; fortunately, most such kits are easy to set up.

Dynamic vs. Static IP Addresses

Business-class Internet access is usually available through dynamic (changing) or static (permanent) Internet Protocol addresses.

Every Internet connection in the world has at least one assigned public IP address to help identify it uniquely to the millions of other connections and computers on the Internet. An IP address functions similarly to a phone number, except that computers use the numbers in the background to communicate with each other.

Some ISPs offer static IP addresses by default on their higher-service plans, but most offer dynamic IP addresses by default on all of their plans, with static IP addresses available as an add-on, usually priced extra per month.

ISPs prefer to assign dynamic IP addresses rather static ones to avoid having to manage and configure select addresses to specific customers. ISPs use a protocol like DHCP to assign dynamic IP addresses to customers automatically from the services' range of IP addresses. Dynamic addresses are useful for businesses because they don't require IP configuration on the router, and because they make it somewhat harder for hackers to find and track a particular business's IP address. Unless you plan to run servers or remote connections via the Internet, a dynamic IP should be adequate for your business.

Static IP addresses make it easier to host servers--for email, website, and VPN, say--over the Internet, or offer remote connections to users (via a program such as Microsoft or VNC Remote Desktop). Most servers require that the client applications on the end-users' computers be configured with the primary user's IP address, which calls for a static IP that doesn't change. Though you mighty be able to get away with using dynamic IP addresses for servers, you'd have to set up a dynamic DNS service, such as from or, to provide a domain name that would always point to your current IP address.

ISPs offer single and multiple static IP addresses. You can run multiple servers from a single IP address--and use it for general Internet usage--but to do so you must configure port forwarding on your router. Multiple IP addresses don't increase your Internet bandwidth or speeds, but they do let you assign a unique IP to each server, as well as assign a unique IP for general Internet usage by visitors; you can even assign a unique IP to provide your guests with wireless Internet access. But you should treat each unique IP address as a direct Internet connection, and make sure that each server or router you assign an IP address to has a firewall.

Email Services

If you don't have an email service set up and you don't plan to host your own email servers, compare the email offerings of competing ISPs. Most ISPs offer a set number (usually about 1 to 10) of email accounts for the base price, with the option to pay for more if you need them. Some services offer email addresses that list their domain (such as, while others let you customize addresses with your own domain (such as, if you have one.

ISPs may offer only Web-based email that you must access via the Web browser, or they may also let you set up email clients, such as Microsoft Outlook, using the POP3 or IMAP protocols. One useful feature to check for either way is secure encrypted email access. Also compare the spam filtering features that each ISP offers. Different ISPs may provide a traditional filter that scans messages, or a confirmation service that automatically asks for verifications from people who email you for the first time.

ISP websites usually reveal only how many email addresses or mailboxes the service offers. For other email details, you'll have to consult the ISP's the sales department.

Tech Support

Comparing different ISPs tech support offerings is crucial. Nearly all of the big companies say that they offer around-the-clock, 24/7/365 support--but you need to check whether that assistance is live or automated. Another worthwhlie question to ask is what the service's on-site support times and days are, in case you run into problems that phone reps can't resolve.

Website Hosting

If you have a website or are planning to create one and you don't want to run it on your own server, compare the Web-hosting features of the candidate ISPs. Some services include free website space and tools; others offer it as an add-on; and some don't provide it at all. The most important factors to consider in this area are how much space the ISP offers and whether that amount is enough to accommodate all of your content.

If you need help with site design, compare any site builders that the ISP may have on hand. If your site uses scripts or content other than traditional HTML (for example, PHP or CGI ASP) or if you use specialized databases (such as MySQL), check to see whether the ISP supports the tools you use.

If you plan to sell products or services or to accept sensitive information via your website, make certain that the ISP offers Secure Socket Layers (SSL) support. Also, look into other e-commerce options that the service may have available, such as shopping carts and payment processing.

Other Services

Many ISPs bundle Internet service with security software for your PCs or online data backup--either at no additional charge or as an extra-cost add-on. Also, they may provide anywhere from 1 to 25 licenses as part of the setup.

Some ISPs even provide hosted servers, such as Microsoft Exchange or Microsoft SharePoint, for email and collaboration. Most services do charge for this.

And as noted earlier, some companies that sell combinations of Internet, phone, and TV at a significant discount.

Your Local ISPs

If you haven't already, start making a list of the ISPs in your area, beginning with your local cable and telephone companies. Then check major national telecommunication companies to see whether they offer Internet service at your location. Also consult online directories, run some Google searches, and check the phone book.

Most ISPs offer separate business-class and residential-class services. Business-class service is often significantly more expensive, but it usually offers extra features and higher-priority service, too. If you run an office from your home and don't need the extra features of business-class service, consider using residential service. But check with the ISP first, as its Acceptable Use Policy may prohibit any business or commerical use under residential service.

Five Reasons Android Might Not Be for You.

Android is the popular competitor to iOS in the mobile computing market. In addition to being incredibly open-ended and featuring some very cool UI options where iOS is more locked down, it also comes with its share of challenges.

To start, I’d like to state that I’m a big fan of Android.

Here are five reasons Android might not be for you.

Updates Aren’t Always Available

I’m writing this piece as a one-time Android user. I bought a Samsung Galaxy S as a replacement for the aging iPhone 3G. My initial response was very good. The representative assured me that the Samsung Galaxy S was due for an update to Android 2.2 Froyo within a couple of weeks. This was my first lesson in Android updates. The update did not come a few weeks later, but six months later. Some variants of the Galaxy S, including the Continuum, have remained on 2.1 for a much longer period of time.

Bottom line: Google’s updates aren’t universally accepted by carriers and/or manufacturers. Different architecture and various agreements made between carrier and manufacturer can cause havoc on the update process. Each update could open up features that carriers love charging more money for, like tethering. Every manufacturer has its own terms.

Apple’s iOS is put on one primary phone architecture. This phone is sold directly by the operating system developer, cutting out the middleman that causes the majority of the delays. Better agreements and an understanding of carrier architecture comes in handy when it comes to getting approval down the line.

Recently, Samsung announced that Android Ice Cream Sandwich would not be available for the Samsung Galaxy S or Galaxy Tab. The reason Samsung gave for the lack up update was TouchWiz, an experience enhancement software. This software eats away at the RAM and processor capacity. Adding a more advanced OS built for modern (as if 12 months can make something less modern) tablets and smartphones.

Not All Apps Work on Every Phone

I love apps. Unfortunately, but all apps don’t always work on every phone running Android. Motorola, Samsung, Nokia, etc. all have their own flavor of Android UI running which can interfere with certain apps.

Android, by and large, is a consistent platform in terms of scripting and capabilities, but like any OS, things you have installed that alter the interface in any way can conflict with what another app is trying to accomplish. That’s one of the downsides to any open architecture, especially when multitasking is enabled. Another factor to consider is that different hardware works in different ways. The camera on one phone may be very different from another, throwing off or otherwise giving lackluster results to the user.

iOS is a little different. Not only does each and every app have to make it through a specific review process, but the capabilities of these apps are inherently limited. Aside from jailbreaking, your apps live in a space of their own. You can’t install one app that enhances or restricts the abilities of another. Where it might be considered more restrictive and limited, the upside is that you’re pretty much guaranteed that the app will work on your OS and hardware.

Even the Best of Today Will Be Obsolete Tomorrow

How many times in 2011 did you hear about a new Android phone coming out that would be the biggest and best Android device that ever existed? If you’re like me, you’ve probably heard about plenty of them. The Transformer, Transformer Prime, Galaxy S II, etc. have all claimed to the be latest and greatest at one time or another during the past year. New Android devices are coming out seemingly every day.

Seeing expensive smartphones or tablets come out with the latest version of the OS, better hardware, and more sex appeal (figuratively speaking) can be disheartening. The same can be said for iPhone users who see the latest and greatest iPhone come out almost every year.

Different Devices Have Different Interfaces

As mentioned before, every manufacturer wants to come out with its own flavor of Android. In a market where devices are often competing in terms of hardware, having some software advantage can give one brand the edge over another. Unique devices like the Transformer Prime have taken this competitive edge to the point of creating a dock that turns a simple tablet into a small notebook computer.

Where the downside comes in is the sheer complexity of learning a new interface every time you switch devices. For the 1% of us who enjoy the challenge of using a new device and tweaking the UI, it’s not a problem. For the other 99%, every change and alteration can throw them off and create complexity and anxiety. No device sold to the general market should confuse the user, and this is a downside for many individuals.

Not only that, but you might really like the default Android UI. Having keyboards and other interface options swapped out by the manufacturer can ruin the experience for you. Who wants to spend their valuable time putting things back the way they would be on another device?


One of the biggest downsides to an open-ended OS is security. While open source software does enjoy the benefit of having thousands of eyes on the code to discover and quickly fix security flaws, Android isn’t purely open source. Updates are released by a company as fixes become available.

In August of this year, McAfee released a report indicating that malware is a growing problem on the Android platform. This malware piggybacks on seemingly legitimate software and can bog down your phone. Not only that, but the security conscious certainly don’t appreciate malware on a device so closely tied to their private life. Everything is on your smartphone, from friends and family’s contact information, your email, and even your location.

Apple controls the software made available for iOS. The approval process is much more stringent, making it harder to sneak through anything Apple wouldn’t readily approve. The few cases that have risen to the surface were quickly reversed by Apple and the applications wiped off the iTunes App Store.

Final Thoughts

Apple’s iOS platform isn’t necessarily better than Android. For many people, it flat isn’t. The differences between the two are where decisions need to be made. Not everyone has the same tastes or preferences. There is a large market of users out there that appreciate alternative platforms such as Windows Phone 7. There are plenty of options out there from which to choose.

Wednesday 28 December 2011

Add-On Recovery Tool: Recover Disappeared Addons In Firefox 7.

Recently, Mozilla released Firefox 7 which caused trouble for many Firefox users including me. After updating to the latest version of Firefox, all the add-ons just disappeared from the Add-ons Manager. This is a bug with the latest Firefox version which was acknowledged by Mozilla and a new version will be released. But if you don’t want to wait, you can recover all of the disappeared add-ons thanks to the Add-on Recovery Tool.

With the Add-on Recovery Tool, users can easily recover all of the add-ons that disappeared from Firefox’s Add-ons manager. All you have to do is install the extension from Mozilla’s add-on repository. Once installed, just restart Firefox to complete the recovery process. After recovering all of the add-ons, the tool will remove itself automatically.


1.> Easy to install.
2.> Recover disappeared add-ons.

Check out Add-on Recovery Tool from here @

Review of Boomerang for Gmail.

Wouldn't it be great if your email client could read your mind? You know, sending messages at just the right time. Reminding you when people don't reply to your messages. And taking messages out of your inbox when you don't need them, but returning them to the top of your message pile later on, when you do. Boomerang for Gmail offers all of these features. This free Firefox/Chrome extension can't quite read your mind, but sometimes it feels like the next best thing.

Once installed and given permission to access your Gmail or Google Apps email account, Boomerang appears adds a "send later" button on the top of messages you compose, next to Google's own "Send" button. Pressing "Send Later" lets you choose between sending the message at a set interval (in a certain number of hours or days) or at a certain date and time in the future. This feature is handy when you're composing a message at a time when it could get lost in the shuffle, such as over the weekend or during off-hours, and would like to send it at a time when it's more likely to get noticed.

Boomerang also adds an option that says "Boomerang this message;" this appears right above your message window. You can choose to "Boomerang" the message--which essentially means have it return to the top of your inbox--in a set number of hours or days, or at a set date and time in the future. This feature is much like the email reminders offered by and Those services work with any email service and email client, which is a nice touch for anyone not using Gmail. (Baydin does offer another version of Boomerang, called Boomerang for Outlook). and also require an extra step: You have to send a message to them in order to have your message sent back to you. Boomerang for Gmail simply requires that you click this box, and includes the option to boomerang the message only if no one replies to it--a nice way to be reminded that you're waiting for action.

When you open a message, Boomerang also asks if you want to boomerang it back to you inbox at another time. And if the message includes a date--such a proposed meeting time or a due date--Boomerang recognizes this, and suggests returning it to your inbox the day before.

Boomerang's Basic version is free, but limits you to 10 messages per month. It does work with both Gmail and Google Apps accounts, though. The $5-per-month Personal version (Gmail only) offers unlimited messages, as does the $15-per-month Professional version, which supports both Gmail and Google Apps accounts, too.

If you use Gmail and Firefox, Boomerang for Gmail could quickly become an indispensible tool. I only wish the free version offered a few more messages. sO If you are ready click here to subscribe

Vocalyze: Listen To Your Favorite News Website In Real Time.

Do you love reading but don’t get enough time due to your busy schedule and work? If you cannot read, you can listen to news and your favorite blogs on your PC, Android, iPhone and iPad using a service known as Vocalyse.

Vocalyse is an excellent online utility which helps you listen to your favorite blog or website even if you are busy with your office work or any other project in real time. The web service makes managing playlists easy and simple as websites are categorized according to the market they cover e.g Technology, Business and more.

To create your own custom playlist, just click on My Playlists, select the category and it will show you all the blogs listed under that category. Just add the news source you want to listen to and click on the Save Favorites button. All you then have to do is click on the Listen button to listen to real time news from your favorites. If you want, you can sign up for an account so you can manage and save your playlists online and access them from any computer or mobile device.


1.> Free and easy to use.
2.> Listen to news in real time.
3.> Manage playlists and access them anywhere.
4.> Available on iOS and Android devices.

Visit Vocalyze from here @

SiteSimon: Discover Interesting Online Content By Letting It Find You.

With an increasing number of websites, webpages, and blog posts, it is not easy to find online content that you will find interesting. Here to help you by letting the interesting content find you is a web service called SiteSimon.

SiteSimon is a web service that fetches online content based on your interests. Your interests are determined by your browsing history. You start using the site by visiting its homepage, creating an account on the site, and installing its extension for Google Chrome. Your Chrome history is then analyzed by the site and you are shown interesting online content. You can click on links to view their original webpages or leave comments under the links. Your histories can be shared with other site users who can also view the comments you leave on web links. A “My Activity” tab in your SiteSimon account keeps track of your activity on the site and the pages you visit.


1.> A user-friendly web service.
2.> Helps find interesting online content.
3.> Works through Google Chrome.
4.> Analyzes your interests through Chrome’s browsing history.
5.> Lets you leave comments on online content displayed.
6.> Also read related articles:

Check out SiteSimon from here @

PassMyWill: Sends Your Online Login Details To Family Members If You Pass Away.

Today, every person use hundreds of online services such as Facebook, Twitter, Gmail and more. What happens to all these services when you pass away? With PassMyWill, you can now will all your online assets and passwords to your relatives and friends.

To get started, you must first create an account on PassMyWill and connect your Facebook and Twitter accounts which will be used to check whether or not you have passed away. Next, enter the email address of your family members or friends to whom you want to transfer all of your online passwords. You are also asked to provide an encryption key which will be used to protect your login credentials and will be required to access the passwords. Lastly, you will be required to enter your Facebook, Twitter or email passwords along with a secure message which will be delivered to your family members when you pass away.
Many people (including me) may have privacy concerns about sharing their personal information with a newly built startup website but according to the owner, they said that even they will not have access to your passwords and encryption key.


1.> Will your online passwords.
2.> Will send your login credentials to the designated people when you pass away.

Check out PassmyWill from here @

How To Get Windows 8 Features Now.

Windows 8 will be the first Windows operating system since Windows 95 to drastically modify the user interface. Not only will we see a port of the Windows Phone 7 Metro UI, we'll also see support for multiple monitor setups, an immersive version of Internet Explorer, and touchscreen optimization.

Many of the improvements that Windows 8 will bring (for example, access to the Windows Store, native USB 3.0 support, "Refresh and Reset" features that simplify restoring your system to its factory default configuration, and Windows Live account integration) aren't available yet. Nevertheless, you can get the general look and feel of Windows 8 on your Windows 7 machine--including an approximation of the Metro UI, multiple monitor support, and the ribbon-style toolbar in Windows Explorer--right now. Here's how.

Duplicate the New Metro User Interface:

One of the biggest changes we'll see in Windows 8 involves the user interface: Instead of retaining the regular desktop we're used to, Microsoft is importing the Windows Phone 7-esque Metro interface.

You can duplicate the general look of the Metro interface by installing an application called Mosaic. Mosaic doesn't integrate with your desktop, as Metro will, but it does let you have a Metro-style live-tile overlay.

Mosaic is easy to set up on a Windows 7 PC. To get the app, download the latest build from the Mosaic Project website. Extract the files from the zipped build folder, and double-click Mosaic to run the program. You may want to put a shortcut to this program on your desktop for quick future access.

Mosaic will initially open in full-screen mode with two tiles. To get out of full-screen mode, click the arrow in the upper right corner. Select Options from the small black menu that appears, and disable the Enable Fullscreen Mode option. While you're in this options menu, you can also configure Mosaic to display the Windows taskbar while you're in fullscreen mode, enable widget and startup animations, or even start Mosaic automatically when you start Windows.

Currently, you can add several tiles to Mosaic to personalize it. To add tiles, first go to the Mosaic Store by clicking the Mosaic Store tile. At the Mosaic Store you can download tiles for future use--including Facebook, Gmail, Hotmail, and Twitter, as well as weather, clock, control panel, music, and picture tiles.

After downloading the tiles you want, you'll need to add them to the interface. To do this, click the arrow in the upper right corner and select Add. A list of the tiles you've downloaded will appear. Click a tile to add it; some tiles (such as email tiles and social networking tiles) may require configuring before they go live and start displaying up-to-date information.

In addition, you can pin programs and websites to Mosaic. To do this, click the arrow in the upper right and then click pin. Choose whether to pin a program or a website, and either find the program by using Windows Explorer or enter the website address. Tiles for programs will show the program icon; tiles for websites will show a snapshot of the front page.

To arrange tiles, just drag and drop them over the screen. They'll automatically snap to a grid when you drop them. To remove a tile, right-click it and then click Remove.

Even though Mosaic closely resembles Windows 8, it's a separate application. So if you have a window open and you click a Mosaic tile in the background, Mosaic will suddenly come to the front, just as any other application would.

Customize Multiple Monitors:

With Windows 8, Microsoft finally makes life easier for people who use multiple monitors. Windows 8 will support desktop wallpapers that span more than one monitor (as well as supporting separate wallpapers for each monitor) and better taskbar handling.

The good news is that you can nab these Windows 8 features now, with the aid of a couple of third-party applications.

To get multiple-monitor desktop wallpaper (wallpaper that spans more than one monitor) or to use different wallpapers on each monitor, use a free application called DisplayFusion. Visit the DisplayFusion website and download the latest build available there. Once the download has finished, open the executable file and install the program. Be sure to check the box that asks you whether you want DisplayFusion to run when Windows starts.

The paid version of DisplayFusion offers both multiple-monitor wallpaper support and taskbar handling, but the free version provides only multiple-monitor wallpaper support. Obviously, before you can set up your wallpaper, you must set up your multiple monitors.

To set up your multiple-monitor wallpaper, open DisplayFusion by right-clicking the icon in the taskbar and selecting Desktop Wallpaper from the menu. A window that displays all of your monitors side by side will open.

If you'd like one wallpaper to span all of your monitors, click the toggle labeled Span an image across all Monitors. To choose a single image to span across all monitors, open the Load From... menu and select My Computer. Find the image that you want to use, and open it.

If you'd like to have different wallpapers on each monitor, select the Use A Different Image For Each Monitor option. Click the monitor whose wallpaper you'd like to change (a red line will appear around the monitor you choose) and select the Load From… option. Find and select the picture you want to use it, then repeat the process for each additional monitor you want to customize with DisplayFusion.

DisplayFusion is a great way to get multiple-monitor wallpaper support at no charge. It's a generally noninvasive program, though you'll occasionally encounter pop-up windows prompting you to update to the latest build (if you choose not to update, nothing will happen). If you're interested in additional DisplayFusion options, such as multiple-monitor taskbar support or the ability to cycle through wallpapers automatically, you can upgrade to DisplayFusion Pro for $25.

Stretch the Windows Taskbar Across Multiple Monitors:

Windows 8 will also introduce the ability to span the taskbar across multiple monitors, but ou can already extend your Windows taskbar across multiple monitors by using MultiMon software. Pick up the free MultiMon Taskbar from MediaChance website. Once you've downloaded the program, open it; the program will automatically load an extra taskbar onto whichever monitor Windows recognizes as your second screen. To customize your taskbar, first right-click the Properties menu in the MultiMon taskbar; from there, you can choose to auto-hide the taskbar, insert a caption button, use the Ctrl-Alt-arrow keys to move left and right, and add a multitext clipboard. Another option is to add a taskbar to your third monitor, if you happen to be hardcore enough to need three monitors.

Unfortunately, MultiMon Free isn't nearly as robust as the paid version, MultiMon Taskbar Pro, which costs $28. MultiMon Taskbar Pro 3.5 includes Windows XP, Vista, and Windows 7 themes, but the free version just looks like your basic gray taskbar. Ultimately, if you really want to blend your taskbar with a modern Windows interface, you probably should pay $28 for the Pro version of MultiMon.

Note: The free version of MultiMon automatically adds a second taskbar to your second monitor, and it can add a third taskbar to the your third monitor. The monitors are not switchable, however, which can pose a problem if you want the monitor you designated as secondary to host your main taskbar.

Steal Windows 8 Explorer's New Ribbon Interface:

In Windows 8, Microsoft will replace the toolbar in Windows Explorer with a Microsoft Office-style "ribbon." The ribbon, which was introduced in Microsoft Office 2007, is a strip of options that changes depending on what you're doing. Not everyone likes the ribbon toolbar, but it looks as though it's here to stay.

If you like the ribbon, you can get it in your Windows Explorer now by using a different file manager. Try BExplorer (or "Better Explorer"), an alternate file management program that you can use instead of Windows Explorer. To do so, download the latest version of Better Explorer from the Better Explorer website. Once you agree to the legal Terms and Conditions, you'll be able to run the necessary executable file directly from the website.

Thankfully, BExplorer requires virtually no setup. Once you've installed the program (it will automatically install a pinned shortcut in your Start Menu), you can use BExplorer instead of Windows Explorer to open files, by opening a file from the BExplorer Start Menu shortcut (instead of using My Computer).

BExplorer's latest build features a ribbon interface. At the moment there are three ribbon tabs: File, Home, and View. In the Home ribbon, you can perform basic operations such as copying and moving files, deleting and renaming files, selecting all, and opening your favorites folder.

Clicking the View tab will bring up a ribbon with a new set of options--most of them extremely useful ways to view the files differently. For example, you can easily instruct the program on how to display the files (as Extra Large Icons, Large Icons, Medium Icons, or something else). You can also sort the items in a folder easily by using the sort options. Finally, you can show and hide items, see filename extensions, and show hidden items with one quick click.

Though many people dislike the ribbon-style toolbar in Microsoft Office, it's a significant improvement on file management. With BExplorer's ribbon toolbar, sorting and viewing files, selecting and movinge files, and organizing folders are all much easier.

Handy though it is, BExplorer isn't integrated into Windows as fully is Windows Explorer is. For example, unless you explicitly open a file using BExplorer, your files will revert by default to opening with Windows Explorer. But even though BExplorer isn't a viable replacement for Windows Explorer in everyday use, it serves as a convenient alternative if you happen to be doing a lot of work in an "Explorer"--such as organizing folders or looking for something.

Windows 8, Right Now:

If you're not satisfied with these UI tweaks, you can get as close as possible to Windows 8 by downloading the publicly available Windows 8 Developer Build from Microsoft's website. The developer build is not stable, and it doesn't have all of the UI enhancements we're looking forward to in Windows 8. Microsoft warns that the current build is the pre-beta version of Windows 8 and cannot be installed--so if you're not a developer and you don't have an extra Windows 7 computer lying around, you may want to sate your curiosity with these UI tweaks and wait until the official beta is released.

Tuesday 27 December 2011

How to Back Up Your iOS Device.

If you are the proud owner of an iPhone, an iPod Touch, or an iPad, it is important that you know your options for backing up your device and all the media that you have installed on it. If you are running iOS5, Apple gives you two choices on how to do this--iCloud and iTunes. Here’s a rundown on how to do each one.

Back Up With iCloud:

With iCloud, your media, your settings, your preferences, and just about everything else related to your Apple are synced to your iCloud account. Apple gives you 5GB of free space to store your photos, videos, device settings, app data, home screen preferences, messages, and ringtones. You also have unlimited space for music, TV shows, apps, movies, and books.

To back up to iCloud, turn on your iOS device and select Settings, iCloud, Storage and Backup. At this point, you can slide a switch to enable backup to your iCloud account. After you turn on this setting, your iOS device will no longer back up to iTunes--but it will automatically back itself up every day when it is on a Wi-Fi network, connected to a power source, and in the locked screen mode. If you want to initiate a backup manually, select Settings, iCloud, Storage and Backup, and then tap Back Up Now.

Back Up Through iTunes:

The other backup option you have involves backing up to iTunes. This arrangement creates a physical backup file on your computer; and as with iCloud, you can use it to restore all of your favorite media and settings. If you prefer to keep your settings close to hand, and you want the option of being able to back up or restore without using a Wi-Fi connection, this is the method for you.

To back up to your computer, first connect it to your iOS device and sync all of your latest media and data with iTunes. Then, under Devices, right-click on your iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch; and select Back Up. iTunes will then perform a backup of all your important files.