Thursday, July 22, 2010

Facebook crosses the 500 million users mark!


Once I had read in the Facebook stats that it has over 350 million active users. Recently, I read that it had crossed the 400 million mark. Now, the social networking giant has crossed one major milestone. The Facebook's official page on the website wrote about 14 hours from the writing of this post that they had crossed the 500 million mark. They now have 500 million active users on the site.

Facebook thanks everyone who helped Facebook spread all over the world.

There was a time when MySpace was a bigger social networking site than Facebook. There was a time when Twitter launched and Facebook got intimidated. But Facebook stood strong through all of this and its loyal users helped it to conquer the social networking world.

Now, as Facebook has successfully conquered a fourteenth of the world's population, Mark Zuckerberg (CEO) has said that their next milestone is a billion users, which is very much possible, no matter when.

Good luck, Facebook.


Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Free the bandwidth that Windows Vista and 7 reserve for themselves

You were bored with your slow Internet connection, right? I was too. Well, Windows, by default reserves upto 20% of your bandwidth for itself. It uses it to run Windows Update and other things (probably to not slow you down). But this means that you get a slow Internet connection in return.

My tip lets you disable this restriction and get faster web surfing/downloading/whatever speeds. It will work for all kinds of connections, until it is an Internet connection! No one is left out of this (wireless users, dial-up too probably). Windows XP users need to go here, anyway. Follow the following steps and enjoy faster Internet:

1. Open up your Registry Editor. Just click the Start orb, and type in 'regedit' in the Start Menu Search. You can use the 'Run...' box too (Windows Key + R).

2. Here, navigate to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE/Software/Policies/Microsoft. Now right-click 'Windows' under the Microsoft you came to (in the left pane) and select New -> Key.

3. Name the Key 'Psched'. Click it once.

4. Inside this key, in the right pane, right-click and select New -> DWORD (32-bit value).

5. Name that DWORD 'NonBestEffortLimit'.

6. Now, right-click the new DWORD you created and hit 'Modify...' (first option there). Now in the dialog that appears, make sure that the value of the DWORD is set to '0'. To be precise (for the newbies), make sure that the dialog looks similar to this:

Hit 'OK' and close everything down. Reboot your computer to apply the changes. See? That was so simple. Now, if everything went right, you now have no bandwidth limit enabled on your computer, no matter what connection it is. You're done. Enjoy!


Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Add Dropbox to the Send To menu in Windows Vista and 7

So you love the way you can right-click anything and hit send to 'Desktop (Create shortcut)' or 'Compressed folder'? You can add a Dropbox option too in that menu. I had shown you how to get extra space on your Dropbox account. If you used it and then fell in love with the amazing app, use this trick to get a little more from your Dropbox.

It takes just a few seconds. Open Windows Explorer (Start -> Computer, or Windows key + E), and click the address bar. Copy and paste the following address into it:


Here, drag and drop the Dropbox shortcut from your favorite folders: 

If you don't have it in your favorites, you can bring it from whatever directory it is in. If you drag it in from the faves, and it disappears from there, you can drag it back in, and it works perfectly. You can rename the shortcut you just created, and it will appear something like this after everything's done:

For instructions on how you can do it in XP, go here.


Monday, July 19, 2010

The new Nokia Kinetic concept

Well, putting this thing into your pocket is another thing, but it's such an interesting concept. The Nokia Kinetic has been designed by Jeremy Innes-Hopkins, and it combines great looking sleek looks, with a simple, yet useful concept for functions like dismissing calls.

(Credit Nokia)

The phone remains in standby mode when placed horizontal. Yes, it apparently hovers like that when placed down. It's not magical, in any way. It has an electromagnet that allows the bulky end to shift weight. So probably that amazing device will stand up when there's a call. Nokia says that the user can tap the phone gently to make it recline back to its stand by mode to cancel a call (I believe the functionality will be implemented for a lot of tasks, like cancelling alarms). Anyway, the phone looks really, really beautiful.

Now that Nokia is ditching the Symbian operating system (and still there's no Android!), and going for MeeGo, it will surely run the phone on that OS, if it is finally decided that the phone be released commercially. Nokia says on its blog that the phone is just a concept, and the release of something like this hasn't been planned yet.

(Credit Gizmodo)
What I feel is (apart from it being a bulk in your pocket) the phone may turn out quite a hit, but won't become the highest selling Nokia device either. People nowadays look for the operating system instead of other things, and if Nokia doesn't put Android on it, it surely won't be that popular. I hope Nokia thinks about it.


Thursday, July 15, 2010

Add smooth scrolling to Google Chrome

A very disappointing thing in Chrome is that it doesn't have the beautiful smooth scrolling like Opera or other browsers. But really, you can add the feature with an extension.

Just install SmoothScroll and you're done. you can change quite a lot of settings. But it is only accessible via the Options link in the Extensions page.


Google planning to help in Wikipedia translations

Google says that it is shifting its eyes towards the Wikipedia languages which have the least number of articles, and it is planning to translate Wikipedia into those languages.

They say that they used Google Trends to find out which articles people were viewing most from India, the Middle East and Africa. Quote from the Google Blog:

"We believe that translation is key to our mission of making information useful to everyone. For example,Wikipedia is a phenomenal source of knowledge, especially for speakers of common languages such as English, German and French where there are hundreds of thousands—or millions—of articles available. For many smaller languages, however, Wikipedia doesn’t yet have anywhere near the same amount of content available...

...We began these efforts in 2008, starting with translating Wikipedia articles into Hindi, a language spoken by tens of millions of Internet users. At that time the Hindi Wikipedia had only 3.4 million words across 21,000 articles—while in contrast, the English Wikipedia had 1.3 billion words across 2.5 million articles."

Wow, translating to such less used (on the web) languages will be a tiring job. I hope Google can do it single-handedly.


Originally from the Official Google Blog.


Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Cancel Facebook friend requests

It has happened to everyone. Not to me, actually, yet. But you may end up inviting someone you do not know as a friend, either by believing otherwise, or because of a faulty mouse. Unfortunately, FB doesn't have a user-friendly way of cancelling the friend request. Actually, it has no way of doing it. But I have an easy workaround. Follow these steps.

1. After the request is sent, hurry to your privacy settings. Click Account, in the top-right corner, and click the obvious.

2. Go to your Block Lists, from the bottom of the page.

3. Type in the name of the person you invited. In the pop-up list, select the person you invited by mistake (that's pretty obvious).

4. Block the person (no, don't worry).

5. Just after blocking them, you can unblock them, from your Block List. You can do it pretty easily.

6. Now go to their profile. The 'Add Friend' button is back there. The person didn't even know what you did, by mistake.

You're done. Good luck. I hope Facebook adds a feature that allows you to cancel the request.

Want some more tips and tricks? See how you can check what information about you is visible to certain people. Here's a complete guide to cleaning up your Facebook account and Profile. And here's how to block yourself from Facebook search, or from public search engines like Google, Yahoo! and Bing.


Google's Life in a Day

Google is planning to take our help in creating history. They call this "historic cinematic experience" Life in a Day. They write on the Official Google Blog that we all see the world from our perspective, and they want us to take part in capturing a day on Earth and create a short movie to let future generations know our way of life. Taken directly from the Google blog:

"Today, we’re excited to announce the launch of “Life in a Day,” a historic cinematic experiment that will attempt to do just that: document one day, as seen through the eyes of people around the world. On July 24, you have 24 hours to capture a snapshot of your life on camera. You can film the ordinary -- a sunrise, the commute to work, a neighborhood soccer match, or the extraordinary -- a baby’s first steps, your reaction to the passing of a loved one, or even a marriage."

Participation is really simple. You need to go to the Life in a Day YouTube channel and check out the guidelines. Then, grab your camera and record your daily routine and/or special moments on 24th of July this year. Then, upload the movie to the Life in a Day channel. If they like it, you can be one of the 20 contributors credited as co-directors in the film that will be screened at the 2011 Sundance Film Festival. Selected or not, your video will remain on YouTube, letting future generations know how 24th July 2010 was on this planet. 

This is something interesting that Google has thought of. This will be a great success I believe. And it is really important to save symbols of our life for the future generations. What can be better than a YouTube channel dedicated to it, stored on the World Wide Web, for access to everyone, anytime?


Finally, a 3D compatible notebook

Didn't anybody think about this earlier? So many 3D TVs, a 3D handheld game console, and even 3D issues of magazines and much more out there, no company actually built a 3D compatible laptop! There's even an NVIDIA GPU that is 3D ready and waiting for being included in a computer.
Now, there's this weirdly-named Battalion 101 W860CU-3D built by gaming PC maker iBUYPOWER. It comes with a 15.6" HD 3D LCD display, one of Intel's Core i5 processors, 4 GB of RAM, Windows 7 Home Premium, NVIDIA 3D glasses, NVIDIA's 1 GB GTX285 graphics processor and much more.

Finally, 3D is hitting people's laps. This notebook is compatible with 3D Blu-Ray movies and much more. It all comes in about $1749.


Windows XP available till 2014...?

Microsoft ended selling Windows XP in 2009. Many people still love it. It was a revolution in Windows. it was a perfect operating system. Vista perfected many of its flaws, especially the network icons in the notification area. Windows 7 was even a step forward. People still liked Windows XP. It is arguably probably the most widely supported OS out there. It can run almost everything the later versions can and has legacy support for older software. It surely saw a painful goodbye. But... Microsoft is allowing people to downgrade to Windows XP till 2014!

Windows 7 users still have the chance to downgrade to the old, beloved OS for the next few years. Microsoft says:

"Going forward, businesses can continue to purchase new PCs and utilize end user downgrade rights to Windows XP or Windows Vista until they are ready to use Windows 7. Enabling such rights throughout the Windows 7 lifecycle will make it easier for customers as they plan deployments to Windows 7."

Wow, so even MS seems to like older versions of its software. Windows 7 support is extending to 2020. So, people online don't seem sure if the XP downgrade opportunity is for the next four years, or the next...ten (??) years.


Sunday, July 11, 2010

How to fix Skype when it says that it can't sign you in because you are already signed in

I'm using Skype version I find it really irritating when after signing out once, it doesn't sign in, saying "Skype cannot sign you in because you are already signed in on this computer." The only thing that seems to fix this is to reboot the computer. But I found an easy workaround.

Open Task Manager and go to the processes tab.

Here, search for the 'Skype.exe' and 'skypePM.exe' processes. Now, select each of them, and click End Process. Skype will be completely closed now.

You could also exit Skype normally, but the second process would be running.

Now, start Skype normally and sign back in. It should be working normally now. I tried to find this solution online, but couldn't find it anywhere. Good luck. If it doesn't work, rebooting will certainly work.


Beginners' Guide to using a Briefcase in Windows

Many people don't know what the Briefcase is. It was a feature first introduced in Windows XP. If you use multiple computers, like a desktop, and a mobile PC like a notebook, netbook or tablet, the Briefcase can be very useful to use in day-to-day work.

Even if you don't use multiple computers, you can use the Briefcase with a flash drive, if one's lying around. They're dead cheap nowadays.

In a nutshell, a Briefcase is a special folder that helps in keeping files and folders in sync with multiple destinations. You can use it in two ways:

 Over the Network (multiple computers):

To use this feature, just start by creating a New Briefcase in a computer you travel with.

Keep it in the Documents folder, or anywhere you like. Name it as you wish. Now make sure that your computers are connected to the same network and can see each other. If not, then connect them and make the name of the workgroup of both computers the same, then reboot. Make sure file sharing is on on both PCs. To watch a guide to share files, folders, or entire hard drives over the network between Windows Vista/7 and Windows XP, go here.

Now, drag any file from your desktop, or lets call it the Primary Computer here. Put it into the Briefcase on the other computer, over the network.

Now, a copy of the file will go to the Briefcase on your Mobile Computer. You can access it on the go. When you are connected with the Primary Computer over a network again, you can open the Briefcase and click the button Update All Items. The files will be in sync again.

Using a Flash Drive (one computer, portable drive):

You can also use a USB key, an external hard drive or any such drive that you can take with you and run on any computer somewhere else. For that, simply create a Briefcase on the portable drive and sync the files and folders just like you did with the multiple computers.


Saturday, July 10, 2010

Beginners' Guide to choosing network cabling

There are various ethernet cables available in the market. They come in various colors too. One thing's for sure. The colors are not just for visual appeal. The color actually indicate the type of wire. While some manufacturers may use other colors on the cables like black, they are usually the standard colors. The completely foolproof method, however to identify the type of cable is to look for words printed onto the outermost insulation. However, the following is a pretty good guide to choosing the best cable for yourself:

Category 3 (generally yellow) - Good enough for a basic network, with average speed. It supports upto 10 MB/s speeds. It's not used so widely, but most devices will work pretty good with it, and though slow, they are real cheap when compared.

Category 5 (generally blue) - This one is a pretty widely used cable. It's perfect for any decent network. While being not very cheap, they provide apt performance for all kinds of networks, be it corporate or home  based. They can easily give speeds of upto 100 MB/s. This one is recommended for anyone looking forward to network computers, as it will be a good investment, looking forward to the future.

Category 5E - An enhanced version of the cat 5, capable of 1000 MB/s (1 GB/s) speeds, if the devices support it. Switching cables won't always speed you up. That's obvious.

Category 6 - Cat 6 is pretty much like the previous one, but it can handle Gigabit Ethernet much better than the cat 5E. It has slightly better performance for the high speed devices (precisely).

Category 7 -  This one is a hardcore type of ethernet cabling. It's worth buying this one if only you're experimenting with a new invention of yours...! (probably something like 1 TB/s... joking). This type is pretty new, and isn't supported much.

So, these are the types of cables available on the market, and choosing them shouldn't be a problem now. The best option to go for when setting up a wired home network (are you sure you want to run hard cables and not go for wireless networks?) is the cat 5 or cat 5E cabling, depending on which one is available. These types should be pretty much apt for any kind of user. Good luck.


Friday, July 9, 2010

The iPhone 4 now catches fire

I had recently rounded up the various iPhone 4 problems I could find online. Now, to the list has been added the burning problem. An iPhone recently caught fire when connected to a computer via USB and burned the customer's hand.

Now that's horrible, Apple. I have heard that there was an iPhone 3G and even an iPod touch that caught fire once. More than that, the 2nd generation iPod nano was also known for burning people. But now, I don't think iPhone 4 sales will survive after this incident.

According to me, this is a final blow. I hope that the next iPod touch will be worth showering money on. People say it may have a number of new hardware additions which for now are limited to the iPhone 4 (like volume controls and a camera...!)

News from Gizmodo post by Brian Barrett.


Thursday, July 8, 2010

3D CyberShot cameras coming soon

Technorati Claim Token: DZYWEEYE8XBE

No, don't pay attention to that line above. It's part of something the blog is undergoing.

After CES this year, the world saw a boom in the amount of 3D products in the world. I had a feeling that the mainstream TV makers had all decided together to demo 3D televisions at once. Later, we saw the two cameras in the Nintendo 3DS which let you capture 3D photos. Now, things are getting hotter.

Sony has announced its new, 3D CyberShot models (one even replacing the pretty new CyberShot TX-7). They can capture 3D photos and then view them on 3D-enabled HDTVs via HDMI. That's amazing.

I'm sure this is going to be fun. These new models will also have the new 3D iSweep Panorama. I just got a new CyberShot TX5, and I am getting intimidated.

Originally posted at Crave by Joshua Goldman.


Blogger now has stats

WordPress has an amazing way of displaying detailed stats. They are very classified too. Blogger users were stuck with Google Analytics, which is even not realtime. Blogger stats are still in 'beta'. So you have to visit Blogger in draft (and make it your default dashboard if you're interested).

Then you can visit the Stats page in your blog settings. It's really detailed, and you can even check the number of visitors by browser and operating system.

Here's another screenshot:

So check out the new Stats page and write about it in the comments. I have just started using it. So I may find some useful things from you readers.

Originally posted at Technorati by Aniruddh Dodiya.


Make all add-ons work in Firefox 4 beta

By default, Firefox 4 disables your installed extensions. But you can make them work.

Just install this add-on and you're done. After restarting the browser, the addons page will have little buttons to report the compatibility of your addons to the developers. Thus, for test purposes, the add-ons will work perfectly.

You're done. Good luck with your trusty extensions.


Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Blog Transfer

So, I am a Google fan now. I use almost all Google services. What wajor thing I wasn't using was Blogger. I was stuck on WordPress (my blog was Tech Right Now, the name not being available, I adopted this new title), which I started disliking because of the inability to post ads once I got a lot of traffic.

So I thought of transferring my blog. I searched online and to my surprise, I received a number of ways to transfer from WordPress to Blogger. I used one of the services to convert my blog and put it up here. I find it is quite perfect. When this post was written, this blog was really, really new. So if you're one of the first people reading, you'll find a lot of changes in this blog slowly and steadily. You'll also find some problems with the old posts. Please ignore them. I notice there are weird words written on some posts, including stuff like [/Context].

The WordPress blog? It'll remain there. I am about to post a little notice there that the blog has been transferred, which will divert any traffic I may get.


Sunday, July 4, 2010

iPhone 4: Apple's biggest dud ever?

The iPhone 4 was a very much awaited piece of tech. Gizmodo first found the prototype in a bar, and later it was revealed to be authentic. I, personally, have never owned an iPhone, and I wasn't planning to get one. But I was ardent to get to know how it would come to be. We all awaited the announcement and release with bated breaths. Hundreds of people came out to get the first few pieces. But what happened after that?

The following are the problems I found out from various sources about the next-gen iPhone:

1. It shatters very easily.

2. It has very weird and funny reception problems (probably the most famous tech defect ever).

3. Scratches easily on the back side.

4. Some have yellow patches on the screen which Apple says "will go away soon".

5. A few of them have switched volume buttons (boo boo, Apple!).

6. Some have certain camera problems.

Now, this iPhone has amazing features. FaceTime is just video chat. Forget that. This one's faster, more feature-packed and better than ever. But these are pretty serious problems. I'm sure Apple's at a loss here. People are buying lesser and lesser iPhone 4s now.

What could this mean for Apple? Will the people lose their trust? How will the response to iPhone 5 be? It is possible that people switch to Zune and Linux instead of Apple products. But Apple has a number of die-hard fans. This iPhone must have cost the company many fans. What will Steve Jobs do now?

It's very hard to recall so many sold pieces now. It will account for a loss of millions of dollars. I hope Apple can fix these issues by software updates (or at least give the people free bumpers). That will be a huge relief all over. What I first thought was that the company will certainly accept its mistakes and try to get everything right. But Steve Jobs says that there is no antenna issue. But still it is hiring antenna engineers. What can we call that? This article says that the missing bars are software problems and will be fixed soon. The source can be reliable, but I find it hard to believe. Not the 'software problem' part. I am unable to believe that Apple takes iPhone 4 users as fools. Do they really think their dear customers will believe that touching the metal strips causes bars to go and CALLS TO DROP, which could be a software problem?

Anyway, whatever Apple chooses to do, they'll do smart. I have faith in them. All this problems will soon be fixed some way or the other. Oh yes, Apple advertised the iPhone 4 with the line: "This Changes Everything. Again." Yep, it has really changed a lot of things...


Saturday, July 3, 2010

Firefox 4 pre-beta review

I installed the nightly build of Firefox 4 today. Overall, I seem to enjoy using it. Looks great, and has  better interface. Though it looks like Opera, with the tabs on top,  the button on the top-left doesn't have all the options we had in the menus. However, the menubar is still here, though hidden by default. Probably Mozilla didn't want to make it so complex, but what they've put here is very minimal. More options - detailed ones - would make up to a fuller and richer experience. Anyway, the interface is good, and Mozilla will probably make a lot of changes till the beta version, after they know what people expected and how different it is from what they got.

The Firefox 4 interface currently looks like so:

What's the big new thing in the interface currently except the normal browser window is the add-ons page. Yep, the 'page'. The add-ons box is no longer here. It has been changed into a page. When you click the add-ons option in Minefield -> Customize, a new tab opens, with the page 'about:addons'.

There is a convenient pane in the left of the window to switch from extensions to themes, plugins and Get Add-ons, like it was in the previous versions. We get all the info of the extensions and we can easily uninstall and disable the add-ons from the window.

The only little problem with this page is that it has no favicon to display in the address, oops, location bar and the tab on top.

The Get Add-ons page is much better and convenient as compared to the old versions. The old one, by default, showed five featured add-ons, and a search box, but now, the page is much better. There is a disclaimer though, in the nightly version, saying that this page is still under construction.

I don't think I see any great difference in the performance of this version over the previous ones. It's pretty much the same, but there will surely be better performance in the final versions. I have faith in Mozilla.

There aren't many problems in the browser so far, but I've only been using it for a while. The major one I found yet is a fullscreen mode issue. When I switch to fullscreen mode, the browser toolbars slide up only halfway and some of the text, especially the 'Minefield' label stays in the air, where it was.

Also, when closing this mode, the browser restores back to a small window. That's an annoying bug Mozilla needs to fix, mostly for regular fullscreen users.

Another bug is of the page going blank when you pull a tab out of the window to make it another windoTo get around it, you need to refresh the page. Also, any data you typed into the forms on the page is lost. Actually, it even happened to me when writing this post! Anyway, it was automatically saved to drafts, so I didn't lose anything, still...

I didn't test any kind of JavaScript, CSS or other performance stuff, but I sure know that it got a 97/10o in about 2.6 seconds on the Acid3 test.

Anyway, this is enough to wrap it up. This browser is quite amazing, and I hope it gets better when it releases. And I really want the green page load bar on the tabs as planned in the mockups of the browser.

I'll keep using this browser for a while and put up more interesting stuff if I find any.

UPDATE: The update to Minefield released on 5th July 2010 enabled all the extensions. Every extension I use is now perfectly compatible with the browser now. I have no problems yet. But after a number of updates too, the version number is still Minefield 4.0b2pre. Don't worry, that's not at all a problem.


Get free 250 MB Dropbox space

Want some free 250 MB of storage on Dropbox? You get an additional 250 MB on your online storage if you refer to people and then they create an account. Even they receive the same. For that simply follow this link. You can get upto 8 GB of free space in this way.

Also, if you take at least any five of these online tours (simple and fast), they simply give you another 250 MB.

If you don't have any friends who would like to use Dropbox, follow my link and get an extra 250 MB. I'll get the same too, so thanks. Click here to create a free account with 2 GB + 250 MB.