Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Beat boxing with Google Translate

Did anyone know this? This is one of the funniest things I've ever come across on the web. I find it even more funny when I think about the fact that it was hiding under my nose all the time.

It's a simple little trick.

  • You just go to Google Translate.
  • Switch the languages from German to German.
  • Now paste in the following:
pv zk pv pv zk pv zk kz zk pv pv pv zk pv zk zk pzk pzk pvzkpkzvpvzk kkkkkk bsch
  • Click Listen.
  • Have fun!
You can also skip all the above steps and click this link instead.
Via Gizmodo.


Sunday, November 28, 2010

New series: Going To The Cloud!

I'm starting yet another series here at Right Now In Tech. This is the first post. I'll guide you through the process of migrating your digital life from your computer to the cloud. You can either follow along as I write posts, or you can take ideas and do as you wish.

It's a series starting here. So you should be subscribing to this blog. Thus, you will not miss out my new articles. There's no hassle. No registration. Just use RSS. If you use Facebook or Twitter, you're even better off.

See this page for details.

What is the cloud?
The cloud refers to the web. Nowadays, with the Internet becoming so ubiquitous, people store so much of their life online, and spend so much of their time on the web. The idea of storing so much of our data online (in the cloud) is not very new, but it is taking off around this time.

It is so serious, that there are operating systems being made that store most of the things online, instead of on your computer and use online services primarily for all your tasks. Take the Google Chrome OS for example. It's just a web browser built over Linux essentially. It makes a pretty good operating system that could be released anytime now. It will be free. Other examples are Jolicloud (also free).

Why use the cloud?
There are a lot of reasons people are moving to the cloud. Nowadays Internet connections are really fast (for those with slow connections like me, we'll progress soon) and websites work more like local programs. We can upload photos and videos quite fast too.

What does this mean? We can use the cloud very nicely now. Additionally, there are a lot of advantages of utilizing it
  • Data is secure: If we have the data stored online, we don't need to care about it. Lose your computer, damage it or survive a natural disaster. You just won't lose the data. If you are using a good online service, you don't need to worry too. The data is copied on multiple servers.
  • Data can be shared: When it's on the cloud, your family and friends can see it more easily. Just give them permissions and they can see your vacation photos and video from anywhere in the world. You don't need to burn CDs or copy stuff back and forth on flash drives.
  • There's less hardware involved: As I mentioned in the previous point, you don't need CDs or other storage media to transfer files here and there. Just upload it to a server and you can download it from anywhere. Everything is accessible from anywhere. 
  • Everything's in sync: When your stuff is online, it can be better synchronized between devices. Again, you don't require actual hardware media on your side to transfer data, just as I mentioned above. 
Because everyone is already moving to the cloud, I recommend you to do so to. Moreover, it's always fun to use new things. Let's make this world a more online place.

So follow along. Read all my posts and enjoy your new and improved, online life.

Once again, don't forget to subscribe to follow along. You can always unsubscribe later.

Update: Here's the first article!
Update: And here's the second! 
Update: And here's the third!


    Stop Windows Update from rebooting your PC

    Photo from How-To Geek
    Seen that irritating dialog before? It's so annoying. It even reboots your machine automatically at times, and there's nothing you can do about it. But there's a fix too.

    This little hack requires modifying the Windows Registry. But it is completely safe and reversible if done correctly. But it is always good to save a backup of the registry, or at least have a System Restore point created before you do anything such. Always backup your important files too.
    • Go to the Registry Editor by clicking Start and typing in regedit. Here, in the left pane, navigate to:
    • If you see that there is no WindowsUpdate in there, you can right-click Windows and create a new Key, then name it appropriately. Then you need to create an AU too.
    • When you're there, in the right pane, right-click anywhere and create a new 32-bit DWORD.
    • Name it NoAutoRebootWithLoggedOnUsers.
    • Double-click it to Modify and give it a value of 1, as shown below:

    After a reboot, this should work. Windows would give you that frustrating countdown until it reboots. Ever again, unless if you go back and delete the keys.

    Thanks for visiting my blog. Before you go, do surf around for a while. There's a tip for everyone! And do subscribe.


    Saturday, November 27, 2010

    New Google Docs fonts and features not available?

    I recently switched to using Google Docs for all my work. I saw that it has improved considerably from the buggy piece of web app I saw before to an amazing online office suite. But I had a problem. I saw that the new fonts the world was writing about were not available in the editor. I pulled some of my hair for a while, looking for fixes, and finally got one after a lot of searching (hidden away in the depths of the web).

    It was not a problem with my browser that the new fonts were not accessible. It was just a stupid little setting that was disabled. I don't know why those Googlers even put it there.

    Anyway, the fix is very simple.
    • Click Settings at the top and go to Documents settings.
    • Go to the Editing tab.
    • Now enable the New version of Google documents.

    Don't you agree that there was no reason to put that setting there? Fine, maybe some people won't be comfortable with the new interface right away.

    Whatever. Your problem is fixed, at least.

    See also:
    4 reasons Google Chrome OS will succeed 
    Take screenshots of videos using VLC Media Player (and why you'll want to)
    Play DVDs with any region code on any computer
    Create an iTunes account without a credit card
    Logon to Windows with your face (any computer, free...!)


    And now bacteria will store your photos, videos, music...

    A team of researchers at the Chinese University of Hong Kong have got to a breakthrough. They have successfully stored 90 GB of data in a single gram of... bacteria. And it's not April Fools' today.

    This new method of actually encoding data into a bacteria is called bioencryption. The idea has been around for at least a deacade, for it is known that bacteria survive most natural disasters. Moreover, 90 gigs of data in a single gram is a practically revolutionary quantity. Compare that with your hard drive.

    Bioencryption works by aligning the bacterial DNA in a particular order, so that it remembers stuff. That raises a question in my mind. Won't shuffling the DNA around change the bacteria itself? Won't that make the bacteria even more harmful, and possibly wipe out the world around 21st December 2012?

    We'll wait for an answer.

    The DNA on a bacteria is made up of really long strands, which makes lots of space for data storage. The data is not stored sequentially on single bacteria, but is scattered over lots of these creatures, similar to a hard drive.

    Here's their website, where you can see their photos, notebook, and more. Here's a PDF presentation from them.

    Now I'm just waiting for the time I can plug in a flash drive filled with a glob of glowing bacteria inside into my computer and suddenly have access to some space where I can pop in hundreds of gigs of data.

    What would you like to store in there? Write it in the comments.


    Thursday, November 25, 2010

    What tech do you have on your wishlists?

    From Ask4Tutoring
    Holidays are coming real soon. Shopping spree is starting up. Look at CNET, and you'll see the refreshed design on the site, and links to gift guides all over. So I have a question for you.

    What gadgets do you all have on your wishlists? If money was no barrier, what would you buy for yourself? Computers, music players, TVs, cell phones, tablets? Throw up everything you'd like to have in the comments below!

    As always, you can comment using your social network accounts or as a guest! All because of DISQUS.


    Wednesday, November 24, 2010

    4 reasons Google Chrome OS will succeed

    Everyone awaits the Google Chrome OS. I've been tracking it right from when I saw the first leaked screenshots. I even, for a short while gave the Flow version of the Chrome OS a go, after installing it on a flash drive. It was amazing, though it messed the flash drive up after I deleted it. Of course I fixed it.

    In case you don't know, Google Chrome OS is an operating system being made for netbooks. It's practically the Google Chrome browser built on the Linux kernel, that gives the user a browser based OS, while (almost) everything resides online. It will come with low-cost computers, and will probably be available as a free download too. It is being developed by the people who made the open-source Chromium browser, which you probably know as the rebranded Google Chrome.
    See also: What's the difference between Google Chrome and Chromium?

    Here are some reasons I believe Chrome will really succeed, in no particular order:

    It's light, and free:
    The Google Chrome OS is targeted towards low-cost, low-powered laptops, and maybe even tablets. So, it will be light, and not resource hungry. It will run on practically any computer, just like Linux distributions such as Ubuntu. If it does come out as a free download, you can use the browser-based system to revive old PCs in your house. Being light also means that it will boot at super high-speeds. Depending on the system, it may just be faster than the new MacBook Air, with Instant On.

    Because the OS is based on Linux, and essentially free, the laptops that will come with it pre-installed will be a lot cheaper than Microsoft's Windows based computers.

    It's open-source:
    The OS is based on Linux, so it's open-source. All the apps (if any) will be open-source as well. So many people like open-source. It has its own advantages too, apart from being free. Open-source software generally has a lot of users, so there's abundance of community support. People say that there's higher security too.

    Photo from O'Reilly Media
    It's all synced:
    Image from Spectral Core
    Google Chrome already has amazing sync features, though they may not be as good as Firefox Sync, that's integrated with Firefox 4. But you still have your bookmarks, no matter where you go. You use your Google Account to log in, and all your settings, bookmarks (maybe even apps) are available in seconds.

    What does this mean? You use a friend's Chrome OS, and you have all your settings and bookmarks. You go to a public computer with Chrome OS, and you have your browser there in front of you. There's a lot of potential.

    Everything synced means that you can use Chrome on your Windows based computer, or Mac and you can travel with the Chrome OS on your netbook, always in sync.

    All in the cloud:
    Photo from Cloud Computing Leaders
    Nowadays, for most people, it's all in the cloud. People are slowly moving towards online storage, apps and services. You probably use a web based email service, online social networking, online photo sharing and maybe online backup. That's being in the cloud. The Google Chrome OS is made in a way that people will slowly switch to the cloud. It will be integrated with major online services.

    As I mentioned in the previous point, that everything will be synced. That happens in the cloud too. Your Google Account will slowly become your online identity, and wil help you log in from everywhere, and get you your browser on any computer.

    For all these reasons, I believe that the Google Chrome OS will be a big hit. But I don't think that with the current state, it will become anybody's primary operating system anytime soon. Hope you enjoyed this post. If you did, do subscribe.


    Tuesday, November 23, 2010

    Be a Keyboard Ninja: Word processing shortcuts

    Last time, I showed you some basic keyboard shortcuts in Windows. I also linked to an old article of mine about web browsing shortcuts, which you must have seen. This time, I'll tell you some shortcuts that you can use to navigate around documents, and which will help save you time when selecting text, editing, deleting and replacing.

    You may not start using them instinctively right away. Don't worry and leave the thought of becoming a Keyboard Ninja (like I almost did). Believe that you are capable, grasshopper. It's fine to take extra time in using these shortcuts. When you become an expert, they will save you more time than you wasted learning and practising them.

    Let's begin. I'll point out some basic keys first, which will be used later on in the actual shortcuts. If you use your mouse to do what these keys do, you're wasting a lot of time, and you should begin using them immediately.

    • Page Up/Page Down: Scroll up and down a page at once
    • Directional keys: Move the cursor in any direction (not the pointer, that you move by the mouse)
    • End: Moves to the end of the line
    • Home: Moves to beginning of line
    Let's bring on the keyboard shortcuts now. In this word processing section, you'll find a lot of new shortcuts by combining others.

    Some things to remember:
    Adding Ctrl to anything will skip stuff. The stuff here depends on the context. You'll understand this later on. Adding Shift to almost any shortcut will select text.

    Let's start with navigation.
    • Ctrl+Left/Right: Skip a word to the left or right
    • Ctrl+Up/Down: Skip a paragraph up or down (doesn't work everywhere, for example in the blog editor I'm using as I type) 
    • Ctrl+End: Move to end of document
    • Ctrl+Home: Move to beginning of document
    And then selection of text.
    • Shift+Left/Right: Select text to the left or right
    • Shift+Up/Down: Select a line up or down (after trying it, you'll know that you can press End and then use this combo to select whole single lines)
    • Shift+End: Select all text to the end of the line
    • Shift+Home: (ah, you guessed it) Select all text to the beginning of line
    I started using these and noticed that I was saving a lot of time going here and there. Now let's start combining keyboard combos.
    • Shift+Ctrl+Left/Right: (you guessed it!) Select a word left or right.
    • Shift+Ctrl+Up/Down: (you probably did it again!) Select a paragraph up or down.
    These really save a lot of time. There are many shortcuts that are hard to explain right now, but you'll learn these tricks as you use the ones I explained just now. These include unselecting text, even whole paragraphs at a time (move in the reverse direction of your selection). Don't worry. You'll become a champion soon.

    Also try deleting entire words and sentences at once.

    So stay tuned for my next post. Meanwhile, why not subscribe using RSS or social networks?


    Monday, November 22, 2010

    Get loads of free Dropbox space using social networks!

    Dropbox has rolled out an amazing new incentive for you to follow them on Twitter and Facebook.

    You can get upto 768 MB of extra space on Dropbox by connecting your account with Facebook and Twitter, writing why you love Dropbox and following them too. Then you can post your 'why you love Dropbox' sentence to Facebook and Twitter for even more space. Awesome! Who doesn't like free stuff? Go here to get the perks!

    Also, if you're still thinking about creating a brand new account, why not get some extra space to start out with? Get an extra 250 MB (or 500 MB if you're using a .edu email address) when you create an account after clicking this. After you create the account, finish the tutorial to get (yet) more space.

    Have fun syncing stuff around!


    6 reasons to use Evernote

    Evernote is just an amazing note-taking tool. It's not so popular just like that. I've been using it for quite a long time now (I'm using the free version, which though sounds very limited, isn't!). There are tons of reasons you should too. I'll list out a few of them here.

    If you stick around or even subscribe, you won't miss my future articles on creative ways to use Evernote.

    Access from anywhere:
    This is a big one. Evernote is really connected. Much better than pen and paper. And oh yes, if you are living in the 21st century, you should slowly stop using pen and paper for notes anyway. Evernote syncs between all your devices. Install it on any computer Windows or Mac (no support for Linux, oops), and it will sync completely with your account. Moreover, you can even access all your notes, create new ones and essentially do everything else from the web using Evernote Web.

    With the new Evernote 4.0.2 that was released just a couple of days ago, you can even import notes from Microsoft OneNote 2007 and up. Evernote also has extensions for Google Chrome and Firefox, so you can take notes as you browse the web.

    Evernote in any browser, anywhere in the world!
    Evernote even works with mobile devices, but I'll go into that later.

    Easy to use:
    It's idiot proof!
    After a while of playing around with it, even non-geeks will be able to use it. You just select the kind of note you want to create, type it out or snap it, whatever. Optionally, you can add tags, a URL to refer to, and maybe your location. Everything's really simple. It syncs automatically too. You don't need to worry about absolutely anything except creating notes. You will be able to access anything from anywhere!

    Mobile access:
    Evernote has iPhone and iPad versions, plus Android, Windows Mobile and now, in a pre-release, even Symbian's touchscreen versions. All the notes synchronize, and you can even use your phone to snap photos of handwritten notes, labels and everything else. The great thing is that Evernote detects the writing in the photos and makes them searchable too. Disclaimer: It's not an OCR tool and you cannot copy paste the detected text, though that would be awesome. In most cases, it even detects the writing from your handwritten notes that you snap with your phone.

    Note that the Symbian version doesn't have all these features yet, though it's pretty great.

    Organized and searchable:
    With tags, locations and other attributes, Evernote is so organized and really easily searchable. you have a 0% chance of actually losing a note from your notebooks. Your notes are organized in notebooks. A new account comes with a General Notebook, which can be later renamed. And you can add new notebooks and add unlimited notes to them. UPDATE: Looks like it's not unlimited notes. Commenter Doug has explained that there's a limit of 100,000 notes per notebook.

    When you search Evernote, it searches for your terms in notes, their titles, tags and as mentioned before, it even searches text in your photos.

    Documents can be imported:
    In any note, you can even add documents, spreadsheets and other things, though you require a premium account to do that. With a free account, you can drag and drop PDFs, though. With this, you can keep your documents organized with your notes. You can refer to a PDF ebook when looking at your notes for someting, maybe.

    Not resource hungry:
    People may tell you that Evernote takes a lot of memory and is sluggish, and even makes your computer crash. That was true, with the older versions of Evernote. With the newly released Evernote 4, they have created a totally new program from the ground up. It is really light, unobstrusive and never makes your computer crash. You can always keep it running in the background and take notes anytime.

    Now before you change your mind, go start using Evernote and enjoy a better, more organized life!


    Take screenshots of videos using VLC Media Player

    Often you might want to take a snap of a video. This could be a movie, a home video, maybe a music video. You might want to use it on Wikipedia, set it as a desktop background, and what not? You can use VLC Media Player's inbuilt feature to do that.

    On Windows, Linux or Unix, if you press Ctrl+Alt+S, VLC takes a snap of whatever is playing on the screen, not the whole screen. On a Mac, you replace Ctrl with the Command key.

    On Windows, it's saved in the Pictures folder. On Windows XP and older, it is of course, My Documents/My Pictures. The photo on a Mac is saved on the desktop, and on Linux and Unix, it goes to home\vlc.

    You can change the directory where the photo is saved via the Preferences -> Video, and you can modify the keyboard shortcut too, using Preferences -> Interface -> Hotkeys settings (after checking Advanced settings).

    Hope you liked it. If you did, subscribe to my blog via social networks and/or RSS!


    Sunday, November 21, 2010

    Stop Firefox from clearing tabs from RAM when not using them

    To save resources, the very resource-heavy but amazing web-browser Firefox dumps open websites in open tabs from the RAM when you are not using them. When you switch back to it after a long time, it reloads the page. You can prevent this from happening.
    • Type about:config in the address bar.
    • Just accept the scary warning. 
    • In the search bar at the top of this page, look for browser.sessionrestore.max_concurrent_tabs. 
    • Click OK, close Firefox and open it up again.
    • The setting is saved, and you will find a bit of an improvement.
    Note that you won't find the browser suddenly running really fast. This will affect your performance only when you have loads of tabs open and you have been neglecting some of them for a long time.

    If you want to speed up your web browsing speed without doing much, look at these articles:
    Beginners' Guide to choosing a DNS server for faster web browsing
    Use QoS on your network to give your programs the bandwidth they need


        Actually integrate Remember The Milk with Google Calendar

        Remember The Milk is an amazing tasks manager, with app support for Android, iPhone and basic web support for other cell phones, plus integration with Twitter, email and SMS notifications and much more. On the other hand, Google Tasks, though hard wired into Google Calendar and Gmail, is uh... rudimentary. 

        Remember The Milk has two options toadd it to Google Calendar, and both have severe disadvantages. There is the Daily Gadget, which adds little checkmarks on each day. You can click them to see the tasks for that day. The problem is that it doesn't mark out the days with tasks, and you have to click each tick to find tasks. Then there's the newer Sidebar Gadget, which puts an RTM sidebar to Calendar, where you can see the tasks, add, complete and postpone them. But you cannot see the tasks marked out on your calendar, which would be more convenient.
        Here's my tutorial on how to set RTM as your fully-integrated-with-Google tasks manager, and also show the tasks on your calendar without problems. You will also be able to add, complete and postpone tasks right from Calendar too.

        It's really simple.
        • Start off by getting the Sidebar Gadget enabled.
        • Hide Google Tasks from the right pane and from your Calendar if you haven't already.
        • You should be able to see the Sidebar Gadget normally, and the tasks should appear for you after you've signed into your RTM account.

        • Now, head off to Remember The Milk.
        • You can choose either to display all your tasks with one color as a single subscribed calendar, or you can choose to subscribe to each list separately.
        • In RTM, go to the All Tasks if you want to subscribe to all the tasks together. If you want to subscribe to all lists separately, go to each tab and perform all the further steps for each one. I use Study and Personal a lot, so I'll subscribe to both these calendars and display them in different colors on my Google Calendar.
        • In All Tasks or whatever list you are subscribing to, right-click iCalendar (Events) on the right, shown below and copy the link location. This option may be different for different browsers. Firefox says Copy Link Location and Internet Explorer says Copy shortcut.
        • Go to Google Calendar.
        • Under Other calendars on the right (shown below), click Add, Add by URL.

        • Paste in the URL you copied from RTM. The calendar will appear on your Google Calendar and you can change colors for it.
        • Do this, as I told before for all the lists you want to subscribe to.
        Now you can add, complete and postpone tasks from the Sidebar Gadget and everything will appear normally on your calendar. Note that the newly added tasks may take a while to appear on the calendar.

        Thanks for visiting my blog. And oh, before you leave, consider looking around my archive for even better posts. If you like it, consider subscribing via RSS, Facebook or Twitter. See the Subscribe tab on the top.


        Saturday, November 20, 2010

        Migrate your entire Google Account to a Google Apps account

        So many of the Google services are now available to Google Apps users too. If your company uses Google Apps, or you have your own domain, you may want to migrate all your Google Account stuff to your Google Apps account.

        Get started, then!

        Gmail is pretty hard to migrate. The normal Gmail supports importing email from another email address in the Accounts and Import tab of the settings. Google Apps, on the other hand can only recieve the emails that arrive from now on in your old address.

        However, this way seemed hard and problematic. So since you're using a Gmail account anyway, you can enable forwarding to your new Google Apps account.
        Go to the Forwarding and POP/IMAP tab of your old Gmail account and add the Google Apps account you wish to forward to. 

        As you can see from the photo above, I have instructed Gmail to keep a copy of the email in the old inbox. You may want to do that to save a backup. Just in case.

        Now when someone sends an email to your old account, it will be forwarded to your Google Apps mail. Here's what I am doing: i am setting up the forwarding and still using my old account for a few days, while I change my email on all the online services I use, and I will start giving people my new address. During this time, the new email will be pretty populated with the forwarded mail, and when you switch, you won't start switching back and looking for important recent emails.

        Migrating contacts is very simple, luckily. Just go to your contacts in Gmail, select all and Export them:

        When prompted, select Google CSV Format because you are migrating to a Google Apps account. This will retain every single formatting and will result in the exact same contacts in the new account.

        Download the file and then go to the new account. Go to Contacts and Import the downloaded file. All your contacts have been transferred in (probably) less than two minutes.

        Blogger is both easy and hard to migrate. The only catch is that you cannot transfer your entire Blogger profile to your new account. You have to enter the settings all over again, which includes the info about you, favorite movies and music, your profile photo and other details. The good thing is that your can transfer the full blog to your new account, grant admin privileges, use your real name too, and still manage all your blogs as you did before.

        First, log into Blogger and go to the Settings of your blog. If you have multiple blogs, you'll need to do this for every blog. Whoops! Go to the Permissions tab. Here, enter your new Google Apps email address as a person to invite.

         Check your mail, and click the link to accept. You'll be prompted to create a new Blogger account. But just sign in using your Google Apps account. You'll see your Dashboard, with the profile photo missing and limited settings for your blog and old posts. You have a brand new account associated with your new Google Apps account. You are seeing what a 'guest blogger' would.

        Now, go back to your old account and navigate all the way to the Permissions settings. You'll see that the person you invited has accepted the invite. Go ahead and give this new person admin privileges.

        Now go back to your new account. You will have the ability to change everything, normally. Now fill in your details and add a photo to yourself. You may also want to remove your old account from the authors. You can do that from either account, as both are administrators.

        This is tricky, and not always possible. You can unlink your YouTube account from your Google Account only if you have created your account before May 2009. You may remember the notifications saying that you will be able to use your Google Account to log into YouTube very soon.

        If yes, then hurry off to YouTube, sign in with your old account. Click your name in the top right, then click Account. In your settings, go to Manage Account (last one in the left sidebar). Here, expand the last section, that says Unlink YouTube and Google Accounts.

        Click the link, and everything, incuding your comments, stats, uploaded videos and all will be unlinked from your original Google Account. But as soon as you unlink, you'll be asked to link it to another account, or create a new Google Account. I'm not sure, however, if you can unlink the account for a second time.

        Also, if you don't link it to another account immediately, you will be asked to do so the next time you sign into YouTube.

        Google Apps have always had Google Calendar for their corporate account. I did not start using it after I got my account only because Google Apps did not have the new services that have come now. But now, I'm migrating, finally.

        Migrating calendars, very fortunately, is extremely simple too. You can, if you like, share the calendars with your other account and then unsubscribe from it  using your old account. But here's what I did:

        I logged into my old Google Account Calendar and went to Settings, Calendar settings. Now, I went to the Calendars tab and clicked Export calendars. All the calendars downloaded in the iCal format, zipped. I unzipped them. Then, I logged into my new Google Apps account, and went to my calendar. The URL depends on what you got from your administrator, or what you set (if you are the admin) on the Google Apps Dashboard. Then I went to Calendar settings again, and imported the downloaded calendars. I uploaded my Events calendar to the default calendar.

        Everything works normally. Note that (at least at the time of writing this) Tasks cannot be exported. You'll have to start them all over again.

        Transferring Docs is easy too. Here's the simplest way:

        You go to Docs, sign in with your old account, Export all the documents, presentations, spreadsheets etc. and download them. Sign in with your new account and reupload everything by Importing.

        If you have a lot of stuff in there, you can go through the process of sharing everything with your new account and saving it there.

        You can transfer all the Google Reader subscriptions to your new account, but you will not be able to transfer your stats. You will have to star everything all over again, and follow the people you are following from scratch in your new Google Apps account.

        Here too, you need to Export the subscriptions from Settings, Import/Export and Import it to your new account.

        That's all. What did I miss? Put it into the comments. You'll also like to subscribe to Right Now In Tech via RSS or social networks (you won't regret). Enjoy using Google Apps!


        Michael Jackson - The Experience releasing on 23rd November

        It's 20th November while so many people await with baited breaths the release of the video game, Michael Jackson - The Experience, by Ubisoft. Two months ago from now, Ubisoft released the official trailer, and the news spread.

        Michael Jackson - The Experience is coming on the Wii, Microsoft Kinect for XBOX 360, PlayStation Move, Nintendo DS and PSP. I'm sure it'll be a hit. Though I don't have any of those, I just cannot wait to see all those gameplay videos people will make. The previews and sneak peaks really show that Ubisoft has successfully created an AI Michael Jackson.

        I wish there was a virtual MJ as real as Milo.

        Ubisoft very recently also threw out interesting previews of the game, teasing the people, building up anticipation:

        Here are similar videos for Beat It, In The Closet, Ghosts, Another Part Of Me and Speed Demon.

        Gamespot saw a game preview at GamesCom. Many details about the Wii and the Kinect version were revealed here.

        The Wii version is being played with in the video above. It appears that the Wii needs just the controller to be in the right place at the right time to rack up points, instead of real dancing. The Kinect version will probably be much better, as this machine actually sees things in 3D and can detect your entire body as it moves, with face recognition. Felicia Williams (in the video) says that in the Kinect version, you will be able to "control" everything on the stage, dance and even sing like Michael Jackson. Michael Jackson int he game will follow our moves (probably) with all the glowing and sparkling that follows, including the light highlights on the floor.

        Are you awaiting the grand release? Say it in the comments.


        Friday, November 19, 2010

        Share a files over a network with older versions of Windows

        It is really painful to share files and folders over a home network when you're running a newer version of Windows, like Vista or 7 and trying to set the thing up with a machine running XP. Here's a tutorial.

        Many people won't know that I have a YouTube channel with a lot of computer related videos. I have discontinued making videos there, but still, I found this one really good tutorial there. Have fun sharing stuff.

        I am using Windows XP and Vista here, and sharing entire hard drives.

        <object width="1280" height="745"><param name="movie" value="http://www.youtube-nocookie.com/v/kua8Fr00G7g?fs=1&amp;hl=en_US"></param><param name="allowFullScreen" value="true"></param><param name="allowscriptaccess" value="always"></param><embed src="http://www.youtube-nocookie.com/v/kua8Fr00G7g?fs=1&amp;hl=en_US" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" allowscriptaccess="always" allowfullscreen="true" width="1280" height="745"></embed></object>

        Good luck. And do have a look at my archive.
        Subscribe too.

        Any problems? Any more things? Let me know in the comments.


        Be a Keyboard Ninja - Basic Shortcuts

        I'm starting a new series today, on keyboard shortcuts. I'll take you through all kinds of normally used programs and help you master the art of using-the-keyboard-for-just-about-everything. So, follow along, and have fun too. I'll start off with basic hotkeys.

        This series is written in a way that you'll want to read everything in order, so I'm interlinking all the posts in the series. But you can always visit the series again and see them in any order. You may bookmark these articles too, to keep as reference.

        You'll want to subscribe to this blog so that you don't miss out future articles in this series. And it's worth subscribing too. Check out the link and you'll know.

        Let's get started:

        Probably everyone knows this, but I have to cover these as formality:
        • Cut: Ctrl+X
        • Copy: Ctrl+C
        • Paste: Ctrl+V
        • Undo: Ctrl+Z
        • Redo: Ctrl+Y
        Inarguably, they are the most basic, and most probably, they are the highest used keyboard shortcuts. Let's move on to some other basic formatting shortcuts:
        • Bold: Ctrl+B
        • Underline: Ctrl+U
        • Italics: Ctrl+I
        As I write this article, I'm using some of these too. I already have one italic word here, and so many bold ones. Okay, let's move on to some basic Windows shortcuts that help you move around open windows and other things:
        • Start Menu: Windows Key (which will be written as WinK from now on)
        • Show Desktop: WinK+D
        • Minimize everything: WinK+M
        • Restore all minimized windows: Shift+WinK+M
        • Windows Explorer: WinK+E
        • Control Panel: WinK+C
        • Switch between open Windows: Alt+Tab 
        • Flip 3D (Switch between windows in 3D, only in Aero): WinK+Tab
        • Close window: Alt+F4, and sometimes even Ctrl+W
        • Delete selected file/folder: Delete key (which will be written as Del from now on)
        • Permanently delete selected file/folder (bypass Recycle Bin): Shift+Del
        • Run box: WinK+R
        • Lock computer: WinK+L (works in most cases, but see this for details)
        If you notice, most keyboard shortcuts can be reversed by adding Shift to the combo. Maybe not in the basic ones, but you'll see this later. It's pretty useful.

        Do subscribe to this blog so as to not miss my next post in this series.
        Also, see the article about the timesaving keyboard shortcuts for web browsers, which was written earlier and not as a part of this series.

        What about you? Which of these did you not know already? Let me knoe in the comments. Oh, and the comment system is really fun and easy to use too. You can log in using your social networking accounts, or your OpenID. You can post as a guest too.


          Thursday, November 18, 2010

          Use QoS on your network to give your programs the bandwidth they want

          I installed DD-WRT recently on my wireless router and supercharged my network. It was an effortless process, and I also learnt and showed you how to fix a bricked router. Now, after I have installed DD-WRT, I have started using QoS (Quality of Service) to prioritize the bandwidth that is given to all the programs that the people in the house run, so that a hogger like Skype does not push other programs out of the way.

          QoS is available on many more routers, and you don't need to have a third-party Linux based firmware like my DD-WRT to run this. If you have a Linksys router, you're most-probably in luck too. But I am writing this tutorial based off DD-WRT, and some features might be different.

          To change QoS settings, do the following:
          • Get to the QoS settings on your router via the browser based interface. 
          • It is different for different brands. On DD-WRT, there is a tab with QoS in its name.
          • In DD-WRT, there is a preset list of programs and protocols that you can set up QoS for.
          • For DD-WRT, you need to specify the uplink and downlink for your connection. if you don't know much, you can set it as a huge number. I did, and I didn't get any problems.
          • In the dropdown under Services Priority, you can look for different things you want to give more priority than others. Therefore, when they are running, others will slow down. Otherwise, you can set them up so that they are forced to use up less power of your connection while others are running.
          • After you add each service, you can set their priority. Here's a short explanation for each, straight from DD-WRT
          • Exempt - This class tries to keep the bandwith and packet flow untouched.
          • Premium - The top bandwidth class. By default handshaking and icmp packets fall into this class. This class should be used sparingly. Occasionally VoIP service may be placed in this class so that voice receives top priority.
          • Express - The Express class is for interactive applications that require bandwidth above standard services so that interactive apps run smoothly.
          • Standard - All services that are not specifically classed will fall under the standard class.
          • Bulk - The bulk class is only allocated bandwidth when the remaining classes are idle. Use this class for P2P services and downloading services like FTP.
           The examples in it are just suggestions and you can set them up to your preferences. As an example, here are my QoS services priorities:

          Click the image for a larger view (as always)
          As you can make out probably, setting http and flash to Premium will allow relatively faster web browsing, online videos and downloads when other programs are running. I set skypetoskype and http-itunes to Express so that they stand out over other background services, but still don't get in the way of my web browsing.

          If you set up everything perfectly, you should see that QoS starts to work for you. I found a nice speed up in web browsing, in fact. And it was superb when I compared it to what happens when a Skype call is running in the background.

          See also:
          How to fix a bricked router using a hard reset.


          Access a router's web based interface

          Most people set up and forget their routers. They think that as long as it is running normally and my Internet's working, I don't need to take care of it. But it is not so. Many times, you need to change settings on the router, like setting up a network password, upgrading the firmware or even tweaking the QoS. For this, you need to log onto the router's browser based settings page.

          Every router has a settings page inside it that can be accessed via a web browser. For this, you need to:
          • Start a web browser.
          • In the address bar, enter '' or '' or something similar. 
          • Mostly, it's one of these two. For some routers, like Buffalo ones it may be ''. You'll need to consult the documentation that came with your router, or look up online to find out what the default address is for your model.
          • You'll be prompted for a password. 
          • If you're using this for the first time, the password will be the default that comes with your router.
          • In most cases, you need to type in admin for both the username and the password. But sometimes, for example Linksys routers, the username is left blank and the password is admin.
          • To find out the default password for your router model you can check this comprehensive database.
          When you're in, you can tweak around all the settings you want. You'll want to change the password of your router so that no one else can log into it and mess around with the settings.

          Note that this password is not your network password. This is completely different and is the password used to access the settings interface of the router. The presence of this password doesn't mean that the network is secure. To prevent others from accessing your network and/or using your Internet connection, you should secure the network by setting up a password.


          Antimatter - Caught in the act!

          Those people at Conseil Européen pour la Recherche Nucléaire, better known and recognized as CERN, the inventors of th World Wide Web and the ones who own the largest particle accelerator, the Large Hadron Collider have finally used that huge machine they have under the ground to actually trap antikmatter after producing it.

          They produced 38 atoms of antihydrogen, which is the antimatter equivalent of hydrogen, and trapped it in what they call an 'ALPHA trap' for a whole... 172 milliseconds. It does sound very little, but this is the first time someone has even done that. It's a breakthrough. The antihydrogen consisted of a positron and an antiproton.

          An antimatter trap. Quite different from 'Angels and Demons'
          Antimatter is the opposite of matter. Maybe just another kind of matter, but just not matter. Precisely, it is something that has opposite properties of matter, and annhiliates matter on contact, with a little 'boom'. That's why it is very hard to actually hold it somewhere, living in this world dominated by normal matter. Antimatter just neutralizes matter and disappears. But now, they did it.

          For a long time, CERN has been researching antimatter for a really long time now. Investigating antimatter, how it forms, and its properties, we can learn about the formation of the matter in the universe.

          There was a remote chance of destroying a lot of stuff, as antimatter is really dangerous, with its capability of annhiliating matter. But, according to Alexander Fry of Ars Technica, the 38 atoms could not even power up your laptop for as long as it would take to read this article.


          Wednesday, November 17, 2010

          Type in Chinese or another language in Windows

          This article will walk you through the process of enabling typing in a different script in Windows. This post does not apply to a version of Windows before Vista, and there is no guarantee that it will work. I am teaching this to you using Windows Vista, and it is slightly different in Windows 7, I think. But you can still follow along.
          • Go to the Control Panel
          • Here, in the Category View, click Regional and Language Settings.
          • A dialog with lots of settings opens up. 
          • In here, go to the Keyboards and Languages tab. 
          • Now click the button Change Keyboards.
          • A list of keyboards will show up. Most probably, only English is enabled right now.
          • Click the button Add on the right.
          • A list of languages and sub-languages will show up. Navigate to the language you want and choose one of the keyboards. For example, for Chinese,
          • Check the box next to the keyboard language, and click add. 
          • Close the window, and you will see your language appear in the list of languages.
          •  I enabled the Chinese keyboard, and after I click OK and close everything, I got this in my Taskbar:
          •  Now, when I click Chinese, I get a toolbar on the Taskbar, where I can change settings for the input of the foreign language.
          • However, this may be different for different languages.
          You have enabled the foreign language you want, and you can now type anywhere using that language, after you enable it. I can even type Chinese into search engines. Thanks for reading. Be sure to follow my blog via RSS or social networks. And do look at the archive for my older posts. You'll like it.

           谢谢! 再来.


          Tuesday, November 16, 2010

          Don't expect these 5 things from the big iTunes' announcement

          Apple is taunting us with a really mysterious message on its website. When you go there, these lines beautifully fade into your screen:

          There are a lot of speculations on blogs online what this big 'announcement' could be. But here are a few things we should really NOT expect.
          • Wireless syncing: iPhone, iPod touch and iPad users have always craved effortless sync with their computers without the need of a cable, especially after this app got famous in the news (but it was rejected by Apple). But sure, Apple wants their devices to be used in the way they like it. They have already got so many stupid reasons not to bring out wireless sync. When your iPhone connector gets damaged, you pay them for a new one. Besides, won't wireless syncing use up a great part of the iDevices' (humongous) battery life?
          • Support for non-Apple devices: This one is pretty obvious. Apple products are happy being compatible with only their siblings. Moreover, Apple likes to force users to use only their products with their siblings, while demonstrating how compatible they are with other things. Here, reasons may include: iTunes is an awesome music player and store. There are surely people out there who have chosen iPhones and iPads instead of Android phones and tablets because the latter ones are not compatible with iTunes. So, support for non-iDevices is impossible.
          • A brand new version: iTunes 10 came out recently, with a redesigned logo, that too. There is no way Apple will release a shiny new version of this music player. But who can tell? They are really weird people. However, the announcement on the homepage is surely a big one. An iTunes 11 update is really trivial (and stupid).
          • Demise of Ping: Okay, maybe Ping will slowly die, having recieved such a bad rep from everyone. But this announcement on the Apple homepage is really huge. They surely cannot hang their head tomorrow in shame and apologize for this really wrongly done potential social network. If Ping has to go, it will slowly be removed, and the news to be made will be left for the Internet to create on its own. Hey, is there a chance of Facebook integration tomorrow? Nah, mostly not.
          • Music streaming: You say What? I've always waited for this! But, sorry. Cloud streaming is apparently confirmed to not be coming tomorrow, no matter how good that might be. 
          So, Apple has really planned something big for tomorrow. Something really innovative, and probably revolutionary. It will be nothing like anybody has ever thought of. Everybody, hold your breath and stay tuned to their website, tomorrow morning.

          UPDATE! Okay, it's just "The Beatles. Now on iTunes." Great. 


          Monday, November 15, 2010

          How to change the DNS server on your Nokia phone

          Recently, I told you about the concept of DNS, explained DNS prefetching and wrote up a Beginners' Guide to choosing a faster DNS server to speed up your web browsing. I really recommend you check out those articles. Now, here's a little tip. You can change the DNS server on your Nokia phones too, to speed up your Internet surfing.

          I am using my Nokia 5800 XpressMusic for this, which runs Symbian S60 version 5, and it may be slightly different for other phones. Also, I am doing this for just one access point here. You need to change it for every access point seperately.

          First, go to the settings. On my S60v5, I went to Connectivity. Here, I tapped Destinations. What you need to do for this step is to get to the list of different access points you use, for example your mobile Internet connection and maybe a Wi-Fi network at your home, school or work.

          Here, choose an access point. Edit it. Tap Options and then go to Advanced Settings.

          In the Advanced Settings screen, tap twice DNS addresses to change it to User defined. A small box will pop-up. Here, enter two DNS server IP addresses.

          Hit OK and close everything. Now again, you might want to change this for all the access points you have. I suggest you use the DNS server that was suggested by namebench in my old post, because it is optimized for your location. It'll work good for you, as you probably use your phone in place you live in (duh!).

          Good luck. And do check out my previous posts too, in the archive.


          Sunday, November 14, 2010

          Use WriteMonkey for distraction free writing

          I am writing this article using WriteMonkey. It's a free, little app for Windows that helps you write without any distractions. Usually, when you write something, all the formatting and other things distract you. You keep worrying about the color, size and setting of the text. But WriteMonkey leaves you alone.

          Here's a screenshot of me writing this post:

          You can change the colors too, if you like.

          You may argue that Notepad is the best, as it doesn't distract either and comes with Windows. But, WriteMonkey is different. As you see from the screenshot above, WriteMonkey, by default covers the entire screen with a simple, single color, and has just plain text. The desktop won't bother you either.

          But don't let the look deceive you. It is actually an almost fully featured text editor, somewhat like WordPad, that comes with Windows. The only difference is that the settings a very much hidden away. You can in fact change all the stuff you see on the screen.

          Just right-click anywhere on the screen and you'll see a long menu.

          You'll find, other than Preferences, options to save, change basic formatting stuff and even print out your text. For now, let's click Preferences and look into the various settings you can change in there.

          In the first tab, you can change some visual stuff. You can change the color of the background and the text. You can modify the font and do some other things. In the second tab, Screen Elements, you can control the things that appear on the screen. I find the progress bar pretty useful. After I enabled it, I see a word count at the top, and the name of the text that I am typing. All this is customizable, though.

          I won't explain other options in detail. You can check them out on your own. I'd like to say this though, that the last tab in Preferences, 'Misc' has a really interesting option you can enable. You can toggle on typing sounds. There are two schemes, Old Typewriter and Click Keyboard in this stable version that I'm using. And I love it!

          In the right-click menu, you can also click Progress to see how much you have written. It shows the word count, number of sentences, characters and if you have enabled it, even the time and work remaining. Pretty useful.

          There is also a spellcheck function you can access from the menu, or by pressing F7. Oh, and press F1 for a complete list of keyboard shortcuts and text markup rules. For more help, you can even check out the WriteMonkey website (linked to at the bottom) for more help.

          Download WriteMonkey from here . It's a zipped file, so you can extract it to any folder. Just click the 'WriteMonkey.exe' to start the app. You can even copy the program to a flash drive. Like any other portable program, you need to copy the entire extracted folder, though. I put it in the Program Files folder on the hard drive, and created a shortcut in my Start Menu, just like a desktop app do.

          Unfortunately, WriteMonkey is not (yet) available for Mac and Linux. But if you look online, there are supposedly a lot of alternatives available.

          Don't miss out my newer, fun posts. Please subscribe. You have your choice from these.


          Saturday, November 13, 2010

          Delete Ubuntu partition from a dual boot computer without Windows CDs

          Okay, so you have tried Ubuntu, and you want to delete it. But the annoying thing of uninstalling a Linux OS from a dual-boot configuration is that you mess up the Master Boot Record (MBR), and you can no longer boot Windows. You need the Windows CD/DVD to fix this.

          But what if you don't have the Windows disc? You can't do anything. You're wrong. I have a way to fix this.

          When you delete Linux, it also deletes GRUB, the bootloader that comes with it, because it is (usually) installed in the same partition. That causes Windows to become 'hidden' and your BIOS cannot boot from it anymore. The bootloader is gone too. But the way to fix it is that you fix the MBR so that your BIOS knows that Windows needs to boot from it. Thus, Ubuntu (or another Linux) is no longer accessible. Then you can delete the partition from your hard drive normally.

          Before carrying out this process, you need to make sure that you have backed up all important stuff from the Linux partition. This step comes just before the Linux partition is thrown away.
          • First, install EasyBCD and tell it to write the Windows bootloader to the MBR, as shown in this article.
          • Now, use another partition manager in Windows, like EASEUS Partition Magic to remove the Linux partition and merge it with your Windows partition.
          You should be able to remove Linux with no problems, and run Windows normally.


          How to fix a bricked router by hard resetting it

          All routers have reset buttons. That makes things so easy. You just press and hold it for about ten seconds, and the router is absolutely new, all default settings. But in some cases, like  when installing third party firmware, such as DD-WRT, you need to do a hard reset, usually multiple times.

          As people ususally think, pressing the reset button isn't a hard reset. A hard reset is also called a 30/30/30 reset, and that's for a reason.

          Performing a 30/30/30 reset is very simple. Though the results are generally the same as doing a normal 10 second press and hold, this is a 'harder' reset for the firmware, and not required always. To do it, follow these steps.
          • Have the router plugged for power (duh!).
          • Use a thin object to press the reset button, as you usually do.
          • Hold the button for 30 seconds.
          • While you hold the button, unplug the cable.
          • Do not release  the button. Hold it for 30 seconds with the power unplugged.
          • Plug the cord back in, while holding the button.
          • Hold the button for another 30 seconds with the power connected.
          So, if you read the bold letters above, you'll understand why it is called a 30/30/30 reset. Remember that the button is pressed continuously for 90 seconds in this procedure.

          Update: I now know that you can even, in most cases, fix a bricked router using this technique.


          Friday, November 12, 2010

          Beginners' Guide to choosing a DNS server for faster web browsing

          I have already written in the previous posts of this series about the concept of DNS and all about DNS prefetching. This article will explain how and why you must switch your DNS servers, which will probably result in effectively faster web browsing.

          Note: Though this involves customizing the what is set for you by your ISP, this is in NO WAY illegal... or even unethical. Also, everything perfectly safe and reversible. Remember that your download speed won't magically go up. It's only the time taken to lookup websites that will go down, thus giving a boost to your surfing speed. You'll understand this if you go back and read my previous articles.
          Photo by Stuck in Customs (Trey Ratcliff, Flickr)

          Oh yes, and before continuing, I strongly urge you to go back and check out the previous articles, as this post may contain things that you are not familiar with. This post is written as a continuation of the previous ones in the series.

          Why to switch?
          As I have explained previously, there is a lot of time that is potentially wasted when the DNS requests are made back and forth between the ISP, the DNS server(s) and your web browser. Your Internet Service Provider (ISP) assigns a default DNS server to you. In some cases, your provider may have their own DNS server. But you have no idea how these default servers are in terms of performance. Maybe they are really slow and waste more than a second of your page loading every time, without you even realizing.

          That's why, to leave behind the days of slow web browsing, you can always switch to a better DNS service. There are several available, including, but not limited to OpenDNS, DNS Advantage and Google Public DNS.

          How it works?
          When you change the setting to use a specific DNS server, either on your computer or your network (everything explained later), your browser is automatically instructed to use that server instead of the one your ISP has defined in their settings for you.

          You get a DNS address for any service, like xxx.xxx.xx.xx or something, where the 'x's are numbers, which you can plug into your settings. There may be two or more addresses for the same service, and you can put in both, as primary and secondary. Or you can even use addresses from two different servers.

          Because these servers probably have better performance, your website requests will be completed in lesser time, thus gaining you fractions of seconds.

          What are my options?
          There are a number of public DNS servers available for you, as I have mentioned before. I have not come across any that are not free. In fact it is hard to make them a paid service, as DNS addresses can be circulated freely, by anyone. Here are some of the most popular ones:

          Google Public DNS
          DNS Advantage

          What's the best one then? You ask? Well, there is no single answer. You expected it right? Why would I have such a long article then? The best public DNS server that you can use is all dependent on your geographical location.

          What do you do then? Well, either you can try out each one of them, and see which one suits you better, or use this benchmark software, called namebench (yes, it's spelt with a small 'n'). You can run the program for about ten minutes, without using your Internet connection, while it tests and benchmarks your connection. And then, it tells you what DNS server you should use and how much faster it is compared to your current one. The catch? Well, technically there's none. But it crashed on me. Try it out, though. It may work.

          How do I set it up?
          Here comes the big question. You have run the benchmark, or maybe you have got a recommendation from someone living in your area for a particular service. What do you do now? You have to set up your computer to use the specified DNS server, instead of getting one automatically (from your ISP). Or, if you have a home or corporate network, with lots of people using it, you don't really want to set up every machine in there, do you? You can tell your router to use a specified DNS service.

          You need to do this at just one level. For example, you don't need to set up your computer if you are setting up your router.

          Set-up for a computer running Windows Vista or higher:
          • Go to the Control Panel.
          • Under Network and Internet, click View network status and tasks. 
          • Here, choose your network, and click View status for it.
          • In the dialog that appears, click Properties. Click Continue if prompted.
          • Select Internet Protocol Version 4 (TCP/IPv4) and click the Properties button here.
          • At the bottom, choose the radio box Use the following DNS server address.
          • Put in the address(es) for the service you have chosen.
          This may be slightly different for Windows 7, but all you need to do is to get to the Properties for the network you are using.
            Set-up for a computer running an older version of Windows:
            • Go to the Control Panel. 
            • In Category View, click Network and Internet Settings.
            • Go to Network Settings.
            • On the General tab (for a LAN), or the Networking tab (for all other connections), click Internet Protocol (TCP/IP), and then click Properties.
            • Here, you'll get the same settings as you get for a higher version of Windows. Follow the last two steps of the above walkthrough.
            Set-up for Macintosh:

            Follow the instructions here.

            Set-up for Linux:

            Ubuntu users, see this.
            SUSE Linux users, go here.

            BONUS! Set-up for a Nokia (or probably any other Symbian) phone:

            See my new article.

            Set-up for router:

            All routers are different. You may have to look up online or refer to the documentation of your router to check how you can change your DNS address. I'm sure there is tons of info available on that on the web.

            Because Linksys is so popular, and I happen to be a Linksys user, I'll walk you through changing the setting on a Linksys router.

            • After you are in the browser based configuration screen (type in, or whatever IP you have set, in the address bar and type in your password), scroll down to the bottom of the Basic Setup screen.
            • You'll see the boxes for Static DNS 1, 2 and 3.
            • Plug in your numbers, and don't worry about the WINS thing.
            • Once you hit Save Settings, you're done.
            So, that's all about choosing the perfect DNS server. And remember, there is no best service. Some of the companies claim to have servers all over the globe and you are directed to the nearest one to save time. So, choose wisely. It doesn't cost anything.

            For myself, I go with DNS Advantage, and I live in south Asia. But I have not tried out all of them too, and maybe I will very soon.


            Thursday, November 11, 2010

            Firefox 4 beta 7 is really different

            I just updated to the seventh beta of the upcoming Mozilla Firefox 4. It threw me off my feet. Mozilla talks about all the performance improvements on its official blog. They do sound like all companies do when releasing their latest updates (the speedier performance, accelerated graphics...), but for the first time, they are very much true about this update. And that's know joke.

            Here's my take:

            Credit: Mozilla

            You are greeted with the 'fasten your seatbelts' notice for a reason. Firefox 4 is almost complete, and this beta is a near-complete version of this browser. What I noticed is that this browser is really noticeably fast. Pages actually load up faster than before and graphics lag no more for me. The scrolling is smooth. I had choppy scrolling because of my low-end graphics card. Now it's all fixed.

            From Mozilla:
            This release boosts performance in some important ways: it adds the JägerMonkey just-in-time (JIT) JavaScript compiler; adds more support for hardware-accelerated graphics, as well as hardware acceleration for Windows XP and Mac OS X; and enables 3D capabilities, without the need for plug-ins, with WebGL.
            Really, this browser is really fast (I keep on repeating). It's Chrome-fast. I really feel I have got a better Internet connection.


            Quite surprisingly, Firefox 4 beta 7 has a revamped look. It has a different feel altogether. I wasn't expecting this. And this was what threw me off my feet.
            Link preview has changed.

            The interface now looks sleeker and smoother. It has glowing, fading animations all over. Moreover, the color of all the toolbars has changed. From the bland whitish, it has become a slight tint of blue. It looks freshly painted. 

            Unlike the standard in all browsers, links and bookmarks moused over appear in the Location Bar, as seen in the photo there. That too, fades in and out, making it beautiful, and even forcing you to go over links again and again, one after the other.

            The beautiful new green rings
            Another great thing is that this new version has replaced the ugly page loading 'progress circles' on tabs with elegant looking green rings. Well, they don't show the progress in anyway, though. But I have no complaints here. I didn't even notice that they do not show the progress. See? That wasn't even needed.

            The add-ons page has changed a little. Now there are 'Remove' buttons instead of the little crosses. I like this because it used to make me think: Why can't I uninstall this extension? The crosses were not visible properly.

            Panorama is one more noticeable thing. Formerly known as Tab Candy, this is one feature I have found really useful in organizing tabs. The page is now different compared to before, with a color revamp, and a new search feature, it's better than ever. When you click the search button, the screen becomes dark, and when you search for open tabs, the relevant ones light up. Also, after you close a tab group, it offers to undo it for you, which is very useful too.

            Note: The Panorama keyboard shortcut has changed from Ctrl+Space to Ctrl+E.

            There are many more minor changes, like the new refresh/stop button, which look like these mockups. Looks like all the browsers are slowly dirfting to the refresh buttons hidden in a longer address bar. You need to get used to it, though.

            When Firefox doesn't have focus, the orange Firefox button changes to the color of the title bar, blending in. First I thought it's a bug, but then I understood that it's the way it's meant to be.


            Overal, I'm really happy with this new version of Firefox. I will be eagerly waiting for the final release, which is apparently coming next year. With the beta 7 already out, that could possibly change. And obviously, that will be a lot faster than this. How better can it get now?

            Further reading:
            Opera Mobile vs. Opera Mini, performance test
            What is DNS and why is it so important?
            How to set up multiple Twitter accounts with just one email