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Uncategorized

Still On Gmail’s 2-Step Verification In Nigeria

2-Step VerificationI still do not know why Gmail’s 2-Step Verification is not supported in Nigeria. I published a work around to this in an article last year (see the link here) but it was very short-lived. I would want to believe that it was a mere coincidence but a few weeks after the publication, Google disabled the workaround.

As it is, nothing short of getting a mobile SIM card from one of the supported countries will do.

In this era of SIM card roaming, it is quite possible to use a foreign SIM card in Nigeria. Many of these networks have mutual roaming agreements. However, the key point here is to ensure that you meet the minimum requirement of maintaining such SIM cards to prevent them from running out of their validity period.

I have a Pay-As-You-Go SIM card from T-Mobile (USA). The minimum requirement to keep this line is a $3 monthly fee which lets me keep the number from month to month. With this network’s roaming agreement with Etisalat Nigeria, you can receive text messages for free but pay a token (i think 15 cents) to send messages.

This is a perfect arrangement to receive Gmail’s 2-Step Verification codes on your phone.

Modalities for getting these foreign SIMs vary from country to country. Let us chat about this. You may leave your comments below.

Categories
Mobile Technology

Amazon Android App Store.. Ummh, Loving It!

Amazon Android App Store is an alternative app store to the ever popular Google app store. Perhaps lacking in as many apps as the Google app store, it however boasts of over 240,000 apps and still counting.

Since its launch in 2011, the Amazon Appstore has included a “free app a day” feature. Every day, an application, frequently a game, is offered for free.

Aside from the daily free apps that Amazon has been dishing out to patrons of its app store, effective Thursday 31st July and August 1st 2014, Amazon is giving out about 30 apps valued at over $100 – for free.

Notable among these apps are Instapaper, Calendar, and Essential Anatomy 3. See the full list after the cut.

Had a field day downloading even apps I know I will never use. Typical Nigerian!

Note that you will need a debit / credit card issued in the US to access the Amazon app store.

Health & Fitness, Games and Photography apps

  • Carcassonne ($4.99)
  • Sonic & SEGA All Star Racing ($1.99)
  • Daily Workouts ($3.99)
  • White Noise ($1.99)
  • Essential Anatomy 3 ($24.99)
  • Photo Editor+ ($0.99)
  • Food Diary and Calorie Tracker PRO ($3.99)

Utility Apps

  • Convertor Pro ($0.99)
  • My Alarm clock ($1.99)
  • Instapaper ($2.99)
  • WiFi File Explorer PRO ($0.99)
  • MathsApp Graphing Calculator ($4.99)
  • Fraction Calculator Plus ($0.99)

Finance, Music, Productivity, Entertainment and Travel apps

  • Bills Reminder ($3.99)
  • CalenGoo ($5.99)
  • Weather Live ($2.99)
  • Ultimate Guitar Tabs and Tools ($7.99)
  • Docs to go premium ($9.99)
  • Oxford Advanced Learners Dictionary,8th edition($29.99)
  • Flightradar24 Pro ($2.99)
  • List Master Pro ($1.99)
  • PDF Max – The PDF Expert for Android ($7.99)
  • All recipes Dinner Spinner Pro ($2,99)
  • Home Budget Manager ($2.99)
  • Keep Track Pro ($1.99)
  • Drawing Pad ($1.99)
  • Little Piano Pro ($5.99)
  • KAYAK Pro ($0.99)
  • Language Coach ($9.99)

Amazon-free-apps

Categories
Technology

The IT Jobs Employers Can’t Fill — And You Should Go After

If you look at data from across the Web, most companies are looking for IT pros with specific experience — the more the better, but with everyone chasing the same talent, some areas of IT are downright difficult to fill.

Recently, TEKsystems conducted a survey of 244 CIOs, CTOs, and other senior IT professionals. These IT decision-makers spanned industries that include technology, financial services, healthcare, manufacturing, government, and professional services representing business large and small.

Respondents marked big data, security, mobility, and cloud computing as the trends having the largest impacts on their organization. The technology/roles outlined here, according to the survey, are the toughest areas in which to find tech talent.

1. Programming and application development

Awesome developers are rock stars and are difficult to find and even harder to keep. This statement is backed up by the fact that programming and application development was also in the number 1 position in TEKsystems survey last year.

.Net and Java remain at the top of the developer heap, according to TEKsystems, and as more companies move into the digital age and get on the mobile bandwagon, demand for the people with these skills will likely continue to grow.

2. Security

Security continues to be an issue as corporations deal with the shift from perimeter security to more data-centric and identity security. Companies are suffering breaches at an alarming rate, putting every Web user’s data at risk. The list of victims goes on: Target, Neiman Marcus and, most recently, Michaels, a popular craft store chain. The Heartbleed exploit is another recent example highlighting the need for an evolving approach to security.

In a report entitled, 2013 Cost of Cybercrime Study, the Ponemon Institute reported that cyber crime and security breaches are costing organizations $11.6 million a year, a 20-percent increase over the 2012 numbers. Organizations need security cyber warriors to do battle outside the castle as well as within.

3. Business intelligence/ Big Data

Big data has become a buzzword, but the fact remains that organizations are collecting enormous amounts of data from disparate sources, and they need IT professionals to parse through it all, define what’s worth tracking, and then create actionable solutions. This could be working to shave minutes off of helpdesk call times, parsing through website stats to create a sales funnel, or a project similar to Google trying to crawl the entire digital (and sometimes analog) world. BI and big data skills ranked third on our list of most difficult to fill IT roles. Over the recent years, skills in this area of IT have often made their appearance on both the certified and non-certified tech skills.

4. Business Analysts

IT business analysts work within the IT organization to align the company’s business goals and objectives with technological capabilities. This role has emerged as a core position, whether directly in IT or embedded elsewhere in the business. With complexity growing and technology constantly changing, the agility and adaptability of the business rely on the IT business analyst.

Individuals with a technology background and a solid understanding of the business are in high demand, ranking number 4 on our list of most-difficult-to-fill IT roles.

5. IT Architects

With systems spanning the globe and ever-growing infrastructure complexity, organizations need architects for all facets of IT — systems, data, or governance architects. The roles these experts play in the organization are as fluid and rapidly changing as technology itself.

According to TEKsystems’ data, 47 percent of companies expect to increase their IT headcount this year, and many will be looking for individuals with skills in this area. IT Architects of varying disciplines rank fifth among respondents as the most difficult roles to fill, but one thing is certain: As complexity grows, so will the need for IT pros to architect the future.

 

6. Cloud Computing Roles

Cloud skills moved up two spots from last year’s list, coming in at number 6. Cloud computing is widely accepted, even in some highly regulated industries like healthcare, and at least some aspect of the cloud is being used to better serve organization’s infrastructure needs. We’ve already seen some roles morph (e.g. systems administrator and network administrator), but as more organizations take advantage of cloud offerings, people with skills from around the tech spectrum will be needed for cloud architect and cloud developer roles.

7. Help Desk / Technical Support

Customer service, both within and outside the organization, plays a crucial role in an organization’s success, and helpdesk and technical support personnel are on the front line. Whether they’re working with internal employees on maintenance issues, like resetting passwords, rolling out new tools, hardware and software, or dealing with customers directly to maintain and service your product, they are often the voice of you company. Finding good employees within this area remains flat year over year, ranking at number 7 on TEKsystems’ list.

8. Software Engineers

As the name implies, these IT pros deal with the engineering side of software design, development, and maintenance. Competition for people with these skills has grown so much that software engineers have moved up six slots on our countdown.

Just as with all the flavors of IT architects, as complexity grows, so will demand for people with the skills to put it all together and make it work.

9. Project Managers

Any organization trying to grow likely has several internal and external IT initiatives going on at any given moment. Someone needs to organize, manage, and maintain deadlines, milestones, and development resources. As more companies push the digital boundaries, heavy competition for workers in this field is expected to continue.

 

Source

Categories
Gadgets

10 Android Apps Every Geek Must Have!

Andie Graph

TI-86A throw back from my undergraduate days. The TI-86 programmable calculator sure came in handy. Even had a swell time programming in Texas Instruments’ version of Quick Basic. Was pleasantly surprised when I stumbled on this app on Google Play.

It gave me back my TI-86, right there on my phones. Goes a step further by including other TI programmable calculators; TI-82, TI-83, TI-83+ and TI-85.

This is an emulator, you will still need to get their ROMS. Where to get the ROMs? Google is your friend. “Seek and you shall find”

Read more about these unbeatable range of calculators;

The TI-8X series of calculators work great as standalone calculators, showing 8 lines of history, using standard mathematical notation. Each model was designed with more specific purposes in mind:

  • The TI-82 is designed for algebra and trigonometry. Graph and compare functions, perform variable substitution, and solve single variable equations.
  • The TI-83 is designed for statistics and trigonometry. Graph and compare functions, and perform data plotting and analysis.
  • The TI-85 is great for engineering and computer science. Graph and compare functions, perform bit manipulation and convert between numeric bases.
  • The TI-86 is great for engineering and calculus. Graph and compare functions, perform bit manipulation and convert between numeric bases. Solve differential equations, plot vector fields.
  • All models allow you to write programs in TI-BASIC and perform basic scientific calculator operations.

 

Agenda Widget for Android

Keep track of your To-do list, right from the desktop of your phone. Highly customizable homescreen widget which allows you to show calendars and tasks from various other Android applications. It comes with various preset themes and has 3 display modes (inline, icon and date row).

However, I strongly suggest you go for the plus version of this app for even more features. https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.roflharrison.agenda.plus

agenda

Android Firewall

Prevent your installed apps from sapping your data plan in the background. This will probably come very handy for you cheap skates with pirated apps on your phones. It will prevent the apps from “ringing home”.

Note that you need to have your device rooted to use this app.

firewall

 

Backup message & call to Email

Backup and/or Synchronize the call log, MMS and SMS on ALL your phones using your Gmail accounts.

 gmail

Expense Manager

expenseKeep tab on every penny, cent or kobo you earn or spend. Have a good overview of your piggy bank before you shell out your hard earn cash on that new gadget!

Expense manager is great application for managing your expenses and incomes:

  • Tracking expenses and incomes by week, month and year as well as by categories
  • Multiple accounts in multiple currencies
  • Schedule the payments and recurring payments
  • Budget by day, week, month and year
  • Import and export account activities in CSV for desktop software
  • Dropbox and SD Card backup

And a whole lot more…

 

My Tracks

my tracksYou are a geek not a Christopher Columbus! Though I was very good in Geography in high school, I soon realized that it didn’t help much when it came to finding my way around Lagos (Nigeria) network of roads and its very mad traffic.

My Tracks records your path, speed, distance, and elevation while you walk, run, bike, or do anything else outdoors. While recording, you can view your data live, annotate your path, and hear periodic voice announcements of your progress.

With My Tracks, you can store your tracks with Google Drive, Google Maps, Google Fusion Tables, or Google Spreadsheets, or export your tracks to external storage. With Google Drive, you can also sync your tracks, share tracks with friends, and see the tracks your friends have shared with you. With Google Maps, you can share the map url with friends via Google+, Facebook, Twitter, etc. With export to external storage, you can select GPX, KML, CSV, or TCX format.

My Tracks uses the GPS sensor in your device to record geographic and velocity statistics, but the app also syncs with third-party biometric sensors, including:

  • Zephyr HxM Bluetooth heart rate monitor
  • Polar WearLink Bluetooth heart rate monitor
  • ANT+ heart rate and speed distance monitors (these require an ANT+ compatible phone)

 

Tasker

How can I describe this app? Okay, let’s put it this way. If you were given a choice of a single app on your phone, by all means, this should be your choice.

Tasker gives you the tools you need to turn your smartphone into a fully-automated superphone. It gives you the tools to automate nearly any task on your Android phone based on certain triggers, resulting in some really powerful options.  It even lets you export your customizations and share with your friends as standalone apps. (WOW FACTOR!!!!)

It is not a free app, however, there is an offer of a 14-day trial at the developer’s website.

Alternatives to this app abound, but this in my opinion is the best in its category.

tasker

Diary of a Geek

This is the official android app for this blog. Keep tab on the latest tips, trends, lifestyle and technology news right from your mobile phone. Articles, tweets and Facebook posts are pushed to you in real time.

doag

Fing – Network Tools

Sniff out the leaches on your WiFi network. Identify every single device on your network. Keep track of the addresses allocated to devices on your LAN network .

fing

Titanium Backup

Titanium Backup is a backup utility for Android that backs up your system and user applications along with their data on external storage of your choice. It is a leading Android application that uses root access to pull all your important applications and data from the system partition and stores them for future restoration. Whether your phone is corrupted or flashed with a custom ROM, Titanium Backup can save the hassle to get your phone loaded up just like it was before. Best of all, it is FREE! If you use it regularly, the PRO version will enhance the experience like never before! Get it today and protect your precious data before its too late!.

This app is especially recommenced to the custom ROM prostitutes who are continually jumping from one ROM to the other.

Categories
Technology

Migrating From Yahoo! Email To Gmail (Revisited)

For many and for a very long time too, Yahoo provided the only email services they ever knew. To them, the term “email” was synonymous with “Yahoo”. The company strutted the internet cyberspace like a colossus. Yes, business was extremely good.

Things, however, took an unpleasant turn for this email giant sometime in 2004 when Google came on board with its email services, offering for free services that Yahoo had placed a premium on. Within a short period, active email subscribers dwindled. 9 years later, Yahoo is yet to hit that sweet spot again.

yahoo diaryofageekI opened my Yahoo email account sometime in 1999 or thereabout. I would not say i was ever faithful to Yahoo because i flirted extensively with services from the defunct Virginstudent :), Fastmail, Excite, and a few others. Yahoo was my main email account though.

Many people moved to the new Gmail email services but were forced to leave their mails behind on Yahoo servers because the company was asking for at least $19.99 to give you POP or IMAP access to migrate your mails to Google servers. Not many could afford this and so were forced to stick with Yahoo.

Fortunately, you need not shell out $19.99 to have your mails migrated from your Yahoo mailbox. The key requirement is getting the right IMAP and SMTP server settings.

Follow the steps below to migrate your Yahoo! emails to Gmail – for free;

  • Click the Settings gear in your Gmail.
  • Select Settings from the menu that comes up.
  • Go to the Accounts tab.
  • Click Add a POP3 mail account you own under Check email from other accounts (using POP3):
  • Type your Yahoo! Mail address under Add a mail account you own
  • Click Next Step
  • On the next screen, Enter your Yahoo! Mail username and password
  • Under Pop Server, enter plus.pop.mail.yahoo.com ***very important***
  • Under Port, enter 995
  • Select other options as desired.
  • Optionally, check Label incoming messages:. This label lets you easily spot all imported mail in one place. You can always remove the label from individual messages later or delete it altogether.
  • Click Save Changes

While this method worked very well for me (and still does), there have been several feedback from people who have not been as lucky. The only explanation for this that i can think of is maybe Yahoo forgot to deactivate this service from my account after my subscription to the Yahoo! Mail Plus services expired about 10 years ago.

Alternatives abound though.

Yippiemove is about the most popular email migration service out there. It is not free but comes with the added functionality of being able to move mails between 100+ email services. The service automatically transfers all of your old emails—attachments and all—to a new account, even maintaining whatever labelling you have in place. However, the snag to this option is that you still have to part with some money – US$14.95

Yes, i know, nothing beats free services but be rest assured that the search continues.

Categories
Gadgets

Moving Beyond Megapixels : More Is Not Always Better!

New advancements are ensuring that it’s only a matter of time until your smartphone’s camera is just as good as a point-and-shoot.

Smartphone cameras have come a long way—moving from convenient methods for sharing mediocre snapshots to near pro-quality image-capture tools in the right hands. Although the old benchmark of resolution seems to have topped out, innovation is still accelerating in many other areas of mobile camera technology.

“Packing more, but smaller, pixels into the same size sensor increases noise.”

BIGGER, BETTER PIXELS

After years of racing toward higher megapixel counts, camera vendors have finally realized that more is not always better. Packing more, but smaller, pixels into the same size sensor increases noise because smaller pixels capture fewer photons in a given time period. Tiny pixels also run closer to the diffraction limits of optics—particularly the inexpensive kind found in phones—so the added resolution gain isn’t really all it’s cracked up to be. In some high-resolution cameras, a 50 percent increase in pixel resolution only equates to an effective resolution boost of around 10 percent.

HTC has led the way in the retro effort to go back to fewer, larger pixels. Its 4MP UltraPixel cameras feature sensor sites that have three times the surface area of 13MP competitive cameras. In a somewhat odd move, Nokia has also swerved from offering the über-resolution 41MP Nokia 808 PureView to trumpeting the “good enough” 8.7MP resolution of its new flagship, the Lumia 920—which has amazing low-light performance thanks to a combination of high fill factor courtesy of its back-illuminated sensor, better optical image stabilization, a Zeiss “low-light optimized” f/2 lens, and lots of fancy noise reduction and image processing that’s done immediately after the capture.

Pelican-Imaging-promotional-photo-640x353

FASTER, LESS-EXPENSIVE FOCUSING

Autofocus has been a major source of irritation for both smartphone and point-and-shoot camera users—and because it’s never fast enough to capture quickly moving action, it has helped keep D-SLR makers in business. Smartphone makers are moving to change that.

DigitalOptics Corporation (DOC) has created an autofocus system based on microelectromechanical (MEMS) technology that uses an electrostatic charge to move the focus. This lets camera modules (and thus smartphones) be slimmer, and DOC also claims its system reduces lens tilt during autofocus, which in turn reduces image distortions including vignetting. DOC is planning to sell a 5.1mm tall, 8MP camera module with this technology to Chinese smartphone makers, but it’s on the expensive side ($25 per module).

Startup LensVector, meanwhile, is hoping to address the lack of autofocus in lower-end smartphone with a low-cost element that realigns liquid crystal to change the refractive index of different areas of the lens and thus effectively change the focus.

“The relatively small photo sites in camera phone sensors restrict their dynamic range.”

HDR: POST-PROCESS YOUR IMAGES BEFORE YOU TAKE THEM

The relatively small photo sites in camera phone sensors restrict their dynamic range. As a result, photos that are backlit or combine sun and shade can either lack detail or look completely burned out. High-dynamic range (HDR) photography combines two or more images with different exposures to try to take the “best of both” images and create a single image that more accurately reflects how the original scene looked.

For many years, HDR could only be done after the fact, with processing software on a computer. But Apple’s introduction of in-phone HDR with the iPhone 4S changed all that, and has ushered in a number of new phones with integrated intelligent image processing that make HDR still image and full-time entire new class of mobile device camera capabilities.

HDR video possible. This feature has until now needed to be custom-coded by the phone vendor and rely on the image signal processor (ISP) chip to do the work. But Nvidia is smashing through that limit with its new Chimera architecture, which will be available starting with its upcoming Tegra 4 family of processors.

By unleashing the horsepower of the GPU during image capture, features formerly only found on high-end cameras will become available on smartphones. Real-time object tracking and panoramas, and best shot selection, will quickly become reality.

Other vendors are putting together systems with many of these capabilities, but what makes Chimera unique is its open interface. This lets other companies write plug-ins that access to the low-level data straight off the sensor, and use the computing power of the ISP, GPU, and CPU. Although it remains to be seen whether Google and Microsoft let these programming interfaces shine through in stock Android or Windows RT, there will certainly be an opening for custom camera applications integrated with homebrew ROM versions. Chimera is open enough to support this type of advanced functionality.

WHAT WILL THE ULTIMATE SMARTPHONE CAMERA LOOK LIKE?

Putting together all these innovations will take a few years, but is inevitable. Combining a Lytro-like light field sensor with a high-powered architecture like Chimera will make amazing photo effects and post-processing possible in real time, in the phone. MIT’s Camera Culture team, along with startups Pelican, Heptagon, and Rebellion are all working on the light field sensor component—as it is expected are Apple and HTC. Pelican in particular made waves recently with its low-key demo of after-the-fact refocusing at this year’s Mobile World Congress—done in conjunction with Qualcomm’s new Snapdragon 800 processor. After four years, Pelican finally appears ready to start announcing some products—stressing how thin its light field–based sensors are, and how they can make possible depth-related processing after the fact.

Google doesn’t want to be left out. Hiring computational photography guru Marc Levoy to work on its mobile photography architecture is just one indication of how serious it is. To quote Google’s senior vice president Vic Gundotra, “We are committed to making Nexus phones insanely great cameras. Just you wait and see.”

Sensor architecture will also continue to advance, with stacked sensors enabling greater on-chip innovation. Expect zero-lag global shutters (which read out the entire frame at once, eliminating motion artifacts) to become commonplace. Real zooms will soon start to be available. Add-on lenses will also increase in functionality, providing true wide-angle and telephoto capabilities. Rumors for the Nexus 5 even include the possibility of a camera module co-branded with Nikon. The only question will be whether anyone will still need a point-and-shoot once these innovations come to smartphones.

 

 

Source

Categories
Gadgets Mobile

Android’s Killer Feature

It is no secret that Android has lots of good stuff going for it, but one of the platform’s most useful and distinguishing features is one you rarely hear discussed.

I’m talking about Android’s system-wide sharing capability — a process built into the operating system that many people take for granted. Android’s sharing function may not sound exciting, but don’t be fooled: It’s one of the most powerful and valuable components the OS has to offer.

Android’s sharing capability, known to developers as a form of “intent,” is about more than merely sharing in the social-oriented sense of the word. It’s a way for you to quickly and easily pass data between applications — anything from a Web page to a chunk of text or even an image.

The most important part about Android’s sharing system? Any application can take advantage of it; all a developer has to do is declare his program capable of receiving data, and boom: It’ll show up throughout the OS as a place to which data can be shared. That’s a sharp contrast to the setup on certain other (ahem) more restrictive mobile platforms, and the resulting difference in usability is enormous.

But enough geek-speak; let’s take a look at what this actually means in real-world terms. Here are a few ways you can make Android’s system-wide sharing work for you:

Android Sharing Menu• Tap and hold your finger on any text — in an email, on a Web page, or within most any application — and highlight a few sentences. Then tap the share icon (it looks like three dots connected together in the shape of a less-than-sign (“<“)) and you’ll see a list of apps to which the text can be sent.

With one more tap, you can beam the text directly into an app like Gmail, Google Drive, Dropbox, Google Voice, the stock text messaging tool, or practically any social application. There, you’ll be able to edit it, save it, and post/send it as applicable.

You can even share the text to Google itself to initiate a fast Web search — a great way to cross-reference information or get a definition on the fly.

• Tap the “Share” command in your phone’s Web browser. That’ll let you send the current page’s URL directly to any share-ready application — in order to share it with a colleague via email, for example, share it onto your favorite social service, or save it to a read-it-later tool like Pocket or a note-taking tool like Evernote. Everything’s interconnected — no extra steps or awkward app-toggling required.Android Photo Sharing

• Tap the share icon while viewing any image in your device’s Gallery. You can then send the image directly to a photo editing utility like Pixlr or Snapseed, where it’ll instantly pop up, ready to be fine-tuned. You can send it to a cloud storage service like Picasa, Dropbox, or Drive, where it’ll be saved to any remote folder you want. You can send it to pretty much any social app — a Facebook or Twitter client of your choice, Google+, or whatever floats your boat — and post it to your account right from there. Or you can send the image to Gmail or any text messaging app to attach it to an outgoing message.

• Tap the share icon next to a file in any file management application — whether a local file manager for your phone’s storage or a cloud file app like Dropbox or Drive — and you can send that file directly to any other storage service, be it cloud-based or local. You can send the file over to an app like Gmail as a new message attachment, too, or to any other share-ready service that makes sense in the context.

The possibilities are practically endless, but you get the idea. Once you get used to using Android’s system-wide share function, you’ll wonder how people — particularly those who use other (ahem) less accommodating mobile platforms — live without it and deal with data in such unintuitive ways. It’s a little thing, but man, it makes a big difference.

Computerworld

Categories
Gadgets Mobile

Google To Converge Android OS And Chrome OS By 2013?

The China Commercial Times reports that Google has placed hardware orders with Taiwanese manufacturers Compal Electronics and Wintek to produce a Chromebook with a 12.85-inch touch display. Could this be the start of Google merging Android and Chrome OS?

Chromebooks are lightweight laptop and desktop devices that use the Chrome Web browser for their primary interface, with Linux on the back end. There’s really no reason why they couldn’t use Android to support the Chrome interface. Indeed, Chrome is now the default Web browser for Android 4.x and higher.

While Chromebooks don’t get as many headlines as Microsoft Surface and Apple iPads, the devices are quite popular. For example, Samsung’s ARM-powered Chromebook  is Amazon’s top-selling laptop computer, as of November 27th. At the same time, Android now owns 72% of the entire mobile devices market–not just smartphones.

What would you get if you put these Android and Chrome OS together in a touch-enabled laptop? You might well get Windows’ true desktop successor.

Think about it. Chromebook and Android smartphones and tablets are taking off. Microsoft’s Surface marriage of the tablet and desktop is on the rocks. Pure PC sales, of course, continue to decline.

Microsoft’s reaction to its falling market share–and certainly its faltering market dominance–has been to try to follow Apple’s path in creating a closed hardware/software ecosystem with Windows 8 and RT. Apple, with its charisma and dedicated fan base (and I do mean that in a nice way), has managed to get away with it. Microsoft, not so much. Google is offering a much more open path for both developers and users, on both Android and Chrome, that’s clearly gaining in popularity. Wouldn’t a combination Chrome/Android Linux desktop prove a winner?

This isn’t a difficult hurdle. Android, with version 4.2, supports multiple users. Previously, this was always a weak point for business desktops. The actual merger of Android and Chrome wouldn’t technically be difficult to do. Both are Linux-based system that use Webkit for Web browsing.

Leaving aside the technical aspects, Google co-founder Sergey Brin said as far back as November 2009 that, “Android and Chrome will likely converge over time.” That time may well be sometime in 2013.

Source : ZDNET

 

Categories
Mobile

Firefox OS: Another Lab Experiment?

There are now a good number of mobile OS out there, with many still considered as not more than lab experiments. The likes of Jolla and Tizen fits this description perfectly.

Jolla, in particular, has a tall order of competing with Research In Motion’s upcoming BlackBerry 10 OS, as well as the latest version of Windows Phone for the lucrative title of third most popular mobile platform globally, behind Apple and Google’s operating systems. How that pans out, time will tell.

The ambitions of some of these mobile OS can be considered humorous at best. Not to be considered a “kill joy”, why not let us , em, humour them.

The new kid on the block is the Firefox OS, still in its alpha release. My initial hands on with this OS left an Android taste in my mouth. Simply put, the experience was too familiar.

Why take my word for it? Firefox has been nice enough to allow a simulation of its new OS using a firefox browser. Follow the steps below to grab it:

  • In your Firefox browser, go to this link and click the download link for your OS. This will install the r2d2b2g Firefox OS simulator extension.
  • Click on the link for your OS and allow Firefox to install the software in your browser
  • After installing, the Firefox OS simulator dashboard pops up immediately. No need to restart your browser.
  • Enable the simulator by clicking the “stopped” button on the top left side of the browser. The button turns green and is labelled “running”
  • The Firefox OS simulator pops up immediately.
  • Enjoy!

Categories
Articles

“Seek (Well), And You Shall Find …”

Getting information from the World Wide Web can be likened to the proverbial “searching for needles in a haystack”.

However, when you fail to find the information you need on the internet, it is usually one of two things:

  • either the search engine or search parameters used are defective.
  • the much unlikely instance that the information you seek is not known to mankind.

This why getting a good grip of how to use search engines like Clusty, Bing, Google, DevilFinder, e.t.c, used to be so important.

But, beyond learning to type in cryptic command to properly drill down and get to what you seek, there are services and applications designed specifically to make searching for information as easy as just typing the text of what you desire.

I am a mobile app Junkie. Reading eBooks is my onion. You can then easily guess that I would make use of search engines a lot.

How many times have you had to type arcane commands like these into Google?:

“File Expert” filetype:apk

This searches for all webpages containing the Android app (with extension “.apk”) named “file Expert”

..or..

“sidney sheldon” filetype:epub

which lists downloadable “epub” documents of the renowned writer, Sidney Sheldon

The problem with this approach is that there are many ebook formats (e.g .txt, .pdf, .epub, .djvu and so on). If you were looking for a specific ebook, there may be the need to repeatedly search for different file formats.

In the Android App example above, the particular app may not exist in the ‘apk’ format. Perhaps it has been compressed into a “.rar” or “.zip” format, in which case your search will not yield any results.

Getting to your information faster

A good method is to use any of the many apps or services that allow the specification of a search item, and then crawls the web, looking for different instances of your search parameter. These services or apps, however, differ markedly in terms of the comprehensiveness and variety of the hosted documents.

There is, of course, the popular Youtube which gives you access to numerous videos for direct viewing and downloading.

Two other well known services that I use are:

4shared

Millions of people share files (audios, videos, apps, ebooks, e.t.c) on 4Shared daily. You could download the 4shared app unto your mobile device (this exists for all the major Operating Systems – Android, iOS and BlackBerry), or visit the website itself.

I prefer to use the 4shared app rather than visit the the website because the app way is faster, and goes directly to the download task.

Download EveryThing

This is a free Android and iOS application. It searches, downloads and allows you listen to all the indexed 4Shared apps and documents, as well as those on MegaUpLoad. That is a big collection of information.

Focused Wandering

Of course, there are many situations when you have some free time and would rather do some leisurely browsing without any particular thing in mind. All of us have topics that interest us. Some of mine are Automobiles, Medicine, Philosophy and Personal Finance.

How about a service or app that allows you stumble upon websites, based on your specific interests?

Well, StumbleUpon.com affords you that service. There is also a mobile app equivalent for major mobile platforms. StumbleUpon also exists as a “plugin” for some Desktop Browsers like FireFox.

To use the StumbleUpon service, you have to sign up, specify the subjects that interest you (say, Religion,Jokes, e.t.c). Each time you click the “stumble” button, you are presented with webpages that match your specified interest in a randomized way.

These webpages are “crowd_sourced” from other StumbleUpon Users who rate and “recommend” webpages that they love. The higher the rating of a particular webpage, the more likely it is that it would be presented to viewers.

You are assured of “Stumbling Upon” interesting sites (and people!) that you would normally probably never come across.