LCD, TV Sales Could Fall in 2009 For First Time  

Posted by Mohammad Talha in ,

For the first time, worldwide revenues in the LCD TV market are expected to decline, according to an analyst report released on Thursday.

Analyst firm DisplaySearch said that while LCD sales are expected to increase by 17 percent to 119.9 million units, revenue is expected to decline by 16 percent to $64 billion, while total TV revenues will fall by 18 percent to $88 billion. Overall TV unit sales are also predicted to fall 1 percent to 205.3 million units, which would be the first time overall TV sales, let alone LCD sales, have ever dropped.

Given the disparities between units and revenue, prices will undoubtedly fall – good news for consumers, DisplaySearch reported. "DisplaySearch expects that 2009 will be the most difficult year yet for the TV industry and supply chain," the firm said.
What does this mean for those interested in a new TV? Most likely that, although LCD TV manufacturers have purchased several key components at close to cost, the cheap prices could persist well in to 2009. And that means more affordable key technologies.

"TV brands, as well as panel manufacturers and material suppliers, will need to aggressively increase 1080p penetration (even for 32"/37" sizes), and accelerate penetration of 120-Hz and differentiated products such as Ultra Slim FPD TVs in order to maintain ASPs," DisplaySearch wrote.

DisplaySearch's estimates are grim: in 2008, LCD TV sales are expected to be 102.2 million units, a decrease of 3.3 million units from an earlier estimate. The 2009 forecast of 119.9 million units represents a decrease of 11.5 million units. And those numbers are worldwide totals; in Japan, North America and Western Europe, LCD TV growth will be even less, or just 2 percent, the firm reported. (full Story)

10 Windows 7 Media Center Features  

Posted by Mohammad Talha in ,

Here is 10 Windows 7 Media Center Features:

• Shows appear dissolved behind menus - When you're watching something and want to pull up a menu to add a new show or browse the channel guide, or even go into another area of the Media Center, the current show stays on, not as a picture-in-picture, but tastefully dissolved into the background.

• Chronological turbo scroll for channel guide - When you're looking at the channel guide, but want to go from Tuesday to Sunday in a hurry, you just hold down the arrow button on the remote, and the days start to whip by. Listings become a blur, but the days of the week, and the portions of the day, appear floating over the listings to give you an idea of when to stop.

• Live thumbnail forward and rewind - During HD video playback, you might want to jump around. Grab the time marker and drag it forward or back, and as you do, you see a miniature version of the show playing backwards or forwards at the same speed.

• Launch TV from Start menu - Media Center can occupy a pole position in the Start menu, and when you hover over the MC logo, a list of recently recorded shows pops up, along with other frequently used MC features.

• Floating Media Center gadget - Not only can you access shows from the Start menu, you can browse MC features from the desktop with the gadget. I am not clear whether or not you'll get to have actual video playing in it, but for people who need MC at their fingertips, this appears to be a nice, subtle execution.

• Alphabetical turbo scroll for music - The chronological turbo scroll on the channel guide is cool, but this one will come in more handy for me: As you scroll through the countless artists in your music collection, the names become a blur but your location in the alphabet is denoted by two letters, probably so that those longer letters like J, M, R and S can be broken up better.

• Drifting cover art grid - When you're playing a song, the album art for that track appears with some basic metadata, and all the cover art for every other track you own materializes and drifts in the background. The primary cover art jumps from side to side and top to bottom, so that everything is in constant, fluid motion.

• Scattered photos picture show - As you're playing music, you can opt for a photo show that essentially reaches into a folder, grabs a handful of shots, scatters them evenly around the page, and then zooms in on one at a time. A nice touch: In the wide angle, all the photos look like desaturated black-and-whites, but as each shot gets its own screen time, it magically becomes full color.

• Copy remote content - If you are browsing multiple libraries or Media Center PCs and come across a show you like, you can watch it or save it for later by hitting "make a copy." As long as there's no broadcast flag or some other DRM, the vid will flow over to your local HDD so you can watch it when you've left the network.

• Virtual channels without TV tuner - One of the new Media Center's central concerns is the new popularity of internet-based video, not just YouTube clips but whole TV episodes like those shown on Hulu. DVR functionality is key to making the most of an MC, but at launch there will be loads of virtual channels with shows you can watch just as easily. Microsoft demoed a special MSNBC channel that had clips and full shows; it's of course feasible for them to build similar channels for third-party web video services too. (story Link)

Touch Screen Technology for Windows 7  

Posted by Mohammad Talha in , , , , ,

Microsoft continues its WinHEC tour in Taiwan, where we find something new again. Quanta Computer recently showcased new touch-screen technology called Optical Touch.
Unlike conventional touch-screen options, movements and positions are recognized through two cameras located near the top corners of the screen. Multi-touch gestures are supported as well. Quanta says using such a setup would be significantly cheaper than traditional touch-screen setups. But this only applies for smaller panels, since they no longer become cost-effective as the panels get larger. Mass production is to start soon, and is expected to be released sometime near Windows 7’s debut. (story Link)

Sony : CyberShot DSC-T700  

Posted by Mohammad Talha in ,

The Sony Cyber-shot DSC-T700 ($399.99 direct) screams style—its minimalist silhouette, brushed-metal body, and high-resolution 3.5-inch LCD add up to a fashion-conscious point-and-shoot camera. Not only does the camera looks great, so do its pictures, which it can store in its impressive 4GB of internal memory It's also got a surprising amount of onboard smarts—from simple editing features to extras like face and smile recognition, and even blink-detection. But just like its powerful T500 sibling, the 10.1-megapixel T700 has drawbacks, too: Its battery will die long before you fill up its 4GB of internal memory, and the shutter lag will cause you to miss some shots. (story Link)

No DirecTV service integration for Windows 7  

Posted by Mohammad Talha in ,

Early releases of Windows 7 pre-beta drivers for this tuner prompted everybody to believe that a solution to integrate DirecTV service into Windows Media Center would be available for Windows 7. Unfortunately, the company has announced that they have terminated the project. Here’s the official announcement from DirecTV Chief Technology Officer Romulo Pontual:
DIRECTV has suspended the development of the HDPC-20 tuner project that was designed to integrate DIRECTV service into Windows Media Center after assessing the impact of missing the August 2008 release of Windows Media Center update and considering timing of the next release.
Both DIRECTV and Microsoft understand the desirability of offering consumers an all encompassing DIRECTV programming solution via Windows-based PCs. We are continuing to explore ways to integrate DIRECTV service with Windows-based PCs in the future.
The HDPC-20 tuner that appears on the driver list of a pre-Beta build of Windows 7 is an artifact that was listed prior to the decision to suspend the tuner project. As our plans progress toward a Windows Media Center-compatible product, we will make an announcement at the appropriate time.
Given the reaction in the blogosphere and Microsoft’s plans to improve the Media Center experience, it seems like DirecTV has made a huge mistake. (story Link)

Critical Internet Explorer Update Available  

Posted by Mohammad Talha in , ,

As you may or may not know, a huge security flaw was discovered in Internet Explorer yesterday that could allow criminals to steal passwords and even take control of your computer. As dedicated Firefox users, we don’t know much about the situation. However, we’d still like to remind 30% of our readers to run Windows Update to receive the latest security patch to keep your computer protected. The official Microsoft Security Bulletin can be viewed here where you can download individual standalone patches. Internet Explorer Beta 2 users are also affected by this vulnerability and should run Windows Update as well. Surf safely folks. (story Link)

2008 Year in Tech: Winners and Losers  

Posted by Mohammad Talha in , , , ,

What a year. We experienced a presidential election unlike any other—one in which technology and the Internet truly played a starring role. That contest produced a winner and a loser. Similarly, the myriad tech sagas we witnessed throughout 2008 produced a long list of victors and failures—at least as I see it. Let's reminisce.

HD Format Wars
The year began auspiciously with the surprising and sudden end of the HD format wars. No one surrendered. Instead, HD DVD partner Warner Bros. dropped its support of HD DVD. That set off a cascade of bad news for the format backed, most notably, by Toshiba. By the end of January, Gartner was calling a technical knockout for Sony-backed Blu-ray. Twelve months later, all that's left of HD DVD are some players owned by early adopters and thousands of orphaned HD DVD disks.
Winners: Sony and everyone who backed Blu-ray
Losers: HD DVD and me

Linux-based Palm OS
Sascha Segan teased us with news of a new, Linux-based Palm OS, which, naturally, still hasn't arrived.
Winners: All Palm competitors
Losers: Palm and anyone still married to the Palm platform

MacBook Air Hype
Apple introduced the MacBook Air, "The World's Thinnest Notebook". Initially, it turned a lot of people on—until they realized it has only one USB port and a fixed battery.
Winners: Apple
Losers: Anyone who bought into the MacBook Air hype

Microsoft and Yahoo Merger
The merger dance between Microsoft and Yahoo began anew in February as pundits, including John C. Dvorak, predicted mostly disaster if the two became one. (I admit it: I waffled.) The Redmond software giant offered Yahoo a 62 percent premium on shares ($44.6 billion), which Yahoo CEO Jerry Yang rejected. Corporate raider Carl Icahn tried to force the MS takeover, but to no avail. Fast-forward eight or nine months, and Yahoo's shares are worth roughly half of what they were in February. The company is laying off employees in bunches.

Yang has promised to step down, and Microsoft swears it has no interest in acquiring Yahoo. I still wonder if Microsoft's aim all along was to hobble a strong Internet competitor. Nah, that would be too Machiavellian.
Winners: Microsoft, Google
Losers: Yahoo, its shareholders, and Jerry Yang

Microsoft Acquires Danger
Microsoft gobbled up Sidekick manufacturer Danger, but my hoped-for "ZunePhone" never materialized.
Winners: None
Losers: None

Google's Android Platform
Google Android reared its open-source mobile platform head at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain. Of course, the press went mad for it, since it's from Google (yeah, we did, too). Eight months later, again amid much fanfare, the first Android Phone arrived, the T-Mobile G1. The press went mad for it again. For me it was, like, "Meh."

Winners: Google, T-Mobile
Losers: Microsoft, a company that simply cannot build any buzz for Windows Mobile-based phones
(More Winners & Losers)

Three Weeks With The BlackBerry Storm  

Posted by Mohammad Talha in , ,

It's rare that I get to spend three weeks with one phone, but I thought the BlackBerry Storm would be worth it. The Storm is one of the biggest releases of the year, and it's probably the most innovative thing out there at the moment - its "click screen" is as revolutionary as the two-button mouse. But the Storm got pretty weak reviews from almost everyone, me included, because of its many bugs.

So I used the Storm on the road for a few weeks, during which time it got its first major software update, from version .65 to .75. The update fixed some issues and made the phone, overall, more stable and faster to use. But the software update didn't fix all the problems. I'm still getting "SIM Card Invalid" messages, for instance; the accelerometer is still quirkier than I'd like, and Lance Ulanoff ran into the annoying bug which launches the camera while you're trying to write a new email. It's really unacceptable for devices to be released with bugs like that.

I still love the Storm's click screen. I hate typing on touch screens. I hate typing on the iPhone; my brain wants buttons that feel like they've been pressed. The Storm has the only touch screen that actually feels like a button, because it is a button. For people who assume everything should work like the iPhone, the Storm's two levels of touch - touch and click - are horribly aggravating. But I loved that feature from the very start; the ability to highlight and select things without committing to them.

I'm also pretty comfortable with the Storm's UI in general. Flick, click, tap, whatever; it's working smoothly. The major challenge seems to be in the Web browser, where sometimes it's much too hard to click on DHTML buttons or figure out how to move the cursor in a text box. Way too many of the complaints about the Storm's UI have been "but it doesn't work just like the iPhone," which I don't find very valid. It works - just not the way the iPhone does.

After a few weeks, I'm just as fast and accurate on the click screen as I would be on an iPhone. But that was a painful few weeks, mostly because of some odd choices made by RIM with their virtual QWERTY keyboard. It really expects that you'll be hitting keys on the left side of the screen with your left thumb, and keys on the right side of the screen with your right. And I'm still even faster on a Bold or a Curve. (full Story)

WowWee Rovio Mobile Webcam  

Posted by Mohammad Talha in , , , ,

The WowWee Rovio robot is a first: It's a $299 intelligent consumer device that aspires to be personal telepresence robot—enabling you to be in two places at once. Essentially a Wi-Fi–enabled mobile webcam on wheels, the Rovio can be controlled from anywhere in the world through its Web-based interface. You can control the VGA color camera, speaker, microphone, antenna, and "head," which can be raised and lowered. The robot sits on three omnidirectional wheels, similar to those found on the somewhat-annoying Tribot, which help it navigate easily around tricky furniture and sleeping pets. If only the user didn't need such healthy doses of patience to help Rovio reach its full potential.

Setup is pretty straightforward. Install the software, connect the Rovio to your PC via an included USB cable, and follow directions to connect the robot to your wireless 802.11g network. Rovio works only with networks that offer WEP encryption, which makes sense because you don't want a neighbor exploring your home via robot. Within minutes you should be able to view and control Rovio through your PC, as long as you're on the same network. This part worked pretty flawlessly for me. However, when I tried to raise Rovio's "head," which also houses its camera, the robot made a sharp, mechanical clicking sound. I had to send that unit back and eventually got another one that raised and lowered its head without a sound.
Rovio's Web interface includes a large window that shows you what Rovio's camera sees. There's also a control panel that displays a virtual joystick to direct the robot's movements; battery, wireless connectivity, and navigation status indicators; and a host of settings for audio, video, and networking. You can also set it up to mail photos it captures to a specific e-mail address.

Video quality ranges from 176-by-144 to 640-by-480; the higher the resolution, however, the lower the frame rate. You can up the frame rate, but your network throughput will ultimately determine your video quality. I tried the Rovio at all resolutions and found that even though the frame rate dropped below 20 frames per second, 640-by-480 gave me the clearest view of Rovio's surroundings. Luckily, a slider on the interface makes it easy for you to choose just the right combination of speed and overall quality for your network, and it also acts as a brightness control. (Full Story)

How to Meter Your Internet Usage  

Posted by Mohammad Talha in ,

As Internet service providers seek to limit the amount of bandwidth subscribers can use in a billing period, some customers are unpleasantly surprised at how quickly they're cut off.

Internet service providers can't provide infinite bandwidth, as much as we'd like them to. They need to manage their resources so that every customer gets a fair share of the bandwidth. Comcast is capping its customers at a loose 250 gigabytes per month. AT&T is experimenting with caps ranging from 20GB to 150GB per month, depending on service plan. Comcast will throttle ("deprioritize") your service, while AT&T will charge you additional fees for exceeding your cap. Other ISPs are implementing similar plans.

ou may wonder why anyone wants or needs 150GB or 250GB of content per month, but as more video content moves to the Internet and more devices, such as game consoles, iPods, TiVos and other DVRs, and even TVs, are fed by the data stream, you can pretty much guarantee that your usage has gone up or will go up soon. If you get the dreaded notification or extra bill from your ISP, how do you know whether to acquiesce, tone down your data consumption, or cry "Foul!"? You could take your ISP's word for it, but it's smarter to monitor your own usage.

For a single PC, the job is simple. If you use McAfee VirusScan or Total Protection 2009, you can use the program's built-in monitor. It works for one Windows PC only, but it captures everything that flows through. There are also freeware usage meters, which are feature-rich—and some let you set bandwidth caps for a given period and warn you when you're getting close. Typically, these meters can also measure upload and download speed, so you can see whether your ISP is upholding its side of the bargain and delivering the throughput you're paying for.

Some of the popular Windows-based meters are:

BitMeter 2 (free)
BitMeter 2 can run as a transparent overlay on your screen or in the system tray. It provides real-time as well as cumulative logging and also ISP alert levels.

WatchWAN (free)
WatchWAN is designed to be accurate down to the packet. Using the WinCap packet-capturing library and filters for MAC and IP addresses, it eliminates packet exchanges between your PC and your cable modem or router and other spurious traffic that can inflate your local usage count.

Bandwidth Meter Pro ($19.95)
Since it has pretty much the same feature set as BitMeter 2, you may not see a specific advantage to paying for Bandwidth Meter Pro. But it has handsomer screens, a well-organized tutorial and help file, and a few more operating/display modes.

If you're serious about tracking your Internet consumption across multiple PCs, you'll have to install the software on each of them and tally up the results. That omits, of course, your Xbox 360, TiVo, Netflix box, or any other device that receives streaming media. The only way to capture their traffic is at the router level. (full Story)

Tips for Deleting Your Cell Phone Data  

Posted by Mohammad Talha in , ,

Getting rid of your phone? Before you do, follow this advice in order to prevent your data from falling into the wrong hands.

When the John McCain campaign didn't wipe out their BlackBerrys before they sold them, they unwittingly dumped a trove of confidential phone numbers into a reporter's hands. When you throw out or recycle a phone, you may be doing the same thing—letting the next person who grabs it see your old text messages, or your mom's number, or that "seductive" photo you took for your significant other.

Fortunately, there's an easy way to solve this problem: before you ditch, sell, recycle or donate your device, wipe it.

If you've just bought a new phone from your carrier, you can take your old and new phones to the carrier's store. They'll wipe out the old phone for you, and they'll probably be able to transfer your contacts to the new phone, too (though they may charge you about $10). Then you can give the old phone away, sell it on eBay or CellForCash.com or donate it to a charity by dropping it off at the carrier retail store.

Otherwise, here are some tips for deleting data on your own. These tips won't protect your phones against police-grade forensic software, but they'll protect you against casual poking around.

All Phones: Remember to remove any memory cards. Also, before you sell or give away a phone, either remove your SIM card (for AT&T and T-Mobile users) or call your carrier to get them to remove the phone from your account (for Verizon, Sprint, Alltel, Cricket and MetroPCS users).

BlackBerrys: From the home screen, select Options, then Security Options, then General Settings. Click the menu button. Select Wipe Handheld.

iPhones: Connect your iPhone to your Mac or PC, launch iTunes, and select the various iPhone tabs to turn off syncing. (Pay special attention to the "Info" tab.) Now disconnect your iPhone and turn it off. Hold down the Home button until the message "Please connect to iTunes" appears. Let go of the Home button. Plug the iPhone into your PC or Mac and run iTunes. Click OK, then Restore.

Palm OS Phones: Each device has slightly different instructions, but they're all collected on Palm.com.

Windows Mobile Phones: Irritatingly, it varies from device to device. On some phones, from the programs list, go to Settings, then System, then Clear Storage. Enter "1234" and press the Yes button (probably the left soft key). Clear Storage might also be in the Accessories or System Tools folder in your program list. Some Windows Mobile devices have a "Hard Reset" option instead of Clear Storage.

Windows Mobile Palm Treos: Remove the back cover of the phone. Hold down the power button. Remove the battery, then immediately replace it. Let go of the power button. Press Up.

Most Nokia Phones: Type *#7370# on the keypad. Enter 12345 as the security code.

Other phones: Go to the phone's "settings" menu. Look for an option marked "Security," "Master Reset," "Memory," "Initial Setup" or "Clear." You might open another menu; look for a Clear, Wipe or Master/Factory Reset option. If the phone asks you for a lock code, it's usually the last four digits of your phone number, but it could also be "1234" or "000000." If you can't find the right option, go to a carrier store; they'll wipe the phone for you. (story Link)
(By Sascha Segan)

Google Wants 'Fast Lane' For Its Own Content  

Posted by Mohammad Talha in

PHILADELPHIA, Dec 14 (Reuters) - Google Inc has approached Internet carriers with a proposal to create a "fast lane" for its own content, countering its previously stance of equal network access for all content providers, The Wall Street Journal reported on Sunday.

One major cable operator in talks with Google said it has been reluctant to forge a deal because of concerns it might violate Federal Communications Commission guidelines on network neutrality, the newspaper said in its electronic edition. Cable and phone companies that operate the data pipelines are supposed to treat all traffic the same.

Google's proposal, called OpenEdge, would place Google servers directly within the network of the service providers, the newspaper said.

The setup would accelerate Google's service for users, the newspaper said.
Google could not be immediately reached for comment.

The Wall Street Journal said that when asked about OpenEdge, Google said other companies could strike similar deals if they desired. (Reporting by Jessica Hall; Editing by Valerie Lee) (For more M&A news and our DealZone blog, go to here) (Story Reuters)

Apple's Biggest Macworld Surprise Isn't a Product  

Posted by Mohammad Talha in

With one brief press release, Apple managed to blow away the steady breeze of rumors about its Macworld 2009 product announcements. January's Macworld Expo will be Apple's last; and, perhaps more importantly, it will not feature Apple CEO Steve Jobs. What's behind these decisions? I have my ideas.

When I attended Apple's iPod touch 2G/nano 4G press announcement in September, Jobs looked thin—really thin. Rumors had been swirling since his iPhone 3G event several months earlier that one of the world's most watched and most intriguing CEOs was seriously ill. There was even an erroneous report of his death. Still, Jobs made light of the rumors just a month later during October's MacBook Pro announcement, putting his healthy blood pressure scores (110/70) up on the big screen for all to see. Phil Schiller, Apple's Senior Vice President of Worldwide Product Marketing, who will deliver the Macworld keynote address, has often shared the stage with Jobs during these events, but it's invariably been Job's place to make the big announcements. Is he simply too ill to do it, or is he just tired of the endless scrutiny about his health? These are questions I can't answer, but you can be sure Apple stockholders are desperate to know.

With Jobs out of this next Macworld Expo, the buzz about what kinds of products Apple will announce next month could dim considerably, but that would be a mistake. I think our desktop analyst Joel Santo Domingo is spot on in his predictions: new iMacs are almost a given, and I really do expect (maybe the more accurate phrase is "hope for") a new, hot product to drive Apple sales in 2009. I just don't know what it is. Schiller may not deliver the news with Jobs' trademark "one more thing" panache, but exciting products usually provide their own steam.

Apple claims to be pulling out of any future Macworld Expos because "the increasing popularity of Apple's Retail Stores … and the Apple.com website enable Apple to directly reach more than a hundred million customers around the world in innovative new ways." That rings true, and has nothing to do with Jobs' health. The company knows that when it wants to announce something big, the press will come to it. We've done it repeatedly through 2008, and will do it again in 2009.

Ultimately, Apple is playing the innovator again, and where it treads, others will follow. A tough economy is a nightmare for tradeshows. Floor space is expensive, and travel, hotel rooms, food, and parties for clients, support staff, and PR teams are a bottomless cash pit. When times are tough, trade show sponsorship and attendance are often some of the first things to go.

Apple's had a good year: Millions of iPhones sold, a booming App Store business, and tiny gains in the PC sales space all count as highlights. Still, the outlook from some analysts is not all that sunny. Apple's desktop sales did not grow at the same rate as PC sales in November, and I noticed a few analysts predicting flattening iPod sales in 2009. So Apple, like every other company, has to look for ways to maximize impact and minimize expenses—out goes tradeshow support. (full Story)

What Gmail Does Better Than its Competitors  

Posted by Mohammad Talha in , ,

As someone who spends an inordinate amount of time wading through e-mails, finding the best e-mail service is paramount in my life.

Realizing that, I've done my fair share of shuffling from one e-mail program to the next--trying to find the best service that not only offers speed and stability, but also reliability and spam control. And although e-mail services are getting better, it's abundantly clear that few offer the kind of experience I'm really looking for in an e-mail client. But Google's Gmail app is different. It's better than its competition on a number of levels and provides the kind of e-mail experience that's simply unrivaled online.

Spam, Spam, Spam

I've used practically every e-mail service on the Web and I can say, without a doubt, that Gmail blocks the most spam. To those who open a new account, spam may not be a serious concern. Your spam folder will likely remain empty for a while until your new e-mail address makes its way into the wild. But for my e-mail address, which is widely available and easily attainable, spam is a constant headache. On services like Yahoo Mail, Windows Live Hotmail, and AOL Mail, the spam blocker tried but failed on too many occasions. In fact, dealing with spam in my already bloated in-box was a daily occurrence that got worse as more messages piled up. But Gmail is different. Right now, I have thousands of messages sitting in my spam folder that never made their way to my in-box. Even better, I can say with all honesty that I only see about two or three spam messages per day in my in-box--not perfect, but much better than anything the competition is offering.

Google Apps

Maybe it's not fair to compare e-mail clients on the basis of additional apps, but I'll do it anyway. After all, Google is competing with the likes of Yahoo and AOL--two major Web companies--and I don't see why these two can't release apps that provide an even greater value proposition to users. There's something so appealing about receiving an e-mail from someone who attached a Word document or Excel spreadsheet and being given the option to open that attachment in Google Docs. And being able to switch to Google Calendar and Reader from Gmail cuts down on time spent on managing my day. Maybe that functionality appeals to me because I prefer using apps like Google Calendar and Reader to keep me organized and "in the know", but I honestly can't see myself using another e-mail client knowing how invested I am in other Google apps. Suffice to say that my affinity for Gmail stretches beyond e-mail.

Filters

Gmail's filter feature is the best in the business. Period. Unlike its competitors, which try to provide a filter tool that simply re-routes incoming messages, Gmail delivers a power user's dream. In a matter of seconds, you can create a filter that searches through all incoming mail looking for specific people or keywords and once found, immediately categorizes it into a specific folder, forwards it on to someone else, or moves it to the trash, to name just a few functions. With the help of Filters, using Gmail becomes an even more rewarding experience. Gone are the days of spending big chunks of your time attempting to find just one e-mail that's lost in a collection of thousands. Other e-mail services try desperately to provide the same kind of filter features, but they fall flat. In my experience, messages are either missed, the filter has performs the wrong function, or simply not ends up not working. In fact, Yahoo Mail's filter feature works only in its Classic e-mail app and according to the company, won't be available in the new interface until it's done "tweaking the Yahoo! Mail Filters option." Yikes. (full Story)

Top Tips to Extend Your Laptop Battery Life  

Posted by Mohammad Talha in , ,

You seasoned techies are no doubt thinking, "Another article on how to get more life from your laptop battery. Big deal. I already know how to do that." Well, Mr. or Ms. Techie, I scoff at your hubris. There's still plenty to learn when it comes to getting more juice from a charge and extending your battery's overall life.
So, yes, there are tips that most of us know:
  1. Dim your screen.
  2. Minimize background processes.
  3. Don't use the CD/DVD drive.
  4. Disable your wireless antenna when not in use.
But there's still a lot you may not know about battery technology and the things that both help and hinder your laptop's juicebox.

Getting More Minutes per Charge

You can fiddle with background processes and other software settings all you want, but your hardware is the biggest factor in battery life, according to PC Mag's lead analyst for laptops, Cisco Cheng. In fact, software such as power-management utilities can help minimize the impact internal components have on battery longevity. Knowing this can affect your buying decision if you're looking for a new laptop (see the "Picking a Laptop for Maximum Battery Life" section below) or help you get the most out of the trusty laptop you've got. Here are a few ways to optimize hardware for maximum battery output.

Turn off ports. Disabling unused ports and components, such as VGA, Ethernet, PCMCIA, USB, and yes, your wireless, too. You can do this through the Device Manager or by configuring a separate hardware profile (see next step).Create Power-Saving Hardware Profiles. Configure your laptop for the various scenarios in which you use it (on a plane, at the coffee shop, at the office, and so on). You can do this through the Hardware Profiles menu by right-clicking on My Computer and selecting Preferences or by using a freeware utility such as SparkleXP (for Windows XP users).Configure your display to turn off when not in use. This is different from just using a screensaver, because in many cases a screensaver still requires the display's backlight to be on. You can set the interval to turn the display off in Windows' Power Options—found in the Control Panel.

Extending the Overall Life

The easiest way to give your battery an early death is to damage it. And the two most common causes of damage are from overheating and overloading. Here's how you prevent overheating:
Use a cooling pad when using a notebook computer on your lap.

Avoid propping your laptop on a pillow, blanket, or other soft surface that can heat up.

Clean your desk. It sounds strange, but if you have a dusty, dirty desk, that dust will get into the vents and clog the cooling fan. Once the dust is inside your laptop, it is much harder to remove. You can try blasting it out with canned air, but you run the risk of damaging internal components. You can also remove the vent and clean out the grit, but remember that taking apart your laptop can void the warranty. So clean your desk at least once a week, if not daily.

Never store your laptop in a place where the air temperature exceeds 80 degrees Fahrenheit, such as a hot car or an outdoor patio.

Consider taking your battery out when using your laptop plugged into AC power. Just make sure to keep the contacts clean. If you need to clean them, use rubbing alcohol.

For lithium ion batteries, you do not need to discharge them fully and recharge constantly. Since they don't have the same "memory" as older nickel-metal hydride batteries, it is actually better to discharge a lithium ion only partially before recharging. You need to do a full discharge only about every 30 charges.Overloading a battery occurs when you use an AC adapter that has a higher wattage than that specified on the laptop (and battery), or if the circuitry of the laptop consistently overcharges the battery. If you're using a replacement or spare adapter, make sure the wattage matches your laptop's within the specified voltage range. In the worst-case scenario, overloading can also damage your motherboard.

Picking a Laptop for Maximum Battery Life

If you're in the market for a new laptop, there are features and components you should consider to get the most mileage from the system's battery.
  1. An ultra-low-voltage processor, such as the Intel Penryn or one from VIA's line of ULV processors.
  2. A solid-state storage drive, which requires less power and, since there are no spinning parts, will suffer less wear and tear than a traditional hard drive.
  3. An LED display. Although pricey, LEDs use much less power than LCD.
  4. A smaller screen. A smaller screen means a smaller backlight, which will also save on battery drain.
According to Andrew Bradner, product line manager for APC, all lithium ion batteries are not created equal. The proof is in the pudding, or in this case the chemistry. Unfortunately, it is almost impossible to discern if the battery you're buying was manufactured in a top-notch facility using high-quality materials. And making that call is not as easy as assuming your laptop manufacturer's battery will be of better quality than a battery from a third-party vendor. But you can stick to a couple of key guidelines. (full Story)

3 Worlds Best Headphones  

Posted by Mohammad Talha in , ,

The Denon AH-D5000, Grado Labs GS-1000, and Ultrasone Edition 9 are all over-the-ear "circumaural" headphones, primarily intended for home use, but that didn't stop me from plugging them into my iPod.

With its lightweight magnesium frame, real mahogany wood earcups and oh-so soft leather ear pads, the Denon AH-D5000 is a real charmer. It's the most comfortable headphone I've ever used, and Its microfiber low-mass diaphragms deliver lightning-fast, detailed sound. Audiophile mavens who crave visceral mojo will go ga-ga over the AH-D5000. This headphone makes a lot of bass. It was equally accomplished with music and home theater.

For the home theater trials I checked out The Flight of the Phoenix DVD, and the plane crash scene fully exploited the headphones' dynamic prowess. The AH-D5000's detailed and airy treble kept my attention glued to the onscreen action.

Plugged into a 4GB iPod Nano rock was acceptable, but the Denon lacked conviction over the Nano. The even more expensive AH-D7000 wasn't yet available when I wrote this review, hope to get my hands on it soon.

John Grado's latest and greatest headphone is a break from his past designs. The retro, World War II "cans" look is gone. The GS-1000 is still unmistakably Grado, but with more contemporary styled, hand-crafted mahogany earcups with much larger foam ear pads. The headband is covered in real leather.

As much as I love Grado's sound, I've found previous generations Grado headphones' comfort level was below par. The GS-1000 is a vast improvement; the larger ear pad's pressure is low, and the headphones feel light on my head.

Pardon me while I gush over the way GS-1000 clarifies live recordings. The sound seemed to surround me, with a rare ability to resolve depth, just as you would in a concert hall. Ditto for the way this headphone reveals rhythmic underpinnings in rock and jazz CDs. Grados have always been exciting, classical music now sounds more refined. Bass is deep, yet more controlled and precise than ever before.

The GS-1000 worked its magic connected to the Nano. Sure, the cavernous soundstage was especially impressive on Miles Davis/Gil Evans big band albums, but the Nano ran out of juice when I cranked Led Zeppelin.

The Edition 9 is a closed-back design with incredibly soft Ethiopian sheep's leather ear pads that effectively block outside noise from intruding on your musical bliss. And since the headphones don't "leak" sound to the outside world you can wear the Edition 9 to bed and listen at a fairly loud level without disturbing your partner.

The gleaming chrome over brass earcups triumphantly announce the Edition 9's Germanic design flair, and yet the design feels understated. One nitpick: I felt (literally) the ear pads exerted a little too much pressure on my ears, though the pressure will probably lighten after a few months of use.

The sheer weight of the sound tips the tonal balance down, but the midrange and treble are crisp and clear. Led Zeppelin's first two albums lit up the Edition 9's heavy metal prowess. Jimmy Page's guitar thrash was amazing, the spectacle of Robert Plant's lung-popping vocals loomed large, and John Bonham's thudding percussion kicked harder than I've ever heard over headphones. (full Story)

Fix Corrupted Files in Windows XP  

Posted by Mohammad Talha in , , ,

Sometimes when you are executing some program an error comes saying that your xxx file is corrupted so we can not run your program and your whole work is left pending due to that error. Now this problem will not arise because I will show you how to fix these corrupted files.

Required:

1. Windows XP operating system
2. Windows XP cd

Now, follow this steps:

1. Place the xp cd in your cd/dvd drive
2. Go to start
3. run
4. type in "sfc / cannow" (without the ")

Logitech G13 Advanced Gameboard Review  

Posted by Mohammad Talha in , , ,

Let's face it. Today's keyboard was not intended for computer gaming. Like the typewriter, it is meant for typing and maybe a round of The Oregon Trail. So why are gamers torturing themselves with an average keyboard to blast away zombies and other digital bad guys?

Input devices targeted for gamers such as the G5 mouse or the G15 keyboard are designed to make the mouse and keyboard more practical for gaming. Today we're examining Logitech's first ever gaming keypad: the G13 Gameboard. Gaming keypads are helpful because they allow gamers to keep their existing keyboard (rather than replace with a gaming keyboard), while also enabling lefties the option of keeping the keypad on the right side of the keyboard. Sure beats using those numbered keys.

Striking a strong resemblance to the popular Nostromo SpeedPad N52, the G13 goes beyond additional gaming buttons and a joystick, it also includes an LCD screen that provides helpful gaming and system stats that gamers will find handy.

Out of the box, we're safe to assume that the G13 is the most luxurious of its kind, providing a wrist rest and a contoured design, 25 programmable keys along with a programmable joystick (up to 87 programmable keys with different game modes), plus the 160-by-43 pixel GamePanel LCD readout. Four keys, located in the middle and at the top, have circular grooves that invite WASD gamers. This way in lowlight situations you can feel the buttons and keep your fingers on them. (full Story)

iPhone 3G Software Unlock to be Released Shortly  

Posted by Mohammad Talha in ,

The iPhone Dev Team is promising a software unlock for the iPhone 3G by the end of 2008.
Back in October the iPhone Dev Team signaled they were getting close to their goal, and Tuesday they announced that a software download would be available on New Year's Eve. The iPhone 3G has presented problems for those looking for a simple way to use their phone on the mobile network of their choice after Apple fixed a loophole that left the original iPhone wide open to unlockers.

There are ways to manipulate the SIM card that comes with the iPhone 3G to use it on the network of your choice, but that's not something the average person should try at home. If you want to unlock your iPhone, you'll need to have jailbroken it first, and you'll have to have heeded the iPhone Dev Team's advice to avoid the iPhone 2.2 software update without applying a special patch first.

That's because Apple might be fighting back against the unlockers using the other platform it controls: the Mac. Several reports indicate that Apple's Mac OS X 10.5.6 update prevents popular jailbreaking tools like PwnageTool and QuickPwn from recognizing iPhones connected to Macs running the latest software. (full Story)

Bill Gates Arrested ???  

Posted by Mohammad Talha in

Bill Gates, Chairman and CEO of Microsoft, and the richest man in the world at over $50 Billion net worth, arrested in New Mexico 1977. Microsoft boss Bill Gates was photographed by the Albuquerque, New Mexico police in 1977 after a traffic violation.
(details of which have been lost over time)

TopBlogLists.com - Blog Search