Monday, 29 April 2013

‘Google Now’ is available on iPhone and iPad

Until today, Google Now was only available one Android but today it goes live on iOS. If you are using Google Search app on your iPhone or iPad, you only have to update the app. The Google Now feature will be updated onto your Google Search app.

Google Now basically taps into your data from various services like Gmail, Google Maps, Google+, Google Places, your search history and more. This information is then used to serve you with useful reminders and prompts.You might need change your privacy settings to allow your iPhone or iPad to let the Google app access your location data.

Google Now iOS

This is indicative that Google Now might soon be coming to our desktops thanks to it being integrated with Chrome or even Google's homepage. We might see more such updates from Google in the run-up to its annual Google I/O conference.

If you have an iPhone or a iPad try out Google Now on it and drop in your comments.

Link: Google Now on App Store

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Samsung’s horrible "S for Samsung style" idea! [Video]

The Galaxy S IV was launched in 50 countries which included India. Now when phones are launched companies try to find the weirdest possible ways to sing praises of its device.

So what did Samsung do?


They hired Bollywood actor Ranveer Singh and made him dance to a song that was a remake (copy) of Psy's 'Gangnam Style' music video. The words of the song were "S for Samsung style". The Korean lyrics of the song were further changed into praise filled phrases about Samsung's Galaxy S IV phone. The song is even more ridiculous than I make it sound.

Below is the full video.

If I was ever going to buy Samsung Galaxy S IV, I think this video would have definitely changed my mind.

Jokes apart, Samsung might be doing great business and also selling millions of phones. But they definitely need to learn that it would be better if their phone did the talking and not some bizarre over the top song and dance show.

(via The Verge)

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Sunday, 28 April 2013

5 Announcements to Expect at Google I/O 2013

It is that time of the year again, when Google will be hosting developers at a 3-day conference. It is called Google I/O and as most presentations are available and streamed live on YouTube, it gives Google a massive audience to make new announcements.

Last year, they announced Google Glass, Android Jellybean, Nexus 7 and a few more announcements. This year should not be any different and here are five announcements, I expect from Google. Google IO takes place on 15-17 May, 2013.


1. A New Android Version (Jellybean or Key Lime Pie)

Android Jellybean started off as Android 4.1 version. When 4.2 was released, it was still named Jellybean. This prompted the argument that Key Lime Pie will be version 5.0.

So will Google be pushing out a new version of Android? Absolutely yes. There is no way Google will host a conference with developers and not announce a new version. But this might not be the Key Lime Pie version but another updated version of Jellybean. So chances are that we will get to see Android 4.3 rather than Android 5.0 in May.

2. Google Glass Apps and partnerships

Google Glass alpha versions are out for developers to try out. I am sure that during Google IO, it will announce more apps and partnerships for its Glass project. I am sure this I/O conference will see a host of announcements and guidelines for developers to work with Google Glass. We might just see a better roadmap on how Google will be making Glass available for the general public in 2014.

3. Nexus 4 LTE and Nexus tablets

The Nexus brand will keep growing with more announcements likely. Nexus 7 tablet will in all probability see an upgraded model with better specs. Also expected is the announcement of Nexus 4 LTE phone. The current Nexus 4 phone does not support LTE but is supposed to have a inactive LTE chip on it.

4. Babel (Unified Messaging service)

Google is working on a unified messaging service that integrated your SMS from your Android phone, your emails and your chat messages on Gmail and Google+. This is on the lines of Apple's iMessage and should work across platforms. Google will probably integrate this service into Android and Chrome initially.

5. Google Now on Chrome and web

Last week, I wrote about how Google is trying to gets its Google Now feature from Android onto Chrome and the Google homepage. This might serve as a handy replacement for iGoogle initially but more importantly it means reminders and updates will be synced and displayed on your browser and also your phone.

Things we might not see:

Google will probably not announce a Nexus 5 phones – as Nexus 4 was announced only towards the end of last year. It might just announce a new phone often called 'Google X'. But the best rumours about Google X are sketchy at best.

There were rumours of Google announcing opening of physical stores (like Apple Stores) but that also seems unlikely as Google IO probably is not the best place for that announcement.

What do you expect to see this Google IO? Do drop in your comments.

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Friday, 26 April 2013

Samsung Galaxy S4 Available in India: Priced Rs. 41,500

Samsung Galaxy S4Weeks after Samsung launched their new Galaxy S4 phone, it is finally available across 50 countries. This list of 50 includes India. The phone itself is a pretty solid product and will probably sell in its millions. It's pricing has been of much speculation in India, some even claiming it will be priced higher than the iPhone 5.

Though, Samsung might be claiming to be better than a iPhone, it certainly is not going to start pricing their phone higher than the iPhone 5. The current model being made available has 16GB internal memory on the S4.

The price of the phone is a not surprising Rs. 41,500/-

Considering that most phone purchases haven at physical stores rather than online, I won't be surprised that Samsung tightly controls the pricing of their phone on e-commerce retail sites. So don't expect this price to drop for weeks if not months.

Will LG finally blink?

I am not the biggest fan of Samsung phones. I won't probably buy one but I like many Indians have probably been waiting for the Nexus 4 phone.

It seems LG might not be sure about the pricing of such a phone in India. I think its about time LG blinks and gets a high quality phone endorsed by Google into Indian markets. Their other phone models are simply going to be swept aside by Samsung Galaxy S4 and other models.

What do you think about the Galaxy S4 pricing? Do drop in your comments.

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Wednesday, 24 April 2013

Create shortcuts for text phrases on Chrome with Popchrom

Chrome is my favourite browser and it has a great deal of options to improve productivity. Here are some of my favourite productivity tips for Chrome. Because I am using the browser a lot for writing blog post and answering email, I found Popchrom a really good extension. It allows me to create shortcuts for text phrases. For example, I have set the shortcut "DW" to expand into "Devils' Workshop" the full name of this blog.

Chrome - shortkeys expansion

How it works:

  • Install the Popchrom extension on your Chrome browser.
  • Then look up its options and add your customized shortcuts. There are some default ones like "sy" expands to "Sincerely yours" and "today" expands to the current data.
  • Once you type in the short form, just hit "Ctrl + Space". This is a default and can be changed according to your preferences.
  • Usually, it makes sense to have some very common short forms for words or full sentences you might typing out too many times.

Additional Tip: If you sending similar emails all the time, you might want to check out Gmail's canned response which can even be used from your Android phone.

Try out Popchrome and drop in your comments.

Link: Popchrom

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Monday, 22 April 2013

"Google Now" might be coming to Google’s homepage

If you are using the latest versions of Android, you are probably aware of "Google Now". It is mainly a search feature which shows a great deal more information that is contextual. For instance on mobile phones, Google Now can alert someone to leave early for a meeting based on current traffic reports.

There are rumours about it soon showing up on Chrome but it might just show up on your Google search homepage.

Google System – a blog that tracks new updates on Google, tracked a change of code that will allow Google's homepage to track relevant information like weather, traffic condition and more based on your browser's location settings.

There is no screen short of the actual change but Google has made a Chrome extension in Russian for new tab page, which looks very similar to "Google Now" layout.

For instance here is Google Now on Nexus 10


And here is layout based on the new tab extension by Google.


It is getting increasingly clear now that Google when it decided to shutdown iGoogle – a web browser homepage like feature, it had done so to focus on Google Now as a replacement.

By running on a browser, phone and tablets, it will has the potential to make it the most important feature for Google account users in the years to come.

This might be part of the many new announcements of new features and updates by Google at its IO conference next month.

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Sunday, 21 April 2013

Stop posts repeatedly showing up on Facebook feeds with Social Fixer [Browser]

Facebook has tried to solve some long standing issues of being overwhelmed by feeds in a newly designed 'News Feed' layout. Though I have registered for it long ago, it has not been activated for me as yet.

One major issue with Facebook for me is coming across the same post over and over again. For instance a friends shares a photo today it shows up on my feed. Then when another common friends "Likes" or "Comments" on that photo, it shows up again on my feeds. I can choose to micro-manage every single friend's news feed settings but that is tedious and more or less impossible if you have hundreds of friends.

Social Fixer is a cool browser extension that eliminates the same post from showing up over and over again. More importantly, it also provides several other useful features.


Social Fixer Features

  • Social Fixer actually works without the need of sharing your username or password. It basically fixes your feeds and the layout. The most important feature for me personally was "Mark All Read" option showing up on my timeline. This way my News Feed was clean and posts were not repeated (image above).
  • There are several options like hiding certain boxes, ads, even sponsored posts from your news feeds.
  • The browser extension allows various different Facebook themes but I did not really find any more useful than the default one.
  • Another great feature was how images from a feed could be previewed. These were not just from uploaded photos but also images from a link shared in your news feed (see below).

SocialFixer_Image Preview

  • It also has a small box which shows the friends who have unfriended you.
  • Last but not the least, Social Fixer is supported on all major browsers like Chrome, Firefox, Opera and Safari. It does not support Internet Explorer.

I felt that Facebook could learn a few things regarding social fixer. Unfortunately Social Fixer works only on your PC browser and not with your phone apps. This is because, SocialFixer only fixes the layout, customizing what you can hide and display while browsing through Facebook.

Still in my opinion a must have browser add-on if you are surfing through Facebook on your PC browser.

Do try it out and drop in your comments.

Link: Social Fixer

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Friday, 19 April 2013

Yahoo kills off Upcoming, SMS Alerts and Mail Classic

YahooWith the decline of Yahoo so rapid it has a host of services which are either out-dated or under-utilized. Yahoo has been restructuring under former Googler Marisa Mayer as its CEO. Hence it is not surprising that Yahoo is systematically shutting down a host of not so popular services, something Google is known to do periodically. The website was popular a few years ago to plan local events. Though the website had many redesigns under Yahoo, it never managed to become become big.This is an idea, that is still relevant as listing events locally is still something even Facebook has not managed to get right. Yahoo will be discontinuing 'upcoming' on 30th April.

Yahoo SMS Alerts: Yahoo allowed updates from its own services like Yahoo News, Yahoo Weather, Yahoo Sports and Finance. These updates were sent over as SMS text messages to mobile phones.

The day of SMS alerts seem to be over now. Yahoo recommends users to download their mobile aps for notifications. Users can also visit and select your alerts to be sent via email or on Yahoo Messenger instead of SMS. This service will be killed off on 30th April.

Older versions of Yahoo Mail: Many Yahoo mail users have been resistant to chance. Much of this is because Yahoo has been indulgent by hosting different versions of the UI for emails. One such popular one was Yahoo Mail classic version.

These old versions were mainly built for the dial-up era. Today, they seem to be irrelevant and are rightly being shut-down. The old versions of Yahoo Mail will be shut down on 3rd June 2013.

Other shutdowns: Yahoo Deals, Yahoo Kids, Yahoo Mail and Messenger feature phone apps (J2ME) are other services which Yahoo has decided to do away with. These services will also end on April 30, 2013.

Yahoo should have given users more time

Yahoo's announcement leaves most users only 11 days notice (exception is older versions of Yahoo) before they shutdown these services. Eleven days is too little time for people to backup data or find alternatives. Compare that to Google which announced the the discontinuation of Google Reader but has given readers 3 months notice to find useful alternatives.

Have you used any of these services and more importantly will you miss any of these? Do drop in your comments.

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Thursday, 18 April 2013

Enable Google+ Comments on

Blogger users can now enable Google+ comments on their blogs. This will allow anyone with a Google+ account to simply leave a comment on a blog post. This has a double advantage, as the post can also be shared automatically on your Google+ timeline. So there is a social element to it, which means if someone comments on your post, their followers on Google+ might discover the post.

How it works:

Google+ Comments Enable

  • Visit your Blogger Dashboard and look under Google+ section. This will show the admin a new option to enable Google+ comments.
  • Once your blog allows Google+ comments, anyone signed into Google+ can comment and share the post using their account.

Blogger Comments on Google+

  • The privacy options also remain, which means you can comment and limit the audience your comment is visible to.

Why Google+ comments are important?

Google+ comments is in a way something similar to Facebook comments. But with Google+, you account is not just a social media tool but also is used for showing author of a particular page with Google' authorship program. At the moment Google+ has not made this commenting system available outside the blogger platform. I think they might do that very soon, possibly during Google IO 2013 which takes place on May 15 -17 next month.

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Wednesday, 17 April 2013

Google Apps, Gmail, Drive and Docs Experience Partial Outage!

Several of Google services are facing an outage. The outage seems to be partial but widespread. Gmail. Google Drive, Documents, Presentations, Spreadsheets all are facing downtime. Usually a service outage with one or two apps on Google happens from time to time, it usually does not happen with so many different services.

Here is a screenshot from Google's app status dashboard.

Google App Status Outage apr13This outage is affecting not just free services but also Google App accounts, who actually pay to use Google App for work. A major outage for a long time is bound to be be cause some major criticism. That said, Google usually has most services usually boast of over 99% of uptime regularly. But if Google wants more and more people to move to the cloud, downtime for more than an hour could soon be termed unacceptable.

I have personally not encountered any outage on my Google account today but if you have, would love read your comments.

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Tuesday, 16 April 2013

Google reveals technical specs for Google Glass

Google Glass specs
Since Google introduced Google Glass project last year at the Google I|O event, there have been many questions ranging from how good the camera on it will have to how much storage space will it pack?

Google has finally revealed the technical specifications of "Google Glass" .

Google Glass Specs

  • The Google Glass will have a camera that takes photos at 5MP and records videos at 720p.
  • The audio for Google Glass uses Bone Conduction Transducer. This technology allows the conduction of sound into the inner ear through the skull bone. It is a technology which is often used in hearing aids.
  • The Battery life is considered as one full day of typical use. This typical use terms is not clear as we do not know how Google Glass will be typically used and how much it will be used.
  • The storage claims 12GB of usable memory. All this data will also be synced with Google cloud storage.
  • The device will be compatible with a bluetooth-capable phone. A companion app called MyGlass requires Android 4.0.3 (Ice Cream Sandwich) or higher on their phones.

What is MyGlass companion app?

MyGlass enables GPS and SMS messaging from your phone to your Google Glass. This app currently will also help in configuring the Google Glass device. This means that if you want to use Google Glass, you will need a Android phone by default for it to be of any practical use.

The technical specs seems to be pretty decent and it will be interesting to see if other tech giants follow with augmented reality glasses. For the moment I still think Google is perfectly placed do great things with Google Glass.

Do drop in your views and comments.

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Monday, 15 April 2013

Create RSS Feeds from Twitter Accounts

Since Google Readers day were numbered, I thought for a while of moving away from RSS feeds and replacing it with Twitter. I found some Google Reader alternatives and I abandoned the idea of replacing RSS feeds. Now I wanted something that coverts Twitter accounts into RSS feeds.

Twitter used to support RSS feeds officially sometime ago. But it has since abandoned RSS and expects people to follow accounts on apps and the browser.


Twitter-RSS Features

  • is a website that allows users to create RSS feeds of any Twitter account.
  • Just enter the username of the account you want and click on "Get RSS".
  • The RSS feeds is generated and its URL can be used on most Feed readers.

I found Twitter-RSS is useful for following a Twitter account for news with continuous updates. Also it is useful mainly for people who are extremely active on Twitter.

Try out Twitter-RSS and do drop in your comments.

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Sunday, 14 April 2013

Easiest way to hide and unhide folders on Mac

Hiding and unhiding folders in Windows is pretty easy. You get an option in Folder options in Explorer. You don't have any such thing in Mac's Finder and that's why you got resort to Terminal commands for it.


Hiding and revealing folders

Like I said, you got to use Terminal for this, so open from Launchpad or search on Spotlight.
Once it's open, paste this command and hit return.

defaults write AppleShowAllFiles -bool true

This will reveal all hidden folders in your Mac. But you won't see the results yet. You need to restart Finder to see the effect. To restart Finder, enter this command into Terminal.

killall Finder

You'll now be able to see the hidden folders and files, their icons look faded and little different from normal folders/files.

To revert back, or hide folders – enter the same command you entered in the beginning, changing TRUE to FALSE, that is:

defaults write AppleShowAllFiles -bool false

You need to enter killall Finder again to restart Finder once again.

Now how would you remember these commands, the next time you want to see hidden files? There's a workaround for that too.

We'll create a file called .bash_profile in the home folder of Mac. .bash_profile contains your preferences, aliases etc.

  1. Open Terminal and type touch ~/.bash_profile
  2. Next, open -e .bash_profile
  3. Once the file is open in Textedit, copy and paste this snippet into the file.
    #reveal hidden folders in finder  alias revealfol='defaults write AppleShowAllFiles -bool true  killall Finder'  #hide folders in finder  alias hidefol='defaults write AppleShowAllFiles -bool false  killall Finder'
  4. Save the file and quit the app.
  5. In terminal, type source .bash_profile
  6. And you're done.

What we have done a while ago is, create aliases for commands used for hiding and revealing folders. The aliases are revealfol and hidefol.

So, now if you typerevealfol in Terminal, it will reveal hidden folders for you.hidefol will of course hide the folders, like you expected.

Hide existing folders

Let's say you want to create a hidden folder or want to hide a folder you already created – it's pretty easy.

All you need to do is rename the folder or file, by putting a dot (.) before it.

This works because OS X hides all files/folders whose name starts with a dot. They're called dotfiles.

To rename a existing folder in Mac, open Terminal and type

mv ~/Documents/secrets.txt ~/Documents/.secrets.txt

In the above command, the first argument should be the original path of file and second argument should the path of renamed file (same name with dot before it).

That's all. If you're a developer or someone who messes with this kind of stuff, you must have already knew this.

This tutorial was more intended for beginners. :)

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Saturday, 13 April 2013

Facebook’s pushes “Chat Heads” feature for almost every Android phone

Facebook has a new innovative feature with 'Facebook Home' for Android phones. That feature is called "Chat Heads". It allows a small circular icon indicating the person who has messaged you on Facebook. The innovative part was working it with SMS text messaging on the phone.

Now the problem with Facebook Home is it works only with limited phones and only for the US. Though you can get Facebook Home unofficially.

Facebook also has messenger app for Android which worked as a chat app. Now the "Chat Heads" feature is introduced with a new update of the app. It works great and seems to be the best way to keep track of text messages too.

Chat Heads Android Messenger

"Chat Heads" a challenge to WhatsApp?

Facebook was reportedly trying to acquire "Whatsapp" the popular messaging app. This would have given Facebook access to our text messages to an extent. The deal probably did not go through or the news was just a rumor. With "Chat Heads" feature, Facebook does something similar to Whatsapp, though it cannot be used as a alternative to SMS. But if now does have access to our SMS and can build ahead from there.

Try out the newly updated Facebook Messenger for Android and drop in your comments.

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Friday, 12 April 2013

Global Brute Force Attack on WordPress Installations

wordpresslogo2Almost all major web hosts are reporting a global brute force attack on WordPress installed websites. The attack is define as "well organized and very distributed with over 90,000 IP address involved in the attack according to HostGator.

The attack is not simply limited to WordPress but even Joomla installations have not been spared. Over all its seems WordPress centric mainly because of the sheer number of websites hosted by using WordPress.

This botnet with over 90,000 IPs is trying to loging multiple times with using different usernames and passwords. The simplest way to break-in would be a weak password.

What can you do for your website's safety?

Make sure you have the latest updated WordPress version for your website. Also make sure all your plugins are updated regularly. Finally the importance of having a good password and changing your admin password regularly cannot be over-emphasized. Make sure the password is complex and a mix of alphabets, numbers and special characters.

You can also refer to WordPress security guide on Codex.

Related: Check how strong your password is with this Microsoft Tool

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Thursday, 11 April 2013

Decide what happens to your Google Account after you die with ‘Inactive Account Manager’

Google has started rolling out a new feature for users, which allows them to deal with their account if it is inactive. The new feature allows users to pre-set a timeout period, option to notify upto 10 trusted friends. We can even schedule this trusted contact to get all the data from our accounts.

Though, Google might not be calling it a "Digital Will", that is exactly what it is.

Inactive Account Google

How it works:

  • Visit this link and you will be taken to a page that helps your configure the settings for Inactive accounts.
  • The first option helps you choose the period of inactivity. It is set at 3 months by default.
  • Then we can go about selecting 10 friends who have to be notified, with a customizable message. More importantly you can choose to have Google delete all your data.

Why it is needed:

Google is the first major company that is rolling out something that allows us to basically create an online will of our data. We today create a lot of content and data online and not necessarily on physical hard drives or even paper. So having some control over our data after we are gone is a good initiative by Google.

Other than Google, Facebook too has an option to memorialize an account. But on Facebook, the options to transfer data does not exist.

Link: Google's Inactive Account Manager

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