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Archive for December 2010

Let Facebook tell who logged into your account

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Facebook has this hidden feature available and I bet not many of you reading this are aware about it. The feature, if enabled, just after logging in and before accessing your account, Facebook asks the user to enter a particular name for the location user is logging in from. And that name entered along with IP address and location, time of logging in, the browser used to browse the site and even the OS – everything is mailed to your primary email address just the next moment.

The whole point is – you should know when someone else logs into your account and if this feature is enabled, you’ll know it. Easy!

It might be a bit of pain because enabling the feature means an additional step between logging in and accessing the account, but the feature is too powerful to be ignored. Apart, clicking the button, “Don’t ask for this device again” won’t ask you again of course until the browser’s cache is not deleted.

To enable this feature, go Accounts tab | Account Security option under Settings tab | Click Change | And enable the Radio button On under Get notified by SMS or email if a new computer or mobile device logs into your account.

For an easier tutorial, follow the attached slideshow.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Written by rahulbhagchandani

December 23, 2010 at 4:30 pm

Top 10 free Blackberry apps

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Just a few days back I enabled Blackberry internet services on my smartphone and since then the time I spent on my native laptop has gone down considerably. Here are a the top 10 free apps I think every Blackberry user must have.

10. VScreenshot: Ever wanted to show some error or something awesome on your smartphone but had no “PrintScreen”? Well if that is, here is the answer. VScreenshot installs an option to take instant screenshots in all BB menus. The files are by default saved in the Pictures directory. Otherwise how did I get all these pictures’ in the blog from?

9. Blackberry Messenger: Need I explain this to a BB user?

8. BOLT browser: It’s one and probably the only browser that works as advertised – Lightning fast. Its like wow. You can browse the way you want – like normal HTML+Scripts or the one made specifically for mobile. Though the

resolution isn’t the best, the speed is what you need to quickly check some websites when you’re browsing the mobile web and that’s when Bolt becomes the savior.

7. Gmail: If you have a Blackberry, you probably have a Gmail account too right? Having Gmail on mobile is heavenly. Just the best. Awesome. Can’t stop talking about it.

6. Navita Translator: People are liking translators more than ever these days. I wonder why. But if you like to translate things, Navita is the best translator available in town right now. It by default uses Google Translate to translate things and there’s an option you can change those settings.

5. Dictionary.com: The best dictionary app ever. Apart of a dictionary, it has a Thesaurus too. Works lightning fast and gets you the definitions from the most comprehensive dictionary database of the web. Everyone must have this. 

4. Shazam: (Free until 5 tags a month): Did you wanted to know what’s that song’s name while hearing it on TV, on radio or at a party? Well everyone has that sorta day. Shazam helps there. You click one button and the software will hear the song for a few secs, upload it on the web, match it and within say like 15 seconds you have the song’s name. Works like a charm. With the free version you can have just 5 songs searched per month. The $4.99 version is unlimited.

3. IM+ Lite: An wonderful chat client that connects with your Gtalk, Facebook et al contacts and lets you chat via your smartphone. It’s something that I longed for years, now feels like seventh heaven!

2. Dropbox (Free until 2GB): If you don’t know what’s Dropbox here, read here and then if you think it’s not worth it, you can sue me. The newer version, 1.0, is out and its more AWESOME. A blog post about it in a few days for sure.

1. Snaptu: Did you notice I never mentioned Facebook for Blackberry and Twitter for Blackbbery apps or for that matter, no weather apps? Does that mean I hate social networks? Oh, hell no. I love em. And Snaptu is an awesome app that I’m spending my most time of the day on. It has Twitter, it has Facebook. Has a few more social networking plugins. It has a widget to see the weather, a dictionary widget (though the above mentioned dictionary.com app is always the best) is also around. And then there are news widgets – Guardian, LifeHacker, all… It’s like another world of apps inside a Blackberry app and mind me, you don’t wanna miss this! Everyone who spends some time on social networks and reads a bit of news on the web, Snaptu is the way to go. And hey, there are widgets for live cricket/football scores too!

And that should be it. I’ve a few more apps not worth missing but this is the top 10. However, if you’re a wordpress blogger, I’d recommend you use WordPress for Blackberry. It’s amazing and you can do almost everything on the go that you do on the web.

If you think I missed some awesome app, fire in that as a comment and let me know. Ciao!

In Pictures…

Written by rahulbhagchandani

December 22, 2010 at 3:54 pm

Hands-on with Chrome OS

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Day before yesterday I finally got down to some testing business with the Chromium operating system and here’s my report on how it went with the prototype operating system which can well and truly be the future of computing.

Tempted, eh? Just in case if you’re late to catch the news on Chrome OS, read my first thoughts and then you can go through my quick tutorial on how to try the operating system right now.

To be clear, this ain’t the Cr-48s that Google is giving away. Neither is this “the” actual Chrome OS. But Chrome is built on open source Chromium engine and all builds are one and the same except the developing team. Used here was the stable release of Hexxeh’s Chromium OS on the the following hardware…

A Lenovo ThinkPad powered with Intel Centrino processor clocked at 1.80GHz, a gigabyte of RAM and a 120 gigabytes of hard disk storage. As far as Chromium goes, it barely requires high end hardware. Why? Well, the operating system is just a browser afterall and so, just wonder how much resources a browser would eat up? Well not much anyway.

However, the Chrome OS notebooks, the Cr-48s manufactured by Google do boast specific hardware – a specially designed notebook powered with an Intel Atom processor clocked at 1.66GHz alongside two gigs of RAM. A unusable (for now) 16GB SSD (solid-state drive) and also a memory card slot (again, not usable).

The apps

Speaking of my experience with the Chromium, lets start with the upsides first.

THE UPSIDES

  1. The boot time was fantastic. Cr-48s as suggested by various users takes around 20 secs to load. This Hexxeh build took like 30secs to take me to the Log in screen and then 5 secs from there to the browser. The compactness of the browser makes it power efficient too.
  2. The concept of cloud is in itself very niche. The fact that you never loose your work – your documents is pretty much “the dream”.

Regardless of those facts, there are downsides too. And there are a million ones. I, despite that fact, am gonna mention a few important ones.

THE DOWNSIDES

  1. Trackpad: Just as Techcrunch’s MG Siegler mentioned, the trackpad software with Chromium engines really needs a boost up. Its just too slow to be called as a trackpad. For one it takes a million years to reach to other end of the window from any other end. Now this same trackpad works like a *charm* on Windows 7 installed on the machine. Which explains there ain’t any hardware error but a software one and its just tad too disappointing. (In case if you wondered, yes I did tweak the possible mouse settings, did set the sensitivity to a maximum but nothing actually helped.)
  2. Performing sub-basic tasks: Sub-basic tasks like taking a screenshot (I somehow figured it out later on though you can only take one screenshot at a time – if you want more, you have to rename the file name, which again is a horrendous taks cos accessing files on Chromium isn’t as simple as you think, and then you can take another screenshot. For the third screenshot, you gotta repeat the entire process) and playing media were more hard than

    The files download alright though there's no way to run them

    learning a lesson of Quantum Physics. I used digicam finally to get the screenshots, and used my native dell machine to do the music servings. Another sub-basic tasks include mounting removable drives (as mentioned, no way you can use external drives), taking quick notes (Notepad on Windows) etc etc.

  3. The speed: Even if this OS is a bloody browser, I wonder why it acts so erratically. Tabs take more time than on any other machine, very frequent hangs are more than enough for you to get all annoyed. Heavier websites and worse and let alone speakint about flash based websites.

“Restrictions” is the major problem here. The fact that you just have a browser and nothing ahead of it makes the OS kinda lame. Just as I mentioned, its a PITA to play media files. Its a pain to take quick notes, and its a PITA to access documents from some alien media (flash and optical).

As I’ve already mentioned, the idea of cloud computing is good enough but is the idea of present Cr-48 good enough? No it’s not. Not even if Cr-48’s are available for a meager $300. Why not buy an iPad instead, eh? You can browse the web and well, that is pretty much everything possible on a Chromium machines. The idea that you couldn’t do if you have no internet is very poor. How about power failures? Downtime? That is why the native Cr-48 come with a 100MB free Verizon data. But what if your country has no Verizon? Arey what if your country has no proper Wifi infrastructure?

The cloud computing model is awesome, sadly the Cr-48 model is no good. It’s very good as a research prototype but is just not commercially viable. Not even at $200. Not at least this version.

It is expected that Google will go commercial somewhere early in 2011, which explains the early testing they’ve undertaken. The expectations were high but you see everything’s all shattered. Let’s hope that the unused 16GB SSD and memory ports are used to a good cause in the next update of Chrome notebook.

A whole lotta photos of Chrome OS to come up soon, in some next post. Wait for it…

P.S.: With the help of @Mistcrafter, I somehow managed to install the Linux filemanager Nautilus on Chrome OS. Right now, I’m trying to take some print outs from this bastard. And yeah, you can’t take out prints from this unless its via cloud prints and well these cloud printers then again are dependent on normal machines – the easy ones boasting “real” operating systems. So cloud printing also sounds lame, at least right now.

Written by rahulbhagchandani

December 21, 2010 at 12:51 am

Know your passwords well

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I found this lovely website right now and couldn’t help not share it. It’s called… well, wait for it.

Before getting down to sharing the website, I’d like to share a tip of making the best, easiest to remember and “the” strongest password ever.

There might be a million posts done on how to choose the strongest of passwords but I’ll get down to topic at the speed of a tracer bullet.

You see to choose “the” best password, first things first, you need to have a nice statement/sentence/catchphrase or something alike in your mind – something that you could easily remember, any normal yet unique for you sentence. Let’s say the sentence which you can easily remember is…

Hey, what’s up? I am wondering if there is someway out to choose the best password?

Once you have the line, majority of the job is done. Now become a bit clever and take the first letters of each word in the line to make your password. Use punctuations, underscores and numbers to make it a hell more stronger. Like the above line can be used to generate (and easily remember) the following passwords…

hwuiamwitisotctbp – Easy, nuts.

h,wu?iamwitisotctbp? – Ah, nice, progress.

h,wu?1mw_itisotctbp? – There you go, this should be it. Notice the underscore used just to put more emphasis in the sentence and of course make the password a lot stronger.

I’ve been using this trick for years and all you need to do is remember a sentence. If you just become awesomely clever and use special characters with some out of the box imagination, you can even dare to write down the line somewhere just in case if you forgot – the fact that its just you who knows where to use which special characters keeps your password totally secure. Right now you may think – this is not that easy. But mind me, its god damn easy. YEah!

So how to know if you’re password is strong enough? Well that brings us back to the starting of the post… the wait for it part.

I found this website – http://howsecureismypassword.net/

Make a new password now as suggested and try it with the above mentioned website. Make it as stronger as possible.

FYI,

for the first suggested password hwuiamwitisotctbp – a normal desktop PC will take about 3 billion years to crack open the password via brute force according to the above shared website.

for the second suggested password h,wu?iamwitisotctbp?a normal desktop PC will take about 8 quintillion years to crack open the password via brute force according to the above shared website.

for the third suggested password h,wu?1mw_itisotctbp?a normal desktop PC will take about 20 quintillion years to crack open the password via brute force according to the above shared website.

my password btw will need about 1,609,824 nonillion years :p

Written by rahulbhagchandani

December 19, 2010 at 6:38 am

Posted in How to, Security

Tagged with , ,

Try Chrome OS on any machine

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Google Chrome OS has been making the news columns since awhile now and Google is infact giving away free Chrome Notebooks for beta testing, however only if you’re in US.

So what if you’re outta US? Or what if you don’t wanna wait for your name to be randomly selected from all those million requests?

Well, here’s how you can give Google Chrome OS a try and you don’t even need any additional hardware.

But of course, you’ll need a 2-gig flash drive (USB drive) as far as hardware goes.

Download this image – this is a stable and tested build. If you are looking for something more adventurous, you can download some dirty, untested builds of the same here.

But take my word and go for the stable release. The dirty ones turned out to be really dirty for me. Wasted like hours, let alone some precious bandwidth.

After you’re done downloading image, use Win32 Disk Imager to burn this to a 2-gig flash drive. Download Win32 Imager here.

Once burnt, restart your PC and change the boot settings of the BIOS at the restart. Usually this can be done by pressing F12 key. Alter the boot priorities and make USB HDD the first choice preference.

Plug in the USB and you should be all set to go.

An image like the one on right will welcome you. You should have an ethernet connection to log in. Well, wifi didn’t particularly work well and it won’t, at least the first time. But once logged in, you can alter the settings and browse via wifi.

Log in with your Google account and if you don’t have one, make one before starting the procedure it.

And there you go, here’s a browser which in fact, is an, Operating system!

To be clear, this isn’t actually *the* Chrome OS. Chrome OS is for now running only on its particular hardware. However, this is just like Chrome OS. Chrome OS is built on an open source project Chromium OS. Anyone can get the source and build a Chrome Os and try it. Or instead of building it yourself, you can follow this simple procedure and play with it!

Wait for tomorrow when I come up with a full Google Chrome OS hands on .

P.S.

1.) 2-gig flash drives are alright but I’d recommend to use one with a bigger capacity. Some forums did point issues with flash drives of 2-gigs. I personally tried it on an 8-gig drive.

2.) There seems to be some issues with Dell machines. And so if you’re a Dell user, it is recommended not to waste time and bandwidth of yours for now cos it just won’t work.

Written by rahulbhagchandani

December 17, 2010 at 11:27 pm

Posted in Chrome Notebook/OS, How to

Tagged with , , ,

Why won’t “Assange” trend on Twitter?

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2140 IST (1610 GMT).

And again. Last week #wikileaks didn’t trend on Twitter and today after Wikileaks founder Assange was granted bail by a UK court, millions of tweets flourished on the micro-blogging site with the word “assange” but there was no sign whatsoever of “assange” on Twitter trending topics. Not even slightly.

In response to the allegations that Twitter was censoring wikileaks from trending topics, Twitter officially released a statement reading,

Twitter is not censoring #wikileaks, #cablegate or other related terms from the Trends list of trending topics.

Our Trends list is designed to help people discover the ‘most breaking’ breaking news from across the world, in real-time. The list is generated by an algorithm that identifies topics that are being talked about more right now than they were previously.

There’s a number of factors that may come into play when seemingly popular terms don’t make the Trends list. Sometimes topics that are popular don’t break into the Trends list because the current velocity of conversation (volume of Tweets at a given moment) isn’t greater than in previous hours and days. Sometimes topics that are genuinely popular simply aren’t widespread enough to make the list of top Trends. And, on occasion, topics just aren’t as popular as people believe.

To which I would frankly say, dear @twitter, it is pretty much clear that you are censoring assagne from the list. Well it is obviously popular right now, as of this moment. It is indeed the most breaking of the breaking of the breaking news. And then I’ve a technical backing that suggests assange got more popular right now than he (the word) was since after December 7. See the following chart from trendistic.com.

How clear is this now?

So I ask, what excuse does Twitter has now? Because the already mentioned statement doesn’t suffice the current situation.

What say?

Update, 2155IST

See the updated chart from Trendistic.

On December 7, 1.28% of tweets carried the word “assange” and right now, 1.25% are. Compared to the older chart (top), the percentage of tweets has dramatically increased in the last thirty minutes or so. The current top trending topic is #sjwinner on Twitter (worldwide), though it is having only a meager percentage of 0.26%.

Written by rahulbhagchandani

December 14, 2010 at 9:40 pm

Posted in Twitter, Wikileaks

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The best ever free antivirus suite

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One question that I many a times encounter from people is, “What is the best antivirus suite?” To which I have given fluctuating answers since awhile. I used to give suggestions based on the user’s usage of the machine, usage of the web and of course the importance of the data their machines held. But that was only until last year when I finally found an antivirus program that was totally anti-annoying, and fulltoo cool.

Before that, though I tried antivirus (security) suites I never stuck on one. You see, then, these suites more than keeping your system secure were meant for annoying you, frustrating you and making you all nauseous because of all-time popping pop-ups, continuous offers of kinky upgrades, and freakishly perky behavior when some bad ware was detected.

Now I don’t say it wasn’t a bad thing after all. But the annoyance index was bad and so I never used an antivirus system.

And then I found Avira Antivir Personal. This lil awesome bastard is the KING of antivirus programs. It generated all the attention somewhere back in 2o08 when it’s free version was rated better than the paid versions of Norton, Kaspersky et al.

And since then I’ve been using and recommending this program to one and all. It’s free, it’s awesome. No bloody colored interface that makes your eyes all blur. No freaking pop-ups. Yeah there are pop-ups but only when required, the important ones.

The concept behind Avira is – simplicity. They haven’t tried to be sheeny and as far as detection goes, well it’s pretty awemazing. The free version is par Norton and all others any day. You shouldn’t even care about viruses hitting your files if you have Avira resting in your system.

And while I’m talking about antiviruses, I should speak some words about firewall too right? Okay then.

I think personally that Windows Firewall does more than enough job for a normal PC user but if you are very worried about your computer’s security, I’d suggest you to not shell bucks for some firewall or suite but I’d suggest you use ZoneAlarm Free.

Zone Alarm has been around for like years and it’s been the top firewall ever since. My cousin is a B2B ISP and well he uses Zone Alarm Free for his server machines. Take that as an advise!

So then, if you’re looking for a security suite, Avira and Zone Alarm should be it. Love them tender and download them now…

Download Avira here.
Download Zone Alarm here.

Update: Never get me started on the system resources that other antivirus suites use. I missed babbling about that part! Avira and ZoneAlarm FYI are right now using 1604K and 4876K of memory and these are in fairness real good numbers for security programs. So in case if you had second thoughts about the suggested programs, don’t. They unlike other security programs don’t slow your machine.

Written by rahulbhagchandani

December 13, 2010 at 11:17 pm

Posted in Windows

Tagged with , , ,

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