Thursday, December 17, 2009

Ovi Suite

I have yet to use Ovi Suite, released from Nokia. Apparently, it's the successor to PC Suite, and the major reason why I haven't gotten around to using it is because it's around 90MB big (I have DSL btw, but laziness has gotten the better of me).



Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Rumors, or is Google actually serious?

Turns out Google is actually coming ot with it's own phone! It's based on the Android 2.1 operating system, with hardware from HTC. Rumors are surfacing on the internet, and they started showing up a few days ago, actually.

Click on the post title to read more.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Kanye West, Charlie, Baloon Boy...

I'm not even going to explain this. Someone created a mashup of popular cult - easily found on Youtube, and on television.

Office 2010 Beta - out (and for free too!)



I'll make this a quick one: in case you haven't followed the blogosphere, the Office 2010 beta is out. And as with Windows 7's release candidate versions, this is free! Microsoft will ask you to sign in, and long story short, it'll give you the license key to use with the software, and a link for downloading.

Office itself is around 700MB in size, additional files will increase the download obviously.

What's new? It's an iteration of Office 2007 (similar to what Windows 7 is to Vista). Got new graphics, layouts, animations (page transitions, that is) and a few other things. Haven't been able to check everything as of yet, but I liked the Technical Preview (I got access to the Technical Preview from Microsoft out of the blue).

The direct download link (not sure if they'll allow direct links, or need a Microsoft page referral, but here it is anyway): https://profile.microsoft.com/RegSysProfileCenter/wizard.aspx?wizid=402f9246-461c-4a79-bb8d-2f794a83fa4d&lcid=1033&ci=393

Are scary movies actually scary?





The other day, I watched Paranormal Activity on the recommendation of a friend.

Now while everyone says it's the scariest piece of work they've seen in a while, I'll say "I've seen better". Admittedly, there were a few places where the movie gave a somewhat eerie feel, but nothing that would make me adore the movie's brilliance. Read more

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Is LUMS really all that pure and worth it?

A blog post that I managed to snap from Facebook regarding the plight of the students in LUMS, one of the top-notch universities in the country.

The sad part is that people are being rebels - not just socially, but religiously, crossing the boundaries of what should happen and what is an outright indecent move. Clearly, these guys haven't heard of "Do in Rome as the Romans would do".

The blog post is a litte long, and those from the Pakistani background would probably find a few interesting things about LUMS (and a video in which a person is trying to dirty dance... and she fails, MISERABLY!).

Let Us Build Pakistan: Love Life at LUMS

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Nickelback - If Today Was Your Last Day

I don't generally listen to songs with their lyrics and all - I'm more along the lines of good music over lyrics. But this time, it's slightly different. And Nickelback's done that.

I wouldn't say I'm a fan of Nickelback, but the lyrics struck me (psst - that's another thing I don't do much about my life anyway :P ). Here are the lyrics to the song and the video.

Video (which I don't own; all content is owned by their respective copyright owners and I don't have anything to do with it)


Nickelback - If Today Was Your Last Day from Nickelback on Vimeo.

My best friend gave me the best advice
He said each day's a gift and not a given right
Leave no stone unturned, leave your fears behind
And try to take the path less traveled by
That first step you take is the longest stride

If today was your last day and tomorrow was too late
Could you say goodbye to yesterday?
Would you live each moment like your last
Leave old pictures in the past?
Donate every dime you had, if today was your last day?
What if, what if, if today was your last day?

Against the grain should be a way of life
What's worth the price is always worth the fight
Every second counts 'cause there's no second try
So live like you're never living twice
Don't take the free ride in your own life

If today was your last day and tomorrow was too late
Could you say goodbye to yesterday?
Would you live each moment like your last?
Leave old pictures in the past?
Donate every dime you had?

And would you call those friends you never see?
Reminisce old memories?
Would you forgive your enemies?
And would you find that one you're dreaming of?
Swear up and down to God above
That you'd finally fall in love if today was your last day?

If today was your last day
Would you make your mark by mending a broken heart?
You know it's never too late to shoot for the stars
Regardless of who you are

So do whatever it takes
'Cause you can't rewind a moment in this life
Let nothing stand in your way
'Cause the hands of time are never on your side

If today was your last day and tomorrow was too late
Could you say goodbye to yesterday?
Would you live each moment like your last?
Leave old pictures in the past?
Donate every dime you had?

And would you call those friends you never see?
Reminisce old memories?
Would you forgive your enemies?
And would you find that one you're dreaming of
Swear up and down to God above
That you'd finally fall in love if today was your last day?

Monday, September 21, 2009

Eid Mubarak

After bidding a farewell to Ramadaan, it is now time for Eid.

Eid Mubarak, everyone. Meanwhile, we'll try figuring out why Pakistan still has two Eids...

Saturday, September 19, 2009

5320's handy search

And here's another bit of the 5320's review.

Last night, I discovered that my phone is actually pretty nifty when it comes to searching for files and folders. And for free, too! Click on the post to read more.

Facebook now lets you login via your username

Title says it all. You can now login using your username - the same username you've chosen for your profile.

If you haven't, then... I'm not sure. But it's definitely quicker than typing your email address again.

Facebook

Telenor Pakistan's Customer Support Initiative - via SMS

When using *444# to inquire about the balance, I got the message that the SMS bundles won't be available for Eid, but right after that, it said "SMS queries to 346".


Click on the post to read more


Sunday, September 13, 2009

Jailbroken iPhone 3.1?

I came across this link just now on Redmond Pie that has a FAQ on jailbreaking and the iPhone. Apparently, a quick runthrough of the FAQ revealed you can't jailbreak the iPhone in all cases - read more to find out. (it's pretty in-depth, I'll say, but still not a reason for me to use the fancy-yet-limited touch-screen phone).

See you (hopefully) in a few days, when I post something again.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Reduced posting frequency

I'm afraid I won't be able to keep up with the previous posting level that I had maintained, due to a number of reasons (one of them being that my university has started, and I've got lots of other work to do). Hence, I regret I won't be able to post as much as I should (or would like to).

N-gage on the 5320

The N-gage service works like a charm on the Nokia 5320, another reason to buy the phone. Since N-gage's decline, Nokia decided to take a bold step: make it available on other devices. From what I've read, this is the only music phone WITH a keypad to support not only the S60 platform, but N-gage too.

Visiting N-gage's site will give you details on whether your phone supports the N-gage platform, and where you can download it. Since my phone came with it preloaded with two N-gage games (SIMS 2: Pets and Creatures of the Deep: Hooked On), I managed to get my hands dirty - except there is a caveat - the games were trial only. Some games let you play for a certain number of levels, others didn't.

There are cracked versions of the N-gage games, but not all work with this phone. Some may give an error, others won't. It's a trial-and-error, and the reason cited for this is because the phone is a feature-pack 2 phone, and the games haven't been cracked for this software release as of yet. (In order to play cracked games, you need to go through a process called "hacking" on your Symbian phone, which involves installing a program. A firmware update or a phone reset erases those "hacks").

While I go on hunting for more (trial) games, I guess you can wait for another segment of the Nokia 5320's review.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Facebook, finally with SMS notifications

I just saw this pop up in my account - Facebook will let us use SMS as an alert-based service. Interesting.

From what I've gathered right now, you can get alerts for wall posts, pokes, comments, inbox messages and a few other things. Oh, and if you want, you can subscribe to someone's status feed by typing in their name either via SMS or the web interface.

The service works with Warid, Mobilink and Telenor in Pakistan. I'm sure they have support for other operators abroad.

And this comes amid my decreased usage of Facebook. Interesting, indeed.

The (Xpress)Music in Nokia 5320

 (I know it's later than a day, but it was unavoidable).

The Nokia 5320 is an XpressMusic (XM, from here onwards) phone, and it does boast a pretty nifty musical experience. For starters, here's what I noted.

When you hook up the phone to the PC, you have the option to either go into the PC Suite mode, or a hard disk mode. There are two others, but not related with music. The hard disk mode will work everywhere (and when you are in the hard disk mode, the phone doesn't go offline, as was the case with some N-series phones).

After putting in your music, when you launch the music player, it sometimes detected new music and asked you to refresh - sometimes it doesn't, and you have to manually refresh. This takes around a minute or so if you've used alot of the space on your memory card (I have a 1GB card that came with the package).

After scanning, you can create playlists or listen artist-wise or all songs, or listen to the podcasts (separate service). The music plays fine, without glitches, although the response isn't instant when you forward/rewind (it takes up to half a second to act upon... maybe because it's symbian). If you forward a track, it takes almost a second to start playing the next track, but if you leave the player alone, it takes a split of a second to switch to another track.

The main screen has album art view in it, and you can set your own equalizer settings, amongst from a few other choices. On the track listing view, you can scroll either in normal speed, or a faster speed (press the button again, and it scrolls quickly). Or if you want, search by typing the name of the song!

The N-gage button, if pressed and held, is a "Say and Play" feature. You say the name of the artist, the song title, album or playlist, and it'll play the first track in the pop up list that follows. The speech settings may need to be tweaked in the phone settings before you can get good matches. Since I listen to English music only, I didn't have a problem with many tracks, though some were not recognized.

When forwarding, rewinding or playing/pausing while not in the music player nor on the desktop/standby screen, a small pop up appears telling you what it's doing. A helpful feature if you want to know what the title of the current song is, but it doesn't appear when the songs are in their normal playback.

The phone features a 3.5mm headphone jack - you could use either those pair of earphones that came with the phone, or use your own. I don't like the set that came with the phone because they don't fit in my ears (!), although if you can get them to fit in your ears, the sound quality is quite good indeed.

Nokia says they added a separate audio chip in the phone, and that audio chips certainly shows good results. The loudspeaker doesn't work well with loud volume, as I noted there's a bit of hiss. Lowering the volume a bit solves the problem.

I'd say this is probably better than the walkman phones in the sense that there's a standard headphone jack in the phone (and not as an adapter), and if you use any other pair of earphones, the phone's microphone can be used to answer and make calls - something that many new phones lack capability of. I'd give this a 9/10 for the music, and not full because there are a few (minor) glitches (such as the slow response while changing tracks manually)

Monday, August 31, 2009

"Please stay on the line"

It's a little late, and I haven't written anything more about the Nokia 5320. What I did want to write was about the music features and capability. It's near 1 AM, and I have to wake up early for fasting, and my university starts tomorrow.

So I shall write about the music features in the 5320 tomorrow (technically, today).

Till then.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Nokia 5320: a breakdown

As promised, here's a broken-down review (read: parted review) of the Nokia 5320.

Briefly, these are the specs. I'll write more details in the following posts.


  • Symbian S60 9.3 with the feature-pack 2 operating system
  • Approximately 50MB user memory, with around 80MB free memory for RAM. MicroSD card supported (I got a 1GB one with my pack)
  • It's an XpressMusic (XM) phone, meaning you get the rewind/forward/play functionality
  • It's also a device that supports the N-Gage gaming platform (you have to unlock the games for full functionality)
  • It features a 3.5mm headphone jack, and an environmentally-friendly charger which consumes approximately 10% of the energy typical chargers consume when not charging the phone (but connected in the wall socket)
  • The USB is not a micro-USB port, but rather, something even smaller. So if you're planning to use your digital camera's wire, don't; it won't work. They've supplied a cable with it.
  • Bluetooth 2.0 with Enhanced Data Rate and Audio Profiles
  • The phone supports 2G/2.5G/2.75G/3G/HSPDA with two-way camera (one of them is a 2 megapixel camera).
  • Battery life, on the other hand, isn't quite up to par. If you're using it for music and basic calling and texting, it should last you around two days or maybe up to three, but if you'll be running applications heavily, make sure you recharge atleast every night (the typical Symbian problem)
  • Because this is a FP2 phone, it does include some operating system tweaks and changes (which can be read here, a review done by Mobile Review).
I guess these are the basics. More to come soon.

OSX's.. huh?

(I need to stop my Apple thrashing)

I'm not going to go into the details, but

a) people are not getting what they paid for - they're not getting the "up-to date" version of OSX. See Twitter here

b) the malware protection offers protection from... two types of malware. Yes, two. While something's better than nothing, the Windows counterparts offer MUCH more than just two pieces of malware. Great going, Apple. You certainly know how to please customers :/

Wow. Just wow!

Nokia N900 - now we're talking.

It's not Symbian - it's Linux. My first Linux smart phone was the Motorola E680i, and that was quite a nice experience (yes, it lacked a few things, but I got it for free), and now, Nokia's come out with the N900. You can read alot about it from the internet (as well as their website) but BetaNews has it here.

I'd love to get my hands on that gizmo, I tell ya.

Friday, August 28, 2009

More Apple idioticness

Remember the last few posts about me not liking Apple for it's actions? Apparently, this time, they've nailed one of their rock-bottom incidents. They say it's not their fault if one of their devices burn up and explode. Uh-huh, it's not their fault.

That's like Sarah Palin saying "I can see Russia from my house!" (see the Youtube link for the SNL video snip).

Via BetaNews, an Apple spokesperson said


"To date, there are no confirmed battery overheating incidents for iPhone 3GS and the number of reports we are investigating is in the single digits," an Apple spokesperson told the AFP. The report goes on to say that cracking in iPhone glass cases is due to a phenomenon it has termed "external force."

Ain't that sweet? Well, you know what - if you really love your customers (which you CLEARLY don't), then why not do something kind for them instead of bricking your wall to a lousy operator in the countries the iPhone is sold, build a genuine interface and not copy Creative, and get a life? I'm sure you'll get tons of praises then.

Sorry guys, but I just don't seem to approve of Apple's actions.

Refresh-frenzy

Has it ever occured to you that you, more often than not, right click on the desktop window and hit "Refresh"? Te other day, I was at the admissions office at my university, and while glancing to a PC nearby, I could see a person doing this constantly.

I don't know what objective they had, nor what this action seems to achieve except psychological ease, but certainly, it's one thing that irritates the hell outta me! When the computer wants to refresh, it will refresh. Stop putting additional load on it by forcing it to refresh every other second!

There! First quirk on the blog, and first rant of the blog too!

Ufone's blocked Gmail, Hotmail and Yahoo... great going!

In a recently-discovered scheme, Ufone customers aren't able to get email from their Gmail, Hotmail nor Yahoo email accounts. Not sure why, though these three companies are quite popular worldwide (it should be noted that Gmail recently took over AOL in terms of subscribers, so clearly, it's not on which company's popular. The method of receiving email over cellphones is by forwarding/composing a message to a unique email address alloted to your phone (in other words, an email-to-SMS gateway). 


ProPakistani writes
Ufone has also blocked Gmail from their ‘Email To SMS Service’. So! technically speaking; now people who use Gmail, Hotmail and Yahoo can’t send Email to SMS messages to their buddies.
 So far, Zong hasn't blocked it. Could it be a glitch?

You can read the full article here.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

More soon

Pardon my absense, but I've been going up and down in terms of health. I think I'm recovering again from another one of those stomach issues.

But don't fret, when I do return, there'll be more, and a mini review of Nokia 5320 XpressMusic.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

The Crackberry is tougher than the iPhone

Yes, you read right: the iPhone and the Blackberry slipped off a car's top.

Result: the iPhone broke. The Blackberry had some bruises here and there, but it would function. Apple, on the other hand, believes robustness is not needed to compete in the market.

You can read the whole article here.

Not that I hate Apple (because I don't like Blackberry either), but Apple seems to be messing around waaay too much. In recent news, Apple, AT&T and Google replied to the FCC with their version.

Sorry for  not being up to things - I was ill for the last few days. Hopefully, it'll get better.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Calling friends from work? You could be unhappy with your work


According to an article published by the BBC, research states that with 95% accuracy, they were able to determine who was happy and who wasn't - all based on who they talk to.

The article says,

The results also showed that those with friends near work were happier, while those who called friends while at work were less satisfied.
The article also said that they had a logging software installed on the participants' phones... just wondering how their privacy was maintained is interesting on it's own.

Read the full article over here.

PTCL woes - yet again

You'd probably think I'm some retarded spaz. I'm not, just in case.

The reason I'm writing this is because I'm sick down to the butt with PTCL.

First of all, they have filtering software installed on their DSL gateways (not modems, but the machines at their end) which not only slows things down, but stalls web page loading especially at the evenings and nights.

Secondly, other ISPs are charging the same fee that PTCL is charging, except PTCL doesn't include the tax amount. For instance, all other DSL providers in Rawalpindi and Islamabad charge Rs. 1200 per month, which is already the after-tax amount. That's not the case with PTCL.

Thirdly, I was overbilled for the last month - by around Rs. 700 extra. I'm not the only person - one of the guards at the office of the customer support premises had asked me whether DSL was the issue or not, and I said it was. So I'm not alone (yaay!).

Fourthly, they make their customers run from one exchange to another, to another, to another, and eventually, you hit a dead end, only to realize that a part of the problem was fixed.

I'm seriously thinking of ditching PTCL's DSL service and opting for another company in Rawalpindi and Islamabad that has a track record of doing things right on the first go (i.e. Micronet Broadband - dsl.net.pk).

All I have to to is gather some money for the modem, then... meanwhile, wish me good luck!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Twitter users in Pakistan can now tweet and receive tweets!

I came across this website, Mob2weet, which lets users in Pakistan use Twitter via SMS over their cellphone - all for the price of a typical SMS cost. The website provides the service for free, but outgoing SMS rates apply.

It's pretty simple - they haven't used 0Auth yet (which is Twitter's authorization system, but they expect to by tomorrow i.e. 19th August 2009) but you can safely sign in with your credentials.

Here's how it works briefly: you send an sms with your registration details to a specific number (they have network specific numbers, but you're free to choose which number you pick) and once your registration is confirmed, you'll get all tweets from your Home screen.

Don't want to receive updates from a specific user? Send "off " to the number, and those alerts will be turned off. Sending "off" will disable all alerts.

You can even DM your fellow friends, and receive them too.

I know this service will help reduce the SMS email costs that I have to pay Telenor - since it's a perfectly good alternative to receiving news on your cellphone for free.

So far, all networks are supported, but the code for Telenor subscribers isn't up yet (you can use another telco's number instead - since it won't make a difference).

The website isn't much - it only gives you instructions. I guess they're trying to get the SMS service up and running first, then possibly make a front-end later on. But it definitely looks promising (and I went WOOHOO! on Twitter today). They're also on Twitter too!

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Eliminate noise from your phone with an anti-static bag

According to an article by Lifehacker and Into Mobile, if you can find an anti-static bag around your house, you can remove that humming noise from your cell phone. I know th Razr is plagued with this noise if you have the lights turned on, but my soon-to-be-sold K790i by SonyEricsson doesn't have this problem (or I've gone deaf).

What is an antistatic bag? Have you ever bought a piece of hardware and gotten a silver bag that's quite dense? THAT is an antistatic bag. According to the article,

Simply sitting your mobile phone in top of an anti-static bag will squash all magnetic interference. The next time your speakers start buzzing because your homies are blowin’ up the cellie, just find that shiny silver bag and place it over the 

You can see the video below.


Saturday, August 15, 2009

DSL woes

And that's why I was unable to post for the last few days.

It so happens that I had moved the PC from one room to another, and the DSL modem refused to work in the other room. The wiring is a bit too complicated to tell, but it was a rather bizzare scenario: let's say, it was working perfectly some 3 months back, and now, it wasn't.

I'll try catching up on what I've missed, so excuse this. Meanwhile, I'll enjoy the much-needed rain in the twin cities, after Pakistan's independence day.

Oh - and Happy (belated) Independence Day! :D

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Google and Caffeine

Almost ironical my blog's name has Caffeine too!

Anyway, it's pretty much still hot, and everywhere - I mean - even the BBC has a story on this!

In a crux: it's Google's new search engine. Some say it leaves Bing behind, some say nothing (like myself, since I haven't used it properly yet).

Google says (via BBC - I'm a bit too lazy to check out their blog :P ) that it is the "first step in improving the speed, accuracy and comprehensiveness of search results".

Basically, the result order/layout, it's "freshness" or "recency" of articles and other under-the-hood things have been improved. Caffeine will replace the main search engine once testing is complete.

Well - either way, I think I'll still use Google heh. This isn't making me drool more, but improvements are welcome.

EDIT: BetaNews has an article on what's different in Caffeine. Take a look here.

Suu Kyi verdict

Credit: Stuart Isett via Flickr

I'm not into politics, but I've supported the pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi, who has been put under another house arrest in the military-controlled Burma (or Myanmar, as some may prefer). This time, she was put under house arrest (for another 18 months, I think) for violating a previous house-arrest condition: that she won't accompany any visitors to her house. An American, however, came and allegedly stayed at her place.

Who's right and who's wrong is not my job, but it is sad to see that a military government doesn't recognize the sad state it's country has plunged into.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

If you have your boss added on Facebook as a friend...

... just make sure this doesn't happen. Ever.



via Imgurl

Monday, August 10, 2009

Translation Party

There's a new site in town - Translation Party. It's one of those sites that help you see whether your English phrase meets a totally wrong translation after repeated translation. They use Google's translation bot to convert text into Japanese, then back into English, and back into Japanese and so on, until they find an equilibrium (both translations yield the same message).

It's fun to fool around with. I know typing in "xbox" gives around 40-something results, and then gives you "However, copy, Xbox, copy of a copy of all" as the ultimatum.

Now where did it get that from?!

TechCrunch noted that by typing "May the Force be with you" gives "October 5 power, to please".

Not productive, I know, but fun to play with.

Friday, August 7, 2009

My first follower!

Yay! I guess I am happy LOL! I've been trying to get people to read my blogs and comment on it (but I'm doing something majorly wrong - so wrong I don't know what it is) but today, I saw I have more than one follower (yes, for some unknown reason, I added myself as a follower and can't "unfollow" myself.... that's like a dog chasing it's tail!).

Thank you ZJFZMQ7S (although I have NO idea what it means)!

Google Wave - a little more this time

Google Wave has been out for developers for a few weeks now, and I've been one of the fortunate ones to get a test trial of Wave. So far so good, but it's still majorly buggy.

Here's what Wave is, if you ask me: Email + IM + social networking + online collaboration + wiki + discussion groups + widgets, all into one interface, seamlessly integrated.

Why do I say seamlessly? It's because there isn't a separate screen estate for, say, chat and email - you do everything from one sub-window.

Here's a blurred censored screenshot of the Wave interface (you can see the video posted here, which was on day 2 of the Google I/O conference - I only watched 15 minutes of it and started to drool).

Here, you can see the interface shown in the I/O video above - except there are a few advancements (such as bug fixes et al), but what's so special?

It can replace conventional email - not only does it have Gmail's threaded view (conversation view), it also has a contact list with which you add "participants" into your wave (recipients, in other words).

Now others can invite others (although I think in the future, this'll be an option later on to remove participants) so your wave can turn into a tsunami with a multitude of authors and what-not.

Look at the bottom-right: you see tags. There are also folders here - but they act as labels (as in, they're more like the "add label and archive" format, cause you can see them if you click on "All". History and Settings don't work (yet).

On the right hand side is where you see replies to your wave. You can reply normally by clicking on the reply button (or a keyboard shortcut) or have an inline reply (highlight some text, then press "enter" on your keyboard, or the "Reply" button in the interface) (not shown). There are apparently 3 types of replies: child, sibling and something else (I'll update this when I get the names of all three).

If both participants are viewing a wave (that is, if both are online) and one of them is adding a reply (or editing - more on this in a bit), they can actually see what they're typing - in REAL TIME! This means you can quickly answer what they're saying, without having to wait for them to finish (and edit your replies accordingly). There is meant to be an option to change this and show a message similar to "x is typing" instead of the realtime characters, but it's not on right now.

You can edit posts - yes, edit them. This makes it a perfect alternative to Wikis with a commenting system (for e.g., the first post will be the wiki content, and subsequent replies can act as notes/comments). Anyone can edit (right now) if they can see your wave.

You can have bots in your wave -for e.g., there's a "Swedish Bot" in Wave right now (not sure who made it) that automatically edits and posts your English message into a Swedish-accented messages (for e.g., "what are you doing" would become something like "vaat arr you dooing?" - I don't know the exact details, but it should suffice as an example). You've got bouncers in it too (for removing participants) and tons others. You can add gadgets/apps in Wave as well - for instance, someone started a chess game in a wave (and you can reply as a chat thingi).

But because this is a developer preview (translation: alpha, or pre-beta, or broken), there are bugs. The client's crashes seem to have reduced (the only way to report bugs is either on the specific link, or when the client crashes - the report a bug link doesn't work). You can't attach files via the menu (but drag and drop works perfectly from Windows). Groups aren't implemented yet (not sure if they will be) but you can have pseudo-groups in Wave - you add the participants manually (like a mailing list, in which you add 20 people instead of emailing one address). There is a way to make your wave "public", but that's different. Groups aren't always public.

I think that's alot of information. I'm not sure if what I'm doing violates the NDA or not (considering Google's already demoed the project) but I think this info should help put people at ease why Wave is the next big thing, which might put other services out of place (if this gets all it's bugs squashed out). I'm sure I've left out some info (such as the ability to use Wave on the iPhone almost flawlessly - I haven't used it, but those who have say so) so pardon that. If there's anything you'd like to ask, go ahead.

Edit: right now, they use HTTPS for everything, so it's a bit slow.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Apple going really low this time

As if the controversy over Google Voice wasn't enough, and the exploding iPod, Apple decided to put itself more into the limelight - this time, for censoring a dictionary. It's on the internet everywhere, and well - I don't think I'll be adding much if I continue writing. Read the rest of the story here, from Engadget.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Lower your temperature and sleep well

A story covered in the New York Times states that researchers say the optimal temperature for sleeping well is between 60 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit (or between 15 and 26 degrees Celsius), and temperatures other than this can lead to restlessness.


And that's why insomniacs aren't able to sleep well - because their core temperature is higher than the recommended level.
Temperatures in this range, it seems, help facilitate the decrease in core body temperature that in turn initiates sleepiness. A growing number of studies are finding that temperature regulation plays a role in many cases of chronic insomnia. Researchers have shown, for example, that insomniacs tend to have a warmer core body temperature than normal sleepers just before bed, which leads to heightened arousal and a struggle to fall asleep as the body tries to reset its internal thermosta
 In short: a cool room and slightly lower body temperature ensures good sleep... but what if it's already freezing cold? It does make sense we always shiver first in bed, then get it warmed up, yes? Comments welcome.

Photo by oh so e

Effective cover letters raises your chances of getting a job - by a huge margin

I came across this blog post when I was searching for sample cover letters. I have to say, the author has summed up very nicely on what to do and what not to do. One commenter stated that a tiny percentage applies with a cover letter in the "correct format".

What is the correct format? In high school, we were taught the basic format:

Intro (very small)
Point 1 - emphasize
Point 2 - emphasize
Point 3 - emphasize
Conclude.

Cover letters aren't supposed to tell everything about your resume - they include the information the resume doesn't. If you reveal everything about your resume in the cover letter, chances are the person looking at your cover letter won't be very interested when they read your CV. In short - reveal your main highlights, and tell them why you're fit for the job. It's like an interview on paper - not standardized, and must convey the punchline.

Credit: Ask A Manager. View post here

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Apple doesn't want to be liable, and wants you to hush up!

A story from The Times Online has been floating on the internet like hot cakes. In short, a girl had purchased an iPod for almost 150 quid, saw it overheat, dropped it outside, and it flew high up in the air (around 10 feet). When the father went for a refund, he instead got a "letter...stated that, in accepting the money, Mr Stanborough was to “agree that you will keep the terms and existence of this settlement agreement completely confidential”, and that any breach of confidentiality “may result in Apple seeking injunctive relief, damages and legal costs against the defaulting persons or parties”.


(Ellen Stanborough in the picture; Mr. Stanborough was the girl's father) (Picture: from The Times)


Now on such incidents, who'd sign it? Mr. Stanborough didn't, and I wouldn't be surprised. Instead, he played smart, and publicized this method of hushing up customers. Apple, apparently, does not want to be liable (but was willing to give a refund on the condition stated above).


The cause of the explosion was the Li-Ion battery, well known to pack in alot of energy, but at the same time, overheat at times if stressed.

So what does this mean? Does Apple want to protect it's reputation, or does it want to hush up all defects, or both? Either way, they haven't been getting good press lately because of the Google Voice app rejection scandal. I'm not a fan of Apple (because they weren't always original) but this isn't adding that fandom as well. Besides, the iPod is compatible with some players only, and the restrictions that they've got on the player are just appaling! I have a Creative Zen (but that's another story) and did you know Creative filed a lawsuit against Apple for copying their hierarchical interface?



I don't like you Apple, nor did I like you before. Even the iPhone has restricted functionality - WHY CAN'T YOU GET ANYTHING RIGHT?! That said, though I got the Zen for free (long story, and I had never heard of Creative's portable media player line), I like it for it's simplicity and earphones (which are tons better than Apple's).

Monday, August 3, 2009

Avoid traffic jams - drive like a jerk!

This is rather amusing. A research study suggested that if you drive like a jerk, chances are the traffic will keep on flowing.

Physicists at Sweden's Umea University suggested that if you drive like sheep and follow all traffic rules, you'll bump into a traffic jam eventually. But it comes with a warning - don't tailgate, otherwise you'll not only be breaking the law, but you'll increase the chances of an accident, in addition to creating a pile up.

But it still doesn't explain the frequent traffic jams in Pakistan :/

The article says (read more here)

...physicists at Sweden's Umea University found that while we're all taught to obey the traffic rules no matter what, doing so just makes for bottlenecks. Mix in some maverick drivers, however, and suddenly, logjams begin to ease as the percentage of drivers willing to pass on the right or zip past a pack of trundling cars on a two-lane actually help to keep the traffic flowing smoothly.

Ladies and Gentlemen, you now have a reason to not obey traffic rules!

(disclaimer: I won't be responsible for your actions - you're in control of your own actions, not me)

Ads?

Blegh! I can't get the ads to show up properly. Before, there were an absurd number of ads everywhere - hey, I'm allowed because I'm trying to do this seriously! But - anyway, in my quest for neatness (and as you can see, the blog's gotten a fresher theme), something's not going well with the ads. I'm trying to fix it. Knock on wood.

One rival to Google: "Bing-hoo"

Ever since the announcement of Microsoft's and Yahoo's partnership, it's around the blogosphere that there's now only one major rival to Google: and that's Bing.

In the deal (the details can be found everywhere on the internet - use Google ;), Yahoo will replace it's search with Bing (and other changes will take place). This means no more Yahoo! (sob).

Is it for the better or worse? Google thinks it's not good (and they have every reason to be threatened, considering how quickly Bing's gaining momentum in it's market share) and MS/Yahoo think it's good (since this is a market controlled by one major player, and the smaller ones don't really stand a chance without consolidation).

What can I say! Good luck to both companies!

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Aero-like effects on Windows XP

Found this program (and not too long after, Lifehacker posted about it too). Basically, it's a program (no need to install) that helps bring Aero-like effects on Windows XP.

And while you should be aware of the fact that many programs that change your XP appearance can be a drag, this wasn't that much of one... but time will tell (and I know I have a majorly slow computer).

Download the program.

Create a driveway arch in... err - The Sims 2?

I thought it was one of the most ridiculous articles, but then - I don't play the Sims, or it's part 2, nor have I ever played it (so I guess I'm not the right person to passing judgements), but that said, I found this article on Wikihow on how to create a driveway arch.

Really not something I'd do, but is it really of any use? From the description,


An arch makes your house more unique than just dumping a driveway or garage next to it. Here is how to create a driveway arch in Sims 2.
Riiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiight! I think sanity is at an all-time low, with how-to guides topping the list. I know WikiHow's got interesting things now and then, but this... it takes the cake!

Natural Gas shortage? 53 years for the USA

According to The Oil Drum, the amount of natural gas the US has can last for around 53 years.

The article has a few snippets from different American newspapers, and here's an extract from the New York Times

Thanks to new drilling technologies that are unlocking substantial amounts of natural gas from shale rocks, the nation’s estimated gas reserves have surged by 35 percent, according to a study due for release on Thursday.

So what can this mean? The US won't really have to worry for gas - atleast in the short term. If there are any energy crises, then I guess they could do some sharin' and carin'!

Back to Izotope Ozone - again!

If there's anyone who's disorganized, it's me.

One of my previous posts spoke about multiband compressors and how you can make Winamp sound better. True, I like SoundSolution, but over prolonged usage, I noted that it hogged alot of CPU. Why, I don't know. Many forums praise the creator of SoundSolution that it's an all-rounder plugin with low latency, but for some reason or another, I've got very high latency with the preset that I uploaded.

I don't know if it's a preset-related thingy, but I moved back to my first love, Izotope Ozone. After fiddling with the presets for ages and ages, I've come to a final preset file (see the link below). It's not as power-hungry as SoundSolution, and has some sweetness in it too (as well as some open-ness).

And I realized multiband compressors are nothing unless certain frequencies are harmonized (or "harmonified") - go ahead and listen to my preset and hopefully, you should have some sweet, consistent sound coming from your (even low-end pathetic) speakers.

Get the preset here.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Google Wave

I managed to get my hands on a Google Wave account yesterday. It's tons of fun - but waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay too overwhelming. I don't think I'm allowed to reveal any screenshots as such, but what I can say is that it's still buggy.

So how would I put Google Wave as? Let's say Facebook + IM + Email + Wikis + Collaborations + widgets/apps... not sure, but I think it pretty much redefines "social".

So far, it's slow as well, but that's probably because it's using HTTPS.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Webmail: I R TEH WIN

Sometime back (I don't know when, it just popped in front of me today), Lifehacker conducted a poll with it's readers, asking them whether they use a desktop-based email client or web-based.

Result? 54% like web-based.

Surprising? I don't think so. I know if I use Outlook express, I won't get the conversation view in Gmail, I'll have to reconfigure it everytime I reinstall Windows (which is - well - whenever it's half-life has reached)

See this Lifehacker post for more.

Image:

Of multiband compressors and sound

There are so many people who hate multiband processing on their audio (just check out the internet forums - they all say that unprocessed music is brill) but I think otherwise - only if you can get the right sound.

It's tough to say how to get the right sound, because it involves ALOT of patience, and a good ear. If you don't have either, then ask someone else to do it for you.

In my previous posts, you've seen I've mentioned Izotope Ozone and Cakewalk Sonitus:FX as two multiband compressors. Both are great in their own sense (Ozone has a bunch of tools integrated into one interface, while Sonitus:FX has separate plugins for different tools - not integrated).
 Izotope Ozone 4 - you can see 6 modules in one, but there are more features than meets the eye.

Both are professional, and not for free (though personally, I prefer Ozone for it's ease of use and sound quality, but Sonitus:FX because they have a 5-band compressor... Ozone has 4 bands)

 
The Cakewalk Sonitus:FX suite (note - you can use one plugin at a time instead of having to use all modules)


Anyway, I've literally wasted ALOT of time trying to get the best sound for my compressor, but in vain each time. One of the local stations sounds very nice and sweet (heard Absolute Radio and BBC's Radio 1? Some TV channels sound as sweet and sharp too) and I've been trying to get a preset like that, but for a very long time, I guess I was either looking in the wrong direction, or did something miserably wrong!

I searched the net continuously, and eventually came across posts saying the big commercial stations used a product from Optimod. Now I can't pay to get something like that, so I came across another multiband compressor called Sound Solution (make sure you get version 1.3, and NOT 2).

Does it look ugly? Well... let's say - that's one place where it could improve, but it's got a more logical layout than other plugins, and definitely delivers.

The site has TONS of user-contributed presets, and a quick start: put the DLL in Winamp's Plugins folder, and the presets in Winamp's main folder.

I spent a whole day yesterday figuring out which preset to use, and I came across one. It doesn't sound exactly like an Optimod (and I don't know how they sound) but it comes pretty close to a commercial radio station... if you want more treble, you can tweak it further, but this has an appropriate amount of gain, sweetness, bass, ideal amplification (the volume doesn't fluctuate too much, and something that's quiet should stay quiet - you'll probably like this preset if you're very constantly-changing-volume-conscious - something many stations continuously do and sounds awful in terms of consistency).

While I try to figure out a way to upload the preset, I hope this blog post serves you some usefulness.

Preset uploaded - http://shaheer.a.khan.googlepages.com/ss3.dat should be downloaded, and put in the Program Files\Winamp folder)

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

MP3 Repository(ies)

Okay - not exactly an MP3 repository, but it's one of those streaming sites on the net that not only have good quality songs (as in, audio quality) but also have a fairly decent library. Grooveshark is one website that I'll stick to even though Imeem seems to be getting more users now and then. Reason being

1) Grooveshark's got a more simplistic, easy to navigate interface
2) The sound quality on Grooveshark is generally good (as you have the option to report certain songs that have bad quality, thereby ensuring consistency and quality)
3) Unlike Imeem, where you're bound by a 30 second restriction on some files, Grooveshark doesn't have that limitation.

There are stream rippers available on the internet (which will be in another review) and you could use them for both websites, but if you've heard a few songs on Grooveshark and Imeem, you'll know which is the clear winner.


As far as the interface is concerned, I took a screencap of the two sites as of this blog post. See which is more streamlined



Wednesday, July 15, 2009

webty8vf52

webty8vf52

Tasks in Gmail

Many are familiar with the popular Tasks lab feature in Gmail. Well - news is that it's graduated from the Labs and is now a standard feature of Gmail.

As the Gmail Blog states,

We've been continually improving Tasks since it first launched in Labs. We believe simple and fast is best, so we've been working to make Tasks more responsive and get basic interactions working better: we've added mobile and gadget views, made improvements to task editing and management, launched in more languages, and integrated with Google Calendar. We've also added a printable view for those people compelled to do things away from their computers or mobile devices.

Personally, I never used Tasks, but since this is now a standard add-on for all Gmail accounts, doesn't look like I have a choice, eh? But oh well - atleast we now know that there will be more graduates from the Gmail Labs. Good going, Tasks! Well done!

Monday, July 13, 2009

Great Britain - Greater!

I'm not going to say anything. It's obvious, isn't it? :P

Did you know it was sinful to steal electricity?

So here we have this news, coming from Pakistan, that the Islamic clerics made a religious ruling (fatwa) that it is a "sin to steal electricity".

I don't think I'll comment any further, but here's an article from Reuters. What I will say is that a Pakistan power company got this decree made.

A Pakistani power utility has obtained a decree from top Islamic scholars condemning electricity theft, which it says is costing it millions of dollars a year.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

DNS... which one?

So many times have I searched for a decent, fast-resolving DNS server. It's tough to find one that fits all these qualities. But before you ask what DNS is, why not head over here and familiarize yourself (or if you're too lazy, a small explanation is as follows: when you enter "google.com", it goes to a server that translate the ABCs to 123s i.e. IP addresses, which are the REAL way of communicating).

I live in Pakistan, and the DNS servers here are only useful for their low latency, but their reliability tends to wander waaaaaaay off the median. Even my ISP's resolver is quite flaky.

Then I decided to check out the foreign providers. It's not an easy job, mind you, but I managed to get a few (read: two)

One of them is DNS Advantage.

This company boasts 15 different locations for their DNS servers - which is amazing, I'd say. They aren't popular, and they don't have a proper control panel for flexibility - you're stuck with what they give you. No ads, no frills, it's a pretty good service so far, and considering there are 15 other locations (you get routed to the shortest/quickest), you'll probably be happy.

OpenDNS is another service, and much more popular than DNS Advantage (or any other service that is out there). They've got a DNS service customizable, and used by many (head over to their website to see their clients - it's too long a list to mention here). For the customized DNS service to work, you need to have a static IP otherwise install a program on your PC that will sync their records with your current IP address. They have 9 different DNS servers, mostly located in the USA. One server is on the UK, and they have plans for introducing a server in Asia (so that our pings are reduced).

Which would you pick? It's up to you. If you want customization, OpenDNS is the way to go. If you want a no-frills service, DNS Advantage may be more helpful. I'm using DNS Advantage as my secondary service for the following reasons
  • If a web page doesn't resolve, I don't get a huge search page - OpenDNS has a search page, with Yahoo results. Not my type
  • DNS Advantage gives me a lower ping - from anywhere between 50ms to 100ms!
  • OpenDNS has/had an issue with the domain www.google.com - something related with the Google Toolbar and a malfunctioning search page. You can head over to their blog and read more details. A small issue, nevertheless.
So what do you prefer? Comments open.

Friday, July 10, 2009

SqrSoft Advance Crossfader

I've been using this plugin for Winamp off and on, and have to say it's slick! In short, it helps make amateurs sound like professional radio jockeys with the crossfading etc.

This isn't a beat-mixing program, but merely a program that helps crossfade one song into another at the right time. The program is called Advance Crossfade (try http://www.sqrsoft.com.ar/ if the link doesn't work, and then navigate from here... or if you'd like me to upload a copy of the file, then post back).

I like the Radio preset but with a small tweak in the settings - turn off the pop ups, and reduce the minimum crossfade amount to 50ms (and not the default 500ms).

Anyone got reviews? I'm all eyes.

Radio automation, anyone?

In my previous post, I mentioned about using Izotope Ozone - well, I've found an alternative. For some reason, Ozone seems to leech my CPU power (it's a hyperthreading-based CPU, not a duo-core). Sonitus:FX seems to do a MUCH better job - I'll post more in another post.

But what I'm looking for is - does anyone know of any good radio automation softwares? No, I don't work at a radio station, but I find it very surprising that stations use Winamp for on-air playback... and if that's the case, how do they crossfade etc? Running multiple instances of Winamp can hog your PC down, and unless you run playback on multiple PCs, I don't think it's that easy to have one PC dedicated for on-air broadcast.

I know there are a few useful plugins for Winamp for crossfading (such as SQR Crossfader) but they haven't really been updated in ages and are buggy with Winamp's latest version (at the time of writing this post). But a drawback of radio schedulers is that you can't use your DSPs for on-the-fly audio processing - something I really like about Winamp.

So - does anyone have an idea which radio automation software is
1) easy to use, and
2) available for demos? (I know of only one software - Zara Radio - that's free, but it's a little more complicated to use)

Monday, July 6, 2009

Partying like whack!

So you've probably read from my previous blog that I'm through with my bachelors degree, eh? I guess it's time to party on and on and on. Yesterday, we watched Transformers 2 (a few friends of mine and I), and today, I went to a hotel (a friend of mine treated me for his birthday, in advance). Insane partying, but hey - I have a reason. Do you?

Speaking of partying, does anyone know the use of multiband compressors in music? Anyone got a sweet setting that I could use?

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Gmail's Labels

While I was on me exam break (the "me" was intentional), I did notice that Gmail changed it's labels layout (too many Ls in those two words). This time, it's nicer, and more convenient to hide the labels that we actually don't use!

According to the Gmail Blog,

1) New location for labels
You'll notice your labels in a new location on the left of your inbox (or on the right, for those of you using the Arabic, Hebrew, or Urdu versions of Gmail)


2) Label hiding and showing
You now have control over which of your labels show.








Now that is radical! It was actually a pain trying to fit both the labels and the "inbox" tag on my small 15" ancient CRT-based screen - this only makes life easier!

One drawback though: no right-side labels labs feature... except I never used that :P

Image source: The Gmail Blog

Celebration!

I finished my last exam of my bachelors degree yesterday. Who cares how the exams went when you're through with your degree?! I mean - c'mon! Who talks about studies when you're through with university... almost?

Now I have 6 weeks to spend before starting my MBA degree. Not that I'm looking forward to it, but hey - 6 weeks is still a break. I'm trying to be happy while I can LOL.

And today, I got this joke from a mailing list, entitled "Celebate"

---

A young monk arrives at the monastery. He is assigned to helping the other monks in
copying the old canons and laws of the church by hand.

He notices, however, that all of the monks are copying from copies,
not from the original manuscript. So, the new monk goes to the head abbot to
question this, pointing out that if someone made even a small error in the first copy,
it would never be picked up! In fact, that error would be continued in all of the
subsequent copies.

The head monk, says, "We have been copying from the copies for centuries,
but you make a good point, my son."

He goes down into the dark caves underneath the monastery where the original
manuscripts are held as archives in a locked vault that hasn't been opened for hundreds
of years. Hours go by and nobody sees the old abbot.

So, the young monk gets worried and goes down to look for him.
He sees him banging his head against the wall and wailing.

"We missed the R!
We missed the R!
We missed the R!"

His forehead is all bloody and bruised and he is crying
uncontrollably. The young monk asks the old abbot, "What's wrong, father?"
With A choking voice, the old abbot replies, "The word was..

"CELEBRATE"

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Exam stress

Apologies for not being in touch with the blog. I've got exams from Monday, and after that, I'll be more regular.

It was our last day (not including exams) yesterday in the university, the same day Farah Fawcett and MJ passed away sadly. RIP to them both.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Google's getting Binged quite quickly!

Just saw this on TechCrunch's article: Bing's share is nearing 12%, courtesy of comScore's stats.

I swear, this is getting quite interesting, after Microsoft taking out a makeshift patch for the prevention of explicit content from being automatically played over a hover.

I have to say, Bing ain't all that bad, y'know!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Your next birthday present: Wikipedia

Image taken from The Sun's article


News reports surfaced sometime early previous week (I couldn't put it up on my blog) that there is now an offline version of Wikipedia.

Really, you ask? Yes, really really! It's a book - with 5000 (yes, 5000) pages!

Some excerpts from the Daily Telegraph article are as follows:

Made by Rob Matthews, the book contains 437 featured articles from the popular internet resource and comes up to his knee when stood on the floor.
"It was difficult to produce, there was a little bit of trial and error when it came to binding, as I'd never tried to produce a book of that scale before". Rob, a graphic design student from Brighton, Sussex, took two weeks to make the book as a statement about how people are now dependent on the internet for information.

Izotope Ozone, anyone?

The average Joe may not have heard of this slick company, but if you're a real music buff, you'll know what these guys do.

In short - they make your sound sound better! You can browse their website and see their product catalog. The one I'm hooked on to is Izotope Ozone (currently running version 4.03 at the time of writing this blog). I use it at home, not with a sound editor, but with Winamp!

I could upload a preset here for Izotope Ozone, but not sure if that's acceptable. The software doesn't come cheap (around $250 or so), and you may find other plugins in the market that do a similar job (or better) but this is a 6-in-one plugin module. Beat that!

Oh - if you're not into multiband compressors, don't fret - I'll put up a small blog post sooner or later explaining the use of multiband compressors. You may want to check up Wikipedia and other websites. A quick summary would be: they make your sound clear and loud. They can be used to distort or enhance certain frequencies too - practically every radio and television station uses these (hence, the music on these channels sound better than they tend to do on your PC).

While I don't condone piracy, you can get a torrent from different sites for the key-gen (you can download the EXE file from Izotope's website, for free, but it'll run in trial mode till you key in your license)

Work load - almost ended

Today was a horrible day. So horrible that we had our presentations, and our entire project is wrong. First of all, our teacher refused to accept our project writeup because we forgot to insert one letter in his name - he says he's so particular about his name that he just cannot get ANYONE's name right in our class. A toast to hypocricy... but anyway, after fixing it, he decided to take it in.

Then came our presentation, and in the start, he asks us to show some of our excel figures. Guess what? Because one figure is wrong, the rest of the project is wrong. Yeah, WRONG!

Bad, BAD day today. We've been working our butt off (my group) for the last so-many days, and when this happens, I think we all need a major heat sink... the same ones used in the PCs.

And that's why I've been away right now. I've fired up Winamp and am now listening to Sophie Ellis-Bextor's "Mixed Up World". Coincidence, yes, cause I used a playlist generator.

Saturday, June 13, 2009


Now I'd really like an impartial response here: what blogging platform would you prefer - Blogger or OnSugar?
And when you do poll, please state why in the comments. :)
Update: one advantage of OnSugar is that I get a nice name. On Blogspot, I have to use caffeinequirks.blogspot.com - which sorta loses it's essence: here, it looks like "caffeine ON sugar" in the URL - which is something I was aiming for got.

PS: the poll is on the sidebar of this blog. Please vote ASAP.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Fedora > Fed up

I decided to download the 700MB .iso package and put it on a CD.

First of all, I made a major blunder by writing the ISO file as it is onto the CD - and well - it didn't work (I've never written ISO files before, and Windows doesn't do it natively).

After getting that done, I decided to give it a spin on my system. The desktop is all nice and blue, but I couldn't really use it.

For starters, it took me a while to figure out the network settings. Windows has this pre-configured. Not sure about Ubuntu - I'll try it out someday.

I couldn't find the application manager (or I didn't look for it hard enough).

The LiveCD for Fedora was actually slower than Ubuntu's LiveCD (strange, but true).

Fedora's file manager/explorer is clunky. Have a look at Ubuntu's, and you'll know what I mean.

I read somewhere you can run Windows programs on Fedora without having to use Wine - since Fedora has some other compiler installed. I tried running an EXE - didn't work. I'm sure I did something wrong, but well - it wasn't in the applications menu.

So back to Windows for me. I lost patience that I couldn't do anything efficiently on it - heck, I wanted to see how fast OpenOffice was, but couldn't.

The best part doesn't stop there - when I wanted to quit (shut it down), it got stuck at the blue splash screen. Brilliant, eh? I had to force-reset my PC to get back to Windows (instead of letting it restart automatically).

Stinks!

Well - not the smell (though it is getting hot lately), but the amount of work I have to keep up with handed by our lovely university. Right now, I'm trying to finish the grammatical errors of a group member who has "finalized" a project. Not that I mind it (since I hadn't done much work myself) but when you have a backlog of tons of things (and when you're trying to make an attempt to be regular at your blog, things don't sum up that well).

Work stinks. The university stinks. So do my teachers - and the guy who travels next to me in the van (he smells!)

Need a way to beat the heat? First of all, travel in an air conditioned vehicle. Next, look everywhere but your university (or office, if you're employed). Thirdly, settle down for watermelons (no, I'm not hinting at anything...) - they're a good fruit for the summers.

Or go have some ice. Does the same thing, but for free!

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Google owns approx. 72% of the internet video streaming market

 
Image says it all!
Image taken from TechCrunch's article (read more on TechCrunch)

Pakistan's Outsourcing Light Shines!

Ok - don't expect me to give you an in-depth analysis of what this means (I could, but I think I have better things right now, and I'd like you to come up to your own conclusions). A BusinessWeek article says:


Pakistan has become the 20th most attractive outsourcing destination,  according to consulting management firm A.T. Kearney. Even as concerns increase about Pakistan’s stability and the growing displaced population due to ongoing military operations with the Taliban, the country made a significant jump on A.T. Kearney’s 2009 Global Services Location Index released May 18. Pakistan went from #30 in 2007 to #20 in 2009.

I know we're number 20 - but hey - what else can you expect? If you're in a top ten list, I don't think we'd ace anything... well - okay, maybe a few things. But this is good stuff. India's losing it's edge slowly (due to increasing costs, and the fact that not all outsourced agents can sound foreign... more to come on that later) and other countries are crowding in. I recall doing a project on South Africa, and I came across somewhere that Shell had a call center there!

... and Bing(o) was his name-o

Microsoft decided to bring into the market a search engine called Bing. I'm not too bothered about the epistemology of the name, but hey - it's catchy!

Anyhoo, Googling Google reports that Bing has overtaken Yahoo (in terms of the market share) and is now "stealing share from Google".

But hey - there are reasons for this. First (and foremost), it's getting quite a bit of fanfare. No surprise.

Secondly - they've hijaced IE6's search bar! By accident or otherwise, Microsoft is saying that they're looking at it, but is it really something that was done intentionally in order to grab a lot of market share, or...? It's anyone's guess.

Now for the extra junk: if you go to bing.com, you'll see that there's a background image that changes, and if the mouse hovers over certain portions of the picture, small snippets appear. That is neat, especially for a search engine.

What's not so cool is that videos get played automatically if you hover the mouse on them. And yes, that works for porn too. I don't condone pornography, but well... a major booboo on Microsoft's part. They say that there's a small workaround to that - but it's not permanent.

Let's see if Google gets Bing Bong'd on it's door... BetaNews is doing a story on Google vs. Bing here, here, here and here. There could be more comparisons around the internet - feel free to search.

PS: I'm horrible when it comes to online formatting - if the logos are disjointed, it's because I've decided to blog regularly - for the first time :P

UPDATE: WXPNews will be carrying out a Bing and Google Comparison

Lost in translation...


... though I've never seen the movie (or if I have, then I can't remember... tough luck!), this was an interesting find from the Telegraph

(image copied-pasted from the Telegraph's site. If it doesn't open, then the link may be outdated; visit the hyperlink above to try viewing the photo on the Telegraph's site)


     Sign Language
All copyright belongs to the owners of the website/image:
Website: Copyright of Telegraph Media Group Limited 2009
Image: Bob Oaks/Signspotting
PS: I'm new to this copyright thing. If I'm violating any copyrights (I hope I haven't, since I've given due credit), then let me know.

T20 in Pakistan

Well - in case you haven't figured out by now, I am writing from Pakistan. I won't reveal my name (the name you see in "posted by" is just an alias), and don't bother asking me to.

That said, let me come to the subject.

The other day, I was in my university, and one of my friends was like "oh I saw the T20 match between Pakistan and last night" and the usual raving followed. Turns out that Cinepax (in Rawalpindi... sorry guys if you live elsewhere) shows the matches in which Pakistan is playing!

Ooh - and it doesn't end there - they'll show the semi-finals and the finals too. Best parts: huge screen, and live (yes, live). I don't think it can get any better, unless you're living in fantasy land!

There's some more on ProPakistani's article, and this apparently isn't the first time it's being done!

Djuice and Cinepax have been doing a great job and putting tremendous effort to bring the best possible entertainment for the public. Recently, they held Djuice Machine Mela and screened final match of UEFA Champions League live for the public which brought in huge audience... Now once again, Telenor has partnered with Cinepax Pakistan to bring Live Screening of T20 World Cup for all the cricket fanatics out there at it’s Rawalpindi theaters

There you have it! Something new for me... and possibly for you too!

Delayed

Sorry for that. I've been away from my PC for the last two days. Turns out that I am now an uncle... again.

And I've been pooped with work. Tons and tons of work. And well - this stupid sound is constantly playing in the background. Here's how:

> I installed Windows again (did you know that Windows has a half-life of each installation?)
> Installed Live Messenger (w/o the Flash plugin)
> skip tons of days in between - I don't have an entire timeline built
> my cousin chats with me, sends me a wink (the animated Flash animated things w/ sound)
> the chat window tells me to install Flash.

So I open Explorer (well - that's what the chat window opened, though I use Firefox religiously) and it installed Flash. I had closed the chat window. And now that Flash has been installed, it's making weird kissing sounds.

So what's delayed - MSN or me returning to the computer? :P

EDIT: just saw that it's my Explorer window, and the kissing sound comes with the animation on MSN's page, basically showing a confirmation Flash is installed. Now THAT is silly of me LOL.

More later.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

"Caffeined"

This post marks the first day of the blog.

So what exactly is Caffeine? Nothing, really. It was a random name that I thought of when my sister was thinking of starting a blog and making some money.

Caffeine, in short, will feature posts about different things - mostly things that are either weird, interesting, or just plain amusing.

Your next question will be "why". Why? Good question! The reason I'm making this blog is so that I have an avenue of expressing the sad state of affairs around myself - you'll get to know about more things later on. There are so many (exciting...) events that take place around me that it's unfair to leave them undocumented.

But this blog won't be focused only on events - it'll feature tidbits from here and there (anyone seen Lifehacker? I don't intend to take away their traffic - those guys do a splendid job, and I read them daily... what I'm saying is that I'll follow a similar pattern) so the viewers don't get bored (nor do the AdSense guys!)

It's 11.12PM here in Pakistan (we're following DST) and I gotta lock up the house. Till tomorrow, ciao.

EDIT: tomorrow = day time, but today.