Oct 052010
 

RSS, an abbreviation for Really Simple Syndication, us used to publish frequently updated publications like blogs or news items. The RSS feed, as it is normally called contains published text as excerpts or full text along with meta data like publish date, author etc. The benefits to the publisher by RSS are that they can make it available to the readers very easily, without the reader having to come to the site. Also the readers are benefited in a way that everything, from fresh news feed, to the latest article from a blog is available at one place.

The are two ways of accessing feed. Either offline or online. Online requires the reader to go online and stay so while reading out the article. There are many online readers and the most popular is google reader. Lets see how to setup the feed in google reader.

  • Go to google reader link, by searching it on google.
  • Login using google credentials which you have, or create new user id and password.
  • One you reach the reader, click on the button on top left corner, “Add a Subscription”
  • In the textbox, enter the feed url provided on the publishers website. The feed url will look something like “http://wordfight.in/feed” or “http://feeds.feedburner.com/wordfight”.
  • Click Add.
  • On the left hand side bottom, you will see the subscriptions section where you will get the title for the RSS feed.
  • Once you click on the title, all the latest publications are listed in either summarized form or full text, as set by the publisher.

Check out the video for clarification.

The second way to access feed is the offline method. For that we require an offline client similar to mail client like thunderbird or outlook. In fact some of the mail clients support RSS. And accessing the feed is very similar to accessing the mails.

The offline client that I am using is feedreader. You can download it here.

  • Run the setup to install feedreader, and start the application.
  • On the left hand side top corner, click on new and select “New Feed”.
  • In the address bar, enter the feed url. It’s the same as one mentioned in previous section.
  • Click “Ok”
  • On the left hand side pane, you will get the title of the feed. On clicking the feed title, the next column will list the articles published by the publisher.
  • Click on the title of the article to access the contents in the reading pane.

For offline feed reader to work, we need the internet connection initially for synchronization. Once the data is downloaded, the connection can be switched off. This is similar to accessing POP mails in an offline mail client.

Check out the video to understand better.

I hope this clarifies the topic for a novice. For any more clarifications, please contact me through the comments section.

Sep 272010
 

In one of my previous post, I had explained how you can incorporate the rupee symbol using the rupee foradian true type font. A very simple process, and I guess, you have the rupee symbol mapped to the ~ key by now.

But using the rupee symbol in our day-to-day work can be very tedious, since we have to change the font to “Rupee Foradian”. This becomes especially tedious when a person uses the rupee symbol quite a number of times in his word document. A solution to this is creating a shortcut to the rupee symbol.

Following are the steps:

  • In any open word document go to Insert—> Symbols menu.
  • In the dialogue box that appears, on top left hand side in the “Font” dropdown list, type “Rupee” and press enter.
  • The list of characters included in the Rupee Foradian true type font is displayed.
  • Scroll to select the correct rupee symbol. The correct rupee symbol can be viewed in my previous post.
  • On the bottom left hand side, click on the button “Shortcut Key..”
  • A “customize keyboard” dialogue box will appear.
  • In the “press new shortcut key:” field, type in the combination of keys you would prefer to assign as a shortcut. I used Ctrl+Shift+R keys pressed together.
  • Click on “Assign” and then “close”.
  • Click “close”.
  • Now you are back in the document. Press the combination of keys that you assigned previously. Mine was Ctrl+Shift+R.
  • The Rupee font appears at the cursor. Note that the font setting in the top menu bar remains as it was set for the document by you!!

Similar method can be used to assign shortcut for other frequently used symbols.

Check out the video for better explanation.

Sep 272010
 

Do you think you have that knack for writing, but didn’t have any motivation to go ahead? Here’s something that might be a booster.

I always felt that I should be writing something. Lots of thoughts in my mind. Few ideas. But never took out some time to pen it down. Then a gradual introduction to blogging by my friend Jimmy, unleashed the crude writer in me. I stared blogging. And somewhere during the time, I wrote a letter to my favorite technology magazine, IC Chip. Guess what, even though my letter was nothing of revolutionary kind, it was featured as the star letter of the month(July). And I was promised a gift hamper from them. I received it today. And look what it contained!!

Gifts from chip magazine for letter published

A Multimedia keyboard, two laptop mice and a desktop mouse. And a set of earphones with cool pouch!!

The gifts, though may no be much in cost, are of great value to me, as this is the first time I have been rewarded for writing.

So do you have it in you? If you think so, start writing, and you will be rewarded suitably!!

Sep 222010
 

Got my hands on the Samsung Galaxy 3, model number GT-5801, the latest Android Smartphone from the Samsung stables. My friend bought it for Rs. 12000, or roughly 260$. A very good pricing for the features and the punch it packs, as I found later.

The box contains a very small user manual, a data cable, handsfree earpieces, the Kies(a PC suite from Samsung, with a very user friendly interface) software cd, and of course, the phone with battery. Also bundled along with the box is a 2GB microSD card and a microSD to SD card adapter. 2GB seems quite less for a Smartphone but, its included free, so can’t complain.

The Phone

The first impression of the built quality was, oh!! its quite sturdy and though not heavy built, its doesn’t feel cheap. Not much plastic feel to it. Though the looks are average,a nice shiny rim running all around compensates for that. The front is quite a fingerprint magnet though, and I caught myself, cleaning it on my shirt sleeves after 5 minutes of use.

The front contains three buttons, the menu key if you may call it that, the back key and the options key. No other physical key anywhere around it. It all goes touch from here. The top houses the 3.5 mm audio output port, a proprietary usb port for data transfer and charging, and the power switch. Bottom has the microphone hole. And the back has the camera(no flash sadly). Oh! and the back also displays “withGoogle” in bold(indicating that the open source Android runs in it), which manages to be not to intrusive, but give the phone, a classy looks!! I was awed by it.

On starting

We are welcomed by the Touch Wiz 3.0 user interface, the popular user interface by Samsung, modified to work with Android 2.1(Eclair). The OS is upgradable to 2.2(Froyo) and the firmware update is already available through Kies. Though I would have preferred Samsung to upgrade it in the factory itself, to spare the users of the hassle. The UI has a feature of creating up to 7 home screens, where we can add widgets from Samsung or Android, shoutcuts and change wallpapers as per our choice. The touch is quite responsive, and scrolling between the home screens is quite smooth.The phone comes with only one home screen, configured with widgets for Gmail, Google search, maps, android market, YouTube, Google talk and phone(for making calls) Also the bottom bar features shortcut for phone function, contacts, messaging and the home screen. The 667mhz processor, does its job quite good. But no extra applications were running in the background and the phone was just out of the box, so will have to wait for a week or so to know more in this regards. Pressing the menu button(center) brings up the widgets and applications installed in the phone.

(Photo Courtesy: www.items-review.com)

samsung galaxy i5801 apollo

Features which I managed to Check

(The phone was for a limited time in my hands so please find a very brief review, or just a preview. Detailed review slated to come in some days.)

Never used a Smartphone before, so wasn’t sure what I was looking at. Took me some time finding out what exactly I was doing. But I know what I want in a Smartphone, and I felt that this one had the potential to seduce me once I had a quick look. The very first widget I saw was allshare, the DLNA app. DLNA is something by which all the future multimedia device are touted to communicate. Basically, if you have a DLNA certified devices, media contents can be shared across them without the need of the complicated transfer routines and cables. Just wifi will do. But this is just the basic explanation. To know more check out here. No other DLNA device at hand, so can’t test. But good to know that its included.

The phone comes with a built in accelerometer, to rotate the display when held in landscape mode. But it comes deactivated and has to be activated from the display settings of the phone. Works quite well when typing a text message. Will have to check out which other applications work with the accelerometer.

Video playback is in landscape mode by default, and the phone speakers are loud and clear if we are watching the video in a group. But the sound quality suggest that they might star jarring after some use. There is an option to select virtual 5.1 surround sound which works when earpieces are connected. Not much difference in sound quality when it is activated. Though the resolution of the screen is less for its size(240 x 400 pixels, 3.2 inches), it does a respectable job of displaying the video. The Music player is good but didn’t get enough time to check if the device had a customizable equalizer. But will surely get to that in the next detailed review very soon.

Sporting a 3.15 MP primary camera, but no secondary camera, this phone lacks that extra edge for use as a true 3G phone. The primary camera is good, and reproduces the images with good clarity in normal light. But the low resolution screen doesn’t seem to do justice to the photos displayed. When transferred to a computer, we can see better results from the camera. Video recording is @15fps which is just average. Will check for any tweaks to get the right quality later. Same for the camera. In the picture gallery, the photos can be zoomed in or out using the multitouch actions like pinching and moving the fingers in opposite direction, just like in iPhone.

The mobile sports a bluetooth, GPRS, 3G, Wifi and EDGE connectivity. I was able to detect my home wireless router quite easily and connecting to it was a breeze. But my internet was down, so even that front has to wait for inclusion in the review.

Android Eclair 2.1 doesn’t support installing applications on the memory card, but Froyo 2.2 does, so a firmware upgrade should solve any memory hogging problems this phone might face. Though there were many apps installed, I was disappointed to find no games preinstalled.

Samsung claims a battery life of 15.5 hours talktime for 2G, and 7.25 hours talktime for 3G, which is quite respectable.

Given that I had less time at my hand, or less time with my hands on it and no internet connectivity at the time of use, this was as much I could make out of the phone. I will strive to get a good look at the features in some days time. Till then check out the specifications as published by gsmarena.

General

2G Network GSM 850 / 900 / 1800 / 1900

3G Network HSDPA 900 / 2100

Size

Dimensions 113.5 x 55 x 12.6 mm

Weight 113 g

Display

Type TFT capacitive touchscreen, 16M colors

Size 240 x 400 pixels, 3.2 inches

– Touch Wiz 3.0
– Accelerometer sensor for UI auto-rotate
– Proximity sensor for auto turn-off
– Multi-touch input method

Sound

Alert types Vibration; MP3, WAV ringtones

Speakerphone Yes

– 3.5 mm audio jack
– DNSe (Digital Natural Sound Engine)

Memory

Phonebook Practically unlimited entries and fields, Photocall

Call records Practically unlimited

Internal 512MB ROM, 256MB RAM

Card slot microSD, up to 32GB

Data

GPRS Class 10 (4+1/3+2 slots), 32 – 48 kbps

EDGE Class 10, 236.8 kbps

3G HSDPA, 3.6 Mbps

WLAN Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n

Bluetooth Yes, v3.0 with A2DP

Infrared port No

USB Yes, v2.0 microUSB

Camera

Primary 3.15 MP, 2048×1536 pixels, autofocus

Features Geo-tagging, face and smile detection

Video Yes, QVGA@15fps

Secondary No

Features

OS Android OS, v2.1 (Eclair), upgradable to v2.2

CPU 667 MHz processor

Messaging SMS(threaded view), MMS, Email, Push Mail, IM

Browser HTML

Radio Stereo FM radio with RDS

Games (None installed, Download from Android market)

Colors
Black, White

GPS Yes, with A-GPS support

Java Via third party application

– Orange Application Shop
– Orange Maps, Orange TV, Orange Push Email
– Contact Back & Restore, Orange Photo
– Digital compass
– MP4/DivX/XviD/WMV/H.264/H.263 player
– MP3/WAV/eAAC+ player
– Organizer
– Document editor(Word, Excel, PowerPoint, PDF)
– Google Search, Maps, Gmail,
YouTube, Calendar, Google Talk integration
– Voice memo
– T9

Battery

Standard battery, Li-Ion 1500 mAh

Stand-by Up to 620 h (2G) / Up to 480 h (3G)

Talk time Up to 15 h 30 min (2G) / Up to 7 h 15 min (3G)

 

Sep 162010
 

Great news!! .Ashampoo is giving out five softwares totally free!!

They are :

  • Ashampoo Burning Studio 2010 Advanced
  • Ashampoo Home Designer
  • Ashampoo Snap 3
  • Ashmapoo WinOptimizer 6
  • Ashampoo Photo Commander 7

Just go to this link. Then enter coupon code ASH-444LW1. Pass on this to anyone, Ashampoo allows it!!

Happy downloading!!!

Sep 162010
 

I was a baby, I had no worry. I crawled on the ground, without any hurry.

As I grew up, my arms grew long. Carrying heavy school bags, my shoulders grew strong.

And before I realised, I took the charge. I had few responsibilities, some small, some large.

But now I feel burdened, and I feel its a mess. I need to do something, to relieve this stress.

Was today the umpteenth time that you felt sad for the poor children you saw on the streets, but couldn’t do much about it? Was today the day when you felt that your stock tips could have made many rich, like you? Did you find out something interesting today, on the technology front, which you wanted to share with someone? Did the recipe you tried today turn out to be good, but none of your friends had the taste to appreciate it? Did you feel frustrated today because the ministry is using your money to fill their personal coffers? Or did you feel like doing something different from what you always do?

Well, blogging is your tool!!

We have lots of things on our mind in our day-to-day life. They might be family troubles, work pressure, financial burdens. Might be the triumphs you can’t share with anyone, cause you have no one to share them with. Many more thoughts fly through our mind through our entire life. With every passing moment, a new thought jumps, which might be totally disconnected from your previous one. Such a flow of disconnected thoughts, bring about a turbulence in our mind. Our mind becomes unstable. Our decision making capabilities deteriorate quickly. And we age faster. Classic signs of stress!!

It is known by practice that opening up ourselves, relieves us of the burdens we carry around. So in past, people would employ writing, to relieve their stress. Many succeeded, but most failed, due to the lack of motivation. Motivation would come by appreciation of ones skills, or acknowledgement in the form of popularity of the creation. And it would all come by readership, which was hard to get in the ages without proper means of mass communication.

But now we have the internet. And we have, like a zillion net users, eager to read something new. And we have a tool called web log or Blog, where we can express ourselves and our feelings. May they be frustration, worry, rage, guilt, embarrassment, fear,love, excitement, triumph, joy,hope or just about any other. They can be expressed in a proper manner. Advice can be taken and given. News can be spread. Creativity can be showcased. Joy can be spread, opinions voiced out. Blogging a big part of life, and a source of income for many, can be a tool that shapes your life, helping you rise out of your own ashes, like the mythical phoenix.

Your thoughts will be poured out, in a more creative form, day by day, and as the reader base increases, so will your confidence. The turbulence in your mind, will turn to a smooth flow of a silent river. And popularity might even earn you something.

So blog to be stress free!!

Sep 162010
 

Sometimes back I had posted about how I extracted benefits from the internet by just signing on one website called mginger. I invested jus rupees 3, and received a discount coupon worth rupees 100!! But this offer had been taken off for some time. Now its back again, and here to stay till 30th September. Meanwhile, other offers continue to be online on this site. So grab the offer before it expires.

Are you planning to buy some stuff with total value of less then 1000 rupees but above 395? The items could be something like a pen drive, flash memory card, compact disks, clothes, books etc.? This is your chance to get minimum of 10% discount, as against the maximum discount schemes run by other shops. A coupon download from mGinger and a product buy made on tradus can get you that.

The mode of operation of mginger is that, once you register, you  start getting smses on your mobile, containing paid advertisements. Each advertisement fetches you 20 paisa. If you refer someone, you get 10 paisa for every advertisement he/she receives on the mobile. There is also a third level, through which you can earn 5 paisa per sms. Once time registration will cost you 2 rupees, and you can select your preferred time and advertising category. You can also stop this service anytime you like. Pay out will only be made after rupees 300 or above are accumulate in your account. It will take ages for that, and the amount is peanuts. But there is a second part to it. And that’s the better part.

Here’s how it works. Go to mginger and register your mobile number following this link. Once registered, you have to select you preferred time and category of the advertisement. Once you start receiving ads, you start accumulating money in your account. And here’s the best part. You can buy a coupon using the money out of that amount, for any of the offer available with mginger at that time. It could be a discount on Dr. Batra clinic charges, or a discount on 21 Fahrenheit pub, or my favorite, a 100 rupees discount coupon on the purchase of rupees 395 and above.

Once you have accumulated at least 1 rupee in your account, go to the coupons section, and select from the many different offers available. Then click on download coupon, and a rupee gets deducted from your wallet on mGinger. The next moment, you receive an SMS giving the coupon code and expiry date!!

The coupons are region specific, depending on the shopping merchants in that area. But any coupon, which can be redeemed online, is available for everyone. Some of the tempting coupons for Mumbai are as follows :

The Jail – Restaurant & Lounge 30% Discount on lunch (food and liquor). Also flat 15 % on dinner on weekdays.
Tradus.in 100 rupees off on purchase of 395 and above
21 Fahrenheit 33% discount on entry fee. Enter at rupees 500 instead of 750
Myntra.com 50% off on customised jersey

And many more for Spa, pubs, stay at luxury hotels, etc. are available on this site.

So why wait. Make the most of it while we live in this e-age.

Sep 022010
 

Samsung has been making “Waves” in the mobile computing “Galaxy” for quite some time now. Its foray into the android world through Galaxy is said to be a tough rival to iphone in many aspects, while the wave is truly making waves with its Bada(meaning Ocean) OS, which is an open operating system. And we expect more from the Korean manufacturers.

Their latest venture into mobile computing devices, takes iPad head on. And improves on it. In one of my previous post, I had mentioned how dell streak was set to be the competitor to iPad. But the mobile computing world didn’t seem to be as enthusiastic about dell streak as they are towards Samsung P1000 Galaxy Tablet.

The P1000 features a 7 inches display,versus the 9.7 inches of the bulky iPad. Weighing 380 gms, it is half the weight of the apple version. It runs the open Android 2.2 Froyo while iPad had its proprietary iOS. The processor speed is 1GHz in both the tablets.

The USP of the Samsung P1000 is , its also a phone!! Yes, just like dell streak, it has phone capabilities inbuilt. Of course, you cannot put it up to your ears to make or receive a call, given its size. But this is one very important added feature in the tablet, and people who would like to go mobile with computing power, will surely have a thought about it.

It is up to the pricing slot which will decide the popularity of this device. The iPad is priced at 499$ minimum, without 3G communication while the lowest capacity(16 GB) 3G version comes for 629$. A competitively priced P1000, might take away the market from iPad from developing countries. And Android Froyo, with its thousands of applications, will add value to this device.

Quick comparison: (Specifications taken from GSMArena and Apple websites. For detailed features, visit the respective websites)

Specs P1000 iPad Streak
Operating System Android 2.2 Apple iOS Android 2.1, (Upgradable to 2.2)
Processor 1 GHz Hummingbird CPU with PowerVR SGX540 graphics accelerator 1GHz Apple A4 Qualcomm Snapdragon QSD8250 1 GHz processor
Size 190.09 x 120.45 x 11.98mm, 380g 242.8 x 189.7 x 13.4, 680 gm(730 gm 3G Version) 152.9 x 79.1 x 10 mm, 220 gm
Network GSM 850 / 900 / 1800 / 1900
HSDPA 900 / 1900 / 2100
UMTS/HSDPA (850, 1900, 2100 MHz)

GSM/EDGE (850, 900, 1800, 1900 MHz)

GSM 850 / 900 / 1800 / 1900

HSDPA 900 / 2100

HSDPA 850 / 1900 / 2100

Display TFT capacitive touchscreen, 16M colors
600 x 1024 pixels, 7.0 inches
9.7-inch (diagonal) LED-backlit glossy widescreen Multi-Touch display with IPS technology.

1024 x 768-pixel resolution at 132 pixels per inch (ppi)

TFT capacitive touchscreen
480 x 800 pixels, 5.0 inches
Memory(Internal) 16/32 GB, 512 MB of RAM 16/32/64 GB 16 GB storage, 512 MB ROM, 512 MB RAM
Memory(Expandable) upto 32 GB, microSD None upto 32 GB, microSD
Battery Capacity Standard battery, Li-Po 4000 mAh Built-in 25-watt-hour rechargeable lithium-polymer battery

Up to 10 hours of surfing the web on Wi-Fi, watching video, or listening to music

Up to 9 hours of surfing the web using 3G data network

Standard battery, Li-Ion 1530 mAh
Camera 3.15 MP, 2048×1536 pixels, autofocus, LED flash None 5 MP, 2592?1944 pixels, autofocus, dual-LED flash
Secondary Camera Yes, 1.3 MP None VGA videocall camera
Video Playback MP4/DivX/WMV/H.264/H.263 player H.264 video up to 720p, 30 frames per second,  .m4v, .mp4, and .mov file formats; MPEG-4 video, up to 2.5 Mbps, 640 by 480 pixels, 30 frames per second, .m4v, .mp4, and .mov file formats; Motion JPEG (M-JPEG) up to 35 Mbps, 1280 by 720 pixels, 30 frames per second, audio in ulaw, PCM stereo audio in .avi file format MP4/H.263/H.264/WMV player

So now we wait for this device to come out in market, to gauge whether its hardware packs the punch to knock out iPad. Of course, apple is a brand in a different league, a league of its own, with dedicated followers. The competition will be in the masses.

Aug 032010
 

Disclaimer: The method explained herein to track your stock, should not be used for daily transactions, as the quotes  retrieved from the internet are delayed by couple of minutes.

Many of us have invested our life savings in the stock market. And the giants have already eaten into our savings, after promising us good returns. But we are the only ones to be blamed for our loss, because each time we invested, we were taking a “calculated risk”.

Anyway, this topic is not for crying about our losses. It explains one more way how we can track our stock. We all have created portfolios on sites like moneycontrol or BSE website. But all of this sites require us to login before we can access our portfolio and find out how much we have lost at that point. There are many finance management software, but they might be bit difficult to navigate. One easier way, which avoids login each time, is to create the portfolio in spreadsheet(Oh!! What happened to this good old word, spreadsheet. I still remember Lotus 1-2-3, and the revolution it started. It was a killer application). But we are not going to use Lotus 1-2-3 or even the costly excel program. We will use sun’s office suite, openoffice, and specifically openoffice calc.

We require the latest version of openoffice.org, 3.2.1. For those who do not have it installed on their PC, download it here, and do consider using it, since it is a comprehensive office suite, competing head on with MS office. And best of all, its free to download and distribute. Once installed, you need to download an extension, GetQuote, from its extension repository.Once downloaded, open up Openoffice.org application that you have installed. Go to         Tools—–>Extension Manager. Click Add and select the downloaded file. This will install the extension, and you are all set to create your portfolio on spreadsheet.

Open a new Openoffice.org calc spreadsheet. Check out the short code used on yahoo finance for your stock script. For example Assam Company on Bombay stock exchange is given by ASSAMCO.BO. Jindal Drilling on National Stock exchange is given by, JINDALDRI.NS. So on you can get the stock codes. Now to get a stock quote in a cell, type =GETPRICE(ASSAMCO.BO). Once you press enter, it will immediately connect to yahoo finance and display the live price to you. Same goes for all other scripts.

Your can use your spreadsheet knowledge to format the display in a more presentable way. Check out the screenshot of an example.

image

Though a bit tedious initially, once you have created it, there won’t be any changes required, and no logging in each time you want to see your investments in stock.

 

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