Wednesday, 28 June 2017

How to Check CPU Speed

Your CPU speed determines how fast your process can perform tasks. CPU speeds matter less than they did in the past, thanks to the advent of multi-core processors. Still, it can be useful to check your CPU speed when purchasing a new program to make sure that your computer can handle it. It's also very useful to know how to check the CPU's true speed when you're overclocking for better performance.

Windows

1. Open the System window. There are several ways that you can open this window quickly.

* Windows 7, Vista, XP - Right-click on Computer/My Computer in the Start menu and select "Properties". In Windows XP, you may need to click the "General" tab after selecting "Properties".

* Windows 8 - Right-click on the Start button and select "System".

* All Versions - Press ⊞ Win+Pause.

2. Find the "Processor" entry. This will be located in the "System" section, beneath the Windows edition.


3. Note the processor speed. Your processor model and speed will be displayed. The speed is measured in gigahertz (GHz). This is the speed of a single core of your processor. If your processor has multiple cores (most modern processors do), each core will be this speed.

* If your processor is overclocked, the actual speed may not be shown here. See the next section for details on finding your actual overclocked speed.

4. Check how many cores your processor has. If you have a multi-core processor, the number of cores will not be displayed in this window. Multiple cores does not necessarily mean the programs will run faster, but it can be a big boost for programs designed for it.

* Press ⊞ Win+R to open the Run dialog box.
* Type dxdiag and press ↵ Enter. Click Yes if prompted to check your drivers.
* Find the "Processor" entry in the System tab. If your computer has multiple cores, you'll see the number in parentheses after the speed (e.g. 4 CPUs). This will let you know how many cores you have. Each core runs at approximately the same speed (there will always be very minor variations).


Mac

1. Click the Apple menu and select "About This Mac".



2. Find the "Processor" entry in the "Overview" tab. This will display the advertised speed of your processor. Note that this may not be the speed your CPU is actually running at. this is because your CPU slows itself down when it isn't working hard to save energy and increase its lifespan.

3. Download the Intel Power Gadget. This free utility will monitor your CPU and report the actual operating speed. You can download it for free from here.

* Unzip the file and then double-click the DMG file to install Intel Power Gadget.

4. Download and install Prime95. If you want to see the maximum speed of your processor, you'll need to put a heavy load on the CPU. One of the most popular ways to do this is by using a program called Prime95. You can download it for free from mersenne.org/download/. Unzip the program and then double-click the DMG file to install it. Select "Just Stress Testing" when you start the program.

* Prime95 is designed to calculate prime numbers, and in doing so will max your CPU out.

5. Find your processor speed. The second graph in the gadget will display your processor speeds. The "Package Frq" is your current speed based on what your processor is working on. This will likely be lower than the "Base Frq", which is the advertised speed of the processor.


Linux

1. Open the terminal. Most tools available on Linux don't show the actual speed that the processor is running at. Intel has released a tool called turbostat that you can use to check. You'll need to install it manually through the terminal.


2. Type .uname -r and press ↵ Enter. Note the version number that is displayed (X.XX.XX-XX).

3.  Type apt-get install linux-tools-X.XX.XX-XX linux-cloud-tools-X.XX.XX-XX and press ↵ Enter. Replace X.XX.XX-XX with the version number from the previous step. Enter your admin password if prompted

4. Type modprobe msr and press ↵ Enter. This will install the MSR module that you'll need to run the tool.

5. Open another terminal window and type openssl speed. This will start the OpenSSL speed test, which will push your CPU to the maximum.


6. Return to the first terminal window and type turbostat. Running this will display a variety of readouts about your processor.

7. Look in the .GHz column. Each entry is the actual speed of each core. The TSC column is the speed reported normally. This allows you to see the difference your overclock is making. The speeds will look low if you aren't pushing your CPU with a process.


Windows (Overclocked CPU)

Overclocked CPUs are processors that have had their voltages modified to produce more power. Overclocking is popular among computer enthusiasts, as it allows you to get more bang for your buck, but it can potentially damage your components.

1. Download and install CPU-Z. This is a freeware utility that monitors the components in your computer. It is designed for overclockers, and will report the exact speed that your processors are operating at. You can download it from cpuid.com/softwares/cpu-z.html.

* CPU-Z will not install any adware or toolbars during the setup process.

2.  Run CPU-Z. By default, there will be a shortcut on your desktop to start CPU-Z. You will need to be logged in as an administrator, or have the administrator password in order to run it.

3. Start a CPU-intensive task on your computer. Your processor will automatically slow down when it isn't being used, so the speeds you see in CPU-Z will not show the full speed unless your processor is working hard.

* A quick way to get your CPU maxed-out is to run the Prime95 program. this is a program designed to calculate prime numbers, and is used by many to perform stress tests on a computer. Download Prime95 from mersenne.org/download/, unzip the program files, and select "Just Stress Testing" when you run the program.


4. Check your CPU speed. Your current CPU speed will be displayed in the "Core Speed" field of the [CPU] tab. Expect to see minor fluctuations as your computer processes the Prime95 program.

Which is the Best Linux Distribution for your Desktop?


Linux today comes in several different flavors or distros as they are known in Linux circles.

Some Linux distributions are light-weight (they’ll run just fine on your old laptop), some are targeted at people who just want to try out Linux without replacing their main OS while other desktop distros (say Ubuntu) include a more comprehensive collection of software applications and also support a wide variety of hardware devices.

CHOOSE THE RIGHT LINUX DISTRO FOR YOUR DESKTOP

Ubuntu, Xubuntu, Xandros, Knoppix, Fedora, openSUSE etc. are just some of the popular Linux distros but you’ll be surprised to know that there exists over 650 active distros in the world according to DistroWatch, a site that tracks the popularity of various Linux distributions.

Determining the perfect Linux distribution that will meet your requirements can therefore be a difficult task so here’s a handy guide that lists different scenarios and the Linux distros that will be the most appropriate for each of them.


1. FOR PEOPLE WHO JUST WANT TO TRY LINUX OUT

Live CD distributions like Knoppix boot directly from the CD-ROM so you can try out Linux without you having to install anything on your computer. The user can run many different software applications and he may also save documents / files created during a Live CD session to persistent storage like a hard disk or a flash drive.

A Linux Live CD can also be used in situations when your windows has crashed and you want to save your existing data on another media before reinstalling windows. The only problem is that such distributions tend to run slower than fully installed Linux distributions.

If you aren’t too happy with the speed of a Live CD, you can use a Wubi to install the Ubuntu Linux distro on your Windows desktop. Wubi allows you to install and uninstall Ubuntu on your computer just like any Windows application. As compared to other Linux distributions, Ubuntu has got a fixed release cycle and support period and a wealth of both official and user contributed online documentation.

There’s another interesting option as well – you may install Linux in a virtual environment and run it alongside other Windows /Mac applications. Virtualization software like Virtual PC (Microsoft), Virtual Box (Sun) or VMare can be easily used for this purpose. Just download the Linux ISO (or use the Linux installer CD if you have one) and follow the wizard to set up your new Linux virtual machine.

2. FOR PEOPLE WHO ARE NEW TO LINUX

Among the GNU/Linux desktop distributions, Linux Mint provides an ease of use and elegance not seen in other distributions. Linux Mint is is based on Ubuntu (which itself is based on Debian) so users have a large collection of software programs and packages to choose from. If something works for Ubuntu or Debian, it’ll probably work on Linux Mint as well.

Linux Mint CD comes with a utility called mint4win that will let you install Linux on your Windows computer on other partition without touching any of your existing setup. The performance won’t be that great but you can easily uninstall Linux from your Windows PC using the Add/Remove applications tool within Windows.

Ubuntu (Desktop edition) is also a great choice for Linux users who are beginners. It supports a wide-variety of hardware devices, has a standard release cycle (every six months) and, if you don’t have a great Internet connection, you can ask Ubuntu to ship you installation DVDs for free anywhere in the world.

OpenSUSE (Novell) and Fedora (Red Hat) are other popular Linux distros for the desktop that are both free and user-friendly.

Among the commercial distros, Xandros Home Edition is perhaps the most useful Linux desktop operating system for newbies. Xandros includes CodeWeavers CrossOver so you can easily run Microsoft Office, Adobe Photoshop and many other Windows applications inside Xandros.

3. FOR INSTALLING LINUX ON OLD COMPUTERS

Puppy Linux is a Live CD distribution that has a small installer and will run just fine on computers with RAM as little as 64 MB. Puppy Linux can boot from several media including USB flash drives, CD or a zip drive. Puppy Linux will run totally in RAM so make sure you save the modified personal files to a disk else you’ll lose the changes when the system shuts down.

Xubuntu, a variant of Ubuntu is also a possibility. Xubuntu uses xfce, a desktop environment that uses less system resources than GNOME that comes with the Ubuntu distribution. Xubuntu versions are released twice a year, coinciding with Ubuntu releases.

antiX is another good choice for old computers – it should run on systems that were considered slow when Windows 98 was released (like the Pentium II series). Damn Small Linux and Zenwalk are other variations that have minimal hardware requirements.

4. FOR USING LINUX AT WORK

Redhat Enterprise Linux and and SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop (formerly known as Novell Linux Desktop) are the front runners in the business category of Linux distros. Traditionally though, Redhat has concentrated more on the server market than the desktop market. Xandros Desktop is another choice except that Xandros is a small company and most business organizations would prefer to deal with large stable vendors.

Red Hat Enterprise Server, SUSE Enterprise and Ubuntu Server are possible contenders for deploying Linux on server machines. Some factors that go in favor of Red Hat are extensive security updates schedule (7 years), large number of new packages included in the distro and a strong training and certification program which is very useful for organizations that do not have in house skills.

5. LINUX FOR NETBOOK COMPUTERS

Netbooks are like your regular notebook computers but with small screens, they consume less power but also have less powerful hardware. Linux distros that are suitable for running on netbooks include Ubuntu Netbook, Moblin and Jolicloud.

Ubuntu Netbook requires an Intel Atom processor. If you already have a Ubuntu installer, you can install the desktop version of Ubuntu on your netbook, change the default repository to point to Ubuntu Network Editor repository and then install the relevant packages.

Jolicloud is suitable for running on low-powered computers that don’t have enough memory or storage space. The interface of Jolicloud is gorgeous and different from all other Linux distros. It is based on Ubuntu so any app that works with Ubuntu will run on Jolicloud as well. You may install Jolicloud alongside your Windows OS or download the ISO to install Jolicloud on a separate partition.

Moblin, another Linux distro from netbooks, was initially a project of Intel but is now part of the Linux Foundation. You can run Mobile from a live USB image or you install the OS on to the netbook. Going forward, Moblin and Maemo* merged into MeeGo and are available for download.

[*] Maemo is Debian Linux based software platform from Nokia.

6. FOR POWER USERS WHO WANT CONTROL

Arch Linux is a recommended distro for power (experienced) users as it allows them to create a customized Linux installation built from the ground up. It does not have a graphical install interface.

Once the Arch Linux installation is done, there is no post-install account creation or login manager screen. Instead, there is a screen full of configuration files that have to be tweaked to suit the network and system configuration. This allows the user to tailor the system from the ground up as compared to a ‘user-friendly’ distro where one would get a standard set of packages and will have to remove the ones that are not needed.

Slackware is another distro that deserves mention in this context. As compared to Arch Linux, Slackware Linux provides more stable packages and is thus more conservative. However, Arch Linux provides a more usable package management system that takes care of dependencies.

Slackware third party packagers on the other hand, have to ensure that everything is included in the package or available for download from the same web page. It is the oldest surviving Linux distribution. Since Slackware philosophy is to use vanilla packages, it tends to run faster than other distros.

An Infographic Style Wedding Invitation


The website, available at cometokochi.in, is done like a long and colorful infographic with a strong mix of creativity and humor. How do you reach the venue, what should you expect at the dinner table, what do you wear on the wedding day and most important, what do you do in your free time – the invitation answers it all with a dash of humor. Brilliant stuff!

The website has gone viral on Facebook, getting over a thousand likes. The wedding will however be streamed live on the site itself so gate-crashers have an alternative. 

Tuesday, 27 June 2017

See How a Place Has Changed Over Time

Do you know that Google Earth also lets you explore historical imagery of a place? When you zoom to a particular location on Google Earth, it pops up a clock icon in the status bar indicating the earliest year for which historical imagery is available for that location.

You can then move the slider in the timeline, using your mouse or with the help of arrow keys, to see how that place may have changed over time. For instance, here are aerial images of the Whitehouse captured during 1949 and 1999.




Setup a Virtual Private Network in Minutes

Virtual Private Networks, or VPN for short, allow employees to securely connect their desktop or laptop computers to the office network from any location in the world using a regular Internet connection.

If you are working from home, you can connect to the corporate network over VPN and you’ll have immediate access to your emails, internal web pages, network drives, and stuff that is otherwise only available from computers within the office premises. Some VPN clients also allow screen sharing and remote access to facilitate communication among team members.

CREATE A VIRTUAL PRIVATE NETWORK FOR FREE

If you regular need to connect to your home computer(s) from the office or if you have a group of friends and family members with whom you share files quite frequently, you can consider setting up a virtual private network between all these computers.

While businesses generally invest in VPN solutions for companies like Cisco, we can create own VPN for free using Gbridge – this is a software only solution that is available for all versions of Windows and the best part is that it uses your Google Account for authentication.

Once you install this application*, sign in with your Gmail or Google Apps account. Then enter a hostname for your computer; this is what your computer will show up as to other computers that will connect to the VPN. Your hostname must be 8 characters long or less and include only letters, numbers, and/or dashes.


[*] If you are using a DNS service like OpenDNS that does automatic typo correction, you may see a notification saying that it is interfering with Gbridge. You can either add an exception for Gbridge, or simply let Gbridge automatically raise its virtual adapter’s binding order to override this.

SHARE FILES AND FOLDERS

You’ll now see a list of all your Google Talk friends listed in the Gbridge window, as well as a list of folders that you are current sharing. You can share files as well as chat with your friends directly in Gbridge. They do not have to install Gbridge to chat with you, but will need the software to access your shared files from their computer.

Gbridge has a sample folder shared by default, but can easily add others from the SecureShare tab. Simply select a folder and choose friends with whom you wish to share that folder with. They’ll now will be able to browse the contents of that shared folder as well download files using a web browser.

REMOTELY ACCESS ANOTHER COMPUTER

In addition to file sharing, Gbridge also let you to remotely access your other computers (or that of your friends) over VPN. You can do this via the built-in VNC client (called DesktopShare) or through Windows Remote Desktop. The latter option is only available if you are on XP Pro, Vista Business or Windows 7 Professional.

Simply select the DesktopShare option on the computer that you wish to control, click “Configure Gbridge DesktopShare,” select who should access that computer and add a password. These people can now remotely access and control the computer.

Alternatively, create a common Google account and use it on both the computers – you can then remotely control the other computer without DesktopShare.

With GBridge, you can sync selected folders that you always have the same file on all your computer. This option may also be used to backup files on a remote computer.

LIMITATIONS OF YOUR VPN SETUP

Gbridge requires Windows 2000, XP, Vista, and Windows 7 but there’s no support for Mac or Linux machines. The application uses unsigned drivers, and while this will only prompt a security dialog in 32 bit versions of Windows, it won’t install in 64 bit editions since these require signed drivers.

Gbridge is otherwise a brilliant solution. You can stream MP3 files, show photos and video without uploading them anywhere, remotely fix a problem on your friend’s computer, access your home files from office or even unblock restricted sites. All this using your Google account.



Alternatives may include Opera Unite, Purple Nova and Team Viewer.

Auto-Forward SMS and Missed Calls to your Email [Android]


You may wonder why would anyone want to forward text messages or missed call notifications to their email account when the cell phone is with them all the time? Won’t these messages add more noise to an overflowing email Inbox?

Not so. For instance, some of my friends work in a company where, for security reasons, they aren’t allowed to carry personal mobile phones inside though they do have regular phones at their desk and are allowed email access. They would therefore leave the phone at home but with auto-forwarding enabled, they’ll get an email alert as soon as someone sends them an SMS or calls on their cell during office hours.

Such a feature may also be handy for people who have recently switched to a different phone number and would like to keep track of all incoming calls and messages received on their previous phone but without having to carry it all the time.

The Android Market has dozens of apps that can bring the auto-forwarding feature to your mobile phone and one of them is SMS2Gmail. It says “SMS” but the app can forward both SMS text messages and missed calls to your email address. You will get the complete message text in your email and the sender’s name as well provided that that number already exists in your phonebook.


It takes just one step to get it up and running. Launch the app, provide the credentials of your Gmail account and done. It needs the Google credentials in order to send email notifications but if that doesn’t make you too happy, just create another Gmail account and set it to auto-forward messages to your primary email account.

One more thing. You turn on email notifications manually but in a situation where you have have forgotten the phone at home, or have misplaced it somewhere, you can remotely activate auto-forwarding by sending an SMS from any another phone to your phone.

The app lets you assign an Activation Keyword (see screenshot) and as soon as a text arrives with that keyword, the auto-forwards will be enabled automatically.

How to Watch YouTube Videos Not Available in Your Country


No, this is not about Internet censorship in countries like China or Pakistan where ISPs frequently block access to sites like YouTube following Government orders.

YOUTUBE VIDEOS BLOCKED IN YOUR COUNTRY

You could be staying in a country like US, UK or India but may not be able to watch every video on YouTube – that’s because the content owners have allowed access to that video only from certain countries or geographic regions.

If your computer’s IP address falls outside that geographic region, YouTube will display an error saying “This video is not available in your country” – this message has nothing to do with censorship, it’s the owner of the video clip who could be limiting access.

YouTube Filters in Action

For instance, a video uploaded to YouTube by Warner Brothers or Sony Entertainment may not be available outside US. Similarly, BBC videos on YouTube can only be watched from UK.

BBC has mentioned the reason behind region filtering on their official BBC Channel – “Because of the way that the BBC is funded in the UK through the license fee, we cannot make videos available outside of the UK”. Similarly the Olympic Games channel on YouTube is blocked in countries like US.

How to bypass YouTube Region Filtering ?

YouTube uses your computer IP address to determine your physical location / country. In order to bypass these country-specific restrictions on YouTube, try this trick:

If the URL of the YouTube video is http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yEwD36Dk1jw – just replace the /watch?v= part with /v so your new URL becomes http://www.youtube.com/v/yEwD36Dk1jw.

Alternatively, you may download the YouTube video through a proxy and watch it offline.  The other trick is that you type the YouTube video URL inside Google Translate and use this a free Google Proxy Server.

How to Make Your Wired Printer Wireless

Your laptop and desktop computers are connected over a Wi-Fi network but you still need a physical USB cable to connect your wired printer to one of these computers.

If you find your existing setup a bit inconvenient and are looking for ways that will help you print documents from the same printer but wirelessly, here are some choices.

TURN ANY WIRED PRINTER INTO A WIRELESS NETWORK PRINTER

More new printers these days are network enabled so you can just attach them to your home network using the Ethernet port (or over Wi-Fi) and print from any other computer in the home network. However, if you are using an old USB based printer, you can use a wireless print server to turn that wired printer into a wireless one.

Wireless print servers are small devices (they look like mini routers) that have a USB port. You just have to connect the printer to this wireless print server using a regular USB cable and the printer will then become available to all other computers in your wireless network.

Here’s an overview of some of the most popular wireless print servers:


Netgear WGPS606 – This is both a wireless print server and a wired router.   It has two USB ports so you may use the device for sharing up to two printers over the wireless network. The same print server can also help you connect four different computers to the network even if they are not fitted with wireless network adapters. Costs around $60.

Linksys Print Server – This wireless print server from Cisco makes it easy to access all the functions of your all-in-one printer over the wireless network.   The Print Server can connect most USB based multifunction printers to your network using an Ethernet cable or Wireless-G. The print function works like any other print server but for scanning or copying, a user can request exclusive use of that function until his task is complete. Costs around $80.

HP Wireless Kit – If you like to turn your wired HP printer into a wireless one, the HP Wireless Printing Kit could be a good choice as it integrates fully with all features of your printer, including print, scan, and fax. It comes with a USB transmitter that you need to insert into the computer for wireless printing. The advantage is that you can print wirelessly even if you don’t have a wireless network. Requires Windows and costs around $75.

If you don’t have a wireless network at your place, you can consider getting a Bluetooth adapter for your printer. You need to attach the Bluetooth dongle to your computer and print wirelessly though the range will obviously be limited. Check your printer manufacturer’s site if they provide a Bluetooth adapter for your printer model.

SHOULD YOU BUY A WIRELESS PRINT SERVER?

Before you invest in a wireless print server for your printer, consider this.

Today, most multifunction printers include wireless capabilities and can therefore connect directly to your wireless network without any additional hardware. Some of these printers are available in the $100 range. With this in mind, does it make more sense to purchase a new printer instead of buying a wireless print server for your existing printer?

Here are some possible scenarios:

* If your current printer is relatively new and you paid more than $100 for it, then it may be more economical for you to simply purchase a wireless print server instead of purchasing an entirely new printer with the same features.

* If a wireless printer in not available in your area, you can buy a regular USB based wired printer and get someone to ship you a wireless print server. This would incur less shipping costs than ordering a wireless printer.

* Some wireless print servers can be used as wireless routers. If you do not have a wireless router at your place, you can opt for a wireless print server as it will not only turn your printer wireless but you also get to setup a wireless home network.

Can Google Employees Read your Gmail?


In theory, the answer could be yes. Christopher Nguyen, who was earlier responsible for Google Apps operations at Google, shared this on Quora:

" A small number of GMail related engineers have access to the servers as a matter of necessity to do their jobs; a very small number of people actually access the contents as a matter of necessity to do their jobs, and even then, almost always only the associated metadata.

The rest have to file a request and justify any access they ever need, which is extremely rare. All have to sign paperwork re users’ privacy at the risk of dismissal & legal action, knowing that whatever they do is discoverable. And ultimately, an internal culture of respecting users’ privacy helps keep one another in check."

Google also serves contextual text ads in Gmail and these ads are triggered based on the content of the email message that your currently reading. Obviously it is the bots that are scanning your Gmail messages for relevant keywords but Microsoft, with a hope that some Gmail users will shift to Hotmail, is using this point to target Google on privacy.

" Some email services, like Gmail, actually read the contents of your mail (both sent and received, even if you aren’t a Gmail user but just sending to someone who is) in order to decide what kind of ads to serve up to you. They may call it “scanning” and attempt to equate it with less invasive activities like “checking for spam” but it’s quite different. For you, and the people you send mail to, it’s not spam, it’s personal."

Microsoft has also released a video, titled the Gmail Man, highlighting this Gmail behavior. Microsoft uploaded the video to YouTube, a platform owned by Google, and it isn’t therefore surprising that the video has garnered more dislikes than likes – after all, most YouTube users are also Gmail users and they aren’t buying Microsoft’s argument.

How to Record Skype Calls on your iPad



HOW TO RECORD SKYPE CALLS ON IPAD (OR IPHONE)

While there are plenty of software tools around for recording Skype calls on a desktop, the process of recording Skype calls on an iPad or iPhone is a little bit different.

You initiate a call over Skype, switch to an audio recorder app and hit the record button. The technique works because even if you put the Skype app in the background, the call won’t disconnect. The other option is that you launch an audio recording app first and then switch to Skype so the recording happens in the background.

So which app do you use for recording Skype calls on the iPad.

There's is Quick Voice – a free voice recorder with a minimal interface and you can you record audio of unlimited duration. The only limitation is that you cannot run Quick Voice as a background app and second, if the audio file size exceeds 5 MB, you can’t transfer it out of your iPad.


If you want to have the Skype app running in the foreground during the recording – like when you are doing a video call – you may consider getting a copy of Voice Recorder or Audio Memos. These are inexpensive voice recording apps for the iPad that have no limits and support background recording.

TAKE NOTES WHILE RECORDING SKYPE CALLS

If you would like to jot down notes during a Skype call on an iPad, the recommended apps are Evernote (in the free category), Audio Notes, Sound Note and Notes Plus. With Evernote you can only type notes using the built-in keyboard while the other apps will also let you both type and draw freehand on the screen during the recording.

Finally, one unlikely but great contender in this category of Skype recorders is ScreenChomp. This is a digital whiteboard app that also records audio with drawing and exports everything as one video file.

The workflow is pretty similar. You launch the Skype app, initiate a voice / video call, then switch to ScreenChomp, or any of the other note taking apps, and start recording. Simple but there are obviously certain limitations.

One, you may only record voice calls using the above methods and if you are doing a video call on Skype, only the audio portion of the call will get recorded on your iPad.

Second, if you are using headphones during the Skype call, only your side of the conversation will get recorded since the built-in iPad microphone won’t hear the voice coming from the other side.

Monday, 26 June 2017

Create Ringtones for your Mobile Phone with WolframTones

if you aren’t too happy with the ringtones available on your mobile phone and want a tone that sounds pleasing and is unique, here’s an idea – create (or rather generate) a composition on your own with WolframTones.


Wolfram Tones is an online sound generator that can help you create 100% original patterns of music that you can download to your cell phone and use as a ringtone. You’ll get a different tone every time you press the composition button.

The generated tones are generally shorter than traditional music and, when you install one as a ringtone, your phone will automatically repeat it. The default duration of a ringtone is 30 seconds but you can easily increase it to 300 seconds.

Using Wolfram is simple. Just select a genre or style of music for the ring tone (like Rock, Jazz, Classical, etc.) and the program will generate a completely random but pleasing tone. You can even specify how various musical instruments should be used to render the composition.

When you are done, you can either download the MIDI ringtone to your computer or you can send it directly to your cell phone via SMS as a ringtone attachment. If you have trouble using the Wolfram tones generator in your browser, make sure that the QuickTime plug-in is enabled – the program doesn’t require Adobe Flash.

Other than cell phone ringtones, you may also use the tool to generate background music for using in, say, your screencast videos.

Interesting Uses of the Camera in Mobile Phones

What do you use the camera of your mobile phone for? Other than capturing digital photographs, here are some creative and productive uses of camera mobile phones:

Interesting Uses of the Camera in Mobile Phones


Computer Screen Capture – You can use the Mobile Phone cameras for capturing screenshots of error messages that popup while you are reinstalling a copy of Windows or modifying some BIOS settings. In situations like the dreaded Blue Screen, Print-Screen key is useless but any phone-cam will get the job done.

Remember Dates – Some time back, I had gone to a nursery school for submitting the admission form of my son. I don’t remember the exact date now but luckily, I had snapped a picture of the school and so that date is automatically stored with the image.

Interesting Uses of the Camera in Mobile Phones

Cable Connections – Before removing the cables from your home theatre system, gaming console or the computer, it is a good idea to capture the connections with your phone camera. Then you won’t have problems plugging the cables again in the right ports as the pictures will show you “what goes where”.

Use Mobile Phone as a Web Camera – There are some free utilities that will convert your mobile phone camera into a web cam for your computer. You can use the web camera via a USB cable or wirelessly through Bluetooth.


Interesting Uses of the Camera in Mobile Phones

Car Parking – Most shopping malls here have huge underground parking but there aren’t any signboards so it gets tough to locate the car. So when you park the car, just look towards the escalator (or the exit door) and take a picture or record some video. This will save lot of effort (and time) when you return with all those heavy shopping bags.

Scan Printed Documents – Mobile phone camera can work as scanners for capturing clippings of text from newspapers, library books and printed magazines. Just photograph the page and use a service like Qipit or ScanR that extract the text out of pictures taken with a mobile phone. (See “Use Mobile Phone as a Scanner“)

Replace Paper and Pen – Your wife has prepared a long list of items that you are supposed to pick from the grocery story. Why tear down that paper from the diary or put extra pressure on your memory – just click. You can also use the camera phone for capturing information written on whiteboards, subway maps and notice boards.

Google Maps and Directions – You are traveling and need the driving directions from Google Maps onto your mobile phone. If your phone has no Internet or you are not too sure how to transfer data from computer to the phone, just open Google Maps, press F11 for full screen and click with your phone.

Rent A Car – If you are taking a car on rent, capture all the areas with dents and scratches so that you don’t run into a dispute when returning the car to the agent.

Interesting Uses of the Camera in Mobile Phones


Security Weapon – Before you board a taxi in some unknown place, take a picture of the license plate and driver details that are generally written near the passenger seat. Email the picture to your spouse or friend as a security measure.

Shopping Alone – If you are in a store shopping without your spouse, get his/her opinion on the stuff you are about to purchase by emailing pictures though your phone. A word of caution here – some shop owners may consider your action as “digital shoplifting” and this may lead to an embarrassing situation.

As a Mirror – When you are about to reach the party, take a self-picture with your mobile phone to make sure that that makeup and hair style is in perfect condition.

Share your Presentation Slides with a QR Code

Let’s assume you are speaking at an event. Now when you are done with the presentation, some people in the audience would definitely want to have a “soft copy” of your slides. How would you distribute them?

The old approach is that you collect the email addresses of all the interested people and send the slides as an email attachment. Or you can upload the presentation file to some document sharing website, like Google Docs or Dropbox, and send them the hyperlink.

Alternatively, you may consider using QR Codes to distribute your presentation. Put the QR code image in the last slide, people can scan the code with their mobile phones and the presentation file would automatically download on to their phones. No need to write URLs.



DISTRIBUTE PRESENTATION DECKS WITH QR CODES

There’s a service in town called TagMyDoc that makes it easy for you to convert documents or presentations into QR Codes. Just upload the file to TagMyDoc and it will generate a corresponding QR code that you can include in your presentation slides for quick download. The service supports Word documents, PowerPoint presentations, PDFs and most common images formats.

You may wonder why would anyone use TagMyDoc when they can simply upload the presentation to, say, Dropbox and generate QR codes for the public link manually.

There are several reasons. One, TagMyDoc takes cares of the document hosting as well as the code generation so its quicker. TagMyDoc can automatically insert the QR Code image into your presentation so it easy to locate the online copy from the physical copy in case someone decides to print your slides. And it can also track downloads for you.

You can use TagMyDoc without registration but in that case, the uploaded documents will expire after two weeks. They are also working on plugins for Word and PowerPoint that will help you tag files from within Microsoft Office itself.

Get a Free .in Web Domain and Hosting from Google

Google India, in partnership with ICICI Bank and HostGator (the web hosting company), has launched a program called India Get Online where they make it easy for you to setup a website for your business for free.



As part of the deal, you get a free .in web domain (provided it is available) and free web hosting for one year. The .in domain will registered to you while Hostgator will manage the website hosting* though you can move the site to any other web host for free.

Such free offers are always a goldmine for spammers but Google India has made it mandatory for businesses to enter their Permanent Account Number (PAN) or Tax Deduction Account Number (TAN) at the time of registration. Since these numbers are unique for every individual / business, you can’t avail it more than once.

Your website will be integrated with Google Apps so you also get access to other Google products like Gmail, Google Analytics, Google Docs and more. You also get Google Adwords coupons worth INR 2.5k for free to help you advertise your website on Google and AdSense network sites.

[*] If you have purchased a web domain already, you can also use Google App Engine to host your website online for free.

You can visit vijashiviinternational.in or khoslaprinters.in to get an idea of how sites created with the “India Get Online” look like. There’s a set of ready-made web templates, pick one that matches your business profile, you can customize the text and pictures of the pages and your site is good to go.

Google hasn’t exactly specified the amount that businesses will have to pay to renew their website registration and hosting after one year except saying that it will be a “discounted fee.”

Microsoft had a offered a similar service in India called Office Live for Small Businesses but they recently discontinued it in favor of Office 365 which is less about website hosting but more about running your business in the cloud.

A Beautiful Replacement for your Notepad

Notepad, a light-weight text editor that is included with every copy of Microsoft Windows, is also the most basic program on your computer with an extremely simple UI and limited functionality.

This probably explains why there is almost an avalanche of notepad replacements in the market – applications that aren’t just better than the default notepad program but most of them are free as well.

A Beautiful Replacement for your Notepad

A BETTER ALTERNATIVE TO NOTEPAD

Today I had an opportunity to try another notepad replacement and after spending a couple of minutes with the program, I am convinced that it is going to be my new default text editor replacing Notepad. The program is called Bend.

Bend has everything that you wish were available in notepad – tabs, better find and replace (with support for regular expressions) and even syntax highlighting. All this packed inside an extremely beautiful and elegant UI.

Once you have installed Bend, you can go to Settings and integrate the text editor with Windows Explorer. Later, when you right click any file, you’ll have the option to open it in Bend directly even if the file extension is something other than txt.

I am using Bend with Windows 7 but the developer says that it should work on Windows XP and Vista systems also as long as you have .NET 4.0.

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