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Thursday, February 25, 2010

Pivot - An experiment from Microsoft Live Labs

Pivot is a way to interact with massive amounts of data, available at this link. It requires Silverlight.
Pivot makes it easier to interact with massive amounts of data in ways that are powerful, informative, and fun. We tried to step back and design an interaction model that accommodates the complexity and scale of information rather than the traditional structure of the Web.
When we use the Web today we treat the most fundamental scenarios as separate activities. Search takes us from many things to one, browsing moves us from one thing to another, and recommendations expose affinities that enable us to explore related topics. Can we do better by combining these scenarios into a more unified experience?
At the heart of Pivot are "Collections." They combine large groups of similar items on the Internet, so we can begin viewing the relationships between individual pieces of information in a new way. By visualizing hidden patterns, Pivot enables users to discover new insights while interacting with thousands of things at once.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Comparison of apps that allow sharing of large files

When you have precious files, photos that have a lot of emotional value, and other similar information on your machine, making sure that you have copies of them is very important. Computers can get spoiled, hard disks can get corrupt, so you need to have an option of having a backup, ideally with the minimum effort. A lot of applications (both commercial and personal) are available that help in this process, and here is a comparison of some of them (link)

So why would you use an file-sharing app anyway? Actually for many reasons: for larger files, for privacy, multiple files, file format support, and more.
In this post, I compare 16 file-sharing services. I took three main issues under consideration when creating the comprehensive app list below: Free, Fast, and Useful . . .
Most of the services suggested require no registration. None of them will ask you to download anything to your computer, and all of them are easy to use, and worth using. It is actually great to see services, such as Yousendit, MailBigFile, and Rapidshare, that are still relevant and are good choices, but if I had to pick one it would be Mediafire.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Flash and cookies - learn more about privacy

People rightly see cookies as a problem in terms of privacy and tracking their activities. If you read this article (link), you will learn about the ability of tracking cookies set by Flash, something that is used by a large number of sites.
Unlike traditional browser cookies, Flash cookies are relatively unknown to web users, and they are not controlled through the cookie privacy controls in a browser. That means even if a user thinks they have cleared their computer of tracking objects, they most likely have not.
Several services even use the surreptitious data storage to reinstate traditional cookies that a user deleted, which is called ‘re-spawning’ in homage to video games where zombies come back to life even after being “killed,” the report found. So even if a user gets rid of a website’s tracking cookie, that cookie’s unique ID will be assigned back to a new cookie again using the Flash data as the “backup.”

Thursday, February 18, 2010


A FireFox plugin for protecting your privacy.
Learn more at this link.
Ever wondered why you are still tracked though you tried everything to prevent it?
BetterPrivacy is a safeguard which protects from usually not deletable LSO's on Google, YouTube, Ebay...
Better Privacy serves to protect against not deletable longterm cookies, a new generation of 'Super-Cookie', which silently conquered the internet. This new cookie generation offers unlimited user tracking to industry and market research. Concerning privacy Flash- and DOM Storage objects are most critical.
This addon was made to make users aware of those hidden, never expiring objects and to offer an easy way to get rid of them - since browsers are unable to do that for you.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

SilverX - Flash to Silverlight converter

Converting Flash to Silverlight is something that Microsoft would really like, so here is a tool for doing the same. Learn more at this link.
SliverX support Flash 5, 6, 7, 8, 9 and 10 file formats and transfroms Flash content to Silverlight 3 solutions for Visual Studio 2008 / Expression Blend 3.

SilverX supports all basic Flash features: vector primitives, images, texts and animations, so almost all Flash movie resources get accurately converted to Silverlight.

Vector graphics
Line styles
Solid fills
Bitmap fills
Linear gradient fills
Radial gradient fills
Bitmaps (JPEG/PNG): all bitmaps are converted to PNG format
Static texts
Dynamic texts
HTML texts
Embedded fonts
Shape tweening/morphing
Clipping layers
Animations: show/hide object, matrix transformations, color transformations

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Building a Font Library

Learn more about this at the link.
From the site:
We’ve been testing Typekit over the last few weeks with a small group of foundries, type designers, and web designers. The results have been incredibly valuable, helping us learn more about how fonts perform in browsers as well as a host of other issues. We are very grateful to these folks for being so generous with their time and expertise. And a large number of these foundries have agreed to jump in with both feet, adding their work to the Typekit service from day one.
The full list of Fonts is available at the site.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Typekit fonts now available in Readability

Learn more about this initiative at this link.
Have you tried the Readability service yet? The concept is simple: whenever you land on a web page filled with flashing ads and a cluttered design, just hit the bookmarklet and it will reformat the page into a beautifully calm and highly legible template. It works on most any site, and makes reading on the web a joy. We’ve been using it for quite a while and can’t imaging living without it. David Pogue agrees, too. In his New York Times column, Pogue praised the service, saying “It completely transforms the Web experience, turning your computer into an e-book reader. I think I’m in love.”

Learn the Readability experiment at this link.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Education/Projects/ProcessingForTheWeb - mozilla wiki

Processing for the Web is a initiative (under the auspices of the Mozilla Education program) to create a complete and robust port of the Java-based Processing language and environment (popular for art, design, and visualization applications) to the open web, using standard technologies such as JavaScript, Canvas, etc. It builds on the existing processing.js port of Processing to JavaScript.

The goals motivating the initiative are as follows:

to enable Processing users to leverage the full power of the open web, and help spark a new wave of innovative uses of Processing
to serve as a forcing function to drive improvements in key aspects of Mozilla products and technologies, including JavaScript performance, Canvas functionality, applications of Bespin, Ubiquity, Multi-Touch and others
to reach out to and increase cooperation with the design, art, and new media communities, both as part of the existing Mozilla Education program and as a component of possible future Mozilla outreach efforts directed at those communities

Learn more at this link.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Google Fast Flip - Newspaper reading

Learn more at this link.
Google Fast Flip is a web application that lets users discover and share news articles. It combines qualities of print and the Web, with the ability to "flip" through pages online as quickly as flipping through a magazine. It also enables users to follow friends and topics, discover new content and create their own custom magazines around searches.

How does it work?
We capture images of the articles on our partners' websites and then display them in an easy-to-read way. The stories are grouped by categories, such as Entertainment, Business, Opinion, Politics and Most Viewed. Readers can flip through stories quickly by simply pressing the left- and right-arrow keys until they find one that catches their interest. Clicking on the story takes them directly to the publisher's website.

How are the Topics selected? Can I choose my own?
The Topics are generated automatically by rising stories in the news. Users can also search for any subjects they want and basically create their own topics, almost like a custom magazine, on the fly.

How are stories recommended in the Recommended section?
The stories in this section are recommended by users of Google Fast Flip in direct and indirect ways. We take cues from how often they read stories, e-mail stories and register a public vote for stories by clicking on the "Like" button on each article.

Can I recommend stories that I like to other people?
Google Fast Flip allows readers to vote on an article to tell the world they liked it. Clicking on the "Like" button on a story page lodges a public vote for that story, which is one of the factors in whether Fast Flip includes stories the "Recommended" section. At the bottom of the home page, Fast Flip users who are signed in to their Google Account can see which stories friends in their Gmail contact list have "liked."

Friday, February 12, 2010

Photoforge - software for the iPhone / iPod

There is always a need for using software for the iPhone / iPod, and PhotoForge is one of them. Getting good software that works on such devices can be pretty challenging. Learn more at this link.

PhotoForge is a highly optimized editing and painting application designed for the iPhone and iPod touch. It can be used for image manipulation, retouching, effects, and color correction, as well as a painter’s tool. It is indispensable for creating original artwork, or editing photos on your mobile device.
PhotoForge is a superb photographer’s tool, providing digital darkroom capabilities that are second to none. It is also a tool for creating incredible works of art and illustrations. PhotoForge allows you to put together an image, combining filters, brushes, and effects. They may be hand-painted, or a composite of photographic images mixed with painting. The filters and effects can be layered to produce even more dynamic results.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Myna - an online Audio Editor from Aviary

Aviary is a set of tools that promises a lot. One such tool is called "Myna".
Learn more about Myna at this link.
Use Myna to remix music tracks and audio clips. Apply sound effects and record your own voice or instruments!
- Powerful Clip Editing
Trim, Loop, Stretch and Reverse your audio clips, width editable loop points, and interactive time stretch capabilities.
- Automation
Easily add fade-ins, fade-outs, pan from left to right, and modify gain over time, with editable control points.
- Effects
Add non-destructive effects to your audio clips including Pitch Change, Reverb, Delay, Parametric EQ, and more. files.
- Import / Export
Import your own audio files, or search one of our provided libraries. Mix it down and export directly to your desktop or publish back to your account.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

32 bit code / Windows and 4 GB of memory

From time to time, you would have a lot of queries about using a 32 bit of Windows along with a machine that has more than 4 GB of memory. Typically, most retailers will inform you that there is no point in having a machine that has more than 4 GB of RAM, since you will not get the benefit due to restrictions with the memory management of the OS.
Learn a lot more about the usage of memory in these areas (link)

Though machines with 4GB are not yet the typical purchase for home or business use, they are readily available from major manufacturers and it won’t be long before they are the typical purchase. But there are problems. You don’t have to stand for long in a computer shop to hear a sales assistant talk of 4GB as some sort of limit for 32-bit operating systems, and it won’t be long before this sales patter develops into outright promotion of 64-bit Windows as the only way to get past this limit.
That 32-bit editions of Windows Vista are limited to 4GB is not because of any technical constraint on 32-bit operating systems. The 32-bit editions of Windows Vista all contain code for using physical memory above 4GB. Microsoft just doesn’t license you to use that code. Well, to say it that way is perhaps to put words in Microsoft’s mouth. I say the restriction to 4GB is a licensing issue because that’s how Microsoft’s programmers evidently have thought of it. The 4GB limit is retrieved from the registry by calling a function named ZwQueryLicenseValue, which is itself called from an internal procedure which Microsoft’s published symbol files name as MxMemoryLicense. If you remove this check for the licensed memory limit then a restriction to 4GB is demonstrably not enforced by other means.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Jing - a free tool for helping you

It is always useful to find tools that help out in your ongoing work. One such tool is called Jing (located at this site).

A few ways to use Jing:
Collaborate on a design project
Share a snapshot of a document
Narrate your vacation photos
Capture that pesky bug in action
Show Dad how to use iTunes
Comment verbally on students' homework
Post tidbits from your life on Twitter or Facebook

Jing remembers everything you capture on your computer and stores the images and videos as thumbnails in the History.
The Capture Hotkey is pretty handy. Not only does it save a couple of clicks, but it also makes it possible to capture things like drop down menus--like in the example below.
Jing is tied to TechSmith's When you install Jing you must create a account associated with a valid email address (unless you already have a account). This becomes your "Default Account". If you have multiple accounts (such as for work or personal) you can associate whichever account you wish on a per-button basis.

Monday, February 8, 2010 - Help out in your business

Create attractive business mashups in a matter of minutes with MashZone and gain insights into your corporate processes and how they interrelate. Obtain the details you need to make informed decisions. Create your own mashups that are linked directly to current company data. Obtain a proper overview by combining data from different sources. Share your mashups with colleagues. Decide who can view your mashups and who can edit them. Benefit from exchanging knowledge with other users.

Interact with your data like never before. Bridge the gap between static tables, evaluations, and rigid reports and the need for graphical, interactive, easy-to-understand presentations. Create your own custom dashboard using a simple drag-and-drop interface. Drill down to detailed information via the interactive visualization options to display relationships between data.

Read more at this site (link)

Sunday, February 7, 2010 - solutions for your website

The liveBooks editSuite is a web-based content management system—use it to update images and text on your website. The editSuite was designed for the creative professional, and it utilizes drag-and-drop technology. The result is an intuitive editing environment that empowers you with complete creative control over all your content.

liveBooks' websites provide your commercial clients what they need to book you off the site. Big, fast loading, quality images, intuitive navigation and designs that engage, but don't upstage your work. And for you? Complete creative control over all your content with drag and drop ease, and a flexible website that grows with your business.

Learn more at this site (link)

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Adding raw egg to your hair - learn how to do it

Raw egg is supposed to do a lot of wonders to your hair; my wife was wondering what is the exact process to add raw egg to hair since it seems a bit yucky and messy. I looked around and found these articles that helped: (this was the easiest to go through) (link) (link)

To reap the benefit of healthier hair provided by eggs, apply raw eggs to your hair regularly. Crack at least 2 eggs into a bowl and mix thoroughly. For longer hair, you may need more eggs. Massage the mixed eggs onto dry hair. Make sure to really saturate your hair. This can get messy, so you may want to do it over the bathroom sink. Allow 15 minutes for your hair to absorb the eggs. Then rinse your hair thoroughly with cold water only. Cold water not only closes the hair follicle, but it won't cook the egg as warm or hot water can. After rinsing, shampoo as usual.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Urban legend: The billion dollar pen

There is a joke that keeps on making the rounds, about how NASA discovered that normal pen does not work in space, and then spent a huge amount of money in research and developing a pen that works in space; and what did the Russians do ? Well, they did not waste money like this, and instead used a normal pencil.
Well, as the linked article (link) shows, this is an urban legend with no basis in truth. Read the complete article to find out:

The story goes like this: in the 1960s, NASA astronauts discovered that their pens did not work in zero gravity. So like good engineers, they went to work and designed a wonder pen. It worked upside down. It worked in vacuum. It worked in zero gravity. It even worked underwater! And it only cost a million dollars! The crafty Russians used a pencil.
This story, like most modern urban legends, has proliferated on the Internet, but it has also been passed by word of mouth. I’ve even heard a well-known space historian tell the story while talking about his new book, getting the expected laugh from his audience when he held up a Number 2 pencil for the punchline. And, of course, the story has also been embellished, with the cost of the writing device getting ever higher, from a million dollars to a hundred million dollars to a billion dollars in some variations. Undoubtedly at some point the cost will equal the mythical trillion-dollar price of a mission to Mars.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

EtherPad - Allow people to work together remotely

In today's world, where corporations move work where it is cheaper, leading to teams having to adjust to colleagues being far away, it makes cooperation, planning and scheduling more difficult. Part of this problem can be solved through the use of collaboration tools (lean more about EtherPad)
EtherPad is the only web-based word processor that allows people to work together in really real-time.
When multiple people edit the same document simultaneously, any changes are instantly reflected on everyone's screen. The result is a new and productive way to collaborate on text documents, useful for meeting notes, drafting sessions, education, team programming, and more.
Other custom in-browser text editors tend to be either slow or quirky, owing to the difficulty of using browsers' built-in text editing mechanisms while extending them in new ways. EtherPad uses a novel editing engine, developed and refined at AppJet over many months, that provides a solid user experience without compromising on responsiveness.

Monday, February 1, 2010

LibTIFF - TIFF Library and Utilities

This software provides support for the Tag Image File Format (TIFF), a widely used format for storing image data. The latest version of the TIFF specification is available on-line in several different formats.

Included in this software distribution is a library, libtiff, for reading and writing TIFF, a small collection of tools for doing simple manipulations of TIFF images, and documentation on the library and tools. Libtiff is a portable software, it was built and tested on various systems: UNIX flavors (Linux, BSD, Solaris, MacOS X), Windows, OpenVMS. It should be possible to port libtiff and additional tools on other OSes.

The library, along with associated tool programs, should handle most of your needs for reading and writing TIFF images on 32- and 64-bit machines. This software can also be used on older 16-bit systems though it may require some effort and you may need to leave out some of the compression support.

The software was originally authored and maintained by Sam Leffler. While he keeps a fatherly eye on the mailing list, he is no longer responsible for day to day maintenance.

Learn more at this link.

ansca mobile - develop on the iPad

Ansca Mobile is a new software company led by an award-winning team of former Adobe mobile engineers, who were responsible for the leadership and technical breakthroughs that helped Adobe Flash Lite reach nearly a billion devices.

Ansca is revolutionizing mobile software development by empowering developers of all backgrounds to create captivating mobile experiences. Ansca’s Corona enables designers, engineers, and non-traditional developers to quickly create and share applications designed for the Apple iPhone. Backed by a highly talented team, the company creates innovative products that allow developers to unlock their imagination.

Learn more at this page (link)