Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Laptop Keyboard Keys Fell Off !!!!

Here is a very good article on how to put back the keys that fell off your laptop. I was trying to clean my laptop when I accidentally uprooted one of its keys. After banging my head on how to put it back for almost about an hour, I found a link explaining how to do it. And, my key was back to its place in 5 minutes. Thanks....

Check out this link:

"Fix Laptop Keyboards"

Monday, November 3, 2008

Multiple GTalk Logins

I just stumbled upon a site that told me about how to launch multiple GTalk windows and log in as different users with different GTalk windows.

Things you need to do:
1. Create a shortcut for GTalk on your desktop or Quick Launch bar.
2. Right click the icon and then in the Target Field, edit the value to add a new parameter like this.
"C:\Program Files\Google\Google Talk\googletalk.exe" /nomutex
Note: The only thing you need to add here is "/nomutex" after the default Target.

Now from this shortcut, you can launch different GTalk clients and log-in with separate user accounts. Happy GTalking.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Google Contacts : The least publicized Google Service

Google Contacts, though you might not think it as a separate Google Service, but if you have a closer look at this application (in my words), you will start appreciating its usefulness. Almost all other Google Services have access to your Contacts, be it GMail, Gtalk, Google Docs, Google Calender, Blogger and so on.

And the features that Google Contacts has, makes itself a one of the best Contact/Phone Book Application I have seen. Microsoft Outlook's address book is quite advanced and very user friendly. Google Contacts is in no way less than any of the available Phone-book applications. And the best part is its integration with so many other Google Services.

Have a look at the screenshots.

Can you think of a single field that is missing out. Multiple mail ids, multiple phone numbers, multiple addresses, Title, Company, Notes, IMs, even a photo!!!!....What more do you want? Almost all the fields that are there in an Outlook contact, Google Contacts has them all. Well, I forgot to mention one very small but important thing. There is one more field, which I should probably say as the "Status" which shows the current status of the contact on Gtalk.

You can also create groups and then assign each contact to a group. And when you create a group, with some contacts in it, you can see an entry in the pop-up list when you type in something in the "To" field while composing a mail in GMail. Now, in one go, you can send a mail to many people just by mentioning the group name. Isn't this similar with Microsoft Outlook's
Distribution Lists?

I am sure you must have seen Outlook's brilliant Calender. Please also have a look at Google Calender. With Gmail, Google Contacts and Google Calender combined, isn't it very similar to Microsoft's Outlook. The only difference is that Microsoft provides all these three, packaged in a single application. While Google has separated all these into different applications but within comfortable reach of each other, and for a good reason as well.

So much has been spoken already about GMail and to some extent about the Google Calender. But the least popularized or publicized Google Application according to me is the "Google Contacts". Keeping the Contacts as a completely separate application, Google has been able to integrate the same with other services. Now with the launch of Google Android platform, I won't be surprised if they re-use the same Google Contacts and synchronize the phone's phone-book with Google Contacts. Google contacts definitely serves as one of the foundations for all the Google Services. And with the Google Contacts API, you can design your own application to have full control over your contacts.


Thursday, April 10, 2008


My First App with Android

Video quality is bad and there is no voice.

You can find a better quality video at YouTube. Here is the link.

This app shows your call statistics in a graphical format. The normal call log that each phone will have is limited to only few calls. In this app, I record each and every incoming and outgoing call and store them in a file, and then plot the graphs based on this local data.

There are currently only 6 views that you can see:

1. Total Duration
2. Total Incoming (Duration)
3. Total Outgoing (Duration)
4. Total Calls
5. Total Incoming Calls
6. Total Outgoing Calls

I couldn't implement this for SMSs, since the current SDK doesn't support this feature.

There are other improvements that I have thought of, but I started building this app very late.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

VLC - Not just a media player

I was so desperately searching for a Video conversation software for such a long time. If you ask me why, to make the long story short, I had some good videos which I wanted to upload to my SE K550i. There are quite a few softwares that might just do the job for free, but I found the quality of their output was much below what I was expecting. And I wasn't willing to pay. What I didn't know was all those hours of searching, cracking the demo softwares would be futile.

At last, I gave up, frustrated. And one find day, I installed VLC Player just to be able to play some video formats that were not supported by the well-known players like the ubiquitous Windows Media Player. At first, I was not very impressed by its user-interface. But now its been a year since I am using VLC Player and it has won me over. It's not just a media player, but much more than that.

I tried exploring all that it can do to your videos, but its capability of converting videos from one format to another, I would consider the best functionality it has. Lets go through the process of converting a video from MPG format to MPEG-4 (My SE K550i supports MPEG-4).

Step 1 - Add the file you want to convert to its play list.

Step 2 - Pause the video. The conversion would also work with the video playing, just in case, something goes wrong, pause it.

Step 3 - Goto File -> Wizard

Step 4 - A wizard will come up. You will have two options here. Choose the second option "Transcode/Save to File. Go to the next screen.

Step 5 - On the second screen you need to choose the file you want to convert. Since you have already added the file to the play list, you need not open your file system again. Just select "Existing play list item" and on the list, select the file. Click Next.

Step 6 - Check both the boxes and select the format you want to convert it to from the drop down list. Choose the bit rates. The output file size will depend heavily on this. Experiment with different settings to get the proper mix of quality and size. Click Next.

Step 7 - You don't have anything to do on the next this screen. Just click next.

Step 8 - In this screen, click choose and specify a location where you want to save the output file. This is important. If you don't specify a file name and a location, VLC will not save it anywhere. It will just keep it in the RAM and you can see it only on the play list. Also, while specifying a file name, type in its extension also. Though you can do this later by renaming this output file with its extension. Clicking finish will start the conversion process which you can see on the main VLC window on the
status area.

After the transcoding is complete, you new file is ready to be played. congrats.....

This is one of the hundreds of things(I mean it...100) that VLC can do. Keep exploring.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Why Cry over VISTA???

I have read a lot of feedbacks about Vista all over the Internet, and I found almost 98% of them cursing this poor Operating System. Before buying my HP laptop, I insisted on getting an XP version of windows to be installed on my machine. But I was told that this particular model of mine cannot run any old version of Windows, which is true. I was furious then. I thought, how can Microsoft decide which OS should I be using. I even tried installing XP on my machine, but without any success. I really don't understand the reason why I cannot do this. I thought of installing Xubuntu, a Linux based OS, but then as I have heard from so many people of the problems it might cause to my other partitions, I was a bit reluctant. On many occasions, I have seen people crying over their lost data in the process of experimenting with their Operating Systems. With Vista, I didn't want to take any chances.

So, I wrote to the manufacturer of my laptop asking them this weird question. "Can I install Linux as a second OS on my laptop which is already running on Windows Vista? And where do I get the drivers for all my devices for Linux".

The reply I got was,
"Your laptop is designed to work with Vista only. You might not even be able to install XP. And regarding the drivers for Linux, you won't find them anywhere. We don’t support Linux as yet. The best thing we can suggest if you plan to install Linux is to BACK UP YOUR DATA FIRST.

We will inform you once the drivers for Linux are available.

Do let us know your experience since no one else has ever came up with this query. Your feedback might help us to help others."

WOW....I was both happy and disappointed with their reply. "Happy" because, I consulted them before taking that would-have-been fateful step, and disappointed because, there were no drivers for Linux. And without the drivers, I wouldn't get the optimal performance with Linux. So, what’s the point of even trying? This goes for Windows XP as well.

By the time I decided not to play with my laptop as far as the OS was concerned, it had already been a year with my Laptop and Vista. And I have no major complaints. There were some minor problems which I had in the beginning, but when I kept updating my OS with the free updates being released by Microsoft almost every day, those problems seem to have vanished, quite surprising, isn't it?

The first few weeks with Vista were the most difficult ones. On the fourth day of my Laptops Life, Vista crashed. Fortunately, I had my recovery CDs with me. Didn't lose much data then. I had once more crash after about a month when I lost all my data. I was now getting terrified of it. The Recovery CDs helped me again.

Now, it’s been 1 whole year, and except for the 2 hiccups in the early days, I have had a very pleasant experience with My Vista.

The one problem with vista, which so many people complain about, is that it's a resource hog. I don't understand why people feel so. My Laptop came with a mere 512MB RAM. But I had upgraded it by adding one 1GB of RAM. That was the max I could have done. So with 1.5GB of RAM, I have never seen the used memory going beyond 800MB. Of course, 512MB wasn't enough, but if you want to buy a laptop today, the minimum RAM that any average model will be providing would be at least 1GB. With 1GB of RAM, Vista would never stall (At least the Home versions).

Come on guys!!!! Vista is a baby now, just launched. It will surely grow up to be stable and one of the best OSes that Microsoft has come up with. I would suggest you to regularly update your OS from Microsoft. These will surely help you raising this little baby into a cute and charming boy. I can't compare it with Linux or MAC, since I haven't had long experiences with them. I have never seen any MAC OSes, but have heard about its brilliance. I have definitely seen and used Linux, the most recent versions as well, and I would give both of them 9 out of 10 (Linux and Vista).