Thursday, 28 May 2009

How will third-gen iPhone look like

The Web world is abuzz with rumours that Apple is all set to unveil a new iPhone. All that the tech giant has hinted from its side is that the coming World Developers Conference on June 8th will be all about Mac OS X and iPhone.

Little doubt then that the rumour mill is working overtime on how the new iPhone will look like and the features it will have. So here's digging into the raging iPhone rumours to find out how the new iPhone may look like.

On the looks front, the new iPhone is likely to sport same dimensions as that of the current model. Though a few cosmetic changes may show up. Some speculation suggests that the new device may do away with the metal border.

It is also being anticipated that the present smooth plastic back may be replaced by a treaded rubber-type back, similar to that of BlackBerry.

Rumors also suggest that the Apple logo may be light up just like the illuminated Apple logo on the back of the notebook line. The light will be white in colour and will remain on while the iPhone is powered on.

3.2 megapixel camera and video recording
Speculations are rife that the iPhone 3.0 will pack a 3.2 megapixel camera with the ability to focus the lens as a new feature. The device may also pack video recording capabilities, a sorely missed out feature in the iPhone 2.0. It may offer onboard video-editing capabilities too.

Last year when Apple launched iPhone 2.0 it was expected that the device will have a higher-resolution camera and a possible support for digital video recording. However, 3G iPhone disappointed with the same 2 megapixel camera and no video recording option. Flash and optical zoom too were missing.

However, Web is abuzz will rumours that Apple may take cue from other smartphone rivals who offer between 5 and 8 megapixel camera resolution.

OLED screen
Another big change that the new iPhone is likely to introduce is in display. The third-generation iPhone is likely to have OLED (Organic light-emitting diode) screen display. The OLED display will replace the current LCD screen. The biggest advantage of an OLED screen is that it will boost the battery life of the device.

However, analysts also feel that Apple may have to rework the pricing point if it introduces OLED screen as OLED screens are quite expensive. The OLED screen may offer a 640 x 960 resolution.

32GB model
The rumor mill also suggests that the present 8GB and 16GB iPhone models will be replaced by 16GB and 32GB versions. However, the devices may maintain the $199 and $299 price points (unless as mentioned above the device introduces OLED screen).

In India, Apple sells its 8GB model at Rs 31,000 (appox) while the 16GB model comes with a price tag of Rs 36,000 (approx).

It is expected that the processor will go from a 400 MHz to a 600 MHz, and that the smartphone will go from 128MB to 256MB. This will improve the overall speed of the iPhone. Also, the new OS is expected to be faster.

1.5x battery life
Apple fans are hopeful that the iPhone 3.0 will pack improved battery. Also because of the OLED display, the device may pack a higher version.

OLED displays use less energy so the new iPhone's battery life should be better than the less than the battery life of the iPhone 3G. The new model is rumored to have 1.5 times the battery life of the current model.

Yes, cut-copy-paste will be there for sure. The new iPhone 3.0 software adds this one of the most sorely missed feature in the existing iPhone 2.0.

Apple said the third generation of iPhone software will let users copy information from notes and Web pages, and let people move text between different applications. Users who erroneously paste text can shake the iPhone to get an option to cut it.

MMS feature
MMS messages option is the top most anticipated features expected in the Apple iPhone 3.0. Apple iPhone 3.0 will offer multimedia messaging capability with the new 3.0 software allowing users to send each other photographs from the phone.

Earlier, users could send text messages or snapshots via email only.

While unveiling the new operating system software, iPhone OS 3.0, Apple said that the iPhone will become a full-fledged GPS device with iPhone 3.0.

The new upgrade will enable users to receive turn-by-turn instructions for driving similar to those in use on GPS navigation devices. The feature will be available through apps.

Wednesday, 27 May 2009

Nokia Ovi Store: A 360 degree view

Nokia's much-anticipated online software and content store, Ovi, is finally live. Nokia's answer to Apple App Store, Ovi can access more devices than its rivals and will utilise social networking and location-based information to suggest relevant mobile content.

Recently, Canada's Research in Motion (RIM), too opened its online store, BlackBerry App World offering a variety of free and paid applications. Others hotting up the online application space include Microsoft's Windows Mobile Marketplace and Google Android Marketplace.

Here's a 360 degree view of the Nokia Ovi Store, its pluses, minuses and much more.

Starting up
Ovi Store is Nokia's market for Internet services where users can share photos with friends, buy music and access third-party applications. The countries to first gain access to Nokia Ovi include Australia, Singapore, Spain, Italy, Germany, Russia, Ireland and UK.

Users can register at through their Nokia device browsers to download applications, games, videos, podcasts, productivity tools, web and location-based services. A user can get to the Ovi Store by going to on either his PC or Nokia mobile phone. If a user clicks on a piece of content on his PC, the store will send his phone a text message with a link. The user clicks on the link in his phone's messaging programme, which will send him to a WAP site. Now he needs to click download and go through a log-in screen.

If the content costs money, he will have to go through two screens to share his credit card information. The multiple languages Store is open for business and Nokia has stocked the shelves with both local and global content for a broad range of Nokia devices.

Live at 20,000
To begin with, Ovi Store packs over 20,000 titles, including both free and paid applications, podcasts, wallpapers and ringtones. Nokia Ovi's rival Apple App Store offers over 35,000 applications. Incidentally, Apple's and Google Android's debut figure was much less in comparison.

The Ovi Store has a list of Nokia devices and allows users to sort content depending on which phone they use. According to a popular tech site, it has 868 for Nokia E71, 987 for the Nokia N95 8GB, and 596 for the Nokia 5310. Of these, most are ringtones, wallpapers and videos, not apps, according to the site. As for apps, there are 436 for the N95, 414 for the E71, and a mere 154 for the Nokia 5310.

Searching for content
Underneath the main phone selector tool are several ways to search for content, including lists for applications, audio & video, games and personalisation. Every category has a list of sub-categories below it.

Below this are twelve featured applications, which display the category under which they would normally fall. However, since the store is still in its initial stages, most apps have not been rated yet.

On clicking on an application, users will land on a page specific for that app where they can read more information about it. The information includes the size of the application, the ability to report issues, user reviews and also how to determine if your phone is compatible with the application.

Users can also choose to have the store recommend applications based on the mobile device they are using. Plus, there's also a way to sort between free and paid apps.

Supports 50 models
Ovi Store supports more than 50 Nokia devices including the upcoming Nokia N97. Nokia claims that the Ovi Store is available globally to an estimated 50 million Nokia device owners.

Currently, Nokia holds about 40 per cent of world's mobile phone marketshare and 45 per cent of the smartphone market share. As for the payment, users can pay with their credit card or can have the charges added to their phone bill.

The mobile content is available in several languages including English, German, Italian, Russian and Spanish. It supports operator billing in Australia, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Russia, Singapore, Spain and the United Kingdom.

Nokia said that in the US, AT&T plans to make Ovi Store available to its customers later this year.

Few biz apps and NO Facebook!
Nokia Ovi store misses out the popular social networking hangouts Facebook and Myspace. On the social networking side, it has Hi5, Friendster, Buddycloud and also location based social network Gypsii.

Another big disappointment is lack of business applications. The site so far offers mere 10 business applications including See-Fi, a calendar sharing tool, Projekt, to-do list manager and ABBYY Business Card Reader 2.0.

OS disappointment
The fact that content is model-specific is sure to disappoint several users. This is unlike Apple App Store or Blackberry App World where all apps support all models. This is largely due to the same OS in all the models. While Nokia's large flock of mobile devices in the market don't support varied OSes.

Nokia Ovi store site displays a list of Nokia phones and allows users to sort content depending on which phone they use.


Monday, 25 May 2009

Buying a laptop? Look beyond specs

Planning to buy a laptop? However, don't know how to start hunting for the ideal notebook. One that meets your requirements and fits in best into your work regimen.

Remember, while specs are what manufacturers tout -- dual core processor, large screen, size, and lightweight -- there's more you need to consider while zeroing on the laptop of your choice.

These features though may not look obvious, will go a long way in making your purchase enduring.

Display: Gloss or matte?
When you buy a notebook computer, pay special attention to whether the LCD display is "glossy" or "matte". Increasingly, manufacturers are offering glossy screens. While these are great for watching movies on your laptop, they're not optimal for doing traditional office work.

The reason is that the glossy screens are highly reflective. In typical office environments, glossy screens can be hard on both your eyes and your concentration, as you'll have to work harder to ignore the ambient lighting and background objects that are reflected in your screen.

Bottom line is that if you're buying a notebook primarily to get work done and not to watch movies or play games, avoid glossy screens. Also, glossy screens are more susceptible to scratches than matte screens. So if your laptop is likely to go through some rough and tumble daily, this is another reason to go for a matte

Built-in wireless
Most notebooks in the market today come with built-in wireless network connectivity. The trouble is that many still include yesterday's technology.

The wireless transmission standard is about to get a big boost in speed with the official unveiling of the 802.11n standard, which provides Internet and networking connectivity speeds that are about 10 times faster than the wireless standards currently in use.

That's a significant speed boost, and it's one you want in your notebook computer, especially because changing the type of wireless connectivity that you have in a notebook is difficult or impossible once you buy the machine.

Avoid notebooks that offer only the built-in 802.11b or 802.11g wireless cards. Even if the version of 802.11n offered in a notebook sold today is dubbed "draft" or "pre-release", it'll likely still be far faster than the 802.11g standard -- and you'll probably be able to upgrade it later, once the standard is finally ratified.

Rugged exterior
How well a notebook computer is built will likely determine whether you still own it three years from now or whether it gets sold off for parts.

The unfortunate fact is that as competition has forced manufacturers to offer notebooks at rock-bottom prices, quality of exterior construction has suffered.

If you'll be doing a lot of travelling or will be buying a notebook for a youngster, think about buying notebooks that were made to take some abuse. The Dell Latitude series, the Acer TravelMate, or the Lenovo ThinkPad are all highly regarded in terms of durability.

Too hot to hold?
Combine a powerful processor, fast hard drive, and hefty battery, and what do you get? Heat -- and lots of it. There's a good reason why the moniker "laptop" has all but disappeared: Some notebook computers are really not suitable for resting on your lap because they get too hot on the underside to hold comfortably.

But some notebook computers are still designed for those who wish to work from their lap. That's why it's important to find out just how hot a laptop gets on the underside. Either contact the manufacturer and ask specifically about this or visit a store in which the notebook is running, and feel the underside.

Hate noise? Go for SSD
Noise is less of a problem with notebooks than it once was, but it can still be a factor -- especially if you're easily bothered by noise while working.

Noise in notebooks generally comes from two sources: the hard drive and the cooling fan. If you want to eliminate the source of hard drive altogether, consider a new notebook with a solid-state drive.

In-built UPS power
Batteries act like your laptops in-built UPS. They are the lifeline of your machine. So, it is important that you check up how many hours your battery will run. Some batteries last long, but some don’t. There are three main types of batteries:

Li+: Most people get Lithium-ion (Li+) batteries. These are generally good, safe and secure.

NiMH: If you want something cheap, a nickel metal-hydride (NiMH) battery will do.

NiCad: This probably won't be an option, but if a dealer does try to sell you a nickel cadmium (NiCad) battery, run away. They require constant recharging.

In these days of technology obsolence it is very important to find out the upgrade options available. Also, one should keep in mind that laptops can be upgraded up to some extent only. While it is possible to upgrade main memory, and removable drives, the upgrades can cost twice as much as a desktop.

It is even cheaper and environment-friendly to upgrade your laptop rather than to discard it. So, before buying try and explore upgrade options available.

Though this may not be that important, still there is no harm in checking the best deal available. Do a recee of the various combo plans being offered by various vendors.

Like presently Compaq is offering WiFi music player free with its notebooks.

Also, check which dealer is offering accessories like free bag, headsets, wireless mouse or some discount coupons.

Friday, 22 May 2009

Nokia's new low-cost phones

The world's top handset maker Nokia, which saw its worst-ever quarter in January-March, has made three new additions to its low-cost cellphone portfolio.

Targeted at the emerging markets, the new launches include a sub-Rs 6K 3G phone. With the launch the mobile giant aims to further solidify its marketshare at the low-end. In fact, Nokia's wide offering at the low end has kept it ahead of its traditional rivals like Samsung Electronics, though the Finnish firm has been losing marketshare at the top end to rivals like Apple and Research in Motion.

Here's looking into the specs sheet of the Nokia's three new low-cost additions.

Nokia 2730 classic
Candybar Nokia 2730 Classic is the cheapest 3G phone to date. Equipped with a 2-inch QVGA (320x240) display, the phone has a micro USB connector, 30MB of expandable memory and Bluetooth 2.0.

The 3G ready phone also supports EDGE. The phone has a 2 megapixel camera with 4x digital zoom. Nokia 2730 classic also comes with a standard 3.5mm jack. The phone offers 3.3 hours of talktime (or about 17 days of standby). It also has Ovi Mail and packs Nokia’s Life Tools.

Nokia says the phone will be available in the second quarter of this year at a price of Rs 5,300. The company also says that the new 3G handset is targeted at entry-level prepaid users in both developing and developed markets.

Nokia 2720 fold
Clamshell Nokia 2720 fold sports a 1.8-inch display with a resolution of 128x160. The phone packs 32MB of memory and has no further memory expansion option. The phone has 1.3 megapixel camera and offers Bluetooth 2.0 support.

The phone, however, is not 3G ready but supports EDGE. Nokia says the phone will make its debut in the fourth quarter of this year at an expected price of Rs 3,600.

Nokia 2720 fold also includes Ovi Mail, Nokia Life Tools and supports up to 18 days of standby time and approximately 5 hours of talk time. The phone also has an FM radio with the ability to record radio, MMS (Multimedia Messaging Service), Bluetooth and MP3 ring tones.

Nokia 7020
The other low-cost phone from Nokia is 7020. The clamshell phone sports a 2.2 inch, QVGA display. The phone comes with 45MB of internal memory with support for further memory expansion.

Nokia 7020 has a 2 megapixel camera and is a Quad band GSM phone with EDGE support. The phone like Nokia 2730 classic does not supports 3G. Nokia says the phone will be available from the fourth quarter of this year (October) at an approximate price of Rs 6,000.


Wednesday, 20 May 2009

6 things troubling Sony

Sony Corp forecast a second straight year of losses as the global recession batters demand for consumer electronics. The back-to-back annual losses will be Sony's first since its listing in 1958, underscoring deepening troubles for a company that has fallen behind Apple Inc's iPod in portable music, Nintendo Co in videogames, and is losing money on flat TVs.

The net loss at the world’s second-largest maker of consumer electronics may widen to 120 billion yen ($1.26 billion) in the 12 months ending March 31, from a 98.9 billion yen deficit a year earlier, Tokyo-based Sony said today.

Here's looking into what is troubling the Japanese electronic giant.

No no. 1 product
Some analysts said Sony, which is feeling the pain in every corner of its operations ranging from semiconductors to movies to insurance, desperately needed a killer product to get back on track and position itself for any recovery.

"Their outlook gave me the impression that their business is heading for a gradual recovery. But it would all depend on whether they will be able to start making popular products because right now they have no 'No. 1' product," said Fujio Ando, senior managing director at Chibagin Asset Management.

"I see Sony's branding power weakening," he added.

Lack of clear direction
“The problem with Sony is it doesn’t know what it wants to be: Is it a game company, a consumer-electronics maker, a financial-services provider? There’s no direction,” said Hideyuki Ookoshi, who helps oversee $365 million at Chiba-Gin Asset Management in Tokyo.

He however, believes that the company was hit fairly early by the downturn and has moved quicker than some competitors to restructure, but it remains to be seen if those moves will pay off.

Competition from smaller rivals
Kurahashi said Sony's focus on portable devices with network capability wasn't yielding results, while rivals such as Sanyo Electric Co appear to be securing a brighter future by latching on to solar panels and organic displays.

Signs of a recovery are underway for some of these smaller companies. Sanyo, the world's top maker of rechargeable batteries set to be acquired by bigger rival Panasonic, recently predicted its operating profit to triple to 25 billion yen this financial year after it tumbled 89 percent a year earlier.

Sanyo will invest up to 30 billion yen to build a lithiumion battery plant in Japan and increase its production capacity for those batteries six-fold, the Nikkei business daily reported earlier.

Nobuo Kurahashi, analyst at Mizuho Investors Securities, said Sony would need more than an improvement in the TV business. "Cost-cutting and wringing profits out of the TV division are important, but that will only take you so far," he said. "What I really want to know is how Sony is going to compete after the economy recovers."

Falling mobile phone and gaming sales
Sales at Sony's cellphone joint venture with Ericsson tumbled. The global digital camera and mobile phone market is set to contract this year as the recession dampens replacement demand, capping Sony's earnings recovery despite aggressive cost cuts.

Sony forecasted that it will sell 13 million PS3 machines, compared with the 26 million Wii consoles that Nintendo is projecting.

Sony’s Chief Financial Officer Nobuyuki Oneda said that Sony Ericsson, which reported a 370 million euro pretax loss in the first quarter, would need to raise funds in some ways this financial year, whether it be bank loans or an injection from parent companies.

Rising Yen
Japanese companies such as Sony, Panasonic Corp and Sharp Corp have suffered an additional blow as the yen's strength made their products less price competitive overseas.

Sony said it will shut three more domestic and two overseas factories this year. This brings the total of its planned plant closure to eight as it had already announced plans to stop production at three factories.

The company said today it would cease production at three plants in Japan used for mobile phones and optical pick-ups at the end of this year. It will also stop making LCD TVs and electronic cables at two plants in Indonesia and in the US.

A Sony spokesman said the number of workers affected by the decision was included in the 16,000 job cuts.

Widening loses
CFO Oneda said that the company expects losses at its electronics operations to widen and its games division to stay unprofitable this financial year. He said that the company’s TV operations would likely lose money for a sixth straight year, however, Sony aims to bring it to the breakeven level in the second half.

In the games division, Sony posted a loss of 58.5 billion yen. The business will probably incur a fourth straight deficit, as sales of the PS3 and PlayStation Portable machines continue to trail the popularity of Nintendo’s products, according to the analyst survey.

Profit at the film division, which produced “Hancock” and “Quantum of Solace,” fell 49 percent last year, partly because of lower home-entertainment sales, Sony said. The unit may post similar earnings this year, according to the analysts.

Sunday, 17 May 2009

Know about File Extension .etd

The File Extension ETD belongs to one of two programs, the first being Adobe eBook Reader. Though Adobe has discontinued eBook reader, its features are included in the Standard Adobe Reader software beginning with version 9. Adobe Reader versions 8 and earlier do not have .etd support available, so users of these versions will need to upgrade to the newest version of Reader or download any previous version of eBook Reader in order to open .etd files. Adobe also publishes a software package called Digital Editions. With Digital Editions users can purchase, download, manage, publish, and read all of their digital media including .etd files.

When an eBook is purchased from an online store, oftentimes the download will be a file called ebx.etd. This file is not the book itself, rather it is a transfer file that will instruct the Adobe software where to download the eBook file from. Users have reported downloading the ebx.etd file only to have Adobe Reader open to a gray screen and go no further. This is generally due to the operating system's settings not allowing files to automatically open after download. These settings can be changed or the user can open the file manually from Adobe's "File/Open" menu. It should be noted that EBX files usually expire within a day of the initial download. It is vital for users to open the ebx.etd before it expires or risk having to purchase the eBook a second time.

The File Extension Etd is also used for DRM (Digital Rights Management) purposes, especially at major universities. Students have reported downloading digital works in .pdf format but being unable to read them because they are missing an Adobe plugin called AdobeDRM. This plugin must be downloaded and installed which will enable Adobe to retrieve the ebx.etd file and verify DRM rights. Unfortunately it appears as though this plugin is only available after a user signs in with a .Net Passport or Adobe ID. Though eBooks downloaded and opened on one computer can be transferred to a second computer for viewing, it will be necessary for Adobe Reader or Digital Editions to be installed on the second machine, and the software to be registered using the same .Net Passport or Adobe ID as the first. It is to be noted that the File Extension Etd should not be confused with Electronic Theses and Dissertations (ETD), a standard for publishing electronic media used by universities and colleges. Adobe's .etd extension is loosely related to the ETD standard so there is much room for confusion.

Facebook users under phishing attack

Hackers launched an attack on Facebook's 200 million users on Thursday, successfully gathering passwords from some of them in the latest campaign to prey on members of the popular social networking site.

Facebook spokesman Barry Schnitt said on Thursday that the site was in the process of cleaning up damage from the attack. He said that Facebook was blocking compromised accounts. Schnitt declined to say how many accounts had been compromised. The hackers got passwords through what is known as a phishing attack, breaking into accounts of some Facebook members, then sending e-mails to friends and urging them to click on links to fake websites.

Those sites were designed to look like the Facebook home page. The victims were directed to log back in to the site, but actually logged into the one controlled by the hackers, unwittingly giving away their passwords. The purpose of such attacks is generally identify theft and to spread spam.

The fake domains include, and Facebook has deleted all references to those domains.

Schnitt said that Facebook's security team believes the hackers intended to collect a large number of credentials, then use those accounts at a later time to send spam hawking fake pharmaceuticals and other goods to Facebook members. The site fought off a similar attack two weeks ago, he said.

Privately held Facebook and rival social network MySpace, which is owned by News Corp, require senders of messages within the network to be members and hide user data from people who do not have accounts. Because of that, users tend to be far less suspicious of messages they receive.

Hackers used a phishing attack last year to spread a malicious virus known as Koobface (a reference to Facebook). It was downloaded onto Facebook members' PCs when they clicked on a link sent to them in an email that looked like it had been sent by a friend on Facebook.

Glitch disrupts Gmail again

Millions of people were cut off from Google Inc's search engine, email and other online services on Thursday, sparking a flurry of frustrated venting that served as a reminder of society's growing dependance on Google's technology.

The Mountain View-based company blamed the trouble on a glitch that routed too much of its traffic through computers in Asia, overwhelming its system so badly that about 14 per cent of its users encountered problems with the Internet's most popular search engine. The mistake also affected Google's email and several other services.

The outages began about 10:48 am EDT and lasted for about an hour, according to Urs Hoelzle, Google's senior vice president of operations. Google's problems rippled around the Web because other sites rely on its analytics service and also draw much of their traffic from searches done through Google.

Many Web sites took twice as long to load and were twice as likely to fail during Google's disruption, according to Gomez Inc, which helps Internet companies manage their applications.

"We've been working hard to make our services ultra-fast and 'always on,' so it's especially embarrassing when a glitch like this one happens," Hoelzle wrote on Google's blog. "We're very sorry that it happened, and you can be sure that we'll be working even harder to make sure that a similar problem won't happen again."

Before the repair, many people locked out from Google went elsewhere on the Internet to express their dismay and despair.

Multiple messages posted on Twitter, a popular information-sharing forum, indicated that people all over the world had trouble with the Google search engine and e-mail. But other Twitter users said their Google services have been running smoothly.

Because Google is used by hundreds of millions of people, even a breakdown affecting a small percentage of its audience can have a huge impact.

Google's search engine, by far the most popular on the Internet, fields more than 9 billion monthly search requests in the United States alone. As part of its effort to retain its current users and expand its market share so it can sell more Internet ads, Google has invested billions of dollars to create a vast network of computers to lessen the chances of breakdowns.

Although its search engine is renowned for its reliability, Google isn't fail-safe. Its 5-year-old e-mail service, in particular, has been susceptible to periodic outages.

Wednesday, 13 May 2009

Samsung launches LED TV's in India

There can be only one thinnest, clearest, most elegant television. Easily, it is Samsung's LED TV Series 6 & 7. Breathtakingly thin, with a width of just 2.99 cm, it's designed as one seamless piece of flawless crystal (instead of “Touch of color” that is used in US).

On its LED screen, vivid details are captured in every frame. And with a 100Hz Motion Plus technology it removes edge-blur, leaving your picture smooth and crisp. The TV is also equipped with a WS1* Sound Bar Surround System that offers a stunning theatrical experience.

The LED TV’s are available in two models each, under series 6 & 7.
A. 7 series 46” – UA46B7000 40” - UA40B7000
B. 6 Series 46” – UA46B6000 40” - UA40B6000

Unlike other ''slim'' televisions, the Samsung LED TV is one of the slimmest televisions in the world. Instead of multiple parts molded together, it's one solid, seamless, incredibly beautiful advanced television, elegantly supported by a unique crystal neck. You'll have no trouble finding a place for it in any room.

The LED TV has a recyclable bezel frame that contains no VOC's. It uses mercury-free LED lights that require less energy, thereby emitting less CO2. So can put your feet up and relax knowing you're leaving a smaller carbon footprint

With a simple USB 2.0 cord you can connect your Digital Camera and see your photo albums on the LED TV, connect your MP3 player or Memory Stick and hear music. With one single HDMI cord and images are transferred without data loss or headaches making it an easier way to get HD videos and pictures onto the LED TV.

Samsung's LED TVs
are Eco friendly. Thus it not only gives you better picture but also take care of environment by consuming less power. Watch television programs or your own, knowing you're also being kind to the environment. Really the new Samsung LED TV’s are a remarkable feat of design, on or off.

Tuesday, 5 May 2009

8 new features in Windows 7

Most of us still use Windows XP, the operating system (OS) that Microsoft first developed way back in 2001. Though the company released Windows Vista in early 2007, few upgraded to it.

Vista came with substantially enhanced security features that also lent the system greater stability, helping to avoid the kind of 'hanging' and 'crashing' that one suffered with previous versions of the OS. But the enhanced features also made Vista so computing-resource hungry that it slowed down all applications. The only way you could make it run well was by substantially upgrading your hardware.

That would have meant significant expenditure. And most Indians -- consumers and enterprises -- thought it just not worth the money. Vista's failure pushed Microsoft to work quickly towards another version. It's called Windows 7 and is expected to be commercially launched later this year, may be October 23, as some reports speculate. A beta version has been under test for a while, and what's called a release candidate (RC) -- a version with potential to be the final product -- has just been launched.

Last week, Mike Nash, corporate VP in Microsoft, gave TOI a demo of the beta version from Redmond, US. Here’s looking into the new features.

Windows 7 addresses Vista's problem of resource hungriness. The boot time was fast, and so was the time taken to come out of the hibernation mode. Reviewer Benny Har-Even in IT PRO found that "Windows 7 brings a more responsive and sprightly feel."

It also seems to work with the smaller and cheaper netbooks that’s fast getting popular. Reviewer Adrian Kingsley-Hughes writes in ZDNet, "Windows 7 works on netbooks, but if you push the system the same way as you push a desktop system then you might need to add more RAM. On top of that, remember that Windows 7 takes some 7.5GB of disk space, so you need to factor this in. My advice would be not to bother upgrading an existing netbook unless you really feel you want a particular Windows 7 feature. Wait for Windows 7 netbooks to arrive on the scene as some of these will hopefully come with 2GB of RAM fitted."

Better desktop organization
For those who use a number of applications and files at the same time, there's a new facility that helps to reduce desktop clutter. You can now drag them and stack them in groups on the taskbar.

And what's more, if you hover the mouse over, say, the Windows Explorer stack, each window in it will appear horizontally as thumbnails, and you can click on the one you need to start using it.

Right clicking on a stack gives a 'jump menu' that lets you see your most recent files. You can also 'pin' files that you use regularly on to a stack, so that they are always there on top of a stack.

Also, if you have a number of windows open and you want to focus on one and avoid the clutter around it, just take the mouse to that window's titlebar and shake it. Everything else disappears. Shake the same way again, and all others reappear.

Viewing documents side by side
In XP, if you want to compare, say, a set of figures in one document with those in another, you have to go alternately into the two documents.

In Windows 7, you can just drag one document or window to one side of your screen and it will snap to that side filling half the screen, and then you can drag the other document to the other side, and it will fill up the other side. Easy to compare, or copy from one to the other.

Remote media streaming
This one wasn't there in the beta version but is available on the RC. It allows you to access all the files on your home computer remotely, somewhat like how Slingbox allows you to remotely access the TV channels you get on your home TV. We didn't see a demo, so not sure how well it works in India.

Windows XP mode
Indians who like to keep their old stuff longer will like this. It allows you to run a XP application on Windows 7. But Preston Gralla of ComputerWorld who tested the feature says home users are not likely to have a great experience with it.

"Sharing files between the two environments (XP and 7) will be a challenge... (and) it's not designed for games," he says. However, he finds it a great tool for businesses that have already sunk money into XP applications. Microsoft says small businesses using, say, Tally accounting solutions on XP will be able to continue using those on Windows 7.

Device compatibility
Microsoft's Nash says almost all devices will work with Windows 7. "The customer will not have to enquire whether a device he is buying (printer, fax machine, smart card reader, network controller, in fact, anything) will work with the OS," he says. The OS also identifies the device being installed and offers appropriate follow-on options.

Less annoying security
One big trouble with Vista was that each time a change was made to the system, a dialogue box would pop up asking you if you were ok with the change being made. It was designed as a security measure, to keep you aware of hackers trying to write on to your system.

But it proved a huge annoyance for users installing new applications frequently. Windows 7 now allows you to set the level of information you desire.

Enabling touch
Windows 7 comes with touch capability, which means you can use your fingers on the screen to perform many functions. Now, that can be really fun in certain applications. But you need a PC that's touch enabled. Windows 7 may encourage many now to look at that option. So, should you upgrade from XP to 7 when it is released?

The new version has won mostly good reviews. Benny Har-Even says Windows 7 makes for the most exciting upgrade for Windows users since the arrival of Windows XP. Jamshed Avari of Chip magazine, who has been testing the beta version, says Windows 7 still has many bugs, is not stable and does not still have technology support. He believes a stable version may take another 7 to 8 months.

Jason Hiner of ZDNet, however, thinks there's nothing in Windows 7 that matters. "In fact, the computer operating system has never mattered less than it does today," he says, considering the way the web is taking over our most important requirements.

Finally, here's an interesting comment found on Trusted Reviews: "I'd rather save my money in times like these than upgrade an OS, which could mean bugs, lack of drivers, upgrading older printers and peripherals, maybe even the PC, as well as application software and utilities, plugins, shareware, codecs... I have better things to do and buy with my time and money, when XP is doing everything I really need."

-- TNN (Sujit John and Shivani Mody)