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Thursday, June 30, 2011

[VIDEO] Nokia N950 Detailed Hands on

The you-will-see-but-can't-have Nokia N950 MeeGo powered developer only phone has been spotted in the wild. In this hands on video from Thailand, the reviewer gives a detailed look into the next-gen Nokia device that is bound to be loner in its class. 

After watching this video, only one question comes to mind; Steve Elop, why, oh why? :-(

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By Seraaj Muneer with No comments

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Swiffy- Convert Flash files to HTML5

Swiffy is a small tool from Google that converts Flash files to HTML5 for use on non Flash player devices.You can upload SWF file and Swiffy will convert it to HTML5 file which can be displayed on all modern browsers "with a high level of SVG support such as Chrome and Safari."

Swiffy is available on Google Code is currently more an experimental thus cannot covert all Flash files but does great with ads and animations. There are examples of SWF converted files available on the project's page. 

This is very important move on the part of Google to wean the web off the proprietary Flash format. It will also be interesting to see what Apple- an avowed Flash critic- thinks of this move from a fierce competitor.

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By Seraaj Muneer with No comments

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Down memory lane- The Microsoft vrs Apple War

This excellent infographic from Manolution gives a pictorial view of the long running and sometimes intertwined history of Microsoft and Apple spanning over 20 years. Check it out...

Credit  Manolution

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By Seraaj Muneer with No comments

The N9 - A parting gift from Nokia before ending up in Microsoft stables?

The much awaited, "market disruption" MeeGo powered device promised us by Steven Elop, after his February 11 elopcalypse is out. And it brings with it more questions for both Nokia and potential buyers than answers.

Another N900?
As an N900 user, I found myself asking the question: what's the guarantee that Nokia won't pull another N900 on those that by the N9? After all the N9 runs Harmattan, a successor to Maemo 5. Is Nokia going to keep supporting this MeeGo baked Maemo after it starts shipping its WP7 line of devices?

If it suddenly decides to abandon it like the N900, is it going to keep the closed components of the code to itself such that independent developers cannot continue with support, just like on the N900?

To be fair to Nokia, the N9 packs some pretty impressive albeit not wowing specs in its slick design. But will that, coupled with the application development platform Qt be enough to lure developers to the phone? We wait to see.

Pacifying the bashers?
Is the release of the N9 more a pacification of the bashers of Nokia than anything to do with market share? It will not be far fetched to say it'll be hard for the N9 to make any significant difference in the overall smartphone market. So then we ask the question, is this more of pacification of Nokia critiques than anything else.

Let's not forget that after the Feb 11 elopcalypse, Steven Elop had to organize another press conference to clarify the first one thanks to the unprecendeted bashing of the company in the media; both main stream and the blogosphere. So is this phone just to pacify those voices?

Strategy fit?
It's also very hard to see where in the currnt Nokia strategy (yes they do have one :D) that this release fits into. WP7 is the primary platform, Symbian will still lurk in the corner for a few years, and MeeGo was supposed to be the market disruption wedge.

But can the N9 really be described as a market disruption device? If the N9 should be a surprising success, will it cause Nokia to once again rethink its overall strategy such that Linux and open source once again get to be the center of the company's business? How much resources is Elop willing to devote to the marketing of a Linux device seeing he owns a stake in Microsoft?

There are a lot of unanswered questions in the wake of the release of the N9. It wll be difficult to see how Nokia intends to market devices powered by two very separate and highly competitive platforms with starkly different ideologies and ecosystems.

When all is said and done thus, the conclusion that can be objectively reached is that the N9 is more a parting gift from Nokia to the Linux and open source world before its full immersion into the WP7 tide more than anything else.

But will the market agree?

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Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Has the Blackberry developer exodus began?

Update: Reuters reports that RIM has began handing out layoff notices to its employees. No specific numbers have yet been given and no official comments yet from the company.

Seesmic, makers of the popular social media client on the various smarphone platforms has announced a discontinuation of development for their app for the Blackberry platform effective 30th June.

The reason given is to "focus development efforts on our most popular mobile platforms: Android, iOS and Windows Phone 7" and they are encouraging those affected by this change to "try out Seesmic for Android, iOS and Windows Phone 7, as well as Seesmic Desktop and Web."

It's not clear from the announcement if they mean platforms on which their clients are popular or platforms that are popular with consumers. If it's the second case, then it's really amazing how Windows Phone 7 can possibly be more popular than Blackberry.

This move, depending on how you look at it, may be a sign of what's to come and in store for RIM in terms of developers. It could be the beginning of a developer exodus away from Blackberry giving its increasingly declining market share to Android and the iPhone. 

Or it could just be Seesmic does not deem it justified to spend resources to develop further for the platform because it's user base there is very negligible. Either way, this move does not come at the right time for the not so happy Research in Motion.

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By Seraaj Muneer with No comments

[VIDEO] What Google and Facebook are Hiding

Eli Pariser of the progressive organization MoveOn says the Internet is hiding things from us, and we don't even know it. In this TED Talk he calls out Facb, Gog. and other corporations who are transforming the Internet to suit their corporate interests. Very well worth watching.

"A squirrrel dying in front of your house may be more relevant to your interests than people dying in [sic!] Africa" Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Facebook

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By Seraaj Muneer with No comments

LulzSec "Leader Arrested"

The Met Police service in the UK has arrested an alleged member of the LulzSec hacking group according to a statement on their official website

"Officers from the Metropolitan Police Central e-Crime Unit (PCeU) have arrested a 19-year-old man in a pre-planned intelligence-led operation.

The arrest follows an investigation into network intrusions and Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks against a number of international business and intelligence agencies by what is believed to be the same hacking group."

The LulzSec group is suspected of masterminding high level cyber attacks on very high profile targets including Sony and the FBI. More recently, it's been accused of hacking into the infrastructure of the UK Census bureau, a claim the group denies according to this tweet on their account. 

It's not clear if it's a member of the group that has been arrested as the authorities claim given these words by LulzSec via their twitter account

Seems the glorious leader of LulzSec got arrested, it's all over now... wait... we're all still here! Which poor bastard did they take down?

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By Seraaj Muneer with No comments

Monday, June 20, 2011

What's Happening Inside Research in Motion

Much has been written about Research in Motion, makers of the Blackberry line of smartphones in recent months. Most of these posts are very gloomy and talk about the impending "doom" of the company in the wake of the rapidly increasing popularity of its rivals iPhone and Android line of phones.

Business Insider has a very interesting piece by an "insider" that gives a detailed view inside the minds of the people running Canada's pride.

But issues such as these are merely symptoms of what are arguably deeper, cultural issues. RIM's failure to understand the consumer market from product, to messaging, to platform, and it goes right to the top. Despite the deep respect I have for the co-CEO's of RIM, and their world-class strength in some areas - they are very weak in others. The problem is that they brim with hubris regarding their success in the corporate market and are culturally blind to the gaping holes in their armour regarding consumer. They honestly think they understand consumer product, business, mentality, marketing - but they really don't. 
It's a very interesting piece albeit from an unamed "insider" that gives a glimpse of what's happening inside the walls of the home of the Blackberry device. 

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By Seraaj Muneer with No comments

Google Alerting Webmasters about outdated Wordpress Installs

According to a tweet by Google's Matt Cutts, the search giant has kick started a process of informing webmasters via it's Webmaster Tools about their outdated Wordpress installations. 

"[w]e're kicking off a fresh run to inform webmasters with out-of-date/insecure versions of WordPress"

Outdated Wordpress installs are generally targets for hackers and we believe it's in this regard that Google is taking upon itself to alert webmasters to update their Wordpress installs. If you're using a one click install from your webhost, you might want to make sure it's the latest version of Wordpress they are offering.

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By Seraaj Muneer with No comments

Google reaches search deal with British Library

The British Library has entered into an agreement with Google to allow users to  to "view, search and copy the out-of-copyright works at no charge. Google will also make the books available on its site."

This move will make access to one of the world's largest collections of books, journals, newspapers, manuscripts, videos, playwrights among others.

The national library of the United Kingdom, the British council is one of the largest libraries in the world with over 150m items from every country, written civilization and almost all known languages in many formats.

As a legal deposit library, the British Library receives copies of all books produced in the United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland, including a significant proportion of overseas titles distributed in the UK. It also has a programme for content acquisitions. The British Library adds some three million items every year occupying 11 kilome  tres of new shelf space.

Source BBC.

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By Seraaj Muneer with No comments

Friday, June 17, 2011

MeeGo N900 Developer Edition now Community Edition

An announcement on the MeeGo-qa mailing list just out is reporting a change in the name of the MeeGo edition for the N900. It used to be the Developer Edition- not for the faint of heart. Now we're being told it's going to be called the N900 Community Edition.

It's not clear the reason behind the change. I hope it's in line with the hopes of N900 users to see a properly working MeeGo port for the N900. Below is the full text of the message.

Because the N900 DE changed it's name to N900 Community Edition = N900CE, following changes are done in Bugzilla:
Keyword N900 --> N900CE

-       If you see any bugs with N900CE keyword and doesn't occure with CE image, please feel free to remove the keyword, I will do that also.
(HW) Platform -> N900 for every bug having the old N900 Keyword
MeeGo_N900DE_Release_Blocker -> MeeGo_N900CE_Release_Blocker

Remember to update your search strings, the older ones doesn't work anymore if you have used DE there.

When filing a new bug for the N900CE, use prefix [CE] in the summary. If it's not only CE bug, the prefix needs to be removed.
Add platform N900.


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By Seraaj Muneer with No comments

Tweed Suit - A heavy weight twitter app for the Nokia N900

Tweed Suit is a desktop style Twitter client and RSS reader for the Nokia N900 internet tablet. Users of the popular Twitter client Tweetdeck will immediately feel at home with this app.

It features all the usual Twitter features;

  • A home feed
  • Mentions
  • Direct messages
  • Lists
  • Searches among others. 
You can also use it an RSS reader and directly share items through Twitter. Tweed Suit uses column layout that works well for desktop, tablet or handheld devices and is currently available in Extras Testing on the N900.

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By Seraaj Muneer with No comments

Finally, Flash on Linux as it should be!

Adobe Flash has always been a disappointment on Linux. Poorly ported , poorly programmed, a confusion that loads the processor and, often, makes the machine hang.
But this is the way that certain companies provide support to Linux. Very dubious quality.

The community, once again, saves the day
But what if the company that created the Flash does not provide a decent service to Linux?
The very community solves the problem. And that's what the developer lovinglinux did: solved the problem of Flash on Linux, creating Flash Video Replacer.

What is it ?
It is an addon (complement) to Firefox, as the name says, changes the default Flash Player on Linux by Mplayer, which is a much better video player than Adobe's one.
It works best  in conjunction with Flash Blocker, as it prevents any flash player to load, and allows only the media (Flash video, flv,mp4) to run.
Basically,  Flash Video Replacer  identifies  famous video hosting services (YouTube, Meta Cafe, Daily Motion, etc ...) and replaces the  Flash player by Mplayer.
Mplayer plays videos in a much more efficient way, and it's lightweight, and allows  to choose the type of video it will play, if FLV, MP4 or even WebM.
And can easily download  the video being played.


- no flash required
- works with Flashblock
- play videos embedded on site, on a new tab, new window or using an external standalone player
- option to select replace method on a video basis
- easy video download, accessed via toolbar menu
- configurable download directory
- compatibility with DownThemAll
- detection of YouTube and Vimeo videos embedded on third-party sites (links only)
- automatic redirection to WebM player on YouTube when available (no plugin required)
- video quality control on YouTube
- video quality feedback via alerts
- option to prioritize mp4 format over flv when possible
- option to force mime-type, in order to launch videos with different plugins or bypass incompatibilities

Link: https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/flashvideoreplacer/

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By Alessandro Ebersol with 1 comment

The New Apple HQ- What Steve Jobs Would Not Want You To Know

Being as secretive as he is, Uncle Jobs will die to prevent you from knowing the very secrets of Apple's new headquaters. But thanks to the hard work of some illustrious people, you and I can see what's in store for everyone in the yet to be constructed Apple Headquarters. Enjoy... :-D

Credit The Laughing Squid

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By Seraaj Muneer with No comments

Thursday, June 16, 2011

2 Reasons Why Google Should Buy Ubuntu

In its apocalyptic battle with both Microsoft and Apple, there is one thing that both companies have that Google does not: a desktop OS. Chrome OS at best, is just a bridge OS. No matter how one looks at things today, there are hundreds of millions of machines out there powered by Windows or Mac OSX. 

I'm not sure we'll all wake up one day and suddenly realise we're living in the "cloud". Google needs to equally have a traditional desktop OS, and I strongly suggest the purchase of Ubuntu Linux. Here's why

Better competition with Microsoft
So Google's Chrome OS is out. And it's aimed at so called thin clients. That's cool. But what about the "fat clients" that are in the majority today? Windows is Microsoft's cash cow. To be able to compete with Redmond head on, Google would need to bring to the table not what it thinks people will be using in the future, but also a better alternative to what they are using today, until that elusive future is reached. 

Living in a part of the world where the cost of bandwidth is still on the high, it's very difficult to see value in a cloud based OS other than the traditional one. There are also people and businesses that use Windows because either the Windows applications they depend on have no Linux alternatives or where there are, those alternatives don't meet their requirements.

Google with its clout can get ISVs to port their applications to Linux. If the application my employer uses has a version for the Linux OS, why would I not evangelise it (Linux) to my bosses? Also, what's the value in having Android/Chrome OS power smartphones/tablets/netbooks and when it comes to the desktop where more heavy lifting of internet activities take place, there's suddenly no Google backed Linux presence? 

The Android Magic
Given the fact that there are millions of people that use Android without having the foggiest idea it's Linux, one would expect that Google would have tried to replicate such a feat on the desktop first before going very futuristic with Chrome OS. 

Properly packaging Linux for the masses will again give Google the exact success its enjoying with Android in that given its price point (free definitely), array of commercial grade applications available and polish, more and more OEMs will be more than likely to give shipping their boxes with Linux some thought.

And how does Google gain I hear you ask? Simple. First it could ship the OS with its Chrome browser (I personally would not mind Ubuntu shipping with Chrome, really). Secondly, owning the OS will give it a better insight into developing seamless syncing with its other platforms for the myriad form factors those platforms support.  Also, it would help them tightly integrate their vast array of services into their OS platforms and thereby replicate the Apple "Garden of Eden" experience, but in an open environment.

There is a lot of space in the desktop market that currently only Microsoft and to a lesser extent Apple are making use of. There is still a lot of money to be made in that part of the market. Also Chrome OS, no matter what Google would want us to believe, cannot be a serious substitute to Microsoft Windows. Grab an already popular brand of OS and throw in the gauntlet more fully Google!

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By Seraaj Muneer with 7 comments

Ubuntu To Support Hybrid CD / USB Images

Ubuntu ISO images used to require the USB startup disk creator utility to be able to write the ISO image to USB (flash) sticks.

However, this morning, Colin Watson wrote on the Ubuntu mailing lists that "[A]s of tomorrow's daily builds, all Oneiric amd64 and i386 CD images on cdimage.ubuntu.com can also be written directly to a USB device [example through the use of the dd command].  You can still use usb-creator if you need to enable persistent storage on the USB stick, but if all you need is to install from the stick then this simplifies the process."

Other major distros like Fedora have long had hybrid ISO images, but Ubuntu's delay in supporting the feature was because "...we couldn't simply use isohybrid [since] that would break jigdo downloads, so we had to switch to xorriso as the CD image generator on these architectures for its new JTE support, and by the time all that landed in Debian I didn't really want to cram it into 11.04."

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By Seraaj Muneer with No comments

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Google Updates Sync Service for iPhone and iPad

Google Sync is a service from Google that keeps your phone’s native mail and calendar apps in sync with your Gmail, Calendar and Contacts.

An update to the service today has added three new features;

1. The ability to search all emails on Gmail, not just locally stored mail by iOS mail app.

2. Ability to send mail from a different account other than Gmail.

3. Accept, edit and decline calendar events from the iOS calendar app.

Both Gmail and Google Apps email users will benefit from these updates. You can follow this guide to set up Google Sync for your iOS device.

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By Salman with No comments

Don't Say these Linux Stuff in Public

There are apparently some Linux commands that you should not utter in public, especially over the phone. Want to see why? Check the image below...:-)

Credit Toblender

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By Seraaj Muneer with No comments

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Unlocked iPhone 4 Goes on Sale in the US

Apple has somehow quietly started selling the iPhone unlocked to customers. Aimed at those who don't want a ties to a single carrier or travel outside the US and would like to use their phones with local carriers, the 16GB model goes for $649.00 and $749.00 for the 32GB.

If you don’t want a multiyear service contract or if you prefer to use a local carrier when traveling abroad, the unlocked iPhone 4 is the best choice. It arrives without a micro-SIM card, so you’ll need an active micro-SIM card from any supported GSM carrier worldwide.

This sale is only GSM model, with the CDMA model still firmly remaining Verizon only for now. This move is going to be very interesting and we wait to see how it's going to impact on the already declining market share of the iPhone in the US thanks to Google's Android OS.

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By Seraaj Muneer with No comments

Apple 0 - Nokia 1

The long running battle between Apple and Nokia has ended with a scoreline pleasing to Nokia. Cuppertino has been charged to one-time payment and royalties to the Finnish handset maker.

"We are very pleased to have Apple join the growing number of Nokia licensees. [T]his settlement demonstrates Nokia's industry leading patent portfolio and enables us to focus on further licensing opportunities in the mobile communications market." Stevem Elop, Nokia CEO

This ruling comes after an epic battle in European and American courts between the two handset rivals, with Apple to a large extent, being the strategic cause of Nokia's woes following the introduction of the iPhone.

As Florian Mueller said on his blog, "other companies that Nokia will ask to pay royalties will have to think very hard whether to pay or pick a fight.” The amount of settlement is rumored to be in the millions of Dollars. 

It's also not clear how this ruling is going to impact on Android handset manufacturers like HTC and Samsung, with Apple equally embroiled in a court battle over IP infringement claims. For now however, the scoreline is Nokia 1- Apple 0. Nokia fans can rejoice. Below is a map of the patents in question 


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By Seraaj Muneer with 2 comments
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