RSS feed is the easiest way to keep in touch with news updates and blogs. I have used many RSS reading software. But the installed software is only available in your computer. When you are away you have no way to access updates. Finally I settled with Google reader, an online RSS reader. I’m using its web interface as well as Android application.
The main problem I faced with the Google reader web is, I have no way to get notifications when there are new updates. Only option is to access the web and see whether there are any. But the solution to this problem is just few clicks away, in Chrome Web Store. Let’s see how it’s working.
Getting Started with Google Reader Notifier
In the icon you will be able to see number of new updates. One problem solved!
Then go ahead and click on the icon.
There you will have options to open Google reader, refresh, fiter items and make all of them as read.
Below that you will see the list of news items.
By clicking on them you can access the original page and it will open in a new tab.
If you like something there, you can add a star too.
This will auto refresh every 5 minutes. If you like to change the time duration, right click on extension icon and go to options.
Hardware: Intel Core i5 2nd Gen // 4GB DDR2
OS: Windows 7 Home Premium // 64 Bit
Browser: Google Chrome Version 23.0.1271.91 m
Now you don’t have to always go to Google reader web to see new updates from your subscriptions. While you are browsing all over the WWW this extension is keeping a closer eye on updates for you. In every 5 min you will get a notification right there in Chrome toolbar. Problema resuelto!
This extension is developed by Google itself, so you don’t have to worry about its compatibility and security. Try this and tell me what you think about this as a comment below.
In a previous post I was talking about how to embed a selected part of YouTube video in a web page of a blog post. Today taking it to a next level I’m going to introduce you a Chrome extension to enhance YouTube playback, user interaction and enable edited embedding. Let’s go and take a closer look.
EmbedPlus for Enhanced Playback
As the first thing go to Chrome web store and add EmbedPlus to Chrome.
It will add a new icon to tool bar.
Right click on icon and go to options before start using it.
There you can check in several options such as search sweet spots, auto HD, disable annotations and enable extension for playlists.
Now go to YouTube and start playing any video. You will see new enhanced controllers there.
You can play video in slow motion, loop it and switch between scenes.
When you are reaching a most buzzed point of a video called a “Sweet Spot” you are getting a visual cue.
In the reaction section you can share the videos in social media and see how other people have shared it.
Video zoom is there as an added accessibility feature.
EmbedPlus for Edited Embedding
By clicking on get icon you can go to video embedding and customization page.
There you can find webpage embed code, wordpress embed code and short link.
If you like to customize embed go ahead and click on make edits.
There you can set size of video, start stop time, add chapter markers, show real time reactions and add your own annotations.
After editing click on get code to go back to previous page.
If you are embedding this on a wordpress blog post make sure you install EmbedPlus plug-in before that.
What Is A Sweet Spot and How EmbedPlus Identify Them?
Sweet spot is the most interesting features in Embed Plus. Its notifying most buzzed moments in videos while it’s playing. Beginning of each sweet spot would automatically make a new chapter, so you can switch between them using next and previous buttons. This will come in handy when you are watching a lengthy video.
They are using Sweet Stop Marking Algorithm to identify and mark them in every video. The information source they are using is publicly accessible web discussions. However this must be a very difficult task. They must be using human verification to keep the accuracy level high for sweet spot marking.
Definitely this would be a great addition to your Chrome extensions and have a great YouTube experience. If you are a blogger this is a must try extension to embed video in your posts.
Try this and let me know what you think about this in the comment section below.
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It’s time for quad core mobile processes and it’s becoming a standard configuration in high end mobile devices. Samsung always take a leap ahead and they did it here as well. In CES 2013 they introduced Exynos 5 Octa, yes, a 8 core mobile computing platform. Let’s go and take a closer look.
It uses 28 mm semiconductor architecture which is a major improvement compared to previous 32 mm architecture. CPU array is a heterogeneous system that utilizes 4 Cortex A15 cores (up to 1.8 GHz) and another 4 Cortex A9 cores (Up to 1.2 GHz). The idea is to process background tasks in the slower and less power consuming cortex A9 cores and let A15 cores to handle the hard work.
This architecture will definitely be much more energy efficient and according to the spec it’s going to dwarf Nvidia’s 4-PLUS-1 technology.
The GPU is IT PowerVR SGX544MP3 which has 3 cores and clocked at 533 MHz. This is the same type of GPU used in iPhone and iPad. So you can get an idea of its capabilities.
Samsung used blazing fast LPDDR3 12.8 GB/s memory access technology in Exynos 5 Dual and same continues here as well.
Application and Possibilities
So far there is no device utilizing the power of Samsung Exynos 5 Octa. But soon we will be able to witness its power with Samsung Galaxy S IV which is expected to be introduced around April 2013.
Samsung is famous for huge phones such as Galaxy Note II. They have huge batteries inside and have great battery life. With Exynos 5 Octa I’m pretty sure they will go to the next level of performance as well as battery life.
In real life applications Samsung has to pay attention to heating problems and radiation issues. It’s not only about hardware. One mistake in an application could cause a battery to completely drain out in no time. So there has to be a tight controlling in software platform as well. I hope Samsung developers take these things in to consideration when they are developing next version of TouchWiz.
Samsung Exynos 5 Octa based in latest semiconductor architecture, has a heterogeneous CPU array to give maximum power and energy efficiency with one of the best GPUs and blazing fast memory access. It made all the other mobile commuter platforms look like antique. If Samsung engineers manage to solve practical issues in applications such as heating, radiation limits and highly optimized software this could be THE mobile computing platform in year 2013. Competition is going to be tight for Nvidia Tegra 4 and Snapdragon 800.
Few weeks ago Nvidia released their next mobile platform, Nvidia Tegra 4 in CES. Previously I rounded up rumors about it and finally it came out to be pretty similar.
Let’s go and take look at official spec of Nvidia Tegra 4 and what is its impact on mobile computing.
Nvidia Tegra 4 uses latest 28 mm semiconductor architecture and supports up to 4 ARM Cortex A15 1.8 GHz CPU cores. This is a major improvement compared to 40 mm architecture and ARM Cortex A9 CPU cores in Tegra 3.
CPU L1 cache is 32 KB for instructions and another 32 KB for data. L2 cache is 1 MB. It’s still the same as Tegra 3. And yeah, 4-PLUS-1 battery saving technology continues here as well.
GPU is the major improvement here and it will definitely be good news for mobile gamers. It has 72 coresGeForce GPU. It’s 6 times faster than Tegra 3 and gives you access to latest Tegra Zone mobile games.
Speed of memory access has gone up to 12.8 GB/s with LPDDR3 technology. This is 2 times improvement compared to Tegra 3.
This has entire previous connectivity features plus 4G LTE and USB 3.0. These will solve major connectivity problems Tegra 3 had.
Application and Possibilities
Currently only device powered with Nvidia Tegra 4 platform is “Project Shield”. In CES it unveiled its beastly gaming performance. It’s good enough evidence for us to figure out how powerful the Tegra 4 platform is. Soon many other devices will come to market with this platform, specially gaming optimized tablets.
Tegra 4 has 4-PLUS-1 technology to save battery power by processing background tasks in a low power consuming CPU core. Tegra 4 is capable of switching off individual CPU cores to save power depending on the work load. Further 28 mm architecture is a major power saver. All together this SoC will be much less power hungry than Tegra 3. So we have a hope for better battery life in future Tegra 4 powered devices.
True that this is an amazingly powerful mobile computing platform, yet competition is tight. Qualcomm came up with Snapdragon 800 and Samsung has Exynos 5 Octa. As I think, to stand out in the competition Nvidia Tegra 4 should focus on mobile gaming niche where they have better performance, infrastructure and years of experience.
Other than hardware muscle the major success factor would be better power consumption. There Nvidia Tegra 4 might have a advantage with its power saving technologies. However we have to wait till commercial devices come out for us to get a more accurate picture about that.
If you are an Apple iPhone user you know that getting an OS update is not a big deal. Almost all iPhones are getting updates on the same day and it just needs few taps. It’s same with all the iOS devices including iPad and iPod touch.
Android has become the world’s most popular mobile OS. But Android users know that getting a software update for your phone is not as easy as iPhone. Latest version of Android is 4.2.1 but still you can find many phones with many years old Android 2.3 running. The problem here is Android OS is highly fragmented based on more than one factors.
What is Android Fragmentation?
Android is an open source mobile OS developed by Google. That means its source code is freely available for any one. What handset manufactures are doing is design a hardware platform which is compatible with Android OS and produces a handset. But they always modify the source code, especially with themes to deliver a unique branded experience to users.
When you are buying an Android phone from a mobile carrier they are installing a customizable Android with branded start up screens and some applications.
Once the device has a customized version of Android it can’t get updated directly from Google, like iPhones are getting from Apple. This is where the problem is.
When Google is releasing new iterations of Android on the same day they release source code to handset manufactures and developers. If you have a Nexus device with pure Android, you will be updated on the same day but it’s not the case with other devices.
Handset manufactures need some time to figure out the updates in new iteration and check the compatibility of themes and apps they are going to embed into OS. This might take few weeks, maybe few months and lots of effort. If there is a carrier in between, it will add a couple of more weeks.
Due to this complex process handset manufactures keep older models out of the update process. That’s why most of the Samsung Galaxy S II phones are still having Android 2.3. Not only that, if you take a look at statistics, less than 10% of phones has latest Android version.
What Can Google Do?
Google is releasing OTA update and source code on the same day. Nexus devices are getting the update on time while other handsets are waiting for updates. If Google can release the source code earlier, then handset manufactures will get some time to study the code and release the update almost at the same time as Google.
However this will solve only the part of problem. Still handset manufactures won’t like to put effort on older handsets.
What Can Handset Manufactures Do?
The most practical solution would come from handset manufactures side. The major problem here is manufacturer customization. It will require a lot of time and effort. If they can simply install pure Android on all the handsets, Google can push updates at the same time to all the Android devices.
If they need to include customization so badly, they can give that choice to handset user. If he likes customized Android experience he can go for that. If he value timely update rather than customization they can go for pure Android and Google paused updates. Even if Google won’t like to push updates to all the phones, manufactures can do it with much lesser effort.
It’s an Ideal solution. However it would be pretty difficult to achieve. Take a look at above image to get an idea how many handset manufactures are there. Getting all of them in to same page is nearly impossible. But I have some good hope for year 2013.
In the last few months many 1080p Smartphone came in to market, especially in CES. Previously I discussed about Oppo Find 5, HTC Droid DNA and Sony Xperia Z. Those devices are actually creating a new generation of Smartphone.
Here I’m not trying to talk about more 1080p Smartphone. I’m trying to build up a discussion on increasing screen size and resolution of latest Smartphone. Do we really need it? Is it a result of the cold war between Apple and Android world? Let’s go and take a closer look.
Story of Retina Display
Apple was always ahead of time when it comes to display resolution. You can see it in their iMac, MacBook Pro and even in iPad. The original idea of Retina Display came in to the market with iPhone 4. if you take a look at iPhone 3GS’s display it’s pixel density is 165 ppi. Apple increases it drastically in iPhone 4 to 330 ppi.
In that level of pixel density you can’t distinguish pixels in normal viewing distance which is somewhere between 10 -15 inches. Later on many other Smartphone manufactures came up with super sharp displays which have more than 300 ppi of pixel density, by definition they are also retina displays.
If you take a look at latest 5 inch 1080p mobile display they have roughly 440 ppi of pixel density. So definitely you won’t be able to distinguish pixels. You may call it super retina displays.
In human eye, closest focus distance is roughly 3 inches. If you take a retina display that close to the eye, you will be able to distinguish pixels. If you do the same test with a super retina display, still you can’t see distinct pixels. In other words you have no way to see separate pixels with naked human eye.
Major Disadvantage of 1080p 5 Inch Displays
After reading above you must be having a wow feeling about super retina displays. But everything comes with a price. They are power hungry and drains out the battery in no time. After all there is nothing to be surprised of. They wrap up same amount of pixels as HD TV in your living room.
Finally, Do We Really Need It?
Pixel density of the display has nothing to do with color reproduction or level of contrast. Those are defined by display technology and quality of individual pixels. Pixel density is only about the sharpness of displays.
To identify the difference between retina display and super retina display you have to take it very close to your eye, like 3 -4 inches. It’s very unlikely in general usage. Can you imagine someone using a huge Smartphone holding it few inches away from nose?
For that the price we have to pay is poor battier life or huge and heavier batteries.
Yes, we need good processors, massive storage, and sharp displays in Smartphone. But 1080p 5 inch displays have gone way beyond actual user needs and even beyond capabilities of human eye. In return one of the most important factors, battery life is compromised.
This is clearly a result of cold war between Smartphone manufactures and just to make the specification looks good. So of you have a plan to buy a 1080p Smartphone, think twice.
Gadgets have become a part of the human life. There are numerous gadgets available in the market. The top 10 coolest devices are:
Apple iPad Mini
Specs: Available in black & slate, White & silver colors, WI-Fi and WI-Fi+Cellular models, 16GB memory, 7.9 inch display, dual core A5 chip, lightning connector, light sensor.
iPad Mini was announced on 23 Oct, 2012 which costs $459. Apple stated that it is thinner, lighter and cheaper iPad with a small 7.9 inch screen. It is a portable device with 4:3 aspect ratio. Advanced Wi-Fi feature enables faster connectivity which allows you to browse the web instantly.
Canon IXUS 1000HS
Specs: 10 megapixel camera, 10X Zoom, 3 inch LCD screen, weighs 190 g, flash range 3.5m, maximum resolution 1920×1080.
It is a modern digital camera which comes with the same sleek design as its predecessor IXUS. Some of the interesting features of this latest gadget are metal construction, color swapping, powerful USB, self-timer facility, automatic image stabilizer, poster and miniature effect etc.
Sony E454/N Walkman
Specs: TFT color display, 8 GB storage capacity, USB charging, weights 58g, standby time 50 hours., contains layout of 44.1x95x10.4 mm.
This latest Walkman is available in different colors that offers user-friendly interface. It contains a 2 inch display with resolution of 240×320 pixels. It can support various file formats like MPEG4, AAC-LC, MP3, WMA, AVC etc. It is embedded with Virtual phone technology feature to produce quality sound.
NEC NP216 Projector
Specs: DLP technology, 1024×768 resolution, contrast ratio is 2000:1, life time of 3500hr in normal mode & 5000hr in Eco mode, weighs 2.5kg.
It is the portable multimedia projector that offers quality presentations. This 3D projector is suitable for classroom and meeting presentations. DLF engine helps in viewing brighter images than ever. It involves easy set up features with enhanced remote control techniques.
Disney Tron Mouse and Mat combo
Specs: 3.5gn laser sensor, 7 responsive buttons, lightening signals, 2m USB cable, quick response time 1ms.
It is the powerful gaming mouse placed on a specifically designed mat. It has upgradable software with four specially planned buttons. With this programmable software you can assign different functionality to the buttons and can make profiles that suit your game and navigation speed.
This is a perfect headphone which sits comfortably on the ears. It is a light weight device with improved audio sound. Adjust the headset in proper position and experience the quality audio which takes you to the new world.
Specs: dual-core processor, 64 bit computing capability, 8 GB RAM, 15.6 inch display, 2.5kg weight
You can stay connected with this latest notebook irrespective of time and location. Intel core processor boosts the device power. You can make instant downloads, browse the web with higher speed.
Philips Notebook Cushion Speaker
Specs: supports 1800Hz frequency, USB connector, the Neodymium magnet system.
This device will produce excellent digital audio to listen to your favorite songs, watch videos and movies. This is the award winning speaker for its intelligent design. You can get rid of using batteries.
Genius Easy Pen i405
Specs: used for 4×5.5 tablet devices, 1024 pressure points permit both left and right click.
You can write comfortably for longer duration without any pressure on the fingertips. Now make your work simpler with this flexible pen which has a strong grip. Touch the tip of the pen on any of the programmable keys which instantly connects to the internet.
It is the amazing smartphone developed by Samsung. It works on latest android version Jellybean 4.1. It was released in august, 2012. Within the few days of its launch 3 million handsets were sold across the globe. However Galaxy Note II is quite expensive compared to its competitors. But if you run short of money to buy this expensive tool, take same day cash loan.
Android 4.2 is out there with the sweet project code code name Jelly Bean. Previously I posted a Android 4.2 rumors round up and expect the project code name to be Key Lime Pie. But Google decided to keep it for next major update.
Most of the previous rumored features are there and few more details to share. If you have a device from New Nexus Family or Galaxy Nexus you must be already enjoying this. Let’s take a closer look and see what is has to offer.
This is one of the most anticipated features in Android 4.2. I tried taking few 360 degrees images and they worked fine. All you have to do is align the camera to start recording and follow the dots. However sometimes it’s making mistakes when stitching images together.
The gallery is also updated to view sphere images. If it’s a sphere image you are getting a new icon below that. Once you click it will take you to Google street view live image viewer. Good improvement and major competitive advantage over other mobile OS.
Quick Settings Panel
Previously it had only one notification panel which you can drop down from the top edge. Now you have two panels and you have two different methods to access that. Pull down the notification bar and click on quick settings icon or pull down notification bar with 2 fingers. There you can see some commonly used controllers such as screen brightness, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, battery power etc.
Lock Screen Widgets
Previously you could unlock the phone to Google Now or to camera. Now they have taken it to next step. You can slide the screen left to access the camera and right to see any customized widgets. You have a separate button to access Google Now below the lock icon.
According to my personal point of view, this is an unnecessary complexity. Previously I could do all these stuff with one controller and now I have several. A lock screen widget consuming a whole page and I have to go through several pages to see them. I’d rather put all of them in my home screen and unlock the phone to see them.
This is my most favorite feature here. I have used swipe keyboard before, but this is embedded right in to OS and very polished. Previously I used to be a ‘viewer’ in mobile social media because I was too lazy to comment back and engage with on screen keyboard. Gesture typing changed my world and my social engagement level has gone up overnight.
Most of the people are talking about all the new android goodness, but I didn’t hear much about new and improved clock. You will notice this right there in lock screen. Now it’s not only a clock, a fully functional stopwatch and countdown timer have been embedded right into it. Slide to left and right to check out these clock features.
In stopwatch you can records laps and share the result in social media. You can add multiple countdown timers and manage them easily for different purposes. Good idea for a kitchen timer.
World clock is another majorly important feature. Here you can add new clock displaying time in another city. All you have to do is click on location icon and check in the cities you need.
Google Now came in to action with android 4.1 and now it’s giving you more information and features. Project butter is still here so interfaces are buttery smooth, for me it’s seems even smoother than before. If you like to mirror your Smartphone display with your HD TV now you have Air Play like feature.
If you are using Nexus 10, there you have multi-user support. So you can share your tablet with many other people and it remembers the setting for each profile, even the progress in games.
Daydream is a new fancy feature. With that you can play an animation or display clock when your phone is in sleep mode. Try this but keep your eye on battery life.
You have new Gmail with new features such as pinch to zoom and swipe to delete.
The best thing ever happened to Android so far is sweet Jelly bean. Now it’s in the next level. You have whole lot of new features. This made all the other mobile OS looks like antique and dwarfs them in competition. Sphere camera, sphere viewer, gesture typing, new clock and overall completeness blew my mind.
I was expecting Google engineers to introduce something to improve battery life. There was a rumor about project roadrunner. But I could not find anything about this so far. Previously I ran a battery life test for Android 4.1 and going to do the same for 4.2 as well. See you soon with the results and subscribe to our email newsletter to not to miss it.
WWDC was held in last June in San Francisco. There Apple introduced their net version of iOS which is iOS 6. It is major upgrade to core of OS and comes with many new features. They promoted it with the tagline “World’s most advanced Mobile operating system”. iOS came a long way with in 5 years setting many trends in Smartphone world and it’s under Notes of Genius Spotlight today.
Due to various reasons such as limited API calls Apple decided to stop using Google maps anymore. Instead they developed their own version of Maps with better features. It’s having all the basic features such as 2D maps, Traffic details and turn by turn navigation with voice. The most interesting feature here is fly over mode. It’s giving photorealistic view of 3D buildings and I have never seen such in any other map application.
Apple stated that this Map application is developed in house from scratch. Geographic data they have used is purchased from TomTom, a very popular navigation device manufacture. In addition they have acquired map data from Open Street maps as well.
Siri is getting smarter down the time. Now she can launch applications as well. Further she is getting smarter and more human. Usage of location based data is improved and optimizing the response accordingly.
Previously there was no direct Facebook integration for iOS. Now you can enjoy seamless Facebook integration with iOS 6. You can enable synchronization for contact and event. Once you join an event it will be displayed in iPhone’s calendar. On configuration all Facebook contact will be displayed in iPhone’s contact list.
In a Smartphone, phone is just an application. Whenever you want to make a call you have to open it. In iOS 6 phone application is improved in several ways. Just think that you are receiving a call and you are busy. What you can do with new features is, you can send SMS or reject the call and tell the phone to remind later to call back.
There is a Do not disturb mode and once it enabled it won’t notify you for call or SMS. You can enable this in a given time or for given group of contacts.
There are several application comes in built with iOS 6 such as Passbook, Email, FaceTime and Safari Browser.
Passbook is letting you to store all your cards and other documents and get alerts when you can user them. On proper configuration you can get location based alert when you visit department store reminding you to use your customer loyalty card.
Email application is improved and now it’s letting you to attach video and images very easily. In addition there is a new feature called VIP inbox to categorize important emails. Entire emails you are getting and receiving will be sync with iCloud as usual.
FaceTime is now capable of utilizing mobile data connection to make video calls and send receive files during a conversation. Safari browser also tightly integrated with iCloud and having full screen landscape mode and offline reading.
iOS, the world most advanced mobile operating system according to Apples promotions, but I seriously doubt it. Yes, it was the most advanced mobile OS but not anymore. If you are an android user you must be enjoying almost all of the new features in iOS 6 for years. Only interesting thing you will find in iOS is Siri and its advanced voice recognition.
Even if you take a closer look in to new map application, it need lot more polishing up, specially for performance. When you are trying fly over view there is a huge lag. Further it’s not giving detailed maps of all countries like Google maps.
Personally I believe Apple should work harder to present some hot cake to their fans like they always did for last 4 years rather than introducing features which are already there in other products.
Previously I was talking about offline features of Google maps in Android. There we figured out how to save a specific area of a map for offline usage. But for this you had to enable Lab feature and use it at your own risk.
Google Maps Offline for Android
With the latest version of Google Maps for Android, you don’t have to use it as a lab feature. Now t comes to you as offline maps officially integrated with Google Maps app.
How to Use Offline Maps?
First you must get the latest version of Google Maps for Android.
For that you have to go to Google Play -> My apps and update it.
Now you are good to go. Open Google maps and go to the area which you need to save as Offline map.
Click on the Options button down there and go to Make Available Offline.
Then you will get a view port and other area will be darkened. Map area in the view port will be saved for offline viewing.
You can move, zoom in and out to capture the required area.
Maximum allowed offline map size is 50 – 100 MB. If you select larger area, whole map will not be saved.
You can see the map size when you are zooming in to select required area.
Finally click done. App will start downloading the select maps are and it will be available for offline viewing.
You can access and manage offline maps in My Places -> Offline.
Google have done major improvements to previous lab feature PreCache Map Area. The most important thing is you can freely select the map area to be saved by moving and zooming. Then you can easily access the maps under my places. Everything is perfectly integrated.
However, if you need to search the map it won’t work with offline maps. For that you must have data connectivity.
This would be great for aviation to save lots and lots of mobile data usage. When you are going through sub way where you have no mobile data connection still you can view maps on your Smartphone. Nature lovers, when you walk away from civilization never forget to save the map to find your way.