Saturday, October 29, 2011

iOS 5 features you want to know - Part 1

After updating to iOS 5, I am slowly exploring the different features and changes they made. I am trying to cover those from an end user perspective, skipping the most advertised or already known features.

1) Zoom:
Zooming has been changed to pinch action in iOS 5, just like when you zoom a photo or a web page. Double tap / single tap on the screen is used to focus an object on the screen.
i) Open camera app
ii) Use pinch action (zoom inward or zoom outward)
iii) Adjust your zoom level and take the picture :)

2) Maps
    Route suggestions are added in iOS 5. Three suggested routes appear when we search for directions. Double tap the Route number to select that particular route.
    i) Open maps app
    ii) Search for direction (Start & End)
    iii) Double tap Route number to select

3) Reader
    Reader feature has been added to Safari browser. The reader mode is really good / nice to read the contents of a web page. It skips the unnecessary ads and makes the fonts little bigger for easy reading. You can add web pages to reading list using “Add to reading list”, just like how you add URL’s to book mark any website
    i) Open Safari app
    ii) Load any web page
    iii) Click the Reader button (in Safari address bar)
    iv) Read the contents quickly and easily

4) Purchased Apps
    Now app store has ‘Purchased’ link under updates. All your downloaded / purchased apps are available there (including deleted apps, so you can re-install later). If you run into a problem of losing all / few of your apps, this helps to recover your purchased apps. But you have to install apps one by one, there is no bulk install. You can hide some app from showing in that list by swiping your finger (right to left or left to right).
    i) Open App store
    ii) Select updates tab
    iii) Purchased link displays on the top

5) Snooze
    Yeah, its not a new feature but the changes made to the snooze button during alarm is nice. Alarm now has the “Snooze” button displaying in red, which is easy to see when you look at the phone from sleep :)
    i) No different steps guys, just the same old steps... :)

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Will Apple sue Google with “slide to unlock patent”

Apple recently received patent for their iOS start screen feature "slide to unlock". You might have seen the iPhone keynote by Steve Jobs. He explained the unlock feature is a swipe to the width of the screen and it is to avoid accidentally unlocking the phone.

Android also has the slide feature to unlock the start screen as default option. They also have the custom lock screen pattern through Settings --> Location and  security settings --> Use visible pattern.

Apple’s is aggressive in protecting their Intellectual Property or blocking Android manufacturers (esp. Samsung) from selling their devices. (Stories of Apple suing Samsung in Dutch, Australia etc and Samsung suing Apple in Germany) :)

Steve Jobs view of Android is “I will spend my last dying breath if I need to, and I will spend every penny of Apple's $40 billion in the bank, to right this wrong. I'm going to destroy Android, because it's a stolen product. I'm willing to go thermonuclear war on this.” as per Walter Issacson.

Do you think, Apple will sue Google (Android) using this patent???
And what if Google patents the notification feature and sue Apple back???

Lets see only time will reveal us the news... :)
Share your thoughts and predictions in the comment section.
For more details on the patent: Patently Apple

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Google unifying their product UI's

A few months back, google changed the login UI for their products. Recently they started pushing the new - look and feel inside their products (docs, calendar, blogger) and still a lot more to come. The new UI is based on HTML5, it has a nice, clean look and navigation.

If you want to enable the new look, click "Try the new look" option on the top right corner and "Switch back to old interface" to change back.

Google docs:
Image source: Servicethisblog


Google Calendar:
Image source: GoogleTutor

Upcoming Gmail UI:
Image source: Google Operating System

Quick tip about Google Chrome's UI (from version 15 - in beta now)
Image source: Chrome Blog

If you are interested in more details:
YouTube Video's: Gmail and Blogger

Monday, October 17, 2011

How to create your own iPhone ringtones

Everybody (including myself) wants to have a nice ringtone for their iPhone. May be a latest song or music or even their own voice. Is there a way to create custom ringtones for free? Yes we do, it just takes few steps.
Searching for ringtones in internet, ringtone creators and your own voice ringtones are covered at the end of the post.

Create your Ringtones:

Step 1: Open iTunes
Step 2: Select the song you want
Step 3: Right-click and select “Get Info”
Step 4: Select the “Options” tab and set the “start and end time”. And click OK.
     iPhone has a restriction to keep ringtones for 30 seconds. You can choose any 30 seconds in the song. Listen to the song couple of times and decide your 30 secs or less.
Step 5: Right-click the song and select “Create AAC version” and wait for few seconds. (pic 3)
    iTunes will create 30 seconds AAC version. Now you have the full song and the ringtone.
Step 6: Right-click the ringtone and select Show in Windows explorer. (Refer pic 1 and pic 3)
Step 7: You will be able to see the song with m4a extension.
    If you don’t see the extension, Google and disable hide extensions options
Step 8: Now copy the m4a file and save in different folder (where you planning to keep all ring tones)
Step 9: Rename the copied file extension to m4r (pic 5)
    Click Yes / OK in the pop up window
Step 10: Double click the m4r file and it will automatically open in iTunes in Ringtones section.
Step 11: Sync your iPhone with iTunes enabling the ringtone option. All your ringtones will be included in your iPhone
Step 12: Right-click the your 30 second ringtone in iTunes and select “Delete”
    Choose “Remove” and “Move to Recycle bin” in the next options. This is to clear the 30 second version. You don’t want to have that in you library and disturb during playback. And also right-click the original song, select “Get Info” → “Options” → deselect / un-check the start and end time. This is because iTunes will keep this in memory and play the song for 30 secs.

Your own voice as ringtone:
    1) Use the voice memo app to record your singing or phrase or quote
    2) Sync your iphone
    3) Follow steps 1 to 13 and you have the ringtone with your own voice

Searching the web for ringtones:
    You can search iPhone ringtones in internet but sometimes they are not with good quality or not what you expected. The sites that offer ringtones may not be reliable some times.

Ringtone creators:
There are 100’s of apps to create ringtones directly in iPhone. All they are doing is creating the m4r version directly in your phone. Still you have to follow copy that file to different folder and double click the m4r file. Here is a quick demo for one of the app: Ringtones

Thursday, October 13, 2011

5 Things to do before upgrading to iOS 5

1) Delete useless apps:
    Delete unwanted / unnecessary apps from your device. To delete click and hold the app for few seconds, all the apps will shake with an X mark on the left hand side. Click the X mark and confirm deletion.

2) Sync your iDevice:
    Connect your iDevice (iPhone, iPod or iPad) to the computer, open iTunes. Your phone should be displayed in the iTunes and it should be the same computer which you used for the initial sync or the regular sync. Click sync. This will transfer all your purchased (paid / free) apps from iPhone to iTunes and vice versa.

3) Back up your iDevice:
    Check if you already have a back up. Choose Edit → Preferences in iTunes and go to Devices tab and check for the back up file. Otherwise back up your device by right clicking on the device name in iTunes and select Back Up. This will take some time depends on the data in your device. Be patient.

4) Download and install  iTunes (10.5):
    Download and install the latest version of iTunes from or through the apple software update in your computer. Open iTunes and click iTunes store, give your apple user id and password. (If you had forgotten your user id, you can fix it in this link)

5) Upgrade to iOS 5:
    After completing these steps, open iTunes, connect your iDevice. Select the device in iTunes and click Update button. It will prompt to download only or download and install. Choose download and install. Sit back releax with a few songs in your iTunes library.   

Guys, this is a very quick inputs for the iOS5 upgraders. No much time to take detailed screen shots. These steps will save your time and energy during upgrade. Shoot me your questions in the comments section, will try to help you.
More detailed steps: iOS5 upgrade 

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Sharpen your googling skills - A Google a Day

Google had launched a daily trivia puzzle game called "A Google a Day". [Its a bit old info, but I wanted to share :)] The questions are bit tricky that the user will not get the answers just by searching the question. They have to use their creativity and search skills to find the answers.

It is created by Daniel M Russell, who is a search researcher @ Google. You can read more about the AGAD in his blog.

Google is using a tweaked version of its search engine called Deja Google for this puzzle site. It leaves the recent webpages / updates like twitter feeds or the published answers about the questions. They do not want us to find the answer immediately or directly, we have to use our search skills.

Yes people I can hear you... Google is a search company and want to find out how searches are performed in the Internet. But, hey its fun to learn something new once in a while and they are making it the Google way - The simple and fun way... :) :) :)
Answers for previous day question is posted in Geek Dad

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Siri - new speech computing from Apple

Yesterday, when Apple announced Siri, just like most people I was also amazed. In my opinion its a big step in speech computing and it will definitely change the way we use mobile devices. When apple released iPhone and opened the app store, it completely changed the way phones are being used.

Now with Siri, we can talk to our phone to practically control the iPhone tasks. You don't have to talk in robotic voice or remember the commands to talk to Siri. It lets you talk just like you are talking to another person. The most important feature is Siri recognizes the meaning of the sentence and gives the answer. "What is the weather today in Phoenix" and "Get me Phoenix weather" will read / give the same result and it even pulls the Phoenix weather on the screen. How awesome is that!!!

How to activate Siri:
Hold the home button for few seconds (Just like enabling the voice control in iPhone 4)
In hands free environment, hold the answer button in your blue-tooth for few seconds.
Siri will be activated and you can talk or ask questions - it will find the information.
It is integrated with Wikipedia, WolframAlpha, yelp and other sources for useful information.

What you can use Siri for:
Check weather, check stock prices, find restaurants (results are even sorted based on yelp review stars), read and reply to text messages, create reminders, set alarm, find time in different country / zone, compose email, get directions, search the web and many other things.

Siri comes integrated with iPhone 4S (no luck for iPhone 4 users). It is in beta and might have few rough edges. But, I am sure Apple will resolve these and add more features. If Apple opens Siri API for iOS developers then we are going to see so many creative applications flooding the app store. Lets wait, watch and explore the change...

Photos by Lifehacker & All Things D

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

IPv6 - the future of ip addresses

What is IP:
Internet Protocol (IP) is the "language" and set of rules for computers to talk to each other over the internet. Anything which gets connected to internet will be assigned an internet protocol address / ip address. IP address is a number assigned to any device which connects and communicates over the internet. It is similar to our house address, used to figure out the physical location of the device on the internet. When you visit a website through your browser, the request is sent with your ip address so that the response will be sent back to the same ip address.

What is IPv4:
IPv4 or IP version 4, is the current addressing scheme developed in early 1980's.
It is based on 32 bit addresses and gives 232 or 4.3 billion unique combination of addresses.
All IPv4 addresses are made up of four parts separated by dots: - where x can be a number between 0 and 255. (Eg:

What is the problem:
1) Address exhaustion: All the 4.3 billion unique addresses have almost been used, only a few thousands are left out.
The rapid growth of internet users and internet devices is one of the main reasons.
  • When you get a new internet connection to your home, you are getting an ip address.
  • When you host a website for your company, you are getting an ip address.
  • Company's like google and yahoo hosts 100's of servers to serve the customers quick with search requests, hence they occupy 100's of ip addresses.
2) Inefficient address use: Organizations acquired more ip addresses than required during 1980's.
3) Virtualization: The growth of hardware capabilities to host virtual machines (multiple machines / operating systems hosted on a single hardware server), requires an ip address for each virtual machine.

How to resolve this issue:
IPv6 or Internet Protocol version 6 is based on 128 bit addresses and gives 2^128 or 340 undecilion<<link>> (3.4 X 10^38) unique combinations. It contains 8 hexadecimal groups. Each group is separated by colon (:).
IPv6 format - xxxx:xxxx:xxxx:xxxx:xxxx:xxxx:xxxx:xxxx
Sample ipv6 address - 2001:0db8:85a3:0000:0000:8a2e:0370:7334, it can be written as 2001:0db8:85a3::8a2e:0370:7334 (the consecutive zeros can be represented as ::)

The ipv6 networks has already started growing worldwide. New operating systems and latest internet devices have already implemented the ipv6 technology.
Hence, users will not be affected when the internet applications change to ipv6 technology. (Microsoft supported ipv6 from windows 2000). Large corporations have started providing their internet services through both ipv4 and ipv6.

How it affects the end user:
1) Old operating systems, old internet devices cannot support applications with only ipv6 addresses
2) Internet routers designed only to handle ipv4 addresses may become unusable when the ISP's change their services to ipv6 addresses

Sunday, October 2, 2011

QR Codes – a medium to connect physical & digital world

QR code stands for Quick Response code; a two-dimensional matrix bar code. It contains encoded information (mostly URL's which opens a webpage / mp3 / video / photo and so on). It can be decoded / read by any QR reader.
It links the physical world with digital / virtual world with a scan and click. QR codes are patent free to create and use. There are 100's of smart phone apps to read and generate QR codes.

How to access QR codes:
Need a smart phone with inbuilt camera and QR reader app.
Whenever you see a QR code, open the QR reader app in the phone and scan the code.
A preview or popup with full / short URL will be displayed.
Just click open/allow and the webpage/video/photo will display.
Scan to access Techryon blog
Any ad with coupon / promotion asks us to visit their website for more details.
Most of the times, we simply ignore the URL part.
Now when there is an ad with QR code, the details can be accessed immediately or stored in the QR reader’s app history to access later.
This gives a huge opportunity for the marketers to connect consumers with their products / offers.
Scan to access this post
Add QR codes in visiting cards (instead of website address).
QR codes can be used in marketing, advertising, promotions, coupons, visiting cards, greeting cards and numerous other ways.

1    1) QR reader app’s permissions may allow use of camera, internet, read/write contacts, GPS, read browser history. Hence malicious QR codes can be used to hijack user data.
2) While scanning the QR code, it mostly shows the short URL. Hence the user will not know the real website opening in the back ground. This leaves the users to be aware and open only the trusted QR codes.

Check out the below links to create QR codes: (Has almost every option for QR codes) (From Google)