Monday, May 31, 2010

ExoPC Slate and ASUS Eee Pad EP101TC/EP121 are coming - can they stop iPad's explosion?

Engadget announced in the last two days, three new table PCs, all three being designed to be potential competitors to Apple's iPad. The first one is ExoPC Slate, which features a 11.6" capacitive touch-screen, 2 USB ports, HDMI out, SD card slot and a VGA webcam. What we can find inside: a 1.6 GHz Intel Atom N450 processor, 2 GB of RAM, 32 GB SSD storage space and a Broadcom Crystal HD chip, which promises to playback videos at 1080p. How can you compete with something like this, Apple? It is much over the iPad. Unfortunately, it runs Windows 7 Ultimate, which is not designed at all for a screen this size (surprisingly, the screen responds perfectly to anything the user tries to do). The price is probably going to be somewhere around $599.

The other two are ASUS Eee Pad EP101TC and EP 121, which, I have to say, are two completely uninspired names for these table PCs. Unfortunately, we don't have any details about what is inside, or their
prices. We just know that the first one has a 10" screen, and the second one has a 12" screen. While Joanna (the editor from Engadget who tested the device) was using the device, there were really important bugs observed related to the interface of the touch screen (it was quite unresponsive most of the time). Even though, the interface looks much better than that one from the ExoPC Slate. Its OS is a Windows Embedded Compact 7, and I'm sure that the interface is going to be improved and most of the bugs fixed in the future.

Apple announced that they have passed 2 millions of sold iPads, and it is not yet available anywhere in the world. Do you think that these three table PCs have the ability of stopping this boom of the iPad?

More details: here and here

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Android 2.2 Froyo stops supporting .aac files for the media player.

This is something I discovered yesterday, when I was heading towards somebody. When I tried to play my playlist (all songs were downloaded directly on my Nexus with a third-party application, from YouTube, in .aac format) I was notified that this format was not supported (anymore) by the music player. I downloaded the songs on a computer in .mp3 from YouTube (because I was in a rush) and sent them to my phone. Then, when I was going home, another surprise. Even if the downloads from YouTube are not done in a very high quality, the .aac songs were more that OK. But the mp3-s were worse than anything else. I had difficulties in even understanding what the singers were saying. So, Google screwed it up a little.

What you have to do is to download the music externally (not from YouTube, because they are mainly in a low quality), preferable is directly in .mp3 (because converting can affect the quality!) and then to send them to your phone. You can send them via your USB cable, but as I observed that the media player "feels" the changes with a considerable delay, I recommend you rebooting the phone. If it still does not see your music and you are sure it is in .mp3, play a little with the player and then it should update the list with the new songs.

Microsoft offers free antivirus protection for Genuine Windows users.

Microsoft Security Essentials is a free antivirus program for those who have genuine copies of Windows. As I'm not using (at all) any OS from MS I wasn't able to test it, but I can tell you some details and what is being told about it. So, what's good is that it is free (of course, if your copy of Windows is licensed) and it is made by Microsoft, who knows exactly what's inside the operating system so they can fix any vulnerability faster than a regular security company.

They say that it protects your computer against viruses, spyware and other kinds of malicious software, all in real-time. What I think that is bad, simply because it is made by Microsoft, is that it may fail regularly in different situations (fake alarms, issues when running, weak detection and stuff). But this is not something proven and is based on my past experience with Microsoft's products.

Those who tested said that it detected and resolved several threats better than NOD32, and even used less resources, but I doubt that this is something relevant (as I haven't seen any "serious" tests). There are comments on blogs where this product was reviewed in which the people told that it is a very bad protection program, because it wasn't able to detect important trojans/viruses so my doubts come also from here.

You can download and try Microsoft Security Essentials from .

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Running Android 1.6 on your PC (+video).

Android is the operating system for mobile devices which is getting more and more popularity everyday (about 60-100 000 devices with Android OS are activated every day, and it's coming fast behind iPhone OS). By knowing this fact, users of iPhone and Windows Mobile devices are trying to port Android to their devices. But what I am going to show is how you can get Android running on your PC. OK, not natively, but with the help of a virtual machine.

Note: this works on any platform (Windows, Linux, and Mac). None of your data from your computer is going to be affected.

What you have to is to download VirtualBox from here, and the Android 1.6 that will run on VirtualBox from here (scroll down to "StableRelease" and click "view" on the first file, named "android -x86-1.6-r2.iso" to start downloading). These two downloads are not large so the download should finish fast. Do not burn on CD Android OS after downloading, just let the image somewhere where you know about it. Then install VirtualBox like a normal application.

When you finish installing VirtualBox, do the following (if your know what VirtualBox is and how to configure it, all you must know is that Operating System and Version must be selected as "Other", and respectively as "Other/Unknown"; otherwise follow these steps):
  • Select "New", give it a name, and at Operating System select "Other" and "Other/Unknown" at Version.
  • Give it a quantity of RAM (doesn't matter how much, but make sure to have free on your system that amount you're giving to it).
  • Let the settings like they are (Boot Hard Disk and Create new hard disk)
  • Then, on the window that appears, click Next, then Next, and because 2.0 GBs are just enough, click again Next, then Finish and again Finish.
  • Now, your new Guest OS appeared on the left column of VirtualBox, with the name you gave it. Click Start.
  • On the window that appears, click Next.
  • Now, where it says "Media Source", click on that folder sign on the right part of the window.
  • Click Add, and browse to where the image it located and click Open. Make sure it is highlighted and then click Select.
  • Click Next and then Finish
Congratulations. You have now successfully configured your Virtual Machine and Android 1.6 is being booted automatically. I haven't installed it, I only ran it like a "Live CD". If you want to install it, you can try, but I don't know if it is difficult or not. I recommend you selecting "Live CD" just to see how it's look like.

You can now try and explore the functionalities of Android 1.6 on your PC (except calling and SMS because there isn't any carrier available). Below is a video which demonstrates you that this really works (even if I tried it on Mac, it runs also on Windows or Linux hosts).

Thursday, May 27, 2010

A weird thing related to Android 2.2 call receiving functionality.

I have now about five 5 days since I upgraded my Nexus One to Android 2.2, and the phone still doesn't stop...impressing me. I've observed that if I receive a call from somebody and I am near the phone, I can hear the voice of the person who's calling me. For example...if a friend is calling me and near him is a person to which he says something while he calls me (my phone is ringing), I can hear what he says.

I don't know if this is a bug in the Android, a malfunction of the device, or this is something normal, because I wasn't able to find anywhere else something related to this thing. I am really...curious if this happens to anybody else, and if it does, this means that it is possible for those ones with Nexus One devices and Android 2.2 to speak for free, but for a limited time, because the call stops after 10-20 seconds (depending the carrier).

So, does this thing happen to you too?

p.s.: If you need to update to Android 2.2, here's how to do it.

Latest stable version of Google Chrome is here.

Many new features were added to Google Chrome in the last period, almost all of them being available only in unstable, Beta releases. The most notable feature here is the synchronization between bookmarks, settings, preferences, and even themes, on all your computers, with the help of your Google account.

But what's new is that this feature, together with better implementation of HTML5 and support for Flash 10.1 (support is there, but Flash is not yet there as it is not ready), is that all these features are now "pieced" together in a single stable release, 5.0.375.55 (for any platform). Even if Google didn't mention anything about possible updates to speed and security, I'm sure that they also included some.

You can download the latest version from

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Manually update your Nexus One to Android 2.2 Froyo.

As you probably know, the new version of Android has been released for download for some users. More exactly, we are talking about those persons who got the device officially, from Google, for reviewing purposes (mass-media or press). So, for all other users, who got the device via Google's official website, there is no OTA (over-the-air) update yet.

However, the link from where Google was pushing the update to the targeted devices has been found, and everybody has the possibility to update. Unfortunately, the update file has been removed from that link by Google, but there isn't any problem, because some users uploaded that file to external sources.

Before starting anything, I must tell you that I assume NO responsibility in case that something goes wrong or you have any kind of problems after update. This update has not been officially released for your personal device by Google. You must have a NON-rooted device, with original rom (your build must be ERE27).

Here is all you have to do:
  1. Download the update file from here (mirror download, it is not from Google's server so please confirm if it works or not!!! Yes, it works, just take a look at the comments).
  2. Rename it as "" (make sure not to be and send it to the microSD card which is in your Nexus.
  3. Shut down your device.
  4. Keep pressed down the "Volume down" key while you press the power button.
  5. When the screen appears, scroll down to "recovery" (with the "volume down" key), and then press the power button.
  6. A new screen will appear containing a triangle with an exclamation point symbol inside. Now you have to press down the "Volume up" key and the power button at the same time.
  7. A new menu will appear, in which you have to scroll (with the trackball) until the "Apply" option has been highlighted, and then press down the trackball.
  8. The device is now updating the software. After the update finishes ("Update from sdcard complete"), you may have to select "reboot system now" (I didn't have to do the last step, but it has been reported that it might be necessary for some users).
Note: the first boot after update may take longer. This is something normal, do not panic! It took me about 5 minutes. And I think I had 2 successive reboots, so stay calm, your device didn't go crazy (this was what I thought when I saw that).

Congratulations! You now have the Android 2.2 on your Nexus One.

Click here for a list with most of updates. What I observed is that my device worked normally only after the second reboot. Lookout (antivirus) crashes continuously (had to force close), and Seesmic can't connect at all (several users confirmed this).

But most important of all, the device runs much faster. You can find more details at by clicking here.

Please leave a comment telling us if your update succeeded or not (it is very useful for other users)!

Friday, May 21, 2010

Android 2.2 is coming in a few weeks.

Android 2.2, also known as Froyo, is coming up in a few weeks for Android fans. What is known is that, if now everybody agrees that it's extremely fast on powerful devices (e.g: Nexus One or Desire), the next version will be much faster. Google developed a new JIT compiler (just-in-time compiler) which accelerates programming languages from 2 to 5 times faster. Yes, you read correctly, Java is going to be accelerated up to 5X.

The new version will have Flash 10.1 support integrated, this means that you don't need anymore to root your phone and get another ROM in order to have Flash, it will be integrated into the OS. Moreover, with this new update, you will be able to transform your phone in a Wi-Fi hotspot. This means that you will be able to share a mobile data connection (from carrier) with another computers/devices, either via Wi-Fi or via USB.

The home screen (launcher) will have near the "menu" button, a phone shortcut (on left) and a internet shortcut (on right), being available in whatever screen you will be. Installation of applications on the SD card is (finally) going to be supported on this new version of Android. You will be able to install as many applications as your SD card can store. An update is coming to Market too, making it able to update all apps with only one tap.

It is know that it will come in a few weeks, and as soon as Google will announce an exact date, I will let you know.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Is Vietnam the place where Apple decided to lose all their new devices?

After the story with the iPhone which was found by somebody in a pub in the United States, and of course, after the start of the investigation for possible theft against one editor from Gizmodo, a new (lost) iPhone appeared in Vietnam. This second device has 16 GB internal memory (on the device which was found in the U.S. it was written "XX GB"), and the main (big) difference is that it doesn't have any screws on the bottom, anything else being the same.

Now, another new device from Apple appears, again, in Vietnam. This time, it is an iPod touch, and the differences compared with the actual iPod Touch are that it seems to have a 2 megapixel camera, and 64 GB internal storage memory. On its back it is written "DVT-1", so it is 99% sure that this is not a final version.

June 7th is the date when Apple Worldwide Developers Conference is scheduled, and it is sure that we will have then a new iPhone, but I think that it is improbable to hear any announcement about a new iPod Touch there.

Even if when the story with the lost iPhone in that pub started I refused to accept that everything might have been planned by Apple, now, that is what I think. Apple is a...too serious company to lose devices like this. My opinion is that they are making this in order to explode the speculations about their devices, and so, their devices to get shortly after launch enormous popularity.

What do you think?

More here, here and here.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Get a Mac OS X-like dock for Ubuntu.

The dock from Mac OS X is one of the most beautiful docks for PCs. Unfortunately, you have to buy a MacBook/iMac in order to get that dock in front of your eyes (the process of installing a Mac OS X on a regular, non-Apple platform is very complicated). But if you have Ubuntu on a computer, you can get a dock that looks something like that one from Mac OS X on that computer.

It is called Avant Windows Navigator (or simpler, AWN), it can be found on Ubuntu Software Center, and it looks something like this:

The dock is not that simple to use as that one from Mac OS X, but after a few minutes you should already know how it works and be able to configure it without problems. But, this dock is even better than that one found on Mac OS X, because you can add many other widgets on it directly from its menu (like real-time statistics about computer or weather). You can put it on any part of the screen, even on the top, and this is something that you can't do with Mac's default dock.

Get it from the Ubuntu Software Center by searching "AWN".

Ubuntu One - note facilities only- is down (15:00 GMT Time, Saturday, 15 May).

Today I needed to look over a note I had made a few weeks ago, but after logging in, when I wanted to view my notes, I had a surprise. I got a screen like this.
As you can see in the picture, there is a problem with the notes. It says that "Something has gone wrong", with the error 500. This is really strange, because the files are available, only the notes are failing. And this was a moment when I really needed a note.

I hope that this problem won't take much time, and that my notes will be back again.

Update: 10:30 A.M, 16 May, notes are available again. All notes are in their place. No one has been lost.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Windows 7 touchpad driver for most Dell laptops.

When you finish installing Windows 7 on most Dell laptops after you had XP or Vista before, what you'll observe related to the touchpad is that even if it is highly accurate, features like scrolling on the edge of the touchpad or forward-back gestures are not working at all. And this happens because Microsoft have included into their OS a quite basic driver, which assures only the normal functionality of the device, without any additional feature.

Many Dell laptops are using touchpads which are manufactured by Alps, on Dell's official site being available drivers designed for XP/Vista only. However, even if after installation Windows prompted me that this driver has known compatibility issues with 7, Windows wasn't able, as expected, to find a solution for this, so I ran the software like it was.

Surprisingly, it works without any major problem, it just moves pretty slow and it adds a little inaccuracy when using the touchpad, but I think it might be corrected using application's settings, but I didn't have time for that yet. However, features like scrolling or forward-back gestures on the edges on the touchpad work perfectly. You can install it and if you then prefer using your laptop without it, you can remove it.

Tested on my Dell D610 laptop with a fresh installed Windows 7 and works. It might work on most other Dell models, mainly with the condition of having similar Alps touchpad devices.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Apple has problems with iPad 3G stocks.

The iPad is probably a best-selling product in this period. Nobody has expected for the iPad to have these big sales, even Apple. As we know, the international launch of the iPad (Wi-Fi model) has been delayed due to higher requests in the U.S. than they were expected. But the problems don't stop here.

A few days later after the 3G model has came out, more Apple Stores around the United States (mostly from the center and from the northern part of the U.S) announced that they had run out of any model of the 3G iPad. And the situation is worse than this, because several of them have limited stocks of the Wi-Fi model. It is currently not known when the stores will receive new stocks of iPads, but one thing is clear. The iPad is a huge success.

The Wi-Fi model should get out of the U.S. at the end of this month (if Apple respects its promise), but due to limited stocks in the U.S. I doubt about this. Even if we don't know when the 3G will come overseas, it is improbable for the europeans to see it by the end of May.

Friday, May 7, 2010

iAntiVirus - free malware protection for your Mac.

As we all know, Mac is a really safe OS but the truth is that no platform is immune to any kind of malware. Even the Mac OS X. However, the risk on infection on Mac is really low, since most of the attacks are directed against Windows. So there isn't a real necessity to use an antivirus software if you're on Mac, but if you have "terrifying" experiences from Windows, you may use one.

iAntiVirus is a free antivirus solution for Mac, offering most of what a regular user needs. As the official site says, this application offers powerful malware protection (viruses, worms and trojans) - detection and removal-, spyware, adware and dialer protection, real-time protection via "IntelliGuard Real-Time Protection", free support by community and free "Smart Updates".

It offers just a basic interface, and uses very little resources as I even don't feel it working in the background. These are what the free version offers. If you need it for business and commercial purposes, 24/7 dedicated and phone support, paid version is also available.

Consult the official site for more details:

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Google Chrome speeds up on V8 JavaScript engine.

Google uploaded an interesting video a few days ago, showing that their browser is faster than anything else. They've tested its speed against a potato which.."explodes", against sound waves, and against lighting, and the results are quite impressive. Google developed a new JavaScript engine, named V8, which is written in C++, and makes Google Chrome incontestably the fastest browser on earth. Here is the video.

The tests were done using a MacBook Pro with a Windows installed on it, connected on a Asus 24" monitor, and it was filmed using a Phantom v640 High Speed camera at 1920 x 1080 camera capable of filming up to 2700 fps, on a 15Mbps Internet connection. You see the color of the screen changing gradually, because this is the actual speed of pixels on the monitor which has been used.

The latest Chrome version on all platforms is 5.0.375.29 beta. Download it from the official site at

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Mac OS X 10.5.8 gets serious Wi-Fi bugs with latest update (May 2010).

Today I've decided to update my MacBook with the latest updates from 10.5.8, because it warned me in the last few days that updates are available. I know that it was the iTunes 9.1.1, a security update, and another one, which I can't remember exactly. I'm not sure if it wasn't the AirPort Base Station, which appears to be last updated on 31st of March ( I think it wasn't this because it's too early). But this doesn't matter now.

Everything worked fine, my Mac has been successfully updated, but after the first boot, the problems started. Mac OS X 10.5.8 is sometimes completely unable to communicate with my router via Wi-Fi (Asus WL 520-GU), which is my default internet gateway. Communication with my secondary router works (this is actually an Asus WL 520-GC, not GU), but it is useless since I can't access the internet at all (the secondary router is used to amplify the signal).

An temporary solution is to turn off the AirPort and start it again, but I can't do this again and again, every 15-20 minutes. I've surfed the internet and I found that a problem like this was occurred on the previous year, somewhere in September, again, after an update.

I'm now afraid that it will take a while until Apple will fix this, because they are now concentrating on the iPad/iPhone HD/4G/ iPhone OS 4.0, and I have the sensation that Mac OS X is currently not a priority for them. I hope I'm wrong.

If you have the same issues, please don't hesitate to leave a comment to let me know I'm not the only one having these issues !

Virtual keyboard search feature, by Google.

Google added a virtual keyboard next to the search bar ( ) for their search engine, which can be used in order to type what you want to search without a keyboard, or if you're using a physical keyboard and this feature is opened, you will see the corresponding keys on this script while you're typing. It is not available for English searches, but for most other languages. It looks something like this below (mine is in Romanian):
For more details and a complete list of supported countries, go on Official Google Blog at

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Twitter own Android app launched.

Twitter has launched their own Android app, and it is not something extraordinary at all. It connects with your Google contacts (if you want), it has a clear blue interface (maybe too blue) and interesting video effects. I won't explain them, as you can download it yourself and test it.

But what I must tell you related to the effects is that it uses an active background (that blue characteristic clouds are moving), and it seems that this slows my phone down. Considering that this is a Nexus One and I feel that clouds moving, I don't know how this application works on slower devices. Even if the application has many options, the interface makes it seem...a bit too simple.

In my point of view, Seesmic is better than this Twitter app. You can get Twitter's own application via the Android Market by searching "Twitter" (first app).

Has YouTube player been changed or not?

This is the question to which anybody tries to find an answer. Some users reported that their player changed in a way, others that it changed in another way, so it's a very confusing situation. I found that it has been changed for everybody in a way, but some videos do actually have another, much cooler interface. The second one looks something like this below.
I didn't find anywhere an explanation for this, but I suppose it might be because the player is not yet adapted for some resolutions or qualities of the videos. Anyway, it gives a fresh look to YouTube, but I really don't know why they're still working on Flash, as the HTML 5 is coming strongly behind.