Tech Xpress

Weirdest iPhone Accessory Ever

Well the topic says it all! Have you ever seen a more weird iPhone accessory than this one? Check out the picture below.
(If you cannot view the image, click here)


It is called 'Phone Fingers' and is meant to prevent fingerprints and smudges on the iPhone touchscreen. Wonder who would want to buy one of those?

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posted by Vijeesh Ravindran, Wednesday, October 31, 2007
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Video Player, Flickr Photo Sharing in Yahoo Messenger 9 Beta


Yahoo! has just launched the Yahoo! Messenger Beta 9 version of the popular Instant Messaging client for Windows.
The latest version not only looks visually impressive, there are some really cool new features included with it as well.

First the looks: Redesigned interface, New Color themes to select from, New skins and emotions.

New Features:

Watch Videos 'Inside' Yahoo Messenger - Now you can view YouTube & Yahoo videos right from inside the Yahoo Messenger chat window. Just copy and paste a YouTube video url in the chat window and your buddies can watch it right inside the window.

Photo sharing; Integrated with Flickr - The new version is tightly integrated with Flickr. Now you can share photos from your Flickr account with your buddies and save the photos shared with you directly to Flickr. In addition, you can also drag and drop or paste photo url's in the chat window. Your friends can view the pictures inside the chat window.

1 GB Limit removed from File Transfers - Yeah! No more 1 GB limit on file transfers from within Yahoo Messenger.

Message & Call Forwarding - Chat messages and Voice calls can now be forwarded to a mobile phone or email, even if you are offline. If you receive a voicemail in the messenger, an email is sent with the voice message as an mp3 attachment.
Also, you can have Yahoo Messenger send messages to a cell phone when you are offline.

[Download Yahoo Messenger 9 Beta]


Note: Installing this new version reactivated the Yahoo! Messenger Insider popup window which I had disabled in the previously installed version. Check out my post on Removing Yahoo! Messenger Insider Popup to disable it again. Steps are the same.


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posted by Vijeesh Ravindran, Wednesday, October 31, 2007
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Convert Text to Speech from Address bar

I'm just loving these nifty little Web 2.0 sites which are taking some (or most) of the tasks performed by desktop software to the web.

I have been looking around for some good Text-to-Speech software, and guess what? I stumbled on a website which converts the text you type to sound!

The Free Expressivo Text to Speech Reader service lets you convert what you type to sound. You can send the generated speech by email, instant messenger or publish it to a forum or site using links provided by the site.
The converted speech can also be downloaded as mp3 files.

Click here to check out the message I created for you using this service. After clicking it, have a look at the address bar. Yes! The text within the url address is converted to speech. (Well! For english, only a female voice is available at this point)

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More interesting & useful posts:
Learn foreign languages online for Free
Uncompress Zip/Rar files online
posted by Vijeesh Ravindran, Monday, October 29, 2007
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Photos - Truck that runs on Railway Tracks

The result of some smart tweaking! The truck in the picture has been neatly modified to run on railway tracks. Looks like it is being used by the Konkan Railway Corporation, India.
[If you cannot see the image below, click here to view it.]



Picture source : Flickr [Thanks to Kiruba Shankar]

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posted by Vijeesh Ravindran, Tuesday, October 23, 2007
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Quickies - 'Stinky' Dog & 'Spinning' Kitten

Week in and week out I take some breather from writing tech articles for a change! Check out some stories I read yesterday.

Kidnappers return 'Stinky' Dog


A German shepherd named Aldo de Frescol, which was kidnapped last month was let off last week by its kidnappers at a veterinarian's office, saying the dog needed a bath. Think its funny? Oh! Wait till you read this..The dog was held for a ransom of $350,000.
Oh boy! I do know dogs can get really stinky. Grandma's dog comes to my mind. The last time I saw someone bathing him was a good 10 years ago!

Kitten survives spin in Washing-Machine

A 10 week old kitten, Molly, went for the spin of its lifetime in a washing machine and fortunately survived after its 11 year old owner saw it through the machine door.
After the machine was stopped, Molly was sitting and meowing but with closed eyes. She was later taken to a veterinary hospital where she is recovering well!
Now that is one hell of a plucky kitty..

Source Times of India

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posted by Vijeesh Ravindran, Tuesday, October 23, 2007
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UnZip, UnRar Files Online

UpdateYou can checkout 2zip, an alternative site to unrar, unzip files; since wobzip isn't working anymore.

Now-a-days almost every computing task is moving from our desktops to the Web. Even a web service to uncompress Zip and Rar archive files is available!
So if you want to quickly uncompress archive files and don't have the software for it (which I doubt), read on.

A web site I came across today is called Wobzip. What's does it do?
Wobzip is a free online service which lets you uncompress archive files online, for free. Just upload your zip, rar and other archive files to Wobzip and press the uncompress button to get all the files in the archive.

Pros:
At present Wobzip supports 7z, ZIP, GZIP, TAR, BZIP2, RAR, CAB, ARJ, Z, CPIO, RPM, DEB, LZH, SPLIT, CHM, ISO file formats and there is an upload limit size of 100 Mb.

Cons:
Wobzip doesn't let you create archive files at the moment. Also, you cannot uncompress files from password-protected archives.

Quick verdict:
Can be useful when the archive files are small in size..

Wobzip 2zip


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posted by Vijeesh Ravindran, Monday, October 22, 2007
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Add Favourites to Open/Save Dialog boxes in Windows

Wanna be more productive with Windows? Check out this utility program..
FileBox eXtender is a small application that adds more features to the standard Open/Save dialog boxes, Explorer folders and other boxes in Windows.


With this software, you get the option of adding some new features and buttons to folders and dialog boxes in Windows. It's Free and available for Windows XP and olders versions. Currently, Windows Vista is not supported.

Some features included are:
Favourites menu button - You can add any folders/files as favourites in a menu; This allows you to quickly access them from any Open/Save boxes or Folders.
Push-pin button - Doesn't cause the currently open window to loose focus.
Roll-up button - Hides the currently open window; Only the title bar is shown. Clicking the same button again displays the window.

Besides this, you can add 'Recently view files' & make the Open and Save dialog boxes larger or smaller depending on your needs.
Do you use any other utility applications? If yes, do let us know with your comments...

[Download FileBox eXtender (Windows XP & previous versions)]

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posted by Vijeesh Ravindran, Sunday, October 21, 2007
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Clear Filenames in Thumbnail View - Windows Tip

Ok! Here's another nice little unknown (at least unknown to me!) feature in Windows. You can hide the names of files in a folder when viewing them as thumbnails! How many of you knew about that?

Still not sure? Just check out the difference in both the images below...
[If you cannot see the images, click here..Pic1, Pic2]



In the second picture, the names of all the files in the folder aren't shown. How to do it?
It's easy. Press and hold the SHIFT key and then click the Thumbnails option of the View button.
Note: This only works when you want to view files in thumbnail view. Tested in Windows XP.

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Similar Windows Tricks:
Avoid Windows Start Menu from closing automatically after clicking an item
posted by Vijeesh Ravindran, Thursday, October 18, 2007
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India Update - Airtel 8Mbps Broadband; Apple Stores Launch

Airtel to offer high-speed 8Mbps broadband connection

Finally, the Internet broadband scenario in India is looking good with Airtel's latest initiative. An 8Mbps broadband connection, which will be on offer within the next three weeks in Bangalore, Chennai, Pune, Kolkata, Delhi and the National Capital Region. Mumbai and Hyderabad will follow next.

Airtel has also proposed an interesting feature called 'on-demand' access, where users with a low speed Internet connection can increase their speed up to 8Mbps when they want. At 8 Mbps, Airtel's broadband connection will be truly IPTV (Internet Protocol Ready) ready.

Users can expect faster internet surfing, quicker downloads, uninterrupted video streaming etc.

Source Tech-Buzz

Reliance to sell Apple products with iStores


Reliance Retail has tied up with Apple to open 10 iStores in India that will sell Apple products exclusively, which includes iPods, Macintosh Computers, iPhones (when launched in India) etc.

All ten stores are expected to be opened by the end of this year with the first one slated to be launched in Bangalore before Diwali.

Apart for retailing, Apple stores will have a theatre for presentations and workshops, a studio for training with Apple stuff, a Genius Bar for technical support and repairs, and free workshops to the public.
Presently, Apple products in India are sold via resellers.

Source India Inc


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posted by Vijeesh Ravindran, Wednesday, October 17, 2007
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Lamborghini Police Cars Photos

Police in some countries have been using Lamborghini's for highway patrolling. And guess what? Some of them were donated by Automobili Lamborghini itself! Check out these pictures..


(Note: If you can't view the images, click the the following links pic1, pic2, pic3, pic4, pic5, pic6, pic7)

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Source
posted by Vijeesh Ravindran, Tuesday, October 16, 2007
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Quick News- Gmail gets Storage Boost

If you haven't already noticed, Gmail's storage space is now well over 3 GB and is increasing at a much quicker pace than before. Yup! The storage counter is ticking faster which means Gmail will provide 6 GB space for your emails by January.
Gmail Premium edition users will also see their storage space increased to 25 GB from the current 10 GB.

A bit late, considering Yahoo! Mail's unlimited storage, but this development is surely a relief for power Gmail users.

More at Official Gmail Blog

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posted by Vijeesh Ravindran, Monday, October 15, 2007
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India Update - Google Search through SMS; '5GOOG' launched

Google India has launched an SMS service for mobile users which lets anyone with a mobile phone to do a Google Search, access other information....even from a non internet-enabled phone.

Users can get information about movies, weather, shopping & eating outlets etc just by sending a simple text message query to 54664 ('5GOOG' on most devices) .
Besides this, you can also use the service for currency conversion, translation and more.

Google SMS is a premium service; that means users will be charged per message. The charges for the different service providers are listed below:
Aircel: Rs. 3.00
Airtel: Rs. 2.00
BPL: Rs. 3.00
BSNL: Rs. 0.80/1.00 (post-paid/pre-paid)
Reliance: Rs. 3.00

Check out the online demo of the service.
The charges are a tad too high for my liking but Google has for once set its sights on one of the world's fastest growing cell phone market.


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posted by Vijeesh Ravindran, Monday, October 15, 2007
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Downloads- Opera 9.5 and IBM Lotus Symphony

Opera 9.5
If there is one browser I can safely claim to be the fastest, it has to be Opera. Although I'm a heavy Firefox user because of the customizations it provides, Opera is the other one I rely on for quickly opening web pages.
The alpha release of Opera 9.5 is available for Free. Remember, it is an alpha and not the final release.

[Opera 9.5 alpha download]
(Windows Only)

IBM Lotus Symphony
Don't want to spend on MS Office? IBM Lotus Symphony is a Free Office application from IBM built on the OpenOffice.org Office suite.
Lotus Symphony includes a Word Processor, Spreadsheet program and Presentation software. The beta version is available for download from the IBM website. Lotus Symphony has already been downloaded more than 100,000 times in the first week of its release.

[IBM Lotus Symphony download]

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Related:
Download - Open Office 2.3.0 and Winamp 5.50 Beta
posted by Vijeesh Ravindran, Friday, October 12, 2007
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Avoid Windows Start Menu from Closing Automatically after clicking an item

The Windows XP Start Menu has a default behaviour of closing automatically when a menu item is clicked. This default behaviour can get very annoying when we want to open more than one program from the start menu.

Let's say we want to open Calculator and MS Paint. We navigate to Start >> All Programs >> Accessories, and click on Calculator to open it.
The problem is, when we click on the Calculator menu item, the entire menu closes. Now to open Paint, we'll have to navigate from the Start button again.

Wouldn't it be much better if the start menu does not close in the first place? In my opinion, it will be obviously less annoying if the start menu persists after an item is clicked.
And the solution for that is very simple.

Solution: (Note - I have tested this on Windows XP only)
When clicking a menu item just press and hold the SHIFT key. That is the trick. To test it, go to Start >> All Programs >> Accessories, press & hold the SHIFT key and click Calculator.
The menu does not disappear and the Calculator program opens in the background.
Now you can proceed to click other items without the need to start again from scratch.

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Related:
Remove name from Windows XP Start menu
Windows XP - Disable highlighting of newly installed programs
Windows Vista - Disable highlighting of newly installed programs
Remove Recent documents from Windows Start menu
Using 'No to All' in Windows
posted by Vijeesh Ravindran, Thursday, October 11, 2007
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Back from my trip; And Tech Xpress completes 1 year

Yup! I'm back from my trip and it was great..No computers for 10 days, no TV, just some good relaxation, good food in the rains at my ancestral home.
In the meantime, Tech Xpress completed 1 year last week. One whole year! And I Thank You, my reader, for visiting Tech Xpress and motivating me to keep this site alive.
Updates will be coming soon..

Enjoy Reading..
posted by Vijeesh Ravindran, Thursday, October 11, 2007
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