Nexus 5 Unboxing

The Nexus 5 is here. One of the most anticipated phones of the year. Some of its specs and a quick unboxing below.

Android 4.4 KitKat
Snapdragon 800, 2.26GHz processor
2GB RAM
Dual-band Wi-Fi (2.4G/5G)
2G/3G/4G LTE
69.17 x 137.84 x 8.59 mm
4.59 ounces (130g)
4.95” 1920×1080 display (445 ppi)
1.3MP front facing camera
8MP rear facing camera with Optical Image Stabilization
2300 mAh battery

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Freeware Calendar: Desktop iCalendar Lite

Desktop iCalendar Lite (Version: 1.9.6.1) is a small calendar and to do program that sits on the desktop. Its lite version features to do and event lists besides its configurable calendar. It supports multiple calendars so one can have public holidays, personal calendar (including iCalendar support) and public google calendar displayed together.

Desktop iCalendar Lite

Using the plus buttons – visible when hovering over their respective windows or sections –  one can add events and to do items. Events can have summary, description, date range, category (icon), alarm and recurrence. To do items can have summary, description, start and due dates, category and reminder. Calendar days with events are shown in a different color. Hovering over a day with an event offers a tool tip style summary of the event and clicking on a day with one shows the text associated with the event inside the events docked window.

Several themes are available. Font, color, background and transparency of each can be configured to make it more individual. The to do and events windows can be turned off in the program’s settings.

Desktop iCalendar Lite should run on Windows XP and newer. Note that while testing it I noticed that it was trying to sync – the tray icon would change – when there shouldn’t be anything to sync with. Using the tray icon menu —> Calendars I turned off all calendars except the local one created for testing but it seemed to try to want to sync.

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Backstit.ch: All New Start Page

Backstit.ch – in beta – is a personal start page site with a clean interface that may be a good option for those who will miss the soon to be retired iGoogle or those using My Yahoo and others. At least based on initial and first impressions Backstit.ch is different from the usual and familiar start page. The potential for a cluttered look seems less likely with Backstit.ch where the pages seem cleaner.

Backstit.ch

Backstit.ch also makes it easy to view more than just news sources or rss feeds by adding a social aspect with twitter streams, facebook timelines and others that at this (beta) period includes Instagram, Linkedin, App.net, tumblr, Readabilitiy and Instapaper.

Creating a page starts by using the Catalog. The Catalog has a ready made collection available for one click additions. These are divided into featured and other categories like news and travel. The available selection includes TechCrunch, Tanga Deals, CNN and others including more specific social feeds like ‘Photos shared on Facebook’ and ‘Popular photos on Instagram’.

Backstit.ch

If a site is not featured or available click on the feed search link and then type the site name – not the full url! – to find and add a site to your start page.

With Backstit.ch the start page where everything exists is called Patterns. A ‘See all’ button on the top right of each item is like a maximizer for that feed or item. The Threads page on the other hand displays everything in its category – news, social and others – by date and time instead of by site.

The cleanest and perhaps most useful part of Backstit.ch is that when an item is clicked the full version of the article is presented on its own on a clean and no frills page.

Backstit.ch has potential because it is feels different and focuses on reading and viewing more than anything else.

I first learnt about Backstit.ch from this ghacks post and got a prompt reply from its cofounder (Jordan) when I encountered an error adding a twitter feed. In the second screenshot the facebook feed has failed to load but I am confident this will be addressed as Backstit.ch works its way through the beta period.

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GDocsDrive: Google On Your Desktop … Giveaway!

The giveaway has now ended, thanks to those who participated and The Cloud Drive Team for providing giveaway licenses.
GDocsDrive is a program that lets you manage your google documents straight from the desktop, essentially acting as a disk drive but one that is in the cloud.
Google’s office suite, the alternative to Microsoft Office, offers a way to create documents, presentations, spreadsheets and more. To use these office programs online you can log in and start working on new documents or import or upload existing documents, however GDocsDrive gives you the chance to do more. Unlike google docs GDocsDrive lets you upload folders, instead of individual documents, to google docs.
It also supports google docs’ other features but perhaps easier through your desktop, these include sharing document(s) with others, by entering their email address(es), or making the document(s) public. It is possible to convert files to other formats and to search them from within GDocsDrive itself. Perhaps most importantly GDocsDrive is an easy way to back up files and let google store them or back them up for you.
The Cloud Drive Team, the people behind GDocsDrive, have offered several licence keys for GDocsDrive, which you can win by commenting below!

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Green Tech: Google’s PowerMeter and Cisco’s EnergyWise

Reducing power usage and consumption is one of the best, easiest and immediate measures we can take while politicians wrangle through their greedy needs. Two large corporations that, along with IBM, have set up internal goals and business models based on selling and promoting green products are Google and Cisco. Two tools released by the aforementioned that have the power (pun intended?) to affect everyday electricity usage both at home and at work are Google’s PowerMeter and Cisco’s EnergyWise.

Google’s PowerMeter is a tool that Google has released free and made available to consumers in partnership with power utilities and government agencies. It provides probably the most useful way to monitor electricity usage. By giving access to and showing near real time stats on electricity usage it can help any body get a picture on when and how much power he or she is consuming at home and to help him or her plan and manage usage with a better understanding of what uses more and what uses less power. Google has a few partners lined up and more jurisdictions and local power producers will follow sooner or later. For this to work a local utility must install smart meters and also get on board with google.

Cisco’s EnergyWise is a set of tools that Cisco has integrated into its catalyst switches and routers with the aim of better monitoring their power usage and then managing their consumption and even turning them off when idle. This tool can manage, via set policies that include such criteria as device priority and location, other compatible devices (IP phones, PCs, etc.) on the network as well and using a new domain naming system to gather information on all those devices. All the information gathered can then create a bigger picture for analysis over time. It is an open architecture that enables other devices, built by others, to hook into it and make it more widely usable.

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Google Fast Flip: Speedy News Browsing

fastflip

Google fast flip is a service from google labs that aims to make news browsing a faster experience. A selection of websites are displayed in categories such as Recent and Most Viewed. There is also further categorization by topic – such as Sports and by single source – where one can view several thumbnails from the same site.
Clicking on a news source increases the size of the chosen news and loads it on its own page. Here one can click to share the news, rate it as ‘like’ or to navigate to the actual web site it is taken from. When on the individual news page it is also possible to see more thumbnails by loading the sliding menu on the left hand side.
The disadvantage of this service is that since the pages are smaller than their actual size and are rendered in *.png format the fast flip page may not be as readable or as fast and the news is not searchable. Having said that Google fast flip along with the likes of newsmap, newseum and rayogram provide means to satisfy news junkies in a more visual set up.

Edited to add: I somehow forgot to add one of the best ways to get a visual view of all the latest news and that is newser. Similarly thephotostream and 10×10 are worth a look as well.

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JetPhoto Lets You Manage Your Images

JetPhoto Studio is described by its author as

JetPhoto Studio is a feature-rich and easy-to-use digital photo software

With JetPhoto it is possible to organize photos into albums, and to archive and back them up as well. One can browse collections or albums in the usual thumbnail mode where not only it is also possible to add notes or tags to individual images or collections of images but it is also possible to star or favorite selected ones, view them by date either utilizing the file creation/modification information or EXIF details. Double clicking on individual photos takes the user to an (almost) full screen mode with some of the expected effects and tools included. Images can be made into a wallpaper or a screensaver, sepia effect can be added, the image can be cropped and watermark added just to mention a few.


JetPhoto

One of the negatives of the concept of JetPhoto is that when it creates its albums it actually copies or replicates the photos. Perhaps it is possible to choose the album location (prompted when first creating it) to be in the same, originating folder that your images reside in but I did not test that possibility. Another unexpected behaviour or bug is that the magnifier did not always work in my usage, the icon did change to a magnifying glass one when the image was loaded into the full screen mode but actions -clicking and holding the mouse- had very little or no effect on the portion of the image the focus was on and even then that depended on the actual image size. A look at the program’s features pages explains

You can place your mouse pointer on an interesting part of a photo, press and hold the mouse button to reveal a magnifier which magnifies the image with actual pixels at full size of the original photo.

so perhaps this is not actually a full blown magnifier in the true sense of the word or is it?

JetPhoto makes it easy to search an album or across albums and besides the normal search criteria there are possibilities of searching photos by location if the photos have that info attached to them. To do that JetPhoto can connect to a map server to allow the geotagging of photos or to connect to google maps and generate KML or KMZ files for use with Google Earth.

JetPhoto adds a few attractive output options (see image) but some are either crippled by bearing the JetPhoto text in one frame (in the web flash gallery for example) and/or limits on the number of times they can be used to create an output. A PhotoJet server can be setup to store images online on any webspace using the program itself as a management interface. This is available as a sort of alternative to flickr, which the program itself also supports. JetPhoto runs on Windows 2000, Windows XP and Vista. A Mac OS X version is also available.

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A Thought On Google Analytics

Being a rather late user or adapter of Google Analytics I was amused to find the following question and answer while searching and reading the help section of Google Analytics

Is there a report that displays IP addresses?

Due to user privacy concerns, Google Analytics doesn’t report on personally identifiable information, including a visitor’s IP address. Instead, Google Analytics provides aggregated data to help you make informed business decisions. You can view the Map Overlay report (under the Visitors section) to look at aggregated geographical data about your visitors, or view the Network Location report (under Visitors > Network Properties) to see your visitors’ ISP locations.

It is extremely odd that a search engine which undoubtedly collects quite a bit of information from its search (and other services) users decides to withhold information in this manner in the name of privacy. There are 100s of visitor statistics scripts that allow the user to classify and view site visitors sorted by IP. It is baffling to call all those privacy invaders. It is perhaps even more puzzling to assume that if any Google Analytics user sees something like “125.12.12.12” he or she can or will somehow use that for something other than being a good webmaster.

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