Friday, December 14, 2012

Sony Vaio Duo 11 review

Sony's first attempt at a laptop-tablet convertible

Product Sony Vaio Duo 11
Website Sony Europe
Specifications Intel Core I5 or I7 CPU, up to 8GB RAM, 1920x1080 11.6in capacitive touchscreen, integrated Intel HD 4000 graphics, 128GB or 256GB SSD storage, 802.11a/b/g/n WiFi, Bluetooth 4.0, 1x USB 3.0, 1x USB 3.0 with USB charge, VGA out, HDMI out, Memory Stick Duo and SD memory card combined slot, one front-facing and one rear-facing webcam, Windows 8 Professional, 320x199x18mm, 1.3kg
Price £849

THE VAIO DUO 11 is Sony's first attempt at luring those in the market for both a laptop and a tablet to save money and buy a device that is both.

Unveiled at the IFA electronics expo in Berlin back in August, the Vaio Duo 11 runs Windows 8 and transforms from a tablet to a laptop via an HD display that slides up in what Sony calls a "Slide Surfer" style to reveal a full size QWERTY keyboard hidden underneath.

Sony Vaio Duo 11 laptop tablet hybrid tablet
Sony Vaio Duo 11

The Sony Vaio Duo 11's most obvious selling point is that it is a hybrid device that has two different modes: laptop and tablet. When in tablet mode, this transformation is achieved by supporting the back of the lid with one hand while pushing the front of it backwards so that it pops up via a hinge, exposing a keyboard and mouse track button underneath.

Sony Vaio Duo 11 laptop tablet hybrid hinge
Sony Vaio Duo 11

Going from one to the other isn't the easiest transition we've experienced on a hybrid device, nor is it the smoothest. Your first try with the Duo 11 certainly won't be the last attempt before the display lifts up. Unless you're completely used to and have developed the knack for opening it correctly, it's going to take a few attempts before getting it right first time. We think Sony should have spent more time developing a less fiddly sliding mechanism that is easier to operate, such as a slide button for instance, so that you don't have to use both hands to open it up. However, this might just take some getting used to.

The mechanism used on the sliding action also doesn't feel as sturdy as we would like when moving from tablet to laptop mode, and this worries us a little.

Design and build
Aside from the weak feeling slide mechanism, the Vaio Duo 11 is nicely finished and projects a premium but minimalist style. Its all-black chassis has a high gloss shine to it, with sharp edges that make it look stylish and worth the £850 it costs.

Sony Vaio Duo 11 laptop tablet hybrid side
Sony Vaio Duo 11 laptop tablet

Weighing 1.3kg, it's heavy enough to feel expensive while not feeling too heavy to carry around in a bag. Measuring 320x199x18mm, it does feel a little chunky when in tablet mode, which is a shame, and if it was just a few millimetres thinner it would feel better to use.

KeyboardThe keyboard is perhaps our least favourite aspect of the Vaio Duo 11. This is because there is no track pad. When typing we found our fingers naturally wanted to move to a track pad due to the location of the mouse buttons. The mouse button is irritating to use and doesn't provide an enjoyable experience.
Sony Vaio Duo 11 laptop tablet hybrid keyboard overview
Sony Vaio Duo 11 laptop tablet

Seated and using the Vaio Duo 11 at a desk, it can also feel a little restrictive, as the small keyboard doesn't offer space for your hands to do the usual swift movements on a larger sized keyboard. However, those looking to use it for long periods of time at a desk can always invest in a full size portable USB keyboard and mouse to accompany it.
Sony Vaio Duo 11 laptop tablet hybrid keyboard
Sony Vaio Duo 11 laptop tablet

Though it looks and feels well built, it's fair to say the keys are a little too far apart and also quite small, meaning you can miss certain letters occasionally while typing. We can't help but think that Sony could have made the Vaio Duo 11 keys bigger and thus closer together to improve typing accuracy.

One of our favourite features of the Vaio Duo 11 is its touchscreen display. This is due to its Opticontrast panel, which means it has a special resin layer that Sony says helps to absorb any diffused light delivered from the backlight for high contrast and natural colours. The 11in display panel also reduces glare from light sources, with little light reflected when in use.

Sony Vaio Duo 11 laptop tablet hybrid overview
Sony Vaio Duo 11 laptop tablet

The Vaio Duo 11's screen resolution is set at 1920x1080 and though it provides brilliant viewing for movies, for general use it feels a little too high for its 11in screen. Text appears tiny so if your eyes aren't great, it's probably worth changing it to 1600x900. However, it is worth noting that the screen doesn't seem as crisp overall at this setting. 

The Vaio Duo 11's built-in accelerometer, which ensures that the screen display rotates to whatever viewing angle you are holding the device, is not as responsive as in other tablet/hybrid devices we've seen, such as the Lenovo Ideapad Yoga 13. It takes a while to turn around from one position to the other and you sometimes have to go out of your way and lean it forward for it to come back to a horizontal view.
Sony Vaio Duo 11 laptop tablet hybrid connections
Sony Vaio Duo 11 laptop tablet

One other downside to the screen is that it attracts smudge prints a little too easily. Though this is expected with all touchscreen devices, in our tests we felt it showed them up a little more than other screens on the market, which made it look rather greasy. This isn't really an issue when the screen brightness is turned up, however.

Performance and OS
Running the Windows 8 operating system, the Vaio Duo 11 is powered by a choice of Intel Core I5 or Core I7 processors and up to 8GB of RAM. It costs £849 for the most basic Core I5, 2GB model, with prices jumping up by £320 for a Core I7 processor, and another £30 for 4GB of RAM, or £100 extra for 8GB. Windows 8 Professional is also available for an extra £40.

Our review model was an 8GB Core I7 processor model and scored a Windows Performance Index score of 5.6. The score is determined by the lowest sub-score, in this case desktop graphics performance, and not an average result of the performance of components.
The sony vaio duo 11 performed pretty well in the windows index score
sony vaio duo 11

Though the score was pulled down by the Vaio Duo 11's Integrated Intel HD 4000 graphics power, all other results scored much better, with processor calculations per second scoring 7.1 out of 9.9, disk data transfer gaining a 8.1 score and RAM operations per second earning a score of 7.9.

Unless you're using the Vaio Duo 11 for gaming on high graphic settings - which the device hasn't been built for anyway - you're not going to notice much lag, as in our tests both touchscreen and non-touchscreen operations seemed fluid, with the Vaio Duo 11 responding very quickly to commands. As an ultrabook convertible device, we found it will perform all your daily needs effortlessly. However, we tested a more powerful configuration of the Vaio Duo 11, so cheaper options might not perform as well as our test model did.

Overall, the Vaio Duo 11 handled the Windows 8 OS very well, with very little lag when swiping between pages, and programs popping up almost as soon as we selected them. However, after installing a good number of applications and storing a sufficient amount of data, we can imagine it will slow a bit.

Connectivity, storage and battery life
In terms of battery life, we thought the Vaio Duo 11 performed pretty well. When starting on full charge at 11am, it ran out of power at 5:30pm, and that was while in continual use performing general tasks. This included watching movies and web browsing without letting the screen turn off or go into sleep mode.

Sony Vaio Duo 11 laptop tablet hybrid back power
Sony Vaio Duo 11 laptop tablet

There's also a variety of connectivity options available on the Vaio Duo 11, which is unusual for such a portable device. There's your standard 802.11a/b/g/n WiFi, Bluetooth 4.0 alongside one USB 3.0 slot and one USB 3.0 slot with USB charge so that devices can be charged even when the device is turned off. There's also a VGA out, HDMI out, and a Memory Stick Duo and SD card combined port. There's even a dedicated Ethernet port for those who rely on a wired internet connection.

The Vaio Duo 11 comes with either a 128GB or 256GB SSD drive to store all your data. Prices reflect these accordingly, with the larger of the two storage options costing an extra £180 on top of the £849 starting price.

In Short
The Vaio Duo 11 looks better on paper than when you test it for yourself and use it in real life situations. In tablet mode it will probably be a little too bulky for most people, and the hinge doesn't feel as strong as it should when sliding it into laptop mode.

As a notebook, however, it does perform really well, and the HD screen is high quality, and very clear and enjoyable to use with Windows 8. The small keyboard is a big factor here though, but if you can live without a trackpad, you will most probably just get used to its more compact design. But for £849 for the least powerful configuration, we think it is a little too expensive for what you get.
The Good
Vibrant display, portable, well built.

The Bad
No track pad, a little chunky, not great as a tablet.

The Ugly
Weak feeling sliding mechanism makes it difficult to operate.

Bartender's Score

Friday, December 7, 2012

iPad mini vs. Nexus 7: The debate

iPad Mini vs. Nexus 7
iPad Mini vs. Nexus 7

The iPad mini and the Google Nexus 7 aren’t the only 7-inch tablets on the market, but right now they’re the two that matter most: More buyers will be looking at those two models this holiday season than at any others, by a fair margin.

It’s hard—perhaps impossible—to compare them objectively; you can’t just compare the specs. You have to use them to truly appreciate their differences. That's why we asked Cool-Technology senior editor Chris Baron and Michael Patterson to have a little debate over the relative merits of Apple’s and Google’s little tablets. Both editors have used both of the tablets, and both experts have definite opinions about what’s good and not so good about them. Here’s how their conversation went.

The screen

Chris Baron: Reading is one of the primary reasons I use a tablet this size, and to me the iPad mini’s wider display area—4.75 inches versus the Nexus 7’s 3.75 inches—makes it a more pleasurable device for that. In both portrait and landscape orientations, pages feel more natural and readable. The Nexus 7’s display seems too narrow, as if I’m reading a tall and skinny page. For reading in landscape mode, pages feel too wide and squashed from top to bottom.

Michael Patterson: I appreciate the extra width of a larger screen too, but only for some specific uses—games with navigation controls overlaid on top of the action, for example. I actually don’t find it better for reading: It feels as if the page is too wide for books at an average font size. However, for large print, the iPad mini’s extra screen space comes in handy.
CB: Although I like the size of the iPad mini’s display, I have a hard time acclimating to its resolution, most likely because of my experience with the Retina display on the third-generation iPad. Pixels are evident in all text-based apps—small text in Web browsers is particularly annoying. My eyes get weary reading books on the thing because of the roughness of the text. Pixel-doubled apps look just awful. However, apps written for Retina displays and larger iPads—particularly games—can look pretty good. Photos and videos look quite nice on it, too. And here again, the wider screen makes that media feel less confined.

MP: In today’s market, I’d expect to find a relatively low-res screen like the iPad mini’s on a tablet that’s priced a lot lower—not on a major product from Apple. The market has evolved, and high pixel density—which Apple itself pioneered with the third-generation iPad—is now the norm. After using a display with higher pixel density on my phone for more than two years, I’m not willing to go backward and see all of those pixels on a tablet. The reason is simple: I spend a lot of time looking at my tablet’s display.
So there’s no getting around the fact that the iPad mini’s 163-pixels-per-inch resolution is not only paltry, it’s not even close to being competitive. The Nexus 7’s screen is 216 ppi; that’s not even the highest in this size class, but it is far superior to the iPad mini’s display.

Dimensions and weight

CB: The Nexus 7 is easier to hold than the iPad mini if you like to wrap your hand around your device. That’s because, again, it’s narrower than the iPad mini. If, however, you tend to hold the tablet by its edge, the iPad mini is (I find) a more comfortable device to hold, because it’s lighter. If I switch between the two, the Nexus 7 feels heavier—and, at 0.75 pound compared to the mini’s 0.68 pound, it is heavier.

MP: No question that the Nexus 7 is heavier; lighter tablets such as the iPad mini (and Barnes & Noble’s Nook HD) are friendlier to hold one-handed for long reading sessions. That said, I think the Nexus 7’s weight is still acceptable for such sessions.


CB: If you’re looking for the greatest possible capacity, the iPad mini has it at 64GB of storage; the Nexus 7 tops out at 32GB.

MP: The bigger question is whether you’ll want to spend $529 on an iPad mini to get that much storage.
It’s true that the Nexus 7 tops out at 32GB. And unlike most other Android tablets, the Nexus 7 has no MicroSD expansion slot, so you can’t add storage. But I will say that—like all Android tablets— the Nexus makes managing that storage space easy: Because your computer sees it as a mass storage device, you can just drag and drop content over to the tablet. (If you’re using a Mac, you’ll need to download the Android File Transfer application to access the Nexus’s storage, which doesn’t appear on the Mac’s desktop.) The iPad mini still relies primarily on iTunes to transfer content locally, as opposed to accessing it through the cloud, so I find the Nexus 7 easier to use.


CB: The front-facing cameras on the two tablets are both 1.2 megapixels. The rear-facing camera on the Nexus 7 is…well, missing.

MP: Yup, the rear-facing camera is missing. And that is an annoying omission, although at the moment most 7-inch tablet competitors (Amazon, Barnes & Noble) lack that feature, too. The reality is that it should be present—for use with bar-code scanning, if nothing else.


CB: I’m not sure either of these devices is something you’d want to type a novel on. The iPad mini gives you a bit more room. And I make more mistakes on the Nexus keyboard, although that could be because I’m more accustomed to the iPad’s keyboard. Both tablets support Bluetooth keyboards, so you can ditch the on-screen one altogether.

MP: For me, the Nexus 7 and Android get the nod here; I find the keyboard better designed and organized than the one on iOS. I agree that you’re not necessarily going to type a lot on a small tablet, but that doesn’t mean you don’t want the most functional keyboard you can get. And if you’d prefer another layout or keyboard design, there’s an app for that: You can buy a replacement keyboard, such as SwiftKey, for just a few bucks in the Google Play store.

Controls and ports

CB: I often pick up the Nexus and can’t tell which way is up. Partly that’s because feeling for the on/off and volume buttons is difficult. The lack of a Home button on the bottom throws me. A Home button makes sense, but the Back button’s behavior seems inconsistent. I expect a Back button to be restricted to the app I’m currently working with; in this case, I tap Back and suddenly find myself in an app I was using a couple of hours ago.

MP: The Nexus 7 may lack a Home button, but it does have a Micro-USB port at the bottom, so I think it’s pretty clear which side is up. I’ve never had an issue with the power and volume buttons’ locations: They are clearly located along the upper-right edge, and have a solid, distinctive design (unlike the flat, annoying buttons on the Amazon Kindle Fire HD).
CB: Hmmmm...I think that’s a stretch. That tiny port isn’t obvious to the touch, at least not as clearly obvious as an iOS device’s Home button. On the other hand, I think the universal nature of the Nexus 7’s USB port is a good thing. It means that you don’t have to purchase expensive connectors and cables if the one included in the box won’t do. However, Apple’s new Lightning connector is more flexible. With the Nexus 7 you can’t do wired video-out (with or without an adapter), for example, and there’s no HDMI-out, either.

MP: I echo that. Micro-USB is heaven-sent. Having Micro-USB means that you don’t have to give up universality—just grab a cable and go. I’m surprised that the iPad mini has no native HDMI-out; even the inexpensive Amazon Kindle Fire HD 8.9 has that (though you can add HDMI-output capability to an iPad mini with Apple's $49 adapter).

The software environment

CB: Here’s where the iPad totally rules the roost. Google is trying with Google Play, but a lot of Android apps I’ve looked at are pretty subpar. I’ve yet to find an Android Twitter client that gets anywhere near Tweetbot. The built-in ebook reader is okay, but you can’t sideload ePub files from your Mac and read them on the Nexus; you have to download those files from within the app. I found the ePub-compatible ebook readers for Android that I’ve tried (Moon Reader and Aldiko) to be clumsy.

Apple’s head start in the app arena continues to show. Additionally, some of Apple’s apps—GarageBand and iPhoto in particular—are remarkable. (The iWork apps are pretty good, too.) Google has done really well with information-specific apps that use Google’s services, but in terms of “creation” versus “consumption,” the iPad wins.

The Nexus’s interface seems goofy to me. For example, I’m working on what I believe should be my home screen. I shut down the device and restart it. Now I’m on a different home screen, one that’s cluttered with huge images. When I swipe to the left, Google is pushing recommendations at me. Leave me alone. Let me see a predictable home screen.

And moving files around seems clumsier than with iOS. Apple was on to something when it hid the file system from users. File management is clumsy enough with a mouse, but nested folders on a touch device seems like a step backward. Mostly it doesn’t seem to be through-composed—that there’s no single thought about how users will interact with the thing but rather gimmicks piled on top of a hierarchical file structure. Again, it may be because I’m used to the iTunes/iOS device ecosystem, but the Nexus and Android don’t seem to be as thoroughly cemented.

MP: It’s true to say that Apple’s tablet ecosystem has a wider app selection—and in many cases, better apps, though both sides have a fair amount of garbage in their respective app stores. The trick is finding apps on Android that aren’t just blown up from the phone to the tablet. Find those, however, and you’ll discover many apps that provide a high-quality, satisfying experience.
Google’s own moviemaking app is a work in progress, but it’s a step in the right direction. And in my experience Google’s own Gallery app—with built-in editing, the ability to move files around, and a view of your image’s metadata—is infinitely better and more functional than the Photos app in iOS. Google at least has a straightforward file system, something Apple lacks, and that makes using and manipulating files far easier.

Pricing and value

CB: At $249 for the 32GB Wi-Fi model and $299 for the same model with cellular connectivity (compared with the iPad mini, at $429 and $559 respectively for the 32GB models), the Nexus 7 wins on price. But you make some sacrifices: no rear-facing camera, no LTE, no video-out, a smaller display than on the iPad mini.

MP: I agree, I think the Nexus 7 is the far better value. The difference is still quite clearly in favor of the Nexus 7 when you consider the 16GB models: $199 for the Nexus 7, versus $329 for the iPad mini.

The bottom line

CB: I have both a Nexus 7 and an iPad mini. I pick up the Nexus more often than the mini when I want to read, despite the more confining screen, because I find its display easier on my eyes. For everything else, it’s the iPad mini, largely because it just makes sense, from hardware to software. If the mini had a Retina display, the Nexus would be relegated to the sock drawer.

MP: I find it impossible to recommend the iPad mini, except for two sets of shoppers: people who want an iPad because of the brand’s cachet or those who want one because they’re already committed to the Apple ecosystem, and in both cases want the least-expensive model they can buy.
Otherwise, to me the Nexus 7 is superior to the iPad mini. Its display is better, I can find most of the apps I want or need on Android, and I prefer the open flexibility of the Android ecosystem.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Best laptops available today

Potent portables

Portable Laptop
Portable Laptop

The laptop can be the most used gadget in a person’s tech repertoire. This article for example, is being written on one. There is never a dull moment with a decent laptop. But we aren’t interested in decent, we want the greatest.

This article is all about the Luke Skywalkers of the laptop world. This hardware is the latest and greatest that Cool-Technology has come across. We will be updating this list as soon as something better comes along. The rules are simply that we have to have seen them, either in a review, waiting to be reviewed or as a hands-on.

Best tablet/laptop combo

Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga
Windows 8 ushered in the age of the weird laptop design. Decent touch capabilities mean that laptops like the Lenovo Yoga have come into existence. Don’t confuse its backflipping and shape-shifting with a weird gimmick though, as it is genuinely helpful.
Lenovo IdeaPad
Lenovo IdeaPad

The Yoga can be flipped over so it is just a large 13-inch tablet, or the keyboard can be used to make it stand. It can also be used just as a standard laptop would be, but with the added bonus of a touch screen. Throw in a nice selection of colors to choose from and you have a handy, if unusual, laptop package.

Best laptop when out and about

11-inch MacBook Air
The 11-inch MacBook Air weighs 1.08Kg. For a laptop that weighs about the same as a bag of sugar, this is a fully functioning machine. You get all the bells and whistles Mac OS X offers and thanks to Intel’s increasing portable and powerful processors, enough grunt to get through the working day.
MacBoom Air
MacBoom Air
The 11-inch MacBook Air went down an absolute storm at the Cool-Technology offices. This was in part due to just how sturdily put together it is, a big bonus if you are planning on lugging one around in a backpack or briefcase. Really though, Apple has been putting polish on this formula for a while now and as a portable, we find it tough to fault.

Best laptop for gaming

Alienware M17x R4
Nvidia’s mobile graphics cards are now so powerful that the right machine can rival the kind of gaming power a desktop manages. The Alienware is that machine. Specced out with a GTX 680m, you will not find any problems trying to run anything currently available maxed out.
Alienware M17xR4
Alienware M17xR4

The M17’s build quality is also top notch, although its size means it does stretch the definition of the term portable somewhat. We especially like the disco dance floor style keyboard, which has been illuminating our faces in many a dark and dingy gaming session for some time now.

Best laptop for photography

Apple 15-inch MacBook Pro with Retina Display
Apple’s 15-inch Macbook Pro with Retina Display is hugely expensive. This is a laptop that only those after something really special should consider. For a photographer though, there really can’t be any other.
15-inch MacBook Pro
15-inch MacBook Pro

The Macbook Pro’s trump card is pretty simple; it has a display with a resolution of 2880 x 1800. This translates to a pixel density of 220 ppi. For a photographer, this kind of resolution means images display much closer to their native resolution. It means you get more detail at a glance and sharper images to work with when zoomed in.

Best laptop for music

HP Envy 14 Spectre
HP’s Envy 14 ships with Beats Audio thrown in. This means you get far more audio grunt than you find on a normal laptop. Bass is also bulked out a lot more, so no tinny sounding tracks.
HP Envy 14 Spectre
HP Envy 14 Spectre

The Spectre 14 doesn’t stop at just beefed up speakers though. A hardware button which acts like a shortcut to the Beats control panel will let you tweak audio like a proper EQ. Then there is a hardare volume scroll and even a dedicated mute button, all things you don’t often see on laptops now, but all great for music fans.

Best budget alternative laptop

Samsung Series 5  Chromebook
A budget laptop is a difficult choice. There are a lot of bargains to be had on websites like eBay and Gumtree, hence why we have gone for something alternative here, should you fancy doing it differently.
Samsung Series 5  Chromebook
Samsung Series 5  Chromebook
Samsung’s Chromebook is the best of what has been a fairly difficult bunch. Chrome OS itself is now a far more complex and featured piece of kit and the laptop can now be had for less than £300 if you look hard enough.

Best laptop for movies

Asus Zenbook Prime UX31A
Asus’s Zenbook Prime is a bit of a movie watching machine. First on the checklist is that top quality Full HD 1080p IPS screen, which is going to make for the best possible movie watching experience.
Asus Zenbook Prime UX31A
Asus Zenbook Prime UX31A

On top of that though, is a set of Bang and Olufsen designed ICE Power speakers, which will mean you get enough audio grunt to go along with your movies. Asus also hasn’t scrimped on the design front, with the ZenBook Prime being one of our favourite looking laptops available right now.

Best luxury laptop

Munk Bogballe Emerald
If money is no object then there are a few laptops which spring to mind. The top of the line Retina Display MacBook Pro is definitely one of them. However for a really pricey alternative there can only be one victor.
Munk Bogballe Emerald Display MacBook Pro
Munk Bogballe Emerald Display MacBook Pro

The Munk Bogballe Emerald trashes the MacBook in the price department. With a starting price of €5800, the Emerald is easily one of the most expensive laptops we have come across. Why exactly? Because the whole thing is tailor made exactly to your specifications. Calf leather and oil treated mahogany are among some of the materials used to create this incredibly premium piece of kit.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

How to clear recent documents in Fedora 15 or 16?

Fedora Operating System
Fedora Operating System

Linux/Unix is great. It gives us freedom to enjoy all that is free. Yes, but with such freedom there can be headaches and complexities. Like, for instance, simple task such as clearing your recent documents or websites that you visited can be a taunting task on Fedora. However, it is not. I will show you how in this post, "How to clear recent documents in Fedora 15 or 16?"

First, if you are like me who sometimes tend to visit websites or watched "Girls Gone Wild" videos not approved by your wife on your computer, then obviously you wouldn't want anyone to find out especially your nosy wife (LOL).

Girls gone Wild
Girls gone Wild
Because Fedora saves all that you viewed and websites you visited for quick access incase you want to view them again, it would be very easy for others as well to locate these "Recent Items or files." To clear them out, follow the instructions below.

To clear recently visited websites:
Like most of us, if you are using FireFox for surfing the net, then it already has options to prevent it from storing websites you visited in its cache.
  1. Open FireFox program
  2. Go to the menu Edit->Preferences->Privacy Tab
  3. On that tab page, you will see History with pull down option. Click on it and select "Never remember history."
  4. Then, you will also see a link, "Clear all current history." Click on it and a small window will open.
  5. At the very top of that window, you will see a "Time Range to clear:" pull down option. Select "Everything" and click "Clear Now" button in the bottom. Once it completes, it will close and take you back to the previous window, "Privacy tab."
  6. On the Privacy tab, you will also see "Location bar (When using location bar, suggest):" with pull down options. Set it to "Nothing."
  7. Now, Firefox also comes with one more options that you may like. FireFox has "Start Private Browsing" option under Tools menu. Once you set it, nothing will be saved in its cache.
  8. Now you are done.
Now, no matter what you do on your firefox browser, nothing will be saved or shown on the location bar or anywhere revealing your past surfing history.

To clear your recent files, documents or items:
You can do this one of two ways - manually or automatically.

  1. Open your terminal program and execute the following command as you see it below.
    1.  rm ~/.local/share/recently-used.xbel
  2. Once again on your terminal program, execute the following command as you see it below.
    1.   mkdir ~/.local/share/recently-used.xbel
  3.  Then, you are done.

To be able to do the same automatically at certain time interval, you are going to need a program. In this case, the program I use to run tasks on Fedora is called Genome-Schedule. Genome-Schedule lets you execute commands and/or run programs at selected time interval, which can come in handy for situation like this.


First, you need to install Genome-Schedule if you don't have it already. To install, run the following command on your terminal - sudo yum install gnome-schedule.

After it installs, you need to create a script using the above mentioned commands. 
  1. Open gedit and enter these commands one per line.
    1. rm ~/.local/share/recently-used.xbel
    2. mkdir ~/.local/share/recently-used.xbel
  2. Give it whatever name you want and save it as a script file by adding .sh as its extension. sh extension means that it is a script file.
  3. Then, open your Genome-Schedule and create a new task to run by clicking on the new button.
  4. A window will popup asking you to provide information on your task. Enter them as follows.
    1. Task Name: Whatever you want
    3. Next, select Basic for Time and Date to run. Then from the pull down options, select "Every hours."
    4. Then, click on add button in the bottom of that window and you are done.
  5. Close the main Genome-Schedule window. From now on, your script will be run once an hour cleaning your recent files or documents on your computer
That's it. Now, you can rest assured that no one is going to snoop around 
and find out what naughty things you've been doing on your Fedora system or computer. Enjoy browsing or viewing in comfort. :)

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

iPhone FaceTime over cellular for AT&T now available for some, even without LTE?

iPhone FaceTime
iPhone FaceTime
AT&T's decision to let only its customers on shared and new data plans pick up FaceTime over cellular may have riled some, but at least it's been able to roll-out the functionality earlier than the two-month window suggested in early November. MacRumors' forums are abuzz with word that their iOS devices (mostly on the East Coast) are now able to make FaceTime calls without WiFi. Perhaps more importantly, according to these early reports, you might not have to wield an LTE iDevice to use it, with several non-4G devices running iOS 6 able to stream faces elsewhere. If you're still getting the pop-up of misery (seen above), forum users suggesting switching your phone off and on again.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

No Sound Fedora 16 or 17 with Geforce NVidia Video Card

GeForce Nvidia Video Card with HDMI output
GeForce Nvidia Video Card with HDMI output
One of the things I've noticed since I built my own home theater personal computer (HTPC) is that there are a lot of people who have a great genuine interest in helping others with electronic (hardware or software) issues. The reason we take the time to do that is because it makes us look more smart and intelligent and if you do exactly that on the Internet, you are showcasing your mental power to the world that you are for lack of better term, "Smart." So, what we have a lot of on the Internet today is a lot of "noises" about how to fix this or that or how they were able to work around an issue all in the hope of helping others or for other reasons. Sometimes there are a lot of "noises" about nothing than real information, which can hinder someone's progress in whatever they are doing. It took me months, before I found the information on the Internet I really needed to solve my computer problem. However, I am glad to know that people care about sharing information whether real or something about nothing. In this post, "How to enable sound on HDMI port on Fedora 16?," I hope to provide a real information all in the hope that it will help someone somewhere on this planet.

Since I built my HTPC, I have been running GeeXbox OS, Linux Media Center. It allowed me to play videos on the Internet and watch my favorite movies and TV Shows. Setting up Geexbox was very easy and it worked the first time just the way I wanted it - being able to watch my shows and program all through my video cards' output port HDMI - video and sound. However, I felt GeeXbox was somewhat limited in that you can only watch whatever is available through their Video Add-Ons only and they only had handful of good video add-on. I realized the Internet has to be much bigger than that. So, I decided it is time to test drive a different Linux Operating system or distrobution rather than just media center.

Having used Fedora OS for such a long time on my desktop, I felt I will give it a try first on my HTPC and see if it was any better. So, I downloaded their Fedora 16, latest stable distrobution. Even though Fedora 17 is out, it has its own issues which I think is currently being resolved.

My Fedora 16 OS test went well. I was able to install it successfully on my HTPC and use it like any other operating system, until I tested my hardware - one being High Definition Multimedia Interface (HDMI) output on my video card. Although it was able to send video to my LCD TV, there was no sound of any kind that came through my TV speakers and I know HDMI output is capable of sending video and audio on the same output. So, I spend many days and nights reading, surfing the net for information and trying what people suggested online, but I still couldn't make it work or figure out why I simply can't tell Fedora 16 to send the audio signal to my video card HDMI output port, but I was able to gather information from several websites on "how to enable sound on video card HDMI output?" Finally, after all this time of banging my head against the wall and pulling my hair, I was able to make it work. Hopefully, it will work for you as well.

Here are the steps on "How to enable sound on video card HDMI output on Fedora 16?"

  1. Reboot your system, access your BIOS setting and under audio configuration disable all the audio devices on your motherboard. You really don't have to do this if you don't need to. I did it because it made it easier for me. If you do this step, your other sound devices may not work.
  2. Open your terminal program and execute the following command below. This command will update your whole Fedora system with any available updates. It is always a good idea to be up-to-date before you troubleshoot your system. This may take 5 to 10 minutes to complete.
    1. su yum update
  3. Once completed with the update, reboot your system and execute the following command below on your terminal.
    1. su gedit /etc/default/grub
  4. Your grub file should open up with text editor. Add the following line below in the grub file at the end of the kernel line and save it.
    1. rdblacklist=nouveau vga=0×318
  5. Run the following command just as you see it below on your terminal. Just copy it and paste it into your terminal and run. This will go out and look for the latest binary driver for your Geforce Nvidia Video Card. The reason you need the latest driver for your card is that the generic "nouveau free Xorg" driver that comes with your Fedora OS does not support HDMI output fully at all.
    1. su -c “rpm -Uvh 
  6. After downloading the binary driver, once again you have to update your system as you did before by executing the following command on your terminal as you see it below. This time it shouldn't take no more than a minute or two.
    1. su yum update
  7. For me, the above step is all I need to do to install the Nvidia propitiatory driver. However, I have found out that for some people, you actually have to install a specific driver based on your system. If so do the following.
    1.  For 64bit Users: “su yum install kmod-nvidia xorg-x11-drv-nvidia-libs.i686 xorg-x11-drv-nvidia-libs.x86_64"
      A.) For 32bit Users: “su yum install kmod-nvidia xorg-x11-drv-nvidia-libs.i686
      B.) For 32bit Users using the PAE kernel: “su yum install kmod-nvidia-PAE.i686 xorg-x11-drv-nvidia-libs.i686
  8. Once completed, you probably should reboot your system and then continue on to step 9.
  9. Then, execute "aplay -l" without the quotes on your terminal and it will give you a list of audio devices available. Make a note of the card number and device number you want to use from the list it displays.
  10. Run the following command as you see it below on your terminal. It will open a file with a lots of information in it including audio driver info.
    1. su gedit /etc/pulse/
  11. In the file you just opened, find a section that deals with audio driver. As the last line in the audio section, add the following line as you see it below but with one exception. You will have to replace 1 with your card number and 7 with your device number as you took note from the step 9. Then, save the file and close it.
    1. load-module module-alsa-sink device=hw:1,7
  12. Now, go to your sound settings in your Fedora system and select the audio device you want to use. Plus, you may also want to make sure that everything is enabled and nothing is muted on your alsamixer.
  13. Now, you are done! Just reboot your system.
 *Note: If this doesn’t seem to work for you, in step 4, instead of “rdblacklist=nouveau”, try “nouveau.modeset=0″

These steps worked for me right away. Thanks to everyone who posted self-help information on this perticular problem.

If you are still having problem and can't figure out what is going on or simply want to ask me question, then drop me a line at

UPDATE: This issue in Fedora 16 and/or 17 is fixed in Fedora 19 the latest distribution. However, I found out that once you make the move from Fedora 16 or 17 to 19, you will no longer be able to do the above steps to get your audio working if you want to go back to Fedora 17 or 16. I tried that I couldn't get the audio to work at all. I believe, that's because drivers and kernels or what not in your repository has been updated for Fedora 19. Good Luck.

Thank you for visiting my blog.

Monday, November 12, 2012

How to Increase Google's Crawl Frequency

Google Crawl Bot
I was a part of a much anticipated website redesign and relaunch recently. I fervently monitored post launch metrics, page crawl rate, 404s, indexed pages, and so on as any other anxious SEO professional would do.
While reviewing the pages crawled per day in Google Webmaster Tools, I noticed that out of the gate we had an instant crawl of nearly all site pages.

I passed this on to the client for which I got the quick reply of, “Why is it crawling more pages now than it used to crawl?"

Seeing this reminded me yet again of all the reasons why sound SEO practices on-site can help aid in crawl frequency enhancement.

(Note: Ideal page count is around 500 pages, some duplicate pages were quickly indexed and then roboted.)
Pages crawled per day

Through the redesign, we enacted several SEO elements, which have helped to allow and some instance entice crawling bots to frequent the site more often…and more pages at that. Let's examine how those elements increased Google's crawl frequency.

Why You Should Care About Crawl Frequency

SEO, to many, hinges upon attaining enhanced visibility for highly searched terms as well as referring this traffic to their sites. Taking our blinders off for a moment, there are a few things we have to remember.
We want to rank many pages on a site, not just the homepage. Additionally, we're actively making changes to our sites and we want bots to see this as quickly as possible and as deep within the site as possible.


Redesign/Site Migration or Not, No Excuses

As mentioned above the redesign effort did a good job of lending to the opportunity to enhance crawl frequency as so many good SEO changes were taking place at once. Additionally, so much more new content and refreshed content drives the bots nuts giving them so much more to want to peruse on the site, thanks Google Caffeine!

For many out there, you can’t enjoy the opportunity of creating a full scale redesign, platform change, and SEO overhaul of a site all at once. If this is you, then the list below is a working order of all the standard SEO practices you can work on to improve crawl frequency on your site.


Get ’em on the Site

  • Run a DNS check, Ping and Traceroute check of the site to assess if there are any issues with site pages loading with regard to connectivity or any other server issues. Can the bots even access your pages?
  • Run a page load speed report of your 10 most important pages to review how fast your pages are loading. Crawlers lack patience. Are you asking too much of them?
  • Utilize parameter-free static/clean URLs on the site. Bots have long had issues with parameter crawling. Yes, they can often see their way through these now, but why not make it easier for them to crawl the site?


Hand Them the Keys to the Site

  • Review your robots.txt file as well as your usage of meta robots tags. What pages are holding from them?
  • Have an XML sitemap as well as HTML sitemap.
  • Enlist supplemental navigation on-site (i.e., footer navigation, breadcrumb navigation, and relevant internal linking in copy). Create pathways to make a site easy to crawl.
  • Fix internal links resulting in 404 errors as well as ensuring that external links open in new windows. You don’t want to stop the crawl and you don’t want to usher them away.


Entice & Lure Them

Generate fresh content! This may be the most important point in the checklist.

Give them a reason to feel they should come back on a regular basis. This doesn’t mean you need new content site-wide every month, but it does mean refreshing existing content on a quarterly basis and maintaining site sections – news, blog, etc. –that have continuously added content onto the domain.
Generate links and social citations to your site. This can be a large scale task in itself. Think of it this way: the more links you have out on the web, the greater your chances are of attracting crawling bots. Think of links as portals into your site.


As you can see, there are many components that aid in enhancing your bot crawl frequency and depth of crawl. These are also many of the foundational elements of SEO. This helps to reinforce that crawl frequency, is after all, a very important aspect of SEO itself.

Adhere to these recommendations and you will have a better optimized site and hopefully see an enhanced bot crawl rate.

Nintendo Hopes Its New Wii Will Appeal To U

The new Wii U console could let Nintendo shrug off its casual gamer image and enhance its appeal among core players.

The touchscreen is being used as the primary controller
Handheld device as primary device

The handheld device can be used as the primary controller
Nintendo's Wii U GamePad and console
Nintendo aims to recapture the core gamer market with its new Wii U console

Nintendo is gearing up to launch its new Wii U video games console - and aims to address the shortcomings of the original device.

The Wii U is the first entry in the eighth generation of video game home consoles and delivers HD graphics and a 6.2-inch touchscreen controller.

Nintendo deliberately targeted the casual market with its original Wii.

Game designer and producer Shigero Miyamoto, the man behind the Mario and Zelda games, admitted this decision meant the Wii was not seen as a direct competitor to its Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 rivals.
The Wii had inferior graphics, but the new Wii U pushes the resolution up to 1020p on high definition TVs and monitors which support this display.

But the most radical innovation is the tablet-style controller, an attempt to mix traditional console gaming with the ever-more-popular casual touchscreen gaming of iPads and other tablets.

Wii U GamePad
The Wii U can be used with a big HD screen - and its own inbuilt screen
The controller, which features its own screen, can be used either to enhance the big screen gaming experience or as a standalone handheld device.

"What we're layering on are all types of new unique experiences," said Nintendo of America president Reggie Fils-Aime.

"Sure you'll be able to use the touchpad just from a touch perspective, but there will be a lot more activity that we'll be able to bring.

"For example, this device has near-field communication technology. So that brings a whole new level of interaction and different things that can be done beyond what you can do today with a tablet.
"But really the key part of this is that it's all one integrated system. So what you can do on the big screen and what you can do on the smaller screen.

"It's all connected, versus right now those are very separate experiences that aren't talking to each other."
Over the summer at the Electronic Entertainment Expo in Los Angeles, Nintendo illustrated how New Super Mario Bros. U could be played on either a TV or the touchscreen controller.

Wii U (Nintendo)

The Wii U lets up to five people play together (Nintendo)
The latest instalment in the brick-smashing, coin-collecting franchise lets up to four people play simultaneously with traditional controllers, while another can join in with the touchscreen controller to jab enemies and build platforms.

New Super Mario Bros. U and another title called NintendoLand demonstrate what Nintendo calls "asymmetric gameplay" - where a group of people playing together are having very different play experiences on a single game.

And after taking on board criticism of the original Wii's awkward online system, Nintendo has boosted the new console's connected capabilities.

"The system will know when you're playing with your user account - everything that you've played in the past, what your preferences are," said Mr Fils-Aime.

"So it will truly be an experience unique to you. Versus if your wife or your children want different experiences, they really are tailored for each particular consumer.

The Wii U is scheduled to be released on Saturday in North America, November 30 in Europe and Australia, and December 8 in Japan.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Smart bombs

Smart Bombs for Smart Phones
Smart Bombs for Smart Phones
Vital utilities for work, rest and play - available on the AppStore.

1. KORG iKaossilator (£13.99)
Ever scoffed at Kraftwerk? KORG iKaossilator lets you put your money where your mouth is. Tap the screen to squeeze
loops through filters and effects, mixing over 150 built-in sounds.
Click here to download this app for iPad.
Click here to download this app for iPhone.

2. Cardiio (£2.99)
Your pulse is a key fitness indicator, but can be hard to measure. Cue Cardiio, the new sports tool that monitors your heartbeat by detecting the changing colours of the light reflected off your face via the phone's front camera.
Click here to download this app for iPhone.

3. Fluid Football (Free)
Run your own team, determining big-picture strategy and in-match manoeuvres, with this next-gen football game. Just try to avoid losing six months of your life to it, like you did with Championship Manager all those years ago...
Click here to download this app for iPad.
Click here to download this app for iPhone.

4. Divided Bill Splitter (£0.69)
Indulging in "bistronomics" is an unfitting end to an evening out. This app calculates exactly how much everyone owes, taking into account individual orders, so you'll never suffer the embarrassment of underpaying again.
Click here to download this app for iPhone.

5. Unlike City Guide (Free)
Travel guides are not only a drag to schlep around but they're also quickly out of date. Unlike City Guide recommends premium locations directly on your handset, and allows you to share your own tips across the globe.
Click here to download this app for iPhone.