Just when you thought the month of June is filled with a lot of product launches, here's a new (and unexpected) one. Google plans to host two 'special' events for Mobile Chrome this month – on June 7th and 13th.
Both of the events will be streamed live on YouTube.
So, what is Google even planning to release? That too, two weeks after Google I/O? Honestly, I have no idea. Google Developers Live is a show done by people from Google's developer relations team about many products like Android, Maps, Google+ and more. They're generally streamed via YouTube through their official channel.
But the fact that this event is called 'special', made it interesting to me. Also, they don't generally host events just for Chrome or the mobile versions of it.
They will probably talk about their future ideas with Blink or if we're lucky, may be some new features in Mobile Chrome. Wait and see.
On the video page, you can ask questions related to Chrome and those will be answered by developers at Google. There are some interesting ones like "Will Blink reduce the memory usage of the browser?" – which I really want to happen.
Nevertheless, if you're a web designer/developer, you should definitely keep an eye on this.
-- This Post Google to host two special events for Mobile Chrome on June 7th and 13th is Published on Devils Workshop .
Friday, 31 May 2013
On the heels of Samsung Galaxy S4 running stock Android being announced at Google I/O, Google is bringing a HTC One running pure Android on June 26. The HTC One has been a highly rated as the best looking Android phone out there.
The HTC One Nexus (HTC One with stock Android) will go for sale on Google Play on June 26. It will be available only for US consumers for now and the only variant available will be 32 GB. This Nexus styled variant of HTC One will be priced at $599. It is interesting to note that the stock Samsung Galaxy S4 is also being launched on the same day with a price tag of $649, $50 more than the stock HTC One. The software updates of this stock HTC One will be delivered to the users straight from Google without being customized by HTC.
HTC One with Stock Android – Features
Despite the fact that HTC One is regarded very highly as a phone, the company itself has been facing many issues regarding supply chain and revenues. So it is worth watching if its availability is erratic on the Google Play Store – as compared to Samsung's Galaxy S4 device.
Do you think HTC will be successful with this stock HTC One? Do drop in your comments.
Thursday, 30 May 2013
This had to happen and many people have seen this coming. Microsoft is finally trying to address many of users' common annoyances with a small update to its OS, Windows 8.
Windows 8 had got a lot of criticism that it's much harder to use than the previous versions and that the change is too drastic. All that is indeed true. Apparently, it's impossible for Microsoft to completely take a U-turn and get back to Windows 7. So, now they're trying to appease users by making it a little less confusing.
Here's the new stuff Microsoft's releasing with Windows 8.1.
Bring that Start button back
Personally, I never really cared about the lack of Start button in Windows 8. Though, that's not the case with most mainstream users. So with 8.1, MSFT is bringing the Start button back. Yes, for real. But only the button. Nothing more.
If you hit the button, you'll be taken back to the Start screen. Something is better than nothing, right?
Also, for all you Start screen haters, Microsoft has added a nice new feature to 8.1 and that's boot to desktop. It will be off by default, but I'm sure there'll be many users who will search for it and switch it on.
Do more inside Metro
How much ever Microsoft tries to push Metro apps over desktop apps, it's not going to change the fact that Metro apps suck. All stock Metro apps in Windows 8 are going to get updated, that includes Maps, Photos, Mail and etc.
Also, you can do a lot more customisation using Settings app itself, instead of relying on Control Panel. Again, it's just Microsoft pushing Metro apps.
App snapping has improved too. If you have a multi monitor setup, you can now snap 3 Metro apps. You can also snap windows of the same app. Think of viewing two websites loaded side by side in two Metro IE windows.
Apart from these, there are small improvements like you can now search Bing through the Search feature in Charms bar. Windows Store, the ghost town, is updated with a better UI and more information and charts related to apps.
It seems like the update will be free for existing Windows 8 users and will probably made available in the Windows Store itself. (think OS X Mountain Lion)
Can these improvements make Windows 8 less irritating for you? Put that in the comments.
Source: The Windows blog
-- This Post Windows 8.1: Microsoft tries to fix major annoyances with an incremental update is Published on Devils Workshop .
Have you noticed a small, white and blue check mark symbol on some popular Facebook pages recently? If not, head to the official Facebook page of Barack Obama, Justin Bieber, Selena Gomez or any other popular celebrity. You will notice a small white and blue check mark symbol indicating that they are verified pages.
Yesterday, Facebook rolled out these special verified badges would show up on popular profiles and pages. This move is to prove that those profiles are the original ones and not a fake ones. Just like Twitter's policies and now Google+, these Facebook verified badges won't be given to any normal Facebook user.
At the moment this feature seems to be only available to US based users.
But the recent updates show that, Facebook people with a relatively large subscriber base seem to get verified.
It is good that Facebook is adding verified symbols to very popular profiles and pages. This has clearly helped resolve confusion over fake and real profiles on Twitter so it should be helpful similarly on Facebook.
Do you think Facebook is trying to hard to become like Twitter? Do drop in your comments.
-- This Post Facebook Brings Verified Badges for Profiles and Pages is Published on Devils Workshop .
Wednesday, 29 May 2013
Twitter has just sent a minor update to both its iPhone and Android apps showcasing a new Tweet composer.
They have simplified the process of composing a tweet. For example, in the iPhone app, you just get three options – attach location, take a photo or choose a photo. You then get to choose filters for your photos and you're done.
On iPhone, the Twitter app is much wider now, taking up full space. That can be a considerable improvement for readability. Also, the app notifies you when a friend of you joins Twitter (which is confirmed by checking contacts in your E-mail, I guess).
On the other hand, Twitter for Android now takes full advantage of Android's powerful notifications system and groups multiple notifications into one. You get to see user's display picture in the notification itself and they are expandable too.
The folks at Twitter even made a vine post showing off how you can tweet in less than six seconds using the new mobile apps.
Both the app updates are available now. Go, update, and enjoy.
-- This Post Twitter updates its iPhone and Android apps with new Tweet composer is Published on Devils Workshop .
There have been rumors in the past few days regarding Google releasing a totally revamped Gmail app for Android and also a new categorisation feature for Gmail web. As it turns out, the rumors are indeed true.
Gmail can now automatically categorise the incoming mail into tabs like 'Social', 'Promotion', 'Updates' etc. allowing you to quickly switch between different kinds of E-mail.
Even if the categorisation is done wrong, you can always drag and drop messages into a certain category or even set a specific sender's mails to fall into a category. You can of course totally switch off this feature and get back to old style Inbox.
For me, the most exciting thing is the new Android app, which ideally should have been released at I/O. The new Gmail app is redesigned, taking a lot of inspiration from Gmail for iPhone.
It also sticks to Android's new design guidelines which recommend a navigation drawer.
Here's a promo video by Google.
Both the Android and iPhone apps, along with the new Gmail Inbox (on web) will be released in the coming weeks. So stay tuned!
-- This Post Gmail gets a new Inbox experience, redesigned Android app few weeks away is Published on Devils Workshop .
Flipkart's digitial store called Flyte when launched looked like a hopeful breakthrough in India digital market. It was being touted as the piracy killer. Today Flipkart sent out emails to users that it will be shutting down Flyte. The Flyte store will be closing down on June 17.
If you are using Flipkart's Flyte then there are two important dates to remember. First is June 17. That is the day the Flyte store will stop allows users from purchasing MP3s and books.
The next important date is August 18 when users will not even be able to download MP3s from their digital library.
I caught some tweets lamenting Flipkart's Flyte being a victim of India's penchant for piracy. But there are actually deeper reasons than the anecdotal idea, that India is not a market that is ready to buy their music legally. The reasons are probably a lot more old fashioned and the name of that reason is 'competition'.
What killed Flipkart's Flyte?
India is not really against buying music online. India is a country where people spend a lot of money on caller tunes. This is a form of buying digital music too. So why are people not lining up to make purchases on Flyte?
It is difficult to pin the exact answer as I am not privy to the inside workings of Flipkart. But selling music is not just about creating an online store. It is about working out deals with music companies and offering them lucrative revenues.
In India, the music industry is not exactly independent from the movie industry. This is because much of the mainstream popular music in India is from movies. In a way it means anyone selling music in India has to have tie-ups with the big movie producers and studio too.
Flipkart has major competition there from the likes of Apple which has recently started selling Hindi music and movies. There is competition from Google's Play store which is also renting out latest Hindi movies. The fact that these companies are staying invested means they believe India as a market is ready to pay for online content.
This is where Flipkart simply might not have had the leverage that Google or Apple might have. It also might not have the deep pockets to stay invested in an immature digital market of India.
It is sad to see the demise of Flyte but it is probably not a case of pirates killing the pirate killer but the case of competition from bigger companies.
Special thanks to Varun Krish who tweeted about Flyte store closing down.
What are your thoughts on Flipkart's Flyte store? Do drop in your comments.
-- This Post Flipkart to shut down Flyte and the reason is not piracy is Published on Devils Workshop .
Tuesday, 28 May 2013
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Yvonne Hazik – SearchinSpider.com
Websites like TrueCaller easily allow people to lookup the name of the person to whom a phone number belongs to. It behaves mainly like a global directory. Truecaller itself has some useful apps too on Android and iPhone. The android app actually displays the name of person if the phone number that you are receiving a call from is not saved in your contacts.
But what if you do not want Truecaller to list your phone number? In the interest of privacy, Truecaller has an option to unlist your phone number.
How it works:
Though unlisting your number is useful for privacy, TrueCaller can be very useful to get notified of numbers which give you those spammy marketing calls which you wished, you had not answered.
Do drop in your comments.
Link: Truecaller Unlist
-- This Post [How to] Unlist Your Phone Number on TrueCaller App is Published on Devils Workshop .
A few months ago, Opera has confirmed that it's moving away from its browser engine Presto, adopting Google's Chromium. Now that Chromium is based on Blink – which is a fork of Webkit, Opera too relies on it.
Today, they have released the future version (read: beta) of Opera. They call it Opera Next.
Firstly, the browser is already available for Android, and now can be tried on Windows and Mac too. As it is based on Chromium, it apparently shares a lot of similarities with it (take a look at the settings page).
The main focus seems to be on Speed Dial and Discover features. Discover basically allows you to browse through news, you might totally find it irrelevant if you already use something like Flipboard or any RSS reader. The Speed Dial tiles look huge and beautiful, they're also customisable.
They have also introduced a new 'Stash' feature. It seems like a place for your favourite sites. You get a large preview of them in the Stash tab. But really, I didn't find a point in it.
Like you'd expect, there's Opera Turbo, which is the main reason for Opera being popular. It's called 'Off-Road mode' in Opera Next.
The traditional version of Opera used to support share sheets on Mac, I really liked that. Opera Next on the other hand, doesn't support OS X Mountain Lion's sharing features.
As you can see, there's not a whole lot of stuff they've released, but as Blink gets better I'm sure you can expect features in Opera (and Chrome).
Hit the link below to download and give Opera Next a try.
Link: Opera Next
-- This Post Opera releases its Chromium based browser for Windows and Mac is Published on Devils Workshop .
With Google+ proving to be gain momentum, the internet giant has finally decided to shut down it's not-so-successful social network, Google Buzz. Google Buzz has been unavailable to the public since an year and finally Google has announced that all the Google Buzz posts/content will be sent to the user's Google Drive account.
This move is actually a good one by Google that ensures that the users' have a backup of their Buzz history. Google will begin moving the data on July 17, and meanwhile you have three other options to access/download your Buzz content. You can choose one among these three :
More About This Transition
Google has also announced that moving this data to your Google Drive account and it won't affect your storage data. No matter how many gigabytes the posts are, Google will move and store them on your Google Drive account and for free.
Do drop in your comments.
As the Site operator of UKSERP.com, I would like to invite you to exchange links with us.
The entire week we will conduct a unique link exchange that will focus on real links with real traffic from real sites with real content!
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I would like to keep this link exchange as relevant as possible to your site(s) as well,
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Links from related sites within content
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It all ends up with what you've got to offer. We promise a free, fair and honest exchange with each of our participants.
Lauren Crawford - UKSERP.com
Monday, 27 May 2013
27th May is an important date for all WordPress enthusiasts. It's the 10th anniversary of the most widely used CMS in the world. From a simple blogging platform to a pretty flexible CMS that drives many complex applications, WordPress, the application has evolved, tremendously.
I think of it as an apt occasion to present to you a story. It is the story of the evolution of the WordPress community in India. It is just my perspective and a point of view.
A brief history of WordPress in India
I'm one of those users that hopped on to the WordPress bandwagon, quite early in the 2.x series. This is the time when WordPress was still a blog and the dashboard menus were horizontal. I know of a lot of users who were fiddling with WordPress, around then, but there weren't many. These were days when everybody wanted to open a portal (like Yahoo, Indiatimes, Rediff, etc). That's why Joomla was the most peddled platform, everywhere.
The bloggers and the entrepreneurs: the Users
Somewhere down the line, blogging started becoming the "in" thing and the focus started shifting from portal like information centric sites to content centric, magazine/blog style sites. Blogger had just become a hit.
Further ahead, blogging started becoming a business. People who were professionally serious and/or passionate about blogging wanted more control on how their sites looked and behaved.
At the same times, elite small businesses were looking for better and cheaper ways of building their microsites. Coupled with better internet access, everyone was looking for a solution that was not as overwhelming as Joomla or Drupal. And I guess, logically and naturally, all these people gravitated towards WordPress.
The Developers and the Designers: the providers
There was another scene developing gradually, in the background. A lot of new developers, designers and small agencies were discovering freelance marketplaces. The global demand for WordPress development was flooding the job posts on these sites. A lot of these were low-priced simple tasks that anyone could google the solution for and fix.
This system of SMEs outsourcing to SMEs propagated the ease with which WordPress sites could be designed, developed and deployed. These agencies then started proposing WordPress to the local customers, as well.
Popularity means a lot of people
Beyond that, the reasons that made WordPress the most popular CMS in the world, also worked in India. Maybe, it was just a global trend and India just joined it.
This is a heady concoction: entrepreneurs, passionate bloggers, DIY developers (with no formal qualifications), designers and tinkerers. When a large number of such people start working with a single platform, they are bound to have opinions, views and insights. That gives birth to a need to share: give and take. To share, one must communicate. And, a lot of people spread across geographical areas, talking to each other, sharing knowledge and resources, is exactly what makes a community.
The seeds of the community: WordCamp Delhi '09
The best communication is face to face communication. In spite of virtual communication, unless a community gathers together, the energy and the buzz of the community is never felt by its members. That's why we have festivals, celebrations and other social events. In the case of WordPress, the shrewd business logic already had a system of meetups and most importantly, WordCamps.
A WordCamp had to happen in India, sooner or later and so it happened. The first WordCamp in India was called WordCamp India and was an important affair. Held in the national capital, it boasted of sponsors like Adobe and Automattic and was organised by the Delhi Bloggers' group. The highlight of the event was the presence of none other than Matt Mullenweg.
Beyond that, I personally know nothing about this event. This was before Indians had taken to Twitter or Facebook, as enthusiastically, as now. Besides, googling did not yield much about the event.
WordCamp Jabalpur '11
Compared to the previous WordCamp, this one was more widely publicised and talked about. With participation from across India, WordCamp Jabalpur featured, for the first time, some of the current WordCamp regulars like Rahul Banker, Gaurav Singh (the organiser), Amit Singh, King Sidharth, Aniket Pant, Puneet Sahalot and Jaydip Parikh. Devil's Workshop had interviewed Gaurav Singh, post the WordCamp.
If you compare the sessions and the speakers, WordCamp Jabalpur was a definite progression on WordCamp Delhi. The topics were more advanced and varied, the speakers differed in professions and the range of talks was wider. I wasn't there for even this one (I had just begun freelancing). However, my friend and colleague, Rakshit Thakker attended as a speaker. This was a good event, but the community was still struggling to find its baby steps.
WordCamp Mumbai '12
Organised by a group of students, in the financial capital of India, this WordCamp courted some disasters. A couple of speakers were sponsors who talked about irrelevant stuff. A sponsor spoke in detail about the intricacies of off-page SEO and pay-per-click advertising to WordPress developers.
It was a sound meetup for marketing, developing Android apps, Windows 8, apart from a few important things about Google. Primarily, it was about the business of search engine optimisation and marketing on social networks. Except for a couple of talks, the event didn't add any value to the community.
Attendees (including, yours truly) who felt let down, registered their protest, but were ignored for a decent amount of time. Eventually, apologies were issued.
The organisers had in fact, done a huge service to the community. Observing the fiasco in the background were two people who understood that WordCamp Mumbai was a lesson in 'How not to organise a WordCamp'.
WordCamp Baroda '13
One of the two people I indicated above is Rahul Banker, a young professional blogger from Baroda. Picking up the thread from Jabalpur and passing over Mumbai, he organised a WordCamp in Baroda.
This WordCamp had a higher relevance to WordPress and excellent speakers presented some complex topics in simple, easy to understand details. Being held in Gujarat, the hotbed of SEO/Social Media and other forms of digital marketing, the marketing influence was there but not at the cost of relevance.
Attention was paid to minute details like numerous charging points everywhere, fast and reliable internet connections, etc. Everything was well orchestrated and the event was held without any hiccups. This was a prime example of event management.
Also, there were ample occasions for attendees and speakers to mingle informally and discuss things: the true aim of a community event. In the backdrop of Mumbai, WordCamp Baroda was a greater success and according to the regulars, the best WordCamp they had attended till then.
There is a post on Devil's Workshop that pretty much sums up the mood, post WordCamp Baroda.
WordCamp Pune '13
The second person who was quietly taking notes and preparing his own event was Amit Singh. With a bare minimum of sponsors (compared to Baroda and especially Mumbai), his team, according to a lot of people who attended the event, delivered India's best WordCamp yet.
The event wasn't as fluid as Baroda was. It lacked a bit in event management. However, that is excusable in favour of its content, enthusiasm and a genuine interest in the actual reason for a WordCamp. This one had something for everyone. From absolute novices to experts, there were more than one session that were useful. Bloggers, developers, marketers and entrepreneurs, all benefited from the event and were all praises.
This WordCamp was also unique for the Workshops that were conducted. These ran parallel to the speaker sessions. Workshops were practical training sessions on using WordPress. They were meant for the benefit of students and novices, and were well received.
Another factor that went in favour of WordCamp Pune was that by then, there were some veterans of previous WordCamps. They were great mentors to the newbies. Questions flew thick and answers were aplenty. Doubts were raised and solved. People disagreed and fought. People agreed to each other too. It was a warm and exciting event.
Speakers were more interactive, drawing more participation from the listeners. In all, a proper community buzz had begun shaping up.
The scenario now
Post WordCamp Pune, there is a definite community that interacts regularly on various online platforms. A facebook page and a site from an initiative called WPHub have sprung up to coordinate and boost the growth of the WordPress community in India.
Meetups have started happening more often. More Indian organisations are building products around WordPress. Still, the only time the community truly comes together is in a WordCamp. By far, the only yardstick that I could find to measure the growth and evolution, is a WordCamp. Although, more WordCamps are being planned, until the next one actually happens, it'd be too early to pass a judgement on the maturity of the community.
A hope for the future
The next WordCamp can only be better than the last. Everyone has higher expectations. People have tasted the benefits of community behaviour. More people who will share knowledge will be discovered. More people will hop on to the ride.
It is guaranteed — the shift is only progressive!
What happened on 27th May?
On the 10th anniversary of WordPress, meetups were organised across the world. I was at the Pune meetup, which had a moderate turnout. We cut a cake and generally chatted. How was your meetup? Do share with me in the comments.
Google integrated every chat platform Google has created into a single one named "Hangouts". Codenamed "Babel", Google Hangouts was announced at the Google I/O 2013 event. Hangouts will make cross-platform chatting or messaging a lot more easier.
While Hangouts looks pretty brilliant both on the outside and the inside, it is still in it's development stages. The Google+ Messenger still exists on the Android ecosystem. Google is yet to kick that and merge that into Hangouts.
Hangouts isn't as impressive as Google Talks. Hangouts lacks some of the most basic features like displaying the online status of a particular contact properly. The Hangouts app on Android doesn't show which friends are online at present. But the Hangouts on Gmail for web gives you a hint of the online status – that is, the online friends' display picture is highlighted with a green line at the bottom.
You can read more about Hangouts here.
How to Remove Hangouts on Gmail for Web?
Removing Hangouts on your Gmail for web can be pretty easy. It's really simple that it goes unnoticed by most of the people. With just a couple of clicks, you can move to the old, familiar Google Talk.
Once done, you'll notice the old, familiar Google Talk in the place of Hangouts. Now you can easily see the list of your online friends.
If you ever wanted to upgrade to Hangouts again, just click on the Arrow mark near your name again and click the "Try the new Hangouts" option.
Do drop in your comments.
-- This Post How To Revert to Google Talk from Hangouts in Gmail is Published on Devils Workshop .
Sunday, 26 May 2013
You might want your phone to go on vibrate mode or shutdown at a particular time every day. You might want to switch off your WIFI on the phone when you are in office. Such tasks on Android can be automated with app called Automate It.
Features of Automate It
This works very well with the usual basic triggers and I have not been having any problems. The last thing to keep in mind is that there are two triggers that could drain your battery if not used properly – location and sensor triggers. Overall, this app is worth the download.
Video Demo of Automate It
Do try out Automate It and drop in your comments.
Link: Automate It
-- This Post AutomateIt: Set Rules/Triggers for Automating Tasks on Android is Published on Devils Workshop .
Saturday, 25 May 2013
If there is one problem which is common among all major mobile operating systems, that's app discovery. Apple's App Store is relatively better than Play Store and even the Windows Marketplace, but they're almost on the same floor.
AppGratis was one of those companies which tried to solve this problem with their service. For starters, AppGratis shows off a good paid app everyday, which is free for limited time. It was very popular on iOS, but a few months ago, it got pulled off from the App Store as they violated few of its policies. After a lot of drama took place, AppGratis wrote a blog post officially clearing a lot of confusion among users.
They even have started a petition a month back, which got tremendous response from users. Nevertheless, there's no signs of Apple bringing back AppGratis to the App Store.
Interestingly, they released their app for Android, a few days back – and it's pretty good.
While there isn't anything special about the app on Android, it works. They have posted around 15 app deals, i.e. apps which are free for limited time (a single day, or sometimes even more). Just like the iOS app, you can set AppGratis on Android to notify you every day with an app deal.
All AppGratis recommendations are picked by humans – they are essentially tested and hand picked by their team. This is one of the reasons for why AppGratis is so popular. Though, from what I've tried, their Android app recommendations aren't up to the mark. The apps didn't seem to be of high quality, but I'm sure the recommendations will get better with time.
It's available on the Play store, so go grab it.
-- This Post AppGratis pops up on Android, after getting pulled from App Store is Published on Devils Workshop .