Archive for the ‘Software’ Category

StreamTorrent – streaming tv

According to the StreamTorrent user group “StreamTorrent is a free tool for streaming to unlimited users with serverless peer to peer technology.”

The program is very easy to install and quite small in size. I have so far found a lot of news channels being broadcasted via StreamTorrent, as well as the Greek Mega channel.

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Google Chrome vs. everyone else

The web is literally full of articles on Google’s new browser Chrome. The web community has greeted the new browser as a new benchmark that other browsers have to reach in order to keep up in the browser game. 

To be honest, I have not seen dramatic speed improvements while browsing with Chrome, as posted on various sites on the web. This is in comparison, not with IE, nor with Firefox, but with Opera. And it is to me very surprising that many of the comparison articles have not listed Opera as one of the competing browsers. 

Down to the details of Chrome now. The interface is very simple and clean. The Chrome window does not even have a top border (i.e. a windows border). The buttons are very few and the theme of the browser rather blueish; in a relaxing tone. 

On the top-right side of the broswer there is a button called “Other bookmarks”, where you can find all of your bookmarks (e.g. whatever you have imported for example from IE or Firefox; the only two options offered while importing data from other browsers). 

Above the “Other bookmarks” button there is one for tweaking the various settings of Chrome, as well as a button for performing various tasks on the current open page. Overall a very simple approach to interface design; after all this has been one of the aims of the Google team. 

What remains to be seen now is whether the multiple processes that Chrome fires in the background (one for each page opened), are more memory efficient than the collective memory usage of a single process in other browsers.  

More on Google Chrome in a few posts (while using the browser). 😉

Opera 9.51- beautifully engineered

Maxthon is long gone (well from today). It started acting up and being slow (even though I haven’t installed any plug-ins lately or anything like that). So I decided to switch to Opera 9.51, which is the latest version of the Opera web browser.

One word describes it best; fast! Way faster than Maxthon. And in addition to its speed, it looks good with a revamped interface (the shiny black bar at the top does the trick).

Even though I haven’t used it for more than 2 hours, I can see some added features such as the speed-dial for websites, the widgets and the Page Info utility.

Final verdict? I will be using Opera in the coming months (unless some other browser has something better to offer…hhhmm Firefox 3 maybe) and drop everything else for now.

Wubi = Windows + Ubuntu

Here is the description from the Wubi website: “Wubi is an officially supported Ubuntu installer for Windows users that can bring you to the Linux world with a single click. Wubi allows you to install and uninstall Ubuntu as any other Windows application, in a simple and safe way. Are you curious about Linux and Ubuntu? Trying them out has never been easier!”

It took me just a few minutes to install Ubuntu on my computer, after downloading the desktop edition of the operating system and placing it in the same folder as the Wubi installer (this is the alternative method of installing the OS if you don’t want Wubi to download it for you).

I dedicated 5 GB of space for the installation (more choices are available), no partition was needed and best of all…I have access to Windows files through the Ubuntu installation.

Slick, fast, no errors, no partition messing, and safe!

FLV Player 2.0.24

This is a pretty decent Flash video player, that has been refined from its previous versions in a positive way. The user can zoom in to twice the original video size, as well as to full screen.

We also like the slick interface of the player, as well as the drag-and-drop functionality added. This means that you can now easily drag and drop a flv file onto the player’s window and the file will automatically start playing.

Skype 4.0 beta

Skype have released a new version of their software, Skype 4.0 beta. The software has an updated interface than in previous versions and features full-screen video chat streams among other things.

Early reports say that the software may crash your computer (it is a beta afterall), however, this seems like a positive change from Skype and we like it a lot.

Windows Live Writer – map integration

I am just trying again Windows Live Writer, after a long time, and some of the new features that the application comes with. The application is now in Version 2008 (build 12.0.1367.1128).

One of this features is integration of maps into your posts. The maps are retrieved from http://maps.live.com and straight into your post.

Let’s see an example. I will put a map of New York below. All I hope is that the map shows on the blog after I publish the post.

Map image

The map is now in the post (right above this line).

Gmail invisible status

A few days ago we mentioned how one can control their status in Google Talk (the desktop application). Today there was another little nice surprise for us, straight from Google this time.

Using Gmail and the built-in Google Talk you can now appear as invisible, meaning that your fellow GTalkers will not be able to see you online. You can still, however, initiate conversations with someone even though you will appear as invisible to everyone (including the person you talk to).

Yet another way to avoid someone online! One note though. Why is Google so slow on developing Google Talk into a full IM client? They keep releasing minor updates to it and at a very slow pace!

Google Talk idle

Don’t you wish that sometimes you can sign into Google Talk and be right away idle, or that your status never changes from idle (maybe you don’t want to talk to some people on your list but only to a coupe at a specific time, e.g. during work).

Now you can do just that! All you have to do is to install gAlwaysIdle. This is is a small progarm that runs in the background and consumes only 2.5MB of RAM (approximate value). The program gives you additional status options to your Google Talk right-click menu allowing you to show always as idle or never show as idle. 😉  

Livestation beta – free tv

Livestation is a free application, in beta phase, that allows you to receive a number of news channels (for now mostly European). The list of channels currenlty includes BBC News 24, BBC World, Euronews, France 24 and Sky News among others.

You can register at the website with no cost and become a beta user. The setup of the application is sraightforward and fast. You can then enjoy the news channels in rather good quality (broadband connection is required).  

What I liked mostly about the application is the menu bar at the bottom, showing the program guide for the channel (whenever this is available) and the soft switching between the channels; i.e. the channel’s audio dies out nicely and in a soft manner until the next channel loads.

Overall the application seems nicely packaged, has no complex bells and whistles, has tidy menus and above all it looks well made. 

According to Livestation’s website more channels will be added soon, giving a much wider choice to the viewer.

Digsby multiprotocol IM

Over the past couple of weeks a new multiprotocol IM client has made its appearance on the net. This is Digsby and it is currently in beta phase, however, there are a few activation codes floating around on sites such as www.download.com that you can use to activate the app and become a beta tester.

Digsby social

From the screenshots, on the Digsby site, this seems like a well designed piece of software that will likely compete existing multiprotocol IM clinets such as Trillian.

Digsby allows users to connect to the most popular of networks such as MSN, Yahoo and GTalk (Trillian does not offer support for GTalk) and even allows the user to connect to his email accounts, social networks, etc.

Synchronising Google Calendar with Outlook

Like many others, I have been trying lately to synchronise my Outlook calendar with Google’s Calendar. First of all I should mention that, as usual, I did not backup my calendar so at some point I lost my original data (…it always happens).

After searching around on the net I came accross many “solutions” that try to achieve the goal of seamless syncing. I first tried “Remote Calendars“, but after a lot of tweaking and configuring and even more tweaking, I could only manage one-way sync; from Outlook to Google Calendar. So after a while I gave up on this app. Mind you, this is a an open-sourse software, which is good, but it still needs some work.

Then I came accross a paid solution, OggSync. This works just fine. It does what it is supposed to do. The free version, however, only allows you to sync three days back and three days ahead from the current date. So again this option was ruled out after an hour or so.

After a bit of more searching I came accross Calgoo. It comes with a free version, it works without messing your calendars  (e.g. duplicate entries in your calendar), has a good interface and it alows you to use all of its features (no limitations on how many days you can sync on).

Calgoo even offers contact synchronisation between your Outlook and Google account; but to be honest I have not managed to get that working; yet.

Uninstalling Norton AntiVirus

I was not expecting that my Norton AntiVirus 2005 would be such a stubborn piece of software to remove from my computer. Any attempt to unistall it would lead to the following error message appearing on my screen: “The MSI must be launched through Setup”; whatever that means.

Apparently this is a known issue or expected behaviour from the software’s side and the guys from Norton have provided a tool that will completely remove the AntiVirus, among other Norton Products. Just go to this page and download the Norton Removal Tool; unistalling the antivirus is then only a matter of few minutes.

Firefox 3 beta 1 is released

The beta 1 version of the Firefox browser is now available on the net for everyone to download.  

 Firefox 3 beta 1