eRoll Concept Reader | eRoll Flexible Display EReader

eRoll Flexible, Rollable E reader Shows the Future

Now that we know that ultra-thin, flexible OLEDs are coming, designers have really seemed to open the floodgates of imagination in coming up with devices to feature them. I’m officially declaring it National Flexi-Display Week 2010.

We’ve seen what Sony is working on and we’ve seen a wrist computer concept that Sony should be proud to put its name on. Now here’s an e-reader concept that gets even more thin and flexible. The eRoll designed by Dragan Trencevski features a thin, paperlike display that rolls in and out of a cylindrical carrying case. After all, the e-reader was designed to replace the magazine and newspaper, why shouldn’t it roll up like one?

 I’m not sure why you’d go through all the trouble of having such a convenient, flexible display and then put it in a bulky hard case, but I love the look of the rollable e-reader. If and when they come out with these, I don’t see any reason why we need hard copies anymore.

eRoll uses a rollable flexible screen and it can be turned from an average e-reader to a baton. Gone are the rigid displays and fragile devices we had to carry around in order to read while commuting.

Let’s just hope that this baton comes with connectivity options and maybe Internet connectivity, else the iPad is still a better alternative.

Mozilla Firefox 6 | Latest Version of Firefox 6

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Another release of the most popular browser in the world, Mozilla Firefox, got launched yesterday. If you are an avid Firefox fan, then I am sure the news must have already popped up on your Firefox browser. For the rest, you can download the brand new Firefox 6 from Mozilla’s website.

The biggest piece of new feature is that the address bar now highlights the domain of the website you are currently browsing. The site identity blocker has also received a minor facelift to make it sleeker than before. There are also a few behind the scenes improvements such as support for WebSockets, improved Scratchpad, a new Web Developer menu item, an improved Web Console, and reduced browser startup time when using Panaroma.

Mozilla Firefox seems to be following Google Chrome’s footsteps when it comes to version numbers. The Firefox browser had been updated thrice in the last 5 months. Definitely, there have a been a few improvements since the last 3 releases, but they haven’t really been enough to warrant a completely new series of version number. While most of them have been bug fixes, Firefox disappoints when it comes to delivering new features.

All about the speed

The first reason is speed, although that point is debatable. According to Mozilla, startup times with Firefox 6 are better than its predecessor, especially if a user is using Firefox’s Panorama feature. Panorama allows users to organize tabs into groups. Having Firefox launch several groups on startup has been a sure-fire way to bog down that process in the past.

Any speed improvements over the sluggish performance of Firefox 5 is welcome news for users, but overall performance of Firefox’s latest incarnation appears to be more problematic. For example, Dan Howley pointed out in Laptop magazine that Firefox 6 is actually slower than its progenitor when evaluated with a benchmarking program calledPeacemaker.

Peacemaker evaluates a browser’s performance using Java and assigns a score to it. The higher the score, the better the performance. Firefox 6 had a score of 4.572 when Howley ran Peacemaker on it. That’s slightly lower than Firefox 5, which scored 4.733. By comparison, Microsoft Internet Explorer 9 scored 4.830 and Chrome got 8.400.

Benchmarking scores, though, can be deceptive, which may be the case with Firefox 6. It may score lower than the previous release of the program, but from a user’s point of view, it feels faster.

URL display

Another reason to upgrade to Firefox 6 is the way it displays URLs in the address bar. The domain of a website is more distinct than the rest of its address. So in a URL like http://www.mozilla.com/en-US/firefox/6.0/releasenotes/, http://www.mozilla.com would be emphasized.

That’s a feature that Chrome and IE9 have had for some time. While it seems like a simple addition, it’s valuable for quickly spotting if a URL is questionable, as might be the case if a user clicks on larcenous link in a phishing message.

Security

Security is also bolstered in Firefox 6 with a new permissions feature. It allows a user to configure the permissions for a particular website by typing “about:permissions” on the address bar. With it, a user can configure such things as acceptance of cookies, location sharing, pop-ups, passwords and data storage.

Why is that a selling point for Firefox 6? It lets a user beef up the overall security of the browser, while letting the person remove restrictions on sites they trust. By choosing tough restrictions as the default security settings for the software, a user can be better protected against accidently visiting a malicious website and getting their computer infected with malware. Yet, users don’t have to worry about the restrictions creating a barrier to productive use of trusted sites.

It’s free

The fourth reason for upgrading to Firefox 6 is probably the least compelling, but also the most irresistible. Firefox 6 is a free upgrade to a favorite program. What more reason does a user need?

Social Networking Sites

Race Between Social Networking Sites

There is an ongoing rat race for becoming the best social networking site of the world. This race is being run by a number of participants and they are all trying their best to make the most out of the new advancement in technology. It has been recently revealed that Google has come up with its own social site named Google+.

Facebook saw the rising pressure and incorporated Skype to work with it, enhancing the quality of the site and making it even more beneficial to the customers. Twitter wasn’t left far behind as there has been the announcement of them marking some changes as well.

They have made some upgradation and formed Twitter has sort of transformed into a more Facebook like user friendly site.

There shall now be the provision of summary chat in Twitter as well. It shall now be able to show the names of the people who have ‘re-tweeted’ your messages and also who is following you. This is an effort to keep in terms with the growing competition in the market and also continuously bring to the customers something new and exciting so that their interest in the site is intact.

Google Cloud Based Music Service ”Magnifier”

Riding high on the success on the Google+, Google has now entered the online music business with “Magnifier”, a service that enables users to upload their music collection to the cloud and listen to them online, on Android devices and even offline. The launch comes months after it launched the beta version of the service called “Music Beta”.

Apart from uploading music on the Magnifier, one can discover and obtain new music as well. The Magnifier also has videos of live performances, interviews of the artists and a free song archive where one can explore songs from different genres.

To access the tracks from the “Free Song Archive”, you need to have a Music Beta by Google account. “If you don’t have an account, request an invitation). Head over to Magnifier, find the songs you want, click on the “Add free music” buttons and the tracks will be instantly added to your library in Music Beta,” says Google’s official blog post. The entire service, including cloud storage, is for now still limited to U.S. based customers.

Microsoft Windows 7 Latest Operating System

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Microsoft’s latest operating system, Windows 7 was released on Thursday October 22, 2009. The buzz around the Internet and traditional media outlets has been overwhelmingly positive, even a week later. Links: Windows 7 reviews still shine one week in, Review: Windows 7 Is Microsoft’s Best Yet, Windows 7 review: like Vista, but good.

As a user who has installed the public beta and the release candidate, I can honestly say that this is the best version of Windows that Microsoft has built and released to date. And you would expect that to be the case, particularly after the disaster that was Windows Vista.

I should mention that I have installed these versions of Microsoft Windows 7 on my Macbook Pro, using Boot Camp, and mostly since I purchased my Mac I have been runningMac OS X (Snow Leopard) exclusively. I have booted Windows 7 using VMware Fusionwhenever I wanted to play with it.

Windows 7 is pretty fast, and the Microsoft Security Essentials anti-virus suite runs very nicely. It is light weight and generally stays out of the way while protecting the system.

There are many specifics to be aware of with this release. First, if you have a capable 64-bit machine, you should definitely install the 64-bit version of Windows 7. It has the ability to run faster than its 32-bit counterpart, while utilizing 4 GB+ of memory. The 32-bit version tops out at 3 GB. Also, if you have at least Windows 2000 (XP and Vista included), you are eligible to buy the upgrade version of the operating system, and use it to do a clean install, using what Microsoft refers to as the “Custom” installation option. A fresh install is always a best-practice way to install Windows, and Windows 7 is no exception. Backup all your data (to an external hard drive or USB thumb drive) and have your installation media available for applications like Microsoft Office ready for your fresh installation. You can then use the excellent Niniteto install all the freebie applications from the web: Firefox, VLC, Microsoft Security Essentials, iTunes, etc.

While I don’t think that Windows 7 is bulletproof or the best operating system ever, it is the best Windows OS to date. If you are running the 8 year old Windows XP, you will be better off on Windows 7. Vista users will also be better off on 7, since it runs about 20 – 30% faster on the same hardware.

What do you think? Is Windows 7 worth it? Will you upgrade soon? Let me know.

Microsoft Windows 7 Dominate OS war in 2011

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Windows 7 will be the dominant operating system by the end of 2011 according to some unsurprising research carried out by crystal-ball gazers at Gartner.

The company is predicting that 42 per cent of computer users will be tied to Microsoft’s current OS by the end of the year saying that 94 per cent of all boxes shipped in 2011 come with the system pre-installed.

“Steady improvements in IT budgets in 2010 and 2011 are helping to accelerate the deployment of Windows 7 in enterprise markets in the US and Asia/Pacific, where Windows 7 migrations started in large volume from 4Q10,” reckoned Annette Jump, research director at Gartner. “However, the economic uncertainties in Western Europe, political instability in selected Middle East and Africa (MEA) countries and the economic slowdown in Japan after the earthquake and tsunami in March 2011 will likely lead to slightly late and slow deployment for Windows 7 across those regions.”

According to the forecast, Windows 7 will be the last full-fat OS deployed by enterprise and that many will move to ‘thin client’ cloud-based virtualisations, which see huge server farms doing the number crunching and pushing that information to dumb terminals, in the next five years.

Apple is also expected to continue its steady climb growing from 3.3 per cent of market share in 2008 to 4.5 per cent in 2011.

“The adoption of Mac PCs and Mac OS is a result of Apple’s ability to grow well above the market average in the last 12 to 24 months, thanks to its ease of use from the user interface point of view and ease of integration with other Apple devices, such as the iPhone, iPad, iPod touch and the existing Apple ecosystem of applications and programs,” Jump said.

The company said it did not expect Chrome OS, Android or webOS to make a significant impact on Microsoft’s virtual monopoly and dismissed Linux as too ‘niche’ to bother the Redmond Massive in any palpable way.

First Look Facebook Messenger

Checking Facebook messages on your phone is now one-tap easy.

Facebook has published a new free app for iPhone and Android, Facebook Messenger, that unbundles its private message service from the all-in-one Facebook app. Rather than trying to combine your entire online life into one app, it goes the other way: Messenger, when launched, goes straight to your Facebook messages, so you can read and reply to them without having to navigate through all of Facebook.

Messenger also pushes messages to the forefront of your phone with optional settings that provide multiple ways for your phone to notify you that you’ve got a new message. On Android it can vibrate, blink, play a sound, or play a ringtone.

If you’ve spent as much time as I have tapping though the Facebook app impatiently trying to check messages while the Facebook app tries to load photos and notifications instead, Messenger is a very practical gift. You tap it and poof, up pops your Facebook inbox. That’s it. For me, it’s great because my Facebook inbox contains timely messages from people who want to make plans with me, but who aren’t the professional colleagues in my separate e-mail account, or the guy waiting in the car outside sending me text messages I need to see right this second. I can ignore my Facebook inbox for hours until I have the attention for it. Then, I can check those messages with one thumb-tap while doing something else in the real world. I’m much less likely to get hit by a bus thanks to this thing.

I wish more app developers would think this way: Instead of trying to combine everything on the Internet into one mobile interface, create separate apps for standalone functions that people perform often and want to do in a hurry. Let the phone’s home screen be the thing that contains and presents them all. Whoever coded this app at Facebook might not win geek points for programming prowess, but they’ve made Facebook more convenient for a lot of users. Can I next get an app that jumps straight to my groups?

My only skepticism is that the Messenger name might confuse potential users into thinking it’s an instant messaging app, like MSN Messenger or BlackBerry Messenger. Why not call it Messages? To any Facebook user, that would be obvious.