Friday, June 25, 2010

Intel MeeGo on Ideapad S10-2

Last month I got a chance to see what Intel and Nokia were up to.Forging their technologies together,The Moblin and the Maemo OS were combined into a single platform targeting Mobile users and Net books.Called MeeGo it has been doing the rounds for quite some time now on the cloud,and  the early builds available look quite promising.

While I as going through the  MeeGo website,I fortunately found the Lenovo Ideapad S10 to be under the Hardware compatability list.Being an opensource enthusiast I downloaded the Image on the same day and copied it into a thumbdrive.Since its a '.img" file we will need to use a thirdparty tool to push the image into the thumbdrive.More installation instructions here

[caption id="attachment_628" align="aligncenter" width="500" caption="MeeGo's clean and no nonsense background"][/caption]

The boot took about 30 seconds to get into the desktop(While using it with the Live USB).The interface is intuitive and quite simplistic in my opinion.

Navigation must not be a problem since its almost analogous to tabbed browsing.What really interested me was the social media connect apps which come with the OS itself.Much like gwibber in Ubuntu(But quite responsive).It also has a new feature I have not seen on any other platform called "Myzone" .Basically it shows previews of all the social media connect updates Including web,twitter and IM in a single page.

The default my zone was empty when I first using the OS but things started showing up as I used twitter and the internet.Look how the default zone is in the beginning

After some social media tinkering It ends up something like this.Nice!

Another simple thing of MeeGo is the switching of applications .While most Linux geeks would love to use desktop composition and compiz to get a nice and  eye candy app switching experience,MeeGo takes the simple way.How? It has another tab / feature called "zones".Its similar to the myzone feature I mentioned earlier but this once is used to switch between various apps.The default screen for  Zones looks something like this

After you open multiple applications and want to make a switch just go to the zones tab to select/Open any apps which are running.Simple and easy to use!But if you still wanna how some fun for switching its not available yet but we do have compiz!! on the others at least.I opened an achieve manager,a contact list and an IM simultaneously and this is how it looks like

The applications which come bundled with the OS are not  heavy weights either.Since it is targeting the Netbook and the mobile segment,you will find the most basic apps which will keep us running if we are an avid netbook user.There are Card games,IM,A media player(Banshee) and some basic system tools.In other words the app package  collection is a stripped down version of what we get in a standard ubuntu setup.There is no Gimp or a Productivity application like Open office(Both of them are available in the most basic Linux distros I have seen).But considering the environment for which the OS has been designed it is prudent that MeeGo doesnt have the biggies in it(Installed by default)

Internet Experience :

Using the Internet on MeeGo was no issue.It comes with the Chromium web browser.The one thing which also made me notice was the fast page rendering.Chrome works more or less the same for me in both Windows and ubuntu,but on MeeGo it was way too much snappy.Simply put Opening sites was like Zip Zap Vrooooommm!

[caption id="attachment_622" align="aligncenter" width="500" caption="Web experience on MeeGo"][/caption]

While I dont know the exact reason for it,I do believe that MeeGo has been optimised for certain platforms and we may see customized versions of MeeGo in the days ahead.Already Other Linux vendors are making their own versions of Meego,Novell's SuSE MeeGo as shown below

[caption id="attachment_623" align="aligncenter" width="500" caption="Novell's Version of MeeGo"][/caption]

I have not seen how devices work with the OS,but it seems plug and play works ok,excluding the case where my Toshiba external HDD was not getting detected.One more thing to mention is that the present form of MeeGo does not have support to Read/Write to NTFS partitions.But since it is still in the nascent stages we can expect better support as time progresses.

The integrated webcam was not working either with the bundled application cheese.I could successfully turn on the webcam using the same app on a Thinkpad X200 running on Ubuntu 10.04.Looks like I need to find an alternative.Also present in the menu system were some other options like network settings and bluetooth devices.

[caption id="attachment_625" align="aligncenter" width="500" caption="Network settings"][/caption]

While multimedia on this platform is not so perfect as I expected,the recent news of Cyberlink's announcement to support this platform is a boon in the making.It also looks like netbook makers have started releasing MeeGo based sytems. I am seriously thinking of switching to this light weight Social media centric OS.I like Social media and the cloud,so this is a good chance for me to use them to my best.Who knows I may switch from Ubuntu to MeeGo on my netbook in the future!But till then to all those Opensource guys-- try it if you have not!!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Soluto – An Anti frustation software

Yesterday during  a regular chat over Facebook,a friend of mine pointed me to a Newyork times article.It was all about a nifty utility called Soluto,developed by a tel aviv based startup company.My first thoughts were not so responsive since I already use Tuneup utilities and ccleaner for maintaining my PC.When I was told that it can be used to tweak the boot time of a system.Never did I realize that it would not be so complex to use such as the Sysinternal tools.So I wondered "your going to improve the boot time eh?"

It is still in a beta stage but I wanted to try it on a Lenovo X200 tablet running Windows vista business.Now we all know how vista works snappily(Ahem!).Its  very small download (around 900KB) and you are done.When we first open the installer file it downloads the actual program(Around 7MB)

Note:You can click on the images to obtain a larger image.

After the installer downloads and installs the app,It asks for the user to reboot the machine

Now I was curious to see how soluto works.Is it a regular tuneup app?Or ill it deliver what it promises?Well It definitely does what it offers.Atleast for people using Windows XP and Vista.My friend tested it on his Lenovo R60 thinkpad notebook running Windows XP and was really satisfied on how it works.

Soluto works on  community generated data which has been collected  by analyzing the end users systems,and there by gathering information on what really should be necessary when a PC boots up and what is causing a resource hog during the bootup time.Called the PC genome,its a knowledge base of  data built through low level information such a device drivers causing a slow boot.This has been explained in the following screenshots

It checks and identifies by cross referencing with the already present data in is PC Genome Knowledge base.Once it has finished scanning the system for any relavant information it divides the info on what has to be done into 3 divisions

1)No brainer Apps: Apps which can be removed from the startup coz they will not cause a sideeffect anyway.These are mostly update programs and are safe to remove

2)Potentially removable apps:Apps which can be removed but only at your full consent that you know what you are doing.Mostly referring to advanced users.

3)Required apps:Apps which cannot be removed due to their critical importance during system boot(Mostly Windows and Microsoft Anti malware engine files)

What I really like about this program is the additional detail information it provides while we make our choices over which one to remove or not.This information comes out the PC genome community user's feedback such as which program has been mst useful than the others.This is really nice.In my case I tried if it would fetch additional information about Lenovo's Rescue and Recovery program. Fortunately it turned up with a suggestion in the advanced dialog box.

Soluto also provides a detailed graph showing the time stamps when a program has been delayed and there by  how much time we have saved as a whole.

This information really helps us to know about applications which can be paused/delayed during startup to increase bootimes.This works quite well and I hope all those vista users out there will find some solace(LOL).Thanks to my friend Andreas Gotthelf  for the pointer!

Saturday, June 19, 2010

A Fascinating Train Set

I love trains,more than anything else.Be it the frequent journeys or just watching them from afar as they go by or be it in the TV!.I dont know how I became fond of trains but here is something more to share about some interesting stuff I found. The finding of this site was in between a conversation  with Andreas, a German friend of mine.During my first interaction I asked him the obvious question,"How was your experience on the ICE ?". He later shared this wonderful website and I am sure people who are reading this blog would have a good time too!

While the both of us were discussing how trains work and run in our respective countries, Andreas pointed me to this site.I later found that his father Mr Reinhard Gotthelf was also fond of trains as I was,and that the very passion lead him to build this huge and lively train set.Believe me when I say lively I mean it!Its got all the things you would encounter while in a train journey tunnels,bridges,manned crossing,stations and what not!

These steam engines must have been in India too when the British were ruling here. Haven't seen them anytime but Ive heard of some heritage packages which use steam locomotives.I was also told by my grandmother that the Maharajahs had their own private railway companies which would include train stations and lines.This is true in the case of my native place warangal.Our station was established by the then Nizam's during their rule over the region during the seventeen hundreds.

Coming back to the train set,Ive been told that Mr Gotthelf  built this at a local train club they have.It all started in 1996 and the construction a train plant was included in 1998.Looks like this has everthing we can imagine!The dimension of the model railway line built here amount to 9.50 meters in length and 4 meters in width.The whole journey is around 49meters.

While most of the modelling and the  track layout was his father's Idea,the design of the whole system is based on the Peco railmodeller. I guess some of the stuff in the model must have been obtained from this company.

Buildings used in the set

This one reminds me of the huge Diesel Loco shed I get to see every time while I leave my station.While the real sheds are a treat to watch during the night times(The lighting system is fantastic!),the miniature one has also made a mark in my mind!What more can I say other than wow!

Looks like the approach to this station is more similar in reality to my very own town.Ha! interesting stuff here.The view is so realistic,It has goods trains,coal based engines and probably a diesel engine chugging along in the distance.The signalling system looks to be very perfect in design and implementation.

There are tunnels through which the trains pass through.I have never traveled through tunnels but heard that a journey to north India takes us through loads of them especially the capital New Delhi

Rather than describing  what all  Ive found,I would like the readers to have a look at the site for themselves,and know more about this  model put up by Mr Gotthelf.Only true dedication and hardwork can result in such an amazing train set.Kudos to Mr Gotthelf for designing this!

I would also like to thank my friend Andreas Agotthelf for sharing such a wonderful link which intersects with my passion for  trains.Please use google translate to know more about the link.

ThThe dimensions of the model railway amount to 9.50 meters in length and 4.00 meters and 6.00 meters in width. The journey is around 49 meterse dimensions of the model railway amount to 9.50 meters in length and 4.00 meters and 6.00 meters in width. The journey is around 49 metersThe dimensions of the model railway amount to 9.50 meters in length and 4.00 meters and 6.00 meters in width. The journey is around 49 metersThe dimensions of the model railway amount to 9.50 meters in length and 4.00 meters and 6.00 meters in width. The journey is around 49 meters

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Let it Pour……

Its that time of the year again I have been waiting for.Optimistic at first due to the delay of the monsoon by 10 days,but looks like they are on their way!This year has been very hot compared to the last and my guess is that next year will no good rather than worse.

After getting nicely baked for three months in a row,the sun god has decided to give me a break.This time around I have taken the toll of the hot weather.The 6 rounds of selection process for a company  required me to shuttle between Hyderabad and Warangal a number of times,not to mention the travelling within the metropolis to reach the concerned office was another big thing.

Unfortunately the temporary sojourn at Hyderabad was never good too when  ever I went there..I see less number of trees this year on the road sides....The only lush place in Hyderabad seems to be where the super rich are living.I find fountains on the intersections in the hot afternoons when people in other parts of the city are facing water scarcity. Ridiculous!!. I had to increase my patience sometimes,to walk round for the interviews some times..un avoidable circumstances!At last I hear some good news about the clouds showing some mercy early then i expected.

It was a temporarily pleasant for some time before the monsoon clouds started playing hide and seek.During one of my travels to Hyderabad in the train,there was an excellent cloud formation I witnessed.Could not stop my excitement about it and took a few snaps.

I did not have my digi cam with me to take a perfect picture :(....It was an awesome site....The Sun and the monsoon clouds were  jostling for domination and ultimately the sun had won.I cannot express what I saw on that day.Huge rays of the sun protruding through the thick black monsoon clouds! Imagine a huge torch with its rays of light visible through a dark tunnel...It was the same feeling I felt...

[caption id="attachment_530" align="aligncenter" width="500" caption="The mighty sun was the winner in the end "][/caption]

And after playing hide and seek for 2 more weeks during which I had a sun stroke and Dehydration for two days,the clouds are back.This time looks like they will be staying over the region for good.For the past two days while the morning and afternoons were still hot,it has been rather cool and windy as the evening progressed.Monsoon clouds at last to enjoy!

[caption id="attachment_532" align="aligncenter" width="500" caption="Monsoon clouds over my home"][/caption]

I was merrily sitting outside the house after a long time with my Mom and aunt and so was my dog.Looks like every one wants the monsoon to thunder

[caption id="attachment_540" align="aligncenter" width="500" caption="My dog enjoying the rain!"][/caption]

Its raining people!And its raining and thundering as I write this post....time to sip some hot coffee and eat some  noodles....hahaha

Friday, June 11, 2010

I Love Alias

Alias has been my all time favourite show.During my high school days I used to watch 'em on the weekends.Now there might be loads of other  shows doing the rounds or which got broadcasted 4 years ago but this one has got some charisma especially due to the fragile father-daughter relationship shown in all the seasons.Gennifer Garner does  an exceptional job of playing a spy.When I started reading the books of Sidney Sheldon and Jeffry archer with the theme of spy stories,I would think,god how come people just jump around counties in a jiffy and sneak up things they want to?.They make it look so simple! ;)

I don't know about others but among other things I like when two ladies are fighting yes sounds kind of weird! but they fight like mad.This used to happen in Alias too!Sidney bristow fighting with a number of Lady crooks including Anna Espinoza and Lauren reed.While Sidney and Anna meet in a number of episodes their fights were more of a compromise in the end.Do you think a ruthless killer would let her opponent to walk away every time? LOL looks like Sidney gets lucky every time or is it the other way around?Their fights are fun to watch muhahahaha

There are some geeky things to watch out for like the tech guy Marshall making state of the art equipment.Also not to mention the background scores.This one is my favorite of all the scores.Looks like  its a german album named Tanz Mit Laibach.

Jack Bristow as always looks like a stoic kinda person with no expressions on any ocassion.Music apart,the whole plot takes through various twists and turns in all the seasons.Interesting to watch was Sidney wearing some Indian costumes while she is on a mission in kashmir.Dont know how J.J Abraham zeroed in on Jennifer but looks like he has a perfect choice.Sidney looks exactly like a native person in all the costumes she has worn....from being a Russian commander to a  shy and down to earth Italian lady she fits them all!.

[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="500" caption="Jennifer Garner in an Indian outfit "][/caption]

Alias also has an ancient connection in its  story line bringing in the prophecies and innovations of Milo Rambaldi.The endgame of Ramboldi never happened which I expected it would.It was hard to get all the seasons at a go,had to collect them from friends.I got so interested in watching the episodes that I brought the whole set of Alias Novels which include plots from the pre-alias era...stories that happen before the first season.I watched the whole season twice but this time I get to watch the whole series on my netbook,while travelling and when i get bored.

I love alias....the story definitely has got something!