Friday, November 19, 2010

iPod nano review -- as a watch

iPod nano watchbands -- they're everywhere! Seriously, ever since Steve Jobs said that an unnamed Apple board member jokingly planned to wear the new nano as a watch, we've seen all shapes and sizes of wristbands designed to put the diminutive media player on your wrist, ranging from the super-basic to the super-silly to the super-amazing. But hold up -- yes, we thought the new nano was a great little media player when we first reviewed it, but why hasn't anyone talked about what it's like to wear one as your watch? Is replacing your current timepiece with the nano's 1.5-inch 240 x 240 multitouch displayactually a good idea? We took the nerd-bullet for you and wore one for a week to find out -- read on!

First things first: you've got to get the nano on a band. That's actually pretty easy -- not only are there a million accessory manufacturers out there willing to sell you a nano-specific band, you can also clip it onto pretty much any bigger watchband you can find. Just make sure you can tighten things down so the nano doesn't slide around -- the white band we used didn't have any adjustments so the nano felt a bit precarious. We didn't have any problems, though -- the nano's clip is definitely strong enough to survive normal use. Of course, it's a bit huge -- we tend to favor large watches, so we didn't think it was a problem, but if you have dainty wrists it might look a little silly.

Next, head into Settings / Date & Time and turn on "Time On Wake," which pops open the clockface when you hit the wake button instead of dropping you right into the homescreen. Without this setting flipped on, you're just a dork with an iPod on your wrist. You also get a choice between white and black clock face backgrounds, and... that's about it. Turns out you're going to be a dork with an iPod on your wrist no matter what, because displaying the time when the wake switch is pressed is pretty much the only watch-type function you're going to find here beyond the stopwatch and timer. And here's the biggest problem: you can't just glance at your wrist and check the time! The screen is completely dark when it's asleep, so you have to reach over and hit the wake button with your other hand to see the time, and worst of all, hitting the wake button doesn't light the screen up instantly -- there's a significant and noticeable delay of over half a second before the clock is displayed. We'd love to see something like theNokia N8's AMOLED screen tech that dimly self-illuminates with zero power draw to display a clock while asleep used here -- it feels like a perfect solution.

Of course, you can always plug in headphones and listen to music, but it turns out having a wire connecting your head to your wrist isn't as ideal as you might imagine. Not only do you have to make sure your headphone cord is long enough for your height to avoid yanking the buds right out of your ears, but you also have to be ever-vigilant that you're not tangling things with every move of your hands. Besides, if you're the type of person who's wearing an iPod nano as a watch, well, we're going to go out on a limb and say you have a smartphone, and that's almost certainly a better music playback experience than the nano.

Registry hack allows for direct loading of media on Windows Phone 7 devices

Prefer to load media onto your Windows Phone 7 device the old fashioned way? Then it looks like your solution is just a simple Windows registry hack away. Coming shortly after the USB tethering hack, the folks at Windows Phone Central have now discovered that you can effectively turn your Windows Phone into a USB drive by modifying just three entries in the registry of your Windows desktop PC. Once done, you'll be able to drag and drop files to your heart's content -- albeit only on a computer that's had the registry hack done, of course. Hit up the source link below for the complete details

Acer, Ferrari unveil joint smartphone model


Ferrari and Acer unveiled on Friday a joint new smartphone model using Google's Android software, hoping to boost its so far limited role in the increasingly crowded smartphone market.
The version of Acer's Liquid model -- with production limited to 200,000 -- will be Ferrari branded and sold with pre-loaded content from the company and its racing team.
"The Ferrari branded device will help lift Acer's latest phone above the ever-crowded Android devices market where it is hard to tell many of the lower cost products apart," said Ben Wood, head of research at British consultancy CCS Insight.
The world's second largest PC vendor Acer entered the smartphone industry last year, aiming to reach 6 to 7 percent of the market in three to five years.
Its success has so far been very limited, but handset vendors are closely watching the PC vendors move into their marketplace.
"Acer had a devastating effect on the notebook market and has been the thorn in Dell and HP's side. Its low cost, low margin approach accelerated commoditisation in the notebook market and mobile phone makers are watching its entry into the segment closely," said Wood.

Friday, November 12, 2010

How to Evaluate Banking Stocks

It is said that the banking sector reflects the economy's health. The sector acts as a funnel providing the funds that corporates need to expand their business. When the economy is expanding, as is happening in India currently, banks lend more and hence profit more. Since a bank's business model is different from that of a manufacturing company, the way you go about analysing banking stocks is also different.

A bank's basic business is to accept deposits and give out loans. It makes money by charging a higher rate of interest on its loans than the rate it pays its depositors. This difference in interest rates is called 'spread'. The money that a bank earns from its deposit-taking and lending activities is referred to as 'net interest income'.
In addition, banks also earn money by offering a variety of services (say, distributing mutual fund and insurance products, offering wealth management services, and many more) for which they charge a fee. They also make money by buying and selling debt securities (referred to as their treasury operations). The money they earn by these means is reflected in their profit and loss statement under 'other income'.

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI), the regulator for the banking sector, imposes certain prudential norms on banks. For instance, it requires banks to maintain a certain percentage of their deposits with RBI as cash reserve ratio (CRR). Whenever there is too much liquidity within the system and inflation threatens to go out of control, the central bank announces a CRR hike. This reduces the amount of funds available with banks for lending. This is referred to as sucking liquidity out of the system. But since banks earn no interest on their CRR deposits, a hike in the CRR rate affects their profitability adversely.
RBI's prudential norms also require Indian banks to invest a part of their funds in government securities (G-Secs). These holdings are referred to as statutory liquidity ratio or SLR holdings.
And finally, given their importance to the system, banks can not be allowed to run short of liquidity. So the central bank runs an overnight liquidity window for them. Whenever banks need money for the short term, they borrow from the central bank at what is known as the repo rate. And when they have excess money, they deposit it with the central bank at a rate known as the reverse repo rate. These act as benchmark rates for short-term interest rates in the system.

Managing risk

Banks manage three types of risk: credit risk, liquidity risk, and interest-rate risk.

Credit risk. This is the core risk that banks run. To get an idea of how a bank is faring on this count, look at the trend of gross and net non-performing assets (NPAs) over a long period of time. Also keep track of a bank's capital adequacy ratio (CAR, which is capital that banks maintain to be able to absorb losses on their activities). When a bank's NPAs increase and its CAR falls below the stipulated level, it signifies a looming crisis.
To mitigate credit risk, banks try to diversify their loan portfolios. They do so either by making varied types of loans (so that a high proportion of their loans don't go bad at the same time) or by buying and selling loan portfolios from other players.

Another method by which banks safeguard themselves against credit risk is by employing sophisticated credit approval systems and processes to reduce default. A conservative approach to lending may lower earnings but usually works in a bank's favour over the long haul.
Liquidity. Banks are also expected to provide liquidity management services. For instance, there could be a company that is due to receive a large payment from a client in a few days but is in urgent need of money now. It can go to a bank, sell its receivables to it at a discount, and get immediate cash in return.
Many businesses also pay a regular fee to a bank to avail of overdraft facility.
All this makes it necessary for banks to have sufficient liquidity to be able to meet the demands made on them. Hence the prudential norms (such as CAR) that are imposed on them and the overnight lending window provided by RBI.

Interest-rate risk. The third major risk that banks face is interest-rate risk. Most people think that higher rates are good for banks and lower rates are bad. This is an oversimplification. The effect of interest-rate movements depends on whether at a given point of time a bank is asset sensitive or liability sensitive. Asset sensitivity means that the bank can change the interest rate on assets like loans more quickly than the interest rate on liabilities. In such a case, rising interest rates translate into greater profitability for the bank.
When a bank can change its deposit rates more quickly than its loan rates, it is said to be liability sensitive. In such a scenario, rising interest rates will hurt its margins. Interest-rate swaps are used nowadays by banks to mitigate the impact of interest-rate fluctuation.

In a rising rate scenario, as interest rates reach high levels, it becomes difficult for banks to raise their loan rates further and hence their net interest margin (NIM) begins to get compressed. In such a scenario, banks with a high CASA ratio (proportion of total deposits accounted for by low-cost current and savings accounts) tend to do well because of their access to low-cost deposits. When analysing a banking stock, pay heed to its CASA ratio. Banks with a large branch network have a higher CASA ratio.
Economic moats in banking

One of the biggest deterrents that prevent more players from entering the banking industry is the tough regulatory requirements that all banks are supposed to comply with. In India, in any case, bank licenses are given out by RBI only from time to time and after much due diligence.
Banking is also a capital-intensive business; hence not too many players can enter it.
Economies of scale also give greater muscle to a bank. A State Bank of India (SBI) or a Citibank (internationally) enjoys scale-based advantages that are difficult for smaller players to match.
A large branch network, as mentioned earlier, is another key advantage. Punjab National Bank's (PNB) large branch network in north and central India gives it access to low-cost deposits that is hard for smaller players to match.

Going by the numbers

Capital base. In case of Indian banks, check their credit to deposit ratio (CDR). This ratio indicates the funds lent out of the total amount raised through deposits. A higher ratio indicates more optimal utilisation of funds. Check the bank's CDR vis-à-vis the industry range.
Next, look at a bank's capital adequacy ratio (CAR). The RBI has stipulated that the minimum capital adequacy ratio should be 10. This ratio ensures that banks do not expand their business without having an adequate buffer of capital.


             Tier I capital + Tier II capital

CAR = ---------------------------------

             Risk-weighted assets

Keep an eye on the reserve provisions made for bad loans relative to non-performing assets (NPAs). Net NPA ratio is a measure of the overall quality of the bank's loan book. A higher ratio reflects rising incidence of bad loans.
                           Net non-performing assets

Net NPA ratio = ---------------------------------

                           Loans given

Profitability. Return on equity (RoE) and Return on Assets (RoA) are the standard metrics for checking a bank's profitability.
A red flag should go up in your mind if a bank's RoE or RoA shows excessive deviation from that of its peer set. It is easy for a bank to boost its earnings in the short term by under provisioning for bad loans or by leveraging the balance sheet. This increases the risk over the long term. The recent financial crisis in the US is an example of all that can go wrong when excess leverage is employed by financial institutions.


              Net profits

ROA = ---------------

             Avg. total assets

Efficiency ratio. Check the operating profit margin of the bank you are evaluating. If a bank is able to keep its expenses under check, that is a positive sign.
Operating profit for banks is calculated after deducting administrative expenses (which include salary cost and network expansion cost) from its net interest income.


                Net interest income (NII) - operating expenses

OPM = ---------------------------------------------

                Total interest income

Controlling overheads is critical. This can be done through branch rationalisation and technology upgradation. The cost to income ratio indicates how good a job a bank is doing at controlling costs:
                                    Operating expenses

Cost to income ratio = ---------------------------

                                    NII + non interest income

Net interest margin. Net interest margin (NIM) is the net interest income as a percentage of average earning assets. It shows how profitable a bank's lending and deposit-taking activities are. Keep a tab on the long-term trend in a bank's NIM.
              Interest income - Interest expenses

NIM = ------------------------

             Average earning assets


Price-to-book. This is the key measure of valuation for banking stocks. Compare the bank's current P/B with its historical P/B levels (say median for past three years). Also compare it with that of its peers. This will tell you how expensive its valuation is.

Corruption robs from even the poor

India is being hailed as a rising global economic power. However, given its poor record in poverty eradication, human development indicators and inclusive growth, it has yet to go a long way to achieve this reputation.
The biggest impediment is the cancer of corruption, which has now spread to every wing of the government and every section of society, including the noble professions of education, medicine, judiciary, armed forces and journalism.
The several shameful episodes that have come to light in recent times include reports of illegal mining in several States, the 2G spectrum licences scandal linked to Telecom Minister Mr D. Raja, and the Sukhna land scandal involving four Lieutenant Generals of the Indian army.
The scams relating to the recently held Commonwealth Games and the Adarsh Co-operative Housing Society in South Mumbai have resulted in the sacking of Mr Suresh Kalmadi from his party position and Maharashtra Chief Minister Mr Ashokrao Chavan respectively.
The just released final report of the CAG has revealed that the 2G spectrum scandal cost the nation a mind-boggling Rs 1.7 lakh crore. However, the minister concerned clings to his job with the blessings of his party boss, Mr M. Karunanidhi. The Government should ensure his early exit to save face.
GROWING GRAFT
Corruption has become a way of life today, and everyone takes it for granted. Politicians and government officials shamelessly appropriate even the welfare funds meant for the poor.
Large-scale corruption and leakages in the plethora of anti-poverty schemes launched over the past several decades have defeated the very purpose of those schemes.
The public distribution system (PDS) intended to supply food grains and other essential items to the poor and weaker sections is in a shambles owing to large-scale diversion to the open markets and even to neighbouring countries like Nepal.
Similar is the case with the National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (NREGS), the UPA Government's flagship anti-poverty scheme. A Government investigation in 2009 revealed that a whopping 40 per cent of the allocation from the budgeted Rs 40,000 crore had been siphoned off.
The office of the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) routinely exposes serious cases of corruption in many Government schemes and programmes. However, corrective action from the Government is rare.
LAND MAFIA
With rising population pressures, particularly in the bigger cities, there is widespread corruption in the real estate business with a thriving land mafia-politician nexus involved in illegally grabbing government land and land reserved for recreation parks, playgrounds and so on. As the eminent economist Raghuram Rajan aptly put it: Yesterday's licence-permit raj has morphed into a land mafia raj with huge socioeconomic costs for the country.
Unfortunately, the discretionary allotment of land for housing to certain powerful groups has almost become institutionalised owing to the criminalisation of politics.
Land scarcity for affordable housing in major cities has been accentuated by the fact that the armed forces, railways and the PSUs hold land far in excess of their operational needs and reasonable reserves. For instance, it has now come to light that the Ministry of Defence holds about 17 lakh hectares of prime land across the country worth more than Rs 20 lakh crore. Of this, only about two lakh acres are reportedly in use.
Clearly, there is need for a detailed and competent audit of the land banks held by the country's defence forces, port trusts, railways, the PSUs and other public utilities. The excess land held by them should be released for public housing, educational institutions and so on.
Fighting corruption and cleaning the prevailing mess should receive top priority if the Government is to realise its goal of inclusive growth and poverty eradication to create a new 21 st century India over the next decade or two.
CLEANING THE MESS
The cleaning process should begin at the top by drastically reforming the electoral process. Excessive, illegal and illegitimate expenditure in elections is the root cause of corruption. Often, the poll expenditure of candidates is 10 to 15 times the legal ceiling prescribed, eventually leading to criminalisation of politics that threatens the very roots of democracy.


In July 2008, The Washington Post had reported that nearly a fourth of 540 Indian Parliament members faced criminal charges, including human trafficking, immigration rackets, embezzlement, rape and even murder. At the State level, things are worse.
According to the Swiss Banking Association Report 2006, Indians had stashed away $1,456 billion of black money in that country. The corrupt entities include politicians, industrialists, officials, cricketers, film stars, and protected wildlife operators, to name just a few.
Although the Right to Information (RTI) legislation has empowered citizens to demand transparency from public officials, there have been instances of RTI activists being threatened, attacked and even killed by vested interests.
Hence, there is a need to drastically change our legal system to guarantee stringent punishment for corrupt politicians and government officials.
Asking a corrupt politician to resign from the job is not enough; criminal proceedings should follow to deliver suitable punishment, including a jail term.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Google's Android platform turns 3, Gingerbread due on 11 November


The Android platform was born on this day three years ago, on 5 November 2007, and the first device based on the platform was introduced nearly one year later, on 22 October when the T-Mobile G1 saw daylight for the first time.

However, the story began back in 2005 when Google acquired the Android Inc. Then, it was only a matter of time for the Android platform to show up. Now, a few years later, this is one of the fastest developing operating systems.

The Android OS hasn't stop improving since Day One. Cupcake, Donut, Eclair, Froyo… Those are all sweets but at the same time these are the names of the numerous Android updates released over the years. And rumor is the next one, Android 2.3 a.k.a. Gingerbread, is about to be launched in a week, on 11 November.

As for the applications compatible with the Android platform, currently, there are more than 100 000 apps over at the Android Market and their number is continuing growing and growing.

Currently, we have 141 Android handset in our database and those are not all phones available worldwide as as we don't list all CDMA handsets.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Google and other companies to unveil first Chrome OS powered notebooks and smartbooks later this month?

Leading companies are said to announce their first Chrome-powered smartbooks later in November 2010. But what is even more exciting, word is Google is about to present its own notebook based on the Chrome operating system as well.

The first Google-branded Chrome-running notebook is said to be manufactured by a company called Inventec. Rumor is initial shipments will reach 60 000-70 000 units.
The smartbook will be build around an ARM-based platform and won’t be available through retail channels (only online, directly from Google).

A little while after we see Google’s Chrome-based firstborn, we’ll get to meet some smartbooks made by Wuanta Computer but wearing the Acer and the HP logos. Those should be launched some time in December. Asustek will probably join the party a tad later.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Google Co-Founders Wanted Steve Jobs To Be CEO of Google

Google Co-Founders Wanted Steve Jobs To Be CEO of Google
When Sergey Brin and Larry Page were first looking for a CEO to run Google, they met with Steve Jobs. The Google co-founders left that meeting wanting the CEO of Apple to become the CEO of Google.
According to interviews in Bloomberg's documentary series, Game Changers, that's who the two boywonders wanted as their head honcho. At the time (early 2000's), Sergey and Larry had interviewed some 12-13 candidates to become CEO of Google but didn't like any of 'em. Instead they wanted Jobs, their quote-unquote hero, to be the CEO. Unfortunately Jobs was busy running some other company that was about to embark on a renaissance for the ages.
The Google dudes ended up finding and picking Eric Schmidt who interestingly doesn't really resemble Jobs at all. It's funny to think what would've happened if things played out differently (even if it was probably never serious for Jobs). Maybe Apple and Google wouldn't hate each other. Maybe there would be no iPhone. Or no Android. Ah! Never mind! I like the world as it is now

The Best Video Games Right Now

Fall is here and the weather is slowly getting colder. What does that mean? It's time to stay inside, get warm and play some video games. Here are the best video games available right now.

Fallout: New Vegas


The Best Video Games Right Now
Fallout: New Vegas can be thought of as a sorta sequel, gigantic expansion pack to the oh so awesome Fallout 3. If you loved Fallout 3, New Vegas offers more of it (even though no character from Fallout 3 pops up). The RPG lasts a mind boggling 60 to 80 hours, where you'll be spendting time swooning gangsters and staying alive in post-nuclear Vegas. (Xbox 360, PS3, PC)

Fable 3

The Best Video Games Right Now
It's always about choices when it comes to Fable RPG's and Fable 3 is no different. Fable 3 centers around a prince (or princess), and the choices he makes on his journey to become King (or Queen). Both the captivating main storyline and always interesting random interactions make Fable 3 worth playing. (Xbox 360)

NBA Jam

The Best Video Games Right Now
Every sports fan has been waiting for a modern sequel of the infamously ridiculous 90's classic that is NBA Jam. It's finally here and it's bringing new players, updated graphics, and brand new game modes. But make no mistake, it's the same fiery, boomshakalaka bucket of awesomeness. Currently only available for the Wii, I can't wait until this comes out on the 360. (Wii)

NBA 2K11

The Best Video Games Right Now
Fittingly, with Michael Jordan on the cover, NBA 2K11 the best version of the best basketball franchise in existence. Its competitor, NBA Elite, didn't even put out a game this year. If you like basketball, if you like sport simulation games, if you like games—this is probably the sports game of the year. (Xbox 360, PS3, Wii, PS2, PC)

Rock Band 3

The Best Video Games Right Now
Admit it, we're all tired of instrument-based rhythm games. Thankfully, Rock Band 3 is changing things up. This time around, there's a Pro mode that's actually going to try and teach gamers how to play the instruments. (Xbox 360, PS3, Wii)

Toy Soldiers

The Best Video Games Right Now
Every kid has wondered what it'd be like if their toys came to life. Apparently, this tower defense game, Toy Soldiers, is what would happen. Toy Soldiers offers a new wrinkle on tower defense games, gamers can actually jump into and control the defenses they've built. (Xbox 360)

Red Dead Redemption

The Best Video Games Right Now
The open world of Red Dead Redemption is just as amazing as any GTA game and made even more amazing by the fact that it's based in a time unfamiliar to us, yet completely, beautifully natural. Technology is sparse and a man is a man. I'll never break a horse in my life but when I did in Red Dead, I felt like a motherfucking cowboy. (Xbox 360, PS3)

Mass Effect 2

The Best Video Games Right Now
A masterful Sci-Fi RPG game that improves on the beloved original. It's polished, pretty and almost art in motion. The combat system is also much, much improved. (Xbox 360, PS3, PC)

Halo: Reach

The Best Video Games Right Now
The end of Halo as Bungie will tell it, Halo: Reach is the pinnacle of the Halo series (which is incredible, if you really think about it). The story is well told, the environment and graphics are almost poetic and the multiplayer is, well, a Halo multiplayer. (Xbox 360)

Kirby's Epic Yarn

The Best Video Games Right Now
Yeah it's, um, yarn graphics but who knew yarn graphics could be so fun? The side scrolling Kirby is further away from Kirby's in the past yet still manages to capture another level of magic. The game looks and acts like it was built from yarn. (Wii)

God of War: Ghost of Sparta

The Best Video Games Right Now
God of War is the only series I ever used my PSP for. Thank God I still have it around because the PSP's God of War: Ghost of Sparta might very well offer a superior experience than the PS3's God of War III. (PSP)

Civilization V

The Best Video Games Right Now
It takes the best of previous Civilization games and improved it. It took out the rest and replaced it with faster and more sensible gameplay. It's a Civilization that's new and different, yet unmistakably Civilization at its best. (PC)

StarCraft II

The Best Video Games Right Now
Dude, it's a sequel to Starcraft. (PC)

Android 2.1 starts rolling out to Sony Ericsson Xperia X10 line this weekend

Doesn't get much more "late October" than this, does it? Sony Ericsson has announced that it'll begin delivering Android 2.1 upgrades to its X10 line of phones at long last this coming Sunday, October 31st -- but odds are pretty good you won't be in the first batch. In fact, only unbranded X10s, X10 Minis, and X10 Mini Pros in Nordic countries will be getting boosted at first, followed by "more kits" on Monday and throughout November. As a refresher, these updates will bring 720p video capture on the X10 proper (complete with continuous autofocus), a new backup / restore app, and a bunch of other tweaks that should make your little pal feel a bit less 2009 and bit more 2010. Froyo would be nice, of course... but we'll take what we can get.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Nexus Two does (or doesn't) exist, is (or isn't) being released this year

After going most of the year with very little noise on the Nexus One's successor -- a phone Google has never committed to making, by the way -- we've gotten a handful of conflicting rumors about this thing in the past few days. Let's take a swipe at the buzz that's circulating this week:
  • British publication City A.M. says the Nexus Two is a Carphone Warehouse exclusive, will be released in time for the holidays, and probably won't be made by Samsung.
  • Android and Me is convinced that the Nexus Two will in fact be a Samsung product, will be announced at its November 8th press conference, will ship with Android 2.3 Gingerbread (assuming 3.0 is Honeycomb), and will be available on multiple carriers.
Meanwhile, a quote from Google CEO Eric Schmidt from back in July may suggest there will be no Nexus One successor at all:
"The idea a year and a half ago was to do the Nexus One to try to move the phone platform hardware business forward. It clearly did. It was so successful, we didn't have to do a second one."
Of course, he goes on to say that the Nexus One's sudden sunset was a shining example of Google's "nimbleness" -- and since the quote is from nearly four months ago, there's little reason to doubt that the company could've easily done a 180 since then, particularly since we're sure they'd like to have a clean, skin-free, and possibly carrier-free device to showcase Gingerbread. At any rate, time's running out to get a product advertised and available in time to catch holiday buyers... so this'll all have to shake out pretty quickly.

Mount Everest now 'wired' for Internet, ready for Starbucks



TeliaSonera subsidiary Ncell has just completed installation of a 3G base station at 5,200 meters (17,000 feet) that will reach the 8,848-meter peak of Mount Everest. Mind you, we've already seen a cellphone call made from the world's highest peak using a temporary base station in a Motorola publicity stunt. This time, however, it's permanent and faster allowing climbers to surf the internet or make 3G video calls. Why would Ncell want to build a base station in such a sparsely populated area? Because it is there.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Top 5 Icon Search Engine For Web Designers

Graphic designers always search for fresh resources such as icons, logos, vector images, textures and fonts. These are the most important things for graphic web designers to make any websites design beautiful and attractive.

We are providing top 5 icon search engine for web designers. These icon search engines have every type of icons such as social media icon, ecommerce icon, desktop icons, web application icons and much more.



I hope you like these search engines and find everything that is needed for making your next project more beautiful.

Iconlet

 

Icon Seeker


Veryicon


Icon Finder


Icon Shock

10 Practices to Speed Up Your Website

Do you like fast websites? We’re sure you do just like search engines and metrics companies that use website load time as a parameter in their rankings. For website visitors waiting is one of the most annoying things on the web. And if in real life speeding is dangerous for you, in virtual world speed is essential for successful website – lack of speed means death for your website.

Nowadays such factors as user experience and user-friendliness are really important and may determine whether your website will succeed in future or not. We should never forget about our big brother Google which considers website load time as a part of their ranking algorithm.

Below you’ll find some tips and tricks that will give wings to your website. Maybe you’ll be confused about some specific terms but we believe that after spending some time on Wikipedia things will become clear for you. Of course we are always glad to discuss this topic in our comments section.

    *      Parallelize downloads across hostnames

      Actually smart usage of this method can give you amazing results. You should remember that most static resources can be parallelized and the main task is to create a balance between all hostnames for all static objects. Anyways the main rule here is that any of your hosts must not serve more than 50%. Remember that the optimal number of hosts is between 2-5 hosts, so don’t misapply it.

    *      Use URL paths instead of hostnames

      The main trick behind this problem is that you need to control the number of multiple properties that are hosted on the same domain. The best solution that will help you to unload these properties is assigning them to different URLs but not hostnames. For example if you need to host your blog than make it website.com/blog instead of blog.website.com. This will help you to minimize DNS lookups and allows more efficient use of TCP reconnections that will reduce the number of round trip times.

    *      Optimize images

      Everything is simple here – you should choose appropriate type for your images (choose wisely between PNG, GIF and JPG) and don’t forget to use image compressor. Also correct specifying image dimensions (width and height) allows browser to perform faster rendering

    *      Browser and proxy caching

      These are best friends for your website – by setting up expiry date you’ll force your browser for downloading the previously downloaded resources from local disk and proxy caching will leave your original remote server in peace by using proxy servers.

    *      Put CSS in the Head

      By placing CSS properties blocks in the header of your website you’ll improve rendering performance. Another important thing about CSS is that you should keep in the mind that good old IE is still alive and kicking. This means you may want to avoid using CSS expressions which are good only for IE 5-7 and that other browsers don’t support.

    *      Enable compression

      Using gzip or deflate will help you to reduce the number of bytes sent over the network. Data compression for HTML, CSS and JS files are widely supported by modern browsers and sending this content in more compact form helps to reduce download time.

    *      Diminish content of CSS, HTML and JavaScript file

      Again, it will help you save some bytes. Also you’ll reduce network latency and improve compression.

    *      Serve scaled images

      Scaling the images in a proper way is very useful tool for your website because it reduces the number of unnecessary bytes sent by you.

    *      Take care about requests

      Minimize HTTP request size by using server-side storage for most of the cookie payload and removing unused and duplicate cookies. Avoid bad requests such as broken links or 404 pages. Minimize HTTP redirects from one URL to another – this is another way to minimize round trip times.

    *      Correct order of styles and scripts

      The correct order will optimize the parallelization of downloads and will improve browser rendering time.

Well, this is about it. Those are only the basic ways for improving your website load time but it is a good set of tools for you to have something to start with.

Adobe confirms Flash Player 10.1 is coming to BlackBerry, Windows Phone 7 and more



We've already known that Adobe would be bringing Flash Player 10.1 to Windows Phone 7, but the company has just now made that fully official at its currently-happening MAX conference (alongside its Air 2.5 announcement), and it's also confirmed exactly which other mobile platforms the plug-in will be headed to. That includes WebOS 2.0, which we've already seen first hand, along with BlackBerry OS, Symbian, MeeGo and, last but not least, the LiMo platform -- those will all of course join Android 2.2, which already supports the plug-in. Unfortunately, there's still no timeline for a release on each platform, with Adobe only saying that Flash 10.1 is "expected" to hit each mobile OS. Head on past the break for the relevant snippet from Adobe's press release.


Flash Player 10.1
Already one of the top free apps on Android Market, with more than 50,000 users giving it a 4.5-out-of-5 star rating, Flash Player 10.1 brings rich Flash based content to mobile devices inside the browser. The runtime is now certified on close to a dozen Android devices and will become available on dozens more over the coming weeks and months. Adobe also announced that Flash Player 10.1 was downloaded more than 2 million times from Android Market. In addition to Android Market, the runtime is distributed directly by device manufacturers and operators via pre-installs and operating system upgrades. Flash Player 10.1 is available on Android and Google TV today, with BlackBerry platform, HP webOS 2.0, future versions of Windows® Phone, LiMo, MeeGo, and Symbian OS also expected to support Flash Player 10.1.

Android Market surpasses 100,000 apps: can't stop, won't stop growing

 
Ah, there we go. Right around three months after we falsely suspected that El Goog had crossed the 100,000 mark in its Android Market, the company itself has today confirmed the passing of that line via Twitter. For those keeping count, it took but three months to go from 70,000 to 100,000 and seven months to go from 30,000 to this point. Of course, Apple's still holding down the lead in terms of sheer numbers with close to 300,000, but there's no question that the Android Market has nearly everything a boy (or girl, for that matter) could want. Except for a quote generator from Step Brothers. Oh, wait....

Avatar 2 and 3 Will See James Cameron Pick Up the 3D Camera Once More

Avatar 2 and 3 Will See James Cameron Pick Up the 3D Camera Once More 



While all seven of the 3DTV-owners worldwide await the release of the Avatar Blu-ray in 3D, 20th Century Fox has announced that James Cameron has already signed on to direct Avatar 2 and 3, out in 2014 and 2015.

It's a long wait, yes. He'll begin writing the films early next year supposedly, and will begin work on Avatar 2 at the end of the year. Avatar 2 should be released in cinemas December 2014, and Avatar 3 a year later, presumably just in time for the hungry parents' credit cards.

Actors, plots and other sort of details haven't been confirmed yet (I doubt even Cameron knows himself, if he hasn't started writing them yet), but Cameron did say that the films "will not back off the throttle of Avatar's visual and emotional horsepower, and will continue to explore its themes and characters, which touched the hearts of audiences in all cultures around the world."

Windows 7 Service Pack 1 release candidate available for download

In software development terms, Release Candidate is the final stretch. The first Service Pack for Windows 7 is pretty much all the updates released so far collected in a single package, plus improvements to virtualization and remote desktop use…

Service Pack 1 will bring Windows 7 computers up to date if their auto-update was off all this time (some companies do that in their offices, in case some update turns out to be faulty). The two new things that SP1 brings are RemoteFX and Dynamic Memory.

Dynamic Memory will improve memory usage if you use Hyper-V virtualization. RemoteFX is slightly more interesting – it’s imbues remote desktop connections with support for Aero, full motion video and playing 3D games. You can read more about it here.

Anyway, the more impatient among you can get the Windows 7 Service Pack 1 from here (it works for Windows Server 2008 R2 too). The rest will have to wait till Q1 of 2011 when the final version of SP1 comes out.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Windows Phone 7 Launch Day Overview: 11 New Phones Announced

Now that was a press conference that will be talked about for quiet some time. Along with the official launch of the Windows Phone 7 OS, Microsoft and their partners revealed almost a dozen new phones to run it.

Windows Phone 7 Windows Phone 7 Windows Phone 7
The WP7 launch event surprised us nicely with 11 new announcements

With the WP7 minimum requirements standing at the top of currently available technology there isn’t much to choose between all those new offerings. They all have 1 GHz Snapdragon CPUs, large WVGA screens and generous amount of RAM and internal storage.
HTC were most active today revealing a total of five new handsets. Those include the HTC HD7 with its huge 4.3″ display and the HTC 7 Surround with its slide-out speaker. The HTC 7 Mozart puts the best camera on the table (8MP autofocus with xenon flash), while the HTC 7 Trophy should be the most attractively priced one.

HTCHTC
HTC HD7 • HTC 7 Surround

The first QWERTY-packing HTC WP7 handset will be the HTC 7 Pro, which will come to Sprint early next year. There is no information of a GSM version so far.

HTCHTC
HTC 7 Mozart • HTC 7 Trophy

Samsung had a couple of phones to announce too – the AT&T-bound Focus and the I8700 Omnia 7, which should get worldwide availability. Those rely on their 4″ SuperAMOLED screens to make an impact.

Samsung I8700 Omnia 7 Samsung Focus
Samsung I8700 Omnia 7 • Samsung Focus

We were able to get our hands on a Samsung I8700 Omnia 7 unit in advance and we have prepared a full review for you. You should definitely check it to see how good the new OS is on an actual device.
LG were also at the party, showcasing three new handsets. The E900 Optimus 7 with its 3.8″ screen and the QWERTY-rocking twins C900 Optimus 7Q and C900 Quantum are what the company has to show for its WP7 effort so far. Strangely enough the LG GW910, which was showcased on a numerous occasions before, is not among the releases today.

LG Optimus 7 LG Optimus 7Q
LG Optimus 7 • LG Optimus 7Q

Finally we come to the smartphone maker rookies from Dell and their Venue Pro. They were the only ones to announce a portrait QWERTY-slider and they even managed to slap a 4.1″ AMOLED screen over it.

Dell Venue Pro
Dell Venue Pro

QWERTY flip BlackBerry Style 9670

Just as we thought that the clamshell form factor is dead, here comes BlackBery to disprove us.

After months of waiting we can finally welcome the BlackBerry Style 9670 (previously rumored as Bold 9670), RIM’s first flip smartphone equipped with a full QWERTY keyboard. The phone is hitting the Sprint stores across the US on October 31st.

The BlackBerry Style 9760 is a nice looking, though not that thin, clamshell coming in two colors – Steel Grey for the boys and Royal Purple for the gals. On the front there is a small but handy touchscreen and on the back – a 5MP autofocus camera with VGA video recording.

It’s not the first time we get to meet the QWERTY-fied fatty (which you might know as Bold 9670) but today is the day when all questions will be answered. The thing is powered by a 624MHz processor and runs the recently unveiled BlackBerry OS 6.

The Style 9670 has a full QWERTY keyboard and right above it is the 360-by-400-pixel display. The CDMA-compatible Style also features support for 802.11n Wi-Fi and Bluetooth and comes with a built-in GPS receiver on board.

The Grey Steel variety should start selling on October 31st for 100 US dollars (after a mail-in rebate and with a new contract with Sprint), while the purple Styles should become available a tad later, early November. There is still no word on GSM-loving Style phones but we bet those are just around the corner.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Google TV brings the web to your TV

Seemingly bored with its quest for total domination of the personal computer and smartphone, Google just announced its new and upcoming service called Google TV. Television is a huge ad market with 4 billion users around the globe using it actively and Google plans to revolutionize it.
gsmarena 001 Google TV brings the web to your TV
The concept behind Google TV is to merge the web with your TV so you can enjoy all those videos available online on the largest and best screen in your home – the one of your TV set.Google have partnered with Sony and Logitech on this one. Sony have prepared the world’s first Google TV lineup. That should hit the US market this fall. The lineup includes both a standalone TV model and set top box-type unit incorporating a Blu-ray Disc drive.
Google’s other partners Logitech have been working on a companion box that brings Google TV to existing HDTV home entertainment systems. It should be compatible with any brand of HDTV currently available.
The final notable member at the Google party is Intel, who will be providing the CPUs to power all that hardware. Wait, does that mean there’s an Atom inside that Sony Bravia? Cool!
And as tradition goes with Google-inspired devices, Google TV interface is search-based. Those devices will come with the Chrome web browser and will support Flash 10.1 so almost all kinds of web video will be available for direct consumption. Since Google TV is Android-based you will also be able to use apps from the Android market plus you Android smartphone can be used to remotely control the receiver (and even do voice searches).
Somehow I’m not overly excited about the whole thing and even if I give it a try some day, I probably won’t be canceling my cable subscription any time soon. Internet is already full of nice TV shows, TV series and what-not, but I doubt that all the local TV content I currently follow will be available through the Google TV searchbox. Like ever! But time will tell.

Microsoft Kinect specs revealed, only two players can play at once

Geeks have a soft spot for technical specifications – and now revealed for the first time, the Microsoft Kinect tech specs are bound for some geeky attention. A quick fact, the Kinect controller will be able to track you when you’re between 1.2 and 3.5 meters away from it. How’s that for starters?
gsmarena 001 Microsoft Kinect specs revealed, only two players can play at once

Interestingly, the two cameras on the Kinect have surprisingly low resolution – two video streams with 640×480 pixels resolution at 30 frames per second. I thought they would need higher resolution to do their tracking magic, but it seems they can do it with just VGA.
Kinect’s horizontal field of view is 57 degrees. Additionally, the Kinect has a motor that can tilt it 27 degrees each way to track you, which expands the field of view. The vertical field of view is 43 degrees.
The Kinect does all the tracking computation on its own, so it’s compatible with all Xbox 360 consoles. It has its limitations though – it can track 6 people at once, but only two of them are ‘active players’. However, it can track 20 joints per active player (I didn’t know I had that many).
The Kinect also has an array of microphones besides the cameras – they can capture 16-bit audio at 16 kHz and include echo cancellation and speech recognition for voice commands.