Saturday, 29 June 2013

Power From Heat and Water

Can we survive without mains electricity supply? Today's gadget generation may say they can't even survive the annoyance of a few hours unable to use their mobiles, tablets or laptop. And many may say it is impossible for the grid to even fail for a day with today's advanced technology, but what if it does?

But thanks, there are several sources that can supply you the electricity needed for the day to power up gadgets. And you might be thinking of a solar charger that can just be plug in with your device under the sun,  without much effort. Clean and green as it is, it has it's limitations. It can only work during the day. What about during the night or on a stormy weather? That's where the dynamo powered charger has the edge over in that particular situation. It can provide power as long as you are cranking it. The problem about this is, you'll need to spend more of your strength in order to power up gadgets that demand more electric power. In this case, you might need a bigger and heavier dynamo.

The Power Pot



There is an interesting option on generating electricity without doing any physical work, like solar powered, and can work anywhere, like the dynamo charger. The PowerPot is a thermoelectric generator. It converts any heat source directly into power. This means that you don't have to worry about batteries as long as you have any heat source, like burning logs, stove, and even the heat from hot spring.  It does this by converting temperature difference between the base of the pot and the water inside the pot. The bigger the difference,  say put an ice or ice water on it and start heating it up, the more the output power it can provide. If you are  worried about the power cord that might get burnt, the lead is made from  a special flame resistant lead .

This technology is useful and can make a big difference in places where no power grid is present. It is not only for gadgets, it can be for anything. The possibilities are endless in terms of application.You can put it into a permanent natural heat source say from a hot spring, and you can have all the electricity you have for free.  Useful as it is, when developed further, could mean a threat to the grid!

See video below:





Monday, 24 June 2013

What's New in the iOS 7?

Anytime soon the iOS 7 from apple for it's mobile devices will be rolling by. A good news to apple loyalist who are already bored with it's stagnant interface from the previous designs. What would apple fans expect with the new operating system? Most significant would be within the looks!

The icons


Starting from the icons, the iOS 7 is very different. Though you would not mistake it that it is for apple, the icons became simpler and paler in colour compared to the previous designs.   The original rounded edge is still there but it comes with simpler graphics and more solid colour. Comparing it side by side, the new icons  are  more youthful, vibrant, less cluttered but look more like clip arts.


Interesting new features



Command Centre


The next improvement is the integration of easy to activate device status where in you can easily turn on and off useful functions like wi-fi, bluetooth, airplane mode, mp3 player control, brightness control, flaslight, airplay and other usual functions that are otherwise buried in the old OS. This command centre reminds me of the android's ease of access feature when you swipe your fingers from the top going down. In apple, access command center by swiping it from the bottom to top.

Notification Center


Swiping the screen from top to bottom will activate the notification center, which will let you know the things needed to be done for the day or a glimpse of what is there for tomorrow. And as the name suggests, it is the all in one place for missed calls, new emails, reminders from your calendar, or who of your friends on social media is celebrating his birthday and many more. 

Notification Center lets you know about new mail, missed calls, to-dos that need doing, and more. And a new feature called Today gives you a convenient summary of, well, today. One glance at your iPhone and you’ll know if it’s a certain someone’s birthday, if you’ll need an umbrella, or if traffic will slow down your commute. You’ll even get a heads-up on tomorrow. You can access Notification Center from any screen, including the Lock screen. Just swipe down. And get up to speed.

iTunes Radio


This is a streaming radio service that features many collections of music genre and styles. You can personalise it to feature only the type of music or specific artist you listen to. It learns your music preference from day one to give you the best music selection as you listen more.

AirDrop feature




Here's another way of sharing your phone's content with contacts near you. You can share photos, videos, or contacts in a tap without necessary setting up both devices. AirDrop uses Wi-Fi and bluetooth to transfer and receive data. Data from supported applications can also use Airdrop. An interesting feature of AirDrop is you can share data to multiple recipients at once by selecting them from your contacts or anyone nearby that the device discovers. An improvement from android's NFC/Sbeam touching each other's back to exchange data.

New safari




The new safari is even more beautiful in iOS 7. Interesting features about this application is it's ability to block ads on a website to show just the real contents. This makes it faster, energy efficient, and data usage friendlier, as the additional data from third party ads are not shown. Tapping on the + sign will show you the opened tabs and line it up like documents in a filing cabinet. You can easily close a tab or open up with a tap.  Swiping the screen to the left will navigate to the previous page and swiping to the right will get you into the next page.  

Availability


The iOS 7 would support apple mobile from the iphone 4, iPhone 4S, and iPhone 5. For the tablets, it would be available to the iPad 2, iPad 3, iPad Retina Display, and  including  the iPad mini. Watch out for the OTA  this autumn.


Wednesday, 12 June 2013

Problem Solver Recorder


Do you have computer problems, especially with windows operating system, that you would like to share to others and see if they have solutions? Long before, I tell my friends to use remote access programs, particularly team viewer, to see what's going on, and that's the method I did to resolve  a friend's monitor showing a rotated image. This is good but this includes, conversation  over the phone and a program to download for the other party.  Another method is to tell them to take screen shots and label as necessary on what's happening before sending it as an email. Both are time consuming and can delay the help they needed.

One thing I did not know is that there is a program within windows that can record exactly what you are doing and makes a screen shot with every mouse activity. This makes error reporting very easy and mess free. You do not need to do anything, or download any program to make a professional looking error reporting. Here's how to access it.

Enabling Problem Solver Recorder


I am using a Fujitsu windows 7 with this tutorial. 

Click start (1), type cmd (2) at the search window, press enter.  At the command console, type psr (3), then press enter. The PSR tool bar will appear.



Using PSR


Start Recording

It is so easy to use, just press the record button and it will start taking screen shots with every mouse activity and automatically write a narrative of what is happening. If you do not want to record a particular mouse activity, just press pause record and when you are ready, press the record button again.

I would recommended to close all windows except the one you are working on or thinking of recording it to lessen the confusion.




Stop and Save Recording


Clicking the stop button (1) would save your recording usually at the desktop on a zip folder. You can name (2) the folder anything you want but the file name within has a default name and can't be renamed.


Inside the zip folder(1) is the file name of the MHTML document(2). You do not need to unzip it like other zip files. just click it and it opens instantly. It can be emailed to a friend or to an IT support as an attachment. Just be sure to review your recording as it can record sensitive information through the screen shots. You can also review your screen shots as slide shows when previewing.


You can email the zip folder to your contact and the recipient can easily open it without any additional tool.

Click link below to view sample of  the recording using PSR.


This recorder can be used not only to ask for help, but to explain a user's activity without any sweat!

Sunday, 9 June 2013

Wirelessly Control Android Phone on a PC


The latest android smartphones has massive screen that enhances enjoyment in watching movies, video calling and contributes in easy touch operation. Another trick of the android in terms of enhanced operation, specially Samsung, is the ability to control it without wires on your computer using the an app called Kies. This takes advantage of the wifi technology to transfer files, manage contacts, SMS, notes and so on, without the use of USB cables (see previous post at http://prakticality.blogspot.co.uk/2012/09/kiess-smart.html ). 

Airdroid is a similar program that can do what Kies can do wirelessly.

Here how to do it. Before you do this, make sure you have a google play account and both devices(pc and phone) are connected to your home wifi.

1. On your PC, go to http://airdroid.com and get android2 free. You will be directed to log in into google play. 


2. Download it and the list of devices connected with the google play credentials will be at the droplist. Select your phone and a notification will be sent to your phone. 

In case you have multiple accounts and forgot which one you've used to set up google play , just go to google play on your phone and download airdroid from there.

3.Once downloaded, launch application from your phone and create your airdroid account.




4. Then relaunch the application. Type http://web.android.com in your computer and get ready to log in either by scanning the QRcode or just type the user name and password.


 If the airdroid interface appears not loading and stucked to 0%, just refresh the page, sometimes it takes time connecting especially when your wifi has many users or your phone and laptop are doing something else. 



5. Once connected, you can access, messages, read or send them, edit contacts, download music from your device or vice versa, change ringtones, view pictures. Though viewing videos is sluggish so it is not recommended.  The function that impresses me most is the ability for the application to control the phone's camera. 



The function that impressed me most is it's ability to control the camera. With a little imagination this can be used as a home security ip camera. This means the view that the phone's camera is mirrored to the laptop. The phone can be focused for example on your door and you can see who's knocking on the laptop's screen. The only downside is, it can not be accessed from devices outside the home wifi coverage as both devices should be connected at the same SSID.

Watch how it can be used as a security internet protocol camera.




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