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Xisto Corporation

H.O.D

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  1. This is really ridiculous. Apple and Samsung should stop suing each other and concentrate on bringing more innovation in their products. A slimmer phone or a larger screen are not good enough reasons for buying a new phone that hardly does anything new! Although these are breakthroughs in engineering, to the average user they do not mean much, unless their work is simplified greatly. Isn't it true that Apple trades with Samsung for a few parts of the iPhone? Why then would it keep suing Samsung? And Samsung, which is well-known for having me-too approach to product design, has to really think twice before counter-suing Apple. A lot of time and money is being wasted in these meaningless battles. Wouldn't it be nice if the two companies dropped these allegations against each other and spent the money for some new product features instead? I might not be a tech expert but I guess the next big changes in technology are just around the corner, and if these two giants keep fighting each other, someone else might silently come out with the next innovation and these two will be left wondering what hit them!
  2. Sometimes I think that Wordpress is like the Windows of the CMS world. There is such a large-scale acceptance of Wordpress that there rarely is a need for an alternative. With some of the world's most popular websites running on Wordpress, there hardly is any reason not to depend on Wordpress for building a site. That's so very true! Mastering Wordpress is not an easy task and will take time. But once you can tweak the code to your will, then you can find that you can design websites that look very unique and different. Then you need not worry about having a dull website that millions of other Wordpress users have! I think that keeping Wordpress free was the best decision taken by its creators. Thanks to that we all now have a powerful CMS at our disposal, which we can use for free, and yet reap the benefits of having a top-notch CMS that can be tweaked to compete with any website on the internet!
  3. As most of us know, Google Plus has a lot of users. However, most of those users hardly ever use the site. Compare this to Facebook, where more than 50% of the users log in everyday to the site and interact for a long time. Google Plus only has a huge userbase which is largely inactive. But at the same time, it has Google holding the reins. With ideas like Search Plus Your World, Google is trying hard to bring more focus onto Google Plus. The company tried hard to promote Google Buzz and Wave as well, and today both those projects are defunct. Will Google Plus be the next to follow? I'm not a personal fan of Facebook, and do not use the site a lot. That said, most of my friends are always active on Facebook and everyday I have new apps that I need to block in order to stop getting requests from them. Facebook's success is perhaps really due to the apps on the site, and how they can make friendship seem more fun. But then, Google Plus too has a lot of apps. It hasn't worked out too well for Google Plus. In fact a lot of application developers are pulling out their apps from Plus, due to lack of users. Maybe the only reason Google Plus is failing a lot is that it's trying too hard to imitate Facebook. Also, it did not launch with a lot of features. Facebook never had all its wonderful features back in 2004. But then it was limited only to universities. By the time it launched to the public in 2006, it had a large database of user feedback, and had introduced many of the features that we are all familiar with today. This is one of the main reasons Facebook is in the leader's position today.Google Plus spent a lot of time in development as well. But unlike Facebook, it did not have a lot of user feedback, and also, it did not launch to the public with many useful features. By the time the new features were introduced, people had already moved away from Google Plus. What's done is done. Perhaps Google is still trying hard to increase user interaction on Google Plus, but it might be a bit too late. It's not as if the place is a ghost town. There is considerable activity going on; it's just not as large as Facebook. Now the question remains as to where will Google take the website from here. Will it gradually be phased out like Wave and Buzz, or will it continue to exist where it is now, hoping that at some point in the future it will pick up momentum? Whatever seems the case, Facebook doesn't appear to me moving from its top position anytime soon.
  4. EA sports is (in)famous for releasing yearly iterations of its sports titles, adding a few new features and repeating the same formula year after year. These titles sell, because they're sports, and the few new features are usually enough to keep the interest alive. But when other genres of games come out with yearly iterations, how far can it be interesting? At the moment most gaming studios seem to be in the milking mode, trying to extract as much money as possible from the franchise. Call of Duty, Assassin's Creed, these titles come to mind immediately when thinking of sequels...these games have a yearly title, which fans lap up with eagerness, only to discover that they keep getting worse with each sequel. Now it is not fair to generalise it this way; some sequels are really good. The God of War series is a fine example. Each sequel is definitely better than its predecessor, and although there is some innovation in each sequel. After playing GoW3, the bosses in the earlier games seem too puny and funny! This is the sign of a good sequel. But today's sequels are mostly the same as their predecessors, bringing very little innovation to the table. This is what takes off the interest from these games. Now everyone is waiting with bated breath for Max Payne 3. After a few days they will wait for Assassin's Creed 3. The power of the franchises is such that fans will definitely wait for sequels, even if they turn out to be disappointing. The problem is that most sequels do turn out to be disappointing. This is actually a very old trend, which is already seen in movies. Most movie studios churn out sequels, hoping to ride on the success of the first movies. Only a handful of these sequels actually work out, and they become huge franchises. But most of the sequels turn out to be duds, and the studios just manage to break even. The exact same thing is happening in the gaming industry as well. Only a few franchises manage to become hits, while some do not go beyond part 2. In spite of this, many gaming studios are feverishly planning on sequels, and due to this original games are becoming far and few. It is considered to be too risky to produce an original game title these days. Even fans support this theory by investing heavily in proven franchises. So a bestseller list will always contain more part 2s and part 3s than original titles. Is anyone else bored about this trend? As a gaming fan I too enjoy waiting for sequels of games that I've enjoyed playing. But when most of those sequels fail to deliver with repetitive gameplay, I get really bored, and the wait for the next sequel gets a little less exciting. So what do you think - if a game becomes successful should it or should it not have a sequel. If it should, how many?!!
  5. The problem is that there is all this hype about the Post-PC revolution. Just because the iPhone and the iPad sold millions of units, the tech giants are assuming that the PC is no longer relevant. Actually, Apple started this thought and eventually everyone else started believing this as well. But the truth is that except in the US and perhaps the UK, no one is using these smart devices. There's no iPad being flashed in developing countries which make up most of the world's population! For less than half the price of an entry-level iPad, I could buy a fairly powerful PC with decent memory, running Ubuntu! For most of the world, the PC is still the easiest and pocket-friendly way of accessing the internet. The "mobile revolution" or the "post-pc revolution" that is being talked about is true, but it hasn't spread outside the US. So in a way, the changes in Windows, Ubuntu and even Mac OS X are being ushered in a bit too early. Windows 8 is a huge risk for Microsoft because the bulk of their revenue comes from licensing Windows to laptop manufacturers. If Windows 8 is optimised for tablets, then who's going to buy those laptops? Windows 7 would become the new XP, and people would say, We're happy with the old Windows! On a phone, tiles are good. That's true. On a PC too, they're not that bad. I've been using the Consumer Preview for a week now, and have gotten used to the tiles. But what is annoying is that some of the apps are unnecessary. For example, I'm trying to open a PDF file through the desktop, and suddenly, the metro interface opens up and the Reader app comes up, with hardly any features at all! The same can be said about the Music an Video apps. Of course the default apps can be changed, but the default apps themselves are annoying! Ubuntu's redesigning is the greatest fail of all. Just when it was beginning to seem like Ubuntu would stand a chance in the real world market, the Unity interface came in and then the HUD. These might seem a little convenient in the beginning, but for regular users they are really irritating and the interface doesn't look too good at all. The one good thing about Linux is that it offers a choice to everyone to pick whatever style they want, but for a novice it is going to be hard to install a new display manager from scratch! Coming back to Windows Consumer Preview, after a few days of use the metro interface seems smooth enough, but there's going to be a lot of people unhappy about the missing start button! I'll say it again - this is too early for the mobile interface to be forced onto the PCs. PCs aren't going anywhere -there's a world outside the US!
  6. It's been out for a week now, and has already recorded more than a million downloads. Windows 8, the next version of Microsoft's Windows, is available as a consumer preview, or in other words, as a beta release. It can be downloaded from here free of cost. This is not a new move at all. Windows 7 was released to the public in two different flavours as well; first as a Beta version and then a Release Candidate version. In case of Windows 8, the pre-beta (developer) version itself was made public, and now the Beta version has come out. I'm not sure if there will be an RC version or if the retail version will be out directly. Talking about the Consumer Preview version, it has surely come a long way from the Developer Preview version. The immediate difference is the GUI. The Metro interface has been made smoother and more visually-appealing to the eyes. More importantly, the background colour of the interface can now be changed at will. The DP version had a constant green colour in the background. Also, the setup process has been tweaked a bit, so that towards the end, the user has a whole-new setup screen, which once again, is visually appealing. Other changes include the inclusion of the Microsoft Store, where Metro apps can be downloaded. At the moment all the apps in this store are free of cost. The pre-loaded apps have also changed, with Pinball and Solitaire being the sole games (the DP version had more pre-loaded games), and social apps taking up much of the screen. Another change is the floating bar on the right of the Desktop which appears when the mouse cursor is taken to the right edge of the screen. The bar contains options to share the content on the screen, the "start" button (which takes the user back to the Metro screen) and an options button. In Windows explorer, the ribbon interface has been modified as well. The interface in the Developer version looked quite ugly, and it has been tweaked in this version. So far the performance of the new OS is decent, and the Metro apps are interesting to play with. The whole OS gives a loud statement that it is meant for touch-enabled devices, but it installed well enough on my 2-year old netbook. It looks like Microsoft has another bestseller on its hands, although not everyone will look kindly upon the forced change to the Metro interface, and especially upon the removal of the start button!
  7. It is not a 38MP camera but an 8MP camera with a 41MP sensor. And at the moment it is a concept phone, running the Symbian OS. This fact alone is enough to cut down the excitement, because the Symbian OS is a dying warhorse. But Nokia has confirmed that this new camera will soon be found on the Windows Mobile platform too. It might not be the best, but it is definitely better than Symbian!As for the camera itself, it is surely exciting but it will appeal only to photography enthusiasts. Common users are quite content with an 8MP camera that they get with most smartphones anyway. So while a 41MP camera seems exciting, at least for the moment it is not a necessity. People might be interested in looking at it but buying it...not quite interested! Even the photography enthusiasts might prefer a conventional camera for regular use instead of this phone. Still, this concept is definitely exciting!
  8. This thread was meant to be written more than two months ago, but after I typed it out and lost all of it to a power failure, I sort of lost the motivation to type all of it again! Anyway, better late than never; here I go again! Facebook's latest modification - the timeline- has now been pushed onto the general public, and it will only be a few more weeks before all the users are forced to break down their "wall" and start using their timeline. This new timeline appears to be very greedy for information, and Facebook encourages the users to fill in all sorts of information from their lives, beginning from their day of birth!If you've seen the introductory video to timeline, you would have noticed that the sample account shown in the video has all major milestones in the person's life, beginning from baby pictures, high school graduation, getting married, and so on. Not everyone will put so much information online, but there will also be a LOT of users who would be thrilled to put up more information about themselves, just to impress their friends! There are indeed millions of such people out there, and the timeline offers them more options to show off. But there is an important thing which is being forgotten, and it is that Facebook is greedy. It is very greedy for personal information. The major criticism for Facebook has always been the way it handles personal information collected from its users. The privacy options are either not strong enough or not flexible enough. So most users end up either blocking most of their content, or else they put all of it out in the open. Both options are unfeasible, and are irritating to regular users of the website.My major complaint about the timeline is that it is a curse for power users of Facebook. These are the people who spend many hours per day, putting a lot of their information online. Now they need to dig through all of this information and decide which is fit to be shown on the timeline, and which needs to be hidden. This could be hundreds or even thousands of posts! It might have been less than ten years since Facebook started, but in this short time it has garnered millions of posts from users, and all these posts need to be reviewed by their owners to be properly hidden from the timeline. After this time-consuming process is done, there is no guarantee that Facebook will not come up with another brilliant idea to change the user interface, and the same curating process needs to be repeated yet again!Even assuming that the timeline is here to stay for a long time, there is still the major problem that it encourages sharing of too much information. It only takes a few clicks of the mouse to add a new life event. New information, new privacy tensions. One might ask, "Why post at all?" But the minds of Facebook addicts work in a very different way. These people always share a lot of their information online, and they spend half of their day at Facebook.The timeline shows how greedy the company has gotten, and how risky it is to share information on Facebook now. Now that the company has offered its own IPO, I hope there is more careful restructuring done from now on, without making drastic changes that only worsen privacy issues.
  9. All this hubbub about user interfaces is truly annoying. First it was Unity, then it was the metro interface for Windows 8, and now the HUD for ubuntu! The worst part is that all of these changes are being forced upon users. In case of windows there is no hope of users being offered a choice anyway. In case of ubuntu, it is always possible to go back to the old gnome interface, but with it is simply no possible for new users to learn how to properly install gnome without messing up their system! Coming to HUD, I think it is a little bit interesting, but on a regular basis it might not be a very good idea. Yes, at the moment the interface does seem to be a little interesting, and it will certainly appeal for tablet users, but for power users who use ubuntu as their primary OS, HUD can be painful. The whole concept of HUD is not something new. It's somewhat similar to Google Instant Search, but it has been implemented for an operating system now! The intention is to save the user's time, but it can end up annoying the user a lot more than expected.After 11.04 came out, I got discouraged using Ubuntu, and just like many other users, I tried using Linux Mint. While a lot of people stuck with Mint and made it the most popular linux distro, I remained with Ubuntu 11.04 running the classic mode. The upgrade to 11.10 was ruled out because the classic desktop mode was removed, and the various options to install gnome were not satisfactory.Then came the news about HUD in version 12.04. While the demo video seemed slick, it was easily noticed how the new interface could become annoying soon. I only wish there were some new and easy way for users to switch to the classic gnome mode. Speaking of gnome, even they've "upgraded" their interface! The new gnome "shell" featured in Fedora is again slick, but annoying. Wouldn't it be nice if there was a better option to switch back to a classic gnome environment? Do all "upgrades" have to include major changes to the UI?!
  10. At the ongoing CES 2012, Canonical made a surprise appearance (well it was announced earlier of course, but the announcement was a surprise!) about a new "Ubuntu Concept Design". Until the keynote address took place everyone was under the assumption that it wouldbe some sort of new UI that would put Ubuntu ahead of the competition. But sadly, it turned out to be a design for a new Smart TV! The announcement was about an Ubuntu-powered Smart TV, which will feature the much-dreaded Unity interface. Some websites have even claimed that the whole point of the Unity interface being included forcibly was to allow the users to get used to it, so that whenthe TVs come out, they won't be surprised! Canonical claims that the Unity interface has been accepted well, but the truth is out there for us all to see. Distrowatch lists Ubuntu at number 2 now, and that has happened only because Unity is the default desktop environment for Ubuntu now. So why would Canonical want to use the same interface on their Smart TV? And another thing is whether releasing a Smart TV at such a time is a wise decision or not! Wouldn't it be better if the company focused on bringing back Ubuntu's shriking glory first and then worry about televisions? In this regard I've heard an argument that since the Smart TV market is still small, Canonical wants to get in there early and get a large share before other major players come in. Of course, those other two players are Apple and Microsoft, who would definitely want to get in their own OS onto Smart TVs (Apple TV is already on the way!) So what do you think about Ubuntu TV? Wouldn't it be better without the Unity interface?
  11. I'm not sure about Unity themes because I didn't use Unity in 11.04, and I'm not planning to use it this time either! But most of the tweaks can be done using a tool called Ubuntu Tweak. If you haven't tried it yet you might want to take a look at it, although I'm not sure it is designed to tweak the Unity interface.
  12. Wow I had no idea that Facebook was in trouble due to naming their page as "timeline". Well it's not a big matter for Facebook to settle in court. They've done it before and they'll do it now as well. The court issue won't be a huge thing for Facebook. What they will be concerned about is the kind of response they get for this new timeline. Most people wouldn't like their profiles to be "stalked" easily by other people, even if they happen to be their friends. So it would be easy for the users if they had some easy options to control what appears on their timeline and what does not.
  13. The problem with the internet is that if you're not serious about what you're doing, you can easily get distracted to do something else! This is the problem that I'm facing currently. I'm not doing any "business" in the strict sense, but I do have a couple of projects that I feel could be helpful to others. But the moment I start working on those projects, something else comes along to distract me (posting here, for example!) Sometimes those distractions are urgent (if I don't post, I lost my hosting) but sometimes the distractions are quite unnecessary (forwarded youtube videos, funny emails, etc) This is affecting my projects and they have been delayed quite a lot. If someone here can give a few hints on how to avoid this distraction, then my "business" of finishing my projects could definitely go off much smoother.
  14. The passing away of Steve Jobs is indeed very sad and a big blow for Apple and the technical world in general. It must be noted that although he was not the original creator of the iPod, iPhone and the iPad, it was because of him that these products became the huge sensations that they are today. He has proven to the world that although having a promising product is good, what makes that product sell is how you present it to the world and how you market it. Without Steve Jobs, these products may or may not have become the huge successes that they are today. He is truly the one who gave Apple the special tag that millions of people associate the company with today. So it is indeed a big shock to see someone like this pass away. There may never be someone else like him who can understand the market demands correctly and deliver the right product at the right time.I read somewhere that Apple already has their plans ready for all their products for the next 5-6 years. Even if these plans are rock solid and steady, they will surely miss Steve Jobs' managing and marketing skills. R.I.P. Steve Jobs. Thank you for your contributions to the world.
  15. This is the second time that Canonical has scheduled an early release of the October edition of Ubuntu (Ubuntu 10.10 was released on 10th October). Earlier October releases were always in the last week of the month. But after 10.10, the latest version 11.10 has been released early. To be more precise, it was released yesterday, i.e. October 13, 2011. The new version has been named as Oneiric Ocelot and is now available for download from the official Ubuntu website. As I like downloading the latest Ubuntu releases and reviewing them, I downloaded a copy of this version as soon as it released, and here I am, giving my own little review of the OS. Ubuntu 11.04 was the first release of Ubuntu which offered the "Unity" interface as the default desktop interface. It was an attempt to give users an easier way to access their most frequently used programs. But it was also a bit raw, and was not very convenient to use. There was an option to go back to the "classic" Ubuntu desktop, and I always used that option. I hardly used Unity at all. But Ubuntu 11.10 removes the option to go back to the classic Ubuntu desktop. Unity is now the default user interface, and the only other option is a 2D Unity interface, which is just a toned-down version for those people who do not have a proper graphics card installed in their systems. I wish the default desktop interface had been included this time as well, because the Unity interface is hardly perfect. Still, there is always the option to get the classic desktop through the repositories. Talking about Unity, it has once again changed. Every release of Ubuntu displays a new Unity interface, and thankfully, it keeps getting better. This one is no different, and the new interface is quite smooth, although still not perfect. The new Linux 3.0 kernel is in use here, and the overall performance is not bad; yet it is not too impressive. I think Ubuntu has reached a stage where there is no immediate scope for further development. Users are hungry for more features but Canonical does not seem to be finding a suitable way to satisfy that hunger. Windows and Mac OS X are facing the same challenges as well (Windows is going through a major re-design with the "metro interface" and Mac OS X Lion has brought forward a new desktop interface based on the iPad) but compared to those two, Ubuntu is lacking in catching up. That said, it would be unfair to say that the Unity interface is bad. It is quite useful to find the most frequently used apps, and once you get used to it, you might even like it a little. For me though, the classic Ubuntu desktop is fine, and I'm going to install it soon through the repositories! As for what else is new in Ubuntu 11.10, the default email app is now Thunderbird. Evolution has been ditched. Also, the "Ubuntu" font has been sort of upgraded, and everything looks much nicer to read now. This is a definite plus point for Ubuntu. It is back on the road to becoming more user friendly. Apart from that, there is not much new. I cannot go into the deep core changes because I do not want to talk about something that I don't know On the whole Ubuntu 11.10 is not something groundbreaking. It is good, and stable, and is worth a look for diehard Ubuntu fans. For new users of Ubuntu, Linux Mint is still the most friendliest Linux distro available. Unity might look friendly for sure, but it will take a while before getting used to it completely. So if you are interested in taking a peek at the latest Ubuntu release, do download the Ocelot from the Ubuntu website!
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