Interesting Uses of Camera Mobile Phones To Stay Productive

Some creative and productive uses of camera mobile phones (and digital cameras):

blue-screen-error Computer Screen Capture – You can use the Mobile Phone cameras for capturing screenshots of error messages that popup while you are reinstalling a copy of Windows or modifying some BIOS settings. In situations like the dreaded Blue Screen, Print-Screen key is useless but any phone-cam will get the job done.

Remember Dates – Some time back, I had gone to a nursery school for submitting the admission form of my son. I don’t remember the exact date now but luckily, I had snapped a picture of the school and so that date is automatically stored with the image.

remember-computer-cables

Cable Connections – Before removing the cables from your home theatre system, gaming console or the computer, it is a good idea to capture the connections with your phone camera. Then you won’t have problems plugging the cables again in the right ports as the pictures will show you “what goes where”.

Use Mobile Phone as a Web Camera – There are some free utilities that will convert your mobile phone camera into a web cam for your computer. You can use the web camera via a USB cable or wirelessly through Bluetooth.

car-parking Car Parking – Most shopping malls here have huge underground parking but there aren’t any signboards so it gets tough to locate the car. So when you park the car, just look towards the escalator (or the exit door) and take a picture or record some video. This will save lot of effort (and time) when you return with all those heavy shopping bags.

Scan Printed Documents – Mobile phone camera can work as scanners for capturing clippings of text from newspapers, library books and printed magazines. Just photograph the page and use a service like Qipit or ScanR that extract the text out of pictures taken with a mobile phone. (See “Use Mobile Phone as a Scanner“)

Replace Paper and Pen – Your wife has prepared a long list of items that you are supposed to pick from the grocery story. Why tear down that paper from the diary or put extra pressure on your memory – just click. You can also use the camera phone for capturing information written on whiteboards, subway maps and notice boards.

Google Maps and Directions – You are traveling and need the driving directions from Google Maps onto your mobile phone. If your phone has no Internet or you are not too sure how to transfer data from computer to the phone, just open Google Maps, press F11 for full screen and click with your phone.

Rent A Car – If you are taking a car on rent, capture all the areas with dents and scratches so that you don’t run into a dispute when returning the car to the agent. Thanks CraftyGirl.

taxi-cabs Security Weapon – Before you board a taxi in some unknown place, take a picture of the license plate and driver details that are generally written near the passenger seat. Email the picture to your spouse or friend as a security measure.

Shopping Alone – If you are in a store shopping without your spouse, get his/her opinion on the stuff you are about to purchase by emailing pictures though your phone. A word of caution here – some shop owners may consider your action as “digital shoplifting” and this may lead to an embarrassing situation.

As a Mirror – When you are about to reach the party, take a self-picture with your mobile phone to make sure that that makeup and hair style is in perfect condition.

found this interesting article on how to make full use of your camera-phone. from Digital Inspiration.

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Breaking Up With Xbox 360

found this fun article on breaking up with xbox360. someone wrote on breaking up with his xbox360 console and someone else replied – as xbox360. fun reading here.. enjoy!

Breaking Up With Xbox 360

If the Xbox 360 was your girlfriend, she’d be an unstable, high-maintenance gold-digger.

Sit down, we need to talk.

It’s no secret that things haven’t been perfect between us. Don’t get me wrong, I still enjoy spending time with you and we’ve had some really fun times together. Hell, I remember the night we met like it was only yesterday. You were so cool and glamorous — like no other console I’d ever met. I dumped PlayStation 2 for you on the spot. She was pissed, but I didn’t care: it was love at first sight.

For a while, everything was perfect. The online gaming, the awesome graphics, the constant stream of kickass games: it was like a dream come true. But then you started to change.

I guess my feelings changed towards you on our third Xbox Live Gold anniversary. Once again, you expected me to renew our relationship with cold, hard cash. It was the same story on our first wireless date together — $100+ for a WiFi adaptor? I felt so used! Then you tried to charge me to look at free social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter. That was the final straw.

All I wanted to do was spend time with you, and you kept treating me like your own personal money tree. Where was the love? Where was the respect? Y’know, they have a name for consoles like you — Kanye West wrote a song about it.

And it’s not just about the money. You’re also the most high-maintenance console I’ve ever met. If I don’t treat you like a piece of porcelain glass, you start to give me the ‘silent treatment’ (AKA Red Ring of Death). I want a console I can be rough with for a change; a console that doesn’t mind getting a little dirty.

Look, there’s no easy way to say this, so I’ll just come right out with it. I’ve fallen for somebody else. I’m not telling you this to hurt you, but you deserve to know the truth. It’s not something I planned, it just kind of happened. No, it’s not Nintendo Wii. If it were, this would be a whole lot easier.

I’ve – I’ve been seeing PS3 Slim behind your back. It’s been going on for around a month now. When I said I was too tired to go online that night, I was secretly using the PlayStation Network. And when I said I was watching TV… I was really watching Blu-ray.

I know I said I’d never go back to her, but she’s like a completely different console. When she lost all that weight, I couldn’t help myself — I just had to get my hands on her. Free online gaming, inbuilt WiFi, Blu-ray movies and reliable hardware… how was I supposed to refuse? Besides, I want a console I can grow old with. How many years do you think you have left in you? Two? Well, it’s been fun Xbox 360. I really mean that. Hopefully you’ll be able to find it in your heart to forgive me. Until then; au revoir.

We’ll always have Gears of War.

Breaking Up With Xbox 360 Part 2: ‘her’ side of the story

The ‘ex’-box bites back…

It’s not me, it’s you

So you’re leaving me for the PS3 Slim.

I have to say, I‘m not surprised. No, not because she is “better” than me. I just always picked you as a superficial guy. Ditching me for that cut-priced tart with a flashy exterior and no personality just proves what I’ve known all along: with you, it’s all about the dress size.

You had always bagged out the PS3, saying there was no way in hell you would ever leave me for her. I remember how you’d whisper sweet nothings in my ear (via Xbox Live) and proudly boast about me to your friends. You even convinced some of them to buy Xbox 360s so we could double date. Then, all of a sudden, she glams up, slims down and it was ‘out with the old in with the new.’

Sure, I can admit that I am lacking in certain departments (no WiFi or Blue-Ray player), but I make up for it with my HUGE RACKS of games. Dead Rising, Halo 3, Fable 2, Gears of War 2, Left 4 Dead Mass Effect 2 – the list goes on and on. That should have been enough to keep you satisfied; to keep your roving eye at bay. What can PS3 possibly offer you that I don’t? Sony EyePet? Yeah, good luck having fun with that.

And don’t you DARE accuse me of being a gold-digger, like you were the only one that contributed to the relationship. I put out like CRAZY for you! You pay a meagre US$45 a year and I give you an array of exclusive downloadable content, cute lil’ avatars AND hook you up with awesome gaming mates. I worked damn hard to make you happy.

PS3’s online system might be free, but at least I’m reliable (note the epic fail of Playstation Network here and here). It’s like the difference between McDonalds and a classy restaurant: you get what you pay for. Then again, I guess McDonalds is your idea of the ideal date, you cheapskate.

Oh, and you just had to pull out that ‘Red Ring of Death’ attack, didn’t you? It’s a birth defect that I’m not proud of, but at least I give you a robust three-year warranty period. And I’m honest about my faults. As for the PlayStation 3, I’ve got four words for you: Yellow Light of Death. Did I also mention she only has a paltry one-year warranty? Everyone knows that she doesn’t really care about you.

But don’t you worry about me. You’re more replicable than one of my controller batteries. I literally have a horde of guys gagging to hook up with me (3 30,000 million units sold globally, eat your heart out). So run along now with your anorexic friend. Just don’t come running back when Left 4 Dead 2 comes out…

Adios!

syafeerul: Selamat Hari Raya Aidilfitri

Happy Eid – to readers of this blog.

it’s Eid ul-Fitr again!! one of the most awaited day through the year for us muslims in malaysia. almost everyone heads back to their hometown. leaving the city of kuala lumpur empty for at least a day.. me and my family are heading back to our hometown later tonight. well, i’ve never before went back to hometown at the very last minute. but this year we had to. im on-call for today. my job requires me to stay here today. so later tonight im off to my hometown. bet the traffic would be jammed.. *sigh..*

eid ul-fitr also known as “hari raya” here in malaysia – is a day where we celebrate ourselves after fasting for a month in Ramadan. it’s the day where we seek forgiveness from each other, young and old. the day where we put aside any differences and enjoy togetherness. the day where joy erupts in many different ways and many different places. its also in our customary to pass down an envelope with some money also known as “duit raya” to kids and elder people. one part that i loved the most is when we have the chance to meet up with our relatives whom i might only see once a year. the day brings us all closer to our family. closer to our relatives. keeping the relationship in-tact for years to come.

to readers of CTRL+V:
Happy Eid ul-Fitr – Forgive my physical and emotions wrongdoings towards you.
Selamat Hari Raya – Maaf zahir dan batin.

No Linux on PS3 Revisited

nolinux

When the PS3 was launched Sony included support for what was called The Open Platform. The Open Platform supported the ability to launch a Linux bootloader via what was called the Other Os from the XMB. Although the Hypervisor (GameOS) prevented full access to the system components when the Linux OS made a hardware call (i.e. such as the Reality Synthesizer) , it did allow access to the Cell Broadband Engine and 7 of the 9 processing elements being made available for use (1 reserved for system use, 1 is disabled) which for the technology involved was unheard of at the price point.

Over a relatively short period of time, the PS3 Linux side of things went from being a utilized as a secondary computer with various distributions being available, (such as YDL by Fixstars formerly Terra Soft Solutions being available at launch) to  being used as a supercomputer to utilize the amazing processing power of the other elements in Cell Broadband engine known as the Synergistic Processing Elements (SPE’s). UMass Dartmouth Physics Professor Gaurav Khanna and UMass Dartmouth Principal Investigator Chris Poulin created a step by step guide on how to use the PS3 for supercomputing, and advanced their research on Binary Black Hole Coalescence using Perturbation Theory by building a 16 node PS3 cluster.

playstation-3-supercomputer-400x445

Researchers who were renting supercomputer time by the hour now had a viable option to build their own supercomputer and advance their projects. NC State’s Dr. Frank Mueller created an 8 cluster PS3 supercomputer, the first in academia for students to use in research.

And even recently a real-time H.264 encoding solution such as Fixstars CodecSys Personal emerged and the power of the Cell Broadband Engine via the PS3 entered the commercial arena. All of these examples generated amazing publicity for Sony and served to distance itself in a niche way from it’s other console competition. PS3’s were now ending up in places that they would not normally have been before.

With the announcement of the PS3 slim, it was mentioned that the ability to boot to an Other OS had been removed. This caused concern and questions as to why this was done: Was it cost, a security hole being removed, what would happen to current PS3’s or was it just a corporate decision?

The earliest answers we were given came from an interview with John Koller, Sony’s Director of Hardware Marketing. In a conversation with ars technica, he was asked about why the ability to install Linux was removed. His answer was:

“There are a couple of reasons. We felt we wanted to move forward with the OS we have now. If anyone wants to use previous models and change the OS, they can do so. We wanted to standardize our OS.”

Sometime later, an article surfaced on Games I like about a posting made on the Offical Playstation 2 Linux Community forum by a Sony representative that has since mysteriously disappeared. Thankfully the details of the conversation were captured. In response to an unhappy forum poster, a representative stated the following:

“I’m sorry that you are frustrated by the lack of comment specifically regarding the withdrawal of support for Other OS on the new PS3 slim. The reasons are simple: The PS3 Slim is a major cost reduction involving many changes to hardware components in the PS3 design. In order to offer the OtherOS install, SCE would need to continue to maintain the OtherOS hypervisor drivers for any significant hardware changes – this costs SCE. One of our key objectives with the new model is to pass on cost savings to the consumer with a lower retail price. Unfortunately in this case the cost of OtherOS install did not fit with the wider objective to offer a lower cost PS3.”

This was further substantiated by an article on Av Watch, by Akira Takase. When asked about the lack of the Other OS on the PS3 Slim, how it compared to the 80gb PS3 and how it affected Linux and companies like Fixstars, Takase-san stated that (rough translation):

“There would be no time in the future when the Other Os would be moved from those models (CECHL00)”

He also commented on security being an issue by saying (rough translation)

“That with respect to the Other OS security becomes the hole, but with the PS3 very firm security measures are being done, presently there is no such problem. If anything, support power is lightened”

On the Fixstars message board forums, Kai Staats (Fixstars) explained this in even greater detail in one of his many and very informative posts. I would definitely suggest you read them if you have time but here is one important quote:

“Sony was quite diligent about testing, and with each new rev of the GameOS
(which acts as the hypervisor for Linux) there was a battery of tests. Often
the GameOS had to be modified to support things which otherwise broke in
Linux, so it is not a one-way street. GameOS affects Linux, and Linux affects
GameOS.”

So it would appear that the decision was 100% cost based. This is certainly understandable from a fiscal perspective. Drive down the cost, in essence starts the console wars all over again, placing Sony in an excellent position. It is sad though that access to the Cell Broadband Engine had to be removed as it was truly pushing the limits of what could be done with the SPE’s both commercially and academically. With the price drop affecting all PS3 product lines, acquiring one of the older units is going to be a challenge.

So will the Other OS will return? Maybe. Sony recently unveiled the Academic PS3 Dev Kit. Could this lead to the return of the Other OS on a one to one basis? It’s certainly possible that drivers could be written for the change in hardware and then submitted to Sony. If feedback is strong enough they could allow the needed change to the hypervisor code. Time will tell…

i thought so that this was one of the cost reducing acts. somehow i still think that removing linux from PS3 is a mistake. i am currently typing on YDL running on my PS3. article from SonyInsider.

Scholes can forget Oldham, says Ferguson

Manchester United's Paul Scholes should not retire next summer, says Sir Alex Ferguson
Paul Scholes’ retirement plans will be put on hold if Sir Alex Ferguson gets his way. And Oldham Athletic can forget all about having the United legend on their books for a swansong final campaign in the future. On the eve of last May’s Champions League final in Rome the 34-year-old Reds midfielder had eyes on the finishing line.

“I’d have thought next year will probably be my last,” said Paul.

But the Reds boss has dismissed the notion that Scholes could just up sticks and quit Old Trafford at the end of the season. His early season form has given Fergie hope he’ll have him available for selection beyond this season. “I don’t think this is his last season. Not the way that he plays,” said Sir Alex. “It’s difficult to say how long he can go on for but what else has he got? He is a football man. He isn’t going to drop through the leagues I am sure of it. “Once you have played for United for as long as he has – 20 years – what else are you going to do? “I have read that stuff about playing for Oldham in his last year. No chance!”

Scholes start

Scholes has had an impressive opening to the campaign despite his sending off at Spurs. His headed winner against Besiktas in Turkey was a throwback to his goal-scoring midfield days. “The best time to use Scholes at this moment in time is when he is fresh. That’s the right time,” added Fergie. “I am seeing the fresh Scholesy. It’s September and we have to look at the whole season. We will see what happens. “He will not be playing the whole season. But that’s why we have got a squad of players. He will miss more than he plays. “But if I get 25 games out of him at the level we saw on Saturday at Tottenham and Tuesday in Turkey I think we will be delighted at that.”

Scholes bounced back from his controversial White Hart Lane dismissal for two yellow cards with that Istanbul strike but will miss Sunday’s derby because of his ban. “The derby is always a massive game but after what has gone on there at Eastlands it is probably a little bit bigger. It is tight at the top of the league,” said Paul. “I am disappointed to miss out especially when I was sent off when I shouldn’t have been. I was disappointed on Saturday because I think most people could see it wasn’t a second yellow card. “I just had to put that behind me and come into the game against Besiktas hoping that we could win this one. It was not the best performance but we won the game and that is the most important thing when you come away in the Champions League.  “It was professional. We would have liked to have played better than we did do and create more chances and generally play better. We haven’t done that but we have got an important goal and won the game. “It has been a while since I scored. It was one of only a couple of occasions that I have been able to get forward these days.”

well i’ve heard of scholesy moving to oldham next season. i just wish he would end his career with the devils. he’s a great player. i must say at 34-years playing like he did – was just amazing. others would’ve just degrade once they reached 31. but scholesy remains firm though not to compare to his younger days, but he’s still impressive. hope fergie can convince him to stay and play on for manchester united. carrick would get his time soon. so is fletcher. article from Manchester Evening News.

Lotus add history to grid moving out of Europe

Jim Clark won the world championship with Lotus in 1963

Lotus, one of the most revered names in motor racing, announced yesterday that it is coming back to Formula One after an absence of 15 years.

At the same time, BMW sold its team to QADBAK, the Middle East consortium behind Munto Finance, which bought Notts County, the Coca-Cola League Two football club, this summer.

It seems unlikely there will be a link between Sven Göran-Eriksson, County’s director of football, and Formula One but QADBAK — representing investors in Qatar and Abu Dhabi — clearly has serious sporting intentions in Europe, given that it is thought to have spent about £50 million acquiring the BMW Formula One operation based in Hinwil, Switzerland.

The deal came too late to keep the team’s place on the grid for 2010, which was snatched at the eleventh hour by a hasty proposition from Lotus, the carmaker based in Hethel, Norfolk. The FIA will ask Formula One’s ten teams to agree to allow QADBAK on to what would be the biggest grid for 17 years, with 14 teams. Whether such a bumper turnout is an indication of the financial health of Formula One or a sign of the gradual takeover of the traditional heartlands of sport by money from the Middle and Far East remains to be seen.

Lotus are as British as bacon butties, a team that effectively ended Italian dominance of Formula One in the Sixties with charismatic drivers, such as Jim Clark and Graham Hill. Founded by Colin Chapman, an engineering genius and innovator, the team swept to seven constructors’ championships and six drivers’ titles with 79 victories and 107 pole positions before folding in 1994.

The team pioneered the notion of sponsorship, when in 1968 their familiar green and yellow livery was ditched to make way for the red, gold and white of the Gold Leaf cigarette brand. Lotus were first and the rest have followed, with sponsorship now a £1 billion business for Formula One.

But the British Lotus name will be little more than a front. The car business is owned by Proton, a Malaysian state-owned carmaker that is behind the comeback, along with Tony Fernandes, the Malaysian entrepreneur and founder of the Tune Group, which owns Air Asia. Fernandes, who will be team principal, also has his football obsession and considered becoming shirt sponsor of Manchester United before the club signed with Aon, the American financial giant.

The Formula One team will be based near to Lotus’s headquarters — led by Mike Gascoyne, the former technical head of Toyota and the defunct Jordan team — but the Malaysians have ambitious plans for a research and development centre at the Sepang circuit outside Kuala Lumpur. Team members next year will be drawn from Malaysia and they want to find a home-grown driver.

i was surprised to have heard of this news. its not about lotus coming back or the qadbak buying the bmw sauber f1 but the part where they said that they’ll set up an r&d at sepang circuit. that’s hell of a good news. do they need any e&e engineer down there? would love to be part of the team.. haha.. dream on.. congrats proton for making such a wise decision buying lotus years before.. article from Times Online.

Google’s Fast Flip: Odd and Imperfect, but Useful

Fast Flip is quite neat–pretty addictive, actually. But it’s also…kind of odd.

Did I just say that one of the differences between Bing and Google is that Bing is splashy and Google revels in its plain jane interface? I lied. Google had a TechCrunch50 announcement of its own this afternoon, and involves a new Google Labs feature that has a high “wow, lookee there!” quotient: Google Fast Flip.

Fast Flip is based on Google News, and Google says it came up with it to address the fact that browsing through news sites is usually a slow process-not at all like the effortless instant gratification of flipping through a magazine or newspaper. Google has partnered with several dozen news sources-including the BBC, BusinessWeek, the Christian Science Monitor, the Daily Beast, Esquire, the New York Times, Newsweek, Salon, Slate, and TechCrunch-to create previews of their stories that live on Fast Flip but which display the first several paragraphs of the article in a form that looks like the originating site. You rifle through these previews by clicking left and right arrows, and the pages zip on and off-screen in high-speed, fluid animation-hence the “Fast Flip” name.

Fast Flip has a Like button that lets you express your approval of stories you like, and Google says that the more you use the service, the smarter it will get about presenting you with stuff you’re likely to be interested in. (It lets you browse in multiple ways-by subject, by provider, and by author.) Oh, and there are mobile versions for iPhone and Android.

It’s quite neat-pretty addictive, actually. But it’s also…kind of odd. For several reasons:

It doesn’t necessarily make browsing for news faster. The flipping interface shows one story at a time in legible form-versus the dozens that plain ol’ Google News puts on one screen-along with thumbnails in which the headlines are tiny and the articles themselves are too tiny to read. Once you click on a preview, you go to the originating site-which is no faster than usual-and getting back to Fast Flip may be kinda cumbersome, especially if you’ve clicked through to a multi-page article.

The previews break some conventions of the Web. They may have what seem to be hyperlinks, and tools like icons for printing the page, but none of this stuff works-the preview is a giant hyperlink to the article on the originating site.

The ads are un-Google-esque. Google is putting ads in Fast Flip and sharing the revenues with its content partners. Unlike classic Google text ads, these are display ads-tall, skinny ones-and while they’re context sensitive, some of the ones I’m seeing so far are a tad on the cheesy side.

It doesn’t always work. Fast Flip doesn’t carry a beta tag, but it’s a Google Labs project, so it’s experimental by definition. I found it a bit quirky-one Slate page was so wide it didn’t fit in the preview, for instance. And this one-line Atlantic blog post doesn’t really need a preview, except that Fast Flip fails to display the embedded video that makes the text make sense:

I don’t mean to be overly nitpicky-Fast Flip is clever, and I hope it sticks around and evolves. If you check it out, let us know what you think.

haven’t tried this but will surely take a look soon.. looks nice.. article from PC World.