Category Archives: Facts

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How to Run Android Apps on Your Desktop the Easy Way


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Ever feel like running an Android app on your Windows machine? Using BlueStacks, you can easily get apps from your Android device to your desktop or laptop without any complicated set up or fussing with the Android SDK.

Android Apps on Windows

BlueStacks is essentially a self-contained virtual machine that runs Android apps on your Windows 7 computer. While it’s still in alpha, it’s surprisingly stable, pretty novel, and constantly improving. It has very little set up and runs quite nicely smoothly, albeit with a few limitations. The biggest appeal is that you don’t have to deal with the Android SDK – or even know what that is, really – and so it’s great for beginners. You can easily install apps available from BlueStacks’s list of free apps, and if you have an Android device, you can install many apps from your device via the Cloud Connect app.

Why would anyone want to do this? Well, suppose you have an app that you really like and there’s no proper desktop equivalent. You can run it on your main computer instead of on your tiny little Android phone. Or, perhaps you’re thinking about buying a tablet, but you’re not sure what apps you’d like. You can try out many of the free apps that BlueStacks provides, or get a friend with a tablet or phone to show you the apps they use. You can play around with those apps on your desktop or laptop and see if you like them before you buy something you may or may not use. It’s pretty great for developers who want to demo their app, but for some reason don’t have access to a PC with the SDK.

You can use the standard mouse to navigate everything and it works pretty well, but if you’re lucky enough to have a touch-screen, then this works spectacularly. Some of the games may require nicer hardware (and BlueStacks is partnering with AMD for this in the future), but most apps run fine on their own. We tried this on a year-old netbook and things ran perfectly fine. There were a few hiccups here and there, but no crashes or major slowdowns.

BlueStacks Installation

Installing BlueStacks is easy. Just head over to the download page and grab the installer. Currently, BlueStacks only runs on Windows 7 (it says x86, but it worked on our 64-bit Windows 7 installation, too). They seem to be working on a version for Windows XP and Vista as well as Mac OS X, so we’ll hopefully see those in the near future.

end_of_install

After the program is installed, the installer will ask if you would like to view an introductory video. It’s very short and gives you the basics of how the program works.

BlueStacks installs a desktop gadget that acts as a launcher.

gadget

You can move this around and change the opacity like normal gadgets. To open up the launcher, just give this a left-click.

launcher

You’ll see the list of default installed apps. Click any one to launch it.

desktop

You’ll see the app come up like it would on an Android device. Just use the mouse like you would your finger, and if you happen to have a touch-screen, then you’re probably ecstatic.

As mentioned in the intro video, you can see that there are some icons on the bottom of your screen that you can tap.

vlcsnap-2011-11-15-04h41m35s216

These simulate the hardware buttons found on Android devices. There’s a few extra buttons that allow you to change the screen orientation and zoom level of the apps, as well as close the app out entirely. Actually, I found that you can drag from the top panel and the notification drawer comes down. There’s even a built-in browser for when you click on “help” links and the like.

browser

The onscreen-keyboard also pops up for text boxes. Normal PC shortcuts for copying and pasting and selecting all text do not work, however.

desktop rota keyb

Adding More Apps

more apps

From the BlueStacks Launcher, you can click the Get More Apps link, which will open a browser window pointed to the BlueStacks Channels website.

cloud connect pin

Here, you’ll see a 9-digit PIN for use with the Android Cloud Connect app. You can click on the Featured Apps link on the left to browse and subscribe to the free apps available from BlueStacks.

featured apps

Of course, the big feature here is that you can add apps from an Android device as well. To do this, install the BlueStacks Cloud Connect app from the Android Market.

snap20111115_045155

Once installed, launch the app and enter the 9-digit PIN that you found on the BlueStacks Channels website.

snap20111115_045317

Then all you have to do is select which apps you’d like to use in BlueStacks and hit the Sync button up top.

snap20111115_045404

On your computer, you’ll see a popup in your system tray when the apps have successfully installed.

subsonicbluestacks cloud connect installed

Uninstalling Apps

When you go back to the BlueStacks Channels website, you can click on the Cloud Connect link on the left to see which apps you have installed this way.

subscribing

To uninstall an app, just click the Subscribed button. After a little while, the app will be uninstalled from BlueStacks and you’ll see a blue Subscribe button, in case you want to reinstall it.

Limitations

As we mentioned before, BlueStacks is currently in the alpha stage of development. While it is surprisingly stable, there are some issues. For example, not all apps were able to have their orientations switched from landscape back to portrait, though we didn’t find it to be a particular disadvantage for when it happened. There are also some limitations present in the software.

You can’t browse the Android file system from Windows. This was particularly disheartening since I love Moon+ Reader for ebooks, and to get them on the device I had to use DropBox and download them manually. Once I got them on there, I could navigate to where they would be in the Android system folders like normal and things worked fine.

Dropbox notification drawer

Some apps don’t work because of this, however. I installed the SubSonic client without issues and had it connect to our server, but songs wouldn’t play even after being successfully downloaded. This could also be due to the way that the app played back media, and since Talking Tom 2 worked fine and even handled microphone input properly, it may be a problem with SubSonic itself.

Perhaps the biggest limitation is one placed on purpose: games. Not all games will play via the app. This seems to be because of an upcoming Pro version which allows unlimited use of “premium” apps.

Pro coming soon

On the website, this mentions popular games like Angry Birds and Fruit Ninja, and a few other media apps that I tried to sync with BlueStacks didn’t work, either. They seemed to upload without problems, but on the Cloud Connect website, I got an “Unavailable” status for the app.

subscribing

Depending on how well these games and media apps run, it may be worthwhile to pay for the Pro version of BlueStacks. Unfortunately, there’s no word on pricing or availability right now, and it’s a bummer that they didn’t include this function for free in the meanwhile.

One final drawback is that BackStacks seems to be using Android 2.2 FroYo as a basis for running these apps. While this doesn’t pose a big problem yet – most apps aren’t reliant on 2.3/Gingerbread yet – we hope to see this change, especially since Android 4.0/Ice Cream Sandwich is right around the corner.

Conclusions

On the whole, the apps that did work by and large worked very well. Aside from a few hang-ups, BlueStacks seems like a very easy way to get Android apps working on your desktop, laptop, or even Windows tablet. Performance was smooth on our year-old netbook, a fact that was pleasantly surprising, and we can see how great this would be with a touch-screen. It’s not perfect, but it’s incredibly easy and very stable.

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Turn your web browser into a Notepad


Here is a nice little Trick through which you can turn your web browser into a notepad with editable content: Read the rest of this entry

The Story behind “Bliss”


 

The image called “Bliss” is probably the most viewed image in the world.
Is it real?
At the time when Microsoft announced they would stop the support for Windows XP,
they released this video with the answer.

The Story behind “bliss” by the one who clicked it himself.

 

Crazy Grammar


Martha Brockenbrough, founder of The Society for the Promotion of good Grammar, started National Grammar day in 2008. Since then it has been held every year on March 4th, a date that also happens to be a complete sentence (March forth!).
This Grammar Day, let’s not look at grammar as a cold, harsh mistress. She can also be a fun, kooky aunt. Here are some tricks you can do to make crazy sounding sentences that are still grammatical.

1. ONE MORNING I SHOT AN ELEPHANT IN MY PAJAMAS. HOW HE GOT INTO MY PAJAMAS I’LL NEVER KNOW.
This sentence takes advantage of the fact that the same sentence can have two different structures. This famous joke from Groucho Marx assumes that most people expect the structure of the first part to be:
One morning [I shot an elephant] [in my pajamas].
But another possible, and perfectly grammatical, reading is:
One morning [I shot] [an elephant in my pajamas].

2. THE HORSE RACED PAST THE BARN FELL.
Make a garden path sentence. In this one, we think we’ve reached the main verb when we get to “raced”, but instead we are still inside a reduced relative clause. Reduced relative clauses let us sat, “the speech given this morning” instead of “the speech that was given this morning” or, in this case “the horse raced past the barn” instead of “the horse that was raced past the barn”.

3. THE COMPLEX HOUSES MARRIED AND SINGLE SOLDIERS AND THEIR FAMILIES.
Another garden path sentence, this one depends on the fact that “complex” “houses” ad “married” can serve as different parts of speech. Here, “complex” is a noun (a housing complex) instead of an adjective, “houses” is a verb instead of a noun, and “married” is an adjective instead of the past tense of a verb.

4. THE RAT THE CAT THE DOG CHASED KILLED ATE THE MALT.
Make a sentence with multiple center-embedding. We usually have no problem putting one clause inside another in English. We can take “the rat ate the malt” and stick in more information to make “the rat the cat killed ate the malt.” But the more clauses we add in, the harder it gets to understand the sentence. In this case, the rat ate the malt. After that it was killed by a cat. The cat had been chased by a dog. The grammar of this sentence is fine but the style, not so good.

5. ANYONE WHO FEELS THAT IF SO MANY MORE STUDENTS WHOM WE HAVEN”T ACTUALLY ADMITTED ARE SITTING IN ON THE COURSE THAN ONES WE HAVE THAT THE ROOM HAD TO BE CHANGED, THEN PROBABLY AUDITORS WILL HAVE TO BE EXCLUDED, IS LIKELY TO AGREE THAT THE CURRICULUM NEEDS REVISION.
Another crazy center embedded sentence. Can you figure it out? Start with “anyone who feels X is likely to agree” Then go to “anyone who feels If X then Y is likely to agree” Then fill out the X and Y. You might need a pencil and a paper.

6. BUFFALO BUFFALO BUFFALO BUFFALO BUFFALO BUFFALO BUFFALO BUFFALO.
Buffalo! It’s a noun! It’s a city! It’s a verb (meaning “to intimidate”)! The sentence plays on reduced relative clauses, different part-of-speech readings of the same word, and center embedding, all in the same sentence. Stare at it until you get the following meaning: “Bison from Buffalo, New York, who are intimidated by other bison in their community, also happen to intimidate other bison in their community”.

buffalo-buffalo-buffalo-buffalo-buffalo-buffalo-buffalo-buffalo

7. THIS EXCEEDING TRIFLING WITLING, CONSIDERING RANTING CRITICIZING CONCERNING ADOPTING FITTING WORDING BEING EXHIBITING TRANSCENDING LEARNING, WAS DISPLAYING, NOTWITHSTANDING RIDICULING, SURPASSING BOASTING SWELLING REASONING, RESPECTING CORRECTING ERRING WRITING, AND TOUCHING DETECTING DECEIVING ARGUING DURING DEBATING.
This sentence takes advantage of the versatile English –ing. The author of a 19th century grammar guide lamented the fact that one could “run to great excess” in the use of –ing participles “without violating any rule of our common grammars” and constructed this sentence to prove it. It doesn’t seem so complicated once you realize it means: “This very superficial grammatist, supposing empty criticism about the adoption of proper phraseology to be a show of extraordinary erudition, was displaying, in spite of ridicule, a very boastful turgid argument concerning the correction of false syntax, and about the detection of false logic in debate.”.

Not only is this a great example of the wonderful crazy things you can do within the bounds of proper English, it’s the perfect response to pull out the next time someone tries to criticize your grammar.

Sources of the sentences:
1. Groucho Marx;
2. Bever (1970);
3. Wikipedia;
4. Chomsky & Miller (1963);
5. Chomsky & Miller (1963);
6. William Rapaport;
7. Goold Brown (1851).

All you need to know about Bitcoins


bitCoin

Harry Potter Invisibility Cloak


Most of you must have seen the Harry Potter’s Invisibility cloak in the movie and wondered if anything like It could ever become a reality. You’d think of all the things that you can do once you are invisible! 😉

Harry Potter and the Invisibility Cloak

Harry Potter in the Invisibility Cloak

Well then you better check this out:

This is mock-up of the "Quantum Stealth" (Light Bending) material with an assistant behind it. No cameras and no projectors are used. These photos are to show the Media the concept, for security issues the actual technology cannot be shown. With the real material - you would only see about 5% of the shadow on her and the ground as there is a 95% reduction of shadow in testing.

This is mock-up of the “Quantum Stealth” (Light Bending) material with an assistant behind it. No cameras and no projectors are used. These photos are to show the Media the concept, for security issues the actual technology cannot be shown. With the real material – you would only see about 5% of the shadow on her and the ground as there is a 95% reduction of shadow in testing.

It actually has become a reality!

Once thought to be only a Science Fiction, Guy Cramer (President/CEO of Hyperstealth Biotechnology Corp.) has actually made it possible to become invisible with its light bending technology called “Quantum Stealth”. Read the rest of this entry

Microsoft Word Trick


Hey, here is a cool trick which you can try in Microsoft Word:

  • Open a new blank MS word document.
  • type =rand(3,5) (type it do not just copy from here)
  • press enter

you will see that your typed text has been replaced with some lines…

If you are using an old version then the text produced is –

“The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog”

which keeps getting repeated again and again. the above statement contains all the letters in the English alphabet.

For the new version of word, the text is –

“On the Insert tab, the galleries include items that are designed to coordinate with the overall look of your document. You can use these galleries to insert tables, headers, footers, lists, cover pages, and other document building blocks. When you create pictures, charts, or diagrams, they also coordinate with your current document look. You can easily change the formatting of selected text in the document text by choosing a look for the selected text from the Quick Styles gallery on the Home tab.

You can also format text directly by using the other controls on the Home tab. Most controls offer a choice of using the look from the current theme or using a format that you specify directly. To change the overall look of your document, choose new Theme elements on the Page Layout tab. To change the looks available in the Quick Style gallery, use the Change Current Quick Style Set command.”

Microsoft has officially declared this to be a function which can be used to create filler text

If you observe more closely, you will find that there are 3 paragraphs with 4 sentences each. This is because of the parameters which we had specified in the rand() function. It takes 2 values – rand(a,b) where a is the number of paragraphs to generate and b is the number of lines in each paragraph.

You can try generating different paragraphs by changing the value inside the () for example typing =rand(4,5) and pressing enter will generate 4 paragraphs with 5 lines each etc..

to get the old text in the newer versions of MS word, you can use – =rand.old() function. for example – =rand.old(2,3) will produce 2 paragraphs with the statement – “The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog” repeated in each paragraph 3 times

There is another similar function in MS word, which produces random paragraphs. That function is =lorem() this function produces the lorem ipsum text.

Enjoy! 😀

P.S. all these functions will be disabled if the “replace text as you type” function is turned off.

Google Search History


how many of you did know that all the searches you do on Google are actually stored and can be viewed too.!! ?

Shocked? It’s true. You can view your Google search history by clicking on this link:

Google Search History

This search history will be associated with a Gmail account i.e only those searches will be saved here which are done by you when you were actually logged-on to Google through any of the Google’s products and will be linked to your Gmail account. How to know that you are logged on or not? Simple – go to www.google.com and see at the top there will be something like this :

there will be your name at the top right side (This is for the new look of Google in which they have integrated it with Google+)

many users won’t be too happy on knowing that their history and actions are being recorded and saved by Google (for privacy or whatever reasons) so, for them there is an option to turn of this feature by clicking on the ‘Pause’ button in the Web history option as shown below.

Optionally you can also delete all of your previous history (by clicking on Remove all web history) or only some selective items (by clicking on Remove)

In the screenshot above, it shows “Your current search history is currently empty” because I had paused the feature of web history and hence no history was being saved.

Enjoy! 😀

Google: Barrel Roll Trick


Here is a fun trick on Google:

  1.  Go to Google.com
  2. Type – “do a barrel roll” on the search bar and press enter
  3. see what happens!!

Instead of doing those steps yourself, you can directly click on this ‘Let Me Google That For You’ link : Google Barrel Roll Trick

The trick works for now.. as long as Google does not discontinue it.

Enjoy!!  😀

Fun with english


English is a very complicated language! Changing one word changes the meaning of the whole sentence, or even changing the punctuation can change the entire sentence and make it something funny like:

“Let’s eat, Grandma!” (eat with grandma)

or

Let’s eat Grandma!” (eat the Grandma)

– Proof that punctuation can actually save your life! lol! 😀

Here is another amusing finding by Professor Ernest Brennecke of Columbia. He is credited with inventing a sentence that can be made to have eight different meanings by placing one word in all possible positions in a sentence.

The sentence: “I hit him in the eye yesterday.”

The word: “ONLY”

Different positions  and their meanings:

  1. ONLY I hit him in the eye yesterday. (Only I hit, No one else did.)
  2. I ONLY hit him in the eye yesterday. (I only Hit him, did not slap him.)
  3. I hit ONLY him in the eye yesterday. (I hit only him, not others.)
  4. I hit him ONLY in the eye yesterday. (only in the eye, not outside the eye.)
  5. I hit him in ONLY the eye yesterday. (hit him only in the eye, not other organs.)
  6. I hit him in the ONLY eye yesterday. (hit him in the only eye, he doesn’t have another eye.)
  7. I hit him in the eye ONLY yesterday. (hit only yesterday, Not today.)
  8. I hit him in the eye yesterday ONLY. (hit him yesterday only, did not wait for today.)
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