Saturday, July 28, 2012

I need an iPod Nano to use as a watch, but…not yet

The latest iPod Nano can be worn as a write watch. You can find  write strap where you can mount the iPod Nano and it comes with a clock app to make things easier.

ipod-nano-watch

But I wouldn’t buy the current version because it lacks bluetooth that can make this thing so much better. You need to be able to pair it with an iPhone (and also an iPad).

Then it will open the following opportunities that would make it such an awesome tool.
  1. Talk to your phone to activate Siri and make her display all sorts of info on the wrist watch. Would be like talking to KITT on the phone.
  2. Control the music that you are playing on the phone. The controls on the earbud cable only allows for limited control.
  3. View the notifications on the phone. (you cannot really read the emails on it though, but still…)
  4. Cancel the incoming calls from the watch. (Answering them is not a good option because you don’t want to pull a Michael Knighter in this case. :D
Maybe there are so many things you can do with this. But these are all that comes to my mind. Right now, you can only use it to know the time and use the native features of the Nano. (But you would look like a dork if you plug in your earbuds to it and listen to music which wearing it as a watch.)
Still, it would be a very expensive watch.

BTW, Sony Ericsson already has these features in their solution. It’s called LiveView. But I am no Android fan. I am no iOS fan either, but unless Microsoft get their stuff ready soon enough, they might lose a customer. >_<

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Symbolic Link Maker v0.1.0.0

Why I felt I needed this tool was mainly because I do not use the system drive for data. I always redirect stuff to other drives so that I can use my system drive (i.e. the SSD) for better things. I use Symbolic Links to do the redirection.

Currently I am redirecting the following folders.

  • Windows Update download folder (C:\Windows\SoftwareDistribution\Download)
  • Windows Installer folder (C:\Windows\Installer)
  • Microsoft Office setup cache folder (C:\MSOCache)
  • iTunes Backup, Apps, Firmware download folders
  • Gaming profiles in user Documents
    and you will find many more.

But using the command prompt is not always convenient. Especially, if there exists a folder with the same name, you have to first copy the contents of the folder to the target folder, delete the folder and them make the symbolic link.

So I wrote a tool to automate those things. It is called Symbolic Link Maker. It has many issues, which are written in the user manual, so read it before using the application. Give it a go, and let me know about the areas to improve on.

image

Symbolic Link Maker v0.1.0.0 downloads

Fun with programming

I’ve been having some fun at work, making tools to automate stuff. I designed a couple of tools majorly in the last few month; one to automate release checks of the printer driver and the other to automate replacing of the driver modules with the debug versions when we have to fix bugs. Few other tools were developed to solve problems then and there, but they are for specialized cases.

I like gaming but it won’t get me anywhere in my life. It’s a great way to have fun – that’s all. However, I don’t expect to stop gaming anytime soon. I’ll just limit it a bit and use that time in a useful manner. Useful in what way? Programming.

I’ll try to develop a tool whenever I come across a specific need. At least I will try to do it. I probably cannot do it right from the beginning. I’m sure there are a million similar tools out there that does the same thing. But it is no fun. I won’t learn anything by just downloading and running tools built by other people. Besides, there is a good chance that they won’t work the way I want.

So I made the first such tool today. It is called Symbolic Link Maker. It is still in beta. There are few things still missing in it, but it does work alright. There are a few things I have to address before I can share it with you guys. I can do that hopefully by tomorrow. I probably can share it even in current state, but first I need to write a user manual. Heck, why not let beta testers find the bugs. :)

Patience is rewarding. ;)

Thursday, July 19, 2012

The gadget buying plan with Windows 8 in the horizon

Almost every day I glance through the PC hardware stores hoping to find an amazing deal that I cannot resist. But ever since I bought the GTX670, it seems that there aren't any upgrade paths left for this PC. Sure, I can replace the CPU with a 3930K or a 3770K, get a x79 or Z77 based motherboard, get a better cooler for the CPU, ditch the current hard drives and buy couple of 4TB drives, get a second monitor, get a second SSD etc. etc. but all of them seem like waste of money. (I'm not saying that I haven't wasted money before for a small performance improvement, but these options are not only small upgrades, but very expensive upgrades.)

So I have decided not to add anything new to this PC this year. But that does not mean that I will not buy any new gadgets this year. There is one gadget that I want and that is the Microsoft Surface tablet. All this time I wanted to buy a new tablet because of the coolness factor, not because they are any useful – they are not useful at all – but Surface opens up a new path. I can use it as a PC – that means, I will have all the software that I need. Any other tablet is feature wise identical to my phone (and even lacks ability to make calls). Just a bigger screen. Nothing special. But I already have a phone. I need more functionality.

hero

All this points towards the Windows RT Pro tablet, because I believe the Windows RT tablet, the Arm based one, will again be feature restricted because it won't have the raw power an Intel CPU delivers.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Save precious SSD storage by moving the Windows Installer files

One thing I hate about the Windows Installer is that it leaves the installer files behind, even after you have installed the the application. The reason for that is the *modify* and *reinstall* features that Windows Installer provides. (E.g.: Microsoft Office. You can add/remove different portions of the applications without doing a full uninstall first.) These installer files keep gathering up with each application that you install. Some times, you might not even uninstall the app ever again. These installers can sometimes become a real pain too, especially when updating an application. Sometimes, when you update an application, the old installer will be left in the drive and it won’t have any use again. Such a waste. Small applications should never use Windows Installer. There are much better alternative.
 
The space consumed by these installer files can be reasonably large, depending on the applications that you have installed in your PC – especially if you have many number of suites like Microsoft Office, Adobe Creative Suite, Visual Studio, MSDN etc. etc. In my case, the installer folder is consuming about 5GB.
 
Wanna know where the installer files are located at? Type this in Run dialog and hit enter.
%windir%\installer
You might not be able see the “installer” folder from within your Windows folder because it is a hidden, system folder. You have to change a couple of settings in Folder Options to make it visible.
 
How to show up hidden system folders
OK. Did you check the size of your installer folder? Now you must be thinking, “I won’t ever use modify or reinstall feature; I can simply delete these files, right?” Wrong. If you do this, you will break the uninstaller. You will not be able to uninstall your software.
 
But never fear. If there is a will, there is a way. You can move those files to a hard drive without disrupting their purpose. For that, use the symbolic links.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Answer to low resolution photos of Google Contacts is ... iCloud?

80615376737341547Recently I started using SmartSync on the iPhone. It syncs the contact information from Facebook with the contacts on the phone. One of the features of it is ability to sync the photo of the contacts. I tried that, but straight away met with a problem. The contact photos were of very low quality. Even though they have shown a screenshot of it showing a high quality full screen contact photo on the call screen, I was getting the small thumbnail on the top right hand corner.

People say that if you set the contact photo from within the phone, you get the full screen caller photo, and if you use a desktop app, you get the thumbnail. I tried assigning a photo to my Wife from within the phone, and asked her to call me. But I did not get the full screen caller photo. But then I checked the size of the contact photo, and found out that it has become a smaller low quality version.

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