Muhammad Ali is my name and I see myself as a devoted and hard working software engineer striving to keep up to date with the latest inventions and technologies in the IT world. Likeness for writing is one of the reasons that brought me here.I relish and strive on facing challenges and coming out of them with flying colors.
Posts by Muhammad Ali
Do you want to earn and get yourself a free tip to Los Angeles and to add to the fun, wanna see the PDC 2009 live?. Want to get yourself $17,777 . If the answer is Yes, then you might want to enroll yourself in the Code 7 Contest.
In order to win these amazing prizes all you have to do is to write a Windows 7 application not just any application, an application that just keeps your users amazed. In other words Code 7 contest happens to be a contest for developers. It is an opportunity to showcase your creativity, design and coding skills. Through this competition, finalists will get the opportunity to present their built applications at PDC 2009 in Los Angeles. The winner of the first prize will get an amount 0f $17777 and the oppotunity to show their app to the Microsoft executives at PDC. The details for entering in this contest are:
What you have to do
Build an original, consumer-oriented client application prototype that runs natively on Windows 7 (for example Win32, WPF, MFC or WinForms – not an Air application or just a gadget) and addresses one or more of the following topic categories:
- Simplify My Life
- More Media, More Places
- Work From Anywhere
- Safeguard Your Work
- Applications for a Better Tomorrow
The application must use at least one of the following Windows 7 technology features; however, judging will give more weight to entries that take advantage of more than one of these features:
- Windows Touch
- Shell Integration
- DX11 (DirectX 11)
- Sensor and Location Platform
The contest which started a couple of days back will end at 11:59 p.m. PT on October 10, 2009. In order to enter you must create and submit a video in which you describe and demonstrate your application. For more details you could go to Code7Contest official site.
As we reported previously that Microsoft would be making an announcement on Monday that will be considered as a response to Google, well that is what exactly has happened. On Monday, the IT giants said that they plan to offer a free version of its ever popular Office suite, to be more specific its web version.
Analyst took this move by Microsoft as a strategy to send a statement to Google and to protect one of its most profitable business. Sheri McLeish, an analyst with Forrester Research believed Microsoft was forced to provide a free product. Her words were:
It’s a very competitive market out there, and this was Microsoft’s opportunity to one-up Google by offering a much better product. This announcement was made at Microsoft’s developer conference in New Orleans.
Microsoft’s group product manager for Office, Chris Bryant, said that the number of customers using the Web to share and edit document are increasing. Bryant said
It’s something our users have said they’d like,Customers are telling us they expect to use the Web-based applications as companions to their desktop software.
Bryant seemed negligent in revealing the plans associated with making money via this move. However he hinted that there might be advertising and fees for premium services such as storing large size files online.
And as I expected, the free version of Office would not be containing the complete set of features that the desktop version provides. For the upcoming version Office 2010, Microsoft plans to provide users the option to edit videos in PowerPoint and play and manipulate with images in Word. These features sadly will not be available in the free versions. Interestingly on Monday, Microsoft’s share gained 84 cents or 3.7 percent and close at $23.23.
What this service will do is that it will allow users to stream music for no cost at all and users will also have the option to download the music tracks they desire. Peter Bale, executive producer of MSN, Microsoft’s news and entertainment portal said:
Music is an important area for Microsoft. We are looking at launching a music streaming service imminently. It will be a similar principle to Spotify but we are still examining how the business model will work.
Spotify users are able to stream tracks for free from the web service which is supported by advertising. In order to avoid interruption caused by adverisements, user has to pay for a Spotify subscription of £9.99 a month.
Bale also gave a hint that this upcoming music streaming service could be tied with Microsoft’s Xbox gaming network, Xbox Live. However there was no confirmation as to how Microsoft will go about in linking the service. What will Microsoft charge for this service and whether it would provide ad-supported service freely or not remains a gray area. With the passage of time more details will become available.
While writing this post, I said and wished that I had an O2 connection. After going through this post, I am sure you might wish for the same. Well here is the news. Starting from first day of August, O2 will be offering its UK based customers free twitter alerts via SMS. A spokesperson from O2 has confirmed the fact that O2 has teamed up with Twitter to turn Twitter updates into free text messages meaning @replies and direct messages just got a little more direct.
From the beginning of August, each and every customer of O2 will be able to switch on text notifications within Twitter and also be able to receive replies and direct messages. In additon, users can also send updates to Twitter as part of their normal text message bundle or for the cost similar to that of a text message. Once users have enabled this amazing service, users will receive alerts whenever there is an @reply or a direct message.
Want to turn off notifications at certain times. Well you can also do that. O2 is also placing a fair use policy for Twitter texts. The company wants its users to respect and urge them to stay below 600 messages per month.Antony Douglas, Head of Content at O2, believes that step was taken considering the increasing use of mobile for connecting to social networking sites. His words were:
We believe that mobile will soon become the most popular way of accessing social networking sites, giving real time access to tweets and status updates wherever you are.The agreements we now have in place with Twitter and the other key sites brings this a step closer, making it quick and easy for O2 customers to access their favourite social networks straight from their mobile.
Many of you will surely be available of the browser offered by Google: Google Chrome. This post is related to Google Chrome. The news is that the developer version of Chrome has enabled the updated new tab page. This recently updated tab page is more customizable and allows you to remove, reorder and pin thumbnails and has got interesting things within it.
One of the new sections of new tab page is Tips and Suggestions. Currently it is empty. However a recent Chromium build brought to light the functionality that this empty container might provide:
Google shows popular web pages from the iGoogle gadget “What’s popular”. The gadget uses algorithms to find interesting content from a combination of your submissions and trends in aggregated user activity across a variety of Google services, like YouTube and Google Reader.
No one will discourage the suggestions part of this new tab page, but one thing which many will expect is that it should be related to the user’s browsing history. Microsoft‘s Internet Explorer 8 provides a feature called suggested sites which monitors the browsing activities of a user and based on that shows related web pages. Google itself has a Web History service which uses Google Toolbar to track the visited web pages, and at the same time offers searchable browsing history, stats and recommended web pages.
China will be getting their required iPhone from Apple earlier than expected. However when the iPhone arrives, it will be lacking an important feature: WiFi. From sources it is gathered that Apple has applied and requested for a network access license so that iPhone can be sold in China.
Interestingly, the license is for customized iPhone model in which WiFi support has been disabled. If that comes out to be true, then that would imply one thing: Apple has finally accepted the demands of China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology. China’s Ministry demands that iPhone runs only on cellular networks.
This comes out as a surprise since Apple previously signalled its intention to provide Wifi enabled iPhones only. However since Apple has seemingly accepted China’s demand, iPhone might be coming to China 2-3 months earlier. Matt Mathison, an analyst at Wedge Partners stated:
We now expect it to come before the Spring Festival in [January] 2010
Picasa Web Albums added some new features which will be welcomed by many of you. Infact these features might be the one that many of you were looking for. Basically these features are management oriented and will enable you to manage your favorites and fans. Many of you might be possibly aware of the fact that you can add any Picasa Web user as a favorite so that you recieve notification when your favorite(s) add/upload new pics. Similarly once you add someone as your favorite, you will become a member of his list of fans and he will get an email for notification purposes
Previously, you were unable to remove users from the list of fans, but that is the thing which Google has changed. If anyone in your list of fans happens to be a spammer, now you do not need to stick with them. Yes, you can block them. Once done, that user will no longer will be able to comment on your photos and add you as a favorite. However a warning appear once you block a user which stats Blocking someone cannot be undone. Besides blocking spammers, you can also block users who post offensive comments.
Also, Picasa Web Albums added a list of suggested favorites. This list includes all of your contacts that themselve use Google’s photo sharing service. What this feature does is that it provides you an opportunity to find interesting photos uploaded by your contacts and to add them to your favorites.
If there is a list of favorite users, similarly there should be a feature to tag some image as your favorite. Well, luckily Picasa Web Album realized and allowed you to declare some image as your favorite. It did so by adding a link below each photo which says I like this. In addition it also show the number of likes. Sadly, in the current scenario there is no way to track the photos you like.
Microsoft besides releasing version 3 of Silverlight, also released Release Candidate for Expression Blend 3. In this post, I intend to bring to you the essential features that the Release Candidate brings for you. One of the interesting and my favorite feature is the Sketchflow. Expression Blend is seen as a major update and is expected to increase and enrich tooling support. More notable improvements include:
- Sketchflow: SketchFlow makes it significantly easier to create prototypes, experiment with dynamic user experiences, and incorporate feedback from customers. If you haven’t seen or tried it yet – you must. It really is a game changing new way to create great user centric applications.
- Intellisense: Blend 3 includes C#, VB and XAML intellisense support. You can now write code and event handlers within Blend without having to switch to VS.
- Behaviors: Blend 3 includes behavior support which can encapsulate complex design interactions into reusable components that can be directly applied to a control within the design surface. This enables designers to quickly add functionality and behavior to applications without having to write code.
- Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator Import: Blend 3 now has built-in support for importing Photoshop and Illustrator files. As part of the import process you can view and pick individual Photoshop layers to import, customize and regroup layers, and have Photoshop/Illustrator elements retain their original formats within XAML: including layer positions, editable text and font settings, and vector element conversion to XAML.
- Sample Data: Blend 3 adds design-time sample data support which makes it easy to mock up data-connected applications and see what they look like without requiring access to live data. You can generate sample data or import sample data from an XML file and it is available to controls on the artboard at design-time. You can customize your sample data details, and you can easily switch between using sample data and using live data at run-time.
- TFS: Blend 3 now includes Team Foundation Server (TFS) support – allowing you to use source control and enlist within projects. Blend shares the same project and solution format as Visual Studio – allowing both VS and Blend to work simultaneously on the same projects and enabling seamless editing between them.
- Other Improvements: Additional enhancements including improved animation and easing function support, 3D transform support, visual effects support, and an improved visual state manager designer.
Expression Studio 3 final release is expected during the upcoming 29 days. Expression Studio 3 will comprise of
- Blend with Sketchflow
Many of you might have heard about the release of Silverlight 3. Well this post is not about that. It is somehow related to that. Expression Encoder 3 is a part of the Silverlight 3 release. So what is Expression Encoder 3 what interesting features does it bring. This is what is exactly the contents of this post. Wait, one more thing this post will not provide the exhaustive list of features that Expression 3 Encoder provides. These details come straight from the silverlight team blog.The more significant or the highlights of the encoder package includes:
- IIS Smooth Streaming – Encode your content in high quality to multiple bitrates to take advantage of Smooth Streaming, a feature of Internet Information Server 7 Media Services. Take a look at the results at http://www.iis.net/media. Encoder 3 adds a brand new dedicated VBR VC-1 Smooth Streaming codec that has been engineered for extreme high-performance and high-quality encoding.
- Improved H.264 Support – The H.264 encoding support for devices that were introduced in Encoder 2 was extended. VBR,Main Profile support and custom resolutions has been added, Enabling you to encode full HD 1080p sources. Encoder 3 also enables you to produce H.264 content for Smooth Streaming.
- Video Screen Capture – The 3rd version brings a very efficient video screen capturing tool. This tool happens to be quite efficient in compression and processor usage. It does consume the whole CPU time. Whenever you capture a high quality video, that captured files reflect the actual quality of the experience. The captured files can be opened up directly in Expression Encoder or even Export it.
- Redesigned User Interface – The User Interface has been modified and brings a different look. The interface will enable you to find the intented items more easily.
- Silverlight 3 Templates -For Silverlight 3, all the templates have been written. Those interested in doing Smooth Streaming, we have included the Smooth Streaming Graphing Player has been included which will provide you with the visual representation of smooth streaming and the ability to simulate different bandwidths
- Software Development Kit and Object Model -As expected and needed, the SDK and Object model have been enhanced. This enhacement was performed to ensure that you guys can get all the powerful features of the advanced encoding. There is an object Model for Live Encoding mode. What more do you want, just for your convenience, SDK is included with the Encoder 3 thus eliminating the need to download it separately.
The more significant or the highlights of the encoder package includes:
IIS Smooth Streaming
Encode your content in high quality to multiple bitrates to take advantage of Smooth Streaming, a feature of Internet Information Server 7 Media Services. Take a look at the results at http://www.iis.net/media. Encoder 3 adds a brand new dedicated VBR VC-1 Smooth Streaming codec that has been engineered for extreme high-performance and high-quality encoding.
Improved H.264 Support
The H.264 encoding support for devices that were introduced in Encoder 2 was extended. VBR,Main Profile support and custom resolutions has been added, Enabling you to encode full HD 1080p sources. Encoder 3 also enables you to produce H.264 content for Smooth Streaming.
Video Screen Capture
The 3rd version brings a very efficient video screen capturing tool. This tool happens to be quite efficient in compression and processor usage. It does consume the whole CPU time. Whenever you capture a high quality video, that captured files reflect the actual quality of the experience. The captured files can be opened up directly in Expression Encoder or even Export it.
Redesigned User Interface
The User Interface has been modified and brings a different look. The interface will enable you to find the intented items more easily.
Silverlight 3 Templates
For Silverlight 3, all the templates have been written. Those interested in doing Smooth Streaming, we have included the Smooth Streaming Graphing Player has been included which will provide you with the visual representation of smooth streaming and the ability to simulate different bandwidths
Software Development Kit and Object Model
As expected and needed, the SDK and Object model have been enhanced. This enhacement was performed to ensure that you guys can get all the powerful features of the advanced encoding. There is an object Model for Live Encoding mode. What more do you want, just for your convenience, SDK is included with the Encoder 3 thus eliminating the need to download it separately.
Very recently, Google Translate capabilities were increased. Google added the option to the Google Translate which will allow it to translate the uploaded documents as well. Previously what you were allowed to do is to either copy the text in Google Translate, or you could upload the document online and paste its address in order to translate it.
However the bad side to it is that it converts your document to HTML and then it translates the HTML file. I say bad because translating into HTML does not preserve the document layout and the embedded images as well.
The files that you can upload include
- Word Documents
- PowerPoint Presentations
- PDF files
- HTML files
- Text files
Considering the layout andthe images problem, is the recent added capability what the user were looking for.