Archive for the ‘reviews’ Category

It was a week back I got the invitation to join G.ho.st from one of my friends and he told me that they offer as much as 15 GB storage space and an extra 5 GB for every successful refferal you make. Although I joined I was expecting nothing more than an online storage space from it. But when I started using it, I found it much more than just some storage space.

G.ho.st is more of a virtual computer. It offers almost everything a normal computer can offer. It has a music player, a video player, document editor, spreadsheet editor and presentation makers. It support almost all file types including docx and xlsx. In addition to these features there is a number of online web applications that can be used from the virtual machine. Applications range from games to torrent downloaders.

I am not feeling well, I will finish this post later.

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Voila…here comes the latest installment in the Netbeans saga. I have always been a Netbeans fan. Although I have used more of IBM tools than Netbeans I should be honest enough to say that I enjoyed using Netbeans more than the other one. The primary reason was it was far too light than the Rational suite and far more user friendly. So I would be among those who are the happiest when they release another version..More they release the better it gets.

Defenitely you will be interested in knwoing what is really new with 6.7. Well there are a lot of features depending on which technology you are using. Netbeans is very much misunderstood as a Java IDE , which is a wrong idea. Its a lot more than just a Java IDE. It currently supports a lot of other technologies like Ruby, C++, PHP,etc…It was pretty recenty they released 6.5, it was good and stable. Well not very recently,last November actually.

So the big question is whats new with this one. I will just copy those features from there site..Please dont sue me under intellectual property rights, please I cant type them all:

Connected Developer

  • Create Kenai-hosted projects from within the NetBeans IDE
  • Locate and open sources for Kenai-hosted projects in the IDE
  • Full integration with Bugzilla

Maven

  • Improved code completion for Maven plugin parameters
  • Support for Web Services creation and consumption
  • POM Editor and Navigator enhancements
  • J2EE support

PHP

  • Code coverage and Selenium support
  • SQL code completion in the PHP editor
  • PHPUnit output improvements

GlassFish

  • Derby support registers Derby associated with v3 Prelude instance
  • Code completion support for v3 Prelude as sole registered Java EE server
  • Added Hierarchy to the Tree View in the Services Explorer

Groovy and Grails

  • Out-of-the-box support for Grails 1.1
  • Code completion
  • Disable browser opening on run and configure platforms to use with Grails projects
  • Invoke Grails command or custom script from context menu item

Ruby and Rails

  • Remote debugging support
  • Improvements to Ruby constants support
  • Run and debug actions for test cases and suites included in context menu
  • Support for Shoulda tests

C/C++

  • Profiling support for C++ projects (with minimal overhead!)
  • Integrated support of popular Qt library and tools
  • More refactorings and code generation in the C/C++ editor
  • Macro expansion view to analyze preprocessor output

Profiler

  • Enhanced Self Diagnosis with “Profile Me Now!
  • Export profiling data into CSV, HTML and XML file formats
  • HeapWalker supports OQL queries to analyze the contents of the heapdump

Debugger

  • Debugger options to customize debugging process
  • Easy viewing and setup of sources before start of debugging session

Java

  • Generated source roots now displayed in the Projects tab
  • Struts library migrated to version 1.3.8

Java ME / Mobility

  • Bundled with the Java Platform Micro Edition Software Development Kit 3.0
  • Support for the Java Card Platform
  • Full support for SVG Rich Components in the Visual Mobile Designer
  • Improvements to the SVG Composer

Platform

  • Enhancements to Output Window, Update Center catalog and Search performance
  • Improved toolbar behavior and declarative MIME type resolvers
  • Ability to change extension of files

Huh..thats a pretty long list. Suggest them something u miss in this list and that might be a reason for the next release. By the way you can download your favourite version from here. Needless to say its absolutely free and sometimes when you download you might end up getting a bit more than a wonderful IDE. Because the last time I went there, I stumbeld upon the ‘Netbeans Refer a friend’ program and I ended up getting three really cute pen drives. Take a look at that:

This one glows in red when connected, makes it really a beauty in dark. So thats just another reason to get your hands on the latest Netbeans.

Google Chrome

Posted: May 20, 2009 in google, reviews
Tags: ,

I am using google chrome right now and I am really loving it. What surprises me most is the startup latency. Its like u click the shortcut,bang, here it is..And the incognito window feature is something I always wanted.The speed dial feature they use is too cool. And the good part is they intelligently places my favorite links on them and I dont have to manually set anything.It appears like google is taking care of me personally. I have heard complaints that it sometimes crashes but I have never had one yet. And well if u are using the Beta version then you should be expecting a few of them. So I suggest those who are crying on it,please let the google guys know more about the crash so that they can fix it.

And dear please dont ask whether chrome is the next IE..IE is way out of picture. Though I am a windows fan, I should say that IE suX big time. Too slow, damn heavy..I hate IE browsing. The major contender in my opinion is the Firefox 3 from Mozilla. There are practically unlimited number of plugins available for firefox (though most of them only crashes the browzer)..Well lets wait and see who finally wins..Anyway I am using chrome only..

There are a hundred other reasons to say Chrome is the best. Now my friend Gunjan Gogia has written a bit on her blog about the same.Since we share the same opinion I will just put a link to there from here.

And to finish it,Google rocks!!! And chrome too.

Finally the much awaited Ubuntu 9.04 has released. Although I didnt yet install and use it, I hearing a lot of noise about it, especially as a total replacement to Windows. One thing I am hearing the most is about the speed, and a faster loading time. I am really dying to compare it with the new Windows 7 RC1. But the rest of the stuff I hear are all based on some new applications that are bundled along with it. Like a new media player that can automatically download the subtitles from “open”subtitles.com and a package manager that can take a backup copy of all the packages and even perform an offline installation similar to apt-get.  But this package manager is still way below the windows counterpart where you install an application with just one button click.

The look and feel thing, from what I have seen, I feel the UI of windows 7 (i have been using the beta for sometime) is far better than that of Ubuntu.. W7 interface makes a lot of things easier to do..like connecting to network directly from the tray and those cool transparency effects. With that default themes of both, I felt like i went straight to the Sahara desert after my vacation in Bahamas.

But one major problem I am gonna have with Ubuntu is the lack of drivers…especially the graphics and sound drivers…I am having an nVidia 8600 GT graphics card and a creative audigy sound card to help play my Altec lansing. Ubuntu disappoints big time. Afterall all the money I saved on replacing windows with Ubuntu is lost counting the money I spent on these hardwares which are now nothing more than just sitting ducks. Thanks my speakers are having a stereo mode for atleast I can hear some sound,though very feeble.

And the gtalk..I live in Gtalk…whatever complaints they say about the little gadget from Google, I cant live without it..Now the only way continue using gtalk is to use something like Pidgin..but the bird never really talk..there is no voice support. Heard they are gonna pack it soon, but like most other opensource things, the date is still indefinite. I really wanna talk with my friends..especially when its “free”.

As a Computer Science student,graduating in about a week, I love ubuntu as a developers platform. Most of my projects projects including my final year project was done on Ubuntu. And my final project was actually to modify the kernel itself for performance tweaking. The support forum is good and the response come pretty fast. On the contrary for an authentic windows operating system, that support comes as a part of the bundle you ‘purchased’. And forget about the possiblity of me doing my final project on changing the Windows kernel(may be thats why windows is so stable..he he). Hmm..my friend Anirudh is working in Microsoft, may be he can one day tell me how does a windows kernel look like.And not to forget, they have made considerable enhancements to the kernel by Windows 7, finally coming up with the worlds most compact kernel.

Now lemme come back to where we started. Is 9.04 a complete replacement for windows. Honestly in my opinion, NOT YET. Because still if my mom wants to use a pc surfing the net or if my little brother wants to use my laptop for playing some games , then there is no way I am going to recommend an Ubuntu for them.I will buy them a W7 or a Vista. Ubuntu might be the favourite for all the developer folks,that wud include me too, but considering the common people and their needs, I think Ubuntu has a got a long way to go before u can really consider it as a replacement for windows. Not all people will need to see the kernel code before he starts using it. And the number of those common people who use computers are many many times greater than the number of dev guys around. I wonder why these Ubuntu people forget this simple thing. May be this is where the MS pro’s score over the weekend programmers..

PS: I am not against open source or a die hard fan of Microsoft. I have contributed to open source as well. Please dont misunderstand me.

My Dell XPS 1530

Posted: April 19, 2009 in hardware, reviews
Tags: , ,

Well its not new,it was six months back I bought a Dell XPS 1530 laptop for my personal use,but that time I wasnt blogging.So this is a belated review about the same. Well you have one advantage,I am writing this after using the machine for a considerably long time as opposed to most other reviews written after a few days or even a few hours of running.

As you know Dell lets you to customize ur laptop to every possible bit lemme first tell my configuration.

Intel(R) Core(TM)2 Duo Processor T8300 2.4GHz, 3MB Cache, 800 MHz FSB

Genuine Windows Vista(R) Home Premium 32 bit SP1 Edition (English)

15.4″ Widescreen WXGA+ (1440×900) TFT Display with TrueLife(TM)

4GB ( 2 X 2048MB ) 667MHz Dual Channel DDR2 SDRAM

250GB SATA Hard Drive

256MB NVIDIA(R) GeForce(R) 8600 GT

And some other fancy stuff like the biometric fingerprint reader and n-mini card WiFi.

Now let me put it straight,I am damn happy with my laptop.It gives me all the punch I ever needed.I can run any application available and till date my configuration didnt prevent me from playing any title on the market. May be for the latest games you will have to settle with some lesser visuals,but still for the money I paid it rocks.And the look and feel is good.The tuxedo black fits all ocassions.

The processor is powerful but it never heats up too much.In case of heat emission my laptop never troubled me.But always make sure you keep it on a flat surface. Even in the power saver mode it can do most of the work faster than my PC. 4 gigs of RAM mostly lies unused so i shared a good part of it with the graphics card.Now with an additional 1.5G memory my card gives me amazing visuals.I just finished playing Crysis:Warhead and EndWar(now waiting for FEAR 2 to reach me).

The little beast is pretty feature rich and delivers power too.With that WXGA+ screen you have an amazingly good view angle.The slot load dvd saves a lot of space on my desk and free me from the worry that the tray might break off one day. The battery back up is average.I get a 3 hour backup in the power saver mode but might fall to one hour or less at high performance and wifi on.

Now lets talk a bit about the darker side.It sometimes gives some sound from the harddisk as if some grinding is happening inside. The build quality of Dell was never too good and so is the case with this one.The hinge joints looks good but will be history in one good smash. The lit up touch buttons on the front panel are a bit unresponsive and can be very annoying when you try to do the volume control from there. The slot load dvd never let you play the small sized discs. The media direct button is one part you will never touch in your whole life.

But despite of all these the machine is a consistent performer.It hasnt gone down even a bit since the day it arrived. And the service they offer is amazing.You get a motherboard replacement in 36 hours. And for all this I paid 66K after all taxes and deductions.

It was only a couple of weeks back I bought an Altec Lansing VS3251 5.1 channel speaker system and a week back I complimented the same with a creative audigy value (7.1). All that cost me less than 5.5 k (in INR ok..may be a 100 dollars).A decent system I should say especially at that price. And the best part is that it comes with a wireless remote so that I can now stay on my bed while listening to music.

It also has an auxiliary input port on the front pannel so that u can easily plugin ur mp3 player or iPod into it and u can switch between aux and main from the remote. U have seperate volume controls for the rear, center and subwoofer channels but the front channel is controlled by the master volume itself. You can also switch to a stereo mode when only the subwoofer and front channel works,exactly like a 2.1 system.

If you are trying to show off with the looks, then surely its not ur element.The looks are just average. The rear of the woofer is pretty clean. There arent too many ports to confuse you. Well u can take a look at it :

That made it pretty easy to install. There is also a detailed setup manual. But the main power button is kept on the rear making it pretty inaccessible but we would hardly ever need it.

The problem with the speakers is that all the controls are in the remote. So if u ever lose it, its all gone.

Now the other issue with the remote is that u have no way to find out at what level the volumes and reading are fixed now. There is no display of values.So its pretty hard for u to set the volume to ur comfort.Its always trial and error.

The sound quality is good.Its clear,there are no screaching sounds. But the speakers cut the lower band of the sound, so that u are gonna lose some of those small sounds. The bass is caught pretty well especially with a good sound card. All these features makes it perfect for gaming. For a gamer its the best choice in its segment. It works pretty fine for movies as well. You can feel the bullets flying right next to ur ears.But if you are into music alone, I wudnt recommend this box to you.Its better you go for a creative. But defenitely I didnt mean that its bad for music, but i was just telling there are better options for music. For me it was worth the money I spent.

The technical specifications are as follows:

  • General Features:

  • Sound Pressure Level (SPL): TBD dB
  • Total Continuous Power: 70 Watts RMS

  • Front Speakers:
  • 9 Watts/channel @ 4 ohms @ 10% THD @ 120 Hz – 17 kHz 2
  • Channels Loaded

  • Rear Speakers:
  • 9 Watts/channel @ 4 ohms @ 10% THD @ 120 Hz – 17 kHz 2
  • Channels Loaded

  • Center Speaker:
  • 9 Watts @ 4 ohms @
  • 10% THD @ 120 Hz – 17 kHz Single
  • Channel Loaded

  • Subwoofer:
  • 25 Watts @ 4 ohms @ 10%
  • THD @ 40 – 120 Hz Single Channel Loaded
  • System Response: 40 Hz – 17 kHz (-10 dB)
  • Signal to Noise Ratio @ 1 kHz input: > 70 dB
  • One 5.25-inch long-throw woofer

So all the best for a purchase..