4 Useful Websites To Help You Pronounce Names Correctly

As a blogger I have to answer many questions to readers from across the world. Luckily, I converse with them either via emails

Lock Your Computer With Secure My Screen

There are several tools and methods to protect a computer from unauthorized access under a working environment. I had mentioned many of them in previous posts.

Create Multiple Aliases with Outlook.com Account

Microsoft has launched the latest version of their webmail service called Outlook.com. The new webmail replaces the existing Hotmail and users can now create their new Outlook.com email address

Showing posts with label Review. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Review. Show all posts

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Cross Greeting Cards With Time Capsules & You Get Keepster For iOS

It is an emotional moment for most people if they lose their text messages, but times are changing and a lot of our important conversations now reside on the cloud, thanks to services like iMessage, Facebook, Skype and the like. However, if you are the kind of person who likes to keep or share mementos and souvenirs from the past, a simple Facebook message might appear to be a bit too casual for the purpose. Keepster is an iPhone app that makes sure you express the right message at just the right time or situation. The app connects with your Facebook account to let you send visually rich greeting greeting cards, time capsules or location-triggered messages to your friends. You can also use Keepster to send a message (or photo) to your future self.

Keepster iOS Home Keepster iOS Settings

Keepster is meant to be used with a Facebook account, and does not support any other service. Launch the app on your iPhone, and sign in using your Facebook ID. To make everything work perfectly, head to the Keepster settings menu to toggle on location services and push notifications.
Keepster can only send messages to other users of the app, so you will have to request your friends to install the app before you can start sending them these messages. To ask any of your contacts to create a ‘Keeper’ for you, use the ‘Requests’ section of the app. This works much like Orkut’s testimonials (if anyone remembers those).
Keepster iOS Type Keepster iOS Media
There are a few predefined Keeper types in the app. You can create messages that only open at a particular place or time, send greeting cards or share media files with your friends. Depending upon the type of Keeper you select, Keepster lets you attach pictures, audio and videos to the messages. For time capsules, it is possible to define the exact date and time when its recipient will be allowed to open it. As soon as the defined time/place conditions are met, the recipients get a notification informing them that they have a new Keeper waiting for them.
Keepster has a funky interface, and most of its features look to be the fruit of some hard labor. Though the app can still use a lot of improvements. The biggest problem with the app is that if you send a message to a Facebook contact that is not on Keepster, they won’t get any notification – not even a simple request to give Keepster a try.
There is no easy way of inviting your friends to join Keepster either. Another strange thing about the app is its inability to let you use multiple types of attachments within a single message (at least it didn’t work for us). We really want to like Keepster because of its great concept and unique interface, but the app doesn’t do itself many favors due to the aforementioned shortcomings. That said, Keepster is free, and if you want to use it to create time capsules for yourself or some of your friends who do use it, it can’t hurt to give the app a try. Keepster is optimized for iPhone and iPod touch devices, and works only in landscape mode. You can grab it from the iTunes App Store using the link given below.
Download Keepster For iOS

Friday, May 3, 2013

Design Floor Plans & Generate 3D Renders Online With Planner 5D

Whether you’re an architect or someone looking to buy or build their first home, you need blueprints and floor plans to get the job done. Even if you decide to hire someone to design your house for you, you might want to play around with a few different layouts. Planner 5D is a web service that home owners, builders, architects, real estate renovators, and contracts will find extremely useful. It’s a home planner that lets you create building plans complete with rooms, fixtures, furniture, landscaping, and people. The service isn’t just easy to use, but also gives you complete freedom to add or remove any element you want. It’s equipped with basic furniture and fixtures, and will even let you select furniture that is available from IKEA. Last but not the least, it gives you both 2D and 3D views of the rooms, office space, or house that you create.

Planner 5D is very easy to use; sign up for a free account and create you first project. You can create a home or office from scratch, or select one uploaded by other users to the gallery and modify it to your liking.
Planner 5D new project
When starting from scratch, you get a blank plan with one empty room added to it. The left bar is where you will find all the items such as rooms, plants, doors, furniture, paths, electronics etc. to add to your plan. Rooms are available in three shapes: rectangular, square, and L-shaped. You can drag out the length of any wall or corner. The elements that you add are smart enough to snap to each other. If you drag out one wall, the other wall of the room joined to it will follow. Customizing the dimensions is a bit tricky though, since you can drag out every one of the them and if you aren’t careful with the one you’ve selected, you might end up creating a crazy shaped room.
Drag out one or two rooms to the plan, and arrange them the way you like. When you click once on a room, it is highlighted with an orange outline. When all sides of a room are highlighted, you can move it around freely. you will notice that when you click on a room, three buttons appear; the spanner button lets you change the appearance of the item (the floor and walls in case of rooms), the two squares icon allow you to replicate it, and the trash can lets you delete it.
Planner 5D rooms
To drag out a wall, select it so that only that wall is highlighted in orange, and then move your cursor outward. To move a corner, select it so that a small orange circle appears, and then drag it out.
In order to proceed with designing your plan the right way, you might want to check out all the elements and items Planner 5D lets you add, so explore the left column thoroughly. The Home tab lets you add rooms, windows, doors, partitions, stairs, and columns. The Furniture tab houses all sorts of furniture and fixtures, electric appliances, and decoration. The Exterior tab offers gates, fences, paths, lawns, garden furniture, trees and plants, garage items, outdoor lighting, etc. Each of these items can be dragged out to the workspace to add them to it. They can then be arranged any way you like. Windows and doors are also smart items that will stick to the walls they are added to, and automatically change their direction when they detect that you’re dropping them on a wall that faces a different wall.
Planner 5D items
A set of buttons on the right allow you to take screenshots of the layouts you’ve created, toggle the visibility of the left sidebar, undo or redo changes, and share your layout on social media. Perhaps the most interesting element of the app is the 3D button on the right. Click it, and Planner 5D will render a 3D view of the plan you’ve just created. You can move around it freely and look at it from different directions. When we tested the service, the 3D view would not load in Firefox, but loaded perfectly in Chrome.
Planner 5D 3D view
Apart from its obvious usefulness, Planner 5D is also fun to just play around with and put your creativity to work. The renderings of the IKEA furniture make it great for anyone looking to redecorate a room. The only thing missing is perhaps a way to print the floor plan out.
Visit Planner 5D

Get Album Art & Gesture Controls In The iPhone Volume HUD

The translucent box that shows up on your iPhone’s screen every time you change its volume might not be the most important feature of iOS, but the Cydia store already has a few tweaks that focus on this HUD to enhance it. Some tweaks let you add more information to the volume display but if you don’t want to alter it too drastically, there are options like Hud that add album art to the box whenever you are listening to music. Music HUD is a new Cydia release that can be deemed a combination of the two aforementioned tweaks. It doesn’t focus on a single particular feature, though everything it offers is related to music. Thanks to Music HUD, it is possible to control song playback by performing gestures on the HUD, add album art to it and tweak the music info that is displayed.
Music HUD Cydia Music HUD Settings Music HUD

Music HUD is a free tweak but after the post-installation respring, you’ll be shown a donation request from the developer. All the configuration has to be done via the menu added to the stock Settings app by Music HUD. Every aspect of the tweak is under the control of the user. You can toggle album art display, as well as the information associated with the current song. It is up to you whether you want to view the song name, artist name, album title or any two of these in the title and subtitle fields. The menu offers two separate sections for these choices.
When it comes to gestures, Music HUD supports just two, which makes sense given the small area that the tweak is aimed at. The first gesture – tapping the HUD once – can mute the music, while perform it again sets the volume back on. Anyone looking for a quick way of changing songs should give Music HUD a try as well, since the other gesture deals with just that; by swiping upward on the HUD, you can skip to the next track in your playlist.
Everything about Music HUD works as advertised, but there we did find a minor issue: the album art displayed in the volume area doesn’t fill up the entire middle part of the HUD, and looks a bit contracted. Apart from this little oversight, the tweak is just about perfect. Give Music HUD a try by heading to the BigBoss repo of the Cydia store. The tweak is free, does not come with any iOS version limitations.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

The Best Video Players For iPhone, iPad & iPod touch

There can be no denying the fact that thanks to their high resolution Retina screens, Apple devices can hold their own against any smartphone in terms of display. The screen resolutions and other display aspects just keep getting better and better with each new iDevice release, but what’s the use of having such extraordinary hardware if you can’t play even the most popular video formats on your iPhone? While this could have been a real problem if users had to rely solely on the stock Videos app, thankfully there are a lot of quality video players available on App Store as well as Cydia. Many iOS users might not even be aware that their iPhone can play just about any video file, thanks to some awesomely feature-rich apps.

It’s all about finding the right app for your device, and that’s what we are going to help you with. In what follows, we will take a look at some of the best video players available for iPhone, iPad and iPod touch.

Free Apps


OPlayer iPhone Files OPlayer iPhone Settings
Think of any video format, and it’s most likely that OPlayer supports it. The app also supports viewing subtitles for movies and playing audio files. There is an app-specific orientation lock, and any video’s sound will keep playing even when you are on the lock screen or the app is in the background. The app has a web browser of its own that can be used to play streams.
OPlayer iPhone
  • Easy file transfer (USB, Wi-Fi and web)
  • Subtitles
  • iTunes Backup
  • Free version shows an annoying ad on top of all videos
  • The playback loses some of its smoothness whenever you touch volume or some other control
Download OPlayer Lite
Download OPlayer ($2.99)


8Player iPhone Home 8Player iPhone List
8Player might not support as many media formats as some of the other entries in this list, but it is certainly among the smoothest apps of its kind. The app plays even 1080p videos without a hiccup on the rather old iPhone 4. There are some pretty interesting interface customization options too, letting users tinker with the looks of the app.
8Player iPhone 8Player Options
  • Lightweight and smooth
  • Interface customization
  • DLNA support
  • 3G playback
  • Doesn’t let you keep more than 3 playable videos in the library unless you are a pro user.
  • Navigation is a little confusing
Download 8player Lite
Download 8player ($4.99)


RockPlayer2 iPhone Library RockPlayer2 iPhone Settings
This free video player has got just about everything. The interface looks professionally designed, and the playback is smooth for all formats. Most notably, if you want to share the videos from your library, RockPlayer2 is your best bet.
RockPlayer2 iPhone RockPlayer2 iPhone Controls
  • Support for subtitles and lossless audio
  • A lot of import/export options
  • Customizable gesture controls
  • Auto import for camera roll videos
  • Audio doesn’t work under lock screen or in the background
  • Choppy playback for 1080p videos
Download RockPlayer2
Read full review

Video Stream

Video Stream iPhone Local Video Stream iPhone Server
Video Stream is not a conventional video player, but the features it offers make it worthy of appearing on this list. You can transfer videos to it via the usual iTunes method, and there is also a desktop server of its own that lets you stream videos of any format from your PC or Mac to your iPhone. The player works pretty well too, offering both landscape and portrait modes, along with support for background and lock screen play.
Video Stream iPhone
  • Full-screen mode
  • Stream videos from your computer
  • Convert any video to the default .MOV format from within the app
  • Limit on streaming from desktop in the free version
  • Struggles with some formats and large videos
Download Video Stream Free
Download Video Stream ($2.99)

Paid Apps


Subtitles are Azul’s specialty, but other areas of the app are pretty decent as well. It handles most popular formats, plays video streams, and even allows you to add bookmarks to particular areas of videos.
Azul Player iPhone
  • File renaming and sharing options
  • Lets you choose subtitle encoding format
  • Add text notes in videos
  • Email export
  • Audio extraction in iOS 6
  • Crashes regularly on older devices
Download Azul Media Player

It’s Playing

It's Playing iOS Home It's Playing iOS Info
Despite having a lackluster interface, It’s Playing is the only video player for iOS that lets you tinker with different aspects of a video while it is being played. You can change playback speed, contrast, brightness and color saturation of the video on the go. If you don’t have subtitles, it is not necessary to look for them using a web browser since It’s Playing is capable of fetching subtitles automatically.
It's Playing iOS Player
  • Video adjustment controls
  • Automatic subtitle fetching
  • Passcode lock for folders
  • Quality level selection for smooth playback
  • Drab interface
  • Doesn’t play sound when device is muted
Download It’s Playing


GPlayer iOS GPlayer Gestures
For anyone who wants an app that can play most of the popular video formats without requiring extensive configuration and difficult file transfer, GPlayer is the perfect choice. It also supports Wi-Fi file transfer so that users can drag and drop files in their desktop web browser and access them on their phone.
GPlayer Video
  • Wi-Fi file transfer
  • Password protection
  • Aspect ratio choice within the player
  • Limited gesture controls
  • MKV playback is not smooth
Download GPlayer
Read full review


CineXPlayer iOS Home CineXPlayer iOS Browser
If you compare the number of features available in all iOS video players, CineXPlayer is sure to emerge as the winner. The app supports Dolby sound codecs, can be used to watch videos in 3D, and has a web browser of its own. We would have been tempted to label CineXPlayer the ultimate iOS video player had it supported as many formats as some of the other entries in our list.
CineXPlayer iOS
  • Dolby Digital Plus (AC-3) support
  • 3D support
  • Download manager for videos and subtitles
  • Dropbox integration
  • Lack of support for several popular formats including WMV and FLV
  • Video quality could have been better
Download CineXPlayer


GoodPlayer iOS Home GoodPlayer iOS Settings
Owners of high-end devices will love GoodPlayer due to its amazingly high quality color rendering. Unfortunately, the app isn’t too smooth and playback of even the most basic formats can be choppy. Though its gesture controls are great for changing track and subtitle files on the go.
GoodPlayer iOS Options
  • Great for watching videos with subtitles and multiple tracks
  • 24-bit true color
  • Sleep timer
  • Bad interface
  • Playback can be choppy
Download GoodPlayer



RushPlayer iOS Home RushPlayer iOS Settings RushPlayer iOS Media
Owners of older jailbroken iDevices must give this app a try. In our experience, it played even 1080p videos without any jitter on our iPhone 4. Unlike other Cydia apps covered here, RushPlayer+ offers Wi-Fi file transfer so you don’t need to have any knowledge of SSH and WinSCP.
RushPlayer iOS
  • Super-smooth playback
  • Hardware acceleration
  • File system access
  • Speaker balance
  • Navigating through file system to find videos can be a bit hectic

VLC Media Player

VLC Media Player iOS VLC Media Player iOS Warning
VLC Player was hugely popular in its tenure in the App Store. Unfortunately, it was pulled from there due to copyright issues, and is now only available in the Cydia store. It is not the most feature-rich app out there, but you will get support for plenty of formats and it is even smart enough to warn users in case their device isn’t capable of playing a file smoothly.
VLC Media Player iPhone
  • Neat interface
  • Compatibility warning for low-end devices
  • Difficult method for importing videos (via SSH)
  • Laggy on older devices
Here’s a quick feature comparison chart of all the iOS video players discussed above:

So now that you’ve checked out some of the best video players available for iOS, don’t forget to tell us about your favorite one in the comments below.