Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Increase Volume of iPod

With many external devices, the standard iPod volume is not loud enough. Here are the tricks that you can use to increase the output volume.

Two major ways exist for increasing the iPod volume.

There are advantages and risks to each way.

First, you can increase the volume of the song through iTunes:

- Open iTunes.
- Select Library.
- Select a song or songs. (Ctrl+A for all.)
- Right click and select Get Info. (If a prompted to edit multiple items, select Yes)
- Navigate to Volume Adjustment at the bottom.
- Move the arrow upward toward +100%
- Click OK.
- Sync your iPod.


This is an easy way to increase the volume of an individual song or multiple songs. However, this will frequently increase distortion. This makes the song "hotter" but doesn't actually increase the volume coming out of the iPod.

Most software that you can download that will increase your iPod volume works through this matter as well.

The one piece of software that works well is goPod. This actually hacks the iPod firmware to allow the iPod to push more power. This will not actually distort the music (although it may introduce distortion by overpowering your earphones or external device.)

Obviously, hacking firmware is not for the lighthearted and you should do so at your own risk... although goPod makes it pretty easy.

Also, be careful. More volume and more power can destroy ear drums. Do not be crazy with the volume.

iPod Sleep Mode

Sleep modes are made for me. I must have music playing to help me fall asleep. However, I don't want to wear out my iPod by having it run all night long. Using sleep mode, it'll turn off after a set amount of time.

More frequently, I set the sleep mode as a reminder. When the music stops, I know it is reminding me to do something!

Enable Sleep Mode:

1. Go to the Main Menu.

2. Now go to Extras > Clock

3. Select your current time

4. Select Sleep Timer

5. Select the time you want the iPod to turn off.

Buying Digital Camera

Buy Digital Cameras With Confidence

Before making your purchase, make sure you know exactly what you're buying, research your seller, and understand how eBay and PayPal protect you.
Know your purchase

Carefully read the details in item listings.

* Figure delivery costs into your final price. If you spend a lot of money, make sure the seller will insure the item when it ships.
* If you want more information, ask by clicking the "Ask seller a question" link under the seller's profile.
* Always make sure to complete your transaction on eBay (with a bid, Buy It Now, or Best Offer). Transactions conducted outside of eBay are not covered by eBay protection programs.
* Never pay for your eBay item using instant cash wire transfer services through Western Union or MoneyGram. These payment methods are unsafe when paying someone you do not know.

Know your seller

Research your seller so you feel positive and secure about every transaction.

* What is the seller's Feedback rating? How many transactions have they completed? What percentage of positive responses do they have?
* What do buyers say in their Feedback? Did the seller receive praise?
* Most top eBay sellers operate like retail stores and have return policies. Do they offer a money-back guarantee? What are the terms and conditions?

Buyer protection

In the unlikely event that a problem arises during your transaction, eBay and PayPal are there for you.

* Pay safely with PayPal: PayPal enables you to pay without the seller ever seeing your bank account or credit card numbers. In fact, PayPal protects buyers 100% against unauthorized payments from their accounts. Plus, with PayPal Buyer Protection, your purchase can be covered up to $1,000.
* eBay Security & Resolution Center: Visit the Security & Resolution Center to learn how to protect your account and use eBay's quick and efficient resolution tools.

Using Digital Camera

If you're going to take occasional snapshots, work on family album projects, or build a personal website, you'll probably be happy with a low resolution, entry-level digital camera. On the other hand, if you want to make really big prints (beyond 8 x 10), you'll want a model with more manual controls and a higher megapixel count.

Basic Point-and-Shoot

Digital Camera

Entry-level digital cameras are a great solution for those who plan to share small images of medium quality and/or those who want a starter camera to help them get the hang of digital photography. These have limited manual features and a limited image resolution of usually less than 3 megapixels.
Advanced Point & Shoot

Digital Camera 2

If you like more control over your photography, then you'll want a more advanced model with features like manual shooting modes, LCD, resolution of 3-5 megapixels, better lens quality, optical zoom and data ports.
Digital SLR

Digital Camera 3

In the high-end digital camera category, you'll find more emphasis on creative control. Lenses tend to be exchangeable, have optical zoom and are of higher quality; image resolution is 5 megapixels and higher; you get more professional-level controls for shooting and manipulating images.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Online Buying Tips

The following tips can help you navigate the world of online shopping and enjoy minimal hassles at the same time.

1. Understand how PayPal works. When you open a PayPal account, you authorize PayPal to take money out of your bank account or charge online purchases to your credit card. This can be a nice service if you feel uneasy about sharing your credit-card information with a wide variety of online merchants. Merchants never see your personal information; they just receive money from PayPal, an eBay company.

2. Decide how you want to pay. PayPal’s default maneuver is to withdraw money straight from your bank account rather than charge purchases to your credit card. If you want to pay with your credit card, you must remember to adjust the payment setting by clicking the “More Funding Options” link before you pay.

3. It’s better to use your credit card. That way you’ll be able to dispute charges and potentially get them reversed if anything goes awry. Such disputes will be much harder to resolve if the money has already been taken out of your account.

4. Don’t respond to unsolicited e-mails. Did you ever get an e-mail message that appears to be from PayPal or another legitimate-looking outfit, asking you to click on a Web link and update your account information? Never, ever do that! This is one of the biggest online scams around. (Don’t respond to unsolicited phone calls of this nature, either.)

5. Take the initiative. If you’re concerned that PayPal or another institution might really need to reach you, go ahead and contact them directly – but not via the e-mail message you received. Since PayPal’s toll-free number can be hard to find, here it is: 1-800-854-1366. Its non-toll-free customer-service number is (402) 935-2050.

6. Type in Web site addresses yourself. By doing this instead of simply clicking on a link that gets sent to you, you’ll dramatically increase your chances of reaching a legitimate site.

7. Look for signs of security. When you reach the point of payment or of sharing your personal information, the Web site should be secure. The address of a secure site contains an “s” after the “http:”, like so: “https:”. Internet browsers also display an icon such as a gold padlock to verify that the site is secure.

8. Don’t pay outside the system. Fraudulent sellers will ask you to ignore the regular online-shopping-cart method of payment and wire them money instead. Or, they may want you to place money in what will turn out to be a phony escrow account. Never deviate from the regular payment process in this way.

9. Check the seller’s reputation. Whether you’re shopping on eBay, Amazon.com or another site that connects you with independent sellers, opt for a seller who has sold at least 10 items and who has a high satisfaction rating. Also, take a minute to read past customers’ feedback about the seller.

10. Know where to complain. If you feel you have been a victim of fraudulent activity or have received a fraudulent solicitation, report the matter to the retailer or company that’s been “spoofed,” as well as to the Anti-Phishing Working Group and the Internet Crime

Camcorder Buying Tips

Question: Digital Camcorders are much cheaper in US than in UK, India or Singapore. However, the problem is that PAL is the standard playback format in these countries while cameras available in USA are only NTSC compatible.

Can we still buy a MiniDV video camera (NTSC) in the US and later use it to record, edit or play videos in India (PAL) on TV or the DVD player ?

Answer: First some boring but essential theory - The difference between PAL and NTSC is in terms of image resolution and frame rates. NTSC records at 29.97 fps while PAL records video at 25 fps. The standard sample size for NTSC is 720x480 while PAL mode has a resolution of 720x576.

For precisely the above reasons, you won't see any camcorders that can record in both NTSC and PAL formats. Most digital camcorders available in the US or Japan are NTSC compatible while PAL system is the video standard for video cameras in Europe, Australia and Asia [including India].

Now here are some answers to the most common questions that you would have before deciding to purchase a digital camera that uses a video standard not supported in your country.

Playback on Computer - Computers don't know about NTSC or PAL and your computer software is not tied to any video standard. All you need is a Firewire or USB port to connect the camcorder to the computer. The video can either be imported for editing in Windows Movie Maker or played directly using Windows Media Player or Real Player.

MiniDV Tapes - Just like most hard disk are compatible with either FAT32 or NTFS file systems, MiniDV tapes can be used with either PAL or NTSC cameras. They are independent of the video standard in your country. You can even use the same MiniDV tape inside two cameras with different modes.

Playback on TV or DVD Players - Most Television sets can handle both NTSC and PAL [check the program options]. Same holds true for DVD players but if you have an old TV, you might want to read the manual first.

Converting NTSC to PAL or vice-versa - While there will be some loss of quality when you are converting video formats, it is very much possible. Almost every video editing suite like Adobe Premiere Pro, Ulead VideoStudio, Pinnacle Studio, Sony Vegas, Apple Final Cut Pro supports video in NTSC and PAL format. Infact you can use the same software to output the footing in the two formats.

If you need a simple 1-click solution to make VCDs or DVDs from your videos, try transcoding the video in MPEG format using TMPGEnc Express and burn it on a DVD. The rendering time would however depend on your computer configuration plus you need lot of free hard disk space.

Final Advice: If you are planning to watch your video footage directly on a TV without editing it on a computer, it's best to buy a camcorder that supports the format of your region (like PAL in India or NTSC in UK). But if you have a dual mode Televsion, the video standard is immaterial as the TV can play either of the format. Another important point here is that MiniDV tapes recorded on an NTSC camcorder will play only on NSTC supported TV or VCR (same for PAL). You may also like to check if the manufacturer warranty stays valid in your country if it's different from where you made the purchase.

Naming Conventions: Panasonic 3CCD Digital Cameras are available in two variants - PV GS300 and NV GS 300 - the PV denotes NTSC while NV refers to PAL standard. The same is with Sony cameras like the Sony DCR HC46 - they append an 'E' to denote PAL compatible cameras.

Popular MiniDV Camcorders for Video Podcasting: Canon Elura 100, Panasonic PV-GS500, Sony DCR HC36, Sony HDR HC3, Canon GL2

Home Buying Tips

  • Before you buy a house, call around and see if a local community agency offers a course on home ownership. If so, take it; you won’t regret it.
  • Don’t allow yourself to be pressured by the seller or the real estate agent. Take your time. Make a list of the positive reasons for buying the house. Make a list of the negative reasons for buying the house. This is one of the most important decisions you will ever make. Don’t make it too quickly.
  • An appraisal report tells you the market value of a property. Get your own certified appraiser to prepare an appraisal report for you. You should be able to get an appraisal report for about $175 and it’s worth it. Don’t simply accept the appraisal provided the lender who gives you a mortgage.
  • If you can’t afford an appraisal, go to the County Clerk’s Office and research what homes have been selling for in the neighborhood. Or call a real estate agent and ask what homes have been selling for in the neighborhood. In addition, your local librarian may be able to assist you in searching real estates values on the Internet. Don’t assume that the asking price is a good price.
  • Get a home inspection. Find out ahead of time if the home needs repairs. Don’t find out that your roof leaks only after you have moved into the house. A home inspection may cost $225 but it’s worth it.
  • If you can’t afford a home inspection, find a friend who has some construction knowledge to tour the house with you.

Friday, April 20, 2007

Create your own game

Just Click to Create

NEW: Watch the 3D Gamemaker Demonstration Video on-line

Now anyone can build their ideal game in seconds. With just one click of a mouse, you can create a uniquely playable game without needing any programming knowledge or artistic skills at all. Offering over 12 billion gaming options, The 3D Gamemaker opens up a whole new concept in gaming, providing fun for all the family.

Features
  • Instant and amazing results in seconds
  • Create a variety of exciting game scenarios with over 360 pre-made scenes
  • Over 500 3D objects
  • Over 320 Sounds
  • Save games as EXE files

Click here to see the Key Features in full

Create your own Mobile Blog

Tested on: Windows Mobile powered Smartphone

First, what's a moblog? A moblog, or a mobile blog, is an online record of anything you feel like sharing with the world, whether they want it or not. The difference between moblogging and regular blogging is that you use your phone or Pocket PC to post text or pictures.

There are obvious advantages to this. If you get inspired in the middle of a meadow, at your favorite local watering hole, or on a road trip, you won't have to wait until you can get back to your desktop to send your thoughts and photos to the world.

Though moblogging isn't new, it has been gaining popularity and attention, though I don't think the uses of it have been fully explored. It seems a perfect way, for instance, for a real estate agent to show new properties to clients. I've been looking around for a house lately, and I'm frustrated by the lack of pictures on real estate sites. If an agent had a mobile blog, she could take pictures and immediately send them to her moblog.

Then she could call her client on their Smartphone and say something like, 'hey, I just listed a house that seems to be what you're looking for. I'm standing right in front of it. I posted pictures to my moblog. Take a look, and if you like it, you can see it right away.'

In less then five minutes the client could look at the pictures on the agent's moblog on their own mobile device, decide if they like it, call her back, pull up the address on their Pocket Streets map (shameless plug). No time wasted.

There are several types of mobile blogging. One is simply using your Smartphone to post to your regular blog. The blog doesn't have a mobile version. Most major blog sites offer some way to post to your blog with your phone.

Mobile blogging
Another type of mobile blogging is using your camera to snap a picture, and then posting it to your mobile blog with MMS or e-mail. You can then view your pictures on a mobile version of your site. Textamerica is one popular Web host that does this. They also put car ads on the free sites. It's probably worth it to pay to have your site ad-free, but it's up to you.

There is a text only, bare bones site designed for mobile device viewing. The only company I've seen offer this is Winksite. You can bring in your favorite mobile feeds, add a forum, add a survey, add announcements, and add a chat. The developers put in a lot of functionality, but kept the user interface simple. If you have a forum on a mobile phone, you probably don't worry about color and style. However, it may discourage some from posting, as they're used to mobile sites with photos. I think Winksite would be great for poets – especially those who write Haiku.

Earthcam adds a twist to the usual photo blog. With a paid subscription, $4.95 US a month at the time I wrote this, you can access Web cams around the world on your phone. You can also set up your own Web cam on your desktop computer, and view it on your phone. This could be useful for people who want to see their children during the day, or check on a pet. "Nanny or Fido Phones" could be the next big thing.

How do you pick the right moblog? I tested out several sites. What I looked for was:
Don't make me think. Easy instructions and FAQs that don't have 'how do I find my blog on the Web site' as the last choice.
Privacy. Allow me to keep my pictures private, or a mix of public and private. I don't want to share pictures of my family with the world, but if I happen to see Elvis or a Yeti, I might want to post my proof.
Features. I liked the extra features of a forum and survey offered by Winksite, and the Web cam feature from EarthCam.
Personalization. I want my blog to look pretty. Offer me an easy way to change templates, even if I'm not a developer or a designer. Textamerica does a good job there.

You'll have your own laundry list of features that you want. Shop around, try the free version that most offer, and have fun. Many sites also offer features that allow you to cross-post – you can send pictures and text from your mobile blog to your regular blog and vice versa.

Once you've chosen your moblog, be sure and add the e-mail address you need to post your pictures to in your contacts, and add the URL of your site to your mobile favorites.
Add to contacts:
Press Start
Select Contacts > New
Type in the name of your mobile site
Scroll down to E-mail: and type in the e-mail address
Select Done
Add the site URL:


Select Internet Explorer
Select Menu > Add Favorite
Type in the site URL
Press Add

Here's an example of how easy it is to use a mobile blog. I signed up for a free blog with Textamerica. They gave me an e-mail address, and a URL for my site. It only took a few minutes, and no credit cards changed hands.

I took a picture of a cloud out the window of my office on my Windows Mobile Smartphone. Better than the coffee cup on my desk. This is how I posted it to my moblog using my Smartphone:

Press Start
Select Messaging
Select MMS
Select New
Select Menu > Recipients > Add
Scroll to the contact you added following steps above and select
Type in a subject, which will be your caption
Type in text, which will show up under your image when you open a larger version
Select Send


One word of warning – yes, this will count on your data charges. If you plan to post a lot of pictures, get an unlimited data plan.

Becoming a moblogger is fast, fun, and one more way to enjoy your Windows Mobile powered device.

Download Mobile Softwares

To download most applications, you'll download directly to your device while you're online and synced to your desktop computer. You may also download applications onto your desktop and sync them to your device later.

First, check the available storage on your device to decide where you will store the application.
On your Pocket PC:
  • Tap Start > Settings.
  • Tap the System tab.
  • Tap Memory.
  • The default view is the main memory of your device. You'll see how much storage is available, and you can adjust the memory allocated between programs and storage.
  • To see how much storage is available on your storage cards, tap Storage Card.
  • Use the drop-down menu to select your available storage cards and view their available memory.
On your Smartphone:
  • Press Start.
  • Press File Manager.
  • Select the storage type you want to view – in my case, Storage for my built-in storage and Storage Card for my miniSD card.
  • Press Menu.
  • Select Properties to view the amount of storage that is currently used.
  • Connect your Windows Mobile powered device to your desktop computer with the sync cable.
  • Browse online for the application you want to download.
  • Click the button to download (after paying or whatever is required).
    • Note: When downloading executables (.exe), make sure your source is reliable.
  • A dialog box of some type should open asking if you want to Open (Run) or Save the software. If you select Open (Run), the application will download, and if zipped, will require you to unzip the program.
  • Navigate to the folder you unzipped or saved the file to and find the Setup file. Click on the Setup file.
    • Note: Every program downloads differently. In most cases, once you click on the download button and select Open or Run, you will go straight to step 6.
  • The program will begin the install process. A dialog will open asking if you want to install the program to your Pocket PC using the default application install directory.
  • This is when you chose where to store the application on your device. I usually store all applications on a storage card. One exception: Today plug-ins. Most programs will let you know in advance if they need to be stored in the main storage on your device.
  • To save the application to a storage card, click No at this screen.
  • You'll see a drop-down menu. Click on the drop-down to see all your storage choices.
  • Select the type of storage you want to use and have available.
  • The installation will start. When it is complete, check your device to see if any further steps are required.
  • Click OK.

Most .CAB files download just as easily as any other file. In some cases, you may have to manage the process. You can install a .hme file in the same way.

For Your Smartphone
  • Open ActiveSync on your desktop
  • Click Explore.
  • Copy the file to \Storage\Windows\Start Menu\Accessories on your device.
On the device:
  • Press Start.
  • Select Accessories.
  • Open the .CAB file.
  • The application will install on your device.
Note: If you don't see the file in Accessories, use File Manager to find and open the file.
  • Press Start.
  • Scroll to File Manager and select.
  • Select Storage/Windows/Start Menu/Accessories.
  • Open the .CAB file.
For Your Pocket PC
  • Open ActiveSync on your desktop
  • Click Explore.
  • Copy the file to your device. You can do this by dragging and dropping the file from the folder on your desktop to the /windows folder for your device.
On the device, open File Explorer:
  • Tap Start > Programs > File Explorer.
  • Open the folder that you copied the .CAB file into.
  • Tap the .CAB file.
  • The application will install on your device.
When you install a .CAB file, it deletes the .CAB file from your desktop. Read Grab That Cab File from iPAQ.net to find out how to preserve your file. If you want to install a .CAB file to a storage card, try the free program CabInstl.
For a Windows Mobile powered device from your desktop:
  • Open ActiveSync.
  • Click Explore.
For a Pocket PC from your device:
  • Tap Start > Programs.
  • Tap Find.
  • Enter the name of the file you want to find.
  • Tap Go.
Or you can search for your files by:
  • Tap Start > Programs.
  • Tap File Explorer.
  • Select My Device from the drop-down menu at the top of the screen.
  • You will see a list of your folders, including your storage card folders.
To find files on your Smartphone:
  • Press Start.
  • Select File Manager.
  • Press Menu.
  • Select Find.
  • Enter your file name.
  • Press Start.

For a Pocket PC from ActiveSync on your desktop:

Note: This will uninstall from your desktop as well as your device. To remove only from your device, follow the second set of instructions.
  • Open ActiveSync.
  • Click Tools.
  • Select Add/Remove Programs.
  • You'll see a list of installed and available programs.
  • Uncheck the program(s) you want uninstalled.
  • Click the Remove button to uninstall from your desktop and your device.
For a Pocket PC from the device:
  • Tap Start > Settings.
  • Tap the System tab.
  • Tap Remove Programs.
  • You'll see a list of installed programs.
  • Select the program you want to remove.
  • Tap the Remove button.
  • A warning message will appear to ask if you really want to remove the program.
  • Tap the Yes button.
For a Smartphone from ActiveSync on your desktop:

Note: This will uninstall from your desktop as well as your device. To remove only from your device, follow the second set of instructions.

  • Open ActiveSync.
  • Click Tools.
  • Select Add/Remove Programs.
  • You'll see a list of installed and available programs.
  • Uncheck the program(s) you want uninstalled.
  • Click the Remove button to uninstall from your desktop and your device.
For a Smartphone from the device:
  • Press Start.
  • Select Settings.
  • Scroll to Remove Programs and select.
  • Select the program you want to remove.
  • Press Done.

Helpful Software

Battery Pack Pro

One of the most helpful software programs I've used is Battery Pack Pro. It will display your available storage on your Today screen, and will even tell you when your storage is low. It sounds a little like the cars that used to say "Your door is ajar." You can turn off that feature if you want. It will also warn you if your battery is low and show your network usage on your Today screen.

You can purchase Battery Pak Pro at Smartphone.net, or download a free trial version.