Steve Jobs Passes Away

“Your time on this earth is limited, don’t live someone else’s life, live by your vision.” -Steve Jobs

Steve Jobs, the visionary who inspired all kinds of engineers, developers, professionals, as well as people outside of Apple and the rest of the industry, has passed away today.

Over a short period of time, he was able to bring truly innovative products and services that drastically changed many of the ways we do things today.

Whether you like Apple’s products or not, you have to appreciate the fact that Steve’s persistence for perfecting technology and paying attention to details had tremendously raised the bar for the rest of the tech companies.

How to Attach USB devices in VirtualBox

This was frustrating me for a while until I got it to work. The idea behind this is in order for the guest OS (virtual machine) to see your USB devices, it needs to handle the port before the host OS. Here’s how to do it:

  1. Install the Virtual Box Extension Pack.
  2. Install the Guest Additions in your guest OS. (You’ll find it in the Devices menu).
  3. Power off the virtual machine and in the USB section enable USB controller and EHCI controller.
  4. Add an empty USB filter (all empty strings). It should be called “New Filter 1″, not the device name since that might give you problems.
  5. Start the virtual machine, then once booted, plug the USB device (if it’s already plugged, unplug and plug again). The guest OS should grab it before the host OS.
Credit: Link

How to Upgrade Your Home Entertainment System in 3 Easy Steps

Step 1: Buy a Samsung 1080p LCD TV

You could go for a larger screen with LED lighting if you can afford it, but at just KD 230 for the 40″ Series 5, there just aren’t any reasons why you should not replace your old TV anymore. You can find Samsung TVs at Carrefour (or Electrozan I believe?). Make sure the resolution is 1920 by 1080 pixels!

Step 2: Plug your Hard Drive

Yes, your hard drive; plug it into the USB port of your Samsung TV (NTFS and FAT32 format supported). Use the remote to navigate to your favorite movie or TV show and hit play. The TV supports MKV, AVI, and MP4 file formats and almost all common audio and video codecs (DIVX, XVID, H.264, AAC, AC3, MP3, etc..), including subtitles. Other TVs may play some codecs, but Samsung is the only brand that I found to have the best support. The TV runs Open Source software and the built-in media player allows firmware upgrades. Codec details can be found in the manual [PDF].

Step 3: Enjoy!

Sit back and enjoy all your content in HD :)

Optionally, you could buy a 5.1 home theater sound system (make sure it’s supports AC3 DTS, and AAC via SPDIF) and have the complete cinema experience. Then complete your man cave by installing some acoustic foam to soundproof the room. That’s not going overboard is it? People do wonders with duct tape!

Amazon Kindle

Since the debut of e-ink technology, I’ve set my sights on Amazon’s e-book reader, the Kindle, because it promised a reading experience that was easy on the eyes (no glare nor backlight!) and battery life that lasts for weeks instead of mere hours. The only letdown was that it was expensive at the time, and lacked support for PDF; a must for me since most of my ebooks were PDF documents.

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Useful Google Chrome Extensions

I’ve been using Google Chrome as my primary web browser for a while and it’s great because it brings in the speed and tab isolation features from Safari’s Webkit engine, Google’s bookmark syncing and work-offline integration, then tops it off with Firefox’s extensibility and Greasemonkey scripts!

Despite all that, Chrome isn’t perfect. Yet. But until then, here are some cool extensions I found that might improve your web surfing experience. Oh, and you don’t need to restart your browser when you install these :)

Adblock

I know a lot of people who can’t live without this and hesitated to switch from Firefox because of it. Adblock clears all the ad banners and clutter from most websites; lets you a little surf faster. (LinkLink)

Customize YouTube Theater

This extension lets you get hide any of YouTube comments, related videos, channel videos, or just about anything you find useless or annoying. No more procrastinating or distractions that lead to jumping from one video to another. (Link)

Digg Forward

If you’re subscribed to Digg’s RSS feed and hated how clicking any link took you to a Digg page instead of the story, this little script skips that page for you and takes you directly where you need to be. (Link)

One Number

For Google users: Get the count for unread Gmail/Wave/Reader/Voice items in one place. Just install and sign in; quite convenient. (Link)

Google Reader: Open in background tab

The title explains all. If you use Google Reader a lot, install this gem, hit the keyboard shortcut “v” and have articles load in the background without slowing you down while you skim through news with “j” and “k”. (Link)

Stop YouTube Autoplay

Another handy one; let videos automatically load while being paused so you can browse elsewhere then come back to watch them in one go. Huge timesaver! (Link)

Google Apps Shortcuts

Simple extension: one button with all the useful Google Apps. Saves you from having all those bookmarks. (Link)

There’s more where that came from. Get more extensions from the official Chrome extensions page.

Know any extensions worth mentioning? Let me know in the comments!

15 Reasons Why iPad Sucks

It’s Called iPad

I don’t think I need to elaborate any further. I’m also wondering why Apple is not concerned with the fact that it almost sounds like “iPod”.

Bright & Glossy

If you’ve had the chance to look at an e-ink display, such as the one found on the Kindle, it is obvious that it’s much easier on the eyes. There’s no glare or backlight eyestrain so reading for hours is as effortless as reading paper.

4:3 Aspect Ratio

Apple claims its tablet is great for watching movies, and I agree, except it’s not so great for widescreen content. Bummer.

10 Hour Battery

As great as that may sound, according to Apple, the iPhone 3GS can already manage 9 hours on Wifi, 10 hours video playback, and 30 hours of audio playback. This is besides the fact that 10 hours isn’t even close to what typical e-readers go for; weeks.

Largest MP3 Player

The idea of carrying around a tablet to run iTunes and listen to music is absurd. Isn’t that what a pocket iPod/iPhone is for?

No Text-to-Speech

Apple made no mention of this on their press event, but we know that the iPhone does this already, so why the lack of?

Lacking Languages

Oddly enough, the tablet doesn’t come with the language support that of the iPhone OS despite being entirely based off of it. What happened to Arabic and the others?

Missing Apps

Calculator? Weather? Voice Memos? Stocks? Clock? I guess they decided to skip those.

Large Shiny Toy

There are so many games and “fun apps” being developed for the tablet to take advantage of its graphics capabilities that one would think it’s one of the most unproductive devices Apple has created. Don’t kid yourself, a Playstation 3 costs less and plays high-def Blu-ray titles.

Virtual Shopping Mall

Come to think of it, the whole purpose of the device is bring you a collection of stores: a music store, a video store, an app store, a game store, and now an e-book store so you can buy more stuff that you probably didn’t need to begin with, then get locked further into the Apple virtual ecosystem.

Expensive Photo Frame

Unless you buy the USB or SD card reader accessory for the tablet, you’ll have to hook up your digital camera onto a computer first. After the tablet is synced, ‘sharing your photos with friends and family’ means you could either hand them the tablet or email (five or so at a time) smaller compressed versions to them –something you could’ve done better whilst sitting at your computer to begin with, doh!

Slow Multi-Touch Uni-Tasker

I’m not talking about the A4 chip that Apple designed; it’s about overall usability. When hitting the Home button, many applications reset themselves making it very frustrating to switch back and forth between them without interruption. For example, you can’t write an email while waiting for a large high-def YouTube video to complete downloading; you’ll just have to wait it out.

Pointless Bluetooth

Having the latest Bluetooth technology built right into the tablet means you can use your existing wireless keyboard to.. oh wait no, you have to buy another keyboard dock accessory for that. How about Bluetooth syncing? No. Bluetooth file exchange? Nope. Umm… Bluetooth headset? Maybe. How about silly multiplayer games? Sure!

iWork Sold Separately

If you choose to buy them, Keynote, Numbers and Pages are great for editing files on the tablet –but not for composing! Imagine preparing a presentation and you had to add a chart into one of the slides, where do you get the chart data from? Are you willing to go through the tedious task of switching to Mail or Safari to read/copy/paste/check your reference data, quotes, sources, etc..? Even if you manage to get by without, you’ll need to buy another accessory to project your work on a screen. If you’re carrying all these little accessories and docks, you might as well be carrying a laptop. Can it print documents or is there another app for that?

A Bigger iPod Touch

In essence, there’s almost nothing the tablet can do that the iPod Touch or iPhone can’t; the tablet just does it with more pixels and smoother animation. Functionality-wise, the software has the same capabilities for music, photos, videos, maps, notes, calendar, contacts, mail, and so on.