Wednesday, 08 September 2010

Have You Checked In Yet ?

Checked in ? Where ? Hotel ? Any place ?
Nope, it’s about checking in on your phone. Sounds crazy, right ? But it makes sense when you check in on Place Tagging application on your phone !

Life has become so busy that you get out of touch from friends and family. You hardly get time to call your old pal or loving mother. You can’t get vacation or have spare time. It’s so frustrating :(

But what if someone meets you somewhere unexpectedly ? While you are shopping at mall or attending an event ? So nice and perfect ! Isn’t it ? But you don’t even get time to tell your buddies about your upcoming schedule, no time :(

This is where Mobile Tagging could help you out. It basically locates your position on beautiful Earth and posts to any of your social networking profile. Plus you could add your own updates like Upcoming Events. Then your friends and family see it, and perhaps join you for the same!

If you have a GPS enabled phone, it’s perfect. If not, don’t worry ! Today’s mobile tagging application can also use Cell Tracking to find your location. We have Foursquare, Gowalla and Facebook Places for mobile tagging. Google Places is also of same kind, but it’s not for mobile as of now.

Foursquare is more popular for mobile phones. It supports iPhone, Android and Blackberry. You could setup a profile on Foursquare or tweet updates. Spread your upcoming tasks by Add Thing option. Wherever you go, it will update location automatically.

Gowalla is popular in the US. It also supports Palm OS, along with iPhone, Android and Blackberry. It allows you to showcase your Trips and see if someone wants to join you ! You could also search for specific event to be held at specific place.

Facebook Places is under testing. With native integration in Facebook Social Networking profile, perhaps it would become popular. Facebook already focused on mobile social networking. If you have a Facebook profile, you could sometime see a notification saying- ” Your friend is joining something event”, it is event notification of places.

And this is just a start. As we get 3G, more and more tagging services will come up. Be in touch with your family and friends, wherever on Earth !

August 2010

Monday, 30 August 2010

World’s Best Cloud Based Music Services

Perhaps you have a fantastic music phone, with 4GB or so memory. How many songs it could hold ? May be 1000 ? You listen to songs 24×7, and get bored by repeat. You are out of your songs collection. You want to listen to something new and great. Where you can listen ? FM Radio is full of advertisements and crappy songs. Cloud Based Music Service could fulfill your need.

What is that thing ? Is that capable for my phone ? I know you can’t wait to know about it.

Cloud based music service uses technology of Streaming. Huge song database is stored at providers’ servers. Internet is used as streaming medium and your mobile phone as player. Pretty simple, right ? All you need is handset capable of streaming with good EDGE, preferably WiFi or 3G connectivity.

Those providers usually charge you certain fee per month or so. But if you are really music savvy, it’s worth for you. Next, you need to pay certain amount to your cellular operator for data charges. You could buy a data plan. That’s all, you are good to go. You could access thousands of songs and music clips right on your mobile. Even you could upload your music to some sites. Ratings, reviews and polls could help you to listen to great song. Linking to social networks will let your friends know, what you are listening to. Videos are supported by certain providers as well.

Let’s see which are top 6 cloud based music services.

1. Grooveshark

Grooveshark is the service having great userbase. It is basically a community, where user runs the site. You could search tracks from huge database and even add your collection to cloud. It allows you to link your Facebook and Twitter account to spread the world.

http://mobile.grooveshark.com/

2. Rhapsody

Rhapsody is the service owned by Real networks. Search for tracks is possible with Real player itself. iPhone and iPad has this service as default. Service allows you to download MP3 songs as well. Rhapsody charges 10$ per month, and available in US only, as of now.

http://www.rhapsody.com

3. Pandora Radio

Pandora is open source streaming service, popular in Linux users. They charge only 0.99$ per month. Unfortunately, it is limited to certain carriers in US only. iPhone, Android, Windows Mobile and Palm could stream it.

http://www.pandora.com

4. Spotify

Spotify has became popular in short time. It also has large music library with extra features.Spotify is popular for mobiles because it can be streamed on Android, S60, iPhone and others. Again, spotify is not available in India, as of now. It is available in certain UK countries.

http://www.spotify.com

5. Last.fm

With touch of integrated social networking, Last.fm is popular. It has no restriction of country, good for us ! Mobile application is available for iPhone and iPad. Your profile on Last.fm will show the World what you like to listen. You could visit others profile and checkout new tracks.

http://www.last.fm

6. Napster

Napster is next in queue. It is not free, but allows you to download MP3 songs. You need to pay 5$ each month to avail service. With subscription, you can stream unlimited music and download certain no of tracks. Application is available for certain handsets, allowing direct download.

So next time when you feel sad about your limited music collection, consider a Cloud Based Music Service. With soon arrival of 3G, it might become popular in India as well. Perhaps we’ll get a service featuring Indian tracks !

Wednesday, 25 August 2010

Push Email : Mailbox Anywhere

The world today runs on Internet. Would you like to send a letter to your colleague, quoting something urgent ? Would you like to send a snail mail for a job application ? Of course not ! We have a piece of magic called Email !

Email works on client-server model. Server, a remote powerful computer holds all data and emails and is responsible for routing the emails properly. Client access them through internet cloud. For example, when you are accessing your Gmail you are actually accessing a client.

Normal email works on the principle of Polling. One needs to be connected to internet all the times, and keep refreshing your inbox. Poll email keeps pinging the server to get new emails. That means request to check new email is sent by client. Every time you access email through browser, you use polling. Post Office Protocol (POP) is another polling email technology, used to configure email clients and mobile phones.

Polling is not convenient for mobile phones. To check for new messages, it must ping server frequently, which ultimately uses internet connection. Internet connection on mobile has comparatively less bandwidth. And it is sort of costly as well. Plus mobile could consume battery faster, if it keeps using data connection all the time. Otherwise you don’t get an email on time.

Rather than client asking for new email, what if the server intimates the client about it ? Push emails works in exact same way. Internet Messaging Protocol (IMAP) is popular Push email protocol. Client doesn’t need to keep pinging server on and on. Upon getting new email, server will intimate client to read it. Then it could fetch the same, upon user command.

This is the perfect thing for mobile. Mobile doesn’t need to waste bandwidth for checking new emails. We have mobile handsets capable of Push Email.

Push Email was popularized by Research In Motion(RIM), the  Canadian company which makes Blackberry handsets. It has since been a big hit with enterprise users who use email a lot. Android, Palm OS and Apple iPhone also offer Push Email. Certain Nokia S60 Handsets and Sony Ericsson handsets does offer partial or full IMAP support. All you need to do is setup an email account. Your mailbox server must be capable for push. Then relax, you will get notification, as soon as an email is received.

Unfortunately, if your mailbox server does not have Push, you might need to use third party mobile/push email providers. Seven, Emoze and Syncronica are few of such providers. Nokia Mail for Exchange is also one of such services.

With Push email, you get powerful electronic mailbox, in your pocket all the times !

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Friday, 13 August 2010

Google Maps for Mobile : Never ever get lost again !

This is the story of one of the most-loved products from the Google stable. Google Maps is an application for mobile to make mobile navigation easy. So how does Google Maps work? But first, a little bit of history.

Before Google Maps came to the picture, GPS or Global Positioning System was the predominant technology for mobile navigation. GPS system consists of 32 satellites rotating around the Earth. Each transmits encoded co-ordinate information. A GPS receiver installed in mobile handset must get signal from at least 3 satellites to estimate position. But GPS receiver doesn’t come in every phone. Such phones are usually expensive. Plus you need to have no obstacles above handset to get signal. For direction and routing purpose, you must have Data connection as well. GPS receiver drains battery faster as well.

So Google came up with easy solution for everyone. Google map doesn’t need a GPS receiver in mobile phone. Rather it uses Cells for positioning your device. Cell is basically an area served by a particular base station. Google has spotted each tower into their server’s database. Application sends unique ID of tower to server over a data connection and estimates your location.

If your mobile device is equipped with GPS receiver, Google Maps can combine both technologies for positioning. With powerful search, you could find whatever you are looking for around you. Routing with Google Maps is efficient and practicable. You can add your places and routing info, being open source project.

What about charges ? Google doesn’t charge a penny for this service. You just need to pay for data. EDGE or 3G data connection is recommended for fast routing and positioning. And what about accuracy ? Although tracking with Google Maps is not  as accurate as GPS, being cell based, it’s fairly okay. It shows a circle of certain radius quoted on screen for My Location. That is the area in which you might need directions.

Planning a weekend tour ? No need of paper maps. Just install Google Maps on phone and tell it where you want to go.

Leaving home at 11th hour for a flight ? Let Google Maps route efficient and closest way to airport.

New features under Beta also include traffic updates for certain cities. It will warn you about traffic jams or heavy traffics. Lots of users, including me have found Google Maps to be finely accurate and handy. Recently when I got in Bangalore for a course, and got lost late night, Google Maps helped me to find nearest bus stop !

Google Maps is certainly the best application for mobile navigation, even for a mobile without GPS handset. Let’s never ever get lost again !

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