The New Samsung Note; Great or Not?

Samsung Galaxy Note 2

Yesterday at Berlin Radio Show, as expected, Samsung released its biggest smartphone, a tablet-cum-smartphone or ‘phablet’ as it’s popularly known now, Galaxy Note II. Among other things that Samsung announced yesterday there is ATIV S, the world’s first smartphone running Windows 8 mobile OS. Galaxy Note II comes with slight advancements to the previous version. Let’s check it out here.

Comparison Between Note & Note II

Here’s a table comparing the features of the new Note with the previous one.

Feature Galaxy Note Galaxy Note II
Display Super AMOLED, 16m colors; 800×1280 pixels resolution; 5.3 inches (285 ppi) Super AMOLED, 16 m colors; 720×1280 pixels, 5.5 inches (267 ppi)
Processor Dual-core 1.4 GHz, ARM Cortex A9 Quad-core 1.6 GHz; ARM Cortex A9
Memory 2GB RAM; Internal storage: 16/32/64 GB; MicroSD: up to 32 GB MicroSD up to 32 GB; Internal: 16/32 GB; 1GB RAM
Camera 8MP with geo-tagging, face & smile detection, image stabilization; front-facing 2MP 8MP with all the features in Note 1; front-facing 1.9MP
Battery Li-ion 2500 mAh giving up to 820 hours stand-by on 3G Li-ion 3100 mAh
Body features 146.9x83x9.7mm; weight: 178g 151.1×80.5×9.4mm; weight: 180g
Operating System Android Gingerbread (originally released with) Android Jelly Bean 4.1

Are you disappointed looking at the features here? The display is substandard compared to the first version although it is larger. A larger display needs a larger resolution and pixel density to perform better, and both are not available in Note II. This display will have increased level of pixelation. There is no noticeable upgrade to the memory or processor settings as well.

However, with the large battery and upgraded bug-free versions of software, I suppose the Note II could give you a better battery life. Also, this Note is thinner and longer.

The most attractive feature of Note, the S-pen is there in this version as well. Samsung has upgraded the driver software for this device and its design is also slightly changed. The S-pen can be used now to preview email messages and open frequently used applications.

Besides these, it’s Android Jelly Bean that powers this Note. This is a more responsive and visually stunning version of Android.


How the new performs with the larger screen with smaller resolution remains to be seen. Also, Jelly Bean and larger processor will make the Note one of the fastest devices out there.

[Image credit: GSM Arena]

Comparing Popular Cloud Storage Services Online

;”>Cloud storageSaving and getting access to your files online has become easier than ever today. All the big names in the computing world are there in the cloud storage facility—Google with Google Drive, Microsoft with SkyDrive, Apple with iCloud, etc. The greatest advantage is that you can get your files synchronized to any device anywhere as long as you have Internet access.

All online storage services provide you with some obvious features—syncing across multiple devices or platforms, file encryption, easy access from any device connected to the Internet, etc. Let’s look at the features of some of the most popular online storage facilities and decide which the best option to go for is.

1. Google Drive

Google DriveGoogle’s online office software, Docs will no longer be there; it will be upgraded to Drive. This online storage facility from Google has got it all—backup, syncing across devices and platforms, and facility to open multiple file types. Also, the security of your files is ensured by Google. File encryption is not available though.

Google Drive feature has full integration to other services like Gmail, Google Chrome, etc. The free storage given is 5 GB (you will still retain the 7 GB you are getting on Gmail, 1 GB you get on Picasa web albums, and unlimited sharing facility on Google Plus).

Additional storage on Google Drive cost you as per the following:
Size Price (in Dollars per month)
25 GB 2.49
100 GB 4.99
200 GB 9.99
400 GB 19.99
1 TB 49.99
2 TB 99.99
4 TB 199.99
8 TB 399.99
16 TB 799.99


Feature list:
Feature Availability
Encrypted Storage No
Free Storage 5 GB
Maximum File Size 10 GB
Network Drive Available
Web Access Available
Platforms Supported Windows, Mac, Android, iOS

2. Microsoft SkyDrive

Microsoft Sky Drive

SkyDrive is the cloud storage platform from Microsoft and it obviously has all the features offered by other services. SkyDrive provides you with a client piece of software available for Windows, Mac, iPhone, iPad, and Android. SkyDrive provides you with 7 GB of free storage. However, if you are an already existing user of Microsoft Live, you will an additional 18 GB of storage.

SkyDrive gives you on-the-go access to all the major platforms. Also, the paid plans are highly affordable—20 GB for 10 dollars per year, 50 GB for 25 dollars, 100 GB for 50 dollars.

Feature Availability
Encrypted Storage No
Free Storage 7 GB (25 GB for existing users)
Maximum File Size 2 GB
Network Drive Available
Web Access Available
Platforms Supported Windows, Mac, Android, iOS

3. Apple iCloud

Apple iCloud

 One of the greatest disadvantages of iCloud is that it’s an Apple product and doesn’t support Android or Windows Phone. It has support for all Apple products—iPhone, iMac, iPad, etc., and all Apple technologies.

It’s the greatest product for file syncing and storage if you have only Apple products. 5 GB is the basic free storage and extra storage costs you some more—20 dollars for 10 GB, 40 dollars for 20 GB, and 100 dollars for 50 GB per annum.

Feature Availability
Encrypted Storage Yes
Free Storage 5 GB
Maximum File Size 2 GB
Network Drive No
Web Access No
Platforms Supported Windows (PC), Mac OS X Lion
or later, iOS (5.x or later)


Box is an online file storage service providing personal, business, and enterprise solutions. Personal free storage is 5 GB and upgrade plans are pricey—25 GB at 9.99 dollars per month and 50 GB at 19.99 dollars per month.

Mobile versions of the storage app is available and encryption is provided. If you have a small business, then you can get 1000 GB storage and will cost 15 dollars per user per month; minimum of three users have to be there to register the small business plan though.

Feature Availability
Encrypted Storage Yes
Free Storage 5 GB
Maximum File Size 100 MB (personal) 2 GB (small business)
Network Drive No
Web Access Yes
Platforms Supported Windows (PC), Mac OS X, Android, iOS

5. Dropbox



This file sharing platform has become one of the most popular today. Dropbox provides you with a piece of client software for Windows, Mac and mobile platforms for creating a pretty drop box on your system.

Just drag and drop your files to this drop box to get it synced across platforms. The app is available for almost all platforms out there. 2 GB only is given free, and extra storage costs more: 100 GB for 9.99 pm or 99 pa, 200 GB for 19.99 pm or 199 pa, 500 GB for 49.99 pm or 499 pa. Dropbox also has the two-factor authentication feature which makes the service more secure.

Feature Availability
Encrypted Storage Yes
Free Storage 2 GB
Maximum File Size 300 MB
Network Drive Yes (with limits)
Web Access Yes
Platforms Supported Windows (PC), Linux, Mac OS X, Android, iOS,
BlackBerry, Kindle Fire

6. SugarSync


This is another file storage platform that supports all the basic features including encryption. Also, the platforms supported are many. Free storage given is 5GB and it can be expanded to 32 GB through their referral program.

SugarSync is touted by several web reviewers as one of the top-notch file sharing services out there. Pricing for plans: 30 GB for 4.99 pm or 49.99 pa; 60 GB for 9.99 pm or 99.99 pa; 100 GB for 14.99 pm or 149.99 pa.

Feature Availability
Encrypted Storage Yes
Free Storage 5 GB
Maximum File Size No limit
Network Drive No
Web Access Yes
Platforms Supported Windows (PC), Linux, Mac OS X, Android, iOS,
BlackBerry, Kindle Fire, Symbian

7. ADrive

Basic features of ADrive online storage include 50 GB of free storage among others. This is the largest free storage you can get among cloud storage services. Mobile apps are provided for iOS and Android. In order to edit office documents, you can use Zoho within ADrive. Besides these, premium features are available for higher storage plans.

Pricing is as follows: 50GB to 10TB at 6.95 pm (known as Personal Premium plan); 100 GB to unlimited at 16 dollars pm (Business plan). Unlike other storage services, the mobile app is ad-supported for revenue.

Feature Availability
Encrypted Storage Yes based on plan chosen
Free Storage 50 GB
Maximum File Size No limit
Network Drive No
Web Access No
Platforms Supported Windows (PC), Mac OS X, Android, iOS




8. Kim DotCom’s Mega

Earlier in Jan 2012, Kim DotCom (born Kim Schmitz) used to be the creator of a file upload platform called MegaUpload. It was shut down on . Exactly one year later, on Kim DotCom came up with the new service called Mega. It is by far one of the largest file sharing platform, with 50 GB of free space available.

Mega uses 2048-bit advanced AES encryption on the client side, which makes it perfect for storing important files.


In this review, we have touched upon some of the biggies in online storage. Based on the technologies and standards available, you can choose which is the best for you. There are a number of other online storage services as well. At another time, we will review some others.

Dropbox Cloud Storage Service Comes Up With Two-Factor Authentication

image credit to ZDNet

Dropbox is a popular service for cloud storage. The service helps you sync your files into any platform or device with the help of a client-side software application that you can download and install on all major desktop and mobile operating systems.

The most important criterion of any cloud storage service is its security. You are probably going to use the cloud service to store some very important files related to your business. You naturally need high level of security for such classified data.

The good news is that Dropbox has enabled two-step verification to its file storage service, making the service extremely secure.

What Is Two-Step Verification

Two-Step authentication can add security to any web-based service that you access from your client computer. Especially in services like online file storage, cloud computing, and email, you have to have better security.

We have seen people getting their accounts hacked into even after using strong passwords. The reasons for this are many—accessing the account from an unsecure system; having no proper security software installed; social engineering techniques that make people divulge such information to possible attackers; using security question answers that anybody can easily guess; writing down passwords and storing them in unsecure places; etc.

two factor authenticationWith Two-Factor verification, even if you lose your password, you will still be able to access your account—more importantly, anyone that actually gets hold of your password still needs additional information to access your account. The additional information mentioned here could be a secret code you can receive through text message on the mobile phone verified with the service.

The attacker will be able to change the cell phone number and the password only if he gets access to the account, which he cannot without getting access to the cell phone. This, sort of puts our attacker in a catch-22 situation, only that he can actually get into the account if he can get into your cell phone.

With two-factor authentication procedure, you are given a second chance when your account password is compromised. If you come to know that your password is known to others and your one chance to recapture your account is by getting access with a secret code that you get through your cell phone and changing the password afterwards, you will preserve your cell phone at any cost, won’t you? Google also provides two layers of security, and you should enable it. Dropbox’s move to enable this makes it one of the first choices in file storage.

Enabling Two-Factor Authentication on Dropbox

You can tell Dropbox to send you a secret code by SMS or run a mobile app available for all operating systems out there—Apple iOS, Android, Windows Phone, etc. The mobile app supplied include Google Authenticator for Android, Apple iOS, and BlackBerry; Amazon AWS MFA for Android; or Authenticator for Windows Phone 7.

You can set up the SMS authentication using a cell phone number and the service is available internationally. Go to this link to enable Two-step authentication. You can set it up under your account settings page -> security tab.

After enabling it, you will get a one-time password every time you sign into Dropbox, and you cannot get access to your account without entering this secret code.


As you can see how secure it has to be to manage important user files, Dropbox probably will become the first choice of most of the people out there who are looking for good cloud storage services. The only disadvantage of this service is the lower free storage limit and the limit placed on the size of individual files. The free storage available in the server is 2 GB and the limit on file is around 300 MB. I would also suggest that you enable two-step verification on your Google account if you are seriously using it for various services.

Six Great Tools to Test Your Website on Mobile Devices

Today, it’s not enough to have a website display well on desktop browsers alone. You have to be able to show your website to millions of users that browse with a mobile phone or a tablet. In order to see if the website displays well in all those devices, there are certain tools available.

Mobile devices in general do not support Flash, JavaScript, ActionScript, ActiveX, etc. You should do away with such embedded objects on the mobile version of your site. The mobile testing tools will tell you which part of the website doesn’t render well. In this article, let’s look at some of these testing tools.

1. Adobe Device Central


device central showing mobile website

Adobe Device Central debuted with the Creative Suite version 3. This application runs from your desktop and allows you to test a lot of mobile devices to see the compatibility of your website on them. Device Central provides a huge list of mobile devices offered for testing that can be updated online.

It automatically communicates with the server to update the list of devices. Different versions of each phone or tablet are also available. After displaying the webpage, it will tell you what sort of errors it was able to detect on it. This is a great way to test a website on a number of mobile devices and find the most recurring issues. With Creative Suite 6, Adobe is discontinuing Device Central, though.

2. MobiReady

MobiReady is an online testing tool that gives you an overall score for your website on a mobile phone based on various factors. It checks for speed, HTML code errors, character encoding, HTTP response headers, etc. Also, you can see the preview of your website on a few old handsets—Nokia N70, Samsung Z105, Motorola v3i, etc.

mobiready mobile testing for websites


3. iPhoney

iPhoney is an open source application that helps you visualize your website on Apple iPhone. This is not a simulator for any version of iPhone. Instead, it will give you a platform to test how your website will look on it. The resolution supported is 320×480.

iphone simulator


4. iPad Peek

iPad Peek gives you a view of how a website looks on Apple iPad. The web page has a big iPad screen on it in which the website you are testing loads. It is not known if the rendering is accurate or just uses the browser in which iPad Peek has been loaded. However, the developers recommend you use the web browsers like Firefox 4 or later, Google Chrome 5 or later, Opera 10.5 or later.

peek into ipad version of your website


5. Gomez

Gomez is a web based testing tool just like MobiReady. It tests a website based on over 30 different factors to rate it between 1 and 5. In order to get results, however, you have to register with the service with your email address and other details. The report about your website is then sent to your email. The report is straightforward with recommendations as to how to develop the website better.

gomez mobile phone testing


6. Changing User Agent on Chrome or Firefox

You can also test your website through your browser. Every web browser identifies to the website through a string known as user agent. The user agent string contains the browser version, operating system version, location specific data, plugin data, etc. You can use add-ons to change the user agent string on your browser to the user agent string of a mobile device. The web page will then render on your desktop browser how it will on that mobile device.

On Chrome and Firefox, you have an add-on called User Agent Switcher that you can use for this purpose.

google on iphone through chrome
Viewing Google website with iPhone user agent through Google Chrome on a laptop



Testing a website on a mobile platform is very important for the next web. People are on the move and almost all of them are using mobile phones to access the Internet. In such a world, you do need your website to look good. Use one of these testing tools to make sure your website mobile version looks awesome.

Seven Absolutely Free Photo Editing Programs out There Obtained via Seven Absolutely Free Photo Editing Programs out There

For designers and painters, a photo editing application with myriad features is essential. It’s a painter’s dream if the application is free and has amazing precision. It’s very difficult to find an application capable of editing and touching up images with such features as found in the likes of Adobe Photoshop. In this article, you will find seven great photo editing applications that come without a price tag.

1. The GIMP

The GNU Image Manipulation Program (GIMP) is a free open source application available for all the desktop operating systems€”Linux, Apple Macintosh, Microsoft Windows, Sun OpenSolaris, and FreeBSD. The GIMP website is non-profit and the application development is done with the help of volunteering developers from around the world.

Ooh! What a look! Thanks to GIMP for this image

Features available in the GIMP would make it more desirable than paid applications for image editing out there. The GIMP has all the tools that you need for painting€”brushes (custom and pattern-based), pencil tool, airbrush, etc.; powerful gradient editor; sub-pixel sampling; editing tools including layered editing; plugin support for adding support for additional file formats; etc. These are only a few features, and the full list will fill an entire page.

The file formats supported in GIMP by default itself include BMP, JPG, GIF, PNG, TIFF, MNG, PCX, PDF, PS, PSD, SVG, TGA, XPM, etc. And you can extend this capability with the help of plugins.

The GIMP actively seeks donations from the user community. This will keep the amazing GIMP project go on smoothly toward the future.

2. PhotoScape

This is also a highly feature-rich free application that gets going with user donations. PhotoScape has top tabs like Viewer, Editor, Batch Editor, etc., and each has its own advanced functions. The viewer gives you thumbnail views of the photos, and they are arranged in folders visible on the side.

PhotoScape for Windows

The editor is powerful with a number of features. Image resizing, brightness and contrast adjustments, backlight correction, adding text balloons, cropping, red eye removal, etc., are only a few of the available features. Another great option in PhotoScape is the capability to combine multiple photos and create a movie in the popular Animated GIF format. There is also a Splitter that can cut a photo into a number of pieces.

3. Paint.NET

In fact, this application should be marketed as as the default domain belongs to a specialty coating business. Paint.NET became one of the top hundred applications as reviewed by PC World in 2007. It’s an impressive free application just like the ones above with loads of features. It also generates revenue from user submitted donations rather than through a commercial version.

Although it sounds like an online application, it’s not. You can download the application to a Windows PC that has Microsoft .NET framework 3.5 SP1. The versions from Windows XPService Pack 1 are supported by this application.

Paint.NET (Image credit :


is a very fast photo editor with lots of features. You can blur and sharpen images, apply other styling to them including noise, distortion, embossing, etc., and you can use the advanced 3D rotation/zoom feature to generate tilted objects on your image. It has powerful drawing tools to create basic patterns, curves, and shapes. It has also got the selection tool known as Magic Wand just like the one found in Photoshop.

4. FotoFlexer

This is an online photo retouching tool with many features as offered by offline software. The software however, doesn’t give you any painting options. You can upload image files from your computer or get an image from a URL to start editing it.


One of the disadvantages is that it gives support for only jpg and png formats to save the file. However, you can save a file to social media sites like Facebook, Flickr, MySpace, Picasa, Photobucket, etc. The array of effects available includes blurring, sharpening, red eye removal, pixelation, posterize, various distortions, etc. It could be regarded as a replacement for a desktop photo editing application.

5. Pixlr


is also an online image editing program. As soon as you open it, you will get an interface similar to an offline image editor. The clean interface makes it appealing to use this app. The tools given are almost as diverse as given by the GIMP or any other program we saw earlier, but it’s good for only simple image creation and basic editing. The painting tools, brush, pencil, sharpen tool, smudge tool, sponge tool, etc., are similar to the ones you find on Adobe Photoshop.


Besides these, layered editing is possible. Other image enhancement options include brightness, contrast, hue & saturation, red eye reduction, color balance, cropping, inversion, sepia, posterize, pixellation, vignette, etc.

The interface loads faster and works well on all popular browsers.

6. Pixia & Phierha

This is a set of two applications available for download for the Windows versions since XP. This software was developed by the Japanese and they have a website set up for future feature requests and support.


Looking through some of the images, I feel the software package is very powerful. However, the user interface may come as a disappointment for many. It was developed at first to support artists in the anime and manga genre. Since it’s primarily a Japanese product, it differs in user interface and tools available in many respects. This may make the software less favorable in the US market.

7. Lunapic

This is another online image editing program that has painting options as well. Sadly enough this is not AJAX or HTML 5 based, and that makes the application rather slow to work with. However, the features available are plenty. Every click on the application reloads the page with the effect added, thus making it unusable on slow internet connections.


While painting with it, after each stroke, you have click ‘apply’ in order to have it actually placed in the canvass. This makes the application disappointing despite a huge array of image manipulation features.


Those were the seven major applications that have impressive photo editing capabilities. These applications could be regarded as great replacements for desktop and online apps that come with a price tag. I have taken care to eliminate the ones that come with free and pro editions as well. In fact, for image editing, you don’t have to rely upon an application that comes with a hefty price tag.