Wednesday, November 18, 2015

The best CD/DVD burning tool for Windows, Linux and Mac

Hello! Just in case some fool out there thought my tech enlightenment mission has come to a halt, well... to each his own. I am now in college so.. err... *blushes* got very busy! I have reviewed the CD/DVD burning applications and have concluded the best for each OS family. This is a tough one, as the contenders are few and established.

So, what is a CD/DVD burning application? It does the job of writing/modifying data on physical CDs and DVDs to be able to use them at another place as portable media.

What about some parroting the new phrase “CDs and DVDs are dead”? Well, it may be true that USBs are speedier, pocket-friendly and physically more damage resistant, but that does not make it cheaper than CDs and DVDs for cheap widespread distributions. So, CDs and DVDs hold a lot of significance even today, especially in developing countries.

Here is the prioritised criteria I set for selecting the best applications:

  • Ease of use
  • Lightweight (no bloatedness)
  • Discs and standards support
  • Extra functionalities

Here are the contenders for the title: Nero Burning ROM, CDBurnerXP, BurnAware Free, K3B, Brasero, ImgBurn, Burn.


Windows

nero burning rom

Nero Burning ROM 17 (PAID)

A CD/DVD burning programs discussion cannot hold value unless the old warhorse is talked of. It used to be a pioneer (and still is) but it faces the wrath of people due to its bloatedness. A neat program that it used to be at the times of version 6 and 7, now it houses a lot of irrelevant functions.

Nero Burning ROM is the no bloat edition of Nero, that just burns discs the way it is supposed to. It supports all industry standards of discs like Blu-Ray Disc-XL and disc protection technologies like SecurDisc.

cdburnerxp

CDBurnerXP 4.5.6 (FREE)

It is the best free tool for the job. It supports Blu-Ray disc burning. Essentially a free Nero minus all the bloat.

The problems? It is only available for Windows. And it depends on .NET Framework 3.5 SP1, but a lot of programs need it so it won’t be as big a nuisance. If you don’t have it, you need its 230 MB installer.

burnaware

BurnAware Free 8.6 (FREE)

Why are people even considering it as better than CDBurnerXP? It does not support disc to disc copying and does not house as much functionality for audio CD compilations.

Worst of all, it cannot be used commercially. But if you are a fanboy, well.. it’s a different case.

imgburn

ImgBurn 2.5.8.0 (FREE)

It is the holy grail of disc image manipulations. It is a toolkit for discs. A great sidekick to CDBurnerXP for me.

Linux

brasero

Brasero (FREE)

It is a built-in app in GNOME-based distributions like Ubuntu. Does all the disc burning jobs but falls short of Blu-Ray disc support.

NOTE: Blu-Ray support can be added to Brasero (help.ubuntu.com/community/cddvd/burning)

K3b

K3B (FREE)

It is the burning app for KDE-based distributions. Falls short of Blu-Ray support.

NOTE: Blu-Ray support can be added to Brasero (help.ubuntu.com/community/cddvd/burning)

Nero Linux

Nero Linux 4.0.0.0b (FREE IF LICENSED FOR WINDOWS)

This was the version released on December 22, 2010 as last version of Nero’s port for Linux distributions. It is a complete disc burning solution but comes at a cost (the price being license purchase for Windows).

Mac

burn

Burn (FREE)

It is a great solution for disc burning purposes. It is not bloated. An alternative to the built-in CD/DVD burning utility.


CONCLUSION


So, we reach the end of this review. But, which ones are the best? Do we need to pay money for a disc burning program? No.

For Windows, go for CDBurnerXP. Apart from its dependency problem, it in itself is a rock solid program. For Linux, go for Brasero or K3B and enhance it using “growisofs” package. For Mac, go for the built-in utility or Burn.

Tuesday, July 07, 2015

The best office suite for Windows, Android, Linux, Mac, iOS

Hi! We all use MS Office on all our PCs and laptops, and some use iWork on Mac. The job of the tools that the suite contains is dead simple: write using Word, make presentations using PowerPoint and make spreadsheets using Excel. Other suites have different but similar names to say the least.

I personally find MS Office to be the best as it is the origin of the DOC/DOCX, PPT/PPTX and XLS/XLSX formats. Open source suites use an open standard of the same format which is equally compatible but is lacking due to obvious reasons. The highest compatibility and decent compression which leaves us nothing to worry about while opening the document created on Windows to be opened using LibreOffice on Android or edited on iWork on any Apple device. The reverse is not true, hence the common notion of MS Office being the best. But there are near-ditto copies of MS Office and similar alternatives that work well, and the biggest reason I am writing this document: TO GET RID OF BLOATED OFFICE SUITES.

So what were my factors for deciding the best of the best? Here is the prioritised list:

  • Compatibility + Performance
  • Cross-platform availability of the software
  • Cost
  • Features

See? I have combined two factors Compatibility and Performance. This is because I will focus on performance and the cost of the office suites I am considering. You will know later why I am not uttering Compatibility anywhere here.

These are the office suites I make notice of largely based on my factors:

MS Office, MS Office 365, iWork, LibreOffice, LibreOffice from Collabora and Kingsoft Office (now WPS)


best-office-suite


So here we begin digging into the depths:

MS Office 2013 (ONE-TIME PAID VERSION)

Need not say anything. But anyways, here we go. Compatibility? Check. Aesthetics? Check. Cloud sync? Check. Features? Check. Cross-platform? Check. Bloat? Check. WAIT WHAT? BLOAT? CHECK!!! No way. I have a PC that I like to keep fast and so I would not use this.


MS Office 365 (MONTHLY OR YEARLY RENTAL)

Same MS Office based on a subscription model. There are various subscription models which you must go and check on the official Microsoft website for your country.


MS Office Web (FREE WEB-BASED)

If you have an Windows Live or Outlook email account, you can use Office Web for free and also have 7 GB of free lifetime storage for some on-the-go quick work. Snappy and bloat-less, built for Internet connections. Same MS Office. Cut on features, cut on price.


iWork (PAID)

Okay. This is for all Apple device owners. works only on Apple-derived OSes (iOS and Mac). Not better than MS Office, which is why Apple device owners use MS Office instead of iWork.


LibreOffice (FREE and OPEN SOURCE)

This is the holy grail, built with less bloat and cost effectiveness in mind. It is important to know its story (in short!). There used to be Apache OpenOffice which had various owners from time to time. But since Oracle owned OpenOffice, the restrictions due to it entirely being Java-based annoyed a lot of the developers of OpenOffice. Thus a large section broke off and developed what we now call LibreOffice. OpenOffice exists even today but has snail-speed development and much lesser features as it failed to catch up with LibreOffice's development speed. And soon, LibreOffice won't require Java runtime package to function. It will be completely standalone. But as of now it requires Java SE 6.0 (or later) to function. Nothing else. You would have probably already installed it since web browsers partly require Java (for Java web applets and JavaScript).

This has support for all the OSes (except Chrome OS which you might not be touching even with a 10-foot pole!) and compatibility for any document type.


LibreOffice from Collabora (PAID and FOR ENTERPRISE ONLY)

This is the same LibreOffice but with enterprise features we don’t bother with. 3-year subscription kinda.



Kingsoft Office (now WPS) (FREE)

Okay, here you see something that is by far the best replica of MS Office which is free, aesthetic wise a copy and bloat-less (60 MB installer compared to MS’s 600 MB, program files 260 MB compared to MS’s 1.8 GB). It has everything that you would require from MS Office except PPTX save ability. Now you might search “kingsoft office pc free download” and download that WPS Office. Sorry! You have downloaded junk! You are the victim of WPS’s monopoly. The last version that was free and had DOCX and XLSX saving feature is somewhere lost and finding this version (9.1.0.4759 and not 2014 beta 3; it will show 4758 version!) today is as difficult as doing 30 push-ups for a lazy human. (Well your analogy might be different.) This is the only link that offers the download: http://download.komputerswiat.pl/biuro-i-praca/pakiety-biurowe/wps-office-free

Go to this link. This page will refuse to convert from Polish to English using any web translator. So follow my instructions.

Click on the “pobierz” button. Now click on the big blue “Rozpocznij pobieranie” button. A small EXE will start to download. Open this EXE. This is the website’s downloader in Polish language. Remember. “dalej” means “Next”, “nie zgadzam sie” means “reject” and “zgadzam sie” means “accept”. REJECT ALL TOOLBARS AND ADWARE INTELLIGENTLY and get this setup. This is probably the only place you would find solution to this problem.

If you have tried hard to follow me, you won’t face any problem. If the download is not present there at all, contact me on ‘harshch@outlook.com’ . I will upload and give you the installer through a cloud/file sharing site.




CONCLUSION

The old free Kingsoft version 4759 specifically completes any requirement we have unless one requires PPTX saving feature. It is not a big feature for most people (can save it in PPT), and if so, you can have LibreOffice by the side as it is constantly developing and is complete but slightly bloated due to.. well, you know (Java, features etc.).



Waiting for any response from you, my dear readers and followers.

Saturday, June 06, 2015

Windows 10: a subscription-based service

Hi! This is an emergency! Time for no jokes or intros now!

Microsoft became so generous to people, isn't it? It is acting like angel and goody-goody.

With Microsoft wanting everyone to jump on from their Windows 7 and Windows 8/8.1 to Windows 10 like crazy, for FREE (yes FREE!), people are BLINDLY UPDATING their genuine preloaded Windows laptops, OEM desktops and purchased Windows discs.

So strictly, if you do not want to pay on a monthly or annual or bi-annual basis to run Windows 10 (and from now on till.. FOREVER), DO NOT UPDATE WINDOWS 7 OR 8 OR 8.1 TO WINDOWS 10.

So people will ask:

  • How do you know Windows will be a paid service from now on?
  • What are the solutions for Windows 7 users after 2020?
  • What are the solutions for Windows 8/8.1 users after 2023?
  • What are the solutions for gamers or those who forcibly need Windows due to few programs not available on Linux or Mac?

How do you know Windows will be a paid service from now on?


This link will help you understand:
(http://www.designntrend.com/articles/30070/20141211/microsoft-suggests-windows-10-subscription-based-service-rumor.htm)
This site refers to a recent interview with Microsoft COO Kevin Turner hinting that since Windows 10 is the "last version of Windows" (see this link: http://www.forbes.com/sites/gordonkelly/2015/05/08/microsoft-windows-10-last-windows/) , they will certainly monetise it in a different way which leads to Windows becoming one of your DTH-like subscriptions. Microsoft CANNOT self-destruct its business, obviously!

What are the solutions for Windows 7 users after 2020?


Get the very last of updates when its end-of-life occurs, just like it happened to Windows XP on April 8, 2014 and make complete backup image of the OS.

What are the solutions for Windows 8/8.1 users after 2023?


Get the very last of updates when its end-of-life occurs, just like it happened to Windows XP on April 8, 2014 and make complete backup image of the OS. (no typo)

What are the solutions for gamers or those who forcibly need Windows due to few programs not available on Linux or Mac?


1) Get the Windows 10 Technical Preview (both normal and Enterprise versions, both 32 bit and 64 bit) with their activation keys from official Microsoft download site now!
Reason: On end of support life for Windows 8.1 (i.e. year 2023), there would be some programs that you would want to hold on to Windows but those programs will only support the newer Windows 10 (then Windows subscription-based) and you would forcibly crib about it and leave those programs and change to Linux-based OS or something else. But this way you could run those programs offline seperately while carrying out your daily life work on Linux.

2) Get Windows 7 Ultimate and Windows 8.1 Pro (both 32-bit and 64 bit) ISOs and keep them secure.

3) When (in either case of Windows 7 or 8/8.1) you encounter end-of-life support for Windows 7 or 8/8.1, make a complete backup image out of your OS and save them for future, as there will be no Windows to migrate to.


Do all this. Trust me. You would pay me a dollar or euro or 1000 rupees for this then (or whatever is worth 1 gm of gold ;)

Comments are open, and talking to me is in your best interest to know all about this sudden conspiracy plan by Microsoft.

Monday, June 01, 2015

Android M: details (name and info)

*UPDATED - September 5, 2015*

Hi! I am back after a long (REALLY LONG) time. I feel really guilty of not coming back and posting in April or May, as I had promised. (SORRY!!! ONCE AGAIN.)

But do not worry. I know many of the geeks (and non-geeks alike) are following news about Android M, the successor to Android Lollipop. The news is everywhere (not the graffiti or poster on your wall definitely ;) ) but all over tech sites and blogs. I am able to gather all the info besides what is available for you. So what are you waiting for? Read on.

Android M Name

The names predicted for it are Marshmallow, Maltesers, Mars and Milky Way

*UPDATE* Marshmallow is the confirmed name

Android M Features


android-m-features

Well don't zoom into this picture as a lot of it won't be understandable for most people, and no descriptions to predict what all that will be. But I am expert enough to do that. Eased up some work for you, my dear readers. Read on! (And not zoom on!)

1. Unlimited photo and video storage by Google

android-m-unlimited-storage


YES! YYYEEESSSSS!!! (Sorry I got too excited.) This one is for those who love (not like) to flaunt their "cameraphones". (And f course how could I forget teen girls and college fashionistas.)

There are conditions on this one, which apparently won't affect most people out there. One of the conditions is that the resolution of the photo must be equal to or less than 16 megapixels. And other known one is that videos uploaded must be having equal to or less than Full HD 1080i resolution. Other conditions may be known later as I track progress of the whole thing err... the Android conferences and leaks.

2. Fingerprint sensor support

android-m-fingerprint


I know this one is something not many people have, but as hardware costs and companies' greed gets lower, we will get this in the low-end phones in a few years from 2015 (for the record). And this is useful because the uniqueness of your fingerprint is yet to be matched by any other human body part (except the eye).

3. Finer app permission granting

android-m-app-permissions


Now it would not be a problem installing those sneaky apps as you would not have to accept all-or-nothing app permissions. For example, you install an app which ethically does not require GPS (navigation) but will use it. When this app tries to use GPS for the first time in Android M, you can allow or deny only the permission for GPS. Much like the way iOS handles permissions.

4. Doze (app standby)

Yes you people who run a thousand apps and forget closing them can be put on standby which NEARLY DOUBLES STANDBY TIME for your phone. (Remember standby only not the actual battery backup.) You can also turn it on/off for each app.

5. USB type C charging port

android-m-usb-type-c


This one is to be introduced first into Google Nexus series, Moto flagships, HTC and Samsung flagships, since Sony has just released the Xperia Z4. LG might introduce this later on (maybe in G6). It has risen in popularity because of Apple's new MacBook which has only one port. It helps in charging your device much faster than the microUSB and can be inserted into any way (upside or downside doesn't matter anymore).

6. Unified app settings

While some of the per app settings may make a common user go crazy, there is this feature that truly gives you the power of customisability and simplicity together.

7. (Five GHz) 5 GHz WiFi frequency support and hosting ability

Your phone may soon be a 5 GHz hotspot instead of the 2.7 GHz frequency, or your phone will be able to connect with a 5 GHz WiFi hotspot with Android M.

8. VPN apps in settings

android-m-vpn


Gosh! This one is an iOS killer (not just iPhone killer). Google will be providing its own secure VPN tunnels for open WiFi hotspot connectivity, making sure your email/other accounts do not get hacked just because a maniac neighbour decided to hack a restaurant's WiFi hotspot and access hundreds of Facebook accounts.

9. Google Now on tap

This one is supposed to make it a bit easier to use voice recognition with Android M.

10. BlueTooth 4.2

This one is a boon as we find ourselves using this thing 40% of the time when we share or take some file or photo with some college student/office colleague/family member. This upgrade promises a lot more easy going on the battery while increasing transfer rates by about 250%.

11. Hotspot 2.0

A tech geek could have got some clue out of number 7 discussed above, but nevertheless it's best for every type of person to know it all clear. This upgrade into WiFi firmware promises a lot more easy going on the battery with 5 GHz support.

12. Power improvements in WiFi scanning

Your battery is really tortured through those moments scanning for WiFi signals nearby into some hotspot or hotel (or neighbour *hehe*). Now it won't be the same. Also, your phone may not get as much heated up during this process.

13. Stylus support

Yes the grand old stylus may make a comeback with business Android devices.

14. IMAP sign-in

Okay this one is for those concerned with their official (work) email accounts. This email protocol has been seen a lot on the computer and with Android M, this will be there for your email giving you that bit of security.

15. Seamless certificate installation for Enterprise

Companies (especially the tech types) require you to be secure with your work accounts (those with which you communicate with the seniors and bosses). This will come as a boon to their IT security admins.

Are you running away from this article? Wait. The "Company" stuff is over. Now useful stuff for you.

16. Android Pay

android-pay


I know (why so late mention etc.). It's because there is so much to cover on the Android M. *PHEW!* This combined with the fingerprint security is gonna give you a lot more security, while being easy at the interface of this system's app.

17. Battery historian 2.0



This one is gonna help those who like to find and install RAM managers onto their phones. Guess that's enough to get the hint.

18. App link verification

Yes the apps in Google PlayStore which required connecting to other servers will now require verification for the in-app links.

19. Google Family PlayStore

There will be a seperate PlayStore for children and family. Hope that won't make you earn a bad reputation for finding apps in the traditional PlayStore.

20. Text selection, floating clipboard

The word selection will be a lot more easier and of course, the floating clipboard is sure to give you a hint of what it is.

21. MIDI support

The music and ringtone enthusiasts (and old TV console game tune obsessed people) will love this. Every mid-range and pro keyboard (electronic piano) creates tunes in MIDI format, and a lot less MIDI to MP3 conversion will be needed with this awesome feature, though some would doubt the usefulness of this feature.



I guess I have covered more than what you want to know, and much more than what other tech sites have stumbled upon.