Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Receive your e-mails through SMS for free

This post is beneficial for Indian people only.
MyToday.com provides free, instant, e-mail alert notifications via SMS. I discovered this just a week ago, although it existed since quite long and many of my friends were using it and me being totally ignorant about it!!!
To use the service, you just need to carry out the following two steps:
1. Send an SMS to 575758 with the following text MAIL START <your city name>
If you live in a small city/town, then you may send your state's capital city name.
2. The next step is to login to your e-mail account and set an autoforwarder that sends every incoming mail to 91<ur 10 digit mob. no.>@m3m.in
Example: 919876543210@m3m.in

Now whenever any e-mail arrives in your inbox, your mail provider will forward a copy of it to mytoday, and they'll in turn send it to you immediately through SMS.

There are several applications of this service. It depends on your thought power and creativity to tap them. One simple one is instant sms alerts for orkut scraps.

For that, just login to your orkut account from PC and click settings. There in notifications set scrap notifications to be sent by e-mail. And thats it!!! Now, whenever anyone scraps you, you'll immediately receive an SMS.

This service is absolutely free, except for the first activation SMS that you sent. Airtel charges Rs.3 for that. I dunno about other operator charges.


Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Opera Turbo

And finally there's some relief to the people blessed by slow connection blues!!! I'm one among you, if you're a victim of turtle/earthworm slow net connections. I use Airtel Mobile Office, which here provides a maximum download speed of 5.4KB/s!! Browsing is even slower than that because of lethargic response times. If I try to view a site with lots of page elements, graphics, flash content, it takes several minutes to load. If I'm in a blog or a forum and click a few links while holding CTRL+SHIFT(new tab for opera), it'll take ages to load all the pages fully. But now Opera has brought a solution especially for me and the likes! There's no downloading speed boost but there's surely a multi-folds browsing boost. The browsing experience is streamlined several folds. The product name is Opera Turbo. For windows it can be downloaded right here and it is just a 6.2MB download.
So, what's special about it??
First thing, Opera Turbo doesn't connect to the site you wanna view, directly. Instead it uses its separate proxy server labs1-turbo.opera-mini.net to download the page for you. When you request a site say google.com from turbo, it connects to labs1-turbo.opera-mini.net where they've zillion times fast connection than yours. Google.com page is downloaded there, compressed and then sent to your computer! Now that's something rapid!!! But there's a con. The images are converted to save size, and the images look crippled while browsing through turbo. But who cares? Second thing is that, you don't have to compromise on security because secure connections are setup through your own computer and opera-mini server isn't going to perform any man in the middle attacks! ANyways, I trust Opera guys. They won't try eavesdropping my e-mail conversation, nor they've any time for that. lol
Ok, here are two reasons I found why it gives an ultra faster browsing experience for lethargic ISP users:
1. Compressed data download, as Opera designed it to do.
2. Instead of resolving several hostnames and connecting to several servers, it just connects to a single server and downloads all the stuff in one go.

I'm explaining the second one with a simple example. Suppose you wanna view a blog or a forum post with several images, frames, google ads, and several other page elements hosted at different servers. Like, your site is blah.com/blah and the page markup needs to connect to css.blah.com, static.blah.com, img1.blah.com, img2.blah.com, page2ad.googlesyndication.com etc....to display everything correctly Then on any other browser, separate connections to these servers will be opened hence crippling your already slow internet connection. Lots of bandwidth will be wasted to connect, download, manage error/flow control(if required) to each of these separate servers. But with turbo, a single connection will be made to opera-mini server and all data will be downloaded in one go and that too compressed hence giving you a smooth and fast browsing experience.

In the status bar there is a turbo button to enable turbo browsing or disable it. When red, turbo is enabled. When gray, itz disabled. When you hover your mouse pointer over the button, it'll show how much bandwidth you've saved by now.

What Opera have written about it on their blog can be read at http://labs.opera.com/news/2009/03/13/

Turbo will be a feature of Opera 10, which is still beta. I noticed some issues in it being beta. Here are the two:
1. If you toggle turbo anytime, the change will be available in all tabs you open afterwards. It won't be visible in the tab you toggled it or all the ones opened before.
2. The Transfers tool is buggy. Stopping and resume a download corrupts the file.

They'll surely fix the issues in the subsequent versions.
Enjoy fast browsing with Turbo and turbocharge yourself!!

Sunday, March 22, 2009

ACID3 Browser Test

You browse the web. There are several browsers to choose from. Everyone has his/her own taste. I like Opera. Someone likes FireFox. Someone else loves the shiny new Google Chrome. Someone sitting elsewhere likes sticking with the good old IE. The availability of myriads of browsers make it difficult for the web developers to code sites because different browsers differ at some part or the another of standards support. So, the geeks, the leaders of the web technology decided to unify web standards and Web Standards Project was born. They worked and designed tests for the browsers to measure the extent of standards supported. ACID3 is the latest in the series. Click the link to benchmark your browser. Following are the scores of some top browsers tested by me on my PC and phone.

Desktop Browsers
Opera 9.63 - 85/100
IE6 - 13/100
Firefox - 71/100
Opera Kestrel Beta2 - 100/100
Opera WinGogi - 99/100

Mobile Browsers
Opera 8.65 on P1i - 38/100
Opera Mobile 9.50 beta2 fingertouch - 73/100
Ozone - 93/100
I'm attaching some screenshots at the end of this blog post.
By the way, Opera have released a specially designed browser codenamed WinGogi that they claim, passes ACID3 by 100/100. It can be downloaded here . I tested on my PC, but it scored 99/100. May be, due to some connection blues. They claim WinGogi to be the first browser that passed ACID3 by 100/100. Source is here. On the other hand Apple claims that WebKit is the first browser engine to pass ACID3 by 100/100. Source is here. lol Whatever... By the way, Opera 10 Kestrel Beta 2 on my PC reached 100/100.

Ok, here are the screenshots.

Ozone on P1i

Opera Mobile 8.65 on P1i

Opera 10 Kestrel

Opera WinGogi



Opera 9.63

Saturday, March 14, 2009

nl2br() function in PHP

While working with the RW/LL WAP community script, I noticed a bug(???), better say unexpected behaviour in nl2br() PHP library function. I had a function for processing bbcodes. I added the nl2br() in it to convert all the enter/return presses into the xhtml <br /> tags. But I noticed, in the forum posts all other bbcodes didn't work whenever a call to nl2br() occured due to enter presses. After fiddling with a lot of sequences(which I later found to be illogical on my part) of the processing lines of codes for bbcodes and the nl2br() function, I figured out that the problem is not with my code but PHP's implementation of the nl2br() function. So, with the help of the nl2br() manual comments on php.net I wrote my own nl2br() function as follows:
function nl2br1($text){
$text=str_replace(array("\r\n", "\r", "\n"), "[br/]", $text);
return $text;

Well, the above function takes into concern that:
On Windows the enter key press means "\r\n",
On Linux/UNIX/BSD and other UNIX derivatives the enter key press means "\n"
and on a Mac, it is "\r\".
Probably the built in nl2br() in PHP is implemented differently, so the glitch appeared.

P1i - Opera Mobile 9.50 - SMS glitch

After the release of Opera Mobile 9.50 beta 2 Fingertouch, I've been using it a lot on my P1i for browsing for hours. I notice a strange behaviour in my P1i when I've browsed the web for long through it. My phone doesn't notify me of any SMS sent to me. Neither with the tone, nor with the icon in status bar. When I restart the phone, the new SMS is displayed. I wouldn't have noticed if I hadn't turned my phone off one night before going to bed when I was too tired. In the morning when I booted the phone back I got two SMSes that were sent to me three days ago. lol! I generally didn't use to turn the phone off for weeks. Whenever necessary I used to set it in flight mode. But now I do that every night before going to bed.
Well, a probable reason I guess is that the new Opera Mobile is a RAM hog, and when the RAM goes too low while web browsing, the phone shuts down the SMS client process that listens for SMSes, in order to free up some RAM. Whatever may be the exact reason, it should be fixed by Opera.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Opera Mobile Finfertouch for UIQ3

On 6th of this month Opera released the second beta of Opera Mobile9.50 for us UIQ users!!! Contrary to the popular feeling that UIQ is dead and Opera too will ditch it. The new beta is great! I felt some improvement in stability issues and speed in loading large pages. They also changed the logo. Earlier it looked like the power key!! And the best thing of the new beta is the new Fingertouch technology. According to Opera's official blog:
Today we introduce Opera Fingertouch, a technology designed to make interacting with the Web easier and simpler on touch-based devices. Opera Fingertouch provides visual feedback when you hit a Web link, and assists you when you come across multiple links or other selectable elements in close proximity to one another.

Here's a video released by Opera officially about the new jargon:

I tried capturing the screenshot os fingertouch in action on my P1i but it didn't work. The screen capture apps weren't able to capture the display area of the browser. Only the address bar came. I tried two different apps TOSC(the Open Screen Capture) and CS(Capture Screen), but same result. I'm attaching a screenshot anyways.