Friday, August 27, 2010

Download Managers on LINUX

My college provides me an awesome fast internet. Actually it is a 1Gbps link which is shared among all the users in the institute. Using download managers(like FDM) I easily achive speeds within 2MB/s to 3.5MB/s on Windows. But on Linux I was never be able to cross 1200KB/s. That was because most DMs don't support fragmented downloading. Then I went on to review all the download managers on Linux and find one best among them all.

1. MultiGet
MultiGet has issues with the proxy implementation in my college. I tried hard but it didn't let me download anything so it was out.

2. KGet
It gets across my institute's proxy server but doesn't do fragmented downloading.

3. GWget
It is essentially a graphical front end to wget, which too doesn't support fragmented downloads.
4. FatRat
It is a featureful download manager for Linux. It supports BitTorrents and rapidshare downloads but I couldn't find no. of fragments in configuration. So, I've to look elsewhere.
5. Downloader 4 X
It supports fragmented downloads! And I easily crossed the 2MB/s mark!!!! That was where I stopped. To achieve this, I went to Options>General and there in the left pane chose Limits. There I could adjust the number of parts to split the file. I set the value to 10 and started enjoying the speed.
6. Aria2c
Happy with D4X, I thought I should stop my hunt. But then I thought I should try the well known Aria downloader. It is a command line based download manager and very popular. I tried that and it supports fragmented downloads.
The following command made me download Fedora 13 into 12 segments. Note that the command line parameter -s is used to specify the number of segments for the download and the parameter --http-proxy allows me to cross my college's proxy cum firewall. xxxxx is the proxy password and ise2010012 is the username.

aria2c -s 12 --http-proxy=http://ise2010012:xxxxx@

If you love command line, this is for you. I do love it!
Please note that any of these download managers can be easily downloaded using your Linux distribution's built-in package manager by searching the name.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Sony Ericsson XPERIA X10 Mini

As my old P1i was giving up, behaving somewhat weird, I thought I should get a new phone. I zeroed in on two phones. The SE Elm which would cost me Rs.10800 and the SE XPERIA X10 Mini Pro which was around Rs.16000. As I have to remain connected on the go and should always be ready to read PDFs and PPTs after getting myself admitted to PG, I ruled out Elm which isn't an smartphone and thought of getting an X10 Mini Pro. I hunted 10 shops in Allahabad but didn't find my phone of choice anywhere. Finally I settled onto the hardware keyboard sans version of Mini Pro i.e. Mini. It was available for Rs.14600 in Big Bazar, Rs.15300 in The Mobile Store and Rs.16600 in a local shop. Obviously, I opted for the Big Bazar.

The phone is little cute wonderful sweeeeeetie in my arsenal now. I was non-plussed at its speed. A 600MHz and an onboard 128MB RAM are enough to run the phone perfectly smooth without any apparent lag in UI, unlike the Nokia Symbians which run quite lethargic. The Android is an awesome development in the mobile OS world. Although it is missing some basic functionality at this point of time but still it is the best way to throw your crappy Nokia sluggish Symbian.
I'll start with the negative points first and afterwards move towards the positive points, then I'll provide you some tips(and apps) for the X10 mini and then off course will provide links to download few of the mentioned apps.

Ok, negative points start first.
1. You can't connect to an ad-hoc WiFi network with android! What a shame!!!! Its not SE's fault, but a missing feature from Android.
2. You can't access internet on a WiFi network that requires you to specify a proxy address and username/password to surf the internet. Again! What a shame!!!! My college's each and every single inch falls in the marvellous WiFi connectivity of the campus but I can't browse the internet through my phone as, a freaking squid proxy server sits between us and the internet, at Anyways, later I found a workaround and was able to surf on my X10 Mini's browser!!! I'll post the thing later.
3. Coming to music player, the music in the bundled earphone is unlistenable. It is bassless and treble full. This is very bad from SE's part, really really bad. SE has been always a leader in mobile music industry with the W550i breaking the records once and others following the similar path. I hadn't expected this level of quality in SE's earphones. Anyways, I pushed in my Walkman's earphone and the quality was perfect. So, the phone isn't the culprit, the bundled earphone is. Actually they have given a 3.5mm jack which apart from earphones, also has an embedded microphone. This is something different from others.
4. You can't create playlists in the music player. Again, this is a no no!!! But well, there are workarounds, especially if you install third party apps.
5. The music player has no equalizer, nor presets for the equalizer settings. So you can't fine tune your music listening experience. Getting Astro Player circumvents this demerit as it has a very good equalizer.
6. The phone doesn't support bluetooth file transfer out of the box, however SE has promised that they will bundle the bluetooth file transfer app in the next firmware update. But you can download the Bluetooth File Transfer app from the Android Market for free and it works very perfectly.
7.  You can't install third party apps on the memory card. Everything goes to the 160MB internal memory. So, you're sure to fall short of some silicon if you are an application/game junkie. I installed 65 third party apps and I am left with around 40MB on my phone memory. Enough for me :)
8. You must have a google account to do many things for example downloading and installing apps from the market.
9. The screen has a low resolution i.e. 240x320
10. The onscreen keyboard is a multitap one instead of QWERTY so typing is slow. But there are third party apps for using onscreen keyboard and the typing becomes perfectly fast with them. SlideKeyboard is one such thing.
11. The battery isn't user replaceable. It is hard coded/wired/embedded under the hood.

Ok ok, lots of criticism by now. So we should now start with the positives and then move to tips and tricks and then continue to some app downloads and then some other relevant info.
1. The User Interface is a marvel. Especially I love the Timescape and the very very fast and responsive interface
2. Most of the android system has been designed very logically and you will love it.
3. The phone has a magnetometer(digital compass) which works perfectly well, although you need a third party app to use it.
4. The phone has location services like geotagging, thanks to the perfect GPS receiver.
5. At 88 grams it is the lightest and smallest smartphone on the planet.
6. Battery backup is good in comparison to the smart phones. Works for two days of normal use for me. Warning: My normal use seems to be heavy use for many people. So if you are someone whose metric for normal use is smaller than mine the you can get your phone to work for 3 days on a single charge with ease.
7. The camera is one of the best 5.0 megapixel cameras in the market. It snaps near digicam pictures in day in good lighting conditions.
8. Although some people say that due to small screen resolution many android apps don't run on it. But this is  false. I've been able to run all android apps from the market, except two.
9. In october the phone's OS will be upgraded to Android 2.1 Eclair

A list of useful apps follows, that you may download from the market.
Some apps can be downloaded from here. Download the archives in your computer and extract them to get the apk files. The password for the archives is blahblah

1. DocumentsToGo(Must-Have)
This cool thing lets you view and edit DOC, PPT, XLS, DOCX, PPTX, XLSX and PDF files very perfectly. This is a must. Download it here, along with the unlocker.
How to install???? Open the menu, tap Settings, then tap Applications. Then tick mark Unknown Sources. Now transfer the .apk files you extracted from the downloaded archive to the memory card's other folder using a data cable. Now disconnect the phone from the computer and in its main menu tap Application Installer. It will search for the .apk file in the card and prompt you to install it.
2. Astro File Manager(Must-have)
Its a very good file manager for android phones.
3. Gesture search(Must-have)
It lets you search for contacts using handwriting recognition. You swipe you finger as if drawing a character with pen, and it will search the contacts list for you
4. Compass
It utilizes your phone's built-in digital magnetometer and shows directions.
5. Photoshop
Wonderful tool for editing images
6. Facebook location updater
It posts your GPS location on facebookwith a link to google map for that location
7. PicSay Pro
Its a wonderful photo editor
8. Seesmic
Its the best twitter client for android.
9. WiFi Analyzer
Its of no use for me ;-( But may be some people will find it very helpful.
10. Yahoo Droid
Yahoo messenger for android
11. Meebo IM
Perfect multiprotocol IM client for Android. You may also try Slick. It is very good.
12. Merriam Webster's Dictionary(Must-have)
Lookup any word meaning. You may also download voice pack for it, the download link for which will be shown to you after you launch it for the first time. The voice pack works perfectly and pronounces the words as you wish.
13. WiFi Static(Must-have)
You can create several WiFi profiles, for example office, home etc. if you are in a non-DHCP network always. Then connect to any network conveniently. Very useful tool for me.
14. Qik
The live video streaming app. For more details visit
15. Latitude
The google latitude service to find your nearby friends
16. Goggles
The photo search app from google. You can snap pictures of some known items and google will try to identify the image and come up with the info. Good for tourists. They can click monuments and know about them
17. Handcent SMS
It shows nicely your sms messages.
18. AndroZip(Must-have)
The muti format archiver.
19. Barcode scanner(Must-have)
Scan any barcode with your phone's camera and know about the product.
20. Apache file server
WiFi File explorer
essentially let you do the same thing. They make your phone a file server and give you a browser interface so that you can download and upload files from and to the sd card from a computer
21. OfficeSuite
Its an alternatice for Docs2Go but I prefer Docs2Go
22. SMS Speak(Must-have)
It will read out your SMS messages!
23. ES File Explorer, Security Manager and Task Manager
Good phone management applications. Security manager can protect your phone if it is stolen.
24. Google Translate
No need to mention.
25. GPS Status
It tells your latitude and longitude as well as uses your magnetometer to show directions.
26. Accu Weather
Weather report of your city on your X10 Mini
27. K-9 Mail(Must-have)
Excellent mail client. Its a must have app!!!
28. MSN Droid
The MSN messenger for your Android
29. Neoreader
This will let you scan QR codes.
30. Android VNC
The VNC viewer for your android. I didn't test it yet.
31. Net Tools
Basic network tools like ping, IP to host, host to IP lookups etc.
32. Chess
The chess game on your android
33. Infinity
Its a browser that uses smart fit and gets you out of the hassle of scrolling right-left on websites.
34. Logmein
It lets you log in to your PC. I didn't test it yet.
35. Setting Profile(Must-have)
It lets you change profile with just a touch! You can create profiles for meeting, home, office, browsing, college etc and set the values for ringer, vibrator, backlight etc and then when entering one of those areas, change the profile instead of individually changing the settings.
36. Vignette
It lets you frame your camera pictures
37. Blogger Droid
For photo blogging from your phone.
38. System
It lets you view essential system info, like free RAM and processor speed
39. Google Sky(Must-have)
It lets you view the location of astronomical bodies. Its a very good app for astronomical fun.
40. ThickButtons(Must-have)
or SlideItKeyboard
The onscreen QWERTY keyboard instead of the built-in multitap keuboard. They both are good, but I prefer ThickButtons ;)
41. Pixelpipe
One touch multiplatform blogging app
42. Connect Bot
Use SSH from your phone
43. Bluetooth file transfer(Must-have)
Transfer files to and from you phone via bluetooth.
44. Advance lie detector
I don't believe it works! But still you can try it for some fun
45. Search plus
Search content on Bing, Google, WikiPedia, Twitter etc.

Some handy tips
1. How to transfer contacts from your old phone into your android?

Use your old phone's contact backup feature to create a VCF file for your contacts. For example, in SE phones in Contacts>More>Advanced there is an option Backup To MS. Use that. Then copy the vcf file from the memory card to your computer. Now open up on your PC browser. Click the Import link on the extreme right. Now upload the VCF file.
Next, on your X10 mini. Choose Settings. Scroll down and click Contacts. Wait, you'll see all your contacts soon on the phone.
You must have an active GPRS/EDGE/3G/WiFi connection for this feature to work.

2. How to configure GPRS access?
Menu>Setings>Wireless Controls>Mobile Networks>Access Point Names
Now press the first key, i.e. the first of the three keys on the phone below the touch screen. Tab New APN.
Put the name of APN, for example Virgin Mobile
Put APN as the APN of your service provider, like
If your service provider requires a proxy, then fill it up. Leave other fields blank.

3. Troubleshoot GPRS
Sometimes you may notice that you aren't able to see the E or G signal. Go to the APN setting, scroll down to the bottom and check the APN Type field. If its blank, then its fine else blank it.

4. How to lock your phone from unauthorised use?
Menu>Settings>Security & Location and turn on the Require Pattern field. Now you can create a locking pattern for unlocking your phone sceen when required, instead of typing a secret number as you might have used inyour old phones.

5. How to enable third party on screen keyboard like ThickButtons?
Menu>Settings>Locale and Text. There tick mark ThickButtons. Now come back to messaging or browser or any app that has a text field. There long tap the text field. Long tapping means keep your finger on the field for a few seconds. You'll get a menu, just choose ThickButtons there.

6. Secret codes?

First: Press *#*#4636#*#*  on the dial pad to reveal a secret menu.

Second: When phone is in locked state, press a key. You will see the prompt to push the option key to unlock but do NOT unlock the phone.
Next, press the key sequence below in the order provided when the "unlock now" screen is still visible: 


7. Android Versions
1.5 -> Cupcake
1.6 -> Donut(In X10 Mini)
2.1 -> Eclair
2.2 -> FroYo(Frozen Yoghurt)