VLC Playback Issues with WMV on Mac OS X?

I recently got some video files in the Windows WMV format and VLC on Mac OS X was not able to play these files. It’s not that VLC does not play any WMV format files, it just happens that the files I had, did not work.

Having tried Flip4Mac some time back and observed similar issues, I chose not to try it again, instead, look for some alternate solution.

Continue reading

Wiper – Yet another private messaging & call app

We have yet another entry in the messaging arena on iOS and Android called Wiper.

Like most such apps, this is also an iPhone only app. Even though it claims compatibility with the iPad, but, is not a universal app. The name sounds very similar to a far better known app called Viber and some might get confused between the two names.

Continue reading

iTunes U 2.0 with custom classroom support released

Apple released iTunes U 2.0 with support for creating and sharing courses a few hours ago. Although it is too early to figure out the actual impact and overall usage and adoption given the high price of Apple devices, it does look promising.

To create a course, you need to have an iPad and have to register with an Institute name and profile, which, can be edited later. I guess details will emerge as and when people start using it.

A brief description from the application is as follows:

  • The new iTunes U makes it simple for students participating in private courses to pose questions on the course or any post or assignment
  • Other students in the class can jump into the discussion and ask more questions or provide answers
  • Teachers and students can keep up with the conversation when they receive push notifications as the discussion progresses

Create courses on iPad

  • Teachers can now create and update their courses using the iTunes U app on their iPad—getting started is fast, simple, and completely free
  • Provide every student a course outline, write posts, distribute assignments, upload class materials, easily track participating students, and much more
  • Take advantage of the built in camera on iPad to easily capture photos or videos and upload them for course assignments
  • Create materials using Pages, Numbers, and Keynote—or other apps from the App Store—and add them to your course by using “Open in iTunes U” from within each app
  • Teachers affiliated with qualified institutions have the option to publish their courses to the iTunes U Catalog—making them available to everyone for free


iOS 8 Beta 3 – First Looks

After dabbling around with the iOS 8 Beta 3, I came across some interesting things. I had skipped Beta 2, so, it is possible that some of these might have been in Beta 2 as well.

If you restore to iOS 8 Beta 3, you will find the following changes on startup.

  • Hindi welcome messages have been included in the startup screen.
  • Keyboards are selectable at startup along with English (India). You can also select Emoji right here.
  • Find my phone is enabled by default if you use iCloud.
  • Upgrade to iCloud Drive for Yosemite or keep using iCloud documents.
  • Share App Analytics with developers to improve apps.

Continue reading

WWDC 2014 – iOS 8, OS X 10.10 – Apple opens up iOS a bit more!

Well…Not a very exciting event from Apple, but, there are some points that could stretch Apple’s lead in the mobile and desktop market to some extent.

  1. Apple has opened out more APIs on the iOS side allowing app functionality, officially, that was previously available only on jailbroken devices. Given the wide developer base, we could see some exciting apps coming up in the near future. iOS 8 Enterprise features have also been enhanced and could spur wider enterprise adoption.
  2. The introduction of a new programming language, Swift, which could accelerate the development on iOS and OS X platforms far more than ever before.
  3. The integration and extension of the functionality of the 10+ year old Nokia PC Suite into Yosemite is a welcome addition. Most people using iOS devices would probably understand that this could be quite useful on occasion. This page has details.

A word of caution for early adopters. Do not attempt to try iOS 8 just as yet on your primary phone. Most of the current applications will not work as expected and a vast majority would simply crash, including the stock apps. Yosemite, although usable, is quite laggy and slow, which is to be expected from a developer preview. The same applies to Xcode 6 beta.

Continue reading

Happy New Year 2014!

Wishing You All Very Happy New Year 2014.

As our learning through the years continues, here are some apps that iOS users can check out. Some of these are also available on the Android platform.

Udemy offers quite a few courses on a variety of subjects for free. These apps also allow you download the content for offline viewing later.

CodeCademy is great for learning to code.

Coursera is a massive collection of open online courses (MOOCs).

The MIT OCW is yet another great resource.

Khan Academy needs no introduction. In case you want some of these for offline viewing, check out the Khan Archiver app. For selected courses from Khan Academy, check out the this link.

Happy Learning!

Windows Phone 8 GDR3 Update!

Now that I have my Nokia Lumia 822 in working condition, I was waiting for the official GDR3 update. It seems that Verizon will probably take quite some time to approve GDR3 before I can officially update to the same. For people like me, want to update now, there is an alternate way.

I managed to update to GDR3 thanks to this post. It did take a couple of hours to figure out a bug on the Microsoft site related to my ID and then update. The Microsoft site kept showing an email ID that does not exist anymore and was not in my profile. I finally found that it was the first one in my own contact. Even after removing the same, resetting the account, the bug was persistent. I gave up trying to fix it after a while and went ahead with the update.

The update download was flawless. Then it started preparing for installation. The progress went up to 99%, rolled back to 95% and then finally went to 100% and was stuck there for some time. This time around, the “clueless” update did go through and I finally landed up with a working update.

GDR3 now asks for connections before prompting for the Microsoft Account ID. YouTube videos also play, but, the free app opens videos in the browser. The contacts and calendar sync on adding the Microsoft ID now. Still need to find a way to get my current contacts into the Microsoft ID account. The UI/UX remains as pathetic and unusable as earlier.

In case you change any language, or add a keyboard, the phone will require a re-boot and will insist on migrating your data for 5-10 minutes every time.

Just to be on the safe side, I reset the phone right after the update to make sure it was still functional. To get updates for the stock applications (and betas), you would need to install a 3rd party application which would check for the stock application updates.

TataSky – Everywhere TV? Not Really!

After having tried the TataSky “Everywhere TV” for almost two months, I would like to share my experience so far. I will be giving it up for the following reasons.

  1. The quality and usability
  2. The broadcast is crippled, not all programmes are available even on channels that are listed in “Everywhere TV”
  3. Does not work all the time. At times the video feed just does not come through at all
  4. The last, but not the least, is the customer support for this service. I have had TataSky since it came on the scene and have been quite satisfied with the customer support for DTH, but, not for the “Everywhere TV”

So, here goes the story of my experience…

Continue reading

OS X Mavericks Release and Update – The Buggiest Ever?

Well, now that OS X Mavericks has a .1 update, with the concentration being on Apple Mail and Graphics, it would be safe to say that OS X Mavericks, like iOS 7, is possibly the worst release of OS X ever. The completely untested releases, not to mention the non-existent UX.

Mavericks, true to it’s name, is one. Almost nothing works as expected. Although Apple acknowledged issues in Apple Mail, it was limited to Gmail related accounts and mentions nothing else. It still has a clutter of draft/versions and sync issues. The rendering of standard HTML email still does not work.

The Contacts still retain the bloat and duplication issues of earlier. All iCloud applications require manual run to sync them across devices. The iCloud Keychain does not work for Exchange accounts…try changing an Exchange account password after the policy expires it. The more iDevices you have on the iCloud Keychain, the worse it becomes.

Continue reading