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Author Archives: Costea Lestoc

File Systems Explained – Part II

April 23rd, 2013 | Posted by Costea Lestoc in Content - (0 Comments)

In a previous article, I talked about ZFS file system. It’s time to talk about the other file systems as well in this 2nd part of the 3 part series explaining different file systems. I’ll start with brtfs and cover ext4 as well.

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File System – brtfs

This is yet to be released. But, this upcoming file system for Linux distributions mainly looks at fixing many of the issues which were pretty predominant in the older ext file system series. You can call it a journaling file system as well. There are hosts of new features such as data pooling, through which you can span the file system across more than one physical hard drives. Apart from that, the maximum file and volume size is of 16 EiB. There are other features such as snapshots, nanosecond time resolution, transparent encryption, transparent compression, data deduplication as well. Linux is the sole operating system that supports brtfs as of now, however, it is considered as unstable as of yet. Many feel that with time, brtfs should be replacing ext4, the file system that I am going to cover next.

File System – ext4

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For the time being, this is the most used file system for Linux systems. This is a successor to both the earlier file systems ext2 and ext3. Different techniques have been used in this file system to improve the performance. Just like brtfs, ext4 also is a journaling file system. This is only for hard drives and hence, it doesn’t appear on the removable Medias. It can support files up to 16 TiB and volumes up to 1 EiB. With help of Ext2Read, even Windows users can get read access to the ext file systems.

If you have used ext4 or intend to use brtfs, please share your thoughts through the comments section. I’ll love to hear what you have to say.

What is AirPlay and what are the Disadvantages?

April 22nd, 2013 | Posted by Costea Lestoc in Mac - (0 Comments)

In recent times, if I think of an advantage of using MAC, I will probably think of AirPlay first. If you somehow have not heard of this as of yet, this allows you to stream video and audio between Apple devices which have AirPlay enabled. For an example, you can stream videos from the iPad YouTube app to the Apple TV.

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What is AirPlay?

This is a system designed by Apple which is used to stream content between various enabled devices. Thereby, using the same, you can stream audio from your laptop or desktop computer to the sound systems which are AirPlay enabled. This will work even for the regular sound systems which are complemented with an AirPlay enabled AirPort. Before the release of Mountain Lion, it was only possible to stream music from within iTunes with usage of AirPlay. However, now, thanks to this newly released operating system from Apple, all system audio should be compatible. You don’t need to buy any third party software, when you try to stream Spotify or YouTube audio to the AirPlay enabled audio systems.

Disadvantages of AirPlay

AirPlay is great, but, it’s not a perfect system. There are a couple of disadvantages that I can think of at this point of time and below are those explained:

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The AirPlay system of Apple is proprietary and that means, you can only use it in the Mac OS X and iOS devices. Hence, the numerous users of Windows-Apple crossover are out in the cold.

AirPlay mirroring is only available on the recent Apple hardware. This is way of streaming the content of your system display to an Apple TV. If you are using an old MAC, the AirPlay mirroring icon simply doesn’t appear in the menu bar of the MAC OS X. If you are looking for the complete list of supported computers, I’ll recommend you to go through the Apple support article at this link: www.support.apple.com/kb/HT5404.

MPlayerX – More on Preferences and Options

April 19th, 2013 | Posted by Costea Lestoc in Mac - (0 Comments)

I promised to come back with another part for discussing MPlayerX and here it is. I’ll straight go to the other features of the app now:

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Syncing Audio and Video

If the video and audio gets out of sync, you can manually fix this issue while playing the same through MPlayerX. Go to the “AVS” option on top of the screen and then click on either of the two options available: “Decrease Audio Delay” and “Increase Audio Delay.” You have to work along it manually to adjust things and make video sync with audio; however, the effort is worth it.

More on Preferences Option

Different kinds of playback options can be set up through the preferences menu. You can actually play each video in full screen right when you open the same; you can adjust options for streaming, subtitles, audio etc. as well.

You need to simply pinch and pull for expanding or shrinking the player window. Therefore, you can make adjustments pretty quickly and that too without breaking the momentum while you are watching a video. For full screen, you just need to do a double tap. Swiping up raises the volume and similarly, the app works for swiping down.

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For me, MPlayerX works big time, because, the app is free to use and more importantly, you can play videos of any possible format under the sun. The video player has a slick style associated with it and that kind of syncs it up with the overall look of a MAC. I am not saying that MPlayerX is the best video playing app for MAC users, but, if you are not happy with the current one that you are using, you should probably give it a try. Once you do, don’t forget to share your experience with me through the comments section.

File Systems Explained – Part I

April 18th, 2013 | Posted by Costea Lestoc in Content - (0 Comments)

Are you really aware what the hard drive does whenever you read a specific file from it or even when you write one to it? Thanks to the advancement of technology, it is now possible for us to store massive amounts of data which is needed for a high level of organization for preventing certain issues related to performance.

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Through usage of file systems, a hard drive can be properly organized. The operating systems themselves set up the file systems while the installation is in progress. Well, you must already be aware, but just for starters; there is more than a single file system. Through this article and the other parts as well, I’ll try to explain how some of the basic file systems work and what differences do they have between each other!

ZFS

This file system is only known to the users of UNIX. This file system can support files and volumes of up to 16 Exabytes. Though ZFS is not really popular for performance, but, it provides support for numerous features such as data corruption protection, combination of the file system & advanced volume manage concepts including pooling, data de-duplication, snapshots, transparent encryption and transparent compression. For the last 8 years, this file system is being considered as stable and it is supported by Linux, Mac OS X 10.5 Server and other similar UNIX alike operating systems as well. In today’s date, ZFS is more commonly found in the enterprise environments than in the normal households.

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In the latter parts, the other file systems I have decided to cover are: NTFS, btrfs, ext4, HFS+ and FAT. If you are already into using ZFS, don’t forget to share what you like or dislike about the same. If you have decided to try ZFS out after reading this article, don’t forget to share your experience through the comments section.

Some Basic Advantages of MPlayerX

April 17th, 2013 | Posted by Costea Lestoc in Mac - (0 Comments)

If you are a MAC user, there are plenty of options for you, when it comes to the video player. You have VLC, XBMC or even the QuickTime media player owned by Apple. I am not saying that these video players are bad, but, if you are ready to make the big change, I’ll suggest you to take a look at MPlayerX. It comes up with tons of features which you will find to be useful while watching your favorite videos.

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Videos in almost every format can be played through this app and that too with the best codecs available (The advantage is that you don’t need to download any additional plug-ins). Hence, rest assured, any video setting on your hard drive will be able to play videos with ease. There are many organization tools for your media as well, so in a few minutes, you can start enjoying the videos in a beautiful way.

First of all, you must select a video that you wish to watch from your computer. There is an option to play videos directly from the internet as well (You’ll find an option called “Open URL” from the file menu on the screen’s top side).

There are options for altering the look while the video is playing. Go to the Windows menu on the top of the screen and there, you will see options to change sound and color in the video. The menu is pretty similar to the one you see in your television. Therefore, you can fix issues with the picture that may be present in the particular file.

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MPlayerX can automatically detect and convert the encoding method of the subtitle file. There are plenty of languages supported by MPlayerX such as: all Latin based languages, Arabic, Eastern Asian, Hebrew etc.

It’s pretty hard to talk about all the features of MPlayerX in a single article. So, stay tuned for the next part!

MAC Window Management Problem and Using Afloat – an Introduction

April 16th, 2013 | Posted by Costea Lestoc in Mac - (0 Comments)

While using the MAC, I keep a lot of tabs and windows open. I am sure the case is the same for most of the other MAC users as well. We are kind of used to opening numerous windows at a single time and it’s not really possible to imagine running a MAC with a single window open. Well, I generally need information of one tab in another and it requires my agility to switch back and forth between tabs and windows all the time.

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Well, there are some MAC shortcuts available to help you with this such as Alt + Tab (For switching between windows), Control + F3 (For showing all the opened windows within a single application) etc. You can even use Spaces for separating the entertainment windows from the working windows.

Today, I’ll be talking about a MAC app named as Afloat. The app has so many features that it may get tough to describe everything in a single article. But, anyway, let’s start over here:

Installing Afloat

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Well, the installation process is not similar to other MAC apps available. You don’t just need to drag and drop the app, rather Afloat requires SIMBL before you can put the same into action.

For using Afloat, you need to restart all the opened applications after installing it. The new menus will be added under Windows Menu of the application as sub menus. You will find options such as Keeping Afloat, Transparency, Turn Overlays Back to Normal, Adjust Effects, Show Window’s File in Finder etc.

Afloat is not programmed to work for Carbon apps such as iTunes and Finder. But, if you use Snow Leopard, chances are high that even for these apps, Afloat will work. Well, I’ll come back with a new article describing the advantages of Afloat soon. In the meantime, let me know what your initial thoughts are on Afloat.

How Can You Install and Use Windows 8 Desktop Themes?

April 15th, 2013 | Posted by Costea Lestoc in Content - (0 Comments)

I use Windows and thankfully, there is an active community of Windows users who customize almost everything about it, from the default apps to the desktop themes. Microsoft obviously doesn’t recommend this, but just like Windows 7, the desktop can be themed if you are using Windows 8 as well. In this article, the focus will not only be on changing the theme’s colors, but, I will try to show you how you can change the desktop theme in itself.

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The different desktop themes for Windows 8 include desktop backgrounds and icons which you can use if you wish. These don’t only change the desktop colors, but the look of the windows buttons can also be altered. You can even tweak appearances of different interface elements such as checkboxes, buttons, menus etc.

Out of the box, Windows 8 doesn’t support third party desktop themes, just like Windows 7. So, some system files need to be patched first. Well, this is not as tough as you may think, you just need to download a program called UltraUXThemePatcher and run the same. After the same finishes running, you need to reboot the system.

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Now, the third party themes should be downloaded. These files finish with .theme file extension. Now, locate this folder in your system: C:\Windows\Resources\Themes. You need to place the theme files inside this directory. If you have done it correctly, these will be appearing right in the standard theme window. Just right click on the desktop and select Personalize to see the installed themes. Double click on any of the themes (You will find these under the section Installed Themes) and the same will be applied to your desktop.

Remember, some themes include icons and system modifications. You need to install these separately and a read over the readme file of the specific theme will give you a better idea.

Android apps can help you with a lot of stuff. You can learn to do mathematics; you can start cooking through android apps as well. There is another thing for which you can take help of the android apps and that is to wake up early in the morning. Well, you must agree that lifestyles have changed a lot and almost all of us find it very hard to make it to the early morning appointments. To help you out, here are a couple of alarm clock apps that work on Android platform:

Gentle Alarm

Gentle Alarm

Alarm clock Android app list can never be complete without Gentle Alarm. You can customize it to make the most generic alarm clock ever or the most unique you can ever find as well. You can set regular alarms for normal weekdays, however, the feature list doesn’t end right here.

You can preset the time to let the alarm go off. You can control different aspects of the alarm sound as well, such as fade-in-duration and maximal volume. You can listen to voice commands too; it can read a message out load also. If you have the free version, remember that the app doesn’t ring on Wednesdays. The paid version costs $2.7.

UNIQLO Wake Up

UNIQLO Wake Up

This one changes with the weather. It’s pretty different look wise, from the other apps covered in this article. The pastel colors are pretty bright; there are sweet music and vocals available as well. I personally found the look to be appealing; however, I understand that it may not suit everyone.

This app is free and no advertisements are displayed either. However, features are kind of limited. You can set alarm on a recurring note, set the length of snooze and that’s pretty much it. Apart from being an alarm clock, it tells you which day it is and also about the weather.

Use GrooveMixer to Create Beats

April 11th, 2013 | Posted by Costea Lestoc in Smartphones - (0 Comments)

Music fan lovers obviously will like to hear music. However, some music enthusiasts like to make music themselves as well. I understand that everyone who loves music cannot have a talented voice to create beautiful pop songs; however, it’s only about having a creative mind to come up with rhythms and beats that are catchy. Well, if you seriously like to create various beats, there are numerous web applications to help you with mixing up the tracks and share those with your friends. However, an android based app has made your job even easier. Use GrooveMixer to create beats; you won’t really look for any other similar app.

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The app size is only 4.6 MB and you will be able to use the same, if you own an Android phone with version 2.3 or higher. Through the 8-channel step sequencer, the app lets the users to create rhythms and beats on real time basis.

Some of the basic features of GrooveMixer are:

Saving and loading all the groove beats.

You get a drum machine with 256 different patterns.

The user interface is friendly and easy to use.

The volume mixer comes with mono buttons.

You can load samples right from the SD Card of your phone.

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The song you come up with has no limitation, when it comes to length of the same.

You get 808 and 909 drumkits along with the app.

Beats per Minute or BPM is 60-400.

You can export the created beats to WAV files.

The app is free to use and the latest version available till date is 1.2.4. I liked the app as it’s very easy to use. You really won’t need to have great knowledge on musical instruments to create beats through the same and if you love music, you are bound to like this one, just like me.