Mobile Broadband is all about accessing internet on the go and all the time. WiFi is limited to only finding hotspots and at all other times you will not be able to access the internet. There are many other Wireless Internet options available like Wi-Max, satellite, etc but mobile broadband seems to be the best service nowadays for people constantly traveling across places.

There ia a larger problem with satellite broadband it is broadband only in the Internet to home direction and not for the home to Internet direction, you still will need a physical connection, usually this where a mobile solution pitches in best. Most folks I know use Mobile broadband through your cell, but the cost is very un-prohibitive, and I am sure it is very expensive at all places around the world. However, you may encounter roaming charges too when you leave your base network in most places and this charges are just over the roof.

The most important decision if you're using the internet that much is to choose a mobile broadband deal that has a big enough data option - you need to make sure you don't go over your data limit or you could be hit with big charges from the mobile network and when I say BIG it is simply HUGE.

Let's say that you're planning to use it for 15-20 hours a week, and that's mainly web and email (and not much youtube / downloading) then I would say that you're going to need atleast around 3GB per month(on the MAX side). Consider getting a larger data plan is absolutely safe. Most mobile networks currently have great deals where they don't charge overage - atleast after the iPhone launches.

There's loads of good deals around at the moment - try http://www.broadbandexpert.com for a list of all the networks offers and do mail me if you still have queries - I can surely try to help you as usual.

Many a times you may want to convert a document that you have in Adobe pdf format to a much simpler format like Word or RTF or plain text. Previously you had to install some software's on your machine and then run the converter and the software's used to be filled with Trojans and viruses. But, now you have a new breed of Online PDF to Word converters and here is the list of all the services:

Most of these online services allow you to upload the pdf file and then give your mail ID to which the converted word file will be mailed after the successful conversion.

The last website on the list has a different approach, it has a series of online wizard screens (6 of them) and you choose whether you need the images to be embedded or footer to be included , etc and finally you will need to mail the pdf with the settings to a specified mail Id.

My close friend has been taking online classes for quite sometime now - though in the initial days the number of websites or companies offering online coaching has just a few, but nowadays you have so much of a choice.

I like the fact that since the entire course is online its all self paced so one can really go as fast or slow as one wants to. My friend being a out-of-the-box thinker finds that the online course helps him to be a self motivated person and also to want to Finnish up the class ahead of time.

Some online courses have excellent support for MCSE, CCNA, k alliance, etc. Online courses are mainly designed for people like me who like me don't like sitting through lectures. I personally feel that I don't need to be spending all that time bored while other people waste my money with stupid questions and whining about this and that.

With Online Courses I get to spend more time at home with my friends and family that's always good!! There are also some cons. In Online courses if you don't get some concepts its nearly impossible to have someone explain to you what is going on. Also, testing for finals is also very hard. A lot of professors don't give you study guides or information on the final - they just go on and on about the concepts. It is always hard to know sometimes what to focus on. You can't negotiate whats going to be on the test and what will not appear.

My friend says that it's a lot more reading that you need to do in a online course and also you spend more time reading than you would in a traditional class. I would suggest for classes that you think you might be strong in to take it up as online courses. When it comes to classes that you think you might be weak in I would suggest you to goto your college and join a face to face course. Hope this gave you a good demystification.

A new version of Google Chrome is out - namely the 2.0.181.1 Beta. Chrome has been a browser that has a minimal design with sophisticated technology to make the web faster, safer, and easier. It has one box for everything: Type in the address bar and get suggestions for both search and web pages. Also it will give you thumbnails of your top sites; Access your favorite pages instantly with lightning speed from any new tab.

Though I personally see Chrome as a bare bones browser but it is quite good. Aside from being ugly, it does everything right. I also use FF3, IE8 and Opera 10. Although the other browsers have lots more bells and whistles they also have quirks. Chrome on the other hand has few if any bells and whistles, but is straight forward, faster and better at page rendering than either FF3 or Opera 10 and slightly better than IE8.

Go give it a try if you haven't yet done!!

Download : Google Chrome

Here is a complete essential Packing List of all the things that you need to carry before going on a trip or a Cheap Holiday. The list is segregated into different categories that I feel are needed, but based on your trip and the duration of days - you can easily judge for yourself.

First the very essential stuff that is needed :
  • Address list and list of important contact numbers of friends and family.
  • Backpack or a suitcase or even a sports bag (somewhere to pack all the stuff into)
  • Paper or Notebook
  • Passport and the requisite Visa stamps (check the validity of both always)
  • Pencils and Pens
  • Travel tickets and also the itinerary
  • Travel Insurance and also it's emergency contact numbers
  • Finances and the planning in place
  • ATM or a Credit card (again check for it's validity)
  • Calculator or currency converter
  • Money belt (You can't be too safe in some places)

Now coming to the next best thing - Clothes
  • Boots
  • Dresses
  • Jacket
  • Jeans
  • Jumper, sweater, shawl or fleece
  • Pyjamas/Sleepwear
  • Sandals
  • Shoes
  • Shorts
  • Sneakers
  • Socks
  • T-shirts
  • Under garments
Other Clothes related Accessories
  • A good hat or a cap
  • Cotton handkerchief
  • Tissues
  • Eye-mask
  • Gloves
  • Umbrella or a Raincoat
  • Safety pins
  • Scarf
  • Sewing kit
  • Sun glasses
  • Ties
And in the Toiletries section :
  • Anti-bacterial cream
  • Comb or brush
  • contraceptives
  • Contact lens equipment or glasses
  • Cotton buds
  • Dental floss (also at many times it serves as a great tool for fixing things!)
  • Deodorant
  • Earplugs
  • Fingernail clippers
  • Hair products (gel, spray etc.)
  • Lip balm
  • Make-up
  • Mirror
  • Moisturiser (face and body)
  • Nail file
  • Razors
  • Shampoo and conditioner
  • Shaving cream
  • Sleeping pills
  • Soap
  • Sunscreen and after sun cream
  • Talcum/baby powder - Useful against prickley heat, in shoes, on sticky zippers and more
  • Sanitary pads
  • Toothbrush, toothpaste
  • First Aid Kit
  • Band aids
  • Diarrhoea tablets
  • Insect and/or mosquito repellent
  • Medicines/prescription Drugs
  • Motion sickness tablets
  • Paracetemol, Tylenol etc.
  • Replacement/rehydration salts sachets
  • Small scissors
  • Vitamin pills
  • Water purifying tablets
More ideas on how you can stay Healthy on the Road :
  • Batteries
  • Books
  • Bottled water
  • Camera, film and batteries - Spare flash cards or memory for digital
  • Carbohydrate snacks
  • Chewing gum or mints - Especially if you are flying chewing something will help your ears
  • Combo or key locks
  • Compass
  • Cup
  • Diary or organiser
  • Duct tape - Fixes everything!
  • Electrical adapter and plug converter
  • Flashlight or torch - Don't forget the batteries
  • ball, pack of cards or other recreational items
  • Gifts are always appreciated while travelling
  • Guidebooks
  • Inflatable travel pillow
  • International driving license - If driving overseas, have your driving license translated
  • iPod, MP3 player, Discman etc. - Including music and batteries
  • Laptop - Especially for the business travellers
  • Laundry detergent
  • Maps (incl. small map of the world to show where you are from)
  • Mini camera tripod - Big is better if you have the space!
  • Mobile phone or SIM card
  • Mosquito net
  • Passport photos
  • Phone card - Both for local and international calls
  • Photocopies of important documents in case they are stolen
  • Phrase books or dictionaries
  • Plastic bags
  • Recharger for electrical items - Save some money on batteries
  • Sleeping bag
  • Sleeping mat
  • Swiss Army knife or Leatherman tool - Don't keep in your carry on as it will be removed
  • Toilet paper
  • Towels, beach and otherwise - the quick drying versions are very handy!
  • Travel alarm clock
  • Walkman speakers
  • Watch
  • Wet wipes/Baby wipes - Handy for cleaning hands or washing yourself in absense of a shower
  • Ziplock bags - The freezer ones are usually the best
So, that's all that I could recollect on - Do let me know if I have missed on anything.

Office 2010 will be the next major release of Microsoft Office after the current Office 2007 and I just got access to some leaked screenshots of the new office environment!! Here it is for all of you to have a look at it too.

There are some very cool features and also as it loads up - it tells us what it is loading, something like you have been having for ages on Photoshop.



There is a new option now to recolour the images you want to right from inside Word!!


There is even a much more cooler option to take screenshots from inside Word!! guess Microsoft will give SnagIt a run for money now.

Generally many people wear their eyeglasses at all times. But its very important to know how to take good care of our eyeglasses. Eyeglasses care is a continuous process, but making it part of your usual routine can save you money rather than purchasing a new pair of eyeglasses.

Regularly clean your eyeglasses with a micro fiber cloth which are specially made for eyeglasses. Keep the cloth in a separate box to protect it from dust after use. Whenever the cloth is not at hand use an alternate soft cloth rather than any paper towels or tissue papers.

Make sure the arms of your frames are always tight by using a tiny screw driver to tighten the screw connecting the arm to the front of your glasses. This would prevent your glasses from slipping and also your lenses from falling out of the frames.

If you are looking for wide variety of eye glasses which are of very high quality, the best option is High-indexed Prescription Eyeglasses On Sale which are available at affordable price.

Always place your eyeglasses in a safe hard case when not in use. Also, clean your lenses using soap and warm water regularly.

It is always better to opt for the weaker prescription rather than strong as it helps to improve your vision gradually.

Lets again summarise what we’ve done during the last months…

Creating extreme designs using personas and requirements
We focused on the concepts and requirements which we thought would be most useful and used those to brainstorm and think of ‘extreme’ designs.
This means we were using these extreme ideas to turn them into metaphors which were much easier to use during the design.
E.g. The metaphore or extreme idea of ‘ballroom dancing’ explained the idea that people sometimes spend time together during a project (so dancing together for a while), after a while they split up and work with someone else (splitting up during a dance and start dancing with someone else in the ballroom).


Extreme ideas turned into metaphors and clustered in groups which seemed to have commonalities











User testing session 1 using paper prototypes
At the end of the research phase we ended up with 3 personas. For each of those personas we created a set of frames (representing the pages within a system) so we ended up with 3 main concepts.
These frames are paper prototypes. This makes sure people will give us more honest feedback (and won’t say things like ‘Hmm, I don’t like the colour of that button’ because they’ll see it’s drawn and not finished at all). We wouldn't be focusing on that kind of detailed feedback yet anyway.
We recruited a set of people again, representing all the different people within the university (subject, age, role, etc). Whilst showing them the paper prototypes during this user testing session, we also used a set of questions so we were sure we kept focus on the right things. The location was in a usability lab, having a one-way mirror where the observers took notes on the other side of the mirror. This feedback would than be used to refine the concept.

Green concept: focusing on Isobel who’s really sociable, and outgoing. Therefore the frames of this concept focus on the extreme idea of ‘events-going out’ as this is very important to Isobel.


Green concept paper prototypes
- homepage -












Blue concept: Focusing on Peter who sometimes feels a bit lost. He doesn’t always know what to do first because he’s not always talking to the right people either. Therefore the frames of this concept show the idea of the ‘boardgame’: representing a set of steps you need to fulfil in order to reach your goal.
E.g. In order to fulfil this course, you need to go to this talk, finish this paper etc.


Blue concept paper prototypes
- homepage-












Red concept: Focusing on Kate who’s senior and just wants to save time in any possible way. This set of frames shows the extreme idea of ‘the switchboard’ which makes is possible for Kate just to see the things she’s interested in, not overwhelming her with things which just waste her time.


Red concept paper prototypes
- homepage-














Refine concept using feedback from user testing session 1
We did some brainstorming and used all the feedback from user testing session 1 to merge all the screens and thoughts from the first set of screens into 1 set of screens, representing all the refinements and usable ideas.


Example of a page which got all the feedback merged together

















Oszkar redesigning

















User testing session 2 using clickable wireframes
This phase was very similar to the first user testing session, which means it was again in the same usability room, with an observer who noted down the feedback. The difference this time was that we used clickable wireframes instead of paper prototypes. This was 1 set of frames instead of 3 because these were merged together. Further, we used again a questionnaire which guided us through the set of tasks.


clickable wire frames
- homepage -












Refine concept using feedback from user testing session 2
We used the feedback to again refine the last version of the frames.














Documents
In the text above, you can find the documents we used during the design phase which might give you a better understanding of the information above.
In case you missed out on them, you can also find them below.

User testing session 1 using paper prototypes
> General information about the concepts - This gives a general description what's meant with each of the concepts
> Green concept - This is the full set of paper prototype frames used within this concept - mainly focusing on Isobel
> Blue concept - This is the full set of paper prototype frames used within this concept - mainly focusing on Peter
> Red concept - This is the full set of paper prototype frames used within this concept - mainly focusing on Kate
> User testing guide during session 1 - This is the set of questions which we used as a guidance during the user testing session.

User testing session 2 using clickable wire frames
> Clickable wire frames - This is the full set of wire frames used within this merged concept and which we also showed to participants during user testing session 2- it contains all the merged feedback and refinements we got from user testing session 1
> User testing guide during session 2 - This is the set of questions which we used as a guidance during the user testing session.
> Sitemap - This is a visualisation of all the different main pages within the system. A sitemap helps you during designing as wel as to focus on the right tasks during the user testing session.

Refine concept using feedback from user testing session 2
> Final wire frames - This is the full set of wire frames which were the result of the feedback we got from user testing session 2

| edit post
Looks like the Google Engineering Team has finally sensed a clear and present danger from a least expected quarter. Since, Google Search is not real time and the indexing is based on the frequency of when the Google Bot has visited and indexed a particular website. Many folks who want to find instant news head over to another service called Twitter - yes you heard me right Twitter is where people are searching to get the latest updates.

Though the authenticity of the news on Twitter may not match that on other reliable news websites that Google links to, but the first hand report as sensed by people can be easily obtained on Twitter. Currently you have a who's who on Twitter ranging from professional organizations like Nasa (the recent Hubble Repair was tweeted), White House, and even the recent epidemic like Swine Flu was tweeted first hand across the globe.

Now coming to the changes made by Google is the new link that you get called "Show options...".


On clicking "Show options..." you get the new options to narrow down on your search - and lo, you have a new options there called "Recent results" and also "Past 24 hours" which is clearly going in the path of true instant search.

Way to go Google - we hope to see more such innovations!!

Did you know that you can easily save and edit your Word or Excel or PowerPoint files to PDF or XPS (the new pdf format used by Microsoft) format. All you need to do is download a small software patch from the Microsoft Website which allows you to easily save any Office 2007 document in PDF format.

Once you install the small patch, you will start getting a new option in the SAVE to save it in PDF or XPS format. This is particularly useful for officials who would like to circulate an important document or a circular among colleagues, but would not like the colleagues to edit or modify the contents.

I was using a few free PDF printer but that just had too many limitations, like the outputted PDF file was non searchable by any search engine (or desktop search) as the contents were encrypted and also, the PDF files generated cannot be edited later using Adobe Acrobat Professional.

Do, give this cool plug-in a try and it'll be useful for you sometime or the other.

Many a times you may want to view the profile of a person on Facebook but since the person hasn't added you as a friend you will not be able to view the complete FaceBook profile. You have help at hand, though this could be mis-used by others, I hope my blog readers will not mis-use this FaceBook Private Profile Viewer.

Here are the list of websites from which you can easily view the complete profile of any FaceBook user if you happen to know the Profile Id of that person. Tip: You can easily find the FaceBook Profile Id of any person when you are trying to add a person as a friend, check the link of the person's picture and you will get to know the FaceBook Profile Id.

  • http://www.facebookspy.org
  • http://freeprivateprofileviewer.com/?v=fb
  • http://www.easyprivateprofileviewer.com
P.S: I have not enabled the link for these websites, since most of them seem to be SPAMMY - so please be carfeul when you visit the above links. DONOT enter your e-mail address or any personal information on any of the pages.

Most of you have become fans of ZooZoo - the non-animated character created by O&M for the latest batch of Vodafone Ads. The last time I had written an article on "Vodafone ZooZoo Cartoon Ads: Are they real humans?" there was a lot of response from our readers, many of them were pretty shocked and surprised to know that ZooZoo's were not cartoons or animated stuff.

Here are some very exclusive images of the making of ZooZoo's from behind the scenes.

Do you call this a ZooZoo on a hospital bed?and here's someone checking if the ZooZoo has really run out of power.
Who's taking rest? humans / ZooZoo's?
hey.. where are ur head gear?
what's the director checking on?
Is the photo-copier working really?
That's a close ZooZoo hug

Oopsie 1 gone - 3 left

The actual costume
The head gear...
Now the hospital bed has got work!!

Different moods need different moustahes and smiles
ZooZoo.. errrr humans taking rest
The set...
is the car running? or are they lost?
I can see a face inside Mr. Croc...

You may also be interested to read this too Complete List of ZooZoo Wallpapers and Free Screensaver and Vodafone ZooZoo Cartoon Ads: Are they real humans?

If you happen to be a frequent traveler and love to travel the countryside by road to remote places - there is a high possibility that you may face problems in procuring clean drinking water in such areas. At most places bottled water is either not available or is of some unknown brand that you cannot trust. So what do you do in such cases?

I would suggest Portable Water Filter Straw which is a purifier and not just a filter with a straw as many of us think of it as. It has a lot of advantages that can be of great help like light weight, small in size and very easy to carry / portable. It has a microfiltration capillary membrane with a filtration size of 0.2 microns so, the water molecules being smaller in size pass through - while the bacteria get caught. This process is a much better form of filtration and is a lot cleaner when compared to drinking bottled water of unknown brands in such markets. The biggest advantage is efficiency of the filter and effectiveness of the straw.

Most of them are medically tested , reusable , have no chemicals and are very environment friendly. Above all it is cheaper than bottled water . These pocket sized filters are the best travel decisions ever you can make.

I just found some time today to post an easy step by step guide to enable you to install the newly released Windows 7 Release Candidate 1 (Win7RC1) NOT directly into your computer since it is a Release Candidate(not a final version) and also, it will expire on June 1, 2010. So the best alternative to test the new Windows 7 RC1 is to install it as a Virtual machine on Virtual PC in your existing Windows XP or Vista.

You will need to download the following stuff to get started.
Step 1 : Install Microsoft Windows Virtual PC 2007 and run it.

Step 2 : From the Virtual PC console start the "New Virtual Machine" Wizard.


Step 3 : Now select the first option to "Create a virtual machine".


Step 4 : Since we will be installing Windows 7 RC1 (which is the latest kid on the block from Microsoft), so you won't see it figuring in the drop down to select an Operating System. So, go ahead and select "Others".



Step 5 : You will now need to adjust the amount of RAM that can be used by the new Win7RC1. Please ensure that you enter 1024 MB or higher. 1024MB == 1GB of RAM.


Step 6 : The next step select a path on your computer hard-disk where the VMC file can be stored. VMC file stores all the configurations that you have set for the Virtual Machine like RAM, etc.


Step 7 : Select the option to use a New Virtual Disk.


Step 8 : Select the location of the new Virtual Harddisk - This can grow upto 20GB in size, so choose a drive that has the required amount of space.

Step 9 : Hit finish and you are done with the configurations.


Step 10 : Now head back to the Virtual PC console or the tray icon(next to system clock) and select the newly created virtual machine and hit Start.



Step 11 : While the Vitrual machine starts up.


Step 12 : Goto the top menu and select CD > Capture ISO Image


Step 13 : Now browse to the location in your hard disk where the ISO images of Windows 7 RC 1 is stored.

Step 14 : Now the installation Windows 7 RC 1 begins.



Step 15 : The first few screens of the installation will be simple and be self-explanatory. When the installation asks for the type of installation - remember to select “Custom (advanced)” since we are not upgrading from a prior version of Windows and installing afresh.




Step 16 : That's it, you are now ready to go. Whenever you want to take the new Windows 7 for a spin - start your Virtual PC and go ahead and experiment it.

Below are some screens for you to have a sneak peak into the new and improved world of Windows 7.



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