Google’s Global Online Science Fair

Google is hosting the first global online science fair inviting children ages 12 through 18 from all over the world to enter their projects. Students will have the chance to win prizes, trips and scholarships. All they need is a Google account AND an interesting project that is relevant to the world today. Participants must submit their project by April 4, 2011.

All science fair projects will be judged by a panel of teachers who will select 60 semifinalists who’s projects will be posted online to compete for the “People’s Choice Award” voted on by the public. The 15 global finalists will be chosen from this round of competition, and they will be headed to Google HQ in California for a Science Fair event. At the Science Fair event in California, participants will present their projects for a panel of acclaimed scientists. One finalist will be chosen from each age group, 13-14, 15-16, 17-18 and one of the three winners will be chosen as the Grand Prize Winner.

Google will present the Grand Prize winner and their parent or guardian with a 10 day trip with National Geographic Expeditions to the Galapagos Islands, a $50,000 scholarship (split equally between team members if applicable), and an opportunity to participate in a once in a lifetime experience at CERN, Google, LEGO or Scientific American.

Google’s Science Fair project submission site makes it easy for entrants to setup their project website easily. The site has 10 sections to customize; Summary, About Me, The Question, Hypothesis, Research, Experiment, Data, Observations, Conclusions, and Works Cited. Google also provides many tutorials, samples and other resources to help participants make the most out of their entry.

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The Carphone Warehouse Eyeopeners

The breathtaking Samsung Wave will sweep you away into a sea of apps and features. With the world’s first super AMOLED touch screen and a super-fast 1GHz processor; Wave was made for pure media playback, brilliant web browsing and effortless multitasking. The first handset to have Samsung’s new Bada operating system and social hub, Wave is also the first mobile with Bluetooth 3.0 connectivity. The Carphone Warehouse Eyeopeners

This breathtakingly beautiful handset is the first smartphone to have a super AMOLED high definition display – a curved, tempered glass screen enhanced by mDNIe (mobile Digital Natural Image engine) technology for a free viewing angle even in direct sunlight.

Tap the crystal-clear screen to dive into a sea of possibilities; Wave is the first handset to run the exciting new Samsung Bada operating system and the fun, simple TouchWiz 3.0 interface. There’s plenty of room for all your favourite applications on Wave’s scrolling 10 page home screen and the 1GHz processor ensures that everything runs smoothly.

TouchWiz 3.0 and Bada bring a whole host of enhancements and innovations, including a handy notifications bar for quick access to connectivity settings, a quick panel for favourite features and an integrated phonebook that syncs with Facebook™ and Twitter™.

Samsung Wave has a generous 2GB of Onboard Memory; more than enough to store your app collection. You can also enhance its memory with a microSD card up to 32GB, and turn this state-of-the-art smartphone into your own personal entertainment centre.

Enjoy your multimedia more with Wave’s HD music and video player, which supports seamless video streaming and 720p HD video decoding! Virtual 5.1 surround sound transforms your mobile into an advanced entertainment centre and there’s an integrated FM radio with broadcast recording to keep you in tune with the newest hits.

From a 5 Megapixel camera and HD video recorder to Assisted GPS navigation, Samsung Wave has every advanced mobile feature you could need to enjoy your day-to-day.

Strategy For Choosing Among Laptop Computer Bags


An increasing amount of families in this day and age depend upon computer
systems and an ever-increasing group of people who use computers are opting
to get laptops so they can carry their computers with them wherever they
need to go. Should they do a lot of transporting of their laptop, they will
need an excellent computer bag to guard it. Today there are a multitude of
styles and brands of laptop bags and cases that people could decide among,
on the other hand many times the decision can be tricky simply because
there are so many options.

But unless you basically dash out and get one, and stick to a step by step
plan instead, you can be sure to get exactly what you want and will need
out of your new laptop bag. When you recognize your needs and priorities
really it is merely a matter of getting rid of likely candidates right
until you reach the rational purchase decision.

Firstly, think about the type of design that you want for your laptop tote.
There are lots of choices, although personal design and style will
influence which one you finally choose. There are numerous really
sophisticated and cool laptop computer bags, along with the plain vanilla
bags that are purely made to be practical. You ought to choose the model
that demonstrates your look.

YSL Laptop Bag

YSL Laptop Bag

The following task is usually to think about what material would be well
suited for your laptop carrying bag. This also goes also with your budget
and how much you intend to invest. A hefty leather-based bag will usually
be much more expensive than its lighter counterparts created from fabrics
such as nylon or canvas.

The next matter to think about is what size carrying bag would work for
your computer. That is pretty simple as you want to make sure that you get
a laptop bag that is correctly sized for your computer. If the laptop is in
the 17 in . size, it is best to concentrate your search to bags created for
the size and style particularly. Should your pc have a smaller screen, for
instance a twelve inch, you should be cautious not to get too large a bag,
as it won’t hold your machine steadily in place.

Supplemental compartments of the laptop case should be the following thing
to consider. Will you need to carry documents and ringbinders fairly often?
Well then you need a bag with a distinct location just for that. Typical
gadgets that are almost always traveling with you also are important. Then
you should be confident you have got adequate pockets and compartments to
allow for everything you need.

If you keep these essential considerations in mind, you should be able to
seek for a simple or elegant laptop bag that is just made for you. You can
find laptop bags and cases online or from “brick and mortar” retailers in
your area. No longer is it necessary to visit a computer store to obtain
these specialised cases. Most big department shops and even several
nationwide discount chain stores can have a wide selection in many
different prices to fit just about any budget.

Upgrading from Windows XP to Windows 7

windows-7Regrettably, unlike Vista, Windows XP does not use Windows Experience Index, so it is considerably harder to judge whether your current Windows XP machine can meet Windows 7 requirements and run at anything more than a snail’s pace.  Generally, you can use Windows 7 on nearly any machines made in the past four years – although there could be trouble in finding the right drivers. This statement may sound innocuous, but finding the right driver can present some real headaches.  For example, in a laptop with a webcam, you may still run Windows 7 smoothly although there could be no way to make your webcam work. While, in a desktop with an old sound card, you may find that your sound card doesn’t work at all in Windows 7.

If you are not sure about the availability of Windows 7 drivers- especially for an obscure hardware built-in to your machine – you may want to visit the manufacturer’s internet site and search for an updated driver. In rare cases, if the manufacturer released a driver for Vista, it could work in Windows 7.

Before you take the Windows 7 plunge and proceed to install Windows 7 on a Windows XP machine, keep these facts in mind:

  • Generally, just because you can install Windows 7, it does not mean that you should continue using it. For example, Windows 7 will run at snail’s pace with an old Pentium III 1 GHz and 512 Mb of SDRAM memory.
  • Your motherboard must support DVD booting. If you have a really old motherboard that doesn’t even support a DVD drive, get an external DVD drive, however, there is a possibility that you can’t boot from it.
  • If you seek the pretty Glass effects, you must have a graphic card that can handle the strain. If your graphic card has 128 Mb or more of dedicated VRAM (not shared memory – you need to look at the specifications for your card), maybe it can handle Glass. Affordable graphic cards at $55 like ATI Radeon HD 4650 and GeForce 9500GT should be able to handle Glass just fine.

Many netbooks come with preinstalled Windows XP Home due to its low hardware requirements, and maybe you want to know if you can install Windows 7 Home Premium to yours. (Windows 7 Starter, the edition that ships with recent netbooks – only comes preinstalled and not available in store). The quick answer is: it depends.

For a netbook with 1 Gb RAM and about 50 Gb of hard disk space, you may be able to get away with upgrading and you need to do a clean install. If you use Linux, search at Google to know whether your particular Linux distro can use dual boot and coexist peacefully with Windows 7. Each time you start the netbook, you can decide whether to choose the Big Seven or that funny penguin.

Linux and Mac users may not be impressed with Glass interface and Windows 7 may not be as snappy as a lightweight Linux distro. But at least, it acts, looks and sounds like the good ol’ Windows.

Tech Days – Mike Ormond – Visual Studio

Visual Studio 2010 Documentary 4

Visual Studio Documentary 2010 3

Ten Ways To Better Netbook Battery Life

netbookNetbook computers have taken the world by storm, but not all netbooks are equal. While the overwhelming majority of models seem to use the 1.6GHz Intel Atom N270 processor, there are different storage configurations, screen sizes and, most importantly, battery capacities that mean getting a decent runtime while you’re on the go is not a given. However, there are a number of ways to improve battery life.
Your netbook’s battery has a certain capacity measured in milliamp hours (mAh). That means it can deliver a certain amount of currentAdd nenetbook, battery, life, better, increase, extend, how to, diy, brightness, ma, milliamp, usage, time, short, longer, cuts  Add nenetbook, battery, life, better, increase, extend, how to, diy, brightness, ma, milliamp, usage, time, short, longer, cuts (measured in milliamps, or mA) for a certain amount of time. The more current you use, the faster you drain the battery and the less time it can deliver the current.
Putting it really simply, think of your netbook’s battery as though it were a full bucket of water. You can allow the water to trickle out over a long time or you can up-end the bucket and get a big flow for a very short time. The bucket has a fixed capacity – how we use it determines how long that capacity lasts. What we wasn’t to do is get the flow of current from the battery down to a tiny trickle. So I’ve come up with 10 ways you can ensure your netbook (or any notebook for that matter) runs for as long as possible on whatever battery size you’ve got.

1.    Drop the screen brightness.

If you’re running any full version Linux operating system, you can actually see just how much power your netbook is using.
Open up Terminal (think Window’s Command Prompt) and type: cat/proc/acpi/battery/BAT1/state. The current drain will be shown alongside the ‘Present rate’ indicator. That number tells you the total current being drawn from the battery.
If you vary the screen brightness and do a ‘before’ and ‘after’ test with that cat command above, you’ll see that the power consumption on the MSI Wind U100 netbook varies by as much as 25%. The Wind U100’s battery current drain dropped from 1,181mA to just 944mA going from full brightness to the minimum brightness level, which is still easily bright enough to see.
In my testing, the LCD backlight is the single most power-hungry feature on a netbook that you have direct control over. Therefore the basic rule here is to drop the brightness and you could get ad much as and extra hour’s battery life.

2.    Turn off Wi-Fi

If you’re not connected to a Wi-Fi network, there’s not much point in having your Wi-Fi connection switched on. Turning off the 802.11n Wi-Fi option inside the Wind U100 dropped the current from around 950mA to approximately 870mA, or roughly 8-9%. That’s not as dramatic an improvement as dropping the screen brightness, but it’s significant nonetheless and it all adds up.
As with all of these power-saving options, the actual power saved will vary between different netbook models, but I guarantee that switching off the wireless networking will gain you at least some extra battery life.

3.    Turn off Bluetooth

Bluetooth is another power drain on your netbook, although it’s not as big a drain on the battery as Wi-Fi. The power saving here amounts to around 20-30mA of current saved – not huge, but that’s still about 2-3% and every little bit helps. Bluetooth is normally used for low-powered peripheral devices and some telephony work, but like Wi-Fi, if you’re not using it there’s no real reason to have it powered up.

4.    Use aggressive power management

Setting the operating system’s power management aggressively – that means setting it to maximum battery life – will also ensure you get better battery life because it will use the netbook’s power management features to reduce consumption. Basically, if it’s not being used it’ll be shut down. Even if it’s only shut down momentarily, it’s all power saved and any power saved will result in longer battery life.

5.    Disconnect any USB flash drives

USB flash drives are known for their ability to store data without the need for power, but if you’ve got one plugged into a USB port on your netbook it will be drawing some power. On my calculations, it’s typically only small – a 4GB Corsair Voyager adds around 10-20mA at idle, but it can be as high as 150mA when it’s transferring data or being accessed. That’s a huge amount, so do as little data transfer as you can while on battery power, and preferably don’t use and USB flash drives at all.

6.    Switch off any compositing effects

If you’re running a full Linux OS with the compositing feature switched on, switch it off to get better battery life. Fancy 3D effects on the desktop look great, but they require extra processing horsepower to create and that loads down the battery. The same thing goes for Vista – if you’re running Windows Vista and you have Aero switched on, turning it off will give your battery a tiny nit of extra breathing space because the integrated graphics chip won’t have to work so hard.

7.    Set the hard drive and screen power-down times low

You don’t want to be turning off your netbook every 2 minutes because you have to leave it momentarily, but there’s no point burning up battery power if it’s not doing anything. Set the screen and hard drive power-down times relatively low to ensure that if you do need to leave you netbook running, they’re not wasting power keeping things lit up or spinning for no reason. The only caveat here is that regularly spinning up and down the hard drive motor isn’t a great thing to do in the long term, as it places extra wear on the motor itself. But in short bursts, it shouldn’t do too much harm.

8.    Turn off any background applets

Background applications are great for adding little bits of extra usefulness, but they’re a luxury you can’t really afford if you want the maximum battery life you can get. Things like antivirus programs, system monitors and other bits and pieces all require CPU time and the more the processor is loaded up, the more power it consumes.
Switching off your antivirus normally isn’t a great thing to do, but if you’re not connected to the internet, you’re not accessing files from external sources and the antivirus has already done a sweep of your netbook’s hard drive and found nothing untoward, switching it off for a small period while you’re working on battery power shouldn’t do your netbook any harm. Of course, as soon as you hit the internet or get back to AC mains power, switch it back on again.

9.    Disable the audio and flash card reader

This sounds like we’re getting a bit desperate for things to turn off, but in the end, it’s pretty simple – anything that consumes power is going to reduce your netbook’s battery life, so if you can turn it off, the battery will last longer. By disabling the audio, you should be able to reduce the power consumption because the device won’t be used. The same thing goes for the flash card reader.

10.    Turn off the webcam

I have to admit that if I were designing a netbook, I probably wouldn’t include a webcam. One thing the webcam will do is drain the battery like no-one’s business. The MSI Wind U100 pulls as much as 150mA of current, which is a hefty load, especially if your netbook happens to only have a small three-cell battery. Turning this off as well will help the battery to no end.
So there are my 10 tips. The two most effective are making sure the webcam is off and that the screen brightness is at its lowest level. That’s how I use my netbook and it’s still easily visible in normal room lighting. These tips will definitely make a difference to overall battery life, regardless of whether you’ve got a three, six or even a big nine-cell battery inside.
Just remember the golden rules when it comes to battery life: the less you use, the longer it will last.

5 features that make Windows 7 Phone an important competitor


The Windows Mobile 6.5 OS is a big disappointment for all the phone owners. A lot of otherwise great phones are made very slow, buggy and unresponsive by this old and ineffective operating system. It does not support a lot of good features like capacitive screens, multi-touch, touch typing and gestures either, as it was developed with the stylus in mind (and the funny thing is most newer WinMo 6.5 phones aren’t shipped with one in the package).

Microsoft has stated that their newest operating system for mobile devices, called Windows 7 Phone will be completely redesigned and built from scratch, but no one believed them, because we all know that big corporations make promises they can’t deliver, especially Microsoft and especially with their recent history of trying to replace the good Windows XP with the new, but slower and buggier Windows Vista.

Everybody expected that the same thing will happen to Windows 7 Phone. Add to that the fact that its release was delayed one too many times, and you think you’ve got a formula for disaster. But then, Microsoft released Windows 7 for the desktop and everybody started paying attention to them again. Windows 7 was what Vista was supposed to be: faster, lighter and packed with a lot of advanced features, worthy to be a successor to the aging Windows XP. Big and small businesses alike have accepted it and started switching, something they never did with Vista.

People started wondering if Windows 7 Phone will be like that, fast innovative and having support for a lot of great new features. Everybody’s interest rose, and when Microsoft finally announced and presented the new Windows OS for mobile devices everyone had no doubt that it really was one of the most innovative mobile OS to be released in years.

So, what is it about it that makes it great and a good OS for Microsoft to make their come back to the mobile operating systems market? Let’s see:

Hubs. Hubs are an important part of Windows 7 Phone, and they are essential in defining the OS itself. With these hubs, you can have every piece of content from a particular category in a single place, where it is easily accessible. To give you an example, there can be a hub for all of the music you bough on the marketplace AND have stored on your phone’s local memory as the Zune application. In Windows 7 Phone you are able to have all of your music in one central location plus access it from various 3rd party apps, whichever is more convenient for you. Hubs aren’t limited to music or entertainment, either. You could, for example, have every Excel, Word, PDF and other type of file that you typically associate with an office in a business hub. This can make it extremely easy to categorize your data and search through it.

Tiles. This is a very nice feature from Microsoft; tiles are a great substitute for your usual icons for applications. You might think, “So what, they just replaced those small icons with bigger ones?”. Nope, one of the best things about them is that they’re interactive and always present information about what’s going on inside the app, of that makes sense to you. For example, these tiles can show you that you have a new SMS or email, that someone has just logged into their Skype account, and other useful information, presented all in one place, on the same screen or hub. Yes, it’s basically a replacement for Push notification, which Windows 7 Phone still supports (just like Android and iPhone do), but it’s much more elegant and professional looking.

Apps. For any OS, whether it’s desktop or mobile oriented, applications and extensions created by third parties are ultimately what decide its fate. If there very few or no applications, users will not buy the operating system, no matter how good it is, because ultimately they can’t do anything valuable with it. The applications they demoed at the Windows 7 Phone launch event were all very good. They had style, were functional, and had no extra stuff that only gets in the user’s way. A lot of big software companies and developers said that they will release and support applications for Windows 7 Phone, which is a great step towards making sure that the users will have all of the application they need. The soon to be launched Marketplace has been designed with a “Try before you buy” model. This means users will get the full version of an app, test and play with it, then buy or delete it, depending on whether they liked it or not. This may seem like a bad model for some, but it is a very good choice for businesses and consumers that want a clear-defined business model on the marketplace.

Games. Developers have shown us something truly interesting in this area: a Xbox game that also ran on a Windows 7 desktop PC AND a Windows 7 Phone-powered device. Yep, all of your games can now be cross-platform compatible so you can play them anytime, anywhere, and also connect, record your stats and play with others on Live! This is exactly what Sony wanted to do using their Play Station Portable and Play Station 3 consoles. They sort of failed, but Microsoft’s developers say that they’ll be successful, and every avid gamer can only benefit from that.

Mesh. This is one of Microsoft’s (and many other companies’) plans to connect all of your hardware and information into one “data cloud” that could be accessed and used from any of those devices, whether it’s your notebook, MID, desktop PC, or phone. Of course, all of these services – Music, Email, Games, Movies, Maps, Search – all of them are provided to you by Microsoft. Exactly what Google wants to do with their Web Apps Suite (Search, Docs, Voice, Calendar, etc.). But Microsoft could actually succeed in this before the others using Windows 7 Phone as the missing link.

Microsoft certainly has been on a roll releasing one successful product after another for the past two years. Windows 7 Phone is worthy of continuing this movement. We can only hope that they continue coming up with good stuff in the future. Right now, everyone can say with ease that Windows 7 Phone will be a very serious competitor in the mobile operating systems industry, right up there with the iPhone and Android OS’es.