Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Download and play Youtube 3D videos offline

Thanks to James Cameron’s Avatar, 3D is all the rage currently. Everyone wants their share of 3D. Companies are launching 3D TVs, cameras, laptops, monitors and what not. But the availability of 3D glasses remains an issue. However, if you are one of those lucky few who have got a pair of 3D glasses, you would definitely want to see a few 3D videos.
To make things easier, Youtube started supporting 3D videos sometime back. It mixes two video streams on the fly while playing it in your browser. You can set it to display it in a 3D format which corresponds to the type of glasses you own (red/cyan, green/magenta etc.). However, there is a section of us who just don’t like to play a video in the browser. We like to download it. Before you tell me, yes there are a lot of tutorials on downloading Youtube videos, but this article is not about that.
3D videos can be downloaded in the same way that a regular video can be. But the problem lies in playing it. Normal players currently do not support 3D videos. So you will see the 2 streams playing side by side or above and below. When I faced this problem and started to look for a way to play these 3D videos, I found no solution anywhere. It took me sometime to figure out. So I thought why not write about it.
The solution is fairly easy. You need stereoscopic player to play these files. After you install stereoscopic player, open the downloaded video from file>open file… Select side by side or over/under as per the video (you can check this by playing it in a normal player like VLC). Generally the left image will be first or it will be on top. However, in case you don’t get the correct 3D effect, try swapping the left right streams by pressing the swap left/Right button on the tool bar.
You can also use stereoscopic player to play movies which have two separate streams for the left & right eye. For this click file>open Left and Right File and open the corresponding streams simultaneously.

Download stereoscopic player

Sunday, May 23, 2010

India moves on to 3G

It was in 2007 that I first read that 3G spectrum would be auctioned and defence would vacate spectrum which is required for 3G services. It was at that time itself that I read BSNL was setting up an alternative optic fiber network for the defence department. Since then the auctions have been postponed so many times that people have lost count. The alternative network is not yet ready but is expected to be ready as work has commenced. The auction finally commenced when somebody suggested that India could directly move on to 4G as it was too late for 3G to start.
Unfortunately the auctions didn't go as people had expected it to. The bidding was fierce and prices went through the roof. What happens next?
with low call rates and a huge number of people who never have more than Rs. 2 in their prepaid account, telecom companies (telcos from now on) are already looking forward to reduced profitability. no company currently has enough cash to pay the spectrum auction charges. as a result they'll have to raise debt which might further reduce profitability.
More than the reduced profitability, it is the future services that I'm thinking of. With the prices that they are paying, it is unlikely that 3G services will be affordable. As a tech magazine editor had written, "if 3G data charges are at par with 2G data charges, the whole purpose of 3G is defeated."
I am thinking of those things. If tomorrow the telcos decide to charge Rs. 3-5 per MB for data transfer, it is unlikely that even the biggest enthusiast will use it for anything more than facebook & Twitter. This is already possible and we can do it very well on EDGE enabled handsets. so basically we are looking forward to a 3G service which won't be anything more than a showpiece technology which people will drool about. Unfortunately, some analysts say that if things go this way, we could be looking towards a situation where telcos would soon be seeking government help & bailout packages.
The telecom revolution that India has seen in the first decade, is likely to backfire in the second decade. we could see increasing tariffs, bankrupt companies and unusable technology. cheap broadband still remains a dream in India, it is unlikely to change with 3G. High data charges coupled with clogging bandwidth could see another unfulfilled dream for the country, broadband penetration in rural areas remains unlikely in the near future even after 3G service are launched.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Use opera mini with DoCoMo connection

While we constantly keep coming across articles in newspapers & on the web that mobile Internet is going to be the next big thing and its getting the youngsters hooked up and all that stuff, the truth remains that most of us don't even know that how much opera mini can save us in terms of bandwidth & hence money. Even those of us who know are not able to use it because we don't get the correct settings. The customer care people are also help less(!).
Recently, after TATA DoCoMo launched its services in Kolkata, a few people asked me how to use opera mini or any other application with it. Turns out that their dive-in doesn't support using external applications. So I set out looking for the solution. I found out that they have a different access point for that. To activate real GPRS so that you can use opera mini or other such applications, go to write message & write INTERNET and send it to 52270 for Kolkata. I guess it is the same for the whole country. You will receive settings with TATA DOCOMO INTERNET as the access point. set this as the default.
For Airtel users send LIVE as an SMS to 52567 and save the settings that you will receive.
Footnote: Opera mini compresses data on its servers and then sends the data to your phone. Thus using Opera Mini saves you a lot of bandwidth. download it from

Friday, January 22, 2010

Keep your PC free from Virus

OK, you have hundreds of tips out there on the internet, but every blog has a right to have one of its own!
Computer security is a very vital thing. Why? Here are a few reasons:
•   Every time you lend your pen drive, your friend curses you for giving him viruses.
•   Every time you really need your PC, it’s down with flu!
•   Just when you thought bacteria were not that harmful after all, you learn that virus can be more lethal than the last time.
OK, enough blabbering, now on to the point. The fact remains, protection from virus is important, be it in your computer or inside your neighbor.

So here are a few tips:
Use an antivirus: Yes that’s the most basic tip. Everyone knows an antivirus is essential, but since it is really important, so I have to tell you to use an antivirus. So the first tip is, use an antivirus. Ok, I’ll keep it short. Free antivirus should be enough if you are a bit careful & follow all the subsequent steps. Avira is a very good free antivirus and should suffice for home use. If you are willing to go paid, ESET NOD32 is the best in my opinion. However, opinions do differ. Other good options are Kaspersky & Avira’s paid version. Kaspersky & Avira are cheaper than NOD32.

While using the Internet: Internet is the main source of virus infections. Most virus come through this route. All you need to do to prevent this is to stay a bit cautious & follow these steps:
•   Do not use Internet Explorer: No, I’m no enemy of Bill Gates & no rival of Microsoft. But you will find this all over the internet, IE is the browser with the lowest scores in security 7 features. So why use it? Opera, Firefox, Safari, and Chrome are good alternatives. Opera & Firefox are very secure & have very good features. I haven’t used the other 2, so no personal comment, the internet says they are good too. For sites which open only in IE, you can use Maxthon.
•   Do not click on suspicious links: whether it is on a website or your email. If you do not know what it does & there is some reason for being suspicious, do not click on it. Before clicking a link, always check whether it takes you to the site it promises. The real link is displayed in the status bar of the browser. Do not trust if someone offers you premium stuff for free. Remember, an email is not always from a person it seems. There are scripts which allows one to put any email ID in the ‘from’ field.
•   Pirated software & cracks generally contain virus. So do not use pirated software.

Pen Drives: Pen drives are real threats. Most of the time you plug in your friend’s pen drive, it wreaks havoc on your PC. My computer stops opening, the pen drive refuses to stop, executable clones of folders take birth and the worst of all, you can’t simply pull it out for the fear of damaging it. You are left with only one option, tear your hair out; no, not that, shut down the PC & pull it out.
•   So the first thing to do would be to disable autorun. It is disabled by default in windows vista & 7. In windows XP click start>run type regedit press OK. Navigate to
There set the value of "NoDriveTypeAutoRun" to ff (Hexadecimal). If it does not exist, create a DWORD value of that name.
•   Before you borrow a pen drive, ask your friends to create a folder named autorun.inf in the pendrive. This prevents the creation of autorun.inf file and hence the autorun of the virus. Before using a pen drive always remember to scan it manually. Most of the time scanning takes long enough to allow you to take a nap. So you can assume that if no virus is found in the first minute of the scan, there will be none inside.
•    USB Safely Remove: this one is a good software. It can stop a pen drive at any time terminating the process which locks it, allows you to pull back a drive prepared for safe removal etc. It also allows you to launch windows explorer with the pen drive open when a drive is plugged in. Autorun the pen drive while autorun is disabled!

Apart from these there are certain other things you can do:
Unlocker: If a file refuses to budge of its place as windows communicates its inability to delete it & you suspect it of being infected, wear a mask immediately. Alternatively you can use unlocker to delete the file. It will terminate the relevant process & delete the file.
Replacer: If a system file gets infected, you can use this to replace the file. The file can either be downloaded or borrowed from another PC.  Once used it to replace explorer.exe from inside windows.
Prio: This one adds a services tab in your task manager. This can be used to identify services associated with unwanted processes. Right click on a process & click go to service & stop it.
Shaplus Bandwidth meter: This you can use to keep a tab on your internet usage. Keep an eye on the process using your connection without your permission.
OK, now this is running too long, ask questions if you need further tips.