Senin, 27 Oktober 2014

TechSource: 7 Nifty VLC Tricks You Should Know

TechSource: 7 Nifty VLC Tricks You Should Know

7 Nifty VLC Tricks You Should Know

Posted: 27 Oct 2014 05:47 AM PDT

VLC started as an academic project in 1996 and back then it was called "VideoLAN Client", and hence the name VLC. Soon, however, it grew to become a client as well as server that can be used to stream videos across the network. Its popularity showed steady growth leading up to the development of Version 1.0 that was released in 2009. In other words, the project took 13 years of development to reach its first major release, something that shows us how stable the open-source tool has indeed become.

Be it Windows, Mac OS X, or Linux, VLC still remains the undisputed king of media players. From playing YouTube videos and MP3s to helping you enjoy Blu-ray movies, this open-source tool is regarded as one of the indispensable tools every desktop user should have installed. If you are using Linux right now, chances are you are a VLC user too. And if you are, we've got some useful tips for you that will help you get the most out of it.

1. Taking Screenshots of the Currently Playing Video

Whenever you are playing a video, you can grab a quick screencap without even pausing. All you have to do is press the combination Shift + S and your screenshot will automatically show up in the Pictures folder. If, however, you are using Mac OS X, use the shortcut Cmd + Alt + S and the snapshot will be waiting for you in the Pictures folder. 

2. Bookmark a Position in a Video

Imagine you are busy watching your favorite movie and suddenly your smartphone rings. It is a bummer right? Start the video again and then seeking to the last position you were on. Thankfully, VLC saves you the trouble by letting you bookmark a position in the video so that you can come back to it whenever you want.

All you have to do is go to the menubar and then Playback -> Custom Bookmarks -> Manage. A new window will pop up. Here, simply click on the button that says "Create" and you will have the bookmark at your disposal whenever you want.

Note that you can also use this for listening to audiobooks as well where bookmarking plays an important role.

3. Record the Currently Playing Video/Audio

If you listen to streaming audio or watch a lot of online videos natively, this next tip will help you keep the best bits to yourself. By recording a currently playing song or video, you can re-listen to it whenever you want.

To start recording, simply go to the menu bar and navigate to View -> Advanced Controls. Once you do that, a small red button will show up below the video or audio. Click on it and the stream will be saved to your default Videos or Music folder.

4. Record from a Webcam

If you are a wannabe rising YouTube star, this tip might help you a lot. VLC, apart from playing your favorite movies, also lets you do a recording from the webcam. Simply go to Media -> Open Capture Device. There, you'll find a dropdown menu. There, select DirectShow to select your webcam. Once that is done, start recording by hitting the red button. The video will be stored in the default videos folder.

5. Play Video Files in .zip and .rar Archives

The next time someone hands you a bunch of video files packed in a .rar archive, simply open it in VLC and it will play. VLC reads through the archive letting you play the video files contained in it.

6. Watch a YouTube Video Without a Browser

Instead of watching a YouTube video in a distraction-ridden webpage, you can use VLC to watch it on your desktop. Simply click on the menu bar -> Media and click Open Network Stream. There, paste the URL of your favorite video and it will start playing automatically. Alternatively, you can press Ctrl + N anytime and paste the video directly.

7. VLC Does Podcasts Too

VLC can do a lot more than playing videos and music. It also acts as a full-fledged podcast downloader and player. Open VLC and if the playlist view isn't showing up yet, press Ctrl + L or hit the playlist button at the bottom. In the left pane under Internet, you'll find an option that says Podcasts. Hit the grey button besides it and paste your favorite podcast URL.

Selasa, 21 Oktober 2014

TechSource: Best Android Games that let you Build your Own Farms and Towns

TechSource: Best Android Games that let you Build your Own Farms and Towns

Best Android Games that let you Build your Own Farms and Towns

Posted: 20 Oct 2014 11:56 PM PDT

Being a farmer in the bustling cityscape might not be the ideal dream for you. However, if you are still keen on doing that, you can do it anywhere. But wait, before you head out to your lawn and start planting seeds, relax and pull out your Android smartphone or tablet.

Yes, do that now because in this list, we are going to help you build not only your own farms but your own towns as well. Of course, these are just games, but you'll be surprised how hooked you'll be once you start playing them.

Green Farm

Imagine inheriting an old manor from your uncle. However, despite your really good luck, it isn't as good as you'd wanted it to be. Your mission in this game is to secure it, beautify, and grow a complete farm in front of the manor. Once you start building the farm, you'll come across many missions that involve full farming, harvesting, and even crafting. Of course, you'll have help from your friends and neighbors, but most of the time, you'll be on your own. The game works quite well on tablets as well as smartphones.

Farm Story

With over 150 varieties of fruits, flowers and vegetables, Farm Story is a game that lets you build beautiful farms in no time. You can design your own farm by decorating it with trees, fences, and buildings. Once you've designed your ideal farm, plant the crops so that they start growing. You can even invite neighbors to watch your crops grow, making this game even more fun. As with many titles in this genre, Farm Story is free to play but also offers paid in-game upgrades. Worth giving a shot if you love building farms.

Farm Town: Happy Day

This game is one where you get to do pure farming. You can grow variety of crops, hay, vegetables, fruits, and berries. Moreover, you get to help your neighbors build their own farms too. Apart from basic farming, you also get to take care of cute pets as you keep gathering resources in building your dream farm. 

FarmVille 2: Country Escape

Quite possibly the most popular game in this genre, FarmVille is a title that started it all. Not only can you build and grow your own farm, you can also do a variety of activities that traditional farming games don't offer. Making use of the right resources, you get to make various gourmet foods, raise farm animals, go fishing with fellow farmers, and build a whole new family farm by the coast. What makes this game stand out is the sheer size of its universe. Furthermore, there's offline play, multi-player, and even the ability to play co-op with your friends online. No wonder Farmville still remains the king of farming games despite having formidable competitors. 

Adventure Town

With over a million users, Adventure Town still remains one of the best titles in the town-building genre. What sets this game apart is the ability to create your own unique heroes who will defeat villains and save your town from danger. Not only does this title let you build your own town, it also lets you fight against evil monsters at every major level. This combination of light combat and city-building make it a highly engaging game.

Triple Town

Quite unlike the traditional town-building games, Triple Town stands apart by adding the puzzle element to it. The game moves forward only one premise: the larger the city you build, the more points you score. Though a turn-based, "thinking required" game, it is highly addictive even if you are looking for something casual to spend your Sunday afternoon playing. Triple Town has raked more than 5,000,000 downloads since its release and has been rated quite well by Android users worldwide. 

Town Maker

Town Maker, as the name suggests, lets you build any kind of town you want. Be it a village or a whole new city, this one got it covered. With bright funky graphics and lots of engaging elements, Town Maker excels in pushing the limits of what you can build on your Android smartphone or tablet. Be it putting the Eiffel Tower in the middle of a primitive village or the pyramids in the midst of Victorian buildings, this is a game that will let you explore your creativity. 

Written by: Abhishek, a regular TechSource contributor and a long-time FOSS advocate.

Jumat, 17 Oktober 2014

TechSource: Best YouTube Players for Ubuntu

TechSource: Best YouTube Players for Ubuntu

Best YouTube Players for Ubuntu

Posted: 16 Oct 2014 08:57 PM PDT

YouTube is one of the best things that happened to the Internet. From the latest music videos to the full-length movies, this Google-owned website is used by millions of people around the world. What's more appealing about this site is that it has also given rise to thousands of "YouTube Stars" who have developed a full-time career out of making videos. In other words, YouTube has grown from being a mere video-sharing site to a content platform.

Having said that, one of the biggest gripes about the site is that it can only be accessed via a web browser. You have to start the browser, open the site, and wait for the video to buffer. Not so cool. Thankfully though, developers have come up with some nice apps to overcome that limitation. These apps allow the users to circumvent the web-only restriction of YouTube and watch their favorite videos on the desktop. Such apps are widely available on Windows and Mac and some of them even allow users to download the videos.

As for Ubuntu users, there are still plenty of reasons not to be disappointed. There are about half a dozen YouTube apps already available for Linux and in this article, we're bringing you a list of the best of them.


If you hate Flash, Minitube is your best bet when it comes to watching YouTube. This fabulously designed application looks as if was meant for the desktop and desktop only. What Minitube does is that it focuses on making sure that you do everything that you'd normally do on the YouTube website on your desktop. And yes, it does live up to its expectations. One of the best features of this application is that it allows you to subscribe to channels you like without having a YouTube account.

Other features include spelling suggestions, filtering videos by date, and a full-screen mode with cursor support. One nifty addition to the software is the ability to find parts of a video that are in a series. This means that you'll be able to enjoy long movies or concerts that are uploaded in parts, without having to search around for them after every video.

To install Minitube, type in or paste the following commands in your terminal (Ctrl + Alt + T):

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:nilarimogard/webupd8
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install minitube


Atraci is an amazingly simple app that focuses more on music rather than the video themselves. If you are someone who visits YouTube just to listen to your favorite songs, this app is for you. Simply search for your favorite artist and then the song will start playing instantly. You can also watch the video if you want which is shown at the bottom left corner of the screen.

To install Atraci, simply type in or paste the following commands in your terminal (Ctrl + Alt +T):

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:webupd8team/atraci
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install atraci


VLC, though a general media player, can also function as a great YouTube player. All you have to do is copy the URL of the video you are watching on YouTube. Then, press Ctrl + N in the VLC main video. There, paste the video URL and wait for it as the video starts playing. Although this is not a convenient method for watching videos on YouTube, it is still a great trick for enjoying the familiar comforts of a desktop. 


(For the Geeks) Command line YouTube player - MPS-YouTube

If you're a geek, nerd, or a programming prodigy, a command line YouTube player will give you plenty of bragging rights. MPS-Youtube is a fabulous player that lets you search and play videos from YouTube, download them, and even view comments all using just your command line. Written in Python, the text interface is used for sifting through the videos. Then, once you've chosen the video you want to play, the software then hooks into mplayer or mpv to show you the video. Though this won't work on a full sans-X11 terminal, it will surely give you the thrills of doing the latest things in a cool old school sort of way.

To install MPS, simply paste this command in your terminal:

[sudo] pip install mps-youtube

For more information on how to use and configure the tool, check out the application's github page.

Written by: Abhishek, a regular TechSource contributor and a long-time FOSS advocate.

Sabtu, 11 Oktober 2014

TechSource: Kindle Unlimited: Is it a Game Changer for Publishers and Readers?

TechSource: Kindle Unlimited: Is it a Game Changer for Publishers and Readers?

Kindle Unlimited: Is it a Game Changer for Publishers and Readers?

Posted: 10 Oct 2014 08:10 PM PDT

When Kindle Unlimited was launched in June 2014, it was branded as a Netflix for books. It looked promising. After all, nothing has shaken up the publishing industry more than Amazon. Despite a shaky start, Unlimited is slowly catching up with many users. And though, it is too early to reach conclusions, whether it becomes the next Netflix or heads into obscurity, will affect both readers as well as publishers. Let's take a look at what Amazon Unlimited is all about and how it promises to shake up the way you read your books.

The Promise

The service allows you to read as many books as you can without having to buy them. It is like having your own library. Think Netflix meets your local library (minus the pesky librarian). By paying about $10 a month, you can read as many books as you want without paying a single penny from then on. Sounds great, right?

The Vision

Kindle Unlimited is the missing piece in Amazon's plan of completely dominating the publishing industry. It's Jeff Bezos screaming at you, telling you to ditch your library forever and embrace the magical world of cloud and cross-device syncing. With Unlimited, customers won't have to worry about paying huge sums of money to read the latest bestsellers. They can do so by paying a small subscription fee every month and get any book they want in an instant.

Where it Excels

Having used Kindle Unlimited for a while now, I can say that I'm pretty impressed by the service. The whole idea of ditching your local library and joining the Kindle bandwagon is appealing if you are an avid reader. However, if you're a purist, this is not something you may not skip your library trip for. One of the things this service does well is that it gets you what you want whenever you want.

To elaborate this further, let's say you are looking for a book. Maybe you saw a trailer of a movie which is based on a book and now you want to read the book before the movie comes out. If you weren't subscribing for the service, you'd either have to go to your local library or have to buy the book on Amazon. But for avid readers who read books 3 times a week or on a whim, this seems rather uneconomical. If you subscribe to the service, all you have to do is look up that book and if it's there on Kindle Unlimited, hit the "Read for Free" button, and voila, the book is yours.

Many of the books I found on Unlimited were some popular titles like "Life of Pi," "Flash Boys," and the self-help classic "7-Habits of Highly Effective People." If you were to buy these books individually, they'd cost you about $30. But with Unlimited, you get to read all three for $10.

Another great thing about Kindle Unlimited is that you get to read your book on whichever device you want. Be it your 5-inch Android phone or your huge iPad, or even your desktop, Kindle books can be read on pretty much any device. And, then of course, there are the Kindles, which are dedicated reading devices that focus solely on reading experience. They too are priced very low, starting as low as $79.

Where it falls short

If you start using the service, you'll find that it doesn't quite live up to its name "Unlimited." In other words, many of your favorite books aren't probably on Unlimited yet. So, instead, you'll have to buy them the old-fashioned way. A book that is on Unlimited will have a logo besides it indicating that you can borrow the book for free. Most of these books are either self-published novels or biographies. You'd have trouble finding a bestseller or a classic and then you'll have to pay for them.

Should you use it?

The answer depends on what kind of books you read. Amazon's Unlimited catalogue is pretty limited, but for some it could be quite useful. The best way of knowing this is to do a search on 10 of the books you want to read right now and see if they have the "Kindle Unlimited" logo below them. If at least 5 of them do, it's a worthy investment for you. If not, give it a skip.

For someone who reads lot of business, self-development and personal productivity books, Unlimited offers a lot of self-published titles. They could serve as nice, quick reads.

Also, if you are looking for something like Unlimited, but better, Scribd is a great option. It has a huge collection of books that you can read and even download (PDF format) by paying a small monthly fee.

Is it a game changer?

Not yet. But yes, it does have potential. If Amazon manages to convince more publishers to add their books to the Unlimited catalogue, we might have a winner here. Maybe a year from now on, Unlimited might end up becoming a Netflix.

Selasa, 07 Oktober 2014

TechSource: Best Android-Based Email Clients for Microsoft Exchange

TechSource: Best Android-Based Email Clients for Microsoft Exchange

Best Android-Based Email Clients for Microsoft Exchange

Posted: 06 Oct 2014 09:42 PM PDT

If you are someone who uses Microsoft Exchange a lot, then switching to Android might not have been as smooth as you imagined. Despite having great compatibility with MS Exchange out of the box, Android users still are looking for some better apps that can help them get the most out of their business emails.

That's why we have compiled a list of some of the best Android-based Email clients out there for Microsoft Exchange users. While not at the level of the original applications, these Android apps also help business users be more productive.

Nine - Exchange ActiveSync

Nine is a fabulous app that uses the Direct Push technology to sync with MS Exchange server with the help of Microsoft Exchange ActiveSync. Upon first glance, what stands out most about this app is its clean UI. Following most of Android's UI standards, Nine is probably one of the most beautiful business apps out there. Once installed, Nine gives you a full suite applications: email, calendar, contacts, and even notes. All of the data is synced to the server, including notes and sms. Moreover, there are also all the essential widgets you need to get a quick glance at your important stuff. Overall, a good clean application for all your business communication needs. 

MailWise Email Client for Exchange +

MailWise is an application that helps to address the problem many users face with long conversation threads. Once installed, you will find clean, card-like conversation threads that are easy to navigate and reply to. Among other features, MailWise also acts as a full-fledged Exchange application bringing most of the good stuff from the desktop to your phone. Much like the aforementioned Nine, MailWise too comes with a really good-looking UI. The best part though, about this app is that it is completely free without any ads whatsoever. 


If you are looking for a good consolidated solution for all your email needs and not just Exchange, CloudMagic is a great app to try. Clean, simple, and easy to use, CloudMagic brings all your mailboxes together, including your MS Exchange inbox. This is very useful for people who have a couple of personal accounts and another business account. Once installed, CloudMagic will let you access all of them (or more) without having to switch apps. Definitely worth a try even if you are not an MS Exchange user. 

Similar to the aforementioned CloudMagic, BlueMail too helps you consolidate all your inboxes in one place. What's great about this app is its intuitive UI. With just one swipe across the screen you can either delete or archive a message. Another good feature is the thread view that allows you to view your emails as conversations, thus making it easy for you to communicate with your friends and colleagues. Again, this is not a dedicated MS Exchange app, but useful if you have a lot of email accounts. 

K-9 Mail has been around for quite a while and there is a good reason for that: this app is completely free and open-source. Once installed, you'll be able to add IMAP, POP3 and Exchange 2003/2007 accounts with ease. With support for IMAP push email you can even completely ditch official Gmail app for an open source alternative. Furthermore, with multi-folder sync, flagging, signatures and filing, K-9 proves itself to be a good alternative to a full-fledged desktop Exchange client. Also interesting is the feature to store mail on SD card making it easier for users to avoid running out of storage space. If you are new to the app, a great place to start is to browse the app's wiki which has detailed information on how to configure and make the most out of K-9.

Written by: Abhishek, a regular TechSource contributor and a long-time FOSS advocate.