Archive for 2013

LockScreens and Launchers on Android

One of the concepts of Android devices that I love the most is that of Lockscreens and Launchers. We can change the device default LockScreens and Launchers by installing custom ones which are nothing but PlayStore apps. This isn't very new for Android users. However, the reason for this blog post is to make users of iPhone and Windows Phone aware about something of this kind that exists in the Android world but is unknown of and unseen in iPhone and Windows Phone. There are lockscreen apps which can be installed to replace the stock lockscreen and many of these also support themes which can be used to change the look and feel. There are lockscreen apps such as iPhone 5s Lock Screen which can make your lockscreen look and behave as similar to an iPhone and there's Windows 8 Lockscreen which can make your phone lockscreen exactly the same as the one in you see in a Windows Phone 8.

In much the same way, we have launchers which can change the look and behaviour of your Android Phone. They change the way the desktop is presented, allow you to set what the home and navigation keys can do. There are launchers which are creative in their look and feel, give you great effects while navigating screens and have features such as multiple desktops. These phone desktops can be decorated with useful and great looking widgets. There are launchers such as Espier which can give you an exact iPhone look and behaviour. There's Launcher8 which can work just like a Windows Phone 8 and mind you.. We aren't talking about just a theme that applies to an existing app (there are many of those too) but rather an app which takes over navigation behaviour and allows you to configure it the way you like.

There are so many of these in android to choose from and it would be not possible for me to add screenshots of all of them. Here are a select few screenshots of those Android LockScreens and Launchers which I find impressive. Maybe iPhone and Windows Phone could learn from this concept rather than forcing their respective UI on end users.

LockScreens :

Launchers :
Tuesday, October 15, 2013
Posted by Amol Vaidya

Enable MP3 album art in Windows Explorer

If you have tagged MP3 files with album art but in windows explorer you get the default MP3 icon when you view as icons here's what you can do to fix that :

1. Download this zip file which when expanded gives you two .reg files.

2. Right Click -> Merge MP3.reg

3. Right Click -> Merge Default_MP3.reg

4. Rebuild Windows Indexing Option.
   Go to Control Panel -> In the Search box type "Indexing Options"
   Go to Advanced Tab  -> Rebuild Cache

5. Lastly, if mp3 files aren't associated fix that if needed by going to Control Panel -> Programs -> Make a file type always open in a specific program. I use Windows Media Player but I guess you can choose your favourite here.

Before :
After :

Friday, September 27, 2013
Posted by Amol Vaidya

Start Menu on Windows 8

For all those Windows 8 users who wish that Microsoft brings back the start button and start menu, here's something that might help. There are a bunch of third party apps which let you have a start menu on the Windows 8 desktop. After trying out some of the notable ones such as Start8 from stardock, Pokki Menu, Windows8 StartMenu gadget and Classic Shell here is one which got my attention.

IObit Start Menu 8 -

The reason? Its got everything that I seek from it as a Windows 8 power user. Simple, lightweight, runs as a service, certified, customizable and it doesn't alienate me from Modern UI and you get all this for free. It offers an easy way to switch between Modern UI (IObit still calls it Metro) and Start Menu based desktop mode. Modern UI apps are also seen on the start menu under a separate category.

This is what Microsoft should have done rather than forcing Modern UI onto users. It reminds me of the days of transit from DOS to Windows 3.0 where you weren't forced to move to Program Manager on Day 1. You still booted to DOS, typed win to go to Windows and either went to DOS by running the MSDOS Shell or by exiting from Windows back to DOS. Then came Windows 95 with a whole new change - the explorer interface but you could still have a desktop short-cut to progman.exe aka Program Manager just in case you needed some time. As time progressed, users got used to the new interface in both these cases.. DOS to Windows and Program Manager to Explorer and it worked. I guess a similar strategy would have worked for Explorer to Modern UI.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013
Posted by Amol Vaidya

Back to Blogging

After being away from blogging for a long long time, I'm back.

The views and opinions expressed here are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of any government, organization, agency, cat, dog, goldfish, insect, bacteria or any known or unknown organism. Nothing should be taken too seriously.
Saturday, June 15, 2013
Posted by Amol Vaidya

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