Mobuzz is no more!

One of my favorite tech-blog has closed its operations. The video blog site says they have closed their operations as they could not financially sustain. That is really sad. I wish they reorganize and come soon. I really miss Gabe Mack ๐Ÿ™‚

Warm your coffee using USB power

Things are getting really interesting when it comes to USB gadgets. This USB hub I came across is really in teresting that has a built in Coffee/Tea warmer. I dont know how well it works but its available here. If anyone of you purchases it, do let me know how well it works.

Need for speed – Under Cover : First Impressions

This morning, I drive to my office in my old car but I don’t know why, I feel I’m driving a new Porsche, I can see a map on the bottom left of my wind-screen, I can see a speedometer on my right, I can see a cop-car’s flashing light in my back view mirror and I try to find the camera-key to switch from in-car view and then I realize, I’m not driving in NFS.

NFS is back with a brand new game with a brand new name that brings all the craziness and fun that has been there in all hot-pursuit based NFS games, and this one is nothing different. Initially I was a little disappointed to find that this game is nothing but a Most-Wanted-again, though I’ve been sick of Carbon and ProStreet and return of Most-Wanted style is a big welcome for me. Thank god we are not driving at night on mirror like roads as well.

Honestly, if you are looking for something new, believe me you don’t need anything new in this game. Grab a ride, find a competition and get rolling on the street-race track. The good thing about UnderCover is, you don’t waste time on useless things, you don’t waste time finding races, you don’t waste time scrolling menus, you don’t waste time even watching the intro video, its so cool that your intro video ends up with you, driving your first race and evading your first cop-chase.

The free-roaming world of UnderCover is a really Huge city with a lot of different areas and the area I like the most are the pretty high-rise buildings, EA has spent some serious time designing them and have quite rightly showed them off well , during some intro clips before race starts or the story takes a new twist.

As usual, I have not tried an online mode as yet and will let you know when I do so. As far as I know, we are not going to have a demo version for this game so you gotta go find your full copy to experience the fun.

Gaming season

I really like novembers and decembers, not because of the weather, but because a lot of companies release their games in these monts for obvious reasons. This year, I’ve been waiting for a few titles and following is the list.

I’m already playing

Red-Alert 3

and Need for Speed Undercover ๐Ÿ™‚

I’m waiting for following games to be released:

Prince of Persia

Grand theft auto 4

Call of Duty- World at war ( already released, no time to play ๐Ÿ™ )

Red-Alert 3 First impressions

Red-Alert lovers, RA3 is here to fill your hearts with joy. As far as I’m concerned, I was not expecting much from this long awaited game. Quite surprisingly, it has gone beyond my expectations. Red-alert 3 is a great game that is a lot of fun to play. You may not find it to be an eye-candy like Generals or Company of Heroes but it has a lot to offer that makes it more of a sequel of Red-Alert 2 rather than any other game. The units, armies, game-play, sounds and voices and usual game-plot, all work hand in hand to make it a great RA2 sequel and make it a great game that is loads of fun to play.

We do have usual soviet and allied armies and now we have a third army that belongs to the nation of rising son. The game story, quite intentionally has been kept far away from real world issues and political frames to avoid any problems. There are no confusing details to start with and then there is a lot of in depth strategy you have to exercise to master the battlefield. Units behave really intelligent at times and very dumb on other occasions. That’s why you don’t feel left out as a commander ๐Ÿ™‚ . So many interesting units to talk about including amphibious transports that can eject infantry from a cannon onto enemy’s territory, amphibious attack units that are both attack boats in water and firing robots on ground and a miner that can graze both in water as well as on land.

The new cooperative mode is a great thing to have. You have an assisting co-commander on the battlefield with his/her own army having the same objectives but might be following different strategy. You can boss around with the co commander and can ask him to move or accompany you on certain attacks or moves. You can share funds with the co commander’s army and can build near his base too.

This really makes the game a lot more fun. You co commander can either be a computer controlled army or you can ask anyone online to join as your co commander to play the mission. I have yet to try out the online version and the skirmish battles, but the campaign is no doubt really addicting.

If all above sounds tempting and you have not tried the game yet, you can either rush to the store to buy a copy or you can download a 1.8Gb demo from the official demo site.

History revisited

This weekend I got a chance to visit a historical place in Lahore. Its actually a set of places that once used to be the center of Lahore City. Walled city of Lahore as any other old city is occupied by the current citizens of Lahore, while an internal walled palace, known as Shahi Qila (Royal Fort) is under the control of Goverenment of Pakistan, department of heritage ( Mehekma-e-asaar-e-qadeema).

In addition to Royal Fort, there is Ranjit Singh’s Musolium, Badshahi Mosque, Huzuri Bagh and Mazar of Allama iqbal. Its a very good combo to visit in one go.

Lahore fort, that is royal fort, was actually the residence of the kings and the initial structure was biult in the days of Akbar (1556-1605). Read more about the fort here, as this is not a history class ๐Ÿ™‚

Fort not being cared

I’m going to talk about something else than the history. One obvious thing that I noticed there was, that regardless of being a World Heritage Site declared by Unesco, Lahore fort is in a very bad shape. It is obvious from the circumstances that a lot of funds were granted and have been plundered or lost somewhere and the fort is still in a very bad shape.

This photo shows Akbari Gate to the fort. The gate was supposed to be restored, does it look restored at all? The only funds they spent on it were to put this board out there which says the work should be done in 2005-2006. Its 2008 and nothing has been done. Interesting, isn’t it?

That’s not all. Please read on.

Now I upload a map, rather satellite image of the place. The fort itself is a combo of few things, most popular are Deewan-e-Aam ( the common court), Deewan-e-khas (well, more private area for the kings), Sheesh mahal, (made of more mirrored walls), Moti mosque and a few doors. (Please click to read the titles)

The thing that shocked me most was a set of offices that belong to officials that are built right inside the fort. That is something I cant understand. Moreover, on North-east corner, there’s an un-noticed area where usually visitors dont go at all. That looks like a private set of residences where there are a few houses, people are coming and going on bikes and cars, children are playing and I could see a goat grazing etc. Well, even if they are workers or watchmen or anyone, I dont think we should allow any offices or any residences inside such an important historical place. This could lead to a race and some day you’ll find property dealers selling deewan-e-aam and deewan-e-khas.

See videos below that show the houses, residents, and a car coming out of the area.

View from Deewan-e-Aam

A closer look at private residence

A look at private residences from Deewan-e-Khas. I’m sure the king wont like that.

And this photo shows, how restoration team has saved this building from falling apart and have left the equipment to support the building for life

No doubt the fort and the leftover buildings are a marvel even today and the walls, ceilings and the whole structure was built by a very highly skilled set of workers. I could find only 3 or 4 paintings in the whole fort. Courtesy our citizens and brothers visiting the site. For example, one of th painting, I dont know how old it dates and how significant it is, but somebody has added his own piece of art to complete it. How shameful.

Coming back to officials, following are the tickets we bought when entering the fort. Red ticket for elders, and blue for the children. How much attention has been paid to the ticket making, you can see in the blue ticket.

It says “Bachon kay liye (means for children)” while in english it still says Aduls Rs. 5. I found it funny, so thought of sharing with you guys.

Regardless of above inconsistencies and unexpected things, it was an amazing trip. You can find all the photos I took on my picasa album here.

Then we moved out of the fort and into the mosque. Yeah, there is huzuri bagh in the middle but public is not allowed to enter the garden anyways. We did say Salam and Fatiha for Shair-e-Mashriq as he rests just outside the mosque.

It was good to see that the mosque is being well maintained regardless of its huge size. Alhamdulillah, Muslims keep the mosques alive, regardless of how old they are. The main biulding is small as compared to the open area and overall area of the mosque, but its still huge. The prayer area, open area, area for wuzu and everything looked clean and maintained.

Then there’s a museum that has a lot of items that are very significant from islamic point of view. You can find belongings of our beloved Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), Hazrat Ali (raziallah taala anhu) and Hazrat Imaam Hussain (raziallah taala anhu) and several other important personalities. I, being a true lover of Prophet (peace be upon him) like any other muslim, had a really spiritually enexpressably emotional time looking at the things. Only thing I worry about though, is the authenticity of the belongings if they really belong to those important people or not.

Entering the museum also required a ticket that everyone happily purchased it. Though again, the ticket says Rs.2 while they asked for Rs. 5. Same goes for the shoe-keeper who charged Rs. 20 regardless the boards said its Rs. 5.

In short, it was a really informative and entertaining trip. I know this post is getting very long, but the trip was a whole day long as well, so its worth it I believe.

Please do leave your comments on photos, content and videos above. Moreover, dont forget to see the photo album with all the photos from the trip.

Screen Brightness N95 vs N82 vs Blackberry 8310

I’ve been using Blackberry 8310 for a few weeks now. I got my new Nokia N82 and I was sure I’m going to forget about my BB once I start using it. Unfortunately that’s not the case. There are several reasons that make me carry my Blackberry along with my other handsets. This video has 3 phones playing the same video. N95-8gb on the top, N82 below that and Blackberry 8310 on the bottom. Well, the video does’nt show it that well but with naked eye, it is very obvious that Blackberry’s screen has the highest brighness and contrast levels and delivers the best video experience among all the three phones.

All these phones have 320 x 240 resolution and the screen sizes are slightly different. Assuming N82 with the smallest screen among the three, I expected it to deliver the sharpest video output, though it has disappointed me greatly because of a very low brightness. So, Blackberry 8310 is the brightest, N95-8Gb is the runner up and N82 is the loser.

I do watch movies on these screens at times but the conversion process takes a lot of time. Untill you use any tricks or third party software, the provided software need you to keep the phone connected all the time while your PC is converting the video. That’s insane.

Can somebody reocommend me a better software for such video conversion tasks?

Nokia’s Almighty Cameraphones’ Shutter speeds . . .

Nokia N95 and N82 have undoubtedly been best camera phones Nokia has ever made. Shutter speeds or exposureduration makes a lot of difference when taking photos in all light conditions. Due to different types of flash units on these two handsets, they have different shutter timings. Shutter is open for longer duration on N95 to capture all the information under its LED flash. On the other hand N82 has a very short shutter timing that gives real sharp pictures, thanks to Xenon flash on it.

Following photos show the difference. This fan was running as fast as it can. First shot was taken using N95-8GB.

This second shot was taken using N82. Yes, the fan was running on fastest.

Alot has been said to prove N82’s supremacy over all other cameraphones and above is my bit to add to it.

Turning my Phone into an OCR

I’ve found a great application for my Nokia N82 named MultiScanner. This allows me to read business cards and save them as contacts. In addition, now I can take photos of text and this software converts this photo to text that can be sent out as email, sms, mms or stored as a note.

How it works? Watch this video to see MultiScanner in action.

The software is intended to work on E71 and E66 but works just fine on N82 and N95-8gb for me. Pleas let me know on what other phones you succeed to run it.

Download MultiScanner

Special thanks to