S60.com is gone for good!


For all the S60 lovers out there, this is a shocking news that S60.com is gone, gone forever. This is not as shocking as it sounds because it is an obvious aftermath of Nokia’s takeover of Symbian platform. Nokia has the largest installation base of Symbian S60 and it has eventually taken it over earliest this year.

This necessarily means, Nokia has more control over S60 now and things are moving very fast on Symbian front. The next generation OS code-named Symbian ^2 is already cooking in the labs and will start beta testing later this month. Retail stores will have devices with Symbian ^2 as early as beginning 2010. That’s not far. More interestingly, a few devices like Nokia’s N97 are already capable of running Symbian ^2 and may be simply upgraded to the new OS if Nokia plans to do so. A firmware update, and there you go Symbian ^2
Further plans list existence of Symbian ^3 that will contain ScreenPlay technology for UI design and will be available in commercial products by end of 2010 and two to three quarters after that we’ll have Symbian ^4. Things are really moving fast at Symbian labs. Following video shows ScreenPlay technology found in future Symbian OS.

Voice call handover from WiFi to GSM and back … Cherry makes it possible.

Cherry is a belgian company that has come up with a really interesting service of switching live calls between WiFi and GSM networks. Let me give you an example. Think of your favorite mobile software that you use to make WiFi calls. I use several software like including Skype and Fring. But the limitation is, I cant go out of WiFi coverage. Obviously, I dont have a city wide free WiFi coverage as well, well, no city has that. I do not enjoy the freedom of movement that one enjoys on a normal GSM call.

If I’m using a Cherry’s solution, I can continue talking and can walk out of my home or office. The call can initially connect over WiFi. When the isgnal is weak and you are moving out of the WiFi range, the call switches to a GSM call without dropping the call. The other party never gets to know about the switch. Marvelous!! Is’nt it?

This essentially means that you are switching back and forth between free and more expensive calls. The idea was meant to be implemented and now people will start working on solutions that will let you switch between wifi/gsm/wimax/eVdo and what not. The idea is to simply keep the cost low.

Keep an eye on Cherry‘s coming soon website till it launches and then keep your fingers crossed till it gets available in your area.

Google Chrome does’nt support its own Translation site.


I just tried translating a page using Google Translate. I entered the URL, that by the way happens to be a blogger URL (Google’s own site) and hit translate. Google chrome simply acts bizarre and opens a million frames and eventually crashes on my face.

Initially I thought I’m using an old version but then I checked and my Chrome is up-to-date:

Facebook reaches 64 language mark

We covered it earlier when Facebook hit 57 languages and within a month, Facebook has grown to 64 languages now. This is all done with the help of the community based translation mechanism used by languages application.

Note, the new languages include فارسی (Farsi), that is the most common language in Iran.

Following is the new list of languages being supported:

MCB Announces the launch of millions of branches!

MCB Mobile Banking and Payments – Review


MCB has recently launched their mobile banking and payment solution. It is an Internet based service that runs on your mobile phone’s browser. You can link your MCB account with your phone number and that’s all you need to use the service. The basic set of services provided by the solution are:


How to Sign-Up

If you are an existing MCB account holder, you can simply go to MCB ATM machine and insert your card as usual. You’ll see an option to link your mobile with your account in the menu now. Opt for that, give your mobile number and that’s it. MCB representative will get back to you with the confirmation and will provide you with the Mobile PIN. Mobile PIN is used to log-in to the mobile banking site while ATM pin is also required to make the transactions.

If you are not an existing MCB account holder, you have to grab one account. My recommendation, just go get one, its worth it!

Note: You cannot use this services if you are an MCB credit card holder.

First Login

You can simply go to http://www.mcbmobile.com from your mobile phone and can login by giving your cell-phone number and mobile PIN. The login is straight forward and works on SSL to keep the data you are sending encrypted on the way.

Basic Banking on Mobile
The service allows you to perform your basic banking transactions (except cash transactions obviously). You can check your account balance and view mini-statement. Funds transfer option allows you to transfer funds to any other MCB Mobile user by giving his mobile number (registered with the service) or you can simply transfer funds to any MCB account by giving the full account number. For every financial transaction you will have to enter your ATM PIN.

Payments
You can make a number of possible payments using this service. You can purchase mobile top-ups and can send them directly to the phone. You can pay post-paid mobile phone bills. These payments can be made to all mobile networks. You can also pay utility bill payments to a number of electric companies and to nationwide gas and telephone connections.

In addition to mobile and utility payments you can pay your credit card bills and can also donate funds to the Prime Minister’s special relief fund.


Security

Overall mobile site is working over SSL and is as secure as any other Internet transaction. Moreover, it is more secure than paying straight via credit card, as in most transactions we are not using a credit-card or account number.

I have a reason to believe that the service is based on a solution by Fundamo.

Note the word Fundamo in the title!

A walk-through video

For a detailed walk-through, watch the video below. I’ve made a mobile top-up, mobile bill payment, fund-transfer and balance enquiry etc in this walk-through for you.

Summary:

What you need to get the service:

  • An MCB account and a debit card
  • A basic mobile phone that has a browser and has GPRS activated

The good

  • Simple and easy on basic mobile browser
  • Topup to all mobile networks
  • Bill payment for all mobile numbers
  • Utility bill payment to a number of power companies.
  • All gas and telephone bills payable
  • Secure over SSL and SMS alerts to inform the user of an un-authorized login/transaction.
  • No need to go to a branch to sign-up like other services.
  • No need to download a software
  • I really like the quick-pay option so that you can save your frequently paid bills and add people who you regularly transfer funds to.

The bad

  • Well, the service is very slow at times, very slow as compared to normal mobile sites. On a second thought it is acceptable assuming it is because of the secure transactions and encryption.
  • Cant transfer funds to other banks. (App says coming soon).
  • Cannot use MCB credit card as a payment instrument.
  • A few transactions failed or may be timed out. They can be teething problems but still are very irritating at times.

Conclusion
MCB Mobile is a winner by all means. You cannot call it a killer app as this stuff is not new in the market anymore but it reaches the top with the fact that its easy, convenient, ubiquitous, reliable and last but not least, very secure. Simply go to mcb.com.pk, search for your nearest branch, go get an account and sign up for the service. Happy mobile banking!

Windows 7 to ship without Internet Explorer in Europe


After a consistent pressure from European Union Microsoft has decided to ship Microsoft Windows 7 without its web-browser Internet Explorer 8. The browser-less Windows 7 is called “Windows 7 E”. This will be first version of Windows after Windows 3.11 for work-group to be shipped without Internet Explorer.

This decision has for sure been taken as a result of the anti-trust cases Microsoft has been facing from EU. Windows 7 is scheduled to be shipped later this year and its release candidate is already available for download. Windows 7 no doubt is way better than Windows Vista in my experience. You can download RC version of Windows 7 from Windows website. This version will work till March 1, 2010, so you have a lot of time to play around with the new Windows 7 and by then, launch of Chrome OS by google will be a few months away <<>>

Google’s new OS announced, and its not Android guys

A real Windows Killer is here!!


Google today announced its new operating system named Google Chrome OS. I’m sure they are putting some real effort in promoting Chrome brand and come up with some new software under the same flag soon. Google Chrome OS is an open source light-weight operating system targeted at Netbooks initially but nobody is stopping us from installing it on our desktops and laptops.

The OS will run on both x86 as well as ARM family of processors and is based no a Linux. The target of the OS is to stay lightweight, fast and easy and make lives of the computer users easier. Google announces that the OS will be available to public in second half of 2010 and we can all keep our fingers crossed

What does this mean?

  • Things have never been that good for Linux I must say.
  • Run Microsoft, Run!!!!
  • Mobile, Netbook, Notebook, Desktop, it’ll be all google in a few years
  • Google will have more control over our lives :p

Google Voice, One number for all your calls, sms, voicemail and much more …. totally free!

I’ve been waiting for Google Voice to launch since Google acquired GrandCentral exactly two years ago. The service will allow you to redirect all your voice calls and text messages to one number. Depending on your preferences, you can then configure this number. Calls will land on your global Google Voice number and that can ring all your registered numbers like your office, home or cell number. See the features video below:

This is not it, the service is a bunch of amazing facilities that adds to the value of this service. For a list of detailed features, see this page.

Google says, the service should be open to public within a matter of weeks, but the site has been saying this for quite some time now. I hope this time comes soon. So if you are in US or you have a US number, simply go to this presignup page and Google will let you know as soon as the service is available.

Transliteration at its best, Google does it again.


I just stumbled upon this page on Google Beta labs that offers indic transliteration for several languages. The languages supported by this tool include Urdu, Bengali, Gujarati, Hindi, Kannada, Malayalam, Marathi, Nepali, Punjabi, Tamil and Telugu.

All of us have grown up using Internet in only one language. Now is the time, things are changing and a bunch of language options are available not only in operating systems and software, but also on popular web systems. But it took a lot of time to reach this point and all of us (well most of us) have already learnt to type our own languages using English character set.

Now, Google’s not only providing translation solutions, but transliteration is also gaining popularity. I have tried the solution out on Urdu language and the results are absolutely amazing. Its not only converting most of the words correctly, its also capable of handling the mystery of using different versions of ( ح – ہ ) or being sure when to use ت and when to use ط . For example, it correctly transliterates “bht” to “بھت” and “tht” to “تحت” . It also adds letters that are usually silent when typing in English. For example “Talat” is correctly transliterated to “طلعت” converting T correctly to ط , not ت and introducing ع while it was not obvious in English character version.

Following are a few results that really amazed me:

Chhachhoondar >>> چھچھوندر

Pakistan ka matlab kya la ilaha illalla >>> پاکستان کا مطلب کیا لا الہٰ الاللہ

Ap sab is pabandi say mustansna hain >>> اپ سب اس پابندی سے مستثنیٰ ہیں

Mustansar Husain Tarar >>> مستنصر حسین تارڑ

Chacha nay chachi ko chandni chowk main chandi ki chamchi say chatni chataai >>> چچا نے کچی کو چاندنی چوک میں چاندی کی چمچی سے چٹنی چٹائی

(This one was more of a riddle, used as a tounge twister usually)

Well, its an automated system and there are still some issues. For example it could not transliterate my name, is’nt that pretty simple?. 🙂 Better luck next time Google!