What is Chromecast Audio and How is it different?

Phones and tables are already well understood by most people, Chromecast Audio is completely new device in Google Products. Rather than a successor of a pre existing device it is a new first generation hardware.

Yesterday, in an event Google announced some new devices, Two Chromecasts and two new nexus phones. Google also revealed a new tablet called Pixel C.

Phones and tables are already well understood by most people, Chromecast Audio is completely new device in Google Products. Rather than a successor of a pre existing device it is a new first generation hardware.

So, What is Google Chromecast Audio?

In a nutshell, It is a streaming stick which can stream music wirelessly from a mobile phone, tablet (or anything else) to a speaker system. Chromecast audio works in similarly to Chromecast. Both are connected to the receiving device and the signal is sent from another device. There is one major difference between Google Chromecast and Chromecast audio, the former is capable of streaming Videos whereas the latter can only stream music.

You can use the normal Chromecast with a TV and stream videos, Photos or even games to the TV screen. In case of Chromecast audio, it can only be connected to a music system such as home theater or speakers.

The dongle has outputs music through a audio jack which is connected to music system. It is has a 3.5 MM audio jack as output, you can also use Optical or RCA cables.

what is chromecast audio
Chromecast connects to music systems | Image: Google

Unlike Chromecast, Chromecast Audio includes a Guest Mode. It needs to be powered by an external power source, which is included in the box. Chromecast audio currently supports popular music apps such as Spotify, Google Music and YouTube etc.

Chromecast and Chromecast audio both cost $35.

Which one Should you buy? Chromecast or Chromecast Audio?

It all is based upon your needs, Chromecast is for streaming Video (with audio, of course) to your TV, actually most people will be OK with this.
Chromecast Audio is good for you if you have a dedicated music system in your home.  your music system may already have a bluetooth system, but Chromecast Audio uses Wi-Fi to stream music. Wi-Fi will be more reliable and Faster than Bluetooth. Also the major point is that if you are subscribed to any music service such as Apple Music, Spotify or Google Music, you can easily listen music on music system without any trouble.

A normal Chromecast will work good if don’t have a dedicated music system and you want to stream Video and Music to your TV.

Will you buy the any of them? if yes, which one? Share with us in the comment below…

 

Everything you need to know about Chromebooks

You have heard about em, haven’t you? Chromebooks are essentially lightweight small and cheap laptop notebooks running Google’s Chrome OS.

You have heard about them, haven’t you? Chromebooks are essentially lightweight, small and [mostly] cheap laptop notebooks running Google’s Chrome OS. This is the major difference between Chromebook and other laptops.
Chrome OS is an operating system based on Linux kernel. However Chrome OS is a lot different than most of Linux Distributions and than any other version of Windows. Instead of having dozens of pre-installed Tools, Backup utilities, accessories, Text Editors and other software, Chrome OS has just a web Browser and only a few important utilities. This is what Google has thought about OS of a modern era. Google’s Chrome OS relays heavily on Internet to do tasks. The Results? Chromebooks are a lot faster on startup and shutdown times, are really easy to manage and diagnose and are a lot cheaper than other expensive Notebook PCs.

chromebook
Acer C720 Costs about 19K and is a good Chromebook | Image: Google

What you get with a Chromebook?
Chromebooks begin at a small price of $200 and go up to $999 and up for Premium Chromebook Pixel, the fastest (and most expensive) Chromebook on earth. After paying that price you will get a 11 inch to 15.6 inch display notebook. Running mostly ARM Processors for cheaper models. Many models come with Intel Processors. Rest of the hardware will be just like any other Notebook. All Chromebooks come with Wi-Fi connectivity and some also ship with 3G or LTE connectivity options.

Chromebooks: The Showrunner Chrome OS

The main thing differing Chromebooks with other Notebooks is Chrome OS. Chrome OS is basically a Linux Operating system with Google Chrome Web Browser. When Google first Introduced Chromebooks it was just a Google Chrome Browser running Maximized.  All the Apps and setting could be found on New Tab Page. Now Google has made some changes and OS now looks much familiar with a Taskbar on the bottom and a notification area on bottom right side Just like Microsoft Windows. This area hosts several icons such as Wi-Fi and Data management along with a clock and and a button to switch User accounts.
Chrome OS also has some apps other than Chrome Browser. It includes an Offline File Manager that is able to open and preview some Common File Formats. Chromebooks has an offline Music and Video Player too.

Strength and weakness of Chromebooks

Strengths:

  • Easy to use and configure.
  • Low cost and lightweight.
  • Longer Battery life than other haviour laptops.
  • Less risk of Malware and other nasty, No need to install antivirus.

Weaknesses:

  • Chromebooks are running a different OS and because of that app library is really smaller than the competition.
  • Granted that they can work offline but it is really limited at some task, Internet connectivity is needed to perform most of the stuff.
  • Google Chrome is the only web browser in Chromebooks, you don’t have any alternatives to use.
Chromebook Pixel
Costing approx 81,000 Rs for the highest specs, Chromebook Pixel is Ferrari of Chromebooks | Image: Google

Chromebooks are good for

People who are most of the time online, who just need a computer to check emails, use social media, do lightweight productivity tasks and who use laptops for entertainment. You can do many things online and this is where promise of google with Chromebooks seems to be true. Due to their simplicity, you can think of them as an excellent choice for older – or not so tech savvy – people.

Chromebooks are not so good for

Granted that most of the work people do on computers nowadays can be done under the tabs of a web browser, still we do need some heavyweight application who sadly run only on full-blown Windows or Mac OS X systems. Chromebooks are good for many day-to-day tasks. If you are into editing heavyweight Video Clips, making complex vector graphics or running professional desktop applications, you will feel trapped with the limitations of chromebooks. Simply put For power users who are happy about maintaining their systems, backing them up and are able to deal with Malware, Windows, Mac or Linux are better options.

If you have already bought a Chromebook and you are feeling bad about the limitations here is what you can do: Install Linux on it.

Linux can easily be installed on Intel Processor based Chromebooks. How to Geek has a good guide to do that. 

What do you think about Chromebooks? share with us in comments…


Image Credit: Lachlan Tsang on Flickr

 

Everything you need to know about Smart TVs

Think of a smart TV as a connected TV – a TV screen that is consistently connected to the internet. They run a heavier OS then standard HD TVs and are capable of streaming video, music and other stuff from other services

The tech world is always changing; as TVs are the primary entertainment electronics for most of us. Technology powering the TVs is also getting better day by day. Starting from grayscale then flat screen, High Definition, Full HD, UHD (ultra-high definition) and smart TVs – the makers are always trying to make something better than the previous one. Let’s get to the point.

What are Smart TVs?

 

Think of a smart TV as a connected TV – a TV screen that is consistently connected to the internet. They run a heavier OS than standard HD TVs and are capable of streaming video, music and other stuff from other services; they include a web browser and also sometimes the ability to install apps. Some more expensive TVs may offer you a camera for video chat. A smart TV may use Wired or Wi-Fi based technology to connect to internet. Though as the features sound exciting the prize is not so. A Smart TV is much more heavier on Pocket then a normal HDTV.

The Bad side…

Makers such as LG, Sony and Samsung make these TVs – Who care more about hardware and are not so good about software, and there is one more thing to care about – when we buy TV we think of keeping it for 4-5 years but you will want to buy a new smart TV in just 2-3 years the reason: makers don’t provide updates regularly OOUCH…

A smart TV tries to do too much but is not successful in anything.  A computer connected to internet can stream technically anything from any service while in smart TV the streaming relies on the manufacturer’s mood – you can’t use Netflix unless there is an app available for the TV. And believe us there is not every streaming service app available for Smart TVs. Also using web browser by a remote is really uncool.

Buy / don’t buy?

Smart TV sounds like a cool idea, a connected media rich experience – But it comes at a prize. The price is sometimes too much for any user. You can easily buy a normal LCD TV and add a PC or any other device to stream stuff from the internet.

You can buy a smart TV if you do not care too much about money and you are not willing to set up other products with your TV. If you want to save bucks there are some other options to think of.

The Alternatives:

Media Streaming Sticks : These are the cheapest alternatives and they are the smallest too. Google Chromecast is a perfect example, it is only $35 and can stream media from your smartphone, tablet and even chrome browser. Amazon fire Stick and Roku are also quite good options to choose from. They don’t come with remote control – you can control them using your phones.

 

Everything you need to know about Smart TVs

Separate Media Players : there are many media players available on the market and they have much better functionality too. The Apple made iTV and Google Nexus Media Player are just to name few. You can use them to stream content from your home network and even NAS. Media Players are not so large and work perfectly as media steamers – heck! you can even play games on some of them.

Gaming Consoles : An Xbox or PS4 is always a better option then buying a so-called Smart TV. You can stream media and even browser the web -plus play games on them too. They also have built in Optical drives, You can use them to watch Blu-Ray Disks.

Add  a PC : Adding a full PC is always an good option to think of – you can set up DVR and stream anything form web – HTPCs are more expensive but they have much more value then a Smart TV.

What were your experiences with a Smart TV? fire us your views in comments.


Image Credits :”Chromecast dongle” by EricaJoyFlickrChromecast. Licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0 via Wikimedia CommonsLG on flikr

What is RAID: Explaining the Tech

RAID stands for Redundant array of inexpensive or independent disk. Actually it is a technology by which we can use more than one physical hard drive simultaneously to get better performance and Data redundancy.

RAID stands for Redundant array of inexpensive or independent disk. Actually it is a technology by which we can use more than one physical hard drive simultaneously to get better performance and Data redundancy.
Any user can just plug any number of hard disk in his computer and use them but using a technology like RAID increases the performance and stability of your system.
An SSD is always the fastest solution of data storage but it is not as much secure as some of RAIDs.

Based on the technique of Implementation there are many kinds of RAID available. we have shortlisted some of the most important types of RAID

What is raid?
RAIDs are mostly used in Servers

RAID 0

In this type of RAID all the data is distributed into each disk equally, Confused? Lets simplify it imagine a file, now distribute it into 4 parts, now imagine 2 RAID disks now write data part 1 in drive A , data part 2 into drive B , next Data part 3 into drive A and at last data part 4 into disk B. now writing speed and reading speed will be much more faster, but this performance will come with a risk, if any disk fails all the data will be lost.

RAID 1

It is really simple, it consists of a mirroring. All the data is written into both disks, it increases the writing time but the reading time is decreased. If any disk fails user need not to be worried. All the data can simply be recovered from other volume. In this RAID system the highest reading speed is limited by fastest Disk in RAID whereas writing speed is limited by the slowest Disk in system. There is one more drawback the total size of RAID volume will not be the sum of each disk size but it will be equal to the size of smallest disk.

RAID 5

This technique is a lot complex than the above methods, it requires at least 3 disks to create RAID of this kind. This technology uses block level stripping in the disks and in distributed parity (which means the data that can be used to recover data) .It provides protection against data loss and also slightly improves the performance. In this type of RAID if any disk fails the data is recovered from the distributed data. As this it requires 3 or more disks it us normally used in high performance servers.

 RAID 6

Last but not the least ,RAID 6 uses double distributed parity in block level striping. The major difference between RAID 5 and RAID 6 is that it can withstand the data loss up to two physical disks. That means even if two disks are damaged the data can be restored. If you want to create a RAID with a lot of disks, RAID 6 is really useful.

Which RAID should anyone use? The correct RAID type is based on the use and needs. Simply put, if you need pure performance and you don’t care about data recovery than you can go with RAID 0. If you are not so high on budget but data loss protection is your primary need you should use RAID 1. And if you are going to make a high performance server or NAS then you can use RAID 5 or RAID 6. Although there are other RAID types available. In this article we have only discussed the most widely used standards. Anyone should do his homework about RAID types first before using any kind of RAID system.

GETTING RAID: As RAID can be implemented by using 2 or more disks. There are 2 ways to make it possible :

RAID BY USING SOFTWARE

Modern age software can be used to make a RAID system in a PC. Windows servers support RAID 0 , 1 and 5 where as Windows 8 has introduced a new feature called storage spaces. Apple’s MAC OS X supports RAID 0 and RAID 1.

 RAID BY USING HARDWARE

Any computer user can implement RAID by using a RAID controller. These are supplied with proper drivers and firmware.


Image Credits : dariorug on Flickr, CWCS Managed Hosting on Flickr

 

Difference between JPG, PNG and other Image Formats

We are here with an interesting infographic that will help you in understanding different image formats and their Plus and minus points.

Computer files are usually stored with a file type such us most of the time music files are found in MP3 extensions and Microsoft Word Files have a DOCX at the end of their name. Images, just like music and video formats are found in various types and some of the most popular are JPG (or JPEG) PNG, GIF and BMP. To show a normal selfie you can use any of these format and all of them will work for standard photos. However not all people know that each of these image format is a lot different than the other and each of these has their own pros and cons.

Different Image Formats

Starting with the BMP format –at past used as default format for Microsoft’s really old Paint –it is the heaviest on size and does not support transparency.

Moving on to the next image format JPG (or JPEG). it is most efficient on file size, it is weaker in terms of image quality.

The PNG or Portable Network Graphics is good replacement for JPG, it also supports alpha channels, still it will cost a bit more then JPG when it comes to file size.

Getting next to GIF, the new craze in social media. It is older that what you may think and GIF supports both transparency and Frame switching.

We are here with an interesting infographic that will help you in understanding different image formats and their Plus and minus points. At the end of the day you will get to know which image format should you use to store Birthday photos of your son and which to use as logo on your website.

Know Your File Types: When to Use JPEG, GIF, & PNG

Source: WhoIsHostingThis.com

It Is Not Just a Start Menu: Windows 10 Has Much More

Windows 10 seems to be much more modern and pleasant to use than the Windows 8. In this article we will cover some new (and lesser known) features of Windows 10.

Redmond Street Giant Microsoft is doing hard work to make Windows 10 Perfect. After testing some technical previews of Windows 10 it seems to be much more modern and pleasant to use than the Windows 8. While people are taking most about the arrival of start menu back and Windowed metro apps there are a lot more new and changed features in it. We have already discussed many ways to get many new features of Windows 10 in Windows 7 or 8 in our blog post.

In this article we will cover some new (and lesser known) features of Windows 10.

Getting Windows 10 Features on Windows 8 and Windows 7

New SMOKING HOT DirectX:

DirectX has always been a part of Windows for while. It helped to get hope on PC gaming platform getting back on the right track. And gamers can now rejoice because you can expect drastic increase in gaming performance. DirectX 10 and DirectX 11 did a lot to increase gaming performance but it is being said that DirectX 12 is going to increase gaming performance way too better than the previous versions. May be more than 50%.

New Package Manager:

Those readers who have spent time installing and configuring Software using terminal in Linux know what we mean. It is being said that Windows 10 is coming with a package managing system. It can be comfortably used to install and configuring several new software. Although Package Managers are used by Power Users.

A bit enhanced Command Prompt:

No, CMD is not going to be totally revamped. It is just getting some nifty new tweaks, in Command Prompt of Windows 10 you will be able to use shortcuts to cut copy and paste text. As we all know that CTRL+C is used to copy and CTRL+V is used to paste text but in earlier command Prompt when you will try to do that in CMD in copy command ^C and in paste command will be ^V will be the result. That directly means you could not do that in Command Prompt. Thankfully this irritation is going to be removed.

Xbox Streaming is on the go with a Windows 10 PC

Windows 10 users who also own a Xbox One (not Xbox 360) you can now enjoy streaming Xbox games on your windows 10 computers. To make it more enjoyable you won’t just be able to use it to show off your gaming session but also you can use to play games on the Windows 10 PC once it is connected to Xbox One.

Although that doesn’t mean that you can install Xbox game on your desktop. You need to install it on the Xbox itself and then you can connect your PC to your home network and enjoy streaming.

Microsoft HoloLens

HoloLens (Picture below) is more than a virtual reality and it is a lot different that Google Glass. Unlike Google Glass Microsoft made HoloLens works on augmented reality. Which means you will be able to see a Mixture of both real and virtual objects in a merged environment. It is made clear that Windows 10 is going to support Microsoft HoloLens.

It Is Not Just a Start Menu: Windows 10 Has Much More

Continuum mode in Windows 10

Do you hate Charms in Windows 8? (I swear I do) despite being annoying these are pretty important for those who are using a Touch Screen. Especially on a tablet. In Windows 10 Microsoft has done some tweaks about that.

When you will be using your Windows 10 on a tablet without a mouse or keyboard you will see charms, a full screen start menu and full screen modern apps. If you plug your keyboard or mouse to the tablet you will be asked if you want to switch to desktop mode. If you agree to switch Windows 10 will automatically hide all the charms. Also apps will be running in desktop mode and start menu will no longer be maximized.

Spartan and Cortana will work together

As it is already been cleared that Microsoft is ditching its Internet Explorer and including a new web browser (code named project Spartan) and it will be fully backed by Microsoft virtual assistant Cortana. You will be able to perform searches and other stuff without touching your keyboard.

Microsoft is doing hard to make Windows 10 a worthy upgrade and after testing a few builds it seems that it is working. Windows 10 will be released in Q2 of 2015.