Some media players show pop-up notification on the desktop whenever the track changes even if the media player is minimized or not in focus. I’m not particularly fond of those, but if you are, you will love the Now Playing notification for videos playing in YouTube. If you are wondering why one should need notification when they can see for themself which video is playing, you are forgetting that YouTube is the most popular destination for listening to music.
Most users will load a video album playlist, click the play button and minimize the browser or otherwise carry on surfing. With YouTube notification, these users get the same functionality they get from their desktop media player. And here is the interesting part: these notifications are displayed on the desktop, out of the browser.
Now Playing YouTube Notification in Chrome (left) and Firefox (right).
Whenever a new video loads from the playlist, a small window pops open near the notification tray displaying the title of the song. The notifications stays just long enough for you to notice and disappears on it’s own.
Do you read End User License Agreements (EULA)? I’m pretty sure you don’t. You have probably clicked through hundreds of EULA dialogs when installing software and you haven't read a single word of any of them. Software developer and blogger Joel Spolsky once included a 40% coupon code in the EULA of one of his software, to see if anybody reads them. By the time he spilled the beans eight months later, not a single person had come forward to claim the discount. In another attempt to prove that no one reads EULAs, anti-spyware firm PC Pitstop buried a note in its own EULA, saying they would give $1,000 to the first person who emailed them at a certain address. It took four months and over 3,000 downloads before someone noticed it and sent an email and got the $1,000.
While the chances of you finding treasures in license agreements is exceedingly rare, it actually pays to read them. But EULAs are hard to read, and boring too. They are long and so full of legal jargon that no average person can fully understand them.
EULAlyzer analyzing Facebook’s terms and condition
Free software EULAlyzer makes the task a tad easier by helping you spot important information in the license agreements. EULAlyzer can analyze license agreements in seconds, and provide a detailed listing of potentially interesting words and phrases that may indicate information sharing, advertising bundles or other privacy related issue buried in the license agreement.
All you have to do is copy the text of the entire license and paste it into EULAlyzer’s analysis box and click the “Analyze” button. You can also use a handy drop target to capture the text from the dialog window. The Pro version have an option that automatically captures and analyzes EULAs.
EULAlyzer presents its findings in discreet groups and flags each item with an Interest Score. Scanning a typical license agreement for a software or website, you may find items grouped under headings such as Advertising, Promotional Messages, Third Party, Website Address, Without Notice and Pop-ups. A Goto link at the end of the item will highlight the relevant passage from the agreement. You will then have to read the highlighted passage and make your own judgment.
It's important to understand the program doesn't make any legal interpretation of the agreement, nor does it determine what is wrong or right. Neither does it explain the agreement in simpler words. What it does is help you locate clauses in the agreement that has something to do with your privacy, program usability and other problematic areas much faster than you could by reading the entire document.
NASA astronomers using the Hubble Space Telescope have worked out when precisely our Milky Way Galaxy will crash into its neighbour, Andromeda making it possible to portray, with a fair degree of accuracy, how the night sky above our head will appear 7 billion years from now. While it’s another thing, there will be no humans on Earth to witness the spectacle.
The Andromeda galaxy located some 2.6 million light-years from Earth is on a collision course with the Milky Way. The pair are being pulled together by their mutual gravity and the scientists expect them to begin to merge in about four billion years' time. A further two billion years on and they will have completely merged to appear as a single entity.
Although the galaxies will plow into each other, stars inside each galaxy are so far apart that they will not collide with other stars during the encounter. However, the stars will be thrown into different orbits around the new galactic center. Simulations show that our solar system will probably be tossed much farther from the galactic core than it is today, but our Earth and solar system are in no danger of being destroyed.
The night sky as it is today.
In 3.75 billion years Andromeda fills the field of view.
In 3.85 billion years the sky is ablaze with new star formation.
In 3.9 billion years, star formation continues.
In 4 billion years Andromeda is tidally stretched and the Milky Way becomes warped.
In 5.1 billion years the cores of the Milky Way and Andromeda appear as a pair of bright lobes.
In 7 billion years the merged galaxies form a huge elliptical galaxy, its bright core dominating the nighttime sky.
"After nearly a century of speculation about the future destiny of Andromeda and our Milky Way, we at last have a clear picture of how events will unfold over the coming billions of years," said Sangmo Tony Sohn of STScI.
For the very first time, we've been able to measure the sideways motion - in astronomy, also known as proper motion - of the Andromeda Galaxy ”
Previously, it was unknown whether the far-future encounter will be a miss, glancing blow, or head-on smashup. This depends on M31’s tangential motion. Until now, astronomers had not been able to measure M31's sideways motion in the sky, despite attempts dating back more than a century. The Hubble Space Telescope team, led by van der Marel, conducted extraordinarily precise observations of the sideways motion of M31 that remove any doubt that it is destined to collide and merge with the Milky Way.
The animation above depicts the collision between our Milky Way galaxy and the Andromeda galaxy. Hubble Space Telescope observations indicate that the two galaxies, pulled together by their mutual gravity, will crash together about 4 billion years from now. Around 6 billion years from now, the two galaxies will merge to form a single galaxy. The video also shows the Triangulum galaxy, which will join in the collision and perhaps later merge with the Andromeda/Milky Way pair.
Keeping all your installed programs up-to-date is quite a challenge. While most programs are capable of automatically updating it does so when you start the program, and you will agree that the best time to update a program isn't when you're trying to use it. You want to have your programs updated silently, in the background, when you are not using them. Since programs by their own are incapable of doing this, we have to resort to third party tools.
Here is what we’ve got. A comparison table is given at the end of this article.
Patch My PC is a small compact program which when run will scan your computer for installed application and display a list of those found. The list will highlight outdated programs in red, up-to-date programs in green and missing programs in black. Patch My PC can also detect missing Windows updates and download and install them as well.
Additional options include the ability ignore select programs, have the program delete desktop shortcuts after installing software, a startup manager and an uninstaller.
The program can patches some 56 common third party products such as Adobe Reader, Flash, Java, QuickTime, Firefox, Chrome and the usual stuff. Patch My PC couldn’t detect the majority of my programs and even the ones that it clearly supports. For instance, it failed to check Picasa and FeedDemon, Media Player Classic, Audacity, uTorrent and many others.
FileHippo Update Checker scans the computer, detects out-dated software and then prepares a webpage where you will find links to download the updated versions. However, downloading and installing the program is your job.
The program doesn't check for updates for every installed program, but it works fine when it comes common applications like browsers, media players, chat clients and the like. If you install your programs at locations other than the default, there is an option to have the program scan these custom locations.
Secunia PSI can recognize around 30,000 software products gathering update information from a variety of online sources including a user community and in-house research.
Once the scan is completed, Secunia PSI will present you with a list of issues that were detected, along with download links to updated version, additional online information and other details. Scan results lists programs that have reached the end of support and programs that require updating because the current version is insecure. The interface is a bit overwhelming and text heavy and maybe is strewn with information that users don’t need like your security score and how they compare to people using Secunia PSI near your city.
SUMo stands for Software Update Monitor. Like the rest of the lot, SUMo scans your computer and displays a list of all found programs. Upon clicking the “Check” button it will gather information about the latest software version from a “master server” and show you which software on your computer requires updating. You can sort the list by programs that are up-to-date, programs for which minor updates are available and programs for which there is a major update.
Double clicking an entry will take you to a page on the developer’s website where you will find links to download the latest version of the software from various sources like Softpedia, Download.com, and FileHippo.
R-Updater is another powerful software update program that automatically checks for the latest versions of all the installed applications on your computer. The program will show the version of the software it found on your computer, the version that is available on R-Updater’s catalogue and a “new user’s version”. There is no explanation what the “new user’s version” is, but generally this is the correct latest version of the software from the developer. Optionally, R-Updater will also show beta versions whenever available.
To update your programs, check the boxes against the software title and click on the Update button. This will open a webpage with download links to all the selected software. Downloading and installing them is again your job.
R-Updater comes with a scheduler using which you can periodically check your installed programs for update without user intervention. R-Updater can check for new versions at each system startup, daily, weekly or monthly. You can also check for new versions manually. Custom notifications for automatic scans.
Software download website Brothersoft recently released their own Updater program. Update scans of this tool is based on the huge software catalog they have. After the scan is over it will list all programs found including those that needs updating. Clicking on the Update button next to each entry will take you to Brothersoft’s listing page for the software. The scan results are fairly accurate but it did miss a couple of popular programs.
The Software Informer update client can recognize more than 2.4 million programs, and pretty accurately too. After the scan is over it will list all programs found and highlight those that needs updating. Additionally, it will also scan for installed drivers and tell you if updates for them are available as well.
At the end of the scan, the program will open a webpage wherein you will find downloads links to all your out of date programs.
Quick Comparison Table
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