09 March 2013

YouTube’s Redesigned Channel Layout Now Available For Everyone [Updates]



Google is bringing YouTube One Channel to the masses after month-long limited beta, and is giving all YouTube channels a slick new look that should help creators convert more viewers to subscribers. The primary focus of the update is to make channels look great on different screens and devices, be it mobile or desktop, and to help channel owners make a better brand from themselves.


Channel owners can now upload a piece of channel art that will give the channel a branded and consistent look across all devices. Google describes it as a way for channel owners to create a “visual identity” for their content, which will become identified with them and their brand. Channel owners can also create trailers for their channels, which will be visible to anyone who is not already subscribed to the channel. This is the chance for channel owners to hook in new viewers with an overall feel of what they bring to the table.



The next part of this update comes in the way content is displayed on the channel. Creators now have much more control over videos and playlists, and can fine-tune what users see when they enter the page. This should not only help channels owners get new subscribers, but should help them keep the ones they already have.


YouTube channel owners who want to switch to One Channel can go to www.youtube.com/onechannel, scroll all the way to the bottom and hi the “Get started” button. If you switch to the new YouTube One channel and decide it doesn’t work for you and your channel, Google is offering the option to switch back to the old channel design for a limited time.


Will you rush out to get the new layout? What do you think of it?


Source: YouTube


The post YouTube’s Redesigned Channel Layout Now Available For Everyone [Updates] appeared first on MakeUseOf.



Download Gmail Touch App For Windows 8



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So far, Google has released its official Search app for the newest iteration of Windows operating system and hasn’t shown any interest in developing a dedicated Gmail client for Windows 8. While it’s possible to add your Gmail account to the native Mail app, a dedicated, official app would have been awesome. PC users who’re [...]

Google Search App for Android Tests New Colors



The Google Search app for Android experiments with a new search results interface that uses soft colors: light blue and orange. Right now, the regular interface uses the same colors like the web search interface: blue (#1122CC) for links and green (#009933) for web addresses.






While it's refreshing to see new colors in the search UI, orange makes URLs stand out too much. Blogger's new interface uses a similar color for headers and important buttons.



Here's the current interface:






{ Thanks, Andrew. }


How To Install The Ubuntu Touch Preview On Your Nexus Android Device



Ubuntu is developing on a touch-focused interface for smartphones and tablets, with plans to ship Ubuntu smartphones in 2014. If you’re interested in trying it right now, there’s good news: You can install the preview release of Ubuntu Touch on a Nexus device (the Galaxy Nexus, Nexus 4, Nexus 7, or Nexus 10).


Warning: This is an early version of Ubuntu Touch. It’s been called beta, but it’s actually alpha. Many things don’t work and some apps are non-functioning placeholders containing mock-up graphics. Installing this preview release will also wipe your Nexus device’s data, so ensure you back up any important data before continuing.


If you’re still interested in trying out Ubuntu Touch and experiencing a preview of what the final Ubuntu Touch operating system will be like, feel free to continue. But be aware of what you’re getting into!


What’s Ubuntu Touch?


Ubuntu Touch is a touch interface for Ubuntu Linux designed for smartphones and tablets. Ubuntu plans on shipping Ubuntu smartphones beginning in 2014.


The most interesting feature of Ubuntu Touch is probably the way it can potentially integrate all hardware form factors into a seamless experience. The operating system can power smartphones, tablets, desktop PCs, and even smart TVs, adapting its interface to each different type of device. That’s the concept, at least. For a more in-depth explanation, watch Ubuntu’s official demonstration video below.



Prepare Ubuntu On The Desktop


We’ll be using Ubuntu on a PC to install Ubuntu Touch , as that’s the officially supported method. If you don’t have Ubuntu installed, you should be able to boot from an Ubuntu live CD and perform this process from the live Ubuntu environment without even installing Ubuntu on your computer.


To install the required software, open a terminal and run the following commands on your Ubuntu system:



sudo add-apt-repository ppa:phablet-team/tools


sudo apt-get update


sudo apt-get install phablet-tools android-tools-adb android-tools-fastboot

add-phablet-team-repository


Unlock Your Device


To install another operating system on your Nexus device, you’ll need to unlock its boot loader. Note that this step will wipe all data on your device. (If you’ve already unlocked the boot loader to install a custom ROM or root your device, you can skip this section.)


To unlock the device, first power it off completely. Next, power it on by pressing the Power, Volume Up, and Volume Down buttons all at once. It will boot into fastboot mode.


nexus-7-android-recovery


Connect the Nexus device to your computer with a USB cable, open a terminal, and run the following command:



sudo fastboot oem unlock

Confirm that you want to unlock your device, then press the Power button to boot the device. Go through the typical Android setup process until you reach the home screen.


fastboot-oem-unlock


Device Preparation


Now you’ll need to enable USB debugging on your device. The instructions here assume your device is running Android 4.2.


First, open the Settings screen and select About phone or About tablet. On the About screen, tap the Build number field seven times. You’ll see the message “Congratulations, you are now a developer” appear on the screen.


android-about-tablet-build-number


Return to the main Settings screen and select the now-visible Developer options option. Enable the USB debugging option on the Developer Options screen.


android-enable-usb-debugging


Next, run the following commands on your computer:



adb kill-server


adb start-server

Connect the Nexus device to your computer and you should see a confirmation pop-up on your device. Agree to the message. (If your Nexus device has an older version of Android, you may not see this popup.)


android-allow-usb-debugging-confirmation


On the About Phone or About Tablet screen, locate the build number you tapped earlier and write it down. You’ll need this number when you reinstall Android later.


Install Ubuntu Touch


If you’ve followed the instructions above, you should be able to install Ubuntu Touch by running the following command:



phablet-flash -b

ubuntu-on-nexus-flash-warning


This command will erase everything on your Nexus device, download the latest image of Ubuntu Touch, and install it on your device. After everything is done, your device will automatically reboot into the Ubuntu Touch environment. Be patient while the process completes.


(If you see an error message saying there isn’t enough space, uninstall some apps or remove some files from your Nexus device and try again.)


ubuntu-touch-preview


Reinstalling Android


There’s a good chance you’ll want to reinstall Android after playing with the Ubuntu Touch preview. To do so, visit the Factory Images for Nexus Devices page on Google’s website. Locate the factory image that corresponds to the build number you wrote down earlier and download it.


Extract the downloaded file, open a terminal, and cd into the extracted directory.


Connect your Nexus device to your computer and ensure it’s powered on.


Next, run the following command:



adb reboot-bootloader

After your device reboots into fastboot mode, run the following command:



sudo ./flash-all.sh

(If you see an error, be sure that you’ve extracted the factory image and that you used the cd command to enter its directory.)


This will reinstall Google’s official Android image back onto your device. After the process is complete, your Nexus device should reboot into Android.


flashing-ubuntu-on-nexus-7


If you have any trouble, you may want to consult the official installation guide on the Ubuntu Wiki.


Have you played with the Ubuntu Touch preview yet? Are you looking forward to Ubuntu phones, tablets, smart TVs, and PCs? Leave a comment and share your experience!


The post How To Install The Ubuntu Touch Preview On Your Nexus Android Device appeared first on MakeUseOf.



How to Write a Twitter Bot in 5 Minutes



Meet @DearAssistant, a Twitter bot that is like a mini version of Siri. You can tweet your questions in plan English and the bot will reply with an answer.


The Twitter bot is internally using Wolfram Alpha so there’s a whole range of questions that it can answer. Here are some questions that people have asked @DearAssistant so far:



  • How many calories are in Diet Coke? (link)

  • When was Mahatama Gandhi born? (link)

  • What is the distance between city A and city B (link)

  • Who directed the film M (link)

  • What is the price of Kindle Paperwhite (link)


Twitter Bot


You can also ask the bot for word meanings, weather conditions, language translation, to convert between time zones, date calculations (how many days until Christmas) and more.


continue reading.. Tutorial – How to Create a Twitter Bot Tweet this Share on Facebook


Digital Inspiration @labnol This story, How to Write a Twitter Bot in 5 Minutes, was originally published at Digital Inspiration on 08/03/2013 under Google Docs, Twitter, Internet.




Google Support Will Use Hangouts



Google will start to use Google+ Hangouts to provide support. The screensharing feature is especially useful because a Google employee can see what's on your computer screen, so you don't have to take screenshots.



Here's the text used by the screensharing feature:



"Would you like to share your screen with Google? By clicking 'Share my screen' button you will enable screensharing. Your microphone and camera will remain off and your computer will be visible to your Google representative. Please make sure you close anything you do not want your representative to see. To turn off screensharing at any time click the 'Stop sharing my screen' button."






It's not clear which Google service will have this option, but the wording suggests it will be limited to businesses that use services like Google+, AdWords and Google Apps.



{ Thanks, Florian. }


08 March 2013

jQuery Tutorial (Part 4) – Event Listeners



Today we’re going to kick it up a notch and really show where jQuery shines – events. If you followed the past tutorials, you should now have a fairly good understanding of the basic code structure of jQuery (and all the horrible curly braces that go with it), as well as how find elements of the DOM and some of things you can do to manipulate them. I also showed you how to access the developer console in Chrome and how you might use it to debug your jQuery code.


Events – among other uses – let you react to things that happen on the page and user interactions – clicking, scrolling, and all that fancy stuff.


What Is An Event Anyway?


For those new to programming that involves a graphical interface of some kind, events refer to any kind of interaction between the user and the application; or can be generated internally by some other process. Applications choose which events to “listen for”, and when that event is triggered, they can react in some way.


For example, tapping on your iPhone screen will generate a single “tap event” with an x,y coordinate of precisely where you tapped. If you tapped on a particular object, like a button, it’s likely that the button was listening for that event and will perform some action accordingly. If it was just a blank part of the interface, nothing was attached to the event and so nothing will happen.


Dragging your finger across the screen would generate another event, one which includes information about the start and end point of the drag movement, and perhaps the velocity. Events provide us with an easy way to react to things that happen.



Easy: Clicking


Perhaps the easiest event to listen for is the click event, fired whenever a user clicks on an element. This needn’t be a specific “button” – you can attach an event listener to anything on the screen, but as a web developer, you obviously need to make that intuitive. Creating a pseudo-button out of the letter a hidden within a paragraph of text is possible, but somewhat stupid.


The methods for attaching an event listener have changed significantly over the years as jQuery has developed, but this is the current accepted method, using on():



$(selector).on(event,action);

To listen for a “click” event on any elements with the class .clickme, and then log a message to the console containing the text of the element clicked on, you would do:



$(".clickme").on("click",function(){
console.log($(this).text());
});

You should be able to see that the action we’ve embedded here is an anonymous function which uses the this selector (which refers to whatever object jQuery is currently dealing with) – in this case, the thing that was clicked on. We then extract the text of that clicked object and log it to the console. Easy, right?


Stop The Default Action:


At some point, you’ll want to attach to something like a link or form submit button which usually does something else. In which case, it’s quite likely you don’t want that original action to be performed – instead, you want to do some fancy AJAX or special jQuery magic.


To prevent that default action from happening, we have a handy method called preventDefault. Obviously. Let’s see how that would work when dealing with a submit button for a form





$("#myForm").on("submit",function(event){
console.log(event);
event.preventDefault();
return false;
});


A few changes here – firstly, we’re attaching to the submit event instead of click. This is more appropriate when dealing with a form as the user might tab-space, hit enter, or hit a submit button – all of which would trigger the form’s default action. We’re also passing the event variable into the anonymous function, so we can refer to the event data. We’ve then used the event.preventDefault() in combination with return false to stop all the usual actions from completing.


In this case, it’s only logging the event to the console, but in reality you would probably have an AJAX handler here, which we’ll tackle in the next lesson.


Events Can Also Be Triggered By You


In the past two examples, we used the on method to listen to an event, but you can also manually trigger an event by calling it as a method instead. It’s difficult to see why you might use this to force a “click”, but makes more sense if we look at the focus event.


Focus is typically used with input fields to fire off a message when the user clicks in the box to enter text – an instructional message on the format to use, for instance. But you could also use it to force the user into the username field when the page has loaded – so they can immediately begin typing their login details.





$(document).ready(function(){
$('#username'.focus();
});


If you had also attached a focus event listener to that username field, it would also be triggered when you forced focus. Events can therefore be both triggered and listened for.



For now, practice by attaching to various events on the page – you can find a full listing of all the events available here – remember to use preventDefault if it’s a link or button, and see what output you get from the console about event data.


I’ll leave it there today as we near the end of this mini-series of jQuery tutorials. You should, by the end of it, be confident enough to throw some jQuery on your page and make it do something. Next week we’ll look at AJAX – an important part of the modern web that allows you to load and send requests in the background without interrupting the user.


As ever, feedback, questions, comments and problems welcome below, or post your questions over to our very own MakeUseOf Answers.


Image credit: Touchscreen via Shutterstock


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Show the Number of Results When Using Google Search Tools



Google used to display the list of search tools in the left sidebar, below the list of specialized search engines. Now search tools are placed below the search box and use less space. Unfortunately, when you click "search tools" and select one of the features, Google no longer shows the approximate number of search results.






It might not seem obvious, but clicking the "Search tools" button again replaces Google's advanced search options with a line that includes the number of results and the time used by Google to generate the search results page. Clicking "Search tools" doesn't disable the advanced filters, you need to click "clear" to do that.






The number of search results is a very useful information because it shows if there's enough content for your query. If Google only returns 50-100 results, you may need to remove some of the keywords, fix some mistakes, disable some of the filters. It's sad to see that Google no longer displays the number of results in the mobile interface (for both smartphones and tablets) and you need to switch to the "classic" interface to find it.



Obviously, Google can't find the exact number of search results, so it only shows an approximation truncated to the first 3 significant digits, but even this imprecise number is useful.


Advanced Uses for Google's Site: Operator



You probably know that Google's site: operator lets you restrict results to a site or domain. Search for [site:cnn.com iran] to restrict the results for "Iran" to CNN's site, search for [site:googlesystem.blogspot.com gmail tips] to find Gmail tips from this blog. You can also use the site: operator for top-level domains and search for [site:fr debussy] or [site:edu ai].



Google's site: operator is a lot more powerful than that. You can leave out some components of the address and replace them with asterisks. For example, you can find results from addresses that match this pattern: maps.*.com. Unfortunately, Google doesn't show all the results that match the pattern.






You can also find results that have URLs which start with "news." like "news.cnet.com" or "news.discovery.com". Just search for [site:news.*].






What if you want to search Amazon's international sites? Instead of typing [site:amazon.com OR site:amazon.co.uk OR site:amazon.ca OR site:amazon.de OR site:amazon.fr], just search for [site:amazon.*].






Google's site: operator also works for directories. For example, you can find last year's posts about Gmail by searching for [site:googlesystem.blogspot.com/2012 gmail].



You can even enter URLs that include parameters and leave out the parameters. Here's a way to search the Google Maps help center: [site:support.google.com/maps/bin/answer.py inurl:"hl=en" 3d]. I've used the inurl: operator to restrict the results to English pages, but it's not necessary to do that.






How to restrict the results for [imap] to answers from Google's help centers? Search for: [site:support.google.com/*/answer imap].






These tricks work for image search, as well:









YouWave: Run Android On Windows [Paid]



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Up until about a year ago, PC users had very limited options when it comes to running Android apps on Windows. Over the last few months, a couple of good applications have been released to install and run Android apps on Windows without having to install virtualization software. BlueStacks and WindowsAndroid are free programs available [...]

Windows System Control Center Adds Dozens Of Utility Tools To Your PC



Being a master of your system really means knowing what’s available to you under the hood and how to get to it. Nothing is truer when using Windows, as there are a lot of configurations available to you that can be unlocked through the registry or by other means. Windows 7 “God Mode” is a perfect example of what I’m talking about.


Sysinterals and NirSoft are just as heaven-sent, being two names that will resonate beautifully with Windows enthusiasts like myself. They put out some of the best alternative software that you’ll ever get your hands on, and I personally consider both suites to be huge contributors to the platform. Both have pumped out dozens of portable applications that truly unlock and polish certain elements of Windows. If you’re not familiar with any of their software, you need to be.


The program that I want to introduce you to today takes the power of Sysinternals and NirSoft and takes it a step further. Windows System Control Center takes managing those individual applications and makes it ridiculously easier.


Windows System Control Center


Windows System Control Center will work on any version of Windows past 2000 and comes available as a completely portable application. It allows you to install, update, and completely manage applications that you’d find in major system utility suites. The latest version focuses on the software made available by the Windows Sysinternals Suite and NirSoft Utilities.


Upon launching the application, you first need to fix your options. It’s great for them to immediately prompt the user with these options, because I’d almost always recommend that one of the first things you do with an application is look at the options and settings.



The General tab includes a lot of basic and aesthetic settings, as you can see above.



The Software tab is the most significant of the options, where you’re able to tweak the local storage path and live URL of both application suites. You’re also able to tick which pieces of Windows you’d like Windows System Control Center to be able to manage.


After Windows System Control Center has been tweaked to your liking, you will then have a massive list of applications available for you to download.



Be advised that every one of these applications is portable, and the Install button does nothing more than automatically extract each application from the archive that it’s in.



As the applications begin to “install,” you can check the folder that you set them to download to and see a heap of brand new executables.



Overall, Windows System Control Center is an awesome layer over two software suites that many Windows fans can’t live without. I’ve actually seen a Sysinternals batch script that gets their applications updated by command line, and NirLauncher is doing a great job of keeping that suite together as a group, but as of right now I definitely see Windows System Control Center as the best way to keep your applications as recent as possible. It’s a great management tool for these two software suites.


After handling downloads and updates, the main window of Windows System Control Center shows your entire library, by category, in the left pane and the applications that belong to each category in the right pane.



Windows System Control Center even offers its own console window for advanced users who are interesting in playing with the applications via command line.



Other than these small features, Windows System Control Center simply does its job of keeping your software fresh and easy to access.


If you’ve never used software from Systinternals or NirSoft, here’s a quick recap of each:


Windows Sysinternals


Sysinternals was actually created by the people at Microsoft to help power users like you and I get the most of their PC. Sysinternals software includes names like Autoruns, Process Monitor, and Process Explorer. Most of their software is very technical.


NirSoft Utilities


NirSoft is well-known for lightweight, niche applications of all sorts. Names like Mail PassView, CurrPorts, AdapterWatch, SiteShoter, and ShellExView are some of the most popular. NirSoft does a great job of pushing out applications with features that make your Windows experience much easier. While Sysinternals improves parts of Windows that already exist, NirSoft adds completely new functionality with many of their applications.


By itself, Windows System Control Center isn’t much. However, if you’re someone who already uses these two application suites or someone who is trying to make the most out of their system, Windows System Control Center is your way to constantly stay up-to-date with a massive amount of some of the best third-party software on the web.


Let us know what you think of Windows System Control Center, Sysinternals, and NirSoft in the comments.


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