Sunday, September 25, 2011

Grace Infosystems: How to do Conference Calls with Google Talk

Grace Infosystems: How to do Conference Calls with Google Talk

How to do Conference Calls with Google Talk

Google Talk is by far my favorite instant messenger to use, but for some reason I never quite understood why they restrict you from starting a conference call. This is a feature I’m sure a lot of people would appreciate, and being able to talk to multiple people simultaneously would be a great addition to the software.In the meantime however, there is a hack that you can use to do conference calls. It isn’t exactly the prettiest thing in the world because you’re going to have several instances of Google Talk running simultaneously. Here’s how it is done:
Find the shortcut that you use to open Google Talk, then right-click on it and go to Properties.

At the end of the shortcut add /nomutex which is what will let you run multiple instances of the Google Talk Client.

Now you need to open one Google Talk for each person you want to chat with. That means if you want to have a voice conversation with two other people you will need to run two instances of the client:

Now just open up a conversation window for all of your friends that you want to talk with at the same time and start chatting.

Pretty much the only bad thing about doing this is that everyone will have to do the same thing…so if there are a total of 3 people in the conversation (including yourself) then each person will need to have two instances of Google Talk open.

This is good for more than just conference calling though, this also means that you can sign-in to multiple Google accounts simultaneously. That might be useful if you have a separate account for work and a separate personal account because you can use both simultaneously.

If conference calling is really an important feature that you think Google Talk should have available, then let them know over at the Gmail suggestions page.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

A Better Way to Translate Office Documents

There are several easy ways by which you can translate your Microsoft Office documents or PDF files from one language to another.

For instance, you may upload documents to the Google Translation website, select the language translation pair and hit the Translate button. Then there’s the Translator Toolkit, also from the Google stable, where you may not only translate documents but also edit the translated material. Microsoft also offers a free utility that brings translation capabilities right into all your existing Office programs (including Outlook emails).

There’s however a limitation you should be aware of. While the Google Translate website makes it a one-click affair to translate lengthy documents, it doesn’t preserve the formatting of your documents /presentations and turns them into almost plain-text after the translation.

If you want your translated documents to look just like the original as far as formatting is concerned, give DocTranslator a try. The user interface is horrible but the tool is pretty useful. You upload a document, select a target language and within a minute or so, it will translate all the text of that document in the required language while preserving the document formatting.

To give an example, here’s the original document in English and the translated document in Hindi. If you compare the two, only the text has changed while all the styles are preserved. DocTranslater internally uses Google Translate itself and hence supports all language-pairs that are supported by Google Translate.

You may use the tool to translate PDFs, Word documents, Excel spreadsheets, PowerPoint presentations, video sub-titles, OpenOffice documents and plain text files. Here’s a video demo of the translation tool in action.

HP TopShot – A 3D Scanner for your Home

Last year, HP unveiled a new range of web-enabled printers that had an email address so you could send print jobs from any computer or mobile phone even while you were miles away from the printer. These printers, and all-in-ones, also had apps to help you print information – like maps, coloring books, news headlines - directly from the Internet without even turning on the computer.

What next? Yes, printers can be made more energy efficient, the printing speed (pages per minute) can be increased, the print quality can be improved, the cost of printing (ink consumption) can be reduced but are these “innovations” enough to excite the home consumer who often has limited printing needs? If you only print 5-10 pages in a day, none of these factors would possibly convince you to upgrade the printer.

HP’s upcoming Laser Printer - HP TopShot – does however carry that ‘wow’ factor and you’ll be quite impressed the first time you use this product (see video).

HP TopShot – 3D Scanner but 2D Printer

With HP TopShot, you can scan 3D objects – say your dull-finish DSLR camera, a watch or even a shining piece of jewelry – and it turns them into 2D pictures that you can either directly print to paper or send to the cloud (like Google Docs) as a digital image.

You just need to place the 3D object on the white surface, hit the Copy button on the 3.5” LCD screen and the scan should be ready in under a minute.

The magic happens inside that adjustable handle which is fitted with cameras and lights. As you hit the scan button, the cameras simultaneously capture multiple images of the 3D object and the internal software transforms all these images into one seamless picture.

HP TopShot, also known as HP LaserJet Pro M275, is expected to become available in US and Canada later this year while the launch in India and other Asian countries is expected to happen sometime early next year. HP executives didn’t reveal the price but, as per the official website, this 3D scanner can be yours for around $400 (see tech specs).

Technically, what HP TopShot does is equivalent to capturing an image of a 3D object with your regular digital camera and then using Photoshop to remove the background. If you have an online store, say on eBay, TopShot could actually save you a lot of time.

HP also unveiled a new range of premium printers – HP Envy – for people who use Apple products the style-conscious consumer. These are wireless AirPrint enabled printers (you can print directly from and iPad or iPhone) and, unlike the other all-in-ones, the Envy series printers are compact and the white elegant body looks really good. HP says that the Envy range is most popular among Apple users.

What’s Coming in iPhone 5, According to the Rumour Mill

This neatly-done poster from French blog NoWhereElse highlights all the rumors surrounding iPhone 5 which is expected to launch around September. Bigger screen, higher-resolution camera, 3D support.. the wish-list is endless. Thanks GottaBeMobile for the tip.

Introducing New WI-DI Wireless Display