gsoc-2014

Contributing to the WordPress-Android application through GSOC-2014

GSOC -2014 with WordPress-Android

Version 1.0 Copyright © 2014  Amandeep Singh

My proposal for Google Summer Of Code 2014 to WordPress open source organization.

This document describes about the ideas and suggestions sent to the wordpress organization and its mentors to consider my proposal for gsoc-2014.

Table of Contents

Idea Interested in: View Comments by Post in WordPress for iOS and Android

The WordPress for iOS and Android native apps let a user view and moderate comments from a single list. It would be nice if a user could also view and moderate comments on a post by post basis. This project would create a new feature in the iOS and Android apps to view a list of comments for a specific post, as well as view and moderate the comments in the list.

Possible Mentors: Eric Johnson, Aaron Douglas, Maxime Bais

http://codex.wordpress.org/GSoC2014#View_Comments_by_Post_in_WordPress_for_iOS_and_Android

Personal Details

Name: Amandeep Singh

Email: aman.adsm@gmail.com

Personal Website: http://kodevelop.com

Skype ID or GTalk:  Skype : aman.adsm  &  google Hangouts: aman.adsm

IRC nick:  devey

Phone number: +91 7696737368

School Name:  Guru Nanak Dev Engineering College, Ludhiana  (http://gndec.ac.in)

Years completed: 2014

PHP Experience Level: Intermediate

WordPress Experience Level: Current user and Theme developer plus Freelancer

Android Development Level: Intermediate with 10 months of internship experience and 4 apps on play store

More Details: about.me/aman.adsm

Abstract

WordPress for android (https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=org.wordpress.android) is the official app for accessing wordpress admin panel through mobile clients. The latest version 2.6 support features like quick image-video-text posts right from the phone, comments moderation, site stats, post editing, media management and many more. But there's a lot more to be added to the features list and UI/UX of the wp android client. So most part of this project and my ideas are related to UI/UX and some cool in-app functionalities only. The tweaks will provide a better and more information to the site admins within their smartphones.

Project Description

Link to project description on WordPress-powered blog:   http://kodevelop.com/wp-android_gsoc

Ideas in brief:  I wish to work upon following ideas

During GSOC

  1. Comments section: Currently there's a separate entry in the navigation drawer to view a list of all the comments and moderate them. In addition to this I would like to provide an option from the posts view also, to view all the comments related to a particular post. With this it would be easier for the site admin to interact with the readers on post by post basis and moderate comments related to particular posts.

  2. Posts section: The latest version presents a list of all the posts sorted in order by date. I would like to add more filters in the post list. Some of them can be: filter through drafts, scheduled, pending and published posts. And a sorted list of posts according to a particular category or tags.

  3. Media activity: On similar grounds I think we should convert & transfer the media_filter_spinner to a filter icon in the action bar. And display all, images, unattached and custom date options in the filter drop down menu itself.

  4. I was about to give an idea for pull to refresh also but that's already in the git development branch now.

If time permits, or after GSOC

  1. Once above said enhancements are done we can create the post activity list item more informative by displaying the featured image or post images to the left of the post title like in the famous gmail app.

  2. Instead of posts as the default selection in the navigation drawer, I would like to suggest a new 'home' option at the top of the navigation drawer item list. Like wp dashboard, the home fragment view will display shortcut links and other info. We can show total number of posts, pages and comments there. Name of the currently active theme and other quick settings plus links.

Ideas in detail and their Implementation

What I’ve done till now for these ideas:

I’m trying to understand the code, design pattern and the app structure. Learning new libraries and API’s used in the project. I want to discuss with the potential mentors about the scope and implementation details of the project. So that we can make out a proper strategy on how to get the things done and meet deadlines.

  • For comments idea I wish to add a new entry in the onItemLongClick method in the Post Action context menu. So now the user gets 5 options in the post action context menu view viz. edit post, delete post, preview post, share post and view comments as the last item. From there we can take user to the comments activity and show all the comments related to that post. Comments be can fetched using post_id(comments table) as the where condition in our new query. These are my plans after observing the sqlite database, the comments table and understanding the PostsActivity code. After discussing with mentors we can change the strategy according to the app’s design pattern if required.

  • For posts idea the strategy is to add a new menu in the Action bar, with a filter icon. A click on the Filter icon creates a drop down list with options filter by date, categories, tags, drafts, published and scheduled posts. I’ll make new queries on Post_status, mt_keywords, mt_categories, dateCreated columns present in the posts table in wordpress sqlite DB. Sorting will be done through 3 methods: filter_postStatus (published, drafts and scheduled), filter_category and filter_keywords.

  • For media activity the procedure would be the same almost.

  • I’m studying the code for implementing rest of the ideas. Like in case of new home option we’ve to make changes in the String used for the drawer list and drawerlayout. And for displaying image in the post list item we may have to modify the list  layout of the posts fragment and the adapter used  in it.

Anticipated challenges

As such I don’t think the tasks would be much challenging as I’ve already worked with most of the libraries used in the project. Working with the wp Rest API seems challenging to me as I’ve not studied the API yet. With proper mentorship and a little help I hope I’ll be able to get it. But as far as I know most of the work is on client side only so may be we don’t need to touch that part (Am I right sir ?).

Potential mentors

Unable to find any mentor on #wp-mobile & #wp-gsoc IRC channels I leave this on potential mentors. I’ve  done many team projects with and without mentors, so I’ll be comfortable with anyone.

Though Aaron sir mentioned this in one of the replies on mailing list:  “I like your suggestion of having a filter/sort feature.  As with any new feature, the user experience is key.  I'd suggest maybe drawing up a quick sketch of your suggestion to share with the IRC chat room.  It definitely would let us give you better feedback to see what you're thinking.” - I’ll soon update with a demo or a wireframe.

Schedule of Deliverables

Interim Period - March 22 to April 21 | 30 days

During this period I will discuss all the strategies on how to communicate and work with my mentors. I’ll try to get familiar with the codebase, so as to match my style with the existing design structure of the app. Will take help from the mentors also to understand the code well and discuss the methods and what changes to make for each task. Also I’ll divide my tasks for the coding period.

Community Bonding Period - April 22 to May 18 | 25 days

During this period I’ll try to get in details of various classes on which I’ve to work. Study the app backend also i.e database and rest API implementation. There are 1 or 2 libraries also which I’m not familiar with, so I’ll study about them too. During this period I’ll make a strict schedule of all the deliverables and deadlines on weekly basis after discussing with my mentors.

Before Mid term - Coding/Work Period | May 19 to June 22 | 5 weeks

My estimate is to cover the first 2 tasks during this phase.

  • view Comments from posts activity

  • post sorting/filter on the basis of post type, tag and category

After Mid term - Coding/Work Period | June 28 to August 11 |  6 weeks

  • Media activity convert form spinner or action bar menu

  • New option of home in navigation drawer

  • Display post Feature image in posts list item

Pencil Down Date - August 11, 2014

Will submit the official patch and complete all the organization requirements and program formalities.

- I’ll make a more detailed schedule once I discuss the project with my mentor.

Open Source Development Experience

  • As an Open source enthusiast  I’ve worked on open source MPICH2 library in my high performance computing(HPC) project. Here’s my github link:  https://github.com/aman-devy

  • I’ve contributed for Eclipse platform (Code recommenders snipmatch plugin) also.

  • I’ve worked on openstack and XEN server as well.

  • This would be my first full time big remote team/mentors based open source project.

Work Experience

I was inclined towards computers and programming since the beginning of my college years. During the period I worked upon many projects under different professors and with many entrepreneurs.

Particularly I learnt c/c++, php, linux, java and then shifted to android development. Also I worked on high performance computing(HPC), MPI library and implemented a beowulf cluster using open source tools  in my college lab.

Initiated a startup also with my friends (http://srocle.com). I was a lead developer there.

Then I was recruited as an intern for 6 months in a startup for android development, worked on two projects there. One was from health care sector and another was SpartanStartups. Since it was a cloud based - big data startup so I learned a lot about these new technologies as well.

Some links to my work

  1. Personal webiste: http://kodevelop.com

  2. resume :  https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B1QSvgFmX-Tnc1lkdXdEV0N4UWc/edit?usp=sharing

  3. Google Playstore: https://play.google.com/store/apps/developer?id=Mr.Singh

  4. Internship work : https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.spartanstartups

  5. StackOverflow: http://stackoverflow.com/users/1725415/aman-devy

  6. Github: https://github.com/aman-devy

Academic Experience

Current Program: I'm pursuing B.Tech in computer science, a  final year student and will complete my graduation by August 2014.  I've learnt programming in C/C++, OOPS concepts, Data Structures and Algorithms, Computer Architechure, Database management and Operating Systems during my course.

GSoC for Credit: No

References:

I worked under him in many projects related to php and java.

I was an intern here and worked on 2 live android projects.

Why WordPress

I've been working on wordpress platform since 2010. I used to host sites, do commercial projects and freelancing in wordpress. So I'm quite familiar with the platform and its code. I'm an android developer also and recently was looking for some open source project to contribute and learn new things from the same.  In 2012 & 13 I participated in KDE and Eclipse orgs in java projects. Since I'm familiar with php, java and android SDK so working with and applying all my knowledge on wp-android app will be fun.  I think wordpress would be the best organization to spend my summers with.

I plan to be a part of the organization afterwards also and wish to be a permanent committer of the project.

Additional Notes

This is a general proposal to present my ideas to the mentors. We can discuss and make changes accordingly before submitting the final proposal to google.
Thanks
Aman

 

Standard
Anatomy of Bitcoins

Crypto – Bitco, Bitcoins and Digital Cryptocurrency

Version 1.0 Copyright © 2014  Amandeep Singh
 
Bitcoins and cryptocurrencies - A brief introduction
This document describes about the latest technology trend - Bitcoins. It also mentions about the digital currency, cryptography and cryptocurrency along with some methods to mine bitcoins and become rich.
 
Bitcoins { A peer-to-peer decentralized crypto-currency }
Table of Contents

An idiot’s guide to Bitcoins (non-techies)

Bitcoin Logo

Bitcoins are much in trend these days and a hot topic among the technology enthusiasts & technopreneurs. So let’s not waste time on discussing about the hype and get started with a layman’s explanation to bitcoins itself.

Bitcoin isn’t just a currency, like dollars or euros or yen. It’s a way of making payments, like PayPal or the Visa credit card network. It lets you hold money, but it also lets you spend it and trade it and move it from place to place, almost as cheaply and easily as you’d send an email.

Bitcoin is a peer-to-peer decentralized crypto-currency. It relies on mathematics of cryptography and the combined calculating power of many computers to secure your savings against anyone wanting to take it away. There is no central issuer of bitcoins. All the bitcoin clients work together to maintain a record of every transaction in what's known as the blockchain. There are around 10,000,000 bitcoins in existence till date. The algorithm that controls bitcoin generation ensures that there will never be more than 21,000,000 in existence.

Bitcoins are stored in wallet.dat file on your computer; if you lose that wallet.dat file then you lose your bitcoins. In actuality the "private keys" of your bitcoins are stored in the wallet.dat file. The public keys of your bitcoins are the simple hashes.

In other words, bitcoin is a highly secure system of displaying a number on a piece of open source peer-to-peer software that many have downloaded. Each day humans buy and sell these numbers, called bitcoins, for other currencies and trade them for goods and services. Bitcoin's advanced cryptography ensures that bitcoins cannot be faked, counterfeited, created by rouges, or in any other way corrupt or game the system.

Bitcoin is Open-Source, Mind it !

For more details refer to their official site : bitcoin.org

Bitcoin transactions & peer management

Every Bitcoin transaction ever is recorded in a distributed database called the blockchain. The blockchain is around 3GB at this point, which is why it takes hours and hours to download to a new wallet for the first time. The blockchain is written to about every 10 minutes via the mining process. Each new block contains all the transactions that occurred since the last block. Every bitcoin miner is trying to "solve" the next block by doing a proof-of-work computer problem. The miner will know when he comes to the right answer, because it will now make mathematical sense when added to the existing blockchain. The answer will then be broadcasted to the directly connected network peers which will start to accept it and pass it on to their peers because it makes mathematical sense to them, i.e. each node "agrees" with the solution and it propagates across the worldwide network as the next block. The sum of all the bitcoin mining power in the world is called the "network hash rate." It is essentially a measure of the total computational output of all nodes across the world trying to solve the next block. The miner that solves the next block is given a reward, currently 50 bitcoins. The entire network accepts that the miner gets 50 new coins for solving the next block. And all of the transactions for the last 10 minutes or so are contained within it.

The Bitcoin network is designed to have a finite supply of 21 million Bitcoins. The system automatically regulates the generation of Bitcoins to ensure a steady growth of the currency with minimal inflation. It only exists online. It can be generated, traded and used to buy things over untraceable online transactions. Bitcoin lets you exchange money in a different way than with usual banks.

Bitcoin blends the ideas of peer-to-peer networks, public key / private key cryptography, and distributed computing power to make the bitcoin system which is one of the greatest human technical achievements. "A complete understanding of Bitcoin" could be a 400 level computing course at MIT.

These days a Bitcoin is a highly debated topic.  Some famous economists say  ' Bitcoin looks like it was designed as a weapon intended to damage central banking and money issuing banks, with a Libertarian political agenda in mind — to damage states ability to collect tax and monitor their citizens financial transactions '.

Brains behind the concept

Programmers of course !

Bitcoin was introduced in 2008 as a peer-to-peer, electronic cash system by an anonymous group of individuals who used the pseudonym 'Satoshi Nakamoto'. Satoshi can be loosely translated as wisdom or reason, so it's another clue that the name is not real. In essence, Bitcoin is a decentralised currency that is created, used and controlled by its users.

Some useful Links :

What is Bitcoin - video by weusecoins

http://bitcoin.org

When algorithms are applied to currency

Algorithms are now implemented in every field. it’s an abstract tool to perform any complex task in a certain number of easier sequential steps. Cyrpto currency is another such field where the knowledge of algorithms gave birth to a new form of currency called - digital currency, that could be used over the internet for trading or payment for services. The currency is finite in number to keep inflation rates low and uses peer-to-peer transfer technology.

bitcoin - cryptocurrency

bitcoin - cryptocurrency

It is encrypted using cryptography for security and hence cannot be easily counterfeited. It can be transferred from a computer or a smartphone to another anonymously and cannot be tracked. The value of such a currency is usually determined by supply and demand — similar to precious metals like gold.

Bitcoin ATMs

Tokyo-based Mt. Gox is the largest Bitcoin exchange there is. It’s also one of the most reliable places to buy Bitcoins. You can create an account and start buying Bitcoins using your own currency in a few minutes. The website always displays an exchange rate and can show you a chart with historical exchange rates.

If you want to see the value of a Bitcoin against your own currency, head to preev.com.

Thinking to invest in Bitcoins ?  let me help you !

Your first step is to sign up at coinbase.com, (don’t trust Indian sites) or any other international digital wallet that accepts Bitcoins. Once you sign up, you’ll get a unique Bitcoin address — essentially a long string of alphanumeric characters that you will need to use for each Bitcoin transaction.

Note that creating a Bitcoin address is free and they can even be created offline using freely available software tools such as Armory (bitcoinarmory.com). Each Bitcoin address is also case sensitive, which means that manually entering it during a transaction is not advisable.

Think you’re cool if you own Bitcoins ?

Oh yes !   you are.

Being a digital currency, you can easily carry thousands of Bitcoins in your phone or any sort of electronic storage device. Any transaction you do using Bitcoins is untraceable and there are no taxes involved. Isn’t it cool ?

Unlike physical currency, Bitcoins cannot be easily stolen because theft requires access to your authorized physical device to transfer them.

You should also know that once you transfer or receive bitcoins, the transaction cannot be reversed because the 'ownership' of the Bitcoins changes instantly. Lastly, there is no restriction on age or country for a person to use Bitcoins — it is not liable to any government or financial institution making it accessible to everyone

I’ve stashed hundreds(thousands for some cool guys) of bitcoins in my digital wallet. What to do with them ?

People who bought even a few hundreds of bitcoins 3-4 years back are now millionaires.

If you own bitcoins and want to use Bitcoins on international websites, you can use them for donations and purchases. You can also view physical stores all over the world that accept Bitcoins on www.coinmap.org. There's no harm in trying to mine some Bitcoins yourself and if the value jumps, you'll end up with more than you thought you had.

There are a number of places where you can spend Bitcoins. If you’re a user of WordPress or popular websites like Reddit, 4Chan, The Pirate Bay, EZTV and The Internet Archive, you can use Bitcoins to make donations. If you’re into online storage, you can upgrade the 50GB free storage that Kim Dotcom’s Mega.co.nz offers with Bitcoins.

If you like trying your luck, you can try Bitcoin gambling at places like www.satoshibet.com and www.bc-casino.com. And just a little bit of digging will even throw up shopping websites like www.somethinggeeky.com that accept Bitcoin payments.

Gamblers and Peddlers out there : Bitcoin is not anonymous

Some effort is required to protect your privacy with Bitcoin. All Bitcoin transactions are stored publicly and permanently on the network, which means anyone can see the balance and transactions of any Bitcoin address. However, the identity of the user behind an address remains unknown until information is revealed during a purchase or in other circumstances. This is one reason why bitcoin addresses should only be used once. Always remember that it is your responsibility to adopt good practices in order to protect your privacy.

Oh no !   There’s a Trap

The biggest pitfall with Bitcoin is the volatility. Within this calendar year itself(2013),  Bitcoins have been valued at 8 USD to 1 BTC while at the time of writing, it’s actually closer to 1000 USD per Bitcoin. Since supply and demand of Bitcoins is not monitored by any central authority (what some consider its main advantage ), there is low liquidity.

Add to that the problems with any digital currency (frequent hacking attempts, confusion among buyers/users, oscillating interest levels) & you end up with high volatility. And since Bitcoin transactions are not easily traceable, they can be used for laundering money and for all manner of illegal online transactions such as buying drugs or illegal databases.

See why you never store bitcoins on the internet : http://www.wired.com/wiredenterprise/2013/11/inputs/

Also rising bitcoin value may initiate deflationary recursion in the world economies. Falling prices sound like a good thing, but they're not. ‘ When prices fall, people put off buying things. And when people put off buying things, companies put off investing. And then the economy slumps—and keeps slumping. Even worse, people are stuck trying to pay back debts that don't fall with wages that do. So bankruptcies pile up, and so do bank losses. That makes people too scared to borrow, and banks too scared to lend, which only makes prices fall even more… and the recursive cycle continuous ’. You’ve to study economics to get a real picture of bitcoin market.

Hope I’m able to put you in a dilemma/risk, that whether one should invest in bitcoins or it’s just a bubble.

Who’s offering Bitcoins as a free lunch

Broadly, there are three ways to get Bitcoins without actually converting them from another currency. You can visit websites like bitcoins4.me & thefreebitcoins.com to simply get free Bitcoins periodically (actually you only get some Satoshi, usually every 30 minutes). These websites are colloquially referred to as ‘faucets’ because they keep giving out Bitcoins for very little effort. They earn money from advertisers and share a small portion of that with visitors.

They usually don’t work if you have ad-blocking extensions installed in your web browser. If you have an ad-blocker installed, a notification will ask you to disable it so that you can receive the payments. The second way to earn Bitcoins is by renting out a portion of your computer’s CPU power at coingeneration.com (aka Digital Generation) in return for Bitcoin payments.

The amount you get is usually very small and you need to evaluate the cost of powering your computer vs the amount of Bitcoins you earn. If you have a more powerful computer with dedicated graphics card(s), you could earn more by using GPU mining. There are also hundreds of websites where you can watch videos or visit other websites to earn Bitcoins. Search for ‘Bitcoin mining’. As always, you start by signing up and entering a previously generated Bitcoin address.

Let’s mint ‘em at home

Mining is a process of generating new Bitcoins by solving a mathematical problem. By mining you let your computer generate pseudo-random numbers according to certain rules, and if your random number is small enough, you solve a Block, and get to keep a reward associated with it.

  • Best way to get your feet wet with mining, is to do the following :
  • Join a mining pool, like Slush's Pool .
  • Download a mining software, like the GUI Miner.
  • Using the credentials from the pool, configure your miner and click "Start mining".
  • It's that easy! Now you can let your computer earn money for you!
  • After you let your computer crunch the numbers for awhile, you should look into either transferring them to your Wallet, or selling them for real money.
  • In order to get your own Wallet, download the Bitcoin Client from here - Bitcoin.org.
  • As that might be a bit of a hassle at times, you might consider using an online Wallet, like StrongCoin.
  • If you want to sell your Bitcoins, you should check out an exchange, like MtGox.

Here's a detailed guide to mining bitcoins from your windows laptop or pc : http://www.newslobster.com/random/how-to-get-started-using-your-gpu-to-mine-for-bitcoins-on-windows

Bitcoin’s Future : Bankrupters or Bankboosters ??

‘Bitcoin won’t be able to remain an unregulated currency for long’  –  US govt.

In theory, it could be a threat to PayPal, to Western Union, even to Visa and Mastercard. With Bitcoin, you can move money anywhere in the world without paying the fees.

According to mathematical calculations there's a predetermined number of bitcoins that will only grow at a low rate until 2040—and then stop. So if you’re really into making money through bitcoins, then upgrade your GPUs - load up your rigs and start mining them at full throttle.

Not delving into more details, I would only suggest you to take risks and have faith in technology or do what your heart says.

 

Don’t forget to donate some bitcoins if the information was useful. Here’s my bitcoin address :  1FuEWQnPZwrWutpnoRUzQqWrrG6xUvQChJ

 

 

Standard
MS in CS from US

GRE, Graduate Record Examination : Must know facts esp for Indians

Version 1.0 Copyright © 2012, 2013, 2014  Amandeep Singh
Everything a GRE aspirant should know about the revised general test
This document describes about the revised GRE general test, its pattern and other relevant information related to the test.
Table of contents
  


  1. Introduction

GRE Graduate Record Examination is a compulsory test required to get admitted in any of the US universities to pursue higher studies like MS. GRE is an adaptive kind of test, and a score of above 315 /340 is considered excellent. With this much score, a candidate can easily get admission into a top US university. But mind it not only the GRE score contributes to the admission success, but the other things too like academic performance GPA, work experience, projects and research work done.
Also the letters of recommendation and the statement of purpose play a major role in getting an admit from a US top university.

  1. USA Education System

The first level of higher education in USA is referred to as the  ‘undergraduate’ level; it awards a Bachelor of Arts (BA) or Bachelor of Science (BS) degree. Most USA study programs for undergraduates require four years of study, and a completed secondary school education is sufficient to enroll as an undergraduate student. First-, second- and third-year college students can transfer into U.S. undergraduate degree programs and finish the  remainder of their program over there. Graduate education in the USA refers to Master of Arts (MA), Master of Science (MS), or Doctorate of Philosophy (PhD) degrees. Students who have completed their undergraduate education are eligible to apply to graduate programs. Master’s degrees in the USA are usually awarded after two years of study. The Ph.D. is the highest academic degree amongst American study programs. This degree follows a Master’s (or Graduate) degree, and typically requires at anywhere between three to six years.

  1.  Overview of revised GRE test pattern

The overall testing time for the computer-based GRE® revised General Test is about " three hours and 45 minutes." There are six sections with a 10-minute break following the third section.

Verbal Reasoning — Measures your ability to analyze and evaluate written material and synthesize information obtained from it, analyze relationships among component parts of sentences and recognize relationships among words and concepts.

Quantitative Reasoning — Measures problem-solving ability, focusing on basic concepts of arithmetic, algebra, geometry and data analysis.

Analytical Writing — Measures critical thinking and analytical writing skills, specifically your ability to articulate and support complex ideas clearly and effectively. 

Structure of the Computer-based Test

MEASURE

NUMBER OF QUESTIONS

ALLOTTED TIME

Analytical Writing(One section with two separately timed tasks)

One "Analyze an Issue" task and one "Analyze an Argument" task

30 minutes per task

Verbal Reasoning(Two sections)

20 questions per section

30 minutes per section

Quantitative Reasoning(Two sections)

20 questions per section

35 minutes per section

Unscored¹

Varies

Varies

Research²

Varies

Varies

 

The Analytical Writing section will always be first. The Verbal Reasoning, Quantitative Reasoning and unidentified/unscored sections may appear in any order.

  • Analytical Writing (Always comes first inthe exam)

  • Verbal Reasoning (Total 2 sections in exam)

  • Quantitative Reasoning (Total 2 sections inexam)

  • Unscored Section (not disclosed)

  • Research Section (disclosed..Always comesat the end)

Breaks in revised GRE:
Only one big break of 10 minutes after section 3 Small breaks of 1 minute between sections.

  1. Sample revised GRE pattern Examples

Depending on the various permutations, you can get one of the following three sample examples for revised GRE. Depending on unscored or research section, we can list out still more combinations, but for understanding purpose, I have enlisted three major revised GRE pattern examples for your reference.

Sample1 
Section 1: AnalyticalWriting – 2 tasks (1 hour)
Section 2: Verbal Reasoning (30 minutes)
Section 3:Quantitative Reasoning (35 minutes)
Break: 10minutes
Section 4:Verbal Reasoning (30 minutes)
Section 5:Quantitative Reasoning (35 minutes)
Section 6: Research Section (35 minutes)

Sample 2
Section 1: Analytical Writing – 2 tasks(1 hour)
Section 2: VerbalReasoning (30 minutes)
Section 3: Quantitative Reasoning (35 minutes)
Break: 10 minutes
Section 4: Verbal Reasoning (30 minutes)..
Unscored
Section 5: Quantitative Reasoning (35 minutes)
Section 6: Verbal Reasoning (30 minutes)

Sample 3
Section 1: Analytical Writing – 2 tasks(1 hour)
Section 2: Quantitative Reasoning (35 minutes)..
Unscored
Section 3: VerbalReasoning (30 minutes)
Break: 10 minutes
Section 4: Quantitative Reasoning (35 minutes)
Section 5: Verbal Reasoning (30 minutes)
Section 6: Quantitative Reasoning (35 minutes)

  1. The revised GRE scoring system

 GRE is no longer an exam with 1600 maximum marks. It is now scored on 340 score scale.

Maximum marks in revised GRE: 340
Verbal Reasoning Score scale: 130-170 (1 pt increment)
Quantitative Reasoning Score scale: 130-170 (1 pt increment)
Analytical Writing Score: 0-6 (0.5 pt increment)

Important facts about revised GRE scoring

  1. Revised GRE is section level adaptive for Verbal and Quantitative sections. Thus the difficulty level of the second section of Verbal or Quant is based on your performance in the first section.

  2. Revised GRE raw score is the number of correct answers (e.g. 25 out of 40). This score is scaled into a final score in the above scoring range based on the difficulty level of the sections.

  3. In one section, all the 20 questions are fixed. In old GRE, difficulty level of next question was based on performance of previous question. No such adaptive questioning in revised GRE.

  4. Analytical writing section is evaluated manually by trained readers. Average of scores given by two readers becomes your final score.

  5. Aim to achieve score in excess of 155 in Verbal and 160 in Quant, a total score>315. This will ensure your admit in a good University with a chance of financial aid.

  6. Revised GRE scores are valid for 5 years from the date of examination.

 

Revised GRE score reporting

  1. Revised GRE scores for Verbal and Quantitative sections are calculated immediately after the completion of the test and you will get a final score out of 340 for these sections

  2. Final revised GRE test scores along with Analytical Writing section and percentiles are updated 10-15 days after the exam date.

  3. Final revised GRE test scores hard copy will be mailed to your address and you will receive it after 4-6 weeks after the exam depending on your locality.

 

  1.  Detailed analysis of each section

Verbal Reasoning

The Verbal Reasoning section measures your ability to:

  • analyze and draw conclusions from discourse; reason from incomplete data; identify author's assumptions and/or perspective; understand multiple levels of meaning, such as literal, figurative and author's intent

  • select important points; distinguish major from minor or relevant points; summarize text; understand the structure of a text

  • understand the meanings of words, sentences and entire texts; understand relationships among words and among concepts Featuring new types of questions, the Verbal Reasoning section measures your ability to understand what you read and how you apply your reasoning skills.

 

 Quantitative Reasoning

The Quantitative Reasoning section measures your ability to:

  • understand quantitative information

  • interpret and analyze quantitative information

  • solve problems using mathematical models

  • apply basic mathematical skills and elementary mathematical concepts of arithmetic, algebra, geometry, probability and statistics With increased emphasis on data interpretation and real-life scenarios, this section has new types of questions that require you to show your quantitative reasoning ability. To reduce the emphasis on computation,
    the computer-based test includes an on-screen calculator. And, if you are taking the paper-based test, a calculator will be provided at the test center.

 

 Analytical Writing

The Analytical Writing section measures your ability to:

  • articulate complex ideas clearly and effectively

  • support ideas with relevant reasons and examples

  • examine claims and accompanying evidence

  • sustain a well-focused, coherent discussion

  • control the elements of standard written English

The Analytical Writing section requires you to provide focused responses based on the tasks presented, so you can accurately demonstrate your skill in directly responding to a task.

  1. Must know facts about GRE

The GRE® revised General Test is administered throughout the world in the following formats:

computer-based test and paper-based test.

Effective July 1, 2012, the GRE revised General Test has one global price for all test takers worldwide, regardless of where they test. The new test administration fee for the GRE revised General Test is US$175 worldwide. This new price reflects a decrease in the test fee in many regions. If you test in Mainland China, Hong Kong, Taiwan or Korea, the test is
now taken in one session, all on the same day. There are 1–3 fixed test dates per month giving you more test dates from which to choose. In areas of the world where the computer-based test is not available, a paper-based test is administered. The paper-based GRE revised General Test is administered up to 3 times a year in October, November and February.
Scores are sent approximately 6 weeks after your test date.

performance on the first verbal and math sections determine the difficulty of the second sections shown.

The computer-based GRE General Test consists of seven sections. The
first section is always the analytical writing section involving separately timed issue and argument tasks. The next five sections consist of two 
verbal reasoning sections, two quantitative reasoning sections, and either an experimental or research section. These five sections may occur in any order.

The experimental section does not count towards the final score but is not distinguished from the scored sections.

 the examinee is free to skip back and forth within sections. The entire testing procedure lasts about 3 hours 45 minutes. One minute breaks are offered after each section and a 10 minute break after the third section.

 In a typical examination, each verbal section consists of 20 questions to be completed in 30 minutes. Each verbal section consists of about 6 text completion, 4 sentence equivalence, and 10 critical reading questions.

The verbal test and quantitative test are scored on a scale of 130-170, in 1-point increments.

 In a typical examination, each quantitative section consists of 20 questions to be completed in 35 minutes.Each quantitative section consists of about 8 quantitative comparisons,
9 problem solving items, and 3 data interpretation questions.

The analytical writing section consists of two different essays, an "issue task" and an "argument task". The writing section is graded on a scale of 0-6, in half-point increments. The essays are written on a computer using a word processing program specifically designed by ETS.
The program allows only basic computer functions and does not contain a spell-checker or other advanced features. Each essay is scored by at least two readers on a six-point 
holistic
scale. If the two scores are within one point, the average of the scores is taken. If the two scores differ by more than a point, a third reader examines the response.

The experimental section, which can be either a verbal, quantitative, or analytical writing task, contains new questions ETS is considering for future use. Although the experimental section does not count towards the test-taker's score, it is unidentified and appears identical to the scored sections.

Because test takers have no definite way of knowing which section is experimental, it is typically advised that test takers try their best on every section. Sometimes an identified research section at the end of the test is given instead of the experimental section.

 There is no experimental section on the paper-based GRE.

An examinee can miss one or more questions on a multiple-choice section and still receive a perfect score of 170. Likewise, even if no question is answered correctly, 130 is the lowest possible score.

 

  1. How to score good in Analytical Writing Section

The Analytical Writing measure tests your critical thinking and analytical writing skills. It assesses your ability to articulate and support complex ideas, construct and evaluate arguments, and sustain a focused and coherent discussion. It does not assess specific content knowledge.

The Analytical Writing measure consists of two separately timed analytical writing tasks:

The Issue task presents an opinion on an issue of general interest followed by specific instructions on how to respond to that issue. You are required to evaluate the issue, consider its complexities and develop an argument with reasons and examples to support your views.

The Argument task requires you to evaluate a given argument according to specific instructions. You will need to consider the logical soundness of the argument rather than agree or disagree with the position it presents.

The two tasks are complementary in that one requires you to construct your own argument by taking a position and providing evidence supporting your views on an issue, and the other requires you to evaluate someone else's argument by assessing its claims and evaluating the evidence it provides.

Individuals taking the computer-based test will use a basic word processor developed by ETS. The basic word processor contains the following functionalities: insert text, delete text, cut-and-paste and undo the previous action. Tools such as a spell checker and grammar
checker are not available in the ETS software, largely to maintain fairness with those examinees who must handwrite their essays at paper-based administrations.

 

  1. Preparing for the Analytical Writing Measure

Everyone — even the most practiced and confident of writers — should spend some time preparing for the Analytical Writing measure before arriving at the test center. It is important to understand the skills measured and how the tasks are scored. It is also useful to review the scoring guides, sample topics, scored sample essay responses and reader commentary for each task.

The tasks in the Analytical Writing measure relate to a broad range of subjects — from the fine arts and humanities to the social and physical sciences — but no task requires knowledge of specific content. In fact, each task has been tested by actual GRE® test takers to ensure that it possesses several important characteristics, including the following:

  • GRE test takers, regardless of their field of study or special interests, understood the task and could easily respond to it.

  • The task elicited the kinds of complex thinking and persuasive writing that university faculty consider important for success in graduate school.

  • The responses were varied in content and in the way the writers developed their ideas.

Published Topic Pools for the Analytical Writing Measure

To help you prepare for the Analytical Writing measure, the GRE
Program has published the entire pool of tasks from which your test
tasks will be selected. You might find it helpful to review the Issue
and Argument pools:

 

  1.  Test-taking Strategies for the Analytical Writing Measure

Before taking the GRE® revised General Test, review the strategies, sample topics, essay responses and reader commentary for each task contained in this section. Also review the scoring guides for each task. This will give you a deeper understanding of how readers
evaluate essays and the elements they're looking for in an essay.

  • It is important to budget your time. Within the 30-minute time limit for the Issue task, you will need to allow sufficient time to consider the issue and the specific instructions, plan a response and compose your essay.

  • Within the 30-minute time limit for the Argument task, you will need to allow sufficient time to consider the argument and the specific instructions, plan a response and compose your essay. Although the GRE readers who score your essays understand the time constraints under which you write and will consider your response a first draft, you still want it to be the best possible example of your writing that you can produce under the testing conditions. 

  • Save a few minutes at the end of each timed task to check for obvious errors. Although an occasional spelling or grammatical error will not affect your score, severe and persistent errors will detract from the overall effectiveness of your writing and lower your  score accordingly.

 

  1. When to apply for MS in US univ and when to take GRE TOEFL tests

The academic year in the United States generally lasts nine months, from late August or early September until the middle or end of May, and it may be divided into two (Fall and Spring) or three,(Fall,Spring,Summer) academic terms depending on the institution.

Most of the application deadlines start in late November and early December and can extend to March and even April for some universities. It is advisable to take exams before the end of October so that you have time to get your other documents ready and shortlist your universities too.

The GRE score is valid only for five years. If you want to pursue Master's Degree in the US, immediately after completing your B.Tech, you can appear for GRE test either in the third year (sixth semester) or at the beginning of the fourth year (seventh semester) of B.Tech. Along with GRE, you should also prepare and take TOEFL, conducted by the ETS. TOEFL ensures your English language skills. To fare well in these examinations, your learning should be beyond the prescribed syllabus.

If you are looking for fall admission then you should appear for GRE not late by October 1st week or earlier.

best time to write GRE is during August-October and apply for fall (August/September) session next year.

Most top schools of US have deadline in mid of December.

So this means... write gre in august to october ... apply in the months of september to december. Some univ may extend their deadlines to january or february also. Then start your session in August(fall) next year. Aspirants can also take their tests a bit earlier in june-july if prepared, so that can get a retake chance. therefore students from India should take GRE in between semester 6 or 7.

sample plan for fall semester:

// gather information in march-april
// take TOEFL in may or june
// take gre in july to august
// wait for results
// shortlist your universities in august to september
// send applications in september-october or till december
// apply for visa in june to august- next year
// course starts in september (fall)

So in a nutshell you should start preparing a year ahead to get enrolled in a good US univ.

 

  1. Visa application process for US

Types of US Student Visas

There are three categories of visas available for education in the USA:

(1) F-1 (Student Visa): The F-1 visa is for full-time students who want to study in the USA and are enrolled in an academic or language program. Students holding an F-1 visa can stay in the USA for the full length of their academic program plus 60 days. Students must
maintain a full-time course load and complete their studies by the expiration date listed on their I-20 form. Apply for a multiple entry F-1 student visa, as you will be able travel between US and India any number of times while pursuing a program.

 

  1. M Visa (Non-Academic or Vocational Studies): This visa is appropriate for people who want to study or train at a non-academic institution in the USA, such as an apprenticeship or a finishing school.

 

(3) J-1 (Exchange Visitor Visa): The J-1 visa is issued o students who need practical training that is not available in their home country in order to complete their academic program. The training must be directly related to their academic program. In the J-1 visa, the student is obliged to return to their home country for a minimum of two years after the end of their studies in the USA before becoming eligible to apply for an immigrant (permanent residence) visa.

Permission to work in USA

Students applying for a student working visa in the USA should know that students are generally not eligible for employment during their first year of study. A student work permit can, however, be obtained on the  approval of the school’s administration.

 

  1. Conditions for applying for a US Student Visa

1.    Acceptance by University: This is the most basic condition for applying for a student visa to the USA. After getting admitted to a university, you will be sent the Certification of
Eligibility Form (Also called the I-20 Form); that needs to be filled and submitted at the time of the interview.

2.    Knowledge of the English Language is a must for getting student visa to the US. To establish their knowledge of English, applicants are encouraged to take the “Test of English as a Foreign Language” (TOEFL). This is available in many Indian cities.

3.    Financial Resources: Since a student visa for US is a non-immigrant type of a visa, one has to provide proof of sufficient funds to cover the total education and living costs while pursuing any USA study programs. A student must show evidence of readily
available funds to meet all expenses for the first year and of the availability of funds for the following years from reliable financial resources. To satisfy this requirement, applicants may show that funds are available from the university, from their own personal resources, or
from sponsors (normally a very close relative) who have agreed to pay for their education. If the support is from the university, in the form of a scholarship or assistantship, it is usually mentioned on the I-20 form.

4.    Non-Immigrant Intent: It is difficult to prove that one intends to return to India after completing their education in USA because by law, all non-immigrants are viewed as “intending immigrants.” This means that the visa officer is under the assumption
that applicants will be going to the US and will try to remain in the US permanently. Hence one should carry documents that demonstrate strong financial and other ties to India and convince the consul of one’s intent to return. Such documents may include:

a.    Proof of land ownership.

b.    Letters demonstrating future roles in a family business, academic
institution, government agency, or professional organization from
appropriate parties.

c.    Mention if other family members have studied in the U.S. and returned.

 

Acquiring a US visa is a not easy. If, however, while making the application one keeps all the required documents at hand and follows the rules diligently, it can hasten the process. It is advisable to file one’s application for student visa immediately after receiving form
I-20. For a student visa the interview can be arranged up to 120 days before the course at the university begins and the student can enter the US 30 days prior before his/her classes begin.

 

  1.  How to get a Student Visa?

1. Pay the fee: The first step in filing one’s  application for a student visa is the payment of the application fee (currently US $100 or INR 4,600), and the VFS service charge at a
designated branch of HDFC Bank.

2. I-20 and SEVIS charges: Before the visa interview, the applicant must have received an I-20 document from the university granting them admission. The applicant must make a payment to the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) registration
system.

3. Schedule an interview: The interview can be scheduled online at http://www.vfs-usa.co.in/. One will need to use the barcode number from the HDFC Bank fee receipt in order to schedule an appointment. The applicant will be required to fill the DS-156, DS-157, and DS-158 forms and wait 48 hours after paying the fee before booking
an appointment.

4. Report for the interview: The next step is to report to the US Embassy or Consulate where the appointment for a visa interview is scheduled.

In the personal visa interview, it is important to convince the visa officer of the availability of the necessary funds to cover the cost of education in USA, and prove the presence of strong ties to India to show the applicant does not intend to immigrate. While answering questions in the visa interview; be brief and to the point. Remember, during the consular officials want to hear from the applicant, and it is advisable not to take any family member along for the interview.

 

When appearing for the student visa interview, carry the following documents:

1.    Passport having validity of at least six months.

2.    Original HDFC Bank Fee Receipt with its two barcode stickers.

3.    Interview appointment letter.

4.    I-20 form, and the admission letter from the University mentioning the total cost of education in the USA (If you have received admission letters/rejection letters from more than one university, carry all of them).

5.    Evidence of scholarship / aid / grant, if any.

6.    Sponsorship letter.

7.    Educational certificates, degrees, diplomas, and mark sheets.

8.    Score reports of TOEFL and GRE / GMAT / SAT.

9.    Work experience certificate/reference letter from employer.

10.  Bank statements / pass books of the sponsors for the last three years.

11.  Summary statement of assets and total income of family members.

12.  Income tax papers of the sponsor and his family for the last 3 years.

13.  Proof of all movable and immovable assets.

 

 

  1. Types of work permits in US & US citizenship

CPT/OPT/H1B Work permits

CPT is the work permit that you get during your education in USA. After your Education you will get OPT work permit to work for any employer in USA. OPT period will be for 12 or 29 months depending upon your major /branch of study. During the OPT your employer should 09  sponsor for H1B (work permit) visa for you. You can stay in USA at max for 6 years on H1B visa.

Green card & US Citizenship:

During your stay in USA on H1B, you can ask your employer to sponsor green card for you to become permanent resident of US. After that you can also apply for US Citizenship.

So start preparing early and good luck !!

Standard

Returning to blogging again, but this time with a change and as a serious+mature programmer

Version 1.0 Copyright © 2012, 2013 Amandeep Singh
Returning to blogging again, but this time with a change and as a serious+mature programmer
This document describes about me and the stuff I'll be blogging in the coming days. Mostly I'll be doing programming only and some open source work.

 

After an year or so, I'll be again writing for my blog and will make it a habit to post regularly. And this time only the original stuff ... no more copy-pastings and no syndications.

So from now onwards I'll be blogging here about whatever technical & non-technical I'm doing. More importantly the blog posts will be computer-technology/programming/coding oriented as my passion for the same has increased manifold now but seldomly I'll be writing about other personal stuff as well.

Over the years, a person's interests changes/priorities change/ goals and objectives also changes, So as mine. But still I'm more inclined towards my computer and this is the thing I'm sure about is not going to change over the time. Now I'm more technically sound and tech-loving, also my love for open source technologies and FOSS has increased.

In the last 6 months,
one another change I observed in me is, I'm attracted to entrepreneurs, entrepreneurships, technopreneur and other such terms. I'll be sharing my experience with such things in later posts, but for now Yes I love startups, excited to do one in future and recently tried my hands at one of the friend's startup as well. Startups are cool, BUT they are risky plus frustrating too.

In The next 6 months I'll be:
-doing java
-building android apps
-spending my time with a small home-server named Devey.
-contributing to an open source project on Eclipse framework named Code Recommenders and
-preparing for GRE and lots of other freaky things.

So that's all for now.
keep surfing !!

Standard

Targeting the Right App – the Secret to Success

Targeting the Right App - the Secret to Success:

There are two types of people in this world: The no-frills type and the bells & whistles type. I've always said that we'd like for our friends and colleagues to think we're no-frills at heart. But let's be realistic: Deep down, most of us are in the bells & whistles camp. We're people who want our new car to be equipped with satellite navigation and a keyless entry system. We scour stores to find the coolest gadgets and the fanciest equipment for our homes. And yes, we consume amazing apps that dazzle the senses, including those that allow us to experience TV shows, movies, music, sports and lifestyle videos from top magazines such as Conde' Nast Traveler, on our tablets, PCs, X-box and televisions at the same time. In fact, The Wall Street Journal recently reported that the business of writing and selling applications for PCs alone is on its way to becoming a $25 billion a year industry. That's a lot of bells & whistles!

Standard

Samsung Galaxy S4’s build quality is bad

HTC: Samsung Galaxy S4's build quality is bad. Phones, Samsung, HTC, Samsung Galaxy S4, HTC One 0

HTC has joined Apple in bashing the new Samsung Galaxy S4. The Taiwanese manufacturer issued a statement essentially slating the handset for its plastic build quality.
“With a continuation of a plastic body and a larger screen being the most obvious physical change, Samsung's new Galaxy pales in comparison to the all-aluminium unibody HTC One. This is more of the same," it said.
“HTC remains the best option for those people looking for the best technology wrapped in premium design. Our customers want something different from the mainstream, who appear to be the target for the Galaxy. Our customers want original cutting-edge technology, mouthwatering design and a premium feel from their mobiles, which is why we created the HTC One.”
The problem HTC faces is that, despite all its complaining, the Samsung Galaxy S4 is going to be a big seller. The last flagship handset from Samsung drove the manufacturer to the fore in the mobile market and this latest one won't be any different.
The spec sheet alone, with its 8-core processor, reads more like a computer than a mobile phone. Either way, we will see if HTC's grumblings have any foundation when we get our hands on the new phone for a full review.

Standard

Intel Releases Linux Graphics Drivers Installer

Intel Releases Linux Graphics Drivers Installer:

Intel Open Source Technology Center

Intel has released a tool that allows Linux users to easily install the latest graphics drivers to ensure the best user experience with Intel graphics hardware.

The first public Intel Linux Graphics Installer release has been made available for download a few days ago and it currently supports Ubuntu (12.04 and 12.10 for now) and Fedora (17 and 18). By looking at the package changelog, it seems this has been under internal testing since October, 2012.
In my test, I was unable to use the Intel Linux Graphics Installer tool to upgrade the Intel graphics drivers under Ubuntu 12.10 64bit due to some issues with multiarch dependencies and it seems this affects other users too (this shouldn't occur on 32bit, however, I was unable to test in on 32bit since this doesn't work in VirtualBox). Hopefully, this will be fixed soon. Unfortunately, this means I can't fully test the Intel Linux Graphics Installer for now so I can't tell you if everything works properly after the driver upgrade so, especially if you're on 64bit, you should wait and not install this yet. I'll post a new article when this is fixed.
If you want to use Intel's new Linux Graphics Installer, download and install the deb or rpm package for your Ubuntu or Fedora version and architecture, then launch it from the menu / Dash or via command line ("intel-linux-graphics-installer") and use it to upgrade your Intel graphics drivers:

Intel Linux Graphics Installer

Intel Linux Graphics Installer
The tool will automatically add a repository which will be used to install the drivers and will allow you to automatically receive future updates.
Intel Linux Graphics Installer doesn't automatically add the repository key but there are instructions on how to add it under Ubuntu and Fedora on the downloads page.

Update: It seems the bold text above isn't enough so here's again, in bold + red: do not install this on Ubuntu 64bit yet (I don't know about Fedora and Ubuntu 32bit, but on Ubuntu 64bit, there are some multi-arch dependency issues which can break you system)!

Standard

The BIOS Explained: Boot Order, Video Memory, Saving, Resets & Optimum Defaults

The BIOS Explained: Boot Order, Video Memory, Saving, Resets & Optimum Defaults:
bios explainedYour computer’s BIOS (basic input/output system) is the low-level software that starts when you boot your computer. It performs a POST (power-on self test), initializes your computer’s hardware, and passes control over to the boot loader on a connected device. The boot loader then boots your operating system – Windows, Linux, or whatever else you’re using. The BIOS has a setup screen, which is used to configure a variety of low-level system settings.
Note that you shouldn’t change settings in the BIOS unless you know what you’re doing. We’ll walk you through modifying some of the most commonly-used settings – like your boot order – but you could potentially change low-level CPU and memory settings that could make your computer unstable.

Accessing The BIOS

You’ll need to restart your computer to access your computer’s BIOS. Press the appropriate key at the start of the boot-up process – often when the manufacturer’s logo appears on screen – and you’ll be taken to the BIOS setup screen.
The key you need to press is often displayed on-screen at the start of the boot process. It’s usually the Delete key, although some computers may use other keys like F2, Escape, F1, or F10. If you don’t know the key you need to press and it isn’t appearing on-screen, consult your computer’s manual or perform a Google search for your computer’s model name and “BIOS key.”
Note that newer computers that came with Windows 8 have UEFI firmware instead of the traditional BIOS. UEFI serves a similar purpose, although you’ll need to access your UEFI BIOS through Windows.
bios explained

Navigating The BIOS

Note that every computer’s BIOS is different. Your computer’s BIOS may look significantly different from the screenshots here, or it may look similar but have different options.
You’ll need to use the keyboard to navigate through your computer’s BIOS. You should see a list of the keys you need to use displayed on-screen.
Generally, you’ll use the left and right arrow keys to switch between settings screens (the names of each screen are generally displayed across the top), the up and down arrow keys to select an option on the current screen, and the Enter key to select an option or enter a sub-menu. To re-order a list, use the + and – keys to move items up and down in the list.
If this sounds a bit complicated, it’s not – you’ll mostly use the arrow keys and Enter key.
bios explanation

Boot Order

One of the most commonly changed options in a computer’s BIOS is the boot order. After the BIOS starts and initializes your hardware, it passes control to a boot loader that boots your operating system. The boot order determines which device the BIOS passes control over to.
For example, let’s say you have Windows installed on your computer’s hard drive, a Linux live CD in your disc drive, and a hackintosh system installed on a USB drive plugged into your computer. When you boot your computer, which operating system starts? The answer is determined by your boot order.
It’s referred to as a “boot order” because it controls the order in which boot devices are tried. For example, a typical computer might have its physical DVD drive higher in the boot order list than its hard drive. This means that the computer will attempt to boot off the DVD drive first, booting any inserted operating system installation discs or live CDs. If there are no bootable discs in the DVD drive, the computer would try the next option in the list, which would likely be its hard drive.
If you want to boot off another boot device – such as your DVD drive, USB drive, or a network boot location – you’ll need to move it up in the boot order list. You’ll generally find the boot order on a screen named Boot or something named similarly. Use the + and – keys to rearrange devices in the boot order list.
Note that, on some computers, USB drives may not appear in the list unless they’re connected when you enter the BIOS.
bios explanation

Video Memory

Computers with onboard graphics hardware, such as Intel’s integrated graphics, may have a Video Memory setting. Onboard graphics hardware doesn’t have its own memory as dedicated graphics cards do – it takes over a portion of the computer’s RAM and uses it as its video memory.
On some computers, a Video Memory option may allow you to control how this memory is allocated. You may be able to allocate additional memory to the video memory or reduce the amount of RAM used for video memory, reclaiming some of it for system tasks.

BIOS Password

You can generally set a password in your BIOS, often on the security screen. The password can be used to control access to the BIOS itself, preventing anyone from entering your BIOS and changing its settings. However, you can also set a password that people must have to boot the computer. This password prompt shows up right when the computer starts – if the person doesn’t know the password, they can’t even start your computer and access the Windows login screen. This feature is more powerful than a simple Windows password – it prevents people from booting other operating systems from removable media devices.
However, someone with physical access to your computer could reset the CMOS to clear this password, so this won’t protect you if your computer becomes stolen and a thief really wants to remove the password.
bios explanation

Save or Discard Changes

Changes you make to BIOS settings don’t take effect immediately. To actually save your changes, you’ll need to locate the Save Changes and Reset option on the Save & Exit screen. This option saves your changes and resets your computer.
There’s also a Discard Changes and Exit option. If you make a mistake or decide you don’t want to change your BIOS settings at all, you can use this option to exit the BIOS setup screen without saving your changes.
(These options may be named something slightly different, but they’re available on all BIOSes.)
You could also use the appropriate keyboard shortcut to quickly save and exit – the F10 key for this BIOS.
how bios works

Optimized Defaults

Your BIOS also contains a Load Setup Defaults or Load Optimized Defaults option. This option resets your BIOS to its factory-default settings, loading default settings optimized for your hardware.
This performs a complete BIOS settings reset, wiping any BIOS passwords in addition to resetting hardware settings and your boot order.
bios explained

Other Options

The BIOS contains quite a few other settings and options. For example, there’s a System Information screen that shows information about the hardware in your computer. Overclockers may be able to use CPU settings screen to tweak their CPU’s voltage and multiplier, increasing their CPU’s performance at the cost of additional heat, power usage, and possibly instability. (However, these settings are locked on some BIOSes.)
You shouldn’t change settings unless you know what you’re doing, but if you need to change a BIOS setting – such as the boot order – you should now know how to do it.
Do you have any other BIOS-related questions? Leave a comment or ask us on MakeUseOf Answers!
Image Credit: Laptop computer via Shutterstock
The post The BIOS Explained: Boot Order, Video Memory, Saving, Resets & Optimum Defaults appeared first on MakeUseOf.

Standard

Should I Put My PC To Sleep Or Leave It On & Save The World?

Should I Put My PC To Sleep Or Leave It On & Save The World?:
should i put my pc to sleepMost people put their PCs to sleep, hibernate them, or turn them off when they’re not in-use. However, you can also choose to run your PC 24/7, contributing your PC’s processing power to distributed computing projects. With these projects, your PC can help fight cancer, test climate change models, or even search for alien life.
However, computers use power when they’re on, and they use more power when their CPUs (or GPUs) are going full-throttle. Participating in these projects will increase your electricity bill.

How Your PC Can Help

Many important projects need a large amount of processing power. Rather than rent expensive supercomputers – which may not even provide enough processing power if they were running 24/7 – these projects ask for volunteers to contribute their PCs’ processing power over the Internet.
You can download and run a program that makes your PC part of the distributed computing project. The project will use your computer’s resources when you aren’t using them – when they’d just be sitting idle – to help calculate many small tasks. Your computer will receive units of work to do from a central server, perform the work, and then return the results to the server over the Internet.
One of the more popular projects is Stanford’s Folding@home, which simulates protein folding. Protein folding data is important to medical research, and has implications for everything from cancer to Alzheimer’s disease. Since the Folding@home project started in 2000, 109 scientific research papers have been produced from the Folding@home data.
should i put my pc to sleep

Energy Use & Your Electricity Bill

Make no mistake – participating in these distributed computing projects will increase your electricity bill. Computers use almost no power when they’re asleep, more power when they’re on, and even more power when they’re being run full-throttle. Running your computer’s CPU or GPU full-throttle all of the time will increase your electricity bill.
How much will it increase your electricity bill? Well, that depends. Different computers use different amounts of electricity, and different areas have different electricity prices. Matt looked at how much it costs to run a computer in different scenarios. He estimated running your computer at full-throttle while you sleep would cost you an extra $50 (for a Core i7) or $70 (for a Phenom X6) per year. That’s just while you sleep – running it at full-throttle 24/7 would likely cost you significantly more. You’re probably looking at at least another $100 a year.
Older computers with worse power efficiency will cost more money to run. Sadly, as they’re slower, they’ll also produce less results for the project.
Running your computer’s CPU or GPU full-throttle will also produce additional heat. If you’re in a hot area, you may have to fight that by paying more for air conditioning. (Even if you’re in a cold area, a computer isn’t the most efficient source of heating.)
put my pc to sleep

Wear & Tear

Wear and tear is a worry when running distributed computing projects. Your CPU will be generating a large amount of heat inside your computer’s case, and this heat can damage components. Theoretically, a CPU should be able to handle running at 100% for a long time. However, in the real world, some CPUs may be shipped with inferior heat sinks that aren’t good enough to disperse such a large amount of heat.
Some computers may not have proper cooling. For example, many laptops won’t be able to handle being run at 100% 24/7. They’re just not designed to disperse the heat properly and will overheat.
With a solid desktop computer that has proper cooling, you shouldn’t have to worry about wear and tear. If you have a sleek ultrabook with poor cooling, you’ll probably want to stay away from distributed computing projects.
Warning: If you’re overclocking your CPU, running it at full load 24/7 can produce more heat than it’s designed for, damaging it. If you’re using distributed computing projects, you shouldn’t be overclocking your CPU. You may even want to underclock your CPU to avoid producing so much heat.
put my pc to sleep

A Note About Bitcoin Mining

Some of the less-philanthropic of you will be thinking about mining bitcoins for yourself instead of using your PC for the greater good. However, you shouldn’t bother. A CPU mines bitcoins so slowly that you’ll spend more money for electricity than you’ll gain in bitcoins. A computer’s GPU is much faster, but GPU mining appears no longer profitable for most people, either. ASIC mining has replaced both GPU and CPU mining.
If you have a fast GPU and cheap electricity prices where you live, GPU mining may still be profitable for a few months at most, but don’t count on it. The Bitcoin mining rush is over, at least for people with standard computer hardware.
To learn more about Bitcoin, download our free Bitcoin guide.
put my pc to sleep

Getting Started

You can get started with distributed computing by installing Berkeley’s BOINC, which allows you to easily download and install distributed computing projects. We’ve covered getting started with BOINC and looked at some of the most interesting distributed computing projects.
should i put my pc to sleep

So What Should You Do?

Whether you want to participate in distributed computing projects is a personal decision. Joining a distributed computing project will do some amount of good, but it will cost you additional money in electricity. A newer, faster computer will do more good for the same amount of electricity than an older, slower computer.
One thing’s for sure: You shouldn’t be mining bitcoins with your PC. The payout is so low that you’ll spend more on electricity than you’ll gain in Bitcoin. You’ll effectively be transferring money from your electric bill to your bank account, losing some in the process.
If you’re going to use your computer’s idle power, do it for the greater good.
Image Credits: Laptops Sharing Via Shutterstock, Lightbulb on Electricity Bill via Shutterstock, Laptop in Open Fire via Shutterstock
The post Should I Put My PC To Sleep Or Leave It On & Save The World? appeared first on MakeUseOf.

Standard

Everything You Need To Know About Uploading Videos To YouTube

Everything You Need To Know About Uploading Videos To YouTube:
uploading videos to youtubeOne of the best websites that we have available to us is YouTube. You can find a vast amount of content from useful information to cute and funny videos, like kittens. So what if you want to post videos of your own kittens, but don’t know the ins and outs of YouTube? Fear no more – after reading this article you will be an expert in everything YouTube.
OK, so expert may be a bit of an exaggeration, but you will definitely have a good grasp on what you need to know and have any doubts cleared from your mind.

Uploading From Your Browser

Before you even start adding videos to YouTube, you must first create an account. To many of you reading that, it may seem like that’s a given, but you might be surprised how many “YouTube users” use it without signing in. Creating an account is simple – just log in with your Google credentials (everyone has them right?). If you don’t have a Google account, you’ll have to create one.
If you’re wondering how YouTube and Google are connected, Google bought them quite a while back, but tighter Google integration has occurred more recently.
uploading videos to youtube
There are two ways to add files locally on your computer to YouTube:

  • Select files to upload to YouTube
  • Drag and drop

uploading videos to youtube
Once you’ve chosen the video to upload, the process will start automatically. The time it takes to finish the uploading process depends on the length, size and file type of the video.
videos to youtube
But you’re not done – there are several other important things to do upon adding the video:

  • Change title.
  • Add description.
  • Add tags.
  • Choose video thumbnail.
  • Set privacy settings.
  • Create a message to send to subscribers (optional).
  • Decide whether to share to social networks (optional).
  • Choose a category.

Of course all of these are technically “optional” but for the best results I recommend doing all of them. The majority of these settings are straightforward, but what are the privacy settings and why do they matter?
There are three kinds of settings:

  • Public – Anyone can search for and view your video.
  • Unlisted – Hidden from YouTube and Google search, but viewable by anyone with the link.
  • Private – Only people you choose can view, which you can add by name, Google+ circles or by email.

videos to youtube
In addition to setting the basic information, there are some advanced settings to explore as well. These are settings that allow you to control comments, ratings, video responses, license and rights, embedding, recording date and location, and 3D options.

Capturing & Uploading Video Via Your Mobile Phone

Our phones are becoming the most common device for recording video these days, so it only makes sense to be able to post those videos directly to YouTube instead of through our computer first. Once you’ve chosen the video to upload to YouTube, there are a couple of ways to upload it.
If YouTube is integrated into the “Share” option on photos and videos, you can simply tap it and upload that way. If you choose to upload via the YouTube app, tap the Settings button and choose Upload. You can then select where you’d like to add the file from. You are then prompted to enter some information about the video including the title, the account to post it to, a description, tags, privacy settings, and a checkbox for attaching the location to the video. These options may vary by operating system and as more updates are added.
videos to youtube
As you noticed, there are fewer options when uploading videos. However, once it’s uploaded you can still make any changes that you would like from a computer.
An alternative to getting your mobile videos to your YouTube account and being able to upload them via the web interface (if you’re at a computer) would be to send the video to a folder in your Dropbox account, then simply drag and drop that video from the folder into your browser on the YouTube upload page.

Upload From Your Phone Using Your Unique YouTube Email

If you don’t have the app or an Android phone, another option is to send the video to a special email address provided with your YouTube account. You can find this by going to your YouTube settings. On the Overview page under Account Settings, which should be selected by default, find Mobile uploads and you will see your email.
uploading to youtube
NOTE: If you don’t see your email address, you’ll need to click the Create Mobile Profile button and enter the required information. Then click Create Profile to create an email address.
More information on using YouTube on your mobile device.

Upload Your Own Audio Or Photos To YouTube

Something that a lot of people like to do is add music to YouTube. However, if you don’t have a means of taking video, how do you get the music in video form? The key is to use a free video editing program on your computer, since YouTube doesn’t allow you to add your own music to your videos through their video editing tool.
The process to do this is pretty straightforward. Depending on the program you are using, add the audio file, then add an image (or images). Save the file in a video (not project) format and then upload it.
uploading to youtube
Alternatively, if you want to create a slideshow of photos and don’t care what the audio is, YouTube does have a selection to choose from. This is also accessible via the Upload page – just click on Create slideshow. Then follow the prompts to choose the images and optional audio. Again, if you go this route, you can’t add your own audio.
uploading to youtube
Read more about uploading audio and image files to YouTube.

Capture Webcam Video


YouTube allows you to record your video directly on the website with their webcam tool, accessible on the Upload page. On the right side, click Webcam capture and you’ll see a page like the one below.

Then just click Allow and you can start recording your video. It isn’t fancy, but it is fast and easy to use if video quality isn’t of major importance.
Read more about recording on YouTube through your webcam.

Broadcast A Google+ Hangout


Being able to stream your video live is a pretty awesome feature that is made possible by combining Google+ Hangouts and YouTube.

On the Upload page, click the Broadcast button under Google+ hangout  and it will start a hangout just like any other time. Just invite whole Circles or individual people to join your Hangout and it will be broadcasted publicly to the world. It will be posted live to your Google+ stream and YouTube Channel for your followers to view.
Read more about YouTube and Google+ Hangouts.

Touching Up Your Video With The Video Editor


The built-in YouTube Video Editor is pretty impressive. Aside from manually opening the Video Editor, YouTube also makes suggestions for immediate changes upon uploading the video.

For more editing though, you will have to go to the Video Editor, which is accessible on the Upload page.

To edit the video information, enhance the video and add annotations and captions, go to the Video Manager and click Edit on specific videos. There are a vast amount of options available. Here you can also edit the video URL, enhance the video with various filters, and Auto-fix, brightness and stabilization tools. There is even an option under Additional features that allows you to blur all faces in the video.
There are also options to add/replace the video audio with audio from YouTube.

Resolutions & Formats

When uploading videos, it’s important to take into consideration the resolution and format the video is in. By default, YouTube uses 16:9 aspect ratio players. Anything other than that will have black bars on the left and right sides (or sometimes on the top and bottom). These black bars allow the video to remain in the same quality and prevent cropping or stretching.
The YouTube help section recommends encoding in the following formats for perfect playback:

  • 1080p: 1920×1080
  • 720p: 1280×720
  • 480p: 854×480
  • 360p: 640×360
  • 240p: 426×240

Below are a couple of images by YouTube showing how to and how not to do it.
How To Do It:

How Not To Do It:
uploading videos to youtube
As far as formats go, there are a wide range that YouTube is compatible with. However, it is good to check before uploading to prevent headache.

  • .MOV
  • .MPEG4
  • .AVI
  • .WMV
  • .MPEGPS
  • .FLV
  • 3GPP
  • WebM

If you need to convert your video, we’ve reviewed some excellent free software, including Format Factory.
Read more about resolutions and encoding.

Conclusion

YouTube has evolved quite a bit from the modest video website that it used to be and with each modification, it seems to improve. Unfortunately for us, we also have to slightly modify how we use it and get used to those improvements. Hopefully this guide has helped you understand the features and tools that YouTube has to offer.
Now that you know exactly how to upload videos to YouTube, what video project are you going to tackle?
Image Credit: YouTube
The post Everything You Need To Know About Uploading Videos To YouTube appeared first on MakeUseOf.

Standard