Images of the week | The Hindu

Images of the week | The Hindu.


Wikimedia Commons Picture of the Year 2012

Wikimedia commons Picture of the year is a competition that was first run in 2006 and is organized every year. The best pictures are picked from the free images filed under the creative commons license and from those which have been awarded the Featured Picture status by Wikimedia. These are the winners for the year 2012.



European Bee-eaterAriège, France. The female (in front) awaits the offering which the male will make. Pierre Dalous (User:Kookaburra 81)



On August 31, 2012 a long filament of solar material that had been hovering in the sun’s atmosphere, the Corona, erupted out into space at 4:36 p.m. EDT. NASA Goddard Space Flight Center (Flickr)



High-speed photography of a light bulb shot with an airsoft pistol (positioned right of the lamp). Stefan Krause, Germany(User:Ritchyblack)

4th  place 


A wide evening view to Måbødalen in Eidfjordmunicipality, Sogn og Fjordane, Norway in 2011 August.

5th  place


Yak near Yamdrok lakeTibet. It is a long-haired bovinae found throughout the Himalayan region of south Central Asia, the Tibetan Plateau and as far north as Mongolia and Russia. The Tibetan economy is dominated by subsistence agriculture. Due to limited arable land, the primary occupation of the Tibetan Plateau is raising livestock, such as sheep, cattle, goats, camels, yaks, dzo, and horses. The Tibetan yak is an integral part of Tibetan life.

6th  place


Šmarjetna gora, view towards Škofja Loka, Slovenia.

7th  place


Heritage castle park in Pszczyna, Poland.

8th  place


Door to Hell, a burning natural gas field in Derweze,Turkmenistan.

9th  place


Merging in the mist – Vasco da Gama Bridge, Lisbon, Portugal.

10th  place


Tarvasjõgi, Kõrvemaa Nature Park, Estonia.

11th  place


Endeavour silhouette STS-130 over Earth’s colorful horizon. The image was photographed by an Expedition 22 crew member prior to STS-130 rendezvous and docking operations with the International Space Station. Docking occurred at 11:06 p.m. (CST) on Feb. 9, 2010. The orbital outpost was at 46.9 south latitude and 80.5 west longitude, over the South Pacific Ocean off the coast of southern Chile, with an altitude of 183 nautical miles when the image was recorded. The orange layer is the troposphere, where all of the weather and clouds which we typically watch and experience are generated and contained. This orange layer gives way to the whitish Stratosphere and then into the Mesosphere. In some frames the black color is part of a window frame rather than the blackness of space.

12th  place


Arlington Row, Bibury, UK built in 1380 as a monastic wool store. The buildings were converted into weaver cottages in the 17th century.


Play Youtube videos directly in the VLC player and save bandwidth

VLC media player is one of the most trusted and reliable video player which supports almost any video format and seamlessly plays almost all kinds of videos and music. But, did you know that VLC can also be used for streaming, recording and watching YouTube videos. You can stream and watch videos directly inside VLC without the need of the web browser. You don’t need any flash player (most browsers need flash player) in order to play the video. Moreover, you can use all the VLC controls which you would normally use while playing an offline video such as controlling the play speed, taking screenshots and applying video effects.  The biggest benefit of using VLC is the ads free interface. The ads are absent while playing the YouTube videos from the VLC player and would not pop up in the middle of the video playback.

So, to watch YouTube videos in VLC player, do the following

Open VLC Media Player, Go to Media and select Open Network Stream.

Now open your YouTube video in your browser and copy the video link url.


Click on Play to start the video streaming.

*Note: Use the latest and updated version of VLC player for this feature to work properly .Click the following link to download the latest version of VLC player.


How to play the YouTube video in 3gp format?

This VLC feature can also be used to play the videos in 3gp format. This feature is of great benefit when your bandwidth limits are constrained or you are using a slow internet connection.  This would also save your bandwidth and minimize your data usage.  You can use this to watch large video files (like video documentaries and TV shows) which would normally consume a lot of bandwidth if you watch them in their normal format.

To play a video in 3gp format you would have to get its link from YouTube’s mobile(wap) site .

Open your web browser and enter in the address bar.

Enter the name of the video in the search bar and press Search.


Right click on the Watch Video link and select Copy link address.

Open VLC player. Press Ctrl+N.


Now paste the link in the Open Media Window and click on Play.

This is the screenshot of the video playing in the VLC player in 3gp fromat.

vlc_youtube_3gp_ format_new

See What’s inside Apple’s iPhone 5

The online repair website iFixit has released the teardown of the iPhone 5 . The founder of the website Luke Soules flew to Melbourne, Australia so that he can be among the first people to get their hands on the newly released iPhone 5. Though we have seen the iPhone 5 from outside, not many of us would dare to disassemble or take it apart just to see what exactly is there inside the phone. Therefore, online repair shop iFixit dissected the newly released iPhone for people like us and to reveal its inner components like the logic board, a bigger battery, Antenna connections, speakers, and camera. They also provide the detailed analysis of all the components on the logic board. The iphone 5 has undergone some major changes in its product design from the iPhone 4S.

The major design changes in the iPhone 5 are:

  • There won’t be any mistaking an iPhone 5 for an iPhone 4 or 4S. A lot has changed on the outside of the iPhone.
  • The most obvious alteration to the bottom of the phone is the exchange of the large 30-pin dock connector for the diminutive Lightning connector.
  • The headphone jack is now on the bottom of the iPhone, right next to the updated microphone grille—a series of holes rather than a mesh-covered slot.
  • Other notable differences are the slate bezel, as opposed to the stainless steel that wrapped around the 4S, and the chamfered edges between the bezel and the front/rear cases.
  • The unibody back case is reminiscent of the iPhone 3GS, while still retaining the square (though now chamfered) edges of the iPhone 4.
  • Because the iPhone 5 is opened front-to-back, replacing a cracked screen is going to be easier than ever.

The main components of the iPhone 5 logic board.

Inside iPhone5

Click on the image to view in large resolution.

McAfee most dangerous online celebs 2012

The security firm McAfee has released the “Most Dangerous Celebrities” of 2012 list. The report mostly contains the names of Hollywood stars, pop singers, politicians, designers, athletes, comedians and music bands. Their names were the most searched search terms on the internet and therefore were targeted by the hackers and cyber criminals to spread their malicious software and exploit the security loopholes in the visitor’s computer’s operating systems. Hollywood celebs are the hot favorite search terms on the internet these days and may be that is the reason that the top 10 people in the list are Hollywood celebrities.  The list implies that women are more dangerous than men as all the celebs in the top 10 list are women. Even in the top 20, Jimmy Kimmel is the only male celebrity.

Cyber criminals follow the latest trends in the online world and use them to target a large audience and to lure people to malicious sites which exploit the security lapses in the visitor’s computers. For most of the users the internet is the only source to remain up to date and access latest information about their favorite stars and celebs. They download pictures, videos and music online and while doing so they click hundreds of links on multiple sites. This high level of the interaction on the internet and the easy access to information often make the consumers forget about the risks involved with such a medium.  The risk of getting infected with malicious software and viruses greatly increases if you do not have security software installed on your system.

The McAfee annual report presents the findings of the study carried out to find out the users online behavior and the risks involved. The study uses McAfee Site Advisor site ratings, which indicate which sites are risky to search for celebrity names on the Web and calculate an overall risk percentage.  The top 10 celebrities from this year’s study with the highest percentages of risk are:

Picture By: June Wong Photos

Sofia Vergara – The Columbian actress and model best known for her comedic role as Gloria Delgado-Pritchett on ABC’s Emmy Award winning “Modern Family” rounds out the top 10 list. She also starred in the “The Three Stooges” film this year and was recently named one of Forbes’ World’s Most Powerful Women and highest paid TV actress. She recently announced her engagement to businessman Nick Loeb.

Picture By: Steven Swafford Photos

Salma Hayek – The actress, producer and director received an Academy Award for her role as Frida Kahlo in “Frida” and recently starred in “Savages.” She is currently in the news for her controversial remarks about her Mexican heritage in a Vogue interview. She is married to billionaire François-Henri Pinault.

Picture By: David Shankbone

Cameron Diaz – 2010’s Most Dangerous Celebrity fell to eighth place, with searches resulting in slightly fewer risky sites this year. She was most recently in the spotlight for allegedly dating Alex Rodriguez. She is rumored to star in “Expendables 3.”

Picture By: Akhil Dudeja Photos

Shakira – The belly-dancing singer/songwriter best known for her songs “Hips Don’t Lie” and “Whenever, Wherever” comes in at number 7. She was recently named one of Forbes’ World’s Most Powerful Women and was ranked number 6 on Forbes’ Top 10 Best Social Media Superstars.

Picture By: camenachero25

Megan Fox – The sexy actress rose 9 spots compared to her number 15 spot last year. She is currently in the news for her pregnancy with husband Brian Austin Green and will be seen in the upcoming film “This is 40”.

Picture By: Steven Swafford Photos

Halle Berry – The Academy Award winning actress is famous for her stand out roles in action and horror films including “Catwoman” and “Gothika”. Berry is in the spotlight for her custody battle with baby daddy Gabriel Aubry.

Picture By: Mikey Hennessy

Selena Gomez – The tween musician and actress is best known for her role as Alex Russo on Disney’s “Wizards of Waverly Place” and for dating teen heartthrob Justin Bieber. She has been cast in the upcoming film “Parental Guidance Suggested” and was recently named one of Forbes’ Top 10 Best Social Media Superstars.

Picture By: Steven Swafford Photos

Eva Mendes – A new addition to the list,Mendes has starred in films including “2 Fast 2 Furious” and “Hitch.” She is currently in the news for her fling with Ryan Gosling.

Picture By:Maggie Jumps

Jessica Biel – The 2009 Most Dangerous Celebrity rose two spots this year from coming in at number 4 in 2011. Biel continues to be in the spotlight with fiancée Justin Timberlake and her role in 2012’s “Total Recall.”

Picture By: David Shankbone

Emma Watson – Best known for her role as Hermione Granger in the “Harry Potter” franchise, the British actress tops the list as the 2012 Most Dangerous Celebrity. Watson continues to star in feature films including “My Week with Marilyn” and “The Perks of Being a Wallflower” and is an ambassador for Lancôme.

How to remain safe online?

Avoid downloading files from untrustworthy sources or from anonymous links which provide free software or music.

When browsing websites online click links from trusted sources. Be extra cautious when searching on hot topics like celebrity gossip, political news, and natural disasters, especially if they are offering free content

Double check the URL and look for misspellings or other clues that the link might be directed to a phony website

Check for file extension of the files before downloading. Executable files with .exe extensions are more dangerous.

Use a trusted source for downloading software. Websites like and which provide free software are free from malicious software.

Keep your operating system and application software updated

Install antivirus software with the option of online security included. Don’t rely on free antivirus. Free antivirus software may provide you with limited security but is not sufficient to protect you online.

If you are using Windows then use Windows Defender. If you are using Windows 7 and do not have antivirus installed then download Microsoft Security Essentials which is an antivirus from Microsoft with real time protection.

Samsung targets iPhone 5 in new print ad

Just a few days ahead of iPhone 5 launch, Apple’s flagship product is facing criticism from some of its rivals and competitors. Samsung has been the first to launch its attack on the recently launched iPhone 5 followed by Nokia and many other companies. Samsung has just lost a much followed and publicized legal battle with Apple when a US jury found it guilty of violating and infringing patents used in Apple’s iPhone and ordered the Korean company to pay $1.05 billion in damages. Apple had sought a whopping amount of $2.75 billion in damages after accusing Samsung of infringing its design and software patents.The ongoing battle to grab the share of the $200 billion Smartphone industry has now turned bitter with both the companies accusing each other of violating patents and touting their products as the next big things. After losing a considerable share of its profits Samsung is using each and every opportunity to trash Apple and its products. This recently launched ad by Samsung compares the features and the specifications of iPhone 5 and Samsung’s Galaxy S III.

The title phrase implies that you don’t have to be a genius to tell that which one is a better phone and then goes on to compare the specifications of both the phones with Samsung Galaxy S III features outnumbering iPhone 5’s features and specs. Then goes on to declare that “the next big thing is already here”. The Samsung Galaxy S III has all the features and specification offered by the iPhone and runs on the Android operating systems which are increasingly getting popular in the Asian markets and also pose a serious threat to the Apple’s dominance in the world’s Smartphone market. This is actually a fight between Google and Apple but the hardware companies like Samsung and HTC are facing the brunt but this doesn’t mean that the Apple has nothing to lose.

The Taiwanese company HTC is planning for a legal battle with Apple for infringing its 4G LTE patents which ensure reliable data transfer in large volume. HTC had acquired the patents from ADC Telecommunications which was first used in its phone called Thunderbolt. The company filed a case in the International Trade Commission. Samsung is also using this technology in their phones and has joined hands with HTC to file the legal case against Apple and to answer them in their same language. Apple cannot discard this technology as it would make its data transfer technology inferior to its rivals. This means that they would have to negotiate terms with HTC and Samsung to continue using the said technology. The 4G LTE data transfer is going to be used in the next iPad and Apple cannot afford to lose this legal battle. Apple says that Samsung is blatantly copying its designs and products whereas Samsung accuses it of curbing innovation. This patent war between these technology giants may be painful for them but is definitely going to help the consumers.

Microsoft’s Hotmail is now

Microsoft has revamped the look of its primary email service Hotmail. Microsoft launched on Wednesday (1 August, 2012). Outlook would replace Hotmail as its free web-based email service.  Hotmail was one of the first web-based email service started by Sabeer Bhatia and Jack Smith 16 years ago in July 1996 and later acquired by Microsoft in 1997 for an estimated  $400 million. It was the most popular and world’s largest email service until it was surpassed by Google’s Gmail in June 2012.

Gmail was launched in 2004 and has 425 million active users globally. The integration of the Google services with the Android phones and the web browser Chrome helped it to increase the user base as most of the services like the android app store and the chrome extensions require a Google account. Yahoo also has a strong user base of approximately 310 million users.  Facebook recently launched its own email service which is linked to the Facebook accounts.

Therefore, this has been termed as an effort aimed at taking the increasing competitions from rivals like Gmail, Facebook and Yahoo.

The service got a tremendous response from the users and it generated 1 million new users within first 6 hours of its launch.

The longtime users of Hotmail and Msn services can continue using their old email ids but they have the option to create a new alias for their old email accounts. They can switch to the new look by clicking “Upgrade to” in the Options Menu.  If you are registering for a new email account then you would get a brand new email id (something like  The website is just 3 days old and the chances of getting your desired email id are high.

The new serivce has a clean interface and is well integrated with social networks like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. You would receive all your social updates in one place. You can import contacts from your Facebook or other email accounts. The integration of Office tools (similar to Google Docs) would make it easier to edit documents and attachments in your inbox.

The Outlook accounts lets you login using a temporary single use password which expires after a single use which is useful when you login using public computers.

The storage limit for Outlook is unlimited. The spam or Junk email is automatically handled by the Microsoft’s Smart Screen feature. It also lets you block emails coming from a particular web address or email account and stop it from sending you any mail in the future.

The main aim of Microsoft is to recapture the growth in the webmail market, and stop losing users to its fastest growing rivals, Gmail and Yahoo. According to Microsoft, the new email service would be totally different from traditional email services with a “fresh and clean look” which was very much required after making no significant updates in Hotmail in many years.

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