Saturday, May 30, 2015

UC Browser Review - Customizable Web Browser with Mobile Sync

   Given its growing fandom on mobile devices, we thought of looking into the desktop edition of UC Browser. This is an intuitive and speedy web browser based on Chromium, which comes loaded with a lot of UI customization features, in addition to cloud acceleration and data compression.
   Among other options, UC supports HTML5, data synchronization across multiple devices, Google Chrome extensions, bookmark and download managers, mouse gestures, keyboard shortcuts, page saving, and cloud storage space. It has several interface themes, two styles that borrow the speed dial system from Opera, and we have noticed some button design similarities with the new Project "Spartan" upcoming browser from Microsoft that will replace Internet Explorer.


   UC's desire to stand out from the crowd is visible early: the installer adopts a slightly unusual, yet attractive window (the Windows 7 and Windows 8 looks are different). Before rushing to press the "Install" button, you should visit the "Settings" area since UC intends to set itself as the default web browser unless told otherwise.

   This isn't mentioned in the setup stage, but because it's based on Google Chromium and is compatible with most Chrome extensions, the app automatically imports any extensions you have set up in Chrome (as long as they're supported). Likewise, it imports all bookmarks from Chrome without asking for permission.

Interface, styles and themes

   At its first launch, the browser gets launched in maximized window mode and loads two tabs: one serves as a quick presentation and looks cartoonish while the other invites you to select a preferred UI style. One of the styles resembles Opera's speed dial feature in appearance while the other has an identical structure but different look: instead of neatly stacked rectangular tiles, it shows circles unevenly spread across a background image.
   When it comes to the styles' structure, UC Browser provides a search function on Google, Bing, Yahoo!, AOL or ASK, along with several default shortcuts to popular websites (e.g. YouTube, Wikipedia, Facebook, Twitter, Reddit, Pinterest). It's possible to move the tiles around in any order by dragging them with the mouse cursor, add new websites, remove the current ones, or edit their properties (web address and tile name).

   The layout can be reset while the background photograph can be changed with another wallpaper after exploring the rich online library or adding a custom image file from the computer (.png, .jpg or .jpeg format only). This online library also contains other themes for UC Browser.

Menu options, bookmarks, and tools

   Clicking the large button in the upper left part of the screen opens a menu that permits you to launch a new window (normal or incognito), use a basic search function, access bookmarks and tools, view history and downloads, manage extensions, print information, configure settings, set UC as the default browser, as well as save the page as a file or image (.png or .jpeg format).
   Bookmarks can be imported from Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox or custom HTML files. It's possible to clear or restore the old ones, add imported bookmarks to a new folder, and export them to HTML format.
As far as browsing tools are concerned, you can apply a proxy configuration for connecting to the Internet, change the encoding after browsing a long list of methods, view the source code of the current page, access developer tools, and view the JavaScript console.

Download manager and data sync

   An eye-catching animation is triggered when making the app download something. Plus, it automatically identifies the type of downloaded files to organize them into different categories, such as software, pictures, torrents, videos, music, archives, and documents. Online storage space is reserved for logged users (up to 2GB).

   By logging in with a UC Browser, Facebook or Twitter account, the tool can synchronize data across all supported devices when it comes to bookmarks, the speed dial, themes, open tabs, extensions, and settings. It lets you scan a QR code to seamlessly install UC on a smartphone or tablet.

   From the status bar, you can mute all webpages.

Customize browser settings
   On startup, the tool can be asked to open the homepage or to let you pick up where you left off. You can change the home page, set or remove UC as the default browser, modify the default search engine, hide the search, extensions or bookmark bar, or disable "Thunder high-speed" download mode.
Regarding tabs, you can double-click or right-click to close a tab, disable warnings when closing more than one more at exit, use the mouse wheel to easily navigate tabs, and more. It's possible to enable link preloading, disable the next page's preloading, and activate autopage scrolling.

   Mouse gestures are enabled by default, and you can customize or disable them, as well as hide mouse movements and hints for the available gestures. Similarly, keyboard shortcuts are supported. Although these cannot be changed, you can enable a privacy hotkey for quickly hiding and showing the browser window.

   A notable aspect about UC Browser is that it comes equipped with a built-in ad blocker, so you don't have to install third-party extensions to block popup windows, filter page ads, and indicate exceptions (it runs on the Adblock Plus model).
   Other configuration settings focus on privacy (such as forbidding JavaScript or clearing browsing data), managing saved passwords, web content font (size, type), user data location, HTTPS/SSL certificates, continuing to run background apps when UC is closed (e.g. music player plugin), and browser startup acceleration.
   All settings can be reset to default.

Evaluating UC Browser's performance
   We put UC Browser to the test against Chrome to evaluate JavaScript performance, on an Intel Core i5-3470 @ CPU 3.20GHz with 12GB RAM on Windows 8.1 Pro. Both browsers were left with their factory configuration.
   We resorted to four popular benchmarking tools available online, namely Mozilla's Kraken, Google's Octane, Webkit's SunSpider and Futuremark's Peacekeeper. For the results interpretation, you should take into account that lower is better for Kraken and SunSpider while higher is better for Octane and Peacekeeper.
   In Kraken, Chrome was first with 1408.9ms, while UC came in second with 1508.3ms. In SunSpider, Chrome was also the winner with 205.1ms, while UC was last with 222.3ms. In Octane, Chrome was slightly better, scoring 25833, while UC listed 25099. Lastly, in Peacekeeper, UC finished first with 4279, while Chrome scored 3730.
   Therefore, our tests haven't shown significant differences in speed between Chrome and UC Browser.

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

India's Fastest Car 2015

The wait is over, and the first Indian sports car possibly the fastest Indian as well will in all probability come out of its mother’s womb this month. The sports car of India, by India but for India and the world. The DC Avanti is India’s first indigenous sports car, produced by DC Design (DCD) headed by Dillip Chhabria- the renowned automobile designer whose portfolio includes the Aston Martin AMV8 Vantage Concept prototype. This will be the company’s first production vehicle as it aims to become a “low-volume niche manufacturer” in India. 

The Avanti is meant to target the young Indian crowd that is willing to compromise on performance in order to get the feel of a sports car. It was first showcased as a concept car at the 2012 Delhi Auto Expo, before DCD exhibited the production variant at the same event two years later.

 More than $15 million have been invested into the project and the name, ‘Avanti’, is taken from the sports coupĂ© produced by Studebaker in the 1960’s. Chhabria originally wanted the car to be named ‘Budh’, after India’s Formula One track, but the name did not get a positive response.

 The Avanti is one of the most awaited launches, thanks to the fact that it is the first made-in-India sports car. However, post the launch the company will deliver the cars on first-come-first-serve basis i.e. the folks who opted for early-bird bookings will get the Avanti first.

 In fact, the company has already initiated the process with the first batch of 25 cars set to be handed over to customers this month. Interestingly, the DC Avanti has received a total of 762 confirmed bookings till date, which speaks volumes about the India's penchant for sports cars. Developed by DC himself and advertised by the Amitabh Bachchan, the Avanti measures 4,550mm in length, 1,965mm in width, and 1,200mm in height. With a ground clearance of 170mm, the Avanti just might be the perfect car for Indian driving conditions. 

The body of the car sports several carbon-fibre components developed by the company's in-house engineers. Powering the Avanti is a 2.0-litre, 4-cylinder turbocharged engine, mounted between the seat back and the rear wheels (mid-engine). 

The motor produces a peak power output of 248bhp along with 241Nm of torque. Power is transmitted to the rear wheels via a 6-speed manual transmission. Safety features like Antilock braking system (ABS), developed by Continental, will be offered as standard equipment. 

The car is expected to be priced between Rs 25 lakh - 35 lakh; the total cost will eventually be decided by the level of customisation buyers opt for. Moreover, folks at DC Design say they do not wish for any two cars to look alike, hence customers will be able to choose from a palette of 40,000 exterior colours and 4,000 interior trim levels. We will have more about the DC Avanti soon, so stay tuned!

Monday, May 4, 2015

Fastest Car in The World Upto 1000 Mile Per Hour

Bloodhound Supersonic Car expected to be the world's first 1,000 mile per hour car

This is the Bloodhound Supersonic Car and designers hope it will be the world's first 1,000 mile per hour car when it attempts to set a new world record next year.

It's described as "part Formula 1 car, part space rocket and part supersonic jet". 

Wing Commander Andy Green, Bloodhound SSC driver: "From a standing start, being twelve miles away two minutes after setting off - no car in history has ever done that before. This will be the first, and the fastest."

The car's British designers say they are pushing the limits of science and it's these innovative hybrid rockets are key to Bloodhound's pioneering technology.

Mark Chapman, chief engineer: "If we're to say what part of the car is really the cutting edge science, it's how we're using that rocket. That is what's going to be the next generation of green propellents for rockets, it's the system we're using on this car."

The fighter pilot and land speed record holder admitted he will be on edge when he climbs inside the vehicle's cockpit, but has absolute confidence in the team of experts building the Bloodhound.

Mark Chapman, chief engineer: "Every single time I get in this car, I'm going to be slightly nervous. Because an extraordinary team of world-class engineers have conceived and hand-built this car out of three-and-a-half thousand bespoke components."

In September the team will put the Bloodhound through its paces in South Africa with an attempt at 800 miles per hour before heading into uncharted territory sometime in 2016 when the team hopes to break the sound barrier, travel faster than a bulllet from a handgun and make history, going 1,000 miles per hour.