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Showing posts from October, 2004

Confused between RSS and Atom feed ?

Are you wondering whether to go for RSS or Atom, then go for Feedburner which offers both.

A reader ready page is produced with an easy-peasy interface and compatibility lives. It comes with extras too. Ever been curious as to who’s been reading you? Want to make a few extra off Amazon links? It’s all there and integrated.

The bonus add ins get a bit more practical, if you're one of the few unfortunates that's had your content stolen, you'll be interested in its capability to add a Creative Commons license to the feed. No more vagueness about copy and paste, or having to explain the DMCA to 16 year olds on AIM. The information is right there for all to see. Support for Flickr accounts mesh photoblogging even if your blog host doesn't support it. The account creation process for Feed Burner is simple and intuitive. I couldn't find any hidden requests for money, which makes me sceptical, but it is in the beta stages.

Total time to build a suitable RSS/Atom feed, with…

Intel Desktop Control Center

Intel Desktop Control Center enables you to perform stress tests to verify system stability and to conduct performance testing to measure the impact of system configuration changes. The easy-to-read system gauges provide feedback so you can observe the effects of various system modifications in real-time.

This easy-to-use console dynamically displays temperatures, speed, and usage percentages, allowing you to verify system stability and check performance gains without rebooting into the BIOS. And once you have tuned the system to your liking, the settings can be stored as presets so you can quicly shift gears between "quiet operation" and "gaming mode".

Download: Intel Desktop Control Center
News source: Intel

Review of Viapoint

Viapoint is one more promising player in the desktop search market. Today, I received an email from Aaron Abend, the President of Viapoint Corp for doing a first hand review of Viapoint.I just read your brief blog entry regarding Matt Fordahl’s coverage of Viapoint. I would be pleased if you would be interested in reviewing Viapoint more thoroughly yourself. If you are interested, please email me and I can send you a press license which is a full use product. Or you can simply download the Demo version (which gives you a great view of the product very quickly) from Though I would be shortly trying out the product myself, if you have used this product, please post your experiences here.

BenefIT - A new technology magazine from EFY group

Today, I received a sample copy of BenefIT - Businesses must benefit from ITIt is a first issue of the magazine from the same group which publishes the popular Electronics for You and Linux for You, the only Linux exclusive magazine India.The content of the magazine focuses on how non-IT sectors are benefiting from IT. It carries reviews of latest hardware / software products available in India. Then there were general internet related tips and useful websites.The review of Microsoft Office contained more Office screenshots and less content though the title of the article was "Get the maximum out of Microsoft Office".There is a "Price Wars" section which carries news regarding tariffs of mobile operators in India. Useful for anyone thinking of buying a new connection or switching an operator.The magazine also features news about Yahoo domain products - Have your own domain name. I was wondering why this news was in the magazine when these Yahoo products are not eve…

Tag Remover - remove tags from html files

You will find this free utility very handy when you copy paste HTML from the web to your blog postings.

Emsa HTML Tag Remover is a simple utility for web developers, that allows you to remove all, or only some HTML tags from a given input file. You can also choose to remove white space, tabs, and/or blank lines. The program can also convert HTML special characters into their ASCII equivalent, and remove programming functions and style sheets. Your original file is not altered, since the output is saved as new file. Emsa HTML Tag Remover can also run from the command line, making it suitable for use in batch files or automated processes.

Download Emsa HTML Tag Remover here

Converty your dirty B/W scans to colorful pictures

Todd's website has a nice flash illustration which shows how to convert your scratched black n' white scans (bitmaps) into scalable color pictures (in vector format). Though it designed for the Flash software, the trick is unversal and can be applied in all software including Gimp - the poor man's photoshop.

You'll need the macromedia Flash Plug-in to view most of the stuff on this site.

See the tutorial here.

Finally, Microsoft has an innovative idea.

Give people rewards just for simply proving that your copy of Windows is legal

There is an ActiveX program that checks your product ID. Users who "pass" the Genuine Advantage test will be offered the software. Those who find that their copies of Windows is pirated and/or counterfeit are not penalized. In fact, Microsoft does not know the identies of these users and they will still be allowed to download the requested items from the Microsoft Download Center.

When it launched its "Windows Genuine Advantage" pilot program in September, Microsoft Corp. was hoping 20,000 customers would opt into the voluntary program, via which Microsoft checks whether customers are running counterfeit copies of Windows. But by a little over a month later, 828,000 customers had opted in, Microsoft officials said Wednesday. And they did so with no real incentives, admitted David Lazar, director of Microsoft's Windows client product management group.

What led to the unexpected boon? &…

In healthy Indian job market, developers want it all

Staff shortages may affect the ability of outsourcing companies to take on new contracts.

As hiring picks up in Bangalore, India, the city's software professionals are again acquiring the spoiled-brat image they had in the late 1990s, when the dot-com boom increased staff requirements at Indian outsourcing companies.

Demand is highest for software professionals with two to four years of experience, and many change jobs frequently for a hike in salary of over 40 percent, according to Bijay Sahoo, vice president for talent engagement and development with Bangalore-based Wipro Ltd., India's third largest software outsourcing company. Wipro added 3,300 software developers in the third quarter alone.

Read full story here.

Can I use my digital camera as a scanner ?

Ques: I don't understand why people scan their photos when there are digital cameras that will make a better copy. I recently took pictures of my family's heritage photos with my digital camera and they look like the originals.Using a digital camera to "scan" a print may do in a pinch, Angela, but it may not satisfy you in the long run.First and foremost, the problem is one of resolution: There is a lot of information locked in a print that you can't capture with your digital camera. A good scanner can capture a wider range of colors and more tonal range (such as bright highlights and deep shadows) than a digital camera can. In addition, a digital camera has only a fraction of a scanner's resolution. So a picture captured with a digital camera is more like a fair-quality color photocopy than a true clone of the original, and it won't suit you well if you later want to make a large print from the digital copy.And that doesn't even get into other, more …

How to stop piracy ? Provide free software

This is exactly the approach that Microsoft seems to be taking.

As part of its growing effort to thwart piracy, Microsoft is offering free photo slideshow software to customers who verify that they have a genuine copy of Windows.

Microsoft on Wednesday released Photo Story 3, the latest version of its software for creating photo slideshows set to music or narration. The previous incarnation was sold as part of a $20 digital media bundle known as Microsoft Plus Digital Media Edition.

This time around, Microsoft is making the software available free of charge, but it is requiring customers to take part in the Windows Genuine Advantage pilot program. In the program, people use an online tool to check whether their PCs are using a properly licensed copy of the operating system.

Originally envisioned as part of Windows XP Media Center Edition 2005, and the successor to the most exciting application in Plus! Digital Media Edition, Microsoft Photo Story 3 was instead realigned as a standalone …

MSN Search Engine - What's in store

A couple of days ago I was using the MSN Search Technology Preview and noticed that cached pages were being served from

I went directly to the site and while my searches DIDN'T work I was able to get a glimpse of what the new MSN Search product might look like and some of the features that could be in the works. We will have to wait and see.

The page is still online.

Download is available to customers running genuine Microsoft Windows

My RSS feed just passed along news of a Critical Update for Windows XP. When I clicked the link, it took me to this page: Download details: Critical Update for Windows XP (KB887822). So far, perfectly normal. But then I saw a yellow box in the center of the page, with this text:This download is available to customers running genuine Microsoft Windows. Please click Continue to begin Windows validation.Windows Validation? First I've heard of this. I clicked the link and found another link to a Why Validate? page that sorta kinda explains what's going on.This is separate and distinct from Windows Product Activation. So far, it's not a required step. You have to go through the validation screen, where you are prompted to install an ActiveX control on your computer. You can choose not to validate and still get the download.It looks like this is the next step in Microsoft's anti-piracy program. The broader effort, called Windows Genuine Advantage, was very quietly announced …

What is missing in Desktop Search Tools

This is a "feature request" for developers search engine tools like Copernic, Filehand, blinkx, dtSearch, dowser, Google DS, X1 and many others in the waiting: A wishlist for my ideal desktop search tool: Should be able to index .mht, .chm & .hlp filesShould not have separate tabs for emails and filesShould have an inbuilt viewer for most of the file formats and not just text or MS Office formatsShould be extensible - ability to support third party plugins or viewersShould allow to run date specific searchShould be able to run search on meta data of graphic and music filesShould be able to support 'regular expressions' for advanced searchShould be FREE for life without adsFeel free to add to this list of "what's missing"

What a fair competition between Google and Microsoft

Microsoft's promotion of the Google Deskbar comes as it works to deliver a beta version of its own MSN Search engine and a desktop search application by the end of this year.

"We should see some good MSN search technology in this calendar year, probably late in the second half, and we're going to have a heck of a great race in search between Google, Microsoft and Yahoo (Inc.). It will be really fun to follow," Microsoft Chief Financial Officer John Connors said last week during the company's quarterly earnings call.

Inclusion of the Google Deskbar in the Windows Partner Pack is an example of how Google can be a partner for Microsoft's large Windows group while at the same time a rival to MSN, a relatively small Microsoft group that in June ended its first profitable year ever, said Joe Wilcox, a Washington, D.C.-based Jupiter Research senior analyst.

"While the MSN Search folks may be in hot competition with Google, for the Windows platform Google is a v…
Need to say anything more ? Well I must admit that the Blue Screen is an extinct species with the advent of 2000 / XP. But nevertheless, this picture of smiling Bill Gates with the fatal blue screen still holds good for many of us.

My favourite technology program in India

If you are in India, you would definitely miss some TV channels like CNet, TechTV, ZDNet which are beemed across western nations.

But don't loose heart completely. There is one program on BBC which can satisfy your thirst for technology program to some extent.

The program is Click Online and you can watch it on Mondays at 10pm IST. And if you miss the show some day because you had to attend your cousin's wedding, you can still watch the recording of the program which is available at this site.

The guy Stephen Cole is a jovial host and keeps you glued to your seat for the entire 30 minutes. The Webscape section towards the end of program is very interesting and I definitely check the links featured in the program.

Click Online can be seen on BBC World TV at the following times (GMT):
Thursday 19:30 | Saturday 00:30 / 06:30 | Monday 16:30 | Tuesday 00:30 / 07:30 | Wednesday 13:30

Why I still prefer Copernic over Filehand

Filehand is a great product especially the result format.

The results contain a clickable link to your document, an estimate of the relevance of the found document to your search terms, and an extract of the document.But let me illustrate one serious issue which forces me to stick with CDS.

Look closely at this picture especially the text highlighted in yellow. Acutally I was looking for some excel file and was able to find it very easily using Filehand. However, the title of the search result (highlighted in yellow) did not display the document title but instead displayed the macros and vba code contained inside the excel sheet. This kind of result is pretty useless for a non technical person.

Once Filehand team fixes this for me, I would definitely think of switching back to Filehand from CDS.

How to choose between JPEG vs GIF for the web ?

This question is quite frequently asked by web designers with all levels of experience. The really short and sweet rule to remember is:

Lots of colors, JPEG... Solid colors or no gradations, GIF.

The first thing to understand about GIF and JPEG image formats is that they are both compression based formats. In other words, they take an uncompressed image such as a bitmapped image, and compress them to a smaller file size. The usual result of this conversion is a significantly smaller image size.

It might seem that one compression method would always result in smaller file sizes, but that is simply not the case. The GIF format is excellent at compressing images that have relatively few colors with no gradations. In fact, most small web graphics which are saved in GIF format should never exceed 10 kb. Now in the world of images... that's small! By contrast JPEG compression, when there are few colors and no gradations, usually results in images which are larger than their GIF counterpa…

HTML Help - Making the Web accessible to all

Some very useful tools for novice and web designers.

HTML Help by The Web Design Group
HTML Validator
Evaluate a Page (Validity, Accessibility, Links)
HTML character set

The Web Design Group was founded to promote the creation of non-browser specific, non-resolution specific, creative and informative sites that are accessible to all users worldwide. To this end, the WDG offers material on a wide range of HTML related topics. We hope that with this site as a reference, you will be able to create Web sites that can be used by every person on the Internet, regardless of browser, platform, or settings.

10 easy no-cost Ways to Generate Site Traffic

Turn your site into a visitor magnet and attract swarms of qualified traffic with our top 10 free traffic generation tactics.

No matter how cool your site or how fabulous your product, you're not going to generate enough sales to make your business viable unless you can generate traffic. You have to get the word out about your site and give people a reason to visit it, or else you'll go the way of the dinosaur.

The good news is, there are lots of ways to effectively advertise your site online and drive tons of qualified traffic to your site, all for free! And by qualified, I mean people who belong to your target market and who are most likely to buy the products or services you offer. These are the people you want coming to your site.

In order to maximize your site's exposure, it's best to use a combination of the tactics listed above. For example, if you're sending out an e-mail promotion, you may want to include a "tell a friend" option in the e-mail so…

Washington Post recommends Google Desktop

What Google did for Web searching, Google Desktop -- available in a beta-test form at for Windows 2000 and XP -- does for file finding. Once installed, it quickly builds a database of the non-system files on your computer's hard drive, then indexes the contents of many commonly used types of files -- Web pages viewed in Internet Explorer, e-mail read in Microsoft's Outlook and Outlook Express mail programs, America Online instant messages, Microsoft Word, Excel and PowerPoint files, and text files.

This indexing has yet to have any detectable effect on the performance of two PCs I've put Google Desktop on, despite its ludicrous speed. New e-mails turned up in Google Desktop's search results within six minutes of their arrival, and freshly viewed Web pages were indexed even faster, within about 10 seconds.

Since Google Desktop's index is updated so often, it also tracks changes to text and Microsoft Office files. Click a file's name in a Google…

Post ratings on your site

One of the cool free features of the new NewsGator Online is the built-in rating system for content. For every post you read within NewsGator Online, you can give it a rating from 1 to 5 stars, and see the community rating as well:
In the example above, the red stars are my own rating (I liked this post that I wrote, so I gave it a 5!), and the community average rating is shown by the orange (4 in this example). Even better, you can now put these ratings on your own site...I've done this here (click through the link if you're reading in an aggregator), and here are someotherexamples. If the user is signed into NewsGator Online, they will see the same interactive rating GUI; if they're not signed in, they will still be able to click the rating image, and they'll get a small popup to sign in and enter their rating. All in all, pretty seamless and easy to use.Information about how to add these to your own site is on our Tools for Bloggers page.So what do we do with all th…

How to hack into Blogger

How can I change the "Post a Comment" text ?
Create a conditional new post link?
How can I create expandable post summaries?
How do I put my archive links in a menu ?
How can I list my archives by title?

If you are looking for these answers, Blogger has published a Hacks page which allow users to add or change (customise) their templates. These hacks can give you more control over your blog's appearance or setting.

Blogger Knowledge database
Blogging Your Novel (Part One)

Microsoft Desktop Search will be available soon

Microsoft has set a firmer date for the release of its desktop search software, after Google launched a test version of its rival program for scouring a PC's hard drive.

During its earnings call with financial analysts, Microsoft said an MSN-branded tool would be made available before the end of 2004. The tool and an algorithmic Web searching engine will be in beta testing by year's end, a representative said Friday.

Read more here.

MSN Chief Yusuf Mehdi had earlier demonstrated a prototype of the search software to an audience at its annual meeting with financial analysts here. The technology is designed to quickly look through a hard drive, finding all the matches for a word from within documents, e-mails and even e-mail attachments. The version Mehdi presented also returned Web results on the right side of the page.

Microsoft recently acquired Lookout and now seem to be releasing it under a new banner of MSN search.

One reader writes about a tool that already exists. It is…

Strategies for good placement in search engines

SEO – A Short Course

Anyone who does business on the internet today has heard of SEO (search engine optimization), and many have tried their hand at it themselves. Most find, however, that they don’t get much response from their efforts. This leads to a dilemma for a start-up business: Is there any way to capitalize on internet traffic without paying big bucks for a professional SEO?

The answer is, yes and no. As with anything in business, you can’t get something for nothing, and most people who own top listings for competitive search engine keywords have paid dearly for that privilege. However, there are some simple things that can help make your new website more friendly not only to search engines, but also to your customers

Read complete story here.

How to Add Categories to your Blog

Li-Zhao has written a nice article which provides certain tips to categorize your posts. u only need to add several words in ur posts to put them into a certain category. And then, following a hyperlink, u can list all posts of a category. Another comment pointed to a very different but innovative approach which suggested that Blogger users can create another blog, put their categories there and then link to it from the main blog. Slightly complicated !!

Though I liked Li's approach but I am still looking for something more simple. I think I should post a feature request to the developer team at Blogger itself to add the categories feature.

P.S. On a different note, Li recommends PICO search over Google. He has some valid reasoning I know google is the choice for most ppls, here, i recommend PICO, as i am using it. Why to use PICO? As it can index ur website when you need, and no need to wait several months for google reindexing.

Tips to promote your Blog

Be an active commenter.
Try to leave comments on the blogs you read every day. This is in the same vein as linking. Leaving a comment on someone's post can make their day. Nothing beats getting those email notifications that whisper tacitly out at you from the screen, "You're thoughts have struck me dead in my tracks. I simply must acknowledge you and your greatness." (Or something to that effect.) Most comment systems also provide a way for you to leave a link back to your blog which begs a visit at the very least. So if you feel inspired, leave a comment or two in your blog travels. It behooves you.

Read more tips here.

Macromedia is now in India

Now its official, Macromedia has a Research and Development office in Bangalore, India and they are looking for the best developers, quality assurance engineers, product designers and managers to enable the digital experiences of tomorrow.

Read more here

Microsoft Partner Pack for Windows XP

Microsoft has just released a free suite of software dubbed the "Partner Pack", for computers running Windows XP. The free add-on pack includes new Microsoft and 3rd party sofware items.

The Partner Pack is the ultimate application package for your Windows XP PC. Install this package and you will be able to play new games and have more fun, explore the internet in new ways, keep in touch and share information with friends and family, better protect your PC and do more with tools and desktop utilities.

Microsoft USB Flash Drive Manager

The Microsoft USB Flash Drive Manager will help you backup and restore presentation, pictures, songs and applications from and to USB Flash Drive devices and take them with you. The application can also help you to classify and name USB Flash Drives images and lets you see this name whenever the USB Flash Drive is plugged into the computer.

Google Deskbar

Google Deskbar lets you search using Google right from your desktop, even when your browser isn…

NewsGator Online - the web-based aggregator for everyone

Greg writes about the free edition of Newsgator Online:You've probably heard by now that we've re-launched NewsGator Online, our web-based aggregator, and we've made much of it free. Woo-hoo!Here's the part that's now free:NewsGator Web Edition (the web-based aggregator), which includes recommendations, ratings, clippings, and lots of other cool featuresBlogroll publishingHeadline re-publishingSynchronization with NewsGator Outlook Edition and FeedDemon (and other products in the future)I'm pretty excited about this, as is our entire team. Formerly NewsGator Online Services, this online system has been around since January of this year...but it's always been behind a subscription wall. Now, we're opening up a large part of the system for free use. I like to think of it as our way of giving a little back to the community that's helped us get this far...but I suppose in reality, we have business reasons for doing it too. :-) There's so much cool st…

Google Mirror - elgooG

Google Mirror is wonderfully impressive. A common practice for busy websites is to create a mirror site, which is an exact replica of the original site but on a different server. This way if one server is really busy, you can go to the other server. elgooG is a play on this idea, except instead of an exact replica of the site, it's a mirror image of the site.

The Google Mirror is implemented using a CGI script on our server. Your web browser requests a Google URL from our server. Our server then opens an HTML connection to the Google server and gets your desired web page. Our server analyzes the contents of the page, reverses it, and sends the mirrored page back to your web browser. In some sense, our server is acting as a proxy (albeit a very strange proxy) between your web browser and the Google server. Any images in the requested web page are also downloaded to our server and mirrored. Currently only JPEG and GIF images are supported. A caching system is used for common images a…

A forgotten hero in Desktop Search

When every other company is busy proving themselves in the desktop search market, there is one great piece of ancient software which seems to be lost in the hype. AltaVista Discovery, from Altavista whose assets were acquired by Terra Lycos, finds little or no mention on the net though It was the first tool which introduced the concept of desktop search through a toolbar which could be docked to the top of the screen.

AltaVista Discovery features Active Setup (a 328K file), which requires that you maintain your Internet connection after you double-click on avdsetup.exe. AltaVista Discovery brings the power of Compaq's AltaVista Internet service to your own personal files. It allows you to quickly find files and mail messages anywhere on your PC's local disks, and on any shared network disk to which you are connected. Using the same interface, you can perform searches of the Internet with Compaq's AltaVista Internet service. AltaVista Discovery Version 1.1 extends the functi…

Google Search Tricks

It's very likely you used Google before, so you know the basics of searching already. Mostly you can rely on intuition, and Google is very good at second-guessing your intents. But sometimes that's not quite enough, so GoogleBlog has some Google tips & tricks from their daily experience.

This one was particularly interesting:

Determine Filetype - Besides normal web pages in HTML format, Google also indexes .pdf, .doc, .xls, and .ppt files. Sometimes you want to limit the result list to only one specific filetype, and for that you can use the "filetype" operator. In this example, we try to find presentations about noodles, and therefore go for PowerPoint only:
noodles filetype:ppt

Local PC Search Not Perfect

When the whole world is excited about the advent of new tools to search your billions of bytes stored in your hard drive, here is a different story from the Associated Press.

Matthew Fordahl, AP Technology Writer comments If you want to find a needle of information in the seemingly endless haystack that is the Web, just punch a few words into your favorite Internet search engine. But if you want to pull up a file from your PC's hard drive, good luck.

Read this interesting story here.

Matthew also mentions of another startup, Viapoint Corp. Not only is it a search utility, it also categorizes as it indexes — something that allows for quick, logical browsing that's much more intuitive than keeping information in random folders. Viapoint also compiles a list of companies from the PC's contents. Click on a company name, and it lists all contacts, e-mail addresses and any messages or files received from the firm. The software is available as a 14-day free trial. After that, it&#…

Review of Hard-disk search tools

HotBot Quick Search Deskbar 3.1.6 - Lycos's HotBot Desktop provides a glimpse of the future, combining desktop and Internet searches, but other apps actually deliver these features now.X1 Search 04.08 - This standalone desktop search tool, X1 Search, is blazingly fast but costs about $100 more than the nearest competitor. In our opinion, the free apps perform just as well.Copernic Desktop Search - While it doesn't search the Internet, Copernic Desktop Search locates all file types on your hard drive and offers a pleasing interface.blinkx - Blinkx doesn't index your entire hard drive, but the files it misses are the image files most people want to find. We'll wait for the next release of this desktop search tool.Lookout 1.2 - Regular Outlook fans will find this desktop search tool easy to use, but the rest of us may be frustrated. The other important tools missing in the review are Filehand, dtSearch and x-friend.

PC World's Power Guide to Home Electronics

Download a Free Copy of PC World's Power Guide to Home Electronics when you sign up for any PC World E-mail Newsletter!PC World's Power Guide to Home Electronics is a 13-page guide packed with everything you need to know about wide screen televisions, HDTV, digital audio, DVD recorders, digital video recorders, hand gaming devices, and picture phones.This downloadable PDF is full of easy to read charts, side-by-side comparisons, and colorful photos...everything you've come to expect from the editors of PC World. It's the perfect guide to help you navigate the increasingly complicated world of home electronics, and it's sure to inspire gift ideas for the holiday season.

Comparison of programs that search your hard drive

If you're like most people, you stuff your hard drive with more digital photos and ripped music files every day. Maybe you toss them willy-nilly into your My Documents folder in Windows, or--if you're really organized--you slip them into My Music or My Photos. If you're in business, you probably also pack away documents and correspondence that, if lost, could cost you time and money to recover. But while it's handy keep all of your files on your PC's hard drive, it's not quite so simple to find a specific one in the jumble. Before you know it, your PC has turned into a black hole where all important information goes to die. That's why, right now, a handful of companies are fighting to build the holy grail of desktop search: an app that will quickly, easily find your files no matter where you stashed them. Like search engines that scour the Internet and produce results in seconds, these new hard drive versions can instantly pull up references to files based …

Firefox 1.0 Release Date announced November 9th, Firefox 1.0 will take back the web. We want the world to know it. Join us over at SpreadFirefox as we raise funds for the most ambitious launch campaign in open source history. A portion of each donation will go towards taking out a full-page ad in the New York Times celebrating the release. All donors will be listed in the ad, the signatories of a declaration of independence from a monopolized and stagnant web. Will you be a part of the open source legacy?--Blake, on behalf of the sfx team

Google Desktop Search versus Microsoft Windows Search

In this era of Desktop search wars, my favourite search string is tool comparison. There are already too many posts in this blog which compare different tools like X1, CDS, GDS, blinkx... This article compares GDS with MS tools which are yet to make a foray into the search field.

Google Desktop Search Software can’t find your lost keys or tell you where you left the Tivo remote control, or that your glasses are on top of your head, where you left them. But the beta software from Google Labs is nothing short of mandatory for those with more emails, Word documents, Powerpoint, Excel and PDF files than they know what to do with. That’s me.

New fixtures in our lives can become near necessities pretty quickly. You know, like the Tivo remote when you want to skip repetitive loud jingles in commercials. I’ve even begun to start reaching for that Tivo remote out of habit when I’ve missed an important news item on the car radio! Wait, Back up!

I’ll grin as I catch myself doing this, while wond…

Free Tools: Gain Control Over Windows

Tweak Windows and adjust hidden settings with these PC World Picks, which are entirely free - no strings attached.

Tweak UI v1.33
Customize your Windows user interface.

PowerToys for Windows XP
Add applications and adjust hidden settings with this free suite of system tools.

X-Setup Pro v6.6
Tweak your Windows environment to match your tastes with this free system utility.

Winuscon v1.56
Bring useful Windows features - even the ones you didn't know about - to the surface.

Kill Win v2.1.9
Shut down your computer and close folders and applications.

Via Lockergnome.

Firefox in The New York Times

The Mozilla Foundation is getting ready to take the browser wars to a new front: the advertising pages of The New York Times.

The open-source development group on Tuesday plans to launch an online campaign to raise money to fund the ad, along with other marketing initiatives for the November launch of its Firefox Web browser.

Firefox went out in a Version 1.0 preview release last month, generating widespread attention as a major alternative to Microsoft Corp.'s market-dominant Internet Explorer. The preview release also kicked off Mozilla's Spread Firefox initiative, a community marketing Web site where supporters can collaborate on promoting the browser. About 25,000 people have joined Spread Firefox.

The New York Times campaign will launch on the Spread Firefox site, complete with the ability to make online donations.

Mozilla is targeting the ad to include the names of at least 2,500 donors who contribute $30 or more, Davis said. Along with displaying the names, the ad will high…

Digitize you Records as MP3

Vinyl's not dead yet. The market for records has never gone away, and chances are good that you still have some albums tucked away that you can't part with but no longer listen to. If you miss those tunes, here's good news: You can easily make clean digital copies of them. In fact, if you can plug a cable into a socket, you can convert your vinyl recordings into MP3 files. And here's even better news: You can handle all the importing without expensive or complicated software and hardware.
Read full story here.

Find Files Fast

PCWorld reviews the top tools for searching your hard drive and inbox.
You know the file is somewhere. Windows can locate it in a twinkling, no doubt. You click Start, Search, type a word or two, click Search, and wait. And wait.
A banana and half a sports section later, you get the news: 'Search is complete. There are no results to display. But that can't be! Since you know the file arrived as an e-mail attachment, you open Outlook, click Find, type your term, click Find Now, and see 'No items found'. Oops! Outlook can't search attachments.
I know your frustration. My boss recently gave me a simple task: to find the original version of a Scott Spanbauer Internet Tips column about wireless network security from a few years ago. That's all he remembered about it--no file name, no date, nothing.

Read full story here.
Read complete description to tests here.

Am I moving towads the GDesktop?

My workstation seems to be invaded by Google.

The things I use extensively that have a google stamp on them are:

1. Google Search Engine (includes images and dmoz directory)
2. Google Groups (I really get answers here)
3. Blogger (because of this, you are reading this)
4. Hello / Picasa
5. Google Desktop Seach (but worried about privacy)
6. Google Toolbar in IE and Firefox
7. IE/Firefox right click menu has Google search
8. Google News is my homepage in IE.
9. GMail (not much though)

And there are rumours that Google is building a browser, so you can expect what the tenth item on my list would be - GBrowser ?

Do you have what it takes to join Google?

If you want to work for Google, you'd better have a favorite math equation and a penchant for word problems.

Google, well-known for its search technology, is now applying its creativity to its search for new employees. The company has created mysterious billboards and two-page ads featuring word problems and now is moving into SAT territory with the Google Labs' Aptitude Test, which appeared recently in several technical magazines.

"We are always interested in opportunities where we can find creative people, so we are always trying new ways to find them," said Eileen Rodriguez, a spokeswoman for Google.

Read full story here.

Tweak your windows hosts file

Block ads, banners, cookies and javascript code from downloading and speed up internet browsing using a simple hosts file. You can even block Google Analytics from tracking your visit.

The Windows Hosts file contains the mappings of IP addresses to host names. This file is loaded into memory (cache) at startup, then Windows checks the Hosts file before it queries any DNS servers, which enables it to override addresses in the DNS. This prevents access to the listed sites by redirecting any connection attempts back to the local machine. Another feature of the HOSTS file is its ability to block other applications from connecting to the Internet, providing the entry exists.

When a web site or application calls up an advert it normally uses a standard URL like which like any URL typed into a web browser must be translated into a machine recognised numerical identifier (IP address) which is a unique identifier of a location on the internet. Via.

To block google adsense ad…

Scanning Slides

I have accumulated several thousand slides and 35-mm negatives that I'd like to digitize. Is there any good reason to invest in a slide scanner that I'll never use again, or does it make more sense to get a flatbed with high resolution and a slide-scanning feature? Also, what resolution should I be looking for?

Solution Given the number of slides and negatives you have, I'd argue that a good slide scanner, also known as a film scanner, is worth getting. One reason is resolution. At the risk of oversimplifying, for best image quality you need an image resolution of at least 300 pixels per inch (ppi) at the size you're printing. For a 35-mm original printed as an 8-by-10 photo, that works out about 2,200 ppi for the scan. Scanning at higher optical resolution is even better, in case you decide you want to crop the image.

You can find flatbed scanners with sufficient claimed resolutions, but they often don't live up to their claims—typically because of the limitations o…

Use a scanner to reduce paperwork, archive your important data

Tips for getting the most out of a scanner

Once a document is scanned, stored, and backed up, no one can lose the paperwork. But rember, not everything should be digital only. Sometimes, for legal or regulatory reasons, you need hard copies.

How to use a scanner to save money and increase efficiency - Best Document Management Practices

Use document management software to index, search, and save e-mail
The software lets people search and access documents from a variety of locations and keeps the e-mail system from choking on a lot of large attachments, because people no longer need large PDF documents sent to them. It also helps save time later when someone's trying to find something important.

Enable your employees and clients with remote access
By scanning documents, you can also make them available to clients online. Clients can actually see the documents involved in their case from anywhere. First scan a legal documents into a PDF and put it in the document management system. Then yo…

List of fixes included in Windows XP Service Pack 2a

By J-Walk's count, the list contains 818 items.

This article lists the problems that are fixed in Microsoft Windows XP Service Pack 2 (SP2). Service packs are cumulative. This means that the problems that are fixed in a service pack are also fixed in later service packs. For example, Windows XP SP2 contains all the fixes that are included in Windows XP Service Pack 1 (SP1). You do not have to install an earlier service pack before you install Windows XP SP2.

List of fixes included in Windows XP Service Pack 2

Tips from a Microsoft Recruiter to get your resume noticed

Gretchen Ledgard is a Sr. Technical Recruiter at Microsoft. Here she describes four verbal patterns she seeks out in resumes.

If you’ve read many resume writing tips, you probably know that most recruiters employ “keyword searches” when hunting for resumes. Sometimes these keyword strings are extremely sophisticated and specific (like 10 line-long Boolean phrases), and sometimes these string are ultra-simplistic (one word). But no matter if a recruiter is searching for resumes in Monster, Google, or his own in-house Applicant Tracking System, keywords becomes both the savior and executioner of many an applicant.

If you’ve read many resume writing tips, you probably know that most recruiters employ “keyword searches” when hunting for resumes. Sometimes these keyword strings are extremely sophisticated and specific (like 10 line-long Boolean phrases), and sometimes these string are ultra-simplistic (one word). But no matter if a recruiter is searching for resumes in Monster, Goo…

AOL Develops Desktop Search to sources familiar with testing, America Online Inc. is developing its own desktop search technology that will initially be added to the AOL Browser beta as early as the end of this week. AOL's entry into the space pits it directly against rival Microsoft Corp., which has designs for a desktop search engine of its own.

AOL Desktop Search is one of many value-added features shoring up America Online's upcoming alternative Web browser, currently code-named AOL Browser. AOL Browser is a stand-alone application based upon Internet Explorer and is independent from AOL's client software. Although AOL Browser shares the same underlying engine as Microsoft's Internet Explorer, many features more commonly found in AOL's Netscape brand can be found in the release. These additions include tabbed browsing, a pop-up blocker and toolbar buttons that produce thumbnails of Web pages when users hover over them.

RSS feed of Yahoo! Groups

Do you know that all Yahoo Groups have an RSS feed. I noticed this while I was visiting the UOR group.

The RSS link is very standard and you can easily guess what the RSS URL of any Group. - Just changed the word YOURGROUP with your group name. This is a nice innovate idea from Yahoo. Google Groups 2 which is now in Beta stage already have such a feature. Now you don't have to keep visiting their site to see if someone has replied to your post.

PS: I just saw that Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Roorkee, formerly known as the University of Roorkee, is planning to set up a centre of excellence in the areas of nanotechnology and nanosciences within its campus. The institute is also exploring the possibility of setting up a centre of excellence for transport engineering. This is great news.

Google Domains

Gary Price of Resourceshelf published the complete list of 400 recently registered Google domains (none owned by Google). Most of the domains are up for-sale or for some sales trick.

One of these viz., routes to - a keyword suggestion tool?.

Thanks Kiran for the link

Remove Text Ads from GMail

Do you find the text ads in GMail to be annoying? If you do, you can use Firefox to hide the ads from displaying.

This trick uses CSS and the Firefox configuration file named userContent.css . Before we start modifying our userContent.css file, I would recommend that you install an extension named ChromeEdit that simplifies the process of modifying your Firefox configuration files. So before you enter the CSS code listed below, go and install this extension (note: you’ll need to restart your browser after installation, so you may want to bookmark this page).

Now that you have CromeEdit installed, click on the Firefox Tools menu and then click on the menu item labeled Edit User Files. A new window will appear that has five tabs across the top. Click on the tab that is labeled userContent.css. Next copy the CSS code below and paste it into the userContent.css file, then click the Save button.

#rh table[class=”metatable”]{display: none !important;}
#rh div[class=”c”] {display: none !impo…

A9 vs Google is taking on Google with a new search site called A9. While Google concentrates on simplicity and delivering the most relevant search results in the shortest possible time, A9 is adding the experience face to the process of conducting a web search by providing various facets like related movies and books. While A9 still relies on the Google to provide its basic search results, integrating it with Amazon's 'Search inside Book' feature, has made this into a really powerful.

Search Google faster in India

Thanks Arnab for this tip

From IITB, the server, which is the indian mirror to Google responds much faster than it's .com counterpart. Since Mozilla Firefox uses the slower as the URL for all its searches, and I use the integrated search features (right click search, and the search box) a lot, I thought it'd be cool to have these point to in place of .com so that it doesn't take forever to access my secondary brain. Here's how to do it:

1. To edit the default URL for the search box, go to firefox/searchplugins, where firefox is the application directory. Open up google.src for editing. Change the "action" value that has to Now all searches from the top right search box will be sent to the indian server. You'll need to restart your browser for this one.

2. Type about:config in your location bar(where you type URLs) and press enter. There'll be a variable called Change tha…

Comparison of ISD rates in India

Reliance Infocomm, Tata Indicom (VSNL), Bharti, Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd and Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Ltd are the key players in the calling card segment.

Almost all service operators have similar charges for the most-common destinations. Reliance, Tata Indicom and Airtel offer Rs 7.20 a minute for calls made from India to a landline in the US, Canada and Europe, while MTNL charges Rs 9 a minute.

Calls made to mobile phones in Europe are charged at Rs 13.99 by Bharti, while MTNL charges Rs 9 a minute. Reliance and Tata Indicom are the cheapest at Rs 7.20 a minute

If you intend to call South East Asian countries, the cheapest option is MTNL’s calling cards wherein the rates are Rs 9 a minute compared with Reliance, Tata Indicom and Bharti which charge Rs 9.60 a minute.

In case, calls are outbound for Middle East, the best option is to go in for Bharti’s Airtel cards at Rs 16.99 a minute, while MTNL, Reliance and Tata Indicom charge Rs 18 a minute.

Read full story here

Prevent spammers from stealing your email

Don't put email addresses on a website!

Spammers WILL lift those addresses directly from your website, unless you take special precautions. This article explains some ways to hide your email addresses on websites from spammers.

Michael recommends a javascript to hide your email address from spammers. Though this message is not fool-proof but it still does the trick 90% of the times.

Here is the full code listing:
Write us at <SCRIPT LANGUAGE=JavaScript>
a='info'; b='';
document.write('<A href="mai');

Click to <SCRIPT LANGUAGE=JavaScript>
a='info'; b='';
document.write('<A href="mai');

Man Fired, Insulted For Running SETI@Home At Work Charles E. Smith should have paid a little more attention to the @home part of the SETI@home project. It appears he was fired for running it on some servers at his office, which happens to be the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services. While it is true that he doesn't own these computers and probably should have asked permission first, this does seem a bit extreme. Lots of techies run distributed projects on their work computers. Even worse, Mr. Smith probably did not deserve the following insult his boss gave him on the way out the door: "I understand his desire to search for intelligent life in outer space, because obviously he doesn't find it in the mirror in the morning. I think that people can be comfortable that security has beamed this man out of our building." Seems a bit harsh for a guy who was just trying to use spare computing cycles to help a legitimate, NASA-supported, scientific project out.…

Received my XP SP2 CD today

Thank you Microsoft !

I received my SP2 CD today. The cover had a sticker which wants you to visit before beginning the SP2 installation.

This page can help you get your computer ready for the service pack. You can also get quick tips for a successful installation and find out how to get more help. Get started now.

I will keep you posted on my SP2 installation experience.

Gets Lots Of Copies Of Windows XP SP2

Microsoft has a form on their website that you can fill out to get a copy of Windows XP SP2 on CD at no charge (with free shipping by Purolator).

This site will help you to make your own VideoCDs, SVCDs or DVDs that can be played on your standalone DVD Player from video sources like DVD, Video, TV, DV, Cam or downloaded movie clips like DivX, MOV, RM, WMV and ASF.

They carry reviews of Capture Cards, DVD Media, DVD Writers and desktop DVD Players with features, compatibility information and user comments.

I stumbled upon this site while searching for ways to convert analog footage (Hi8) to digital.

Post your Gmail invitations here

Philipp has a page on his blog where people can post Gmail invitation links.

This is the new place to give out Gmail invitations. If you do not have Gmail yet, please don't ask here (or anywhere else in the forum), as I will have to delete it. If you want a Gmail invitation you need to wait and refresh this thread, and then click on the link to create the new Gmail.

Example of Google Print

I queried Google for Khushwant Singh's popular title Train to Pakistan. The result page had a very nice link to Google Print at the top.

This link took me to Google Print's Book page where I could read the first page of the book rendered as a .gif file.

IrfanView - Best Graphics Viewer

If you're looking for a lean and mean graphics utility, IrfanView is a top choice--and the fact that it's both free and a high-quality program makes it nearly irresistible. Import images, view images, perform basic image editing, create slide shows, and convert files from one format to another. Crop, blur, and sharpen your images. Make modifications in regular mode or, if you have a jeweler's eye for detail, make changes in zoom mode.

The program lets you set the compression level when you save files, and it supports all major graphics formats, including .bmp, .gif, .jpg, .png, and .tif.

Version: 3.92
Price: Free

Download IrfanView now at PCWorld site

Text Effects In Blogs

Here's a listing of codes you may be able to use in your blogs. Whether you can use them depends on if the blog owner allows these codes in their comments.

Italics: <i> and </i>OR <em > and </em>
Bold: <b> and </b> OR <strong > and </strong>
Underline: <u > and </u>
Strikeout: <strike > and </strike>
URL's: The same way you do in your blog. <a href="URL">Text</a>
Trademark: ™ (& + trade + ;) or ® (& + # + 174 + ;)
Quoted Text: <blockquote> and </blockquote>

Thanks Kevin for this link.

Yahoo! Search Shortcuts

What is a Yahoo! Search Shortcut? Simply put, it's the fastest way to get all kinds of useful info. Just enter a search into any Yahoo! Search box using the instructions below, and the info you're looking for will appear right at the top of your search results. It's that easy!

Google SMS

Text messaging users can use Google SMS to get specific search information such as prices, definitions, area codes, ZIP codes and phone listings.

Using a mobile phone or a handheld device that supports SMS (Short Messaging Service) text messaging, users can tap Google SMS through specialized queries that trigger very specific replies. For example, entering the word "pizza" along with a zip code prompts Google SMS to return related business listings in that geographical zone. Likewise, entering a person's name along with a city, state and/or zip code yields residential phone listings.

Google doesn't charge for the Google SMS service, but wireless provider fees for text messaging apply.

This service will not be available in India currently.

Favourite Firefox extensions

I've find these extensions very handy so I thought I'd post them in the hope it helps someone else experience the unique surfing experience with this great browser.Tabbrowser - Improves your Tab Browsing. You can configure all sort of things like new tabs open from search windows, links clicked from outlook open in background window, bookmark set of pages as tabs, and much much more. It is a highly recommended extension for Firefox users.  When browsing through the main page of a news site, you can click on story titles and have them load in background tabs to be read later.IE View - Open pages in IE via Firefor right click menu - This extension comes in handy when your encounter sites which load only in IE.Adblock - Filter ads from webpages.  You can stop all kinds annoying ads on web pages. Blocking them speeds up your browsing as well. BugMeNot - Byepass compulsory registration in websites like New York Times, Washington Post. You can even contribute to this site database. P…

Firefox Speed up load time

Speed up load time - Firefox is slow to load initially on Windows XP. You can speed this up a bit by using XP's built in prefetcher. Simply right-click on the Firefox icon you use to start the browser. Add the text /Prefetch:1 to the end of the line in the target field.

The whole line should look something like the following:
"C:\Program Files\Mozilla Firefox\firefox.exe" /Prefetch:1

Are you still using IE ?

Why switch to Mozilla Firefox?

Because you can effortlessly do things in Firefox that IE users only dream about, without giving up most of the compatibility in the IE world that you need.

Some of the favourite features of firefox that you would definitely miss in IE are :

Tabbed Browsing - Makes surfing the web faster
Popup Blocking
More Space for Pages
Personalize With Themes
Customizable and Extendable with extensions
Truly Firefox is light years ahead of IE even though XP SP2 equips IE with a popup blocker. IE can never be as safe because so many people target it.

Upgrading from IE to Firefox is only a bit more difficult than, well playing solitaire. Basically all you need to do is import your favories from Internet Explorer. And the best part is that this is already done while your install Firefox.

Replace IE and disable it !!

Current Prices of computer hardware in Indian Market

Have you ever come across a situation where you need to buy some extra RAM but have no clue what is the right price. The local computer vendor may also take you for a ride.

I find this site quite useful whenever I am looking to buy some extra hardware for my machine. You can find the right price of an assembled PC, check out the latest offers from vendors and you may even sell your prodcuts.

Nehru Place in New Delhi is supposedly Asia's biggest IT Market. This site provides current prices of computer hardware, software and peripherals in India, updated in real-time by dealers. The prices are quoted in Rupees.

Branding Your Machines

If you have purchased a machine from one of the big manufacturers, you will have seen that they have customised the "System Properties" window with their own logo.
In addition, there will usually be a button next to it, which gives you additional support information.
These two items are known as OEM information, and can be easily replaced with your own.

This is useful if you build your own computers, or in a larger office allowing you to place the company branding on the machines along with details on how to contact your internal support department.

All you have to do is create the files which are very specific and place them in the location.

Read full article here

Can't Find On Google

Unable to find on Google what you're looking for? You remember a web page but now don't you meet with it? Try where users who've given up finding something on Google can post their frustrations, and hope that someone will see it and provide the answer. Call it a court of last resort for Google.

The things Google can't find are more interesting than the stuff Google can find.

Google Print - Read Books

Google Print puts the content of books where you can find it most easily; right in Google search results.

To use Google Print, just do searches on Google as you normally would. Whenever a book contains content that matches your search terms, we'll show links to that book in your search results. Click on the book title and you'll go to a "content page," where you can see the page containing your search terms and other information about the book. You can also search for other topics within the book. Click on the "Buy this Book" link and you'll go straight to a bookstore selling the book online.

The service is in Beta stage.

Detailed comparison of Desktop Search tools

The Desktop search category is getting lot of attention these especially after Copenic and others released there tools free. I will try to compare the three most popular tools in this category. X1FilehandCopernic Desktop SearchThe comparison is grouped by most common tasks. Filetypes: All these tools can index most common type of Microsoft Office documents, Email and attachments, PDF files, Common Graphic formats and music files. I would give more points to X1 as it can index certain types of Adobe specific documents like .ai and also index Eudora and Netscape emails. Indexing Options: It is quite similar in all the three tools. You have the option to decide which folders are to be indexed, the folder where index would be stored and also free to choose the frequency when the index would be updated. You can even add new file types but it is limited only text format files. Wish I could index my collection of .chm files !! While indexing, X1 gives you the percentage of information that is i…