Skip to main content


Showing posts from January, 2006

Adobe PDF vs Microsoft XPS (XML Paper Specification)

Microsoft XPS Document format (earlier Metro), similar in many ways to Adobe PDF, is all set to debut with Windows Vista and Office 12.

Microsoft XPS is designed as a direct competitor to Adobe PostScript and PDF, the de-facto standard document format on the Web. Just like PDF, an XPS document is displayed identically on every computer and will represent the "printed page"

Read: How does Microsoft XPS Metro compare with Adobe Acrobat PDF

All Microsoft Office 2007 applications like Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Access, Publisher, Visio, OneNote, and InfoPath would include a Save As XPS in addition to the Save As PDF option (see screenshot). Microsoft will also provide an API for generating XPS documents from any Windows Presentation Foundation WFC applications.

Microsoft will also provide an XPS Viewer similar to Adobe Acrobat Reader for viewing XPS documents without needing the actual application which created it. Microsoft XPS reader is available for Windows Vista, Windows XP, a…

United States Currency Tracking Project

Ever wonder what happened to that crumpled dollar bill which you left on the restaurant table or inserted into the NYC Subway turnstile ? Well there's a way to find out.

A Web site called The Great American Dollar Bill Locator helps people track their money as it moves around the world.

Users type in their ZIP codes and the serial numbers of any United States denomination up to $100. Then they write "" on the bills and go out and spend them, banking on the possibility that future owners will be curious enough to visit the site and update the bills' travel history.

Defacing U.S. currency is a crime, but federal law defines "defacing" as altering a bill so much that it cannot be used.

Once a bill is registered, the site reports the time between sightings, the distance traveled and any comments from the finders. One Dollar Bill, Serial# K244 I Series: 1999 has travelled 4,191 Miles in 3 Yrs at an average of 3.8 Miles per day.

Visit website:…

Google Adsense Hack for Onsite Adwords Advertiser Sign-Up

Google Adsense Onsite Advertiser Sign-up makes it easy for Google Adwords advertisers to bid on your site.

But sometimes curious visitors, who are not potential advertisers but potential ad clickers, exit your website by clicking the Advertise on this site link.

The best way to prevent this situation is to remove the "Advertise on this site" link from Google Ads and place it in a different location on your website. Yes, this is very much possible in just 4 steps:

Step 1. Enable Onsite Advertiser Sign-up

Step 2. Create an impressive landing page where you sell your website to Adwords Advertisers. Get a nice logo and add a good site description.

Step 3. Now Disable Onsite Advertiser Sign-up by clearing the checkbox (see screenshot) - Google Ads will no longer show the Advertise on this site link.

Step 4. We are almost done. Create your custom Adwords Advertiser Invitation Link and place it anywhere in your blog or website.…

Google Adsense Inventory for Banned Keywords

Does Google accept ads from gambling and poker websites ? You may immediately say a big "NO" but that's not true.

Take a look at this screenshot of a Google Ad of a Poker forum, Google actually does accept and show ads for content which are otherwise prohibited according to the online "terms and conditions". definition of Poker:Poker is fundamentally a gambling game and is played either for money or for chips purchased from the game's banker.Google Adsense Program policies clearly states that Adsense Publishers may not put Adsense on sites that contain:Gambling or casino-related contentGoogle Adwords Policy for advertisers on GamblingAdvertising is not permitted for online casinos, sports books, bingo, and affiliates with the primary purpose of driving traffic to online gambling sites.However, the Adsense Preview Tool confirms that Google does have a vast inventory of ads related to Poker, Casino and Gambling.

After Video, Google iTunes for downloading MP3 songs

Market Analyst say that Google is looking to expand into the MP3 downloading business. They speculate that Google is in the midst of creating its own Apple iTunes competitor, which they call 'Google Tunes'

"We would expect Google to rollout a [MP3 downloading] Beta service within 3 to 6 months. We note that Google has not confirmed our expectations, and that our thinking is based on Mosaic theory," said Peck. "However, we do think this fits with Google's recent moves and its ultimate goal of organizing the world's information."

Source: Google May Be Close To Developing iTunes Competitor -

Download SnagIt 8 Screen Capture Software

Techsmith SnagIt 8.1 Screen Capture - our trusted software companion.

As a technical writer, I generally illustrate my articles with screen captures of websites, desktop screen and even software.

Related Reading: Free Screen Capture Software

SnagIt 8.1 is the versatile brain behind every picture and screenshot that you see here on Digital Inspiration. I use Techsmith SnagIt 8 to capture a screen area and then enhance the capture with Annotations, Titles, Borders, Arrows, Watermarks in SnagIt Editor.

Techsmith SnagIt packs very powerful screen capture and image enhancement features in a neat uncluttered interface (see below)

Techsmith Snagit 8, released today, adds even more useful features that make version 8 a worthwhile upgrade. Here is a quick summary of features that the latest version , SnagIt 8, has to offer :Save webpages with hyperlinks in MHT, PDF or Flash SWF formatsMake screencaptures more interactive with Flash HotspotsSnagIt OneClick add a neat auto-hide sidebar that lets…

Google Results Page getting a facelift - See Screenshot

Amster Burton posted a screenshot of a reformatted Google results page that has the links to specialized search pages listed in the left-hand column instead of placed horizontally across the top of the search box.

The links for "advanced search", "preferences" and "more" link, which takes users to a page with lists of additional Google services and tools and which typically are placed near the search box with the horizontal list of specialized search links has also moved to the left sidebar.

In addition, these links to the image, groups, news, Froogle, and local search pages are each accompanied by a horizontal bar graph with a gray background and a green fill. The bars remain totally gray to indicate the query returned no search results in a specific search service.

Source: Google makeover in the works? | Page Shows May Get Makeover | Amster Burton Flickr

Use Firefox to Make or Receive Free phone calls

Zoep, an Internet Telephony service, have released Zoep Browser Phone for Firefox users. Zoep Phone is a Firefox addon that lets you make free calls to other Zoep users from your Firefox browser.

PC to PC calls are free and like other popular services there is a pre-pay PC to Phone option. Zoep can communicate with other open Jabber based services like Google Talk for Instant Messaging.

Zoep Firefox extension is currently for Windows only and requires Firefox version 1.5. Voice-mail, SMS and an inbound phone number to accept incoming calls from landlines or mobile phones are expected in future versios of Zoep.

Install Zoep Firefox Extension | Zoep Homepage | Zoep Firefox Blog

How to comfort and support a sad, grieving friend

eHow has a good, practical rundown of tips you can use to comfort someone in your life who is grieving:

Allow the person to talk about his grief and express his feelings. Listen without offering advice or interrupting.

Give the person as much time as he needs to grieve. Telling him to 'get over it' or 'let it go' won't help him grieve any faster.

There is no 'correct' amount of time to mourn a loss. The grieving period varies with the individual.

Be sensitive to significant dates such as birthdays, holidays and the anniversary of the death or loss; the grieving person may find these especially difficult times.

How to Comfort a Grieving Person [Source: Lifehacker]

Take the Color Blind Test Online

Colour blindness is the inability to perceive differences between some or all colors that other people can distinguish. About 10% of males have a color perception defect, but color blindness is rare in females.

Eyesight Test for color vision deficiency

If you suspect that you are color deficient, take this simple but interesting color blindness test.

Look at the image on the right. What numbers do you see revealed in the patterns of dots here ?

The individual with normal color vision will see a 5 revealed in the dot pattern.

An individual with Red/Green (the most common) color blindness will see a 2 revealed in the dots.

Resources for web designers

NewMan Color Blind is a free online tool that allows you to see how your website colors look to color blind people.

Use the Colour Blindness Simulator to analyze how your website images may appear to users with a variety of colour blindness conditions. Upload a JPEG image, choose the color blindness condition and see how colour blind users may se…

Interesting News Roundup

Interesting, Amusing, Weird and Strange stuff from around the world.

Chinese Peasants wear Diapers in Train
Migrant workers in south China are wearing adult diapers on packed trains heading home for the Lunar New Year holiday because they have no access to a toilet. Many supermarkets in southern Foshan had reported a 50 percent increase in sales of adult diapers for the train trips.

Sexual harassment is widespread on college campuses
Nearly two-thirds of U.S. college students are affected by sexual harassment - ranging from offensive jokes and gestures to touching and grabbing. Men are more likely to harass than women, but women and men are equally likely to be harassed on U.S. campuses.

IBM sued for not paying overtime to rank-and-file employees
IBM Employees allege they were forced to work more than 40 hours a week, and were called in on weekends without getting overtime pay. The suit seeks class-action status to represent computer installers and maintenance workers for IBM throughout th…

Listen to Stanford University Lectures Online

Stanford University Faculty lectures, seminars, interviews and panel discussions featuring Stanford faculty from across disciplines are now available online for download to anyone, anywhere for free.

All you need is an Apple iPod or a PC / Mac with the Apple iTunes software. You can download all of the content from Stanford on iTunes for free .

To get started, launch the iTunes software and search for "Stanford" in the iTunes U section. This is also available inside the iPhone and iPad.

Open Stanford inside iTunes, browse the lectures, presentations and other audio content, download them to your computer or burn a CD.

Stanford started this public podcasting service Stanford on iTunes using Apple iTunes U service after running the program internally for some time.

Yahoo accepts defeat : Technology Pundits shocked

The game is over in Search. Yahoo! has given up to Google in the battle for market dominance.

"We don't think it's reasonable to assume we're going to gain a lot of share from Google," Chief Financial Officer Susan Decker said in an interview. "It's not our goal to be No. 1 in Internet search. We would be very happy to maintain our market share."

"Our goal has been to hold our share and to be a leading, if not the leading, total marketing platform, which would include both brand and search."

Yahoo! handled 19 percent of global Internet searches in November, a drop from 27 percent a year earlier, according to Web tracker ComScore Networks Inc.

Source: SeattlePi

Enhance Windows XP Cut, Copy, Paste function

Cut (Ctrl X), Copy (Ctrl C), Paste (Ctrl V) are probably the most frequently used commands in Microsoft Windows. But Microsoft has done little to improve the native Windows COPY function since they first introduced it with MSDOS.

Several times during a day, you copy/move files and folders from one drive to another or even to an external storage device like a USB drive. But if the copy process breaks somewhere in between, you have to resume the entire procedure from beginning.

To save you from all that trouble, I would recommend a few utilities installed for your Windows PC. None of these programs alter the existing windows-copy-function.

Total Copy - Right Click Windows shell extension
Total Copy allows you to pause, resume, and speed limit file copy and move function. If the computer is turned off during the copy process (ex. power-loss or system-crash), Total Copy let's you resume when you restart. If your hard drive runs out of diskspace or a network failure, TotalCopy pauses the c…

Googleplex - Pictures of the Google Office in California

See some pictures from the Google headquarters in California, also known as The Googleplex.

The first picture is courtesy Amrita while all the other ones are courtesy Christopher Calo.

Google News Graduation day, read interesting facts

Google News made the first public appearance in Dec 2001 sourcing news from only 100 websites. Today, Google News scans 4,500 different websites in real time, determines which news stories are related and then groups them based on importance. And there aren't any journalists to work on the service, Google News is managed entirely by computer programs.

Google News started as a small demo created by one Google engineer on a weekend after he was frustrated trying to read news after Sept 11 event. More Googlers started to use it to read their news. Google then assigned 3 people (one was UI designer) and one PM to work on it. The rest is history.

May 2005 - Google introduces personalized Google News, Krishna Bharat explains how Google News Works

August 2005 - Google News provides RSS Feeds

January 21, 2006 - Google News adds personalized news recommendation service and Popular stories section - Recommended stories are those that directly relate to things you've searched for and clicked…

ZDNet searching for Technology and Business Bloggers

ZDNet is looking for a few good bloggers to cover business and technology topics. Ofcourse, you will get paid.

They are also on a look out for lT execs to cover education and government fields.

Send you applications to David Grober with a relevant writing sample.

Hard Disk Noises are Warning Signals

If your computer hard drive has started making some weird sounds recently, it could actually indicate a failing hard drive.

Failing hard drives often show warning signs of their imminent demise. If you're lucky enough to see or hear one of these signs, stop what you're doing and immediately back up your data.

Hitachi has released wav sound files of failing hard drives intended to help you diagnose if the sounds your hard drive are making are indicative of a bum drive.

If you hard disk noise resembles any of the following noise pattern, it could mean that the Hard Disk Head is damaged

See: Clicking Sound in Hard Drives

Google Query to find Top WebSites

SEO for Google wrote a few tricks that seem to work on Google but not on Yahoo.

Enter just the word http for your search to find the top 1000 PageRanked sites.

Google returns Microsoft, W3 and Altavista while Yahoo gives more logical results - The top Yahoo result points to definition of HTTP at while the second Yahoo results link to Wikipedia entry of HTTP.

Enter only www in your search to see how Google ranks the top 1,000 sites.

Yahoo shows Hotmail at the top while Google shows Yahoo as the first result.

MSN returns for both the search queries.

CCleaner - Remove Crap from your PC

Windows secretly logs the address of every website you visit in a hidden and protected file called index.dat. Since you cannot delete index.dat manually, you must try CCleaner.

CCleaner automatically removes unused files from your PC freeing up valuable hard disk space. CCleaner can also eliminate the AutoComplete form history and the IE index.dat files which are not deleted even when historical information is purged via the normal browser procedures.

The latest version of CCleaner provides secure file deletion and Windows HotFix Uninstaller cleaning.

CCleaner also erases cookies, URL history, and cached content from both Internet Explorer and Firefox. CCleaner gets rid of things like temp and log files, the list of recently-accessed documents, and Recycle Bin contents as well.

CCleaner can scan for and remove extraneous or orphaned Registry entries, including file extensions, ActiveX Controls, uninstallers, shared DLLs, fonts, help files, application paths, icons, and invalid shortcu…

Interesting News Roundup

Interesting, Amusing, Weird and Strange stuff from around the world.

BBC Stockpiling Web Addresses
BBC is building a huge stockpile of internet domain names not related to, its principal website address. This has raised the ire of British Internet Publishers Alliance, whose members include most of the UK's newspaper groups. As the story says, it is unclear how third-party registration of names such as or could have any negative impact on the BBC or its brand. [via]

Internet shopping reaches 10% of retail sales
The value of goods sold over the internet rose by 50% this Christmas compared with last year, figures out today show, in a sign of the growing power of the internet in the retail sector. [via]

Plasma screens suffer burn out problems
Apparently if you watch live coverage where the TV channel has its logo on the screen, a plasma monitor will fuse the logo onto that part of the screen forever. The TV channels say that punters should t…

Adobe Acrobat 3D - Publish interactive 3D PDF documents

Adobe Systems today announcedAdobe Acrobat 3D for embedding interactive 3D models in PDF documents. Acrobat 3D has Copy Protection features that allow users to restrict copying of potentially valuable designs. The embedded 3D models can be interactively explored using the free Adobe Reader or Adobe Acrobat 7 Professional that already include support for 3D Annotations.

Who is Acrobat 3D for ?
Adobe Acrobat 3D is aimed at CAD professionals, such as construction engineers, designers and architects who regularly use blueprints and CAD software. Acrobat 7 does have an Autodesk plugin for creating a 2D image of a 3D model within the AutoCAD interface.

With Acrobat 3D, anyone can convert 3D models from a wide variety of major computer-aided design (CAD) formats and embed them into Adobe PDF files. Earlier this was only possible in Acrobat using a third-party plugin like Document3D.

Users can also enhance the interactivity of 3D objects in PDF documents by editing lighting, adding textures a…

Microsoft Windows Vista Promotion Campaign

Scoble's fascination for Microsoft Tablet PCs is well known. Now Scoble has found a a new love - Windows Vista.

Microsoft evangelist, Robert Scoble and Manuel Clement, designer on the Microsoft Sparkle team, come together in an effort to promote Windows Vista.

Someone on an internal mailing list said “XP is good enough for me.” And Scoble sent him Vista videos to show how Windows Vista is better.

Monad - Microsoft Vista Shell Scripting Language

Microsoft is preparing to bring powerful Unix style shell scripting to Windows. Microsoft Windows Vista operating system will sport a new command line interactive shell called Monad.

Luckily, you don't need Windows Vista to start using Monad. Just Download and install Monad shell with the .Net Framework 2.0 from the Microsoft Download Center and start scripting. Monad is not quite a superset of the XP cmd shell. You can execute traditional commands as before, but the built-in commands all behave different.

Monad MSH shell will also add powerful text manipulation capabilities to Vista which were earlier only possible with sed or awk programs that are also ported to Windows. Tools like MKS Toolkit and Cygwin are popular among Unix Software Developers who are moving to Windows since they provide bash, ksh style scripting on Windows. Monad could target that market as well.

Download Windows Monad Shell Documentation | Msh Language Quick Start | Scripting with the Windows Monad Shell |

Turn off your PC without shutting down Windows

Shutting down a PC can get complicated. Sometimes Windows takes an extremely long time to close, and too often the operating system doesn't shut down at all.

Microsoft says if you turn off your PC without first shutting down Windows, your hard drive could become more fragmented, files could become corrupted, and you could lose data. But according to a PCWorld report, it is safe to turn off a Windows computer without doing a shut down. We ran 30 iterations of an informal test, turning off a pair of systems running Windows XP without first shutting down Windows. Each time we left documents open in Word, Outlook, and Quicken. And we left our Internet connection up and running.

After we turned each PC back on, we ran Symantec's Norton Disk Doctor and the Windows disk checker to see if the hard drive had suffered any ill effects. We reopened the applications that we had left running and reconnected to the Internet.Disk Doctor found no disk errors, and files were intact--at least up t…

Will Sony Reader replicate IPod success story

Sony announced plans to market a paperback-sized e-book reader called LibriƩ e-1000 that makes use of E-Ink display technology. Sony will also launch Connect online store, from which purchasers can download e-books as easily as they download music from Apple iTunes store onto their iPods.

Many independent and specialty publishers will also have eBook titles available for purchase and download to the Sony Reader. Two industry experts, Terry Teachout of The Wall Street Journal and Fred Reed of The Washington Times, weigh their opinions on the future of Sony eBook reader.

A Hundred Books in Your Pocket
Terry has positive outlook for Sonay and the general eBook market... it will be because Sony is offering what marketers call an "end to end" solution to the problem of the e-book. That kind of one-stop shopping is what made Apple's iPod so successfulThe phenomenal success of the iPod strongly suggests that many, perhaps most, consumers are ready to start buying digital books on…

Microsoft updates Windows Desktop Search Enterprise

Microsoft released an updated version of Windows Desktop Search Enterprise V02.06 for Windows XP. Microsoft has called it a recommended update which can be installed over the previous version (V2.06.0000.2057) and will result in a rebuild of your index. [Learn more about Windows Desktop Search Enterprise]

The WDS update reflects a refresh to the V2.6 build 2057 to build 2083 (02.06.0000.2083). This refresh provides a fix to correct cases where a user’s e-mail messages may not be fully indexed. The updated package can be installed over the V2.6, build 2057. A restart will be required in the case where you install over the earlier release (2.06.0000.2057). This update causes the index to be rebuilt.

Windows Desktop Search V02.06.0000.2083 | Windows Desktop Search Multilanguage User Interface (MUI) | Windows Desktop Search Group Policy .ADM file | Windows Desktop Search Administrator's Guide | Microsoft Windows Desktop Search (WDS) version 2.6 Changes | Enterprise Windows Desktop …

NYC Taxi Driver, Arab Women, Real Estate - Everyone is blogging

Woman blogs about driving a taxi in NYC [Newsday]
Welcome to the world of Melissa Plaut, a New York City taxi driver who chronicles her chaotic, adventurous job in a blog. With words and digital photographs, Plaut provides a glimpse into the mysterious life of the New York cabbie, from the locker room where she and other drivers wait to begin their shifts to the pit stops they make and the gridlock they endure. [New York Hack]

Blog if you love real estate []
Blogging has hit the real-estate industry...and it just may upend a marketplace known for inefficiency and restricted information. There are hundreds, perhaps thousands, of blogs covering real estate and they shine unfiltered lights on their subjects, reporting market gossip, innuendo, facts, opinion, virtually anything. Normally, in real estate, most of the information available comes from those representing the sale of properties, They have a different agenda than the consumer. [Gothamist | Curbed]

Blogging Saudi Arabia

Download Corel WordPerfect Office X3

If you are seriously looking for an alternative to the ubiquitous Microsoft Office Suite or the free OpenOffice office suite, Corel WordPerfect Office X3 is definitely one to consider.

Corel has put together a solid office suite that offers unique features like ability to export or import PDF documents, mail client with full indexing, one-click Powerpoint presentation conversion to Flash and a Save without metadata command that clears out everything that you can't see on the page. (related: Microsoft Office Word 2003 Redaction Add-in, Redacting Adobe PDF)

Publish to PDF: Corel WordPerfect 13 provides support for reading and importing PDF files without having to buy a PDF conversion software like Adobe Acrobat. Once open, you can edit the document as a WordPerfect file. Microsoft Office 2003 can't export files in PDF format (although Microsoft Office 12 will)

Corel WordPerfect Mail program, based on Yahoo StataLabs Bloomba mail client, has built-in indexing, RSS reading, and tra…

Daily Interesting News Roundup

Interesting, Amusing, Weird and Strange stuff from around the world.

Manhattan parking rates rival rents in other places
In Manhattan, where three out of four families don't have a car, the other 25 percent now pay as much for parking as many people in other parts of the U.S. spend on rent. Most Manhattan residents manage without a car, relying on subways, buses and taxis to get around and renting a vehicle when they need to for a weekend getaway. Those who say they must have a car sometimes find bargain parking by heading up to Harlem.

Cure Me with Sex
Woman takes out full page ad in newspaper seeking men to have sex with to cure her cancer. "The ideal candidate would need to have sex with me every two days for at least a year"

Getting Undressed Reveals Your Personality
If you throw your clothes all over the place, you are a friendly, life-of-the-party type. If you remove each piece of clothing and put it away carefully, you are a serious person who likes her life to be very…

Hall of Fame 2006 - Meet some interesting people

Nathan Weinberg is in Hall of Fame as well. His picture will soon be be added.