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Showing posts from May, 2006

Bookmarklets to Speed Up Web Browsing & Blogging

I am currently using the following bookmarklets (or favlets). Just drag these links to your browser bookmark toolbar and you are done. If you have never used bookmarklets before, here's a quick video tutorial on how to install Bookmarklets to your Browser.

post to - tag the current webpage and save it to

coComment! - Click the coComment button before submitting your comment on a supported blog - coComment will copy your comment and list it in the "your conversations" page on coComment.

Watch It! - I use ChangeNotes to monitors web pages and this bookmarklet quickly adds the current website to my watch list.

Sphere it ! - Sphere is a new blog search engine that returns webpages related to the content of the current webpage.

TinyURL! - Creates a short URL of the page you are currently at. Useful when you sending someone a lengthy link by email.

Technorati This - Helps you find who is linking to the current page or blogging about the selected text on T…

Create your own Web 2.0 Style Web Graphics

There's a nice tutorial on Photoshop Labs called Web 2.0 Design Kit that shows you how to create some of the more popular "Web 2.0" design effects using Photoshop.

You'll learn about Gradients, Reflections, Soft Shadows - everything you require to create Digg or any Web 2.0 style graphic images. Rounded corners are not covered yet but they are coming in the part II.

Again, since this Web 2.0 tutorial uses standard Photoshop tools, it should also work for Gimp users.

Photoshop Lab | Web 2.0 Design Kit | Tutorial Feed

GotVoice: Managing Voicemail as simple as Reading e-Mail

Checking and listening to voicemail messages can be cumbersome process if you have multiple phone numbers or you even may hate dialling so many digits to retrieve your voicemail messages.

Gotmail offers some relief at no charge. It's a free service that retrieves voicemail messages from all your phones (landline or mobile phones), converts them to MP3 files and delivers them to you via email.

The voicemail messages are also accessible from your personal webpage hosted on GotVoice servers.

You also save money with Gotmail when you're in some overseas location as you don't have pay expensive international calling or roaming charges. It's all done on the internet.

Website gives visitors a peek into Daily Adsense Earnings Realtime

Taking a very novel route, information aesthetics, a website on Data Visualization, has decided to give site visitors a glimpse of their Daily Adsense Earnings.

So they have a put an Adsense Earnings graph (or a sparkline diagram) on every page of their website. The graph is update on an hourly basis.

Since Adsense TOS doesn't allow publishers to disclose your daily income, CTR and eCPM, this site doesn't disclose the actual figures but only relative values [like Google Trends]

The Adsense Team has approved this daily earning diagram:Generally publishers are not permitted to disclose daily earnings information in any form. However, you may implement the chart you have described , as long as it does not display any numbers or draw undue attention to the ads. On the tech side, the Adsense graph is based on the Adsense RSS feed script developed by Planet Ozh. It also makes use of the Sparkline PHP library.

Remove Websites which mirror Wikipedia Content from Google Results

Search Engine Results are filled with Duplicate Content created from Wikipedia Dumps. They add little or no relevance to the results and may even highjack the original Wiki content page.

So here's a simple way to filter sites from Google search result pages which mirror Wikimedia content:

1. Install the CustomizeGoogle extension for Firefox
2 Save this site-list file on your machine
3. In CustomizeGoogle options, choose Filter tab -> Import button
4. Locate the file you saved and select it
5. Click OK

Source: Mirror filter from Meta

Wikipedia:Mirrors and forks | Copyright Issues | Download Wikipedia
How to Cite a Wikipedia Article

Smart T-Shirts that Monitor Human Body

Sensatex has designed a wearable T-Shirt with soft, washable fabric that records heart and respiration rates, body temperature and calories burned.

Called SmartShirts, these are fitted with tiny sensors and information is relayed wirelessly to doctors or personal trainers.

Medical applications of the t-shirt include the monitoring of outpatients with chronic illnesses, elderly patients, and perhaps babies judged to be at risk from SIDS or sudden infant death syndrome.

Other applications might include the monitoring of emergency service workers such as police officers and fire service workers, and field testing will start later this year.

These smart shirts were originally created by the Department of Defense Advance Research Project Agency, the same agency that invented the Internet.

Visit Website Sensatex | Sensatex releases SmartShirt

Source: MedGadget | Cool Gadgets | TIME | Wired

June 6, 2006 : Interesting Date

On June 6, 2006, when the clock strikes 6:06:06 AM, the datetime will be 06:06:06:06/06/06.

This happens once in 100 years.

June 6 is also the National Day of Sweden and Teacher's day in the US.

More about June 6 on Wiki and BBC.

Marc Orchant, one of my favorite blogger, also celebrates his wedding anniversary on June 6th.

Thanks Peter, Arnold and the Anonymous tipster for suggesting corrections to the original post.

Blogspot now provides RSS 2.0 Feeds: Easter Egg

If your blog is on, you probably know that Google Blogger provides only Atom enabled web feeds. If you need RSS format, you burn the Atom feed in Feedburner to get the RSS format.

OK, some good news - Blogger is providing web feeds in RSS format, though they aren't telling anyone about it yet.

To get RSS 2.0 feed of your blogspot blog, just click "Republish Index Files" and your RSS feed will be automatically generated. The address will be something like:


Atom -

That's a pretty good development but still, Blogger provides no way to track RSS subscribers or Item Click Through rates.

I would still recommend using Feedburner to syndicate your content. Read this tutorial to learn how to replace your RSS Autodiscovery feed with Feedburner.

Windows Live OneCare now available for download

Microsoft has launched the full and final version of Windows OneCare that includes two-way firewall, antivirus, antispyware and backup software. OneCare also handles routine maintenance tasks such as defragmenting the hard disk and cleaning up unused temporary files.

Though the name says Windows Live, this is actually a desktop software but setting up Windows Live OneCare on your computer requires IEIn order to complete installation of Windows Live OneCare, you must be running Internet Explorer 6 or later as your Web browser. Please switch to Internet Explorer and then restart Setup by typing into the browser address field. Windows Live OneCare configures your computer to automatically download and install Windows and Office updates from Microsoft Update website.

Windows Live OneCare is priced at $49.95 per year for up to three computers. A 90 day trial version is also available. These are some tough times for McAfee and Symantec.

Vertu Diamond: Cellphone for the Filthy Rich

This Vertu Diamond Cellphone comes in four 18-carat white or yellow gold models, and one made of platinum.

They are embedded with Pave diamonds and are only made to order.

The cost of this phone is around $88,300 - Vertu Website

Credit: Cell phones for the rich and famous

The future of Advertising: Consumer Rewarded for Watching Ads

Want to make an urgent phone call but don't have the money to buy airtime ? Or there's no ATM nearby to buy prepaid talktime ? No problem, just pay attention to your cellphone for few seconds and you will be rewarded with free airtime.

Well, this is no joke, Virgin Mobile has launched a program, called SugarMama, that lets people earn one minute of talking time by watching 30-second commercials on a computer or receiving text messages on their phones, then answering questions to prove they were, in fact, paying attention.

Correct answers earn the customer free minutes of talk time. In the case of the video clips and the text messages, the subscribers would only receive a free minute if they sent in a response indicating that they had paid attention.

This advertising model is very different from the Philips' technology that forces you to watch TV commercials by freezing up the channel during a commercial. Here, it's the user who decides to watch the commercial on his mo…

Turn your emails into RSS feed with SocialMail

We have seen lot of RSS to Email services like FeedBlitz, Feedburner, R-Mail or Bloglet but SocialMail takes the reverse route - it converts your email messages to an RSS feed.

Google Groups and Yahoogroups already provide RSS feeds for individual discussion lists but other popular mailing list services like Listserv or ListProc don't offer the web feed facility yet. That's where SocialMail will help.

All you do is create an email address on SocialMail, subscribe to the mailing list with that email address and finally, use the RSS feed provided by SocialMail. Also keep your Inbox clean.

Develop thick skin to handle blog criticism

A blog is much like an interactive website where readers participate by posting comments. But there are moments when readers may not agree with your opinion and bombard you with angry, harsh comments. Feedback is not always positive and some may even go the extent of criticizing you and your blog on their site. This happens almost with every blogger at some point of time.

How do you handle such situations ? How you respond to criticism ? Or should you care about it at all ?

ComputerWorld has some tips for corporate bloggers but they apply to everyone. Here's what they recommend - accept public criticism with grace and dignityBe prepared for negativity. Develop a thick skin, be prepared to respond to attacks and help to clarify the root issue and corporate commitment to resolving issues -- do so quickly and sincerelyTelegraph UK, which we covered before, has a proper policy to handle blog commentsOnce you demonstrate that you have something constructive to add, you will find an audie…

Rinxiety: You want to feel you are being contacted

What happens when we are in a restaurant and someone's cellphone starts ringing. Ten other people reach their pockets thinking the call belongs to them. Some may even feel embarrassed when they discover that it's not their call. This feeling is becoming so common that psychologist David Laramie has coined a new term to describe it - Rinxiety

He describes Rinxiety as a familiar and unnerving sensation: the false belief that you can hear your mobile phone ringing or vibrating. So when we "hear" an imaginary ring, or think vibrations on a bus are a call, it is the subconscious calculating how popular we are.

There's another related term - phantom ring effect or fauxcellarm - the sensation of hearing your phone ring while you're in the shower, watching commercials or using a blow dryer. People live in a constant state of phone vigilance, and hearing sounds that seem like a telephone's ring can send an expectant brain into action.

MSN adCenter Lab tools: Understand your website better

Microsoft adCenter Labs website has a nice collection of online tools for doing keyword research, user demographics, search patterns and website categorization. You can use these tools without an adCenter or a Passport account. All you require is IE browser, they don't work inside Firefox. Here's a list of some of them:

Keyword Mutation Detection: This tool gives you common misspellings or alternative representations of your input keywords. (Common misspellings for Gogole are googles, googlr, googl, googe, googie, gooogle)

Detecting Online Commercial Intention: Predict a user's commercial intention from their search query or a recently visited URL (see screenshot below)

Content Categorization Engine : Type a web address (URL) to list the most related categories for that web page

Keyword Categorization Engine: Type a keyword(s) and the tool will classify it into various categories (Microsoft is rightly classified in the Software, Internet & Business category)

Search Result C…

Tech-Savvy Professor ditches classroom

University professors have been providing online versions of their class lectures since a long time. Teachers just upload their lectures on the university website that students can download and listen on their MP3 players whenever they like.

But Dr Bill Ashraf of Bradford University has gone a step further. He has abolished traditional lectures in favour of podcasts.

Instead, he's only recording the lessons for students to download as podcasts or video. Students can then ask questions via email or text message, and the professor will respond on his blog.

Dr Bill also has a web-based schedule for students to see when he's free to meet.

Source: Podcast lectures for uni studentsCollege 2.0

Screencasting, Videocasting, Podcasting: Differences explained

Spammers break into Bloglines Top Gaining Links

A sex website has managed to grab most of the positions in the top 100 most popular links on Bloglines. See screenshot:

Bloglines Top Gaining Links

Tips for successful podcast advertising

Put yourself in the user's shoes, but put your ads in their ear buds.

Gregory Galant from a podcast advertising company called RadioTail has some excellent tips for podcasters who like to integrated advertising in their podcast shows. Here are some excerpts:

Ads placed before a podcast make it difficult for potential listeners to sample and get excited about the podcast. Many podcast producers reject them for that reason. It's even bad for the advertiser because that's when podcast listeners are most likely to fast-forward-- when they have their hands on the control just after they've selected a podcast.

Ads placed in between the content segments -- interstitially -- allow the listener a chance to become engaged in the show before experiencing the sponsor message. They also reach the listener after she's removed her hands from the fast-forward control. Ads need to be worked into a podcast to take full advantage of the medium.

While listeners don't mind short, tast…

A robot for MSN Messenger that can chat, search, suggest, ...

Invasion of the Robots Contest : Microsoft is calling developers worldwide to create a robot for their MSN Messenger and Windows Live Messenger. This robot won't have eyes, legs or hands but a smart tongue and some brain.

If you are still confused, think of the MSN robot as a smart cousin of YahooHelper that automatically adds itself as your buddy in Yahoo Messenger. Or add to your Messenger contacts and start a conversation with the bot. (Compatible with Windows Live Messenger and MSN Messenger 7.x.)

The winning MSN Robot (40.000$ in total prizes) should be able to chat, give you customer service support, perform searches, make suggestions, search jobs, tell you traffic situation, decide your dinner menu, play games and more. Click here to register for the Invasion of the Robots Contest

Virtual Earth-MapCruncher to take on Sketchup-Google Earth

Microsoft MapCruncher is a new tool from Microsoft Research Labs that lets you play around with the Virtual Earth Satellite Imagery. For instance, you can add your own aerial photography to Virtual earth, create a route map with Visio from scratch and place it over Virtual Earth just like you add a Photoshop layer.

If you look at MapCruncher features and capabilities more closely, they look so similar to what Sketchup-Google Earth is doing - Open Google Earth, capture a snapshot and export it to Sketchup, create 3D drawing and put it back in Google Earth. Mapcruncher doesn't do 3D modelling yet but apart from 3D, it does everything else and even more.

Say, if Virtual Earth is not showing high resolution pictures of your hometown, you can add them on your own. Or if the existing maps don't zoom to the street level, you can take the invitiative and create the map yourself. Mapcruncher also generates the code for embedding the map mashup on other websites. The other advantage of u…

Ads inside RSS Feeds: Your queries answered

When RSS Ads were first introduced, a lot of people thought that ads inside feeds would turn away subscribers. Fortunately, that has not been the case and RSS advertising business continues to grow.

Various RSS Advertising services from Pheedo, Feedburner and Google let you make money from RSS feeds by integrating advertisements between posts. If you are using Ads in RSS or plan to use them in future, make sure you read the latest Pheed Read report which provides the latest trends in RSS usage. Some of the findings may surprise you:

» Should I syndicate Full content or partial feeds ?

90% of RSS consumers opt to read the feed content entirely in the aggregator environment, regardless of whether they are viewing full or partial feeds. Also, full-text feeds and Summary Feeds (or feeds showing partial content) garner similar Click-Through Rates (CTR)

» Where do I place RSS ads - after every post, two posts or more ?

Ads in every post yields the highest click-through rate of any …

Before you decide to quit blogging ...

Do you still remember the day when you published that first post on your blog. You were so full of ideas, energy and excitement. There was so much to blog about - your work, friends, family, things you find interesting, etc, etc..

But as time has passed, you may have lost some of that blogging momentum. Either you are too busy or don't know what to write or just don't feel like blogging anymore. Whatever be the reason, you begin neglecting your blog and may even abandon it one fine morning.

If you can associate yourself from the story above, here's some advice from for you or anyone who's going to quit blogging - Stop. Revive. Survive.Do something else.When you're finding it more and more difficult to blog, one of the things that you might want to consider doing is stopping and resting for a little while. Then, think about why you wanted to blog in the first place. Try to regain some of that initial excitement and energy by reminding yourself of the reason…

Do not participate in Link Exchange programs

What action do you take when you receive an email from a webmaster of new sites asking to do a link exchange. Some people do participate thinking of reciprocal link exchange programs as a cheap and quick way to improve site rankings in Google and other search engines.

However, link exchange can work to your disadvantage and Google may even penalize you for this act.

According to Google, their algorithms can distinguish natural links from unnatural links. Only natural links add value and are helpful for indexing and ranking your site.

Google warns that linking to web spammers and "bad neighborhoods" can harm your site's indexing and ranking. But there is hope when a bad site links to your good site. Google says that links from bad sites won't harm your site, but they won't help your indexing or ranking.

Matt Cutt also wroteabout sites that were completely removed from Google's index due to heavy reciprocal linkage.Examples that might cause that include excess…

EU Email Tax Rate: 10$ for sending a million emails

Billions of email and SMS text messages flow freely across borders every day but now the European Union is looking at options to make money from them.

EU is proposing to add a tax of around 1.5 cents on text or SMS messages and a 0.00001 cent levy on every email sent. European Parliament working group is already reviewing the idea.

Though the email tax rates are immaterial for the average users, it could have an impact on the bottom line of spammers who sell Viagra and fake Rolex watches.

The next big question is how will the European Union track the number of emails sent by an individual - one can have 100 different email accounts on different service providers - Will the EU ask people to register all their email addresses at one central place ?

Related: What is Goodmail | No Goodmail for GMail

EU lawmakers consider taxing emails, SMS messages

No Kidding! Microsoft can acquire eBay

There have been rumours about eBay talking with Yahoo and Microsoft about the possibility of working together to thwart growing competition from Google.

But according to NYPost, these were not just rumours. Microsoft is actively bidding to buy eBay and integrate the online auction service with MSN portal. There's no word on the Buy It Now price yet but eBay is definitely in the marketplace.

I could think of two possible issues with the Microsoft-ebay deal:

» Microsoft has set aside more that $2 billion for building the MSN and Windows Live brand in 2007. Can they really afford to acquire eBay ?

» eBay runs on Sun Solaris SPARC servers. If MS acquires eBay, they may have to make a quick switch to Windows else it may send a wrong signal - Microsoft company running on Solaris ?

On a positive side, Microsoft will gain control over Paypal and Skype services which enjoy dominance in their respective segments.

Skype features may ultimately be clubbed with MSN Messenger. Also …

StopDesign Gets Googled

Summary: Google has hired the founder of StopDesign as a Visual Design Lead.

Douglas Bowman, founder of StopDesign, is a renowned web design expert with an enviable web portfolio. He is behind the designs of Lycos, Wired, WebMonkey, HotBot, Google Calendar and Blogger. Google also contracted Stopdesign to create most of their Blogger template designs.

Doug has been associated with Google since a long time as a contractor but recently, he accepted an offer from Google to work as a full time employee. What's more interesting here is that Doug's position "Visual Design Lead" was created especially for Doug.

According to Doug, his responsibilities as a Googler will be:I’m charged with helping the company establish a common visual language across all their collaborative and communication products. This includes products I’ve already had some hand in like Blogger and Calendar. But it will also include other highly used products like Gmail, Writely, Page Creator, and othe…

Can I watch the Adsense Video Ads appearing on my own site?

If you are an Adsense publisher, Google has clarified a very common query pertaining to Adsense Video Ads.

Can I watch the videos appearing on my own site?

Yes, you can watch the videos appearing on your site by clicking on the "Play" button--this will not affect your reports. However, please do not click on the advertiser's URL, or on the ad itself, which will also bring you to the advertiser's site.

Clicking on the ad or URL could generate invalid clicks on your account and inflate advertiser costs.

» Why is Adobe excited about Adsense Video

Screenshot of Google Picasa on Linux is not live yet but seems like Google Picasa for Linux may been be out soon. See the full size screenshot below of Picasa running on Linux (Fedora Core 9)

This screenshot was taken by Channel 9 member Cairo and posted on The Coffeehouse. According to him, Linux Picasa uses Wine and Gecko.

Dell-Google Deal dangerous for Desktop Search Industry

When Microsoft revealed plans to make MSN Search the default web search engine of IE 7, Google panicked and ran to the Justice Department complaining of the Microsoft's move. Even Marrisa Mayer remarked that the market favors open choice for search, and companies should compete for users based on the quality of their search services.

The "IE default search" controversy subsided a little when Steve Ballmer assured that IE7 would maintain the default search preferences of previous IE versions. Only new installations of IE will have MSN as the default search engine. Even the Justice department rejected Google's complaint as IE 7 "only uses MSN Search if no default has been set."

Now Google has adopted a different approach to become the default search engine on new computers. Google will pay Dell a billion dollars who in return will install Google software on all new machines that leave the Dell Building. Dell rules the hardware market with 1 in 3 PC's sold …

HolyCowDude Blog Search Engine

The developers of PingGoat, a popular ping service, will launch a new feed search engine called HolyCowDude on June 5.

Unlike other blog search engines, HolyCowDude will only index content from feeds that are pinged via Pingoat or iPings. It will not follow external links embedded inside the content but content owners will be given an option to submit their website URLs for inclusion in the HolyCowDude index.

Though the service is yet to launch, their indexing spider is on the prawl hunting for new blog posts - just check your server referral log, if you notice a spider like HolyCowDude/0.1 Feeds Searcher, you are their in HolyCow, dude.

HolyCowDude Home Page | Source | Pingoat

Interesting Forms of Art from Discarded Things

I came across these very interesting pictures on Yahoo News today. Both of them were taken in China.

Picture 1: This globe like structure in China is about 16' high and made from thousands of pairs of jeans.

This is another good work of art displayed in a Technology exhibition in China - This potrait is a copy of Mona Lisa made from from hundreds of computer parts.

Dell opening Retails Stores in Texas & New York

1 in 3 PC's sold in the US is manufactured by Dell. The company has no retail outlets yet but the scene is expected to change, soon.

Following the success of Apple Retails stores, Dell has also decided to explore retailing, a relatively uncharted territory. They are opening up new retail shops in Dallas and West Nyack, New York.

In the past few years, Dell did put up retail kiosks in US shopping malls and airports but it is for the first time that they are developing an exclusive full-sized Dell retail outlet.

But unlike the Apple Retails Stores, Dell is taking a cautious approach with retailing. The new Dell stores won't carry any Dell inventory, but it will allow customers to try out Dell's products and order them for delivery just like they do over the phone or internet. Dell has not decided if the outlets will offer product support.

Other than PC's, Dell retail stores will house almost all Dell products including Digital Cameras, LCD Screens, Television and Printers.

Canon follows Nikon: Exits Film Camera Business

The Canon Camera Museum will be preparing itself for new residents.

After Nikon and Konica, Canon (the world's largest manufacturer of Digital Camers) has also decided to halt the development of traditional film cameras in favor of digital cameras. Canon will however continue to produce and sell existing film models based on the market demand.

Canon made the decision to freeze development of both compact and single lens reflex (SLR) film models because the markets for both are shrinking.

Visit the Canon Camera Museum

Source: Canon to halt development of film cameras

After PDF, Microsoft eyeing JPG File Format

If it's up to Microsoft, PDF and JPEG file formats may soon become extinct.

We know that Microsoft has been working on XPS, an XML based Document Format for Windows Vista that is designed as a direct competitor to Adobe's ubiquitous PDF format.

And today at WinHEC, Microsoft has announced a new image format that targets JPEG, the de-facto file format of the web.

While the new image format may be better than existing ones like jpg or gif or png, I don't agree with the name of the format. Why should it have Windows in the name when the format is supposed to work on Apple and Linux machines alike.

Also, the new file format name, Windows Media Photo, brings memories of Windows Metafile (WMF) and Enhanced Metafile (EMF) which largely remained unsuccessful and were overshadowed by GIF and JPEG formats.

The good part here is that the new WMP image format looks promising. Microsoft showed an image with 24:1 compression that visibly contained more detail in the Windows Media Photo fo…

Upload Screen Captures directly to Flickr with SnagIt

TechSmith SnagIt 8 screen capture and image editing software is a very integral part of my blogging workflow. Almost all the screen captures and illustrations that you see on this site are created using SnagIt.

I first capture the screenshots in SnagIt using the shortcut PrntScrn key, enhance the screen captures with borders/effects/titles in SnagIt studio, save the images to local hard drive and finally, I upload them to Flickr or Blogger using Hello.

Sometime in March, I came across Flickr and Webimager, a tiny screen capture utility that directly uploads screenshots to Flickr bypassing the need to save images. Though the features of this free tool are nowhere near Snagit, still I was impressed with the direct-upload-to-flickr idea and suggested it to Techsmith.

I am not sure if Techsmith were already working on this feature or they decided to implement it after receiving my email. But the good news is that now you can upload pictures from SnagIt 8 to Flickr directly. SnagIt has relea…

Telegraph Blogging Style Guide - Recommended Reading

Telegraph UK newspaper team has written a comprehensive blogging style guide which their new writers are supposed to read before they start blogging on the Telegraph website. The guide discusses things like Handling Comments, Establishing a converation and other blog related issues/topics.

Here are some interesting picks from the Blog Guide:

This is a good standby if you're stuck for something to write about and several of our bloggers have done this already. Posting a round-up of responses to comments you have received on previous posts is an easy way to defeat 'blogger's block' and increases the level of interaction with readers

Often, particularly when you start blogging, reader response may be very unflattering. Once you demonstrate that you have something constructive to add, you will find an audience and the criticism will settle down.

I saw this and thought of you - Short and to the point, this post quickly makes readers aware of an article you've read or upcom…

MSN Spaces URLs Change: Update your bookmarks

The MSN Spaces Team has announced a change in URL's of all blogs hosted on MSN Spaces. If you have a blog address like, your new URL on MSN Spaces would be - Oops, looks like a complete story in itself.

OK, though the old URLs would still work and visitors will automatically be redirected to the new address, it will have an huge impact on your search engine rankings. The new MSN spaces URL will be treated as a new website by Google and other Search engines and may even face the Sandbox effect.

This may be the worst nightmare for someone who plans to monetize his site.

Black Frog to Blue Frog: We'll carry the good work

Blue Security company may have abandoned their anti-spam project midway following Denial of Service attacks, but their developers have teamed up to continue the fight with email spammers.

The tagline says: United they spam, Divided they fall.

Blue Frog project is now an Open Source project with the name - Okopipi (a type of poisonous frog) and they are using a using a wiki to co-ordinate the group's activities.

To prevent a BlueFrog like attack, the main Okopipi server(s) will not be known to the outside world. Only the Okopipi administrators will know their locations - making a DOS attack very difficult. The project is currently in the design phase.

Source: Black Frog takes up Blue Frog spam challenge

The thin line dividing Blogs and MSM is disappearing

The never ending "MSM vs. Blogs" debate has taken a very interesting turn in the recent months. It is no longer a question of who is winning the race but it is more a matter of "peaceful coexistance" now. Whether it is The Wall Street Journal, TIME, The NYTimes or Washington Post, almost all mainstream media stalwarts are embracing blog content like never before.

Let's look at some recent development here:

BlogBurst was the first service that publishes content from selected blogs onto MSM websites. Soon, Newsgator followed suit with Newscast. And more recently, Technorati has partnered with Associated Press to connect Bloggers with 440 US Newspapers including Buffalo News and the Sun Journal. Technorati terms this development as a deep validation of the power of citizen media. now has a tie-up with Sphere, a blog search engine. Articles on have a "Sphere It" link that shows related conversations happening on the blogosphere. Mike from…

Sorry Gartner, Windows Vista launch is on track

While most of us were expecting Windows Vista in January 2007, Gartner threw a dampener early this month by saying that Windows Vista is unlikely to ship before 2Q07.

But Microsoft is out to prove Gartner wrong this time. Today, Microsoft released the second beta of Windows Vista at WinHEC 2006. At the same time, Jim Allchin, who is responsible for Windows Vista, said that Microsoft is confident it will meet its targeted release date.

It's a important development for PC Vendors and software developers whose livelihoods depend on Vista's success. Also, now that Vista looks on schedule, it has more-or-less proved the Vista Code Rewrite story false. Scoble was correct here.

Related: Should I buy a Windows XP PC or wait until Vista arrives

Contextual Video Adsense: Adobe Employees Excited

Adobe Flash Video team members are sounding so excited on their blogs after Google announced plans to introduce click-to-play Video Ads on the Google Network.

And they have plenty of reasons to feel happy with this development. One, the Google Video Ads are essentially streaming Flash Video (FLV) which is an Macromedia Adobe Technology. Second, Google is already using FLV format for Google Videos and now they plan to extend it to their Adsense program. Google rivals generally imitate - so it could be reasonable to expect that Yahoo YPN and MSN adCenter may also adopt FLV in future for their advertising platforms.

Bruce Chizen once remarked that Macromedia Flash was the primary motivation behind the acquisition of Macromedia. Looking at the recent success and huge penetration of Flash video, Bruce must be feeling happy at his move. OK, now let's look at some opinions of Adobe employees.

John Dowdell, who is a former Macromedia employee but now with Adobe, writes that the increasing …

Video Podcasting Software for PC and Mac

Ever wanted to create your own Vidcasts like Rocketboom ? All you require is a decent computer, some free or inexpensive software and a video camera. Now, assuming that you already have a camcorder and a computer, let's discuss the software options for amateur videographers.

Vidcasting if you are on a Mac

You are lucky since the Apple iLife '06 suite has built-in support for video podcasting. Create your video podcasts using Apple iMovie HD and publish them as video podcasts in the iTunes Podcast Directory using iWeb. The video podcasts can directly be hosted on Apple servers with a .Mac account. You will however need a Video Camcorder with Firewire port for iMovie to directly import your video footage. Apple iLife iMovie

iStage is another video podcasting software for the Macintosh integrated with .Mac service and iLife. iStage is a single solution for all your video podcast creation needs from storyboards, layout, sound editing and even creates the podcast feeds for you. iSta…

Microsoft Issues Whip to Contract Workers: Take a week off without pay

A contract role is one where you work onsite at Microsoft and are managed by a Microsoft employee. Now Microsoft has told more than 1,000 contract workers (working with Microsoft either as independent vendors or through employment agencies) doing software development and testing to take seven business days off without pay to lower costs during this quarter.

Microsoft employs more than 63,000 workers worldwide, but it would not comment on the number of contract workers it uses. Earlier this month, Microsoft asked half of the technology vendors it uses for software development to defer seven business days worth of work including this week.

Two years ago, Microsoft withdrew the FlexPasses facility from contract workers. Source: Reuters

How to find job as a Contract Worker in Microsoft - This interesting story carries firsthand accounts of how it feels to have a contract job at Microsoft and how they are treated vis-a-vis Microsoft employees.

Why Employees Waste Time at Work ?

Bosses don't expect their employees to work 8 hours per day, non-stop. There is always some wasted time ( time spent on the job not doing actual work.) But a recent survey has revealed that Office workers waste 2+ hours per 8 hour work day while the employers and HR department expect them to waste only 1 hour per day.

The top time-wasting activities are making personal use of the Internet (including email), socializing with colleagues, conducting personal business, spacing out, running errands, making phone calls, applying for jobs, planning personal events, and arriving late or leaving early.

The Top Time-Wasting Excuses are you don't have enough work to do, underpaid for amount of work, co-workers distract me and not enough after-work time.

Older workers reported wasting less time than younger workers. However, both men and women reported wasting an equal amount of time at work. calculated that employers spend $759 billion per year on salaries for which…

Google brings Video Advertising for the masses

As expected, rich multimedia advertising is coming to the web in a big way. And you don't have to be a Fortune 500 company to run a video advertising campaign on another websites. Adwords will soon start accepting Video Ads from big-and-small advertisers for inserting them on Adsense partner websites (including this one)

Similar to other Google Ad formats, Video Banner Ads can be either cost-per-click or cost-per-impression. At first glance, the Video Ads look very much like Image Ads until the user decides to click on them which will start playing the video. The on-demand streaming video ads are embedded in the Flash player with the famous "Matte" skin.

Just like Adsense publishers can reject Image Ads, NYTimes says Google will provide an option to opt out of the video ads as well. However, they do not provide such an option for Flash Ads and animated GIFs.

I am not too sure what happens if the client computer doesn't have Macromedia Flash Player. I know it's a re…

How much sleep do we really need ?

We have talked about Sleep Debt and Modafinil pills can help you stay awake for several days in a row.

But how many hours of sleep is sufficient for us ? Although many factors influence how much sleep we really need, the common recommendation has been eight hours a night. But now a contrasting opinion has emerged on the internet.

Neil Stanley, sleep research expert, believes that everyone has their own individual "sleep need" which can be anywhere between three and 11 hours. "If you’re a three-hour-a-night person, you need three; if you're 11, you need 11."

Stanley has a simple solution to find out the amount of sleep that you require. Simply sleep until you wake naturally, without the aid of an alarm clock. Feel rested? That’s your sleep need.

Related: How Dreams Work ? Can we control them ?

Three Million Dollars for Cellphone Number 6666666

An unknown Qatar national has paid 2.8 million dollars for an Easy-To-Remember mobile phone number 6666666, at an auction held by Qatar Telecom (QTel).

If you shocked to hear the amount, read this - After winning the action, the bidders said the offered number was worth much more.

Now that the whole world is aware of this mobile phone number (+974-6666666), I doubt if the owner would have any private moments left.

Qatar has the world's third largest gas reserves, and is currently enjoying an unprecedented economic boom thanks to record energy prices.

Source: Qatar mobile number sells for nearly three million dollars

How I work ? What Feeds I read ?

CNN started the "How I work" series trend by getting Bill Gates to write about his style of working.

Then we read some famous web celebrities like Phillip Torrone, Gina Tripani, Matt Haughey giving a detailed account of how they work on Lifehacker How I work series.

Rajesh Jain of Netcore, who recently completed four years of blogging, also wrote an interesting article about how he blogs.

Now even BlogHerald has started a How I Blog category and their first guest is Matt Craven of BlogMedia, Inc.

I am just a small fry on the web but incase, if you like to learn more about me, listen to the Kamla Bhatt Show [interview link]. You can also hear me on BBC Digital Planet which was recorded during the XIth DBM.

Steve Rubel has also written his Web 2.0 style in How I Work.

Adobe talks to Tim O'Reilly on PDF, Web 2.0

The recent Adobe-Macromedia Edge Newsletter has an interesting interview with Tim O'Reilly.

The whole conversation with Tim is very interesting. Tim speaks on everything from Google Book Search, PDF Safari Books, Google Wi-Fi initiative, Web 2.0, Flex, Where is PDF lacking and What skills are most important for developers. Here are some interesting exerpts:

Edge: Now that Adobe and Macromedia have merged, what do you think Adobe's contribution to Web 2.0 will be?

Tim O'Reilly: ..If I were Adobe, I'd be thinking hard about how to manage PDFs better. There's this enormous opportunity as people create things for print, to say, "Oh yes, we create them for online as well." If you're thinking about PDF, yes, you can put a PDF up on the web, but you can't put up a URL that points to page 134 of a 300-page PDF. We need to start thinking about those things. How do you point into these documents, how do you point into these rich media types?

Edge: How…

PodSense: How will Podcasting make money ?

Podcasting requires an investment since you have to host the MP3 files on web servers - when users download them on to their computers or iPods, they are essentially consuming your bandwidth which ultimately costs money.

The web hosting cost is directly proportional to the popularity of your podcast show - more subscribers means more downloads increasing your bandwidth fees. And unlike Adsense or YPN, there aren't any popular services yet to monitize podcasts.

But people have been trying to find a way to generate revenue with podcasts. Popular host of The Office, Ricky Gervais is now charging $2 per podcast episode. RocketBoom, another hugely poular vidcast show, is planning to go premium by charging subscribers $4 per month.

But will people really pay to listen to podcasts or videocasts ? Rachel Rosmarin has an interesting story on Forbes on this - Who's Paying For Podcasts?She writes about why Podcasting is not yet a popular medium with advertisers:The main problem: Advertise…

FlexGo: Rent a computer from Microsoft

Prepaid calling computing comes to PC, courtesy Microsoft.

Though the cost of computers have come down in the recent years, they yet remain out of reach for people in developing nations like India, Mexico, Brazil or China. A majority of these people with modest incomes, who do not own a computer yet, are using the local cybercafe for all their computing needs.

Now taking a clue from the success of Internet cafes in developing world, Microsoft has launched a similar Pay-Per-Use Computing initiative called FlexGo - pay by the hour.

FlexGo will generally work like this: a user will pay for about half the cost of the computer upfront, and then will purchase pre-paid scratch cards to get hourly access to the computer at home. If the pre-paid card runs out and the user does not buy more hours, the computer stops working until the user buys another card.

The prepaid computer technology, called FlexGo, is basically a timer that monitors how long a consumer uses a computer. Users can pay by the ho…

Scandoo Manager paints a clear picture

If you are following the recent Scandoo story here, Saalim Chaudhary (Project Management, Scandoo) has offered a clear and very reasonable explaination.The only reason I can see for your misunderstanding is that in India, Google don't accept advertising for "Adult Sexual Content", however in the UK & the US, where ScanSafe, the parent company of Scandoo, is incorporated, Google *do* accept advertising for "Adult Sexual Content". Right now, Scandoo in its Beta form, can't recognise that you are in India, and therefore can't serve you specifically Indian Google pages, and serves you an American version. We don't claim to serve specifially Indian pages.So the gist is that while Google shows the Indian version of their results page, Scandoo fetches the US version of Google Results page that has Adult Sponsored links. Therefore you see these Ads even if you are located in India.

This is definitely a huge mistake at my end since I made some "fals…

Sherlock Holmes Searching for Clues on Google

Google is celebrating the birthday of author Sir Arthur Conan Doyle who gave life to Sherlock Holmes.

As part of the celebration, the latest Google Doodle on their homepage has the world's most famous detective - Sherlock Holmes tracing clues reminding of the Hound of the Baskervilles.

Read more about Sherlock Holmes' creator here and here