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Showing posts from November, 2006

Zoho Office Leaps Ahead of Google Docs & Spreadsheets

Zoho has just released a Microsoft Office Add-on that will probably tilt the war with Google Office more in Zoho's favor.

Edit your documents and spreadsheets both online and offline using Zoho Plug-in for Microsoft Office.

The new Zoho plugin greatly simplifies the online-offline workflow. You can create a new document in Microsoft Word locally and directly save it from the Word program to the web [Zoho Writer]

Alternatively, you can download an existing document from Zoho Office, edit it offline with Microsoft Word and publish it again to the web.

Though Microsoft Word edits the Zoho file as an HTML document, the formatting and layout were well preserved when we published our Word 2007 document in Zoho Writer.

Effectively, you get best of both the worlds - the speed and flexibility of editing inside a desktop program that you are so much used to plus the sharing and collabarative environment offered by an online service.

Zoho Office Plugin is also compatible with yet-to-be-released Mi…

RSS Screensavers: Let Blog Buzz Invade the Desktop While You're Away

If you live and breathe RSS, it's time to uninstall those Scrolling Marquee Text and Photo Slideshow screensavers that bore you by repeating the same images from your My Pictures folder again and again.

While the computer is not in use, bring life to your desktop screens with RSS screensavers that fetch fresh content from your favorite RSS feeds (including images).

Mac OS X Tiger already ships with RSS feed screensaver but Windows XP users, as always, are not so lucky. Infact, Windows Vista Screensavers don't support RSS. But there's reason to be disappointed, there are bunch of third-party RSS screensavers available on the web alread and here we'll help you choose the best one for your desktop.

» MSN RSS Screensaver - This RSS feeds cum Picture screensaver from Microsoft comes pre-configured with feeds pointing to MSNBC news sources plus you can add any of your favorite web feeds. The screensaver also doubles as a Photo slideshow like the Google Screensaver.

You will als…

Stop Nuclear Missile Test or No iPods for You

Luxury Goods "Made in USA" will soon disappear from the North Korean stores.

The Bush administration has come with with a creative plan to force Nuclear Korea give up its secret nuclear weapons program - they are banning the supply of all luxury goods that are enjoyed by President Kim Jong Il.

The list includes iPods, Plasma TV sets, French cognac, Rolex watches, Johnny Walker Scotch whisky, Mercedes, BMW and Cadillac cars, Harley Davidson motorcycles and more.

Some call this the iPod Nuclear Weapon Effect but there's a great business opportunity here for non-US brands (especially China) to make inroads into Pyongyang. Am not sure if the gray market is influential in North Korea, then the iPod ban would be practically ineffective. (Microsoft is anyway not shipping Zune outside US yet).

Also, prohibiting export of Western goods to North Korea could be a bad thing since these items indirectly promote the American culture among their "suppressed" youth which could be…

Microsoft Launches Secure Wars Contest for IT Pros (not Developers)

Microsoft India has announced a new contest - Securewars - to promote the concepts of Information systems security amongst Indian IT Professionals. This contest is primarily aimed at Networking Administrators.

There are tons of attractive prizes to be won including XBOX 360s, Windows Smart Phones, USB Kits and several early bird gifts.

The securewars contest will have four stages. The first two stages will be online. This will be followed by a Quiz and a written exam. The qualifying contestants will be given a case study with defined business and technical requirements with possibility to propose numerous products, technologies and processes.

Top 10 participants from this stage will be interviewed by a panel of experts. Based on this interview and scores from the previous 3 stages the eventual winner will be announced during ITPC to be held in Mumbai towards end of Feb 2007.

Register here for the Secure Wars Contest. Registrations will remain open until 31st Dec 2006.

Secure Wars - Let …

Sound Powerpoint Tip: Extract Audio & Images Embedded in PPT Slides

Ritu has a Powerpoint file (in PPS format) that plays some nice background music when the whoe presentation is run in full screen mode. She wants to know of some hack that can save these embedded audio files in either WAV or MP3 format.

Thought Microsoft PowerPoint offers no direct way to extract images or audio files from PPT files, you can still save these embedded objects in three simple steps:

Step 1: Open the PPT or PPS file inside Microsoft Powerpoint and choose File -> Save As.

Step 2: From the "Save As type" drop down, choose the Web Page format (*.htm, *.html). Type a file name and click save.

Step 3. Open the file folder where you saved the Presentation as HTML and there you'll see another subfolder with the same name.

That's the magical folder - open it and you'll see tons of JPEGs, HTML and WAV files there which were actually used in the original Powerpoint presentation. One of the WAV files here is probably what she is looking for. Happy Hunting.


Funny Pictures of Steve Ballmer As He Rings the Nasdaq Bell

Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer looks very excited at the launch of Windows Vista as he rings the Nasdaq opening bell to begin trading. [Picture Credits: Yahoo News, Microsoft Presspass]

These moments will probably remain in the computer history books forever. Brings back fond memories of the "famous" Steve Ballmer Dance infront of Microsoft employees to the tune of "Get on Your Feet".

Vizu Answers: Monetize Your Blog Without Sending Visitors Away

Vizu Answers is an innovative concept for generating extra revenue from your website without displaying banner ads or text links to your site visitors. And since Vizu uses CPM (cost per mile) based pricing model, bloggers can make money from every page impression independent of visitor clicks.

Using Vizu Answers (see live example), advertisers can place interactive web polls on your blog and when a user votes on a poll, the results load immediately into the window without the entire page needing to reload.

The most tempting part is that, unlike other advertising networks, the site visitor continues to stay on your website even after participating (or clicking) in a Vizu poll.

You start by creating a custom Vizu Poll Zones (like blogads) on your site and set your own CPM rates (Vizu charges 50% commission). The poll zones can be completely customized to match the look-n-feel of your site including the width and colors.

Each Poll Zone can be between 150 and 300 pixels in width while the he…

When Journalists Request An Interview Over The Phone, Say You Prefer E-mail

When reporters ask you for an interview over the phone, say you prefer to do it over e-mail. Why ?

Well, Tricks of the trade has listed the advantages of emails over phone interviews and they probably make lot of sense:

1. It is more likely that longer excerpts, or more excerpts, will be used in the story, because

   (a) the reporter will have to think longer about the questions he will ask and where he is trying to get, because the questions will have to be written down, and in a reasonably logical order;

   (b) it is easier to copy and paste whole intelligible sentences than listen to a tape and type the conversation and then turn confusing and long-winded arguments into intelligible short sentences;

2. It is less likely that your words will be distorted intentionally or unintentionally by the reporter and if they are intentionally distorted you have proof of what you said and of the context in which you said it.

3. You will sound more intelligent (unless you are a really bad writer) b…

Firefox 2 Easter Egg - Mozilla Challenges IE Fans Secretly

Just type about:mozilla in the Firefox address bar and hit enter. You'll be pleasantly surprised to see a mysterious verse from the Book of Mozilla.

And so at last the beast fell and the unbelievers rejoiced. But all was not lost, for from the ash rose a great bird. The bird gazed down upon the unbelievers and cast fire and thunder upon them. For the beast had been reborn with its strength renewed, and the followers of Mammon cowered in horror. from The Book of Mozilla, 7:15

It refers to the day when America Online shut down its Netscape browser division and the Mozilla Foundation was launched. Wikipedia has more information. [via]The "beast" falling refers to Netscape being closed down by its now parent company AOL. The "great bird" that rises from the ash is probably the Mozilla Foundation, which was established to continue Mozilla development. The "Mammon" is probably Microsoft, Mozilla's main commercial competitor.And here are a few ot…

Yahoo, Google Going Different Directions

Google Answers is shutting down forever. While Google and Yahoo may be competing in the web search domain, internally these companies have different visions of the future as suggested by some of the recent developments outlined here:

§ Blog Search Engine: Yahoo earlier integrated Blogs Search with Yahoo! News but for some reason, they quickly removed this feature without offering any reasons. On the other hand, Google is heavily promoting their own blog search search engine in the form of Google Blog Alerts and occasionally highlighting Blog Search results in the main organic search results page. Google also displays blog posts in their Finance portal.

§ Q & A Properties: Yahoo! is heavily betting on the success of Yahoo! Answers which some analyst believe could prove to be a turning point for Yahoo. They are also pushing search results from the Yahoo! Answers page to their main web search page. Google too has an equivalent paid service called Google Answers which is not so popular …

Acronis True Image 7 Available for Free

In this season of free software, Acronis True Image, the most popular hard disk cloning software around, is also up for grabs. This is a fully licensed version with no limits.

Just type in your email address on the Acronis official website and they will send you the Acronis True Image serial number in their next email. Again, no strings attached.

Clone Your Hard Disk with Free Disk Imaging Software
In case you never heard about this amazing disk imaging ulility, Acronis True Image creates exact copies (aka clones, replicas) of your hard disk so that you can instantly restore the entire machine including operating system, software, settings and all the data in the event of a hard disk crash or virus attack - no reinstallations required!

Omar Cintron adds that the Disk Clone function in Acronis True Image 7.0 duplicates a hard drive to another one directly, saving time and resources. Acronis also supports includes incremental backups which eliminates the need to regenerate an entire archive…

Digital Picture Frames Can Make Your Office Productive

While a bunch of Google Adsensepartnersare excited to receive a 3.6" TFT Digital Photo frame from Google as a Christmas present, Anne Zelenka adds that digital photo frames can make your boring cubicle more inspiring.A reminder of what you love most. The most common item to find in someone’s cubicle at work is a photo of friends or family, for good reason. But you don’t have to put them in a regular old frame. Well, most of us aren't lucky enough to receive a photo frame from Google as a gift since we don't make that kind of money from Adsense, but we can surely buy this cool photo device from or to boost our productivity levels.

Also a great gift for your mom who hates sitting on the computer and firing up Picasa for watching those anniversary pictures. These frames start from $100 upto $500 for larger screen sizes like 8x10.

Philips is probably the most popular manufacturer of Digital Photo Frames.

Digital Photo Displays don't need a PC - just attach…

Get Rid of Messy Social Bookmarking & XML Icons with Add This

Most bloggers and site visitors are no big fans of pasting too many XML Feed Subscriber Buttons (like Add to Google, Subscribe in Bloglines) and Social Bookmarking Icons (like Digg This, Add to Furl, etc) since they make the site look ugly.

And site visitors who would use these bookmarking services like Digg or Furl usually know how to add items to their accounts and don't need your favicons.

There is however a neat one-size-fits-all solution [a live example is shown above] called the AddThis button. It supports most bookmarking services and feed readers. You can either use AddThis on your webpages or inside email messages.

The interesting part here is that Add This provides statistics to bloggers about what content is collected the most on their website, blog, or email messages. That's a big advantage over competing sites like Feed Button.

For surfers, AddThis can help you reduce the Bookmarklet clutter on your Browser toolbar by consolidating all the social bookmarking icons i…

Google Alerts Tutorial To Help You Stay Ahead of the Curve

Google Alerts is probably one the most powerful Google service for people (especially bloggers) who want to stay ahead of their competition. With Google Alerts, you get an instant email notification whenever something happens in your niche or topics that matter to you.

But are you aware of all the wonderful features packed inside Google Alerts ? If not, here's a short guide (illustrated with examples) to help you harness the complete power of Google Alerts:

Case A: Track news about new software releases or version upgrades

Say you are eagerly waiting for news about Norton Antivirus 2008. The chances are that the manufacturer [Symantec in this case] will either publish a press release that will appear in Google News or one of the company employees will blog about the release. So we need to setup a comprehensive Google alert in this case that will track blogs, web, Google groups as well as Google News.

"Norton Antivirus 2008" [Type: Comprehensive, How Often: as it happens]


Cropping Pictures with Adobe Photoshop Can Be Dangerous

Adobe Photoshop has a bug where a thumbnail embedded inside a picture can reveal lot more content than what it is actually supposed to. Read this interesting but embarrassing story found on PC World [Warning: PG-13 content]

When cute G4techTV host, Catherine Michelle Schwartz, posted some photos on her personal blog, little she would not have imagined that her fans and rest of the world would get to see her nude through these photographs..

Actually Cat, popularly known as the Tech Chick, had taken some topless photos of herself with a digital camera and then cropped the sensitive portions using Adobe Photoshop before posting the pictures on the internet.

Though Catherine had saved the JPG files after cropping, buggy Photoshop embedded the original topless pics as the thumbnail [see screenshot]

Here's some explanation about the whole issue: Photoshop generates small preview images for the pictures it produces and hides them in the original image. If you change the image drastically, t…

Free Office 2007 Professional & Windows Vista DVDs from Microsoft

Here's a golden opportunity to grab fully licensed DVDs of Microsoft Office Professional 2007 and Windows Vista Ultimate for free. The free offer comes straight from Microsoft, absolutely no strings attached.

Microsoft is giving away free full licensed copies of Windows Vista and Office 2007 Professional as part of their Power Together campaign. The participants must be over 18 years of age and legal US residents.

All you have to do is register at the Microsoft Power Together campaign website and participate in at least three qualifying web casts and/or virtual lab sessions within 30 days of registration.

That's it. The free copy of Windows Vista Business or Office 2007 pro will be at your doorstep in the next few weeks. The free software giveaway offer will expire on February 28, 2007 and there's a limit of one gift per person. Hurry up. [via Texas Yankee]

Related: Make Office 2003 Documents Compatible with Office 2007

Update: Microsoft Office Professional 2…

Does Getting Acquired by Google Means End of Innovation ?

Google, the undisputed web search leader and online advertising king, has acquired numerous companies and products in the last few years but what happens to these "cool projects" once they enter the Googleplex ?

Let's take a trip down memory lane:

February 2003: Google acquired Pyra Labs, the developers of Blogger but it was only in August 2006 that Google upgraded Blogger to add Categories, RSS feeds, etc. That's like a 3½ year wait.

Doc Searls also wonders why Google has improved Blogger so little in these years. His suggestion is to open-source Blogger's code and bring back "pro" accounts to make Blogger a paid service.

July 2004: Google acquires Picasa and Hello photoblogging software from IdeaLab. While Google has continued the development of Picasa, the Hello plugin for Blogger has not been updated ever since it entered the Google stable. [Latest Version 1.0 released in January 2005]

November 2005: Google acquired Urchin web analytics software and re…

How to Shoot A Good Video for the Internet

Time Carter, the popular face of, shares some very useful techniques for filming a good video for the web.

Tim talks about the equipment needed as well as helpful tips so you look good on camera. He also touches a few things that one should avoid while shooting videos. Highly recommended.

» Make sure you buy a video camera that's as expensive as you can possibly afford.

» Make your finger nails are trimmed and clean. File them now.

» Don't wear a white shirt, don't wear a flashy shirt.

» If you need your videos to really look interesting, you need to have lots of energy. You don't want to act like you are at a funeral.

Have some fun. That's what people what to see. They want to see you smile and that you are passionate about what you are talking about. It makes all the difference in the world.

Related Reading: Difference between NTSC, PAL Video Camcorders

Windows Vista Upgrade Advisor Can Go Wrong

Windows Vista Upgrade Advisor is a small utility from Microsoft for Windows XP that tells you if your current PC hardware is fit enough to run Windows Vista.

The Vista Upgrade Advisor will look at your hardware and also help you identify which edition of Windows Vista will run smoothly on your PC.

Now here's an interesting case when Vista Advisor can go wrong.

Recently one of our MVP friends ran the Windows Vista Upgrade Advisor on a brand new Windows XP Home machine with Intel Core 2 Duo processor, 1 GB RAM and 256 MB NVidia GPU. His PC configuration would easily satisfy the requirements of Windows Vista Ultimate with Aero Glass or Flip 3D effects but the Upgrade Advisor software suggested him upgrading to just Windows Vista Home Basic which is like the most basic version of Windows Vista.

This low upgrade score was well explained by Pandurang - "The upgrade advisor queries the hardware similar to the way Vista queries it during installation. During installation, the system us…

Watching Flickr Photos or Youtube Videos in the Rain

Rainy days are always fun but walking with this internet umbrella in the rain can be now be a good source of entertainment as well.

This internet browsing umbrella called "Pileus" allows users to shoot photos or video.

Before we share the interesting details, watch this video demo of an umbrella that can shoot as well as display photographs or web videos.

When user takes photos or videos, Pileus evaluates media-type of data and uploads it to Flickr or YouTube. In addition, user twists the grip, it searches contents at Flickr and YouTube, and displays contents in order.

Looks like Internet browsing in the rain can be a fun activity.

Source: Flickr Umbrella | More Images [via Sydney Morning Herald]

Don't Pay For Virus Protection, Get these Free Anti Virus Software

The computer security market is flooded with antivirus software that work but don't come cheap.

While viruses remain a threat to our precious data, you need not necessarily invest in expensive antivirus scanners - there are plenty of free options available that may give even some commercial vendors a run for their money.

We look at some of the best software available today for keeping your computer free of viruses and other malware. Later we help you decide the one most suitable for you.

Free Online Virus Scanners [run inside the web browser to scan your hard drive]

Trend Micro HouseCall - An online virus scanner that's absolutely free and scans your PC hard drive for any sort of viruses or even spyware. HouseCall allows you to remove detected infections. Works with Firefox and IE. Requires Java.

McAfee Freescan - This free virus scanner from McAfee is based on the McAfee VirusScan engine. Should viruses be found, FreeScan prepares a list of infected files and links to information…

Download Windows Vista Wallpapers, Backgrounds Themes

Download Windows Vista Wallpapers

You can download any of these beautiful Windows Vista desktop backgrounds by clicking the wallpaper thumbnail images.

They are all high resolution Vista Wallpapers and will also fit your wide screen Laptops or dual screen computer monitors. Will even make a perfect Windows Vista theme for XP.