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Showing posts from August, 2007

Download Blogs and Websites for Offline Reading

Offline Explorer, wget, WinHTTrack Copier and Teleport are popular software utilities (both free and commercial) that let you download web pages to your local hard drive - they'll mirror complete websites, image galleries and everything else when your computer is connected to the web.

But there are some issues with most of these offline browsers. How do you browse or search web pages once they are saved locally? How do you update the local information when the source data has changed? Can you transfer the web content from computer to your mobile phone or the USB pen drive?

Update: The software listed in this article is no longer available. However, there are other working options to  help you download blogs and websites for offline reading.

Enter Webaroo - a free offline browser cum search engine that is not-so-geek and should solve all the above problems.

Once you install Webaroo, you suggest a list of blogs, websites, videos, podcasts or any online content that you would like to …

De-geek Yourself Before It Gets Too Late

Nick Bradbury, a software developer extraordinaire (he wrote FeedDemon, HomeSite and TopStyle), very recently celebrated his 40th birthday [picture via FaceBook]. Nick has probably experienced tech life more than us. Today, he makes a very honest confession asking young geeks, bloggers, programmers and everyone else in the tech sector to de-geekify before it gets too late. When I was working on HomeSite over a decade ago, I rarely left my desk.  If I wasn't coding, I was answering email or doing some other work-related task.  I hardly slept, ate far too much junk food, and traded my health for what I thought was a successful career as a software developer. If that sounds familiar to you, do yourself a favor and stop living this way.  It's not worth it.  Eventually you'll look back and wish you would've spent more time getting out and meeting people (non-geeky people, that is), and you'll look down at your pizza-filled belly and wonder how you let yourself get so…

Ashley Cecil - Blogging as a Hobby and Profession

Ask any A-List blogger in the world for some tips on blogging and the first thing they'll say is "Write on topics that you are passionate about, topics on which can continue writing for years without getting bored.."Meet Ashley Cecil - she is a talented painter at heart and as you would have guessed it, her blog - the Painting Activist - is all about her paintings. Unlike most creative artists who spend big dollars for showcasing their portfolio online, Ashley has taken a very different approach - she has put her paintings on a simple WordPress blog and interestingly, that's also her business website.Blog readers (or prospective customers) can see her paintings, read details like what inspired that painting, what idea does the canvas convey and in some cases, Ashley adds a time-lapse video of the painting. If someone likes to purchase a print, there's an easy link to PayPal with every painting.Blog comments make it easy for clients to interact directly with the a…

Copy-Paste Text but Strip the Formatting and HTML Tags

It's a common problem. What you get from the clipboard is not what you want.

When you copy some text from a web page or a Word document to the clipboard and then paste that text inside an email message or another rich text editor, the formatting (font sizes, colors, images) stays intact.

For Microsoft Word and other Office programs, you can use the "Paste Special" command that will auto-convert the pasted content from rich text as plain text format.

See: Copy Command Line Output to Clipboard

Alternatively, you can copy the text to the clipboard and paste everything into Notepad. Select the content in Notepad and copy to clipboard again. In this process, all the document formatting and HTML tags will be remove the clipboard content will be in plain text.

You can also (optionally) remove all HTML tags from the clipboard text, which is excellent for copying and pasting things from the web, without getting all the extra markup.

Then there's Clipboard Fusion which automa…

Get Desktop Alerts For New GMail or Google Apps Email

GMail Notifier for Google Apps is clone of the official GMail Notifier with one small difference -  it works with GMail as well as Google Apps for your Domain.When you new email messages, the notifier shows you the email subjects, senders email address and a short snippets, all without your having to open a web browser. The GMail Notifier for Google Apps is not from Google but the developer is officially recognized as a Google Enterprise Partner.http://gmailnotifier.net/Bonus Tip: Do you know that Google Talk can also be used as GMail Notifier for Google Apps though you'll have to sign out from your regular GMail account. I personally use Microsoft Outlook to check my GMail and Google Apps email.

A Microsoft Service for Sharing Useful or Artistic Office Documents

Microsoft today unveiled a new social website for Microsoft Office users where they can upload Word Documents, PowerPoint Presentations or Excel Spreadsheets.Known as the Art of Office, this place is not another Scribd or eSnips - it's basically for people to share Office documents that may either be useful to others or have an element of art in them. Official description is slightly unclear - Art of Office is a place for people to submit artistic and/or useful content made using Office applications (Word, Excel, or PowerPoint).While the Office site is a creation of the Mac team at Microsoft Office, it accepts content created with either Windows or Mac Office programs. Any can download Office documents from Art of Office and use them in their own presentations / spreadsheets.Visit Art of Office. Thanks Joe LeBlanc at Mac Mojo.

Increase Google Adsense Income with Simple Tweaks

As an experienced Adsense publisher, you know tons of Adsense Optimization tricks that will yeild maximum advertising revenue.

To quickly recap, you know by heart that wide rectangles perform better than banner formats, that Google Ad colors should blend with page background color, that section targeting serves more relevant ads, that border-less Ads convert best, that split testing helps you shortlist the best ad formats, that Google CSE is much better than Adsense for Search.. the list goes on and on.

But what’s the next step when you have experimented with all these Adsense tweaks but the CTRs and eCPM figures are stationary or aren’t moving north as you would like them to? Well, the simple solution is – some more optimization.


1. Turn Low Performing Units into Image Only Ads

Say you have a skyscraper in your sidebar or a leaderboard at the bottom of the page. It may exhibit a very poor CTR because it’s so out of sight and visitors often tend to miss the ad unit completely.

Share Your Favorite Webpages on Social Bookmarking Sites

If you frequently submit web pages to Google Bookmarks, Digg, StumbleUpon, del.icio.us, and other social bookmarking websites, you'll love the Shareaholic add-on available only for Firefox browser.Shareaholic make it extremely easy for you to share web pages on the popular social websites - just right click over any webpage and select your favorite bookmarking service from the Firefox contextual menu where you want to share that page. Even if you are not a big fan of Web 2.0 or social bookmarking phenomenon, Shareaholic still has something interesting for you - it shows you (in real time) the number of people who have saved that web page on del.icio.us and Digg. Use this information in conjunction with Alexa Sparky to quickly visualize the relative popularity of that web page on the internet.The service supports reddit, stumbleupon, google bookmarks, digg, del.icio.us, facebook, magnolia, and twitter. Neat alternative to bookmarklets and it also saves you from hunting for those ti…

Walt Mossberg - Yahoo! Mail Better Than Google GMail or Hotmail

Not sure if everyone here will agree but Walt Mossberg of WSJ says that the new Yahoo! Mail is better than Google email and the new Windows Live Hotmail.Walt favors Yahoo! over other web email programs because Yahoo! offers unlimited storage space, it lets you send SMS messages to cell phones, has a tabbed interface and lets you drag-n-drop email messages into mail folders just like Microsoft Outlook.The new Yahoo! mail is no doubt a big improvement but the downside is that you have to pay an yearly fee of $20 to get your mail out of Yahoo! service - GMail POP3 access and Hotmail-Outlook Connector are free.Related: Move Hotmail or GMail Messages to Yahoo! Mail

An Environment Friendly Font Saves Ink and Paper

If you regularly web pages (or Office Documents), you know how much paper (and toner ink) goes waste in printing those irrelevant portions that look good when viewed inside the browser but are completely useless when printed on paper.

Related: Which Fonts Save Printer Ink?

Greenprint has introduced a software and a font to tackle exactly this problem. The new font, known as EverGreen, is designed such that 20% more words can fit on each printed page while the text still remain readable.

The EverGreen font can be used for printing web pages or even Office documents which typically use the Arial, Times New Roman or Helvetica.

Next in line is the GreenPrint software, which is more like HP Smart Print add-on for IE, but automatic.

When you print a web page, GreenPrint software analyzes each page for waste material like URLs, sidebars, banner ad graphics, borders, logos, almost empty pages and so on. You can also decide what portions of the web page get printed. The software can either ou…

Creative Cake Design for Geek Parties

This is the perfect wedding cake for geeks and nerds. The icing on the Geek Cake says:

foreach (Person p in room) (  p.Eat(cake) )
The photograph of the cake is courtesy Flickr.

New Version of Jing for Windows and Mac

TechSmith today introduced an improved version of Jing both for Mac and the Windows platform. Jing [review] is a free software for capturing image screenshots as well as movies of software, also known as screencasts. Think of Jing as a mix of SnagIt and Camtasia Studio  but TechSmith is not charging anything at the moment.Here's a summary of new features introduced in Jing v1.2.6. Links shared via MSN Messenger should no longer be blocked. Earlier MSN would block URL that had an .scr extension. For users with more than one Screencast.com account, you can change which one Jing is logged into, via the Preferences in the More window. Jing now shows progress bar during an upload, and uploads can be canceled. They can be restarted via the History window. Jing is now usable with high DPI displays or with Windows "Large Fonts" enabled. [Windows Only]Download Mac Jing here or Windows Jing here.

Microsoft Attorneys Knock the Door of Windows AutoPatcher

Windows Autopatcher, that made life so simple for Windows XP users, is officially no more.A little Autopatcher background - Microsoft announced XP SP2 in August 2004 and have have released hundreds of security updates and hotfixes since then. If you install Windows XP on a new computer, you either have to download numerous updates from Windows Update website or you could install the latest version of AutoPatcher XP which includes each and every fix released by MSFT.The Autopatcher installer is maintained by Windows enthusiasts - it saved bandwidth for thousand of XP users and the software was even distributed with some popular Computer Magazines. Today, Microsoft Legal called up the AutoPatcher team asking them to discontinue the project and remove the download links. Microsoft is concerned that malicious software could be redistributed with Microsoft Update via Autopatcher. Microsoft will only allow updates to be downloaded from its own servers. It's strange that Microsoft legal…

Offer RSS Feeds for Blogger Search Labels Similar to WordPress Category Feeds

Anil Radhakrishna is looking for a method to burn separate blogger feeds using FeedBurner for each search label as described in the FeedBurner FAQ.

For instance, the blog feed URL is feeds.feedburner.com/xxx and he wants a category feed for posts labeled AJAX that should look like feeds.feedburner.com/xxx/AJAX.

Like the Category or Tag feeds in WordPress, you can also create RSS feeds in Blogger for any search label.

Here's the default URL for any search label in Blogger:

http://xxx.blogspot.com/search/label/labelname
To convert that search label into a Blogger RSS feed, replace the string /search/label/ with /feeds/posts/default/-/ so the new feed URL for that search label has the following syntax:

http://xxx.blogspot.com/feeds/posts/default/-/labelname
For this to work, you should have enabled Site Feeds for that blogs. Blogger Label Feeds will inherit the full or partial text settings from the main feed itself.

Now that you know the feed address for the various search labels use…

The Most Time Saving Firefox Features - Website Shortcuts

We share the two most useful and time saving features in Firefox that will help you access (and search) your favorite sites quickly using abbreviations.

Abbreviate your Favorite Websites

You probably have over a dozen websites in your bookmarks that you visit several times in a day. It could be Google News, The New York Times, your bank, your web email, and so on.

How do you visit your favorite websites - you either have them stored in the bookmarks folder or you remember their URLs and just type it directly in the browser address bar.

Here's an alternative. Open any website in Firefox that you love and press Ctrl+D to bookmark the site. Now scroll to that website name in Firefox Bookmarks menu, right click and select Properties. Type any text in the Keyword field and click OK [I use di for Digital Inspiration, ad for Google Adsense website, etc.]

The next time you type that abbreviation in the Firefox address bar, you'll automatically be taken to the underlying website.

Crea…

Make Flowcharts, Home Office Layouts and Diagrams Online

Best4c is another web based Visio to help you create flowcharts, network diagrams, floor plans and other designs online.

The application is complete web based but has the look-n-feel of a desktop application with collapsible palettes on one side and property pane for the selected shape on the right.

You drag-n-drop objects / shapes on the drawing canvas and can easily rotate or resize them - since they are vector images, they do not suffer from pixelation when you expand the size. And the inbuilt library of graphic images is impressive.

With all the baggage, Best4c flowchart editor is pretty responsive and loads quickly in your web browser. Works across all browsers.

Related: Create Organization Charts, Family Tree Diagrams

Blogging Software Screenshots with SnagIt Gets Simple

Popular screen capture program SnagIt (review) can now also be used as a one-click blog editor.TechSmith today introduced free blogging outputs for SnagIt that makes it extremely easy to add screen captures to your blog posts.You capture any part of the desktop screen with SnagIt and publish that image to WordPress directly from SnagIt without having to save the screen capture to a separate local file.The new blogging accessories aren't just for uploading images - they also let you include rich formatted text to your blog posts. Blogging with SnagIt is possible on WordPress, TypePad, LiveJournal and Movable Type blogs.In my test post from SnagIt to WordPress, the software had issues publishing the post but it still uploaded the screen capture to WordPress Images directory and also saved that test post to Drafts.TechSmith Accessories | Video Tutorial

Google Web Accelerator Software

Google Web Accelerator is free utility that promises to speed up web surfing on your computer. How?

Google Accelerator decreases the loading time of web pages in your browser (works with IE and Firefox) by prefetching links that you are likely to click on the current web page - thus the linked pages load more quickly.

Update: Google has integrated Accelerator into Chrome and is no longer available as a separate download. It's called Google Instant and here's a guide on how to add Google Instant support to your website.

I have been using the software for over 40 hours now and the performance statistics say that the software helped me save 1.1 hours of web browsing. That means it would have taken 1.1 hours more for the web pages to download had I not been using the Google Accelerator software.

It's difficult to guess how Google decides what web pages to load in advance but my experience has been that if your hover the mouse over a hyperlink for few seconds, Google assum…

Parents Want Unusual, Unique Baby Names That Are Not Popular

Last week, I met an Indian couple who will soon be celebrating the first birthday of their baby. The only problem is that they don't know what to print on the birthday invitation card as they haven't decided a name for their baby yet.

That's because they want a unique name for their baby - a name that is rare but also has some good meaning and origin. The couple has already spent hours on Google hoping to find that most unusual baby name but largely unsuccessful so far.

Well, our friends are not alone. "Baby names" is the most popular search query with the word "baby" in it. And the top search phrase is "unusual baby names" closely followed by "unique baby names".



Interestingly, more people search for names of baby girls than baby boys on the Internet. This is followed by search for "Indian Baby Names" and "Muslims Baby Names."

Once parents find that unique name, the next step is to register a web domain for th…

A Computer Mouse for the Filthy Rich

Pat Says, a computer mice manufacturer based in Switzerland, are selling a USB plug-n-play mouse that costs a whooping $25k because it's all made of white gold and diamonds.Other than balance in your bank account, this world's most expensive computer mouse won't change your computing lifestyle. And as far as ergonomics and comfort is concerned, the (relatively) dirt-cheap Logitech MX revolution maybe far better than this diamond-studded gold mouse.PC World has an overview of more such absurdly expensive gadgets here including the million dollar laptop from Luvaglio that activates only when you insert the unique colored diamond. Related: Vertu Gold Phones, Gold USB Drives, Logitech MX Air

The Ten Facebook Groups That Are Funny But Quite Popular

Following are some of the most interesting groups on Facebook that are very popular and their descriptions can make you smile:
When I was your age, Pluto was a planet - This is a group dedicated to the kids who were taught that Pluto was the 9th planet from the sun. It will soon hit the 1 million member mark on Facebook.
People Who Always Have To Spell Their Names For Other People - This group is for anyone with an unusual spelling or an unusual name.
Slammed by Valleywag - This is for people who have been slammed by Valleywag or who dream of getting slammed by the ever-alert team of Nick Douglas and Owen Thomas..
I Use my Cell Phone to See in the Dark - For those that can't live without their cell phones - whether it's to schedule appointments, see in the dark, use as an excuse to leave a conversation to "take an important call", figure out the waiter's tip, keep as a clock, take pictures, or simply to use as a device to converse with others - as it was originally …

Microsoft Hackers Now Have an Official Blog

"Hackers @ Microsoft" - that's the name of a new Microsoft blog officially launched on blogs.msdn.com which also hosts thousands of other blogs written by Microsoft Employees.The pitch says - Microsoft employs some of the best hackers in the world and actively recruits them and develops them.  At his or her core, a true hacker is someone who is curious and wants to learn how systems work.  This can and of course at Microsoft is done in an ethical, legal manner.  Microsoft does have hackers, and its time to introduce you to some of them and show you what it is, exactly that they do. The new Microsoft Hackers blog is located at blogs.msdn.com/hackers.

Coffee Chart: What's Inside Your Favorite Coffee Drink

The next time you order some coffee at your favorite coffee shop, this coffee chart should come in very handy - it illustrates the small differences between the common espresso flavors.
Espresso or Cappiccuno Coffee
This coffee selection diagram will help you with the complex pronunciation of coffee names as well as the ingredients inside. Credit Lokesh via IndiaUncut.

Related: Coffee Art

Audio Podcast: Recap of The Week - August 25, 2007

GTalk Conference Chat for Connecting with Multiple GMail Friends
You just have to invite your other Google Talk friends to this private Google conference room. And there's no limit on the maximum number of participants that can join your Gtalk conference session.
Send Documents, Web Pages To Mobile Phones via SMS: Cloud Print
You send the document(s) to your friends, colleagues or mobile workforce from your desktop as an SMS message and they can download or print the file as PDF on any computer worldwide.
How to Stop GIF Image Animations from Playing in IE or Firefox
Unlike Macromedia Flash movies, you cannot right click a GIF animation to stop it from playing over and over again.
Don't Lose Work If IE 7 Browser Crashes or Hangs All of a Sudden
While Internet Explorer version 7.0 has no such feature to recover work from a crashed session, you can download a free add-in called IEPlus to bring the very useful "Session Restore" feature of Firefox in your IE browser.
Anonymous C…

Carry PowerPoint Presentation Slides in your Video iPod

Looking for a workaround to transfer those PowerPoint presentations to the iPod so you may watch them while you are away from the office desk. Like the PPT to Video tool, the "PPT to iPod" software converts your MS PowerPoint Presentations to MP4 video files that you can either transfer to your iPod via iTunes or upload them to any video sharing website.If you have sounds embedded in your PowerPoint file, the PPT to iPod converter will put them in the output video as well. The software supports all version of PowerPoint including the latest Office 2007.The cost is 30 bucks but you get it for free from GOTD if you download the software in the next 23 hours - Wondershare at Giveaway.More - Comparison of PowerPoint Hosting, PPT Shootout

Asking Members to Click Google Adsense Ads on Facebook

This Facebook Developer has created a neat application for adding music to your Facebook profile. While few thousand Facebook members are using his application, the developer is probably unaware of the Google policies.Read what this Facebook application page has to say - "Like this app? Click an ad (once a day at most) and let's get a better server (less crashes)." And this line is just above the Google Ads block. From the rule-book - Adsense publishers may not request that users click the ads on their sites or rely on deceptive implementation methods to obtain clicks. Publishers participating in the AdSense program may not encourage users to click the Google ads by using phrases such as "click the ads," "support us," "visit these links," or other similar language. Let's hope the Facebook app developer takes note before the Adsense team pulls the plug.

Send Documents To Mobile Phones through SMS: Cloud Print

HP CloudPrint is a web service for sending documents via cellphones as SMS codes instead of the standard email route. You don't have to manually convert documents to PDF, upload them anywhere or send email attachments - CloudPrint takes care of everything.

You send the document(s) to your friends, colleagues or mobile workforce from your desktop as an SMS message and they can download or print the file as PDF on any computer worldwide. Sounds confusing?

Update: HP Cloud Print is no longer available but you can use Google Cloud Print or even the free Dropbox service to print documents from mobile phones.

Step 1: I opened this Google Alerts Tutorial page in IE and printed it using CloudPrint. The software asked asked my cell number and also the phone numbers of intended recipients.

Step 2: HP CloudPrint converted the web page to a PDF file in the background and automatically uploaded it to some HP server - the conversion and upload part is totally transparent to the end user. All…

Google Image Search Now Has Contextual Adsense Ads

Google now has contextual advertising embedded in Google Image Search results - each page has two horizontal sponsored link sections. See screen capture below.The other popular Google properties that are yet to be monetized include Google News and Google Blog Search.Related: Batch Download Pictures from Google Images

Check Your Text for Common Misspellings Online

Spelljax, as the name suggests, is an online tool that lets you check for spelling errors in English and some other popular languages. The tool check only the spelling mistakes, not the grammar of your text.You can either directly type the text in the web browser or copy-paste from another application that doesn't inbuilt spell checking capabilities like notepad or internet clipboards. The spell checker is available at SpellJax.com. SpellJax spelling checker functionality is pretty similar to what you have seen in GMail or even Firefox. The feature I liked most is that you cannot edit or type text while you are in the spell checking mode. Thanks Jan. Related: Remove Incorrect Spellings from Firefox Dictionary

Stop Web pages from Auto-playing Music and Videos

Some websites, like MySpace, embed music (and sometimes video clips) in web pages that auto-play as soon as you open the site in your web browser - there's no confirmation.

Music and Videos that autoplay in the browser is not that big an issue if you keep your speakers muted or use the headphones, but it can be very embarrassing in all other cases - you don't want your cubicle neighbours to know that you just visited an amateur website.

Here's how to block autoplay of music and videos that's embedded in web pages:

Internet Explorer - Got Tools -> Internet Options -> Advanced. Scroll down in Settings, and then under the Multimedia heading, uncheck Play sounds in web pages and Play videos in web pages.

Mozilla Firefox - Install the Stop Play extension available at Mozilla.org. Stop Play plugin disables autoplay of embedded media but you can play it later when you want. Alternatively, you can completely block the audio-videos files from auto-downloading that also spe…

Switch Your Laptop Between Home and Office Network Easily

We recently shared a network connections profile manager called NetSetMan for people who frequently travel with their laptops. Each time they get to a new location, they have to manually change settings of their network card and browser proxy server before connecting to the internet.

Though NetSetMan has a free full version, some comments have pointed out that the license prohibits use of the software at work or any commercial purpose.

If you need to shuttle your notebook computer between home and various office locations, the other good alternative is Net Profiles that again helps you effortlessly change your network connection settings .

With Net Profiles, you create various profiles for each of your network settings and you can easily switch from one to another. Can also be used for managing network printers, mapped drives and multiple Wi-Fi wireless networks.

Which Version of Adobe Flash Player Is Running On My Machine

If you are not sure whether Adobe Flash Player is installed in your web browser and if installed, what version of the Flash Player are your running - here's a simple trick.Visit this page on Adobe.com. If you have the Adobe Flash Player plugin, the page will display the exact version of the Flash Player. If Flash is missing on your machine, you won't see the line the says "Adobe Flash Player is Installed." Make sure you perform this check separately for IE and Firefox / Opera.What's new in Flash Player 9 that's on Adobe LabsWhile the latest version of Adobe Flash Player is 9.0.47.0, Adobe have recently released an updated version of Macromedia Flash Player 9 (9.0.60.184) that supports H.264 in addition to the original On2 VP6 codec (but not Sorenson Video).Why upgrade to Flash Player 9 with H.264 supportWhat that means in simple jargon is that you can now use the same Flash Player 9 to play Quicktime .mov and the iPod .mp4, m4v videos in your web browser with…

Unresolved Questions on Message Board - Can You Please Help?

These are some questions on the message board that are awaiting solutions. Can you please assist here? You can either add your replies to the message board or just leave a comment here. Thanks.Cannot Run Windows Software on MacBook
Louise Normandin bought a MacBook with BootCamp and VMware-Fusion but he's not able to run any Windows software except Firefox.Show Sales Data for Cities on a Google Map
Pavanaji is looking for a simple solution to put his sales data on a Google Map. Managers can click the city pins on Google Maps to see the sale figure for that region.Google Apps EMail Bouces
A reader is using Google Apps + GMail for his personal domain. He cannot send or receives emails via AOL but it works perfect with Yahoo! and Hotmail. His Google Apps MX records look correct.YouTube and Orkut Banned in Browser by Virus
"YouTube is banned" - Aarohi got this strange error in his browser while trying to access YouTube.com. Turned out that problem was a virus/worm called heap41a…

May the iPod Rest in Peace

Amberspots an iPod in a cemetery. The epitaph says "Fatal Error Occurred". Notice that the iPod is still connected to it's lifeline - the Belkin charging dock.

Why is Google Against Paid Text Links (Hint: Adsense)

It was a very interesting day at the Search Engine Strategies Conference in San Jose. Google Government represented by Matt Cutts on one side and the search community at the other end. Matt, in his usualstyle, blamed paid text links for polluting the internet and shared that Google uses a combination of algorithms and manual methods to detect [and penalize] websites that sell links. But this time, Matt had some very tough audience including Michael Gray who put forward a very interesting case as to why text links are in Google's crosshair. Rand has a round-up of Michael's anti-Google argument: Commercial websites are NOT generally linked-to naturally. Non-commercial websites are much more likely to entice natural links. [so commercial sites have buy links]By eliminating paid links, Google will fill the top results for commercial queries with primarily non-commercial results.Thus, when a searcher wishes to take a commercial action, the only relevant results will be the paid …

Watch iPod Videos Privately on a Large Virtual TV Screen

Is the 2.5" LCD screen of your iPod too small for enjoying videos? How about a big TV screen for the iPod that you can carry inside your pocket and connect to the iPod anytime.We are talking an affordable iPod accessory called Video Goggles - you wear them like any other Shades but they are not meant for protecting your from sunlight - they connect directly to your iPod and let you watch movies and video podcasts on a big virtual screen.When plugged into your iPod video, these eye-glasses project a floating video image in-front of your eyes and you feel as if you are watching the videos on a large TV screen without any connection cables.A great companion while you are on a road trip or a long flight - you don't have to look at the tiny iPod screen for watching the movies. Works only with iPod Video, not with your iPhone.iPod eye glasses available at Amazon.com and ThinkGeek.com priced around ~$200. Thanks Mike.

What To Do When Google Mistakenly Identifies Your Website as Harmful

A webmaster recently wrote an email saying that Google has incorrectly flagged his client's "harmless" website as dangerous for distributing or hosting malware. Though the site still appears in Google organic search results, a prominent warning message saying "This Site May Harm Your Computer" is displayed near the title of the web page.The website in question has been marked as spam independently by Google though the StopBadWare team has not reviewed the website yet. The webmaster says that his site requires the Adobe Flash ActiveX control and that probably caused Google to blacklist him and trigger the warning.If you feel that you have a legit site and that Google has wrongly classified your site as harmful, here's how to appeal your case:1. Check the HTML source of your webpage and make sure that there are no suspicious blocks of Javascript code or hyperlinks that point to bad neighborhoods. For instance, it is not uncommon for hacker to inject code into…

Pigeons Can Collapse Bridges, Cows Can Cause Global Warming

Some off-beat but interesting stories from the world of cows and pigeons:» Pigeons are being partly blamed for the collapse of Minneapolis Bridge this month. Pigeon droppings contain ammonia and acids - if the dung isn't washed away, it dries out and turns into a concentrated salt. When water gets in and combines with the salt and ammonia, the reactions cause the steel to rust faster and hence become weak. [Discover News]» Scientists are trying ways to make cows burp less to make our planet Earth cooler. That's because when cows digest their food (grass, hay, etc), they burp methane gas which is more effective at warming Earth's atmosphere than carbon dioxide is. Globally, ruminant livestock – including cattle, goats, and buffaloes – produce about 80 million metric tons of methane a year, accounting for about 28 percent of man-made methane emissions annually. [CS Monitor]

Online Software Tutorials, Office Templates, Shock Photos from HP

The HP corporate website has an unexplored Small & Medium Business section that's loaded with Office goodies, stock photographs, online software classes and some very informative How-To guides - they are all available without charge.You can download readymade Business Templates for PowerPoint Presentations, Brochures, Business Cards, Newsletters, Letterheads and more - they all work with Microsoft Word, PowerPoint and Publisher software.Other than templates, you can download photographs to use in your your marketing material for free. The pictures in the Image Gallery may be used for commercial purposes without limitations until October 31, 2009.HP SMB site also has a neat collection of online software tutorials for anyone to brush up their business software skills or learn using the software like Microsoft Office Word, Photoshop or CorelDRAW from scratch. [via WSJ]Related: Microsoft Office Templates, Office 2007 Training

Blip.TV Much Better Than YouTube for Uploading Videos Online

Back in December, we carried a detailed comparison of Blip.tv vs YouTube for uploading video content on the web. Blip.tv won over YouTube by a huge margin because Blip supported most video formats, had no limitation on file sizes and maintained the original video quality unlike YouTube which resize clips to 320x240.While YouTube uses Flash 7 (Sorensen Spark codec), most other sites encode using On2 VP6 codec of Flash 8 which results in more sharp video.The current issue of PC World has a detailed comparison of almost all popular video sharing websites and Blip.tv has emerged as a clear winner again - it beats YouTube in video quality, audio quality, video encoding speed and the wide screen Flash video player that makes watching videos all the more fun.Infact, YouTube also lost the race to Brightcove, Revver, Veoh and Microsoft SoapBox. While none of these sites have the millions of eyeballs like YouTube for your videos to go viral, when it comes to video quality and speed, most of th…

Easily Change LAN Settings to Connect your Laptop to Internet

Sunil Bajpai connects his laptop computer to the internet from office as well as home. But each time he shuttles from home to work (or vice-versa), he has to manually alter the network settings (IP Address, DNS Server, Subnet Mask, Default Gateway, etc) as the values are different for each location.

Sunil wants a simple solution - something that allows him to maintain multiple LAN profiles in one computer:
To connect the laptop from office or home, I have to change settings for the LAN and the browsers back and forth everyday. This is a big pain. Could you tell us how one may use different profiles for different locations? Instead of fiddling with IP Addresses and the complex LAN settings, all you need is a free software called NetSetMan - a network settings manager that lets you create multiple LAN profiles on the same computer.

Related: Expand Range of your Wireless Network

As you move from one place to another, you can switch between various network profiles ivia the system tray …

Free Home Delivery of Microsoft Software in India

Unlike the US, there are practically no software shops in India where one can just walk in and pick the software box from the shelves - you have to go through the offline software resellers most of the times.

Though lot of computer hardware stores and music chains (like Planet M) in India stock CDs for popular game titles, encyclopedias and typing tutors, you are unlikely to find expensive software like Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator, Microsoft Office or Windows so easily.

Update: Adobe has setup an online store in India

The same goes for the online software store on eBay India - you will rarely find a legitimate software auction.
Microsoft is probably seeing an opportunity here.

First, they have started an online store and also reduced the prices of Office 2007 Suite and Windows Vista in India to match what is offered in the US stores like Amazon.

Second, they have recently launched a unique dial-a-software service where you can place an order for Microsoft software over phone and the…

Don't Lose Work If IE Browser Crashes or Hangs

Say you have over half a dozen websites open inside IE. But suddenly your Internet Explorer window closes without warning or simply freezes and stops responding. You have no other option but to kill the IE process (iexplore.exe) via the Windows Task Manager (Ctrl+Alt+Del).

In either of the cases, there's no record of web pages that were open in your IE window prior to the crash. What do you do in such a situation?

Also see: What to do when Internet Explorer Hangs or Freezes

Firefox users are lucky because the Mozilla browser has an excellent Session Restore feature that auto saves the browser tabs and will restart exactly to the previous state in the event of a crash or freeze.

While Internet Explorer version 7.0 has no such feature to recover work from a crashed session, you can download a free add-in called IEPlus to bring the very useful "Session Restore" feature of Firefox in your IE browser.

The next time your IE crashes, you won't have to search the browser c…

Anonymous Chinese Bloggers May Become Extinct Very Soon

"Don't spread rumours online. Delete bad comments immediately. Don't write about porn. Be sensitive to other nationalities, races, religions and cultural customs." - if you agree to all these conditions, you are welcome to write a blog in China. The Chinese Government has asked blog companies to sign a "self-discipline pledge" that encourages bloggers in China to register using their real name, email, phone number and other contact information. This directive is likely to become effective very soon as most blog providers in China have already agreed to sign the pledge meaning if any blogger in China were to use their service for writing a blog, he or she will be have share his contact information. Surprisingly, China already has over 30 million registered bloggers.

FeedBurner Tips & FAQ Guide for Bloggers and RSS Feed Publishers

Do you use Google FeedBurner service for distributing your content via RSS XML feeds? If yes, the unofficial FeedBurner FAQ guide should answer most of your queries that you may have as a FeedBurner publisher. The Unofficial FeedBurner FAQThe guide answers common questions related to feed redirection, combing multiple feeds, creating per category feeds, making the switch from Blogger to WordPress without losing RSS subscribers, shifting from one web domain to another, and so on. Check it out.

Reduce Comment Spam on Blogger with a Simple Javascript Trick

Dealing with comment spam is probably the biggest headache for most bloggers - the comment will have a word like "Cool" or "Interesting" and then a URL pointing to some online pharmacy story selling prescription drugs.While WordPress has the excellent Akismet anti-spam filter that catches majority of comment spam, Google provides simple word CAPTCHAs and email based comment moderation for Blogger blogs. They also add a rel=nofollow for all links left in the visitor comments section and therefore deny any Google Juice to the linked website.Even with these spam prevention measures in place, the problem is far from over. So how do you reduce the menace ? Just turn off comments, not for the entire blog but just for old blog posts. Why ? Well, if you look at pending comments in your moderation queue that require approval, you'll see a pattern - the blog posts that are more popular in search engines are the biggest target of comment spam. Blog comment spammers rarely…

Windows Update Crashed the Skype Network - Can You Believe It?

This is unbelievable. Skype is blaming Microsoft "Patch Tuesday" for the downtime and the sign-on problems that lasted for more than 48 hours.As per Skype, the disruption was initiated by a massive restart of our user's computers across the globe within a very short timeframe as they re-booted after receiving a routine software update. This is presumably the Windows updates that were sent out on Patch Tuesday last week, which required the PC to be restarted.Normally Skype’s peer-to-peer network has an inbuilt ability to self-heal, however, this event revealed a previously unseen software bug within the network resource allocation algorithm which prevented the self-healing function from working quickly. Regrettably, as a result of this disruption, Skype was unavailable to the majority of its users for approximately two days.It's kind of funny because Skype is using Windows Update as an excuse rather than admitting that they had a bug in their software that was exposed…

What's Cooking at India Inc. - Featured Stories From Our Sister Site

» Google Local Search in India - How to use the various Google services to grow your online business in India. [Published in Financial Express]» Custom WordPress Theme Designers - I receive tons of requests from bloggers and companies asking for good blog designers in India. So this a small but growing list of bloggers who also offer web design and development services for WordPress and Blogger blogs. [Related: Indian BloggersImprove Quality of YouTube Videos - Some simple encoder settings that will make your YouTube videos bright and sharp. Official recommendations from YouTube staff are available hereWindows XP Activation Issues - Sauran had issues reactivating his Windows copy on a Dell laptop as he could not get through the Microsoft India Support phone number. Turned out that the numbers have changed.» Blackberry Phones by Airtel & Hutch - The Airtel TV commercial for the Blackberry and a comparison of Blackberry tariff plans offered by Hutch and Airtel.» When to Publis…

Turn XP into Vista - Show Thumbnail Images in Windows Taskbar

Visual Task Tips is just a 90 kb utility that makes your Windows XP taskbar look like the one that ships with Vista. You can hover the mouse cursor over any application in the taskbar and instantly see the latest thumbnail screenshot of that Window without actually switching to that application. Pretty useful when you have tons of similar application open on your screen and the application titles aren't descriptive enough. Get Visual Task Tips at visualtasktips.com [freeware]

Navigate the Laptop Touchpad With a Pencil

Your index finger and that 3"x3" touchpad of your notebook computer is definitely not the most convenient combination for moving the cursor but the laptop pencil you see above looks like a promising replacement of the mouse.

See: Disable Laptop Touchpad

Like the Wacom Tablets, using the TouchPad pencil may feel pretty natural because it has the exact shape and grip of a lead pencil, something that we used since our kindergarten days.

No word about the price but this pencil stylus for notebooks and PDAs will launch next month.

Get a Good Looking Profile Picture for Posting on the Web

The popularity of social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter have created a demand for Photoshop experts because people want to look perfect and glamorous in their profile photographs on social websites.

For this reason, Snappy Snaps, a photo company in UK, has launched a special "photo airbrushing service" that turns any normal photograph into a flawless image.

Related: Create a Perfect Profile Picture from Any Photograph

You get lean thighs, wrinkle free face, no dark circles under the eyes, white straight teeth and an overall slim look without dieting or a visit to the beauty parlor - it's all done using the good old Photoshop.

No wonder, this Snappy Snaps image transformation service is massively popular especially among the MySpace and Facebook crowd.

Including a picture is the best way to increase responses to your profile but what type of photograph should you upload on your profile - the Yahoo! Dating portal has some solid advice that definitely goes a…

When You Have to Fill, Sign and Then Fax A Paper Document or PDF

Have you have ever come across a situation when you had to fax a paper document or a PDF file after filling in the details and putting your signature in ink ?I recently attended a conference in another city and the organizers asked us to fax or snail mail a copy of the actual receipts for them to reimburse the travel expenses. Fair enough.Since the receipts were no legal documents and were required just for the purpose of maintaining records, I took a picture of the entire paper receipt with a digital camera and sent it as an email attachment. They happily accepted the 'digital' format. An extension of this technique comes very handy when you have to print a 12 page document, sign every page and fax it back. Either get a scanned image of your signature or create one at Live Signature. Then paste this image near the footer of every page, print the document as a PDF file (so that it's non-editable) and email it back. No hard copies. You save money, time as well as some trees…

How to Stop GIF Image Animations from Playing in the Browser

Unlike Macromedia Flash movies, you cannot right click GIF animations (or Cinemagraphs) and stop them from playing over and over in your browser.

Here's a very simple trick to prevent GIF graphics from animating in your web browser window - once the web page has stopped loading and GIF frames start to animate, just hit the ESC key on your keyboard.

That will immediately disable all the GIF animations on that webpage. In order to replay the animated images, you'll have to reload the page by pressing F5 or Ctrl+R.
How to Disable GIF Animations If you want to permanently block GIF animations in your browser, do the following:

In Firefox - Type about:config and change the value of string image.animation_mode from normal to none.

In Internet Explorer - Tools -> Options -> Advance. Uncheck the box in Multimedia group that says "Play animations in web pages"

Also see: How to Make an Animated GIF

How to Read WordPress.com Blogs in Turkey

After YouTube, Turkey authorities have now banned the entire wordpress.com domain in the country - the Turkish bloggers can neither post new articles on their Wordpress.com hosted blogs nor can they read any other blogs.[The ban does not affect self hosted Wordpress blogs since they don't have wordpress.com in the URL]Ozkan Erden, a Turkish blogger, says that the Wordpress ban was enforced after some insulting remarks were posted on a WordPress blog against Adnan Oktar (Harun Yahya), a religious leader and author based in Turkey. To bypass the government ban, Wordpress.com bloggers and blog readers in Turkey can configure the internet connection settings of their web browser and point the DNS server to that of OpenDNS instead of using the default DNS server of the Turk Telecom ISP. (see screenshot)Alternatively, they can try other anti-censorship workarounds listed here - How to Access Blocked Websites

Google Talk - Conference and Chat with Multiple GMail Friends

DI reader Aravindan is currently using a combination of Google Talk and the collaboration features of Google Docs for chatting with more than one GMail friends simultaneously in one browser window. He writes:
I always wondered why google does not have a text or voice conference feature in their google talk software, and I found that a handicap a few times.  Yesterday, I had to collaborate on a Google Spreadsheet with 5 of my friends, and after setting up the file and inviting them, the discuss option was enabled in my window, and I would see all 5 of their email's listed. 
There was a shoutbox like feature embedded in which the 6 of us were able to conduct a discussion while editing the spreadsheet. Therefore, to have a live conference using google chat just follow these steps in Google Docs & Spreadsheets : Create a dummy document -> invite friends as collaborators -> click on "Discuss" option near top right -> start conferencing. That's innovative but…

FeedBlitz RSS by EMail Newsletter No Longer Free for Some Bloggers

FeedBlitz, the popular RSS-to-Email service like FeedBurner Email, is asking blog publishers with more that 5000 active email subscribers to upgrade to a premium plan.Until the large blog publishers switch to a premium version (cost of which depends upon the number of subscribers), FeedBlitz will insert third-party ads in your email newsletters.Lists with an active circulation of 5,000 or more must be on a FeedBlitz premium service (Pro, Turbo or Newsletter Edition).If you're running a large list you're doing so for an organization that can afford to pay, so these changes are to encourage you to do just that. After all, the larger lists cost us more to manage, and if you're doing this professionally then it is not unreasonable for FeedBlitz to to be compensated for the work we do on your (or your organization's) behalf, especially since it's affordable to do so.FeedBlitz vs FeedBurner EmailFeedBurner Email does seem  to have an edge over FeedBlitz at the moment - …

The Most Relevant Video Search Engine That Indexes All Video Clips

If you enjoy exploring video content on the web, you'll absolutely love Truveo - an extremely impressive and powerful video search service from AOL that helps you find video content from all other video sharing websites (like YouTube, blip.tv), content portals (like CNet, iVillage) and most mainstream media websites (like CNBC, ABC News, BBC, etc). Truveo provides an amazing array of options (like Google advance search operators) to further refine the video search results. For instance, you can limit the search results based on categories (like Technology), source of video or even the relative importance of the video (like most viewed, rated, recent). Every search results page comes with an RSS feed, a feature that's missing even in the popular YouTube. And if you are in a mood to browse videos not search, Truveo is again useful - all the viral videos, TV shows, breaking news videos, movie clips, music videos and sports videos are neatly organized in categories.With Truveo i…

Watch YouTube Videos in Fast Forward Mode

Watching videos on YouTube gets even more fun as you don't have to wait for the whole video to load.

Google has silently added a "no buffer" feature in YouTube Video Player  - just click anywhere in the red player bar and the video will start to buffer from that position, not from the beginning.

A similar feature already exists in Google Video Player but they even let you bookmark the time / position in the URL itself.

Earlier, if you had to listen to this music video from position 1:33, YouTube would still download the entire clip from the beginning (position 0:00). But in the new version, you can move the YouTube video playhead to any location in the red timeline and the video will begin to stream from that position itself - you no longer have to wait for the entire video clip to load.

Related: Rip Audio from YouTube Music Videos