Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Windows Vista Tricks: Using USB Flash Drives as RAM

Windows Vista has a new performance feature called ReadyBoost. This feature enables the use of a USB storage device instead of the slow paging file on your hard disk when you’re low on physical memory (RAM). The logic is simple - the USB storage device is faster than your hard disk drive, and you can boost significantly your computer performance, if you use Windows Vista operating system.

In order for ReadyBoost to work in Windows Vista, your USB storage device must meet the following requirements:
’ The device must have at least 64MB storage.
’ The device must be USB 2.0 compatible.
’ The device must have a minimum read speed of 3.5 MB/s.
’ The device must have a minimum write speed of 2.5 MB/s.

Follow these steps to enable ReadyBoost:
1. Plug in USB storage device.
2. Go to Computer, right-click on the removable storage device and select Properties.
3. Click on the ReadyBoost tab.
4. Select Use This Device and set the amount of space to use for the system file.
5. Click OK.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Free Photos for your Passport

I you are dedicated user of the multiple free services on the Web, you might noticed that there are more and more companies, entering the marketing niches that for long were not even considered as are that can benefit from online assistance. The reviewed service is one of those, offering you opportunity to cut costs for password photos you need for foreign passports. ePassportPhoto.com is the Internet passport photo booth, and its primary goal to put an end to the passport photo rip-off. There is no reason you should have to spend valuable time and money just to get a simple, compliant set of passport photos.

Especially useful feature, offered by this free service, is the fact that the system currently supports the proper legal government requirement of over 60 countries, from Albania to Zimbabwe (and many in between, such as Australia, France and Germany). For example, if you’re a citizen of China living in Canada or a citizen of Israel living in the US, ePassportPhoto.com will help you create passport photos that comply with the requirements of your home country. Site will arrange the photos from the file you upload and upon preparing the right format, will allow you printing them at convenience of your home, on your own printer.

You might ask what the catch is. You can choose premium service, including human validation, printing and shipping, available at a reasonable price of $5.99.

Website: http://www.epassportphoto.com/

Sunday, December 7, 2008

4 Steps to Change Startup and Shutdown Sounds on your Computer

You boot up and shut down your computer quite frequently. And every time you have to listen the same built-in sounds files - again and again. The same annoying audio files, which other millions of people listen on the daily basis. Do you know that you can stop that forever. Here is the solution, now you use any of your favorite voice or music or dialogue as your computer shutdown and start up.

The hack to be implemented in 4 simple steps.

Step 1

Choose the track which you want to play at start-up and shutdown jingles. There are following limitations to the chosen file:

* It should be in .WAV format.
* The size of file should not be too big. Try to choose or make the file of no mote than 1 Mb, otherwise your startup process will take a bit longer.

If the file you want to make your start-up or shutdown is not in .WAV format, you can easily convert it using any audio converter, available on the market.

Step 2

Rename the chosen files as “Windows XP Startup.WAV” and “Windows XP Shutdown.WAV” respectively.

Step 3

Go to the directory “C:\WINDOWS\MEDIA” and locate there files with the same names “Windows XP Startup.WAV” and “Windows XP Shutdown.WAV”. Move these files to some other locations for backup purposes, in case you will need to revert back these sounds some time in the future.

Step 4

Move the new files you prepared to the directory, where the Operating system retrieves the sounds from: “C:\WINDOWS\MEDIA”. On next reboot, you will get your favorite sound clips activated.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

5 Steps to Reset Administrator Password

Occasionally, we have to deal with customer computers, when the original administrator account is modified, and nobody can enlighten us on the new administrator user name and password. There are multiple ways to regain control on the computer by resetting the master administrator password, including boot-up disks and Floppies.

There is one of the ways to do the job easy, with no additional software or deep computer knowledge. Password resetting procedure consists of 5 simple steps.

1. First reboot Windows XP in safe mode by re-starting the computer and pressing F8 repeatedly as the computer boots up. If you missed the right moment, you will need to repeat the attempt.

2. Then (in safe mode) click Start and then click Run. In the open box type the words exactly as following (without quotes) - control userpasswords2.

3. You will now get a pop-up window with full access to all the user accounts, including the administrators account. From here, you will be able to reset the lost or forgotten password.

4. Just click the administrators’ user account, and then click Reset Password.

5. At this moment, you will have to add a new password in the New password field, and the Confirm new password as well. Confirm the new chosen password by clicking OK.

All Done!

Monday, November 17, 2008

Hidden Features of Notepad

Notepad is a brain child of Bill Gates of Microsoft
 and is the cornerstone of Windows Architecture.
Developed by the Gate himself,
it took him fifteen years to write a new GUI...

Notepad is plain simple tool, which can be easily replaced by a wide range of free text utilities. But it has its own advantages:

* It is a commodity - it is installed by default in any computer and any Windows Operating System.
* It is portable, small, fast, and does not use much of computer resources.
* It is so simple, that sometimes it is the only tool you need to open small text files.

To my surprise, even Notepad has its hidden secrets. Today, we’ll discuss two of them.

Making Notes With Notepad

This is real cool for people who use notepad to write down any info on a day to day basis.
* Create a blank text file with .LOG (in caps) as the first line of the file, followed by a carriage return (Enter) and save this file.
* Double-click the file to open it and notice that Notepad appends the current date and time to the end of the file and places the cursor on the line after.
* Type your notes and then save and close the file.
Each time you open the file, Notepad repeats the process, appending the time and date to the end of the file and placing the cursor below it!

Creating Hidden Text Files

This is an interesting trick to hide the files with no third-party software in three easy steps.
* Launch Windows command prompt from Start Menu -> Run -> Type cmd and press Enter.
* Using DOS commands navigate to the desired folder.
* Now type in notepad VisibleFile.txt:HiddenFile.txt and hit Enter, you can change VisibleFile.txt and HiddenFile.txt to names of your choice (notice the sign “:” between both file-names). You will be prompted to Create a New file click Yes as shown below.

Note, that this little "trick" requires NTFS partition. It’s a feature in NTFS that was designed primarily for compatibility with other operating systems, such as Apple’s HFS.


Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Legal Downloading of Copyrighted Books

I like reading books, old-fashion paper books, flipping pages and using paper bookmarks. However, there are multiple cases, when ebooks are much more convenient and usable. You can store many compact text files on your notebook or mobile phone, and you are ready for travel. No need to carry heavy literature in your luggage, books are always with you, wherever you go and whenever you feel like reading: in public transportation, on boring meeting, or in traffic jam.

You can find many websites offering downloading the books, but vast majority of these cannot be considered as using legal procedures, offering you these files. While now the prosecution of ebooks copyright violation is not severe, it might come in the nearest future. At this point, comes to play website Wowio. Wowio lets you legally read online, or even download copyrighted ebooks from leading publishers for free (mostly, you have to pay per download of the book in PDF format, but the cost is usually less than 1$). These include works of classic literature, variety of college textbooks, comic books, fiction books and more. Books can be downloaded in PDF format and will be associated with your Wowio username.

Video Presentation:

Wowio Demo

Website: http://www.wowio.com/

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Setting Custom Wallpapers for your Folders

You probably aware that there is quite easy to change the Windows background from the default wallpaper to any other texture images, located inside the system folders of your Operating system, or random image you might like (your kids, for example).

But what happens when you open the folders through Windows Explorer you see the yellow folders and only a white background. Do you know that you can change the folder wallpaper as well? And it could be an individual change, so each of your folders might show up with different backgrounds. This post will present you on how you can set wallpapers for your windows folders backgrounds. It works with Windows XP, Windows Vista, Windows 2000 and 2003.

1. Pick up the "Image" you like to use, and resize it to 815 x 685 - this is to avoid Tiling of the result.
2. Create a temporary folder for experimenting where you will have to create a new file desktop.ini

3. Open new window in your default Notepad text editor, or any other text editor you are regularly using. Even with extremely small Notepad capabilities, for this task, the software will be sufficient.

4. Paste the following code into it: [note: you should replace your image location in the red] [{BE0981 40-A513-11D0-A3 A4-00C04FD706EC}]
IconArea_Image ="C:’[image-location].jpg"
IconArea_Text= 0x00000000

5. Remove the spaces in the first line, change the image path to your desired picture in second line, and change the text color to choose your liking.

These are the commonly used colors for your text: Black - 0x00000000, Pink - 0x00FF99FF, Purple - 0x00FF99FF, Red - 0x00FF0000, White - 0x00FFFFFF. You might need to find more colors codes in Google.

6. Save this notepad file as desktop.ini, in the new folder you created, with file type property as "All Files". You can change also the file property to hidden, if you prefer it out of your way.

7. Register your ini file by "WinKey + Run" type the following "attrib +s "c:’location of your folder" (or Start-Run), where the exact location of the folder should be present. Press OK to finalize your changes.

8. Now Open the folder and see if the changes appear in the folder.

9. To change the wallpaper for your other folders, copy the desktop.ini file and do the necessary changes.

If this procedure is too complicated, or you do not waste your time on following instructions, you can use the software that will do it for you. The software name is Windowpaper XP.

Developers website: http://www.sodabush.com/windowpaper/index.php

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Jing Project - Free Visual Communication Assistant

Jing Project was included by PCWorld in the list of the 100 best products of 2008. In fact, it was placed at the final rank -100 - in the featured listing. However, if I would be compiling the list of the best products personally, I would give it the higher ranking due to its functional characteristics users get for free.

What is Jing Project?
Jing Project allows users to create instant screenshots and little narrated movies (called "screencasts") of anything that’s happening on your PC desktop, and then share them with friends.

How Jing Project can help me?
Think of Jing as a supplement to all your chat discussions, email threads, forum posts and blog entries. You download a freeware installation file on your computer, and, upon installation, it sits nicely on your desktop, ready to capture and share your stuff at a moment’s notice. Simply select an area of your screen, capture it as an image or record it as a video, and then click Share. Jing conveniently places a URL to your content which you can paste instantly into any of your conversations.

Where does Jing send my images and videos?
  • Screencast.com
  • A local folder
  • A network drive
  • Copy to your clipboard (images only)
  • An FTP server
  • Flickr
Is it true Jing is free?

Jing is an officially free product offering, including a complimentary Screencast.com account with 2 GB of storage and 2 GB of transfer bandwidth per month.

Developers Web Site: http://www.jingproject.com/faq.asp

Nice video presentation:

Jing Project Presentation

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Customize icons on your PC

This article will hardly be able to help improving your computer performance, but it might help you to find an easy way around your data stored and programs installed on your PC. I am talking about possibility to alter look of your icons, automatically assigned by your operating system. This one of the options we rarely think as customizable, but it is.

Making new icons

Let’s first make a new icon, solely with the standard tools, build in the Operating System, in 10 easy steps:

1. Start >> All Programs >> Accessories
2. Click Paint
3. In toolbar select Image
4. Click Attributes
5. Type 32 in both Height and Width and sure that Pixels are selected under Units, and click OK.
6. Now make your design.
7. If you want to add picture, store on your PC, you can do that as well: Edit >> Paste from >> Chose square picture with 32 x 32 pixels.
8. File >> Save As. Choose name and extension ICO from the drop down listing: name.ico.
10. Save your creation.

Most of the readers would definitely choose the more advanced graphic editor available instead of Paint (which I never use myself). The actions list will be the same, but the process of the picture cropping, editing, and resizing will be much easier.

You might even use one of the many available free online icons creation tools. For example, Real World Graphics Online Icon Maker (http://www.rw-designer.com/online_icon_maker.php) or Sherv Icon Maker (http://www.sherv.net/icon-maker/)

Storing new icons

More likely, you stored your icon at the default location, which is My Documents, My Pictures, or Desktop. It might be accidently deleted or misplaced. It is recommended to move it in the save location together with you system files.

1. Go to the system folder System32 and make a new folder with name My Icons, or any other easy recognizable name you like. Note that the folder might be hidden, if the Hide system files option is activated in the Folder Properties. You need uncheck it, if you want to access the folder.

2. Copy your new icon there, and use the folder for any new custom icons you might be willing to create in the future.

Changing icons

This operation is easy and straightforward.

1. Just right click on any program or folder icon, find Properties (usually the last line in the menu) and open the Properties Window.

2. Locate change icon button to execute the option. It might be in different tabs depending on what you are working with. For example, for folders, this button is under Customize tab, and for shortcuts on the desktop - it is under Shortcut tab.

3. Select browse and follow the path to your new icon file. Choose it and set it up for replacement.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

YouTomb against YouTube

There are millions of videos up on YouTube, but thousands have also been removed, and not always with the owner’s permission. If any footage online can be accused of copyright violation, YouTube will take it down, whether or not the accusation was justified. YouTomb, a research project by the MIT Free Culture student group, tracks the top videos removed from the service for copyright violation, and retains the metadata about the videos so we, the public, can make our own decision about whether the removal was justified or not.

The videos cannot be viewed or downloaded at this time, but, at least, if you are the footage author you can see, who requested your video to be removed, and may be you can fight back, if you have substantial proof that accusation and removal is unreasonable.

Authors Web Site: http://youtomb.mit.edu/

Monday, October 6, 2008

5 Tips and Tricks on Changing Properties of Recycle Bin

Everybody used to the regular operations with Recycle Bin. You delete the file normal way, and it appears in Recycle Bin up to the moment you empty it. However, there are several opportunities to alter the main functionality of the Recycle Bin according to the user special needs, which are no so straightforward.

  1. Automatically Empty Recycle Bin
As we already mentioned, when we delete a file, that file will move into Recycle Bin by default. There, we have options whether to restore it or just empty the Recycle Bin. When you open the Recycle Bin properties with right click, while you highlight it, you can change the settings to remove files as soon as they are deleted. You can also choose to use the Shift+Delete option on your keyword to remove the file or folder permanently.

  1. Increasing Recycle Bin Size
You can increase and decrease the size of the Recycle Bin. There are some size limitations with Recycle Bin size, its default size is equivalent to 10 percent of the drive size. But if you delete a larger size file accidentally, it might be too big to fin in the default size of the Recycle Bin. Therefore, if disk space permits, you can increase the reserved space so you can retrieve the big file from Recycle Bin if needed.

  • First Right click on the Recycle Bin icon on the Desktop of your computer then go to Properties.
  • Adjust the slider bar in the center of the screen from 10% to maximum size as you want.
  • Then click OK button to save your new sitting and exit the Recycle Bin Properties Window.
  • After change reboot your computer to have Windows fully initiate the necessary changes to your system.
  1. Renaming Recycle Bin
I did not find for myself a valid reason to rename Recycle Bin desktop icon, but you might find one with ease.
  • Enter Windows built-in Registry Editor: Start >> Run >> regedit
  • Then Go To: HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT/CLSID/{645FF040-5081-101B-9F08-00AA002F954E}
  • Change the Name "Recycle Bin" to whatever you want without typing any quotes.
This video tutorial offers slightly different approach, but the result will be the same.

How to Rename Recycle Bin Desktop Icon?

  1. Removing Recycle Bin from Desktop
If you do not use the Recycle Bin to store deleted files as a safety buffer, you can get rid of its desktop icon completely.
  • Enter Windows built-in Registry Editor: Start >> Run >> regedit
  • Then Go To: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE/SOFTWARE/Microsoft/Windows/CurrentVersion/explorer/Desktop/NameSpace.
  • Click on the "Recycle Bin" String in the Right Hand pane. Hit Delete, and click OK.
  1. More Recycle Bin Editing Options
Here even more extensive list of the Recycle Bin Hacks:
  • Add rename to the menu:
    HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT’CLSID’ {645FF040-5081-101B-9F08-00AA002F954E}’ ShellFolder
  • Add delete to the menu:
    HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT’CLSID’ {645FF040-5081-101B-9F08-00AA002F954E}’ ShellFolder
  • Add rename and delete to the menu:
    HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT’CLSID’ {645FF040-5081-101B-9F08-00AA002F954E} ’ShellFolder
  • Restore the recycle bin to Windows defaults including un-deleting the icon after deletion:
    Restore the icon.
    HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE’SOFTWARE’ Microsoft’ Windows ’CurrentVersion’ explorer’
    @="Recycle Bin"
  • Reset Windows defaults.
    HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT’CLSID’ {645FF040-5081-101B-9F08-00AA002F954E} ’ShellFolder
  • Other edits to the recycle bin icon:
    HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT’CLSID’ {645FF040-5081-101B-9F08-00AA002F954E}’ ShellFolder
    "Attributes"=hex:40,01,01,20 ... standard shortcut arrow
    "Attributes"=hex:40,01,02,20 ... a different shortcut arrow
    "Attributes"=hex:40,01,04,20 ... and still another shortcut arrow
    "Attributes"=hex:40,01,08,20 ... make it look disabled (like it’s been cut)

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Do you want to see a picture of your baby before you make one?

Couples spend hours discussing what their baby would look like. Will the baby look more like her mom or dad, or one of the grandparents? If you are serious to develop more scientific assessment, you can spend days studying family photo albums and trying to collate pictures in order to predict and picture your potential child. Today, there is a better, simpler and more precise alternative approach.

Baby Morphing, a new technology developed by Luxand, helps parents, couples and friends to see what their baby would look like based on their pictures. The technology only needs photos of the couple’s faces to generate a quality picture of their baby. The technology makes it really easy for couples to create and share babies’ pictures. Yet, Baby Morphing does not stop there, and allows making pictures of babies by taking only one photograph and mixing it with a stock photo of a celebrity or a member of a dating site, depending on the application.

May be, this simple and straightforward online application will help you choose your spouse from the list of the feature candidates?

Baby Morphing always provides results of the highest quality regardless of the quality of the parents’ pictures. Even supplying low-resolution scratched black-and-white photos results in a high-quality color rendering!

You can take a look how the results are presented. You can save them for your online profile (if you registered), share with friends, or embed to your web site, blog, or social network profile. Registration is optional, but is not required, as you can skip it at any process step.

You may also to try checking MakeMeBabies online free application at http://makemebabies.com/.

I hope you do not accept these recommendations too seriously. Have Fun!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

How to Revive Computer Failing to Boot Up?

Troubleshooting of the dysfunctional computer is not an easy task in general. But when software or firmware problems do not allow booting the PC Operation System, the repair process becomes even more challenging. In some cases, the data on the Hard Drive is undamaged, but the corruption of the boot sector prevents from normal proceedings. Like, you have a door to your virtual flat, where everything is normal, but your key to unlock the door is damaged.

The common step in the computer troubleshooting in the case is using the OS disk, which was received with the computer, or any other boot up disk available on the market. One of the most popular legally-free boot disks is the Ultimate Boot CD (UBCD). This software collection has just about everything needed to diagnose hard to find low level problems, and also some other tools that every PC technician should have available. Ultimate Boot CD includes memory checkers, CPU stress testers, system information tools, boot managers and tools for hard drives, partitions, password resets, and more. For a full list of capabilities you can check out the UBCD developers’ page.

As all other boot up CD’s, utility is offered as CD image in ISO format that is used for bootable disk preparation. However, it would be much easier to carry it around if it would convert the regular USB external drive into bootable disk with all goodies on it. The directions on how to make your USB drive bootable through UBCD, were developed by pendrivelinux:

  1. Download the Ultimate Boot CD ISO file and place it into its own directory.
  2. Download the UBCDfix.exe file and run it, extracting into the above folder.
  3. From this folder click fixubcd.bat and follow the instructions.
  4. Move the contents of the /dir/USBUBCD folder to your USB drive.
  5. From your USB drive, run makeboot.bat to make it bootable.
Now you have a bootable USB drive. Any machine you wish to boot with this drive must be set to boot from USB, requiring alteration of the boot menu (F2 during initial loading screen).


Thursday, September 18, 2008

Synchronize all your Internet Profiles from one Page

If you are deep inside computers and Internet as job, hobby, or affection; if you are trying to visit every good virtual place; if you are looking for job and you have your resumes scattered all over; or even if your case does not match all mentioned before, the new free service from AtomKeep might drive your interest. It is a fresh player on the market (company founded in 2008), helping Internet users to simply keep their accounts in synchronization on all social networks, job boards and other sites.

You keep your profile at AtomKeep and you link it with other sites, where you have your accounts. As you update your data on AtomKeep, the appropriate information on your other profiles, affiliated with your AtomKeep account, will be updated respectively.

The list of the site, partnering with AtomKeep is growing fast. It has already built a respective network of popular communities, such as LinkedIn, Monster, facebook Flickr, Twitter, Jobster, Blogger, Yelp, Slide, JOBcentral, Mixergy, Ning, YouTube, Digg, Last.fm, Wordpress, Google Groups, CPGjoblist, Disqus, Pownce, Technorati, Plurk, Meetup, LiveJournal, Mixx, Indeed, Job, and Imeem.

Create your account for free: http://www.atomkeep.com/

Processes of registration and account update are easy and straightforward, but since I found some video presentations on the topic, I will propose it to you anyway.

AtomKeep Registration - part 1


AtomKeep Profile Update - part 2

Monday, September 15, 2008

Hulu.com - the very Best Tech of 2008

When respected site PC World released in May the list of the Best Tech of 2008, the first position was occupied, to my honest surprise, by free ad-based video hosting site Hulu.com. This is the much-anticipated video joint venture from Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp. and General Electric’s NBC Universal, providing to its users a mix of shared (YouTube-style) video and premium content like shows from Fox and NBC.

Hulu brings together a large selection of videos from more than 90 content providers, including FOX, NBC Universal, MGM, Sony Pictures Television, Warner Bros. and more. Users can choose from more than 850 current primetime TV hits such as The Simpsons, The Daily Show with Jon Stewart and The Office the morning after they air, classics like Buffy the Vampire Slayer, The A Team, Airwolf and Married...with Children, movies like Men in Black, Ghostbusters, and The Karate Kid, and clips from Saturday Night Live, Friends and other popular TV shows and movies.

R-rated and TV-MA content is available unedited but only for registered users.

For those, who are curious what “Hulu” means The name Hulu comes from a Mandarin Chinese proverb, in which it means holder of precious things, which is probably true at some extent.

Video presentation (note that now the site is already open for the general public with no restrictions):

Hulu.com - Best Tech of 2008

Thursday, September 4, 2008

10 hot tips for Outlook Users

Let me present to your attention a brief, but useful guide for Microsoft Outlook users. No, it is not boring official tutorial, it is just a collection of the nice tips and tricks on how to improve effectiveness of your Outlook use. Brochure is prepared by e-contact.ca, distributed by Websquash, and embedded in the blog through Scribd free document sharing services.

Read this document on Scribd: eBook 10hottips Outlook

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Google new Browser enters Battlefield


Browsers War is not over yet. Now, the new push for the competition is caused for the new entrant on the market - Google Chrome. Google Blog has officially announced the Google Chrome yesterday, with link to a comic book to introduce Google Chrome. And today Google is officially releasing Google Chrome Beta for free download by everybody. The news has also been announced on Google Blog.

Multiple attempts, more or less successful, have been made over the years to challenge the ultimate lead of the Microsoft Internet Explorer on the market. However, browser, introduced by Google, should be taken pretty seriously. So, what does the new browser look like? Pretty much exactly what you would expect from Google: it is a browser with very simplistic interface. Google chose to use the open-source WebKit browser as the basis for Chrome. For now, only a Windows version of Chrome is currently available, even though WebKit is the basis for the Safari search engine on the Mac operating system.

During the install process, Google Chrome asks to import your bookmarks, browsing history, and passwords. This allows you to switch to using Chrome almost instantly. The interface for Google Chrome is light, with browser tabs at the top of the window rather than underneath the other browser elements such as the address bar. The tabs look like traditional file folder tabs, rising vertically above the window, and they can be reordered by simple dragging. New tabs open instantly, and rather than being greeted by a blank window you are given a quick launch window showing your most frequently visited sites.

The new feature introduced to the browsing is a New Incognito Window option. As it is described by developers, “pages you view in this window won’t appear in your browser history or search history, and they won’t leave other traces, like cookies, on your computer after you close the incognito window”.

The software opens a new front in Google’s fight with Microsoft, whose Internet Explorer controls more than 70 percent of the browser market. Google is trying to parlay its success over Microsoft in online searches into an effort to court users who want e-mail, calendars and word processing through a browser instead of products such as Microsoft’s Word and Excel. However, Google said today it’s not going after Windows. ``I would not call Chrome the operating system of Web apps,’’ co-founder Sergey Brin told reporters today. ``It is a very basic, fast engine to run web apps.’’

Learn more on the new browser features on the Google Website: http://www.google.com/chrome

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Hard Drive Benchmarking and Information - HDTune

HD Tune is a hard disk utility that can burst speed test, temperature, reference and information. You can use it to measure the raw performance of your drive, including transfer rate, burst rate, access time and much more. In addition, it provides detailed information about the features supported disk, as well as the current temperature, SMART information (if available) and an error scanner.

HD Tune is a Hard Disk utility which has the following functions:

  • Benchmark: measures the performance
  • Info: shows detailed information
  • Health: checks the health status by using SMART
  • Error Scan: scans the surface for errors
  • Temperature display
HD Tune may also work with other storage devices such as memory cards, USB sticks, iPods, etc.
Users reported that this software is able to find bad sectors on the HDD, when chkdsk fails to locate and report them.

You can make this utility portable to run it from your USB Drive, but software will right some registry settings. If you leave the default options/configurations intact (at the options, just DO NOT click OK), the only registry entries left will be the regular entries for recently used documents, recent files, MRU, etc. But these cannot be avoided because they are Microsoft generated, and their impact is insignificant.

Download the installer and extract to a folder of your choice. The application files are located in the {app} subfolder. Copy the folder content to the desired location and launch HDTune.exe. If needed, you can uninstall the utility from your HDD. Anyway, I have loaded both versions for your use. You can choose which one you want.

Operating Systems: Vista/ Win2k/ WinXP

Developers Website: http://www.hdtune.com/

Saturday, August 16, 2008

50 Questions you answer evaluating Website

Recently, I was asked to evaluate several Websites for one agency. Since it was my first serious evaluation task, I decided to create a list of the questions I should ask myself, while I am reviewing each site. Whether I will use of the checks outcomes in the final report, or not, the detailed comparison should be performed, and all the results should be included in the table. However, I found it is not easy to compile the list “from scratch”. As usually, Internet comes handy for every occasion. In this case, it helped me to find the article of Carsten Cumborsky, who created a list of 50 Questions to Evaluate the Quality of Your Website.

Today, I am sharing this list with you:


  1. Is content structurally separate from navigational elements?
  2. Is the website cross-browser compatible?
  3. How compliant is the website with W3C coding standards? Valid HTML/CSS?
  4. Are ‘alt’ tags in place on all significant images?
  5. Are text-based alternatives in place to convey essential information if this is featured within images or multimedia files?
  1. Are links labeled with anchor text that provides a clear indication of where they lead.
  2. Depth - what is the maximum number of clicks it takes to reach a page within the depths of the site?
  3. If a splash screen or navigation feature is provided in a Java/JavaScript/Flash format, is a text-based alternative also available?
  4. Responsive on Click feedback - Is a response given immediately (0.1 seconds) after a click is made on a hyperlink?
  5. Do clickable items stylistically indicate that they are clickable?
  6. How intuitive is it to navigate? Are signs obvious or obscured? Buttons/Links Like Text, that are not clickable and vice versa, links/buttons that cannot be identified as such.
  7. Readability (somewhat addressed already), type face, font size.
  8. Clear statement of PURPOSE of the site? Purpose must become clear within a few seconds without reading much or no text copy at all.
  9. Call to action on every page, no dead ends.
  10. Is a logical site map available? If not, is a keyword-based search feature available? Note: Large (multi-thousands of pages) sites should have a search form.
  1. Is the site’s design aesthetically appealing?
  2. Are the colors used harmonious and logically related?
  3. Are the color choices visually accessible? (For example high enough in contrast to assist the colorblind and visually impaired in reading the site appropriately).
  4. Is the design audience appropriate?- The standard text size should be readable, for visitors who don’t know how to adjust their browsers.
  5. The fonts should be easily readable, and degrade gracefully.- Should look OK on various screen resolutions.
  1. Is the website copy succinct but informative?
  2. Does the copywriting style suit the website’s purpose and ’speak’ to its target audience?
  3. Are bodies of text constrained to < 80 characters per line?
  4. Can text be resized through the browser or do CSS settings restrict size alteration?
  5. Is the contrast between text and its background color sufficient to make reading easy on the eyes?
  6. Is text broken into small, readable chunks and highlighted using headings, sub-headings and emphasis features where appropriate to assist in skimming?
  7. Within articles, there should be links to more detailed explanations of subjects, or definitions of jargon terms. Are you doing that?
  8. Do you have an “about page” that identifies the author of the content, credits to source for content that was not written by the site owner himself
  9. Do you have testimonials and publish them on the site?
  10. Do you update the content regularly and don’t live by the phrase “set it and forget it”?
  1. Any obvious security flaws?
  2. How resilient are forms to special characters?
  3. Private directories password protected via .htaccess?
  4. Are public non-document directories (cgi-bin, images, etc) index able or are blank index.html pages or appropriate permission settings in place to block access?
  5. Is customer data stored online? If so, is this database appropriately safeguarded against external access?
Other Technical Considerations
  1. Does the site load quickly - even for dialup users?
  2. Are all links (internal and external) valid and active?
  3. Are scripts free from errors?
  4. Is the website free from server side errors?
Other Marketing Considerations
  1. Is the website properly optimized for search engines (essential text emphasized, title tags relevant, title text presented in H1, outbound links reliable and contextually related, etc)
  2. Does the index page entice a visitor deeper into the site or shopping cart?
  3. Does the website contain elements designed to encourage future or viral visitation (i.e. a contest, newsletter, tell-a-friend feature, and forum with subscription option, downloadable toolbar, RSS feed or similar)? - Different Title for every page that start (or at least have it as 2nd or 3rd word) with the single most relevant key phrase that describes the content or function of the page the best. (if you have to explain what the page is for and can only use 1-3 words as Keyword or Phrase, what would it be?)
  4. Robots.txt configured?
  5. Site Map available?
  6. Is every page accessible at least via a single plain HTML Link (no JavaScript or Flash Link)?
  7. Does every page have at least some text in the content? (How much Text remains on the Page if you remove all Images, Videos, Flash, Java Applets and JavaScript Code? Anything? Is the remainder still states the pages purpose?)
  8. Is every individual page only accessible via a single URL or are several URLs available (and worse, used) to access the same page? Duplicate Content Issue, Canonical URLs.
Legal Stuff/Re-Assurance/Legitimization
  1. Contact Page with Real Address, Phone Number (Toll Free for Business) and Contact Form or Email available, basically a clear and easy to use feedback/contact mechanism? A visitor might not assume webmaster@ or you might want them to write elsewhere, or you might prefer to give them a form to structure their communications.
  2. DMCA Notice up? Terms of Use page available where you specify what you do and why and what visitors have to agree on if they want to use your site? This is to protect yourself from complains or worse regarding things that you cannot control properly, such as links to 3rd party websites or Ads from automated systems such as Google AdSense etc.
  3. Privacy Policy up (especially if you collect data, email, names, and web analytics tracking cookies)?

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

How rich you are on the Worldwide Global Rich List

You, probably, have seen lists of the richest people in the World. But, few of you, readers of this blog, could find your own name on these lists. I wish everybody eventually get there, but if you are not inside, you do not know, what your actual rating on the hypothetical worldwide list is. Why do you need that? Just out of curiosity, I guess.

Global Rich List is a simple registration-free service that can tell you your current rating on the Global Rich List, based on your income. It is fast and easy. Just enter your annual earnings and hit “Show me the money!” button. Following image show the result. If, for example, your annual income is $100,000

  • You are the 39,615,049 richest person in the world.
  • You’re in the TOP 0.66 % richest people in the world.

How do they calculate it?

The Global Rich List calculations are based on figures from the World Bank Development Research Group. To calculate the most accurate position for each individual they assume that the world’s total population is 6 billion and the average worldwide annual income is $5,000. The world’s distribution of money can also be displayed as the chart below.

As you see, if you are reading this blog, probably, your financial situation is not so bad. Cheer Up! It will be even better soon! I am sure of that!

Website: http://www.globalrichlist.com/

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Having Free Fun with Photofunia

There are number of online tools, allowing you to have fun with images. Photofunia will allow you to apply funny effects on your images with couple of clicks, with no need to know any basic of the image editing.

No downloads or registration is needed. Just upload your picture, select the desired effect from the list, and it is done. Now, you can simply download the resulting funny image to your Hard Drive. There are more than 50 very different effects to choose from. An additional use for the free service is making a nice striking avatar for your forums or social sites profiles.

Web Site access: http://www.photofunia.com/


Update 12-27-13: As of today, Photofunia offers almost 400 hundreds effects to help you to make a lot of fun with your pictures the way you like. 

Friday, August 8, 2008

Windows XP Password Reset Disk Creation

The amount of cases, when customer complains on inability to login to the computer is growing fast. Sometimes, it is caused by the main login changes by employee, who was laid off or left a job. Sometimes, computer is left for sometime unemployed, and when it comes to use it again, nobody remembers the login particulars. Anyway, ho we are shipping computers with one spare administrative account, as used as a backdoor entrance if needed.

But what can you do, if you do not have backdoor entrance? There are multiple ways to recover or reset administrative account particulars, but none of them are easy to apply for the average user, or they require special utilities, which are not free for users.

In this publication, I want to show you the way how to preventively secure you entrance to the computer, no matter what. Using these recommendations, you will always have a tool to reset your password: fast and simple. But, you have to be proactive by creating a password reset disk, before problems happen. It is like having a spare key from you house, hidden in the secure place “in case…”

The method is easy, suitable for everyone, and takes no more than 5 minutes of your time.

  1. Click on Start and choose Control Panel.
  2. Click on the link to User Accounts.
  3. Click on your Windows XP user name.
  4. In the Related Tasks area on the left, click the Prevent a forgotten password link.
  5. When the Forgotten Password Wizard window appears, click Next
  6. Insert an empty Floppy in the Floppy Disk Drive.
  7. Verify that a blank Floppy disk is inserted properly and click Next to continue.
  8. Enter your current account password in the text box and click Next.
  9. Windows XP will now create the password reset disk.
  10. When the progress indicator shows 100% complete, click Next and then click Finish in the next window.
  11. You can now remove the Floppy disk from your computer.
  12. Label the disk "Password Reset" and store it in a secure place.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

26 Steps to Make a Profitable Website

The following post was written in 2002 by Brett_Tabke. It presents 26 real doable steps to prepare a nice marketable profitable website to your satisfaction, and make money from it. I hope, you like it, too.

A) Prep work and begin building content. Long before the domain name is settled on, start putting together notes to build at least a 100 page site. That’s just for openers. That’s 100 pages of real content, as opposed to link pages, resource pages, about/copyright/tos...etc eg: fluff pages.

B) Domain name:
Easily brandable. You want "google.com" and not "mykeyword.com". Keyword domains are out - branding and name recognition are in - big time in. The value of keywords in a domain name have never been less to se’s. Learn the lesson of "goto.com" becomes "Overture.com" and why they did it. It’s one of the most powerful gut check calls I’ve ever seen on the internet. That took serious resolve and nerve to blow away several years of branding. (that is a whole another article, but learn the lesson as it applies to all of us).

C) Site Design:
The simpler the better. Rule of thumb: text content should out weight the html content. The pages should validate and be usable in everything from Lynx to leading edge browsers. eg: keep it close to html 3.2 if you can. Spiders are not to the point they really like eating html 4.0 and the mess that it can bring. Stay away from heavy: flash, dom, java, java script. Go external with scripting languages if you must have them - there is little reason to have them that I can see - they will rarely help a site and stand to hurt it greatly due to many factors most people don’t appreciate (search engines distaste for js is just one of them).
Arrange the site in a logical manner with directory names hitting the top keywords you wish to hit.
You can also go the other route and just throw everything in root (this is rather controversial, but it’s been producing good long term results across many engines).
Don’t clutter and don’t spam your site with frivolous links like "best viewed" or other counter like junk. Keep it clean and professional to the best of your ability.

Learn the lesson of Google itself - simple is retro cool - simple is what surfers want.

Speed isn’t everything, it’s almost the only thing. Your site should respond almost instantly to a request. If you get into even 3-4 seconds delay until "something happens" in the browser, you are in long term trouble. That 3-4 seconds response time may vary for site destined to live in other countries than your native one. The site should respond locally within 3-4 seconds (max) to any request. Longer than that, and you’ll lose 10% of your audience for every second. That 10% could be the difference between success and not.

The pages:

D) Page Size:
The smaller the better. Keep it under 15k if you can. The smaller the better. Keep it under 12k if you can. The smaller the better. Keep it under 10k if you can - I trust you are getting the idea here. Over 5k and under 10k. Ya - that bites - it’s tough to do, but it works. It works for search engines, and it works for surfers. Remember, 80% of your surfers will be at 56k or even less.

E) Content:
Build one page of content and put online per day at 200-500 words. If you aren’t sure what you need for content, start with the Overture keyword suggester and find the core set of keywords for your topic area. Those are your subject starters.

F) Density, position, yada...
Simple old fashioned seo from the ground up.
Use the keyword once in title, once in description tag, once in a heading, once in the url, once in bold, once in italic, once high on the page, and hit the density between 5 and 20% (don’t fret about it). Use good sentences and speel check it ;-) Spell checking is becoming important as se’s are moving to auto correction during searches. There is no longer a reason to look like you can’t spell (unless you really are phonetically challenged).

G) Outbound Links:
From every page, link to one or two high ranking sites under that particular keyword. Use your keyword in the link text (this is ultra important for the future).

H) Insite Cross links.
(cross links in this context are links WITHIN the same site)
Link to on topic quality content across your site. If a page is about food, then make sure it links it to the apples and veggies page. Specifically with Google, on topic cross linking is very important for sharing your pr value across your site. You do NOT want an "all star" page that out performs the rest of your site. You want 50 pages that produce 1 referral each a day and do NOT want 1 page that produces 50 referrals a day. If you do find one page that drastically out produces the rest of the site with Google, you need to off load some of that pr value to other pages by cross linking heavily. It’s the old share the wealth thing.

I) Put it Online.
Don’t go with virtual hosting - go with a stand alone ip.
Make sure the site is "crawlable" by a spider. All pages should be linked to more than one other page on your site, and not more than 2 levels deep from root. Link the topic vertically as much as possible back to root. A menu that is present on every page should link to your sites main "topic index" pages (the doorways and logical navigation system down into real content).
Don’t put it online before you have a quality site to put online. It’s worse to put a "nothing" site online, than no site at all. You want it flushed out from the start.

Go for a listing in the ODP. If you have the budget, then submit to Looksmart and Yahoo. If you don’t have the budget, then try for a freebie on Yahoo (don’t hold your breath).

J) Submit
Submit the root to: Google, Fast, Altavista, WiseNut, (write Teoma), DirectHit, and Hotbot. Now comes the hard part - forget about submissions for the next six months. That’s right - submit and forget.

K) Logging and Tracking:
Get a quality logger/tracker that can do justice to inbound referrals based on log files (don’t use a lame graphic counter - you need the real deal). If your host doesn’t support referrers, then back up and get a new host. You can’t run a modern site without full referrals available 24x7x365 in real time.

L) Spiderlings:
Watch for spiders from se’s. Make sure those that are crawling the full site, can do so easily. If not, double check your linking system (use standard hrefs) to make sure the spider found it’s way throughout the site. Don’t fret if it takes two spiderings to get your whole site done by Google or Fast. Other se’s are pot luck and doubtful that you will be added at all if not within 6 months.

M) Topic directories.
Almost every keyword sector has an authority hub on it’s topic. Go submit within the guidelines.

N) Links
Look around your keyword sector in Googles version of the ODP. (this is best done AFTER getting an odp listing - or two). Find sites that have links pages or freely exchange links. Simply request a swap. Put a page of on topic, in context links up your self as a collection spot.
Don’t freak if you can’t get people to swap links - move on. Try to swap links with one fresh site a day. A simple personal email is enough. Stay low key about it and don’t worry if site Z won’t link with you - they will - eventually they will.

O) Content.
One page of quality content per day. Timely, topical articles are always the best. Try to stay away from to much "bloggin" type personal stuff and look more for "article" topics that a general audience will like. Hone your writing skills and read up on the right style of "web speak" that tends to work with the fast and furious web crowd.

Lots of text breaks - short sentences - lots of dashes - something that reads quickly.

Most web users don’t actually read, they scan. This is why it is so important to keep low key pages today. People see a huge overblown page by random, and a portion of them will hit the back button before trying to decipher it. They’ve got better things to do that waste 15 seconds (a stretch) at understanding your whiz bang flash menu system. Because some big support site can run flashed out motorhead pages, that is no indication that you can. You don’t have the pull factor they do.

Use headers, and bold standout text liberally on your pages as logical separators. I call them scanner stoppers where the eye will logically come to rest on the page.

P) Gimmicks.
Stay far away from any "fades of the day" or anything that appears spammy, unethical, or tricky. Plant yourself firmly on the high ground in the middle of the road.

Q) Link backs
When YOU receive requests for links, check the site out before linking back with them. Check them through Google and their pr value. Look for directory listings. Don’t link back to junk just because they asked. Make sure it is a site similar to yours and on topic.

R) Rounding out the offerings:
Use options such as Email-a-friend, forums, and mailing lists to round out your sites offerings. Hit the top forums in your market and read, read, read until your eyes hurt you read so much.
Stay away from "affiliate fades" that insert content on to your site.

S) Beware of Flyer and Brochure Syndrome
If you have an ecom site or online version of bricks and mortar, be careful not to turn your site into a brochure. These don’t work at all. Think about what people want. They aren’t coming to your site to view "your content", they are coming to your site looking for "their content". Talk as little about your products and yourself as possible in articles (raise eyebrows...yes, I know).

T) Build one page of content per day.
Head back to the Overture suggestion tool to get ideas for fresh pages.

U) Study those logs.
After 30-60 days you will start to see a few referrals from places you’ve gotten listed. Look for the keywords people are using. See any bizarre combinations? Why are people using those to find your site? If there is something you have over looked, then build a page around that topic. Retro engineer your site to feed the search engine what it wants.
If your site is about "oranges", but your referrals are all about "orange citrus fruit", then you can get busy building articles around "citrus" and "fruit" instead of the generic "oranges".
The search engines will tell you exactly what they want to be fed - listen closely, there is gold in referral logs, it’s just a matter of panning for it.

V) Timely Topics
Nothing breeds success like success. Stay abreast of developments in your keyword sector. If big site "Z" is coming out with product "A" at the end of the year, then build a page and have it ready in October so that search engines get it by December. eg: go look at all the Xbox and XP sites in Google right now - those are sites that were on the ball last summer.

W) Friends and Family
Networking is critical to the success of a site. This is where all that time you spend in forums will pay off. pssst: Here’s the catch-22 about forums: lurking is almost useless. The value of a forum is in the interaction with your fellow colleagues and cohorts. You learn long term by the interaction - not by just reading.
Networking will pay off in link backs, tips, email exchanges, and it will put you "in the loop" of your keyword sector.

X) Notes, Notes, Notes
If you build one page per day, you will find that brain storm like inspiration will hit you in the head at some magic point. Whether it is in the shower (dry off first), driving down the road (please pull over), or just parked at your desk, write it down! 10 minutes of work later, you will have forgotten all about that great idea you just had. Write it down, and get detailed about what you are thinking. When the inspirational juices are no longer flowing, come back to those content ideas. It sounds simple, but it’s a life saver when the ideas stop coming.

Y) Submission check at six months
Walk back through your submissions and see if you got listed in all the search engines you submitted to after six months. If not, then resubmit and forget again. Try those freebie directories again too.

Z) Build one page of quality content per day.
Starting to see a theme here? Google loves content, lots of quality content. Broad based over a wide range of keywords. At the end of a years time, you should have around 400 pages of content. That will get you good placement under a wide range of keywords, generate recip links, and overall position your site to stand on it’s own two feet.

Do those 26 things, and I guarantee you that in ones years time you will call your site a success. It will be drawing between 500 and 2000 referrals a day from search engines. If you build a good site with an average of 4 to 5 pages per user, you should be in the 10-15k page views per day range in one years time. What you do with that traffic is up to you, but that is more than enough to "do something" with.

Author: Brett_Tabke

Source: http://www.webmasterworld.com/forum3/2010.htm

Friday, August 1, 2008

Thumbs.db files in Windows XP

I got a question from one of the blog reader with request to clarify the need for the thumbs.db files, which could be found in all directories of the hard drive, where pictures are present. Reader complained that he is annoyed by these unneeded files, and he is deleted them all the time, but they always come back.

So, why do our computer need these files, and can we get rid of them?

Thumbs.db is a cache file, collecting data on the thumbnail pictures in a directory, where it is located. The file can significantly speed up the showing of thumbnails when you are viewing a folder in Thumbnail view.
However, if you do not use option of viewing Thumbnail view to show your files, you may disable this option in Windows, and delete all existing cache files. This might save you some hard drive space as well.

To turn this feature off, perform the following simple operational steps:

  1. Open My Computer ® Tools ® Folder Options ®View Tab.
  2. Place a check in the option "Do not cache thumbnails" and click Ok.

To remove the thumbs.db files from your hard drive:

  1. Start ® Search ® Click on All Files and Folders.
  2. Type the following in the section called "all or part of the file name": thumbs.db.
  3. In the Look in box, make sure Local Hard Drives are chosen.
  4. Click Search.
  5. A long list of thumbs.db files should appear, click on Edit ® Select All.
  6. Click on File, and choose Delete.
  7. Close the Search Results window.

Bye-bye, thumbs.db files…

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Walt Disney presents PixieHollow.com

Pixie Hollow is Walt Disney’s creation of MMOG, based on their Fairies Franchise. For those who are new for the World of online gaming, the MMOG stands for Massively Multiplayer Online Game. Users play the game on the Web and compete against other online players.

The software for the game is available for free but users can buy items to receive extra credits in the game. Players can bring a fairy and her surroundings to life simply by clapping in Disney Fairies’ Pixie Hollow Home Tree Playset. Adorned by swings, furniture and a flower picnic table, a beautiful 3.5" fairy and her fairytale surroundings await the sound of claps to spring to life.

There is a Disney description for the theme:
Imagine the most beautiful, yet tiny world you have ever seen - with startlingly rich colors and breathtaking scenery. Add an infinite number of pocket size fairies clad in clothing made from colorful flower petals and shimmering spiderwebs. Sprinkle the scene with the illuminating sparkles of Pixie Dust.
That is the world of Disney Fairies - a world that you can share with your child using a little imagination and these great ideas.

At PixieHollow.com, there are games and activities, books, and movies. One of the main reasons for the site development is also promoting Disney’s new movie Tinkerbell to be released in October 2008. You can even see the Tinkerbell Movie preview on site:

Note that this business model is mostly focused on girls’s ages 8 to 12 years. This fact highlights the fact that the internet is increasingly becoming an engaging medium for practically all age groups.

Website: http://gameserver.pixiehollow.com

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Time-restricted Access to Windows XP

One of the readers of this blog asked if there is an opportunity in Windows XP to restrict computer use time for one of the PC users (I bet it is his poor kid is going to be abused) without any additional software installation. Following a brief investigation, I have found a partial solution for this inquiry.

If there is no way to operate computer remotely and computer is not on the network to be accessed from other point, the access to the computer might be restricted to the particular user in terms of the time of the day or days of the week when user can log on to the system. On a stand alone computer, there is no way, to force or encourage computer user to log off when the permitted hours expired. To enforce computer log off, when not in use, it could be setup that the PC idling for more than 10 minutes, for example, will result in going to screensaver mode, and return to operation is accompanying with the re-login request enable. Just check the box “On resume, password protect” in the Display Properties window (screen saver tab).

The following step-by-step instructions will help you to setup the time restricted user account on your PC:

1. Click on the Start button in the bottom left corner and choose Help and Support from the opened menu.

2. Type "logon hours" (without the quotes) in the search box located in the top left corner of the screen.

3. Review Full-text Search Matches below, locate record “net user”, and click on it.

4. Look at the help article, clarifying the user account syntax, and check some examples for setting a user’s logon hours.


· To display a list of all user accounts for the local computer, type: net user

· To view information about the user account jimmyh, type: net user jimmyh

· To add a user account for Jay Jamison, with logon rights from 8 A.M. to 5 P.M., Monday through Friday (no spaces in time designations), a mandatory password (jayj), and the user’s full name, type:

net user jayj /add /passwordreq:yes /times:monday-friday,8am-5pm/fullname:"Jay Jamison"

· To set johnsw’s logon time (8 A.M. to 5 P.M.) using 24-hour notation, type:

net user johnsw /time:M-F,08:00-17:00

· To set johnsw’s logon time (8 A.M. to 5 P.M.) using 12-hour notation, type:

net user johnsw /time:M-F,8am-5pm

· To specify logon hours of 4 A.M. until 5 P.M. on Monday, 1 P.M. until 3 P.M. on Tuesday, and 8 A.M. until 5 P.M. Wednesday through Friday for marysl, type:

net user marysl /time:M,4am-5pm;T,1pm-3pm;W-F,8:00-17:00

5. Open Command Prompt Window (Start ’ Programs ’ Accessories ’ Command prompt).

6. Enter the appropriate "net user" command for the user(s) you wish to restrict access for, based on the syntax examples provided above.

7. Reboot the computer and check performance.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

55 Free Short URL Redirection Services

The Short URL redirection services are ideal if you want to replace your long website address (or even particular URL to the certain post) with an address that is short and easy to remember. You can create such a short and easy to remember website address (URL) and afterwards use it to browse to your website. In practice, this means that you choose a new sub-domain and thereby create a new website address. When your visitors click on your new Short URL they will automatically be redirected to the website addressed by your original URL.

There are several additional advantages of having short URL:
  • Some long and complicated addresses might break up in the email text, and therefore become unclickable. User has to copy and past the URL to the browser to make it work.
  • If you want to hide your referral ID in the address to avoid reader’s perception that you might benefit from his click on the link, this is a good solution.
  • If you need to give the address by phone or SMS and do not want to mess up with long strings.
  • If you want to check the profitability and effectiveness of different marketing channels, you can, among other methods, assign different short URLs to each channel to evaluate.
  • Not that I am fan of the “black hat” sites promotion techniques, but having multiple redirection URLs for your site might be handy.
I am sure, that there are more reasons to have a free, nice, and easy solution of having an extra (new) site address. For your convenience, I have created rating list of the 55 top free services with brief description, rating, and access links at my favorite rating site RateItAll. To illustrate the concept, the main Rating List address is:

Friday, July 11, 2008

Nice Name for your Blog with Domain TK

The most exciting feature of the user registration in the domain zone TK is in the fact that it is free for anybody. Until recently, the administration of the domain TK (Tokelau, a territory of New Zealand located in the South Pacific) in exchange for the free registration applied forced ads on your page.

Recently, the situation has changed for better. On the 32-nd International Conference ICANN, Dot TK administration announced that from now on the forced ads will be completely removed from the pages with registered free domains, and will not be placed on the newly registered sites as well. This positive marketing step attracted more users to choose the short name for their Web Site or blog to be forwarded to.

There are some limitations for the domain TK use:
1. Sites not visited at least 25 times in consecutive 90 day periods are automatically canceled to avoid the domains being unavailable to more active websites.
2. Internet service provider Road Runner on Time Warner Cable, continues to block sites with the .tk domain, in spite of the significant pressure from the Internet community.

Dot-TK recently provided .tk websites the option to join a network called TiKinet, a close-knit network that links sites to each other based on key words called TiKilinks. The network is expected to increase traffic to the websites, many of which are personal sites and blogs operated by individuals who otherwise would have no way to advertise their sites. You have the opportunity to check the traffic flow through your domain as well. Following test sign up for one of my blogs, I noticed immediate additional traffic through new doorway, not huge, but more than I expected.

Website: http://www.dot.tk/en/index.html?lang=en

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Find a Cheapest Shipping Rates with Shipgooder

Even the best general Search Engine cannot the best solution for each and every case. Sometimes, small and focused Web Sites can make our life easier. For example, how can you find fast, what is the cheapest way to ship 5.2- pounds package from Trimont, Minnesota to Reedsville, Ohio? Search for USPS, FedEx, UPS, and other shippers Web Sites, locate the appropriate information, and compare. How fast can you that, even you are an experienced searcher?

Let me show, how you can perform this kind of search and comparison in matter of seconds, in three steps:
1. Access the Web Site: http://www.shipgooder.com/
2. Enter your ZIP code, ZIP code of the destination, and package weight.
3. Click on the button to get the best rates.
4. In less than a fracture of a second your report is prepared.

As you see, the site is very handy, saving you a lot of time on the shipping prices comparison, and potentially money as you can find the best possible price instantly. You do not even have to register to obtain the information from Shipgooder.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Teach Your Kids Online Etiquette

We are teaching our kids of proper behaviour in the society. At least, we are trying to do our best to teach them. Equally important to explain them the main rules of the online etiquette - so called "netiquette". There is a collection of the simple recommendations of what your children should avoid in online communication:
  • Posting stolen or cracked software is not recommended. This is plainly illegal and can be considered as a criminal offence.
  • Emailing anything that is part of a pyramid scheme. These are also illegal, and they work perfectly just for their creators. For everybody else - it is a lost battle, no matter what you read in the spam promises.
  • Giving out your own or other people’s phone numbers or personal information. Use alternative (or disposable) email addresses and secondary free Internet phone numbers, when giving away this information is mandatory.
  • Emailing to a large group of people and revealing their email addresses to all the recipients. While sending message to multiple recipients, it is recommended to put their addresses in the BCC field. That will also prevent the private responses to be delivered to the entire group.
  • Posting anything without acknowledging the source. It is considered polite and advisable to show where the item came from with a link or short sentence, if the information is available.
  • Formatting emails with colored text/background. They are difficult to read without converting them.
  • Typing your messages or emails in all capital letters. “Shouting” or “screaming” in caps is rude.
  • Emailing very large files without letting the other person know. Getting a large file will slow things down for users, fill up their mailbox and prevent them from receiving something that may be more important. In some cases, it might completely block the mail server.
  • Emailing alerts about viruses that you haven’t verified are real. Make sure the virus isn’t a hoax before you tell everyone you know.
  • Sending an attachment that might be infected with a virus or Trojan. Scan for viruses regularly and keep your software up-to-date.
  • Emailing with long subject lines. Use the body of the email for your message and the subject line for a brief description.
  • Emailing with no subject line at all. This is a Spammer tactic. A subject line gives someone a little information before they read the main text. It also helps people sort and organize their emails. Besides, in most cases, your email with no subject will go directly to the bulk mail or spam folder.
To add personality and humor to your messages, use smileys, also known as emoticons, expressions you create from the characters on your keyboard. It just like adding tones to your online voice. A few popular ones include:
:-) Happy :-( Sad :-o Surprised :-@ Screaming :-I Indifferent :-e Disappointed :-< Mad :-D Laughing ;-) Winking

Monday, June 16, 2008

Trapster Free Services - Avoiding Police Speed Traps

"If someone slows down because of it, it's accomplishing the same goal of trying to get people to obey the speed limit"
Bill Johnson - Executive director of the National Association of Police Organizations

Have you ever been stopped by traffic police for speeding? I bet, it was not the most pleasant experience in your life, followed by the financial punishment and traffic school detention (if you are eligible). The best way to avoid speed tickets is avoid speeding. Yes, it is easier said than done. Especially, if you are in running late for your flight or the entire traffic flow is rushing beyond the traffic speed limits.

Anti-radar has been a good warning solution. But, it has at least three noticeable limitations:
  1. It is not considered legal in all states.
  2. Some of the police scanners have been recently upgraded to the new signal type, that is not catch able by the old anti-radar devices.
  3. While driving in the mountains, sometimes, you can catch the police trap by anti-radar only at the moment, when radar registers your speed, not giving ahead-of-time warning.
The new free service Trapster offers an interesting Web 2 online social solution to the problem: it offers one-touch reporting and automated alerts for police speed traps through their portal. Pete Tenereillo, a programmer in Carlsbad who developed Trapster, described it as "a social network for sharing information about police speed traps." Tenereillo confirmed that all most current-generation cell phones, Blackberries and other PDA’s can accommodate the Trapster software.

Trapster works like this: After you sign for a free membership, you can download the Trapster software to your cell phone or PDA. Later, on the road, when you spot a police trap hiding, you just punch in # 1 (pound one) on your cell phone or dial a toll-free number. Other users are then alerted on their cell phones or PDA when they approach the same speed trap, you discovered.

At this point, the service has not been met with opposition by law enforcement because it ultimately encourages drivers to slow down.

Website: http://www.trapster.com

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Start your Free Images Search Here!

You need images for your Web Site, Blog, greeting card, or school project. Where would you go to search for the free pics? Flickr is a good starting point.

A fresh service, compfight, is supposed to propose a better searching capabilities for the Flickr hosted images, than the Flick itself, in terms of the speed of scan and quality of image search. It is not affiliated with Flickr, but uses the Flickr API, and lets you toggle Creative Commons search right under its search box. You have an option to do a full-text search on images titles and descriptions, or to limit your search just to Creative Commons licensed works only.

Results are returned on clickable thumbnail pages, 250 to a page. Choosing one will get you to the related full-image Flickr page. Simplistic interface and keeping the preferable user settings makes this user-friendly site a good option to start your images searches from.

Access Link: http://compfight.com/

Friday, May 23, 2008

67 Best Online Photo Editors

Many ideas for the blog posts and other related activities are coming from you - readers of this blog. Last week, I got a question on the best free online image editor on the market. Since I knew nothing on the topic, I hold an investigation. The results were inputted as usual to the RateItAll Rating List. The advantage of all online service in their relative independence from the software you are having on your PC and ability to access from any computer. For example, in the middle of the adventure trip, you came to the Internet Cafй in Nairobi, and you want to enhance and to send your top picks to your friends. In this situation, online image editor will be all you need.

The Rating list will present the best online image editors (at the moment this post is written there are 40 list entries), that are already in high demand among bloggers and regular users, interested in sharing their pictures. There is nothing to download or install, as all editing is done via the browser. Set of expected features to be covered: Resizing - Scaling - Rotating - Flipping - Cropping - Adding Text -Adding Clipart - Color Correction - Grayscale - Colorizing - Setting Transparency - Photo Optimization - Reducing File Size - Editing Photo Dimensions, and others. Different services are providing different service offerings, so you might need to keep on your record several complementing sites to cover all spec of your potential needs.

Access the Rating List: http://www.rateitall.com/t-26415-online-image-editors--free-services.aspx

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Zoho Free Virtual Office Suite

In December 2006, respectable computers-related magazine PC World published review of the best online office suites available at this time. The best suite among all has been announced Zoho, in comparison with other leaders as Google Docs and ThinkFree. Zoho position as free online collaborative office suite has been improved over the time.

Zoho (www.zoho.com) is an online Web service that lets its users do almost anything online that they can do on a desktop computer-from creating documents to building a spreadsheet to managing a database, plus conferencing, project-management, chatting, and a dozen other functions listed on the main page. This service can be quite handy if you temporary or permanently lack some pieces of the desktop software, if you want to keep your data online to be accessible from different computers, or by several users, or if you trust online secure storage more than your own Hard Drive.

Suite is built very professionally, with nice set of features and characteristics. It is indeed can be your “start page” for all business related activities.

Website: http://www.zoho.com/

Monday, May 12, 2008

33 Best Parental Control Freeware Utilities

The Internet is a wonderful educational tool for kids, but it also iincreasingly introduces new dangers and content that can negatively affect them. As a parent you obviously want to protect your children from viewing pornography and adult websites. And disconnecting Internet from your home PC is, probably, not the best way to deal with the problem.

The prepared rating list covers the top 33 freeware utilities to prevent inappropriate content to be delivered to your kids with brief description, access links, and rating.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Free Legal MP3 Downloads at Music Oasis

SpiralFrog is an ad-supported free-music download site, giving legal and easy opportunities to download multimedia files for its members. Collection consists of almost 1,000.000 songs and 3,500 videos available for download free of charge. However, in exchange for the free music and videos, members are expected to invest some time in the ads review. In addition to viewing ads, presented in the form of banners, while searching for and downloading music, SpiralFrog requires to log in to the site and view ads at least once every 30 days to renew license, or the downloaded music for the account becomes disabled.
Naturally, tracks from SpiralFrog cannot be burned to a CD or DVD, and transferred to an iPod or iPhone at the moment, although files can be sent to two potable Windows Media Player-compatible devices or smart phones.
Video Presentation:

Update 12-26-13: SpiralFrog trademark is not in the picture anymore, however, the project is not dead. At present, it is known as Music Oasis.

Once you have downloaded Music Oasis, you can stream or download any song from the library in high quality, non-DRM, mp3 format for use with any music player - no restrictions!
  • It's Free
  • It's Legal
  • Spyware and Virus Free
  • Instant unlimited access to the Music Oasis Library
  • No purchase or registration required
Website: http://www.music-oasis.com/download/Audio/Music-Oasis

Monday, May 5, 2008

Pandora - Free Customized Internet Radio Station

Pandora is not a newly popped up site, and many people use it for several years. But, it is new for me, so, may be for you too this information is useful. Pandora started in September of 2005 but its real birthday is in 1999 with the "Music Genome Project". This project has been started by a bunch of unemployed musicians, who decided to find a way to share music with each with no restrictions. Now you can create your own radio station based on your search and preferences. To find a new clips, you are even not aware at the moment there is an option to bring you music that is similar to your favorites. If you do not like the track you listened, you can give it a thumb down and you excluded forever from your future music expeditions. You can create as many stations as you want-all for free, with no advertisements.

You do not need any special player to use the site, but note that the dial-up connection is not supported. Registration is not required, as I was able to create The Beatles Radio Station without registering and signing up for the service. However, later, the streaming stopped and Pandora kindly reminded me on the advantages of being a registered user.

In the attached video presentation, the Creator of the Pandora, Tim Westergren, is introducing this nice service to you.

Tim Westergren introduces Pandora


Update 12-29-13: Pandora is pretty much alive and kicking after all these years. One of the best audio streaming services on the market!

Monday, April 28, 2008

Aboogy - free bookmark manager and startpage

Aboogy is a free, new, innovative, and fully customizable Internet startpage and personal bookmark manager. So what? There are so many free startpages and bookmark managers, that the service should offer something new to get public attention.

Why do I think, that Aboogy is offering something different?
* You choose yourself what elements should be presented on your bookmarking page. There is set of default preloaded information that you may immediately remove.
* You create a list of links to the Web sites that you like.
* You can create categories of Web sites and group your bookmarks as you wish.
* You can easy manipulate the page elements with drag-and-drop approach.
* You can bring the most frequently used sites on the top of the page with pictures associated.
* You can import bookmarks from your browser for mild start.
* You can install a small widget to add bookmarks from your browser (IE or FireFox) with one click.
If you like the description, just check the site: http://www.aboogy.com/

If you want to continue search for your favorite online bookmarking solution, check the rating list of 67 top social bookmarking sites on RateItAll:
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