Tuesday, February 19, 2008

23 Free Online PDF Conversion Services

Portable Document Format or PDF is a file format created by Adobe Systems, Inc. PDF uses the PostScript printer description language and is highly portable across computer platforms. It captures formatting information from a variety of desktop publishing applications, making it possible to send formatted documents and have them appear on the recipient’s monitor or printer the same way as they were prepared.

I have reviewed several online services that allow you to convert documents of various formats to PDF for free. It might be quite useful, if you are away from your personal computer, and your host does not have a PDF printer installed. It also might be a backup solution for the unfortunate cases of your virtual PDF printer drivers’ corruption.

The list of the appropriate complimentary services is hosted by RateItAll: http://www.rateitall.com/t-25412-online-pdf-conversion--free-services.aspx

Note, that I did not include in the listing Online Open Offices like Zoho, ThinkFree, or Google Docs, as PDF conversion is just a small fragment of the provided services.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

64 Free Disposable Email Address Services to Fight Spam

If you give your e-mail address to anyone on the Internet, there is a good chance to be included in a one, or many spam lists, and to become a subject of multiple spam emails. There are descent filters in most of the Web-Based servers or POP3 email clients. However, it is a good idea to prevent your address to be even a subject for an email abuse. One of the easiest ways to prevent your email to get to the “wrong” people and minimize the amount of spam is to use a disposable e-mail address. The basic idea is this: obtain and use an e-mail address other than one of your main e-mail address or addresses, doing certain on-line business registrations or transactions. Some of the situation, when disposable address might get handy:
  • Signing for online Web Sites or informational services.
  • Shopping online.
  • Entering contests or sweepstakes.
  • Signing for forums, message boards, or social networking sites.
  • Seeking for one-time information on any products or services.
  • Posting messages to newsgroups.
If you participate in on-line activity that fits the above categories and any similar others, you may find that weeks and months later you may receive a massive amount of the unsolicited commercial email from sources you have never contacted in the past. This is possibly because the companies involved have “shared” your email address with other Internet-based businesses, and this sharing can continue with other companies indefinitely. Another way your e-mail address can be distributed is when less secure companies get “hacked”, and have their customer information stolen. Also when going out of business, firms sell their assets, and e-mail addresses may be considered to be assets.

An increasingly popular and very effective way to avoid the spam flooding is to using disposable e-mail address (DEA) services. The idea is simple. When, for example, an online merchant asks for your e-mail address, you just use the service to generate a disposable one. You can read the incoming email online, or the service forwards e-mail sent to this address to your real e-mail account. If the disposable address gets spammed, you can simply close it. In addition, you can use multiple addresses for statistical and strategy generation purposes, as you are able to keep track of which account were submitted to which service, also pointing out on the main spam-generated source. When spam to that disposable address increases to an undesirable level, you can terminate that disposable address and create a new one.

There are multiple complimentary and commercial service providers that offer disposable email addresses to the users, which are slightly different in terms of the technical approach, list of services provided, and life span of the disposable email on the server (at some providers, it can be unlimited). For your convenience, I have generated a Rating List of the top 64 free services, providing disposable addresses to the users.

Brief description, rating, and links for the sites access are included:

Monday, February 4, 2008

21 Free Utilities for AdSense Users

Most likely, I do not have to explain to you, what the AdSense program is. Entering this market, Google drastically changed the map. AdSense are Google contextual ads that any Web Site or Blog owner can place on his/her Blog, Search Engine, or Web Site. Google, in return, will share a portion of the revenues generated from these ads. The specific pay rate varies, depending on the keywords on the Web site used to generate the ads.

You can review a brief informative tour at the Google Web Site on the AdSense basics:


If you do not have a Web Site, but you still want to enjoy the piece of the Google’s pie Google, there are multiple opportunities for you as well. Find the list of the Revenue sharing Web Sites, I have created on RateItAll:


Your task mostly to submit content (posts, images, videos, etc.), and your host will do the rest, taking a small share of your AdSense income as reimbursement.

AdSense provides pretty good stats monitoring, giving you ability to track your visitors per artificial or URL channels and other parameters. However, some user pointed out on the certain deficiency of these statistics and inconvenience related to the need to log in to the site to check the trends. Also, there are occasional delays with the stats posting, which can misrepresent the visitors’ response trend for the high-traffic Blogs a Sites owners. To close the gap, several software packages were developed. I have prepared the list of the free applications on RateItAll, as usual, with brief description, rating, and links for download:


Enjoy the release!

Friday, February 1, 2008

Are Social Networking Sites Safe for Kids?

By Steven Reinberg (HealthDay Reporter)
Friday, February 1, 2008; 12:00 AM

Reposted from http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/02/01/AR2008020101853.html

FRIDAY, Feb. 1 (HealthDay News) - While social networking Web sites such as MySpace and Facebook have been singled out as places where teens could face sexual harassment, most of the unwanted solicitation actually happens in chat rooms and via instant messaging, a new study finds.

Even there, only 15 percent of children experience unwanted sexual solicitation and only a third report being harassed online, according to a new study in the February issue of Pediatrics.

"There has been a recent concern about the risks posed by social networking to young people," said lead researcher Michele Ybarra, founder of Internet Solutions for Kids, a company that helps design safe Web sites for children. "But we found that instant messaging was more frequently cited than social networking sites as places for unwanted sexual solicitation and harassment," she said. "And chat rooms were more frequently cited than social networking sites."

In the study, Ybarra’s team collected data on 1,588 children aged 10 to 15 years old. In a survey, the children were asked about their online experiences over the past year. Among these children, 15 percent said they had an unwanted sexual solicitation. Only one-fourth of these occurred on a social networking site, Ybarra noted.

In addition, 33 percent said they were harassed online. About one-fourth of the incidents occurred on a social networking site.

However, 43 percent of unwanted sexual solicitations occurred via instant messaging, and 32 percent occurred in chat rooms. Harassment was most common with instant messaging, which accounted for 55 percent, the researchers found.

Ybarra thinks that rather than focusing on the technology, the focus should be placed on the children themselves. "We need to stop worrying about social networking sites and pay more attention to what young people are doing online generally," she said.

Parents have mistakenly thought that if their children aren’t on a social networking site they are safe, and if they are on one, they are at risk, Ybarra said. "We need to stop trying to scare our kids. We need to start having real conversations," she said.

"We need to help parents understand it’s not about social networking sites, it’s about monitoring what’s going on," Ybarra said. "Just as you should know where your child is after school, you should know where they go online."

One expert isn’t sure that social networking sites are as safe as Ybarra’s team found.

"I am most concerned that they have surveyed kids who are younger than I would have expected, with only half of the survey population in the 13 to 15 age range," said Kimberly M. Thompson, director of the Kids Risk Project at the Harvard School of Public Health.

MySpace and Facebook have age restrictions to prevent youths under ages 14 and 13 from using the sites, Thompson said. "This means that many of the kids in the survey are theoretically prevented from exposure, and one interpretation of the author’s findings is that setting an entry age is keeping many kids out of these sites," she said.

"The authors downplay the role of social networking sites instead of recognizing that these are the newest form of online media opportunities, and hence, their use and uses are still growing as people adopt the technology," Thompson added. "I wonder what they would have found if they surveyed a slightly older population."

The fear of social networking sites has lead one state to propose a law that would attempt to bar sex offenders from these sites.

Recently, New York State Attorney General Andrew Cuomo drafted a bill mandating that e-mail addresses and screen names of registered sex offenders be reported to social networking sites.

The bill would make it easier to stop sex offenders from using popular teen-oriented sites. It would also bar paroled sex offenders from social networking sites and ban online communication with minors.

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