Saturday, March 29, 2008

27 Free Conference Call Services to Simplify your Life

Until recently conference calls were used mostly in the business environment, since it was quite expensive and required a certain level of justification for the management. But it is available to anyone for any reason. Why you might need that? Have you ever arranged family or classmates’ reunion, when all the participants are from different cities, and each one of them has personal problems and scheduling preferences? No? It is a lot of fun. After multiple phone calls back and forth, bulk emails, flooding your email account, and number of text messages you realize, that you want just to be alone. I have a better solution for you. Conference call will allow collecting all the participants at the same time, where the mutually accepted schedule and other related decisions can be reached instantly. The only charges associated will be charges for local or long-distance calls to the preset phone number, offered by the features service.

Video Tutorial below will give you an example how easy the conference call can be arranged through one of the free services

But, it is just an example of one of the suitable services. For your convenience, I have prepared a Rating List with 20 Top services, providing free conference calls for their members. In same offers, there is no need even to register for the hosting Web Site.

You can access the listing with brief description, site link, and rating:

Did I mentions, that it is free of charge?

Monday, March 24, 2008

Advanced Free Media Editor Suite- AVIARY

As you might already notice, the modern trend is related to transfer some of the desktop software responsibilities, which were traditionally associated with computer-installed programs, online. You have online text editors, translators, PDF creators, fax generators, and more. One more area of the stand-alone software utilities is coming to Internet.

Aviary ( a new online service (in beta) that lets its members edit and create images (and videos in the nearest future) online with no need for additional software installed on the PC. Eventually, Aviary will ultimately be a suite of 18 media tools, with major accent on image editing. The idea is to provide online collaboration capabilities to the users. The main application in the suite - Phoenix - is an image editing system, reminding famous Photoshop as to the spec of the overall capabilities. It includes layers, color adjustments, and a host of drawing and selection manipulation tools. This is powerful software that will fill the needs of beginners and expert users.

Aviary is a Web 2 oriented suite, as users can leave comments on other’s works, follow them as fans and supporters, and save their profiles as favorites.

During the beta, Aviary is free. You have to sign up using your email address to receive a beta invitation.


Apps are available for both iPhone and Android smartphones.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Steganography: How to Hide Secret Information inside JPG Image Files?

Last year, there were several publications in press that al-Qaeda operatives were sending out encrypted messages to the terrorist groups members by hiding them inside digital photographs on eBay. While there no definite proof that this claim is justified, it is quite easy to hide any other file or group of files inside a JPEG image. You can place video clips, pdf, mp3, Office documents, zipped files, webpage or any other file format without special software and encoding knowledge. Any stranger that will get the image and will open it in either a photo editing software or as a thumbnail inside Windows Explorer, there will be no visible indication that the open file is more than just a regular image.

Let’s learn this simple trick, available with tools embedded in Operating System.

Step 1: Choose the secret file or groups of files, you want to embed in the image. For multiple files, compress them in a single archive with locking password if needed additional level of the data security.

Step 2: Select any image JPG file, where your data will be hidden.

Step 3: For simplifying the application, move the two files (data file and image file) directly on the root of your main drive C:

Step 4: Open Command Prompt (Start - All Programs - Accessories - Command Prompt).

Step 5: Type in the DOS-like window “cd \” to get to the drive, where the files moved on the step 3.

Step 6: Type “copy /B original.jpg + new.jpg”, where “original.jpg” represents the image file, you are planning to use as your data safe, “” (or any other data, video, audio, or text file) is the archive or file you are going to hide, and new image file with hidden information “new.jpg”. The “/B” stands for binary, just for your information. By adding this mark, you copy the secret data in binary mode onto the end of the new JPG image. When the picture is opened, the JPG header says the length of the data and ignores everything below (the hidden data). So, the only difference between the original and the new image files will be in the file size.

The new file with secretly attached information is ready to be sent or stored for future use. Recovering the original data is pretty easy. If inside is archive (ZIP), rename the new image from extension JPG to extension ZIP, and open with any compatible archiving program. If your file is TXT, you can rename it to text format or just open the “new.jpg” file with text editor.

For those, who like Video Tutorials, the following clips will be helpful:

HOW TO STORE/HIDE A ZIP/RAR IN AN IMAGE FILE. - More amazing videos are a click away

If you have no interest doing the procedure of the Steganography yourself, you can use free services from the following Web Site, where you get the output file automatically:

Additional Reading:

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

How to Log In Properly to the Web Site: 15 General Recommendations

"Your Password or Username is Invalid. Please Try Again."

“Sorry, the member name and password you entered do not match. Please try again.”

“Invalid ID or password.”

I bet, you have seen these and other similar error messages multiple times. You try again and again, and the stupid server does not want to recognize you. How frustrating and depressing! In some cases, the problem is real, and is caused by the mess in the service database, or by the server being completely down. There is nothing you can do in this cases, but patiently wait until it will be up again. But, sometimes, the problem is on our side and its resolution is within our troubleshooting capabilities. Several recommendations for the case investigation are presented below:

  1. Make sure that you are using the correct login information. If you have multiple online accounts, you might forget the correct one for this particular site. It is recommended to use password manager for logins preservation (as browser built-in, as third party like Roboform).
  2. Verify that your CAPS LOCK key is OFF as, in most cases, login information is case sensitive. In many keyboards, there is the monitoring led, showing the status of the CAPS LOCK key. Please, put attention that the it is disabled.
  3. Do not copy and paste your password or username into the text boxes again and again. Stop, and type it manually.
  4. Retype your login information, carefully proofreading all the data inputted. The most common mistakes are related to use of the dot key instead of comma key, or neighboring letters accidental substitution on the keyboard.
  5. Use your mouse cursor to move from one login field to another, instead of using the Tab key. This way, you can better control the proper information filling as per site requirements.
  6. Avoid hitting the Submit or Log In buttons more than once with your mouse. While using keyboard, hit Enter key just once as well.
  7. Wait patiently until your login is properly completed, before you do anything else on your computer. I know that the computer operator is usually multi-tasking. he will rush forward, with no particular patience to wait for the login completion. It is fine for you, when it is fine. But, in most cases, when you badly need to login, and you can’t, you will be ready to do whatever needed to get in and show any degree of the patience needed. So, after hitting the login request, do not touch anything on the keyboard, do not touch or move your mouse, do not switch to another screen, window, or program, and do not open any new applications.
  8. Do not connect any external hardware devices and do not insert DVD or Floppy, while in the process of logging in. Do not use your RAM for side operations.
  9. Nothing helps - close all browser windows, and restart the browser.
  10. Security settings of your browser might be too tight to enable your login. Set your browser security to its default settings and try again.
  11. Many web sites use cookies to identify registered users. If you have disabled cookies on your computer, you will not be able to login. So, change this setting in your browser.
  12. If cookies, for some reason, have not been properly accepted, you might have problem of being logged out of your account as soon as you move to a different page, or you might be completely unable to login. Delete your cookies: close all browser windows, find the "cookies" directory, and delete the cookie files inside. Or, use any of the special software to clean cookies safely.
  13. In some cases, you might need to clear your browser’s cache to refresh the content of the recently visited web pages.
  14. And the last generic recommendation: perform the “cold” computer reboot. Shut down your computer, wait for 5 minutes, and turn it back again.
  15. If the problem persists, for further investigation, you can try to login to your account using a different browser, or from another computer. At least, you will be clear if the problem is server or your personal account related, or it can be linked to your computer and settings. Remember also, that in some servers there is a limited amount of attempts you can make entering incorrect login. You will not be able to login, if the you try to input the correct login after that for safety reasons. Call to the company tech support and clear the issue.

Monday, March 3, 2008

100+ Free Web Hosting Sites Collection

Before starting this review, I have made a simple search on Google for term “Free Website Hosting vs. Paid Website Hosting” All the articles basically say the same. The only advantage for the free hosting is that it is free. Free web sites are unreliable, full of ads, and do not carry the same credibility as paid Web Sites with purchased Domain. Fundamentally, it is true. The thumb rule of the marketing: you get what you paid for. However, for many people free Web Sites are the best or the only opportunity to get certain Web presence and online exposure.

First of all, why should hosting companies offer free web space at all? In many cases, your page, indeed, includes host plugged advertising or banner. Here, the free host’s motivation is clear: your site exposure will bring some passive income. But, recently appeared many hosts that do not include their own ads at all on the sites they are giving away. I contacted one of the owners and asked why? He responded that he has an excess of the available hosting space, and he is giving it away in hope, that some of his free account guests will eventually move to the paid web hosting with additional features, unavailable for the complimentary accounts. This is also a valid motivation, but it is not in any conflict of interests with a free account owner or with free Web site visitors. If this Web site is unreliable, a free account owner will just migrate to another host without hesitation. There is a strong competition even among free, ads-free web sites on the market. Definitely, for serious online entrepreneurs, paid hosting would be a better solution. But, for newbies or for not much profit-oriented people, it may fill completely the hosting needs. Better to have any web presence, than no presence at all. And, associated costs keep many interested Internet users from getting their own Web Home.

I have created a Rating List, featuring more than 100 Best Free Hosting Opportunities on the online market. There are many hosts offering Web Space, so, I have no intentions to cover them all. The main requirements that impact on the host’s rating are the following:
  1. The free host should not require you to use your own domain name, or to register a new domain name as a condition to give away free space.
  2. Offer should not be neither temporary, not time-limited trial.
  3. Preference for hosts with no forced ads.
  4. Preference for hosts, allowing using your own ads (like Google AdSense) on your page.
  5. Preference for hosts, allowing FTP site loading.
  6. Preference for hosts, offering nice and short sub-domains.
  7. Any other extras are a plus. For example, ability to earn for spreading a word about free ads-free hosting 000WebHost is a definite potential advantage.
I am planning to continue working on the list, so by the time you read this article, the amount of the items for rating will be much higher.

Access the list through the link:

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