Thursday, December 31, 2009

Free Enhancement for your Voicemail with YouMail

How to enhance the voicemail you are getting on your cellular phone? Have you ever think on the endless possibilities of the modern technology to make the voicemail more attractive, easy to use, and customizable? YouMail free services bring you these possibilities at hand.

Main Features:
Visual Voicemail
  • Completely visual - see who called, from where, and even their picture (when before all you had was their number!)
  • Use your smart phone or your computer - or you can still dial in like before (if you feel the need!)
  • Save time - Point, click and play or delete.
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Personal Custom Greetings
  • Easily have different greetings for your sweetie, your friends, your co-workers and your boss.
  • Choose from a library of free greetings or upload any sound file as a greeting.
  • Even use greetings as messages for callers who don't pick up their voicemail!
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Block Unwanted Callers
  • Automatically hang up on unwanted callers before they can leave voicemail.
  • Simple to set up with just one click!
  • Easily let a pesky ex or telemarketer thinks your number is no longer in service.
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The small application can be installed and used at any smart phone for the following platforms: Blackberry, Android, or iPhone.
There are also paid services, which enlarge the spec of the voicemail capabilities, like:

  • Read your messages - almost perfect transcriptions
  • Get organized - virtually unlimited storage
  • Go faster - no advertisements and quicker alerts

Video Presentation:


Yay: Easy to set up, easy-to-read format and allows for personalized greetings for friends, colleagues and even unwanted callers. Users can also access voicemails from an e-mail account.

Nay: We were charged airtime for accessing voicemails, and our voicemail icon alert no longer appeared on our handset. Further, each message carried an advertisement, though it did not get in the way of the message.

We say: YouMail is free. If managing voicemail with an e-mail account is an interest, then this is a good application. It is also works well for users looking to add a personal or hip touch to their voicemail. The company offers greetings that feature celebrities, clips from movies and music. Users can also select standard greetings or record one of their own. A greeting can be selected for each contact, a group that includes family or friends or for calls received from a blocked number or an unwanted caller.

Review: YouMail is available via the company’s Web site, youmail.com. To get an account, YouMail asked for our phone number so an activation code could be texted to our phone. The service then asked for the access code, our name, e-mail address and for a PIN number of our choice. The PIN is used with the e-mail account to log into the site in the future.

With the information, the service could tell who our service provider was and then asked for our handset model. The site gives numerous pictures of handsets and we were able to find our BlackBerry Pearl.

We then called an Orange County, Calif., phone number to activate the account. After the phone was activated, the site then showed how to switch the voicemail number on our handset from the service provider number, which is our phone number, to the California number that we were to call to access our YouMail account. This step was easy and the site provided a step-by-step tutorial that had pictures of the BlackBerry Pearl.

Once we saved the new number, the account was ready. We chose to access voice messages through the handset and with our e-mail account.

Numerous calls to the new voicemail were placed. After each call, a text message was sent to the phone alerting of a missed call. An e-mail was also sent to our account, which was also synched on our BlackBerry. With e-mail, we could listen to messages online and had the option of forwarding the message to contacts. Messages could also be deleted and saved.

We also could customize our greetings. YouMail automatically selected a “smart” greeting for our phone calls. One thing we found great about YouMail is it details where the phone number originates from and in most cases whose number it is. With a smart greeting in place, YouMail automatically acknowledged the person calling by greeting each person by name. For example, a phone call from a colleague’s phone used this smart greeting: “Hello Allie, Gary can’t come to the phone right now. Please leave a message.”

We also could customize a greeting for each contact by personally recording one or making a selection from many that are offered. We customized greetings for a few of our contacts. Greetings can be personal recordings or customized greetings offered online. We kept smart greetings for family but used a greeting from “Seinfeld” for some of our friends.

Through our YouMail account we browsed through a number of greetings that included recordings by celebrities, musicians and clips from movies. Most are free. Some you must pay for, but the Web page to buy a “premium” greeting would not load after numerous attempts.

YouMail also allows customized greetings for calls that are blocked or from someone you no longer wish to talk to, a former girlfriend or boyfriend perhaps. With “DitchMail,” an unwanted caller can’t leave a message after listening to a greeting set up for that number. We set up DitchMail using our work phone number. We selected a custom greeting that included the words “don’t ever call again.” Each time we called our phone from the work number this greeting was used.

The only drawback we could see with YouMail is the message alerts come with advertisements. The advertisements don’t really get in the way of reading the call details but are hard to ignore. Advertisements ranged from technical colleges to a pajamagram for Valentine’s Day. The other drawback was that the voicemail alert icon on our BlackBerry Pearl stopped working. New voicemail notifications were lumped in with the “envelope” icon that also contained text messages or e-mail notifications.

If all this is just too much customization, YouMail offers an easy way to delete the account and restore previous settings. After asking why we were deleting our account, YouMail told us to call *73. After the call was placed, our previous voicemail was back in place.

Like what you read? Sign up for free at http://www.youmail.com/

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

External Hard Drive Preventive Maintenance

You want to keep your Hard Drive with all important data in best shape? Danz Family provides you detailed step-by-step instructions on how to do so, with nice illustration of all steps. But before starting to follow the instructions, read the manual to the end first! Please!

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Many of the problems encountered by users of hard drive storage devices can be avoided by simple annual maintenance. You clean and maintenance your car and other things around the house, why should your hard drive be any different? You've defragged, run other maintenance programs, but have you bothered to open it up and give it a good cleaning? For optimal hard drive performance, follow the easy steps below. (As always, read through all the instructions before beginning.)

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Gently pry around the edges of your hard drive case and separate the cover from the main unit. It just pops off. Don't worry about any small plastic pieces that break off, they won't affect anything.

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Time to start unscrewing screws! These are the easy ones, a simple Phillips screwdriver will do the trick.

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Keep going, some of the screws are a little hidden. Be sure to save the screws for reassembly later.

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Finally, we get everything unscrewed and unplugged from the hard drive, wrapped in thick foil in the center.

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Carefully peal away the thick sticky foil from the hard drive.

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Once you get all the foil off, you'll have to remove the screws from the hard drive itself. Some are hidden under stickers and all are the uncommon torx type. By this point you've probably figured out that the manufacturer hasn't made it easy for you to perform maintenance on your hard drive. Duh, that's because they are in the business of selling hard drives! Imagine if other manufacturers could convince consumers never to clean or maintain their product? What a scam!

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Here's one of the hard drive's reading/writing heads. Oops, is that a scratch? Ha, ha, don't worry, modern drive's aren't affected by little surface scratches. Have you ever seen the back of some CD's and how scratched up they are but still play perfectly? Hard drives are far more technologically advanced and are even less affected by simple surface scratches.

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In fact, feel free to scratch up the surface all you want. At this point in the process, I can promise you, you won't adversely affect the hard drive's performance. Some people like to scratch in the date, so they can tell the next time they open up their hard drive when the last time was that they cleaned it.

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If you happen to bend the read/write head, don't worry, just bend it back. Be sure to press it down real good so it's as close as possible to the drive's surface.

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Time to give everything a good wash! A little dish soap, some warm water and a scrub brush. Don't hold back with the elbow grease! Give it a good scrubbing.

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Finally, you may find that some of the parts have worked themselves loose and are just spinning around uncontrolled. Good thing we caught this before it completely spun itself apart! Get yourself a hammer or a hatchet and pound them down until they are solidly in place. Once everything dries, reverse the steps to reassemble your hard drive.

In the first paragraph I promised "optimal hard drive performance." Following the steps above is the only way to absolutely guarantee you will never again loose valuable data and time to a failed hard drive. I know I'm certain the drive pictured will never again cause me problems!!! Not to mention, sometimes it just feels good to get "hands on."

As you might understand already, this manual is a pure joke. If you follow it precisely, you may be confident that your data is lost forever. Actually, simply opening the Hard Drive at your home environment will make a trick. The dust contamination will make it absolutely un-useful and unrecoverable. So, what can you do externally to keep the Hard Drive in best shape? I do not mean useful software to clean, defragment, and fix error. I really mean – externally. If the Hard Drive is internal, use vacuum cleaner once a while to remove dust from inside the PC. Be careful not to touch any wiring thou. If the drive is external, assure the adequate ventilation and fresh air access. Do not keep it on the mild surface, which might cause its overheating.


I also found that in spite of the fact that some of the external drives are designed to be positioned vertically as well, it is preferable to keep it horizontally, when the spinning forces less affect the internal mechanics.


And, no matter what you do, and how careful you are, keep the backup of the most valuable information!

Sunday, December 6, 2009

63 Freeware Utilities and Plugins for Skype Users

Skype is accepted leader in the free IP telephone services in the world, allowing cutting significantly the phone bills to the domestic and international communication. While not all the features are free, there is a solid basic set that makes it a valuable addition to all the computer users. The following features are free:


1. Skype-to-Skype phone calls (through PC and smartphones).
2. Transfer calls to people on Skype.
3. Video calls.
4. Instant messaging and group IMs.
5. Conference calls.
6. Forward calls to people on Skype.

While there are already quite a lot of similar services on the Web, the Skype usefulness is based on its popularity and huge membership base, making it easy to find there your friends and relatives.

I have prepared a new Rating List at RateItAll, offering listing and reviews of the third-party free software utilities, allowing enhancing the features provided by basic Skype services. As of today, there are 63 freeware utilities and plugins are represented with website links, ratings, and brief reviews.

Review the Rating List at: http://www.rateitall.com/t-2868750-free-software-for-skype-users.aspx

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Google Bing “Kitchen” Introduced Social Search

In November launched the social revolution for search. Microsoft’s Bing fired the first shot by announcing search deals with Twitter and Facebook and, at the Web 2.0 Summit, launching its Twitter integration. Google fired back almost immediately though, completing its own deal with Twitter and, perhaps more importantly, announcing a new feature: Social Search.

Social search, demoed at the Web 2.0 Summit by Google’s VP of Search Marissa Mayer, combines results from your friend’s blogs, Flickr, Twitter, FriendFeed, and a wide variety of other social media sites (so long as your friends have connected their social accounts to their Google profiles) with Google’s regular search results. The feature will go live this afternoon, and can be found within Google Labs.

The experimental feature, once activated, will display relevant search results from your social circle at the bottom of the search results page. This could be travel photos from your friends, a recent blog post, a set of status updates, or other information Google pulls.

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Google’s gurus Amit Singhal, Matt Cutts, and Murali Viswanathan admitted that they have been playing with the feature for several months, and it has been an eye-opening experience. Just imagine searching for pictures of Thailand and getting a set of photos from your best friend from last summer. It just means more.

For now, the feature is opt-in, only affects certain searches, and appear at the bottom of the search results page. However, we won’t be surprised if Social Search results start blending into regular search higher up the page. After all, your social circle is often far more relevant than even the top Wikipedia article on a subject. Google seems to betting on it in a big way.

Here’s a demo of social search from Google:



Source: Mashable

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Advanced Internet music player for YouTube

If you are a music fan, take a close look on a new service, recently featured by TheNextWeb. TubeRadio.fm is not just one more search engine for music videos on YouTube, but the interesting and comprehensive social community with the ability to build and share your video playlists of songs with others.

The slick iTunes-type interface allows you to search for music either via YouTube or via Last.fm’s database of releases. Then you can add individual tracks or whole albums to a playlist. As you play your favorite track, simultaneously the video clip is shown from the YouTube alongside with artist information from Last.fm and related lyrics (where available) displayed from Lyricsfly.com.

TubeRadio.fm isn’t just for personal use though; it’s got the beginnings of a strong social side thanks to embedded features of playlist sharing. You can share your music taste through Twitter, Facebook, by email, or by a copying a direct URL. You can even befriend other users of the service and show off your finely crafted playlists to them directly on the site.

Everything about TubeRadio.fm screams quality – right down to small touches like the way a floating thumbnail for a video that appears when you hover over an item in your playlist.

It was developed by a London-based duo over four months and they are currently hard at work developing version 2 of the service. The revamp is due for launch next month but the current interface and set of features is already quite impressive.

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The service is absolutely free for all users, and it is completely web-based, so you do not have to install any code on your computer.

Authors website: http://www.tuberadio.fm/



Video Review for TubeRadio.fm

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Panoramio – Google’s Community of Geolocated Photos

There are tons online web sites where you can store your images. It is hard to make something different to attract customers in fierce competition. Panoramio was able to get out of crowd and earn respect and solid reputation in the online community. Mere fact, that the company has been acquired by Google in 2007, proves value of its services and intellectual property.

Panoramio allows you to allocate photos on the map exactly over the place they were taken. So, every photo is linked with the particular place both physically and in your memory. You can store up to 2 Gb, approximately 2000 photos with 4 Mega Pixels camera, and your photos are stored at your personal area in their original size and quality.

The opportunity to link photos with particular place is particularly handy for tourists, backpackers, and travelers, where location makes a lot of sense in understanding of the photo content.

Note that Panoramio is absolutely not the same as Google Earth, even the sites are sharing some mutual technologies. So, uploading photos onto Panoramio does not automatically mean they will appear on Google Earth, and it will not happen instantly. Basically, photos get updated and nominated by the Panoramio Team as "Popular" and can be seen in the Popular Tab of the Panoramio World Map. These photos are then forwarded to Google Earth who then make their own selections.

When you have logged into the Panoramio site, and can see your photos, Blue Compasses next to the photos indicates that they have been approved for Google Earth and may get included in the next batch upload to Google Earth which usually happens on a monthly basis.

Website address: http://www.panoramio.com/

Samples:

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Friday, November 13, 2009

20 Recommendations on How to Take Proper Care of your Laptop

Mobile computers become our permanent companions. My son is taking his laptop in business trip. But higher utilization and various external “extreme” conditions might not be healthy for the laptop.

Sometimes, you cannot avoid the negative environment effect, but if you know, where to look, at least you will try to save your mobile friend from disaster, damaging it and destroying all valuable data inside.

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Once, I had to jump to the river with my clothes and all electrical toys I had with me, including GPS, Blackberry smart phone, walkie-talkie, and video player. Strangely enough, being for after 10 minutes under water, most of the electronics eventually recovered, actually all, but video player. However, my smart phone had to be replaced in several months, and my GPS still works, but slightly slower than before “swimming”.

So, we have to prevent our laptops from any potential damage as much as possible. Please refer to the following tips for a laptop to work on the maximal performance.

  1. Do not bring a beverage or liquid to the proximity of your laptop, if you want prevent liquid spills and any short circuits inside.
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  1. Do not put a laptop close to the magnetic field source, such as TV, Speaker, Radio Transmitters, Magnetic Tape, or phone. Magnetic field might substantially affect the hard drive components of your laptop.
  1. If you plan to carry your laptop around, use the special carrying case or bag. The certified cases are designed for the safer laptop transportation needs and protect the case from scratches, hits, direct sun light, etc. To keep the case clean, you might decide to spend some money on the special cleaning utilities, which can be purchased in computer stores.
  1. Prevent mechanical damage. Do not place or drop objects on top and do not insert any foreign objects into the Notebook PC.
  1. Do not move laptop before it is completely shut down. When the Hard Drive still working, and you move the laptop, the cylinder head might scratch the disk, causing the fatal damage, or it might affect the mechanics of the Hard Drive.
  1. Use stable electric power. All the computers with Windows Operating system hate, when you shut them down improperly. They scream aloud, when still alive. Sometimes, power break might cause permanent damage to the Hard Drive. Therefore, you might consider using the power stabilizer / power normalizer / UPS, if your electric power supply is not stable.
  1. Lend your laptop to no one. The laptop is intelligent device, which is already learned your lifestyle, working standards and techniques. You give one computer to a friend, and you get back absolutely different one. You do not recognize new programs; you see unfamiliar order in your directories. And what if the person is not familiar with virus threats? You might get back not laptop, but its “dead body”. 
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  1. Lock your notebook, when not around. This might sound unnecessary but locking your laptop will keep anyone around you from looking at what you are working on and ensure that anything private stays that way. To lock your laptop easily all you have to do is just press the Windows Key + L at the same time and it will lock your laptop. To unlock your laptop simply press Ctrl + Atl + Del and then enter your password and you will be returned back to exactly where you were previously.
  1. Install anti-virus and anti-malware software and update them periodically. Yes, it is a must in the modern world, when you are definite target for spam, viruses, Trojans, malware, greyware, adware, spyware, and more –wares. Note, that some malware elements might not be visible at first, so do not wait before you see the problem. Make the automatic scanning for viruses a part of your computer routine.
  1. Put the laptop into a horizontal position. Try to avoid working on your laptop when it is not placed horizontally on the flat surface. In addition to recommendations of ergonomists, your Hard Drive will suffer always, when it is not parallel to the ground. Save you eyes by choosing the proper working position, and save your drive as well.
  1. Store in places with normal temperature. Never leave your laptop in the parked closed car, if the weather is hot, and do not leave it in direct sun light. Excessive heat can damage the components of a laptop.
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  1. Avoid excessive humidity.  Regardless of the reason for the humidity, you should do your best to protect your laptop from humidity. This can cause damage to the motherboard as well as possible damage to the screen.
  1. Do not place laptop on a soft surface, while working. Laptops placed not on solid flat surface, are inclined to absorb heat very quick, so you might experience computer overheating pretty fast. It is definitely higher danger to drop it as well…
  1. Do not open and disassemble your laptop. It is a definite NO-NO, if your computer is still under warranty, since no technician will accept the responsibility for the computer damage, if there will be any signs of the forced entry. But even later, do not “try” to fix the computer, if you are not sure what you are doing. Sometimes, if there are just signs of the trouble, you can still revive the data. But, after repair attempts, in most cases, the data becomes unrecoverable.
  1. Wipe LCD screen with special clothes. Cleaning the monitor screen, use the special soft pad. Do not press too hard, and motion the pad in one direction only, from left to right. LCD is formed by liquid crystals, and its surface is thin and fragile. So, be careful and gentle while cleaning it. Using harsh cleaners like Windex, ammonia, or alcohol is not the best thing for your LCD screen.
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  1. Clean the keyboard with a vacuum cleaner or air sprayed on the sidelines of a button. Do not knock or shake the keyboard hard.
  1. Periodically check the laptop vents. It is recommended to review status of all the vents on your laptop at least once a week to ensure that they are clear and not blocked. Be sure you do not push anything into the air vents; the safest way to clean these vents typically is using a simple can of air that can be purchased at most computer supply stores.
  1. Check the fan. If your fan is not working correctly you could experience some huge problems with your laptop overheating, which can cause troubles with your monitor, memory or even the hard drive. To avoid this problem you need to make sure that the fan is working properly. If you are unsure whether the fan is working properly check the website for the laptop manufacturer, you can frequently find software there to use for testing purposes.
  1. Exercise caution when opening and closing the laptop screen. There are special hinges between LCD and the CPU case to allow you open monitor to the most convenient angle. These hinges are one of the weak points of the laptops design, so at the time of opening and closing laptop, be extra careful.
  1. Treat the battery properly. For the first time, the laptop battery should be charged completely, before you use the computer. Experts say that you need to charge and discharge the battery completely three times in the row for better battery performance and longer lifetime. You should do the same for the laptop, which was not used for month or longer. If you do not plan to use your laptop for long time, remove the battery from the laptop and store it separately.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

How to remove Floppy Drive icon from PC?

May be, I am too old, but I clearly remember, when 3.5” Floppy drives appeared on the market, replacing the old mild 5.25” Diskettes. I remember that at the beginning that was two types of the 3.5” diskettes – 0.7 MB and 1.4 MB. The latest were more expensive, and I was purchasing 0.7 MB and was drilling some holes to convert them into 1.4 MB. Good old time. How many of you are still use Floppy Disks?


It is not surprising that most of the modern computers do not came with Floppy Disk Drive, preinstalled on the machine at all. But still the Floppy icon as drive A: is visible in the configuration. I got request from one of the readers of this blog to explain how to remove it forever. My first reaction was to disable it in the BIOS. But do you really want to reboot your computer for that? I bet, some of the users even do not have a clue how to enter BIOS on their computers. (BTW, if you do need to enter BIOS for some reason, review my brief instruction with hot keys listed).

There are several ways to disable the Floppy Drive, which do not involve BIOS operations. Let’s take a look:

1. Registry

If you are comfortable with registry operation, there is a way to disable the Floppy Drive there.

  • Start – Run – type regedit in the box.
  • In the registry editor, navigate to the entry HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Policies\Explorer
  • Now right click in right side pane and create DWORD Value. Call the new registry value as "NoDrives". Double click on "NoDrives" to enter a Decimal value. This value depends on the drives you wish to hide, and is created by adding the numbers for each drive you wish to hide from the list below. Click OK once you have entered this number.
For example, to hide drive D you would enter a decimal value of 8. To hide both drives D and E, you would enter a decimal value of 24 (8+16).

Values for each drive per its letter:

A = 1
B = 2
C = 4
D = 8
E = 16
F = 32
  • Therefore, if you want to hide just A: drive, you may enter 1. If you want to hide both A: and B: drives, you may enter value 3.
2. Device Manager

There are several ways to enter Device Manager on your computer:

1. Click Start > Run
  • Type compmgmt.msc
  • Choose Disk Management in the left column.
2. Click Start > Run
  • Type devmgmt.msc
  • Device Manager will be open.
3. Right click on my computer
  • Select properties.
  • In the hardware tab select 'Device Manager'.
In the Device Manager listing you’ll see an entry “Floppy disk drives”.
Go to its sub entry which is named as Floppy disk drive.
With right click choose Properties service menu.
Next, you can go to Driver tab and select the Disable button.
System will ask for confirmation, click Yes. Then Click OK.

You see, there are multiple opportunities and ways to perform relatively simple task – removing your unneeded Floppy from Windows Explorer. And now it is up to you, which one you choose.


Monday, November 2, 2009

19 Common Facts about Computers

1. 80% of all pictures on the internet are of naked women.
2. Another name for a Microsoft Windows tutorial is 'Crash Course'!
3. Bill Gates' house was designed using a Macintosh computer.
4. By the year 2012 there will be approximately 17 billion devices connected to the Internet.
5. Domain names are being registered at a rate of more than one million names every month.
6. E-mail has been around longer than the World Wide Web.
7. For every 'normal' webpage, there are five porn pages.
8. In the 1980s, an IBM computer wasn't considered 100 percent compatible unless it could run Microsoft Flight Simulator*.
9. MySpace reports over 110 million registered users. Was it a country, it would be the tenth largest, just behind Mexico.
10. One of every 8 married couples in the US last year met online.
11. The average 21 year old has spent 5,000 hours playing video games, has exchanged 250,000 e-mails, instant and text messages and has spent 10,000 hours on the mobile phone.
12. The average computer user blinks 7 times a minute, less than half the normal rate of 20.
13. The first banner advertising was used in 1994.
14. The first computer mouse was invented by Doug Engelbart in around 1964 and was made of wood.
15. The first domain name ever registered was Symbolics.com.
16. The world's first computer, called the Z1, was invented by Konrad Zuse in 1936. His next invention, the Z2 was finished in 1939 and was the first fully functioning electro-mechanical computer.
17. There are approximately 1,319,872,109 people on the Internet.
18. There are approximately 1.06 billion instant messaging accounts worldwide.
19. While it took the radio 38 years, and the television a short 13 years, it took the World Wide Web only 4 years to reach 50 million users.


Wednesday, October 28, 2009

JPGFun: Apply Funny Photo Effects to your Images for Free

All my publications related to the free services helping you to make fun of your pictures with no experience and long hours to spend, were warmly accepted by readers, and I noticed immediate traffic increase impact from this site.

Jpgfun is one more easy-to-use free online service to edit your own photos, loaded on their server. You can improve your pics with multiple funny effects and nice frames, presented on the site (182 templates, as of today), or put your photo on a magazine cover through offered templates (40 templates, as of today). Authors even offer you some erotic backgrounds as well, if you want to make your images really spicy.

You can share your pictures-collages with your friends, discuss them, and laugh at them as much as you wish. Everything is included, and it is free.

How to Use JpgFun:

1. Upload your photo
2. Select what effect you want to use.
3. Mark the area you need. Click 'Create Picture'.

Also you are given a code which you can easily place on your blog or in your profiles at MySpace, Facebook, Orkut, Hi5 etc to show the photo to everybody.

Access the website: http://jpgfun.com/

If you like Jpgfun and want to explore its competitors, please check the following free services as well:

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

How to Upload Photos from Mobile Phone to Facebook

You captured a bunch of photos using the camera of your mobile phone - now how do you upload these pictures directly to Facebook without having to transfer them to a desktop computer?

There are basically three ways by which you can send photos from a mobile phone to the Facebook website - MMS, Mobile Phone Apps and Email. Let’s look at each of these options one by one.

Facebook Apps for Mobile

If you have a smartphone like the iPhone, BlackBerry, Windows Mobile or Nokia (with Ovi Store), you can visit m.facebook.com using the internet browser of your mobile phone and download the Facebook application for your device. These apps will often integrate with the camera function of your phone and provide an option to directly upload pictures to Facebook right after they’ve been taken.

Facebook MMS

Now if you are not carrying a smartphone but still want to move pictures from the phone to Facebook, you can use picture messaging or MMS. Here’s how it works.

Compose a new MMS message on your mobile phone and attach the image file that you want to post to your Facebook stream with the MSS message. Send that MMS to mobile@facebook.com (email, not phone) and Facebook will send you a confirmation code (via text) to associate your mobile phone number with your Facebook profile.

The MMS option looks like a nice technique for upload photos from old phones but the problem is that it may not always work as expected and secondly, sending MMS messages per picture (depending upon your carrier plan) can sometimes turn out to be an expensive proposition.

Facebook Email

Luckily, there’s another option provided your mobile phone can send email. Go to facebook.com/mobile, click on the Activate Facebook Mobile button, and note a special "upload" email address (like mobile@facebook.com) that has been assigned to you by Facebook. Any photograph (or video clip) that is sent to this address via email will instantly get posted to your Facebook page. Make sure the picture is included as an attachment to the email.

Much like Flickr, when you send a photo to this "unique" email address, the subject of your email message will be used as the photo caption.  And these photos will get saved in the "Mobile Uploads" photo album of your Facebook account visible to all your Facebook contacts. You can consider changing the privacy settings of your "Mobile Uploads" folder to change the default viewership of photographs upload from a mobile device.

Another tip - the email address assigned by Facebook can be quite long and complex so you may want to save it to your phone address book beforehand for easy access.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Modern Realities – Cyber War and Cyber Terrorism

Threats of cyber war were on the top of inquiries on a news conference, marking the opening of the ITU Telecom World exhibition and forum in Geneva.

"The next world war could begin in cyberspace," warned Hamadoun TourĂ©, secretary general of the International Telecommunication Union, the United Nations agency that organized the event.

The beginnings of such an unconventional war could be out of the control of conventional diplomacy, he said, because in cyberspace "there is no such thing as a superpower: Every citizen is a superpower." With an army of "bots," or compromised computers, at their command, almost anyone could wield great power in a virtual battle, as a number of recent denial of service attacks against targets around the world have shown.

"We know from conventional wars that the best way to win is not to start," Touré said.
That's why the ITU is pushing an ambitious worldwide program for cyber security and peace.

"By the end of next year, we will broker a global agreement with every country to protect its citizens online, not to harbor cyber terrorists, and not to start an online attack," he said.

But, the real cyber weapon is already in use by different political and religious groups, and even by different countries.

For example, on August 8, 2008, Nino Doijashvili, CEO of Atlanta-based hosting company Tulip Systems was paying a visit to her home town in Tsiblinki, Georgia, thus putting her at the nexus of the first modern use of cyber attacks in conjunction with an invasion. While Russia amassed a force of 150 tanks on the border of Georgia, and while the world was occupied with the Olympics in Beijing, and coincidently just after NATO decided to postpone voting on admitting Georgia into its alliance, there began a concerted denial of service (DoS) attack against Georgia.

Russian nationalists (or maybe, it was direct governmental strategic attack) who wished to take part in the attack on Georgia could do so from anywhere with an internet connection, simply by visiting one of several pro-Russia websites and downloading the software and instructions needed to perform a “distributed denial of service” (DDoS) attack. This involves sending a flood of bogus requests to an internet server, so that it is overwhelmed by the demand and becomes unusable.

One website, called StopGeorgia, provided a utility called DoSHTTP, plus a handy list of target websites, including those of Georgian government agencies and the British and American embassies in the capital, Tbilisi. Launching an attack was as simple as entering the address and clicking a button labelled “Start Flood”. The StopGeorgia website helpfully indicated which target sites were still active and which had collapsed under the weight of bogus requests. Other websites explained how to write simple programs to send a flood of requests, or offered specially formatted webpages that could be set to reload themselves continuously, deluging particular Georgian websites with traffic.

Knowing something about bandwidth and server hosting Doijashvili offered the services of her hosting facilities to the Georgian government who agreed. Now attacks targeted against Georgian government websites were finding their way to AtlantaGeorgia in the U.S. So, Tulip Systems got directly involved in a cyber shooting war between Eastern European states.

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Another wave of cyber attacks on Estonia in 2007 brought down key financial and state systems and had demonstrated how cyber-terrorism could take down national infrastructure with "very serious consequences”. This time, it was just one 20-year old, acting by himself; there was no ideological motive behind it, so it wasn't a terrorist attack per se, but it did illustrate clearly the potential harm that could be done.

Suleyman Anil, head of NATO's Computer Incident Response Capability Co-ordination Centre, admitted that determined cyber attack on a country's online infrastructure would be "practically impossible to stop". Anil believes the threat will continue to grow as terrorist groups become aware of the potential to cause maximum damage at minimal cost. Cyberwar could become a very effective strategy because it is low-risk, low-cost, highly effective and easily globally deployable. It is almost an ideal weapon that nobody can ignore.

Threat to the World though cyber terrorism becomes more and more real, as modern society is getting hocked on the fruits of the new computerized technologies on all life aspects.

Sources and Additional Information:

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Free Virtual Desktop GoPC for Travelers

You love your computer, and you carefully select your applications for your personal and business life. But, there are occasions, when you are not at home, and your laptop is not available. With free virtual computer, offered by GoPC, you are still able to operate your virtual desktop from anywhere and feel as you never left your desk.

GOPC gives you the full functionality of a standard desktop PC but with the power and flexibility of online applications. This means that you can login to your GOPC from any Internet-connected computer and work from anywhere in the world.

The new GOPC personal computer runs off a standard USB stick drive, iPod or simply over the Internet. Simply plug in your USB drive into any computer and you're quickly connected to your online PC. You can access all your work whether you're at home, work, campus, or traveling anywhere in the world and you never have to carry a computer with you.

What is GoPC?
GoPC can become your personal floating desktop. It is "cloud computing" and it does everything your physical PC does without you being tied to it.
  • Create, edit and store Word, Excel or Powerpoint files without software.
  • Access email attachments instantly without downloading them.
  • Edit your photos.
  • Collaborate with colleagues.
With complete privacy, your personal desktop runs from any physical PC or Mac with broadband Internet. Run GoPC at work, on campus, from home or anywhere.

How does it work?
Your personal desktop, applications and data all run in a supercomputing data center and are delivered from the Internet, referred to as a network cloud. The screen image is encrypted and transmitted via the Internet to the PC you've logged in from, which is effectively just working like a dumb TV screen.

Everything is centralized and private so you can access it from anywhere, anytime, from anything. It runs the same on an old PC or the latest Apple Mac as long as you've got a clear Internet link. And with no data on the PC and using the same encryption level as your bank your privacy is assured.

GO.PC is the next generation of "cloud computing" technology. For individuals it means not having to rely on a single physical PC. For a school, small business or the enterprise, it hosts the complexity of the network and collaboration requirements within the "cloud" and can be configured automatically.

Data Sharing
GOPC also allows you to share files or directories with other GOPC users, exactly the same as if you were all together in a local area network. You can set up shared drives and folders so your friends and family can access your photos.

How can it be free?
There are almost no software license costs. The applications are Open Source Software (OSS) and so FREE. Developers add value by selecting the best applications, pre-packaging and hosting them so they're ready for anybody to use within a few minutes without having to install anything onto the local PC.

GOPC gives you a host of open source programs that are functionally equivalent to and compatible with programs such as Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint, PhotoShop and many other programs that you're familiar with. All the files you create with these Open-Source applications are in the same standard file formats so are fully editable in these Microsoft and Adobe programs and visa versa.

Try it yourself
This demo is a limited facsimile of the live system. You can launch applications from the Start menu, click and move the desktop icons or double click and launch them. Drag around the application windows as you launch them and then close them down. Click the Start button and check through the menu. It's designed to give you a sense of what GoPC is. But there's nothing compares to a full test drive with all the applications running. It takes 2 minutes to create your own personal GoPC ID then login to the live system and experience the freedom and privacy of cloud computing with your own data.

Free Account Limitations
As you understand, there should be somewhere a catch. Why developers can offer you so rich functionality on complementary basis? That is right. Because, they offer several levels of the functionality features that are naturally billable. So, what are the limitations of the free account?
  • Disk Quota: 250 MB.
  • Mail: not available.
  • Group Collaboration: not available.
  • Spam Protection: not available.
  • Printing: not available.
  • Shared storage: not available.
  • Some programs: not available.
Summary
In spite of the significant limitations on the free account functionality, the service is still interesting and useful for those, who need virtual computer assistance during vacation, business visits, or else.

Website Access: http://www.gopc.net/

Screenshot:
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Tuesday, September 22, 2009

37 Failed Technology Predictions from the Past

Throughout history man has been making predictions of the future. With the advent of technology, the predictions moved away from religious topics to scientific and technological. Unfortunately for the speakers (and most of them were well-respected and widely-known public features), a big chunk of these failed predictions have been recorded for all future generations to laugh at. Actually, no one can be right all the time, so the failed predictions are not to be used to accuse the authors in lack of competency.

Following is a list of 37 feature predictions which never came true.

1.  High speed Rails

Dr. Dionysus Larder (1793-1859) predicted that
“Rail travel at high speed is not possible because passengers, unable to breathe, would die of asphyxia”.
Dr. Dionysus was a professor of Natural Philosophy and Astronomy at University College London.

2.  Making of a Ship against Wind

When Napoleon Bonaparte was told of Robert Fulton’s steamboat in 1800, his statement was
“How, sir, would you make a ship sail against the wind and currents by lighting a bonfire under her deck? I pray you, excuse me, I have not the time to listen to such nonsense.”
3.  Railroads is a bad system

Martin Van Buren, Governor of New York, in 1830 wrote to the president that
“Dear Mr. President: The canal system of this country is being threatened by a new form of transportation known as ‘railroads’ … As you may well know, Mr. President, ‘railroad’ carriages are pulled at the enormous speed of 15 miles per hour by ‘engines’ which, in addition to endangering life and limb of passengers, roar and snort their way through the countryside, setting fire to crops, scaring the livestock and frightening women and children. The Almighty certainly never intended that people should travel at such breakneck speed”.
4.  Telephone has Shortcomings

It was printed in a memo at Western Union in 1878 (or may be 1876) that
“This ‘telephone’ has too many shortcomings to be seriously considered as a means of communication. The device is inherently of no value to us”.
5.  Electric Light will close as well

Oxford professor Erasmus Wilson predicted that
“When the Paris Exhibition [of 1878] closes, electric light will close with it and no more will be heard of it”.
Today, we can’t expect life without electricity.

6.  British Post don’t Need Telephone

It seems British were not believing on fast communications. In 1878, British Post Office gave a statement that
“The Americans have need of the telephone, but we do not. We have plenty of messenger boys”.
How backward thought they were having.

7.  X-rays will be nothing but a Hoax

In 1883, the president of Royal Society Mr Lord Kevin stated that
“X-rays will prove to be a hoax”.
8.  Alternating Current – A waste of time

Thomas Edison was an American inventor. In 1889 he commented that
“Fooling around with alternating current is just a waste of time. Nobody will use it, ever".
Edison was fond of passing ridiculous arguments against his competitor George Westinghouse for AC power.

9.  Impossible Flight of Machines Heavier than Air

“Flight by machines heavier than air is unpractical and insignificant, if not utterly impossible.”
This was predicted by Simon Newcomb. The prediction turned false when The Wright Brothers flew at Kitty Hawk 18 months later.

10.  Very Poor Energy by an Atom

Ernest Rutherford predicted that
"The energy produced by the breaking down of the atom is a very poor kind of thing".
He gave his statement just after splitting the atom for the first time. He further stated that
"Anyone who expects a source of power from the transformation of these atoms is talking moonshine.”

11.  Submarine will do nothing

HG Wells was a British novelist. In 1901, he stated that
“I must confess that my imagination refuses to see any sort of submarine doing anything but suffocating its crew and floundering at sea”.
Wish he was still alive to see how submarines are playing a role in defense of a country.

12. Automobile will never replace Horse

We can see how automobile has replaced horses. But in 1903, the president of Michigan Savings Bank advised Henry Ford’s lawyer not to invest in Ford Motor Co. According to him,
“The horse is here to stay but the automobile is only a novelty – a fad”.
This means he was not trusting on mechanical engineering at all.

13.  Transmitting voice across the Atlantic

In 1913, Lee DeForest sold the stock of his Radio Telephone Company by making a prediction that
“It would be possible to transmit the human voice across the Atlantic before many years".
14.  People want to see flesh and blood

In 1916, Charlie Chaplin, the actor, producer, director and studio founder, stated that
“The cinema is little more than a fad. It’s canned drama. What audiences really want to see is flesh and blood on the stage”.
It has been proved that audience is more interested towards love stories

15.  Cavalry will never be replaced by Iron Coaches

In 1916, Aide-de-camp passed his comment to Field Marshal Haig at the tank demonstration that
“The idea that cavalry will be replaced by these iron coaches is absurd. It is little short of treasonous".
16.  Wireless Music box has no Value

When Associates of David Sarnoff was asked to invest in the radio in 1921, he stated that
“The wireless music box has no imaginable commercial value. Who would pay for a message sent to no one in particular?”.
In modern era, people love going wireless.

17.  Projecting Man in Gravitational Field

In 1926, Lee DeForest again predicted that
“To place a man in a multi-stage rocket and project him into the controlling gravitational field of the moon where the passengers can make scientific observations, perhaps land alive, and then return to earth – all that constitutes a wild dream worthy of Jules Verne. I am bold enough to say that such a man-made voyage will never occur regardless of all future advances”.
The thing to remember is that Lee DeForest was inventor of the vacuum tube as well.

18.  Bigger Plane?
“There will never be a bigger plane built”.
That was confidently said by a Boeing engineer, after the first flight of the 247, a twin engine plane that holds ten people. We can see Airbus A380 in action.

19.  Nuclear Energy will not be Obtainable

In 1932, Albert Einstein stated that
“There is not the slightest indication that nuclear energy will ever be obtainable. It would mean that the atom would have to be shattered at will”
20.  Rocket will never leave Earth’s atmosphere

In 1936, New York Times predicted that
“A rocket will never be able to leave the Earth’s atmosphere.”
21. Rockets manufacturing is Impossible.

"Rockets are too far-fetched to be considered." -- Editor of Scientific American, in a letter to Robert Goddard about Goddard's idea of a rocket-accelerated airplane bomb, 1940 (German V2 missiles came down on London 3 years later).

22.  The bomb will never go off

In 1945, Admiral William D. Leahy, Chief of Staff to the Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy during World War II, advised President Truman on the atomic bomb that
“This is the biggest fool thing we have ever done. The bomb will never go off, and I speak as an expert in explosives.”
23.  Television won’t capture any Market

In 1946, Darryl Zanuck predicted that
“Television won’t be able to hold on to any market it captures after the first six months. People will soon get tired of staring at a plywood box every night”.
Darryl was a movie producer of 20th Century Fox.

24.  Television is a Flash

Mary Somerville, the pioneer of radio educational broadcasts stated that
“Television won’t last. It’s a flash in the pan".
He passed his statement in 1948 after the introduction of Television in market.

25.  Market for Copying Machines

IBM passed a statement to the eventual founders of Xerox that
“The world potential market for copying machines is 5000 at most.”
Furthermore, saying that
"the photocopier had no market large enough to justify production".
The statement was passed in 1959.

26.  Communication Space Satellites

T. Craven, FCC Commissioner in 1961 stated that
“There is practically no chance communications space satellites will be used to provide better telephone, telegraph, television, or radio service inside the United States.”
27.  Computers in Home

This was made by Ken Olson, the president, chairman and founder of Digital Equipment Corporation (DEC). In 1977, he passed a statement against computers which was that
“There is no reason anyone would want a computer in their home.”
Being a founder of DEC, a maker of big business mainframe computers, he was still stating against computers which was really hilarious.

28.  Music Recording will kill Music

In 1980, a campaign was started by BPI claiming that people recording music off the radio onto cassette would destroy the music industry. The slogan for the campaign was set as
“Home Taping Is Killing Music”.
29.  Heavier than Air Flying Machines
“Heavier-than-air flying machines are impossible”;
in 1895 Lord Kelvin, British mathematician and physicist, president of the British Royal Society gave his statement.

30.  Nuclear-powered Vacuum Cleaners

Another interesting prediction made by Alex Lewis, president of vacuum cleaner company – Lewis Corporation, was
“Nuclear-powered vacuum cleaners will probably be a reality in 10 years”.
31.  32-bit Operating System

Another hilarious prediction was made by Bill Gates, the CEO of Microsoft corporation, that
“We will never make a 32 bit operating system”.
The prediction turned false when Windows 98 was released by Microsoft.

32. Memory demand is Limited

"640K ought to be enough for anybody." or "No one will need more than 637 kilobytes of memory for a personal computer." are two variants of the same quote, often misattributed to Bill Gates in 1981. Gates has repeatedly denied ever saying this, and he points out that it has never been attributed to him with a proper source. In fact, the memory limitation was due to the hardware architecture of the IBM PC.

33. No Military Value of Using Airplanes

"Airplanes are interesting toys but of no military value." -- Marechal Ferdinand Foch, Professor of Strategy, Ecole Superieure de Guerre, 1904.

34. Automobile Development

"That the automobile has practically reached the limit of its development is suggested by the fact that during the past year no improvements of a radical nature have been introduced." -- Scientific American, Jan. 2 edition, 1909.

35. Telephone is Hoax

"A man has been arrested in New York for attempting to extort funds from ignorant and superstitious people by exhibiting a device which he says will convey the human voice any distance over metallic wires so that it will be heard by the listener at the other end. He calls this instrument a telephone. Well-informed people know that it is impossible to transmit the human voice over wires." -- News item in a New York newspaper, 1868.

36. E-commerce

"Remote shopping, while entirely feasible, will flop - because women like to get out of the house, like to handle merchandise, like to be able to change their minds." -- TIME, 1966, in one sentence writing off e-commerce long before anyone had ever heard of it.

37. Space Operations
“By the year 2000 we will undoubtedly have a sizable operation on the Moon, we will have achieved a manned Mars landing, and it’s entirely possible we will have flown with men to the outer planets.”
This is prediction of Wernher von Braun in 1969, who was  was a German American rocket physicist and astronautics engineer, becoming one of the leading figures in the development of rocket technology in Germany and the United States.

Sources and Additional Information:

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Reason, Why I Joined Facebook… and 15 more Reasons to Use It

After getting quite a few unanswered invitations to join Facebook, I finally gave up, and signed in yesterday. In this post, I just want to present my rambling thought of how useful it can be, and how it might help in day-to-day life.

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First of all, this is not the first social network I have joined in my life. I will list just few of them:
  • LinkedIn – I joined LinkedIn long time ago, but for several years did not put much attention and efforts there. However, recent economic recession cause loosing several professional contacts due to lay-offs. And where is the better place to keep them handy? I guess, LinkedIn is pretty good for these purposes. I will be probably looking more there, when time will come to look for new job. Searching through personal network will help to identify a person, who might have a potential opportunity to help there. Communication there? Not really. Just refreshing the status and wondering, who landed where.
  • Twitter – I joined Twitter several months ago just to see what is this “wonder child of the blogosphere”? It is working pretty much as an instrument to spread a word about my blog posts. The list of the followers is growing (it is about 200 now), and amount of readers is growing as well. Did I ever use this tool for communication? No way. Will I ever use it to update the group of my virtual or real friends on what I am doing every moment? Never. Specialists claim, however, that this minimalistic type of the communication (in row with SMS) has a long and bright future due to the lifestyle changes. My English profile: http://twitter.com/nesher9. My Russian profile: http://twitter.com/Mishutka9
  • Odnoklassniki – a Russian social network (analog to www.classmates.com). This was a cultural shock at first. When you can find almost all your friends, lost and forgotten, when you can talk to people, which you never dreamt you’ll talk again, that was big. After a while, the excitement decreases, and the normal life and communication replace the day-and-night chatting there. It is still great having an opportunity to talk, to write, and to chat with any of your friends, even thou I am not using that often. It just mean feeling more in a control of your life, like being able collect it all together.
So, I am debating with myself, what exactly I am looking for in Facebook? What can I get there, which I cannot get from all mentioned and dozen unmentioned social networks and blogging communities, I am a member of? Communication? May be. My blogs promotion? Possibly. Most likely, I am trying to get recognition to all my blogs from my friends? I do not look for more traffic; it will not be comparable with the traffic I am getting from search engines. I have emails and comments from people, so I cannot say that I am not getting any feedback on what I am working on. But… all these people, who I do not now, and I will never meet in real life. So, I need some kind of recognition for people, who I meet regularly. Like the recognition, I once got, when was publishing computer-related articles in a local magazine. People were asking for advice, people were sharing stories… I felt good, when I was able to help. Now, when somebody is asking for web addresses of my blogs among friends, I am usually reluctant to give that information, since I feel it like a shameless promotion. But, Facebook posts give a chance to everybody on the list for a glimpse of what I am working on, and may be find something useful and touching. Everybody needs some sort of acceptance and self-realization. And purely virtual acceptance might not be sufficient. So, this is my own main reason to join Facebook. It is possible, with getting more experience with Facebook, the new perspectives will open up.

From technical points of view, I like the enormous abilities to integrate the adds-in applications in the Facebook profile. It might include calendar and organizers’ widgets, virtual home office, games, messengers, and informational widgets. That allows converting the Facebook start-up profile page into alternative homepage.

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Next, I took a close look, how and for which purposes other people use Facebook. Let’s review briefly main approaches:

  1. Looking for old co-workers and current connections.  By adding old coworkers and old friends to Facebook, you can feel more connected to them without having to actively maintain a conversation via email. You feel you can touch base with them any time you feel like that, even thou you might not need that for long time. Also, you can look for business opportunities out of shared interests.
  2. Add friends selectively. Contrary to popular belief, Facebook isn’t about “collecting” friends. There’s no reward for quantity, and you can have a rich experience on the platform with only a handful of connections. The quality of your Facebook experience will be based on the quality of the people in your network. You can create a limited profile for those people that you are on the fence about whether to include. By default your limited profile contains everything in your full profile, so take the time to edit it down.
  3. Add apps selectively. Right now, there are over 2000 apps you can add to your Facebook profile. The temptation may be to try them all. Don’t. Just because you can add Love Quotes to your profile, it doesn’t mean you should if you want Facebook to be a professional tool for you. Pick apps that won’t waste your time when you visit your Facebook home page, so avoid those that involve playing games. Read the app description carefully and know exactly what you’re getting, and what the privacy settings are before you go. It helps to see how your contacts are using the app first. But never fear, worst comes to worst you can remove an app as easily as you added it. Think of your apps in two ways…what do you want to see (that will appear on your Facebook home page) and what do I want the world to see (that will appear on your profile)? You might consider adding an app that you don’t display on your profile at all, but it uses the collective wisdom and usage patterns of your network to provide you with valuable information. Or, if you visit your Facebook home page often it can help keep you organized having nothing to do with your friends’ actions.
  4. Edit your news feed preferences. You don’t necessarily have to know the moment someone adds a new picture, but you may want to know when they’ve made a new connection you may have in common. Click the “preferences” button on your Facebook home page and use the sliders to give preference to the type of information you want. The more you fine-tune this information, the less time you’ll waste sifting through useless updates.
  5. Edit your profile and security settings. Give careful consideration to exactly who sees your profile and when. Don’t take the default settings which tend to expose more information than you may be comfortable. Take the time to go through each link in the Privacy area and make necessary adjustments. Maybe you don’t want people who are casually searching to know who your friends are or “poke” you. Maybe you don’t want a public profile (accessible to people who are not on Facebook). This is especially true if your primary network is geography-based. It’s one thing to share your full profile with everyone who went to the same college or high school you did, it’s another to share your profile with everyone in the New York City metropolitan area.
  6. Incorporate the tools you’re already using into your profile. Web workers like playing with all the latest toys. Do you blog? Do you Twitter, Pownce or Jaiku? Do you read feeds? There are Facebook apps available for all these services. If you have already use these tools professionally, why not add them to your Facebook profile? After you add the respective app, you simply do what you were already doing and let the app do the work. You can see the Twitter updates from your Facebook contacts without necessarily following their updates in Twitter itself. If your blog is on WordPress.com, you can add the WordPress app and your posts will automatically be pushed to your Facebook profile, along with recent comments. If you don’t host your blog with WordPress.com, you can easily use the built-in Notes application to post your blog feed as you publish. It will let your contacts know through your mini-feed when you’ve posted a new entry. Since your friends can edit their news feeds as easilly as you can, they can control how much of your life they really want to see. The Google Reader Shared Items app publishes to your profile those items you’ve shared in Google Reader, as the name implies. Do you think your contacts would like to read that interesting post? Don’t disturb them by emailing them, click the “Share” button in Google Reader and now it’s right there on your profile with minimal added effort on your part. The “Top Shared” panel takes a del.icio.us/popular approach to showing the most shared posts across everyone who has installed the app.
  7. Join Groups related to your business interests. Many groups on Facebook are nonsense, but there are quite a few that can provide useful information and professional connections. Each group can feature a Wall (like a guestbook…a continuous scroll of messages) and threaded discussion lists. Rather than trying to search for groups, watch the groups that your friends are joining, as often you will find them of interest for yourself. After all, they’re in your contact list because you have something in common, right?
  8. Limit time wasted on Facebook. Facebook can suck you in easily. Remember, you have work to do. You won’t help your career if you fall behind on projects because you were too busy playing with embedded games and applications. If you find that you’re spending too much time reading Facebook message boards or reading about your friends’ favorite book selections then set limits for yourself. Facebook is a black hole. In order to get the most of Facebook, you have to be on the platform. Consider the Facebook toolbar for Firefox which will notify when you have a reason to go check the home page. You can also work with Facebook from your mobile phone, so think about babysitting your profile while you’re waiting in line or otherwise bored and not being productive anyway. 
  9. Be philanthropic. And look good to your friends while doing it. Can Facebook change the world? Probably not. But you can do your part and show it off. You can join groups that stand for actions you believe in. Use your Facebook profile to show the best side of you to your contacts, and if the environment or a cause benefits from your actions then all the better.
  10. Ask Questions. Don’t know the best resource for a particular problem? Maybe your network can provide some insight. Many of us have used our blogs for this very purpose. Asking your question on Facebook instead filters out the general public, and doesn’t leave a trail for Google to follow.
  11. Look for events. It’s not all concerts. There’s some opportunity for good, face-to-face business networking if you’re open to it. Or you can use Facebook’s built-in events application to see what conferences and events your connections may be attending.
  12. Utilize FBML. Facebook Markup Language allows page developers to create their own applications to feature tools that aren’t available by traditional Facebook applications. With FBML, you can allow users to sign up for email updates and make a donation without leaving Facebook. 
  13. Use Facebook Connect. This tool allows you to link your page with your Web site. Facebook users can publish stories from your site to their Facebook page which will then show up in their friends’ news feeds. Recent studies have shown that an established website experiences an increase of growth from using Facebook Connect.   
  14. Publish photos. People love sharing photos on Facebook. If you want to get some buzz going on a company event, a new office, any newsworthy event whatsoever, take plenty of photos and share them on Facebook. Your friends will share the photos, comment on them, and talk about them on Twitter. All this attracts more people to your Page or group and solidifies relationships with your friends. And ... it's fun! 
  15. Do Video. Seriously. The barrier to creating videos has lowered so much, there’s almost no excuse to not make a video of what you’re doing. Phones do video. My camera does video. I’m pretty sure the toaster will do video soon enough. Video is an extraordinarily powerful medium to get stories and concepts across to people quickly. You've got a few options with Facebook video:
- use the Facebook video app. This is great for short videos, especially if your friends are in it. It has the same tagging functionality as the Photos app, so can spread through newsfeeds effectively.
- use a dedicated video site like YouTube or Vimeo. Both YouTube and Vimeo have pretty awesome Facebook integration. If you’re already using them then make sure you share the videos in your newsfeed or you can use the dedicated applications.

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