Monday, September 29, 2008

Notepad 2008 - A text editor with the Ribbon UI

Like the ribbon in MS Office 2007? Well, here is text editor for you with a lovely ribbon interface - Notepad 2008. Notepad 2008 is slightly more functional than the default Windows Notepad application and closely resembles Wordpad. You will get the basic formatting functions - justification, font type and size, plus a search and replace feature.


The ribbon, accompanied by three different themes, gives a nice facelift to an otherwise bland text editor. The tabbed interface is also a must these days. It is a good replacement for Notepad but falls short of better Notepad applications like Notepad++.

You may require .Net framework 3.5 to run Notepad 2008.

Download (direct download)

[via Lifehacker]

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Tile opened tabs in Firefox with Split Browser

One of the latest features of Opera version 9.5 is the ability to arrange tabs in cascade or in a grid. Open source developers were quick to come up with yet another extension to mimic the same effect in Firefox. The addon called Split Browser, allows you to split the viewing window of your browser so that you can view multiple tabs at the same time.

Split Browser is flexible and you can arrange the tabs in whatever way you like. To be honest, it's a little confusing and except the horizontally tiled, and the grid layout, any other layout pattern is essentially useless. The one and only use of this addon is if you want to compare multiple web pages, or want to keep a particular page on display at all times. Going by the download figures, however, it seems that it's quite a popular addon.


A lot of screen real estate is essential to do anything productive with this feature turned on.


A productive Split Browser layout


A not-so productive Split Browser layout

Track and recover stolen laptop with open source Adeona

A few months ago I wrote how you can prevent laptop theft, track and recover stolen laptops with four different tools and services. Here is another addition to it - Adeona, the first open source laptop tracking software. A small software client is installed in your laptop which continually monitors the current location of the laptop, gathering information such as IP addresses and local network topology, that can be used to identify its current location. This information is then encrypted and sent to the Open Source OpenDHT distributed storage service. Only the laptop owner can retrieve these information from the storage. If your laptop gets stolen, Adeona will continue to transmit location information of the laptop unknown to the thief which will hopefully enable you to zero in on him or her.

The Mac version of Adeona can also capture picture of the laptop user or thief through the built in webcam like this.

adeona-isight10 adeona-isight11 

Wanted: Dead or Alive! 

Interestingly, each of these tracking tools that I reviewed earlier functions differently.

LocatePC, a freeware, sends you a secret email message from your laptop containing vital information about the laptop location, while Adeona sends information to a central server that is accessible only to you. Both these tools stresses on privacy since nobody but the laptop owner can know about the laptop's location. Laptop Alarm, another freeware, emits an alarm when somebody shutdowns the laptop or disconnects the AC and tries to take it giving you a few seconds to grab the thief and prevent the theft, provided that you are around. The alarm could also startle the thief and he might even abandon it in fright. If the thief manages to carry it away in spite of it, Laptop Alarm will send SMS to you providing information of the laptop location at a price.

Then there are professional services like LoJack and nTrack that will work with the police to track and recover your laptop for you at a reasonable price but by sacrificing your privacy. With free tools like Adeona and LocatePC you will have all the necessary information which you just have to take it to the police. The only thing that needs to be worried is whether the police will work hard enough to nab the thief.

Friday, September 26, 2008

An open source tool to split and merge PDF files

PDF Split and Merge or pdsam is a free, Java based open source utility to split and merge PDF documents. The program's interface looks dated but that's because it runs on the Java platform. And because it runs on Java it is platform independent.

Pdsam is simple to use. To merge documents, select Merge/Extract from the left pane and load the PDF files you want to merge. Arrange the files in the order you want to merge. If a PDF file is password protected, there is a provision to enter the password for the files. You can merge all pages of the file or selected pages by specifying the page numbers, the same way you do when printing pages.


To split a PDF file, select the Split option and load the file. There are different ways in which the file can be split.

  • Split the pdf file into single pages, one pdf file-one page
  • Split the pdf file into files each made of  "n" pages
  • Split the pdf file every even page
  • Split the pdf file every odd page
  • Split  the pdf file at specific page numbers 
  • Split the pdf file according to selected size

It's apparent that the author has put every options that he can think of. But he is smart enough not to make them all available in the basic version. He has decided to make it open source and yet make some money out of it. So there is an Enhanced version which is available at a donation starting from $1. The enhanced version has additional features like:

  • Encrypt your pdf files (RC40 bits, RC128 bits, AES128 bits) and set permissions on them.
  • Add a pdf cover or footer (or both) to your pdf documents.
  • Mix alternate pages taken from two pdf documents in straight or reverse order into a single document.
Plus you get the source code.

AcceleRun -The most feature rich Application launcher

I have reviewed a number of application launcher in the past but I haven't seen one with so many functions. AcceleRun was hiding in some remote corner of the Internet, thanks to, that I stumbled upon it. AcceleRun is primarily an application launcher. Now I have seen so many application launcher in the past that I wasn't interested in another one. But after using it I discovered that AcceleRun is much more than that.

AcceleRun's various utilities is available from the system tray via two menus - one each for the right and left click.

accelerun-left accelerun-right

The 'AcceleRun' you see at the top of the right menu is the application launcher. Type the first few letters of a program and immediately you will be presented with a list of programs and files to open. If the program you wish to run does not appear on the list you can drag and drop the shortcut to it's window to add that program to it's index.


AcceleRun is also a calculator. Basic calculation can done right inside the search box.

The Favorites on the right menu enables you to drag and drop the shortcut of 10 most used program to it for quicker access.


On the left menu you can see shortcuts to useful items like My Documents, Control Panel, Add/Remove etc.

'Create menu at Quick Launch Bar' allows you to create your own groups of quick launch menus. It can contain shortcuts to anything from programs and folders to files.

Additionally it has a Start Menu customization wizard, empty shortcuts wizard, uninstall selected program feature, memory optimizer and audio volume control with mouse wheel. This is impressive, to say the least. A program definitely worth trying.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

KingSoft Office 2007 Free Personal Edition - The best replacement for MS Office

Microsoft Office is the most popular office suite among computer users. But how many of you have actually bought it? The fact is Microsoft Office is costly and yet many of us prefer to pirate it rather than seek an alternative, because all free alternatives to MS Office has a new interface and requires a new learning curve. OpenOffice.Org has been available for a long time yet very few people use it compared to MS Office, because of it's unfamiliar look. The fear of having to learn something all over again is the major reason that prevents people from switching. For such users, there is one alternative - Kingsoft Office.

Kingsoft Office, an office suite developed by the Chinese software developer Kingsoft and better know as WPS Office in Chinese, has one of the closest looking interface to Microsoft Office.


Kingsoft Writer


Kingsoft Spreadsheets


Kingsoft Presentation

At less than 50MB download, Kingsoft Office 2007 is a small and compact office suite but with plenty of features. It has three main components - Kingsoft Writer, Kingsoft Spreadsheets and Kingsoft Presentation. All the three products look similar to MS Office 2003's Word, Excel and PowerPoint respectively, and at first glance it's impossible to tell them apart. The toolbar layout, the menu items, the icons ... all resemble those of MS Office. This means that migrating MS Office users will feel immediately at home. Besides, it supports all office formats including those of so all your previous documents will work with it. Kingsoft Office 2007 has a small memory footprint enabling it to run in even older computers.

The free version of Kingsoft Office 2007 has some limitations - it cannot save files in PDF format and is ad supported. But we will tolerate some ads in return for a freeware. For some reason, this version is not yet released through their official site though it was supposed to have been made available last month. So you have to download it through another site.

The 100 days trial version of the latest version, Kingsoft Office 2009 (price USD49) is available for download. You might want to check that out too.

Reorder buttons in Windows taskbar with Taskix

Taskix is an extremely small Windows program that allows you to reorder the buttons on your taskbar by simply dragging and dropping. If "Group similar taskbar buttons" is set, you can move these groups around and even reorder buttons inside a group. However, you can't move buttons out of a group.


If you are looking for some more functions, then try Taskbar Shuffle. Apart from allowing drag and drop of taskbar items to rearrange them, Taskbar Shuffle also allows you reorder your tray icons in the same way, close buttons with the middle-click and some minor tweaking of taskbar buttons grouping. Taskbar Shuffle takes up a little more memory space compared to Taskix, but I'm sure you can afford 4MB of memory footprint.

[via Lifehacker]

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Run Linux live CDs within Windows without a restart

Sometimes you might want to run a Linux live CD but don't want to reboot your computer because you are working on something else. One solution to this problem is to set up a virtual system and test the Live CD on it. But if you don't want to bother even with virtualization then MobaLiveCD is the tool for you.

MobaLiveCD is a freeware Windows only application that allows you to run Linux live CDs within Windows. Based on the QEMU emulator, MobaLiveCD does not require any installation. It's extremely light and you can run it from a thumb drive and simply point it to the ISO file. You can also install a small context menu addon that will enable you to run live CDs directly from within Windows Explorer by right clicking on an ISO file. It also allows you to create a virtual hard drive and save data from your live CD sessions.


MobaLiveCD does not require you to burn any CDs, but that is also a disadvantage of this program. It can run only ISO files, which means that if you have a live CD in a physical medium like CD or DVD, you can't run it with MobaLiveCD. Besides, it takes a hell lot of time to launch the OS, but that's expected since you are running an operating system inside another. Otherwise it's a nice little application to add to your collection.

[via Lifehacker]

How to add a start page to your Blogger blog

In Wordpress there is an option where you can choose what to display on your homepage - your blog posts, like everybody else, or a static page that works as a welcome page. In Blogger there is no such option, or is there? You will find out soon. Blogger is extremely customizable and a lot of Wordpress features can be replicated in Blogger with some clever coding. Today I will show you how to add a static start page to your Blogger blog that shows only when you visit the homepage. At first you might like to see a live demo.

Since every blogger template is different, particularly the custom made ones, you will first have to understand the structure of the blogger template in order to know where to make the edits. At first backup your blogger template, which is a must before you do any sort of editing.

A typical layout of a blogger template, with one sidebar and a single footer is shown in the figure below. Some templates have an extra wrapper enclosing the main wrapper and the sidebar. Note, that almost all CSS based sites have this same basic layout.

We will place the start page at the location where the main wrapper appears. So the first thing you have to do is to locate the main wrapper within the CSS description. Different template authors use different names for the main wrapper. To locate the main wrapper, follow this trick:

Press CTRL+F and search for "<b:widget id='Blog1'". The DIV section within which the widget Blog1 resides is the main wrapper. Once you have found the name of the main wrapper, find it's CSS description in the template.
After you have located the main wrapper, copy the content within the { } brackets of the main wrapper description and paste it immediately underneath the closing } bracket. Name this section 'startpage'. Keep margin and padding settings, if any, intact. You can play with color settings if you wish to give the start page a different look. The edited template will now look like this:
#content {
    float: left;
    width: 540px;
    height: 100%; 
    background: #fff;

#startpage {
    float: left;
    width: 540px;
    height: 100%;
    background: #fff;

Now press CTRL+F to launch the search box again and type <body> to locate it in your template. DO NOT expand the widget templates. Right after the <body> tag, the actual blogger template will begin (all the stuff above it is CSS). In a typical blogger template you will first see the div section for the 'outer wrapper' (Refer to the image of the layout above). Then comes another div for the Header section. Finally you will see the main wrapper. There might be other sections in between depending upon the template. The main wrapper will look something like this:

<div id='main-wrapper'>
        <b:section class='main' id='main' showaddelement='no'>
        <b:widget id='Blog1' locked='true' title='Blog Posts' type='Blog'/>

Edit the template so that you get this:

<b:if cond='data:blog.url == data:blog.homepageUrl'> 
   <div id='startpage'>
    <!-- Start Page Goes Here-->

     <div id='main-wrapper'>
        <b:section class='main' id='main' showaddelement='no'>
        <b:widget id='Blog1' locked='true' title='Blog Posts' type='Blog'/>

What we have done is added a new section called startpage which shows up only when you visit the blog homepage. The blog posts are removed from the home page. If you click on any post from the links on the sidebar or visit the labels and categories section, the startpage will disappear and your blog posts will show up. Now all you have to do is design your start page using any HTML editor like Frontpage and copy the code in place of <!-- Start Page Goes Here-->.

The blog as it looks from the Layout page

It's possible to remove the sidebar, footer and even the header and make the start page take up whole of the screen. You just have to use the correct width parameters in the CSS and then place the sections you want to remove within the <b:else/> and </b:if> sections.

Try it. It will make your blog unique.

Monday, September 22, 2008

How to set your online status on GoogleTalk as Idle

Unlike most instant messengers, Google Talk does not allow you to choose your online status. There is no "Invisible mode". That feature is available only in the chat application integrated with Gmail, where you can change your status from idle to busy or available at your will. Google Talk on the other hand, will go into Idle mode only if you really haven't touched your computer for more than 10 minutes. Hit a keyboard key, and you are instantly shown online.


A simple workaround to this problem is to install a free utility called gAlwaysIdle that allows you to manually set your online status as "Idle". gAlwaysIdle adds two new options to Google Talk, allowing you to change your status to be 'always idle' or 'never idle'. When your status is set to 'always idle', you'll appear idle to your Google Talk buddies even though you are rattling away at your keyboard. This is a very handy tool for people who wish to hide their online status.

Read deleted Wikipedia articles on DeletionPedia

Wikipedia articles get deleted all the time. It's no secret. Articles that do not meet the relevant criteria for content of the encyclopedia, as put down by their Deletion Policy, are identified and removed from Wikipedia. Each day, Wikipedia deletes approximately five thousand pages! What if you want to read an article that's no longer on Wikipedia? Visit, DeletionPedia. There is a high chance of finding the deleted article there.

DeletionPedia is a non-wiki based database that automatically picks up articles dropped from the English Wikipedia. Non-wiki based means, it's contents can't be edited. It currently archives more than 63,000 articles. Some of these articles are fit to be deleted, even from DeletionPedia. I mean, who the hell needs a "List of films with monkeys in them"?

[via Lifehacker]

Sunday, September 21, 2008

How to create your own fractal wallpapers

You must have seen this kind of unique wallpapers with colorful abstract patterns and intricate, complex designs. These are fractals. Fractals are mathematically generated geometric patterns that repeat themselves infinitely at smaller scales. The following two examples will give you an idea of how mathematics is related to patterns and how it occurs infinitely.


Fractals are never ending and can be zoomed in on infinitely to reveal more and more intricate patterns. When you zoom in even more, you will notice some of the shapes that you saw in the beginning reappearing, but in large numbers. It's just mind boggling.

The fact is, nature is full of fractals. One good example is the snow flake. Another example is the coastline. How...? If you measure the coastline with a mile long ruler you will get a certain finite length. But if you take foot long ruler and measure every small turns and twists the coastline makes, you will find that the coastline is actually longer than you thought. Now reduce the scale to 1 centimeter, and the same coastline becomes even more longer. If you keep reducing the scale further and further, ultimately, you will find that you can't measure the coastline because it's infinitely long! That's how fractals are.


The famous Mandelbrot set.


A closer view of the Mandelbrot set. Yup, it comes from the same fractal

To be honest, I have no idea by what process the mathematical formulas are transformed into fractals. So how am I going to teach you how to create fractals if I'm as clueless as you? Thankfully, there are lots of fractal generators that can generate fractals for you. All you have to do is get one and play around the equations, colors and zoom level and you can generate your own beautiful patterns. If you are a mathematical genius, you can create fractal patterns giving it shapes as you wish. If you are not, the only thing you can do is blindly tweak the various parameters to generate patterns. Fortunately, almost all fractals are a beauty and you will end up creating lots of cool designs. The trick is to use the zoom feature. As I said, fractals are infinitely zoom-able, you can zoom on and on to get more and more patterns. Besides, different parts of the fractals can produce different patterns. Change formula, zoom, change colors, zoom more ... just go wild!


The software that I used is FractalForge. You can also try ChaosPro which is similar to FractalForge or checkout this big list. I used FractalForge because it's relatively easy to use. It also comes with lots of sample fractals (found under the folder "images") that you can use as a base to generate your own fractals. Go on, make your own wallpapers.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

How to use a background image on an image

Sometime earlier I showed how you can use background images to create cool effects on your website. Recently, I read a nice trick of using background images on images to create cool animations.

You already know that we can set a background image on any element of a website, and under texts. Using the same technique, we can set a background image under an image. Look at the following example. These are two separate GIF animations.


Now by setting the landscape GIF as a background to the running leopard, we get this.

Cool isn't it?

Here is the code:

<div style="width:206px;height:100px; background:url(/landscape.gif)"><img style="padding-top:10px;padding-left:10px" src="/tiger.gif"></div>

Friday, September 19, 2008

AIMP- An excellent Winamp clone and alternative

When I first launched this application, the first thing that I noticed was it's striking similarity to Winamp both in terms of look and functionality. This powerful audio player, AIMP, allows you to listen to your music with astounding quality, thanks to it's wide support of audio enhancing plugins including those made for Winamp. Like any music player, AIMP has an 18 band equalizer with preset settings, a visualization window, audio library and a playlist editor. Now let's talk about some of the features that makes it stand apart from Winamp and why you should try it.

AIMP's playist editor supports multiple playlists, loaded all at the same time in tabs. Holy cow! a tabbed media player. No need to wipe out the current playlist to load another one. Just double click on the tab bar or right-click and choose new playlist. The playlist can be sorted according to song title, playing time, folder etc. Adding or removing songs is same as in Winamp.


AIMP also comes with three extra utilities - an audio converter, to convert music files between various formats; a sound recorder to record through microphone or any device and a tag editor to edit MP3 files' tags.

AIM has an inbuilt DSP manager that provides nice little effects like echo, reverberation, auto sound normalizer, voice removal and a few others fancy effects for the ones who like to tinker around.

Then there is an auto shutdown scheduler that allows you to shutdown AIMP after a certain duration or at a certain time. The player can also start playing at a scheduled time.

Other useful features include

  • A mini-player that floats above the system tray or just about anywhere you drag it to
  • A quick search for media files
  • Supports skin
  • Customizable keyboard shortcuts and hotkeys for player control
  • A CD ripper

The only drawback of AIMP is that it is an audio-only player. It can't play video files. But most people don't use Winamp as their video player either, which makes AIMP an excellent alternative to Winamp. Besides it's lighter than Winamp on system resources. In my test AIMP consumed 7.5MB in memory and 14MB in VM which is significantly lower than 8.7MB in memory and 24MB in VM by Winamp.

NOTE: When you install AIMP, the default interface will be Russian. To change the interface to English. Click on the middle icon on the top left of the player as shown below. This will open the option menu.


Now click on the button Languages and choose English.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

So are you normal or not?

Many people have weird fetishes and fantasies, eccentric behavior, experiences and thoughts they consider unusual. If you are one of such  kind and if you had ever experienced something that led you to doubt your sanity, then allow us good internet folks to judge you. Launched just 3 days ago, Am I Normal or Not?, is a website where you can ask questions and let the people vote for you. This is actually more fun than it sounds. Just visit the site and go through the questions submitted and you will know what I'm talking about. And once in a while you will stumble upon a question that you think about too! I can assure you that!


Here are some funny questions to checkout.

I like to pretend that I am a race car driver on the freeway....
I have pretend conversations with myself
I step in front of bikes to see terror in the cyclist's faces.
I want to tie women up. (59.2% voted this as normal!!)
I sit around in bars wearing a pope hat
I argue with fat kids, just to see if I can make their face turn red
I practice being blind by closing my eyes, but quit after two steps
I wish dinosaurs were still around just so I could ride one (83.9% voted normal)

Go waste some time :)

Delete locked files on Windows with Unlocker

Sometimes when you try to delete a file in Windows, you get an error message like: "Cannot delete file: Access is denied. There has been a sharing violation", "The source or destination file may be in use", "The file is in use by another program or user", "Make sure the disk is not full or write-protected and that the file is not currently in use" and so on. The file gets locked and you are unable to delete it unless you restart Windows. 


A freeware application called Unlocker adds a new action to the context menu of Windows Explorer allowing you to get rid of this annoying message whenever it shows up and easily delete a file. Simply right click the folder or file you want to delete and select Unlocker from the context menu.


If the folder or file is locked, a window listing of lockers will appear.


Click Unlock All and it's done.

Unlocker will kill the processes, close the handles or unload the DLLs using the file and you can safely delete it without having to restart your computer. Unlocker can also delete the infamous index.dat file that stores all your browsing history (of IE) and which requires quite a manoeuver to remove it from the system. With Unlocker you can delete it just like any other file.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Free magazine subscription and downloads from Instant Fundas

You will notice that there is a new section in the navigation bar of this site at the top called Magazine Corner. Instant Fundas' Magazine Corner is a result of a collaboration with TradePub, one of the leading online subscription services provider, to offer you a new, exciting, and entirely free professional resource of magazines, whitepapers, podcasts and more.

At Magazine Corner you will find resources in various fields ranging from IT, software development, programming, engineering, biotechnology to government, human resources and sales & marketing. More than 500 different magazines, whitepapers and podcasts across 33 different categories. That's enormous. The best part is: it's all free!

Browse through the catalog to find stuffs that interest you. Click on the magazines you wish to have and then click on "Subscribe Free" or "Request" button. Fill out the subscription form and then submit. No credit cards, coupons, or promo codes are required. Though most of the subscriptions and downloads are offered free, there are some trial offer as well, where you receive a few copies of a paid magazine as a trial. After the trial period is over you can either choose to end the subscription or buy it. All other free subscriptions usually last for at least a year.

Offers are available all over the globe, but some of them are reserved for US and Canada citizens. Usually, these are the magazines that ship their print copies to you and hence prefer local subscribers. For international subscribers they usually have digital subscriptions.

To help you get going, here are some magazines and whitepapers that might interest you.

Oracle Magazine contains technology strategy articles, sample code, tips, Oracle and partner news, how to articles for developers and DBAs, and more. Subscribe.


Vulnerability Management for Dummies arms you with the facts and shows you how to implement a successful Vulnerability Management program. As someone responsible for network security within your organization, you need to understand how to prevent attacks and eliminate network weaknesses that leave your business exposed and at risk. Download

Chemical Engineering serves chemical engineering professionals in the chemical process industry including manufacturing, engineering, government, academia, financial institutions and others allied to the field serving the global chemical process industry. Subscribe.

eWeek is the essential technology information source for builders of e-business. Through a combination of news, analysis and evaluation, it guides readers in making the best technology decisions for their enterprise. eWeek enables readers to successfully evaluate, deploy and leverage new technology solutions for competitive advantage. Subscribe.

Electronic Products focuses on the new product and product technology needs of engineers designing today's electronic equipment and systems. From cover to cover, month after month, we provide the relevant, timely product and product technology information today's engineers need to make informed buying decisions. Subscribe.

A free magazine offering practical advice and helpful tools from industry experts to help any website achieve Internet success. To qualify for a free subscription, you must have an active website. Subscribe.


The Scientist is the magazine for life science professionals. For 20 years The Scientist has informed and entertained life scientists everywhere. Our target audience is active researchers that are interested in maintaining a broad view of the life sciences by reading articles that are current, concise, accurate and entertaining. Subscribe.

LEDs Magazine is a bimonthly publication available by FREE subscription as an electronic (PDF) download. The magazine contains technical articles, case studies, application notes, product information, business and financial news, and a wide variety of other information relevant to the LED industry. Subscribe.

Published monthly, Automotive Engineering International (AEI) covers new technology, emerging products, and supplier capabilities along with information needed to make supplier and product choices in a technology-driven marketplace. Subscribe.

The monthly magazine features exclusive reports of innovations developed by NASA and its industry partners/contractors that can be applied to develop new/improved products and solve engineering or manufacturing problems. NASA Tech Briefs also contains feature articles on successful NASA spinoffs, profiles of NASA tech transfer resources, news briefs, and application stories. Regular columns describe new patents, industry products, software, and literature. Subscribe.

Use your keyboard's Function keys to open bookmarks on Firefox

The computer keyboard has 12 Function keys at the top numbered from 1 through 12. The purpose of function keys is to provide users with shortcuts to perform specific actions in the operating system or an application. The programmer of an application is free to assign any actions to the function keys as he sees it fit, although some function keys have universal actions. For instance, the F3 key will launch the "Find" or "Search" tool in almost any application while the F5 key reloads a page in any browser. In games you will often find the F5 (or F4) key being used as quick save. It's obvious that the function keys are very useful for creating shortcuts even though most of them are usually left unused, including in Firefox.

quickmarksA Firefox extension named Quickmarks, can assign these function keys to specific web addresses turning it into a "quick dial" for opening your bookmarked pages. After you install this addon, click on Tool>Quickmarks settings to open the setting window. Type the URLs of the sites you want to open with the function keys.

Now you can open your favorite sites by just a single keystroke. One problem with this addon is that the function keys will cease to perform any other actions other than opening bookmarks. Which means that F5 will stop reloading pages, F11 will no longer make Firefox full screen and F3 will not launch the Find bar, even if you have not assigned any bookmarks to those keys. Most users won't like that, I guess. But Quickmarks is still an experimental addon and there is plenty of room for improvements.

Combine several RSS feeds into one with RSS Mixer

A new startup called RSS Mixer allows you to combine several RSS feeds from different websites into one, so that you have just one fat feed of updates. Creating mixes is easy; just get the individual feed URLs, add them and click "Mix it". The resulting feed can be read in any feed reader just like any other feed. It's also available as a webpage, mobile formatted page, as an Apple dashboard widget, Yahoo! widget, Vista widget, Google gadget for Google homepage or embedded into your blog or website.


The Mix can then be shared with other users and anybody can subscribe to it. RSS Mixer is also a searchable directory allowing you to search for Mixes created by other users. If you get a Mix you like, you can extend it by adding more feeds to it creating another Mix. RSS Mixer already has quite a lot of handy Mixes like the iPhone Topsites, Political news, Apple news, Gadget news etc.

[via Mashable]

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Gmail Labs new feature - Forgotten Attachment Detector

Many of us has experienced this. We say that we are attaching a file to the mail and then send it without attaching it. A new experimental Gmail Labs feature saves you from this embarrassment by reminding you of forgotten attachment if you mention it in the mail and then hit the send button without actually attaching it. The idea is simple: it looks for the word "attach" in the mail body and if it finds one but with no files attached, it pop-ups this message when you click on Send.


Gina Trapani of Lifehacker has made an interesting discovery. She used the words "File's attached!" and it didn't trigger a confirmation dialog, but the words "See attached file" did. I checked it myself and she is right! Apparently, forgotten attachment detector isn't perfect but certainly a step in the right direction.

You know how to enable Gmail Labs features, don't you? Click on Settings at the top on your Gmail account and then click on Labs. You will find lots of useful tools in it. Enable the ones you like.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Enhance Firefox Live Bookmarks with Boox

If you use Firefox's Live Bookmarks to read RSS feeds, then you should try Boox. No wait, ... you shouldn't try it. You must use it. Boox is an addon for Firefox that will enhance the functionalities of the otherwise bland live bookmarks giving it features that should normally have been available by default, but for some reason isn't. That has always been the problem with Firefox, doing little out of the box and depending too much on extensions. Anyway, this is what Boox does.

The first useful thing that you will notice when you install Boox is that, your bookmarks will begin to show the number of unread items. All unread items will have bolded text and read items will have normal text, making it easier to distinguish between the two.



Hover the mouse over a news item and a tooltip will pop-up with a preview of the feed. This tooltip is customizable.


The feed viewer is customizable too. You can use your own stylesheet or use any one of the several styles that come along with this addon.


Other features include:

  • Mark items read or unread from the context menu.
  • Create live bookmarks from the context menu
  • Search within subscribed feeds with various advanced parameters

Boox makes Live Bookmarks a tad more usable and useful.

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