Monday, November 30, 2009

What are the 200 variables in the Google Algorithm?

I chanced upon an interesting thread over at the Webmaster World forum. At the recent PubCon, Matt Cutts is supposed to have mentioned that there were over 200 variables in the Google Algorithm. This isn’t news actually. We know that are an embarrassing number of factors that determine the position a page on Google SERP (Search Engine Results Page). However, this time there is a list - a partial one, but no doubt, an insightful one.

Automatically backup Microsoft Outlook PST files

Microsoft Outlook Personal Folders Backup is a tool for Microsoft Outlook 2002, 2003 and 2007 that provides a quick and easy way to automatically back up the Outlook information of your choice to your hard disk or network server or share.

Friday, November 27, 2009

5 short links for today #21

1. Maggwire: Read articles from over 600 popular magazines online. Plenty of big names like Fortune, PC World, Sports Illustrated, Time, People and so on. One small snag – you can’t read the whole issue, only selected articles.

2. 100+ free games from Microsoft: Small, casual games that can be played online for free. If you want to download, you have to pay. [via Shell Extension City]

Repair common Windows 7 and Vista problems with FixWin

Sometimes after a malware attack or due to installation of some faulty software, Windows might develop certain problems. The Registry Editor gets disabled, thumbnails stop working in Windows Explorer, hibernate button is missing in the start menu and the like.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Easily remove background from photos with FotoMix

One of the tricks every new Photoshop user wants to try out is erase the background from an image and add another background in it’s place. Say you take a picture of yourself standing in your backyard and superimpose it on top of another picture, say the Pyramid of Giza, to make it look like you are vacationing in Egypt. Composite images are used often in magazine covers, posters, advertisements, movies etc. No wonder we have a childlike fascination for them.

Password protect minimized applications with LockThis!

Usually, if you don’t want anybody else to use your computer while you are away from your desk, you lock it (Win+L). But if you need to lend your computer to another user but don’t want them to access certain running applications like your email program or calendar application, you will need to use LockThis!.

miniMIZE turns minimized windows into desktop thumbnails

miniMIZE is a small application that catches windows that you minimize and puts a thumbnail of the application window on your desktop. miniMIZE has the ability to clear the taskbar of minimized windows and instead put floating thumbnails of minimized application on the desktop. miniMIZE comes handy if your taskbar gets congested.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

How to find the best time to watch meteor showers

meteor If Wikipedia is to be believed, millions of meteors hit the Earth's atmosphere every day. That’s impressive. However only a small percentage of these are visible because half of them happen during the day, and many are too small to be seen. The rest are obscured by air pollution and light pollution. Meteors are hard to catch because of the complete lack of predictably when the next one is going to strike and strike bright enough to be visible with the naked eye.

Growl for Windows – Another Growl application

Growl for Windows, as the name says, is a Mac styled Growl-like application for Windows, similar to Snarl which we mentioned in the past. Those who aren’t familiar, Growl is a notification system on Mac that lets users know when things happen like files finished downloading, friends came online, new email has arrived etc. Growl notifications are subtle and it stays out of your way most of the time.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

SuperPreview for Internet Explorer – Test website in different versions of IE

SuperPreview is a tool from Microsoft that lets web developers test websites and debug layout issues across different web browsers, by viewing their pages in multiple browsers simultaneously.

PosteRazor – Print posters using a desktop printer

A free, open source application called PosteRazor allows you to print large sized posters on a standard desktop printer. The software takes the image you want to turn into a poster and chops it down into precisely sized smaller pieces which can be printed on standard printer-sized papers. After printing out all the pages, they are then pasted together to create posters of any size you want.

Never miss movie stingers with “What's After The Credits?”

Do you walk out of a theatre as soon as the movie ends and the end credits starts rolling? Many people do that. After all, who wants to know who the makeup artist’s assistant was, or who was responsible for the lights? End credits are like the bibliography at the end of a book – you have to include it but nobody reads it. And they are always like 10 minutes long.

Monday, November 16, 2009

VMLite – A better alternative to Windows XP Mode

When Windows Vista was released and many of the earlier programs that ran on Windows XP didn’t run on Vista, users made a big face. Microsoft anticipated a similar problem when there were working on Windows 7, and so they came up with a rather novel solution – Windows XP Mode.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Vitamin D turns your webcam into a security system

A working home surveillance system with motion detection can be easily setup with a cheap webcam and free software such as UGOlog, which we wrote about a while ago. But the problem with such tools, as John Biggs from CrunchGear observed, is that it captures too many blank shots triggered by false alerts like moving leaves or a reflection. Vitamin D Video solves this problem.

Secret Disk – Password protected file storage

Secret Disk is a free software that lets you hide files you don’t want others to see on your computer. This may include your personal emails, financial records, and other private data. Secret Disk lets you have a separate virtual disk on your PC which can be locked and unlocked with a password.

Windows7 in a Box

So you just made the switch to Windows 7 from your trusted Windows XP box, but you have trouble finding things and figuring out where different settings and tools are located. Although the system wide search is a big relief, you might still want everything at one place. Then give Windows7 in a Box a try.

Classic Start Menu with Aero for Windows 7/Vista

Classic Windows Start Menu brings back the classic Windows Start Menu to Windows Vista and 7, while retaining the glassy Aero look that is so popular among Vista and 7 fans. The program has no GUI or settings whatsoever. Just run the executable file and click on the Start menu Orb to see it in action.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Read Amazon Kindle books on your PC

Amazon today announced the beta release of Kindle for PC, a free ebook reading application for Windows which is capable of opening ebooks made for the Kindle. Customers do not need to own the device to use the software - books can be purchased, downloaded and read directly on the PC.

Virtual Router turns Windows 7 into WiFi hotspot

Soon after Philadelphia developer Nomadio discovered an unfinished Windows 7 feature (Virtual WiFi) that can turn a laptop into a WiFi hotspot, the company exploited the feature and created a free application called Connectify, which we reviewed just weeks ago.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

FindList makes Firefox remember searches

If you frequently use Ctrl+F (the search feature) in Firefox to find inpage text, you will like FindList, a new experimental addon that adds a drop down list to the search box. FindList keeps a history of the last 15 searches in the web page.

PrintBrush – Portable printer that prints like magic

PrintBrush is by far the most amazing printer I have ever seen. It fits in your pocket and can print full sized A4 sheets at 600 dpi (black and white only). It uses Bluetooth and rechargeable batteries to print without any wires, although it does carry the optional USB and IRda interface. But PrintBrush’s awesomeness is in the way it prints. Watch the video below.

Monday, November 9, 2009

PLoP Boot Manager

The PLoP Boot Manager is a very flexible boot manager program that lets you boot different operating system in a multi-OS system. The different operating systems not necessarily be installed on a had disk. PLoP Boot Manager can boot OS from hard disk, floppy, CD/DVD or from USB. The boot manager itself can reside on a floppy, CD or on a network.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

FamiliLink – Simplified email service for older people

Technology is changing at such a rapid pace that even tech people have trouble keeping up with the latest trend – multi touch screens, OLED displays, ever growing social networking tools and Google Wave. Imagine how a person born before the transistor was invented must feel in this digital age. For them technology is a huge impenetrable wall. It’s a shame because computers and the Internet is such a wonderful thing. FamiliLink helps bridge the huge communication gap that exist between the older generation and today's technology.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

5 short links for today #20

1. Flickr App Garden: An official repository of unofficial Flickr tools created by developers using the Flickr API. Yeah, it’s about time.

2. Cell Size and Scale: Ever wondered how large a coffee bean is compared to a skin cell, or the X chromosome, or the HIV or a carbon atom? This interactive Flash movie will tell you.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Compare My Docs compares documents online

Compare My Docs is a new service that lets you compare multiple Word or rich text documents online to find differences. The service lets you upload up to six versions of the same document and see what's been changed, edit and save the changes.

TimeToGoAppi – Powerful task scheduler for Windows

TimeToGoAppi is a very advanced task scheduler application for Windows that goes beyond the capabilities of the default Windows task scheduler, which is actually rather poor. TimeToGoAppi allows you to automate a wide range of tasks on your computer including but not limited to shutdown/hibernate/restart, launching programs, terminating programs, connecting/disconnecting Internet etc.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Browse FTP sites in Windows 7 Explorer

Did you know you can browse files on an FTP server in Windows 7 Explorer just like you browse a local drive? I didn’t, until I discovered this trick on WindowsObserver.

In Windows 7 open up a Windows Explorer window and type in the address to the FTP server in the location bar. If the FTP server requires login, it will prompt you to enter the username and password. You can also select Anonymous Log in, if the server allows, and Save Password at the bottom of that dialog box.

Why it's a bad idea to send large files by email

attachement2 Email service providers continue to push the upper limits of allowed attachment size. Currently both Gmail and Yahoo supports attachments up to 25 MB in size, but people want more. Why do email service providers limit the attachment size when everything else such as bandwidth and disk space is virtually free? Because the mail protocol wasn’t created to handle file transmission. As a commenter on Google Operating System explains, sending large files through email is a very bad idea.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Simple English Wikipedia – concise and to-the-point

You know what happens when you write long winded articles in your blog or post a verbose comment in a forum? Someone will come in and say “tl;dr”. Well, some Wikipedia articles leave me with the same feeling. Wikipedia writers and editors are so thorough that they like to cram all the information that they can accumulate into the articles. Although that makes Wikipedia a great place for researching on a subject, it’s unsuitable when you need quick information – something which is short and easy to understand.

How to enable RAW image support in Windows XP, Vista and 7

Most digital cameras today support the RAW image format. Unfortunately, Windows doesn’t. RAW images cannot be viewed in Windows image viewer or Windows Live Photo Gallery, and Explorer doesn’t show thumbnails of RAW images. Thankfully, the Windows Imaging Component for Vista and 7 makes it possible for 3rd party tools to add support for RAW image formats to Windows, complete with thumbnails in Explorer.

Svchost viewer tells you what service each svchost.exe is running

What is Svchost?

Svchost is short for “Service Host”. Many components of the Windows operating system are implemented through what are called "services" - programs that run in the background that aren't necessarily associated with whomever is logged into the machine. A fair number of those services are implemented in DLLs rather than in stand-alone executables to ensure reusability. But a DLL is only a library of functions that can't be run on its own. It can only be called by executable programs. Svchost was created to fulfill this purpose.