Saturday, February 28, 2009

Print out Wikipedia articles as books

The ‘Books’ feature on Wikipedia has been around for a while which allows a user to compile several Wikipedia articles into a book and get it printed by PediaPress.com, a start-up company based in Germany. This feature was available only for the German version of Wikipedia, but now support for 6 more languages has been added including English. The other supported languages are French, Polish, Dutch, Portuguese and Spanish.

create-book Wikibooks is currently available only for logged in users. Once you are logged in, you will see a section "Create a book" on the left hand side of every article towards the bottom. Click on "Add wiki page" to add article you are viewing to your book. You can add as many articles to the book as you want but keep in mind that the bigger the book is the higher the price you will have to pay to print it.

When you have finished collecting articles and ready to print, click on Show Book. Now you can add title/subtitle to your book and arrange the pages. At this point if you feel you need to add more articles to the book, don’t worry ‘cause you can continue adding articles to the book until you are ready to order the print or download the book as PDF or OpenDocument format.

pediapress

The books are bounded and printed by PediaPress on A5 sized papers (about 5.8 inch × 8.3 inch) with colored cover and grayscale inner pages. Printing price starts from USD 7.9 for 100 pages or less to USD 26.9 for 700 pages. If your book is more than 700 pages, it’s broken down into several volumes. 10% of the amount received for each book sold goes to the Wikimedia Foundation.

Instead of printing out articles at home on loose sheets, you can get it professionally printed by PediaPress. The price is reasonable and they ship all over the world.

[via Techcrunch]

Safarp - The small and fast uninstaller for Windows

The default Windows un-installation manager, the Add/Remove Programs is a decent tool but it’s extremely slow. My Add/Remove panel takes about 15 seconds to show the programs list and as more and more programs get installed in future, it will start taking longer and longer. Those who can’t wait that long and need something quicker, look no further than the open sourced Safarp.

safarp-add-remove wait

Safarp is an extremely fast uninstaller for Windows and at 131 KB it’s extremely small. Don’t be fooled by it’s small size - Safarp is a very capable uninstaller. The best thing about Safarp is it’s speed – it loads the complete list of installed programs under 1 second. Yes, I tried it on my PC and it loaded 261 applications in 0.531 sec (this information is shown in the status bar).

safarp

Like Add/Remove Programs, Safarp can sort the list by Name, Size, Frequency of use, Date last used and one more order – by Publisher name. There is also a search utility with ‘search as you type’ function that avoids the user from having to scroll through the application list. Just type the first few letters of the application to get to it.

Safarp also allows you to export the list of installed programs as HTML, RTF, CSV etc – a feature you can use to get a list of installed applications on your computer.

Safarp gives a little less information about the application than the Windows default utility (publisher website, support phone number etc), but those information isn’t necessary to uninstall a program and I’m not sure whether anybody actually uses it. So for me, it doesn’t make any difference. Safarp might have bland look but it does what it was built to do.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Usage Monitor notifies you when resource usage by processes exceed

Have you ever got the balloon message in Windows that say "Your system is low on virtual memory. Windows is increasing the size of your virtual memory paging file."? Or you notice Firefox is slugging and you open the task manager to find the memory usage is at 800 MB? Such things often happen when you are too absorbed in your work to notice the sheer number of applications or browser tabs open until the application starts to crawl or worse – crashes on your face.

Usage Monitor is free tool that lets you set watch limits on processes and avoid such a situation. You can set watch limits on memory usage, GDI Objects, and USER Objects. Whenever the resource usage by the watched processes exceed the set limit, it triggers an alert. The alert can be a simple popup or message with an audible alarm or a flashing taskbar. It can even execute a file as alert.

usage-monitor

To use the application, first select the process you want to watch, say Firefox. Then click on Watches to open a small menu with the 3 kinds of watches that can be applied. In this case we want to apply a memory limit. So choose Memory Usage, click Set and enter the value. Now start monitoring the process from the Tools menu or by pressing F3.

usage-monitor-warning3 usage-monitor-pop

Whenever the memory usage of Firefox exceeds the limit Usage Monitor will display a warning icon before Firefox and also pop up a message on the system tray.

Is Google down? Find out at the Google Apps Status Dashboard

After the recent Gmail outage, Google has launched the Google Apps Status Dashboard which offers a quick look at the health of popular Google services like Gmail, Google Calendar, Google Talk, Google Docs, Google Sites and Google Video for business. Administrators of Google Apps can also view the availability of the administrative control panel. An RSS feed for the Status Dashboard is on the pipeline.

google-apps-status

It’s a good move by Google to address the chaos that arises every time a Google service goes down. The only thing to worry about now is what happens when the dashboard goes down? Just a thought.

[via Google Enterprise Blog]

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

40+ stunningly creative free RSS icons

The best thing about the RSS icon is that it doesn’t have to look like one. You can morph it, change it’s color, alter it’s shape and still make it distinctly identifiable by just adding a dash of orange or the radio beacon. Take a look at these clever designs. Use them on your website or draw inspiration from them to create your own.

Design freak has an amazing stock of RSS icons. The following set comes from them.

design-freak-set1

Some more from Design freak

krainov1rsss1 0001a konfetaacigara forex_rssa   rss_detki2a

A set of 15 RSS icons from 0at.org

speaker printer lamp meat

matches    notebook      

cantaloupe  bottle_side  bottle_upright

From Smashing Magazine

smashing

Miscellaneous RSS icons

Toast_Feed_Icon_by_zyenth  RSS_feed_17

RSS__Icons_by_Studiom6

tapa1

WoodRssIcons_sp

Mail2.im forwards your email messages to IM, Twitter or phone

Mail2.im is a new email service that enables you to receive incoming mails in various ways. It can forward your mails to an instant messenger, Twitter, mobile phone or another email ID.

When you sign up for this service you will be given a new email ID. After that you have to login to your account and add your IM, email, cell Phone and Twitter details where you want the messages to be delivered. You can provide multiple forwarding destinations and your messages will be delivered at whichever location you are available.

mail2im

Whenever anyone sends a message to mail2.im ID, the service forwards it to the IM account you are currently logged in or the last IM account you used. If you aren’t online at that moment, the message will be sent to the last email, mobile phone or twitter account you were last seen on.

Supported IM clients are Google Talk, AIM, MSN, Yahoo and Skype. Try it if you do not use any email clients or notification program and are willing to start using a new email ID. You can also checkout my previous article on how to get emails on your cell phone as SMS messages. It’s pretty useful and better as it allows you to use your existing email ID.

Create a screensaver out of Flickr photos

I rarely use screensavers but this a screensaver I would love to use. Flickr is one of my favorite destination on the Internet and this .Net Framework based screensaver allows you to pull photos from Flickr and display them on the screen as a screensaver. A marvelous tool if you like to spend hours looking at beautiful photos.

Flickr .Net Screensaver allows the user to pick photos from any specific Flickr user, group or photos with a particular tag. This is just like searching photos in Flickr but you get the results in the form of a screensaver which looks fantastic.

flickr-screensaver1

flickr-screensaver2

There are three ways to display the photos – a plain way either with or without its title and author; a moving method where the photos slide slowly across the screen and a postcard method which looks best. In the post card method the photos are bounded by a border whose color you can customize. Additionally you can apply a tilt to the photos and even randomize the angles to give a new and unexpected angle to each photos on the slide.

flickr-screensaver3

You want to view photos from private albums? No problem, because Flickr .Net Screensaver allows you to authenticate yourself by logging into your Flickr account. So you can view almost any photo from any group on this screensaver.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Apple Safari 4 beta released. Looks good.

The latest version of Apple’s browser Safari 4 beta has hit the web and with it brings an interesting twist to the browser war. The latest release is plump with innovative features and improvements, the most noteworthy is the new Nitro Javascript engine that is said to be 4 times faster than Safari 3, and up to 30 times faster than IE 7 and more than three times faster than Firefox 3. There is some truth to this claim as I found it definitely fast if not 4 times faster. The new browser is also said to pass Acid3 test.

Here are some new features you will find in safari 4

Top Sites for Safari 4 is what Speed Dial is for Opera and Firefox, but is done more aesthetically. Top Sites gives you a stunning at-a-glance preview of your favorite websites whenever you open a new tab. You can add up to 24 thumbnails and even customize the display by pinning a favorite site to a specific location in the grid.

 safari4-1 

Sites that have their content updated are reflected in Top Sites by displaying a star in the upper-right corner of the thumbnail.

Cover Flow offers a highly visual way of reviewing your site history and bookmarked sites, presenting full-page previews of the websites. Directional arrows let you browse forward and back or you can quickly flip through multiple sites using the slider.

 safari4-coverflow

Full History Search, where users search through titles, web addresses and the complete text of recently viewed pages to easily return to sites they’ve seen before

Safari 4 now places tabs on top – a feature borrowed from Google Chrome. You can also rearrange tabs by simple drag and drop. Unfortunately, this feature is broken in Windows and it messes up the title bar and minimize/maximize/close buttons.

safari4-3

Safari 4 also features Smart Address Field, that automatically completes web addresses by displaying an easy-to-read list of suggestions from Top Sites, bookmarks and browsing history. (Opera and Firefox 3 has this already)

The Smart Search Field, provides users with recommendations from Google Suggest or a list of recent searches to make searching easier.

Full-Page Zoom allows you to zoom the full page, not only the text. Safari scales images and graphics as you zoom in and keeps text razor sharp while preserving the page layout.

Safari 4 also includes a set of development tools that allows you to examine the structure of a page, debug JavaScript, optimize performance and compatibility, inspect offline databases, or test experimental pieces of code on the fly. Developers are going to love this.

Checkout their blog announcement for more information.

Have you seen the front page of Pirate Bay today?

There is a cartoon on the front page of Pirate Bay today. In case the cartoon is removed by the time you read this (though I doubt it – this cartoon is going to stay for a while), here is a copy of it.

piratebay-cartoonish

While the part about the kitten isn’t directly related to Pirate Bay, it hits out at the music industry and the sorry state of affairs in which it has been lately. The recently few months have seen a number of cases where home videos has been taken down because the background music was copyrighted. Even YouTube started muting videos if it features copyrighted music. Here is YouTube’s response.

Notice the fine print at the bottom of the cartoon that says, "This cartoon is NOT copyright by Dylan Horrocks".

F.lux automatically adjusts the screen brightness by time of day

Remember Display Tuner, the tool that allows you to adjust monitor brightness by keyboard shortcut? Well, here is another nifty tool that automatically changes the screen brightness and tint by the time of the day. It’s a great tool for users who sit before the computer screen throughout the day.

F.lux will set the screen monitor bright during the day and gradually dim it as evening approaches. At night, the screen will take a “halogen” tinge – an orange kind of hue. I have to test this orange hue at night and see how it looks and whether it’s really soothing to the eye. To give you a glimpse of how the brightness varies during the day, there is a preview mode which plays the entire day within a few seconds.

flux

flux2

To begin you have to first set the latitude of your place. You can also set the brightness and tint level of the screen at a particular time of day. Because of the orange tint, F.lux is not suitable for design work, so there is an option to disable F.lux for one hour. This seems like great tool. I’m going to run this as a trial for a couple of days.

[via Lifehacker]

Windows Vista Resource Kit – Free ebook from Microsoft Press

In celebration of their 25th anniversary, Microsoft Press books has come up with a "Free e-book of the Month" program through which they would be giving away free downloads every month. All you have to do is sign up for the Microsoft Press Book Connection Newsletter for notification of offers, register, and download the selection of the month.

vista-ebook

This month the ebook on offer is Windows Vista Resource Kit, Second Edition by Mitch Tulloch, Tony Northrup, and Jerry Honeycutt with the Windows Vista Team. The book is an “in-depth, comprehensive, and fully updated for Service Pack 1, this Resource Kit delivers the information you need to administer Windows Vista” and covers the following topics:

  • Use Microsoft Deployment Toolkit best practices and tools
  • Plan user-state migration and test application compatibility
  • Exploit new Group Policy features, settings, and ADMX templates
  • Configure software updates and client-security technologies
  • Administer disks, file systems, file sharing, search, and Internet Explorer
  • Install and troubleshoot printers, devices, and services
  • Manage IPsec, IPv6, wireless, and remote connectivity
  • Use performance monitoring and diagnostic tools to manage desktop health
  • Resolve common startup, hardware, and networking issues

This 1500+ page book sells at various online book stores at $70, but you can download the PDF version of this book for free by signing up with your Windows Live ID.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Minos Album creates animated 3D flash photo albums

Here is a cool way to share your photos with your friends. Take all your photos and make a photo album on flash. Add page turning animation and sound effects and then convert the flash file into an EXE file that can be viewed on any Windows PC.

All these can be done using a free software called Minos Album. Apart from creating digital photo albums, using Minos Album you can create brochures, product catalogues, and e-books. There is a realistic page-flipping animation, and has functionalities like a convenient thumbnails-view, ability to enlarge photos, navigate using keyboard and an auto play function.

minos-album2

minos-album

The program also supports PDF files, however this feature is broken as it includes only the first page of the PDF file in the album and the rest of the pages are lost. 

You are allowed to choose the size of the albums with custom sizes up to 2048 pixels in width and height. You can also add background music, choose your own icons etc. The publishers also provide you with 100 MB of free web space to upload your albums for sharing.

Related: Create online magazines from any document with Calameo

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Firefox extension LinkExtend enhances browsing

LinkExtend is a new addon for Firefox that enhance your web surfing experience by bringing you as much information as possible about the visiting site. Information like whether it is child safe or malicious, page popularity parameters like Google Page Rank and Alexa rating and so on. Apart from that, it actually enhances the browsing experience by allowing you to enable thumbnail previews in search results, more control on Firefox history, a plethora of new search engines and bunch of other improvements.

toolbar

Here is a brief overview of the features you will get when you install LinkExtend.

Safety - Informs you if a web page is malicious, sends spam, contains spyware, online scams, identity theft, and more. LinkExtend uses services like McAfee SiteAdvisor, Web Of Trust, Web Security Guard, Google Safe Browsing and few others to get information about malicious sites.

linkextend-ss1

KidSafe - Alerts you about sites that are unsafe for children and let's you erase these sites from your Firefox history automatically

linkextend-ss3

Ethics - Rates ethical behavior of a site's company including social responsibility, business practices, environmental impact, etc.

PageRank - Represents how important a page is on the web, based on the Google link analysis algorithm, ranked from zero to ten

SiteTraffic - Shows you how popular a site is, based on the average page views and users for a particular site or web page. Rated from zero to ten, it is aggregated from four services: Alexa, Quantcast, Compete, and Statbrain. Clicking on the SiteTraffic button will give you various site options from the four available services including: cached links, incoming links, related links, traffic details, demographics and lifestyle.

linkextend-ss4

Visited - Tells you when you last visited a site, what pages you accessed, and lets you remove the site from your Firefox history

SiteTools - Finds the age of a particular web page, older versions, site reviews, contact details, free account passwords, and more. Contact details are obtained from Whois data and login passwords from BugMeNot. It also lets search the current domain in Wikipedia, retrieve previous versions of a web page from Wayback Machine and find relevant websites similar from Similicio.us.

linkextend-ss5

Links - Access the links and titles in a web page without having to open the page itself (also shows the link titles and favicons). Simply right click on a link and choose LinkExtend to immediately get a thumbnail preview of the site along with all the information that are discussed here right in the context menu.

Files - Shows all files on a web page organized by categories (videos, music, images, programs, etc.) for easy downloading

SuperSearch - Click on the small black arrow at the right of the search icon to directly search over 200 top search engines in these categories: Academia, Blogs, Books, Business, Children, File Sharing, Health, Jobs, Multimedia, News, People, Programming, Question & Answer, Reference, Shopping, Social Networking, Video Games, Visual Web Search, and more. You can SuperSearch any term on any webpage: Select the text, right click it, and choose SuperSearch for the term you selected. If you want to eliminate search results that are harmful, unethical or unsafe for children you can do so in LinkExtend Options under the Search Engine tab.

linkextend-ss6

Hide Search Results - Allows you to eliminate search results that are harmful to your computer, unethical or unsafe for children.

Thumbnail – Inserts thumbnail previews on Google search results

search

Result Number - Each search result can be numbered as an aid to remembering and locating a result you want to view again