Monday, October 31, 2011

How to Reset Windows Update Components

microsoft-fixitIf you are having trouble updating Windows through the auto update feature you can reset and reregister Windows Update Components. This usually solves Windows update related problems.

Microsoft has recently published a new automated ‘Fix it’ tool that resets Windows update components automatically. To do this, go to this page and click the ‘Fix it’ button or link to download the ‘Fix it’ installer. Run the downloaded installer file and then follow the steps in the Fix it wizard.

1DollarScan: Online Documents and Book Scanning Service for Just One Buck

Do you have lots of physical books that you wish you could carry around in your eBook reader? 1DollarScan offers you an affordable solution. Ship your documents and books to 1DollarScan and they will scan them, OCR and convert them into searchable PDF format, and then send you either a download link or the PDF on a DVD. All they will take for their service is one small dollar.

TV Too Far Away? Extend HDMI with Ethernet Cables

A HDMI cable can run only about 5 meters or 16 feet in length before attenuation degrades signal quality below acceptable levels. With better quality construction and materials, a HDMI cable can reach lengths of up to 15 meters or 49 feet. Practical cable lengths are usually much shorter - around 6 feet to 10 feet. This requires your HDTV to be placed close to the set-top box or Blu-ray player. If your audio/video equipment are all on the same piece of furniture, this isn’t much of a concern. But if you want to move your TV or re-arrange your home entertainment gears, HDMI cables can fall short.

Download Images Straight from NOAA Weather Satellites

Over at Hack a Day, the electronics project website, Mike Szczys published a story about one William Dillon who, using homemade hardware and computer post processing, was able to pull images directly from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s weather satellites. The NOA has got three weather satellites in low earth orbit that pass overhead a few times a day. Using the right combination of antenna, receiver and decoding software it is possible to grab the satellite's uninterrupted data feed and extract the images taken by the satellite's cameras. And this is entirely legal.

Windows 8 Coming to a Smartphone Near You

While Microsoft is busy attempting to put a tablet operating system on the desktop, a Chinese company called In Technology Group is doing the opposite – putting a desktop operating system on the small screen. ITG announced last week the xpPhone 2, successor to the company’s first mobile device xpPhone, that will bring the yet-to-be-released Windows 8 within the palm of your hand.

FindTheBest Comparison Site Compares Anything Under The Sun

Comparison engines have been very successful with both travel and consumer shopping. However, there are literally thousands of niche and even large categories where consumers need objective, side-by-side data in order to reach an informed decision. FindTheBest is a new comparison search engine by DoubleClick cofounder Kevin O’Connor that aims to deliver this. It helps you compare anything and everything that can be bought, rented, or used. So whether you are buying an air purifier or a smartphone, looking for a school or a golf course, or want a dog or baby-sitter, FindTheBest is the place to go.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Google Image Ripper Lets You Easily Download Images from Search Results

Whenever people need to find an image quick, Google Image Search is usually the first place they go to, and for good reasons. Google Image Search indexes billions of images from all over the web, it’s fast and accurate. However, if you want to download images from the results page, you have to jump through an extra loop by going first to the website from where the image comes from.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Instagram Filters as Photoshop Actions

Instagram is a free photo sharing application that allows users to take photos with their iPhone camera and then transform the photo by applying one of the many available filters. The photo can then be shared on a variety of social networking services, including Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Flickr, Posterous and Instagram’s own website. With more than ten million registered users in less than one year after launch, Instagram has created a niche for themselves among amateur photographers.

ObjectPrint: Powerful Printer Manager to Keep Track or Restrict Printer Usage

Shared printers in business and school environment that anyone can get access to are frequently abused by workers and students to print whatever they want. This often leads to a waste of printers’ resources resulting in excessive costs on paper and toner. To prevent this from happening and completely make sure that each and every paper is printed out for the right purpose, Fitosoft has developed a comprehensive printer management software called ObjectPrint.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Picfull: Apply Beautiful Effects and Filters to Pictures Online

Although there are a large number of easy to use image editing tools and all come with good image editing features and extensive set of ready to apply filters, few people know how to correctly use them to achieve a realistic old-film or hand sketch effect, for instance. Picfull is a new web application that allows less creative people to apply impressive effects to their pictures without installing any software or learning how to use them.

How to Control the ‘Real’ Brightness and Contrast of Monitors by Software

There are many free utilities that let you adjust a computer monitor’s brightness, contrast and gamma using sliders or keyboard shortcuts. Of course, all LCD/LED monitors have control buttons for adjusting screen brightness and contrast but these being physical buttons are difficult to use and often require multiple presses to navigate inconveniently little on-screen displays (OSD) and menus. Software controls are easier to use.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Make Instant Messenger Chats Private with Off The Record

Many Instant Messenger clients can secure conversation by tunneling messages over transport layer security (TLS) to provide encryption, including XMPP (or Jabber), IRC, and the OSCAR protocol used by AIM. There is nothing wrong with TLS, but a considerably secure solution for IM is a protocol called Off-the-Record (OTR).

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Drag and Resize YouTube Videos, Games in Chrome With MediaPlus

Websites like YouTube, Vimeo, DailyMotion etc. provide options to manage the size of the videos that are embedded into blog posts or websites. The size is usually constrained by available space on the page, and the blog author decides what size the video should be. The viewers have the choice of watching the video at the size chosen by the author or they can click on the ‘full screen’ button on the video player to watch it in full screen.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Precise Clear History Erases Firefox History by Specified Dates

Earlier this month I wrote why the Clear Recent History setting in Firefox (and Chrome) is wrong and how we can fix it by using an add-on that automatically deletes browsing history older than a certain number of days, as opposed to the default behavior of deleting only recent history. Here is another Firefox history related add-on that gives you more granular control on what to keep and delete from Firefox’s history.

Monitors Firefox’s about:config Preferences for Unwanted Changes

Recently Mozilla announced plans for a feature in Firefox 8 that will automatically block any add-ons that have been bundled into third-party software. Users will have to specifically approve each add-on through an in-browser alert that appears within Firefox. This security feature is an answer to the vast quantity of self-installed toolbars and nagging software additions that slow down the browser.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

How to Quickly Create Titled Slides in PowerPoint

One of the most popular software in business and educational institutions and favorite accessory to business meetings and classrooms is Microsoft PowerPoint. And as we say in business, time is money, and business managers and students alike are always trying to find ways to do things more efficiently and swiftly. One way they could save time is if they can figure out how to create dozens and dozens of PowerPoint slides quickly.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Create Your Own Maze Puzzles With Amaze

Need to keep your kids busy while you do your housework in peace? Give them puzzles to solve. It will keep them occupied for a few minutes and at the same time stimulate their developing grey cells. Mazes are quite addicting, even for grown-ups, and very convenient too – hundreds of free mazes are available on the Internet. Just download them, print it out on a sheet, give them a crayon and set them to work. If that’s what you want, you can stop reading here, go to or or whatever your preferred search engine is, and search for freely available mazes. If on the other hand, creating your own puzzles sounds interesting, even mildly, then read on.

Chrome Gets Text-to-Speech Capability in Multiple Languages

Google Chrome now includes a Text-to-Speech (TTS) API that's simple to use, powerful, and flexible for users, revealed Dominic Mazzoni, Software Engineer. The TTS API enables developers to implement a speech engine in an extension for Chrome. Already a couple of extensions are available for download from Chrome Web Store that utilizes the TTS API. Among them SpeakIt is an interesting one.

Read Your Favorite Comic Strips on Desktop With Comica

Comica is a free comic strip downloader for Windows lets you download, read and archive hundreds of free online comics. Comica will automatically download your favorite comic strips everyday for your reading later. If archiving is enabled, Comica will archive the downloaded comics which then can be browsed as required via the navigation buttons located in the top-right of the main application window.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Hidden Lock Locks Your Android Device Without a Password

With the amount of personal information a smartphone contain, security is an important matter. The easiest way to keep your information out of someone else's hands, in case your phone gets lost or stolen is to put a password on it. On Android one can put a PIN or 3x3 pattern password on the phone. The phone unlocks only when the correct PIN is entered or the right pattern is drawn on the screen.

MultiCopy: Sequentially Copy/Paste Multiple Text in Firefox

The Windows clipboard can keep only one item at a time. If you copy an item into the clipboard using Ctrl+C. the last item you had copied gets replaced by the new one. This makes working with documents, particularly jobs such as article writing, copy-editing or anything that requires both text and files to be shuffled around a hard task. A clipboard manager solves this problem by keeping multiple pieces of text, images and files copied in the clipboard, allowing you access to any of those items at a later time.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Sendoid: Secure and Direct P2P File Sharing via Browser

When we need to send large files over the Internet to someone, we either email it or upload it to one of the innumerable file sharing sites and send the download link to the recipient. This works fairly well. However, if you seek privacy and do not want to upload your files to third party servers the only way out is to establish a direct peer-to-peer connection between the sender and recipient. You can do that by setting up an FTP server on the sender’s machine and allow the recipient to connect to it. Unfortunately, this isn’t something a casual computer user is wiling to go through. Sendoid is a new service that has come up to fill the demand for transferring large files securely between two machines.

DrivePurge: A Thorough Junk File Cleaner

You probably use CCleaner to delete temporary and unnecessary files from your system, but if you are looking for thoroughness, then take a look at this incredibly potent and portable file cleaning utility called DrivePurge.

DrivePurge finds and removes unnecessary files and user tracks from more than 750 applications and system components. That’s a heck of a lot of programs, far more outreaching than CCleaner even with CCleaner Enhanced installed.

Backup Your Facebook Profile and Photos with SOS Social Backup

SOS Social Backup is a new cloud-based backup service from SOS Online Backup in the form of a Facebook app called SOS Social Backup that allows Facebook users to backup their data from Facebook which includes wall posts, messages, your friends list, uploaded videos and photo albums. Users can choose what data to backup, and the app will dutifully backup the chosen data to the cloud every few days. SOS Social Backup competes against Backupify, which debuted almost a year ago. But unlike Backupify, SOS Social Backup is free with 5 GB worth of free disk space.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Amateur Rocket Launch Reaches 121,000 Feet [Video]

Amateur rocketeer Derek Deville and his team from Qu8k (pronounced "quake") launched their home-built 26-foot rocket to an astounding height of 121,000 feet (36,880 meter) on September 30, 2011 from the Black Rock Desert in Nevada. The rocket reached that height after 92 seconds attaining speeds of 2,185 mph (3,516 km/h). Incredibly, the total duration of thrust was just 8 seconds during which a total of 4000 pounds was delivered. The rocket itself was 320 pounds in weight.

Automatically Delete Firefox History Older Than X Days

Deleting web browser history should be like clearing out your magazine rack or file cabinet or your wallet. You keep the most recently bought magazines, recent files and bills, and trash the old stuff because you’ve already read them or they are no longer relevant or needed. This is the correct and the most logical way to organize things that accumulate over time, and this includes browser history. But only two browser does this right – Internet Explorer and Opera.

BExplorer Brings Ribbon Explorer to Windows 7

For those fans of the ribbon interface who can’t wait for Windows 8, here is a way to bring that ribbon to your current operating system, assuming you are using Windows 7. BExplorer, which we have reviewed in the past, has undergone a major change following the release of Windows 8 Developer Preview. The recently released build of this software is seen with the ribbon UI – a faithfully reproduced version of the original thing. You will encounter a few dummy buttons and bugs here and there, which are all alluded to the alpha tag. Incidentally, the program has been in the alpha stage for the last 14 months.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Install Wordpress, Joomla, Drupal and 200+ Open Source Web Apps on Your PC With AMPPS

AMPPS is a software stack of Apache, Mysql, PHP, Perl, Python and everything else needed for website development, that can be installed on either on the desktop computer or on a network. This small, but complete package installs in minutes and brings together database software like MySQL, and programming languages into a single, integrated experience. AMPPS lets you code, and test PHP, Perl, Python and more than 200 open source scripts and web applications, on your desktop, customize it, and then publish it on the internet via a wide choice of hosting service providers.

BDlot DVD Clone Ultimate is Free Till October 20

BDlot DVD Clone Ultimate will bring you excitements of copying an entire DVD to blank DVD or ISO image, decrypting DVD to VIDEO_TS folder, and extracting DVD main title or chapters to single MPEG2 file. BDlot DVD Clone Ultimate carries out sector to sector copy, assisted by GPU acceleration, to create a high quality backup of your movies. Additionally, the program will unlock all known DVD copy protections and region codes. A handy ISO mounter and DVD burner, meanwhile, lets you either mount ISO file by emulating up to 23 virtual drives or burn it to a disc. This $30 is currently up for grabs until October 20, 2011.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Run Android Apps on Windows With BlueStacks App Player

Want to run Android apps on Windows? Sure there is the Android SDK and the Android Emulator, but these are designed for developers who doesn’t mind using the terminal, and memorizing a few commands is trifle. And good luck trying to get the Market to work. If you wish there was an easier way to run Android apps on the PC, you are in luck. Today, a new startup has unveiled an alpha version of Bluestacks App Player, a virtualization software that allows users to run a host of Android apps on Windows PCs.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Remotely Access a Computer With Chrome Remote Desktop Extension

We first reported about "chromoting" more than a year ago. Chromoting is a feature, akin to Microsoft's Remote Desktop Connection, that allows the Chrome browser or computer running the Chrome OS to remotely connect to another computer and access applications running on it. At that time it was little more than a concept. Now with the release of a Chrome extension, the chromoting feature has reached fruition.

Android and Mango Skin/Transformation Pack for Windows 7

DeviantART user hameddanger has created two beautiful transformation packs for Windows 7. For those who are not aware, transformation packs are a collection of skins, icons, hacks and mods packaged into a self executing installer that modifies the appearance of the operating system. Transformation packs usually replaces system files to achieve this, so they cannot be switched from one style to another the way it’s possible with Windows 7 themes, without uninstalling the transformation pack. The upside of this is that, the transformation is generally total – everything from mouse cursors, to sound schemes and icons are changed.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

DVDSubEdit Extracts Subtitles from DVD and Saves as SRT

Generally, it is not necessary to extract subtitles from a DVD. These are freely available on the internet and with the right tools, downloading the correct subtitle is just a click away. But if you have ripped a movie from a DVD the subtitle you download from the internet might not sync correctly with the video. Or if the movie is a rare one and there are no subtitles available yet, it might become necessary to extract the subtitle files from the DVD as well. This guide will teach you how to do that, but first you have to understand how DVD subtitles work.

Organize Your Photos by Renaming Them With EXIF Data

It’s pity that digital cameras doesn’t offer a way to save photos using custom names. The camera manufacturer decides how to name them, usually starting with a common prefix like DSC and ending with a number. Without a descriptive filename, sorting through the photos on the computer is difficult. The trouble starts when you wipe your memory card and start snapping new pictures. With the earlier files gone, the camera starts reusing the old filenames. When you transfer these new pictures to your PC, the new files collide with the old files because both have the same filenames. Some people workaround this problem by creating a new folder every time they transfer photos from the camera.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Show YouTube Video Ratings in Search Results and Sidebar

YouTube has a rating system where users can vote when they like or dislike a video. The video rating informs future viewers whether they are going to like a particular video or not, before they actually watch it. Currently, the video rating is visible only on the video page. YouTube does not show ratings on search results page or on related videos that appear on the sidebar. The only metric YouTube shows against video thumbnails when you browse the website is the number of times the video has been played. But the number of views is a useless metric. Let me illustrate this with an example.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Offline Maps and GPS Navigation Apps For Android

There are several GPS navigation apps for Android, but almost all of them require a working data connection. While the GPS receiver built into your mobile device itself can work without internet, the maps over which your location is plotted needs to be downloaded. For those without a data plan or heading into locations where cell phone reception is sketchy, you need an offline solution.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

12 New Windows 7 Themes [September 2011 Edition]

September must have been a busy month for the designers. Lots of new themes were released during this period and some old ones updated like Lion Skin Pack and 8 Skin Pack (not featured here). Below are some of the best looking themes released during the last four to five weeks.

Please read the instructions provided by the theme author to learn how to use these themes. Often the author provides links to wallpapers, icons etc. which makes it possible to achieve the exact look as shown in the screenshot. These needs to be downloaded and applied separately.

Also checkout the previous collections: August, July, June and May and Windows 7 themes – Part 1, Part 2, Part 3,Part 4.

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