Monday, July 28, 2008

Cuil Search Engine

 

Posted by Martin in Search Engines Tags: cuil, cuil search, Google, google search, search engine

The new search engine Cuil got some huge press coverage in the last few days from the likes of Techcrunch and The Guardian which also proved to be a test for their server infrastructure. Many startups who go public with their website either get no visitors at all or so many that their servers cannot handle the traffic and they effectively go boom within the first hours.

Cuil is still up and running which seems to speak for the server infrastructure but can they compete with the dominant Google search engine and the other competitors like Yahoo Search or Windows Live?

Search Engines distinguish each others by the relevancy of their results and additional services that might help the user in his search of the perfect website.

cuil front

Cuil presents us a simplistic fast loading front page that uses a black background color in contrast to Google’s white. The real surprise awaits users after typing in a search term and hitting the Search button; The results are not displayed in rows but in columns. The user can choose a layout with two or three columns. The amount of search results shown remains the same but the three column layout makes good use of widescreen monitors.

Search results are also mixed with images that do not always seem to come from the website that the result links to. A click on the image does however load the same link. This could however cause some confusion by visitors who expect to see the image on that website.

cuil

The real question is of course about relevancy and that’s tough to measure objectively. What I like is that Cuil is not having a maximum limit of results that are shown from one website in the results. A search for Ghacks displays many pages of my website. If I perform the same search on Google I get 2 out of 10 results for my website, Cuil displays 9 of 11. Not all are that relevant though.

The search quality on the other hand has to improve to match Google’s. That’s my opinion and based on a few keywords and phrases that I typed into both search engines. But for a first day it’s a solid start, one that could bring some fresh air into the search engine world.

Links:

Lifehacker: Cuil Search Engine Out to Challenge Google [Search Engines]

gHacks: http://www.ghacks.net/2008/07/28/cuil-search-engine/#comment-425752

Saturday, July 26, 2008

iPhone Jailbreaking For Windows

 

Posted by Martin in Mobiles, iPhone Tags: apple iphone, iPhone, jailbreak iphone, unlock iphone

The so called PwnageTool for Apple Macintosh computers was released a while ago that could be used to jailbreak the Apple iPhone which makes it possible to install third party applications on the iPhone. Users should not confuse jailbreaking with unlocking the iPhone. Unlocking would mean that it would be possible to use another phone provider with the iPhone.

The WinPwn software is compatible with Windows XP and Windows Vista 32/64 bit and users have to make sure to uninstall any previous version of the software and that a compatible version of iTunes, that is iTunes 7.7, is installed on the system.

The Apple iPhone Apps website published a detailed walkthrough of the process that it takes to jailbreak the iPhone under Windows and it is probably a good idea to use it for guidance.

Links:

Lifehacker

gHacks

Friday, July 25, 2008

Jing Still Makes Screenshot and Screencast Sharing Easy, Offers More Storage

Jing turns one, offers 10x more storage space for screencasts

Posted Jul 24th 2008 11:00AM by Brad Linder
Filed under: Utilities, Windows, Macintosh, Freeware

jing projectIt's been just over a year since TechSmith launched the Jing Project, a free utility for capturing screenshots and screencasts. Users can also upload their video recordings to Screencast.com to share with other users. Techsmith is celebrating Jing's birthday by increasing the amount of storage space it gives to Screencast.com users to 2GB. That's ten times more space than you would have gotten last week.
The program is pretty powerful as free screencast recorders go. But there's one major limit: You can only record screencasts up to 5 minutes. One of the reasons the company gives for this time limit is the sheer file size of long videos. Perhaps now that TechSmith is giving away more free storage space, we'll see the company remove the 5 minute time limit as well.
Jing is available for Windows and OS X.

Tags: jing, jing-project, screencast, techsmith

Links:

Lifehacker

Download Squad

Gmail Always Use HTTPS

Gmail Always Use HTTPS

Posted by Martin in Email, Security Tags: Email, gmail, gmail https, gmail secure, gmail tips, google-mail, https

When I starting using Gmail I was surprised that the service would not make use of a secure connection between my computer and the service which was a pressing matter because I was using several other Google services that were requiring https to connect. It felt strange and out of place that Gmail did not require https.

It was still possible to open the https website manually but Google does not force the use of https. There is however a setting in Gmail that is called Browser Connection (discovered via Sizlopedia) where the user can select to Always Use HTTPS when he connects to Gmail.

I highly recommend to enable that setting to everyone who is using Gmail as a mail client but especially to those users who use additional Google services that already force https usage.

gmail always use https

You can reach the configuration menu by clicking on the Settings link in the top right corner of the Gmail account. Scroll down to the very bottom of the menu that is showing up after clicking on the link and check the Always Use HTTPS box.

Links to:

Lifehacker

gHacks

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Google Knol

Now that you know the major differences between Knol and Wikipedia, here’s a quick guide to help you explore the main features of Knol and also ponder issues related to AdSense and URL structures in Knol.

Get Started with Knol - The First Step

knol-bio When you login into Knol using your Gmail or Google Account, the first thing you must do is edit your blank "bio" - write something about yourself, upload a pictures, include links to your blog, etc.

publish-knol You may also invite friends and other people who know you to edit your profile page on Knol. Don’t forget to "Publish the Knol page" else it won’t be visible to the outside world. (Knol for Reputation Management ?)

Verify Your Google Knol Name over Phone or via Credit Card

verify-google-name Google Knol will assign you a name that you specified at the time of creating a Google Account.

You also need to verify this name - it’s optional but you must do it since this will add a "verified" label next to  your articles and therefore lend more credibility.

google-name-phone

While you can verify your Google Name using a Credit Card or let Google call your phone, the only issue is that is available to US residents or people who own a credit card with a billing address in America.

Import Your Blog Articles, Wikipedia Pages or even Word Docs into Knol

Knol offers a pretty decent import feature through which you can bring your existing articles into Knol.

You can import HTML, PDF, DOC, XLS and other popular file formats into Knol - the extracted text opens up in WYSIWYG editor where you can edit the formatting issues and publish.

import knol pages

To import articles into Know, create a Knol and use the "Import Tool" in the right toolbox. Sorry but bulk uploads aren’t allowed yet.

Alternative Titles - Perfect for Catching Misspelled Queries

When you write a new article (also known as "creating a knol") - there’s a very useful option where you can suggest alternative titles for the document.

This is very useful if people use different words to describe a same topic. For instance, if I am writing something about "screencasting", the article may also interesting people who are looking for information on screencasts, screen recorders, desktop movies, etc.

alternative-titles

I may mentions these words or phrases as "alternative titles" in Knol so that people don’t have trouble finding the topic that they are interested in but don’t know the exact word for that. Of course there’s potential for abuse but that’s a discussion for another day.

Should You Create Knols with your existing Google Account ?

When you create pages on Knol, the URL structure is something like this - /author/topic-name/a-cryptic-sting - see some sample URLs for articles created by one author:

knol.google.com/k/author-name/topic-one/abcde
knol.google.com/k/author-name/topic-two/fghij
knol.google.com/k/author-name/topic-three/xyzabc

While this make it easy to distinguish pages on Knol by author, that may not hold good for long because if another author joins Knol with the same name as you, his articles / contribution will have the same URL structure as you because of similar "real names.’

Secondly, if you working on some article in a group, you may not want to have an article that has only your name in the URL? An alternative is to create a new Google Account and give it a name that identifies with your group (say MIT-students) or with the theme of your article (say computer-science).

Should You Link Knol with Google AdSense ?

google ads knol

Google allows you to monetize your Knol pages with Google AdSense. But before you associate your AdSense Publisher ID with your Knol account, keep "smart pricing" in mind - "an under performing website associated with your AdSense account can result in lower ad rates across all websites sites associated with your Google account.

What’s missing ? Currently there’s no way to track your favorite topics in Knol as it doesn’t support RSS feeds but that would change for sure.

Related: How to Use Wikipedia More Effectively


Google Knol - Quick Start Guide - Digital Inspiration by Amit Agarwal

Links:

Lifehacker article

Digital Inspiration article

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Windows Search 4.0

Here is gHacks take on Windows Search 4.0. Lifehacker too carried an article on Windows Search 4.0

Windows Search 4.0

Posted by Martin in Windows, software Tags: desktop search, file search, locate32, microsoft, search, windows search

Microsoft released a new version of Windows Search on Windows Update and made it a recommended update for Windows XP, Windows Vista, Windows Server 2003 and 2008 users. Windows Search 4.0 introduces a wealth of new features and improvements over the previous version including the automatic indexing of shared folders, improvements in indexing online e-mail as well as in the performance and stability of the indexer.

Windows Search is basically a desktop search application much like Google’s Desktop Search. It builds an index of the files - and other information like emails - on the system after installation which takes some time depending on the size of the hard disks and the amount of files stored on them. Some users reported indexing times of several hours in previous versions of Windows Search.

It does take this long because Windows Search does not only index file names and attributes but also file contents for selected files including most text formats like Word and HTML documents but also media files like images and video formats.

I still prefer Locate32 which is resource friendly and faster in my opinion.

Links:

Lifehacker article

gHacks article

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Search All Craigslist Sites at Once with Google

Lifehacker carried an post on how to do a global search on Craiglist. Download Squad id it too and here is that article:

 

How to do a global search in Craigslist

Posted Jul 22nd 2008 10:00AM by Danny Mendez
Filed under: Internet, Web services, Google, Search

google craigslist global search

Many people may not have noticed this, but it's impossible to do a global search at Craigslist.org. It sort of makes sense, doesn't it? For most of the public, we'd imagine a global search would turn up useless results, but that only makes Craigslist useful for most of us. What about thoe crazy-curious folks that just need to know all about what's being offered, asked for, etc. around the world?

Marty Orgel submitted to Wired a short-tutorial on how-to do a global search of Craigslist through Google, and it's pretty easy. Just do an advanced search, and in the "Find web pages that have... all of these words" box, type in your search terms. Make sure "directory" is entered into the "But don't show pages that have... any of these unwanted words" box, and type "craigslist.org" into the domain box at the bottom.
The method worked for our global search of "time machine", which turned up 12,700 results from several regions including: New York, Austin, Northern Virginia, and San Diego. Most of them really had to do with a time traveling machine, so, yes, there are several crazy people in the world. Don't worry, though, we're pretty sure many of the listings originated from well-humored teenagers... well, we hope that's the case.

Links:

Lifehacker article

Download Squad article

Sunday, July 20, 2008

AccelMan File Manager

AccelMan File Manager

Lifehacker and Freewaregenius both carried an article about AccelMan File Manager. Here is the Freewaregenius article:

Accelman: a file manager with a host of powerful tools and options

Author: Samer

Accelman Screenshot2Description: Accelman is a dual-pane "File Manager" with a wide set of features ranging from multiple file management panes to a full-featured image viewer and editor, archiver with support of 15+ formats, media player and playlist editor, as well as a host of file and folder management tools.

Accelman, which used to be a paid program but just turned freeware, is a so-called dual pane file manager (commonly also referred to as a "Windows Explorer Replacement"). It brings together one of the most thorough and impressive range of features that you can get for a program in this category; however, because of the extensive features, I will resist making this review into a re-iteration of the features list and attempt a more holistic description. Therefore this review will be structured into (a) a PROS section, (b) a CONS section, and (c) a listing of my top 10 favorite features that Accelman provides.

1- PROS:

  • Multiple panes: with the ability to drag-and-drop to arrange them. It also comes with pre-set defaults that emulate the layout of other popular file managers, and will let you save your layout scheme for later use.
  • One stop shop for most file types: Accelman includes a built in image viewer/editor, a zip/archiving program, and a text editor/viewer with syntax highlighting. All of these are above average in their own right and support numerous formats (note: this does not preclude using an external app if you want to). It also incorporates a playlist manager and a surprisingly versatile media player. And, if you have Acrobat Reader or MS Office installed, can be used to view PDF and Office files.
  • Sophisticated file management tools: such as filtering throughout, mass renaming, searching for folders, files, or text, the ability to take directory snapshots for later comparison, folder bookmarking, batch file-attributes editor, files merge/split, folders comparison, changing file associations, etc.

2- CONS: (and wish list)

  • Less might have been more: ironically, this program has so many features as to make you (at times) wish for less. Does a file manager really need a built in media player?
  • Unintuitive design: this program has a learning curve. Unless you are willing to fiddle around with it endlessly you will need to dig into the help section in order to figure out how to perform some operations.

Wish list:

  • The option to supersede Windows explorer. In the sense that you could click on a folder and have it open in Accelman rather than explorer.
  • Filtering: for some reason my filtered file results always included compressed archives (.ZIP, .RAR, etc). Not sure if this is a bug or if I simply couldn’t figure out how to keep those out.
  • Media player: audio files would end abruptly mid-way through. A bug?
  • PDF: native PDF viewing would have been cool, and/or the ability to specify an external PDF viewer aside from Acrobat Reader.
  • One thing that would have been cool is if some of the components (e.g. the media player) came in the form of optional plugins or add-ons.

3-My top 10 Accelman features (in no particular order)

  1. Branch view: is a folder view whereby all files located within a folder and all of its subfolders are pooled together (i.e. the folder structure is ignored). Can be rather useful; however, I would have liked to be able to se the number of levels that this would drill down into.
  2. Store directory state: you can take a (recursive) snapshot of a directory and then come back at a later point to see how it has changed (select new/changed files, non-changed files, or show files that have been removed).
  3. Accelman color groupsTagging: a system of "marking" files and folders is in place. You can add your own tags and it provides a color groups system where different tags display different color background for your icons. Strangely, no filtering infrastructure is in place for your implemented tags (i.e. you cannot filter by all objects tagged "personal", for example). Pity, as this would have made this program much better compared to others in its category.
  4. Bookmarking: you can bookmark files as well as folders, which is cool.
  5. Creating HTML lists: out of folder contents. Useful for instantly creating a browser home page from your bookmarks folders, for example.
  6. Local search: search for folders, files, or text. Powerful options include specifying scope (folders), file masks, and attributes (size, date, etc). Searches can be saved for later use.
  7. Recent files/Recent folders: maintains thorough (and seperate) recent folders and recent files lists.
  8. Image viewing: incorporates image viewing, conversion, and editing functionality that supports a wide range of image types (30+ formats, including PSD, PSP). The image viewer is better than many other image viewing/editing programs out there, imho.
  9. Calculating folder sizes: a must have feature (select folders then press Alt-G, or use the command in the "Manager" menu).
  10. Verify data on removable media: good feature if you need it.

The verdict: if you (a) like your programs to have a lot of features, and (b) are interested in a good, solid, file manager then you will like Accelman. If this is your first experience with a file manager program of this sort (or if you like simple, straightforward software) you might be in over your head. That said this is a powerful program overall that has a lot to offer.

Version Tested: 3.5.0 build 3600

Compatibility: Windows 2000, 2003, XP, Vista.

Go to the program home page to download the latest version (approx 5.6 megs). Note: you will need to download a free registration key file (on the same download page).

Links:

Lifehacker article

Freewaregenius article

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Firefox 3.0.1

gHacks and Lifehacker, both carried an article about Firefox 3.0.1 release.  Here is the gHacks article. Soon after this article was released gHacks reached 10000 RSS subscriber mark.

Firefox 3.0.1 released

Posted by Martin in Browsing, firefox Tags: firefox, firefox 3, firefox vulnerability, firefox-update, mozilla

17 July

Shortly after releasing version Firefox 2.0.0.16 the Firefox development team released another update this time for Firefox 3. The update fixes three security updates that have a critical rating making this a security update. It is recommended to update Firefox 3 as soon as possible to close the security holes.

Two of my add-ons stopped working and I had to manually edit them so that they I could continue using them. Two of the three vulnerabilities have been the same that were fixed in Firefox 2 while one is a Gif rendering vulnerability on Mac OS X that could crash the browser.

The other two just for those who have not read the update post are a remote code execution vulnerability and the launching of multiple tabs when Firefox is not running.

Besides that several other updates have been made, most notably several stability and bug fixes. For a complete list of changes check the release notes. The download is available at the official Mozilla Firefox 3 website. Automatic Updates have been kicking in as well.

Links to:

Lifehacker article

gHacks article

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

UnMHT Saves Multiple Tabs as Complete HTML Files

Digital Inspiration carried an article about Firefox extension on the same day. Here is the article from Digital Inspiration:

Firefox Tip: Save Multiple Web Pages as MHT Files In One Go!

mht-firefox MHT is a very useful file format for saving HTML web pages and all embedded graphics into a single file (also known as web archive).

The format is supported on IE, Opera, Microsoft Word, OneNote, etc. and comes handy if you need to attach an entire web page as an email attachment.

Now your favorite browser Firefox 3 cannot export web pages to MHT format by default but there’s an excellent add-in called UnMHT that makes MHT support in Firefox better an IE and Opera.

firefox-unmht With Un-MHT, you can read any MHT files in Firefox just like any other HTML or text page.

Other than viewing MHT files, this add-in adds a "Save all tabs as MHT" feature that lets you save the current window or all open websites as separate MHT files in one go taking the file name from title of the web pages.

save-mht-firefox

Considering that Windows Desktop Search can index content stored in .mht files, this may prove very useful if you need to save your work and close the browser.

Related: Display MHT Files in Firefox

Links to:

Lifehacker article

Digital Inspiration article

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Firefly Turns Firefox into a Local File Manager

Firefly extension turns Firefox into windows explorer, Lifehacker carried this post on July 15, 2008. Download Squad too carried an article about Firefly. Here is the Download Squad article:

Firefly plugin turns Firefox into an advanced file manager

Posted Jul 14th 2008 4:00PM by Brad Linder
Filed under: Internet, Browsers

Firefly

If you spend all day sitting at a computer with your web browser open, you might have an aversion to minimizing your browser to perform simple tasks like managing files on your hard drive. Fortunately there's a Firefox add-on that can help. Firefly adds a full-featured file manager to Firefox. And when we say full featured, we mean it. Firefly includes a bunch of features that you won't find in Windows Explorer. Here are just a few:

  • Split the window horizontally or vertically. Add as many windows as you'd like
  • Image previews for audio, video, PDF, and image docuements
  • Filter display using regular expressions or wildcards
  • Search the current folder and subfolders
  • Create keyboard shortcuts
  • Use the Firefox or Internet Explorer rendering engine (when using IETab)

You also get all the usual features you'd expect from a file manager including the ability to copy, cut, and paste files from one folder to another.
[via gHacks]

Links to:

Lifehacker article

Download Squad article

Monday, July 14, 2008

Gmail Superstars

Lifehacker carried an article " How to Use and Search Gmail Superstars" based on the original article Gmail Superstars on the  blog Google Operating System, here's that article:

Gmail Superstars

One of the 13 features added to Gmail Labs in May is Superstars, an extension of Gmail's starring system. Instead of using a single star to flag all the messages, you can choose between 12 icons.

After enabling Superstars in Gmail Labs and clicking on "Save changes", go to the settings and select the icons you want to use. The exclamation mark is useful to flag important messages, quotes could show that a message needs a reply, while the info icon could be used for messages that contain valuable information.

To star messages faster, enable keyboard shortcuts in the settings. "The superstars will rotate when you press the 's' keyboard shortcut or when you click successively," explains Google. "Rotating through the superstars only works when you click (or hit 's') successively. If you pause for a second, then the next click will turn off the superstar. It's designed this way so that if you never click successively, then you'll just get the original on/off toggle behavior."
If you want to find the messages that have a certain kind of star, use one of the following queries:
has:yellow-star (or l:^ss_sy)
has:blue-star (or l:^ss_sb)
has:red-star (or l:^ss_sr)
has:orange-star (or l:^ss_so)
has:green-star (or l:^ss_sg)
has:purple-star (or l:^ss_sp)
has:red-bang (or l:^ss_cr)
has:yellow-bang (or l:^ss_cy)
has:blue-info (or l:^ss_cb)
has:orange-guillemet (or l:^ss_co)
has:green-check (or l:^ss_cg)
has:purple-question (or l:^ss_cp)
You can enable the Quick Links labs feature to save some of these queries so that they are always accessible with a single click. Just search for has:blue-star or any other value and click on "Add Quick Link".

Links to the article on:

Lifehacker

Google Operating System

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Better Lifehacker

Computers make us more productive. Yeah, right. Lifehacker recommends the software downloads and web sites that actually save time. Don't live to geek; geek to live.

This is Lifehacker’s motto

image

One of the Globe’s most popular blog, Lifehacker provides us with tech tips everyday which make our work load a whole lot easier. However there are many other blogs out there which talk about the same news and sometimes provide even more details than Lifehacker posts, but still aren’t that famous. This blog is aimed to showcase those blogs. I will try to put up those blogs as soon as I can after they get published by Lifehacker. Due to time constraint I will only post 2-3 or even less posts per day. I’d concentrate on more important posts and try to separate out the unimportant ones.

Better Lifehacker is all about finding new and exciting blogs. I got the inspiration for the name Better Lifehacker from Gina Trapani’s (My favorite blogger :-) ‘Better Lifehacker’ Greasemonkey extension.