Archive for December, 2009

Last Web Hosting Advice for 2009

December 31, 2009 | By | 2 Replies More

Reading time: 1 – 2 minutes

My web hosting experience was never a close book for the readers of this blog. I’ve through all the ups and downs of web hosting but the best thing about all these experiences is being able to learn from it but the best consolation would be sharing such experiences into a wider audience for the benefit of the many.

There are basically a lot of things to learn about web hosting that I have covered in the past and probably one of the best advice is doing your research instead of grabbing attractive deals that you can find left and right.

Choosing the best web hosting solution for your business or personal portfolio is crucial to your success however you don’t always have to settle for cheap hosting instead focus on the benefits of getting a reliable service which you can actually get ideas from web hosting review sites. There are so many of them to give you much information that you need however I would consider word-of-mouth recommendations to be highly effective.

I never would have less worry if I didn’t ask for my cousin’s recommendation. I’m glad I did. Don’t be attracted to deals and pricing instead do your homework and seek for the best.

Google Pagerank Tsunami Hits the Last Days of 2009!

December 31, 2009 | By | 10 Replies More

Reading time: 2 – 3 minutes

I just came across a very unpleasing revelation to end the year however it’s just part of every blogger or webmaster’s life to be hit by Google once in a while or maybe frequently for some.

Aqua

The Google pagerank of this blog has been stripped a notch and is now down to 3 from the previous 4 which isn’t giving me a totally happy face to end the year. My other friends’ blogs have also been stripped with their page ranks however I’m not going to tell who because it’s up for them to find out.

Google’s nasty caffeinated algorithm had finally taken its toll and is mercilessly affecting sites on shared hosting as they have advocated page loading speed as an added factor to rank in 2010. I’m not surprised that is this going to happen however this exaggerated move isn’t helping the web but it’s killing the content delivery networks especially blogs the benefit of ranking for highly relevant page positions that provides more quality content than static pages.

If this scenario continues to toll and blogs being hit left and right, I’m afraid the end is near for “quality content” but an unprecedented era of low quality content pages but optimized for speed ranking on the first page of Google.

Matt Cutts is definitely wrong in saying that Google will have its update by 2010 however its pretty clear that one of its data centers is doing otherwise.

Surprised? Yes I am. But life must go on and as long as I still have a day left to say goodbye to 2009, my hopes are still high and positive that somehow I’m just saying adios (goodbye) to all the challenging days of the year that’s coming to a close.

Have you been hit by Google’s latest pagerank wave? How will this change affect your perspective of 2010 in terms of search?

Manage Your Media Files like A Pro with 123 Media Max

December 27, 2009 | By | Reply More

Reading time: 2 – 3 minutes

This is a Sponsored Post written by me on behalf of 123 Media Max. All opinions are 100% mine.

Handling different kinds of files on a daily basis have never been easier because of my familiarity with file extensions as well as the various workarounds that could be done on a file depending on my needs.

A single .wav or audio file for example can be converted into an mp3 file to fit a Sony PSP, PS3, iPod, Zune or Xbox 360 for playability in these gadgets. Likewise, you can convert them into 3GP files for Blackberry Pearl and Storm.

Video files such as AVI, MPEG Video, WMV (Windows Media Video) file, DVR-MS, and TiVo videos can also be converted to run on any of the above mentioned mediums. Also, downloaded videos from YouTube, blip.tv or Metacafe can be converted into DVD as well but rarely can you find typical software capable of doing all of those file conversions I’ve mentioned including the power of backing up DVD movies to DVD.

A novice user can easily become a Pro by using the ultimate functionality delivered by 123 Media Max simply because the exciting feature of being able to create backup copies of your favorite Blu-ray movie into a standard DVD RW disc while maintaining HD quality is too much to ask for a certain piece of software, a Blu-Ray Copy Breakthrough that makes you duplicate your Blu-Ray and DVD movie collections without worries of losing them while at the same time making them playable on Blu-Ray and DVD players or Sony PS3 is certainly a gift made in heaven.

Dealing with media files nowadays can be tricky however with the right tool; you certainly can become an expert in less time.

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Have You Already Spokn?

December 27, 2009 | By | 1 Reply More

Reading time: 2 – 4 minutes

The holiday’s isn’t over yet and I’m sure that right from the start of this season, you have been calling your families and friends and checking them out after all these years and wishing them happy holidays.

Like how many among you call your loved ones by phone? Chat via instant messenger like Yahoo, MSN, or AIM? How many of you decided on using a VoIP service like Skype for your calls?

I’ve discussed on this blog numerous times about VoIP services and their advantages, I have also written before that “Skype usernames cannot be changed” which up until now still remains relevant.

This time, in terms of VoIP services, I came across a startup VoIP/Internet telephony provider known as Spokn (pronounced Spoken) which delivers free incoming calls from regular phones, a voice messaging service and call forwarding plus the ability to get a dedicated phone number in the US, UK, Canada and other countries.

Spokn can be used on a variety of mediums such as Windows Desktop, Windows Mobile, Nokia, Blackberry, and SIP devices.

In order to make low cost international calls, you may wish to refer to this call through numbers found here. Your account will then be deducted with each call as long as you have credits.

To make calls on any Spokn ID, simply refer to these access lines here.

Calling rates can be found here.

So, if you want to call me, simply dial an access line, wait for the prompt then dial my Spokn ID which is 3463452. If I’m online, I can simply answer your call otherwise you will be prompted to leave me with a voice message after 15 seconds.

Spokn

I’d be more than glad if we could talk sometime. If you have questions or inquiries about anything you can find on this blog, call or message me. To know more about this service, watch the video below. Your comments are most welcome.

WinX DVD Ripper Christmas Giveaway for Newsletter Subscribers!

December 25, 2009 | By | 6 Replies More

Reading time: 1 – 2 minutes

The fun never ends from my currently on-going $1,500US New Year Giveaway that started last 22nd December as the good guys from Digiarty Software, Inc. offered to provide free full version downloads of their platinum DVD ripper exclusively to the readers of this blog for the entire day, 25th December 2009.

All newsletter subscribers will get the benefit of downloading the software right from their emails on that day (tomorrow). Same day signups are still welcome. After the 25th, download links will no longer be valid.

So, what are you waiting for? Sign up to my newsletter now and get licensed software free to download. Early signups will get their download links emailed while last minute subscribers will get their download links straight from the newsletter confirmation email.

Merry Christmas to you all!

Download concerns, please leave it at the comments section.

Online Auctions Made Cheaper by Bidazzled.com

December 23, 2009 | By | Reply More

Reading time: 3 – 5 minutes

This is a Sponsored Post written by me on behalf of Bidazzled. All opinions are 100% mine.

Bidding on eBay is quite frustrating at times especially when you’re budget stricken and close enough to winning when all of sudden somebody comes in and topped your bid. How ugly can that situation be? I can barely imagine what your reaction would be like.

However, these days, we don’t always have to settle to one option because there are other resources to tap especially in these trying times; people would always find a way to spend-thrift no matter how.

Why not try a less stressful bidding process where you could win the gadget you can only dream of getting from your wish list while at the same time help a charitable cause? Isn’t that amazing?

Penny Auctions or Pay-Per-Bid auction sites like Bidazzled does it best. In this setup, bids are purchased in advance and used to bid on merchandise. Each bid increases the price just a few cents while at the same time adding additional seconds to the countdown timer which then provides ample time for others to bid. Basically, like any other bidding process, auction ends when time runs out and nobody else bids which also means that if a Macbook Pro ends at a dollar, you’ll get it just for a dollar!

Bidazzled is generally designed and created to fund a charity for lung cancer also known as The Ruch Foundation (www.ruchfoundation.com).

In case you lose in the bidding, you’ll receive up to 50 Bonus bids and if you win, Bidazzled will typically make an offer to buy the item back for either cash via Paypal or check, bid points or a combination thereof.

Signing up already gives you 5 bonus bids or free bids so you can start bidding. Additional 15 bidding credits is provided by this blog as a special offer by using the codes below when you sign up on the registration page until January 15th.

* Blog: BBP1202A
* Twitter: BTP1202A

Bids normally cost $1 at Bidazzled and are available for purchase in bid packs as low as $25 plus bonus bids upon purchase. Member can also earn extra bonus bids by referring friends and each referral gives 1 bid credit up to five levels deep.

A one-of-a-kind bidding or auctioning platform you wouldn’t want to miss. So try it out and see for yourself. If you can’t get your holiday wish list on eBay, why not try it here?

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bids are purchased in advance and used to bid on merchandise. Each bid increases the price just a few cents while at the same time adding additional seconds to the countdown timer which then provides ample time for others to bid.

Join Software Critics’ $1,500US New Year Giveaway

December 22, 2009 | By | 37 Replies More

Reading time: 5 – 8 minutes

This post officially opens my 10-day New Year Giveaway promotion. It has been a year and starting the New Year 2010 right and with a bang is gift in heaven. I couldn’t thank much all the readers who have been here including those who have genuinely interacted with every post on this blog.

I would also like to thank all the software developers and companies and start-ups that have shared their contribution to complete this New Year’s line up of giveaways.

Genuine software licenses and a paid account from a service provider will be given away amounting to $1,577.80US with winners to be announced on 1st January 2010.

This giveaway is open to everyone. What’s special about this giveaway is that you can choose which prize you may want to enter.

Here’s how to join:

Comment (only) on this post

All approved comments that will come in starting today 22nd Dec 2009 will be eligible for drawing on the 31st. You can specify which prize you may want to win and the action you undertake. In case you may want to win another prize, simply specify it on your comment.

Every comment earns you one (1) entry aside from the corresponding entry points you can get from the options below.

Sign-up on my Newsletter

Leave a comment here stating that you’ve signed-up on my newsletter which counts for an additional two entry points.

Every newsletter sign-up earns you two (2) entries plus an access to an automatic giveaway software license gift on the 25th December 2009 exclusive for Newsletter Subscribers only.

Tweet this post

Every RT earns you two (2) entries. You must be a follower of @SoftwareCritics so I can DM you in case you win your chosen prize. State here your chosen prize before retweeting.

Fan us on Facebook

Fan us by clicking this link (will open on a new window) and leave a comment stating your Facebook name. Earn you two (2) points.

Sample Comment entry:

Sample Comment Entry

Here’s what you can win:

One Snap-A-Bug Pro Account for one (1) year valued at $228US courtesy of SnapABug.com, a Visual Customer Support provider. More about this service will be discussed in the upcoming days or you may visit them at www.snapabug.com for more details.

One of VisualCron business/commercial license plus 1 year maintenance support worth $197US courtesy of VisualCron. You may read Automate Windows tasks with few clicks for more information (Prize null and void after sponsor backed out after the giveaway has ended).

One of two (2) SyncMate Personal licenses worth $39.95US each courtesy of SyncMate. Read SyncMate Helps You Sync Your Mac to Multiple Devices to know more about this tool.

One of five (5) Laptop Alarm software usable for both personal and commercial use courtesy of LAlarm worth $50US each. Read Software to Protect Laptops from Being Stolen for more info.

One Email Marketing Software (Mailer) standard license worth $110US, one (1) Clyton Email client standard license worth $25US and one (1) Televiewer, PC TV license worth $8US all courtesy of Gammadyne.com. To know more about Televiewer, read Watch Live TV Channel on Your PC Free. For the other software, visit www.gammadyne.com.

One of three (3) Windows Automation software Professional licenses worth $199US each courtesy of WinAutomation.com. Read more about it via this post, No More Repetitive Tasks with WinAutomation.

One of two (2) IP Privacy software licenses (one year subscription license) worth $39.95US each courtesy of IP Privacy Pro. Learn more by reading Online Anonymity and Privacy Protection Offered by IP Privacy.

Blogger participation

Bloggers who will help promote this giveaway will be consolidated into a single dedicated post with dofollow backlinks from this PR4 blog plus a chance to showcase their chosen post URL and an automatic five (5) entry points for the giveaway. During the giveaway period, this post will be edited as well to link back to the blog post or mention from any site for added backlinks since trackbacks on WordPress are normally nofollow.

Simple Rules:

Giveaway period begins today 22nd December 2009 and ends 31st December 2009. Winners will be announced on 1st January 2010. Winner can win only once. Highest Point earner overall gets to win his/her chosen prize automatically. Each winner will be raffled off depending on the chosen prize randomly online via random.org. Entrants can only win once but can have two choices per entry e.g. IP Privacy and SnapABug. Please refer to the sample comment entry above.

Multiple entries are possible only via Twitter RT this post option. For Retweets, please use the “Share This Post” button below for proper tracking. If you wish to use the Twitter Bird icon below, please attach @softwarecritics to your message for tracking.

Contest rules are final and irrevocable.

Should you have any questions, please use the comments section below.

Good luck and Happy Holidays!

Blog(s) Sharing the Love these Holidays:

Worthy Tips – Join $1,500US New Year Giveaway Contest

Update:  This giveaway is officially closed.

Holiday Giveaway Sponsorship Invitation from Software Critics

December 21, 2009 | By | 5 Replies More

Reading time: 2 – 3 minutes

In celebration of the upcoming holidays, I have decided to come up with some giveaways for my avid readers and it’s all about giving back as my gratitude for all the support I have been receiving all this time.

Holiday GiveawayThere’s no better way of celebrating the holidays without sharing my blessings so therefore I’m basically preparing for a giveaway bonanza. Of course, I can’t shoulder all the prizes so I’m inviting everyone—fellow bloggers, software developers and publishers and companies who are willing to take part in this event and get some boost, and lifelong backlinks and promotion.

This is definitely your chance to showcase your site, the products and services that you offer or anything in between. Sponsors from software companies and startup services providers are already pouring so count yourself in before you miss this opportunity.

I don’t have to brag about this blog’s stats or rank because I just find it too impersonal so if you feel that this site can deliver you traffic, leads or boost in the rankings or just mainly want to share and spread the love this holiday season, feel free to contact us.

Lists of sponsors will be finalized by Monday 21st December 2009 at 11:59pm PST and contest will formally open via a new post on the 22nd which will include the names of the sponsors.

List of currently confirmed sponsors:
SnapABug
VisualCron (sponsor backed out after giveaway has ended)
Eltima Software
LAlarm Systems; and
Gammadyne Corp.
Privacy-Pro

Update: 22 Dec 2009
Sponsorship is officially closed.

Soda with a Flare of Personality

December 21, 2009 | By | 1 Reply More

Reading time: 2 – 3 minutes

This is a Sponsored Post written by me on behalf of Jones Soda. All opinions are 100% mine.

I genuinely love soda more than a bottle of beer that I sometimes dig more every now and then while of course taking into consideration the calories it contains.

If you’re the kind of person that gets attracted to labels and admire making things customizable other than your belongings, I’m sure that you’ll love the idea of creating your very own soda labels before you even taste them. You can place your most attractive photos to be attached as the label, choose the flavor you want and after which you’re soda will be shipped to you.

At present, Jones Soda Co., the makers of Dungeons and Dragons Jones Soda is currently showcasing their spell casting limited edition soda collection with awesome designs perfected to fit your taste and crave for legendary dragons and myths.

Among the flavors were tagged Sneak Attack, Potion of Healing, etc. which I think the latter is Vanilla flavored based on the look of it from my research. I would love the crushed melon flavor if I can only get my hands on them.

This can be a perfect gift to my sister in the US for her birthday next year especially with her picture on it. So, try it for yourselves guys, I’m sure you’ll definitely have a lot of fun editing your pictures but a hard time picking which flavor to choose because they’re all equally engaging and tempting.

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Blogging Mafia: Do They Really Exist?

December 20, 2009 | By | 16 Replies More

Reading time: 4 – 6 minutes

Blogging has definitely evolved from being a simple personal journal into a huge threat to mainstream media causing some thousands of print media closures and struggles. Blogs indeed played a major role in shaping the internet and the way information is disseminated across boarders and multiple channels rapidly immeasurable.

One blog post at present can virally transpire across the globe through the influence of social media. It has become mandatory for blogs nowadays to incorporate social media tools in their platform to ensure widespread distribution of content.

With the advent of today’s social media, blogs generally have found a solid backbone for viral distribution and it leads me to thinking if the idea of a Blogging Mafia exists or does it really exists in the first place or if so, will it thrive or remain relevant.

Blogging and Affiliation

If the likes of Darren Rowse or Brian Clark engages only within the circle of elite A+ bloggers, does that make them part of a Blogging Mafia? Or if you’re somewhat close and mingle only to the likes of Yaro, David Risley or John Chow, does that immediately make you one of them? Or affiliation with Chris Brogan and Pete Cashmore already make you a social media guru?

Niche and non-niche blogging could genuinely create close or tight groups sharing the same passion and possibly some ways of thinking. Think about flocks of birds and schools of fishes. Can you see an odd-one out?

a choir of chicks

Although it’s different if we’re going to talk about people—engagement, affiliation or what have you because there’s always a sense of belonging. Mainstream media even have the same thing going around. But what makes affiliation so important?

Considering the way Mafia works, a Mafioso (Mafia member) is not supposed to introduce himself to another Mafioso. If he wants to establish a relationship, he must ask a third, mutually known Mafioso, to introduce them to each other which make sense that if the likes of Robert Scoble introduce you to Michael Arrington that means you’re within the circle. I can be wrong or maybe right.

Associations are pretty important if you really wanted to make a name, at least for infinite reasons. You wouldn’t want to be associated with bad neighborhoods, do you?

To what extent does affiliation can backfire social interaction and transparency? If a Blogging Mafia does exist, it only means that if you’re within the level of plankton, you cannot interact with those within the top of the pyramid of social classes.

It’s a little absurd to think about social classes at this time of age or an apartheid-like kind of thinking where one does not belong to the other. It’s insane.

Blogging Success and Perceptions

If blogging is an instrument that hopefully in the upcoming years would continue to be relevant and alive, I’ll be happy to wake up each day and find that everyone’s all equal. What a perfect world could that be? I guess blogging simply gives each one of us a voice, a rather unique voice that gives us freedom to express ourselves or much more.

I’ve once read of a blogger who said that those who were thinking of a blogging Mafia’s existence are simply jealous of others successes. Such perceptions could have been a little over the top, a character reflected of a Mafioso.

THEY ARE NOT IN THE VATICAN.  MATRIX III?

As Mafia’s are characterized by men often having negative connotations of arrogance, conceited and overly self-assured countenance, it’s undermining of one’s character to be labeled such.

Final Thoughts

We cannot classify ourselves from others and neither it is healthy to tag people as such simply because they don’t conform to our likes or are differ in interests and opinions. We are all different in various ways—character, talent, skills, etc. If a Blogging Mafia does really exist, which I hope not, then I’d burry such idea in a sea of oblivion created by a lame state of mind however if it does and I have no choice but to take a stand, I’d rather associate myself with genuine and truthful bloggers who were humbled by their successes and achievements.

Do you really believe that there’s a Blogging Mafia going on or is it just plain stupid to think that it really exist?

Watch Live TV Channel On Your PC Free

December 17, 2009 | By | 12 Replies More

Reading time: 2 – 2 minutes

Maybe I was just being lucky today because for quite sometime that I have been looking for a decent software to be able to watch live television channels from my computer, I finally found what I’ve been looking for.

TeleViewer realizes this search as it allows live streaming of television channels straight from a computer seamlessly. With over 175 channels to choose from, TeleViewer is really unmatched with its wide array of channel options from news, movie, business, sports, shopping, music, educational, and religious channels and you only need a broadband connection to make it work because it’s absolutely free to use.

TeleViewer

TeleViewer

Its 4.68MB size is too small enough to carry a great deal of viewing experience because it loads pretty fast and the interface is very much easy to use. You don’t really need all day just to get used to it. It works perfectly fine with Windows 2000, XP, 2003, Vista, 2008, and 7.

Viewing can easily be switched from windowed to full screen mode and is skinnable with adjustable volume without the need to alter system settings, an organized channel distribution without duplicates and dead channels, no ads and is malware-free.

Televiewer is a freeware however, purchasing a license would double the number of viewable channels plus the ability to add, edit, and delete channels including channel filtering by language or category.
So, what are you waiting for? Download TeleViewer now and enjoy the benefits of TV on your PC.

Why is PPM Solutions Necessary for Businesses

December 17, 2009 | By | Reply More

Reading time: 2 – 2 minutes

An effective communication channel within a company can certainly boost productivity and encourages a more streamlined collaboration in between groups or divisions. When this happens, tasks, projects, and various other matters can easily be completed therefore resulting in high growth rate and satisfying returns on investment.

Coordination through web interface driven workplace can help achieve business goals thus creating sustainable income out of efforts however this can only be achieved by implementing a powerful PPM tailored to your company’s needs.

On the other hand, project management needs a framework of solutions and guidelines in order to achieve desire results. Some third-party providers even offer a special type of business solution software that would to provide equally distributed tasks and properly managed files synced to every aggregate teams or departments involved in the project.

Portfolio management however will work to provide a systematic management approach towards planned initiatives, projects, and ongoing IT services (if any). Portfolio management quantifies IT efforts, enabling measurement and objective evaluation of investment scenarios.

Implementing portfolio management could include risk profile analysis for criteria that needs to be measured while considering the risks that maybe involved with it. Diversification of projects for instance in the IT sector may include consideration of the infrastructure and technologies based on the investment levels that will be focused on the various elements comprising the portfolio. Business goals should be aligned to what’s stipulated in the portfolio and not to forget the importance of consistency and improvement in terms of knowledge and investment adjustments.

The main focus I think of adopting these methodologies is to genuinely track each of the major components of a business model. It’s not always bad to work hard but it’s better to work smarter.

PPM optimizes the mix and sequencing of proposed projects congruent to the company’s objectives despite any economic challenge.

Sweet Games: Online Games via Instant Messenger

December 17, 2009 | By | 2 Replies More

Reading time: 1 – 2 minutes

Some months ago, I have featured an instant messenger enhancer or add-on known as SweetIM. The add-on was really fun to use and so far I haven’t encountered any problem with ever since it was incorporated on my Yahoo Messenger.

At present, it seems that the makers of this app is planning to add online gaming functionality within the add-on for a more fun-filled experience so without further a do, here the video they have produced with regards to their plan.

Optimize your Media Experience with 123 Media Max

December 17, 2009 | By | 5 Replies More

Reading time: 2 – 3 minutes

This is a Sponsored Post written by me on behalf of 123 Media Max. All opinions are 100% mine.

Handling media files for quite sometime has been a part of my daily routine and waking up each day working at them is basically rewarding and fun. I’ve never been so much interested with burning files and converting videos and audio files into different formats until I’ve discovered my passion with computers and software.

Evaluating software from time to time from direct advertiser requests on this blog creates a great deal of familiarity with the different types of files and the various workarounds that you could do out of any modification attempts on different file formats.

It was fascinating that for quite a while that I have encountered several software in the market, I’ve never seen such a powerful tool as 123 Media Max which has that utmost flexibility and functionality.

Among the hands down capability of 123 Media Max is the ability it provides users to create backup copies of any Blu-ray movie to standard DVD RW with amazing HD quality. Not only that, it even allows making a backup of any DVD movie to DVD so easily.

Should you worry about losing your precious Blu ray and DVD movie collections, this time, you can sleep tight because you’ve finally partnered with a savior that would perfectly backup your files and make it playable on any Blu-Ray and DVD players or Sony PS3. A major Blu-Ray Copy Breakthrough unprecedented in today’s ever changing technology driven world, a master class indeed.

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Websites to Watch Live Online Concert Streaming and Recorded Shows

December 17, 2009 | By | 1 Reply More

Reading time: 3 – 5 minutes

Last October 25th, the world has witnessed the very first live concert streaming in history simulcast across five continents via YouTube featuring the phenomenal rock band U2 staged at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California.

Your truly was able to watch the concert though I’m not a U2 fan, I appreciated the effort that they put into that milestone which afterward became the next big thing in online media streaming following its massive success.

In connection with this new and rather vibrant concept of talent showcase, the following post will feature websites where you can get live concert streaming and pre-corded tours and events that are both upcoming and from the not-so-distant past and get to listen to concert recordings.

For upcoming live streamed concert events, you can rely on Billboardlive.com which showcases soon to be shown live concert feeds right at the comfort of your computer.

To travel back in the days when John Lennon and Yoko Ono are together singing some songs and the likes of Bob Dylan & The Band, you can consult the concert vault of Wolfgangsvault.com for classic collection of concert performances from your favorite artists however the site only has the massive collection of concert recordings and not videos but great enough for an avid fan who loves listening to music. A great site to unwind and reminisce the old times through songs from the musical geniuses of the past and present generation. On a side note, in order to be able to listen to the live concert recordings, one must first sign-up for an account.

Live Concerts Upcoming and Past

Live Concerts Upcoming and Past

One of the best songs of all time (or maybe my personal favorites) include Paul McCartney’s The Long And Winding Road, Let It Be, Hey Jude, and Yesterday. I’ve embed one of the songs below for your listening pleasure.

Current artists and their performances however can be easily viewed via AOL Live Concerts page readily available for viewing while Bandsvideos.com offers a vast collection of live recorded concert performances of various bands from different decades which you surely would enjoy in case you’ve missed some of them.

For the meantime, those are the handy resources I was able to find out online so just incase you have some suggestions or sites you’d like to add, just leave it at the comments section.

At present, watching live streaming concerts on Billboardlive.com would require speeds of at least 350Kbps which is quite disappointing aside from the fact that it requires you to download Microsoft Silverlight before you could even view the player screen. “Two-thumbs down!”

What’s A Mobile Phone For You?

December 16, 2009 | By | 2 Replies More

Reading time: 2 – 2 minutes

Today’s rapidly changing pace in mobile technology is often characterized by frequent mobile phone model releases in the market plus tons of applications for mobile users that simply end up unused due to so many options that anyone could find confusing anymore.

Mobile Phones

Mobile Phones

Engaging alone with your favorite social media network could eat up most of your time doing nothing but updating statuses on Twitter and Facebook.

Having a mobile phone nowadays doesn’t limit you from the traditional voice, SMS and MMS capabilities. The addition of WAP and other Bluetooth driven functionalities has inspired more than just curiosity and creativity in fact it has become a trend and now 3G and mobile broadband has finally joined in.

I may not end up enumerating things but the massive growth of mobile technology and mobile web really intrigues me that I could sometimes ask myself, do I need a new phone and how functional could a simple phone be? Will I follow the trend or consult mobile phone reviews instead or shall I follow my heart or my pocket’s calling?

Will you sacrifice functionality over price or be trendy and cool but complicate your life? What would your answer be? Have your say at the comments section.

Testing Improved YouTube Downloader Tool

December 16, 2009 | By | 3 Replies More

Reading time: 2 – 2 minutes

If you’re a big YouTube fan, you probably have seen countless number of great videos from different categories and I’m sure that at some point you have thought of downloading the videos you’ve watched to put it in your iPod or iPhone.

While there is certainly a lot of software available out there that does the trick, it’s sometimes better to use the free ones than spend some bucks over a piece of software.

I just came across a small piece of software about ~3.82MB in size but decent enough to download YouTube videos as they play. This software is Improved YouTube Downloader 0.9.8 by ImprovedSoftware.

Improved YouTube Downloader

Improved YouTube Downloader

Thought the tool works well by running it before playing the streaming video, the time it takes for the video download to complete is dependent on your internet connection speed. There’s really no way to speed things up so patience is really necessary.

User interface however is pretty easy to understand so anybody can use it without so much effort but can be a little bit boring for some tech savvy users.

Download quality for .avi files is not that excellent, I would assume that it’s also dependent on the type of video file you’re trying to grab but otherwise, it does the job it’s supposed to do.

Requirements to run:
OS Windows XP/Vista/7
Downloads AVI, MP3, 3GP or FLV depending on your choice.
YouTube, Break.com and DailyMotion sites each have a corresponding downloader.

Ways To Easily Recognize Phishing Emails

December 16, 2009 | By | 4 Replies More

Reading time: 2 – 2 minutes

As I have discussed on my previous post some of the useful ways on how to identify a phising site, this comes in as my second installment however this time is particularly focused on determining some of the most important components of phishing emails.

Phishing Emails

Phishing Emails

Looking back to the previous “Paypal phishing email” I have received, here are the essential indications that you can find (see email screen shot below).

“From” Address is Completely Fraudulent and Unofficial

Avoid these links from site’s and as much as possible check the companies’ official URL.

Don’t fall for Call-to-Action statements

We all know that it’s pretty to fall into a trap with warning such as “Alert Account blocked” so never ever believe this trick.

Look for Generic Greetings

Okay, the bad guys doesn’t really know who you really are so basically they would do just about any trick to get you following they’re suggestions.

Watch out those links before clicking on them, like I said before Interclue add-on for Firefox or hover on the link and watch what you see on your taskbar.

And finally, don’t forget to report those phishing emails to the proper authorities so can they track them down in their system and inform others of this undesirable modus operandi.

Quick Facts About PS3 Slim

December 16, 2009 | By | 4 Replies More

Reading time: 1 – 2 minutes

Officially called PS3 CECH-2000 or most commonly known as PS3 slim which was released back in August 2009 at the Sony Gamescom press conference, this model of the PS3 makes waves for its upgradable 120GB hard drive, thirty-three percent smaller and lighter in size compared to its predecessors plus its power-saving capability is probably one of the strongest attraction of this gadget over its competitors—Nintendo’s Wii and Microsoft’s Xbox 360.

Aside from the earth-friendly power consumption feature it has, PS3 also boasts its Blu-ray capabilities and free online gaming service along with a consumer-friendly price. PS3 slim deals have been all over the place due to its marketability despite its highly criticized exterior design switching from the “Spider-Man font” PLAYSTATION 3 to the classic PlayStation 3 with “PS3” on the console and a logo redesign.

Amazon.com, Best Buy, and GameStop however jumped into the craze selling PS3 slim on August 25, 2009 whereas at present-day, you can actually find the cheapest PS3 250gb bundle online through http://ps3.uk.net/ps3-bundles showcasing the 250GB PS3 slim which was first introduced in Tokyo along side a nifty Final Fantasy XIII-theme in white and pink color variations and designs whereas dark color lovers can also enjoy the gadget’s Charcoal Black tint which happens to be a crowd favorite.

Goo.gl it and Socialize with Google’s URL Shortener

December 16, 2009 | By | 2 Replies More

Reading time: 2 – 4 minutes

Google seems to be jumping on every single platform it can get its hands into and surprisingly, their URL shortening service, goo.gl made its debut. Although there’s no way that anybody can just go into the site and shorten a URL just like stand-alone shortening services like bit.ly, ow.ly, etc., goo.gl however is only available on Google products—Feedburner and Google Toolbar and to think that generally, blogs mostly have RSS feeds powered by Feedburner, it’s pretty clear that Google has capitalized its massive influence on RSS powered sites/blogs.

Feedburner Socialize Service Using Goo.gl Shortening Service from Google

Feedburner Socialize Service Using Goo.gl Shortening Service from Google

To give you a better view on how you can take advantage of this service, log into your Feedburner account and Under the publicize page, you can find the Socialize service on Feedburner. This feature allows you to connect your feed to the real-time social web which means your feeds will automatically appear on your favorite social networks which at present only supports Twitter and can only post a feed on a single Twitter account.

Formatting options however must be within 140-character limit otherwise messages longer than normal will be truncated. Posts depending on your liking could either be just the post feed title, title and body, or the body as the tweet while feed item permalinks will be rewritten using Google’s goo.gl URL shortener. These links will then be redirected to the normal Feedburner URLs for analytics tracking consistency plus the ability to RT your shortened URLs using “Leave room for retweets” option.

Hash tags are also an added option based on item categories. Custom messages can also be added preceding or following the message that is created using shortened URLs. For the meantime, only five news updates can be posted for every feed update.

The keyword filter function will then filter the shortened links to be broadcasted based on a given keyword in a category. A preview is also available to let you see how your tweets will appear given your chosen Socialize options but only new feed items will be tweeted after the service is activated.

With this recent move from Google, I’m pretty sure that it will lessen the use WordPress of plugins that auto-posts newly published articles on Twitter and decreased number of users on third-party web apps doing the same. There would be a sudden shift in number and it can be huge.

How do you think will plugin developers and third-party providers react to this move by Google? We might be seeing a great monopoly of Google on almost every scale but do see it as it is? Your comments are welcome.

HOW TO: Identify a Phising Site

December 16, 2009 | By | Reply More

Reading time: 3 – 5 minutes

Based on my previous post about using Yahoo Sign-in Seal against password theft, I have mentioned the idea behind phishing websites and the concept of phishing and phishing emails.

In conjunction with that topic, this post is aimed at shedding light about the various ways of determining how a phishing site would look like based on most phishing emails.

To refresh your memory about phishing sites, these are pages that are intended to look the same as the genuine pages of most financial related websites like Paypal, online banks, etc. but there is a catch. Once you entered your login information on these so called fake websites, chances are you might end up being broke afterward since your money could have been taken by the criminals using your personal information.

Suspected Phishing Site

Suspected Phishing Site

You wouldn’t want yourself be into such trouble so here are some of the tips that I can share on how you could determine a spoofed site.

Check the website address

Common sense will tell you if the URL is correct or not. Simply put, if Paypal.com is genuine so most likely Paypal1.com or any combination thereof is not real.

Check the http:// at the start of the web addresses. Most secured sites show https:// with the s and show a lock icon at the Windows taskbar. Although not most sites are expected to be https://, it’s important to note that the URL should be typed correctly on the address bar on your browser otherwise you never know that mistyping the incorrect URL would lead you to the phony site’s trap.

Something to note also is that not because there’s a lock icon on your browser automatically mean that the site is legitimate; again there could be a lot of factors like an expired security certificate so be watchful of any warning messages on your browser or screen.

Another hint is to check the presence of the trailing slash after each URL e.g. http://yahoo.com/ instead of http://www.yahoo.com:login&mode=secure or checking on the subdomain like http://paypal.blogspot.com instead of paypal.com since Paypal wouldn’t have a sign-in page from Blogger in the first place.

Be wary of Popups

Some legitimate sites may show popup windows before logging in so be extra vigilant of popups especially if you’re redirected from a link that you clicked from your email. Visit the website instead by typing its URL directly on your address bar.

Set your browsers to secure mode

I have previously written steps before on how to set Firefox for secured browsing and setting Google Chrome for anti-phishing so I think that would help a lot.

One rule of thumb: If you’re not sure of the website you’re trying to login, do not continue. Close your browser instead, reopen it and type in the URL on your address bar and keep an eye on the page while loading and check if it’s being redirected or not.

You may also hover your cursor on the link on your email to check what’s behind the link or where the link would be directed to because from there you will know if the link is suspicious or not.

For Firefox users, you may also use a clue viewer add-on which will provide the hint usually a snap shot of the web page behind any given link.

If you have something to add to these tips, feel free to do so on the comments section.

Discount Software for Online Buyers

December 16, 2009 | By | Reply More

Reading time: 1 – 2 minutes

Lately, I have been featuring e-commerce stores where people can buy different items at discounted price from ladies bags to jewelries but this time, I’m going to be talking about discount software sites offering cheap computer software for online buyers.

The holiday season is just around the corner and while people from all over search for software discount of at least ten percent, the buyer who’s willing to buy a hundred dollar or more priced item would definitely love to get that ten percent cut since it can already be considered a big bonus.

Just imagine how much you can actually save by purchasing discounted software online than buying it from your local store minus cost of traveling and the time it consumes?

If I were to choose between buying software online and from the store, I’d rather choose the former because first of all, it’s very convenient and somewhat cheaper plus you can actually get immediate support right away in case there would be problems compared to buying it from the store and then returning it back in case something goes wrong which can be a huge hassle that anybody wouldn’t want to get into. What do you think? In your opinion, do you think it’s better to buy software online or from a store?

Why Not Bother Using Thunderbird 3?

December 15, 2009 | By | 2 Replies More

Reading time: 2 – 4 minutes

For quite sometime that I have been blogging, my POP3 email has always been my companion in communicating with my readers, newsletter subscribers and direct advertisers so basically, it’s that pretty important.

Mozilla Thunderbird

Mozilla Thunderbird

Being a fan of open source, I have tried Thunderbird twice not only because it handles POP3 emails very well but also because it can carry RSS feeds readily available for reading as I’m subscribed to a few frequently updated blogs so it helps me to be always in the know.

As time goes, my first and second trial runs that lasted for several months have not been very pleasing. At first it was but then in the latter part, it has failed to update RSS feeds automatically until I finally given up.

I’m sure that updating the program would help when needed but the extent to which these updates lead to ineffectiveness then that makes me think that I’d rather not update and wait for the bugs to fix itself but instead totally get rid of the whole thing.

I ended up using a separate RSS reader and settled altogether with Outlook Express and was happy with the move.

Now, here’s the reason why you don’t need to bother yourself with the new Thunderbird email client.

First thing is that the new email client opens new messages in tabs similar to the new Yahoo email web interface, quite cool but not for some people. The more you click mails, the more tabs will open which can lead to confusion.

Among the other troubles I’ve found were incompatibility issues with Mozilla Lightning as a calendar tool and Keyword Highlight add-on.

Third party email settings on Thunderbird are more confusing than Outlook Express or MS Outlook. I even found Incredimail more user-friendly.

Lastly, the fact that Thunderbird adds the capability to fetch RSS feeds from blogs/sites, I think they should have not added this functionality if they can’t even prove its worth so why not concentrate on things that matter the most—a great user experience and a friendly user interface.

If you’re Thunderbird fan then I’d love to hear from you on why you loved it and if you can convince me to switch back, the better.

Create Animated Movies in Minutes with Moviestorm

December 13, 2009 | By | 4 Replies More

Reading time: 2 – 4 minutes

This is a Sponsored Post written by me on behalf of Moviestorm. All opinions are 100% mine.

Incorporating videos on websites nowadays can be very effective because at this time and age, people are becoming less patient in reading especially very long scripts. Blog posts basically needs some flavor in order to be interesting.

Aside from the readability factor images can bring on a page or a blog post, videos are twice as much effective in the sense that auditory and visual senses are being triggered. Therefore, it does make sense why YouTube outranks most content delivery sites online.

Having said that, it is of mere excitement to finally found an online movie creation site, Moviestorm which is so fun-filled that it can capture your imagination by allowing you to create your own movie clips, presentations, music videos and the like for free via a user-friendly interface minus the requirements of learning basic movie-making and animation techniques in just minutes.

Awesome additional characters, props and animation are also available through Moviestorm subscriptions and not only that, if you want to create your very own movie using your photos, Moviestorm widgets comes in handy for creating savvy photo slide shows using readily available templates using Photostorm after which your clips can then be uploaded to YouTube for embedding, Photostorm live for Facebook plus movie gifts enables you to share your great creations to your family and friends.

Engaging tutorial clips can now be created in just minutes minus the hurdle of learning Adobe Photoshop and Flash. Windows Movie Maker will go shy compared to its quality so I’m absolutely signing-up and downloading Photostorm to be different. Watch the video below and feel the difference!

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The Owl is now on your iPhone

December 13, 2009 | By | Reply More

Reading time: 2 – 2 minutes

I’m not really a big HootSuite fan but this news might be very well expected as apps continue to invade the iPhone. A few days ago, HootSuite Twitter app has finally reached the iPhone users via the iTunes store.

HootSuite

HootSuite

HootSuite for iPhone boasts in being the first Twitter application that lets you view your stats, schedule tweets ahead of time, send messages to multiple accounts, import lists, upload and share photos using ow.ly, get an overview of the current trends and a lot more.

Watch the video below to get a glimpse on how it works on your iPhone.

Dropping Dropbox for Good

December 13, 2009 | By | 1 Reply More

Reading time: 2 – 2 minutes

The first time I’ve used Dropbox was last year and the most recent was just a few days ago, apparently it has never been a fruitful one. I’ve finally figured out that it was indeed something that I wouldn’t get any benefit so I’m dropping it totally.

Dropbox basically allows file storage on a drag and drop interface via its downloadable software with folder management capabilities inclusive of 2 GB space allotment for a free account.

Since I can easily upload files through the DropBox folder that comes with it on my PC, I was expecting that if I install Dropbox on another computer or multiple computers linked on a single account, I can have all files synched and access my uploaded files on any of the computers where I linked my account but that wasn’t possible.

Having tried to exit and open the software several times just to make sure I’m doing it right, unfortunately nothing succeeded.

It’s clear to me that Dropbox can only accept files from a single computer using a single account. If you intend to use Dropbox on another computer using a single account hoping that your files are synched, then just drop the idea.

dropped

dropped

I don’t need the extra 250 MB free space per referral they are boosting around if they can’t even improve their upload speed which is from 2008 until now hasn’t changed.

Contrary to what they’re bragging about on their site, that it syncs your files across multiple computers, I’m afraid that wasn’t true.

Fact Snippet: Software Development Process

December 12, 2009 | By | 2 Replies More

Reading time: 2 – 3 minutes

Writing software reviews has been a rewarding experience but despite the fact that I’ve been doing it for quite sometime, I think it’s about time for me to dig a little deeper on how a software comes to life after the cunning hands of software developers then afterward gets used by end users and reviewed by enthusiasts like me.

Like any other product, before any software is launched into the market, it undergoes several processes similar to manufacturing of which is often represented by the Waterfall model.

The Waterfall model is a sequential software development process often attributed to a waterfall since its progress is steadily flowing in a downward direction (see figure below).

Waterfall model

Waterfall model

The Waterfall Model was taken from Royce’s article written in 1970 which later became the way to criticize a commonly used software practice.

The Waterfall model is comprised by the following phases:
1. Requirements specification
2. Design
3. Construction (implementation or coding)
4. Integration
5. Testing and debugging (also called Validation)
6. Installation
7. Maintenance

There are many cited arguments though about how the process should be done contrary to the above model and among those are inconsistencies in case clients change their requirements and design which means, one can’t easily move forward to the next step unless the previous ones are perfected which in return immobilize the whole process and thus increasing costs and eating more time.

On the other hand, the Sashimi model by Peter DeGrace allow feedback in between phases although quite similar in scope as the Waterfall model, this method however alleviates the need to modify and correct certain issues before moving forward which is good because this allows ample time to discover bugs and do some fixes whenever it comes between each phase.

Given these facts above, it open up the avenues for understanding how a software is developed before being released and to think that is requires a lot of effort and time to do so, I must say kudos to those guys for creating savvy pieces of tools for today’s computer driven world.

YouTube Grows a Feather but Still Can’t Fly

December 10, 2009 | By | 12 Replies More

Reading time: 1 – 2 minutes

If you ever tried watching video on YouTube on dial-up, I would assume that it almost takes forever to wait for the buffer to finish before you could watch a decent 10 minute video.

You must have heard of Google’s madness over speed as a ranking factor for 2010 so definitely it follows that they’ll also try to speed things up within their circle including YouTube which is not at all surprising.

In line with that aim, YouTube through its blog recently revealed its plans of speeding up video viewing and playback by introducing Feather via TestTube, YouTube’s testing ground and idea haven.

Opting-in for Feather Beta is really easy by going to this link and opting-out is also breeze. The interface is pretty much simple, you’ll miss some options though like resizing video embed options as well as related video counts at minimum however despite all those simplicity, it wasn’t that much promising.

I’m using a simple local broadband network fairly decent enough to deliver streaming videos but I’m afraid Feather isn’t light after all. Maybe because it’s still in Beta which is understandable, regardless it has a long way to go.

Mobile Broadband: Making Web Access Available Anytime

December 9, 2009 | By | 1 Reply More

Reading time: 1 – 2 minutes

Suppose you’re not in the office or even at home, do you always have to rely on hot spots to get access to the internet? Well, not anymore because you certainly can rely on something else for that matter, why not use the power of a mobile broadband service?

Mobile broadband is definitely the answer when hotspots can’t be found and the convenience of Wi-Fi is out of reach.

Local providers are gunning after each customer they can get however costs may vary as competition gets tougher.

The benefits of having a mobile broadband connection is indispensable since mobility at this time of age is already part of life and you cannot always sat on a nearest Starbucks café just to get Wi-Fi access if there’s a lot of customers and you can’t always assume that all public places are hotspots.

Readily available access to the internet is an added convenience to any user and if you’ll ask me, I wouldn’t have any second thoughts getting such service however it will always depend on your personal needs. If you believe that somehow, you can take advantage of its benefits especially if you’re in the UK, simply head on to www.broadband-finder.co.uk to choose your preferred plan.

Why AVG 9.0 Free Falls Short to Please?

December 9, 2009 | By | 6 Replies More

Reading time: 2 – 4 minutes

Before AVG 9.0 was released in the market, I have been using this software for quite sometime in fact, I even featured this so many times as the software that saved my PC from Conficker however I certainly believe that end-users still has the final say and things should always change for the better whenever possible.

It may sound a bit ironic compared to the previous praises for the software I gave but all I’m after now is value. Are you willing to keep something that hasn’t improved overtime or maybe improvements that you can get only if you’re willing to pay?

At the onset, I was excited about the improvements but seeing the benefits on a free user’s point of view, I didn’t get much of what I’ve expected.

First, AVG fails to reach its goal of 50% reduction in scan times. I’ve tested it (see screenshot below).

AVG Anti-Virus Free 9.0

AVG Anti-Virus Free 9.0

AVG normally scans my PC for 2 hours and 45 minutes but now, it has been reduced to 2 hours approximately, close to 27% improvement in scan time but not exactly the faster way to go.

AVG 9.0 Product Overview

AVG 9.0 Product Overview

User interface didn’t really changed that much maybe because I’m a free user and some of the benefits of paid users added in the menu aren’t highlighted.

Identity theft protection is not available for free versions so don’t expect that much security.

If AVG is really sincere enough in keeping their users like me free from online threats, they should have at least thought of keeping this functionality for free minus the paid support if what they argue is getting revenue for the cost of keeping those services delivered via email or phone which is totally understandable.

Protection from web forgery is pretty important and if the above functionality is available for free users, it’s going to be an added value plus long-term benefits for them.

If AVG doesn’t have an aim of monopolizing the antivirus market by making a salient feature free, then somewhere along the line, competitors will definitely find a way to capitalize this loophole.

Is Newer Really Better – Why You Should Consider Using Old Software

December 9, 2009 | By | 2 Replies More

Reading time: 3 – 5 minutes

While many people rush out to buy the latest and greatest computer hardware and software packages, many savvy computer owners know that newer is not always better. Computers that are four and five years old or even older can still provide trouble free service, all without the cost or hassle of upgrading. The same goes for computer software – just because a software title is a couple years old does not mean it is ready for the trash heap.

Apple Keys

This is true of all kinds of software packages, from operating systems and office productivity suites to accounting software and computer games. If you are thinking about buying or downloading a new software package just because there is a new version available you may want to take a step back and ask yourself a couple of questions.

Can My Computer Handle the New Version?

The newest version of software won’t always work for every computer. Most people don’t purchase new computers every year; except that new software is designed for the newest and fastest computers. Furthermore, because new software is designed for faster computers the developers load more features into it, a phenomenon sometimes referred to as Bloatware. This means that your computer may not be up to the task of running the new software and it may give you more headaches than you expected, which leads to the next question:

Does My Current Software Do What I Need it To?

If your current software package does what you need it to do there may be no reason to upgrade. If you enjoy playing that great computer game the mere fact that it is a couple of years old does not mean you need to plunk down money for a new version. If you still enjoy playing it save your money and keep on playing.

The same is true of expensive software products like office productivity suites. If your old word processor, spreadsheet package and database program are giving you what you want there is simply not a reason to upgrade to a newer – and more expensive – version of that same software package. Chances are your old version will continue to work just fine for many years to come.

What About the Learning Curve?

In addition to the obvious cost savings there are a number of other considerations when thinking about buying or downloading new software versus staying with the tried and true. One of the most important things to keep in mind is that a new version of a familiar software package will come with its own learning curve. If the software upgrade is not a significant one the learning curve may not be very steep, but if the program is mostly unchanged there may be no compelling reason to upgrade.

If the software changes are significant enough that you would want to upgrade it is important to keep in mind that it will take some time to learn the new features of the upgrade. If you do choose to upgrade your once familiar software package may be difficult to use, and that could cost you a lot of time and trouble.

Before you decide to upgrade be sure that an upgrade is really the best decision. Ask yourself these important questions and do some research. If you’ve already made the upgrade and regret it, or if you just miss the simplicity of that old interface, you may always ‘downgrade’ away your frustrations.

Craig writes for the blog at VersionDownload.com, a site for finding old versions of popular software. He can be reached at versiondownloadsupport[at]gmail[dot]com.

Taste Sweetness with LG Chocolate Touch

December 8, 2009 | By | 5 Replies More

Reading time: 2 – 2 minutes

This is a Sponsored Post written by me on behalf of LG Chocolate Touch. All opinions are 100% mine.

I certainly believe that no matter how health conscious you are, there’s always a sweet tooth left for your craving. Whatever confectionery you dig, sweet stuff always finds a way to please the taste and chocolate indeed is never out-of-place.

But what if you can get the same sweetness of Chocolate with less the calorie but oozing with sensuality? Isn’t that tempting?

Digitally, the sweetness of LG Chocolate Touch is seductive enough to any mobile phone user with its sumptuous features such as crystal-clear sound quality powered by Dolby’s mobile technology, savvy visual effects with Rhythmical Beat that vibrates the handset according to the music being played, streamlined Social Network Messaging capability for micro-blogging and status updates for Twitter, Facebook, and Myspace among others, mobile media plus visual voice mail and a decent 3.2MP camera and recorder all-in-one nifty and stylish device.

LG Chocolate Touch also includes an FM Tuner (87.5-107.9 MHz), 1GB of Internal Memory dedicated to music expandable up to 16MB via microSD™ Memory Port, a visual keyboard and drums feature for your own music mix-it up madness and whole lot of goodness digital chocolate can offer.

Who wouldn’t fall for this temptation? Well, I must say that sweet isn’t always bad after all. Aren’t they?

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Earn Revenue Playing Trivia and Referring Friends

December 8, 2009 | By | 6 Replies More

Reading time: 2 – 2 minutes

Having fun while at the same time doing the things you love is definitely rewarding. Who wouldn’t want that? It may be too good to be true these days but believe me, it still happens and it’s possible.

I’m not really a fan of MMORPG (Massively multiplayer online role-playing game) but online flash multiplayer trivia games are addicting. It’s basically different from MMORPG because first, they are not role-playing games and second they are informative and entertaining.

What more can you get if you could play trivia games with players all over the world and compete to answer trivia questions while at the same time earn some revenue while inviting your friends to join. Isn’t that awesome?

I have recently found out that is was possible through ChaosTrivia, joining is pretty simple and easy but the most important part is definitely having fun and earning something from referrals is just an added bonus.

So if you’re on to doing something enjoyable during your free time, why not play trivia games with friends? I’m sure you’ll definitely get hooked into it like I do. Click the link below to get started.

Play Free Quizzes on ChaosTrivia.com Now!

Every qualified lead gives 2 bucks and if you’re a blogger looking for some extra cash, placing some banners on your site will do however your blog or website must be approved first before you can start earning.

Software Critics Job Board Now Open

December 6, 2009 | By | 4 Replies More

Reading time: 2 – 2 minutes

Generating revenue out of your blogging efforts is basically the next big step you would do after all the hard work of producing and marketing content and networking with like-minded people.

While there are a lot of avenues nowadays where everyone online can generate income, big or small, it’s always better if you’re getting more than just revenue from Adsense clicks but is also giving away some value to your readers in exchange.

Reciprocation for me is a motivation to give back to my readers the value they could get out of visiting my blog thus this concept gave birth to the creation of Software Critics Job widget.

I have been running a job placement banner for a few months although it’s not something that you can actually get a reasonable revenue from clicks compared to Adsense but the fact that it’s my way of extending thank you to my readers and help to those who needs to earn a living, I continued to place the ad until recently, I decided to fully integrate a dedicated job placement board on this blog so that more and more readers would benefit.

Software Critics Job widget is powered by JobThread.com, a network for job seekers, employers and online publishers working together to build a better employment opportunity hub for everyone.

The benefits of having a job board or widget on a site or blog is not at all lucrative. For me, it’s just my own humble way of giving thanks and providing value to my readers in the best possible way I can.

Data Burning With Verbatim

December 4, 2009 | By | 4 Replies More

Reading time: 1 – 2 minutes

Back in the days when I was in high school, 1.44MB floppy disks then was the trend. I can still recall those times when I fancy the colored yet transparent ones that I sometimes tend to keep instead of using.

However, as time and technology progresses, I’ve noticed that they are hardly being used. But there’s one brand that always come to mind whenever I hear the words floppy disks, it’s Verbatim.

It has always been the brand of choice up until my college years mainly because they have delivered so much quality and passion with their brand thus it created a lasting impression that has been unparalleled up to this present time.

Quality has something to do with brand recognition and by far, they have fulfilled their mission. To this day, I’ve been using Verbatim CD-R discs for regular MP3 recordings although I haven’t tried burning DVDs yet with Verbatim DVD-R discs, I might buy one of those for burning holiday videos.

Burning data on a CD is basically easy but choosing the best brand can also contribute to the quality of the finished product although your software and device can go hand and hand, pricing related issues sometimes play a part.

When Is Image Hosting On Your Server Not Necessary?

December 4, 2009 | By | 10 Replies More

Reading time: 2 – 4 minutes

After several encounters with horrible web hosting providers, I have learned things the hard way but I certainly believe that it’s all worth it anyway. Looking at the brighter side of things always has its rewards.

I may not be the savviest blogger out there but neither that I claim to be one. I just do my stuff and that’s it.

One of the realizations I’ve had with my hosting experience has something to do with server hosted images. When I started self-hosting this blog, I normally upload the photos or screenshots on my web server. Novice that I am, I certainly don’t have an idea how to back up my image files from my database so it’s been a pain uploading images again after each transfer but after I decided that I should take the route of hosting my images on free third-party hosting sites, that’s when I’ve finally come up with these observations:

While hosting images on your server is a good idea especially if you’re optimizing for Google Image search as image URLs get indexed, it’s not at all practical if you’re on a shared hosting especially those accounts with limited space and bandwidth.

The traffic you can get out of Google Image results may vary depending on your site or blog’s topic. Most of the time, you might be losing bandwidth that you don’t even realize. Preventing your images from hot linking ( also known as inline linking, leeching, piggy-backing, direct linking, offsite image grabbing or bandwidth theft) will do the trick otherwise you might just end up paying more for something that you didn’t even use.

Uploading images on your server can slow down page load. Large images which are not optimized will take a while to load thus creating annoyance on your readers. However, if you’re willing to pay for a VPS or dedicated server, then go head but for practical reasons, why bother hosting your images when you’re not getting any traffic or revenue out of it?

Regardless if your blog is optimized for Google Image search or not, people will come and read your blog not because of the image they saw but because of the value they can get out of your content.

So if you can maximize your revenue by not spending anything for image hosting and not paying much for your web server costs, I believe that the only trouble left for you is how you can create compelling content that will attract consistent and not fly-by readers to your site.

subway rush

If you have something to share be it an affirmation or opposition to what I’ve shared on this post, feel free to have your say at the comment’s section.

Boost Productivity Using Google to MS Office Sync Tool

December 4, 2009 | By | 2 Replies More

Reading time: 3 – 5 minutes

Multitasking nowadays in basically the single most important skill everybody should live with at this time of day. It’s inevitable that no matter what we do, chances are high that at some point within our day-to-day living, we’ll be obliged to perform certain tasks all at the same time when the situations calls.

Working with documents in the office or at home would require much of our time and if urgency requires us to meet deadlines, we are staggered with so many things to do that we sometimes tend to skip our meals just to maximize our time or much worse, we don’t take the time off.

Now is the right time to start being productive because there are tools that will help us accomplish tasks easier and faster than we can imagine.

Suppose you have a Google Account, why not sign-up for Google docs and sync them with your Microsoft Office application? You can achieve this with OffiSync, a nifty productivity enhancement add-on that allows you to sync your Office files to your Google Docs account for document collaboration in real-time.

OffiSync interface within Microsoft Office

OffiSync interface within Microsoft Office

With OffiSync, you can save and open your MS Office files directly to Google Docs including the ability to create, delete and move folders and files in Google Docs right from within Office interface. Among the other salient features of the tool include collaboration management for emails, document, Google web and image searches fairly reasonable enough for the free download however, a premium download is also available for added functionality like Google Sites integration, saving files in their native format and direct support from OffiSync and their partners.

In order to use OffiSync, you must meet the following requirements:

  • A PC with Windows XP, Vista or Windows 7 OS installed.
  • Microsoft .Net Framework version 3.5 (Will auto-install on PCs that don’t have it)
  • MS Office 2003 or Office 2007
  • A Google Docs or Google Apps account.

To fully understand how OffiSync works, watch the video below:

Download this MS Office add-on here.

I’m currently using this add-on along with MS Office 2002; I thought it wouldn’t work since it requires Office 2003 or 2007 however it’s working fine anyhow.

So, what are your thoughts about this add-on? Do you find it helpful?

Update 20 Dec 2009

OffiSync can actually slow down MS Office application loading time. The usual time it takes for my MS Word app to open has increased significantly by a few seconds up to the point of freezing. I have uninstalled the add-on after such incident since using MSWord for my posts is crucial so a responsive application is what’s important for me. If you’re looking at using this add-on, expect these things to happen.

Brand Attachment for Fancy Bags This Holiday Season

December 3, 2009 | By | Reply More

Reading time: 2 – 2 minutes

As you can see, I’ve just tweaked my theme to match the season of merry-making and part of that is also featuring great sites where you can buy the savviest and the fanciest gift items for your loved ones this Christmas.

After all, it’s a season of giving so why should I not share e-commerce sites which I think isn’t that expensive however there can always be exceptions and for people who dig louis vuitton, the luxury of having louis vuitton handbags is something worth spending if not ego boosting. I know some of you may raise their eye brows but the truth is; there are people so brand attached that they tend to patronize them whatever the cost can be.

Socialites who can afford louis vuitton bags simply fancy having the brand attached to them. We really cannot say that it’s insane to buy such pieces of expensive material things at this time of day but let’s face it; people have different values and likes.

Our attachments to brands are largely influenced by our experience although it varies due to so many factors, one thing that I could think of is a consumer expectation that has been exceed by the brand manufacturer otherwise, I couldn’t see any reason why a consumer would ever stick to the same brand or better yet brand loyalty would even sprung out marketing dictionaries.

Do you have any thoughts you’d like to share?

Thesis Theme Christmas Tweaks

December 3, 2009 | By | 3 Replies More

Reading time: 3 – 4 minutes

When I started blogging, I have been a fan of magazine style themed blogs but as I go on further with blogging, I’ve decided to switch tastes and basically try some other themes from Typebased, Playmaker to Flexx Themes until I finally embraced Thesis theme.

Although Thesis is pretty much high maintenance in the sense that I don’t have enough knowledge about PHP and CSS, I still decided to use it because I know there’s something about this theme and why everybody’s going crazy about it.

This holiday, I’m actually thinking beyond myself and part of that is basically showcasing the guys that have inspired me to tweak my theme the best way I can even though I don’t have access to the forums.

First off, the Christmas ambience of my header is largely influenced by Sire of Wassupblog.com. He’s been an avid commentator on this blog and I appreciate his interest with what I write.

My header is basically taken from this code:

#header { text-indent: -9999px; }

.custom #header { background: url(‘http://softwarecritics.info/wp-content/uploads/2009/12/software-critics-christmas.png’) no-repeat; text-indent: -9999px; border-bottom: none; }

.custom #header #logo a { display: block; height: 110px; width: 950px; background: url(‘software-critics-christmas.png’) no-repeat; outline: none; }
.custom #header #logo, .custom #header #tagline { text-indent: -9999px; }
.custom #header #tagline { height: 0; }
.custom #header {border-bottom:none; padding:0}
.custom #header { padding: 0; }

I can’t remember whose blog I got it from but whoever you are, thank you for sharing your talent.

Based on the code above, some of the values are pretty much familiar with those using Thesis, the snow flakes however are taken from here.

The custom RSS image tweak was courtesy of Brendan Wenzel’s How to Change the RSS Feed Link to an Image with Thesis Theme tutorial. I really didn’t do much about the codes because like what I’ve said, I’m not really that CSS savvy but I’m glad Brendan helped.

You can see the code below and just change it to your liking.

.custom .menu .rss a { padding-right: 16px; margin-bottom: -130px; text-indent: -9999px; background: url(‘http://softwarecritics.info/wp-content/uploads/2009/12/santa-rss-icon.png’) 100% 50% no-repeat; border: none; width: 120px; height: 145px; }
.custom .menu .rss a:hover { padding-right: 16px; margin-bottom: -130px; text-indent: -9999px; background: url(‘http://softwarecritics.info/wp-content/uploads/2009/12/santa-rss-icon.png’) 100% 50% no-repeat; border: none; width: 120px; height: 145px; }

Santa images are available online and you can just grab whatever you want. I know that those who know Photoshop can do much better than I did with my RSS image button. Suit your style.

Thesis Theme Christmas Tweaks

Thesis Theme Christmas Tweaks

Finally, I want to thank Chris Pearson of Pearsonified.com for creating Thesis Theme for WordPress whose blog often leave me breathless whenever I drop by.

And to all Thesis users who doesn’t get tired of sharing their tweaks and tutorials, you all rock!

In case I’ve forgot to mention your name, please do so at the comments section.

Boxee Beta Due On The 7th

December 3, 2009 | By | Reply More

Reading time: 1 – 2 minutes

Boxee fans have another reason to celebrate as they formally announced the launch of Boxee Beta on 7th December 2009 at 7pm at the Music Hall of Williamsburg in NYC.

The said event (where you can catch free RSVP invitations here for up to 4 people) will showcase the new beta demo, launch new apps from partners and commence a 4-week early-access for Beta testers/users before its public release at CES on 7th January 2010 including a mock up of the upcoming Boxee Box.

The new Boxee Beta features will include a brand new user interface and promises a better navigation, bunch of shortcuts, user controlled queue, ability to search for TV shows and movies plus a lot more.

The event is said to be aired live via LiveStream or at the Boxee blog. In case you’re interested in signing up for the early Beta access, you may visit http://bit.ly/boxeebetaea.

I’ve signed up already, have you?

Buy Links as Presents for the Holidays

December 2, 2009 | By | Reply More

Reading time: 2 – 2 minutes

I would not be surprised if you end up on this post thinking about buying “links” on webmaster perspective for placement on other sites. Well, basically is quite literal in the sense that what I’m talking about are basically links of london, otherwise known to be one of UK’s fanciest jewelry stores online.

The ecommerce shop which showcases gorgeous links london proudly boasts of having is a master class of interconnected fine pieces of silver and gold jewels raging from bracelets, charms, necklaces, chains, earrings, and rings that are too captivating to the eyes.

Purchasing items from the site is not a problem because it accepts the most commonly used monetary units such as US, Australian and Canadian dollars, Euro, and British pounds.

A wide range of selections can be found on the site that allows even the most meticulous lady to get the hang out of every single piece of gem available on sale with much scrutiny. Romantic guys can also take advantage of the fine pieces for giveaways to their loved ones this holiday season.

If you ever get lost within the site, they always have a chat service standing by to give to a hand likewise a contact form in case you wanted to just send them an email for your questions. You might also want to sign up for an account for easier checkout, multiple shipping address usage and order tracking.

You might want to buy something for your girlfriend this holiday so what are you waiting for? Check out the site because you just might eventually find the perfect gift.

A Christmas Carol Free Audio Download for All Ages

December 2, 2009 | By | 7 Replies More

Reading time: 4 – 6 minutes

Most of you might have already read about the Ghost of Christmas Past, Present and Yet-to-Come on the most critically acclaimed book by Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol which first went out on 19th December 1843 with illustrations created by John Leech featuring the life of Ebenezer Scrooge, you definitely know this guy don’t you?

But if in case you don’t, allow me to be a little bit redundant here, or course, you might as well want to share this stuff to your kids. Scrooge, the main character in the novella (a written narrative often fictional which is shorter than a novel but longer than a novelette), originally, A Christmas Carol in Prose, Being a Ghost Story of Christmas, was a greedy, tight fisted, and cold-hearted man who despises Christmas and all other things that engenders happiness.

He then eventually finds salvation after a change of heart. You definitely know what made him change, don’t you?

Charles Dickens - A Christmas Carol-Title page First edition 1843

Charles Dickens - A Christmas Carol-Title page First edition 1843

A Christmas Carol has been a living treasure and its timeliness often brings back everyone to it during Christmas season. The story has been immortalized countless times all over the world in fact; one of the latest additions was Walt Disney’s “A Christmas Carol” on digital 3D portrayed by actor comedian Jim Carrey (see movie trailer below).

If you loved the movie on IMAX, or in print, you might have also fallen in love with the audio too. There are a lot of audio books out there that have already created versions of the story but what I’ve actually came across is a free downloadable audio recording of A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens on Storynory.com, a dramatic pantomime audio presentation adapted by Mike Betteridge of The Working Space Theatre Company.

The downloadable audio comes in three downloadable parts which also comes with a written text. The audio was clear and the presentation is vividly done by Natasha and Robert Maloney, who performed as Scrooge.

Christmas being the most celebrated season all over the world doesn’t just come in handy with those great, fancy, and expensive stuff, we have to focus on what does the season holds for us. Oftentimes, we tend to switch our ways and sometimes our persona just to blend well with the season but after that, we’re back to our old ways.

Offline, we have our loved ones and friends who are always there for us no matter what and this day is certainly for them and for everyone else who needs special attention and care.

Online, we have our social networking friends and even blogging friends. I don’t really understand why social media is so hyped that even if you have thousands of fans on Facebook, or tons of followers on Twitter, does that all respond or care about you? The interaction is very limited but just a single non-automated message saying hi or hello would be fair enough to think that this person is extending a hand, so why should I not take it.

Webmasters and bloggers who often interact on this virtual world of the web must realize that we’re all in one place. Forget our egos and obsessions with rank and stats. Why can’t we just be ourselves? Google doesn’t care about you. The bots does not have a heart and emotion to pat you on your back when you’re doing well or comfort you when you’re feeling bad. Only humans—your blogging friends, your visitors and those people who message you and interacts with you in all possible ways are the ones who really care.

Do we have to experience Scrooge’s horrible nightmares before we even start to act? What do you say?

eBay Extends Live Help Service To Southeast Asia

December 1, 2009 | By | 2 Replies More

Reading time: 1 – 2 minutes

eBay in its efforts to improve their live help services has recently formed a local Live Help Team for Southeast Asia allowing sellers in the region to chat directly with Live Help for cross border trade-specific issue resolution 24/7 by simply clicking on the Live Help or Contact Us button found on the local homepage of eBay.

Sellers within Singapore, Malaysia and the Philippines can address matters directly via chat for concerns regarding listing and selling internationally, linking eBay accounts to Paypal accounts for cross-border trade, protection programs from Paypal and eBay buyers and sellers, adCommerce and discount programmes for Southeast Asia sellers.

This move by eBay is something worth commending though it could have been done a little earlier. I wonder when eBay will focus on the buyers too by providing a much clearer route to getting immediate help. It was a pain in the neck trying to look for help when the chance of getting somebody to ask real-time is like going through a pin hole.

Jobs For Elgg Savvy Developers

December 1, 2009 | By | Reply More

Reading time: 1 – 2 minutes

I have always been an advocate of great content and ever since I started blogging, providing value especially to my readers has been a top priority that’s why I intended to place job-related banners on my sidebar in order to give back to my readers some valuable stuff and not just mere revenue regenerating ads.

Along with that advocacy, this time, I’m featuring a newly established job site where Elgg savvy people looking for Elgg jobs and talent-seekers unite. In case you’ve never heard of the term Elgg, it refers to an open source social networking platform or software similar to Joomla and Drupal in many aspects such as codebase, content creation like blogs, and media sharing among others.

Like most social networking platforms having the characteristics of content creation for blogging, developers also create custom Elgg Plugins & Themes for its growing user base especially now that everyone’s going social from large companies to startups, schools, civic organizations to individuals and because open source software like Elgg is highly customizable and in demand, specialized skills are gaining exposure thus creating more jobs.

So, if you happen be to one talented Elgg developer that’s looking for the right opportunity at these trying times, simply head on to www.elggexchange.com, sell your talent and network with fellow developers. Who knows, you just might end up having your dream job.

Keystroke Encryption Tool for Identity Theft Prevention

December 1, 2009 | By | 4 Replies More

Reading time: 2 – 4 minutes

If at this point you still don’t know that you’re keystrokes could be recorded from your keyboard and be extracted to steal your vital information, then basically you need to read on.

You may not be safe most of the time these days as cyber criminals continue to find ways of taking advantage of others and their property. If you think that you’re savvy antivirus software or spyware can do the trick dandy, better think again.

If you’re not protected enough, you just might end up penniless and your bank account all emptied if you’re computer happens to be injected with keystroke loggers or keyloggers.

These keyloggers are implanted piece of software or malware to be exact that records your keystrokes as you type on your keyboard in an effort to steal confidential information like credit card numbers and pins, bank account details and other online related financial information including your identity for use on other criminal pursuits. Without the right protective measures in place, in the most extreme of circumstances, you could be left searching for bankruptcy information as a potential means of minimizing your financial damage.

Security report from Symantec in April 2009 detailed that 75 percent of all malicious code infections are identified to keyloggers.

KeyScrambler

KeyScrambler

Traditional anti-virus and anti-spyware programs doesn’t immediately respond to attacks unless they have been earlier documented thus resulting to software updates which may not bring a rather stable protection compared to specific software such as Keystroke that helps prevent theft of your identity or KeyScrambler which encrypts keyboard strokes and decrypts it at the destination application thus allowing you to see your usernames and passwords as you type but a rather scrambled or encrypted keys totally undecipherable are shown otherwise to keyloggers.

KeyScrambler has an easy to use interface and works exactly how they describe it. It also supports a lot of applications but the free version is good enough as an add-on to Firefox and IE which was also the one I’m using.

A nifty tool could have been better if it’s open source but otherwise, it works well.

Download

How Do You Open Four Desktop Instances In One PC?

December 1, 2009 | By | 2 Replies More

Reading time: 3 – 5 minutes

Users like us who sometimes leave multiple opened applications on our desktop often times battle with how our computer can perform such requests and run those programs without even crashing which was often the end result.

What if there’s a program that provides the ability to open multiple instances of your desktop in one PC without crashing it? It sounds pretty cool huh?

There certainly is nothing so impossible these days because what I’ve just asked you is indeed possible and can be accomplished by Virtual Desktops.

WindowsPager

WindowsPager

Virtual Desktops such as WindowsPager enable the opening of multiple instances of desktop interface in one desktop PC simply by switching them like tabs, similarly a desktop switcher or pager. This gives you a better overview of your different running applications on several desktops. Again, don’t be confused here because what we are talking about is just one desktop computer.

In order to switch from one desktop to another, simply click on the small preview boxes on your taskbar or hold CTRL + (1-4), choose the desktop number you’d like to open.

Four Possible Virtual Desktops in WindowsPager

Four Possible Virtual Desktops in WindowsPager

To move a program from one desktop to another, simply right-click the chosen program and move it to your desired desktop window. Basically, the instances of your opened virtual desktop are defaulted to four and it can’t be controlled though just to show fewer instances, a limitation of this free software.

I have tried this software and here are the applications I’ve set up for each opened desktop.

Desktop 1: Outlook Express for my domain emails.
Desktop 2: I’ve run my Revo Uninstaller to remove a particular program I no longer use and it works effectively without affecting the overall performance of the system. It doesn’t slow down the system or crash it. Even though uninstallers use large virtual memory when run and oftentimes tend to freeze up other running programs especially browsers in case it’s opened when you run it, this time, it ignores it perfectly.
Desktop 3: A windows image folder.
Desktop 4: Firefox browser with 5 tabs of different web pages, MS Word, and a currently running Yahoo Messenger desktop client.

As you can see, these programs and apps are all running at the same time on different virtual desktops. The savviest part though is it doesn’t even slow down your computer and switching from one desktop to another is seamless and executing software in between desktops is a breeze.

WindowsPager is indeed a very powerful and useful piece of tool which you can bring anywhere you need because it’s a zip file, so there’s no need for installation and it works well on Windows Vista/7/XP/2000 OS.

If you wanted to experience the difference of Virtual Desktops, simple head on this link to download. Enterprise and corporate users however, should look at the Dell.com Virtualization page for large-scale network solutions.