Archive for January, 2010

Convert Multiple Image Format Quickly with Image Converter Plus

January 30, 2010 | By | 3 Replies More

Reading time: 4 – 7 minutes

Converting image files into different formats have never been easier these days with the advent of so many robust tools coming from various software developers. However, having a lot of options can sometimes become confusing thus valuable recommendation from reputable sources leads users to have the right set of tools.

Images come in various formats and among the popular ones are JPEG, GIF, PNG, BMP and TIFF although there are more than 100 graphic formats available in different applications.

The Concept of Image Formats

We use images for different purposes however, the effectiveness of each images may vary depending on its format and the way it was used. This means that certain types of image files may look better compared to another image file but could be more effective when used for same purpose.

For example, PNG or Portable Network Graphic files are aesthetically better compared to JPG/JPEG (Joint Photographic Experts Group) or GIF (Graphics Interchange Format) images however the downside is they are more resource consuming when used on websites because their file sizes are normally larger.

Although JPEG image files’ quality is not as good as PNGs, they are more resource friendly because of their smaller size and are much suitable for use as banner with an image as a background. GIF, on the other hand, have the least quality and size, appears grainy and are much suitable for text-based banners.

Understanding the concept of image formats does a great deal in making us appreciate the reason why an image converter is necessary.

The Hunt for an Image Converter

Image format conversion can be accomplished using different mediums. Web-based conversion although efficient because of its universal accessibility through the internet could make the task impossible to complete due to dependency on the browser component unlike using an installed application, PC-based tools make it easier to accomplish the task with less the requirement in a fraction of the time.

There are many software out there that does image conversion however if we are after simplicity and specificity, we generally could go in to a whole lot of searching just to find the right program that would fit our needs.

I was scouring the web a couple of days ago and I came across this nifty software for image conversion known as Image Converter Plus by fCoder Group.

Image Converter Plus

The concept is pretty simple. Convert an image file format into another type of image file e.g. a PNG image into a JPEG image.

Why use Image Converter Plus?

Image Converter Plus makes it easier to convert image files into another format in less time with image correction, application of various filters and effects, image editing operations like resizing and cropping, image effects rendering like embossing, sharpening, and image noise reduction among others can all be done as well in large batches.

Having used Image Converter Plus on web design projects allowed me to experience its high quality imaging capability since it doesn’t spoil your files’ quality instead it makes them even better while at the same time allotting you more time to focus on other things without sacrificing the value you put into your money and in your work.

Its intuitive user interface makes it easier to navigate and switch between features plus its handy right-click menu integration is easy to fall in love with like it’s almost close to perfection.

What can Image Converter Plus do that other software cannot?

Image Converter Plus can convert huge files even several GBs larger and faster while supporting multiple image formats and dialects, HDRI for HDR photography, RAW formats for photos taken from known camera brands like Kodak, Nikon, Canon, etc., multi-core processors, 64-bit systems, 16 bit/channels, and works with EXIF and IPTC information.

Image Converter Plus also allows you to send your converted images by email or upload them via FTP without the need for a third-party FTP client/software.

How do I use Image Converter Plus?

It’s very simple to use so I’m sure that you wouldn’t have a hard time with it. You don’t need to be a pro in order to appreciate its usefulness. Watch this video here for a quick tutorial.

What is the system requirements needed for use with this software?

This software should work on computers with the following specifications:
CPU: Pentium 2.
RAM: 128 RAM.
HDD free space: 50 Mb.
OS: Windows NT/2000/XP/2003/Vista

Systems that exceed these requirements are highly favored for optimal performance. You may visit this page for installation instructions.

The Verdict

Image Converter Plus definitely out smarts any type of software of its kind. A masterpiece created for flawless and seamless image conversion solutions.

It’s not that bad for US$49 on a single license, a really good investment if you were to ask me. Conversion scripts are already available upon installation so everything is touch and go. Using conversion via command-line option can be a challenge for beginners as they are intended for more advanced users.

The software at the moment doesn’t have a zipped version which means portability is not yet supported but hopefully in time it will.
Over all, it’s worth the try. I’ve used it myself so if I were happy with it, and so can you.

You can download Image Converter Plus from here. If you haven’t tried this software, here’s your chance to do so and feel the difference. Let me know how it works on your end. Feel free to share your experience, give comments or ask questions in the comments section.

Boost Mobile Brags Unlimited Plan with a SANYO Incognito SCP6760 Up for Grabs!

January 29, 2010 | By | 5 Replies More

Reading time: 2 – 4 minutes

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

Are you looking for a savvy EVDO capable phone with a full QWERTY keyboard at an affordable price without the hassle of any contract requirements? Your search is finally over because what you’ve been looking for is just a matter of clicks away.

Boost Mobile has taken their efforts a step higher with their recent launch of the QWERTY flip SANYO Incognito SCP6760 for the price of $129.99 (excluding taxes) under a $50 Monthly Unlimited plan which offers unlimited talk, text and web browsing without any contract requirement, an irresistible limited time offer you wouldn’t want to miss.

SANYO Incognito SCP6760

SANYO Incognito™ SCP6760 boasts a 2MP camera with VGA camcorder, a music and video player plus enhanced web browsing not to mention Multi-Media messaging (Picture & Video), Stereo Bluetooth® and GPS capabilities. Keeping up with friends and families on your favorite networking sites is a breeze with an added EVDO (Evolution-Data Optimized) enhancement.

The Sanyo Incognito also allows you to make your own ringtone and customize ringtones for different callers.

The great news doesn’t end here because when you purchase this phone along the unlimited monthly plan with the required links on this post, you get free shipping as an added bonus.

This offer is a great way to start the year right so don’t miss this opportunity while it’s hot!

Click Here

Visit my sponsor: Boost Mobile

Google Search Results Error Ongoing: I Have Proof!

January 28, 2010 | By | 5 Replies More

Reading time: 2 – 2 minutes

I was doing some research on Google.com (US) and Google.com.ph (Philippines) using the term “favicon,” “favicons,” and “favicon generator” and even tried using a combination of phrases as suggested by the search box with the word “favicon” but none of the terms render a search result. Here’s a screen shot of what I got from Firefox 3:

Google Search Result Error Firefox Browser

and here’s another one from Google Chrome:

Google Search Result Error Chrome Browser

Based on the images you’ve seen, it seems that Google is having some trouble rendering results for “favicon” search terms. This error reminds me of last year’s Google mistake of tagging the entire web as malware. Very unlikely. This is strange and I have not much of an idea why these terms are not rendering any results.

At this time of writing, the error remains unresolved although for other search terms, results are showing up.

Notes:

Have tried on two separate browsers. The one on Firefox was logged-in to Google.com account. The one on Chrome isn’t. So I don’t see any relation related to personalized search for the former.

Completely cleared my browsers’ cookies and cache yet the error still persists.

Have you had the same result as mine? I’m not certain if it was a virus or a malware on my end but how could it happen if some search terms like “software” and “blogs” are rendering search results perfectly.

Do Webmasters Need A Website Monitoring Service?

January 27, 2010 | By | 10 Replies More

Reading time: 2 – 2 minutes

It has been months since I’ve transferred hosting to Bluehost and I must say that the investment is really worth it. For almost three months, I haven’t seen any outages on this site nor have heard of any reports about this site being offline even for a short while.

I’m glad to have made the right choice but if you may ask why am I able to keep track of what’s going on with this blog, that’s because I’m using a third-party service provider to monitor this blog’s uptime every day. I’ve been using Internetseer.com’s free service option since I started self-hosting.

I could even recall those times when I normally send some screenshots of the weekly uptime report to my previous hosts just to let them know that I’m aware of what’s going on with my site. That way, they have no reason not to admit and keep their hands clean when it’s not.

Webmasters really need to utilize third-party web monitoring services especially if they’re on the process of scrutinizing a new hosting company’s performance. A lot of cheap web hosting companies are sprouting nowadays every second, so it pays to be vigilant. Don’t be afraid to complain when there’s something wrong and always aim for value with the money you spent.

Site uptime can make or break your online business so make sure it’s always available when http requests are being sent to your site’s server. The best tip is to ask or consult those people who had the experience with hosting companies because they know who’s who in the industry, makes perfect sense right?

If you haven’t acquired a third-party website monitoring service, share your reasons why.

Multimedia Disc Burning Software Redefined by Power2Go

January 26, 2010 | By | 2 Replies More

Reading time: 3 – 4 minutes

Managing files can’t be that easy but having the right tools that could do the job can make it easier and fun. Efficient data burning software could work wonders in making backup copies of your precious DVD collections, MP3 repertoires, and important documents.

Having used Nero 7 for quite sometime, I must say that it’s a good product however as time goes by, it just stopped working. I’ve been scouring the internet to resolve executable errors while attempting to run the program but my efforts are left in vain until I decided to switch and find a better alternative. Although there is free software for burning CDs, my trust has never been on the freeware’s side after previous performance tests on burned CDs using a freeware.

Some if not most of the freeware I’ve tested produced low quality copies that are hardly even playable on most DVD players.

My search bear fruit thus I came to discover the benefits of using Power2Go Burning Software for a month on a trial version. The results are quite amazing and I must say that its one of the best multimedia disc burning software since Nero.

Power2Go makes data burning as easy as drag and drop for data, videos, photos, music and disc copying with support for Blu-ray, DVDs and CDs.

I have tried this software numerous times for MP3 burning (see image below) and the results as great. The audio normalization feature between tracks is what I liked the most since not all burning software has it. Who would want to hear a staggered audio playing at the background? Well, not me.

Power2Go Search and Burn Music Interface

You might as well be interested in creating Mixed Media discs if you wanted to maximize disc space. Here, you can burn audio CDs and include data files on the same disc while at the same time making the audio playable on any consumer CD player. Sounds great, right?

If you’re also concerned about privacy, you can definitely get the job done with its 128-bit encryption protection for data discs, including Blu-ray in partial or in full.

A sleek user interface with an attractive design simply adds up to the robustness of this tool and you can never go wrong with it. Try it now and feel the difference.Power2Go

Pros: Not bad for US$39.95. Produce high quality copies.
Cons: Not much to say but time difference between burning files isn’t any different from Nero although some free software could burn CDs a lot faster.

Notes: I have not tried burning DVDs using this software due to my hard drive’s memory limitations.

You can download Power2Go free evaluation copy from here.

Are You Getting The Most Out Of Entrecard?

January 21, 2010 | By | 4 Replies More

Reading time: 2 – 4 minutes

I joined Entrecard back in February 2009, that’s when this domain was half a month old. For a few months, I’ve been getting some traffic from the system and it was worth it. Being active on the network can provide benefits but not to the extent that you can rely on something consistent because if you don’t drop (that’s visiting another blog and clicking on their widget), you don’t get one in return. I should say it’s a give and take system of generating traffic.

Few months later, Entrecard was shaken up a bit thus resulting from Graham’s untimely exodus and ZipRunner taking over.

Transition has been smooth afterward but I’ve noticed that only a small portion of blogs on the network are continuously being updated while the rest are just abandoned as usual. Although my hopes are high when I last logged-in that somehow things may change for the better in terms of getting traffic from the network, I’ve finally proven that the system no longer works to my advantage.

Everything is just automated. Bloggers can just easily accept and reject ads into their account without the need to login. Widgets get replaced every now and then but there isn’t any click or visitors coming from the network itself. I wonder if there are still bloggers scheming through the network and visits blogs like it was sometime ago.

Google Analytics never lie in terms of stats and believe it or not, Entrecard hasn’t given me any visit for the last month or even earlier. Now, Entrecard is raving about accepting websites into the system based on its latest newsletter update. This is just going to be another move that’s not bringing much benefit to bloggers.

Entrecard is becoming less and less relevant with the advent of social media and its dynamism is dwindling. The fact that RSS feed profiles of blogs are not even clickable on its interface, it doesn’t even share some link juice. More or less, it’s becoming more of a blog directory now.

Lately, I’ve been thinking of giving up on Entrecard not ‘til I finally get an idea how to dispatch all the EC credits I have on my account. I know that there are a bunch of folks out there that can still make use of it somehow.

These days, if you’re someone whose really up to getting the most out of your marketing efforts and traffic is one of them, you wouldn’t settle for anything less. I don’t even get much from Twitter but compared to Entrecard, it’s better to have some than nothing. Other than not getting visits, the widget is making my page loading too slow. In fact, among the http requests that my site does each time, it’s always the least to show.

Will my future decision to leave Entrecard do me any good? What do you think? Are you getting the most out of Entrecard with less the effort? Share your story.

A Closer Look at Agile Software Development

January 20, 2010 | By | 2 Replies More

Reading time: 2 – 2 minutes

I have once discussed on this blog the nature of software development processes which includes Royce’s Waterfall Model, a sequential approach to software development attributed to the waterfall because of its steadily flowing progress.

This time, I’ll be talking about a rather different software development process derived from the agile manifesto which was a statement of principles that underpin agile software development.

Significant values are driven by agile software development methods including giving much weight on individuals and interactions over processes and tools on an agile team, creation of working software within weeks time against comprehensive documentation and longer time frame, high importance on customer collaboration compared to contract negotiation on other systems plus a rather responsive outlook to change than strictly following an organized plan.

One of the main important stages of software development is implementation or coding. Continuous integration being a core process during this stage encourages developers to effectively write tests with each piece of code aside from providing immediate feedback to developers and technical leads and teams. It’s vital that a consistent approach to issue tracking is implemented to quickly respond to bug issues and defects, and to all other demands of the project.

While agile software development is more focused on people and interactivity, development teams would not be functional without the use of some savvy agile tools such JIRA Studio or JIRA with GreenHopper plugin for project management, Confluence for agile collaboration, FishEye for code analysis, Bamboo for continuous integration, Clover and Crucible for code coverage and review, respectively alongside an appropriate Pyxis training program.

Although there are advantages and disadvantages on any process or methodology, what matters in the long run is for developers to come up with great software that will provide value to clients and users.

Working with Google Translate Client for Windows

January 20, 2010 | By | 1 Reply More

Reading time: 2 – 4 minutes

Not all blogs have translation plugins and not most of them use Google Translate gadget. So what do you normally do if you run into sites with a generally different language other than what you know? Do you simply close it and move on? What if there’s information that you get curious about but doesn’t want to get any further going to Google Translate’s webpage?

Here comes the best workaround for you. Why not install the Google Translate Client for Windows to add to your convenience? I’m sure this would definitely answer all your foreign language encounters while online and translate those documents and files you have downloaded or forwarded to you by your clients.

The application runs at your system tray during use and is accessible via hot keys. To translate text from your browser, Windows Word documents, Excel sheets or Outlook emails, simply select the texts and translation will be done instantly. Of course, this uses Google’s Translation services so an internet connection is required.

Among the other features that you could find on Google Translate Client is support for more than 50 different languages with automatic language detection, auto checking for news and updates plus the ability to contribute your own translation ideas to make the service better. Wikipedia article and Free XDXF dictionary support is also available on the Pro version.

OS requirements: Win 98/2000/XP/Vista/7

Cons: The app is cool but if you’re looking at saving it on your thumb drive for use as you go then that’s not possible at the moment.

Price: Not at all bad for $12.50US for a Pro version inclusive of Fireflies Screensaver as a gift!

Webmaster bonus: You can get a license key absolutely free simply by placing a link on your blog or website. If a new user visits the download site and buys a key, you’ll get a license key. Similar to an affiliate link.

Watch the video below to get a glimpse on how this application works.

Client for Google Translate video tutorial

So guys, what are you waiting for? Download it now and let me know what you think of this app.

Download the app here.

Free Help Desk Software for PHP/MySQL Powered Sites

January 19, 2010 | By | 5 Replies More

Reading time: 2 – 3 minutes

Support systems for websites are becoming mandatory these days. Commercial sites or even personal blogs need to have effective communication channels prominently displayed on their pages where readers or visitors can reach other than some plain old contact forms. Chat buttons or links work perfectly well but in some instances, emails or written communication complements the need of a more detailed inquiry thus, a Help Desk Software installation will suffice.

Websites using MySQL or PHP language can take advantage of today’s increasing demand for ticket supported sites where users have the ability to send inquiries relevant to the site such as technical issues, bug reporting, site functionality, written articles, and advertising among countless things.

Acquiring a Hosted Help Desk service nowadays can be costly. Although startup businesses may appreciate the use of a Help Desk Demo for a period of time, once the trial has ended, companies have to pay the recurring fees involved not including maintaining the service in case they decided not to seek third-party personnel to make it work.

Using free help desk software for PHP/MySQL powered sites however have a lot advantages primarily because it’s cost-effective, readily available and most of time they are easy to use or implement. Although dedicated support is not available compared to hosted ones, majority of free software have massive users wherein you can easily find support from countless forums and blogs.

There are drawbacks however on free software in terms of security however this issue is often times addressed through consistent script updates from developers which means that webmasters using free PHP software on a self-hosted site must always be prepared to handle minimal site backups during upgrades and are keen enough in terms of securing their sites.

In-house customer support via ticketing system works wonders but along with it comes the challenge of keeping it up if tons of questions start pouring in while at the same time maintaining the quality of the answers and consistently making the website work for what it’s for.

Not even Hesk’s Free PHP Help Desk software can resolve your business’ issues if you can’t even handle them yourself.

Can’t Open Yahoo Mails?

January 19, 2010 | By | 4 Replies More

Reading time: 2 – 4 minutes

This may sound absurd but you’re logged into Yahoo Mail but was staring at the inbox for hours because you can’t access your inbox or you simply can’t open those emails even though you’re almost there looking at the email previews.

No matter how you try to open the inbox folder, you simply can’t access it or you’re too close to reading the email by clicking on the preview link but it just wouldn’t open and all you see is a blank screen.

It happened to me countless times so it may have happened to you too. Those days are finally over when I just figured out a workaround that could somehow solve this trouble, at least for the meantime.

Generally, we access our mails via Yahoo’s web interface or sometimes we do it from Yahoo Messenger window when new email alerts come. Whichever way we do it, we cannot always assume that since Yahoo is a large company, we definitely won’t get server errors. In fact, if you happen to have used an extension from Firefox that could determine web servers, I’ve noticed that local Yahoo mails are sometimes hosted somewhere else, like for example, Singapore for some parts of Asia.

Have you ever tried accessing your Yahoo mail via IM and were able to run into any of the problems stated above? Then you don’t really have to uninstall or remove the messenger or clear your proxy settings in case you’re using one. These glitches sometimes occur but that doesn’t mean your account has been compromised. It’s also cumbersome to delete your account then create a new one just to get away from this hassle.

You may try logging out then clear your cache or refresh/restart browser then logging in again. In my experience, I even switched browsers but if the problem persists, don’t log-out but open this link:

http://wap.oa.yahoo.com/

Click the link shown above or copy-paste it into your web browser’s address bar “as is”.

As you can see, it’s a Yahoo mobile interface but it surely works like magic although there’s no way you can logout from it, simply close the browser window whenever you’re done reading your emails while you still can’t access your mails using the normal site.

Also, pictures are not viewable using the link, only pure texts from the email will appear.

I hope this simple trick helps resolve the trouble. If you have similar hacks to share, go hit me up at the comments section.

For support requests, use the comment form below or hit the “Help” button on the sidebar but remember to use an alternate email (other than your Yahoo mail) so it can be answered. Thanks!

Updated: 10th April 2010

Wireless Camera Powered by Eye-Fi

January 17, 2010 | By | Reply More

Reading time: 2 – 3 minutes

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

Is there a time when you’ve lost your camera’s USD cable or card reader and you’re caught in the middle of action where your photo shots are badly needed to be uploaded on the internet or needs to be sent to your news editor for an ongoing event?

Those days are over because Eye-Fi absolutely brings the task of uploading photos to your computer to a whole new level. Eye-Fi is a wireless SD memory card (up to 4GB) with a built-in Wi-Fi that seamlessly transfers photos and videos from your camera to your PC or directly to your social networks on Flickr and Facebook. It also backs up and organizes your photos and videos into chronological folders.

In order to fully enjoy the benefits of Eye-Fi, you must have an SDHC capable camera and wireless internet connection. Get rid of those dangling cables and no more old vacation photos sitting on your camera because Eye-Fi makes your camera wireless.

Watch the video below for a short visual tour of how Eye-Fi completely changes the way photos are handled for easy distribution across mediums.

So the next time you buy an SD card, make it Eye-Fi because transferring files doesn’t have to be wired!

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Hide Files and Folders Easily with Winmend Folder Hidden

January 17, 2010 | By | Reply More

Reading time: 2 – 3 minutes

Making your files private is basically one of the first things you have to do if you’re using a shared computer at home and there are some data that you just wanted to keep for yourself and not allow anybody have access to it.

There are many expensive programs out there that do the job but if you can actually get the same protection at no cost, wouldn’t you grab the opportunity?

I was scouring on the internet even on weekends to find the best and the most useful freeware available for the regular PC user. I understand that most users do not welcome complicated software and neither anybody has ample time to try and learn new tools that’s why I test and review software and that’s what this blog is all about—helping computer users find the most valuable programs on the internet based on its functionality, user-friendliness and cost effectiveness.

Hiding files and folders on your computer’s local partition or USB drives have never been this easy with Winmend Folder Hidden, a freeware that securely hides your confidential and rather private files easily via its simple and intuitive user interface.

WinMend Folder Hidden

All the files and folders that you choose to hide/unhide are all listed in the user-interface for your access without the need to scour the system one-by-one trying to figure which files or folders you’ve hidden in case you forgot.

At 1.69MB, this freeware hides the files/folders via user-generated password. Files from Thumb drives or USB devices are kept hidden even when inserted on other computers, different OS on the same computer or reinstalled on another PC.

WinMend Folder Hidden safely keeps your files no matter how large they are without corrupting them, a small but stunningly usable freeware that any user looking for some privacy should have.

Want to try it? Download it here. Got any comments about this tool? Voice it out. Thanks!

Heineken’s Breathalyzer iPhone App Tells If You’ve Had Enough

January 16, 2010 | By | Reply More

Reading time: 2 – 4 minutes

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

As a sequel to Heineken’s Responsibility campaign which earned huge success from last year, the famous beer brand with widely known social responsibility focus has come out with another surefire hit and this time, Heineken proudly introduces it’s very own iPhone App that turns your iPhone into a realistic breathalyzer that’s clever enough to trace the vitals signs resulting from over-consumption of alcohol alongside social network application “Tag of Shame”.

Based on the previous year’s well defined characters which include The Crier, The Fighter, The Sleeper, The Exhibitionist, and The Groper as showcased by “The Heineken Know The Signs website” with this year’s two additional personalities to boost—The Flirt and The Stumbler comes another hilarious way of nudging your friend, if he or she is showing signs of intoxication.

Party animals sometimes loose sight of things especially moderation and this iPhone App come in handy for situations when one of your friends have drunk too much. Download the Heineken Breathalyzer iPhone app at the iTunes store for free and take advantage of its benefits. All you have to do is get your friend to blow into your iPhone “Breathalyzer” to show which character he or she is turning into as these characters serve as indicators of drunkenness.

Breathalyzer iPhone App

This app only serves as a guide but the totality of one’s actions is determined by the people’s reactions around them. Don’t let the spirit of the drink get into your head; instead let your spirit shine through in ways of drinking responsibly and partying meaningfully.

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Anti-Copyright Infringement Software for P2P Users

January 16, 2010 | By | 1 Reply More

Reading time: 3 – 4 minutes

I couldn’t believe what I’ve read the very first time I saw the description of this freeware from a known software download site. I told myself, really? Is there such thing as software to keep P2P software users against copyright infringement lawsuits and identity theft?

If you’re one of the many users of peer-to-peer file sharing network sites and uses their tool for file uploading and downloading purposes, you better read along because this might seriously hit you.

Peer to peer file sharing networks like LimeWire, uTorrent, Azureus Vuze, BitTorrent, eMule, or Ares where music, movies, or software are shared can eventually expose you to copy infringement lawsuits and identity theft when not seriously thought about.

You wouldn’t want to pay millions like this woman here or get into trouble and be broke similar to this case. Both incidents directly point to P2P software—it’s dangers and the consequences of irresponsible use.

According to my reading, ZapShares scans and monitors your computer to identify potential security threats caused by file sharing software installed on your PC.

The capability of the software ensures that you or anybody in your household doesn’t accidentally share files that could lead to expensive copyright infringement lawsuits and protects your private information from identity thieves.

ZapShares when activated creates a Secured Vault for downloads similar to this destination folder

C:Documents and SettingsAll UsersApplication DataZapSharesDownloads-SecureVault.

ZapShares

The way files are shared would still depend on the folder’s location. The best way to do for it to work is set your P2P software’s download location to the Secured Vault.

Since copyright violation points to P2P users who distribute copyrighted materials to other P2P users for download, this software then prevents the unwanted from happening.

Although I’m not thoroughly convinced that this could prevent identity theft because based on my experience with 4Shared whose software I’ve tried works typically by scanning your computer’s hard drive and making it available online which is very frightening. 4Shared is a web-based P2P file sharing network that is not supported by ZapShares. The former creates a virtual folder that makes your files available online. One sad thing about this network is that you don’t have the ability to delete your account within the site once you created it. You have to email them instead.

4Shared was cited above as an example that would provide an understanding on the dangers of using P2P software, web-based or not. I don’t guarantee that ZapShares work 100% and I can’t vouch for it simply because I don’t have accounts with LimeWire, FrostWire, Azereus Vuze, uTorrent, BitTorrent, Ares, eMule, eMule Plus, and Shareaza which only means as well that I haven’t used any of these networks’ software or services. I can only say that you use it at your own discretion.

P2P networks have advantages and disadvantages but it’s all up to you to weigh things and think which side you are choosing. Let me know your thoughts about this.

Why Computer Hardware and Device Driver Detection Software Matters

January 16, 2010 | By | Reply More

Reading time: 3 – 4 minutes

Computer users are often times bombarded with a lot of information about their system especially when there are concerns pertaining to support queries either over the phone or online through forums and even offline with technicians.

It will be very inconvenient if we’re not familiar with the hardware classes on our PC and the drivers associated with it.

How do we know if a particular hardware on our PC needs backing up? How about determining which component requires drivers like non-plug and play web cams, DVD Writer Hardrives, external devices like mp3s among others?

If you haven’t realized how useful software for these purpose can be, then you better read this post. Device driver and hardware detection software matters because they serve as your saving grace when you accidentally lost your device driver CDs or installers for webcams, MP3s or other external devices that needs these applications in order for you to complete certain tasks on your PC along side the use of these gadgets.

Driver Magician Lite was able to prove to me how software of this kind works like magic. I received a web cam months ago that doesn’t come with a driver or installer within the package in order to work. I tried plugging in the new web cam alongside my existing one which comes with a driver.

I run the software and it was able to detect all the hardware components within the system as well as the corresponding drivers needed to run each component.

Based on the image below, for USB Video Device (the web cam) it says when you click on the description right below the menu read:

“Driver files of this device are contained in Microsoft Windows and are automatically installed by it when detected, so it is NOT necessary to back them up”

which only means that such device is plug and play. No driver is needed to be installed in order for it to work.

Driver Magician Lite

On the other hand, taking a look at USB PC Camera VC305 which was my existing install with a required driver, if you click on it, it reads below the menu,

“Driver files of this device are not contained in Microsoft Windows, so it is necessary to back them up”

which means these device needs a driver to be installed in order to work.

What’s useful about this software is that you can back up these device drivers either on a different folder on your PC or in a removable directory e.g. a thumb drive or an external hard drive.

So the next time that you run into connecting hardware on your computer, simply run the software and it will show you in case you’re not sure if the device you connected requires a driver or is readily usable.

Driver Magician Lite is freeware (about 1.63MB in size) but can be enough if all you wanted was a backup copy of your drivers and some information about your system however, you can upgrade to a paid version for $29.95US with a file size of 3.76MB with more added features.

You may wish to try the free version via this link.

Do you have a story to tell or any similar type of software that does the trick that you’d like to share? Please do so at the comments section.

Using Blog Comments for Reader Support Issues

January 14, 2010 | By | 1 Reply More

Reading time: 2 – 4 minutes

The comments section of a blog is probably the most dynamic part where most interaction happens. It’s a conversation medium to say the least. However, in terms of dofollow blogs (meaning comments are given weight with pagerank juice equal to a vote on Google by turning off the default “nofollow” links in the comments of a blog) where rewarding your commentators has its advantages, spam plays a large part of the transition however it would be a problem if you’re not using WP Spam Free plugin or Akismet.

As I keep dofollow in the comments, I’m only making sure that the links go to reputable sites as nobody likes to link to bad neighborhoods and neither would I want some Google slap, makes sense isn’t?

However, as time passes wherein most webmasters noticeably recognize blog posts that are timelessly pulling off traffic especially tutorial posts, having a help button would not be suffice although it helps, somehow readers specifically those asking for some help are quite hesitant to leave their message and their email.

Vouching to you readers’ strict email/information privacy is mandatory to get their trust although sometimes “who knows who”, there are webmasters selling their commentators emails for profit to third parties. You can actually notice a lot of guys on elance, odesk, etc. are buying email addresses for their campaigns and those who respond to these acquisitions get something from it.

If you’re a webmaster who had accidentally used your POP3 email/web email address while commenting on some blogs, don’t be alarmed when at some point you’ll be receiving spam. I’ve had that experience many times.

Going back to the main point of this post,

I have decided to reopen all the comments section on this blog strictly for support issues contrary to my usual 90-day comment closed procedure on posts.

There are countless questions coming in from the help button found on the right side of the screen that needs to be addressed. I’m sure this move would benefit readers who happened to have dropped in here for some queries about old posts.

Friendship

Along side this move is my dedication to impose the comment policy on this blog. It would be obvious for a link dropper if old posts get recent comments if those are not support queries.

So, what do you think of this move? This could be testing the water for the meantime but could be permanent as well. You can share your thoughts. I’ll appreciate it.

TinyMCE/Visual Editor Quick Fix for Self-hosted WordPress Blogs

January 11, 2010 | By | 8 Replies More

Reading time: 3 – 4 minutes

My problem concerning visual editor or the TinyMCE not loading properly has been resolved just today. I always knew that somehow my web host could do something about it that somehow WordPress.org forum could not answer.

The problem is not with this domain but on my two other domains whose visual editors doesn’t work that’s why I could not update them.

I’ve searched on Google and visited the WordPress.org forum and was able to find a few hacks here. Although it has worked for some, others simply had the same problem.

I’ve actually followed all procedures stated in the thread but none of those worked for me until I decided to contact Bluehost and from them I got the answer to my problem. I’ve encountered this error before but I simply forgot what I did.

For those who have encountered the error, this is how it would look like on your post editing screen.

Missing TinyMCE or Visual Editor Icons

As you can see, the TinyMCE or visual editor icons are missing or washed out which means you’ll be missing a lot of functionality on your post creation or editing work. At the same time, this hinders you as well from aesthetically rendering uploaded photos for attachment on your post.

If you’re using cPanel and is hosted by Bluehost, all you have to do is follow these simple steps.

1. On your cPanel, go to Security then choose HotLink Protection.
2. Configure HotLink Protection by typing all the URLs you’re allowing to have access.

HotLinking prevents other sites from directly linking to your image files to avoid bandwidth theft.

However, if you’re using frontpage extensions, do not use HotLink Protection because it will corrupt the frontpage extensions in your account.

Only the current list of URLs based on the image below will be added when you enable Hotlink Protection. Be sure to update HotLink Protection when you setup additional addon domains on your account.

Bluehost cPanel Hotlink Protection

The relationship of TinyMCE/visual editor for WordPress and HotLinking has something to do with the former protecting the images on your server while the latter doing the aesthetic favor on you being the content publisher.

Although in the past, there had been a lot of bugs reported on this given case, I’m not hundred percent making a guarantee that this trick works for everyone else but it sure does worth trying out.

If you ever find this trick helpful, consider spreading the word or leaving a comment. Thank you.

LG Chocolate Touch: A Sweet Phone

January 9, 2010 | By | 1 Reply More

Reading time: 2 – 3 minutes

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

Mobile phone fans just got another reason to rave and crave as LG launched another signature mobile phone to their belt that would wow you and leave you awestruck. Yes, LG consistently innovates and this time it’s going to be sweeter that you think as LG Chocolate Touch conquers the mobile market by storm.

LG Chocolate is not your ordinary kind of phone because it’s packed with savvy features you wouldn’t want to miss the next time you purchase your handset.

LG Chocolate Touch

Enhanced by Dolby’s Mobile technology for vibrant sound quality, no music lover would ever turn their back plus an interactive Rhythmical Beat with engaging visual effects and a customizable equalizer for your musical taste will surely win you over. Its expandable memory will also leave you craving for more.

Of course, mobile devices have to deliver great photos and videos so this gadget never was behind with its 3.2MP Camera/Recorder including an image editor for added snap.

And who would ever forget? Everybody needs a social life so pump up your social network statuses all day with its one-touch Social Network Message Key for easy Mobile micro-blogging to keep you connected with friends, family and the world.

Mobile phones have never been this good. Try LG Chocolate Touch and embrace the digital life you’ve always wanted.

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When Companies Play Down on Blogs: Who Casts the Stone?

January 7, 2010 | By | Reply More

Reading time: 4 – 6 minutes

Promising blogs get traction from direct advertisers—niche or non-niche focused they can be up to the point that some advertisers try to offer something in exchange.

This system is never new, and of course, publishers who would like to earn or make something out of their blogs by trying to become advertiser friendly would definitely embrace the idea.

Sometimes, countless good bloggers even provide their reviews and services for free simply as a result of good communication and trust.

However, if trust has been hammered by a question of character and belittlement, the consequence of such action can be detrimental to good relationships.

Betrayal of Trust

Companies approach blogs to promote themselves—their services, their name and along with that are their integrity that they have handed over for scrutiny. Once a blogger accepted them open-handedly, that’s the time when consensus are formed thus in time builds trust.

If you gave companies a favor of writing for them without asking anything in return, that only means you trusted them. Human nature then speaks of trust and therefore gives something in gratis.

SEO wise, blogs get natural links; high pagerank blogs provide a boost. That’s why blog networks sell blog links for these companies to get found in searches. I hate talking about links and search engine optimization to think that our discussion is based on trust.

However, bloggers should draw the line. I never saw this coming but I did what I have to do.

If you’re aware of the recently concluded giveaway on this blog, you already have the hint on where this post is coming from. But then again, you might want to get a clear grasp on the said event here starting from the announcement of winners up to the comments thread.

Generally, the blogger always has the final say in all things that matters on his blog. Not anyone else has discretion unless there’s a solid agreement in black and white however it’s almost always minimal.

The question at hand is…

If a company does not trust a blogs readership, does it mean as well that it doesn’t trust the blogger?

If a blogger trusts his readers then it follows that whoever betrays his readers’ trust is guilty of betrayal?

You can raise your brows if you don’t agree but that’s how I treat my readers. I trust them and if some entity doesn’t trust them then there’s no way that I could trust such company.

On Companies Disparaging Blogs

If companies don’t need blogs for their online presence then it would be shameful that at this time of day, some still don’t find this platform a critical avenue that needs tapping in order to survive.

It is shameless of a company to drag a blog down the drain after getting what they want for free and then with so much arrogance tried to come out clean to jeopardize a blogger’s integrity.

These shameless companies are like leeches that suck the backlink juices out blogs and when they get what they want, they screw the blog and the blogger.

No blogger would ever back down on these scumbags without vengeance although at some point, it would not be that healthy, forbid the action but sometimes what goes around comes around.

Aversion is human nature’s reaction to unlikely actions geared towards another although not very pleasing, somehow someone has got to face the music.

Use and Abuse

Bloggers have to understand that the platform they use is more than just a piece of land on the internet that they own. It’s a craftsmanship of their thoughts and themselves as a person.

I’m certain that no blogger would allow anyone to look down on them and flush their priced possession down the toilet and drag them down the drain along with these companies’ filthy bossy attitude.

Bloggers must fight for what they think is right and try to preserve their blogs and treat it like their own home.

Dubious guests aren’t welcome as well as arrogant visitors are thrown out of the window and abusive people get slammed behind the door.

The Power of Blogs

It’s pretty obvious that blogs influence are so powerful that it sometimes if not most of the time changes the trends. Mainstream media was challenged and is continuously dwindling down especially with the advent of social media tools that propels blog contents across multiple channels in one click of a button.

The viral reach of blogs is immeasurable and intelligent companies should know that. Screwing a blogger or a blog is never a good idea. Although bloggers are responsible enough for all their actions it is sometimes tempting to get even.

balance

Anyone who’s not guilty must cast the first stone however between blogs and companies, a blogger may not choose revenge but in the end the readers will then most of the time cast their vote and determine whose fate ends in vain.

Why Business T1 Internet Service Matters in 2010?

January 5, 2010 | By | 1 Reply More

Reading time: 2 – 3 minutes

We all knew that the web has becoming faster than ever than we can imagine. In fact, the search engine giant, Google has blatantly advocated a faster web wherein viewing web pages can be as fast as flipping a page of a magazine.

That’s quite fascinating to know and taking these improvements into consideration, how can you appreciate these things if you don’t have a faster internet service?

The definition of broadband has indeed changed from the time of its inception and according the latest terminology attached to such term based on the International Telecommunication Union Standardization Sector (ITU-T), it has recommended that any internet with a transmission capacity of at least 1.5 to 2.0 Mbit/s faster than any primary rate ISDN is broadband. The FCC however says that broadband is 768 kbit/s (0.8 Mbit/s) while the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) has defined broadband as 256 kbit/s in at least one direction and is almost the standard baseline for marketed broadband.

If the economy continues to flourish in the upcoming months then it would be more strategic for businesses to find better internet connectivity solutions as such a business t1 with more reliable and secure business ethernet capabilities.

T1s are generally more robust and include more stringent service level agreements (SLAs) although this sometimes drive up provider’s maintenance cost by providing 24×7 support this compensates the expensive nature of T-1 lines since uptime and bandwidth data rates are guaranteed, service quality is ensured, and blocks of static IP addresses are commonly included.

T-1 and fractional T-1 data lines are symmetric, which means that their upload and download data rates are the same. A bonded T1 uses special equipment and routing protocols to ensure that the total available bandwidth of the T1’s can be used for a single data transmission session. The nomenclature for a T-1 varies widely and is sometimes referred to as leased line.

In general, this type of internet service provides greater value for businesses that have intensive bandwidth needs and require a simple yet managed high-bandwidth solution.

New Year Thank You’s

January 3, 2010 | By | 8 Replies More

Reading time: 3 – 5 minutes

I wouldn’t have made it past 2009 which much vigor and enthusiasm without the exemplary contributions of the people that have been part of this blog in one way or the other but nonetheless they are all valued and appreciated.

Kicking off this list of Thank You’s is for the great minds that have contributed their thoughts and ideas on some of the most commented posts on this blog and I can’t thank them enough for their interest in reading and sharing what’s on their mind.

First off, I want to recognize a few great bloggers for their wonderful insights. Ching Ya who happened to share her ideas thrice on this blog on different occasions. You can find her online on her social media tracker blog every now and then.

Joel Moss Levinson who came here when I posted a video contest about F1 in Singapore. He blogs about video contests most of the time and his journey through highs and lows.

Nathaniel Ong, who’s my only Pinoy (slang term for Filipino) avid commenter. We met during the WordCamp in September 2008. He’s also a web developer. Catch him and he’s random views about local stuff and everything in between.

My favorite blogger John Sullivan has landed here first time when I created a post about dofollow and my big switch. The first blogger I’ve made friends with and wrote a guest post for. We sometimes chat on Facebook and his Potpoliticking rants are straightforward and insightful.

Arafat Hossain Piyada crossed over with 12 nicely thought about comments and his worthy tips are massive enough to miss. I couldn’t thank enough this guy for hooking up my giveaway on a separate blog post he created. Go ahead and check this guy out. He’s cool too.

James Moralde is the second highest commenter on this blog worth the mention. James had been consistent with his comments and he’s very keen to the details of the posts that I sometimes have to think deep before I respond. You can find James’ random thoughts very neat and spicy. He’s one of those new breed of bloggers worth networking with.

Sire, the Aussie blogger from Wassup blog, finished 2009 on top spot with 30 great and personal comments you can’t discount. He really deserves applause and I genuinely appreciate his continued patronage.

The rest of the guys who are actually active commenters are David, Amir, Bill from emoneycorner.co.cc, John Samuel from blogorbrowse, Jack from Mozy.com, Charles from lvrealty.net, Taufiq Hassan from myairaplications.com, Mack from vegasforsale.net, and Richard Friedman from bestfranchisepicks.com.

The success of my recently concluded New Year giveaway wouldn’t be possible also without the support from my Social Spark buddies namely Mommy Riza from CottonCandyBuzz.info, Mcangeli from DelusionsofGrandeur.org, and Lady Ambrosia Jefferson from Icewarmth.com.

I would also like to thank the sponsors that made the giveaway possible as well as the participants who joined. See the list of winners here and some lame sponsor dragging this blog down.

I wish to see you all again this year hopefully. I’m planning to make some changes on this blog however this blog remains “dofollow” but there would some twist.

Happy New Year to all and from the bottom of my heart,

Thank you!

Official List of New Year Giveaway Winners

January 1, 2010 | By | 31 Replies More

Reading time: 3 – 4 minutes

Happy New Year to all! It’s indeed of great excitement to announce the names of the winners for the New Year Giveaway which started last 22nd until 31st December 2009. These guys are randomly picked based on their prize of preference and were able to enter the giveaway simply by leaving a comment, tweeting, becoming a fan of Software Critics on Facebook and subscribing to the newsletter.

Without further a do, here are the lucky winners:

GilsSilva – SnapABug Pro Account
Rimed – VisualCron Business/Commercial license (Prize is null and void) – Sponsor backed out
Amir Aizudin – Email Marketing Software from Gammadyne
mohsen – Clyton Email Client
LittleDanniel – Televiewer paid license
David – Windows Automation software Professional license
Saw90 – Windows Automation software Professional license
Lisa R – Windows Automation software Professional license
James Moralde – IP Privacy Pro
Francis – IP Privacy Pro

Congratulations to all the winners. Please wait for my email as I deliver them to you.

Since there are no entries for both SyncMate Personal courtesy of SyncMate (One of two licenses) and Laptop Alarm software (one of five licenses for the entire duration of the giveaway, these licenses have been decided to be given out on a first-come first-served basis simply by leaving your comment and interest in trying out the software.

Update: 03 Jan 2010

VisualCron backed out after finding out that the winner’s email above matched with that of their existing reseller. That I could not claim but for the benefit of fairness, I have voided and nulled the said prize.

I have no idea at all when I picked the winner at random that he was a reseller. I personally don’t even know him. However, I still feel bad about doing it because first, my only intention is to give a prize via this giveaway and whoever wins must get it and I certainly have no control and don’t even care what the winner will do with their prize. It’s all up to them. However, the above sponsor’s thinking is otherwise and that I’m forced to set my rules on this giveaway and my contest.

The winner may or may not be a reseller of the sponsor-VisualCron but if the winner really is then I’m not in any way liable to any of their internal affairs if that’s the case because it seems that the sponsor is trying to manipulate the giveaway’s rules which I could not allow.

They wanted me to give them the entrants email addresses so they could pick the winner themselves but I thought it was way beyond privacy. When I sent them the winner’s email, that’s when they started doubting the intention of the winner being a reseller (if he/she was) to sell the software in return.

I don’t know where this thinking of them is coming from but I’m not buying it. They should have had their own giveaway instead of participating here if that’s what they intend.

All I ever wanted was to have a giveaway but it seems that some party is dragging this to a mess and I will not allow it to happen.

I’m sorry this note has to be written right here but I feel it’s a must that everyone should know.

Thank you guys for participating in the giveaway. I wish you all a Happy New Year!