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Power cuts are no big deal in India. If you ever fell victim of power cuts and wanted to do some google search in that time or just want a mobile Google Search Solution, Google India has launched the SMS search service.
The sms costs you (Rs 2 or whatever is the rate for national sms for your provider). This is a big plus because you dont have to pay for premium sms as you would have to do if you used other shortcodes.

So how do you perform a search? The number to remember (or to add to your contacts) for google search is:

9-77-33-00000

Send your query as sms to this number and you will get a reply containing the results. Here is a sample reply which you would get if you search for “weather delhi”. There are special searches for trains, cricket scores and similar stuff.You can find some example queries and other details here.

Similar service existed in other countries like US, but has recently been launched in India. A welcome feature for the mobile phone crazy India! Way to go Google India!

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Are you a blogger looking to increase your subscriber count? Well until now you needed good content to do so, but until now…
Can you Copy and Paste? then visit http://www.vimeo.com/1463913 and see how easy it is to hack your Feedburner subscriber count. Won’t take more than a minute or so to add a few thousand subscribers.

I am sure Google / Feedburner will look into the matter and probably fix it soon, you can enjoy it till then however. Even if Google fixes this its very simple to forge the image in Photoshop and display as many subscribers as you want.

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You probably already knew that you can go secure with your Gmail account by using https in place of http in the address bar. Going secure protects you from eaves dropping and is even of greater importance if you are concerned about your privacy while using wifi. It means that your mail goes encrypted between your browser and the Gmail servers.

Well it turns out that soon you will be able to do this natively using your account settings in Gmail. Check out the Settings for your Gmail account for a setting like this:

secure settings
Look for this [Image from Gmail Blog]

If you don’t have it till now, have patience you will get it soon. An important point to consider before going secure is that it can make your mail experience slower (only slightly though).

Related

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System Mechanic Image There is a giveaway on the Internet these days for those of you who are looking for a tool to optimize and manage your computers. Its a 6 Months license for the popular “System Mechanic” software. So you can use it for 6 months and then decide if you like it enough or not. Here is what System Mechanic is all about:

“Fix problems, boost performance, eliminate crashes and more with System Mechanic”
System Mechanic is a software that offers you a centralized system dashboard to automatically perform all vital PC maintenance by diagnosing, reporting, and resolving computer problems and performance bottlenecks.

This award-winning utility suite is trusted by millions worldwide to secure, optimize, repair, and tune-up their systems.

Some of the Great features of System Mechanic are:

  • ActiveCare® 2.0 keeps your PC running like new — New ActiveCare 2.0 just got leaner, smarter, and even better at keeping your PC humming along at full speed. And it does this silently in the background, only working when your PC is on but not in use.
  • Defragment and Compact Registry tool – next–generation Defragment and Compact Registry tool now performs a comprehensive analysis of your registry, detects performance–draining bloat, and displays wasted space with instructive, color–coded graphics.
  • DriveSense™ — Real-time hard drive status.
  • New navigational links within the tools simplify moving throughout System Mechanic.
  • iolo’s library of programs and program components has been expanded to target resource-robbing programs unnecessarily clogging your PC’s startup process and to detect potentially dangerous software.
  • PC TotalCare™ performs a complete system tune-up by running all Power Tool functions in one pass.

How to get a free license for Six Months :

  1. Go here.
  2. Press the “Continue” button.
  3. Complete the checkout process using a valid email address, Select the Email Delivery option.
  4. Download System Mechanic 8.
  5. While installing, choose “I own system mechanic and can enter my serial later” option and click Next.
  6. Enter the Activation Code that you received on your email.

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Yesterday I wrote about ways to easily access frequently used folders, if you would like to know about ways to overhaul your Windows interface then head over to my article at MakeUseOf. I talk about getting the coveted 3d cube effect in Windows, some animations, breadcrumbs addressbar, tabs in Windows explorer and many other tools that can make your Windows interface look pretty and make them all the more useful and productive! Read the article here

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As you may be knowing Gmail rolled out a labs feature some time back, Gmail users can soon expect a new addition to their accounts. The new addition is aimed at increasing the security and privacy of users. Soon Gmail will allow your to remotely log out of your account and also view the recent account activity so that you can track down if your account has been accessed from elsewhere, or if you are logged in from another computer or if someone other than you has accessed your account.

Consider for example that you log into your Gmail account at office and then leave in a hurry, forgetting to sign out, now when you log in again from your home or another computer you will be able to see that you are still logged in from your office computer in the Gmail footer (it shows "This account is open in 1 other location"). This is what it will look like:

gmail footer detail
from Official Gmail Blog

You can then click the details link to get some more details about your account activity, clicking on details presents you with tables that will look like this:

 

detailed view
from Official Gmail Blog

You can now view two sets of information one regarding the concurrent session which gives you the details of all the open sessions, what is the IP address of the computer from where you have logged in, the access type. The other table is the recent activity table which shows you the IP addresses, access type and the time of recent logins into your account. You can thus verify that it was indeed you who has accessed the account recently and if you would like you can log out of all other open sessions (eg the one you created when you logged in at office) by clicking "Sign Out All other Sessions" button.

The new feature will be available shortly in the latest version of Gmail which is best accessed from Firefox and IE, no luck for Opera users again!

UPDATE: The features are live now, look at the footer of your Gmail page.

Terms Used in the article

  • Open Session – A session is open if you have logged in but not logged out. – back
  • Access Type – Access type refers to the method by which you log into your account like if you use Firefox, IE, opera etc than access type is browser, on the other hand if you use your iPhone or other mobile device then access type is mobile – back

Related: Gmail Hacking


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The official numbers for Firefox download day are out. We talked about Firefox Download Day here and here. Here is the official wording:

From 18:16 UTC on June 17, 2008 to 18:16 UTC on June 18, 2008, 8,002,530 people downloaded Firefox 3 and are now enjoying a safer, smarter and better Web.

firefox certificateThe download since then have reached 28,445,504 when I wrote this article. So what’s the big deal in setting a record that never existed? Its good publicity I say. People have been publicizing Firefox 3 for a long time and this campaign proved the straw on the camel’s back. As they mention on the site "Lets, See what people come up with next to help spread Firefox". If you have not already downloaded Firefox 3, do it now its fast and worth it. Head on here to find out more details about the record. You can also get the Download Day Certificate, although with no validation of any sort it doesn’t have the same appeal, you can get it even if you didn’t download Firefox 3!


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digg logoThe social news website Digg has a new Recommendation Engine. The new engine is aimed at giving the newly (upcoming) stories more exposure. Actually it makes it easier to find upcoming news stories according to your taste, you can then choose to Digg the story or not according to the merits of the particular story. Digg felt the need of such a Recommendation engine because Digg gets 10-14k new stories each day, and its difficult for the users to find and digg/not digg each of them.

The recommendation engine essentially presents you with a subset of the total upcoming stories, it thus filters the upcoming stories and presents to you the stories it thinks you will like. It makes this choice by taking into account the stories you have dugg earlier. If A and B have dugg some common stories in the past, then the new stories which A has dugg, and B has not might be of interest to B and vice versa, this is the principle that the Recommendation engine uses to make the recommendation. Apply it to all the users in the Digg universe and you have a handsome recommendation list!

The feature will be rolled out to some of the registered users randomly. Eventually every registered user will have the feature over the next week. Its a nice addition to Digg and will give exposure to the new stories and a chance to be at top, rather than the stories which are already at the top. From the Digg user’s perspective it will give them a chance to Digg a good story and see it reach to the front page, rather than re-digging a story that is already on the Digg front page.

For more check out the videos posted by Digg’s Kevin Rose about the new engine here and here. Let’s wait and watch how well it performs and how well do the user’s accommodate it. Have you tried the feature? what do you think?

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wedding ducksNow this is what we can call a Google Marriage. This is a nice story around on the Internet about "The Boyles" who extensively used Google Services to plan their wedding and share information with each other and with their guests. The Groom even set up blogger to post the story to appear as they would be walking down the aisle. Quite an Idea, don’t you think?

Here is the summary of which Google Service they used to perform which wedding task:

They used Google docs to store "the to dos" for wedding, draft documents, list of invites, RSVPs and such similar things. That way the parents and the couple had the latest documents at all times. They used the Google Page Creator to share information with their friends. Google Maps to specify where the wedding was and hotels and stuff in that area. They used the forms in Google docs to get song ideas from their guests, Google Calendar to coordinate their schedules and ultimately pick their wedding date and now they are sharing the wedding photographs at Picasa.

What’s more that as a wedding gift The Boyles’ story appeared at the Official Google Blog! You can read the full story in their own words here

Indian weddings are a lot different, so no chance of a Google Marriage for me, or may be? Not anytime soon, anyways! 😉 Let’s wish them a Happy Married Life!


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Some of the long time readers of the blog will be knowing about my liking for graphics softwares and websites. While surfing the web today I came across Sumopaint. I immediately fired it up and started using. A little over 2 minutes after using the application I was just crazy about it. Its simply amazing. So I thought I would share it with my readers.

editing image
Photo editing

Sumopaint is an online flash based application that allows you to create content from start of you can apply some of the effects you find in photoshop. You can call it a striped down version of photoshop just like photoshop express. However while photoshop express only allows you to do effects on your photos, Sumopaint actually gives you a variety of drawing tools as well that you can use to create your art.

  • To start with you can find rectangular select tool, move tool, gradient tool, pencil tool, brush tool, paint bucket, Erasertool etc
  • In shape tools you get rectangles, rounded rectangles, ellipse, pie, polygon, star, line and symmetry tool
  • In effects it offers blur tool, smudge tool
  • It also has a free transform tool, a text tool, an eyedropper tool.
  • Sounds a lot like photoshop doesn’t it, oh wait wait wait, did I mention layers support? Yes! It has layers too. Color swatches, color palettes and wow….
palletes tools
The palettes and tools

The layers support basic functionality like reordering, adding, deleting layers, flattening all layers. Next on very photoshop like you have a Filters Menu. So what all is included in it? Start counting because here I begin: Blur, Sharpen, Emboss, Detect edges, Twirl, Liquid waves, Noise, Perlin Noise, Clouds, Brightness/contrast, Hue/Saturation, Color Balance, Desaturate and Negative.

What’s more when you select a tool you even get an options bar for the tool just as you would get in Photoshop. Nifty, ha? Like when you select the brush tool you can change the brush shape, scattering, diameter, opacity from the options bar.

Its one of the best web apps out there, the control you get with the cursor is amazing, and the symmetry tool is awesome, you just have to use it and see it in action to believe what it can do. The folks have done a very very good job. 5/5 stars from me.

Ah.. just for the sake of completeness, since it on the web so you can’t ignore the social aspects of the app, you can create your profile and view other user’s work, being online means that two or more people can collaborate and so much more fun and productive.

Let me get my hands wet and show you my master piece!

master art
Creating art!

OK, my master piece is not top class stuff but was created in under a Minute! You got to give some concessions to me and credits to sumopaint. Here is what I did incase you want to emulate my art!

  1. Fill the background layer with a gradient (Choose gradient tool, choose two colors and just click and drag your mouse)
  2. Create a new layer (Click add on layers palette or choose new layer from layers menu) then choose the symmetry tool, choose bright colors and just scribble around (in short strokes, changing colors often, you can change the shape of symmetry tool from the options bar as well).
    Choose filter > Liquid Waves (play with settings till you are satisfied)
  3. Lower the opacity (till you are satisfied) of currently selected layer so that the background layer shows through, change blend mode (towards the top of layers palette) to Linear dodge.
  4. Create a new layer, choose the brush tool and change the shape to stars or something similar and just randomly click here and there!
  5. There you have it, your result will look different for sure but you get the idea! Pheew! It took more time to type the steps than it took to create it.

Most of all have fun at Sumopaint, its really good, trust me I am very critical and don’t get blown away by things easily but I can’t help praising Sumopaint.


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