iRead, iLearn, iWrite. Hence, iBlog.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Windows Live Writer supports Windows Server OS and 64-bit OS

Windows Live Writer Technical preview Windows Live Writer (WLW)  has finally started supporting the Server variants of the Windows Operating Systems – Windows Server 2003 and 2008 and also its 64-bit versions of the Operating Systems. The latest Technical preview of WLW installs out of the box in both these variants of Operating Systems. So no need to go about installing it the old way.

The noticeable difference this time is that the technical preview was released as a *.msi file as opposed to the *.exe file they have been releasing so far. It means easy mass deployments of the software and creating unattended installations.

Having said this, what needs to be seen is how will WLW be updated on these OSes. Till now it has been updated through Windows Live installer – a software that is still does not support the above mentioned OSes. So does it mean the WLW’s updates will now be provided with Automatic Updates or is it that just the Technical preview is being made available to these OSes incompatible with Windows Live Installer while the final product will not. Hoping that it is the former.

Thanks Tony for informing me of this.


Sunday, June 22, 2008

Muxtape.com : phun music thingy

20080622muxtape01 Okay....since the service's USP is its simplistic minimalism, this post too will be a quickie - the broom closet kind ;).

Remember the days of yore when you painstakingly created tapes containing all your favorite songs in a single tape. Those tapes, to create which, you raided, scrounged all around to find that one song which transported you to a magical world every time you heard it and had to have in your collection. The tapes which you guarded more zealously than a Bedouin guarding his water. Well tapes are no more and so is the need to hunt heaven and earth to find the songs, what with Google becoming a verb and a given part of our lives.

But the sheer joy and fun of creating mixtapes can now be re-created on the Internet with the help of Muxtapes. Muxtape.com is a free online service that was launched a few months back to do just that - create digital mixtapes.

Simplicity is its USP and it starts right from registration - a quickie signup procedure and you are on your way to creating mixtapes muxtapes. You are allowed to upload 12 songs in each muxtape, around the number of songs that would fit in a tape and can create only 1 muxtape per account, though you can edit your compilation to include other songs. A sore point - I was unable to remove a song I had accidentally added till I had added all the 12 allowable songs. Once done, you can shared the URL with everyone to hear your compilation. The page listing your play list is a plain, uncomplicated white page, where you click on the name of the song to play it [flash needed]. It has also been RSS-ified so that anybody who liked your mux can subscribe to it for any future changes you make to the muxtape. The homepage randomly lists out muxes created by other members which you can listen to and if you like it, add them to your favorite. You can add up to 12 muxes in your favorite list. Each song in the muxtape has a Buy this MP3 link by its side, clicking on which will take you to the corresponding page on Amazon.

Though other online playlist services are available, which can be used for uploading larger number of songs and offers more features, think of Muxtapes as that One mixtape containing your all-time favorite collection of songs, or as someone pointed out, your favoritest songs - it has to be kept separate from your general collection of tapes.

It is a great service for all upcoming, unsigned bands to upload their demos and pass the word around about it. The plain, stark interface of this site might actually help them more instead of the garish, ugly pages they've set up on that Social Networking site.

On a side note, I realized that Muxtape is one among the new wave of micro* services being launched - services where you provide quick, sharp, focused content in miniscule quantity - an attribute that fits this site perfectly. In keeping with the spirit of micro, their blog too is hosted on Tumblr, as opposed to your traditional blogging platforms. Besides the mandatory announcements, it also lists out interesting muxes uploaded by members and interesting things that people are doing with their service.

I am currently in the process of compiling my muxtape - pretty much none of my songs have either been tagged or properly renamed in a long long time and so hunting for that song is turning out to be a b1tch.

Here is Mike Shinoda's muxtape - if you are a fan of hip-hop, then you would enjoy it. If you created a muxtape of your own, do share it here; would love to hear it :-)

Do drop in a comment with your views, suggestions and criticisms; would love to hear from you.

Godspeed

Sheeshh!! will I never be able to write a small post


Friday, June 20, 2008

Thursday, June 19, 2008

MozBackup : Create backup of your Mozilla-based software [Firefox, Thunderbird, Flock etc]

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MozBackup is a useful Windows-based freeware tool that can be used for backing up the settings and add-ons installed in Firefox, Thunderbird, Flock etc with just a few mouse clicks. It currently supports backing up of Firefox, Thunderbird, Sunbird, Flock, SeaMonkey, Mozilla suite, Spicebird and Netscape settings and profiles.

On being launched it automatically detects the presence of all the supporting softwares and lists it for you to select. On selecting the software, you can either choose to backup a profile or even restore a previously backed profile. If you have multiple profiles, then you can select the profiles to backup and also what components of the profile to backup. I used it to backup my settings in Firefox and Thunderbird and it worked like a charm. All my addons, settings RSS feeds, accounts were backed up and was perfectly restored when I did so on my newly installed Operating System. I use IMAP in Thunderbird and faced no problems in restoration. However a friend, who uses POP3 said that his mails weren't restored automatically in the new install, even though he had selected that component to be backed up. Looks like the latest version MozBackup does have issues with restoring backed up POP3 mails.

You can also automate the backing up process by creating a scheduled task for it.

An important point is that you can restore the profiles in the same version you have backed up from. Trying to restore profiles in a version higher than that from which you backed up from may not work [did not work for me].

If POP3 mails not restored

If you do face such a problem then you could rename the *.pcv extension of the backup file to *.zip and extract the content to a suitable location. Then locating the mail folder, open it and copy all the folders inside it.

 backup mail folder

 

Then go to the location where the new installation of thunderbird has created the same folder - mail and replace its content with the backed up content.

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Voila!!! all your POP3 mails have also been restored now. There you go - all settings and mails restored.

Try it out and send your feeback to the developer so that it can be improved upon.

Do drop me a line giving me feedbacks, brickbats wombats and anything else that could help improve my blog - would love to hear from you :-).

Godspeed.


Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Gmail Labs: New features for your Gmail / Google Apps account

While tinkering with my Gmail account I found a new link in the Settings section - Labs. Clicking on it revealed a host of new features (12) including a Game that the Google guys had introduced in Gmail/ Google Apps account. They are deactivated by default and you need to activate them to use these features.

These features are currently experimental and released as part of Gmail Labs that they launched last week.

The 12 features currently part of Labs are

1. Quick links

Gmail Lab Quick Link You can include links to commonly accessed features and bookmarks here for easy access

 

2. Superstars

Superstars Mails can be tagged with different colored star icons according to their importance or categories for easy visual reference. Google has provided 12 icons of different colours to tag your mails with [12 features, 12 stars????] . A useful feature IMO.

 

 

 3. Picture in chat

20080617gmaillab03 Enabling this features will show you the pictures of anybody with whom you are chatting with them on Gtalk, provided they've uploaded a picture themselves [duhh!!]. Not too sure about its usefulness.

4. Fixed width font

Fixed width font Allows you to view the message in Fixed width font. Useful if viewing ASCII arts and such.

 

5. Mouse Gestures

Mouse gestures Invokes mouse gestures to perform tasks like moving through messages and going back to inbox. The perfect tool encouraging laziness, IMO. Will definitely find it useful.

6. Signature Tweak

Signature tweak Again a useful feature that allows you to place your digital signature above the quoted text to which you are replying.

7.Random signature

Random signature It will take the feed from a quotes website and included it as a digital signature for your messages. By default, if enabled, it would receive feeds from brainyquote.com and use it as your signature. A fun feature to have, though no useful purpose served.

8. Custom date format

Custom date time You can choose the format in which the dates are shown in the messages received. Convenient feature to have.

9. Muzzle (????)

Muzzle Will hide your friends status indicator in Gtalk. Save screen space.

10. Old snakey

Old snakey They have included the all time classic game Snake. You need to enable mouse gestures to play this. Fun thing to include.

 

 

11. Email addict

Email addict In my opinion, the most innovative feature. When enabled, it will show a link on the top right corner of your screen - Take a break. Clicking on it will make the window inactive, thereby preventing you from using your email account in any way for 15 minutes

12. Hide unread counts

Hide unread counts Will hide the number telling how many unread message you got in the inbox. Probably a space saving move, not sure about its utility.

 

 

For some reason I was able to get the Labs option only when my account was opened in Firefox. Opera and Internet Explorer did not show me this option for some unfathomable reasons. Labs is currently available only for users who have selected the English version.

As these features are currently experimental, there are chances of they withdrawing some/all features. They have even provided a undo link on the Labs page itself incase you are unable to.

http://mail.google.com/mail/?labs=0

Clicking on this link would disable Labs in your account.  Note it down. Try them out and send them feedbacks if you got any.

Godspeed


Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Blogger Backup utility: Create offline backup copy of your Blogspot-hosted blog

20080617bloggerbackup01 Blogger Backup Utility is a nifty tool that I have started using to create and offline backup copies of this blog hosted on Blogspot on to my hard disk. Although I had created a backup earlier the old way, I found it extremely cumbersome to say the least. Using this tool, creating backup of your blog can be achieved with just a few mouse clicks.

The software automatically detects all your blog - just enter your Google username and password and it will retrieve the list of blogs in the account.

(Click on the image to view a larger sized image)

20080617bloggerbackup02

Once done, from the Available blogs section, select the blog whose backup you wish to take. You can even choose to take a backup copy of the comments in the posts. The backup can be saved either as a single file containing all the posts or discrete files for each post made on the blog. Once done, clicking on the Backup posts button will start saving the posts in its specified location. The backups are saved as *.xml files, meaning it is essentially backing up using the the feeds of your blog. You may also perform incremental backup of your blog by choosing to backup only those posts/comments made after a certain date; you can specify the date from when to back up.

The software does not backup any images I may add to the posts. But that is not a problem as such. Any image I use in my blog is automatically uploaded by Blogspot into a Picasa Web album folder [FTP publishing of images to a different host is a different thing and not being considered here]. The whole album folder can be easily downloaded on to your hard disk using Picasa, thus creating a backup of your images too.

The software can also be used to restore any backed up post that you may have deleted from your blog account online. However it still does not allow you to restore comments of the deleted posts.

Please note that for this software to work, you must have feeds for your blog enabled and must set it to full Feed.

Enable Feed for your Blog

To do so, click on the Settings link on your dashboard. Then click on the Site Feed link and select the Full option in the Allow Blog Feeds section.

Enable full Feed

Thus this software simplifies backing up your Blogspot-hosted blog [like mine] to mere mouse clicks. The software is currently in Beta version and it is expected that future versions will have more features like downloading images, saving posts in PDF format etc

You can also create online backups of your blog by automatically emailing the posts to a email address of your choice. You can use up to 10 email ids for this.

Do let me know if you have any queries, criticisms or suggestions.

Godspeed.


Saturday, June 14, 2008

Write and edit any PDF files for free

Writing on to any PDF file is not possible unless the original file creator allows writing on it (forms and such stuff). However, there are various software's available that allow you to do write on them even without the permission. Unfortunately all Windows-based software's are being sold commercially and not available for free use. I often have to write in PDF files and I refuse to pay anything to do so.

Foxit Reader is PDF reader whose reader feature is available for free use, ie, you can read any PDF files using Foxit for free. It also has a editor feature in the software itself called Typewriter. However for unrestricted use of the software you need to purchase a license from the developers. If you try to edit and save a PDF file using the free version, it will add an ugly watermark to the saved document.

However even the free version allows you to take a printout of the modified document without any watermarks added in it as long as you don't save the changes.

PDF reDirect [free version] is a software that is used to create PDF files from any document whose printout can be taken. Once installed, PDF reDirect appears as a virtual printer in your list of installed printers.

So next time you make any changes to the PDF file using Foxit Reader, instead of saving it, take a printout of it selecting PDF reDirect as the printer from the list. Foxit is foxed into thinking that you are taking a printout on a sheet of paper and so does not add any watermark, whereas you are creating a brand new PDF file with all the changes and editing you did using Foxit.

In fact you can use all of Foxit Reader's paid features in the free version in this way - just create a new PDF file containing the changes made in Foxit.

If you are using Linux, you may try out PDFedit for the same.

If you wish to rearrange the pages or delete pages in a PDf file, then you may try out a free online service - PDF Hammer to do so.

Do let me know if you have any doubts, queries, suggestions or criticisms about this post.

Godspeed


Sunday, June 01, 2008

Update : Make site accessible without the www

When I had posted about making your site accessible without the www, I had added an A-record pointing my domain name shubhspace.co.cc to a host that allows 301 re-directs. I had added the A-record in my EveryDNS account by using the IP address I had been assigned by axspace - 66.49.222.169. This IP address points to their server my site had been assigned for hosting. Since a hosting service provider is expected to have multiple servers for this purpose, one is likely to be assigned to a different server, meaning, a different IP address when you sign up. So when you follow the method that I had listed out, it is expected that you use the appropriate IP address; that you have been allotted, when you add the A-record entry. Unless you do so and instead add a different A-record [which also belongs to axspace], you shall be greeted with a message that would say



Great Success !
Apache is working on your cPanel® and WHM™ Server......


The exact meaning of this message is not relevant, but if you get this message when you follow my instructions, it means only 1 thing - you screwed up!!


So find out the correct IP address and make the change accordingly.


How to find out what IP address your site has been allotted?


1.) E-mail sent by them


This is the easiest way to know your IP address. After registering with their site, you would have received a mail with the subject line : Axspace.com Account Information. The IP address can be found here immediately after the statement ’Your new account information is:’.


The information IP Address: xx.xx.xxx.xxx (shared) is what you should look for.


2.) cPanel account interface


If you have deleted that mail [bad idea], then you may also find out your assigned shared IP address by logging into your cPanel account interface and look at the left column. Here you will find the IP address information under the section Shared Ip Address.


Shared IP Address


Note it down and then go to your EveryDNS account and make the necessary changes to your A-record for this site.


For the sake of record, you may also get to know your IP address while logging in [if you haven’t installed their security certificate]. If you are using Firefox, you will be shown a window similar to this.


20080601makepostsaccessible02


You can also check it out if you have logged out and don’t want to log back in to see your IP address. It is shown in the address bar.


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Now that you have seen all the ways of knowing your assigned IP address, there should be no more problems.