September 1st, 2011
Wolfram Alpha has all kinds of useful information for everything under the sun, you can even use it to estimate your blood alcohol level after you’ve put away a few drinks. This will only be an estimate, it ignores variations in metabolism, food intake, medication, etc. Read the rest of this entry »
March 8th, 2011
It seems that the latest way for websites and software to make money with their 3rd party advertisers is to give them collected about you. The first place I ran across this was Facebook and the Instant Personalization. This was where Facebook partnered up with some websites to provide us with “great, personalized experiences the moment you arrive.” Translation – we are sending information about you to these sites so they know about you and your friends. Needless to say, that was immediately disabled on my Facebook as well as everyone else’s in my household (if you haven’t done so yet, follow the steps outlined in this tech-recipe!). The next place I came across it was Amazon.com, which again wanted to give you “personalized ads on Amazon.com and its affiliated sites” as well as other 3rd party sites. Another site that needed this feature disabled (good grief!). Amazon states that you are in control, yet I never saw anything notifying me that my information was being given out unless I opted out of the service (you can disable it by following these instructions at Tech-Recipes). Finally, today I downloaded Skype to install on my Windows 7 machine. After installing the software and opened the application. I went through the options and privacy settings and found out that once again I had “opted-in” for giving out my information. Luckily it was “non-personally identifiable information,” or I’d be worried (sarcasm). So, that meant making changes to the software and writing yet another article to make sure others were aware of it being there and how to change the settings.
Is this how things are going to be from here out? Shouldn’t we be notified, up front, in a straight forward manner instead of fine print or deceptively placing the settings in some obscure place? I understand that these sites and software need to make money, that’s why they are in business in the first place, but when you are playing with the privacy of your users, I think that you are going too far. I hope this isn’t a pattern that we all need to look out for, but at this point, it doesn’t look good.
Fluid is a site specific browser similar to Prism. It is based on Safari’s WebKit. This makes it perfect for viewing Zinio’s free iPod content on your computer, without having to switch your Safari’s User Agent settings. To start things off, you will need to download and install Fluid. Once you have installed the browser, follow these steps to make it a Zinio viewer.
- Open the Fluid application.
- A window will appear for creating a site specific browser. In the URL textbox, input http://imgs.zinio.com/iphone/. In the Name textbox, input whatever you wish to call the browser (Zinio Newsreader). Click the Create button.
- When the Success window appears, click the Launch Now button.
- Once the application has opened, select its name from the menu bar. Select User Agent and then select Mobile Safari 1.1.3 â€“ iPhone.
- Now close the application and reopen it. You can now view all of the available magazines.
February 3rd, 2008
Live Writer makes it simple to add maps and aerial shots to your blog when you want to provide driving instructions or pictures of a specific location to your readers.
To insert a map/aerial shot:
- Go to the menu at the top of Windows Live Writer. Click Insert and select Map.
- Input the desired place in the Find location textbox.
- Click the button with the magnifying glass on it.
- A road map of the location will appear. If you want an aerial picture of the area, select Aerial from the dropdown to the left of the map.
- Depending on the location, a bird’s eye view may also be available. This is a much closer aerial picture of the area. If the option is available for the location, a large button will appear to the left of the map.
- You can zoom in and out and move within the map by using the controls beneath the dropdown.
You can also click inside the map and by holding down the left button on your mouse, drag the map to find the desired location.
- When the map reflects the desired effect, click the Insert button.
January 19th, 2008
I replaced my RAZR with the Motorola W490 a couple of months ago. I liked the features on the new phone and was really looking forward to getting my various applications installed and running. I use the Gmail for Mobile application for keeping in contact with my friends and family when I’m on the go and also use Opera Mini for quick web browsing and research. While both applications installed with no problem, getting them to work was an entirely different situation. When I would try to run either application, it would halt, stating that the application needed to have permission to access the network. Try as I might, I could find no settings on the phone to give the application the required permissions. T-Mobile had locked that functionality out of the phone. Time to unlock some features on the phone, here’s what I did:
First, you will need to install the drivers for connecting the handset to your computer. I used the Motorola Handset USB Driver for Windows (32-bit), which I downloaded from Motorola’s developer site. If you’re running a 64-bit version of Windows, you can get the drivers for 64-bit here. You will also need to download the latest version of P2K Commander. I downloaded version 4.9.E from E398mod.com. Once download, extract the contents of the downloaded file.
Before you connect your phone to your computer, make sure that the Default Connection is set to Data Connection. You can check this by doing the following:
- Select Main Menu.
- Scroll down and select Settings.
- Select USB Settings.
- The Default Connection should be set to Data Connection. If it’s set to Memory Card, select change and select Data Connection as the new default.
- Select Back until an Exit option appears, then select Exit to return to your main screen.
Connect your phone to the computer by using a USB cable. After the hardware has been detected and is functioning properly, open P2K Commander. At the bottom of the left pane, you should see various information appear as P2K Commander reads the contents of the phone. Go to the menu at the top, click on Seem and select Functions.
When the Seem Functions window appears, make sure that the checkboxes for Menu: Webaccess > Web Sessions > Menu > Set Default and Menu: WebAccess/Internet are both checked. If a checkbox is unchecked, double click the checkbox.
Click the Write seems button, on the right side of the window. After the seems have been written, click the Close dialog button.
Go to the dropdown at the top of the screen and select /a P2k Phone system.
When the contents appear, double-click the mobile folder, followed by the certs, root, x509, and kjava folders. Right-click the j2me_domain_registry.sm file and select Copy. This puts a copy of the file into your P2K Commander directory. Put the file somewhere safe, just incase you need it.
Once you have a copy of the file, right-click the file again and select Delete.
Close P2K Commander and disconnect your phone from the computer. You need to check your Web Sessions on your phone. To do this:
- Select Main Menu.
- Select Fun & Apps.
- Select Tools.
- Select WebAccess.
- Select Web Sessions.
You probably have one Web Session, called Java Session. You can edit it, or better yet, create a new session to play with. Either way, select the session and then select Options, followed by Edit. Your session file needs to look like this for Opera Mini or Gmail for Mobile to work:
Service Type 1: HTTP
Gateway IP 1: 18.104.22.168
Port 1: 8080
Service Type 2: WAP
Gateway IP 2: 22.214.171.124
Port 2: 9021Domain 2:
DNS 1: 000.000.000.000
DNS 2: 000.000.000.000
Timeout: 15 minutes
CSD No 1:
User Name 1:
Speed (Bps) 1:
Line Type 1:
CSD No. 2:
User Name 2:
Speed (Bps) 2:
Line Type 2:
GPRS APN: wap.voicestream.com
Service Type 1 and Service Type 2 can be reversed (with the proper ports assigned) however, my tethered connection with my Nokia N800 fails to work is Service Type 1 is set to WAP. When your changes are finished, select Done. If you created a new session, select Options and then select Set Default.
Now you are ready to install and run your applications. Both Gmail for Mobile and Opera Mini ran fine on the basic T-Zones internet plan.
October 10th, 2007
Whatever URL you set for your web browser’s home page ends up being the page you will see most often, since it will come up each and every time you fire up your browser. However, if you’re like me, this can be counterproductive. For instance, I have Gmail as my designated home page, using the logic that I will always need to check my email. While this can be useful for keeping my email account managed, it does little for helping me manage my unread items in Google Reader or catching up on the latest tweets from the Tech-Recipes crew. No matter what I use as my home page ends up causing neglect of the other important pages. Using multiple home pages doesn’t solve the problem as I am usually distracted by the site on the front tab, still neglecting the others.
The solution I found is at URLSplit. What URLSplit does is generate a single URL that will split the hits among a list of websites (up to 7) that you designate.
At first, I was without a clue as to how such a feature could be used, then I started analyzing my browser activity. Once I noticed how often the home page takes my attention off of other sites, I decided to try URLSplit as a solution.
It’s easy to get your url, simply create your account, input the sites and click the Create My New URL button.
As an example, let’s say I want to keep tabs on my regular email account, junk email account, Twitter, and Google Reader. Since I have 7 slots but only 4 sites, I can put the most important sites in more than once. For this example, I put Gmail in 3 times, Google Reader in twice and the other two are only single entries.
After I have input all of the addresses, clicking the Create My New URL will take me to a page with my new url on it.
By copying this address as the new home page for my browser, I now have my important sites coming up at varying frequencies. Each time I open my browser (or hit the button that takes me to my home page) I will go to a different url from the list I generated.
October 8th, 2007
It seems like everyone I know has multiple presences on the web. Whether it be on Facebook, MySpace, or some other social network combined with Flickr, Twitter, Jaiku, Pownce, etc. Plus they probably have their own blog and/or website. Instead of sharing these independently with your friends, you can use MeVu to link to all of your pages and just hand out your MeVu address. That way you only have to update one URL to inform others of any new places you have established on the web.
Go to MeVu and register your account name. You will be emailed a password almost immediately. Once you have your password, log into your account. The first thing you will want to do is to update your profile information and change the password to something easier to manage. Under Account Functions, click the Edit Profile link.
Under Edit Profile, click the Account Details (Private) link.
Input your desired password in the appropriate field and retype it in the next textbox as well.
Click the Personal Details link and input your first and last name (only if you want it displayed to the public). You can also input your public email address (remember, EVERYONE can see it!). You can also add your IM handles by clicking the corresponding link (again, this will be made public). Finally, click the Picture Details link to upload an image or avatar to be displayed on your MeVu page. When you are done, click the Save Profile button.
Go back under Account Functions and select the Manage Categories link to add the various categories you will use to display the links to your pages. Under Add new category, click the Create new category link.
Input a title for your category (such as Social Networks or Photo Albums ). Add a description and/or keywords for your category if you wish. Click the Save Category button. Repeat this step to create as many categories as you need.
Once you have created your categories, you are ready to begin populating them with your links. You can do this one of two ways:
- From the Manage Categories page, go to the desired title, and click the link icon under Actions.
- Go to Account Functions and select Manage Links.
Click Create new link. Input the title, description, and URL for your link. Repeat until all of your links have been placed.
To see what others will see when they visit your page, go to Account Functions and select Preview Public Page.
Once you’re finished, send the URL for your MeVu page to your friends for easy access to each of your presences on the web.
October 6th, 2007
If you are going to use del.icio.us, a social bookmarks manager, then you are going to want to upload your web browser’s current bookmarks (or favorites) instead of putting them in one at a time. Even if you only use del.icio.us once in a while, it is a great place to back up your bookmarks.
First thing you will need to do is to export your bookmarks from your browser. The steps will vary slightly depending on what browser you are using. I will cover Firefox and Internet Explorer 7.
- Open Firefox, go to the menu bar, click Bookmarks and select Organize Bookmarks.
- When the Bookmarks Manager appears, go to the menu, click File and select Export.
- The Export bookmark file window will appear. Browse to the location you wish to save the html file and click Save.
Internet Explorer 7:
- Open IE7 and press the Alt key on your keyboard to show the menu bar.
- Click File and select Import and Export.
- The Import/Export Wizard will start, click Next.
- Go to the left pane and select Export Favorites.
- Click Next.
- Select which folder you want to export from. If you want all of your favorites exported, select the Favorites folder.
- Click Next.
- Browse to the location you wish to save the htm file and click Next.
- Click Finish when the wizard has completed. Click OK when the prompt appears.
Now go to del.icio.us and login to your account.
- Go to the upper right and click the Settings link.
- Under the Bookmarks column, select import / upload.
- Go to step 2 and browse to the location of the saved file from earlier.
- You can now add additional tags to your imported bookmarks and add popular tags if you wish.
- Click the import now button.
- The import process will begin. Leave your browser open to the window until you have been prompted that the import has completed.
October 1st, 2007
A friend of mine needed to change the DNS servers for his site. Once he got to GoDaddy, he was totally confused on what steps to take next. To be honest, the interface could be a little more intuitive. Here’s what you need to do:
- Go to GoDaddy.com and login to your account.
- Go to the green horizontal toolbar, mouseover Domains and select My Domain Names.
- Select the checkbox next to the domain that you wish to change.
- Go to the toolbar and click the now unghosted Nameservers button.
- Input the new primary and secondary DNS server names in the first two textboxes.
- Click OK.
The request is then submitted. It may take up to 3 days for you to see the changes though, this is due to the time it takes for the change to filter through to other DNS servers on the internet.
September 26th, 2007
By now, I’m sure that you’ve heard of Alexa when it comes to getting various information on the traffic metrics for a website. I came across another useful site for checking out and comparing website metrics. It’s always useful to see how you’re doing in comparison to your competition (and it’s interesting to check out how other sites are doing against theirs).
Go to Compete and input the address for your site (we’ll use Google for our example).
After you click the Get SnapShot button, you will be taken to a page with a graph displaying the People Count (unique visitors) that have visited the site over the past year.
The purple buttons on the upper right portion of the graph can be used to display other useful information. Here are the options:
If you wish to compare the site to 1 or 2 other websites, input them into the textbox(es) in the blue bar at the top.
After clicking the Go button, you will see a graph similar to the previous one, but with the statistics for the additional site(s).
If you register (for free), you can add two more sites to your comparison. It is an easy and useful way for getting a quick picture of where a site stands against the competition as far as traffic metrics go.