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December 01, 2010

Orkut Badges for Power Users

Google has introduced badges in Orkut profiles to help you easily flaunt how active you are and how much you know of the social site.

orkut badges

For instance, if you have been on Orkut for more than 5 years, you get the “early user” badge while if you are active on Orkut forums, you are awarded with the “Super User” badge.

Some Orkut users have already been assigned badges though the full rollout will happen only in the coming week according to the Google Blog. Overall, this is a good way to give some recognition to the active Orkut users and, in the process, trying to keep them loyal to the site.

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November 24, 2010

How to Verify an Email Address?

How do you verify if a given email address is real or fake? Well an obvious solution is that you send a test mail to that email address and if your message doesn’t bounce, it is safe to assume* that the address is real.

[*] Some web domains may have configured a catch-all email address meaning that messages addressed to a non-existent mailbox will not be returned to the sender but in most cases, such email messages will bounce.

Ping an Email Address to Validate it!

When you send an email to someone, the message goes to an SMTP server which then looks for the MX (Mail Exchange) records of the email recipient’s domain.

For instance, when you send an email to hello@gmail.com, the mail server will try to find the MX records for the gmail.com domain. If the records exist, the next step would be to determine whether that email username (hello in our example) is present or not.

Using a similar logic, we can verify an email address from the computer without actually sending a test message. Here’s how:

Let say that we want to verify if the address billgates@gmail.com exists or not?

Step 1. Enable telnet in Windows.  Or if you already have the PuTTY utility, skip this step.

Step 2. Open the command prompt and type the following command:

nslookup –type=mx gmail.com


This command will extract and list the MX records of a domain as shown below. Replace gmail.com with the domain of the email address that you are trying to verify.



gmail.com MX preference=30, exchanger = alt3.gmail-smtp-in.l.google.com
gmail.com MX preference=20, exchanger = alt2.gmail-smtp-in.l.google.com
gmail.com MX preference=5, exchanger = gmail-smtp-in.l.google.com
gmail.com MX preference=10, exchanger = alt1.gmail-smtp-in.l.google.com
gmail.com MX preference=40, exchanger = alt4.gmail-smtp-in.l.google.com


Step 3. As you may have noticed, it is not uncommon to have multiple MX records for a domain. Pick any one of the servers mentioned in the MX records, may be the one with the lowest preference level number (in our example, gmail-smtp-in.l.google.com), and “pretend” to send a test message to that server from you computer.



For that, go to command prompt window and type the following commands in the listed sequence:



3a: Connect to the mail server:



telnet gmail-smtp-in.l.google.com 25


3b: Say hello to the other server



HELO


3c: Identify yourself with some fictitious email address



mail from:<labnol@labnol.org>


3d: Type the recipient’s email address that you are trying to verify:



rcpt to:<billgates@gmail.com>


The server response for ‘rcpt to’ command will give you an idea whether an email address is valid or not. You’ll get an “OK” if the address exists else a 550 error like:




  • abc@gmail.com -- The email account that you tried to reach does not exist.


  • support@gmail.com -- The email account that you tried to reach is disabled.



That’s it! If the address is valid, you may perform reverse email search to find the person behind the address. And if you get stuck somewhere, this step-by-step video should help:



 





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November 22, 2010

Create a Career Tree from your LinkedIn Profile

Career Tree LinkedIn

This diagram illustrates the career path of the American President – the branches represent his education and the work experience. I think the size of the circles represent the relative time spent in a particular role.

If you would like to have something similar for your own career, simple head over to Newsweek.com and import your LinkedIn profile.

The more details you have in your LinkedIn profile, the ‘fuller’ your tree will be. You may also add details of your career to the tree manually using the “career tree form” available on the same page without changing your main LinkedIn profile.

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November 18, 2010

Movie Scenes turned into Animated GIFs

Animated GIF images may remind you of those cluttered and distracting homepages of the Geocities era but take a peek at this impressive tumblr blog and it might forever change the way you think of GIFs.

The site features a brilliant collection of GIF animations created using frames of classic movie scenes that play in an endless loop. Here are some examples:

Animated GIF - le mepris

GIF from Shining

How to Create GIF Animations?

There are free tools available that let you easily convert video clips into animated GIFs that you can later host on sites like Flickr or Tumblr -- not all image hosting sites support animated GIFs but the one mentioned here do.

This is a two-step process – first convert the video into a sequence of image frames and then assemble these frames into a looping GIF animation with some custom delay.

Step 1: Download FFmpeg for Windows from sourceforge.net and extract the ffmpeg.exe file to, say, the c:\ffmpeg\ folder. The .7z files can be unzipped using the 7-zip utility.

Step 2: Now we’ll extract the frames from our video file. The command* is simple.

c:\ffmpeg\ffmpeg.exe -i movie.avi img-%03d.gif


If your video file is in another folder, you need to specify the full path of that file. Also, you may use MP4, MOV or any video format as well instead of AVI.



Step 3: Grab this portable utility called UnFreez and drag-n-drop all the image frames created in the previous step from Windows Explorer into the UnFreez window.



Enable “loop animation” and set the frame delay to say 20 cs (1 cs = 0.01 second).  Click “Make animated GIF” and preview your image is in any browser.



Screencast: Converting videos into GIF movies



[*] If you have a fairly long video file and would only like to convert a portion of it into an image, you need to slightly modify the ffmpeg parameters as shown below:



c:\ffmpeg\ffmpeg.exe -i movie.avi –ss 5 –t 3 img-%03d.gif


The parameter ‘ss’ refers to the start position in the video while ‘t’ is the duration for which you want to extract the frames. So in the above example, image frames for the file movie.avi will be at created from the 5 second mark for the next 3 seconds on the video.



If you would like to stop GIFs from animating in the browser, just hit the Escape key.



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November 17, 2010

Browse the Web with your Email Address

webpages by email

Web2PDF is an extremely useful web based service that lets you browse the web using your email address.

Compose a new email message, type the URL of any web page in the body of that message and send it to submit@web2pdfconvert.com. The service will then fetch the corresponding web page on its own servers and will send it back it you as a PDF attachment – all this takes no more than a few seconds.

I have tried this service will several web pages, including ones that have complex layouts, and the conversion was more or less perfect in all cases (see examples here and here). The converted PDFs not only retain the layout but also the hyperlinks and thus you may fetch other internal pages as well using email itself.

Such a service may come handy in quite a few situations like when you have access to email but general web access is restricted. Or when you are surfing the web on an old mobile phone with a pathetic browser – in that case, the built-in PDF reader may be a better option for reading web articles.

July 17, 2010

Shop at Any Online U.S. Store from Anywhere

ShoppingThis is a guide for people living outside the U.S. who would like to order products from U.S. based online stores (like Amazon.com or Best Buy) and get them shipped to a non-US address even if the store offers no international shipping.

Shop at Online U.S. Stores from anywhere!

Are you craving to own that latest mobile phone that just launched in the USA and may take months to reach your country. Or are you getting a great deal on some product at an online store but they won’t ship it to your country?

Well, if you have an international credit card and don’t mind paying the shipping costs, custom duties and other charges, here are some services that can help you shop at your favorite online U.S. stores from anywhere.

1. eBay with Worldwide Shipping

ebayYou normally use your country specific eBay site for shopping (like eBay.in for India) but with the same account, you can also shop on eBay.com, eBay.co.uk and all the other eBay websites.

Here’s a tip – while looking for products on eBay.com, set the “Items available to” advanced search option to your country’s name and eBay will then only show you items where the seller has indicated that they are willing to ship to your country.

2. Appoint a Virtual Cousin in US

shoppingImagine having a cousin in America. You go to Amazon.com, buy some electronic gadgets and music DVDs using your own credit card but give your cousin’s address for delivery. Amazon ships the stuff to your cousin’s place who then ships it to you.

Package forwarding services like vPost, Shipito, comGateway and Borderlinx are like your ‘virtual’ cousins. They’ll provide you with a personal U.S. address that you can use as the delivery address when shopping at any of the online U.S. stores be it Amazon, Gap, Macy’s or Apple.com.

When your package arrives at their warehouse, they’ll forward them to you via DHL or FedEx just like your helpful cousin. If you choose to buy from multiple stores, like a router from eBay and a camera from Amazon, these ‘forwarding’ services will repackage everything into one parcel so as to reduce the overall shipping cost.

3. Shopping without your Credit Card

credit cardsEven if you give them a US address, some US merchants won’t accept payments through international credit cards that don’t have a US based billing address. And then there could be some people who may not have an international credits card at all.

If you are one of those, or if you are trying to shop at a store that won’t accept your non-US credit card, you can either use the Assisted Purchase service from Shipito or the BuyForMe service from comGateway to make the purchase.

With Assisted Purchase, you send the payment via Wire Transfer to Shipito who will then make the purchase on your behalf. In the case of BuyForMe, you can make the payment to comGateway using PayPal or any credit card and they’ll use their own card to pay the merchant(s).

International Shopping in India

If you are living in India, in addition to the above mentioned services, you should also check out ShopYourWorld.com. Here, as you buy items from the various online stores, they are all added to a common shopping cart and you pay for everything in one go.

ShopYourWorld will always give you a fixed landing price for your order which includes the cost of the items, shipping charges as well as the custom duties and taxes, if any. No last-minute surprises!

Shop at Any Online U.S. Store from Anywhere

Facebook Twitter Digital Inspiration @labnol

Originally published at Digital Inspiration by Amit Agarwal.

July 11, 2010

RAINBOW IN YOUR HAND–Good One

This book started as a personal project in summer 2007, and was soon published from a Japanese bookstore "Utrecht". It's a flipbook, but rather than seeing animation, it creates a 3D rainbow in your hand. Since being published it has been featured on Japanese TV, Newspapers, major news & blogsites like yahoo news, coolhunting and fffffound. This book won this years NY ADC silver cube.



From - http://www.masa-ka.com/html/rainbow.html

June 29, 2010

Sony Ericsson Vivaz new pink colour

Sony Ericsson will be introducing a new pink colour for its Vivaz.  The Vivaz is a very attractive phone and the pink will be added to the existing colours which are cosmic black, venus ruby, moon silver and galaxy blue. Sony Ericsson are segmenting the market to make the phone appeal to the female market which is a very good approach by the company.

Here is a few pictures of the new colour

Source]

From Unofficial Sony Ericsson Blog: http://blog.se-nse.n…ew-pink-colour/

June 28, 2010

Friday Fun - Isn't it!

A man walks into a restaurant with a full-grown ostrich behind him.

The waitress asks them for their orders.  

The man says, "A hamburger, fries and a coke," and turns to the ostrich, "What's yours?"   "I'll have the same," says the ostrich.
A short time later the waitress returns with the order “That will be $9.40 please," and the man reaches into his pocket and pulls out the exact change for payment.  

The next day, the man and the ostrich come again and the man says, "A hamburger, fries and a coke."
The ostrich says, "I'll have the same."
Again the man reaches into his pocket and pays with exact change.  

This becomes routine until the two enter again. "The usual?" asks the waitress.  "No, this is Friday night, so I will have a steak, baked potato and a salad," says the man.   "Same," says the ostrich.
Shortly the waitress brings the order and says, "That will be $32.62."  Once again the man pulls the exact change out of his pocket and places it on the table.
The waitress cannot hold back her curiosity any longer. "Excuse me, sir. How do you manage to always come up with the exact change in your pocket every time?"  

"Well," says the man, "several years ago I was cleaning the attic and found an old lamp. When I rubbed it, a Genie appeared and offered me two wishes.

My first wish was that if I ever had to pay for anything, I would just put my hand in my pocket and the right amount of money would always be there."  

"That's brilliant!" says the waitress. "Most people would ask for a million dollars or something, but you'll always be as rich as you want for as long as you live!"
"That's right. Whether it's a gallon of milk or a Rolls Royce, the exact money is always there," says the man.

The waitress asks, "What's with the ostrich?"  The man sighs, pauses and answers, "My second wish was for a tall chick with a great figure and long legs who agrees with everything I say."

 

clip_image001

June 25, 2010

Find the Person Behind an Email Address

You get an email from a person with whom you have never interacted before and therefore, before you reply to that message, you would like to know something more about him or her. How do you do this without directly asking the other person?

Web search engines are obviously the most popular place for performing reverse email lookups but if the person you’re trying to research doesn’t have a website or has never interacted with his email address on public forums before, Google will probably be of little help.

No worries, here are few tips and online services that may still help you uncover the identity of that unknown email sender.

#1. Find the sender’s location

Location of Email Sender

Open the header of the email message and look for lines that say “Received: from” followed by an IP address in square brackets. If there are multiple entries, use the IP address mentioned in the last entry.

Now paste the IP address in this trace route tool and you should get a fairly good idea about the location of the email sender.

#2. Reverse email search with Facebook

Facebook email search

Facebook has 450 million users worldwide and there’s a high probability that the sender may also have a profile on Facebook.

Unlike LinkedIn and most other social networks, Facebook lets you search users by email address so that should make your job simpler. Just paste the email address of the sender into the Facebook search box and you’ll immediately know if a matching profile exists in the network.

If you are able to locate that person on Facebook, download his profile picture and then upload it to TinEye – it’s a reverse image search engine so you can locate his other social profiles where he may have used the same picture.

#3. Check all the other Social Networks

Search Social Networks

You can use a service like Knowem to quickly determine if a profile with a particular username exists in any of the social networks.

If the email address of the send is something like green_peas@hotmail.com, there’s a probably that he or she may have created accounts of some other social network using the same alias “green_peas” – put that in knowem.com to confirm.

#4. People Search

Reverse Email Search

Finally, if nothing works, you should try a people search service like Pipl and Spokeo – both services let you perform reverse email lookups but Spokeo has a more comprehensive database than Pipl.

Other than regular web documents, Spoke also scans social networks and even the whois information of domain names to find any bit of information associated with an email address. However, some of the results returned by Spokeo are only available to subscribers.

Also see: Find Postal Addresses with Google Maps

Find the Person Behind an Email Address

Facebook Twitter Digital Inspiration @labnol

Originally published at Digital Inspiration by Amit Agarwal.

June 22, 2010

XPERIA X8 – First Glimpse

As usual my friend Albin has shot a short video clip showing off his XPERIA X8, comparing it to the X10 products and giving a first glimpse of it.

It can be seen as the middle sister to the X10 products size-wise but will as told earlier be somewhat of a baby sister when it comes to price. Something we think will make it very attractive to an even bigger target group.

As always remember that these videos are done on prototype hardware and pre-release software so things can of course change until release.

 

June 16, 2010

Chart Compares iPhone 3GS and iPhone 4

image

This handy chart compares the main features of iPhone 3GS with iPhone 4 that goes on sale later this month.

The only thing they miss out is colors – iPhone 3GS was only available in black while iPhone 4 comes in the both black and white colors.

The chart is from Mahalo but you can also read the official comparison between iPhone 4 and iPhone 3GS on apple.com.

Chart Compares iPhone 3GS and iPhone 4

Amit

Today, 5:26 PM

June 15, 2010

Find your Facebook Friends by City with Bing

If you wish to know the current location (city) of your Facebook friends, there are two options.

A. Facebook Friends Explorer

You can open the Friends Explorer in Facebook, choose the “Browse by City” option and then select the city name from the other drop down menu as shown in the above screenshot.

Facebook Friends City

B. Bing Maps

The other good option is Bing Maps – it not only lets you visually browse the current location of your Facebook friends on a map but you can also see the location of them all in one go.

To map your Facebook friends current location through Bing Maps, simply press the Facebook Connect button on the Bing Maps website, authorize the application and within minutes, you can see all your friends, who have listed a “Current City” in their Facebook profile, on the world map.

There’s something more. You can click the picture pin of any Facebook friend and write on his or her wall without leaving the Bing Maps application.

Friends City Map

Find your Facebook Friends by City with Bing

Facebook Twitter Digital Inspiration @labnol

Originally published at Digital Inspiration by Amit Agarwal.

June 11, 2010

Chanakya Neeti:


************ ********* ********* ********* ********* ***
"A person should not be too honest. Straight trees are cut first and
Honest people are screwed first."
Chanakya quotes (Indian politician, strategist and writer, 350 BC -275 BC )
************ ********* ********* ********* ********* ***
" Even if a snake is not poisonous, it should pretend to be venomous."
Chanakya quotes (Indian politician, strategist and writer, 350 BC -275 BC )
************ ********* ********* ********* ********* ***
"The biggest guru-mantra is: Never share your secrets with anybody. ! It will destroy you."
Chanakya quotes (Indian politician, strategist and writer, 350 BC -275 BC )
************ ********* ********* ********* ********* ***
"There is some self-interest behind every friendship. There is no
Friendship without self-interests. This is a bitter truth."
Chanakya quotes (Indian politician, strategist and writer, 350 BC -275 BC )
************ ********* ********* ********* ********* ***
"Before you start some work, always ask yourself three questions -
Why am I doing it, What the results might be and Will I be successful. Only when you think deeply and find satisfactory answers to these questions, go ahead."
Chanakya quotes (Indian politician, strategist and writer, 350 BC -275 BC )
************ ********* ********* ********* ********* ***
"As soon as the fear approaches near, attack and destroy it."
Chanakya quotes (Indian politician, strategist and writer, 350 BC -275 BC )
************ ********* ********* ********* ********* ***
"Once you start a working on something, don't be afraid of failure and don't abandon it. People who work sincerely are the happiest."
Chanakya quotes (Indian politician, strategist and writer, 350 BC -275 BC )
************ ********* ********* ********* ********* ***
"The fragrance of flowers spreads only in the direction of the wind.
But the goodness of a person spreads in all direction."
Chanakya quotes (Indian politician, strategist and writer, 350 BC -275 BC )
************ ********* ********* ********* ********* ***
"Whore s don't live in company of poor men, citizens never support a weak company and birds don't build nests on a tree that doesn't bear fruits."
Chanakya quotes (Indian politician, strategist and writer, 350 BC -275 BC )
************ ********* ********* ********* ********* ***
"God is not present in idols. Your feelings are your god. The soul is your temple."
Chanakya quotes (Indian politician, strategist and writer, 350 BC -275 BC )
************ ********* ********* ********* ********* ***
"A man is great by deeds, not by birth."
Chanakya quotes (Indian politician, strategist and writer, 350 BC -275 BC )
************ ********* ********* ********* ********* ***
"Never make friends with people who are above or below you in status. Such friendships will never give you any happiness."
Chanakya quotes (Indian politician, strategist and writer, 350 BC -275 BC )
************ ********* ********* ********* ********* ***
"Treat your kid like a darling for the first five years. For the next
five years, scold them. By the time they turn sixteen, treat them like a friend. Your grown up children are your best friends."
Chanakya quotes (Indian politician, strategist and writer, 350 BC -275 BC )
************ ********* ********* ********* ********* ***
"Education is the best friend. An educated person is respected
everywhere. Education beats the beauty and the youth."
Chanakya quotes (Indian politician, strategist and writer, 350 BC -275 BC )
************ ********* ********* ********* ********* ***

June 03, 2010

COMEDY - HOW TO STOP CHURCH GOSSIP

Mildred, the church gossip, and self-appointed monitor of the church's morals, kept sticking her nose into other people's business. Several members did not approve of her extracurricular activities, but feared her enough to maintain their silence.

She made a mistake, however, when she accused Frank, a new member, of being an alcoholic after she saw his old pickup parked in front of the town's only bar one afternoon..

She emphatically told Frank (and several others) that every one seeing it there WOULD KNOW WHAT HE WAS DOING !

Frank, a man of few words, stared at her for a moment and just turned and walked away. He didn't explain, defend, or deny. He said nothing....


Later that evening, Frank quietly parked his pickup in front of Mildred's house ... walked home ...and left it there all night.

Simple Solutions to Common Windows Problems

Microsoft WindowsLearn about some free software utilities that will help you fix the most common Windows problems. They are all compatible with Windows XP, Vista and Windows 7.

Fix Windows Problems with Free Tools

Q1. I am trying to delete a file from my desktop but the computer won’t let me do that. Instead, it throws me an error message saying that the file /folder is in use by another program or user.

A: You can either reboot your computer in Safe mode to delete that file or, if you want something more simple, get Unlocker. It’s a free utility that will let you close all the processes that have possibly locked the file and once they are closed, you can then safely delete the file.

Q2. I am trying to play a video file on my computer but the media player says that I am missing certain codecs.

A: You can use a tool like Video Inspector to determine which audio and video codecs are required to play the video file on your computer. Alternatively, you can download a codec package like the K-Lite Pack that will let you play virtually any audio and video format on your computer.

Q3. I am running out of disk space on my Windows computer. How can I remove all the unnecessary files from the computer and recover some disk space?

A: There are three things you can do here:

  • Open the Run box and type “cleanmgr” to open the built-in Disk Cleanup utility. It will remove all the temp files and the unnecessary system files that you no longer need.
  • Use WinDirStat to determine where all your disk space has gone. Sometimes files are hidden in sub-directories that you can safely move to other drives or even delete them permanently (more options).
  • Use Duplicate Cleaner to identify and delete all the duplicate files on your hard drives. You can move the duplicates to the recycle bin or, if you want to play safe, to any another folder from where they can be easily recovered.

Q4. My computer takes lot of time to boot-up. I checked the “start-up” folder in the Windows start menu and there aren’t any applications out there.

A:  Type “msconfig” in the Run box to open the “System Configuration” tool and then switch to the “Start-up” tab. Disable all the programs that you don’t need to run during start-up. If you are a power user, you may also switch to the “Services” tab and disable all the unnecessary services.

Autoruns is another excellent utility that shows you what programs are configured to run during system bootup or login.

Q5. I am trying to uninstall a program from my computer but the standard add-remove programs is not letting me through.

A: You can use the free Revo Uninstaller utility to remove every single trace of any program from your computer. Revo can also remove entries from the Windows Registry that may have been left by previous un-installation routines.

Q6. My Windows crashed with a “Blue Screen.” Why?

A: You really need to get in touch with a geek to debug the cryptic Blue Screen errors (aka “Blue Screen of Death”) but if you are lucky, a free utility called BlueScreenView can provide vital clues. Blue Screen View will scan the Windows dump files to determine the device drivers that possibly caused the crash.

Q7. It takes ages to copy files in Windows from one folder to another. The situation is marginally better in Windows 7 (over Vista) but still, is there a way to copy files faster?

A: You can use an external file copying utility like TeraCopy or even RichCopy – they’ll not only copy /move files across drives faster but you can also resume broken file transfers (similiar to FTP operations).

Q8. I think I deleted a file by mistake. Can I recover it?

A: Recuva is a free software that will scan your hard drives, USB stick and other external drives for any deleted files that it can possibly recover. It may not work in all cases especially when you securely deleted a file.

Q9. Every time I copy something new to the Windows clipboard, the previous content gets erased. Can I make it permanent?

A: You can use Ditto, a free utility that sort-of adds memory to your Windows Clipboard. You can copy anything to the clipboard and it will stay there as long as you want.

Q10. How do I protect files and folders on my computer?

A: While there are free tools like Hide Folder that let you easily protect files and folders with a password, use TrueCrypt if you want a more secure solution. The obvious downside with a program like TrueCrypt is that if you forget the password, it is nearly impossible to retrieve the protected files.

 

Simple Solutions to Common Windows Problems

Facebook Twitter Digital Inspiration @labnol

Originally published at Digital Inspiration by Amit Agarwal.

If Microsoft Switched to Google Apps..

Imagine the impossible. If Microsoft switched to Google Apps today, they could save around $277 million in costs per year, the employees at Microsoft will become 2.8 times more productive and they will have around 2.5 million extra hours per year to accomplish more productive tasks.

That’s according to a report card [PDF] from Google.

Microsoft on Google Apps

Gone Google!

Google has released an online calculator at gonegoogle.com that estimates how much businesses, big and small, could potentially save if they moved from a desktop environment to Google Apps and Gmail running on the cloud.

The calculator makes certain assumptions but you can always edit those values based on your actual numbers. Good fun!

If Microsoft Switched to Google Apps..

Facebook Twitter Digital Inspiration @labnol

Originally published at Digital Inspiration by Amit Agarwal.