Daily Links 2008-01-12

  • This is pretty funny and a very clever advertising idea for the Windows Home Server. It’s trying to get people comfortable with the idea that servers have a place in homes.

Daily Links 2008-01-10

Why an Open Source Search Algorithm is the Answer

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Google is known for their free services, open APIs and their “don’t be evil” motto. For most part they aren’t evil, but keeping their search algorithm a secret is just plain evil. Microsoft is known as a closed source software giant with a desktop OS monopoly. What makes Google any different when they have a proprietary search algorithm and they have a Web monopoly? Why don’t they open their search algorithm? The reasons are very similar to why Microsoft has kept their code closed and ironically Google too can become victim of the power of social computing and open source. More »

Daily Links 2008-01-04

Daily Links 2008-01-03

How To Copy a Copy Protected DVD

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I bet that you have tried to copy a DVD before, but didn’t succeed because it was either copy protected or it failed without clear reason. In a previous post I have described how to copy a DVD to an iPod, but here’s a way to simply backup your DVDs to DVDs. There are two main problems with copying DVDs, one is copy protection and two is that commercial DVDs have larger storage capacity than regular DVDs that you can burn at home. The media industry uses DVD copy protection technology that makes it *very* difficult to copy DVDs, yet most copyright laws allow owners to make backups or their property. There are a lot of wrong reasons for copying or backing up DVDs, but there are also many good reasons. If you have young children then you would know the value of backing up your DVDs and so here’s how to do it using DVD43 and DVD Shrink. For free!. More »

Portable PuTTY Tray

PuTTY TrayPuTTY is a popular free, open source Telnet and SSH client. Being open source there are many PuTTY variations, one of the more popular being portaPuTTY which I have recommended as an essential portable app before. I found a new favorite called PuTTY Tray: It is another variation of PuTTY, but offers some interesting features including:

  • Minimizes to the system tray
  • Configurable window transparency (useless, but looks cool!)
  • URL hyperlinking
  • Can be configured to be a portable app
  • Reconnects from PC stand-by and connection failures
  • Relationships Between Search Engines and Directories

    You know how Ask.com uses Google AdWords network for ads and how AltaVista uses Yahoo! search results for its search? The relationship between search engines and directories are at best described as chaos in my mind. Search-This has an excellent visual representation of this relationship called the Search Engine Decoder. The site also has a PageRank Decoder which demonstrates how PageRank is passed. Besides these very cool SEO tools, the blog has great content and is worth following.

    Remove Unwanted Programs with Revo Uninstaller Portable App

    Revo Uninstaller Portable AppIf your system is suffering with performance issues or is simply cluttered with old applications then Revo Uninstaller could save you time vs. a full Windows reinstall. Revo Uninstaller shows you all applications and components installed on your PC and allows you to remove unwanted apps. It does a scan before and after the uninstall to find files, folders and registry keys that may have been missed during the uninstall process. In Hunter Mode, you can uninstall programs with one click or by simply dragging application shortcuts on your desktop or quick launch bar to the Revo Uninstaller system tray icon. A portable app version is now available so you can now run it from a USB drive without installing it.

    In addition, Revo Uninstaller also comes bundled with other useful utilities like the Autorun Manager which let’s you enable or disable programs that autostart at Windows startup and the Junk Files Cleaner which scans and deletes temporary files that should have been deleted.

    Revo Uninstaller is portable, free and with no spyware or tricks – a great productivity tool just the way we like it.

    Revo Uninstaller (Look for the Portable version download link)

    12 Free Analysis Tools to Optimize Your Website

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    Webmasters and bloggers are normally quite SEO savvy even if they’re not SEO professionals. However, they often neglect SEO efforts and forget about all the useful Web analytics and keyword research tools that are available and so I thought I’d remind readers about some of them. Web analysis tools are getting better everyday so it is good practice to regularly analyze your Website to identify changes and new trends in search traffic. Here is a list of essential tools that you can use to analyze your Website and traffic and to optimize your site for search engines. More »

    See Your Web Site in Different Browsers

    Screenshot of rd.comHave you tested your Web site in different browsers and on different platforms? Web designers tend to focus on the one or two that they deem most important and often forget to test their Web sites in other browsers and on other platforms. That normally means testing sites in IE and Firefox, but the different versions of IE and Firefox and different versions of operating systems are ignored. Besides, very few have access to all the different browsers and operating systems, not to mention the hundreds of combinations that you get when you include screen sizes, Javascript versions and Flash enabled.

    Browsershots is a free, open source solution for your problem. Browsershots takes screenshots of sites and displays the screen captures in .png files. You can use Browsershots as a free online service, but what makes this product cool is that it’s available as an open source (written in Python) download so that you can run it on an internal server. This is very useful when you need to test a site that isn’t live or accessible from the Internet yet. More »

    USB Apps Update

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    Portable apps have proven to be very popular and quite resilient in spite of the popularity of on-line apps. On-line apps like Google Apps, Zoho and Basecamp offer solutions for collaboration and portability, but there aren’t many good on-line solutions for applications like text editors, image editors, operating systems and browsers. Because of the need for these types of applications and the benefits of using USB apps I have been adding to my USB app collection. To be fair I have replaced some portable apps with on-line apps, e.g. I prefer Google Reader to GreatNews because desktop RSS readers become bloated and slow down as you add feeds, but at the same time I have discovered a few new portable applications. More »

    Is OpenID the answer to single sign-on?

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    OpenID is often compared to Microsoft’s Passport and normally it’s said to be better because “it’s not controlled by any one big corporation”. You may have heard or read about OpenID, but chances are that you 1) aren’t using it or 2) have not really looked into it and 3) even if you have, you still don’t understand it. As with many open source projects documentation is scattered, complicated and mostly technical. Over the last few weeks I have tried to make some sense of OpenID and here is my take on it. More »

    Domain kiting

    MarkMonitor released its Summer 2007 Brandjacking Index, a quarterly report that measures the effect of online threats to brands. The report describes trends of how domain names are used in scamming efforts to hijack well-known brands.

    Cybersquatting is a well known form of domain hijacking, but according the report it only grew by 8% in the last quarter, compared to newer and lesser known scams like domain kiting which grew at 242%. Cybersquatting is when someone registers a domain name which contains a brand, slogan or trademark to which the registrant has no right. Owners of registered brands, slogans and trademarks can quite easily approach cybersquatters and gain ownership of the domains. Domain kiting, however, is an advanced hack of cybersquatting and is much more difficult to fight.

    Domain Kiting: The process whereby domains are registered and dropped within the 5 day ICANN grace period, and then registered again for another 5 days. Kiting a domain lets the registrant gain the benefit of ownership without ever paying for the domain.

    The highest growth rates of kiting is experienced in the media industry. Kiters rotate their domain names through registrars and some registrars simply ignore the practice – it seems they actually thrive on this business!

    The report says a lot about spamming and phishing in the pharmaceutical drug industry, but I’m surprised that there’s no mention of stock spam because I have been getting a lot of that lately!

    Google hacks project

    This Zurich based Google engineer has a few interesting Google hacks, check out his interesting projects. Most of these hacks use algorithms to parse Google search results.

    I also like his thinking that while Google is a great company and they produce great products, they are a power house that keeps many secrets and can easily become corrupt. It would be much more comforting and encouraging if it were an open source project and everyone had free access to the search algorithms with the ability to contribute. Sure there will be smartasses that benefit in the short run, but an open source community will find ways to hone the ever growing algorithm closer to what people want from it. Google’s income comes from its ad network, what is the downside of making their search open source?