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Earth Hour Day - Dark city, bright idea

March 29th, 2008 | No Comments | Posted in Alert, Computer, Creative innovation, Google, Home, Save the world by admin

Today is earth hour day. People all over the world have been switching off lights for an hour to show concern at global warming. Google.com homepage as a gesture (keeping google.com homepage with black background) to raise awareness of a worldwide energy conservation effort called Earth Hour. This event created by the World Wildlife Fund.

What is earth hour?

On Saturday, March 29, 2008, Earth Hour invites people around the world to turn off their lights for one hour – from 8:00pm to 9:00pm in their local time zone. On this day, cities around the world, including Copenhagen, Chicago, Melbourne, Dubai, and Tel Aviv, will hold events to acknowledge their commitment to energy conservation.

Which cities involved around the world?

List of cities? http://www9.earthhourus.org/cities.php

What I can do about it?

You can do something to reduce the energy consumption of your home PC by joining the Climate Savers Computing Initiative. Also, turn off your (non-emergency) home lights at 8.PM for 1 hour.

More information:

Climate Savers Computing Initiative

Earth Hour

Earth hour day wikipedia.org page

Flicking the switch - before and after earth hour pictures/photos, here, here and here

Suggestion to Google.com:

Google.com or such major traffic website should do this (blackout their home page) everyday around 5.00 PM (office leaving time) to remind people to turn off their office light and computer before they go home. Small things make a big difference.

Google.com homepage on earth hour day: (March 29)

Australia Sydney during earth hour:

Frequent flashes of far-off lightning lit the clouds as Sydney’s skyline went dark at 8 pm.

Via [Google.com earth hour page and earthhour.org]

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PicLens - must have browser add-on for photo enthusiasts

If you, like to spend hours on browsing Google Images or Flickr looking for inspiration, cool photographs, your holiday snaps or looking for reference for a job, then try cool plugin for IE and Firefox. It’s called Piclens. This add-on/plugin is amazing! This awesome plugin/add-on enables you to browse through images/video on sites like Google Images, Deviantart, Flickr etc like never before. It’s like a sliding album cover art list on your iPhone/iPod using your fingertip (but here with a mouse click.)

Even cooler, is now they have a plugin so it works with any wordpress blog, as well as a desktop publisher application that let you create your own slideshows. More info about piclens wordpress.org blog plugin - here

Additional info:

Via [gantico]

MindBites.com: Where real people teach real things: like knife throwing

Do you know that you can sell your skills (like, how to cook Indian curry? Or how to buy a used car? or How to Act on Camera?) in form of instructional videos?

Austin, TX based MindBites.com, a social marketplace and publishing platform for instructional video, has raised $1M for your skills to show case to the world. MindBites has a paid content model where instructor can upload the video lesson and user can purchase it; using credits priced from $1.69 to $1.99, handing $1 of that to the instructor, users can watch it online or download it to their PC or iPod.

I believe this is bit expensive especially where competitors including 5MIn, VideoJug, ExpertVillage, Howcast, WonderHowTo, Graspr, Sutree, Sclipo and Zippidee are around. It is also noticible that they launched such business where iTune and youtube are market leader. (Reference here) Isn’t everything on the Internet trending towards free? (Extra reading: Free! Why $0.00 Is the Future of Business: here)

This Startup’s founder and CEO is Jason Reneau who was VP Kiva.org

Everyone here at the MindBites team is excited to be building our social marketplace and publishing platform for video instructional content. One of the fundamental reasons we decided to build MindBites, was that we simply believed that there needed to be a platform and marketplace to enable the millions of talented people out there who have something to teach. A paid content model is the most direct way for users to compensate authors for their knowledge, innovation and creativity. We are also (unsurprisingly perhaps) big fans of PaidContent, and proud to be joining the fray in the belief that there is a place for paid content models on the Web. Thanks again, and we look forward to keeping the PC community informed of our progress and learnings. - Jason Reneau At paidcontent.org

Similar reading:

Not every video tutorial site would show you, step by step, how to beat the crane game in your local movie theatre, or how to make a fire using only potatoes, salt, and some toothpaste, but Wonder How To is completely willing. Only a few clicks from a video that explains how to cheat on any test is another video that teaches you how to make a perfect omelet. If this doesn’t sound like traditional fodder for a site that offers instructional videos, there’s a reason for it: Wonder How To is completely crowd-sourced, allowing anyone who wants to show the world how to do something to post a video or submit another video they’ve found elsewhere. There’s some editorial checking, but not as much as some other competitors in the instructional Web video space…. Continue reading here

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Via [MideBites blog and here and Appscout]

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Reveal Wi-Fi Network Passwords with WirelessKeyView

March 19th, 2008 | No Comments | Posted in DIY, Digital home, Download of the day, Security, Wifi by admin

Many times, my wife lost its wireless connection and lost its key to reconnect. It very boring to re-set your router and do all wireless security settings and get the key. Recently I come across freeware utility called WirelessKeyView, which lists them all keys (WEP and WPA) for you. When you’ve forgotten that Wi-Fi network key, run WirelessKeyView to see all the networks your Windows PC has ever connected to using its default Wireless Zero Configuration mechanism. It is also useful to me when I visit to my friend’s place with my laptop but they never remember their key to share with me. WirelessKeyView lists all wireless keys and I will be connected in a minute.

Via [nirsoft and security-hacks.com]

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Business Blogging Blunder

March 14th, 2008 | No Comments | Posted in TGIF, Tech Cartoons by admin

Too Honest!

Your own private kegger for St. Patrick’s Day

March 14th, 2008 | 1 Comment | Posted in DIY, Digital home, Home, Lifestyle, TGIF by admin

Happy St. Patrick’s Day! one of the biggest drinking holidays here in the US. This attractive dispenser accommodates a 5-liter mini-keg. Have a nice St. Patrick’s Day to all of you.

Via [cnet]

One man’s scandal is another man’s marketing angle

March 14th, 2008 | No Comments | Posted in Creative innovation, Marketing, Phone by admin

We all know how frustrated we can get with the lack of personalized service these days, even after paying for such services. Faster than Eliot Spitzer could say, “oops,” the Virgin Mobile Canada came out with a print ad that features the newly former NY governor, aka Client #9, musing as follows under a thought mumbling bubble: “I’m tired of being treated like a number…”

Ad reads: “At Virgin Mobile,” the ad goes on to say, “you’re more than just a number. When you call us we’ll treat you like a person, not a client. Whether you’re #9 or #900, you’ll get hooked up with somebody who’ll finally treat you just how you want to be treated.”

The print ad will run in two Toronto daily newspapers this week as part of the company’s “You call the shots” campaign.

Via [appscout]

Authentic research data at your fingertips - UN data, Google style site

March 7th, 2008 | No Comments | Posted in Digital home, Tech/Biz News, Website of the week by admin

UN (United Nations) developed Google style search engine for UN data that will distribute various UN data / statistics to the widest possible audience. This will help UNSD’s vision of providing an incorporated information resource with present, appropriate and consistent information free of charge to the worldwide community.

UN Data site is very useful for Students, Journalist and everyone who has thrust for authentic data for their study, report etc. Now a days, educational institutes and news agency do not allow/honor the paper or any research work based on information/data referenced from Wikipedia.org or from any unknown internet source. But now, this is very timely development by UN will help students, journalists, and everyone else who can access data straight from the source - the authentic statistics published by the UN.

You can download the data in XML, Comma seperated Value file, Pipe and Semicolon seperate text files. However, not all type of data is available yet. Currently, it is provding information about following Topics: agriculture, education, employment, energy, environment, industry, national accounts, population, trade and tourism. More databases will be added in due course.

This stire is established by the DESA (United Nations Statistics Division of the Department of Economic and Social Affairs.) You can find it here : http://data.un.org/ Currently in beta state.

Similar interesting site: http://geo.worldbank.org/

via [appscout and readwriteweb]

Grandcentral –- mother of all phone services

Recently grandcentral.com (one phone number for life – humm… may be like social security number? Hu?) is came out of beta. After less than a year in beta condition, this service (it’s free so far) getting known to users who is looking an alternative number for home, to control/filter incoming calls. This service allows you to select your phone area code of your choice, pick the phone number that will stick to you as long as you want regardless of your existing or any future phone carriers you use. (free local US phone number from 47 states) Then connect your existing (and future) phone number to your grandcentral.com number so that all of your phone number will ring when that (grandcentral.com number) is called.

1. It offers centralized voice mail, verity of music while caller wait for you to pick up, including different customizable tunes)
2. you will get an email with the voicemail attached as a WAV file.
3. Personalize your voicemail greetings by caller or group.
4. Record calls on the fly and access recordings online
5. Receive voicemail notifications via email or SMS
6. Let people call you from a web page without showing your number
7. One number that rings different phones based on who’s calling
8. And More …

Greandcentral is offering tons of features (you won’t get this much even if you want to pay to your existing phone company.) See all these features here: http://www.grandcentral.com/howitworks/


The best of my knowledge, it is working as advertised. However, some of the linkedin users expressed few concerns regarding GrandCentral free phone number service:

1) You can only get one number at this time
2) Since the service is free, you feel some insecurity about your future use of the number
3) SMS “Text” messages don’t work through GrandCentral, I can’t give it as my “only” number. I have to say: use XYZ number for sending me text messages, and ABC number for calling me.
4) No voice recognition for prompts, so it’s impossible to use while driving and/or using a Bluetooth headset.

As a side note, GrandCentral is also helping those (who can’t afford a phone service) in need stay connected by offering individuals a local phone number and voicemail box for life through project CARE initiative, GrandCentral is providing, free of charge, a local phone number and voicemail box to members of the homeless community in San Francisco and hoping to extend this program nationwide as they build out this service.

How you can get your (free) telephone number? Reserve it here

Extra info for small business owner:

If you are looking for similar high quality, functionality rich telephony/VOIP PBX system for your business, ring central is the answer for you. Read more here: RingCentral Small Business Phone Service

Extra reading:

1. Chan, Wesley. Official Google Blog: All aboard. Google.

2. Pogue, David. One Number That Will Ring All Your Phones, The New York Times.

via [Ringcentral blog and linkedin.com/answers, mymoneyblog and Top 10 Telephone Tricks]

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Link Popularity vs. PageRank vs. Yoda

March 1st, 2008 | No Comments | Posted in TGIF, Tech Cartoons by admin

Link Popularity vs. PageRank vs. Yoda

Link Popularity vs. PageRank vs. Yoda