A New Design is Here: Feedback Required

We are always trying to make things better and simpler for our users and found our older theme to be wanting in several areas. For the past four months our team has been fighting with me for a new design and for the past two months we have been conceptualizing and working on a new design that would “not suck” for our users.

Techie Buzz 2012 Design

Well, after all the hard work and some awesome design skills by our in-house designer Paul Paliath (@paulpaliath) and lot of input from our team who are UX freaks, we came up with a new design that is far more better than our earlier one (at-least according to us). Thanks in advance.

We are proud to present a far simpler, cleaner and user-friendly design for all our readers out there. We hope you like it. Please do take a moment or two or maybe more and give us your feedback on the new design. We have always loved your inputs and your thoughts how we operate and your thoughts about the design will be hugely appreciated (more work for Paul and me though).

Giveaway – Win A Free iPod Shuffle Courtesy Western Union Network Challenge

Update: The contest is now closed as the winner has been chosen.

Do you want to find out how globally connected you are on the social space? How about the idea of measuring your social influence across the globe and take home an iPod Shuffle?

In partnership with Western Union, Techie buzz is giving away an Apple iPod Shuffle to one lucky Indian user, who identifies himself as the most networked person in the world. Here is how the Your world Facebook application helps you find your global world rank by mapping your social friends into a world map:

1. Go to www.westernunionworld.com/yourworld and login with your Facebook account. The application will access information about you and your Friends to calculate your global connectivity.

2. Once the app has finished mapping all your friends over a world map, you will be shown your world rank and how deep global connections you have.


In addition to an image of your global network, you will also obtain a score (World Index) which is based on how globally connected you are. Your World indexscore will be shown at the bottom right of the browser window, as shown in the screenshot above

To enter the contest, here is what you have to do:

1. Grab a full page screenshot of your global network and upload the image to any free image hosting site. We recommend using Twitter for uploading the images but if you don’t have a Twitter account, you can use imgur.com

2. Tweet the following message:

RT @techiebuzzer: Enter the Western Union Network Challenge and win an Apple iPod Shuffle  http://goo.gl/sry5W

3. Post the URL of your screenshot and the URL of your tweet in the comments section, along with the right answer to any one of the question mentioned below:

a) Who founded the Western Union Company?
b) Which Hollywood cultural icon or singer used Western Union to send money to his parents?

So your comment should read something like this

I just found out that my global world rank is [global world rank here] [image URL here]. Here is my tweet [link to your tweet] and the correct answer for 3(a)/3(b) is [your answer]

Contest Rules

1. Only one entry per person. Duplicate or multiple entries will be discarded

2. The contest is limited only to Indian users and we won’t be able to send you the winning prize outside Indian geographical location, even if you manage to win the contest.

3. Please post original screenshots and don’t fake it. Entries that are manipulated for the sake of winning the contest will be rejected.

4. One winner will be chosen randomly from the list of all entries and announced on this page and a separate page.

5. The contest ends on 30th August, 2011 and the winners will be announced on 1st September, 2011.

6. Posting your comment is mandatory. Please don’t email us your submission or use our contact form to cast your entry.

Best of luck!

Winner of the  Western Union iPod Shuffle Giveaway Contest

And the winner of the contest is …..

Simrandeep Singh.

Congratulations Simrandeep, you will hear from us shortly at the email address you used to comment on this post.

Many thanks to everyone who participated in the contest and made it a success. Here at Techie-Buzz, we regularly organize Giveaways so if you were not lucky this time, be sure to check our upcoming giveaways and contests.

Skitch now Free for All Users, Coming Soon to a All Platforms

Skitch, which is arguably the best screen shot annotation app on the Mac, is now free to all users. Thanks to Evernote, who announced that they have acquired Skitch Thursday, the highly popular image capturing and annotating app is now available for free on the Mac App Store. It was previously available for $19.99.

Evernote is a fantastic free note taking and organization application that I have mentioned before. They currently have applications available on 14 different platforms, including iOS, Android, Mac, PC, and the Web. They are now planning on expanding their service by bringing Skitch to all of those platforms, giving users of Windows and Linux the ability to use one of my favorite blogging tools.


There has been full timeline released for Evernote’s release of Skitch across its platforms. They have said that their Android app is available now in the Android Market for absolutely nothing. They also said they are working on their iOS and Windows apps, and hope to have them out as soon as possible.

They also promised deeper integration of Skitch into Evernote. In their blog post, Evernote said that Skitch represented their fulfillment of a promise to users. That promise was to bring better image editing to Evernote, and Skitch fits that bill nicely. I am looking forward to trying it out with the next versions of Evernote.

If you are a Mac user and do any kind of image annotation or screen shot work, then Skitch is an app you should defiantly pick up. I recommended it when it was $20, and now that its free I think it should come preinstalled on all Macs. Grab it form the Mac App Store today.

Make Multiple Calls with Gmail

GmailNot long ago, Gmail announced that it would offer its users the ability to call phones directly from Gmail. Today Gmail announced they have expanded their communications abilities. Now Gmail users can make or receive multiple phone calls at the same time.

In Gmail, click the “Call Phone” button. When you click the “Call Phone” button, a call window will pop up. See the picture below.

Calling from Gmail

Once you are in a call, you now have the ability to make or receive a second call. If you click the “Call Phone” button again, while in a call, that current call will be placed on hold. In the picture below, you will see an example of how two calls look side by side. At this time Gmail doesn’t appear to let you join those calls in a conference. For now, each call will be handled one at a time, placing the other call on hold.

Multiple Calls

Receiving calls works pretty much the same.  If you are in a call and you get another call, you will have the option to accept or reject the second call.  If you accept the call, then the first call you were in will be placed on hold.

Whether you make a second call or not, you now have the ability in Gmail to put calls on hold.  You also are currently limited to two outbound connections to physical phones.

Happy 5th Birthday Techie Buzz

It has been 5 years since I started out Techie Buzz, a venture that started out of nothing and went on to become so big that I cannot fathom it. There have been so many criticisms all these years, which I have tried to talk through, walk through and quench. However, there have been bigger accolades and thousands of people thanking us for the work we have been doing.

I have always appreciated friends and I have had so many of them. Since we went mainstream none of them have ever left us. I know it has been a big journey and it will definitely be a bigger one going forward.

I hope the time you spent here was good and hope that what we do in future will be good enough for you to continue your support for us. Thank you each and every of our ~100 million users who visited us over these 5 years, we appreciate you. We will thrive to be the best in the future.

P.S. We will have a big soon.

Techie Buzz is Hiring – New Writer Opportunities

Techie Buzz has been growing tremendously in the past few years and we attribute all our authors out here have played a huge part in it’s success. We have a thriving team who have been with us for a long time now and none of them have ever left us since they joined.

We are now opening up new opportunities as full time writers for Techie Buzz and would love if you would want to be a part of it. We are looking to hire 4-5 new writers to join our team of current authors. If you are interested, the details are below.

Why Join Techie Buzz?

Over the past few years we have seen around 400-500% growth and we want to continue that growth with new excellent authors who can write some excellent content and help us grow further.

Currently, Techie Buzz has 3.5 million+ monthly page views and we have plans in place to get to 5 million page views a month in the next few months. We are also a well known and reputed blog and are often linked by newspapers and some of the top tech blogs in the world.

We also have more than 15000 feed readers, 5000+ fans and a growing follower list.

What Are We Looking For?

We are looking for authors in the following categories, if you fit the bill, read the next sections to know how you can apply.

  • Microsoft and related technologies
  • Mac OS X and Apple related technologies
  • Software and Web Service reviewers
  • Hardware and Gadgets reviewers
  • Mobile App Reviewers (, , , etc.)
  • Camera/Photography
  • Your suggestions about what you want to contribute as an editor at Techie Buzz

Why Techie Buzz?

As we already said, Techie Buzz has seen a tremendous growth over the past few years and we are confident that we will continue to thrive in the future.

Along with that, we provide good compensation to our authors and a very homely environment that is super-duper-friendly (ask any of our current authors about it).

You will also get an opportunity to improve and grow within the team and will never remain stagnant.

How Can I Apply and What Do I need To Send to You?

If you are looking to apply for a writer position at Techie Buzz, please fill out this simple form and we’ll take care of the rest. We expect to get quite a few applications so please be patient while we review all of them and get back to you.

Looking forward to having you on the Techie Buzz team.

Techie Buzz Server Architecture

Cross Posted from my personal blog.

When I launched Techie Buzz, I started out with a shared hosting with Dreamhost, which I got at a steal for $40 a year. However, over time I had to gradually move out to a Virtual Private Server (VPS) for the site.

In the initial days, LAMP (Linux/Apache/MySQL/PHP) suited me well on the server but over time Apache literally killed me. This is when I decided to move to a Nginx (pronounced Engine X) setup for my website.

All said and done, I had a great run with Nginx, but then my 2GB setup crapped out on traffic. I increased it to 4GB and things worked fine for a while too.

Then one fine day I had a lot of traffic, like 1000s of visitors a minute and the site crashed so often that I had to literally cry. I tried to upgrade the server to 8GB memory too but it didn’t hold up.

In my entire time of dealing with servers, I have helped several people to setup their own but never revealed my own. So here is the secret on how Techie Buzz runs.

There are some key ingredients on the server which make it a successful setup. I will list them out below.

  • Nginx and PHP FastCGI
  • Memcached (No point using this if you have one server only)
  • NFS (One file system rules it all)
  • W3 Cache

These four things (plus several other secret ingredients) are core to the setup at Techie Buzz as it allows for scalability without having to make a system cry. For starters, here is a diagram of how the servers at Techie Buzz are setup.


Though the configuration in the above picture is outdated, the technology we use is still the same. We have a multi-server setup which is basically made up of one host server; where all the requests come, and several other proxy servers which serve users.

When a user visits Techie Buzz, they first land on the host server. The host server then redirects the request to one of the proxy servers we have setup. We can add and remove as many proxy servers we want within minutes based on the traffic we get. However, currently we can deal with more than 3000+ users in a minute without adding new proxy web servers.

This makes the setup highly scalable and allows us to grow as the traffic goes.

We use memcached as a core component of our setup to store cached objects so that we don’t hit the database frequently. MySQL is not optimized for high traffic and without a cache the site would die.

An added advantage of using memcached is that it is a perfect fit for caching and sharing objects on a multi-tiered server setup. This means that, we cache an object in memcached and the same can be accessed by 100s of servers without the cache having to be present physically on any of them accessing it. Think of it as a centralized storage for objects.

Another important part of the setup is NFS (Network File System) which allows us to share the same files over multiple systems.

When you have multiple servers, it does not make sense for you to have multiple copies of the same files on all of them. The problem arises when you have to update even a single file. If you use the local file system on all the servers, you will have to update that single file across all the servers. Now imagine if you have 100 servers, this process simply becomes dreadful.

Thankfully, NFS allows us to share and use common files across multiple servers. This means that if we change one file it will reflect across multiple servers without having to deploy it separately. Bliss.

In addition to all those things, we also make use of an HTML Cache in the form of W3 Cache and of course WordPress.

Additionally I have written several shell scripts which run on individual servers to check server status every two minutes. If the script finds that the server is not responding well, it restarts the core processes automatically. Another script runs frequently to ensure that the CPU process and memory usage is under acceptable levels and reboots the server if required, however, this script has hardly rebooted the server thanks to the optimizations I have done.

There are several other shell scripts I have written to make sure that we have things running fine. One of them backs up the MySQL DB every 4 hours and emails several addresses with an attachment. Another script takes a snapshot of the WordPress directory every week and emails several email addresses a copy and so on.

Other than that, I use SVN for themes, plugins etc so that I have a copy in the cloud. This again is replicated to several platforms like Dropbox, Windows Live and Sugarsync through my local PC.

The DB and Files are also mirrored to several other servers using rsync so that I have multiple copies of the same file everywhere. All in all it is almost a fool proof setup and backup.

Our servers have always been powered by Ubuntu. We have used all the available releases including Hardy, Karmic and Lucid, however our current setup is powered by Natty.

Our servers have been hosted on Dreamhost, Slicehost and currently Linode. Linode (Slicehost earlier) powers our non-static content, while our static content is served by Dreamhost and optimized by a CDN through MaxCDN (who are our sponsors).

Although there is nothing unique about our setup, I take pride in creating a highly scalable environment which is easy to setup and move across any network. I took only 10 hours to move from Slicehost to Linode and most of time spent was used to transfer files, so you can imagine how simple and easy the setup is.

Winner of Sony Ericsson Xperia Arc

We recently held a contest for our Indian readers where we set out to giveaway a Free Sony Ericsson Xperia Arc worth Rs. 32,000 to one lucky person. We were certainly overwhelmed with the responses we got and were happy with the enthusiasm shown by our readers in the contest.


Unfortunately, we could only pick one winner and that saddened us. However, don’t worry. Our 5th birthday is coming up soon and we will definitely have a and giveaway huge prizes to our readers.

Coming back to the contest, I want to personally thank the folks at India and their PR team including Vasundhara and Deepanshi to help us set up the contest and award a lucky winner with a free Xperia Arc.

We had a tough time picking the winner and did a random spin using random.org to pick the winner after using some criteria to sort out the best entries for the contest and picking all the users who had answered all three questions. And the winner is…


Congrats Vikisha on winning yourself a Sony Ericsson Xperia Arc. We hope you have fun with the phone and click a lot of photographs. So this is the end of the contest, but wait there is more. We are always in a generous mood. We will be giving away either a memory card (mobile) or a headset to the 5 people who came in between number 2 and 6. Isn’t that great Smile.

We will get in touch with the winners through email shortly. Have fun and stay tuned for our upcoming Birthday Bash, you will definitely not be disappointed about the prizes we will have in store for you then.

Happy New Year Everyone

2010 has been a lucky year for us. Lot of good things happened all along the way. As we stand today saying goodbye to another year, we will keep those memories with us forever. However, it is now time to welcome 2011 amidst us.

Happy New Year 2010

We have also been lucky to have so many loyal readers who help us continue doing what we like. It make us more than happy that you all are there with us. We hope that the coming year should bring in more goodness (and goodies) for everyone.

Here is wishing everyone a very Happy New Year from the entire Techie Buzz team. Have fun. Don’t drink and drive. Don’t drink and tweet. Don’t drink and text. See you in the New Year.

P.S. By the way, that is the New Year Eve’s  Smile.

Apple iPad Giveaway Winner

Phew, boy, we ran a contest to giveaway an Apple and let us tell you the responses that came in overwhelmed us and made it a tough one to pick a winner.


We saw a lot of good entries and use multiple criteria to list out the best ones and then pull an entry that would be decided as the winner. Everyone who participated was part of the judging criteria we had put in, but sadly there will only be one winner.

And the winner of the iPad is Cory, we hope you have fun with the new iPad coming your way. Cory, you will be receiving an email from us at the email ID you used for commenting on the site shortly. Here is the comment Cory left on the site, it definitely touched us a lot.

For the rest of you who did not win, we are really thankful that you participated, and as promised we will be doing another big giveaway either today or tomorrow, so stay tuned for it and this one is really big Smile.

Once again, thanks everyone for participating in the contest and stay tuned for the next one.