Official: Delicious Remains Alive As of Now, Might Swap Hands Later

If you are busy exporting your bookmarks out of Delicious; thinking that the company might close shop any day, you can stop.

Yahoo has confirmed through a blog post that Delicious isn’t shutting down as of yet,   the company might swap hands in future.

The irony here is that the official statement from Yahoo could not be read for some time, because the page throwed an internal server error.


Now don’t draw any conclusion about the future of Delicious, just because their official blog was down. It came back live after a few minutes so we managed to read Yahoo’s explanation on the future of the most popular bookmarking website.

The post is more like a general FAQ page with some common questions and their answers. Following   is the summary of Yahoo’s declaration:

  • Yahoo isn’t shutting down Delicious yet. They have determined that there is an ideal home for Delicious outside of Yahoo.
  • Yahoo is currently in talks with several other companies who are interested in buying Delicious.
  • Users can still export the bookmarks if they want. Delicious continues to work the same way as earlier.

If you ask me, I have two names in mind. Google And Microsoft.

We will have to wait and see which one of the above companies manages to get their grip on Delicious.


Dropbox Hits 1.0: Selective Sync, Bug Fixes And More Improvements

Just a month back, we told you that an experimental build of Dropbox is in the works. The experimental build gave some hints on the upcoming features of Dropbox e.g defining a custom upload/download speed for file uploads or completely pausing the file downloads from the system tray icon.

Today, Dropbox has finally graduated out of Beta – hence releasing the version 1.0 of Dropbox client for Windows, Linux and MAC.

The newer build of Dropbox consists of hundreds of bug fixes along with reduced resource usage. So if your computer has a fairly low RAM card and Dropbox hogged down the system every other day, now you have a reason to rejoice.

However, the most noteworthy feature that has been included is Selective Sync


You guessed it right. With Dropbox’s selective sync, you can choose to sync only specific folders with Dropbox and not the entire “My Dropbox” folder. This is useful, when you know that the “Videos” folder hasn’t changed for a while and there is no need to sync that specific folder with your Dropbox account. Good for users who are on a limited bandwidth quota and always worry whether Dropbox uploads and downloads might overflow their monthly broadband bills.

The Dropbox blog says that the developers spent a lot of time fixing common Dropbox problems e.g invalid file names, Word or Excel file locking, Truecrypt support and so on. They have also prettied up the installation wizard, which is of course good for your grandma if she wants to have a go with Dropbox.

What We look Forward To ?

This new release is surely great, but we want more !

The newer build hasn’t incorporated a much needed feature – the ability to sync any file or folder with Dropbox. Say I have a lot of videos stored in the F drive and I want to sync them with my Dropbox account. In that case, either I have to copy all the files to the “My Dropbox” folder or move the entire “Videos” folder to the “My Dropbox” folder. Painful !

As a workaround, geeks can use the earlier mentioned symbolic links technique and sync any file or folder with Dropbox. Novice users have to wait until Dropbox guys incorporate this feature in their next major release.

You can download version 1.0 of the Dropbox client for Windows, Linux and MAC from the Dropbox homepage

Vimeo Wants To Help Video Bloggers With Their New Video Film School

Sound. Camera. Action !

Let’s face it – video blogging isn’t as easy as text or photo blogging. You have to master the basics of video production, sounds, distance, light, video editing software and everything else related to motion, picture and voice.

If you are a beginner and have always wanted to start an audio/video podcast, we have a podcasting guide in store for you. Or you may just turn up to Vimeo – the video sharing website has just launched an official film making school for Video bloggers at vimeo.com/videoschool

The video school section in Vimeo is a hand crafted page from the Vimeo team which consists of a series of instructional videos on film making. The section contains a collection of 101 videos which aims to answer the basic questions asked by Video bloggers and anyone who is interested in producing content, with their camera and lenses.

Blake Whitman, Vimeo’s director of community and product says that the Vimeo video school was largely a response of the previous users interactions. Many users were asking comments e.g how do you shoot that scene? or how did you achieved that effect ?. In short, the video school is an effort to highlight the inner secrets of great film making, with textual tutorials and step by step videos that follow along the way.

Here are some of the textual tutorials from the Vimeo Video School which will be a good start:

Here are a couple of videos from the Vimeo Video school which covers the basic aspects of Video blogging, sound and camera

Setting up your Canon 7D Camera

http://vimeo.com/7622493

Framing for Film

The Basics of Storyboarding

Getting Started with Adobe After Effects

There is a learning curve, but it’s actually worth it.

No, Google Won’t Share Gmail’s Encryption Keys With Indian Government

What is this Gmail encryption key which the Indian government want’s so badly? I hear you say.

You might remember that in August 2010, the Indian Government literally forced RIM to   allow access to its encrypted email and messenger data to the Indian security agencies. RIM agreed in setting up local servers in India to manage the encrypted email data of its Indian users.

Same drill with the renowned mobile manufacturing company -Blackberry. The company was allotted the deadline of August 31,2010.

But when it comes to Google and Gmail – the issue gets bigger. And more serious.

A Google executive has made it clear to security officials of Indian Government that under no circumstances, the company will share the encryption key of it’s email service with Indian security officials, reports TOI.

Google India products chief Vinay Goel said that the company can’t help the Indian government with the encryption keys for two reasons.

First and foremost, the Gmail service is governed by U.S laws and it’s impossible to offer real time access of Gmail to any Government official. The second reason is of course the privacy of Gmail users, sharing the keys might lead in compromising the privacy of Gmail users in India

In Mr Goel’s own words:

When users entrust their data with us, we are expected to protect it, which is why, user privacy is very important for Google. The Union home ministry or telecom ministry has not asked Google to share the encryption keys for Gmail, but even if the US based internet search engine giant received such a request, it will be impossible to offer real-time access to Gmail communication.

Mr Vinay Goel added -“Google is open to offering access only if there is a large scale risk to human life or property“.

But this might be unacceptable to the Indian Government because such a situation isn’t going to knock your door a week ago so that the security experts can contact Google authorities saying -” Hey ! Give us those encryption keys right now or else, our websites and email accounts are at risk.”

I am no law expert but India’s Information Technology (Amendment) Act 2008, gives the necessary authority to India’s security agencies such that they can demand that service providers provide the decryption keys available to them, when required.

Could this be because of the recent hack attacks on Indian Government websites ? That some crazy Indian group hacked three dozen Government’s websites of Pakistan ?

Will the Indian government ban Gmail (like they threatened Blackberry and RIM), if Google does not comply with India’s cyber laws and specifications?

Lot’s of questions and speculations. We will have to wait and see what happens in the coming days.

Create a One Time Disposable Link Of Your Phone Number, Let Anyone Call You Privately

Imagine this – some online friend or client wants to call you over phone but you are not very comfortable sharing your phone number with strangers or online contacts. Skype is a neat option for web users but unfortunately, the person on the other side is not as tech savvy as you are – he repeatedly pings you to send him your phone number.

Babble.ly is a simple web service which allows users to share phone numbers privately with anyone.

Once you have created an account with Babble.ly, you can enter as many phone numbers as you want and generate a unique babble.ly URL for each phone number, as shown below:


When you enter your mobile number in the text box and hit the “Create Link” button, you will be asked to verify the number. The verification process is fairly simple – have your phone in hand, press the “Verify” button and enter the verification code when prompted.


Once the verification is complete, the service will generate a unique babble.ly URL of your phone number which you may share with anyone via email, IM, Facebook, Twitter and so on. When somebody visits your babble.ly URL, users will be asked to enter their own phone numbers and the service will call both the phones at the same time. When both the caller and the receiver are connected via the Babble.ly service – the call will be bridged together, allowing the caller and the receiver to talk up to a duration of 10 minutes.

The interesting   thing is that neither the caller or the receiver gets to know the other person’s phone number. When the call is finished, you can destroy your private babble.ly link and create a new one from your account preferences.

Unfortunately, I was unable to test the service on my mobile phone (might be because of country wide restrictions, I live in India). However, our Techie Buzz’s fellow writer Sathya Bhat (who lives in U.S) was able to verify his phone number with Babble.ly. After he verified his number, he was shown the following Babble.ly short link, with a QR code to the right.

(URL’s and numbers blurred for privacy)

Now all I needed was to enter my phone number in the text box and hit the “Call” button. Voila !

Techie Buzz Verdict

Sounds great, not a Google Voice alternative but might save the day when a novice client or user wants to call you over phone and you don’t want to share your phone number at all. On a personal ground – I could not verify my phone number, maybe because of country restrictions.

Techie Buzz rating: 4/5 (Excellent).

USBFlashCopy Automatically Copies Data From Your USB Drive To a Custom Folder

If you are the person who performs a lot of copy paste operations, to and fro from your USB drive to your computer’s hard disk – you are going to love this free little tool called USBFlashCopy.

The program lets you automatically copy all the data from your USB drive or any other drive letter to a folder in your computer, whenever you insert a removable drive in your system.

For example: I have two computers at work which are not connected via a local area network connection. Hence, I use a 8GB USB drive to move files from my laptop to the desktop, several times a day. The process is painful – insert the USB drive, open “My Computer”, navigate to the USB drive, select all files, Control + C, navigate to the target folder and then paste them. Too much monotonous steps !

At the end of the day, I need a simple program which can automatically copy all the contents to a custom folder in my desktop, whenever I insert a USB drive to my computer. Following are the steps involved to use USB FlashCopy

1. After you have downloaded USBFlashCopy, run the executable and double click the system tray icon. The program needs no installation.

2. Choose “Run on windows startup” >”For all user” option.This is useful because you don’t have to search for the executable whenever you want to auto copy all the data from the removable drive.

3. Click the “media files” option to reveal the settings of USBFlashCopy.

4. Now you have to select the drive path or drive letter in which the automatic copy job will start. Select the desired drive letter and choose “skip” for the other drive letters that are assigned to your hard disk partitions.

5. Hit the “OK” button and you are done with the settings.

Now you need to save the current settings to a configuration file, insert the thumb drive and the program will throw in an options window as shown below:

Click the “New profile ” option and choose the correct destination path of the custom folder in the next window, as shown underneath:

All done, now all you have to do is insert the USB stick and wait for USBFlashCopy to do it’s job.   Whenever your system detects a removable storage, USBFlashCopy will automatically copy all the data to the custom folder defined earlier. You will see the following pop up window near windows system tray:

Techie Buzz Verdict

Awesome ! At least saves a lot of time when you do a lot of copy paste operations from one computer to another.

Techie Buzz rating: 4/5 (Excellent)

Twitter Revamps it’s Business Guide Page, Opens Door For Advertisers

Some good news for folks who have always wanted to use Twitter for advertising their businesses.

Twitter has released a revamped version of their business page at business.twitter.com/advertise/start. The page contains a simple form which companies may fill out in order to buy promoted accounts, promoted tweets or promoted trends.

If you are an advertiser who wants to advertise your products or Tweets on Twitter, you are asked to fill out the following details:

  • Your monthly budget which you wish to spend on advertising, ranging from $10,000 up to $1,00,000.
  • The Time period of the Twitter advertising campaign, ranging from one week to 3+ months
  • The country or location where you wish to advertise.
  • Whether you are interested to spend your advertising capital in promoted tweets, promoted trends or promoted accounts.

Next, enter some more details about your company or organization e.g campaigns, goals and hit the “Submit” button to send your request to the Twitter business team.

It appears that Twitter has finally opened it’s doors for advertisers and is now seriously planing to monetize the microblogging site after a life span of 4 years, from the day it was launched. In fact, Twitter is one of the few successfull social networking websites which remained ad free for such a long time.

On the left side of Twitter’s business page, there are quite a few links which outlines the basic guidelines, Twitter’s glossary and best practices. There is also the Widgets and Resources page along with Twitter’s API documentation where developers can take a peek and know the inside details of building application using the Twitter API.

Analytics is another tool which the advertisers are going to love.   Twitter’s analytics page offers an online dashboard where advertisers can see the real time metrics e.g retweets, clicks, replies, mentions and impressions. Advertisers will also have the ability to differentiate between paid an unpaid tweets.

Will Ads Affect The Open Nature Of Twitter?

Coming back to Twitter’s advertising model, only time will tell how the Twitter advertisements are going to affect the open nature of   information shared on Twitter. If the promoted tweets are geotargetted or match closely with the users interest, I don’t think the advertisements are going to affect user behavior to a huge extent.

Think of the other forms of online advertising – Google Adsense, Chitika etc all help advertisers “sell” products and help publishers monetize their web properties. These ad networks have stayed since a decade and almost every other website is using it. So why should Twitter stay behind and at the end of the day – every company has the right to monetize it’s platform.

Ask yourself -” Will you write a blog, run a service or sell some product for free? Lifelong ?

My honest answer is – No I won’t, especially when millions are using my product to promote their own business or service – I have the right to monetize it.

Jason Falls, an expert social media marketing consultant told ReadWriteWeb

“Selling trending topics is like gaming Digg,”

“Twitter is inviting marketing money bags to completely ruin the organic nature of the tool. When I look at something like that, I tell clients, ‘They’re just whores for your money.’ It’s obvious they’re making Facebook-like errors to try and compensate for the fact they never had a business model in mind when they built this thing.”

Create a Video To Win a Free Sony Google TV From YouTube

Google TV allows users to surf through the Internet right from their television through specially designed set top boxes. The device brings the internet, television, apps and the world wide web to your living room so that you can forget the mouse and use the remote control for a wide screen video experience.

If you haven’t heard about Google TV yet, the following video gives a brief outline of what Google TV is all about:

Now if you want one of those devices, here is some good news.

YouTube is giving away 100 copies of free 46Sony Internet TVs, powered by Google TV. To enter the Google TV contest organized by YouTube, all you have to do is create a YouTube video telling why you’re pumped up about Google TV (no worries, you don’t need to own or purchase Google TV to enter the contest).

A panel of judges will review all the user submissions based on the originality, creativity and how well you explain why you are excited about Google TV, the results will be declared by January 20, 2011. The giveaway is only open to US residents, which is the only sad thing regarding the contest if you are living outside the U.S.

Oh and you also need to tag the video with ytgtvso that YouTube can show your video to the entire world. Here are the all the rules of the Google TV contest in full detail.

The last date of submissions is December 22, 2010. Time to rub some dust from your video camera, get a hair cut and let the camera roll for the Google TV contest. Good luck with your submissions !

Gmail Adds The Ability To Restore Contacts List To An Earlier Time

Gmail’s undo send feature is a lifesaver. Once you have activated the undo send option from Gmail settings, you can cancel sending an accidentally sent email after hitting the “Send” button.This is useful when you realize that you have accidentally sent the email to a wrong person or you should add some more information to the message that has already been sent.

Recently, the Google developers increased the Undo send limit to 30 seconds which is even more useful for slow movers like me. But such is not the case with Gmail contacts, you are not able to restore an accidentally deleted email address from Gmail’s contact manager. Either you have to manually add the contacts or you have to delete everything and start from scratch,   provided you have a back up copy of your Gmail contact list saved elsewhere.

Good news, the Google developers have just added a new option under Gmail contacts which lets you restore your Gmail contact list to an earlier time.

To get started, log in to your Gmail account, click “Contacts” from the left pane and choose the “More actions” drop down menu. Then select the “Restore contacts” option as shown below:

This will open a small browser overlay window where you can define the time when you want the contact list to be rolled back. The general options include restoring the contacts to 1 week, yesterday, 1 hour and 10 minutes. However, if you feel you had accidentally deleted someone a couple of weeks ago, choose the “Custom option” and enter a date of your choice.

Hitting the “restore” button works like a charm, the previous state of the contact list is restored automatically. Works exactly the same way as “System Restore” in windows, it’s just the fact that you can’t define an auto backup option for contact list within Gmail settings. Handy !

Add Useful Features To YouTube’s Video Player With EmbedPlus

Most of the video sharing websites provide a very basic video embed code to users, so that they can easily embed the video in their blog or websites. Embed Plus is a brilliant video embed tool which offers more flexible video embedding options for popular video sharing websites (e.g YouTube,Vimeo), so that you may add more features, controls, annotations and scene markers to the video you are embedding.

Embed plus’s video player is no different that other flash based video players, but it’s enriched with more controls and features. Some of the main features include movable zoom, slow motion or faster playbacks etc. You can also create custom annotations, add a suitable title or description or bookmark a particular video scene.

When the user is watching the video on your blog, he can jump to the specific “Scene marker” by clicking the forward or backward button in Embed Plus’s video player.

To get the customized video player for YouTube videos using Embed Plus, follow the simple steps mentioned below:

1. Copy the URL of the YouTube video which you want to embed on your website and paste it in the EmbedPlus Enter YouTube video URLtext field.


2. Next, select the height and width of the video player and start adding scene markers at specific times of the video. As an example, I have added 3 scene markers at 1minute 30 seconds, 3 minute and 4 minute respectively. You can also define a custom “Start time” for the video, this is useful when you want to skip the boring introduction part of a video and want the users to skip to a particular portion when they hit the “Play” button.


3. The next step involves adding custom text annotations to the video, it works the same way as YouTube’s annotation system – pick a time, add some text and hit the “Add” button to finish.

4. When you are done adding scene markers and annotations, hit the “Get Code” button to get the customized video player code for the YouTube video. Here is how   the YouTube video will look, once   embedded using EmbedPlus’s video player:

EmbedPlus also offers a   Bit.ly short URL of the enhanced video player (see example), so you can simply share the link with anyone without having to embed the video in your website. [ via ]

Example: Following is an example video embedded using the EmbedPlus service, you can jump to the scene markers by clicking the “Previous” and “Next” buttons.