All posts by Amit Banerjee

Amit has been writing for Techie Buzz since early 2009 and keeps a close eye on web apps, Google and all things Tech. He also writes at his own tech blog, Ampercent. Follow him on Twitter @ amit_banerjee

Drag and Drop to Upload Attachments in Gmail

Gmail has added support for HTML 5, which means now you can drag and drop to attach a file in any email message. This is useful, when you have to attach a lot of files kept on a single folder. You don’t have to click the browse button again and again and can attach a bunch of files together in one go.

When you drag the files in the compose message window, Gmail shows an attachment pane to drop the files:

Earlier I used Picture paste to add images, attachments and other files in Gmail messages from the desktop. The drag and drop feature was much desired, because often the flash uploader would freeze in the middle of a file upload and you have to start the upload all over from scratch. When you want to attach a bunch of files or images – open the folder containing your files, select all files by pressing “Control +A” and drag all of them in the Gmail compose window. As simple as that.

If you want to attach an image from a web URL, simply drag the image from the web page to the Gmail message compose window. Please note that this feature works in browsers that support HTML 5 (Firefox 3.6+ or Google Chrome 4+). [ via Gmail blog ]

Webby Wednesday: Generate Unique Usernames, Add Speech Bubbles to Photos, Create Letter Templates and Browse Facebook Fan Page Designs

Welcome to Webby Wednesdays – a brief compilation of some useful web services which we found useful during the course of this week.

Create Unique usernames with

Whenever you signup in a social network, the first thing to choose is the username. It’s a good practice to pick the same username across all the social networks because your friends can remember the username and find you quickly. The username plays an important role in branding your profile across different sites on the web.


Myusernamegenerator lets you generate unique names for your social profiles. You can choose between different types: short, long, medium, Japanese, heavy, vowels, Chinese and the like. The site also lists the recently generated usernames in the footer. Once you find a short and attractive username, head over to and check whether the username is available on all the social sites or not.

Add Speech Bubbles to Photos With Speechable

Speechable is a free photo service that lets you easily upload and add speech bubbles to your photos and share them with friends via email or on Facebook, MySpace, Orkut, blogs, and message boards.


There is nothing to download or install, simply upload a photo from your computer or any web URL. When the upload is complete, create a bubble and add some text in it. You can drag and place the bubble anywhere on the image. This is pure fun, as the images appear to be talking. Here is an example:


Create Letter Templates with

LetterGenie is a web based app that can be used to create letters from templates. This is useful, because you don’t want to lose a client just because your covering letter was poorly written. Once you are done writing the personalized letter, you can print it or download a PDF copy in your computer.


The service also lets you import contacts and names from your email client.

Find the best Facebook Fan Page Designs With

Want to design a Facebook fan page for your company? Why not get some design inspiration from the very popular gallery of Facebook fan page designs at


The most popular designs are listed one by one on the homepage and you can see the user ratings of Facebook fan pages. The service acts as a great starting point if you seriously want an attractive Facebook fan page.

On each Wednesday, we will come up with a brief roundup of new web tools which provide value and add something extra to your daily technology. Stay tuned!

Google Introduces Recipe Rich Snippets in Search Result Pages

Today, Google added another feature in search result pages Recipe snippets. That means, the next time you search for a food recipe on Google, chances are you will end up seeing a thumbnail of the dish along with some more information such as preparation time, user reviews etc.

For example: A simple search on   thai mango salad, shows the following results


In the above snippet, there are 3 things to take note of. First, you can see the user reviews and ratings directly from the search result page. This helps to know whether other users have found the recipe useful or not. Secondly, you can know how much time is required to prepare the dish by looking at the   Total cook timedata. Finally, you can see a small thumbnail of the dish in the search result page.

The Recipe snippetsis the fifth type of snippet introduced in Google search results, the earlier types being reviews, people, video and events respectively.

How to Optimize your Site For Recipe Snippets

If you write about food recipes and want to optimize your blog for Recipe snippets, here are a few things you should know:

1. Always include the necessary micro data in your blog posts. This includes author information, preparation time, summary, review, cooking time etc. For a complete list of micro data and RDF’s, check this Recipe snippets help page.

2. Follow the correct format for organizing your recipe’s micro data. Do not lay all the information scattered but try to nest them properly. Here is a small example template that Google provides:


Google will add the recipe snippets gradually in the search results and there is no guarantee when your pages show up as recipe snippets in search results. You can always check and test your pages using the rich snippets testing tool.   [via Google Webmaster Central ]

SiftLinks Filters Important Links From Your Twitter Timeline

I am not very active at Twitter and do not update my Twitter profile throughout the day. However, Twitter is a great place to spot breaking news, interesting stories and if you are a blogger or a writer, you can’t ignore the tweets.

One of the problems with Twitter is the “Signal to Noise ratio”. Sometimes the Tweets are really interesting but most of the time, your timeline is flooded with irrelevant tweets such as “I am having Coffee ” or ” I am watching a movie”.

If you are like me and use Twitter to consume content, you might want to try a simple way to find the most interesting and popular links in your Twitter timeline. You don’t want to unfollow people in bulk but just need a way to mute the less important updates. Check out SiftLinks – a simple web based Twitter app which filters important Tweets from your Twitter timeline and presents the most popular links in reverse chronological order.

Here is how my Twitter timeline looks after using SiftLinks:


SiftLinks also provides an RSS feed for the most popular links in your Twitter profile so it might be a good idea to copy the RSS feed and subscribe in your news reader. Doing that will allow you to check important Twitter updates from your Feed reader (e.g Google Reader, Feeddemon etc).


Also do check out this guide on how to create RSS feed of Twitter lists.

Techie Buzz Verdict

SiftLinks removes the unnecessary updates and shows only the tweets that matter. The RSS feature is really useful as you can read the tweets as well as blog posts from one central location – your feed reader. One addition would have been perfect – the ability to see the number of RT’s and mentions. This way, we can know how much is the influence and reach of a particular tweet right from the feed reader and without having to go to Tweetmeme.

Techie Buzz rating: 3/5 (Average).

Facebook Launches Safety Center For Teens, Parents, Educators and Law Enforcers

Facebook has launched a safety center as part of creating more awareness among it’s users on social security. The safety center has some good tips for teenagers, kids, parents, law enforcers and educators. The purpose of the “Safety Center” section is to educate the users on their profile security, responding to objectionable content and teach the kids to use Facebook in a safer way.

Basically, it’s a “Question Answer board” where users can find answers to common privacy issues and tweaking their profile or application settings. This is how the safety center looks:


Important Facebook Privacy Issues

Profile Personification: This is one of the most common “unfair use” of Facebook. If someone is pretending to be “You” on Facebook and trying to personify your profile, head over to this page at the Facebook Safety center and you will see the step by step procedure to take action.

Photos: Suppose someone posted or tagged you in a photo but you don’t like the image and want to remove it from Facebook. The person who tagged you never responds to your request to remove a particular image from his/her profile. In such situations, here is the help page to get started.


Inappropriate Content: Suppose an unknown friend starts posting objectionable photos or started an abusive group about you or your organization. The first step to be done is to delete the person from your friend list. However, to ensure that the profile is completely removed and the group is shut down, head over to this page and take the required actions as described.

The safety center acts as a knowledge base on the serious security and privacy issues of Facebook users. Sure, it’s a positive step taken to encourage and respect personal privacy of users and looks like Facebook wants no stone unturned to deliver maximum user satisfaction.

Add Sticky Notes and Comments on any Webpage with XSticky

Sticky notes are a great way to quickly jot down ideas and comments. You can use Sticky notes for a variety of purposes like to-do lists, task management, ideas etc.

We have earlier seen some useful desktop application for creating and managing sticky notes. But if you want a simple sticky note application for Firefox, try the Xsticky Firefox add-on. With the Xsticky-Addon you can easily create Sticky-Notes at every webpage you like.

Once the add-on is installed, right click on any webpage and select “Add Sticky note”. This will open a yellow square box where you can add text and save the note for later viewing.


You can create as many notes as you want and the boxes can be moved anywhere on that page or minimized to the bottom. Other features includes changing the background color, transparency and font size.

I found this tool especially useful for designers, who tweak the CSS properties of themes and HTML layouts. You can quickly note down the hex codes and other CSS properties while designing a theme and do not have to rely on other applications for the same purpose.

Writers can also use this tool to their advantage. Suppose you are reading a blog post and suddenly got a unique idea about the same topic. You can note down that idea on that same webpage and return to that page later on. This helps on outlining and creating a rough draft of a news item, which you may wish to blog at a later time.

With over 16000 downloads the add-on seems to be quite popular and one of the best sticky notes extension for Firefox. Please note that the note text is saved locally in the add-on preferences and will be destroyed if you uninstall the extension. Google Chrome fans can try this extension for creating sticky notes in the Chrome browser.

Techie Buzz Verdict

The add-on looks cool but there should be a way to backup the notes and comments. Syncing notes can be difficult but a decent backup option is much expected. Otherwise you will loose all the notes when you reinstall Firefox.

Techie Buzz rating: 3/5 (Average).

Temporarily Disable Windows Power Settings with Don’t Sleep

[Windows only]: While downloading large files from the internet, sometimes you may not be sitting in front of your computer. Often, you would put the computer in download mode and leave the desk for some other work. The downloads would take hours to finish and you would want to have a break or take a short nap.

The problem with marathon downloads is that the Windows power settings come into play after a definite interval of time. Say you are downloading movies or torrents and the download may take 5-6 hours to finish. You start the download manager but when you return after an hour, you find the computer has been logged off or put to “Sleep”.

That’s when you need tools like Don’t Sleep. It’s a tiny portable application for Windows which temporarily suspends Windows power settings and prevents the system from logging off, restarting, hibernating or going to sleep mode.

The program requires no installation and does not modify Windows registry. It sets temporary rules to override the power plans in Windows so that the downloads can continue without any problem.
You can set the timer in the program options and can turn off Windows screensaver when the system is in idle state.

Of course, you can manually change the power plans before starting the downloads and then switch back to normal power plans when the downloads are finished. But those who want to avoid the hassle of opening the control panel and tweaking the Power settings, this freeware does the job well.

Don’t Sleep works with Windows XP, Windows Vista and Windows7.

Techie Buzz Verdict

The program is simple to use. I would like to see a timer feature being included – the ability to shut down computer at a specified time of the day. This will save the hassle of using another utility to shut down the computer when the downloads have finished.

Techie Buzz rating: 3/5 (average).

Remove Colors and Backgrounds From Webpages With NoColor Firefox Add-on

Quite often, you may find some blogs with horrible designs and backgrounds. The content is good and you want to read the page but the colors used in the site’s layout make it impossible to read. If you want to get rid of all the colors from a webpage, the Nocolor Firefox add-on will come in handy. The add-on removes all the background images and colors, thus offering a clean reading environment.

Download the No Color Firefox add-on. Internet explorer users can try IESurfGear instead.

Once the add-on is installed, restart Firefox and go to Tools > add-ons > Nocolor > Options. Choose the text and background color which you want to see once you use the extension.


The add-on adds a small button in the status bar and a link in the “View” menu so that you can quickly remove all the background garbage from cluttered webpages and read the content at ease.

I tried the add-on on Techie Buzz and here are the results:





Note that the add-on is not an ad blocker and neither it removes the borders. It will remove the background colors and replace the text color with your chosen color from the add-on options.

How this add-on can be used as a Design tool

If you love designing websites and themes, often you would search the web for design inspiration. Whenever I am designing something and want to create a CSS structure for a theme or layout, I will head over to a popular blog or website and see how the designer has implemented the CSS. I would turn on Firebug and then see the different Div tags one by one and learn to code myself.

But most of the themes contain colors, images and other graphics which is of course a barrier when you are learning to code. The Nocolor add-on, paired with Firebug helps to copy the CSS structure with all colors disabled.

Techie Buzz Verdict

The add-on removes the colors but should have more options to choose from. I would love to see more features included in the future versions – remove the borders, block the ads etc.

Techie Buzz rating: 3/5 (average).

Hide URL’s from Crawlers Using

Ever heard about a URL masking service? No, I am not talking about URL shorteners which can be used to shorten a long URL. A URL masking service forwards the visitor using a “Frame source” of the destination URL so that the original URL is kept hidden from the user (and from the bots as well).

URL masking is not required with regular links and in most of the cases, you can simply use rel=”nofollow” to instruct the bots from not crawling it. But if you are linking to a download page which you want to hide from the crawlers, URL masking services like might help.

To use the site, simply paste the destination URL in the input field and click “Hide”.


You will be shown a masked or coded URL like Putting this address in the browser address bar will not redirect you to the original page. Instead, you will see the destination URL in text as shown below:


Since the masked URL does not redirects to any page, the search bots or web crawlers won’t be able to crawl that link. This is useful, when you want to hide suspicious links to download pages, torrent sites etc. Some forum bots crawl web links and automatically delete them at regular intervals, so you can use this service and stop worrying about broken links.

Techie Buzz Verdict

The service looks good but should have more options to choose from. I hate filling in the captcha to see the unmasked URL’s. I would love to see a bookmarklet or a browser extension being included so that I can mask and unmask URL’s on the fly.

Techie Buzz rating: 3/5 (Good).

7Plus Puts Useful Windows Shortcuts Under One Hood

[Windows only]: I am a freeware freak and whenever I find a utility that adds something productive in my daily computer usage, I use it without giving a second thought. Yesterday, I came across 7plus a free utility which adds tons of features and shortcuts to speed up the normal workflow in Windows.

During installation, 7plus provides some basic settings which you can check and customize. This includes choosing the explorer windows, shortcut to create folders and various other mouse and keyboard shortcuts. Actually there are a whole lot of mouse shortcuts to consider and I did write some of them on paper.

Here is how the settings panel of 7plus look:


Some of the useful features of the application are as follows:

Copy Filenames with a shortcut key: You can copy filenames using the Alt + C keyboard shortcut. The normal way around is hitting F2, highlighting the file name and then pressing Control + C. 7plus saves you from 3 different keystrokes while copying filenames.

Copy paths as well as filenames: If you want to copy the path of the file, use Control + Alt + C. This comes handy, when you are designing something and have to frequently copy the exact path of a file.

Go back: Love this one. Just hold down right mouse button and click the left one to go back one window. You can double click on any empty area of Windows explorer to go a folder upwards.

Add FTP Details: The application also does some FTP job, just set up the FTP details in the program settings, select a file which you want to upload and press Control + U. The file will be sent to your FTP server from Windows explorer.

Clipboard Manager: We have earlier seen some nice clipboard managers for Windows, but with 7plus you don’t need to use them at all. Press Windows key + V and a clipboard manager opens with the last 10 entries stored and ready to be used.

Check out this small video screencast to understand how 7plus works:

For a full list of features, check out this project page. Thanks Ghacks

Techie Buzz Verdict

7plus is an amazing little tool to tweak Windows the way you want. The program works with 32 bit as well as 64 bit editions of Windows XP, Windows Vista and Windows7. It’s portable, doesn’t modify the registry and you can even use it from your USB drive on multiple computers. There is a small learning curve with the shortcut keys, but after using it for a while, you will love it.

Techie Buzz rating: 4.5/5 (Excellent)

Webby Wednesday: Create HTML Forms, Visitor Chat Widget, Shared calendars and Fill PDF Forms Online

Welcome to Webby Wednesdays – a brief compilation of some useful web services which we found useful during the course of this week.

Faary: Create Simple HTML Forms

If you have a blog or website, you will need HTML forms for different purposes. May be a contact form or a simple sign up form which you want to use in your product sign up pages. Faary lets you create simple HTML contact forms without writing any code or using any plugin.

To get started, visit Faary and enter the parameters you want to include in the form in the left column. Make sure to separate each item in a new line and include a “*” before the items which you want as required.


Once the form is ready, click on “Generate” and the site will preview the contact form in the browser. You can then download the required HTML and CSS for the contact form as a zip file. The site is completely free to use and there are no registrations or signups involved.

Plupper: Live Visitor Chat Widget for Your Blog or Website

If you want to live chat with your site visitors, Plupper will be useful. You can embed a small code in your website’s source and visitors coming to these pages can start chatting with you on your preferred IM client. This includes Google Talk, Pidgin, Ichat, Trillian, Miranda, Meebo to name a few.


The free account at Plupper imposes no limitation on the amount of conversations you can have with your visitors or clients. However, if you want something full featured, see the pricing plans of Plupper and decide the plan which suits your budget.

Meetifyr: Create Online Shared Calendars

Want to plan a meeting or an event with a group of people? Meetifyr lets you create shared calendars and add available dates to it, so that you and your friends can plan an event with ease.


Using the tool is simple, just head over to Meetifyr and create a calendar. Add your name and the dates when you are free and when you are done, the site gives you a unique URL of the calendar (see example). You can then share the URL of the calendar with your friends and they can also add their available dates. In the end, you can compare all the available dates and plan the meeting accordingly. The tool is not as versatile and feature rich as Google Calendar, but it’s an easy way to plan meetings with anyone.

FillAnyPDF: Upload and Fill PDF Forms Online

FillanyPDF lets you upload PDF forms so that other people can fill it any add their signatures. You can invite a group of people to fill data in the form and then track the results


The site lets you send forms to users via email or embed the entire form in your website. The good thing about FillAnyPDF is that users need not register to fill out forms.

On each Wednesday, we will come up with a brief roundup of new web tools which provide value and add something extra to your daily technology. Stay tuned!

Draw and Write on Google Maps With ScribbleMaps

Have you ever tried explaining someone how to reach a particular place in your city? Maybe, one of your friends will visit the town where you live and you want to give him a rough idea on the places that are worth visiting.

Google Maps is one of the best tools in such situations, but paired with Scribblemaps, it’s even better. The site let’s you draw directions and add text in any Google Map, and you can add arrows, shapes and other markers. This helps in adding more information to the map, and once it’s ready, you can save the map for later viewing.

Using Scribblemaps is quite simple, just head over to the homepage and zoom into a location in Google maps. Then use the menu bar to add text, arrows, shapes and directions.


Once you have added all the directions and markers, save the map, and you will be provided a unique ID of your customized map.


Next, you have to choose a password so that you can edit the map at a later time.


Hit “Save” and you are done. You will be shown a link to your customized Google map, which can then be shared via email or other social networking sites (see example). You can also embed the customized map in your blog or website. Thanks Himangshu.

Techie Buzz Verdict

Scribblemaps is easy to use, adds value and is free from advertisements. No registrations or signups are required to use the service. It’s a perfect tool to add custom text and directions in a Google map.

Techie Buzz rating: 5/5 (perfect).

Create Photo Mosaics from Profile Images of Your Twitter Friends

We have seen some really cool ways to create background images for your Twitter profile. There is Twitlay, which lets you create Twitter backgrounds from an image stored in your computer. There is also Twitbacks, which makes it easy to show all your social networking accounts as your Twitter profile background.

But wouldn’t it be a great idea to use a photo mosaic as a Twitter background? The idea here is to create a photo mosaic from profile thumbnails of your Twitter followers or friends. Here is an example:


MyFriendsMosaic let’s you quickly create photo mosaics from profile images of your Twitter friends and followers. Just visit the site and enter your Twitter username and choose followers or friends from the dropdown menu.


Once the mosaic is done, you can download the image in your computer. The site works with Twitter and Livejournal. The premier option let’s you buy custom templates such as: an image for the mouse pad, a coffee mug, a T-shirt or may be a handbag.


Techie Buzz Verdict

The site looks cool but the downside is that there aren’t any templates. All you get is a rectangular image which can be set as a desktop background or the background image of your Twitter profile. I would love to see different shapes being introduced, so that each mosaic looks different from others.

Techie Buzz rating: 3/5 (Good).

Webby Wednesdays: Create Collaborative Diagrams, Build Websites for Free, Find IP Location and Sleeping Time of Your Twitter Friends

Welcome to Webby Wednesdays – a brief compilation of some useful web services which we found useful during the course of this week.

Creately: Create and Collaborate on Online Diagrams

Do you find yourself helpless when you have to make a proposal to some distant client? May be the customer is unable to understand your idea and approach, and a mere IM chat produces less results. That’s when you need Creately – a new web service which let’s you create diagrams, flow charts and strategy diagrams online.


There are lot of similar tools out there but what sets Creately apart is the easy to use interface and a wide range of already available templates. You can quickly create project diagrams, business strategies and let other members collaborate on the diagram from any part of the world.

The site supports a lot of objects and logical blocks which can be added in your diagram with little effort. You can revert back to an earlier state of the diagram anytime, because Creately saves revision history of all your charts.

Here is a wonderful screencast which briefly describes the useful features of Creately:

Lifeyo: Build Websites The Easy way

Want to create a small website for your company or business? Don’t have enough knowledge or expertise on coding and customization? Check out Lifeyo – a website which makes it super easy to create blogs and websites. Neither you need to   find a web hosting service and manage the web server on your own, nor you need to install any kind of software to run your website.


All you get is an easy to use interface to build pages and content for your blog or website. The entire management of your site remains in Lifeyo’s hands and you need not worry about database failures, scheduled backups and losing your site due to technical glitches.

Lifeyo provides a free domain name such as, but if you want to have a custom domain name, you have to pay them $50 a year. This is quite cheap, as compared to other hosting providers who will provide you with more space but at the cost of more pricing.

InfoSpinner: Find The Geographical Location of an IP Address

IP address stands for internet protocol address and it can be used to find the geographical location of a person who is using the internet from some part of the world. Wouldn’t it be a great idea if you could track the location of a specific IP address directly on Google Maps?

Enter InfoSpinner – a simple yet useful web service which can be used to find the geographical location of IP addresses on Google Maps, Yahoo Maps and Windows Live.


Apart from the name of the city, this site can also be used to find out the zip code, latitude, longitude, country of origin etc. So if you are receiving spam comments in your blog from a particular IP, you can check in which city the spammer lives.

SleepingTime: Find When your Twitter Friends Sleep

You may wonder whether some of the tweeples, who post hundreds of tweets every day ever go to bed? Sleepingtime can tell when your Twitter friends sleep. Just enter the Twitter username of the friend and the site returns a predicted sleeping pattern of the friend.


The tool analyzes the tweeting pattern of your friend and combines it with the time zone information from the profile to predict the sleeping time of a user. However, the site does not work for private accounts.

On each wednesday, we will come up with a brief roundup of new web tools which provide value and add something extra to your daily technology. Stay tuned!

How to Flip and Rotate Videos Which are Shot at a Wrong Angle

There are times when you need to flip videos horizontally or vertically. May be your amateur friend has shot a video, holding the camera incorrectly. The entire video appears upside down and you have to bend your neck to the right or left and grasp the video sequence.

Situation: During the tech fest at my college, one of my friends took my mobile and recorded a short clip. The next day I found that the entire video has to be rotated 180 degrees. This is because my friend held the camera vertically instead of holding it horizontal.


Thanks to Tehseen, I found Free video Flip and Rotate – a free utility to flip and rotate videos. The application can rotate videos just like you flip an image in MS – Paint or other image editing programs. Once you have installed the application, import the video and select the conversion type and angle. Hit “Convert” and it’s done.


The application can rotate videos by 90 degrees, 180 degrees, flip horizontal, vertical and combine more than one option. For example: You may want to rotate the video 90 degrees to the right and then flip it horizontally. If the original video is too large, the conversion may take a fair amount of time. This won’t be an issue, because the software can turn off your computer once the conversion is over.

Note that the app won’t work if you have changed the angle multiple times in a video. Suppose you took the first 30 seconds horizontally and the next 1 minute vertically. In that case, you have to split the videos into separate files and rotate or flip them individually. Be sure to check out the other articles we’ve written about video and video applications.

Techie Buzz Verdict

I have used several video convertors in the past but was unable to rotate or flip videos using any of them. The application does not have too many options and geekery but does the job very well. Free Video Flip and Rotate works with Windows XP, Windows Vista and Windows 7.

Techie Buzz rating: 4/5 (Excellent).