Windows Live Messenger 9.0 Beta First Looks

I have been a beta participant in Microsoft Products and was also invited as a part of the closed beta to test out the new Windows Live Messenger 9.0 beta. Here are my views about the latest version of Windows Live Messenger.

Major changes that were rolled out with Windows Live Messenger 9.0

Sign In to Messenger From Multiple PCs

The Windows Live Messenger 9.0 allows you to sign into multiple PCs at the same time. You can sign into up to 4 PCs at the same time.

My 2 cents

Though I see this as a good feature I still cannot understand why one would want to sign in from multiple locations with the same ID. This could be useful though if you want to sign in into your cell phone as well as on your PC at the same time.

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WordPress 2.3.1 Release and WPAU updates

WordPress 2.3.1 has been released today and Techie Buzz has been updated using the handy plugin WordPress Automatic Upgrade. There were some bugs I found while updating from WordPress 2.3 to 2.3.1 due to database table name changes which has been fixed. I have released a new version 0.8 which should fix this error.

WPAU is now also available through the official WordPress Extend page so you should see a update note in your Plugins page, please upgrade to the latest version if you are using WordPress 2.3.

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Create SEO Friendly URL’s Using Mod Rewrite and PHP – Part 1

First of all I am not a SEO Specialist, I just play around with lots of stuff and happened to learn URL Tweaking for better SERP’s. If you are a WordPress user then you will not require to use this trick but if you are a webmaster who owns a product based site or some other site which generates dynamic content based on parameters then this trick is the one which should help you better your SEO rankings.

Let’s look at a example of a URL which does not attract much Search Engine Love.

http://www.yoursite.com/product.php?productid=2&categoryid=3. It is hard even for a human to tell what the product is by looking at this URL. With the trick we will use the final URL can look something like this http://www.yoursite.com/product/13/3/2-GB-MP3-player.html.

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Get A Free Privacy Policy For Your Blog / Website

In almost every website that you visit you will see a privacy policy which states to a user how information is collected and how it is used after a user has visited a website, and any other privacy related concerns that need to be addressed to the user.

Blogs in general do not have any sort of privacy policy. Even though it is not compulsory it does make an impact on end users if you have some sort of privacy policy for your blog.

Many bloggers must have made use of the free Disclosure Policy Creator from http://www.disclosurepolicy.org/ which helps you create a Disclosure Policy whether or not you get paid to write certain content on the site.

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Get SMS Reminders for your tasks

There have been many a times when I forgotten to carry out tasks I was supposed to do just because I plain forgot them. I do write them down but sometimes those notes get neglected too. Tasks as simple as calling someone on a specific day or your doctors appointment can be forgotten quite easily.

To overcome this I use a simple method so that I can get a SMS message a couple of hours before I am supposed to do something. You do not require to pay anything except if your cell phone provider charges you for incoming SMS messages.

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Changing your country for Google AdSense

Changing your address for receiving Google AdSense payments is easy but changing a country is not such an easy process.

The first thing I did when I moved to US was changed my country for my Google AdSense account because it would be beneficial for me to receive payments in US dollars rather than Indian Rupees which I earlier used to get and also since I got a bank account it US it meant faster payments than regular check payments.

You can use the following instructions to only change your country whenever you move to someplace else, the above EFT transfers are only available in US, in other countries you will receive the regular check payments.

Important Information: When you change your country with Google AdSense you have to create a new Google Account. The old account will be canceled so you will have to create a new account to use Google AdSense with a new country. The other services associated with your old account like Gmail, Calendar etc will not be affected and you can continue using it.

The Preparation

The first thing before you can change your country is populate this information

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WPAU wins third at Weblog tools plugin competition

It is my pleasure to bring to you the news that WordPress Automatic Upgrade plugin won the third prize at the weblog tools collection plugin competition. It not only makes me proud but also more determined to create useful plugins for the community. The plugin competition was a 2 month long affair which saw a number of plugins as entries which made life more easier for the WordPress community.

I am lucky enough to win with so many quality plugins. Thanks to all of you who supported the plugin at the competition and who have used it to upgrade your blogs. There are still few bugs and I am supporting them to make this plugin more better.

The grand winner is the awesome OneClick plugin by Anirudh Sanjeev which allows you to install a theme or plugin from your browser with one click, the plugin also comes with a Firefox extension which is one of it’s kind. Kudos to Anirudh for winning.

The second prize winner is Barry for his plugin MyDashBoard which replaces your current dashboard with a iGoogle like interface and which I use currently on my blog.

There was also a consolation prize to Ozh for his plugin Who Sees Ads.

You can find out more about the winners at the Weblog Tools Collection blog.

WordPress Automatic Upgrade plugin update

Lots and lots of bugs and sleepless nights and no paid work later. Here is the next version of WPAU. I have fixed almost all of the bugs you have reported which I heartily thank each and every one of you for. Here is the NextG version of the plugin which works on most of the servers that have different users for FTP and web.Here is what I mean by that

On some shared servers the webserver (Apache) is the same for multiple user and in those cases the Apache user was not allowed to access files uploaded using a FTP client. To overcome the situation I added a preliminary check where it checks if the plugin is able to update the site or not.

If the error is due to FTP user and webuser being different you will be asked for your FTP credentials. We do not save any of this information with us and the information will be discarded at the end of the upgrade.

This is necessary if you need to run a automatic upgrade on your server, without this the information the plugin will not run.

What do we do with the FTP information?

With the FTP information you provide WPAU will change file permissions so that WPAU can write the files to your server. Once the upgrade is over WPAU will automatically change the permissions back to read only.

This step has been added so that you do not have to do the permission change manually. Only in certain rare cases will it fail to upgrade permission’s and ask you to do so manually.

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WordPress Automatic Upgrade plugin

Update: If you are having issues with upgrading WordPress 2.7 and above, or if WPAU is not displaying a nag to upgrade, we have released a newer version, please read the release post for WordPress Automatic Upgrade 1.2.5.

Update: This plugin apparently does not work well when the webuser and ftp users are different. I have overcome those problems and working on testing the latest version which works fine on all systems including the above ones. I would be releasing a new version later this week which will fix all the bugs that have been reported. Thanks for all your help in making this plugin more stable. Latest version released with all bug fixes. Click here to go to latest version page.I have away for the past couple of works partly due to being busy and partly due to this new plugin that I was developing for WordPress. With help from Ronald Heureca who has helped with automating the plugin I proudly release WordPress Automatic Upgrade.

What is WordPress Automatic Upgrade?

WordPress Automatic Upgrade is a plugin that automatically upgrades your wordpress version to the latest files provided by wordpress.org using the 5 steps provided in the wordpress upgrade instructions.

WPAU as I call it helps you easily upgrading you to easily upgrade your wordpress installation to the latest version provided by wordpress, without having to download or upload any files.

In addition to this it automatically backups your current file and database and provides you with a link to download those. De-activates your plugins and remembers them so that after upgrading files it will re-activate those without you having to make any notes for which plugins you de-activated and the biggest saves you headaches of upgrading your wordpress installation.

Here is what WPAU does;

1. Backs up the files and makes available a link to download it.
2. Backs up the database and makes available a link to download it.
3. Downloads the latest files from http://wordpress.org/latest.zip and unzips it.
4. Puts the site in maintenance mode.
5. De-activates all active plugins and remembers it.
6. Upgrades wordpress files.
7. Gives you a link that will open in a new window to upgrade installation.
8. Re-activates the plugins.

The plugin can also can be run in a automated mode where in you do not have to click on any links to go to the next step.

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Create strong passwords that you can remember

I was reading a nice post on Lifehack.org about creating strong passwords. The suggestion as always was great but I decided to share a little trick to create passwords that you can easily remember and are also strong.

The key is to substitute alphabets with either numbers or symbols while you mix cases.

A little example where I want to have a password “simple” which is easy to remember and guess too but to make it a little difficult I will substitute the characters in the phrase with numbers and mix cases.

In the word “simple” the character ‘i’ looks like the number 1 and character ‘e’ looks like the number 3, so my simple password becomes s1mPl3. In the above combination I capitalized the 4th alphabet which was a result of the numbers I used in the password; 1 + 3 = 4. Creating such type of passwords are pretty hard to guess and brute force.

This is just a simple algorithm I used to create a strong password that is very hard to crack, even though the password is still “simple” to you it may pretty hard for others to figure out.

The best way is to assign the numbers to the characters randomly and use some logic to capitalize the characters randomly. The replacement of numbers with characters in the above example is just one of the thousands you can choose and create.

Hope you liked this small trick? Do let me know in your comments of whether this is something that will help you create stronger passwords.