Category Archives: Featured Articles

The featured articles at Techie Buzz

Pingdom Releases Desktop Website Monitor

Pingdom, one of the best services to monitor website uptime and get instant alerts when it is down, has has released a desktop notifier to complement their web monitoring service and monitor your website uptime from the comfort of your desktop.

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After you install the software, you will be promoted to register a website and create an account with Pingdom. You will shortly receive an email with your password, using which you can access the reports for the website monitoring online.

pingdom_website_uptime_report pingdom_response_times

The Pingdom reports are pretty comprehensive and there are lot of details to browse through. They also provide you with 20 free SMS credits to receive SMS alerts on your cellphone. In addition to that, you can set up reports to be sent to you on a daily, weekly or monthly basis.

Techie Buzz Verdict

The Pingdom desktop tool is only a extension for the web interface, all the checks actually happens through the web. In addition to that, you can only monitor one website at a time.

The desktop monitor is actually connected to your web account and only monitors whether or not your website is working ok, you will have to visit the website to view the reports for your website.

If you are looking for more options, check out some of our earlier website monitoring tools:

Techie Buzz Ratings: 3.5/5 (Very Good)

Download Pingdom Desktop Notifier

Windows Live Writer 2010 Looks Awesome, Wave 4 Leaked Screenshots

Quite sometime back we had posted leaked screenshots of Wave 4 which included screens for Windows Live Writer 2010 and Windows Live Messenger 2010. A new batch of screenshots has now emerged, courtesy of geekSmack, which shows off Windows Live Writer 2010, Windows Live Photo Gallery 2010 and Windows Live Mail 2010, which will be included in Wave 4.

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It is definitely good to see that Microsoft has continued to develop Windows Live Writer and Windows Live Mail, which are actually pretty good and available as free downloads for everyone.

Out here, many of us prefer to use Windows Live Writer because of its ease of use and absolutely awesome features. We certainly look forward to Microsoft releasing Wave 4 to the general public. However, we will try out best to get our hands on it before that if we can.

What do you think about the new features in WLW 2010 and Wave 4 in general?

Any Market Share Information is One-Sided Information

We have different verticals where everyone wants to excel, but it is totally unacceptable that we don’t have any centralized or standardized way to capture data to decide a winner in the market.

Let’s look at few examples, in schools we have a ranking system, which gives each student a rank. That rank is based on information about you and the rest of the people who are in your same class. All the information is collected, and students are then ranked taking everyone into consideration.

However, when we try to compare mobile markets, search engine markets and for that matter browser markets everything is a mess, no information is accurate. For example, Statcounter and Hitwise release information based on their own data, however, other analytics service companies don’t. So should we use that information as a industry standard? Statcounter tracks 30 millions websites and billions of views, but is that information enough?

The one standard I have never really come to believe is the public stats company data. For example, Alexa is used as a huge measurement for websites, and it is the most inaccurate tool, I have ever come across in my life. As a live example from my own experience, Alexa ranked a site which gets less than 200K hits in the top 10K and a site which gets a million pageviews, as 14K???

And what is Alexa data based on? Alexa data is based on people who use the Alexa toolbar, so if people visit your website and do not use the Alexa toolbar, you are bound to have a lower ranking.

That aside, what is more baffling is that people take this market share information and use it for real purposes, to rank websites. Who in real knows how many users use a particular browser or how many users visit a website? (other than the website owner) Has anyone really come forward to be counted up? No. The same goes for every other type of company which tries to give out reports on market share.

There is no doubt that what data these individual companies present are accurate, however, I personally am starting to disagree on how it can be used as a tool to give views about the entire market in general. If several companies come together and have more than 50% of tracking in the world, that data would essentially be a real good criteria to base views on. Unless that happens, I would only look at that data and say, "Ok, this is good, but this is according to individual companies and not a market standard."

Somebody should sit up and say that we need market standards to generate the data for market share. I could think of W3C as a likely candidate for tracking browser market share in an anonymous way, at-least that would get rid of everyone jumping up and saying that this is the best browser in the world, according to "us".

Backup Opera Data and Settings with Opera Backup

If you are an user, here is a handy tool which will allow you to backup data and settings from Opera, and restore it at a later time.

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Opera Backup allows users to Backup bookmarks, blocked content, contacts, general settings, notes, site certificates, searches, speed dial settings, password manager data, Opera unite apps, dictionaries and more.

Techie Buzz Verdict

You can easily backup and restore data and settings for multiple Opera users. Backup works fluently and I was able to backup and restore the browser with relative ease.

If you are an Opera user, this is one tool that you should definitely download. Now, would it be asking much for a portable edition?

Note to author: Please change the completion audio to something less louder, or give users a choice to disable it.

Download Opera Backup

Chat on Skype without Installing Skype Client on Your PC

Skype is one of the most popular VOIP (Voice Over Internet Protocol) services. A   drawback in Skype is that it does not have an online client. You have to install a desktop client to chat with your buddies.Here is a simple tool that can help you overcome this drawback.

Imo.im is an online service that helps you to chat with your Skype buddies online. This service allows users to IM, talk and voice chat without actually installing Skype on the computer. Apart from Skype, this service has many more IM protocols such as MSN, Yahoo, Google Talk, AIM, My Space and Facebook.

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This service is very simple to use. All you need to do is, go to imo.im. Select the IM protocol you want to use. Enter the corresponding username and password. Start Chatting!

Features:

  1. The Whiteboard feature in this service lets you create drawings, diagrams and text documents in real-time with your friends online.
  2. You can upload and share your photos with your buddies on your list at [email protected] It provides about 2GB of free space.
  3. You can even create broadcasts about your service/ blog using its broadcast feature.
  4. Another feature that is worth to mention in this service is, you can log on to multiple accounts simultaneously. So you can chat with your Skype buddy while pinging your GTalk buddy.

Techie-Buzz Verdict

It is a very good service. It has really cool and simple interface. It does not have any messy ads unlike many other online services. It’ amazing features such as whiteboard and multiple account login provides this a plus point.

Techie-Buzz Rating: 4/5 (Very Good)

View Another User’s Timeline in Twitter.

has an option to view users profiles, however, in those you cannot see a user’s timeline and who is replying to them. However, a service called cTwittLike will allow you to see Twitter like someone else views it.

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For example, if I wanted to see the timeline as our update robot on twitter @techiebuzzer does, I just have to enter the username techiebuzzer and wait a few seconds to view twitter like I would do after logging in as @techiebuzzer.

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If you want to take the shortcut route, just load up the URL http://www.ctwittlike.net/username, to view the timeline like another user would, just replace the username with the name of the user you want to view the Twitter timeline as.

Google Internet Bus Travels to “God’s Own Country” Kerala

Google has initiated a unique way of educating the masses about Internet and its benefits, by visiting rural areas in India with the Google Internet Bus.

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Over the last 10 months, Google has travelled across 60 towns in 4 states to give many users a first-hand experience of the Internet, teaching them about search, email and more.

Now, Google’s Internet Bus has crossed into Kerala, which is a state which many people refer to as God’s Own Countryfor its scenic beauty. Google will use interactive content available in both English and Malayalam to teach the people, and also allow the people to map their cities in Kerala on Google Maps.

I find this initiative very helpful as Internet is the way to go, and no matter where you are, you should have this wonderful tool at your fingertips. With help from Google, farmers could easily lookup weather or find fertilizers and more information about better farming, this is just a use case, but the possibilities are immense.

Watch the Google Internet Bus in action in Kerala after the jump.

Use Your Old iPhone as a iPod Touch

Convert Old iPhone to iPod Touch

If you have an old iPhone lying around whose contract is over, or because you bought a newer version, you can continue using it as a iPod touch. Apple has put up a support article which lists out instructions to convert your iPhone to be used as an iPod Touch with Wi-Fi support only.

If you upgrade your iPhone to a newer model or cancel your wireless service account/tariff for your iPhone, it is possible to continue using your older iPhone without an active cellular service (using it with Wi-Fi only).

For older versions of iPhone (1G/2G), you will need to have the original SIM card, without which it would be useless. However, iPhone 3G and 3GS can use any SIM to activate the phone to be used as a iPod Touch.

So don’t throw away or sell that old iPhone yet, you can create a nice little gift for someone who has been longing to get a iPod Touch.

[via TUAW]

Google Maps India adds Landmarks for Driving Directions

Driving directions has always been part of Google Maps for countries such as US and UK, however, now India has got a superior navigation system for driving directions thanks to Google Maps India. This is pretty good news as India is made up of smaller lanes which are easy to miss, this in turn adds to driver woes.

Here is a screenshot of driving directions from my old house to my new house in Mumbai with focus on landmarks.

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Google Maps driving directions for India, focuses more on landmarks, which is usually how people get through from one place to another. For example, if I wanted my friend to come to my house, I would give my home address and add, next to Mangatram Petrol Pump, or near St Xaviers School. This in turn helps users to quickly find locations.

Google Maps provides users with directions based on popular landmarks like schools, petrol pumps, government offices and so on. This is really a good advancement and though Tom Tom system is still not required in India, a mobile phone with internet would suffice users to find directions with Google Maps.

Currently Google Maps for India only supports Driving directions, there is no support for walking directions and public transport directions, however, hopefully it should be added in future.

You will find more info about the new Landmarks in Driving directions at the Google India Blog.

Top 10 Services and Dictionaries to Look Up Words Online

Irrespective of whether English is your first language or not, there is certainly no damned way you could con all the words it has. Perhaps, no language can be learnt completely, for the simple fact that languages are always evolving. Munching all the words is the job of a dictionary, and technology makes accessing one super easy.

Why use dictionaries on the internet over physical, hardcopied ones? Well, the answer is simple. Dictionaries online are up-to-date, reflecting the latest inclusions and exclusions from the language. They are not heavy (well, literally). And yes, they can be accessed from something as small as a mobile phone with internet access.

There are several places on the internet where you can find word definitions. We’ll highlight the best ones in this list.

#1 Dictionary.reference.com

Dictionary.comPerhaps the most widely used dictionary online. The service pulls out all stops to be as feature rich as possible with a clean, easy to navigate layout (although with some ads!). When a word can mean many things, its several meanings are listed separately with definitions, synonyms, antonyms and example sentences. Each word also comes with an audio clip that speaks out the word, so pronunciation is also taken care of. The site includes several other features like a podcast, a word of the day service, cross word puzzles, word games and a sister thesaurus site.