200,000 Students a Month: Learning Science and Math on YouTube

salman-khan Sometime last month, Shankar posted a tweet about the Khan Academy. Have you ever heard of it? I followed the link and learned about Salman Khan, a man who gave up a successful career in Silicon Valley to teach people using Youtube videos. He’s posted over 1200 videos covering everything from basic arithmetic and algebra to differential equations, physics, chemistry, biology and finance.

Why does Khan do it? He’s not in it for the money. According to a recent interview, Khan said You know, I think I’ve always enjoyed teaching.

I believe him. His videos are not the dry lectures you’d expect from a geek. His enthusiasm shines through in the 10 to 20 minute videos. Here’s a video overview of the academy:

Link to this video at Youtube

When talking about his teaching style, he says:

I teach the way that I wish I was taught. The lectures are coming from me, an actual human being who is fascinated by the world around him. The concepts are conveyed as they are understood by me, not as they are written in a textbook developed by an educational bureaucracy. Viewers know that it is the labor of love of one somewhat quirky and determined man who has a passion for learning and teaching. I don’t think any corporate or governmental effort–regardless of how much money is thrown at the problem–can reproduce this.

Students all over the world are viewing Khan’s videos and are finding that they are learning previously difficult subjects much more easily now.

To find out more, visit the Khan Academy website.

Free Images for Use in Your Website or Blog – MorgueFile

camera-generic Despite the name of the site, MorgueFile has hundreds of free photos and they don’t have anything to do with death. According to the site:

Free images for your inspiration, reference and use in your creative work, be it commercial or not!

You are free:

Remix — to adapt the work.
Commercial — to use this work for commercial purposes.
Without Attribution — to use without attributing the original author.

This collection of photos was started in 1996 by Michael Connors, a multi-media artist in NYC. Michael, his brother Kevin, and a friend named Johannes have continued to manage the site since then. They accept photos and images from anyone who wants to contribute them. So if you have some unique photos or images you want to show off, just sign up to upload them.

The photos and images are indexed and tagged so that you can find what you are looking for. When you type in a keyword to search for specific types of images, you’ll get a nice looking page of thumbnails as shown here.


You’ll be to open any image by clicking on it. In addition, there’s also a tab showing Dreamstime images, but keep in mind that those images may not be free. If you are only interested in free images, don’t bother opening up the Dreamstime tab.

If you can’t find what you are looking for at MorgueFile, be sure to check out PicFindr,    stock photo search engines or the open clipart library.

Play Google Pacman Whenever You Want

pacman_yet_another__paul_01 A few days ago, Google featured a new Doodle on their search page to celebrate the 30 year birthday of Pacman. Unlike other Google Doodles, this one was actually a real game that you could play right on the search page.

Lots of people enjoyed playing the game and lots more people were annoyed at the game sounds that played when the page loaded. Those who enjoyed playing the game might have been disappointed to see that it is now gone from the Google search page.

Earlier today, I saw a post by Shankar Ganesh which told me how I could download a copy of the Google Pacman page. I wasn’t satisfied with a downloaded copy and I decided to look around for the original page and after a few minutes, I found it.

The new permanent home for Google’s Pacman is:


Now there’s no need to download a copy of it. All you have to do is bookmark the page. You can even set this page as your default search engine if you really enjoy it.

If you still want to download a copy of this game, just go to the link above and use the Save Asmenu in your web browser to save a copy of the page.

Here are three tips for playing the game:

  • It can now be muted by clicking the sound icon on the left corner of the game board.
  • You can play a two player game by clicking the Insert Coinbutton under the search box.
  • You can easily resize the game by holding down a CTRL key and scrolling your mouse wheel.

Many people think that this is the best Google Doodle ever made. What do you think?

Clouds and Sky Make Great Screensavers

[Windows Only] The folks at NewFreeScreensavers posted a letter to me the other day. They’ve released a few new screensavers that I thought you might like to see. Here’s what the letter said:

Today Newfreescreensavers.com offer you ten more new free screensavers. Now there are more Nature free screensavers (waterfalls, sky, clouds) on our website. Some waterfall free screensavers are designed for HD monitors and from my point of view look fabulous. All new nature free screensavers will create a relaxing atmosphere and will decorate your monitor when it is idle. For those who prefer life in a city Newfreescreensavers.com has released a screensaver called Night. Download Night screensaver and enjoy the lights of a night city life.

Unlike the screensavers at a few other free sites, I’ve always found these to be completely free from ads and other junk that you don’t want. Below are screenshots of my favorite two screensavers from this latest batch.

NFS Clouds This one has a rapidly changing scene with clouds and sunlight rolling across a pastoral setting.


NFS Sky This one makes you feel like you are riding on the nose of a jet as the clouds fly by you.


Here is a screenshot of the web page showing some of the most recent screensavers available.



Use this link to see the latest screensavers.

Techie Buzz Verdict:

Although the screensavers at this site may be simple, they are almost always beautiful and unique. You won’t have any trouble installing or using them.

Techie Buzz Rating: 4/5 (Excellent)

Call Drop.io and Create a Public Voicemail as MP3

phone-msg-2-mp3 There are many file sharing services out there. Many offer simple free file hosting, however, I don’t know of any that offer as many ways to share files and share ideas as the Drop.io service. I recently received a letter from them that mentioned a cool feature I wasn’t aware of. Here’s the letter:

Few know this, but it’s easy (not to mention useful) to record a voicemail inside a drop.

Here’s how:
1. Start a ‘drop’ with 1-click
2. Inside the drop, hit the button that says ‘create a free number’
3. Call that number and leave a voice message
… that’s it! The message will automatically become an mp3.

Reporters use this function as an easy way to record interviews on-the-ground and podcasters use it for their shows. We like to leave personal greetings on drops filled with photos for our friends and family.

Check out the voicemail we left for you – and leave us a message in return.

I can think of several other ways to use a public (or private) online voice mail. There are many other useful Drop.io features you might want to check out. Here’s short video about them:

Here are a few of our previous posts about the Drop.io site and services:

1. Drop.io Extension For Google Chrome

2. Drop.io | A File Sharing Program, which is more than just RapidShare

3. Send 100MB Attachments With Yahoo Mail

4. Drop.io, A Service To Privately Share Your Files

5. Drop.io Extension For Google Chrome

Be sure to let us know if you have some new ideas how to use this or any other file sharing service.

Vodafone Brings Songs For Mumbaikars For Just Re.1

Vodafone Free Music DOwnloadLooks like Vodafone is on a long run for pleasing it’s customers to any extent. We have already told you about Vodafone launching an App Store in India and Vodafone’s new customer support on Twitter. Now Vodafone has launched an unique scheme by which Vodafone subscribers can now enjoy latest music content on their phones almost for free.

This exclusive music download service is accessible on your GPRS mobile phone via Vodafone Live (Available to Vodafone customers). Songs are available in various categories such as Bhajans, Ghazals, New Age, current and more external hits. Customers will be charged Re.1 Per song download. But only 5 songs can be downloaded on one day. All your customisations will be saved on the Vodafone Live website for you to download later.

This service can be accessed by sending an SMS message LIVE to 111. The catch is this service is currently available to only the prepaid and postpaid subscribers of Mumbai however we may expect this service to be launched in other cities soon.

Image Via CellBharat

Set and Create Time Zones with Zone Manager

clock-002 Have you ever heard of Karen’s Power Tools? Karen Kenworthy is a Visual Basic programmer and she offers most of the programs she writes for free at her website, KarenWare.com. Karen also occasionally sends out a newsletter featuring one of the tools she’s recently worked on. This time her newsletter featured a tool named Zone Manager.

Zone Manager let’s you quickly control and set new time zones in Windows. You can create a desktop shortcut to any time zone, so that you can switch between zones with a double-click of your mouse. You can also create your own custom time zones and enable or disable Daylight Saving Time. In addition, Zone Manager can synchronize your PC clock to one of the super accurate Internet Time Servers.

Why would you need it? Let’s say that I’m hopping on a jet from New York to India. While I’m on the way there, I may stop in Europe or Arabia. If I know my route ahead of time, I can create desktop shortcuts that quickly change my PC’s time zones. A double click and I’ve changed from one time zone to another. I’ll have the local time set even before I hit the terminal.

You can find out more about Zone Manager in Karen’s most recent Newsletter.

Here’s what it looks like.


Here you can see that I’ve made a time zone named Twilight Zone.


Download Karen’s Zone Manager

The source code for many of the programs at Karen’s site is available for download. That means you can customize these programs or use the code as a learning resource.

Once I asked Karen about making one of these program portable, so that it could run from a flash drive. I didn’t get an answer, but I’ve figured it out on my own. If you want to use any of Karen’s Power Tools on a flash drive, follow these steps.

1. Download and install the Power Tool. (note step 4 before you finish installing)

2. Go to the Program folder for that program and copy it to your portable drive. Example path: C:\Program Files\Karen’s Power Tools

3. Since Karen’s tools need the Visual Basic runtime files, you need to copy these into the portable drive folder you created in step 2. If you don’t have VB6 runtime support installed, you can get it here. Here are the files you will need, they are usually located in the C:\Windows\System32 folder.


4. There may also be some OCX files you’ll need. When you install a Power Tool, it will display all of the files it needs in it’s installation window just as it finishes. Once again, these are usually located in the System32 folder.

Here are some more of Karen’s Power Tools, just in case you are curious:

Replicator – http://www.karenware.com/powertools/ptreplicator.asp
Countdown Timer II – http://www.karenware.com/powertools/ptcount2.asp
Directory Printer – http://www.karenware.com/powertools/ptdirprn.asp
Computer Profiler – http://www.karenware.com/powertools/ptprofiler.asp
Show Stopper – http://www.karenware.com/powertools/ptstopper.asp
WhoIs – http://www.karenware.com/powertools/ptwhois.asp
URL Discombobulator – http://www.karenware.com/powertools/ptlookup.asp
Calculator – http://www.karenware.com/powertools/ptcalc.asp
Once-A-Day II – http://www.karenware.com/powertools/ptoad.asp
Hasher – http://www.karenware.com/powertools/pthasher.asp
‘Net Monitor – http://www.karenware.com/powertools/ptnetmon.asp
Cookie Viewer – http://www.karenware.com/powertools/ptcookie.asp
Zone Manager – http://www.karenware.com/powertools/ptzone.asp
Print Logger – http://www.karenware.com/powertools/ptprnlog.asp
E-Mailer II – http://www.karenware.com/powertools/ptmailer2.asp
Disk Slack Checker – http://www.karenware.com/powertools/ptslack.asp
Drive Info – http://www.karenware.com/powertools/ptdinfo.asp
Time Sync – http://www.karenware.com/powertools/ptsync.asp
LAN Monitor – http://www.karenware.com/powertools/ptlanmon.asp
Window Watcher – http://www.karenware.com/powertools/ptwinwatch.asp
Recycler – http://www.karenware.com/powertools/ptrecycler.asp
Alarm Clock – http://www.karenware.com/powertools/ptalarm.asp
Font Explorer – http://www.karenware.com/powertools/ptfonts.asp
Power Toy – http://www.karenware.com/powertools/pttoy.asp
Time Cop – http://www.karenware.com/powertools/pttimecop.asp
Mailer – http://www.karenware.com/powertools/ptmailer.asp
Version Browser – http://www.karenware.com/powertools/ptbrowse.asp
Autorun.inf Editor – http://www.karenware.com/powertools/ptautorun.asp
Registry Pruner – http://www.karenware.com/powertools/ptpruner.asp
Registry Ripper – http://www.karenware.com/powertools/ptregrip.asp
Snooper – http://www.karenware.com/powertools/ptsnoop.asp
Clipboard Viewer – http://www.karenware.com/powertools/ptclpvue.asp

Techie Buzz Verdict:

Zone Manager is one of many very good tools from Karen that I’ve used over the years. It offers a unique set of features you aren’t likely to find anywhere else. I like the fact that it’s not only free, but that the source code is also offered for free.

Techie Buzz Rating: 3/5 (Good)

Free GPS on Your Laptop – Geosense for Windows

I have a GPS unit to keep me from getting lost while I’m driving, but it doesn’t hook up to my computer. If I wanted to use geolocation applications to show online friends where I was at the moment, I couldn’t do it.   Until now ….

Sathya Bhat sent me an email yesterday telling me about a new geo-location solution. Two crazy programmers named Long Zeng and Rafael Rivera have created a program that identifies where you are by using either your IP address, or Wifi triangulation. The application is called Geosense for Windows, but, it only works in Windows 7. Apparently Windows 7 has a built in location sensing API that nobody else is taking advantage of yet.

Here’s how to set it up:

First, go to the home page and download Geosense and install it.

To enable Geosense, go to your Start Menu and type location(without quotes) into the search box. Then click on Enable location and other sensors.


Next place a check-mark in the check-box to enable Geosense.


Once you’ve clicked Apply, you won’t notice anything new. However, you’ll find that any location aware application you run, will now automatically know where you are.

The Geosense website offers a nice Google Maps test application to try out. You can also run the Windows Weather Gadget to find your local weather. Here you can see both of these running on my laptop.


They also mention that there’s a Twitter application called MahTweets which can grab the location and put it into your tweets.

Here’s the Geosense homepage: Check it out.

Techie Buzz Verdict:

Geosense is not going to be able to replace my car’s GPS unit, but if I’m on the road, at least I’ll know about where I am, even when I’m away from the car. I did notice that it was only able to give an approximate location, within half a kilometer, so it’s not perfect. It’s a free app that makes excellent use of a previously hidden feature in Windows 7. I love it.


Techie Buzz Rating: 4/5 (Excellent)

Backup Your Device Drivers with Double Driver

IN A WINDOWS PC, the drivers are some of the most important files you need to keep everything working as it should. The drivers control all of the hardware devices in your PC. So when they don’t work, your display, or sound, or CD/DVD drives, or networking cards may not be working.

Usually, this happens when you are setting up a new PC that you don’t have the original install disks for. I’ve had it happen many times and the only solution is to search the internet for the correct drivers, then install them.

If you have all of your required drivers, re-installing Windows will most likely be a trouble free experience. The best place to get the drivers is off of the PC that’s going to need them. Over the years, I’ve gotten a little smarter. After a successful install of Windows, one of the first things I do is back up all of the system drivers someplace safe. I’ve found one of the best ways to do this is to use a driver backup utility.

double-driver-icon Double Driver is a good freeware driver backup solution. It’s not a large download and it’s also a portable application, meaning, you can take the program with you on a flash card or USB drive. There’s no need to install it since it will run right from the portable drive.


Installation is easy. Download the zip file, extract it to a folder, then double click the dd.exe file to start Double Driver.

Once it’s running, click the Scan button to make Double Driver scan your PC for all of the driver files.

By default, the drivers you need to back up will already be selected. However, it never hurts to back them all up. You can select all of the drivers from the Select menu.


Once you’ve selected all the drivers you wish to back up, then you only need to hit the Backup button to start the process. You’ll have an option to change the backup settings at this point.


The default options are fine unless you need to compress the files because of limited space in your backup location. The default option to Include Double Driveris a bonus that’s worthy of praise. After all, it’s likely you’ll only need to restore the drivers to a system which doesn’t already have Double Driver on it.

Restoring the drivers on a PC is also very easy. Navigate to the folder where you have the backup drivers stored, then double click the dd.exe file.


Once Double Driver is running, hit the Restore button and you’ll see your drivers listed, selected, and ready for you to hit the Restore button once again.

Download Double Driver

Techie Buzz Verdict:

Double Driver meets almost every good point that I use to judge software. It’s freeware, portable, useful, easy to use, bug free and runs on most versions of Windows. I have no problem recommending it as a must have.


Techie Buzz Rating: 4/5 (Excellent)

Learn to Program with Microsoft Small Basic

This is what my first computer looked like. It was a Xerox Sigma, if I recall correctly, and it took up an entire room at the college I was attending.


I learned how to program this machine in 1977. The college course I took was for a language called Fortran. The next year, I fell in love with Basic, and I’ve used it on and off ever since then. Basic is one of the easiest languages to learn, and I actually learned it from an instructional program on that huge computer. The name is an acronym for   Beginner’s All-purpose Symbolic Instruction Code.

Microsoft wants you to learn Basic, and they’ve made it as easy as possible with the recent release of Small Basic. They have a PDF beginner’s guide that walks you through Basic programming step by step. Here’s what Small Basic looks like:


The first thing that struck me was that this program gives all kinds of help while you are typing in the editor window. If you aren’t sure how to finish a command, you can scroll through the pop-up to see what your options and arguments should be. When you click on a command or object word, the sidebar tells you all about it.

Here’s a video showing your first steps:

Small Basic isn’t the only free programming suite that Microsoft offers. A few years ago, they made three of them available. Here’s the quick list:

The Visual Basic suite is the big brother to Small Basic. If you have it installed, you can even convert your Small Basic programs into Visual Basic so that you can create executable files.

Small Basic is definitely the best way to start if you’ve never tried programming. Once you have it under control, you’ll be ready to move to the other three I’ve listed.

Download Small Basic

Techie Buzz Verdict:

Microsoft Small Basic is one of the easiest programming tools I’ve tried. If you’ve ever considered learning to program a computer, you won’t find an easier way to learn. The instructional PDF file that’s provided, teaches you step by step. Even a cave man could do it.


Techie Buzz Rating: 4/5 (Excellent)