Category Archives: Tips And Tricks

How to Easily Delete and Deactivate Gmail, Twitter, Facebook and Other Web Accounts

Creating an account online is easier than ever before thanks to multiple open-id providers like Google, Facebook, and Twitter. In most cases you don’t even have to provide a username and password, and even for the rare cases where you’re forced to type in all the details, there are automated tools like Lastpass and Keepass. However, things often get a lot more confusing and obscure when you want to do the reverse. Whether you just want to delete your data from the company’s servers because you no longer trust them or you want to break free from your past and start afresh, cleaning up your online identity is a lot harder than you might think.

Some services like Facebook have the account deletion link buried deep within their interface, while others like Skype don’t even offer an automated option. An annoyingly large number of services including Skype, Amazon, and Adobe force you to call or email them for deleting your account. Even worse, some web apps like Evernote don’t allow you to delete your account, and only offer a temporary deactivation after making you jump through several hoops. Manually figuring out how to delete dozens of accounts can be a painfully slow and laborious process. Thankfully, there are a couple of websites that can lend you a helping hand.

JustDelete

Just-Delete-Me-Direct-Link-to-Account-Deletion-Page
Just Delete Me – Home Page

JustDeleteMe is a directory of Account Deletion/De-activation page of various web services. It categorizes all entries into four buckets (Easy, Medium, Hard, and Impossible) based on how easy it is to delete your account. Often, it also has a brief snippet or a note about the account you’re trying to delete. JustDeleteMe also provides a Chrome extension, which adds a color-coded dot to the omnibar whenever you visit a website that’s in the database. The dot indicates how easy it is to delete your account on the website, and clicking on it directly takes you to the account deletion page.

AccountKiller

Account-Killer-How-To-Delete-Online-Accounts
Account Killer – Home Page

AccountKiller isn’t as pretty as JustDelete, and doesn’t have a browser extension. However, it does seem to have a bigger database. AccountKiller classifies websites into White, Grey, and Black categories depending upon the ease of account deletion or deactivation. It also provide a bookmarklet called SiteCheck. Clicking on this bookmarklet makes a bar appear at the top of your screen, which indicates which category the website that you’re currently surfing belongs to.

Account-Killer-How-To-Delete-Accounts-Guide
Account Killer – Step by Step Instructions

If you are looking to clean-up your online profile, then another web app that you might find handy is KnowEm. This website has over 500 services in its database, and when provided with a username, it instantly lets you know which services that username has been registered on.

Save Ink, Paper, and Money by Cleaning-Up What You Print

Taking printouts of webpages can be an insanely wasteful exercise. Even though you might be only interested in a snippet of text, you can end up being forced to print everything including pictures and advertisements. Thankfully, there are a few nifty tools which can clean-up the content before you send it to the printer. By using these tools not only will you be able to cut down your printing costs, but you’ll also be responsible for fewer dead trees.

PrintWhatYouLike

This is my favourite tool since it allows me to manually select and retain the sections of the web page that I’m interested in. I can scroll through a page, delete elements I don’t want, and even tweak the appearance by changing color, width, and fonts. There’s also an AutoFormat option, but that can produce unexpected results. Thankfully, there’s also an Undo button to quickly revert any unwanted changes. Another handy option is the “Next Page” button, which leverages the PageZipper tool.

PrintWhatYouLike

[ Install PrintWhatYouLike ]

PrintFriendly and CleanPrint

If you prefer something more automated, you can use either PrintFriendly or CleanPrint. I prefer PrintWhatYouLike because automated tools can often go wrong. However, for most web pages, these tools will work well enough. CleanPrint is available as a browser extension for Internet Explorer, Firefox, Safari, and Chrome. PrintFriendly is available as a web service, as a bookmarklet, and as Chrome and Firefox extensions.

PrintFriendly

CleanPrint


[ Download PrintFriendly and CleanPrint ]

priPrinter

This tool is likely to be an overkill for most people; however, if printing websites and documents is something that you do on a daily basis, then priPrinter might be worth exploring. This utility installs itself as a Printer driver, and allows you to preview and edit absolutely anything you print on your system. priPrinter has a strikingly feature packed document editor that allows you to reformat your data and remove unnecessary elements. It also comes with an ink saving mode, and can further save costs by printing multiple pages on a single sheet of paper. And if you are still not satisfied, this tool has its own scripting language, with which you can create buttons with custom actions, automate repetitive tasks, make custom layout or even automatically change pages before print preview.

priPrinter

[ Download priPrinter ]

3 Free Windows Utilities to Reclaim Disk Space and Boost System Performance

Hard disk prices have plummeted over the years, and within a remarkably short span of time we’ve progressed from talking about storage space in gigabytes to terabytes. Recovering every little megabyte of disk space from the operating system is no longer as crucial as it might have been a few years back. Nevertheless, it still makes sense from a performance point of view to give your system a little spring cleaning. Of course, if you have shelled out the big bucks to get a Solid State Disk, disk space might still be a scarce resource for you. SSDs are now more affordable than ever before, but still expensive enough for storage space to be a constraint. Here are three free utilities to help you remove junk from your system.

CCleaner

There are plenty of junk cleaners, but CCleaner is probably the most popular and trusted one. I’m not going to dwell a lot on this tool, because chances are that you already know about it. Piriform CCleaner cleans up temp files, junk files, log files, memory dumps, and other unnecessary system files as well as temporary files left behind by third party apps. It supports over a dozen third party applications including Adobe Acrobat, WinRAR, Nero, Microsoft Office, and all popular browsers (Internet Explorer, Firefox, Chrome, Safari, Flock, Rockmelt, Maxthon, Avant, and more).

CCleaner-Windows

[ Download CCleaner ]

DiskMax

DiskMax is another disk clean-up tool. I reserve this for the times when I’m really short on space. It cleans up stuff that CCleaner leaves behind. They say that with more power comes responsibility, and that’s definitely applicable for DiskMax. The Detailed Scan deletes unused hibernation and page files, Microsoft Office installer cache, logs, .sav files, memory dumps, windows update backups, and more. If you want to reclaim even more space, it even offers a Deep Scan mode which cleans up files based on extension from all folders. However, I would advise against employing Deep Scan unless absolutely necessary. Even without Deep Scan I often end up reclaiming several gigabytes of storage space with DiskMax. You can find an earlier review here.

DiskMax

[ Download DiskMax]

Should I Remove It

If the sheer number of installed apps overwhelm you, then this tool is for you. It identifies and highlights apps that you can and should remove from your system. It lists all installed apps along with an average user rating and the percent of users that have decided to remove it. This can be really handy in identifying crapware, malware, and even apps that are just not very good or necessary. There’s also a “What is it?” button which opens up a webpage with more detailed information about a program, including the features offered by it and the risks presented. Here’s a sample information page. ‘Should I Remove It’ also supports real time monitoring. Once enabled, it will quietly run in the background, and alert you as soon as you try to install an app with a low rating.

Should-I-Remove-It

[ Download Should I Remove It]

Keep Tabs on Your Online Spending with SlowPal

PayPal might not be the most loved online payment processor, but it’s still the biggest. And that means that if you buy a lot of stuff online, it’s kind of hard to avoid.

One of the many pain points of PayPal is its transaction log. PayPal’s transaction reporting system is better than my bank’s, but that’s not saying much. Its sluggishness coupled with the lack of meaningful filters makes it a major annoyance for frequent PayPal users. This is where a new web service called SlowPal comes in.

SlowPal pitches itself as a tool to free your PayPal account from reporting hell. It indexes your PayPal transaction logs and presents them in a clean and smart interface. It supports filtering based on transaction types (Authorization, Currency Conversion, Donation, Payment, Refund etc.), transaction status, and currency, in addition to date. Perhaps most crucially, SlowPal makes your transaction log completely searchable.

SlowPal

SlowPal might not be useful to all customers, since anyone but heavy PayPal users are unlikely to feel the need to analyze their PayPal spending in detail. However, it’s going to be a boon for merchants who typically process hundreds and thousands of transactions every day and have a pressing need to keep an eye on their transaction logs.

Right now SlowPal’s biggest shortcoming is that it doesn’t feature any graphical analysis. Since, its focus is on reporting, graphs and trend reports are two features that should be no brainers. Nevertheless, SlowPal is still a large improvement over PayPal’s transaction log. PayPal users will no longer have to take the trouble of manually exporting logs into Excel to perform the simplest of analysis.

[ Visit SlowPal ]

Tip: Skip Skydrive Initial Sync when Installing It on a New PC

Did you buy a new PC recently? Perhaps you are hopping on the Windows 8 bandwagon and have got yourself a new touchscreen PC? Do you use SkyDrive, and more specifically the SkyDrive (desktop) application? Do you have a PC with sync-ed SkyDrive application and a USB drive? Read on for a tip that may save you time and money.

Ed: I explain the following for a Windows PC, but it should be applicable for Macs as well.

If you use the SkyDrive service and have a lot of data stored there, you will notice it will take a lot of time to complete the initial sync when you install it on a new PC. Not just that, if you have 10-15GB of data stored there like I do, it will also chew up your data quota very quickly which would be a problem on networks with data caps.

I was recently in that position and I did the following to bypass the initial sync. Hope this helps.

Install the SkyDrive desktop app on the new PC: As usual, just go to SkyDrive.com and get the desktop app and installed it. Make a note of the designated SkyDrive folder. This is usually C:\Users\<username>\SkyDrive.

SkyDrive folder
SkyDrive folder

 

As soon as the installation completes, go to the system tray and exit the SkyDrive app by right-clicking and clicking Exit.

Exit SkyDrive application
Exit SkyDrive application

 

Then, on the other PC/Mac with sync-ed SkyDrive app, insert the USB drive and copy the contents of the entire folder except the “.lock” file to the USB drive.

After the copy task completes, attach the USB drive to the new PC and copy the entire contents from the USB drive to the newly installed SkyDrive folder location.

Once that copy task is done, you can restart SkyDrive app on the new PC by going to Start and entering “SkyDrive”. The application will take a few seconds to sync up and will notify you that it is up to date.

That’s it. Time as well as precious bandwidth saved.

 

Self Refilling Ink In Printer Cartridges

Inkjet printers, are rather common in households and small scale offices. These printers are cheap because the technology used in them is cheap — ink spraying. There are cartridges filled with ink and an electrical circuit to control which pores are opened and which are not. And it generates the characters and images on the paper.

Why you should refill ink in the cartridges yourself?

Because, it’s cheaper, and you do it properly. A lot of shops can be found offering cartridge refilling services, but they charge like $1 or more for refilling a cartridge and don’t do it properly. I’ve often had to buy new cartridges due them filling poor quality ink and choking or spoiling the electrical circuits.

The refill kit is available for around $10 and half a litre of black ink costs around the same, $10. So if you calculate, you can refill the cartridge 50 times (assuming each refill takes 10mL) and the cost per refill comes out to be $0.4, including the equipment cost as well. If you don’t include that, then it’s $0.2. Very cheap!

Refilling cartridges may void warranty of your printer, so you better check with manufacturer’s terms before attempting this.

For the environment enthusiasts, I would like to point out that refilling cartridges is environment friendly — because every time you buy a new cartridge, the product has gone through various industrial processes, new plastic is used, etc. Also, when you dump your old cartridge in garbage, it simply goes into dumping grounds and as you might be knowing, plastic takes ages to decay, so why not recycle it?

As of writing this, I myself have refilled my printer’s black cartridge about 5 times, which means I saved $15 * 5 – $20 = $55.

Some printers have detachable print heads and others have non-detachable print heads. In printers with detachable print heads, the electrical circuits to control pores along with the ink supply are enclosed in one single detachable part (that’s why detachable head). In printers with non-detachable heads, the electrical circuits to control pores are fixed with the printer, while the ink supply is a different unit and can be replaced.

If you have a printer with a non-detachable print head, make sure that you buy good quality ink, otherwise the pores could get blocked and would cost you a lot to get it repaired. You should be concerned about the ink quality even with detachable print heads, because the print heads cost around $12 or above, depending on the quantity of ink, the make, and other factors. You don’t want to spend on new cartridges because the pores got choked due to bad quality ink, do you? But in general, if you have a printer with a detachable print head, you’re on a safer side, in the sense that you can buy a new original cartridge if for some reason the one you’re using gets choked.

Enough of discussion about print heads and stuff, now let’s come to the point — how do you refill the cartridges?

In this article I’ll be covering the refill process only for detachable heads due to certain limitations, which should give you an idea about refilling non-detachable heads as well. It’s quite simple, there are holes provided to inject ink into the cartridge. The photo below is of a HP 21 cartridge (black). The top sticker has been removed and you can clearly see the hole.

Color cartridges have three holes instead of one, because they contain inks of three different colors – Cyan, Magenta and Yellow. If you want to refill color cartridges, you have to buy inks of all three colors separately. To refill the cartridge, you simply need a syringe, a needle and a bottle of ink. Yes, that’s it! But, as I stated earlier, refill kits are available, which do a much better job. They come with a syringe and a blunt needle, so that you don’t inject ink into yourself! Also, a case (box) to carry out the process so that spilling does not occur. Below is a photo of the ink refill kit I bought from eBay.

The process is very simple. You fill the syringe with ink and then inject it very slowly into the cartridge. If you bought a refill kit, then follow the kit’s instructions.

That’s all, enjoy refilling and saving the money as well the environment :)

Tips and Tricks: Clear Up the Clutter With Outlook.com

Microsoft has been touting its new take on an old service, Outlook.com. Basically, they are offering a preview of what will eventually take the place of Hotmail.com. Most of the changes so far are cosmetic however, there are a few features worth noting. Today, I want to show you how you can keep your inbox clutter free using some of Outlook.com’s cleanup features.

If you’re like me, you like to subscribe to blogs and newsletters in the hopes that *someday* you’ll get to read all of them. For me, that someday usually never comes. I usually end up with a cluttered mess in my inbox. Outlook.com has a really simple way to help you manage the newsletters. In the screenshot below, you can see where I’ve highlighted a couple of options that Outlook.com adds to your messages. Outlook.com can help you unsubscribe to unwanted mailings or it can schedule an automatic cleanup.

Cleanup Options

If you click on “unsubscribe” you will get something similar to the screenshot pictured below.

Block Message

In this particular instance, Outlook.com doesn’t recognize any unsubscribe information from the sender so it offers to block everything from this sender. Outlook.com will also delete everything from this sender to help you clean up space in your inbox. In my case, this seemed a little extreme so I clicked out of this box and chose the other option which is “schedule automatic cleanup”.

Pictured below, you can see the “Schedule Cleanup” window. You have a few options here. In my case, I really only needed to see the most recent message so I chose to “only keep the latest message from this sender”. Notice though, that you can choose to delete messages that are a certain amount of days old or you can move messages that are a certain amount of days old into a folder. Be careful with the last box on the bottom. It says “Do this for everything in the Newsletters category”. This means any message that Outlook.com recognizes as a newsletter, it will perform this same action from here on out. Use this with caution.

Schedule Automatic Cleanup

I hope this tip will help you keep your inbox clutter free and help you focus on the messages that are the most important to you. Keep coming back as we will certainly be doing more tips as Outlook.com rolls out new features.

Make Google+ Look Like Pinterest

Social photo-sharing and bookmarking website Pinterest has become quite a rage. Just last month, it overtook Google Plus to become the third most popular social network (behind Facebook and Twitter). Much of the success of Pinterest can be attributed to it’s simple but intuitive user interface (UI). Now, by using a simple userscript, you can skin your Google Plus stream to look like Pinterest.

Pinterest UI for Google+ is currently only available as a Greasemonkey script for Firefox; however, Chrome support is on its way. The script reformats Google+ into a multi-column grid layout ala Pinterest. It is designed for screen resolutions larger than 1024×768. On smaller screens, the script will automatically disable itself. The layout is completely fluid and adjusts to the resolution and browser window size. The new Google+ layout received a lot of flak for wasting enormous amounts of screen real-estate. This script solves that issue by making use of the entire screen width. It ensures that there is always at least three columns. When your screen is not wide enough, the posts are “compressed” into a smaller size to fit the screen width. Here’s how my stream looks with the Pinterest UI installed.

Google-Plus-Pinterest

One of Google Plus’ strong points it is media integration. Large thumbnails, tight coupling with YouTube, and support for GIF animations lends it an edge over Facebook. As a result, pictures and videos often constitute a sizable portion of the Google+ activity stream. Pinterest interface for Google+ is ideally suited for circles in which a lot of media is being shared. It’s a bit messy for sure, but it also has its own advantages.

[ Download Pinterest UI for Google+ Greasemonkey Script ]

Gmelius Extension for Firefox, Chrome and Opera Makes the New Gmail a Bit More Usable

Beginning this week, Google is forcing Gmail users to switch to the new interface. While the new interface looks slick and modern, it suffers from numerous poor design choices that have users up in arms. Some of the issues are fixable with a few settings tweaks. For example, you can use the compact, high-contrast theme to reduce the wastage of space and enhance readability. But for others, there is seemingly no cure.

Thankfully, few users are taking up the challenge themselves, and are trying to make the new Gmail more intuitive through extensions and userstyles. Among the better attempts is Gmelius, which is a free, cross-browser compatible extension that tweaks and refines the new Gmail interface.

Here’s a quick rundown of some of the stuff that Gmelius does:

  • It reclaims space by collapsing the Search and Share bar, stripping away the footer, and removing the People widget. Gmelius can also be configured to block all advertisements.
  • It enhances the appearance of Gmail by adding subtle row highlights, and disabling fancy fonts and colors in incoming mails.
  • It makes navigation more intuitive by colorizing the navigation icons and supplementing them with text.
  • It adds an auto-scroll to the top action that can be triggered by clicking on the black Google bar.

Gmelius

Gmelius Gmelius is dead simple to configure, and the tweaks it offers go a long way towards enhancing the new Gmail interface. The new navigations icons drove me nuts for weeks, and even after using the new interface for a several months, I still get confused occasionally. I only wish that I had discovered Gmelius sooner. There’s undoubtedly a lot more stuff that Gmelius could do. For example, it could bring back the reply links beneath every message or re-enable color coding of conversations. However, Gmelius already does enough for me to encourage you to go ahead and install it. It’s currently available for Chrome, Firefox & Opera.

[ Download Gmelius ]

How to Enable the New Google Bar in Chrome, Opera, Firefox and Internet Explorer

Yesterday, I mentioned that Google is in the process of replacing the black navigation bar with a more intuitive and smart Google bar. This new Google bar is being rolled out in a phased manner. Google promised to roll it out to most users by this weekend. However, if you can not wait, there is a very simple hack that can help you in getting your hands on the new Google interface.

Google-Bar-Hack

The hack works in all browsers that support cookie editing. As far as I know, Opera is the only one to provide this feature out of the box. Here are the steps Opera users need to follow to edit cookies.

  • Open www.google.com (or any other Google property).
  • Right click on any empty spot in the page and select Edit Site Preferences.
  • Navigate to the Cookies tab.
  • Opera users also need to perform the additional task of masking browser agent as Firefox (from the Network tab), since Google unfairly blocks Opera from having access to the new navigation bar.

Firefox, and Chrome users can use Cookies Manager+ and Edit This Cookie extensions respectively. Once you have figured out how to edit cookies in your browser, change the following cookies to the specified values and refresh the page to see the new Google Bar in action.

    Google-Bar-Hack-Step1

  • Cookie Name: PREF Value: ID=c72428966817e8fe:U=0247a1d2e28446ef:FF=0:LD=en:CR=2:TM=1322682576:LM=1322682591:S=T5G5rNwHMa3DgMyR
  • Google-Bar-Hack-Step2

  • Cookie Name: NID Value: 53=V2nPJ9pLZAt-hYsRLus7W3U4dlBY8HoXbAWgvVeTwg31Our1k1bgCphflivpX21wsKVV3K62La_Qo9qWr-CvRz__HppNYqCjFf03JsFz81zcc0TLXT6I0Kj9LlE_AcsA

If you want to do this without using any extension, you use the alternate method specified below. First you will need to open your browser’s developer console. Fire up Opera Dragonfly (Ctrl+Shift+I), Firefox Web Console (Ctrl+Shift+K), Internet Explorer Developer Tools (F12), or Chrome JavaScript console (Ctrl+Shift+J), and type the following code into the console.
document.cookie=”PREF=ID=03fd476a699d6487:U=88e8716486ff1e5d:FF=0:LD=en:CR=2:TM=1322688084:LM=1322688085:S=McEsyvcXKMiVfGds; path=/; domain=.google.com”;window.location.reload();

Ensure that the domain value correctly represents the page that you are currently surfing (example domain=mail.google.com for Gmail). Refresh the page to see the new navigation bar in action.

via PureInfoTech and GoogleSystem