Bisaya Bloggers » Free services

Feb 01 2008

Watch your favorite TV shows/series and movies online for FREE!

A friend recommended Gossip Girl, a not-so-new TV series (it was started some time in October 2007) from CTV. The story is concentrated around the life of a group of privileged teenagers who attend an elite private school in New York City, based on a popular book series of the same title.

She bought a DVD (a pirated one :p) but won’t let me borrow it yet always makes it sound that it’s the best series in the world (for people who love teen flicks and college-life series), enough to strike curiosity about the show. So I have to resort to online viewing. Good thing I have PLDT as my ISP because I don’t have to wait for the clip to load.

I had a hard time looking for websites that will let me view the whole episodes for Season 1. YouTube only has clips of some episodes because of copyright issues. I stumbled over good sites like Sidereel, TV Live Shows, and FREE TV Online I’m glad I also found some of my favorite TV series like Grey’s Anatomy, House MD, and Smallville. A good number of movies could also be found.
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Jan 28 2008

Win 1 domain name + 1GB cPanel hosting for 1 year!

Last Friday, I posted about my new contest, a .com domain giveaway for 1 year. Jhay contacted me if he could sponsor the hosting. He was generous enough to offer 1 GB of storage space from his reseller account for 1 year!

I’ve updated some of the rules and contest prizes. Entries to this contest prior to these changes will as is.

The lucky winner will receive free 1 year registration of any available domain name (.com, .net, .info) plus a hosting with the following features:

  • 1GB of webspace
  • 10GB of bandwidth
  • Unlimited SQL databases
  • Unlimited E-mail accounts
  • Unlimited FTP accounts
  • 100 Addon domains
  • 100 subdomains
  • cPanel
  • PHP4 & 5
  • Ruby On Rails
  • Streaming Audio/Video

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Jan 25 2008

Win a 1 year FREE .com domain registration

I’ve been blogging for over a year now and I think it’s about time to compensate my readers. I’ve been thinking which would be the best prize. The Entrecard credits contests are rampant nowadays so I want a prize which can be more useful to bloggers.

I am giving away 1 FREE 1 year .com domain registration (of USD 9.99/year value!). You will be in full control of your domain name.

About this Contest:
1. This contest is open to all with existing active blogs who want a distinct domain name for their website.

2.Only the domain name will be free, and the web hosting is exclusive from this giveaway.

3. This is exclusive for new domain name registrations and does not include domain transfer or renewal.
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Jan 21 2008

Entrecard Credits: The Virtual Money of the Blogosphere

Entrecard credits these days should be dubbed as the “virtual money” of the blogosphere. It is now possible to do online transactions without the need to spend real money, using Entrecard credits. With this possibility, users are also exploring new ways on how to earn more credits.

If you visit the Entrecard Shop, you’ll find great ways to spend your ecs:

  • For Advertising: You can buy an ad space or text, a blog review, and directory submission.
  • Buy Products and Services: Buy an e-book, pay and buy a web space, a blog installation, graphic design, CDs and DVDs, comments for your blog (yeah, even this), search engine optimization, etc.

Of course we know that we can buy ad space on different blogs through browsing the directory. To buy all these products, you have to have enough credits. We already know the conventional ways to earn credits: by dropping and receiving drop cards from others, every time someone advertises in our widgets and receiving donations from others.
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Jan 19 2008

Social Internet Radios and Music Communities, Better Alternatives to Pandora

Recently, I posted about GlobalPandora which allows non-US residents to listen to Pandora without using any proxies. However, due maybe to the million hits and overwhelming traffic from its international users (it was said that more than 50% of listeners are outside the US), they’ve been having server glitches and technical problems these past days. When I visit the site last night, the box was closed… again. *lets out a sigh*

Hmmm, could it be that my IP address was detected as US because I have successfully signed up using a US Zip code? I could access the original Pandora, though, through proxies. But, again, they are down for maintenance.
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Jan 15 2008

GlobalPandora: Pandora for Non-US Residents

I found this good news from Hezron Mariano’s blog while blog hopping through Pinoy Entrecards.

Remember Pandora? A friend of mind recommended it to me and I got to listen to some songs before it was restricted to US residents only. Pandora radio is the personalized internet radio service that helps you find new music based on your old and current favorites under the Music Genome Project.

Well, here’s the good alternative to all non-US residents. The box is open! You can now listen to your favorite songs through GlobalPandora.

Note: After about 30 minutes of free music listening, you are still required to open your account and sadly it’s still exclusive for US residents.

But here’s what I did to make a free account:
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Jan 12 2008

Sony Ericsson K850i test: Google Maps for Mobile with My Location works

Google Maps for Mobile’s My Location feature works in the Sony Ericsson K850i, the latest in the Cyber-shot line to hit the market. My Location is a cool feature that places your approximate location on the map using GPS (Global Positioning System) or mobile towers.

If you have one of the recent phones that report cell sites, Google Maps will draw a blue circle on the map to represent your approximate location, as determined through the use of cell sites.

WHERE AM I? Anywhere from Fuente Osmneña to the middle of the Cebu harbor, according to this location data provided by Google Maps for Mobile running in the Sony Ericsson K850i. I was inside the Sun.Star Cebu office on P de. Rosario St. when I ran the application. Click on photo to enlarge image.

I previously tried the service with the K750i and K800i but both units don’t report cell sites they are using to connect to the network My Location won’t work with them. Last week, I tried it with a K850i demo unit lent to me by Sony Ericsson Philippines for testing and got it working in no time.

I used my Smart account in testing the K850i so its cell towers were the ones being used to plot the phone’s location.

It isn’t GPS, which is accurate up to a few meters, and the blue circle that indicates my general location covers an area that seems more than a kilometer wide.


Jan 12 2008

Join These Contests and Win Entrecard Credits

I am getting addicted to Entrecard, the first and only free exchange network that really promises traffic to your websites. You can advertise your Entrecard on any blog in the network, for free, for a number of days using your Entrecard credits or ECs. Getting ECs isn’t hard. You earn them for free by networking (dropping your card for other bloggers) and displaying other Entrecards on your widget.

Holding Entrecard Credit contests is becoming a trend among Entrecard users these days. It is another way of getting ECs and driving blog traffic for contest holders.

Here is a list of sites with active contests as of January 13, 2008:

1. Win $20 and 300 Entrecard Credits at PinoyAmbisyoso.com. International Entrecard users with Paypal account are qualified to join. Paypal will be used to claim your $20 prize in case you win. Visit his blog to learn how. There is only one winner for this contest and will be drawn randomly. Contest will end on January 16, 2008, Wednesday, 8pm, Manila Time and will be announced the following day, January 17, Thursday.
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Jan 03 2008

Pros and Cons of Free Web Hosts

My blogs and previous website had been hosted by Ejam hosting for free for over a year. I was satisfied with their hosting, but since the hosting are provided for free, I have to expect some limitations.

Free Hosting

How to get a hosting for FREE:

You have to sign up for free account, of course. Get a list of these free hosts here. Most of these web hosts provide free hosting in exchange of posts. Ejam for example requires you to post certain number per month to get your account running. Some offers point equivalents of each post (e.g. Hostbidder.com) which serves as your “money” to renew your account every month.

1. Features: You get to build a self-hosted WordPress blog or any CMS-built website, get the feature of a paid web host such as cPanel and Fantastico, and site builders all for FREE!

2. Support: If you are having a problem with your website or hosted account, you can post at their forums and get opinions from other members.
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Dec 24 2007

Ways to Bypass Rapidshare Download Limit and Waiting Time

Yesterday, I posted about Download Direct, which can be another helpful way to avoid the Rapidshare download limit and waiting time you encounter as a free user.

Here are more tips to bypass these limitations:

1. Tech-Recipes teaches us some “Hacks to Beat Rapidshare Download Limits and Waiting Time“. The hacks provide tips on how to bypass the waiting time by altering your IP address and using a proxy service.

2. Use Rapidshare tools. Tools provide some additional features like managing the downloads, changing proxies, simultanious downloads by using more than one proxy and much more.
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Dec 24 2007

Download Rapidshare Links with Download Direct

Rapidshare is probably the most popular file-hosting service these days. Millions of shared files — e-books, music, videos, and documents are hosted in their servers. However, if you are free users, you face a lot of limitations such as the download limit and waiting time, unless you became a premium member (paying).

But like any other programs, there are a thousand ways available in the net to bypass the download limit. One of it I found useful was the Download Direct software released by Sendbit.

Download Direct (also known as DLD) was developed to accelerate your downloads by up to 500% (sometimes more) and let you manage them via one central screen.

DLD has great features:

1. Accelerates downloads up to 500% (sometimes more). This can be a great help especially to dial-up users.

2. Manage all downloads via one central screen

3. Uses mirrors to find the fastest file location (achieves even more speed).
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Dec 16 2007

Make your Windows XP look like Vista

Apart from being feature-rich compared to previous Windows operating systems, Microsoft Vista
attracts many user because of it’s neatly tailored layout, design or whatever you call it. I was one of those who wanted to immediately upgrade but because my Windows XP was working perfectly well, I said I will wait for some reviews regarding it, which was a good decision because many of my friends are downgrading to Windows XP because of incompatibility and loading issues.

I looked for an alternative way to make my PC look like Windows Vista without actually upgrading it. One of the best ways I’ve tried was installing Vistamizer. VistaMizer modifies your system files, so that when you reboot after installing VistaMizer, you will have an Vista-transformed XP.

With VistaMizer you are now able to transform your Windows XP, MCE or Server 2003 by giving it the look of Windows Vista. Therefore over 380 files with new Icons, pictures as well as videos are modified.

What’s even better with this software is it comes with the easy-uninstall feature. If you will have problems with installation, you have the possibility to get back the old system by an un-installation. If newer files are already present in the system by updates, this is recognized by the un-installer and only the modified files will be replaced.
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Dec 05 2007

DocSyncer updates service: You can now choose which folders to synchronize

DocSyncer, a service that synchronizes Microsoft Office documents in your computer with your Google Docs account, has just updated its application to allow you to choose which folders should be synchronized.

When I first tested it (read the previous post), it immediately synchronized all compatible files in the desktop and the My Documents folder. It offered no interface to designate which folders or files to synchronize with your Google Docs account. I found this lack of control unnerving.

But when I opened the DocSyncer application late yesterday afternoon, the list of folders now had an edit button. The edit interface allows you to specify which folders, in the desktop and My Documents folder, will be synchronized.

The change is a tremendous usability improvement.

CHOOSING FOLDERS. DocSyncer now allows you to specify which folders, in the desktop and My Documents folder, should be synchronized with your Google Docs account.

Dec 04 2007

Synchronize Microsoft Office documents with Google Docs using DocSyncer

I finally got an invitation to try out DocSyncer, a service that allows you to automatically synchronize Microsoft Office files in your PC—documents, presentations, and spreadsheets—with your Google Docs account.

DOCSYNCER. The service synchronizes your Microsoft Office documents with your Google Docs account. It’s still being tested and far from being a dependable day-to-day application. But you should bookmark DocSyncer as it holds a lot of promise. Click on photo to view larger image.

The service is still in beta but DocSyncer holds a lot of promise. I tried it out for close to two hours last night and found that it’s not quite ready for daily use. It is, after all, still in beta or testing phase.

What’s evident when you try the service is the lack of user control over such things as designating which directories to synchronize and refreshing the list of files due for synchronization.

When I first ran the software that you download to work with the service, it immediately synchronized all Power Point files, Word documents in .doc format, and Excel files contained in My Documents folder as well as the desktop. It did not ask me to specify which folder to synchronize with my Google Docs account.


Nov 25 2007

Smart TextMail and mobile alerts on tasks, website availability

One of my longest mobile experiment drew to a close early this month with my rediscovery of Smart’s TextMail.

For more than a year, I’ve been trying one service after another in an effort to get my e-mails sent as text messages to my mobile phone. The answer, you might say, is simple: buy a Blackberry.

I’m not, however, prepared to spend thousands of pesos for the device and its mobile e-mail solution when I have only very specific alerts in mind: website availability and tasks reminders. For regular e-mails, I am perfectly satisfied with the GMail for mobile Java application.

ONLINE PLANNER. My current online planner of choice, Scrybe. The free service allows me to manage my tasks and get alerted of deadlines via SMS messages sent through Smart TextMail. Click on photo to enlarge image.

I run and help oversee several websites and need to know whenever the servers where these are hosted encounter problems so that I can work on fixing it or submitting a support ticket. All the sites I run are monitored by free web server monitoring services that check every few minutes or so whether these are available.

Whenever the monitoring services I use detect any of the my sites to be down, it immediately sends an e-mail to alert me of the problem. I wanted to be able to get that message as an SMS alert. Sure many of these services offer SMS alerts, but for a fee.


Oct 31 2007

How to save on hard disk space?

I only have 40 GB hard disk space, partitioned into 2. I have separate drive for all my important documents with my almost 4000 collection of music, the other drive is for my system files so every time I need reformatting of my PC, I won’t be having a problem of backing up my files. Because I have a limited disk space, I tried many ways to save up for space so my PC performance would not be affected without the need to upgrade my RAM or disk space.

Upgrading could be the best option because you wouldn’t have to spend longer time deleting every unnecessary files you could find in your computer. But if your saving up for some more important things, it may be an impractical option.

Alternatively, you can:

1. Clean up your hard disk
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Sep 28 2007

Goodbye activeCollab, hello ProjectPier

The project management application I use extensively for some of my tasks has turned its back on the open source beginnings that attracted me and, I’m sure, many others to it during its initial versions.

ActiveCollab is a clone of the popular Basecamp project management application. The main difference is that while Basecamp is a hosted service with various account levels, activeCollab is something you install in your own server and on which you have full control.

PROJECTPIER. The ProjectPier installation that replaced activeCollab in my webserver. I’m using the goCollab monochrome theme that came it.

The project management application appealed to do-it-yourself type geeks who wanted to host the data on their own and deal with less restrictions on accounts. Plus, it was free.

When it was first released, activeCollab came with an open source license and that was what attracted me to the project. I thought it held promise of being a very powerful and useful project management application if developed by an active community of users.

But the developer has decided to stop open source development on the project. Development will now be closed source, at least on the core features. The next release, version 1.0 due out next week, will also not have a free version. Your only options for activeCollab 1.0 are SmallBiz ($199) and Corporate ($399).


Sep 07 2007

Where to Get Converted WordPress theme for Blogger Beta templates?

Ever wanted a WordPress theme but you have only Blogger as your platform? JackBook.com has a solution for you.

When you are using WordPress as your blogging platform, you will not worry about the availability of the themes you could use because there are a lot of designs available, you’ll have to search for it. A dilemma you have when you are using Blogger, not for those who knows how to design their website, though. If you try to search for Blogger templates, you will be given the same template collection, these are usually from Blogcrowds, Finalsense, etc. You can only wish that those beautiful WordPress theme be converted to Blogger template. But that was before.

I was searching for Blogger Beta (XML) templates that will fit my blogs in Blogger, when I stumbled upon the site of Jack Book. The tagline caught my attention, which says:
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Aug 22 2007

Windows Live services coming to Nokia phones

Nokia has announced that it has partnered with Microsoft to provide a suite of Windows Live services “specifically designed for Nokia devices.” Users of compatible S60 devices in selected countries can now download Windows Live Hotmail, Windows Live Messenger, Windows Live Contacts and Windows Live Spaces.

Users of Nokia Series 40 devices will be able to download the services only next year. Current users of Nokia N73, N76, N80 Internet Edition, N93i, and N95 can get the suite via the Download! application in their phones. Nokia asked users to check http://www.nokia.com/windowslive whether the application is available to their country. I opened the site and got an error instead. But Nokia said in the press statement that the application is available in Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Netherlands, Norway, Spain, UK, Sweden, Saudi Arabia and the UAE.

The applications, according to a Nokia press statement, will allow users to “seamlessly move between contacts, mail, messenger, phone calls, text messaging, camera, gallery and browsing all in an integrated way.”


Aug 21 2007

Enhancing blog comments with avatars

I’ve just re-enabled Gravatar support for this blog. Gravatar, for globally-recognized avatar, is a service that publishes avatars or graphic representations of people who comment in your blog. Check out my previous posts to see gravatar in action.

I used the service some time last year but stopped it after a few months when I encountered problems.

To get your own Gravatar, just sign up for an account at the Gravatar website. Prepare a square image and then upload it to the site. Associate the image with your e-mail address and you’re done.

SIGN-UP for a gravatar account to have images show up next to your comments.

With the service, the image you picked will show up whenever you leave comments in blogs and websites that support Gravatar. Make sure you use the e-mail address associated with your account when you post comments.

If you are a website or blog owner, check these guidelines at the Gravatar website on how to implement the service. The service has its own WordPress plugin but I’m using the plugin written by Skippy and now maintained by ZenPax. The plugin allows local caching to deal with problems on server congestion in the main gravatar site.

Jul 21 2007

Different Ways to Download Music Videos and Movies to Your Cellphone

Do you wish to play your favorite videos in your cell phone? Here are several ways to do that.

1. Downloading from popular video sites plus file conversion. One of the best resources to download music videos is YouTube.com. Currently direct download is not a feature, you need video downloaders to aid you. Mashable.com provided a good list of some of the video downloaders available. Highly recommended is YouTubex to do the job for me. The files downloaded are of .flv type which means it is not supported by your cellphone. Thus, you need a converter for file conversion to .3gp type. You can use Movie2x Free 3GP Converter.

A FireFox plugin, Convert & Download Youtube (Firefox) 2.0, lets you download and convert FLV to 3gp and other supported file types for FREE. Download your favorite video directly from YouTube and convert to your mobile phone with one mouse click.
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Jun 12 2007

Reinvigorate releases desktop software to track website visits in real time

Website metrics service reinvigorate has released a software that allows bloggers and site owners to view visits in real time on their desktop. Snoop, the desktop client, streams website visits and data. As soon as someone visits your website or goes to another page, you’d know about it.

SNOOP. The desktop client of reinvigorate allows you to view website visits in real time. Click on photo to view larger image.

I’ve previously written about reinvigorate here. Last night, I tested the Windows version of the software and it was fun to monitor visits in this website and in another site I help run. Reinvigorate tracks visitors’ path through your website and it was fascinating to watch it in real time. Reinvigorate assigns tracking IDs to each visitor so it can monitor how they got to your site, the pages they visit, and the time they spent in the site. You even have the option of actually putting a name to the tracking ID if the visitor is registered to your site.


Jun 04 2007

Zooomr Mark III now live: Get unlimited photo storage; sell images

My favorite photo sharing website, Zooomr, is now live after weeks of being down. The two-man website had upgraded its services to Mark III, a new version that had been months in the planning and contains a lot of new features.

Among the features of Mark III is the ability of users to sell their photos and set prices for them. Users get to keep 80 percent of the sale.

WHAT’S THE PRICE. Zooomr allows photographers to set prices for their images. The photo-sharing website will soon be launching a marketplace where people can buy photographs.

Zooomr founder Kristopher Tate had attempted to upgrade the site previously but rolled back when the downtime took too long. In this last attempt, the downtime took two weeks but most of its users were still very supportive of the service and its two-man crew: Tate and chief evangelist Thomas Hawk.

For days, I was among the many loyal Zooomr users rooting for the upgrade to be successful, visiting the site daily to check for updates. I was among those who regularly watched the live video feed of Kristopher working on the upgrade and taking the site back up. I partly shared their disappointment when, a few minutes after the upgrade went live, it’s database server crashed. I say partly because no one can be as disappointed over the crash as Kristopher and Thomas, who gave so much for the upgrade to work.

The site is now back up, thanks to the help of Zoho, Sun, Dell and various groups and people who answered a call by Robert Scoble for the community to help Zooomr.


Jun 03 2007

Free professional themes for your WordPress blogs

My own list of most beautiful and best WordPress themes, inspired by the 83 Beautiful WordPress Themes You (Probably) Haven’t Seen list by Smashing Magazine.

Dark Theme for WordPress was originally used on Wolfgang Bartelme’s website. It is a three-column, dark theme which is be perfect for community, technology and even personal blogs. I am not a fan of dark-themed layouts for blogs but this particular theme has struck my interest. It’s neatly done and it maximizes your website space, which means you’ll have more space for site ads, links and widgets.

The theme has been tested on WordPress 2.1.3 with Firefox and Safari, may play well with IE6/7 too. It validates as XHTML 1.0 Strict and CSS 2.0.

Bartelme Design had made available a customization kit for download, which will enable users to add a nifty logo for their blogs. The kit includes a PSD file and a short description of how to change the CSS accordingly.
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May 11 2007

Ghost in the machine

I found the Sun.Star Cebu newsroom abuzz yesterday over a website that seemed to know a lot of details, even intimate ones, about people and things. When I entered the newsroom, I found reporters, editors, librarians, and newsroom assistants gathered around TV host Jude Bacalso, the paper’s lifestyle editor, who was entering questions and getting correct answers on the Peter Answers website.

ANSWER TO LIFE, THE UNIVERSE, AND EVERYTHING. It’s in PeterAnswers.com. Have fun fooling your friends with the website. Click on photo to view larger image.

At first glance, it was freaky. How could the website know the names of a co-worker’s children, the pet peeve of an editor, what I was doing at the precise time the question was asked (holding out my cellphone), what was on a reporter’s head (a polka-dot headband), and what one reporter told another reporter about his mother-in-law?

I initially thought that Jude had a conspirator on hearing distance providing the answers but no one within the vicinity was typing when Jude entered the questions. It was also impossible for Jude to have pre-programmed the answers because the questions were thrown at him at random.

Jude, it turned out, was providing the answers himself right before our very eyes and none of us noticed it. In defense, though, Jude is a great actor and he did put up such a convincing show.


May 08 2007

Reinvigorate: the best hosted website metrics service I’ve tried

Hot on the heels of the release of the Automattic Stats came the sending of invitations to the beta version of Reinvigorate, a hosted free website metrics service that appears to trump most of the free website metrics services available today.

A day after installing and using the service, I think Reinvigorate is the most impressive website metrics package I tried. (Blogger’s note: the images in this post were taken a few hours after I installed the tracking code for the service). I found it so impressive that I immediately used it for my other blogs. Normally, I’d try out a stats package in this blog and then after a few weeks, I’d use it for the other sites I manage.

VISITOR PATHS. Reinvigorate tracks the pages readers visit in your site. This feature is very instructive and will tell you whether you did enough to provide links to related pages or articles. Click on photo to view larger image.

What distinguishes Reinvigorate from other hosted website metrics services I tried is that it tracks “paths,” the trail of web pages a reader visited in your site. The data it provides is really enlightening. I haven’t found a comparable feature in the several blog and website metrics services I’ve used.


May 07 2007

Organizing photos into albums in Zooomr using SmartSets

Blogger Jhay Rocas sent me an e-mail a few weeks back to inquire on how to organize photos into albums in Zooomr, akin to the sets in Flickr.

I host all my photos in Zooomr not just because the service offers unlimited photo uploading but, more importantly, its terms of use is more lenient. Unlike Flickr, Zooomr allows you to link a thumbnail to a larger version of the photo and not just to its photo page. I need this feature for the snazzy image loading effect I use in this blog.

Organizing your photos into sets or albums in Zooomr is simple, it’s just a matter of assigning unique tags to it. Zooomr has a SmartSets feature that allows you to organize photos.

To simplify the use of sets, use the juploadr tool to upload your photos. The tool simplifies not just the uploading process but also the editing of the photos’ data—its titles, captions, and more importantly, tags.

Before uploading the photos you want to organize into sets, assign them unique tags.

When the photos have been uploaded, click on the Build a SmartSet link on the sidebar, under the Things To Do heading.

You will be taken to the page that will help you build the set. Once there, you have the option to group photos according to: their tags, the time they were taken or uploaded, the owner of the photos, the people in it, the photos’ geo-tags, and even the number of views.

What I’d do is create a set based on the unique tags I assigned to a series of photographs. I’d then add another criteria to include only photos I own. This will prevent photos of other people who may have the same tags to appear in my set.

After creating the criteria for matching photos for the set, you will then be asked to enter a title for the set as well as a short introduction to it. When you click on the save button, the system will then go through your photos and organize these into sets based on your matching criteria.

Unlike Flickr’s free account, which limits you to just three sets, Zooomr allows you to build multiple sets.

If you want to add photos to your set, just assign it tags for that set.

Here’s a short video on organizing photos into Zooomr SmartSets. In the video, my first attempt to group the photos failed because while I assigned the photos the tag “rhythmboxk750i,” I used as matching criteria “rhythmboxk750.” I fixed it by editing the tag:

May 07 2007

Download Free Medical E-books

I found a very useful site for medical students in need of various medical books as their reference. Medical eBooks offers over 1600 e-books pertaining to medical field. It gives free download links of medical e-books like Harrison’s Principles of Internal Medicine, Nelson’s Essentials of Pediatrics and a lot more. It categorizes books through various fields for easier navigation.

Most of the e-books are hosted by RapidShare.com, which puts the downloads limited to RapidShare premium users. I’ve been looking for a RapidShare.com premium links generator to let me download the files with premium-user advantage but could not find any. If you know any program, please inform me.

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May 06 2007

WordPress offers hosted blog metrics system

Automattic, the company behind WordPress, has released Automattic Stats, a hosted blog metrics system. The system, deployed as a WordPress plugin, allows those running WordPress on their own servers to have the metrics system already in use in the hosted WordPress.com services.

I’ve long drooled over the metrics used in WordPress.com, where I keep a personal and largely-neglected blog. The stats package is simple and keeps tracks of the important stats a blogger wants to know: number of visitors, top posts, referrers, search engine terms used to find the site, incoming links and which links in your site readers clicked.

WORDPRESS.COM STATS. Bloggers who host WordPress on their own servers can now get stats already in use in the hosted WordPress service. Click on photo to view larger image.

What’s good about Automattic stats is that the service is hosted in WordPress.com servers. Andy Skelton said in the plugin’s homepage that “because all of the processing and collection runs on our servers and not yours, it doesn’t cause any additional load on your hosting account. In fact, it’s one of the fastest stats system, hosted or not hosted, that you can use.”

I use several blog stats packages, many of them remnants of services I tested for a blog post. But the stats package I check most often is Site Meter. This is almost embarrassing considering that I have a MeasureMap account. But the ease by which you can check Site Meter stats, clicking on the Site Meter button and not having to log into another website, makes this the metrics system I check by default. I also use Google Analytics but it’s a service I check maybe once or twice a quarter.

With Automattic Stats integrating the blog stats in your WordPress admin section, I can see this becoming my default blog metrics system.

Apr 29 2007

Business cards 2.0 with mobile phone codes

Mobile phone codes such as semacodes and QR for “quick response” codes allow you to to embed data such as SMS messages, phone numbers, and URLs into images of square patterns.

HYPERLINKED BUSINESS CARD. This mobile code is linked to my blog address. I’m planning to have this printed at the back of my business cards. Click on image to view larger version. You can try scanning it if you already have a mobile code scanner installed in your phone

These codes add interactivity to previously static media such as newspapers, magazines, posters and even business cards. Newspapers, for example, can publish mobiles codes beside movie and TV schedules to allow readers to download the information. I wrote, in my Sun.Star Cebu column for tomorrow, how newspapers can use mobile codes to add interactivity to their pages.

But one exciting aspect of the technology is the ability to embed more data into your business card or even “hyperlink” it to your blog.


Apr 22 2007

Spamming Charles Krauthammer

Last year I got a curious e-mail buried in the pile of auto-responses that clogged my inbox. Someone using a forged @limpag.com address not only sent spam to scores of poor souls all over the world, he or she also spammed Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist Charles Krauthammer.

That spurred me into action. I use my limpag.com domain for my personal e-mail as well as that of immediate family members.

I initially used Windows Live Custom Domains to manage my limpag.com e-mails. But I, as well as other Limpags, didn’t use it much. For one, it came with the old Hotmail interface and while it promised a 25MB storage for non-US folks, we only got 2MB of inbox storage because you had to undergo a verification process in order to get the full 25MB.

When Google launched its Google Apps for domains, I immediately transferred e-mail service. Google Apps lets you manage your domain’s e-mails through GMail, and with it came excellent spam controls and a 2Gb of storage. It also offers such things as a shared online calendar as well as documents storage.

It was after the transfer that I noticed that spammers were forging e-mail addresses using my domain. My main limpag.com e-mail addresses was getting auto-replies indicating that spam messages, including e-mails with virus attachments, were being sent from @limpag.com addresses.


Mar 25 2007

Server monitoring site adds weekly e-mail reports

Mon.itor.us, a free service that monitors the availability of your web server, now sends weekly PDF reports on the uptime of your websites. The report provides a snapshot of the availability of your site within the week. The weekly PDF report seemed a recent addition to its already formidable lineup of services. This is still the second time I’ve received one.

PDF REPORT. Mon.itor.us sends a weekly report on the availability of servers you are monitoring. Click on image to enlarge.

Of course, you can always go to your mon.itor.us account to view detailed statistics not only on your web server availability but also on response times. Mon.itor.us monitors web server performance from three different locations—Germany, Austria, and the United States.

Of all the free web server monitoring services I tried, mon.itor.us is the most consistent and dependable. It’s is usually the first to alert me whenever any of the sites I monitor is down. This means mon.itor.us checks availability more frequently than the other services.

Mon.itor.us also provides its users detailed records of the response times of web servers. You can view the response time of your site, from which country and on what hour of any given day since you signed up for its service.

I’ve previously written about how to use mon.itor.us to compare web hosting providers. I still continue monitoring blogs with Media Temple and Dreamhost to help me on my choice of company to sign up with. I’m currently on a shared server account with A Small Orange and I’m happy with its service. I’ve decided to sign up for another year with them, this time on a bigger plan.


Mar 21 2007

Turn your mobile phone into a document scanner with Scanr app

I would give anything to have had this Scanr tool a decade ago when, as a beat reporter, I had to frequently photocopy documents for news stories. When I was still covering the Cebu City Hall beat, I did a series of news reports that exposed illegal collection of fees and various other transactions disallowed by government auditors. These stories were from documents officials never intended to be released to the media.

STEP 1. Scan the document using your phone camera. Fill as much of the phone screen with the document you want processed. Click on photo to view larger image.

I had a City Hall source whom I befriended after weeks of offering free cigarettes (there, smoking can do something good) at the hallway. We became such good cigarette break friends that I started asking him for documents officials did not want released.

STEP 2. Start the application. It will open with an image gallery. Browse the photos and look for the images you want processed. Click on photo for larger image.

The source would alert me during our cigarette breaks whenever a document I requested was already available. I’d then go to the press room, get a brown envelope, go to the comfort room and get the documents from him. I’d then rush to the photocopier and, while chewing on my nails, wait for her to finish copying the papers. I’d then go back to the City Hall comfort room and then return the papers.

STEP 3. Click on a photo and mark whether it is a document, business card, or a whiteboard snapshot. Click on photo to view larger image.

In one of these exchanges, I panicked because the source said I should return the papers immediately but I wasn’t able to find a vacant copier near City Hall. I had to cross several blocks.

Looking back while playing with Scanr these past days made me think how easier things might have been for me using the service and its mobile application.


Mar 20 2007

Get unlimited photo storage with Zooomr

Photo sharing site Zooomr has removed the limits on the amount of photo you can upload and store in the site. Zooomr is currently undergoing transition to Mark III, a new version with over 250 new features and which offers users the ability to sell photographs and keep 90% of the sale.

NO LIMIT. Zooomr has removed storage limits for its users. The free photo storage site is currently undergoing transition to a new version. Click on photo to view larger image.

The transition to Mark III has been delayed but founder Kristopher Tate has decided to remove account limits, a move scheduled for Mark III.

If you post a lot of photos in your website or blog, it makes sense to host it with sites such as Flickr or Zooomr. If you host your blog or website in a shared web server, as I do, you run the risk of going over your web space quota in just a few months if you frequently post high-resolution photos.


Mar 16 2007

Million Dollar Avatar — Get Hits or Die Tryin’

A while ago, I received a notification about my link being featured in the Million Dollar Avatar homepage. It was not unusual though because they feature 100 random member avatars in their homepage every 24 hours. I was just glad that my link was already featured a day after I signed up. This project is another addition to the previously made efforts for blog promotion like MyBlogLog, 2000 Bloggers, blog networks, content aggregators, and several directories, and many other ways.

Four ways that your site gets promoted at Million Dollar Avatar

— Every 24 hours, they display 100 random member avatars on the homepage so your link will be displayed at their homepage for 24 hours.

— Every 5 minutes, 100 random member avatars avatars will be displayed on the backpage.

— Every day, “The Daily 20” is generated. It displays random selection of member sites with a subscription feed for users to subscribe to via email or their RSS reader.

— Tag search: Let users find any and all members by tag or general search.

Get to know more about Million Dollar Avatar.

Tags:Blogging, Free Services, Internet, Webmasters Tools

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