Business, Finance, GMail, Google, internet, laptops, Microsoft, Software, Stocks, Technology, yahoo, YouTube, Zune

The War Between MSFT and GOOG’s Not Yet Over

The other day, I made some points on this entire move made by Microsoft. Most of this was focused on the effect it will have on Yahoo and how the combined entity will be able to pull off such a humongous merger. There is a very interesting post in the Official Google blog that totally highlights their insecurity:

So Microsoft’s hostile bid for Yahoo! raises troubling questions. This is about more than simply a financial transaction, one company taking over another. It’s about preserving the underlying principles of the Internet: openness and innovation.

Could Microsoft now attempt to exert the same sort of inappropriate and illegal influence over the Internet that it did with the PC? While the Internet rewards competitive innovation, Microsoft has frequently sought to establish proprietary monopolies — and then leverage its dominance into new, adjacent markets.

It’s tantamount to one thief calling the other person a thief! What about Google’s interest in the 700 MHz spectrum? What about their “habit” of copying each product that their competitors release? None of their products like Google Documents, Google Talk, Google Mail etc. are totally “original”. They shouldn’t even be talking about Microsoft’s “legacy of serious legal and regulatory offenses”. Their financial statements were being audited sometime back because the regulatory authorities felt that they were incomplete. Correct me if I’m wrong.

It’s not that I’m against Google. In fact, most of my regular readers call me an “Anti Microsoft” person. So this post is quite out of the line for me. You won’t read such good words for Microsoft very often on this blog.

I think Google feels quite threatened and they have good reason to be. Microsoft has a huge share in the PC Market and if they were to merge with Yahoo, then the internet dominance fight will only get more interesting. The consumers will benefit in either case. So it’s good for the consumers I would say.

Further, they say:

Could a combination of the two take advantage of a PC software monopoly to unfairly limit the ability of consumers to freely access competitors’ email, IM, and web-based services?

Google shouldn’t even be commenting on the monopoly issue here because this is exactly what they are trying to do now. How else would you explain their coming out with every possible internet service and all of them being accessible from a single Google account?

And you’ll find it interesting to know that I could hardly find any “Google suggestions” when I started typing “Google trouble” or “Google audit”. Of course, Yahoo! gave me more results for once.

Market Watch (owned by News Corp) has another take on this entire issue. I kind of agree with what they have to say because it’s perfectly logical and quite unbiased. While they mention this positive point:

If Microsoft’s acquisition of Yahoo is consummated…

…the Goliath of the PC desktop will represent the one truly credible competitor to Google in the online world. (News Corp. is the owner of, the publisher of this column.)

They also mention the negatives:

Put it all together, and Microsoft/Yahoo vaults to the number one position with site traffic that’s nearly double Google’s. That’s the good news. The combination would still lag Google’s sales by a factor of two to one — $2.6 billion for Microsoft/Yahoo in the last quarter of 2007, despite the traffic advantage, as compared with $4.8 billion for Google.

And I agree that Microsoft +Yahoo is the only way that Google can be stopped. Otherwise, even though Google propounds “Do No Evil”, this is exactly what the company has started to do and will do full scale in the future.

Social Bookmarks:
Business, E-mail, Economics, Finance, GMail, Google, Life, Microsoft, Orkut, Software, Technology, Thoughts, yahoo, Yahoo! Mash

Someone’s Trying to Hack My Gmail Account

UPDATE: Now my Yahoo! account has been hit. I don’t know what’s happening. I’m not being able to log-in. I use this email for a lot of correspondence work. 😦 I had used this account to purchase a domain name today and my credit card detail’s stored. This Yahoo! account was earlier being used as the Alternate Email address for my GMail account. Before this problem started, I’d changed the alternate email address for my GMail account. I’ve been trying to log in. Doesn’t work. I’m trying to use the Forgot Password Page. But all that I get is a BLANK PAGE. No Password. I am on hold with Yahoo! Small Business Center because I bought a domain through them and my Yahoo! Mail account is linked to my Domain account. Let’s see if they’ll be able to help…else I don’t know what to do.

In the mean time, if you want to contact me, email me at timeandagainblog at gmail dot com. I’ll answer your comments once this tension is over. Please bear with me. If you have any advice, please leave me a comment or an email at the above mentioned GMail address.


A couple of weeks back, Ish had written a post saying that someone is trying to hack his GMail account. The same thing’s happening to me now. I got a “Change Password” link in my secondary e-mail address thrice. Good thing that I was online when this happened.

Me: Is this a genuine email? This can’t be happening to me!

Yahoo! Mail: Yes, this is a genuine email. We’ve verified it.

Me: Okay! I gotta think fast.

So, I deleted those emails with the “Change Password” links. Next, I logged into my Google account and Changed the Password and the Security Question too. Unfortunately, I use the same Google account for all my services- Google Mail, Google Reader, Google Analytics, Google Calendar, Google Notebook et al. Not to forget, the most important of all, Google Checkout, which has my credit card details. So, I’ve deleted that too. The last thing I want to be hit with is a bill costing me thousands of dollars.

The GMail account associated with this ID is quite important because I use it for lots of important work. Anyway, after doing some preliminary damage control, I sat down to think who could be behind this attack. Can be anyone, unfortunately. People are so curious to know about other people’s private lives…it’s quite funny.

Did the hacker really think that clicking the “Forgot Password” link would be a good way to hack into my account? Didn’t he know that the “Forgot password” link would be delivered in my secondary e-mail address? I’m guessing that whoever tried this method is probably an amateur hacker.

This incident reminds me of another one that happened a couple of months back. One of my good friends tried to hack into my Yahoo! Mail account. I was dumb enough to assume that nobody will ever try to hack my email account. This friend knew enough about me to guess the answer of the Security Question. The next day, I tried to log into my Yahoo account and failed to do so. It didn’t even occur to me that it might have been hacked. I thought that Yahoo’s server must be down.

Next, I logged into my GMail account to check my emails. To my surprise, the very first email was from my friend, explaining to me that he tried to hack into my account and has not read any of my personal emails and he’s very sorry about it. He also gave me the new password. Now starts the fun part. I logged into my Yahoo! account to change the Password and the Security Question. Well…there was no direct link to change the Security Question! Can you believe it? I had to contact Support and verify my identity. A whole bunch of administrative hassles later, my Security Question was changed.

Lessons Learned:

1. Never ever trust anyone. By anyone, I mean just that. Look at my friend. If a friend tries to hack into your account just because he’s very curious, can you blame a stranger?

2. Don’t panic. First do the needful (Change your password and Security Question). If you have confidential information in your email account, then forward those emails to another account and then delete them from the primary email address.

3. I’m thinking of contacting Support, but probably it won’t help. The GMail help section says:

When an attempt to recover your Gmail username or password is made, an email from Google is automatically sent to your secondary email address.

If you didn’t request to recover your username or password, you can ignore the message. If you’re concerned about the security of your account, we recommend changing your password and security question.

The Gmail Team isn’t able to provide you with information about attempted logins to your account including, but not limited to, the IP address from which the attempted login was made, and the time and date attempted logins occurred.

So there is no way that I’ll get to know who did this sinful deed. But you can follow these directions in case your account gets compromised.

4. I tried the “I cannot access my account link” and clicked on “Forgot my password”. After I entered my username, I got this message:

We’ve sent instructions to the secondary email address you provided during signup.

If you don’t have a secondary email address, or if you no longer have access to that account, please try the ‘Forgot your password?’ link again after five days. At that point, you’ll be able to reset your password by answering the security question you provided when you created your account.

To prevent someone from trying to break into an account you’re actively using, the security question is only used for account recovery after an account has been idle for five days. The Gmail team cannot waive the five day requirement or access your password under any circumstances.

If you’re unable to answer your security question or access your secondary email account, we regret that the Gmail team cannot provide further assistance. If you’re concerned about the security of your account, please visit our Security Center.

So, this person might try to retrieve my password after the five day lock period is over. On my part, I’ve changed the Security Question and no one knows the answer except me. Unless the person uses a brute force mechanism. *shudders* I like the way GMail is handling this by providing a five day safety period. That’s an amazing find because it gives me an opportunity to react and change the password/security question in the mean time.


Yahoo! has started a sign-in seal process that will help you distinguish a genuine Yahoo! site from a phishing site. It’s a good idea to do that. Earlier, I had seen that sign-in seal process only while signing into my credit card accounts. Good to know that email service providers have also introduced such a feature. I’m waitig for GMail to come up with something like this too.

In other tech news, Microsoft has offered to buy Yahoo! for $44+ billion. This came as a big surprise to me. Ballmer has been trying to acquire Yahoo! since more than a year. Yahoo’s share price has been declining since a couple of months. Recently, it hit an all time low of $20. Just two days back,

Business Week had published an article that says-

Layoffs and a refocusing effort can only do so much. CEO Jerry Yang needs to find exciting new products or services if he hopes to make Yahoo sing again.

Shortly after, I read this piece of news about Microsoft’s public offer to buy Yahoo! Yahoo’s share price increased as soon as this piece of news was disseminated. Google’s share price has recently been on a downward spiral, because the company has missed the earning estimates of the analysts. Nevertheless, Yahoo and Microsoft are facing increasing pressure on account of Google’s Search Engine.

Yahoo! has a very strong brand value, which, in my opinion will be compromised if this deal fructifies. Even Ballmer has said that he’s not sure if the brand name “Yahoo” will remain. As an avid Yahoo! user, I’m not very happy with this announcement. My dislike for Microsoft is well known. All that Microsoft will bring to board is its 75,000+ strong work force, who’re anyway bundled up with useless ideas. Yahoo’s email service and the photo sharing service Flickr are really popular. But it does lag behind Google by a very wide margin in the search engine depart. Perhaps an acquisition with help Microsoft, which has the 3rd highest share in the Search Engine market, compete with Google on an equal footing.

Almost all of Google’s income is due to its Adsense business, which is indirectly a success thanks to its killer search engine. If Microsoft were to acquire Yahoo, the former will capture Yahoo’s market share and also bring on board its R&D department (how good is the R&D department….is another question) and tremendous wealth. Recently, Microsoft posted high profits on account of its new Operating System Vista and very low profits in all other departments. Perhaps this deal is all that this company needs to revive itself. Maybe Microsoft will still manage to screw up its business. Who knows. Merging two companies that have different work cultures, different product offering, different set of business principles and ethics is not so easy. Not to forget, lots of Yahoo! employees will be laid off, in addition to the already announced 10,000+ people who are being given the cut. This will only leave the other employees disgruntled. On top of this, imagine working for a new boss. The problem will only aggravate for people who are higher up in the corporate ladder.

It takes a couple of years (in the very minimum) to pull off such an acquisition. $44 billion is not exactly peanuts either. Ballmer says that he’ll save at least a billion dollars if this deal comes through. Let’s hope he’s right and let’s hope that Yahoo and its products survive. He’s known for his craziness and I hope that this is not one of his “pet projects”.

In the mean time, you might want to look for other email and photo sharing applications. I don’t know if Yahoo! Mail and Flickr will remain the same. πŸ™‚

UPDATE: Found this on Digg– What Will Happen To Flickr if MSFT Buys It

Social Bookmarks:
Cartoons, comics, CSS, E-books, E-mail, Facebook, General ramblings, GMail, Google, greasemonkey, Life, Microsoft, Mozilla Firefox, Programming, social bookmarking, Social Networking, Software, Technology, Themes, Thoughts, Tumblr, Web 2.0, Web designing, Windows Vista, Wordpress, yahoo

What’s in my Laptop?

Amit Agarwal from Labnol recently posted a link to Gina’s article, where she’s listed all the programs that are currently installed in her computer. I have seen many other bloggers prepare such lists too. I spend so much of my time every day, tinkering around with various applications, but have never given them any credit on my blog. So this post is a tribute to all these lovely creatures who improve my browsing experience every single day. It might help you get some ideas or discover some new tools too.

My primary Laptop: Compaq Presario V2000 with Windows XP Operating System

Secondary Laptop: HP Pavilion dv2000 with Windows Vista Operating System

My desire is to own a tablet PC made by Apple. I’ll buy it as soon as it’s released. πŸ™‚ I also fester desires of learning how to install a fully functioning Linux OS someday!

Browsers: The social browser Flock– Amazing browser for people who are avid bloggers and social networkers on sites like Twitter, Facebook, Youtube, Flickr etc. Check out my review here.

Mozilla Firefox version 3 beta 2– Just downloaded it yesterday and I’m in love with their new location bar feature, that pulls out page titles and addresses in two different lines and colors, from your recent browser history and bookmarks!

Here’s a screen shot from the Official Website:

Add-ons and Extensions:

Shareaholic– An extension that lets you submit a page to countless number of social networking sites such as Digg, Delicious, Stumbleupon, Google Bookmarks, Friendfeed, Facebook etc. You can customize the drop down menu to include only those bookmarking sites that you use. You can also email the page you’re viewing. Here’s a screen shot (notice the green button with a drop down list only):

Screenshot: This Flock extension allows you to save webpages (entire, visible portion, selection) and windows (eg. browser, blog, uploader) as .png or .jpeg images. You can save these images to your file system, the clipboard or even send them straight to the photo uploader.

Cocomments: This extension helps me track every single comment that I’ve left on any sort of web page- Be it a website, blog or a channel like Youtube. I get notifications in my browser (in the shape of a small envelope) if there’s a reply to my comment. I find this to be really helpful because the “My Comments” tab at is very slow and it only shows a certain number of recent conversations. Plus, there’s no other way that I can track my comments left on blogs. All you’ve got to do is install the extension and it takes care of everything!

Here’s a screen shot:

Greasemonkey: What in the world would I Do without this add on? πŸ™‚ This is the best thing about Firefox and Flock. Too bad that Internet Explorer people have to suffer! Currently, I’m using the following scripts:

LookitUp2– Quickly look something up in wikipedia, a dictionary or whatever you like (its easy to add custom sites!). The result is displayed directly on the page.

TextareaBackup– Retains text entered in text areas

WordPress Comment Ninja- Respond to comments directly by post and/or email from inside your WordPress dashboard. For WordPress bloggers.

Comment Pre-fill– Fillout comment form fields with a single keyboard shortcut!

Greased Lightbox (v0.15)– Enhances browsing on websites that link to images such as Google Image Search, Flickr, Wikipedia, Facebook, MySpace, and deviantART Rank By Popularity– When browsing scripts on it will change the icon on the left to show how popular a script is. Very useful for focusing on the best scripts.

Mailto 2 Webmail– Open those “mailto:” links in your GMail, Yahoo, AOL etc. email accounts instead of the default Outlook Express.

Yahoo Pipe Cleaner– Removes most of the HTML markup from Yahoo Pipe run output so that it can be cut-and-pasted into WordPress blogs.

Out of these, my absolute favorite is the WordPress Comment Ninja and the Greased Lightbox (when I’m looking at images and want to see the expanded version, all I do is click on the picture and it zooms out. No need to open another link! Cool, isn’t it? πŸ™‚

You can also check out this and this, where I’ve prepared a list for other scripts that are very useful.

GoogleDocs Extension: Great stuff for all you Google Fans out there. πŸ™‚ From the official website:

With gDocsBar, you can drag and drop multiple files into the sidebar to upload documents. You can search and filter documents right from the sidebar. Your Gmail credentials are sent to Google directly over SSL. Your passwords are stored in Firefox Password Manager.

Software Applications:

Pidgin– Log into all chat clients and receive new email notifications and lots of other features.

WinRAR– For opening zipped files

DietMP3– compress your MP3 files

TextPad– Works great for CSS/HTML coding etc.

CDisplay– For reading e-comics

Irfanview– Resizes your images and lots of other capabilities

Apart from this, there’s the usual crap that’s worth not mentioning. I prefer to keep the number of applications running at the minimum and have a fetish for keeping my hard disk neat and tidy.

Some other junk that I found over the internet:

Ten Quickfixes to Make Your Windows Computer Run FasterΒ 

DownloadmyLink– Free Megashare/Rapidshare file downloader…no need to wait for 60+ minutes or reset your internet connection.

Senduit: Easily share you files- very clean UI

Instapaper: Bookmark those articles that you want to “Read Later” and might not be “Delicious”.

Social Bookmarks:
Blogging, Business, Facebook, Finance, GMail, Google, Howto, Orkut, Social Networking, Software, Technology, Thoughts, Tumblr, yahoo, YouTube

Aggregate All Your Online Feeds

Online social networks seem to be proliferating at an exponential rate and it has become quite necessary for us to aggregate them in one place. It’s difficult to keep track of different people and their online activity in different networks. There are lots of websites online where you can aggregate all your online accounts and then, circulate a “master feed”, that simplifies the entire process. I really love this idea and have been tinkering with it since the past couple of days. These are some of the websites that I would recommend:

1. Friendfeed– Started by three ex-Google employees, and still in beta phase. You need to request an invitation to join it. I got mine on the same day. They plan to make this service public by the end of next month. The UI is extremely simple and resembles Google. Friendfeed tops my list for the simplicity of the sign up process (less than 30 seconds), and the overall usability. You can aggregate all your online accounts, such as Twitter, Jaiku, Pownce, Facebook status updates, Netflix queue, Amazon wish list, Tumblr, Youtube, Blogs, Digg, Stumbleupon, Reddit, Delicious…I’m tired! πŸ™‚ Your friends can just subscribe to the “master feed” and know what you’ve been doing everywhere. Simplicity is what we should aim for. Take a look at my Friendfeed page.

People can also comment on your activities and decide if they “Like it”. Deleting a particular activity from your feed is also very easy and takes only a single click. You can also install a bookmarklet that lets you post anything that you liked to your friendfeed profile. You can also install a Facebook application that will integrate your Friendfeed with your Facebook profile. I haven’t seen these features in any of the other “Aggregation” services.

The only drawback that I see here is that there is no way of adding any sort of single sentence profile. has ten suggestions for its improvement.

Rating: 5/5

2.– Very similar to friendfeed, minus the ability to comment. The best part is that you can try the service without even signing up. Of course, if you want to make your profile permanent, then you need to make an account, that takes only 20 seconds. You can customize the look of your page by adding a theme and editing the CSS. But I didn’t like the fact that I need to click twice in order to delete a particular entry (once, initially, and the second time, to confirm) and for me, that’s very important! But yes, it’s open to public and you don’t need to wait for an invitation. Take a look at my soup page.

Rating: 4.5/5

3. Readr– This has been in existence since a longer time, compared to Friendfeed and Again, you have the ability to comment on particular items, choose a theme and merge all your online accounts together. There is nothing unique about this service, IMO. and Readr are clones of each other. Readr’s output of the feeds is not that nice looking and it kind of looks jumbled up. Another problem is that when you initially set up an account with them, then your items will be shown in the order you added the feeds and not in the chronological order. So, you might have three pages of Delicious, two pages of Stumbleupon, one page of Digg etc. You get the picture. Take a look at my page for an example. The process of adding accounts was a little more cumbersome because the default number of accounts that are available are less compared to Friendfeed or

Rating: 3.75/5

Apart from these major player, there are others such as Mugshot, 30boxes (the sign up process needed me to click on a link in an email and that is a complete no-no when we compare it with its competitors), etc. The bottomline- The web 2.0 sites are showing a tremendous upsurge in the usage. If you don’t sign up for an aggregator today, you very well have to a couple of months down the line. And what are those RSS feeds for? We need to embrace anything that helps us save time (and become lazier).

Social Bookmarks:
Blogging, Business, Facebook, Finance, Google, Microsoft, Orkut, Social Networking, Software, Technology, Thoughts, Wordpress, Yahoo! Mash

Someone forgot about WordPress

In this Web 2.0 picture:

I thought that Reddit was bigger, but it’s reach is 900 and valued at just about $30 milloon. Of course, Stumbleupon is much bigger, with a reach of 1,800 and valued at a little less than $100 million. Digg remains strong and steady with a reach of 6,000 and a little less than $500 million in valuation. The biggest joke here is Windows Live Spaces, right at the bottom of the graph (towards the middle), with a reach of 15 and any guesses regarding its market value?

MyBlogLog, Netvibes, and Meebo (also won a Crunchie) are almost in the same category. Orkut (reach of 26,000) is still bigger than Facebook (reach of 9,000), yet the latter makes more noise in the Web 2.0 world.

And you know the best thing? Google owns three out of the top five market value/reach grossers- Youtube, Orkut and Blogger. Just another graph to show how powerful Google is becoming. The only thing is that I see Bloglines in the third tier, with a reach of 2,200, but I don’t see Google Reader anywhere. It might be possible that Google Reader was excluded (very unlikely though). Bloglines was my first feedreader. Then I changed to Google Reader and now I use the in-built feed reader provided by the social web browser, Flock.

Box is also doing pretty decent with a reach of 500 and I strongly feel that it will rise very soon because of its lovely user interface.

Where is Yahoo Mash? It seems to have disappeared already. I wanted to do a follow up on it…maybe I need to take a look at my account and see if Yahoo has introduced any new features. There is no way Yahoo Mash will be able to play catch up with Facebook or Orkut. Something that is very evident from this graph.

Now let’s get down to the big question- Where is WordPress? With millions of users, surely it should have made a splash here, even though the graph has been made by the CEO of Esnips?

While we’re on the topics of Web 2.0 start ups, maybe it’s not too late to assess what kind of a Web 2.0 user are you? I’m sure most of you are at least Spectators (33%), else you wouldn’t be reading this blog.

I could write miles about Web 2.0 and each of these companies, and still not get done. So, it’s better if we just talk about issues in the comments section, right? πŸ™‚

Edit: By the way, Apple haters might want to take a look at this. Microsoft haters, I have something for you too. I don’t disappoint either of the sects.

Social Bookmarks:
Amazon, Blogging, Facebook, General ramblings, GMail, Google, greasemonkey, Movies, Social Networking, Thoughts, Wordpress, YouTube

Top Greasemonkey Scripts

The power of customizing your internet experience with the help of Greasemonkey Scripts is limitless and it’s one of the best things about using Mozilla Firefox. All of these scripts also work with the social web browser, Flock. In case you didn’t know, Greasemonkey is an add on that lets you install user made scripts.

Here’s a list of my favorite Greasemonkey scripts (I’m using ALL of them currently)-

For Facebook Users-

UnF*ck Facebook– If you’re sick of rummaging through millions of third party applications on your friends’ profile pages before you reach the Wall, then this is the script for you. I have been using this script since yesterday and I would give it a 5/5. It’s that good. I was transported back to the time when Facebook didn’t have all those annoying Facebook applications.

Amazon Users-

Cleaner Amazon(screenshot available)- I really love buying books and electronics from Amazon and if I were richer, then I would have spent al my money there. This script “gets the useful book information (pub date, ISBN, #pages) closer to the top, eliminates some useless sections (best value, customers also bought, etc.).”

Movie Freaks

The Movie Dude(screenshot available)- It adds cross links between many movie sites, such as Rotten Tomatoes, IMDB, Netflix, Yahoo! Movies, Flixster etc. It’s really cool and you should definitely give it a try. For example- Just search for any movie in the IMDB wesbite and you’ll find small favicons that will cross link to the other movie sites.

Search function made easier- LookItUp lets you search for any word of your choice on various websites such as Google, Wikipedia,, The Free Dictionary etc. without leaving the web page. All you gotta do is highlight the word and press “?”. There are many other shortcuts that can be learned from the developer’s page.

Delicious_Blank: Adds a target _blank to links so that they can open in a new tab instead of a new window.

Textarea Backup: The primary purpose of this userscript is to save having to retype lost emails, forum posts, bug submissions, etc. The backup should be transparent so if the page is reloaded for whatever reason, be it browser crash, unintended exit or a forgetful website, the previously entered text will be restored.

Pre-Fill Comments Form: Complete the author, email & URL fields (& focus on the message box) in most comment forms by hitting ‘ALT+C’ .It is designed to work with wordpress blogs, but will work with any blog that uses the same id’s for fields. You will be asked for your name/email/URL the first time you run the script. It will then remember your values so you never have to fill them out again! To change your name/email/url at a later date just hit ‘SHIFT+ALT+C’ and you will prompted for your new values.

Google Service Enhancers-

Google Search Results Ultimate Makeover- It adds a number of amazing features such as Google Suggest, search results are displayed in two columns instead of one, Adds Google Page Rank, enables snap shot, add favicons to all links, embeds videos right into the search results, removes all ads from the search page etc. Personally, I love this script a lot. πŸ™‚

Edit: Forgot to add that I also like to use Customize Google along with this add on because it provide links to other search engines and blocks Google Analytics cookies.

Mailto 2 Webmail: Makes “mailto” links open in your favorite web-based email account, instead of a pop-3 client (like Outlook, Eudora, Thunderbird, etc.) Supports Gmail, Yahoo Mail, and Google Apps Mail.

Google Services in HTTPS: Change Google Url services using HTTP by same service using HTTPS for security.

Google Extra– Displays results for google image search, video search, wikipedia search, search and Dict.CN search alongside normal google searches.

From my Previous Posts-

WordPress Ninja Comment– Respond directly from the comment administration panel on your dashboard, by either a comment or an email or both.

Social Bookmarking for WordPress- Generates pure html code for adding social bookmarking links (with favicons with buttons)to blog posts at which users can click to add the blog post page to their fav. bookmark sites like,digg & 20 other bookmarking sites.

Are you lost? First time using a greasemonkey script? πŸ™‚ don’t worry! All you gotta do is make sure you’re using Firefox/Flock web browser. Then install the greasemonkey add on. After that, you’re ready to install any of the above mentioned scripts.

Social Bookmarks:

blogger, Blogging, General ramblings, Google, Life, Thoughts, Wordpress

Let’s Boycott Blogger


The Blogger issue has been really bothering me ever since I discovered that non-Bloggers users are being forced to leave a “Nickname” or comment Anonymously, without giving you the option of leaving behind the URL of your blog. This is just another move by Google to make us assimilate with them. I love WordPress and I’m going to stick with this service no matter what. Even if it means not being able to put those dumb Google Ads. Even if it means that I need to pay $10 for a CSS upgrade. Even if it means that I can’t add Java script. And a host of other reasons.

For one, WordPress has an amazing blogging community. I love the professionalism of those people who help us every single time we e-mail them. Not to forget all the contributors in those forums! πŸ™‚ WordPress has an open community and unlike Blogger, doesn’t pose such restrictions on users of other blog services. I always do my bit by asking people using other blogging services to consider shifting to WordPress. And some of them have. πŸ™‚

So, if you love WordPress as much as I do, why not do something about it? I have created a small badge to show that I don’t support Google’s move. If I can’t leave behind my blog’s URL on a Blogger blog, then I don’t want to comment on such a blog.

If you want to show your support for this cause, then you can do two simple things-

1. Save the above image on your server (use Photobucket, Flickr or your WP space) and then upload it to your sidebar. I would appreciate it if you could link back to this post.

2. I have also added the term “blogspot” to my moderation list. (Dashboard->Options->Discussion->Comment Moderation/Blacklist). So everytime someone from Blogger wants to comment on my blog, then it will be added to the Moderation Queue or marked as Spam (Depending upon whether you choose to put the term in the “Comment Moderation” section or the “Comment Blacklist” section). If you mark it for moderation, then you can go to the moderation list, and remove the URL from the comment, just like what Blogger does. πŸ˜€

UPDATE: Blogger has started supporting OpenID. So you can log in using WordPress, AOL and other OpenID services.Β  So this boycotting has been called off πŸ˜€ I thank all of you for your support.

Even if you could do one of these things, then I will really appreciate it. Thanks all!

People who have shown their support by writing posts/posting badges (A big thank you to all of you! I’ll keep updating this list)








Social Bookmarks:

Blogging, Cartoons, comics, E-mail, General ramblings, Google, Life, Technology, Thoughts

Blogging Anonymously


In the past twelve hours, I’ve read posts by at least two bloggers (Amrita and Broom) who have expressed their anger at people who take pleasure in “outing” the anonymous bloggers. I can perfectly understand their emotions and what they are going through. Many of us write blogs to express personal emotions. The least we can expect from our readers is to keep shut even if they realize who we might be. I don’t understand why some people have such an itch.

I remember changing my nickname quite often between Ruhi and my real name. I was not too sure if it makes sense to use my real name, the reason being that sometimes, I do write crazy stuff in my blog and I don’t want a potential employer tripping on it by any chance. It’s not that we are not to be blamed. If we want to remain completely anonymous, then we need to retain some pieces of information and never mention them on our blogs. This might include things like your birthdate, your current residence, your phone number, address etc.

There are some tools that can be used to remain as anonymous as possible:

1. Run a Google Search for your real name and see what the results are. You might be surprised to see that even though you might have taken a page down, Google still stores it in its cache for a considerable period of time. Anyone who’s smart can simply click on “Cache pages” and retrieve a Saved Screenshot of your page.

2. If most of the searches are professional and don’t reveal stupid things about you, then you’re fine.

3. Run a Google Search for your nickname and see if it connects you to your real self by any means. If it does and there are stuff that you don’t want anyone to see, then you may want to do something. You can delete some information from your previous posts. It might take time for Google’s cache to clean up (like I mentioned before). Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. This is what I don’t like about Google. I’m scared of sharing so much information with this organization. My business is not their business. Of course, they want all this information so that they can better target their advertisements, from where they generate 98% of their revenue. Anyway, I’ll leave my tech rant out of this post.

Many of us have Sitemeter or something similar installed that collects the location, browser and Operating System specification and certain other data from your computer. Apart from this, the comment system itself stores YOUR IP Address! Giving someone your IP address can be quite risky, if you know what I mean. Most of them wouldn’t do anything with it, but there are some smart people out there who can use it for anything.

If you visit and punch in your IP address, it clearly shows your location. So, even though you might have been very cautious on your blog regarding this piece of information, guess what? One visit to your friend’s blog can let him/her know your location.

You can use proxy servers such as to browse your friend’s blogs. Your speed will reduce a bit, pleas be warned.

You can also go to websites such as that will give you proxy IP addresses that can be used instead of your real IP address to surf the internet. You need to change your Network Setting in Mozilla Firefox (Tools-> Options->Advanced->Network Settings) from “automatic” to “Manual” and put in the proxy server information from the list. You might take some time to find a server that actually works at a decent speed.

If this is too much of trouble, then you can download a software such a Tor or Jap. You need to closely follow the instructions, which vary according to the type of browser that you’re using.

If you need to visit only a certain blog, then I think should be enough.

Many of you who work in offices might want to use a proxy server if you have strict internet usage policies. Also, as an added precaution, you can “Edit the Timestamp” so that the post gets published a couple of minutes in the future. This way, the internet police of your company might find it difficult to associate your particular blog with the IP address. You might especially want to do this in case you are abusing your company πŸ˜› Also, you might want to take a look at this page and listen to this person’s advice. Please be safe. You never know who’s watching you.

Even I have come across instances where I know that people look into Sitemeter and other applications to see where you live. People are very curious by nature. There is this other friend of mine who pestered me a number of times to reveal the URL of my private blog. I ended up making that blog private, scared that he or someone else might come across it. There are some parts of us which we don’t want to reveal and I strongly feel that others should respect that. It’s up to you to draw the boundaries and stay safe.

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What are your Essential Blogging Tools?

Most of us who blog regularly use some kind of an external service to make the process of blogging easier. I will share seven of my favorite blogging tools in this post-

1. Windows Live Writer: I’m not such a big Microsoft “hater” afer all. The two Microsoft products that I absolutely love are Windows Live Writer and Microsoft Office 2007. WLW is a simple desktop application that can be used for writing your posts and pages offline. It’s very helpful for people who don’t have 24/7 Internet connection. You can add more than one WordPress account to it. There are also additional plug ins that can be downloaded.

The software is still in Beta mode, but is extremely stable. I think the final release will be announced very soon. Please read the WLW team blog for more information.

2. Social Bookmarking- Many people use different social book marking sites such as digg, technorati, delicious, furl, stumbleupon etc. to increase their blog traffic. Recently, even I started using them to provide users with a way to bookmark my blog. I have received a lot of traffic from Digg, Technorati and Stumbleupon. I have received many e-mails asking me for help regarding this matter. So, those of you who want to use social bookmarks in their blogs, can refer to this post of mine.

3. Flickr– Great way to add pictures to your blog in case you have run out of your storage space at WordPress. Flickr is integrated with your Yahoo account, which most of us use. So, you don’t even need to create another account. I use Flickr for almost all of my imaging needs. In addition to uploading your own pictures, Flickr also has an amazing community of very talented photographers who take the time to comment on your pictures. Even though I don’t upload any personal pictures on Flickr, I know many people who do so and are addicted to it. You can also use the Flickr widget on WordPress to display your pictures in the sidebar.

4.– Online bookmarking at its best. Whenever you come across an interesting post or site, just bookmark it using or some other bookmarking site. I prefer online bookmarking because it lets me retrieve my favorite pages from any computer. also has a bookmarklet for Firefox users. Various bookmarks can be arranged with tags and shared on WordPress using a widget.

5. Google Reader– Absolutely essential to read updates on the blogs that you follow. This one has become my favorite because it has a lovely interface and has a minimalist look to it. Earlier, I was a big fan of Bloglines. What I really like about Google Reader is that you can share some items with your readers on WordPress. Besides, you can “star” items if you would like to do a follow up. You can also integrate the Google Reader in your GMail Inbox, according to the steps illustrated in this post. Read the Google Reader Team’s Blog for more information.

6. co.mments– Great way to track your comments not only on WordPress but also on other sites and blogs. All that you’ve got to do is add a bookmarklet to your favorite browser and click on it either before/after you comment. I don’t if you people have faced this problem, but recently, I’ve noticed that the “My Comments” section of WordPress has become quite slow. Also, it doesn’t store all the comments that you made on different blogs. If you use co.mments, then all your comments will remain on the tracking page, unless you choose to remove them. Besides, you can also share your comments on other sites and blogs with your readers, like I do.

7. WordPress Ninja Comment- Isn’t it annoying to individually go to each post, and then click on comment and reply to everyone? If you have a large number of posts and an ever larger number of readers responding to them, then I’m sure you know how time-consuming it is. WordPress Ninja Script is your solution to this problem. Refer to the above link to read more about it.

So, what are you favorite blogging tools? πŸ™‚