MissTechie

Everything new and tech gets reviewed here

iCal calendar on your desktop

iCalendar or iCal format for calendar data exchange was initially developed for use under Apple Macintosh operating system, and you can find tons of info how to show iCal on Mac desktop. Nevertheless, iCal calendar can be displayed on Windows desktop as well and there are short reviews of Windows desktop calendar tools that support iCalendars. They let you exchange iCal data between iPhone, iPod, Google Calendar or other web apps and your PC.

1. Desktop iCalendar – desktop calendar consisting of 4 widgets – monthly calendar, events, to-do list and weather widget. Allows to sync calendar and to-do list with Google calendar, exchange data with any device which use .ics (iCalendar) format.

desktop_icalendar

2. Active Desktop Calendar – desktop calendar with appointments notes, tasks, alarms and contacts. Allows data exchange with Outlook and Google Calendar. Supports iCal and CSV formats for data import \ export.

active_desktop_calendar

3. Screen Calendar – desktop wallpaper calendar and reminder, shows small or fullscreen calendar for one or two month. Allows easy synchronizing events with MS Outlook. Supports iCal fully that lets you subscribe to iCalendar sources, import events from iCal calendars (including Google Calendar) to the desktop and export events to .ics files.

screen_calendar

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June 18, 2009 Posted by | Calendar, Software, Windows | , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Google Squared – the New Shape of Search

Do you yahoo? Remember that question? In spite of all Yahoo efforts, “yahoo” hasn’t become the verb that means “search”. Everyone knows the word which means web search nowadays – it’s “google”. And now Google takes one more step towards leadership – the new search tool Google Squared released last week.

What’s great:

  • search results are displayed as a chart which gives not only links, but also other related information. For example:Google_Squared
  • rows and columns in a result chart can be added or removed. ‘Add column’ field suggests various parameters to add or allows to type your own.
  • squares can be saved to your Google account and easily removed when they are not needed.

What can be better:

  • amount of search results is extremely small in comparison with the amount for the same queries in usual Google Search.
  • in most cases, column values for one item are taken from different websites that can adversely affect search relevance. Nevertheless, you can view other values for most parameters and choose the most reliable one.

Google Squared still needs a bit of work, but it has a potential to simplify and improve web search in the future.

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June 11, 2009 Posted by | Google, search engines | 2 Comments

Tips and tricks to customize WordPress.com blog

If you have a blog at WordPress.com, you know that inspite of all good features, WordPress.com customization is very poor. WordPress dot com doesn’t allow third-party widgets, doesn’t accept certain html tags, and so on, and so on. Still, there are some tricks you can use to add something interesting to your wordpress blog. This links collection is especially for you, my fellow wordpress[dot]com bloggers!

1. GetSocial – the best thing ever: easy adding social bookmarks buttons to WordPress.com

2. Free surveys and polls – a list of free services that will help you to add polls and surveys to your WordPress.com blog

3. Easy comments moderation – shortcuts for quicker and easier moderation of your WordPress.com blog comments

4. Easy post editing – keyboard shortcuts that will enhance your WordPress.com visual editor

5. Free copyrights for your blog – protect your content by adding free copyright

6. AddThis button for sidebar – how to use AddThis button in your WordPress.com blog sidebar properly

Hope you’ll like these links just like I do!

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June 1, 2009 Posted by | blogs, Wordpress | , , , | 8 Comments

Firefox add-ons for Twitter

My favorite Firefox extensions for Twitter:

TwitterFoxTwitterFox – maybe, the most popular of Firefox plugins for Twitter. This extension adds a tiny icon on the status bar which notifies you when your friends update their tweets. Also it has a small text input field to update your tweets.

TwitterBarTwitterBar – allows you to post to Twitter from Firefox’s address bar. A small Twitter icon sits to the right of your address bar; clicking on it will post your tweet, and you can hover your mouse over it to see how many characters you have left.

TwitzerTwitzer -a Firefox extension which lets you post text longer than 140 characters on Twitter.com.  It also shows you the true adresses of TinyURLs so that you are sure you are clicking on safe links.

TwitThatTwitThat – post current page to Twitter via twitthat.com. The simple button sits in Firefox toolbar and enables you to twit current page in one click.

SocialWhaleSocial Whale – create short URLs for use with Twitter or any other service with just one click. Additionally you can upload images using the twitpic.com service.

TwittyTunesTwittyTunes – allows to post your currently playing songs to Twitter with a click. You can also post the websites you’re visiting, videos you’re watching and regular updates.

SearchCloudlet Search Cloudlet – tag clouds inserted into  Twitter home-page, search page, profile page, favorites and even into public timeline. Also, on top of traditional simple tag clouds, Cloudlet adds various context-sensitive clouds, such as Author Clouds, Recipient Clouds and Hashtag Clouds. Also works with Google and Yahoo.

Twitter sidebars for Firefox:

TwitbinTwitbin – allows you to keep up with all of your Twitter conversations right from your browser sidebar. Send messages, receive messages, share links, and more from Twitbin.

TwitKitTwitKit – has a 6-section interface, using tabs to separate content. You can view the Twitter public timeline, your user timeline, a list of your friends and their latest tweets, a list of your followers and their latest tweets, @replies made to you, and stats about your account.

Enjoy your twits!

Coming soon: Firefox extensions for Digg, Reddit, Facebook, StumbleUpon etc. Stay tuned!

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May 18, 2009 Posted by | Browsers, internet, Mozilla Firefox, Social Networks | , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Firefox addons for sharing and social interaction

Social networks are on the peak of their popularity. How to make sharing in social media easier and faster? Use the best Firefox extensions for sharing and bookmarking content within social networks:

addthisAddThis – one of the most popular sharing tools is now presented as Firefox plugin. By adding AddThis to your browser, you have all your social bookmarking and sharing tools at your fingertips. Share any page, anytime, with anyone.

shareaholicShareaholic – enables you to quickly, and very easily share, e-mail, bookmark, and blog links via a wide array of your favorite web 2.0 social networking, bookmarking, blogging, and e-mail services. Shareaholic supports over 40 services including Twitter, Digg, Reddit, StumbleUpon, Facebook, Delicious, MySpace, Sphinn, etc.

share-thisShare This – makes sharing any online content quick and easy. The ShareThis plugin allows you to share text, pictures and video to any contact via email, IM, text message, Facebook, MySpace, Digg, Twitter and many more services. You can also store your shares for later or re-share them with the ShareThis ShareBox.

social-mediaSocial Media for Firefox – status bar that shows the number of Diggs, Reddit Votes, Stumble Thumbs and or Reviews, and Del.icio.us tags, Tweets, Sphinns, Mixx, and Tip’d votes so you can quickly see how popular certain content is. Also scans said social sites to show you what content hasn’t been submitted to other social news sites so you can be the first to add it.

yoono1Yoono – simplifies your social life on the web by centralizing all your social networks and instant messaging in one easy to use browser sidebar. Get all your friend updates automatically wherever you are on the web and update your status instantly across Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, and more. Easily share these discoveries with your friends via your social networks.

mingglMinggl – a social interaction manager. The Minggl toolbar makes it easy to manage information, communication, and navigation across (and independent of) social networks. Minggl works with Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, Flickr, LinkedIn, Digg and… more soon.

synergyshareSynergyShare – allows you to share any web page with over 50 social networking sites through the right-click menu. The only shortcoming is that SynergyShare is only compatible with Firefox 1.5 – 2.0.0.

Coming soon: Firefox addons for Twitter, Digg, Reddit, Facebook, StumbleUpon, etc. Don’t miss the next posts!

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May 7, 2009 Posted by | Browsers, internet, Mozilla Firefox, Social Networks, Web 2-0 | , , , , , , | 2 Comments

April’s most interesting and important news

calendar_april2What’s new this April?

1. Winamp 5.552 was released. What’s new:

  • Improved iPod Sync Support
  • New iTunesLibrary Import
  • New Online Services Gallery
  • New OurStage Radio Online Services
  • New Spinner MP3 of the Day Online Service
  • New Turkish, Romanian, and Portuguese Language Packs

2. Firefox 3.0.9 and 3.0.10 stability releases were delivered to fix some security and stability issues.

3. Firefox 3.5 Beta 4 is available for download and testing. New features and changes in this milestone that require feedback include:

* Beta is now available in 70 languages .

* Private Browsing Mode.

* Better performance and stability with the new TraceMonkey JavaScript engine.

* The ability to provide Location Aware Browsing using web standards for geolocation.

* Support for native JSON, and web worker threads.

* Improvements to the Gecko layout engine, including speculative parsing for faster content rendering.

* Support for new web technologies such as: HTML5 <video> and <audio> elements, downloadable fonts and other new CSS properties, JavaScript query selectors, HTML5 offline data storage for applications, and SVG transforms.

4. Facebook opened up its developer API stream that gave third-party developers an opportuniny to  connect to their users’ streams and let their users read their streams wherever they want. Now with the Open Stream API developers are able to create new applications and services with new user interfaces for the stream. One of the first examples of using the Open Stream API is Xobni – an Outlook plug-in which enables you to keep track of your social network activity immediately from the mail client.

5. Gmail presented two new features in Labs: suggesting new recipients while composing messages and easy inserting images into mails.

6. Hitwise company published stunning data about Twitter growth.

Twitter’s growth in Australia was 1,067 percent since the start of this year. The number of visitors to Twitter has more than tripled in New Zealand since the beginning of the year. Twitter’s share of online visits in the United States and Britain had increased by 570 percent and 621 percent respectively since the start of the year.

April 28, 2009 Posted by | Browsers, e-mail, internet, Mozilla Firefox, Social Networks, Software | , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Vista Start Menu – an alternative to usual Start Menu

There are lots of various Windows enhancement softwares. Today we have the new version of one of them which can enhance Windows Start menu – a small yet powerful piece of software – Vista Start Menu 3.15. This program can become an alternative to usual Start menu, especially if you have tons of programs installed and therefore spend a lot of time looking for the needed program in your Start menu list.

The Start menu appeared in Windows 95 for the first time. After that only cosmetic changes were made in it and only in Windows XP there were first worth mentioning changes. The menu was expanded to two columns: the left column for installed applications, and the right one for access to user’s documents and system functionality. In Windows Vista, Start menu was also changed – there was added Search box. Nevertheless, no changes were made concerning the most important purpose of the Start menu – launching programs.

Do you need any changes in the Start menu? No, you don’t if you have only a dozen programs installed. If there are more programs, launching one program requires time directly proportional to the number of installed programs. The problem is partially solved by the Quick Launch Panel, but it also becomes almost useless when the number of programs increases.

Vista Start Menu software was designed exactly to solve this problem. There are some key features of the program:

  • Program in the list always stay in their places and are easy to find because they are exactly where you left them. This reduces time spent finding the needed program.
  • Start menu is resizeable and can be easily moved to any part of the screen.
  • Keyboard shortcuts can be used to launch programs and to control the power. You can simply remember the shortcuts for the most often used programs and launch them in a few seconds.
  • The icons of programs are displayed near their names, that cuts search time significantly. It’s much easier and quicker to find and recognize an icon than read a program name.
  • An amazing feature is quick access to the Internet search directly from the Start menu. Usual Search box serves either for search (Google search or simple PC search) or as a run option. You may begin typing immediately when the Start menu is open and then simply use keyboard shortcuts or mouse to select what to do with the text you typed in – find on your computer, search in the Web or Run.

vista_start_menu

All in all, I seem this program to be a very convenient alternative to the usual Start menu for people who have many programs installed. Besides, the basic version is free (all the features I’ve mentioned above and a few others are included with the basic version), and the price of the Pro version is reasonable for the feature set it offers. So Start working with pleasure! 🙂

*For writing a review, materials from Vista Start Menu website were used

April 17, 2009 Posted by | Software, Windows | , , , , | 1 Comment

Google’s equipment – today and in the past

At Google Data Center Energy Summit on April 1, 2009, Google first time showed off its self-designed and built Web server and its “Container” data center. The videos are impressive of themselves, but they become even more impressive if you know what equipment Google had back in 1998:

  • Two 300 MHz Dual Pentium II servers with 512 MB of RAM;
  • IBM donated F50 IBM RS6000 with 4 processors and 512MB of memory
  • Sun Ultra II with dual 200MHz processors, and 256MB of RAM
  • And a few hard drives  from 4 to 9 GB

google-equipment

The photo and hardware list are taken from http://backrub.c63.be.

April 10, 2009 Posted by | Google | 2 Comments

Statistics Charts for WordPress Blogs

Yesterday I read post How to create statistics chart for your blog on Flash’y’mania blog and I was fascinated with the animated Flash chart displaying blog visitors statistics. And of course, I want such a chart for my blog. But, as you probably know, WordPress doesn’t support Flash. I was angry with them about this many times and this chart was one more reason to be disappointed with WordPress limitations. Nevertheless, there is no sense in being angry, so I began to think what can I do to place chart like this on my blog. I’ve found the only solution – to create static chart and save it as image so that it can be published to WordPress.

Of course, I lose some advantages by replacing flash graph with a static image graph. Charts in Flash format are animated, interactive and even can display dynamic data.  But having no alternatives here on WordPress, I still tried to create image chart. I used the same software as the Flash’y’mania author did – Animated Chart. Animated Chart tool can save charts both as Flash and as images. What’s great – Animated Chart lets save template charts, so when I decide to replace chart to display the newer data, I won’t have to create its design from the very beginning, I’ll only need to open a template file and replace chart data with a newer one. Besides, data import from file helps to enter even a large amount of data in minutes. So, image chart is rather handy too.

misstechie_visitors

This is the chart I created, but what I really want is Flash support at WordPress. Still, I know this is much harder to get than a nice blog stats chart 🙂

April 3, 2009 Posted by | blogs, Charts and Graphs, Flash, web design, Wordpress | , , , , , | 1 Comment

March’s most interesting and important news

calendar_march

My dear readers, this post will be the starting point of my monthly summaries of interesting and important news from all around the Web. I’ll be glad to see your comments, feedback or additions.

So, let’s start:

1. Microsoft released Internet Explorer 8 Final. It can be downloaded from here. Read more about the new features of IE8.

2. Gmail added new features to Labs:

3. Microsoft launched The WorldWide Telescope Web Client Alpha to let you explore the univerce from within your browser. Web Client requires Microsoft Silverlight to be installed on your computer. It has less features than Windows client, but it’s still a great innovation, and a probable competitor of Google Sky.

4. Google made improvements to search results pages:

  • More useful related searches is now can be found for every query.
  • Longer snippets (a few lines of text that describe found pages in search results) for long queries.

5. Twitter fans was fooled by BBspot’s “Twitter Premium Account” hoax.

6. Blizzard improved their popular Battle.net. The main change is a “centralized account system that will let players manage all of their Blizzard Entertainment games, including World of Warcraft and future games, in one place without having to remember multiple sets of login information.”

This is what the March was for Internet community. And now we’re waiting for April and its news and innovations.

March 26, 2009 Posted by | internet, Web 2-0 | 3 Comments