Backup user passwords for Windows users in USB

A little known feature in Windows is that you can creat a password recovery USB.

Creating that recovery USB is pretty easy: just log in as a Windows system administrator. In Windows control panel pick the option User accounts.

Select the Windows user for whom you want to create the USB for password recovery. Among the options of this user, in the left area, under the Related tasks area, there is an option about Preventing to forget passwords.

When clicking that password forget prevention fature, a new dialog will appear to pick a password recovery disc in an USB key. (Well, you could use even a diskette for password recovery, but it isn't worth in these times...).

By selecting that option, the recovery passwords will be stored in the root of the USB as an encrypted text file. This safe file stores Windows passwords in a safe way, and it can only be accessed in the same Windows computer in which it was created (if no other password recovery USB is created using this same method).

So this is a way to create an USB for each user, as a system to recover Windows user passwords for each user.

How to store many Windows password recovery files in the same USB

Since the password recovery file created always has the same filename (it is called userkey.psw), you will need a different USB key for each user, in each Windows computer.

To solve this and have several user passwords stored in a single backup USB, you just need to rename the password file created (for example, to user0001.psw) and so on with the next password files that we create. Remember to organize them in a meaningful way to prevent forgetting the user and Windows associated to each password backup file.

After this, to recover Windows user passwords you just need to rename the proper backup file in your USB to userkey.psw, and using the USB key with such standard filename in its root.


Originally written by Eugenio M.S. at

Javascript vulnerability in Adobe Reader

A recent javascript vulnerability has been discovered in Adobe Reader and Adobe Acrobat. This public and confirmed Adobe bug would allow running malicious javascript code just by opening a PDF document. So yes, you computer could be infected by a virus or trojan if you open a PDF file using Adobe Acrobat or Reader.

The bad news are that this malicious javascript code is hard to detect inside a PDF file, so most antivirus software won't be able to prevent the exploit by scanning PDF files. On top of that, Adobe won't be releasing a patch for this bug till January 2010, so the PDF readers would be vulnerable to exploits and so on.

But there are still good news: just disable JavaScript in Adobe Reader to prevent this exploit. That simple trick will keep your computer safe from virus and malware in PDF files.

How to disable javascript in Adobe Reader

Disabling Javascript in Adobe Reader and Adobe Acrobat is very simple. Just select the Edit > Preferences menu, and click the JavaScript option. Then just uncheck the Enable Acrobat Javascript box at the top.

Disable Javascript in Adobe Reader

And that's it: unchecking this option as in the image above will prevent the malicious Javascript code from exploiting this recent vulnerability of Adobe Reader.

Say "No to all" in Windows XP

When copying lots of files, maybe you have missed having a button like the "Yes to all" version, which copies and overwrites everything. Maybe you wanted to say "No to all" when you only wanted to add the new files (without overwriting old files), and without having to click a lot of times during a massive copy of files.

Even when such "No to all" button doesn't exist, there is a way to avoid such overwhelming amount of clicks:

Inside such Windows dialog, when you press the n key, it is equivalent to clicking the no button. We have just to keep pressed the n key during the copy. Having this key pressed during the copy is equivalent to clicking the "No" button in all the confirmation dialogs that appear. But you won't need to point and click on any button. That way, we won't have to maim our poor mouse by clicking it again and again.

From an original post by Dremin. - Share your images and comments

TrebleClick's development team, in cooperation with Blogtellas has created another website for your pleasure, - Your site to share images and comments

Tatachan is an image based forum in Spanish where you can post and comment images which are funny, entertaining and original, related to jokes, technology, videogames, wallpapers, high definition, animated GIFs... and mucho more, everything without ever needing to register: just enter and have fun!

It seems that there is a recent problem with SWFObject in Firefox: SWFObject does not load Flash, and it just keeps displaying the alternative content for browsers without Flash enabled. Upgrading Flash player does not solve this Firefox specific problem.

The ironic part is that it seems that the source code of SWFObject has not been changed recently. So this bug is related with Firefox, and most probably, with a corrupted automatic Flash Player update that conflicts with SWFObject just in Firefox. A normal reinstallation of the latest Flash Player does not seem to solve the problem.

One way to solve specific SWF Object problems in Firefox is disabling the automatic hiding of the alternate content till the Flash content is fully loaded. This bug has been reported for Firefox 3.5 and is solved just by adding swfobject.switchOffAutoHideShow() in the SWFObject code.

Another thing to check is adding all the Javascript code for SWFObject inside the document head. Placing the code for initialization inside the document body seems to make SWFObject stop working in Firefox.

If all the previous fixes fail, the only way to solve this SWFObject problem in Firefox thus far would be reverting to a very old SWFObject version. Both SWFObject 2.1 and the recent SWFObject 2.2 versions seem to be experiencing this problem in Firefox, but versions from when SWFObject was still called FlashObject seem to work fine.

If this problem is not solved quickly it would be better to remove SWFObject from the webpage, or probably several Firefox users won't be accessing the Flash content. The latest posts on this bug tracking thread seem to be closely related to this bug. Let's keep an eye on it till the fix is found.

How to get your tracks back on Spotify

Maybe when you entered at some of your playlists at Spotify, you found out that one or more of your Spotify tracks are missing, as if those songs were erased from your playlist automatically.

Well, your tracks weren't erased. The fact is that Spotify is continuosly dealing with record companies and all sorts of music publishing companies. That's why Spotify may have lost the play rights for those songs, and then they decided to remove those songs temporarily. But these songs haven't been erased from your playlist: these songs have only been hidden.

You cannot play those songs, but you can get your tracks back on Spotify (keeping your playlists, so you may be able to listen to that songs in the future, if they restore such songs, or to keep just a backup of your musical preferences). This is how to do it:

  • In Spotify's main menu, click Edit / Preferences (Control + P).
  • Disable the checkbox (if you already had it marked) tagged as Hide unplayable tracks in Spotify's playlist section inside this Preferences menu.

And that's how to get your tracks back on Spotify when temporary song removals take place!

From an original post by Dremin.

How to kill Windows process automatically with a .BAT file

One of the easiest ways to speed up Windows is closing unnecessary taks and processes. That's why sometimes we want to kill many Windows programs / processes, but we do not want to disable neither manually nor forever. It could be a group of programs that we rarely use, but which require some system process running permanently. So when we turn on the computer with other task in mind, we don't want these unneeded processes consuming Windows resources continuously.

That's why we are going to create a batch file (.BAT) which with a double click on it will kill as many Windows processes as we want.

So let's open Windows Notepad (Shortcuts: "Start Menu / Run / Notepad" or "Windows Key + R / Notepad") and then typing:

TASKKILL /IM "process name" /F



"IM" lets us input the name of the Windows process to kill, and "/F" enforces such process closing action and kills them forcefully preventing confirmation prompts or hanged.

If we want to specify a group of programs to close, we should only repeat the previous line of code with each process name, inside the same file.

Example file:


Once this file is ready, we should keep it using File / Save as...

And after the name chosen for this file we should appen the .bat file extension. That's how we create a Batman file... well, no, a .BAT file (batch process).

To save a .bat file using notepad we have to change the file type, which is by default Text Files (*.txt), choosing All Files. This is very important. Otherwise, we would just creating a text document called "whatever.bat".txt, and that won't work.

Let's also pick the ANSI encoding type for this process kill bat file.

And finally, we click on the save button to store the file.

How to save a bat file

By default, this creates a file with an icon like this icon, depending on your own system icon configuration set.

Now, whenever we want to close every Windows process specified in the file, we only need to double click that file, and it will perform the automatic process killing for us.

Running a .BAT file is like running the Windows command prompt code to close all the processes, but these batch files perform all the necessary actions automatically, in no time.

We can also check a complete and detailed list of the values and parameters that we could add after "TASKKILL" just clicking in Start / Run (Windows + R), typing cmd (to run the Windows command prompt), and typing at this window: TASKKILL/?.

Running processes with .BAT

If we want to reopen every Windows process previously killed with our .BAT file, with no need to reboot Windows, we can automatically perform the reverse operation, creating another .BAT (same process as before) this way:

START "Name" "C:\...path.exe" START "Name" "C:\...path.exe" START "Name" "C:\...path.exe"

To specify the full path of the target program we can only use ASCII text, with no accents or other special characters.


START "Paint" "C:\WINDOWS\System32\mspaint.exe" START "Notepad" "C:\WINDOWS\notepad.exe" START "Calculadora" "C:\WINDOWS\System32\calc.exe"

NOTE: This trick to run or kill Windows process also works to create a .BAT file to automatically open our most used apps (using the "START" Windows command), and another .BAT to kill these programs (the TASKKILL command file).

Where to find free images

Let's face it: a good and eye catching image can improve your articles, websites and presentations.

But you already knew that you couldn't reuse any image that you found in Internet, didn't you? Most images out there are copyrighted, even if there aren't any explicit copyright statements or watermarks on the image. That means that you cannot pick and use whatever you find using Google Image search, for example.

So if you want to find a really free image, you have to look for an explicit license statement in its website, that entitles you to reuse such photo or graphic. One of the most popular licenses is Creative Commons, which lets you share your work with specific permissions.

But how do you find images under Creative Commons licenses? Don't worry: the 2 most popular search engines have been upgraded to cover this issue:

  • Yahoo Image Search now allows you to filter search results according to the Creative Commons License type. On top of that, Yahoo now owns that huge database of photographs called Flickr, and the image search results will also include free images from Flickr.
  • It seems that Google Image Search has been planning a similar update, and now, this kind of free image search can be done at Google Images using URL search parameters. Google will be adding these free image search options to the main interface of Google Image Search soon, but in the meantime, you can use this free image search form.
  • There's another trick to discover domains that contain free images under Creative Commons licenses. Most of these sites link back to the Creative Commons webpages or icons. So you can perform an advanced search at your favorite search engine of webpages that link to the Creative Commons icon and that contain your target image keywords.

As you see, Internet is full of free images that you can use, if you know how to find them.

Free ebook sites - download free PDFs the legal way

Did you know that there are plenty of quality books out there, that you can download for free in a legal way?

Here are some of the best free ebook download sites available:

  • Free computer books is probably the best site to download software or computer programming related ebooks. It's probably the first site I would check when trying to learn a new programming language, or improving my computer skills in a very specific subject.
  • PDF geni is a search engine specialized in finding free ebooks in PDF for download. It even offers search term suggestions and a glimpse at the hottest search terms.
  • Project Gutenberg it's the good old initiative of turning every classic with expired copyright into a free downloadable ebook. So if you are looking for a classic book to download, check that page. And if you want a bunch of interesting suggestions, try the top 100 most downloaded ebooks.
  • Google book search started somehow like Project Gutenberg, storing PDF versions of classic books. But now it has grown much bigger thanks to interesting agreements with book publishers. And now you can download plenty of quality ebooks, modern of classic, with no cost at all.

With Internet, knowledge has no barriers (and nope, I'm not talking about piracy). So go download some free quality ebooks and PDFs at those sites and increase your knowledge!

4Gb RAM in XP: how to increase maximum XP RAM limit

By default, Windows XP maximum RAM amount is 2Gb. This operative system won't use more memory even with more RAM memory available already installed on the motherboard of our PC.

But there are some tricks to avoid this XP RAM limit, and make Windows XP use even 3Gb and even 4Gb of RAM when running some applications.

How to use 3Gb: increase Windows XP RAM limit

Let's open the BOOT.INI file. It is possible that this file could remain as a hidden file in some Windows XP versions, even after enabling the Windows "display hidden files" option. But to open this file you just need to type C:\boot.ini in the address bar of the Windows XP File Explorer.

Then let's find the following line of code inside such Windows configuration file:

[operating systems]
multi disk rdisk(7)partition(3)\WINDOWS="Microsoft Windows XP Professional" /fastdetect

After /fastdetect let's type a blank space and then /3GB.

The resulting Windows configuration line would be as follows:

[operating systems]
multi disk rdisk(7)partition(3)\WINDOWS="Microsoft Windows XP Professional" /fastdetect /3GB

Reading 4 Gb RAM in Windows XP

To reach the Windows XP maximum RAM amount of 4Gb we have to add this configuration option to the previous Windows code: /PAE just before /3GB. The configuration file for the maximum RAM limit in XP would be as follows:

[operating systems]
multi disk rdisk(7)partition(3)\WINDOWS="Microsoft Windows XP Professional" /fastdetect /PAE /3GB

This enables the PAE mode and Windows XP would use 4Gb RAM, but only with software that supports this Windows PAE mode.

List of anti-malware tools

Are you worried about spyware or malware installed on your PC? Here's a list of 5 useful anti malware tools.

My 3 weapons of choice for malware removal would be as follows:

  • Spybot search and destroy is a free tool for Windows (compatible with all Windows versions from Windows 95) that will detect and remove malware applications.
  • AdAware's free version provides spyware detection and removal features, suspicious file submission services and some resident system protection services.
  • Hijack This provides advanced logs of running processes that will allow you to identify installed malware (or to ask an expert with highly detailed malware information).

Now you can keep your PC safe and clean of malware with these advanced free anti-malware tools.

YouTube Hacks: URL tricks

Did you know you could hack YouTube options using different URL parameters? It's a simple trick of writing query values in the video URL.

You can view and embed high quality videos, download YouTube videos, auto start playback from a part of the video, disable other YouTube related videos, and even bypass regional video restrictions!

Take a look at the whole YouTube hacks and URL tricks in the original post at!

By the way, I wonder if this hack to bypass the regional restrictions would work for users in the United Kingdom as a trick to access high quality music videos, avoiding the UK YouTube music block.

Source: YouTube URL tricks.

Fallout 3 crashes when loading interiors

If you have a multi-core CPU, like the Quad, and you experience a Fallout 3 crash when loading interiors (the PC version of Fallout 3, specially in closed spaces). It seems that this crash is caused by a bug in Fallout which doesn't adapt multi-threading well, and this PC game stops responding in small areas.

Fallout 3 crash fix

The fix for this Fallout 3 bug is very easy: just copy and paste and you are ready to go:

  • Open the folder My documents / My Games / Fallout3
  • Edit the file FALLOUT.ini.
  • Inside FALLOUT.ini look for a group called [general].
  • Inside the general group, after all the configuration parameters, just copy and paste the following 2 lines:


Now close and save the Fallout 3 configuration file.

And that's it: you should have fixed the Fallout 3 crash when loading small closed interior areas. Well, Fallout 3 could stop responding sometimes, but these crashes won't be a frequent bug in Fallout.


If you liked Fallout 3, you may like:


Real time webpage comparison in different Explorer Versions

With the recent release of Internet Explorer 8, Microsoft has added some subtle changes about how the HTML web pages are rendered. So the new challenge is: how to upgrade web pages that work in the old IE 6 to work in the newer Explorer 7 and 8 versions?

Fortunately, Microsoft has released a new tool to help migrating websites optimized for Internet Explorer 6 to the new Explorer 7 and 8: Expression Web SuperPreview.

Super Preview allows real time webpage comparison of the HTML rendering using different Explorer versions. Both webpages are simultaneously displayed, overlapping the output of each Explorer window, so you can detect (and correct) even the most subtle difference of Internet Explorer!

List of image input ports sorted by image quality

Many people gets confused about which are the best image inputs to plug your gaming console to a High Definition (HD) TV. Even I was confused about the tv input ports not so long ago.

For all these people I'm listing all the TV image input formats sorted from the better input format to the worst (some of the input ports are of the same quality, but we need to list them).


What's the number of IE 8 users?

Did you wonder how is Internet Explorer 8 doing? You can take a look at the real time market share of IE 8 since the new version of the web browser was released.

It's interesting that there was an usage drop of IE 8 with users going back to Explorer 7. But with the so called compatibility view button (which renders a webpage in IE 8 like the previous IE 7 would do) there shouldn't be any problem at all. More info about this here.

And now, the number of Internet Explorer 8 users continues growing steadily.

Google boosts long tail searches with 2 improvements

Google has recently posted at its official blog 2 new search result improvements. These improvements are essentially as follows:

  • An improved algorithm to suggest related searches, which will simplify how users refine the search towards more specialized terms (that is, search queries composed of more search keywords).
  • Longer descriptions at the search result snippets under the title of the pages when the user inputs a long search query (with more than 3 search keywords). This makes sense, as the snippets provided with longer queries could be too short to understand the keyword context.

The increased importance of long tail searches and keywords

And, what's the main change in Google from an SEO point of view? Basically, these new improvements in Google search results will increase the effectivity of the searches composed of many search terms (the so called long tail searches), because the user will find the results easier to find and more relevant.

A search performed with more than 3 keywords is considered a very specific long tail search and thus:

  • With such specific queries, you will be facing less competing pages and it will be easier to achieve good positions in search results.
  • The bounce rate of such specific queries tends to be low: the search terms are so refined that the content has to be exactly what the user is expecting.
  • Long tail searches are the kind of searches with the highest conversion rate at e-commerce websites: the potential customer knows perfectly what he is looking for.

So, do you have information about a very specific subject and want to create a webpage about it? Now that Google improves how users will manage search results of these kind of searches, it's the time to boost your most accurately targeted webpages.

Besides long tail searches with lots of keywords are not so frequent, you shouldn't underestimate the importance of these specific and refined queries, specially now that Google boosts these long tail searches.

Free and open source software listing

Fortunately, nowadays there are plenty of quality free software to perform many PC tasks. I recently talked about some of the best free open source applications. And here are some of the best free apps listings.

Open Source Living is a website with an excellent design and a complete and accurate classified listing of free open source software.

FOSSwiki (Free and Open Source Software wiki) is a wiki based website that you can update with any new free and open source application.

Sevenup: say no to the old Internet Explorer versions

If you ask me about what web browser to choose, I would suggest you to install Firefox because its customization capabilities and ease of use, or Chrome because it's really fast loading webpages.

But I'll have to admit that Microsoft Internet Explorer has been improved a lot in its latest releases (mainly because its interface was a copy of inspired by the graphic interface of Firefox). And now we are very close to the improved Internet Explorer 8 release.

There's an interesting open source javascript project that encourages users to upgrade user versions to Explorer version 7 an higher: Sevenup. Add this simple line of javascript and then you can even require the upgrade to access your webpages, or leave it just as a suggestion for outdated users.

Another similar project is the IE6 Upgrade Warning which also features translated warning messages and a carefully designed layout to encourage users about updating their web browsers.

It seems like a good initiative for a safer web browsing (and to reduce the headaches of website designers).

Gmail undo send

Have you ever sent an e-mail and immediately thought that you should have aborted that sending? Google has thought the same and has included this feature in Gmail as a part of the Google Labs options: the undo send feature.

If you enable the undo send labs option, you will have 5 seconds to click the undo send button. Most sending mistakes are discovered immediately after sending an e-mail, so 5 seconds would be enough. No more wrong recipients, and mispelled words!

Don't forget your e-mail attachments

My most common mistake is to send an e-mail with a missing attachment, which is followed by an embarrasing "Subject: the attachment" email.

Combine the previous feature with the useful Gmail Labs forgotten attachment detector and forget about this common mistake.

Send only emails when your mind is enough focused

There's also another feature to avoid sending something you later regret: Mail Goggles tests your mind with some simple math problems - if you are too tired working overnight to solve such problems, you better have some rest and retry sending that later.

With all these Gmail features, I hope all our e-mails become error free from now on!

Aviary is overhyped

If you are one of the 4 people in the world who has not received Aviary spam yet, let me introduce you what is aviary. Aviary is a set of graphic design and image editing tools which can be directly used on your web browser to create professional looking results.

At a first glance, Aviary's excellent web design, impressive Flex programming and surprising image gallery will amaze you. But, after a careful analysis, you may find out that Aviary is overhyped.

For serious purposes, Aviary tools aren't free

The main drawback of Aviary is that, if you want to create something serious with Aviary, then you will have to skip the free software part. Yes, if you want to create professional images, then Aviary is not free, because with the free Aviary tools you would be giving away your source files and your final images for their self promotion. You would be enabling other users to create derivative images from your work too.

Does any professional designer want to share every design secret with other designer in the world, or let them build derivative works upon their images? Any professional designer interested in surrendering some rights of every creation? No? Then Aviary isn't free for professionals.

And then there is the payment method part. You purchase a yearly subscription (around 85$ a year), and they claim that you are saving money, because graphic design software programmers charge too much to their customers. Well, if you purchase a single license of Adobe Photoshop, then you will have a lifetime license of a professional design application, which is less expensive than a lifetime subscription to Aviary (at least, if everything goes well with your health).

Aviary tools aren't better than other Open Source tools

If Aviary tools were unique and really impressive, they would be worth the money, right? But the truth is that there are several open source graphic design programs that let you do the same tasks. And hey, these programs let you create professional images without taking for granted some copyright rights or source files from your designs.

So let's analyze whether Aviary tools are really unique:

  • Phoenix is an online image editor similar to Photoshop, with layers and effects support. However, there's already a free online version of Photoshop, as well as other online free photo editing software as Picknik or Pixlr. But if you want to be serious about image editing, then chose an off-line open source image editing software such as Paint.NET or the multiplatform GIMP.
  • Raven is the first online vector drawing software. But once more, there's another vector drawing program out there that is completely free and open source: Inkscape. Nevertheless, both programs are rather limited compared with Adobe Illustrator.
  • Peacock is called a visual laboratory because it lets you experiment with plenty of image editing effects using a node based interface (such as Apple Shake). I have to admit that Peacock is a quite unique tool. But is by far the most complex one, and rather experimental. If you want quick, abstract eye-candy, choose some free fractal generator such as Aphopysis and tweak the results with something like Photoshop.
  • Toucan is a tool to select color swatches and palettes. It is very similar to the free color online tool provided by Adobe, Kuler.

Yes, good online software, but nothing extremely useful or innovative: there are completely free alternatives for each tool out there.

What new Aviary tools are coming in the future?

Till it isn't created, it shouldn't be reviewed. But let's take a look at what's coming to Aviary. Are there any really free open source alternatives to these graphic design tools?

  • Myna and Roc are an audio editor and a music generator. Is this something FL Studio like?
  • Hummingbird is a 3D modeler. Would this one be even better than the famous free, open source and powerful Blender?
  • Eagle is a pixel pattern recognition tool. I wonder what is this about...
  • Ibis is a font creator software. There aren't many free font creators for Windows out there (I only know the combination of Font Forge plus Cygwin). But if you want to keep full copyright with no derivatives on your fonts, then you may afford the powerful Font Creator.
  • Owl is an online desktop publishing program. Yes, there aren't other "free" desktop publishing programs, but, if you want to create a simple brochure you can use something like Photoshop or Illustrator. And if you are willing to create an extensive document, why use an online tool when you need to carry big document source files?
  • Penguin is a free online word processor. Are we reinventing the wheel? Did we already hear of Google Docs or Open Office?
  • Starling is an online video editor. It seems interesting as there aren't many functional free alternatives. Or may it end as another Windows Movie Maker?
  • Pigeon is a painting simulator. Like Corel Painter Essentials (which is bundled for free with many drawing tablets and that costs like a single year subscription)?
  • Woodpecker is a smart image resizer. Let's see what this smart is about. More than the bicubic interpolation? Even more than the Photoshop CS4 resizing algorithms?
  • Tern is a terrain generator. But Terragen is free for personal use, and it's the software that created the landscapes of The Day After Tomorrow. And DAZ Bryce 5 was released for free, and contains a full 3D terrain editor, a renderer engine, tree creation tools, texture editors...

We still have to wait till we can review the new tools but it seems that there are really free open source alternatives out there even for the upcoming features.

Aviary is over-hyped

Don't get fooled by the amazing sample galleries. I've seen the works of some geniuses that create wonderful pictures using the outdated Photoshop 5. The idea is that even with a software which is not impressive people can create masterpieces, because people's skills are amazing.

A strong user community of great artists and an intense marketing campaign cannot hide the fact that there are other Open Source or Free graphic design tools out there available to create professional results. Only if you are a casual designer you would want to give Aviary a try: it seems that professional designers have better free options to choose from.

Chrome Javascript experiments

When you mix a web browser that quickly handles Javascript (Chrome) with the features of the latest HTML and CSS versions plus advanced Javascript libraries, you can obtain Javascript based webpages that seem programmed in Flash ActionScript.

Still skeptical? Then check out these Chrome Javascript experiments site. I really like this Javascript balls experiment.

A DSL of 500 Mbps over copper wire

Ericsson has just unveiled a new DSL based technology that is capable of reaching transmission speeds of around 500 Mbps over copper wiring.

Nevertheless, this technology only works by bonding 6 pairs of copper wiring (which would only be possible in homes with 6 different telephone lines). And the length of the copper wiring should be rather short, so the target homes should be near the local exchange.

The expensive optic fiber is the future, but new DSL approaches as this one are always welcome. Practical implementations will never reach this 500 Mbps bandwidth, but we should expect a DSL speed increment in the near future.

Discover copyright infringements with a right click

I recently showed you a way to find image copies with TinEye. But, did you know that there is a TinEye Plugin that allows you to quickly search for image duplicates?

The image search plugin is available for Internet Explorer and Firefox, and it makes searching for images as simple as right clicking on them (without the need to submit an image file or URL).

But be careful! If you install the image search plugin you will find that checking the popularity of your photographs through Internet or defending the copyright of your images and pictures may be an addictive task!

Advanced Image Search thanks to TinEye

Have you ever wondered whether the images on your website are being used somewhere else? Do you want to know whether your images under creative commons licences are famous all around the web? Or do you want to discover copyright infringements and plagiarism? Now you can, thanks to TinEye. is the first reverse image search engine on Internet. That means that you provide an image or image URL, and TinEye performs a lookup of usages of such image throughout Internet.

Nevertheless, TinEye still has some limitations. The database of images where the searches are performed is still somehow small (only a few billions of images, which is far from the huge amount of images available in Internet). On the other hand, every time you perform new searches in TinEye the image database is increased with such new information.

But the most surprising fact about TinEye is that it will find image copies even when they aren't exact matches. TinEye can find duplicates even if they have been resized, cropped, renamed and somehow edited. TinEye uses the small snapshot or fingerprint of the submitted images to create the image database where the data used for comparison are stored.

I carried out some experiments and I found even image duplicates that were trimmed, downscaled, filled with noise and turned into grayscale images.

What are you waiting for? Give TinEye a try and tell me what you found!

LPhant 4 is a Fake

From the original post, Lphant 4.0 is a fake, at Triple Clic.

One of the best P2P hybrid clients (ed2k + torrent) till now, lphant, is no longer available at its original webpage. Its latest real version is lphant 3.51.

A company has taken over the webpage, and the new version lphant 4 is not the well known P2P client: it is a fake.

Be careful about installing lphant 4, because we can lose all of our downloads currently in progress. And what is even more important: if we don't keep the lphant 3.51 version installer, we will also lose the option to reinstall lphant again, since lphant version 4 overwrites the former version. In which once was the official webpage of lphant they have erased the previous versions, and they are deleting links to download the older version throughout the main download webpages.

Quote from Wikipedia:

On March 2009 Discordia Ltd. got by force the lphant domain, by using legal methods. In the past, it has appllied the same tactic with success on the open source project Shareaza in 2008.

Discordia Ltd. is a group which attacks P2P clients and file distribution. In the Lphant case, it got the domain but didn't got the software, because they want to eliminate the orignal Lphant with this procedure:

Lphant advertising software suggests the user to upgrade to the new version 4. You visit the official website of lphant in the hands of Discord, download and install a program. This program deletes the previous version. This program is a fake, a costume, is not compatible with Torrent or eDonkey. At this point the user discovers he's lost lphant P2P client, and the page to download the previous version (v 3.51) no longer exists.

Lphant developers are deciding to continue its strategy, but is presumed to be limited because some had to sign a legal agreement with Discordia, which handed the page.

Source: Wikipedia-EN

Gmail sending attachments trick: multiple simultaneous files

It's not all that amazing, but, as they haven't given a lot of hype to this, if you haven't directly read Google related news, you might be still using Gmail the old way without knowing this simple trick: you can attach multiple Gmail files at the same time, simultaneously.

Of course you could send several attached files at the same time. But you had to attach each file individually in the older version. So you had to select the files to attach one by one, in different file selection windows. Now we can add more files to attach in the same file attachment selection window, just by holding the CTRL key while clicking the additional files.

selecting multiple files to attach

And now they have included an attachment sending progress bar as well.

attachment sending progress bar

Find you users' frequent questions

user frequent questions

We recently saw that only webpages with quality content will be successful in the new Search Engine Optimization scenarios. But you cannot write quality content if you don't know what your users need.

A very good way to give your users what they need is finding out their most frequent questions. What do they want to know that is related to your business? Answer such questions, provide useful content and earn your potential customer's trust.

This question search tool is a quick way to find questions related to a specific topic. You should try searching questions concerning the following subjects:

  • The main keywords of your site.
  • Your offered services: what do you sell / build / provide / talk about.
  • Your brand name, and other similar brands.
  • The name, brand or model of your products.
  • Related tools or accesories.

Remember these quality content writing tips. Discover new and unsuspected user needs through frequent user questions, and satisfy these needs, building this way high quality content.

Google SearchWiki allows you to customize search results

Have you ever typed a simple search query and then ended in a webpage whose short description seemed pretty relevant in the top of the search engine results, but which was in fact full of useless content? We have all gone through this. And now, this is coming to an end.

Wouldn't be great to have a search engine which adapted itself to your preferences? This is what Google has finally launched as Google Search Wiki: a major update of their search engine that allows users to select their favourite search results and take a look at how other users are customizing their searches.

2 innocent Google buttons that will change search forever

Starting to use Google SearchWiki is as simple as logging to an existing Google Account. The next time you perform a search in Google, you will see 2 new buttons near each specific search result:

Google custom buttons
  • Promote button: moves the search result to the top of the 1st page.
  • Delete button: removes the search result from the list.

A single click gives you the power to customize your search engine results, so Google will work better for you.

Do you hate these websites that seem to have the answer to your question and then lead you to a payment details page? Now you can remove such useless results forever.

On the other hand, this is the way to keep those useful but hard-to-find webpages with tons of interesting contents. Once you found something useful, you can promote it to make it easier to find again (without cluttering your browser dependent favourites list).

Will the SearchWiki Google update have some real impact?

It isn't the first time that someone tries to create customized and user community based search results. But it's the first time that the #1 search engine of the world starts doing this. So this time we are taking the largest user community and the most advanced search algorithms as an starting point.

Trust me: this searching wiki is going to be something serious. We are going to see a strong modification of the click through rate of most websites very soon with Google SearchWiki.

Nevertheless, it will take some time till this first version of the custom search results is fully established. Google will need to gather and process tons of new data from SearchWiki users. And the end users will have to get used to log into their Google accounts, reward the interesting search results, and remove the useless ones.

But, weren't many users already logged in while they checked their e-mails through Gmail, their documents through Google docs and so on? The array of free services provided by Google is so big that most users will start customizing their search results without even noticing.

Still we don't know if Google will use the data provided by millions of users who rewarded interesting search results to raise these popular websites to the top positions in Google's global search results.

SearchWiki algorithms cannot be directly applied to either unregistered users or completely new search queries. And I'm pretty sure that these two kind of searches are more than the 80% of current Google searches. That's why optimizing these general search results would still be very important for Google.

Chances are that Google will likely take into account the automated SearchWiki user's feedback to optimize and improve its search algorithms.

The main hint pointing in this direction is that Google Search Wiki displays meaningful messages such as "You are the first person to pick this result". SearchWiki even shows you global counts of "picks" and "deletions" registered for earch single search result.

All these ideas remind a lot of some kind of search results popularity system, as social bookmarking sites like Digg are using to promote the most interesting news.

On the other hand, pages deleted by many users could be penalized and sunk to the bottom positions of the overall Google search results.

So this Google update could lead to a nice way to estimate the content quality of a random webpage, much more accurate that Microsoft's proposal of using bounce rate statistics to punish webpages in Windows Live Search results.

How can you measure the effects of this Google update?

You cannot measure the impact of this recent Google update by browsing search results, because you can only check your search engine results. Remember that each user will only see her own custom search result positions (SERPs) in SearchWiki as long as she is logged into her Google account.

Let's try to estimate what could happen to your current website statistics. Since we aren't sure about how Google may use gathered customization data to tweak global search results, we cannot predict whether your number of new visitors may decrease or increase. If you were capturing traffic without relevant content, your bounce rate would be high, and probably your new visitor traffic could decrease.

Now let's check those web metrics about user satisfaction and content quality. I bet that you will have more returning visitors and even higher conversion rates. Now your satisfied customers have an easier way to return to their favourite websites without being lost in the middle of a chaos of uninteresting search engine results.

Finally, take into account that many users won't return to the search engine results page to delete irrelevant results (unless they are opening many browser tabs). So the first pages that would be removed and filtered out are those ones with a description that seems unrelated to the search query from the user's point of view. You see? The importance of writing good titles and descriptions has just become even more critical.

Is Google Search Wiki the end of SEO?

You have to understand that SEO business shouldn't rely on either repeating the same keywords one hundred times or purchasing thousands of low quality inbound links. It has never worked this way, and now this is becoming an even bigger truth. If this was your idea of SEO, then you weren't a very good SEO at all, and your optimization skills won't be useful in this new search engine scenario.

It's a somehow funny fact that the one who is actually optimizing how the search engine works is not an SEO, but the end user. Maybe we should stop talking about SEO, and start talking of content optimization or even of developing effective communication solutions.

SEO is no longer a matter of cheating with technical details. Creating useful quality content that fulfills your user's needs is the key. Give your users what they need, so they will keep coming, they will trust you, and they will tell good things about you to the rest of the world.

At the end, only you can decide what is relevant for you. This change of Google algorithms through SearchWiki will benefit all users, as the final goal is to achieve relevant pages that meet each specific user's needs.

007 Goldeneye 64 online: Goldeneye Source

The 3rd Beta of Goldeneye Source has just been released this month. Goldeneye Source is a free MOD developed for Half-Life 2, which perfectly recreates the death match maps of Goldeneye for Nintendo 64.

Goldeneye Source includes an Online Death Match game mode. This game is added to the Steam game list, as most MOD's are.

I have recently tested the game, and it works perfectly. The game maps are exactly the same maps of the original N64 game, but with graphics and textures of the latest videogame generations. I just miss the "bills" of texture that fell when you shot the ceiling.

This is just like playing 007 Goldeneye64, but with a keyboard and a mouse (and with cool graphics too, for sure). Those who played Goldeneye during many hours on N64 will find that the most strange situation is to fight against more than 4 enemies on a single map.

Goldeneye Source Downloads

Download Goldeneye Source

Goldeneye Source Soundtrack (it's a remake of the original videogame soundtrack, but "trendier").

Goldeneye Source gameplay video

How to reorder MySQL table columns in MySQL databases

The data structure of any application is the hardest part to change. Nevertheless, new needs arise all the time, and so, adding new table columns to an existing MySQL database is a common task.

But what about reordering the table column order in MySQL after you have already created and added the new columns to an existing table? Doing so is an advisable procedure in order to keep together very related data fields in your MySQL table structure.

While I tend to perform many MySQL database management tasks using phpMyAdmin, I haven't found any phpMyAdmin feature to change the column order of an existing database. Fortunately, you just need to execute a very simple MySQL instruction to specify a new column order:

ALTER table `table_name`
       MODIFY COLUMN `column_name` your_data_type
       AFTER `other_column_name`

Just replace the following fields by your actual MySQL data:

  • table_name: the name of your MySQL table being modified.
  • column_name: the name of the MySQL table column that you want to reorder.
  • your_data_type: the MySQL data type of the data stored in the moved column, such as int, varchar(lenght), text, etc.
  • other_column_name: the column name that will be just before the new position of your reordered column.

A MySQL table column reorder example

Here is an example of an actual MySQL query to change the table column order. Let's say I want to move the column called "user_password" just after the "user_name" column to keep strongly related columns grouped:

reorder mysql table columns
ALTER table `registered_users`
       MODIFY COLUMN `user_password` varchar(25)
       AFTER `user_name`

This will reorder the columns in your current MySQL table structure, but it will not alter the row order of your table records: the stored data order will remain unaltered. Reorder MySQL table columns to visually group strongly related fields. So reordering is just a way of changing the column order of an existing MySQL table, and it won't modify your query performance.

Column reorder is mainly a matter of coherence and logical organization. On the contrary, altering the stored data order may optimize (or negatively impact) such MySQL query performance.

Monitor, hide and permanently remove systray icons and processes

Some of the programs that we install add new system processes. These processes always consume system resources, but are often unecessary. Other programs also add new "Systray" icons (Systray is the Windows System Tray, in the lower right corner of your Task Bar, next to the clock). And some of these systray icons may not be removed by a simple right click / close option. Even if you closed a systray icon, it wouldn't be removed, and it would be restored when booting again your PC.

We can optimize the memory usage of our PC killing several system processes and system tray icons.

Nevertheless, our best first choice to permanently remove Systray icons is to double click the icon, or right click / properties on such icon, and look for options to uncheck the "Show icon on the system tray", "Display quick link icon" and so on.

Checking Windows processes

To display the active processes in Windows: Right click the task bar / Task manager, or press simultaneously Control+Alt+Del.

The tab called "Applications" is the listing of the currently open programs, which are usually displayed in the left part of the Windows task bar.

The tab named "Processes" (this is the most useful one) are the currently running system processes, no matter whether they are visible or invisible. We can check how much system memory are using these processes on the right column.

We can temporarily kill these processes (till we reboot the PC) by simply selecting them and clicking "Terminate process". There are some processes that are essential for Windows while others can be safely shutdown. To find out what does each process, you can find out detailed process information (manufacturer, software, possibilities of being a virus or spyware, function, whether it is a mandatory process or not, user comments, etc.) at

Remove systray icons and processes permanently in Windows

There are several ways to permanently remove system tray icons and system processes (which don't provide a permanent removal option by default), and to prevent them from running again when rebooting the system.

An easy way is to install the free registry cleaner program called Regcleaner. Run the program and in the "Startup List" tab, select and delete the undesired processes.

This way to remove system tray icons and processes does nearly the same (plus a system process backup) as the following way (in which you don't have to install anything), which consists of clicking Start menu / run and then typing msconfig. This will open the System configuration utility. In the "Startup" tab of such menu we have a complete listing of the Windows processes. We should just uncheck the undesired processed, and we are ready to go.

Side note: removing Windows startup processes this way will make the following warning message appear when rebooting the system. It's just Windows information about the user-initiated removal of processes ran at startup.

Just uncheck the "Don't show this warning again..." and click Accept.

How to set MySQL auto increment in phpMyAdmin

A common practice in database design is to set primary keys (PKs) with auto increment enabled. This way, you don't have to worry about specifying a new unique primary key value each time you insert a new record in such table.

While phpMyAdmin is a very powerful and easy to use MySQL database management tool, "where could I set auto increment in phpMyAdmin" is still a frequent question. And here is the solution.

In the latest phpMyAdmin versions there is a new A_I Checkbox. Mark this option as enabled when creating or editing your primary key table column and that numeric field will automatically increment its value each time a new record is inserted.

Setting auto increment in phpMyAdmin

You can check that the auto increment property was successfully setup in the EXTRA column of the table column properties (after selecting a table, inside the structure tab). If the auto_increment text appears here, the configuration was successful.

In previous phpMyAdmin versions, auto_increment was an additional option inside the dropdown menu of the EXTRA category (the last column in the field creation menu). To access the "edit table field menu" you can click the pencil icon in the desired table field row, inside the Structure tab.

Anyway, you can always run an SQL command to update the auto increment status of the desired column by selecting the SQL tab and writing an SQL query like this one:

ALTER TABLE `table_name`
    CHANGE `pk_column_name` `pk_column_name`
           INT(key_length) NOT NULL AUTO_INCREMENT

Just replace "table_name" by the name of the current table being edited, "pk_column_name" by the column name of your primary key column and "key_length" by your integer primary key length (the default int length is 11).

You should also make sure that the auto incrementing field is in fact the primary key of the current table. You can reset the table primary key by clicking on the table key icon of the desired field row.

Take also into account that only one auto incrementing field may be specified in each MySQL table. Nevertheless, auto incrementing only makes sense when used with numeric primary keys, and only a primary key field may be specified for each MySQL table as well.

Finally, if you want to change the current Auto Increment Value (i.e.: to make your auto increment field start from a specific numeric value) just select the phpMyAdmin Operations tab, type in the AUTO_INCREMENT field the new starting value of your auto incrementing field, and you are ready to go.

XAMPP MySQL deactivated error

Installing XAMPP is a quick way to setup an Apache Server with PHP and a MySQL database.

But sometimes there's some kind of configuration error or bug that doesn't allow to start the MySQL service. Checking the status with the XAMPP control panel will display a message of "MySQL database DEACTIVATED".

How to fix the XAMPP MySQL deactivated bug

While I'm not sure about the causes of this error, there is a quick fix to activate MySQL in XAMPP following 2 simple steps.

  • First, try not to configure your MySQL database as a service. This is asked during the XAMPP installation. So don't select the checkbox of installing MySQL databases as a system service.
  • Second, create a basic configuration file for your new MySQL installation (you can do this automatically using Win MySQL admin).

Yes, there's an automated way to generate a basic config file for MySQL using tools installed by default in XAMPP. Just go to [XAMPP installation folder] / mysql / bin and run winmysqladmin.exe. Type a new username and password, and let the MySQL admin program generate the default mysql initialization file.

And that's it! A MySQL disabled as a Windows service, and a default configuration file with MySQL username and password defined should change your XAMPP SQL status from "MySQL database deactivated" to MySQL database ACTIVATED.

How to check that MySQL status is active

You can check the status of the MySQL databases opening the XAMPP control panel: MySQL should have a green running tag next to it.

Notice that I wouldn't keep using the Win MySQL Admin once you turned your MySQL service active: it's an old, discontinued application that seems to throw random Windows errors. But don't worry: just close the Win MySQL Admin window and keep using the built-in phpMyAdmin from the XAMPP default installation.

You can open the phpMyAdmin menu to check the active status of the MySQL databases from the XAMPP Apache main menu: start the Apache server, open the main server page using your web browser (just type "localhost" by default in your web browser address bar) and click the phpMyAdmin link to check that your MySQL databases are enabled.

I hope this helped you to activate your MySQL databases in XAMPP! Now, have a happy coding and local server testing!

How to unlock Windows if you blocked your PC with "Windows + L"

Unlocking Windows

Have you accidentally locked your Windows PC (maybe trying some keyboard shortcuts such as "Windows + L") and don't know what to do?

If you pressed "Windows key + L" to lock your PC, a password prompt will be shown for your current Windows user. The straightforward way to unlock your PC is to input your current Windows username and password. Entering the login data from another user with Windows admin permissions will disable the Windows lock too.

But, if you activated this Windows keyboard lock by accident, and you don't remember having specified any password related to your current user, don't panic! If you never defined a password for your active Windows user, just leave the password field empty and click "Accept": that will unlock Windows for sure.

Pure 100% CMYK black is different from rich black (HTML #000000 color code)

Rich black color

Did you know that 100% CMYK black is NOT the same as HTML #000000 color?

In most traditional CMYK print oriented programs, the default black color is the so called pure black (or solid black), composed of 0% of CMY inks, and a 100% K.

Nevertheless, if we choose the HTML #000000 black color code, we are choosing a rich black color (also called jet black, or even superblack). This rich black color is an ink combination of the following ink percents:

  • Cyan: 86%
  • Magenta: 85%
  • Yellow: 79%
  • Black: 100%

At least, these are the values of the rich black color in Adobe Illustrator. Nevertheless, these CMYK ink percents may vary for the rich black color in other programs.

Do rich black and #000000 black look like real black?

The problem with pure black (100 K) is that, when it is depicted in some RGB color space, it will look like a dark grey color.

On the other hand, the darker than black (on a computer screen) rich black color would look like a dark brown color in CMYK, as it depends a lot on the actual inks used by each printer.

In fact, this makes sense: in a CMY substractive color mixture the darker color possible would look like a dark brownish color.

On the other hand, a single black ink cannot absorb any color radiation in real world (and thus being actually pure black), so it looks like some kind of dark gray.

Finally, the misleading of the printing plates may add some color halos to a 100 K print on a colored background. This wouldn't happen using rich black instead of pure black.

What to use, 100% black in CMYK or rich black in HTML (#000000)?

Working with CMYK blacks and RGB blacks is very easy if you take into account these 2 main points:

  • Don't use CMYK rich black on a traditional CMYK print. Even with a more dense ink pattern, the result won't look as a pure clean black color in CMYK printing. You would be printing a dark brown or dirty dark grey instead of black. So printing black CMYK requires you to use only 100% Black.
  • Use the HTML #000000 color when exporting RGB images. A 100% K value would look like a dark grey in a computer screen, so you need to use rich black to see true RGB black in your monitor.

So stay clear of rich black in most traditional CMYK printing processes that use a white background. You would only need to use rich black if you try to print black text over an image or picture, to prevent trapping problems (color halos that surround the black) that would make the text hard to read.

Adobe Illustrator rich black tricks

In Adobe Illustrator there is a little trick to make your life easier. It allows you to work always with pure black (100% Black, the default black color in Illustrator color swatches), even when exporting your image to RGB: make sure that Edit > Settings > Appearance of Black is configured this way:

  • Displaying all black colors on screen as rich black. So you won't be confused with dark grey previews of your 100% K black.
  • Exporting and printing CMYK blacks as rich black. This does not change the black color (that remains as 100 K with no brownish color mixtures), but will create the #000000 HTML superblack color if exported to RGB color spaces.

We hope that this will shed some light telling the differences between pure 100% CMYK black and the rich black HTML #000000 color code!