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