Saturday, 28 July 2012

Browse Files and Control Your Computer From Anywhere




I usually connect my laptop into a bigger screen when watching my favourite subscribed online pinoy channel. The connection used is wired HDMI.  Although the distance between the sofas where everyone sits and enjoys the show is   just within reach, sometimes everyone is lazy to get up. How I wished for a remote control for the laptop.

Of course there are free downloadable remote controls available using apple and android apps that does the job. But they can be fiddly and can be disconnected for a certain time the remote device is not touched. Reconnecting the device sometimes takes a while and needs to reconnect it fresh from scratch.  Until recently I came across a software that can remotely control any PC's using any device that can be connected into the internet. I installed and run it and it worked first time flawlessly controlling my laptop. The good thing about this application is I can use an apple tablet as a remote controller. You might say an ipad is an excessive laptop remote control which I agree but  the free software is brilliant that it can also be used to browse any file, photo, video, or document, from the laptop and can be shown into the ipad's screen.  Even the downloaded WMV with digital rights management access control video from an online subscription site can play from the ipad. I just didn't found a remote control but a software that is also a tool that can remotely access my laptop, as long as it is connected into the internet. The potential of this software is limited to anyone's imagination!

LogMeIn

I have heard about this software and tried it before. It had a 30 days trial period and needed a subscription afterwards. But at the time of writing, there is a free version which remains free, and I hope free forever. Try it and  if you're the type who connects his laptop into a TV for better video enjoyment,  then I know you will like this.

 From your laptop, download LogMeIn Here . From your iPad or other mobile devices, go to the apps market and search and download  logmein.

On your laptop or PC

After installing and creating a log in credentials (any email and a password will do) from both the laptop and iPad, run  LogMeIn  from your laptop and click turn on to make your laptop online or live, so that the devices using logmein using the same log in credentials can make a connection.




On your iPad, iPhone or Any Android Phone

Run LogMeIn  on your iPad as well. Login with the same credential as you logged in from your laptop.



The software can detect straight away the online LogMeIn activated device in your account which is in this case the FUJITSU. Touch the computer name (Fujitsu) to bring about the screen icon then touch screen icon(with the arrow symbol) to go into the computer login menu.


Type in the usual user login for your laptop when you go to your laptop account



Click continue to computer to start controlling your computer from the ipad. You can see straight away the screen content of your laptop in your iPad, just like having a clone view when you connect your laptop to your TV. Only this time you are connected wirelessly using internet protocol. The same principle with cloud computing.


You can begin controlling your laptop from your iPad. 



You can also browse photo's and watch videos downloaded into your laptop! 


It is like sitting next to your computer no matter where you are around the world, as long as both devices are connected into the internet!



On any laptop or other devices without LogMeIn application installed

Another plus with this application is you can still control your laptop with a computer or any device that does not have the LogMeIn application installed. All you have to do is to go to

1.  www.logmein.com
2.  Log in with your logmein credentials
3. Log in to your computer using your usual computer log in credentials
4. The content of your computer is shown in your device.



Samsung S3 is used in this occassion but although it has a bigger screen that most of the smartphones out there, for me it is not enough! A bigger screen, like the iPad is more preferable.



Thursday, 26 July 2012

How To Trim Youtube Videos Without Sweat



Watching movies and videos online couldn't be easier using a video hosting site. Youtube is rich in resources of any genre from documentary to music videos, full length new movies to the classical silent blockbusters. The self help and instructional videos are helpful enough to give knowledge to the viewers on how to do things and help do tricks that others think only an expert can do. But because of the straight forward approach and the absence of round the bush explanations coupled with clear HD  video mode, things become easy and can make an ordinary viewers work and solve problems like experts!

The annoying part when watching instructional videos is when the author of the clip take a lot of time showing something not related to the video before going to the main topic.  This is also happening to other uploaded videos that the authors wasn't able to edit their post before uploading. Leaving a could have been a popular post when edited at the beginning of the introduction which can be too long and the viewer lost interest. Same's true with music videos, some has a long intros before the song. What if you just want to see the main part? Something that starts in the next 30.30 minutes of the whole 1 hour of a video? What if you want to skip the first 10 seconds of a music video because you want to download and convert in into mp3?

Skip and play you tube video to a specific time stamp

The good news is there is a way for users to trim the video easily without using any software. We can actually start the video from where we want to start and can share this to our friends without the boring bit. This is done by adding parameter #t=?m?s at the end of the URL code. Where in ?m is the query time in minutes and ?s the querry time in seconds. If I want to skip 16 seconds of a video, all I have to do is to do add this code at the end of the URL #0m16s.

Click the example below

original code:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=acvIVA9-FMQ

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=acvIVA9-FMQ#t=0m16s

Skip and play youtube video from a specific start and end to a specific time stamp.

SPLICD

At the moment, there is no code for this but there are third party softwares that can do this easily and effectively. One of them is SPLICD, from http://www.splicd.com/, there is no need to download and install any software, just go at the site and copy and paste the URL of the video and specify the start and end time playback.




Another impressive feature of SPLICD is it's ability to create link of the trimmed youtube video for sharing and also makes a code you can embed to your website!


TubeChop
http://www.tubechop.com

This is another website offering a service to cut and trim you tube videos. Unlike SPLICD thet you need to specify the clip according to the time stamp, TubeChop lets you decide where to start and to stop the video by using a slider. In my opinion this is quicker.

Paste youtube URL at the search box


2. Specify the start and end part by sliding the time stamp

3. The chopped video can be shared, linked and embeded into your site as well!


Monday, 16 July 2012

How To Improve Wi-Fi Connections





Wireless fidelity  is my preferred connection for home internet. The reason is it's flexibility, simplicity and portability. Another reason is almost all new addition of  internet capable devices  are already wi-fi enabled, which is a good news. This means freedom from wires and you can internet power your devices anywhere around the house for as far as your router wi-fi  signal can beam it's signal.

But there is also a bad news, especially when you are near to a neighbour who has a wi-fi router transmitting signal with the same channel as your router is transmitting. Why is it a bad news?

Have you experienced a drop in your network's throughput? Or a significant delay in loading web pages or files which are not that of much data? Or session disruptions like no internet connections from your ISP but your friend's internet with the same ISP company has no problem with the service?

Chances are the channel your router is broadcasting it's signal is at the same channel with that of your neighbour's, which is making a bottleneck or overlapping signals that can cause disruptions like disconnections, no internet access, not able to maintain connection.

So how would you know which channel is your router's signal is broadcasting compared to your neighbour's?

For this task, you need to download a free program, inSSIDer wi-fi scanner, that can tell the channel of the router's signal around you. Download and install this application from

http://www.metageek.net/products/inssider/download/

Then open up the application and you will see the nearby routers and which channel they are broadcasting. Interestingly, most of my neighbours, broadcast to channel 3 just like mine!



If the results is like the screen shot above and you have a problem with your connection, then it is worth a try to change the channel of your wi-fi signal broadcast.

Go to your router's default gateway, for belkin it is http://192.168.0.1 . If not sure, click start and at the search window type cmd, then press enter, then at the command prompt type in ipconfig, then press enter. The resulting number under default getway is your router's address. Open a browser and type in http:// plus the default getway number to get inside your router's configuration.



Then log in with your router's log in credentials (for netgear, the default user name is admin and password is password) and change the channel under wireless settings. This time I have choosen channel 11.



Going back to inSSIDer application, here is the result. You can clearly see the overlap of Hollow1 and Hollowfield5 at channel 3 and a lot of wi-fi's at channel 1, and my router alone at channel 11.


You need to re connect and type in the security key to all your wi-fi devices after change of channel. You may need to forget or delete the wireless access and re discover it again on other devices that can not reconnect to internet  after change of channel.


Sunday, 15 July 2012

How To Do Selective Colouring Effect In Seconds




This is a trick where in the artist wants to emphasize an item in the photograph, by making everything in black and white and the main item in colour. If you search for the word selective colouring effect or colour popping, there are online step by step instructions on how to do this trick, but for a novice like me, those instructions are a bit lengthy and seems like complicated. Tricks involved are tweaking the photo's saturation, layers, flattening, and other terms I really could not understand, and too novice to comprehend. And the fact that they use paid for imaging programs have put me off and I am sure to those who do not want to spend a penny but would like to try their hands and want to make their photos  become a bit more creative. So how we can do this in seconds then?

Look at the photo effect I did in a matter of seconds. The task involved is just pointing the mouse over to the parts you want to colourise. The only hard bit is adjusting the size of  the  mouse tracing.

1.Original Photo                                  2.When Loaded at Leaf Interface                         3. While colour tracing the loaded pic

Finished Product

How to do it?

1. Download the leaf at http://www.bendigodesign.net/leaf/


2. Open the program and open the photo you want to work on by clicking the open file option. Once the photo is loaded, it is automatically transformed into greyscale, so no need to tweak it. You can start working and turning it into popping colour effect straight away.


2. Use the slider button to adjust the size of the virtual wand and slowly hover over the area you want to colourise.


3. Then just save it when you're finished! Done, simple no fuss.

Saturday, 14 July 2012

How To Bank Online Securely

The internet has brought us many convenience in life like free communication and the ability to express ourselves freely. It automates our tasks and doesn't necessarily transact physically especially in the financial world. We can do most or all of the time consuming process online saving us time, effort and money!

But like any other useful tools, it can be a source of frustration as well, like loss of money online.  The good news is, there is a way to avoid this problem, as this requires at least a user input, like phishing, where the author redirects your click to a similar looking bogus site.  Phishing writers are innovative, they are many steps ahead of the ordinary users.

How can we outsmart them?

The coders can change a legitimate URL link to a rogue site that has been infected. Try clicking the examples below(don't worry, they are not redirected to infected or phishing sites). The same legitimate URL address   www.yahoo.com   but of different landing pages.


So which one gives you the real yahoo page?

If fact, it is so easy to fool ordinary users and one weapon we must have to defend us from this is a little knowledge of URL's, we must know the landing page before we click it. How?

1. Hover your mouse over the link in querry or any suspicious link and you can see at the bottom of your browser, the destination URL. If the destination URL does not make sense, then do not proceed to click. Or take step two.

Clicking the first address link above will redirect you to gmail.


Example1

A phishing attempt email from "Natwest". The email sender has a user name "Natwest". The email address doesn't make sense as the domain name is clara.co.uk, instead of natwest.co.uk or natwest.com. The content is way out from the legitimate email formats from natwest, and the url destination is very obvious it is not going to the bank's website.


Example 2

The second email (Abbey National, part of Santander Group) I received seems like coming from a legitimate email address and the author also provided a secured https address, hoping I will fall into his trap. But by hovering the mouse over the address reveals the destination page.


2. Scan site's URL.

There are also URL's that can hide their destination page, and URL's with long codes and short links as well. These can be legitimate or a dodgy site and you will not know until you have clicked the link, and your computer became infected or you have just provided the hackers your banking details before you've realised. Before you are tempted to click, you can check this with an online tool  at www.virustotal.com . Just click scan URL (to enable URL search, the default is file scan) to start with before you copy and paste the URL into the search window. Scanned below is the URL of the second email from "Santander's Abbey National".






The tool uses many anti-virus popular engines to do the scans like AVG, Bitdefender, Comodo , Sophos, Websense, and many more.

From the email link that has been scanned above, here's the result.


The scanning tool can be added to browsers like internet explorer, firefox and chrome. How ? Go to the site www.virustotal.com and click documentation, at the Browser Extension click Virus Total browser extension, choose your browser and add the virustotal tool extension.

Below is VTextension for Chrome.



Once installed, an icon appears at the top right portion of the browser.


To use it, right click a questionable or suspicious link and scan with virustotal.








Sunday, 8 July 2012

Convert Youtube Videos Into MP3's









Video hosting websites like  youtube has a lot of resources which are free to watch and free to download.  We can also change the format of the download for our mobile devices to read and play. Like the music videos we watch online, can be converted  into mp3's for our mp3 players or mobile phones. This is quick and easy when you know how. Even when you have the idea of conversion, the availability of free softwares to convert files can be difficult task. Using which software to use is just another hit and miss thing in terms of the outcome the software produces . Free softwares that can do this like the premium ones but in return you need to do something for the developer or  publisher like signing upto something you do not want, participating in a long survey and at the end you give up because it's lengthy. Sometimes you are forced to install other softwares not related to what the software does. And in other situations, the user does not even know other softwares are bundled with it.  The worst thing is the stealth softwares can hijack your browser and redirect you from rogue sites. 

The software I use to convert youtube videos into mp3 is from freemake, you can get this at www.freemake.com. I have been using this and do not have a problem with it. This free software is bundled with other programs, but you  do have the option to decline. So just be careful during installation, if you do not want to get additional programs, which can change the way you use your browser. How not to get this extras and how to convert youtube videos into mp3's using the software? The processes below.

1. Go to www.freemake.com and download the video converter.


2. During the installation, choose Costum Installation and untick all the 3 items below it.


3. Go to you tube and search for the music video you want to convert into mp3. Highlight and copy the url typed at the address window.


4. Open up freemake video converter and choose paste URL, then choose mp3 as the resulting file type.


5. Choose a destination folder and click convert


6. Convertion process begins


With this tool, you can download and convert all of your favourite music found in youtube. As this is a free software, other bundled applications with the free converter might change but always remember to take a closer look at what the installation process is saying  and refuse to install what other softwares is bundled with the product if you only want the converter.


Download Free Digital Contents from iTunes and Amazon








Phones became the ultimate "companion" for most of us. We can go out our houses without almost anything, but can not leave home without our mobile phones. It's second to our wallet in terms of importance, and  It feels like something is missing without it. Not just because it can be the ultimate lifeline saviour in an emergency, like being stranded in  strange places, car breakdown, or in a real life and death situation, but also a source of entertainment when on the go.

Movies, games and music, anything digital that the device can playback can be downloaded free. But most of the freebies, especially games, are just tasters. Movies and  music can be loaded into your device free of charge when you know how to convert them into digital formats your device can decode. Or download it free when you know where to go. But free downloads offered by non popular sites can be incomplete or of low quality. 

Music downloads are not that expensive, but it can be, depending on how popular and how many tracks you want to put into your device. A thousand music at 30 pence for example, will cost you back at least  £300. That's only an estimate for unpopular the music tracks. Popular artist's work can fetch at least .99 pence.

But did you know that  there are free music downloads offered by amazon and itunes? Here's how to get them.

The Free Downloads

1. Free music download from amazon

Go to Amazon MP3 section here!

Then click free under bargains category to see the latest freebies. Then just complete your order by adding your selection into the basket before you can download it.


2. Free downloads from itunes

iTunes offers freebie downloads as well, from music, books, to videos. Although it is harder to tell which category has it's freebies, you can see the items at the right side of the itune's interface.


There's a handy blog to keep track of the itune's freebies at http://freeitunessongs.blogspot.co.uk/


Wednesday, 4 July 2012

Facebook Scams






There are a lot of scams circulating within facebook. And users are falling for them. Why?



1. The freebie promise. Free galaxy s3's, iphone's, ipad's, or money.


One example is the $100 gift card starbucks promise. To good to be true. If you inspect the FB page links, none of these point to starbucks official website, but to a blogspot, www.sbcasdasd.blogspot.com. Starbucks is a big company that can afford to pay for a domain name, and will not necessarily need a free blogspot.


The blog is only a decoy site redirected to a different url at www.starbucksvoucher.org where you will be lured to sign in other fake offers.





What the fakebookers want from you?

This is a classic way of making data base of emails, your friend contacts and other personal informations. The information they can gain depends on your engagement of the bait they put in. From there they can sell your details to  legitimate or illegitimate marketing companies. And anytime soon expect your email, telephone, cellfone,or facebook page  flooded with adverts or messages from companies you've never heard of or contacted before.

Who are they?

Using whois, the owner of the site starbucksvoucher.org is from Albania. See the details at http://www.whois.net/whois/starbucksvoucher.org



Similar scams.




2. Fake fund raising with liking pictures of injured or sick people.

So what's wrong with liking these photo whilst you have all the good intention to help with your like clicks? There is nothing wrong to feel and show you want to help by clicking like, but this is not what the advertisers is in their minds in the first place. This is just to lure your good intentions for their data gathering plus your personal and social information.

3. Prominent people dead, had accident or involved in a scandal. Scammer's really dig everyone's curiosity when they posted the following.




4. Rogue applications. This includes apps and browser extensions that promise users to remove timeline, enable dislike buttons, see who is viewing your profile, facebook  "verification", celebrity lookalike and others.



Installing these apps and other browser extensions will only make your browser vulnerable to browser hijackers. They can change your browser's default settings like your home page or default search engine without you knowing. In other cases, the apps will create "backdoor" passages for other malwares to pass through.

5. "Do you remember this photo" message. This will lead you to a site that can infect your computer with a virus, trojan, or worm. If your antivirus program's definition is updated, it could detect that the url is a threat. They call the file name img, jpg, png, bmp or anything that make surfers think as an image file type to lure them to click. Remember that file name is different from a file type.





There will always be a new threat in social networks and scammers are getting clever and become more innovative and will do anything to make you click a link or the like button. Be sure to update any internet security you have everyday. But remember that all of us has the best protection against this threat, our sensibility. If you see these or other similar posts, ignore it and alert facebook. Never share it.

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