Tech Xpress

Find Geographic Location of any Site or IP address

Did you ever wanted to know the physical location of a website or IP address? Probably not!
But sometimes, knowing the location comes in handy.


When to use this service?

How to find geographic location?
  1. Just head over to this Server Location Lookup page.
  2. Type the IP address or website URL and click the 'Lookup' button.
A Google map is used to display the location. Clicking on the balloon will give you further details of the location.

posted by Vijeesh Ravindran, Thursday, July 31, 2008
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Make Self Destructing Private Notes

Remember those cool self-destructing gadgets in the movie Mission Impossible. After the recipient reads the message, the device went boom!
I found a website that creates notes which are somewhat similar to those in MI, except that they aren't exploding gadgets, off course!


Privnote lets anyone create messages that can be read only once. The message won't be available the next time around; it will be destroyed forever.

How to create a self destructing message?
Just head over to Privnote and type your message. Privnote will provide you a link to that message, which can be mailed to your recipient. Once anyone clicks the link and reads the message, it is destroyed. The message won't appear ever again from that link.

Why to create self-destructing notes?
It is a neat way to find if someone else has eavesdropped and read the message. If you send a confidential note to your co-worker and he/she doesn't find it, it becomes clear that the message has been read by someone to whom it wasn't intended.
This won't prevent eavesdropping but will let you know that your message has been read.

Additionally, Privnote can also notify you by email when the message has been read.

Related -
How to Password Protect your Private notes

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posted by Vijeesh Ravindran, Monday, July 28, 2008
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Find if your Gmail Account is Sneaked into?

Worried that someone else is logging into your Gmail account and reading your emails? Till now, you really couldn't know if somebody other than you is checking your mails.
Worry not! Gmail now lets you track most recent sessions (i.e who logged in to your account most recently).

Just look over at the bottom of your inbox page. A line of text displays the last account activity. If someone else has logged in at the same time, that information will also be displayed.


For more detailed information on account activity, click the 'Details' link on that line; this opens a new window which provides the IP addresses from where the Gmail account was accessed.
If you find any of the IP addresses suspicious, it's high time you change the Gmail account password.

Remote Sign out -
This is another cool feature! If you accessed Gmail from a friend's place and for some reason forgot to log off, the remote sign off feature will come in handy. The 'Sign out of all other sessions' button lets you sign out of the Gmail session you started at your friend's or any other place, even if you forgot to log out from there.

More details at Official Gmail site

posted by Vijeesh Ravindran, Thursday, July 24, 2008
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Improve your Pictures Online in One Easy Step

A few days ago I wrote about a nice and easy tool called Snipshot that edits images online. As I has said earlier, I liked Snipshot because it was easy as it didn't have tons of options to modify images.
And guess what? I have found another site that improves image quality, very very easily.

ImproveYourImages is a website that easily enhances your existing pictures (Only jpeg images supported currently). And like Snipshot, it is the ease of use that made me write on it. In fact, improving your photo takes only one step. This one is much easier!

Just upload the image and the web service will automatically correct colours, lighting etc. The enhanced photo is displayed alongside the original one and can be downloaded. That's all.

If you aren't used to editing with photo editing tools, this will be handy. My only concern is, the site gets slow sometimes. Hope it gets fixed. Check it out.

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posted by Vijeesh Ravindran, Monday, July 21, 2008
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Instantly Hide Open Windows with a Hotkey - Avoid Snoopers in Office

You take a quick break in office by surfing your favourite sites on the net. Suddenly, boss turns up and finds you not working; not a situation anyone would like to be in.
The best one can do to avoid it is to minimize the window which requires you to click the really small button very swiftly. This won't hide the application as it is still displayed in the taskbar. Another option is to completely close the window, but you run the risk of loosing the current state. Both these approaches are not quick either.

How about hiding open windows with just a hotkey? I mean the application should be completely hidden i.e from the Windows taskbar too.

Magic Boss Key is a free utility that lets you do it. It can hide active windows of browsers, folders, applications and all desktop icons and the taskbar when you hit the hotkey. The biggest advantage here is the speed with which it closes the open screens.
This can be neatly used in combination with my previous tip on secretly surfing the internet.

A nice little tool indeed. Check it out!

[Download Magic Boss Key]


posted by Vijeesh Ravindran, Friday, July 18, 2008
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Password Lock your Secret Notes with Locknote

There are tons of encryption tools available. A problem with a good majority of them is ease of use. For example, if I have to read an encrypted file, I'll have to unlock or decrypt that file by providing the password. This is usually a multi-step process where you open the decryption program, select the file to unlock and finally get the readable version.
How about doing all of this is a single click?

LockNote lets you do it. As the name suggests, LockNote locks notes. Just open up the LockNote application; a Notepad like interface is displayed where you can type your thing and close. It prompts you for a password while closing.
You will be asked for that password when opening the file the next time.

Additionally, LockNote lets you convert your existing text files. Just drag and drop them over the LockNote window. For Example - If you drag and drop a secrets.txt file, Locknote will create a new secrets.exe file for you.

LockNote is free and doesn't require any installation. Enjoy!

[Download LockNote]

Check out some related posts below -
Password lock folders with Folder Encryption
How to hide files and messages inside images
Password protect folders in Windows XP

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posted by Vijeesh Ravindran, Monday, July 14, 2008
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Make your own Google-like logo

Want to have a Google-like logo of your own instead of the original one?
Just head over to PimpMySearch and get yours. Type in whatever text you want and click the create button. A new page is displayed which looks similar to Google, but with your chosen text. Cool! Isn't it? You can perform a Google search too from the new page.

There is one more way to do this. It requires you to install a Greasemonkey script for Firefox.
Install GreaseMonkey addon for Firefox.
Apply the script.
Go to Google and double-click the logo. A small box pops up. Enter the text and color code here. Click Change. The Google logo is replaced by your customized one.


posted by Vijeesh Ravindran, Friday, July 11, 2008
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Stop Gmail from Automatically Adding People to your Contacts

The small chat window in Gmail shows the status of all your contacts, with whom you can chat. To add anyone to that list requires one to send an invitation to the other person.
However, if you email other Gmail users frequently, Gmail has a default habit of automatically adding them to that list.
This can sometimes clutter your chat box. Here's how to stop that -

1. In Gmail's Inbox, click the Settings link on the top.
2. Click the Chat tab. Select the Only allow people that I've explicitly approved to chat with me and see when I'm online option.

3. Click Save Changes.

That's all!

More:
Add Google Talk gadget to Orkut
Report Suspect Phishing mail in Gmail and Yahoo
Merge Gmail, Yahoo, Hotmail, AOL, Facebook, Myspace accounts

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posted by Vijeesh Ravindran, Monday, July 07, 2008
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Edit Pictures Online and Save them

I don't usually edit pictures unless it is required. My usage is very limited; like resizing images to be used in my posts. Today, I stumbled on a very handy web service that fits my needs. Actually, more than my needs, as the service lets me do more with pictures than just resizing. And a lot of it for free!


Snipshot is a website that allows easy and smooth editing of images online. Images uploaded on Snipshot can be resized, cropped, rotated, recoloured or enhanced with just a few clicks. With a slick editing interface, using the Snipshot dashboard is a breeze. An undo button is also provided to quickly rollback recent changes.

The edited images can be directly emailed or hosted on a image hosting site for free. Off course, it can be saved to your PC in six different formats which includes jpg, gif, png, pdf, psd and tif.
Snipshot has also got a Firefox addon which lets you to edit any images in Firefox with just a right-click. Check it out!

More:
Convert Images to Sketches online
Make a sketch and watch a video replay of it

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posted by Vijeesh Ravindran, Thursday, July 03, 2008
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