Tech Xpress

Make Google Analytics show Real-Time Data

This post is meant for webmasters who use Google Analytics.
Google Analytics is a popular tool for checking visitor traffic details for a website. However, the stats are not real-time, there is a delay of 24 hrs. Well, not exactly!

Even I didn't notice it till today. You can view real time web stats in Google Analytics; and you don't event need to pull a trick or hack to do it. It is right there!

1. Sign-in to Google Analytics.


2. In the Dashboard, click the small dropdown button that lets you select the date-range. By default, the selected date period will be the last 30 days excluding the current date.
3. Just select the current date and click the Apply button.

Bingo! You'll now see stats for the current day as well and that too in real time.

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posted by Vijeesh Ravindran, Thursday, August 28, 2008
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Extract Images from PDF files

Ok! Pulling an image out of a PDF document is trickier than I first thought. Taking a screenshot of the image and saving it is the way to go, but this approach gets a bit tedious when grabbing many images from a file. And this is exactly where, PDF Image Extract is very handy!

PDF Image Extract is a free software that enables you to grab images from PDF files. It's got a simple user interface through which you can opt to open a single file or an entire directory. It also gives some flexibility for determining the quality of the images that will be extracted. In addition to that, an output directory option is provided; all the ripped images are stored in that output folder.

Images can be pulled out from the entire PDF document at once or from a selected page range. In addition to that, images can also be ripped from multiple PDF files at the same time. According to their website, you do not need to have Adobe reader for this utility to work.

Currently, images in Jpg, Png, Gif, Bmp, Ppm/Pbm, Tif, Tga and Pcx formats can be extracted.

[Download PDF Image Extract]

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posted by Vijeesh Ravindran, Monday, August 25, 2008
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Grab Audio from Online Video Sharing Sites

Want to download the audio of your favourite video clips on YouTube, Myspace or Google Video? Downloading the whole video is the first thing that comes to mind, but if you only want the sound track, VidtoMP3 can be put to good use here.
VidtoMP3 lets you to rip off the sound track of video clips from popular video sharing sites. The videos are converted to mp3 which can be downloaded. To grab audio, you only need to provide the link of the webpage which contains the video.

Here's how to use it -
1. Copy the full address of the webpage that has the video.
For example, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K7y8GC3DW4Y
2. Paste this link in a box in the VidtoMP3 website and click download.
3. The audio is extracted from the video and made available for download.

That's all you have to do!

Currently supported sites
VidtoMP3 currently supports audio grabbing from the following video sharing sites -
YouTube, Myspace, Google Video, MegaVideo, Dailymotion, Metacafe, Veoh, Break, iFilm, Bolt, ClipJunkie, ClipShack, CollegeHumor, FunnyJunk, Glumbert, GoFish, Grouper, Hallpass, MilkandCookies, Putfile, SantaBanta, Sharkle, Shoutfile, Vimeo, vSocial, Yikers, ZippyVideos.
Enjoy downloading!
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posted by Vijeesh Ravindran, Thursday, August 21, 2008
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Read Websites using Email When Internet Access is Restricted in Office

Employees love surfing the web in office, but many offices block direct internet access to disallow employees from getting 'distracted'. However, not everything is blocked, especially Email access.
And guess what? You can use email to read the latest stuff from your favourite websites.

How to read webpages using an Email?

Just send an email to www@web2mail.com with the site url as the subject of the email message. You will receive a copy of the webpage by email after a few minutes.
For example, to read the latest on Tech Xpress by email, the email subject line should be -
http://txpress.blogspot.com

A point to of note here; you cannot use this service to read web pages that require you to login.

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posted by Vijeesh Ravindran, Monday, August 18, 2008
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Solar Powered Sun Jars that turn on at Night

Yeah! These look are kinda cool. 'Sun Jars' are solar powered lamps(jars) that have solar cells, a rechargeable battery and a LED lamp. Put the lamp in direct sunlight to charge it.
One thing you'll notice is, there are no visible switches. In fact, a sensor automatically lights the jar when it gets dark. If you do want to turn off the light at night to save some charge, a switch is provided inside the lid.


The jars have a frosted appearance to diffuse light. These water-light jars are available in orange and blue colours.
Something perfect for your garden. What do you think?

Check the price here. It is available for around 36 USD. You can, however, make one of those yourself with this guide at LifeHacker. Check it out!

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posted by Vijeesh Ravindran, Thursday, August 14, 2008
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Convert Word to PDF

Did you know Google Docs can be used to create PDF files? Well, it doesn't open up a new blank PDF file for editing directly; but a PDF file can be generated using a different approach. You can also convert your existing Word documents to PDF format.
Here's how -

1. Create a document in MS Word.
2. Upload the file to Google Docs and Open it.
3. Go to File >> Download file as >> PDF.


The PDF file is downloaded to your computer. This is the original Word document which is converted to PDF format.

A really easy way to create a PDF file. Now you know it!

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posted by Vijeesh Ravindran, Monday, August 11, 2008
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Change 'Start' Button Text in Windows XP

Bored of the same old Windows 'Start' button? If you are, its time for a 'Start' button makeover. Not a complete makeover though, only the text.

Most of the methods I found were too complex and some of them involved lots of registry tweaking, which could probably make a mess of some critical Windows settings. I just wanted to know the simplest way, and I found one!

It's a small utility called Start Button Caption which only does one thing; change the Start button caption on Windows XP.
There is no need to install the software, just download and run. Type any text you wish to replace in the Start button and press the appropriate button to change the caption. That's all!
Another button is provided to get back the old text.

Note: Only 5 characters are displayed in the button, although this behaviour can be customized to include much more. That is a much lengthy process.

[Download Start Button Caption]

posted by Vijeesh Ravindran, Thursday, August 07, 2008
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Protect Email Addresses on Websites from Spammers

Got a sudden spurt of spam mails in your inbox? That happens because spammers out there got your email address. And how did they get it? They used spam bots, which are programs that search and collect email addresses from webpages, internet forums, chat rooms, ...etc.

Many website owners (including me) provide a 'Contact' link on their sites through which visitors can directly get in touch with them. Most of the 'Contact' links are nothing but direct links to an email address. These email addresses are easy prey for spam bots.

Here are some tips that could prevent your email from being exploited by spammers-

Use different emails for personal and other uses
This is a pretty straight-forward approach. Using a different email for your website will at least protect your primary email address. However, the other email address still stands to be exposed to spammers.

Use a third-party Contact form
Contactify is a webservice that creates contact forms for your website. It generates a unique link which opens a contact form. Messages entered by users will be emailed to your account. Off course, you'll have to provide your email address to Contactify.

Use a mix of both the above methods
A combo of both the above isn't a bad idea. Create a different email for your website and use that email to get a Contactify form. This way, your primary email is hidden from your website and Contactify. Even a manual email-hunt from spammers would not yield anything.

Use images instead of text hyper links
Revealing you email in images will stop spam bots but will require site visitors to transcribe the email from the image. Just take a screen shot of your email address, save it as an image and put it on your site.

Obfuscate email addresses
This is an old trick that may not protect you against sophisticated bots. Here, each character of your email address is converted to ASCII.
Check out an online Email Obfuscator!

There are other ways to hide email address using Javascript. However, a visitor who has javascript disabled in his/her browser would have no way to contact the site administrator.
What do you do to keep your email away from spammers? Do let everyone know.

I personally use a bit of email obfuscation, but Gmail's spam filter does a pretty neat good job for me.

Related:
How Users Reveal their Email Passwords Unknowingly?

posted by Vijeesh Ravindran, Monday, August 04, 2008
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