Tech Xpress

Always use HTTPS in Gmail to stay Secure

I bet many Gmail users don't login using HTTPS; they use HTTP. This can get you in trouble when you login from an non-secure internet connection, for example, a public wireless network or any non-encrypted network. A hacker can potentially login to your Google account without even knowing your password!

To avoid this, using HTTPS is the way to go. It isn't difficult. Just type -
https://www.gmail.com
However, there will be times when you forget to add https in the address bar. This is where Gmail's new setting comes in handy. Gmail has a feature which forces you to always use an https connection. Here's the way to set it -

1. Login to Gmail. Click Settings at the top of the Gmail page.

2. Set Browser Connection setting to Always use https.

Make your Gmail sessions secure by changing the browser connection settings in Gmail to Always use https3. Click Save Changes and Reload Gmail.

That's all! Now your entire sessions will be encrypted over a network every time you sign-in to Gmail. It will be a bit slower, but security should always come first.

Note: Some issues may turn up for Gmail Notifier users and Gmail mobile application. Find more about this here.
Even if someone sneaks into your Gmail account, there are ways to find that too!

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posted by Vijeesh Ravindran, Monday, September 29, 2008
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Login Multiple Yahoo! Messenger Accounts Simultaneously

Want to chat using multiple Yahoo IDs at the same time? It is possible to have two Yahoo! Messengers open simultaneously, each with different login IDs, in the same PC. To do this, you'll have to edit the Windows registry.

Note: Editing the registry the wrong way can cause serious consequences. Make sure you back up the registry before editing. Click here to learn to Backup the Windows registry.

1. Go to Start >> Run. Type 'Regedit' and press Enter. This opens the Registry editor.
2. Navigate to
HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Yahoo\Pager\Test
3. Right-Click on any blank space in the right panel and select New >> DWORD value. Rename this newly create DWORD key as Plural.

Registry editing to login multiple Yahoo Messenger! sessions simultaneously - via Tech.Xpress.(txpress.blogspot..com)
Add a new DWORD Plural to login multiple Yahoo Messenger! sessions simultaneously - via Tech.Xpress.(txpress.blogspot..com)4. Double-Click it and change its value data to 1. Click OK.
Edit Plural DWORD value and set it to 1Plural DWORD set to value oneThat's all! Now open Yahoo! Messenger and login with an ID. Open another instance of Yahoo! Messenger and login with a different ID.

To disable multi-login, just delete the Plural key from the Registry.

Related Yahoo! Messenger Tips -
Remove Yahoo!Messenger Insider Popup Window
Save Yahoo Chat Conversations
Directly Download Full Yahoo! Messenger instead of the Online Installer


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posted by Vijeesh Ravindran, Thursday, September 25, 2008
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Launch Programs With Mouse Gestures

Magic Formation is cool! For those who don't know, it is a utility that helps you to start other programs. Kinda like the start menu in Windows in terms of functionality, but different, very different!
Magic Formation creates a circular program dock that can be launched with mouse gestures
Unlike Windows start menu, Magic Formation's program dock can be started with mouse gestures. Just move you mouse in a circular direction! Move it either in a clockwise or anti-clockwise direction. This takes some getting used to.
You can also launch the dock with you keyboard, if you are not comfortable using mouse gestures.
By default, a dock appears with one icon in the center and several icons around it in a circular fashion.

How to use?
Just click any of the icons to start the respective programs. Clicking on the center icon closes the dock. The settings window can be started either by right-clicking the center icon or through the system-tray icon.
Magic Formation is customizable. You can have your own icons, change the circular look to a linear one or manual one.

The memory footprint is also quite low at around 7 MB. Check it out!

[Download Magic Formation (Windows XP Only)]

Related: Get a Mac-like Dock in Windows

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posted by Vijeesh Ravindran, Monday, September 22, 2008
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Chat on your LAN with LAN Chat Instant Messenger

I must say, LAN Chat is one of the easiest instant messengers I have come across. With LAN Chat, one can chat with all the users in a Local Area Network (LAN), provided they have it installed.
With Lan Chat, you can chat with other users on a local area network - via Tech Xpress (txpress.blogspot.com)
LAN Chat's key advantage is its clean and intuitive user interface. In fact, you won't even need to learn anything to use it. There is no need to provide a username or password. You are automatically logged in. Just start it and talk.
There is only one screen! This screen displays a chat room where logged in users can send messages. These messages can be viewed by all. A list of all logged in users is also displayed.

Where can this be used?
This will be very handy in offices when internet connection is down. Software programmers can use this to share snippets of code.

What's missing?
As of now, there is no way to share files with this. An option to share files through LAN Chat would be great.

LAN Chat is Windows Only. It is Free! Check it out.
[Download LAN Chat]

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posted by Vijeesh Ravindran, Thursday, September 18, 2008
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Get a Mac-Like Dock for Windows

Do you like the application dock in Mac operating systems? It looks good and productive. The dock allows you to directly access programs without the hassle of going through the clutter of desktop shortcuts or the slow(really slow) Start menu in Windows operating systems.
Obviously, you got to have a Mac to have this dock. But if you have Windows, here is your chance to have a Mac like dock in Windows!

Rocket Dock in action. Rocket Dock creates Mac like program launching dock in Windows - txpress.blogspot.com
It's called RocketDock! What's that?
RocketDock is a free software program that creates a smooth Mac like dock in Windows. With a bucket-load of options, RocketDock is highly customizable. If that is not enough for you, wait till you read this one; RocketDock can be customized with a decent number of user created addons! And these addons are available for free, just like in Firefox.
Some of the addons let you logoff, shutdown or put your Windows in standby directly from the dock.

Another important point to mention is the memory consumed by RocketDock; it only took around 6 MB; so this can work even if you have a slower computer. Makes it worthy for a try? Check it out!
Tested on Windows XP.

[Download RocketDock]

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posted by Vijeesh Ravindran, Monday, September 15, 2008
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Merge all Text Files in a Folder into One File

To read or compare multiple text files the 'straight-forward' way involves opening all of them one by one, which by the way, forces you to open multiple windows at the same time.
Wouldn't it be great if the contents of all those files were put in one single file? That would be great for reading and analyzing the contents. We know this can be done with the good old copy and paste, but too many files can make it one nasty time consuming process.

This is where TXTcollector comes in handy. TXTcollector merges content from many files and puts it in a new text file.
You just have to specify a directory and it will look for all text (.txt) files in that folder and optionally in its sub-folders. The contents of all the text files are combined in a new file.

Pretty useful stuff for analyzing system log files or for reading all the text files from a CD. What do you think? If you know a better tool, feel free to leave a comment..

[Download TXTcollector]

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posted by Vijeesh Ravindran, Thursday, September 11, 2008
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Remove URLs in Webpage Printouts

Web browsers have this annoying habit of adding the url of a webpage that you print. For me, this is quite unnecessary as it clutters the printouts and more importantly, wastes printer ink.

However, printing of url addresses can be prevented with a few tweaks in your browser's 'Page Setup' settings. Let's see how this can be done in Firefox, Opera and Internet Explorer -

For Firefox users -
1. Go to File >> Page Setup.


2. Click the Margins & Header/Footer tab. In the Header & Footers section, change the value in the drop-down lists from 'URL' to '--blank--'. Click Ok.
You may also choose to set the other values to blank if you want.
Tested with Firefox 3 and Firefox 2.

For Internet Explorer users -
1. Go to File >> Page Setup. This opens the Page Setup box.


2. You will notice a Footer text box which contains text like &u&b&d. Just remove it and click Ok.
Tested with IE6.

For Opera Users -
1. Go to File >> Print Options. This opens the 'Print Options' box.


2. Un-check Print Headers and Footers check box. Click Ok That should do it.
Tested with Opera 9.01

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posted by Vijeesh Ravindran, Monday, September 08, 2008
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Download Protected Flickr Images instead of Spaceball.gif files

Ever tried to save a protected image from Flickr to your computer? You won't get the picture you want. Instead, a transparent image file named spaceball.gif is downloaded.
This is because Flickr always puts a transparent image file in a layer over the original picture. So when you right-click the original picture, you are actually clicking the transparent image, which is eventually saved to your computer.

How to Save the Original Picture from Flickr
However, the original image is stored in your browser cache. Firefox gives a pretty neat view of all the contents in your cache. Let's see how we get the original picture from Flickr with Firefox.

1. Open the Flickr page that has the picture.
2. Right-click on any blank part of the page (Do not right-click on the image) and click View Page Info. This opens the Page Info box.
3. Select the Media tab. You will find all the media files here. Once you get the image, hit the 'Save As' button to save the image. That's it!

I haven't tested this with IE, Opera or Safari. With these browsers, you can always check the source of the web page and get the link to the original image.

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posted by Vijeesh Ravindran, Thursday, September 04, 2008
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Extract Audio from Video files for Free

Many of you must have read my previous post about a website, VidToMP3, that grabs audio from video clips available on video hosting sites like YouTube, Google Video etc. That was good for online video files, but what about video files that already exist on your computer?

You can do it with freely available software. Here are two utilities that rip and save audio from video clips -

Free Video to MP3 Converter
Free Video to MP3 Converter proves to be useful here. Free Video to MP3 Converter is a software that grabs audio from video files on your local hard-drive and converts it into MP3. And as the name suggests, it is free!

With this tool, you can extract audios from FLV, AVI, MPG, MP4, M4V, MPEG, DVR-MS, WMV, ASF, MOV, QT, 3GP and 3G2 files and save it to MP3 format. You can either choose to get audio from an entire video file or only from a specified part of the file. Batch conversion of files is also supported. Check it out..

[Download Free Video to MP3 Converter]

AoA Audio Extractor
Unlike Free Video to MP3 Converter, AoA Audio Extractor can save the audio and soundtrack from video files in more than one format: MP3, WAV and AC3. You can save any portion of the audio from the file.
AoA Audio Extractor can grab sound from AVI, FLV(Flash Video), MPEG, MPG, DAT, WMV, MOV, MP4 and 3GP video files.

[Download AoA Audio Extractor]

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posted by Vijeesh Ravindran, Monday, September 01, 2008
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