Google Adsense non contextual ads

Google Adsense no offers Ads that are based on your search history too. Formerly the ads were more focused on context. You could define areas for the bot to look for keywords in your webpage. For example on this site you would see more ads related to Computers Software etc. Not anymore though. Google has started showing ads in a different way now.

Instead of contextual ads, Google will now show ads based on your Google search history and Youtube history. Here is a screenshot of the ads shown to me on this site.

Ads shown to me on this site was based on the Youtube history

The page is about how to save protected images from Flickr, but the ads are all about electronics. That is because I had viewed a lot of videos on Youtube related to electronics and done some searches too.

Google voice rates.

Skype has been around for so long that people take it for granted. Well, Google has decided to change the whole scene with their own low tariffs and other features. Right now Google also offers free calling to numbers in the US and Canada. Google has been offering Voice services for quiet sometime now. Only recently did it open restricted. You can find out the Google voice tariffs here.

Free parental control software for Windows, MAC and iPhone

The most popular article on this blog is about the time restriction parental control method in Windows. That article explains how you can restrict the login time for a user under Windows. The hot topic being parental control, I have decided to write about a software that is easy to use, allows you to block websites based on content and restrict the time people can use the internet! The best part is it is FREE and is available for Windows, Mac OSX as well as iOS.

K9 webprotection on iOS
K9 web protection screenshot from iPod

K9 web protection is an easy to use parental control internet restriction software from Blue Coat. It is free for personal use but you need to provide an email address to get the license key. I have used K9 for testing purposes and found it to be very impressive. You get to block web sites based on Categories, keywords, URLs or even URL keywords. The time that a user can browse the net can also be set.

I have tries only the Windows version. The iOS version is available from iTunes. More tips on using k9 as well as other tools to secure your computer will be updated on to my blog. Please subscribe to the RSS feed to keep updated.

K9 website | Download Page | FAQ

Protecting your childs online prescence

Children today are far more ‘exposed’ to technology than once their parents were. Along with the benefits of the internet, more and more websites pop up each minute that could get them in trouble. Pornography, contact with strangers, Social networking addiction and games are just a few of them. With the curiosity of a kid he likes to know ‘what it is?’. So I am starting a series of posts on parental control and internet security.

Sometime back I did a post on how to control the time users can log in to Windows XP. Since I added “Parental Control” to the title, there had been many visits to the article. This actually made me feel like I was cheating all those visitors. These people were coming here,expecting to find a way to prevent their children go the wrong way on the internet. And what was I giving them? A rather geeky and crappy way of controlling the log in times. That’s why after a long long time I decided to write some real and not so geeky ways of implementing a parental control.

In this article I am going to tell you some good points to note before you setup a full parental control.

  • Educate your children about the bad of getting addicted to internet, games,porn etc
  • Put the PC with internet access in a common area, so that you can always have a look
  • Make the modem setup such that it connects to the internet only on request rather than always on.
  • Its better if you can put a router in between the computer and modem.
  • Be strict about ‘when’ kids can use the computer

There are some plug-ins available for almost all browsers that will make surfing rather safe. One such plug-in is the Web Of Trust Plug-in. It is available for FireFox, Internet Explorer as well as Chrome. But the problem with all these plug-ins are that they can be overcome by some way. although the procedures can be complex, they can still be overcome. That’s why we need a much stronger method for parental control. From the third article in this series onwards I will be discussing methods by which parents can actually implement strong website filtering on their computers.

Bowser Size from Google Labs

Browser size has been integrated into Google Analytics and would soon move out of Google labs.

This handy Google Labs tool will allow you to see your website as seen by users with different screen resolutions. One of the major challenges while designing a website template is to design the template so that user can read the relevant information at the very first glance itself. Sadly this depends on the visitors screen resolution. This tool from Google Labs will overlay a transparent ruler like layout to the web address you give it, thus enabling you to see how your web site looks at  screen resolutions other than yours.

Google Labs browser Size Screen cap
Screen Shot of Simple Informations on browser Size by Google Labs

The tool allows basic settings such as transparency adjustment of the ruler. You can use Google Analytics to know what resolution is used by most number of your visitors. Then you can head over to Browser size and see what all portions of your website is viewable at that resolution. This will allow you to make your web site more accessible and improve the “page views/visit” as well as “bounce rate”.

The following is a screen shot of my Google Analytics page showing the details of this blogs visitors and their screen resolution.

Visitor by resolution chart
Statisctics of visitors to this site by resolution – Google Analytics

Link : Browser Size | Google Labs | Google Analytics

Quix – ultimate BookMarklet

Name

: Quix

What is it?

: Quix is a JavaScript BookMarklet which allows you to add functionality to your browser

Details

Quix is a simple BookMarklet that you can add to you browser toolbar by drag and drop. It is more like the “Latest Headline” in your FireFox toolbar. When clicked, it opens a prompt that accepts short commands and behaves accordingly. Commands include whois lookups, social bookmarkings, webmaster tools, URL shortening etc.

When you click on the Bookmarklet, a prompt appears.
You can type in your command to this prompt : Quix

An example is here. You are on a particular website and you need to know the whois informations of the site, What do you do? You can copy the web address, go to a domain tools site and type in the address to get the details. OR you can click on the Quix button on your toolbar, and just enter ‘whois’ to see all the required information then and there. You can also use Quix for web searches as “g Simple Informations” will search on Google for Simple Informations. Try “dict amazing” for a word meaning or “map LOCATION_NAME” for google map of the Location. These are just a few of the commands available in Quix. YOu can see the full list of commands at Quix Help.

An introduction to Quix : Video

Do I need Quix

If you haven’t yet added it to your toolbar, probably you are confused as to why you need it. Well it makes searches handy, access to other information and sharing on social networks including Twitter and FaceBook easy. If not using this button, you might end up using a single bookmarklet for each of the social networks and one bookmark each for a search. Another advantage is that you can add custom commands to Quix easily. so hurry and get yours now itself.

Pros

Does NOT slow down browser like other plug-ins. Can be used with every browser that supports JavaScript. I don’t think I can list its goods. You just need to prefix each command with a space and it will result in a new tab. All of it is just great. You can extend it with command files (see links below). Can disable the default commands – you should need some crazy reason to do so.

Cons

Haven’t seen one yet.

Verdict

This is one tool every one who uses Internet must have. The SEO and WP tools make life easier for web Admins and Bloggers. Yoast has done a wonderful job by creating the plugin.

Links

Quiz | Quix commands | Extend commands | How to add commands | Joost de Valk

WordPress blog painfully slow except for front page

Last day when coming back to edit my blog (http://www.exnol.com ) I was literally shocked to find out that the login page took ages to load. Thinking that it was a server issue because I had been here a few hours before, I came to face the reality the hard way. The problem was that the landing page or the front page or the index page of the blog was alright without any problems but every other page including the admin pages took many minutes to load, sometimes even dropping the connection.


So what should we do on such situations? After a brief search on Google and coming out with no practical answers I decided to go my own way. The steps : Since the front page was OK it was not a Database or Server issue. To make this sure I tried FTP using Filezilla and found out that FTP was fine. Since the admin interface was affected I couldn’t try deactivating plugins altogether. so I decided to try a trick. Rename the “plugin” folder.


Click for larger image with details. Renaming the plugins folder.

Note the path to the folder : /wp-content/plugins


Right click on the folder and select Rename. Rename it with some other thing. You would successfully have brought down your WP blog now. Most probably your blog won’t work. (Make sure you try to access your blog at least once after the renaming). But hey its just temporary. Rename the folder back to plugins. Now you will have all of your plugins deactivated.


Now start reactivating plugins one at a time or in groups and watch which plugin is causing the trouble. This was my idea of the last minute trick you can use to deactivate plugins if the admin pages are unavailable. Share your thoughts!

Feedreader on your WordPress dashboard

The WordPress community like any OpenSource project has got a highly creative and devout developer base. They never fail to please you with every major release of WP. So the customizable dashboard was also no surprise. But the fact that we can use some applets on the dashboard as makeshift feed reader is what really impressed me. If you have  a self hosted WP blog, you should probably have noticed this, or may be you don’t. So here is how you can view feeds on your WP dashboard.


You can use two of WordPress applets as feed reader which will show you the title with the first few sentences from a feed. The third one is much limited. This is made from the “Incoming Links” applet and so it shows only the first few words of the posts and the link. The two applets that can be used to view latest feeds as excerpts are titled “Other WordPress News” and “WordPress Development Blog”. When you move your mouse over the Title Bar of these applets you can see a configure link.


WordPress dashboard being edited as feed reader

Click on that ad you will be taken to a page where you can set options for that particular applet. The config options include number of posts to be shown from that feed, Address of the feed, Title of the feed and some minor tweaks. I have added this blogs feed to the applet to show you how its is done. Once you have set these options you ca save them and configure the other applet. Coming to the third applet which is a little less mighty, things ecome somewhat different. We cannot edit the title of this applet directly from the dashboard (although we can do it by editing WP core file). You can just edit the address of the feed and the number of posts to be shown.

Subscribed to feed using WordPress dashboard Applet. Click here to get screen shot of my Dashboard

If you would like to keep the original applet feeds, make sure you save the feed addresses before changing them. You can use these applets to subscribe to two blogs which you can never miss out on. Although this can’t be substituted for a regular feed reader this would be fun tweaking.


Setting a preferred domain for your blog

The preferred domain means the address you want your visitors to see when they come to your site. That is http://exnol.com or http://www.exnol.com in my case. you can do this easily if you are on Apache. edit the .htaccess file as follows :

RewriteEngine On
RewriteCond %{HTTP_HOST} ^YOURDOMAIN.com$ [NC]
RewriteRule ^(.*)$ http://www.YOURDOMAIN.com/$1 [R=301,L]

If an htaccess file doesn’t exist, add the above code to a text file, name it .htaccess and save it at your root directory.If ReWriteEngine On is already in your htaccess file the ignore the first line.  Replace YOURDOMAIN with your sites domain name. There can be problems if you use this along with

RewriteBase /
RewriteCond %{REQUEST_FILENAME} !-f
RewriteCond %{REQUEST_FILENAME} !-d
RewriteRule . /index.php [L]

If you use them together some problems may occur during file access.

RewriteEngine on
This line starts the mod_rewrite module
RewriteCond %{REQUEST_FILENAME} !-d
If the request is for a real directory (one that exists on the server), index.php isn’t served.
RewriteCond %{REQUEST_FILENAME} !-f
If the request is for a file that exists already on the server, index.php isn’t served.
RewriteRule ^(.*)$ /index.php

There can be errors. I faced them while rewriting my .htaccess file but doesn’t remember the error correctly.

TinyMCE editor problem after wordpress2.7 install

Many WordPress blogs including this one faced a major problem after upgrading to WordPress 2.7 a few days back. Although the whole new look of WordPress is extremely easy and well designed for some the tinyMCE editor (default post editor for WordPress) was screwed up. This meant that no new post could be made or existing one edited with the current setup.

The most common problem was that the Visual editor tab was missing. When you click on the new post or edit buttons you go straight to the HTML editing mode. And if you click on the Visual tab the whole text as well as editor window is blank.

wordpress 2.7 TinyMCE editor error.

In my case if I selected the editor windows I can see the HTML highlighted ie the text was still there but was in white color and un-editable. From then on no buttons on the page including HTML mode, Preview, Save Draft, Publish etc worked.

After going through numerous threads on the wordpress forum finally I was able to sort out the problem. Many a peple at the forums had pointed out that the problem would naturally be with some plugin that modified the TinyMCE advanced. I tried deactivating the TinyMCE advanced plugin. But it still didn’t work. After sometime I found that websuccessdiva solved the problem by deactivating RB internal links plugin. The plugin allows you to link the text with already published posts inside the TinyMCE window itself.

Solution : Try deactivating the plugins that directyly affect the tinyMCE interface. for some this was RB internal links, for some this was Kimili Flash Embed. Although there was an opinion to install WordPress 2.7 fresh instead of upgrading this seemed not so practical.