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 or in my case. you can do this easily if you are on Apache. edit the .htaccess file as follows :

RewriteEngine On
RewriteCond %{HTTP_HOST} ^$ [NC]
RewriteRule ^(.*)$$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.

One (free) instant messenger for all services

All the web sites having a chat facility has now got an instant messenger client. So a messenger that can handle multiple services was one I was waiting for a long time. I think this would be the case for most of you. But which client would support multiple services as well as run on both Windows and Linux? The answer is Pidgin a free and is distributed under GPL.

Pidgin is an instant messaging program for Windows, Linux, BSD, and other Unixs. You can talk to your friends using AIM, ICQ, Jabber/XMPP, MSN Messenger, Yahoo!, Bonjour, Gadu-Gadu, IRC, Novell GroupWise Messenger, QQ, Lotus Sametime, SILC, SIMPLE, MySpaceIM, and Zephyr.

Pidgin is the default IM client that comes with Linux(well some distros only – as Saman pointed out in the comments). Almost all of the features of other IM clients are available in pidgin also. But there is no support for video and audio chat. Although file transfer is integrated, most of the time it won’t work (at least when I tried).For pidgin to work properly tyou may need GTK. You can find a version of GTK along with pidgin itself. If not goto GTK for Windows.

One of the main advantages of pidgin is that it can sign in to multiple usernames at once. You can sign in to you GTalk, ICQ, Yahoo… messenger accounts at once. So you don’t need to manage multiples Windows which is a great feature.

PidGin can be downloaded here : Pidgin for Windows, PidGin is available by default in Linux – or install by sudo apt-get install pidgin.

Setting a FAVorite ICON for your site

This post is an Answer to the comment posted by Carol A Ranney on “How to make custom icons”.

A favourite icon commonly known as a favicon is the small image shown near the URL in the address field of the browser. Now a days these icons are also used for bookmarks. You can easily create one for your web site too. Here are the steps involved :

1. Create a favicon.ico file

Use the method mentioned in How to make a custom icon. Create an icon with a size of 128×128 or larger dimension which you can work easily on. Now scale it down to 16x16px. It is better to use 256 colors only. Save his as favicon.ico

2. Upload the icon

If you are the admin then upload the icon to the root directory of your web site. This is normally public_html or where the index.html file lies.

You will be able to see the icon for all the pages from your web site now.

3. Adding a <link> field

If you want to use a different icon for a particular page add

<link rel="shortcut icon" href="ICON" type="image/x-icon" />

in between the <head></head> tags of the page where icon location refers to PATH/favicon.ico the place where you saved the icon.

4. More on favicons

Most of the current browsers also support GIF files as favicons. Use the name favicon.gif if you are using one. You can use animated icons by saving the animation as a GIF file and then use it as your favicon. Firefox even supports png file to be used as favourite icon.

If you have any further doubts please feel free to comment here.

Free screen capture software

The humble Snippy was rendered useless by the Snipping tool that comes with Windows 7. The Snipping tool can be evoked by typing Snip in the Start menu.

(Version .41 with support to outlook released) A newer version .40 of Snippy is now available. It has got the added feature of support for Multiple Monitors which was done by Kartikeya Rindani

Snippy is the most efficient screen capture software I have seen till date : its free, it’s light at only 88Kb and needs no installation. When snippy is run it is hidden in the notification area , but when you click on it a “capture pointer” appears which lets you draw the required area. Or you can press shift to draw a rectangleSnippy draw. It supports up to 5 image formats for saving. In contrast to other applications all communication with snippy can be done through and only through the right click on notification area icon. Snippy is really a great piece of software with an appropriate name and a matching icon. Try it out today itself.

Pros :
really lite (88Kb) and requires no installation, Not system hungry, Supports five image formats, no irritating window, Hot Key allowed – F11 (changeable), border width and color changeable. Snippy ‘s captured files are not lost even if you forget to save, they are automatically saved as JPEG to user temp folder which is “C:Documents and SettingsUSERNAMELocal SettingsTemp” with filenames Snippyxxx.jpg

Cons :
No timer functions, the border drawn is also included in captured image which can be irritating, No video capture. (Actually you cant blame Snippy. After all it is really lite and easy to use, it keeps all the promises to you)

Specifications :

Mem. Usage (minimized) : 3MB
(capturing) : 10MB(during drawing, may vary)

File formats supported

Capture Mode: Rectangle, Free shape draw.

Price : Free

Download Snippy executable for Windows

Linux system… well isn’t this cool – Screenshot

33 tabs open in Firefox and it is still using only 147Mb of RAM. Seems pretty cool to me compared to previous Memory footpath of Firefox. Another thing is that I have Apache, Perl, Python, DHCP3, VLC and all those stuff open along with whole lot of folders but the system RAM usage is only 396Mb. The system doesn’t seem to be anywhere near slowing down. See the Screenshot of System Monitor (One of my systems run Linux)

Screen shot of system monitor

Well for heavens sake I can’t actually imagine this on a windows machine with a similar config. (My Linux system is clocked by Semptron LE1200 – cheap but more than enough for me)

Add free online contact form to your web site

A Contact form is an essential form for any website. But if you are on blogger or a free host you wont be able to create one on yourself even if you know PHP. Although if you are running WP you can get plugin’s specific for that application. I use cForms for my contact forms.

So if you just need a frills free contact form you can place on your website you may try Contactify . It offers free contact forms as well as spam protection (word verification) for the service. You just need to copy paste the JavaScript they provide after you register.

Here is my sample contact form : Contact me

How to hack a web password from a friend

You can get anybody’s internet account password, if you have Mozilla Firefox browser with an add-on named HTTPFox installed.

HTTPFox sits in between the network and FF browser and captures all the traffic in between. You can view the Requests and Responses going in between. When you enter an information into a form on a web page like a login page and click the submit button you are sending the information either as a GET or as a POST request to the web server. Example of a GET request is what you enter in a Google Search box. When you click search you can see that the results page will have a URL like :- QUERY (it may have some more creepy stuff like your browser info or your language preference but the basic structure is this) You can see that the part you entered is visible along with the URL.

POST requests are different in that you can’t see the data as part of the URL. An example would be any login information you enter on a website.

Follow these steps : (Checkout this Screenshot for detailed instructions)

1. Install HTTPFox extension for FireFox.

2. Restart Firefox, now you will see a small green and blue icon on the lower right side of the status bar.

3. Click on the icon to expand HTTPFox pane and go to any login page.

4. Click Start to start the capture. Enter the login information (username, password) and click Submit (or hit enter)

5. You will seethe data transfer in a categorised and formatted way here. Look at the 5th column named Method. Most of it will be GET. Click on it to bring the POST ones on top. Select a post transfer by clicking on it and then Click POST Data tab on the lower pane of HTTPFox. Here select Raw radio button. check for the sername somewhere in the string shown. Near to the username will be the password. Before each variable (password username etc) you can see an = symbol)

6. This is the password you need. To make this a stealth operation 😉 , after Start minimise the HTTPFox window. And whe nobody is arround open the window stop the transfer and look for the password.

As you get familiar with this it will be a lot easier to findout the password from the RAW data. For any webpage use all caps testusername and teastpassword approach shown in the screenshot to locate the password field.

If you have any questions or doubts contact me or leave a comment.

How to save copy righted Images from Flickr

Some images in Flickr are protected so that nobody would save them to their computer. This is done by overlaying the image with a transparent spaceball.gif image. You can see this in action in the following image.

Saving Flickr Image gives you the transparent spaceball.gif file.

Here when the save Image As option is taken you can save only spaceball.gif which is a simple 1×1 transparent image. So how do you save such images. One method that will come to your mind immediately will be saving it from cache. Yeah that works, but there is a method which is a lot  easier. You can use this in Firefox.

Right Click and Select Page Info

When you right click on any page opened in Firefox you can see an option Page Info. (Note that a similar option is viewable under the DOM Inspector) Click on that, Goto the Media tab. This can also be accessed through Tools » Page Info You can see that here there is a list of all Images, Music and Shock wave objects used on the page Just click on the image name you want to save and select Save As. Thats it.

All media in a page under the Page Info » Media tab

One you get familiar with images in Flickr you can see a similarity in all the main images addresses used in Flickr ages. Just check the image. You can easily spot tis one after some trial. Also any object can be saved fby using this method.

You might also be interested in knowing how to disable right clciks using simple HTML tags. If this method is used you can select Page Info from Tools menu on the top.

At the IITs for a Week

I was at IIT Madras (Chennai) for a week from October 1st to participate in the annual technical Festival , Shaastra, there. We planned to compete in one of the robotics events named Emergency Exit. So that was why there were hardly any posts the last week.

Although we went there with the primary aim to participate in the robotics event, we didn’t actually complete the robot and so didn’t compete. But there were hundreds of more interesting events. It was a lot fun to go and just walk theough the IIT.

If you get a chance to visit IITs especially during Saarang or Shaastra do not ever miss it.