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

How to use facebook chat on your desktop

Facebook has a built in chat engine which allows users to chat through their browser window. Using chat from a browser window is not always easy. The Facebook chat box makes this particularly hard too. It is easier to chat using a dedicated IM client. In a previous post I had talked about pidgin – a free IM client with support for multiple accounts.

The best part about pidgin is that it will allow you to converge your friends accounts into a single icon on the GUI. that is you can combine a friendsĀ GTalk and Yahoo ids to a single name on pidgin. If the user is online is any one account your IM will message automatically to that id. This does not mean you can cross chat from Yahoo to GTalk or vice versa.

Although Pidgin supports Myspace there is no built in support for FaceBook chat. but that’s not going to let you down, because there is a wonderful plugin available solely for that purpose. The pidgin-facebookchat plugin developed under Google code and distributed under GNU GPLv3 can let you use FaceBook chat on Pidgin. The plugin is available for both Windows and Linux.

Add a FaceBook account to pidgin screen shot
Add a FaceBook account to pidgin screen shot

After installing the plugin goto “Accounts>>Manage Accounts>>Add” From the dropdown select Facebook as the protocol. Set you <username> and <password> of your Facebook account. You can set additional options including email notifications and Status updates from Pidgin under the Advanced tab.

pidgin-facebookchat home list of downloads

Download files from without flash player

eSnips logo eSnips is a social content-sharing site, where you can publish and share any media type. You will get 5Gb of storage space on the servers when you signup for eSnips.

You can find lots and lots of books, music files, photos etc on eSnips. But if you want to download them you will need flash player. Here is the workaround if you do not have flash player installed but still want to download a file from eSnips.

This is the screen shown if you do not have flash installed.

Flash install

View the source of the web page by pressing CTRL+U – firefox, opera, IE ; Find the section with the text “var scribd_doc = scribd.Document.getDocFromUrl” (do a search). Now select the URL of the file you need from inside the brackets. More details can be found in the image below.

Source of the webpage and finding the URL of file.

Paste this URL to the address bar and you will get the file you searched for.

Get the color palette used on any web page with Palette Grabber

Palette Grabber is a simple plug in for Firefox made by Konstantine Prevas. It will get the colors used on a web page at the click of the mouse. You can save the color palette in the following formats –

.aco Adobe color Palette
.clr Flash color palette
.psppalette Paint Shop Pro color palette
.gpl GIMP color palette
.act Adobe fireworks color table
.clr MAC OS X color palette

You can use palette grabber to get the colors used in the template of any web site you like.

Best (free) ways to download video from sharing sites

Here are some methods you may try to save the Videos from various sharing site. Most of them work with more than one site. All of them have been tried by me.

1. Real Player Browser Plugin

You can use Real Player 11’s browser plugin to download flash videos right away with the click of a mouse button. Read more on How to Download streaming Videos with Real Player.

2. Use Free File conversion sites.

Both of the Free file converter sites allowed users to download streaming videos from Youtube. Read about the first one here and the second here.

3. Use the Download Video Button (youtube only)

You can use the JavaScript Download Video button to download the original youtube file as mp4 right from the Youtube site itself. Here is how you can add such a button to your “Link Bar” of your browser.

4. Use downloader sites

Many sites allow you to download videos hosted on sharing sites by submitting the URL of the video page. In most cases the disadvantage is that you get an FLV file. Here are some sites that allows you to do this –, – allows you to download videos from many sites like Google, Youtube, Blip, Bolt, Dailymotion, MySpace, ifilm and Break.

The old method of copying Flash files from the browsers saved files folder still works. But who wants to do it when all these easy ways are here.

Download video from any sharing site using RealPlayer 11

RealPlayer 11 has got the amazing capability to identify the videos embedded in a page. It will show a button just above the video that will allow you to download the video.

When installing RealPlayer you are given an option to add a Download Video button to your browser. Just make sure that it is checked.

Install button to download video

Now when you visit a page having an embedded video like Youtube or MetaCafe a button with Download Video will be shown to you just above the embedded video. You just need to click on that to download it.

Button shown over the embedded video in youtube

Currently this works with Firefox and Internet Explorer. I havn’t tried it with opera.

You may like to know How to download videos in MP4 fromat from the Youtube. Or read about the Builtin Parental Control in Windows XP here.