Category Archives: Nerd Stuff

File Savr – Another Free 250 GB Storage Account?

If you missed the offer last May for 250 GB of free storage from FileDropper, you may have a second chance. A company called File Savr now has the exact same offer (free premium accounts), valid until September 15.

Signup

If you wish to grab your free 250 GB online storage, use their special link. Though they claim that the offer is for bloggers and Digg users, anyone can register.

FileSavr.com was created as a fresh alternative to sites like MegaUpload and RapidShare. Unlike those sites, we do not reel the user in and make them wait for annoying countdown timers. We do not hide the download link with aggressively placed ads. Our goal is simple, to offer the most basic file hosting and image hosting service so you can share your stuff quickly.

As a thank you to the community we are offering free accounts on FileSavr.com to bloggers as well as members of Digg, Stumble, Reddit, Mixx, Del.icio.us. To get your free account fill out the form below to receive to get $10 monthly account (250 GB) absolutely free. Accounts created before September 15th will have lifetime membership for free. If you like the service we hope you will help us with small donations via paypal.

Offer expires September 15th. WARNING: The service is very slow due to extreme demand right now.

Signing up only requires a username, password, and e-mail address. Painless.

Usage

For all intents and purposes, File Savr is EXACTLY the same as File Dropper. The offer is the same. The interface is the same. The prices are the same. Heck, the only different between the two sites is the logo. It makes me wonder why the people behind File Dropper felt the need to create a re-badged version of their existing site. Let me show you what I mean:

FileSavr Manager

File Dropper Manager

Other than logo, there is no difference. Well, I should mention that File Savr supposedly offers an upload limit of 10 GB, whereas File Dropper limits upload size to 5 GB. So, yes, there is a slight difference.

Admittedly, I’ve had trouble with File Dropper. Every time I try to upload a file larger than 500 MB or so, I receive an error and the upload fails. Perhaps it’s my Internet connection? Perhaps it’s File Dropper? Nevertheless, the result is that I’ve hardly been able to use my account.

Still, between the two, I now have 500 GB of online storage at my disposal. I only hope I’ll be able to take advantage of it.

Act now, and you too can claim 250 GB of space. Just be sure to use their special link. I only hope you’ll have better luck with uploading than I’ve had.

Content Management Systems (CMS)

If you’ve been around the web block a few times and know a thing or two about putting up a web site, you’ve probably heard something about Content Management Systems (CMS). They can be real time-savers, and the basic premise is this: you forgo all the hand coding that you’ve been doing to keep your site going and you plug into the “already-invented-wheel” to get rolling.

CMS’s usually require a database (often MySQL) and a server side scripting language (often PHP). It’s a powerful combo: you can create templates that control how the content looks then add all the content you want. The templates go beyond the style sheets, they incorporate the html used by the pages that reference the CSS, and they can also include things like Javascript for controlling menus or fixed footers. Usually the templates rely on a placeholder that indicates where the content should be added.

There are a LOT of CMS’s out there, and it seems like every corporate code-monkey gets pegged to code a new CMS for in-house work at some point or another. http://opensourcecms.com/ provides a nice way to try out different CMS’s to get a feel for what they’re like. The site is a bit awkwardly laid-out, but you can get a long list of CMS’s on the left by opening the “portal” items under the “CMS Demo Menu” section.

One long weekend, I tried out a number of these… my choice? MODx — it’s free and it made a lot of sense to me. Still in beta, not a huge user base, but easy to work with (IMHO). But don’t take my word for it… you should evaluate what you need to do with your CMS. If it’s a quick and dirty blog you need, WordPress is hard to beat.

One big contender that costs about $100 is Expression Engine — it comes highly rated from people I work with who are in the know.

Here’s a list of the ones that have gotten the most air-play in my line of work (coding):

  1. Drupal — often recommended for people building “static” type sites with lots of fixed pages. Has a pretty good user base, but again, I disliked the boxy layout approach and the whacko documentation
  2. Joomla — made by most of the same people who made Mambo. Boxy layouts and weird vocabulary.
  3. MODx — My personal favorite. Nice AJAX back-end and easy compartmentalization between front-end and back-end contributions. It’s really easy to take an existing static site and drop in CMS functionality using MODx. It’s also bloody simple to add your own custom PHP scripts. MODx is a leader when it comes to an SEO friendly site.
  4. WordPress — quick and dirty, great for blogs, huge user base… but no so good if you have specific needs and the template system isn’t the easiest and adding custom PHP scripts can be painful

Here’s an intro video I made about MODx:

Easily Find a Forgotten Password in Firefox, Opera, or Google Chrome

Do you occasionally forget your passwords? Sure you do, unless you use the exact same login information for every website (terrible idea!). Most browsers today feature the ability to remember passwords, and while we try to remember all of them, sometimes we need a little help.This tutorial will show you how to find saved passwords in Firefox, Opera, and Google Chrome.

Firefox 3

Go to the Tools menu → then choose Options from the drop-down list. Select the Security tab → then click the Saved Passwords button.

To see your passwords, just click the Show Passwords button. That’s it! Note: In the screenshot above, I blanked the Usernames for security reasons.

Opera

Finding passwords in the Opera browser is slightly more complicated, but not impossible. Passwords in Opera are handled by the excellent Wand utility, but navigating to the Tools menu → Advanced → Wand Passwords only yields information about the sites, not the passwords themselves.

Fear not. Viewing the passwords only takes an extra step. We need to add a Power Button to Opera. Browse to this page on the Opera Wiki and click the Read Wand button. Click OK to install the button, which will show up in the Appearance menu under Buttons → My buttons.

Drag the Read Wand button wherever you like in the Opera panels. I stuck mine next to the Home button.

Now, visit a site that has a saved password. Use the Wand to fill in the login information (as usual), but click the Stop button (or just press Esc) immediately. All you have to do now is simply press the Read Wand button to display the password. Voila!

Google Chrome

In the new Google Chrome browser (see review), viewing passwords is easy. Just click the Wrench icon to the right of the address bar → then choose Options from the drop-down list. Select the Minor Tweaks tab → then click Show saved passwords.

As with Firefox, just click Show Password in order to see the password for the selected site.

A quick note about security: while having your browser remember your passwords can be convenient, it is not the most secure way to store login information, as anyone who sits at your computer can potentially have access to ALL your stored passwords.

If you rely upon your browser to store this information, PLEASE be sure to password-protect your operating system login. Also consider setting a screensaver password so that no one can sit at your computer while it’s unattended and access your information.

I should also mention that Firefox has the ability to set a Master password (Tools → Options → Security) that adds another layer of security to your stored information. It certainly doesn’t hurt to use it.

Personally, instead of having my browser store my information, I rely upon the open-source KeePass password manager. In a word, KeePass rules, and I have an upcoming article on using KeePass to manage your login life.

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Google Chrome Browser – Get the Java Plug-in Working

As it stands now, Google Chrome is a pretty nice browser (see my review), but the Java plug-in doesn’t currently work. However, there’s an easy fix.

Google Chrome requires Java 6, update 10, which is currently in Beta. Please see this page in the Chrome Help Center.

If you want, you can also skip straight to the appropriate download on the Java site.

Once installed, you should have access to all the Java games and utilities that your heart desires!

Hope this helps someone.

Chrome – A Shiny New Browser from Google

Today, Google launched Chrome, their venture into the realm of web browsers. Still in BETA, Chrome promises to make the Web faster, safer, and easier. Will it, actually? Furthermore, is it worth using over IE, Opera, or the mighty Firefox? It’s far too early to tell for sure, but Chrome does have a lot of potential. Let’s take a quick look at some of its features.

Note: Chrome is currently only available for Windows XP/Vista. Mac and Linux versions are forthcoming.

User Interface

First things first, Google Chrome’s user interface takes a different approach than most browsers. Upon launch, the first thing you notice is an organization of thumbnails based on your most frequently-visited pages. Nice!

Despite the name, there’s not much to Chrome. In fact, it’s rather transparent and minimal. There are no menus, no home button (you can enable it in the Options), and only one bar (an integration of the address bar and search bar).

The bookmarks and other options are accessible (via drop-down) on the right side, next to and below the address bar.

Another surprise is that the tabs sit atop the address bar, rather than below it like most browsers. I like it, but it will take some getting used to.

Main Features

One of the highlights of Google Chrome is the ability to go Incognito. This is akin to Private Browsing in Safari – no cookies, history, or anything remains while in Incognito mode. You can easily enable it through the drop-down menu next to the address bar.

Unfortunately, it spawns an entirely new window, not just a new Incognito tab. Oh well, there’s always room for improvement. Incognito mode is intended for uses such as online banking and shopping for secret gifts, though in reality, most people will likely just use it for browsing pornography.

On to other issues – one major change is in the handling of tabs. In Chrome, each tab is an individual process, independent of the browser as a whole. What this means is that you can kill individual tabs without having a misbehaving tab crash the entire browser. Anyone who has ever visited a site that took down the full browser should jump for joy at this prospect. If it works correctly, it will be a major boon that other browsers should incorporate.

Try it now: launch Chrome, and right-click in the title bar area (very top of the browser). It should launch the Task Manager, allowing you to kill individual tabs if needed.

Importing

In case you are wondering, yes, Chrome will import your information from other browsers, such as IE and Firefox (no Opera yet). I chose the Firefox import and found all my bookmarks, history, and saved passwords readily available.

Other

Not all is well in the land of Chrome, however. Considering its BETA status, this is to be expected. For starters, I’ve had some trouble with sites that are heavily dependent on Java (such as ADrive). Some sites may have compatibility issues with Chrome as well. As an example, Amazon’s Askville doesn’t seem to care for Chrome yet.

Still, we must remember that Chrome is in its infancy. Issues like these will improve.

All-in-all, I like Google Chrome. It’s a welcome addition to the browsing world, and since it is open-source, I hope to see it positively affect its competitors. Giants such as Firefox, Opera, and IE, though they still dominate the field, could stand to learn a thing or two from the upstart Chrome.

For me, I will likely stay true to Firefox for now, but I look forward to watching Chrome mature.

Learn more about Google Chrome (including videos) at its official site.

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Live.com Cashback – Let Microsoft Pay You When Making Online Purchases

Whether you love them or hate them, Microsoft is willing to pay you cold, hard cash just for using their Live.com cashback service to buy things online. The idea is that you simply use their search engine to compare products and prices, then click-through to the selected online store. When you make your purchase, you earn cashback from Microsoft. Easy as that.

Keep saving money each time you use Live Search cashback. Every time you make a qualifying purchase, we’ll send you an email to confirm your Live Search cashback savings. Usually 60 days after your purchase (although this time period may vary for some stores), and when your cashback account reaches a balance of at least $5, you can claim your cold, hard cash.

Microsoft wants to increase exposure to their search engine, and they may have some success by paying people in this manner. They hope that by offering this juicy incentive, you will not only use their search engine for online shopping, but for all your other search-related needs. Hmm, maybe they will win a few converts.

Now let me tell you how it really works. Google will continue to dominate the search arena, and people like myself will simply click-through to a specific store when buying things online just to harvest the cash from Microsoft.

Speaking of which, here is a list of stores (sorted alphabetically). With regard to technology, I’m pleased to see Newegg.com on the list – currently earning 5.5% cashback.

If you’re a TigerDirect fan, you can earn 10% cashback from Microsoft! Some other examples currently include:

  • Lenovo – 10% cashback
  • Overstock.com – 4 to 14% cashback
  • Creative Products – 10% cashback
  • Shop4tech.com – 12% cashback

If you’re planning a new computer build from Newegg anytime soon, or are eyeing a new Lenovo laptop, you should use the Live cashback system and let Microsoft reimburse part of the cost to you. It certainly won’t cost you anything extra to do so.

Check it out: a few days ago I decided to buy a new USB flash drive from Newegg, so I clicked-through, spent a whopping $9 on a drive from Crucial, and then checked my Live cashback account. Lo and behold, $0.50 had already been deposited into my account. I’m rich!

Once I hit $5, Microsoft will pay me (through PayPal, direct deposit, or a mailed check). Hmm, I wonder if I have any friends who will let me buy parts for them online (then pay me back in cash)? Earning cashback could turn into a side job!

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