CharlieV the Geek

How To Survive The Internet #2

I know it’s a bit soon to be posting the next guide, since the first one only came out yesterday, but I thought I had better do this one while it’s still fresh in my mind.

Here are today’s five for you to look at.

1) Popurls

The web on one page.

That’s the only way I can think to describe it. It takes all the current most popular pages from Twitter, Reddit, Digg, Flickr, Youtube, NY Times, Huffington Post, Lifehacker, Google News, Wired, Slashdot, Metafilter and almost every other major website you can think of and allows you to view them – by either clicking the link, or just looking at the hovering preview of the page.

If you want to know what is happening in the world, this is the place you’d look. If it’s not here somewhere, it’s not important…

2) Quixey

Google is good for a lot of things. Finding specific software, however, is not one of it’s strong points.

That is where Quixey comes in, and it does a rather good job of it as well! It allows you to search for software on almost every major platform, and even shows you web-based apps and browser add-ons available. I say almost because I did notice that Linux software is absent from the site, but as it moves out of it’s beta state, I am sure that this will be included.

It allows you to choose filter between paid and free software, and rather convenient are the reviews snippets shown next to each app.

3) The Big Picture

Reading the news is good and all, but we all know the famous quote, “A picture is worth a a thousand words.”

With this website, that couldn’t be truer. Their “news stories in photographs” approach is awesome. Their latest story about the volcano erupting in Chile is breathtaking.

There is not much else that I can say except that you should go see for yourself.

4) Windows Live Skydrive & Badongo

These two are grouped together because they both have their place.

I’ll start with the Windows Live service’s Skydrive. You get given 25GB of storage to use pretty much however you like (but I wouldn’t go uploading dodgy things.) Chances are that you already have a Windows Live account, so you just need to activate this service. After that you will see you have your private and public folders but the one downside is that files are limited to 50MB each. There are other services you can use that are very similar such as DropBox, but I like that you don’t need to download software and also that you can save directly from Office to your Skydrive.

Next up, is a service I only started using quite recently, is Badongo. You have unlimited storage available and the file size limit is 1GB. I’m still getting used to this service, but go check it out and see what you think.

Alternatives to the above are DropBox, FilePigeon & countless others.

5) The CIA World Factbook 

Getting reliable up to date information about a specific country at any given time can be a bit of a mission. And then getting it all in one location is another mission altogether.

This site has any information about a country that you would like to know. For example did you know that South Africa has 147 airports with paved runways? Or that we have over 46 million cellphones and 4.42 million internet connections in the country being used?


Test Your Googling Skills

Google Logo officially released on May 2010

Image via Wikipedia

I think that I can easily say that most of the people I know use Google, as do most of the world. How are your googling skills?

On 7 April this year, Google started a puzzle challenge called “A Google a Day” which will put your googling skills to the test. I’ve been doing a few of them, as I get a chance, and it is very interesting to say the least.

You get given a clue and using that clue you need to find out what the answer is using Google. Once you think you have the answer, you input it and it’ll tell you if it is correct or not. Of course, you can admit defeat and ask for the answer. They will also explain what is possibly the easiest way you could have found the answer, whether you give up or get the answer.

Whether you do it to just put your skills to the test or use it to learn from fresh, you will eventually become a Google Master. You say, “But what’s the point, I can just google the answer. That is where Deja Google comes in. According to the website:

To keep the game interesting for everyone, we created Deja Google – A wormhole inspired time machine that searches the Internet as it existed before the game began. Because nobody wants someone’s recent blog post about finding an answer spoiling their fun.

Go check it out at agoogleaday.com


How To Survive The Internet #1

The internet can be a scary place. Over time you might find certain websites that you cannot live without. Now because I’m just awesome that way, I’ve decided to share some of the better ones out there, so you don’t have to sift through pages of Google results.

Of course if I had to start listing them by the hundreds as I easily could, you would give up before you even reached the halfway mark. So instead, once in a while, I’ll give you five of my favourites that stick out at that moment. Just click on the headings to go to each website. They aren’t in any particular order or in categories, they’re just there, because otherwise my CDO might kick in. *twitch*

1) Zamzar

Of all the websites I have ever come across, this one must be one of the most highly recommended. Have you ever received a file and not been able to open it? You can either mission trying to find the software to open it or try to convert it somehow…

That is why Zamzar is here. It has a pretty comprehensive list of supported file formats. With the free version of their service, you can upload files up to 100MB in size, going up to 1GB for paying customers. As a paying customer you also get online storage for a certain amount of time, can upload larger files, do concurrent conversions and much more

Its a pretty straightforward process as well:

  • Upload file
  • Choose output format
  • Enter email address
  • Go to download link (or storage inbox for paying customers) and download converted file.

I have tested the converter on all sorts of files (pdf to doc, xls to pdf, jpg to bmp, jpg to pdf and many more and have not been able to find a fault in any conversion.

As an extra bonus, the site also allows you to convert videos from most video sites, such as YouTube, into downloadable videos.

This is truly a life saver of a website.

2) Snopes

I don’t like spam, at all. So when people I know forward me e-mails that are clearly spam, I get really angry. I won’t even get onto the Facebook spam that I get on my  Facebook News Feed. If you don’t know what Snopes is, you are probably one of those people that forwards every e-mail that you receive and annoy the hell out of people like me.

Here’s how it works. If you receive a mail that you think may be a scam or spam, type the subject line or part of the message into Snopes’ search box and “voila!”

It’s not just email, it also lists various other types of scams running. Check the Hot 25 list for the most circulated scams at the moment

Hoax Slayer, Truth Or Fiction & Urban Legends are also decent alternatives and can also be used to double check your suspicions

3) Central Ops

This site is for the more advanced user and has some very useful online network tools. Get information on an IP address, get a domain’s information & records or even see what information your browser is displaying about you to the world (or more importantly to spammers or other undesirable people out there.)

To just verify an email address, use verify-email.org. This site is pretty simple. Got an e-mail that has bounced back and want to confirm if the address is valid? Just check it here.

4) Down for everyone or just me?

The idea here is simple. Picture the scene: You go to your favourite website, but it won’t open, so you start swearing (and possibly bashing your keyboard) because your email, and whatever else, is working.

This is where this site comes in… you simply enter the url into the box, click “or just me?” and within seconds you will know whether the entire site is down or if the problem is on your side.

5) How Secure Is My Password?

Want to know how secure your password is? Enter it here to find out how long it would take someone with an average desktop PC to crack your password. Simple

Just as an extra, here is a video I came across today that I thought I’d share…


Must-See Movies 2011 #2: Thor, Captain America and X-Men: First Class

Thor PosterI have to admit that these three movies have got me pretty excited and I don’t know which one I would pick if I had to choose only one… Right now, based on trailers alone, I’m leaning towards Thor, but that’s not really fair, especially since Captain America has only had the TV spot so far. But seriously, come now, it has Natalie Portman in it!

I’m not  gonna say much about them here, but if you do want all the info about them I would recommend heading here – http://avengersnews.com/ – since two of these movies are building up for the big one in 2012: The Avengers directed by Joss Whedon

For those of you who don’t know, the Hulk and Iron Man movies are also tied into the Avengers movie. At the end of 2008’s Incredible Hulk and the Iron Man Movies, you will catch the hints Thor, Captain America and The Avengers. So make sure you watch them as well if you haven’t already.

The X-Men movies are completely separate, but they rock anyway, that’s why First Class is thrown in here 🙂

Thor

Official site: http://thor.marvel.com/

IMDB: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0800369/

Trailer:

Captain America

Official site: http://captainamerica.marvel.com/

IMDB: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1270798/

Trailer:

X-Men: First Class

Official site: http://www.x-menfirstclassmovie.com/

IMDB: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1270798/

Trailer:


World War 3? The Cyberwar for Control of the Internet

Original Post (8 December 2010, 17:15 UTC)

As of this post, a silent war involving thousands and thousands is happening, but it isn’t the war you were expecting. It’s the war around WikiLeaks and Julian Assange (See my previous post, “WikiWhat?“, for more details on that story). Who knew how just how exciting this would turn out to be? It’s a geek’s dream come true!! *excited*

At 16:22 UTCAnonOps tweeted the following:

As of 16:45 UTC, bother mastercard.com and anonops.net were down:

Paypal has been attacked in the last day or so, as was PostFinance, WikiLeak’s previous bank, but were not bought down, as in Mastercard‘s case and lawyers on both sides of the Assange case have been attacked.

This is the war for the internet baby and you might as well sit back and enjoy it. Massive botnets are attacking each other and the websites mentioned. I ,for one, am getting the popcorn ready 🙂

Read the article that isnpired this post here: http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2010/12/avenging-wikileaks-anonymous-hackers-takes-mastercard-site/

Update 1 (9 December 2010 – 8:00 UTC)

Visa is the next company to feel the wrath of Operation Payback being run by AnonOps. This was at 7:40 UTC

However anonops.net is also experiencing issues of their own, their website is struggling and their Twitter account has been suspended.

Have a look at this YouTube video for MSNBC‘s report on Operation Payback & WikiLeaks:

These articles also shed some light on the matter in more detail:

This is getting more exciting, as there are rumours that twitter.com is next. Will miss it, but it’s so much fun 🙂

Update 2 (9 December 2010 – 15:00 UTC)

The latest buzz today with this was AnonOps releasing their Manifesto as below:

But the very lastest on the internet, is that at 16:00 UTC, Amazon will be targeted for the next DDoS attack and while it may not bring the giant down, it will cause some major bandwidth & financial issues.

Related Articles


Posts of Randomness #1

Baby

There are times where you just need to vent and for me that happens when I game. I just loose myself in the universe that has been created for my enjoyment. There are very few games I absolutely love and one of those was Star Wars: Force Unleashed.

I am a huge Star Wars fan. Not Fanboy, but a fan… I have the original and prequel dvd boxsets, have played the a lot of the games. But The Force Unleashed just blew my mind. I have to admit here, I’ve always been drawn to the dark side so the Starkiller character was awesome for me. Okay granted, I followed the good path at the end but I had some fun with the dark side.

So when I heard about the sequel a few months back I literally came in my pants… okay not really but you get the point! And this morning on 5fm I heard an advertisement confirming it’s release tomorrow at all major retailers.

I won’t try explain it to you, but just have a look at these:

Then I came across this article earlier and the geek in me wanted to start jumping up and down and celebrating! Christopher Nolan has released the official title of the new Batman movie –

The Dark Knight Rises

Go read more by clicking above.

After reading that I came across this article on one of my favourite blogs: youarenotsosmart.com about procrastination which is pretty funny since I put off reading it to do some other things…

Anyways, that’s all from me for now… but before I go here are some random pictures for you to ponder.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.