How to: Get multiple custom signatures in Gmail

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If you’ve got several Gmail accounts and are frequently having to juggle signatures for each of them, worth downloading is Blank Canvas’ Gmail Signatures. This experimental Firefox extension will drop in one of four custom HTML signatures based on whichever account you’re sending the message from. 

Once installed, you get a new drop-down menu that lets you select one of your four custom signatures. These can be managed directly within Gmail, and come with an editor that shows you a live preview of whatever HTML you drop in. Included are four presets with nicknames like personal, business, and family, all of which can be renamed to suit the type of signature you’ve set up.

It’s worth noting you cannot get at your custom signatures on browsers without the extension installed (even if it’s the same machine), and this will not change existing Gmail signature settings. This means that any Gmail-specific signature you have will still show up, however, they’ll appear underneath the one from the extension.

Gmail Signatures is an experimental add-on, and as such you must be registered with Mozilla’s Firefox add-ons site to download it.

Pick out custom HTML signatures for Gmail, and get them to change based on what e-mail address you’re sending them from.(Credit: CNET Networks)

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Winds of change

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This week marked the unveiling of Windows Live Internet Services,
news of a refreshed Windows Live Essentials beta coming soon, some new
features (and some old ones) from Live Search, and lots of mobile news
as well.  Let’s recap:

Windows Live Internet Services
On
Wednesday evening, Microsoft unveiled the online portion of Windows
Live, which should be rolling out to users in the next “couple of
weeks”.  Lots and lots of changes and new stuff:

  1. Home.Live.com – The starting place for Windows Live online
  2. What’s New Feed – A
    totally new feature, aggregating news about your network and what
    they’re doing, including news from a variety of third-party sources
    (Twitter, Flickr, PhotoBucket, Yelp, Amazon.com, etc., etc.).

  3. Windows Live Profile – A single place to manage your profile information.  Was part of Spaces, now stand-alone and expanded.
  4. Windows Live People – Again, a single place to manage your “Network”, combining Hotmail contacts, Messenger contacts, and Spaces Friends.
  5. Windows Live Photos
    – Like Profile, Photos no longer a part of Spaces, but available on its
    own or across Windows Live.  Greatly enhanced viewing experience.

  6. Windows Live Groups – A
    new service to create an online Group, including an email address and
    url for the group, and including a Group specific What’s New feed,
    membership list, Calendar, SkyDrive, and a discussion list.

  7. Windows Live SkyDrive – Soon to include 25gb of storage, with new features like saving to a .zip file, and move or copy to another SkyDrive folder.
  8. Windows Live Hotmail – Will soon add ever increasing storage, POP access both in and out for free, and Web Messenger integration.

WL online includes

Recap: LiveSide posts on Windows Live Internet Services:

Windows Live internet services: Major release announced
Windows Live Feature Complete
Windows Live People Review
SkyDrive – What’s to come
Hotmail, and early look

Our interview with Brian Hall Part 1
Our interview with Brian Hall Part 2: Demo

Selected posts on Windows Live Internet Services:

www.windowslive.com

MS PressPass: Microsoft Introduces Updated Windows Live Services
Windows Live Virtual Press Kit

Brian Hall: Windows Live keeps your life in sync
Kara Swisher: MS “Facebooks” WL services

Omar Shahine: WL People and the past 12 months
SkyDrive team blog – “Our Next Update”

Windows Live Essentials
With
the online services announcement on Wednesday, official word also came
of an upcoming refresh to the Essentials suite, which we should also
see in the “next couple of weeks” 

WL Essentials includes

Recap: LiveSide posts on Windows Live Essentials

Messenger, a sneak peak

Windows Live Mobile
With the new Windows Live services come a number of improvements to Windows Live on mobile

WL mobile includes

damaster and Sunshine gave us a great overview:

Recap: LiveSide posts on Windows Live Mobile

New Mobile Search release
Windows Live for mobile Wave 3

Selected posts on Windows Live mobile

Phil Holden: Live Search for mobile

Live Search

Live
Search made some announcements of their own this week: touting the
success of Live Search cashback, and unveiling Live Search for Video:
TV shows. (In my attempt to follow the PubCon keynote via Twitter, I
posted that Birds Eye imagery for an Image Search on places was new. 
While this was demoed at PubCon, it isn’t actually new, as my
colleagues were quick to point out to me 😐  ).

Oh and by the way, if you’re in Canada, Live Search has a Big Ticket promotion for you:

bigticket

Microsoft Live Search ‘Big Ticket’ promotion

Big Ticket Search will run from October 31st through December 31st. Every time our users search at bigticketsearch.com, they have a chance to win awesome prizes every hour, 24 hours a day.
We’ll be giving away tons of  prizes including 2 new Mitsubishi
Lancers, Raptors VIP package, Home Entertainment Systems, Laptops,
$10,000 cash, Ticketmaster Gift Cards, Zunes, Xboxes, Raptors Season
Tickets and Raptors Memorabilia.

(Thanks to Windows Live Chronicles)

Recap: LiveSide posts on Live Search

Live Search: cashback traction
Silk Road: new Live Search API v 2.0beta
TV Show Search

Our previous post on Bird’s Eye in Image Search

Selected posts on Live Search

Search Engine RoundTable post on PubCon keynote with Satya Nadella

Live Search blog: TV show search
Live Search blog: new Live Search APIs

(Thanks to Liveside for the information)

Live search maps for India !

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India has a new Live Search Maps site! Features are:

Street Maps for 9 important Indian cities Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Kolkata, Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Pune, Ahmedabad, and Jaipur and National Road Network of India with roughly 20,000 cities/towns/major localities (as points on the map). Political Map of India with important geographical features that includes national roads connecting around 20,000 Indian cities are on the offer. Highlight is the detailed maps for 9 important Indian cities as mentioned earlier. Within these 9 cities, important places likes monuments, restaurants, hotels are also presented as icons in the maps. Maps of supported cities has been stitched with the national road visually and navigationally.

Location Search – Global (one need not type the city name), context-aware (i.e. ranking of results considers the map view), error-tolerant (corrects the typos, expands the important abbreviations) and flexible solution to find complete or partial address, roads, localities, landmarks and places of general interest.

Business Listing (Yellow Pages) Search – This allows us to find businesses listed with us. Click Business tab and specify what (e.g. “Petrol Pump” in first box) and where (e.g. “Indira Nagar” in second box) to get the business listings sorted according to distance from the location of search (i.e. Indira Nagar, Bangalore).

Routing/Driving Directions

  • Intra-city visual driving directions
  • Intercity integrated routing (detailed driving directions inside the cities having Street Maps and normal driving directions on the National map)
  • One-click driving directions

clip_image006

Under this, one can route from a given source to a destination. Source and destination can be specified in multiple ways – by right clicking on the map, or by hovering over the search result icon displayed on the map or by hovering over the pushpins in the collections or by clicking directions link from menu and typing in the required addresses/locality/places/road. Source and destination can be any city/locality/place/landmark in India within 15KM of distance from any road. Clicking Reverse link at the bottom will swap the start and end point and will compute the route. Selecting Shortest Distance radio button will compute the routes for the shortest distance between the two points.

Share – User can share (by selecting “Send in e-mail” from “Share” Menu) his various search results, driving directions, collections etc. over email.

Print – User can take print out of the maps, driving directions, search results.

Collections – One can create collections of pushpins, custom drawings on the maps, routing etc. and save it against a Windows Live ID for viewing later or sharing it with others.

For full details and more images head over to Chris Pendleton’s VE blog: Announcing Live Search Maps India

Google all set to update Picasa

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With a face recognition feature set to launch at noon PDT Tuesday, Google’s Picasa Web Albums will help users label their photos with the names of subjects. That and other changes to the photo-sharing site are joined by a new beta version of the accompanying Picasa 3.0 photo-editing software.

The "name tag" feature presents users with collections of photos with what it judges to be the same person, then lets them click a button to affix a name. Once photographic subjects are named, users can browse an album of that individual on the fly.

The name tag feature groups like faces together to let users tag them with names a batch at a time.

The Picasa Web Albums name tag feature groups like faces together to let users tag them with names a batch at a time (click to enlarge).(Credit: Google)

Picasa 3 beta
Google also plans to release a beta version of the Picasa 3 image-editing. It works on Windows, though a Google Labs version has been transmogrified to work on Linux via the Wine software layer. Horowitz wouldn’t confirm whether a Mac OS X version is anything more than an idea: "Macs are important to us," he said. "We’re always looking for new ways making sure our users are happy, so it’s something we’re looking at."

The new Picasa software brings several changes:

  • A movie maker mode lets people combine photos with music to export movie versions of galleries to watch on a PC or upload to YouTube.
  • A new retouch brush lets people edit out skin blemishes and other trouble spots. And the tool can automatically fix red-eye problems caused by flash photography.

A collage mode in Picasa lets users create poster-size collections, sizing and placing each snapshot.

A collage mode in Picasa lets users create poster-size collections, sizing and placing each snapshot. (Click to enlarge.)(Credit: Google)

  • A new collage mode lets users compile many photos into one composite image. This time, users get precise control over image placement for example by moving, rotating, and resizing photos, and the software can produce a high-resolution composite for poster-size prints.
  • A photo viewer for quick slideshows, an option that during installation politely asks to own the file associations for JPEG, TIFF, raw images from higher-end cameras, and some other formats. The slideshow software can view PNG files, which is handy, but the editing software still can’t, which is a significant limitation for me.
  • Online synchronization. If photos have been uploaded from Picasa to the Web site, they can be edited later and the changes, including tags, are synchronized to the Web site. This is very handy since you might want to get images up quickly to share with friends then edit them later. Unfortunately, changes on the Web site aren’t mirrored back to the PC, so all those name tags will stay put in the cloud for now.

Google is all set to lift the curtains from its new browser Chrome.. click here for more.

(via webware)

MP3 players for lossless audio

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If you’re searching for the best possible sound quality from your digital music collection, you need to start at the source: the audio. Unlike MP3s, lossless audio formats, such as Apple Lossless, WMA Lossless, FLAC, and WAV, promise bit-for-bit reproductions of music ripped from CDs.

There are many drawbacks to lossless audio, however, and the most obvious of those is file size. A 4GB iPod Nano can only hold 150 songs encoded with Apple Lossless, compared to the 1,000+ MP3s you could fit in the same space. With this in mind, high-capacity portable audio players such as the 160Gb iPod Classic or 80Gb Zune, make the most suitable containers for taking large lossless audio collections on the go.

Another issue with lossless audio is forward-compatibility. You can pretty much depend on MP3s to remain broadly compatible with music devices over the next 5 to 10 years, but the same cannot be said of lossless formats. So far, the only universally-compatible lossless format for portable audio is the Compact Disc.

The following five MP3 players support at least one type of lossless audio. Apple’s iPod Classic (as well as the Nano and Touch) work with Apple Lossless, the Zune and Toshiba Gigabeat T support Microsoft’s Windows Media Lossless, Cowon’s D2(and most Cowon players) supports the non-proprietary FLAC format, and the Sony Walkman NWZ-A729 offers uncompressed WAV support for those of you who simply refuse to compress your precious music.

via cnet.

The Best Freeware Downloads on the Web

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There are plenty of great freeware downloads on the Web; here are just a few good freeware downloads sites:
Thanks to about.com for collecting these gems.
 
  • Lifehacker Pack: the productivity experts over at Lifehacker put together a must-have packet of freeware downloads.
  • KeePass: "KeePass is a free/open-source password manager or safe which helps you to manage your passwords in a secure way."
  • Cspace: "CSpace provides a platform for secure, decentralized, user-to-user communication over the internet."
  • WriteRoom: "WriteRoom is a full screen, distraction free, writing environment."
  • The 46 Best-ever Freeware Utilities: 46 different freeware utilities sorted by function and category.
  • TrueCrypt: "Free open-source disk encryption software for Windows XP/2000/2003 and Linux."
  • PortableApps: "A portable app is a computer program that you can carry around with you on a portable device and use on any Windows computer."
  • Vyew: "Vyew is a browser-based conferencing and always-on collaboration platform that provides instant visual communication without the need for client downloads or installations."
  • I want a Freeware Utility to: "Extremely useful free utilities that do specific jobs really well and save time and money."
  • ClassicGaming: Be careful, this site is addictive.
  • Essentials 2006 Edition: a list of absolutely essential freeware downloads.
  • Stellarium: "Stellarium is a free open source planetarium for your computer. It shows a realistic sky in 3D, just like what you see with the naked eye, binoculars or a telescope."
  • Yahoo Widgets: "Bring life to your desktop with fun, stylish, and useful Yahoo! Widgets."
  • QuickTime Alternative:"QuickTime Alternative will allow you to play QuickTime files (.mov, .qt and other extensions) without having to install the official QuickTime Player. It also supports QuickTime content that is embedded in webpages."
  • PrimoPDF: "Convert to PDF from any application."
  • Kinkless: "Kinkless GTD is a free set of Applescripts that work with OmniOutliner Pro to create a framework for implementing David Allen’s Getting Things Done task-management methodology."
  • Belarc Advisor: "The Belarc Advisor builds a detailed profile of your installed software and hardware, missing Microsoft hotfixes, anti-virus status, CIS (Center for Internet Security) benchmarks, and displays the results in your Web browser."
  • ComputerZen: Scott Hanselman’s 2005 Ultimate Developer and Power Users Tool List.

Google Docs gets a profusion of templates

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Users of Google Docs, the online applications for word processing, spreadsheets, and presentations, now have a wide range of templates from which to choose.

Google on Thursday announced the templates, which were created by Google and a number of companies with experience in the business. They can be browsed and opened through a template gallery that currently has 294 to choose from.

Google Docs users now can use a wide range of templates.

Google Docs users now can use a wide range of templates.(Credit: Google)

Among the options: wedding planners, business cards, cover letters, screenplays with proper formatting, invoices, loan amortization schedulers, fantasy basketball standings predictor, wedding photo albums, and party invitations.

Some templates, such as the group shared expense report, are explicitly designed to take advantage of the fact that Google Docs can be edited by multiple people, one of the natural advantages the technology has over PC-based editing.

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