27 March 2007

Share Home Movies On TiVo For Free

Upload five of your favorite home movie video clips to TiVo between now and 30 April '07, and you'll be able to share them with any other TiVo subscribers for free. After the free offer ends, you can upload video clips to TiVo to share with family and friends for as little as $3.99 per month.

TiVo subscribers receive the shared movies for free, so Grandma doesn't have to pay to see your delightful vacation you and the kids videotaped just for her. TiVo's service allows you to edit the video after it's uploaded, so you can remove any embarassing parts or rearrange the clips. And only those family and friends you give the channel code to that you create for each uploaded video will be able to see the video on their TiVos. The channel will appear on their TiVos as "Home Movies from One True Media" in their "Now Playing Section."

So if you don't want cousin Ralph or the neighbors to see your video, you don't have to give them the channel code, and they'll never know you uploaded any videos to TiVo, even if they have TiVo subscriptions.

Free Unlimited Yahoo! Mail

Imagine never having to delete E-mails to make room for more. Yahoo! just announced that it's going to allow unlimited E-mail storage for Yahoo! Mail starting in May 2007. Yahoo! Mail already offers Norton Antivirus and SpamGuard to protect your inbox, E-mails up to 10 MB, access to your inbox from any computer connected to the Internet, Messenger alerts for incoming messages (even on your mobile phone), an address book, Address AutoComplete, 15 filters and 500 blocked E-mail addresses, and more. If you don't have a free Yahoo! Mail account, sign up here.

Happy 10th anniversary, Yahoo! Mail!

Hide Your PayPal E-mail Address From Spammers And Cons

PayPal is a great way to get online payments, but adding a PayPal button on a Web site or blog invites spammers to spam you, because the example script provided by PayPal requires that your PayPal E-mail address be included in the script. Unfortunately, PayPal requires it to be a legitimate address, because they send messages to that address. Therefore, spammers scrape Web sites and blogs continuously, hunting for E-mail addresses and when they find a PayPal address, they know they've hit pay dirt. PayPal E-mail addresses are targeted for fraud (commonly termed "phishing") because the scammer knows either a credit card or bank account (or both) is attached to it.

A side note is in order here. A common deception is to pretend something is wrong with your PayPal account that requires you to log into your account to fix it. Of course, the scammer provides a link in the E-mail, but it's not to PayPal's site. It's to the scammer's Web server that shows a bogus PayPal login page, and if you type your User ID and password on that page, the scammer has what he needs to steal everything from your account. The tip off is that they send the message to "Dear PayPal Customer" or "PayPal Member" because they have no idea what your name is. I guarantee PayPal knows your name and addresses you by name (or by your company's name if you have a business/merchant account) whenever they send you E-mail messages. And PayPal doesn't show a link with a hidden link to a Web server located in Asia or South America. If it's really from PayPal, the link is to https://www.paypal.com. It's best to type the address yourself in a Web browser instead of clicking on a link in an E-mail, even if you think you should trust the link.

When I added PayPal buttons to my Web site, I encoded my E-mail address within the PayPal button scripts to hide it from Web bots, but I later found an even better way by replacing my E-mail address with my PayPal Referral ID (or Affiliate ID) instead. To find out what your PayPal Referral ID is, log into your PayPal account. After logging in, scroll down to the bottom of the Web page, where there is a Referrals link. Select this link and you'll go to the "Merchant Referral Bonus Program" page. Near the top of this page is the code for the link to "Send your personalized referral link in an email." It looks something like this:


Everything after the pal= is your Referral ID (I put it in red font for emphasis). Copy your Referral ID and paste it into the PayPal button script for the business name's string value (instead of your E-mail address):

<input type="hidden" name="business" value="DO1RE2ME3FA4S">

Save the script on the Web page or blog and when the customer presses the PayPal button, he'll be taken to the secure PayPal site where he can make his online payment. The customer will be able to see your real PayPal E-mail address, but Web bots that scrape Web pages won't unless they follow through with the PayPal transaction, and since Web bots aren't programmed to interact with Web site pages yet, that may be a long time coming.

And while you're on the "Merchant Referral Bonus Program" page, don't forget to copy the "Add a referral logo to your website" script to put on your Web site or blog, like this:

Sign up for PayPal and start accepting credit card payments instantly.

Any new merchant (except eBay merchants) who signs up using your referral link will make you eligible for 0.5% of that merchant's revenues for the first 12 months.

25 March 2007

Know When To Say No, Even If It's Free

They say the best things in life are free, but there comes a time when someone offers free goods or services, and one would be much better off by refusing them. Take, for example, one young Memphis Belle who was out on the town recently in Memphis, Tennessee, enjoying her 25th birthday. Someone offered her free drinks to help her celebrate. She should have said, "No, thanks. I'm driving home tonight."

Memphis cops later caught her weaving across the highway and threw her in the pokie for drunk driving after her Breathalyzer test showed a 0.10% blood alcohol content. Having her mug shot taken is embarassing enough, but her profile shows another gift she accepted on her birthday. You know someone paid good money for that roadkill.

Beware Of Fake Blogger.com Blogs

A security vendor, Fortinet, has discovered fake Blogger.com blogs which contain script-iniated malware or redirect the visitor to phishing sites. Google (the owner of Blogger.com) has verified this and stated to CNET, "These are not legitimate blogs that were compromised. They appear to be deliberately set up to promote phishing, which is against our terms of service. We are investigating, and blogs found to include malicious code or promote phishing will be deleted." Fortinet asserts that it's impossible for visitors to detect the danger from these hundreds of fake blogs, which look like legitimate blogs dedicated to a large range of interests, including Star Wars, auto hobbyists, school, furniture, Christmas, and girlfriends.

How can you avoid being taken for a ride when visiting Blogger.com blogs? You can turn off JavaScripts in your Web browser. If you're using Internet Explorer, this is "all or nothing" in that all Web sites visited will either be denied or allowed to run JavaScripts. Since most Web sites these days can't function without JavaScripts, your Web surfing will be decidedly boring or even unworkable until you manually turn on JavaScripts temporarily for Web sites you deem safe. And then you have to remember to turn JavaScripts off again when leaving the safe Web site.

I found that a better way to handle this is to use the free, award-winning Firefox Web browser and NoScript add-in, which denies all scripting (including JavaScript and any other executable script) until you manually allow scripting for each domain or allow scripting globally (which is not recommended). This can be per domain, so if you're visiting a Web site that uses scripts from multiple domains, you can pick and choose which ones, if any, to allow. If you don't already have Firefox installed, you can download it from the Firefox (with Google Toolbar) button in the sidebar on the right of this blog, or you can download it directly from Mozilla.com (without Google's Toolbar).

Free Linux CD - Ubuntu 6.06 LTS

The beta version of Ubuntu Linux 7.04 was just released, which means their production version can be expected to be released within a month (if history is any guide). The award-winning Ubuntu is an increasingly popular flavor of Linux, and not only is it available for free download over the Internet (requires broadband Internet Access for the 700 MB file), but Ubuntu will ship a CD to you for free if you request it (Ubuntu v6.06 LTS only). Expect six weeks for delivery to your mailbox.

If you want the latest version of the CD (Ubuntu 6.10), you can order it, but that one isn't free (but it will be much faster than six weeks for delivery). At least some of the CD images available on the download page allow one to boot directly from the CD (called "LiveCD") to run Ubuntu Linux without having to install it on the computer first. Check Ubuntu's download and shipping options to see which one of these options meets your needs.

Ubuntu offers two versions of Linux (desktop and server) and two versions of support, Long-Term Support (LTS) and regular support. The LTS version provides security update support for three years after release of the desktop version and five years of security update support after release of the server version. Regular support is for at least 18 months of security updates after release of the product. Community technical support and documentation are both free, while professional technical support is available for a fee.

In case you're wondering, Ubuntu is an ancient African word meaning "humanity to others," or "I am what I am because of who we all are."

19 March 2007

Put Live TV On Your Web Site, Blog, Or Home Page

Ever wonder if your Web site, blog or Google Personalized Home Page is missing something important? If you don't have any free Google Gadgets to spice it up, it probably is. Give your readers the opportunity to watch TV from a live TV channel on your Web page or blog with the free Live TV Gadget. Or you can watch TV yourself on your Google Personalized Home Page if you don't have a Web site or blog.

Take a look at a few examples of Web sites with the Live TV Gadget, Maine Television Stations and Calf Killer Old Time Radio.

Database Tips Blog

This blog tends to be more generic in order to appeal to mainstream computer users. I decided to branch off with a blog on database tips because I realize that many of my readers (at least the ones from the newsgroups, where I'm known to give free technical advice) are looking for database tips, but a database-oriented blog would bore the majority of my other readers. So if you're interested in computer software, the Internet, and security in general, as well as the free things I find on the Internet, please continue to read this blog, Data Devil Dog. If you're interested in databases, specifically Microsoft Access and the things one can do with Access when connected to other popular database engines, such as Oracle, SQL Server and MySQL, please read my other blog, Database Tips.

16 March 2007

Free Online Dating

(This is a sponsored post.)

Markus Frind, CEO of PlentyOfFish.com, the largest free online dating Web site has recently decided to change the direction of his Web site in order to grow it to the next level, possibly embracing the social network's tactics of creating a full-fledged online community for users, since he sees the social networks as glorified dating sites that are responsible for the 20% decline in online dating sites' traffic in 2006. In case you don't recognize Markus Frind's name, he's the Internet millionaire who showed off his nearly CAN$1 million monthly check from Google AdSense ads on his Web site last year. He runs his Web site from his apartment and he has only one employee, so he doesn't have to distribute his profits to a large staff's salaries.

Frind's change of direction will leave a gap for smaller fish, such as JustSayHi.com, who will quickly fill it. JustSayHi.com is a no-frills, free Web site for online dating, just like PlentyOfFish.com, where members join together in a forum to get to know one another. Members of Just Say Hi want to keep the community as a high quality site that is fun to be a member of. They police themselves and don't allow any disrespectful or crude posts from any member. After all, there are PlentyOfFish in the sea, so it's best to make the site attractive to them, not repulsive. Certainly the free price at JustSayHi.com is much more attractive than the $30 per month Match.com charges or the $25 per month Yahoo! Personals charges.

14 March 2007

Searching For A Cell Phone Plan

(This is a sponsored post.)

My parents have been travelling the length of California this week to visit relatives, including me. They weren't sure how long they'd stay at my sister's house, but they planned to give me a call to let me know if they were going to arrive Tuesday afternoon or Wednesday afternoon. Tuesday at dinnertime I heard a knock on my door. My parents had arrived. I was very happy to see them, but I was surprised that they hadn't called. My Mom explained, "I tried to call after we left, but wouldn't you know it? My cell phone battery was already dead. I just bought a new battery for it, but if I don't recharge it the full 5 1/2 hours every night, it quickly loses its juice. I need a new cell phone that isn't so power hungry."

Of course, a new cell phone means a new cell phone plan to go with it. As I'm the "techie" in the family, my Mom looks to me for advice. Since I'm not familiar with cell phone plans other than the ones available for the cell phone I used to have, I had to check the Internet for other cell phone service providers to compare the options available. Wirefly Mobile makes it easy to comparison shop with the major cell phone service providers, Cingular Wireless, T-Mobile, Verizon Wireless, Sprint, Nextel, Alltell Wireless, and Disney Mobile, as well as other national and specialty cell phone carriers. Wirefly has the Wireless Wizard to help one decide the best cell phone plan to fit one's needs. Just type in your ZIP code on this Web page to start the process.

Whereas I would need text messaging, data capabilities, and low minutes because I don't want to pay for minutes I'm never going to use, my Mom's needs are simpler: a cell phone plan that offers lots of minutes, but none of the extra services and capabilities she'll never use. Wirefly Mobile shows the most popular cell phone plans by price and minutes, so I can see at a glance which cell phone carriers' plans my Mom would likely be interested in.

Many of the plans include free cell phones, which can save you hundreds of dollars over other carriers' cell phone plans, so it pays to compare all of one's options. I found Wirefly's Resources Web page to be especially helpful when explaining to my Mom the various featues available in case she wanted more than "just a cell phone."

12 March 2007

U.S. Loses An Hour, Gains 2 Days For Taxes

If you're located in the U.S. in one of the states that observes Daylight Savings, you lost an hour on Sunday a few weeks earlier than normal, thanks to new legislation by Congress. And if you're a U.S. taxpayer, you have two extra days to file your Federal tax return, thanks to recent legislation in the District of Columbia.

When Tax Day, April 15th, falls on a Saturday, Sunday, or legal holiday, the next business day is the deadline for filing one's taxes. Normally, this would be Monday, 16 April '07, but this year that's a legal holiday in Washington, D.C. It's Emancipation Day, a holiday that the IRS wasn't aware of when their IRS forms for 2007 went to print. Even though your tax forms state that the tax filing deadline is April 16th, you have until April 17th to file your Federal return.

Use the extra 47 hours wisely.

And don't forget that some of the tax software suites offer free tax preparation and free E-filing of your Federal tax returns, including TurboTax and TaxAct, and several others. And all taxpayers who earned less than $52,000 (adjusted gross income) in 2006 may E-file their Federal tax returns for free.

10 March 2007

Keep Your Web Browsing Habits Private

Did you know that the search engines keep track of your search history via cookies and their massive databases? The search engines collect and store information on your searches and attach them to your IP address, and if you're logged into one of their services, this information is also attached to your online identity. To avoid this tracking of your Web surfing, read Preston Gralla's article, "Seven ways to keep your search history private."

Also beware if you have installed Internet Explorer 7. If you turn on the "phishing filter" tool, the URL's you visit will be sent to Microsoft. According to IE7's help:

"When you use Phishing Filter to check websites automatically or manually, the address of the website you are visiting will be sent to Microsoft, together with some standard information from your computer such as your computer's IP address, browser type, and Phishing Filter version number. To help protect your privacy, the address information sent to Microsoft is encrypted using SSL and limited to the domain and path of the website you are visiting. Other information that might be associated with the web address, such as search terms, information you entered in forms, or cookies, will not be sent."

Is This A Scam?

When something sounds too good to be true, it usually is. Less than 3 1/2 hours after receiving my first ever payment through PayPal, I received a message through that same E-mail address from what appears to be a phishing scheme. It's probably just a coincidence that this message was sent so soon after doing business with one of the sponsors of this blog, because my PayPal E-mail address, while very new, is also embedded in Web pages for a PayPal button on a Web site that has had more than 3,400 visitors in the week since I placed the button on those Web pages. Any one of those visitors (which includes bots) could have harvested my PayPal E-mail address.

From: WaMu [customer@email-wamu.com]
Sent: Thu 3/8/2007 10:51 PM
Subj: Washington Mutual OnlineSM $20 Reward Survey.

Dear Valued Customer,


You have been chosen by the Washington Mutual online department to take part in our quick and easy 5 question survey. In return we will credit $20 to your account - Just for your time!

Helping us better understand how our customers feel benefits everyone. With the information collected we can decide to direct a number of changes to improve and expand our online service.
The information you provide us is all non-sensitive and anonymous - No part of it is handed down to any third party groups.
It will be stored in our secure database for maximum of 3 days while we process the results of this nationwide survey.

We kindly ask you to spare two minutes of your time in taking part with this unique offer!

To Continue click on the link below:


Many Thanks and Kind Regards - Washington Mutual Bank Customer Department

A few notes are in order:

1. The domain, email-wamu.com, supposedly their customer service address, doesn't exist.

2. I'm not a Washington Mutual bank customer, nor have I ever been one.

3. The time sent precedes the time received by more than six hours (Recv: Fri 3/9/2007 5:04 AM PST), which means their system clock is either way off or else they initiated the E-mail in the time zone that includes Guam and the eastern-most parts of Asia and Australia.

4. The clickable link in the E-mail (I removed this when I pasted it into this blog post) actually contains the following URL:

While it appears that the domain is WaMu.com (Washington Mutual, a legitimate bank), that's not where the browser will open the Web page, because the IP address is used for the URL. Therefore, the browser won't use the DNS server to find the current IP address of WaMu.com. It will open the default Web page in the wamu20/online.wamu.com/IdentityManagement directory on the Web server at the IP address. That IP address belongs to TexLink Communications (TexLink.com), which is a Texas communications carrier for small and medium businesses. No doubt the scammers have an account on TexLink's Web server.

This is one of those times when we receive the warning, "Don't click on the links in an E-mail from someone you don't know!" and we should heed that warning.

Free Starbucks Coffee 15 March 2007

Starbucks is celebrating their Second Annual Coffee Break. Stop by any Starbucks between 10 AM and 12 noon on Thursday, 15 March '07 and get a free 12-ounce (Tall) cup of coffee:

"All company-operated and licensed Starbucks stores in the U.S., Canada, New Zealand, Australia, Thailand, Malaysia, the Philippines, Indonesia and Greater China will be giving away free Tall (12-ounce) cups of coffee to anyone who drops by."

Test Your Memory

If you have time to kill while online, here's a Web site full of games to test your memory. One can even play some of them with a mobile device.

The "Gotta Have" Extensions If You Have Firefox

If you have the award-winning (and free!) Firefox Web browser installed on you computer (or you are thinking about installing it), ComputerWorld.com has compiled a list of the 20 free Firefox extensions you gotta have to customize it. I don't know how they left out the NoScript security add-on (winner of the "2006 PC World World Class Award" that prevents JavaScripts, Java or other executable code from running without your permission) or the AdBlock Plus add-on (prevents ads from being downloaded to your computer) from their list, but they did. You can download these free add-ons from Mozilla.com at the links I've provided.

09 March 2007

Microsoft's WGA Gift Keeps Coming Back

If you are running Windows XP, did you notice the Automatic Updates offered you the Windows Genuine Advantage (WGA) Notifications application again a few weeks ago, despite your choosing not to download it and not be reminded every time it's available? (The WGA is the pesky application that Microsoft uses to check whether or not your Windows XP installation is pirated, and phones home via your Internet connection without your permission to keep checking if your Windows XP license is still not a pirated copy. But at least with Windows XP, one has a choice of whether or not the WGA application gets downloaded and installed. Vista users have WGA built into the operating system.)

According to David Lazar, director of Microsoft's Genuine Windows program, each time the WGA application is updated, it will be reoffered again for download, and there's no way to refuse it altogether by permanently removing it from the Windows Update list. This application gets updated every 90 to 120 days, so expect to be asked to download and install the WGA application again around June. And September. And December. And . . . forever.

And if you decide to allow it to install just to be rid of the annoyance of being reminded every three or four months to download and install the WGA, be aware that Microsoft has removed the ability to uninstall it from your PC by hacking the Windows Registry.

08 March 2007

Free And Legal BitTorrents

Now that BitTorrent.com is renting its wares at $1.99 for TV episodes and $2.99 to $3.99 for movies that expire 24 hours after you start watching them or within 30 days of the download, it seems that there's no such thing as a free lunch when it comes to our favorite movies downloaded from the Internet.

Or is there? Free and legal Web sites that use BitTorrent technology can be found if one knows where to look. NewTeeVee.com published a list of 10 Web sites that offer free and legal BitTorrent downloads, so you can hold off on getting that Windows PC and installing Microsoft's Windows Media Player 11, which is the only operating system and video playing technology the DRM videos BitTorrent.com downloads can use.

07 March 2007

Making Money On The Internet, Update 5

Blogsvertise.com approved my two ads this morning, so I'll be paid $10 via PayPal in 30 days. In case you're interested, Blogsvertise is exhibiting at the SES NY at the Hilton in Manhatten, which is a major search engine tradeshow. You can attend the exhibitor-only area free if you register online beforehand. Stop by the Blogsvertise.com booth (#2016) and say, "Hi!" and pick up a free T-shirt just for showing up.

Google's AdSense approved my account at lunchtime today, so I've added them to my list of revenue streams in the right sidebar under "Online Revenue Streams," and I'll get busy figuring out how to add their advertisements to the layout. I've already read through Google's terms of service and agreements, and they authorize me to report the gross amounts earned through Google's AdSense, but not such things as click-through rates (which I had no intention of reporting anyway). So I'll tally up the earnings from Google's AdSense with any other revenue streams I get approved for so that readers can compare the amounts earned.

06 March 2007

Free Samsung i607 BlackJack Smartphone

Shopping for a Smartphone? Purchase the Samsung i607 BlackJack Smartphone at Amazon.com by 31 Mar. '07 and activate the service with Cingular, and with the rebates, you'll get it for free plus either a penny or $25.01 in your pocket, depending upon when you purchase the phone and whether or not you activate a service plan of $39.99 or higher. The rebates are $50 from Cingular and $25 from Amazon.com. The $25 rebate from Amazon.com expires 7 Mar. '07, but each week for the past month a new rebate has been issued. That doesn't guarantee that another $25 rebate will be issued starting 8 Mar. '07, so you'd probably better not wait too long to make your purchase.

As always, restrictions apply.

Free Traffic Camera On Your Mobile Phone

How many times have you been stuck in New York traffic thinking that if you'd only known traffic was going to be this bad, you would have taken another route? Never let this happen to you again! (If you live in the New York metro tri-state area and have the right mobile device, that is.) Download the WCBS Video Cellmate service's traffic camera to your cell phone, Blackberry, or Palm Treo, and you can check traffic conditions while you're on the road. You'll see live, real-time video images, not just maps of the highways with warnings that traffic is "slow as molasses in winter."

BMW is sponsoring WCBS Video Cellmate as a free service of WCBS 880. This free service is powered by 3rd Dimension Technology, and it's available to "cell phone subscribers with data plans on Sprint, Cingular and T-Mobile, as well as Blackberry and Palm Treo users on any network, including Verizon," according to the Free Traffic Cam Web site. Check the list of mobile devices that can support the service to see if yours is on it.

No word yet on when they'll expand the free service to other metro areas.

Making Money On The Internet, Update 4

(This is a sponsored post.)

Another good way to make money on the Internet is to sell merchandise online, but that requires either a merchant account or a business/merchant PayPal account to accept credit cards over the Internet, because people don't want to write checks for online purchases. I checked out AdvantageProcessors.com, and it seems that online Web sites are considered high risk merchant accounts. That makes sense, because you don't have the luxury of seeing the purchaser eyeball to eyeball on the Web. If you see the buyer in person and he's wearing tattoos and leather motorcycle gear, yet he's purchasing goods with a credit card and drivers license that has the name and picture of a female Sunday School teacher on it, you'd think something was fishy and refuse to accept the credit card. So selling online can certainly be riskier than selling from a walk-in establishment.

AdvantageProcessors.com has a list of helpful tutorials to help new merchants get started and manage common problems, such as chargebacks. AdvantageProcessors.com advertises competitive pricing and low credit card transaction rates, but one needs to apply for a merchant account before finding out what those rates are.

Making Money On The Internet, Update 3

(This is a sponsored post.)

I found another Web advertising network called DClickAds.com, which apparently includes both Web sites and blogs as ad publishers, too. A BlogSpot.com URL is listed in one of the Publisher's Profiles displayed on the home page. (The profiles probably rotate so you may not see a BlogSpot.com URL if you look right now.) The Web site ages for each profile are listed in years, so perhaps new blogs such as this one may not be eligible. On the other hand, it's a new advertising network, so they may be willing to work with newcomers.

The ad publishers get to choose what to charge and whether to display banner ads, text link ads, or embedded link ads (which suits me because I'd rather avoid those distracting banner ads). Ad publishers also choose the methodology for the advertisement, whether it be pay-per-click or by time frame, either by the week or by the month. So there's enough flexibility for everyone.

DClickAds.com requires a download and install of their ad placement software, and the Web site hosting the ads must support PHP 4 or ASP/Windows. I suspect this may conflict with Google's AdSense guidelines about other similar ads on the same Web page, but it's hard to tell at this stage.

It's also hard to tell how the ad publishers get paid, because on this page they mention that payment is by check, which will be mailed 30 days after the ad campaign ends or the click count is reached, while on the FAQ page, they explicitly state that they only support Webmasters through PayPal.

Making Money On The Internet, Update 2

Blogsvertise.com approved my account early this morning, so that's good news. And it was fast, too. A very short wait. The approval letter mentions that I need to log into my account and post a picture that they randomly display on their Web site. I suspect this is so that other members can get an idea that there are real people behind the tasks, not some automated script. I tried uploading a photo, but their script doesn't work.

I'll keep you posted on what happens next. I added an item on the sidebar on the right for this blog titled "Online Revenue Streams." It will list revenues earned and paid thus far to let you compare the various revenue streams available. Blogsvertise is the only ad network I've been approved for as yet, but hopefully others will approve me, too. Google's AdSense has a very large queue, so I expect it will be a much longer wait for the approval or disapproval.

05 March 2007

Making Money On The Internet, Update 1

I submitted this blog to Google AdSense as an ad publisher, and they'll get back to me in a few days with either an approval or disapproval notification. I'll keep you informed of the outcome.

I also submitted this blog, as well as two other Web sites I'm the Webmaster of, to text-link-ads.com as an ad publisher. Of course, with fewer than 400 visitors per month, I didn't expect this blog to be accepted, but the two Web sites I submitted have considerably more traffic. One is three years old with nearly 400 visitors per day, more than 850 page views per day, and nearly 700 inbound links. For every submission, I received the following reply within a minute:

"Thanks for your submission!

"We are sorry but your site has not been accepted into our publisher program at this time. The main reason for websites not being accepted is because of our minimum traffic and link popularity requirements. Please do note that we do reevaluate all submissions monthly and will notify you via email as soon as you are accepted. Hopefully soon!

"In the meantime you are invited into our affiliate program. You can display text links or banner ads on your properties and earn $25 everytime someone you refer to TLA makes a purchase or is accepted into our publishing program."

So much for text-link-ads.com. They aren't interested in small potatoes, but at least they don't keep you waiting for their answer.

I also submitted this blog to Blogsvertise.com as an ad publisher. It was the first one I found that didn't require the blog to be at least three months old. Unfortunately, when I started my blog, the new Blogger was just coming online and I didn't want to get involved with all the bugs in a beta release, so I started my blog elsewhere. However, I wasn't getting any traffic and none of the search engines had indexed the blog, either, so I migrated it to the new Blogger in the middle of January, where it was indexed nine days later and I started getting search engine traffic.

Like most of the other programs I checked out, Blogsvertise's program only pays through PayPal. One thing I noticed is that their rules are inconsistent regarding how much is written in the blog, since the Publisher's Rules require approximately 75 words or more, while Blogsvertise's advertisers are told that the blogger's post will be at least 60 words.

According to the message I received after I created an account on their Web site, I should only have to wait 24 hours before I find out if this blog has been approved or rejected. So I'll let you know of that outcome fairly soon, too.

How Much Is Your Domain Worth?

If you're a Web site owner, do you know how much your domain is worth? Based upon the age of the domain, traffic, page rank, inbound links, and indexed pages with the major search engines, dnScoop.com can provide an estimate of its dollar value. Here's mine:

Take the value with a grain of salt, though, since no one is likely to write a check for that amount. (It appears that the price tag comes from the BlogSpot.com domain, not my little corner of it.)

The free online tool provides links to the online references where it gets its data from, so you can see for yourself who's linking to your site, what the page rank is, how many Web pages from your site are indexed by the major search engines, and the estimated value of placing a single text link ad on the site. The tool even provides the HTML script to show off the dollar value of your site, as shown above.

Update (10 Mar. '07): Here's another site, Sootle.com, that just uses link popularity (retrieved via Yahoo!'s API) to calculate your Web site's value. The numbers seem to be more realistic, if a little disappointing. If you link to their Web page as I have with their graphic, they'll update the current value every 24 hours.

This website is worth

What is your website worth?

Free Download: Sid Meier's Railroad Tycoon

After 16 years, Sid Meier's Railroad Tycoon computer game is available for a free download. It comes bundled with DOSBox, a DOS emulator, as well as the player's manual and reference cards. It's only 14.2 MB.

If you're a fan of Empire Builder, Iron Dragon, EuroRails, British Rails, Nippon Rails, or Rail Baron, you'll love this game. No broken crayons or lost playing pieces!

04 March 2007

Making Money On The Internet

You see Google AdSense ads practically everywhere you go on the Internet. Ever wonder how much money the top Google AdSense moneymakers make? They make oodles and oodles of money. Monthly. Doubt me? Read John Chow's article on Google's biggest Ad breadwinners who have shown proof of their incomes.

Google doesn't disclose to ad publishers what percentage of the ad revenues they're getting. Google's pitch is "Sign up and find out how much you'll make!" because they don't have much competition from the other big guys yet, such as Yahoo! and MSN. Yahoo!'s new Yahoo Publisher Network (beta) has a chance to grab market share from new international Web publishers by revealing how much ad publishers will make. I mention new international Web publishers, because already-established ad publishers will be very reluctant to change over from Google's AdSense due to all of the hassles of making a switch, and those current ad publishers are generally in North America, Google's backyard.

Two major problems with Yahoo!'s YPN are that it's a beta and that they choose which ad publishers get to participate in it. One minor problem (because it's temporary) is Yahoo!'s network of advertisers is much smaller than Google's, limiting income for ad publishers.

Stay tuned over the next several months, because I intend to find out how much can be made on a new blog such as this one, which doesn't have a lot of subscribers and visitors yet and basically has no "Blog Juice" at 0.1 (that's my ranking after nearly three months, 84 posts, more than 1,000 visitors, 5 subscribers, and barely 20 links, according to Yahoo!, so we'll see how it improves -- or slides, as the case may be! -- over time):

My Blog Juice

Not that I think a small, new blog like this can make much money, but I'm curious as to how much it really is. My guess is $10 - $15 a month -- if I can sell ad space, which may not be possible until this blog is much older and becomes more popular. Please add your comments, whether you think I'm off the mark -- or not.

One-Click Subscription To Bloglines

If you're visiting a Web page or blog that is RSS-capable, you can subscribe to the RSS feed with your free Bloglines account with just one easy click of the big orange RSS button RSS Feed in your browser.

* If you have Firefox 2.0, this feature is already built in. (Sorry. Earlier versions of Firefox aren't capable of using this technology.)

* If you have Internet Explorer 7, you need the free Bloglines plug-in. (Sorry. Earlier versions of IE aren't capable of using this technology.)

Other free services available with your Bloglines account

1. If you're tracking a package that's been shipped via UPS, FedEx, the U.S. Postal Service, or DHL, add the package tracking number on this Web page (log in required), then subscribe to it to easily track it.

2. If you need disposable E-mail addresses to apply for free offers (or when you just don't want to give out your real E-mail address), "subscribe" to a disposable E-mail address inside your Bloglines account. Any mail sent to that E-mail address will show up as a new item under that subscription on your list of feeds. "Unsubscribe" to that subscription when you no longer need it, and the disposable E-mail address will no longer receive any messages.

3. Create your own Bloglines blog, where you can write on any topic you wish, any time you wish.

02 March 2007

Get Things Done With GTDGmail

Finding it hard to get organized? If you have a Gmail account and use the Firefox Web browser, download the free GTDGmail extension to help you get things done through Gmail. With GTDGmail, you can:
  • See at a glance which tasks are unfinished.
  • Quickly and easily organize tasks with labels to categorize items into Contexts, Status, Projects and References.
  • Save specialized searches to query your GTD tasks.
  • Compose tasks and references, then send them to your Inbox.
  • Print tasks on 3 x 5 cards and take them with you (suitable for a Hipster PDA).
  • Use plenty of keyboard shortcuts to quickly organize the tasks.
For more information, see the GTDGmail Web page.

01 March 2007

Beginner Developer Learning Center

Microsoft has centralized its free tools and free tutorials for new software developers as the "Beginner Developer Learning Center." If you're ready to start learning how to program for the Windows desktop or the Web, then Microsoft has the beginner tools for you.

If you're interested in designing Windows applications, download and install Microsoft's Visual Studio Express Editions, then get started with the lessons.

If you're interested in designing Web applications, download and install Microsoft's Visual Web Developer Express Edition or Microsoft's Visual Studio Express Editions, then get started with the lessons and the Starter Kits.

The lessons run about 20 to 40 minutes each and consist of video/audio, hands-on labs, and written documentation.

28 February 2007

Book List For Access 2007

The book list for Access 2007 is out for the books already published and those that will be published in the near future. Whether you need a comprehensive reference, such as "Microsoft Office Access 2007 Inside Out," by Microsoft Access MVP's (Most Valuable Professionals) Jeff Conrad (AKA "The Access Junkie") and John Viescas, or you're a beginner and need "Access 2007 for Starters: The Missing Manual," or you're an experienced developer and you need the "Access 2007 VBA Programmer's Reference" to give you the edge, you'll find a wide variety of choices in the list of 13 books on Microsoft Office Access 2007 listed on Microsoft's Access Blog.

24 February 2007

Offer Search On Your Web Site, Part 2

If you have a big Web site or a blog you've been writing pages and posts on for a long time, chances are it's hard to find the brilliant thoughts you've written unless visitors use a search engine. Make it easy for your visitors to find your important information by adding a free Yahoo! Search Engine on your Web site or blog. Customize the look on the search results page to match your Web site or blog and add Yahoo!'s powerful search analysis tools. It's free.

Offer Search On Your Web Site, Part 1

Even with links to Web pages or blog entries from a central "table of contents," sometimes it's hard for new visitors to find information on your Web site or blog. If you just want a simple search box, head over to Yahoo! Search Builder and let the builder quickly create the HTML code for you to paste on your Web page or blog. Now that's easy!

12 Quick Productivity Improvements

Does your IT organization need additional "visibility" to show its value? IT may not contribute to the bottom line, but it saves costs by improving workers' productivity. It's true value is often overlooked, because it's hard to put a dollar sign on the additional revenues earned due to IT's productivity gains.

But it doesn't have to take a lot of effort or Olympic Committee planning to show IT's value to the organization's productivity. Dan Tynan has excellent suggestions for quickly improving the organization's productivity in his article, "12 quick IT productivity wins," such as:

1. Stop losing, start finding
2. Meet less, work more
3. Use IM (with caution)
4. Free up your help desk
5. Get the news you need
6. Get a handle on your projects
7. Stop micromanaging
8. Double your displays
9. Give your WAN a boost
10. Play the game — literally
11. Look for easy ways to integrate
12. Think strategy, not tactics

23 February 2007

Why BloggerBotIsDead And What To Do About It

If you're looking for information on why BloggerBotIsDead and the best alternatives, then please follow my link to my blog post's page, because the recommended alternatives have problems you should know about and no one else is reporting on them.

Simulate Access 2007 Runtime Mode

An old trick to prevent users from making changes to a database's design is to use the /runtime switch when opening the database file. Access 2007 has a new trick to do the same thing. Change the ACCDB extension to ACCDR. The user will be able to open the database in runtime mode -- without having to specify the /runtime switch or have the Access Runtime version installed. The UI Ribbon and navigation pane will be missing when the database file opens, so ensure that you make alternate arrangements in your database application design with custom UI Ribbons if necessary.

Announcing Google Apps Premium Edition

Move over Microsoft Office 2007, Google Apps Premium Edition is now on the scene, and for a whole lot less money. Google is charging customers $50 a year for the online software that includes E-mail, word processing, spreadsheet, calendar, Web publishing, and chat. These applications don't reside on one's computer, but on the Internet from Google's Web servers, so an Internet connection and Web browser are required. One of the downsides (and there are many) is that there is no PowerPoint software application equivalent in the Google Apps suite of office tools.

Google invites you to try Google Apps Premier Edition for free through April 30th, 2007. Compare the features of the Premier Edition with the free edition.

See Google Apps FAQ for more information.

20 February 2007

SQL Server 2005 Express SP-2 Available

Microsoft SQL Server 2005 SP-2 is available for download, which means the free edition, SQL Server 2005 Express Edition SP-2 is also available for free download. The BOL has also been updated, as well as SQL Server Management Studio Express, the samples, and SQL Server 2005 Feature Pack. All of these are free downloads available from links on the same page as I listed above.

The SQL Server 2005 Express Edition is 36.5 MB, the SQL Server Management Studio Express is 43.1 MB, and the BOL is 135.0 MB. Hopefully, you have broadband, not dial-up Internet access.

17 February 2007

Scam Alert: Drive-By Pharming

Symantec's security expert, Zulfikar Ramzan, in conjunction with two professors, Sid Stamm and Markus Jakobsson, at the Indiana University School of Informatics, has produced a proof-of-concept JavaScript Web application that, if disseminated in the wild, would mean that one only need visit a malicious Web page to be attacked and have account User ID's and passwords swiped. No malware is installed, so the user wouldn't even be aware that an attack had occurred. This special method of attack is called "drive-by pharming," and you need to know about it.

The attack is aimed at broadband users whose Internet connection is routed through a router before connecting to the user's computer. The malicious Web application changes the DNS (Domain Name Service) server setting for the router (which requires the router's password -- and half the time people don't change the default password!), so that when the user types in the URL for a bank, the router requests the IP address of the desired URL from the attacker's DNS server, not the DNS server it's supposed to get the address from. Of course, the attacker's DNS server has been set up to return the wrong IP addresses for certain banking and credit card institutions' Web sites, which just so happen to be the IP addresses for the attacker's bogus Web sites that look just like the real thing. The user types in his User ID and password at the bogus Web site and . . . bingo! The attacker has all he needs to transfer money out of the real bank account.

It's easy enough to protect yourself from this scam by changing the default password on your router, so that no one can change its settings without your knowledge. Here is a list of the most common routers and links to the manufacturers' Web sites to find out how to change your router's password.
For more information about this scam, including a short video explaining it in more detail, please follow this link.