Thursday, April 30, 2009

New Tools from Google Labs: Google Similar Images Search & Google News Timeline

Google Labs has announced two innovative products: Google Similar Images Search & Google News Timeline.
  • Google Similar Images Search allows you to search for images using pictures rather than words. Click the "Similar images" link under an image to find other images that look like it.

  • Google News Timeline organizes information chronologically by presenting results from Google News and other data sources on a zoomable, graphical timeline. You can navigate through time by dragging the timeline, setting the time scale to days, weeks, months, years, or decades, or just including a time period in your query (i.e., "1977"). This is a novel way to keep track of the news if you don't have time to browse individual newsmedia sites.

Inputting Chinese Characters in Windows, Mac & Ubuntu

Mac OS X, Microsoft Windows and Ubuntu Linux have built-in Chinese-Japanese-Korean (CJK) characters input support without the need to resort to third party software.

Here is a roundup of useful resources for setting up and configuring the various built-in resources in Windows, Mac and Ubuntu Linux platforms for inputting Chinese characters:

(1) Mac OS X:
(2) Microsoft Windows:
(3) Ubuntu Linux:

Freeware Resources for Ubuntu

Today's roundup of useful open-source freeware resources for Ubuntu:

Resources for using VirtualBox to run Windows XP in Ubuntu

Here is a roundup of resources for using VirtualBox to run Windows XP in a virtual environment within Ubuntu:

Windows Freeware Software Resources

Today's roundup of freeware software resources:
  • PDF Creator: PDFCreator is an open-source free software for converting documents into PDF format on Microsoft Windows operating systems. Once installed, it allows the user to select PDFCreator as their printer, permitting almost any Windows application to print to PDF.

  • John Haller's Portable Applications: The main source for portable Windows applications that run off a flash drive.

  • Nirsofer's Freeware Utilities: A collection of useful freeware utilities for Windows.

Mastering Firefox's Hidden Configuration Tools

Over the past 12 months, Mozilla's Firefox browser has been gaining market share at the expense of Microsoft's Internet Explorer, driven in large part by Internet Explorer's vulnerabilities to malware. While many use Firefox in its default mode, not many realize that Firefox is not only highly configurable, it can also perform tasks that are accessible through its "about" URIs (Uniform Resource Identifiers). For more information, see the following links:

Old Versions of Windows Freeware/Shareware Software

Are you looking for old versions of your favorite freeware or shareware software? Newer versions don't work well on your older hardware? Looking for old versions of software for research/testing purposes? Then you should visit oldversion.com, which archives old versions of popular freeware and shareware. Founded in 2001, oldversion.com archives Internet-related freeware and shareware Windows software. Here is how the site explains its raison d'etre:
Sometimes upgrading to a newer version can be a good thing. Other times, your computer may not be compatible with the new version, the new version is bloated, or all the options you liked are no longer available. OldVersion.com has been supplying the online community with old versions of various programs since 2001. The service is utilized by thousands of users every day and has been featured in newspapers and magazines as well as on radio and television.

OldVersion.com has several objectives. One is to discourage the use of spyware by software companies. Also known as adware, these hidden programs come bundled with certain applications and secretly transmit user information via the Internet to advertisers. It is sometimes possible to avoid spyware by downloading an older version of a program. Use OldVersion.com and show the industry your dissatisfaction with these types of business practices.

OldVersion.com assists computer users who are unable to continually upgrade their computer. Those who find that their machine is not able to run the latest version of a certain application have no choice but to use an old version of the program. Unfortunately, the vast majority of software companies do not offer this opportunity. We are doing our small part to help bridge the digital divide by allowing everyone to enjoy the same software titles regardless of their hardware.

We believe that every computer user has the right to use a version of the product that he or she is most comfortable with, not the one dictated by the software developer, so we provide access to the files that are no longer obtainable. BulletProof Software is one company that recognized this right and helped us to build our archive. One day, we hope to see both small companies and major corporations with their very own, easy-to-find old version section.

Lastly, there is a need to archive cultural artifacts. If software is allowed to disappear into the past, a piece of history is lost. People must have access to this data in order to understand the direction of computer industry and civilization as a whole.

Roundup: Useful Web Design, Building & Publishing Resources

Today's roundup of useful web design, building & publishing resources: