Thursday, April 21, 2011

The Best Online Tools To Help You Know Everything About Web Sites

best website toolsHow do I contact the owner of a website? How popular is my site on Digg or Delicious? What other websites are hosted on my web server ? Is my competitor using WordPress or Drupal? is loading fast, what is the name of their web hosting company ? Is my blog accessible from China or Japan ?
If you got questions like these in your mind, here are some of the most useful online tools to help you know each and every detail of any website on the planet. - Just Ping help you know whether your website or blog is accessible from different cities of the world. Unlike other online ping services that run from one location, runs the ping command on your website from 26 different locations spread across the globe so you have a better idea about your site availability in different regions.
They even have a checkpoint in Shanghai so you can easily find out if some particularwebsite is blocked in China or not. - If you like to know the contact address, email and phone number of the website owner, this free service will help.
The problem with most whois services on the web is that they are tied to particular domain registrars. So if a website is registered with Network Solutions, you cannot find the ownership details of that site by doing a whois query on say Tucows or GoDaddy.
WhoIsTheOwner is different because it queries the whois database of all popular domain registrars. Extremely useful when sites steal your content and you want to send a warning email to the owner. - The web server that is hosting your website may also be housing dozens of other websites. YouGetSignal does a Reverse IP Check and lets you know about other websites that are hosted on the same web server as your site.
This is useful information because sometimes one bad site can impact all the neighbours. You may then request your web hosting company to move your site to a different web server.
Trivia: These alternate Google domains were determined with the help of - Enter the URL of any website and this online service will show you the name of the company that's hosting the website.
You need contact information of the web hosting provider for writing a DMCA Notice or if you are looking to switch web hosts. - This service helps you determine the popularity of a web page on social sites like Digg, delicious, Google Bookmarks, etc.
Type the web address of any web page and Social meter will show you the exact number of times that page has been digged, bookmarked or saved on various social websites. - While Social Meter is for social bookmarking websites, Popuri is for estimating the relative popularity of a website with ranking data / inbound links from sites like Compete, Quantcast Google, Yahoo!, Windows Live, etc. Useful when your are looking to sell or buy websites.
web - Is Digg running on Apache or Windows Servers ? What advertising programs is Arrington using to monetize TechCrunch ? Is Google using Urchin for web analytics ? Is CNN using Akamai ?
For answers to all these questions, refer to BuiltWith - a website profiling service that tells you about all the technologies used in creating a website.


How to Use Photoshop

Photoshop's Variations and Free Alternatives
I have a different page that explains what Photoshop is, what the versions are and less expensive, or free, alternatives, here. I also talk about all the other software I use and photoshop plug-ins there.
I've been using Photoshop every day for years so its cost is negligible for what I get out of it. If I was starting from scratch and didn't have $560 for Photoshop CS or didn't get Photoshop elements for free with a scanner I'd first try iPhoto that comes for free with every Apple Mac computer, or Google's free Picasa 2 for windows, and learn those. iPhoto and maybe the others even read RAW files, so don't ignore them.

How to Learn Photoshop
A huge advantage of Photoshop is you have more ways to learn it, like this page here, than any other program. So many people know it it's easy to learn just about anywhere.
The best way to learn Photoshop is to take a class at your local community college to learn the basics of Lightening Underexposed Images and Correcting Color Casts and White Balance Problems. These basic adjustments are covered in every introductory Photoshop class and book so I'll just cover them quickly below. You must be fluent in these to get anywhere with Photoshop for optimizing images.
Photoshop also has built-in help as well as free tutorial usually included in the box. All you need to do is choose how you learn best and go that way. Personally I learn best from an in-person class or having an expert show me in person. When I have a question about how to find some obscure tool or how to make a command work I just choose help from the HELP menu.

Basic Operation and Tricks of the Trade
All these adjustments work with every kind of image. That's why skilled photographers feel sorry for people who toil away with RAW files just so they can correct exposure and white balance later. You can do it all to any JPG image in Photoshop without all the hassle.
The tricks below presume you have at least a basic navigational familiarity with Photoshop. You can get that from any book or community college class, or even the built-in help!
Photoshop has been around since the 1980s when it was only used by professionals. It therefore uses terms from traditional professional photography and the commercial printing press trades. Often these terms are exactly the opposite of what you'd expect! The most obviously labeled tools are sometimes the worst way to do things, so read up below.
People spend entire careers learning Photoshop. There is more to learn than any single human will be able to master. Each of us learns what's relevant to our own work.


How To Kiss Someone Passionately

How To Kiss Someone Passionately : Nervous about your first kiss? Let VideoJug show you how to kiss someone passionately. Kissing tips, hints, and advice on how to perfect that kiss for that special person in your life.Nervous about your first kiss? Let VideoJug show you how to kiss someone passionately. Kissing tips, hints, and advice on how to perfect that kiss for that special person in your life.
You will need
  • A pair of lips
  • Someone to kiss
  • Confidence 
  1.  Hey Be Easy, Just One More Kiss.
    Nervous about your first kiss? Let VideoJug show you how to kiss someone passionately. Kissing tips, hints, and advice on how to perfect that kiss for that special person in your life.
  2. Step 1: Preparation

    Check your breath. If you are intending to kiss someone for the first time then avoid strong foods like onion, garlic or strong flavours, unless of course your partner has been indulging in the same foods. If in doubt about your breath, suck a breath mint. But remember to have swallowed this before you start kissing, or your partner will be very surprised, particularly if they don't like mint.
  3. Step 2: Be confident

    Nothing ruins a kiss more than uncertainty. This confidence is essential, as hard as it is to get a kiss the first time, it will be harder to get one after a failed attempt. Once you have decide you are going to kiss someone, choose your moment and go for it.
  4. Step 3: The lips

    It is best to start off simply. When it feels right, tilt your head slightly to one side to avoid clashing noses, lean in and press your lips onto your partner's lips, softly, so you don't bump teeth. If you do bump teeth accidentally, just carry on kissing. 
    Vary the amount you open your mouth, and the rhythm of your kisses. You may wish to use the tip of your tongue.
  5. Step 4: Advanced techniques

    This style of kissing was not invented by the French, although they are probably quite good at it. It refers to the type of kiss where you insert your tongue deep into the other person's mouth and move it around. It is perhaps best defined by what you should not do. You should try to avoid swirling your tongue around aggressively like an electric eel caught in a fishing net, but equally you should not let your entire tongue go completely limp and floppy. If it feels right, you are probably doing it right. As the kiss progresses you may want to move to the neck. Kissing and nibbling the neck is perfectly acceptable when snogging and is the reason for the term necking. 
    A love bite is a red mark left on the skin, usually the neck or shoulder, caused by excessive lip suction on the skin. It is, depending on your point of view, a charming memento of the kissing session or a repulsive and embarrassing bruise. It is best to discuss the giving or receiving of a love bite with your partner, before leaving one.
  6. Step 5: What to do with the rest of your body

    This is really up to you. There are many things you can do to heighten a kiss, you can hold or stroke your partner's back, run your fingers through their hair, or feel other parts of their body.Who knows where this might lead..... Well done, you are now kissing somebody passionately for the first time.....


Find Out How Much Traffic a Website is Getting

Do you want to spy (or 'research') on your competitors to know how much traffic their sites are getting?
Now there are a bunch of traffic estimation services (like Alexa, Compete, Quantcast, etc.) from where you can obtain statistics (page views + unique visitors) of almost any website for free but is the data accurate? I did a rough comparison using actual data from Google Analytics data and here are the results:
1. Alexa - Alexa won't tell you the actual page views of a site but an estimate of the percentage of Internet users that may have visited your site during a given period. Now assuming that the number of Internet users did not changed drastically in the past 6 months or so, a site's reach as determined by Alexa can be proportional to the unique visitors.
Verdict: The Alexa chart pattern for my blog is fairly similar to Google Analytics which is actually very surprising.
Google Trends vs Google Analytics
2. Trends for Websites - Google Trends uses data from Google search, Google Analytics and other third-party market research services. Since Google search is the largest source of traffic to most websites (especially those in the tech domain), Trends for Website can give a fairly accurate estimate of site traffic.
Verdict: Google Trends estimation of "daily unique visitors" can get very close to actual numbers but the only problem is that Trends doesn't provide data for low-traffic websites.
3. StatBrain - This is the only service that claims to provide a count of daily visitors to any website. StatBrain does so using data from a number of external sources like Alexa Rank, backlinks in Google, location of web server, etc.
Verdict: StatBrain says that Digital Inspiration gets around 33k unique visitor per day which is definitely on the lower side but still not a very bad guess.
compete web traffic
4. Compete - You can use Compete to estimate the total US traffic for nearly every site on the web. Compete uses data from ISPs, their own toolbar and other data source to calculate the unique visitors and hits (or pageviews) of a site.
Verdict: Very close to actual data but limited to visitors from US only so you won't get the true picture for an international website.
5. QuantCast - Like Compete, QuantCast too gives an estimate of hits and unique visitors along with visitor demographics.
Verdict: Data is not available for all websites and also less accurate than Compete (at least for Digital Inspiration) though the situation may be different for quantified sites.
google ad planner traffic
6. Google Ad Planner - This is my favorite tool that is both accurate and comprehensive. You get to know the traffic of any website in a particular geographic region (or worldwide), average number of visits per visitor, total page views, unique visitors and the broad category of that site.
Here's how you can use Google Ad Planner to determine the traffic of any website:
1. Click the "Begin Research" tab in your Ad Planner dashboard.
2. Type the URLs of all websites that you want to research in the "Sites Visited" section of "Online Activity"
3. You'll see that all those sites now appear on the right side. Click the name of the site to view the traffic and demographic details of that site.
Verdict: Highly recommended.
Bonus Tip: If you need to check the rankings of any website on multiple services in one go, try Dataopedia or Attention Meter. Both these services offer traffic graphs from Alexa, Compete, Quantcast, etc. on the same page.


30 Ways to Make Today a Good Day

Make Today a Good Day
One today is worth two tomorrows.
-Benjamin Franklin
Yesterday is history and tomorrow is merely a figment of your imagination.  So if you think about it, today is the only day you’re truly alive.  Here’s how to make it a good one:
  1. Get started a few minutes early.
  2. Work on something that’s meaningful to you.
  3. Complete an important piece of unfinished business.
  4. Spend time with positive, friendly people.
  5. Do something nice for someone else.
  6. Be present. Focus on where you are, what you’re doing and who you’re with right now.
  7. Do one thing at a time.  (Read Getting Things Done.)
  8. Listen to your self-talk.  When you hear negative thoughts, think about the positive side of things.
  9. Smile, even when there’s no pressing reason to do so.
  10. Unplug.  Entertain yourself with real-world experiences.
  11. Go somewhere new.  See something new.  Meet someone new.
  12. Do something that makes you laugh.
  13. Challenge your mind.  Learn a new skill.
  14. Challenge your body.  Exercise for 30 minutes.  
  15. Let someone help you.
  16. Clear a little clutter by getting rid of something you don’t need.
  17. Be honest with yourself and those around you.
  18. Don’t compare yourself to others.  Instead, let them inspire you.
  19. Spend a few minutes alone in silence, just thinking.
  20. Focus on solutions.
  21. Keep an open mind to new ideas and information.
  22. Handle important two-minute tasks immediately.
  23. Stay out of other people’s drama.  And don’t needlessly create your own.
  24. Say, “Please,” “Thank you,” “I’m sorry” and “I love you,” when you should.
  25. Don’t try to please everyone.  Just do what you know is right.
  26. Eat a healthy breakfast, lunch and dinner.
  27. Savor the natural joy of simple pleasures.
  28. Notice what’s right with the world.
  29. Focus on all the things you already have, think about them and appreciate them.
  30. Get to sleep a little earlier tonight so you’re well rested tomorrow.
And remember, a smile is the most beautiful curve on the human body.  So go now and strut your stuff.  ;-)
Welcome to

Why Winners Win and Losers Lose

Winners vs. Losers
We all want to be winners.  We all want to succeed.  So why then do so many of us struggle indefinitely and come up short?  It has something to do with how we think, what we focus on, and how we live each moment.
Here are a few ideas on why winners win and losers lose.
  • Losers fail once and quit.  Winners fail a thousand times and eventually succeed.
  • Losers look for success at the finish line.  Winners experience success along the way.
  • Losers work to make money.  Winners work to make a difference.
  • Losers buy things.  Winners build things.
  • Losers see things they don’t understand and get discouraged.  Winners see things they don’t understand and get curious.
  • Losers talk.  Winners communicate.
  • Losers attempt to conquer the world in one shot.  Winners add up all their small victories.
  • Losers expect certain outcomes.  Winners prepare themselves for the unexpected.
  • Losers seek respect.  Winners earn respect.
  • Losers stare at the problem.  Winners look around for the solution.
  • Losers review options.  Winners act on decisions.
  • Losers are paid for their time.  Winners are paid for their results.
  • Losers let things happen.  Winners make things happen.
  • Losers want to get ahead of others.  Winners help others get ahead too.
  • Losers hangout with losers.  Winners hangout with winners who are more successful than they are.
  • Losers follow other people’s definitions of success.  Winners define their own success.
  • Losers escape fears.  Winners face fears.
  • Losers waste their free time (watching TV).  Winners use their free time (learning or experiencing something new).
  • Losers see the unknown as a risk.  Winners see constant familiarity as a risk.
  • Losers live in the past.  Winners live life now based on lessons learned in the past.
  • Losers label themselves as experts.  Winners know there is still much to learn.
  • Losers over-sell.  Winners over-deliver.
  • Losers frown.  Winners smile.
  • Losers think winners are lucky.  Winners realize the harder they work the luckier they are.
What did I leave off the list?  What qualities do you think separate successful people from everyone else?