Saturday, October 28, 2006

Firefox 2.0 out in the open - Review time

Well Firefox 2.0 is out and its review time over a cuppa cofee

Its more robust looking and yet sleeker.. Its supposed to be more secure and enhanced.. Firefox calls it Phishing Protection where they compare their existing list of reported phishing sites (who lure you into giving sensitive personal information) which may be a great thing but since security is not “visible” so cant really comment on that. But the security console seems pretty neat with anti phishing sites option

The tabs are better looking and has got a close button right on the tab (like tab mix plus extension and of course Opera) Also for people who work with large number of tabs in the same window, there are arrows on the left and right side of the tab strip that let them scroll back and forth between their tabs... Also It has recently closed tab button in the history.. But why would anyone use history option... It would have made more sense if this was a button right on the tab bar

It has a inline spell checker in case you are filling some form which is a good feature

Right now the extensions are not compatible with the new version (and understandably so).. it was a little empty feeling for me.. I guess the extensions should also have been updated ...

One good feature is that the search boxes at top right are visually more appealing A new search engine manager makes it easier to add, remove and re-order search engines. It also comes with an awesome suggestion feature.. you type in a letter and its hows suggested words (ala Google suggest) along with you search history keywords which is a welsome step towards usability

Is it faster than the last version?... I don't think so... Opera is still much faster as far as page load time is concerned.. Firefox was as fast as this one so no real additions here

Another thing that I noticed, As soon as I open Gmail or yahoo mail (any secure page) it me the authentication information like “authenticated by”. Well i don't know how useful that would be

It looks sleeker and a little enhanced in security but overall no striking change in usability or an outright enhancement. So a little bit of disappointment and kinda damp squib this release..

So looking forward to next version 3.0 code-named "Gran Paradiso”

PS: I'm still a firefox loyalist thought :-) thats why I'm more disappointed

Chai with Opera

Opera India is organizing an informal discussion session in Chandigarh. Its going to be discussing practical issues/ problems/ tips regarding web technologies. Its for everyone involved with the web whether you are a developer, designer or an avid Internet user or enthusiast, you can be a part of the meetup. You can find the details at -

I think it'll be great for every Internet enthusiast around chandigarh to join in voice in your opinion.. I'm surely going to do just that..

Date: 29 October
Time: 11 AM (IST)
Venue: The Piccadily, Sector 22B Chandigarh

See ya there

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Hooked on to Opera

Well... my friend insisted that I use Opera after seeing my blog full of Firefox Extensions. I did just that.. though most of the stuff is heard of and is similar to the extensions... but hey its sleeker and all features like "session manager" CSS viewers and quick note come as a "Standard Fitment" in Opera. They started the Tabbed Browsing concept anyways..

All I'll say is I'm mighty impressed.. Its the most user friendly browsers of them all. The popularity is amazing as Opera became FREE just an year ago. I'm so hooked on to mouse gestures that it seems that I cant use browsers without it. I think opera has also done a "Usability Study" for browsers coz only then would some body take care of small details like a recycle bin for accidentally closed tabs or Email client configuration within browser (the cherry on the cake) and having prefilled values for all popular POP mail services.

These are the things that an everyday user would crave for while using any kind of service or softwares or applications... One does need to get used to the Keyboard Shortcuts.. since u are using different ones in Firefox.. But from features like the "real" mouse gestures (not a fad extension), inbuilt mail client to drag and drop features to Trash Can.. thumbnail view of tabs without opening them... all is great about the browser.

The only thing that I didnt quite like are the Widgets.. they are just so bugging.. opening new windows if I enable them.. they are almost like parallel applications.. so not "opera"like... a real pain in the @&*

Being a Firefox loyalist I miss some of the extensions and maybe I have got used to it.. But I think if Opera incorporate some kinda extensions in Opera.. that would pack a KILLER punch for all of em.... Currently I would call Opera the most user friendly browser..

Just download it and get going


Tuesday, September 05, 2006

The most useful extension ever (well atleast for me)

If you are one of browsing mortals on whom internet god shines all the time and who keep landing on cool and informative pages.... and hey u dont wannna lose them... well what do we do? We bookmark them (a complete no brainer!!) and also want tu use them from my home pc, my office pc, cafe.... etc etc

This extension called Foxmarks Bookmark Synchronizer... which uploads ur bookmarks on a live server and anytime you open ur browser it automatically syncs your bookmark files with server and in case there are extra bookmerks on local pc then it gives you an option of :
  • Keeping the local ones
  • Overwite with the server saved ones
  • OR keep both!! (5 stars for usability)

I found it simpler and more user friendly than the Google browser sync.. well people would beg to differ...

But theres only one way to find out... Just download it and temme...


Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Check out Google Checkout [wow thats sounding rhyming]

Well theres been a lot of talk about Google checkout that it'll check mate Papal and and shopping carts n all.... So I thought let me dive in and test the waters myself....

I ain't no expert on payment platforms anyways but since I have donned that Hat.. so what the heck..

Anyways its a neat move by google to capture shopping markets.
Paypal now got a big rival one that doesnt really have nothing to loose (well maybe some reputation), but for me google has more change to succed and climb higher than paypal becuase of their investment on this type of systems. Google has alot of money to spend and he is not afraid to do that.

Anyways I thought the best way to write about it is with analysis kinda thingie since I'm a marketing/ web Business analyst :-]

Info/ Pros
  • Google checkout seems to be just like paypal, they had said they will use his platform as a base for their program. Its just that if you have checked in once, then its more user friendly and less forms. This calls for better usability which is their USP.
  • So far, it looks like this: Your uses add items to your cart and when they are ready to check out, they are taken to google to fill out their credit card info.
  • I'm wondering if google has a way to register with google checkout on your own site and process it all server-to-server (php curl, specifically), like my current method of processing credit cards (
  • For those who don't have any shopping cart, you can integrate with Google Checkout using “Buy Now” buttons. Simply add our HTML code to your website to display these buttons near the products you're selling. Buyers who click these buttons will be brought to a secure Google Checkout page where they can complete their purchase.
  • Problem with paypal was that we need to have analytics to track sales and conversions based on payment methods. Using checkout and our adwords account we could track what keywords=google checkout conversions
    If you spend enough on adwords then we could get almost all of our google checkout revenue processed for free. Thats a big incentive compared to paying 2-3% for major credit cards. 3% on $300k is a nice handful of money that would end up in our pockets
  • Google Checkout has been designed to simplify and streamline business-to-consumer e-commerce transactions by letting buyers store their purchasing information with Google. That way, users can store contact details, payment preferences and shipping information once, instead of having to enter that information separately with multiple merchants.
  • For the first time a google product came without a beta version. Thats scary enough for my money to be thrown into an un-tested payment system.
  • On another point, Google Checkout is pretty bad at this time. They do not support any realtime shipping rates, no shipping API rates, no coupons, no gift certificates, nor any tax rates you have setup in your regular e-commerce platform.
  • The problem with implementing Google Checkout on a complex site is meshing their API with your site (only if you want a shopping cart). For instance, the buyer is checking out with Google Checkout and changes the shipping address to a new address. Your site has to get the new address from Google checkout, query UPS (if that's how you get your shipping charges) for updated shipping charges, update the cart on your site, then send the new cart data back to Google checkout - all on the fly. Think that's easy? no!
  • A simple “buy now” button can be incorporated by using the simple cut and paste HTML on every product page and but telling the customer that they can buy only a single product using with Google checkout would sound stupid if we are a multiple product ecommerce site.
  • Among the problems already mentioned with integrating it with your existing cart software, it doesn't handle phone orders. If you have a significant percentage of shoppers who will not enter any info online and prefer to call in an order, then there is no way.
One angle is that- All big stores will make themselves compliant for sure then why miss out. Also, The simple “Buy Now” button can be used by pasting simple HTML on the site Where we dont need shopping carts But...

Google checkout has a long way to go. Right now there are too many doubts. If Google can match paypal and better it, then bang on they deserve to overthrow the current standard of Payment Checkout, and I've no doubt they will. Though it sounds much user friendly and supposedly much “safer”, right now I would actually wait a couple of months to take a call on it before referring it to anyone

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Click frauds- Does google really care

If you think that Google is sweating it out to avoid click frauds.... Think again..

Watch the video and let the video do the talking..

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Paypal Extension - a real pal for managers

Checkout this extension paypal... mozilla is getting real paly with us..

For all of you in ecommerce or online businesses.. this is your real friend.. a paypal xtension

The PayPal Send Money extension provides a quick way to send money to anyone with an email address. Enter the recipient's email address and the extension opens a quick link to PayPal's Website Payments Standard checkout page so you can log in and make a quick payment to a friend.

When sending money to a friend's Personal Account, use your PayPal funds or a bank account and avoid any fees.

Download by clicking here

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Wish we had these.....

Wish we had these cool enhancements in office :-)

Digital Bible!!… Holy $@&%

Would you like to carry the Holy Bible in your pocket? I think some people already do….. :-)

I couldn’t believe my eyes when I came across this remarkable USB Holy Bible.

The complete Bible is contained in a fixed memory test file format that you can easily access through your computer or laptop's USB port. Small enough to put on your key chain, the USB Holy Bible has a highly detailed leather look with gold lettering to make it an attractive and meaningful piece to carry with you.

It plugs into any Windows PC USB port (not Mac or Windows 98 compatible) and displays all 66 books of the Bible on your computer screen. There's even a search function, making this a unique gift or keepsake.

The digital bible costs $29.95 (£17.19) (wo ho… they say prayers are priceless)

I think a lot of eyebrows might be raised by the religious fanatics (but isnt’t that their job :-))

Who said Technology has no religion … huh

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

No longer temporary guys..... Looking back

My notepad… pencils and a cuppa coffee (I love the mug with RA inscription) and excel sheets (not shown :-)) are my best friends in office.

I’ve completed six months at RedAlkemi on 12th march (incidentally Pawan’s birthday too)….. I’m a RedAlkemi graduate now…...Alright!!! Hooray

Realkemi has given me a great start to my career… the best part was to start your working life with friends and that too friends like Amandeep.... (I don’t know if I can thank you enough Sandhu).... And Pancham actually polished me to some extent.. and gave me someone I can look up to and say.. that’s how we should do it…

Well guys I getting a little emotional now… I guess

But a great time nonetheless.. And Cheers to even better time ahead….

I have to say this yar

“Life mein maza a gaya yar… (Pancham’s influence)
Bharat mat ki jai…. ki jai…… ki jai”

Monday, March 13, 2006

CSS viewer for firefox

Another good tool for testers. This CSS viewer extension for firefox displays the CSS information for the elements of that webpage. Just move your mouse over the content and images a CSS display box shows all information

You can download the extension at CSS viewer

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Tab Mix Extension for firefox

Are you one of those so used to tabbed browsing courtesy firefox (I am!!). And If the browser crashes on you while you were in the middle of a research on your assignment with the deadline for that very day -Fucked!! I have a solution to that.... (I'm almost sounding like a firefox
salesman right now :-0)

This extension Tab Mix Plus enhances tabbed browsing capabilities like tab focus, duplication...... bla blah ...... The best feature according to me is the Session Manager with crash recovery that can save and restore combinations of opened tabs and windows (Koolio)

Just check it out HERE

Extensions Galore..... One for Programmers

This extension by firefox makes developers and programmers life so much easier. They can check for their HTML code and debug it there and then.

Since I keep working with programmers all the time, I have to admit this is one of the most useful firefox extension in a long time. I got hold of it a little later in the day though (It was released in February 2006) but then as long as it still works for me :-)

Simply click the following link to download it and get going HTML Validator

Sunday, March 05, 2006

Gmail skins for firefox

For all you gmail lovers…. This Firefox extension will make your gmail life more jazzy than before.

It adds the following features:

· Change the colour/skin of your inbox (I’m not too sure you wannna do that)

· Insert smileys/emoticons and images in to your emails

· Make the navigation (Inbox, Starred, Sent Mail, etc) horizontal

· Fix the navigation in place so that you don't have to scroll to the top of the page to see it

· Change the attachment paperclip (on inbox) to an icon indicating the type of attachment

· Hide various page elements (invite panel, page footer, your email address from the top right of inbox)

you can install it with your browser by simply clicking the followink link Gmail Skins

Friday, March 03, 2006

Whois Plugin for Firefox

Check out the new Active Whois plugin for firefox. It lets you get all Kinds of Whois Info - DNS record, Domain Owner and IP Address.

So whats different from the other whois tools existing for ages (I mean 3-4 years).

One , it is integrated within your browser

Two, it also installs a whois application on your system. So you can simpley check it by opening the application (without the browser)

Three, It keeps the record of the whois that you have already checked. I'm not sure how big the storage is, but I'm guessing enough to check all whois in a session.

Visit the link to download it Active Whois Plugin

Monday, February 27, 2006

Google's own Paintbrush

Check out this new tool by Google- “Google Page Creator”. It lets you create web pages and publish them in a single click (could it be that easy!!).

Its in testing phase though(like most google products :-) )

Find out more about the page creator on

It might just be the first brick laid towards “Google website Creator” eventually. Like 10 hz rightly asked “Is google taking over the world

Monday, January 16, 2006

Google Analytics - A Gift for Small and Medium online Businesses

Google has shaken up yet another industry and in the process given a great tool to Small and Medium online Businesses. The release of Google Analytics brings the power of web analytics to a whole new segment of online business and has the potential to reshape many websites out there in the near future. While high demand has forced Google to temporarily suspend new accounts on the service they have promised it will open to new users again soon.

Web analytics are essentially statistics that show who your visitors are and how they are using your website. Such information is as good as gold for an online marketer and no company large or small should be ignoring what visitors are doing on their websites.

While web analytics were once the domain of webmasters and Internet marketing gurus Google has opened web analytics to the masses with the release of Google Analytics.
In March 2005 Google bought Urchin, one of the most well known web analytics tools at the time. After months of industry speculation Google released a Google Analytics tool based on Urchin technology. The tool is free for Google adwords users and capped at five million page views a month for anyone with a Google account. We should never again hear that it’s too expensive or too difficult to track and consistently review web statistics.

So what can a small business do with all this new website data that is free for the taking? While there is a wealth of information collected by Google Analytics, below I’ll talk about the basics that most website owners can understand and easily use to improve their websites.

1. Where is your site traffic coming from?
Knowing where your website traffic is coming from is key in knowing if you are reaching the target audience you thought you were. All analytics programs including Google Analytics have information on the origin of your website traffic. Google Analytics will give you information on the country and city that your visitors are from and where on the Internet they are coming from, whether it is paid listings, certain keywords in search engines or other links.

With this information you can see if visitors to your site are from the geographic and internet regions that you target and if visitors are finding you through the keywords and Internet links you expect. I warn you before regularly checking on the origins of your traffic that the results may surprise you.

2. What was a visitor’s path on the site and how long did they stay?
Knowing how a visitor moves on your site is as good as opening up their mind to see how they think and react to your website. Most analytics programs including Google Analytics track information on entry pages to your site, the path visitors follow on the site, the exit page from the site and the length of time visitors stay on each page. With this information you can see where potential customers are being lost and if visitors are seeing the information they need to in order to convert them into customers.

For example, after analyzing your web analytics information you may realize that most of your site traffic from search engines is ending up at the articles section of the page without going through the homepage. If this were the case, your web analytics data is telling you to make sure that the articles section of your site includes prominent navigation to the rest of the site. It also suggests that your articles section may be a very good place to showcase special offers and strong calls to action.

3. What works on your web page?
Having accurate and detailed web statistics for your site allows you to do testing to see what can make your website work better and generate more revenue. Google Analytics shines here with an arsenal of comparison statistics for websites and Adwords campaigns. Google Analytics has features that allow you to do ad version testing and time series testing.

For example, if you have always had a gut feeling that your products would sell better if you changed your navigation layout you can try it for a month and judge by your web statistics which design worked better at keeping visitors on the site and converting them into customers.

Google Analytics provides a powerful free tool for small and medium on line businesses. While privacy of information is a concern, the power of Google Analytics as a free tool outweighs the potential privacy issues and as Google has pointed out, companies are already giving the same information to other analytics providers. So enjoy your new information but remember web analytics are addictive and you may find yourself checking your stats every night from now on.

With contributions from Nicholas