Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Blog Notice

I should have made this post a long time ago. I will be discontinuing this blog because of my work with my company. IN any case, I will be re-posting some articles in our website, QED IT Solutions, so please do visit that site. Thanks!

Friday, March 14, 2008

Removing Kavo.exe Virus

Just recently, Yahoo Messenger in my computer acted strangely, first it disappeared every time I log in then after some time even before logging in it will now display an "exception breakpoint error." What's this?

I scanned my system with McAffee however, No virus or trojan found and yet the problem is still there. I uninstalled yahoo messenger and installed it again. No success, still same problem. I hit the net and researched more about my problem. I got lots of hits but no real viable solution. However, I found temporal solution:
  1. Run Task Manager (CTRL-ALT-DEL)
  2. End explorer.exe process
  3. Then run it again as a new task.
  4. After which, YM! will run successfully.
Well, my Y! Messenger worked but I don't feel comfortable doing that process everytime I started my computer and decided to run YM! Plus the fact that there maybe some malicious code or program responsible for such mess.

So i tried researching more about it trough with good ol Google. You can see the search result from google when I keyed in "yahoo messenger disappear during login" in the search bar. Browsing through the results I found out that it was somewhat related to certain virus (e.g. AMVO.exe). You should find this amvo.exe when you look into your windows task manager. Problem is there's not AVMO listed in my task manager processes. Although, there is one suspicious looking program: Kavo.

So coming back to google, this time looking for Kavo. Whoa! this time I think I was finally able to hit the culprit. Kava.exe is trojan or malware!

Here's a little bit of info about Kavo.exe from TrendMicro Virus-trojan-work encyclopedia

Arrival and Installation - This worm arrives via removable drives and physical drives. […] Autostart Technique - It creates a registry entry to enable automatic execution at every system startup. […] Propagation Routine - This malware propagates via removable drives and physical drives by dropping a copy of itself as NTDELECT.COM. It also drops its non-malicious component file AUTORUN.INF to automatically execute dropped copies when the said drives are accessed. […]


So now its time to look for a removal procedure to eliminate this as my anti-virus programs are incapable of detecting and removing it. Luckily, after half an hour of surfing I came across this blog which provided a quick and easy solution to remove this trojan.

To remove Kavo-NTdelect go to this link


Thursday, March 13, 2008

Being Cautious with those Widgets

A few days ago my wife greeted me in the morning with a news that her blog is acting strangely. A friend commented that her blog has been popping up ads with some malicious and adult content. So without having a chance to do my morning routine, I sat down in front of our notebook and immediately noticed that there indeed was something strange about her blog. Logging into her blog, it immediately started popping out unwanted ads. I also noticed that there were some ad links that is evident in her blog. Checking it out it, I noticed that those ads were from clicksor. The scary thing is I couldn't remember installing any codes in her blog that would correspond with those ads. You see when it comes to the nitty gritty HTML codes of her blog, my wife normally would ask me to do things for her. So since I did not put any codes there, I suspect either here account was hacked and somebody placed those codes in there.

So I started to to log into her account and read the HTML code of her blog one by one, yup! you read it right, I did analyzed everything line by line. Still, I was not able to see any malicious code that would point me to the culprit.

The next thing I did was, from instinct, started to remove each widget which have its own script. and lo and behold! when I removed the widget responsible in displaying her pagerank, those ads disappeared!

I did it three times (delete & insert the widget) to make sure the ads was really associated with that PR widget. Having isolated the problem I permanently removed it.

Thinking about it, that was a sneaky way for that widget to earn ad bucks from bloggers. The things is as far as I remember, that widget was there ever since my wife's blog was PR3 and it didn't pop up any ads during that time. The ads started to pop up when her PR was increased to PR4.

I can't remember if it was part of their TOS for using their widget. If it was then my bad for not understanding it. Still, even if it was I don't find there strategy amusing, or much less, ethical.

just my two cents.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Back on Track

Weeks after our computer broke down making some of my personal files and applications being unaccessible, I finally was able to set up and install a replacement pc. Thus, here I am back at blogging trying to recover some lost ground...

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Creating Your Own Website The Easy Way!

Nowadays, the emergence of websites be it for businesses or personal (blogs) is on the rise. Especially now that creating a website seems to be as easy as ever!

There are a lot of web development companies and a plethora of freelancers! The challenge lies in selecting the right developer. For me, as a rule of thumb, I usually recommend choosing a developer or freelancer nearest to your location. This way you can easily communicate your needs to them.

However, you can also try creating your own website. I found this great site in the internet that helps anybody on how to build a website without prior technical knowledge. With their cool service you can practically launch you own site in less than ten minutes!

OneWebHosting is a unique web solution company since they can offer you on-the-fly solutions. They can help you build the your site with the following tools:

  • Web site builder wizard
  • Setting up an Ecommerce page Wizard
  • Web Form Wizard
  • Splash Page Wizard
  • Flash Animation Wizard
  • A online photo editor
  • Photo Album Maker
  • Blog Development Tool
Try it yourself and take a free test drive of their service and see that you can really create a professional looking site without HTML or other Web Development knowledge. Or you can take a peek of their design gallery and see samples of their great looking sites.

OneWebHosting is simply the best online website builder I found so far!

Monday, February 11, 2008

Welcome to the ride

I'll give you a glimpse of my offline life...
I love motorcycles.
I like to ride.
I like to experience that freedom.
That unique experience only motorcycle riders feel...

Friday, February 8, 2008

Web Ad Protypes from Microsoft

I read this from the news this morning. The original article was written by Jessica Mintz, an AP Technology Writer. Here's a portion of the article:

"Microsoft Corp.'s online advertising researchers will spend this year teaching computers to be smart about sticking ads into video clips, and to be even smarter about targeting ads to specific Web surfers.

Microsoft showed off a handful of early-stage advertising projects at its headquarters Tuesday that may or may not turn up as part of Microsoft's Web advertising platform.

The demonstrations come just days after Microsoft's $44.6 billion bid for Yahoo Inc., which, if successful, will boost the software maker's Web traffic and online ad revenue.

The full article can be found here "


Looking at it from a blogger's perspective, I can't help to ask myself if this will be a new opportunity for us? Does this offer a better system than Google's AdSense (which is quite obvious that Microsoft is trying to take on a bigger share of the pie)?

I'm crossing my fingers.

Online Casino: Getting that Casino Fever!

Warning: Just like the real thing, playing online casino games are addictive!

Still if you have the time and money to spare, then go catch the casino fever! It's real fun and stress relieving (at least for me!).

However, before kick starting your favorite browser and keying online casino on google, here's some tips on how to choose the right online casino:

  1. Check out the site's software. You have to make sure you only play with reputable gaming softwares. You can find such information in the online casino's information pages. Among the list of the major and trustworthy softwares are Cryptologic, Microgaming, Net Entertainment, Playtech, Boss Media, Random Logic and OddsOn.
  2. 24 hour online support is a MUST. If there are no chat supoprt at least look for a phone number and an email address. It's a good precautionary step to test the customer support before committing to play.
  3. Another thing to look for is the site's gaming licenses. You don't want to play on a scam site, would you?
  4. Read the fine print regarding their promotions and bonuses. This will tell you more about deal you're getting into. Also, some sites may only pay you the money if you win over a certian value for example so you better know this.
So how to get information about the above tips? well visit some casino review sites first before playing. This saves you a lot of time (and money) since you get first hand information on how some casino sites rates in terms of gamesmanship and performance.

Another such site is OnlineCasinoLinks.com. This site have researched and written detailed reviews on hundreds of online casinos out there.

If you are looking for a good casino graphics and playability, with the highest payouts and regarded as the safest and secure then this site have some recommendation up in their list.

If I'd known how old I was going to be I'd have taken better care of myself

Adolf Zukor, a film mogul and founder of Paramount Pictures, on approaching his 100th birthday once said:

"If I'd known how old I was going to be I'd have taken better care of myself."


I am sure most of us will have the same sentiments. I am also sure that no one of us can predict what will we be years and years from now, for there are many, many factors that affect our lifestyle. Most of the things that happen to us are beyond our control. But what can really help us prepare for where we are going can be planning our retirement or old age. Because even if we are able to do so many activities and responsibilities right now, there will be a point in time when age will catch up on all of us.

Preparing for our retirement place such as our care homes can help us a lot. With the state of the arts facilities and programs for our health good, care homes can make our retirement days blissful and secure.




Thursday, February 7, 2008

Another Look at Ashop's Hosted Shopping Cart Software

Last week I made a trial account at Ashop Commerce regarding their hosted shopping cart software and I am impressed by what I saw. Installation was actually a breeze and the flexiblity was superb. Even if it is actually a hosted ecommerce software (this means your ecommerce site and functionality is actually hosted in Ashops' servers) you can still have the look and feel of your ecommerce site to blend to your theme.

More importantly check out is fast and simple. For me, as an owner of an ecommerce site this is important. I don't want to have my customers change their mind at the last minute due to frustrations because of complex and confusing payment!

Here's six reason why you should choose Ashop:

  1. Ashop's ecommerce software is AFFORDABLE. With multiple plans to choose from depending on your site's actual ecommerce needs.
  2. Installation is EASY! Even if you have no web development or HTML knowledge you can easily setup your ecommerce site.
  3. Ashop have superb TECHNICAL SUPPORT AND CUSTOMER SERVICE that you can depend on.
  4. With their optimized coding your site GETS FOUND ON SEARCH ENGINES 100% of the time.
  5. Their CUSTOMISABLE DESIGN WITHOUT RESTRICTIONS makes it easy to blend the hosted shopping cart into your own unique website theme
  6. and most of all they offer the TOTAL SOLUTION-- a Securely hosted, free emails, 128 bit SSL checkout security, design services, full fraud alerts and web promotion services.

So if you are in the market for online shopping cart, check out Ashop Commerce.

 

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Win a unique blog design!


Here's another cool and easy contest for us bloggers. AffiliateGossip.com is sponsoring a contest wherein the grand prize is a "unique blog design plus two marketing banners."

How to enter?

You can submit as many entries as you want by:

  • Subscribe to AffiliateGossip.com's site feed
  • Drop your Entrecard to their site
  • Writing a review on your blog (such as this one)
  • Referring visitors from your website to their site
Contest winners are drawn every other month. The winner will be contacted via e-mail and his/her blog will be showcased on their website.

Again, it's as simple as that.

pro360: Reviewing Online Casinos

During my first time in the United States, my plan was to go to Las Vegas and try their world famous casinos. The plan never materialized as my work schedule did not permit it. I'm not a gambler, but once in a while you'll have that curiosity to try it out. Nowadays, you don't have to be in Las Vegas to play. There a lot of sites in the internet offering online casino service.

However with more than a thousand sites, the problem is how to find the right site that will offer the best gaming experience, a scoring system that you can trust and the highest offered bonus to play.

For that matter, pro360.com is a MUST site to visit if you are planning to play online. The site offers honest reviews which are designed to help players. They have systematically identified popular online games (e.g., Blackjack, Slots, Poker, Roulette, Craps, etc) as categories. Each category has its own "Top 20 Reviewed Casinos" list which can help you to significantly narrow down your choice.

Their ranking system is based on accumulated scores on the following criteria:

  1. Overall Score
  2. Game Experience
  3. Trust Score
  4. Extras

I find their casino reviews to be thorough, touching from the graphical interface to software, security, and customer service.

Pro360.com is indeed a good web resource for online casino players.

 



Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Digital Painting Anyone?

Our graphics designer was tinkering with her photo editing software last week since we are in between projects right now. I gave her a digital photo of my youngest daughter to convert to a digital painting effect.

What she did was awesome! To think that I just taught her that skill!

Okay, I was just kidding.

You can check out some of her original works here.



Digital Painting Effect


Original Photo

Monday, February 4, 2008

Blog Contest: Win $100 from JoeTech.com!

Win $100

Heads up fellow bloggers!

Here's a simple contest where you get a chance to win $100 in cold cash. Contest is spearhead by JoeTech.com together with the following blogs:
- Link Bait
- Gorilla Sushi
- CK Marketing
- The Big Bald Blog
- How 2 Blogger
- Dot Sauce Magazine
- Jason Boom

The rules are simple. You just have to:
  1. Make a comment of value (not just “i agree”, etc.) on a post = 1 entry
  2. Subscribe to RSS via email = 2 entries (per blog you subscribe to!)
  3. Write a post about the contest on your blog (must include a link to this page and the links below to participating blogs) = 25 entries
Contest deadline is 12:00AM on March 1, 2008. But why wait? check it out now!

 

Sunday, February 3, 2008

The Business Plan for Your Website Design Company

If you are a freelancer and want to establish your own web design business, then having a business plan is an absolute MUST! However, creating a business plan is no easy task by itself. Fortunately, there is one good resource available in the internet. So if you are thinking to have your own web design business, this is for YOU!

dNeero Survey #: Get it going with dNeero

Saturday, February 2, 2008

All About Rugby!

I love watching basketball games. Here in the Philippines, basketball is the most popular game. However, when I have to work in Malaysia for a minimum six months, I missed my daily dose of watching the hoops game. During this time though, I was introduced to a new interesting and fun game: RUGBY!

Rugby is a game that is played in more than 100 countries worldwide. Rugby is played with two teams of fifteen players from each each side. The object of the game to take the ball in the end zone of each team to score points. What I like about rugby is its continuous flow type of game-- relentless action!

When I went back to the Philippines I lost track of Rugby, until today. I came across RBS6Nations.com website, the official website for Europe's premier international rugby tournament, the 6 nations championship. This site provides a comprehensive coverage of the rugby games from the 6 nations tournament (comprised by England, France, Ireland, Italy, Scotland, and Wales). The website also contains a list of tournament news, fixtures and results, as well as interactive games and podcasts section for the six nations fans.

If you are a Rugby fan this website is the best site for you!

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Revenue Opportunity: Blogging with Smorty

If you would like to explore some monetizing opportunities with your blog (i.e, blog for money, etc.), then sign up for Smorty. Smorty is an online service that gives you the opportunity to get paid for blogging. They basically connect advertisers to us bloggers by providing a good blog advertising system.

Nowadays, Product manufacturers or service providers advertise on blogs for the purpose of visibility and product awareness. Since blogs do provide fresh content they offer unmatched publicity specially when the blogger actually patronizes one of their products. Another advantage of a product being reviewed in blogs are the inbound traffic through link backs to their site where visitors can be converted to actual customers.

On the other hand, bloggers get paid for simply giving honest reviews and opinions about the advertiser's products or services. The only requirement is that the actual post should be at least 150 words in length. Its as simple as that!

How does Smorty differentiate itself from the other similar services?

  1. Pay outs are 5 days after your blog post has been approved through your paypal account.
  2. Each approved post will earn you a minimum of $6. This can get as high as $100 depending on your Pagerank and Smorty score.
  3. Smorty makes use of a unique blogger ranking system. Smorty's calculates it's own smart score system, it's created by combining the following factors 1) Googles PageRank, 2) Alexa Rankings, 3) Return rate of given tasks 4) Approval/Decline ratio of completed tasks and 5) Number of completed tasks. If you have a higher Smorty score, you are more likely to receive more campaign offers and more higher priced campaigns.

Okay, so how do bloggers join?

Joining Smorty is absolutely free. There's no set up and maintainance fees whatsoever. There are a few requirements though:
  • Your blog must be indexed by Google and Yahoo
  • Your blog must be older than 3 months
  • Your blog must not contain any violent, hate related or adult content
  • Your blog must be active and have a history of minimum average 2 new posts per week
  • The blog must not have duplicate posts or excessive duplicate content
Joining Smorty is a good addition to your revenue stream.
So if you haven't done it yet, you might as well sign up and get paid to blog.

Shopping for a Shopping Cart!

Before, one of the challenges of creating a web site for small businesses is incorporating an e-commerce functionality. I remember spending a lot of time sitting down in the front of my computer keying those PHP, ASP codes just to make a simple ecommerce software work.

Nowadays there's a plethora of shopping cart software available, the challenge, now lies in choosing the right one. Just recently, I came across Ashop Commerce. Ashop Commerce offers a complete solution for merchants to sell online. One thing that interests me was their service on hosted shopping cart software. Normally, a shopping cart is a software that you install in your web server and run in from there. Using Ashop's Hosted Shopping Cart, you don't have to install anything in your server, you can actually run the shopping cart from Ashop's hosted sites. And everything is web based, you don't have to code anything except some tweaking in HTML to add or customize your branding and layout. Ashop Commerce also provides a secure checkout system. You can try it out for yourself with their 10-day free trial and see how good their shopping cart is.

Here's a short list of their shopping cart features:

  • Web based store administration with no graphic design or HTML skills required
  • Fully web optimised structure, Page titles with keywords embedded
  • Easy shopping cart payment gateway setup (2 minutes)
  • Accept credit cards, real time payments
  • Integrated with all major banks and payment gateways
  • Offline (manual) credit card processing
  • Cheques, bank deposit
  • Create your own payment options
  • CVC (Security Code) support
  • Configurable currency symbol
  • Multi currency support
  • Google checkout integration

If you like to have a shopping cart for you site, you may want to visit http://www.ashopcommerce.com.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Entrecard: Is it really doing your blog any good?

Entrecard.

It's the hype in the blogosphere these days. If you're a serious blogger then you should know about Entrecard.

Its a social networking media that encourages fellow bloggers to visit other blogs and to drop their "business cards" on your blog. During my first few days after I joined, Entrecard drove at least 30 visitors a day. I estimate that this is a very small number compared to other bloggers.

But do these numbers really reflect the quality of traffic I get from my site?

By entrecard's own system, it encourage bloggers to visit fellow bloggers site and then drop their cards in their blog's entrecard widget. This gives you EC credits where you can use to buy ads in the entrecard system. A few months after Entrecards' launch a site dedicated to entrecard network browsing is already in placed, see Createlf EntreCard.


However, how many bloggers are actually reading your blog? I myself admit that out of the 50 blogs I browsed in a day to drop my card, I only read and stay at about 5 blogs that interest me. To the rest of the other 45 blogs I am just another site statistic contributing to their bounce rate.

For those not familiar with what is bounce rate, here's a short note from wikipedia:

Bounce Rate (often confused with Exit Rate) is a term used in website traffic analysis. A Bounce occurs when a website visitor leaves a page or a site without visiting any other pages before a certain session timeout elapses. There is no standard minimum or maximum time limit a visitor must leave by in order for a bounce to occur. Rather, this is determined by the session timeout of the analytics tracking software. A commonly used session timeout value is 30 minutes. In this case, if a visitor views a page and leaves his browser idle for 31 minutes, they will register as a "Bounce". If they then continue to navigate after this delay, a new session will occur and the last page they view before exiting or timing out again will result in another "Bounce". Thus, it is important to note the dependency between bounces and sessions.


With this is mind, I go back to my original question: Is it really doing your blog any good? I would have to answer yes! As a networking media its main goal is to drive traffic--to give your blog the opportunity to be seen (or read) by a lot of people. It's a known fact now that bloggers constantly hop and drop their cards across the network of entrecard users. I think it will always be that way. Now, for those bloggers to actually read your blog, it rest solely on the blog author--to create a good, inviting theme that will showcase good blog content. As the saying goes in the blogosphere, CONTENT IS KING!

As for entrecard, it has done its job. Now the rest is up to you.

Friday, January 25, 2008

I just joined PayPerPost

I started this blog without really thinking that I will be hooked into it. Though I still don’t have that super huge number of readers or subscribers, I am currently and seriously contemplating on getting my own domain name and web hosting. As most successful bloggers will tell you—it is better to have your own domain from the onset to spare you the trouble when the visitors starts coming in and you have to redirect them to a new domain. Plus, having your own domain really looks more professional than having the .blogspot.com attached to it. However, I would like to get my domain from possible earnings I get blogging. Small goal, I think.

So with that in mind, I looked for some possible income sources for my blog—and there are a lot of them out there. With a quick pick among them, I signed up for Pay Per Post.

Pay Per Post pays bloggers just by blogging about web sites, products, services and companies. Their advertisers are willing to pay you for your opinion on various topics. You just search through a list of Opportunities, make a blog posting, get your content approved, and get paid. It's that simple.

Also, once you’re signed up, you get the opportunity to earn a significant bonus just by making a post about their service. Cool!

Seems like I can register my own domain after all, now what was that domain name I was thinking about?



 

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Bloghology Launched!

Download Free Bloghology Ebook

Bloghology is a product of the hard work of Mert Erkal. It is collection of information, profiles and interviews of different bloggers from all around the world. Bloghology introduces you to the real people behind the blogs. Initially, it contains 24 bloggers but the list will grow during the subsequent release every quarter this 2008. So watch for it!

Meanwhile show your support to fellow bloggers and download the 2007 issue.

Find out more about Bloghology at Search for Blogging.

Joining The Green Cyber-Bandwagon

During these times when oil prices keeps on rising and the dollar is on a steady decline, you may find that your somehow high salary is no longer enough. Suddenly your $100 gasoline allowance is no longer sufficient. The times when you need to cash advance your paycheck or get some payday loan to augment or fill up those "in betweens" needs keeps on getting frequent.

For an average income family, this is a very likely scenario. But for those who have online internet access, a new revenue source is becoming popular: Blogs.

Blogs, or Web Logs, has been changing the face of the World Wide Web. Almost everyday thousands of blogs are being setup. Nowadays when you google a keyword there is a big probability that the results will point to a Blog rather than a traditional website. Blogs, most often that not, offer fresh content that search engine loves. And with high search engine rankings, blogs became a medium for money making opportunities. If you look around, a lot of top bloggers boast of five to six figures (annual) income from their blogs. Now who would not be enticed to do what they do? Not many I supposed since a lot of bloggers are joining the bandwagon.

However, blogging is not an easy thing to do. From my initial study of some prominent and significant sites in the blogosphere, blogging takes a lot of hard work, perseverance, networking, and internet marketing skills to make it work. Sometimes luck also plays a significant role.

However, for some bloggers, the intrinsic reward is more significant than the monetary rewards. They blog not because of traffic for adverts, adsense, reviews, etc. but because of the pleasure of writing their ideas, of expressing their own thoughts and opinions. For them blogging (writing) comes as a stress-reliever in this fast paced world. It is more of a journey towards self discovery and the money as they say, is just icing in the cake. …oh how I wish I can be that type of blogger!

Yeah, I wish! But back to reality: the Truth is, not everyone can really earn a fortune from blogging.

So I may still take out some payday loans from time to time. But I guess everyone can take their share of a few hundred dollars earnings if they blog seriously about it.

Monday, January 21, 2008

How to add a "Contact Page" on your Blog(ger)

Do you own a blogger account and would like to have a dedicated Contact Page on your blog just like those using Wordpress? Read this article and find out how.

One thing I like with wordpress is that they have those "pages" feature. This feature enables you to create dedicated pages were you can place customized content on your site. One use for these pages is the creation of a contact page. Such is not the case with Blogger. However, there is still a way for blogger account owners to have a contact page in their blog (See My Contact Page for example).

Follow the simple tutorial below to install your own that Contact Page for Blogger.
  1. Log in to you blogger account and create a new post. On the edit window, click the Post Options in the lower left corner. On the "Reader Comments Menu", select the "Don't allow" radio button. We need to configure your post this way so that the comments option will not show in your contact page. If you notice, we will create the your contact page as a individual post in your blog. This is a work around since Blogger do not have the "Pages" feature of Wordpress

  2. The next step is to create the form itself. This may take some HTML knowledge so I am providing you the code below. Make sure to type this code in your post window in "Edit HTML" mode.

  3. <form>
    Enter your full name:
    <input name="visitor_name" type="text" size="40" />
    Enter your email address:
    <input name="visitor_address" type="text" size="40" />
    Enter your web address:
    <input name="visitor_web" type="text" size="40" />
    Enter subject for message:
    <input name="subject" type="text" size="40" />
    Enter your message:
    <textarea name="comments" rows="7" cols="50"></textarea>
    <input name="submitBtn" value="submit" type="submit"/>
    <input name="resetBtn" value="reset" />
    </form>
    This code will place the basic form in your post. The form ask and contain the following information:
    • Name of Sender
    • Sender's Email Address
    • Web Site Address of Sender
    • Message Subject
    • Message itself
    Now that you have the basic structure of your contact form, it's now time to put the code to process your form.

  4. To have this form actually send you an email, we need to create some "form to email" processing script. On a normal website, we can either create a CGI or PHP script and store it somewhere in your web server directory. However since we cannot access such directory in your blogger account, we will need to have a script that we can access somewhere in the web. We can find such service in Web Form Designer. This site can actually process our forms for free. If you are not comfortable with HTML, they have a small software that you can download fro free to design your forms in WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get) environment. You can download the software here. What ever you may prefer, you need to go over the site and sign up for an account.

  5. Registration for an account is straight forward. Just fill up the requested information in the appropriate fields. The autoresponders email address field is where you specify the actual email address where you want the contents of the forms to be sent when processed.


    Do not forget to place something in the URL of the redirect field. The URL that you place here is the web page loaded once the form has been process. You don't want your visitors staring at a blank page after sending you a message, don't' you? After checking all the accuracy all the information, click the submit button.

  6. Before you can use the account, you need to activate it. Activation instructions will be emailed to you together with your confirmation email. This email will also contain your Password and Form ID. Do not lose this email. Archive or print and keep a hardcopy.

  7. Now we need to do some minor revisions on your Contact Form. Locate the <form> tag. Insert the following text

    name="Your_Blog_Name_Contact_Form" action="http://www.webformdesigner.net/wfd_f2.php?id=XXXXXXXXXX" method="post" enctype="application/x-www-form-urlencoded"

    in between the "<form" and the closing ">".

    IMPORTANT NOTE: you need to replace the "XXXXXXXXXX" text with your FormID.


  8. Next, locate the "<input name="submitBtn" value="submit" type="submit"/>" line of code. In between "input" and "name", insert the following code:

    onclick="return confirm('Please make sure all fields are correctly filled up, otherwise I may not be able to answer your mail. Are you sure you want to submit this form?');"


  9. Thats it! You can save or publish this post and you now have a contact form for your blogspot blog!



Note:

Although, this can work as a Contact Page for you..it is by no means comparable to the plugins available for Wordpress. If you notice, the contact form was created using the basic HTML codes, no javascript or PHP. Thus, some limitations are:
  • No script to validate the contents of the form before processing;
  • and there is no tool to moderate or filter spam comments.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Are You Losing Your Sanity to Spam Emails?


If you are, chances are you're not alone. Spam emails have been used as a cheap online marketing strategy since email and the internet has been popularized. And as long as unscrupulous individuals exist, the end to email spam is far, far into the future. Still, you can do something against spammers to keep your online sanity...


What is Spam?

Image from http://qcbdebtfree.com/142.jpgSpam Emails are junk, unsolicited emails you received from unknown individuals. They are usually sent in bulk. If you don't have any spam filtering software installed, spam emails eats up your time just by filtering which emails are valid from your inbox. Spam emails also eat up your bandwidth. If you own a website, emails sent to your domain are part of the bandwidth you pay for web hosting. So unlike traditional snail mail where the sender pays for the postage, in email you actually pay for the spam message to be delivered to your inbox.

Spam emails are also a tool for phishing. This happen when spammers forge their email to look like it’s from someone else you know or from a reputable organization or institution. Such fraudulent emails target users to unknowingly respond with certain personal information such as username and passwords.

Why do people send spam emails?

The bottom line of spamming is to push their “products” using cost effective techniques. Individuals or even large companies engage in spamming because it’s cheap. It’s a numbers game. Imagine sending marketing ads of their products via email to several or even hundred thousands users, chances are people will bite into their ad. Even if only a few hundred people buy into their product, the returns exceed the cost of sending these bulk messages.

Harvesting your email address

You may be asking yourself, “How the heck did they get my email address?” There are a lot of ways to do that, but I’ll just list down the most obvious ones:

  1. You subscribe to some questionable websites. These websites gathers emails address and then sells their email database to spammers.

  2. You have your email address (yourname@yourdomain.com) posted in a web page somewhere. Some spammers deploy "Web Spiders" to crawl the web for the sole purpose of generating a list of email addresses. So if you have your email address posted in a website. You are vulnerable to get spammed.

  3. Joining discussion Groups. Discussion groups are one place where spammers routinely join. And they join not because they are interested in the discussions or topics. If you think they are there just for the email addresses, you guessed right!
As I mentioned, there are lot of ways how a spammer can actually gather email addresses. Some can even generate a program to scan popular email domains such as Hotmail, MSN, Yahoo, and Gmail. The technique they employ is a pattern matching algorithm that matches initials plus surname with @maildomain.com. It’s a hit and miss technique but it yields addresses nonetheless.

Finding their way to your inbox

Since spamming has been identified as an unethical and illegal activity, spammers have gone some great length to send out their emails without actually revealing their real identities (because once they do this, its game over for them). Large companies are hiring third parties to do the spamming for them so that in case of complaints or law suits, the blame falls on the third party.

These third parties, to protect themselves, employ a cat and mouse game against anti-spam professionals. Some techniques done by spammers are:
  1. Setting up spoof websites to send out spoof emails. Having a fake website let spammer gather emails from unsuspecting users. They can also be the launch pad in sending the spam emails. With little knowledge of PHP, a spammer can make use of the fake web host to forge emails and send it out to anyone in their list.

  2. Hijacking other peoples’ computers and sending their spam emails from them (also know as zombie machines). Just like how a virus can propagate, a malicious program (malware) can be installed in any computer. Once it's there the malware takes care of sending the spam messages without the computer owner's knowledge.

Restoring your sanity

How to avoid spam emails

The best way you can do to avoid spam emails are:
  1. Stop yourself from giving out your email addresses online. If you have to subscribe to an online newsletter or service, check out the credibility of the website first. Some decent websites have a privacy or anti-spam policy posted. If they have, read it.

  2. This also applies when you subscribe to discussion groups such as Yahoo groups or Google groups. When joining such groups it really help if you personally know who the group owner or members are.

  3. Avoid posting your email online. I have read somewhere that posting your email even in yourname[at]domain[dot]com format is not longer safe since some spammers have configured smart web spiders that can identify these format.

  4. Scan your PC regularly. These days, you should scan your computer not only for viruses but also for malwares (malicious softwares). If you notice your computer to hang up or runs significantly slower when you are connected to the internet there may be a chance that your computer have turned into a “zombie” that sends spam. Scary huh?

  5. It also helps if you can install some software which monitor your network or bandwidth activity. This way you can check if there is some unauthorized traffic coming in or out of your system.
I got spammed now what?

Once you're spammed, the probability of the spammer leaving your email alone is close to none. So if this is the case, you may want to consider getting an antispam software. There are a lot of anti-spam software ranging from freeware to licensed versions. If you are a website owner you may want to install SpamAssassin into your server. SpamAssassin, an open source software, is commonly distributed as an addon into your Cpanel by your Web Host.

If you use a private email then you may want to check out some available anti-spam software available in the net (i.e., SpamCop, Spam Killer, Spam Buster, etc).

If you use free email (i.e., Gmail, Yahoo, etc), they normally have some spam filter installed. I use Gmail and I am find their spam filter to be good enough.

The battle between spammers and the anti-spam industry is still ongoing and far from over. However, if you take some precautionary steps there's no reason to go insane about it.

 

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

An Online Business Card for Social Networking

I chanced upon EntreCard last week, however, I managed to register and install it in my blog just yesterday. In less than 8 hours, it managed to bring me 24 unique visitor traffic. For some that may not be a huge number but for a simple cut paste of a javascript code in my blog, I can say that was significant. I still need to log into entrecard's website for a deeper "read and understand" visit so I really have not taken any other serious activity with what entrecard has to offer still the initial surge of traffic have impressed me.

From my initial browse, here's a quick look of what EntreCard is all about: "Entrecard is a blossoming social network of bloggers centered around the concept of community, sharing, and helping each other out." It's actually a sort of digitial business card, for networking and promoting your blog (or website maybe) in the EntreCard Community. It even have its own forum where its community can easily interact.

Currently I find it a worthy try and will see how it turns up in a couple of weeks.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Audio Ads: The Next Big Thing!

Personally I think this would be the next best thing after ad sense. Pay Per Play is a non-intrusive marketing method since there are no banner ads cluttering your web space. What it does is it plays a 5 second advertisement every time your web page loads. Your reader does not see anything (i.e., banners, buttons, text-links, etc.). And the good thing is—you get paid every playing of the audio ad, no click through are necessary. This is a nice addition to your blog’s revenue stream. But you need to hurry Pay Per Play runs live February 2008. So if I were you I will waste no time and sign up as an affiliate right now!

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Save Energy, Turn Your World Black!

Recently, I came across this unique search engine. Blackle was created by Heap Media to remind us all of the need to take small steps in our everyday lives to save energy. Blackle searches are powered by Google Custom Search.

Quoting from their site:

Blackle saves energy because the screen is predominantly black. "Image displayed is primarily a function of the user's color settings and desktop graphics, as well as the color and size of open application windows; a given monitor requires more power to display a white (or light) screen than a black (or dark) screen." Roberson et al, 2002


It does makes sense. I read an article before that in order to prolong your computer monitor's life then stay I way from colorful wallpapers. Actually, in my computers I normally set, plain black as wallpaper. I figure it makes my computer speed up a little bit faster. Now, the black background saves energy too!

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