Benedict Herold

Benedict Herold

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Posts by Benedict Herold
ByteSwap Screenshot

ByteSwap, organize and share your bytes easily

ByteSwap is very new online service that allows people to organize the information they wanted and let them share across their friends and ByteSwap community. ByteSwap is newest approach for a tradition concept.

ByteSwap ByteSwap very new of its breed and is been released couple of days back. I’m very pleased to try out the service they provide. ByteSwap is unique by this way, they allow you to organize / store and share your content. ByteSwap can be your personal storage medium and bookmaking tool at the same time.

ByteSwap allows you to add any content that you would like to organize. ByteSwap allows you to manage Contacts, Photo, File, Link, and Article Reference. ByteSwap also says yes for your favorite recipe or if you have silly things to organize or share using Free form text note option. Founder Matt Brown tells, “Think of ByteSwap as a virtual file cabinet or a personal search engine”.

ByteSwap Screenshot

ByteSwap also has an option to build an online community around like-minded people using ByteSwap Groups. Groups allow you to share your content across other people. Also you can add your friends / colleagues as you connection. The community suggestion feature would recommend the relevant content for logged in users using their interested topics.

ByteSwap also has a powerful search feature that allows you to search across the personal and community content. It redefines the way to search and would find you most relevant information from your friends and public. ByteSwap also features traditional folder structure to organize content for easy access.

Finally, ByteSwap is FREE for limited usage and has a premium account for heavy users.

Suggestion / Feature Enhancement

ByteSwap team has really put the their efforts on their new service. But as always I say “there is always room for improvement”. ByteSwap team is very keen in listening to feedbacks. Here goes my suggestion and feature request that I would like to see from ByteSwap.

Social Elements
Social element is a key factor when it comes to online community building. ByteSwap has to capitalize on this as well. The ByteSwap community would like to know more information about the user who is sharing the information to the community. ByteSwap can improvise this by adding user profile, user picture, user feeds etc. ByteSwap can introduce Social button would enable add link directly from any blog. This would help them build an authentic community around ByteSwap.

Preview Option
BtyeSwap can provide preview on items that has been added / shared across the community. They might include but not limited to picture, video, text or a link. This is good at usability standpoint and users would love it so as me.

User Interface
The user interface adds value to any online system and this is more emphasized in web2.0 era. ByteSwap is easy to navigate around but might be missing sophisticated features.

Browser Add-on
Most of the communities are success today with a browser add-on. ByteSwap can also come with a browser add-on that would enable user to share contents and get community suggestions.

Widget Support
ByteSwap can allow users to create a widget around their public content. This would enable the ByteSwap users to share across their blogs. This would add more meaning to social content.

Conclusion

ByteSwap would let you easily organize your content anything (I love the recipe item) more effectively. Also their search enables the users to find the information more relevant to them. Bottom-line, ByteSwap has lot of areas to improve and if they do they would be unique and best of all.

Have you ever tried any similar service like ByteSwap? Try ByteSwap and share your thought.

This is a sponsored post.

web log file analyzer

Web log analysis software and top 5

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Every blogger or site owners would be aware of advantage and importance of Web Analytics. Which tool to use? It is one of the important decisions everyone should take before starting up a blog or a site.

Web Analytics widely has two approaches log file analysis and page tagging. The later is more popular these days and huge number of people tends to ignore the former. Tagging approach would add some JavaScript snippet into your blog/ site to collect the visitor data. There are several 3-rd party tools available today to facilitate tagging methodology, like Google Analytics, StatsCounter, etc.

Log file analysis approach is normally in-house and they reside within the web server itself. The analysis is based on the web server log file.

Here I’m going to brief down the advantage of log file analysis method

Advantages of log file analysis

Fast. You don’t have a burden of executing extra JavaScript code on your site; web server logs every possible transaction related to the site.

Reliable. You don’t have to rely upon user’s browser to collect their data. JavaScript may not work in some browsers or it can be disabled.

Error Information. Web server log files captures every error message and failed requests which tagging method fails and technically impossible to achieve with page tagging. Also you would be able to track hot linking information.

Spider Details. Log files also captures the spider information. It would give you the idea about how many pages were indexed and how much bandwidth it consumed etc. This might give you an idea of spider that eats your bandwidth and you can block them using robots.txt if you want.

Privacy. The log file details are kept within your server and not shared to 3-rd party.

Ease. You don’t have burden of installing a script in each and every page / blog.

Limitation

Less Analysis. It doesn’t give you more detailed analysis; you have mostly do analysis manually.

Here is the list of web log file analysis software.

web log file analyzer

AWStats

AWStats is one of the well-known open source web analytics-reporting tools. AWStats parses and analyzes the server log files and produces tables and bar graph output. The web reporting is done through a CGI script. AWStats would with most of the web server log format.

Webalizer

Webalizer is a fast and free web server log file analysis program. It produces HTML reports using tables. It has more detailed reporting.

Analog

Analog is pretty old web log analysis software among others. The data reports are made mostly using text formats.

W3Perl

W3Perl is more advanced free log file analyzer that allows you to gather HTTP, FTP and Email log files. It is written in Perl language and would work in any server with Perl support.

Visitors

Visitors is a very fast web log analyzer for Linux, Windows, and other Unix-like operating systems. It takes as input a web server log file, and outputs statistics in form of different reports

Special Addition

FeedStater

FeedStater is an only available feed statistics tool for self hosted feeds. FeedStater is written in CGI and it will read the log file to report the feed statistics.

Also you should be aware of the fact Urchin is one the popular log file analyzer software and latter it was acquired by Google for its analytics.

Bottom line, I would say log file analyzer would be the best methodology but it should be used along with more advanced page tagging method to gain more insight on Web Analytics.

Have you ever used any log file analyzer before? Share your thoughts.

Odiogo

Transform your blog into podcast using autocasting

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Autocasting is the term used to refer either service or tool that would automatically convert the text on a blog into speech. Most of these tools / service would read the RSS feed and covert them into speech using their inbuilt Tex-to-Speech (TTS) technology.

Why Autocasting?

Autocasting can be used in conjunction with normal blog that would add more liveliness to users. Podcasting would allow readers to listen to your post while they are working in parallel. Thus it would help the author to convey their complete story to their reader rather than readers scanning the post text.

Here is the list of service I have tried in past months and my recommended service. Also you can subscribe to my podcast feeds if you’re interested in listening “TechCorner” via voice.

Recommended service

Odiogo
Odiogo

Odiogo is the latest in the list and is my favorite now. Odiogo embeds listen button into your blog post. The listen now button has a build in MP3 player that would play you the converted audio post. Odiogo monetize they podcasts using sponsored ads, it might be required for them run this service free of cost for blogger. Once you signup for Odiogo you may need to wait for 2-3 days to receive the installation information and the feed url. Installing Ogiogo’s Listen button is simple in WordPress.

Subscribe to TechCorner’s Odiogo feed

Talkr

TalkTalkr service was announced long time back in 2005. It faced a great downfall in entire 2006 and now they are getting better. Talkr is also very similar to Odiogo in the service spectrum. Talkr also lets user to embedded the MP3 with the blog feed and blog site. Talkr also lets the bloggers to monetize their voice feed using sponsored voice ads. Talkr also had statistics page, which gives you information on the audio feed usage. Odiogo lacks the stats part. Talkr also has WordPress plugin to embed Talkr feed into every post.

Subscribe to TechCorner’s Talkr feed

Other services – Try yourself

Also you can try out the below service but I’m not recommending them due to lack of few features / usability reason. The below listed are still in beta stage and hope they have room for their improvement.

BlueGrid

BlueGrid seems to be relatively new service with lot of bug in their interface. They allow you to listen to podcast using play list you can choose them from their list. You can either submit the content to BlueGrid as text or as blog itself. BlueGrid also has instructions to embed the content into your blog.

Check out TechCorner feed here.

Feed2Podcast

Feed2Podcast is simple service that will convert any Feed into postcast. You just need to provide the feed url. Feed2Podcast lacks option to embed the content directly into blog post; rather it provides option to user their player to listen your audio content.

Check out TechCorner in their player, here.

Autocasting Limitation

Text to Speech (TTS) technology is not evolved completely but it is improving. The pronunciations of English standard words have improved a lot. The auto-generated voice might not be the same for foreign names, acronym, emotion used and other non-standard English text.

Have you tried any of these services? Voice your thoughts.

Alexa Rank

TechCorner Turns One Year Old

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TechCorner is one year old now and I’m a year old blogger :=)

TechCornerI started writing TechCorner exactly one year ago, on July 18 2006. Looking back, it’s been a wonderful year, although it might not be the best year.

Here is the current statistics of TechCorner. This will be marking 50th post on TechCorner, and readers have left 566 comments so far. These posts were posted in 20 different categories. RSS and email subscribers have increased from initial stage and currently FeedBurner reports around 175 feed subscribers. TechCorner is severing 20–25 thousand page views per month. I hope to see more increase in RSS subscribers count and page views in upcoming year.

Honestly, last year I would consider successful since I was got introduced to the world of blogging and had a good chance to interact with other bloggers / readers. I take this moment to thank everyone for his or her support. I believe their support would continue and grow further.

As it is been said, transition is a part of any evolving system and TechCorner is not an exception. I have been hearing few feedbacks about my slow frequency of posting. This is where I would like to emphasize of the next year and I will try to improve my posting frequency.

Thank you readers and active commentator. Hope to see your participant lot more this year.

Last 30 days stats

Alexa rank has been not been the same for me. There is lot of ups and downs within a month period. Alexa rank has been somewhere around 77 K when I’m writing this.

Alexa Rank

Most of the traffic is generated by referral source and is more than 50%. I’m glad to have 30% traffic from organic source. I really want to improve this area in next year

Traffic Source

I’m also surprised to see only 25% of my site visitors are using IE. Hurray, I love my readers as they are mostly with Firefox :)

Site Updates.

TechCorner RSS Feed
Recently I have changed the Feed URL. Please spare few minutes to check if you have subscribed to the new feed url; else grab the new feed URL

Thank you once again! Join and wish TechCorner a rocking year ahead ;-)

Zoho Meeting, free web conferencing application

Zoho Meeting is one among the free offerings from Zoho. Zoho is one among the leaders of Office 2.0. Zoho Meeting allows you to create a web conference online for free. Zoho also feature cross browser support.

Zoho MeetingZoho introduced public beta of Zoho Meeting a month back. Honestly, I had a chance to play with it only a week before. Zoho turns everyones attention by adding up new offerings to its Office 2.0 suite. Zoho meeting can be used in conjunction with other Zoho Office application like Zoho Show, Zoho Notepad etc.,

Zoho Meeting is easy to use application as well. All you have to do is create a meeting and provide the email id’s of participant. Alternatively, participant can join using meeting key also. After creating the meeting the presenter has to start the meeting. This might require an installation of an agent which is light weight. The participant can join the conference with either ActiveX, Java or Flash support. The later one would be slower.

The Zoho meeting has an option for Presenter to increase the quality of the color; this might reduce the speed. When I did the test with two laptops within a LAN network, I did notice a latency but it was negligible. It also allows the participant to interact with a chat interface, which is powered by Zoho Chat.

Features,

  • It seamlessly works across any browser provided it either has Flash, ActiveX or Java support.
  • Embedded the meeting anywhere in blogs, web page etc.,
  • Remote control the presenters desktop.
  • Free / Easy to use.

Zoho Meeting ScreenShot

Zoho Meeting Viewer

Enhancements / Improvements

  • Cross platform, no support for Mac and Linux currently. Well everyone should be aware of this. But yes only this limitation applies to the meeting presenter; participant can access meeting from any platform. And I believe Zoho crew would be working on this already.
  • Enable audio conference support for live meetings. This might not be a high point since most of the meetings get hosted through telephone in parallel with web conferencing. But enabling audio conference would gain the attention of small and medium scale companies.
  • The chat window needs serious reworking to catch up with other offerings. The chat window interface annoys a bit. It doesn’t allow few basic chat function like saving the chat history, copying the chat message, etc., Few people might prefer having this feature when they believe the chat happened there was important to them.
  • Better Event / Failure logging mechanism. When I was test driving, Zoho Meeting happened to error out and crash due to some reason. Zoho didn’t record the broken conference and it was reporting the conference was still in progress.
  • It would be great to have an option to switch presenter in the meeting. This need occurs if there are two or three presenters in an online meeting.

These are the few minor points, which came into my notice when I was test-driving Zoho Meeting. Overall Zoho always rocks and I’m one of their fan. Previously I had some good experience with Site24x7 their site monitoring service.

Bottom line, Zoho Meeting can’t be a complete replacement for WebEx or other market leading products but it is a very good alternative for Small Office and Freelancers.

VLC Media Player Screenshot

VLC Media Player, play everything anywhere

VLC media player is a free cross-platform media player for various audio and video formats available today. VLC media player support streaming protocols and also can be a streaming sever with Ipv6 support. VLC comes with built-in support for most of the video and audio codec as well. In other terms, VLC media player can play any format, play any codec, play any media and stream any protocol from any platform (Windows, MAC, Linux)

VLC Media PlayerI discovered VLC media player few years back when I was researching for an alternative player to play my media file that refused to play in most popular players. VLC Media Player alone helped me that situation. I didn’t have to install any extra codec to play the media file. I believe everyone here might have already discovered VLC player. If not, make sure you give a try today. VLC Media player can be downloaded from VideoLAN VLC Homepage.

Another main feature I love with VLC player is the ability to play any broken media file (say partially downloaded file). I use this feature to preview the media before downloading the entire content and save my effort :)

Few Interesting Facts about VLC Media Player

Here are few interesting facts I found about VLC Media Player.

  • VLC (VideoLAN Client) was initially client for Video LAN project; Later they combined both server and client into VLC media player.
  • Google’s Video search uses browser plugin based on VLC player.
  • Democracy Player, an Internet player uses VLC media player as a back-end on Windows
  • The code name of VLC Media player is based on character name from the movie golden eye
  • There are bunch of project that uses VLC; see complete list here.
  • VideoLAN enhancement projects are featured in Google Code.

VLC Media Player Screenshot

Key Features

  • Play Anything – As said this is the main feature of this player you can play whatever you want. Be it any format or any codec no bar; they got to play in VLC. They have ability to read disk images (iso) and play directly.
  • Simple – It can be used by any novice without any hitch.
  • Network Streaming – It can stream internet video over HTTP, UTP protocol more over it support IPv6.
  • Steaming Server – you can broadcast video using unicast or mutlicast in high bandwidth network.
  • Equalizer -VLC has an equalizer for both audio and image.
  • Filters -VLC comes in with dozens of audio and video filter that you can apply to alter the output.
  • Skins – This is not much attractive, but yes you can change the default skins.
  • Portability – This works with all operating system, which include Windows, MAC, Linux, BEOS, Win CE. etc. The latest version is compatible with Windows VISTA as well.

Possible Improvements

I have couple of suggestions probably here for VLC Player. VLC also doesn’t have support for real format, which they can add in feature version.

1. Interface
Sadly, this needs some serious attention. They have easy to use interface though their interface and not that attractive. They have skin support but it is not effective too.

2. Playlist
VLC provides you the ability to manage your play list. I think that can be improved a bit to allow option to effectively manage and have some tagging and rating features. Also the play list is not integrated well with the main area.

3. Real Format support
Unfortunately, VLC player doesn’t have support to Real format till now. It would be great if they add support to them as well. Thanks to CyBer$|x for pointing this out.

Other than this I really don’t see much on improvement track. VLC almost rocks already!

Bottom line, VLC Media Player might not be my favorite media player but I use it really extensively.

Have you tried VLC? Share your experience with VLC.

Update : Haris has compiled a list of best skins for VLC player. Deepak has his own list of beautiful skins.

Notepad

Top 5 Free Notepad replacements

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NotepadNotepad is one of the few tools that is been a part of Windows operating system and which have not been evolved since its initial release. Notepad is simple to use and lacks many features / enhancement. So it is always better to look for a replacement, which will overcome all known issues of Notepad.


Why Replacement?

Notepad has some disadvantages, which is known to everyone who uses it frequently. Here is a quick list of them.

  • Doesn’t have support for multiple document interface
  • Doesn’t display line number (this is harder part for programmer / debugger)
  • Doesn’t support syntax highlighting
  • Doesn’t support larger files
  • It is after all Microsoft product :-)

To overcome these and other disadvantages many programmers looked into developing better tools that will be as simple to use as Notepad, yet offer additional features and enhancements that were left out of the original Notepad.

Couple of weeks back I wrote about my favorite notepad alternative and I asked my readers about their favorite too. Thanks to the readers who have given their views about their notepad alternative.

Top 5 Notepad Replacement

Here is the top 5 list of notepad replacement. I bet you will love at least one ;-)

Notepad++
Notepad++

Notepad++ is a free source code editor and an effective Notepad replacement. Notepad++ supports several programming languages. The features include syntax highlighting, code folding, auto-completion, multi-document, drag and drop, full regular search support etc., It also has include advanced macro recording and playback feature. Moreover Notepad++ has most of my readers vote and it is the well-know replacement for Notepad.

Programmer’s Notepad

Programmer’s NotepadProgrammer’s Notepad is free, open source, text editor with special enhancements for Programmers. Programmer’s Notepad is a project featured in Source Forge, which comes in as one of the best notepad replacement for programmers. The main features include book marking, code highlighting / folding, no limit to file size, tabbed document support, project management feature and much more. Programmer’s notepad is my favorite choice for Notepad replacement.

PSPad

pspad.jpgPSPad is freeware code editor and wonderful notepad replacement. PSPad offers main features like rich text formatting, mighty code editing features, project management, syntax highlighting, auto-correction, HEX editor, text difference, spell checker, macro recorder and many more. PSPad also has inbuilt FTP functionality which is a plus for Web developers and Bloggers. PSPad is more advanced of all editors mentioned here. If you are looking for full functional and feature rich editor then PSPad should be your choice.

Notepad2

Notepad2Notepad2 is a lightweight, free and open source text editor. Notepad2 is a full functional Notepad like editor with syntax highlighting. It is also based on Scintilla source code editing component similar to Notepad++. The features also include drag and drop feature, regular expression search, syntax highlighting for most of the languages. Notepad2 is best suited for persons who need simplicity like Notepad and Code highlighting feature for fun programming.

MetaPad

MetaPadMetaPad is a small, fast and completely free text editor. It was designed to completely replace Notepad since it includes all of Notepad’s features and few extra features. The features include tool bar functionality, WYSIWYG printing, auto indenting etc., It is also been said it consumes less amount of memory than Notepad. So even if you like to stick with the simplicity of Notepad; you can very well try MetaPad.

I have complied the list with the help of my readers feedback and my thanks everyone.

Are you able to spot your Notepad replacement?

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