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Monday, September 1, 2014

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Dropbox matches Google and Microsoft pricing for a terabyte

Dropbox is so widely used that it's practically a synonym for cloud storage and file sharing, but the company is being squeezed on price and storage options by bigger competitors such as Google and Microsoft.
Today, Dropbox closed some of the gap by announcing that Dropbox Pro will now provide 1TB of capacity for $9.99 a month, the same price as Google Drive and Microsoft's OneDrive. The Dropbox plan costs $99 if you buy a full year subscription.
"Previously, Dropbox had three different Pro plans with 100GB, 200GB and 500GB of storage, priced at $9.99, $19.99, and $49.99 per month, respectively," PCWorld wrote today. Now Dropbox Pro includes just the terabyte plan, though the company also has pricier options for businesses.
Dropbox's competitors still offer valuable features that Dropbox doesn't, namely cheaper options and access to productivity applications. For $9.99 a month or $99.99 a year, Microsoft gives home users 1TB of OneDrive storage and Office 365 Home, providing access to the Office desktop applications on up to five computers. You can get the same terabyte of OneDrive storage for $6.99 a month or $69.99 a year with Office desktop applications on one computer.
OneDrive storage can also be purchased in smaller amounts without Office desktop applications, at $1.99 a month for 100GB or $3.99 for 200GB. While Dropbox still provides just 2GB of free storage, Microsoft offers 15GB without payment.
Google Drive offers 15GB for free, 100GB for $1.99 per month, 1TB for $9.99 per month, 10TB for $99.99 per month, 20TB for $199.99 per month, and 30TB for $299.99 per month. Drive integrates with Google Docs and Google's other Web-based productivity applications.
Apple is finally planning to offer Dropbox-like functionality with iCloud Drive later this year. iCloud functionality is currently more limited when it comes to file sharing, but users get 5GB for free and pricing is $20 a year for another 10GB, $40 a year for 20GB, and $100 a year for 50GB.
Box, which has done well in the business market, offers individuals 10GB for free or 100GB for $10 a month.
While Dropbox hasn't matched all of its competitors' pricing options, its announcement today detailed some new security features for Dropbox Pro users. These include passwords for shared links, expirations for shared links, view-only permissions for shared folders, and the ability to remotely wipe files from a lost or stolen device.
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How to Automatically Back Up Your Hard Drive

If you support users like I do, then you will know how frustrated they can get when their hard drive fails and they have no backup. Even worse is when this happens to you. That is why I would like to share with you an easy way to automatically back up your hard drive using a very powerful free backup utility. Just follow these simple steps.

Step 1: Go to http://backup.comodo.com/ and download Comodo Backup. Fill out the form and your activation code will be emailed to you.
Step 2: Run the installation wizard and follow the steps. Once you are finished you will be prompted to restart.
Step 3: After you restart your computer, open the Comodo Launch Pad. Click the “Show Application Window…” button. The first time you do this, you will be prompted to activate Comodo. You can activate Comodo by using the activation code that was emailed to you. Activation is free and lasts a lifetime.
Comodo Backup Launch Pad
Step 4: In the Application Window, click the “Backup” menu and select “New Backup…”
Step 5: Under the “Source” tab, choose the files that you wish to backup by clicking “Add Item”. You will notice that there is an option to “Add My Documents” and “Add Outlook Inbox”. This allows you to add these two items quickly without having to hunt them down.
Comodo Backup Application Window
Step 6: Click the “Destination” tab and choose where you would like to backup your data. Comodo allows you to backup not only to your local drive, network drive or removable drive, but also to an FTP server or a CD-RW and DVD-RW drive.
Step 7: Click the “Options” tab and choose either incremental backup or full backup. The incremental backup only backups files that have changed since your last backup. This makes the backup process a lot quicker, especially if you have a lot of files. Choose any other options you would like as well.
Step 8: Click the “Compression” tab if you would like to setup compression. This helps if you have a limited amount of space. If you are not limited to a certain amount of space then you don’t have to set up compression.
Step 9: Click the “Schedule” tab to setup your backup schedules. Set your backup to run at a time when you are not using the computer.
Step 10: Click the “E-Mail Notify” tab to set Comodo up to notify you via e-mail with your backup results. This is great if you have Comodo running on another computer that you do not physically touch on a daily basis.
Step 11: Type your “Backup Name” at the top and click OK to save your settings. You can now close the Comodo Launch Pad. The Comodo Backup service runs in the background and automatically starts when you turn your computer on. You can also see its status by putting your mouse over the Comodo Launch Pad icon in your system tray.
Your files are now safely in the hands of Comodo Backup. Keep an eye on it the first day it runs to make sure it is backing up properly. Be sure to check it on a regular basis as well. Feel free to share any other backup utilities that you use with us too. I’m always interested in hearing about what other people are using.
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How to Set Up Your Own Instant Messaging Server

Instant messaging is not just for personal use. It is also a great way for employees to communicate with one another in the corporate world. If you are in IT, then setting up an instant messaging server can be a great benefit to your company. And the best part is that you can set one up without spending a dime. In the following tutorial, I would like to guide you through the easy process of installing my personal favorite IM server software, Openfire.

Openfire is an open source IM server software that uses the Jabber protocol. This means that any IM client that supports jabber can connect to your server.
Step 1: Figure out which computer you want to make your IM server. The good thing is that Openfire uses very little resources. You can view the requirements here.
Step 3: Run the setup wizard.
Step 4: When the installation finishes, you will run Openfire for the first time. Click “Launch Admin” to bring up the configuration.
Step 5: Next, choose your language and click “Continue”.
Step 6: Now you will configure your server settings. The “Domain” will be what you want to call your Openfire server. Leave the default ports unless you would rather use something else.
Step 7: Next, you will be able to choose your database settings. For the easiest setup, choose “Embedded Database”.
Step 8: Next, you will choose how you want to control your users. If you have an LDAP server you can configure Openfire to work with it. For the easiest setup, choose “Default”.
Step 9: Next, you will set up your administrator account.
Step 12: Click on the “Users/Groups” tab to manage your users.
Step 13: Now go to another PC and install your favorite Jabber client. You can view a list of them here. You can connect to your new IM server by using the server name (domain) and ports you specified in step 6.
If you have any experience setting up an IM server please feel free to share.
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How to Host a Web Site from Your Computer

In the following article I am going to show you how to host a web site from your own computer. Why would you want to do this you might ask? Well for one, it’s free. It’s also great for hosting small web sites or sharing large files with friends. However, if you are planning on running a site with high traffic I would not recommend this. Just follow these simple steps and you will have your own web server up and running in no time.

Step 1: Go to http://www.snapfiles.com/get/hfs.html and download HFS (Http File Server).
Step 2: Double-click the hfs.exe file that you downloaded. If you have Windows Firewall enabled you will be prompted with a security warning. Click “Unblock” to allow HFS to pass through the firewall.
Step 3: This is the tricky part. The default port that HFS uses is port 80. If your ISP blocks port 80 then you will need to change it to something else. To change it you must turn HFS off. You can do so by clicking the “On” button in the upper left corner. When you are done, turn it back on. If you are behind a router or firewall then you will have to set up port forwarding. If you need help with this go to http://www.portforward.com/. Here you can choose the type of router you have and then choose the program you want to set up port forwarding for such as Http File Server-HFS. It will walk you through the exact steps to set up forwarding.
Step 4: Now you can test your settings to see if they work. Go to the menu and click “Self Test”. If it is successful then your settings are correct. You should now be able to point your web browser to your IP address to see files or pages you are sharing.
Step 5: Now I’m going to tell you how to assign a domain name for your web site. Since you don’t have a DNS server running on your computer, you will need to get DNS service from somewhere else. To do this, we are going to use a service called DynDNS. DynDNS offers a variety of subdomain names to use for free for your website. Go to https://www.dyndns.com/account/entrance/to create a DynDNS account. Login with the account you have created and click on the services button. If you have a dynamic IP address that changes, click on “Dynamic DNS” and then “Add Dynamic DNS”. Choose a subdomain and domain name. Then add the host. Now you have a domain name that you can use and give out instead of your IP address. If you would like to use your own domain name, DynDNS offers a custom DNS service for this as well for a yearly fee.
Step 6: Now go to https://www.dyndns.com/support/clients/ to download the DynDNS Updater. This is to automatically update your Dynamic DNS account in case your external IP address ever changes.
Now you can host a web site from your computer. If you want to change the default page that comes up when you browse to your site, right click on the little icon that looks like a house in the Virtual File System. Click “Default file mask…” and type the name of the file that you want to be served when someone browses to your website such as index.html. If you would like HFS to start automatically when you log into Windows, put a shortcut to it under Start – Programs – Startup. Also be sure to save your Virtual File System settings so HFS will remember the files you are hosting next time you open it up. If you have any more questions check out HFS’s

Thursday, August 14, 2014

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How to Install PHP on Windows

Hopefully, you now have a working local installation of Apache on your Windows PC. In this article we will install PHP 5 as an Apache 2.2 module.

Why PHP?

PHP remains the most widespread and popular server-side programming language on the web. It is installed by most web hosts, has a simple learning curve, close ties with the MySQL database, and an excellent collection of libraries to cut your development time. PHP may not be perfect, but it should certainly be considered for your next web application. Both Yahoo and Facebook use it with great success.

Why Install PHP Locally?

Installing PHP on your development PC allows you to safely create and test a web application without affecting the data or systems on your live website. This article describes PHP installation as a module within the Windows version of Apache 2.2. Mac and Linux users will probably have it installed already.

All-in-One packages

There are some excellent all-in-one Windows distributions that contain Apache, PHP, MySQL and other applications in a single installation file, e.g. XAMPP (including a Mac version), WampServer and Web.Developer. There is nothing wrong with using these packages, although manually installing Apache and PHP will help you learn more about the system and its configuration options.

The PHP Installer

Although an installer is available from php.net, I would recommend the manual installation if you already have a web server configured and running.

Manual Installation

Manual installation offers several benefits:
  • backing up, reinstalling, or moving the web server can be achieved in seconds (see 8 Tips for Surviving PC Failure) and
  • you have more control over PHP and Apache configuration.

Step 1: download the files

Download the latest PHP 5 ZIP package from www.php.net/downloads.php
As always, virus scan the file and check its MD5 checksum using a tool such as fsum.

Step 2: extract the files

We will install the PHP files to C:php, so create that folder and extract the contents of the ZIP file into it.
PHP can be installed anywhere on your system, but you will need to change the paths referenced in the following steps.

Step 3: configure php.ini

Copy C:phpphp.ini-recommended to C:phpphp.ini. There are several lines you will need to change in a text editor (use search to find the current setting).
Define the extension directory:
extension_dir = "C:phpext"
Enable extensions. This will depend on the libraries you want to use, but the following extensions should be suitable for the majority of applications (remove the semi-colon comment):

If you want to send emails using the PHP mail() function, enter the details of an SMTP server (your ISP’s server should be suitable):

[mail function]
; For Win32 only.
SMTP = mail.myisp.com
smtp_port = 25

; For Win32 only.
sendmail_from = my@emailaddress.com

Step 4: add C:php to the path environment variable

To ensure Windows can find PHP, you need to change the path environment variable. From the Control Panel, choose System, (then “Advanced system settings” in Vista), select the “Advanced” tab, and click the “Environment Variables” button.
Scroll down the System variables list and click on “Path” followed by the “Edit” button. Enter “;C:php” to the end of the Variable value line (remember the semi-colon).
PHP path environment variable
Now OK your way out. You might need to reboot at this stage.

Step 5: configure PHP as an Apache module

Ensure Apache is not running (use “net stop Apache2.2″ from the command line) and open its confhttpd.conf configuration file in an editor. The following lines should be changed:
Line 239, add index.php as a default file name:

DirectoryIndex index.php index.html
At the bottom of the file, add the following lines (change the PHP file locations if necessary):

# PHP5 module
LoadModule php5_module "c:/php/php5apache2_2.dll"
AddType application/x-httpd-php .php
PHPIniDir "C:/php"
Save the configuration file and test it from the command line (Start > Run > cmd):

cd Apache2bin 
httpd -t

Step 6: test a PHP file

Create a file named index.php in Apache’s web page root (either htdocs or D:WebPages) and add this code:

<?php phpinfo(); ?>
Ensure Apache has started successfully, open a web browser and enter the address http://localhost/. If all goes well, a “PHP version” page should appear showing all the configuration settings.

Friday, August 8, 2014

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PHP 5 Installation

What Do I Need?

To start using PHP, you can:
  • Find a web host with PHP and MySQL support
  • Install a web server on your own PC, and then install PHP and MySQL

Use a Web Host With PHP Support

If your server has activated support for PHP you do not need to do anything.
Just create some .php files, place them in your web directory, and the server will automatically parse them for you.
You do not need to compile anything or install any extra tools.
Because PHP is free, most web hosts offer PHP support.

Set Up PHP on Your Own PC

However, if your server does not support PHP, you must:
  • install a web server
  • install PHP
  • install a database, such as MySQL
The official PHP website (PHP.net) has installation instructions for PHP: http://php.net/manual/en/install.php
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PHP Connect to the MySQL Server

Use the PHP mysqli_connect() function to open a new connection to the MySQL server.

Open a Connection to the MySQL Server

Before we can access data in a database, we must open a connection to the MySQL server.
In PHP, this is done with the mysqli_connect() function.



hostOptional. Either a host name or an IP address
usernameOptional. The MySQL user name
passwordOptional. The password to log in with
dbnameOptional. The default database to be used when performing queries
Note: There are more available parameters, but the ones listed above are the most important.
In the following example we store the connection in a variable ($con) for later use in the script:
// Create connection

// Check connection
if (mysqli_connect_errno()) {
  echo "Failed to connect to MySQL: " . mysqli_connect_error();

Close a Connection

The connection will be closed automatically when the script ends. To close the connection before, use the mysqli_close() function:

// Check connection
if (mysqli_connect_errno()) {
  echo "Failed to connect to MySQL: " . mysqli_connect_error();


Friday, August 1, 2014

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The 22 Most EXTREME Selfies Ever Taken. Nothing Can Top the Last One. NOTHING.

22. INTENSE kitesurfing selfie


21. Skydiver selfie


20. Exotic cat selfie


19.Top Gun selfie




17. Jesus selfie


16. BMX selfie


15. Geronimo! selfie


14. WTF!?


13. Glad I wasn't on this guy's plane.


12. Diving selfie


11. NASCAR selfie


10. Chopper selfie


9. S.O.S. selfie


8. You've got to be kidding me.


7. I don't understand.


6. Gnarly surfing selfie


5. Rodeo selfie


4. Balloon jump selfie


3. Selfie of the Artist as a Woman Diving with Jellyfish


2. I would hate to be this kid's mother.



This puts even the most ambitious self-photographers to shame. If you like this incredible series, be sure to share it with your friends. Click the button below now.
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Which icon do you have? Facebook’s Globe Is No Longer Americentric

You know that little globe icon on the Facebook website that displays your pending notifications? Of course you do. It’s the first thing any self-respecting narcissist clicks on when they open Facebook. (That's pretty much all of us, by the way.)
Well, did you know that the globe looks different depending on where you are in the world? The default icon portrays the Americas:

But as Tech in Asia recently pointed out, Facebook has quietly introduced a new icon for its desktop users in Europe, Africa, and Asia, which shows the globe from the other side. (Update: Facebook tells me the new globe was rolled out widely just on Wednesday, though it had been tested on some users prior to that.)* Log in from any of those continents, and you’ll see this icon instead:
It’s a small change, but it highlights something a lot of Americans might not realize: They’re vastly outnumbered on Facebook. The company reports that just 18.3 percent of its 829 million daily active users hail from the United States or Canada. A far larger percentage come from Asia, even with the site still mostly blocked in China.  
As of April 2013, the United States still clung to a thin lead for the most Facebook users of any single country, but India was closing fast. Brazil, Indonesia, and Mexico rounded out the top five.
More importantly for Facebook’s business and mission, Africa and Asia represent the company’s brightest prospects for future growth and are the focus of its Internet.org push to bring more of the world online at low costs.
On Thursday Facebook launched an Internet.org app that will allow users in developing countries to take advantage of some basic services like Google Search, AccuWeather, Wikipedia, and (of course) Facebook and Facebook Messenger without incurring any data charges. The app will be rolled out first to Airtel subscribers in Zambia, where it will also include free access to local jobs, health, library, and women’s rights apps.
This is why, when someone tells you that Facebook is dead because his 15-year-old sister thinks it’s uncool, you should take that anecdote for what it is—one data point from a country that represents an ever-smaller minority of the service’s massive global user base. Yes, American teens can be a bellwether for worldwide trends, but Facebook’s flock has grown too diverse for any one subset of sheep to lead. Like it or not, Facebook has crossed the line from fad to established multinational corporation, and it isn't going the way of MySpace anytime soon.

Thursday, July 31, 2014

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What is a black box and how does it work?

 Now that investigators have concluded the missing Malaysia Airlines jet crashed into the Indian Ocean, the race is on to find the wreckage and recover the black box in hopes of solving the mystery of flight MH370.
But search crews are on a tight deadline to find the so-called black boxes before a battery-powered ping the devices emit fades away. The devices are designed to send out those signals for at least 30 days after a crash – but it has already been 17 days since flight MH370 went missing and poor weather is hampering search efforts.
Why is finding the black boxes so important to the investigation?
Because without it investigators may never be able to piece together exactly what happened to flight MH370.

What is a black box?

Black boxes may be one of the most important pieces of technical equipment on board a plane, despite the fact they do nothing to help the plane while it’s in the air.
Airplanes actually have two black boxes, made up of two separate pieces of equipment – a cockpit voice recorder, which records all of the sound and conversations that happen in the cockpit, and a flight data recorder, which records the planes operating functions.
Each unit is fitted with an underwater locator beacon (ULB) that is activated as soon as the recorder comes into contact with water – this is what creates the “ping” that investigators use to locate the device.
It is usually located in the tail of the plane because it is usually the last part of the plane to make impact.
Despite its name the device is actually bright orange, making it easier to spot in wreckage.

Cockpit voice recorder

Obviously, the point of having a cockpit voice recorder is so investigators can play back conversations between the pilot, copilot, and whoever else may have entered the cockpit to piece together what went wrong.
But trained investigators are also able to listen for engine sounds, stall warnings, or emergency alarms that could provide evidence into a mechanical problem.
According to the U.S. National Transportation and Safety Board, the cockpit voice recorder must hold at least two hours of audio.

Flight data recorder

Flight data recorders can record a number of parameters including, the time, altitude, airspeed, direction, and vertical acceleration of the flight, as well as more technical things like the movement of individual flaps on the wings.
According to National Geographic, the data saved on this recorder can help investigators to eventually produce computer-generated re-enactments of the crash.

How does the black box survive a crash?

Black boxes are designed to withstand catastrophic events.
According to National Geographic, one black box recorder called the L-3 FA 2100 underwent testing that included being exposed to a 1,110°C fire for an hour and 260°C heat for 10 hours. The devices are also designed to operate from -55° to +70°C. This is done with high-temperature insulation.
Black boxes are also encased in corrosion-resistant stainless steel or titanium shells.
The ping transmitted from the ULB is able to transmit from as deep as 14,000 feet.

Can the black box survive underwater?

The black box from Air France flight 447 wasn’t found until two years after the plane crashed into the Atlantic on route from Rio De Janeiro to Paris in June 2009. It remained intact despite being lost beneath two miles of ocean.

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