Thursday, June 29, 2006

Gbuy= Google Checkout and is Launched

Google Checkout launched early this morning and may significantly change the online shopping sector. The system offers low transaction costs for merchants and mediation between buyers and sellers online in exchange for access to what will be a huge amount of data about shopping and sales conversions. There doesn’t appear to be many benefits for buyers in the system.

There are $10 discounts at many participating stores, but in order for me to welcome a new system like this into my life I need features that beat what’s already available.

Not a stored value system like PayPal, Google Checkout is more like a unified shopping identity for buyers who can give their credit card number to just one company (Google) and limit email contact received later from places they shop online. I’m not sure how much I trust Google at all and I’d need a more compelling feature set in order to give them this information (I use GMail because it’s a great system). I hope that stores will offer both PayPal and Google Checkout services, though it seems very unlikely.

The Google Checkout site is in its infancy, with only about 100 stores listed as participating at the program’s inception and few variant URLs that redirect yet to the program page. The program, though high profile in the media, is described on its page almost entirely in terms of its benefits to sellers. The system is limited to sellers in the US, many people were hoping that it would be available in more countries than PayPal is.

AdWords participants will gain extra benefits, with a $10 credit in Google Checkout fees for every $1 they spend on advertising with Google. Transaction fees are remarkably low, roughly 2/3 of PayPal’s basic rates.

The service’s pricing structure may ultimately be profitable enough for Google, but the major strategy here could be to access shopping data. The biggest question then appears to be whether consumers trust the Google brand enough to look to the company for more than just access to the rest of the world’s data, but as a repository for our own data kept private from a world of online shopping vendors. The benefits over PayPal seem clear for sellers, but whether consumers will react favorably is my question.

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Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Streamload - 25GBs FREE storage!

Streamload is a web service that allows users to easily send, store, move, receive and access their digital files. (video, photos, music)

Wite Streamload you can:

  • Store files securely on the web
  • Access your files from any web browser
  • Share all your files quickly and easily, without file size restrictions
  • Host videos, audio, images and more on the web
  • Backup your files and data safely and reliably

You can upload one file or multi files all together. Moreover, you can create albums, share videos and photos, tag them and send to your friends by email.

Your FREE account will provide you 25 GBs of secure online storage space pulse you can download and share 500 MB/Monte and you can also sent files up to 50MB in size!

If it's not enough space for you to have, you can upgrade to PREMIUM (250 GBs) or ELITE (1000 GBs) accounts:

What I liked most about Streamload is that you can easily send files to your friends by email and choose to send as links instead of attachments or set expiration date for the links that you sending.

The layout shaped like an email so it's easy and fun to use. Actually it's like your own multimedia center.

Get your Free account NOW

Monday, June 26, 2006

Digg 3.0 Launched

Today 26 june 2006 launched the third version. The layout is really nice, it is very clean, has onea 728*90 big add on the top of the page.

The new digg design the one wich retains the essential Digg “experience”, has added a number of news categories beyond technology.

Topics are grouped into six “containers”, including technology, entertainment, gaming, science, world & business, and online video. The default view on Digg is still the technology container, although users can change that view and can also deselect individual topics within containers to further refine what they see on the home page.
I think this is a strategy to get Netscape`s users back

----------- - Technology focused news site where the stories are chosen by community members rather than editors. is undergoing exciting changes

GBuy Screenshots and Quick review

GBuy, the online payment system that will be launched by Google on June 28, will enable online merchants to become "trusted GBuy merchants", so they will have these kind of badges on their websites.

Google ads will most likely be CPA Ads and will have a
"Google Certified Merchant"
text that will try to increase people's trust in using the system.

Using this system, Google will find more information about what people actually buy and will update its ad ranking system.

Screenshots from Aneil Webber.

More about GBuy:
GBuy to launch this month

New Vista Build Released, WinFS Dropped

New build brings enhancements to UAP and WinFS gets the boot

In its continuing efforts to improve its next generation operating system, Microsoft has released another interim build of Windows Vista to testers. Build 5456 is a rather large jump from Windows Vista Beta 2 (Build 5384.4) and offers a number of improvements which are sure to be welcomed by users. NeoSmart Blog reports:

Some of the new features include a revamped Aero/DWM subsystem, and a completely overhauled and significantly less obtrusive UAP for all those that couldn’t stand the previous one. From what we have been told by Microsoft, the Time Zone bug that plagued all most all previous builds of Windows Vista has been fixed and works great now, and quite a few fixes in the Regional Settings and IME are now implemented. And for the first time since Windows 3.0 Microsoft has finally announced that new mouse cursors will be made available for Windows - something they promised to do in XP with “Watercolors” but failed to deliver for internal reasons!

Of all of the improvements made to this build, the less intrusive User Access Protection (UAP) has to be on the biggest pluses. Vista's UAP scheme has been catching a lot of flak and Microsoft has seen it fit to gradually make the system less and less obnoxious.

Vista beta testers can download the new build immediately from the Windows Connect website. The rest of you folks will just have to wait until Microsoft releases another public build.

In other Vista news comes word that Microsoft has decided to drop its plans to offer Windows Future Storage (WinFS) as a future update to the operating system -- WinFS Beta 2 has been also cancelled. WinFS was the name for the new file system that was supposed to debut with the shipping version of Windows Vista. Over the course of Vista's long gestation period, WinFS was dropped from the feature count then later brought back to life when it was announced that the file system would be available at a later date as a system upgrade for Vista.

WinFS, which is based on Microsoft SQL Server technology, was supposed to do away with traditional file/folder hierarchy. From Betanews:

For example, no longer would documents need to be stored in My Documents or images in My Pictures; instead, Windows would simply display the files associated with a particular request on demand. In addition, WinFS could store structured data such as contacts, calendars and more.

As for the future of WinFS and other Windows technologies, lead programmer Quentin Clark goes on to air out his thoughts on his blog:

Of course, there are other aspects of the WinFS vision that we are continuing to incubate – areas not quite as mature as the work we are now targeting for Katmai and ADO.NET. Since WinFS is no longer being delivered as a standalone software component, people will wonder what that means with respect to the Windows platform. Just as Vista pushed forward on many aspects of the search and organize themes of the Longhorn WinFS effort, Windows will continue to adopt work as it's ready. We will continue working the innovations, and as things mature they will find their way into the right product experiences – Windows and otherwise. Having so much ready for SQL Server and ADO.NET is a big impact on the platform, and more will come.

Saturday, June 24, 2006


Windows Live Spaces screenshot

The next version of Microsoft's Spaces hosted blogging product will include more social networking, gadget integration, and premium options such as no advertising on your blog. The features were announced tonight in a post on the Spaces team blog.

Spaces has a whole new look (pictured above) with cleaner lines and additional featured content than current spaces blogs. Your IM friends list can be exposed as a blog module showing off all their latest content and online activity. You can add the same gadgets to your blog sidebar that run on the personal homepage. The new site also makes it easier to navigate your categories and entries, exposing more content to your site visitors to encourage them to stay a while and get to know more about your digital content.

The biggest surprise is the addition of a Windows Live premium account with special features for Mail and Spaces users. Twenty bucks a year gives you more storage space in your online mail and removes advertisements from your blog as well as from Windows Live Mail. Yahoo! offers a premium mail service for $20 that is limited to just the mail property.

Google Sitemaps: Latest release

In response to our requests, Google Sitemaps has been updated.

Increased crawl errors
Previously, we showed you up to 10 URLs for each error type. We now show all URLs we’ve had trouble crawling. We’ve also put 404 (not found) errors in a separate table from other HTTP errors.

Just choose an error type and either browse the table using the Next and Previous links or download the entire table as a CSV file.

Expanded query stats
Query stats show you the top 20 search queries that brought up your site in the Google search results (both when users clicked on your site in the results and when they didn’t), along with the average top position of your site for that query. Previously, you could view aggregate data across all properties and countries, as well as mobile-specific queries.

Now, you can view data for individual properties and countries as well. For instance, you can see the search queries from users searching Google Images in Germany that returned your site in the results. You’ll only see properties and countries for which your site has data.

Site owners can also view aggregate information for all properties and languages. Properties include Images, Froogle, Groups, Blog search, Base, and Local. More than 100 countries are available.

Previously, query stats were available for sites that were located at the top-level domain (for instance, These stats are now also available for sites located in a subfolder (for instance,

Increased number of common words
On the Page analysis page, we’ve expanded the list of words we show in the report of common words on your site and in external links to your site from 20 to 75 and we've removed http and www from the words we list.

Increased limit of sites and Sitemaps that can be added to an account
In response to requests, we’ve raised the number of sites and Sitemaps that site owners can add to a Google Sitemaps account from 200 to 500 — a direct result of a request from a Google Group member.

robots.txt analysis tool addition
Our robots.txt analysis tool is a great way to ensure that the robots.txt file on the site blocks and allows only what’s intended. We’ve added the ability to test against the new Adsbot-Google user agent, which crawls AdWords landing pages for quality evaluation. We only use this bot if you use Google AdWords to advertise your site. You can find out more about this user agent in the AdWords help center.

We want to know what you think
We are constantly looking to improve Google Sitemaps and appreciate the feedback we get from our Google Group, other places online, and at conferences. But we know that we don’t get to hear from everyone that way. And so, to gather more feedback, we’ve added a rating tool to each feature in Sitemaps. Tell us if you love the feature, would like us to improve it, or if you don’t find it useful. Simply click your choice beside each feature.

Friday, June 23, 2006


According to techcrunch:

Digg 3.0 will launch Monday, June 26, in the morning PST. The launch is being announced this evening, and Digg has made a number of screen shots available to me which are included in this post.

Here are the digg 3.0 screenshots

Digg 3.0 Screen Shots:

Pluggd podcast community launched today

Seattle based start-up Pluggd opened their podcast directory for public use today; the company aims to make podcast listening easier for nontechnical users. It has several features that I think look great.

Company CEO Alex Castro came from Microsoft, with an emphasis in multimedia. The Pluggd team also has members with backgrounds at Real and

Pluggd offers a few things that really differentiate it from other podcast communities. A javascript bookmarklet lets you send podcasts you discover off-site to your Pluggd bookmark list. That list is different from your subscription list so you can evaluate podcasts before subscribing. As I test it, sometimes the bookmarklet works for autodiscovery of podcasts and sometimes it doesn’t. Since the service launched just minutes ago, I hope that will be taken care of soon.

The Pluggd search engine actively crawls the web for new podcasts to index, instead of relying only on user submissions. The podcast player can be put in a pop-up from the listening page, so you can navigate around or off of the Pluggd site without breaking the podcast you are listening to. The site design is totally unpretentious without looking unprofessional, too, I like that.

The service takes two thematic approaches that are interesting. First, Pluggd believes that social networking and podcast listening work well together. That means that commenting and list sharing are available throughout the site. Second, the company believes that the majority of podcast listeners are listening at work and at school, in a web browser instead of a mobile device. There has been a growing chorus of voices arguing that prime time media consumption hours are shifting from night time to 9 to 5 work hours and Pluggd seems well positioned to respond to that.

The podcast directory space couldn’t be much more crowded, but I like this one. Presuming that all the early kinks get worked out, it looks good.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

PCWORLD:The 100 Best Products of the Year

Powerful computers, handy services, tiny utilities, mammoth HDTVs--our editors' top picks include all these and a whole lot more.
Top 100 listed numerically
  1. Intel Core Duo Notebook/Desktop CPU
  2. AMD Athlon 64 X2 Dual-Core Desktop CPU
  3. Web Classifieds
  4. Apple iPod Nano Digital Audio Player
  5. Seagate 160GB Portable Hard Drive Portable Hard Drive
  6. Google Earth Satellite Imagery
  7. Adobe Premiere Elements 2 Video Editor
  8. Canon EOS 30D Digital SLR Camera
  9. Video-Sharing Site
  10. Apple Boot Camp Mac Dual-Booter
  11. Adobe Photoshop Elements 4 Image Editor
  12. Mozilla Firefox 1.5 Web Browser
  13. Gadget Blog
  14. Toshiba HD-A1 HD DVD Player
  15. Toshiba Qosmio G35-AV600 Power Notebook Computer
  16. nVidia GeForce 7600 GT Graphics Card Chip Set
  17. Google Search Engine
  18. Sonos ZonePlayer 80 Digital Audio Streamer
  19. RedOctane Guitar Hero Video Game
  20. Yamaha RX-V4600 Home-Theater Receiver
  21. Pioneer BDR-101A Blu-ray Drive
  22. Adobe Photoshop CS2 Image Editor
  23. Citrix GoToMyPC 5 Remote Access
  24. Online Bargain Tracker
  25. Palm GPS Navigator GPS
  26. MioNet Remote Access
  27. Ubuntu Linux Distribution
  28. Mozilla Thunderbird 1.5 E-Mail Application
  29. Canon Pixma MP950 Multifunction Printer
  30. Yahoo Mail (Beta) Web-Based E-Mail
  31. TiVo Digital Video Recorder
  32. Avvenu Remote File Access
  33. Blogger Blogging Service
  34. Sony Cyber-shot DSC-R1 Advanced Digital Camera
  35. Apple Mac Mini Value Desktop Computer
  36. Apple iPod Digital Audio/Video Player
  37. Lenovo ThinkPad X60s Ultralight Notebook
  38. Travel Site
  39. Windows Live Local Online Mapping
  40. Creative Sound Blaster X-Fi Sound Card
  41. Alienware Aurora 7500 Power Desktop Computer
  42. NEC MultiSync LCD 2180WG-LED Flat-Panel Monitor
  43. Apple iTunes Digital Audio Software
  44. Olympus Evolt E-330 Digital SLR Camera
  45. Ultimate Ears 5 Pro Earphones
  46. Creative Zen Vision:M Digital Audio/Video Player
  47. Google Desktop Desktop Search
  48. Opera 9 (Beta) Browser
  49. Mitsubishi XD460U Projector
  50. Vonage VoIP Service
  51. StumbleUpon Browser Add-On
  52. NoScript 1.1.4 Browser Add-On
  53. Webroot Spy Sweeper 4.5 Antispyware
  54. Microsoft Natural Ergonomic Keyboard 4000 Keyboard
  55. Western Digital Raptor X Hard Drive
  56. Yahoo Maps (Beta) Online Mapping
  57. Intuit Quicken Premier 2006 Personal Finance
  58. ATI Radeon X1900 XTX Graphics Board
  59. Javacool EULAlyzer Personal 1.1 License Analyzer
  60. Eizo FlexScan S2410W 24-Inch Wide-Screen LCD Monitor
  61. Search Engine
  62. T-Mobile SDA Cellular Phone
  63. Asus A8N32-SLI Deluxe Motherboard
  64. Dell UltraSharp 3007WFP 30-Inch Wide-Screen LCD Monitor
  65. Meebo (alpha) Instant Messaging
  66. Corel Painter IX.5 Graphics Software
  67. Samsung LN-S3251D LCD TV
  68. Cerulean Studios Trillian 3.1 Instant Messaging Client
  69. Rhapsody Online Music
  70. In2M Mvelopes Personal 3 Online Budgeting
  71. Canon Pixma IP6600D Photo Printer
  72. EMC Retrospect Professional 7.5 Backup Software
  73. Yahoo Music Engine 1.1 Digital Audio Site/Software
  74. Network Magic Home Networking
  75. Z-Wave Home Automation
  76. BitDefender 9 Standard Antivirus
  77. Sage Software Simply Accounting Basic 13 Small-Business Finance
  78. Flickr Photo-Sharing Site
  79. Nero 7 Ultra Edition CD/DVD Burning
  80. Nuance Dragon NaturallySpeaking 8 Voice Recognition
  81. Kodak EasyShare Gallery Photo Printing Service
  82. EvDO Wireless Broadband
  83. LaCie d2 Hard Drive Serial ATA External Hard Drive
  84. HP Md5880n DLP TV
  85. Qnext 2 P-to-P Communications
  86. Salling Clicker 3 Presentation Remote
  87. Epson Perfection V700 Photo Scanner
  88. Mindjet MindManager Pro 6 Data-Organizing Software
  89. Microsoft Xbox 360 Game Console
  90. iRiver Clix Digital Audio/Video Player
  91. Fujifilm FinePix E900 Point-and-Shoot Digital Camera
  92. nVidia GeForce 7900 GTX GPU
  93. Social Networking
  94. Serious Magic Ovation PowerPoint Add-On
  95. WordPress Blogging Tool
  96. Amazon A9 Toolbar Search Toolbar
  97. ThinkFree Office Online Online Office Suite
  98. Greasemonkey Firefox Extension
  99. NewsGator FeedDemon 2 RSS Reader
  100. Sysinternals Rootkit Revealer 1.7 Antispyware

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Funny Google AdWords & eBay Ad

What I am about to show you is nothing new, it happens all the time, but today is starting out to be a slow day, so I thought I post on it.

I DigitalPoint member conducted a search on the keyword [baby] and up came an eBay ad. eBay AdWords ads come up all the time for random keywords and they often are funny to read, since the content of the ad is auto generated and often don't make much sense. In our case of the [baby] search, we get an ad that reads;

Buy it Cheap on eBay
Low Prices, New and Used


The Devil's Guide to Google

Here’s how to become a totally evil, worm-like creature with Google’s array of services in under a month:

  1. Start a spam blog with Use Google News to send automated email alerts on any conceivable high-paying topic to your Blogger’s blog-by-mail address.
  2. Copy Wikipedia’s content, which is free to share, and create a website with AdSense ads that look exactly like content. Wait a week or two for Google to index your site and send innocent searchers toward you.
  3. Create a module for the Google Personalized Homepage that does nothing more but advertise your website.
  4. Pay a 12-men army of Russian click-workers to click on your AdSense. Tell them how to switch proxies so they won’t show the same IP to Google. Cash in the check.
  5. Spam every blog on Google’s BlogSpot. Pay a couple of thousand upfront for some poor developer to crack the captcha Google uses.
  6. Create a huge database of affiliate products (stuff you don’t own, but get paid for in commissions), and automatically create a multitude of variants for each product title, including spelling errors. Then, submit this massive spamfest to Google Base and find new income streams in a week.
  7. Become a copyright lawyer, search Google Images for copyright violations committed by teenagers, and threaten their parents to pay you hard cash or be sued.
  8. Pay for advertisement on any major location on Google Maps, and make your ad read “Frank sucks.” (Replace “Frank” with someone you hate.)
  9. Tell the Chinese gov’t that website (replace “xyz” with your competitor’s website) is doing some “really nasty human rights stuff.” Watch see the site be censored on in approximately two weeks.
  10. Buy 2 million cheap domains, heavily interlink them, and wait until they go up in Google’s ranking. Start using them to sell Viagra.

50 ways to become a better designer

The way you work can have a huge impact on your creative success. We present the best advice from leading designers on every stage of the creative process, so that you can keep clients satisfied and make the most of your talents.

What is design? Design is both the process and the final product of an endeavour to fulfil a personal or professional brief. Whether you are creating a piece of graphic work, a website, or a design for a new product, the underlying principal is the same – the creative process is everything.

Bad design results from faults with this process – poor planning, ignoring the conventions of the media, poor technical skills or poor communication. So how can you streamline your working methods? How do you go from haphazard doodler to a well-oiled design machine? Listen to the experts.

We approached 17 leading designers working in print, video and on the web, to obtain their words of wisdom on every stage of the design process, from ideas and planning, through to best practice and software skills, and finally putting the finishing touches on their work. We also asked each of our experts to reveal their worst experiences, and how they turned them to their advantage.

Despite their very different backgrounds, many of our designers offered the same advice – about reading the brief, and planning your work on paper. Design is a subjective thing, and we all have different ways of getting results, but take heed of the expert advice offered within the following pages and you’re sure to improve the way you work.

The ideas stage
A blank canvas can be terrifying, so where do you start? Our experts reveal ways to force your ideas into motion

“I put a rough composition together using scans or low-res images found on the web. This enables me to use the assets I like without worrying whether I have them at the right size or in the right colour. Once the rough is complete, I recreate it in a high-res format – shooting, recycling or buying any photography I need to complete the piece.”

“Themes and metaphors are great platforms for ideas and I try to develop them both from a holistic perspective (ie, basing a site around a playground metaphor) as well as a design perspective (colour schemes and layout styles, for example). If you can hit a decent theme that allows you to convey and house the content, it’s a good place to be.”

“When I receive a commission, the first thing I do is read it and underline key phrases. Then I draw some very small rough thumbs for each. Once I’ve got a bunch of little thumbnails together, I look at them all and see which ones make good symbols and which are identifiable and relevant to the content of the story.”

“I would recommend going on any brand courses run by the likes of the Design Business Association. Brand thinking is essential; it encourages you to develop a visual way of thinking and helps you develop keywords to hang everything off – the essence of the idea. Above all else, keep it simple. If it gets complicated it isn’t going to work.”

“When coming up with ideas it’s essential to bounce ideas around with a colleague, but the secret is to keep the brainstorms as short as possible, otherwise they’ll get stale. It’s better to have a couple of smaller sessions than a single mammoth session.”

“I usually plan my work in an A4 hardback book, which I carry with me at all times. Any ideas I have (often when on public transport staring out of the window) go in here, and they can then be referred to at a later date. Diagrams, sketches, thoughts, book titles and reference URLs go in, too.”

“I find the worst thing is to sit staring at a blank canvas on screen. Get out of your chair and take a ten-minute walk in the fresh air. If you can’t do that, I find it helps to grab a Thesaurus and look up synonyms for the key words in the design brief.”

“Freelancers walk that lonesome road, but that shouldn’t stop you from seeking feedback while in the concept stage. If you have creative friends, great! If not, join an art forum to bounce ideas off of your peers.”

“I get a lot of my thinking done in the shower. Running water increases brain productivity, apparently, which explains why some of the best ideas are hatched in the shower. I try to read a brief well in advance of working on it, allowing ideas to gestate in the run up to the actual work.”

“Taking into account the different media that will be required in your project is really important. If there will be photography, illustration, 3D renderings, charts or diagrams then all this has to be taken into consideration and planned for. The printing spec should be explored as soon as possible with the printer – it’s pointless waiting until the last minute, because some processes always take longer than others to complete.”

Best practice
Work smarter, not harder, with advice for best working practice

“When working with Flash files, I always make a point of giving my layers and symbols relevant and self-explanatory names. I also keep a file called ‘library’, which contains timers, loopers, buttons, code snippets and symbols that I use regularly. This really speeds up production.”

“When designing websites you can save loads of time by using Firefox extensions such as Web Developer, HTML Validator and Fangs. Each will reduce the time it takes to create standardscompliant, accessible websites.”

“Visit sites such as or and read Computer Arts. Staying up to date with design doesn’t mean just looking at the work of others, you should know the industry and stay ahead of the software curve. Don’t fall behind as many designers do, but don’t chase fads either.”

“My illustrations can be quite complex, so I always place one limitation on myself. If I have an illustration with a lot of visual elements and textures, l force myself to use a simple colour palette. If I want to use loads of different colours I ensure that the illustration is kept simple. That way colour and design don’t fight against each other.”

“If there are procedures you do repeatedly in Photoshop, it’s worth recording them as an Action. I only learned this trick recently, and it’s a great time-saver.”

“Computers always seem to know when you’re hitting a deadline and choose that moment to crash, destroying any unsaved work. So hit Save as often as possible.”

“Everyone has their own way of doing things. I like to keep lossless versions of all the assets I’m going to be using in a piece to allow for any last-minute changes of size/format by the client. This is helpful should someone decide to take a postcard design and turn it into an A0 poster. Keeping things at maximum editability is handy, too – don’t flatten layers in Photoshop until the very end, for instance.”

“Since there are only two of us, nothing gets released without approval from us both. If the other person thinks that it still lacks something, he/she will work on it. Or if one of us doesn’t like the first draft, we start from scratch. Being on the same page makes the work easier and, more importantly, fun.”

“Even if you factor-in time for testing a website into your initial workflow, problems and client vacillations will inevitably eat into it, and it’s not unheard of for sites to go live with only cursory testing. For web designers, however, this quality assurance process is worth its weight in gold, even if project managers start sweating at the expense. Getting a site right the first time is the kind of cherry on top that can ensure you get more work from the same client.”

“The more projects you work on and the more time you spend using programs, the quicker and more efficient you become. You learn not only from your mistakes but also from your successes, and these will help raise your standard of production.”

Software skills
A bad workman blames his tools, so make sure your software works for you, not against you

“Take the time to experiment with Alpha Channel-based selections. I find that Alpha Channels are often the key ingredient to bringing real-world elements and textures into my artwork. Once you get into the groove of working with channels it changes the way you observe things in the real world.”

“My number-one tip would be to buy as much RAM as you can afford, because Photoshop will devour as much as you can throw at it. I tend to use lots of layers and so small jobs, such as designs for websites, can quickly grow into mammoth files.”

“To prevent gradients from ‘banding’ when printing, add a small amount of noise to the layer, varying the amount depending on the size and resolution of your canvas.”

“From past experiences, my best suggestion when producing work in Photoshop (especially complex compositions) is to use as many layers as possible, avoiding merging objects together if you can. There is nothing worse than merging something together that later you wish to delete or change – especially if you have gone past its History state.”

“Lowering the Opacity of a path, adding a Gaussian Blur and combining them with a Clipping Mask in Illustrator allows for wonderful airbrushed styles to be built up with a level of control that isn’t found in Photoshop.”

“Never ever, ever, ever use the default Green-to-Black Gradient Fill tool in Flash. This is evil and will ultimately bring about the demise of humanity.”

“Rather frustratingly, for me and everyone else, I always seem to approach projects in slightly different ways – even naming files differently from job to job, with Photoshop versions named with 01, 02, 03 suffixes for one project, and then A, B, C for the next. So, no matter how smoothly the job goes, I admit that there is plenty of room for improved consistency in my approach!”

“Setting up Layer Group colours and Shy Layers in After Effects can be a massive time saver when it comes to client alterations and amends. I like to take the vector image into Photoshop for a bit of final colour tweaking. I usually do the same in After Effects using a Pre-Comp. I find it unifies the image colours just that little bit more.”

“We’ve all hit that stage when mastering Photoshop where we forbid ourselves certain filters or effects, but if you take some time to refresh yourself with these forbidden fruits, you’re bound to discover some new tricks. For example, while you might not use ‘difference clouds’ to make a blue and white sky, you can use it to make a selection while in Quick-mask mode, and you could exploit that selection to help render a more organic sky.”

“Use often-ignored tools called a felt-tip pen and sketchbook first, then a scanner, then various applications – the usual suspects. My tip is to think with a pen and paper first, then use computers. It will lead to a stronger, more original voice.”

Finishing work and finessing
An eye for the final details often makes the difference between a good and great piece of work. So read on and learn to how to ‘put the cherry on top’

“I find that it is best to finish my illustration and then walk away from it for a day if I can. Sometimes by the time something is finished I am completely spent, especially when I’m up against a tight deadline. Once I’ve had a break (even a short one), I’ll start up my machine and open up the finished file one last time. If I don’t have any finishing touches in mind already I’ll usually come up with some refinements that need doing after I look at the finished piece again.”

“For print designers, checking overprints, spot colours, trapping and knock-outs in Adobe Acrobat Professional is an often-overlooked step that can save you money and goodwill if your print settings are not right.”

33 KERN!
“…and get a fresh pair of eyes to look at your work. I always ask my girlfriend to look at something I’ve been working on. This is mainly because she is not a designer and sees things I don’t look for – she has a good eye for detail.”

“Get feedback from the team as well as people not involved – you need to stand back at the end and go back to your original notes and thinking. Check it still meets what you set out to achieve.”

“The most important thing with finishing touches is knowing when to stop. There is always a danger of pushing a piece of work too far. The advantage of computers is that you always have the undo options, but it’s all too easy to ‘put some cherries on top’ for the sake of it, when all that it needs is a subtle sprig of parsley.”

“I find printing techniques a great way to enrich a project once it leaves the computer. There’s a multitude of ways to enhance a piece that can’t be achieved in the digital world. Metallic inks, spot varnish, embossing, de-bossing, foil blocking, matt-laminating or diecutting can all be used individually or together to great effect.”

“I suppose most of my work has an organic feel, so for me the finessing is adding various textures and handmade marks such as pencil and crayon. Your instinct should tell you when the piece is complete – although this does tend to be more tricky when it comes to personal projects!”

“Working in the motion world can be tough. Print has tried and tested processes for high-quality work, but motion and video work is less predictable. Learn about your compressors and try to learn what works best for you and your projects. Make sure you stay lossless for the entire project – a little bit of compression early on will just magnify as the project progresses. Save compression for the final output, and save lossless versions of your final version as well.”

“The last things I normally add to my digital pieces are shadings, shadows and minor tweaks to the colours. These can help to solidify the piece and make it look all nice and polished.”

“Once a design, site or animation is virtually complete, it’s good to step back from the whole thing, take a deep breath and stare at it until your face turns blue and your eyes start bulging like that bit in Total Recall. During this time you should look for elements that could be tweaked, polished, scaled, added or removed to some effect. With designs, especially, I’ll look for colours that could be made stronger or knocked back, and elements that could be nudged around to balance or otherwise complement the composition.”

Things to avoid
Finally, learn from your mistakes. Ten things you should avoid when working with clients

“When writing an email, do not fill the address bar until last. Go back and read what you have written at least twice. Too many people have horror stories about sending an email to somebody that it was not intended for. Don’t become one of those people. It’s not possible to ‘undo’ a sent email.”

“Be specific when working with new clients, especially as far as revisions or changes are concerned. In my excitement to work with a client I didn’t spend the necessary time going over the details of what was included in the fee. I received a call out of the blue from one of Canada’s leading magazines. I simply said that minor tweaks and revisions would be fine.”

“Don’t rely on your computer’s spellchecker! Always proofread any text extremely carefully. Preferably, get someone else to proofread your work because you may be too familiar with it.”

“In the earlier days we used to do too much to try and win a pitch and produced way too much work on spec – it made us look desperate when we were just enthusiastic. Stick to the brief and make sure you have answered it – don’t deviate, just answer it in the most creative way possible.”

“Everyone knows about ‘thinking outside the box’, but in creative circles, the real excellence comes from finding the best possible solution inside the clientmade box. Don’t look at external direction as a damning prison wall, but instead as a clue to finding your solution.”

“Definitely avoid briefs that are not your core strength and style. I’ve been that hapless salmon trying to swim uphill with a terribly inappropriate brief on a few occasions, and I now avoid those types of jobs. Choose your clients as well as they choose you. Turn a bad experience to your advantage by not repeating the same mistake again.”

“Once we had a very bad experience when we asked for a dummy mock-up from the printers for some packaging with the assumption that we were on the same track. They only showed us a blank mock-up and we assumed it was right, but when they started to print it, we noticed that the cover was on the other side! So never, ever make assumptions.”

“I have worked with a few fashion brands recently and they can seem like the worst clients in the world, but I think if you provide valid reasons for your actions and maybe provide several solutions to their requests, you can steer things back into your control. I tried this recently and it proved successful.”

“I’ve never really had any problems, but one thing I always do is to have back-up files. Keep some of the original ideas that you may have presented – sometimes people change their minds and this makes it much easier to revert back to earlier stages.”

“A good way to avoid client problems is definitely to be as up-front about what they can expect and when before the project is fully underway. If expectations are managed as early and openly as possible you can avoid misunderstandings and unreasonable demands. As a rule-of-thumb, a good way to deal with clients is actually to treat them with the contempt you would a small horned imp from the ninth layer of hell’s gate.”

Monday, June 19, 2006

Tips,Tricks and secrets for google adsense

5 Google Adsense Secrets, Tips and Tricks

I want to share you some secrets I learned up until now. I am not going to tell you basic stuff like “use channels”. Also, bear with me on the graphics. I’m no designer :)

1. Blend your ads. Adsense color and font size

1.i It’s tested and it works. Use the same colour of your page background, for the border and the background of the ad.

Adsense: blend colors with your page background

1.ii Use the same colors used in your page, for the Adsense ad title, text and url link.

Adsense: blend colors of title, text and url

1.iiia If possible use the same font in your page, as the Adsense ads. Since the ads have variable text size and font, according to dimension and type of ad, you can never do this 100% right. But every little bit helps.

Real life Adsense font size and type

768×60 Ad unit:
Title: style="line-height:12px; font-size:11px; font-family:verdana,arial,sans-serif"
Description: style="line-height:12px; font-size:10px; font-family:verdana,arial,sans-serif"
URL: style="line-height:12px; font-size:10px" face="verdana,arial,sans-serif"

Adsense font size for an 768x60 text ad unit

300×250 Ad unit:
Title: style="line-height:14px;font-size:11px" face="arial,sans-serif"
Description: style="line-height:14px;font-size:11px" face="arial,sans-serif"
URL: style="line-height:14px;font-size:10px" face="arial,sans-serif"

Adsense font size for an 300x250 text ad unit

As you can notice above, some ads have the arial font as default, some have verdana. Some have a 10px description text, some have 11px. And besides all that, each box may contain 1 up to 4 ads, and depending on that the font sizes will change. So it’s really up to you to experiment and see what works best for you, in as many cases as possible.

1.iv Try to not separate the ad from the content (like trashing the ad in some remote corner of your website. Integrate it within the content (in, within, next to, above, below etc).

Adsense: blend ads with the content Adsense: blend ads with the content Adsense: blend ads with the content

2. Placing ads high on a page is good

Position the ads with the highest CTR, as high as possible in the page, in the source’s order (in the image below, notice that the ad appears just below the body tag). The first ads that appear in the pages (in the source’s order) get the most income per click.

Adsense: position your ad as high as possible

3. Use images. Images and Adsense work together

Use images left or right of the ads. It makes them seen as part of the pages content, and your CTR increases. It doesn’t matter what images you use. Use any plain generic images. If you can, try to corelate those with the niche/domain of your website/blog. Be carefull not to write text, point arrows or similar on the images, as that might be seen as click incentives.

Adsense: blend ads with images

4. Earnings are variable, based on CTR

With the Smart pricing ideea, your income varies a lot, according to each of your channel’s CTR rate.

Now this is very important: It’s account-wide, not channel-wide. So if you have a very good CTR (5%-50%) for one website, and you include it in the same account with a 0.04# CTR website, you will loose money.

Remove all the websites (from your account) that don’t have at least a 5% CTR (or depeding on your overall CTR, remove the ones that are really lower than your average), or you’ll affect the income of all the other good converting websites.

5. Use non-standard types of ads

We all know that web-savvy (eg. webmasters or people that use the Internet for so many years, and know all the standards, convetions and so on) users are ad-blind.

Banners like 468×80 have been on the Internet since it’s creation. Even people who use the Internet vaguely or once a month, are kind of blind to these standard banners.

Instead, use vertical skyscrapers, or boxed ads. They have a much higher click rate. The Adsense team even published a list of their highest performing ad sizes:

  • 336×280 large rectangle
  • 300×250 inline rectangle
  • 160×600 wide skyscraper

End note: I hope these advices help some people. If they did, drop me an e-mail and tell me about it.

Wetpaint is now public

Today, 19.06.2006 I`ve got my wetpaing invitation and make this account. Seems to be a great web2.0 product, good ajax coding, nice and easy article editing. If u can take it for a ride here is a link.

Google Pages Used to Host Trojan Horse

Google's Web site hosting service is apparently being used by hackers to try to steal money using a malicious program, a security company said.

The Trojan appears to have been noticed before its authors have managed to launch an attack, Websense said. The company has not yet detected e-mails or IM links leading back to the Trojan, which is designed to steal bank details relating to certain financial institutions.

Google Pages Used to Host Trojan Horse

Friday, June 16, 2006

What's new with Google Calendar

What's new with Google Calendar

Just launched!

Add your calendar to your Google Personalized Homepage
Now you can add a Google Calendar module to your Google Personlized Homepage so your calendar is always at your fingertips. This module lets you browse through your schedule and add new events, right from your Homepage. Learn more

Publish your calendar and share it with the world
Have a website or a blog where you'd like to show other people what's going on? Now you can place an interactive, graphical version of your calendar into any page that you manage. The Event Publisher Guide shows you how, plus other ways to add Google Calendar information to your sites.

What's been keeping us busy...

Ever since we launched Google Calendar, we've been listening to our users and working hard to make Google Calendar even better. Here are a few of the features we've added:

  • Access your calendar from your phone
    Now when you're on the go, you can access the events on your calendar (or even add new events) with your mobile phone. Learn more
  • View your calendar with Google Desktop
    The handy mini-calendar gadget for Google Desktop lets you view your agenda without even opening your browser. You can place the Google Calendar gadget right on your desktop or leave it docked in the Desktop Sidebar. Learn more
  • Support for Verizon
    Now you can get SMS notifications and send SMS calendar commands with your Verizon phone. Just go to the Notifications Settings page to select the kind of alerts you want and to verify your cell phone number. Learn more
  • Integration with Gmail for your domain
    Now Google Calendar works with Gmail for your domain, so every user at your domain can enjoy all the benefits of Google Calendar, including the useful integrations between Gmail and Google Calendar. Learn more
  • Simple event and calendar publishing
    We've made it easier for you to add Google Calendar event reminder buttons to your web pages, so you can help visitors to your site quickly add individual events or a whole series of events to their calendars. Learn more.
  • Google Calendar data API
    We launched the Google Calendar data API, which lets developers create services and applications that build on Google Calendar. This API lets your applications display and modify Google Calendar data. Learn more Beta goes Live

The new, now featuring Flair/Vapor, went live.
this upgrade mainly focuses on the new UI and first-run experience. Now it is much easier to get rolling with customized content right from the start.

Your homepage the way you want it.
It's really clean and super fast, with the content and layout you choose.
The weather in your hometown, headlines from across the globe and Web search results for any term you choose - all there the minute you bring up your browser.

Not that much of a change but still, Sweet.

Windows Live Ideas

Yahoo Hack Day Today

Yahoo has had a a couple of regional “Hack Days”, which are day long events where engineers stop everything they are doing and just build stuff that they think is cool. The idea was first popularized by Jot last year, and a number of companies have picked up on the idea as a great way to stoke innovation and creativity in a semi-organized way. The goal? Take something from idea to prototype in 24 hours.

Today at noon, however, Yahoo got serious about Hack Days by making it Yahoo-wide. Every Yahoo engineer is invited to participate, and other employees are joining in as well. Anyone with an idea is encouraged to gather a team up and spend a day coding. Tomorrow (Friday) at noon, the hacking stops and everyone will get together to review what’s been built.

The effort is being led out of Bradley Horowitz’s product strategy group, with Chad Dickerson and Caterina Fake organizing the event.

I’ll be there to cover the event tomorrow, as will Jeremy Zawodny and John Markoff of the New York Times.

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Riya 2.0 On the Way; Major Strategy Shift

Photo search and facial recognition site Riya (a TechCrunch sponsor) had a million photos uploaded in the first two days after launch and seven million photos uploaded in the first seven weeks. For details on the core service, see this post and listen this podcast interview with Riya founder and CEO Munjal Shah.

Next up - Riya 2.0.

It’s still a few months away from launching, but I spoke with Munjal this evening and he gave me an overview of what to expect from the service. It will be a “visual search engine” - give Riya an image and it will return image results that are similar from across the web. They’ve already begun crawling the web for images, a process that will take many months.

When it’s ready, users will be able to search on an image (the easiest way will be via a browser plugin to search right from the page containing the images). See a rug on ebay that has a pattern you like? See other rugs from across the web containing similar patterns. Riya will make money if the result you click on is from another ecommerce company - Riya pockets the referral fee.

Dating is another (if slightly creepy) use for the new Visual Search engine. See someone’s picture on MySpace that you like? Search on their photo to find single people who look similar and who have profiles up on or other dating sites. Again, Riya makes a referral fee by moving the traffic along.

The infrastructure needed to crawl the web is substantial, says Munjal, and they’ve been working to build out a new data center over the last few months.

I believe Dan Farber was the first to write about Riya 2.0. More on Munjal’s blog, and he briefed Matt Marshall and Laurie Sullivan as well.

In other Riya news, a Mac version of their uploader was released tonight.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Google sales chief says still testing display ads

LAS VEGAS (Reuters) - Web search leader Google Inc.'s global sales chief sidestepped questions on Tuesday over whether its foray into graphical display advertising has been a disappointment, saying the effort remains in testing mode.

"I think it's fair to say we have basically just started," said Sheryl Sandberg, Google's vice president of global online sales.

Sandberg was responding to a question from analyst Safa Rashtchy at the Piper Jaffray Global Internet Summit in Laguna Beach, California, about whether the company had gotten off to a slow start in its display ads business.

Her comments were Webcast on Google's investor relations Web site.

Google derives virtually all of its revenue from selling pay-per-click, text-based advertising as opposed to display advertising, such as banners on an Internet page, a market that rival Yahoo Inc. continues to dominate.

The company has been experimenting for two years with running graphical advertising on affiliated Web sites supplied by Google rather than testing ads on its own search results pages.

Last month, it introduced a plan to offer "click to play" video advertising.

"When we think about display advertising, we think we are just beginning," Sandberg said.

Rashtchy asked Sandberg whether Google planned to offer ad services to cover "all media," including the broader world of traditional media outlets.

AOL-Netscape Launches Massive “Digg Killer”

On Thursday, AOL’s Netscape property will no longer be just another portal - it’s being converted into a Digg-killer. I was briefed on the new site by Jason Calacanis last week. As of tonight, he owns the Netscape property at AOL. The new site will run at for now, converting over to the main property soon.

It’s not exactly a Digg clone (home page screenshot here). Submitted stories are voted on in much the same way, and the more votes a story gets the higher it appears in a category home page or on itself. However, the top few spots in each category and on the home page are determined by an “anchor” - essentially an editor choosing from stories moving up the ranks.

There are 30 topical channels, from “Art & Design” to “Women”. Eight full time and eleven part time editors will manage the site, determining both the top stories as well as staffing a 24×7 chat room where users can discuss stories in real time.

The fact that AOL is launching the new service under the Netscape brand instead of building out a new property says how serious they are about the space. According to statistics provided by AOL, Netscape serves a whopping 811 million monthly page views - far more than Digg today.

Putting this kind of audience in front of a Digg like service could spell trouble for many sites that ultimately make it to the top of the site. A Digg or Slashdot story can send tens of thousands of visitors to a site in a matter of minutes or hours. With Netscape, this effect could be many times larger - possibly resulting in outages at sites headlining the new service.

There are a number of other notable features of the new Netscape. Story submissions can be tagged by the submitter along for easier search in the future. Every category, user and group of friends has their own RSS feed. Also, category anchors will follow up on many stories and post their own editorial content on those stories (see screenshot here).

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Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Vista Sidebar showcases desktop/Web integration

Long Zheng has published some fantastic Windows Vista screencasts, which display Users will be able to manage their gadgets from both platforms - Vista and the power of the Vista OS - released as a developer beta last week. The screencast that I was most interested in was the Sidebar. Similar in appearance and functionality to the Dashboard feature of Mac OS X Tiger, the Vista Sidebar allows users to manage their gadgets (Microsoft's term for widgets) and other content such as RSS feeds. The Sidebar can be easily shown or hidden on the Vista desktop, and individual gadgets given varying degrees of opacity. Gadgets can also be dragged and moved around the desktop.


As you probably know, gadgets are little customizable software apps that offer various bits of functionality - from a simple calculator to some of the more advanced apps that we're beginning to see nowadays (e.g. a Media Center programmer app). They are a feature of Microsoft's platform, but will also be a key aspect of Vista. This shows the increasing integration of desktop functionality (Sidebar) with Web ( Once Vista is released and is more mature, users will be able to manage their gadgets from both platforms - and easily interchange according to whatever context they're in.

Also Microsoft is beginning the big push to get its extensive Windows developer community to build online apps that integrate with the Windows platform. Recently Microsoft announced Windows Live Dev, the Windows Live developer platform. The aim is to encourage developers to build services that are not only online apps, but which leverage the Windows platform as well. Gadgets are a key aspect of this and may well be one of the most visible parts of the desktop/Web integration in the Vista/Live rollout.

Categories: Web 2.0, News, Tech, Design, RSS, Internet Companies, Microsoft, Convergence, Products, Reviews, Rich Internet Applications (RIA), Two-Way Web, Web as Platform, Operating Systems

New Product What is Picasa Web Albums?

Picasa Web Albums is Picasa’s newest feature, designed to help users post and share their photos quickly and easily on the web.

It’s available by invitation, along with the latest downloadable version of Picasa, and offers:

  • One-click web upload using Picasa’s new “Web Album” button
  • Free storage space to post and share approximately 1000 photos, with the option to upgrade to more space
  • High-quality photos, automatically resized and optimized to fill available screen space
  • Pre-loaded images enable quick scrolling using arrow keys, and mimic a desktop experience of “flipping” through photos, even on the web
  • End-to-end photo management that makes it easy to download uploaded photos back to your computer

Take a look at this public gallery to see what it’s like to share photos using Picasa Web Albums.

Quick facts

  • Cost: The latest version of Picasa with the Web Albums feature is free. It’s also free to use Picasa Web Albums for posting, sharing and viewing photos.
  • Access: You need an invitation to post and share photos on Picasa Web Albums. You can sign up for an invitation using your Gmail username. No invitation or sign-in is required to view a friend’s photos online.
  • Storage: Each Picasa Web Albums account comes with 250MB of free storage space, or room to post and share approximately 1,000 wallpaper-sized photos (at 1600 pixels each). For $25.00 per year, users can get a subscription to an additional 6GB of storage – room to post and share approximately 25,000 photos.
  • There are no ads in Picasa or on Picasa Web Albums
  • Language: Picasa Web Albums and the latest version of Picasa with web uploading are supported in English only
  • System requirements:
    • Picasa: Windows 2000/XP, Internet Explorer 6.0+
    • Picasa Web Albums Internet Explorer 6.0 (also works with IE 7 Beta 2), Firefox 1.0+ or Safari 2.0

Using Picasa Web Albums

Uploading Photos

Just select the photos you want to share online and upload them into web albums instantly using the latest version of Picasa.

Viewing Photos

Viewing is optimized so photos look as good on the web as they did on your computer: big enough to fill the largest screen sizes and fast to scroll through. You can write captions, zoom in for a closer look, even view your photos in a web-based slideshow.

Sharing Photos

Once your photos are online, it’s easy to share them – click the “Share” button from anywhere on the site to email a link to your photos, albums, or gallery. Or, just let people know your public gallery’s URL.

You can also easily keep track of your favorite people’s photos using “My Favorites.” If a friend has shared photos with you, you can add a link to his or her web album in your list of My Favorites. Now you can access your friends’ albums in a few clicks and even receive notifications whenever they add new photos.

Other things you can do with Picasa Web Albums

You can add captions, post and view comments, and organize photos online.

Using the latest version of Picasa with web uploading, you can even download photos back to your computer. Now, you can truly use Picasa for every aspect of your photo management needs, both online and off.

EBay integrates Skype into auctions

After months of anticipation, eBay announced tonight its pilot integration of Skype, the internet telephony giant it acquired last September for approximately $4.1 billion. The announcement was made tonight at eBay Live!, eBay’s annual community conference.

Beginning June 19th, US eBay sellers will have the option of adding a SkypeMe button to individual item listings in 14 select categories. Prospective buyers will then be able to contact the sellers by voice or instant messaging. Users can currently add a SkypeMe button to their personal profile, but not to individual items for sale.

The categories included in the pilot project will be:

  • Automotive GPS devices
  • Camera and photo lenses and filters
  • Wired networking routers
  • Skype devices
  • VOIP / Internet telephony
  • Diamond solitaire rings
  • Real estate (residential, commercial)
  • Manufacturing and metalworking
  • Beds
  • NBA basketball cards
  • Silver coins
  • Lost in Space collectibles
  • Radio control toys
  • Cars and trucks

The categories above were selected because eBay believes that instant communication of such goods would help sales, the items are complex or local delivery is required.

The Skype acquisition and its price have been widely questioned since last September. If this pilot integration anywhere near as successful as the 2002 acquisition of PayPal has been then most of those questions may be put to rest.

Whether sellers will welcome voice or IM contact from prospective customers remains to be seen. A more sophisticated offering enabling users to, for example, select only IM or IM and voice contact, or a permission request process letting sellers see a user’s eBay reputation before accepting a call would have been a good thing to see.

Some observers warn that enabling voice communication via Skype will only make transactions easier to complete outside of eBay auctions, thus cutting into the company’s monetization of transactions.

Last week’s announcement of eBay’s new hosted blogs quickly proved interesting when some sellers put their blogs to use in building their reputations by educating prospective buyers in subjects related to their eBay stores. A similar use of auction-specific Skype communication could emerge and prove eBay better at leveraging high-profile acquisitions than other big web players seem to have.

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Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Windows Vista screencasts

Here’s several Windows Vista screencasts focusing on various important new features: Aero Glass, file management, guided help, tablet PC functionality, sidebar, improved search indexing and Media Center. These are just a taste of some of the new features you will find in Windows Vista. These screencast was done in quite a hurry, so I apologise for the lack of depth and variety, had a bit more time so there’s a bit of variety now.

These were all recorded on the Toshiba Portege M400 tablet PC. You might notice the resolution is quite low at 1024×768, but it wouldn’t record fluidly at the native resolution of 1400×1050. Encoded to Quicktime H.264 format.

Added: Windows Sidebar and Search and Media Center videos!

Windows Aero Glass

Click image to view video
This looks at the key aspects of Aero Glass: windows translucency - which helps reduce Windows clutter and orients attention towards application content, live previewing - ability to manage windows with the help of an actual preview of the window content, and general performance and fidelity enhancements.

File copying

Click image to view video
Managing multiple versions of the same file is no longer guesswork, with clear indications of the differences between two file variations including a live preview, document size and attributed dates and time.

Guided help

Click image to view video
There are two major improvements in this area. Help is no longer for the inexperienced. And help is no longer long pages of text. Not only if help going to offer support to the computer novice, it also offers advanced tips and tricks that caters to all users. Guided help introduces interactivity and assistance to the knowledge-base, kind of like having a virtual wiz-kid, visual cues will assist users in completing many help tasks. Interestingly, if you notice the arrow in the ‘compass’ always points to where you need to look at. Also the window moves around pretty fluidly placing itself around the focused area.

Tablet PC

Click image to view video
There are a wide range of enhancements to the tablet experience in Vista. From better navigation to pen flicks, personalisations handwriting recognition and an improved tablet input panel.

Windows Sidebar

Click image to view video

Vista Search

Click image to view video
A common-day scenario of how an information slave worker can utilise Vista search to improve productivity.

Media Center

Click image to view video
Note: The Aero Glass UI has been disabled as it causes problems when the video recorder was in use with Media Center. In actual use, Aero Glass + Media Center is very fluid and does not have any issues.

There’s a lot of undocumented but exciting new features in Windows Vista that puts up a lot of competition towards OS X and Linux. Anyone that says Vista is only XP with a new skin should not only read reviews or view screenshots, but install it and check it out for themselves.