Saturday, December 13, 2008

Firefox going slow?

I have always been the culprit of keeping more than 10 tabs open in my Firefox. So, 200MB+ memory usage and slow behavior of firefox is something that I can simply not avoid. And Firefox memory management still has lots of scope improvement (Though it has improved tremendously from previous versions).
But 300MB+ memory usage? And 50% CPU usage?? And even filling a simple form got too slow.
Then I remembered reading quite a long while ago (Firefox 1.0 days) that some of the firefox extensions can be problematic and cause memory issues with firefox. I did install quite a few extensions so I decided to take a look.
Here is the Mozilla Page which list all the problematic extensions. In my case, it was Cooliris that was causing trouble. I disabled it, and my firefox is up working again.
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Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Some more on Securing your PC

I wrote a while back about Securing your PC. I didn't get enough time to put together an article on Anti-Spyware and other stuff at that time.

However, I just found out this article which addresses the same issues. The antivirus recommendation is different but I have been using AVG since quite some time on the home PC and I have had no issues with it.

With anti-apyware, while Windows Defender is pretty great, the only thing that I don't like about it is continuously running in the background. Hence I prefer to scan my PC once in a while with Ad-aware Free Edition instead.

Also recommended is the Firefox Siteadvisor Plugin for anti-phishing.

Monday, February 19, 2007

Is your Outlook slow?

I use MS Outlook 2003 to read my company emails. Recently, it had started taking a long time in starting up. It also became sluggish and even opening an email would take a long time.
Some friends suggested that the my OST has grown too large. At 600MB, it certainly is big but isn't outlook supposed to handle upto 2 GB sizes easily.

Some googling got me to this post and introduced me to SCANPST, which is an Inbox repair tool installed by default with Microsoft Office but not available in any of its menus.

I just ran SCANPST from C:\Program Files\Common Files\System\MSMAPI\1033 ... It found and repaired some 1700 problems with the OST file!!!
Now my outlook is as snappy and responsive as before.

Friday, February 16, 2007

GMail open to all ... finally

Google finally opened GMail to signups without the need of invitation yesterday. Being launched almost 3 years ago, and already have a user base of close to 50 million, all I can say is - Finally.
GMail is the best email service provider out there and if you haven't got one yet, grab one now.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

The best Email service provider

Techcrunch has posted an article comparing GMail, the latest Yahoo Mail Beta interface and Windows Live Hotmail. All these applications are web 2.0 rich client applications and have huge storage.

Gmail is the newest player in this field but they are the guys who redefined email. Fast and responsive ajaxy interface, really good spam filters, labels (and filters to automatically label), autosave drafts, amazing search and of course, virtual unlimited storage. No wonder I converted to gmail for all my important email long long ago. Any important email on gmail, I am always assured that I would be able to it find it later. They only own around 1/10th of the market share, but they are still the best and recommended by techcrunch.

Yahoo is not my primary email account now, but I still use my yahoo id for its variety of services, in particular yahoo messenger. Yahoo launched its mail beta to catch up with gmail and it did reasonably well at that. They also opened their dot addresses which helped a lot to their huge userbase. However, their spam filter, which I once thought as the best available (before gmail i.e.), needs to improve. Particularly the false positives, which makes me check the spam folder for genuine messages once in a while.

Microsoft has been trying to catch up in this field as well, but looks like all their efforts have always been too little too late. I left hotmail long ago, and also left msn messenger when yahoo partnered with msn. To be fair, their new interface is pretty decent. and is along the lines of ms outlook. However, spam filters remains the biggest issue for it. Their spam filters look crude to say the least.

Overall, I would say GMail is a must, Yahoo is good but better in its other services and I would like to forget about hotmail as soon as possible.

Note to Rediffmail: How do u people manage to imitate all these new features offered by other providers and still be able to make them unusable?

Saturday, February 10, 2007

SEO for beginners !!

If you are new in website promotion and planning to optimize your site from Search Engines perspective, you might be confused on how to proceed!!

There are some basic things you ought to know:
What is Search Engine, How search engines works, Difference between major search engines like, Google & Yahoo!" etc.

Market studies suggests that Google is the most renowned search engine and having highest market share (approximately 40%) in online industry followed by Yahoo! & MSN respectively. Similarly, the parameters of SEO are different for each search engine. So, we should be very careful in taking the decision, where should we start from?

If your web site is new and you want to SEO it then you should start from MSN first followed with Yahoo! and then Google.

Although, there are some important factors which are common for SEO prespective of all the search engines, such as
  • Age Content
  • Keyword density
  • How it fares in the results
  • Site structure
  • Backlinks etc.
However, all search engines tuned these factors in different ways.

For a new website MSN is a good place to start, as it takes lesser time to rank your site. It is not much concerned about the age of the domain so, for new websites it is good. It is more concerned about the number of back links then the link authenticity, content of the sites etc. You can get back links with huge traffic from directory submission, article submission, press releases, participation in promotional link programs etc.

When you get better ranking in MSN then you should make efforts for Yahoo! SEO. It is more concerned about Site structure, keyword density, solid number of back links etc.

Till this point, we are done with our basics. Now in order to rank high in Google, we ought to be qualitative, as our ultimate objective is to rank high in Google.

As your site became quite aged till this point, so Google will automatically starts to give some weightage to your site. However, it is more concerned about the quality of the links, quality & relevance of the content, domain age etc. Here, you need to make good efforts to get quality links from value, more authenticate and relevant sites. Higher number of links from worthless or insignificant sites does not add value for Google SEO. Similarly, you need to be very much concerned about the good quality of the content and its relevancy with the title of the site. After completion of these important steps, you will see a substantial rise in your site ranking in all major search engines not one or two.

So, start optimizing your website now !!

But remember, SEO is an active, continuous but slow process. So, be patient.

Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Difference in Google & Yahoo! search results

Internet is a huge database. Google and Yahoo as made our life easier by providing relevant search results for our queries.
Search engines gives the direction to the search. They collect the information, organize it and make it accessible as per your query.
So, what is it that makes one search engine better than other. Why does Google provides different search results than Yahoo for the same keywords and phrases. In other words, what are the various parameters that define relevance of a web page for a keyword and how are these parameters differ in different search engines.
Here is a list of some important parameters :
  • Search engine class : Type of search engine make a difference in the search results. Some search engines are Crawler-Based search engines like Google & Yahoo , some are Human-Powered directories, such as open directory and some are Hybrid search engines, like MSN. Their different way of processing create the difference in the search results.
  • Relevancy algorithm : Every search engine has its own unique relevancy algorithms ( The mathematical equation for sorting the results), which set the order of results for the search engine query.
  • Paid inclusion programs : These programs makes the organic search results more commercial. In this service, the web owner need to pay a flat fee for placing their web page in the top ranking of search engine result pages. For example, Yahoo! has its own paid inclusion program.
  • Time frame and age : Search engines have their own parameters of ranking the sites as per the time frame and age of the web site. Like, Google trust old sites than the new ones, however, you can find the new websites in the organic results of MSN Search.
  • Crawl depth : It simply means how deeply search engines are moving through the web pages and how much weightage they are giving to the other factors like link quality etc. This is also an important factor for determining the rank of the websites. For example, Google's crawl depth determined not only by the link quantity but the link quality as well.
  • Link authenticity & Content : Search engines follows different criterion of giving consideration to the link authenticity, content of the site etc. Like, Google is very much concerned for the link authenticity as compare to the MSN.
  • Common words : Some search engines puts weightage to the common words, like, prepositions, articles etc. Google does not substantiate the common words that occur in the search query.
  • Open directories : Every search engine takes the references from different (own defined) open directories. If your website is listed in these directories, it will increase the web page ranking in the relevant search engine.

In real sense, Google, Yahoo! and other search engines do things differently instead of doing different things. Everyone is unique in his/her way of working, similarly Google is different than yahoo though they are following many basic set of functioning. Like, everyone is using their own bots which crawl the web pages through hyperlinks, then they store these pages in to indexer by considering every page as a separate document. After getting all the relevant web pages they use their own relevancy algorithm for sorting out the relevant results in to descending order of their relevancy.

For more details checkout these links

Monday, December 18, 2006

The Linux Equivalent Project

Are you scared to switch to linux because most of your favorite windows applications do not work with linux. Or have you already switched but are not able to find a good alternative to windows programs.
Check out The Linux Equivalent Project, this site provides some usable alteratives to most popular windows programs. Most of the software listed are free alternatives to commercial software, hence they may not be as powerful as the commercial windows software, but they are still worth a look.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

First steps: Secure your PC

You have just installed Windows on your new PC. You take a broadband connection and connect to internet. How much time do you think you have before it gets affected by viruses, worms and spyware? It can be as less as 10 minutes.
Hence I always advise the first thing to do when you connect to internet is to first make the computer secure enough for general browsing. Just 2 small steps should be sufficient for most home users. First, install Mozilla Firefox. Second, install an antivirus.

Why use Firefox? Cause IE is insecure. Because you think you have been just surfing the web and nothing else, and you will never know when a spyware hit you (especially true if you do not have SP2 on your Windows XP) . Take my advice, install firefox and forget about IE. You will never need it again anyways.

Now for antivirus. Typically, home users do not install antivirus because the only 2 antivirus software they have ever heard of and have faith on are Norton and McAfee are too expensive to buy for a home computer (or too much effort to get pirated copies). Or because it slows down the computer. To overcome all these issues, go for freely available antiviruses such as AVG Antivirus Free Edition. It works pretty good for home users and takes less resources than commercial antiviruses. I have been using it for quite some time and am pretty satisfied with the results. Another alternative is Avast Home Edition, which is also quite popular and free but has a limitation of registering and re-registering every year (free of course).

The next steps to take would be to install an anti-spyware and a firewall. I'll take those up in the next post.

Friday, May 12, 2006

About the advisor

I always thought of Computers as great facilitators to making life easier. However, as I have seen and faced over past many years, most non-techy people find computers scary rather than a tool to ease their lives. Infact, Using computers and internet upto its full potential is difficult even for the techy people out there who would love to experiment.

Being a geek and a software engineer for many years now, I have always tried new ideas that can help day to day tasks or just make me look cool.

Hence I came up with this blog where I could share some of those ideas and also get similar ideas from people. I would also like to hear about various problems people face and try to suggest resolutions. In case I am out of ideas, I'll post the problem here so that other users can comment.

So guys/gals, if you are facing any problems that you think can be solved technically, write a comment or mail me at