Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Catch Image Thieves With Who Stole My Pictures And Also Put It To Five More Uses [Firefox]

Catch Image Thieves With Who Stole My Pictures And Also Put It To Five More Uses [Firefox]:
who stole my picturesIn the course of my blogging career, I have always been respectful of the people who have made the effort to upload their work of photographic art on the web. Open licensed for free use or even otherwise, it always falls upon us to credit the photographer for his work. Failure to do so is less of bad etiquette and more of outright stealing. I sure know the feeling because I hate it when someone lifts my written posts and copy-pastes it without permission.
When it comes to textual works, we have seen how easy it is to catch the copycats. But what about pictures and photographs? Is image search that easy? Probably not; but that’s not to say it is impossible because image search technologies have evolved.
Making an effort to defeat image plagiarism is this simple Firefox extension called Who Stole My Pictures.

A Simple Firefox Add-on

Who Stole My Pictures is a Firefox add-on that basically works like a reverse image search. Reverse image search is a just a different take on your traditional keyword based search. Here instead of using a keyword, you use an image instead. Specialized search engines are used which use their algorithm to find similar images. Who Stole My Pictures (WSMP) can be thought of as a meta-reverse image search engine as it uses dedicated reverse search engines like Yandex.ru, Tineye.com, Google.com, Baidu.com and Cydral.com. Each has its own way of finding out images using the reverse search.
WSMP is really a very simple no-frills add-on in itself. It works from the right-click menu after you install it as you would any other Firefox add-on.
You simply right-click on the specific image and then choose the search engine you want to use. You can also click on Open all in tabs and get them all to work for you together.
who stole my pictures
Results will be displayed in separate tabs for each search engine. It will obviously also depend on the downtime state of the browser. E.g. I found Baidu consistently down for me. Google and TinEye gave the most reliable results.
stole my pics
If you have a particular preference, you can go into the Options and select the search engine you want to display in the right-click menu. Remember, the checked out search engine will play no further part in the image search.
who stole my pictures
The final option – Upload Local Image to Tineye.com – does exactly as it says. You can upload an image from your desktop and use Tineye.com (probably the most well-known reverse image search engine) to find similar images.

5 Uses of a Reverse Image Search Engine Apart From A Plagiarism Check

It is a small world and sooner or later you fill bump into the copyright infringer. But a reverse image search like WSMP has a few other uses you can put it to.
  1. Find out a higher resolution version of the same image.
  2. Find out if it’s too common an image, and you could do better with a bit of exclusivity.
  3. Find out in what other context the same image has been used. For instance, I have often discovered a few more cool websites using reverse image search.
  4. Find out the source of image. Who knows…it could be a valuable stock of other images you can use.
  5. Find out the photographer behind a particular picture, and check out his other works.
Who Stole My Pictures may be a simple extension. But as you can see from the five other uses above, the benefits are many if you can find the right use for it. Do you have your own requirements for a reverse image search? Do you think reverse image search or image search alone has really evolved, or is there still lots to be done? Shout out in the comments.

Learn Everything About Your Computer Specifications With Free, Portable CPU-Z

Learn Everything About Your Computer Specifications With Free, Portable CPU-Z:
computer specsEven if you’re not overly geeky, you probably have a rough idea of how much memory and what sort of processor your computer has. But what about its other statistics? For example, do you know your RAM bus speed? This may sound esoteric, but if you’re thinking of upgrading your RAM, it’s something you really need to know. Then again, if you are a serious geek, you may be in need of a tool you can tote around on a USB stick for diagnosing hardware on friends’ and colleagues’ machines.
CPU-Z is a free and powerful hardware detection tool that can do just that, and it’s available as a portable version, too. In fact, it’s so good, we featured it on our Best Portable Apps list.

Downloading The Portable Version

Sometimes you have to get an application’s portable version from an unofficial source. With CPU-Z, this is not so: The portable version is available right on the CPU-Z Download page:
computer specs
Once you grab the ZIP file for the language and Windows version you want, it’s just a matter of unpacking it somewhere, and running the CPU-Z executable. It will ask you for Administrator privileges to run, though.

Using CPU-Z

computer specifications
Being a classic utility, CPU-Z’s interface is, well, utilitarian. After running through a quick startup sequence where it diagnoses all of your hardware, you will get a series of tabs showing main system aspects. The CPU tab, shown above, shows far more than just the name of the CPU (yes, I’m writing this on an ancient laptop). You can also see the CPU’s package (or socket), which can be handy for upgrading it.
The mainboard tab is equally interesting:
computer specifications
You can see your BIOS version and revision date, which is, again, excellent for figuring out if there’s an available upgrade from the BIOS maker without having to shut down your computer and write down the BIOS information on a piece of paper. The same goes for the motherboard, especially if you have a desktop computer: I have a Gigabyte motherboard on my desktop, and have had to install updated drivers for it several times to resolve various issues. Knowing the exact make and model of the motherboard makes it easy to find up-to-date drivers.
The memory and SPD tabs both shows information regarding your system’s RAM, with the SPD tab the more interesting of the two:
computer specs
What’s great about this tab is that it lets you see memory sizes on a per-slot basis. For example, I remembered that once upon a time I upgraded this laptop’s RAM – but I wasn’t really sure how I went about it. Now I know that I have a 2GB DIMM module in one slot, and a 512MB DIMM in the other. That’s handy, because now I know that the only practical upgrade for this machine would be getting another 1GB or 2GB stick, but it must be a single stick (not that I’m ever going to upgrade this old Toshiba workhorse, but still, it’s nice to know).
The SPD tab also lists each DIMM’s max bandwidth, so now I know that my 512MB DIMM is slowing everything down because it’s 333MHz, while my 2GB one is capable of 400MHz. Not a huge difference, but still, it’s good to know that the smaller DIMM is also making things slower. Also, if your RAM is giving you trouble, you can see its serial number and manufacturing date (week and year), as well as its maker. This is great for figuring out whether or not it’s still under warranty.

Run This On a New Computer

One case where CPU-Z will be really invaluable is right when you get a new computer. Mistakes (real or otherwise) have been known to happen, where people order one specification and get a somewhat different (lower-quality) system from the store or maker. So when you get a new computer, you can just run CPU-Z portable on it and quickly see exactly what you got, to make sure it is indeed what you paid for.
All in all, CPU-Z doesn’t have many frills, but packs a ton of useful information into a compact, sensible interface. Naturally, there’s also a Windows installer if you choose to use it instead of the portable version. Definitely recommended.
Have you investigated the contents of your computer? How did you go about finding out the specifications of your computer’s components?

Twenty five FREE online tutorials for learning Android programming

Twenty five FREE online tutorials for learning Android programming:
This article is a follow up to my “25 free online courses for learning iPhone and iPad programming” post, for those who are interested in developing for Android. These online are in many cases the Android counterpart to the courses listed in the iOS post above.
What these courses have in common, aside from the focus on Android development, is that they are all 100% free. You should be able to get yourself started off on developing your first app, and those who have some development experience will find advanced topics covered as well.
Android light bulb (more…)
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What Is Two-Factor Authentication, And Why You Should Use It

What Is Two-Factor Authentication, And Why You Should Use It:
two-factor authenticationTwo-factor authentication (2FA) is a security method that requires two different ways of proving your identity. It is commonly used in everyday life. For example paying with a credit card not only requires the card, but also a PIN, a signature, or an ID. With 1FA becoming increasingly unreliable as a security measure, two-factor authentication is rapidly gaining importance for logging into online accounts.
Per default, almost all online accounts use password authentication, i.e. a one-factor authentication method. The problem with passwords is that they are easily hacked. A further problem is that many users still use one and the same password for all their accounts. While being a bit of a hassle, 2FA significantly increases security by asking for an additional authentication factor, thus making it much harder to hack an account.

What Exactly Is Two-Factor Authentication (2FA)

As mentioned in the introduction, 2FA is a login method. The two authentication factors can be one of the following:
  • Something you know, typically a password or the answer to a security question
  • Something you have, for example a security code sent to your mobile or an ATM card
  • Something you are, i.e. biometric data such as your fingerprints
Everyday examples where 2FA is employed are drawing money from the ATM (card + PIN), paying with a credit card (card + signature OR card + PIN OR card + security code), or entering a foreign country (passport + biometric data).
two-factor authentication

Why You Should Use It

Imagine someone hacked into your email account. What kind of information would they gain access to?
Here is an idea: user names of other accounts, passwords to other accounts, alternative email addresses, personal data, personal photos, scanned documents, information about your friends, family, and other contacts, credit card numbers, bank account numbers, insurance numbers, anything else?
Would this information potentially help them to hack into some of your other accounts, for example Facebook? And at how many places have you logged in using your Facebook or another social media account?
what is two-factor authentication
When you think about it, you will find that most of your online accounts are interlinked. Hacking one of them probably gives a smart person access to several other of your accounts. In other words, if someone manages to hack into one of your key accounts, your identity has practically been stolen and the potential consequences are madness.

Where You Should Use It

Ideally, you should use 2FA for all accounts where you store any type of personal information, as well as accounts that have payment information linked to them. This includes, but is not limited to:
  • email account/s
  • Facebook and similar social media accounts
  • online banking
  • online payment accounts
  • online shopping accounts
  • any type of cloud storage service
  • online gaming accounts
Unfortunately, not all online accounts or services offer 2FA or are clear about it. Often, it’s a matter of poking around their website to find additional security options.
two-factor authentication
Two key online services that do offer 2FA and for which you should definitely enable it are Facebook (login approvals) and Google (2-step verification). You can read more about their respective 2FA features here:


2FA is an indispensable security measure for your key online accounts, such as email, banking, or social networking. While two-factor authentication doesn’t mean your accounts are immune to attacks, it does make your accounts more resilient as a hacker needs to crack more than a simple password. Whether or not a second authentication factor is worth the hassle depends on the account and what type of information is stored in it.
Where are you using two-factor authentication and do you think it’s worth the hassle?
Additional Reading
How To Create A Security Question That No One Else Can Guess
How To Use Facebook Login Approvals & Code Generator [Android]
Get Secure: 5 Firefox Addons For Serious Password Management
Image credits: Fingerprint via Shutterstock, SIM Card and Lock via Shutterstock, Identity Theft via Shutterstock, Login Windows via Shutterstock

Flick Note: Jot Down Notes With Speed And Ease! [Android]

Flick Note: Jot Down Notes With Speed And Ease! [Android]:
flick note androidAs a writer, I need to be taking notes on a 24/7 basis. Notes just make it so easy to track my errands, duties, and obligations. If it weren’t for all the notes that I jot down, there would be an entire void of forgotten thoughts and lost ideas. How many thoughts have you lost because you couldn’t jot them down?
Note-taking apps on mobile devices are extremely helpful, especially in our age of fast information flow. Students can take notes from class and record their homework assignments. Employees can keep track of their tasks for the day. Designers can compile all of their design ideas. Grocery lists. Appointments. Future events.
Ever since I started using Android, Catch Notes has been my go-to app for taking notes. It has all the features that I need and a clean interface. But recently I stumbled upon Flick Note, a notes app from Teragadgets. Being a sucker for trying out new apps, I decided to give it a whirl and was pleasantly surprised.
flick note android
The interface for Flick Note is about what you’d expect from a notes app. When you open the program, you’re faced with a list of all the notes you have. The app generously starts you off with a note that describes how to use Flick Note to its fullest; in essence, it’s a README. Thankfully, it’s more helpful than most README files I’ve read.
What I like about Flick Note is that the first line of the note acts as the title–and Flick Note designates that by emboldening it. It’s a simple display choice, but I love it. The little details are what makes an app shine.
By swiping left and right, up and down, you can read different notes, create tags, filter by tags, change reading modes, and more. Not exactly the most intuitive way to navigate, but it’s super quick once you learn it.
jot down notes
Flick Note comes packed with standard features for a notes app, as well as a couple that are new. If you have a particular note that you think would be useful to share with others, you can through email, text message, Bluetooth, and more (these all require Internet or 3G/4G connections). But if you want to move the contents of a note to another app, you can do that, too.
One cool perk (though not entirely groundbreaking) is the Notes Info popup, which shows you a running count of the number of words and characters in the current note. For a writer, this would come in handy.
Flick Note has a lot of tablet features that I can’t enjoy because I’m running it on a smartphone. On a tablet, you can open multiple notes using a split-pane view that’s easily navigated using swiping gestures. With MultiMarkdown, you can instantly convert a note into HTML as you type.
jot down notes
When you rely on a single notes app for cataloging all of your words, you will eventually run into the problem of finding the right note that you’re looking for. For most, this issue is as easily solved as sorting. Flick Note doesn’t offer much in that area.
However, you can search through your notes database in two other ways: by tag and by word. Each note can be tagged with one or multiple tags, which can then be used as an organizer. You can also find all notes that contain a particular word or phrase using the “Search Notes” option.
jot down notes
The best feature of Flick Note is that it syncs directly with SimpleNote, a free online notes repository that is tied on an account basis. SimpleNote was the primary notes web app that I used before I found Catch Notes. If I’d known about Flick Note back then, I may not have switched.
flick note android
And lastly, Flick Note provides a lot of room for customization and change. How often do you want to keep your notes synced with your online account? Do you like adjusting fonts/colors/sizes to fit your personal preference? How about disabling/enabling certain aspects of the app that you just don’t ever use? You can do it all here.
Flick Note comes in two varieties: Free and Pro. The Pro version, called Flick Notes Key, will set you back $5 on Google Play and unlock the following features: widgets, to-do list style notes, and the removal of all ads. The Pro version is not a separate app; you are simply purchasing a key that unleashes the full potential of Flick Note.
In the end, Flick Note is a lighter and more streamlined version of Catch Notes. It feels smoother in certain areas but at the cost of having a smaller set of features. For SimpleNote users, Flick Note is the best Android app you’ll find (at least at the time of writing this review). If you don’t use SimpleNote, Flick Note is still worth a try.