Internet Surfing using SMS updates – txtWeb

txtWeb is a ingenious service that links SMS and the internet. You can use SMS’s to get information on anything, get updates on anything and even access your social media accounts!

Think of txtWeb as a gateway to make searches on Google, get the latest sport, celebrities updates, check your train PNR status and do a lot more.

To use txtWeb, you’ll have to send command with the desired query to 9266592665 and you’ll get a SMS back with the response.

For example, if you send ‘@pnralert 4215364712‘, you’ll receive a SMS showing your PNR status. The app also updates you if your status gets updated.

Here is another example. You can search anything on Google or Wikipedia like so : ‘@okgoogle what is the time in Singapore‘ or ‘@wikipedia iPhone‘ and you will receive responses real quick.

txtWeb (1)

 

txtWeb (2)

To get cricket updates, you can use ‘@cricbuzz‘ or ‘@crinews

Do you use iReff? It’s an app that shows the recharge denominations for Indian mobile phones. iReff-txtWeb SMS app is available too! You can simply send a query with the command ‘@ref‘. For example, sending ‘@ref airtel SMS‘ will respond you with the list of available SMS packs in your circle.

Things to note :

  1. It is a free service but, you’ll be charged national SMS charges based on your mobile network scheme.
  2. It is available only for Airtel, Idea, Tata Docomo and Vodafone users.
  3. You have only 25 requests initially. If you wish to send more requests to txtWeb, you’ll have to answer a few survey-type questions.

txtWeb Android app

There is an Android app for the same. You can use the app both online and offline. Online usage is with 2G/3G data or WiFi connection, while the offline method uses your SMS plan to access the information.

Based on my experience, the user interface is not up to the expectations. But, the app doesn’t fail to deliver the results. It worked fast.

You can favorite services and use them quickly from the app.

Links: txtWeb website | txtWeb Android app

Online Tool to Help You Pronounce Names Correctly with Audio Files

The internet has brought the world closer. Today I have friends who are from different countries and different cultures. Usually with my friends in Europe or the US, I do not have any issues communicating with them, because English being a common language. But my name is not common and explaining someone how to exactly pronounce my name gets a little tedious.

Indian names often cannot be pronounced properly by people who speak only the English language. Pronouce Names is a online tool that helps users break down the names and also listen in to a audio file with the correct pronunciation.

Just search for a name you want to correctly pronounce. The result is usually with the name broken down into sounds.

Most names also have the option of listening to a audio file to listen to the name being pronounced correctly.

In case your name does not figure with an explanation and audio file, you can give the correct explanation and also submit a audio file. This way anyone can contribute to names being pronounced correctly.

Best part of this website is, it is also available as a mobile app on Android.:-)

I checked for similar pronunciations of names in Google Translate but they sounded a little robotic. Also Google translate does not always do a good job with names which can sometimes be pronounced differently in different places and both pronunciations are valid.

Try out Pronounce Names and drop in your comments.

Link: Pronounce Names | Android App

Single Login to Connect and Manage Dropbox, Google Drive and SkyDrive

There are many cloud storage options online like Dropbox, Google Drive, SkyDrive and more. I use Dropbox to backup my photos from my mobile and digital camera, while I use Google Drive to manage important documents and files.

Otixo is a great web app, that allows users to link up their cloud storage accounts from Dropbox, Google Drive and SkyDrive.

Otixo Features

  • Add you accounts from multiple services once you register.
  • The default free account allows your a monthly bandwidth of 2 GB.
  • Users can upload, download, preview, rename folders, create new folders all from the Otixo interface.
  • We can share documents with a single link, which can expire after 30 days. We can reduce the number of days the link stays active too.

I found Otixo quite useful but would love to see a mobile app for it rather than use from the browser.

Try out Otixo and let me know in your comments if you know of similar services to link up cloud storage on multiple accounts.

Link: Otixo

[Infographic] Tips on Reducing Your Email Load

Managing their email work load is a big problem for many professionals. Email is an essential tool for communicating but since most e-mails sent are often unnecessary or downright spam, it does have an adverse impact of the productivity of a professional. Surely, a programmer or blogger needs to spend as much time as possibly doing things that are of core importance, rather than handle correspondence.

Online IT Degree, has a nice infographic that shows how simply asking oneself the question “Do I need to send this email?” can work wonders.

The most important rule that can be followed to reduce emails, is the if you have a lot to say or discuss, use a phone call or even arrange an online chat, instead of a never ending email thread.

Are you troubled by email overload? Do let us know any tips you use to manage your emails.

Microsoft Says “Goodbye Hotmail, Hello Outlook”

Microsoft has replaced Hotmail with Outlook.com. Head over to Outlook.com and sign-up for a new account or sign-in with your existing Hotmail account.

The layout is new and different, with a focus on reducing spam and showing more relevant content.

Currently, it is in preview mode but soon Hotmail users will get prompted to make the move.

With Outlook.com, Microsoft has increased controls for managing newsletters, along with showing Twitter and Facebook updates within the layout itself. In other words it has recognized that a lot of personal communication happens on social networking more than email.

Outlook.com’ s Design and Features

The new service has a neat design and with 360 million accounts, this could be a good reboot for them. More importantly for Microsoft, keep them away from Gmail.

I am quite impressed with the design and layout of the new email service. Microsoft has really done some out of the box thinking for coming up with this design. The design is consistent with their metro-styled Windows 8 layout design.

The social integration allows users to chat with Facebook friends, look up photos shared by contacts, all from the mail box.

The compose layout has minimalism, which is actually a great idea as it ends up being a distraction free environment while writing an email.

With the promise of Skype being integrated in the future, it might undercut Google’s plans for pushing Google+ Hangouts on Gmail.

Finally Microsoft is doing away with its old legacy of Live IDs. They will be replaced by Microsoft Accounts. These accounts by the way can be used to log into any Windows 8 device.

Which email service do you use? If you are using Gmail, would you migrate to Outlook.com? Do drop in your comments.

Link: Outlook.com

Online Tool to Quickly Create Terms of Service for Your Website

Creating websites on WordPress and having your personal domain is get a lot more easier than before. But most users are not aware of creating a ‘Terms of Service’ policies. That is because we are not lawyers. TermsFeed is a online tool to create Terms of Services for your website within seconds.

Online Tool to Create Terms of Service

TermsFeeds Features

Just visit termsfeed.com and fill in the relevant details. The details are usually the name, address of your website along with the name of your company and country of residence.

A stock terms of service text is created. It is also prepared in HTML, so users can simple copy and paste it on their website.

If you like to check more automated TOS generators check of this list.

The stock text is good for blogs or basic personal websites. If you are carrying out other services which support e-commerce transactions, it is better to get TOS drawn up by a professional.

Try out TermsFeed and drop in your comments.

Link: TermsFeed

Complete Guide to Following London 2012 Olympics Online

At the time of writing this post the opening ceremony of the 2012 London Olympics is only a few hours away.
The summer Olympics take place every four years and the current edition seems to be the most connected games ever.

The official website for the event (london2012.com) is very resourceful for looking up quick updates and also buying tickets if you are in and around London during the games.

But there is more to the online presence of the Olympics than just the official website. So I thought of creating a quick guide on how to follow all the official apps, pages, social media profiles and more.

Watch Events from London Olympics Live

The official Olympic Channel on YouTube will be have a live feed from various events streamed. The events can be toggled for timings and date based on preferences like country and sport. For instance if I select “India” and “Hockey”, it shows me the all the dates of the hockey team’s matches.

Link: Official Olympic Channel on YouTube

Olympics on Social Networks

One might say we are currently living in the golden age of social media. Sports and social media are a perfect match, as it allows people to show their support, discuss, praise and even criticize the performances of their favourite athletes.

The official Facebook page for London 2012, has videos, photos and updates on various events. The page can be “Liked” or simply “Subscribed” into a feed list. This could be useful to follow the updates in a more organized manner.

Link: Olympics on Facebook

The official Twitter account for the Olympics can be followed, but it also has a events page dedicated to the Olympics, which will show you prominent tweets on Olympics from the world over. The events page is basically an official hashtag for the event.

Link: Olympics Twitter Account | Twitter’s Olympics Event Page

Google+ too has a official page for the London Olympics. The page has similar updates, photos and videos from the event. The advantage of using Google+ are Hangouts hosted with some famous athletes like Usain Bolt.

Link: Official Olympics Page on Google+

Official Mobile App for Olympics Results

Usually we do not bother to see in-depth analysis and news on a smart phone. But it surely is very handy to keep track of results of the various events.

There is a official results app for the Olympics on Android and iPhone.

Hopefully, this page equips you to follow the mega event online, over the next two weeks.

Do drop in your comments.

[Updated] Cooliris 3D Photo Wall is Available for iPad

Over two years ago, I was very impressed by the Cooliris photo wall browser extension for Chrome. It shows up your photos from various social media accounts in a layout that mimics a 3D wall.

The Cooliris Photo Gallery gives the impression of browsing in a 3D environment

Cooliris also has worked Gallery for Android app, which now has ended up being the current default photo gallery on Android. Cooliris is now targeting iPad and iPhone users with a shiny new photo viewing and sharing app.

Cooliris for iPhones / iPads

  • The app allows users to look through their photos on Facebook, iPad/iPhone photos and Instagram in their trademark 3D wall layout.
  • The photos can also be shared privately from the app.
  • The app allows unlimited and free photo uploads.
  • The web search for images is powered by Google Image search.

Video Demo of Cooliris on iPad

I loved the Cooliris 3D wall layout on my browser. But moving through it with the help of a mouse or keys is not as intuitive as it is with a tablet device like iPad.

If you are doing a lot of photo browsing and sharing from your iPads then Cooliris looks like a great app.

UPDATE: The 2.2 version of the app released recently also integrates with Google Drive. It also uses a new image recognition feature that works on Google Drive photos. It does not require users to manually tag the photos from Google Drive.

Link: Cooliris for iPad/iPhones

[Updated] GTalk is Down: Users Worldwide Facing Outage!

Google Talk for GTalk is currently facing a service outage. The service seems to be down for a lot of users from around the world.

As GTalk is part of Google Apps offering, it very rarely faces a downtime. Even if it does, it usually does not last for more than a few minutes. Today, it seems GTalk users have been having a problem for over a couple of hours.

According to Google’s App Status page, the service is facing a service outage over almost two hours now.

They are still investigating into the service outage but are not confirming a resolution. The next update is almost 30 minutes away from the time of writing this post.

Update: The service for Google Talk has been restored fully for everyone. The total downtime seems to have been almost 4 hours.

Automatically Import Your Links from Facebook and Twitter to Delicious

I like to share a lot of link to interesting articles, images and more on my Facebook and Twitter profiles. Delicious has introduced a new feature which allows users to import links from Facebook and Twitter to Delicious account.

Import Links from Facebook Twitter to Delicious

Import Links from Facebook and Twitter to Delicious

  • Log into your Delicious account. Now click on ‘Settings’ and then ‘Sources’. If you are signed in, just visit this link.
  • Here you will have option to add a source like Facebook or Twitter for links to be imported on Delicious.
  • Usually the default tag for such links is ‘from Facebook’ or ‘from Twitter’ but you can customize it.

Once that is done, you can wait for Delicious to import all your links. This is a great way to keep track of all the links you are sharing but have not essentially bookmarked them.

Do you use any other similar automated tools? Do drop in your comments.

Link: Delicious