Friday, November 21, 2008

Editor's Review of Ad-Aware 2008 Free

Lavasoft Ad-Aware Free 2008 ferrets out harmful Trojans, rootkits and other spyware, along with privacy concerns such as tracking cookies, that may have wormed their way onto your PC.
The feature-limited free version doesn't offer real-time protection, and it will discover security or privacy threats only when you run a manual scan. But it should run happily alongside your existing antivirus (which likely has antispyware features of its own), and can offer an extra layer of protection for your PC.

Ad-Aware's free version also doesn't automatically update, so before you run a scan, be sure to click the Update button on the main program window get the latest spyware definitions. Then hit Scan Now to kick off your first scan.

You can choose between a 'smart' scan which focuses on critical parts of your PC, or a full scan that digs in everywhere. To create a custom scan that only checks particular locations, or to schedule a scan that runs automatically at certain times, you?ll need to upgrade to the paid Plus or Pro versions.

Ad-Aware Free helpfully separates scan results into critical objects that everyone will want to remove, such as Trojans and other harmful spyware, and privacy objects such as tracking cookies or document history that some people might not worry about. You can remove all discovered objects at once or individually.

You'll find one minor annoyance in the scan results. To find out what each individual cookie actually is, you?ll need to greatly expand the size of the column that names it. Otherwise there's far too much data on one line to see what's there. But that's more than offset by the ability to create a Windows System Restore point from within the software before you remove any objects, in case you accidentally remove something you wanted to keep.

In addition to scans, you can run a 'TrackSweep' capable of clearing browsing history, cache elements, cookies and other data from Internet Explorer, Firefox and Opera, though each browser has a similar built-in feature. You'll see additional options in the program for Ad-Watch, which actively monitors for threats, and other additional tools and plug-ins, but you'll need to upgrade to Plus or Pro for the extras. You'll also need to upgrade if you want tech support.
If you suspect you might have spyware on your machine that your current antivirus can't find, grab Ad-Aware Free and run a backup scan. It's an easy-to-use, albeit limited, extra layer of anti-spyware protection.
Read More Here at PCWorld

Monday, November 17, 2008

Yang to Step Down After Microsoft, Google Deals Fail

Yahoo! Inc. Chief Executive Officer Jerry Yang will step down amid mounting pressure from investors after he botched takeover talks with Microsoft Corp. and failed to broker an online advertising agreement with Google Inc.

Yang, 40, will stay on the board and remains CEO until Yahoo finds a replacement, the company said today. He took the top job at the 13-year-old Internet company in June 2007, promising to win back users and advertisers lost to market leader Google. Read More Here

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Google Quietly Patches Chrome

Google Inc. has patched Chrome to prevent attackers from stealing files from PCs running the open-source browser.

The update, however, has not been pushed out to most users yet.
Google quashed the bug in a developer-only version of Chrome that has not been sent to all users via the browser's update mechanism. Chrome users, however, can reset the browser to receive all updates, including the developer editions, with the Channel Chooser plug-in.

Chrome, which was released Tuesday, fixes a vulnerability that could be used by hackers to read files on a user's machine, then transfer them to their own malicious servers. "We now prevent local files from connecting to the network with XMLHttpRequest() and also prompt you to confirm a download if it is an HTML file," Mark Larson, Chrome's program manager, said in an entry to the browser's developer blog.

Google also enhanced Chrome by adding several new features to the build, including a bookmark manager, more granular control over the browser's built-in privacy mode and a revamped pop-up blocker.

Larson warned users, however, that Chrome continues to have problems synchronizing offline data using Gears, Google's platform for building Web applications that can be used offline as well as when the user is connected to the Internet. "Sites that use Gears to synchronize offline data may occasionally hang," Larson said. "You should disable offline access for sites until a fix is released."

Chrome also includes a newer version of V8, the name for Google's JavaScript interpreter.

The current "official" beta build of Chrome is
Google's browser accounted for only 0.74% of the browser usage share last month, according to data from Web metrics company Net Applications Inc.

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Sunday, November 9, 2008

Picasa 3 (beta) review

Did you go on a great vacation, and your point-and-shoot digital camera is chock-full of digital still images and maybe a few videos. How do you view them, how do you touch them up a bit, and share them with friends and family? For Windows users, Picasa has been a great way to do this for a while. Google's online offering is a stylish integrated image organizer, editor, and enhancer, with cutting-edge online galleries. And, what's more, it's a free service that competes favorably with others that you'd pay for.

Picasa is one of those unusual programs that are available for Windows and Linux, but not Mac OS. Mac users can, however, take advantage of Picasa Web Albums with an uploader program or an iPhoto plug-in. The installer is a small download of 7.5MB. The install does try to set your Internet Explorer default search to Google, so uncheck that if you're a big fan of Live Search's cashback rewards.

So if you are a photo buff or a wannabe, you should take the time to check out Picasa 3.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Google Adsense - Collected Tips, Tricks and Secrets

I’ve been reading a few forums and blogs about Google Adsense tips lately, and thought it would be helpful to consolidate as many as possible in one place without the comments. I’ve also thrown in a few tips of my own. We start out with some of the basic general stuff and move to the more specific topics later on.

Build an Empire?

When you’re deciding to become a website publisher you will fall into one of two broad categories:

•Publish 100 websites that each earn $1 a day profit
•Publish 1 website that earns $100 a day profit
The reality of it is, most people end up somewhere in between. Having 100 websites leaves you with maintenance, management and content issues. Having one website leaves you open to all sort of fluctuations (search engines algorithm’s, market trends, etc). You can adapt your plan on the way, but you’ll have an easier time if you start out going in the direction of where you want to end up.

General or Niche

You can build your website around general topics or niche ones. Generally speaking niche websites work better with adsense. First off the ad targeting is much better. Secondly as you have a narrow focus your writing naturally becomes more expert in nature. Hopefully this makes you more authority in your field.

If this is your first try at building an adsense website, make it about something you enjoy. It will make the process much easier and less painful to accomplish. You should however make sure that your topic has enough of an ad inventory and the payout is at a level you are comfortable with. You may love medieval folk dancing, but the pool of advertisers for that subject is very small (in fact it’s currently zero).

Once you’ve gotten the hang of how Adsense works on a website, you are going to want to dabble in some high paying keywords, you may even be tempted to buy a high paying keyword list. This does come with some dangers. First off the level of fraud is much higher on the big money terms. Secondly there is a distortion of the supply and demand relationship for these terms. Everyone wants ads on their website that make $35 or more a click, however the number of advertisers who are willing to pay that much is pretty limited. Additionally the competition for that traffic is going to be stiff. So, don’t try to run with the big dogs if you can’t keep up. If you have to ask if you’re a big dog, then chances are, you’re not. I have used a high dollar keywords report from and was pleased with my results (see cash keywords free offer recap).

New Sites, Files and Maintenance

When you’re building a new site don’t put adsense on it until it’s finished. In fact I’d go even farther and say don’t put adsense on it until you have built inbound links and started getting traffic. If you put up a website with “lorem ipsum” dummy or placeholder text, your adsense ads will almost certainly be off topic. This is often true for new files on existing websites, especially if the topic is new or different. It may take days or weeks for google’s media bot to come back to your page and get the ads properly targeted. TIP: If you start getting lots of traffic from a variety of IP’s you will speed this process up dramatically.

I like to build my sites using include files. I put the header, footer and navigation in common files. It makes it much easier to maintain and manage. I also like to put my adsense code in include files. If I want/need to change my adsense code, it’s only one file I have to work with. TIP: I also use programming to turn the adsense on or off. I can change one global variable to true or false and my adsense ads will appear or disappear.

Managing URL’s and channels

Adsense channels is one area where it’s really easy to go overboard with stats. You can set up URL channels to compare how one website is doing to another. You can also set up sub channels for each URL. If you wanted to you do something channels like this:

• - 728 banner
• - 336 block
• - text link
• - 728 banner
• - image banner
• - 336 block
• - 300 block

While this is great for testing and knowing who clicks where and why, it makes your reporting a little wonky. Your total number will always be correct but when you look at your reports with a channel break down things will get displayed multiple times and not add up to correct total. Makes things pretty confusing, so decide if you really need/want that level of reporting detail. TIP: At the very least you want to know what URL is generating the income so be sure to enter distinct URL channels.

Using Images

One of the latest ’secrets’ to make the rounds is using images placed directly above or below an adsense leaderboard. This has been used for a while but came out in a digital point forum thread where a member talked about quadrupling their CTR. Basically you set up the adsense code in a table with four images that line up directly with the ads. Whether or not this is deceptive is fuzzy and very subjective. Obviously four blinking arrows would be ‘enticing people to click’ and be against the adsense TOS. However placing pictures of 4 laptops over laptops ads isn’t, so use your best judgment here and look at it from the advertiser or Google’s perspective. If you have a question as to your implementation being ‘over the line’ write to adsense and ask them to take a look.

As far as using the images, I’ve done it and can tell you it definitely works. You get the best results when the images ‘complete the story the ads are telling’. For example if you have ads about apple pies, use pictures of freshly baked apple pies, instead of granny smith, Macintosh, pink lady, and braeburn apples. TIP: Don’t limit yourself to using images only on that size ad unit, it works just as well with the other sizes, like the 336 rectangle.

I got a little criticizm for this and rightly so, as I wasn’t specific as I could have been. Do not use very identifiable brand name or products for your images. Use generic non-specific stock images whenever possible and appropriate.

Multiple Ad Units

Another way to increase ad revenue is to use multiple ad units. According to Google’s TOS you are allowed to post up to three ad units per page. Similar to standard search results the highest paying ad units will be served first and the lowest being served last. If there is enough of an ad inventory, place all three ad units. However you should pay attention to the payouts. Current assumption is you get 60% of the revenue (on a $0.05 click you get $0.03). So if a click from the third ad unit is only paying between 3 to 5 cents you may want to omit it from your page. This is one are where giving your ad units channels does have value. If one ad unit is getting a higher percentage of click throughs you’ll want to make sure the highest paying ads are being served there. TIP:Use CSS positioning to get your highest paying ads serving in the location with the highest CTR.

Adsense in RSS

With the growth of blogs and RSS feeds you’re starting to see adsense included in the feeds now. IMHO this doesn’t work, and here’s why:

•You only get to place one ad unit.
•You have no control over finding the ’sweet spot’ for the ad unit.
•The ads are usually poorly targeted (this is getting better).
•People develop ‘banner blindness’.

I know people like being able to read full postings in their feed reader, and there are at least a dozen other reasons for full posts from pleasing your users to mobile offline computing, all of which are completely valid. However if your website depends on generating adsense revenue to survive, then bring them to the site and show them the ads there.

Affiliate Sites

Placing Adsense on affiliate sites is tricky. Are you giving up a $10, $20, or $30 sale for a $1 click? This is something you have to test on your own to figure out. If you aren’t converting now it’s definitely worth a try. I like to use adsense on my article pages. For example let’s say you had an affiliate website where you sold shoes. You’re going to need some related articles to ‘flesh out’ the site. Things like ‘getting a shoe shine’ or ‘finding a shoe repair shop’ these are excellent spots for adsense. While you won’t get rich, they will usually provide a small steady income and cover things like hosting costs.TIP: If you find you have pages getting more than 50 clicks per month add more pages about this topic, and link the pages together. Mine you logs for the search terms used.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Obama victory sparks cheers around the globe

PARIS – Barack Obama's election as America's first black president unleashed a renewed love for the United States after years of dwindling goodwill, and many said Wednesday that U.S. voters had blazed a trail that minorities elsewhere could follow.

People across Africa stayed up all night or woke before dawn to watch U.S. history being made, while the president of Kenya — where Obama's father was born — declared a public holiday.
In Indonesia, where Obama lived as child, hundreds of students at his former elementary school erupted in cheers when he was declared winner and poured into the courtyard where they hugged each other, danced in the rain and chanted "Obama! Obama!"

"Your victory has demonstrated that no person anywhere in the world should not dare to dream of wanting to change the world for a better place," South Africa's first black president, Nelson Mandela, said in a letter of congratulations to Obama.

Many expressed amazement and satisfaction that the United States could overcome centuries of racial strife and elect an African-American as president.

For complete story click here.

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