Thursday, 20 December 2012

Though Google has officially discontinued the standard (free) edition of Google Apps, you can still sign-up for it for free using a simple workaround.

Google Apps is no longer free. If you wish to have a branded email address that reads like instead of, you will have to subscribe to the Business edition of Google Apps and that will cost you at least $50 per year.
You have options though. You can either configure your web domain with (for personalized email addresses) or, if you prefer the Gmail interface over Outlook, you can use the Mail Fetcher option inside Gmail to manage your Outlook emails from within Gmail.
Google Apps Free
You can still sign-up for Google Apps for Free using the App Engine route.

How to Get the Free Edition of Google Apps

Alternatively, here’s a quick and simple workaround that will still let you sign-up for the free edition of Google Apps even though Google has officially retired the free edition – all you need is a free Gmail or Google account.
  1. Go to, sign-in with your Google Account and create a new Application. You may fill in any dummy date and click the “Create Application” button.
  2. Open the “Dashboard” and on the next screen, click the link that says “Application Settings.”
  3. Scroll down a little (refer to the video tutorial) and choose “Add Domain” to associate a domain with your App Engine application.
  4. That’s it. Now you should see a special link* to sign-up for the free edition of Google Apps. You may either use your existing domain or buy one through Google Apps.
[*] You have to access this link through App Engine as Google Apps checks the HTTP Referrer information before serving up the sign-up page for the free edition of Google Apps.
Also, the Google App Engine website says that you only get a single-user Google Apps account when you sign-up through App Engine but in my testing, I could create additional users as well inside Google Apps.

Video Tutorial – Sign-up for Google Apps

This is a list of little-known but essential software utilities for Windows that are free, light-weight and add new and useful features to your computer.

Windows Software Utilities
Here are some of the most useful software utilities that you wish were part of standard Windows. These tools are free, light-weight and can be installed on all versions of Windows including the newer Window 8.
  1. Eraser – When you delete a file in Windows, the contents of the file can still be recovered using other utilities. Eraser lets you permanently delete a file making recovery nearly impossible.
  2. Unlocker – If you are trying to delete a file (or folder) but unable to do so because the “file is in use” by another program, just use Unlocker to end all the locking processes.
  3. ShellExView – As you install new programs, the contextual menu gets cluttered and confusing. With ShellExView, you can clean up the right-click menu and remove all the useless entries.
  4. Everything – Windows includes powerful desktop search capabilities but Everything goes one step further. It looks for files and folders irrespective of their location  (including temporary files and system folders) and you can also use regular expressions in your search queries.
  5. Always on Top – This tiny utility lets you easily keep any window on top of all other windows on your desktop. For instance, you can answer your emails, work on an Excel sheet while a YouTube video plays in the foreground.
  6. SyncToy – One of the most useful software utilities from Microsoft that lets you keep different folders in sync with each other. You can configure it with Windows Task Manager to run file synchronization jobs automatically at custom intervals.
  7. WinDirStat – Running out of space on Windows? WinDirStat helps you reclaim disk space by creating a visual treemap of your entire hard disk where the area of the colored rectangles is proportional to the size of the underlying folders.
  8. Double Killer – This is the only tool you need to get rid of all duplicate files on your computer including images and music files. It compares the file hash to identify duplicate files.
  9. TCPView – It will list all the software programs (or processes) on your computer that are accessing the Internet including the IP addresses that they are connecting to. Ignore all the columns except Process, Remote Address and State.
  10. Droplr – This is the easiest way to upload your desktop files onto the web. Droplr adds a new option to your Windows “Send to” menu and also places a drop zone on the desktop. Any files that you place in the drop zone are instantly upload and the public link is copied to the clipboard automatically.
  11. TinyGrab – Press a hotkey to grab a quick screenshot of anything that’s on your desktop screen and TinyGrab will put it online in a snap. The screen captures will stay online forever until you remove them.
  12. Mouse Borders – Another useful utility from Microsoft that lets you control multiple computers from the same keyboard and mouse. A better alternative to Synergy.
  13. KatMouse - You can scroll not-in-focus windows with the mouse wheel without selecting the window. Originally written for Windows 2000 but works in Windows 8 as well.
  14. Mouse Jiggler – You computer screen may enter the “sleep” mode if the mouse or the keyboard is not used for a certain period of time. Mouse Jiggler keeps your computer awake by “faking” mouse input thus letting you watch that entire movie from a distance.
  15. AltDrag - It lets you move and resize windows without reaching the borders of a window. Simply hold down the Alt key and then left-click to  drag the window or use right-click to resize the window.
  16. ClipX – When you copy anything to your Windows Clipboard, all the previous content is overridden. ClipX preserves the clipboard history and lets you access your previously copied items from the system tray.
  17. RBTray – Sometimes you want to hide windows instead of minimizing them to the Windows task bar. RBTray lets you minimize any window to the system tray by right clicking its minimize button.
  18. MiniBin - This puts the Recycle Bin right into your system tray so you don’t have to minimize all your desktop windows to access the Bin icon. You can also also empty the bin from the system tray.
  19. GearMage – Running out of space in your web inbox. Use the Gearmage utility to find and download email attachments that meet your search criteria to the local drive.
  20. MailStore – If you want offline access to your emails, use MailStore as it helps youdownload all your emails  on the computer or even a USB drive.
  21. MediaInfo - If an audio or video file refuses to play on your computer, chances are that the required codecs are missing on your system. MediaInfo will let you know what codecs are required to play the media file.
  22. DropIt – It is like an advanced file sorting utility that will help you automatically copy or move files into relevant folders based on their extensions, date and other criteria. In the case of music files, you may even sort them by artists or album names.
  23. Teracopy – It takes forever to copy or move files from one folder to another and if the operation is interrupted, you have to start from scratch. Teracopy improves the file copying speed and offers a detailed report in case of any errors.
  24. Soluto – It helps improve the boot-up time of your Windows PC by removing unnecessary programs from the start-up routine and also delaying the launch of certain programs.
  25. Sizer – It let you resize program windows to any fixed, predefined size. Quite handy when you are capturing screenshots for documentation and also forscreencasting.
  26. Background Switcher – It pull pictures from your Facebook, Instagram, RSS Feeds, Picasa, Google Images and uses them as rotating wallpaper backgrounds for your desktop.
  27. f.lux – It adjusts the color temperature of your display based on your local time (warm at night and bright during the day). It does this by calculating the sunrise and sunset times of your location.
  28. ZoomIt - It turns your desktop into a virtual whiteboard allowing your to draw /annotate anywhere on the screen using colored pens. An essential tool for presenters.
  29. LockBox – Put all your confidential files into a folder and then use the LockBox utility to completely hide that folder inside Windows Explorer.
  30. Safehouse Explorer – It is easy to misplace USB drives. Safehouse lets you quickly encrypt and password-protect data inside USB drives so others won’t be able to view your files and folders.

You can save web pages, images, PDFs, and other web content to your Google Drive with a simple click.

The Google Docs team has released a new Chrome add-on that will help you save full web pages to your Google Drive with a click.
You can choose to save web pages as HTML files, as Google Documents or as .mht files where the entire page (including the CSS and JavaScript) is packed into a single web archive file that can later be viewed inside Internet Explorer (and also Firefox).
Save to Google Drive

Send any Web File to Google Drive

This isn’t just limited to saving web page but works with other types of web content too.
For instance, you can right-click any image on a web page and save it to your online Google Drive account. The add-on can be configured to save a static screenshot image (PNG) of the current web page. It can also be used for saving audio, video, PDFs and even Office files from the Internet to Google Drive though it would fail if the size of the file exceeds 25 MB.
All files are saved in the root folder of Google Drive and there isn’t a way to change the default save location. Also, the add-on will initially save the web pages /images to your local computer and then uploads them to your Google Drive. They aren’t transferring stuff directly in the cloud.
You don’t however need the Google Drive app on your computer for this to work.

You can send a free fax to any fax machine (including international numbers) using your Google or Microsoft account.

If you don’t have a fax machine at hand, or if the cost of sending an international fax seems prohibitive, this should interest you.
Send Fax for Free
Send an online fax for free to any fax machine in the world
HelloFax, the online fax company, has recently partnered with Microsoft and now lets you send up to 50 pages per month to any fax machine in the world for free. All your need is a web browser and a Microsoft account (your Hotmail or Windows Live ID should also work).
To get started, go to and click the “Sign-up with Microsoft” link. Once your are signed in, just upload any document and put in a fax number (with country code) to send your first online fax. Once your fax has been successfully delivered, a copy of the outbound fax document will be automatically saved in your SkyDrive.
You can use HelloFax to send Word documents, PDFs, text files, images and several other popular formats. You can also pull in documents directly from your SkyDrive, Box, Dropbox, Evernote and Google Drive accounts for faxing.
Your free account will only help you send faxes to other numbers but in order to receive faxes, you’ll have to buy an incoming fax number that costs around $7.99 per month.
Update – If you don’t have a Microsoft account, go to use your Google Account to sign-up for HelloFax.  You will still get credit for sending up to  50 faxes per month for free for a maximum of 6 months.

The most useful iOS bookmarklets for your iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch with instructions on how to install them in your mobile Safari browser.

iOS Bookmarklets for iPhone and iPad
The Safari browser of your iOS device (iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch) doesn’t support extensions (or add-ons) but you can still add extra functionality to the mobile browser with the help of bookmarklets.
Bookmarklets, if you are new, are like regular bookmarks but instead of opening new websites, bookmarklets are often used to perform actions. For instance, you can shorten long URLs, translate web pages, find word meanings, save pages and more with a single click.

How to install iOS Bookmarklets in Safari?

In the case of a desktop browsers like Chrome or Firefox, you can simply drag the bookmarklet to the bookmarks toolbar but unfortunately, the Safari browser of your iOS device doesn’t support this style of installation. There’s however an easy workaround.
Just pick any iOS bookmarklet from the drop-down menu below and a bookmark the page in your iOS Safari browser.
Next, edit the saved bookmark and remove everything from the URL that’s before the # symbol. Click “Done” and your bookmarklet is now installed.

Safari Bookmarklets for iPhone, iPad & iPod Touch

ReadabilityThis provides a distraction – free reading environment on the web. The bookmarklet will remove all the clutter from web pages and what you get is a clean and comfortable reading view.
Translate to EnglishReading a page that’s not written in your native language? Click this bookmarklet and it will translate it to your language using Google Translate.
Shorten with Goo.glThis bookmarklet will create a short URL of the current page using
Download as PDFLets you download the current web page as a PDF file that you may attach as an email or read it offline.
Share on TumblrPost the content of the current page, be it an image, video, text or something else, to your Tumblr blog.
Share on FacebookShare any web page with your Facebook friends.
Share on TwitterLets you post the URL and title of the current page on to Twitter.
Send to InstapaperSave web pages directly to your Instapaper account with a click.
Add to PocketSave web pages to your Pocket account with a click. This was formerly known as Read Later bookmarklet.
Pin to PinterestGrab images from the current web page and pin them on to your Pinterest boards.
Google CacheIf a web page is offline, you can retrieve a copy from Google Cache.
Coral CacheIf you are unable to access a web page due to ISP filtering or because of any geo-restrictions, Coral Cache can fetch a copy for you.
QR CodeWhen you want to quickly send the URL of a page from your iPad to your iPhone or Android phone, simply useQR Codes (see alternatives)
Google BookmarksSave the current page to your Google Bookmarks.
Save on DeliciousDelicious is still quite a popular place for bookmarking web pages. If you are on delicious, use this bookmarklet to bookmark the current page.
Shorten with Bit.lyThis uses (or to create a short URL of the current web page.
Add to Amazon WishlistLets you add an item to your Amazon’s Wish List. You may even add items to the wish-list that are not listed on
Subscribe in Google ReaderSubscribe to a blog with Google Reader. The bookmarklet will automatically figure out the RSS feed of that blog.
Search SiteIf a website is missing a search box, you can use Google’s Site Search function to search for internal pages of that site.
Send to EvernoteSave pages to Evernote, an awesome note taking software.
Share on Google+With the Google +1 bookmarklet, you can share any web page or video to your Google Plus circles.
Scoop.itScoop It is a popular content curation tool and this iOS bookmarklet lets you curate any web page with a click.
Send to KindleSend the current web page to your Amazon Kindle and read it later.
Share It!You’ve previously seen sharing bookmarklets for Twitter, Facebook and Twitter but if you would like to share stuff on a different social sites – like Reddit, StumbleUpon, Hacker News, etc. – use this universal sharing bookmarklet (see alternatives).
Note: You may have noticed that a couple of really good bookmarklets – like the one that turns webpages into a whiteboard or the one that lets you edit web pages – are missing here and that’s because they do not work with the mobile Safari browser.

Microsoft Office 2013 is the new version of Microsoft Office that you can download and install on any Windows 7 or 8 computer.

Microsoft is expected to release a new version of Office, called Microsoft Office 2013 (or Office 15) early next year. The new Office, the release version of which is already available for download to MSDN and TechNet subscribers, sports a minimalist interface and, among other features, is very tightly integrated with SkyDrive.
If you aren’t an MSDN/Technet subscriber, you can still download and install Microsoft Office 2013 as long as your computer is running Windows 7 or Windows 8.
Microsoft Office 2013

Where can I download Microsoft Office 2013

Option A: You can go to and download the full-featured edition of Office 2013 that includes Word, PowerPoint, Excel, Outlook, OneNote, Publisher, and Microsoft Access (no Visio here). You can install this version on up to 5 PCs using your Microsoft account.
This is actually Microsoft Office 365 Home Premium Preview and what’s unique here is that you can get Office running on your computer within minutes of hitting the install button. This uses Microsoft’s Click-To-Run installation technology – you just have to download a 500KB installer and it “streams” the Microsoft Office applications to your computer.
The downside is that you have to install the entire Office package and second, this isn’t the final release of Office but a “preview” edition (version 15.0.4128.1025).
Option B: The other option is that you download the Microsoft Office 2013 installer from the Technet website (all you need is a Windows Live ID). Unlike the preview edition of Office, this one is the “final” Office Professional Plus 2013 release (version 15.0.4433.1506) that will continue to work for 60 days from the date of installation.
In order to install this version of Office, you’ll be required to download the full MSI installer (666 MB, OfficeProfessionalPlus_x86_en-us.img) but the advantage is that you can choose which Office programs should be installed on the computer.

Which Microsoft Office 2013 edition should I download?

Microsoft Office 2013 Pro is available as a 60-day trial while there’s no exact expiry date fixed for Office 365 Preview. Microsoft says that Office Preview will expire approximately 60 days after Office 2013 becomes available in that market. You will thus have more time to play with Office 2013 with the preview release.
Office 365 Preview can be installed alongside an older copy of Microsoft Office whereas in the case of Office 2013 Professional, it will override your existing installation.
One more thing. The Office 2013 preview release streams very quickly (click to run) and you don’t even have to be an administrator of your computer to install it. That’s not the case with Office 2013 Pro.
Microsoft hasn’t specified an exact release date for Microsoft Office 2013 but if you buy a licence of Microsoft Office 2010 now, you will get a free upgrade to Office 2013.

Not sure which places to see in a city? A simple Google search can list all the popular tourist attractions of any city or country.

If you are travelling to a new city, you can use Google to quickly discover all the tourist attractions and other interesting places to visit in and around that city. This includes historical monuments, museums, gardens, and other places popular among tourists.
The syntax for your Google query should be Things to do in City. You may also use this query with a country – like Things to do in India – and Google will offer you a visual list of the top places to see in that country. It works for continents too.
You may try a search for AgraZurichAustralia and Asia. Thanks John Mueller for the tip.
Points of Interest in a City
Things to Do in a City

You can make free international calls to landlines and mobile phones using Skype for a 30-day period. No string attached.

This holiday season, you can talk to your far-away relatives and friends to your heart’s content without having to worry about the phone bills. The @Skype team has just tweeted an offer that is too good to ignore.
Skype to Skype calls have always been free but you can now also use Skype to make free and unlimited voice calls to mobile phones and landlines for 30 days. In addition to phone calls, you can also have video calls with a group of 3-10 friends during the same offer period.
Free Skype Calls
To get started, use this special link to sign-in to your Skype account, enter your credit card or PayPal details (you won’t be charged) and complete the sign-up process. Once your Skype Premium service is activated, you can cancel your recurring subscription immediately while the premium services will continue to work for the entire 30-day period.
The fine print says that you can make free calls to landlines and mobile phones in Canada, Guam, Hong Kong S.A.R., Puerto Rico, Singapore, Thailand and United States.
The countries where you can call landline numbers for free include Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Chile, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, South Korea, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Russia, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, United Kingdom and Venezuela

Dropbox users can connect to a Shared Folder in Google Drive and vice-versa. You can also follow a shared folder by email and get updates as file attachments.
File hosting services like Dropbox and Google Drive have made it easy for anyone to distribute files through Shared Folders. You can upload a file to your shared folder and that file is instantly available to all other people with whom you have shared that folder. In the case of Google Drive, you can even create “public” shared folders where your files can be viewed by anyone on the web.
The problem is how do you keep people in the loop when you add new files to a shared folders. Also, the less tech-savvy crowd may still prefer to receive these shared files as email attachments instead of using Dropbox or Google Drive.
shared folders, a new web service from Wappolf, is trying to solve this problem in an interesting way. Here you can put your files on Google Drive or Dropbox as before and the files are instantly “beamed” to other users who are watching your shared folder.
To get started, you just have to connect any of your Dropbox or Google Drive folder with (it uses OAuth). The folder get a unique URL that others can use to follow your folder (see this sample folder).
The “followers” are unaware of the service that you are using to host your files and they may choose to “receive” them inside Google Drive, Dropbox, Evernote, SkyDrive, Box and other popular services. Alternatively, they may choose to follow your Shared Folder through email and in that case, they will get your files as email attachments.
The service is free though you are only allowed to beam files up to 25 MB in size. Most email programs won’t handle attachments that large anyway. Also, sharing is one way – if you delete a file from the shared folder, it won’t be deleted from the folders of other users.
Similar things can possibly be done through IFTTT but is super-easy and doesn’t even require you to create an account.