Free Link Popularity Site: Are You A Gorilla Or A Mere Contender?

Free Link Popularity Site: Are You A Gorilla Or A Mere Contender?If you’re wondering why your Website barely gets any traffic past the odd passing tuft of virtual tumbleweed, it may be time to pay a visit to the Link Popularity Checker at

The process is easy-peasy: simply start off by typing in your own URL and then add up to three comparisons sites – like, for example, your bitter business rivals.

You can then optionally select your business type to have your results displayed against a portfolio of similar outfits around the world.

Then it’s simply a case of entering the verification code, pressing ‘generate report’ and waiting a few seconds for the results to be scooped live off the Internet.

Free Link Popularity Site: Are You A Gorilla Or A Mere Contender?You’ll then be presented with a long list of results, colour coded from ‘limited presence’ (0-1,000 references) to ‘Contender’ (20,001-100,000) right up to dong-waving, ‘900lb Gorilla’ if your site has over half a million references in search engines.

The results are sorted into columns displaying returns from the main search engines and clicking on the numbers against your site will show you what pages are linking to your site.

Free Link Popularity Site: Are You A Gorilla Or A Mere Contender?There’s also the option to get a ‘trend/history’ report charting your Website’s link popularity over time.

Marketleap maintain that their link popularity check is “one of the best ways to quantifiably and independently measure your Website’s online awareness and overall visibility,” and say that the results compiled from the “total number of links or ‘votes’ that a search engine has found for your Website.”

Free Link Popularity Site: Are You A Gorilla Or A Mere Contender?We have to say we’ve found the results to be a tad variable at times, but the site is still a useful tool to find out who’s linking to your site and how you’re doing against both your rivals and the big boys of the Web.

Marketleap Link Popularity Checker

Google Serves Up SketchUp Freebie

Google Serves Up SketchUp FreebieBarely a month after buying up software developers @Last Software, Google have released a free version of their popular 3D-modelling application SketchUp.

Running on Windows 2000 and Windows XP Home and Professional editions (Mac users will have to wait), the free version of SketchUp is a cut down version of SketchUp Pro 5, a high-end, commercial product.

Google SketchUp is touted as an ‘easy-to-learn’ 3D modelling program, offering simple tools to let users create 3D models of houses, sheds, decks, home additions and whatever else takes their fancy – all drawn with dimensional accuracy.

To get 3D newbies up and running there’s thousands of pre-drawn components available to download, with video and self help tutorials available from within the program to explain what button does what.

Google Serves Up SketchUp FreebieDetails, textures and glass can also be added to models, which can then be uploaded onto Google Earth or shared with fellow modelling aficionados by posting them to the 3D Warehouse – a new site where SketchUp users can store, share and collaborate on designs.

Google SketchUp is free for personal use (no registration required) and the 20MB program files can be downloaded from here

3D Warehouse
Placing SketchUp models in Google Earth

Exilim Zoom EX-Z1000: Casio’s Ten Mpx Camera

Exilim Zoom EX-Z1000: Casio's Ten Mpx CameraWhen it comes to pixel-waving, Casio look set to kick sand in the face of their rivals with the announcement of their new EXILIM ZOOM EX-Z1000 camera, boasting a man-sized 10 megapixel sensor.

Despite its beefy credentials, the camera remains a pocketable chap, fitting a 3x zoom and a large and bright 2.8 inch, 230,400 pixel, widescreen LCD display into its slimline form factor.

Casio have made use of the extra screen real estate to offer new functions like simultaneous viewing of a wide angle and a telephoto shot, with onscreen icons simplifying the snapping process.

Exilim Zoom EX-Z1000: Casio's Ten Mpx CameraFor wobbly hands and low light shots, there’s Casio’s Anti Shake mode onboard backed by an ISO range extending all the way up to ISO 3200 (in BEST SHOT mode).

Casio are claiming that it’s a veritable Billy Whizz of a camera, with the ability to take a shot just 1.3 seconds after switching on and a shutter release lag time of approx 0.002 seconds. And that’s pretty nippy, folks.

For capturing those amusing ‘drunk mate falling in to the swimming pool’ holiday moments, there’s a Rapid Flash function which can grab up to three flash shots per second.

Exilim Zoom EX-Z1000: Casio's Ten Mpx CameraBattery life looks set to last a vacation too, with a claimed 360 shots per charge.

As ever, there’s more scenes than a Cecil B DeMille movie on offer, with no less than 34 scene modes available backed up by 37 different types of BEST SHOT sample images to ensure that users get the snap they’re after.

Movies can be taken in VGA size (640×480 pixels) at 25 frames per second (Motion JPEG) and there’s an Auto Macro mode for automatic switching between auto focus mode and macro mode.

Exilim Zoom EX-Z1000: Casio's Ten Mpx CameraThe EX-Z1000 is expected on the shelves in in mid-May, priced at around £380.

Resolution 10.1 million effective pixels for prints up to poster size
Zoom 3x optical zoom, 4x digital zoom (12x total when used in combination)
Recording Medium Built in internal flash memory (approx. 8.0MB recordable area)
Card slot for SD / MMC
Recording Mode Still image
Still image with audio
BESTSHOT (37 predefined scenarios)
Movie mode with audio
Voice recording
Monitor Super Bright 2.8″ widescreen digital LCD for outdoor viewing
High Speed Operation (EXILIM Engine) Direct-On function (approx. 1.3sec. start up, LCD and flash off) 0.002 sec. shutter release lag time (after focus lock)
High speed image playback (scroll 100 images in 10 secs.)
Input / Output Terminals Microphone
Input / Output Terminals Speaker
USB cradle with AV out
Power Proprietary SUPER LIFE rechargeable lithium-ion battery
Dimensions 92 x 58.4 x 22.4mm (W x H x D, excl. projections, thinnest point 19.9 mm)
Other High Power Flash for shooting further away from subjects
Rapid Flash for 3 flash photos per sec.
Soft Flash to prevent overexposure
Flash assist function
Icon help
Anti Shake DSP

Spam Filters Force Mark Steyn Into A Surprising Place

Spam Filters Force Mark Steyn Into A Surprising PlaceThe “Old Media” is still struggling with the idea of the Internet – and discovering that embarrassing mistakes can’t be swept under the carpet. On the Internet, insults are permanent, the Guardian has discovered.

And can it be that someone senior on the London Evening Standard has a soft spot for Mark Steyn? There has to be a reason why the paper’s Web site has unaccountably failed to repeat a story which reflected rather little credit on Steyn – or on the editorial production process at a rival newspaper, the Guardian.

The story that should have been printed was one about the blog of “internet cannibal” Kevin Underwood. It seems that Mr Underwood was a man in terminal spiritual melt-down, because not only did he eat people, but he also wanted to buy a copy of “The Vagina Monologues” from Amazon.

The story ran in the Guardian. It is still there, but if you read it, you’ll be puzzled indeed by a scathing attack on the story posted by Scott Burgess in his “meeja critic” blog. Burgess not only hates the way Brown wrote, but expresses himself baffled by a “laughable” error by Andrew Brown:

To quote Burgess: “Hilariously, Mr. Brown takes special care to note (brackets in original) that: ‘Underwood also kept a wish list on Amazon, which has now disappeared, but is reported to have contained The [Mark Steyn] Monologues’ – the [Mark Steyn] Monologues? What the heck is that?! Has Mr. Steyn been doing some work of which I’ve been unaware?”

Spam Filters Force Mark Steyn Into A Surprising PlaceRead the story as it is today on the Guardian web site; you’ll see that Burgess is quite right to point out that the book in question was, as the cannibal admits, “The Vagina Monologues.”

“How could Mr. Brown possibly have made such a laughable error?” stormed Burgess, asking “Is it simply due to his own sloppiness, or is there a macro installed on all Guardian computers that changes ‘Vagina’ into ‘Mark Steyn’, and vice versa? Both seem equally likely.”

The explanation is no secret. Tuesday, a week after the error, the Guardian printed a correction, both online and in the paper version. It tersely said: “The Vagina Monologues, which we intended to refer to in eBay, Manga and murder, page 2, G2, April 19, became, bizarrely, The [Mark Steyn] Monologues.”

How did it happen? The writer, Andrew Brown, explains that he sent the article on Underwood to the Guardian via email. Brown himself reports succinctly enough on what happened then:

“It got held up there by the spam filters — this seems to happen to my copy quite often — so I had to send another version with all the naughty words replaced by square-bracketed euphemisms. They all seemed clear enough to me, and all but one was obviously clear to the sub who did, however, let through the phrase “a copy of the [Mark Steyn] monologues”.

Spam Filters Force Mark Steyn Into A Surprising PlaceNo insult, obviously, was intended to the eminent writer, Steyn. But it looks like some people have got cold feet. Today’s London Evening Standard, early editions, reported that the Guardian had not covered itself with glory: “Great copytaking of our time,” it crowed in its Wednesday Media section; “Yesterday’s Guardian included the correction…” and quoted the correction, as given above, in full.

Two hours later, the “West End Final” edition of the Standard appeared. You can search it all you like, but you won’t find a reference to Steyn, nor to vaginas.

We’ll leave it to Private Eye to summarise it: see illustration – alas, a story which the satirical fortnightly had not managed to upload to its online edition by press time. But you can buy a copy at any London newsagent… And if, at the end of that, you’re still puzzled, you might like to read today’s Daily Mirror, on all the words beginning with the letter “C” which might apply to Tory Party leader, David Cameron.

And if you still don’t get it, you probably cant.

Agendus For Palm OS: Review (94%)

Agendus For Palm OS: Review (94%)Now rocking up to version 10, Agendus is a stable, featured-packed integrated PIM application for the Palm OS.

Bolting on a ton of extra functionality to the standard, built-in Contacts, Calendar, Memos and To Do applications on the Palm, Agendus offers a hugely flexible interface that can be tailored to suit the way you work.

Despite the power lurking under the hood, it’s easy to get up and running with Agendus, and compared to the complex and sometimes confusing interfaces of Pocket Informant on the Pocket PC, this program is miles ahead when it comes to usability.

Although it works on any Palm handheld, Agendus has been optimised for the Palm Treo‘s five way controller, making it easy to do most actions one-handed.

Unlike our experiences on the Pocket PC, the tight integration with the Palm’s hardware buttons meant that we rarely found ourselves reaching for the stylus when looking up diary dates, contacts, notes, or making calls.

Agendus For Palm OS: Review (94%)In fact, just about every element of the program seems intuitively thought out, with lots of nice touches reflecting the developer’s attention to detail.

Calendar view
The calendar offers a huge variety of attractive views, including a handy ‘Today’ screen showing user-customisable slots for meetings, tasks, calls, email, weather, quote of the day and ‘this day in history.

When it comes to inputting data, Agendus offers a positive cornucopia of ways of getting information on to your handheld.

Agendus For Palm OS: Review (94%)When adding a new appointment, for example, you can add invitees, assign categories, sketch a note, add a custom icon, add a voice message and photo – with all these options being accessible through a clear and concise interface.

And if you have to leave the office for the meeting, you can use Agendus to check the weather at your destination, look up a map and get directions.

Agendus also adds small weather forecast icons on the date bars for the forthcoming week ahead. Talking of icons, there’s also a built in icon-designer onboard so that you can create your own – loads of fun!

New for version 10 is a ‘contact networking’ feature, which allows you to link contacts together by identifying relationship types like assistant, coworker, friend, relative, and spouse.

Agendus For Palm OS: Review (94%)Multiple relationships can be assigned to the same contact and the list is customisable, so you could add new categories like, “Fellow Borg” or “Desperate Drinker.”

Contacts view
Contacts can be grouped, sorted and filtered using ‘commonalities’ like company, post code, city or your own custom combination.

A neat touch lets Treo users take a photo with the built in camera, crop it to size from within the app and then assign the photo to a contact.

Birthday reminders can also be set to start nagging you into gift buying mode before the day, and maps for contact addresses can be looked up via the Palm’s web browser or via the third party Mapopolis program.

Agendus For Palm OS: Review (94%)If you’re the type who quickly forgets who you met, contacts can be linked to events to build a contact history, exportable as a CSV file.

To Do view
Agendus really goes to town on the To Do interface, with its cool sounding ‘Time Matrix’ letting you sort tasks by urgency and importance as well as set alarms, attach icons, create voice recordings and append sketches.

You can also associate photos with tasks – so if you’re quaffing an ace new beer when you’re out on the town, you could snap a picture of the name on the pump and then attach it to a new To Do saying, “Urgent! Buy lots more of this stuff!”

Agendus For Palm OS: Review (94%)There’s also a basic project management interface onboard letting you organise complex tasks with hierarchical To Do items and set task ‘roll over’ status.

Memos view
We were really disappointed with the way that the Windows Mobile platform handles memos – something that the Palm has always done better, in our opinion – and Agendus has managed to put further distance between the two platforms.

The beefed-up memos app serves up a vast range of productivity-boosting memo options, including categories, contact linking, icon support, coloured text, voice memos, photo attachment and – of course – the ability to add a sketch.

Agendus For Palm OS: Review (94%)Conclusion
The whole point of carrying around a PIM is that you should be able to access and input information quickly on the move, and this is where Agendus steals a march on its rivals.

Using a Treo smartphone, we were able to easily move from app to app, check appointments, look up contacts and quickly make calls using just one hand – which meant we used the thing a lot more than our i-mate JAM which was a far more fiddly affair.

Smart, modern, fast and fun, Agendus represents astonishing value at $29.95 for the standard edition and $39.95 for the pro (see feature comparison here: Agendus Standard vs Agendus Pro) and it’s the best Personal Information Manager we’ve used on any platform.

It’s that good. Really.

Features: 95%
Ease of use: 90%
Value For Money: 90%
Overall: 94%

Iambic Agendus

PayPal Mobile: Buy Stuff From Your Phone

PayPal Mobile: Buy Stuff From Your PhonePayPal has announced that it’s wading into the world of mobile payments with the announcement of a new texting service, PayPal Mobile.

PayPal Mobile will let users send money, purchase items or donate to charities from their mobile devices and the Text to Buy service wil let impatient shippers grab goods by sending product codes via text message – so long as both buyer and seller are in the same country.

The eBay owned outfit will be launching the new service in the UK, Canada and the US over the course of the month, and any PayPal user who’s registered their mobile through their online account will be able to use the service.

The system uses ‘short codes’ – these are the five digit numbers you see on TV when you’re being invited to enter a competition or vote some ghastly E-list celeb off some equally ghastly reality show.

“With the overwhelming popularity of mobile phones, the time has never been better for the merging of ecommerce and wireless devices,” trumpeted PayPal President Jeff Jordan.

PayPal Mobile: Buy Stuff From Your Phone“PayPal already has more than 100 million accounts worldwide, and our customers have already entrusted their personal and financial information to PayPal. Now, making payments is as easy as sending a text message anytime, from anywhere for the millions of customers that prefer to use PayPal,” he continued, with a worrying amount of enthusiasm.

A company signed up to PayPal Mobile can place product codes on items for sales along with PayPal’s short code phone number. These can appear on their websites, on ebay or in magazines and TV ads.

Punters suitably salivated by the product and ready to get buying can then text the product code to PayPal to pay for their item.

Person to person
For cash transactions between people, users have to input the amount of money (don’t do this when drunk, folks!) and then add the recipient’s mobile number to the PayPal short code.

PayPal Mobile: Buy Stuff From Your PhoneAn automated system reads the received text and then calls the PayPal user back and prompts them to enter their PIN.

PayPal Mobile payments are backed by PayPal’s fraud prevention system and the system ensures that financial information is never shared with the recipient.

With financial information being stored on PayPal’s secure servers, and not on the phones themselves, the user’s PayPal account should remain secure even if the phone is ‘alf-inched.

Paypal Mobile

UK SMS Record In March 2006

SMS Usage Rises In The USIt’s with absolutely no surprise that news reaches us that the number of text (SMS) messages has reached a record high.

Initially you wouldn’t think that March would have any particular special reasons to get punters putting fingers to (small) keyboard and waxing lyrical, but frankly the number of mobile phone users compared with number of those that can have the ability to use SMS are no equal yet. As little Johnny persuade his grandma/mother/any elder relative that the only way they’re only way that they’re going to be able to communicate is via the keyboard she can hardly see, never mind type on to, the number of messages will go up.

The previously largest number of texts that were sent was 3.11Bn (yes, billion) which was in the far more likely month of December, as people cut corners and got lazy by sending xmas texts instead of bothering to make a card and send it to their ‘friends’.

March 2006 hit a profit-enhancing 3.19Bn messages, up a digit-bleeding 24% on the same period last year. The Mobile Data Association (MDA), who publish the figures, put it down to Mother’s Day, which, if true, is frankly a sad reflection on Uk society.

Kodak Announces World’s Smallest 10X Optical Zoom Digital Camera

Kodak Announces World's Smallest 10X Optical Zoom Digital CameraWith a triumphant beat of its kodachrome chest, Kodak has announced the world’s smallest 10x optical zoom camera, the 6-megapixel KODAK EASYSHARE V610 dual lens digital camera

The camera uses the innovative Kodak Retina Dual Lens technology to deliver a thumping 38 – 380 mm (35mm equiv.) zoom range in a trouser, nay underpants untroubling package, measuring just 4.4 x 2.2 x 0.9 inches.

Using the same twin lens technology seen in its earlier V570 model, the V610 comes with a large 2.8-inch, high-resolution (230,000 pixels) LCD screen and 28 megabytes (MB) of internal memory.

There’s also Bluetooth support onboard, making it easier for snappers to dish out their photos to nearby chums with PDAs, mobile phones and computers or to beam ’em off to Picture Kiosks.

Kodak Announces World's Smallest 10X Optical Zoom Digital CameraNaturally, this little fella shoots video – managing TV-quality (VGA) footage at 30 frames per second (fps) – saved out as MPEG-4 files with Kodak’s “video-specific image stabilisation technology” claiming to reduce that wobbly jelly camera effect.

Bathing in the warm glow of technological progress, Carolyn Walsh, Product Sales Director Digital at Kodak, hit PR overload: “Kodak innovation continues to make it easier for people to take and share better, sharper pictures. We’re creating cameras for the digital age, breaking traditional constraints by using multiple light paths, lenses and sensors; by incorporating wireless technologies; and by taking advantage of advanced digital processing algorithms.”

Also on board is Kodak’s ‘Perfect Touch Technology’ for boosting up duff, dull pics, a ‘Favourites’ mode for storing a hundred fave pics on a built-in album and a panorama stitching feature.

Kodak Announces World's Smallest 10X Optical Zoom Digital CameraWhen it comes to auto modes, Kodak haven’t held back with no less than twenty-two scene modes, three colour modes and a custom mode, along with selectable exposure metering, exposure compensation, focus zones, ISO, and single/continuous auto-focus for precise control.

And if you can’t manage to take a decent picture with that lot on board, perhaps you’d be better off with some crayons and paper.

The Kodak Easyshare V610 zoom digital camera will be available in the UK in May 2006 for around £350.

EasyShare V610 specifications
Sensor 6.1 million pixels total

2832 x 2128, 2832 x 1888 (3:2), 2304 x 1728, 2048 x 1536, 1200 x 900 (email)
Movie clips 640 x 480 @ 30fps, 320 x 240 @ 30fps up to 80mins depending on memory capacity
File formats JPEG (Exif 2.21), MPEG 4 with audio
Lens Schneider-Kreuznach C-Variogon Dual lens, 10x optical zoom, 38-114mm F3.9 – 4.4, 130-380mm F4.8
Digital zoom 4x
Focus TTL-AF, Multi-zone AF, Center spot AF, AF area modes, Single AF, Continuous AF
Focus distance Wide: 0.6m – infinity
Wide Macro: 0.05m – 0.7m
Tele: 1.6m – infinity
Tele Macro: 0.7m – 1.7m
Metering TTL-AE, Multi-pattern, Center weighted, Center spot
ISO sensitivity Auto (ISO 64-400), ISO 64, ISO 100, ISO 200, ISO 400, ISO 800
Exposure compensation +/- 2.0EV in 0.3EV steps
Exposure bracketing 0.5-8 sec
Shuttter speed 8-1/1200 sec
Aperture F3.9 – 4.4, F4.8
Scene modes Auto, Portrait, Panorama left-right, Panorama right-left, Sport, Landscape, Snow, Beach, Text, Fireworks, Flower, Manner/Museum, Self portrait, Party, Children, Backlight, Panning shot, Candlelight, Sunset, Custom
White balance Auto, Daylight, Tungsten, Fluorescent, Open shade
Self timer 10 sec, 2 sec, 2 picture
Continuous shooting 1.6 fps, max 8 images
Image parameters High Color, Natural Color, Low Color, Sepia, B&W
Flash Built-in, Auto, Off, Fill, Digital red-eye reduction
Range: Wide: ISO 280: 0.6m – 3.4m
Tele: ISO 400: 0.6m – 3.3m
Viewfinder No
LCD monitor 2.8-inch, 230,000 pixels
Connectivity Bluetooth 2.0 EDR, AV out, USB 2.0
Weight (no batt) 160 g (5.6 oz)
Dimensions 111 x 55.5 x 23.2 mm (4.4 x 2.2 x 0.9 in)


Bejeweled/2 Review: For Palm, Pocket PC and Windows Mobile (93%)

Bejeweled/2 Review: For Palm, Pocket PC and Windows Mobile (93%)So you’ve shelled out for your new smartphone/PDA and you’re ready to watch your productivity soar as you strut around with an office in your pocket.

With all that wireless connectivity, built-in Word compatibility and email/texting onboard, your new purchase is going to turn you into a lean, mean mobile-working machine.

And then some b*stard beams you Bejeweled.

Bejeweled is a ridiculously addictive game by PopCap Games, with two versions offering endless time-wasting potential for the easily distracted.

Bejeweled/2 Review: For Palm, Pocket PC and Windows Mobile (93%)Like most annoyingly compelling games, Bejeweled is dead simple to play and takes seconds to learn.

The gameplay is disarmingly straightforward: just tap adjacent pairs of coloured gems to swap them to make matching horizontal and vertical lines of three or more. And that’s just about it.

Bejeweled/2 Review: For Palm, Pocket PC and Windows Mobile (93%)In the original Bejeweled (available on Palm, Pocket PC and Windows Mobile) there’s an additional timed mode to add a frantic air to the gameplay, while its sequel, Bejeweled2 (available on Palm and Pocket PC), ramps up the bells and whistles offering four play modes, bonus play modes, explosive Power Gems, Hyper Cubes and Time Bombs and arcade-style noisy effects (which can be turned off).

On both versions, the graphics are smartly done, the interface is simple and the game ran as smoothly as a freshly-talcumed baby’s bottom on our Sony Clie TH55, Palm Treo and i-mate JAM test units.

Perhaps it’s because we’re a bit old school innit, but we preferred the no-nonsense simplicity of the original Bejeweled over the whizz bangery of the later version, but both games remain cunningly addictive. Install at your peril!

Bejeweled/2 Review: For Palm, Pocket PC and Windows Mobile (93%)You can download trial versions of both games from astraware, with prices ranging from $19.95 (£11.20, €16.2) to $14.95 (£8.40, €12.15) , depending on the platform.

There’s also a free basic web version of the game here, and a downloadable Deluxe version for the PC for $19.95.

Scores on the doors:
Bejeweled: 94%
Bejeweled2: 93%


Toshiba Dynabook TX FIFA World Cup Edition: Beyond Bling

Toshiba Dynabook TX FIFA World Cup Edition: Beyond BlingNow, we like gadgets. And shiny things. And we like football (well some of us).

So you’d think our hearts would go into pumpa-pumpa-palpitation overdrive when our eyes clocked Toshiba’s Dynabook 2006 FIFA WORLD CUP EDITION laptop.

What could be better than a beyond bling-tastic gold finished laptop proudly displaying all the dates, host countries and winners of the World Cup?!

Well, quite a lot of things, actually.

Whipping out a laptop looking like a solid ingot of 9 karat on the train wouldn’t just invite the curiosity of thieves; it positively sends them a personal, gilt-edged invite to purloin.

And, to be honest, we’d feel a bit of a prat if we whipped out this dazzling box’o’excess at a corporate meeting because, well, it looks rubbish.

But once away from the dazzling glare of the gold, there’s a very nice laptop lurking inside with Toshinba kitting out the Dynabook TX with a Duo Core T2300 (1.6Ghz) backed by 512MB of RAM.

Toshiba Dynabook TX FIFA World Cup Edition: Beyond BlingThere’s also ample storage on board in the shape of a 80GB SATA HDD, with a set of built-in Harman & Kardon speakers for playing back the roar of thousands of tanked up Taffies as Wales slam in the winning World Cup goal (well, we can dream).

In the meantime, we might try and get into the spirit of the Toshiba Dynabook by slapping a World Cup sticker and some gold Rolo packaging on the back of our laptops.

Toshiba [Japan]More