Saturday, January 4, 2014

Great Free Glamour and Gossip News apps

I am posting on this blogger after quite some time because I was
busy playing around with my new Samsung Note 510. The one reason I bought a 8" tablet rather than a much more handy smart phone is because I wanted it  to double up as a reader. In particular I wanted to use it for keeping me up to date with e-versions of newspapers and magazines. Here are few gossip and glamour apps which I enjoyed the most and the best part is they are free. What's more they are all associated with very reputed magazines like Film fare, Vogue and Maxim.

Free Filmfare App
Filmfare has been the definitive magazine for all things bollywood for many years and my favorite magazine in the genre. So I was delighted to find that they have such a great free app with lots of content. Content is not just limited to text either. In addition to articles and interviews video feeds are also available and there quite a few topics that choose from at any given time. All in all a great free alternative to the actual hardcopy.

This is another one of my favorite free apps and predictably gives free access to the archives of the famous men's magazine Maxim. At first viewing this app may seem messy and unprofessional but after tinkering with it for a while you will realize its full potential and the amount of access it is providing you into the glamorous world of Maxim. One complaint is that the organization isn't great despite the clearly labelled Girls, Vices and tabs at the bottom of your screen and you will probably find more things by sheer chance. The ads can also get a bit annoying times as they kind of stick out like a sore thumb. But another great plus is behind the scenes and photo shoot videos that are available.

The final app I am going to discuss is the free app of the iconic fashion magazine Vogue. This is not as good as the others and mostly contains tidbits. Also the number of articles available are very limited. But looks like this is the best you are going to get out Vogue for free.
In this article I have discussed some of the best dedicated free apps of famous glamour and Gossip magazines.  In subsequent articles I plan to discuss apps which combines feeds from a number of sources for your reading and viewing pleasure. So check back for more suggestions.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Beginners Guide to Third Party Ad Networks

If you are looking to earn a small residual income from your blog then the easiest way to do so is by displaying third party ads on your pages. But, what exactly do I mean by a third party ad? Though huge organizations like Yahoo!, Youtube, FaceBook etc. can lure in advertisers on their own as a small time blogger you will be best advised to rely on an agency like Google Adsense which has 1000s of network ads from 100s of different advertisers which it will rotate amongst all the various sites and pages in their system. Such third party ad servers are mainly of 3 types and here's a quick look.

Cost Per Click ( CPC )
As the name suggests, CPC ad providers will pay you a share of the revenue they generate when a valid click is registered on one of their adblocks on your site. The keyword here is click. CPC ad networks are possibly the most popular and often the only alternative available to small publishers and bloggers.

Some popular CPC ad networks available to site with almost no requirement include: 
  1. Bidvertiser
  2. Taggify
  3. Chitika (before signing up be sure to read about the Chitika    Revenue Audit)

Cost Per Mile ( CPM )
Here the name is somewhat of a misnomer. What CPM or cost per mile basically means is the amount money paid to you for a specific number of page views (typically 1000). CPM ad providers usually restrict their service to large (over 100,000 views a month) and those who do serve ads to small publishers and bloggers usually offer very poor rates (around $1/1000 views) and will not be worth your while. Another issue with CPM ad providers is that sometimes they don't monetize traffic from all the countries. But the great benefit of CPM ads is they convert traffic directly into revenue without any worries about poor click through rates.

Some popular CPM ad networks include:
  1. Tribal Fusion
  2. Casale Media
  3. Burst Media
A Combination of CPC and CPM
Many sites also offer both CPC and CPM ads. This is how the system usually works: you get to fix  a CPM rate for your site. One or more advertisers may bid for that space in your website. But until anyone agrees to pay your minimum CPM rate you will be served (usually low paying) CPC ads called "network ads".

Some such sites are:
  1. Adbrite
  2. Adhitz
Other Kind of Ad networks
There are several other kinds of ad netwroks as well such as:
  1. In-line ad networks (Infolink, Konterra, Text Link Ads)
  2. Pop-up or pop-under and similar ad netwroks (Affinity)
  3. Ad networks which monetize outgoing links (Taggify, Link Bucks)

Sunday, December 16, 2012

How to Use Dropbox for File Synchronization?

The first question is of course what is Dropbox?Dropbox is one of the most popular file synchronization applications whereby you can both synchronize your documents (virtually anything) across several platforms and hardware as well as share it with anyone you wish through the internet.

How to use Dropbox?
To get started simply visit the Dropbox website and sign up for a free account. Also download their software and install on any hardware you wish to use it on. It will create a Dropbox folder on a location of your choice on your computer. Dropbox also has dedicated apps for Blackberry, iPhone, iPad and android.

Once, you have synced your Dropbox account with your Dropbox folder(s) you can simply put anything (text, photos, folders etc) in your Dropbox folder and it will show up on all your synced Dropbox folders and also your online Dropbox account. (But for this to work an internet connection is obviously necessary.)

Further, you can share all (or some) of the files in your Dropbox folder with friends and colleagues either by e-mail or by sharing an auto-generated link. Or invite Dropbox users to  a "shared folder" which will be synced the Dropbox accounts of all the concerned members and anyone can modify it and automatically share it with team mates. This is very useful for team projects that everyone encounters at school or work.

Using Dropbox you can also offer downloadable documents to people with a specified link but I am not entirely convinced just how safe it is to share this link with the public.

Dropbox Storage Space and Plans
You start with a free account at with 2GB space but can increase your space by an additional 875+MB by doing some very basic and also useful stuff such as taking a beginners' tour and syncing your dropbox account with Facebook and Twitter or by simply providing feedback.

Another way to expand your free storage space (upto a maximum of 18GB total) is by referring friends to dropbox. You get 500MB for every successful referal.

Dropbox also offers paid storage staring from 100GB at $9.99/month. Visit to find out more about this really great service.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Free Keyword Search Tools List

It is common knowledge that to get a good ranking in Google and generate decent traffic you must use the proper keywords on your posts. Easier said than done!And that is where keyword search tools come in handy. Though, most keyword suggestion tools charge at least $50 per month for the service there are a few keyword search tools which can help you perform some basic but still vital keyword research for your website.

Here is a list of a few keyword search tools which are definitely worth checking out, especially for the entry level blogger.

This is a very simple and basic keyword suggestion tool and quite hassle-free to use with no registration or even captcha requirement. Ubersuggest provides results in various languages and across several search verticals such as web, news, images etc. It also come with very handy cut paste options for "exporting" your keywords.

2. Wordtracker
Wordtracker is one of the most used keyword research tools and many other paid keyword research packages also uses some of its variations. The free version of this keyword tool not only suggests a HUGE amount of related keywords but also provides an estimate of the number of searches performed for each for  a better insight. Also there is a filter for adult keyword which may be particularly useful in some niches. However, to regularly use the Wordtracker tool you must sign up for a free account and there is a cap on the maximum keyword searches you can perform in a day.

3.SEOBook Keyword Suggestion Tool
SEOBook is one of the most complete keyword research packages that is still available for free. Not only do they provide you with a list of keywords with some Google insights to help you make better decisions but SEOBook also provides free courses for more effective keyword research, several other SEO tools and Firefox extensions and also some exclusive free trials for other keyword search tools. All you need to do is signup for a free account!

Apart from thse you can always use the free and highly reliable SEO and keyword research tools provided by Google such as Adwords Keyword tool, Google Trends, Google insights etc.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Mind Mapping with

A mind map of Reviews & Guides is a popular web based mind mapping application offering both free as well as paid plans.

You can use this very easy to use application to create clean and coherent mind maps such as the one shown along side (click image to enlarge).

Getting Started with
The best thing about creating mind maps with is the speed and simplicity with which you can go about it. Signing up is super easy with the only requirements being a username, e-mail and password. And you don't even need to confirm your ID!

Creating a Mind Map with
You start with a tab. From this tab you can create any number of child tabs and from each child yet more child tabs to create a tree. You can also create more independent tabs and connect them through arrows. You can choose the color as well as the text size. You may also include links in the bubbles (tabs). A simple drag  facility helps you to align the bubbles any which way you wish. You may also add labels to the lines joining the bubbles.

Exporting and Sharing Your Mind Map
Once your mind map is ready allows you to export it either as an HTML embed code or a simple link to your mind map. You can also download the mind map as a .jpg file as I have done in the mind map above. Or else you can simply save the mind map in your account. Account Options
Free account holders can save up to 3 mind maps but can create an unlimited number of mind maps.  Premium accounts are priced at $6 per month or $59 a year.

Ubersuggest : Free Keyword Suggestion Tool

Admittedly, to draw Google's attention towards your blog first and foremost you need plenty of  decent and niche content but to really go anywhere with your blog it is of utmost necessity that you pay due attention to SEO and optimize your content for at least the most popular search engines like Google Yahoo and Bing. 

One of the easiest way to get noticed is by choosing the proper keywords for your post. Alternately, after you decide upon the broad general topic you can do some quick keyword research and phrase your article accordingly.

Another reason why you should definitely do some keyword research before writing your article is because the CPC rates for Google Adsense (along with most other ad servers) depend heavily on the keywords associated with your content and since on an average less than 3% of the visitors to your blog actually click on a contextual 

But effective keyword research is quite a difficult and laborious process to master and it is more than likely that unless you are a hardcore pro blogger you will neither find the time nor the enthusiasm for extensive keyword research. In that case it is best to take the help of a simple keyword suggestion tool. While there are plenty of paid options it is perhaps best with a free alternative such as Ubersuggest
Ubersuggest Screen Shot. Redbox--language Bluebox--search vertical Grey Ellipse--search term
It is a very simple keyword suggestion tool where you simply need to type in a query and then select a language as well as a search field (such as images, news, recipe or web) and it will generate a list of relevant  and related keywords. You can choose as many of the suggested keywords as you want and Ubersuggest will create a list of the keywords which you can easily copy and paste in the "tags" field of your post. It's that simple and of course free!

However, its simplicity unavoidably leads to lack of features. Most notably Ubersuggest gives no hint as to the competition for each keyword as well as its CPC value. Another thing you must remember is that many blogging platforms (including Blogger) requires you to separate keywords by commas. Ubersuggest's listbuilder doesnot do that. So you must remember to enter the commas manually.

Overall Ubersuggest is a simple and fast way for newbie bloggers generate a handful of relevant keywords without having to wrack your brains. Nothing more nothing less.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Free and Easy Folder Encryption Software

Just thought I'd tell you about a free, easy and portable folder encryption software that I have been using for quite a few years now and am pretty satisfied with. It is called 1 Second  Folder Encryption and it really does not take much more than just a single second. And the best part is it is absolutely free!

It simply encrypts any folder on your system so that they cannot be viewed unless they are decrypted by the user. It is as simple  as downloading and installing the set up files and spending a couple of minutes getting familiar with the minimal and intuitive user interface.

Being a freeware however, it does have plenty of limitations:

  1. It only allows a single user, that is, there is only one master password to encrypt or decrypt all the folders on your system.
  2. The encrypted folders are neither hidden nor shredded, they are simply "locked" so that if someone tries to open he will simply get a system error message
  3. The interface though intuitive could have been made somewhat more efficient and user friendly.
  4. Last and most importantly the distributor refuses to take any responsibility in case of failure.
Overall, 1 Second Folder Encryption is ideally suited for those photos and videos and documents you'd rather other members of your family or friends not see, but trusting it with anything more sensitive may not be such a good idea.  
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