Published Date
01 - Jun - 2007
| Last Updated
01 - Jun - 2007

They're one company that won't even bother charging you for these services! Since the last Fast Tracks for Google were published, Google has added new products and updated some older ones. Let's go through some of the more useful ones and the things you ought to try.

Not too long ago, iGoogle was better known as Google Personalized Homepage. iGoogle lets you create a customised homepage that you can set as your browser's default page with all you want to see when you fire it up.

Add The Weather Gadget
One of the gadgets you can add to the iGoogle page is Weather, which gives you a forecast for the next few days, along with other information like wind speed and humidity.

The Weather gadget is usually on by default; if it isn't, click on Add Stuff. Here you'll find Calendar under the Popular section. Click on "Add it now". Go back to the iGoogle main page. Click the drop-down button under Weather, and click Edit Settings. Select India as the Country/Region and choose your city. Click Add and then Save.

The Weather Gudget in iGoogle

Change The Theme

Google recently added theme support for iGoogle. Google also gives you with a nice bunch of themes to choose from. Click on the "Select theme" link. Choose one of the themes and click Save. Certain themes change with the weather in your region, so you might have to enter your city name.

Move Gadgets Around
Gadgets can be moved around the page. This means you can have the more important gadgets on top and the less important ones below. Moving gadgets can be done by clicking the title bar of a gadget and dragging to its destination. The gadget will automatically dock alongside the other gadgets.

Make Your Own Gadgets
Google gives you a base to start off with your own little Gadgets. To add your own Gadgets, click on Add Stuff. Then, click on "Create your own gadget". You will come to a page with an option to choose between some seven presets.

Make your own Gudget from many available ones

Click on a preset suitable for the Gadget you're planning on making. Enter the information for that Gadget and click on "Preview gadget" to get an idea of what it will look like. If you're pleased with the results, click on "Create gadget".
Add A New Tab
If you reach a point when there are too many gadgets in your iGoogle page, you can choose to put the less important ones in a new tab. Click on the "Add a tab" link. You will be asked to enter a name for the tab. Once the tab is created, you can click on Add Stuff to add new Gadgets to that tab. You can also move Gadgets from one tab to another by clicking the title bar of the Gadget and dragging it into the tab name.

Add Feeds To iGoogle
iGoogle lets you do some basic feed reading as well. The steps are similar to adding Gadgets. Click on Add Stuff. Click on "Add by URL" next to the search button.

Enter a URL and click Add to add the feed

Enter the URL for the feed and click Add. Next, click on Close, and go to the main iGoogle Page. You will find the feed listing there. You can change the number of news items displayed by clicking on the drop-down and selecting "Edit settings". Use the drop-down to change the number of news items and click Save.

View Gadget Source
Anyone can view the source code for Gadgets. Click on the drop-down in the title bar of a Gadget and click "About this gadget". A new page with comments from users will be displayed. Click on the "View source" link to view the source for the Gadget. On the right panel, lists of similar gadgets are displayed for you to choose from.

Google Notebook

Export To Google Docs
When you're done doing research on the Internet and taking notes, you can export these notes to Google's own word processing service-Google Docs. To do this, click on Tools and then on "Export to Google Docs". Google docs will then open up a new document with the notes from the notebook-all formatted and everything.

Note-Taking From Firefox
Google has developed a plugin for Firefox that lets you access your Google notes. If you don't already have the Firefox plugin installed, a tip with the link to download the Firefox plugin will appear at the top of the screen, or you can visit notebook/download. Click the link in the tip and install the plugin. Restart Firefox, and you'll find an icon that will let you log in and access your Google Notebook.

Share Your Notebook
You can share your notes with others as a Web page. Click on "Sharing options". Under "Invite collaborators", enter the e-mail addresses of other users. Clicking the Yes button under "Publish this notebook" gives you a Web link you can send to your friends.

Enable "Note This"
The Firefox plugin for Google Notebook allows you to select text and add them to your Google notes, so you don't have to manually type all the notes or even copy-paste. Right-click the Open Notebook link at the bottom right of Firefox and click the "Enable Note this" button. To add notes, simply highlight text, right-click, and click "Note this (Google Notebook)", and the selected text will be put up as a note on Google Notebook.

Google Bookmarks

Easy Access Through Firefox
Most users can't imagine going to Google's Bookmark page and adding entries manually. Google has thought of everything and given you a toolbar that easily lets you add, edit, and remove bookmarks. Visit to get the toolbar. If you're a Firefox user, there's a link for it on the page. After installing the toolbar, click on the Bookmarks button and click on "Sign in" to access your Google bookmarks. Enter your username and password to log in. When you wish to bookmark a site, click on the Bookmarks button and "Bookmark this page" to add the page to your Google bookmarks.

Google Bookmarks On iGoogle
You can also put your bookmarks on iGoogle. First log in to Google Bookmarks, and you'll find a link-"get your bookmarks on your personalized homepage". Click on it and a page will be displayed with a button-"Add to Google". Clicking on it will take you to the iGoogle page, and the bookmarks will be displayed as a module.

The Google Bookmark Button
Those who don't wish to install the entire Google toolbar because you don't need all the features can choose to install only a single button that lets you add bookmarks to Google Bookmarks. Log in to Google bookmarks and click on the Bookmarks link. A bookmarklet named Google Bookmark will be displayed at the bottom of the screen. Drag and drop the button onto your bookmarks toolbar of your browser. To add bookmarks, click the button while visiting a site.

Google Co-op

Create Your Own Search Engine?
Google Co-op lets you create custom search engines where only selected sites will be searched. Log in to Google Co-op. Click on the "My search engines" link. Next, click on "Create a new search engine". Here you first need to enter the name, description, and keywords for the search engine. Enter the list of sites you want to search. Read first, and then click on "I have read and agree to the Terms of Service". Click Next. You can now preview to check if you get the right results. If you don't, you can go back one step and make the necessary changes. If the results are fine, click Finish. At this page, you can view statistics for the search engine, or choose to add the newly-created search engine to your iGoogle page.

Marking Sites
You can choose to mark sites that you come across to be included in the list of sites from the custom search engine. To do this, you require a button on your bookmark toolbar. Once you're logged in to Google Co-Op, click on the Google Marker link. Click and drag the Google Marker onto Firefox's Bookmarks toolbar. When on a site that you want to add to the list of your search engines, click the Google Marker button.

You can add a site to your  search  engine's  list

In the pop-up that appears, choose the search engine you want to include or exclude for the site. You can choose to only save a particular page. Once done, click Save to apply the changes.

Google Talk

Google Talk On iGoogle
GoogleTalk's gadget can be displayed on iGoogle. First log on to iGoogle. Click on Add Stuff, and then on the Communications link in the left sidebar. Click on the "Add it now" button under Google Talk. Go back to the iGoogle page and click on "Sign in". Enter your login and password, and the Google Talk Gadget will log in to the service.

Google Talk In The Sidebar
Those who wish not to run Google Talk's software client can use the Web-based client. Google's Gadget usually loads up as a separate pop-up window. With browsers that have sidebars, such as Firefox and Opera, you can have Google Talk load up inside them.

For Firefox Users
Firefox users can create a bookmark first by selecting Bookmarks > Organize Bookmarks. In this window, go to File > New Bookmark. Provide a suitable name, such as Google Talk. Enter the location as https://talkgadget. Finally, click the checkbox "Load this bookmark in the sidebar". Now click on Bookmarks > Google Talk (or whatever name you gave the bookmark). Google Talk will now open up in the Firefox sidebar. Click on "Sign in" and enter your username and password.

For Opera Users
Opera users can have Google Talk open in the sidebar in a similar manner. Click on Bookmarks > Manage Bookmarks. Click on the Add button, and then on "New bookmark". Give a suitable name and enter the address as Click OK, and the bookmark will be made. Press [F4] to show the Opera sidebar, and then drag the newly-created bookmark from the bookmark region to the sidebar. Click on the bookmark in the sidebar and Google Talk should load. Enter your login information if needed.

On The Google Sidebar
If you are a user of both Google Desktop and Google Talk's software client, you can have Google Talk dock into Google's sidebar. To do this, start both the software. Google Talk will automatically dock next to the sidebar but not in it. To get it to dock in the sidebar itself, click the ">>" icon in the Google Desktop sidebar.

Videos And Picasa Web Albums
Using the Web-based Google Talk, you can play YouTube, Google Video, and Picasa Web Albums in the chat window. Whenever you receive a YouTube or Google Video URL, you can choose to play it by clicking on Play. This loads the player within the chat window and plays the video. It's similar with Picasa Web Albums. When you receive or send a URL to an album on Picasa Web Albums, a preview window pops up with basic controls for moving to the next and previous images.

Using A Third-party Program
You don't have to use Google Talk's software client to use their service. Most instant messengers with Jabber support will work. Not all the features might work, but the basic chatting will. Some clients you can try are Miranda, Gaim, and Trillian. In whichever client you choose to use, create a Jabber account with the following details:

Username: Your username
Password: Your password
Port: 5222 (5223 if you use Miranda)
Login server:
TLS/SSL: On if available
Google Picasa Web Albums

Downloading Albums Directly
Google's free photo album hosting site and software allows users to directly download albums to Picasa, the image viewing and altering program. First download and install Picasa from

Go to the album of your choice. In the left pane, you will see a link that says "Download Album". Click it and Picasa will load up asking for a confirmation to download the album.

Upload Images Easily
Images can be uploaded to Picasa Web Album without having to manually upload each image using the Web interface. To do this, start Picasa and then sign into Picasa Web Albums by clicking on the link "Sign In to Web Albums" at the right top of the window. Enter your username and password and log in.

Choose the folder or album you want to upload, and click the "Web Album" button at the bottom of the Picasa window. You will be asked to enter information for the album-album title, descriptions, etc. Choose the resolution of the images before uploading; Picasa will resize the images if needed.

Choose whether you want to make the album open to the public or private. Click OK when done, and the images will be uploaded. You can check your album by visiting YOUR_USERNAME. The same URL can be sent to your friends.

Windows Mobile 

Windows Mobile is what all smart phone or PocketPC users use. Being a Microsoft product, users are on familiar territory. There are differences, though, when it comes to connecting wirelessly or syncing with desktop PCs. There are certain limitations that can be overcome by changing a few settings here and there.

Here are some tips to help optimise the way you use your device.

Change Views In IE
Having a compact portable device gives you a lot of flexibility, but they aren't without the handicaps. A small screen means you scroll horizontally a lot more because of the way pages are designed.

Internet Explorer has a single-column view that can be enabled by going to Menu > View > One Column. You can also choose to view Web pages in full-screen mode by clicking on Menu > View > Full Screen.

No Right-click?
Most newcomers to the mobile smart device spaces may be wondering how you right click with a stylus. It's easy; the trick is to tap the screen and not let go.

Set Wallpapers
Wallpapers help lighten up your computing environment-Pocket PCs and smartphones are no different. Go to Start > Pictures & Videos (or any location where images are stored). Open the image, click on Menu, and then on "Set as Today's Background".

Fix For FAT16 File Length
File lengths can be a problem in FAT16 and folders like My Documents cannot be displayed. The only fix is to use Windows to create the file name.

Use Transcriber And Hardware Keyboard
People can be confused by the types of recognisers. When typing long messages, its best to use the transcriber rather than the letter recogniser. Similarly, the hardware keyboard is better than using the soft keyboard on-screen. To switch to the transcriber, click the arrow next to the recogniser button; click on transcriber.

Switch Time To Digital
The clock in Windows Mobile can be switched between digital and analogue. To switch between the two modes, keep the stylus pressed on the time in the taskbar and you will be prompted with a choice between a digital and analogue clock.

Disable Word Completion
Word completion is enabled by default in Windows Mobile. Every time a user starts entering a word, Windows Mobile suggests the complete version. This can be a little irritating at times when you want to enter words which aren't in the dictionary. You can disable word completion by going to Start > Settings > Input > Word Completion. Uncheck the checkbox "Suggest words when entering text" to disable word completion. You can also alter other settings such as the timing of the word completion.

Disable Unnecessary Connections
As it is, portable devices are short on power. Using wireless connections means you'll be running short on power in no time. It is then important to disable wireless connections whenever they aren't required. To do this, start the Comm Manager by tapping its icon when on the Desktop. Disable Bluetooth and Wi-Fi by clicking their respective icons. Disabling vibration should also help conserve your batteries.

Control The Registry From Windows
When your mobile device is connected to a PC, you can use one of the many registry editors on your desktop. Mobile Registry Editor ( Blog/Utilities/2005/1/Mobile_Registry_Editor.aspx) is a good example.

If you want a Registry editor that runs on the device itself, you can use PHM Registry Editor ( Products/PocketPC/RegEdit). We'll be needing Registry editors for the next set of tips. (Note: Create a backup of your registry and proceed with caution!)

Back up your registry!

To create a backup using PHM Registry Editor, select Menu > Tools > Backup. Enter a location and the backup will be saved. We used Mobile Registry Editor to make changes to the Registry on the mobile device through the hardware link.

Change Location Of My Documents
By default, the My Documents folder is located on the onboard memory of your device, which cannot be removed. So the only way to access those documents is to use a cable and connect it to your Desktop. You can change the location at which your My Documents is stored to an

Change the path of the My Documents folder

external storage card. Browse to the key HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE > Software > Microsoft > Windows CE Services. Create a key FileSyncPath value to Storage CardMy Documents or any other location of your choice. Remember to create a folder on the storage card with the name "My Documents".

Change The IE Cache Location
Similar to changing the location of your My Documents folder location to a storage card, the contents of the Internet Explorer cache can be stored on the same card. This can give you extra space for the cache. To modify this setting you need to go to HKEY_CURRENT_USER > Software > Microsoft > Windows > CurrentVersion > Explorer > ShellFolders. Alter the values of

Change the IE temporary files location

WindowsProfilesGuestHistory WindowsProfilesGuestCookies WindowsProfilesGuestTemporary Internet Files to the new locations, for example,  Storage CardInternet Explorer 6 (History, Cookies, Temporary Internet Files)

Improve The Camera's Frame Rate
The frame rate of the camera on your device is limited to around 10 fps. You can take the frame rate up to around 19 fps, which will result in smoother videos. To do this, browse to the key HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE > Software > HTC > Camera > RecParam > MP4Large. You can choose

You can change the frame rate of the camera

MP4Medium or MP4Small for the other resolutions. Change the value of FrameRate to 19 or any frame rate in between.

Alter Battery Low Warning
When the battery charge level reaches around 10 per cent, your pocket device starts alerting you. To be able to alter any settings or the way you are alerted, start the Registry Editor and browse to HKEY_CURRENT_USER > ControlPanel > Notifications > {A877D663-239C-47a7-9304-0D347F580408}. Create a new string "Default". Change its value: Default="Low battery warning". Now go to Settings > Personal > Sounds & Notifications. Tap on Notifications. Under the Even drop-down menu, click on "Low battery warning", and you can set a range of alerts.

Disable 3GP Video Recording Limitation
3GP video recordings are limited to a particular size. This limitation can be removed by changing a setting in the Registry. Browse to HKEY_LOCAL_ MACHINE > Software > HTC > Camera > AppDefSettings > P3 > EnableLimit. Making the value 0 will disable the limit. Making it 1 again will enforce the limit.

Enable Time In All Applications
The time on the Taskbar can be displayed on the Today window or across all applications. This can be enabled by going to Start > Settings > System > Clock & Alarms. Uncheck the box to disable it, and check it to enable the displaying of time in all applications.

Closing Applications
When you click the OK button in Windows Mobile, it really doesn't shut the program, but in a way makes it inactive. To really shut the program down, go to Start > Settings > System > Memory > Running Programs. Here, you will see the list of programs running. You can choose to shut all of them or select a few individual ones. Clicking a particular program and tapping Activate will make the program active and display it on screen.

Internet Explorer 6?
You can identify your Pocket Internet Explorer as Internet Explorer 6 to sites on the Internet to give you the non-mobile versions.
Browse to HKEY_LOCAL_ MACHINE > SOFTWARE > Microsoft > Windows > CurrentVersion > Internet Settings > 5.0 > User Agent. Change the value of Default from Mozilla/2.0 to Mozilla/4.0. Next change the value of Version from MSIE 3.02 to MSIE 6.0. Finally change the value of Platform from Windows CE to Windows NT 5.1.

 Improve Performance
You can get some additional performance from your devices by changing the cache size.

Browse to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE > System > StorageManager > FATFS. Change the value of CacheSize from 0 to 4096. Make sure EnableCache has its value set to 1. In HKEY_LOCAL_ MACHINE > System > Filters > fsreplxfilt, set the value of ReplStoreCacheSize to 4096. A soft reset will be required after this.

Disable Menu Animations
You can do this to cut down on reaction time. Browse to HKEY_LOCAL_ MACHINE > System > GWE > Menu. Change the value of AniType from 6 to 0 to completely disable menu animation.

Scrolling In IE
Using a stylus to scroll can be cumbersome over long periods. Using the navigation buttons is relatively comfortable. Navigate to HKEY_LOCAL_ MACHINE > SOFTWARE > Microsoft > Internet Explorer > Navigation. Change the value of 4-Way Nav from 1 to 0.

Change The Operator Logo
To change the graphical logo of the phone provider to one of your choice, create a GIF file and place it in the WINDOWS folder with the name Carrierlogo.gif. The resolution of the image should be around 120x20 to avoid stretching or deformation.

Modify Scrollbar Thickness
A compact device such as a pocket PC or smartphone only has so much space it can spare, so reducing the thickness of scrollbars can help get a little more workspace. Start your Registry Editor and make your way to HKEY_LOCAL_ MACHINE > System > GWE. Alter the values of cyHScr (horizontal scrollbar) and cxVScr (vertical scrollbar) to the size of your choice.

Similarly, you can also change the size of the scrollbar arrow buttons. Browse to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE > System > GWE. Change the values of cyVScr (the horizon scrollbar button) and cxHScr (the vertical scrollbar button) to a smaller size.
Keypad Backlight Timing
In devices with keypads, a backlight automatically turns on if it is used. The time the light remains on can be changed by going to  HKEY_ CURRENT_USER > ControlPanel > Backlight. The default value of QKeyLedTimeout is 6; change it to the time you want the backlight to stay on.

Where To Install?
By default, Windows Mobile installs programs on the local memory. If you wish to be able to specify where the program is to be installed, using the Registry Editor, go to HKEY_CLASSES_ ROOT > cabfile > Shell > Open > Command. Alter the value of "Defaut" to wceload.exe "%1" /askdest.

By removing the /nodelete parameter, Windows Mobile will delete the cab after being installed.


WinRAR has become everybody's favourite data compression tool mainly because of its support for many formats. WinZip and PowerArchiver have lost their charm as well: WinRAR stands out as a clean no-nonsense compression solution. We take a tour of some features you would normally not use.
Enable Explorer-like Folder View
WinRAR normally shows up a single pane view with the files and folders you last visited. There is no option to access your Desktop or any network shares. To gain access to them, you can choose to enable the two-pane view similar to that in Windows Explorer. Go to Options > Folder Tree > Show folder tree. To show all file details, you can click on Options > File List > Detail.

Get Compression Prognosis
Say you have a big file or a folder you want to compress, and you have no clue how long it will take or how much compression will actually take place. To get this rough idea, you can browse in WinRAR to the folder you plan to compress.

WinRAR can tell you how long compresion will take, and compression degree

Right click on the folder and click Show Information. Under the Info tab, click on the Estimate button in the Compression prognosis section to get the information.

Customise Toolbar And Add Themes
WinRAR's toolbars can be customised to look a lot more attractive. First, there are skins you can download from To install a theme, click on the Options menu bar and then on Themes > Organize Themes. Click on the Add button and select the downloaded theme. Then click on Options > Theme and choose the newly added theme.

You can choose to add some more buttons or remove unused ones by right-clicking on the toolbar and clicking on Select Buttons.

Use WinRAR To Split Files
WinRAR does more than just compress data. It can be used to split up big files so they fit on multiple CDs for mailing purposes. Choose a file or folder you want to split and choose to compress it by right-clicking
on it, and clicking "Add files to archive". Click on the drop-down menu for "Split to volumes, bytes". Enter a value in KB or MB-or choose from one of the presets-and click OK.

Make An SFX
Many a time, you end up sending files to people who don't use WinRAR or any compression tool for that matter. In such cases, it's best to convert your file to a self-extracting archive. Click on an existing archive and click on Tools > Convert archive to SFX. Choose one of the modules and click OK. A self-extracting archive will be created in the same folder. You can also create a SFX while compressing a file or folder by clicking on the Create SFX Archive checkbox.

Create A Basic Installer Using WinRAR
Creating self-extracting archives gives you the option to create your own little installer which uncompress an entire program to a set location. You can also choose to execute a program before or after the decompression process. Start by clicking on the folder you want to install, and click Add Files to archive. Check the "Create SFX archive" box. Click on the Advanced tab and then on "SFX options". Here you can enter the path you want the installer to unzip the files to, and whether you want the
folder created in Program files or some other folder. You'll find many other options here to customise the installer, such as adding shortcuts or licensing information.

Additional Splitting Sizes
During the compressing and splitting process, you can choose from the presets what size you want your archives to be split. Additional presets can be added by clicking on Options > Settings. Click on the Compression tab and click the Define volume sizes button. You can check the boxes not checked to add those volume presets. 

At the same time, you can add your own presets under the "User defined sizes" section.

Compress And Mail
A feature called Compress and mail, which lets you directly compress a folder and e-mail it to anyone, is normally hidden. You can make it visible by clicking on the Options menu and then on Settings. Click on the Integration tab and then the Context menu items. Here, check the checkboxes for "Compress and mail" and "Compress to <archive name> and mail".

Change The Temp Folder
By default, the temporary files created by WinRAR are stored in the C:Documents and SettingsUSERNAME Local SettingsTemp folder. If you are short on space on your Windows partition, you might want to move your temporary folder elsewhere.

Click on Options > Settings, and then on the Paths tab. Click the "Choose Folder for temporary files" section and select a path of your choice.

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