Archive for November, 2012


November 23, 2012 5 comments

Extracted & Modified by S. Reza Merchant

Online Marketing Consultant & Trainer

Over 60 million American adults use search engines on a typical day. With over a trillion Web pages to search, just how effective are those millions of Internet users in finding information? According to IDC, a top provider of Internet research, at least 50% of the time, searchers are unable to find what they seek. Fortunately, by using the following top 10 search tips, you can greatly increase your chances of quickly and easily locating what you want on the Internet.

TIP 1: Choose the Right Search Tool or Technique If you looking for Web pages containing specific words or phrases, search engines, such as Google, provide a fast and efficient means of locating those pages. For a broader view of the information on the Internet, or when you are unfamiliar with a topic, you can use subject directories, such as the World Wide Web Virtual Library, to acquaint yourself with the field and select the most appropriate information resources. Sometimes your best approach is to intuitively guess at the name of the site that might hold the information you seek. Unfortunately, search engines, subject directories, and informed guesses cannot find the vast majority of Web pages on the Internet because they are stored in databases, inaccessible by conventional search tools and techniques. Instead, you must use specialty search resources to locate this hidden content. For an informative overview of search engines, subject directories, intuitive search, and specialty search resources, take a moment to view the entertaining video Searching the Internet – A Primer by Internet pioneer Marcus Zillman or his more in depth whitepaper on the subject at

TIP 2: Use Boolean Operators The biggest mistake a search engine user makes is to enter a single nondescript keyword. If you type “car” into Google and click the Google Search button, you will receive over 900 million search results! To narrow your search, start by adding more keywords. Adding the keywords battery dead after car will return less than a million search hits. To hone your search further, you will need to construct a complex query. A complex query uses Boolean operators to define the relationships among your keywords. Common Boolean operators include AND, OR, and NOT. The AND operator restricts your search results by telling the search engine to return only Web pages that contain all the specified keywords (e.g., car AND battery AND dead). It is unnecessary to use this Boolean operator in Google because, by default, it assumes any keywords or phrases you enter are connected by the AND operator. The OR operator let’s you expand your search by locating all the pages that contain a least one of the specified keywords (e.g., car OR automobile OR vehicle). The NOT operator, symbolized by the (-) minus sign in Google, causes the search engine to exclude pages that contain certain keywords (e.g., -buy). You can combine these operators to create a complex query that will locate the exact information you desire. For example, if you are looking for details about a dead car battery and you don’t want to be bothered with sales pitches, you could enter this complex query: car battery dead (-buy OR -purchase OR -sale). Google will return pages about dead car batteries, but exclude those with the words “buy, purchase, or sale,” thus, reducing the chances you will be pestered by sites attempting to sell you a new battery. To learn more about how to improve your searches with Boolean operators, check out Boolean Searching on the Internet and Google search basics.

TIP 3: Use Advanced Search Operators The major search engines, such as Google, offer advanced search operators that let you really zero in what you are looking for on the Internet. For example, in Google you can use the site: operator to search a particular Web site for information. Type health care crisis site: into Google and it will return a list of articles in that mention the health care crisis. Let’s assume that you have found an expert on the health care crisis in one of the articles you read at and now want to read more about subject by the same author. Simply type health care crisis author:Dr. Marc Nuwer into Google and you will receive more than 1,300 search results to choose from. Google offers many other powerful advanced search operators, such as location: to restrict a search to a particular country (e.g., health care crisis location:UK), info: to discover details about a site (e.g., info:, or link: to see who is linking to a site (e.g., link: To learn more about these advanced search operators, visit Google Guide Quick Reference: Google Advanced Operators, Yahoo! Meta Search Words, and Bing: Advanced Search Keywords.

TIP 4: Google is Not the Only Game in Town Although Google is by far and away the most popular search engine, no single search engine, not even Google, can cover even a fraction of the entire Internet. To perform a more comprehensive search of the Internet and, hence, increase your odds of finding additional useful information about a topic, be sure to use these other general purpose search engines: AllTheWeb, AltaVista, AOL Search, Ask, Bing, Hotbot, SurfWax, and Yahoo!

TIP 5: Use Metasearch Engines Since each search engine covers different portions of the Internet at different times, to perform a thorough search of the Internet, you should query as many search engines as possible. However, going to each search engine and repeatedly entering the same search query is both time consuming and tedious. Metasearch engines let you enter your query just once and then query multiple search engines simultaneously, returning a compilation of search results from all the search engines queried. The best metasearch engines eliminate duplicate results and even rank the results based on relevancy to your query. The potential time saved by using a metasearch engine is offset by the limitation that often the most popular search engines are not queried by a metasearch engine because of legal and fee issues. Thus, the most thorough search strategy is to employ metasearch engines in combination with the individual search engines (i.e., Google and Bing).

Resize windows to use the available free screen space

November 22, 2012 Leave a comment

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If there is one feature of Windows 7 that I make use of a lot it is the option to quickly snap windows to the left and right side of the screen so that both take up 50% of the screen estate. Sometimes things are not as simple, for instance if you want to display three or even more windows on the screen at the same time. While you can do all the resizing and positioning manually, you can also use a program like WinMaximumize to aid you in the task.

The program has not been designed to mimic Windows’ own show windows side by side feature which you can make use of with a right-click on the taskbar. Instead, it has been designed to maximize the screen estate of the selected window without interfering with other windows that are open. To be precise: it will maximize the active window using free screen estate only.

If space is available to expand the window horizontally or vertically, then this is what is going to happen when you use the shortcut the program makes available. The default shortcut is Ctrl-F1 which you can modify in the program settings. This may be necessary if a program of yours that you want to resize using the program has mapped that shortcut as well.

You will notice that the resizing shortcut sometimes does not work. The program is configured to block the resizing if windows overlap, but that can be easily disabled in the options so that you can always resize the windows even if they overlap.

The author has implemented a reverse shortcut into the application. When you hold down Shift in addition to the selected shortcut you will notice that the previous window position is restored.

The program may offer an interesting option for Windows users who often work with several open windows on the desktop at the same time that need to be resized frequently to use all the available screen estate. It is a lightweight program, but requires the Microsoft .Net Framework 3.5 on the system. You can configure the program to start with Windows.

How to recover data from a damaged docx, xlsx or pptx document

November 12, 2012 13 comments


Interrupted transfers, system crashes while editing documents or malware may corrupt Office documents on your system. When Office fails to open a document that it opened previously or supports, you know that something is not right. While you could try a program like File Repair to recover data from corrupt documents, you can alternatively try to fix the issue by yourself, provided that the damaged documents are stored in docx, pptx or xlsx format on your hard drive.

The following method won’t bring back the document in its original form. What you may be able to do however is to extract contents like text or media from the document.

Docx, xlsx and pptx files are archives that contain a number of files when extracted. We use this to our advantage to extract the contents of a damaged document to the system to see if the data we need to access is recoverable.

The easiest way to do that is when you have 7-Zip or a comparable archiving software installed on your system. If you do, all that needs to be done is to right-click the document and select 7-Zip > Extract to from the Windows Explorer context menu.

If you have another application installed or use the default Windows tool to extract archives you may need to rename the file extension of the document to .zip before you can extract the contents.

recover data damaged docx xlsx pptx documents

If the extraction is successful, you end up with a number of files and folders that you can browse. The important folders and files are:

  • word > document.xml which contains the text of the Word docx document
  • word > media which lists the media embedded in the Word document
  • xl > worksheets > sheet[X].xml which contains the spreadsheet data of sheet X
  • ppt > media which lists the media embedded in the PowerPoint presentation
  • ppt > slides which contains the data of each slide

You may want to explore the folder structure for additional data that you want to recover. Trying to extract the contents of a corrupt Office document is definitely worth a try before you use third party software to recover the data. Note that the manual option described in this tutorial works under all operating systems, not only Windows.

Filter Gmail email messages by size

November 10, 2012 1 comment

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If you need to find large attachments on Gmail quickly, you have a few options at your disposal. You can for instance use the Find Big Email service which automatically goes through all of your emails to sort them by size into groups. The program labels the emails accordingly so that you can quickly display all emails with attachments that are over a certain size.

While that is certainly handy, it means that you have to authorize the service for the operation, something that not all Gmail users may want to do considering that emails often contain important data that no one else should have access to.

Back then I explained how you can use a third party email program like Thunderbird to sort emails by size automatically, which is really helpful in this regard. While you need to install and configure the program first, you can display the sizes manually and without third party help.

There is however another option that you can use on Gmail’s website directly. The undocumented parameter size: enables you to display emails that are larger than the specified size. Use that together with a keyword, e.g. work, the name of a contact or an email address, and you have a filtering system that is easy to use and at the same time very efficient.

gmail sort by size

The size needs to be entered in bytes, a few examples are size:1000000 for files larger than 1 Megabyte, size:100000 for files larger than 100 Kilobyte or size:10000000 for attachments larger than 10 Megabyte. It is technically not fully correct, as one Megabyte is 1048576 Bytes, but that would make things more complicated as they should be. Just add keywords, email addresses or names to the search phrase to find the emails that you are looking for.

The size parameter can be really useful for a number of operations, for instance to delete large emails to free up space, or to locate a specific email that you know had a large attachment attached to it. (via TechSmog)


Microsoft to merge Messenger into Skype

November 9, 2012 10 comments

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Microsoft is slowly but steadily transforming the former voice over IP software Skype into the company’s main messaging platform that covers more than just making calls to other Skype users. One of the latest moves to realize that vision is the merging of Microsoft Messenger with Skype.

A recent Skype update started the transformation as Microsoft added options to Skype to sign in to the software with a Microsoft Account – former Windows Live account -instead of a Skype account. This in theory enabled all Messenger users to sign in to Skype with their Messenger account. Messenger users who sign in with their account will notice that all of their Messenger contacts are available in Skype.

merge messenger skype account

Microsoft confirmed today that the company’s Messenger will be retired in the first quarter of 2013 when it will be replaced by Skype. The only exception is China where the Messenger will still be available.

Our goal remains to deliver the best communications experience for everyone, everywhere. We want to focus our efforts on making things simpler for our users while continuously improving the overall experience. We will retire Messenger in all countries worldwide in the first quarter of 2013 (with the exception of mainland China where Messenger will continue to be available).

Microsoft notes that Messenger users will benefit from additional features that Skype makes available, including group video calling, sharing screens, instant messaging, broader device support and the option to call landlines and mobiles.

Once you have merged your Messenger account with Skype, you will notice that your Messenger buddy list is already synchronized with Skype and available under Contacts. A click on the All link under Contacts gives you the option to filter contacts by type, so that you can only display our Messenger contacts here, those who are online, from Facebook, or those from Skype.

Skype as it stands now is missing some of the features that Messenger is currently offering, for instance the ability to watch photos or Youtube videos together, or the option to change the font of the application. It is also not clear what Microsoft intends to do with Windows Messenger for Windows Phone 8 or Windows 8′s messaging application.


November 8, 2012 4 comments

Author: Awais Ahmad (

Bond Valuation:

The value of any Financial Asset (a stock, bond, lease etc.) is simply the Present Value of the cash flows the asset is expected to produce. For a standard coupon-bearing bond, the cash flows consist of interest payments during its life plus the amount borrowed (generally, the par value), when the bond matures. In case of zero coupon bonds, there are no interest payments, only the Face Value is considered as the cash flows produced by the bond.

A Bond’s Value (BV or VB); where i is the market rate of interest, n is the maturity time, CR is the Coupon Rate, INT is the amount of Coupon Payment (in $); can be calculated as:

Bonds may also have semiannual or quarterly payments. For such cases, the above equation can also be expressed in terms of number of times the payment is received in a year:

Graphical Representation of Bond:

Now we are going to represent Bond Valuation on Graph. We can understand the Graphical Representation by taking an example. Also, by reading this section, we prove a statement:

“If the Market Rate of Interest is greater than Coupon Rate, then Bond Value gradually increases with the passage of time, until it reaches to its Par Value on Maturity, and vice versa.”


We have to take two Market Rates, one greater than Coupon Rate, and the other will be smaller than Coupon Rate to prove this statement by calculating Bond Value for both cases. Suppose Bond Par Value be $1000, Coupon Rate 8%, Market Rate of Interest once 9% and 8% for second time. We take Maturity 20 years in order to deeply analyze bond behavior for both cases. Then we will calculate Bond Value year by year starting from 20 to 0. Par Value of bond will remain same overall the period. The following table shows Bond Value at the end of each year.

Column 1 shows Maturity Time. 2nd column shows Par Value, remaining same whole the period. 3rd column is showing Bond Valuation at Market Rate more than Coupon Rate and Last column is showing Bond Valuation at Market Rate less than Coupon Rate with their respective PVIFA and PVIF values. Now we draw Graph for the above Data and observe Bond Behavior for both cases.

From the Graphical Representation, it is clear that at Market Rate greater than Coupon Rate, Bond Value gradually increases with the maturity time, till it reaches to its Par Value at Maturity as highlighted with Red, but the case is reverse when Market Rate is less than Coupon Rate as highlighted with Green.


Financial Management – Theory & Practice by Eugene F. Brigham & Michael C. Ehrhardt

Investment Analysis and Portfolio Management Handouts and Lectures

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