Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Google: Please Stop Raping GMail

I opened my browser and logged in to my GMail account and heard this odd music playing out of no where!

It was frustrating that I did not know where it came from, I could not stop it, and the browser tab kept freezing! And there on top, I noticed a new feature by Google called "Priority Inbox" and after a few times of refreshing the page, I got to click on it and turns out it had a video!

This is the 2nd time Google does this kind of stunt! It's irritating! You could have used the HTML5 version rather than the crappy flash one!!!

And since I'm ranting, I might as well take this off my chest: YOUR NEW USER INTERFACE IS BAD! And I'm not the only one complaining! And here is a list of comments written by users on Google's topic.

List of disadvantages to the new GMail interface:

  1. I hardly ever click on Contacts. I don't need to see it in my face all the  time!
  2. I don't use tasks. Why can't I hide it like the other labels?
  3. I liked "Compose" as a link more than it is as a button now. At least it was obvious that I could hold SHIFT while clicking the link to compose in a new window.
  4. The drop list. I despise the drop list! I can't express how much I hate it! Instead of a single click, now I have to click the drop list then choose an option! Why increase the effort to 2 clicks? Is this your idea of an optimized user interface?!
If you're having problems loading your GMail account, load the HTML interface: https://mail.google.com/mail/?ui=html&zy=a

Google: I'm disappointed.

Word Repetition Count and Highlight

Ever wanted something to count all the repeated words and highlight each word with a different color? No? Well I did!

I looked around but didn't find what I wanted so I wrote my own. A quick & dirty PHP script. It was a good waste of those extra 3 hours I had.

Script limitations/bugs:
  • All punctuation is removed
  • Some long words are not counted for some reason
  • The colors are random so some may not be pleasant
  • Sometimes it matches partial words sometimes it doesn't.
It's always good practice to sacrifice a Microsoftie before running/using the script, to make sure things run smooth. Depending on the kind of text, you may want to add Lawyers, Salesmen, Marketers and Apple Fanboys into the mix.

Script Types
I wrote 2 scripts: One for use for the command line (read from a text file and outputs to shell, which you could redirect to another file) and another for the web. You can modify the web one to make it check URLs directly, but I'm warning you: It'll massacre all kinds of styling and you'll need to do some extra work to make work properly.

You can [ab]use the script here: http://sectorx.org/word-highlight-web.php

The scripts are available freely for download & redistribution as long as the credits are retained. If you make enhancements to the scripts, I'd appreciate it if you send them back to me to add them to the others (with your credits retained of course).

What better demo is than to test it on cats and geeks? :D

Yes, I cheated by manually placing the text in the middle for a better screenshot. Spank me for being bad.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Khalid Al-Zanki: Out Of The Closet!

After much silence, Khalid has finally decided to ALMOST reply to our posts. Indirectly, too!

His post is cunning! He doesn't say what is covered: Is it the ebook? Is it the website? Is it the posts?
Either way, it clearly means that he's admitting using someone else's content, even if he paid for it.
(and for a change, he actually listed the sources of his quotations this time!)

I have heard of private label services where someone manufacturers a product for me to use under my own name, but what if that manufacturer made the same book/content and sold it to hundreds or thousands?
What if all what was changed is the book's cover? The content's title?

Also, as Bashar's post and mine show, he had copied and paraphrased content from various places. Did he pay to each & every website he copied from before posting? Or do all these websites copy from the same ebook?!

In my opinion, it's great that all he did was change some pictures & styling in the ebook, because it proved that he does not have the capacity to write his own content.
A copied About page, Terms of Service disclaimer, blog posts, and God knows what else! All of that to show that he has knowledge and knows what he's talking about.

Does he? Maybe.

I don't know about you, but I would not do any kind of business with a person who can't write his own content yet sells his services through it!

Khalid, you're welcome to reply back in comments or email and I promise you that I will not modify nor delete any of your comments, unlike how you deleted mine.

Update: I commented on Khalid's blog to thank him for confirming that the content wasn't his & asked him to comment back on my blog. He deleted my comments!!! AGAIN!
Notice the time: 8:07 PM. If you go to his post now you won't find the comments.

Also, it has come to my attention that he has posted his explanation post to make it clear to (and I quote): "most of Arabs in 3rd world are still confused with.."

I would like to see you keeping our comments on your blog to allow your followers, fans and visitors to see the other point of view of the story, rather than brainwashing them with your copy/paste talk.

Follow up postshttp://mbhtech.blogspot.com/search/label/khalid%20al-zanki

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Khalid Al-Zanki: Plagiarism, Fraud & Thievery

The scam artist Khalid Al-Zanki has been quiet on Twitter for the past 2 days since he was exposed. In fact, he switched his twitter account to private mode!

That's something odd for someone who's been boasting online for a very long time! But I'll continue with this post with more evidence of Khalid's theft and plagiarism.

In my previous post, I showed one of his posts and where he stole the content from. I had left him a comment on that same post but he deleted it and replied in a private email.

So he took the content from a book, and published it under his own name and claims that the publisher allows that. And that's funny, because if the publisher does allow that kind of thing (which I'm not sure of), it means both of them are scammers!

Now to another post of his titled: The Social Strategy.
This post wasn't completely copy/pasted but it was paraphrased from a website sponsored by the Australian Government: OnlineGrowthProgram.com.au

To another post of your favorite scammer: Why A Business Plan Is Important
This is a nice paste by Khalid. He did a great job as usual; the material this time is from: http://www.anesite.com/profitboostingstrategies.html

After all of this, I didn't really bother looking further. It's quite obvious that he's a professional paster and people, organizations and companies have paid him thousands for this great paste work, which they could have gotten for free from the web.

Follow up postshttp://mbhtech.blogspot.com/search/label/khalid%20al-zanki

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Khalid Al-Zanki: The Big Successful Fraud

Khalid Al-Zanki is an entrepreneur who thrives at utilizing online and social technologies to maximize a business's profits. He also does that while writing blog posts, quotes, and a book that he had stole from other people!

My good buddy Bashar wrote a post exposing Khalid Al-Zanki and his thievery. All with screenshots. Please do check Bashar's post as it has more details than you'll find here.

I have also took the initiative and did some quick search of my own, to discover even more rip offs and plagiarism by the amazing entrepreneur!

Before posting my findings, I have to explain why I'm joining this expose: It's OK for you to become an entrepreneur and grow a business, but it's not by stealing other people's intellectual property, thoughts and efforts and then claim them to be yours.
What I sincerely hate about Khalid is that he pushed his face unto TV shows, newspapers, online ads and worse held speeches for college students and major corporations.

1) Khalid's blog post: Market Strategies: http://www.alzanki.com/blog/internet-business/business-plan/market-strategies/
It dates to August 20th, 2010, while the source he ripped it off from dates to July 16th, 2008!
You can check the date of HTML pages by putting this line in the address bar after the page loads:

His other blog posts are mostly plagiarized. If not whole, each chunk from a place.

I don't know about you, but I wouldn't do business with a thief. And to those whom he fooled already, I hope from the bottom of my heart that you sue him, especially the Australian College of Kuwait (ACK) since he was brought over for workshops to your dear students.

Follow up postshttp://mbhtech.blogspot.com/search/label/khalid%20al-zanki

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Websites and Account Management: Threat to Privacy

It's astonishing how many websites are still using archaic methods in storing their users' personal information.

I did stumble across a few in the past but have no recollection of them now, pretty much because I never bothered using them ever again.

The latest encounter was a few minutes ago when I went  to ChangeThis.com to vote for a manifesto. It required registration and I did register, only to find an email from them containing my password in clear text!
I followed my suspicion and changed the password, then logged out, then clicked on "Forgot password" to have them email me the password, and there it was: They sent me the password in clear text rather than a randomly generated one!!!

Why is this an issue? Simply because should one day their website gets hijacked, all registered users' passwords are visible to the attackers and since it also holds their email addresses, the attackers can try each email & password to see if it logs in or not, then collect those that were successfully logged in and sell them to SPAM networks.

Another issue is having a rogue/snoopy employee at the website trying to login to emails using the clear password.

This method of storing password is absolutely unacceptable! Websites should store hashes of the passwords and not the passwords in clear text, and when the user requests a password reset, a randomly generated one should be created, saved & served to the user.