Top 25 Free People Search Engines to Find Anyone

1. 123 People (great for searching for people around the world)

What does it do: 123People searches through many social networks (like Facebook, Hi5, MySpace, Bebo, Friendster) forums, Wikipedia and other communities to see if the person you’re looking for is a registered member there. You can also enter additional details to narrow your search by city, zip code, country and so on.

2. Wink

What does it do: Wink is in my top 3 list for the best people search engines. It searches over 800 million social network profiles via name, age, email address and so on. You can keep the contacts in one place via their interface.

3. MyLife

What does it do: MyLife is free to register, free to search (it has several excellent options to search by name and email) but not so free if you want to get the actual details. I’ve included MyLife in this list because it has some excellent free features (not so easy to discover) I’ve covered in this article, so I highly recommend you take a look here before using this website or eventually purchasing some of their services. Continue reading

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Basic CSS3 Techniques That You Should Know

After 13 years of being a vital part of web designs, Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) has evolved into a powerful tool, allowing you to develop more efficient and better-looking sites. Many of the new features in the latest CSS revision (CSS3) are rich and take the quality of our designs to the next level.

Basic Techniques That You Need to Know About CSS3

We’ll be looking at a few of the essential things you need to know about CSS3. With all of these new features, it’s important to place emphasis on the most important ones to get you up to speed. Even though only the most modern of web browsers (Safari, Mozilla, Opera) currently (partially or fully) support CSS3 specs, it’s an exciting time for those who like to experiment!

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Basics of Hacking

The hacker attitude is vital, but skills are even more vital. Attitude is no substitute for competence, and there’s a certain basic toolkit of skills which you have to have before any hacker will dream of calling you one.

This toolkit changes slowly over time as technology creates new skills and makes old ones obsolete. For example, it used to include programming in machine language, and didn’t until recently involve HTML. But right now it pretty clearly includes the following:

1. Learn how to program.

This, of course, is the fundamental hacking skill. If you don’t know any computer languages, I recommend starting with Python. It is cleanly designed, well documented, and relatively kind to beginners. Despite being a good first language, it is not just a toy; it is very powerful and flexible and well suited for large projects. I have written a more detailed evaluation of Python. Good tutorials are available at the Python web site.

I used to recommend Java as a good language to learn early, but this critique has changed my mind (search for “The Pitfalls of Java as a First Programming Language” within it). A hacker cannot, as they devastatingly put it “approach problem-solving like a plumber in a hardware store”; you have to know what the components actually do. Now I think it is probably best to learn C and Lisp first, then Java.

If you get into serious programming, you will have to learn C, the core language of Unix. C++ is very closely related to C; if you know one, learning the other will not be difficult. Neither language is a good one to try learning as your first, however. And, actually, the more you can avoid programming in C the more productive you will be.

C is very efficient, and very sparing of your machine’s resources. Unfortunately, C gets that efficiency by requiring you to do a lot of low-level management of resources (like memory) by hand. All that low-level code is complex and bug-prone, and will soak up huge amounts of your time on debugging. With today’s machines as powerful as they are, this is usually a bad tradeoff — it’s smarter to use a language that uses the machine’s time less efficiently, but your time much more efficiently. Thus, Python.

Other languages of particular importance to hackers include Perl and LISP. Perl is worth learning for practical reasons; it’s very widely used for active web pages and system administration, so that even if you never write Perl you should learn to read it. Many people use Perl in the way I suggest you should use Python, to avoid C programming on jobs that don’t require C’s machine efficiency. You will need to be able to understand their code.

LISP is worth learning for a different reason — the profound enlightenment experience you will have when you finally get it. That experience will make you a better programmer for the rest of your days, even if you never actually use LISP itself a lot. (You can get some beginning experience with LISP fairly easily by writing and modifying editing modes for the Emacs text editor, or Script-Fu plugins for the GIMP.)

It’s best, actually, to learn all five of Python, C/C++, Java, Perl, and LISP. Besides being the most important hacking languages, they represent very different approaches to programming, and each will educate you in valuable ways.

But be aware that you won’t reach the skill level of a hacker or even merely a programmer simply by accumulating languages — you need to learn how to think about programming problems in a general way, independent of any one language. To be a real hacker, you need to get to the point where you can learn a new language in days by relating what’s in the manual to what you already know. This means you should learn several very different languages.

I can’t give complete instructions on how to learn to program here — it’s a complex skill. But I can tell you that books and courses won’t do it — many, maybe most of the best hackers are self-taught. You can learn language features — bits of knowledge — from books, but the mind-set that makes that knowledge into living skill can be learned only by practice and apprenticeship. What will do it is (a) reading code and (b) writing code.

Peter Norvig, who is one of Google’s top hackers and the co-author of the most widely used textbook on AI, has written an excellent essay called Teach Yourself Programming in Ten Years. His “recipe for programming success” is worth careful attention.

Learning to program is like learning to write good natural language. The best way to do it is to read some stuff written by masters of the form, write some things yourself, read a lot more, write a little more, read a lot more, write some more … and repeat until your writing begins to develop the kind of strength and economy you see in your models.

Finding good code to read used to be hard, because there were few large programs available in source for fledgeling hackers to read and tinker with. This has changed dramatically; open-source software, programming tools, and operating systems (all built by hackers) are now widely available. Which brings me neatly to our next topic…

2. Get one of the open-source Unixes and learn to use and run it.

I’ll assume you have a personal computer or can get access to one. (Take a moment to appreciate how much that means. The hacker culture originally evolved back when computers were so expensive that individuals could not own them.) The single most important step any newbie can take toward acquiring hacker skills is to get a copy of Linux or one of the BSD-Unixes or OpenSolaris, install it on a personal machine, and run it.

Yes, there are other operating systems in the world besides Unix. But they’re distributed in binary — you can’t read the code, and you can’t modify it. Trying to learn to hack on a Microsoft Windows machine or under any other closed-source system is like trying to learn to dance while wearing a body cast.

Under Mac OS X it’s possible, but only part of the system is open source — you’re likely to hit a lot of walls, and you have to be careful not to develop the bad habit of depending on Apple’s proprietary code. If you concentrate on the Unix under the hood you can learn some useful things.

Unix is the operating system of the Internet. While you can learn to use the Internet without knowing Unix, you can’t be an Internet hacker without understanding Unix. For this reason, the hacker culture today is pretty strongly Unix-centered. (This wasn’t always true, and some old-time hackers still aren’t happy about it, but the symbiosis between Unix and the Internet has become strong enough that even Microsoft’s muscle doesn’t seem able to seriously dent it.)

So, bring up a Unix — I like Linux myself but there are other ways (and yes, you can run both Linux and Microsoft Windows on the same machine). Learn it. Run it. Tinker with it. Talk to the Internet with it. Read the code. Modify the code. You’ll get better programming tools (including C, LISP, Python, and Perl) than any Microsoft operating system can dream of hosting, you’ll have fun, and you’ll soak up more knowledge than you realize you’re learning until you look back on it as a master hacker.

For more about learning Unix, see The Loginataka. You might also want to have a look at The Art Of Unix Programming.

To get your hands on a Linux, see the Linux Online! site; you can download from there or (better idea) find a local Linux user group to help you with installation.

During the first ten years of this HOWTO’s life, I reported that from a new user’s point of view, all Linux distributions are almost equivalent. But in 2006-2007, an actual best choice emerged: Ubuntu. While other distros have their own areas of strength, Ubuntu is far and away the most accessible to Linux newbies.

You can find BSD Unix help and resources at www.bsd.org.

A good way to dip your toes in the water is to boot up what Linux fans call a live CD, a distribution that runs entirely off a CD without having to modify your hard disk. This will be slow, because CDs are slow, but it’s a way to get a look at the possibilities without having to do anything drastic.

I have written a primer on the basics of Unix and the Internet.

I used to recommend against installing either Linux or BSD as a solo project if you’re a newbie. Nowadays the installers have gotten good enough that doing it entirely on your own is possible even for a newbie. Nevertheless, I still recommend making contact with your local Linux user’s group and asking for help. It can’t hurt, and may smooth the process.

3. Learn how to use the World Wide Web and write HTML.

Most of the things the hacker culture has built do their work out of sight, helping run factories and offices and universities without any obvious impact on how non-hackers live. The Web is the one big exception, the huge shiny hacker toy that even politicians admit has changed the world. For this reason alone (and a lot of other good ones as well) you need to learn how to work the Web.

This doesn’t just mean learning how to drive a browser (anyone can do that), but learning how to write HTML, the Web’s markup language. If you don’t know how to program, writing HTML will teach you some mental habits that will help you learn. So build a home page. Try to stick to XHTML, which is a cleaner language than classic HTML. (There are good beginner tutorials on the Web; here’s one.)

But just having a home page isn’t anywhere near good enough to make you a hacker. The Web is full of home pages. Most of them are pointless, zero-content sludge — very snazzy-looking sludge, mind you, but sludge all the same (for more on this see The HTML Hell Page).

To be worthwhile, your page must have content — it must be interesting and/or useful to other hackers. And that brings us to the next topic…

Google AdSense: Facts, FAQs and Tools

Google AdSense is probably one of the most popular revenue generators in the Web. We hear the stories about bloggers-genies, who manage to turn their blogs into cash machines overnight. However, it’s not that simple to find the actual tips, which stick to Google policies, might increase your revenues and don’t try to trick out the readers of your weblog.

We’ve spent several hours, trying to find out, what might increase your Google AdSense income and which tools you can use to observe and track your revenues. We’ve selected the key-points of successful stories and useful tips as well as Google AdSense sites and services you can use on a daily basis. Let’s take a look.

Things You Probably Don’t Know About Google AdSense

  • “AdSense Earning = Impression-count x Click-though-rate x Cost-per-click x smart-pricing-factor. Viewing your on website will not get you banned. Just make sure you don’t click on the ads.
  • However, repeatedly reload your page to jack up page impressions can get you banned. Click-through-rate (CTR) is ratio of clicks per impressions. It can range from 0.1% to 30%, but most commonly around 1% to 10%.”
    [100 Google Adsense Tips]
  • “First impressions count: make sure the ad unit with the highest CTR is the first ad unit in the HTML code of your page. Keep in mind that the first ad unit in the source code is not always the first ad unit that your users will see when the page finishes loading in their browser.”
    [Inside AdSense: First impressions count]
  • “Ads placed near rich content and navigational aids usually do well because users are focused on those areas of a page. on pages where users are typically focused on reading an article, ads placed directly below the end of the editorial content tend to perform very well.”
    [Where should I place Google ads on my pages?]
  • “Format is important for multiple ad units, display your ad units where repeat users will notice them, place a leaderboard immediately after the last post.”
    [Six AdSense optimization tips for forums]
  • “The middle, above the fold location performs the best. Best performing ad format is the large rectangle, 336×280. So the wider ad formats are doing better than the other ones and the reason is that they actually take up fewer lines. And so with every additional line, you have a chance of losing that interested user.
  • So the wider formats do best so specifically, the top three formats are the 336×280 that you see on the page; the 300×250 medium rectangle; and then the 160×600 wide skyscraper.
  • We have a feature in the AdSense account where you are able to multi-select different color palettes that blend with your site to add some variety and freshness to the ads. And that also will help decrease ad blindness.”
    [Google AdSense Optimization Webinar]
  • “The second most active placement in terms of click-throughs tends to be the right-hand rail or margin”. “Skyscrapers” and vertical banners do well when placed next to the content in the main body. Square and rectangle ads placed within the center column also do well, provided they are placed in context to the content. Ads placed below the fold tend to perform least well, although that isn’t a hard-and-fast rule.”
    [Yahoo! Publisher Network: Location, location, location…]
  • “I found the most success in placing the Google Adsense medium rectangle either right in the middle of the page or in a middle right column as long as it has content above and below the ad unit. Its is fine to use Adsense Ads on a forum however expect a very low CTR.”
    [Google Adsense Tips for Webmasters]
  • “Post Adsense ads on text rich pages, avoid titles like the approved ‘Sponsored Links’ and ‘Advertisements’, place Ads above the fold, Match the colors of your ads with the colour scheme of your site, Blend ads with your page – remove the borders by having a similar color as your background.”
    [How to Increase Google Adsense CTR]
  • “To remove Public Service Ads (PSA) in Google Adsense develop sufficient good content with keywords, Ensure that META tags like ‘title’ & ‘description’ and the headings tags like h1, h2 etc. have content which matches the rest of your site.”
    [How to Remove Public Service Ads (PSA) in Google Adsense]
  • “You can now run AdSense on the same page as other contextual ad programs.” (January 2007)
    [It’s official! You can now run AdSense on the same page as other contextual ad programs]
  • “Google AdSense Policy: We ask that publishers not line up images and ads in a way that suggests a relationship between the images and the ads.”
    [Inside AdSense: Ad and image placement: a policy clarification]
  • “Section targeting uses certain html tweaks to force the google adsense bot to focus on specific content. Section targeting is the latest and most effective addition to AdSense”.
    [Display Relevant Adsense Ads Using Section Targeting]
  • “Over the weekend, I decided to change the number of ads units on my blog based upon where the traffic is coming from. I have a small PHP function that checks to see if the referrer is a search engine, and if it is, I display and additional 2 ad units. My Adsense revenue increasing by 284% on Saturday, Sunday and Monday!”
    [Positive Adsense Experiment]
  • “Never click your own adsense ads or get them clicked for whatever reason. Never change the Adsense code. Do not run competitive contextual text ad (2006) or search services on the same site. Do not mask ad elements. Avoid excessive advertising and keyword stuffing.”
    [ 15 Common Mistakes that Violate Google Adsense TOS ]
  • “Putting ads on your site won’t hurt your traffic. There are 6 sorts of bloggers’ income: Google Adsense, Donations (e.g. PayPal), Text Link Ads (sold for a fixed amount per month), Chitika eMiniMalls ads (pay per click), affiliate programs like Amazon, Advertising sold to individual advertisers (three-month campaigns or longer)
    [How to Make Money From Your Blog – a VERY extensive article]
  • “A number of factors come into play when AdSense tries to determine what the page is about: The URL of the page, the page title, the anchor text of links, the keywords that appear most frequently within the page, search engine queries that lead to the page or to another page that links to the page”.
    [How to Get Relevant AdSense Ads (Especially For Bloggers)]
  • “Ask yourself if you are willing to compromise your blog’s layout and over-all feel by adding ads in them. Look at your traffic and see if it’s enough to draw the crowd. Make good use of the Ad Channels. Give it time.”
    [Tips on Blog Adsensification]
  • “You can put upto 3 AdSense units on a page. For short articles, CTR is best when ads are placed just above the content. For long articles, CTR improves if ads are placed somewhere in middle of the content. Go Wide – the large rectangle 336×280 is the best paying adsense format.”
    [Adsense Tips, Layout Optimization Tricks for HigherCTR]
  • “Google AdSense folks have unveiled another useful feature for Adsense publishers – Section Targeting. The concept is simple but the advantages and possibilities are endless.”
    [Display relevant Ads in Blogs: Just suggest Google]

Google AdSense: Google’s Information and Tools

  • Google AdSense FAQ
    the Adsense support for official guidelines.
  • Google AdSense Help Page provides a very detailed FAQ about Google AdSense. Learn optimization essentials, how to design successful ads, savvy ad placement and how to use features wisely.
  • Google Adsense Program Policies.
  • Google AdSense Ad Formats
    an overview.
  • Google AdSense Success Stories provided by Google itself. Many interesting insights in concrete decisions, which helped to increase Google AdSense revenues.
  • Google AdWords: Keyword-Tool
    The Keyword Tool generates potential keywords for your ad campaign and reports their Google statistics, including search performance and seasonal trends. Start your search by entering your own keyword phrases or a specific URL. You can then add new keywords to the green box at the right.

Google AdSense Tools, Services

Google AdSense Tips, Resources