Friday, 28 May 2010

Myhomepage Version 1.3 Released!

Yesterday saw the release of myhomepage Version 1.3. What's all the fuss about you might say? Well, importing bookmarks and emailing links to friends!

myhomepage has always listened to user feedback and all your comments and suggestions so a lot of the new features we've implemented have been initiated by user feedback. Importing bookmarks was the most requested feature by users so the tech team has worked really hard to get it working. We're really proud to offer users the ability to import their bookmarks from the top five browsers (Internet Explorer, Firefox, Safari, Chrome and Opera) and Google Bookmarks.

Importing bookmarks is really easy. All you have to do is log into myhomepage, navigate to the My Bookmarks page, then click the 'Import bookmarks' link in the menu and all you have to do is import the exported bookmark file. All your bookmarks will be uploaded to your account (please note, if you have a lot of bookmarks, it might take a short while to upload them all). Any folders you have used will be turned into a tag saving time so you don't have to re-tag everything.

Secondly, myhomepage takes its first steps into the wonderful world of web 2.0! With version 1.3 you can now easily email your favorite bookmarks to your friends, relatives, colleagues and more!

All you have to do is right click on a thumbnail or click the options icon. Then select 'Email to a friend'. In the popup, enter your contact's email address, leave the default message or write your own and click send email. Your link will travel through the Internet and your friend will have your link suggestion waiting for them in their inbox. It's incredibly simple. I've used it a lot myself and think it works great.

For a bonus tip, you can send your link to more than one person by seperating each address by a comma e.g. "," will send it to both me and the myhomepage support team (although don't send email to as I don't check this email address). It's a great feature and works really well and we're all really excited for you to check it out.

So, have you tried it? If you have, please get back with us and let us know how you find it. We think it's a great release and hopefully will improve user experience.

Try myhomepage version 1.3 here!

Thursday, 27 May 2010

Make Tech Easier Reviews Myhomepage!

Myhomepage has received its second review from leading tech blog, Make Tech Easier. We're greatly honored to be written about and think the article is great! A big shout out and thanks go to the MTE team.

Click here to read the article!

Monday, 24 May 2010

Learning Languages Online - Why I Love the Internet.

In a new range of posts, I thought I'd write about one of the many reasons why I love the Internet. That's right, folks. I don't just like it, I don't just use it for work or see its practicalities - I love it. I use it, obviously, every single day of the year (bar a few days here and there when on holiday or having an action-packed/lazy weekend).

For many, the Internet has become a necessity. In fact, could you imagine the world without it? It's too hard to comprehend. Things that died out would still exist, things that exist would never have come to fruition if it wasn't for the Internet.

Many people use the Internet for keeping in touch, online shopping, playing games and so on. However, I want to take the time to write about specific reasons why I love the Internet - the first one being how it's revolutionized language learning.

I really enjoy learning languages. To date I have had classes in Italian, French, Japanese and Mandarin Chinese - I can speak them all to varying levels of success and failure (my Italian and Japanese are somewhat non-existent but French and Mandarin are not as bad, just terribly rusty and unused). I can also speak some German although I'm much better at understanding it thanks to having some German family. So, to say I enjoy learning languages might be something of an understatement. Fundamental to my learning of these languages, aside from taking classes, working from exercise books and practising, has been using the Internet.

You can use the Internet in countless ways to help learn a language. There's the obvious translation tools. Some 9/10 years ago, these translation tools were somewhat shady. The most popular (and arguably still the most well known) was Babelfish. Originally owned by Altavista, it is now proudly run by Yahoo. Many of my classmates used to try and use it for the Italian homework only for them to unknowingly to submit mangled translations of isolated words. Things have improved - markedly for translating foreign languages into English. Google now have their own translating tool and it works really well - you can even hear your translation in the foreign language. Google also allows translation of websites with their browser toolbar (not for everyone's cup of tea - it automatically scans a page to see if you need it translating). However, it does recognize Wikipedia's front page as being in Russian despite there being a plethora of other foreign languages. The art in using an online translator is not to over expect. Sure it can translate words, sentences and sometimes even whole paragraphs. But its accuracy rates lowers as the word count goes up. So much about writing and speaking is in the pragmatics - what you mean to say and how you say it, not the literal words themselves. Online translation tools sadly can't pick up on this so you will need to watch this carefully.

Aside from online translation, there is loads of resource material for you on the web. Whether you are just learning the basics or an advanced learner, there's bound to be some online tasks for you. A lot of websites even have really interesting interactive flash games that make learning fun. A dictionary is a great way to learn vocabulary (the harder it is to find a word, the more effort you put and the greater chance of you remembering that word for later use), unfortunately they can also be quite expensive. Many language resources offer free online dictionaries that work really well. They're often faster than searching through dictionaries too (not to mention some foreign language dictionaries are not simply laid out in alphabetical order like English ones).

Furthermore, exposing yourself to the language you're learning as much as possible is a great way to pick up a few words here and there. The Internet's love of all things multimedia lends itself well to language learner - why not look up television show clips on Youtube, download music from foreign language artists or read a foreign language newspaper (or attempt to at least). I listen to a lot of Japanese music - when it came to study it, I found that I already new a few words and listening to it helped a lot with my pronunciation. Besides, this can also be really fun!

Last but not least, socialize it up a bit! The Internet's second coming (web 2.0) is all about social interactions with and/or through the Internet. Facebook is the second most popular website of all time and its user base continues to grow. Advances in technology mean we can now blog from our mobile phone. So, why not find a group of people who are also learning your language - or better yet why not find someone who is a native speaker? Maybe you can help them learn English and they can offer some help in return.

Learning languages is something I enjoy and the Internet has made it that much more enjoyable! Free yourself from the exercise book and the dictionary and start learning online!

Tuesday, 18 May 2010

"Mom! The TV is Tweeting!"

Stepping back into our technological past, the personal computer continues to be an integral part to the daily lives for millions of people by providing the best platform for work, entertainment and multimedia. However, as technology advances and the world becomes increasingly connected, many household devices, such as the humble television, are being transformed into a multi-tasking device for the future.

The past couple of years have seen companies like Sony and Samsung release their HDTVs with built-in Ethernet and Wifi allowing your TV to connect to the Internet and a home network. This provides various forms of multimedia functionality. Though computer manufacturers have been selling high-resolution monitors, for many years building larger, domestic sizes has proven expensive. But with most technology, overtime production costs lowered and the first large screen HDTVs were ready for the home.

Now, manufacturers are including new features and functions for your TV. Considering the number of devices and gadgets we are exposed to daily, streamlining our tech-lives has become an alluring selling point for technology companies. The Internet has been a key factor in making this possible, pushing the potential of home technology further.

Samsung's 'LED C8000' is one of the new LED-backlit HDTVs from the popular Korean brand. It features 3D capabilities, a HD tuner and Internet connectivity through its acclaimed 'Internet@TV' feature. The U.K version boasts BBC iPlayer, LoveFilm, Twitter and YouTube access. Along with email and news it's safe to say that these web services are the most popular, satisfying any technology geek.

Despite most people welcoming such technological enhancements, some people object to the convergence of so many functions into one domestic appliance. Their reasons ranged from wanting to "switch off and get away from being constantly connected to the world" to just wanting to "use the TV as a form of escapism away from news headlines about war and all things bad". However, most of them were excited by the video-on-demand features, eliminating the need for a PC being connected to the TV.

Consumers play a large role in how technology evolves - embracing these new enhancements would inevitably encourage the I.T. industry to produce novel and useful solutions to everyday demands. The industry is always looking to provide a solution to a problem.

Ultimately, a modern day laptop can do a much better job at providing such online connections. But the magic is within discovering new functionalities in traditional objects such as the new Samsung TVs or the Twitter kettle 'Twettle' (concept designed by Ben Perman and Murat Multu) where a user can tweet it to boil or be notified when it has boiled!

Should designers and manufacturers leave tradition alone or should we welcome their innovation by embracing technology's infiltration of the home? Or is this a worrying indication that technology has begun to severely dominate our lives? What do you think?

Tuesday, 11 May 2010

Myhomepage on Facebook!

Why not join our Facebook page by clicking here! Like us to receive all our latest information and updates. Plus get inside pictures of myhomepage :) you might even see me in a picture or two!

Myhomepage on Twitter!

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Friday, 7 May 2010

Password Safety Tips

At myhomepage, security is our number 1 priority. Using our password vault means you can safely store your username and password details for websites with us and they'll always be completely safe (you can even make up a random password of numbers, lower case and upper case characters and you'll always be able to find it). However, we also acknowledge that passwords should be safe in the first place and good password practice is half the battle for online saftey.

So, below you'll find a short list of really good password tips.

1. Never use a common word or even an uncommon word. Words you can find in a dictionary are a big no no. Similarly, never use a consecutive string of numbers (or letters for that matter). Notable culprits are '123456', 'abcdef' and 'password'.

2. Be at least 8 characters long (the longer the better).

3. Use a random selection of characters: upper and lower case letters, numbers and punctuation marks. Having at least 1 of each is a great idea, having 2 of each is even better! Some websites and services might not allow punctuation in a password so you might not be able to have some punctuation in there but you should aim for a random selection of numbers and upper and lower cased characters.

4. One great tip that I've found is replacing some standard characters with numbers of punctuation marks. For example: A = 4, S = $, E = £ and so on. Another tip which I think works quite well is to have the first letter upper case. Taking these tips on board, the notoriously unsafe: 'password' can be made a bit more safe by changing it to P4£5w0rD.

5. Another tip is to not have recurring letters, even if they are not sequential.

6. A tip that works well for me is to use foreign words that aren't in the English dictionary. For example, you could try using Korean words instead, add some upper casing, some numbers and some punctuation and you've got a password that will be a lot tougher to crack than 'password'. i.e. 'Y£0nG12' vs. '123456' - which one is statistically harder to crack? The first one of course!

Check out this nifty website to check your password's strength: Password Meter. They ranked the first one as being 72% strong; add a simple + (so it becomes 'Y£0nG12+' and it rises to 98%). Compare this to '123456' which only has a strength of 4%.

Although we're super secure at myhomepage and use the highest encryption levels, it's still always good for peace of mind to use strong passwords for all your online accounts. Hope this helped!


The Korean word I used, 'yeong', is the number zero.

Tuesday, 4 May 2010

Myhomepage Version 1.2 Released!

Sorry for the delay in the announcement! We're very excited about the new version of myhomepage that just got released last week. We've improved lots of small things around the site that you might not even noticed have changed but they will make a big difference to your overall experience!

However, we've also added a couple of great new features that I think work great and really make myhomepage a fun site to work with!

The first one I want to talk about is drag and drop. We've now implemented drag and drop functionality on the My Homepage. This means you can now easily organize your favorites with just one action! I used to find the My Homepage quite tricky to use and really wanted more control over how I organize my personal favorites. Now, drag and drop makes it really easy and simple! Here are a couple of screenshots of drag and drop on the My Homepage:

You can organize your My Homepage however you want. Check out a couple of examples of me playing around with it:

I'm really enjoying the new drag and drop functionality on myhomepage, it works really well and let's me organize all my favorites just how I want them :) How do you organize your favorites? I guess some of you will organize by popularity (your most favorite sites first), but I actually organize by category. So I'll put all the social websites together and all the music websites together. Some of you might also organize by the alphabet. I wonder what it says about people how they organize things or, on the other hand, how they don't organize things.

All this talk of organizing leads me on to the next great new feature of myhomepage version 1.2, tagging. Myhomepage has moved away from folders and now allows you to tag your bookmarks. If you're unfamiliar with them, tags allow you to assign key phrases to bookmarks so you can organize them more easily. For example, I might tag a BBC website as 'news', 'media', 'online', 'broadcast', 'my favorite shows' and so on. Tagging opens up a whole new avenue of organization. You're no longer bound to assigning a bookmark to a single folder which means when you come to remembering your bookmarks again, you'll have a much easier time finding where you saved them.

To use myhomepage's new tagging system, simply right click on a thumbnail, select the 'Tag this bookmark' option and the tagging window will display. From here, you can select the tags you want (if you've already saved some) or simply add new ones (you can add more than one at a time by seperating each key phrase with a comma; e.g. 'hotels, holidays in spain, travel, vacation details').

These two new features are really easy to use and make myhomepage even more fun! They've made using the site so much quicker and intuitive; it feels a lot more personal now. So, why start from anywhere else?

To see a list of all the new features we've added, please look here: