Archives for September 2009

Get a Free Passport Photo Through ePassportPhoto.com

If you have ever had to have a photo taken for a passport, you know what a big fat pain it can be. It has always perplexed me as to why it had to be that way… I mean, come on – it’s a photo. And a not very good one at that!

There had to be a better way.

There is: ePassportPhoto.com. And guess what? It’s FREE! Not only is it free, but you don’t have to get in your car and drive anywhere to have it taken. It is done right on your own computer.

epassport screenshot

You take the photo. You upload the photo to the site, where you can easily check for compliance with any requirements:

epassport upload photo

epassport ensure compliance

Once compliance is checked, proceed and preview your sheet:

epassport preview sheet

If it all looks right, you are ready to print them off:

epassport preview

The only charge incurred is if you use the premium service and have them sent to Walgreens. My suggestion, if you aren’t going to print them yourself, is to check Costco and other stores that print photos. Find the best price and send them there. Click on the “download and print” link on the “Basic” option. The photo will be downloaded to your computer, which will allow you to upload it to any photo printing site. Just be sure that their printing meets proper passport photo requirements.

It doesn’t get any easier than that. And best of all, you’re not stuck with a photo that looks like you just ate a bag of lemons and are on your third straight night with no sleep.

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About ePassportPhoto.com:

ePassportPhoto.com is the Internet passport photo booth, and our primary goal to put an end to the passport photo rip-off. We believe that there’s no reason you should have to spend valuable time and money just to get a simple, compliant set of passport photos.

Unlike traditional photo shops, our system currently supports the exact government requirement of over 60 countries, from Albania to Zimbabwe (and many in between, such as Australia, France and Germany). For example, if you’re a citizen of China living in Canada or a citizen of the UK living in the US, ePassportPhoto.com will help you create passport photos that comply with the requirements of your home country.

ePassportPhoto.com was established in 2005 and has served over two million users from 200 different countries and territories.

Share your knowledge (or learn from others) on Guidespot

As I writer, I’m prone to feel like I always have something to share, whether it’s the latest technology news or the many uses I have for diaper wipes. It’s easy to sometimes feel self-important just because I can string a bunch of words together.

guidespot screenshot

But you know what? Everyone has something to share. A story to tell. A tutorial to make known.

A lot of you probably already have a blog of your own and that is where you share some of your knowledge with others. Whether you have a blog or not, Guidespot is a site that you will surely find a topic to learn about or you might decide to share with others.

What is a Guide?

Think of a guide as your own visual list and multi-media story. Now think of Guidespot as an online platform where this creative knowledge-sharing converge and form communities around your interests.
Building a guide offers you the opportunity to combine text, links, photos, videos, addresses and maps all in one place without having to use the techy stuff to get it done. Organize the layout of your guide by dragging and dropping the contents to your desired locations.

Getting started is simple:

guidespot get started guide

Setting up your guide is simple:

create a guide

If you write one, you can make it as elaborate or simple as you like. Add links, photos. Allow others to add things to your guide. Make it interactive. Even if you decide not to write a guide of your own, there are many helpful guides (and some fun/silly ones as well) that you are sure to find helpful.

Examples:

Where to Get Free Stuff on Your Birthday

Best of: phrases, rhymes and memory joggers to help you remember (sometimes useless) information

Haunted Drives and Spooky Spots in Colorado

Be sure to read their FAQs page for the complete lowdown.

Keep your spam off of my Twitter

By now, we all know the value of Twitter. It is fun, exciting, informative a time suck and so useful. Unfortunately, spammers quickly saw that value as well and most users soon became inundated with automated bots sending requests to follow.

true twit

TrueTwit is a free site that will attempt to authenticate all followers who request to follow you. If it is recognized as a bot, the request will be rejected. It is only set up to authenticate any requests to follow AFTER you sign up for the service. Any spam accounts that you may already have will need to have a validation request manually sent to them.

It is still possible that a spammer can get through… but:

If a spammer is human, they will get through. The point of TrueTwit is to eliminate automated spam software from grabbing your attention. But as for now, if a user successfully fills out the CAPTCHA, they will be validated. We will be implementing a new feature to help with this issue in the future

It is quite simple to sign up. Simply fill in your Twitter user name and an email address. Then create a password for logging into the TrueTwit site (they do not need or ask for your Twitter password)

According to the About page,

TrueTwit is working on a system that will allow TrueTwit users to check for bots and spammers without using direct messages.  We expect to have this system in place soon.

It’s not perfect yet – there are still some kinks to work out. But it is definitely a step in the right direction. Spam is an unfortunate reality of the internet, and the less we have to deal with it the better.

(look for more answers to your questions on the FAQs page)

Thanks

Y’all! How I’ve missed you! And all of your comments on my last post reaffirm how much I love this whole bloggin’ thing. To think that I write a post after almost 3 months and YOU NOTICED!

Thanks for all of the sweet comments. It means so much.

Keep your eye out for me reemerging from the woodwork some more.

Mint.com acquired by Intuit

mint.comwelcome.png

According to an email sent out Monday to all users of Mint.com, the site has entered into an agreement to be purchased by Intuit (makers of Turbo Tax and Quicken)

Never fear though – Mint.com isn’t going to become just another Quicken. As the company acknowledges, each site serves different needs and targets different users and each site will be marketed separately.

From the Founder/CEO’s email:

What’s not going to change

Mint.com will stay the way you like it: free, easy-to-use and constantly improving.

What will change

As outlined in today’s press release and my blog post, after the acquisition closes, the Mint.com team will contribute to improving the financial lives of tens of millions of consumers and small businesses. I’ll personally be taking on the role of GM of Intuit’s Personal Finance group responsible for online, desktop and mobile consumer personal finance offerings. Joining Intuit enables us to bring our vision of helping consumers understand and do more with their money to millions of Intuit customers.  This is a compelling combination of our innovative product, technology, and industry leading user interface design with one of the most trusted brands in software.

Read the press release here.

Read my recent post on Mint.com’s features here.