I’ve been catching up on my technology RSS feed. Below are a few of the more interesting items that I have come across. A few of them are down right KEWL!

13 Free and Cheap Website Monitoring Services (from Mashable)

Everyone seems to have their own website or blog nowadays. But do you want someone else to tell you your site is down? So what do you do? Corporate IT shops can install some fancy monitoring software suite that can track hundreds of types of software, servers, ports and hardware devices. That monitoring software also normally costs hundreds of thousands for dollars. Most likely, you want to monitor your website for free, or at least cheaply.

Not surprisingly there are a wealth of free and cheap website monitoring services available. Just do a Google search for “free website monitor” and you will get plenty of services to look at. For most of the services, you only need an email address and the URL that you want to monitor. Of course, when it comes to free and cheap you have a wide range of services offered. To make your job easier, we’ve put together this list of 13 services that will help you monitor your website.

Pingdom – Has a good set of cheap packages, but alas, nothing is free. They come highly recommended by just about everyone.

LiveWatch – A German service that allows you to monitor one server free. The free notifications package contains email alerts, 10 SMS notifications, and Yahoo Messenger. The only problem with the service is that it requires a script on the server in order to monitor it.

Observu – A really, really basic service. You register, add a website monitor with the text that should appear on the page and save the monitor. There are no reports and nothing flashy. You will be emailed if there is a problem.

ServerGuard24 – The prices are not that expensive and there is a free plan. However, the free plan only polls every 40 minutes and you need a banner ad for them as well. Otherwise, it looks like a very professional service.

SiteUptime – One free and two cheap premium levels are offered. The free plan allows only one monitor, but it does have a very clean and professional user interface. The service only monitors from location but it does fall over to another location if needed.

Host Tracker – The free plan enables monitoring for two URLs in two different domains. The main issue with the service is that the navigation is hard to work with. It does use the most distributed network of monitoring servers of the services listed, as it currently monitors from over 50 nodes. – Yes, it has a cute name, but cute does not mean limited. The service is completely free with email alerting. There are basic reports for uptime and response time. The user interface may look simplistic, but the service delivers with a more complete offering than most.

InternetSeer – “My site has been down for how long!?!” The free offering monitors one URL and polling every hour. The professional plans look to have some really nice features, but the free plan is fairly limited.

WatchMouse – You have to like a service that uses a mouse as its mascot. The free plan monitors one URL every hour. Disappointingly, the premium plans are more expensive than most listed here.

ServiceUptime – They have a nice free service that monitors one URL. There are seven different sites polling every 30 minutes to determine whether your website is alive. ServiceUptime also has a decent reporting package and very reasonable premium packages.

Montastic – Montastic allows free monitoring for up to 100 URLs! Your websites are monitored by two different servers about every 10 minutes. They also have a cute colored logo you can put on your site. Sadly, there are no cute colored reports.

FreeSiteStatus – The free service has nine separate locations monitoring you servers every minute. Various additional features can be purchased for little cost, as well as a service configuration wizard to help you create your monitoring service. One cool feature FreeSiteStatus offers is the ability to create one-time or recurring maintenance windows where monitoring of the servers can be suspended.

Site24×7 – It is free to monitor two URLs that are polled every 60 minutes. This is another service that allows you to create maintenance windows for your server. The premium plans also offer reasonable prices for various levels of monitoring.

and because I love my Dash, here’s one about an HTC phone that competes with the iPhone.

Filed under: Cellphones

Attempts to keep the most hotly anticipated consumer electronics devices under wraps these days are getting more and more futile. It’s hard enough for companies to control disgruntled employees and leaks in the international supply chain, stir in a giant government organization and things quickly unravel. Case in point: T-Mobile’s HTC Dream, widely believed to be the world’s first Android handset. After Engadget loosed the Dream from its FCC constraints on the 18th of August, HTC contacted the agency on the 19th with a request to use a less detailed diagram for the FCC label placement. Fortunately for us they complied, giving us what can only be construed as official measurements in the process. The newly unveiled 115 x 55-mm dimensions tell us that it beats the iPhone 3G in terms of length and width but is almost certainly thicker than the iPhone due to the Dream’s sliding QWERTY. The tiny dimensions come as a surprise if you’ve seen the videos of the purported Dream and Dream reference design. So small, yeah, but it’s still longer and wider than both the Xperia X1 and HTC’s own Touch Pro QWERTY handsets.

Here’s how the smartphones compare:

  • HTC Dream: 115 x 55-mm
  • iPhone 3G: 115.2-mm x 62.1-mm
  • Xperia X1: 110.5 x 52.6-mm
  • HTC Touch Pro: 102 x 51-mm

Image of HTC’s label exchange request after the break.
[Thanks, OC]

Continue reading FCC outs HTC Dream’s dimensions: it’s smaller than the iPhone 3G

and the Googlephile in me had to post this:

There’s No Free Lunch – Even at Google

Valleywag brings us a well researched insight into the dramatic situation in Google’s cafeterias. A culinary tragedy is brewing over there, friends, and I can almost hear the collective cry of Googlers as their selection of dishes shrinks. The rest of the world, of course, silently rejoices the fact that these flamboyant showoffs might soon be forced to eat the same plebeian meal as most people: burger and coke.

You can read the gory details over at Valleywag, but the short version is this: no more free afternoon snacks, dinner or tea for Googlers. They’ll still get free breakfast and lunch, though, which is better than what most people are getting, so they shouldn’t complain. Plus, I’m sure that Google will restore all the culinary privileges very soon when bad publicity tarnishes their image of the coolest company in the world.

and more later. I have parenting and domestic goddess duties to attend to.


An invitation.
Earth has issues, and it’s time humanity got started on a Plan B. So, starting in 2014, Virgin founder Richard Branson and Google co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin will be leading hundreds of users on one of the grandest adventures in human history: Project Virgle, the first permanent human colony on Mars.
The question is, do you want to join us?

Ever yearned to journey to the stars? You can learn how to become a Virgle Pioneer, test your Pioneering potential, or join the Mission Control community that will help develop the 100 Year Plan we’ve outlined here.

Take the test and see if you have what it takes

I love the bit about the e-flux capacitor

Introducing Gmail Custom TimeTM
Be on time. Every time.*

How do I use it?

Just click ‘Set custom time’ from the Compose view. Any email you send to the past appears in the proper chronological order in your recipient’s inbox. You can opt for it to show up read or unread by selecting the appropriate option.
Is there a limit to how far back I can send email?

Yes. You’ll only be able to send email back until April 1, 2004, the day we launched Gmail. If we were to let you send an email from Gmail before Gmail existed, well, that would be like hanging out with your parents before you were born — crazy talk.
How does it work?

Gmail utilizes an e-flux capacitor to resolve issues of causality (see Grandfather Paradox).
How come I only get ten?

Our researchers have concluded that allowing each person more than ten pre-dated emails per year would cause people to lose faith in the accuracy of time, thus rendering the feature useless.

Their findings:
N = Total emails sent
P = Probability that user believes the time stamp
φ = The Golden Ratio
L = Average life expectancy”

What’s new with Google Calendar
Just launched!

Sync your Google Calendar with your Microsoft Outlook™ calendar
Access your calendar however and whenever you want. Check your Microsoft Outlook events on the go with Google Calendar. View your Google Calendar information offline through Microsoft Outlook calendar. Learn More

This so totally rocks!!! Especially since I am using Google Maps A LOT since we moved here. I had to use it to find one of the nearest Starbuck’s, the nearest library, and directions to various dog parks. As many people as there are in L.A., there is a definite lack of dog parks and dog friendly areas. Yeah, yeah, yeah. I am actually surprised.

Text message your search query to 466453 (‘GOOGLE’ on most devices) and we’ll text message back results.

New! Personalized SMS saves you time by saving your location. We’ll automatically save your most frequently used location for future queries. You can also text ‘set location’ followed by a city & state or zip to save a new location. Try it out on our demo!

Try our interactive demo to the right and view results on the phone image as you would on your own mobile device.

Enter a search term (Hint: Click on the links under “Search Feature” in the table below to find specific information)

I’ll probably be using this feature a lot. Living in a city where you don’t know anyone is so … different. And I don’t feel like exploring as much as I used to. Sigh.

On Monday, May 28, 2007, Google once again failed to create a special logo to mark Memorial Day — exactly as they fail to do every year, despite the fact that they mark dozens of lesser or contrived “holidays” with special logos.

Google’s so-called excuse for this behavior is laughable:

If we were to commemorate this holiday, we’d want to express reverence; however, as Google’s special logos tend to be lighthearted in nature, this would be a particularly challenging design. We wouldn’t want to create a graphic that could be interpreted as disrespectful in any way.

Considering that Google has a large staff of professional graphic designers — just how difficult could it be to come up with a respectful design? They’ve even featured many logos submitted by Google users.

The goal is to create a logo that is respectful, tactful, and reflecting the spirit of Memorial Day. For inspiration, go to this page and click on “More Holiday Logos” at the upper right to see all the previous special holiday logos that Google has ever used. This page explains the meaning and history of Memorial Day : “This holiday commemorates U.S. men and women who have died in military service to their country.”

Winning entries will be displayed here as they are selected.

My favorites are the Iwo Jima logo and the wall in DC that lists all the Vietnam vets.

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