Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Check back on a web image using Google Images

Often, we come across images on the web that we'd like to share with like-minded people. However, it makes sense to check if the image is real before sharing so one doesn't end up with egg on the face. If you aren't very good at spotting edited images (also called photoshopped images), Google Images is a good way to find similar images and see if the image you are about to share has been doctored.

For example, I today came across this photograph, shared on a social network (I added the "FAKE" watermark so it isn't inappropriately shared from this blog):

I suspected this picture was fake so I decided to do a little investigating.

First, I right-clicked the picture and grabbed its URL:
Then I headed over to Google Images (click the link and you'll go there).

I clicked the camera icon in the search window:
I got a new screen that asked me to upload an image or paste a URL. I pasted the URL:
I hit the "Search" button and got a page that showed images similar to the one I had asked Google Images to find:
Looking at the "Visually similar images", I clicked the first one on the left and I found that the image had been lifted from Facebook's thank-you to its users upon crossing the 500 million user mark. The pic on the social network was therefore fake, since Facebook's thank-you was posted in 2010. A little bit of searching saved me a lot of embarrassment.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Cannot delete file - Access denied

I was over at a friend's place and he told me of a problem he was facing under Windows XP; he had a few files he wanted to delete, .avi and .mp4 video files, and every time he tried, he got an error message saying that access was denied. The error message also said the disk may be write-protected or the file may be in use by a program.

Of course, I searched the internet for solutions. I found several (maybe a few thousand) people who had encountered the problem but couldn't find the solution. I also found several blogs that offered solutions in terms of starting in safe mode, changing owners of the files, etc., but in this particular case the solutions either didn't work or couldn't be implemented because the options mentioned in the context menus mentioned in the solutions simply didn't show up.

After a bit of experimentation I found a technique that worked:

  1. Rename each file and change the extension to .bak: To do this, open the folder containing the files you want to delete, right-click each file and select Rename, then change the .avi or .mp4 to .bak and hit Enter. If you don't see .avi or .mp4 in the file name, it's likely that your folder options are set to "hide known file extensions". You'll need to first change this option. To do this, follow the procedure given here. Then come back here and change the extensions as stated in this step.
  2. When you hit Enter you'll get a warning saying that you might not be able to open this file if you change the extension. Click OK. You don't intend to use the file anyway, you're trying to DELETE it!
  3. Once all files you want to delete are renamed with a .bak extension (you don't HAVE to rename the extensions to .bak, you can rename them to .old or anything you want, as long as you use only letters of the alphabet; .isofedupofthis works as well as .bak), reboot your computer.
  4. When your computer restarts and you get back to your Desktop, navigate to the folder that contains the files you want to delete, select them and delete. Easy-peasy!
Do let me know if this technique doesn't work for you.