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ClifNotesNewsletter041128

Clif Notes Newsletter          November 28, 2004
Reviews

  Windows XP Video Decoder Checkup Utility - why isn't my DVD playing?
I've seen more than one person come into the computer help club and ask why Windows Media Player isn't playing their DVD's. This utility could come in handy when you need to know if you have a valid decoder.
Website - Quote from the website
The Windows XP Video Decoder Checkup Utility helps you determine if an MPEG-2 video decoder (also called a DVD decoder) is installed on your Windows XP computer and whether or not the decoder is compatible with Windows Media Player 10 and Windows XP Media Center Edition.

 Disks MountVD - virtual drives for MyComputer
Virtual drives can be many things. In this case it can be explained as a "shortcut" to a folder on your hard drive. I could choose MyDocuments folder and assign it a drive letter of "M" if I wanted to. This software makes that a simple right click operation once you install it.

Website - Quote from the website

MountVD is a virtual drive mounter. Once installed - using Windows Explorer (or such like browser) right-click on any folder and select 'Mount Virtual Drive'. Choose a drive letter and the folder will then be mounted as a drive. To unmount right-click on the drive letter and select 'Unmount Virtual Drive'.
 
A list of previous mounts will be displayed, clear the list or remount with right mouse click.
 
If the drive still exists after unmounting it, either it is not a mounted drive or a file/app is holding it open.
 
Mount from Win startup: Set a list of folders to mount, along with their drive letters - and the next time windows boots they will be automatically mounted. ** NEW FEATURE **

 Internet Sandboxie - surf the net, don't worry about being hijacked
I really like the looks of this program. I can't use it because I don't have WinXP yet. I emailed Brandon Watts and he says he'll definitely take a look at it, so he may end up reviewing it for Lockergnome's Windows Fanatic newsletter.

Website - Windows XP and Windows 2000 - Quote from the website

Sandboxie lets you browse the web without leaving traces on your computer.
 
How Sandboxie Benefits You
 
When you browse the web, changes occur to your computer system. Most of the time these changes are harmless, like recording the addresses of web sites you have visited (and when), so Internet Explorer can help you complete a web address that you type in. Whether these changes are harmless or harmful, they do in fact happen to your computer system.
 
When you use Sandboxie to protect your browsing session, it catches all these changes just as Internet Explorer is about to apply them into your computer system. Sandboxie does record these changes on behalf of Internet Explorer, but it records them in a special isolated folder, called the sandbox.
 
The benefit of having a sandbox is that it ensures your ability to get rid of all changes done by Internet Explorer, simply by deleting the sandbox folder.

 Internet  Sleipnir - tabbed web browsing from Japan
I tried out this new tabbed web browser called Sleipnir. It's a Japanese/English browser that looks very much like Avant, SlimBrowser, and Maxathon (MyIE2) browsers. I like all the features it has but I didn't really find anything new. I wouldn't expect too much luck with finding any help on it unless your can read Japanese. It looks as though the author has made this browser highly customizable which is a big plus. I give it a five star rating because it works well and I had no problems at all using it, even if I can't read Japanese.

Japanese Website - Translation to English - Translation from the website

Feature of tab browser Sleipnir
 
 Many functions and high speed operation
 Actualizing GUI which it is easy to use in anyone
 Powerful customization of Office wind
 As for key bind all modification possibilities
 Customization possible
 The extensions with plug ins
 The extensions by the abundant scripts
 Modification function of the substantial outline by the skin
 The tab management which is due to window summary and is superior
 The security management which is superior
 Automation of the search flow with IntelliSearch
 Supporting Bookmarklet
 The favorite editor is easy to use

 Internet TrueWallet - remembers website logins and credit card info
I wanted to try out this program because I've found that a good internet integrated password manager is priceless when you surf the web as much as I do. I normally use AI Roboform but I have chosen to use an older freeware version since the newer versions of AI Roboform are no longer freeware and are crippleware instead. TrueWallet matches every feature that AI Roboform has and it's newest version is free. I did have a small concern when I read the EULA because it said that the TrueSuite tools may record some anonymous information on their servers. Another concern I had was that the TrueAssistant suite manager pops into the system tray. I've got enough system tray icons already. The TrueWallet toolbar is added to Internet Explorer for easy access, just like AI Roboforms toolbar. TrueWallet's toolbar does have a nice added search entry form for using the most popular search engines. Except for those concerns, I think TrueWallet is a real winner. Is it better than AI Roboform? I'll call it a tie for now.

Website is no longer trustworthy - Quote from the website

Easily fill out forms with your personal and credit card information. Also helps you manage your website logins.
 
Have you ever forgotten your online passwords? Are you tired of entering your personal information or username and password for every website you visit? If so, TrueWallet is your answer to these problems!

 Windows Worms Door Cleaner - How to survive the next big worm attack  (updated 25 Nov 04)
   Some of you may recently have been attacked by the Sasser worm or other such as the Blaster worm. What did you have in common with the millions of others out there on the net? Well, you were probably running Windows XP and for whatever reason, you didn't have a firewall up and running. One guy I talked to had just bought a new pc and was updating at Microsoft when he got nailed. I helped him get patched and told him how to put up the XP firewall till he got a better one installed. Before the new pc he had Win98 and he didn't understand why he needed a firewall right away, so I also gave him a quick lecture on the importance of firewalls for XP. He wondered "Why did Microsoft leave all these "doors" open for any hacker or bug to walk in on?"
   I ran across an article in a newsletter and it sounded like you can prevent some of these types of invasions by using "wwdc" to turn off some of the Windows services. It's a very small utility, it's free, it doesn't run continuously and you can undo your changes. A home user really doesn't need all the services listed below running so I tried disabling all of them. I found I needed the third one in order to use my file sharing on our network. No problem, a couple clicks enabled it again.

Windows Worms Door Cleaner v1.4 - wwdc.exe Windows 2000, 2003 server, XP

Quote from website: Most of the worms, in particular the most famous, use known vulnerabilities in Windows services which are enabled by default and that often can't be disabled via the OS's configuration.
Even with these services patched with Microsoft security fixes, they are still exposed to the Internet at large ready to be exploited by the next exploit.
 
These ports/services on client side are :
 
* DCOM RPC (listen on port 135) MS03-026
* RPC Locator (port 445) MS03-001, MS04-011
* NetBIOS (ports 137/138/139) MS03-049
* UPNP (port 5000) MS01-059
* Messenger service (uses RPC/NetBIOS ports) MS03-043
 

 System  WinXPatch v0.1 - tweak XP till you're blue in the face
Here is a great little tool for you serious tweakers out there. I haven't tried this one but it looks really cool. The author took all the XP tweaks in the "Windows Registry Guide 2003" and put them in this easy to use tool. If you really want to be safe you should download the Guide along with this program so that you know exactly what you are fooling around with. The WinXPatch download is a compressed "rar" file, so if you are not familiar with rar's (they are just like zips) then download an archiving tool that can uncompress rar files. I recommend 7-zip for jobs like that.
Website - ScreenShot - Quote from the website
This version has more than 100 registry and services configurations! This is Windows XP Professional and Home patch, it can patch any thing in registry and services. This is the WinXPatch v3.0 (programmed by me in 2002), I reprogrammed and released under new fresh version 0.1 It's easy to use, check and uncheck buttons. It has all the 'Windows Registry Guide 2003' configurations for Windows XP. But instead duing it manually every single setting, this patch will do it for you. 1st select (check) what you want to patch. 2nd click patch.
Tips

 Security Hacked Web Sites Used To Install Parasites - Spyware Weekly Newsletter
Here's a great article about how hackers are using a new method to make Internet Explorer give you a big spyware headache. Follow the good advice in this article and you won't need any internet aspirin.

Website - Quote from the website

... The pages which are loaded in the IFrame causes the browser to load several additional pages, each of which tries a different method of installing parasitic software. Once the browser encounters an exploit for which it is not patched, the browser will download and execute a variety of parasite installers. Any of the following parasitic software may be installed on the victim's computer:
 
180solutions
BlazeFind
BookedSpace
BullsEye Networks
CashBack (Bargain Buddy)
ClickSpring
CoolWebSearch
DyFuca
Hoost
IBIS Toolbar
Internet Optimizer
ISTbar
Power Scan
SideFind
TIB Browser
WebRebates (TopMoxie)
WhenU (VVSN)
Window AdControl
WindUpdates
YourSiteBar

 Security Sun Java sandbox vulnerability - you need to update now!
Tuesday November 23rd, 2004, the details of a vulnerability in Sun Java were announced. It was discovered in June and the fix has been out for a month now. The problem is that this is not something that an update from Microsoft can fix. You are more than likely using Sun Java and that means you are vulnerable to this attack unless you update now. I've provided a link here for you to do that.

News Article - Website - Quote from the news article

Millions at risk from Java Virtual Machine flaw
Security experts predict imminent exploit
Robert Jaques, vnunet.com 24 Nov 2004
ADVERTISEMENT
 
Security experts have warned that millions of computer desktops are at risk from a newly discovered vulnerability in Sun Microsystems' Java Virtual Machine (JVM).
 
IT security firm CyberGuard claimed that the Java flaw, which is present in the JVM on most desktop computers, "poses a significant security threat because it will not be closed by the usual Microsoft update process".

 Help XP SP2 e-book - download a helpful guide to WinXP's Service Pack 2
I've seen quite a few problems with the newest update to Windows XP. Many people have even recommended you delay downloading and updating with it. This e-book may give you the information you need to help with any problems. All XP users will have to update to SP2 if they want to fix the security holes in XP.

Website - Quote from the website

XP SP2 is more of an update to the OS (Operating System) than just a normal SP (Service Pack). There are many changes to the OS, as well as Internet Explorer and Outlook Express. We have found it to be similar to when Win 98 was updated to Win 98SE.
 
Because of the nature of the new security settings for both Internet Explorer and Outlook Express, an e-book has been written with many screen shots included. Myself (Robbie), with a couple of my friends, have written this e-book. This update isn't the end all of end alls for XP SP2, but a starting point for ones that want to upgrade to XP SP2. The guide isn't written in stone and can be changed to suit your current needs. Most of it is suggestions taken from our experiences of testing this through the many betas over 6 months. We hope that you will find this guide to be useful and timesaving.
Cool Websites

 Website FBI's new internet tracking software
Have you ever had the feeling someone is watching you?
Website - Quote from the website
The FBI has a new way of tracking terrorists. They are now able to see every click they make on the internet. Privacy advocates say this is bad, but the FBI says you will never even notice, and it won't affect the common man at all.
Happy Surfing!

 Website Google Local - look for businesses close to home   
I found this search feature by accident. I was looking for autoparts in my area using google and the first link was google's local search. This search feature is in beta testing now. It works great as far as I can tell. It showed me maps to all the places I wanted to go.
Website - Quote from the website
Sometimes the information you're looking for is related to a particular place – like the all-night doughnut shop that's nearest to your house. Google Local locates neighborhood stores and services by searching billions of pages across the Web, then cross-checking those results with Yellow Pages data to pinpoint the local resources you want to find. This innovative approach gives you access to the most – and most relevant – results for your search.

To use Google Local, just include a zip code or the name of a town or city with your regular search terms at www.google.com. Your local results will appear at the top of the results page.

You can also go directly to the Google Local home page to view only local results, see results on an area map, or limit your results to listings within a set distance from your starting point.


 Website Google's Advanced Search - seek out and find what no man has found before
Sometimes it really pays to use the advanced search features in a search engine. Almost all the top engines have a similar feature. Google has a very nice tutorial on how to use it.

Website - Quote from the website

When you don't find what you're seeking, consider specifying more precisely what you want by using Google's Advanced Search feature. Don't be frightened by the name "Advanced Search"; it's easy to use, and it allows you to select or exclude pages with more precision than Google's standard search box. Click on the Advanced Search link, which is located to the right of Google's search box.

 Website Google's file type search - with funny results
I received an email from my good friend in India, V. Subhash. I just had to share it with you because it not only highlights a great feature in Google, it makes webmasters aware of a security issue and also gives us a good laugh.

Subhash's Website - Google file type search - Quote from the email

Hi Clif,

Most people use Google's filetype search to look for
Word files (DOC), Acrobat (PDF), Powerpoint (PPT) files. I found that Google indexes a lot of other file types. Several months ago, I did a search for filetype:log and saw ftp log files for thousands of several sites. Today, I had a brainwave and did a filetype:eml search. EML is the extension for email files that you save to in Outlook Express.

When webmasters allow directory listing on their sites all files in their server become indexed. The attached file is one such example.

V. Subhash.
<attached email here I had to post it at my website because I couldn't find it at google>
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