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ClifNotesNewsletter041219

Clif Notes Newsletter          December 19, 2004
Reviews

 602PC Suite - MSOffice alternative
Clif notes that this is a great free alternative for MS Office tools. I really love the photo editor. Open Office has more stuff, but these apps load faster and take fewer resources.
Website - (This suite is now Shareware) - Quote from the website
602PC SUITE, the best alternative to MS OFFICE, has it all! The suite is composed of four full-featured applications: a word processor, spreadsheet, photo editor and photo organizer. The license also allows home use, FREE!

 System DELETE DOCTOR - Delete Files that are hard to delete
Here's an easy way to get around that "Access Denied" message windows gives you when it doesn't want you to delete some file that's being used.
Website - Quote from the website
Delete files that are difficult to delete, such as some files left by viruses and trojans, or files with corrupted file names. This program can also delete files like the "index.dat" files, which store Internet history, by scheduling them for deletion upon system restart. Select a file to delete from the built-in file browser or drag a file to the application's icon or window from Window's Explorer.

Editors  FrontPage Express - old freeware web page editor
Years ago, in the time of Windows 95, Microsoft gave away a free version of their FrontPage web publishing software. Now days, there are lots of free html editors out there and some are free. Most of the currect editors are better than FPExpress but some of us like to keep it around.
Website - Tutorial Size: 1.77MB Class: Freeware

 Security IntregrityCheck System Analysis - how safe are you?
I thought this one sounded pretty good and tried it out. It detected that I had the netbios port open and not much else. That's because I've kept my system clean with a whole slew of other Spyware and Trojan detectors. The netbios port didn't concern me too much because nobody outside of my network can see it past our router firewall anyway. Conclusion? Looks like good freeware to me. Use it if you think a trojan may have gotten into your system. You can't beat the price and it's very quick and easy to use.

Website  - Quote from the website

Spytech IntegrityCheck is a small, free, wizard utility for quickly checking possible security weaknesses on your PC. IntegrityCheck will quickly guide you through steps which will determine all open ports on your PC that may be possible vulnerable attack points for hackers and trojan software. IntegrityCheck will also check for common backdoor trojans running in your process memory.
Easy to use security wizard
Displays all open ports which may be vulnerable attack points
 
Displays common trojans that may be running on your system
 
Quick system security analysis
 
Retail Price: Free

 Desktop Lucid - add transparency effects to almost any window
Last week I mentioned Transparent Window Manager. That program went from Freeware to Shareware status. Thanks to Iron_Point for telling me about it. He suggested this program. He says "Its not bad. Most transparent applications use a lot of memory this one seems to use less. Another advantage is that its so simple to use. The help page consist of two pages. All you have to do with this app. is drag an icon over the page and set the transparency number."

Website - Alternate Website - Win2k or WinXP - Quote from the website

Do you like those neat transparent (see through) windows that were introduced with Windows 2000? Lucid will allow you to make almost any window transparent, even the taskbar.

 Open Office - MS Office alternative
Open Office Suite: I belive it's the best of the free office suites.
Website - Quote from the website
What's in the suite?
WRITER Is a powerful tool for creating professional documents, reports, newsletters, and brochures. You can easily integrate images and charts in documents, create everything from business letters to complete books with professional layouts, as well as create and publish Web content.

CALC is a feature-packed spreadsheet which can turn boring numbers into eye-catching information. Calculate, analyse, and visually communicate your data quickly and easily. Use advanced spreadsheet functions and decision-making tools to perform sophisticated data analysis. Use built-in charting tools to generate impressive 2D and 3D charts.

IMPRESS is the fastest, most powerful way to create effective multimedia presentations. Your presentations will truly stand out with special effects, animation and high-impact drawing tools.

DRAW will produce everything from simple diagrams to dynamic 3D illustrations and special effects.

The Database User Tools give you all the tools you need for day to day database work in a simple spreadsheet-like form. They support dBASE databases for simple applications, or any ODBC or JDBC compliant database for industrial strength database work.

 RagTime Solo - Desktop Publishing Software  
RagTime is a truely worthy opponent for MSWord and Excel. It weighs in at only 49mb installed but packs quite a punch. When I had MS office software loaded it lagged and chugged. This program just zips. It does everything a DTP would need done all inside one interface. Can import and export Word 97. Can export to html page.
WebsiteDownload from Pricelessware - Quote from the website
Up to now, you haven't used layout programs, because you couldn't afford to do without spreadsheet calculations or text processing. Now you can give your work that final polish. With RagTime, you have a single convenient layout environment in which you can process text, tables, drawings, pictures and graphs. The intuitive user interface simplifies your quick access to all of RagTime's functions.

 System TweakNow RegCleaner - clean up your pc
In the past, I've tried and used several freeware registry cleaners with mostly good results. This one seems to be a little different. After I run the scan it seems to bring up a list of the ones it thinks could be problems. This is good, but I'm used to seeing a lot more entries listed by the others. I think this utility would be good to run after a scan from your regular registry cleaner to make sure everything is looking good.

Website - Quote from the website

... after installing and uninstalling a lot number of applications, your Windows registry will contain a large number of obsolete entries. This will significantly increase the registry size and thus will slowdown your computer, because Windows will need more time to load, search, and read data from registry.
 
To keep your computer in top performance, it is recommended to periodically clean your Windows registry.
Tips

 Internet File Sharing - what is it? is it safe?
Cristian_650510 wrote in at the Computer Help Club the other day:
Shareaza????? p2p? is this a good p2p guys??? i really want to know beacause!!! iam curious??
 
I wrote back:
Be careful out there. P2P file sharing is a risky business. If you aren't careful you can download spyware if you try getting free programs from others there. If you just stick to data files (mp3, jpg, avi, mov, and others) you should be fairly safe. I don't recommend any of the file sharing services.. I go to only safe places to get stuff. For example if you want MP3's go to http://music.download.com .
 
Here is another take on file sharing from the PC Mechanic Newsletter. The author, Justin Shin seems to think it's ok  to use file sharing services. He does offer some warnings and also some reviews of the best media players to use.
 
I'm still not convinced ...

Website - Quote from PC Mechanic Newsletter #65

File sharing is a phrase of dubious meaning. To some, it represents the theft of copyrighted materials and works; to others, a means of freedom in the modern world. Depending on which side of the fence you stand, file sharing has a ubiquitously accepted association - "Napster." However, there is more to file sharing than simply downloading music from online sources. The old "Napster" service, which featured the ability to search for music through a centralized server and download it from peers, was deemed in violation of the law. However, since the fall of "Napster," many alternatives have sprung up to take its place.

 Help How do Internet search engines work?
Have you ever wondered how search engines find web sites so quickly? Professor Javed Mostafa, at Indiana University, Bloomington, explains it in this article.
Website - Quote from the website
It has been estimated that the amount of textual information accessible via search engines is at least 40 times larger than the digitized content of all the books in the Library of Congress, the world's largest library. It is a challenge to provide access to such a large volume of information, yet current search engines do remarkably well in sifting through the content and identifying related links to queries.

 System Linux Live CD List - try Linux without an install
I've tried one or two of these CD's in the past. It's amazing to me that you can burn a CD that has an entire operating system on it and it runs shortly after you boot up.
Website - Quote from Infopackets Gazette
Comprehensive, easy-to-search list of approximately 200 Linux-based Live CDs. These are CDs you can burn, and then boot and run Linux from them, even though you have Windows as your main OS.

 Security Privileges Risk & Logon - do not surf as administrator in Windows XP
OneStep is a member at the Computer Help Club. He wrote to us to tell us how dangerous it is to use an administrative account to surf the web and read email. I'm sure some of you have no idea what the differences are between an admin or limited user account. If that's true, then see this article. Here are instructions for creating accounts.

Quote from OneStep: Most home users create a user account which has administrative privileges.  This is a dangerous practice especially when surfing as any malware seeking to install inherits the user's privileges.  If you're logged in with admin rights the malware gets unfettered rights to your critical system files/settings too.  Thus, it is better to use a Power user or Limited user account for every day use and only use the inbuilt admin account for maintenance and installing/uninstalling stuff.
Microsoft has released a little utility that makes it safer for those of you who don't want to listen to advice and want to surf and email with full administrative privileges. It's called "Drop My Rights".

Quote from Microsoft: What if someone does want to browse the Web? Or read e-mail? Or do Instant Messaging and so on, and for some reason must run in an administrative context? If you look at the major threats to computers, they are from user interaction with the Web through tools like browsers and e-mail clients.

 Website TrackEngine - keeping up to date on your favorite sites
Once again, the CyberGuide leads us to an unexpected treasure trove.
Quote from CyberGuide's Xanga blog
Latest Updates from cyberguide
 
How many times do you get frustrated that your favourite website does not get updated often and when it does you're too late to find out about it?
 
Quote from the site:
 
TrackEngine can make sure you never miss any updates on a web page. Too busy to read your favorite online news for the next few days because of work commitments? No problem! TrackEngine will email you the page with the updates highlighted so that you can read them at leisure later.
 
TrackEngine
Cool Websites

 Help BootDisk.com - more than just disk help
Great bootdisk downloads, tons of free advice and tutorials. Very informative newsletter. May not be a good site for the inexperienced users.

Website - BootList NewsLetter - Quote from the website

Welcome to Bootdisk.Com
 
The majority of tips, tweaks, files, bootdisks, instructions, utilities, links, patches, updates, and all other information contained on this site are posted for experienced DOS and Windows users.
 
Thanks for visiting and remember: Don't fix a system that's not broken :)

 Website Google Library - 5 university libraries indexed by Google
Right now I can get on my pc to search 20 or 30 libraries and check out books to read. My local library gets the books and gives me a call to come and pick them up. Google is taking this another step and bringing the library to me! This is an example of the true potential that the internet has. Knowledge is power ...
Website - Quote from Aunty Spam's Netpatrol
Google has just announced exclusive deals with five libraries, including the New York Public Library, and university libraries at Harvard, Stanford, the University of Michigan, and Oxford, to scan some or all of their collections and incorporate the results into the Google search engine database.

 Website Google Suggest - the search engine with the gift of gab
Here's another reason to love Google. They will help you search by recommend things as you are typing in your requests. Thanks to V. Subhash for the tip.
Try it out - Learn more about it - Quote from the website
What is Google Suggest?
As you type into the search box, Google Suggest guesses what you're typing and offers suggestions in real time. This is similar to Google's "Did you mean?" feature that offers alternative spellings for your query after you search, except that it works in real time. For example, if you type "bass," Google Suggest might offer a list of refinements that include "bass fishing" or "bass guitar." Similarly, if you type in only part of a word, like "progr," Google Suggest might offer you refinements like "programming," "programming languages," "progesterone," or "progressive." You can choose one by scrolling up or down the list