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ClifNotesNewsletter050904

WELCOME TO CLIF NOTES NEWSLETTER

September 4, 2005

 

Hi all, I've changed the format of the newsletter so that all the articles are on one page. I've also added an html command that opens all the links in a new window. EmailClif to tell me if you like it.

 


REVIEWS

EasyCleaner - an easy way to unclog your pc

Website - Screenshot - Download - Freeware

reviewed by ClifNotes on 6/5/05 updated 9/3/05

 

I really like EasyCleaner, I've been using it now and then for two years. I like the simple interface and the easy installer. EasyCleaner does a good job of cleaning up registry entries, temp files, mru lists, and many other items that you don't need on your computer. EasyCleaner also can be updated through auto-updates.

 

Now for the bad news ...

EasyCleaner is under some kind of dispute and the webpage most people go to is shareware and they want $25 for the software.

 

Never fear ...

I found the website that hosts the freeware version of EasyCleaner.

 

I'd asked Toni for more detail on the apparent theft of his freeware and he pointed me to his forum.

 

Quote from ToniArts - EasyCleaner is a small program which searches Windows' registry for entries that are pointing nowhere. EasyCleaner also lets you delete all kinds of unnecessary files like temps, backups etc. You can search for duplicate files and you can view some intresting info about your disk space usage! You are also able to manage startup programs, invalid shortcuts and add/remove software list. ToniArts may not be held accountable in any way if EasyCleaner affects your computer in a negative way. List of some features:

 

Very nice interface!

Finds invalid registry entries - deleting them speeds up your computer!

Finds duplicate files - deleting them will free disk space!

Finds all unnecessary files like backups, temps etc. - deleting them will free disk space!

Finds all invalid shortcuts - deleting them will free disk space and increase usability!

Manage programs starting at Windows startup! - who knows, you might even catch a virus before it gets serious!

Manage Windows' add/remove software listing!

Easily remove Internet Explorer's temporary Internet files, history and cookies!

Very user friendly!

Shows some intresting info about your disk space usage.!

Very customizable.!

Multi-language support!

Uses only little amount of recources while running!

Huge help file which gives you every little detail about EasyCleaner!

And much more...!


Trojan and Spyware Tool - Ewido Security Suite

Ewido website - Freeware

reviewed by GeorgesFreeware on 9/1/05

 

I counted the scanners on my computer and found that I actually have five different scanners installed. Three of them are spyware scanners; Spybot, Ad-Aware and Microsoft AntiSpyware. One of them is my virus scanner (one that I have purchased). The final one is Ewido. I installed it mainly because it scans for Trojans. Having five scanners may seem a bit extreme but they are not really that much trouble ... full read and video demonstration at Georges Freeware Reviews

 

Quote from Ewido

  • NEW Heuristics to detect unknown threats
  • NEW Scanning and cleaning of the Windows registry
  • NEW Support for NTFS-ADS scanning
  • Daily database updates
  • Patch proof by using strong signatures
  • Analysis tools (startup, connections and processes)
  • Intelligent online-update
  • Scan inside archives
  • Secure detection and deletion of DLL-Trojans
  • Generic crypter detection through emulation
  • Generic binder detection
  • Free E-Mail Support
  • Automatic Clean Engine
  • Quarantine for suspicious files
  • Multilingual User Interface


The Form Letter Machine - don't keep repeating yourself

Website - Download - Registerware

reviewed by ClifNotes on 8/31/05

 

Coincidence, fate or random chance? I was on the way home from work today, I kept thinking how I kept typing the same headings and formatting commands over and over again. Maybe I could write a quick and dirty program to help me with that? It needs to show me an interface that would let me paste in text and urls to make a new review with the formatting already done for me.

 

Wish granted. Someone already wrote it, and here it is. The program was fairly easy for me to figure out after I'd read the help files. Within a few minutes, I had made the template that created the article that you are reading right now. The program's author does request that you register the program by signing up at his forum and downloading a registry key. I haven't done that yet, but if I keep it, I'll be sure to pop in at the forum to say hello and register. This program is well worth the time taken to do that if you find it useful.

 

click to enlarge

 

Quote from the website - The Form Letter Machine is a program that will help you to write letters and emails by mixing and matching from pre-written paragraphs. It's useful for people who regularly need to send out emails which include different components in different circumstances. For example if you field technical support requests, or if you need to reply to various inquiries, etc.

 

ATTENTION: You may have to register this program to use it.


Google Talk Beta - a new instant messenger

Website - Free to anyone with a Gmail account

review by BrettsReviews and ClifNotes on 8/26/05

 

Here is what Brett has found out about Google Talk so far ...

 

I've just downloaded a copy to give it a test run. Google Talk has an uncluttered, no-nonsense interface that is quite simple to use. The application integrates with Gmail, and can notify you when new messages arrive. read more

 

I also found a positive review of Gtalk at Lockergnome.

 

Quote from Google

They say talk is cheap. Google thinks it should be free. Google Talk enables you to call or send instant messages to your friends for free–anytime, anywhere in the world. Google Talk offers you:

 

* Choice: Get in touch how and when you want to–over email, IM or a call

* Quality: Talk through your computer but hear your friends as if they were in the same room

* Convenience: Your Gmail contacts are pre-loaded into Google Talk so inviting or talking to your friends is just a click away

 

Google Talk is in beta and requires a Gmail username and password.

If you need a free Gmail account, then EmailClif


MessengerPlus - not very funny if you aren't careful

Website - Adware

review by TeMerc and ClifNotes on 8/29/05

 

Temerc has fired up his infamous test box and pointed it at the Messenger Plus program. Messenger Plus is a very popular extension for MSN Messenger that lets you add all kinds of neat enhancements. There's just one thing that keeps me and my friends from using it. It has "sponsor" programs. What do I mean by that? I mean if you make one wrong move while you are installing Messenger Plus, you will have additional adware programs that you almost surely won't like. Temerc goes into a great deal of detail as he forces his poor test box to load up on all the adware it can handle and then tells us how to remove it all.

 

Quote - The big hoopla has been that so many users have neglected to read the message\EULA that this app generates regarding the 'sponsorship' option, they wind up getting slammed with a LOP infection(AKAC2Media). This latest version, comes with a toolbar, homepage\search engine change and a slew of favs added(the usual, casino, sports betting, travel) and some icons on your desktop.

read more at Temerc.com


WinPatrol - puts you back in control of your PC

Website - Download - Freeware

reviewed by ClifNotes on 6/18/05

 

I hadn't tried WinPatrol for over a year and I decided to try their latest version. I am truly impressed. No resource hog and a big improvement in performance. You can easily control your startups, browser helpers and other system settings. WinPatrol doesn't remove spyware and toolbars, but it may prevent you from getting them by accident.

 

Quote from the website - Scotty the Windows Watch Dog sniffs out malicious "mysteryware" , web attacks and parasites that may assault your computer. WinPatrol puts you back in control of your computer so you'll know what programs are and should be running at all times. WinPatrol uses a heuristic approach to detecting attacks and violations of your computing environment. Traditional security programs scan your hard drive searching for previously identified threats. WinPatrol takes snapshot of your critical system resources and alerts you to any changes that may occur without your knowledge. You'll be removing dangerous new programs while others download new reference files.


WinSonar - protection against unknown programs

Website - Download - Freeware

reviewed by ClifNotes on 4/6/05

 

I first ran into this program a few years ago. Since then, Zancart has included more features and made it easier to use. WinSonar might satisfy even the most paranoid people when it comes to it's protection system. When you first start WinSonar it will offer to scan all your TCP ports and report any that are open. Open ports may indicate the presence of a Trojan or Spyware application running. While WinSonar is running it constantly monitors your PC for running processes that it doesn't recognize. This will help you take control of you PC and prevent unknown programs from taking control away from you. When it finds processes it doesn't know, it will allow you to choose whether the process is safe or needs to be eliminated. WinSonar installs easily and doesn't seem to be a system resource hog.

 

Quote - Winsonar 2005 XP Freeware Edition is a program specifically designed for process monitoring and system protection from unknown processes: the program detects new processes permanently installed into memory while system is working off-line, offering also an active Internet protection, by optional automatic termination of any unknown process trying to load itself into memory when the system is on line. The basic idea is that if the user could know a new program silently installed into memory when off-line, he could take appropriate countermeasures. Unfortunately this does not offer any protection against downloading a malware when the system is on-line. For this reason the program detects the on-line status, asking then the user if an automatic termination of any unknown processes is desired (this option can be also enabled by default). This leads to an active protection against trojan\spyware-infected e-mail attachments: even if the user unfortunately opens the attachment, the malicious executable process will be suddenly terminated, without having the time to perform any action.


TIPS

Infected Podcasts - risky listening on your PC

Website - Tip

reviewed by ClifNotes on 8/29/05

 

These articles I saw in Windows Secrets really brought me up to date on a new threat to millions of PC users out there. Podcasting is growing more and more popular, so a little knowledge now can save you a lot of trouble later.

 

Quote from Windows Secrets Newsletter - You wouldn't think that playing an audio file or a short video clip on your PC could infect your machine with a virus or spyware. But the growing popularity of downloadable files called "podcasts" can do just that.

read about infected podcasts

read how to protect against infected podcasts


SpamhOle - spam goes down the hole

Website - Free web service

review by ClifNotes on 9/4/05

 

Get a free temporary email address that forwards to your real email. It's simple and you control how long the address remains alive. You can use it to sign up for a service if you aren't sure it's very good or if you are afraid they are going to spam you and sell your address to others. See SpamGourmet for a similar service.

 

Quote from the website - If you're anything like the average internet user, you get spam email nearly every day. These are unsolicited commerical emails that advertize things like "Make Money FAST $$$$" and "Hot Chicks waiting for YOU!". You didn't ask to start receiving these emails and you don't know how to get off their lists. Every new email address you get starts getting bombarded with these emails within a few months; you've started to wonder if the only way to aviod a deluge of Spam mail is by not giving out your email address.

 

We have the solution.


What is Intrusion Detection Software?

Security Tip from techsupportalert

review by ClifNotes on 2/6/05

 

These days it's becoming more and more important to use IDS (Intrusion Detection Software) to safeguard your PC from attacks. If you need an excellent description of IDS and the software available to you, check out this great article at techsupportalert.com. Thanks a million Gizmo, your newsletter is priceless. I've been using WinPatrol and I didn't even know it was IDS. In addition to WinPatrol, I recommend StartupMonitor.

 

Quote from techsupportalert.com - These products detect malware trying to get into your PC by its behavior rather than by looking for a characteristic signature. Kind of like a detective catching a thief using his modus operandi rather than his fingerprint. Any of you who use WinPatrol or SpyBot's TeaTimer are actually using a form of IDS.

read more


Browser Speed Comparisons - who's got the fastest web browser?

Website - Tip

reviewed by ClifNotes & howtocreate.co.uk, updated on 9/1/2005

 

What does the author of this website say about who has the fastest browser? Fortunately for me, he says the same thing I've been telling all my friends for years. Opera won this contest quite easily. If you don't believe me check it out yourself. This guy has gone to a lot of trouble making his tests as unbiased as possible.

 

Note: If you want to try out Opera, keep in mind it is ad supported and it displays small unobtrusive ads at the top of the browser. If you have Opera and you want to get rid of the ads, EmailClif.

 

Quote from the website - So overall, Opera seems to be the fastest browser for windows. Firefox is not faster than Internet Explorer, except for scripting, but for standards support, security and features, it is a better choice. However, it is still not as fast as Opera, and Opera also offers a high level of standards support, security and features. ... And please, those of you whose browsers did not perform as well as you had hoped, just accept it. Stop with the comments saying this article is biased. It does not matter what I use or you use. This article is not biased. The fastest browsers are the fastest browsers. I appreciate browsers for the sake of them being browsers. I feel no need to tailor tests or alter results to make a browser appear better or worse than it actually is. See the results of the browser tests


COOL WEB SITES

 

Dunscraft's Bird Search - bird watching made easy

Website - Free Web Service

reviewed by ClifNotes & AuntySpamsNetPatrol on 8/31/05

 

Here's a cool website that is featured at Aunty Spams website. She's picked a winner. I've always loved watching birds. That's probably because my uncle and father were both birdwatchers and they used to take me with them sometimes. I tried out the website and even though I thought it was a bit slow, I had no trouble identifying birds using the system they have laid out for us.

 

Quote from Aunty Spam - Bird watching and identification has never been easier! Duncraft, the bird feed and feeding experts, have just unveiled a free online search engine, linked to a database of hundreds of wild birds of North America. Entirely picture-based, you just click on the various attributes which identify your bird in question, and by process of elimination, voila, you end up identifying your bird.

read more


Scanit Browser Security Test - can you safely surf the big bad web?

Website - Free Web Service

reviewed by ClifNotes on 9/26/04

 

Excellent browser tests. It flagged several things in Internet Explorer I wasn't up to date on. There is a real security difference between browsers. IE has over a dozen vulnerabilities that are tested and I failed several of them. I use Opera as my default browser and checked it. It only had 6 tests. Opera passed all the tests and the version I have isn't even up to date. I still have to use IE for surfing some sites, but now I can say I've seen a real difference. Another good browser test site is QualysBrowserCheckup. (Score at Qualys: IE failed one, Opera passed all)

 

Quote from the website - Can someone hack into your computer via your browser? How vulnerable you are? Scanit's Browser Security Test automatically checks your browser for various security problems. When the test is finished you get a complete report explaining the discovered vulnerabilities, their impact and how to eliminate them.


SaveFile - lets your friends download your files

Website - Free Web Service

reviewed by ClifNotes on 9/2/05

 

Do you have a file that's too big to send in email? You need to get it out to your buddy, but how? Upload your file to SaveFile and your buddy will be downloading it as soon as you give him your link to it. If you don't like this service try YouSendit, DropLoad, or RapidShare.

 

Quote - This service can be used for uploading files up to 60MB each. After uploading you will be given a link, that others can use to download your file. Our filesize limit is 60MB and each file can be downloaded unlimited times. Savefile is completly free to use, hope you will enjoy our service.


NEW NEWS

Wake-Up Drug CX717 - now I can surf all night

Website - News

reviewed by ClifNotes on 9/3/05

 

Has anyone here ever wished they could surf all night and not feel it the next day?

 

Quote - Researchers at Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, N.C., say an experimental drug called CX717 temporarily improved performance and reversed the effects of sleep deprivation ...

read more


FEEDBACK AND OTHER STUFF

Don't kill my mouse! Is the message I got from the feedback when I asked everyone how they liked the new wiki format for the newsletter. About 10% of you had no problem with the new format. The great majority of you wrote to tell me that you prefer to see all the newsletter on one page. Wish granted! This newsletter is yours nearly as much as it is mine.

 

I've also gotten suggestions to make the links in my letter open up in a new window so you don't have to hit the "back" button to go back to the newsletter. I'll be working on that with the wiki host. So far they don't offer native support for it. If you think they should add this option, please email pbwiki support and tell them about it. If they get enough feedback, they may add that formatting option.

 

I want to thank every one of you who wrote in to complain or offer praise. I wouldn't be writing this if I didn't hear from some of you now and then. I tried to personally answer each email from you. If I missed replying to you, please try again.

Publisher is warned: Brian wrote to warn me that a freeware site I'd recommended is not doing a good job of making sure they keep out adware and shareware. He found ZoneProtect at their site and earlier I had found a shareware screensaver that was mislabeled as freeware. I'll be writing the webmaster at that site.

To buy or not to buy: Tiffany wrote to point me to an article about a guy who bought some bad Windows cleaning software. You'll have to check programs out before you buy them. If you are looking for a good anti-spyware program, you can find what to avoid and which ones are good by going to SpywareWarrior's website.

 

As a general rule, never use a program that comes to you via a popup advertisement or as spam in your email.

Freeware Arena Facelift: Scott at FreewareArena wrote to tell me he's working on a new look for Freeware Arena. Regardless of how it looks, I always check FA for freeware. It's one of the best and most trusted sources for freeware on the web.

Don't be EasilyFooled: On June 5th I updated an older review of EasyCleaner by ToniArts. It so happens you could be fooled into paying for freeware if you happen to go to the wrong website. I had written Toni to ask him what caused this problem. He's finally written back and pointed me to his forum for the answer. Lesson? Be sure that anything you publish at a hosted website will remain yours and cannot be used by the host.

To everyone: I like getting messages from you. Don't hesitate to EmailClif with your comments.

 


Have fun and surf safely.

 

Clif

http://clifnotes.net & http://freewarewiki.pbwiki.com

Devoted to promoting Freeware and Free Information


INDEX

 

Reviews:

EasyCleaner - an easy way to unclog your pc

EwidoSecuritySuite - Trojan and Spyware Tool

FormLetterMachine - don't keep repeating yourself

GoogleTalk - a new instant messenger

MessengerPlus - not very funny if you aren't careful

WinPatrol - puts you back in control of your PC

WinSonar - protection against unknown programs

 

Tips:

InfectedPodcasts - risky listening on your PC

SpamhOle - spam goes down the hole

What is IntrusionDetectionSoftware? - techsupportalert.com

BrowserSpeedComparisons - who's got the fastest web browser?

 

Cool web sites:

DunscraftBirdSearch - bird watching made easy

ScanIt - can you safely surf the big bad web?

SaveFile - lets your friends download your files

 

New news:

WakeUpDrug CX717 - now I can surf all night

 

Feedback and other stuff:

FeedBack050904

 

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