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ClifNotesNewsletter051023

Newsletter Archive - Reviews Archive - Subscribe to the newsletter  

Welcome to Clif Notes Newsletter

October 23, 2005

 

 

  Hi everyone.

This week, I've got a little of everything. I've been busy, but I've managed to scrape together reviews about games, editing web pages, managing email, creating photo albums, organizing your CD collections, creating music, and a few other fun things.

I hope you enjoy this week's letter. Be sure to email me for advice or to yell at me for messing up.

 

 

REVIEWS

 

Animal Chase - a game for small and big kids

Website - Freeware

reviewed by StevenBurn on 21 Oct 2005

 

Notes from Clif

Steven emailed me about this one. He's given it his Editor's Choice award. If Steven likes a game, you can bet it's a good one.

 

Review by Steven

When an application is submitted to the Freeware Library, I set aside a day and time to allow testing (usually 30 minutes). Unfortunately, in the case of Animal Chase, I ended up spending around 4 hours or so playing with it (almost forgot I was actually reviewing it!). read more

 

Screenshot

click to expand


 

GoGoData Toolbar - do it all toolbar

Website - Download - Freeware (soon to be last freeware version)

Comments by ClifNotes on 18 Oct 2005

 

Notes

I ran into this one the other day but I just haven't had time to try it out. This toolbar tries hard to roll everything that Internet Explorer needs to have. Pop blocking, ad blocking, spyware blocking, form filling, password filling, and more. The ratings look pretty good. The authors of the tool will soon be making it payware so I figured I'd better let you know about it so you can get a copy before they do that. Use the download link above.

 

User reviews at Download.com

 

Screenshot

click to expand

 

Quote

Boost your Web-browsing speed, privacy and enjoyment by blocking most Web advertising, protect against incoming spyware, auto fill your passwords, keep your favorite bookmarks private, and auto-clean your Web browsing history. Browse more safely with SpyDeny, which monitors against most incoming adware and spyware installations; also prevents attempts to reset your home page. The online scanner scans and removes the most common malware. The online password manager automatically memorizes, encrypts, and auto-fills your Web logins. The new history cleaner automatically scrubs your browsing history (URL's, temp internet files, cookies...) once all open browsers are closed, keeping your web browsing private. Cookies can be whitelisted, and the history scrubber is customizable.


 

Nvu - a complete web authoring system

NVu Website - Freeware

comments by ClifNotes on 16 Oct 2005, review by Buzzy at BuzzysStallWall

 

Notes from Clif

I tried out NVu in May of this year. Nvu is one of the first open source web site editors that really seems to have taken lessons from the best commercial systems. Nvu has nearly everything a web publisher needs and it's got an easy to navigate interface. The only thing I didn't like about it is that it runs too slowly on older PC's.

 

I found a review of NVu that does a much better job of describing it's features. Take it away Buzzy ...

 

Review from Buzzy

Since I'm a web master that doesn't know HTML code, I've had to rely on page editors that are considered WYSIWYG or 'What You See Is What You Get' (pronounced 'wuzzy-wig'). For a few years now, I have been using the editor that comes with Open Office, with the odd stint using such items as Microsoft's Front Page. Though individuals that code in raw HTML frown upon these programs, they are a godsend to people like me that want to publish a web site, but don't have (or want) to take the moderate time it takes to learn the code.

 

To create this review page as well as my home page, I decided to use NVu to see if my first impressions had merit. I think I've found a keeper and here's where I tell you why: read more

 

Quote from NVu

Finally! A complete Web Authoring System for Linux Desktop users as well as Microsoft Windows and Macintosh users to rival programs like FrontPage and Dreamweaver. Nvu (pronounced N-view, for a "new view") makes managing a web site a snap. Now anyone can create web pages and manage a website with no technical expertise or knowledge of HTML. Nvu is an open source project and we encourage all who wish to help to get involved.


 

Picasa - photo album and photo effects

Website - Freeware

reviewed by ClifNotes on 13 Mar 2005

 

Notes

Wow! It's not often I'm blown away by a photo program. I should've expected this from Google. They keep making my internet life better. The brief description below doesn't do this software justice. The install was a problem for me but I solved it by turning off my firewall. Picasa might be trying to contact home before installing. Why? I don't have a clue. After installing it asked me if it could search my PC for pictures. It did a nice quick search and found lots and lots of pics. Then the fun began as I started playing with Picasa's rich feature set. I highly recommend Picasa and I think you'll get the most use from it if you have GMail or Blogger.

 

Thanks to Tutelage at Xanga for prompting me to try it out.

 

Screenshot

click to expand

 

Quote from Google

Picasa is software that helps you instantly find, edit and share all the pictures on your PC. Every time you open Picasa, it automatically locates all your pictures (even ones you forgot you had) and sorts them into visual albums organized by date with folder names you will recognize. You can drag and drop to arrange your albums and make labels to create new groups. Picasa makes sure your pictures are always organized.


 

Thunderbird - safe free email client

Website - Freeware

reviewed by ClifNotes on 22 Oct 2005

 

Notes from Clif

I recently switched from Outlook Express to Thunderbird. Why did I do that? The main reason I switched is because I noticed that OE was getting slower and slower. I have thousands of emails from friends and readers. I keep them all. Other people switch because it's quite a bit safer to use than OE or maybe they switch just because it's not from Microsoft.

 

Did I have any trouble? No, I didn't have much trouble at all. TB lets you import all of your OE mail, contacts, and most of the settings. I did have to delete and re-setup 4 accounts that I have set up very specially. Most POP3 or typical IMAP accounts will be imported just fine.

 

What features do I like in TB better than OE? TB has a search bar always handy and it's searches seem to be quite a bit faster than OE. TB does not display images in HTML mail until you click on a button to allow it. This will save you from web-bugs or HTML infections if you open a mail from a bad person by accident. TB also allows you to receive RSS feeds, use a junk filter, create a whitelist, and those are just a few of the things OE has never done.

 

What features do I miss in TB that I had in OE? The only thing I found missing is the "View Source" tab that you can enable while you are composing an HTML email. That's a problem for people who would want to create fancy java script templates for their email. Most of us would never miss it because TB really has a much better selection of tools for editing HTML email than the ones that come with OE.

 

I can strongly recommend TB over OE for the typical person accessing email on their PC, and for the power users who want to tweak it to add more features.

 

See this tutorial for help setting up TB for the first time.

 

Screenshot

click to expand

 

Quote

Packed with Features

Thunderbird gives you IMAP/POP support, a built-in RSS reader, support for HTML mail, powerful quick search, saved search folders, advanced message filtering, message grouping, labels, return receipts, smart address book LDAP address completion, import tools, and the ability to manage multiple e-mail and newsgroup accounts.

Unlimited Features

Thunderbird lets you add additional features as you need them through extensions. Extensions are a powerful tool to help you build a mail client that meets your specific needs.


 

Visual CD is pretty incredible catalogue software

Visual CD - Freeware

reviewed by zridling at DonationCoder on 20 Oct 2005

 

Review by zridling

Make sure you check out BooZet's freeware Visual CD for listing files, folders, folder tree structure, file details and lots more. It has more than I ever would have imagined, including a File Splitter and a Duplicate File Finder that works well! It will export to an htm or text file, and you can even include thumbnails within the htm file of image files. Highly customizable throughout, you get a surprise when you open the Help menu > Registration option.

 

Its author, Budy Setiawan Kusumah, has three other programs listed on the BooZet's Free Software site. He just released Double Driver, which backs up every single driver on your system to separate folders. Really nice indeed. He loves feedback and even has a forum on the site for user responses to his software.

 

Read the full review and join in an extended discussion of this program at the Donation Coder forums.

 

Note from Clif

Excellent review. I should mention here that a couple of people have had problems running this program on their PC's. No serious problems were reported as a result.

 

Screenshot

click to expand

 

Quote

Visual CD is a disk cataloging tool to index CD/DVDs, floppy disks, hard disks, and even folders. You can then explore the disk catalogs, search files and folders, create MP3 playlist file without having the physical disks in the drive. Upon insertion of the corresponding disk, you can open files, split files into smaller pieces, extract ZIP, RAR, and CAB archive, and more.


 

What is Flock?

Website - Download - Freeware

reviewed by ClifNotes on 22 Oct 2005

 

Notes

I received an email out of the blue two days ago. It told me I was a "FlockStar", one of only 283 people chosen, and I could now try the developer's preview of Flock. I emailed them back and asked them. "What is Flock?". I've gotten no reply to that yet, but here's what the "About" section of their websites says.

 

Well, we're pretty much a bunch of regular folks trying to shake things up. We started Flock to build tools that empower people and smooth out some of the more hairy parts of living and working online. As it is, we live and breathe this stuff everyday and wanted better tools to do the things that we love doing online.

 

I've been able to figure out that Flock is a new type of "social browsing" service that lets people share internet links, blogs, and rss feeds.

 

So, now I'm in the process of installing Flock and setting it up. It hasn't been trouble-free, but it looks like they've made a good attempt to make it as painless as they can.

 

  • I installed the Flock browser. The install went well and now I can see that their browser is apparently a customized version of Mozilla Firefox. I like that idea already. Not many browsers allow you to tweak and configure them like FF does. I found a mirror site that allows anyone to download Flock.

 

  • Once I launched the Flock browser, it comes up with a home page that runs you through 5 ways to get started using Flock.

 

    • ... get ready to share your favorite sites: go grab a del.icio.us account.
    • ... get yourself a blog.
    • Start blogging!
    • Check out history right from the search box.
    • Forget old-school bookmarks. Meet Flock's Favorites.

 

  • I went out and set up a del.icio.us account. That was easy. Just add a login name and email address.
  • I already had a blog at blogger.com but for some reason I couldn't get it to register correctly in the Flock browser's blog setup dialog. So I set up a new WordPress account and Flock had no problem accepting it. Once I had the blog, I tried using the blogging tool built into the Flock browser. I had trouble getting the bulleted list functions to work and it was putting weird empty space in the entry, so I gave up on that. This things not even in beta yet, so I expect a few bugs. I did see something in the blogging tool that looks cool. You can grab other blog feeds or Flikr pictures and drag them from your "Topbar" into your blog post. That actually seems to work. So, now I'm off to grab a Flikr account.
  • I took a look at the searchable history and the new Flock favorites. I hope they work right because they look pretty cool.

 

Well folks, that's it for now. I still don't know what I'm going to do with this Flock browser but I'll try to keep you posted as to how I'm using it, if I use it at all. Here are Flock's 13 suggestions on how I can use it.

 

Late breaking news

Here's a more complete review from PaulStamatiou.com.

 

Screenshots

 

click to expand


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

TIPS

 

Remote Desktop on Windows XP

Website - Tip

comments by ClifNotes on 12 Oct 2005

 

Notes

Here's a very interesting tip from Gary. Why pay for a service like GoToMyPC?

 

Tip from Gary Chambers at InternetFixes

Control Remote Desktops Through A Web Browser In XP!

Remote Desktop is a new feature in Windows XP that allows you to control a remote computer and see the screen as if you were sitting behind that computer. Usually, you would use a special client application to connect to the remote computer. By default, Windows XP setup installs such an application: Remote Desktop Connection.

 

You can also access the remote computer without another application, using instead your Web browser. However, before you can do this, you must first install certain components on the remote computer. To do this:

 

 

1. Open Control Panel.

2. Open the Add/Remove Programs dialog box.

3. Click Add/Remove Windows Components.

4. Select Internet Information Services in the Windows Components Wizard and then click Details.

5. Select World Wide Web Service and click Details.

6. Make sure Remote Desktop Web Connection and World Wide Web Service are checked.

7. Click OK.

8. Click OK.

9. Click Next and follow the wizard to complete the installation.

 

After the setup installs all of the necessary files, you can access the remote computer by typing http://remote_computer/tsweb in your Web browser. When you connect to the remote computer for the first time, the computer will download ActiveX components, which requires you to have administrative privileges on the local computer.

 

Remote Assistance: No Invitation Required!

 

Windows XP includes a Remote Assistance feature that allows you to help others, by seeing their desktop or even gaining control over the remote computer. Remote Assistance uses the same technology as Remote Desktop but with one major difference--Remote Assistance is invite only. This means that the remote user has to send you an invitation.

 

But sometimes you might not want to deal with invitations on your local network. You can also configure Windows XP to accept Remote Assistance sessions without special invitations by changing a setting in the Group Policy.

 

1. Open Group Policy and browse to Local Computer | Administrative Templates | System | Remote Assistance.

2. Change the state of Offer Remote Assistance to Enabled.

3. Choose the appropriate setting in the enabled dialog box.

4. Click the Show button and the users or group of users allowed to use Remote Assistance without invitation.

5. Click OK.

 

Once you configure this option, specified users will be able to offer you Remote Assistance without invitation. However, this doesn't mean they will be able to control your system without your permission. When they connect to your machine, you will receive a prompt asking for permission. If you deny permission, they will not be able to view or control your computer. see also Remote Desktop overview at Microsoft.

Gary Chambers

 

Quote

The Tips In This News Letter Come From Any Of 12 Support Databases I Use To Answer Questions Sent Using My Email Support Form At www.internetfixes.com/question.htm

read more


 

Why I don't forward those cute chain letters

comments by ClifNotes on 16 Oct 2005, email tip by BillWebb

 

Notes

While I was reading a reply email from Bill Webb, I notice a little blurb at the bottom of his email. I imagine it's part of his signature. It leads you to a very enlightening rant by the Galloping Curmudgeon. What are the costs of all those chain letters that people are always passing around? You'll be amazed.

 

Quote from Bill Webb

Why I don't read things that say "please forward," and

why I rarely forward anything to more than one person:

http://tinyurl.com/apb66


 

Virtual Studio Technology plugins - links from a master musician

Tip

comments by ClifNotes on 16 Oct 2005, Links by JimiPocius

 

Notes from Clif

I can tell you from experience. Some of the smartest geeks I know seem to have an additional talent for music. Actually they might say they are musicians with a talent for PC's. In any case, here's a page of links from a musician I trust. Hopefully a fellow musician will someday benefit from this page.

 

Letter from Jimi

bro, almost every one of these links is freeware....a few MAY be shareware, but i doubt it...these are from my aol bookmarks, and are mostly VST (Virtual Studio Technology) plugins...there are also stand-alone programs including my fav audacity...

there's thousands of things out there, and these are from all over the world. one caveat: a spyware scan is a must after visiting a few of these sights...not because of the programs or plugins, but because ya run into nasties sometimes on the servers themselves..

anyways, hope these may prove helpful for some of your readers.

Rock On.

peace

jimi pocius

http://www.songplanet.com/jimipocius

 

Take a look at Jimi's very long and complete list of free VST plugins.


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

COOL WEB SITES

 

BestFreePortableWindowsFreeware

 

Best Free Portable Windows Freeware

Website - Cool Website

comments by ClifNotes on 16 Oct 2005

 

Notes

I've mentioned "portable freeware" or "stand-alone applications" before haven't I? Generally, I mean programs that you can just copy to your usb flash drive or floppy and they will run right there without any installation needed. Nedwolf.com is another site that keeps a very nice up to date list of many of the portable freeware programs that you will want on your usb drive. These allow you to take your office with you wherever you go.

 

Link: Best Free Portable Windows Freeware

 

Quote from nedwolf.com

Portable software runs on your USB key drive or your iPod, or a memory stick, or any type of external drive you plug into a USB port. You don't have to install anything on the computer's hard drive. It's like carrying your office around with you. Or... carrying your home to the office.

 

These kind of apps are becoming more and more popular as USB flash drives get cheaper and cheaper. If you ever do any work at more than one computer, go get one now, then install this freeware. Then you can do something else. If you want. Or, you can just hold your key drive and feel good about what you've just done.


 

What can I do with sndrec32?

Home page - Cool Website

a flash video file by Clown Staples

 

Notes

I don't recall where I ran into this at but it sure demonstrates what can be done with the simplest Windows software and a lot of patience. Play the video

 

I made attempts to get in touch with the author to get approval to host his flash file, but their website is often down because of bandwidth limits. If you get through, tell them thanks for some great entertainment.


 

ezHTMLarea - a remarkable web based html editor

Website - Cool Website - requires Internet Explorer 5.5+

reviewed by ClifNotes on 22 Oct 2005

 

Notes

I tried this web tool out the other day and I was really impressed. The ezHTMLarea editor will allow anyone to create webpages without even having to buy or download any software. It all happens right on the web page. One of the features I liked was the templates they offer to get you started. The learning curve for this tool should be very easy to climb.

 

Screenshot

click to expand

 

Quote

• Create/edit HTML content from your browser! No programming necessary.

• If you can use Microsoft Word, then you can use ezHTMLarea!

• It's as easy to use as Frontpage or Dreamweaver.

• Open and Save your web page on your computer.

• Select one of the templates or copy parts of a web page for a quick start.

• Spell check your work with the multilingual spellchecker.

• Right click popup menus inside ezHTMLarea make it look and feel like a Windows based HTML content editor.

• Double-click on images, lines, tables, highlighted words for more options.

• Upload your pages on the internet with the integrated FTP client.


 

Frapper - map the locations of your group members

Website - Cool Website

reviewed by ClifNotes on 16 Oct 2005, suggestion by BillWebb

 

Notes

Bill Webb and I were discussing web applications and the future of working on the web. He suggested I try out this cool service. Frapper allows you to see where all the members of a group are located on a map.

 

I invite all of you to record your locations on this map. You can include as little or as much information as you wish.

 

Screenshot

click to expand

 

Quote

Create a map for your group. Get others to add themselves. Its easy and fun!


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

NEW NEWS

 

Gator VS Snake

Article at National Geographic, 6 Oct 2005

 

Here's a photograph that you won't forget for awhile. See what happens when a 13 foot long python decides that a 6 foot long alligator might be good to eat. read more


 

Nibbles and Bytes

Blog by Brett Christensen

 

One day I stumbled into Brett's newly renamed blog. Be sure to check out Brett's freeware reviews when you get time. read Brett's blog


 

OpenOffice.org 2.0 Final Launches - new version of free Office Suite

article at BetaNews, 20 Oct 2005

 

Many people have been waiting in anticipation of this for a long time. If any of you use an Office Suite or are thinking of adding one, make sure to check out this new version. read more


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

FREEWARE ADVENTURE

 

GIMPshop - Gimp puts on Photoshop's clothes

 

If you are feeling adventurous, and you love using Photoshop, give this a try and EmailClif to let us know what happened.

 

For those who don’t already know, the Gimp is a powerful, open source image editing application. For more info on the Gimp visit gimp.org. GIMPshop is essentially the same program with some cosmetic changes.

 

The Gimp’s menu structure and naming conventions had been a constant source of frustration for me because I was so used to Photoshop. So, I did what any hardcore graphics geek would have done. I hacked GIMPshop together. It’s a proof of concept and it’s a little buggy, so don’t expect too much.


 

 

 

 

 

 

FEEDBACK AND OTHER STUFF

 

View the Feedback section

The feedback section is getting large so I'm asking you to view it on another page.

Here are the topics.

 

WS_Ftp is no longer freeware

Creating Auto-start CD's

Added Calendar of Updates link to front page

Mostz has more problems than most

Tough viruses can be defeated

Mailmop is taking money in return for bad service

 

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

Want a free 2.5Gb Gmail account?

Email me at the address above and be sure to type "I WANT GMAIL" in the subject line.

 


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