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ClifNotesNewsletter051106

     

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Welcome to Clif Notes Newsletter

November 6, 2005

 

 

  Hi everyone.

I've been including more reviews from all of you, the readers. That's good for me because I don't have to do as much research and I think some of you enjoy telling us about your finds. I spend a couple days of the week surfing around looking at cool programs and websites, but most of my time is spent talking with readers by email. I think I enjoy talking to all of you as much as anything else I do here.

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

 

 

REVIEWS

 

Audacity - audio editing tool

Website - Freeware

reviewed by GeorgesFreeware on 19 Dec 2004

 

Review by George

I like to create themes for my computer. I needed a program to be able to cut segments of audio files to shorten them to use in my computer themes. I discovered Audacity can do this and has many more functions that I haven’t even tried ... After I started using Audacity, it didn’t take long for me to realize that it had a great deal of capability. I removed the noise from a WAV file I downloaded that had analog hiss noise recorded with it. I downloaded another WAV file that was recorded in stereo but the volume on one channel was much lower than the other and was able to fix it. read more

 

Screenshot

click to expand

 

Quote from SourceForge

Audacity is a free, easy-to-use audio editor and recorder for Windows, Mac OS X, GNU/Linux, and other operating systems. You can use Audacity to:

  • Record live audio.
  • Convert tapes and records into digital recordings or CDs.
  • Edit Ogg Vorbis, MP3, and WAV sound files.
  • Cut, copy, splice, and mix sounds together.
  • Change the speed or pitch of a recording.
  • And more!

 

B Gone - parental website filter

Website - Freeware

comments by ClifNotes on 5 Nov 2005

review by StevenBurn

 

Notes from Clif

I've often looked at parental filters and other internet filter programs. In my opinion, the best ones are just simple ideas that are well implemented. This one is isn't full of hundreds of options and it's not going to cause problems with other programs. One good thing about this program is that I know the author and I know he's a person that you can trust. If you have any problems he'll be happy to help.

 

 

Review by Steven Burn

B Gone is a content filter for parents, children, and anyone else wishing to keep their internet experience pleasant.

 

This program allows you to block site's, based on keywords in the browsers caption bar (such as on this page, you will see "Ur I.T. Mate Group Product Support - B Gone").

 

The interface, and program is password protected using our own custom encryption routine, designed and written specifically for this program.

 

This program is great for those wishing to keep their children away from porn sites, or simply preventing porn popup's appearing when entering or exiting certain site's. It could also be used (and is more than capable), to prevent someone accessing a certain website, or group of website's.

 

Screenshot

click to expand


 

Desktop Sidebar - desktop widgets and a cool sidebar

Website - Freeware

reviewed by CyberGuide on 31 Oct 2005

 

Review from CyberGuide

Hey, check out my new gadget! Desktop Sidebar provides you with instant access to the information you most desire by grabbing data from your PC and the internet. The result is a dynamic visual display you configure and control. I can easily access Outlook calendar items, Quick Launch items, news feeds, a cool clock and many other goodies ... The program has some nice skins too!

 

Screenshot

click to expand

 

Quote

Breaking News... Critical Appointments... Personal Photo Gallery... Convenient Toolbars... Favorite Cartoon... Instant Web Searches... Task Tracking... Music Library... Notes to File... Weather in Tokyo... You can have it all and more at your fingertips with Desktop Sidebar!


 

Index.dat Suite and the truth about index.dat files

Homepage - Cool Website

Download Index.dat Suite - Freeware

article by StevenBurn on 1 Nov 2005

comments by ClifNotes on 5 NOv 2005

 

The truth about the index.dat files: What, why and where?

by Steven Burn

 

Two of the most common questions I get asked are, "what are the index.dat files?" and "will deleting them harm my computer?", the answer to the second is quite simply, no - deleting them will not harm the computer, at all.

 

The answer to the first however, is not quite as simple. read more

 

Notes from Clif

Not only does Steven tell us some of the history of index.dat files, he also offers a solution. Steven is the author of the well known freeware Index.dat Suite.

 

It's not uncommon for Internet Explorer to start getting buggy or slowing down. Quite often, I've seen experts recommend that you clean out all of your Internet Explorer temporary files and to clean up some of the other files not needed on your PC. If you've read Steven's article above, you'll also know that the index.dat files from Internet Explorer may also be a way for others to see your surfing history, if your PC should ever be accessed by someone else. Steven's Index.dat Suite is a tool that will remove the index.dat files and do much of the cleaning that is needed to keep your PC running smoothly. Here's what Steven says about it.

 

Index.dat Suite is a rather unique program that allows you not only to delete the index.dat files, temporary internet files, temp files, cookies and history, but it also allows you to view the index.dat files on your system.

 

Index.dat Suite's current features include;

View and delete index.dat files

View and delete Temporary Internet Files (TIF)

View and delete Cookies

View and delete History

View and delete Temp files

View and delete Recent Documents

Delete Typed URL's

Delete Prefetch folder contents

Auto-generation of batch file to assist in deleting the index.dat files in DOS.

Optional add to RunOnce registry key

 

Optional deletion of swap file (9x users only)

Optional defrag after file deletion

Full application logging

 

Screenshot


 

FreeGuide - open source TV guide program

FreeGuide Website - Sun Java - Zap2it xml data - Freeware

reviewed by ClifNotes on 5 Nov 2005

 

Notes

FreeGuide is a free open source tv guide program that allows you to download tv schedules from the internet and view them in the FreeGuide program. First, I can tell you that this program works very nicely. The second thing I'll tell you is that you will have to work fairly hard to get everything set up correctly for it to work. FreeGuide, is a 6mb download and is a Java program. That means you must have Sun Java installed, a 16mb download. The guide gets it's information from a server called Zap2it which will require you to register there. The registration at Zap2it is fairly lengthy and once you are there you will have to select your channel lineups.

 

I didn't have too much trouble setting all this up, but it's all rather difficult and confusing to get done correctly. You will not be able to do it without reading the instructions. Once it is all working, FreeGuide is a great tv guide. It lets you view up to two weeks worth of programming schedules. It lets you choose the tv programs you want to see in the future and save them in a little list in the sidebar.

 

Conclusion

I don't recommend you try this one unless you are up for a challenge. There are plenty of free tv guide websites that are almost as good and don't require much setup.

 

 

Screenshot

click to expand

 

Quote

FreeGuide is a TV listings viewer that works offline. It downloads listings information from the Internet and stores it for later viewing. The viewer allows the user to view television listings and create customised TV guides by selecting programmes and by building up a favourites list. It works with listings for Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Japan (Linux only), the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Romania, Spain, Sweden, the UK and the US.


 

Hott Notes 3 - easy desktop sticky notes

Website - Freeware

reviewed by Anonymous on 30 Oct 2005

 

Notes from Clif

I occasionally get email from a person I know who tries out lots of freeware programs. He prefers to remain unnamed. So, I hope you can get used to seeing this name instead. I'm sure we'll hear from him again.

 

Review by Anonymous

I've been playing around with this for the last 3 hours. It's a must have if you need sticky notes outside of a professional office application. It's so simple that I did not believe it. Hott Notes is a 2.2mb download. Installation is a simple two clicks and comes with an uninstaller. Help files are extensive but well written and easy to understand.

 

Screenshot

 

 

Quote from hottnotes.com

hott notes 3 is a sticky notes reminder program for the Windows desktop. It is completely free. No ads. No spy-ware. Not only can you post sticky note reminders, you can make checklists, set alarms, draw on your notes, and archive.


 

Wink - easily create your own flash animated tutorials

Website - Freeware

reviewed by ClifNotes on 20 Feb 2005

 

Notes

This is just one more of those programs that I really have a hard time believing is free. Wink allows me to do something that I've seen done with tutorials but never imagined I could do myself without a lot of hard work. In a few easy steps Wink allows you to make a tutorial with mouse cursors zipping around and opening menus. It lets you pop up comments and advice. It also lets you create branch points based on the user decisions on what they want to see next. Finally Wink creates the html code that lets you publish your flash tutorial for the whole world to see and appreciate.

 

Screenshot

click to expand

 

Quote

Wink is a Tutorial and Presentation creation software, primarily aimed at creating tutorials on how to use software (like a tutor for MS-Word/Excel etc). Using Wink you can capture screenshots of your software, use images that you already have, type-in explanations for each step, create a navigation sequence complete with buttons, delays, titles etc and create a highly effective tutorial for your users.


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

TIPS

 

Website Basics - free online course from CNET

If you've ever wanted to create your own website but don't know where to start, check out this online learning course from CNET. It's free. Web Site Basics


 

How to make a Default Stationery in Outlook Express

OE Stationery Group - Tip

tip by CherokeeCandy on 31 Oct 2005

 

Notes from Clif

I've been a member of OEStationery group for nearly a year now. Even though I rarely use Outlook Express anymore, I still drop by to visit because they are all such nice people. They've shown me that using and making stationery for Outlook can be a real form of art. The group has decided to make some of the stationery they've created available for download along with another tip on how to make your own stationery.

 

Here's a tip from them that may prove useful.

 

Tip by Candy at OEStationery

To set up a default stationery

  1. Open Outlook Express
  2. Click Tools
  3. Click Options
  4. Click Compose Tab at the top
  5. Slide down to Stationery section
  6. Check mark Mail
  7. Click Select Button on the right
  8. Drop down top menu and go to where your htm or html page was saved (usually in Outlook's stationery folder)
  9. Click your htm or html page to select it
  10. Click OK
  11. Click Apply then Click OK

 

To Use in Outlook Express simply click the Create Mail button


 

Understanding Windows Firewall - learn from Microsoft

Who knows more about the firewall that comes with Windows XP? I'd think Microsoft would know a little about it. They actually did a pretty good job explaining all the features and changes that come with the service pack 2 (SP2) update. Understanding Windows Firewall


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

COOL WEB SITES

 

Furl - Social bookmarking service

Website - Cool Website

reviewed by ClifNotes in Oct 2005

 

Notes

I've recently been playing with a few of the social bookmarking services. The first I tried was StumbleUpon and then Del.icio.us, and now I've tried Furl. Hazie, one of the readers here recommended it and I have to agree that it's a great free service.

 

Unlike some of the other services like this, it doesn't require an installed toolbar to use it. In fact, it works in almost any browser that supports java script. Furl provides you with a java bookmark that you can drag onto your personal link bar or put into favorites in your browser. When you click on the "Furl It" bookmark, a small window pops up and allows you to add information about the page you are surfing on at the moment. All the members of Furl can see each other's public bookmarks and share them if they want to. The signup process is simple and you can keep private bookmarks there as well as your public ones. Take a look at my Furl to see what it looks like.

 

My recent Furls. The # signs are my comments on the Furled (bookmarked) pages.

 

Quote

Furl will archive any page, allowing you to recall, share, and discover useful information on the Web. Browse your personal archive of Web pages, and subscribe to other archives via RSS.


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

NEW NEWS

 

AOL is up for sale

 

I've been hearing all kinds of news about this. AOL is owned by Time Warner is it's been confirmed they are talking with many companies who would be interested in taking it. The most recent news or rumor is that Google and Comcast have partnered to offer a bid against Microsoft. News article at Int'l Herald Tribune

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

FREEWARE ADVENTURE

 

Write your own review

If you have a freeware program installed that you would like to share with us, write a review and send it to me. Here's my advice of some things to think about when writing it up.

 

 

 

 

 

FEEDBACK AND OTHER STUFF

 

Frapper - you guys live all over the map

Thanks to all of you who put your location down in the Frapper map. If you haven't seen this, take a look. I'd love to see more of you in there. I think this is really cool.

 

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

 

Clif's map as of November 1st, 2005

click to expand


 

Fixing boot delays caused by Zone Alarm

From Kevin

Since the new ZA update my old xp pro machine was booting slowly. i checked out driver delays in bootvis ( they were associated w/ ZA and Avast) no surprise. then used nirs sofer's serviwin to change how the conflicting drivers started. voila

bootvis i know is still available as an optional install on Autopatcher


 

Stealing website content

From George

Usage of Online Content

I have recently found a web site where someone copied content from my site. It bothers me because I was given no credit for writing it at all. They plagiarized an entire article I had written. This brings up an issue of how online content should be used. As a matter of courtesy, anytime you would like to use content from someone’s web site you need to ask the author’s permission to copy it even if the content is not copyrighted. When you ask permission, you should offer to give the author credit by referencing their site’s name and including a link back to their site. I happened to read a posting on a forum once where it was asked if you should get permission to link to someone’s web site. Linking to someone else’s web site is the one case where you do not need to ask permission. All it does is produce more traffic to their site which is something they would want. You may have noticed that Clif posts some of my web content in his newsletter. He did this after asking my permission. It works out to be a mutually beneficial arrangement. Clif gets content for his newsletter and I get additional traffic to my site. When you ask for permission, you may find that you end up making a friend in the process. I’m not one that likes to rant but please don’t ever plagiarize anyone’s writing. It is not nice and it is simply unethical.

 

I agree with you George. I even commented at that site and asked them why they thought you didn't deserve some kind of acknowledgement. I've also gotten a few emails recently that contain pictures and text that is copied from websites. Don't take images and articles from websites and put them in an email unless you make sure you include links back to the website you got them from. Otherwise, it's the same as stealing.


 

AddPreview - available in Firefox

From Terry

Hello, if you take a look at their website http://www.addpreview.com, they also have a firefox version! But I don't intent to use it since the thumbnail is too small to see what a site is all about.

 

Thanks Terry, I missed that. I updated the newsletter to show your suggestion.


 

User of AddPreview speaks

From Charles in Ohio

I've been using "AddPreview" for some time now. I personally find it extremely helpful! I'm gettting older now and the second thing is starting to go.. my memory! Or as a friend said.. "I have a great memory... just short".

 

Something will come up and I'll think... I read about that before. But I won't be able to remember where. As usual I turn to Google search, which will normally give me many possible links. As good as the links may be.. the text (link titles) alone are not enough to steer me back to the site I'm trying to remember. But, with the "AddPreview" boxes to show me what the site looks like... I have a much easier time locating the proper site.

 

I guess my visual memory is better! Anyway it works for me.

 

When the search page first loads, it is without the preview boxes. The page will blink (re-load) and then the boxes appear. I have also noticed that after following a link, upon returning to the search page by way of the "back" button... the page again has to re-load to see the preview boxes. This could be annoying to some, but it happens so quickly it doesn't bother me. If I was on dial up, that might be a different story.

 

Further, I find that when searching for something and not interested in locating a specific site... a picture of the site will sometimes help me to eliminate it. After a few years of doing searchs, you can generally spot a well done and professional site by it splash page!

 

Thanks Charles, as an alternative, try icerocket search once. It does the same thing. Try clicking on the "quick preview" once to see another little window pop in on the results.


 

 

 

Link Valet as alternative to Xenu Link Sleuth

From Bruce

I used to use Xenu, but when I found The Link Valet at http://www.htmlhelp.com/tools/valet/ I stopped using Xenu. This way I let someone else do the processing, so I can continue onto other surfing without slowing things down. More importantly, I found the Link Valet quicker (maybe because I use dial-up). I save the Link Valet report so that I can review it and correct things later. But I keep Xenu around because who knows when Link Valet will disappear.

 

Great tip! Thanks for telling us. I tried it out and it's a nice service.

 

I had one little problem with it. I got this error message.

"The maximum recursion depth for the online Link Valet was exceeded. Select any of the pages below for a further report."

 

Apparently my website is too big for them to give a full report. I've got hundreds of pages. Still, I'm sure it works fine for most websites and is great for dial-up users.


 

 

K-lite Mega pack and Animal Chase commended

From Giorgos

K-Lite or Mega Pack is quite usefull. If anyone don't want to download 24MB, I think VLC Player is a good optional player for Windows with only 7MB downloading. At my system played all audio, video and DVD formats, that WMP couldn't.

 

Animal Chase is a good addictive game. I like it very much! Thanks!!!

If anyone likes retro-gaming http://www.dosgames.com its a very good archive (not Abandonware).

http://liberatedgames.org is another excellent site with former commercial games. Windows games and good links.

 

http://www.remakes.org is an excellent site with retro remakes. I think PacMan friends can find it interesting.

 

Of course sourceforge.net at games section and finally http://www.pdroms.de , Public Domain, NOT hacked roms. Good roms but bad archiving.

 

I just remembered that the roms of pdrom.de aren't Windows executables. However that's not a big problem. The emulator zone is a great site, intended for novice PC users, with comparison emulator catalogs and ratings, of old (Spectrum ZX, Commodore 64, etc.) and new systems (Sony's PSX and PS2, Nintendo's etc.). Links to Home Pages, direct downloads, some PD roms, support Forum, and a good number of links.

 

Thanks Giorgos, great tips.


 

 

Furl - online bookmarking in almost any browser

from Hazie

Have you heard about Furl? I've used it for quite a while and I like it. I like it because you can write a keyword on it and search your furl with only that one word. That makes it easier to find something. You can also leave yourself a comment about it--in case you forgot why you kept that website (which old people like me tend to do...haha)

 

Thanks Hazie, I'm using it now too.


 

 

 

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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