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Welcome to Clif Notes Newsletter

January 15, 2006



  Hi Everyone.

This week, I learned that Microsoft has been able to break into our PC's for years. I've also found some tips for getting the most out of your email. Take a look below at some freeware I've recently tried, and a way to get an entire CD full of the best freeware on planet Earth.

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







Outlook Express Freebie Backup - easy method to save your email

Website - Freeware

reviewed by ClifNotes



Notes from Clif

Outlook Express is a very good email program, but like many other mail programs, they seem to have left out a vital function. How do I back up all my old email, settings, address book, and accounts? I used to use a program called Winret to do this, but they've decided to start charging for it. Outlook Express Freebie Backup is a good program for backing up Outlook Express, I've used it on and off over the last couple of years. You will find this program very useful for transferring email from one computer to another or after reinstalling Windows.



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Outlook Express Freebie Backup allows you to backup and restore your Outlook Express user identity and email (dbx files). The backup can include various registry entries, the blocked sender list, message rules, address book, signatures and more. In addition, it offers several tools to customize OE settings, find DBX files, clone an identity and more.


Jake's Alarm Clock - wake to the sound of music

Jake's Website - DonationWare

reviewed by ClifNotes, Jan 2006




Since intitially creating this music alarm clock program, Jake has continued to add features to it until it's nearly ready to take over as a full music juke box application. Jake makes it simple to add music files to the playlist and alarm list. It will even work with M3U playlists now. The alarms are easy to manage and there is even a snooze feature for those very sleepy mornings. Jake's Alarm Clock is a small download, only 288k. It installs easily by unzipping it and running the install file. If you decide to use Jake's Alarm Clock, be sure to send him a dollar or two so he can continue to add features and offer it for free.



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Jake's Alarm Clock is a Windows compatible alarm clock that plays several file formats (.mp3, .wav, .wma). It is a fully functional media alarm clock and can also be used as the primary media player for your system. Many improvements have been made to the fifth public release of Jake's Alarm Clock. Several of these improvements were made because of user feedback and ideas recieved via email and the guestbook from current users.


µTorrent - efficient way to download large files

Website - Freeware

reviewed by ClifNotes, 18 Dec 2005

add your comments?



I decided to download the Pricelessware 2006 CD. The CD is 637mb of some of the best freeware on this planet. I found that my current BitTorrent client wouldn't work with this particular torrent seed, so I went out and got the one that they recommended. The µTorrent client is only a 115k downloaded and it didn't require an install. I had it running in seconds with no fuss. After making sure it handled my BitTorrent downloads by default, I started the download. I was very impressed by the speed and by how little of my system resources it used. It has all the features I need and I can only recommend it.



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µTorrent is an efficient and feature rich BitTorrent client for Windows sporting a very small footprint. It was designed to use as little cpu, memory and space as possible while offering all the functionality expected from advanced clients.


With BitTorrent, you can download files faster and contribute by sharing files and bandwidth.


1by1 - Smallest MP3 Player

1by1 Website - Freeware

reviewed by ClifNotes, 5 Jan 2006

send comments?


Notes from Clif

Someone at alt.comp.freeware asked "What is the lightest freeware MP3 player that you know of?". There were several answers, and the winners so far are WAV.EXE, a DOS utility weighing in at 22kb and 1by1 at about 90kb. I tried out the DOS utility and I had trouble trying to get it to work in the Windows Sendto menu. I gave up after a few minutes because I'd already found my favorite. 1by1 is a great MP3 player and it's so small you can take it with you anywhere using a floppy disk or thumb drive. At this size, you can bet there's no spyware or other nonsense. I decided to use it as my default player so that when I click on MP3's, I don't have to wait for some huge program to load. It starts playing immediately, and it rocks! Take a look at the features below, try it out, and I think you'll agree with me.


Tip from Querulantus @ alt.comp.freeware

1by1 has been my default music player for ages. It also plays flac, ape, ogg, wav, cda, midi, shn, mpc, aif and other sound files, provided you have the WinAmp plugins. Adding plugins is very simple. You put them in the 1by1 folder and 1by1 will recognize them. You'll see the list of decoders if you Click in 1by1 on "Settings" and then on "Decoder". Currently I have In_Aif.dll, in_ape.dll, in_CDReader.dll, in_flac.dll, in_midi.dll, in_mp3.dll, in_mpc.dll, in_shn.dll, in_vorbis.dll, in_wave.dll, and in_wv.dll.



Screenshot (in compact mode)


Quote from mpesch3 audio tools

Tired of creating and updating playlists? 1by1 is a small, fast and handy player which is not only small: It provides powerful tools to handle your file collection and listen to your tracks.


• Directory Player (needs no playlists)

• Extensive file navigation

• Full resume play (remembers last track and position)

• ACM (mp3) and mpglib (mp3/mp2) support

• Winamp input plugin support

• Audio dynamics and stereo enhancer

• Gapless/track mixing

• Directory finder (plays whole drives)

• Cue sheet support

• Playlist support

• Favorites


1by1 Website - Freeware


Alpha Chess - play, customize, and learn Chess

Website - Freeware

reviewed by StevenBurn, Jan 2006



Review from Steven Burn at Ur I.T. Mate

Alpha Chess is a wonderful multi-player chess game featuring added extras such as playing against the computer in 3 modes (novice, skilled and expert), allowing the computer to learn from your moves and almost complete customization of both the board, pieces and sounds.


In addition, this game also provides for internet and network games, with the extra facility to create your own games to play online with friends.


Ed: This game automatically checks for a new version when loaded, however, this can be disabled in the programs preferences.



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Quote from the author's site

Required operating system : Windows 98,NT,ME,2000,XP,2003.

Necessary disk space : 2.51 Mb


Magic Reversi - old logic game reborn

Website - Freeware

reviewed by PierreRenaud, Jan 2006



Note from Clif

Translated from French, with assistance from Babelfish.

English readers can easily read Pierre's site from this link.


Lucky find from Pierre at les trouvailles de pierre

Logic games... This game first appeared many centuries ago. This type of programs stays popular nowadays because such games do not require much computer resources, simple in use and as a matter of fact - the rules of such games are well known to everybody from the childhood.





"Magic Reversi" was created taking into account all the modern requirements to such games. You can ask "What do you mean by the modern requirements?"


And the answer is:

  • Simple and intuitive user interface
  • Exciting 32-bit animation graphics
  • The possibility to choose the most convenient condition of the game
  • The possibility to play with remote player using local network or Internet
  • The possibility to save game, get advise during the game and so on


















PricelessWare 2006 CD - download a collection the best freeware

PricelessWare Website - Freeware index

reviewed by ClifNotes, Jan 2006

add your comments?


Last week, I mentioned that you should check out the PricelessWare index of the best freeware of 2005. This week, I'll also tell you that you can get a free CD from them just by downloading and burning it. The CD contains most of the freeware in their list. I recommend using the µTorrent client I talked about earlier to download it at the best speed. This download may only be useful to those of you with a very fast internet connection. It's 637 megabytes in size.


Download it, burn it, and give copies to all your friends and family. You'll be saving them the time and trouble of finding and downloading them. As a bonus, you'll be keeping them safe from all the bad guys on the net who offer free stuff with bad programs attached. You'll be a true hero.


Malware Advisor

Website - Security Blog

reviewed by ClifNotes, Jan 2006




My friend Tom, at TeMerc just started a blog to help people stay current on evil software what they can do to about it. He just wrote an article about being careful when you download and install "freeware". Just to make sure you understand this, I'll tell you once more. Free programs that contain bad stuff like spyware and trojan horses, are not true FreeWare.


Stop by and visit Malware Advisor. Offer your comments, and sign up for an RSS feed.


Quote from Tom

Malware Advisor is going to post information specifically related to adware, spyware and malware. The latest threats, fixes and findings on them will posted as soon as possible. Some news stories will also be posted, but not in deep coverage.


Virus, trojan and worm info will be scattered through the blog only as they are similar, but not really what I'm going to be covering.


The idea is to offer advice to users with regards as to how, what and when to use tools for prevention, discovery and removal.


180 Solutions and children

Website - Security Tip

Notes from Clif, Tip from bluepwrdup, Jan 2006



Notes from Clif

Thanks to this reader for writing in with something that all parents should be on the look-out for. I had written previously about the Zango service that's mentioned in the article below. I was not aware that they were targeting innocent children. I've been told by Tom @ TeMerc, that the information is very reliable.


Email from bluepwrdup

Spyware update on one of the most difficult hijacking bundles to remove from your system, aside from Coolwebsearch. Clif, your reader's may find this article interesting, pertaining to 180solutions's Misleading Installation Methods.


This report goes into thorough explanation of 180’s tactics which include marketing their software to children, only disclosing the presence of their bundled advertising software in an offscreen footer which conveniently failed to have a scroll bar, and discouraging removals of their software with the false claim that it could damage other applications.


Read the article here :














The Future of Gtalkr - A Chat With the Developer

Website - Free Information, Free Webservice

Article by SarahInTampa, Jan 2006



Blog by Sarah

If you haven't heard of Gtalkr, you should definitely check it out. Gtalkr brings the power of Google Talk into your browser, but it does even more than that. (I blogged about Gtalkr back in December.) GTalkr also integrates Yahoo Maps, Gmail (but of course!), offers a downloadable notifier, and now you can even add RSS feeds that you can view on your Gtalkr page. What's nice about services like Gtalkr is that you can use the Google Talk service without having to download the app itself. Any upgrades to Google Talk will be available in Gtalkr as well...and since Google is now best friends with AOL, mabye we will see AIM integration soon?


So, what does the future hold with Gtalkr?

see the full article



Gtalkr logo



Trashmail.net - Free temporary email forwarding

Trashmail Website - Free email service

reviewed by ClifNotes, Jan 2006

your comments?


Notes from Clif

SamF in alt.comp.freeware made this statement, I would like to find a disposable e mail address that will allow me to receive attachments. Ideally this would be a forwarding service but I will take what I can get..

I was curious to see what the members came up with in answer. There were some suggestions to take out an account at some of the free services like Gmail and Hotmail. A fellow by the name of Horst mentioned an email service that I thought was really cool.


Trashmail lets you fill out a simple form at their website. You chose a new email address like "DontSpamMe2006@trashmail.net" and then you tell them what your real address is. Finally you select the number of times that they will forward mail from the new address to your real address. It sure doesn't get much simpler than this. Now when you sign up for a freebie online and don't want to get any spam, just use a new Trashmail address until your are sure it's safe to use your real address.





Create a free disposable email address! It's really easy to use: Create a new email address on trashmail.net. All mails to this address will be forwarded to your real email address for a number of times you can set up on the following form. When the limit is reached, the Trashmail.net email address will be automatically deleted. All following mails (like spam, newsletter, etc) will be rejected at Trashmail.net.



YouSendIt - if it's too big for email

Website - Free Web Service

reviewed by Zia, Aug 2004, updated Jan 2006



Notes from Zia's CyberGuide

Well, that's cool ... want to send a file under 1 gigabyte to someone? Simply enter their email address, attach the file and bingo!!! YouSendIt will automatically email your recipient a link to your file stored on our server. Your file will be deleted after seven days.


Update from Clif, Jan 2006

YouSendIt also has temporary photo hosting now at ( http://photos.yousendit.com/ ).





Quote from yousendit.com

Large file transfers are quick, easy, and secure with YouSendIt. Our easy-to-use interface sends your sensitive information online safely. Have complete confidence that your data will get to its destination.


W3 Anonymous Remailer - send secret email

Website - Free Web Service

reviewed by ClifNotes, June 2004



Notes from Clif

Did you ever want to send your boss a nasty email? Got a friend with a bad habit but afraid to tell them about it? This is a site you should bookmark. Fill out the email addy you want to send it to, the subject, your message, and fire away. They'll never know who sent them this email.




Quote from www.gilc.org

Anonymity is essential to protect free speech. It can be used to protect human rights workers reporting abuses, politial dissidents commenting on government actions, writers publishing controversial literature and other important functions where revealing a person's identity would threaten a person's life or wellbeing. Anonymous publishing has been recognized in the United States as being protected by the First Amendment.








Websites I have visited recently

Hover over the links to see my comments.












Microsoft's hidden backdoor

Security Now! - Security Tips

reviewed by ClifNotes




How would you like it if Microsoft could get into your PC anytime you go to their website? Apparently, they have been able to do this ever since Windows 2000 was released.


While listening to the Security Now MP3 podcast, I heard Steve Gibson say that he feels the most recent WMF file vulnerability was intentionally placed there by someone at Microsoft. It could have been used as a "backdoor" into anyone's PC who happened to visit Microsoft and had viewed a specially created WMF image on their website.


If you feel your PC could be at risk, be sure to check out the program called Knock Knock that can tell you if you are at risk. Most of you are protected against this now by a Windows Update, or your anti-virus program.



Our weekly audio security column & podcast by Steve Gibson and Leo Laporte


Quote from Leo Laporte and Steve Gibson, Security Now! episode #22

Leo: So you're saying intentionally or - Microsoft intentionally put a backdoor in Windows? Is that what you're saying?

Steve: Yes.

Leo: Well, that's a pretty strong accusation. Could this not have been a...

Steve: Well, it's the only conclusion...














What's up for next week?

Tell me about your Calendar or Reminder programs. What's your favorite? How do you use it?


Write your own review


I get many of the reviews in the newsletter from the readers. You don't have to be a genius or computer guru. Just answer a few questions and send me a review. I'll probably put you in the newsletter.

















Frapper - you people live all over the world!

Almost 200 readers have put their location down in my Frapper map. If you haven't seen this, take a look.


I invite all of you to record your locations on this map. You can include as little or as much information as you wish. I think you'll enjoy seeing yourself there.


Here's a small look at the frapper map. Click and drag to see the rest of the world.








Have fun and surf safely.



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