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Welcome to Clif Notes Newsletter

February 19, 2006



  Hi Everyone.

This week: A winner is announced. Modify pictures online. Two new tools to help you manage Windows, a tool to protect Windows, and a tool to keep it backed up. Lots of cool websites to check out.

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


The Winner!

Free Premium Wiki for one year

Free Offer from ClifNotes, Feb 2006



Notes from Clif

I received several letters from people telling me why they wanted a premium pbwiki website. The decision wasn't easy. Here are some of the types of websites people wanted to put here.


  • Music
  • Geneaology
  • Computer help
  • Website help
  • Disability help
  • Farm products
  • Real Estate
  • Teaching
  • Personal page
  • Humor


After giving it a lot of thought, I finally decided to award this site to a teacher. A teacher should be able to make the best use of all that space and would be able to affect the most people. It so happens that the teacher is a psychology professor in Puerto Rico who is very interested in integrating learning technologies.



Thanks to everyone who participated in the contest. You really haven't lost. You can still do nearly everything you wanted to with the free pbwiki service.



Anyone can sign up for a free pbwiki website with lots of cool features. It only takes a minute or two and you have your own website.


If you want to find out more about pbwiki websites, take the tour.



Check back next week

I've got another freebie give-away to announce. I hope everyone here enjoys a good contest. I sure do.





Edit Digi Pictures - right click to convert images

Download - Freeware

reviewed by ClifNotes, Feb 2006




I post a lot of images in my newsletter. I needed a small fast way to create thumbnails, or smaller versions of images. That way the newsletter page won't take forever to load because of all the large images in it. You can see an example of this below under "Screenshot".


I already knew I wanted to be able to right click on an image and shrink it. I went searching at Snapfiles for the right tool to help me out. After looking around, I finally found Edit Digi Pictures. It's not the perfect tool for me but it does a good enough job of resizing. It also has many other functions as you can see below it the quote.


Now all I have to do is right click on an image and a smaller image is created in a folder called "EmailPicture". The only thing I'd like better is to have it create the new smaller image with a prefix or suffix to the name so that I don't have to go into a folder to get the smaller versions.




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Quote from Edit Digi Pictures home page


* Rescales one or more images

* Renames one or more images

* Converts one or more images into one of the following file formats (bmp, jpg, gif, tif, png)

* Rotates one or more images


Taskzip - Backing up critical files automatically

Download - Freeware

article by Tony at FreewareFan, Dec 2005



Advice from FreewareFan

Years of computer use have taught me one truth. Someday, somehow my PC will crash and nothing short of a completely fresh reformat will resurrect it!


Having had this nasty experience a few times, I now back up critical files and documents to an external device or to my free Yahoo Online Backup (30Mb per account).


There are many programs that do this but I have found problems with most of them. Either they are too large, too slow or save in a format that requires the original program to restore it (which gets wiped out in the crash anyway)


Taskzip is an old program but still does everything I want.

read more at FreewareFan



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WinRoll - easily manage multiple windows.

Homepage - Download - Freeware

reviewed by ClifNotes, Feb 2006




WinRoll is an add-on for managing all of the open windows on your desktop. If you typically have more than four or five windows open, it can be a chore switching between windows. WinRoll will "roll up" a window when you right click on it's title bar. Right click again and it unrolls. Hold down the alt key before clicking and all open windows roll up.


To be honest with you, at home I don't have much use for this tool because I rarely have more than three windows open. However, while I'm at work, this just might save me some time. I'll give it a try there and report back.


I had trouble finding the download link on the homepage. If you can't find it, try this link.


Screenshots - before and after rolling up windows

larger images before after


Quote from the homepage

Make a window roll into its title bar, send it to the back or make it stay on top. Minimize, maximize or close all visible windows, including minimizing to the tray area. Make a window translucent on Windows 2000 or above. WinRoll is lovingly hand-crafted in 100% pure assembly language to give the fastest response and the smallest memory footprint. WinRoll is proudly a FREEWARE and OPEN SOURCE application.


Xplorer2 Lite - dual pane file manager

Website - Liteware

reviewed by GeorgesFreeware, Oct 2004



Review from George's Freeware

Windows used to come with a file manager that could be configured with two panes. It made moving files from one folder to another easy by using the drag and drop method. Later versions of Windows came with Windows Explorer that could not easily be configured with two panes. When I bought a new computer with Windows XP, I set out on a quest to find a good two pane file manager. I found what I wanted with Xplorer2 Lite. I probably use a file manager more than most people because I not only use it to move files around, but also just to navigate and open files. The advantage is you can double click on any file and launch the application that goes with it. The only requirement is that you have to know where your files are saved.


After I initially installed Xplorer2 Lite, I really didn’t like it that much ...

read the rest of the review at George's Freeware



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Quote from xplorer2

The lightweight version of xplorer² is not a crippled unusable salesman of the professional version. It shares the same browsing and management engine, and gives many rival professional file managers a run for their money — literally! It is a complete little file manager, albeit lacking a bit in bells and whistles.


WinKey - create keyboard shortcuts

Download - Freeware

reviewed by Brett at NibblesAndBytes



A nibble from Nibbles and Bytes

WinKey a very handy little application, that can make your computing more efficient. I've used it for a long time on my Windows 98 system. It also works well on my XP system.


From the download site:


"Open your favorite applications, folders, and Web pages instantly with Windows key shortcuts that you create. This shell extension allows you to create keyboard shortcuts using the Windows key. You can use up to 200 different key combinations in addition to the ten built-in links. This update includes new shortcut commands to manage the state of an active window, a new "Browse for Folder" button in the shortcut properties, and more."


You can get it here.


Notes from Clif

Since Brett reviewed this program, the program has changed sites twice and is now owned by Copernic. They have stopped distibuting it, so I decided to host a copy of it here at Freeware Wiki. This is the last freeware version.



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Sentinel - system integrity checker

Download - Freeware

reviewed by Carlo at SpaghettiTech, Feb 2006



A hot dish from Carlo

Sentinel 2.1 is a once shareware, now completely free tool, which scans your system folder (along with up to 20 custom directories) and performs an integrity check: whenever a file (.dll, .drv, .sys, .386, .ocx, .exe, .com, .pif or .scr) fails the test, Sentinel sends it to the AV/Anti trojan software of your choice to be examined.


A built-in registry watcher will prevent unwanted and suspicious changes in the system registry (e.g. new startup entries); the secure-shutdown feature adds an icon to the desktop, which allows to perform a scan (integrity check and registry audit) and shut down the system with a single click.


Every examined file is logged, in order to be re-scanned on demand.

read the rest of Carlo's review



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Integrates seamlessly with your Anti-Virus product for an added layer of protection. Scan on Startup or use the Secure Shut Down feature to stop potential threats before they strike!


Sphygmic Spreadsheet - MS Excel alternative

Download - Freeware

reviewed by JohnHood



Review by John Hood

Spreadsheet: Sphygmic

Review Date: Jun-2003

License: Free

Special Note: Greenware (No Install Required)


Interface = 10.0

Features = 10.0

Stability = 9.0

Help/Support = 8.0

Versatility = 8.0

Average Rating = 9.0 (Of The 2 Programs I Reviewed)



Microsoft Excel has its fans. However most people think that Excel is the only commercially available spreadsheet. For them there is an alternative.


Pluses - Sphygmatic is spreadsheet for serious number crunchers. Sphygmic sports 125 functions. You have up to 256 columns and over 16,000 rows, multiple sheets, CSV files and read and write Excel 4.0 files. A charting module is built in.



Minuses - It's getting a little old. There is no support available. What you get is what there is.

see more at John Hood's The Best of Free Software



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Why waste money and over 180MB of disk space to get feature-bloated Excel? With the Sphygmic Software spreadsheet you get all the functions you need in less than 4MB! And all this for free!


















Little Known Google Secrets

Tip by TerryStockdale at Terry's Computer Tips, Feb 2006



Tip from Terry

I've written several times about how much I like to use Google for searching. It is my primary search tool and almost always turns up the information that I want. Recently, I wrote about Usenet and using Google Groups as a convenient way to search Usenet for information.


However, Google is more than a web search engine and a portal to Usenet. There are the other main headings on the www.google.com page, the Images, Groups, News, Froogle and Local headings. And the rest of the magic, "more". News, in this case, is current world news. Froogle is a search engine that focuses on the prices of items. Local lets you find items in your city. However, you don't even have to go to the Local tool to use it, though.


Read more in my article Little Known Google Secrets

Find more tips at Terry's Computer Tips


Do I need a firewall program?

Tip from TerryStockdale at Terry's Computer Tips



Tip from Terry

You only have to visit a few of my Internet security articles or my home networking articles to realize that I believe you should be using a software firewall on your computer, no matter whether you are using dialup, cable or DSL, and no matter whether you have a router/firewall on your network or not.


A lot of people believe that they are safe since they use dialup. Once upon a time, the danger was to high-speed users only. However, now, everyone is at risk, whether they use dialup or high-speed. Try the free ZoneAlarm Free Firewall, or any of the various commercial software firewalls, and you will be amazed at the number of probes across your dialup line ...

read the rest of this article

Find more tips at Terry's Computer Tips


Notes from Clif

Next week, Terry has promised to review Kerio Personal Firewall, which is free after a 30 day trial of the full package. If you want to check Kerio out ahead of time, go here, or you can check out some other free firewalls.
















WebGrid - home to great freeware

WebGrid homepage - Freeware index

reviewed by ClifNotes, Feb 2006



Notes from Clif

WebGrid has been renovated! I would like everyone to take a minute and drop by WebGrid to take a peek. I asked Bob a few questions that I thought you might like to have answered ...


How and why did WebGrid come to be?

WebGrid was formed as a private venture in 2000 by Bob McKenzie. Without knocking the services of Shareware sites which do have a place in society, it seemed unethical for these sites to offer Freeware which consequently turned out to be Demos or Trial versions. WebGrid's aim was to redress this by offering genuine Freeware only.


How long has it been around?

Since January 2000


What types of things can a person find at WebGrid?

Genuine Freeware - NO SHAREWARE - NO TRIAL VERSIONS - NO DEMOS - NO TIMEOUTS. Links to Technical Support, Dll's/VB Runtimes/Drivers/DirectX and Tutorials.


What's new at WebGrid?

A collection of carefully selected freeware in many different categories, complete with a searchable database, comments and screenshots. The site differs to the previous one in that the applications listed have been drastically reduced in order to showcase the very best of Freeware.


What are your future plans for WebGrid?

To continue to work on our reputation for supplying genuine and trustworthy Freeware.




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A collection of carefully selected freeware in many different categories, complete with a searchable database, comments and screenshots.





Websites I have visited recently

Hover over the links to see my comments.












PXN8 - online photo editing

News from SarahInTampa, Feb 2006



News from Sarah

PXN8 is an online photo editing website that is really easy to use. If you are ever without your favorite photo-editing software, keep PXN8 bookmarked as a good backup choice. You might even find that you like it even better than photo editing software! With PXN8, you can zoom, crop, resize, tilt, change colors, sepia, reduce red eye and much more. What's even better is that with a click of a button, you can upload your finished product to flickr! Now, that is handy!

See more news from Sarah


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Amazon to Compete With iPod!

News from SarahInTampa, Feb 2006



News from Sarah

Amazon is in talks with various major record labels regarding a music service they plan on offering. Also, Amazon is looking to partner with a hardware manufacturer to offer a flash-based music player that they will brand with the Amazon logo. All this is an effort to directly compete with the Apple iTunes Music Store, and, of course the iPod ...

read the rest of this article at Sarah's blog























Frapper - you people live all over the world!

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.



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.






Have fun and surf safely.



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