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Welcome to Clif Notes Newsletter

April 23, 2006




Hi Everyone.

Thanks for reading my newsletter. Each week, I will have freeware reviews, tips, tricks, news, and lots of cool websites for you 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.




Portable Scribus

a lucky find from Pierre's Lucky Finds, Apr 2006


Portable Scribus is a professional tool for Desktop publishing (CAM), similar to the software Adobe PageMaker, Quark Xpress or InDesign.




It supports professional publishing features, such have CMYK color, separations, ICC color management and changeable pdf creation. Other features include pdf Importation, EPS import/export, Unicode text including right to left scripts such have Arabic and Hebrew. Portable Scribus is has portable wrapper for Scribus that writes settings to the application folder instead of the Windows registry.


visit Pierre's Lucky Finds, for more cool freebies


ISP's Nightmare

review and program by StevenBurn at UR I.T. Mate


Now with a new slick look and a smaller file size, ISPs Nightmare v3.0 now not only works faster, but also looks alot better than previous versions.


ISPs Nightmare is an anti-idler program designed mainly for AOL users, to provide them with a free solution for staying connected, without the hassle of unneccesary huge downloads and complex installations.



NB: Whilst using this program, you will notice incoming/outgoing traffic. This is because ISPs Nightmare works by connecting to google.com every so often, thus making your ISP think you are still active, which in turn, keeps your connection active.


visit UR I.T. Mate for more unique freeware


Paint.NET - Editor's Pick at Freeware Arena

review from Scott Williams, webmaster of FreewareArena


CategoryGraphics › Editors
Author's NamePaint.NET Team
CompatibilityWindows XP (SP1 or later), Windows 2000 (SP3 or later)
File Size3.41 Mb
PublishedMon Aug 22, 2005 5:45 pm
Last UpdatedSun Apr 02, 2006 3:31 am



Graphics editing program that is created by the Washington State University with help also from Microsoft.


I think the authors of this outstanding graphics program state it better than I could and also touch on the collabortive side to the project, Paint.NET is image and photo manipulation software designed to be used on computers that run Windows XP or 2000. ~Paint.NET is jointly developed at Washington State University with additional help from Microsoft, and is meant to be a free replacement for the MS Paint software that comes with all Windows operating systems. The programming language used to create ~Paint.NET is C#, with GDI+ extensions.


~Paint.NET has many of the powerful features that expensive commercial applications have, including the ability to use layers. This is the second semester that ~Paint.NET has been a project at Washington State University, and we have the goal of adding as much functionality as expensive commercial applications provide, but of course, for free! In the spirit of all this freedom, we welcome any suggestions, as well as provide the source code free of charge for anyone who wishes to tinker with it. Please explore this website, download the software and try out many of the things you would do on those expensive commercial applications.


Very nicely done, and check out the pluig-ins available for this prog here

Note: The d/l link will take you to a list of d/l mirror locations.


Editor's Notes

Requires NET Framework 2 be installed.


visit Freeware Arena, to see one of the finest collections of freeware


Random Mix Tape Maker

review from DonationCoder


Random Mix Tape Maker allows you to create custom playlists from multiple mp3 file sources on your system.


You can use these playlists to burn fresh, always new compilations to a CD or drag & drop to your portable mp3 player, or just save a playlist for your listening pleasure. You have complete control as to how the playlists are created. Controlling such things as song length, compilation size, compilation length, and files/directories you want to exclude allows you to custom tailor playlist creation to fit your needs.




see the rest of the cool software at Donation Coder

Some of the programs require you to sign up at the DC forum to download a free license key.


yWriter - For writing books and manuals

review from Tony at Freeware Fan, Dec 2005



Do you write manuals, biographies, fiction, or your life story?


This program creates structures, chapters and paragraph topics then allows you to select each of the above and write the content without worrying about layouts, fonts or spelling. Don't spoil the creative process by stopping and formatting etc.


It saves each chapter as a txt file for later pasting in your word processor for final edit and formatting.


Designed by a published author, he also has some great advice about writing and publishing on his site.






be sure to check out the Freeware Fan Blog to see what Tony is up to


Task Switch XP - advanced task management utility

review from Furman87's Essential Software, Nov 2005


The other day I had about 15 applications open and was using the built-in Windows task switcher via the Alt-Tab keystroke. As I was cycling through the windows, I thought to myself, "Self, why can't I use the mouse to just point to one of the windows in the list?" I tried, but it doesn't work.


So I Googled "windows task switcher" and ran across this gem -- TaskSwitchXP Pro. Not only does it allow you to use the mouse to point to the window you want to switch to, but it shows you a thumbnail of the window as you point to different windows. I just installed it, so I haven't fully investigated it yet, but there are dozens of configuration options that let you tweak it just the way you want.


If you often have more than 2 or 3 applications open at a time, and want quick access to them, then this application is for you. It appears to be well-written, stable, and offers all of the functionality that Microsoft neglected to include in the Windows task switcher. Oh, and best off all it's free!


TaskSwitchXP Pro




take a look at Furman's Essential Software, to see what he thinks you should try


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



larger picture



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!


ABCAudio - easily convert WAV to MP3

review from Clif Notes Archive, June 2005


While I was checking into music format converters, I ran into this sweet little program. Once installed, it's simple to use. You just pick out the WAV file or even an entire folder. Then you tell it where to put the files. When you are done, all the WAV files are converted to MP3. The program also has quite a few options for doing things the way you like them done.


ABC Audio




Tip from Clif:

To turn this into a portable application, do the following. Install it normally. Copy the program folder to another name. Next uninstall the program from the Ad-Remove control panel applet. The copy of the program that you made earlier still works fine and you can even move it to a floppy disk or thumb drive to use it on the road.


Quote from the website - ABC Amber Audio Converter is a useful utility which helps you convert wav files to mp3 files (or mp3 files to wav files). The software supports a batch conversion, a run from command line, more than 50 languages. Batch conversion ability allows you to convert a unlimited number of audio files at a time.

















Free professional books from Apress

a tip from Carlo at SpaghettiTech, Oct 2005


Looking for new readings? Maybe free?

Apress is offering some ebooks you should check out:


  1. A Programmer's Introduction to PHP 4.0;
  2. Writing Perl Modules for CPAN;
  3. Programming VB .NET: A Guide For Experienced Programmers;
  4. COM and .NET Interoperability;
  5. Dissecting a C# Application: Inside SharpDevelop;


for a hot dish of freebies, visit Spaghetti Tech


Before you give up, rebuild XP

from ClifNotes, Apr 2006


While reading the LangaList, I found an article from Fred at Information Week that shows you how to rebuild some of XP's defaults when it doesn't want to boot up correctly. This might save you a re-install sometime.


See XP's Little-Known 'Rebuild' Command


How to use CCleaner

from ClifNotes, Apr 2006


I often review these freeware programs and give you no advice on how to use them. This tutorial from Download.com will help you when you try out CCleaner.


See this article at Download.com
















Wikipedia's list of portable applications

Latest Updates from cyberguide




I am a big fan of Wikipedia, simply because it is a freely available source of well categorised information and anyone can make a contribution. I found this via Gizmo, a repertory of portable applications.


I hope to make this kind of Wikipedia news more regular next time...


Calendar - create a custom calendar from your photo

cool website found by ClifNotes, Apr 2006


Here's a site that lets you create your own calendar from a photo that you upload. It's free, and it would make a great gift for friends or family.


Try out the Calendar


Quote from the website

Create a calendar using your photographs. Know what day it is at a glance! Plan ahead! Impress your friends with your pre-cognitive powers! All you need is a photo from that fancy digital camera of yours. Heck, go nuts and make a whole year. Works with your photos hosted on Flickr or anywhere else.





Websites I have visited recently

Hover over the links to see my comments.










Feedburner Email

news from SarahInTampa, Apr 2006


This looks interesting! FeedBurner has launched a new service called FeedBurner Email. The service is a feed-to-email-service that allows publishers the ability to offer plain text or HTML emails containing the latest posts to their subscribers. It's a publisher-only service, where the emails are delivered as "from" the publisher, not from FeedBurner. There's not a FeedBurner header and only a small "delivered by" footer. Publishers will be able to access to the email addresses that subscribe to their feed, so they could export these addresses in order to move from FeedBurner to another service, if they so desired.


drop by and see the rest of the news with Sarah In Tampa


Download and Convert YouTube videos

news from ClifNotes, Apr 2006


Some time back, I posted a review from CyberGuide about YouTube. It's a place for people of all types to upload their own videos to share with the world.


I recently found that you can download these and convert them to other formats if you want to.


See Downloading and converting Youtube videos



Get Gmail!


You need a Gmail account to access many of the cool features at Google. I'll send you an invitation right away if you write me and say I want Gmail.





















Frapper - you people live all over the world!

Wow! Over 300 people and still growing! 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 my frapper map.



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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