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Welcome to Clif Notes Newsletter

May 14, 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.




Internet Explorer 7 beta - Clif tries it out

review from ClifNotes, May 2006


After all the warnings and horror stories I've heard about problems with the beta versions of IE7, it took a little courage for me to try it out. So far, I haven't seen any ill effects from installing IE7 beta, but was it worth the download?


Short answer: No!


Long answer below.


Installing IE7 beta

I downloaded the 12mb IE7 beta installer from Microsoft and fired it up. What's the first thing it wants to do? Microsoft wants to spy on my PC to see if I have a legitimate copy of Windows. I make certain all my software is legal, so I let it proceed. It only took a few seconds.


Now the installer tells me it wants to get the most recent updates for IE and install them. Okay, this one took a few minutes while I twiddled my thumbs waiting for it to finish.


Finally it starts actually installing. When it finishes, guess what? It wants me to reboot my PC. Why can't Microsoft install programs without so many major changes to the OS that you are forced to reboot?



The first pages IE7 shows me are a settings page and feature tour. I set my settings and took the tour. At this point, I'm underwhelmed. The tour didn't show me any features I don't already enjoy while using FireFox. Maybe it's lighter and faster than Firefox? Let's try it and see.


The new installation of IE didn't change my home page, but it did change my default search site. It's not too hard to change it back, but if they see I'm already using another search site, why don't they use it?


My home page is a website I created on my PC and it has all the links to my most frequently used sites. It's also set up to open any clicked links in a new browser window. IE failed my first test by opening the links in a new IE browser window instead of a new tab. I haven't checked, but there may be a way to change that. I can't complain too much about that, I had to change my Firefox settings to get the same results. The OperaBrowser always does it right first try.



After getting started surfing, things went downhill from there. Websites opened in new tabs very slowly. Within a few minutes of surfing, I felt like I was back on a dialup modem connection. It never did improve. In fact, I had to switch back to Firefox to write this article, because I got sick and tired of waiting on the browser to open new pages.


Stability issues?

After surfing awhile, I closed the IE7 browser, and up pops one of those cryptic Microsoft error messages and an offer to send information to the mothership. It didn't cause any problems that I could detect, and I was able to restart IE7 with no problems. After surfing a bit longer, IE7 froze up while I was composing a page in this wiki. That was the final straw for me. I'm uninstalling it now!



Amazing! It actually works. The uninstall was rather lengthy but my IE6 is back to normal (after the required reboot).



It's not ready for my PC. I may have an older PC but I doubt if that's the reason IE7 was so slow. FireFox and OperaBrowser both fly at warp speed compared to the beta version of IE7. There may be other issues that my Windows XP is suffering from that are causing the new tab delay, but I'm not willing to take the time to work on it if I don't have to. IE7 go away, come back again some other day.


Download IE7 beta at your own risk


Yahoo and Music Videos for Firefox?

review by ClifNotes, May 2006


I saw that Yahoo has a new plugin so that Firefox users can now listen to Yahoo Music and Videos. I tried it and apparently it's still got some bugs. It didn't even install properly for me.


Looks like I will have to continue to use IE for some of the Yahoo services.


Yahoo Firefox plugin


Mouseless Browsing - a Firefox extension for keyboard users

review by brotherS at the DonationCoder website


From Clif

Some of us are very dependent on using a mouse constantly. Other people find a mouse to be a real distraction because they are touch typers who like to keep their fingers on the keyboard. The Mouseless Browser extension for the FireFox browser is just the trick to keep those hands on your keyboard while surfing. I know keeping their hands on the keyboard is a real problem for some people who like to surf adult sites. They can just skip this article. (Joke! I can't hear you laughing?)


From brotherS

I recently read about MLB/Mouseless Browsing on http://www.donationcoder.com/Forums/bb/index.php?topic=2842.0


MLB ( http://www.rudolf-noe.de/MouselessBrowsing.htm ) is a Firefox extension, I chose to install version 0.4.1 Beta.


Quote from Mouseless Browsing website:

Mouseless browsing bases on appending small boxes with unique ids for all links, form elements and frames to the page. You can trigger an action (e.g. following the link) by simply entering the id and depending on the configuration confirming it by pressing Enter.


As DC user vamp07 said in the other thread, I quickly noticed it makes sense to change the delay from 500 to 750 ms and to set the Numpad0 key to toggle visibility of the IDs.


A picture says more than 1000 words, so have a look:




On that screenshot I marked three places, which have so-called IDs:

A = 176 (quote)

B = 180 (shoutcast.com, external link)

C = 188 (reply)


All I now have to do is to quote Carol is to hit Ctrl and type 176, if I would type 180 the new page would open in another tab (depends on how you set up Firefox) and if I would type 188 while holding Ctrl down I'd just reply, without quoting.


This is an extremely helpful extension! Being a true keyboard user I was always annoyed when having to grab the mouse.


if you are a true keyboard user, check out the rest of the article at DonationCoder forums


SAVIhost - a musician's best friend

review by JimiPocius, 2006


Download SAVIhostWhat is a Softsynth?What are VSTi's?


Hello Folks, I'm Jimi Pocius, AKA Pink Jimi Photon, a guitar slingin' Rock musician from Rockville CT., USA...


SAVIhost: With this program can run ANY of these virtual Softsynths, all (of course) FREEWARE!




All you need to do is to download the savihost.exe, unzip it to a "new folder", and copy a VSTI (Virtual Studio Instruments) .dll file to the folder ...


Right click on savihost.exe, and rename to the same as the .dll file. If the dll is crunch.dll, you rename savihost.exe to crunch.exe, and suddenly you have a groovy little virtual synthesizer to play with!


Some background on Hermann Seib, author of SAVIhost



Quote from Herman

What's that good for?


Well - some people have expressed the desire to run their VSTis as standalone programs in as simple a way as possible. Using SAVIHost, it is a matter of seconds to create an executable for the plugin, which can then simply be invoked by the familiar double-click. No massive sequencer package, no unnecessary overhead.


BookMark Master - mastering dead bookmarks

old review by ClifNotes, updated May 2006


Excellent bookmark manager. Bookmark Master allows you to check for bad links and edit them easily. I found that most of my bad links could be fixed by just changing the url address a little bit. Also allows for super key word searches.




**Quote from the website***

Bookmark Master is an easy-to-use tool to manage/edit/search/check favorite links in Microsoft Internet Explorer.


Bookmark Master allows you to check your favorite links with adjustable threads (Settings Panel). It has powerful searching functions, even allows you to search keywords among all favorite links directly on their webpages. With Bookmark Master You can get very detailed info about your favorite link on Name, URL, Folder Path, Validity, Accessed Time, Connect Succeeded Time, Created Time, Connect Info, and Webpage Title.


Try BookMark Master


BookWormZ - a fun game to develop your vocabulary

old review by ClifNotes, updated May 2006


My wife and I have been long time fans of a PopCap game called BookWorm. To play it for free you have to go to one of the online java based game sites. Now you can get the same challenge on your PC and you don't have to open your internet browser to do it. BookWormZ is very similar to the online game and it's actually faster and more flexible in some areas. I especially like the feature that allows you to look up word definitions. I found that this program will also run stand-alone on removable media as long as Windows has the appropriate ocx and dll files. All you have to do is copy the program folder to the removable media and you can play it wherever you go.




Quote from the website

BookWormZ is a Tetris like game played with letters. Purpose of this game is to make words from a set of adjacent letters arranged randomly on a board. Words can be made by linking letters in adjacent squares. BookWormZ requires good vocabulary, imagination and quick thinking. Computer hints help you learn new words quickly.


Try BookWormZ


Browser Extension Manager - regain control of IE

old review from ClifNotes, updated May 2006


This sounded like a really good way to gain a little more control over Internet Explorer's inner workings. I wasn't disappointed after I gave it a try. Browser Extension Manager will let you really dig deep into IE to see everything that's loaded in it. It's a small download and a breeze to install. Awesome tool!




Quote from the website

You know the feeling. You've installed an Internet Explorer add-on or two, kept some, uninstalled the rest, and now... Something's not quite right. You've extra options on your right-click menu that don't belong. Buttons on your toolbar left over from the unwanted applications. Or maybe the default Search options don't work any more.


The Browser Extension Manager helps you take back control, fixing these and many other common problems.


Selectively disable ActiveX Controls. Some ActiveX controls can be a security risk, but do you really want to disable all of them? No? Then use Browser Extension Manager to kill the offending control only -- it's much easier than the manual method.


Remove Internet Explorer branding. Get rid of those annoying graphics and window captions - on Outlook Express, too.


Delete right-click Context Menu entries. If that browser add-on left some menu entries behind, remove them easily here.


Dispose of Browser Extensions. Browser helpers, search hooks, Explorer bars - just delete the ones you don't need.

...and much, much more! The program works with Internet Explorer 4 or later, and is entirely free - so why not download it now?


Try Browser Extension Manager














Langa Letter: The OS Inside The OS

article from Fred Langa, author of the LangaList


Fred Langa shows how a simple tweak turns XP's low-level Recovery Console into a complete, standalone mini-operating system--in effect, an XP DOS!


Note from Clif

I tried this out, and it works. The thing about it is that it's only handy when I have a real problem with XP. I'm hoping I never need to use this trick. LOL


click here to read the article


Top 10 Windows XP Tips Of All Time

article from George Jones at Information Week


From Clif

CurtK at work wrote me about these good tips. Thanks Curt!


From Information Week

With Vista at least seven months away, we'll all be using Windows XP for some time to come. Here's how to make the most of performance, disk space, and all-around usability ...


read the article at Information Week















Quickdump - upload your files to share them

Latest Updates from CyberGuide




Now, I like this one... a clear and neat way to share files publicly for free... Not one of those Rapidshare 'Free service but better use the premium feature 'cos it's faster'!


All file format supported, size limit per file is 100 Mb, no big nagging ads and no time limit (as long as the file is downloaded in the next 30 days after upload). Cool.




JumpKnowledge - email enhancements

review by EdgarJ, Apr 2006


From Clif

Edgar wrote me last month about this free service for enhancing your email experience. He's quite pleased with it. Thanks for the tip Edgar, and I had fun chatting with you on Gabbly the other night.


From Edgar

I have come across many websites that allow one to "send to a friend" the page you are viewing. However, when you do this, what your friend receives is a link to that page, not the page itself. This is worse especially if that page is password-protected.


Thus, every time I want to send a page I’ve visited to my friends, I used to copy the entire page and paste it on the email message I am composing to them. In some cases, the images on the webpage I am sending can be copied to the email messages. In other instances, it can’t.


Not until I stumbled across JumpKnowledge. As Relevance Technology (the author of JumpKnowledge) says, jkn.com is JumpKnowledge, a collection of free services to enhance email. Use jkn to email a web page or use jkn to have an orderly discussion. jkn uses your existing email accounts for a seamless, transparent experience. Once you start using jkn, you'll wonder how you ever lived without it.


With JumpKnowledge, you can email any web page (the entire page, mind you, without having to cut and paste), or a link (if you so desire), and even have an email discussion with somebody (the email you receive will show your entire discussion from the moment it started, thus saving you the trouble of looking for the previous email that caused the reply. It’s just like chatting with somebody - but on email!)


Not only that. You could choose to add a toolbar to your browser, be it Internet Explorer, Firefox, or Netscape. In Internet Explorer, it adds three buttons to the LINKS toolbar (email page, email link, email message). In Firefox, it adds the Amazing Webpage Emailer extension (which can be accessed through the File menu of Firefox). I haven’t tried it in Netscape, as I’m not using that browser.


When you register at the site, you are provided with an address book that allows you to add the email addresses you often send pages to. You can import the email addresses from Outlook, Yahoo Mail, Hotmail, Gmail and Plaxo, among others. They say they don’t save passwords when you do this. (Site Advisor gives the site a green mark - which means it is safe.)


I’m glad I found this site. Now, I can forward pages debunking many hoaxes and urban legends that my friends are fond of forwarding to me, without having to fill the clipboard (and my Clipboard Diary) with copied pages!


the JumpKnowledge website











Yahoo pledges full support for Firefox

article at news.com, Mar 2005


From Clif

This looks like old news, but I hadn't heard about it. I know I've tried listening to music.yahoo a few times in Firefox and just plain gave up.


From news.com

Yahoo has confirmed plans to allow Firefox users to access all the portal giant's products and services, many of which are currently only available through Microsoft's Internet Explorer browser ...


read the article


Yahoo Toolbar for Firefox

review from Computing.co.uk


From 'computing.co.uk'

This is a plug-in for Mozilla Firefox which adds a toolbar to the browser's interface featuring lots of enhancements ...


read the article


Yahoo Slapped with Spyware Suit

article at eWeek by Ryan Naraine, May 2006


From Clif

It looks like Ben (Internet Privacy Superhero) is not letting Yahoo slide this time. Yahoo better have some good lawyers.


From eWeek

Anti-spyware activist Ben Edelman has filed a class-action lawsuit against Yahoo, accusing the online media giant of partnering with spyware purveyors to perpetrate syndication fraud against advertisers ...



read the article



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.



Chatting at Freewarewiki

review by ClifNotes


Now you can chat with anyone visiting a website by using Gabbly. To see who's gabbing at this website, try this link.


Find out more about it at Gabbly.com


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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