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ClifNotesNewsletter060625

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Welcome to Clif Notes Newsletter

June 25, 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.

Click here to chat while

visiting this newsletter!

 

REVIEWS

 

New Picasa Beta!

review by Bill at DigitalZen, Jun 2006

 

Notes from Clif

Thanks to Bill, we now have a good idea of what Google has been up to with the new beta version of Picasa photo album software.

 

From Bill

On Wednesday, Google released the test version of an online photo album called Picasa Web Albums. Requiring a Google (or Gmail) account, it is available only in limited release, and functions only with Google’s Picasa photo organizing and editing system ... Interestingly - VERY interestingly - Google has along with this release quietly rolled out its first paid service ...

 

read more at DigitalZen

 

If you need a free 2.7Gb Gmail account to try out Picasa, write me and say I WANT GMAIL


Switch Audio File Converter

review by bluepwrdup, Jun 2006

 

Notes from Clif

Bluepwrdup wrote me about this neat little audio converter and I asked him to tell me about it. He did an excellent job, as you can see below.

 

From bluepwrdup

Hey Clif,

 

Here's the info on Switch. Anyone who is into preparing audio projects on a professional level will find this program indispensable. I have several other free sound editing programs that I'll share at a later date.

 

Switch v 1.05 Audio File Converter

Free limited edition or purchase Switch Plus

 

Switch is a program for Windows that lets you convert audio files from one format to another. All major audio file formats can be loaded and converted using this program. NCH Swift Sound is providing this free in hopes that you will like it so much you will upgrade to Switch Plus, which supports additional encode-to formats. No need to upgrade, the free edition does the job.

 

Features

  • Loads a variety of different audio file formats such as Wave, MP3, Ogg, WMA, au, aif/aiff, gsm, vox, raw, flac, aac, m4a, mp2 (MPEG Layer 2) and RealAudio.
  • With the free edition you can convert to a variety of output formats such as wav, mp3, aiff, vox, gsm, raw, ogg, aac and m4a formats.
  • Ability to play tracks prior to conversion.
  • Allows drag and drop of both files and folders.
  • Simple and intuitive interface.
  • Create destination output folder or overwrite source file.
  • Click the convert button without any files selected and all files in the list will be converted by default.
  • Convert or update your files with different constant Bitrate ( CBR ) or variable Bitrate ( VBR ) quality encode settings (e.g. changing your 128kbps MP3 files to 160kbps MP3 files) backup your files first in case you need them again.
  • Under ( help ) you will find homepage, tech support and Internet resources for additional software.

 

This is an extremely easy to use program, but it does come with some drawbacks. First, it does not convert to wma. audio format. If you have wma. files and you want to keep this format DO NOT overwrite, convert changes to another directory folder. Secondly, the program is unable to differentiate artist album info. To avoid album ( sub-folders ) info from being wiped out, convert each sub-folder individually. Other than these two flaws the program works rather well for preparing different audio projects.

 

No bundling of adware/crapware/spyware detected.

 

System Requirements

 

  • Windows 95/NT4/98/2000/Me/XP/2003.
  • Pentium 300 or above with at least 16MB RAM (32MB for 2000/XP).
  • Mac OS X 10.2 or above
  • Linux - Runs under WINE

 

 

Homepage for downloading Switch Audio File Converter

 

 

Additional Information

 

Personally, I prefer ogg ( vorbis ) high quality compressed audio format. What is ogg you ask ? For a detailed explanation go to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vorbis

 

Many directshow players such as Windows Media Player, Media Player Classic, Core Media Player, Zoom Player, RadLight, foobar2000 and Zinf do not support ogg ( vorbis ) audio files. RealPlayer plugins allow playback and Winamp now plays Ogg Vorbis files. To get around this minor problem install this ( free ) codec Illiminable filter and you will beable to listen to ( ogg ) on your favorite player that currently does not support ( ogg ).

Go here for further information : http://vorbis.com/setup_windows/

Download filter from this page : http://www.illiminable.com/ogg/

 

Peace and carrots .... bluepwrdup


 

Anry Color Picker - helps choose website colors

reviewed by ClifNotes, Nov 2005

 

Notes

Anry Color Picker is a small tool that you can use to copy screen colors for use in web pages and other graphics programs. It seems that there are hundreds of very nice free tools that do the same thing. This one is the first I've seen that also shows you five harmonious colors that will look nice as a theme on a web page together with the one you have chosen. This program is very small and you can download it as a zip file so it doesn't need to be installed. Just unzip it and execute the program.

 

Screenshot

click to expand

 

Quote

Latest version 1.0. It features

• Five formats of color value: HTML, RGB, HEX, HSB/HSV, and HSL.

• 3x and 9x zoom of any screen area.

• Picked color history. Saving picked colors for future use.

• RGB and RYB color wheels display triads and complementary colors.

• Two harmonious color finders.

• RGB color mixer.

• Optional stay-on-top.

• User-defined hotkey to capture color info.

• Copying the color value or its part to the clipboard just by button click.

 

Supported platforms: Windows 95, 98, ME, NT, 2000, XP, 2003.

No installation required.

 

Try Anry Color Picker


 

EasyCleaner - an easy way to unclog your pc

reviewed by ClifNotes on 6/5/05 updated 9/3/05

 

Notes from Clif

I really like EasyCleaner, I've been using it now and then for two years. I like the simple interface and the easy installer. EasyCleaner does a good job of cleaning up registry entries, temp files, mru lists, and many other items that you don't need on your computer. EasyCleaner also can be updated through auto-updates.

 

Now for the bad news ...

EasyCleaner is under some kind of dispute and the webpage most people go to is shareware and they want $25 for the software.

 

Never fear ...

I found the website that hosts the freeware version of EasyCleaner.

 

I'd asked Toni for more detail on the apparent theft of his freeware and he pointed me to his forum.

 

larger

 

Quote from ToniArts

EasyCleaner is a small program which searches Windows' registry for entries that are pointing nowhere. EasyCleaner also lets you delete all kinds of unnecessary files like temps, backups etc. You can search for duplicate files and you can view some intresting info about your disk space usage! You are also able to manage startup programs, invalid shortcuts and add/remove software list. ToniArts may not be held accountable in any way if EasyCleaner affects your computer in a negative way. List of some features:

 

Very nice interface!

Finds invalid registry entries - deleting them speeds up your computer!

Finds duplicate files - deleting them will free disk space!

Finds all unnecessary files like backups, temps etc. - deleting them will free disk space!

Finds all invalid shortcuts - deleting them will free disk space and increase usability!

Manage programs starting at Windows startup! - who knows, you might even catch a virus before it gets serious!

Manage Windows' add/remove software listing!

Easily remove Internet Explorer's temporary Internet files, history and cookies!

Very user friendly!

Shows some intresting info about your disk space usage.!

Very customizable.!

Multi-language support!

Uses only little amount of recources while running!

Huge help file which gives you every little detail about EasyCleaner!

And much more...!

 

EasyCleaner Homepage


 

Ubuntu - what is this Linux stuff?

review from ClifNotes, Jun 2006

 

What is Linux?

Linux is a free open source operating system for PCs. It's an alternative to using Microsoft Windows. I've been playing around with a few Live CDs and I think it's pretty cool. A Live CD will let you try out an operating system without actually having to install it.

 

What's so great about it?

I paid $90 to get the Windows XP operation system for the PC I use now, and the coolest thing about most Linux operating systems is that you can download and use them for free.

 

How do I use it?

It's pretty easy once you figure it out. Just download an ISO file and burn the the ISO image to a CD. I recently tried a Live CD version of Linux called Kubuntu. Bill McC, a friend of mine at work, gave me the CD. I popped it into my PC at home, then rebooted my PC, and within a few minutes, I was surfing the internet using Kubuntu. It detected most of my computers devices and my wireless internet connection with no help or hassle. It does almost every task my current Windows XP can.

 

I don't want to confuse you at this point, but Kubuntu is a KDE desktop version of the more popular Ubuntu Linux. I actually recommend a new user try Ubuntu first, because there is far more support for it.

 

What's the downside?

Linux may not be easy to use for beginners. Up until the last few years, you had to be a real geek (or just tech smart and adventurous) to be able to get a copy of Linux running on your PC. It's getting easier now, but if you run into any problems, you may have to put on a big thinking cap and get some help from a linux geek. Fortunately, there is usually lots of help available online.

 

 

Quote from Ubuntu

Ubuntu is a complete Linux-based operating system, freely available with both community and professional support. It is developed by a large community and we invite you to participate too!

 

The Ubuntu community is built on the ideas enshrined in the Ubuntu Philosophy: that software should be available free of charge, that software tools should be usable by people in their local language and despite any disabilities, and that people should have the freedom to customise and alter their software in whatever way they see fit.

 

These freedoms make Ubuntu fundamentally different from traditional proprietary software: not only are the tools you need available free of charge, you have the right to modify your software until it works the way you want it to.

 

http://www.ubuntu.com/


 

ScrapbookFlair - great way to display your photos

tip from CC, comments by ClifNotes, June 2006

 

CC wrote in to tell me about this new photo editing software.

 

From CC

I've been using it (testing for the last three days). Its one in a million - very simple to use... extensive help file. KW is using it and says for simplicity you cant beat it. People that have trouble with layers when trying to compose should try this program ...

 

Snapfiles just picked up the program 4.5 rating here is their description:

 

ScrapbookFlair is a digital scrapbooking software that enables you to assemble unique album pages complete with backgrounds, embellishments, image frames, masks, annotations, text balloons and more. It supports different page sizes and includes templates for various design ideas that you can use and customize. Designing the scrapbook pages is about as easy as it gets, just select the images to include and drag them into position to arrange them on the page. The program also includes a basic image editor that lets you crop, rotate and adjust image contrast and exposure and also remove red-eye effects. You can create single page or multi-page scrapbooks and either print the pages or export them to high quality JPG files, generate HTML album pages or share them online via the SrapbookFlair community.

 

Thank you CC!

 

(CC and KW are both trusted members of The Computer Help Club)

 

 

http://www.scrapbookflairsoftware.com/


 

TreePad Lite - Editor's Pick at Freeware Arena

from Scott at FreewareArena, Jun 2006

 

 

Description

A small yet powerful personal database program.

 

"It allows you to store all your notes, emails, texts, hyperlinks, etc. into one or multiple databases. With the look and feel of the familiar Windows explorer, editing, storing, browsing, searching and retrieving your data can not be easier!

 

TreePad can be run directly from a floppy, if necessary, including data. To find any article you previously created or imported, you can browse the tree, in the same way as you browse directories/folders in the Windows explorer. You can also use the internal search engine. "

 

Editor's Notes

I recommend using TreedPad Lite in conjunction with another great program by Freebyte.com called exe-eBook Creator

 

get TreePad Lite here


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

TIPS

 

Sharing files too large for email

tip from ClifNotes, Jun 2006

 

Lata writes me with a question ...

 

I am trying several times to attach a movie file which is 224 MB with my google account. But it pops back saying error code 007. Can't I attach a movie file with gmail? Please help

 

Awaiting your kind response.

 

I wrote back ...

 

You can only send 10mb maximum through Gmail at a time. Most email services have a similar limit. If you really need to send it to someone, try http://www.dropload.com/ or a similar service.

 

And Lata responds ...

 

Dear Clif,

 

I tried yesterday and my file has been attached and sent. Thank you so much.

 

Nice day!

 

Lata

 

Later, Lata confirmed that she had used the service at yousendit.com to upload her movie. There are quite a few good services like that one and they can be a real life-saver when you need them.


 

 

 

 

 

Tip from Giorgos

 

Giorgos, a Greek translator and computer guru, writes in.

 

I just realised that Happy User #1 (Zip Genious author) translated his webpage for portable USB stick's apps in English.

 

http://pensuite.wininizio.it/eng/index.html

 

Looks very promising. However I can't test them because I don't have neither a fast Internet connection nor a USB stick.

 

 

See You

Happy Summer Season!!!

Giorgos. :-)


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

COOL WEBSITES

 

Krun.ch - zip and unzip your files online

tip from Pierre at his blog "Pierre's Lucky Finds", May 2006

 

Notes from Clif

Many times I have been asked, "What do I need to unzip this file?". Fortunately, Windows XP provides an easy method of opening and creating Zip files using "Compressed Folders". So when someone asks, I just show them how to use Compressed Folders. The real problem comes when people ask about the other compressed formats like Rar and Gzip. I found a website at Pierre's blog that helps you solve this problem without having to install a new piece of software on your PC.

 

From Pierre

A perfect tool for people who, like me, often find themselves in front of a computer not having software for file compression.

 

Quote from Krun.ch

Krun.ch is a simple tool that simplifies the process of compressing and sending your files online. Krun.ch isn't a replacement for the traditional desktop compression tools, but its just a tool that makes things easier by cutting down all the 'krunching' hassles!

 

Krun.ch currently lets you

 

  • upload upto 10 files and compress them online
  • upload a compressed file and decompress it online, view/download contents
  • fetch upto 10 from the web directly, compress them into a single archive
  • fetch a compressed file from the web directly and decompress it online, view/download contents

 

http://krun.ch/


 

Wiki + Google Maps = WikiMapia

tip from Pierre at his blog "Pierre's Lucky Finds", May 2006

 

From Pierre

WikiMapia makes it possible for users to add comments on any place of planet thanks to Google Maps. Here is the school where I work.

 

Quote from ~Wikimapia

About WikiMapia

WikiMapia is a project to describe the whole planet Earth.

 

How to use

Just move the map to find interesting places, click on rectangles. To add an interesting place or object use Add New link. Note: Please only add places interesting to everyone.

 

Who We Are

~Wikimapia was created by Alexandre Koriakine and Evgeniy Saveliev, inspired by Google maps and Wikipedia. Release date: 24 may 2006.

http://www.wikimapia.org/


 

Cool sites from Thunder7

Jun 2006

 

Thunder7 is a reader who wrote in with a nice little list of good spots to find free programs and other free tips.

 

 

I have a few other's if you would like.

http://shellcity.net/

http://dubber6.tripod.com/whereisit/id18.html/

http://www.lifehacker.com/

http://www.ghacks.net/

http://www.hackaday.com/

http://www.dailyrotation.com/

http://www.artuproar.com/

http://www.extremetech.com/

http://www.econsultant.com/i-want-freeware-utilities/index.html

http://popurls.com/

http://shellcity.net/

http://dubber6.tripod.com/whereisit/

http://dubber6.tripod.com/whereisit/id18.html/

http://dubber6.tripod.com/whereisit/id12.html/

http://www.virtualplastic.net/

http://www.fixmyxp.com/

http://wint.virtualplastic.net/hackindex.php

http://www.annoyances.org/

http://help.lockergnome.com/index.php?

http://www.mdgx.com/0.htm

http://www.mdgx.com/xp.htm#SP2

http://www.mdgx.com/wxp.htm

 

Know when your favorite page changes it content

http://www.changedetection.com/

 

Changes you Start Page to a new Page every day.

http://www.whatpage.org/


 

 

 

Websites I've visited recently


 

 

 

 

 

 

NEW NEWS

Zoho adds another web app to their suite

tip from Bill at his DigitalZen blog, Jun 2006

 

From Clif

Zoho is a website where you can compose and edit MS Office compatible documents online for free. Bill has used and written about Zoho a few times and now he mentions a new offering at their website.

 

From Bill

Arvind at Zoho.com sent me this email today, asking that I check out their online presentation tool ...

 

Quote from Zoho

Zoho Show

Online presentation to create, edit, publish, and show presentations.

100% free

 

Zoho CRM

On-demand & On-premise customer relationship management solution.

Free upto 3 users. For more, price starts at $12.

 

Zoho Writer

Online word processor with collaboration features.

No download, No install, just sign up to create documents.

100% free

 

Zoho Creator

Create personal and business web applications on your own and manage data collaboratively over the web.

100% free

 

Zoho Sheet

Online alternative to traditional spreadsheet applications with powerful features like charting, collaboration & more.

100% free

 

Zoho Planner

Online organizer to maintain your todo’s, reminders, notes, attachments etc.

100% free

 

Zoho Virtual Office

Zoho Virtual Office is a web-based collaboration groupware that includes Email Client, Documents, Calendar and more.

Free up to 10 users, for more price starts at $295.

 

read the rest of the article at DigitalZen


 

Artificial Intelligence - smarter than us in 25 years?

commentary by ClifNotes, Jun 2006

 

Do you want to know what the future will look like? If you listen to Ray Kurzweil, author of "The Law of Accelerating Returns", then you won't bother watching Star Trek reruns.

 

Among other seemingly impossible things, he predicts the following will occur within the next one hundred years:

  • computers smarter than us
  • human immortality
  • independence from oil and other fossil fuels
  • the merging of man and machine
  • a world economic boom unlike any before

 

I ran into Ray's theories a few years ago and I believe him. I may be crazy, but I think I could become super intelligent and live forever if I play my cards right. Oh well, I'm crossing my fingers for good luck too! I know it sounds crazy, but read this current article at the Washington Post and follow up with the article about Accelerating Returns. Then tell me I'm crazy.

May the Singularity be with you!

Artificial Intelligence - Washington Post

The Law of Accelerating Returns - Ray Kurzweil


 

Google Browser Sync for Firefox

notes from Clif and article from SarahInTampa, Jun 2006

 

From SarahInTampa

Google has released an extension for the Firefox web browser that is now, quite possibly, one of my favorite extension to date. Google Browser Sync for Firefox continuously synchronizes your browser settings – including bookmarks, history, persistent cookies, and saved passwords – across your computers ...

 

read the rest of this article at Sarah's blog

 

Notes from Clif

I decided to try Google Browser Sync out in my Firefox browser and I first ran the Terms of Service agreement through EulaYzer. Eulayzer picked up more than a usual amount of references to advertising and third parties, but I really didn't see anything I would personally worry about. I'm not paranoid when it comes to Google so I decided to install it anyway. To make a long story short, so far I haven't been able to get it to work. While I was looking around, I found another cool service that does something similar to Google Browser Sync called Foxmarks. I checked out their privacy policy because they store your bookmarks at their site. It doesn't look too bad, so I may try it out someday.


 

Get Gmail! and Get Firefox!

 

You need a free 2.7 GB 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.

 

 

I think Gmail works best in the awesome Firefox browser. It's free, easy to use, and it's way more secure than Internet Explorer. My favorite thing to do with Firefox is to customize it so that it does much more than IE ever could. You can select new button controls for your toolbars, install extensions to add new features, or change the look of your browser with themes - the way Firefox looks and works is under your control.

 

Get Firefox!


 

Yahoo Mail to be dewormed

news from the InternetPatrol, Jun 2006

 

Notes from Clif

I recently saw this at the NetPatrol. Yahoo mail has a worm in it, but Yahoo is taking steps to fix the problem. Read more below.

 

From Aunty Spam at the NetPatrol

The Yamanner worm takes advantage of a Java script flaw in Yahoo mail, which means that the Yahoo user doesn’t have to do anything other than just open the email bearing the Yamanner worm.

 

read more


 

 

-- Note from Respect2Glory --

 

(I've hacked into the newsletter just before Clif posted... bwahahahaha)

 

Tomorrow is our 13th Wedding Anniversary!

 

Clif refuses to write personal things in his NL... so it's a good thing he has a wife to help him... LOLOL


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

FEEDBACK AND OTHER STUFF

 

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, click here.

 

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.


 

Got any comments?

Just tell me what article you are talking about and leave me your comment. The email address and name are optional.

 

 

comment forms provided for free by Sidewalk


 

 

 

 

Have fun and surf safely.

 

Clif

http://clifnotes.net & http://freewarewiki.pbwiki.com

Devoted to promoting Freeware and Free Information

Want a free 2.7Gb Gmail account?

Email me here.

 

 

 

 


 

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