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Welcome to Clif Notes Newsletter

July 16, 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.

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dBpowerAMP - the swiss army knife of music converters

review by ClifNotes, updated Jul 2006, permalink


Over the past few years, whenever someone asked me how to convert music file formats, I always referred them to dBpowerAMP. I received some bad news a few months ago. It seems dBpowerAMP's music converter is no longer completely free. I saw that they now offer the mp3 codec on a trial license because of legal reasons. Never fear! I have a friend who is storing the old freeware version.


The webmaster of Last Freeware Version has hosted this version of dBpowerAmp so you can always find it. Thank you mdm.



Quote from the website

*Rip digitally sound from Audio CDs and store in a multitude of formats, dMC is the Fastest CD Ripper and now AccurateRip Compatible

*Convert from one format to another, just about every audio type is supported: mp3, mp4, Windows Media Audio (wma), Ogg Vorbis, AAC, Monkeys Audio, FLAC and many others (Codec downloads), whilst preserving ID Tags,

*Volume Normalize audio files,

*Windows Explorer Integration - right click Convert To & popup useful information on audio files (such as bitrate, length).

*ID tag editing (Power Pack Option),

*Record from LPs or anything (optional Auxiliary Input install),

*Fully compatible with Windows 95/98/ME NT4/2000, Windows XP and Linux (using Wine).

*100% Free (mp3 encoder on trial license), No nags, popups, hidden spyware or bundleware.


Website (shareware) - Last Freeware Version



JetLinks - multibrowser bookmark manager

review by ClifNotes, Jul 2006, permalink

a reader asks, and a reader answers


Last week, I posted a question from Rick C about combining bookmarks from his multiple browsers ...


between IE, Firefox and Opera i have acquired in excess of over 3500+ favorites on my favorite list between all my computers and browsers, i would like to combine them all together and be able to access ALL of them from any computer perhaps via e-mail would be the best, alphabeticallized would be great. Do you know of any such program?


Peter read this question and wrote me with the answer he's been using ...


I have been using a free program called Jetlinks from:

It does everything I need including combining Favourites fron different browsers etc. Very good application.


I decided to try out JetLinks and I have to agree with Peter. It's a very good program. It supports importing bookmarks from 3 different browsers, IE, Netscape, and Opera. I found that I was able to import Firefox bookmarks by opening up the bookmark manager and exporting the bookmarks to a bookmarks.html file. Once that was done, I made JetLinks import the html file as if it belonged to Netscape.


I also found that JetLinks can export to those three browsers as well. If the export format isn't what you want, it can save the bookmarks as a "JetLinks" file, whick is actually an XML file. Generally, once you have an XML file, the information in the file can be easily accessed by other applications.


Finally, I played around with the JetLinks program and copied it's program folder to my thumbdrive. It seems to work ok as a stand-alone or portable application so you can take it with you wherever you go.



Quote from the author's website

General information

All complete JetLinks downloads contain the main JetLinks program files and complete online help. Online help is only available in english. The main JetLinks program can speak english AND german. JetLinks is essentially freeware, please have a look at the license information displayed during installation for details. JetLinks does not contain any kind of SpyWare.


Personal reviews from


The author's website


Thanks to the readers who wrote in with suggestions on combining bookmarks


Comments from Mike B

You might start by looking at these products:




Bookmark Buddy


netmarks (may be out of biz)


I am still looking for an easy to use and logically searchable bookmark utility.



Comments from Philip G

I have a similiar problem but not to the same extent! Mine only go into the hundreds.


I mainly use Firefox, so that is my main bookmarking tool. When ever I find a site that I like in another browser, I cut and paste into the Firefox toolbar, click, and add to favourites.


The reason for this is my favourites in Firefox are organised into an alphabetical list of folders and then filed as subjects eg is in the Astronomy folder, which is filed in the A folder.


Every now and then I sort them alphabetically by using the Windows sort feature on the actual folder.


I also export the favourites to My Documents. When Firefos exports My Favourites, it exports the as an HTML file, sorted as they appear in the browser.


Hopes this help and not confuses!



Comments from Eli C

To combine the bookmarks I would simply install a Mozilla based browser and then get it to import bookmarks from all the different browsers on the system one by one, until you collect all your bookmarks in one Mozilla HTML Bookmark file somewhere in your application data folders.


On my Firefox, when I select the import bookmarks feature, these are the options I get:


Comments from Aggie75

I stopped using bookmarks several years ago for this very reason. I now only use tags in with my Firefox extension. Any webpage you want to bookmark, just click on the "tag this" icon, select some tags ( provides you a suggested list)and click on save. Now you can access your "bookmarks" from any computer by signing on to your account (free of course). Added bonus is all the websites available to you that others have tagged. My advice -- ditch the bookmark concept and go with tagging!


Desktop Graffitist - Vandalize your desktop!

review by ClifNotes, Jul 2006, permalink


Sweet! This is a tiny program that will help you when you are either stressed or feeling creative. Just launch it and paint all over your PC. Hitting the number keys, 1 to 0, will change the colors. To save pictures, you'll have to hit the PrtScr key and paste it into a graphics program.




Quote from the website

Desktop Graffitist is a small program that enables you to spray paint your desktop, and anything else that might appear on screen. DG is designed for recreation and creativity, and can be used to relieve office stress and boredom.


myEasySync - backup and synchronize files

Latest update from CyberGuide, Jul 2006, permalink


Zia has found a good solution for backing up files. Remember, it's a good idea to backup all of your portable drives (CD, CD-R, CD-RW, thumb, SD Cards, etc) in addition to your hard drives.


Now, this is great...I use a laptop at work and I often backup my critical files on my USB stick. myEasySync is a superb little freeware which I use to backup my data...The best features are speed and easy set-up with the added bonus of being a self-executable (>>>can run on USB stick).


Quote from the website

myEasySync is a small program to synchronize two folders. At startup you will see a dialog where you can select two folders and some settings. The settings will be saved in a shortcut on your desktop, so you can easily perform certain backup tasks.




Check out the rest of Zia's cool tips at Zia's CyberGuide


Fastone Capture

comments by CC, Jul 2006, permalink


The authors have done a excellent job of revamping this program, for people that can't afford snagit or similar programs this is it.


Quote from the website

FastStone Capture is a powerful, flexible and intuitive screen-capture utility. It allows you to capture anything on the screen including windows, objects, full screen, rectangle regions, freehand-selected regions and scrolling windows/web pages. It has innovative features such as a floating Capture Panel, hotkeys, resizing, cropping, text annotation, printing, e-mailing, screen magnifier and many more.





MSN Font Color Editor - colorful text in your MSN email

comments by CC, Jul 2006, permalink


This is just fun to play around with if all you have is hotmail and want to get color creative ...


Quote from the website

Tired of MSN’s fixed font colors? Use this tiny application to change it to the color you love. It is easy and fun to use. You may need to restart MSN for the changes to take place.




Synergy - using more than one PC at a time

review by Rodney, Jul 2006, permalink


I am compelled to write a review on this most wonderfull application for anyone running two computers having differant operating systems (or same) called synergy.


Quote from the site:

Synergy lets you easily share a single mouse and keyboard between multiple computers with different operating systems, each with its own display, without special hardware. It's intended for users with multiple computers on their desk since each system uses its own monitor(s).


Redirecting the mouse and keyboard is as simple as moving the mouse off the edge of your screen. Synergy also merges the clipboards of all the systems into one, allowing cut-and-paste between systems. Furthermore, it synchronizes screen savers so they all start and stop together. Finally, if screen locking is enabled, only one screen requires a password to unlock them all. Osh! By! Gosh! it's a beautifull thing. No more grabbing for the wrong mouse or reaching over to the other keyboard. They claim it works on most every operating system across the board. All they have to have in common is that all systems must support TCP/IP networking. You have to pay close attention to the setup instruction, but I found that if you use the defults and don't tweak the other settings untill you have it up and running you will be fine. Where did I find it you might ask? Well I actually stumbled upon it using my StumbleUpon tool bar in IE, but that's another review.


Keep up the good work,












How can I record Live365?

tip from ClifNotes, Jul 2006, permalink


John P writes in with an interesting question ...


Hi Clif,


I would like to record some music from live365. Screamer has a record button. Can Audacity be made to record live365 radio?






Hi John,


I just fired it up and tried it. It couldn't be easier. First, tune in your 365 station. Next, fire up Audacity. Now set up the Audacity to record from your sound card by choosing "Stereo Mix" from the pull down menu in the recording section (circled in blue), then set the sound level (circled in red).


Now when you are ready to record, just hit the pink recording button. When you are ready to quit, just hit the stop button and save the file. There may be other things you need to do for a good sound, but I think this is a good starting point for playing around with it.



See this review of Audacity.


Have fun!


USB Drive Life Cycles

great tip from BillWebb, Jul 2006, permalink


Bill wrote me with the following tip and I just had to pass it on. I've been talking a great deal about how handy and useful USB drives are without telling anyone about the downside ...


From Bill Webb


With the proliferation of applications meant to run from flash drives, we need to become more cognizant of their lifespan limitations. While they're cheap, the data stored on them often isn't!


Fred Langa has some good information here:


To Fred's remarks I would add that the lifetime of the plug is also a factor. The number of times one can plug and unplug a USB drive is also finite. The plugs will eventually work loose from their bonding material, especially if inserted/removed carelessly. When they do, they are dead to all but a skilled technician who might be able replace a plug.


One should always: (a.) pull/push the plug straight into the socket, being careful to apply as little twisting or up and down pressure as possible; and (b.) make sure USB plugs are well-lubricated. Silicone works best, since it won't gum up and attract dirt. Even better is to plug the drive into a short extension and plug that in and out of the system, thus eliminating wear and tear on the drive plug itself. Since the extension plug is attached differently, it will last almost indefinitely.


Bill is right. I work in an electronics lab and I've personally witnessed the premature death of 3 thumb drives. Two were irreparable, but one was revived by repairing the plug. One of the engineers lost a Gig of music files. Luckily they were backed up. So if you use a USB drive (thumb drive, flash drive), please back up those files.


A handy program to help you back up files is MyEasySync. Since it's a portable application, it'll be right at home on the thumb drive.


Thank you very much Bill, you've reminded me that a USB's life, like my own requires a little planning.


Be sure to drop by Bill's Backwash, DigitalZen to read some of his entertaining and informative articles.



































Firefox Cheat Sheet - all the keyboard and mouse shortcuts

review by ClifNotes, Jul 2006, permalink


I don't recall where I found this website, but it's become very valuable to me lately. Using Firefox on my new laptop has forced me to start using more keyboard shortcuts. Below is small sample of the shortcuts you will find at this website.


Add BookmarksCtrl + D
BookmarksCtrl + B
DOM InspectorCtrl + Shift + I
DownloadsCtrl + J
Full Screen ViewF11
HistoryCtrl + H
Page SourceCtrl + U
PrintCtrl + P
Refresh PageF5
Refresh Page & CacheCtrl + F5
Save Page AsCtrl + S






Websites I've visited recently









Finally! Microsoft & Yahoo! Merge IM Networks

news from Sarah at Jul 2006


As of today, beta users of Microsoft's Windows Live Messenger IM client (like me) now have the option to add Yahoo contacts to Messenger. Together the networks comprise 350 million accounts and is the first time two large, commercial networks joined forces. The proposed merge was announced nine months ago, and has been anxiously awaited by ...


read the rest at Sarah's blog




































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 is to customize Firefox 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!


Chatting at FreewareWiki



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


click here.





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.


What do you have to say?


Just tell me what article you are talking about and leave me your comment.



Have fun and surf safely.


Clif &

Devoted to promoting Freeware and Free Information

Want a free 2.7Gb Gmail account?

Email me here.






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