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Welcome to Clif Notes Newsletter

August 6, 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!




Reaper - don't fear the music

mixed reviews from my friends, Aug 2006, permalink


Chris C wrote me with a link to this software and a cryptic note about this being the last freeware version. Naturally, I had to take a look. I went to the website and found an exotic looking piece of software that is made for truely geeky (tech savvy) musicians. Next I wrote two of my music guru friends to find out if they'd ever tried it. What follows next is a mix of music and opinions ...


From Bluepwrdup:

Wow, I'm amazed you can still get this as a free download. Don't fear the Reaper ! This software falls into the same category as Acid XPress and Audacity Yep, this is a mind-blowing mixing application, that's a given; it takes the sound to another dimension. Definitely not for the beginner, as a matter of fact I'm still chipping away at it. The mixing board is unbelievable. You can record or yank any type of audio file, fudge midi's. I hate midi's with a passion, they completely screw up perfectly good sounding tracks.


You can add and apply dozens of loops, bends, beats, splice in many of the fantastical Jesusonic effects. Many third party plug-in effects can be obtained from various outlets, most of them are free. Our percussionist, Michael, has a good time playing with the drum action variables (snare, kicker, hats, riders and the overheads) unreal beats can be produced. He simulates the beat pattern to his crazy monster drum kit ... Reaper is a tremendous piece of software to own for experimental purposes.


Thanxs again, appreciate your time spent.






Blue is a member of the Twisty Gerber Band. They typically play a mix of Blues/Rock.

You can listen to a song from them here. You'll love it!


Also check out Blue's Musings wiki (freeware, tech news, PC tips)



From JimiPocius:

I've tried some of the early versions, I figure I'm gonna let them simmer some of the bugs out for awhile. It has the POTENTIAL to be a great program, but I don't think it's quite worthy yet....give it a couple more releases, methinks ... tho SOME folks are REALLY digging it.





Jimi is still rocking away somewhere in Connecticut, but you can hear loads of his mix of psychedelic rock and blues here.

You've just got to hear some of the cuts from his Amblyopia album. It sends me into another sweet universe.




Check it out, yes, fear the Reaper, but don't fear the music ...



Oh! Also take a look at this funny video set to the music of "Don't Fear the Reaper".



Do you have any comments?



IconArt - customize your icons and cursors

review from ClifNotes, Jul 2006, permalink


This free program will allow you to unleash your creative side on your PC. You can change the icons on your desktop or the cursors that your mouse uses.


The IconArt program is free for personal or education use, but it is not free for commercial use


If you ever need help with IconArt, then my friend Candy may be able to help. There is a website she made that makes use of this cool software. See CandysClasstime




Quote from the website

IconArt is a highly-compact cursor & icon creator. Icons are used to illustrate programs and files. One example are the shortcuts on your desktop. IconArt allows you to either draw the whole image from scratch using all common tools or to import an image to turn into a icon or cursor.




Tell me if you have any comments about this article.


Vippy - see your text cursor more easily

review by ClifNotes, Jul 2006, permalink


Vippy is one of those little programs that can make a big difference every day on your PC. If you sometimes struggle to see your text cursor on a page full of text, Vippy can help. It changes the color of the text cursor from black to red.


If you don't care for red, I've figured out how to change it to any color you want. Just use a freeware icon/cursor editor like IconArt to edit and change the cursors in the Vippy install folder. Just make sure you back up the original Vippy icons somewhere before you change them. I like blue, (have you noticed?) so I changed mine to blue.



Quote from the website

Do you find it hard to locate your cursor, and mark the insertion point in your documents? You're not the only one. That's why you'll love Vippy, the mouse pointer you can't lose, because it's red. The difference is clear.



Tell me if you have any comments about this article.


BitDefender Rootkit Uncover - what's hiding on your PC?

review by ClifNotes, Jul 2006, permalink


The fiasco with Sony's DRM (digital rights management) software made people aware of a new threat to PCs everywhere. The threat is the dreaded root kit. If you have a root kit on your system, many times you will not be able to find it with your normal anti-virus or anti-spyware software. This is where you must turn to a root kit detector to give yourself a little peace of mind.


This BitDefender program scans my PC in just a couple of minutes. Other root kit detectors I've used before typically take a long time to scan the whole system. It's small and fast, just the way I like my freeware. Rootkit Uncover is in beta testing, but so far I haven't found any bugs.


Naturally, the only way I can confirm it works is to get infected with a root kit. As long as I'm careful of what I try out online, this may never happen. So, I can't say it's really that good, but I always feel better after scanning my PCs for root kit activity.




You can read about this beta software at the BitDefender website.



They want volunteers to help them test it, so you'd have to sign up to download it there. I found the same version of it available at MajorGeeks website (below), where you can download it without registering.



Tell me if you have any comments about this article.


Mepis 6.0 Final Release

review by 2 PC Geeks, comments from Clif, Jul 2006, permalink


Last week Joe at 2 PC Geeks wrote in with this review of Mepis 6. Mepis is a free Linux operating system that will install easily on most PCs. I've recently been trying another version of Linux called Ubuntu which is closely related to Mepis. After reading Joe's article, I may switch to Mepis.


From Joe:


Now that Windows 98 and Me have reached the end of their support cycle, many folks are wary about no longer receiving security updates, and for good reason. Windows XP SP1 loses support by Microsoft in October. Are these systems going to be easy prey for for virus and malware writers? Are the antivirus and anti-malware software solutions going to continue to support these older operating systems? Can your older hardware support an upgrade to Windows XP SP2? Older systems are definitely not a candidate for the upcoming Windows Vista, so what is one to do? Maybe you are just plain tired of Microsoft's latest scare tactics and invasion of your privacy with their "spyware" called WGA. It may be time for you to consider an alternative to Windows and switch to the latest release of Mepis 6. read more



image from mepislovers.org


Read more of Joe's article at 2 PC Geeks.

Do you have any questions or comments about this article?


Take a look at the Mepis website


TuxPaint - keeps the paint out of your carpet

by ClifNotes and BrettsReviews, updated Jul 2006, Permalink


Some of my nieces and nephews were visiting this last weekend and my twelve year old niece was bored. I installed TuxPaint on my wife's laptop and asked my bored niece to give it try. I watched over her shoulder as she played with TuxPaint and within 15 minutes she had done some very cool stuff. This is great program and if you've got your own bored kids, give it a try.


Take a look at this review by my friend Brett ...


Quote from Brett - If you have young children or grand children who use your computer, you might like to let them loose in Tux Paint. Tux Paint is a very easy-to-use drawing program that allows young children to explore their artistic side without getting poster paint all over the carpet (and themselves)... read the rest




Quote from TuxPaint - TuxPaint is a free drawing program designed for young children (kids ages 3 and up). It has a simple, easy-to-use interface, fun sound effects, and an encouraging cartoon mascot who helps guide children as they use the program.


TuxPaint Website

Any comments?


ISO Recorder - create and burn CD images

review by ClifNotes, Aug 2006, Permalink


Works very well. I was able to create an ISO image of one of my game CD's so that my wife and I could play it over the network. I turned the ISO image into a virtual CD on my system. If you want to find out how to do this, I've left a few clues here and there.






Quote from the website

Welcome to the ISO Recorder download page. ISO Recorder is a tool (power toy) for Windows XP, 2003 and now Windows Vista, that allows (depending on the Windows version) to burn CD and DVD images, copy disks, make images of the existing data CDs and DVDs and create ISO images from a content of a disk folder.


ISO Recorder has been conceived during Windows XP beta program, when Microsoft for the first time started distributing new OS builds as ISO images. Even though the new OS had CD-burning support (by Roxio), it did not have an ability to record an image. ISO Recorder has filled this need and has been one of the poular Windows downloads ever since.


With an advent of Windows XP SP2 and Windows 2003 the version 2 of ISO Recorder has been released, which intorduced some new new features including ISO creation and support for non-admin user.


Finally, in Windows Vista it became possible to address another long-standing request and provide DVD burning capability.


Since the very beginning ISO Recorder has been a free tool (for personal use). It is recommended by MSDN download site along with Easy CD and Nero and is used by a number of companies around the world.


ISO Recorder website


Auslogics Disk Defrag - free fragging alternative

review by ClifNotes, Aug 2006, Permalink


Shortly after my recent review of DirMS freeware defragger, Linda wrote me about a problem with using it.


After reading your newsletter today, I tried 3 times to download and install the DirMS program to defragment my system with no luck. When I was trying to register and it asked for email and password, did it want my real passord at Yahoo or do I make one up? Does it matter which browser I use? Hope you can give me some tips. It kept saying my firewall, Zone Alarm free, might be blocking so I tried doing it with it disabled but still no luck. Hope you can help me and I enjoy your newsletters. Linda


I replied to Linda ...


Hi Linda,


I guess I was lucky. It worked first time for me. When I have a program that doesn't want to work for me, I typically throw it in the trash. I recently found another free defragger program (Auslogics), maybe it'll work for you.


I tried out this fine little defragger later in the week and it works nicely on my PCs. Just keep in mind that the Windows defrag utility will probably work better for you if you can get it to work at all.




Quote from the website

Disk fragmentation leads to system slowdowns, PC crashes, slow startup and shutdown and sometimes to system failures. Auslogics Disk DefragĀ® is designed for fast optimization of today's modern hard disks. Get the maximum performance out of your expensive hardware investments. And it's absolutely FREE.



Do you have any comments?













Quick Shutdown shortcuts in Windows XP

tip from Terry, TerrysComputerTips, Jul 2006


Here's another great tip from Terry ...


If you are running Windows XP, which I imagine most of you are, it is very easy to make shortcuts on your desktop. "Quick Shutdown" and "Quick Reboot" icons are very convenient tools for your Windows system. In this case, "Quick" means "do it now; do not ask if I want to shut down, reboot or go to logoff."


Let's create a the Quick Shutdown icon, first ... (read mored)



Be sure to catch a few more good tips at Terry's website.



Gmail kills the spam?

comments from Joe D, Jul 2006


I received this very nice letter from Joe:




Your comments about email got me thinking about some solutions I have implemented for family and friends. I have been using this method successfully for over a year.


Like many folks, I have many e-mail accounts and managing this many can be a challenge. The way I keep my sanity is to forward every email account to one of my Gmail accounts, even gmail to gmail. One of the neatest advantages of Gmail is its outstanding spam filtering. When POP accounts are forwarded to Gmail, its excellent filters will stop the majority of spam. I have helped my friends and family virtually eliminate spam by giving them Gmail accounts, and setting up their old accounts to forward to their Gmail accounts.


My wife recently complained about the enormous amount of spam she was getting. I set her up with Gmail, and within 3 weeks Gmail trapped 1400+ spam messages!


I also use ThunderBird occasionaly, mostly for newsgroups, and Gmail can be retrieved by easily by Thunderbird. Just follow the Gmail help for directions on how to setup POP forwarding and the specific ports Thunderbird needs to access the Gmail system.


Thanks for your newsletter. I look forward to Monday mornings now. :-)


Joe D.


Thank you for the great advice Joe!


If anyone needs Gmail just say "I want Gmail!".


If you have an idea or method for avoiding spam that you want to share with us, just say "I hate spam!".





























Time Netsule - message to the future

website review from Dave K, Aug 2006


Dave wrote in with a good find ...


Time Netsule is an Internet time capsule where users can submit messages to be sealed for a chosen length of time. What makes this site unique is that each message created has an id. You can share this id with friends, enabling them to view your message for seven days before the message is sealed into the time capsule. The site compares this to sending an e-card except your sentiments will last through the ages. Submitting a basic text message is free. A very interesting take on an age old idea!





Write me if you find a cool website!


Freeware: Top 101 from PC World

Latest update from CyberGuide, Jul 2006


This is probably one of the best list of top freewares available in cyberspace. O yes, I like this selection. I can see some old favourites. Credit to PC World who have come with a nice selection of very useful and easy to use free programs. The reviews are sorted alphabetically and by category:

* Tune Up

* Find It

* Roam Free

* Get to Work

* Keep in Touch

* Nail It Down

* Share It

* Lock It Up

* Kick Back



Quote from the website

101 Fabulous Freebies

The best things in life aren't just free -- they're indispensable. Case in point: these outrageously useful downloads, sites, and services.


Be sure to visit CyberGuide's blog and see all the cool software and websites he finds

Do you have any comments about this article?




Websites I've visited recently









AOL to offer 5Gb of free file space

comments by ClifNotes, Aug 2006


Bill wrote to tell me about this free online file hosting service that is due to come out sometime in September. It's hard to believe that AOL can afford to do this, but I won't complain. Gimme my free 5 Gigs!


Quote from AOL

AOL today announced that, starting in early September, it would make 5 GB of online storage available for free to all Web users. The storage offering, powered by AOL's award-winning Xdrive(R) service, will allow users to back up important files like photos, documents, music, videos, and more. Users will be able to access their files from any PC or mobile device with a Web connection, share them with others by granting file/folder permission, move them via easy drag-and-drop tools, automatically back up important files or folders, and auto-upload any e-mail attachments they receive via major providers. There will be no charges for user to upload or download ... (more)


Thanks for the tip Bill.


Please take a trip on over to Bill's Digital Zen to see what he's ranting about today.




World eBook Fair - get your free books here

comments by ClifNotes, Aug 2006


Free books! Yes, and all in easily readable PDF format. There are over 300,000 books in these collections and there is surely something to interest even the most choosey reader.


If you don't care for the slow loading Adobe reader software, you can always download the light and fast freeware PDF viewer, FoxitPdfReader.



Quote from the website

The World eBook Library Consortia Collection shelves more than 330,000 PDF eBooks in 100+ languages contained in 112 of the finest eBook and eDocument collections published on the Internet today. The mission of the World eBook Library's Acquisition Department is to add new eBooks 24/7 to our shelves.




Writely & Google Spreadsheet Invitations - get'em while their hot

comments from ClifNotes, Aug 2006


Hi folks! I think I've written a thing or two about these two website applications, but if you don't recognize them, I'll give a brief explanation here.


Writely allows you to create, contribute, and share MS Word compatible documents over the internet.

Google Spreadsheets does the same for MS Excel compatible spreadsheets.


If you are interested in a free acount at either website, then you need only follow the link below.



Quote from the website

Google is spreadings its wings. They are now Beta testing Google Spreadsheet. A common basic spreadsheet application online. Collaboration is the keyword here. Not an Excel clone but fair enough for 99% of the spreadsheet tasks outthere. So if you would like to test Google Spreadsheet, fill in your e-mail and sent it to us. We'll take care of your invitation.


Writely Google Spreadsheet is one thing. Now also Google bought out Writely. And guess what they do. Yupper, online Word documents. Writely has been closed down for new members. But existing members can invite others. If you are interested in testing out what Google will bring us in future in online Word document collaboration. Fill in your e-mail.

Fields marked with * are required.




News from Sarah in Tampa































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 Gabbly.com


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.



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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