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ClifNotesNewsletter061001

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Welcome to Clif Notes Newsletter

October 1, 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

 

 

 

Insert ToggleKey - making the insert key behave

recommendation from Ocean, Sept 2006, permalink

 

I occasionally stop by and visit alt.comp.freeware to see what's happening there. Last week, I got involved in a discussion about the freeware from Mike Lin (all good). Ocean posted what she considers a must have for herself.

 

From Ocean

InsertToggle Key (ITK) is on that same page by Mike Lin. It's a neat little utility that I cannot do without. I'm always hitting the Insert key accidentally. Now I hear a beep whenever I do it, so I can press the key again to turn off Overtype. Just create a shortcut for ITK in your All Users Start Menu/Startup folder, and it'll start with Windows for any user that logs on.

 

http://www.mlin.net/other.shtml

http://www.mlin.net/files/itk_setup.exe (77k self-extracting setup)

 

Ocean (Seamaiden)

Freeware Researcher

 

*Oceans of Freeware - Your Resource for Everything Free*

http://ocean.rattznest.org

http://ocean.rattznest.org/forum

 

Thanks for the great tip Ocean!

 

Be sure to drop by and visit Ocean's website. She doesn't have much there yet, but it's an eye pleaser. Don't be concerned if you see a SiteAdvisor alert for her site. Her host domain has the bad marks, not her website.

 

 


 

 

Free Download Manager - a great addition to my browser

review from ClifNotes, Sept 2006, permalink

 

Back in December of last year, an associate of mine at DonationCoder posted a nice review of Free Download Manager. I didn't try it out until last week.

 

What do I think? It's great! I've never been real crazy about FireFox's download manager and Internet Explorer doesn't even have one. FDM (Free Download Manager) does a great job and will even form multiple connections to the download site so that you can download the files as fast as possible. The other features are too numerous to discuss here, but I'm happy with what I've tried so far. Other people here have recommended FDM to me as well. (Thanks AdriaanR)

 

Recently, the folks at FDM have added a social download commenting service to the download manager so that you can see other people's opinions on the specific files you may be thinking about downloading.

 

      click image to expand

Quote from the website

Free Download Manager (FDM) offers you a vast variety of options to control and schedule your downloads. This is a light-weight but powerful download manager.

 

FDM can resume your broken download so that you needn't start it from the beginning after casual interruption.

 

FDM allows you to limit the downloading speed. There are 3 modes of network usage: Light, Medium and Heavy.

 

Capability to split download into several sections allows you to increase download speed up to 600%.

 

FDM can connect to the Internet at a set time, download the files you want, launch any program, disconnect or shut down your computer when it's done.

 

This download manager allows you to specify the settings of network usage, such as login and password, maximum number of connections, default group, etc. So you can avoid adjusting these settings every time you need to create new download from the server.

 

Also you can download the whole web sites from the remote server. You can adjust FDM to download files with the extensions you have specified.

 

NEW! FDM 2.1 gives you a new opportunity - you can now request other users’ opinion on the file you are going to download as well as write your comment on the downloaded file - right in the download window! In this way you will always be warned against useless and corrupted files or malicious content. Read more about this opportunity on our Community Features page.


 

Free Download Manager
Free Download Manager

 


 

 

Pandora's Box - listening to your own web music channel

review by ClifNotes, Sept 2006, permalink

 

October of last year, I spotted Pandora at Sarah's blog and quickly went to http://pandora.com to try it out. Since then, two other readers here at Freewarewiki have also recommended Pandora. Thank you Tiffany and Nob.

 

What is Pandora? quote from pandora.com

Pandora is a music discovery service designed to help you find and enjoy music that you'll love. It's powered by the Music Genome Project, the most comprehensive analysis of music ever undertaken. Just tell us one of your favorite songs or artists and we'll launch a streaming station to explore that part of the music universe ... advertising-supported version which is entirely free. Over time we'll be incorporating ads into this version of Pandora.

 

Typically, you have to log in at the Pandora website to listen to your personal station. Now I have found another way to listen. Dan Mackey, a programmer in Ireland, has written up a program that makes using Pandora very easy and enjoyable. He even included a way to view song lyrics.

 

Quote from the author of Pandora's Box

I love listening to music while programming, sometimes I'm in the mood for Faithless, then some Prodigy and lately a bit of Johnny Cash. The problem is I have exhausted my supply of tracks so rely on Pandora - Genome Music Project to find me similar music I may never pick up in the shops!

 

The problem I found with Pandora is that even with a minimal window, it meant there was another Internet Explorer / Firefox window open cluttering up my screen and I accidently either close the browser or refresh the window! I always thought it would be cool to have it run in the tasktray like Winamp and so took an hour off this evening to develop what I am calling Pandoras Box


 

 

Requirements: This will run on most Windows machines and was explicitly tested and developed on WindowsXP with IE6.

 

Go and see Pandora's Box

 

 


 

 

Scandoo search engine plugin - surfing for dummies?

recommended by SarahInTampa, tips from ClifNotes, Sept 2006, permalink

 

In May of this year, Sarah mentioned this website in her tech blog.

Scandoo Well, maybe not just for dummies, but for grandmas and grandpas and luddites and more, there comes a new service called Scandoo. The service acts as a front-end ... to protect you from visiting websites that spread viruses or spyware ... (read more)

 

Recently I've gotten a little bit aggravated with some of the false positive results that I was getting from McAfee's SiteAdvisor program, so I went back to Scandoo for another look. The results there seem to be nearly as good. When you perform a search at Scandoo, it puts up a little icon beside each result telling you how trustworthy they think each website is. Nice, very nice.

 

Is it better than SiteAdvisor? I don't know, but I did find out that I can install it in my FireFox web browser's default search box. I found the search plugin at http://mycroft.mozdev.org/. Now when I want to check Google for an answer, Scandoo is there with me, adding their opinions to my already well honed sixth sense for website nasties.

 

Install the Firefox Scandoo search plugin

 

I also found another plugin at Scandoo, and a plugin for Internet Explorer is there as well.

 

Quote from Scandoo

Scandoo is based on ScanSafe’s web security technology that currently scans billions of web requests for corporate employees around the world. ScanSafe software developers were often asked by their friends and family if they could protect home Internet use in the same way that they protect corporate users. When our lab came up with safe searching technology we thought it was such a good idea that we wanted to make it available to all.

 


http://www.scandoo.com

 


 

 

Google Pack Screensaver - Google fails to top existing screensavers

review from ClifNotes, Sept 2006, permalink

 

Google should have stuck to something they are good at. I was trying out the ScanDoo filtered web search and typed in "screensaver" to see what kind of nasties Scandoo would mark as bad. I noticed it marked many of the sites I expected to see bad, but I also noticed that one of the results was a screensaver from Google.

 

I went to the GooglePack website and downloaded only the Google Pack Screensaver. The download was actually something called the Google Pack Updater, so I proceeded to install it. My first impression of the this software was a warning from WinPatrol. Scotty the faithful Windows watchdog, popped up and barked at me to let me know that WinPatrol had detected Google Pack Updater was trying to install itself as an autorun program.

 

I HATE THAT

 

I don't like software to set itself up to run on boot unless it has a darn good reason. I expect my Anti-virus and Firewall programs to start up when Windows does, but why do I need Google to run it's stupid updater program? I don't want it, I don't need it, goodbye Google Pack Updater, I unistalled it immediately.

 

This leaves me with only the Google Pack Screensaver to try out.

 

So I tried it. I really like the photo collage setting, but I noticed immediately that it wasn't displaying many of the pictures in my scenic backgrounds folder. Why can't this program display these JPEG pictures? I never found out why. Every other program on my PC that displays JPEG's has no problem with the same pictures. Goodbye Google Pack Screensaver! Goodbye!

 

Fortunately, most of the other programs in the Google Pack are much better. If you want a good photo screensaver, try out PictureAndSoundShow.

 

Quote from the website

Enjoy your favorite photos when your computer is idle

  • Turn photos from your personal collection into a screensaver
  • View your photos full screen or as a virtual collage

 


 

 

Website: http://pack.google.com/intl/en/pack_installer.html

 


 

 

Qliner Hotkeys - drag and drop hotkey shortcuts

recommended by CC and KW, Sept 2006, permalink

 

From CC

Well thought out. I like the concept. If you are a person that uses the keyboard for most of your work, then this is a great utility.

 

Things that I did not like: You Can't minimize the window and you have only three color options for the keys.

 

This is a great program for laptops. It can be customized for different manufacturer's keyboards. It's worth the time to try it out because it's so simple ... just drag an icon onto the screen keyboard and "presto", a new key shortcut.

 

From KW

I have been using Hot keys, and was impressed with it right away. The ease of use in making hot keys by just dragging & dropping icons on the keyboard is a plus to someone like me, who is "technically challenged ".

 

It's easy download and Install, and not a resource hog. I've had no problems at all with it.

 

 

 

Quote from the website

Qliner hotkeys is a free and open source keyboard productivity environment. It is the first product of it's kind that is usable by computer geeks and non geeks alike.

 

Hotkeys builds on the concept of Windows shortcut keys but takes this concept to a whole new level. Do you think key combinations are hard to remember? Just hold the Windows key for three seconds and up pops a on screen Keyboard with icons on the keys that are configured. This you can use , not only to remind you of hotkey combinations, but also for Drag and Drop Configuration.

 

 


 

 

 

Qliner website: http://qliner.com/hotkeys/

 

 

 


 

 

Iconoid - hides desktop icons when you don't need them

review by ClifNotes, Sept 2006, permalink

 

I recently went looking for a way to very quickly hide the desktop icons on my Windows XP laptop. Sure, you can normally hide them by right clicking on your desktop and choosing "Arrange Icons" then unchecking "Show desktop icons", but I wanted a faster one click solution.

 

After a quick search, I found Iconoid. Not only will it hide the icons for me, but it doesn't even require me to click on anything. I've got it set up to hide the icons when they are not needed, and they will show themselves once again when I move my cursor onto the desktop. Iconoid is jam packed full of features and I've just begun to explore them.

 

Here's what another reader here at Freewarewiki says about Iconoid.

 

Hi Clif. -- I've had Iconoid on my PC for a couple of years. Although rarely needed, it's a great little program when it is used. -- I have quite a few icons on my desktop, but arranged in a very particular order, so I can go to them almost with my eyes closed. -- Iconoid restores the layout EXACTLY if ever they get scrambled, for example, when changing screen resolutions. -- Hint: I click on Iconoid every day or two to save the latest temporary icons on my desktop. -- Regards -- Joe (UK)

 

 

Quote from the website

Make icon backgrounds transparent

Select any color for icon backgrounds

Save and Restore Icon positions for each (or every) screen resolution

Select any color for icon text

Automatically or manually select the best color for the text background

Dynamically hide icons when you don't need them and show them when you do

Quickly minimize all windows so that you can see your desktop wallpaper.

 

 

 

 

click image to expand


 

Website: http://www.sillysot.com/

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

TIPS AND FEEDBACK

 

 

 

Comments last week

Thanks to everyone who commented on the articles last week. You gave me more ideas and some good advice. If you see comments on an article, you will be missing out if you don't click on them to take a look.

 

If you commented last week, check to see who commented on your comment!

 

Here are the comments from last week.

 

  1. MS Bob - fun times with a failed operating system
  2. 8Start Launcher - program launcher and desktop organizer
  3. WiFi SiStr - Wi-Fi Signal Strength always visible
  4. Microsoft Image Resizer - another PowerToy for Windows
  5. Filebox eXtender - adding favorites to your file browsing
  6. UberIcon - frivolous icon animations
  7. PStart - fire up your USB apps
  8. Comodo Firewall - plugging up Windows leaks
  9. PopPeeper - a lot more than just peeping at your email
  10. What good is the SendTo menu?
  11. Hey Dummy! add the OS these work in!
  12. A-Squared Anti-Dialer - gives bad dialers the busy signal
  13. WebAttack site is attacked
  14. Where can I get automatic driver updates?
  15. The NY Public Library's Digital Gallery
  16. Zero - an addictive flash game

 

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

COOL WEBSITES

 

 

 

 

 

 

Websites I've visited recently

 

Have you seen any cool websites you want to share with us?

 


 

 

 

 

 

NEW NEWS

Lockergnome articles

 

 

News from Sarah in Tampa


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

OTHER STUFF

 

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

permalink

 

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 Gabbly.com


 

 

 

 

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

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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