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Welcome to Clif Notes Newsletter

November 12, 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!










Deskloops - better than ALT-TAB, but has adware

review from ClifNotes, Nov 2006, permalink _ Not recommended


Not recommended

Deskloops looks like a very good alternative to using ALT-TAB or your taskbar to look for the window you want, but I may never know how good it is.


I was recently going through some old email and found where someone mentioned the Deskloops program. Deskloops may have been freeware at one time, but it's now bundled with something called Miva Search Engine. I did some digging and found out that it's not a dangerous add-on but it has a less than stellar reputation. Miva used to be called FindWhat and Wayne Porter at SpywareGuide wrote about them in May of last year.


I didn't install Deskloops. I read the EULA and it did disclose the additional bundled application. I'm happy to see more software using the disclosures honestly, but I'm still not going to use the software. I'm sure that you could uninstall the Miva software but I don't recommend installing it to begin with. For now I'll stick with VisualTaskTips.





Quote from the website

Imagine yourself at the center of a virtual loop where all the windows you use are spread out around you. Whichever window you need to view can be centered in front of you with a click of a button.


Take this idea and zoom into your pc environment. With Deskloops, all the windows you have open are aligned side by side in a loop-like order. No more countless windows arranged one on top of the other in a confusing manner. You can access all the information you need and navigate through it easily.






Inline Search Add-on - make IE search like Firefox

tip from CC, review from ClifNotes, Nov 2006, permalink _ Browser Tools


I like the inline search in FireFox. You simply hit CTRL-F and start typing the words you are searching for on a web page. The inline search will automatically highlight the first words as you are typing and the highlight will continue to jump around the page as you change the search words.


Now you can get the same inline search in Internet Explorer. I installed it and I think it's a keeper. The one flaw my wife caught was that CTRL-F needs to be executed on every tab, unlike Firefox.


Quote from the website

Inline Search v 1.3 is an extremely useful free add-on for Internet Explorer that mimics Firefox's search behavior. It turns searching in a web page into a non modal research experience coupled with a find as you type facility. It integrates flawlessly into IE (version 5.5 or above), giving it that little extra that makes you a lot more efficient when you are looking for a specific piece of information.





Merge - blending two images into one

review from ClifNotes, Nov 2006, permalink _ Image Processing


This little graphics merging program is probably fantastic at what it does. I just don't know. Time and time again I fail to figure out how to use most graphics editing programs. I guess you could say, I'm "Graphics Challenged".


I tried out Merge and I did end up with two merged images. I couldn't figure out how to resize them and gave up. It works, I'm just too impatient to figure out how to use it.


If you have used this program and you can figure it out, let me know in the comments below.


Quote from the website

MERGE is a freeware graphic utility for overlaying two images in any relative position prior to saving the result to a file. You can merge the two images in many different ways. No need to worry about relative positioning or image size/scaling differences.


Batch merge files from a directory with a single image file of your choice.

Useful to watermark all your images in just one hit.






R-Firewall - better than ZoneAlarm?

review from V Subhash, comments by ClifNotes, Nov 2006, permalink _ Personal Firewalls


V Subhash from India wrote me a few weeks ago to let me know that he's changed his personal firewall. Subash is a freeware author and he has a few listed at his website. He knows good software when he tries it, so his recommendations are as good as gold.



From Subhash

... R-Firewall (www.r-tt.com). After I learned that a particular version of ZoneAlarm Free was designed to phone home (perfect crime), I went in search of a replacement and tried several contenders. I settled on R-Firewall. Its interface is slightly more complex than ZoneAlarm Free but it is exactly what makes it so very appealing. You can configure things on a minute scale. I particularly like the URL blocking feature, which blocks ad sites - something that ZoneAlarm Free did not offer. It also maintains an extensive log.


Quote from the website

  • Monitors network activity at the application and system component levels;
  • Detects and blocks direct network intrusions;
  • Detects and blocks network connections that malicious programs try to establish from within and outside the protected computer;
  • Detects and blocks numerous types of attacks;
  • Detects and blocks various dangerous active content on the Internet, such as JavaScript objects, ActiveX components, etc;
  • Checks e-mail attachments for dangerous content, such as executable programs, JavaScript objects, ActiveX components, etc;
  • Converts the protected computer into a "stealth" machine running invisibly to outside intruders;
  • Provides detailed log information





DocPad - a superior alternative to notepad

comments by John and Clif, Nov 2006, permalink, _ Text Editors


I posted a review of EditPadLite last week and I received quite a few comments on better alternatives to Windows Notepad. Here is what John had to say about his favorite.


From John

My opinion is that I have no use for a text editor without spell check. EditPad light, that you mention & Notetab light that Nob mentions don't.


I use Docpad which is the best I've found of many I've tried.



It's my replacement for Notepad & WordPad. I use it for anything that isn't complex enough to need Open Office or MS Office. The exception is HTML editing. I use PsPad for that.


Great newsletter. Thanks,




Thank you John. I surfed on over to the DocPad website. It has most of the features I need, it's skinnable, and it's true freeware.


Quote from the website

DocPad is a superior alternative to Notepad. Although it fills the same role, plain text editing, it has many advantages: 10-level undo, alphabetization, block indent/unindent, bookmark, case conversion, encoding conversion, file history, jump to line, jump to offset, keyboard macros, print preview, search and replace, spell checking, statistics, variable pitch font, and much more. It also includes a built-in calculator, calendar, and character map.




Oh no! This site has a bad SiteAdvisor rating!

Don't worry, I can tell you exactly why they have a bad rating. Take a look here.



StatBar - toolbar shows an overview of your system's condition

comments from Rocker452 and Clif, Nov 2006 _ Desktop Tools


Rocker452 wrote me last week:

In the Nov 5th newsletter someone reviewed Ultra CPU Monitor and that got me to thinking about what I use for that. The program I use is StatBar. Here's the homepage for it http://www.statbar.nl/.


What I like is it shows all kinds of useful info which you can select from. It also has a program launcher built in. You can place it at the top or bottom of the screen or set it to hide until moused upon. I have it start with windows and placed at the top of the window always showing. It's quite useful for keeping an eye on memory usage, network traffic, and CPU usage.


Just thought I'd tell you about it seeing as I didn't see any reviews of it on your site.


Thanks Rocker, this looks like another great freeware tool.


click pictures to expand

Quote from the website

StatBar is a freeware system status bar which provides a handy, orderly overview of your system's condition. StatBar comes with 6 different color schemes and 19 information modules, allowing you to monitor and control various aspects of your system. This includes memory, CPU and disk usages, system uptime, Winamp control, network throughput, Internet time synchronization, and more. It features a built-in update check as well, which can download and install the latest version for you.











Old Newsletter


I like to look back and see what I was thinking about. Here's another letter from the wayback machine.



















MS Mole report - continuing problems with IE7

from BillAllin, Nov 2006, permalink


Bill has talked to his source at Microsoft recently and has this to pass on to us.


From Bill

MS Mole reports continuing problems with Internet Explorer 7 across all Windows platforms.


In some cases, disks have been damaged in such a way that nothing works except a reformatting and reloading. Those who install IE7 from a CD have the fewest problems. Most problems begin with upgrades that are done via download from Microsoft servers. MS has servers on four of its US sites providing the downloads. Which you get when you try to download IE7 is a matter of luck. Even Microsoft is not certain which of its servers is causing what problems, so repairs are not imminent because the problems are not consistent.


MS is not talking about behind the scenes blamestorming or admission that anything is wrong. High level MS developers have the same problems with IE7 as the average person who downloads the program from home. They now report problems with IE7 upgrades around 75 percent. Some (the honest ones) have refused to install the upgrades on clients' machines because of the costly fallout from damage. MS Mole says he cannot recommend that anyone install IE7 unless they are prepared to accept the risks.


What happens between now and the end of the month when Windows Defender will update only from IE7 (according to present plans) is anyone's guess.


Reviews by those whose computers have been successfully converted to IE7 are mixed. Those who dislike the new look and feel will likely come around once they get used to it. It's like trying a new brand of coffee. Top level MS developers are working on tight timelines to test and evaluate changes to IE7, but it's all being done in secrecy (maintained by 54-page privacy agreements).


From Clif

I currently have IE7 installed on two of my PC's. My laptop seems to like IE7 just fine, but I still use FireFox as my primary browser. My wife's laptop already had IE problems and I asked her to try IE7 to see if it would fix the problem. It's not perfect but crashes less.


I haven't gotten used to it and I still prefer IE based AvantBrowser or Maxthon browser rather than IE7.


For those out there who aren't familiar with Bill's work in Education, see his article Your Most Unrecognized Need: Touch .







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.




















A Free Online Room Planner

by Respect2Glory, Nov 2006, permalink _ Cool Website


I found a room planner last night. It's really hard for me to stop designing once I begin. I absolutely love everything about it! In a few hours I had drawn out my current livingroom, a rearranged livingroom, and an extended version of our livingroom, with our furniture and with some new pieces.


Everything went much smoother once I started using the 'generic' tab, where I could resize a plentiful list of household items to any size I wanted. One of the other tools I adore changes the angles. Every household detail is available or adaptable, including houseplants and pillows.


Electronic room planners are a gem for those that desire a foresight to rearranging a room before actually pushing any furniture around.










Websites I've visited recently


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









SnapFiles.com - new and updated freeware

Source - http://snapfiles.com/freeware





News from Sarah in Tampa



Security news from Malware Advisor

blog by TeMerc Internet Countermeasures, source

Infected? Go to http://temerc.com for help





























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 Gabbly.com





Frapper - you people live all over the world!

Wow! Over 400 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

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Email me here.






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