• If you are citizen of an European Union member nation, you may not use this service unless you are at least 16 years old.

  • Stop wasting time looking for files and revisions! Dokkio, a new product from the PBworks team, integrates and organizes your Drive, Dropbox, Box, Slack and Gmail files. Sign up for free.



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Welcome to Clif Notes Newsletter

February 4, 2007


Sorry folks, no newsletter next week. I'll be in California at my son's wedding.



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!








Windiz Update - the Firefox alternative to Windows Update

review from ClifNotes, Feb 2007, permalink _ Web Service


Do you want to avoid ActiveX or Windows Genuine Advantage?

It used to be very difficult to avoid these if you wanted to keep your Windows system up to date with the latest patches from Microsoft. I use two approaches to avoiding them. First, I turn off the automatic updates from MS, then I let BigFix take over that job. Secondly, if BigFix has a problem, I can always visit Windiz Update website and let them scan my PC for security fixes.


Just this evening, I tried to update using BigFix and found that the KB929969 update was failing. Thanks to a tip at this Explorer group, I remembered to try Windiz Update and it worked like a charm.


Windiz Update will not work for Internet Explorer and may not work using Opera 5 or Netscape 4. It works great with Firefox and other Mozilla based browsers.


click to expand picture

Quote from the website

Good reasons to use WindizUpdate

  • No personally identifiable information is collected from your computer.
  • No more unwanted spyware -- Microsoft Internet Explorer can finally be removed from your computer (if that were possible).
  • It lists just the updates you need. If an update has been superseded by a newer one, it will not ask you to install the older one.
  • Using enhanced data from MBSA, WindizUpdate will find more security patches needed for your O/S than the "other" website.
  • If there is a security issue with a component that is not yet installed, it will not ask you to update it. For example, if you have not installed hyperterminal, it will not update it.
  • It is not restricted to just Microsoft products. Software from other vendors can also be updated.
  • Upgrading to the latest version of Internet Explorer is not considered a Critical Update!
  • Works on Windows versions no longer supported by Microsoft -- Windows NT 4.0 and Windows 95
  • Our plugin is not an ActiveX control.
  • Integrated download manager with error detection -- you can cancel downloads at any time, and the next time you wish to install the cancelled update, it will continue from where it left off. Only corrupted sections of the file are redownloaded.






Jarte - a compact free WordPad replacement

review from ClifNotes, Feb 2007, permalink _ Word Processing


Review from Clif:

Recently, Tom in Holland recommended that I take a look at this free word processsor. I typically use the word processor in OpenOffice. I love Open Office but it's a huge program and it takes quite a while to load. For small jobs I really don't need all the power or the wait. I'd been looking for something like Jarte and didn't know it. My only beef with the program is it's unusual interface. Once I'd gotten past that, I found it was very easy to use.



  • I had to load the Office Converter Pack to handle some DOC files that contain images.
  • If you love mathematical equations, you may be able to use the TEXaide editor to paste equations into your documents.
  • To help you get used to the interface, there is a button called "Labels" that labels the buttons for you as shown below.



click to expand image

Quote from a review at CFS

It is hard to criticize this WordPad replacement because it does so much more than WordPad (or most other basic word processors) can do ...


Why use heavyweight word processors when you rarely use even 5% of their functions while programs like Jarte offer 99% of what people use, are much, much faster to load, and which don't take over your desktop.





RipIt4Me - backup your DVDs

review from Blupwrdup, Feb 2007, permalink _ DVD Utilities


From Blu:

Hiya Clif,


RipIt4Me Version 1.6.7


This program is a freeware utility that helps you backup your copy protected DVDs.


How the program works:


RipIt4Me uses DVD Decrypter as a ripping engine and FixVTS to clean the ripped files.


It shouldn't take you much more time for you to use this method than if you had used DVD Decrypter on its own.


In short:

1. Start RipIt4Me.

2. Insert your original DVD that you wish to backup in your DVD reader/burner.

3. The DVD will then be ripped to your hard disk.

4. After the rip, RipIt4Me will clean up the DVD and, if necessary, remove the bad cells from the VOB files, remove any fake titlesets and fix the pointers by running FixVTS.

5. Once this is done, you may choose to have RipIt4Me make your DVD start at the first valid menu.

6. Finally, RipIt4Me will open the ripped files in DVD Shrink for you.




These programs need to be installed on your computer:


All programs that need to be installed are freeware.


* DVD Decrypter version


If you don't have the final version of DVD Decrypter installed - download and install it first. You can download it here. http://www.riphelp.com/downloads/dvddec.html*


* DVD Shrink version 3.2


Optional installation. Used to verify the final result of the ripping and cleaning phases. You can download DVD Shrink here. http://www.dvdr-digest.com/software/dvdshrink.html


* FixVTS version


FixVTS is used in the cleaning phase. With the help of this program, you can clean the mess created by the ARccOS or RipGuard protection. If you don't do this cleaning, you could end up with an error when you try to open the files in DVD Shrink.


If you don't have this program installed, you can download it from the FixVTS homepage. The latest version is http://download.videohelp.com/FixVTS/


The first time RipIt4Me runs, it will ask you to locate FixVTS.exe. RipIt4Me will remember that location from then on. (It is suggested that you install it into C:\Program Files\RipIt4Me which is the default folder)


Great utility for copying and preserving your DVD's. Worked flawlessly as advertised. Easy to use. Unlike other rippers the wizard and 1 click mode will help create perfect backup copies. Highly recommend this program for beginners. Please note : These programs are not intended to be used in any illegal endeavors.


No (Viruses / Spyware / Adware / Crapware / Tupperware)





click to expand picture

Quote from the website

Recently released DVDs are now very often equipped with stronger copy protections - such as ARccOS™ and RipGuard DVD - that programs like DVD Shrink or DVD Decrypter have problems handling.


With the help of RipIt4Me, ripping these DVDs will be a very easy task. The program is fully automated and the wizard will guide you through all the necessary steps involved. If you prefer, there is also a true "1-Click" mode that will perform all the involved steps automatically for you.


Note from Clif:

According to the DMCA (Digital Millennium Copyright Act 1998) it is illegal for US residents to break copy protection on any digital media. Using the software below to make copies of protected DVDs could be considered a violation of the DMCA.


Official website http://www.ripit4me.org/index.html

FAQ Index http://www.ripit4me.org/faq.HTML

RipIt4Me Guide http://www.ripit4me.org/guide.html

Certified by Softpedia http://www.softpedia.com/progClean/RipIt4Me-Clean-44816.html



CallingID Toolbar - protection from getting caught by a Phish

review from Bribiec, Feb 2007, permalink _ Browser Tools


letter from Bribiec:

Hi Clif,


Just a note about "calling ID". I have found it a very usefull guide. It lets me know whether the site I visit is either, safe, or low risk, or very high risk.... it is colour coded ie green, yellow and red.. for safe, low risk, high risk...takes up very little room on the top bar.I dont feel comfortable now unless it's showing on my computer, as I am not very computer literate, and I need all the help I can get..lol







Quote from the website

Verifies that a site is safe before you send personal data

Behind the simple interface, you are protected by 54 automatic verification tests that inform you of the potential risks

You decide what to do


Note: Requires an email address during registration.




Jott - just dial 877jotitdown

review from Tiffany, Feb 2007, permalink _ Phone/Fax Tools


From Tiffany:

Most of us are always on the lookout for a program to simplify our lives, and this new Seattle based program certainly fills the bill. How many times have you been out somewhere, perhaps stuck in traffic, and had a brilliant idea? Or thought of something important that you must take care of? Maybe you suddenly remembered something you need to write down immediately, before you forget? Problem is, you don't always have pen and paper, and it's not always convenient to jot it down. Here's where a new voice to text product called Jott will save the day for you. All you do is call Jott's toll-free number (which can easily be remembered as 877-JOT ITDOWN, if you have a hard time remembering numbers) where you will hear a prompt to record a message to yourself. Jott then converts the voice message to text and emails it to you. You may also share the message with other recipients in addition to yourself, if you wish. That's called "Jottcasting". Just specify who you want the message sent to, and what form; SMS or email.


You may record each message for up to 15 seconds, but you can send as many as you want; there's no limit. I put Jott's # on my speed dial so I can easily access it when out shopping or running errands. When I get home, all my messages are neatly typed out, waiting for me in an email.


Jott will also send you a daily log of all your messages if you wish, and you can change any of your settings at any time. You need only fill out your phone (cell or landline) number and your email address to start Jotting. Easy to set up, easy to use and it's free! What more could we ask for?!


Have great weekend!






http://hello-kitty.group.stumbleupon.com/ =^..^=



Quote from the website

Have you ever felt like you don't remember things you should? Gifts to buy, a stroke of genius, a song to download, a cab fare, a meeting to set-up? Of course you have, and it's not because you don't try.


Have you ever wanted to shoot off an idea to someone without having to actually talk to them, or worry about where they are or what they're doing? We sure have.


Just like most of us, you choose to lead an incredibly busy life, and you wouldn't have it any other way.


Our goal is to let you easily save and share thoughts using that unique and powerful tool, your voice. Jott turbo charges your ability to remember and communicate, and thus manage your life.





BrainCast - record your voice memos by phone

review from Tiffany, Feb 2007, permalink _ Phone/Fax Tools


From Tiffany:

Hi again Clif,


I decided against trying to review two nearly identical programs at once, but after giving the matter a little more consideration, changed my mind and am sending you Braincast now.


It appears that Braincast may have a bit more to offer, in the way of labelling and also a reminder service that will actually call you on the date and time you specify and play back whatever message you recorded. Just enter the phone number you want them to use, and Braincast will call you with the reminder. No more excuses about being late for that dinner party, or your kids' school play!


After working with Braincast until the wee hours of the morning, I'm not so sure I would recommend it after all. It does not send you typed emails of your recording as I first thought; but merely a link to the recording you made. Maybe it's because I don't really understand their labelling all that well, but I found it awfully confusing and easy to delete the wrong thing. They also do not send you a daily log of your messages and activities from the day before, as Jott does.




http://hello-kitty.group.stumbleupon.com/ =^..^=



Click to expand picture

Quote from the website

BrainCast Beta provides you with a free, easy to use, internet & phone based message/memo recording & reminder organization system, compatible with any U.S. based cellular or regular telephone network. Register online and be recording in seconds!





FrontPage Express - old freeware web page editor

review from ClifNotes, Date, permalink _ HTML Editors


Years ago, in the time of Windows 95, Microsoft gave away a free version of their FrontPage web publishing software. Now days, there are lots of free html editors out there. Most of the currect editors are better than FPExpress but some of us like to keep it around.



Quote from Microsoft

Q. Is FrontPage Express still available?


A. No, it has been discontinued. FrontPage Express was distributed as a free component of Internet Explorer Plus 4.0 and has not been included with newer versions of Internet Explorer. FrontPage Express was not available as a stand-alone product.


FrontPage Express - Tutorial - Download






















Old Newsletter


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



















A Search for an easy HTML editor

tips from the readers, Feb 2006, permalink _ HTML Editors


From Clif:

Verle wrote me with a very good question. I thought I'd ask the most knowledgeable people I know. That's you!


From Verle:

Clif, thanks for your newsletter. I look forward to it every week.


I'm stumped and hope you can advise me. I don't care for the homepage that my ISP provides. You have to sign in each time to get to the main site. Cookies want hold for some reason. I went looking for a free program a novice could use, don't know HTML, to create my own page and then save it to my harddrive. I used one back in the old win98 days that a computer magazine had, but have since lost it and don't remember the name. I know there are lots of sites you can go to to create your homepage, but to use them as your browsers homepage you have to sign in each time. I'm trying to avoid that. I have googled till I'm blue in the face, but no luck. Any thoughts or know of a program that might work.


Thanks for your time.


Tell Verle what you think ... just click the comments below.



Configuring OpenOffice for a Microsoft Office world

tip from Mike at Carputers.net, Date, permalink _ Office Suite


From Clif:

Mike wrote me with a great set of tips ...

A little info-tutorial I wrote - if you or your readers would find it useful, have at it.


Configuring the OpenOffice suite for use in a Microsoft Office world


Thanks, and keep rocking them like you do so well...




Frustrated with your computer?

Website: http://carputers.net


Quote from the website

When OpenOffice.org is installed, it is set up by default to save Writer, Calc, and Impress files in their respective native (.odt for Writer, .ods for Calc, .odp for Impress) formats ...


This guide will show you how to configure the OpenOffice.org suite to automatically save Writer files as .doc, Calc files as .xls, and Impress files as .ppt. These files can then be easily opened and edited in Microsoft Office 97, 2000, and 2003.




















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.


WinPatrol 2007 Beta - Scotty is on patrol with a new feature •

Desktop Sidebar - have it all at your fingertips •

Browster - previewing links is easy •

Chatango - add free live chat to email or web pages •

Box Widget - file sharing at blogs, MySpace, and more •

X-Cleaner Micro Edition - now and then, a quick scan really helps •

Stinger - remove the sting from virus and trojan infections •


Wiki-Site - free MediaWiki websites •

Midomi Music Search - hum that tune •

ImageShack - fastest image hosting in the west •

Freepims.com - one stop shopping for personal information management •

KVR'S Free Software Mega List


The Zen Penguin - Bill tries Linux •

Wrestling the Dragon - Comodo Firewall vs Bill Allin •

Vista Freebies for XP - for the Vista look and feel •

YouMail - cellphone answering service (free during beta) •



















PhET Simulation software - online learning simulation tools

tip from CC, Feb 2007, permalink _ Cool Website


CC says:

I have this in my favorites. One lesson a day ... must have flash and java


This website has flash physics demonstrations for those who want to learn how their world works.


Circuit Construction Kit

Masses & Springs

Radios Waves & Electromagnetic Fields

Wave on a String

Balloons & Static Electricity

Gas Properties

The Moving Man


Projectile Motion


Quote from the website

Fun, interactive simulations of physical phenomena from the Physics Education Technology project at the University of Colorado.







The Audio Freeware House at DontCrack.com

Cool Website from JimiPocius, Feb 2007, permalink _ Music Management


From Clif:

Jimi wrote me an email with a simple subject line "Cool site". Inside was a link to the Audio Freeware House. They have organized links to many of the best free audio tools here. If you like music, you will like browsing around here.


Quote from the website

Don't Crack Software knowing you can here download the best audio software for free.












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

Want a free 2.7Gb Gmail account?

Email me here.






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