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ClifNotesNewsletter070408

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Welcome to Clif Notes Newsletter

April 8, 2007

 

 

  

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.

Email me

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visiting this newsletter!

_Online?


 

 

 

 

REVIEWS

 

GreaseMonkey - Firefox Add-on that adds more to websites

review from ClifNotes, Apr 2007, permalink Browser Tools

 

I've been hearing about this "GreaseMonkey" for quite awhile now. I finally tried it last week because I found it could add some nice features to my Gmail webmail account.

 

So, what is this thing and how does it work?

Greasemonkey is a Firefox extension that allows you to write scripts that alter the web pages you visit. You can use it to make a web site more readable or more usable. You can fix rendering bugs that the site owner can't be bothered to fix themselves. You can alter pages so they work better with assistive technologies that speak a web page out loud or convert it to Braille. You can even automatically retrieve data from other sites to make two sites more interconnected. source

 

Wow! That sounds cool, but I'm not a programmer. How could I use it?

 

There is a Greasemonkey script repository that contains hundreds of user scripts that people have written to scratch their own personal itches. Once you write your own user script, you can add it to the repository if you think others might find it useful. Or you can keep it to yourself, content in the knowledge that you've made your own browsing experience is a little better. source

 

How do I install it?

How do I add a user script?

 

What user script did I try out? I installed the Gmail Macros script. The macro shortcut keys can save you tons of time in Gmail once you start memorizing and using them.

 

Below is a screenshot showing some of the features Gmail Macros added for me.

 

click to expand

 

 

 

 

Quote from the website

Greasemonkey is a Firefox extension that allows you to customize the way webpages look and function. Hundreds of scripts are already available for free. And if you're the tinkerer sort, you can also write your own.

 


Official Site: http://www.greasespot.net/

 

Google Links:

http://code.google.com/p/greasemonkey/

http://code.google.com/p/gmail-greasemonkey/

http://userscripts.org/

 


 

Yahoo Widgets - desktop widgets are useful and cool

review from SarahInTampa, Mar 31 2007, permalink Desktop Tools

 

From Clif:

I've never tried these widgets, but I'm really tempted after reading Sarah's review below. If you've never seen Sarah's blog, you are seriously missing out. This last week she's been asking for votes on a new banner. Be sure to vote on it if you do drop in.

 

Yahoo Widgets, Version 4 review from Sarah in Tampa

Yahoo_widgets The latest version of Yahoo Widgets is here and I recommend the upgrade. Version 4 offers a new at-a-glance view that docks your widgets in a sidebar-type apparatus, keeping them organized on the side of your screen. Additionally, the new version promises speedier performance that uses less computer memory - definitely a case of "less is more!" If you've never gotten into widgets, it's a good time to try Yahoo's new widget engine. I've always found that Yahoo has the widest selection of widgets to choose from, and I can't live without them! Read more at Sarah In Tampa

 

http://widgets.yahoo.com/

 


 

SlickRun - shortcuts for getting things done

review from TopFreeware, Apr 2007, permalink Desktop Tools

 

From Clif:

Here's another great freebie for you from Tony. He's got plenty more, so be sure to drop by his site to see them.

 

Quote from Tony:

SlickRun - Windows 2000/XP/2003/Vista - 32 mb memory - 2 mb disk space

 

A command line launcher that comes with extras.

Setup magicwords to launch files, folders, urls, executables and more. With this utility, you really have no need to use the run command.

 

Features include autocomplete, floating bar, ghost mode, import/export of magicwords and more. This is really popular and I can see why.

 

It will save you a lot of time and might even become one of your favourite little tools that you use daily

 

http://www.bayden.com/SlickRun/

 

 

Kind Regards

 

Tony

www.topfreeware.net - The best freeware downloads and tips to optimize your system

 

 

 


 

Joost - new internet TV service

review from ClifNotes, Apr 2007, permalink Web Service

 

I'm not big on watching stuff online, but I can't resist trying out new services. Joost is supposed to be the next best thing to television, so I signed up for beta testing. I downloaded it the other day and started watching some old cartoons there. The video was very nice full screen with just a few stalls. The interface is ok, but I thought it was just a little bit too busy and confusing.

 

I'm suppose to be able to invite other people to try it out. If you are interested, comment below to tell me. I'll try to figure out how to invite other folks.

 

070408 Update:

Later I went to the Joost forums and found out how to invite people.

 

How do I invite people?

 

Invitations are sent using the Invite Friends widget, as follows. Start Joost, click on My Joost and you will see the widget. Make sure that you have not run out of invitations, and then fill in your friend's contact details. They will then receive their invitation by email, including full instructions on how to install and register.

 

I fired up Joost and opened up the invitation widget. I had no invitations to give. So I went back to the forums and found an answer about that.

 

tatiana wrote:

 

There will be more invitations soon, don't worry.

We are preparing many things inside the system to please all of you, once they're done we will give more invitations... through the invitation widget.

 

Apparently, It will be at least a week before I get any invitations at all. After that, I'll start giving them out as I receive them. I guess we'll all have to be patient

 

Joost™ Quote from the website

Joost is a new way of watching TV on the internet. With Joost, you get all the things you love about TV, including a high-quality full-screen picture, hundreds of full-length shows and easy channel-flipping.


http://www.joost.com/

 


 

A review of the new Google Voice Local Search

review from Becky, Respect2Glory, Apr 2007, permalink Phone/Fax Tools

 

From Respect2Glory:

Clif found this at digg.com and asked me to try it out. I dialed the number and put it on speakerphone so Clif and I could listen. The recording explained how the voice-prompts worked, and I was "good to go". I spoke "Celina Ohio" three times, but the computer couldn't understand what I really wanted, so had to say "go back" twice, and finally "start over" to try another city. Since we are attending a conference in Elyria, OH., I decided to check for a list of restaurants. On the second attempt, I spoke "E-leer-ee-ah Ohio" and it advanced to the next set of options. I spoke "restaurants", and we listened to a list of restaurants. Then I said "State Parks", and we listened to a list of all the State Parks in that area. Then I said "start over" wanting to try Celina again. I spoke "Cc-ee-line-ah Ohio" and waalaa, that did it, even though the confirmation says it as "selina". But, hey, it works. Check it out!

 

Quote from the website

To try this service, just dial 1-800-GOOG-411 (1-800-466-4411) from any phone.

Using this service, you can:

 

  • search for a local business by name or category. You can say "Giovanni's Pizzeria" or just "pizza".
  • get connected to the business, free of charge.
  • get the details by SMS if you’re using a mobile phone. Just say "text message".

 

And it's free. Google doesn’t charge you a thing for the call or for connecting you to the business. Regular phone charges may apply, based on your telephone service provider.


http://labs.google.com/goog411/

Google search results for: 1-800-GOOG-411

 


 

FullerScreen - Firefox add-on gives you the BIG VIEW

review from ClifNotes, Apr 2007, permalink Browser Tools

 

Recently one of the readers here wrote in to recommend the SeaMonkey browser from Mozilla. I wrote back that I'd tried it and I was impressed. However, I get add-on withdrawal symptoms when I'm away from FireFox for too long. This FullerScreen extension adds another "must have" to my already big list of add-ons I love in Firefox.

 

To see how to get into a fuller screen mode in IE7, see FullScreenInIe7.

 

Quote from the website

This extension enhances the Full Screen mode into a really full screen mode, hiding the remaining toolbars and statusbar and making them visible again when the mouse pointer hits an edge of the screen.

 

This cross-platform extension is tested on Windows and Linux, should work fine on Mac, and is licensed under the Mozilla Public License.


https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/4650

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Old Newsletter

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

TIPS AND FEEDBACK

 

Happy Easter!

Please choose an Easter Greeting to make it yours.

Love,

Clif & Becky

e-cards from hallmark.com

 

Tickle The Bunny (interactive) From Hallmark.com

 

This will keep your wee tots busy, and maybe while you're finishing your family's Easter dinner.

 

There is no clicking, so this bunny is very easy to tickle! When you move your cursor (bluebird) over the bunny in certain spots, the bunny giggles. There's two more spots that make the bunny lay down, in either direction, and the cute little bunny giggles even more.

 

Tickle The Bunny (You know you want to!)

 

 

 

 

Happy Feet (e-greeting cards) From Hallmark.com

 

For those of you that have seen this movie, know the kids adore these penguins.

 

Happy Feet (e-greeting cards)

 

 

 

 

Miracle Of Easter From Hallmark.com

 

A wonderful message of the beauty of Easter.

 

Miracle Of Easter (e-greeting card)

 

 

Happy Easter! :D

 


 

One stop shopping for free security software

review from ClifNotes, April 2007, permalink Security Tools

 

Earlier this week, Adam, a friend of mine at work, asked me for a list of free tools to help protect his PC. He'd just gotten his first broadband connection and was going to wipe his PC clean for a fresh start. The day before he asked me, he performed a little experiment. He hooked his Windows XP computer up to the broadband connection without a firewall or anti-virus program installed. He told me that within 3 minutes, the PC was nearly unusable. All the bad stuff out there found his PC and jumped right on board. Definitely don't try this unless you have nothing to lose.

 

The next day, I gave Adam my list of freeware protection software. I didn't intend this list to be the best advice out there, but it will work fine for most people. The best part is that all the stuff below is free and you can get all of it from a single trusted source.

 

Quote from my letter to Adam:

Hi Adam,

 

One stop shopping at Snapfiles freeware site.

 

Firewalls:

http://www.snapfiles.com/Freeware/security/fwfirewall.html

Any of the 4 star programs will do. Comodo is rated best by many independent gurus, but it's not as easy to use as Zone Alarm.

 

Anti-Virus:

http://www.snapfiles.com/Freeware/security/fwvirus.html

Avast is rated best, but AVG is better on slower (dial-up) machines. Again, anything with a 4 star rating is good.

 

Anti-Malware:

http://www.snapfiles.com/Freeware/security/fwantispy.html

This section is trickier. I'll make some specific recommendations:

 

You'll want one active Anti-Spyware program. (never use two active shield A-S programs at once)

Microsoft Windows Defender

or Spyware Guard

or Spybot S&D (with TeaTimer installed)

 

Two additional Anti-Spyware scanning programs from this list.

Ad-Aware (must have)

or Spybot S&D without the optional TeaTimer (TeaTimer is an active shield)

or Spyware Terminator

 

Misc anti-malware protection:

http://www.snapfiles.com/Freeware/security/fwantispy.html

 

One ActiveX blocking program

Spyware Blaster (doesn't scan your PC, it just blocks bad stuff on the net)

 

One Anti-Phishing browser plug-in.

McAfee Site Advisor (very important, lets you know if you surf to a bad website)

 

One Anti-Rootkit scanner

http://www.snapfiles.com/Freeware/security/fwsecuritytools.html

Rootkit Revealer is good but may give an occasional false positive reading (Don't panic!)

Questions about RR can be answered at Security forums like http://temerc.com

 

How to use them?

Your Firewall, Anti-Virus, and active Anti-Spyware are going to be running all the time. They should update automatically or tell you if it's needed.

 

Scanners can be used once a week or once a month depending on how paranoid you are.

They should be updated before each use.

 

Spyware Blaster should be updated and run once a month to keep you protected from ActiveX downloads while using Internet Explorer.

 

The McAfee Site Advisor plugin will work in Internet Explorer and Firefox web browsers. No action needed once it's installed.

 

Put all of these in place before you connect to the internet if you can. At minimum, at least have the Firewall in place and only go to these download locations to get the rest of the booty.

 

The best things in life are still free ...

 

Clif

 

 


 

A Typical MS Windows Security Update - plenty of problems

review from ClifNotes, Apr 2007, permalink System Maintenance

 

This last Tuesday, Microsoft issued an early fix for a security problem with animated cursors. I was prompted to install this software after reading a special announcement from Mark at CoolSitesNewsletter.

 

Sometimes Windows Updates can cause problems. I'm sure many of you have seen this first hand. So what happened to me?

 

I updated by using the Windows Update icon in my system tray. I keep mine set on manual updates so that it doesn't automatically install all of the junk they send out. I especially don't want the Windows Genuine Advantage software.

 

I'm including all the steps I went through so that you can see how easy it can be to track down problems like this and fix them yourself. Maybe you know someone who has the same problem right now.

 

MS07-017 XP Security Update issued on 4/3/07

KB925902

 

After updating I received this error message popup when I rebooted. I didn't panic, but I was a little bit aggravated. This is too typical of the updates I've been getting from MS.

 

 

Now how do I copy the error message into text? I want it in text so I can do a search for a fix.

Can't highlight the message to copy it ...

 

I went to Google and typed "copy error message window".

 

I found out how to do this at Tech-Recipes. It was so simple, just hold down CTRL and press Insert key. You don't see anything happen but whatever is in the error message box gets dropped into your Windows clipboard, as shown here.

 

---------------------------

RTHDCPL.EXE - Illegal System DLL Relocation

---------------------------

The system DLL user32.dll was relocated in memory. The application will not run properly. The relocation occurred because the DLL C:\WINDOWS\system32\HHCTRL.OCX occupied an address range reserved for Windows system DLLs. The vendor supplying the DLL should be contacted for a new DLL.

---------------------------

OK

---------------------------

 

Now I went to Google again and typed "KB925902 Illegal System DLL Relocation".

 

I found someone who found the fix at MSDN forums.

 

A link there sent me to Microsoft Hot Fix.

 

I installed the hot fix and the error went way.

 

I sincerely hope this helps someone.

Have fun!

 

Clif

 


 

View full screen mode in IE7

tip from InternetFixes, Apr 2007, permalink Windows Tips

 

From Clif:

Gary at Internet Fixes continues to amaze me with hundreds and thousands of tips for your PC. Whatever your operating system, or how you use it, a visit to Gary's site will soon have you saying "So that's how you do this!".

 

In the tip below, I learned that hitting the ALT key in IE7 brings up the old Menu Bar that many of us miss and struggle to find when first using IE7. There is one thing I can add though. To get into full screen mode, Gary says to hit ALT-ENTER. I've always used the F11 key to do the same thing.

 

Good work Gary!

 

To see how to get into a similar full screen mode in FireFox, see FullerScreen.

 

Quote from Internet Fixes

View Websites in Full Screen Mode In IE 7.

http://www.internetfixes.com/I_E_7/IF01112.htm

get Internet Fixes Newsletter

http://www.internetfixes.com/

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.

 

Ditto - clipboard extender from SourceForge

The File Research Center - another good source to keep your PC lean •

PCTools Firewall Plus - a free firewall, is it right for you? •

Play DVD - freeware DVD player •

OETool - an Outlook Express addon •

Universal Extractor - don't want to install it, then extract it •

Abiword - forget WordPad, use a Portable App •

 

 

How to burn ISO files

Windows One Care fails to live up to it's name •

 

 

ChampsGames.com - play free games on your pages •


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

COOL WEBSITES

 

CoolSites Newsletter this week

 

Here are a few links from Mark's CoolSites Newsletter. Be sure to visit his site and see the rest of his links this week.

 

April 6 2007 COOLSITES by Mark Donaldson Issue 107

New. Anti Keylogger Shield is a powerful, easy to use anti-spy software tool that prohibits operation of any keylogger: http://www.amictools.com/v-anti_keylogger_shield.html

 

PhishGuard Anti-Phishing System: http://www.phishguard.com/

 

AllTh.at - Your personal search agent: http://allth.at/home/welcome

 

Chemists turn to sugar to fuel batteries - NetworkWorld.com Community: http://www.networkworld.com/community/?q=node/12886

 

Freeware by fungusware: http://www.fungusware.com/Products.aspx

 

Freeware by gabrieleponti.com: http://www.gabrieleponti.com/software/index.html#restart

 

MacroMaker 2.0.0.4 allows you to create macros or recordings to automate most anything that you already do by hand: http://members.ij.net/anthonymathews/MacroMaker.htm

 

Newbie.org, Helping Newbies Since 1996: http://www.newbie.net/

 

Quote from the website

COOLSITES is a list of safe, fun, useful, informative and just plain cool websites and programs that are FREE, FREE and FREE. All of the programs and websites I list are free. If I list anything that is so good but isn't free I will list the price with it.


http://www.luem42.com/coolsites.html

 


 

Free Beautiful Wallpapers

from ClifNotes, Apr 2007, permalink Cool Website

 

Here's a super collection of very good free wallpapers for any PC.

 

Quote from the website

Thank you for checking out my wallpaper website. You will find a collection of hundreds of beautiful and free nature wallpapers. Be sure to bookmark this page for easy access the next time you want to switch things up on your desktop.

 


http://www.jeffreymunro.com/amazingpics/

 


 

The Absurdly Cool Freebie Finder

from ClifNotes, Apr 2007, permalink Cool Website

 

I'd say you probably love free stuff. If you do, this site may be worth a little time once a day.

 

Quote from the website:

Freebie Finder is an automated free stuff aggregator. I've designed it to collect free stuff offers from top freebie sites, while filtering out most scams and referral pyramids. Your feedback on freebies is used to improve the listings. This site is in beta, and so your suggestions are always appreciated. Remember to bookmark this site, because it updates every few hours!

 

http://absurdlycool.com/

 


 

Best Prank Ever - wear a wet-suit when jogging here

from CyberNirvana, Apr 2007, permalink Funny

 

From Clif:

Maybe you didn't see this. Last week, this was listed in the links under "A view from CyberNirvana". Just make sure to browse Zia's section here this week, or better yet, just go to CyberNirvana.

 

Thanks for the funny video Zia.

 

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5kdYYcV3xFw

 


 

Windows Vista Cartoon - do you want to swap seats?

from ClifNotes, Apr 2007, permalink Funny

 

I was laughing out loud!

Tom at Temerc.com sent me a link to this cartoon. It graphically shows how some people feel when upgrading to Windows Vista.

 

click picture to see cartoon (PG 13)

 

Cartoon from Tim Buckley

http://www.ctrlaltdel-online.com/comic.php?d=20070331

 


 

 

 

Websites I've visited recently

 

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

 


 

 

 

 

 

NEW NEWS

 

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

 

 


 

A view from CyberNirvana

 

CyberNirvana: Zia's blog about the web and web technology.

http://www.ziarezvi.com

 

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

OTHER STUFF

 

Get Gmail! and Get Firefox!

 

You need a free 2.8 GB Gmail account to access many of the cool features at Google. After more than two years in beta testing Gmail is open to the public. Just go to http://gmail.com and sign up for an account.

 

 

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 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.

 

Clif

http://clifnotes.net & http://freewarewiki.pbwiki.com

Devoted to promoting Freeware and Free Information

 

 

 

 


 

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