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

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Welcome to Clif Notes Newsletter

June 10, 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

Click here to chat while

visiting this newsletter!







Living Screensavers - pretty, simple and free

review from ClifNotes, Jun 2007, permalink Desktop Tools


I saw a free screensaver listed in Mark's CoolSitesNewsletter this week. I'm always suspicious of free screensavers so I couldn't resist checking these out.


So far, I've tried two of the screensavers listed on the page and they are clean, very simple, but also very nice. I can't say more about the software or the website because they are a mystery.


Living Mountain Waterfall 1.0

Free Living Waterfall v1.0


There is no author's info in the screensavers, and the website is registered by an identity protection service so that you can't see who is really behind it all.


Whenever you find or go searching for free screensavers, always use extreme caution. Try to make sure the website that is hosting them is safe. You should also make sure your PC is backed up before installing a new screensaver.


I used SiteAdvisor to check out the site, but it hasn't been tested yet. Scandoo.com also does not have any information on it yet. Before installing, I backed up all of my registry settings with EruntRegistryBackup. I sometimes also use TotalUninstall to install these as well. Afterwards, I scanned my PC with AdAware and BitDefenderRootkitUncover. I always have WinPatrol running in the background to let me know if a new program is acting suspicious.


I can't recommend anything at the website yet. There are too many unknowns to give them any real trust.







ScribeFire - a better blog tool for Firefox

review from BillWebb, Jun 2007, permalink Blog Tools


From Clif:

When it comes to testing out blog tools, I know who to turn to. Bill's been blogging for a long time and he does this very well.


From Bill Webb:

I'm writing this in ScribeFire -- formerly Performancing for Firefox -- a Firefox browser add-on (extension).


Prior to this, I've been using WindowsLiveWriter, a quite capable -- if big and clutzy -- blog editor that's designed for Windows Live, but works quite well with the other major blogging sites.


WLW has a few drawbacks. For one thing, it's reallllllly slow to load. That may be due to its using Windows assets that I have disabled. I don't care enough to find out. Apart from that, being exceptionally slow over the dialup connection I occasionally have to use, and resource-intensive if you have an older machine, it's actually a quite good choice.


I was pretty satisfied with Windows Live Writer, enough that I never bothered to check out any of the myriad blog editors out there. To me, an editor is a means to an end (as are blogs), and I don't care about bells and whistles.


Convenience, however, is something else. When Clif, over at FreewareWiki, asked me to look at ScribeFire -- well, frankly, I did it as a favor to a friend. Turns out, my friend did me a favor. This add-on, like most Firefox extensions I've used, is well-thought-out, easy to use, and FAST (even over dialup).


ScribeFire integrates with the Windows shell. With a right click you can call up the program, blog a selected excerpt from a page, bookmark the selection/page in ScribeFire's own bookmark section for future reference, bring up "Page Tools," allowing you to enter Technorati tags directly, and an FTP program to upload documents to your server. From separate shortcuts on the desktop or a toolbar you can call up the program "empty," to write text as I am now. ScribeFire supports plain or Rich Text.


Entries can be saved as notes, cataloged in a tabbed sidebar on the right of the screen. The left side has selections for the editor, page tools, bookmarks and general settings. A simple, helpful wizard helps you integrate ScribeFire with your blogging accounts. It supports categories, history, pages and notes for each blog. A clean, simple toolbar allows access to basic formatting, and to the HTML code if you want to add something the program doesn't support, such as weirdo characters. WordPress users will be glad to know that it supports text size (not Header classes) and color, as well as justified text -- missing, and much missed on WP's own interface -- and of course hyperlinks and images.


These are the things I've noticed so far. Complaints? Only one worth mentioning. You have a choice of a split screen with the editor either above or below the web page you're looking at. There is no horizontal split or standalone window that I've been able to find, nor will the program open in a new tab -- which would be really convenient. While annoying, this isn't the tragedy it would be if it took a long time to load, and the edge can be dragged to about 3.7 cm (1-3/8") from the edge of the screen. I just close the program and reopen it from the context menu when I need it. Nothing's perfect.


ScribeFire was developed by Performancing LLC. "Performancing is the world's largest community for professional bloggers, focusing on providing support and blogging tools for bloggers who want to make money." Performancing has since been bought by another company, but ScribeFire is still available. Their site will redirect you to a MozDev link where it can be downloaded.


If you use Firefox, give ScribeFire a try. I think you'll like it.


Late-breaking news (for me, anyway): Just discovered that WLW released a new beta on June 4 (finally), with lots of new features including integration with APIs of a number of blog hosts. I just downloaded it, and although I don't care for the "Aero" look -- personal taste -- I'll let you know what I think. It was already prettttttttty good...


OK. Just looked over Windows Live Writer Beta 2. It's a bit faster than Beta 1, and has many more options, including template controls. That alone makes it a winner in my book.


It's going to be hard to beat ScribeFire for speed and convenience, but if you're looking for control WLW beats it hands down.


I'm not saying either of these are equal to or better than any other editors because, frankly, I don't have experience with any others. Either of these serve my needs, and as I said above, I couldn't care less about bells and whistles like social site integration–or social sites themselves, for that matter.


Heck…I'm keeping them both.


by Bill Webb


Bill also writes at Backwash.com as DigitalZen

Read Bill's articles at Lockergnome






Accenter - for help with accented text

notes from ClifNotes, May 2007, permalink Word Processing


Jack Alexander recently wrote and mentioned this little program.


It's really cool. Now when I write on Spanish forums I can do it properly (which I do on rare occasions). When I start writing or speaking Spanish, I find myself thinking in it too. LOL I actually have trouble stopping the syndrome ... comes from when I lived in Mexico in '99.


Quote from the website

While I was learning French, I noticed how difficult it was to remember all the alt + something keystrokes for the accented characters, so I created a program to help. This program is not much to look at, but it affords quick access to accented characters without memorizing lengthy alt key-code combinations. It also works with nearly all windows applications and text-windows. Pretty cool, eh?


In addition to language-based accents, it also provides quick access to the copyright © symbol, the registered trademark ®, the Yen symbol ¥, the Pound symbol £, the cent symbol ¢, and many more!




Better Gmail - shortcuts, skins and more

review from ClifNotes, Jun 2007, permalink E-mail Programs


Previously, I've written about a Firefox GreaseMonkey script called Gmail Macros. Gmail Macros enables over a dozen shortcuts for Gmail. It's been saving me tons of time in my own email and on the job as well. Now I'm using Better Gmail, which includes the Gmail Macros and much more. If you use Gmail for any great length of time, I think you'll find it very handy.


Quote from the website

Gmail's good, but it could be better. We've featured several Greasemonkey scripts that enhance Gmail in lots of different ways - like adding saved searches, attachment icons, label colors, keyboard macros, a filter assistant and right-click conversation previews. But not everyone wants to install Greasemonkey and hunt down all those scripts.


To save you the time, I've compiled the best Greasemonkey scripts for Gmail into one handy Firefox extension, called Better Gmail. After the jump, put your Gmail on steroids with Better Gmail.




Meebo Rooms - Meebo adds chat rooms

review from ClifNotes, Jun 2007, permalink Instant Messaging


Back in September of 2005, I mentioned that I'd found a great online service that lets you chat on all the major instant messenger services. Meebo is just the thing you need when you aren't able to use a downloaded chat client or simply don't want to. All you need is a web browser and a quick trip to Meebo.com.


Meebo's most recent feature is called Meebo Rooms. These are basically chat rooms but they also have a few more tricks to them. I've installed my own Meebo Room on my ChatPage. If you want to try it out, I'd be happy to see you there.


click to expand picture

Quote from the website

+ Meebo rooms allows you to instant message and share links with friends and visitors on your site.

+ Create a room and personalize it for your site.

+ Chat with your friends on meebo.com and share your favorite links

+ Share your chat with others and find other meebo rooms.




Securemaker - the death of All-in-One Secretmaker

notes from ClifNotes, Jun 2007, permalink Security Tools


From Clif:

I've mentioned SecretMaker before. I've had friends who tell me that it makes their lives online more secure and less visible to the bad guys.


One of my friends, known only as Mindblower, wrote me this week about the death of Secretmaker.


Quoting Mindblower

I've been using and promoting a freeware product named Secretmaker for several years, and helping out as an Admin of the companies forum. On June 1, 2007, the product and forum were canceled and replaced by something called Securemaker. It's current version is 5.0.9, it's still a Beta, which you only find out after installing, and it's not Vista ready.


For years, the team behind both products were truly on the side of the user, to help them with a product which worked, and listen to suggestions.


Apparently behind the scene changes took place, and this team is NO longer providing an excellent product and/or service. As someone who helped spread good news about Secretmaker, I find myself on the other side cautioning people to stay away from Securemaker.




From Clif:

Mindblower still recommends the older versions of Secretmaker, but where can you get them? Take a look below to find out.




Old quote from the Secretmaker (now Securemaker) website


All-in-One SECRETMAKER is designed for everyone who wants to avoid computer crashes, protect their privacy and use the Internet efficiently for private or business use. SECRETMAKER is one of the TOP 20 most downloaded software worldwide, as ranked by download.com.


Secretmaker Features:

Spam Fighter - Multi-level anti-spam solution that fights against junk emails

Security Watchdog - Protects you from computer hijacking attempts

Cookie Eraser - Prevents unwanted profiling through cookies

Intruder Blocker - Blocks out spyware, trackware and other harmful executables

Banner Blocker - Blocks banners, speeds up browsing and reduces online costs

Privacy Protector - Prevents tracking companies from identifying surfing habits

Pop-Up Blocker - Sophisticated and smart, blocks disturbing advertising windows

History Cleaners - Prevents betrayal, deletes history logs, speeds up your computer

Worm Hunter - Protects your computer from spreading email viruses




Mindblower has generously provided me with a copy of the last best free version of the software. He mentioned that it occasionally checks the net for updated versions of itself. If prompted to update it, simply say NO.


All-in-One Secretmaker v5.0.7

Archived in 7z format. Use 7-zip to unpack it.





























Old Newsletter


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




















Easy Money in your Mail - NOT!

review from ClifNotes, Jun 2007, permalink Bad Email


Under review


I received this email today. It's not often spam reaches me because I use Gmail and it has very good spam filters.


Nautical Petroleum Plc.

Northumberland House

25 Petersham Road Richmond, Surrey TW10 6TP.


Would you like to work online from home/temporarily and earn constant

payment?We are glad to offer you a job position in our company,Nautical

Petroleum Plc ...


full text here if you want to read it


Sure! I'd love to make easy money. However, this email smells very fishy to anyone with a good nose for this sort of thing. I decided to send it on to Brett Christensen at HoaxSlayer. Brett has one of the best noses in the business for sniffing out scams, hoaxes, and other bad emails. Here's my letter to him.


Hello Brett,


This (email above) sounds like a shady operation. Would I be right in guessing it's a way to clean up dirty money?


Side Note:

Today in snail mail, we received two checks in the mail. One was from Multimatic Wheel of Fortune for $87,000 USD. The other came in the same envelope and was for $8,600 USD.


Wow! Becky and I have struck it rich! We'll going for a long vacation in Tahiti. I'll talk to you next month when we get back ... LOL


No, seriously, we've gotten these before and I'm familiar with the idea behind it. We call a phone number (usually an untraceable cell phone) and are told to deposit the smaller check and send them real money immediately.


These guys are real (expletive deleted)



And here is Brett's reply. Be sure to check out his links.


Hi Clif,


Yes, you are right, this is a typical money-laundering scam. For more information, see:




People need to be really careful of these. I've been communicating with a person whose wife has been charged with fraud after she tried to cash a cheque as instructed by the scammers. Poor lady apparently thought it was legitimate.





That's all folks!

Be sure you never answer any mail like these and never put a large check in the bank that you aren't expecting. You could wind up losing a ton of money or worse, you could go to jail.



McAfee reports on Web security

notes from ClifNotes, Jun 2007, permalink tag20tag|tagtagtag


Last week, McAfee, the owners of many respected PC security tools, posted some data that they had collected. The data tells us how safe the web really is these days. Apparently there has been some success in making the web safer, but it still has a long way to go.


Quote from PC World read more here

The study conducted by McAfee's SiteAdvisor division revealed search categories such as "digital music", "tech toys", and "to do online" produced between 35 to 50 percent "risky" sites on average when using search engines owned by Google, Yahoo, MSN, and AOL.


Overall 4 percent of all search results link to risky Web sites. The good news is search engines have gotten safer compared to data from last year when McAfee found 5 percent of sites linked to questionable web sites.


This data was collected from their SiteAdvisor service. I recommend the free version of their service for use in your home web browsers. The SiteAdvisor plugin tells your how safe web sites are when you are in a search engine or when you are actually visiting a website.


Another good free service is Scandoo.com. They provide a web search service using results from Google and other search engines. They also give you a quick indicator beside each search result that tells you how safe it is to visit that place. Here you can try it out if you want to.



If you want to add Scandoo to your web browser, try these out.

Firefox and IE7 search plugins. Search from your browser.











Internet Fixes Weekend Windup

tips from Gary at InternetFixes, 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!".


Sign up for Gary's newsletter?


Mondays News Letter Tips.


1. Enable CD-ROM Support in The BIOS (XP).




2. Locate The Backup Utility In XP Home.




3. Create A Password Reset Disk.




4. Create An MS-DOS Start Up Disk For XP.




5.Eliminate Internet Explorer's AutoComplete Reminder. (6.0).




6. You Delete The Internet Explorer History And It Keeps Recurring.




7. Stop Blocking Attachments in Outlook Express 6.




Click The Link Below To Join My News Letter.


The Form At The Link Below Covers Both Monday and Wednesdays News Letter.




PC Problems? Use My New Detailed Help Form.




Clean Install Procedure For XP Pro With Full Graphics!




Have a Friend Or Colleague That One Of My Tips May Benefit? Forward This News Letter To Them!


Backup Your Registry.




Wednesdays News Letter Tips.


1. Stop Your Password From Expiring In XP.




2. Keep Your Internet Connection Open When Switching Users In XP.




3. Clear System Restore Points To Improve Performance In XP.




4. Create New Partition Using The Vista DVD.




5. Change Behavior Of Icons In Vista Notification Area.




6. Enable/Disable Vista Internet Connection Activity Animation.




7. Run Blocked Startup Programs In Vista.




Hardware And Software Vendor Phone List, A-K




Hardware And Software Vendor Phone List, L-P




Hardware And Software Vendor Phone List, Q-Z





IF01101 How Can I Stop Microsoft Internet Explorer (IE) from opening documents in the IE.




IF01102 I am unable to see full amount of a new hard drive I bought and installed.




IF01103 Is Your Computer Running Slowly?




IF01104 My Web Browser Has Been Hijacked.




IF01105 How Do I Enable / Disable Or Delete Internet Cookies?




IF01106 How Do I Prevent Windows Messenger Pop-ups?




IF01107 How Do I Stop Pop-up Or Pop-under Internet Ads?




IF01108 How Do I Enable And Or Disable The Microsoft Windows XP Firewall?




IF01109 You Can’t Find A Lost Windows Product Key?




IF01110 Hyperlinks Not Working In Internet Explorer 6.0.




IF01111 Your Windows Installer Could Not Be Accessed Error (Windows XP).




IF01112 How Do I Create A New User Account Profile In XP.




IF01113 Hyperlinks in Outlook Express Messages Stop Working.




IF01114 Correct An NTLDR Or NTDETECT.COM Not Found Error.















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.



Torpark - surfing the net in anonymity •

Gom Player - Simple, Free & Light multimedia player •

ZenKEY - shortcuts and macros for Windows •

StickWiki - a portable wiki to help you manage info •

Intercept - stop the mother ship or die •

Mr. Blocko - tetris with a cool twist •

Parental Control Bar


Tips and Feedback

How do I copy an entire web page? •

Can a snake lift a cow? •


Cool Websites

Play Ogg - free yourself from MP3 •

Jewel - an online game similar to Bejeweled •




















Txt2HTML - free help publishing text online

review from ClifNotes, Jun 2007, permalink Web Service


A few days ago, I wanted to publish a portion of plain text as a web page. I don't have any nice little WYSIWYG web page creators installed right now so I went looking for something I could use online.


The Txt2html website at SourceForge was just what I was looking for. In a few seconds my plain text was converted to HTML that I could upload to my website.


click to expand picture

Quote from the website

What is TextToHTML?


TextToHTML is a Perl module that converts plain text to HTML.


It supports headings, lists, some tables, simple character markup, and hyperlinking, and is highly customizable. It recognizes some of the apparent structure of the source document (mostly whitespace and typographic layout), and attempts to mark that structure explicitly using HTML.


Our intent in writing this tool is to provide an easier way of converting existing text documents to HTML format.








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.


June 8 COOLSITES newsletter by Mark Donaldson Issue 116


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.




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

Source - http://sarahintampa.com




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.




























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



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 600 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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