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Welcome to Clif Notes Newsletter

September 3, 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!









AVG Anti-Rootkit Beta

review from Giorgos, Sept 2006, permalink


From Clif:

Thank you Giorgos. This looks like another good tool to help us keep our PC's safe from hidden spies. I really like AVG's Antivirus program, even if they don't support their free version. I'm currently using their AvgAntiVirus Free Version and EwidoAntispywareMicroScanner on my laptop.


From Giorgos

Easy to install (reboot required) and use and light on system resources.

Two scan modes:

1) Search for rootkits (its looking in most common places, its usual use)

2) Perform in-depth search (looks at all places, time consuming, useful if you performing a rootkit detection search for the first time).


There is no documentation, but its really simple to use. It doesn't show any support option, but maybe when you report a bug, someone from AVG staff will contact you. If not, you can always request support by posting at some third-party Security Forum.


If you'll face some problem with rootkits-hidden proccesses, keep in mind that running anti-rootkits in Safe Mode is not an option. They require a driver (SYS file), that is not available in Safe Mode.




Quote from AVG website:


"The first beta version of the AVG Anti-Rootkit, an advanced tool designed to detect and remove hidden objects known as Rootkits, from your computer, is now available for beta testing."


AVG Beta Forum (if someone want to participate in beta testing):



Other free-beta competitors:


1) Sophos Anti-Rootkit ( http://www.sophos.com/products/free-tools/sophos-anti-rootkit.html ).

2) Black Light Beta ( http://www.f-secure.com/blacklight/blacklight.html ).

3) Bit Defender_AntiRootKit-BETA2 ( http://beta.bitdefender.com/showmain.php ).


Download AVG Anti-Rootkit Beta


Any comments?


Reach-a-Mail - USB mail client

posted by ClifNotes, Aug 2006, permalink


I have not tried out this one, but I did check it out and it's safe to try. This looks like a small fast and portable means to access your email wherever you can sit at a PC with internet. Just plug in your thumb drive and start up Reach-a-Mail to download all the mail. It should leave no traces behind on the PC you use. This sounds most excellent!


I access all my email online at Gmail, so I have no use for this tool. However, Gmail does offer free POP3 access so it would work just fine with any email client like Outlook Express, ThunderBird, or this one.




Quote from the website

You save a lot of time thanks to Reach-a-Mail, as well as keep your e-mail correspondence private leaving nothing in a computer. You will be impressed by the easiness and simplicity of user’s interface. Reach-a-Mail is a USB based portable email client for active and mobile people!




Any comments?


Notefish - save, customize, and share website clippings

review from DigitalZen, Aug 2006, permalink


Bill recently wrote about this cool program at his Digital Zen blog.


From Bill

I’ve spent the morning playing with an online note taking and storage program called Notefish. I really like it.


Notefish combines most of the things I want in a note/clip storage system, and doesn’t kludge it all up with unnecessary stuff. If you just want online storage of documents, there’s Google Notebook, and a zillion other similar services both free and paid. Some are even easy to use. I like applications that stay out of the way and just do their job when I want them to, without taking up real estate on my desktop. Unobtrusive, efficient and fast is what I look for. I couldn’t care less about social networking, and it’s no one else’s business what I save or find interesting. I have real, live friends, and if I want them to know what I’m doing online I’ll invite them to share a site. In short, sites like Digg and D-eli-shus or whatever it is leave me cold. I use Furl for very specific purposes, but now that I’ve found Notefish I may dump it, too ... read more


Nice find Bill! Here's a bit from the Notefish website.

Revolutionize Your Web Research! Notefish makes Internet research simple. Making a purchase? Planning a trip? Save information from the web into a single online Notefish page, then organize and share!





Any comments?


Windows Live Writer - finally there is a better blogging tool

notes from ClifNotes, review snippets from DigitalZen, Paul Stamatiou, Aug 2006, permalink


From Clif

I first heard details of this cool new blogging tool from my good friend Bill at his Digital Zen blog. Since then, I've heard little else but praise. Here are some snippets from reviews I've seen. Not too many of us have our own blog yet, but if you do, you should check this program out.


Note: Requires Microsoft .NET framework, 60mb Download (newer PC's may alread have this)


From Bill at Digital Zen

I’m generally a gleeful Micro$oft basher, but I really like Live Writer. I find myself finding excuses to use it, it’s so clean and simple. Another thing I like about it is the simplicity of the HTML it produces. Anyone who has fooled around with code from Word has come to hate the mess that it creates. Live Writer, on the other hand, produces code that will paste into and display well in just about anyplace I’ve tried it--including Blogger, Writely, Moveable Type and here at Backwash.com, which makes it a pretty capable WYSIWYG HTML editor, too ... read more


From Paul Stamatiou

I have never been fond of using blogging tools and always stuck with the WordPress admin panel for two main reasons: live preview when you save a post and the ability to save drafts online instead of locally on the computer. Well ladies and gents, Windows Live Writer does, gasp, both of these things all within a Microsoft Word-like environment ... read more




Quote from Microsoft

Welcome to the Windows Live Writer team blog! We are excited to announce that the Beta version of Windows Live Writer is available for download today. Windows Live Writer is a desktop application that makes it easier to compose compelling blog posts using Windows Live Spaces or your current blog service.


Download: http://windowslivewriter.spaces.live.com/


Any comments?


IE PassView - what's in your wallet?

review from ClifNotes, Sept 2006, permalink


Who? Someone just walked away from your PC with all your web passwords.


What? Internet Explorer is easy to hack into. In five minutes, I can sit down at a PC that's logged in, and walk away with every password stored by IE's AutoComplete features.


How? Just drop IE PassView onto my trusty thumb drive and now I'm ready to spy on all my friends. Actually, I'd never do this, but when it's this easy, the less morally sensitive people among us cannot resist the temptation.


Why? I don't want only the bad guys to know about stuff like this. Go ahead and download this tool for yourself. Just unzip it to a folder somewhere, then double click the iepv.exe file to run it. Prepare to find out how vulnerable you are to a passing "friend".


Nobody should be using AutoComplete to store their passwords. I recommend either the last freeware version of AiRoboform, or KeePass. If you password protect either one of those, you are much safer.




Quote from the website

IE PassView is a small utility that reveals the passwords stored by Internet Explorer browser. It supports the new Beta version of Internet Explorer 7.0, as well as older versions of Internet explorer, v4.0 - v6.0




Any comments?


IE7 beta RC1 - my latest attempt to like IE

posted by ClifNotes, Sept 2006, permalink


From Eddie in Australia

Hi Clif

Have you any intentions in the near future of writing a piece on IE7.

I have read quite a bit about it, but it is very confusing.






Hi Eddie, I'll write just a little bit about it. Today I downloaded and installed it. I got my copy from Microsoft. http://www.microsoft.com/windows/ie/downloads/default.mspx



I wish I could say it's simple, but as usual, MS wants to verify that you have a legitimate copy of Windows when you go there to download many of their free applications. You can actually get a copy of IE7 while surfing in a non-IE browser (like FireFox) but they make you download a tool and run it to get a verification code that you can paste into the website before you can download anything. After that, I think the actual download was about 12mb or so.



Once you start the installer, it goes out to MS again and seems to take forever while it "updates" with the latest changes to IE. I didn't take a look, but I'd bet the downloads where much larger than the installer was. Who knows what the actual size of IE ends up being?



After updating, IE proceeds to install itself. If I recall correctly, it backed up all of IE6 so that I can go back to it later.



Finally the install is done and you have to reboot the PC. Yep, I kinda expected this. Once rebooted, I fire up IE7 and it takes me to a short setup page with a few settings they want to establish before you get going.



It works nicely and it looks good. There's now a tabbed browsing interface like I'm used to in my other browsers. However, no matter what I do, I can't force IE to open new pages exclusively in new tabs. When I'm in my Gmail, it seems like every link in my emails that I click on is opening an new instance of IE. I want them to open in a new tab and the only way to get it to work is to hold down the CTRL key before I click it. IE7 says I can center click on the links to open them in a new tab, but so far nothing happens when I center click.



It's better than IE6, so I'll keep it for now, but I'm still using Firefox for the majority of my surfing.


Quote from Microsoft

Makes everyday tasks easier

Internet Explorer 7 provides improved navigation through tabbed browsing, web search right from the toolbar, advanced printing, easy discovery, reading and subscription to RSS feeds, and much more.




IE7 page at Microsoft


Any comments?


Firefox 2 Beta - is it ready for me yet?

review by ClifNotes, Sept 2006, permalink


I'm using Firefox 2 (Fx2) to write the newsletter this week. I'm enjoying one feature already. When I misspell something in the editing windows here at PbWiki, a red dotted underline appears beneath the misspelled word. Right clicking on a misspelling gives you suggested corrections or the chance to add the word to the dictionary.


The web page tabs now all have an "x" on them for easy closing now. There's also a little bookmark icon at the end of the address bar that lets you get easy access to all your bookmarks (Favorites).


Sure, these features have been available to Fx1 users as add-ons, but it seems to be so much faster out of the box now. I'm sure there are many new features I've yet to discover, but I'm already sold.


The only drawback at this point will be finding which of my favorite extensions won't work in Fx2. If you don't have many extensions (add-ons) now, then switching to Fx2 isn't going to be any big deal for you.







Quote from Mozilla

New features and changes in this milestone that require feedback include:

  • A new theme that updates Firefox’s familiar interface
  • Built in Phishing Protection
  • Enhanced search engine management and search suggestions for Google, Yahoo! and Answers.com
  • Improvements to tabbed browsing, including the ability to re-open recently closed tabs
  • Firefox will resume from where you left off after a system crash or browser restart
  • Better support for previewing and subscribing to Web feeds
  • Inline spell checking in Web forms
  • The ability to create bookmarks with “Live Titles” for Web sites that offer microsummaries
  • New Add-ons manager that simplifies management of extensions and themes.
  • Support for JavaScript 1.7
  • Extended search plugin format
  • Updates to the extension system to provide enhanced security and to allow for easier localization of extensions
  • Support for client-side session and persistent storage
  • Support for SVG text using svg:textPath
  • New Windows installer based on Nullsoft Scriptable Install System





Page: http://developer.mozilla.org/devnews/index.php/2006/08/31/firefox-2-beta-2-milestone-released/

Download: http://www.mozilla.org/projects/bonecho/all-beta.html


Note: I recommend the Firefox 2 USB version for those who want to try this out.








Is Active Virus Shield a snoop?

notes from Clif, Aug 2006


Last week I tried out a product from AOL called Active Virus Shield (AVS). I may have been premature to recommend it but I've still got it running on my desktop PC at home. Many people wrote me and told me there were many security experts who were concerned about the EULA (End User License Agreement) for AVS. It gives AOL too much freedom to give away it's users surfing habits and also gives them the right to send you emailed advertisements. They also included an Internet Explorer toolbar that raised a few concerns because it's based on a program that used to be used in an adware product called the "Softomate toolbar".


So far, I haven't gotten any dumb advertising emails from AOL or anything like that. I actually used a "real" email address when I signed up to get AVS. If AOL is actually tracking any of my surfing habits, I haven't detected it yet, but they are welcome to them if they find them. After all, Google, Yahoo, and MSN already have my surfing histories anyway. As for the toolbar, it was one of the first things I uninstalled after I started using AVS. I don't use Internet Explorer much anyway.


After a little bit of bad press, I've read that AOL has decided to rewrite the EULA so that it's a little easier to swallow. I imagine they will learn some lessons and play a little nicer in the future.


In the mean time, I will withdraw my recommendation for AVS, but I'm not going to tell anyone to stay away from it. To be honest, I like the program and it's features. I've been wrong about software before and I'll admit it when I've given you bad advice.


Thank you to everyone who wrote me ... I appreciate the information you've gathered.


Any comments?


Yet another Slide Show Screen Saver

tip from Giorgos in Greece, note from Clif, Aug 2006


Giorgos wrote in with a link to another nice little freebie screen saver program. It looks good, and the author even lets you download the source code if you want to hack into it.


Quote from the website

The Slide Show Screen Saver for Windows displays a series of images and (optionally) plays a sequence of sound files from a designated directory. Images in JPEG, GIF, PNG, and BMP formats can be displayed, and full-colour images can be viewed on displays limited to 256 colours. Images too large to display on the screen are automatically scaled to fit. Wave audio (.wav), MP3 (.mp3), and MIDI song files (.mid or .rmi) can be played (assuming you have a sound board, and it includes a MIDI synthesiser).





Any comments?


Clean up MSN Messenger

tip from TopFreeware, Aug 2006


My friend TF wrote in with this recommendation.


Hey Clif, can't recall seeing this one in your newsletter


I hate closing all those ads when it loads, and then having those annoying toolbars for advertisements on the screen. Customize it to your hearts content.


Here you go



Kind Regards



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




Any comments?


Is Total Uninstall freeware or shareware?


Aug 30, 2006

As always, thanks for all the information you constantly supply me with. I would like to know if Total Uninstall is freeware or shareware, since as you normally deal with freeware and thinking it was so i installed it, to later to find out (when reading the "readme.txt") that it's shareware. Do you mind clarifying it for me?




Hi Nob,


TUN is both freeware and shareware. The last freeware version is available from my TUN page. http://freewarewiki.com/TotalUninstall or Freeware4u


The shareware version is available at the home site of TUN.





Any comments?


Tips from Nob

tips from Nob in Japan, Aug 2006, permalink


Thanks for writing in with your choices on good freebies.


August 30, 2006

I'll avail to mention you an app which i think you haven't mentioned and which i find extremely handful, since it saves me a lot of clicking when looking for something within folders and it is KO Approach ( http://www.koapproach.com ).




From the Koapproach website:

Just click on any folder in Windows Explorer, hold down the mouse key and a menu will appear, displaying the contents of the selected folder as a list of items. Highlight folder icons to expand sub-menus and move further down your directory structure, or select a file to open it in the same the way you do it from the Start menu. It's that simple.


Have you ever been at http://www.pandora.com? This is a nice site because apart of playing one's favorite musicians it introduce new ones based on similarities to the ones one selected, therefore there is a grand opportunity to get to now new music of, more or less, one's taste.


I've been there and I like it. It was mentioned in this newsletter by Tiffany, who wrote in to tell me about it on Jan 22, 2006


There's a great number of Notepad's replacement in the Net, some great and some less great (for everyone taste), but there is one that is worth to look at due to the time that should have taken to make such an original and detailed work, it's DocPad (http://gammadyne.com). And as you recently made reference to ZuluPad i use Xpad that is similar but a bit nicer (question of taste), have a look at it at http://www.mcrenox.com.ar/xpad.





From the DocPad page:

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.





From the XPad page:

Powerful and simple text editor, with multiple clipboard and automatic copy selection to clipboard feature; links, e-mail and file path managing, capable to open Windows, Linux and Apple text file formats. Supports UTF-8 encoding. Much more complete than the Windows Notepad, a good replacement for this.


Thanking you beforehand for your reply and your time and wishing you too are having fun i leave you for the moment. Adieu.




Any comments?


Joy2key - PC gaming just got easier

tip from MTDay, Sept 2006, permalink


MTDay wrote in with this tip for gamers who get tired of hitting keyboard keys to perform actions in PC games.


Hi Clif,

Fed up pounding the keyboard in online browser games, give it some stick instead.


Joytokey (3.7.9 english) is getting hard to find - this seems to point to the last known copy.



http://atzitznet.no-ip.org/Joy2Mouse3/ - Joy2Mouse3 also seems to support Mouse and keyboard mapping.


Download Joy2Mouse - Download Joy2Mouse3




Quote from the readme file

This software is a keyboard emulator for joysticks. It converts joystick input into keyboard input (and mouse input). Use it when you want to control an application with joysticks that doesn't support joystick input. If you wish, you can control even Word, Excel, etc. with joysticks!




Thanks MTDay, I checked those out and they seem pretty simple. I can't vouch for them but I'll keep these in mind when I'm into a game.




Ashampoo Firewall is now freeware

tips from TopFreeware, Aug 2006, permalink


From TF

Also Ashampoo firewall, is now freeware.


It's getting good reviews. Might want to test it and see if it's newsletter worthy.




Kind Regards



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


I sent this to a reader, Gabor, who was looking for free firewalls. Here's what he said.


From Gabor

Hi, ashampoo asks you to register when you sign up and its very confusing all this about the 10 day trial. I am not sure if its trying to sucker me into paying for something but I don't think I will proceed with it. Regards.




Any Comments?


Feedback from readers on VLC Media Player

Aug 2006


From Curtis:

It's very handy and it will play nearly any kind of music or video file you will run across. It also plays DVD's easily.


That's why it is so popular. install it, use it.

From GG

The first time I tried to play a DVD on my system the player I was using (Microsoft?) said I had to download or pay for additional components so I looked around and found VLC and with VLC it just worked out of the box with no additional considerations. That's why I use it. Regards.

From John M

VLC is more than your average media player, having problems playing a file because of a codec problem, VLC plays regardless, have a corrupt media file .. VLC can fix it, sick of having multiple media players that complain about silly things such as the wrong extension, use VLC and forget about that, it will play files that other players falter at, it's one installation to handle all your player needs, it's light weight, and it keeps doing things that surprise me, I still have not got around to using it for streaming media, but it does that also, keep using it , you will see.

From Marc

I like it a lot, been using it for a year now.

The reason i like it, is it can play everything, even files that are problematic for one reason or another, incomplete downloads, etc. Another player would simply shut down or refuse to play the file, this one is your best shot if that happens. Cheers and thanks for your "Wiki"

Marc ;-)

From ecolina

The feature that I like the best is that VLC already has practically all the codecs already integrated, so, you don't need to go hunting for each codec. It can play enven strange formats like h264, mkv, ogm, etc. In summary it is ideal if you download movies from the intenet, specially anime. PS. It is also a DVD player.

From Mike at carputers.net

New kid in town:




Also, they have burining software:




I like the Disc Creator - it is light and pretty straightforward. It also is Blu-Ray capable. Haven't tried the DVD Player yet.

From Alnjk (responding to the "millions of downloads" quote)

A example of this would be: The "Big Mac". Millions sold but that doesn't make it a good burger.

Dave M

I heard the same things about VLC however it never met my expectations after a trail run. I had problems with codecs and found the perferences very complicated/confusing. I'm staying with the K lite codec packs/player. ( KliteCodecs )
























The Official Seal Generator

posted by ClifNotes, Aug 2006


Here's another very cool image generating website that will be added to my collection. Try it out and make your own special emblem. I just wish they'd put in a preview of all the different options for the image. I spent way too much time tweaking.





Any comments?


WW2D - Maps to the extreme

cool website tip from CC, Aug 2006


From CC:



Impressive program, takes ad-ons from goggle earth and nasa wind plus some others, optical resolution is in various pixel/m this is due from using multiple sources for imagery. can be layered with personal information etc.


Its open source.



Any comments?


Websites I've visited recently








Freeware Rebellion - the video

posted by ClifNotes, video from No Media Kings


I found this cool video about some freeware game developers. Check it out.


Quote from the author:

This 10 minute documentary I made was a bit of a revelation, however: instead of writing about how fun and stylish their game was, I could show it. Instead of talking about how they’re not your typical nerd coders, I could show them in person.


Freeware Rebellion - the video



News from Sarah in Tampa





























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.


August 27

We must not have been in chat long enough. Nobody popped in while we were on it.



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.



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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