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Welcome to Clif Notes Newsletter

April 27, 2008



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!







Avant Browser - Single handed at it's best

reviewed by StevenBurn on 9/17/05, updated Sept 2006, Apr 2008 by ClifNotes, permalink - Web Browser


From Clif:

Back in 2005, my friend Steven Burn reviewed Avant Browser here. It's really been doing well as a replacement for Internet Explorer. I've never been a big fan of IE by itself, although I do hold out some hopes that IE8 will be better since they claim it will support web standards more closely.


This week, I saw that Avant is the top mover at Download.com and has been downloaded over 20,000 times this month alone. I'm not surprised. Since the last time I used Avant, they've added many new features and enhanced the older features so that users will find that it's much nicer than plain old IE.

  • Online Profile Storage
  • AutoFills
  • Flash Animation Filter
  • Built-in AD/Pop-up Blocker
  • Built-in RSS/ATOM Reader
  • Additional Mouse Functions
  • Multi-Window Browsing
  • Real Full Screen Mode and Alternative Full Desktop mode
  • Built-in Search Engine
  • Full IE Compatibility
  • Control Your Privacy
  • Safe Recovery
  • Customizable Skins

Avant also now has a great stand-alone or portable version that works nicely on a USB thumb drive. If you decide to try out the portable version, all you have to do download and unzip it. You don't even have to be an admin on your PC to run it. If you don't like Avant portable, just delete the folder to uninstall it. It's not a big download, so there's really no reason not to give it a try.


Here's a personal tip. Avant has an awesome full screen mode (F11 key) that removes all the toolbars and menus from the screen. When you have multiple tabs open, just hold down your right mouse button and use the scroll wheel on your mouse to quickly switch between tabs.


You may also know that I'm a big Firefox fan. Sometimes I need to use IE when a website like Windows Update demands it. Avant uses IE's rendering engine, so that's not an issue. You'll also have to make sure to keep IE up to date so you don't have security holes in it. Scanit.be is a great place to see if any of your browsers are out of date.


From Steven:

click image to expand

Listening to Iron Maiden this afternoon, I heard "Journeyman" and a phrase within the song jumped out at me - "I know what I want, I'll say what I want and no-one can take it away". This very phrase sums up my feeling towards Avant Browser, having tried almost all of the "IE" and Gecko shells available, I have found I know what I want, and have only found what I want in a browser shell, in Avant Browser.


This wonderful application, the sole creation of Anderson Che, provides everything you could want in a browser, for free!. Although susceptible to the same flaws as the IE core, Avant has something IE does not - a dedicated developer that actually cares about us, the users!. Having been an Avant user since late 2003, early 2004 I've found myself growing to love using it more and more with each new release. Avant Browser provides (out of the box) an MDI interface (allowing multiple web pages within a single window), popup/ad/flash/script/sound/image/video and ActiveX blockers, along with an RSS reader, groups, and a whole host of other additions (and as an added bonus, I can use the generic IE contexts and restricted/trusted sites features etc). Had Avant NOT provided this, though it would have been less useful in the eye's of some, it would still be the shell of choice for myself as I am not stuck having to go through a learning curve to figure out how to block this, where to download that, as is the case with the likes of Firefox, Mozilla and K-Meleon etc.


Being a moderator on the Avant forums, developer of Avant utilities and generally loving all things Avant Browser related, one could say I am completely biased (which strangely, I cannot deny) and thus, my opinions are inherantly flawed, however, having been an AOL user (with the exception of trying Tiscali, this was possibly the worst experience of my life), trying Green Browser/Maxthon/Firefox/Mozilla/Opera/[insert browser/shell name] et al, I'm afraid the only answer I would be able to give to this argument would be to try it and decide for yourselves.


Myself aside, those having trouble finding their way around Avant, are provided with a wonderful support team in the form of the Avant Browser Forum moderators and admin's. These gents (and ladies) work tirelessly to ensure you find the answer you require and thus, are able to utilize Avant to it's full potential.


Homepage: http://www.avantbrowser.com

Support forums: http://forum.avantbrowser.com


Be sure to check out Steven's right click menu extensions for Avant.




Unknown Devices - a quick way to find drivers for pci devices

reviewed by ClifNotes, Mar 2004, Feb 2006, Apr 2008, permalink System Information


If you have a device or card in the PC and it uses the PCI bus, then this program is one of the very best ways to search for drivers. Just like Belarc it will give you the pertinent information on the device. It doesn't stop there though. You can right click on any information listed and it will send your browser off to search for that piece of information on the internet. Quickly find drivers or manuals for "Unknown" devices on your system.



Please be aware and avoid a ripped off copy of Unknown Devices that's hosted in Korea. Google ranks the ripped off copy higher than the author's. I usually go to Major Geeks website to grab this program.


Just download the the UnknownDevices zip file and extract it somewhere. All you have to do is double click the exe file to run it. No other installation is needed.


Quote from the website

Unknown Devices helps you find what those unknown devices in Device Manager really are.


By checking Device Manager for unknown devices and extracting information from it, this program attempts to figure out what the device is. You might not have to open your case or look up random numbers off of PCI cards to figure out what they are.


Program supports Win95, 98, 98se, Me, 2k, XP and 2003 but not NT. It also attempts to support future OSes.

It runs fine from a CD or floppy. It's free for personal and (especially) business use. The program contains no adware, spyware, malware, popups, or whatever is the latest name for junk software.




Technitium MAC Address Changer

Posted by ClifNotes, Apr 2008, permalink Misc. Networking Tools


Do you know what a MAC address is?


My guess would be that most people using a PC have a MAC address even if they don't know it. The MAC address is a unique 10 digit code that is hard wired into every NIC (network interface card). The NIC is the card in your PC that allows you to communicate with a network and the internet. If your PC connects to the internet using a dial-up modem you may not have a NIC, but most PCs today come from the factory with a NIC already installed. Today's laptops typically have a wireless NIC card in them that allows them to connect to WIFI networks.


Why do you need to change it?


I can think of two main reasons why you might have to change a MAC address.

  1. A network needs to see a specific MAC address (other than yours) in order to allow you access.
  2. A software application is looking for a specific MAC address (other than yours) to see if it resides on a licensed PC.

I've run into two situations where it would have been handy to change the MAC address, but I had no idea that it was even possible. Now that I've found this cool freeware app, I will be ready the next time it happens.




Quote from the website

Technitium MAC Address Changer allows you to change Media Access Control (MAC) Address of your Network Interface Card (NIC) irrespective to your NIC manufacturer or its driver. It has a very simple user interface and provides ample information regarding each NIC in the machine.


There are some famous, commercial tools available in the market for US$19.99 to as much as US$1500 (!), but Technitium MAC Address Changer is available for FREE.




andLinux - running Linux in Windows

Posted by ClifNotes, Apr 2008, permalink Operating System


andLinux looks like a good solution for folks who want to get their feet wet with an Ubuntu Linux OS. You don't have to set up different partitions for booting and they claim most of the Linux apps run just fine. You simply download the installer (it's big!) and once you launch it, you go through a wizard that helps you set it up.


I haven't tried this one yet. I'm hoping someone here has tried it or wants to try and will comment below to tell us what they have experienced.


Remember, there are plenty of alternatives to andLinux for Windows users. You can run virtual PCs using MS Virtual PC or VMWare Player. You can also set up an online Linux desktop at one of my favorites, Cosmopod.com.



click to expand picture

Quote from the website

andLinux is a complete Ubuntu Linux system running seamlessly in Windows 2000 based systems (2000, XP, 2003, Vista; 32-bit versions only). This project was started for Dynamism for the GP2X community, but its userbase far exceeds its original design. andLinux is free and will remain so, but donations are greatly needed.




Sebran's ABC - fun learning for children

Posted by ClifNotes, Apr 2008, permalink Edutainment


Here's a good review of an educational children's freeware.


Quote from scancode:

Sebran's ABC is a cute, small (~700kb) edutainment application for small children (4-9 years). It features a few minigames, some cute clipart graphics, and MIDI music (!). Make sure you give your children headphones.















Old Newsletter


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














Frapper - you people live all over the world!

Wow! Over 900 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.



What free software do you need?

Notes from ClifNotes, permalink Windows Tips


So what do you need? Write it down below and I'll see if I can find it. If you know the answer to someone else's question, add your answer there.



Previous What Do You Need comments


Search all the comments


My journey from Windows to Linux

Posted by ClifNotes • Apr 2008 • permalinkWindows Tips


I've been wanting to set up my own PC with Linux, just like zridling does here in this article. For those of us who love free software, a Linux machine is a great way to get rid of our dependence on Microsoft payware.


Quote from zridling

urlwolf gave me a good idea to document my switch from Windows to GNU/Linux. If you decide to read this ongoing series, it was his idea from the start. I've wanted to "make the switch" since 1998 when Corel came out with its own version of Linux. That lasted about two weeks before I shelved that junk. In the meantime, I've toyed with various Linux distros, but knew I was never going to switch, so at best it was a convenient distraction. I'm no expert, so I'll be learning as this series unfolds.

Making the switch-01: My journey from Windows to Linux



Sentry Lite - is it safe to monitor your children?

Posted by ClifNotes, Apr 2008, permalink PC Activity Monitoring


Jimbo wrote in with a good question about some new child monitoring software.


Hi Clif - You may be aware, by now, of my deep interest in childrens' safety in general and especially on the net. A relatively new monitoring software has entered the fray, the free version of which is called 'Sentry Lite'. On the surface it sounds like a good product but I have some serious reservations.


It sounds to me as if Sentry stores the logs/reports of all the user's internet activity on it's web site. Apart from the fact that this enables parents to view the logs from remote locations I can see no great advantage, on the other hand that system of reporting must engender some significant privacy questions.


The other factor that has me wary are the 'user' reviews on download.com. They are mostly 5 star rated but the manner in which they are worded together with the consistency of rating and content suggests to me that they may have been 'manufactured'.


Maybe I am being a tad harsh, perhaps Sentry Lite is a safe and viable product....I would be very interested in any comments from your savvy readers.





Quote from the website

Sentry Lite is the 100% FREE Parental Control Software Download that offers parents and computer administrators piece of mind. With Sentry Lite you can monitor all of your computer´s browser logs and instant message conversations. Parents can now monitor and record their child's instant message and browser activity easily and securely through our intuitive web-based control panel. Sentry Lite is this year's must have parental control download!


Have you used Sentry Lite? Do you have an opinion you'd like to share? Please comment below.










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?

Weekend Windups are now available online




Last Wednesdays News Letter Tips.



1. Load Internet Explorer the fastest way possible.




2. Instantly research system information in XP!




3. Accessing the Internet in no time flat!




4. Create a Run command shortcut in Widows XP!




5. Network Your Printer in Windows XP!




6. Share a Folder on a Network with Windows XP Pro!




7. transfer Microsoft Outlook Address Books from one Windows XP machine to another!




8. Clear existing restore points in Windows XP!




9. Get rid of a jammed print job in Windows XP!




10. Block access to Web sites with the Route command in Windows XP!




11. To select a color scheme in Windows XP, do the following!




12. Creating a boot log for troubleshooting in Windows XP!




13. Schedule a Task to Defragment Drives!




14. Launch the Forgotten Password Wizard!




15. Quickly track down computers on a network With XP!








Click The Link Below To Join My News Letter.


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




Vista Run Commands.




Download 1000 Of My Tips!

Over 600 Windows XP Tips!

11/11/2007 Added 100 Vista Tips To The Download!




Function Keys F1 F2 F3 F4 F5 F6 F7 F8 F9 F10 F11 F12





PC Problems? Use My New Detailed Help Form.



To Expedite The Answer I Send You Please Check Your Event Viewer And Include Any Errors It May Be Recording.








Hardware And Software Vendor Phone List, A-K




Hardware And Software Vendor Phone List, L-P




Hardware And Software Vendor Phone List, Q-Z




Computer Motherboard And Chipset Drivers.







How Do I Prevent CHKDSK From Running Every Time My PC Starts






IF01766 Easy enable real Administrator Account in Windows Vista Home Premium




IF01767 Keep User Account Control active, but get rid of annoying popups in Vista.




IF01768 Transfer User Accounts, System Settings from XP to Vista.




IF02011 Map a Network Printer In Windows XP.




IF02006 Using The Windows XP Event Viewer Log.






Comments last week

Thanks to everyone who commented on the articles last week. You gave me more ideas and some good advice.



QuickMonth Calendar - hover over the system tray to see it •

CloneSpy - duplicate file finder and cleaner •

Free Zune Video Converter - save tons of time uploading to Zune •

DesktopZoom - magnify the entire desktop •

Extora - calendar, agenda and note taking software •

Windows Live Contact Importer - upload contacts to Hotmail •



Segway's Strange New Robot

How to find a freeware game

Screen Capture Shootout for Windows



Yanobs Online Notepad - your notepad on the road? •

Ramps Flash Game - so simple and so fun •

Top 50 Open Source Alternatives

DotWhat - for unknown file extensions •

Wanokoto Labs Image Aging Service













Tell Microsoft you want to Save XP

Posted by ClifNotes, Apr 2008, permalink Windows Tip


My wife and I have both gotten used to using XP. We don't want to switch to Vista yet, but we may have no choice soon. I found this web site that's trying to get Microsoft to let us keep using XP.


I signed up. How about you?


Quote from the website

Microsoft plans to end most sales of Windows XP on June 30, despite a deep reluctance by many business and individuals about moving to Vista. InfoWorld believes such an expensive, time-consuming shift with problematic benefits should not be forced on Windows users, so we have decided to rally XP users to demand that XP be kept available.




The Webware 100 winners - according to Download.com

Posted by ClifNotes, Apr 2008, permalink Web Service


I could spend hours reviewing some of these sites. This is a good list.


Quote from the blog:

Fellow CNET partner Webware.com covers the ins and outs of the Web 2.0 sphere daily, and the site has just released the winners of its second Webware 100 competition. Site users picked the winners from thousands of submissions.


There are 10 champions in each in 10 categories. Some of the names--Flickr, Last.fm, Facebook--are obvious industry leaders, but you're much less likely to be familiar with others like DeviantArt, Stardoll, or VoiceThread. Regardless the level of your Web 2.0 savviness, the Webware 100 winners are likely to provide everyone with new sites to explore or cool products to keep an eye on.




Pixel2life - 18,000 tutorials

Posted by ClifNotes, Apr 2008, permalink Web Service


CC wrote in with info on this nice tutorial website.


This site has 18,000 plus tutorials and "most are free".

Their forum has 31,000 ++ members...


Most are graphic tutorials, but you can find a lot of tweaks for Vista and xp in between the tuts ... A lifetime of learning.





Quote from the website

Pixel2life.com is the internet’s largest tutorial index catering to graphic designers, webmasters and programmers, with 38,647 tutorials listed in 86 categories! We also feature a massive and diversified community with 31,790 registered members that participate on our Forums. P2L is also the provider of many additional resources to our members and guests, such as articles, programming script and code gallery, hardware reviews, free graphics and stock photography and much more! You can check out our Resource Center for a complete listing.

WinXP Tutorials

WinVista Tutorials



The Bee Hive - History

Posted by ClifNotes, Apr 2008, permalink Educational Website


I have always been fascinated by honey bees and like most folks, I really like what they make. After hearing a bit of trivia on TV about the modern bee hive, I was curious to see who is considered the inventor of the bee hive. Like most devices we use today, it wasn't invented by a single person but was slowly improved over time. In this case, it took centuries to get it right.


So who was the guy that got it right finally? Look below for the answer and also be sure to visit John's Beekeeping Notebook if you want more details.


Quote from the website

A major improvement in hive design was made in 1851 by Lorenzo Langstroth. He built a hive with frames that hung from the top ends of the hive, leaving a 3/8 inch space between all sides of the frames and the hive body.


Langstroth's frames were easily handled without breaking the comb. Today we refer to the 3/8 inch passageways as a "bee-space." This practical hive is the direct ancestor of the modern hive that is most popular today.











CoolSites Newsletter this week


Here are a 6 links (out of dozens) from Mark's CoolSites Newsletter. Be sure to visit his site and see the rest of his links this week.


April 25 2008 COOLSITES Newsletter #162 by Mark Donaldson

• Freeware. HazteK Software - Free applications available for download: http://www.haztek-software.com/apps.html

• New. K-3D Development 3D modeling and animation: http://www.k-3d.org/wiki/Main_Page

• New. Kid-Key-Lock is a simple program to selectively lock specific keyboard and mouse functions: http://www.100dof.com/

• New. LCPlayer is the easier media player, wich plays all media formats, rip, burn, edit files, and much more: http://lcsoftware.lcwebdesign.com.ar/lcplayer/

• New. SMPlayer - start to watch a movie but you have to leave... don´t worry, when you open that movie again it will resume at the same point you left it: http://smplayer.sourceforge.net/

• Update. Foobar2000 media player: http://www.foobar2000.org/


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.











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 6 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 Meebo. To see who's gabbing at this website, click here.





Find out more about Meebo.com







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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