Pencil – An open-source GUI prototyping tool that’s available for ALL platforms…

I first noticed Pencil on Freewarefiles.com

Pencil is a free drawing program that helps users to create mockups on their PCs. Its friendly graphic user interface provides ready access to a collection of built-in shapes that can be used to create interfaces for both mobile and desktop platforms. The prototyping tool is available for all platforms.

If you want a powerful but free drawing program, then Pencil is a good choice. Even beginners will find it relatively easy to use because it works on the “What You See Is What You Get” (WYSIWYG) basis.

SOURCE: Pencil Project

A FREE Open Source (Powerful) Video Editor That Is Easy To Use

Here is a video editor called OpenShot, that will give you the ability to edit those videos you take using your smartphone.  OpenShot is a Linux, Mac, and Windows based software application that offers many transitional effects and recognizes nearly all media formats out there (including video, audio and image files). Through experimentation of my own, I found OpenShot quite user-friendly and recommend for the computer user’s at home.

Features

  • Cross-platform (Supports Linux, OS X, and Windows)
  • Support for many video, audio, and image formats (based on FFmpeg)
  • Powerful curve-based Key frame animations
  • Desktop integration (drag and drop support)
  • Unlimited tracks / layers
  • Clip resizing, scaling, trimming, snapping, rotation, and cutting
  • Video transitions with real-time previews
  • Compositing, image overlays, watermarks
  • Title templates, title creation, sub-titles
  • 2D animation support (image sequences)
  • 3D animated titles (and effects)
  • SVG friendly, to create and include vector titles and credits
  • Scrolling motion picture credits
  • Advanced Timeline (including Drag & drop, scrolling, panning, zooming, and snapping)
  • Frame accuracy (step through each frame of video)
  • Time-mapping and speed changes on clips (slow/fast, forward/backward, etc…)
  • Audio mixing and editing
  • Digital video effects, including brightness, gamma, hue, greyscale, chroma key (bluescreen / greenscreen) , and many more!

SOURCE: OpenShot Video Editor 

A FREE Screen Capture Program That You Must Have

Just when I think I am running out of steam and have tried and tested all the screen capture programs out there, I find ShareX…  Really, I do not know how I missed this awesome “must have” screen capture program.

ShareX

What makes ShareX standout is that you can upload your screenshots to over 25 different file hosting services. The ShareX user interface is easy to use and understand allowing you to use hotkeys to initiate a screen grab (or capture); or you can launch the screen capture selections by right mouse clicking the ShareX icon in the system tray. ShareX can capture screenshots with different shapes such as rectangular, rectangular rounded, ellipses, triangular, diamond, polygon and freehand. There is a built in editor where you can apply different effects (such as transparency, shadowing, torn edges, text, borders, etc…).

ShareX is available as a full install and if you dig deep enough on the site you will find that there is a portable app version as well (which is what I went for)…  Really nice screen capture program that is open source and FREE.

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A Start Menu That Comes Highly Recommended For Windows 8

If you follow my blog, then you probably are beginning to think that Ramblinrick is sure stuck on third party Start Menu options for Windows 8. Well, in a sense, I am…  Here are the most recent posts on this topic:

A Start Menu for Windows 8 That Is A Portable App

My Pick For A Windows 8 Start Menu

Seven Alternatives To Restore The Start Menu In Windows 8

Following yesterday’s post, Two Options to Boot Windows 8 To The Desktop, Bill Mullins’ from Bill Mullins’ Weblog – Tech Thoughts contacted me with another recommendation, called Classic Shell .

Classic Shell

Classic Shell is free and open-source software that is a collection of features that were available in older versions of Windows but are removed from Vista and Windows 7. In summary, I am seeing that Classic Start Menu is a jack of all trades and out of the many picks I have tried, this one is tried, true and tested; meaning, it has been around for awhile.

Features:

  • Drag and drop to let you organize your applications
  • Options to show Favorites, expand Control Panel, etc
  • Shows recently used documents. The number of documents to display is customizable
  • Translated in 35 languages, including Right-to-left support for Arabic and Hebrew
  • Does not disable the original start menu in Windows. You can access it by Shift+Click on the start button
  • Right-click on an item in the menu to delete, rename, sort, or perform other tasks
  • The search box helps you find your programs without getting in the way of your keyboard shortcuts
  • Supports jumplists for easy access to recent documents and common tasks
  • Available for 32 and 64-bit operating systems
  • Has support for skins, including additional 3rd party skins
  • Fully customizable in both looks and functionality
  • Support for Microsoft’s Active Accessibility
  • Converts the “All Programs” button in the Windows menu into a cascading menu (Vista and Windows 7)
  • Implements a customizable Start button (Windows 7 and 8)
  • Can show, search and launch Windows Store apps (Windows 8)
  • And last but not least – it’s FREE!

So if you are at a loss that there is no Start Menu at the Windows 8 desktop level, then Classic Menu may be the one to go with. It comes highly recommended by a highly respectable blogger.  Thank you goes out to Bill Mullins’ for making us aware of Classic Menu.

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GEEK BONUS AREA

Will Smartphones Replace Credit Cards And Cash?

Add Sidebar and Gadgets to Windows 8

Hot Hot Hot! Shop Amazon’s Full Store Directory For Christmas

The Wireless iTunes Speaker – an Advanced Audio System with AirPlay

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An Advanced Email Client for Android

Recently I posted an article about an Android email client,  called Email Tray, that gives you the ability to manage multiple email accounts using one app. I was very excited to find that there was such an app for the Android based tablet or smartphone that mimicked the application that I have installed on my desktop PC (called PopPeeper).

As I often do, I continued to search for other Android email clients and found another gem of an email client called K-9 Mail; that, as of this writing, has become a mainstay on my tablet pc. There are particularly three things I like about K-9.  One, I can quickly pull down mail from all of my email accounts; two, it is open source; AND three, its’ simplicity.

K-9 Mail

K-9is the best email client for Android. It’s incredibly powerful and 100% free

K-9 Mailis an open-source e-mail client with search, IMAP push email, multi-folder sync, flagging, filing, signatures, bcc-self, PGP, mail on SD & more!

K-9 supports IMAP, POP3 and Exchange 2003/2007 (with WebDAV).

K-9 is a community developed project. If you’re interested in helping to make the best email client on Android even better, please join us! You can find our bugtracker, source code, mailing list and wiki at http://k9mail.googlecode.com.

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GEEK BONUS AREA

Today’s Technology News, Software, Apps, Wallpapers, Tech Products and MORE…

VLC Android App Beta Available For Download In The Google Play store

10 Essential Tweaks: Pushing Your Gaming PC to Its Absolute Limit (Part 1)

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Gold Box: New Deals. Every Day.

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Kylo The Browser For Your TV is Now Open Source

I bet you have never heard of Kylo?

Kylo is a Mozilla (Firefox) based web browser that has been specifically developed for TV screens (home theater). Kylo gives you the ability to browse the web on your HDTV from the comfort of your couch.

Kylo is a web browser developed by Hillcrest Labs for Microsoft Windows and Mac OS X. Initially released in 2010, the Kylo web browser features a 10-foot user interface, with large fonts and buttons that make it easy to see from across the room, making it especially suitable for use with a HTPC (Home theater PC) connected directly to a high-definition television.

Kylo

The cool here with Kylo is that it is now open source, meaning it is being made available to developers (throughout the world) to play with… Even though it was developed for big screen TV, I downloaded it to my PC and was very impressed. Kylo auto resized itself to fit my screen and  I soon found Kylo to contain a great selection of media content (by default).  You are not just limited to media content and are able to browse the internet as you would with any other browser.  It actually gave the illusion (on my 23” monitor) of a big screen…  Kylo also features a popup keyboard that gives you the ability to go to mouse only browsing.

If you are looking for a really cool way to browse online media, then give Kylo a try. With Kylo going open source, I can’t wait to see what other builds we will see come out of this.

Note:  There are many ways to connect your PC to your HDTV.  [CLICK HERE] to learn how.

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GEEK BONUS AREA
The Latest In Technology News, Computers, Software, Apps, Wallpapers, Tech Products, and MORE…

Limited Time Freebies

Free Data Encryption Software to Protect Files On Windows

Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 (7-Inch, Wi-Fi)

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Best 119 Free Windows Programs

With computers being mainstreamed in people’s homes for more than 10 years it still amazes me that people do not realize the gold mine that is available in FREE software. To put this in perspective, I have three computers in my home and all three, with the exception of one, have nothing on them but FREE software apps. The one exception is that I have Microsoft Office installed on my main PC, due I need it for my job; otherwise, all the other apps are FREE. To put this further in perspective, any software you see reviewed on my blog, is FREE software.

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If you are interested in getting a start on using FREE software, Makeuseof.com has compiled a list of the best 119 FREE Windows programs.  They have conveniently categorized the apps to make navigation easy. You can preview those categories below and while you are on their site, check out their other articles. Great site; highly recommended!

Anti-virus Malware removal Firewall Apps Defragmenters
File Recovery Uninstallers Backup Apps System Maintenance
Browsers Email Clients Communication Photos/Images
Audio Tools Video Tools Files/Drives Documents
Productivity Archive Managers CD/DVD Tools Downloads
Others

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Windows Double Explorer for Windows 7

I could never figure out why Microsoft never offered a dual paned or tabbed view interface option in Windows Explorer. Managing your files and folders in those types of interfaces are so much easier to use; especially if you are a power user.

There are numerous third party options available; however, none really mimic the Windows Explorer interface, until Windows Double Explorer came on the scene. Windows Double Explorer is an open source utilitly that is engineered (for Windows 7) to manage two or more Windows Explorer interfaces in one application.

Windows Double Explorer

Windows Double Explorer also features a vertical or horizontal dual pane interface in conjunction with a tabbed interface. Once you have Windows Double Explorer up and running; and configured to your liking, I think you will become hooked.

Windows Double Explorer is currently in the beta stage of development and is engineered to work as a Windows 7 application.  There is no install to this application.  Simply download and run with it.

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Geek Squeaks’ of the Week (#44)

Welcome to the 44th round of Geek Squeaks’.  If you have a passion for information technology and computers, then you are at the right place.  Geek Squeaks’ is a weekly roundup of links to articles produced by bloggers (and site owners) associated with the What’s On My PC blogroll community.  I encourage you to pay a special visit to each of these sites to support their incredible work…

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Tech-for Everyone
What is Mobsync?

thePC Security
HDD Password Removal –
Crack, Clear, Unlock, Reset a Locked Hard Disk

Lifehacker
Seems Like Everyone’s Getting Faster Internet but the U.S.

Rarst.net
Colorjive.com – online image editor to paint walls

AskBillFirst
Microsoft urges Windows XP users to ditch old Flash version

Free PC Security
Malicious Sites January 19

Snakebytez
Create a System Restore Point in 1-click with Quick Restore Maker

TTC Shelbyville
Online Network Tools

I Love Free Software
RegKey Backup – Free Software to Registry Backup

Worthy Tips
Download ‘Your Guide to Windows 7′ EBook

Mrintech
Help Haiti People: Donate Online or via Text

Canadian Tech Blogger
Firefox 3.6 RC2 Out

AKS-Feel The Change
What’s My Computer Doing?

Carol’s Vault
PDF Password Remover – remove your PDF’s restrictions

411-Spyware.com
How to Remove Win Security 360

Plato On-Line
World Netizen’s Day

Bill Mullins’ Weblog – Tech Thoughts
Safe, Secure Browsing, with Free WOT Browser Add-on

Big Geek Daddy
How to Control Startup Programs

Computer Maintenance
How To Set Windows Automatic Update

Technogran’s Tittle Tattle
Windows Live Mail Wave4, it’s all looking good!

TuneUp Blog
Get More Privacy! How to Remove Personal Information from Files

Internet Security Blog
Auto Lock Computer Screen With USB – Free Download

Geeked Up
6 Important Steps on How to Maximize Firefox Screen Space

Technize
Find Your Files Faster with Windows 7

Whats On My PC
The Ultimate Clock for your Windows Desktop

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System Explorer – A FREE Task Manager

image System Explorer is FREE task manager program that provides detailed information about the operating status of your PC and is an excellent tool to include in your tech toolbox (portable version available).

Task Manager programs, such as System Explorer, are applications that typically provide detailed information about the stability of your computer (such as performance and running applications, processes and CPU usage, commit charge and memory information, network activity and statistics, logged-in users, and system services). Typically we get to the Windows Task Manager by hitting the “CTRL+ALT+DEL” hotkey combo.  Most users typically go to the Task Manager in Windows to halt programs that are not playing well.

System Explorer is like the Windows Task Manager, but is a whole lot more…  Things that you can do with System Explorer are:

  • Task Management
  • Startups Management
  • System Performance Monitoring
  • Internet Explorer Addons Management
  • Services Management
  • Start applications faster with System Explorer Launcher
  • Force start idle system tasks to cleanup and speedup system
  • Optimise physical memory usage
  • Reveal malware or viruses in your system
  • Network Connections Monitoring
  • Processes Management
  • Search faster with System Explorer Launcher
  • Make System Report
  • Check File Security
  • Screenshot

    Features:

    Detailed informations about Tasks, Processes, Modules, Startups, IE Addons, Uninstallers, Windows, Services, Drivers, Connections and Opened Files.

    Easy check of suspicious files via VirusTotal or Jotti service.

    Easy search details about file/process via online databases.

    Launcher (“New Task…” dialog) with integrated AutoSearch and AutoCompletion.

    Action History for monitoring processes activities.

    Performance graphs for monitoring usage of system resources in time.

    System Snapshots for easy finding of system changes.

    System Report builds rich text report containing major informations about your System.

    Multilanguage and Plugins Support.

    Version 2.0 brings brand new user interface and Windows 7 support.

    **NEW** Security feature with online File Reviews.

    Requirements:

    OS: Windows XP,Windows Vista or Windows 7

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    Geek Squeaks’ of the Week (#42)

    It is unbelievable, especially the older we get, just how fast a week seemingly passes by; but, one thing I look forward to each week is Geek Squeaks’.

    Geek Squeaks’ is a compilation of articles, created within the past 7 days, by the members (bloggers) associated with the What’s On My PC blogroll (at the right side of the blog). If computers and information technology is in your blood, then these sites (or blogs) are the ones to follow.

    image

    Bill Mullins’ Weblog – Tech Thoughts
    FreeFixer – A Free, Powerful Anti-Malware Tool

    Plato On-Line
    Facebook vs. Suicide Machine

    411-Spyware.com
    How to Remove Antivirus PC 2009

    AKS-Feel The Change
    Merge two or more PDF files

    thePC Security
    Freeware PC Security Software Download – Rising PC Doctor

    Crazy World of G
    You Have Wave

    Lifehacker
    Memorize Makes Virtual Flashcards and More [Flashcards]

    Rarst.net
    SuggestRSS.com – finds sites like those in your feeds

    Sugarloaf Tech
    Remote wipe your BlackBerry without BES

    Tech-for Everyone
    How To Make Word Open A Normal Blank Page*

    AskBillFirst
    Those Green Doublelined Words on a Web Page

    Free PC Security
    Online Armor Free Firewall V4

    TuneUp Blog
    Survey: Replace Rather Than Clean Up a PC?

    Computer Maintenance
    Data Backup

    Canadian Tech Blogger
    IE Usage Down, Chrome Surpasses Safari

    Mrintech
    Free ASCII Art Designer Software for your PC!

    Worthy Tips
    Idea To Convert Your Photo To Hand Draw Sketch On Your Desktop

    Technize
    3 Ways To Test Your LCD Monitor For Defective Pixels

    I Love Free Software
    WeBuzz.IM – Use Gtalk, Yahoo, ICQ, AIM from Browser

    TTC Shelbyville
    Repair Internet Explorer

    Carputers News and Computer Tips
    Learn how to research online…

    Snakebytez
    Easily and Safely Optimize Vista
    by Disabling Unnecessary Windows Vista Services

    Freeware Pharmacy
    MCE Buddy

    What’s On My PC
    FREE Online Virus and Malware Scanners

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    cnet’s Rundown of the Best New Windows Software of 2009

    A good source for reviews, of FREE Software, is cnet. Reflected below is a clip from cnet – The Download Blog that I encourage you to visit.  The article gives you a good run down of some of the new (popular) software that was developed in 2009.

    1clipsm“What’s On My PC…” Web  Clip!

    December 31, 2009 12:00 AM PST

    Best new Windows software of 2009

    by Seth Rosenblatt

    This past year was not the best for new software developments. There were no surprising game-changers like Google Chrome in 2008, and no watershed moments. However, that doesn’t mean there weren’t some cool releases. I suspect that much of the best software of 2009 winds up becoming the foundation for innovations in 2010.

    [ Source: cnet – The Download Blog ]

    thedownloadblog

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    Attention to my readers and fellow bloggers…

    I am in the process of moving from one home to another.  Effective today (date of this posting), I will not be posting for awhile. My main PC will be down until I get moved. Exact time of return is unknown at this point; however, I am anticipating being back in the groove by January 1st or sooner.

    moving-truck

    Please do not let this stop you from visiting and commenting.  I encourage you to stay tuned. There are over 470 articles available to you; plus, check out the Launch Pad and the Blogroll on the sidebar of the blog.

    If you see no activity from me before Christmas, I wish everyone a happy holiday and to remember what Christmas is all about; giving, not getting!

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    A Super Fast and Portable PDF Viewer

    If you like fast; then you will like Sumatra PDF Viewer (or Reader).  This viewer blows them all of the water when opening and viewing PDF files. Sumatra is open source (FREE), is simplistic in nature (not a lot of bells & whistles), small in file size (<1.2 MB), does not write to the Windows registry, and is available in a full install version (for on your PC) or as a portable version (for on your flash drive).

    If you go the full install (setup) route on your PC, you can make Sumatra your default PDF viewer (or reader), in place of Adobe PDF. I actually uninstalled Foxit PDF Reader on my PC, another great PDF viewer, to give Sumatra the lead duty of opening PDF files on my PC.

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    FREE and EASY Powertoy Image Resizer

    Many Windows XP users are probably familiar with the Powertoy Image Resizer you downloaded as an add-on that allowed right-click image resizing functionality in Windows Explorer. This very popular Powertoy was primarily designed for Windows XP with no further development to support Windows Vista or Windows 7. This Powertoy utility enabled you to single or batch resize your pictures by simply right clicking on the picture(s), selecting Resize Pictures, selecting the scalable size, and then OK.  Magically the scalable size of the picture(s) would uniformly be resized; thus, the file size would also be reduced (or increased).  This is very useful when sending pictures via email, or posting on the web, where you want to reduce the scalable size and the file size of the pictures.  It is also useful if you are taking numerous pictures and you want to reduce the size for storage or archiving.  Frankly, today’s cameras take pictures that literally are megabytes in size and this can add up when you are archiving all the pictures you take.

    If this Powertoy was developed for Windows XP, is there an alternative (similar) solution for Windows Vista & Windows 7?

    The answer is yes.  I recently located and was introducted to “Image Resizer Powertoy Clone for Windows” which is a clone (replica) of the original Windows XP Powertoy Image Resizer.  The cool factor to this clone resizer is that it is being developed as open source software product, that is FREE and will only get better as the development progresses.

    If are someone that is into taking pictures, Image Resizer Powertoy Clone for Windows is definitely an image utility you want on your PC.

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    Go Incognito with Firefox…

    Mozilla Firefox

    Did you know that Firefox, the choice browser of the tech community has a Private Browsing Mode built into it?

    If you are a Firefox user and you are using Firefox version 3.5 or higher you can easily switch from normal browsing mode to private browsing mode. Many of the other popular browsers also have a private (incognito) browsing mode that you can explore.

    When you are normally browsing the internet, Firefox remembers the web sites you have visited, your user names and passwords, your browsing history and more. In other words these browsing morsels become a profile of your browsing habits and of you. When you switch to the  Private Browsing Mode in Firefox, these browsing morsels are not collected and stored on the host computer.

    Using Private Browsing Mode, to protect your privacy, is handy when browsing the internet from a friend’s computer or at work. In reverse, you can switch the browser into Private Browsing Mode when someone else is using your computer to prevent extraction of or review of your personal morsels (such as user names, passwords, history, cookies, etc…).

    To get into Private Browsing Mode, go to the menu bar (at the top of the browser), click on “Tools”, then “Private Browsing Mode” [ see video ]. You can also perform the hotkey combo of  Ctrl + Shift + P on your keyboard to turn Private Browsing Mode “on or off” .

    image

    Personally, I prefer using the hotkey combination to quickly go in and out of Private Browsing Mode. When you enter the Private Browsing Mode, Firefox will graciously remember any pages or tabs that you have open, so that when you exit from Private Browsing Mode, you are right back where you started.

    image

    You can also depart from Private Browsing Mode by going to the menu bar, click on “Tools”, then “Stop Private Browsing”.  You can also leave Private Browsing Mode by simply closing Firefox, as well.

    In a Private Browsing session, Firefox won’t keep any browser history, search history, download history, web form history, cookies, or temporary internet files.  However, files you download and bookmarks you make will be kept. [ click here to see details ]

    You can tell when you are in Private Browsing Mode by looking at the Title Bar at the top of the browser window.  It will reflect “Private Browsing – Mozilla Firefox”. Downloading files or saving bookmarks is not affected by Private Browsing Mode.

    If you are at another PC, I strongly encourage that you use Firefox and the Firefox Private Browsing Mode to protect your privacy.  If Firefox is not available on the host PC you can use Mozilla Firefox, Portable Edition and run it from your flash drive.

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    Gold Box: New Deals. Every Day.

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    Geek Squeaks’ of the Week (#23)

    If you are not familiar with “Geek Squeaks”, I encourage you to [CLICK HERE] to preview the past articles put together by the bloggers that are on the “What’s On My PC…” blogroll.  Each week I randomly select an article, that has been published by these authors (during the week), and include the selected article in the roundup.  I encourage you to visit and support these blogs.

    Geeksqueaks2

    Daily Free Software
    MediaMonkey

    Bill Mullins’ Weblog – Tech Thoughts
    Dangerous Porn Sites – Tips on How to Avoid Them

    Tech-for Everyone
    I Do Not Want IE 8*

    Plato On-Line
    Interesting Twitter Users Data

    The Spyware Biz Blog
    Be aware of your kids online pursuits

    Teck~Line
    How To Gain Organic Traffic For Your Blog!!!

    411-Spyware.com
    How to Remove Advanced Antivirus Remover

    Carol’s Vault
    Beautiful dual monitor wallpapers

    AKS-Feel The Change
    Watermark Your Images for Free

    Free PC Security
    DriverMax 5.1 – Free Driver Updates

    AskBillFirst
    Printing Long Documents
    so they come out in the right order

    Rarst.net
    IsMyBlogWorking.com – better than ping

    Lifehacker
    This Week’s Top Downloads [Download Roundup]

    TTC Shelbyville
    Freeware for Your USB Drive

    Piyada’s World
    Idea to get instant Gmail notification on iPhone

    Carputers
    Up your GMail skills!

    Snakebytez
    WildBit Viewer: Fast Image Viewer
    with slideshow and Editor

    Scoroncocolo
    What’s The Best Web Browser

    What’s On My PC…
    FREE Layers of Protection!

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    An Easy To Use Instant Messenger

    If you are looking for a straightforward, streamlined, and universal instant messenging client that is compatible with the likes of AIM, ICW, Google Talk, Yahoo, MSN Messenger and others, then give Pidgin a try.

    image

    I started to use Pidgin out of the need to instantly communicate with my daughter on Yahoo. Instead of downloading the Yahoo messaging client, I went with Pidgin and have not regretted it since.  It does the basics (text chatting) of what I want it to do without having to deal with a proprietary instant messaging client that has a convoluted array of “bells and whistles” that I do not need or want; PLUS, Pidgin’s streamline approach eliminates the need to install multiple chat clients on my PC.

    Another selling factor to me about Pidgin is that there is a portable version available; which means I can take it with me on my flash drive. Pidgin is open source software that can be enhanced using a variety of plugins to enhance your chat experience by keeping the spam away, encrypting your conversations, connecting to social networks, etc.

    About Pidgin

    Pidgin is a chat program which lets you log in to accounts on multiple chat networks simultaneously. This means that you can be chatting with friends on MSN, talking to a friend on Google Talk, and sitting in a Yahoo chat room all at the same time.

    Pidgin is free and contains no ads. All code is open source and licensed under the GNU General Public License. This means you can get Pidgin’s underlying code and modify it to suit your needs, as long as you publish the changes you make for everyone to benefit from as well.

    Supported chat networks:

    AIM – Bonjour – Gadu-Gadu – Google Talk –Groupwise – ICQ – IRC – MSN – MySpaceIM – QQ – SILC – SIMPLE – Sametime – XMPP – Yahoo! – Zephyr

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    Geek Squeaks’ of the Week (#21)

    We are now entering the 21st week of “Geek Squeaks”…  The “What’s On My PC…” blogroll community, continues to mill out, article after article, tech information that would make the experts blush. This is my way, at “What’s On My PC…”, to shine light on these authors for the contributions they make to help others. The articles reflected are articles posted in the past 7 days.  I encourage you to visit these sites, on a regular basis, to learn more about computers and technology.

    Geeksqueaks2

    Tech-for Everyone
    Is That A Terabyte In Your Pocket (PC)?

    Bill Mullins’ Weblog – Tech Thoughts
    Free Lifetime License for
    SUPERAntiSpyware Professional – 20 to Give Away

    Teck~Line
    New Mockup Release of Firefox 4.0

    Sugarloaf Tech
    Restore Task Manager

    The Abbey Rose
    ScribeFire

    The Spyware Biz Blog
    Your Internet data will vanish!

    TTC Shelbyville
    Remove Old Drivers to Optimize Your Operating System

    Snakebytez
    Product Key Finder

    Tux in the Midwest
    World of Warcraft… the Movie?

    Scoroncocolo
    Vista and XP Keyboard Shortcuts

    AKS-Feel The Change
    PC World Magazine August 2009

    Rarst.net
    iConvert – online image to all-platforms icons converter

    411-Spyware.com
    How to Remove “Your System Is Infected!” Popup

    Plato On-Line
    Internet Nuclear Attack Possibility

    Carol’s Vault
    Moovida – Bring the best of internet video,
    music and images to your HDTV, laptop or PC

    Piyada’s World
    Create Gif image or make funny face online free with Loogix

    Crazy World of G
    FilzMail

    Lifehacker
    SuperF4 Truly Kills Faltering Windows Apps

    Evilfantasy’s Blog
    F-Secure Health Check

    Free PC Security
    Windows Steady State – Free Hard Disk Protection

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    Geek Squeaks of the Week (#20)

    Whew…  What a week here for me; but, I’ve managed to get out the Geek Squeaks’.  Geek Squeaks is a collection of articles, from the past week, by the authors (or site administrators) of blogs that are on my blogroll. If you want to “get up to speed” on the latest in technology, I encourage you to visit these sites and to visit the “Geek Squeaks” category listing at the side of the blog (to pull up past articles).  Thank you!

    geeksqueak

    Tux in the Midwest
    Windows 7 is Beautiful

    AKS-Feel The Change
    avast! 5 Beta soon available for Download

    TTC Shelbyville
    Insecure.Org Unveils
    Nmap Security Scanner Version 5.00 – DarkReading

    411-Spyware.com
    How to Remove Security Mechanic

    The Abbey Rose
    Firefox and free solutions

    AskBillFirst
    But it fit…

    Teck~Line
    First look at the Up Coming Firefox’s 3.7’s design

    Carol’s Vault
    DISQUS | Turn Blog Comments
    a Powerful Comment System

    Tech-for Everyone
    Cybercriminals Target Clueless Vacationers

    Carputers
    Ashampoo Office 2008 for cheap (or free…)

    Bill Mullins’ Weblog – Tech Thoughts
    You’re in Luck – Perfect
    Defender 2009 License Key

    Is You GEEKed Up
    High Quality Portable Audio Setup On A Budget

    Sugarloaf Tech
    Restore Task Manager

    Lifehacker
    How Cash Over Credit Can Save You Money

    Scoroncocolo
    What Is SEO? – SEO Do’s and Don’ts

    Piyada’s World
    How to check dead pixel in LCD monitors?

    Rarst.net
    Snowbird – stupidly simple and fast file manager

    Plato on-line
    Obama Wants Bloggers’ Help

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    Speed Dial your way in Firefox

    Many internet users have specific web sites they visit on a daily basis and often do not venture out beyond that.  If you are a advocate of the browser, Mozilla Firefox, then you know there are browser extensions (add-ons) that you can download to customize and make your browsing experience a more efficient experience.

    One of my favorite extensions that I have installed in Firefox is called Speed Dial.  Speed Dial is actually an idea that has been borrowed from another browser called Opera that gives you fast access to your most used web sites.  Speed Dial loads in a tab, and will show thumbnail views of websites you have assigned to Speed Dial. The thumbnails are automatically refreshed in the background when the site changes. Once you have your Speed Dial customized to your liking, you simply click on the Speed Dial button on the browser toolbar to load your thumbnail collection of your most frequently visited sites.  Click on any of the thumbnails to visit the selected site. You can get the Speed Dial extension [ HERE ] .

    image

    Features as described by publisher:

    Speed Dial will open in a tab, showing the currently assigned websites as thumbnails.

    The Speed Dial tab can be loaded automatically in new tabs and windows.

    The assigned websites can be loaded automatically by pressing the Control key and it’s assigned number.

    Drag & drop reordering.

    Add dialog when clicking an unassigned entry.

    Automatic refresh of thumbnails by using a background browser (with configurable interval per thumbnail).

    Toolbar buttons to access Speed Dial’s functionality (including a drop down of the assigned websites).

    Multiple addresses can be assigned to a single dial, similar to the way the home page is handled (separating them with the “|” character).

    Weather status, which can locate your position automatically based on your IP (courtesy of GeoBytes). Clicking on that dial will provide the full weather forecast.

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    Geek Squeaks’ of the Week (#18)

    If you haven’t checked out Geek Squeaks here on the blog, you do not know what you are missing.  Each week random articles are selected from the sites that are listed on my blogroll (see sidebar of the blog) as a way to say “Thank you” to the authors; and to help promote their blogs. Blogs are excellent ways to learn from real people in the real world.

    geeksqueak

    TTC Shelbyville
    Convert any Video, Sound or Music File

    Tux in the Midwest
    Why the Zune HD is better than the iPod (for some)

    All Thats New
    Digg Gets Dupe Detection Updates

    AKS-Feel The Change
    Make Backup and Synchronize Folders with PureSync for FREE

    411-Spyware.com
    How to Remove “Your PC Is Not Protected” Popup

    AskBillFirst
    AP News: Microsoft warns of serious computer security hole

    Carol’s Vault
    Nice Translator Firefox Extension

    Crazy World of G
    Windows Directory Printer

    Evilfantasy’s Blog
    Google Apps is out of beta (yes, really)

    Confessions of a Freeware Junkie
    Announcement: DriverMax free is now severely limited

    Free PC Security
    Advanced System Care from IOBit

    Lifehacker
    View PDFs in Google Search Results Without HTML Conversion

    Piyada’s World
    Gmail coming back as invitation only service?

    Plato on-line
    Jackson Death and Media War

    Rarst.net
    Vote for my WordPress story!

    Snakebytez
    Privacy and Registry Cleaner

    Bill Mullins’ Weblog – Tech Thoughts
    Spammers Go Short – Cut Link Lengths

    Tech-for Everyone
    Tech Paul’s One Piece of Advice

    Technize.com
    Which Version Of DotNet Framework Is Installed On Your System?

    Techsense
    How data can be stored in bacteria ?

    Teck~Line
    “Light Box Hack” For Wp.com

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    Geek Squeaks of the Week (#16)

    If you are new (or old) to information technology and computers; these (featured) articles on “What’s On My PC…” are for you. The articles are by authors who spend a great deal of their time putting the articles together (for FREE) to keep you and me abreast of the latest in computers, software, security and information technology. The articles are in no particular order or ranking and are randomly selected from my blogroll community.

    GeekSqueaks

    AKS-Feel The Change
    Another Major Web Threat :
    Nine-Ball Compromises More Than 40,000 Legitimate Websites

    Tux In The Midwest
    Microsoft Enters the Free Anti-Malware Arena

    AllThatsNew
    Google Taking A Leap Forward By Identifying Landmarks

    TTC Shelbyville
    Fixing a Computer with A and W Root Beer

    411-Spyware.com
    How to Remove ErrorFix

    Tech~Line
    Failure Friday is now open for viewing

    AskBillFirst
    Disposable Email Address – What Is It Good For?

    Technize.com
    Analyze And Fix Vulnerabilities In Your System

    Carol’s Vault
    Increase bandwidth for networks and internet connections

    Tech-for Everyone
    Top Ten Internet Safety Tips for Children

    Confessions of a Freeware Junkie
    Announcement: Spiceworks 4.0 is out!

    Bill Mullins’ Weblog – Tech Thoughts
    Best Spam Story Ever! Thanks Pastor Mike

    Crazy World of G
    Google Voice Tomorrow?

    Sugarloaf Tech
    Vista – Launching Games is Slow

    Is You GEEKed Up
    Secunia PSI – Great Utility
    to Quickly Get Software Update Notification

    Spyware Biz
    Microsoft introduces Morro

    Lifehacker
    The Credit Scores You Don’t Get to See

    Snakebytez
    Anti-Malware Toolkit

    Piyadas World
    4 Tools to add a start menu on USB flash drives

    Plato on-line
    The ‘Computer Terrorist’

    Rarst.net
    Forget the right ways to do things

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    A Godzilla Collection of Portable Apps

    Today I’m going to tell you about a new application that is the “Godzilla” of portable application suites; BUT, before I do, I know there are many readers out there that visit my blog who do not know what a portable software application is (aka: portable app). If you own a flash drive and you have not placed any software on it, you do not know what you are missing.

    In order for a software application to be labeled as portable application, that can be run directly from your flash drive, the application must meet the following criteria:

    1. Does not require any kind of formal installation onto a computer’s permanent storage device to be executed, and can be stored on a removable storage device such as USB flash drive, enabling it to be used on multiple computers.
    2. Settings are stored with, and can be carried around with, the software (i.e., they are written to the USB drive). If the registry is used to store settings, the application’s configuration isn’t portable, and must be set up on every PC it is used on
    3. Leaves a zero (or near-zero) “footprint” on any PC it’s run on after being used. i.e., All temporary files/registry settings should be removed once the program has exited, and files created by the user can be saved directly to the same removable media as the application is stored on.

      [source: Wikipedia ]

    In a nutshell, portable applications are applications that you copy (or install) to your flash drive that can be  used on  just about any Windows based computer and will leave no traces (or footprints) on the computer from which you use the flash drive.

    If you are like me, my flash drive has become a repository in a sense for portable applications that I can’t live without.  It has taken me considerable time to research, test run and compile my collection of applications.

    Today I happened across a FREE application called “LiberKey”, that will save you a considerable amount of time in getting your flash drive up and running.  LiberKey is an “already prepared” collection of numerous portable apps  that can be installed onto your flash drive (or your computer’s hard drive) “in one fell swoop”, menu and all. If you notice in the screen shot below, the menu is categorized; and, under each of those categories are sub-categories containing numerous portable apps. I have tried and tested many of the portable app suites and this one I have to say this is probably the best one I have yet to experience. The features that stands with me is that you can update the LiberKey package directly from the internet to keep all your portable apps up-to-date AND you can add/remove any applications at your discretion. I find LiberKey to be a very impressive application…

    LiberKey

    LiberKey is available in (3)-three different packages:

    LiberKey Ultimate (202 packages)

    LiberKey Standard (106 packages)

    LiberKey Basic (28 packages)

    Main Assets of LiberKey

    • 100% mobility with portable software
    • A rigorous selection among more than 1800 software
    • Updates of LiberKey directly by Internet
    • You can temporarily associate files extensions (.avi, .jpg, doc.,…) with LiberKey software
    • Optimization of launching and installed size
    • And, it is free, without virus, spyware, adware, popup, etc.

    [ LiberKey Home Page ]

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    An Overview of the Latest updates to Google Chrome

    I have been testing the “beta” versions of Google’s web browser, Chrome, since its’ inception, approximately 8 months ago. Chrome is definitely a “watch and see” browser that just may end up being a top contender. The developers really seem to be listening to the requests of users by embedding additional requested features into the browser, with the main emphasis (at this point) being on speed (page loads). I can personally attest that I do notice a difference in Chrome’s startup and browser page loads, compared to the other browsers; AND, often find myself using it as a “go to” browser when I want to do nothing but surf the net. The one feature that users are screaming for (and it is coming) is browser “add-ons” or “extensions” similar to those in Firefox. Chrome is a browser that is specifically being crafted as the launching point for the cloud computing and cloud OS platforms.  I currently use Chrome on my PC with Firefox (my current favorite) and Internet Explorer.  Chrome is what I use as my default browser on my Acer Aspire One netbook.

    You can preview the latest updates to Google Chrome by watching the short (less than 2 minutes video) or by visiting the Google Chrome Blog [ HERE ] .

    Features recently included in the most recent “stable channel” release are:

    Improved New Tab Page: The most requested feature from users was the ability to remove thumbnails from the New Tab page. Now you can finally hide that embarrassing gossip blog from the Most Visited section.

    Full Screen Mode: If you’ve ever given a presentation or watched a large video using Google Chrome, you might have wished you could use every last pixel on your screen for the content. Now you can hide the title bar and the rest of the browser window by hitting F11 or selecting the option in the Tools menu.

    Form Autofill: Filling out your information in forms over and over again can be tedious. Form autofill helps by showing information you’ve previously entered into the same form fields automatically. If at any point you want to clear out your information, that’s easy to do from the Tools menu.

    Increased Stability: Google Chrome is more stable than ever–we have fixed over 300 bugs that caused crashes since launch.

    Increased Speed: Making the web faster continues to be our main area of focus. Thanks to a new version of WebKit and an update to our JavaScript engine, V8, interactive web pages will run even faster. We’ve also made sure that JavaScript keeps running fast even when you have lots of tabs open. Try opening a bunch of web applications and then running your favorite benchmark. You can read more about V8 in our JavaScript scalability post on the Chromium blog.

    [Source: Google Chrome Blog ]

    Google Chrome
    Download Chrome
    Chrome Help
    Chrome Help Forum
    Chrome Releases
    Chromium Blog
    Google Chrome Blog

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    Prism – Bringing Cloud Apps To Your Desktop

    I recently posted an article which provided (3)-three options available, geared toward cloud apps, that will allow you to split web applications out of the browser. The article “Turn your cloud apps into desktop apps with SSB” explored the emerging technology of site specific browsers which allows you take an online site (or cloud app) and convert it into a desktop application. The advantage to this is that when the cloud app is launched, it will open into a full screen window minus all of the distractions of a typical browser and will run in its’ own separate process. One of the options that I presented was called “Prism” by Mozilla Labs (the Firefox people).

    Prism

    Work is now starting to progress with Prism, after what I saw was very little activity. First sign of activity was the Yahoo! Zimbra Desktop [click here] (which is Prism based); the second sign of activity is an actual Prism web site  [click here] ; and the third sign of activity is the beta release of Prism (V1.0 b1) [click here] .

    There are numerous web based apps being developed daily, and what we are seeing is next generation computing.  I have been using Prism for approximately 3 months to launch my favorite cloud apps in their own separate processes or applications. Prism can be run either as a Firefox extension or you can download the Prism software. I preferred the actual Prism software download so that I could see how Prism performed at the PC level. If you are someone who is into cloud computing, you definitely need to give Prism a try.

    How does Prism Work?

    What you are seeing below is the “Prism” software application which is very easy to use. Enter the desired URL of your cloud app (or web site), give it a name, check “off” the location where you want Prism create the shortcut (e.g. Desktop, Start Menu, Quick Launch Bar), click “OK” and you are done…  Prism does all of the work for you and even extracts an icon from the cloud app site to identify the cloud app shortcut.  If you want to get rid of the cloud app that Prism installed, you simply delete the shortcut.

    Prism

    How To Video


    Zimbra Desktop – A next generation cloud app by Yahoo!

    Yahoo! Zimbra Desktop…

    Zimbra Desktop

    When I first came across this cloud app by Yahoo! I nearly passed over it. This application is an open source email (PIM) client, that is relatively young (Version 1.0), built using Mozilla’s Prism. Prism is an application that lets users split web applications out of their browser and run them directly from the desktop. In summary, Zimbra Desktop uses Prism as the container to give you that desktop application feel.

    Now, I hope I haven’t lost you with all of this mumbo jumbo. Please stick with me, due I think that Yahoo! may be onto something with this cloud based application.

    Zimbra Desktop is a full featured PIM (personal information manager) very similar to Microsoft Outlook that is next generation. This  application, in summary, features  full email, contact, calendar, document management and offline access features for free! The outstanding feature is the ability to pull down (sync) your email, calendars, etc.. with your POP3, IMAP and other popular webmail services.

    Zimbra Screenshots

    [ CLICK HERE TO SEE A FULL FEATURE LIST AND SCREENSHOTS ]

    My take on Zimbra Desktop is that I will be testing and following its’ development. The GUI (graphical user interface) is very nicely done and is a good bet it will have good following.

    Yahoo! Zimbra Desktop is free for anyone to download and use. It works on Windows, Apple and Linux computers.

    If you have questions or want help please start with their End User Guide or visit the Desktop Support page.

    zimbra_badge_small_4

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    Geek Squeaks’ of the Week (#9)

    Geek Squeaks'Here is this weeks picks from blogs that have exchanged links with “What’s On My PC…” . This is only a small sampling of the hard work that is accomplished at these tech blogs. If you are into information technology and have a real desire to learn, these blogs are excellent resources to get started.

    LockHunter-Delete/Unlock Locked File – AKS-Feel The Change

    Network Diagram – Try The Dude – TTC Shelbyville

    How to Insert Images in Gmail – A Gmail Labs feature –Techolar

    Swine Flu Toolbox: 45+ Awesome Apps, Mash-Ups, Plugins And Services To Track And Be Safe From Swine Flu – AllThatsNew

    How to Remove Spyware Protect 2009 – 411-Spyware.com

    Awesome software, relevant reviews – AppNews.net

    Close and Restore Running Applications With SmartClose – Bill Mullins’ Weblog – Tech Thoughts

    How Can I Shorten Long Website Addresses? – AskBillFirst

    Download free special editions of Paragon software – Carol’s Vault

    BetterPrivacy Firefox Add-on – Evilfantasy’s Blog

    Basic Computer Security – Free PC Security

    Microsoft Windows 7 RC Official Download Links – Snakebytez

    Real “E ink” book reader review – Rarst.net

    How To Make The Ultimate Cheat Sheet For Your Exams – Is You Geeked Up

    How to check most popular articles on Wikipedia – Piyadas World

    Five Best Free Data Recovery Tools – Lifehacker

    BLAST FROM THE PAST

    Klondike Forever…

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    Appnews.net – Track Your Software Updates and Reviews

    To my readers: Please note the new addition of “Appnews.net” to the What’s On My PC… blogroll (aka: Launch Pad).

    Appnews.net

    Appnews.net is a NEW site devoted to software updates and reviews that is the cooperative brainchild efforts of Freeware Genius, gHacks, and Rarst.  If you are a follower of free and open source software, I encourage you to make Appnews.net one of your stops.

    For my readers convenience, a RSS feed to Appnews.net has been added to the sidebar of the blog.

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    Launch Pad Collection of Over 140 Top Quality Tech blogs and Freeware Sites

    What's On My PC... - Launch PadThe Launch Pad, which is located on the sidebar of the blog, is my version of a blog roll on steroids. It is a community of “over 140  top quality tech blogs and web sites” that specialize in technology news, freeware, open source software, portable apps, cloud apps, gadgets, information security and anything else that is geek inspired. I visit these sites on a regular basis to fill that void between my ears.  Visiting and interacting with the blogging community and tech sites is a great way to learn.

    The first thing you will notice about the Launch Pad is that some of the site names are in a larger font size. These are sites that have committed to link exchanges with my blog and our recognized for that. If you are interested in a link exchange or would like to have your blog added to the “Launch Pad”,  please leave a comment at the bottom of this article and I will get back to you. Link exchanges are a great way to drive traffic to each others blogs.

    If you are interested in adding the Launch Pad sites to your browser’s bookmarks, you can download the Launch Pad links and import the file (html) to your browser’s bookmarks OR you can download the Launch Pad file, and open it directly in your browser.

    [ Download Launch Pad Links Here ]

    Download Launch Pad

    The blog and web site links listed below, are new additions and have been added to the “Launch Pad”.

    Piyada’s World
    Tech-Recipes
    NetWebApp
    ToTheTech
    Giggle Computer

    e-Justice Blog

    Rarst.net
    Listio
    Infopackets
    Eches.net
    Cybercrime Slayer
    Bloody Computer
    Windows Vista Guide
    Vhxn.com
    Techrant
    ReadersZone
    Tech Salsa
    Crazy World of G
    Snakebytez
    Curious? Read
    tnerd
    Acme Files
    TechJaws
    Tech Labs
    Digital Inspiration
    Freebyte!
    Technibble
    Techscrawl
    Tech-Linkblog
    Blog.SpywareGuide
    Totally Cool Tech
    Alpha’s Place
    Cloud Browser
    Go2Web20.net
    FeedMyApp
    SimpleSpark

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    PC MAG’s “Best Free Software of 2009”…

    If you enjoy freeware and open source software, as I do, then you will love the list of free software (and cloudware) that PC Magazine has recently compiled. As a matter of fact the list consists of 173 different apps, from App Launchers to Video Apps… For your convenience, a category listing of the software is listed below. You can click on the links in the category listing and you will be redirected to PCMag’s site for that category.

    clipped from www.pcmag.com


    The Best Free Software of 2009


    The Best Free Software of 2008

     

     


    The best things in life often actually are free. Here, a list of 173 of the best things in life – free software, for launching apps, networking, backup, synchronization, entertainment, and more.


    I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Why pay? You’ve already shelled out money for a computer, so there’s no reason that what’s running on that pricey PC should cost a darn thing. Not in this day and age of amazing freebie software and Web apps. That’s why every year PCMag.com presents a look at the best programs you can download or access online at no cost. All are worthy replacements for your ancient and sometimes forgotten desktop applications, and they’ll save you thousands of dollars to boot.

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    Sent with Clipmarks

     

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    Google Chrome is quickly moving forward…

    Here is a clip from DownloadSquad, reporting that a Development Channel Build of Version 2.0 of Chrome is being worked on.  If you are a tester of software, visit DownloadSquad (click logo below) to read more about this build and how you can download the builds via the Chrome Channel Changer.  If you do not desire to install the build, the article points out that a “portable version” of the build is available.  I have been using and following Chrome very closely and it is of my opinion that this browser is being developed in such a manner to take advantage of the future in “cloud computing”

    DownloadSquad

    clipped from www.downloadsquad.com

    Google begins work on Chrome 2.0

    by Lee Mathews Jan 9th 2009

    Google Chrome may have shed it’s original beta tag last month, but they’re far too fond of the beta label to keep it on ice for long.

    Yes, work has begun on Chrome 2.0. Numerous changes have already been made, including the addition of basic form autocompletion like Firefox and IE, full page zooming, and autoscrolling. Browser profiles have been added and can be accessed through the wrench menu.

    edit: as mentioned in the first comment, you can also test it by downloading the portable version from this site. It’s German, so search for download portable on the page. Thanks, caschy!

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    VideoLan (VLC) – A free cross-platform media player…

    The Windows Media Player, in my opinion, “is a bloated, hard to understand, does not play well with others, likes to tell on you, hooks into your operating system, mediocre” media player. Sorry Microsoft, but myself and legions of others like “simplicity, easy to follow, will play anything, respects our privacy, can be deleted if we don’t like it, above average” media player. I didn’t mean to start this post out so blatant, but I want you to know there are other media player options available.

    If you are looking for an alternative “FREE” media player with simplicity in mind, that works across many platforms (i.e. Windows, Mac, Linux, BeOS, Syllable, & others) and will play just about anything that you throw at it; then give VideoLan –VLC media player a try. I have been using this player for approximately 2 years and it has not let me down. I initially started using it when I tried to play a movie with Windows Media player and it basically told me it did not support the format and that additional codecs was needed. Once I found, downloaded and installed what I thought was the correct codec, I soon discovered that I had thrown trash at my system that caused Windows Media Player to not function properly. Of course I was questioning; What is a “codec”? To be honest with you, I love tech stuff, but I really don’t care about “codecs”. If you get into the various digital media formats, the term “codec” will cross your path often. Per WikiPedia, “A codec is a device or program capable of encoding and/or decoding a digital data stream or signal”. What is so nice about VideoLan (VLC) media player is that it supports a large number of multimedia formats, without the need of additional codecs. It is not the prettiest media player out there, but it gets the job done and does it very well. If you are into appearance, VideoLan (VLC) is skinnable. Oh, and if you don’t know what a skin is; a skin is an add-on that you can use with VLC to change the look and feel of the player to make it more aesthetically pleasing to the user’s eye.

    Description of VLC (from the web site):

    VLC media player is a highly portable multimedia player for various audio and video formats (MPEG-1, MPEG-2, MPEG-4, DivX, mp3, ogg, …) as well as DVDs, VCDs, and various streaming protocols. It can also be used as a server to stream in unicast or multicast in IPv4 or IPv6 on a high-bandwidth network. It doesn’t need any external codec or program to work.

    NOTE: There is also a portable version of VideoLan (VLC) available at Portableapps.com

     

    Get It Here 

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    Using a “Virtual PDF Printer” to save paper and ink…

    Did you know there is a way to print information you see on your computer screen without using paper and ink? The technology uses software that you install on your computer that creates a virtual “PDF” printer that will subsequently convert what you desire to print into an electronic PDF file (Portable Document Format); which can be read by a PDF reader such as Adobe Acrobat. The PDF file format, is an open standard (publicly available), that was originally created by Adobe Systems. Instead of printing what you desire to physical sheets of paper, you print in essence to a file that can be saved or archived on your computer. I personally have found unlimited uses of this technology from printing online purchase receipts, lengthy web pages, emails, etc. without ever having to turn on my printer. I forgot to mention, with a virtual “PDF” printer there are no paper jams.

    There are quite a few PDF Printer software packages available; however, many of them are not free. What’s on my PC? I currently use a “FREE” open source package called PDFCreator. I have found PDFCreator it to be comparable or better than most of the commercial paid versions that I have experienced.

    Key Features (as indicated on the website):

    • Create PDFs from any program that is able to print
    • Security: Encrypt PDFs and protect them from being opened, printed etc.
    • Send generated files via eMail
    • Create more than just PDFs: PNG, JPG, TIFF, BMP, PCX, PS, EPS
    • AutoSave files to folders and filenames based on Tags like Username, Computername, Date, Time etc.
    • Merge multiple files into one PDF
    • Easy Install: Just say what you want and everything is installed
    • Terminal Server: PDFCreator also runs on Terminal Servers without problems
    • And the best: PDFCreator is free, even for commercial use! It is Open Source and released under the Terms of the GNU General Public License.

    The only negative thing that I could find, is that during the installation process you will be opted with installing a toolbar in Internet Explorer or Firefox, which will allow you to conveniently print from those browsers. Personally, I install “no” toolbars in my browsers.

    Once you have PDFCreator installed, the PDFCreator printer will show up in your normal listing of printers. When you go to do a print job, all you have to do is select the PDFCreator printer, a dialog box will appear which will give you options to name the file, at which point you click “Save”, select the destination folder, click “OK” and the virtual “pdf” print job will be processed and subsequently will load into your default PDF reader (i.e. Adobe Acrobat, Foxit, etc.) for your review.

     

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    New Additions to the “Launch Pad”…

    The really neat thing about blogging is that you learn to find other blogs and web sites that have an interest or subject that is common with yours. I love cruising IT blogs and websites. To me it is like looking for a hidden trove of information. If you are someone that has an interest in freeware software, open source software, and information technology, I encourage you to use the "Launch Pad" located on the sidebar of the blog to visit the sites that have been collected. You can learn a whole lot by just reading about, reviewing, installing and making software work. To me that is the name of the game. My IT roots are attributed not from tearing PC’s apart, but was from installing and learning software to make the PC and devices work in a way that made the end user’s job consistently easier and more efficient.

    The following blog and web sites have been added to the "What’s On My PC – Launch Pad", which is located on the sidebar at the right side of the blog. If there is something out there that meets the common denominator with all of these sites, that you would like me to add to this list, feel free to leave a comment. As always, Thank you for visiting my blog…

    The How To Geek

    Free PC Security

    Teckitech

    Technade

    Gadget Advisor

    winAddons

    Gravity Blue

    I Started Something

    TechLifeBlogged

    OpenDisc

    Freeware Wiki

    FreewarePlanet

    PC Hacks

    Daily Freeware Download

    Next Freeware

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    “PASS-the-WORD”… Basic password management tips…

    When it comes to assigning and maintaining passwords, it is astonishing how complacent we can be… Everything that we access on the internet, that is on a personal and private level, requires an account username and password, (i.e. Our internet account, email, banking, purchasing, instant messaging, community sites, places of employment, etc.). The majority of us will use the same username and password for every account we access and will usually use one word (for the password) that is something that we hold close to ourselves (i.e. pet’s name, child’s name, nicknames, birthday, etc.) . Instead of using good password management practices, we end up playing “PASS-the-WORD” from one account to another. Another fact is that we will write the password(s) down on a scrap piece of paper; then we’ll stick it on the computer monitor, under a desk pad, in a desk drawer, etc… We innocently do these things, as a matter of convenience, so that we do not forget the password.

    What are the risks of weak password(s) falling into the wrong hands?

    A person can access our accounts to impersonate us; monitor our activities; acquire personal information; sign our name to online service agreements and contracts; change our account information or profile, acquire credit card information, etc.

    What to do (some basic password management tips):

    • When possible, use a “Passphrase” instead of a “Password”. “Passphrases” are nonsensical sentences that are easily remembered. For example; by typing “My wife calls me donkey! Wonder why?” is harder to crack than using the password “donkey”; however, the problem we run into is that many services do not allot enough character space to type a full sentence or phrase. If you have to use a “Password”, use at least 7 characters, make it easy to remember, avoid dictionary words, avoid number sequences, and throw in an upper/lower case mix with some symbols (for example: Eye812!).  The longer the password, the better.

    You can test the strength of your passwords at Test Your Pas$word.

    test-your-password

    http://www.testyourpassword.com/

    • Use good password management practices when protecting accounts that are very important.
    • Do not share the password with anyone.
    • Change the Password or PassPhrase on a regular basis. We have the tendency to not change our passwords for years.

    How to manage numerous passwords:

    I use a software program called KeePass Password Safe to manage my passwords. “KeePass is a free open source password manager, which helps you to manage your passwords in a secure way. You can put all your passwords in one database, which is locked with one master key or a key file. So you only have to remember one single master password or select the key file to unlock the whole database. The databases are encrypted using the best and most secure encryption algorithms currently known (AES and Twofish)”.

    KeePass is currently available in two different versions (Classic and Professional). For home use, the Classic version is sufficient, plus it is not dependent on any operating system prerequisites. Portable versions of KeePass are also available that can be used on a flash drive.

    FEATURES

    Strong Security
    Multiple User Keys
    Portable and No Installation Required
    Export To TXT, HTML, XML and CSV Files
    Import From Many File Formats
    Easy Database Transfer
    Support of Password Groups
    Time Fields and Entry Attachments
    Auto-Type, Global Auto-Type Hot Key and Drag&Drop
    Intuitive and Secure Windows Clipboard Handling
    Searching and Sorting
    Multi-Language Support
    Strong Random Password Generator
    Plugin Architecture
    Open-Source!

    ADDITIONAL NOTE:   Though KeePass was originally created as a password manager, I have found a second use for it.  In addition to managing the websites I visit that require username and password access, I also use it as a bookmarks/favorites manager for all the websites I visit.  I’m still experimenting with this, but so far it is working great as a bookmark manager as well.

    GET IT HERE - KeePass

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    What’s On My PC… BLOG UPDATES!

    The following sites or blogs have been added to the “What’s On My PC… LAUNCH PAD” (located on the right side of the blog posts).

    Shell Extension City

    DonationCoder.com

    Raymond.cc

    Smashing Magazine

    The Launch Pad can be used to visit the numerous quality web sites and blogs that are listed. It is conveniently setup so that if you click on a link it will open in a new separate window. That way you can click on a link, a separate window will open, which will allow you to conveniently return to the “Launch Pad” when you are finished visiting the site. The Sites and Blogs reflected in the listing are all maintained and updated on a regular basis. If you are someone who is into open source software, freeware applications and technology information, I encourage you to use the “Launch Pad”.

    I am slowly adding to the “Portable Apps” tab located at the top of the blog. The applications I have listed are applications that I personally use on my portable USB flash drives. Also, under the “Freebies” tab, I added a couple more goodies.  You will also notice at the top of each page there is a search box that will allow you to search the blog for specific information that has been posted.  This is a nice “add-on” provided by WordPress to enhance the efficiency of the blog.  A big “THANK YOU” to WordPress for this enhancement (widget).

    Thank you for visiting and I hope you continue to come back.

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    Circle Dock – The Open Source Circular and Spiral Dock for Windows

    The one thing I love doing on my computer is organizing menus and using third-party program launchers (menu docks) instead of the Windows Start Menu. I currently use a dock called Stardock Objectdock as my primary launcher of programs, shortcuts and running tasks; but, recently I came across a new open source launcher, called “Circle Dock“, that has piqued my interest. The really neat thing about this software is that the very first version of Circle Dock was coded by the author (Eric Wong) in under 2 weeks for a programming competition at Donationcoder.com. Following the competition, the author continued the development of the software and has gained a popular following ever since. Circle Dock is currently in the “Alpha” (initial debugging) stage of development; however, I have found it to be very stable (at least on my PC) for software at the Alpha level. Most third party docks or menu’s are usually horizontal or vertical in appearance; however, Circle dock is different in the aspect that it is circular in nature and the circle can be rotated with the mouse wheel. If you want to have some fun experimenting with Circle Dock, as it is being developed, I encourage you to visit the website to review the system requirements and all the current features.

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    Web Site Favorites…

    Ever since the start of this blog, it has amazed me the number of quality blogs and sites I have found that promote freeware, open source software and information technology.

    On the right side of the blog you will see a listing of “What’s On My PC Website Favorites”.  I started searching the top blog services and found 22 additional “up-to-date” sites which I have added to the listing. The criteria I look for in a blog or site is that it is being maintained and kept current.  The authors of all of these blogs or sites are to be applauded for their efforts.

    Google Chrome Development…

    I’ve been using Google Chrome since the “beta” was introduced earlier in the month.  So far, I like it…  Keep in mind it is in the “early” development stages and I think it will be a top contender in the browser competition.  I have posted on the sidebar, of the blog, some Google Chrome links that you can use to download and/or to follow the development of this browser.  I’ve been following the reviews on the browser and right now it is a mixed bag of positive and negative comments; which, is typical of “beta” software.  For a “beta” package, it has come out of the chute running.

    Google Chrome… Now on my PC!

    What a name for a browser; “CHROME” (a polished look???)… I downloaded, installed (without a hitch) and at first glance it definitely appeared to be a different kind of the browser; due, I am accustomed to the usual browser interfaces (such as menus, buttons, search boxes, plug-ins,etc…). A lot of people’s initial reaction is going to be I don’t like this. Here is WHY? One you have to accept CHANGE and secondly if you’re going to try software you have to kick the tires all the way around and most people will not do that. A lot of people have technophobia; the fear or dislike of advanced technology.

    Do I like it? This stuff is right down my alley. This application by Google is in the “Beta” stages of development and I love following and testing software. I have added it to my arsenal of browsers (Internet Explorer, Firefox portable, Opera). One suggestion if you do an install…  Click on the “wrench” at the top right corner, then select options.  At this location you can setup various things like your homepage, etc…  I also suggest that you click on “Show Home Button On Toolbar” under the options.  That is one thing that really threw me off is that I couldn’t locate the “Home Button”.  Once I got that in place, I felt somewhat comfortable during my exploration of this browser.  It will take some getting used to initially, but the more I use it, the more I like it 🙂

    Is “Google Chrome” going to remain on my PC? The answer is Yes, and these are the reasons why:

    Open Source – The developers of the other browsers can actually pull down the code behind Chrome to improve their browsers by integrating or emulating the solutions that Google engineers had implemented.

    Beta – Already a solid piece of work and will only get better.

    Very clean & smooth interface – Maybe that is where the name “Chrome” came from (polished look).

    Fast page loader – Fastest I have come across. It has a different feel; almost like the pages are not loading, but opening.

    Fast Tab loader – Blows the competition away

    Google practically runs the internet – Currently in the business of delivering web services and this development only makes sense.

    Competition – I love it when an open source application challenges the money makers.

    [ Google Chrome – Get It Here ]

    Electronic “Sticky Notes”…

    I bet at home or at work you are a user of the 3M Post-it® Sticky Notes that stick practically anywhere for that message that needs to stay put and get noticed. Next to Velcro and duct tape, 3M Post-it® Notes has to rank up there as one of the great innovations of the 20th Century. 🙂 Early in my career as an IT Manager I went on the hunt for an electronic “sticky notes” program similar to the paper Post-it® Notes. At that point in time, I found a very good commercial program called “TurboNote” [REVIEW IT HERE], which we used as an instant messaging tool on the network for years. Several years following this find, I started searching for and reviewing any “freeware or open source” sticky notes programs I could find. There are quite a few out there, but my findings led me to “Stickies” and “PNotes”, which are my two favorites. Which one do I have installed on my PC? It depends on the weather… I am honestly caught between these two and actually leave them on my PC. Whether it matters of not, I currently have “PNotes” running, as I compose this blog post. Nice feature of both is neither writes to the registry, and can be carried on your flash drive. If you are a user of the paper notes, I urge you to try one of these programs.

    Click on the screenshots below to visit either the “PNotes” web site or the “Stickies” web site.

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