Monthly Archives: September 2011

Crime And Punishment Up Close And Personal – Proceedings of the Old Bailey 1674-1913

The following is an edited and revised version of an article which was originally posted on October 18, 2010 – under the title “Crime And Punishment In The Internet Age”.

imageI’m a bit of an amateur historian, and I find accounts of daily life in bygone days fascinating – most particularly, aspects of crime and punishment. If you’re wondering why crime and punishment, it’s simply this – hidden in this type of accounting, one can generally find the unvarnished historical truth of social conditions of the time.

Naturally enough, I’m a big fan of  The Proceedings of the Old Bailey, 1674-1913, web site – “A fully searchable edition of the largest body of texts detailing the lives of non-elite people ever published, containing 197,745 criminal trials held at London’s central criminal court.”

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This is quite an amazing site, and each transcript lays out, by and large, not only the techniques employed to apprehend criminals (from the 1600’s through to the early 1900’s), but an accounting of the trial testimony, and the punishment handed down on conviction.

For a bit of perspective on the past, checkout the Old Bailey site using your own family name. You never know – you might just find a forgotten relative. Smile

Additional resources available:

London Lives, 1690-1800

What was it like to live in the first million person city in modern Western Europe? Crime, poverty, and illness; apprenticeship, work, politics and money; how people voted, lived and died; all this and more can be found in these documents.

Ordinary’s Accounts

Biographies of Executed Criminals, 1676-1772

The website includes the texts of all known surviving Ordinary of Newgate’s Accounts. These richly detailed narratives of the lives and deaths of convicts executed at Tyburn were published between 1676 and 1772.

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For those of you who embrace the phrase “once it’s on the Internet, it’s out there forever”, you might be surprised to see, that in fact – once “it’s” been noted virtually anywhere, (even as far back as 17th century England), it’s out there forever.

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Filed under Opinion, Point of View, Recommended Web Sites

Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – September 30, 2011

What’s In Your Facebook File? More Than You Think – Yes, Facebook is keeping a file on you, which can be used to track your location, activities, and much more. Here’s how you can request a copy (maybe).

Incredibly Useful Sites for Small Business – Nearly all the tools you need to run a small or midsize company are within reach of any Web browser. Here are some of the best online services and sites for business.

The five most bloated Linux applications – Some Linux apps have become as unwieldy as their non-Linux counterparts. You may still want to use them — but be prepared for a sluggish experience.

Tech Thoughts Daily Tech News 2

Hotspot now shields you ad-free – While public Wi-Fi networks are notorious for being insecure, Hotspot Shield raises the safety bar and offers an Elite option that forgoes ads on demand.

Firefox 7 Released: Faster, Uses Less Memory, but Only a Taste of Things to Come – Mozilla has just pushed the big red button and unfurled Firefox 7, the fourth major release this year. Firefox 7 is the first major build since Firefox 4 that focuses on improving memory consumption and performance.

Demystifying UEFI, the Long-Overdue BIOS Replacement – After more than 30 years, BIOS — the IBM PC — Basic Input Output System — is taking its final bows and shuffling into the theater’s wings. Taking its place in the limelight is UEFI.

Amazon Silk - Faster mobile browsing is great, but Amazon Silk raises questions about supporting modern Web apps and sharing data with an e-commerce powerhouse.

Company News:

Asus: We’re Not Abandoning MeeGo – Yesterday Intel announced it was reducing (rather than “ditching”) support for MeeGo, in favor of an open-source Linux build called Tizen. So does that spell the end of MeeGo- equipped devices?

After Backlash, Spotify Adds Facebook ‘Private Listening’ Mode – The ability to share your Spotify playlists with your Facebook friends is a great feature, but it is a feature that you should be able to turn off. After a huge consumer backlash the two companies are offering a way to stream music without sharing it with your friends, a kind of stealth mode. That is fine, but it seems to be that should be the default, not just an option.

RIM PlayBook Prices Drop at Best Buy, Maybe Because of Kindle Fire – RIM’s PlayBook is now radically cheaper at Best Buy, a day after Amazon unveiled its 7-inch Kindle Fire tablet. Coincidence?

SonicWALL Woos MSPs with New Partner Program in Managed Services – Network security vendor SonicWALL’s new managed services program provides MSPs with monthly service billing rather than annual billing and also offers better tools.

Off Topic (Sort of):

Will tablets soon be free? Let’s start with the Kindle Fire – By this time next year, even Wi-Fi enabled non-Amazon tablets will be severely subsidized so that users are sucked in and hooked to cloud-based services.

PC gaming vs. consoles, the infographic – Last week we reported some figures from Nvidia that painted a very rosy picture for PC gaming indeed; video game consoles might be winning now, but thanks to the growing popularity of social gaming (CityVille) and digital downloads (Steam), PC gaming revenues are set to enjoy some kind of renaissance. The problem is, those figures came from Nvidia — a company that is definitely PC-centric — and there was a dubious lack of source citations, too.

Android’s apps are comparatively ugly: Is Linux to blame? – Donovan Colbert didn’t realize how nice WP7 was until he had to go back to the Android platform. He predicts that Microsoft will come from behind to steal Android’s thunder if Google fails to make huge improvements.

5 ways Kindle Fire beats the iPad – Instead of heralding the demise of the world’s most popular tablet and the crowning of a child prodigy that isn’t even on the market yet, we’re simply going to tell you the five ways in which the Kindle Fire beats the iPad. Each of these differences will be enough to garner the Fire a loyal cadre of users, and if Apple doesn’t step in to narrow the gap, the next iteration of the iPad might not receive the same orgiastic response that it has so far enjoyed.

Today’s Quote:

Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one.”

-     Albert Einstein

Today’s Free Downloads:

iSpy 3.2.9 - iSpy uses your webcams and microphones to detect and record movement or sound and provides security, surveillance, monitoring, and alerting services

Xobni’s Smartr Inbox for Gmail Integrates Email and Social Networking – This free add-on for Chrome, Firefox, and Safari lets you integrate Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn with Gmail.

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Filed under Internet Security Alerts, Tech Net News

Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – September 29, 2011

PCWorld Reviewers’ Favorite Files: September 2010 - September is a time for change, even when it comes to software. PCWorld reviewers reveled in an Android-friendly update to a venerable media player and a network manager with a new free version. They even found new ways to lay out photo pages, organize e-book libraries, and set up virtual machines. Couldn’t your PC stand a little freshening up?

Amazon’s Kindle Fire Tablet vs. the Competition: Spec Showdown – We look at how the Kindle Fire tablet’s specs stack up against other tablets in its class.

Mozilla Firefox 7 Seekers Warned To Beware of Bogus Website – Mozilla Firefox 7 Seekers Warned To Beware of Bogus WebsiteIf you’re using a search engine today to find a download of Firefox 7, be careful about the results you click on. That’s because a dubious website called Firefox7.org appears high up in those results.

Tech Thoughts Daily Tech News 2

Android Users: Here’s Some Advice to Protect Your Phone - These terrific tools and tips can rescue your wayward mobile devices and keep your personal data from falling into the wrong hands.

Mozilla Fixed Security Flaws in Latest Firefox, Thunderbird Release – Mozilla fixed a handful of critical vulnerabilities in Firefox 7 and Thunderbird 3.15. Users should be sure to download it from the actual Mozilla site and not get scammed.

Best Free Software for Protecting Your PC and Your Privacy – Want to ensure that your PC and all of your files and data stay safe, secure, and private–without breaking the bank? We’ve rounded up 11 free security and privacy utilities that shield you against malware, protect your data at Wi-Fi hotspots, encrypt your hard drive, and do everything in between.

New Mac Trojan Pretends to Be Flash – A new Mac Trojan disguises itself as a Flash installer. Here’s what to watch for, and whether you should be worried.

Hosting Provider InMotion Hacked, Thousands of Sites Affected - InMotion, a large hosting provider based in California, was compromised in recent days and the attackers were able to replace the index files of thousands of sites, defacing them and in some cases making it difficult for site owners to recover and reload their sites.

Company News:

Microsoft Delivers WebMatrix 2 Beta – Microsoft delivered a beta version WebMatrix 2, the latest release of the company’s free Web development toolset. New features in WebMatrix 2 include the ability to get started faster, open remote sites and more easily install open-source applications. It also features more intelligent code editors with code completion capabilities for several languages.

AVG Unveils Updated Small Business Security Suite – The Internet security firm says small business security customers want software that delivers more while demanding less of personnel, systems and their budgets.

Spotify defends new Facebook requirement – Spotify has released another statement explaining why it is embracing Facebook so closely. The real reason is simple: the music service wants to use the social network to grow its user base.

Off Topic (Sort of):

MagicJack for iPhone Provides Unlimited Free Calling Within the US and Canada – You’ve probably heard of the MagicJack phone service that lets you make unlimited free calls within the US and Canada for the price of the required hardware and your internet connection. The MagicJack iPhone app lets you do the same thing from your iOS device, only you don’t have to pay for it at all.

Amazon’s Silk Browser May Not Be Smooth When It Comes to Privacy – The most interesting feature on Amazon’s newly announced Kindle Fire tablet may be its Silk web browser. The browser promises to improve webpage loading performance by using Amazon’s servers to help render pages. But this performance boost may come at a cost: Security experts have already voiced concern about Silk, and what it might mean for your privacy and security.

12 reasons you might NOT want to buy a Kindle Fire – Before you rush out and spend your hard-earned cash, I’d like to caution you. There are some good reasons you might NOT want to buy a new Kindle Fire.

Argonne Researchers ‘Easily Hack’ Electronic Voting Machine – Researchers at the Argonne National Laboratory this week showed how an electronic voting machine model that’s expected to be widely used to tally votes in the 2012 elections can be easily hacked using inexpensive, widely-available electronic components.

Today’s Quote:

It is useless to attempt to reason a man out of a thing he was never reasoned into.”

-     Jonathan Swift

Today’s Free Downloads:

VirtuaWin – This utility takes your Windows desktop, clones it up to nineteen times, then lets you switch between them. The idea is to keep a set of related programs or documents on each desktop to help organize things for people who leave lots of applications and documents open.

BumpTop – BumpTop takes your flat, two-dimensional Windows desktop and converts it into a 3D “room.” It can help you organize your desktop files and icons, but its fun and good-looking approach consumes a fair bit of system resources.

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Filed under Internet Security Alerts, Tech Net News

Download Multiple Security Apps And Tools With Free Security Software Downloader

imageSecurity Software Downloader (SSDownloader) – now in it’s second version – is a tiny open source executable (669KB) – designed specifically as a bulk downloader which focuses on security applications and, security related specialty tools.

A quick walkthrough -

The tab based user interface (Free Antivirus, Security Suites (Trial Versions), Malware Removal, Firewalls, and Other Tools) is uncomplicated, and checkbox simply.

In the first screen grab, referencing “Free Antivirus”, I’ve selected three popular applications for download. Notice the languages which are available, as well as the OS “auto detect” feature.

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For this test, I’ve bypassed the Trial Versions opportunity. Still, there’s a good selection of well know applications to choose from.

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In this screen capture, I’ve focused on two tools which, I know from experience, can get the job done with a minimum of fuss.

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From the “Other tools” menu, I’ve selected three more applications which have served me well in the past.

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In testing this neat little tool, I choose a total of 10 applications for download -  and, the task was completed in just over 5 minutes.

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As each download is completed, a system notification area popup, tells the tale – as illustrated below.

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Note: The default download location is the Desktop. You will however, have an opportunity to select an alternative location.

Fast facts:

Download the most popular free and paid security software with a single click.

OS auto detection.

The latest version of the selected applications will be downloaded.

System requirements: Windows XP, Vista, Win 7 (32 bit and 64 bit). 

Download at: Sourceforge

In my estimation SSDownloader is a terrific portable tool – although, I don’t see much of a need for it unless one is geek inclined. But, for those of us who are geek inclined, SSDownloader (especially given its small footprint), would make a nice addition to a Flash drive toolbox.

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Filed under Anti-Malware Tools, downloads, Freeware, Geek Software and Tools, Integrated Solutions, Open Source, Software, Utilities, Windows Tips and Tools

Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – September 28, 2011

avast! Free Antivirus: Free antivirus protection just as good as the ‘big boys’ – avast! Free Antivirus is a full-featured product, with the same antivirus and anti-spyware scanning engine used in our premium products. Leaner and meaner version 6.0 provides even faster protection than its predecessor (which often outperformed competitors’ paid-for products in independent testing) and offers a web-reputation browser extension as well as virtualization technology.

Lifehacker: Browser Speed Tests: Firefox 7, Chrome 14, Internet Explorer 9, and More - Firefox 7 is set to be released today, and with a big focus on performance, we thought it time for another round of browser speed test. We pitted the four most popular Windows browsers against each other in a battle of startup times, tab-loading times, JavaScript powers, and memory usage, with some surprising results.

Seven Good Reasons to Upgrade to Firefox 7 – Speed, more speed, and a bundle of powerful new features make Mozilla’s latest release a compelling choice.

Tech Thoughts Daily Tech News 2

A Bundle of Updates Give 10 Linux Distributions a Boost - Linux is more than just Ubuntu. New updates to various flavors of the open source OS are constantly raising the bar.

OnStar Reverses, Will Stop Tracking Customers Who Cancel Service – OnStar reversed course on its controversial policy to track users even after they had cancelled their subscription, stating Tuesday that they will sever the data connection after customers cancel service.

MySQL.com Hacked to Serve Malware – The website for the open-source MySQL database was hacked and used to serve malware to visitors Monday.

Spammers Hijack Email Marketer Accounts to Send Malicious Messages – Attackers are increasingly targeting email marketing firms and corporate email accounts to power their spam campaigns,

Lawmakers Want Investigation of Supercookies – Two U.S. lawmakers have called on the U.S. Federal Trade Commission to investigate the use of so-called supercookies on many websites, with the two suggesting that use of the hard-to-remove tracking tools may be an unfair business practice.

Typosquatting Hacks: Finger Slips Sink Ships – For nearly as long as DNS as has been around, aggressive advertisers and malicious doers have used a technique called typosquatting to take advantage of the fact that most of us aren’t perfect typists: They buy up domains and set up realistic-looking yet malicious websites such as http://www.livve.com, http://www.live.cm, and http://www.liv.ecom to exploit users who incorrectly type live.com.

Company News:

Adobe Delivers Beta 3 of Muse Codeless HTML Tool – Adobe Muse enables graphic designers to create and publish professional HTML Websites without writing code or working within restrictive templates. Adobe said Muse has generated a “wildly enthusiastic” response from the design community with more than 260,000 designers downloading the beta technology in the first 40 days since its initial release.

McAfee All Access Protects All Your Devices – McAfee announced a brand-new subscription product, McAfee All Access. Subscribers can protect any number of PCs, Macs, smartphones, or tablets using the appropriate McAfee products. The individual products will still be sold separately, but McAfee is pushing the all-encompassing subscription model.

Piston launches OpenStack cloud OS for private clouds – Piston Cloud Computing came out of stealth mode today, launching an OpenStack-based cloud OS that allows enterprises to build private clouds that meet security and compliance requirements.

Apple loses ‘Multi-Touch’ trademark bid – Apple’s effort to trademark the term “Multi-Touch” in the United States has been denied. MacRumors posted the decision of the United States Patent and Trademark Office dated from last week, wherein the governing body denied Apple’s application, saying that the term is merely descriptive of how people interact with its products.

Off Topic (Sort of):

Facebook Forms Political Action Committee – Social networks are getting more political. As the country enters into the 2012 presidential election season, Facebook has launched its own political action committee.

Google Turns 13: Its Biggest Hits and Misses – Google is celebrating its 13th birthday today with a homepage doodle. We look back at some of the company’s biggest hits and misses.

Facebook Timeline a ‘stalker’s paradise’: Mass exodus on the way? – Facebook’s new Timeline feature could very well be the nail in the coffin in an ever-increasing pressure of privacy matters to hit The Social Network.

Here Comes Amazon’s Tablet – As we await the announcement of Amazon’s new tablet, we check back on its short history, as well as some other popular codenames and the resulting “real” products.

Today’s Quote:

I had an epiphany a few years ago where I was out at a celebrity party and it suddenly dawned on me that I had yet to meet a celebrity who is as smart and interesting as any of my friends.”

-    Moby

Today’s Free Downloads:

Secunia PSI – One of the biggest security threats doesn’t come from hackers or identity thieves. It actually comes from you your out-of-date software. But you can put an end to that threat with the free Secunia Personal Software Inspector (PSI), which identifies and helps patch the problematic programs you may be running.

Panda USB Vaccine – The Autorun feature in Windows can make it easier to install software–and it can also be exploited by malware. Panda USB Vaccine can disable the Windows Autorun feature for an entire PC or a particular USB drive.

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Filed under Internet Security Alerts, Tech Net News

Get uRexsoft DVD Ripper Platinum (Win) For Free

imageAnother month, another DVD ripper you’ve probably never heard of. Even so – from now until Sept. 30, this $35 program is absolutely free. And it works!

Best of all, and as opposed to so many of this type of offer – there are no hoops to jump through.

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Read all about this software giveaway on CNET’s Cheapskate page here.

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Filed under CD/DVD Tools, downloads, Free Full Versions, Multimedia Tools, Software, Software Giveaways, Video Tools, Windows Tips and Tools

Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – September 27, 2011

10 things you can do to boost PC performance – There’s so much information out there about PC performance (especially on Windows machines), it’s difficult to be sure what’s right and what’s not so helpful. Here are 10 proven performance enhancements you can make to your computer, many of which are free.

Giveaway of the Day – Ashampoo Burning Studio Elements 10 - Let Ashampoo Burning Studio Elements convince you with its high functionality, intuitive handling and simple user interface. Burn CDs, DVDs and Blu-ray Discs quickly and comfortably! (approximately 20 hours left in this offer)

50 Must-See YouTube Videos for DIY Computer Repair – Fixing a broken computer isn’t as hard as it sounds and there are many repairs someone with a few minutes can learn. But taking the time to read the entire manual on a computer can take far longer than a few minutes. To that end, we have collected 50 must see YouTube videos for DIY computer repair listed mostly by number of views. Whether taking on a nasty virus, upgrading your old system, or even bringing a laptop back from a watery grave, there are options for all.

Tech Thoughts Daily Tech News 2

Facebook Is Tracking Your Every Move on the Web; Here’s How to Stop It - Over the weekend, Dave Winer wrote an article at Scripting.com explaining how Facebook keeps track of where you are on the web after logging in without your consent. Nik Cubrilovic dug a little deeper, and discovered that Facebook can still track where you are, even if you log out. Facebook, for its part, has denied the claims. Regardless of who you believe, here’s how to protect yourself, and keep your browsing history to yourself.

10 subtle features you should know about Google Plus – Have you heard about all the nifty things the new Google Plus social network can do? Of course you have. But have you dug around to see what’s really good beyond the headline items? Well we have, and we’ve brought back some small yet superb details to crow about.

FBI Snags Lulzsec Member Involved in Sony Hack – The FBI continued its pursuit of members of the hacking group LulzSec on Thursday, arresting a 23 year old Phoenix, Arizona man believed to be part of an online hacking crew that attacked systems belonging to Sony Pictures, the Bureau said in a statement Thursday.

Windows Phone DOES transmit location information without user consent – Statements made by Microsoft to the US House of Representatives prove to be at odds with how its Windows Phone OS actually works.

Company News:

Alcatel-Lucent Accelerates Broadband over Copper - Alcatel-Lucent today announced the availability of new VDSL2 Vectoring technology that can enable copper to deliver broadband speeds of 100 megabits per second.

Netgear Improves Access and Security in Network Appliance - Unified threat management appliance aimed at small business delivers new broadband access capabilities.

RIM Goes All-Touch With BlackBerry Torch 9850, 9860 - With the aim of retaining its current customer base while it readies the anticipated QNX-powered “superphones”, RIM is releasing the BlackBerry Torch 9850 and 9860, which embrace the current smartphone trend of all-touch screen and virtual keyboard. The new offerings are a handsome update to the traditional BlackBerry, along with an affirmation that RIM can play the touch-screen-only game as good as anyone–but there’s nothing here that represents a radical departure for the company.

Amazon lands Fox streaming deal – Amazon said its Prime service will now have more than 11,000 movies and TV shows this fall.

Off Topic (Sort of):

Facebook and OnStar face similar privacy accusations – Facebook and OnStar, the automobile help service from General Motors, face new accusations of possessing similar features that can bypass users’ reasonable expectations for privacy.

We are not in the Post-PC era yet and we may never be - Windows 8 might just be the platform to deliver the balance between what we want from a tablet and what drives us back to notebook PCs.

Dead Sea Scrolls Post in Time for Rosh Hashanah – The Israel Museum in Jerusalem works with Google to create an interactive online exhibit for the scrolls, which were discovered in the Judean Desert in 1947.

Violence Vanquished - Violence may loom large in our news media, and our minds, but it was much worse in the past. Pinker describes its decline through six key phases, concluding we are living in “the most peaceable era in the existence of our species”

Troubling Cracks Showing in Internet’s Security Foundation – The revelation last week that researchers Thai Duong and Juliano Rizzo had developed a new attack on SSL that gives them the ability to decrypt some protected sessions on the fly sparked a lot of discussions about the inherent problems of the protocol and whether it has outlived its usefulness. But it’s not just SSL that’s the problem; it’s the slow accumulation of security problems in the key protocols and systems on which the Internet–and much of our world–rely that has become the real issue.

Today’s Quote:

“The pessimist complains about the wind; the optimist expects it to change; the realist adjusts the sails”.

-    William Arthur Ward

Today’s Free Downloads:

IObit Uninstaller – IObit Uninstaller is a tiny, portable, no-frills application that lets you see at a glance all of the applications installed on your system, and remove any programs you no longer wish to use. Since it requires no installation in itself, this freebie can make a handy addition for any technician’s USB drive

CurrPorts 1.95 – CurrPorts displays the list of all currently opened TCP/IP and UDP ports on your local computer. For each port in the list, information about the process that opened the port is also displayed, including the process name, full path of the process and more.

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Ninite – A Jaw Dropping One Shot Multiple Application Installer

imageI’ve used, reviewed, and discarded, a mix of free “One Shot” installer applications – applications which download and install multiple user selected applications, in one pass. The only keeper from the 5 or 6 I’ve looked at is, Ninite .

Since I dedicated a machine to run with Windows 8, a few weeks ago (which has run flawlessly, BTW), I finally got to the point where it was time to install a few of my favorite applications and, of course, I turned to Ninite to get the job done.

I choose to download, and install, the following applications – Chrome, ThunderBird, Google Talk, Glary Utilities, Revo Uninstaller, Songbird and TrueCrypt.

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A small downloader (248 KB) – launched from my download folder, started the download and install process – as shown in the following screen capture.

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Within a very few minutes (less than 4 minutes), the applications were installed (as shown in Windows 8 Metro UI), and ready to run. And, that’s the “jaw dropping” part – 4 minutes to download and install 7!!!, applications. Wicked!

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Windows – Just a small sampling of what’s available.

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If you’re a Linux user (and, I’m a dual booter), you haven’t been  forgotten.

Linux – What’s available.

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Fast facts:

No Clicking Next – Ninite fully automates installers off-screen.

No Toolbars – Ninite automatically says “No” to toolbars and other junk.

Always Up-to-date – A Ninite installer always gets an app’s latest version no matter when you made it.

It Updates Too – Just run your Ninite installer again and it will update the apps to their latest versions.

No Signup – Ninite just works. No account, signup, or client needed.

32 and 64-bit – Ninite installs the best version of an app for your PC.

International – Ninite installs apps in your PC’s language.

If you’re the kind of geek who’s into helping less experienced users – this is a terrific way to help them install the freeware applications that you know, through experience, are a “must have”. Best of all, once the installer is activated Ninite does the rest – automatically and in the background.

System requirements: Windows XP, Vista, Win 7 (x64 support).

Go to: Ninite site

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Filed under 64 Bit Software, downloads, Freeware, Geek Software and Tools, Integrated Solutions, Recommended Web Sites, Software, Timesaving Tips, Utilities, Windows 8, Windows Tips and Tools

Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – September 26, 2011

Turn a PC Off or Leave It On? – Atrrocket asked if it’s best to shut off a PC every night or leave it on.

A Concise Guide to Android Rooting – Time was only the hard core rooted their phones, but the more and more average consumers are looking into the practice. Rooting is just the generic name given to stripping the factory-installed software from your phone and loading your own. It can give you a lot more control over how your phone works, but it will also void your warranty and potentially cause you a lot of headaches. Check out this guide before you make the leap.

Five friendly apps for backup-shy users – The complexity of many backup tools scares off a lot of users. These less intimidating choices are effective and easy to use.

Tech Thoughts Daily Tech News 2

Android Users: Here’s Some Advice to Protect Your Phones – A gray hat app developer has released five tools purportedly for “study purposes” that can clean out all the data on an Android smartphone in less than a minute.

Are the Feds Collecting Your Data? Apple, Dropbox Back Privacy Bill – Apple and cloud storage service Dropbox are the latest companies to join an effort that calls on the government to obtain warrants before accessing email and other cloud-based data.

Email and Chat for Kids – With ZillaMail you can give even the youngest kids access to email and instant messaging, secure in the knowledge that they can’t communicate with anybody you haven’t approved. Parents can view all messages and chat sessions. Kids can personalize the site and play a handful of games when not checking email.

10 ways Microsoft can make Windows 8 a game changer – Now that we’ve had a chance to see some of the things Windows 8 can do, let’s talk about a few of the things it SHOULD do.

Cyber-Espionage Campaign Hits Government Sites in Asia, Eastern Europe – More than 1,400 computers were compromised in Asia and Eastern Europe in a massive e-mail cyber-attack that hit space agencies and research institutions. But this time China was not implicated.

Why Does My PC Suddenly Shut Itself Off? – If Windows inexplicably closes and your PC shuts down, it’s almost certainly overheated. The PC, which monitors the temperature of the CPU, is protecting it’s delicate circuits from the ravages of heat. (On the other hand, if you PC frequently shuts off without closing Windows first, causing an error message when you next boot, it’s likely time to replace the power supply.)

Company News:

Meg Whitman Won’t Save the HP TouchPad – When the news broke that HP was replacing CEO Leo Apotheker with Meg Whitman, HP TouchPad fans felt like their tablet was getting a second chance: it isn’t. New blood is great, but remember Meg Whitman was already on the board of HP. She has watched as Apotheker let the Web OS waste into irrelevance. She may be able to help HP, but it is too late for the TouchPad.

Mozilla Extends Firefox Enterpise Support to 42 Weeks – In a nod to enterprise users, Mozilla touts a new plan to provide longer support cycles for the rapidly evolving Firefox browser.

Microsoft to stop Linux, older Windows, from running on Windows 8 PCs – It doesn’t take much reading between the lines to see that Microsoft is going to try to keep Linux, older versions of Windows, and other operating systems off Windows 8 PCs.

Short Story of the Week:

Paul Andrew Russell’s – Lizzie

They saw each other at the exact same moment. Their eyes locked for a few seconds, then Lizzie felt the warm glow of her cheeks reddening as she blushed. He averted his gaze, giving her time to compose herself. When she looked again he’d gone. She turned away, hoping he’d magically reappear when her eyes went back to the chair he’d been sitting in, but he wasn’t there.

Off Topic (Sort of):

The Skin Gun – A simple idea backed by stem cell research allows victims of severe burns to heal in merely days. (National Geographic Video)

Hands On With YouTube 2D-to-3D Conversion – Just as the excitement around the latest crop of 3D movies in theaters has started to wane, YouTube has come out with new tools that convert your video from boring old 2D to exciting new 3D.

More Than A Flash Of Fiction – After much hair pulling (metaphorically, as I don’t have any) I have finally managed to get my new flash fiction eBook published on both Amazon and Smashwords. If you feel like helping a struggling writer, (Paul Andrew Russell), you can download the Kindle version on Amazon and all formats on Smashwords. All for just $1.99!

How the refrigerator got its hum – This story is a classic in the social history of technology. If you have any familiarity with this field you’ll know it. If not, let me introduce you to it because it’s a good story, and one with a neat moral. Because there could have been other fridges, other – quieter – fridges. (submitted by Michael F.)

What Is Fire? – Fire explained in another wonderful one minute physics animation.

Today’s Quote:

Lori Fena, on privacy: “Internet: Nobody knows you’re a dog. Facebook: Everyone knows you’re a dog”.

Today’s Free Downloads:

HelpNDoc - HelpNDoc provides a clear and efficient interface to build the most amazing CHM help files, WEB based documentation, PDF and Word documents from a single source without worrying about the inner working of help file generation.

Connection Keeper 11.2 – Connection Keeper is an invaluable time-saving tool for dial-up users. This free program simulates Internet browsing (at a random interval) to prevent your connection from appearing idle, thus preventing your ISP from dropping the connection due to inactivity.

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Filed under Internet Security Alerts, Tech Net News

Pin Files, Folders and Web Sites, To Windows 7 Taskbar – Free Windows 7 Taskbar Items Pinner

imagePinning applications to the Windows 7 Taskbar is generally very easy. Unfortunately, Windows 7 Taskbar was not designed with the ability to pin files,  folders, or web pages – but, a small freeware tool, Windows 7 Taskbar Items Pinner, enables you to overcome this limitation.

Download the executable file from the developer’s site (Kishan Bagaria – a 13 year old from India), then be sure to run the executable as “administrator” or, you’ll get the following -

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Currently, I’m testing Windows 8, so in some respects, I’m working with a user interface which has been turned upside down. One casualty of Microsoft’s thinking is – a reversal on a quick and easy way to reach all installed programs.

Using Windows 7 Taskbar Items Pinner, I’ve partially overcome this limitation by choosing to add two new links to the Taskbar – “Computer” and “Program Files”.

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A partial screen shot showing “Program Files” on the Taskbar.

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Activating the Program Files icon, launches the new Windows Explorer (notice the “Ribbon”) at C: Program Files. Since I work primarily in the “Desktop” -  as opposed to Windows 8 Metro interface, I now have quick access to a listing of installed applications.

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Custom items, including files and folders, or even a website can easily be added to the Taskbar – as the following series of screen shots (in which I have created a link to this website), indicate.

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The new Taskbar shortcut to Tech Thoughts, is shown in the following screen capture.

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If adding files, folders and web links to the Taskbar in Windows 7 is an option you’d like to exercise, then checkout the developers page for additional information on how to use this freebie effectively.

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Filed under Application Launchers, downloads, Freeware, Geek Software and Tools, Software, Utilities, Windows 7, Windows Tips and Tools