Monthly Archives: November 2011

Probe System Restore Points With Free System Restore Explorer

imageHave you ever wanted to access a file, or an application, within a System Restore Point? You can do just that with a neat little freebie – System Restore Explorer.

Running System Restore Explorer will allow you to “Mount” a System Restore Point and you’ll then have the “go ahead” to browse and copy files or, launch an application from within the selected System Restore Point. As well, System Restore Explorer provides an option to delete selected restore points.

A brief walkthrough:

I have chosen to mount a restore point created on November 29, as illustrated below. Note that System Restore Explorer displays the date and time of the restore point creation, as well as a brief description.

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Mounting a restore point automatically runs Windows Explorer, and as the following screen capture illustrates (click the graphic to expand), I now have access to (in this case), HarddiskVolumeShadowCopy3.

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Expanding HarddiskVolumeShadowCopy3 provides access to the applications in the restore point, and for this test, I have chosen to execute the graphic application, IrfanView.

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Clicking on the IrfanView executable (i_view32.exe), promptly launched the application, as illustrated below.

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System requirements: Windows Vista, Win 7 – 32-bit and 64-bit.

Download at: Developer’s site

You may not often need to dig inside a System Restore Point, but if you do, having this freebie in your toolkit will make the job that much easier.

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Filed under 64 Bit Software, downloads, Freeware, System Utilities, Windows Tips and Tools

Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – November 30, 2011

The Best System Tweaker for Windows – Windows users have a ton of system tweakers to choose from, but we love the Ultimate Windows Tweaker the most. It has a ton of different tweaks you can perform, it’s portable, super lightweight, and completely free.

Fix-It Tips: Troubleshoot a BIOS Error, Create a Security First-Aid USB Drive – That scary CMOS message probably has a quick fix; free tool helps you create a USB recovery drive.

10 Custom Linux Distros That Ease IT Admins’ Workload – Ask any Linux aficionado: The platform’s primary strength lies in its flexibility and versatility. And there are Linux distributions that can probably handle most conceivable system administration tasks. Many of these are based on Debian or Ubuntu, but others have been built from scratch. We rounded up some interesting specialized Linux distros that can make the IT administrators’ day a little bit easier.

6 Reasons Your Work Phone Deserves Ice Cream Sandwich – The new flavor of Android offers a number of new features to help you get more work done. Here’s why you should jump on this upgrade.

Tech Thoughts Daily Tech News 2

Three 3-D Modeling Programs, From Free to Fancy: Blender, 3DCrafter, Poser – Whether you’re a designer, a coder, or new to 3-D, there’s a program to help you draw models in three dimensions.

Google Unleashes Arsenal of Hot New Tools – Google recently delivered eight new or updated tools that could pave the way for speedier and more robust Web development. The offerings range from an extension to Swiffy–which enables developers to convert Flash SWF files to HTML5–to a host of new features in its BigQuery analytics engine that puts the powerful data analysis system in the hands of more companies of all sizes.

Readers’ Choice Awards 2011: HDTVs and Home Theater in a Box Systems – It’s the final survey of our readers for the year. This time around we’re sticking to the living room, reporting the results of which companies you favor for quality and support for your big-screen TVs and all-in-one stereo systems.

Get Schooled with Video Tutorials for Mac, iPad, iPhone – Membership has its privileges, and this Web resource offers more than 300 video tutorials to help you master your Mac, iPhone and iPad. What are you waiting for?

FakeScanti rogue sends users to download additional fake AV solution – One of the variants – named “AV Protection 2011″ – has an interesting capability. It modifies the infected computer’s HOSTS file (the file that allows the system to connect hostnames to IP addresses) so that when the user tries to visit the Google Search engine, Facebook or Bing, he is redirected to a page hosted in.

Top 10 Dumb Ideas and Myths About Computer Security – While organizations are deploying firewalls and public key cryptography and are complying with various security and privacy regulations, many of them are still hanging onto certain “falsehoods” and approaches that don’t work. We take a look at some of the dumb notions and myths IT managers cling to.

Facebook worm leads to heavy infection – The researchers of Danish security firm CSIS warn about a new Facebook worm doing rounds and dropping malware. It spreads by compromising accounts and spamming out the users’ friends with a message that contains only a link. If followed, the link takes the potential victim to a page where he or she are offered what appears to be a screensaver for download.

Get (or Give) Great Tech Support – Know the right questions to ask and info to provide when you need help–plus a great free service to help you support others from afar.

Company News:

RIM to manage Android and iOS devices – RIM introduced BlackBerry Mobile Fusion, an enterprise mobility solution that will simplify the management of smartphones and tablets running BlackBerry, Android and iOS operating systems.

New release of WatchGuard XTM OS – WatchGuard Technologies unveiled their latest security operating system for the XTM line of unified threat management appliances. One of the new features includes the ability to create secure connectivity for mobile devices. By supporting the IPSec functionality already present on the Apple devices, WatchGuard provides mobile users of iOS devices an easy way to securely access corporate resources from any place, at any time.

Sprint Unlimited Data Plan Doomed? – Analysts speculate that Sprint may have to discontinue its all-you-can eat data plan to keep their data network speedy as it transitions to LTE.

Why Apple is about to build, buy, or partner on a web search engine – Takeaway: Apple’s Siri could change the game in search and put a lot of pressure on Google, but first Apple needs to deal with web search integration.

Off Topic (Sort of):

Free Software Activists to Take on Google With New Free Search Engine – Free software activists have released a new peer-to-peer search engine to take on Google, Yahoo, Bing and others.

Security Researcher vs. CarrierIQ: Round 2 – A couple of weeks ago, Geek’s Russell Holly reported on security researcher Trevor Eckhart’s discovery of possible vulnerabilities concerning mobile phone data. The company in question, CarrierIQ, was not pleased, sending Eckhart a cease and desist letter (which it later retracted). Thing is, Eckhart was spot on… and here’s the video that proves his claims.

Gift Cards Go Mobile for the Holidays – As shoppers become more comfortable with mobile commerce, Giftly predicts that digital gift cards are hot for savvy consumers.

Are cybersecurity bachelor’s degrees worth the time? – Some are pushing the need for cybersecurity degree programs. But would those graduates lack the general IT skills necessary?

Today’s Quote:

“Destiny is for people who are too lazy to create alternate timelines.”

-    R. Stevens

Today’s Free Downloads:

Free Sound Recorder 9.3.1 – Free Sound Recorder is a perfect audio recorder to record your own voice, music or any other sound by working directly with your sound card. It supports the record input/source from a microphone, streaming audio from the Internet, external input devices (e.g. CDs, LP, music cassettes, phone line etc.) as well as other applications like Winamp, Media Player, etc. With built-in advanced audio record engine, the recorder produces high quality recordings.

AVG Rescue CD (for USB stick) – A powerful must-have toolkit to assist with the rescue and repair of infected machines. This software provides essential utilities for system administrators and other IT professionals. This download is for portable USB drives.

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Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – November 29, 2011

The Best 2012 Security Suites – Though 2012 is still months away, over half the 2012 security suites are already out. We’ve identified a couple real standouts among this group that will strengthen your business machines from malicious attack.

LogMeIn Ignition (for Android) Is A Fine Mobile Remote Access App – There are a number of remote access apps for Android, but LogMeIn Ignition for Android is one of the most reliable and robust available. It offers good audio, light video streaming capabilities, and a number of configuration options.

Real World Test Show That Android Task Killers Are Still Useless – Carriers and manufacturers still often recommend the use of task killer apps on Android to speed up your phone and save battery life, but they can actually do more harm than good. PC World does a few real-world tests to show that they are, in fact, useless when it comes to saving battery.

Linux Mint 12: A much-needed, much-improved Linux desktop – With the best of both GNOME worlds, Linux Mint has managed to create the perfect combination of new and familiar features. Jack Wallen examines the latest release, “Lisa”.

Tech Thoughts Daily Tech News 2

FreePrintable.net – If you have children, grandchildren, nieces, nephews – well, if you were ever a kid at all, you know that Santa is a complex man who is as busy as he is mystical. Basically, he gets more mail than Lady Gaga and there’s no way he has time to answer it all. That’s where http://www.SantaPrintables.com comes in. That’s my site that, since its launch in 2008, has offered dozens of variations of letters from Santa for all kinds of situations, from baby’s first Christmas to the child who may no longer believe in the guy in the red suit.

12 Reasons to Try Linux Mint 12 – Just two weeks after the launch of a release candidate, Linux Mint 12, or “Lisa,” made its long-awaited debut over the weekend, and it’s now available for free download from the project’s site. It will be supported until April 2013.

Feds seize 150 domains for selling counterfeit goods – Seizure orders have been executed against 150 domain names of commercial websites engaged in the illegal sale and distribution of counterfeit goods and copyrighted works. The 150 seized domains are in the custody of the federal government. Visitors to the sites will now find a seizure banner that notifies them that the domain name has been seized by federal authorities and educates them that willful copyright infringement is a federal crime.

The 10 best Chrome apps and extensions for Google Apps users – Kevin Purdy lists 10 great apps and extensions that work well for Google Apps users doing their work in a Chrome browser.

Schneider electric products multiple vulnerabilities – Multiple vulnerabilities have been reported in multiple Schneider Electric products, which can be exploited by malicious people to conduct cross-site scripting attacks, disclose potentially sensitive information, and compromise a user’s system, according to Secunia.

Apache reverse proxy flaw opens door to internal networks – Apache has confirmed the existence of a new reverse proxy vulnerability after it was discovered by Prutha Parikh, a security researcher with Qualys, while she was creating a vulnerability signature for QualysGuard.

Company News:

IPv6 Usage Growing Thanks to Go Daddy – According to a report issued by networking vendor Infoblox, IPv6 support in .com, .net and .org zones has grown by 1,900 percent over the last 12 months. Even with the massive growth year-over-year gains, overall IPv6 zone adoption still has a long way to go. The Infoblox report pegged IPv6 adoption across the .com, .net and .org zones at 25.4 percent up from only 1.27 percent in 2010.

Why Apple is about to build, buy, or partner on a web search engine – Apple’s Siri could change the game in search and put a lot of pressure on Google, but first Apple needs to deal with web search integration.

Motorola Droid 4 Adds A Keyboard to Razr – What happens if you take the Droid Razr design and add a slide-out QWERTY keyboard? Meet the Motorola Droid 4, the latest recruit in the Android army, breaking cover this weekend via leaked photos from Droid Life. There’s no official confirmation of this phone yet, which is expected to arrive on Verizon’s 4G LTE network on December 8.

Acer: Netbook Production Will Continue – Acer is continuing to push netbooks, despite its rivals’ increased focus on tablets and ultrabooks.

Off Topic (Sort of):

Tools for creating slick-looking apps – Applications keep looking better and better. Thanks to things like mobile app stores and the Web, people are spending less time considering various applications — and appearance is playing a bigger role in the decision-making process. If your apps look bland, these five products and services will help you spruce them up.

Basic error puts anonymous bloggers at risk from Google Analytics reverse lookup – Think you’re blogging anonymously on the web? Think again. One man explains how he was able to uncover the true identities of seven anonymous bloggers from a random sample of 50 in under 30 minutes; all thanks to a simple mistake they’d made in setting up their websites.

Safeguards for ethical hackers spurned by Australian government – The Australian government has thumbed its nose at legal safeguards for ethical hackers, according to security researcher Alana Maurushat. Industry professionals say they went out of their way to submit proposals for recent reviews of cybercrime laws, but the government decided to reject them all.

National Geographic Live!: Revenge of the Meerkat – Join National Geographic Fellow and photographer Mattias Klum as he tries to capture images of the wily little mammal of the Kalahari Desert known as the meerkat. (submitted by Michael F.)

Amazon.com – Defense Technology 56895 MK-9 Stream, 1.3% Red Band/1.3% Blue Band Pepper Spray – When I feel threatened by students, no matter how unarmed, peaceful and seated they may be, I know that Defense Technology 56895 MK-9 Stream, 1.3% Red Band/1.3% Blue Band Pepper Spray has got my back as I casually spray away at point blank range. It really is the Cadillac of citizen repression technology. Buy a whole case! (submitted by Michael F.)

Today’s Quote:

“One of the things about being a grown-up is learning how to act right even when you feel wrong.”

-      Sean Stewart

Today’s Free Downloads:

3DCrafter – 3DCrafter is a modeling and animation tool that promises drag-and-drop control. Don’t get fooled into thinking this is easy, though: You need both artistic talent and a knack for engineering. As with all 3D software, how much you like 3DCrafter is going to depend on how dedicated you are to learning.

SpywareBlaster 4.5 – Spywareblaster protects you from known unwanted websites including Active-x installs, hijackers, cookies and more. Over 13 million downloads for good reason.

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Download Microsoft’s Free Microsoft Office Starter Edition 2010

Update: November 30 – This offer is no longer available.

In October of last year, I noted that Microsoft had begun a campaign to tear down OpenOffice by focusing on what Microsoft considered the downside of working with OpenOffice. This struck me as a bit unusual – after all, why waste time on those who can’t hurt your sales. Unless, that is, OpenOffice, LibreOffice and similar open source office suites, are in fact, “real competition” for Microsoft.

It seems that may well be the case since Microsoft has now released Office Starter Edition 2010 (as a freebie), which includes Microsoft Word Starter 2010 and Microsoft Excel Starter 2010 – it does not include PowerPoint or Outlook. Both included components function almost the same as the full editions.

No need to worry about licensing issues either – Office Starter 2010 is not a trial version – it will not expire. On top of that, installing the application to a USB stick makes for the perfect (sort of), portable office.

Installation is an easy task – both application download and installation combine in a seamless single process.

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Following installation you’ll find the application, and its components, neatly laid out in your “Start” menu as illustrated below.image

Word Starter 2010 screenshot:

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Excel Starter 2010 screenshot:

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Fast facts:

Create and edit basic Word documents and Excel spreadsheets with 100 percent file fidelity

Open existing Word and Excel documents

Manage a simple home budget

Write letters

Create newsletters with photos and easily send them out

System requirements: Windows 7, Windows Vista with Service Pack 1, Windows Server 2003 with SP2 and MSXML 6.0 (32-bit Office only), Windows Server 2008, or later 32- or 64-bit OS.

Download Office 2010 Starter at: Microsoft

There is some discussion, at the moment, as to just how long this offer from Microsoft will continue to be available so, if you’re interested, now might be the time to jump on this.

If you found this article useful, why not subscribe to this Blog via RSS, or email? It’s easy; just click on this link and you’ll never miss another Tech Thoughts article.

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Filed under 64 Bit Software, downloads, flash drive, Free Office Suites, Freeware, Microsoft, Software, USB, Windows Tips and Tools

Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – November 28, 2011

5 PC Upgrades Almost Everyone Does Wrong (and How to Do Them Right) – Upgrading your PC’s hardware can be easy, but there’s a right way and a wrong way to do each task. Here are five upgrades that most users do a half-baked job on, and tips to help your upgrade go flawlessly.

Quick Tip: Shrink a hard drive volume in Windows 7 – Use the Disk Management Tool in Microsoft Windows 7 to shrink a hard drive volume to create room so you can add a new partition.

Police warn of online identity theft in the lead-up to Christmas – Police have warned online shoppers identities are a commodity and should be protected like cash. ONLINE criminals can steal identities and issue credit cards for as little as $88 – then start spending. (submitted by Mal C.)

5 Tips To Shop Safe On Cyber Monday – Cyber Monday holiday shoppers beware — scammers can be lurking with bogus websites and fake emails to separate you from your money or even your identity. The large number of people expected to shop online Monday presents thieves with a golden opportunity to bilk unsuspecting consumers. If you’re planning on letting your fingers do the shopping, here are five tips to help you stay safe.

Tech Thoughts Daily Tech News 2

Smart Phone Voice Recognition Is the Future – In the very near future you will spend more time talking to your phone than using your phone to talk to other people. Of course Siri can do a lot of other useful things like post Tweets, Facebook updates, and send text messages. And Siri is a wiz at math.

Holiday Desktop PC Buying Guide: The Specs Explained – We help you identify the key specifications and components you need to consider when shopping for a desktop PC.

How to Upgrade Your PC’s RAM – When a computer runs short of RAM, it’s forced to swap the overflow data on and off of the hard drive, which can significantly slow performance. Below, we’ll tell you how to diagnose a memory shortage and what to do about it. To see how a RAM upgrade is done, check out our companion video.

Stats and Trends for the Holiday Shopping Season – Are you ready for the holiday shopping season? If not, these 29 reports, predictions and guides will get you on track.

Company News:

AMD Introduces Branded Memory Modules for Desktops – By offering its own branded memory modules for desktops, AMD aims to “take the guesswork out of DRAM selection, providing an easy and straightforward experience when looking for the ideal match for gaming or multimedia PC needs”, it said in a statement.

iPhone Customers ‘Most Loyal’ Smartphone Buyers – Apple is doing a better job of inspiring loyalty among customers than its rivals in the mobile marketplace, according to research.

Motorola to launch Droid 4 in December? – The Droid 4 will launch December 8, according to purported promotional materials obtained by Droid Life. The site reports it has confirmed that employee training is already in progress at some Verizon Wireless stores.

SmartRecruiters Adds Mobile to Free SMB Recruitment Tools – The San Francisco firm is on a mission to eradicate unemployment by helping small businesses find the right candidates for open jobs, and it has added free mobile career sites to its arsenal.

Off Topic (Sort of):

Desktop Wallpaper: NASA concept art – Some of the most interesting images available on the NASA.gov website are artist renderings of space exploration concepts. Here are a few of my favorites.

Man builds girlfriend $125 iPad – The way China Daily hums it, Wei Xinlong, a college student at the Northeast Normal University in Changchun, really wanted to make his girlfriend, Sun Shasha, very happy. He knew she would love to be in possession of the world’s No. 1 passion possession, the iPad. However, he didn’t have the money to effect that love. So he set about building an iPad from scratch.

Work Smart: Disrupt Your Inbox – If you’re looking for a quick way to improve productivity for yourself as well as those around you, look no further than your inbox. Most of us take email for granted now, which is why there is an opportunity there to improve and optimize how you communicate. In this week’s episode I’ll tell you about the techniques used by a variety of different entrepreneurs to optimize their email correspondences. (submitted by Michael F.)

‘Brick’ breaker: Lego bible too racy for Sam’s Club – After what it said are complaints about the “mature” nature of “The Brick Bible,” the national retailer has pulled copies of Brendan Smith’s book, which used Legos to interpret the Bible.

The Bicycle Animation – A beautiful demonstration of the wagon wheel effect seen in ‘westerns’. Submitted by Michael F.)

Today’s Quote:

An honest politician is one who, when he is bought, will stay bought.”

-     Simon Cameron

Today’s Free Downloads:

SugarSync Free – Download and install SugarSync Free on each PC or Mac, then on each PC tell the software what files and folders you want to keep synchronized. SugarSync uploads those files to your free online backup, and synchronizes them between your machines.

Sticky Notes - Choice is good, especially when it comes to freeware desktop utilities. When you’re looking for a sticky-notes program, for example, you want as many choices as possible, and you’ve sure got them; everything from simple text apps with yellow backgrounds to elaborate efforts to duplicate the look and behavior of actual paper. We looked at Sticky Notes, which is fast and simple yet offers plenty of options for customizing your notes, including background colors, fonts, and priority.

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NirLauncher – 100+ Free Utilities In One Download

imageIf you’re  a Geek, then I’ll wager that you’ve got at least one of NirSoft’s incredibly useful small utilities on your Hard Drive – or, on a Flash Drive. If you’re not yet familiar with NirSoft’s  collection of free tools, then you’re in for a treat.

NirSoft offers over 100 freeware utilities ranging from Password Tools, Network Monitoring Tools, to System Tools and more. All are available as individual downloads, or you can download all 100+ applications in one neat package – NirLauncher

In order to start using NirLauncher, extract the files in the package to your Flash Drive, or your Hard Drive. After you have extracted the package, simply run the executable file – NirLauncher.exe

Once you’ve launched NirLauncher, you can then launch any utility you choose from the GUI. You’ll notice, in the following graphic, that the tools are grouped by function.

Clicking any graphic on this page will expand it to its original size.

A total of 106 Utilities.

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Password recovery utilities illustrated.

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Fast facts:

NirLauncher can be used from USB flash drive without the need to install.

NirLauncher package includes a variety of tools, including utilities to recover lost passwords, to monitor your network, to view and extract cookies, cache, and other information stored by your Web browser, to search files in your system, and more…

For every utility in the package, you can easily run it, view the help file, or jump to the Web page of the utility.

When installed on a USB flash drive, the configuration of every utility is saved into a .cfg file on the flash drive.

On x64 systems, NirLauncher automatically runs the x64 version of the utility, when there is a specific x64 version.

NirLauncher allows you to add additional software packages – including SysInternals Suite. Please see the download page for additional information.

System requirements: Windows 2000 up to Windows 7.  NirLauncher also works on x64 systems.

Download at: Nirsoft – scroll down to the bottom of the page.

Available languages: Dutch, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Polish, Russian, Simplified Chinese, Spanish, Traditional Chinese.

The false positive issue:

I recently came across a forum comment (on another site), made by a regular reader, who made the comment that he occasionally gets a malware warning on applications I recommend.

He’s right, and here’s why.

Many of the applications I test and recommend, are designed to be used by sophisticated users and often, these applications dig deep into the operating system replicating the behavior of hacking tools on the one hand – and malware on the other hand.

Some of the applications in NirLauncher are a perfect example of this. A number of the recovery utilities are in fact, hacking tools. Any application which can recover a hidden password is, by its very nature, a hacking tool.

You can see from the following graphic, that on installing NirLauncher my primary AV, Microsoft Security Essentials, went into overdrive to warn me of 5 potential threats contained in the NirLauncher package. This is exactly what Microsoft Security Essentials is designed to do.

Here’s what I said in a previous article dealing with false positives:

Antimalware applications are not immune from false positives. In fact, false positives are more common than many users realize. Just one example – some AVs are notorious for seeing extractor files in application setup files as a Trojan.

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Since I was well aware that the warnings were false positives – all items were allowed.

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Here’s what NirSoft has to say on the false positive issueAntivirus companies cause a big headache to small developers.

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Filed under 64 Bit Software, Computer Tools, downloads, Freeware, Integrated Solutions, PC Tools, Portable Applications, Software, System Utilities, Utilities

Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – November 27, 2011

Wireless Networking 101 – Setting up and maintaining a home Wi-Fi network can be a daunting task for a PC newbie. These four how-to guides will run you through some of the basics.

How to Install an SSD in Your Laptop – Laptops are ideal candidates for solid state drives: These drives are more rugged and shock resistant than standard hard drives, since they have no moving parts. Since laptops get thrown quite a bit, replacing a more traditional, rotating hard drive with a more robust SSD can be good idea.

PCWorld Reviewers’ Favorite Files: October 2011 – In October, our reviewers enjoyed utilities for everything from video file conversion to software updates to running Android apps on a PC.

Ubuntu Shows DistroWatch Decline as Mint Soars – Linux Mint appears to be soaring in popularity at the expense of high-profile distros such as Ubuntu, figures from DistroWatch have suggested. The site’s latest page hit numbers show a sharp decline in the last month for Ubuntu, which having occupied second spot throughout year has now dropped to fourth place, behind even Fedora, openSUSE and top performer, Mint.

Tech Thoughts Daily Tech News 2

U.S. seizes more domain names – As Cyber Monday draws near and debate continues about the Stop Online Piracy Act, the U.S. government again seizes a bevy of domain names it says belong to Web sites that deal in counterfeit goods.

Tote Notes – Tote Notes is a brilliantly conceived app that pops up after voice calls so you can dictate notes before you forget any important details.

Sen. Joe Lieberman: Google’s Blogger needs ‘terrorist’ button – Joseph Lieberman, the independent senator from Connecticut, sent a letter to Google CEO Larry Page this week expressing his opinion that Google-owned blogging platform Blogger should provide a button that would let readers of Blogger-powered blogs flag “terrorist content,” according to a report. (WHAT a Moron!)

Windows 8 setup: Now with fewer clicks! – Microsoft has streamlined the entire setup process, whether you’re upgrading from a previous Windows version or doing a clean install.

Security Researcher Demos Windows 8 Bootkit - Few men can lay claim to being ahead of their time like Peter Kleissner. Kleissner has successfully identified a vulnerability in this early version of the upcoming operating system and even posted a video of his proof-of-concept “Stoned Lite” bootkit successfully exploiting this flaw.

Company News:

Samsung Speaks Out On Australian Galaxy Tab Ban – Samsung has apparently gotten all its legal ducks in a row and has fired back at the recent court ruling that banned the Galaxy Tab 10.1 from sale in the land down under. The court found that the Galaxy Tab likely infringed on Apple’s patents, and barred Samsung from selling the device until the case could be heard next year.

CDW Evolves Toward Cloud, Mobility – With the decline of PC sales, you’d expect a company formerly known as Computer Discount Warehouse to be a little worried. But CDW has a new CEO, growing revenues and a foot in these new markets. Here’s a deep look inside a giant DMR.

Ubisoft Dev: Piracy To Blame For Lack Of “I Am Alive” On The PC – Ubisoft hates it when pirates plunder the company’s gaming wares online. They’ve been at the forefront of the DRM battle, and by that, we mean they’ve been forcing DRM-ridden content down PC gamers’ throats left and right. It gets worse: Ubisoft won’t even be publishing its upcoming “I Am Alive” on the PC due to piracy concerns.

Off Topic (Sort of):

Cops Encrypt Radio to Stop Cell Phone Eavesdropping – Police are concerned about public snooping of police radios by using smartphones, and some are moving their communication to fully encrypted channels.

Men come and go but not Women – Men may come and Men may go. However, some women just stay around FOREVER. Hard to believe she has been Queen so long!

FAQ: When Can You Capture Cops on Camera? – Can you photograph the police during times of civil unrest? At a crime scene? What are your rights, and the responsibilities of the police?

Apple TV or Roku Set-top Box: Which is Right for You? – So which media streamer is right for you, the Apple TV or a less expensive alternative like one of Roku’s offerings? Let’s weigh the options.

Cool Armored Glove Fights Crime With Electricity – Currently, if the police are trying to catch a felon, they can reach for their Taser or stun gun. Of course, Tasers can’t be used in every situation, especially at very close range and if you are already being attacked, you are likely to drop your defense weapon. One inventor has created The BodyGuard, a mean glove that not only has a laser, but also a flashlight and a camera to watch the action again (sort of). Oh, and it can also deliver an electric shock to an attacker.

Today’s Quote:

One machine can do the work of fifty ordinary men. No machine can do the work of one extraordinary man.”

-     Elbert Hubbard

Today’s Free Downloads:

jGnash 2.6.0 Pre-Release – jGnash is a free personal finance manager with many of the same features as commercially-available software. It was created in order to make tracking your personal finances easy, but also provides the functionality required by advanced users.

ISO Workshop 2.0 – If you have a disc image in any format, you can easily recreate the original disc by burning the image to a blank CD, DVD or BD disc. And although this task may initially seem to be somewhat hard, proper software will make it a breeze – software like ISO Workshop!

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The Windows Club Latest Freebie – Ultimate Windows Customizer

imageRegular readers here will know, that I’m a big fan of the The Windows Club a great bunch of guys who have written and released some terrific free applications including Right-Click Extender (an absolute favorite of mine), Ultimate Windows Tweaker and FixWin Utility – all of which I have reviewed here, and recommended, in the last year.

The Windows Club’s latest release, Ultimate Windows Customizer (brought to you by my good buddy TeX, who gave me a heads-up this week), provides a full range of customizations designed specifically for your Windows 7 installation.

Ultimate Windows Customizer provides customization options in these areas –

Explorer

Context Menus

Libraries

Logon Screen

Start Orb

Taskbar

Miscellaneous

Extra Settings

Windows Media Player

Following installation, the application opens to a simple “click here” interface. Clicking on any of the following screen shots will expand the graphic to its original.

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The following two screen captures illustrate just a few of the customizations which can easily be pulled off using Ultimate Windows Customizer.

Context Menus

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Settings and Extras

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Fast facts:

Very simple and easy to use. No manual Hacks. No need to manually edit the Windows Registry and Windows System files.

Tested over and over for compatibility between various customizations.

70+ major features with literally tons of sub-features.

Built in Update Feature to be easily notified of new updates.

Backs up all System Files and Registry Settings that UWC deals with and does not modify these.

Error Log for easy display.

Easy uninstallation via the Control Panel.

Creates System Restore Point before any customizations are done.

System Requirements: Windows 7 (32-bit and 64-bit).

Download at: The Windows Club

As with all Windows Club applications to date, Ultimate Windows Customizer is a terrific application. One which can add a little sparkle, and increased convenience, to any Win 7 installation.

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Filed under downloads, Freeware, Geek Software and Tools, System Tweaks, System Utilities, Windows 7

Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – November 26, 2011

How To Access Region-Locked Content Online – We may call the glorious series of tubes the World Wide Web, but that doesn’t mean you can view every website’s content all around the globe. Many of the big name content providers – like Steam, Netflix, Pandora and BBC – employ region locks to limit their services to specific countries. But this is the Internet we’re talking about, so naturally, there are ways around the roadblocks.

50 Free Apps We’re Most Thankful For - When we asked you last week which free apps you’re most thankful for, you offered hundreds of votes for great apps (so thank you). We’re back now to present the top free apps you nominated and a few of our own favorites. So without further ado, here are 50 free apps for your downloading feast.

Five apps that let me manage essential communications – Communication needs vary, but most of us rely on certain tools and services to stay in touch. Scott Lowe shares his list of go-to communication apps.

“PayPal email address change” phishing scheme doing rounds - PayPal users are targeted again as emails supposedly sent by the online payment company urge them to fill out a form with their personal and financial information in order to prevent the suspension of their accounts.

Tech Thoughts Daily Tech News 2

The Best Video Camera App for Android – We found that the stock camcorder app offered the most control over the camera and got the job done with the least hassle or setup.

10 essential LibreOffice Writer tricks - LibreOffice Writer offers a ton of timesaving features that a lot of users don’t know about. Here are 10 cool tips that can speed your work.

New UK Cyber Security Strategy revealed - The UK Government’s Cabinet Office has published today a new Cyber Security Strategy whose aim is, among other things, to make the UK one of the most secure places in the world to do business in cyberspace and to make it more resilient to cyber attack.

Simplify and Automate Private Browsing Mode with These Browser Extensions – If you’re sick of manually opening links in private browsing mode, Firefox and Chrome extensions will get you in with some quick shortcuts.

Create shutdown shortcuts in Windows 7 – One of the most often asked for Microsoft Windows tweaks is for shortcuts that shutdown, power down, and restart a Windows session. The procedure for Windows 7 is very similar to that of Vista and XP, but now you can pin those freshly created shortcuts to the Start Menu or the Taskbar or to both.

Company News:

Motorola Turns Away From BYOD, Consumerizaton of IT – Enterprise-level solutions that embrace mobility, data collection and vertical markets should secure Motorola’s place in the business world, but the real challenge for the company comes from the consumerization of IT.

Samsung Speaks Out On Australian Galaxy Tab Ban – Samsung has apparently gotten all its legal ducks in a row and has fired back at the recent court ruling that banned the Galaxy Tab 10.1 from sale in the land down under. The court found that the Galaxy Tab likely infringed on Apple’s patents, and barred Samsung from selling the device until the case could be heard next year.

Kingston: Solid State Drives Will Finally Supplant Hard Drives in Second Half of 2012 – After peering into its crystal ball, the market psychics at Kingston firmly believe that by this time next year, you’re likely to choose a solid state drive over a mechanical hard drive. NAND flash memory prices are coming down, and while it’s been slow going, overall pricing for SSDs will finally reach the point where they’re able to attract would-be HDD buyers.

Google’s new ad space: Chrome - The company has begun promoting its own products through Chrome’s new-tab page. Don’t worry about obnoxious flashing ads, though–at least not so far.

Off Topic (Sort of):

Web designs gone wrong: A gallery of digital horror – Todd Fluhr scoured the web for ten of the worst web design examples he could find for those who profit from negative reinforcement. Don’t do any of this!

40% of orgs doubt effectiveness of disposal procedures of old PCs – UK organizations aren’t certain that all data and settings are deleted from devices prior to disposal, say the findings of a recent survey by user and infrastructure management company Osirium. Worryingly, 40% of all the organizations questioned said that they were not confident that all data was deleted but more shockingly the survey found that in the Finance and Retail sectors around 7% of organizations didn’t delete data at all.

Microsoft’s Windows 8 Design Goals: 10 Important Features – Microsoft Windows 8 is slated to be released next year. When it hits the market users will find a host of features that should set it apart from earlier versions of the operating system.

Thanks Buddy!: 25 of Gaming’s Greatest Sidekicks – It’s easy to lose track of those who helped the hero save the day. With that in mind, we decided to throw together a wild and whacky list of our favorite sidekicks in gaming (we did consoles too, we’re sorry) to give thanks to all the loyal sidekicks who’ve had our backs over the years.

Today’s Quote:

If there is anything the nonconformist hates worse than a conformist, it’s another nonconformist who doesn’t conform to the prevailing standard of nonconformity.”

-     Bill Vaughan

Today’s Free Downloads:

Parted Magic 11.11.24 – The Parted Magic OS employs core programs of GParted and Parted to handle partitioning tasks with ease, while featuring other useful programs (e.g. Partition Image, TestDisk, fdisk, sfdisk, dd, and ddrescue) and an excellent set of documentation to benefit the user.

Sumatra PDF 1.9 - Sumatra PDF is a slim, free, open-source PDF viewer for Windows. It’s designed for portable use: it’s just one file with no external dependencies so you can easily run it from external USB drive.

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Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – November 25, 2011

How to root the Kindle Fire – Have you snatched up a Kindle Fire, and are wanting to fully unleash your tablet’s power? Say no more. These detailed and simple instructions will have you rooted, using the Android Market, and installing apps to your heart’s content. These instructions are only friendly with Windows. Mac users can root by hopping on a friend’s PC or by running Windows in Boot Camp.

Record Cable TV on Your PC, Easily – Is your DVR overloaded? Use your PC to record shows, and you can store as much as you want and watch it on anything–including your TV, phone, and tablet.

Surrounded by Surveillance: Is Everything Spying On You? – Depending upon who you listen to, GPS tracking shouldn’t be your only concern when you are out and about on the streets.

Microsoft recruiting users to beta test new Security Essentials – The company wants testers to bang on the new beta of its security product, which may reach the public by the end of the year.

Tech Thoughts Daily Tech News 2

What to Expect from the Coming Xbox 360 update - The long wait for an updated look and feel to your Xbox 360 dashboard is almost over. Microsoft has announced the new Metro dashboard will go live on December 6th, and will be free for all users to install. Along with the improved visuals, there are some new goodies being included in the update, especially if you have a Kinect.

Reports of Android Malware Risk Greatly Exaggerated - Juniper Networks claims that the number of Android malware apps has grown 472 percent% since July of this year. That sounds pretty horrible, but users should know this is a count of all the malware online, not what is available in the Android Market. Indeed, if you only download software from the Market, chances are you will never be exposed to any of these bad actors. ExtremeTech.com has the reality check.

Fake Facebook account deletion warnings target users – An email supposedly sent by the Facebook Team warning users about them having violated the social network’s policies is currently hitting inboxes around the world:

Fake iTunes gift certificate offer carries malware – As the holiday shopping season is poised to start in the U.S. with tomorrow’s Black Friday, users are advised to be extra careful when it comes to too-good-to-be-true offers landing in their inboxes. An example of this is a current spam email campaign that notifies them of having been the lucky recipient of a $50 gift certificate for iTunes.

Bosnian hacker collected, distributed massive amounts of illegal porn – A Bosnian national, identified only by the initials E.S., has been arrested by agents of the Bosnian Federal Police’s cybercrime unit following the discovery of a massive amount of pornographic images and videos of children on his computer.

Company News:

Staples: BlackBerry PlayBook - Tablet-shoppers will definitely be interested in this deal from Staples: a huge $300 price drop on Research in Motion’s 16GB BlackBerry PlayBook, being sold for $199. In Canada, all versions of the PlayBook will be discounted to $199 for the 16GB model, $299 for 32GB, and $399 for 64GB. The Canadian offer will apparently run until Dec 1.

Google Unveils Shutdown Plans for Knol, Wave, More – Google continued its out-of-season spring cleaning this week, announcing shutdown dates for several of its products, including Gears, Wave, Knol, and more.

Dell PowerEdge Server Portfolio Sports AMD Opteron 6200 Processors – Technology giant Dell introduced enhancements to its PowerEdge server portfolio with AMD Opteron 6200 Series processors for better energy efficiency and performance for enterprise applications, the Web, private clouds and virtualization.

Wyse Expands Cloud Client Computing Portfolio With Trellia Acquisition – The Trellia solution suite provides Wyse, its customers and partners with a suite of cloud-based mobile security, device, app and expense management software solutions. Trellia adds a specific set of technology IP and expertise to present and future Wyse infrastructure management software solutions aimed at helping organizations speed deployment of cloud client computing.

Off Topic (Sort of):

ISPs can’t be forced to filter file-sharing traffic, says EU court – European ISPs will not be required to filter electronic communications which use file-sharing software in order to prevent file sharing which infringes copyright, the European Court of Justice decided today.

Weeding out corporate psychopaths – Given the state of the global economy, it might not surprise you to learn that psychopaths may be controlling the world. Not violent criminals, but corporate psychopaths who nonetheless have a genetically inherited biochemical condition that prevents them from feeling normal human empathy.

10 All-time Great Ad Lines – U.S. companies spend more than $400 billion dollars a year on advertising and marketing, but very few examples cross into the broader culture to become iconic catch phrases or punch lines. Ranker.com has come up with ten all-time great company slogans and taglines. These are brainstorms that have stood the test of time – to the point where the words have been repeated so often that consumers may have forgotten the actual products that were being promoted in first place.

Shoppers Tracked by Cell Phone – Shoppers, beware! Several malls are installing discreet receivers to their walls to track anyone in the vicinity with a switched-on cell phone. The person-specific tracking allows the system to determine which stores get the most traffic, and which areas within the stores attract the largest crowds.

Today’s Quote:

Science may have found a cure for most evils; but it has found no remedy for the worst of them all – the apathy of human beings.”

-     Helen Keller

Today’s Free Downloads:

ZoneAlarm Free Firewall 2012 – Automatically configures network permissions for most programs using SmartDefense Advisor. Protects against attack by hackers. Can’t be disabled by malware. Blocks access to phishing sites. Includes online backup and identity protection.

Aurora – I was drawn to Aurora when I saw a thread calling it “The Dwarf Fortress of 4X Games.” Your reaction to that statement is a good gauge of your reaction to the game. If you’ve ever wanted to micromanage the exploration, expansion, exploitation, and extermination of intergalactic species, Aurora will be your thing.

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Filed under Internet Security Alerts, Tech Net News