Electronic “Sticky Notes”…

August 29, 2008

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.


Make “AllMyFaves” your homepage…

August 29, 2008

If you are tired of looking at the same old browser homepage, give “AllMyFaves” a try… “AllMyFaves” is a compilation of top sites in a nice visual and categorized order. There is indication on the site that there is a customizable version in the works.

[AllMyFaves – Get It Here]


SUMO Paint Rocks…

August 24, 2008

Recently I submitted a post about applications that are “flash based” (Adobe Flash Player), requiring no installation, and can be opened in your web browser (i.e. Internet Explorer, FireFox, Opera). Recently I came across another “flash based” site called “SUMO Paint”. You really have to check this out [SUMO PAINT – Click Here]. SUMO Paint is FREE image editing software that gives you the opportunity to create, edit and comment images online with powerful tools and layer support. Appears the application is currently in beta (testing stages); but, what I have seen so far, it is fantastic. This site is an excellent example of how we will most likely access complex software applications across the internet in the very near future. If you want to go directly into the SUMO Paint application, go to www.sumopaint.com/app

[SUMO Paint – Get It Here]


Beware when the dog barks…

August 23, 2008

WinPatrolis one piece of software on my PC that I will not do without. It is basically my first line of defense against any critical changes made to my computer without my permission. After you install WinPatrol you will notice a little black “Scotty” dog in the system tray. That is confirmation that “Scotty” is on patrol. If any changes occur to the computer (i.e. hijackings, malware attacks, etc.), Scotty will actually bark and a dialogue box will appear alerting you that a change is about to take place AND what or where the change is occurring. You then have an option of accepting the change or not. Keep in mind, some of the things that Scotty alerts you to may be OK (i.e. software installs). WinPatrol can also be used to monitor, stop and control Windows services, detect and review new auto-startup programs and monitor IE home and search pages. I have been using WinPatrol on my computer for years. I highly recommend this software. There is a FREE version as well as a PLUS version. WinPatrol is coded By Bill Pytlovany, who also maintains a blog called “BillP Studios Spyware Blog” (click here).

[WinPatrol – GET IT HERE]


A Windows “Updater” Alternative…

August 20, 2008

This blog post is sort of “techie” in nature; but, I felt a need to do a write-up on an application that recently saved the day for me. If you are on a dial-up connection you probably have noticed that when Microsoft sends out the monthly operating system updates and/or the updates for Microsoft Office (if you have it installed); your internet connection speed can be affected and/or it takes you forever to ultimately receive the updates. Another scenario is that your computer crashes, you do a complete restore and now you have to download all of the updates all over again (very time consuming). Another scenario is that your Windows updates become corrupted and the updater is not working properly or one of the updates from Microsoft is basically dead in the water… Well there is a solution that may assist you in each of the scenarios. It is called “AutoPatcher“…

I recently put AutoPatcher to task on a computer (Vista) that my Dad recently purchased. My Dad lives in the land of “no technology” and his “dial-up” connection is slow, very slow… In order to bring his computer up to speed with the Windows Updates, which totaled a couple hundred megabytes, I downloaded/installed the “AutoPatcher Updater” on my computer (broadband connection), which allowed me to grab whatever updates I wanted. In my case, the AutoPatcher Updater software walked me through a process of grabbing all of the past updates to present time. I then burned the entire package to a CD and simply started the AutoPatcher software on his computer to install all of the Windows updates. I also turned “off” his Windows Update notifications and will periodically perform this process again with AutoPatcher. As I mentioned previously, this is “techie” software and I recommend you review the information on their website thoroughly… Really it is not that hard to do…  

Special thanks to my Information Technology friend, Bill; for giving me the idea for this post.

Description of AutoPatcher from the website:

What is AutoPatcher?

AutoPatcher could be described as an offline Windows Update. AutoPatcher provides an interface to a large collection of updates, common applications and registry tweaks, that can be easily and quickly applied to your computer system.

What are the advantages of AutoPatcher over Windows Update?

The main advantage is that you just have to do one download in order to have all the patches and add-ons, such as Sun Java, MSN Messenger 7.x and Windows Media Player 10. If you have many computers or if you format your computer frequently, it saves both time and bandwidth. With AutoPatcher, you can install critical patches offline, eliminating the risk of getting infected while using Windows Update. You can also come in handy when updating a friends PC, if he/she can’t access the Internet (or uses a narrowband connection).

[AutoPatcher – GET IT HERE]


Backup or Cry…

August 15, 2008

Early on in my career as an IT Manager I learned very quickly the importance of having a strategy in place to perform data backups. Most home based computer users don’t understand the importance of this, but will install firewalls and software to prevent viruses, malware, adware, hijackers, rootkits, trojans etc., yet the biggest threat out there is ourselves, because there are no backup strategies in place. You have to keep in mind, a computer is an appliance and like all appliances, it will fail. It is also a “give me” with computers that on at least one occasion during your ownership of the computer, you will have to get those factory restore disks out (if you have them) and restore the computer back to the original factory specs. You may stand back and say, “Ok, so what if I lose my files, no big deal, I don’t have anything on my computer that important.” Tell me that when it happens. I have actually seen people get that look of anxiety on their face, and cry. There are many software solutions and strategies available to perform backups, which I am not going to get into; however, if you want a simple solution to backup the files most important to you (ie. Photos, Documents, Music) I suggest you purchase an external hard drive to store your backup files and use a “Freeware” program called IdleBackup. Once you install and setup IdleBackup to backup your files, the backups will occur (unattended) at pre-determined intervals when your computer is idle. The author of IdleBackup has been diligently making adjustments to the software, to ensure a quality product. IdleBackup is currently part of my backup strategy on my computer. Listed are some of the basic features of the software:

  • Easy to use backup program for both novice and advanced user.
  • Manual or Automatic backup (with a set interval time) during idle time of the computer.
  • Easy restore, select directories and/or files to restore (with mirror backup).
  • 3 Backup modes: Mirror, Full Backup Zipped, and Sequential Backup Zipped

[IdleBackup – GET IT HERE]


Looking for a good web email service?

August 14, 2008

Inbox.com

I just found one… InBox.com

Inbox.com offers its users FREE 5GB* webmail account with online data storage, fast web & mail search, spam & virus protection, user friendly design & functions and is completely advertisement free. This is only a sample of what the service has to offer. If need be, you can upgrade from the FREE 5GB account to a 30 GB account for $29.88 a year ($2.50 per month).

Inbox’s primary components are:

Email
Photo Sharing
File Storage
Organizer (PIM)
Notes

Additional components available:

Own Customizable Homepage
Access to News, Games, Screensavers, ECards
Email Notifier
Browser Toolbar
Skinnable Interface

After setting up my account and really exploring the site, I opted to go with the basics with this service, avoiding the toolbar and email notifier… The email component, on a broadband connection, is fast, very attractive (skinnable) and interfaces very well with the other components the service provides. When you log into your account to check the mail, a tip of the day window will appear, and then the email component of the service will slide up from the bottom of your screen (pretty cool looking). I recommend after you setup an account that you go into the “Settings” tab to setup your spam protection, photo sharing, etc. I currently have my InBox account setup to harvest emails from my ISP’s Pop3 email account.

I checked around the internet to try and find some reviews on the service and found at “Top Ten Reviews” , a consumer research service, a side-by-side comparison of web email services was conducted and Inbox.com was rated #2… [SEE REVIEWS HERE]

My personal findings thus far is that InBox.com is now on my PC… : )

[Inbox.com – GET IT HERE]


Windows Vista Compatibility Center…

August 12, 2008

Had a IT friend of mine email me this morning indicating that he installed the Windows Vista Operating System and was inquiring if I had any suggestions…  As I mentioned in a previous post, titled “Which Operating System?  Vista or XP“,  the bottom line is just make sure you have the machine to handle the operating system.  Well, this motivated me to explore around and I came across the “Windows Vista Compatibility Center which may be of benefit to those who are either upgrading or have purchased a new computer; and, you want to make sure your devices are compatible or not.  Please note that the compatibility center was in “beta” (testing) at the time/date of this post.

[WINDOWS VISTA COMPATIBILITY CENTER – GET IT HERE]


PC Mags – Top 100 Undiscovered Web Sites

August 11, 2008

Be sure to visit PC Magazine’s “Top 100 Undiscovered Web Sites” for 2008.  Each year, a team of PC Magazine editors, bloggers, and analysts assembles to find the best Web sites of the year.  I found a link at PCMag.com that will take you directly to a tiled display listing of the sites.  Click on the graphic to visit the site.


New Blog Addition – Software Apps (mostly freeware)

August 11, 2008

The concept behind the “What’s on my PC…” blog is to provide computer information & technology for the computer user by presenting software (primarily freeware), cool web sites, gadgets and anything else that I may have personally tested, currently use, and found to be a quality experience. If it is something that I think another person may want to use or would like to know about, it is the objective of this blog to share and promote that information. With this being said, I am continuing to build upon the blog and most recently added the “Software Apps” tab at the top, which features software (mostly freeware) that I have installed on my computer. The page is currently under construction.  Future plans is to add a “Portable Apps” page which will feature software that I use on my flash drive.


No doghouse for me this year with “ReSnooze”…

August 7, 2008

Us guys… really have a hard time remembering events; especially, the personal and important ones, like birthdays and anniversaries. My anniversary just came up and with a little help from a web site I came across, I remembered our anniversary (or at least she thinks I did). No doghouse for me this year… About the only true event I remember is when to eat.

If you are someone who needs assistance with remembering events; whether it is daily, weekly or monthly you have to try “ReSnooze”. “ReSnooze” is currently in “beta”, which means that it is in the testing stages. There are many types of “PIM Software” (personal information managers) available out there which you can set to provide you with calendaring reminders, but with “ReSnooze”, it is an easy, down & dirty way to go; PLUS, you don’t have to install any software. If you have an internet connection and an email account, you are good to go.

What exactly is “ReSnooze”?

Here are excerpts directly from the web site:

Have you ever emailed yourself something just to keep it in mind?

Resnooze makes the process or “emailing yourself” easier.
By default, Resnooze reminders are periodical so you won’t forget them even if you ignore one. With Resnooze, you can adjust the reminder frequency in a single click, from within the email message.

Use Resnooze for bookmarking:

  • Don’t have time to read an interesting article right now? Resnooze it!
  • Unlike other bookmarking methods, with Resnooze you won’t forget to actually visit the site you have bookmarked.

Resnooze makes email reminders hassle-free:

  • Absolutely zero configuration for the default weekly reminder
  • Cancel or change frequency in a single click from your email
  • Set reminders for (confirmed) friends
  • With Resnooze, you’ll have to make much less unnecessary and annoying decisions about reminder details

[ReSnooze – GET IT HERE]


Dictionary – Noun, ‘dikshu neree

August 4, 2008
  1. A reference book containing an alphabetical list of words with information about them

Now that we have the definition of the word “dictionary”; how often do you actually use one? Most of us use the built in spellchecker, in our word processing software to correct spelling errors; but, many times we do not take the time to look up a word to ensure it fits in with the context of the sentence. Pulling a dictionary off the shelf, leafing through the pages, is a time consuming task, which the majority of us will not do. Using a dictionary on a regular basis is definitely a way to broaden your vocabulary and enhance your writing skills.

So what are our options??? I currently use 2 different versions of dictionary software that I feel are very, very good and most importantly are FREE!!! You may ask, why do I have 2 different software version? One I have installed (WordWeb Dictionary) on my computer and the other (TheSage’s Dictionary) is portable and is installed on my flash drive. Below is a description of both.

WordWeb Free Version

WordWeb is a one-click English thesaurus and dictionary for Windows that can look up words in almost any program. It works off-line, but can also look up words in web references such as the Wikipedia encyclopedia. Features of the free version include:

Definitions and synonyms
Proper nouns
Related words
Pronunciations
150 000 root words
120 000 synonym sets
Look up words in almost any program

TheSage’s English Dictionary and Thesaurus

A Comprehensive and Easy-to-use Language Reference System

TheSage’s English Dictionary and Thesaurus is a professional software package that integrates a complete dictionary and multifaceted thesaurus of the English language into a single and powerful language reference system.

TheSage can look up words directly from almost any program (IE, Word, Firefox, Outlook, Thunderbird,… ) and is 100% portable.


What is “Flash”?

August 1, 2008

Adobe Flash (previously called Shockwave Flash and Macromedia Flash) is a set of multimedia software developed and distributed by Adobe Systems and earlier by Macromedia. Since its introduction in 1996, Flash has become a popular method for adding animation and interactivity to web pages. Flash is commonly used to create animation, advertisements, and various web page components, to integrate video into web pages, and more recently, to develop rich Internet applications.

It is fascinating to me, being an explorer of software applications, that I can access applications across the internet. “Flash” is software that enables this to happen. To access flash-based applications, you need the Adobe Flash Player. Adobe Flash Player is the high-performance, lightweight, highly expressive client runtime that delivers powerful and consistent user experiences across major operating systems, browsers, mobile phones, and device

Reflected are some of my favorite flash-based websites. If you are unable to access these sites, it is most likely you need the Adobe Flash Player.

  • Flash Earth – explore satellite and aerial imagery of the earth from multiple sources, including NASA, Microsoft and more inside a single Flash- based interface.
  • KuKu Klok – online alarm clock designed to wake you up.
  • Flash Chess III – online chess game. There is also a downloadable version.
  • World Clock 2008 – an accurate world time clock capable of showing time anywhere in the world.
  • Floor Planner – Floor Planner is the easiest, quickest, and best looking way to create and share interactive floorplans. Using point-and-click, drag-and-drop tools, you can make your floor plan in minutes, and rearrange it as often as you want. You can set up an account and according to the web site, Floor Planner is free for personal use.
  • eCalc – if you need a calculator in a pinch, this is the one to use. It is available in a “Basic” or “Scientific” version. Features an Unit Converter, Equation Solver, Scientific Functions, Complex Numbers, Decimal to Fraction, RPN or Algebraic and it is 100 % FREE..