Each week, What’s On My PC, features recent (within the past 7 days) links to articles that are authored by the blog owners who are associated with the What’s On My PC blogroll community (at the sidebar of the blog). If you are someone who has that special obsession for computers and information technology, I highly encourage you to bookmark these blogs and make Geek Squeaks’ part of your weekly routine.
Here is a software application, called Free Sound Recorder, that may be very useful in the event you need (for example) to save a cassette tape to a CD or a LP to a CD (or to your computer).
Here is how it works: Any sound that you can pass through your sound card, Free Sound Recorder can capture it and convert it (to MP3, WMA or WAV format). In my testing I took a voice recorder (with sound already recorded on it); connected a 3.5 mm male-to-male cable to the earphone jack on the voice recorder and to the line-in jack on the computer and used Free Sound Recorder to capture the audio. The end result was quite impressive. You may need a different type of cable in the event you are capturing audio from a different type of device (e.g. cassette player, LP player, etc…).
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.
Main Features of Free Sound Recorder
Allows you to record audio into MP3, WMA or WAV format directly.
Allows you to pre-define audio recording qualities to help quickly set and manage recording parameters.
Built-in advanced audio record engine to produce high quality recording.
Allows you to preset/preview your audio recording device before starting record.
Build-in WMA WAV MP3 decoder.
If you are an avid chess player, then you will appreciate SparkChess (flashChess III).
The “cool factor” here is that you do not need to install any software to play this 3D online chess game. SparkChess (flashChess III) is a cloud application, meaning the game can be played straight from your web browser. This cloud app is Adobe Flash Player based, is very attractive in appearance and really serves one goal; AND, that is to make you a better chess player. Even if you do not play chess, I encourage you to visit SparkChess (flashChess III) to get a good look at how interactive applications, such as SparkChess, will look like as we continue to evolve in the direction of cloud based computing.
To play SparkChess (flashChess III), click [ HERE ] .
To visit the main web site of SparkChess (flashChess III), click [HERE]. Please Note this upcoming change, as reflected on the web site: Same game, new name – we’re rebranding: with the next release, flashCHESS will be known as SparkChess. You’ll still be able to play from either domain – SparkChess.com and flashCHESS3.com
I received an email from the Director of Business Development, for SuperAntiSpyware, that was a reminder that the first week of April (coinciding with “April Fool’s Day”) brings an increase in spyware and malware infections. Also included in this email was 6-(six) tips, that I want to share with you, to remind computer users to be extra vigilant during this period of increased spyware activity.
- Don’t open emails, files or attachments from people you don’t know.
- Be extra cautious opening emails, files or attachments from people you do know.
- Don’t be fooled by “scareware” tactics. Know what software you are using, and familiarize yourself with how it delivers warnings and alerts.
- If you’re considering giving your social networking activities a break, now might be a good time. No one will miss you if you take a week off.
- Stay away from websites that you haven’t visited before. Think before you click!
- Run multiple layers of security software. There are many free and effective solutions that will co-exist well with each other.
If you are looking for another layer of security protection, that will play well (co-exist) with the other security software on your PC, then give SuperAntiSpyware a try!
There are two flavors available: the FREE version [ Get It Here ] and the paid version [ Get It Here ] . The difference between the two is that the paid version provides “realtime” protection, while the FREE version does not include real-time blocking or scheduled scanning. Irregardless of what version you go with, this is a GREAT security software option to have installed on your PC that is endorsed by “What’s On My PC…”
SuperAntiSpyware – Advanced Detection and Removal
- Detect and Remove Spyware, Adware and Remove Malware, Trojans, Dialers, Worms, KeyLoggers, HiJackers, Parasites, Rootkits, Rogue Security Products and many other types of threats.
- Light on System Resources and won’t slow down your computer like many other anti-spyware products. Won’t conflict with your existing anti-spyware or anti-virus solution!
- Repair broken Internet Connections, Desktops, Registry Editing and more with SuperAntiSpyware’s unique Repair System!
I am currently using the developers preview channel of Google Chrome, which is a test version (of new features, coding, etc…) of the Chrome web browser. For the everyday computer user, interested in installing Google Chrome, it is your best bet to stick with the final “tested out” version. If interested, you can get it [ HERE ] . To learn more about Google Chrome, I encourage you to visit [ HERE ] .
Today, I want to share, with you, a tip about changing the default download location in Chrome. When you download files from the internet, using the Google Chrome web browser, you will automatically be directed to download the file(s) to a default download folder (or directory). This is OK with most people; however, if you are a customization geek, like myself, then you may want to change the default download settings to something that is more satisfying and manageable.
To change the default download location in Google Chrome:
- Click on the “Wrench” in the top right corner of the browser and a drop down menu will appear.
- On the dropdown menu, click on “ Options” and a “Google Chrome Options” window will appear.
- At the top of the “Google Chrome Options Window”, click on the tab, “Under The Hood”.
- On the right side of that window use the scrollbar to scroll down to the “Downloads” section.
- Under the “Downloads” section, you are provided option to change the “Download Location” by using the “Browse” button.
- I also recommend that you click on the small box (to place a check mark) that will prompt Chrome to “ask where to save each file before downloading”. This way you can change the download location on the fly, if need be.
- Click on the “Close” button when finished.
At anytime you desire to return to the default settings, simply follow these instruction to get to the “Google Chrome Options” and click on the “Under The Hood” tab and then the “Reset To Defaults” button”.
It is that time again… Geek Squeaks’ is a weekly rundown of links to articles posted from the blogs that are associated with the What’s On My PC blogroll community. If you have a desire to keep up with information technology and computers, then I suggest you make these sites part of your daily routine.
What I have found, as a result of following the software circuit, is that oftentimes software (during its’ lifespan) can end up being over developed and bloated. As a result, the end user becomes frustrated and drops the software in search for something more understandable and simpler. I have found that to be the case with many of the software applications that serve as password managers.
Recently, I was looking for an easy-to-use application to store my usernames and passwords and came across S10 Password Vault. Initially I was skeptical, due I had never heard of this application; however, after a test run I knew I was onto something good.
S10 Password Vault is FREE for personal use, can be run as a PORTABLE APP or a FULL INSTALL, is small in windows size, is not cumbersome, will autotype the usernames and passwords for you, and will generate random passwords if need be. The really “cool factor” to this password vault is that it will work with any program (that requires a username and password) and not just web site accounts. Another thing I found, that I was in search for is, I can use it as a bookmark manager and program launcher, as well (even though it is touted as a password vault). This is especially useful on my flash drive. I commend the author, Sten Herlitz, for developing a really nice (easy-to-use) password vault that is feature enriched and developed with the end user in mind.
Master Password Screen
Folder Hierarchy Example
Features of S10 Password Vault:
Customizable folder/account hierarchy
Launching of websites and programs
Autotypes info in websites and programs
Account matching via window titles
Custom account information fields
System tray icon showing lock state
Quick unlock using partial password
Auto-start when Windows starts
Print capability and “View All” mode
Export URLs to browser Favorites
Compact program (647KB download)
Highly secure 256-bit AES encryption
Single file protected by master password
Optional key file on USB drive
Strong password generation
Foils malicious keyboard loggers
Auto-lock timeout and automatic file backup
Secure synchronization between PCs
Secure folder sharing with other users
A portable version runs on USB drive
Digitally signed – no spyware/adware
No browser plugins or toolbars
Central configuration for businesses
Buying a mobile phone is one of those costly decision-making processes that will either make you or break you. If you are not prepared (and educated) you could ultimately end up in a contract situation with a carrier for a 2 year period with a phone you ultimately are not satisfied with. Personally, I am no expert when it comes to mobile phones; however, it is in my opinion, a lock in for a 2 year period of time, with a phone being used as bait, just does not sound too good to me (from the bargaining standpoint).
One thing I do know about mobile phones is that today they are a member of the information technology family (as a form of an electronic medium) and as with any member of that family you have to do your homework in order to educate yourself and bring yourself up to speed.
Now the beauty of today’s internet is that you can access information on just about everything, including mobile phones. The real beauty though is that today’s internet is evolving into a virtual world (with interactive content) that in essence allows you to manipulate and animate from your chair using a web browser. Once such instance of this technology is a web site called TryPhone.
TryPhone is an online interactive (virtual) web site that emulates various models of mobile phones and gives you the ability to actually take them for a test drive (for free). You can also do “side-by-side” comparisons, watch demos, etc… Remember educate yourself, prior to buying any electronics, AND TryPhone is one way to help educate yourself about mobile phones. TryPhone is currently in beta (the testing stage).
TryPhone gives you the ability to try before you buy. Use our fully interactive online virtual handsets to test-drive mobile devices, applications, content and services, as well as watch demos – right from the comfort and convenience of your own computer. No pressure, no salespeople, no product uncertainty and no features you don’t understand. Try it, then go buy it… on your terms.
When it comes to the Health Insurance Reform topic I am not going to reflect (in my blog) my opinion, how I feel, etc… I would become a victim of blog assassination, if I did. Too much hatred (like road rage) out there for me to do that.
I will tell you this though. I am an observer of people and have been for years. Especially, from a behavioral standpoint. This topic of Healthcare Reform is a major change that will or could have an impact for us all. Again, I’m not revealing my feelings on this, either way… From the behavioral standpoint, at least in my region, I see people talking and talking and talking; but not saying anything. Why? Because they have no idea what they are talking about. It is the same folks who are still looking for those weapons of mass destruction.
One of my favorite sayings is, “believe nothing and verify everything”. In this specific case of Health Insurance Reform, “verify everything”. DO NOT rely on the propaganda of the media to “dumb you down”. The media is a business (of greed & sensationalization), fed by political influences, that relies on stirring up the population to the point of hatred (toward each other) and division (even within our Congress). Our leaders are even afraid to make decisions, because it is “all about me” and “not us” (as a unified country). DO NOT rely on the information that is circulating via the email circuits. If you are, then you are really being taken for a ride.
So before you start talking, pointing fingers, and ready to beat your neighbor up, GET THE FACTS and become an expert of the information; however use good resources. A good starting point for this is the White House [ HERE ] AND [ HERE ] . Again, and I know I may get comments telling me to not trust the White House; BUT, please do not be one of these people that tell me to hate my President, but love thy neighbor. The information I am presenting to you is your starting point to GET THE FACTS, then start digging and just maybe when the talking starts you can GIVE THE FACTS, can realistically debate your concerns; AND, in the end, love your neighbor.
Note: I encourage you to comment and I also encourage you to read the comments that have been posted [ HERE ].
As we and our computers continue to evolve in this wonderful world of computer technology, it is necessary that our awareness is heightened when it comes to protecting sensitive files on our computer. When I say “sensitive files”, I am referring to files that can shed a light about your identity, your financial status, your health, your tax forms, etc… These are files that we hold close to us or should be holding close to us. I have found that most people that use a computer do not take the necessary precautions to manage and protect these files and often forget about the files altogether (which is a really bad thing).
In today’s world, document processing, handling and management is predominantly in electronic formats, in combination with the hardcopy paper formats. What occurs is that we will take the hardcopy paper formats of sensitive documents and we’ll lock them up, often off site (in case the house burns down). Where we fail is when we let the electronic copies out there on our computers. For example, I recently purchased a home; and with any home purchase you are exposed to and presented with sensitive documents that reference the property transfer (i.e. settlement, contracts, etc…). Nearly every document I was presented with was sent electronically to me via email (which is not really a good thing in itself). Eventually I would “print & copy” and end up with a “hard paper copy” for my records; which I ultimately locked up for my eyes to see only. Where I could have failed is if I did not take the necessary precautions to “lock down” those files on my PC. Really, what’s the sense of locking up the “paper hard copies” when the electronic copies are laying there on your PC for anyone to see. This is especially problematic if your PC is victim to an internet malware attack and your sensitive files are now being literally stolen.
Some things to consider:
1.) If you maintain sensitive files on your PC, keep them in one folder on your PC. You can call that folder “Lock Box”. Under the “Lock Box” folder you can have sub-folders that contain the sensitive documents. For example, you may have a folder called “Tax Forms”. The reason for the “one folder” concept is that this makes management of the files easy (and in one place).
2.) Routinely copy your lockbox folder to a flash drive or CD/DVD. Take that copy and lock it up (preferably off site away from your house). If you use an online file storage option, I strongly encourage to use encryption software (as reflected in step 3).
3.) Now the most important part. Encrypt your “Lock Box” folder on your PC using encryption software. There are numerous third party options out there.
What do I use for this purpose? Recently a fellow blogger at the “Crazy World of G” exposed an open source “FREE” encryption program, called AxCrypt that will get the job done. I have used AxCrypt for years and it has not let me down yet. The one really “cool factor” that I like about AxCrypt is that I can encrypt my folders and files and convert them to an “exe” (executable) file format. Files encrypted and converted into the “exe” format allows me to take the file anywhere; however, to open the file requires a password. I thank the “Crazy World of G” for motivating me to write about protecting our senstive files and using AxCrypt to get-r-done!
AxCrypt is the leading open source file encryption software for Windows. It integrates seamlessly with Windows to compress, encrypt, decrypt, store, send and work with individual files.
We have received 1,756,691 registrations, so it is tried and proven!
Right-click integration with Windows Explorer makes AxCrypt the easiest way to encrypt individual files in Windows.
Double-click integration makes it as easy to open, edit and save encrypted files as it is to work with unencrypted files.
Many additional features, but no configuration required, just install it and use it.
AxCrypt encrypts files that are safely and easily sent to other users via e-mail or any other means. Self-decrypting files are also supported, removing the need to install AxCrypt to decrypt.
AxCrypt is translated into English, Danish, Swedish, German, Dutch, Hungarian, Spanish, French, Italian and Norwegian so chances are it speaks your preferred language.
I have found that locating specific files and folders on the computer can be a daunting task; especially if you rely on the Windows based search function which is driven by an index. Windows typically uses the index as a repository (or database listing) of your files and folders. Indexing is a beautiful (and fast) process providing that the file (or folder) you are looking for is listed in the index. If your file and folder is not in the index then the search process is noticeably slower and in my opinion can be a frustrating experience.
Personally, I use the Windows search process only when I have to; otherwise I resort to a third party software option such as UltraSearch. The “cool factor” with UltraSearch is that it does not rely on indexing; instead it relies on the Master File Table (MFT) to spit out its’ results. In my testing this app was very easy to use and was incredibly fast for being a non-indexing search application. Another plus is that there is a portable version available, as well as a full install version, that you can use straight from your flash drive. The only condition to using this app on your PC is that your drives must be formatted using the NTFS file system (which is a Windows standard these days). There are other file (and folder) search apps out there, but this one ranks up there with being blazingly fast. The current version of UltraSearch is in beta and can be downloaded from [ HERE ] .
UltraSearch searches files on local NTFS drives and provides the results within just a few seconds. UltraSearch does not use a previously built index or background process, it achieves its speed by working directly on the Master File Table (MFT) of the NTFS partitions. You can enter a file name or a pattern like *.exe and often will see the results already while typing. Additional information like size and last change date will be shown for the listed files. Moreover, the Explorer context menu is available inside UltraSearch.
This is a one year celebration of Geek Squeaks’. If you have a burning desire to learn about information technology and computers, then you are at the right place. Each week What’s On My PC features articles (from the past week) that have been composed by bloggers that are associated with the What’s On My PC blogroll. I encourage you to visit these blogs and better yet, click on the “Geek Squeaks” category at the side of the blog to get a rundown of articles for the past year.
One of the functions that I serve in my Church is that of the Multimedia Director, with the primary responsibility of preparing and building hymn and sermon slides that provide a visual experience to the congregation. The toughest part of the building process, which often consists of 50 or more slides, is locating resources for graphics, photos, and backgrounds that will coincide with a particular hymn or sermon message.
Today I hit a goldmine of a site (that will assist me with locating graphic content) that is not only visually appealing, but is (in my opinion) one of the coolest flash web sites out there. It is called Tag Galaxy…
Here’s how it works… Visit Tag Galaxy [ Here ] . Enter the type of graphic you are looking for (where it says “enter initial tag”) and click on “Go”. For example, I entered in the word “Praise”. The site will magically evolve into a galaxy of other relevant tags (or planets).
In my case I clicked on the “Praise” planet and the site again evolves into a sphere (or globe) that is composed of the photos it finds on Flickr. You can rotate the sphere (or globe) by holding down your left mouse button and using your mouse pointer. You can select individual photos on the sphere (or globe) by clicking on them with your mouse pointer or you can reload the sphere (or globe) with more photos by clicking on the arrows at the top of the page. Using your scroll wheel on your mouse you can zoom in and out on the sphere.
If you are looking for an utility that will literally save your PC’s butt, then Comodo Time Machine may be the answer you are looking for. What this innovative utility does is take snapshots of your PC and archives those snapshots so that if you experience a computer problem (like a malware or virus attack), you simply revert back in time to one of the snapshots you had previously taken. In other words, if you mess up your PC and you have the Comodo Time Machine software installed, you can go back in time to restore your PC to a previous good state.
Comodo Time Machine (CTM) is a powerful system rollback utility that allows users to quickly restore their computers to an earlier point in time. CTM ‘snapshots’ are a complete record of your entire system (including the registry, critical operating system files and user created documents). As part of a layered security strategy, users can schedule automatic snapshots to be taken at regular intervals then roll back to the last known working state in the event of virus attacks or crashes. It is also recommended practice to take snapshots of your computer before large installations or system maintenance like installing a Windows service pack, security updates or new drivers. Software Developers and testers can easily restore test systems to the default configuration after each deployment without the need to manually uninstall each application. Home users can even let the kids run amok on the family PC for an afternoon and be safe in the knowledge that any damage can be instantly undone and all files recovered.
Comodo Time Machine is an excellent replacement for the “System Restoration” function that is built into Windows. As a matter of fact, on my main PC, I turned “off” the Windows Restore utility, to reclaim disk space, and started using Comodo Time Machine as my main PC restore (rollback) utility. Comodo Time Machine is a much more capable restore utility than the restoration function that is built into Windows; AND, what I find amazing is that there is no excessive disk usage bloat (like with Windows Restore). This utility, when properly managed, could be a lifesaver to you. I am now using Comodo Time Machine, on my main PC, as a layer of protection in conjunction with my disk imaging and backup software.
- Schedule automatic snapshots to be taken at regular intervals
- Roll back to the last known working state in the event of virus attacks or crashes
- Take snapshots of your computer before large installations or system maintenance
It also comes in very handy when I am testing software. I simply install/test the software; then, instead of uninstalling the software, I revert back in time, using the Comodo Time Machine. If you have multiple users (like kids) using one PC, this software may help you keep your sanity.
I am not going to get into all of the capabilities of the Comodo Time Machine; however, I highly recommend that you read the “User Guide” [ Click Here ] before you make the decision to use the software. Personally, from what I can attest thus far; Comodo Time Machine is a great innovation and is what the Windows restoration should be.
Why should I use Comodo Time Machine?
- Easy to use – even beginners can quickly create system snapshots with a few mouse clicks
- Provides instant and comprehensive system recovery after virus or spyware infections
- Instantly reclaim your machine after devastating system crashes
- Rollback the changes to ALL your documents – not just changes to system files and the registry
- Boot-up console allows you to rollback even when your system will not boot to Windows
- Test new software and network configurations in the knowledge that you can quickly switch back if problems develop
- Completely remove unwanted software installations without the need to uninstall or clean the registry
- Flexible restore options allow you to mount and browse snapshots to recover individual files or folders
- Right click on any file or folder to synchronize it with a snapshot version
- Schedule regular system snapshots to ensure highly relevant restore points
- Network administrators have another way to quickly fix user or software problems
- Libraries, Internet cafes and other publicly shared networks can schedule a total system restore at the end of each session
Supported Operating Systems:
Windows 7 (32 and 64 bit)
Windows Vista (32 and 64 bit)
Windows XP with service pack 2
or higher (32 and 64 bit)
Windows Server 2003
(32 and 64 bit)
Windows Server 2008
(32 and 64 bit. Except Windows Server 2008 Core)
Intel Pentium III Processor or higher
128 MB RAM
Free disk space:
4 GB (minimum) / 10 GB (recommended)