Friday, May 30, 2008

Freeware - Goodies

Great Security Tool: FIR 1.0.3 convert any of your files into picture :

The picture above, created by FIR 100, contains four files: the help files for FIR 100: FIR_help.html and FIR_demo.gif, and the FIR_demo.gif in turn contains the program icon file: fir48.ico and a readme.txt file.

Tiny Song - type in a song title and generate a Tiny Link to it:

Open Access Publishing:

The Virtual Machine Shop:

Free Printable Checklists & Charts for Families! A Checklist is All You Need -). Part of My ParenTime's Family Community:

Read The Words. easy to use platform, that allows users alternative methods to process written information: must register, but use a throw-away email address. This proggie was used, today, to post on this BLOG. It's fast, intuitive and works very well. I can imagine this used for communication with those that have disabilities.

Audio Recorder for Free 10.9: - Want to save cassette to cd?
Want to save lp to CD?
Want to listen to the songs on your old cassettes and records on your mp3 player?
Want to record streaming Internet audio or video broadcasts or webcasts of any kind? Want to record audio or video sounds from DVD, Windows Media Player, RealPlayer or other software? Want to accomplish all this with a very easy-to-use interface
-Download here:

Update. Foxit PDF Reader 2.3.2923:

Audio Message; test of SPCUG announcement.

The list of course topics for the BASIC series is on our web site at:
The reservation phone number, again, is: 360-452-9550

Take a deep breath when helping your parents with computer problems

By Rafe Needleman, CNET Editor

We know it can be infuriating to help your parents with technology. Sometimes, all they have to do is move the mouse, and you're 13 years old again: frustrated, small, and resentful. Your parents can push all your buttons--after all, they installed them.

But you can't help them install digital camera software if you're impatient or short with them. Teaching the previous generation things that are second nature to you is difficult in any circumstance, even more so when you're dealing with your parents. Here are some tips to bridge the generation gap.

  • Do no harm. You might be tempted to help them by tweaking their computer to work the way yours does. Don't. Your parents might have a reason for their different way of doing things, and even if they don't, they might just be used to it. To really help, adapt yourself to their computers and don't force them to work like you do.

  • Listen and learn. Your parents may do the same things with the computer or the Internet that you do but in a different way. And they may call it different things. Yahoo may be "the Web." Microsoft Word might just be called "Microsoft." This isn't the time to correct them. Learn their lingo and explain things in terms they already use.

  • Don't think you know more than they do. Age is not a handicap when dealing with computers. You may be surprised how adept an octogenarian is with instant messaging, Quicken, photo sharing, or even Doom 3. Experience and wisdom can breed stubbornness, and it can also breed flexibility. Just try to understand the issue from the other perspective.


Security News
Beware of the IRS Stimulus Check scam. Phishers are sending out emails that look like they came from the IRS and calling on the phone claiming they need additional info or for you to click a link to get your check. The IRS says that they do not correspond with anyone via email and that it's a scam.  If you should receive this email or other IRS scams please forward to:

Thursday, May 29, 2008

The Latest Sysinternals

Here's all the most recent SysInternal programs in one easy place.


RegToy is a collection of useful utilities: tweaking, window manager, shell context menu, registry cleaner, file renamer, screen capture, memory cleaner, disk cleaner, much more.
Release Date: 2008-05-20

Submit Date: 2008-05-20

OS: Win XP/2003/Vista
Size: 1.59MB

Wednesday, May 28, 2008


SCB’s radio station will broadcast music of the ’40s, ’50s, ’60s, and beyond and produce local programming that is relevant to the population of our area, to include local news and weather as well as community and school events

Rename pics, security warning, on line storage, etc.

Rename multiple photos -
If you take a bunch of pictures of, let's say, your cousin Jane's wedding, your digital camera will probably name them something like DSCN0001, DSCN0002 and so forth. Not very helpful when you want to go back and find them later. But renaming all 432 pictures individually can be a hassle. With XP, you don't have to. Here's how to rename them all at once:

1. Open the folder where the photos are stored.
2. Select View | Thumbnails so you can see where the wedding pictures end and the photos of Aunt Susie's cat begin.
3. Select the first wedding picture, then hold down the Shift key and click the last wedding picture to also select all those in between.
4. Right click the first selected photo and select Rename.
5. Give the group a name, such as Wedding - Jane and Bob.
6. XP will add a number to subsequent photos so that they're named "Wedding - Jane and Bob_1," etc.

Don't click that tiny URL unless you know and trust the sender

Tiny URL ( is a convenient tool for trimming those long, long web addresses down to size when you want to send them to others. This is helpful because often if you paste a super-sized address into an email message, it wraps around and only part of it becomes a hyperlink, so that the recipient can't click on it and go to the site.

However, some spammers and malware disseminators are (mis)using Tiny URL to disguise their spam sites and phishing sites, so it's important not to click on a link with the domain unless you know and trust the sender.

Troubleshooting "Network cable is unplugged" error message

If you get the error message "A network cable is unplugged" when using an Ethernet connection, it may be that the cable is in fact unplugged. But there are also several other conditions that can cause this message - if you've checked and found that the cable is actually plugged in securely, check out KB article 910389 at

Prices for on line storeage of DATA:

Eleven Online Storage & Data Backup Services - Access You Data Anytime & Anywhere!


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Need more than 50GB of online storage? Soon we will offer competitively priced storage packages to meet all of data storage needs. Check back for updates to our additional storage plans following the beta stage of
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We are working hard to deliver the best features for our valued users. Some of the enhanced features that will soon be released include:
Personalized Snapshots
Retrieve older versions of your files using snapshot technology. Schedule your own snapshots to backup and protect your stored data.
ADrive Desktop Client
Upload your files to ADrive directly from your desktop, just drag and drop.

A list of more than 80 of the leading file hosting services, many of which are completely free.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Smoking and Computing do not mix. have to click on image for the FULL-SIZED banner.

TaG Galaxy

Search for images dealing with the tax you enter. The images are manipulated with your mouse on a globe, and if one gets your attention you can zoom in on it. Good graphical interface, but you can drown your time with this one.

the RESEARCH CHANNEL; Information Technology

Lots of other subjects, of course. Check out the main site at:

Explore more than 3,500 titles available online —
Arts and Humanities | Business and Economics | Computer Science and Engineering
Health and Medicine | K-12 and Education | Sciences | Social Sciences

Internet Archive; TEXTS

Hundreds of thousands of books, including American and Canadian Libraries, Open Source Books, Project Gutenberg (20+ thousand books,here...), Heritage Library, Children's Library, etc.

Free to read, download, print, and enjoy.

256 Gig FLASH drive

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Baen Free Library

Baen Books is now making available — for free — a number of its titles in electronic format. We're calling it the Baen Free Library. Anyone who wishes can read these titles online — no conditions, no strings attached. (Later we may ask for an extremely simple, name & email only, registration. ) Or, if you prefer, you can download the books in one of several formats. Again, with no conditions or strings attached. (URLs to sites which offer the readers for these format are also listed. )

I've downloaded quite a few of these over the years, free of course!

3D picture

I borrowed Uncle Bob's slide adapter for my tripod, and made a few test shots at El Rancho Cheapo. You will need your cyan-red, 3D glasses for this, of course.

Buy glasses on line.
As always, click on picture for full sized image.

Surveillance and other topics related to Nanotechnology

Videos about Privacy at: This site deals with NANOTECHNOLOGY and has other, interesting videos of panels of experts.

More, free, online storage

Free, fast, easy. 5 Gigs of free space. Upload and share a single file or a FOLDER. Search files that have been shared publicly. 30 day subscription term...use it or loose it. 100MB maximum upload file size

Friday, May 23, 2008


UltimateDefrag is revolutionary defrag software that not only lets you defrag, but also considers a more important phenomenon, and that is, the placement of files and folders on your hard drive. With UltimateDefrag you can place the files you want the best performance from onto the faster areas of your hard drive and also get all of your unused data right out of the way and repositioned onto the slower areas of your hard drive in order to make way for the data that you want to place in the “hot” sections of your hard drive where performance is greatest. Site:  Download:
Works with: Windows XP/Vista

Rogue/Suspect Anti-Spyware Products, System Mechanic, etc.

1. Rogue/Suspect Anti-Spyware:

2. Highest quality system & security tools for everyday use.:

3. Lolo is giving away their System Mechanic 6 to promote System Mechanic 7. They are also giving away their Anti-Virus.    SM6 is compatible with Windows 98 so I gave it a try. You must have cookies enabled to get it because it's a shopping cart/checkout system which uses a cookie to tell it what is in your cart. You can download it (12meg) for free or order a CD and pay shipping and handling.

4. 90 Online File Storage Services:

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Free, Reliable Wi-Fi Security

Hotspot Shield

While you're enjoying your latte and a bagel, some hacker might be accessing your passwords, credit card numbers, sensitive company data and much more. And standard antivirus software won't protect you. 

That's why AnchorFree is pleased to offer Hotspot Shield. This free security software keeps your Internet connection secure at public hotspots, home or work.

100% Security Through a VPN

Hotspot Shield creates a virtual private network (VPN) between your laptop and the wireless router. This impenetrable tunnel prevents snoopers and hackers from viewing your email, instant messages, credit card information or anything else you send over a wireless network. Which means you remain anonymous and protect your privacy.

Hotspot Shield security software is free to download, employs the latest VPN technology, and is easy to install and use. So go ahead - Get behind the Shield - try Hotspot Shield today!

Hotspot Shield runs on:

  • Windows Vista
  • Windows XP
Download this FREEBIE at:

Erasing TEMP files in VISTA


If you've recently done a lot of editing or something that generates large temporary files, you may want to manually clean up. Just type in %TEMP% into the start menu search box, and hit enter. You'll immediate be taken to the temporary files folder, where you can delete whatever you feel like.

Visualization of DATA; Digg

Real time posts. This site has several examples of visualization tools to show data activity.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Corrupted Windows Updates

If  you get a corrupted or incomplete download from Windows Update, it cn be a problem.  Run and launch Services.msc.  Find the item named Automatic Updates.  Double click it to pen Properties, then click the Stop button, then leave Properties window open.  Lunch Windows Explorer (Ctrl-E), and go to C:\windows folder.  Find folder named SoftwareDistribution.  Rename this folder SoftwareDistribution.old.  NOW...go back to Properties window and click the Start button to restart the Automatic Updates service.  This should fix it.  At the next update, your Windows will get the necessary files, and hopefully all will be complete and uncorrupted this time.

FREE...Yes, free software tools and utilities from PC World

PC World's Free downloads. See the list of categories for all their downloads.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Photo Story 3 from Microsoft; FREE

Bring your digital photos to life with
Photo Story 3 for Windows.

Create sideshows using your digital photos. With a single click, you can touch-up, crop, or rotate pictures. Add stunning special effects, soundtracks, and your own voice narration to your photo stories. Then, personalize them with titles and captions. Small file sizes make it easy to send your photo stories in an e-mail. Watch them on your TV, a computer, or a Windows Mobile–based portable device.


Tech meme RSS feed added to LEFT column

Another, excellent feed. Go directly to feed site if you like:

BTW (By the way)...if a LINK is not hot (active) in a post, you should practice your cutting and pasting to paste the URL in the post into your browser. I will leave this up to you. I use Ctrl-C to cut and Ctrl-V to paste.

Monday, May 19, 2008

PC WIZARD 2008 is also an utility designed to analyze and benchmark your computer system FREE

Since 1996 PC WIZARD is among the most advanced system information programs on the market. PC WIZARD 2008 is a powerful utility designed especially for detection of hardware, but also some more analysis. It's able to identify a large scale of system components and supports the latest technologies and standards. This tool is periodically updated (usually once per month) in order to provide most accurate results.

PC WIZARD 2008 is also an utility designed to analyze and benchmark your computer system. It can analyze and benchmark many kinds of hardware, such as CPU performance, Cache performance, RAM performance, Hard Disk performance, CD/DVD-ROM performance, Removable/FLASH Media performance, Video performance, MP3 compression performance.

PC WIZARD 2008 can be distributed freely (ftp, archives, CD-ROMs ...).

I've used all their programs and they work quite well, check out the other's on their website.

How to reduce the size of pictures for emailing

Picture files are often large, and you may want to reduce the file size before you send them to others as email attachments. There are a number of software programs that will do this, but here's the easiest way and it doesn't require any extra software:
  1. Save the pictures you want to send in your My Pictures folder.
  2. In the My Pictures folder, select the one(s) you want to email and highlight them.
  3. In the File and Folder Tasks pane on the left side, select Email This File or Email The Selected Items.
  4. When the Send Pictures via Email dialog box appears, select Make all my pictures smaller and click OK. You can click Show More Options in the bottom left corner of the box if you want to specify the size for the files (small, medium or large).
  5. Click OK and XP will create a new message in your default mail client, reduce the size of the pictures and attach them to the message. Type in the recipient's address, subject and a message (the last is optional) and click Send

This is a common item for newbies. More common how-tos will appear here as they emerge. - tp

Sunday, May 18, 2008


CDBurnerXP version

This is the BEST CD DVD burner I've used all year, easy to use and it's free!

CDBurnerXP is a free application to burn CDs and DVDs, including Blu-Ray and HD-DVDs.
It also includes the feature to burn and create ISOs, as well as a
multilanguage interface. Everyone, even companies, can use it for free. It does not
include adware or similar malicious components.

Key Features

* burn all kinds of discs

* audio-CDs with or without gaps between tracks

* burn and create ISO files

* data verification after burning process

* create bootable discs

* multi-language interface

* bin/nrg → ISO converter, simple cover printing and much more!

* Operating Systems: Windows 2000/XP/2003 Server/Vista

CD/DVD burning program DeepBurner Free Portable

License Type: Free
Price: Free
Date Added: Apr 2008
Operating Systems: Windows 98, Windows 2000, Windows Me, Windows XP
Requirements: CD or DVD burner
File Size: 3003KB
Downloads Count: 4246
Author: Astonsoft Ltd.
This effective, but limited, CD/DVD burning program is portable so you can run it from a flash drive.

DeepBurner Free Portable is one of the programs I never do an IT support gig without. If I need to burn off some data to CD/DVD before working on an infected or otherwise sketchy Windows system, all I do is insert the thumb drive I installed it to, click its icon, and I'm ready to burn. Unlike the Pro version of the program, DB Free Portable won't create video or photo discs, but that hardly matters for emergency purposes.

If you're not familiar with "portable" apps, they're portable because they don't rely on the Windows registry for storing settings. Instead they either forgo settings altogether, booting with the default settings each time, or (more likely) save the settings to whatever the directory the program is run from. Reliance on the registry for storing settings and registration info, which started with Windows 95 for maintenance and version control reasons, is why you must reinstall applications whenever you reinstall Windows.

DeepBurner Free Portable burns data discs, as well as ISO images and has worked well for me over several months. It's a program every tech should have in their emergency kit.,70945-order,1-page,1/description.html?tk=nl_ddxdwn

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Friday, May 16, 2008

Global Incident Map

Global Incident Map:


Old tech information to my readers...

In January of 1988, I was self-publishing an area newsletter in San Jose, California, called HOMEWORK. I would trade ad space for paper, copies and printing. I found a copy while sorting through some papers yesterday. On Page 2 of the first issue, I found this:

Technical Information
Our System:
Hardware: AT compatible, 44 meg, 28 ms, Miniscribe HD, 200 dpi hand scanner (The Complete PC), Amdek 1280 x 800 minitor, Logitech mouse. All camera-ready art was printed with ann HP LaserJet II, using HP's expanded memory board (1 meg.)

Wowie. -tp.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Get rid of those temp files at STARTUP

Unfortunately, Disk Cleanup misses certain temp files. To make a little batch file that clears these folders, open Notepad and type the following:

del /s /q "C:\Documents and Settings\yourname\Local Settings\Temp\*.*"

Replace yourname with the name of the account you've logged into and adjust the drive letter or path as needed. Save the file with a .cmd or .bat extension (for example, killtemp.bat) and put the file or a shortcut to it in your Startup group (Start, All Programs, Startup). This way, it will run each time you log in to your Windows account.

My startup folder is here, for example:
C:\Documents and Settings\Tom\Start Menu\Programs\Startup

Hopefully, you will be able to located your settings and temp folder after you have been fooling around with you default folder settings.

Keep XP fresh until Windows 7 arrives

By Scott Dunn

When Windows XP was released, wireless routers were rare, few cell phones supported e-mail, and YouTube was just a gleam in some PayPal employees' eyes.

But like a fabled perpetual motion machine, XP keeps on going and going — and if you follow some simple guidelines, the OS will keep running in top condition until Vista's successor is ready in 2010.

XP is an operating system with serious legs

Microsoft may not have planned it this way, but XP could end up rivaling NT and 2000 as the version of Windows with the longest lifespan. According to recent news reports, Dell, Lenovo, and other computer manufacturers will continue to sell new PCs running Windows XP well past Microsoft's June 30 cutoff date.

PC vendors will do so by invoking a downgrade plan that lets them ship a system with Windows XP installed as long as the customer is also paying for an upgrade to Vista Business or Ultimate editions, either of which is included in each box.

Of course, computer manufacturers aren't the only ones looking for ways to extend XP's usefulness. One pundit has predicted that Microsoft itself is going to fast-track Windows 7 to get customers to leapfrog over the unpopular Vista and go directly from XP to the next version. In fact, according to the technology site Ars Technica, one major American corporation, General Motors, is considering doing just that.

Eight simple rules for keeping XP rejuvenated

If you're one of the many people who plan to stick with XP as long as possible, you need to take a few relatively painless steps to keep that aging OS perky. Here are my eight rules for extending XP's usefulness to 2010 and beyond.

Rule 1: The latest ain't always the greatest. As a rule, older operating systems were designed to work with older software. Unless you need some utterly indispensible feature found only in the latest Adobe Creative Suite or Microsoft Office 2007, stick to the preceding releases. Not only will the senior apps run faster, most of the kinks and bugs have already been worked out of them.

If your hardware and software work fine as is, don't bother upgrading any drivers, either. At the same time, driver upgrades often smooth out minor problems that you've just grown used to.

One way to check for out-of-date device drivers is to use the online scanner from Driver Updates. (Note that using this service requires running an ActiveX component in Internet Explorer.)

Should you discover that one of your drivers is out of date, go to the manufacturer's site to find and download the latest version available (but skip any beta releases). Remember to back up your system before installing the new driver in case it causes problems.

Rule 2: Make an exception for security. Set Rule 1 aside when it comes to your security software and services. Update your virus and spyware definitions frequently. Get the latest security updates for your browser and for QuickTime, Flash, and other media players as well. Some of the dangers of unpatched software are explained in the April 17 Top Story.

Rule 3: Stay young and beautiful. The last exception to Rule 1 is to make a cautious investment in a handful of utilities that improve and modernize XP. You'll find a number of free and low-cost programs that approximate or even duplicate Vista's best new features without having to invest in a whole new operating system.

For a guide to applications that give XP handy features of Vista's Business edition, see my July 12, 2007, column. To read about ways to add features from Vista Enterprise or Ultimate editions to XP, check out my July 19, 2007, column.

Rule 4: Shop carefully for new hardware. If your XP system needs a processor, memory, or other hardware upgrade to keep it from bogging down on your applications, there is no reason why you can't swap out an aging component or add some RAM.

However, since some new components are designed with Vista in mind, make sure the products you buy work as advertised under XP. Check the manufacturers' site for XP driver downloads before you make your purchase, and look for online reviews that mention the products' XP compatibility.

Rule 5: Don't let startup stuff slow you down. It seems like every program you install these days wants to start along with Windows. These auto-start apps are usually represented by an icon in your system tray (the area near your clock). Even if your system has oodles of memory, these little doodads can slow you down without offering any real value.

An excellent tool for finding what gizmos are starting up each time you log into Windows is Autoruns, available from Microsoft (originally from Sysinternals). Simply uncheck the item to disable it from starting, or select an entry and delete it to effect a more permanent removal.

If you can't figure out what a particular startup app does, right-click its entry in the Autoruns window and choose Search Online. This performs a Google search (rather than a Live search, which you might expect). Scour the results to find out whether the program has a legitimate reason for needing to run all the time.

If the Web search isn't helpful in rooting out a program's purpose, check the list of common startup applications maintained by Paul Collins to figure out what's getting started with Windows.

Finally, the free version of WinPatrol can warn you whenever a program attempts to add an item to your startup list.

Clear the clutter from XP's many cubbyholes

Rule 6: Save on disk space. A problem that plagues nearly all aging systems is the pack-rat syndrome. Just using a PC day to day causes an ever-increasing amount of data to be stored in ever-shrinking disk space. These tips will help you recover some of that precious drive capacity.

    * Eliminate hibernation files. XP's hibernation feature stores everything currently in RAM onto your hard disk, which allows you to return to your session more quickly after a period of inactivity. Unfortunately, hibernation needs about the same amount of disk space as your current amount of RAM (for example, 1GB of disk space if you have 1GB of RAM).

      If you don't use XP's hibernate feature very often, you can save the space occupied by the hiberfil.sys file: choose Start, Run; type powercfg.cpl; click the Hibernate tab; uncheck Enable hibernation; and click OK.

    * Don't let iTunes make you hear double. If you use Windows Media Player to rip CDs to your computer in the Windows Media Audio (.wma) format and then decide to give iTunes a try, beware! iTunes will convert those songs into its Advanced Audio Coding (AAC) format, resulting in duplicate files for every song iTunes manages. To avoid that, use a single music format (such as .mp3) that all media players can handle.

    * Store stuff online. Another way to save on disk space is to transfer files to an online storage service. You may already store your e-mail and photos online. Yahoo's Flickr service lets you store as many photos as you like, but unless you upgrade to a paid account, you'll never be able to see more than the last 100.

      Google's Picasa Web albums provide 1GB of free storage. And if you're willing to pay, you can get a whole lot more storage space than that.

      Of course, you don't need to limit yourself to mail and photos. A number of sites offer free or low-cost online storage. For example, Mozy gives you 2GB of free storage through its MozyHome service. MozyPro accounts start at U.S. $4.50 per gigabyte per month.

      Many sites, including ElephantDrive, Omnidrive, and Box, provide only 1GB of free storage. Each service offers larger storage options at varying prices.

      Finally, IBackup has economy plans that charge only $1 per gigabyte per month (and less for annual rates). By comparison, the popular Data Deposit Box charges $2 monthly for each gigabyte you use.

    * Offload files to a new drive. Even if you've purchased a new hard drive to expand your storage space, you may still be running out of room on your Windows drive. Fortunately, you can move your virtual memory paging file, Internet Explorer cache files, My Documents, and other system files to another drive or partition. For step-by-step information, see my column from the Feb. 28 issue.

Rule 7: Keep it clean. It makes no sense to hang onto useless junk files that Windows uses for its own purposes. Fortunately, Windows' own Disk Cleanup tool can clear out this system clutter. For details on how to customize Disk Cleanup for maximum efficiency, see Fred Langa's Mar. 13 column in the paid portion of the newsletter.

Restore right-click Search function after installing SP1 for VISTA

How to restore the right-click Search function after installing SP1 for VISTA: One big complaint about Service Pack 1 is that it removes the Search function from the right click context menus as well as the Search link on the right side of the Start menu (not the search box at the bottom). You can restore it by editing the registry. Here's how:
   1. Open the registry editor.
   2. Navigate to the following key: HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\Directory\shell\find
   3. In the right pane, right click on LegacyDisable
   4. Click Delete.
   5. Click Yes to confirm deletion.
   6. Restart the computer to make the change take effect.

Future blinders firmly attached...

Written to and for in October of 2000 by someone that had an opinion, but didn't know squat:

Dell is the top of the line in computers, but for a hefty price. I bought the Dell XPS 1000 system because I really don't think that there can or needs to be a better system. Intel has recently come out with the new Pentium 4, which I believe to be a waste of valuable money. Most people won't ever need to have a 1.4 Ghz processor. A 1 Ghz will do just the trick and thats what this system offers. I have bought many computers in my life and I honestly do not believe that this computer will ever get outdated. The 1Ghz Pentium processor in this thing should be sufficient for all of your programs. What application could possibly require a higher speed? Also, I have a 42 gigabyte hard drive and I refer to it as the "eternal hard drive" since there is no way I can fill it all up so I don't ever worry about having my computer too full of space which was a huge problem with past computers. The 128 megs of Ram lets my system and applications run simultaneously without having problems. The slimline Harman/Kardon speakers are unbelievable with the huge subwoofer. All aspects of this system are great, and all Dell systems are known for being the most reliable. Dell computers can work best for business and pleasure. We have 5 computers in our household and all are Dell Systems. We trust Dell 100% and are very loyal due to its great benefits.

The only problem with Dell systems is that they can be costly. They are definitely one of the most expensive systems out there, but if you can afford it and you want the best, I highly recommend this system. I really don't think that you will ever need to buy another system after buying this one. It will be one of the best investments you'll ever make.

Amount Paid (US$): 3000
Operating System: Windows
Processor: Intel Pentium III
Processor speed: over 1000
RAM: 128
Internal Storage: CD-RW and DVD
Hard Drive (GB): 41-50


Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Friday, May 9, 2008

Read Daily Newspapers from around the country or around the world

The Newseum displays these daily newspaper front pages in their original, unedited form. Some front pages may contain material that is objectionable to some visitors. Viewer discretion is advised.

Every morning, more than 500 newspapers from around the world submit their front pages to the Newseum via the Internet to be part of Today's Front Pages.

Web Tools

The Directory divides the Web 2.0 tools into these main categories:

Mostly Free Tools'

Windows XP Service Pack 3

Gregg Keizer, Computerworld
Friday, May 09, 2008 8:00 AM PDT

Installing Windows XP Service Pack 3 sends some PCs into an endless series of reboots, according to posts to a Microsoft support forum.

Jesper Johansson, a former program manager for security policy at Microsoft and a prominent Windows blogger, has worked with users to tentatively identify the problem as involving only machines using processors from Advanced Micro Devices .

Messages from frustrated users began accumulating on the XP SP3 support newsgroup Wednesday, just a day after Microsoft released the update to the general public.

"I just installed Windows XP SP3 and after completing the processes and when the system reboots, the system cannot proceed to load the Windows," said a user labeled as "Olin" in a message that kicked off a long thread . "It just displays the flash screen of Windows then after it reboots again."

Most users who left messages on the forum said that they were unable to boot into Windows Safe mode -- a last-ditch way to sidestep the normal boot process for troubleshooting purposes -- or revert to a previously saved System Restore point.

Some were understandably upset. "Way to go, Microsoft, releasing the pile of dung called SP3 that hoses your system so bad even Safe Mode isn't working!" said a user identified as Mike Voss. "Props to your QA guys, they certainly have done their job."

Johansson, who watched one of his PCs repeatedly reboot after installing XP SP3, traded accounts with several other users on the newsgroup, and summarized the results on his blog.

According to Johansson, there appear to be two separate issues. One affects only AMD-equipped PCs sold by Hewlett-Packard . "The problem is that HP, apparently along with other OEMs, deploys the same image to Intel -based computers that they do to AMD-based computers," said Johansson. "Because the image for both Intel and AMD is the same all have the intelppm.sys driver installed and running. That driver provides power management on Intel-based computers. On an AMD-based computer, amdk8.sys provides the same functionality."

Running the "intelppm.sys" driver on an AMD-powered PC isn't normally an issue, but on the first reboot after a service pack installation, it causes "a big problem," Johansson said. The machine either fails to boot or crashes and immediately reboots.

The other problem, according to Johansson, also seems to affect only AMD machines, and involves an error message indicating trouble with the PC's BIOS. Johansson said that the ensuing recommendation to update the BIOS is "most likely not your problem," but said that the problem may be isolated to a specific motherboard. "Possibly, it is related to computers with the ASUS A8N32-SLI Deluxe motherboard in them," he said.

Johansson also spelled out workarounds for both problems on his blog. The HP issue can be solved by disabling the intelppm.sys driver, while the second fix requires the user to plug in a USB flash drive before booting.

Microsoft was not immediately available for comment early Friday, but someone identified as a Microsoft employee on the support forum had asked users to e-mail him information such as the PC's system configuration, tell him whether they were able to enter Safe mode, and submit event viewer logs.

This isn't the first endless reboot problem Microsoft's faced in relation to a service pack recently. In February, the company pulled a Windows Vista SP1 prerequisite update from automatic delivery because it was crippling some machines.

Search tool, music on line, music player and POP art tool.

Search across many sources, including, Google news, digg, technorati,, topix, wordpress, yahoo, bloglines, you tube, etc.

Music...find yours:

New. Lock It down, Free, file locker,file encryption,encryption,encrypt,decrypt,decryption,files,folders,encrypt folder, free download:

Radio Stream Player - Overview . This program allows you to stream online radio stations without having to run a bloated player, or having a internet browser window open. It offerers a nice and handy menu with access to the station list in your local language.
# Features Stream / Listen to online radio station from the internet
# Small and easy to use GUI
# Hide in system tray
# Easly adding your own stations
# Automatic updates for both program and station list
# Translation system (Supports: English,Norwegian,Danish,Dutch,German,French and Portuguese)
# Minimal GUI that only shows you what you need to know
# Minimal CPU and RAM footprint
Get it at:

Pop Art from your photos, a la Andy Warhol: FREE

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Pangea Day starts at 11AM, PDST

You will need Flash installed to watch the four hour stream at Tune in on Saturday, 10 May.

The First Digital Camera...

Use iLocker, free. Upload, store and send files for one week, FREE

Safe, free and fast.
Filemail at: I tried it, of course, and it was very fast. They provide link to the file and it is encrypted when handled. Their site is busy, as it is new and popular at this time. Their site reads: 1. First, the files you want to send are uploaded to one of several servers located in Oslo (Norway) and San Diego. Files are encrypted on our servers using a 128bit AES algorithm to ensure security and privacy.
2. A small e-mail is delivered to the recipients, containing a short message from you and a hyperlink where the files can be downloaded.
3. The recipients click the hyperlink in the e-mail, and are taken to the download page.After the specified number of days/number of downloads, the files are removed completely from our servers.

New OPEN OFFICE - beta for Win, MAC and Linux

Worked fine on my MAC. No hitches, whatsoever. -tp.

Here is what the FEATURES page said about the Windows version:
In addition to read and write support for the Microsoft Office binary file formats (.doc; .xls, .ppt, etc.), 3.0 is now capable of opening files created with Microsoft Office 2007 or Microsoft Office 2008 for Mac OS X (.docx, .xlsx, .pptx, etc.).

Thus, users can interact with users still using Microsoft Office. The various filters for the Microsoft Office file formats also make mixed environments possible, so that some users stay on Microsoft Office while others use

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Windows XP Service Pack 3 Network Installation Package for IT Professionals and Developers

This is an update to the one posted below. Download this one and NOT the other. The post below is NOT for a retail version of Windows.
I just tried to install it and found it would not install. This is the correct site.

Win XP SP3 Download site

Overview WinXP SP3

Windows XP Service Pack 3 (SP3) includes all previously released updates for the operating system. This update also includes a small number of new functionalities, which do not significantly change customers’ experience with the operating system. This specific package also contains debugging symbols specific to binaries included in Service Pack 3.
This is the FULL download 342MB for those who may want to install it on more than one machine. (Microsoft)

Supported Operating Systems: Windows XP Home Edition ; Windows XP Professional Edition ; Windows XP Service Pack 1; Windows XP Service Pack 2

List of fixes that are included in Windows XP Service Pack 3


Have you got MS Office installed? If so you may have noticed a little program in the task manager, under processes called cftmon.exe.

Have you ever asked yourself....what the hell is it or...... have you removed it only to find it's back again.....
It is a relatively easy removal and it will stay gone, just follow these steps.

FYI - This pesky little program is related to speech recognition in MS Office.

- Just open up Add/Remove programs from Control panel.
- locate MS Office and click on Change
- Click on Add/Remove features (and check mark "advanced customizations of features")

- Expand Excel tab
- Click on "text to speech" and select "Not Available"

- Expand "Office Shared Features"
- Click on "Alternative User Input" and select "Not Available" (this should remove both Speech and Handwriting)

- Expand "Proofing Tools" under "Office Shared Features" and select under both French and Spanish "English - (French/Spanish) Translation "Not Available"

- and then click on "Update"

When Update is complete

- Click on Start-Run and type in "regsvr32 /u msctf.dll" (without quotes) and hit ok/enter

- and again - Click on Start-Run and type in regedit32.exe and hit ok/enter. [I used regedit.exe...not regedit32, and it worked fine.]

When the program is open, search for

HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\Curre ntVersion\Run\

Once located - right click on cftmon.exe and delete entry.

you will have to repeat these steps for each user on the computer.


How to Prepare a Master Information Document
Preparing such a document is pretty simple, actually. You just need to create a single document that includes all of the information your loved ones might need to settle all of your outstanding accounts and get all of the benefits they should be getting. Here’s a checklist of what you should include.

Account information for every account you have open. Everything from your retirement account all the way down to your library card should be included here. This will allow the person using the document to systematically go from account to account and, at the very least, have access to them.

A complete list of every benefit anyone is entitled to upon your passing. This means life insurance benefits, Social Security information, retirement accounts that may disburse, and anything else that might benefit people once you’re gone. This is the stuff that you’re paying for now so that they can have it later - make sure they get it.

A complete list of all debts and all assets. This will provide a complete financial picture for you. For each of these, provide plenty of information - the current balance as of your writing, how to contact that entity, and any account information that’s relevant.

A detailed description of how to handle any business assets you may have. This is only true for some folks, but it’s vital. If I were to have an untimely passing, I have a plan in place and it’s well-documented - all of the steps that someone needs to take to ensure that The Simple Dollar’s archives remain up and running and my other business interests are handled well.

A copy of your will, your living trust, and any other documents pertaining to your estate. You should have several copies of these documents, but be sure to include an extra one here just in case.

What Now?
Once you have the document prepared, what’s next? Here are a few steps worth taking.

Make sure everyone has access to a copy. For us, my parents, my wife’s parents, my wife, and our safe deposit box will all have copies of this document very soon. It’s currently saved on my computer’s hard drive and on my backup drive, too, so the information could be found if need be, but I intend to print it out and give it to each of these people so they’re sure to have one if it’s needed. You can distribute these electronically, but be very careful, as the document is larded with personal data that an identity thief would love to have.

Talk it over with them. Make sure they know what the document is and what they should do with it. It’s not useful if it’s not in people’s hands or if they don’t know what it’s for.

Update it regularly - at least annually. Just pull out your electronic copy, read through it, and update anything that needs updating. If it’s significant, print out new copies for everyone and distribute them.

Take a few hours and put this document together, especially if you have a family. You’ll feel much better knowing that one of your bases is covered.


Windows XP SP3 update

Finally the last (or they say) update for XP, XP SP3 is here without any bugs. It was stopped last month because of a bug in Microsoft Dynamics Retail Management System.

The download is available on the Microsoft download page or so they say. Many customers have complained that the network is down or showing a 404 page.

Our guess is that many Microsoft users are downloading the 316.4 MB big file and that is creating the problem. If you do not want the update just now just wait a week and you will be fine. Do not risk getting stuck with half a download and you know they will update it in 1 week again.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Google Mail Storage, find sounds, and find YOUR product key.

GMail Drive (REDUX) is a Shell Namespace Extension that creates a virtual filesystem around your Google GMail account, allowing you to use GMail as a storage medium. GMail Drive creates a virtual filesystem on top of your Google GMail account and enables you to save and retrieve files stored on your GMail account directly from inside Windows Explorer. GMail Drive literally adds a new drive to your computer under the My Computer folder, where you can create new folders, copy and drag'n'drop files to.GMail Drive shell extension is a tool that creates a virtual filesystem. Ever since Google s... [ read more about GMail Drive shell extension >>
Tiny URL for this is:

Find sounds: FREE. Search, listen, save if you wish.

REDUX: Need to save or write down the Windows Vista product key on your current PC? A beta version 2.0 of the previously-mentioned Magical Jelly Bean Key Finder app has been released, which reveals the product keys for Windows Vista, Microsoft Office 2007, other Windows apps and even dead Windows installations. When you run the Key Finder, it will automatically display the keys for common apps, as pictured. To check a dead Windows install, from the menu choose "Load Hive" and point it at the Windows installation directory. This one's a must-have for those of you who, ahem, lost your original install disks. —Gina Trapani. Magical Jelly Bean Keyfinder v2.0 Beta 2 [Magical Jelly Bean Software]


Visit their sites to read excellent writing, humor, etc.

Wired at

Huffington Post at:

The Onion at:

Monday, May 5, 2008

The Cascadian - NEW BLOG

Visit the new BLOG for The Cascadian.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Maximum PC past issue downloads for FREE

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These are just some of the issues available from Maximum PC website free for the download.

April 2008: Build Your Own No-Compromises $1500 PC!

Posted 04/24/08 at 03:51:16PM | by The Maximum PC Staff
The complete PDF archive of the April 2008 edition of Maximum PC, every article included, every page posted! Download it now!
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March 2008: Windows Hacks & Tips

Posted 03/31/08 at 12:53:41PM | by The Maximum PC Staff
The complete PDF archive of the March 2008 edition of Maximum PC, every article included, every page posted! Download it now!
search thumbnail

February 2008: Squash the New Internet Threats!

Posted 02/20/08 at 06:00:55PM | by The Maximum PC Staff
The complete PDF archive of the February 2008 edition of Maximum PC, every article included, every page posted! Download it now!

Friday, May 2, 2008

New publication and web site

Domain just established. The site will be up as soon as everything propagates across the name servers. The site is dedicated to the Cascadian region, and will deal with the three, BIG E's...including the economy, education and the environment. Published by Thomas Pitre, (dba Thomas Pitre Associates) - licensed in the State of Washington.

Carbon Neutral (?) Publishing

Click on the IMAGE to open the FLASH e-document.

Unlock files to delete and VISTA System RESTORE steps.

Unlocker - Version: 1.8.6 - File Size: 237k License Type: Free Operating Systems: Windows Vista, Windows XP, Windows 2000. If Windows won't let you manually delete a program file or folder, try Cedrick Collomb's free Unlocker. Once installed, Unlocker comes up automatically when Windows refuses to delete, move, or rename a file or folder, or you can launch it from the file or folder's context menu. Once up, it shows you what processes are hanging onto the culprit and lets you kill them.
--Lincoln Spector Go to the download page now: Unlocker:,70551-order,1-page,1/download.html

1. Type "system" into the desktop search box and select it from the list that is returned. Or you can open the Control Panel and then click the System icon. Either way you should end up the Windows Vista System applet.
2. Click the System protection link to get to the System Protection Tab of the System Properties applet.
On this tab you basically have two options: Create a restore point or restore from a previously saved one. Click the Create button to start the wizard.
3. Type in a description so you can recognize this restore point later on and click OK. Depending on your system, this could take a few minutes to complete. To restore system files and settings from a previously saved point you would click the System Restore button on the System Protection Tab on the System Properties applet.
4. This starts the System Restore wizard, where a list of possible restores is presented. Choose on of these points and click Next.
5. This is your last chance to cancel the process. Once the restore process begins you will have to let it run its course, which can take several minutes. Your Vista PC will have to reboot to complete the process. When it is completed your PC will restart with system files restored to the condition they were in at your chosen restore point.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

How to FORWARD an email, the correct way.

A computer expert received the following directly from a system administrator for a corporate system.  It is an excellent message that ABSOLUTELY applies to ALL of us who send e-mails.  Please read the short letter below, even if you're sure you already follow proper procedures.

Do you really know how to forward e-mails?  50% of us do; 50% DO NOT.

Do you wonder why you get viruses or junk mail?  Do you hate it?  Every time you forward an e-mail there is information left over from the people who got the message before you, namely their e-mail addresses and names.  As the messages get forwarded along, the list of addresses builds, and builds, and builds, and all it takes is for some poor sap to get a virus, and his or her computer can send that virus to every E-mail address that has come across his computer. 

Try the following if you haven't done it before:

 (1)  When you forward an e-mail, DELETE all of the other addresses that appear in the body of the message (at the top).  That's right, DELETE them.  Highlight them and delete them, backspace them, cut them, whatever it is you know how to do.  It only takes a second.  You MUST click the 'Forward' button first and then you will have full editing capabilities against the body and headers of the message.  If you don't click on 'Forward' f irst, you won't be able to edit the message at all.

 (2)  Whenever you send an e-mail to more than one person, do NOT use the To: or Cc: fields for adding e-mail addresses.  Always use the BCC:(blind carbon copy) field for listing the e-mail addresses.  This is the way the people you send to will only see their own e-mail address.  If you don't see your BCC: option click on where it says To: and your address list will appear.  Highlight the address and choose BCC: and that's it, it's that easy.  When you send to BCC: your message will automatically say 'Undisclosed Recipients' in the 'TO:' field of the people who receive it.

 (3)  Remove any 'FW :' in the subject line.  You can re-name the subject if you wish or even fix spelling.

 (4)  ALWAYS hit your Forward button from the actual e-mail you are reading.  Ever get those e-mails that you have to open 10 pages to read the one page with the information on it?  By Forwarding from the actual page you wish someone to view, you stop them from having to open many e-mails just to see what you sent.  If your e-mail has pictures, some of you will have to click on Format and then check 'Send pictures with message' before you sent.  If you don't then there will only be boxes with little x's in the corner.

 (5)  Have you ever gotten an e-mail that is a petition?  It states a position and asks you to add your name and address and to forward it to 10 or 15 people or your entire address book.  The email can be forwarded on and on and can collect thousands of names and e-mail addresses.  A FACT: The completed petition is actually worth a couple of bucks to a professional spammer because of the wealth of valid names and e-mail addresses contained therein.  DO NOT put your e-mail address on any petition. If you want to support the petition, send it as your own personal letter to the intended recipient.  Your position may carry more weight as a personal letter than a laundry list of names and e-mail addresses on a petition.  (And don't believe the ones that say that the e-mail is being traced. It just ain't so!)   Often the e-mail address that you are suppose to send the petition to is a fake address.
Some of the other e-mails to delete and not forward are:
1. The one that says something like, 'Send this email to 10 people and you'll see something great run across your screen.'&n bsp; Or sometimes they'll just tease you by saying 'something really cute will happen.'  IT AIN'T GONNA HAPPEN!!!!!  (We are still seeing some of the same emails that we waited on 10 years ago!)  
2.  I don't let the bad luck ones scare me either, they get trashed. 

3. Before you forward an 'Amber Alert', or a 'Virus Alert', or some of the other e-mails floating around nowadays, check them out before you forward them.  Most of them are junk mail that's been circling the net for YEARS!  Just about everything you receive in an e-mail that is in question can be checked out at  Just go to or    It's really easy to find out if it's real or not.  If it's not, please don't pass it on.

So please, in the future, let's stop the junk mail and the viruses.

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Software makes your hardware work for you, nothing can be done without software!