All posts by Clif Sipe

Promoting Freeware and Free information since 2004. Owner of FreewareWiki.com with over 2000 pages of freebies. Please subscribe to my Google Feed or follow me on Twitter @clifnotes.

Is PayPal Freezing Accounts that Donate to WikiLeaks?

Earlier today, at Reddit.com, a person by the nickname HelloKevin11 posted the following thread.

Paypal shut my account today because my business donated money to wikileaks.

I go to log into my business account, and it’s locked. The girl on the phone told me it’s because my account handles a large amount of money (it’s a biz account), I recently sent a lot of money ($4000) overseas, and I also sent money to wikileaks. My account is being investigated for illegal activities and I have to account for what the money was used for. They want invoices and such …

wikileaksWe’ve covered many topics about WikiLeaks in the last few months. We’ve also posted plenty of stories about problems with PayPal accounts. However, this one might potentially impact the most internet users. I have not been able to confirm that this is the truth yet, but if it is, I have to ask this question.

Is PayPal an instrument of the United States’ war on terrorism?

Does any user of PayPal now have to worry that big brotheris watching over their shoulder as they buy and sell products online? How far does the reach of the US State Department extend? Will people in France, England and India have to worry about their accounts being frozen? What charitable causes will be targeted next? Can I safely donate money to the Electronic Frontier Foundation?

HelloKevin’s post already has nearly 1000 comments. The comments are ranging all over the map, with most of them containing at least a hint of outrage. According to Kevin, he’ll be contacting PayPal by phone on Monday to ask for a verbal explanation. He intends to record the conversation.

Until then, all we have are lots of unanswered questions.


Freeware Fridays | Top Tools of the Week #27

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In case you haven’t seen them, here are the most recent posts in our Freeware category. We hope you enjoy reading about these freebies, and maybe you’ll find a keeper in the mix.


5 Chrome Extensions to Try Today

Google Chrome

Here are just five examples of powerful extensions that you can use with your Chrome installation today to add new, compelling features to your browser.

10 New Screensavers Thanksgiving and Zodiac

thanksgiving-clock

Thanksgiving is close and you’ll find plenty of free screensavers and wallpapers on the net. Be careful to visit only safe websites when you are looking for them.

10 New Screensavers Animated Winter Themes

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Baby it’s cold out there! This week, our friends at NewFreeScreensavers have added some new Winter themed screensavers. Chill out and enjoy the view.

30 Free Screensavers Christmas for Mobile Phones

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30 animated wallpapers for mobile devices are now available for download. Check ’em out.

Super Mario 3 Games for Windows Hours of Fun

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Mario first made an appearance in 1982. Since that makes Mario 28 years old, I think he’s just getting started jumping around. If you’d like some Mario games for the PC, check these out.

Replace Outlook Express with Postbox Express

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Outlook Express is old, insecure and no longer supported by Microsoft. Windows LiveMail and Mozilla Thunderbird are good replacements, but you should also take a look at Postbox Express.

10 New Screensavers Your Zodiac Signs

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This week, our friends at NewFreeScreensavers have added 10 new free screensavers with mostly Zodiac themes. Also, be sure to check out some great Windows 7 themes for Christmas.

Autoruns for Controlling Windows Startup Programs

autoruns-files

Take control of those pesky programs that start automatically when Windows boots up.

7 Awesome Alternatives To Microsoft Word

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Everyone knows what Microsoft Word is. Its an amazing word processor made by Microsoft. A downside to Microsoft Word is that it is very expensive and not everyone can afford it. Here are 7 free alternatives to Word.

Driver Magician Lite Backup Your Windows Drivers Now

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Driver Magician Lite is a simple way to back up your critical system drivers. Although you may not need those backups, if you ever do, you’ll be glad you have them.

My Day with Opera 11 Beta

opera-11

I want a browser that’s fast … very fast and it must have a minimalistic design. Let’s see how well Opera 11 stands up to my requirements.

15 New Screensavers for Christmas and New Year

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Thanksgiving has just ended. Even though I don’t approve of putting up Christmas decorations this early, our friends at NewFreeScreensavers have just added 15 new free screensavers.


Be sure to let us know if you have a favorite freebie you’d like to see posted here. Our comments (below) are always open to you.

Ubuntu Linux Gets a Manga Fan Magazine – Ubunchu!

How many Ubuntu fans also like Japanese Manga comics? My guess would be that it’s a pretty high percentage. The author of this comic series, Hiroshi Seo, is apparently a big fan of Ubuntu, the Linux operating system that many of us have come to love.

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The love for a great free operating system plays the main role in this Ubuntu Romantic School Comedyseries. I leafed through the first two of the six episodes available. The graphics are well done and the plot is typically adolescent, as I had expected. There’s no need to worry about this series though, I’d rate it as safe for kids to read.

If you are a Linux fan, and you also like Manga, you may want to waste a little time reading Ubunchu.

animals-penguinVisit this site to read Ubunchu! in English and several other languages.

[Via HowToGeek]


10 New Screensavers – Animated Winter Themes

[Windows Only]

Almost 3 weeks ago, I told you about the Christmas and New Year screensavers. This week, our friends at NewFreeScreensavers are doubling down on the chill with some awesome Winter themes.

winter-waterfall-screensavertree-reflection-screensavermountain-landscape-screensaverrime--screensavermountains-clock-screensaverin-the-forest-screensaverwinter-lake-screensaverrime-clock-screensaverwinter-sunrise-screensaverclouds-in-mountains-screensaver

I’m sure you can find plenty of other screensavers out there, but be careful to visit only safe websites when you are looking for them. As many of you have learned, not all free screensavers are created equal. Many times, free means that you have to install stupid toolbars, adware and other unwanted junk along with the screensaver. That’s not true of the ones at NewFreeScreensavers.

One of the nice features of these screensavers is that they now have settings to mute the sounds. Some of the screensavers also have a setting to include a small analog clock on the screen.

newfreescreensavers-mute

arrow-down-double-3 Screensaver Download Page

W I N D O W S 7 themes?

windows-7-theme-czech-winterIf you have Windows 7, be sure to check out this nice Czech Winter theme. If you don’t have Windows 7, you can still snag the wallpapers by using this trick.

Techie Buzz Verdict:

I’ve downloaded and installed several of the screensavers at this site and never had a problem with any of them. These screensavers are safe, totally free, and there are dozens more to check out once you visit.

Techie Buzz Rating: 3/5 (Good)

30 Free Screensavers – Christmas for Mobile Phones

screensaver-icoCheck out the newest batch of animated mobile phone screensavers below. The newest additions include some nice looking Christmas images. I hope you enjoy them.

As many of you have learned by now, not all free screensavers are created equal. Many times, free means that you have to install stupid toolbars, adware and other unwanted junk along with the screensaver. That’s not true of the ones at NewFreeScreensavers.

The following images are previews of the animated gifs that you’ll find. They have to be transferred from a PC to your phone via cable or bluetooth.

15 for Mobiles (240×320)

nfsTiger240x320nfsWaterfall240x320nfsWaves240x320nfsXmas1_240x320nfsAbstraction240x320nfsBeautifulWaterfall240x320nfsButterfly240x320nfsCat240x320nfsChristmasBalls240x320nfsFish240x320nfsPoint240x320nfsRainMob240x320nfsRose240x320nfsSnow240x320nfsSnowFlakes240x320

15 for Mobiles (480×640)

nfsBallsReflection640x480nfsBlueAbs640x480nfsChristmasTree1_640x480nfsChristmasTree640x480nfsFire480x640nfsFly640x480nfsGreenAbs640x480nfsLandscape640x480nfsNature640x480nfsShots640x480nfsSnow2_640x480nfsSnow3_640x480nfsSpot640x480nfsYellowCar480x640nfsYellowFlowers640x480

Example animated gif from the mobiles download page:

nfsTiger240x320

arrow-down-double-3 30 Screensavers for Mobiles

Techie Buzz Verdict:

I’ve downloaded and installed several of the screensavers at this site and never had a problem with any of them. These screensavers are safe, totally free, and there are more to check out once you visit.

Techie Buzz Rating: 3/5 (Good)

Super Mario 3 Games for Windows – Hours of Fun

marioHow old is Mario? Do you think he’s getting tired of jumping on Goombas?

Goomba2Mario first made an appearance in 1982. Since that makes Mario 28 years old, I think he’s just getting started jumping around. We’ll be seeing him for a long time.

The Wii and Xbox game systems brought back interest in the Super Mario series, but if you want to play some Mario games on your Windows systems, you’ll have no shortage of game choices.

Yesterday, Softendo released a simple version called Mario Play. Here’s a screen shot.

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This game can be played in a window or full screen. There are no levels, no power-ups, and nothing else to help Mario. The object is to collect coins while dodging enemies as they continue arriving on screen faster and faster. You’ll be trying to get the highest score possible.

If you want a game more like the old Super Mario 3, try one called Mario Forever 5. It has all kinds of levels and will help you waste hours and hours. Here’s a screen shot.

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In case you want to see it in action, here’s a video preview of Mario Forever.

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There is one thing that you need to watch for when installing Softendo games. If you don’t want a special search toolbar in your web browser, be sure to uncheck it when you see it offered.

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arrow-down-double-3 Download Mario Play

arrow-down-double-3 Download Mario Forever 5

arrow-down-double-3 More games at Softendo

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If neither of these is enough to keep you busy, I found over 80 free Mario games at Download.com and a few dozen more Mario games at Caiman.

Techie Buzz Verdict:

The free Mario games at Softendo are great. The look and feel of them reminds me of the old Nintendo game systems. If you’d like some retro platform games, you should try these.

Techie Buzz Rating: 4/5 (Excellent)

Replace Outlook Express with Postbox Express

[Windows and Mac]

postbox-express-iconRecently, I’ve told you that people using Outlook Express should be switching to newer email clients. That’s because Outlook Express is old, it’s no longer supported by Microsoft, and it’s never going to improve. I’ve also written about several good replacements for OE. You can use Windows Live Mail, Mozilla Thunderbird, Incredimail or any one of several other free email clients.

Yesterday, I tried a new free email client named Postbox Express. The installation of Postbox is easy and it also allows you to import the old email, contacts and settings from Outlook Express. Here’s a look at the main interface of Postbox.

postbox-express-app

As you can see, it’s very similar to the layout of Outlook Express. However, there are a few features in Postbox that might convince you to abandon OE.

One of my favorite features is the ability to view conversation threads. Emails with the same subject line are grouped and sorted by date, so you can easily see the history of a conversation. This is the feature that Gmail made popular in online email services.

If that doesn’t impress you, maybe you’ll be more fond of the ability to almost instantly search your entire email collection. You can use words, phrases or special searches, as shown in the image below.

postbox-express-search

One final feature I’ll mention, is the ability to post content from your email to Facebook, Twitter or FriendFeed. If you’re a frequent user of social networks, this may be your favorite feature. To send text from an email, just highlight it in the email, then click the Postpull-down menu and choose where to send it.

postbox-express-post-to-facebook

Postbox Express let’s you view your Folders and open email in tabs so that you don’t have to close a message to do other stuff.

You can also extend the functionality of Postbox Express through Add-Ons, or install language packs, such as German, French, Spanish (Spain), English (British), Italian, Dutch, Portuguese (Brazilian), Russian, and Swedish.

If you are curious to see Postbox in action, here’s a video.

arrow-down-double-3 Download Postbox Express (Windows & Mac)

Techie Buzz Verdict:

As you can see, Postbox Express has many more features than Outlook Express. It’s free but there is a paid version with even more cool features. For most home users, the free version is more than adequate.

Techie Buzz Rating: 3/5 (Good)

10 New Screensavers – Your Zodiac Signs

[Windows Only]

Last week, I told you about the Christmas and New Year screensavers. This week, our friends at NewFreeScreensavers have added 10 new free screensavers with mostly Zodiac themes.

newfreescreensavers-lakewhitenewfreescreensavers-winterwhitenewfreescreensavers-aqua-clockwhitenewfreescreensavers-virgowhitenewfreescreensavers-capricornuswhitenewfreescreensavers-pisceswhitenewfreescreensavers-scorpiowhitenewfreescreensavers-sagittariuswhitenewfreescreensavers-tauruswhitenewfreescreensavers-cancer

I’m sure you can find plenty of other screensavers out there, but be careful to visit only safe websites when you are looking for them. As many of you have learned, not all free screensavers are created equal. Many times, free means that you have to install stupid toolbars, adware and other unwanted junk along with the screensaver. That’s not true of the ones at NewFreeScreensavers.

One of the nice features of these screensavers is that they now have settings to mute the sounds. Some of the screensavers also have a setting to include a small analog clock on the screen.

newfreescreensavers-mute

arrow-down-double-3 Screensaver Download Page

*Windows 7 themes?

windows7themes-dot-net-christmasIf you have Windows 7, be sure to check out these nice Christmas themes. If you don’t have Windows 7, you can still snag the wallpapers by using this trick.

Techie Buzz Verdict:

I’ve downloaded and installed several of the screensavers at this site and never had a problem with any of them. These screensavers are safe, totally free, and there are dozens more to check out once you visit.

Techie Buzz Rating: 3/5 (Good)

Autoruns – for Controlling Windows Startup Programs

More and more people are becoming aware of how important it is to take control of the autorunprograms on their PCs. In case you didn’t know, an autorun or startup program will launch automatically when Windows starts. Quite often, it’s a useful program and you can find it’s icon in the system tray. However, sometimes an autorun is not that useful. You may not know it’s installed because it’s hidden or you’ve forgotten you installed it. When that happens, these not so useful programs are taking up processor cycles and eating up system memory. Your PC gets slower as more hidden programs are launched as an autorun.

Fortunately, there are several ways to take control of the autorun programs. Windows has a utility built in called msconfig, and there are also quite a few third party autorun apps such as this one: Autoruns by Sysinternals.

Autoruns is offered for download as a ZIP file. To install it, extract the ZIP file to a folder somewhere on your PC. You’ll see the following four files in the folder.

autoruns-files

Double click the autoruns.exefile to launch the program.

Here’s a peek at Autoruns in action.

autoruns-interface

The default Everythingtab, shows you all of the programs, services and scheduled tasks that are automatically starting with Windows.

If you find a program you aren’t familiar with, you can right click on it and choose the Search Onlinetask. That will open your web browser and send you to the search results for the file or process that you have highlighted.

In order to stop a program from running at startup, you can remove the little check-mark beside it.

The interface may look confusing at first, but if you run into any problems, you can always consult the built in help from the top menu.

arrow-down-double-3 Download Autoruns

Techie Buzz Verdict

Autoruns is a great free startup manager. The only one that I like better is WinPatrol. If you need to regain control of your PC, Autoruns is a good tool.

Techie Buzz Rating: 3/5 (Good)


Driver Magician Lite – Backup Your Windows Drivers Now

When trouble strikes your PC, you might need to re-install or repair Windows. Sometimes, after re-installing,   you find out that hardware such as the sound system or   a network card is no longer working. That means that the correct device drivers are missing.

When you don’t have the proper device drivers for hardware, you often have to spend time looking online for the correct drivers. Sometimes the drivers are very difficult to locate. Is there something you could do to prevent this problem? Yes, you can back up your drivers now, before you have a serious problem.

There are several free applications that allow you to back up system drivers. One of them is Driver Magician Lite.

You can find Driver Magician Lite at Download.com. When you run Driver Magician, it quickly scans and locates all of the drivers that your PC uses. All you need to do is place check marks beside each driver you wish to back up, then hit the Start Backupbutton.

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The drivers will be copied to any location you specify. Each driver will be located in a sub-folder having the name of the driver. Also inside each sub-folder, will be an INF file which allows you to re-install the driver in the future. Double clicking an INF file will re-install the driver.

driver-magician-backed-up-drivers

I usually store my backup drivers in a zip file, somewhere online, such as DropBox. Never leave your backup on the same hard drive that your Windows is using. After all, your hard drive could crash and you’d lose the backups along with Windows.

arrow-down-double-3 Download Driver Magician Lite

Techie Buzz Verdict:

Driver Magician Lite is a simple way to back up your critical system drivers. Although you may not need those backups, if you ever do, you’ll be glad you have them.

Techie Buzz Rating: 3/5 (Good)