Tag Archives: Windows

15 New Screensavers for Christmas and New Year

[Windows Only]

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.

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.

nfsNewYearCountdown2 nfsChristmasCandle nfsNewYearClock nfsXmasWords nfsWineandcandles nfsXmas01

nfsXmas02 nfsXmas03 nfsXmas04 nfsXmas05 nfsNewYear01 nfsNewYear02

nfsNewYear03 nfsNewYear04 nfsNewYear05

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.

arrow-down-double-3 Screensaver Download Page

Windows 7 themes?

holiday-lightsIf you have Windows 7, be sure to check out the Holiday Lights theme from Microsoft. 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)

New 0-day Vulnerability in Windows Circumvents UAC

When Microsoft added UAC (User Account Control), the promise was that it will make Windows more secure. Pardon me if I come across as a cynic, but all it seems to be capable of doing is annoying users. Yes, Windows 7 makes UAC a lot more bearable, but it’s still annoying. On top of that, it doesn’t actually do a lot to prevent malware attacks or malicious program execution. To make things even worse, a new flaw has been uncovered that can be used to completely bypass UAC in Windows Vista and 7.

The developers of popular security software Pervx spotted a new 0-day vulnerability being discussed in a Chinese forum. According to them, “This is a serious flaw because it resides in win32k.sys, the kernel mode part of the Windows subsystem. It is a privilege escalation exploit which allows even limited user accounts to execute arbitrary code in kernel mode.”

This flaw basically enables an attacker to execute applications with system (full) privileges. Unfortunately, there is not a lot you can do to keep yourself safe at this point of time. Sophos has suggested a workaround; however, it is not known how effective the proposed safety measure is.

Ubuntu One For Windows Enters Beta

ubuntu one logoUbuntu One, the cloud storage service available with Ubuntu, is coming to Windows as well. The Windows client was first announced at the beginning of 2010 and now it has entered the public beta stage.

Ubuntu One is a cloud storage service which allows users to sync files between different computers and to share it with others. It also has other features like streaming music to Android devices, 7digital Music Store integration etc.

Cristian Parrino of Canonical explains why porting Ubuntu One to Windows is important:

Expanding to Windows is actually a fantastic thing for Ubuntu users. There are many of you out there that use Ubuntu at home and Windows, for example, at work. This platform expansion will make it easier to integrate Ubuntu into more aspects of your digital world.

Right now the Windows client is rather limited in features. It allows for only the basic synchronization of files between Windows computer(s), Ubuntu One personal cloud and Ubuntu computer(s).

In the coming months Canonical plans to add new features like:

  • Automatic sync when files change
  • Information about your account, added devices, and more finite sync settings
  • Sync folders outside of the Ubuntu Onefolder
  • Enhanced desktop sync notifications
  • Support for contacts, notes and bookmarks
  • Support for notes and the music store – Tomboy and Banshee as optional components of the application installation

Ubuntu One for Windows is under limited trials now. If you uses both Windows and Ubuntu, you can click here to request access.

[via: Ubuntu One Blog]

Are Public Libraries Still at Risk Because of Microsoft?

A reason to panic?

public-library-iconBack in April of this year, Yardena Arar posted an article at Windows Secrets titled Microsoft decision puts public libraries at risk.

What did Microsoft do that puts libraries at risk?

They retired Windows SteadyState. In case you haven’t heard about it, SteadyState is a free application for Windows XP and Vista which completely protects a Windows operating system from everything except a hardware crash. It makes Windows almost bullet-proof. Thousands of home users, internet cafes, schools and public libraries depend on SteadyState for protection. However, it won’t be available for Windows 7.

According to Yardena,

… not only is SteadyState incompatible with Win7, Microsoft says it has no plans to introduce a Windows 7-compatible version. That’s leaving some IT managers scrambling for replacement technology and others vowing not to upgrade to Windows 7 at all.

Windows SteadyState is going away?

I recently discovered that it’s not only unavailable for Win7, SteadyState won’t be available after Dec 31st of this year. That’s a twisted Happy New Year’s wish to everyone wanting to use it on XP or Vista. If you plan on using it, be sure to download SteadyState from Microsoft, before it’s too late.

Are there alternatives to SteadyState?

If you settled for the answer given in that Windows Secrets post, you’d give up. In the article, Yardena says:

Third-party solutions, such as Faronics’ Deep Freeze, don’t appeal to cash-strapped educational institutions, which are already spending considerable money upgrading to Windows 7.

Worse yet, if you listen to Microsoft, they’ll tell you that you don’t need it. Here’s the Microsoft spin:

We have just released a whitepaper along with an accompanying document that describes Group Policy settings that you can use to configure computer and user settings and also a reference excel worksheet which can be used to look up and filter the settings described in the whitepaper. (source)

What a load of techno-crap! Does Microsoft think a librarian, teacher, cyber-café owner, or home user is going to read their white papers?

What is my suggestion for replacing SteadyState?

Fortunately, a security company named Comodo, recently released a free replacement for Windows SteadyState. As far as I can tell, Comodo Time Machine does nearly everything SteadyState does. It’s currently supported and works in Windows XP, Vista and 7.

arrow-down-double-3Download Comodo Time Machinecomodo-time-machine-icon_thumb

If you are interested in Comodo’s offer, check out this Video Review of Time Machine.

Why do we need Windows?

Why does a public library need to depend upon Microsoft for all of their software needs? The answer from any Open Source enthusiast would be Get rid of Windows!. If you need some arguments to use against your library’s or school’s addiction to Microsoft, be sure to read about Windows 7 Sins: The case against Microsoft and proprietary software

Use Free and Open Source Software (FOSS)

If a librarian or teacher came to me and asked about setting up several public computers , I’d have two ready answers for them. I could save them money and practically guarantee that they wouldn’t have any spyware or virus problems.

edubuntu-icon1. I’d burn a set of Live CD’s with Edubuntu on them. They could disable the hard drives and put these in the CD Rom drives. Whenever the PC boots up, they’d have a fresh new operating system that’s ready to use and kid-proof.

2. I could also install Edubuntu on each PC normally, as this old timer shows in a video.

Conclusion:

Microsoft doesn’t have the answer, and they don’t seem to care. However, there’s no reason to worry.   Using either of my recommendations, secure and trouble-free public PCs can be created at no cost.

Automatically Set Up Email Accounts in Outlook Express and Live Mail

It’s not a coincidence that I ran across this cool freeware app today. After reading about my advice to replace Outlook Express with Windows Live Mail, my friend Bob Constans sent me a tip about CodeTwo Outlook AutoConfig.

What is Outlook AutoConfig?

According to the author it’s …

a free tool that will automatically create your email account in Microsoft Outlook, Outlook Express, Windows Mail and Windows Live Mail just by providing your email address.

That’s right, all you do is launch it, enter your email address, name and client.

Here’s what it looks like.

code2-autoconfig-outlook

Outlook AutoConfig will look up the email provider in it’s database and automatically configure your email client to use the correct settings. If it doesn’t work on your provider, you can contact the author to have your provider added to the database.

The next time you launch your email, you will be prompted to enter the password for the account.

autoconfig2

arrow-down-double-3 Download Outlook Autoconfig [Windows 7 / Vista / 2003 / XP / 2000]

Techie Buzz Verdict:

Manually adding accounts to an email client is one of the toughest tasks involved with email setup. Outlook AutoConfig can make it painless. Since it’s a stand-alone program, no installation is needed and it’s simple to use. I highly recommend it.

techiebuzzrecommendedsoftware1


Replace Outlook Express with Incredimail

incredimail-iconYesterday, I told you why you should upgrade Outlook Express to Windows Live Mail. My main concern is that Outlook Express is old, and that it’s no longer supported by Microsoft. People will continue to have problems with OE, and it’s never going to improve. Almost any new email client would be better right now. So, if you don’t like Windows Live Mail, or Mozilla Thunderbird, you might like Incredimail.

What’s so great about Incredimail?

Many people might tell you that Incredimail was designed for teen-aged girls. However, it’s flexible and even the more conservative email users can enjoy it. Once you look past the eye-candy filled interface, you might agree.

Here’s what the website says about this free email client:

  • Send beautiful email backgrounds
  • Add 1000’s of fun emoticons to your emails
  • Enjoy animated email notifiers
  • See exciting 3D effects in your emails
  • Add funny animations to your emails
  • Add cool sounds to your email messages

Install and Setup

Once you’ve downloaded Incredimail and start the install, there’s one screen that I’ll warn you about. As you can see below, Incredimail offers to change your default search engine and install a search toolbar. I haven’t found anything bad about these additions, and it’s up to you if you want them. You can remove them by clicking the Custom Installationbutton, and unchecking the filled check-boxes.

incredimail-setup

Setting up your existing email accounts is easy. If you are already using Outlook Express, You can import your correct email account configuration. When I installed it, this happened automatically and Incredimail was ready to use immediately.

Here’s a quick preview of what the Incredimail client looks like while it’s running.

incredimail-interface

There are tons of ways to customize the emails that you send. Here’s one I sent to my wife.

incredimail-sent

If you’d like to learn more about Incredimail, check out this video.

arrow-down-double-3 Download Incredimail (WinXP, Vista, 7)


Replace Outlook Express with Windows Live Mail

How much do you love your Outlook Express email? I subscribe to several newsletters and other various help sites. One of the applications that I see people asking about often is Outlook Express. There always seems to be someone having problems with it.

wlm-iconI used it for several years myself, and I remember having   a few problems too. I think it’s time for people to leave Outlook Express behind. If you agree that it’s time to try something new, I have a suggestion for you; upgrade to Windows Live Mail (WLM).

Why would it be a good idea to change?

Microsoft designed Windows Live Mail as a replacement for Outlook Express 6. You could say that it’s Outlook Express 7 and you wouldn’t be too far from the truth.

It’s a good idea to keep your software upgraded to the latest supported versions. Outlook Express is no longer supported by Microsoft. Unsupported software is typically more vulnerable to attack by hackers.

WLM has more features. You can add MS Messenger, RSS Feeds and a Calendar with reminders.

Is it hard to switch from Outlook Express to Windows Live Mail?

It’s easy. The first thing WLM does when it installs, is to look for an existing version of Outlook Express. It will automatically import all of your contacts, settings and old mail. If you decide you don’t like it, you can uninstall it and Outlook Express will still be there.

wlm-1

wlm-2

Do you need help?

You may not need it, but here’s a   tutorial on installing WLM.

Here’s a video showing how easy it is to use Windows Live Mail.

Here is Part 2, Part 3, Part 4 and Part 5 of the video.

arrow-down-double-3 Download Windows Live Mail for XP

arrow-down-double-3 Download Windows Live Mail for Vista and Seven

If you decide to use WLM, be sure to check out our article about backing it up and restoring it.


30 New Screensavers – More for the PC and Now Mobile Phones

screensaver-icoCheck out the newest batch of animated screensavers below. In addition to 10 new screensavers for your PC, there are 20 new animated wallpapers for your mobile phone devices.

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.

10 for the PC

new-free-screensavers-nov-1

10 for Mobiles (240×320)

new-free-screensavers-mobile-1

10 for Mobiles (480×640)

new-free-screensavers-mobile-2

The files for mobile devices are animated gifs that you’ll have to transfer from a PC to your phone via cable or bluetooth. The download instructions on the page only work in Internet Explorer. If you experiment a little, you might find a way that those gifs can still be downloaded using other browsers.

Example animated gif from the mobiles download page:

nfsTiger240x320

arrow-down-double-3 10 Screensavers for PC

arrow-down-double-3 20 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 dozens more to check out once you visit.

Techie Buzz Rating: 3/5 (Good)

WinDroplr for Easy Sharing of Images, Text, Links and Files

windroplr-iconI’ve got plenty of ways to share files online, but so far, I haven’t found an instant screen capture tool to share images online. While visiting WebDomination, I ran across a tool that may solve that problem.

Have you ever heard of Droplr, the Mac application for sharing Links, Images, Notes and Files? Now there’s a system tray app for Windows, called WinDroplr, that gives you some of the same features.

You can download the installation file at arrow-down-double-3WinDroplr.com, it’s about 700k in size, but requires .NET 4.0 Framework, if you are running WinXP.

windroplr-download

Once installed, you’ll have a windroplr icon in your system tray. To use the program, click the systray icon once to show the floating drop zone in the bottom right corner of the display. Once it’s up, you can drag URLs, text and images from your web browser into the drop zone. Once the item is uploaded to droplr.com, you’ll get a brief notification above the systray. Click on the notification before it disappears to copy a short URL to the upload.

You can also use WinDroplr to share files and collections of files. Drag them from an explorer window onto the drop zone. If you’ve selected more than one file, it will create a zip archive before it uploads.

Another feature lets you take and upload screenshots by right clicking into the systray icon’s menu.

windroplr-menu

The short URLs generated by WinDroplr are some of the shortest around. Somehow it offers integration with your Twitter account, but I haven’t figured that out yet.

Below is a video showing WinDroplr being used.

WinDroplr Preview

Download

arrow-down-double-3WinDroplr.com

Techie Buzz Verdict:

I love the ability to quickly share links, files, notes and images. The drop zone is a pleasure to use, and the built in screenshot tool is my favorite feature. I’ll be keeping this one around and I recommend it.

techiebuzzrecommendedsoftware1

Techie Buzz Rating: 4/5 (Excellent)

Bing Dynamic | Win7 Theme Displays the Latest Bing Wallpapers

winOne of the great features of Windows 7 is it’s theme support. The ability to enable wallpaper slideshows with only the images you want is good, but the ability to automatically download images is priceless. Once a dynamic theme is installed, new images come in via an RSS feed whenever they’re available.

One of the best examples of this is the arrow-down-double-3Bing Dynamic theme. With this theme, you’ll be getting new wallpapers from the Bing search page, every day.

bing-dyamic

In addition, you’ll also have a choice of 4 different Best of Bingwallpaper themes.

bing-best-of

If you don’t have Windows 7, you won’t feel so bad once you find out that there are several freebies that let you download wallpapers from Bing and other image sites. Here’s a few to pick from.

JBS Free Wallpaper Switcher for Windows

Bing Background Wallpaper Downloader | Bing Wallpapers

Download Bing Bing Background Images and Use as Wallpaper

A Visual Search Gallery For Bing Wallpapers

How to Open and Use Windows 7 Themes in Windows XP

If you’re a wallpaper fanatic, don’t miss out on all the other wallpaper collections we’ve written about.