Monday, December 7, 2009

Top 10 Free LifeSaver Softwares of 2009

Life savers? Yes, when you are addicted to your computer, it ceases to be a mere tool in your life! In fact, it becomes your life and you’d do anything, just anything to keep it alive- from black death or blue death or whatever! The top 10 softwares which were real life savers for me in 2009 are :

One day, my monitor screen just went black! No life - absolutely nothing, just the curser! A virus attack! Silly me, had not backed up my data , I had been wanting to, but never got down to actually doing it! Whatever! Out comes my lifesaver no.1- BartPE, the data saver. This software is really the core of recovery- great for recovering personal files. BartPE copies the Windows files from your hard drive or Windows Installation CD and creates a bootable CD or DVD that you can then use to boot into Windows .However, you need to build the boot disc before your system fails because the program that builds the bootable CD runs in Windows. I would advise you to run it now ,before your PC fails and store the disc it builds, in a safe place. Fortunately, I had done just that!

2.Mozilla Firefox
I just love this browser and have always been a fan of Firefox. Moreover, Firefox also has the option to add extensions that enhances  new features to the browser and tops your user experience.I found these two following tutorials very enlighteneing. Top 10 features of Firefox  and Top 10 must have Firefox extensions

3.Avast - Antivirus
About 6 months back, I bought a brand new desktop and promptly downloaded AVG, antivirus. You see, I wanted to play real safe and not be trampled by a virus! And oh yes, I was proud of myself! I started browsing and .. it happened! My comp froze and an error dialog message flashed on the screen! Thought it was a random error .Started Firefox again and after 5 mins got the same error. Seemed like Firefox was crashing every 5 minutes! I had to switch over to  IE and everything was fine with no problem nor crash. But then, since I don’t much care for IE ,I reinstalled windows, reinstalled AVG and so on but still got the same error. By now I decided to do some investigation and scanned the message boards for  an answer which I ultimately got from some where- ‘Firefox crashes all the time; possible conflict with AVG?’That’s it!I promptly uninstalled AVG and installed Avast. And Avast it has been till today, with no crashes whatsoever! :

Do I know HTML? Oh no, I do not !(shamefaced) Then how do I put all those codes in my blog? Really simple, Centricle ,is the answer! It is a simple tool, which easily decodes or encodes html codes and allows Bloggers to easily implant the codes into their blogs! For bloggers writing HTML code on posts, this is a very helpful must-have tool , because all that you need  to do is to paste the code that you want to encode or decode into the box in the centricle site , and  hit the button and you are done! It‘s really a cake walk! Now you can paste the encoded html code wherever you want in the post and publish your post. Example of HTML code on a post:

5.CSS Drive
My blog was so stuffed that it was taking an enormous long time to download and what did I do? I just used a CSS compressor. A CSS compressor is a program that minimizes a CSS style sheet by removing all extra white space and makes the style sheet file smaller so that it downloads more quickly! There are many free css compressors available on the web.
To compress your CSS in Blogger-: Go to Dashboard > Layout. Then click Template>Edit Html . Copy all your CSS between without including them.
Then paste it in box on that CSS tweak page and click Tweak . Then copy and paste the tweaked CSS back into template and save. That’s all, your page will load faster. It’s important that you remember to backup your template first.

6.Foxit PDF Reader
Adobe reader really really slowed down my earlier old computer and I tried Foxit PDF Reader. Did I kick myself for not trying this out earlier? Yes,I did. Foxit is no doubt, the best alternative to Adobe PDF reader and I do find Adobe reader too bloated for my simple needs and liking! Besides, Foxit is much more faster and robust than Adobe’s reader .

Picasa from Google is definitely one of the best free software tools for photo editing . With Picasa you can import your pictures from your camera and edit them to change contrast, remove red eyes and whatever. It is the best available software for managing your photos!

8.Office 2007
I know, it sounds sort of weird to rave about Office 2007 in 2009 and what's more, Office 2010 is just around the corner!  But then, I upgraded to  Office 2007 only this year and was I struck dumb with all the amazing features? Most certainly yes! I love the new Ribbon feature and now, I even publish my blog directly from Word 2007.

9.Reference Tools 
What will I do without those awesome online reference tools like-Wikipedia,Wikihow and online dictionaries.Off line,I use TheSage's English Dictionary and Thesaurus .

10.Amazon's aStore
For those of you who do not want to invest money, Amazon is the best affiliate program to make some money. Patience and a little effort choosing the right products is about all that you invest! I did make some money from Amazon. Amazon’s astore is very easy to set up and you get a commission from the sales when anyone clicking from your store buys stuff from Amazon.Cool! I would suggest that you just go for it! :)

Finally, though I am not adding this to my list , Spider Solitaire ,which comes along with Windows Games is indeed my  stress buster . It may sound boring to many, but then, Spider Solitaire it is for me! I use Recuva to restore accidentally deleted files and do check out, how to recover deleted bookmarks from Firefox.Although you can buy many high quality DRM-free MP3s of entire musical albums in the Amazon MP3 site, I prefer grabbing only the free MP3s!

Last but not the least ,there are so many amazing softwares that were released in the 2009 like Windows7(Microsoft’s latest OS ),Snowleopard (Apple’s OS)  Spotify (online radio app) Digsby , Office 2010 beta ,Skype 4 and many many more.

But the above 10 softwares  really pulled me up from spots in the year 2009!

BTW, this is my entry to Daniel Scosso’s Group Writing Project. I suggest you participate as well.

Copyright © 2009 Laila Rajaratnam. All Rights Reserved 
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Friday, December 4, 2009

Win32: Delf-MZG scare

Yester day morning, when I switched on my computer, there was this flash from Avast - 'Trojan Horse- Win32: Delf-MZG detected'. I put it in the chest as recommended by them, and thought I would do a virus scan. To my horror, there were 75 infected files, and even my D&E drives seemed to have these Trojan files. Yes, I deleted some, moved some to the virus chest.Then, I rang up my computer store,to check whether I should clean up and reinstall windows .They suggested that if I had deleted the files, then, it’s ok and that I need not reinstall windows! Anyway,I was terrified to open my mails or even go to any of my secured sites.
Well,this morning, I wanted to gather  more info about ‘Win32: Delf-MZG’ before going to any of my secured sites . I Googled ,and here's  the explanation from Avast -support :


On Thursday 3.12. 2009 avast! had a bad false positive issue. At around 00:15 AM GMT we released VPS update 091203-0 which started flagging hundreds of innocent files as a 'Win32:Delf-MZG' Trojan (or, in less common cases, as 'Win32:Zbot-MKK'). Among the files affected were high-profile programs produced by Adobe, Realtek, sound card drivers, various media players etc.


On Thursday 3.12. 2009 at 5:50 AM GMT, another VPS update 091203-1 was released, fixing the issue (for both 'Win32:Delf-MZG' and 'Win32:Zbot-MKK'). If you're still using the bad VPS 091203-0 we recommend to invoke a VPS update immediately. To restore false positive files from avast! Virus Chest please follow the instruction in the following article:

Restoring false positive file from Virus Chest

Those who have not used their computers between 12:15 AM GMT and 5:50 AM GMT will most likely not be affected.
We deeply apologize for any inconvenience this has caused.”
BTW,Google Answers was also bursting with questions by perplexed users about this Trojan horse-Win32: Delf-MZG !

 Whew! Now I can go about my normal work! But I was really, really freaked out yesterday seeing a string of Trojan Horse warnings!Surely,you are regularly backing up data on your desktop/laptop, aren’t you? :)

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Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Top 3 iTunes Lyrics plug-ins

Searching for lyrics? Just stop! Don’t waste time hunting for lyrics to the songs you are listening! Listed here is the 3 top iTunes lyrics plug-ins which will search your iTunes library and automatically display the lyrics of the song you are playing! Oh, and if the lyrics are not found, you can add it yourself! You can edit the way you see the text, color, size and background.  
1. LyricsSeeker Plugin for iTunes, WinAmp and Windows Media Player.
The  LyricsSeeker Plugin  allows you to find  lyrics to the songs in your music library of  iTunes, WinAmp or Windows Media Player .
How it works-
If matching lyrics are found, a notification balloon will appear. Simply click on the notification balloon and the Lyrics will be shown in your Internet browser. Ofcourse, you must have an active Internet connection to access the lyrics.
The instruction for installation is found here.

 2  iLyrics 2.4.1
iLyrics is a free and lightweight Dashboard widget that will fetch lyrics for your iTunes. The new release supports snow leopard and it stops looking for lyrics on internet if current track is Podcast or Video
Some of the key features of iLyrics are:
• Search artwork and lyrics form 4+ source at the same time
• Double click iLyrics widget to copy the lyrics and song info
• Double click the artwork, it would open the url from browser if the artwork was found from internet
• Support reading/saving lyrics from song itself
• Support reading artwork from song itself

3. Lyricsnapper
Lyricsnapper searches the web for lyrics, to the currently playing songs in iTunes. You can save those lyrics to your song info, and the next time that song is played, those lyrics are displayed.
• Retrieves lyrics of your favorites songs from the internet
• Option to auto-update the lyrics in your iTunes library
• Integrates with iTunes
• Updates the lyrics in your iTunes library
• Easy to use
Well...take your pick!
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Thursday, November 26, 2009

iTunes U - Free Educational Tool

Are you on the lookout for free educational downloads? Well then, there is this free service iTunes U,  that offer you over 200, 000 free audio and video lessons on a wide range of subjects.. What is  iTunes U? It is a free educational tool that is part of iTunes Store and provides audio books and video lectures on whatever category of subject you want, whether it is mathematics, language, science or fine arts! You can enjoy these educational downloads either on your Mac, PC or transfer them to an iPod or iPhone for learning on the go!

The materials that iTunes U hosts are created mostly by top universities like Stanford, Cambridge and Carnegie Mellon, and top colleges, museums, public media organizations and other educational organizations and hence, it is of high quality. iTunes U is a great place for those who love to learn. With the release of iTunes 9, Apple has featured this great amazing content prominently inside the application. There's a 'Top Downloads' section too which displays the most popular downloads and you can get  an inspiration on what you'd like to study next! Some of this educational content is implemented as podcasts as well.

With this free educational tool - iTunes U, there's no end to what or where you can learn! :)

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Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Top 3 Free DJ Software

Would you like to create your own remixes? Well, you can have loads of  fun by using free DJ software program to remix your MP3 music library! You can use your existing digital music files to produce unique remixes. Some DJ software even allows you to record your musical mixes to a separate digital audio file such as an MP3
Check out these 3 following free amazing DJ software programs which are easy to use even if you are a beginner and they do have a good basic functionality as well as some professional features too. Amuse yourself with these free DJ programs and mix like a pro!

Kramixer ( )

Kramixer is a free DJ software program that runs on most versions of Windows. This free DJ software program has a good selection of real-time effects such as echo, reverb, low pass, and even a robotic effect that’s great for vocals.You can record your mix to an mp3 file for excellent quality sound,  ample storage and easy distribution. Looping is also available with the ability to set 2 loop points per channel. This is a great program loaded with features.

Mixxx   (

Mixxx is an open source DJ software for Windows, Mac OS X, and Linux- Superior mixing engine with recording, vinyl control, and more. Mixxx also supports Midi control if you have any external hardware and has a range of real-time effects and you can also record your mixes in WAV format.

Ultramixer   (

This free edition of Ultramixer 2 for Windows, Mac OS X, and Linux operating systems has the basic elements you need to create live mixes. To unlock the program, first, you need to register s and a free key is sent to you along with a unique code. Although the free edition of Ultramixer 2 isn’t as full-featured as Mixxx for example, it allows you  to import your iTunes playlists and start creating live mixes straight away. The program is very easy to use and all the controls are well laid out.

So here’s to the new DJ! Cheers!  :)

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Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Publish Blog from Word 2007

Did you know that you can publish directly to your blog from Word 2007? Well, that’s one of the new features of Word 2007! You can publish to popular services such as Blogger, Typepad, Wordpress, Windows Live Spaces and others. All that you need, is  internet connection to publish the posts which you have prepared, directly from Word! To start with, you have to create and configure an account in Word and start blogging. You will be able to insert pictures, links, and formatted text as well!

To create and configure an account in Word 2007:
•    Click the Office button > Publish > Blog .

•  As this is the first time the Blog account is set up, click the Register Now button in the Register a Blog Account dialog.

•  In the New Blog Account dialog, select your blog provider- Blogger or WordPress or whatever, from the drop down menu.

  • Provide the login details.

  • If you would like Word to upload pictures for you, click  the Picture Options button.

  • You can choose to have Word publish images directly to your blog provider or to your server, if you or a host is serving your site.

Now, you will notice that the Ribbon has changed to blogging mode! You can Publish, Publish as draft, Insert your categories , Open existing posts, set up new blogs and even insert HTML objects like pictures, links and much more! You can even create image effects and drop shadows! Cool!
Now create your blog post and when done, click the Publish button. Your post has been published and live!
That's great! Done! :)

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