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Topics - Steven Avery [ switch to compact view ]

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126
Hi Folks

Subject originally:
Re: biz-network BACKUP choices and strategies
(changed to show the main products under discussion)

To backup the important PC files to a server (this can be .pdf or labels or various documents and database files) from a number of PCs, the first choice is whether the backup should be centralized or done PC-by-PC, initiated locally.  Both have advantages, I am not sure if there is a free strong network backup program, and the following are the main choices so far for PC backup.

==================================================================

Cobian Backup Version 9 Amanita http://www.educ.umu....ian/cobianbackup.htm
Forum http://www.cobiansoft.com/forum/

SyncBack Freeware V3.2.19.0  - http://www.2brightsp...re/freeware-hub.html

FBackup http://www.fbackup.com/ Forum http://www.fbackup.com/forum/

Comodo Backup - http://forums.comodo...776.0.html;msg280048

Cobian and Comodo are designed as full products, SyncBack and FBackup (from Backup4all folks) are the Lite versions.  Personally I avoid Comodo for other reasons, however the backup product deserves comparison here.

==================================================================
The Microsoft tool for .pst files may come to play
http://office.micros.../HA010875321033.aspx

Or, you may decide to go to a commercial program on the .pst.  
===================================================================

Certain issues come to play, such as how to schedule a backup when the puter is on and the files are available. (Especially with PST.)

So the first question is this, between the four products above, how do we make the decision, what are the strengths and weaknesses of each.  We can combine our use with various reviews and comments on the .net.  Personally I am on the cusp of choosing one, yet which one ? ? ?

Let's look at a number of issues on backup and see if any of the four stand out.  And how to handle those 10 Gigabyte PSTs.

Also let's decide on a strategy, how do you decide what to backup, do you use inclusions of file types, or exclusion ?  Folks can be running their own specialty programs for sales management or label making or scanning or this or that so how do you decide what to backup and what to ignore ?  (Images are not my consideration, here, we want to hold on to data and config type files for hand restore.)

Here are some issues to consider.

RELIABILITY
SUPPORT including FORUMS
EASE-OF-USE
FLEXIBILITY IN CREATING BACKUP SETS
TARGET DATA TYPES (same as source, .zip, proprietary)
SCHEDULING
FULL RESAVE vs. INCREMENTAL & DIFFERENTIAL

I noticed on the Cobian boards an issue was raised that when the source "deletes" a file Cobian does not want to delete it at the target, and issues like that are :

ARCHITECTURAL DESIGN

Probably there are a dozen more.  Bring your screenshots and experiences, let the battle begin, which one will be the Iron Backup ?  

Are any of these 4 far more capable or incompetent than the others ?

Shalom,
Steven

127
Hi Folks,

OOPS - I modified and lost the OP, rather than adding this post !  (Anyway the problem was a lockup where the start button and opening programs lock up, even on a very light startup soon after an XP reinstall, and the "solution" was to crash explorer.exe with the Task Manager.  Likely this is IE8, very possibly clashing with Avira.)

=========================

After some stuff, the problem morphed to :

"When you start Internet Explorer 8, it opens and then closes immediately"
http://support.microsoft.com/kb/967896

And I am very reluctant to uninstall 8, concerned that it may not play nice with SP3.  (The famous Gates integration of browser and OS). I did try a reinstall over, did nothing.

Well this is a defacto solution for getting rid of IE, so I will wait a while and see if there really is a need for IE, using the Firefox and Opera "we are IE" elements if necessary (hmm.. Windows Update comes to mind).

If necessary, plan B is to either wait for IE9 or to uninstall .. in which case I would probably simply go back to 6, or possibly 7, rather than continually have these IE8 problems.  

Shalom,
Steven

128
Hi Folks,

Backup4All
http://www.bitsdujou...ftware/backupforall/

A nice program, in some ways the nicest of the standard file-by-file backups, this is the new release so current license holders of Ver 3 (versions seem to last some years) will compare an upgrade price to this special to staying at 3.  Freeware alternatives include Syncback and Cobian and one from the Backup4all people called FBackup (understandably they do these as distinct products) . FBackup has a forum, and Backup4All indicated that they want to that route in the future.

Technical and support and comparison discussions welcome, just noticed this coming down the pike.

Shalom,
Steven

129
Hi Folks,

Well neither of these is expensive anyway, both are considered good.

Rainlendar Pro ($7 instead of $14)
http://www.bitsdujou...re/rainlendar-2-pro/

True Launch Bar  ($15 summer discount - $10 today)
http://www.bitsdujou...are/true-launch-bar/

Rainlendar seems like it may grow on you.  Being small on the desktop saying "tell me your events and reminders".  Export to iCal for more reports I gather, a little non-elegant yet it may be functional.

True Launch Bar .. does it really help if you already have an ultra-organized start button ?  Maybe a little. Dunno.  Has some plug-ins, would I really use any ?  Dunno.

whaddayathunk ?

Shalom,
Steven

130
Living Room / XP Reinstall - some thoughts - be prepared
« on: June 21, 2009, 06:08 PM »
Hi Folks,

After only a few months I just did another XP reinstall today.  However I look upon it as a good thing.

First, what makes it easy.

a) First, I have the Dell CDs (two especially, one for the reinstall, one for drivers, there is a third unused with some utilities, I think its the crapware and the I-don't-care-ware).  So if you don't know what CDs you will use on a reinstall, figger that out and have them ready, even if it means making them with a utility or purchasing them from your puter maker. So I ended up with a totally clean install.

b) And I had used Double Driver to save the drives into a nice .exe file.  Even though I did not get onto the internet from the initial install, puzzling through the wizards, I simply copied over the double driver .exe from the usb and went to town. It pops up all the drivers, you can uncheck some (I took them all) and then installs. Worked beautifully, probably had some Ethernet driver or something for the Net and I went up right away (behind a router).  My screen control was right too, which is always a little kludgy right after a reinstall. (Shaky scroll bars and such.)

c) And I had UBCD4 CD at the ready before the install.  XP was not booting, I went into UBCD4 and simply copied most of my files to another drive on the USB using .. Free Commander,  which comes on UBCD (thanks FC).  Very simple.  So I knew nothing was lost, even if I might later puzzle out a couple of locations of data files and config files. Granted, theoretically you should have this saved nightly, but since 95%+ of the lockups are OpSys and only a small % are things like disk crashes (I made up the numbers) most of the time you will simply be able to do a copy. Of course it is good to have at least a recent backup, but no matter what, have the UBCD4 CD ready and you can likely back up right up to the instant.  (e.g. the days email).

These are the secret ingredients that makes for an iron puter chef, imho.  Sure I had some little glitch with the audio that I had to download the driver (so I will do a new double driver) and a minor glitch with a Nividia error which I downloaded the updated driver, but these were relatively trivial, especially once I was on the Net and I could search the error.  (Well I had another puter around to do that too, always handy, but did not need it.)

How much time is spent on an install compared to an early image? (e.g. one you did the day after the last install.)  Very little, if  you are doing other things at the same time.  Maybe an hour.  And the earlier the image, the cleaner you are and the more you can rethink what you want to install and how to lighten the system.  Also you will end up with the current versions of this and that.  And the earliest you can get is a full install.

Personally I think images are overrated.  When your system locks up it is time for a reinstall, not to go back to a cluttered system.  Just have a few tools ready and waiting.

1) UBCD4 for the final saves - if possible
2) Install CDs
3) Driver .exe - saved with Double Driver (superb) or a comparable program

Even things like Firefox extensions, I want to rethink now.  About the only "config" file I really will look for is the NoScript "ok" .. if I reinstall NoScript.  Since that is a big hassle, saying ok to all these pages.  Anti-virus and firewall, no problem at all with a few clicks saying "Trusted".

XP is limited on resources, even in the best world.  My goal now is to have two complementary XP systems (I used to have that) and divide up the activities a bit more.  Also I will be more careful not to put things into the startup groups in the future.  Especially services.  Ok, maybe one will be Windows 7, we shall see.

My main decision is whether I want to concentrate on Chameleon Startup or Startup Manager from Metaproducts for monitoring and changing this startup stuff (while I probably will use WinPatrol too I use that more for other functions).  I really wonder if these have the capability to go from startup folder to registry to no startup very easily and effectively.  And what happens when you tell these services that startup up that you don't want them to start by themselves.  I think that is where a few things lead to troubles.  And startup delays, or manual startups (I would like to be able to load 5-10 programs AFTER the initial bootup in a group, maybe use a script for that) can be a big help.  

Oh, and the only program install where I have to be a little cautious is email (Eudora), since I want to get the downloads happening soon and I have to put the filters and everything in the right place, copying over the full data file structure.  (I could use Zero Zipper ..  and start clean too, but not in this case, since the files are not huge.)  Oh, and I quickly brought over the Linkman .lmd file, since most of my PIM stuff is kept there.

Just thought I would share some thoughts.  An XP reinstall can be surprisingly easy, granted this was round 2 for me so the kinks were largely out.

================================

Adding a 4th component.

Know your installs, your serial numbers (even what release and maybe keep the installer if a paid version) and your passwords.  This can all be in a PIM , depending on your security setup.

And their are utilities that show you all the programs.  My method is to keep it orderly in the Start Menu and in folder names created during the installs (even if I delete the file, I keep the folder name) all of which will be on my backup.  Of course their are nuances with add-ons like browser extensions or if you do a lot on Total Commander, however nothing real difficult. I actually back up with FEBE and/or Mozbackup but that is more for porting to a new puter and can be superfluous since loading extensions up is very quick (unless you have many dozens).

Shalom,
Steven Avery

131
Hi Folks,

============================================

List moved to:

https://www.donation...ex.php?topic=18955.0
fully-free software for biz - the lists !


==============================================

 Goal - freeware and donationware (and maybe some super-inexpensive-ware) utilities for a biz environment.  That can be installed and may be helpful to the network admin and many can stay for the users themselves.

 The DonationCoder programs may apply, we can discuss which ones and how that works in the thread.  I'll leave that to the experts.

  Here are a few that immediately come to mind. I am especially interested in programs that :
 1) Might be picked up for use by the users, or
 2) Will help the network admin when he works on the puter

 ** = added to original post from thread info ... naahh .. too many, taken out.

================================

 Please do not get too concern where you post, although in a light sense now this one is meant more for the free-wheeling discussion, the new one is the reasonably orderly list and new suggestions.

Shalom,
Steven

132
Hi Folks,

  While Veign looks for a good file folder size program, I want to know which disk space program is really smart in terms of extension size, preferably network capable.  I am deciding what to back up from 17 puters on a network (workgroup) to the cloud and it would be helpful to know that the .pdf takes up this amount, the .doc and .pst like so.  Or on the other hand, it would be nice to see the amount taken by what I don't want to back up, .exe and .dll and such.  (I am not sure yet whether to approach the project on an include or exclude basis, although include is in the lead.)  This is not mission-critical stuff, the biz data is on the PC server and also the minicomputer, and the mini is is now doubly backed up, tape and cloud, the PC server files are over the net (and to a real vault company, using solid software, this is not mozying around). However, the idea that people should just lose all their personal files on a crash or mal-stuff doesn't make a lot of sense, so I want to back up at least the prime-time stuff.

  Most of the disk space programs are not thinking in terms of total size for an extension, one or two I looked at have some capabilities, but not real strong (that was a few nites ago, I will check my notes) ... are any that you have seen real strong ? They don't have to be network capable, especially if freeware.  The PC's are all in one building and I can install.

Shalom,
Steven Avery

133
General Software Discussion / personal favourites start page
« on: June 15, 2009, 07:01 AM »
Hi Folks,

  The goal:  A nice, simple categorized Start Page to act as my portal to best sites, daily special, important chores, my main bookmarks.   A Start Page that acts like a bit of a reminder system, and lets me open up say .. DonationCoder, FreewareGenius, Wilders, BitsDuJour, and GiveawayoftheDay in one small categorized group. (Even if it is five clicks). Or make a small category for my software support forums. Or this, and that, and the other.

  Much as I like using Linkman for bookmarks and PIM, and it is the repository for tens of thousands of links, a personal start page with categories of bookmarks would be very nice. (Linkman has Fastlinks and Daily links features, it would be great if they expanded their functionality to a categorized start page !)  So I checked to see what software or web services are available, either on a host or a program that puts the page on your on puter.

  There are tons of social bookmarking and portal sites that do stuff like this, yet they tend to do it in a clumsy, bulky manner.  However maybe one of them can do the job nicely, if you think this can be accomplished with a site like Symbaloo, Netvouz, NetVibes, iGoogle, My Yahoo, myAOL, Diigo/Furl, Flyapp, Eskobo, linkagogo, Homepage Startup, Pageflakes, Only2Clicks, StartAid, Tizmos, Zimbio, Webwag, Widgetop, Backflip, 3x3Links,  or another .. or one of the Firefox extensions like Speed Dial or FastDial or Auto Dial or XMarks .. please share away !  (There should be more than the 9 links on the front page that you will get by those looking like the Opera implementation.)  Some like Symbaloo or Netvouz may have a clean, neat, easy-to-make category-oriented skin, however I haven't seen it yet in a quick net-browse.

    If you simply want to group the "big 50" or 100 or so bookmarks (the ones you glance at daily or frequently) .. and then occasionally make some additions or add or a new category .. they are of little help, at least what I have seen so far.  Oh, importing is not the issue for me, I only want the frequently used bookmarks set up in a special order. An hour or two setup is expected, but should be quick and relatively painless.

  And clearly you could build your own page, that might be the ultimate solution.  

 NICETIES

  However you would like to use a service that built in a lot of niceties.  e.g. If your page could have sub-pages (at least one level would be very helpful) if sections could be moved from page to page, if there could be a read-only method for visitors that you could send a link to, if the note function is good, stuff like that, it would help.

=================

  Linkshelf http://www.linkshelf.com/ was mentioned on DonationCoder in 2006, and its entry methods are decent.

My Linkshelf
https://www.donation...dex.php?topic=2015.0

  This site lets you make fairly quickly a clean categorized list, however it lacks a lot of niceties and nothing is happening with it for years, as far as I can tell. Oh, you could set up a second level with an alternate sign-on, a bit of a workaround.

   And, when I tried to figger out where it came from and what it was doing, one site mentions how it comes from a pedigree of a developer who did similar stuff in the porn world.  Making privacy polices problematic (this is hosted by linkshelf) and being a real strain and pain in general to my way of thinking, even if there is no functional connection.

==============

  Favoor has similar functions:

Favoor
http://www.favoor.com/

  However it also has not gone anywhere for years, is less helpful than Linkshelf in some ways, looks as dull as possible and is close to being a nothing.  It does add a sticky note function not in Linkshelf, one of the few features that would be nice to have integrated but can be done in NoteZilla or Stickeis.  I think I may have ended up with someone elses Favoor and when I went into a page to check who is the sign-on I got program warning messages with my "change my settings" on the page.  This is going nowhere.

=============

  Switching to programs that you install, local management, in these cases the resulting page is on your hard disk, although note the note about pop-ups that were in Tidy Favorites.

=============

  Tidy Favorites is more active, with GAOTD and Bits, with Free and Pro (paid) versions.

Tidy Favorites (Nov 2008)
https://www.donation...ex.php?topic=15714.0

Tidy Favorites Is a Customizable Thumbnail Homepage
http://lifehacker.co...e-thumbnail-homepage

Giveaway of the Day - Tidy Favorites Pro - April 27, 2009
http://www.giveawayo.../tidy-favorites-pro/

   I haven't installed it to look at the skins, to see if there is something really tidy and neat available with categories.   If someone has a picture of this working in a real tidy fashion (looking a bit like Linkshelf in simplicity) then I would likely give it a buzz.  However it seems to be more of an alternate bookmark manager (which I do not need) than a clean home page maker. And apparently they are hoping to have subscribers paying $20/yr. (Not a deal-breaker if the program is fantabulous.)

==================

The Favorite Start Page - Gudbrand Eggen

   While this goes back to 2003, compatibility updates are common, including Firefox 3 in 2008.  

File Forum (with pic)
http://fileforum.bet...rt-Page/1111448201/1

  So far this is my leader, ready to go.  Far from super-elegant, yet functional.  Being on the disk will help speed.  

====================

  Your suggestions ?

Shalom,
Steven Avery

134
Hi Folks,

This is more a question for the web-dev people here.

SeaGreen Software - Automatically Generate Web Forms
http://www.bitsdujou...e/seagreen-software/

Has anybody looked at the generated code ?  The method, etc ? 

Is this something where a good coder would simply have their own personal template anyway and using a 3rd-party generator is cumbersome ?  Or is this a nice addition to save time if you were doing a number of web-pages with forms.

This is a small company, the sincerity is clearly there, the problem is it may be a solution looking for a problem ? 

Shalom,
Steven Avery

135
Hi Folks,

Due to a glitch, the Visual Route program that is available with the Bits Du Jour is now the business edition.

They started with the wrong edition.

VisualRoute Personal Edition - Analyze Your Internet Connections
http://www.bitsdujou...te-personal-edition/

Leading to ..

Julie Lancaster (Visualware Developer) Says:
"Good news! Visualware will provide a free upgrade to the VisualRoute 2009 Business Edition a ($249 retail value) to anyone that purchases through Bits du Jour today (9 June 09). The Business Edition upgrade license will be provided by email today."

I know from playing with it during the previous Bits that it is a nicely done software, and I almost bought it.  The question is whether it has use .. even as a learning and play, or if it is only sensible if you really are studying or negotiating or testing net route times.

e.g. At work we are thinking of switching from one T-1 provider to some other type of provider (I ferget the details offhand, involving cable, FIOS this and that). Some folks say they use the info to help in dealing with their cable or phone companies.  Perhaps some of the information could come in useful.  And maybe there are other scenarios, like proxy stuff.  Or it might be something of a toy or learning tool for the light user. 

$20 is still a spot of money, so I would like to have a sense of my use, but the extra plus of the business version is interesting.

Shalom,
Steven Avery

136
Hi Folks,

Mamutu - Behavior-Based Malware Protection
http://www.bitsdujou...com/software/mamutu/

Mamutu on BDJ 8th June $8.69  - Wilders thread
http://www.wildersse...wthread.php?t=243884

 (And Mamutu discussed on other threads on Wilders, Gladiator, DSL Reports, etc.)

 Mamutu from Emsi, a behavioral HIPS.  Plays nice with Online Armor, according to reports, although I gather it can overlap (double messages) in some cases.  I gather you can adjust what sections Mamutu is covering.

 If you take this program for a year, suggest you immediately cancel the auto-renewal a year later, you can always renew then, or look for a new discount.  (This also was on GiveawayoftheDay once, over a year ago.)

Mamutu - Emsi Description
http://www.emsisoft..../en/software/mamutu/

Bladed Thoth review
http://www.bladedtho...rs/mamutu-v1-5-0-22/

Shalom,
Steven  

137
Living Room / Troubleshooting an XP bootup lockup
« on: June 07, 2009, 05:18 PM »
Hi Folks,

This is a relaxed problem. (Thus I prefer to discuss it here .. rather than in any of the hyper-ventilated forums.)

When I boot up XP under the main user, I get a lockup, hourglass, active, no keyboard or mouse actions allowed, perhaps relating to Internet Explorer. (After a couple of programs like Avira and NoteZilla have loaded, but most have not.) When I crash out Windows Explorer with my task manager (ctrl-alt delete is not disabled, my task manager replacement DTaskManager, comes up and is fully functional) the system can be normal, ready for me to start up the rest of the programs by hand. (A couple have started up by the time of the lockup.)  There is no residue of difficulty in that case.

I saw in the "weird window" thread the suggestion to stop a bunch of stuff from starting up in Autoruns and then put back in groups.  Sounds like a good idea, I was also wondering about checking the event log, or a load order program and stuff like that.  This stuff is squirrelly.  The Autoruns  suggestion is probably a good idea, any thing to go along with that ?  I usually do not reboot that frequently so I have to dedicate some time to this when I am doing other stuff in multi-task. HijackThis style logs is a possibility too.

=====================================

Here are a couple of other notes.

Paragon's freebie would not install without "administrator" rights, even though my main user is an administrator.  No other new programs have had this problem.  So I eventually bit the bullet and did ctrl-alt-delete twice at signon, went in as the official administrator, and install went fine.  Any thoughts ?  This was different than when this type of problem happens and you actually do not have administrator rights.  Maybe I will write Paragon, since they are known for high-class customer service.  The problem is .. I don't have a problem anymore.

I also have some XP questions (on another puter or 2) similar to the ones in the "weird window" thread.  These XPs have the right # on the side, almost surely original motherboard,  and the guy gets them from a solid corporation and has to reinstall the OS. (Total investment for 2 puters = $175 and 1 might just become a Linux box anyway and the fellow will help me get them up, if I catch him at the right time.)  At one time I think I had XP validated on one but smashed it with an attempted partition.  (Ugh). So all this adventure is in process... stay tuned.  Again, these are secondary puters, there is no rush, but a lot of the issues overlap the "weird window" thread.  In general, if you have a high-class OEM-style wide-mouth Windows XP installer and an original system with the right sticker # on the side, should you have much problem getting XP back up, do you thunk ?

Shalom,
Steven

138
Hi Folks,

DbSchema 5 - The Art Of Keeping Data Together
http://www.bitsdujou...m/software/dbschema/

A database design front-end (I think that is what it is) to work with a number of mostly SQL database products.  You design the database in DbSchema and have maybe better schema and documentation tools than you might find in the individual program. And then you can go here and there exporting.  Maybe if you change your database in midstream the horse doesn't gurgle.  (Granted this does not take into consideration all the user interface aspects specific to the tools.)

Sounds rather interesting, even if the usable databases are limited.  The lack of a user forum .. a smidgen discomfiting.

Your thoughts ?

Shalom,
Steven Avery

139
General Software Discussion / Sticky Notes - Freeware Roundup
« on: June 04, 2009, 02:05 AM »
Hi Folks,

  From the recent threads and the NoteZilla review we have seen that two products understandably generate the most interest.

NoteZilla - ConceptWorld - Shareware
http://www.conceptworld.com/NoteZilla/

Stickies  - Zhorn - Freeware
http://www.zhornsoftware.co.uk/stickies/

Yet there are many others to consider. First, the freeware. However, most of these freeware products do not have what I consider the two most significant features  -

1) Auto-See & Auto-Hide (opening programs, documents, webpages)
2) Functional data repository for all the notes (sorting, searching)

Yet, not all might consider these requirements, especially those looking for simple sticky capabilities and little more.  (btw .. what other Note software has these features ?  Perhaps one or two of the other commercial apps ? )

Thus, this post is the freeware review, the listing of currently available with a spot of info and urls.  After chopping out a few for various reasons there were about 20+ that were interesting.

===========================================

This site has some pics of a lot of the freeware software.

Free Sticky Notes
http://www.freepims.com/id445.html
(Crawler should be avoided, Desktop 3D Notes is commercial)

===================================

FREEWARE (& Donationware)

PrestoNotes
http://users.telenet...r41007/Overview.html

Note-It - Veign
http://www.veign.com...cation.php?appid=102

Shock Sticker - (Freeware Genius likes this)
http://www.docs.kr/e...cts-Shock-Sticker-en
FreewareGenius
http://www.freewareg...10/01/shock-sticker/

PNotes
http://pnotes.sourceforge.net/

KNot - update of "Akatanomasto" by Cylog -   Kostas Symeonidis
http://www.cylog.org/utilities/knot.jsp

PaperNotes - Open Source
http://www.vbrocks.n...loads/PaperNotes.htm

StickIt - Singer's Creations
http://www.singerscr...ions.com/StickIt.asp
Webforum
http://www.singerscr...ions.com/StickIt.asp

NetNotes6  (server edition is commercial)
http://www.alshare.com/

FreeNote - mgshareware  (toolbar to decline on install)
http://www.mgshareware.com/fnmain.shtml

Hott Notes (updated 2007 - forum active)
http://www.hottnotes.com/
Lifehacker
http://lifehacker.co...otes-with-hott-notes

StickyPad - Green Eclipse (updated 2007)
http://www.greenecli...e.com/stickypad.html

Stickypaper - (from Japan)
http://www.pentacom....cts.html#stickypaper

Scribble-it
http://www.korbeeck....mp;id=4&Itemid=4

Sheer Notes - Solway's Software
http://www.theabsolu...et/sware/#sheernotes

Two Notes - Softjournal
http://www.softjourn...icky_notes/index.php

TK8 Easy Notes
http://www.tk8.com/easynotes/

iQ-Notes
http://www.paresi.net/iqnotes/

Efficient Sticky Notes (related to "Efficient PIM")
http://www.efficient...ynotes.com/index.htm

Simple Sticky Notes - Simnet
http://www.simplestickynotes.com/

Simple Notes Organizer
http://www.newfreedo...Notes-Organizer.html

WireNote (2005) - PIM'ish capabilities
http://www.wiredplan...t-wirenote/about.php

Shirusu Pad (2005)
http://hem.bredband.net/danielc/

Fast Note (2005)
http://software.kirys.it/downloads.php

==========================

COMPANIES WITH FREE AND PAID VERSIONS

Freebie Notes - PowerSoft (Also Dynamic Notes $17 and Power Notes $22)
http://www.pw-soft.c...ick-notes/index.html
Comparison
http://www.pw-soft.c...top-notes/index.html

Stickler Lite    (MoRUN has about five Note softwares, these two are the freewares)
http://www.sticky-notes.net/
Free Sticky Notes
http://www.freestickynotes.com/

NotesHolder - (Pro - $20)
http://notes.aklabs.com/

=============================================

Notes: Online stickies are not included here.  Efficient (above) .. a bit of an Essential PIM knockoff .. is the only regular PIM I know that has separately broken out the sticky notes as its own app.

Exstora and Exstora Pro
http://www.exstora.com/
is a PIM application with a sticky note feature and note manager.

Some here might have experiences with these freewares.  The good, the bad and the ugly.  If so .. please share away.

Shalom,
Steven Avery

140
Mini-Reviews by Members / NoteZilla
« on: June 03, 2009, 11:20 AM »
Basic Info

App NameNoteZilla
App URLhttp://www.conceptworld.com/NoteZilla/
App Version ReviewedNoteZilla 7.0 Build 85 Nov 12, 2008
Test System SpecsWindows XP SP3
Supported OSesWindows 2000, XP, Vista
Support MethodsEmail, very open to discussion
Upgrade PolicyNoteZilla 8 should be available in Aug-Sep next year (2010). And the upgrade price planned to be 30%-40% less of original price.
Trial Version Available?30-day
Pricing SchemeNoteZilla $29.95 (1 person, 2 puters used only by the 1 person) Portable USB $39.95 Sliding discounts on multi-licenses and packs.  Also watch DonationCoder and BitsDuJour.
Relationship btwn. Reviewer and Product None.  Inhabitants of the same teeming megalopolis.

Intro:
NoteZilla takes the concept of sticky note software to a fine art.  

The first thing to see is that NoteZilla was very stable in my use.  And consistently esthetically pleasing.  You can navigate menus and right-clicks at leisure and find the features, the author will try to answer any puzzles you hit by email and the color and shape and utility of the notes are very flexible.  

One key feature of any power-user sticky note software will be the Auto-See and Auto-Hide function. (I will use this expression in the review, it goes by many names and descriptions.) Linking to programs and web pages and documents .. working through the Windows API for the description of a window .. so that a particular note comes up automatically as an auxiliary to the page or program or document and then hides when the item gives up focus. (Unless you pin the note to the desktop or are working on the note).  

Not realizing this capability existed, I had discarded sticky notes a while back as impractical, sticking with Keynote-NF for note software, a fine program with no sticky capabilities.  Yet the Auto-See-Hide feature exists in a few note products.  Now with this capability understood the question is in reverse .. how much usage to give the sticky notes ?  Since they are so effective and fit into a daily puter usage mix, as they no longer have the tendency to get in the way (also you use the "pinning" feature to reduce real estate for notes in and out of use).

Another feature for power use is that the notes must have a strong central data repository that has multiple features for organizing and searching.  This is not immediately obvious when you think of sticky notes, since your paper notes tend to get crumpled and discarded and mixed-up and you thought the program was just to put a few notes on the screen.  This repository (the well-designed "NoteZilla Notes Browser") is what allows a program like NoteZilla to contend to become your main note program. To either augment or supplant programs like Keynote-NF or Treepad.

Note though that NoteZilla - despite its use for ToDo and reminders, makes little effort to be an all-purpose PIM or to integrate with web snippets. And NoteZilla, and sticky note programs in general, lacks significant functions of the dedicated notes programs. More sophisticated searching and macros as well as word processing style text manipulation. As you move more into project planning and organization and less into notes/reminders you will hit the wall with a sticky note program.  

For Screen Shots NoteZilla has a fairly fine series of 11.
http://www.conceptwo...lla/nz_pictour_1.asp

Here are a couple, on the web-pages is additional NoteZilla explanatory notes on the left, these pics here are actually more how your screen appears. Time permitting I may update these a bit with my own pics.  Mouser and all, thanks for the include-pic-explanation thread !

On this first pic I am not sure if the bubble-annotation-style note is from NoteZilla ! (Either a feature I missed or a bit of picture-fudge using another program, research in process.)

Stickies on Windows Desktop.jpg

On this next pic notice that the MemoBoards do allow sub-folders. Quite easily in fact. (Thus some corrections came to the review). This pic is missing an important element .. the filters which supply a lot of the extra power can be in the lower left .. or the full left if you hide the memoboards. I will plan to pic including the filter area later. Another important element missing in this pic .. the full sortable columns, will also be included.  Overall, you can see the clarity and cleanness of working within the Notes Browser, one of the key elements to NoteZilla.

Notes Browser.jpg

Next we see how far NoteZilla has taken the tags so far.  When there is more than one (not shown) it is simply in the same box, separated by a column.  So tags at this time are essentially one-level use. Still very nice and helpful, yet more can be done.

Tags.jpg

Reminders are done nicely.  This next pic (the popup box at the bottom right of the pic .. the screen itself is a tad color-gaudy) is what you see when the reminder is happening.  You have options for sound or not, to let it buzz for x seconds, put in your own .wav file and bring up the source note.  The "Set Reminder" screen (not shown) is where there are two tabs, one for the basic action and one for recurring entries.  

Reminders.jpg

And for the DonationCoder techies, the pic of the export page.

Export Notes.jpg

Who is this app designed for:
NoteZilla can be for the techie keeping notes on dozens of issues and projects and ToDos and programs.  Using a multi-searchable and sortable free-lance data repository. And sharing the notes with others.

As an example, my first real productive usage was to link notes to program support, such as Online Armor, so that when the OA config box goes up by my directive, my wip questions for their forum come up as well in a NoteZilla note, a note which will include any helpful forum links.

Or it can be for the home user keeping some notes handy for shopping and wanting little reminders and todos and when to pay bills and make appointments and this and that.  The more tech elements (ie. attaching a file or a picture, setting up tags for filing, linking to a program) can be ignored for light use.

The NoteZilla website front page has a few dozen examples. "But, what will I use this program for?"  For many of those I would continue with my existing PIM, which in my case is my bookmark program Linkman, since I have it well-trained to show maximum information on minimum effort.  

Ironically one place where I definitely plan to use NoteZilla was not listed.

Screen capture annotation. Easy capture programs like WinSnap and Purrint and MWSnap do not have an annotation feature (Screenshot Captor and the higher-end commercial programs have this feature).  However you can simply bring up a new note before taking the picture, give the note the placement and color and style (skin) and text that fits best ("My firewall gave me this error msg after I installed Program XYZ"). And then take the picture. Thus you have filled in for the missing feature and can even save the text in your notes, and, in reverse, maneuver to put the resulting picture inside the note !

The Good
First, the two features above are of great interest for my usage.

Auto-See & Auto-Hide
"Attach a sticky note to any document, website, program or window. Great advantage!"

Tagging
"Tags are like keywords or labels that you can assign to sticky notes in order to group them and find them easily. By adding tags you can group your sticky notes by topics, projects, contexts or anything else that is important to you."

Tagging allows flexible grouping of any notes by an additional filter system. Adding to the "note repository" function.  NoteZilla has a strong MemoBoard filtering (e.g. show all notes with Reminders or Starred and sort them by reminder date using the one-click sortable column feature).  However so far it looks like the Tagging is in early implementation and is not included in the filtering system except appearing in a sortable column (which loses functionality when there is more than one tag for a note).

There are a large number of excellent features that can only get quick mention here.

First there is the niceness of transparencies and color and RTF flexibilities and skins and tiling and cascading and separate title editing and text and various ways to size and hide and stick and roll up and down the windows.  These are all done well in NoteZilla and the best is simply to test it out for awhile to see how the basics work.

Reminders with recurring events is a semi-basic Sticky Note feature well-implemented in NoteZilla. If you don't have a reminder program in a PIM or elsewhere (I do not) NoteZilla will fill this function admirably.  

The search function is definitely solid and sufficient, essentially NoteZilla "Finds" all the notes that have the searched-for-texts (with word/string and case options).  And as you look at each found note the text is highlighted (although not in the title, possibly an oversight to be improved).  

Here is my short list of semi-special features.

Picture insert (works excellently !)
Attaching Files and Folder (e.g. a picture is "attached" that will come up in a viewer when the attachment is clicked or a file will be executed by its associated program).
Checklist, bullets numbering
Priority
Spell Check
Hotkeys
Password
Solid flexible export (.html .txt .db) and import (.txt .db)
Portable functionality.
Contact list for emailing and sharing notes
Network sharing

The needs improvement section
More in the concept of enhancement than "needs improvement".

Enhancement request:
It would be nice to see a feature where the linking is to ANY webpage with the text "DonationCoder" in the window text.  And not just a specific web-page. This is done by GoScreen, a virtual screen manager, and requires some extra programmer effort and would be worthwhile.

Long-term Enhancement Request:
Enhanced PIM functionality/integration in various ways or form.  The principle one I see is a calendar integration coming out of the reminder system.  This could be program enhancement or export to an .ics (iCalendar) file for import to another dedicated calendar program.  

Another longer-term consideration is adding phone #s to the contact and some other information and then having contact-note linkage.   So that you scan your contacts and have the phone # and whatever put right into the note.  You would also have a view of notes for a contact.

Bugs and annoyances were few and far between.  I asked the developer to consider putting the "hide" button on the other side of the top-bar so you might not accidentally hide a work-in-process.  Gautam responded favorably, and thought it a good idea for consideration. (Generally he either showed me a feature I had missed or looked upon the suggestions favorably or for consideration.) Online Armor had a few extra unusual prompts at time that I had to repeat. Essentially I have hit no bugs or annoyances of note.

And I also asked the developer Gautam to consider a "Properties" tag similar to his "Statistics" section.  I was not able to determine what pages a note was linked to (not even in the Notes Browser).  Thus all the pertinent information about a note (including linked pages and files and folders and other properties) would be best easily visible on a right-click option.

Another feature request was a hotkey capability for a specific note. All hotkeys now are NoteZilla global functions.

A minor request was an option to simply keep the excellent top-bar up, rather than requiring a mouse-hover or mouse-click or key to unhide the bar.  The reason it is not up is that it detracts from the super-simple "Sticky Note" appearance, yet I think it actually often adds to appearance and functionality.

Also a request to make the "Title" line more distinctive than it is currently (color, underlining-sectioning) although actually you can accomplish some of that with default colors and fonts, as the Title line is kept distinct in applying RTF attributes and has a separate default.  Also if you ask to have a note tagged with date and time, that ends up starting out as the Title-line until you edit it.  A smidgen unelegant, I would rather open up right to the title awaiting my input.

=====

There were two lacks that I found notable. Both may be more in the line of "newish feature -- and .. nobody asked about it yet".  (Also I may have missed some functionalities.)

1) The lack of an easy way to see the Auto-See linkages from the note itself, or even from the Note Browser. They are only triggered when the program or web page or document opens.

2) NoteZilla is not yet oriented toward full multi-tagging.  Multi-tagging is possible, but will not help in grouping (filters). The second tag will simply be listed to the right of the first in a row view in the Note Browser, as a sort field and to show what tags a note was placed in.  They have no function within the filtering section, which is their most natural power-use.  This grouping functionality is a feature that is strong in some ToDo lists programs and was strong when I used Time & Chaos.  Once NoteZilla includes user-defined multiple groups, it becomes important to give them fuller function.

Why I think you should use this product
NoteZilla sticky notes are surprisingly versatile.

The Auto-See-Hide feature of linking with a document or program or web-page is such a powerful feature, combined with a fine interface, that I highly recommend at least trying a program with these features.

The Notes Browser (data repository) is excellent, the key feature of searching and collecting and organizing.  

On the lighter level there are freeware alternatives, yet many would prefer NoteZilla.  

On the techie level NoteZilla is simply a sweet software.  Price is very moderate for a daily-use software so I recommend not economizing on a lesser program unless you are extremely comfortable with the program.

How does it compare to similar apps
NoteZilla appears to be the standard bearer, the measuring line.

Stickies by Zhorn is a very competent freeware product that does have the linking to url and programs feature, yet lacks the tagging and is lighter in general in elements like filtering.  With Stickies I did not feel as comfortable, and missed the top bar on NoteZilla which is very nice.  (Giving you options to hide, roll/up or pin the note and showing you whether there is a reminder or attachment and quick access to the full note menu and allowing you to work in an intuitive and visual fashion.)  Overall I felt NoteZilla was superior for active use, while Stickies might be fine for lighter use. Note: I may have missed aspects of how to use StickyNotes, in my brief usage periods.

Post-it Digital Notes by 3M is a commercial competitor.  One article on DonationCoder lamented how they botched the upgrade and transition to the new version, which is what can happen with corporate software.  Plus I do not see the Auto-See-Hide feature and tagging in the blurb.

There have been some attempts to add sticky notes to PIM or web applications, working in reverse.  None have stood out in my research to date. Google Sticky Notes and Exstora (mentioned in some portable apps pages) are two.

There are many other shareware and freeware and donationware stickies.  I will try to list many of them with a url and note in a separate post, noting here a few names that seemed substantive.

Freeware & Donationware - NoteIt by Veign, PrestoNotes, NetNote, Stickit, Freebie Notes, hott notes, Wirenote (more PIM features but no active development)

Shareware - Power Notes, Magic Notes, TurboNote+, NetNote 6 and Server

In some cases, like NetNote, you have a freeware and commercial product.

Conclusions
NoteZilla simply does its job, and well.  NoteZilla is under continual development with an active and helpful software author.  A webforum or at least an email forum would be an excellent addition, although less critical on an app like this than a lower-level utility like a security app or a virtual screen monitor.

Links to other reviews of this application
These two reviews were linked to from the NoteZilla pages.

Notezilla Review - Free Downloads
http://www.free-down...les/Notezilla_Review

PC World - editorial review
http://www.pcworld.c...e,1/description.html

Not many reviews,  Lifehacker only has it in favorable comments, the program cannot qualify for the excellent freeware reviews like Gizmo or FreewareGenius.  Even Fileforum and Snapfiles only have a smidgen.

Overall, I enjoyed studying for this review, like homework, compelling me to learn a ton more about the program in a few hours !  Helpful to me, hopefully to you as well.

Shalom,
Steven Avery

141
Hi Folks,

  In the spring and summer I start "missing" more events than in the winter, so I start to wonder...

 Calendar software is a tricky area, so much so that I am always tempted to return to the last I actually used consistently for awhile - Calendar Creator, now Plus. Many years back.  Oh yeah, I also used Time & Chaos reasonably well for awhile.

  However a spot of time has marched on, here are my thoughts beyond the :

OBVIOUS
Decent screen view and printouts.
Easy entry.
Recurring events should be reasonably simple and powerful.

 However the fancy custom calendar backgrounds for printing that some give are unimportant.  The theme here is practical.

REMINDERS
are close to a necessity.  Either pop-up from tray or even better more sophisticated stuff, like to a cell phone. They should be reasonably flexible (e.g. every day for a week before the event).

OVERLAYS (Groups/Categories)
are a necessity for me to be happy with such a program.  You should be able to look at your "radio" calendar or "local events" calendar separately or with "ALL". Preferably you should be able to choose to group a few categories together for a custom calendar. This calendar may include my "Local Events" and "Concerts" and "Conferences" but not my other dozen groupings like personal finance deadlines or internet and radio events or work stuff.  

This is more possible if the grouping allows a sub-grouping concept .. and that is more likely if the calendar is the outgrowth of a ToDo with sub-categories. However sub-groups is not a necessity and may barely exist anywhere well in calendar software.

And asking for geographic savvy is likely a bit too much to ask, but I could include that to an extent in my defined categories (easier with sub-groups).

PRIORITIES
Are a necessity.  I may put into the calendar some radio or internet events that are high priority, but a dozen other may be normal schedules that are there as a "look-see" in the AM but otherwise not important.  Thus the event I really want to remember is high priority (or number = 8 ) and the others are a 1 or 2 or low.  They are in the calendar but only if I include the low priorities.  Three priorities would be ok but a number system is superior.

And it would be nice if deadlines are hard or soft.  That is again more likely coming out of a ToDo manager.  There is a big difference between a calender notice that has an event on a certain date (my vehicle inspection is due) and one that is a flexible job deadline.  This distinction in dates (coming from ToDo stuff like .. ugh .. GTD) is nice to build in one way or another.  e.g. A calendar event of a soft deadline does not disappear when the day passes, it asks to be reset to a later date. Ok, all this is not a necessity.

URL Hot-links
Clearly this is a feature that you would expect today. Close to necessity.

===============================================

One other question is very important.  It would be very nice if this calendar was not an orphan calendar, but was integrated to a high-quality To-Do list or PIM (email I would ignore at this time, although in the long run Thunderbird might be integratable, today I use Eudora.  Tbird has various connections and extensions to consider).  

Integration would be especially nice to a ToDo, which is a natural complement and integration to calendar.  PIM is nice because it may allow a drag-and-drop to have stuff like the phone # put in without a recheck or retype (Time & Chaos had some of that functionality).

 I used Time & Chaos (now Chaos Intellect) for awhile and it was reasonable on all this, however it was clearly stronger on PIM features like contacts than ToDo or calendar. I would even consider returning to such a program, even in a commercial version, if the calender is strong and integrated well.  After T&C I poked around (e.g. Essential PIM and Pimex) yet never found a really fine alternative PIM, and I also consider building my own with a database program with or without template. (This might be Alpha Software, or a project to help me learn WinDev or Magic Software, but those last two would have a work-related learning aspect since they can run on the iSeries/AS400 data as well as the PC.)

  Otherwise I would continue to use Linkman as my primary PIM (with which I am quite happy, since it has a natural web-integration and fast look-up) and use something like ToDoList (Abstract Spoon) if the calender program and ToDo cannot be one program per my requirements.  ToDoList has a separate calendar plug-in, but I tend to doubt that it mustard-cuts for the above.  As for my current tools, I also use NoteZilla and KeyNote-NF, with NoteZilla recently moving up the ladder.

  It is possible that some programs like Agenda At Once or Ultra Recall or Exstora or this and that have a lot of this stuff. If you have experience with one that is looks like it can do the calendar job above, give a holla. Who knows, I may already have the program license.  Also InfoQube may be a player, it is the type of PC-friendly database program that may have some modules that fit the needs above.  I would jump right into Agenda or InfoQube or UltraRecall if they are strong enuf and malleable enuf (AAO in native mode, InfoQube in building/programming mode, Ultra Recall in the middle).

 On the straight calender with some ToDo.. Rainlendar is often mentioned, perhaps it fits the bill ?  Does it make the "de minimus" above ?

 Ok, one other obvious question.

HOME PUTER or ONLINE

  Can a RemembertheMilk or another online program do this well ?  Does it have the layered and priority functions and more ?  If so, I will try that route. I am happy to let this be a home puter function, an online function, or both integrated .. if the functionality is excellent.

Oh, along the same line.

BLACKBERRY INTEGRATION

   Blackberry, IPhone, Palm. Clearly this is the rage this day, yet I am not so excited.  I would be more than happy knowing what is happening each day early in the morning by a little screen and/or print reminder.  Right now I have a cell phone, simple clam-shell Samsung that is very functional.  While I would consider the move to a Blackberry or some other carry-around organizer, I do not consider that a driving force.  In a sense I consider that a bit too intrusive, similar to how I gave up on laptops and notebooks some years back.  Yet if your Blackberry-type experiences have been positive, share away.

================================

OVERLAYS AND GROUPS vs. MULTIPLE CALENDARS

  A popular backwards method today is to sync multiple calendar.  See that type of discussion in the comments here.

How to Sync Any Desktop Calendar with Google Calendar
http://www.lifehacke...h_google_calendar-2/

Or in this one, although it is also has other issues, trying to use the .ics format over multiple calendar programs.

Use Drobox To Synchronise Multiple Rainlendar Calendars
http://www.lifehacke...ainlendar-calendars/

Question.  
Does this .ics format support some the features I am asking for above ?

 And note, there is mention of "sub-calendars" (hard to work with externally) within Outlook.

 Multiple calendars is exactly what I want to avoid.  Imho, the only really sensible method is one calendar with flexible groupings.  One master calendar.  You may "export" from it for a particular reason (e.g. web access, fancy printing) but the data repository should be solid and singular.

==================================================

  Your thoughts and experiences and suggestions ?

Shalom,
Steven

142
Hi Folks,

Snag-It
http://www.techsmith.../covermount.asp?ID=8

"Thank you for your interest in Snagit. We are happy to offer you a free, legal version of Snagit 7.2.5 through 5 pm (EST) on June 5, 2009. Please note this version is not compatible with Windows Vista. Please register below to receive your software key. As a registered user, you automatically qualify for upgrade pricing to our latest version – Snagit 9.1. For more information on our latest version – Snagit 9.1 – please visit http://www.techsmith.../snagit/whatsnew.asp "

Found on the Wilder's thread this AM
http://www.wildersse...wthread.php?t=243717
SnagIt - Free License

(Where they mention it works fine on Vista and also discussed some other software.)

No doubt SnagIt is quality, even if you use Screenshot Captor, WinSnap, Purrint, HyperSnap, FastStone, Jing and Potato online and a dozen others, there likely will be some features (web captures, text capture, editing, this and that) where you find SnagIt the best.  If I remember, its text capture facility is pretty neat. OCR .. and the auxiliary area of text capture through the Windows API .. is a complex area, and one size never fits all, Evernote is known for some capabilities in that area through the cloud.

Shalom,
Steven Avery

143
Hi Folks,

DefenseWall HIPS
http://www.bitsdujou...re/defensewall-hips/

Well-regarded by the Wilder's crew, though I have not used it.  If it is confirmed that it generally plays nice with Online Armor and Avira (allowing for some double-warnings with OA if OA HIPS "Program Guard" is kept on - maybe you simply turn it off) then I am quite interested.

And it might be good to load it today in anticipation of a trial before the discount.  (Note: I might not, it might be too sandbox-ish for me.)

Your thoughts ? :) .

Shalom,
Steven

144
Hi Folks,

X-Setup Pro at Bits Du Jour. $10 instead of $20.

However the freeware market has a bunch of these tweak programs, although some have considered X-Setup the best. Worthwhile for the investment, which is relatively small for the license ?

Is this a market whose time has passed ? (I've never used one of these XP tweakers.)  Later I may list a few of these that are freeware.
 
Shalom,
Steven Avery

145
Living Room / browser use - frame frustrations
« on: April 30, 2009, 08:24 AM »
Hi Folks,

  Frames are a bit of a mess to the user.  Often you don't get a specific link for a page, bookmarking becomes difficult. Often too much real estate is taken up, the page is hard to read, maybe you have to go back and forth to F11 mode. And sometimes they try to keep control when you click a URL to other sites (about.com uses that trick a lot, one reason I avoid their reviews).

  Yet perhaps they sometimes have redeeming browsing value.

  Here is an example from an otherwise quite excellent site.  I'm not sure if these are technically "frames" - the webdev folks can give us the nuances.

http://www.neatnettricks.com/
Neat Net Tricks

  Note that if you click "Software Reviews" your address bar remains unchanged. On the other hand you can put in:

http://www.neatnettr...reReviews/splash.htm
Software Reviews

  And get directly to the Software Reviews page.  (Yet it is still ugly-small.)  I'm not sure how you are supposed to get to that bookmark originally.

  So what are the solutions ?  (Some web-sites give you a "No-Frames" option, so that is a solution when available.)

  Well sometimes you can google-search some text on a page, and lo-and-behold, you can find the URL to the same page in full-screen no-hassle mode.  Ah, so much better, maybe I can find an example of that later. 

  Can you just put in a Firefox-Opera setting ?
  Can you use NoScript with the frame stuff checked ?
  Is there another way ?

  And if so, can you turn it on/off for a website ?

  How do you accomplish all this ?

Shalom,
Steven Avery
 


146
Living Room / sleeping Rip Van Winkle anti-virus execs wake up !
« on: April 18, 2009, 05:34 PM »
Hi Folks,

Newsflash ! 
- Anti-virus company executives notice the real world !

http://www.scmagazin...ches/article/130846/
Rogue product ads on F-Secure, McAfee, Trend Micro searches -
Angela Moscaritolo - April 17, 2009

The magazine for "Security Professionals" placed this article right above a large google scamware ad for Shield Deluxe !  No, they did not put through my post (at least not yet) pointing this out .. however now the ad I see is Trend Micro.  Update: now I see the bogus "Top Ten Anti-Virus Software Read Reviews..." ad, so the change was from Google, not a block.  You can read about this particular scamware on Wilders, Web of Trust and even the comments on SiteAdvisor.

Shalom,
Steven Avery

147
Hi Folks,

  Bear with me through a wordy one.  Or move on :) .

  My main system crashed with a lsass.exe message, something like "end of format is invalid".  This is a real tacky crash -- technically it is a reboot cycle in the early stages of booting XP. (I have some some conjectures about possible culprits, later I will try to look at my MJ Registry Watch and event viewer logs.) On the net this problem is pretty frequent .. sometimes folks attach that message to a user account mashup corruption, other times pagefile-related confusions, other times this and that, lsass.exe is fundamental and resists, for some reason, simple replacement .. from what I could tell.  This also resists sfc /scannow and registry fixes and deleting the page file and lots of other tries.  And often effects safe mode, so that it has a reboot-cycle just like regular mode, you never make it to safe mode, and you can't get to where you could try the "last successful boot" (or whatever that wording is).  Even when folks on the Net get this semi-resolved, it seems like it is often a temporary fix and the problem recurs. 

  Thus .. it is format and reinstall XP time.  I like to do that occasionally anyway on a busy system -- well when needed. Granted .. if I had a recent image I could try format and image reinstall, in the future I plan to design my systems for dual restore.  This is a Dell system, Precision 380 --  I was able to get into some special tool-testing section that Dell has .. went through their whole "OS not booting" test phase without a difficulty :) . And I was able to boot with UBCD4Windows (and Parted Magic if I want) for lots of tools.

   And, using the Dell CDs, which I have, I am able to get into "Windows XP Professional Setup" which allows a deletion of a partition followed by an XP restore (all solidly registered with Dell and MS).  Even when the support time is officially over Dell is pretty good on answering things like -- what should I do ? -- do you have a CD ? etc).

   For backing up the most recent data I simply did an essentially full file-by-file Free Commander (!) backup from UBCD to a removable drive connected by USB that is one of those 150 Gigabyte or more thingies.   I got a chuckle seeing that with the dozens of tools that they have there on UBCD, the one that I trusted for simple file backup was copy files in Free Commander !  (Perhaps the DriveImageXML has that as a sub-feature, however it gave me no confidence .. I would use that for images, which you do not create on crippled machines and expect much.)

 I also used Double Driver, nicely in UBCD, to be sure the drivers were backed up nicely, although I likely had some backup on the disk already.

 Now Dell does not give you an XP CD, they give you a "reinstallation" CD with the service pack, also separate CDs for drivers and an application CD are with this.  And the reinstallation CD pretty clearly is not a fresh install .. I'm pretty sure of that. 

  Important change-note.  I may well have been wrong on that.  The wording on the CD was unclear, it may well be a fresh install, so that would make the rest of the following moot for my XP.  In fact I think I did use it that way once before a year or more ago ! After a Vundo infection and some other difficulties if I remember. Although even if so the questions below may still remain for future reference on other systems.

  So I wonder .. should I look for a generic XP-iso on the net to burn (on another puter) ?  Should I see what Dell has officially that I may have to purchase ?  Or should I try to create a special CD on another puter using some of those strange build-your-XP utilities .. however those I think they want the same hardware.   Or maybe at work where they have a dozen Dell XPs there is actually a full XP OS and if so I should get that in the AM and use it ? Or should I bring it over to the techie guy (who just sold me another decent Lenovo XP system for $100) who installs XP in his sleep in 15 minutes and then types it from the numbers of the box-side.  He is busy tomorrow -- he picks up the one generation old machines from Port Authority by the dozens which is why I was able to get a decent system cheap and, with patience, watch XP in the making .. watching XP is a bit like sauerkraut or frankfurters or whatever has that adage .. oh yeah .. sausage .. hmmm.. Hebrew National may be better.  Well I had to find the Ethernet driver and he ended up giving me two XP-OS in one partition - Windows and Windows.0 -- yet one was trivial to delete, surprisingly. Anyway, he can't help till Tuesday so should I try one of the other methods ? Does an XP-iso work ?  Is it doable without going to crackerjacker sites ? 

  Any thought on the variety pack of choices appreciated.

Shalom,
Steven Avery

PS.
This system downloads my email, so if it is down for more than a day or two some stuff starts bouncing, or I have to download unto another system, which is awkward with my Eudora filters. Thus I like to get it up fairly quickly even if I have another puter doing all my essential stuff.  The system, although a couple of years old, is still very nice, especially after I upgraded the memory.  (Oh, yeah, taking out some memory sticks was another try that I found unappetizing.)

148
Hi Folks,

  Along with the OS thread, which got me thinking.

https://www.donation...ex.php?topic=17737.0
OS Re-install Tips?

  So what about someone partitioning for the first time ?.  And concerned not to be blindsided (hearing various stories of the occasional missing partition, trashed disk, MBR manipulations, and whatever).  Preparing for the 1% difficulty, also learning good practices at the same time.

  How is this for a checklist ?
  (Much of this can apply to any low-level activity, or a general cleanup and system review.)

DECISIONS
    * XP vs lower-level Partition tool
    * Which partition tools to use - install and play w/o update (& burn to CD or put on USB as appropriate)
    * Decide on number of partitions and sizes and their file types
    * Decide on boot manager, if multi-boot is planned
    * Settle on data backup (many good alternatives) and/or image (more sensitive) backup programs

OS RESTORE CDS AND UTILITIES
    * Look for mfgr XP CDs and keep phone #s and serial #s handy
    * NLite or other XP CD alternatives (Plan B to mfgr CD and good idea in general) 
    * Bart-PE type CD available and working
    * Consider USB alternatives to CD, test booting if used

XP REGISTRATION (if an issue)
    * Possible preemptive Microsoft contact to verify XP license
    * Use registration save help pages, if appropriate

SECURITY SCANS (optional good time for enhanced scan activity)
    * Your normal full scans
    * Malwarebytes, A2 & more tools (follow up but avoid getting bogged down in the false positives)

LOCAL AND REMOTE BACKUP AND CONTACT POINT
    * Net accounts used and comfy (e.g FileFactory, DriveHQ, Dropbox) to hold info, double-save some stuff
    * Local puter for net contact when down, and can hold info - (Plan B, friends, library)
    * Backup media - e.g. removable hard drive, USB

SAVE SYSTEM INFO
    * Basic info -- e.g. Belarc --with XP#s -- to print/net/usb/backup
    * Keep Serial #s of installed software is available at backup points, and list of installed software

SYSTEM INTEGRITY
    * CHKDSK (e.g. Gparted can choke if Windows has unfixed disk errors)
    * maximize PTF -- eg. SP3
   
CLEANUP
    * Early backup and/or image before cleaning (e.g. normal daily)
    * Clean disk (eg. CCleaner) temp files etc - using utilities and any additional hand work.
    * Good time for any special cleanup (see note below)
    * Special note - this is not a good time for "registry cleaning" (unless previously an established routine)
    * When done -- empty the recycle bin

SYS/REGISTRY DEFRAG
    * Defrag and compact registry, page and sys files (PageDefrag), (ERUNT before and after)
          (only what is your normal practice, can be skipped entirely)
 
DATA BACKUP
    * Setup special folder/sub to hold special backup prep areas, easy to see on backup disk
    * Backup Registry w/ERUNT
    * Backup current drivers (allowing one-by-one restore on an as-needed basis)
    * Special backups e.g Firefox extensions FEBE, Desktop Saves
    * Windows Scheduler - at least note of current status, pic of what is there (not sure of backup method)
    * Final report backup logs (e.g. Belarc, SiSandra, Installed Program Printer) placed in their save folders
    * Any special security and password info saved
    * Review that your backup program picks up all essential files from daily app usage.
    * Backup data files

IMAGE BACKUP
    * Turn off System Restore if on
    * Defrag (optional)
    * Backup Image (2 is better than 1 - verification difficult)
    * Turn on System Restore if you use it

PREPARE AND GO AND RUN
    * Defrag with file placement
    * Create Partitions
    * Verification and test of new setup, use multiple tools to check they see system
    * Install any new OS, move any data, create any recovery partitions, etc.

    * Begin daily use

=================================

Some notes.

==========================================

Cleanup:

Partition time -- a good time to read and do once-in-a-blue-moon cleanup. 

One example:. C:\Windows\SoftwareDistribution (and the same name in the system 32 folder) is very deletable, likely by hand, perhaps turning off MS auto-update when on - or that caveat may be Vista-only.  On my system it is 100 MB.  Also a good time to use a good disk-tree software to see the things worth deleting and checking. Generally, I would delete l my downloaded files in temp folders for installs at this time, keeping the folder structure I set up.

Or you might have humongous log files of which  you are unawares.  Be sure that you see hidden files visible if you want to do a full analysis and study, and be careful.  An example of a helpful article. 

http://www.optimizin...ize/deletefiles.html
Disk Cleanup: deleting unnecessary files

Oh, if you are not sure of a delete, better rename the folder, make a note, you can delete later after reboots.

=========================================

Backup

    Decide between data and image per your practices, a data backup is always a helpful auxiliary, even if you image.  The simplest is, space available, a non-compressed data backup where the files are fully individually viewable and tested in restore.  No matter how superior imaging may be for a particular installation for speed and fullness of backup, it generally will not be as reliable and verifiable and flexible for small and specific needs as simply a straight file save and restore. (I am not sure if any image software has gotten to the point of similar flexibility when used for simple restore mode, eg. allowing a dual pane explorer mode of the files within the image.)

==========================================

Partition Choices

XP (Partition Master, Easeus etc)  and lower-level partition (GParted, Linux tools Grub, etc) is a fundamental decision, they can be combined yet have nuances. Discussions on the Linux forums especially can help in preparation, and they indicate that XP tools are limited in utility. Here is a sample discussion.

http://ubuntuforums....wthread.php?t=347275
Partitioning for XP/Ubuntu dual boot

==========================================

Tool Savvy for Linux Partition

Free tools mentioned as very savvy for Linux partition work  :

gparted cd
livecd (with ntfstools with ntfsresize )

 Apparently there are some limitations from some XP tools as to how well they will set up partitions for a Linux install.

 There are also questions about primary and logical partitions, extended partitions and such.  One idea that is especially interesting is a "FAT32 shared OS drive" that can hold data for multiple OS, within that partition you could set up a directory for XP-only data, a directory for Linux-only data, and a directory for shared data.

==========================================

DEFRAG DISK

And I am still researching which is the best defrag to use before partition.  How much difference it makes, what settings and such. And e.g. whether a simple defrag like Auslogics will be acceptable in clearing space if the disk is only 25%-35% full.

==========================================

SYSTEM RESTORE

My understanding is that System Restore points can be a bear for drive image software. 
Ergo, above -- turn off, image, turn on.

==========================================

OS HOLDS DATA EXAMPLE - HOSTS FILE
 
An example of changeable (user-defined) data kept in the operating system section. 
The hosts file.

==============================

Your thoughts ?   I'll modify the above as needed.

Shalom,
Steven Avery


149
Living Room / false positive mishegas
« on: April 04, 2009, 06:53 AM »
Hi Folks,

  In notice there is another recent thread about false positives, and it has really jumped to the forefront of difficulties.  I recently ran the A-squared free scanner and Malwarebytes, and had with A2 a rather interesting false positive situation.

(My Malwarebytes and Avira are pretty happy with my system, this was my first attempt with Malwarebytes and A2 - Malwarebytes lived up to promise, Wilder's folks generally speak quite highly of the scan, and MB's findings were neatly confirmed by Avira, which popped up when MB hit its files .. I barely knew I had memory-resident scanning on from Avira.)

  All the information (which you might find boring or interesting) can be found through this thread on EMSI, which links to my earlier thread on Gladiator, which is simply 3 posts of mine.

http://forum.emsisof...p;m=28183&#28183
Trace.File.SpyPc 8.0 - Trace.Registry.SpyPc 8.0 (look like false positives)

  There seems to be a type of institutional ossification so that these companies - even the better ones like Emsi - do not know how to get false positives out of their system on the less-publicized cases. They look at each file in an atomistic analysis level, not caring about where it came from, how it is used, the history etc.  Not thinking it through.

   Incidentally I had to develop my technique for finding the source of the file, which some here might find interesting.  Using file properties, you find when it was installed on your system, then searching (I searched folder creation dates in Total Commander) you can often find out when and where a file came on your system.  It might be nice to have a  program that helps with such issues more directly (if you use a snapshot installer it might be a start) but in the real-world my method probably will work in many cases.  I never did check if registry entries are similar date-stamped.

   Oh, I had to puzzle around a little bit on how to search, it seems like the search programs often do not work files based on placed-on-system date (whatever they call it, it is not the file creation date). That is why I switched to folder searching, then looked at individual files .. while I would have preferred a file search.

   Incidentally, all this does not mean that we are unaware about problems like .dll-injection - you can't always tell just by the name of a file, one reason the executable protector programs are an interesting realm of protection .. most of all,  know your own system reasonably well.

  Oh, another point of special interest.  After I traced down the file origin (totally legitimate) I found a McAfee (!) confirmation that this program installs this file.

http://www.siteadvis...m/downloads/8652414/
PC Inspector task manager 3.00.000 (pci_uk_taskmanager.exe)

  Which makes me want to look around at the McAfee logs of programs I am thinking of installing. In general, if they have done this for the program. Do others do similar logs ? Dunno.
 
Shalom,
Steven Avery

150
ProcessTamer / taming ink-jet printing and email download
« on: April 03, 2009, 03:48 PM »
Hi Folks,

  Can Process Tamer help me with either of these ?

  Ink-jet printing hogs the XP .. I could print to another PC on a network, to a laser or maybe a smart printer, the laser definitely helps.  Can I do anything when it is a local ink-jet ?  This may be tuff because it could be embedded in those nebulous OpSys functions.

  Email download takes a lot of resources too (lots of email forum stuff, most of it totally unread)  .. can last a few minutes, I have it done every two hours.  So here is a multi-thread example .. Eudora is also used for composing mail, so when that is happening then a foreground priority bump comes to play (however I an avoid doing that during the download) .. overall I want the download to use the least resources possible, even if takes a bit longer.
 
  Suggestions ?

Shalom,
Steven

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