Monday, January 10, 2011

CFS Weekly Newsletter #556

CFS Weekly Newsletter #556
[ISSN 1441-6840]
Web Site:
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Sky Battle: WW2 v1.0 -- WinXP/Vista/Win7 (5 doves)
Sky Battle: WW2 is a World War II dogfight flight simulator. It features 3 game modes (Campaign, Quick & Training), a choice of playing as Allies or Germans (Campaign mode), 25 planes, 3 levels of difficulty, 10 missions to fly (Campaign mode), you also attack Zeppelins & ground targets, OSD (including radar), good 3D graphics, and more. This is an excellent flight simulator where you have dogfights with enemy aeroplanes and Zeppelins, and attack ground based targets. The mouse-based controls are simple to use, though it takes a while before you become an Ace pilot. The main guns are fired using the left mouse button. The aeronautical physics are excellent, though you cannot climb your plane above 3,500 feet. When climbing, planes slow down and can stall, and they accelerate when diving. Unfortunately Sky Battle: WW2 is spoilt by the inclusion of intrusive advertising using the Ask toolbar in your Web browser, as your homepage, and using Ask as your search engine. While the Ask toolbar is often automatically disabled by the Internet security tools built into most modern anti-virus programs, we consider it "intrusive" because this type of advertising is separate to the host program and is not removed when the host program is uninstalled. It also runs independently of the host program. Sky Battle: WW2 cannot be played unless you agree to the Ask advertising being installed. That aside, Sky Battle: WW2 is an excellent flight and dogfight simulator, and a fantastic way to kill an hour or three. In spite of the Ask advertising, we loved! Note: we have been advised that this program is not suitable for Windows 95, 98 or ME. Access this 28.6MB download from:

Free Image Printer v1.0.2 -- WinXP/Vista/Win7 (5 doves)
Free Image Printer is a printer driver that "prints" to PDF or an image. It can export to HTML/RTF/XLS, it supports 7 image types (BMP, GIF, JPG, PNG, TIF, EMF & WMF), can print & e-mail in one operation, it is simple to use, and more. This is an interesting program that can be found as a "printer" in your printer control dialog box so, when selected, sits between the printer and the document. You can use it for normal printing, or it can convert your printable document into a PDF file or an image. It can create a single HTML page of your printable document, though it displays the document as a series of PDF images, one for every page of your document. Those page images are formed into what could be a very long HTML page. It can also create an XLS or XLSX (Excel) Workbook of your document though, like the HTML page, it simply places an image on the XLS or XLSX page. However, the main function of Free Image Printer is to turn a printable document into either a PDF file or into
one of the seven supported image types. If you want to convert a printable document (or even an image) into a PDF file then Free Image Printer is an excellent way to carry this out. We liked. Note: we have been advised that this program is not suitable for Windows 95, 98 or ME. Access this 6.47MB download from:

Free Video Converter Factory v2.0 -- WinXP/Vista/Win7 (5 doves)
Free Video Converter Factory is an easy-to-use video converter. It supports over 100 file formats (including HD & most mobile device formats), extracts audio from video, batch conversions, user-defined profile, thread priority for CPU for fast conversions, customizable output, and more. This is a fabulous multimedia converter that not only supports a huge variety of video and audio formats, but is extremely fast. You can use it to convert between audio formats, between video formats, or to extract the audio from a video. Free Video Converter Factory supports DVD movie formats too, so you can rip DVD VOB files and convert the video to a more appropriate video format, or even extract the audio from a DVD. Cool. It lacks some handy features, like video cropping and merging, though, surprise, surprise, these features can be found on the Pro version. We really liked Free Video Converter Factory. It is an excellent too for all multimedia file conversions. Try it for yourself! Note:
we have been advised that this program is not suitable for Windows 95, 98 or ME. Access this 7.67MB download from:

RunScanner v2.0.0.47 -- WinXP/Vista/Win7 (5 doves)
RunScanner is a startup and hijack analyzer which scans your system for all configured running programs. It features scanning of more than 100 startup/hijack locations, Beginner & Expert modes, on-line malware analysis, powerful process killer, file filtering, host file editor, analysis of file certificates, and more. With the proliferation of malicious software (malware), Web users are more and more subject to attack from a variety of sources. RunScanner is a powerful tool to analyze running processes and give the user the opportunity to stop them. However, it is the on-line services which make this an exceptional tool. You can post a copy of your processes to a forum. An expert then advises which (if any) processes are suspect and which to kill. RunScanner is one of those "why didn't I have this before I lost all my data" tools and we consider it a "must have" for both beginners and expert PC users. Awesome! Note: we have been advised that this program is not suitable for W
indows 95, 98 or ME. Access this 1.57MB download from:

MP3 Free Downloader v2.5.9.2 -- WinXP/Vista/Win7 (5 doves)
MP3 Free Downloader allows the user to listen on-line and/or download MP3 songs for free. It features a Hot Songs category, you can search over 100 million on-line MP3 tracks, preview as many songs as you want before downloading the ones you want, it is simple to use, and more. If you enjoy downloading music from the Internet then MP3 Free Downloader is worth checking out. The free version has limitations -- like you can only download one track at a time, there is a limit of five downloads per day, and there is no Advanced Search function -- but generally it provides an excellent service for music lovers. The author claims that you can download the MP3 legally free but, while the program might be legal, the sites providing the downloads may infringe some copyrights on commercial music. In this program, the site that supplies the music is hidden from the user so you cannot select specific download sites or check to see the legality of the downloaded music. We urge caution when
downloading any commercial track. That said, MP3 Free Downloader is an easy way to access some of the best music tracks freely available on the Internet. However, it is the limitations of the free version that make this of lesser value than it could have been. If you don't mind being limited to just five downloads per day then grab a copy of MP3 Free Downloader. Note: we have been advised that this program is not suitable for Windows 95, 98 or ME. Access this 6.80MB download from:

Lingoes v2.7.1 -- WinXP/Vista/Win7 (5 doves)
Lingoes is a dictionary and multi-language translator. It supports text translation to over 60 languages, built-in dictionary & on-line dictionary lookup, hotkey activated single-word dictionary lookup, text can be spoken out loud, access 23 different search engines & information sites (like Wikipedia & Encyclopaedia Britannica), 6 separate tools (currency conversion, unit conversion, International dialing codes, International time zone converter, International phonetic alphabet & Periodic Table of Elements), and more. This is an excellent tool that most Internet users will find invaluable. Apart from being a regular dictionary, it offers definitions and information from a number of Internet sources, including a text translation service into over 60 languages. Lingoes gives the definition of any word under the cursor when the hotkey is activated. The definition is displayed in a popup window which does not interfere with what you are doing. The default hotkey for this activat
ion is the right mouse button and the Control key so it should not be accidentally activated. It also offers six small tools which should be well used in their own right. In fact, those six additional tools are worth the download on their own! It is hard not to be enthusiastic about Lingoes. It offers such a raft of features and functions that it should appeal to virtually every on-line PC user. We loved! Note: we have been advised that this program is not suitable for Windows 95, 98 or ME. Access this 5.12MB download from:

PassMark DiskCheckup v3.0.1002 -- WinXP/Vista/Win7 (5 doves)
PassMark DiskCheckup is a small utility that monitors the SMART (Self-Monitoring Analysis & Reporting Technology) attributes of a hard disk drive to determine a possible future hard drive failure. It also displays device information, such as the drive geometry, serial number, model number, media rotation rate, and supported features of the hard drive, and can notify the user via e-mail when an attribute has been detected to be less than the allowable threshold value. This is a useful tool for keeping a watch on your hard drive so you get a warning of a possible disk failure. It offers a massive amount of data, much of it unnecessary for the majority of users. This can mean that PassMark DiskCheckup is not used to its fullest potential, which is a shame because it offers a very valuable service. We were also a little disappointed in the quality of the information provided. For example, under Raw Read Error Rate the Helpfile says "Represents the rate of uncorrected read errors.
Lower values indicate that there is a problem with either disk surface or read/write heads." This is valuable information but there is no indication how to interpret the data. If your hard drive was reported as having a Raw Read Error Rate with a value of, say, 115 and a "worst" value of 99, is this good, passable, bad, or disastrous? There is no indication within the program to advise a worried user, even though it might still be within acceptable tolerances. Until the authors can offer more valuable information about the data being collected, we urge caution. While we regularly decry programs that treat users like idiots and don't give sufficient data, in cases like this the raw data can be confusing unless it is fully explained. PassMark DiskCheckup is an excellent program that suffers from a lack of detailed Helpfile to assist users to interpret data. We suggest it is used with caution unless you are technically competent and already understand the data. Note: we have been advised that this program is not suitable for Windows 95, 98 or ME. Access this 648kB download from:

Diner Dash Hometown Hero v5.0.0 -- WinXP/Vista/Win7 (5 doves)
Diner Dash Hometown Hero is a role playing game (RPG) where you must revitalize your hometown by bringing 5 restaurants back to life. It features over 50 story mode levels, superb graphics, addictive gameplay for the whole family, and more. This is a strange game because you, as Flo, start off by being a waitress and you must serve customers (and keep them happy) while your Grandma, Florence, cooks their meals. This is surprisingly addictive and, if you've never done any waitressing work, might come to realize that it isn't always the easiest job to do. Graphics are excellent, and the game really does draw you in and keep you playing. The biggest annoyance with Diner Dash Hometown Hero is that the bulk of the game must be downloaded when you start to play -- the initial install file is just a starter for the main program, which is over 31MB in size (the starter is a 720kB download) plus you will automatically download a 7MB Free Rides Games player unless it is already install
ed on your computer. If you don't mind the game size, and you don't mind trying your hand at running restaurants, and you enjoy role playing games, then Diner Dash Hometown Hero is for you. We liked it more than we thought we would so grab a copy and try it for yourself. Note: we have been advised that this program is not suitable for Windows 95, 98 or ME. Access this 720kB (plus another 38MB) download from:

from Dr T --

Q. Should I turn off my computer at night?
A. There are several reasons why it may be a good idea to turn off your computer at night. For some, it may not matter whether the computer is on or off. Most newer computers have a sleep mode when they are inactive which doesn't use much power.
However, in businesses or at home, it may be wise to turn off the computer at night for security reasons.

For example, computers connected to the Internet via DSL or cable modem are vulnerable to hacking if they are still connected. You can either turn off the connection or turn off the computer. You may need to keep the computer turned on, conversely, if the computer is used as a fax machine as well.

However, if you work from home and log into a business, you should definitely turn off the computer at night, or at the very least, log out from the business. Not only does leaving the computer on threaten the security of your personal computer, but it could also give hackers entry to your business.

Sleep mode on computers still uses some electricity, and the most economic thing to do is to turn off the computer at night, especially if you're is penny pinching. Saving electricity also has environmental benefits. Older computers may not have the sleep feature, so if you have an older computer you might want to turn it off to save money.

Obviously, laptops, which run on a battery, will have a longer battery life if they are turned off when not in use.

You may turn off the computer out of the common misconception that this will protect the computer from power surges. Actually, this is not the case. Even when people turn off their computer, the computer is still vulnerable to power surges if it's not hooked up to a surge protector. Be sure to purchase a good surge protector and do not skimp on money in this case. Find a well rated one that will protect your computer whether off or on from power surges.
Some computer experts suggest that certain programs benefit from getting a break at night, like Windows. Turning off the computer at night may help eliminate crashes during the day, since the program is rebooted when the computer is turned on again in the morning.
If you aren't concerned about money, computer security, and crashes, then you don't have to turn off the computer at night. But, since at least one of these issues is usually a concern, you might want to turn off your computer at night.

*** Note: it is also advisable to turn off your computer at least once per day (and overnight is best) because some programs use the boot-up and shutdown process to check for updates and/or to install them. If the computer is not turned off regularly you may be missing out on important updates. CFS Editor.

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