Dear friend,

 

Welcome to the Aug. 29, 2009 issue of
CompuNerds.Net-News

 

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The goal of our CN.Net-News is to share information that we think you'll find helpful as you wrestle with that little monster on your desk, your computer. And we aim to present this information from a Christian worldview. So here goes!

In our last issue we wrote about preventing identity theft through password security. Here's an excellent article from CNET News on how widely your identity is spread all over the Internet: "How 10 digits will end privacy as we know it," and how to protect yourself from identity theft.

Stop press! CNET News has just published the following article: "Bill would give president emergency control of Internet," allowing the Executive branch of the U.S. government to take over the access of private businesses and individuals to the Internet. All the president would need to do is to declare a "cybersecurity emergency" so that he can take over the Internet.

This seems to be along the same line of reasoning as an earlier announcement posted on the White House website asking the public to report any "fishy" emails or websites to the president. The White House website stated: "If you get an email or see something on the web about health insurance reform that seems fishy, send it to flag@whitehouse.gov." Later, realizing that asking the public to report on their families, friends and neighbors was an egregious (and rather Stalinesque) violation of privacy and civil liberty, the White House cancelled that email address and posted an update on that webpage, with a link where the public could "leave their comments." Does all this sound fishy to you?

THOUGHT FOR THE DAY
I thought I saw an eye doctor on an Alaskan island, but it turned out to be an optical Aleutian.

TODAY'S TOPIC: PORTABLE APPS
Click to see full-size!In light of the above news releases, wouldn't it be nice - just in case your computer were to be lost, stolen or confiscated or your hard disk crashes - if you could "pick a PC, any PC," plug in your flash drive, and in five seconds be up and running with all your documents, your most vital and useful programs, email messages, accounts and passwords, web browser settings and website passwords, and even some nice games and multimedia programs? Well, now you can! Click on the thumbnail photo to the right: The system I'm talking about is called PortableApps.com, a free 130Mb collection of programs you can download at their website and install on a flash drive or your hard drive. It has been downloaded over 100,000,000 (that's One Hundred Million!) times, so you know it's popular and useful. The website also has separate forums for each of the apps, so you can get answers to your questions there.

If you download and run it, a menu reminiscent of the Windows Start menu pops up as in this picture, which shows what's included in the standard PortableApps installation package:

All of these programs run without making any entries in your Windows Registry, so they will run on any PC that you plug your flash drive into.

Click to see full-size!Instead of downloading their installation package, you can simply ask me for my customized version with most of the above programs plus 24 more: four free programs that I've found to be better than what the PortableApps.com site offers, and these 20 extra programs from the PortableApps.com website, as shown in these next two photos:

These are the three programs I've added to PortableApps:

When you add more programs to the PortableApps menu, you can simply scroll down to the second page, third page, etc. on the menu for as many programs as you have installed. You can also get more portable programs from a couple other websites, www.pendriveapps.com and http://www.winpenpack.com/.

Click to see full-size!Plus, I've updated Firefox to the latest, most secure version and installed the "NoScript" add-on that lets you decide which websites you allow to use JavaScripts, Java and Flash; I've customized Thunderbird with "Lightning" - the calendar-and-tasklist add-on that puts the functionality of Sunbird right inside Thunderbird, "Mailtweak" - the add-on that gives you mailmerge capability, and "Signature Switch" - the multiple signature add-on that lets you switch to whatever signature you choose for your email messages. Also I've added to OpenOffice Writer a whole slew of templates for business cards, form letters, invoices, etc. These are all pre-installed and ready to copy to your flash drive or hard drive. I run them from my hard drive because it's faster and longer-lasting than my flash drive (which are often made from slower, lower-quality RAM chips that can wear out after as few as 10,000 read-write operations), and then I sync my hard drive with my flash drive every morning.

To summarize, what's the benefit for you of using PortableApps?

All of these can change from a catastrophe to a minor accident if you have your document files and your programs safely tucked away as PortableApps on your flash drive. So just ask me for a copy of the PortableApps.com system on a disk! (This offer is only valid for people who were subscribed as of Aug. 29, 2009.)

Did you know we have a sister e-newsletter? It's Hosken-News, a fortnightly report on Christianity in former Soviet bloc countries, where we've spent over 20 years living and working. Click on the link to check it out, and if you like it, subscribe for free!

Feel free to forward our CN.Net-News to a few friends (but don't spam!).

Yours truly,

Bob the CompuNerd

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