Just so it's easy to find, Roger's links for free "useful stuff".

If you're using Windows, read this article about security/privacy.

Must-have Useful Windows Programs:

AVG free antivirus    This is the latest version.

MalwareBytes free version available here.  A CNET editor's choice malware remover. My experience with this has been very good. Don't let them trick you into getting the $24.95 version, there's a free one.  Alternate link here or, if all else fails: here

Firefox web browser, use this instead of Internet Explorer
This browser is much more secure and is html standards compliant .

This isn't software, it's a place you can go to check the speed of your Internet connection.

Want to delete your Facebook account completely? Click here to learn how.

Notes about Windows spyware detection and removal: 

Most important! If you get a popup window telling  you that you have spyware, DON'T CLICK ON IT! It's bogus and will actually install mal-ware on your computer. Close it immediately.

Also very important is to not install or use programs like Limewire and other "free" music downloading/sharing software, pretty screensavers and the like. It's riddled with all sorts of nasty stuff.

To attempt to clean up your machine, first go to your control panel add-remove software section and clean out the junk you might find there. Get rid of such parasites as Weatherbug and pretty "free" screen savers. Then, try one, or more, of the spyware removal tools below. No more than one at a time.

Again,  MalwareBytes free version available here.  A CNET editor's choice malware remover. My experience with this has been very good.

Flash Cookie Cleaner   Free  (Looks good, but haven't tried it yet myself.)

Antivirus Rescue CDs

TrendMicro Housecall is not a program you download and run, but runs from the Internet via your browser.

SpyBot Search and Destroy Spyware detection and removal. Free. Voluntary donation.

AdAware Spyware detection and removal. This may now be a "trial" program.

Free Zone Alarm Firewall Better than the Windows SP2 firewall because it also tracks outgoing connections and is more flexible. I very highly recommended if you are connected to the Internet without a router (hardware firewall). Yes, that includes dialup connections

If you've got a new computer and it came with a lot of "free" trial programs,  
clean it up with PC DeCrapifier.

4-2-2009 Conficker worm stuff  update
Check if you have it, visit: http://www.joestewart.org/cfeyechart.html 
More details: http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2344255,00.asp

Other excellent alternative browsers

Chrome from Google. This newer browser works very well and is not available for Windows, Linux and Mac OS-X.

Seamonkey browser. Used to be called Mozilla Internet Suite. Before that it was Netscape. It's very, very similar to Firefox, but does come with email and Composer.

Opera web browser.  Very slick and what I use most of the time myself.

Browzar  If you are concerned about browsing privacy, this browser removes all temporary files when you close it.. Be aware that it uses parts of the Internet Explorer browser so it has some of the same vulnerabilities.

Of course, one way to avoid the need for any of these utilities is 
to not use Windows as your operating system. Think Mac or even Linux.

Ubuntu Linux. In my opinion the easiest Linux distro to install and use. It comes with Firefox browser and Open Office already installed.

Linux Mint.  I also like the Mint flavor of linux. It's an offshoot of Ubuntu, but has a different look and comes already configured for more media types. It's clean and "refreshing".

There are many different distributions aof Linux (and BSD, too). To get the latest on what's available and where you can download it, visit Distrowatch.com

Office Related Stuff

If you're using a version of MS Office and need to open Office 2007 files such as .docx or .xlsx incompatible files, you can get a free converter from MS here.

Free Office software compatible with MS Office..   http://www.libreoffice.org OR  http://openoffice.org 

Save a copy of your Windows drivers with Double Driver in case you need to re-install them. Hint, store them somewhere other than on the Windows hard drive in case the drive craps out. http://www.boozet.org/dd.htm

Got a webpage? 

Here are some search engine tips.

Good luck! It's a jungle out there.


Other Misc stuff so it's easy for me to find myself.

Want to send a text message to someone's phone from your computer. Send it as an email... remembering that it's limited as to the number of characters so keep it short.

T-Mobile: phonenumber@tmomail.net  
Virgin Mobile: phonenumber@vmobl.com  
Cingular: phonenumber@cingularme.com  
Sprint: phonenumber@messaging.sprintpcs.com 
Verizon: phonenumber@vtext.com 
Nextel: phonenumber@messaging.nextel.com 
US Cellular: phonenumber@email.uscc.net 
SunCom: phonenumber@tms.suncom.com 
Powertel: phonenumber@ptel.net 
AT&T: phonenumber@txt.att.net 
Alltel: phonenumber@message.alltel.com 
Metro PCS: phonenumber@MyMetroPcs.com 

Find information on the location of an IP address -  http://www.melissadata.com/lookups/iplocation.asp

PC Mag 7 Tools for Ripping Your DVDs

Re: Vista and Virii <sigh> help!
Once again, Linux is your friend.


You can read more there, as well as their support forums - where you will want to ask any questions you may have.


Be sure to grab the latest refdb.dat, and place it on a thumb drive; boot the burned CD, with the thumb drive plugged in the laptop - the CD will search for the dat file, and use it during scanning.

As for after the scan, you'll want the following free programs;


Ad-Aware Free


(Gee - that one has only had ***6,953,741*** downloads... I guess Windows operating systems aren't so secure after all. Who woulda thunk it?)

Latest Sun Java VM

Comodo Personal Firewall

Another alternative source;

Re: Vista and Virii <sigh> help!
There's one Linux-base live-CD package called Trinity Rescue Kit that contains a lot of useful tools for fixing problems with Windows XP/Vista. I've only used a few few of the utilities that I needed at the time, but the ones I tried seemed to work well enough.


One of the potentially handy applications for TRK is resetting an XP/Vista password, or getting administrative access to a machine when you've lost the admin password.


It also includes several different anti-virii tools within the distribution. According to some suggestions from the user forum, Vista users should download the latest 3.3 beta version.

Back up data to the "Cloud"

Ghost Virtual Machine [g.ho.st] gives 15gigs of Amazon.com data storage and right now if you use the promotion code of "launch" you get 10Gigs more as a bonus for 25Gigs. If you want to give me a referral my id is orion_blastar there, and each person you referred grants you 5Gigs more in a bonus.

Google Docs [google.com] also has document storage but does not give as much as G.ho.st does. The Ghost Virtual Machine can access your Google Docs drive as well.

Here is a review of the top 5 online cloud storage sites [readwriteweb.com] so you can take your pick.

MyBloop [mybloop.com] offers unlimited free storage, but I am not 100% sure of that or their privacy policy.

Lifehacker talks about using your Yahoo Mail account for unlimited storage [lifehacker.com] and also that Google's GMail almost offers the same service as well.

Ham Radio pages

http://www.skccgroup.com  SKCC    Straight Key Century Club.

http://groups.yahoo.com/group/skcc/  SKCC Yahoo group.

http://www.batteriesamerica.com/icom1.htm Batteries for Icom radios

http://n3fjp.com/index.html Logging software

http://k0bg.com/  A page chock full of great technical information,  oriented toward mobile operation , but great overall.

http://www.vanityhq.com/index-hamlocator.html  Ham locator mapping.

VHF Propagation Maps