Updates: Apr 28 2017, added FatSecurity to Security; Dec 17 2016, added Grimfrost to Viking Stuff; June 17 2016, added SeaMonkey to Software, and Sophos to Security, Anti-Virus/Firewall/Internet Security Software; June 2, 2016 - Ulead GIF Animator 5; Oct 9, 2015, updated F-Secure's News from the Lab links; August 21, 2015, added EMET under Security; August 3, 2015: updated some entries, added a couple.
Software and information resources
Ulead GIF Animator 5 - No longer available for sale by Corel. InterVideo bought Ulead, and Corel bought InterVideo. GIF Animator 5 is not officially Vista-compatible, and is no longer being supported, developed or sold by Corel. A big Thumbs Down for Corel. But you can check out my Downloads page...
Corel User To User Web Board - Web Utilities - This is a good place to find answers or post questions about Ulead GIF Animator 5. You will have to register to participate. The main site index is at http://forum.corel.com/EN/.
The Animation Station - Ulead GIF Animator 5 and PhotoImpact Tutorials. Unfortunately, many of these tutorials are no longer available, as the websites have disappeared.
The Plugin Site - Plug-ins for Adobe Photoshop and Photoshop-compatible software like GIF Animator 5 and PhotoImpact from Ulead, and Corel's (formerly Jasc's) Paint Shop Pro.
Richard Rosenman - Photoshop plugins and creative software for 3D artists, designers and photographers.
Mike's Animations - A fellow Canuck with some great animations. Check out his site!
IrfanView - IrfanView Freeware Viewer - Indispensable! Besides using it as an image viewer, I also use it to make all the screenshot graphics in my tutorials, and my own custom icons for my computer.
Font Freak - A good collection of fonts is a must for making snazzy animations!
Sqirlz Water Reflections - animated water reflection freeware. Sqirlz Water Reflections is a way of adding pools of water to an image or AVI video. The pools can be animated to give gentle rippling reflections of the scene above them. Choose from a variety of ripples, and control details such as wave size and perspective. Animations can be saved as Macromedia Flash (SWF) files, animated GIF files, AVI video clips, and sets of bitmap, JPEG and TIFF files. Most cool.
AniTuner - Want to make your own animated cursors? This would be the program to do it with! Freeware.
CamStudio - Free Streaming Video Desktop Recording Software - This is a great little program indeed! I've used it now and then to make a few animated graphics in my tutorials, along with Ulead GIF Animator 5. Capture the action on your screen, save it in AVI format, and edit with GIF Animator 5. Give it a try!
- GIMP is the GNU Image Manipulation Program. It is a freely distributed piece of software for such tasks as photo retouching, image composition and image
authoring. It works on many operating systems, in many languages.
And you can't beat free...
Software and information resources
SeaMonkey is essentially what started off as Netscape. Under the hood, SeaMonkey uses much of the same Mozilla source code which powers such successful siblings as Firefox and Thunderbird. The SeaMonkey package includes an Internet browser, email & newsgroup client with an included web feed reader, HTML editor, IRC chat and web development tools. SeaMonkey Composer is a "WYSIWYG" (what you see is what you get) HTML editor, for making your own webpages. No HTML knowledge required.
NirSoft - freeware utilities. NirSoft provides a unique collection of small and useful freeware utilities, all of them developed by Nir Sofer. There's a lot of really cool stuff here!
Nvu - Nvu (pronounced N-view) is a complete Web Authoring System for Linux desktop users as well as Microsoft Windows and Macintosh users. It is based on the Mozilla platform and its Gecko layout engine. WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) editing of pages makes it as easy as using a word processor. Primarily made for Linspire and other Linux flavors, its cross-platform architecture makes it available on a wide variety of other platforms. Nvu binary test builds are now available for Linux, Windows, Mac OS X and FreeBSD.
OpenOffice - is a multiplatform and multilingual office suite and an open-source project. Compatible with all other major office suites, the product is free to download, use, and distribute.
List of Lists - Need some software? Some information? This site has links to just about everything. From Ad and PopUp tools, HTML editors, Firewalls, and Spyware cleaners to Windows XP tools, you will find it here. A definite one to bookmark. This site is truly the List of Lists!
www.arachnoid.com - The home of many things! AboutTime, a program to keep your computer's clock synchronized with atomic-clock servers; Arachnophilia, a Java-based HTML editor that can be used on any operating system; and lots more! From free software to interesting articles and views, it's worth a look.
A note about AboutTime: Contrary to the note on the About Time page, it will work on Win 7 64-bit. Run in XP compatibility mode, and it will work. UAC popup, though, and it likely won't run at startup when you put a shortcut to it in the Startup folder. Run it manually. It'll keep your clock more accurate than the built-in Windows solution. If you are a computer whiz, you can use the Windows Task Scheduler to schedule it to run at logon. Check the option to run with highest privileges. You won't get the UAC prompt, and it'll just run. While you're in the Task Scheduler, disable the Windows time synch.
MAX's HTML Beauty++ 2004 - Bills itself as "The BEST freeware HTML editor in the world!" This is the software I've been using for my website for at least a decade... I tried Notepad++ but this beats it by a mile for me. It hasn't been updated in years, though.
FTP Commander - is simple and easy to use FTP client. It's really the bare minimum with no extra frills or thrills. Freeware and Pro versions. This is what I use regularly. Loads quickly, no built-in advertisements or other clutter.
- Very cool programs for the serious computer geek. Freeware! "The Sysinternals web site was created in 1996 by Mark Russinovich
to host his advanced system utilities and technical information. Whether you're an IT Pro or a developer, you'll find Sysinternals
utilities to help you manage, troubleshoot and diagnose your Windows systems and applications."
Sysinternals was an offshoot of Winternals, but then, the inevitable happened... News flash, July 18, 2006: Microsoft has acquired Winternals Software and Sysinternals. As mentioned by Mark in his blog, "(Sysinternals) will remain for the time being while Microsoft determines the best way to integrate it into its own community efforts, and the tools will continue to be free to download."
Secunia used to have a free program for this, but after Flexera took over, it was eventually scuttled. You can still keep most of your applications updated with Patch My PC. The site's description says, "Patch My PC Updater is a free, easy-to-use program that keeps over 300 apps up-to-date on your computer. It is an easy way to update or install any of these programs on to your computer." Another product to keep you up-to-date is Belarc Advisor. If you need a reason to check these apps out, see this Handler's Diary entry from the Internet Storm Center.
If you are running Windows, install the Enhanced Mitigation Experience Toolkit - EMET. EMET will "...detect and block exploitation techniques that are commonly used to exploit memory corruption vulnerabilities. EMET anticipates the most common actions and techniques adversaries might use in compromising a computer, and helps protect by diverting, terminating, blocking, and invalidating those actions and techniques. EMET helps protect your computer systems even before new and undiscovered threats are formally addressed by security updates and antimalware software." Download it, install it, run it with recommended settings.
Sophos Anti-Rootkit - Free rootkit detection and removal tool. Detects and removes rootkits; Runs via GUI or command line; Uses standard Windows install and uninstall. Be sure to check out the rest of their free tools at https://www.sophos.com/products/free-tools.aspx.
StopBadware.org - As the site's "About" says: "StopBadware.org is a "Neighborhood Watch" campaign aimed at fighting badware. We will seek to provide reliable, objective information about downloadable applications in order to help consumers to make better choices about what they download on to their computers. We aim to become a central clearinghouse for research on badware and the bad actors who spread it, and to become a focal point for developing collaborative, community-minded approaches to stopping badware."
Blue Security - Blue Security has pulled the plug on it's anti-spam effort, as of May 17, 2006. The spammers win this round, it appears. See the story Spam closes web security firm at The Guardian, this write-up at The Register, or this one from SecurityFocus. For an in-depth look at the battle, read Attack of the Bots from wired.com.
SiteAdvisor - If you want to avoid unsuspectingly downloading malware, this is an option. A small toolbar that will let you know if a website is safe, and integrates nicely on the Google and Yahoo! search pages. SiteAdvisor was purchased by McAfee not long after it's creation, and has been rebranded McAfee® WebAdvisor.
WOT - Web of Trust (WOT) - Crowdsourced web safety. Similar to, but not the same as SiteAdvisor. From the About WOT page, "WOT is a website reputation and review service that helps people make informed decisions about whether to trust a website or not. WOT is based on a unique crowdsourcing approach that collects ratings and reviews from a global community of millions of users who rate and comment on websites based on their personal experiences."
SANS Internet Storm Center - Keep up-to-date on what's really going on out there. There is a great deal of useful information here. I make it a point to check in several times a day. Be sure to read the Handler's Diary.
SophosLabs Blog - the blog of the good folks over at SophosLabs. Keep up with the latest news on what the bad guys are up to.
Symantec Security Response Weblog - the blog of the security researchers at Symantec. Some interesting items here, too!
Virus Total - offers a free service for scanning suspicious files, using several antivirus engines. Scans only one file you submit, not your whole computer. Not for cleaning an infected computer.
Anti-Virus/Firewall/Internet Security Software
AV-Comparatives is an independent organization that rates anti-virus products. Click the "Comparatives" link on the left navigation menu of their site, and scroll down to locate the latest test results.
AV-Test.org, an independent testing group at the Otto-von-Guericke-University.
FatSecurity Anti-virus reviews, lab tests, comparisons, tutorial videos, and articles. From their About page: "FatSecurity.com is a project started by two guys with a lot of experience in internet security, web technology, and online marketing.
Our Goal: To present crucial information to you - our readers - in the best form possible, and thus helping you make the best decision when choosing an antivirus software."
They also have a Test Results Calculator Tool. It collects and aggregates the scores from the biggest independent labs and shows them on a graph over a long time period. (Over 10,000 test results so far, spanning 8-9 years.) You can access each original test on the lab's site from the graph itself.
There are many companies making security software these days. A list of some follows:
- Norton by Symantec
- Sophos - Free Tools for PCs and MACs, including HitMan Pro Malware Removal Tool; Sophos Mobile Security for Android; Sophos XG Firewall Home Edition; Virus Removal Tool; Sophos UTM Home Edition (software version of the Sophos UTM Firewall); Sophos Antivirus for Linux Free Edition.
- AVG (formerly Grisoft) - Makers of AVG Free anti-virus.
- Trend Micro
- ZoneAlarm - Free version of ZoneAlarm personal firewall is still available here, plus all other ZoneAlarm products.
- Sygate Personal Firewall - No longer available. Note that Sygate has been purchased by Symantec. Effective November 30th, 2005 all Sygate personal firewall products have been discontinued.
- ClamWin - Free. Please note that ClamWin Free Antivirus does not include an on-access real-time scanner - you need to manually scan a file in order to detect a virus or spyware. The Microsoft Outlook Add-in, however will delete a virus-infected attachment automatically.
More can be found at www.virustotal.com.
Autoruns by Sysinternals - A nice bit of freeware, for advanced users. This utility shows you what programs are configured to run during system bootup or login, and shows you the entries in the order Windows processes them. These programs include ones in your startup folder, Run, RunOnce, and other Registry keys. You can configure Autoruns to show other locations, including Explorer shell extensions, toolbars, browser helper objects, Winlogon notifications, auto-start services, and more.
SecurityFocus - is a comprehensive source of security information on the Internet. SecurityFocus is a vendor-neutral site that provides objective, timely and comprehensive security information to all members of the security community, from end users, security hobbyists and network administrators to security consultants, IT Managers, CIOs and CSOs.
Netcraft Toolbar - Anti-phishing toolbar. Firefox 1.0 or later on Windows, Mac or Linux; Google Chrome 26.0 or later on Windows, Mac or Linux; Opera 15.0 or later on Windows or Mac
HijackThis - A general homepage hijackers detector and remover.
www.spywareinfoforum.com - Post your HijackThis log here. Within minutes of posting your log or question, an expert will be reviewing it and you will have the answer you seek within those very minutes. They are very quick, accurate, and friendly.
HijackThis Log Auto Analyzer - Paste your HijackThis log in the form on this web page, and it will parse it and return some information that should help you determine what needs to be removed and what you can keep. For advanced users.
Symantec SecurityCheck - Run a security check on your PC. You can test your computer's defenses, or run an on-line virus scan of your computer.
Spybot Search & Destroy - Top-rated spyware removal program. Freeware. Now offers protection for Opera as well as Internet Explorer.
SpywareBlaster - Prevents the installation of ActiveX-based spyware, adware, browser hijackers, dialers, and other potentially unwanted software. Does not run in the background. Blocks spyware, tracking cookies in Internet Explorer and Firefox, restricts the actions of potentially unwanted sites in Internet Explorer. Freeware. Highly recommended.
Ad-Aware - Another great program for cleaning up adware and spyware. Free version available.
Microsoft Baseline Security Analyzer (MBSA) - For Windows 2000 and XP. Although the following statement from Microsoft states this is for IT professionals, the home user can benefit from it as well. "MBSA is an easy-to-use tool designed for the IT professional that helps small and medium businesses determine their security state in accordance with Microsoft security recommendations and offers specific remediation guidance. Improve your security management process by using MBSA to detect common security misconfigurations and missing security updates on your computer systems."
More links can be found on my PC Security page.
Icelandic Festival of Manitoba - in Icelandic, Islendingadagurinn. Don't ask me to pronounce that. As the site says: "The Icelandic Festival of Manitoba "Islendingadagurinn" as far as we have been able to determine, is the second oldest continuous ethnic festival in North America. The first Icelandic festival in North America was held in Milwaukee in 1874. The first Icelandic Festival in Manitoba was held in Winnipeg in 1890; was held there annually until 1931, and since 1932 has been held in Gimli."
The festival is held the first weekend of August, which is a long weekend in Manitoba, with the first Monday in August being a holiday. There are lots of things to do - the Viking Village, craft and food vendors, beverage garden, live music, a Viking battle, and lots more.
Gimli is the largest Icelandic settlement outside of Iceland. Gimli is also the site of the Crown Royal whiskey distillery, and where an Air Canada Boeing 767 glided to a landing after running out of fuel in 1983.
Viking Shield - As the site says, "Where Real Vikings Shop! Viking Shield specializes in high quality replicas from the Viking Age. We have a full line of swords, axes, shields, helmets, armor, statues, clothing, jewelry, drinking horns and also great gift items." A nice selection of reasonably priced Viking items. These fine folks are located in Racine, Wisconsin, USA.
Grimfrost - Cool Viking stuff!
"Grimfrost is a Swedish company founded in 2014. We are dedicated to making and selling the highest quality Viking reproductions on the market, ranging from simple pendants to unique high end products not found elsewhere. In addition to historical items, you will also find Viking-inspired contemporary items with us."
"Our goal is met through a combination of scholarly knowledge and expert crafting skills being added to a deep lifelong interest in Viking culture. We remain true to our roots, developing and producing high standard products for our discerning customers around the globe who prefer quality over cheaper, quickly produced items. All our products go through a careful approval process to ensure highest quality."
They ship worldwide, too!
The Viking Answer Lady - Plenty of interesting information here!
For Vikings Only - and those who like to pretend. A little history, and some cool imports.
The Viking Wars - A journal by Barlekis the Wizard. A biased version of the friendly little feud between Vikings and Wizards that went on for some time at the Animation Station Forum at the PIRC (PhotoImpact Resource Center) Forum (later to become the Photo-Impact International Forum). Just so you know, Barlekis started it all. We Vikings had to defend ourselves to uphold the honour...
Dan Smith's Fantasy Fonts for Windows - For fans of Lord Of The Rings and all things Tolkien. Dan has created the most complete and impressive fonts based on Tolkien's alphabets. I recommend using his macro for Microsoft Word - it makes things easier.
Online Tengwar Translator - Are you a Lord Of The Rings fan? Then you must go here!
Amanye Tenceli - a very detailed look at the writing systems devised by J. R. R. Tolkien. This would be for the hardened Tolkien fan! Fonts are also available.
Google Earth - A very cool piece of software! The site says, "It's a globe that sits inside your PC. You point and zoom to anyplace on the planet that you want to explore. Satellite images and local facts zoom into view. Tap into Google search to show local points of interest and facts. Zoom to a specific address to check out an apartment or hotel. View driving directions and even fly along your route." Read the system requirements before you download and install.
Seti@home - "SETI@home is a scientific experiment that uses Internet-connected computers in the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI). You can participate by running a free program that downloads and analyzes radio telescope data." ET Phone Home?
Do you have a site you would like to see here? Questions? Comments? Suggestions? Email Viking