Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Keylogger: Your Friend or Your Enemy?

Keystroke logging (often called keylogging) is the practice of noting (or logging) the keys struck on a keyboard, typically in a covert manner so that the person using the keyboard is unaware that their actions are being monitored. There are numerous keylogging methods, ranging from hardware- and software-based to electromagnetic and acoustic analysis.

Is keylogging good or bad?
It depends. If you want to monitor secretly your own or somebody else’s computers, the keylogger would be your first assistant. I put aside any related ethical issues, as they should be reviewed case by case. In this post, we’ll review two small utilities: one – to install keylogger, and another one - to detect it.

Quick Free Keylogger
WideStep Software presents light and affordable monitoring utility -- Quick Keylogger that supports 64 bit Windows as well as other OS. Simple download and deployment guarantees a smooth start of your work with the optimal set of features: keystrokes, websites and other monitoring options. Simple but clear HTML reports make Quick Keylogger a great solution for everyone. Quick Keylogger will save keystrokes by application, date and time, it will capture absolutely all keystrokes, all buttons pressed in your system.
Designed for Windows 9x, Windows XP and Windows Vista, Quick Keylogger offers you stability and simplicity with the most usable number of features. Quick Keylogger works seamlessly in the background and you are the only one who knows the password to view the logs. Quick Keylogger is equipped with a calendar that lets you sort and review logs by specific dates and time. All recorded sessions are combined by user, date, month, and time. Quick Keylogger is easy-to-use, very simple and small (instant free download) tool, which you can carry on a floppy disk drive for your mobility and fast response.

Developer Website: http://www.widestep.com/keylogger-quick-info

Download: http://www.widestep.com/files/qk_setup.exe

KL Detector
This is a small keylogger detector. It aims to detect any keylogger without requiring constant updates and definition files. The program monitors your hard drive for newly saved keystroke logs. It provides a list of these logs along with their location on your computer. It also reveals which program saved each log. Of course, many other programs create logs. So look for unfamiliar programs.
 KL-Detector is small. The program itself takes only about 100 KB of space and requires no installation process. So it’s extremely portable. It could easily fit onto a CD along with other handy utilities. You can even put it on a thumb drive and take it along to check other computers that you use.

Developer website: http://www.dewasoft.com/privacy/kldetector.htm 

Friday, April 24, 2009

Free Loan Calculation Utility

If you are not rich enough to buy everything you need for cash – houses, cars, study tuitions, etc. – you can borrow money from the government or private lenders. The trick is that you will have to pay eventually not the original amount, but much higher, paying the lender for the opportunity to use the money for your purchase.

An amortization schedule is a table detailing each periodic payment on a amortizing loan as generated by an amortization calculator. While a portion of every payment is applied towards both the interest and the principal balance of the loan, the exact amount applied to principal each time varies (with the remainder going to interest). An amortization schedule reveals the specific monetary amount put towards interest, as well as the specific put towards the Principal balance, with each payment. Initially, a large portion of each payment is devoted to interest. As the loan matures, larger portions go towards paying down the principal.

Amortization schedules run in chronological order. The first payment is assumed to take place one full payment period after the loan was taken out, not on the first day (the amortization date) of the loan. The last payment completely pays off the remainder of the loan. Often, the last payment will be a slightly different amount than all earlier payments.

In addition to breaking down each payment into interest and principal portions, an amortization schedule also reveals interest-paid-to-date, principal-paid-to-date, and the remaining principal balance on each payment date.

Serious buyers will not risk borrowing the funds, if they are not sure if they can pay for it. But, your payment and amortization calculation is not easy, and you do not want taking a risk to make incorrect decision. The free small utility will help you to perform the necessary evaluation every time you need to take the loan, to pay the outstanding balance, or to refinance on supposedly better terms.

Loan calculator is completely free & user-friendly amortization software. It makes loans management and repayment a more predictable and informed process.

There could be times when it feels you are paying towards a loan without making any progress towards reducing the liability. This free and reliable software works out your repayment plan in order to work out a loan management plan. The loans that you need to manage are generally on your house, car or a loan taken to refinance an existing loan. These loans can span from varying time periods and this software takes care of all time spans be it one month or fifty years. The efficiency and reliability of the tool are least effected by the time period for which it is calculated. You get a fair idea of your loan repayment pattern in order to manage your finances accordingly. The input required by the program is basic loan information such as principle, interest rate, and time span.

Once the resultant screen is displayed you can choose to either transfer it to an excel sheet or HTML.

Website: http://www.loancalculator.ws/software/

Direct Download: http://www.loancalculator.ws/loancalc.exe

Monday, April 20, 2009

How to create artistic 3-D photo realistic images?

The Persistence of Vision Raytracer is a high-quality, totally free tool for creating stunning three-dimensional graphics. It might be useful for designers, photographers, and hobbyists, who do not mind spend some time to create real art with this amazing open-source utility. Review samples of the images, created with its help.


The Persistence of Vision Ray-Tracer creates three-dimensional, photo-realistic images using a rendering technique called ray-tracing. It reads in a text file containing information describing the objects and lighting in a scene and generates an image of that scene from the view point of a camera also described in the text file. Ray-tracing is not a fast process by any means, but it produces very high quality images with realistic reflections, shading, perspective and other effects.

What is Ray-Tracing?

Ray-tracing is a rendering technique that calculates an image of a scene by simulating the way rays of light travel in the real world. However it does its job backwards. In the real world, rays of light are emitted from a light source and illuminate objects. The light reflects off of the objects or passes through transparent objects. This reflected light hits our eyes or perhaps a camera lens. Because the vast majority of rays never hit an observer, it would take forever to trace a scene.

Ray-tracing programs like POV-Ray start with their simulated camera and trace rays backwards out into the scene. The user specifies the location of the camera, light sources, and objects as well as the surface texture properties of objects, their interiors (if transparent) and any atmospheric media such as fog, haze, or fire.
For every pixel in the final image one or more viewing rays are shot from the camera, into the scene to see if it intersects with any of the objects in the scene. These "viewing rays" originate from the viewer, represented by the camera, and pass through the viewing window (representing the final image).

Every time an object is hit, the color of the surface at that point is calculated. For this purpose rays are sent backwards to each light source to determine the amount of light coming from the source. These "shadow rays" are tested to tell whether the surface point lies in shadow or not. If the surface is reflective or transparent new rays are set up and traced in order to determine the contribution of the reflected and refracted light to the final surface color.

Special features like inter-diffuse reflection (radiosity), atmospheric effects and area lights make it necessary to shoot a lot of additional rays into the scene for every pixel.


Here are some highlights of POV-Ray’s features:
1. Easy to use scene description language.
2. Large library of stunning example scene files.
3. Standard include files that pre-define many shapes, colors and textures.
4. Very high quality output image files (up to 48-bit color).
5. 16 and 24 bit color display on many computer platforms using appropriate hardware.
6. Create landscapes using smoothed height fields.
7. Many camera types, including perspective, orthographic, fisheye, etc.
8. Spotlights, cylindrical lights and area lights for sophisticated lighting.
9. Photons for realistic, reflected and refracted, caustics. Photons also interact with media.
10. Phong and specular highlighting for more realistic-looking surfaces.
11. Inter-diffuse reflection (radiosity) for more realistic lighting.
12. Atmospheric effects like atmosphere, ground-fog and rainbow.
13. Particle media to model effects like clouds, dust, fire and steam.
14. Several image file output formats including Targa, BMP (Windows only), PNG and PPM.
15. Basic shape primitives such as ... spheres, boxes, quadrics, cylinders, cones, triangle and planes.
16. Advanced shape primitives such as ... Tori (donuts), bezier patches, height fields (mountains), blobs, quartics, smooth triangles, text, superquadrics, surfaces of revolution, prisms, polygons, lathes, fractals, isosurfaces and the parametric object.
17. Shapes can easily be combined to create new complex shapes using Constructive Solid Geometry (CSG). POV-Ray supports unions, merges, intersections and differences.
18. Objects are assigned materials called textures (a texture describes the coloring and surface properties of a shape) and interior properties such as index of refraction and particle media (formerly known as "halos").
19. Built-in color and normal patterns: Agate, Bozo, Bumps, Checker, Crackle, Dents, Granite, Gradient, Hexagon, Leopard, Mandel, Marble, Onion, Quilted, Ripples, Spotted, Spiral, Radial, Waves, Wood, Wrinkles and image file mapping. Or build your own pattern using functions.
20. Users can create their own textures or use pre-defined textures such as ... Brass, Chrome, Copper, Gold, Silver, Stone, Wood.
21. Combine textures using layering of semi-transparent textures or tiles of textures or material map files.
22. Display preview of image while rendering (not available on all platforms).
23. Halt and save a render part way through, and continue rendering the halted partial render later.

Website: http://www.povray.org/

Download: http://www.povray.org/download/

Friday, April 17, 2009

Skype Audio Player

Skype Audio Player allows playing audio files (mp3, wav, wma) during Skype calls to both parties. It is a simple tool without luxurious functions, useful for those who study foreign languages using Skype and need to play sample dialogs or audio tests.

It is a new project, and the software is still in the development stage. It is absolutely free (open source), and supports Windows XP and Vista.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Free Phone Numbers from VoxOx - New Skype Rival

Skype users will be familiar with the service’s "SkypeIn" feature, which lets you buy a phone number that will work for any landline or cell phones. Respectable online computer magazine PCMag presents, VoxOx, a new service from business telecom provider TeleCentris, will offer inbound telephone numbers to all of its users for free.

The service also offers many other VOIP and Skype-like features, including instant messaging, video chatting, SMS text messaging, callback, and faxing. Its "one number follow me" feature will even let users enter numbers to ring successively in case they’re not at the main phone number - similar to Vonage’s Enhanced Call Forwarding. They can even create a "this number is not in service" message for telemarketers.

"We are connected to so many people through so many channels that communication is becoming increasingly unmanageable in today’s media-centric society," said Bryan Hertz, chief executive of TelCentris. "The typical consumer, ages 14 to 45, wakes up and moves from Facebook, to Skype, to Blackberry or iPhone, to Gmail and Google Talk, to MySpace, to YouTube to Yahoo Messenger, to a landline phone, and then back again. This communications frenzy has created a need for a single tool to manage all connections and contacts so that consumers can take control of their interconnected lifestyle. That’s why we’ve created VoxOx."

Users can bring in all their contacts from email accounts, instant messaging, and social networks to create a "meta address book". VoxOx is targeting its service at so-called "Millennials" and Gen Xers, who have come to rely on SMS text messaging as the primary method of communicating with friends and family. But the support for email, IM, and telephone lines brings Baby Boomers and older users into the fold.

The VoxOx home interface resembles that of the iPhone, with square icons for each application. Just as with the iPhone, applications can be built by third-party developers using an open API. The key apps, though, are the VoxOx supplied Contacts, which resembles an IM client’s buddy list and shows the availability of your contacts if the service they’re on provides that info. Like Trillian, VoxOx lets users chat with friends using the IM services they already use, such as AIM, Yahoo, or MSN/Windows Live Messenger.

Since VoxOx’s maker is a telecommunications provider, it can provide some slick features not found in Skype, such as the ability to transfer a call from the web interface to a cell phone and to ring several numbers in order to reach you, with the "one number follow me" feature. Voicemail is included, along with a call directing "personal assistant" which can forward calls to a number of the caller’s choice from a voice menu. Three-way calling with a personal choice of hold music is also available. The service also offers two-way texting, inbound fax receiving, and fax-to-email capability. An SMS "callback" feature lets you send a text to a number from your cellphone to be connected to another phone anywhere by texting the number to VoxOx.

Users who sign up for VoxOx will get 120 minutes free calling time. PC-to-PC calls between VoxOx users are free, and calls to or from the U.S. and Canada cost 1 cent per minute. International calls to landlines or mobiles cost more, ranging from 2 cents a minute to China, England, or France to over 7 dollars for Liberia. Users can earn free minutes by inviting others to the service or by viewing 30-second advertisement videos.
VoxOX also will provide an unlimited calling account for $20 per month, which also includes a hardware box to connect to your broadband router so that you don’t have to leave your PC on to make calls.

Users can download VoxOx software for Windows and Mac OS at http://www.voxox.com/. Mobile versions, including one optimized for Apple’s iPhone are in the works.

VoxOx is rated 4 of 5 at the RateItAll rating list of the VOIP providers, offering free calls to their users.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Record Skype Conversations with Free Recorder

If you are a Skype user (Skype is a software program that allows users to make calls over the Internet to other Skype users free of charge), you might notice that there is a missing a feature in the list of the service offerings – you cannot record your calls. While it might not be a high-demand feature in the personal communication, when it comes to the business contacts, if will bring an ability to elaborate your conversation in more details following the call completion. There are multiple services, which fill the empty space; however most of the software titles offered are not freeware. We present the free alternative to the readers of this blog.

This is a free Skype recording program which automatically recorders all your Skype conversations and conferences. It saves Skype conversations in compact and widely used format - mp3 files. This tool records P2P Skype calls, SkypeOut calls, as well as calls to Skype Online number. This program seats in the system tray, monitors Skype calls, and starts the recording automatically when you start conversation. It can record several simultaneous calls (e.g. one active while others on hold) in separate files for easy and convenient access. Very simple interface requires virtually no tuning or setup. Just install it, allow access to the Skype client and that's it.

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

Making call could cost nothing to you, but the information and conversation itself could be invaluable for you, your business and your reputation. Recording calls is simple step to be on a safe side.

Main features of MP3 Skype Recorder:

* Absolutely free, no limits
* Automatic or manual recording
* Saves conversation in compact mp3 files
* Recording P2P, SkypeOut calls and calls coming to Online number.
* Separate recording of multiply simultaneous calls
* Seamless integration with Skype Conference recording
* Simple interface.
* The program uses LAME MP3 encoder.

System requirements: 

* OS: Windows 2000, XP, Vista
*.Net Framework 2.0 or later (will be installed automatically from Microsoft.com)
* Skype.  

Note: Vista and some personal firewalls could give you a "low risk" alert on Skype Call Recorder first recording as it uses a local port to get sound from Skype, to record you have to allow Skype Call Recorder to use this local port. This is absolutely safe.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Freeware anti-virus and anti-spyware utility from Dr.Web

The April 1 present from unknown hackers has increased consumers interest in anti-virus and anti-spyware utilities. This morning, I have confirmed that my home computer was infected with Conficker.C malware as well.

I would like to recommend again the list of actions promoted in the previous post. Try to update all the Microsoft updates first. If you see that you cannot perform them automatically, your computer might be already affected by the worm, who prevented you from healing your PC. If so, you will need to apply the medicine manually. Visit Microsoft explanation website http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/security/dd452420.aspx and download Microsoft® Windows® Malicious Software Removal Tool (KB890830) on your Hard Drive. Run it and perform the Quick scan first. If at the first glance, you PC look clean, ensure the fact by running full scan. Depending on how large your HDD, this scan might take from an hour to several hours. So be patient.

In this post, I want to present one more, free anti-virus and anti-spyware scanner and cleaner from one of the best anti-virus fighters Dr. Web.

What is Dr.Web CureIt!?

This is a FREE anti-virus and anti-spyware utility based on Dr.Web Anti-virus scanner, which will help you quickly scan and cure, if necessary, a computer operated by MS Windows 95OSR2/ 98/Me/NT 4.0/2000/XP/2003/Vista without installation of the Dr.Web Anti-virus.

Dr.Web CureIt! automatically detects the language of the OS it is installed to and sets the scanner interface accordingly (if the local language is not supported, English is enabled). The utility supports the following 35 languages: Russian, Arabic, Armenian, Belarusian, Bulgarian, Chinese (Simpl.), Chinese (Trad.), Czech, Dutch, English, Esperanto, Estonian, Finnish, French, Georgian, German, Greek, Hungarian, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Latvian, Lithuanian, Norwegian, Persian (Farsi), Polish, Portuguese, Slovak, Slovenian, Spanish, Thai, Turkish, Ukrainian, Uzbek, Vietnamese.

The utility contains the most up-to-date add-ons to the Dr.Web virus databases going up to twice per hour frequency at periods of high malware submissions.

Dr.Web CureIt! detects and removes

* Rootkits * Mass-mailing worms * E-mail viruses * Peer-to-peer viruses * Internet worms * File viruses * Trojans * Stealth viruses* Polymorphic viruses * Bodiless viruses * Macro viruses * MS Office viruses * Script viruses * Spyware * Spybots * Password stealers * Keyloggers* Paid Dialers * Adware * Riskware* Hacktools * Backdoors * Joke programs * Malicious scripts * Other malware*.

How do I use Dr.Web CureIt!?

Download Dr.Web CureIt! from our website. Run the utility and press the "Start" button in the opened window. Confirm the launch by pressing the "OK" button and wait for the scanning results of the main memory and startup files. If you want to scan all or just some drives of a computer, select the Complete scan or the Custom scan mode (in the latter case, select the necessary objects you want to scan) and press the "Start scanning" button on the scanner right.

When you call the utility, you can specify parameters for the scanner in the command line, i.e. to specify the objects for scanning or/and modify the scanning modes different from the default ones.
When being scanned, infected files are cured, incurable files are moved to the quarantine directory. When the scanning is finished, the log file and the quarantine are not deleted.

How do I update Dr.Web CureIt!?

This utility can quickly clean an infected system, but it is not a permanent tool to cure your computer in case of infection. Its distribution on our web-site is always armed with the hottest add-ons to the Dr.Web virus database, but it does not include the Dr.Web Automatic Updating utility. Dr.Web CureIt! stays actual until the next release of the add-on. To scan your computer with the most up-to-date Dr.Web virus databases next time you should download new Dr.Web CureIt! package.

Access website and download fresh package: http://www.freedrweb.com/cureit/

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