Wednesday, December 30, 2009

The Best of Everything in Tech (2009 Edition)

Reader's Choice: The Best in Service and Reliability

Editors' Choice

Best of the Year

Technical Excellence

Best of the Decade

Top 100 Free Apps for Your Phone

The Best Office Printers

The Best Business Networking Products

Best Projectors for Under $1,000

The 20 Best Free PC Games

Thursday, December 24, 2009



Gizmo's Freeware 2009 Product of the Year: Our Users' Choice

Here at Gizmos Freeware we have been selecting an annual freeware product of the year for the last five years. Normally we make the selection ourselves but this year we have also asked our readers to nominate their choice for the BEST FREEWARE PRODUCT of 2009.

Monday, December 21, 2009

How the New Facebook Privacy Settings Work

If you don't know, as of today, Facebook will automatically start plunging the Earth into the Sun. To change this option, go to Settings --> Planetary Settings --> Trajectory then UN-CLICK the box that says 'Apocalypse.' Facebook kept this one quiet. Copy and paste onto your status for all to see. We must all work together to save the world.

Yes, big changes have come to Facebook, but not quite this profound. You should have noticed by now prominent notifications that privacy settings on the social network have changed.

The 20 Dumbest Questions on Yahoo Answers

From startlingly ignorant PC questions to appalling displays of sexual confusion, people have some pretty strange problems--and the depth of their cluelessness is nowhere more evident than on the pages of Yahoo Answers.


Saturday, December 19, 2009

The Top 100 Tech Products of 2009 - Computer Shopper

The past year was an eventful one in technology. We saw laptops continue to shrink and reduce in price, with netbooks taking over a huge part of the market. And standard laptops reacted by becoming slimmer, lighter, and cheaper. And speaking of cheaper, just about every category of tech went though a budget overhaul. 

The Top 100 Tech Products of 2009
Laptops, netbooks, all-in-one PCs, and way more: Our editors pick the best tech they tested this year.
Click to see the whole guide.

Click to see the best desktops.
Click to see the best laptops and netbooks.
Click to see the best software.
Click to see the best printers.
Click to see the best PC components and upgrades.
Click to see the best PC peripherals and LCD monitors.
Click to see the best networking products.
Click to see the best cameras and HDTVs.
Click to see the best mobile gear.
Click to see the Product and Technology of the Year.
Click to see a full list of the winners.


Friday, December 18, 2009

Luggage Limits

FREE Search Tool for Flight-Specific Baggage Information

Detailed baggage allowance information is available on all routes and ticket classes for over 100 airlines! All of the information you need to avoid expensive airline luggage fees is provided along with helpful airport specific links.

Free Online Photo Editor

Get creative with the FREE online photo editor and do your quick fix with the image express! Jump in and get going within 2 seconds! 


Perfect songs for Christmas

The music is one of my favorite parts of Christmas. There are so many classic songs. When you hear your favorite, you can’t help but smile. It’s the best way to get in the spirit of the season.
I’ve found some great Christmas performances. I love every one of them. But there’s at least one song here for everyone.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Create Your Own Website

The cost and complexity of creating your own website depends on what you want to do with it, and how well you want to do it. Let's start with what you want to do.

Monday, December 14, 2009

New Google Features Cut Down on Search Time

Google on Friday added a few new search features intended to provide you with the fastest possible access to your queries.
Universal search has been added to Google Suggest. Type in "weather in nyc," for example, and Google displays the weather for the next few days in the drop-down suggestions box. The company also provides answers to certain types of queries, such as flight status (type "delta 140"), city capitals, and weight and money conversions. More features will be added soon.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Best Free Firewall

No other freeware product causes as much angst to users, whether in installation or day-to-day use, as a firewall. To find a stable and high quality firewall for windows often involves a process of trial and error. Firewalls should protect while not being too intrusive or too complicated to handle. This article gives you a selection of the best free software firewalls available.

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

You'll Shoot Your Eye Out

Star in one of the greatest stories ever told about Christmas! You won't believe your eyes, as long as you don't shoot them out!

Should you let your child use LimeWire?

The parenting handbooks don't say much about LimeWire. This is a peer-to-peer (P2P) file-sharing program. Hardcore geeks consider it obsolete. But it is still heavily used by kids.

Strictly speaking, LimeWire is safe and legal. In practice, it often is neither.

Friday, December 04, 2009

"Grandpa/Grandma Mode" for PCs

What we need is software that acts as a “mask” and sits on top of, for example, Gmail. Its main function would be to hide all the options that aren’t relevant. All you would see is very large buttons labeled READ, WRITE, and OTHER. Seniors should never see more than three large, clear choices on the screen at one time.

Thursday, December 03, 2009

Beware of scam e-mails on H1N1 virus

Scam artists have turned to the Web again, this time using the concern over H1N1 to lure users into making their computers vulnerable to a virus.

Federal and state health officials are warning consumers to be aware of fraudulent e-mails that reference a CDC-sponsored State Vaccination Program for the H1N1 virus.

In short: It doesn’t exist


eHow is an online knowledge resource with more than 337,000 articles and videos offering step-by-step instructions on "how to do just about everything". eHow content is created by both professional experts and amateur members and covers a wide variety of topics organized into a hierarchy of categories.
Through a proprietary social networking platform and user-generated content tools, eHow maintains an online community of users who publish how-tos, images and video clips and receive a percentage of profits earned from traffic and advertising. eHow members can network and collaborate by building a personalized profile, creating friend lists, commenting on articles and interacting in an online forum.


Monday, November 30, 2009

Buying a PC: Some Simple Advice

At this time of year, I am often often asked this question: "Which PC should I buy?" I always respond with the same question: "What are you going to do with it?"

More specifically, here are some questions you should ask if you're buying a PC. The answers can help you find the right PC for you.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Viruses and Malware

free cell phone

free cell phone (This is a revised version of a post on October 31st - Thanks to Seth's comment)

SAFELINK WIRELESS® service is U.S. government supported program for Income eligible households provided by TracFone Wireless, Inc. In order to participate in the SAFELINK WIRELESS® service, persons must meet certain eligibility requirements set by each State where the service is to be provided. These requirements are based on a person’s participation in a state or Federal support programs or by meeting the Income Poverty Guidelines as defined by the U.S. Government. SAFELINK WIRELESS® service is limited to one person per household.

Q: Has the Obama administration started a program to use "taxpayer money" to give free cell phones to welfare recipients?

A: No. Low-income households have been eligible for discounted telephone service for more than a decade. But the program is funded by telecom companies, not by taxes, and the president has nothing to do with it. Click here: The Obama Phone?|FactCheck

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Top Standalone Antivirus Software for 2010 (pay versions)

We looked at eleven antivirus packages from around the world. G-Data Antivirus 2010 wins for its outstanding malware detection; Norton Antivirus 2010 comes in a close second thanks to its polished interface.



Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Search millions of historic photos

Search millions of photographs from the LIFE photo archive, stretching from the 1750s to today. Most were never published and are now available for the first time through the joint work of LIFE and Google.

The Top 500 Worst Passwords of All Time

From the moment people started using passwords, it didn’t take long to realize how many people picked the very same passwords over and over. Even the way people misspell words is consistent. In fact, people are so predictable that most hackers make use of lists of common passwords just like these. To give you some insight into how predictable humans are, the following is a list of the 500 most common passwords. If you see your password on this list, please change it immediately. Keep in mind that every password listed here has been used by at least hundreds if not thousands of other people.

What Not to Buy in 2009

It's time to shop, but before you do, make sure you don't enter the fray unarmed. My annual, unconventional guidance should help.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Finding Lost Friends Using the Internet

It isn't uncommon to fall out of contact with friends. Over the years, you've probably lost contact with a few friends. This year, resolve to locate friends from your past. Click on Kim's picture.

Monday, November 23, 2009

McAfee warns about '12 Scams of Christmas'

Retailers aren't the only ones gearing up for the holiday season. Criminals are also out in force.
To highlight the increased crime during the holidays, security company McAfee has come up with the "12 Scams of Christmas" ranging from bogus electronic greeting cards that deliver malware instead of cheer to fake charities that steal your money and your identity.

E-tailers snagged in marketing 'scam' blame customers

First, the good news for consumers: the U.S. government's investigation into how dozens of well-known online stores worked with controversial marketers to "deceive" customers out of $1.4 billion has prompted some retailers, including Continental Airlines, to sever ties with the marketers.

Now, the bad news: the marketers--Affinion, Vertrue, and Webloyalty--are still in business and judging from the responses of many of the retailers involved, such as Priceline,, FTD, Shutterfly, and Orbitz, it will be business as usual. They see nothing wrong with the marketing practices that millions of angry online shoppers and members of the U.S. Senate have called a "scam," "robbery" and "theft."

Technology We'll Miss When It's Gone

As tech speeds inexorably forward, many gadgets and services will be left in heaps on the roadside. Problem is, we'll truly miss some of them. 


Sunday, November 22, 2009

Best Free Online TV Viewer

This area is still quite new. But in the last year it has exploded with content and applications.  There are still very few standards, so you will end up having several viewer programs if you want to access a wide variety of shows.


i.TV is a must for any television or movie fan. It provides customizable TV listings. Schedule TiVo recordings and watch video previews. You can also schedule alerts and purchase movie tickets from the app. Click below.

Friday, November 20, 2009

8 Ways to Watch TV and Movies Without Cable

If you're like most people, you cough up way too much for a monthly cable subscription and you barely watch half the channels you pay for. The good news is that in this era of fast and abundant broadband, there are plenty of ways to see your favorite television shows and movies without paying Cablevision, Comcast, Time Warner—or any other cable provider.


What is iGoogle?

iGoogle is a customizable homepage

iGoogle lets you create a personalized homepage that contains a Google search box at the top, and your choice of any number of gadgets below. Gadgets come in lots of different forms and provide access to activities and information from all across the web, without ever having to leave your iGoogle page. Here are some things you can do with gadgets:
  • View your latest Gmail messages
  • Read headlines from Google News and other top news sources
  • Check out weather forecasts, stock quotes, and movie showtimes
  • Store bookmarks for quick access to your favorite sites from any computer
  • Design your own gadget.

If you have questions about this, please email me. Don

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

How to Buy a Scanner

Your choice of a scanner and its features will largely be determined by what you plan to scan with it—documents, photos, books, business cards, fragile items like stamps, etc.—and how often. Click below.

10 tips for buying a laptop

Is a new laptop on your holiday shopping list? Whether you're shopping for someone else or for yourself (you've been especially good this year, right?), here are 10 things to keep in mind as you do your research and get ready to buy. From test driving potential PCs in the store, to knowing your warranty options and the store's return policy, we'll help you find the perfect laptop this holiday season. Click below.

10 Firefox extensions that enhance security

Mozilla Firefox is a good browser to start with, but third-party extensions make it great. That’s especially apparent when it comes to Web browser security, as shown by the following add-ons.


Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Is Magic Jack a Scam?

After doing some research, and hearing a couple of my friends swear by the gadget, it seems that Magic Jack really does deliver what it promises -- even if the marketing is classic infomercial gimmickry. For $39.95, you get the Magic Jack, your own number with unlimited local and long distance (USA and Canada), and your first year of service. Subsequent years are only $19.95 each. That's all you pay... you never get a phone bill, because you can cancel your service with the phone company and cut them out of the loop.


Monday, November 16, 2009

Microsoft Security Essentials

Microsoft Security Essentials is a FREE download that offers protection against  viruses, spyware, and other malicious software, such as rootkits and Trojans. Security Essentials provides real-time scans of downloads and attachments, monitors  suspicious file and program activity, runs unattended scans, and will
automatically download virus and spyware definitions.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Clicker: What's Online

Find your favorite shows. There are lots of shows and movies on the Internet. Watch your favorite shows for free. Clicker can search for your favorite shows and also for movies. There is list of available episodes. 

The Playlist feature allows you to add shows to your playlist. As new episodes are made available online, they will be added to your playlist.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

A great way to save Web pages

A great way to save Web is a handy little site.
Start by setting up your account. 

When there's something you want to read later, use your address bar. Enter "" (minus quotes) before the Web address. will e-mail you a link to the page. Read it at your convenience.
But can do more than that. For example, you can send yourself a reminder via the address bar. You can also send pages and reminders to your phone.

Why is My Computer Slowing Down?

A number of issues can slow down a once fast PC. Here are some of the most common.

Facebook Invasion: Beware of New 'Smart' WormFacebook Invasion

Hot on the heels of a reported hijacking of hundreds of Facebook groups, a new variation on an old worm is crawling its way into the social network's walls. Attackers have released an updated, more intelligent version of the notorious Koobface virus, security analysts say--and anyone could become its next victim.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

How to Shop Online More Safely

The holidays are a time of giving. Unfortunately, online crooks see people's generosity as an opportunity for scams. But there are plenty of things that you can do to help keep your holiday season fun and safe.

How to Shop Online More Safely

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

MailWasher FREE Spam Blocker

Introducing MailWasher, the leader in spam filter software, and the easiest way to check and manage your e-mails before you download them.

MailWasher is free to use and won't ever expire. It works with Outlook, Outlook Express, Incredimail, Thunderbird, Windows Mail, GMail, Hotmail and every other email program.

Use this powerful spam blocker software to effectively stop email spam. Discover the safe way to stop unwanted e-mails before they get to your computer.

I have used it for several years. It works!


Review of AVG 9 Free Antivirus Program

It's hard to believe that AVG has been around for 18 years. In that time, they've built a solid reputation by offering quality anti-virus and anti-spyware solutions, including one of the most popular free security tools, AVG Free Edition, which they claim has been downloaded by 80 million users.

Sunday, November 08, 2009

Google Music Search Feature

Google has  a search feature that enables you to search and more easily discover millions of songs, all via a simple Google web search. If you're searching for music, "time to result" is really "time to music." Now, when you enter a music-related query — like the name of a song, artist or album — your search results will include links to an audio preview of those songs provided by our music search partners. When you click the result you'll be able to listen to an audio preview of the song directly.

For example, if I search for [21st century breakdown], the first results provide links to songs from Green Day's new album.

Free PDF Unlocker

Adobe PDF files are password-protected and restrict what you can do with the document. You cannot copy images, text, or print the document.

PDF Unlocker opens the file and create a duplicate, unlocked version. Then you drag and drop the PDF onto the Unlocker's desktop icon. Simple and FREE.

Office Tab - Tabs for Microsoft Word, Excel, and PowerPoint

This program is like opening multiple tabs in browsers.
Office Tab is a free program that works in 2003 and older versions of Word, Excel, and PowerPoint. Double-click on the tab bar to open a new a document in a new tab; double-click a tab to close it. A right-click brings up a useful menu where you can save or close all your documents; the Options menu lets you change the look and color of the tabs.


Saturday, November 07, 2009

Windows 7 Upgrade Woes Mount: Endless Reboots and Product Key Problems

Call it the legacy of Microsoft's Vista operating system. PC users  upgrading from Windows Vista to Windows 7 have run into a variety of hair pulling problems since last Thursday when Windows 7 launched. Complaints range from endless reboots to refusals by Windows to accept Microsoft's assigned product keys.

Google Voice

Google Voice is a service that gives you one number for all your phones, voicemail that is easy as email, and many enhanced calling features like call blocking and screening, voicemail transcripts, call conferencing, international calls, and more.

Retrevo - The Ultimate Electronics Marketplace

The best new feature of this free, consumer electronics shopping site is a page that analyzes how close a product is to retirement, how good the current price is, and whether Full reviewers and other users like it. Factor in such nifty features as a service that helps you get copies of long-lost gadget manuals, and Retrevo adds up to a valuable aid to both buying and owning.


In the age of Google we depend on our Web browsers--and on all the features which make them so efficient to use. Personal settings and data such as bookmarks, history, cookies, and saved passwords are essential to productivity. FavBackup recognizes the importance of such data and offers an easy and comprehensive way to back it all up. Perhaps even more useful, you can use the program to migrate settings to a browser on a different computer. 

It supports all major browsers: Chrome, Firefox, Flock, Internet Explorer, Opera, and Safari

Monday, November 02, 2009

Free Anti-Virus Programs

Your computer is running slow... your high-speed internet connection feels like dial up, and popups are everywhere. What's wrong? It could be a computer virus, or perhaps a bunch of viruses, infecting your hard drive. Viruses not only take up valuable memory and slow down your computer, they can also expose your personal information to Evil Hackers.

The good news is, there are plenty of anti-virus programs that can clean up the mess and keep you safe going forward. Some of them are even free! 

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Attention Facebook Users

Virus hunters are raising the alarm for a large-scale spam attack that uses fake Facebook password-reset messages to trick PC users into downloading a dangerous piece of malware.

The malicious executable is linked to the Bredolab botnet, which has been linked to massive spam runs and identity-theft related attacks. 

Read more.....

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Consumer Antivirus Guide

Anti-viruses are most indispensable softwares for virus removal and promotion of network security. For those who are not familiar with term viruses, they clarify that these are these threats endanger the smooth and proper functioning of your PC.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Easy Microsoft Windows 7 (Paperback)

Mark Baggesen, Guide to Windows, recently reviewed Easy Microsoft Windows 7.Here's the bottom line according to Mark:
"I love this book-especially for beginner and intermediate users of Windows 7.
If you can only buy one book, you should buy this one."


If you want to setup your computer system again you need to have the licenses and serial numbers at hand for all the software programs that you have purchased and registered. This does include the Windows product key but also other serial numbers for applications like Nero, Office, VMWare and pretty much every other application. 

Instead of searching for the keys in your emails, manuals and recipes you could use another approach. License Crawler is a sweet little application that scans the Windows Registry for Windows product keys and other serial numbers and licenses.
The License Crawler can discover application product keys and other serial numbers or licenses very quickly and supports all versions of Windows operating system from Windows 95 to Windows Vista.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Where's My Cell Phone.

Did you misplace your cell phone
Enter your number here and listen for the ring. It’s free!  

Get Human

Customer service phone numbers, shortcuts, contact info and tips for better support worldwide. The person who does this site was fed up with trying to reach management with problems about service or goods. He published this site to help people get past the "talking heads".

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

111 Free Icon Packs for Your Dock/Website

An impressive collation of 111 different quality free icon packs, good for use on your computer, with a dock, or on a website.

SafeLink Wireless

free cell phone

SAFELINK WIRELESS® service is U.S. government supported program for Income eligible households provided by TracFone Wireless, Inc. In order to participate in the SAFELINK WIRELESS® service, persons must meet certain eligibility requirements set by each State where the service is to be provided. These requirements are based on a person’s participation in a state or Federal support programs or by meeting the Income Poverty Guidelines as defined by the U.S. Government. SAFELINK WIRELESS® service is limited to one person per household.

Q: Has the Obama administration started a program to use "taxpayer money" to give free cell phones to welfare recipients?

A: No. Low-income households have been eligible for discounted telephone service for more than a decade. But the program is funded by telecom companies, not by taxes, and the president has nothing to do with it. Click here: The Obama Phone?|FactCheck

Sunday, October 18, 2009

SpyPig - Free Email Tracking System

Now you can find out when your email has been read by the recipient! No more guessing: "Has he or she read my email yet?"

SpyPig is a simple email tracking system that sends you a notification email as soon as the recipient opens and reads your message.

It works with virtually all modern email programs: Outlook, Eudora, Yahoo Email, Gmail, Hotmail, AOL Email and many others.

SpyPig: Free email tracking system Best of all, SpyPig is FREE.

Saturday, October 17, 2009


A website where people get answers from Doctors, Lawyers, Mechanics or one of thousands of other Experts one-on-one. Since JustAnswer's inception, millions of people from more than 145 countries have received fast and affordable answers in more than 100 categories.

Benefits Include:
  • Expert answers from a live person, who cares about you and follows up with you - not a search engine.
  • Answers every day, at all hours - when you need them most.
  • Affordable pricing - you pick the price you want to pay.

alaTest - Free Product Review

alaTest is a unique, free service helping consumers with their shopping decisions by objectively informing them about product quality. We are totally independent towards product manufacturers, retailers and review sources.


AVG Anti-Virus Free Edition 9.0.686 - NEW!

AVG Free provides the bare necessities when it comes to security, but that should be enough for savvy Windows users. You'll get a combined antivirus and antimalware engine, LinkScanner, and e-mail scanning. AVG Free 9 introduces a few new features, with improvements focused on performance, including claims of faster scan and boot times. One new feature is the Identity Theft Recovery Unit. Only for users in the United States, ITRU is a business partnership with Identity Guard which provides "consumer identity theft solutions," accessible only from the AVG toolbar in Firefox and Internet Explorer. 

Friday, October 16, 2009

One-Click Comparison Shopping with PriceTrace

So you're all set to buy that Widget Pro from Amazon, but just before you add it to your cart, you stop and think: "Am I getting the best price?" PriceTrace, a new add-on for Mozilla Firefox, aims to give you a one-click answer.

Also at the same site is:
Send Large Files via Yahoo Mail

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Probably the Best Free Security List in the World

This outstanding list has been compiled by one of Gizmo's senior security editors. The products are listed with the best products first.

The products are almost exclusively free with some exceptions:

(a) Products where there is no free alternative

(b) Good products that offer a lifetime license

(c) Exceptional products

If there are too many options below, try Gizmo's Security Advice Wizard.

100+ Places for Free Books Online

This is a listing of 193 sites that legally offer free books (eBooks) for download or for online viewing.

Some time ago Gizmo went looking for some free eBooks and was surprised to find that there are many resources for this. He decided to put together this list of sites that offer free eBooks as a reference. Since there are so many, he was not able to check each one out thoroughly. So comments from you on any of these sites would be appreciated and added to the comments in the article.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Do I Need a Surge Protector?

Lightning doesn't even have to hit your house for your computer to die of electrocution. "Electrical events" sufficient to do the can happen many at any time in the average home or office. If you do not protect your computer from such events, you're taking a risk as great as motorcycling without a helmet. The first and most frequently used line of defense is the surge protector. It won't protect you 100%, but a surge protector is cheap insurance and I recommend them for everyone.