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Desktop Earth - The Earth on Your Desktop in Real Time!

Desktop Earth is a wallpaper generator for Windows. It runs whenever you're logged on and updates your wallpaper with an accurate representation of the Earth as it would be seen from space at that precise moment.

Day and night is accurately represented depending on the Sun's overhead position (which depends on both the time of day and the day of the year) and both the snow cover and the foliage changes with the seasons.

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Download Microsoft SharePoint Designer Free (no time limit)

SharePoint Designer is Microsoft's WYSIWYG HTML editor and general web design program that replaced Microsoft FrontPage.

When SharePoint Designer replaced Front Page, Microsoft changed the HTML rendering engine to one that is more standards compliant - making it easier to design web pages that are readable in most browsers.

You can get more information and the download link at the SharePoint Designer home page.

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Free Utility Speeds Up Vista

Experienced users are well aware that you can improve the performance of all versions of Windows by shutting down non essential Windows services.  Indeed whole web sites such as Black Viper (http://www.blackviper.com/) are dedicated to the subject.

Of all the versions of Windows, Vista shows the greatest gain from shutting down non essential services. That because it has so many er, non essential components. OK then, so many useless components.

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How to Stop Vista Objecting to Programs at Startup

Oh the joys of Vista.

One of its many "charming" characteristics is that it will fail at startup to run certain utilities you have installed.

It does this for your protection but when you have deliberately and consciously installed a program and it won't run, it is a total pain.

The classic example is the wonderful free "Everything" search program. After you install "Everything" Vista will simply not automatically run the program at startup. Instead it issues a warning message. The only way to start the program is to do it manually.

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Don't know the name of the song? Just hum a few bars into this search engine.

Song title imageAre you looking for a song but only know some of the notes to it and the title simply escapes you?  Then Midomi might just be for you.  Just sing, hum, or whistle into your microphone and let Midomi find your music for you.  It's not perfect, but it is a new revolutionary way to find that lost tune you don't know the title of.  It requires that scripts are turned on in your browser, so be careful.

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New Firefox Extension Makes Surfing Safer

I recently had an email from Yotam Elal, the developer of the well known Firefox FoxLingo extension, to let me know about his latest product, LinkExtend.

LinkExtend is a free Firefox extension that adds a special search toolbar to your browser.  With LinkExtend installed, all your search results (whether done through the LinkExtend toolbar or not) are annotated with a wealth of information about each site listed including:

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How to Remove Old & Dangerous Versions of Java

Sun Java has become a popular attack target for hackers and criminals as it can be found on almost every PC.

Sun have responded by regularly releasing new versions that patch newly discovered vulnerabilities.

Unfortunately when you install a new version of Java the old one is not deleted. Sun does this just in case some old applications won't work with the latest Java version. In my experience, this is a rarity.

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A Free Password Manager that's Just as Good as Roboform

I never thought I'd see it happen; a free password manager as good as Roboform and maybe even better.

Unlike Roboform which is a utility that runs on your PC, LastPass uses a web service that works in combination with a program that runs on your PC.

It's a smart approach: 

The webservice means your passwords are accessible from different computers: PCs, Macs or Linux boxes.

The stand-alone program that runs on your computer means that you can access and use your passwords even when you are offline.

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