Neat Programs

Software I have came across in the past couple of years that I have found to be useful.

I figure the net isn't as good a place as I once thought for communicating (In the same manner as friends would) as there are too many a-holes on it. But I do still believe it can be useful for information swapping.

 

Download the Password Safe

"How many passwords and user names do you have to keep track of? Chances are that the answer is "lots." It was bad enough when you only needed a password to access your network or shell account; now many websites want passwords too. Most people resort to keeping a written list of passwords (unsafe) or using the same password on many systems (very unsafe). Now, with Password Safe, you can keep a master list of passwords securely encrypted on your computer. A single Safe Combination unlocks them all.

Password Safe protects your passwords with Bruce Schneier's Blowfish algorithm, a fast, free alternative to DES and IDEA."

It uses an encryption algorithm that is proven to be secure and has never been broken. It's a very easy-to-use program as well. One password will open the safe and after that you just click into memory each stored username and password as you need it. May I suggest copy and pasting your master password though, to prevent a key logging program from monitoring your key strokes and stealing your master password.

 

Blackviper.com

This is just a great web site written by a guy who really knows his computers. I use his Windows Service Configurations to disable systems running in the background of Windows. Many people don't know this but they have the option of disabling these systems which they may never even use. And doing so will increase their computer's speed. Networks for example. Are you running a network out of your house? Then why have those systems running!

 

Spinwave

This is an excellent image "cruncher" used mostly for images meant to be displayed on the internet. Lets say you have a 1500 X 1000, 800KB image you want to put on a web page. Such a big file uses up expensive bandwidth, not to mention the people still using a dial up modem will grow old before the image gets loaded. Plus I have found that shrinking an image to the size you want it to be displayed at, almost always makes it better quality, as Internet Explorer doesn't do a very good job at "dithering" the resolution down.

These are images that were taken from 758 X 567 and 125KB, down to 150 X 113 and 5KB. The first one I did using Picture It 2000. The second one, using Spinwave.

 
Picture It 2000   Spinwave

I'm not trying to knock the first program, as it has many useful features, but downsizing images isn't one of them. I have found that most image processing software doesn't do well at this for some reason.

 

IE Spell Check

"The program installs as a new button in the IE toolbar (as well as a new menu item under "Tools") - after filling in a form, just hit the ieSpell button and it pops up a dialog box."

Please use this, as I am sick and tired of trying to read people's incoherent writings. People are too screwed up in the head as is, and misspelling every other word makes their writings even harder to decipher.

 

SmartWrap

"SmartWrap™ analyzes your e-mail and text, detects paragraphs and lists within your text, and rewraps your text so it wraps naturally within your document or message."

 

Ever get an e-mail that looks like this? It's been forwarded so many times, no one wants to even try reading it anymore. This neat program will remove the invisible "hard breaks" and the text will come out as it does on the right. Also useful when you find something you want to copy and paste on a message board.

 

How EXACTLY to make a website

This is a page I wrote to help those who want to be heard and have a voice. I also wrote another one giving step by step directions on how to upload their site to the Internet, entitled; Getting Your Website on the Net.

 

What is steganography?

"S-Tools (Steganography Tools) brings you the capability of concealing files within various forms of data. By making subtle alterations to sampled data it is possible to conceal information whilst retaining nearly all the content of the original sample.

Users of S-Tools can opt to encrypt their information using the strongest state-of-the-art encryption algorithms currently known within the academic world, so that even an enemy equipped with a copy of S-Tools cannot be completely sure data is hidden unless he has your secret passphrase.

You could use S-Tools to conceal private or confidential information that you don't want to fall into the wrong hands. You could use it to send information to another individual via a broadcast network such as Usenet. By agreeing on a passphrase you can keep the information out of unauthorised hands.

In short, S-Tools allows you to place private information in an inconspicuous 'envelope' that will not arouse suspicion."

It's a shame it's come to this. It would be nice to be able to send and receive e-mails to and from people without our own government spying on us. And if you simply encrypt your files before sending them, then you will arouse suspicion from the government. Hey, you are now a suspected terrorist! But when using steganography, it is very dificult to detect any hidden message in the first place. See, you take an image or sound file and use steganography to conceal a text file in it and the picture or sound file looks un-altered and there is supposedly no way for anyone to know for sure if there is hidden data in the image or sound file. (Note: It's better to use larger sized files along with short messages in order to make it even more difficult to detect steganography.) And even if they did know it, they would not be able to extract it without the correct pass phrase. I'm starting to think with all this "suspected terrorist" crap we have been hearing of lately, that this technology may be the wave of the future for us.

By the way, this image contains a hidden text file. If you choose to download S-Tools, you can extract the file with the pass phrase, " MessageInABottle ". Without a correct pass phrase, even S-Tools doesn't know it contains hidden data. Another neat program, no?

Update: I made this tutorial on exactly how to use S-tools in conjunction with the famous e-mail encryption program known as "PGP". Using this will provide a doubled layer of encryption enveloped in a stealthy image file.

 

The Only Unbreakable Encryption

"A one-time pad is a very simple yet completely unbreakable symmetric cipher. "Symmetric" means it uses the same key for encryption as for decryption. As with all symmetric ciphers, the sender must transmit the key to the recipient via some secure and tamperproof channel, otherwise the recipient won't be able to decrypt the ciphertext."

To find out just how strong the one time pad encryption system is, run a search on google for "one time pad encryption".

Click here to download this easy to use encryption program that uses the one time pad encryption system. I think this program, used with the above Steganography, can make for perfectly secure communications. As stated, the strength of one time pad encryption lies within the randomness of the key. This program admits that its key generator is not very random and suggest finding a better source for random numbers and simply pasting them into the key window.